Everywhere I look I see the idiocy he talked about. Crass consumerism substituted for genuine experience and feeling. Selfish malevolence wearing a cloak of righteousness. Apathy disguised as activism. It's those stupid magnetic ribbons on people's cars. It's rent boys posing as journalists with the probable knowledge and blessing of our "leaders." It's religious zealots pretending that posting religious documents in houses of law somehow honors the ideals of America. It's being beholden to a political system that consists of two sides of the same fucking coin, with one side coming up more often lately and so many people pretending, or worse yet really believing, that things would be so much better if the other side would just get a chance.
And it's multitudes of people, covering their eyes, ignoring reality, desperately trying to avoid seeing just how bad things are getting, distracting themselves with sit-coms and talk shows and self-improvement videos and inspirational reading and video games and news programs that are more scripted and less real than reality television shows. People thinking that contributing a dollar or two for a rubber bracelet simultaneously proves to the world that they "care" about people with testicular cancer and excuses the absurd consumption that defines their lives. People desperately trying to be/have/get/spend/show More. Becoming more significant than other people by buying more THINGS. More patriotic. More caring. More conservative. More liberal. More, Inc.(TM).
And I'm not above it. I'm not immune. I'm a product of my culture, such as it is. I want things. I accumulate stuff. I earn, and then I spend it to make myself feel ... more. Bigger. Important. Significant. It's like if you're not buying mor stuff, you somehow cease to exist.
For example, right now I want a new car, even though the one I'm using is just fine. I tell myself I'd buy a new one, but it would be really fuel efficient, one of those Prius's, maybe, and that somehow makes it OK. Plus, they're cool, right"? And people I don't even know, but who I think matter somehow, will think I'm a really cool guy for driving a hip, liberal, progressive vehicle. Cool! And that way I won't have to actually do anything to get my Progressive Liberal Membership Card aside from make my lease payment every month.
"And besides," says that little voice in the back of my head, "don't you deserve a new car?" The voice of Madison Ave., somehow implanted within the neo-cortex of every red-blooded American.
And I want a Bright Blue Dot for my car, so I can tell people I don't know that I'm really a liberal and I'm so damn outraged and that I'm Not One of Them, all without ever actually engaging with Them and talking to Them and trying to change their minds or enabling Them to try to change mine. And this way I can go around feeling like I somehow made a difference, really stood up to the conserva-nazis that are destroying the things I love about this place, even though all I did was spend some fucking cash on a sticker and then went back to, oh, I don't know, shopping or eating or watching TV.
I Want. It's what I do. It's what most of us do, isn't it? I mean, really, at the base, isn't that what we are? I'm a Consumer, like pretty much everyone in America. Consumption defines us. It's what we are, it's what we do, it provides the Alpha and Omega of Life in America. I accept this, even though I know it's shortchanging myself to an extent. But at least I can try to consume responsibly. I can try to consume in a way that doesn't deny things from others. And I can try to teach my kids to look at the bigger picture.
And I try. I really try. But I don't think I'm making a lot of progress.
I think I really need to explore Buddhism.
In closing, another quote from Bill Hicks.
The world is like a ride at an amusement park. It goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it's very brightly coloured and it's very loud and it's fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time and they begin to question, is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, "Hey - don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride."Mood: Dour
And we ... kill those people. Ha ha "Shut him up." "We have a lot invested in this ride. Shut him up. Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account and my family. This just has to be real."
It's just a ride.
But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. Jesus, murdered. Martin Luther King, murdered. Malcolm X, murdered. Gandhi, murdered. John Lennon, murdered. Reagan ... wounded.
But it doesn't matter because: It's just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It's only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love.
The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one. Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.
Now Playing: Brian Eno and David Byrne, "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts"