Kurt Bell

A life of courage, joy and independence.

The Path of Wildness Journal

The Path of WildnessWelcome to The Path of Wildness Journal. This document is a collection of words, sentences, short essays, images and sound files related to the concept of The Path of Wildness. Entries are sometimes used to produce Internet MEME for display on the project MEME page as well as via social media. Hyperlinked entries are those which have been used as MEME. The Path of Wildness is an Open Source Philosophy (OSP) project in which readers are invited to participate by sending contributions to softypapa@gmail.com or by posting on the wall of The Path of Wildness Facebook page. When submitting please include your name or screen name for the purpose of source citation (“anonymous” submissions are also welcome) as well as a website link if you wish a source reference. If you’d like to make your own MEME but don’t know how then please click here to learn how to make an Internet MEME suitable for use on this website.

** Posts are in reverse chronological order with the newest items being those at the top. *

Thank you for writing to share your thoughts about what I was trying to say. This point is one I get a lot of messages about as people are often suggesting I’m missing out on enjoying the outdoors being all alone. I can’t seem to find a good way to explain that my goal is not necessarily to be outdoors but to be alone with my thoughts, which I can more easily achieve in the woods than in any domestic setting. People likewise seem to mistake my use of the concept of wildness as a suggestion that folks should get out and hike which is not the case. Wildness is simply a frontier of fear and trepidation which wilderness acts as a nice symbol. I hope I can do a better job of communicating my meaning in the future as I don’t want young people to think I’m asking them to climb K2 alone when all I’m suggesting is that they apply their powers of consideration and reason, and in a pinch instinct, to the goals and challenges of life rather than waste excess time in hand wringing fear.

While rummaging through some files I happened upon this image of Mt. Wildness. The photo impossibly seems to show the terrifying far side of the mountain. How the image was taken from such a high elevation or even returned to be shared remain an eroding mystery.

Thoughts grow feral
On The Path of Wildness
Linger long
Utterly wild

I quite expect to die here
And soon…

I’d like to share with you a great recipe for solitude: Simply talk, act, think or believe unlike others.

Mt. Wildness is a place
More terrifying than fear
More remote than the unknown
For it is both

Beware the far side of Mt. Wildness
Where our words become babble

There are no fresh starts
Only new steps

There are no bridges here
Where streams are cold and fast

The only streams here
Are cold, fast and treacherous

There’s a howling on the mountain
Something worthy of fear

Mt. Wildness
Is the landscape of fear
A truly dangerous place

Hello friend,

Thank you for sharing your video response with me. In addition to adding your video as a response I have also shared it on The Path of Wildness Facebook and Google+ pages. Your video made me happy for several reasons: watching another vlogger take on and express well their thoughts in a challenging extemporaneous manner, the interesting content of your message, and watching someone bravely take steps through life along the course of their best reasoning. All of these things are difficult and it’s very refreshing to see someone with such courage and strength of will. The world needs more people like you and I hope that you will not give up your vlogging as a means of developing and sharing along the course of your own life discovery; for I’m certain your efforts will have a positive influence on others who may be struggling to find or maintain their footing in a secular world where few support structures or institutions of fraternity exist. Please continue to add your courageous voice to the still dim chorus of free-thinkers, each of whom adds a unique note to the curious melody of life contemplating life.

Have a wonderful day, friend!


Kurt 🙂

I fear no social circumstance
For I’ve been to Mt. Wildness

Mt. Wildness
Is the landscape of fear
A place truly dangerous

There’s a howling
In the darker brush

There’s a woodsman’s cabin
On the near slope of Mt. Wildness
Abandoned many years


The old shack
At the end of the road

To walk the path
Is to adventure on life


Making life
Into an adventure


Making an adventure
Of living

The frontier of relevance


Go alone
And any road
Can become a path

Any road can become a path
If your step is resolute
And your thoughts quite alone


The blessing
Of becoming lost

Ordinary light
Becomes strange
And stranger still


You and I are dissolving
Day by day


After a certain point
We all begin to dissolve


Dissolution is genetic, bodily and
seemingly essential. Do, make and
say what you must before everything
turns to sand.


There’s a sea below Mt. Wildness
A howling thing roams the woods
And a woodsman’s cottage on the near slope

I’d rather not
Know by instinct
Without a thread
Of honest reflection

Trails are courses


What trails do you concede?
What paths do you make?


What trails do you follow?
What paths do you blaze?


