Yeah OK let me put this out right up front and that is that I wanna capitalized the term Outsider and will do that in this document, OK? Just like I would when talking about a Roman, or a Spartan or even a CEO. See cuz an Outsider is a form of person, a reason for being, just as all peoples whose descriptions are capitalized have reasons for being what they are…and are therefore capitalized in name, get it?
The only claim I can make about having any knowledge about Outsiders is that I am one and that you’ll just have to accept that on my word, but otherwise I did my special studies on Outsiders while an undergraduate studying economics. I got a B for the one hour course which was a nothing more than a 30 page paper which was packed full of quotes and minor speculations on my part. Interesting to note though, I was an Outsider then but not so much in full knowledge of that fact, long from it actually.
What is an Outsider? Who is it? Well whatever impression of the term you have it’s probably somewhat in the ball park already with or without my analysis, so let’s just go from there right now. And so yeah, the impressions you most likely have, or lets say the impressions citizens would have on average are maybe as such:
–a person who does not wish to live by the norms of the given society in which he or she lives
–typically thought of as a homeless person, a criminal, political dissident or a cult member but in any case will be living in poor conditions or conditions outside the norms of home life.
Yeah those two views above will likely sum up the typical view and are for the most part correct. However, I can assure you that it can be taken much deeper, with a wider spectrum of color and many varieties of circumstance. Poverty and crime are by no means a requirement for membership to the Outsider world, you can be rich and a good citizen and it still happens. I don’t have to look too far, my girlfriend is an Outsider but she has grown up living in various stages of “normal” for all her life and all the way to date she has never been deprived much at all. Yet I sometimes think she is even more an Outsider than I am and probably is if I’s to get honest about it.
Most of the time Outsiders are born that way and start awakening to it somewhere between 10 to 14 years of age, but not always. In the case of my girlfriend she convinced me that she was about 6 years old when she realized her relationship to what was going on “out there”. For me I was 10, but then at the ages of 11, 12 and 14 years old I had intense moments towards this awakening and anyone of them I could call a beginning of my Outsider way of mind. In any case, eventually, but at some time early in life, you find you are not fitting very well with the way things work and so you begin to try and work out ways to make a life within that fucked up deal. It’s hard.
If it ain’t been hard then you sure as fuck ain’t no Outsider. One thing for sure, the Outsider way of life and thought is hard to live out. Isn’t it obvious? I mean the term itself spells pain. It’s always safe and cozy on the inside but outside you’re cold and alone. Though shouldering that pain can be a source of pride and esteem, it’s still the fuck pain, ain’t it?
This pain mostly comes in the form of denial. For the most part people do not like the idea of being an Outsider, rarely does someone wish to be different and on the outside of in, and so they refrain from those notions. But you are what you are and if the Outsider blood is in you, then it’s gonna come out and in that struggle is pain and misery, it just is.
Hey when I say “Outsider blood” does that make you think it’s some kinda genetic thing? Well it might be in most cases, I mean my dad was a hobo, but I do not believe at all that it’s a requirement. I consider Chris Hedges to be an Outsider though he was a famed Foreign Correspondent for the New York Times for many years, author of many books and perhaps the greatest intellectual of our time next to Noam Chomsky, perhaps greater than Chomsky in my opinion. And I am not so sure I’d call Chomsky a true Outsider, not like I would Hedges. But to the point, I would not see Hedges as a “born” or genetic type Outsider, he got it by experience and knowledge.
As all Outsiders do in some form or another, it’s just that some are so easily prone to rebel that it seems that they are born that way, as I was. Others are not so easily persuaded to jump off the cultural cliff into the depths of Outsiderism, but knowledge eventually breaks them down and so they too jump. Knowledge is what breaks us all down in the Outsider world, but let me put it this way. When I was 10 years old I found myself loving the song “Eve of Destruction”, it was my favorite song. Not just because of the tune, but it was mostly the lyrics, which I memorized. Yet, I really didn’t have an understanding of current events or even their concept, but somehow I resonated with “society is fucked up” stuff. And that’s cuz it is, by the way. Though I really did not have the proof of that at age 10 that I do now, I still knew it then. I believe Chris Hedges learned it as an adult and did not have an obvious instinct towards it as I did. Nevertheless, we are both Outsiders, get it? To see what I mean read this article Hedges just wrote and you’ll know that even though he probably wrote it on a very fancy laptop in a nice house somewhere in the New York skyline, he still portrays the outlook of the homeless Outsider.
