July 4, 2021

A piece on Anthony Bourdain

A piece on Anthony Bourdain
It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn. Maybe that’s enlightenment enough -- to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom, at least for me, means realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go. – Anthony Bourdain (1956 – 2018)

Bourdain was the best at what he did. He did not consider himself only a journalist; he was the ideal storyteller, unapologetic and unreserved. He was blunt like no other, the real thing. Bourdain’s love for the kitchen led him to a deeper journey where he began to draw connections between the past and the present, trying to understand how culture and history shape what we eat. While immersing himself in a country’s towns and in their unique cuisine, culture, history, and scenery, he uncovered the sheer truths and crude realities that subsist within its corners. He showed us plain and simple that not everything is what it seems to be. To understand a place and its history, we must understand its people, arguably the most qualified sources and witnesses of change. Through his unique and sincere exchanges with people from all walks of life he showed us that for some, pain and suffering never goes away, and that feelings from a distant past, can always come back to haunt you.

The raw images from some of the darkest corners he visited showed us that while everything changes, nothing changes at all. More importantly, while some of us live in unjustified oblivion, others endure a daily struggle to find peace and freedom from this material world – one built around façades and the unequivocal truth that self-identity, or self-worth, is attained from material objects.

Are happiness, love, consciousness, and self-awareness traded for momentary lapses of pleasure and satisfaction? If so, then like everything, these shall come at their own price. Eventually, the happiness we feel and sense of belonging that we draw from material objects becomes marginal, nothing is enough. Our ability to think, connect and feel to the point where our instinctive nature to sustain and overcome hardships becomes compromised. We lose sight of what really matters, we forget who we are and what makes us feel alive.