Catch up with The Blissful Idiot
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Oh Precious Diary,
It was Sunday evening. There I was, strolling through the village food court o’ jollies with the Android man. Yes, the same sorcerer whose visual potpourri of never-ending projectile splendors catapulted me into this 22.25 hour hot’n’sideways theme ride of an odyssey! That’s right – one Zendo staring contest, compost poop factory, botched group hug, cacao orgy (and Mr. Fluffy pen being lost forever to the sea) later, I had come to the most filthy of revelations – this was not the wonder-bosoms of Disneyworld. Never mind culturally appropriating the shit out of the Epcot gift shop. You can just forget about that crap!
Whether plunging through a trap music door within a Pirates of the Caribbean portal or whatever’s effing clever, I’d managed to wormhole my way into some happy-go-lucky Costa Rican fruit gatherer convention they called “Envision.” Had I signed up for this? Well of course not, ya big silly! Was it rather bonkers, yet mixed with sprinkles of delightful? Come to think of it…yes.
Which leads me to tonight. Earlier, while bumbling through the ever-so-steamy wilderness, I’d stumbled upon a curious congregation huddled together with laser beam enrapture. A gaggle packed rather tightly around a strapping chap with quite a penchant for overalls – who may or may not have been a soybean farmer. Indeed, it was tough as all get-out finding a clear glimpse of the mysterious figure. (Good lord, this guy must’ve been a pretty big deal!) However, as I strategically winked at rando’s left and right while shimmy shaking by, this fascinating fellow’s volume soon gained in stature.
Between waxing about a “forward escape” vehicle for some “Tipper” person, his digital prints altering the vibrational fabric of living rooms, art tapping into the greater needs of human civilization, American citizens living in free range slavery (hold on, lemme catch my breath!) annnnnnnnd the importance of not being a vampire – all while freestyling some portrait of a heavenly lass – this multi-tasking go-getter was on quite the hot doozy of a vernacular spectacular, if I do say so! Wheeeeeew!
Approaching even closer, I was becoming ever more piqued by his “it” factor of a magnetizing presence. In fact, word on the street was a dude smuggled himself all the way from Honduras, backstroking through crocodile infested rivers along the way – just to meet this scintillating specimen. True effing story.
Finally coming into full view, I made an astonishing discovery that threw yours truly for a kooky loop. Sure enough, this was in fact no avocado bean planter. How could I be so gawl dang silly?! No-no, this was the Android from the night before! Ahhhh – the plot had thickened. (FYI BTW: this guy really was a big deal!) Indeed, my curiosity had been lured straight out of the galaxy of left god forsaken field and there was no going back.
Long-magical-mystery-tour-short, I was able to acquire an private meet-n-greet with the marvel they called “Android Jones.” And although he did actually own a small farm (small world, right?), this man’s sowing of seeds was none but those of imagination across the nether regions of “visionary” artistry. Whatever that means. Nevertheless, maybe buried somewhere within his fancypants mystical circuitry there was a compass. Perhaps a voice of reason that could somehow make sense of all the madcap jungle salad lunacy I’d been tossed about within.
Due to the night’s never-ending spree of hooligan banshee festivities oozing out from any and every conceivable orifice, finding a quiet, happy place would be pretty golly heck desirable to say the least. After hopelessly meandering throughout that crazy-ass village o’ jollies, the Android and I finally came upon quite the spacious refuge indeed – an abandoned jazzercise tent.
On the walk over I’d hurriedly attempted to throw together a slew of big baller questions on the fly (sexiest Rob Lowe hairstyle and most favorite pizza topping were on go-to standby). Good lord, not having Mr. Fluffy pen around anymore for dirty secret time/general counsel was really startin’ to rustle my goddamn jimmies! I had to pull it together right quick.
While figuring out how to activate my digital voice recorder from the future, I decided to engage in some small talk banter. If my days at Glitter magazine had taught me anything, a well-placed, enchanting icebreaker would go over like gangbusters. Like gangbusters, I tell ya! Very little did I know, we were about to go slip-n-slidin’ down the ole rabbit hole:
“Sooooooo, tell me about youuuuuuu. Whatcha do for fun on the weekends? How’d you get started in all this crazy vision stuff anyways?”
