May 3, 2005
The Cult of Human Power
I just borrowed this book from someone called ďThe Immortal Class. Bike Messengers and the Cult of Human Power,Ē by Travis Hugh Culley. First I skimmed through various parts of the book to get the flavor of it, then read the first chapter. My first impression is that being a bike messenger is another one of those little understood forms of sanity. And we can read about it, but not fully grasp the implications until we experience it. I think raising children is another one of those we canít quite grasp until we are in the thick of it.
I like the way the first chapter starts out with the authorís indoctrination and gradual awareness into the bike messengerís inner circle, until it was no longer just a job, but a state of being. From the outside looking in, it may seem absurd, but to anyone who knows the ropes, itís perfectly sane.
I am a bicycle commuter. I ride my bike to work and back, nearly every day. It practically seems like nothing to me anymore, and perfectly natural. To some people, including myself about a year ago, this would have seemed insane and something requiring medication. But I think that Iím closer to sanity being outside in the fresh air and all that comes with that.
Human power is a cult, just like any other inner-circle we decide to Ďbelongí to. Once we are inside of it, after the indoctrination, we are no longer outsiders. Outsiders canít always comprehend what itís like until they dive in. Some would never dive in because itís too insane or itís below them or any other reason. They are still outsiders. But they have their own inner-circles that they belong to. I rode bike once with a guy who was really into acting in plays. Evidently he has been in hundreds of plays. Itís an inner-circle that I have little real understanding of. I can read about it but until I go to the rehearsals and practice my lines, Iím still in the audience, an observer of a life I think I understand. Until someone told me about his passion for acting, he was just another guy on a bike. Itís because we were in a different circle together.
The SPBRC is a cult. Many people who belong to it donít even race, but are insiders because they ride together. The community bike shop Iím working with is a cult, with itís own set of characters and rules that only insiders can know. The workers at the group-home company I worked at had their own inner-circle and set of unwritten, unspoken rules to follow. It took me a few months to learn them and become an insider.
There is more of course, but Iím still an outsider, looking in. But at the same time Iím also an insider, with my own inner-circles looking out, which seems to me can be equally incomprehensible until we experience what is out there.
Posted by carl1236 at May 3, 2005 11:43 PM | Attitude