X-posted to Togo's LiveJournal
In a previous post I had written:
"Guess what: once you're addicted to dishonesty you're just another junkie ... just another whore.One of my readers replied with a question:
That's the best you think you deserve? Sure ... it's like that ... the fuckers have messed with your brains.
My experiences didn't make me a loser. I may not have succeeded in my work but I'm still hard at it.
What are you doing?
Are you just another loser?
So okay, let's say you deserve the shitty situation you're in ... what about the rest of the people that are in the situation right along with you? You just gonna shrug 'em off? Bitch.
Don't you realize that you're going to go insane? Really and truly ... you don't have the balls to handle the guilt. You ain't no Wolfowitz or Perls or Cheney.
"What if you can admit that to yourself? Then what do you do?"In the moment I came up with was this partial reply :
"Every successful project I've ever worked on succeeded because everybody involved did what they could, whatever they could, in whatever way they could.I felt that was incomplete (of course!) so I tried to flesh things out a bit.
A lotta times over the past ?what? 20+ years I've come up with lists of tips or actions or entry points or something like that ... one time, early 80s (I was giving talks about the "slippery slope" of small smart weapons like the cruise missile) someone asked me something like that and I answered, "The biggest thing you can do for the movement is to find an answer that fits you and your own situation."
Now, so much further down the road, so many times waking up and realizing *shit!* no milk for coffee and 10 days of macaroni to go, I've boiled it down to something simpler: not nothing.
See, the mind-phuck / blue pill reality of it is that it all hinges on self-determination, self-authorship ... what I think is the core of real citizenship. (When I get into this theme I point to a little page I made: CityZen ... I put some time in to make that page, and I put some time in creating support material, but fact is that almost 0.0% of the people who visited the page bothered to click the email button.
The real gold mine, to my way of thinking? Like minded folk ... course there's always the possibility of group-think, but still.
Anyhow, the real pathology comes when we stiffle the intuition, the urge to do this or that or the other ... nipped in the bud. That "stiffling" poisons us ... we end up sabotaging anybody who shows initiative. ("Who the hell do they think they are!")
Sorry I can't advise "Insert credit card and press the keypad to indicate your selection" ... it isn't like that.
Follow your bliss!"
Stalin and his supporteres were on the left ... but monstrously inhuman.
Hitler and his supporters were on the right ... but, again, monstrously inhuman.
So guess what: those simple categories don't turn the trick.
So what, then? Being hyper-zealous? (That produces dangerous clones.) keeping our head down and doing our daily thing? (That produces slave-like clones.)
Here's my bottom line when it comes to things political/sociological: there are basically two modes of being ... in one we push our worldview onto everyone and everything around us; people become objects, means to an end (convince, coerce, conquer. or, more passive-agressive, manipulate and con and ignore) ... in the other we're responsive, as though not needing to deal from the bottom of the deck, as though not thinking we can author a fiction that will work better than actuality, as though there's something to "The truth shall set you free."
See clearly ... know what is ... act with confidence.
The most radical aspect of revolutionary activity is open responsiveness, an authentic engagement with whatever's at hand.
Blue pill gets us to justify and rationalize anything, whether that's eating shit from the boss ("It's just the game people play to weed out those who shouldn't rise") or being heartless to the people around us ("S/he has to start taking responsibility for his/her own shit.")
The successfully corrupt share a set of basic lies. Look at the way the Vice President of the United States has skewed things around so that his former corporation gets sweetheart deals ... or the way a massive institution failed to respond to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
And what if most Muslims in developing countries are ignorant peasants (which really isn't true)? They don't hate Americans cuz Americans listen to iPods; they hate Americans because Americans are cheats and liars and thieves. That isn't true? Try living the life of a straight arrow ... first thing you'll realize is how there just isn't community anymore; the best a person is likely to encounter is more like a band of thieves, or a frat ... foundationally corrupt ... corrupt at every turn.
What if only 1 in 1000 are hero like you? You think that 1 will be obvious to you in 5 minutes?
Decades of blue pill activity have left folk brain-damaged.
Fact is, most folk actually don't believe in anything ... the situation is ripe for fascism (as if right-wing fundamentalists haven't already screwed the nation).
Anybody who devalues themselves or another human being is anti-democratic. The whole point is that the development of the individual is the key.
Listening to David Cayley on CBC radio brought something of my own past to mind. A moment on the web brought me to The Centre for Restorative Justice at Simon Fraser University, where I so much wanted to do media studies in 1978. (I was trying to find a way of staying in Vancouver to study shakuhachi.)
Caley spoke about Illich's view of development work and how it was paradoxically counter-productive ... (an insight I had decades ago, one which has hobbled me). He recounted how, having returned from two years of field work in Borneo, he talked with Illich and sought his advice. "Stay home!" was Illich's response (echoing Freire's profound view.)
My metanoia took place with the help of a young man from Namibia. The Free Southern Africa Committee had sponsored a theatre group from the University of Dar Es Salaam to tour Canada. As a theatre person I worked with them when they were here. In conversation with one of the cast I discovered that he was, in fact, a member of SWAPO. I immediately asked him what I could do to help, concretely ... did they need my expertise in communications? supplies like ball-point pens and wrist-watches? What could I do? His reply, "Stay here. Stay at home and get your government off my people's backs."
You see ... that's the foundation of democracy, of civility, of community ... of spirituality: eschew the institutional; be human to one another. That's what we're called upon to do; the rest is an excercise in solidification of ego.
*a fine aggregation from TruthLaidBear: "Crisis in the Middle East: Local Bloggers Report"*
Too busy, too busy, far far too busy. Must buy, must consume, must maintain persona, must flirt, must schmooze ... like junkies scuttling around in search of a fix the "nice people" and "good citizens" of the wealthy nations lead their bug-like existence, in dread of the Monty Python boot out from the sky that will stomp them flat.
It takes seriously deranged people to ignore doom. Congratulations, your years of practice are helping you maintain!
Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora went on television to appeal for UN help in deploying the Lebanese army in southern Lebanon, which has effectively been under Hezbollah control. Choking back tears, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora pleaded with the UN to broker a ceasefire for his "disaster-stricken nation."Yaa, right. "The UN will take care of it. *scuttle scuttle* "The Prime Minister will take care of it, or the President." *scuttle scuttle* "The peace keepers will take care of it, or the army, or the rebels, or ..." *scuttle scuttle scuttle* "I'm busy, busy busy busy, far far too busy."
The western-backed prime minister, criticizing both Israel and Hezbollah, also pledged to reassert government authority over all Lebanese territory, suggesting his government might deploy the Lebanese army in the south, which Hezbollah effectively controls.
Indirectly criticizing Hezbollah, Siniora said: "The government alone has the legitimate right to decide on matters of peace and war because it represents the will of the Lebanese people." The Israeli strikes have turned Lebanon into a "disaster area," Siniora added, pleading for international aid.