“Part of it started at Burning Man, either 2004 or 5. I saw the El Circo camp, which Random Rab was a part of. El Circo, Tiffa Novoa, Bassnectar. When all this stuff was just starting to kind of build. As soon as I saw what they were doing I was just like, ‘This is like the ancient future family that I’ve been waiting for all my life.’ And I just went head into that. It wasn’t too long before I realized that my work life was incompatible with the lifestyle I wanted to live. And the freedom that I needed to kind of engage in that.
After a pretty grueling emotional business process, I ended up quitting the studio that I’d started with my friends. And it was a big studio. We had 26 employees and offices in China. We weren’t making multi-millions, but we were spending multi-millions to just make multi-millions and still kind of breaking even. So I left that and was in San Francisco in 2005, 2006. And I had no idea what I was going to do. I just knew I didn’t want to do that. I knew I had to not do something before something else would happen.
Through Burning Man and the people I had met, I got to be friends with DJ Lorin super early. I worked on his album cover for Underground Communication. We just really got along. The introverted, neurotic way our minds worked…we just bonded. So he wanted me to come on this two month tour with him for the album. Before that, I was doing all sorts of stuff. I was body painting at festivals, doing flyer and poster designs. Whatever was not the normal video game entertainment kind of stuff, I would do. It was way less money, but it was more fulfilling type of work. After going to Burning Man and kind of being a spectator in seeing the DJ’s, performers and dancers – I wanted an “in” into that. Even though I don’t like a lot of attention, I wanted to be able to do something that’s valuable. That’s giving value to people while using my skills. At first, I would bodypaint the dancers, different people and performance troupes. And that would get me backstage access into festivals on the other side of the fence to meeting more interesting people. I did that for a while. But it still was like, ‘Man, there’s something more out there.’ So when Lorin asked me to go on tour, I asked him if he had a VJ or anything. I was like, ‘You have a screen and a projector, right? Well, can I project something while you’re making music?’ He was like, ‘I don’t care. Whatever you want to do.’ That’s when I got my Wacom tablet and I hooked up clamps to it. I made it like a guitar strap because I wanted to be dynamic. I didn’t want to work on a desk onstage.
We did our first show in Sebastopol. This is at the same time of San Francisco being immersed with all these new types of ideas and thoughts and chemicals. And when I got up onstage, I was nervous and didn’t know what was going to happen. Didn’t know if my computer was going to crash or if I was going to make a bad painting. I remember looking in the crowd and just seeing a couple of people look up at the screen. They looked at me and saw this guy with this big piece of plastic moving his hand up and down while looking at a laptop. And once they made the connection that I was making what they were seeing, I got a couple of thumbs up. I was just like, ‘Alright, I can do this.’ Before we went on tour, a buddy of mine gave me a vial and I’d never had my own vial before. He just knew. He said, ‘I’m supposed to give this to you. Out of all the people that need this thing, this belongs to you.’ And so I went on tour with Bassnectar and my Wacom tablet and that vial. And my life was never the same after that. That just did it, man.”
(Indeed, the edges were sharp on this one. There’d be no room for lobbing softballs inside this labyrinth. All this funny chemical talk business had made pizza toppings and Ralph Macchio evening wear just a smidge obsolete. I was now gonna have to run this chitchat fast break blindfolded. But then, before I could even form a sentence, the Android man just continued on his merry space farmer way – guns-a-blazin’.)
“Yes, yes, which leads me to…”
“I’m a guy whose whole life has been workin’ by myself in dark rooms. And then all of a sudden, I’m on a stage with hundreds of people around. There’s life and vibrance and enthusiasm and happiness and exuberance. It was a totally different way to make art. You know, I was making art outside. At Shambhala, I was making digital art on my laptop in the middle of a forest. Man, I would go on marathon sessions. I’d paint from sunset to sunrise. You know, just like a fucking maniac. It was just some of the best times of my life. And at the time, I’m meeting Ana Sia and Rab and David Satori from Beats Antique and Boreta and edIT and Ooah. These are all just like, homies. You know, we party together, we have mutual friends and we date the same girls. They just became kind of like my family.
