Jack Kerouac and Thinking – an extract from ‘Farther from the Sun’

Now Jack Kerouac probably started it all for me. It wasn’t so much the destination as the journey; not the arriving as much as the doing. He sure did it. He wrote it. He lived it.

He wasn’t the first to search for the meaning of life, and he wasn’t the first to want to goof. He was just the first to put it together that way.

He was the first Messiah of the new age.

The fact that he lost it, messed up with booze and religion and couldn’t handle it. That was incidental.

All heroes are fatally flawed.



In the good old days before teaching, before family, when I was free; when I could decide what I did with every minute of every day without having huge chunks of it decided for me; I shared a room with Pete. It was only a small room and it was even more cramped because of all the harmoniums, guitars, mandoyukes and banjos he squeezed into it. But it did have some wall space.

We didn’t buy posters to cover the dingy old wallpaper. We made our own posters. There were loads of them. One was a big sign in spray paint saying: THINK. It was lightly sprayed over so that it was barely discernible through the cloudy texture.

THINK. It was important that you were reminded to think. The only thing you knew for certain was that you thought. Nobody else’s views were important. Nobody saw it the way you did. You could read the news and find yourself adopting someone else’s view. You could live your life without questioning anything. You could see it all the way people told you it was. It isn’t. It wasn’t. No matter how intelligent they seem, no matter how much they seem to have got it sussed, they are talking subjective rubbish. You weigh it up and make up your own mind.

You learn to read between the lines.

I liked that poster.



I think that at some point in time life becomes so tedious and played out that you want to end it all. How can anything become interesting after you’ve done it a few thousand times? Are there any new flavours to discover? Doesn’t the palette become hopelessly jaded?

What new thoughts can an old mind discover?



At the end of a life you have to sum up the gains and the losses, the good things and the bad.

I think I’m bound to come out on top!


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