Oppression and belittlement
Leave deepest wounds.
After all these years
Still, resting on top of spikes
No bed can be made
Or elysium found.
A shadow follows me everywhere
Begging to be seen.
It is ugly and the contours of its face
Are twisted in sorrow
Self-pity, pleading for mercy.
In the next moment it flips
Infinite in its hatred
To spite, clawing down, dragging
A weight inside my skull
A child crying in pain.
The abusers take your mind
Like the seed of a rapist
Planted inside a womb
And the foetus inside
Cannot be torn free easily
And not without guilt
Or shame, the army and fortress
Of the abusers
They are clueless and warped
Like hungry cattle upon pasture
Leaving nothing to grow again.
No words can reach through
The barred gates of ignorance
No sentiment of mutual love
Can replace their lust for power
Over anything, even their own.
They strive to control and dominate
So warped are they themselves
Unable to understand their own inner wounds
They perpetuate pains
Then fly away to lick wounds
And put on apologetic airs
Whilst the demons inside grow again in might.
For anyone deep in the bowels
Of these castles – no hope within its walls
No promise of inheritance or freedom
For they will grasp on to their meagre power
Til their corpses rot on petty thrones.
That is all they have.
No soul remains, and all dreams
Withered away into nothing long ago
Only bitterness and ignorance
Can fuel such wretched, barely sentient people.
Only outside the walls can the call be heard
The cry for help like a raven’s caw
But not so easily now.
The deranged society around us
Has closed ears, and a venomed-blade
Behind its cloak (a suit of humanitarianism
And a tie of liberty).
Only the cracks in the pavement
Offer any chance, the bands of fighters
Scattered lights, embattled souls
Awash in anxiety and agony
Alike to yours, but with different abuses
And different wounds inside.
They are the only choice and the only chance
Of escape, and then thriving.
For it is too late to go back now.
Far have we stepped away
From the cloying circle of conformity
And the addictive drug of obedience.
Long have we dismantled the destructive engine of capital
We cannot go back now.
So all we have is each other
No one can truly hurt you
More than you can hurt yourself.
The mind is like a poison
Upon a natural plant
An over-used organ, draining its power
And better silenced most days.
No one can harm you
Nor fulfil you or complete you.
This you must do yourself.
Everything you need is already in you
From birth til death;
The only real light you might know
The only real flame against
This cold age of nihilisms.
Nurture that soul and respect it
Try not to sell it short
Or sell it out.
When you know yourself
As much as you can know that fragment of divinity
Others will know, and you can go among them
In union and friendship
And then you might begin to know freedom
‘Yeah I’m going on holiday after this work season finishes. Then I will return to my productive labours at the office. How about you Tim? What are you doing with yourself’? asked William.
‘Oh…I’m currently “between jobs”.’
William looked at him with a slight edge of disdain. Tim wished he could shrink and vanish into a crack in the pavement.
A large source of my anxiety and self-worth problems have historically come from the w-word.
I used to not do it much. Not doing it much was not very good for my soul, which vegetated in front of the computer, or in front of blank, white walls. At around the age of twenty-three, I stopped playing computer games or staring at walls, and started being more creative. A little bit every day – of writing, music, and game design. I remember a quite specific moment when this rhythm started to sink in. Even though a lot of the writing and creativity didn’t go anywhere, and wasn’t cohesive, creating something every day gave me some direction, self-worth and helped hone my skills.
This ‘work ethic’ is still with me today. However, it is not so useful as it once was. When you are creating things for the necessity of filling some ego-void, it is very easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. The work is not always directed toward any goal, and small accumulation doesn’t always get you anywhere.
Doing tiny bits of work every day is like building a sand-castle, where every time you add a bucketful of sand, half a bucketful has been lost to the laws of entropy, decayed and misshapen. Stepping away from the sand-castle, you can reconsider how it is going, or see it from different perspectives. You could even say fuck this sand-castle, and go do something else!
It is deeply neurotic to feel a severe compulsion to do things. There are days when you cannot create something, when you fall ill or just feel plain uninspired. Is it legitimate to hate yourself and feel deflated on these days? If so it shows a ‘living in the present’ which definitely isn’t mindful or healthy.
