As you might know Hunter S. Thompson serves as an inspiration to us here at the Highway. The term 'the Proud Highway' came from this awesome bastard of a man, after all! In this beautifully written letter from 1958, the then 22 year old Thompson proves at a young age - and before his rise to fame - to be one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.
Answering a request, he gives eloquent advice on finding one's purpose in life to his friend Hume Logan. His answer rings true today just as much as it did then, perhaps even more so.
Showing a somewhat Buddhist perspective on things, he asks the important question everybody has to answer in life: Will you float or are you going to swim? He stresses that it is vital not to let anything or anyone influence you in this decision, it not being a matter of right or wrong. I couldn't agree more here: Realizing this when I did was quite the eye opener I remember. May his letter serve as an inspiration to you to stop and think for a moment about what forces are influencing what you want and choose in life.
I came upon this piece of writing in Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience, which I read a while back. It's a real fun read, full of funny, moving, and inspiring correspondence.
Here is the letter:
You ask advice: ah, what a very human and very dangerous thing to do! For to give advice to a man who asks what to do with his life implies something very close to egomania. To presume to point a man to the right and ultimate goal — to point with a trembling finger in the RIGHT direction is something only a fool would take upon himself.
I am not a fool, but I respect your sincerity in asking my advice. I ask you though, in listening to what I say, to remember that all advice can only be a product of the man who gives it. What is truth to one may be disaster to another. I do not see life through your eyes, nor you through mine. If I were to attempt to give you specific advice, it would be too much like the blind leading the blind.
“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles … ” (Shakespeare)
And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect — between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming.
But why not float if you have no goal? That is another question. It is unquestionably better to enjoy the floating than to swim in uncertainty. So how does a man find a goal? Not a castle in the stars, but a real and tangible thing. How can a man be sure he’s not after the “big rock candy mountain,” the enticing sugar-candy goal that has little taste and no substance?
The answer — and, in a sense, the tragedy of life — is that we seek to understand the goal and not the man. We set up a goal which demands of us certain things: and we do these things. We adjust to the demands of a concept which CANNOT be valid. When you were young, let us say that you wanted to be a fireman. I feel reasonably safe in saying that you no longer want to be a fireman. Why? Because your perspective has changed. It’s not the fireman who has changed, but you. Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.
So it would seem foolish, would it not, to adjust our lives to the demands of a goal we see from a different angle every day? How could we ever hope to accomplish anything other than galloping neurosis?
The answer, then, must not deal with goals at all, or not with tangible goals, anyway. It would take reams of paper to develop this subject to fulfillment. God only knows how many books have been written on “the meaning of man” and that sort of thing, and god only knows how many people have pondered the subject. (I use the term “god only knows” purely as an expression.) There’s very little sense in my trying to give it up to you in the proverbial nutshell, because I’m the first to admit my absolute lack of qualifications for reducing the meaning of life to one or two paragraphs.
I’m going to steer clear of the word “existentialism,” but you might keep it in mind as a key of sorts. You might also try something called “Being and Nothingness” by Jean-Paul Sartre, and another little thing called “Existentialism: From Dostoyevsky to Sartre.” These are merely suggestions. If you’re genuinely satisfied with what you are and what you’re doing, then give those books a wide berth. (Let sleeping dogs lie.) But back to the answer. As I said, to put our faith in tangible goals would seem to be, at best, unwise. So we do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors.WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES.
But don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean that we can’t BE firemen, bankers, or doctors — but that we must make the goal conform to the individual, rather than make the individual conform to the goal. In every man, heredity and environment have combined to produce a creature of certain abilities and desires — including a deeply ingrained need to function in such a way that his life will be MEANINGFUL. A man has to BE something; he has to matter.
As I see it then, the formula runs something like this: a man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES. In doing this, he is fulfilling a need (giving himself identity by functioning in a set pattern toward a set goal), he avoids frustrating his potential (choosing a path which puts no limit on his self-development), and he avoids the terror of seeing his goal wilt or lose its charm as he draws closer to it (rather than bending himself to meet the demands of that which he seeks, he has bent his goal to conform to his own abilities and desires).
