You are the good cause

I keep on having the same conversation over and over again with various activists and people trying to evolve society.

‘What can I do? Am I doing enough?’

‘I do this and it doesn’t fit in with my ideas.’

‘I have to do things to survive in the system that I don’t want to do.’

‘I feel like I should be on the front lines but I can’t manage it.’

Standing back and looking at these kind of phrases, they are all saying a similar thing: ‘The weight of the world is on my shoulders and my concern for the world is all-powerful.’ The standards they are holding themselves to are much higher than those who conform to society’s norms. And taking one step further back they are saying: ‘I am separate from the world.’ This is the bizarre blip of logic which I have found myself in, and it is very pervasive.  A division of the self from the ocean of humanity, a kind of ideological transcendence.

When you are in a social circle at the vanguard of change, it is very easy to become separated from the whole. You spend so much time at the fringes that you stop identifying with that you are trying to change. You become, in quite a crude way, ‘transcendent’. This is what allows impossible value systems to emerge, along with confusing cycles of guilt and shame and individualistic self-criticism.

None of us can live an authentic, total anarchism in a capitalist world. Taking that world onto your shoulders and expecting to be able to carry it is a promise to be crushed and broken. As activists, our goal is to transform the world-devouring system into something more creative, not to perfect ourselves within that system.

If you are fighting for a good cause, you have to come out of the other end intact to truly succeed. The movement needs healers, nurturers, carers and therapists in its radical spaces. It needs families, gentleness, comfort and respite from the front lines. A balance between being active and passive needs to be achieved.

Even looking at it from a more detached perspective, the cause needs to look after its warriors just to win. This is not just one battle, but an ideological campaign which could last any length of time – even to the end of our lives.

One does not throw ones warriors mindlessly into battle, expecting them to fight at full strength time and time again without rest. For the capitalist system, people are expendable means to an end. Foot soldiers of the system are not in short supply. They can afford to use people, chew them up and spit them out. The people in power are detached enough from the consequences of their actions to use others, without the bite of conscience.

But for us, every individual person is as precious as the whole.

We cannot allow for expendability, because fundamentally we are in touch with our emotions and sensitive to the world (otherwise, we would not be activists). We cannot commit atrocities or trample over others, because we do not have masks of detachment, and we have not been bent out of shape by decades of false promise.

Activists need to recognise their humanity, and acknowledge their own basic needs before taking but a single step on their path. The capitalist world system maintains itself through the sacrifice of one’s time and the martyrdom of one’s dreams, and we should not be mirroring those warped ‘virtues’ in our own movements.

Do you what you can at this time, in your own time.

There is no way to live a pure life in an impure world, and to even try is to fail. Society is not something to separate from, or demonize as some absolute evil. Instead we need to stay involved, take its resources, dare into the labyrinths of power and come out with its power in our hands. Only this time for the good of all, and the good of the world.

This transformation cannot be achieved (or can only be achieved at immense cost) if you see yourself as separate from the world, and fail to look after yourself as a result. You cannot achieve noble ends if the means are to destroy yourselves and your allies.

You are the good cause.

 

Advertisements

A person of colour…

The equality of species is the cry of the enlightened

They see the web on interconnection that allows us to exist

And that oneness is what is sacred.

The difference between a man and a horse

Shrinks the more you think about it

Realize where we came from

What we all need

And what we will evolve into.

 

If the difference between species is no gulf

Then what of the differences within a species.

This I believe to be truth…

 

 

You can believe that there is ultimately no such thing as race.

You can see the world through universal eyes.

You can believe that everything you have done

Is your own deed, without privilege or oppression.

You can believe that we are all one

And that it is time to move past archaic divisions.

 

That won’t make it come true

Because the great white sharks in charge have the power

To poison the well for everyone

And they do.

 

You can say you are not black or white or brown

Just a soul in a body

But will your oppressors see you that way?

And will racists be so enlightened?

And is it in your interests to relinquish your collective might at this point in history?

 

It is ok to see through the madness of the game power plays

But still play it, because that is how you survive.

 

 

 

Imagine you were offered a pill…

Imagine you were offered a pill. Upon swallowing that small, white, round thing, you would cease to feel any of the symptoms of depression or anxiety disorders.

No more insomnia, no more panic, no more suicidal thoughts, no more angst, no more awkwardness, no more feeling isolated, no more feeling like an alien, no more despair.

