Humanities for the Unbound Mind

David Bowie And Thoughts On Life

Originally published January 14, 2016

From a dear friend of mine who, quite frankly, “nailed it.”


As we all know, unless we are hiding in a cave somewhere pretending to be a pot of jam, David Bowie died recently. He was not, to be honest, my favourite musician of all time but I love some of his music and he was an undeniably talented man who interacted with the world around him almost until his last breath: something I admire deeply. He reminds me of the urgent, telling words of Dylan Thomas,

“Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

On many levels,  Bowie was a deeply private and unknowable character and his cremation pretty much took place in secret, and in as unmarked a manner as he could manage, but his desire to understand, create and communicate through music was undimmed almost until his last breath.

He reminded me of something I wrote a couple of years ago, (Who Inspires You Sept 2013) which a nice person drew my attention to recently: I repeat it here-

“I want to know what everything is, and nothing is; the beauty of a note and the silence which surrounds it. I like to know and understand myself, and those whom I meet, or nearly meet. I am conscious that I will not always be conscious: that my curiosity is unlimited but my time is finite, and I cannot waste a moment of it in acquiring things which will not make me richer in a way I value. 

The amusing thing is many would consider me as living in la la land, where poetry is a secret form of currency, and music a mode of transport which might carry me to lands and vistas invisible to the naked eye: to where angels might dwell and we begin to forgive and truly understand the love which passes all understanding. I can live with the opinions of the “many,” but I cannot live without my imagination.”

One of the great temptations of life is to lose sight of the beauty of the whole, or the mystery of an instant amidst the mass of worries, jealousies and insecurities which crowd in on the average day, including mine, but while I have a breath to draw I will, whatever my circumstances, raise my eyes in wonder to the horizon and marvel at the miracle of consciousness.

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