Between Bassnectar touring and Burning Man, for the first year I had to do a lot on my own, you know? I had to kind of trail blaze a little bit. Nobody knew what digital live painting was as a thing. So I had to do it usually for free or I’d fly out somewhere to show them it was something interesting. Whether with visuals or whatever, some of them are really good, but some are just background noise. But the event saw that not only was I doing something – but adding value. Not only was I picking up a projector and a screen during a set, but afterwards I had a piece of art that was totally created within this creative container they’d worked so hard to make. And so that became something that people really resonated with. They liked seeing artwork that was done at the event they’d created. And through different people I would know, I’d get invited places.
One season I did Boom, Shambhala and Burning Man like back-to-back-to-back. That was a trip. It was like a psychedelic creative marathon. I was lugging around Wacom’s, projectors and all my gear through foreign countries by myself. But I was young enough to be thrilled to do that. I had lots of energy. You know, everything really came from there. And you get more invitations and more festivals want you to be there. I started doing more tours. Just supported myself by making freelance art for people along with album covers, book covers. I’d sell at the galleries until I could buy enough freedom to just keep the experience going. I definitely had a reckless idealism. I loved doing what I was doing and knew that people loved what I was doing. It created a toroidal field of positive feedback and encouragement.”
(As he continued, I stealthily peered out of the corner of my eye around his torso, trying in vain to locate wires, electrodes or flashy bee-boop buttons of some sort. For this had to be a robot sitting before me. Just had to be dang it! But not just any ole prolific word processor machine – A SOUND BYTE MACHINE! OHHHHH LOOK OUT!)
“These festivals now are great, but a lot of young kids getting into this will never know what this scene was like in 2006 and 7 and 8. It was just a cultural creative renaissance. A lot of the big headliners you have now all came out of that era. The Rab’s and Glitch Mob’s and Beats Antique’s. They all started together and it accumulated. And as we were all coming into the sovereignty of our creativity and our power, the energy was just tangible. The spirit of creativity was just being unleashed all over the place. There were breakthroughs and epiphanies. I remember being onstage one time…and it was good acid too. I won’t lie that wasn’t a part of it. But with all the factors coming together, there was a moment that struck me as I was doing this. You know, I was a digital cartographer of this culture and what was happening. I was able to capture a level of energy that a camera and a video could never do justice to.
And it came to me just as this really beautiful epiphany. Just this download that happened – this is your life. This is what you were meant to do. You were meant to make live digital art in front of people at these events. It was just that simple. The universe was just like, ‘We’ve chosen you and we have been grooming you for this particular mission if you choose to accept it.’ And I was just fully on board. You know what I mean? It was just like, ‘Alright, this is my destiny now.’ Because, you know, I was never happy just doing video games. I didn’t like working for other people. Didn’t like sellin’ out. You know, there was always something missing. But once I got this, it was just like, ‘Welcome to your birthright. This is the deal. This is your destiny.’ And, you know, I haven’t really looked back from there. It changes and it evolves and it matures. You find different ways. You grow.”
(After finishing, he took a few moments to inhale from one of those fancy vaporizer thingies I’d seen on QVC. Sitting in the barren darkness of that spandex exercise palace, the most funniest gosh darn thing happened. I had become aware of a couple passed out off to the side of us. Hey you two, get a room! Perhaps while necking they’d caught tasty lil morsel treats of the Android’s words in passing, yet altogether were oblivious to the profundity. However – I was completely dialed in. Yes, it was both highly unusual and refreshing listening to a total stranger wearing overalls speak with such off the cuff candor. But the weight of his wisdom had nonetheless really began to sink its teeth in. For there was far more to this fellow and this little world I’d stepped into than face value. Ahhhh yes, there was a rhyme behind the exponentially strange reason. My truth sleuthing senses had been fully activated, as now was the time to improvise a no look pass.)
“Speaking of evolving and maturing, what kind of arc have you witnessed take shape, in this…this ‘scene’ you speak of, over the years?”
“You know, it’s interesting. Everything evolves along different paths and trajectories. The 2005,6,7 range I consider like a creative current. Man, it was like liquid, electric fire. The current was tangible and it was really alive. And everybody could feel it. You couldn’t really even name it or touch it. But you could just taste it and feel it. It was a palatable energy. And the creative current is eternal. Whether it’s 2005, 2010 or 3036, the creative current is going to be the creative current. It’s a conscious, eternal energy that will always be, hopefully, accessible to mankind. It was so raw and renegade back then. Which I’m sure the same thing can be said about 2005 that people could say about Burning Man back in the ’90’s.
