Brave New World

Wilshire Boulevard runs the entirety of Los Angeles, from the city to the ocean. When it curves into downtown, it’s more than six lanes wide, bordered by the tallest skyscrapers in California. At night, they’re backlit against the sky so that when you run, like I do, down the completely empty sidewalks, above the packed 110 freeway and down into the glass canyon, it feels like the city parts at your presence.

At first, I thought this was an example of the soundtrack delusion. A way to use glamour or juxtaposition or association for a false sense of self-importance. Then I realized that it is the opposite. It’s the same feeling that you’d get rising in the morning in a penthouse apartment overlooking the city, or the one you can understand if you’ve ever pulled into the driveway of someone’s mansion, yes, but it’s there for anyone.

A student or a two-million a year bank executive have equal access to the same feeling – the one that we seem to be subconsciously pulled to, like it is fulfilling or innately purposeful though we know, deep down, that’s just an illusion. So maybe the flutter you feel when the street cleaves through the heart of the city isn’t something to scorn, maybe it’s something to embrace.

Getting your fix cheaply, quickly and naturally, in a weird way, might be a kind of freedom.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.