Text and Photography by Harvey Lloyd
This blog is part of a series entitled Secrets of Eternal Youth.
Secrets of Eternal Youth
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From a Globe Circling Forever Youthful Adventurer, Artist/Photographer
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Secrets of Eternal Youth is a Kerouacian road trip through the mental universe with a merry prankster at the wheel. Lloyd is Coyote, the Trickster, who brings us the fire of imagination that is able to see the quantum foam of the universe in the dancing of Jackson Pollack—that allows us to feel the wild excitement of being alive. Secrets is an explosion of metaphor that reprograms our synapses, stretches our minds, and reminds us that we are all youthful poets.
All photographs by Harvey Lloyd, Copyright © 2016
A wonderful area for speculative academic work is the unknowable. These days religious subjects are in disfavor, but there are still plenty of good topics. The nature of consciousness, the workings of the brain, the origin of aggression, the origin of language, the origin of life on earth, SETI and life on other worlds . . . this is all great stuff. Wonderful stuff. You can argue it interminably. But it can’t be contradicted, because nobody knows the answer to any of these topics.
Yes, yes. yes! Eternal youths, guys and gals, goddamit to hell, yes! Yes to life, yes to adventure, yes to art and yes to going for it! To hell with fear and danger if it must be! Never tempt the gods and take unnecessary risks. You don’t concern or involve yourself with deadly danger until you have to. You damned well get the dream or the job done. Then you enjoy the terror, or end it. It’s the Samurai Way, the code of Bushido, “The absolute will to die.”
When you are ready to “die” for your honor like a samurai, or for your art, like an artist, you triumph and live. The samurai who goes to battle already “dead” comes back. The cowardly samurai who wants to live does not. Only those who hesitate die. Risk all and live! Just do it like a Top Gun and aim yourself at the devil. He will get out of your way. The fearsome fallen angel with pointed ears and tail is a pimp for the unholy and he has no taste for a battle with a fearless human. God. Satan or human, the Devil goes down!
Life is unlikely to end with humans, even if we burn in a nuclear holocaust. The relentless wheel of evolution will pick up from where we leave off and roll to it’s predestined goal. If the human mind continues to evolve, enlarge, and expand, so that we are able to recognize our kinship with the creations around us, so that we are able to grasp our oneness with the cosmos, and so that we merge in yoga with the Divine, the long cosmic cycle will disclose its cryptic secret, and the long saga of billions of years of evolution will display its profound significance.”
–ROY J. MATHEW
No devil is like the devil in man. We are the scourge of the earth. We can’t help it. The genes rule our instincts to survive. Pity and compassion battle with our fight or flee reptilian brain. Our lives are the most astonishing things on earth, when passionately we learn Gaia, the earth, learn the galaxy, learn the cosmos, learn eternity. We were born with the most complex brains in the known universe, birthed in indeterminacy and uncertainty. Like shamanistic offspring, born with whale-sized brains, capable of limitless growth in an expanding, intelligent and unforgiving universe that bestows knowledge willy-nilly. Live it, live it young, live it long. That’s the way of the immortals.
What’s your life worth without owning it, using it to the edge? Send to the deepest pits of hell desk bound critics, misers, power mad oligarchs, fools and cowards. The greatest danger is to not take risks, to not follow your rocky trackless road to journey’s end, into infinity and rebirth. I take risks, and you take risks, and we’ll take more risks! Taking risks, fearless audacity and the pursuit of new knowledge give us eternal youth, a fecund and lively state of mind without price.
We eternal youths must concentrate, create and execute at the razor’s edge of the possible. Fear is a loathsome companion, a devil that cannot face a man or woman who lives and breathes Teddy Roosevelt’s creed of the strenuous life, who lives in the arena, stands firm in the face of the gladiators, who ignores the cheers and jeers of the crowd.
I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph . . .
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Dare to be great! That clarion call from Teddy with the call of your heart must ring out across the world, never to bow, never to fear, never to be swayed from your goal. Not a cheap phrase, but a ringing call to rule your own heart and soul and to strive mightily against all odds. Not just for a day or a week —always! Adventures that spin the dice of fate, adventures of the mind, spirit, heart and soul are the wine of the gods. We are the stuff that dreams are made of . . . let it roar out from the shadows of the mind! Let it sing of love and laughter and dance the holy dance of the druids, the wild dance to Orpheus torn to pieces by the fanatical Bacchic maenads, but alive and immortal by Apollo’s command.
Hand in hand with Eurydice he lives in the underworld, plays his lyre and sings songs that can charm birds, fish and wild beasts, and coax the trees and rocks into dance. That’s a life here, anywhere or down there! It’s in the mind that forever dwells in eternal youth. The Dionysian Bacchantes sing:
Appear, appear, whatsoe’er Thy shape or name.
O Mountain Bull, Snake of a Hundred Heads, Lion of the Burning Flame! O God, Beast, Mystery, come! Fill soul and flesh with Thy mystic power. O God Whose gifts are joy and union of soul in dancing!
That’s the dance of death and eternal life. They tore Bacchus, the demigod of wine, and Pentheus, king of Thebes, to pieces in their frenzied erotic dance. An immortal festival of the damned awakened by the gods. A mythic festival of unlicensed eroticism, an orgy. Such wild fantasies and myths light our way to the stars, for immortal Bacchus lives, Orpheus lives, Eurydice lives; we live in the firelight of their myths. We dance the Orphic dances of their immortal selves in our fiery dances of eternal youth. In the sacred is the salvation of our souls. What a way to go!
I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it – but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.
–OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.