In short, he has not dedicated his life to reaching a pre-defined goal, but he has rather chosen a way of life he KNOWS he will enjoy. The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important. And it seems almost ridiculous to say that a man MUST function in a pattern of his own choosing; for to let another man define your own goals is to give up one of the most meaningful aspects of life — the definitive act of will which makes a man an individual.
Let’s assume that you think you have a choice of eight paths to follow (all pre-defined paths, of course). And let’s assume that you can’t see any real purpose in any of the eight. THEN — and here is the essence of all I’ve said — you MUST FIND A NINTH PATH.
Naturally, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. You’ve lived a relatively narrow life, a vertical rather than a horizontal existence. So it isn’t any too difficult to understand why you seem to feel the way you do. But a man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.
So if you now number yourself among the disenchanted, then you have no choice but to accept things as they are, or to seriously seek something else. But beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life. But you say, “I don’t know where to look; I don’t know what to look for.”
And there’s the crux. Is it worth giving up what I have to look for something better? I don’t know — is it? Who can make that decision but you? But even by DECIDING TO LOOK, you go a long way toward making the choice.
If I don’t call this to a halt, I’m going to find myself writing a book. I hope it’s not as confusing as it looks at first glance. Keep in mind, of course, that this is MY WAY of looking at things. I happen to think that it’s pretty generally applicable, but you may not. Each of us has to create our own credo — this merely happens to be mine.
If any part of it doesn’t seem to make sense, by all means call it to my attention. I’m not trying to send you out “on the road” in search of Valhalla, but merely pointing out that it is not necessary to accept the choices handed down to you by life as you know it. There is more to it than that — no one HAS to do something he doesn’t want to do for the rest of his life. But then again, if that’s what you wind up doing, by all means convince yourself that you HAD to do it. You’ll have lots of company.
And that’s it for now. Until I hear from you again, I remain,
Non-linear time effects have been known and observed by scientists for a while now. I actually graduated and wrote my Masters' thesis on a subject akin to this, finding evidence that practice can 'travel back in time' and influence a performance in the past. It was later published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration.
Recently, however, two scientists from the University of British Columbia and the University of Maryland presented mathematic proof, in a study published in the Journal of Classical and Quantum Gravity two months ago, that actual time travel by human beings is, at least, mathematically possible.
Using Einstein's Theory of General Relativity they constructed a hypothetical time-machine. They gave it a catchy name to: Traversable Acausal Retrograde Domain in Space-time (TARDIS), which Doctor Who fans will like.
But before we can finally utter the words "Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads..." we'll have to be patient though. According to Ben Tippet, one of the scientists behing the study it not a real world possibility, yet:
“While is it mathematically feasible, it is not yet possible to build a space-time machine because we need materials — which we call exotic matter — to bend space-time in these impossible ways, but they have yet to be discovered,...”.
Human Time-travel now proven to be possible – at least mathematically Time effects have been known for a while Non-linear time effects have been known and observed by scientists for a while now. I actually graduated and wrote my Masters’ thesis on a subject akin to this, finding evidence that practice can ‘travel back in time’ and influence a performance in the past. It was later published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration. New Study …
Google A.I. powers are reaching new, even eerier levels In a new ploy by Google to figure us out completely, they recently announced a new project mapping YouTube views and Google searches directly to retail store visits. If we are to believe them, they will be able to exactly predict when and where we will visit a store and what we will purchase. Judging by the way they managed to make adds tailored and …
Just when you thought things couldn't possibly get any weirder, the cosmic joker recently played his ultimate trump-card, and quite literally this time. A depraved egomaniac at the wheel. And right when we are facing some of our biggest challenges as a species, like trying to survive the rise of A.I....
Personal and political data from more than 198 million US citizens, including home addresses, birth dates, phone numbers, along with advanced individual sentiment analyses on hot-button issues such as gun ownership and stem cell research, was 'accidentally' leaked to the public this month when Deep Root Analytics, the firm, contracted by the Republican National Committee, stored internal documents on a publicly accessible Amazon server. More than a terabyte was stored there by the firm, totally unprotected. The data leak contains a wealth of personal information on a whopping 61 percent of the US population, making it the largest ever of its kind. The firm confirmed ownership of the data to Gizmodo last Friday.
