I don’t think the most important question we face is as Shakespeare’s Hamlet posed, ‘to be or not to be.’ Whether he should live or kill himself as it goes. I think that question is pretty easy, to live. So I’ve adapted Hamlet’s most essential question to our time –
Beware or be aware. That is the question. Whether tis nobler to run in fear or awaken thy conscious…
Influenced from watching the movie Magic Trip, ‘a freewheeling portrait of Ken Kesey and the Merry Prankster’s fabled road trip across America’ – IMDB. I watched it Netflix so watch it there.
There’s this part where the bus goes through a national forest and encounters a bear. As Kesey and his gang watch this curious black bear, Kesey pondered on the sign that warned him earlier, “Beware of Bear.” He thought, when did it become beware of the bear, why not, be aware of the bear. Be conscious that the bear exists as obviously they do, but do not be frightened of the natural order of things. I understand that a bear can be dangerous, but realistically it will not attack unless threatened. The metaphor is for people in his time period to step outside the cloud of fear, out of ignorance, and to awareness of real issues, real motivaties, and genuine understanding to the Cold War, Vietnam War, and other conflicts in South American and other parts. As well as a reflection on the social norms of the time.
I think the message for us is we need not live in fear. Once we accept life, which is to accept death, our perspective changes. Death is just what is. So for living, we simply need be aware. We are then free to be rational, creative, intelligent beings and not be so encumbered by the media and social pressures.
The bear is still ferocious, but it doesn’t weigh on me and what I’m doing.