Honest virtue
Requires no accolade

Nothing is so important as that

Learn to suppress
Or ignore

Aren’t we all
Crippled and suffering

Hesitate long
And the path will be gone

Practice you art

Paths are formed by instinct
Trails by consensus

I was just able to snap this photo before the sun passed below the summit of Mt. Wildness. I’m not ashamed to confess that I was more than a little scared. The opportunity to get this image came about at the most distant and remote section of this hike.
MEME link http://wp.me/p5A2F-12t

Sometimes go
Where you do not want to go

I’m putting together a sign to post on the frontier of Mt. Wildness. My hope is that it will help keep travelers safe.

The darkness is repelled by courage
Step towards it and it moves away
Though one day it will not

Though no passage is necessary
A bridge to wildness
Is welcome egress

If you fear dark places
Then stay where you are
Otherwise come
 Where none can be your guide

The course of your first inclination
Is nothing more
Than a catalyst to action

They’re all dying words
Make ’em count

An investment in relevance

If you are so inclined
Then always choose adventure over education
You’ll have fewer regrets in the end

Any road
 Can become the path

Play a bit longer outdoors
Before you at last
Must go in

Abandoned paths
Everywhere you look

The Path of Wildness Themes:

  1. Fear and courage
  2. Action
  3. The path
  4. A willingness to suffer and become lost
  5. Alone
  6. Immediacy
  7. Intuition
  8. The Machine
  9. Acknowledging death

Fast movement
Hinders progress

Sanction is petty compensation
For a lifetime upon the straight and narrow

You are not not the path
If the way is very easy
For very long

The most fearful thing
Is the distant howling

The path is fearful
And dark

Let wildness guide
Never trust it to lead
 Lest you never return

Time and distance must always impart change
 Too long or far and friends become strangers, longer still foreign and longer yet alien

Sometimes go
 Where you do not want to go

The features of our face
 Trace the course of our path

Failure is tolerable

Light your own way
Up the slopes of Mt. Wildness
Where the dawn never comes

Move or stop
When you are so inclined
 Have courage for either action

Attitude coupled with action
 Cause the path to appear

Push into the haze
Expecting nothing more
Than an opportunity
To become lost

Mt. Wildness is a dark place
 Full of light

“Oh. Plenty of regrets, but being silly is usually not one of them.” -Speed Gimp

While I was out today (urban hiking in fact) I happened upon a lookout from which point I could see Mt. Wildness. I was happy to spy so many trails to the top.

Faces become strange
 Too long on the path

Birth is a death sentence

Get busy
 Before the curtain starts to fall

When I was a boy my family would sometimes go to a big amusement park called Magic Mountain. Mom and dad would do their thing while my brother Lyle and I were free to roam the park all day. Such fun we had! I remember that every time we went, a few hours before closing, I would become especially eager and anxious to squeeze the most fun out of the remaining time. Lyle and I would literally run from ride to ride, smiling and laughing the whole time despite the fatigue in our muscles. That last hour at Magic Mountain while the sun set and the sky began to darken was always the best, the most fun and the most memorable to me. I feel like that now… Though I’m not expecting to die anytime soon I can certainly see how the sun is dipping lower on the horizon, the air is starting to cool and the first hint of evening is creeping over the landscape. I want to run again, to dash and move while the light remains and to experience as much as possible and to be the best man I can muster while I’ve the opportunity to do so. What a thing it is to be alive for a single day from dawn to dusk. Have a great day, everyone! 🙂 Facebook post

One step and you’re on the path

Precedence is abhorrent
To those upon the path

Those who stare very long at the light
Must surely go blind

Hi again, Rachel. I realize that I didn’t really answer your question properly. In short, the entire concept is about fear and courage. My aim is to encourage folks at a young age to be willing to take a few chances and risks in life in the direction of their goals and dreams. So many who contact me seem immobilized by fear of the unknown. My experience has been that telling folks this directly goes in one ear and out the other and sounds like some old guy telling a youngster to just “get out there and live!” I didn’t hear that type of talk when I was young and young people today are the same. So instead, I simply hint at the idea of courage through the play of light (courage) and dark (fear) in images with simple sentences and phrases that give a nudge at my meaning. That’s really all there is to it. There is absolutely nothing religious or even spiritual in any of this. I really appreciate your question as thinking through a proper answer has helped me to see where I might need to be clearer in what I am doing.

In case anyone ever wonders… The darkness in my images represent fear while the light represents courage. There’s nothing deeper than that. 🙂 -12-29-2012

Either course will do

That light is not an end

Companionship is a warm distraction

Tunnels aren’t dark enough
Find another way

The path runs through the machine

A single step is sufficient

The random and ordered patterns of entropy are beautiful
When we can overcome our tidiness

The way is clearer still
Under cover of night

Wildness is found
Wherever courage
Provokes another step

To discover and engage in art
Is to spend a lifetime upon the path

The slant of sunlight and shadow
Also mark the way

The purpose of consciousness
 Is to temper our response to stimulus

The Path of Wildness is largely irrelevant
To a civilized mind

By this I mean that the willful
thoughts and guided actions necessary
to become and remain civilized are not
always in keeping with a pathway
oriented along the more intuitive
nudgings of our first inclination.
Though we may at times
perceive the path we are perhaps
less inclined or able to step or
remain very alone along its
uncertain course. Though this
can always be achieved if the
way is within our mind only
and we are able and willing to
seek some haven from distraction
 for the duration of our wanted journey.

