We’re living in a bad dream
They've forgotten all about mankind
And you were the one they backed up to the wall
All those years ago
And you were the one who imagined it all
All those years ago
More respect I have for you than any writer of hearts under the sun. I will miss you my friend, my brother, my caped crusader, my Clientology CEO, boss of Jeremy Outterbridge, tamer of the mystic bourgeoise, founder of the town of blogaria’s 2001 homestead, our Uncle RageBoy-Chris Locke-Kat Herding.
I’m not sure what it means to be in this loosely joined online world without your presence. I’m not sure we should be. But for today, we celebrate the words, the laughs, the ripping out of hearts, the incredible brilliance of all we lit up and burned down.
“Spark to flame, ignite.”
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: Web without end.
From Chris’ classic Chapter 1 in the bestselling book that kicked business righteously in the ass, The Cluetrain Manifesto:
You will never hear those words spoken in a television ad. Yet this central fact of human existence colors our world and how we perceive ourselves within it.
‘Life is too short,’ we say, and it is. Too short for office politics, for busywork and pointless paper chases, for jumping through hoops and covering our asses, for trying to please, to not offend, for constantly struggling to achieve some ever-receding definition of success. Too short as well for worrying whether we bought the right suit, the right breakfast cereal, the right laptop computer, the right brand of underarm deodorant.
Life is too short because we die. Alone with ourselves, we sometimes stop to wonder what's important, really. Our kids, our friends, our lovers, our losses? Things change and change is often painful. People get "downsized," move away, the old neighborhood isn't what it used to be. Children get sick, get better, get bored, get on our nerves. They grow up hearing news of a world more frightening than anything in ancient fairy tales. The wicked witch won't really push you into the oven, honey, but watch out for AK-47s at recess.
Amazingly, we learn to live with it. Human beings are incredibly resilient. We know it's all temporary, that we can't freeze the good times or hold back the bad. We roll with the punches, regroup, rebuild, pick up the pieces, take another shot. We come to understand that life is just like that. And this seemingly simple understanding is the seed of a profound wisdom.
It is also the source of a deep hunger that pervades modern life — a longing for something entirely different from the reality reinforced by everyday experience. We long for more connection between what we do for a living and what we genuinely care about, for work that's more than clock-watching drudgery. We long for release from anonymity, to be seen as who we feel ourselves to be rather than as the sum of abstract metrics and parameters. We long to be part of a world that makes sense rather than accept the accidental alienation imposed by market forces too large to grasp, to even contemplate.
And this longing is not mere wistful nostalgia, not just some unreconstructed adolescent dream. It is living evidence of heart, of what makes us most human.