Welcome to the Jungle was a hit song written by Guns N’ Roses on their album, Appetite for Destruction. As I drive to Frogg’s, my favorite coffee place, it is playing on the radio. I love listening to this song. Thirty years after its release, it is still very relevant. Axl Rose sings, and he mocks our personal everyday world – our jungle. And, yes, for me, writing is like this recording. It is cathartic and expressive. Perhaps, Axl is an alpha male or perhaps the band itself is all about conflict. Perhaps, not all of it is particularly socially appropriate. But, the point is, the song is blatant. Life is not necessarily pretty.
In a way, I enjoy conflict, and the jungle provides that clash. It conjures up an environment of conflict and a place where you may be the hunter or the hunted. If you are hunted, you may feel fear. If you are hunting, you may feel excitement. What is the excitement all about? Realizing that life can be both scary and exciting at the same time heightens your awareness. It heightens the realization that you are, indeed, alive! It makes you feel real and authentic.
The jungle is said to be full of everything, but it can be a confusing place. But there is danger too, in the most real sense – I almost hit a woman getting in the parking lot at Frogg’s. Yet, with its excitement, the jungle, our current world, can also be an addicting place. Like my need for coffee, and now there are so many choices that provide immediate gratification. Coffee is all the adrenaline I need, and that is where I am at right now – at Frogg’s.
Life requires us to accept that chaos is present and that change is everywhere. As with conflict, I think that chaos is not necessarily bad. Even, at a coffee shop. There are just too many choices. Why can I not just have a simple cup of coffee? There used to be two choices –caffeinated and decaf. However, I have learned that quality is better than quantity. And with all these choices, even though it may appear chaotic, there is now a better chance for quality.
Why would I ever want silver bullets in a jungle? Sure, if I had a silver bullet, it may give me some satisfaction. But, that satisfaction would be temporary, like this cup of coffee. There would be a beginning and an end, and that satisfaction would end. So why is it necessary to have satisfaction if it is only temporary? Life is about beginnings and endings. Nothing goes on forever. And the jungle is everything that is outside those parameters. It is there and always will be there.
For me, the only jungle that I contend with is that which is within. I require myself to accept the chaos in the present. Your place in the jungle is determined only by yourself. Rather than hunting or being hunted, why not be still? In that stillness, there is knowledge. What we know, we don’t tend to fear as much. If you have knowledge, it does not matter how much you have or what it is of. Today, it is simple irony that we seem to want more of something than less. Perhaps, that is where fear in the jungle becomes evident.