Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Fear

Hunter Thompson talked about it. He knew it well. Of course, he referred to The Fear in the context of losing control of the drugs one is using and finding It. Most will never understand this. Most wouldn't be able to come back from It, I think. It takes someone as truly depraved as the good Doctor was to go looking for it in the first place. He learned how to use It to his advantage. I think the final page of "Hell's Angels" illustrates his use of It the best.

"But with the throttle screwed on there is only the barest margin, and no room at all for mistakes. It has to be done right... and that's when the strange music starts, when you stretch your luck so far that fear becomes exhilaration and vibrates along your arms. You can barely see at a hundred; the tears blow back so fast that they vaporize before they get to you ears. The only sounds are wind and a dull roar floating back from the mufflers. You watch the white line and try to lean with it... howling through a turn to the right, then to the left and down the long hill to Pacifica... letting off now, watching for cops, but only until the next dark stretch and another few seconds on the edge... The Edge... There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others - the living - are those who pushed their control as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later.
But the edge is still Out there. Or maybe it's In. The association of motorcycles with LSD is no accident of publicity. They are both a means to an end, to the place of definitions." - HST "Hell's Angels" page 271

I am by no means trying to advocate the use of LSD (I am by no means advocating against its safe use in moderation, either). Nor am I advocating taking a motorcycle to speeds anywhere near a hundred miles per hour. And I am certainly NOT recommending you try mixing the two activities (please don't, you will probably die). What I am trying to get at, though, is that somewhere deep inside each and every one of us is our own personal Hunter S. Thompson with his or her own hundred mile an hour acid trip down the Pacific Coast Highway. What I am advocating is that each and every one of us find that Fear within ourselves and use It to liberate ourselves.

I got to thinking about The Fear because a friend asked me yesterday if I was afraid of anything. I was describing a recent trip to Mexico (it was awesome) where I took a zip line tour (also awesome). The guides asked us if we would like to go upside down. I told my friend that I obviously did. Then came the question. The simple answer is, yes, I am afraid of a great many things. The least of which is talking to pretty girls. I digress, though. My point is that I was afraid to take a zip line ride upside down, but I did it anyway because I knew the benefits I would reap from it far outweighed any perceived risks. I felt The Fear (or maybe a very small facsimile of it) and I used it to enrich my life.

Now, dear readers, comes time for my challenge to you. Go out and feel The Fear. Embrace it. Let it free you from your safe little box. The world will look different when you get back. Or maybe you will just see it in a different light.

Peace and Love,

P.S. I saw a short documentary about 9/11 today. Here it is. It is tangentially related.

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