A Repurpose-Driven Life
by Mike Lewinski
The 2012 TED global theme is “radical openness”, and Brad Blanton’s autobiography has arrived just in time. Radical honesty is the new zeitgeist, ranging from the revelations of Wikileaks to Lady Gaga’s latest video, “Marry the Night”. In that short film she declares “it’s not that I don’t want to see things exactly as they happened, it’s just that I prefer to remember them in an artistic way. And truthfully, the lie of it all is much more honest because I invented it.”
So it is in “Some NEW Kind of Trailer Trash” where the author advises us at the start that “…this is a work of fiction…. All life stories are fictional. Because of selective memory, habitual lying, and a few other things, all we can ever get to, try as we might, is a story. Stories are wonderful things, but they are not replicas of reality.”
President Kennedy warned us of the danger of mistaking stories for reality more than 40 years ago: “For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie–deliberate, contrived and dishonest–but the myth—persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Mythology distracts us everywhere.”
Yet I also believe that at the deepest levels of our consciousness we are storytelling creatures and have no choice, try as we might to remember our lives “right”. As the poet Muriel Rukeyser says, “the universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”
I’ve come to understand that our myths become dangerous when we pretend they are reality, and never more dangerous than when we forget that we are pretending. Lady Gaga’s story and Brad’s story are both made explicit as myth-making, and by doing so they invite us to do the same with ours.
Can an autobiography also be a manual for personal growth and social change? I think so, and this book shows us how. In his previous books on Radical Honesty, Brad writes about how we are faced with the Sisyphean task of living with the neurotic survival mechanisms we developed to survive our childhoods, and how we can only be happy if we choose to do deliberately what we are condemned to do reactively. In this book we learn how the author has chosen to care for other people as an activist, in order to live his life as an artist, rather than reactively caring for people in order to manipulate them and earn their loyalty. The repurpose-driven life is one obsessed with turning neurosis into gifts, and this book will convince you to lead a repurpose-driven life too.
As Hunter Thompson would say: buy the ticket, take the ride.
Full disclosure: I work for the author. I’m writing this review because I like the book and think you will too. I’m leading a repurpose-driven life too and have a bias for it.
Brad Blanton and Steve Jobs
by Jock Millenson
Traveling recently from New York to London and a few days later on to Vienna and back, I had quite a bit of time on my hands. I bought the hardback copy of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson at Newark airport leaving and I had only just received on my Apple MacBook by email SOME NEW KIND OF TRAILER TRASH Volume I, an autobiography by Dr. Brad Blanton. I found these parallel lives in review to go together quite nicely. Jobs and Blanton (like myself) were/are products of the tailwinds of the 60s, and were both unconventional enough to think outside the box. Jobs placed himself at the intersection of art (aesthetics) and technology, Blanton is at the intersection of love and politics. Steve Jobs saw the potential of the digital computer and was driven to bring it to the individual in creative new forms. Brad Blanton saw the potential of deep honesty for the development of true intimacy and was driven to create a practice out of that insight and bring that to everyone in the world. Jobs was a demanding (even cruel) taskmaster in his devotion to perfection; Blanton was tireless in his willingness to explore the boundaries of love and sexuality. Both, in their different ways, wanted “power to the people” and were willing to upset conventional morality to fight for it.
Now Jobs is gone and we have to see where his legacy will lead and to what extent his influence will continue at the leading edge of technology for the people. Brad Blanton is still with us, still applying Radical Honesty in new spaces and places, and about to lead a 20 city tour to bring it directly in the service of the new grassroots “occupy” movement for social equality and a sustainable future for the human race. Blanton’s process is as much a mutation in human thought as are Jobs’ innovative and beautifully crafted machines, and it offers far deeper implications for changing the way we live and relate to one another.
Honesty, Sex, Drugs, & Rock n’ Roll
by Matthew Kupstas
Some NEW Kind of Trailer Trash is one man’s story of how living out loud and doing what you want works pretty well most of the time. The book would make for a hell of a movie, or several movies, particularly the chapter on May Day. I came out of my mind and into my senses while reading this book as I laughed, cried, tingled, smiled, clenched my teeth, and became aroused. I love Brad, and have grown and healed and hurt tremendously since reading his books and attending his workshops. I am eager to read Volume 2! He wrote the book as if we were sitting in his living room having a drink with him. There are countless examples of times when he has stood up to authority and was better off for it, instead of being punished. I imagine that I am envious of his travels, sexual experiences, and manner toward authority.
The story is small town America turned travel writing. Brad was a civil rights organizing redneck, an atheist preacher who has experienced God, an abused child turned healer, and a poor boy who became upper middle class. Buy this book.