by David Eide .

Life can take on strange faces. We are constrained, we are free. We are defined, we are undefined. We are spied on, we are anonymous.

By ourselves we can do very stupid things or very heroic things. Who is to say? We run up against the terrible theocracy of materialism. "The things you have to justify whether you lived well or not."

This theocracy is as oppressive as the old Catholicism or Islamic fundamentalism of our own time. It stamps for all time. It is the withering blow.It feels that way when you are young and have no material status in the culture. It is fiercely defended by people who have less knowledge than you of the very culture we both live in. The awfulness goes away and becomes one of several sharp angles that differentiates persons as they mature.

And so it is necessary, is it not, to recover that which is not material?

Just as it is necessary to employ the theocracy when one is satisfied they have recovered the non-material.

A man should act free, responsible in the world. But that freedom and the variety of responsibility make it necessary to live several types of life all in one life. There is freedom in meditating. But there is freedom in choosing a path that will bring one a good livelihood. There is freedom in running nude up a mountain stream. But there is freedom, too, in dressing all up and going out to a fine restaurant in a decent city.

The thing is not to fear. As Orwell said, "good novels are written by people who are unafraid." Not stupid. Not irresponsible. But one who has felt the deepest fear and navigated through it and come out the other end not afraid because he has touched on the mysterious things that matter. The "novel" could be anything including the life one lives itself.

Shame sometimes moves us from one stage to another.

Youth loves the boundary less state and believes it to be a kind of utopia. But it is always brought down by the world.

Since there is no utopia but the young must still live several approaches to the modern world appear on the scene. One is a bleak and apocalyptic one that is the result of natural curiosity meeting natural limitations. The other is, if not overly positive, one that says we are at the beginning of something, not the end. And at the beginning, one is both free and bedeviled. But then one finds the seeds to develop and go onward. And certainly the world is a marvelous thing as far as its opportunities, its possibilities, its resources and enrichments. But there is an art and skill to tap into these is there not? It is not a given.

The chaos in youth is a dark angel. Learn the language to fend it off.

In my youth things were topsy-turvy. We weren't fighting Nazi's, we were fighting ourselves. In retrospect I can see we were struggling with two enormous facts: one, an unprecedented level of affluence in the post-WWII period and, two, the question of American global supremacy. These facts dominated all else or was the driver of many of things that happened.

Traditional roles disintegrated. The past was flogged with its own evils. It was all unmade.

In that state there is danger and there is opportunity. The danger is the level of toxicity let loose because there are no barriers. Hatreds come up. Old slights are enlarged into wars. But there is opportunity because everything is open. The opportunity to let in the world was unprecedented. The imagination swarmed with color, people's, objects. One had loyalty now to this group, now to that group.

The milieu in the area I came from said, "break free, don't be stereotyped, innovate, love nature, don't work for the man, be the man, vision, spirit of the entrepreneur, experiment, move forward, use the resources wisely." The great Bay Area taught me this.

American democracy had taught me that freedom is a reality and always has to renew itself with new angles of attack. It taught me that all depends on the quality of the citizen. The citizen has the responsibility to improve his or her quality in every way, shape, and form.

Nature will always invent new obstacles. It is the duty of the human being to find new pathways.

It is fun to live in a country that one month puts on Woodstock and the next flies off to the moon. I'm not sure that can happen now. Of course there were a few assassination and Vietnam in there as well.

A writer who lives, not in a tyranny but in a free land can never afford the complacency that sets in among some of his fellows. Freedom can transmute into the opposite of freedom. The freedom and all the varieties of human nature should be wonderfully celebrated but the mind shouldn't think that the freedom we see is the last freedom that will be seen.

Time is an unrelenting critter; it rolls and rolls with neither a smile or a frown.


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