Nowadays it’s kind of like the business of ‘Transformation,’ to a certain extent, is where we’re entering into. And that’s the way things happen. Things kind of naturally evolve. They become a meme. They become something that generates value and recognition. And it kind of gets to a point where the festival is turned into a bit of a business. How do you incorporate-ize human transformation though? They’re trying their best to do it. But as things get bigger, they change. And not to say that it’s good or bad that things change. And sometimes to affect more change, you need to widen the net of how you take in. Sometimes you work to kind of more of a lower common denominator. For when you look at this event or all of them collectively, it really just comes down to how they’re kind of like magical spells. And it really depends on the intention that the producers and the creators have. It all comes down to that. The energy and the vibration that goes into a festival like Boom is super authentic and super heart central. They want to create change. They want us all to be one. They want to champion sustainability. And they grow and they get bigger and bigger. But the heart and the community and the village vibe – they don’t lose that. These guys who put on Envision, this is an exponential improvement over 2012. But you know, the guys that make this, they’re good guys. I know where they’re coming from. As you grow, things are going to change. Things are going to get different. This has been a pretty good example of evolving in a positive way.
You know, I can’t speak to a lot of the bigger festivals out there. The people that organize Burning Man, their values have shifted over time and changed. It’s much more like a corporation now than it was before. I think the positive is that it’s reaching a lot more people. But sometimes the bigger the net you cast, the more the energy gets diluted. And who’s to say what’s right or wrong? You know? We need to veer the ship of humanity in a different direction though. We need numbers. We need boots on the ground. And you’re not going to get boots on the ground by little 200 to 300 people intimate events. You’ll get some, but you’re going to get way more with 25,000 or 100,000. But then it’s like, what do you do with that? What’s the message you’re leaving? Yeah, we can all come out here and dance and celebrate how beautiful and creative and special we all are. But if we lose sight that the Gaza Strip is happening right now, that there are wars happening, atrocities…then the danger is…if this just becomes distraction and delusion, then this is exactly what the powers that be want.”
(The Android took a few moments to wipe clean his fogged up goggle glasses. I couldn’t readily discern if it was from the jungle humidity or his motherboard becoming overheated. Alas, this was no time for speculation. I had to summon another question in a jiffy. Something. Anything. Flummoxed, all I could think of was the filthy compost toilets! They’re so goddamn filthy!)
“So what’s goin’ on with this ‘permaculture’ business? After a few days out here, you’d think freaky gardening guilds and poop recycling could save the whole damn world. But with you…you’re talking about some pretty heavy duty shit of another breed altogether. I mean, how does preaching permaculture inside this permanent vacation we’re trapped inside of have anything to do with the Gaza Strip of all places? There’s sooooo many dang degrees of separation…”
“You know, the separation is an illusion. We’re not separate though. We’re all still connected on a fundamental energetic level. The question is, how much of this permaculture is just positive languaging? How much of it is marketing? How much of it is window dressing? There’s nothing permanent about any of this. C’mon, we have to take all this stuff down. I would shudder to imagine what the carbon footprint of this event or any event really is when you look at the flights, you look at all the resources, you look at all the money spent. And you know, ‘permaculture’ in itself is kind of a dangerous term. The philosophy of it, I love it. I get it. I practice permaculture ethos on my farm. I get what it is. But I also subscribe to Terrence McKenna. ‘Culture is not your friend.’ And from my perspective, nothing about this universe is permanent. Change is the most active principle governing the dynamics of this universe. In a way, it’s kind of dangerous to totally buy into the philosophy like it’s going to be the harbinger of what’s going to get us out of this mess. It’s piece of the puzzle, absolutely. And sustainability too. But what’s sustainable, man? The universe that I know of works on the principle of fucking entropy. Entropy is the opposite of sustainability. Everything is going into chaos. So that being said, what I think might be a more powerful way of looking at it is just ‘responsibility.’ That’s a better way. We can be much more responsible with what we consume and more responsible of where our power comes from. More responsible of the impact we make. These events, in a way, they mirror the outside world. You get all the light and darkness you have out there. Only it’s focused. It’s like a prism. It’s like a little jewel that facets and focuses all the energy into this crystal. We’re in the center of the crystal right now and all this energy is coming together. And it’s really about, the cleaner the crystal, the cleaner the edges and the facets, the more that spectrum of light can get resonated out into the world. So that’s the way I see these things. These are like focal points of consciousness. And the better the container, the more facets and the higher quality of the gemstone, if you will, the more impact it’s going to have out there.”
