There’s so called “right” action and “beautiful” women…
And then there’s beautiful action.
So glad you haven’t heard of it.
There’s so called “right” action and “beautiful” women…
The next question to be asked is: where can one attain attain his own freedom? “Where,” because topologically there seems nowhere to go, to escape from or even to reject being a part of, this society. Indeed steps toward freedom are in part internal: cultivation of the mind, of the senses, through craft or thought… But can one fully claim that he is free from the chains of society, for even an outward silence or obedience allows the machine to roll on, in fact this is their goal: that opposition silence itself, mediate itself and turn a blind eye towards widespread corruption in favor of living life ‘comfortably as the individual.’
As for the artist: can one’s work ultimately succeed his life? Is the duty of the artist to reside within the realm of the society he critiques, in order to accurately overturn it? In response to Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer, how can one free himself from the reach of sovereignty, when the nature of the sovereign is all pervasive, even in it’s exclusion?
There are plenty of wheres. They are invisible spaces. You’re in reach of the state-society but you’re invisible. I would tell you about them but… then they wouldn’t be invisible. I can say in general terms one should get OUT of the cities. One should find a garden, as I have. One should learn to grow one’s own food. Find a community of people who have solidarity and brotherly, sisterly love, who actually reach out to you, to whom you can make yourself useful. This is off the wage system to be sure.
The artist’s obligation is to live her imagination, so that her imagination can go, again, one step ahead. I dreamt about WWOOF'ing and I did it (which is the non-wage-system thing I mentioned above). Now there are further dreams. I will certainly post a blog here called “pockets of sanity” or something, about better places, intentional communities and such. I'll also post one notifying anyone who has eyes to see, when I've written my novel. It will contain many real factors that overdetermine this society's collapse, how it will pan out, and some possibilities where the planet isn't fully destroyed or humans become extinct (unfortunately the good ones still entail about 6 billion people dying). Thanks for the thoughts—much love.
When life hands you lemons, skullfuck them.
If empathy is how people connect, if 99.9% of people in our society don’t empathize, and if you need connected people to have a society, then we do not live in a society.
What is irony? There are at least three kinds.
Irony is the product of an epistemic gap between a hubristic person and onlookers. For example, God says “No homo” as he puts the male G spot up the male anus. God here, as the demiurge of the old testament, is the hubristic being; and we onlookers see it, while he apparently does not. That gap is between what the audience knows and what the ironic subject apparently does not know. The emperor wears no clothes, but as long as every audience member waits for someone else to socially recognize it, he does wear clothes, sociologically. The ironist in this picture is then the child who points out the emperor’s nakedness and thus gives the peasants the solidarity of mutual knowledge. The Onion is excellent at this. Here’s my favorite: "Find the Thing You’re Most Passionate about, then Do It on Nights and Weekends for the Rest of Your Life".
The second kind of irony is linguistic. It is irony as some sort of self-reference. Take for example autological or heterological words. ‘Short’ is autological because it is quite literally, short. The word ‘long’ is heterological, because it is not a long word, its qualities as a signifier do not come under the scope of its own signification. Both are a little ironic. Now take for example the man who dies on his birthday. This has been used as an example of irony, but I would call this a surprising coincidence, something with which people usually confuse irony. On the other hand, getting an illness via the struggle to get health insurance is ironic. It is a self-defeating effort, it refers to itself. Or how about asking someone whether they’re hiding behind a door. Let’s suppose they say No. They have in fact said Yes by demonstrating that they are behind the door. This is self-defeating. Furthermore, hypocrisy and irony are bedfellows. When we see Catholics condemn sexual behavior in all its forms unless it is reproductive, and then turn around and molest children, there is a great deal of awful irony in this, but it is so immoral that we call it hypocrisy instead. Hypocrisy entails irony but not vice-versa.
The third kind of irony is irony as metastability. This is the existential darkside of irony. Nietzsche, in Human All Too Human says that the constantly ironic person ruins his own character. I quite agree and use Sartre’s idea of metastability to say why. Take the ironist who makes fun of a vain person’s hypocrisy, say someone who eats vegan food and shops for ethical clothing yet safeguards by her actions the very systems which destroy the planet and thus harm animals. Now he can even ironically point this out to her face to face. Why? Is he callus? No. He is “just being ironic.” He doesn’t honestly take a stance, he merely stradles the non-position between that of the hypocritical shopper and that of the environmentalist’s. But then his friend, an environmentalist later asks him if he was serious, and he says Yes! The ironist picks both and hence picks neither. He takes a meta-stand only, and thus takes no actual stand on his existence. This is what my generation accuses its own members of with the label “Hipster.”
