“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
Twenty years ago, after 29 years of trying to find my place in the world, I was diagnosed with a fairly popular neurological disorder that seemed to be a contributing factor in my inability to adapt to normal society. At the time, considering the state of my society, I didn’t feel that not fitting into the insanity around me was necessarily a bad thing. So I opted to focus my energies toward the strengths usually found in people who shared my disorder.
In the year 2000, my disorder was known as “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder”, although mine had a caveat of also including “without hyperactivity” since I’m mellow, just distracted by all of things going on in my head. From 1980-87, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders referred to it as just “Attention Deficit Disorder”, with or without hyperactivity, and for the two decades before that, it had been called “hyperkinetic impulse disorder”.
Anyway, my deficit in attention opened up other things inside of me, and I decided to hitchhike across the country visiting intentional communities and other alternative ways of living that weren’t quite as crazy as the contemporary culture of consumerist capitalism that so craved my capitulation. I figured that, with so many of the miserable people I met every day hell bent on serving a system that produces so much garbage, pollution, debt, and disease, perhaps they just need another alternative. For me, something had to change in the world “out there” so I just kept riding the cyclone in my head as I have served as a lifestyle stuntman ever since.
In addition to spending a few years trying to be relatively normal as a husband with a full time job, I’ve attempted to live a year without money, started a community flex space, introduced a regional time back as an alternative currency, ran as a write-in candidate for county commissioner, and lived in a community house with a food forest, backyard chickens, and an aquaponitarium. Yet I’ve found the most joy in the times I’ve tried my hand at being a filmmaker, author, poet, and musician so, from here on out, I’m just going to focus on doing that and knock out all of the other shenanigans and tomfoolery.
What I’ve learned most from the years of searching for the answers to life is that it’s ultimately not about the changes that need to be made “out there” as the changes that need to be made “in here”. The world is a crazy place, and it always has been. It may seem to us that this particular time in history is crazier than others, but every generation has normalized its own insanities and has served the world by merely bringing them to light.
Individually, each of us is responsible for shining light on our own insanity and empowering ourselves to find some purposeful service to this crazy world by our enjoyment of it, in spite of its imperfections, and through our own. If it is true that the world around us is a reflection of the state of our own souls, it would seem that we all have a lot of work to do. Personally, I’m grateful for the opportunity.