“The world is like a ride at an amusement park – and when you choose to go on it you think that its real because that’s how powerful our minds truly are.
The ride goes up and down and round and round; it has thrills and chills and is very brightly coloured and loud. And it’s, for a while.
Some people have been on the ride for a long time and they begin to question – is this real? Or is this just a ride?
And other people have remembered and they come back to us and they say ‘hey, don’t worry, don’t be afraid – ever because, this is just a ride; and we can change it any time we want…’
…It’s only a choice between fear, and love.
The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your door, buy guns and close yourself off.
The eyes of love instead see all of us as one.”
– Bill Hicks¹
Those fateful words of the comedian Bill Hicks rang a reverberating chord deep within the hearts of a great many people who encountered them. What Hicks was suggesting was that life did not have to be taken as seriously as we are led to believe and that the suffering we encounter was largely to do with how visceral and real we each chose to let our own minds imagine and accept.
For me personally it was a transition in my interpretation of a world that was growing more threatening and worrisome by the day; thanks in a major part to the news stories I’d read or heard and people’s reactions to them. The 2008 banking crash had occurred only a couple of years prior and the ripples of despair that emanated from it affecting a massive number of people many of whom had lost their own pensions to the near global economic collapse and the ensuing government bailouts, corporate take overs and the destruction of many small businesses and companies².
It was a dark time and one that was compounded by Conservative leader’s repeated iteration of ‘the big society’ – that we all pull together in the name of individual hard work and volunteerism to get through it all. This was a term that I couldn’t help but feel was a not just a kick in the teeth but the twisting of a knife plunged into the back of the vast majority of people in the UK alone as sweeping cuts to public services occurred in the name of austerity to provide ‘economic recovery’ (quite a joke considering the debt that the UK and other countries builds exponentially every day) to occur whilst CEOs and heads of the world’s largest banking corporations (and affiliated shareholders) bought up the firesale of smaller banking groups and effectively continued to line their coffers with the hard earned savings of millions of people across the world. Meanwhile increased bonuses were dished out (doubtless along with the crystalline chinking of champagne flutes to one another) to their upper echelons of their groups – even as recently as February this year³. A cruelly accurate yet humorous summary of this was enacted by Bird and Fortune’s sketched interview ⁴. Though quoting a humorous video to such a diabolical travesty may well seem inappropriate, often times during great tragedy it is through comedy which we can transmute the experience of fear and horror into aiding us each to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and carry on. The trick however is to learn from such atrocities.
To imagine that life was indeed just a ride and that we could each choose to change how we each interpret it at any time we wanted was a breath of fresh air to consider this notion and that the world we were having imprinted into our mental picture gave a sense of hope to me personally at a time when I had no job, no home and no sense of purpose or direction; I was having to sleep on my kind and good friend Tom’s sofa (in a tiny flat) for several months whilst I found a job and got back onto my feet again; and I was one of the fortunate ones who had few responsibilities beyond the confines of my own life with no children, partner or savings to fear how to deal with.
Little did I realise as tears stung my cheeks at the release of pain that Hick’s words had made upon my mind at the time that a strange new path I’d never before realised existed had opened up before me even as my initial step came down – thinking it’d meet thin air – only to tread into it and feel the sturdiness of solid, even embracing, ground beneath. I found that the more I took steps into the unknown (yet that which I truly yearned to do), the more I found comfort, solidarity, solace and even ecstatic joy!
The pervading sense of unease at the world around me had remained a perennial issue in the pits of my conscious outlook, but that anxiety and fear had finally found a release and the experience of that realisation was more liberating than anything I’d ever encountered before. That very release I’ve since come to consider was the initial experience of self-healing and greater self awareness, and it is for that very reason that I write these words now; in the hope of sharing with others who have experienced or may continue to be experiencing similar feelings of concern at themselves, their proximal world, the wider world, the human condition and the role of each of person individually and collectively as humanity expands within existence itself.
I will state finally that nothing I write here is in anyway a sense of absolutism – I try hard not to deal in definites (as its my outlook that noone and nothing TRULY / 100% KNOWS anything – not even science itself is based on absolutes, though we treat it like it does), but rather that the things I put up here are notions, ideas and considerations to play with in whatever manner makes sense to you based on your own thoughts, interpretations, ideas and experiences.
It is my hope that in time we can each contribute our thoughts openly and without fear of reprisal in an effort to consolidate one another’s pieces of the greater puzzle that is the game of existence and that, little by little, we can reconcile the parts to make a whole.
In openness, kindness and love,
¹ Bill Hicks ‘its just a ride’ performance:
² Financial crisis UK and Europe overview:
³ Bonuses for executives of Banks 2016:
⁴ Bird and Fortune’s subprime crisis sketch, 2008: