Saturday, 7 August 2010

Bill Hicks - MY PHILOSOPHY (AUGUST 1993 ).

I love to smoke. To me, everything, about smoking is cool. When I hear 'Kinda Blue' by Miles Davis, a cigarette magically appears in my hand, and I am THERE. Smoking is Miles Davis. Smoking is Tom Waits. Smoking is Keith Richards.
Billy Ray Cyrus does not smoke. Michael Bolton doesn't smoke. Paula Abdul doesn't smoke. Is this clear? I'm not saying people who don't smoke aren't cool - although there does seem to be a pattern.i'm saying a lot of cool people smoke,and smoking is part of their coolness. I know I surprised a few people when I toured the UK last year. During the first tour, I was smoking and discussing my love of smoking onstage. By the time the second tour had begun, I had quit smoking, and all the people who liked what I did before seemed genuinely hurt and betrayed. People wre yelling 'Judas!' and 'Traitor' and throwing cigarettes at me onstage. It was like Dylan going electric. While it was all done in good fun - except the lit ones - I explained my new lifestyle quite ingeniously. ( There's nothing quite like a hail of burning embers raining down on you to make you quick on your feet.) I told everyone the pont of my old smoking routine was that I should have the right to smoke even if you think I SHOULDN'T. Now, I should have he right NOT to smoke even if you think I SHOULD. The pont is - THE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE. After explaining this to the audience, they calmed down somewhat. While cigarettes were still thrown fewer and fewer lit ones were flicked at my head.
I don't want to toot my own horn here - you couldn't hear it from this distance anyway - but, I think I'm fairly open-minded when it comes to ideas of Freedom. I think I'm one of the only former drug abusers and alcoholics who doesn't decry the years I partied, or regret them. Instead, I look on those experiences As fun and exciting and crucial to getting me where I am today. And I believe all drugs should be legal and available. In fact, I believe that as long you don't harm another person, or get in the way of their freedom ALL THINGS should be legal and available. As no amount of laws passed seem to prevent people's love of freedom, nor squelch their curiosity, nor their basic humanity, we would do better to look through the eyes of love and compassion, rather than condemnation and fear.
Drug abusers are not criminals in my mind's eye. At worst, they are just sick, and I know of no jail that has ever healed anyone.
I ascribe to a philosophy of Gentle Anarchy. I believe people are inherently GOOD, and left to their own devices - with the free exchange of ideas and information - a joyful lightness would spread across the face of our dour world.
I am aware there are many people who do not feel this way. This is why I figured out a way to make everyone happy, while also furthering the idea of Freedom. Here it is: for those people who think smoking, drugs, abortion, and prostitution should NOT be legal and available - they're not, they never were, don't worry, we're cracking down. There. That way, the world would remain exactly as it is now, only without the onus of guilt, shame, and legality.
Does this mean I am suggesting people smoke, take drugs, get abortions, or go to prostitutes? No. I recommend you do what you want to do, which is what you're going to do anyway. I am merely suggesting we accept life on life's terms instead of drowning in a quagmire of niggling SHOULDS and SHOULDN'TS which have done NOTHING to freeour spirits from the cloud of guilt and shame that shrouds this planet. Again- forgiveness rather than condemnation, compassion rather than judgement, and love rather than fear. And keep in mind, this radical philosophy is coming from me - an avowed misanthrope. If I can feel this way, surely there is hope for us all. Have we learned anything from all this? I have. The next time I tour the UK, I'm not going to tell the audience I quit smoking. I'm going to tell them I quit fucking, just to see what they throw at me then. I look forward to seeing you.


There was never a next time Bill Hicks died on February 26th, 1994.His honest ability to cut through the bullshit still very much missed.


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