Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

FINAL POST - Comedian Philosophers: Bill Hicks (16-2)

Bill Hicks was another philosophical comedian that left his mark before his untimely death at the age of 32 due to pancreatic cancer. Unlike George Carlin, Bill Hicks focused on more specific issues and concepts such as the morality and superficial nature of pop culture and consumerism. He believed that the powers that be controlled the propaganda force that is mainstream media and television. With that power they oppress and dumb down the American people. You could easily tell from watching this man perform that he has done some serious internal debating and thought, because it shows when he is on the stage.

Being a comedian, however, he covered all the sensitive subjects that many philosophers debate about, including life and religion. Below is a short snippet from Hicks about religion, and while it is not that deep or enlightening, it does paint the picture of what religion has done to some people and has an innocent laugh at it. Of course with all things potentially offensive, viewer discretion advised.

Bill Hicks sounded like a man having a conversation with a group of friends when he was on the stage performing. The audience would be sucked in to what they felt like a conversation they were involved in because he would ask questions and tell people to ask questions as well. One of his biggest things he tried to convey to his audiences was to not just accept things as they are or as they are told. This is similar to the philosophical concept of existential accepted truth. Hicks would say you make your own truth and should do your own research, and I would agree.

The video above is primarily about freedom and the nature of the American government. He also touches base on the concepts of marketing and advertising. The last 4-5 minutes are the same skit as the video at the bottom of this post, so that's a heads up so you do not watch it twice.

This sparks the question of are we truly free? We certainly like to tell ourselves we are. Do you think that the society we live in where marketers, advertisers, lawyers, and so forth exists, creates the cyclical nature of the hamster running in the wheel? Do things of that nature peddle the idea of holding us back from evolving as people? It is very interesting to sit and think about an ideal or at least a forward moving society, and then have things that exist today stand out as irrelevant or even as holding us back from achieving that greater civilization.

Bill Hicks to me is a person who saw things the way I do at times. He questions everything, always asks for more from his peers than just what they have been told, and relishes each opportunity. Now I am no comedian on a stage or world leader with the power to influence the world, nor would I want to be, but people like Bill Hicks inspire me to try my best when I am involved in a situation to speak to people regarding the 'important' topics. Besides this philosophy class most of us will never have such an open debate about these issues again, especially not without the societal fear of speaking blasphemously or offending somebody who is determined to be offended.

I think we need more Bill Hicks' and George Carlin's, and any other person who challenges the human mind and the society we have created together. Without people like them we may as well be in a 1984 Orwellian society being punished for doublespeak and thoughtcrime.

Bill Hicks used to end his shows with the video below. He basically said life is like a ride in an amusement park with its ups and downs, and he closes it by stating we have the choice as people to do what ever we want. Specifically the ability to take the billions of dollars we spend on war and instead use it to feed, cloth, and educate the people of the world.


  1. unique 16-311:52 AM CST

    im not sure if he was completely serious or joking when he was saying that it only took a choice. however, if he was serious i would like to say that i disagree. in this world in order to really been heard your voice has to be backed with some form of power or wealth or influence. true enough anybody can make a difference on the grassroot level and that is very important. but in order to make a major change or stir up some discussion, you either have to have influence or do something off the wall.

  2. "Besides this philosophy class most of us will never have such an open debate about these issues again..." If true, that's the saddest statement I've read in a long time. But I think it can only be true if we let it be true. Get up, stand up...

    Unique: we live in a time when influence is available to anyone with a good idea or novel form of self-presentation. There may have been a time in our history when only the wealthy could make a difference, in this society. But that time has passed. Get out there and do your thing!