The Path of Wildness is a solution
 For those not seeking escape

The Path of Wildness
is a hiking philosophy
 And a theory of adventure

Stationary strides are longest

Shadows lie along the path
Shadows point the way
 The darker the better

Instilling fear and the suspension of
Critical thinking are the methods of
those who themselves fear and refuse
to think. Refugees of reason huddles
in the dark, begging company and
offering stale sustenance if only
 you’ll acquiesce.

Only life can traverse the path

Only individuals can have courage
 For the group can never truly be brave

Moving at the pace of interest
 We arrive sooner

Keep walking
 The sun is setting after all

It’s better to remain alone in your room
 Than with another in the wild

If you ever doubt your way
And question right or left
Choose the darker, dense and overgrown route
For this is where your ignorance is thick
And where passage will surely
 Come at a price

I’d offer my hand as guide
 Only then we’d lose our way

It’s good to work alongside your humility,
and share the excess weight of pride,
with our only true and honest companion.

Expect curves upon the path

For a time in my 20’s I didn’t wear shoes.
It was hard at first though my feet soon toughened,
and I walked with ease over every surface,
without discernible wear and feeling everything.
I wonder what might become of my consciousness,
should I give up my learned conventions of though
 and trod treadless across the landscape of mind.

My greatest cerebral challenge is contemplation of what I refer to
as the unique thought. An idea, whim or notion which exceeds my
brain’s inherent bias towards the ingrained and genetically expressed
best practices of survival. An ambition rarely, if ever (I can’t recall
it ever happening in all my life) achieved in a state of sober
consideration. That it might be more readily achieved under influence
seems likely, as though we hold the state of inebriation in low
general regard it nevertheless finds footing at a higher, more
precarious perch than where the teetotaler ever stands.

The Path of Wildness is purely secular
and in no way spiritual
Biology is the defining and controlling factor
There is no sentience guiding our steps
Save perhaps the collective experience
 Encoded in our genes

When I was 18 ideas flashed past my
consciousness too fast and fleeting to
catch or even properly apprehend.
At 28 I squeezed them from my
mind with crayons and loud music;
raw, textured notions wholly adolescent
and shaped like cliche. 38 allowed no
time for such nonsense. 48 finds the
ideas returned though now I’m too
tired and ed up to attempt to lead,
and instead follow meekly wherever
the sunlight moves, seeking warmth
and thoughtful respite in whatever
 time remains.

“curtained with indescribable serenity” -Leann Lewis (via YouTube)

Birds always fly along the path
Leaves always blow along the path

If you are ever uncertain of how to start
Simply follow the leaves and tread in the direction of bird flight

Father and son can walk the path
Just never together

The surest sign you’ve left the path
Is when you meet another along the way


The Path of WildnessThe Path of Wildness is easy to find
The course of a stream
Leaves blown in the wind
A beast’s track through the brush
And the direction of our first inclination

The Path of Wildness is an answer and response to a prescribed way of life which may leave some individuals with a sense that their living is little more than a series of pre-determined, step-like episodes between birth and death. The stages of living between these events: childhood, adolescence, adulthood, parenthood and senior are themselves natural and in accord with the needs of the species and most individuals. Many find their satisfaction in living this course and to these individuals I have little or nothing to say. Others though long for something more; something innate, genetic and seemingly calling. Adventure and change can give a degree of satisfaction and relief yet even these may seem too tame. To those who feel drawn to something beyond the entertainment and stimulation of senses I offer a walk along The Path of Wildness. Don’t bother penciling the event in your schedule, preparing a pack with goodies and supplies or even inviting a friend along, for this experience is along the course of your first inclination and you must surely always go alone.

The Path of Wildness Resources

4 comments on “The Path of Wildness Journal

  1. Pingback: How to make a Facebook MEME on Photoshop « softypapa

  2. The Oldenyouth
    December 24, 2012

    “Once you’re Broken, you can never be Broken again.” ~ Gurd to O during their reunion and reconciiation at the Shizuoka Meet-Up.

    • softypapa
      December 24, 2012

      Hi Oldy, I hope you are doing well and enjoying a nice holiday period! 🙂

  3. Victor Boggio
    December 24, 2012

    Man! I have to rethink how I see you.

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