Without death, life is meaningless. Imagine a sentence without end, an infinite sentence. Could it have any meaning? No, I claim. Who could grasp the meaning of an indefinitely extended, immortal life? Perhaps other immortals? I doubt it. An infinite sentence would always be on the way to saying more things, going here and there. A form is missing. The contents’ meaning depends on form. There must be a beginning AND end for form. But then, you’ll say, that applies to us recalling our lives right now: are you saying our lives won’t have meaning until we die? Close, but look, we all know that we will die. That makes the difference. The immortal looking back on her life would see a point of origin at birth perhaps but would have no way to hold it or write it against the backdrop of her death, giving it meaning, in the same way that as you read this sentence, you know it will end, and that it will tie those things said earlier together. So if you live thinking there is an afterlife, you will never give it meaning. Why would you? You do not say “I know I’ll die” if you believe in an afterlife or lean on the possibility. But why does one need “meaning” in life? That is the only way to truly make it yours, and you can only live your life. Hence if you actively believe in an afterlife, you never truly live.
The same logic applies to the pursuit of a moral theory, to utopia and God. Let’s say we found a standard for right action. It would read “An action is right iff it follows this rule or effects these consequences, unless…” Now, since there are always circumstances in which this action will become wrong or its rightness will be nullified, then the ‘unless’ clause will include them (see particularism). But there are infinite such circumstances. Such is human existence and creativity. The sentence would thus be infinite, and hence meaningless. Let’s say the standard had meaning anyway, and there was a decision procedure as well. Then why not put a chip in everyone’s head that would make them automatons, helplessly following the perfect theory and thus effecting utopia? Perhaps because it would remove human choice, and hence meaning in life. God falls by the same reason. Such a being, infinite and superlative in all ways, would be totally meaningless and alien to human life and deserving of nothing but our apathy.
Freedom from the demands of the sick, freedom to create and explore, always freedom above safety for me. Always! Safety means being locked away, ground away in a madhouse, protection from the mad by the mad. Courage means you have destroyed the fear, ignored the fear, brushed off the pain and escaped the maw of a monstrously fat, stupid society.
How foolish I was to count safety as a human need. The collapse of this civilization and its base ecologies has been underway since the industrial revolution and the world war power grabs. Our species has not only invented hoaxes of protection to make people feel safe, but have made safety impossible by its own standards. It’s a hoax! Don’t believe the chains they throw on you, of debt, of duty; they correspond to nothing real but institutional violence and threats of violence. Do you want to give yourself and others safety via your courage, or ask the government or employers for it? Do you want your safety to be the sword of your own courage, or to be a fake refuge under wardens of madhouses and the blind war machine of your own enslavement?
I am but a convulsion of wounded nature,
death throes of the animal body
What is needed to live the good life?
- Subsistence (includes shelter)
- Safety (lack of the fear of future pain)
- Love (at least the community and empathy kinds)
- Freedom (includes leisure time; mainly for creativity & exploration!)
If you don’t have all of these needs met, then you may feel like you’re sick or at least partially-dying, and you should start communicating non-violently with nearby humans to get them met. You may be one of the humans thrown under the bus, as necessitated by state-capitalist society, in which case you’ll have to accomplish feats of heroism just to become a fully-living, as opposed to a sick or partially-dying, human being.
How did life begin? If physics states that all is in a state of entropy, and if life forms are pockets or systems of order via metabolism, how did this order begin? If animals eat plants and even plants live off the dead (in their bodies’ conversion to compost and soil with the necessary vitamins), then what did the very first life form eat? Does all life live necessarily off life, at least indirectly? And if all life lives off life, how did it start? In still other terms, can one be a true vegan, as Jains strive to be?
Perhaps “life” is a concept of ours that corresponds to nothing. At least this scientist is keen on the idea. And it would serve to elucidate our moral debates, apropos abortion and assisted suicide. We seem to revere “life” and care nothing for the living: the parents are entrenched in poverty but the baby’s entrance into this hell is protected by the state? the terminally ill are suffering and their quality of living only spirals downward, yet their “life” is legally enforced? Life is elementary, so is death. What is arguably worth more is their synthesis: living.
Could we share this Earth, in any future society?
