Twice Born A Vagabond
A Novel [Copr. 2008]
By D. DeWitt Thomas
Chapter Eight


Perception that comes from reading a Book has proven to merit suspicion from the paradigm of the beholder. When thou tillest the ground, it will not yield unto you her strength. A fugitive and vagabond shall thou be in the earth. I have no heroes. There are no myths that I believe to tell of great liberation and eternal salvation. There is no Promised Land for me. I have no battlefield shrines, no monuments, no anthems, and no Book. My home is now-here, anywhere, and everywhere. My beginings have no end. I have always been here and there. I begin again and again and getting somewhere has always been a long and hard journey.

I hate authority. I am the antithesis of pre-determined mind-sets. I have lost the art of using "good common sense" while others who still have an instinctual natural intuition find their security from the safety that comes in numbers. This distinct property of Orwellian groupthink, or running with the crowd as my mother describes it, is a fabricated notion. That I will do what is expected of me by important other peers, employers, and instructors, in institutions such as government, religion, and education is an empty expectation. Any attempt to force me to perform a behavior that threatens the very essence of my uniqueness is futile. The refusal to accept behavior resulting in cruelty to humankind or destruction of Mother Earth has resulted in me becoming an outcast. I am alienated from social recognition and given no validation from the Establishment because I refuse to play the life-game by their rules.

I was born into this world alone and I will leave the world alone with no regrets of guilt for my behavior. I make wise choices and my actions are determined by whether or not it is the right thing to do. I do not need an authority figure dictating rules for my actions. I do not need to be controled by paid enforcers who use strong armed tactics to force me to submit while expousing threats of pain and punishment to assure themselves that I will not waver from the established norm.

Why do we exist? There is not a being with the answer to that question. Anyone who claims to know the answer to it are scammers, fakes, and pretenders. Who can prove or disprove the concept of a supreme power as we have been taught by those who came before us. I'm not buying it. Can we purchase a ticket at a discount to ride the heavenly express through the golden gates if we make our reservations in advance? Maybe, I hope so.

How much money does it take to survive? If we join a religion then it claims me and I must pay a tithe. If a government claims me then I must pay a tax. If an educational institution claims me then I must pay a tuition. These social institutions sell illusionary services for a price that is far to dear for me that I can not afford. Enlightenment is free for those who know where to search.

Avoidance of knowing myself results in temporary stop-gap rationalizations applied in transient situations by me attempting to justify institutional groupthink. The notion of an engineered society in order to control human destiny is well intentioned but fruitless, indeed. I am not saying that life has no meaning, it does...only in little clumps of unpredictable events. For one to pretend to control the future with religious conditioning, governmental laws, and rote schooling leaves me with an uncomfortable feeling.

The war raged and required our government to start drafting young men for battle. The people were sharply divided on the issue. Those that were for the war were called hawks and those against were called doves. Young men eighteen years or older were conscripted and forced by law to go to war with the alternative being imprisonment. Rawley did not want to go half way around the globe to a country near China to kill people. The reports of death by the hundreds came daily on the television news.
Rawley said that the University of Texas had a committee made of teachers and students who were against the war. They gave advice to those who wanted to avoid the draft. He had signed up to attend a meeting and was given instructions. A meeting was set up between Rawley and an anti-war doctor who would provide a medical history. It would state that Rawley was unfit for military service. Since he no longer had the status of a college student, he was told by the draft counseling committee to seek an exemption based on health related issues.
Rawley arrived at the appointment with Dr. Hermon, the psychiatrist. He was a queer little man with balding black curly hair. Oriental rugs covered the floor of the house and there was a subtle and pleasant smell of incense. "Hello Rawley," said the doctor, "come in." Rawley entered and was introduced to the doctor's children because the doctor lived in the house where he kept his office. "Come this way into my study so we can begin the session," the doctor said making a gesture toward the doorway at the end of the hall. As they entered Rawley took a seat on one of the huge floor pillows in front of a hooka. "Oh," said Dr. Hermon, "I find that cannabis helps to relax my patients. Would you like some?" Rawley accepted the already lit hooka and took a deep draw.
Like many young people, he followed the road to adventure. The conversations we had about his experiences during that decade of social change were many and varied. So much happened so fast. I have forgotten more of the things that he told me happened than I can remember. My memory leaves me with sketchy little impressions of those past times; therefor, it will require a great deal of effort on my part to muse flowingly as I attempt to continue to tell you the story, though it will be well worth the effort. I think you will find insight into that generation and, as a result, maybe you will understand yourself better. It will help you to see the experience in context through the eyes of a musician in a band from Texas that helped to change the world.
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