So as you can tell, my ‘work ethic’ can be quite destructive and self-negating, a double-edged sword. It is also not necessarily productive. In this sense it has a lot in common with another work ethic.
That of the capitalist world.
There is this destructive belief that we should always be active. We should shun the hours of night and live for the hours of day, scrambling around, doing things. Endlessly doing things. Always doing things.
I have heard many people say ‘I am currently between jobs’, as if all of life was to be contained within the boundaries of work. As if not having a ‘job’ was something to be ashamed of, and required a euphemism.
Yet always being active does not mean one is being productive. A short-sighted measure of productivity misses the much important bigger picture. A busybody might work every day, and think that everyone else has to. In a vigourous rhythm of work, our busybody could easily fail to take care for themselves (I’ve been there), and carry resentment for others who do not share their ‘burden’ (there also). They might think that those who do not share their busybody attitude to work and perpetual industriousness are lazy and in need of ‘motivation’.
But other people might work at a different rhythm. The artist who paints one meaningful brush stroke per week is no less creative than the contracted musician who writes ten advertising jingles a week. In regards to productivity, one person may mindfully achieve more with a single hour of clever labour than a fusty busybody achieves in a week of running around keeping themselves busy.
Because those who stop to consider things can change fundamentals which save everybody time and energy, or which sets us on a better direction.
If a farmer spends ten days sowing ten acres with a shitty plough is he more productive than the farmer who spends five days sowing ten acres with the much better plough he took the time to improve and re-design? One who measures work in days and hours is bound to think that the longer one spends on something, the more productive they are being. This is simply time-filling, not meaningful, praiseworthy labour. Industriousness is no bedrock of pride or productivity.
The idea of a neurotic work-ethic is stopping us from pausing and planning for the precarious future. The more we run on the treadmill, the more we fear to step away, even if the end result is a disastrous collapse. The ceaseless juggernaut of capitalism is literally driving our society blindly over a cliff toward climate catastrophe.
There are essential labours which must always be performed. In the twenty-first century we could make these comparatively few, thanks to technology, human wisdom and the bountifulness of nature. These essential labours do not need a work-ethic to promote them: if they are not done, people will starve and die, buildings will rot and collapse. Nor do they need particular praise or ‘bigging-up’. They get done because they should get done. Those who are able but refuse to perform these essential labours, or create extra work for others, should rightly change their ways, or go away. But to expect everyone to be ever-active is the great folly and conceit of our times.
If someone voluntarily spends their time grinding away at their craft to be the best that can be at it, I have much respect for them. But if someone expects others to always try their hardest, always be active, and be forced into involuntary work, then they can go and sod off.
The greatest sin you can commit is to try and perfect yourself.
To hold yourself up to impossible expectations.
To push your body far beyond its capabilities.
To build expectations to be ever happy, ever productive, ever active.
Perfection is self-harm. The light, when too strong, blinds eyes and makes you feel sick.
Crawl in shadows and feel earth under your fingertips.
Show where you are weak, because people will find out anyhow.
Be a spectrum and a totality, not a linear light with its disembodied soul.
But the greatest sin of all is to try and perfect yourself.
FUCK THE CAPITALIST WORLD
FUCK THE CAPITALIST WORLD
FUCK THE CAPITALIST WORLD
It is impossible to escape the news, as much as I find it necessary in my current condition. It feeds anxiety, sensationalistic violence and ‘unprecedented’ tragedy, every day.
The news is a narrative, and a sorrowful one. The mind, wishing to predict the future, looks to the past, and projects it outwards. We watch the news, then, to be safe, to gather memories from society’s great ocean.
As with most anxious thoughts and dispositions, there is exaggeration and skewed perception. The news, like an anxious mind, focusses on danger, terror and harm.
But the news only tells of ‘cinematic’ harm, massive harm, sellable harm. The news about the millions of people, elderly, with disabilities, poverty-stricken, living in absolute psychic squalor is few and far between. These drawn out sufferings, if added together in some utilitarian calculus, would far outweigh the pain of war and terror.
