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.
Two logics are at work in me. The one is open minded, beyond prejudice, anarchistic, gentle of spirit, enlightened, various, engaged, giving, loving, and artistically dynamic. The other Is stolid, closed, xenophobic, bigoted, ignorant, depressed, materialistic, unencouraging, frustrated, goalless, artless, authoritarian.
Why can I not choose the former over the latter? Every part of me is for it, every part of me wants to belong to it. My body quakes at the negativity of ignorance, or the grunts of frustration from small people with small worlds. I don’t want these right-wing feelings in me, I don’t want to be anxious or depressed. I don’t want to play some false economy of finding security in wretched familiarity. I don’t want to snap every so often and spit bile at others. I don’t want to be so jaded as to be void of care for those closest to me.
But the choice is not so simple. If it were, these horrid, stolid things could be exposed and cleansed, as if by sacred flame. Yet character is not so simple. The depression becomes part of you, the un-virtues imposed upon you from youth are maintained into later years. Even being aware of them, they do not shrivel and die. Even speaking words of power to undo this malignant mana, the dark spell persists. Awareness alone does not seem to be enough. The actual physical body is stained by fear and toxic chemical traces. My chemistry, my very being is tainted with vile evil.
Take for example a child growing up in an abusive environment, or a nation under the totalitarian rule of a police state. How such things will warp any human being. Do you think the child or the citizens want to be as they are? Do you think un-free people want to harm others and commit atrocities? Do you think they would not imagine a better world if they could? Whatever they imagine, the reality of their bodies would ground and limit them. The chemical hatred and inferiority inside them would still simmer and sometimes conquer the will.
At this point in time I do not believe it is possible for the most severely oppressed to make free moral choices. The conscious mind would have to be supreme to rein in a lifetime of hatred, frustration and oppression. It would have to be transcendent, and apart from the whole human being – which is impossible. In this sense, I believe the most un-free to be determined. They did not choose to be made anxious by years of being spied upon, nor to fear the next strike of a tyrannical parent. But they had to endure this, and gradually, over miserable years, mental and physical trauma will have imprinted itself upon them. Without knowing why, they would know a hatred inside for life and positivity, and a jealousy and envy born of feelings of insecurity and self-loathing.
The thing-just-inside feels intuitively right, however destructive it is to our true interests as natural beings. In this way, the oppressed can be crushed without having the will to fight back. The hurt can be convinced that they are too worthless to seek help. The proletariat can be exploited without realizing its own interests.
Help must sometimes come from an external source. What is determined must be un-determined by constant effort. Isolation can happen very quickly. Hope can quickly be shrouded by despair. If you know someone who is out at sea struggling to stay afloat, keep on throwing life-saving ropes to draw them back in until something catches. Then feed them love. It is very hard from the outside to know just how truly a person needs to be loved.
Love is the only means to un-make feelings of worthlessness or helplessness. Love overthrows tyrants. Even more than freedom, love is the foundation of dignity. For one who is free but unloved will struggle with wretched inner-feelings, as much as one who is un-free and un-loved. The love we need to give does not have to be some super-natural concept. The day-to-day concern for people, fellowship, sharing things in common, culture-building and physical intimacy is what we enlightened mammals desire.
Once such basic needs, which can effectively be summed up by LOVING COMMUNITY are accomplished, all that is virtuous can follow. Just as a flower must be planted in fertile soil, watered regularly and mulched around to reach full life, so human beings must belong to a community, be well-nurtured, and protected from the worst of life. No matter how much humanity grows in technology and intellect, happiness will not be achieved until this most straightforward need is acknowledged. Any attempt to encourage happy citizens in a fragmented, isolating society is like planting a flower in concrete, shining the light of a false sun upon it, and selling it artificial fertilizer until it dies of cancer.
To have time for another is the most important thing on this earth for us frail, existentially lost beings. All an animal has is its fellow animal. We can be more than our pain, and we can find a new foundation stone of dignity if we are loved.
Love can turn back any darkness, eventually.
Oppression is not a solid thing. It is not a tangible entity. I feel it inside me as a pace of life, a compulsion, a chimera of fear and desire and desperation.
