Be an individual, not a cog in the machine.
June 21, 2013

Viggo Mortensen, a well-known American actor, artist, and polyglot, gave a powerful speech on the Thursday, June 21 edition of the Alex Jones Show, in which he emphasized becoming a creative individual in a world of collective conditioning.

A few days prior to the interview, Mortensen participated in the inaugural AMFM Fest in Coachella Valley, California, an independent film, art, and music festival.

In the interview, Alex asked Mortensen about his view on the growth of independent culture, which was well represented at the AMFM Fest.

“It’s always been there and it’s always going to be there,” Mortensen responded. “It’s just how much attention it gets? When people don’t hear about it very much, they think it’s dead or they think artists have pulled out.”

At the AMFM Fest, Mortensen received the Dennis Hopper award, named after the late actor. Mortensen said he felt he earned the award because of his lifelong friendship and collaboration with Hopper, who was also a prolific photographer, painter, and sculptor.

“Dennis was always curious, even towards the end of his life,” Mortensen said. “He always wanted to go see a new artist show or a new independent movie. He was curious, and curiosity is something we always have as kids.”

Mortensen connects the curiosity of a child and the engagement of an artist as alternatives to indoctrination and conditioning.

“The function of artists is to keep people childlike in a positive way,” he said. “To keep open to the world. Apart from traveling to different countries, to different communities, to different parts of your city, I think that art is one of the greatest anti-war and anti-poverty weapons.”

“When your eyes are open and you see how other people live and how other people think and create, it’s a lot less likely you’re going to be convinced by your army captain or your president or your politicians that it’s a good idea to go bomb this or that country, that it’s a good idea to forget about this or that community or this group of people in your own country.”

Later in the interview, Mortensen called for disconnecting from the virtual world of electronics in favor of the real world outside.

“It’s true that you have to push yourself,” he said. “I mean it’s the same as getting off the couch and at least going for a walk. It’s not always the first thing you want to do. You maybe rather stay on the couch and eat another bag of chips.”

“Get off the phone, get away from the TV and so forth once in a while or regularly.”

Mortensen ties this effort of being connected to the outside world to being connected to your own self, expanding your individuality rather than being influenced by others.

“If you’re curious about what’s going on in your community and what’s going on in the world, you got to make an extra effort,” he said. “Go listen to people and go read people you probably won’t agree with, just to get the other side of it.”

“Make up your own mind. The left, the right, all journalists, all commentators, have their spin, have their motivation. Make up your own mind. You got to make an effort. It’s not just going to be handed to you by a computer without you making an effort to go look elsewhere.”

In addition to his artistic pursuits, Mortensen also founded Perceval Press, an artistic publishing house based in Santa Monica, California.

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