It’s just a ride

Writing “Downsides to leaving” took me back to Bill Hicks’ phenomenal monologue, “It’s just a ride”. Hicks was a cantankerous standup comedian prophet for change who aimed much of his criticism at American culture and politics. He was seemingly angsty, dark, negative, bitter … But this speech shows that underneath the venom, there was a universal message of love, freedom and peace.

I love this routine and I return to it whenever I think I’m taking things too seriously, or if I get too bogged down by failure (or success), or when I start doubting that there are alternatives to this cruel system we all find ourselves in. These are words to live by.

(Hicks has some killer routines on religion, drugs and, a personal favourite, anti-intellectualism. Also, watch American: The Bill Hicks Story as soon as you possibly can.)

Someone kindly transcribed the speech and I’ve copied it below. Watch the full thing in the video.

It’s just a ride

The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real, because that’s how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round, and it has thrills and chills and is very brightly colored, and it’s very loud. And it’s fun, for a while.

Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they’ve begun to question, ‘Is this real, or is this just a ride?’, and other people have remembered, and they’ve come back to us and they say ‘Hey, don’t worry. Don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride’, and we kill those people.

“Shut him up! We have alot invested in this ride! Shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account, and my family. This just has to be real.”

It’s just a ride.

But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that. You ever noticed that? And let the demons run amok. But it doesn’t matter, because … It’s just a ride.

And we can change it anytime we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear wants you to put bigger locks on your door, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead see all of us as one.

Here’s what we can do to change the world right now, to a better ride:

Take all that money we spent on weapons and defense each year and instead spend it feeding, clothing, and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we can explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever … in peace.

Bill Hicks (1961 – 1994)


One thought on “It’s just a ride

  1. Pingback: The downsides of leaving | cape/caracas

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