Despite what many would like to think and believe, this thing we
call society is not a friendly place. It is, however, a selective place.

Having lived the low and high from the street to The Ritz, from the middle of a war to a night of love, I know something of these things.

We live in a world of prejudice, discrimination, despair and desperation. It doesn't have to be like that but it is. If that isn’t enough, there is more in the negative line. Those who say ignore the negative and look only on the positive are, in this writer’s opinion, quite wrong. Looking on the bright side of life is fine, ignoring the shadows is turning away from reality.

Ignoring the negative is to accept it, to condone it, to say that it is all right. That might be an easy option. Failing to tend to the rotten foundations of our home will eventually lead to its collapse.

Every year we hold rapturous parties to usher in the New Year with laughing joviality and quite frankly, pretty much a blind eye to all that is uncomfortably wrong in this world.

We are all caught up in the chase and in the chaos. The thing is, well, are we all chasing after differently perceived goals?

Junk, mayhem, madness, Che Guevara style fame, anonymity, life as a bus driver, life as a rock and roll star.

It doesn’t really matter, as long as our efforts do not hurt anyone in any way. The simple fact is that every single one of us might be chasing after the same ultimate goal — life itself.

Strange really if you think about it. We are all alive, yet we are all chasing life. Even the old man and woman relaxing on their sun porch swings and waiting for the rain to stop.

We expend our energy trying to accomplish our goals, yet what are they? One of the better known of modern quotations was made by British climber George Mallory (1886–1924) who, when asked why he wished to climb Mount Everest, replied with the immortal words ‘Because it is there’. Only a fit man would think of saying that.

"He was the most relentlessly curious man in history. Everything he saw made him ask how and why. Why does one find seashells in the mountains? How do they build locks in Flanders? How does a bird fly? What accounts for cracks in walls? What is the origin of winds and clouds? Find out; write it down; if you can see it, draw it."

So said Sir Kenneth Clark (1903-83) British art historian and writer, of Leonardo da Vinci.

Timothy Leary asked similar questions in his book The Politics of Ecstasy. Mr Leary was the American icon, a man who clambered through the ranks to become one of the country’s most qualified and innovative psychologists. Until he tried to exercise his intellectual freedom in an innovative way.

LSD - a substance derived from ergot, causing (in the form of lysergic acid diethylamide, LSD or ly’sergide) a schizophrenic condition, with hallucinations and thought processes outside the normal range. (c) Larousse plc

Oh? Really? Who are these people who will dictate to us how and what our lives are or should be according to their definitions and rules?

Mr Leary became one of America’s Most Wanted for the crime of following his own beliefs. Smuggled out of America by the Black Panther movement, the events attached to Mr Leary gave full lie to the Great American Freedom Myth. As jailers all we bow down and pay lip service to freedom and desperately go about the business of locking each other up.

We classify, categorise and label that which we do not know and convince ourselves that we are the professors of its reality. What bunk.

Perhaps it is all part of the chase for truth and meaning, the chase for life itself.

Perhaps one day the human race will triumph over its own stupidity.

Perhaps, for I am reminded again of the words of Immanuel Kant : “Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing can ever be made.”

Happy Hunting. The only thing worth finding in life is your own dream. I wish you success.

Keith Harris

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