A cursory think about the capitalist system reveals the truth of its oppressive nature. What would happen if you decided to take a spontaneous holiday from work? You would become unemployed. To make ends meet you would have to go to a job centre. They would force you to look for work or participate in some kind of scheme to acquire the basics of living. You would be forced to do things equally as unpleasant as work. In other words, beyond set holidays there is no option to ‘opt out’ of this society for any duration of time. You have to be constantly active, most of the time.
This driving force to endlessly do things is the invisible motor of capitalism. It makes people hugely “productive”. So “productive” in fact that they have no time for hobbies, they have no time for relatives, they have no time for volunteering, they have no time for their children, they have no time for those with mental health problems, they have no time for artists. In fact, they have no time for anyone but the busybodies who think that everyone should be forced to do things, all the time (in other words, the bosses profiting from this sorry state of affairs).
As if this false economy of constant motion is somehow a noble end! As if endless consumption and the environmental devastation that follows is an inevitable law of human societies. Please! Do not be such an underachiever.
Human beings who are forced to do things they do not want to do become miserable. And human beings forced to do things they do not want to do, will do so in a half-assed, second-rate way. Left to their own devices, human beings will naturally labour to improve their lot. This is not only because they have to, in order to survive, but also because labour can actually be rather pleasant when done for the common good, and at one’s own pace. Doubly so when we can actually enjoy the products of our labour, rather than feeding the super rich parasites draining us all.
Pause. Take breath.
We are emotional beings, children of nature. We are not machines waiting to be driven by a crankshaft. Any mechanistic, deterministic view of humanity has to die; we must be liberated from the tyranny of forced work. This race for productivity, to make more and more and more without even having the time to enjoy the fruits of our labour – the quickest way to describe it is a load of old bollocks. The most severe way as a deep waste of potential, and massive cause of anxiety and depression.
To feel like you have to constantly fill your life is a waste of that life. A window is useful because it is an absence of material; a bowl is most useful when it is empty; a wheel runs swifter that has gaps in it. The right to philosophical contemplation, to idle play, to whimsical creation, or just to lie in and have an indulgent wank, is essential to human happiness. Why is our society bent against such simple pleasures and basic securities?
Until the basics of life are provided for, and until labour is performed at our own pace for the common good of all, endless miserable work is the lingering doom we are going to have to live with. This is our inheritance of the archaic capitalist system, which no one really believes in, but the cowardly, uninspired masses go along with for their apathetic lack of hope in humankind.
If you believe that people should be allowed to work as what they want to be, rather than what they are forced to be, congratulations, you are a liberated socialist.
Are you telling me that it doesn’t all add up? That the sum total of all the hatred, fear, spite, cruelty, envy, self-destructive, irreverent, thoughtless stupidity and shallowness doesn’t stain the collective consciousness of the world we live in?
I often wonder why I feel like crap for no apparent reason. Maybe it is because, even if I were in blissful homeostasis, there are mothers shivering in cold flats, fearing the return of an abuser. There are injustices of war, the murder of the innocent, rape, pillage, the waste of so much potential. There is labour exploitation on a massive scale for nothing more than the esteem of fickle, shallow citizens of the rich world. There are easily treatable diseases killing people, and easily filled stomachs left empty. Animals tortured for fur and meat, ancient forests destroyed to build coal pits and golf courses. Callousness on a mass scale, against a droning machine which seems undefeatable.
I do not want to dwell on the darkness of life. I do not want to paint a bleak picture. I just want to identify why we might feel the darkness within, seemingly without explanation. This can lead to a true hope, and a true optimism – for we will know what needs to be done, and gain purpose from that.
Being present, we can appreciate today. But we cannot truly rest until justice is done; the light brought to every corner of the world. Wounds must be recognized, given space and time to heal.
It all adds up, and much has accumulated. The soul of humanity is stained, but that does not mean we cannot free ourselves of this pain. What is made can be unmade, and a pyramid of skulls can be dismantled, one by one. Love and courage is enough, love and courage our battlecry!