My hunch is that people today are too screwed up by our system psychologically to have an easy time adjusting to a better social environment. I say this from my experience on this garden. Non-ideology and virtuous action is rejected by our minds as financially belligerent and hopeless, by our superego, which for most of us basically constitutes the state’s immune system. The sick person can’t stand the taste of medicine, and shouldn’t be forced to take the medicine. I think the next generation could share if they were wisely educated, by people (my generation) who had the strength and energy not only to clear a space from the state-capitalist society for their children, but to fend off, ignore, or perhaps even amputate their superegos (parent’s voices), the part of their consciousness which constantly derides their efforts at every turn.
I think John the gardener, where I work here, has raised his kids more or less in this fashion. They were all brought up, as far as I have heard and can tell, in an alternative way, without coercion and threats of punishment, or I presume the constant emotional blackmail that is very common in families (for as sociologists have found, the family is often just a microcosmic reflection of the societal macrocosm). They are all distinguished by marked confidence. That’s what I see foremost. If there are more people with this healthy confidence then I have a spark of hope. For, by the looks of my connections in my age group, energy for alternative routes is low if not completely arrested by ideological apathy. If anarchism is to stay, as not merely situational like Detroit’s response to its straits, but as a tradition, then we need a generation of fierce autodidacts; who frame their necessarily radical life choices humorously yet seriously as “cool alternatives to suicide" due to their anarchist sense of wild, untamable dignity; who can surf permanent instability and anxiety like a wave, long enough to land on the island of choice; who are Quixotes and hold their goals always in front of them, goals that other people can get behind, that aren’t ultimately amoral and isolating.
What would be the difference, between our world and one of anarcho-primitivism?
It would be a difference in violence, dignity, and creativity.
Less needless violence and an eerie amount of relative peace will be the result of dismantling all self-bootstrapping, beef-headed, favoritist hierarchies. Healthy competition and confidence doesn’t come at the expense of someone else’s livelihood or dignity; this is as of yet unseen and unheard of today.
A qualitatively different dignity. Given that primitivism is followed, one will see oneself as inseparable from nature. You don’t and shouldn’t kick the dog, you are an animal too, so don’t kick yourself. The principles of one’s own workings will be rediscovered as mysterious and sacred, and people will cease to dissect themselves with resumés, pop-psychology tests, and constant comparisons with other people against a fetishized standard of identity whose combination of attributes will always be impossible to attain by human beings.
Given the technological side of primitivism, creativity will be unleashed tenfold. Travellers will meet with people who are basically wizards. Scientists will no longer have to satisfy a university’s state-, market-interested, and revenue constraints. Engineers will no longer have to deal with poverty and patents. It will be a story of an endless crescendo of creativity that will make every day mind blowing. And the music I bet will multiply in genres as new sounds will be found. Polymaths will reappear, and a self-reinforcing ecology of human creativity will replace our self-aggrandizing market of creativity. The Greeks will finally be rivaled.
The state is a multi-plex of supposedly logical relations all leading to the same fallacy of relevance called an appeal to force.
You, isolated and worried one! Write your real resumé.
Healthy confidence does not come at the expense of other’s, it come from being with others. And you’ve already done this, you grew up in a network of social relations. The high school institution is a state institution whose accidental benefit is to bring people together. When this socially delimited phase of life is over, one must become isolated units of market force. Social connections drop away. Yet the capitalist wants to see from your resumé who you are. But you ARE your social relations. As they fall away you forget yourself, as you were in genuine social relations, friendships. They fall away because of the rampant intra-migration of Americans, in pursuit of economic stability, necessitated by corporations when they chase resources for monopolization and thus destroy local economies in their wake. Therefore the capitalist irrationally destroys what he wants. Here’s how to nullify this institutionalized folly:
Remember every compliment you’ve received. Do not forget these (in favor of insults)! As you amass a dozen or so verbal or behaviorally implied compliments, you will become a stronger traveller. That praise was real and is –or at least should be for reasons of self-fulfilling prophesy– dominant truths about you. But you cannot put this on your formal resumé. Fight this social illness and know thyself!
While you’re at it, make use of the hypothetical dialogues you have in your mental theatre. Write them down! In countless mental scenarios you have talked with interviewers, with debt-collection agents. Write these dialogues down. You will be greatly prepared for their coming onslaught. You must meet them midway because they have already been prepared by job-training; your advantage will easily come from authenticity and dignity. Never give up your dignity for their every mindless, capital-mimetic beck and call.
How much damage have I cost
by my existence?
How many have I blindly wrung by the neck?
English, Mandarin, Koine Greek?
No. Violence is the lingua franca.