All of these things would vanish in a matter of minutes, and they would never return. The rate of relapse would be 0%, the pill was that perfect.

Would you take it?

If you have, then you may have just destroyed a large part of yourself in one fell swoop. Seeking a purely medical solution to a spiritual problem, you would have abnegated responsibility to discover yourself, betrayed your soul in a Faustian pact.

Imagine the power it would give the manufacturers of such pills, to dominate others in such a way. Surrendering to them, you would be free from one terrible affliction but, as the saying goes, out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Depression and anxiety can get in the way of ‘life’, but then, what is this life and why should we live it in this way? Insomnia can ruin a work routine, but why would the deepest part of yourself commit such self sabotage? Could it be that the routine itself is the problem, more so than the insomnia?

I see my mental health problems as a quest, an immense riddle, one that cannot be easily sidestepped or shut down. It is useful to sometimes be free from it, distracted or medicated in extreme situations, but only as a break from it, not a total transcendence. As much as I have been on my knees and begged Mephistopheles to take away the anxiety, the vulnerability, the despair, I don’t really mean it.

These dark feelings and deep shadows are there for a reason. If they were not, they would not be there. If you have any degree of sensitivity, you will look upon the world and feel as much of its despair as you do its joy. We are in a troubled time, politically, ecologically, economically, spiritually, you name it. Our systems are failing, and many of us are clinging on to them to the bitter end, for, to use another cliché, better the devil you know.

But there are those of us who, at the very core of our souls, feel absolute revulsion for these broken systems and the price they are exacting on humanity and the world of beasts and plants. This albatross around our necks (there he goes again!) is a necessary one, and is in fact the only real hope of change.

Imagine you were reading a novel, a fantastical one where a hero must overcome herself, confront her deepest demons and strive to discover what is truly inside herself. She may never fully triumph, never fully reach some ‘enlightenment’ or god of healing, but the journey she makes, the heroism of her character,  the artfulness of her life, all of these things are inseparable from her. If the hero of the tale simply popped a pill and lost all motivation or drive to self-discovery, then what a terrible tale that would make. It would be trumpeting complacency as the highest virtue.

Complacency is the curse of civilization, for all complacent civilizations are swift to collapse into decadence. The shadow that stalks us, forcing us to evolve, to get better – this is what drives change.

The pill of all-healing would return us to complacency, and thus to the destruction of our true selves. Such ‘light’ cannot exist in our grey world without doing immense harm to the chaotic, beautiful balance we live in. Already people hide from their emotions by wearing the masks of capitalism and individualism. The price the world is paying for this is immense.

I live in my own shadow, a much taller and more powerful version of myself, and I would not magick that looming power away for anything, or anyone.

There is no pill that can take away all of our problems. But there is a change of perception and paradigm we can all make – to see depression and darkness as a sign that something is wrong out there, and thus drive us, when our energy returns to us, to change it.

 

From spirit to corpus

I am currently reforming, from pure spirit into semi-corporeality. I can feel with highly attuned senses this filling out. The point of wavering, the half-way mark, I have just passed.

It does not mean I will remain this way from now on, only that the cycle is completing itself. Esteem is returning, self-repair units, silent and invisible, are patching things back together in their gradual way; sleep is easy again and I don’t see any gaping holes when I look down.

Self-esteem collapse is something familiar to me. It is a volatile and dangerous state to be in. I feel destructive, drawn to annihilating things people have got for me. It triggers an infinite feedback loop: ‘you need someone, but you are not good enough for anyone’. The friction of these energies causes internal conflict, and drains the soul of its precious resources. In this state I reject others before they do me, and then feel further conflict and guilt for it (despite the fact that it feels right). Everyone is suspect – just because they haven’t abandoned yet, it does not mean they will not. There is a strong element of despair also, things seem inevitable and unchangeable. The only way is to destroy or get away.

I know what it is to be pure spirit, to feel like you have no corporeal form, invisible and insubstantial. To feel like nothing but emotions raging. This is the space where people develop addictions and destroy all that is good in their lives.

I do not understand it, nor how to resolve it. It does seem to go away, or at least recede into the distance. I have started reading on ressentiment, and thankful to the great scholars who have done work on this phenomena. Now that I am returning to the world whole, I can use this opportunity to learn how to break the cycle, or at least delay its return and have longer days of real life.