Sunday, January 16, 2011

De Omnibus Dubitandum...

"Radical doubt means to question; it does not necessarily mean to negate. It is easy to negate by simply positing the opposite of what exists; radical doubt is dialectical inasmuch as it comprehends the process of the unfolding of oppositions and aims at a new synthesis which negates and affirms.   Radical doubt is a process; a process of liberation from idolatrous thinking; a widening of awareness, of imaginative, creative vision of our possibilities and option."
—Erich Fromm, Introduction to (Ivan) Illich's Celebration of Awareness

A heart that's full up like a landfill/a job that slowly kills you/bruises that won't heal/you look so tired and unhappy/bring down the government/they don't, they don't speak for us/I'll take the quiet life/a handshake of carbon monoxide/with no alarms and no surprises/no alarms and no surprises/no alarms and no surprises, silent, silent...
—Radiohead, "No Surprises," OK Computer

"Culture is not your friend."
Terrence McKenna

"I suppose I was here because this was something I had to do; not just dream about it, but do it."
—Richard Proenneke, Alone in the Wilderness

In April of this year, I will embark alone on a two-wheeled odyssey across this nation in an effort to discover something more about myself and a land that is mine only by a brilliant accident of birth. It is a running away, an escape, a prison break undertaken when the last wisps of sunlight streak the evening sky as the day begins to die, when the shadows of countless buildings and trees and everything that is creep quietly across courtyards and county seats to dissolve in the dimness of a night that slips in with the slow subtleness of a sedative.

I am restless. I don't fit. I have difficulty accepting things as they are, even if they seem to be functioning perfectly well (at least for most people). I can think of no better reason not to do something than because it is always done that way. Tradition, to paraphrase the late, great Terrence McKenna, is not my friend.

There is no reason why 2011 is the year, but there is equally no reason why it shouldn't be. Perhaps it has taken this long for the ennui and uneventfulness of everyday life to finally penetrate my being like some parenteral poison, sickening me against myself and servility and same-old same-old; a personal and cultural curare, so to speak. Perhaps, in the end, I am only running away. Better to run now while the legs are strong, n'est ce pas?

Whatever the real reason, so be it. I'm thinking hard about an out and back. Guess I'll make that decision when my wheels stop turning—temporarily—in Astoria. Until then, I plan to blog the whole process as it unfolds, starting with the bike build and moving through the planning, until I arrive at the moment of departure, on the shore in the erstwhile tobacco shipping mecca of Yorktown, Virginia. Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt.

(Tangentially related: if you've never heard of Richard Proenneke, do yourself a wonderful favor and check out Alone in the Wilderness. Mr. Proenneke, as you'll soon discover, is one tough motherfucker.)


Tim Wise said...

I love Dick Proenneke. Does this mean you are going to build a house too?

john said...

You'll find a good brewery with great food in Astoria called Fort George.

Blue-eyed Devil said...

I just may, Tim.

John, thanks for the tip; will check it out.

manda said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Blue-eyed Devil said...

Manda, done and done. Thanks!

manda said...

if you stop off near salt lake, you know who's around

Blue-eyed Devil said...

That's very sweet of you, manda.