Bourdain

In the Heart of Darkness and Lightbourdain_congo_river

On June 8, 2013,  ‘Congo’ — Season 1, Episode 7 of Parts Unknown was aired on CNN.

“It is the most relentlessly fucked-over nation in the world, yet it has long been my dream to see Congo. And for my sins, I got my wish.” Bourdain starts the episode off on a dramatic note as he tries to recreate his favorite book, Heart of Darkness.

On June 8, 2018, he committed suicide while on location in France for Parts Unknown.  The suicide appeared to be an “impulsive act“.

anthony_bourdain_parts_unknown

Anthony Michael Bourdain, Artisan, ( June 25, 1956 – June 8, 2018) was an American celebrity chef, author, travel documentarian, and television personality who starred in programs focusing on the exploration of international culture, cuisine, and the human condition. He was considered one of the most influential chefs in the world.

Drew Magary, in a column for GQ, reflected that Bourdain was heir in spirit to Hunter S. Thompson. The Smithsonian Institution declared Bourdain “the original rock star” of the culinary world, while his public persona was characterized by Gothamist as “culinary bad boy”. Due to his liberal use of profanity and sexual references in his television show No Reservations, the network added viewer-discretion advisories to each episode

Artisans want to be where the action is; they seek out adventure and show a constant hunger for pleasure and stimulation. They believe that variety is the spice of life, and that doing things that aren’t fun or exciting is a waste of time. Artisans are impulsive, adaptable, competitive, and believe the next throw of the dice will be the lucky one. They can also be generous to a fault, always ready to share with their friends from the bounty of life. Above all, Artisans need to be free to do what they wish, when they wish. They resist being tied or bound or confined or obligated; they would rather not wait, or save, or store, or live for tomorrow. In the Artisan view, today must be enjoyed, for tomorrow never comes. [Please Understand Me II]

The Documentary Series, Parts Unknown, found Bourdain at the peak of his ability to convey a sense of place and community and connection over meals.  The show was filmed and is set in places as diverse as Libya, Tokyo, the Punjab region, Jamaica, Cambodia,  Los Angeles, Turkey, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Far West Texas, Vietnam, London, the Bronx, and Armenia.

bourdain_map

Provincetown, Massachusetts.  In this episode, the globe-trotting chef returns to his roots: his first job cooking in Provincetown, Massachusetts. It will be a hard, but important episode to watch at this moment, as it deals most closely with Bourdain’s history of addiction.

en·nui

noun
  1. a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.
    synonyms: boredom, tedium, listlessness, lethargy, lassitude, languor, weariness, enervation;

    malaise, dissatisfaction, melancholy, depressionworld-weariness, Weltschmerz
    “an ennui bred of long familiarity”

“Ennui” is how the Artisans become “depressed.”

Excitement (which may include simple restlessness) is not the end most ardently sought by the Artisans, but it can serve as a kind of substitute for spontaneity. To be deprived of their impulses is to be caught in a living death, so they will do almost anything to escape this ennui. The Artisan “ennui” is akin to boredom — they find themselves in grey and fog filled landscape, they are beguiled. To them, they feel in their gut, nothing exciting will ever happen again. It scares the Artisan…

Whether in Detroit or Colombia, New Jersey or Vietnam, Bourdain’s allegiances were clear; he gravitated to people dealt a bad hand by history, the victims of unjust political and economic structures. But he never let them just be victims. In the interior of the Democratic Republic of Congo, he finds a man who maintains an old library that has long since stopped receiving funding from the state. The librarian makes sure the grass is mowed, the floors swept, and the books kept in order even as they disintegrate around him. Bourdain is clearly moved by his seemingly Sisyphean work. The lush cinematography lingers on the fraying bindings, the decaying machinery, and the advancing damp, but it also takes in the palpable neatness of the man’s desk and the grace of his quiet resolve.

Other examples of Composer Artisans include: Larry DavidBill CunninghamDaniel Day-Lewis and Steven SpielbergCarole KingMarvin HamlischNora EphronDr. SeussMeryl StreepCher, and Bob Dylan.

