The man under the railway bridge

There is a man who lives under the railway bridge leading to the busy high street.

All of his possessions are pushed against a wall and his mattress takes up about a third of the walkway. Curiously I was thinking yesterday that if it were me, I would put the mattress against the wall and my things as a kind of barrier. But maybe they would blow away or be kicked by passers by.

The man under the railway bridge has no safety barrier around him when he sleeps. You can look in on him, down from a bus window or directly there. He has no defences against other people’s eyes, no separation or privacy from the outside world.

The fumes from the buses must be poisoning him and the harsh outdoor weather slowing draining him and the light pollution denying him true rest and recovery.

What must have befallen such a person to lead them to this situation? I cannot know what he thinks or feels, whether he is fleeing something, whether he would rather be out there than in some place worse. But I cannot imagine it being a good situation.

If he is a musician he cannot keep his guitar in good order, if he is a baker he cannot work his hands on the dough, if he is a athlete he can’t keep his fitness high, if he is a teacher he cannot order his mind or keep to a schedule.

Whatever this man may have been, he is in a place where that potential is not realized. Somewhere along the way, enough people have failed him and the system has failed to catch him – or deliberately let him fall.

I hope the man who lives under the railway bridge is picked up by the two great, warm hands of society and given walls to protect himself, refind himself, counsellors to talk him through whatever needs to be spoken or just to be there in moments of desperation and friends enough to give him something to live for.

I hate this callous system, its economics and its deranged values. Those at the very ‘top’ must have gouged-out hearts and atrophied souls to allow for, or even cause, so much suffering both to their fellow man and to nature itself.  It must be a heavy burden on them, all that power, all that real suffering they cause.

That is the real tragedy here – all that suffering is for nothing. It does not teach our souls or take us on some spiritual journey. There are people who are forced to suffer, it is immoral and it needs to stop.

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Listen to that deepest impulse

I don’t know how long this will go on for. I don’t know if it will ever be healed or go away, if it will let me live as other people do. I cannot give any guarantees to myself, or to anyone.

No amount of ‘sleep hygiene’ can guarantee a dreamful night. Positive thinking and mindfulness is not going to achieve much more than temporarily helping to cope – at worst it divorces you from your own being. All the new found things, breakthroughs in ‘gut health’, yoga and all that, is not the ticket.

All you can do for sure is listen to that deep impulse, let it manifest in you. It is you, you are not separate from it. Being aware of it will not fulfil it, there is no ‘pure consciousness’ which can perceive back upon itself. When a child cries do you tell them to be ‘aware’ of the reason why they are crying and expect them to be ok with that? I should hope not! You would listen to why they are crying and try to deal with the cause, to soothe their fears if they are unfounded and provide their needs if they are unfulfilled.

Likewise we cannot turn off or turn away from the manifestation of our deep impulses, our deepest pain. For me it manifests as insomnia and discomforting states. They can wipe me out, destroying a routine, disabling me.

But I have stopped using Valium to guarantee me a dreamless night’s rest. If I cannot make it to something the next day, unless it is extremely important, I have to accept I cannot make it. I will listen to the body-wisdom, even in its most debilitating states. This is the only long-term way to move forward.

Actually listening, playing out subconscious movements in the dark, holding the deep wounds and acknowledging them tends to work for me. It lets me rest, it fades into the background. It might never go away, but the more I can deal with it and accept it, the more confident I become that I will never again fall into a total abyss.

Adapting to cope or thrive in this society is not a way to be healthy and true – I have seen how brutalizing it is to those around me. It is an illusion and a sad one. We must fight to transform the world we live in, allow people to live out their pain and be dormant whenever they need to be. Wounded adults will never bring about a peaceful, enlightened society. Ignorant, power-hungry fools know not even themselves – how can they know anything of the world around them.

What would it mean to transcend your own self and be able to function despite the screams of your soul? It would be to live inauthentically, something capitalism demands of us. The destructiveness of our society results from such detachment. It is all around us, and it is all because we are afraid of nature in its truest and nearest manifestation: in ourselves.

When you next lay awake at 3am, unable to sleep, tossing and turning, rather than try to wipe yourself out with pills ask: what is this deepest impulse trying to tell me? Why is my body on strike, what is trying to come to the surface…

 

Depression – breaking it all down (Part I)

I am not one of those people who believes that depression is all about thought processes, behaviour and ‘life style’. It is something far more deep reaching and fundamental than that. You cannot think your way out of depression, just as you cannot think your way into it.