(While he sat there pensively puffing away on his vaporizer stick, I had a brief window to catch up to what he’d just laid on yours truly. Sure, the thought of being inside a giant Folgers crystal was pretty gosh darn kickass and amazing. I’m not gonna lie. But it had ultimately provided the kind of vision needed to connect some of these kooky-ass dots that had been flying at me all goddamn weekend.)
“So these ‘synchronicity’ thingies I keep hearing about…”
“…They’re all over the filthy place around here. It’s ‘synchronicity’ this and, and ‘synchronicity’ that. ‘Oh, I had the best synchronicity the other day while eating a turkey sandwich. Blah, blah, blah.’ So how does this wild and wacky phenomena even come into play here?”
“Spaces like these have more synchronicities than most. Then again, I think the potential for synchronicities is happening all the time. It’s not necessarily only at this event or Burning Man. But what Burning Man and these events do is…the reason we don’t feel connected in our daily lives and we don’t feel the synchronicity that’s available to us is because of all the garbage. When you remove all those things, then you can create a container where things are more synchronous. They create a much stronger field for it to happen by getting rid of the things that get in the way of synchronicity, which is just all the bullshit, propaganda and pornography we’re surrounded with on a daily basis. All the advertising, the billboards – the distractions.”
“But what’s allowing this festival happening place to be such a ‘synchronicity generator’ of sorts to even begin with?”
“It’s a couple things. One is the lack of distraction from other things and the fact that people are taken out of that framework and they’re given more of an opportunity to do something different. It’s a pattern interrupter. LSD is like that. It interrupts the pattern. Your normal scheduled broadcast gets stopped and you’re like, ‘What the fuck?! Oh shit, I was like watching TV.’ It sometimes takes that sort of hit. At a festival, Sunday is a different energy than Thursday or Friday. At first, these things can be kind of obtrusive and challenging and jarring. But by Sunday, people are in the flow. You know, they’ve lost their wallet and made out with a cute guy or girl and had a crazy meltdown on the dance floor. The guards are down. And from that guard being down, it opens more of that connection with other people.”
(Before I could work in a hot doozy of a follow-up, he gazed down at his watch, slightly tapping on its face. The hands were indistinguishable, as the device had become quite foggy as well.)
“I need to go…”
(As we returned into that bustling shitshow of a village square, I attempted to fathom whatever charge he’d implanted within my weary, innocent being. Considering everything he’d been cattle prodding me with was certainly more than I’d ever bargained for, there was still a strong burst of clarity reconciling its force. Even further inside this profound insight of his existed a calmness. Maybe it was just me, but I could see it in the Android’s eyes. And what I had once perceived as a chaotic deluge of sensory overload coming from within that village melee was now simultaneously emanating waves of this same stillness. Perhaps I was no longer unconsciously swimming upstream. Alas, I needed to keep the conversation moving!)
“What kind of positive, lasting effect, if any, does a music festival have on the suffering we see across this nutty world of ours? Can the power generated in a space like this even begin to penetrate the inertia of the ‘man’?”
“There’s no silver bullet to the situation we’re in. Whatever it’s going to take, it’s going to take a lot more than these events. But I think they’re a step in the right direction – if the energy is really focused the right way. And there’s also a container afterwards where people can make measurable differences with this. I know their hearts are in the right place for sure. And we have to align our hearts and our resources and motivations and question everything. We always need to question what we’re doing. And when something goes wrong, it gives us an opportunity to make it better. A lot of us are really just making this up as we go along. There’s no textbook or field manual for how to change the world that we’re all following. And who knows if the world is supposed to change. I don’t know. I wasn’t born into this world with a contract saying everything was going to be fair and it was supposed to work out. I love to think about the principles of natural law governing consciousness. That we could work and have non-aggressive principles and not exploit and take advantage of people. There could be no war and there could be world peace. But you look in the history books and there’s been 0.0% evidence that humans have ever been able to be at peace with each other. So maybe we need to start thinking like, ‘Well, who knows? This could just be a virtual simulation of consciousness.’ I don’t know. I don’t know what the goal is. I don’t know if we’re just supposed to save the world. I don’t know if we’re just supposed to watch it fall apart. But if there are things we can do that alleviate the suffering of other people, that’s a good place to start. I believe in not harming. My right and wrong is not harming and harming. I believe in not harming other people. That’s about as close as you can get to ‘good’ and ‘bad’ or ‘good’ and ‘evil.’ We have choices that harm people and don’t harm people. This festival, hopefully, it creates more good than the harm that it creates. And I don’t see a whole lot of harm going on here.”
