The Gardener’s Rules of Life

Profoundly moved by this essay. I think I’ve re-read it a dozen times now since last week. Go check it out.

Go create something. But choose carefully. Build something that increases our chances to survive, even by a tiny margin. We desperately need to think not just about a zillionth social sharing gizmo. Maybe you will start building something like that, useful, but a bit futile. That’s ok. You may even get rich. The majority of people are working hard to fulfill other needs, without getting fame or great rewards. If you are reading this, you must already be part of the most privileged people in the world. And so you have a special responsibility. Money will just give you the means to build something bigger, to make a bigger difference for those who don’t have your chance. Keep your eyes on the target.

Look at your life. When you have children, you understand the brevity of life. You can remember vividly your infancy, yet you are not anymore a child, you are a father or a mother. Don’t you want your children to live in a better world ? Not just for the sake of comfort, but because otherwise, what would be the meaning of your life ? Just to reproduce what existed ? What’s the point ?

Finally, look beyond this small planet: life is rare, intelligence is rare. You have a responsibility to preserve it and make sure it will expand through the inert and indifferent universe. Not to conquer it, but to make it flourish. We all should be the gardeners of this universe, because we don’t know if we are the only ones to be able to. And obviously we have to respect our own planet, it’s the bare minimum we can do. Would you start by burning a garden when you’re supposed to grow other ones ?
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Hunter S. Thompson on Halloween

gonzo1

Amazing writing (voice, pace, narrative) as usual from the dear departed Gonzo.

There’s a lot more than the excerpt below from the early 2000s over at ESPN, where HST had a columnist gig for a while:

Getting weird for Devil’s Day
By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2 columnist

Hot damn, it is Halloween again, and I am ready to get weird in public. Nevermind anthrax for today. The Yankees won, but so what? That’s what I said to that fruitbag who claimed to be Sean Penn when he called earlier. “Screw you,” I said. He was drunk, so I knew right away that it wasn’t Sean Penn. “Get out of my face!” I screamed at him. “You are the same squalid freak who called here a few days ago and said he was Muhammad Ali. What’s wrong with you?”

“I need advice,” said the voice. “Should I jump into the Honolulu Marathon this year? I desperately need a Personal Challenge to conquer. My blood is filling up with some kind of poison.”

“Nonsense,” I said. “You are just another jackass looking for attention. I’ll give your lame ass a beating if I ever catch you sneaking around My house, you sleazy little Freak!”

I didn’t care who he was, by then. He was just another geek in a Halloween parade, to my way of thinking. And for all I knew he was dangerous — maybe some kind of murderous off-duty cop with two guns and a bottle of whiskey in his pocket. I wanted no part of him, especially not on a day like Halloween.

But why not humor him? I thought. Nobody needs this kind of Foul Ball drunk coming into his yard at night. So I lowered my voice and gave him a break. “OK,” I said. “I will help you, just don’t come anywhere near me.”

“I am Sean Penn,” the voice said calmly. “Should I or should I not enter the Honolulu Marathon in December? That’s all I need to know.”

“Yes,” I said. “You should definitely enter it. I will go with you, if necessary. But don’t call them today. Do it tomorrow, not today. Nobody will believe a thing you say on a horrible day like Halloween. … And don’t use the damn telephone anymore! They’ll hunt you down and dice you up like a squid — just go to bed and stay out of sight until noon. That is when the bogeyman sleeps, and so do I. So get out of my face and never call me again!” Then I howled in a low animal voice and hung up the phone.

“These freaks should all be put to sleep,” I said to Anita. “Let’s go out on the town and get weird.”

If you liked this excerpt, get a visual and quote snapshot of HST at The Selvedge Yard. Leaving you with this koan from the master:

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

– Hunter S. Thompson