However, I still see the important role of thinking in keeping you there once you are there and the dreaded making a bad situation seem worse!

Depression for me makes all the bad things seem inevitable and the source of the bad things far more powerful than it truly is. It is like a wall of despair, a vast amorphous barrier, so tall you cannot possibly see over, or around it. But when we focus in on this behemoth, we see that it is made up of individual components, and our perspective is that of someone hunched, low and defeated.

Stand up to your full height and the wall, whilst still imposing, is not so large. Focus in, and though you will see the strength of your enemy, the weak points also reveal themselves.

Breaking it all down –

My new direction is to break it all down in my mind; to dispel this mythic image of an undefeatable, invincible, inevitable foe. I know that the hostility of capitalist society is a very real thing, not just an imagined enemy. But lets use our imagination too break it down into realistic components.

Nature is being destroyed by the machine, but cracks in the pavement are full of life, chopped down trees unexpectedly sprout a thousand branches, certain species thrive even in this era of mass extinction. In ten years time an abandoned neighbourhood will become a wild garden, in a hundred it will become a grove, in a thousand there will be nothing left of it, strangled and hidden by thriving life. Nature is going no-where, and it is never far from regeneration. This ancient thing is more resilient than us, and we will always live in its beautiful shadow.

The officials who keep the machine running, do they truly believe in what they are doing? Would they not rather be pursuing some goal more true to themselves, spending time with their children, resolving emotions they have repressed, exploring and finding themselves? The amount of coercion and brainwashing needed to keep people in their place to blunt their true dreams and ambitions is proof positive that most people, even those in positions of power, are themselves led along and trapped by the madness of civilization. The lack of self-knowledge and true ambition, this is a reason to pity the machine-servants, hypnotized by digital screens, life void of meaning but for the targets from above and the will of invisible figures more powerful than themselves.

Advertising is everywhere, shallow, crass, idiotic pleas for conformity. But there is nothing democratic about advertising; it is there, but who wants it there but the sad corporations trying to control our choices? No one is really taken in on a conscious-level; eyes are rolled on the tube, people take the piss out of the sell-out celebrities, a bad pun elicits a long groan. Deep down, a subconscious lever may have been triggered, a greater sense of dissatisfaction and desire to go on holiday to ‘discover life in Greece’ (or whatever). But this is again an affliction – how many of us would vote to give powerful corporations thousands upon thousands of square metres of space to try and influence our decisions? The ubiquity of advertising only demonstrates how fucked up property and power is in our society, not the democratic will of the people. Some of the more idiotic populace might find advertising interesting or be consciously duped by its bullshittery, what can be done for such a hopeless minority?

It can be a loveless existence suffering from mental illness. You are vulnerable and need to be loved more than most people, but that same vulnerability makes trusting others difficult, and that same hurt makes you less desirable. The lack of strength and stability is a massive turn off. Month after month of failure and rejection makes the chances of finding a woman who is interested seem less and less likely, a feedback loop of frustration and disappointment. But all this doesn’t make things impossible, only more difficult. The spiral down into despair is one that is hard to avoid here; it is informed by the deep subconscious wounds and triggers of childhood, but it is not inevitable. Am I totally helpless and disadvantaged by this depression and anxiety? Everything to do with this mental illness and the abuse of the past makes the whole sphere of love much harder for me. Still, the act of breaking down how mental illness is contributing to isolation and lack of love dispels the mist, promotes understanding. It is the gargantuan wall which leads to despair, not the individual bricks. Maybe through understanding things will change and improve, though I cannot promise this to myself or anyone else. At least they cannot get any worse. Going from things are hopeless to who knows what can happen, I will have no judgements is a massive luxury for me at the moment. Neutrality – feeling neither loved or unloved, does not feel so bad.

End of Part I

The Alienated Man (finds his home)

I am not alone.

Naturally alienation goes hand to hand with isolation, but it is not true.

I am feeling the extent of my socialization, how far I have fallen into the pit.

The malaise inside me, the toxic poison, is spread far and wide.

It is one thing to know it intellectually, but this is still an isolating experience. The intellect is in me, I go round and round in it.

But after reading the ‘manifesto’ of another alienated young man, I really started to feel that is was not just about me.