(Coming upon the outskirts of an albatross stage complex, we were met with an extraterrestrial dose of dance untz. Good lord, was it loud as all effing get-out! Since the Android was scheduled to run his projection wizardry for the following set, this would have to be our stopping off point. Although the raucous discotheque affair was far from being an ideal locale, I would never-ever dare pull the ripcord on this oh-so-captivating discussion of ours now. I still had time to muster up one last inquiry into a crescendo.)
“YOU SPOKE EARLIER ABOUT THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BEING ABLE TO BRING VALUE TO A FESTIVAL. TO CREATE EVEN MORE VALUE THAT ENRICHES PEOPLE’S EXISTENCE. WITH THAT SAID, WHAT KIND OF INHERENT VALUE DOES AN ‘ENVISION’ – OR WHEREVER – CARRY WITH IT?”
“EARLIER THIS EVENING I STARTED OFF MY WORKSHOP LECTURE BY ASKING PEOPLE HOW THEY WERE ENJOYING THEIR ‘POST-COLONIAL TROPICAL FREEDOM SIMULATION.’ BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT THIS IS – A FREEDOM SIMULATION. WE GET TO EXPERIENCE WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO BE FREER THAN WE ARE IN THE OUTSIDE WORLD. AND HOPEFULLY THE EXPERIENCE IS SO VALUABLE THAT…YOU KNOW, I WANT PEOPLE TO GET ADDICTED TO FREEDOM. ADDICTED TO THAT FEELING OF BEING ABLE TO TOTALLY EXPRESS YOUR UNLIMITED. AND I CONSIDER FREEDOM THE ABILITY TO EXPRESS YOUR UNLIMITED VALUE AND POTENTIAL. THESE CREATE OPPORTUNITIES. THIS IS LIKE AN OBSTACLE COURSE FOR UNCOVERING YOUR TRUEST POTENTIAL OF GIFTS. AND IT TAKES SO MANY AMAZING ARTISTS TO BUILD THIS. THE COMMUNITY GETS TOGETHER. THE TEAMS FORM ORGANICALLY…IT’S THIS AWESOME, CRAZY ‘VOLTRON’ OF AMAZING LITTLE ‘SKILL-IONAIRES’ THAT ALL COME TOGETHER WITH THIS LOVE AND INTENTION TO BUILD SOMETHING. THERE’S PEOPLE THAT ARE DOING THIS FOR FREE TOO. PEOPLE THAT BUILT THE STRUCTURES AROUND US PROBABLY DIDN’T GET PAID. IT’S A SLAVE LABOR OF LOVE. BUT THEY’RE DOING IT BECAUSE IT’S SOMETHING THAT THEY BELIEVE IN – AND THAT’S VALUABLE. THE TEAMS THAT GET CREATED SOMETIMES ARE THE MOST VALUABLE ASPECT OF WHY THESE THINGS COME TOGETHER. EVERYBODY’S JUST KIND OF DOING THEIR PART. BUT IT’S GIVING PEOPLE THE ABILITY TO EXPRESS THE HIGHEST POTENTIAL OF WHAT THEY’RE CAPABLE OF.
