Jack Kerouac – Fear of Knowing

Good old Jack.

Pablo Cuzco


‘Even fear crossed his brain, imaginary fevers that something was going on behind his back, before his closed eyes: unmoved, he let these doubts and disturbances, like bubbles, vanish back to their origin in the emptiness of the mental sea.’

Jack Kerouac – Wake Up! A Life of the Buddha

Fear of Knowing

eyes closed
allowing fear
to displace calm

the sensation
of fright:



The swallowing sense of fear one sometimes gets navigating the ‘ mental sea ‘ dissipates.

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13 thoughts on “Jack Kerouac – Fear of Knowing

  1. His life was a serious mess if I’m to believe Wiki and he had great Catholic longings instilled from his mother. I was moved to read that his mother was the only woman he really loved there is indeed something supersacrificial about a mother’s love. Like many since he looked at Buddhism but it’s a hard road needing much self denial and control for the majority of us wanderers, besides it depends on a belief in karma which is unprovable. Alcohol proved his downfall and that reminded me of the great Dylan Thomas who succumbed to the bottle in the end.
    If we start off believing we can unravel the secret of life we must beware of the power of failure which can drive us to self destruction.
    ‘ We are such stuff as dreams are made of , and our little lives are rounded with a sleep. ‘

    1. That seems to sum him up quite well. He was seriously messed up and, like many caught up in the American rebellion, vacillated between rebellion and an incredibly ordinary life.

      1. The thing about Kerouac for me is that he wrote in an entirely different way – that stream of consciousness, and he described a lifestyle that was a stark alternative to the staid American Dream.
        He seemed totally schizophrenic though. He lived a very staid, conservative life with his mother and then went off for adventures with his rather mad friends and could not marry the two.
        His writing, and the alternative culture he described so well, were seminal to a lot of the counter-culture lifestyles that followed.

  2. That is true but those counter culture lifestyles you describe do not contradict our natures , they come and go as the sex pistols did but our natures are constant. Fashion comes and goes and technology gives us more toys and dangerous weapons but we are the same under the surface. Walt Whitman said the same things without rhyme that Tennyson said with rhyme , The new wine is in the old bottles to quote scripture.

  3. You are right youth must have its fling and it always will , but as we age we begin to realise its men and women that are the problem and we begin to look inwards , very soon we turn the penetrating search light on ourselves.

  4. I understand how you feel but the increase in evil action is due to population increase not a change in the general attitude of humanity. Alongside the evil is the good action which increases in similar proportion. The purpose of religion is to increase the ratio of good to bad but it is incapable of changing human nature. As Thomas Hardy said : After two thousand years of mass ; we’ve got as far as poison gas.

    1. Oh I think the good is getting greater. We are getting better and more civilised. Some of the sadism of previous centuries was on a terrible scale. But our numbers are creating a bigger impact on the planet and there are a lot of greedy selfish people who do not care about the effects of their actions.
      Then there are the psychologically damaged who just like causing trouble. There’s a bunch of them.
      I feel it is imperative to actively work to create a better world.

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