In the early morning grey, I open the front door. The thick cold air rushes in to my hair and my lungs, and then the seagulls start cawing. And then I don’t know where I am anymore. I am in Los Angeles, but I am also on the West coast of Scotland, staring out over the still water as the sun comes up behind me and the seagulls cry out into the vast grey that lies out ahead.
I wonder what it is that really separates us from other places and other times. I have a feeling it’s much less than we actually attribute to it, with out science and our reason. And I have a theory about science and reason. It starts with a hipster.
I saw somebody who would definitely be described as a hipster talking to quite a pretty girl. It occurred to me that hipsterdom is a way for previously undesirable folks to become desirable. Think about it. You’re in high school, you can’t build muscle, you’re not all that clever, and you feel sorry for yourself a lot. All the girls like either the guy on the football team, or the guy who gets good grades, or the guy who smokes cigarettes and listens to really loud music. But, and this is the brilliance of hipsterdom, there was a demand for something. More and more people were muscle-less, untalented, unintelligent and whiny. So they created a movement, and gave it enough momentum to make it cool. The hipster was born. Moustache, tight jeans, very low cut v-neck shirt, hat that has too much room in it and flannel shirt in hand, they come springing from the womb and grab the first guitar they see. And they’re cool. And now these people are getting laid where previously they couldn’t. In some ways, the hipster is forever changing the future of human genetics.
I think that the intellectual revolution probably happened in a similar way. All of these people who couldn’t build shit, or plough fields or fight very well. Who the hell would want to breed with somebody like that? But then all of a sudden THOUGHT becomes the commodity upon which we place our values, not physical activity. The lowly farmer has taken a back seat while the professor steps forward to take over. The funny thing is, and I mean ha-ha funny, that the more thinking we do, the more we seem to spin ourselves in circles and (like my washing machine which I hate with a passion) out of balance. I meet a lot of farmers, and know a few people who grew up on farms. They’re not perfect, they’re not all the same or even remotely alike. But they all have something that almost every city person I know lacks: They don’t struggle with the reality of things; they don’t struggle with the concept of death (As much. They are still human).
Which brings me back to reason. I don’t think it does us much good outside of academic circles. And I used to love having these conversations– you know the conversations, when you’re young and in high school and are wearing all black and smoking cigarettes and discussing the nature of the world and spirituality and all these kinds of things. And then you go to college and it gets even more interesting because you are hanging out with people who actually study philosophy, oh holy grail of things to do for a thinker. And it gets more and more fun. Your arguments become more and more refined. Until one day you pop out the other side and sit and watch everyones mouths moving at each other, and the words spilling out like semen all over the room, and it makes you feel a bit nauseous. Ok, me. Made me a bit nauseous. And I left, and forgot all about it. One day I realised that I didn’t need other people to have these conversations, that my mind kept a running dialogue all by itself. A dialogue that sounds much like I write here. Ok, identical. And then I realised that this running dialogue was preventing me from seeing what is. Standing smack in the middle of the doorway.
About a year ago now, I was sitting in a room with a few people, who started discussing the nature of reality. And I realised that something, over the course of the last ten years, has changed: I just don’t give a shit anymore. About what people think. Myself included. The nature of reality is all around us, and if we can shut up for long enough, it’s easy to see and [not] understand. It doesn’t fit into a neat box. It doesn’t ease your tension. It’s so big and scary that it unsettles you at every moment. And I love it. And I wouldn’t go back for anything. Even if it meant I was much more likely to get laid.