Speculative Revolution Part V

Why are people starving?
Because the rulers eat up the money in taxes.
Therefore the people are starving.

Why are the people rebellious?
Because the rulers interfere too much.
Therefore they are rebellious.

Why do people think so little of death?
Because of the greatness of their labors in seeking for the means of living.
Therefore the people think little of death.

Having to live on, one knows better than to value life too much.

–lao tzu

so i haven’t been telling you anything you don’t already know. i think we live in a time where it is hard for anyone to claim innocence. stupidity some might rightfully be entitled to, but innocence, no. everyone knows what commercials and advertisements and the media are doing. we’re just trying to make the best of it, enjoy what entertainment is provided, go with the flow. i think many of us are apathetic because of this, because we can see it but we don’t know what to do about it. and so i’m here today to tell what you can do about it: nothing. absolutely nothing. nope. you can’t change the world. you can’t make people’s lives better for them.

part of the whole problem for me has been that i was looking for something to DO. what can i DO to MAKE a change? well, the world is already changing all around me, every second. and i find that a big part of the problem is that i have been ignoring this, engaged as i am in some kind of grand, ambitious endeavor, even though i am not yet clear on what is exactly involved. imperialism, colonization, the abandonment of domesticity in favor of exotic adventures beyond–these are things that have been a problem with our western civilization for centuries. we’ve been looking outside of what we’ve got right here, right now, and instead been focusing on that OTHER, that THING out there, that OBJECT. glory, ambition, making the world a better place–these are the desires of the tyrant. and really, all it is is some form of insecurity. because what i have isn’t good enough. so i’ve got to get more, more. manifest destiny. idealism.

think about your brain for a minute. i have heard one professor describe the two hemispheres of the brain as if they were two separate selves coexisting at the same time, independent of one another, almost with their own identities. right brain and left brain. even within your own body, your own mind, you are divided. and growing up and living your life means learning to balance this, to unify the whole. the two hemispheres must maintain a dialogue, an interaction. the harmonious mind, where neither right nor left dominates.
think of this in terms of male and female relations. we still live in a misogynistic society. males and females act as if they are completely different species, as if there is a gigantic line dividing them, and they are at war. but this is ridiculous. male and female exists within our heads. are we different? yes, we are different. but this difference is something to share, not to possess. when you make love to someone, you understand their body. it is not yours, but you feel it as if you were them, momentarily. and you grow from this into a closer understanding of yourself.
now think of this in terms of international relations. we still live in a hegemonic society. nations act as if they are completely different peoples, as if those lines on the map are real, as if you could look down from the moon and see all the names. what is america doing in vietnam? what is america doing in haiti? what is america doing in bosnia? what is america doing in iraq? what is america doing? nations, territories, bodies of land. these should be spaces of sharing, not lines of possession. we should not enter them with objectives, with purposes, with score cards. not to claim, not to own. not to change, not to make better, not to take and to leave.

most of the evil in this world most likely came from good intentions. anyone with an overtly negative agenda is immediately castigated. but under the guise of goodwill, brotherhood, religious fervor, and love for one’s country the most horrible acts are committed. torture, for example, is common practice by those powers that feel the need to police and occupy another people’s land. routine procedure. they make a man feel pain to the point that he gives up his self-respect and tells them exactly what they want to hear. this is what they call “information.”

Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

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