Low self-esteem, sexual frustration, humiliation, abuse, neglect, isolation, no belonging, no tribe, no purpose… this is the life of a lone outcast. It is the promise of a painful, lonely, unfortunate life.

Attraction to someone, romantic or otherwise, is not purely an individual matter. It depends on being identified with a tribe or community. The alienated male is the ultimate outsider, he doesn’t belong to anything. This is what repulses people from him, not necessarily his own character. But alienation is all he knows, the sweet sense of belonging given or earned by others not yet his, or not enough to nullify the dangerous darkness and resentment bred by wasted, lonely years.

Not all alienations are the same. I feel much distance from other alienated males, who often see no further than their own shadow. My alienation is partly productive – a distancing from a sick and destructive society, and the evils of patriarchy. I am glad I do not fit in, to a degree. This does not make my alienation healthy or righteous – I am yet to find my tribe, the collective that will enable real change and real struggle to happen.

But perhaps I, as a total ‘loser’ in the eyes of society, am perfectly equipped to engage with questions of alienation, drag myself out of this dark pit and maybe encourage others to do so also.

It really feels like I am finally going somewhere, coming to realize the patterns which have caged me. I want to scream and lash out – not to hurt people, but certainly to express the power of my feeling to those who are doing the hurting!

If only men could express themselves more freely and without guilt, how much less suicide and murder there would be. If only we put the blame where it truly lay, upon the shoulders of patriarchal giants who watch us ‘lesser’ beings be destroyed at their feet, who laugh and humiliate down at us. If only we dared challenge the polite society which allows people to fall through the net, distributes wealth and opportunity unequally, disconnects us from the world, ruled by insanely short-termist, stupid bickering politicians and nihilistic businessmen. When there is an explosion of violence or a suicide, these motherfuckers have blood on their hands.

It is no law of the universe that a percentile of men will be fucked up, alienated and vulnerable. We can have a society far less violent and far less deranged if we wanted it. Perhaps people are afraid of the void, of realizing how pointless their labours are, afraid to aspire to anything better than the nihilism of spiritually dead capitalism.  But by daring the dark tunnel of truth we can come out into a world better than this one.

That is to all the people who said I was a cynic all these years! The ‘cynicism’ was necessary to break chains, now I am free, terrifyingly free, to dive deep into myself and the cosmos and emerge, flawed and never-complete, but still empowered enough to howl in rage at the prison we have created for ourselves, and howl for freedom for all.

The unimaginative masses who couldn’t see beyond capitalism, the underachievers who conform to earthly power for fleeting pleasures, the unambitious workers who gave up their dreams to step onto the treadmill and escape themselves – the multiplication of all these short-fallings is the slow death of the world itself! Just ask the climate scientists, and just look at the dispossessed figures on every high street.

But I do not want to paint a dark picture of gloom, because I do not believe it! There are lots of good people out there, good people with good hearts striving for the right kind of change.  Connecting with them is the short-term solution to alienation, and together with them we can build the long-term solution of post-capitalist society.

The alienated, frustrated, lost and lonely male need not be so for long. He can mature, challenge the misogyny around him for something uplifting and magnanimous, he can find the love he seeks once he dares look deeply into himself, learns to laugh at his contradiction, sees women as human beings rather than ‘angels and whores’, realizes that sex and power is not an elixir of self-completion. He does not need to compare himself to ‘alpha’ males or entitled, enabled white middle-class this, that and the others. We can free ourselves from these ‘ideals’ whenever we want, for those ideals are based on an othering, and othering is always a violent affair. Only the most malicious of humanity who benefit from othering and trampling others might want such a system – fuck them!

Two fingers up at the patriarchy, and then a hammer for its heart!

Lets go back into our feminism and our socialism, but also remember that an advocacy for men is necessary and nothing to be guilty for, so long as it avoids the landmine strewn hells of misogyny which stain this movement for recognition. Men need advocacy and can learn much from (the saner-strains of) feminism!

We can rise again! Alienation is just a passing phase, belonging awaits all creatures of nature and spirit, which we inevitably are.

There might always be some void inside us, some capacity to feel alienation and distance from the world around us. I believe this to be a painfully necessary evolutionary adaptation, to prevent society from solidifying too much, or going fucking insane without anyone to say ‘hold on, this is fucked, lets change it’. And further, I believe that like all creatures of the cosmos we face a nature of beauty but also terror, and that all beings experience some degree of naturally occurring coldness and anxious void at our ambivalent situation.

