Stay Hungry: The Science of Utopia


I have quit school. What do I do now? I have quit school and I know what to do – I will write, and I’ll write, and I’ll keep writing and making and drawing and painting and I will do what ever I want, and I will keep doing what ever I want until I die and I will make the people around me happy and I will love them and this is what I will do with my life. I have decided this now because it is all I can do – it is all I can do to do this and the only alternative is death, small death at first moved to big death and madness now later – not being able to cope. All I can do is live and in living love death and in death love life and in knowing my death, love my own life, because you must become acquainted with its death before you can love it. It must be a limited thing to be loved because you have been lied to – you have been told that inconstancy’s finite and what passes is worthless and to put your faith in the big men and the heads who will go on for ever and ever and ever and ever, floating torsos on podiums and heads on TV who will go on forever and who have all the answers and nothing will change and they’ll guide us to freedom (Responsibility tempered, of course, and with all due respect to the men and now women who guided us here and their wants and their needs and society’s fabric and moral upstanding and good sense and decency, and aren’t we inspired that women and blacks and yes, even the cripples can grow up and lead us to better, more orderly futures and yes sir, yes ma’am, may I please have another, thank you sir, thank you ma’am) and we won’t have to worry about our own lives because we’ll have them and they all know what’s best – we learned it in school, after all.

But what matters is death and in knowing things die we can know that they live and we see here two choices – the living death of a life which can’t ever be dead that was never alive that was stillborn and mummified, not born but preserved into life. But it takes life to die – it’s an effort, a push, one last leap past a threshold and into beyond which eternal life lacks and it sits there and says “It is good enough – it is good enough to live.” And it sits there and says “good enough” and it freezes and lacks life enough to be dead and it lacks death enough to be live, and in this it is pleased, it says “Ah! Eternal problem now solved, better yet solved by me.” and it sees the world moving and not its own stillness and thinks “Why all this? Why this fuss over living when they could be at rest?” And here is the problem with living too long and with life after death: “Rest now – life comes later. ” I say life now, I say pleasure now and rest later when dead. And this rest is a name for the posture of slowness – of drudgery, trudging and toiling through life – life in sludge, and in fat. Starve yourself thin enough to coast by on light beams – stay thin and stay hungry and you will be full. Here’s the thing about hunger – it is not at all lack, it has never been lack, it has always been positive. It does not say you’re empty – it says you want more. Cultivate hunger and things will taste better. It’s forward momentum – propulsion which drives and which urges you forward. Utopia’s science: “Stay Hungry”.

Choice two is to rot, and in rot to know life. To embrace death and spring from it new every moment – cast off former selves and consume them for energy. Be the rot which is fertile and teeming with life. Make all your life’s moments a resurrection – casting off of the old to make way for the new. Shed your skins and move forward and grow while you can. Be hard when you need to but fresh when you can – time for scales has passed and the danger has gone and you carve out a space for your self to be vulnerable. Be the life which knows death and in doing so lives. Be the life which won’t last from which new life will spring. Here we see the two choices – a living death and a dying life. Be the change that’s eternal – the eternal can’t last.


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