Other Performer Artisans include: Yogi BerraRobin WilliamsMickey RooneySid CaesarSteve MartinBrittney GrinerJanis JoplinGene KrupaLouis ArmstrongAlex KarrasKim Jong UnPhyllis DillerJim CramerMagic JohnsonJosephine BakerWhitney HoustonMarilyn MonroeMichael Jackson and Elvis Presley.

Lost Horizons

There is no Shangri-La, except in Fiction

But in life, there is hope,

until there doesn’t appear to be.

What do Ludwig Boltzmann, Alan Turing, Yutaka Taniyama, and David Foster Wallace have in common?  All were successful from a outside point of view.  Each were very smart, and many would say they were geniuses.  But, they all committed suicide.

I would posit, in the end of their lives, they had lost view of their horizons.  Lost Horizons.  Horizons of the mind.

A gypsy of a strange and distant time
Travelling in panic all direction blind
Aching for the warmth of a burning sun
Freezing in the emptiness of where he’d come from

Is that all there is?

Weltschmerz

Infinite Jest

olivier-hamlet

“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!”

Ludwig Boltzmann:  Statistical Mechanics
Alan Turing: Entscheidungsproblem (decision problem)
Yutaka TaniyamaTaniyama–Shimura–Weil conjecture
David Foster Wallace: Infinite Jest

Successful people who commit suicide are a mystery why in they don’t see life is worth living.

Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann, Architect Rational, (February 20, 1844 – September 5, 1906) was an Austrian physicist and philosopher whose greatest achievement was in the development of statistical mechanics, which explains and predicts how the properties of atoms (such as mass, charge, and structure) determine the physical properties of matter(such as viscosity, thermal conductivity, and diffusion).

Alan Mathison Turing, Architect Rational, OBE FRS (June 23, 1912 – June 7, 1954) was an English computer scientist, mathematician,  logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher  and theoretical biologist. He was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general purpose computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.

Yutaka Taniyama, Architect Rational, (Japanese: 谷山 豊 Taniyama Yutaka; 12 November 1927, Kisai near Tokyo – 17 November 1958, Tokyo) was a Japanese mathematician known for the Taniyama–Shimura conjecture.

David Foster Wallace, Architect Rational, (February 21, 1962 – September 12, 2008) was an American writer and university instructor of English and creative writing. His novel Infinite Jest (1996) was listed by Time magazine as one of the hundred best English-language novels published between 1923 and 2005. His last novel, The Pale King (2011), was a final selection for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2012.

“Until yesterday I had no definite intention of killing myself. But more than a few must have noticed that lately I have been tired both physically and mentally. As to the cause of my suicide, I don’t quite understand it myself, but it is not the result of a particular incident, nor of a specific matter. Merely may I say, I am in the frame of mind that I lost confidence in my future. There may be someone to whom my suicide will be troubling or a blow to a certain degree. I sincerely hope that this incident will cast no dark shadow over the future of that person. At any rate, I cannot deny that this is a kind of betrayal, but please excuse it as my last act in my own way, as I have been doing my own way all my life.”  — Yutaka Taniyama

To attain insight, to see what no others see, to be on top of that mountain:

We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.  — Alan Turing

The Logic of Madness?   The Ultimate Dark Escape?

Of a Strange and Distant Time

Strangers in Strange Lands

A gypsy of a strange and distant time
Travelling in panic all direction blind
Aching for the warmth of a burning sun
Freezing in the emptiness of where he’d come from

Left without a hope of coming home.
Gypsy — Moody Blues

He didn’t want to be a gypsy, he wasn’t really a gypsy by nature, but he left without a hope of coming home.

The world and himself made him a gypsy, an exile: a stranger in strange lands.

But he did push for the burning sun.  It technically is called RADIATION.  Order AND Disorder.

edward_teller

Lichtquanten — Albert Einstein
A Photon — a light quantum

And every one, except one of his mentors, his older fellow exiles, including Einstein, eventually disagreed with Teller Ede, making him an exile three times: a stranger in strange lands, all his life.

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