This, of course, raises all kinds of privacy concerns and fucked up scenarios which are just what the U.S. needs right now, being in the state of frantic chaos that it presently is in. The whole scene is taking on an apocalyptic underbelly type feel to it, like being in a Hieronymus Bosch painting. Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, commented on the event: “This is valuable for people who have nefarious purposes”.
Being a trustworthy source of news and insights is what the Highway is all about and what we strive for a hundred percent of the time. BBC’s Kathy Kay breaks down what this entails in this short video.
Whether the BBC upholds these standards and meets them, can and should be questioned of course, especially given the company’s size. Enjoy the video!
“If thine enemy offend thee, give his child a drum.”
– Fran Lebowitz –
Multiple sources report that Trump just authorized Qatar to purchase over $21 billion in U.S. weapons, $12billion of which goes to the purchase of F-15QA fighter jets. This while Donald placed allegations on Qatar of funding terrorism, only a few days ago.
And let’s not forget that the Gulf states recently decided to boycott Qatar. In Donnie’s defense though: The real decision about this was already taken last November when Obama was still in office.
Nevertheless, Donnie seems quite eager to arm Qatar now, stating he was going to sell them “…big beautiful weapons.” ‘Arm your enemies’ enemy and let him do your dirty work’, is what must be the rationale Washington is going by. But the US should know by now, by the scorch marks on its britches, that this is a risky strategy at the least, and, in all reality, akin to playing with fire. Another rampant terrorist group, now armed with F15’s would really liven up the party, after all, right Don?…
Last week on NBC, Megan Kelly interviewed Putin about the state of affairs in Russia and got totally destroyed by Putin, who shows himself to be quite the avid debater. This alone makes the 20-minute interview worth watching!
The point here, however, is not that Putin makes ground beef out of airhead Kelly but that this is not what NBS showed us. The cut down 4-minute version of the interview totally downplays his response, cutting down his response from more than a minute to a few seconds. I’m not rootin’ for Putin here – although it does show that the world is a lot less black and white than it is often portrayed to be – but it does show us how mainstream media just can’t be trusted anymore – and perhaps never could.
This rabbit hole goes down deeper than most people realize, but I am not getting into that. Not today at least…
Here is the full interview:
In honor of his birthday, I couldn't refrain from posting some new juice on my good friend Donnie. In my last post on him, I discussed the rumors concerning Trump perhaps suffering from Alzheimer's disease (besides suffering from a major narcissistic personality disorder, of course).
As is always the case in the political shenanigans, nothing is what it seems. Are these 'accusations'of Alzheimer's a ploy to get rid of him, being a reason for impeachment. Or did the Trump camp start these rumors themselves, preparing an insanity plea of sorts? Al crucial questions, the answers to which will probably be revealed sooner rather than later. Cenk Uygur at the Young Turks Online summarized the situation quite eloquently.
Fast forward to today: It seems the obstruction of justice allegation will be investigated, as the Washington Post reported. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is to investigate Trump’s conduct. In addition, investigators are looking for any evidence of financial crimes. Trump off course, says it's all phony...
They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2017
Alternative facts! Happy Birthday, Donnie! 😉
Biggest data leak of its kind ever in U.S.! Data from almost 200 million U.S. Cititzens Personal and political data from more than 198 million US citizens, including home addresses, birth dates, phone numbers, along with advanced individual sentiment analyses on hot-button issues such as gun ownership and stem cell research, was ‘accidentally’ leaked to the public this month when Deep Root Analytics, the firm, contracted by the Republican National Committee, stored internal documents …
by Aron Bijl “If thine enemy offend thee, give his child a drum.” – Fran Lebowitz – Multiple sources report that Trump just authorized Qatar to purchase over $21 billion in U.S. weapons, $12billion of which goes to the purchase of F-15QA fighter jets. This while Donald placed allegations on Qatar of funding terrorism, only a few days ago. And let’s not forget that the Gulf states recently decided to boycott Qatar. In Donnie’s defense though: …
by Aron Bijl Last week on NBC, Megan Kelly interviewed Putin about the state of affairs in Russia and got totally destroyed by Putin, who shows himself to be quite the avid debater. This alone makes the 20-minute interview worth watching! The point here, however, is not that Putin makes ground beef out of airhead Kelly but that this is not what NBS showed us. The cut down 4-minute version of the interview totally downplays his …
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