So yes, I am saying that the Outsider is that person not because of his or her outer circumstances, but more so due to their view from the inside; that view mostly being about the Insider life. Cuz see the truth is it takes the Insider life to reflect Outsider life much more than it takes the Outsider life to reflect Insider life. Insider life is a constant while Outsider life is a result of that constant. Can’t be helped, I’m a product of the reactive rather than the proactive…but I don’t mind I guess cuz somebody’s gotta do it…I suppose.
Just a little more about defining this Outsider thing. I’m gonna use me here to say it. Yeah see when I’s 10 I crossed a line by listening and adhering to that Eve of Destruction song. That set my mind to rebellion, I naturally became a natural rebel. And then again in 1966 at age 11 in Santa Cruz California I sat under train tracks of the trestle that topped the San Lorenzo River and as I listened to “Sounds of Silence” on my AM transistor radio I felt something waken again and it felt like rebellion…again. But it wasn’t until I was 12 that I actually was confronted with the reality of what was driving my outlook. I saw very plainly how things worked, and that is that you work and make money and then spend it to live, it fucked me up, I didn’t like that set up, something was very wrong with it and for the first time it scared me. It sacred me cuz I didn’t know how to deal with that “knowledge”. I had received a knowledge of which I didn’t even begin to put into words until I’s in my 40’s. All’s I knew at that moment at age 12 was that humans in the modern world had gotten something really fucked up about how they operate and I didn’t want any part of it. Actually, there was too much math involved for me to understand it at age 12. For an in depth understanding of that go here.
So’s I’s gets to age 14 and some of this shit actually begins to become empirical. I mean I’m working and spending money see, and that already gets weird cuz I get a bank account and within the first week I overdraft it by 50 bucks! But was that cuz I’s young and dumb like they all laughed and said it was, no. No it was cuz I did not want to understand money, so I just spent it and tried to be happy about it by spending lots of it that I didn’t have while remaining willfully oblivious. Ah you say, the beginnings of a criminal you say, and I’d say well yeah sorta, but in the end, not.
And that’s my final point that there are all kinds of Outsiders. I’m a Heinz 57, I’ve traveled a little bit of all the roads to Outsiderism and as a result I live a little of all the ways thereof. I live very poor, yet am not a street bum or homeless (though I have been before). I have no problem with breaking the law in any moral sense, but am too chicken to get caught at it to actually do it. I spent a part of my life as a political Outsider and activist, and another part as a simple renegade doper saying, “hey man”, and finally now in another part of my life I live a little bit of all those personas giving essence to each one of the them at various and individual segments of time. It’s less painful now, with understanding comes less pain and that’s cuz also comes less guilt, which generally is the greatest source of pain.
No matter the road you travel towards the Outsider way of life, you will be a part of a struggle. You will be pushing against a machine that is way the fuck bigger than you are. If you ain’t pushing against some god damn thing then you ain’t living as an Outsider, instead you are coasting, Outsiders can and do, do that. In fact they spend most of their life in and out of this coasting and pushing deal. It’s the way of it, can’t be helped and is also another source of pain. Outsiders life typically are chaotic, moving around a lot, many relationships, divorce is very common if not required, usually not much to do with kids or community programs. Yeah see cuz remember, like I said earlier an Outsider is a reflection of things from the Insider lifeway which make them not in control cuz they are therefore products of something else other than themselves. But in the end that’s OK cuz truth is, Outsiders are the most enlightened beings on planet Earth, that also, can not be helped or controlled. This concludes my analysis of the Outsider.