But the great void cannot be endured forever, we need to get a hold on it and regulate it. Cynicism and distance are necessary but must be tempered with intimacy, the intimacy we all need as bio-spiritual creatures.

My own days of alienation must come to an end!

The inhospitable hell-heat

I thought I would write something for posterity, something to look back upon and think – yeah its a cold, dark and damp Winter, but at least that shitty summer is over!

This heat is hostile to life. Grass withered and died in London parks, starved of resurrecting rain. The earth cracked apart as if beneath the tread of scorching giants, broken and hurt by the merciless pounding rays of heat.

Its climate change, and its not so much on our doorstep as permeating through our houses and into our bodies.

Now look at all the people rushing around outside your window. Look at all the people driving to and from work, running on the capitalist treadmill.

Today I feel glad I did not work for this system, and vow that I never will. This is man-made climate change, this scorching hell is our own doing. It is not particularly the fault of those individuals running around; they are just doing something rather than nothing. The fault lies with the system of short-termism, wealth inequality, separation from nature, the war machine, and you know the rest. Driving us on and on to our collective demise as a civilization.

Lets look at it another way – we are not only heading for catastrophe, we are suffering now.

And this is a ‘first world’ country. This is the height of civilization. Jokes about Britons coping with the heat aside, this is a precursor of the ‘fuckedness’ we are approaching.

Even in the richest and most ‘advanced’ societies people are dying from the heat. Sweden is aflame with wild-fires! Our one and only world, made a tinder box.

Who could want this? Who could deny that this is a horrible thing to experience?

It is laid bare for us, as much as we are made bare for it.

Yesterday I was actually a bit proud that I spent much of my life doing fuck all for this system. It was destructive to do nothing, and I will not lionize doing fuck all with yourself; the resisters and dissidents and people actively searching for solutions deserve our pride.

But at least I am significantly less responsible for the climate catastrophe then others, despite all their insults and ‘encouragements’ all these years. They were wrong for being conform-a-trons, and their sizzling flesh and agonizing tube journey home from work is but truth of it! Hoorah for me – now we can all slowly die in this hell-heat!

I promise never to wish for sunlight again! Whatever is, I will try to cope with it. Balance is the ultimate good.

Now lets do what we can to turn down the heat on this world folks, before it is fucked beyond repair.

The consumerist spray of chemical roses

An entire sense is being denied. An entire sphere of experience, something so utterly primal and fundamental, is being drowned out. It is another thing being killed by consumer society. and this thing is scent.

Consumerism has reached into the lives and habits of the ordinary people, and sold to them ‘freshness’ in a pressurized spray can full of toxic chemicals, or a colourful bottle of fabric conditioner.

It has even colonized the shitter, because now you can buy a spray to protect that small lake of water from the occasion of human effluence.

I remember as far back as Secondary School people being publicly put on trial by inquisition and humiliated for not having a bath every single day. One of the worst insults going was that someone had the scent of a human being. It took till adulthood to realize how these conforming kids were being influenced by the sick, anxious society around them.

Consumerist hygiene is not about basic cleanliness – it is about feeding on anxiety and promoting what is artificial to people who are trained to be insecure and overly self-analytical. It is about the creation of artificial needs through its control of custom.

If you are trying to run away from the realities of your own body, you are not going to get very far.

It is not only a shame that something artificial is seen as good, but that what is truly good is seldom experienced. Scent is an entire language, one that is being denied and underdeveloped by homogeneity.

It is not a trivial matter, we are being made less sensate. People will never know what it means to have developed scent-senses. They will never know that even their own comfort is at stake, as they are constantly surrounded by artificial chemicals, rather than what is natural. Worse they will impose their anxieties on others by social law.

Chemical roses and chemical blooms, clothes covered in poisons to be washed into the seas, a planet poisoned for the vanities and stupidities of a species which seems to be doing all it can to promote misanthropy and self-destruction.

What could be more idiotic and futile than trying to mask what you truly are?

The survival of our species depends on…

Isn’t it insane that we are hurtling toward catastrophic climate change, yet people seem to be going about as usual?