THESE FESTIVALS…WHAT THEY DO REALLY WELL IS…THEY’VE PUSHED ME TO MY ULTIMATE EDGE AND BREAKING POINT OF WHAT I’M CAPABLE OF. AND I HAVE BROKEN SEVERAL TIMES. WHETHER IT’S JUST FROM PHYSICAL EXHAUSTION OR MENTAL SCRUTINY – I’VE BROKEN. AND EVERY TIME I BREAK I’M USUALLY ABLE TO PULL THE PIECES TOGETHER AND FORM A STRONGER SHELL AT THE END. SO THEY’RE GOOD FOR THAT. THEY’RE GOOD FOR PEOPLE BEING ABLE TO TASTE WHAT REAL FREEDOM WOULD BE LIKE. HOPEFULLY THEY GET SO ACCUSTOMED TO THE TASTE THAT THEY…THEY INSIST ON IT IN THEIR LIVES. AND THEY DO WHATEVER THEY CAN IN THEIR LIVES TO CREATE MORE OF THIS FREEDOM. BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN JUST KEEP GOING TO FESTIVALS. THAT’S NOT THE ANSWER. IT’S REALLY ABOUT HOW DO YOU MAKE THE WHOLE WORLD FEEL? IF THIS FEELING IS VALUABLE, IF THIS EXPERIENCE IS VALUABLE, HOW DO WE TURN THE REST OF THE WORLD ON TO THIS EXPERIENCE SO IT ISN’T JUST SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS EVERY WEEKEND FOR RICH, AFFLUENT, MOSTLY WHITE PEOPLE? THAT IT’S SOMETHING THAT THE WHOLE WORLD CAN ENJOY. AND IT IS GOING TO TAKE A LOT OF CULTURAL QUESTIONING AND REAL SCRUTINY ON ALL OUR ACTIONS TO MAKE THAT POSSIBLE. IT’S A SUPER BIG DEAL. I THINK THAT’S THE BIGGER TASK AT HAND. THAT’S WHAT I HOPE THESE THINGS ALL HAVE IN COMMON. BUT THE DANGER IS IF IT BECOMES A DISTRACTION. IF THIS IS THE ONLY WAY PEOPLE CAN FEEL FREE, THEN WE’RE IN TROUBLE. IF THIS MAKES PEOPLE WANT TO SHARE THIS FREEDOM WITH OTHER PEOPLE, THEN WE’RE ON THE RIGHT PATH.”
It was at that juncture where I graciously parted ways with him. While wandering off wherever the hell I was going, I was left to ponder the reverberations of his message, which were wreaking havoc on my precious, antiquated sensibilities. Sans lubrication.
Indeed, the Android man was quite a character. Boy, was he ever! Quite the multi-faceted son of a gun. But what really was this aberration I’d befriended? Perchance a pixel shaman. No-no, a pattern interrupter incarnate. Or mayyybeeee he really was a fancypants farmer person after all? Sowing his mystical oral tradition seeds willy-nilly on me. Heck, I dunno!
But this I do know. There was a spirit in that overall-sportin’ supercomputin’ machine. More like an iteration of the creative, liquid current he spoke of. That evening I’d witnessed the eternal fire glowing strong within the circuits of this sage-creature. And by golly, I had a hankerin’ it was alive and plenty well throughout the entirety of this “Envision” free-for-all jamboree (and a plethora of its kind). This whopper of crystallized consciousness beaming out to its edges a marvelous array of human potential desperately waiting to be tapped. With an abundance that not only burned far brighter out here – away from the smothering noise of “civilized” commotion – but was infinitely more accessible to touch. I mean, surely any Tom, Dick or Harry or Sally Jesse Raphael gallivanting around this psychedelic tropical sock hop could easily see it, right?
But were there some whose vision had been obscured within this simulation of freedom unbound? Had their backs been turned completely to the fire amidst any indulgent jungle grab-ass hedonism? The very eternal light faced away from while shackled within the shadows of the cavernous conundrum also known as “modern daily life?”
I’d reckon so. Then again, who am I to say? My struggle is one in the same.
Whomever I had come in contact with that night, he had ascended out of that god forsaken, filthy cave. He was basking in the radiance of whatever intrinsic truth he’d stepped into. And in an absurd stroke of cosmic happenstance, yours truly was the silly mofo who’d caught a mighty glimpse of it. Good lord, certainly I wasn’t the only one!
With any luck, us hooligan banshees would carry out some synthesis of penetrating insight, distilled from many a shimmering source, the Android especially, within this bastion of illumination. Hopefully transcend beyond the gates, roaming this conflicted land of ours disrupting patterns and distractions aplenty. Focusing the luminance we’d unearthed within ourselves to help dissolve the chains of those spellbound souls we embrace. Together creating an intensified spectrum of light which knows no suffering.
Otherwise, maybe we were just a bunch of blind fools tumbling out of yet another echo chamber.
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Illustrations by Jurgis Ballys and Jake Beeson