Friday, July 18, 2008

Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose your future.

Paul Kedrosky (from cited Sterling Hayden's Wanderer in his blog recently:

Little has been said or written about the ways a man may blast himself free. Why? I don't know, unless the answer lies in our diseased values. A man seldom hesitates to describe his work; he gladly divulges the privacies of alleged sexual conquests. But ask him how much he has in the bank and he recoils into a shocked and stubborn silence.

"I've always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can't afford it." What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of "security." And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine---and before we know it our lives are gone.

What does a man need---really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in---and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all---in the material sense. And we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention from the sheer idiocy of the charade.

The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?

Here's the direct link to Paul:

It sounds a bit Communist in places ("brainwashed by our economic system"), but the overriding idea is true: when we remind ourselves what's really important in our lives, money won't be at the very top of our list.

In case you didn't recognize the title of this post, it's from Trainspotting, a film about the horrors of drug addiction (far better than any "Just Say No" government campaign). The addict in the film, Renton, has a less eloquent way of bashing an existence based on materialism. I've edited the curse words from his monologue after a reader complained. If you are interested in the full version, check out the video link below.

Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish brats you spawned to replace yourself.

Choose your future.

Choose life.

(Link above may not work after a while, but you can do a search using "Trainspotting Intro" to get a fresh link.)

Renton, as film-lovers know, chose heroin, making the materialistic existence he refers to above seem better to him. Ironically, his jaded view of "life" drew him to heroin, and had he been more materialistic, he might have been better off.

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