when i wrote these pages of slumtown, i lived alone in the woods of the mind, a mile from any neighbour, in a home which i had built myself in the vagaries of imagination on the shore of algoa bay. and earn my living by the labour of my hands only, with my eyes set upon beauty. i embraced this revolution of the world wide web and am always a sojourner in civilized life. i should not obtrude my affairs so much on the notice of my readers, if very particular inquiries had not been made by my townsmen concerning my mode of life, which some would call impertinent, though to me they do not appear at all impertinent, but considering the circumstances very natural and pertinent.
some have asked what diet i eat, others ask how much time do i spend on the bike, if i did not feel lonesome and why would i consider living such a radical lifestyle: living off vegetable food, dwelling in solitude and cycling wherever i go. owning minimal possessions and choosing to devote a significant portion of my income to charitable purposes. we are all makers of our lives. life will give us what we desire. we must know ourselves to love ourselves. some who have large families have asked how can i not desire to have kids and why do i not believe in marriage, religion or university institutions. after all our life is not so much threatened as is our perception. they say i’m stubborn but maybe it’s for a good reason. i must lead my life how i feel
i will therefore ask those of my readers who feel no particular interest in me to pardon me if i undertake to answer some of these questions in this book. in most books, the i, or first person, is omitted; in this it will be retained; that, in respect to egotism, is the main difference. these words come from a pure place, we commonly do not remember that it is, after all, always the first person that is speaking. i should not talk so much about myself if there were any person whom i knew as well. unfortunately iAM confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience. it is our experiences that render an account for our lives are by themselves a narrative.
moreover, i, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men’s lives; some such account as he would send to his kindred in a distant land; for if he has lived sincerely, it must have been in a distant land to me. these pages are addressed to all men of all nations who are searching for meaning and want to find something deeper in these changing times. i trust that none will stretch the seems in putting on the coat, for it may do good service to him whom it fits.
the best literature is that which teaches me about who iAM and does not seek to drill. the best story in this life can only be your story. he who is simple and low takes all things unto himself. do not fear the brightness. there is always something new that awaits. all things metamorphoses nothing stays the same change is constant. learning has no end.