Essays

Jack Kerouac’s ‘On The Road’ is even more vital in the 21st century

Jack Kerouac words; quotes and photos on March 12th.  Happy birthday J.K. May you chase and revel in the ecstasy of the mind forever….

Quotes from On The Road

Figure out what empathy is, like Jack. But radical empathy: for others, the world around you, every being as conscious. And practice it every day – how often do we forget this when we live inside screens and followers and likes? Jack Kerouac’s ‘On The Road’ is even more vital in the 21st century. We’ve become a huge fan of the perception of life success – and not the actual garnering of it.

The futility of intention

And then ultimately realising that your efforts and energy are only in comparison to what you love and what makes you happy? That’s painful: nothing matters until we make it matter, otherwise it’s a waste.

“My whole wretched life swam before my weary eyes, and I realized no matter what you do it’s bound to be a waste of time in the end so you might as well go mad.”

on the road at night kerouac

Social media and the procrastination bug

And in the 21st Century, we exist in explosive growth of social media in to the mainstream and the late adopters. At the same time, people put off the hard work of building relationships and being at one with themselves, and instead leave all of that until tomorrow in pursuit of short term rewards that social offers us.

“Sure baby, mañana. It was always mañana. For the next few weeks that was all I heard––mañana a lovely word and one that probably means heaven.”

road jack kerouac

Working to make ourselves long-term content is true happiness

Once we realise that life is about loving your game – more than the reward itself: that’s when we become happy.

“…we all must admit that everything is fine and there’s no need in the world to worry, and in fact we should realize what it would mean to us to UNDERSTAND that we’re not REALLY worried about ANYTHING.”

understand really anything

Steve Jobs must have taken some Kerouac inspiration in his famous Stanford speech: stay hungry, stay foolish….stay mad…. the mad ones….

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

on the road

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