As a short-term survival strategy, going about the standard life of a coffee-chugging capitalist citizen seems sound. You need money to pay your rent and bills, which means you need to be constantly working to get good pay and prospects, which means you need to understand what employers are looking for and conform to these expectations, which means being involved in society’s value system.

The present capitalist system is very well rigged to make you like this. It is a hostile environment whose purpose is to make you feel anxious and afraid. Without constant “productive economic activity” you could lose your shelter, be forced to live in poor and dangerous areas, be unable to afford the luxuries which sustain your lifestyle, be thrown onto the scrapheap along with the “unproductive” worker ants.

There is always a risk of losing your material basis, as the government strips away protections and inspires ever more precarity. There is the shame of inactivity, poverty, being an outcast, or simple boredom (and all of the existential angst that comes from it), hanging over our heads. This makes it seem logical and sensible to conform to the system, even as it gradually serves us less and less. The warped and toxic value-system of our society promotes mindless conformity and hurtling-juggernaught growth over considered choices and gradual, creative growth (it might have some elements of enlightenment, and perhaps some people do what they genuinely love to enrich the soul of man, but we are talking about the masses).

So in the short-term, it makes sense to be a conforma-drone. I imagine that most people don’t know any different from their lives as exploited proletarians, whose biggest offering to society is the sale of their labour to larger, more powerful entities. If they do know of alternative ways of life, it is as an intellectual exercise, an “utopian ideal” which is all well and good, but cannot get in the way of all this labour-selling and moral underachievement.

But in the long-term, there is no species survival in it. The sum  total of the “its just my job” people, all of the “I have a mortgage to pay” people, all of the “my boss might fire me” people and all the “I don’t have a choice” people is a dystopian hell. If the world was left in the hands of such unimaginative souls, we would truly be approaching the end times.

Fortunately, the blinkered short-term thinkers are redeemed by those who see into the long-term; those who have foreseen the cliff that human civilization is hurtling towards. Such people have been around for decades. It is generally such activists and scientists who have taken risks in the short-term; the risk of destitution and humiliation, the risk of imprisonment and punishment, for the long-term survival strategy of evolving our society.

Imagine if all of those activists never took action because they had to work in a supermarket to sustain their mundane lives. Imagine if all of those climate scientists let the powerful corporations silence them, because they had to put their families and reputations above the truth. They would be as much underachievers as anyone who cannot see beyond capitalism and its destructive effects on the present, and the future to come. This is not to separate people into black and white categories of hero and drone, it is to say that most of us can, and should, rise up and strive for the true freedom which can only come in a free, equal, sustainable society.

It is not easy to think ahead – it is extremely anxiety inducing, and not always understood by people why such thinking is important. The future is unpredictable, we cannot map it out anymore than we know which way to turn in life’s labyrinth.

But we can learn from the paths we take, prepare ourselves with a shield and a big ball of wool to help protect us against danger and navigate what lies before us. We can look back on the past and learn from our mistakes, and vow to never again repeat them. Perhaps someday we will live in a world where short-term survival strategies are in harmony with the long-term, but that is a world we must earn.

We are coming to the point where we no longer have a choice but to risk a society-wide evolutionary experiment or face further catastrophe. Perhaps we are already at that point.

But thanks to the rebels (who are increasingly becoming the mainstream) I have hope that there is a future for us, and for our living world.

 

Deep are these wounds

I)

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

Respectively.

 

II)

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

And solidarity.

 

Stay close

 

III)

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

And dignity.

ZERO IMPACT

You have to be sustainable about being sustainable.
 
The limits of what can be achieved in society at the present have to be acknowledged, to prevent great disappointment and relapse back into total drone-ism.
 
The emotional challenge of building new societies when we carry so many wounds from the old must be recognized, to prevent us repeating those oppressions.
 
Realistic lyfe goals.
 
Amazing how many ‘zero impact’ people are precisely that – making zero impact on the wider struggle to stop climate change by getting their hands dirty and ending this capitalist insanity.
 
Go and live under a tree if you want, it will last until some government cuts it down to build a railway!
 
(And of course the capitalists and the mainstream exalt the lone hermit who runs off to the woods to live “in nature”. That is one less green activist and one less dissident in society, one more disarmed citizen waiting to be bulldozed by the leviathan when his turn comes, and one more symbol-fetish person for the masses to admire without recognizing the futility of their reality).