This is in the billions: the exploited and the starved. The objectified and the enslaved. Billions, everywhere. Not only overseas, in distant lands and different narratives, but here. Your own elected officials will harm people in your own life time in your own country. This is real and it is happening.
Slaves all to ‘progress’, more aptly described as fear of stillness and re-evaluation. The juggernaught carries on, humanity is swept away. Chugging oil in its engine, it breathes out thick clouds of noxious smoke.
Fortunately, it will slow and eventually grind to a halt. There is much cause for optimism as humanity evolves, and I have no doubt we can grow from our pain, if we finally learn from it.
The antidote to anxiety does not lie in the cause of anxiety. One that takes cannot give, one that silences cannot implore, one that demeans cannot exalt. We must look beyond the societies around us for answers. We must plumb the depths of our histories, reaching back to stone circles and we must dream to the future where things improve and technology is used for the common good. We must dare to imagine something beyond capitalism, or amoral systems which can never provide for the most important thing of all. Human, plant and animal wellbeing, safety, encouragement and happiness.
They harm people every day, but you never hear about it in the news. Well, you can hear about it here. Now that we have these shared nodes of consciousness, let us expand until we reach critical mass. Let us undo these shackles of thought and throw off the heavy weights of despondency. Evolution is unstoppable, be part of it, and make sure you are evolving mankind in the right way.
It is possible. It is only the part of the mind that builds predictions based on anxiety that says it is not. That is a worm of the mind, planted by those who harm people.
i) The closer you get to the dragon’s lair, the easier your quest becomes? Oh no, no, no, no. The nearer you get, the harder each step.
And the more you understand of the world, the more sensitiely you grasp the magic linking all things together, the stronger you get? Oh no, no, no, no. The more sensitive you are, the more risk you stand of being hurt.
ii) There is a consolation. Things act in fractal systems; psyches, families, societies. Change one element and the others have to change, forced to evolve. You do not need to critique everything, overcome everything, fight everything, re-build everything.
Start within, work your way without. Watch the house of cards fall, and get ready for ruin and rebirth.
iii) The hour draws near. You do not know what you will do when you get there, only that you will do something. And you have the strength to triumph (you know this somewhere deep inside, beyond self-knowledge). You are not some lacklustre rebel. You are a truthseeker, with the mandate of a fairer world and superior future (the imperfect heavens).
Game-ender, change-bringer, king-slayer.
Your castles are made of air, your sword and shield are thoughts, your people are phantoms, all you have is your
and your mind. These things , they can overturn the order of a psyche, of a family, of a society, of a world, with a whisper.
With no-where to retreat, you must push on.
iv) Contained within one flake of snow are tiny versions of the same flake, repeated over and over and over as the perceiver is drawn deeper and deeper into its infinity.
Now I am a note of chaos
In the symphony of order
A madman and an idealist.
In less than a decade
I will be a visionary
And a hero of mankind.
They know this
The corpses who hold on to power
Yet til the bitter end
They will waste the lives of their vassals
And tear the land apart.
Power knows not past, present, future
It is timeless, like the depths of the mind
Irrational, lost, desperate, screaming at the void
Like a child, for more, more, greater hoard
For fame, and followers, golden things, nations at its clawed feet.
Power knows no reverence for life
And has no love for the beauty of the galaxy.
But the tyrant always falls
For ‘mad-folk’ like me are always born,
And the people always triumph,
The only question is when.
They hate me, for I am change-bringer
I am truth-wielder, I am death-howl,
I am game-ender, I am a note of chaos
In the symphony of order.
'The city is expanding All-pervading
Devouring everything into itself.
The system is absolute
Chaining everything inside itself...'
Look at the cracks in the pavement
Where moss and lichen grows
Green through the grey Look at the cops joking around
Look at the council worker staring At their reflection in a monitor Realizing their futility. Authority is in our minds
The feelings of defeat
Are conjured in our heads;
The swell of over-thinking. Left for ten years
This city would become a forest;
Plants feed off concrete
Trees tear it apart.
We are always only
A few years away from victory.