Saturday December 16, 2017

Old traditions, habits — in a word, reflexes — can be restructured, re-programmed, self-creation aided by sacred herb. No more body stuffed with cotton, head empty, life terrible. Life becomes now the more proper “Lab for New Systems.” Self-organization of consciousness through introduction of arbitrary information. What would it mean to place great stock in one’s high school years as one’s model social community? Reality would seem to confirm or disprove a particular story, a particular morality, wouldn’t it? A little bit darker. Not so luminescent a day as last. A wary faith, newly discovered, fresh hatched. I take to fretting. I fret about children receiving neoliberal upbringings, deprived of space for wilding. To “correct” — or in other words, to employ education as a counter-power — I stage in my classroom an implosion for demonstration purposes of inherited capitalist thought systems, after which point I open and make available to students doorways onto more sensitive forms of personhood. Distractions removed, we get down to the doing of what persons do: we read books together. While reading, though, we remind ourselves that we cohabit with squirrels and birds. Like them, we enjoy sunlight, moderate temperatures, food and water. We’d all rather eat than go hungry. They, too, in other words, are persons. Capitalism’s worship of individualism, meanwhile, coincides with its indifference to persons. It mass produces the former, while eradicating the latter. We ride around, the sky gray all day, opaque both to ourselves and to others. Ecosystems are met with wanton acts of destruction; persons are starved and incarcerated and killed. Yet those who attain personhood behave in an opposite manner. This is why we must do away with capitalism. Let us become, finally, a beloved community of persons, one that personalizes the world around it, recognizing persons in others where before it seemed there were none.

2 thoughts on “Saturday December 16, 2017”

  1. I ran early this morning, hard, and saw the sun come up at a horizon over the Atlantic Ocean. It was a ribbon of textured orange and it appeared the leading edge of a fire of Judgement rolling in like a tsunami wave, growing in height by the second. In 1871 the Great Peshtigo Fire smashed through dry Wisconsin old growth and killed 2,000 in the lumber camps. The inferno was such that many survivors believed it the arrival of The Last Day, the vial of wrath unsealed as in John’s hallucinations. No other point of reference. Trees abstracted to lumber to commodity, mixed with colossal logjams and the unlucky river drivers and their inevitable corpses all floating like oil spills en route to Chicago — all prostrate before money and the satanic mills. In Christian eschatology the Reckoning is not the work of the fallen angel but of divine smite.

    Why must we be smitten? Why rising seas, Bangladeshi shipbreakers, Pacific vortexes, dying coral, intensifying hurricanes. We have been saving the whales since I was a child. Have they been saved? The rain forests by way of Fern Gully, Captain Planet? I rejected God for his non-existence, then for his indifference, then for his cruelty, then for his contradictions. In my primal psyche, I know only a Manichean Divine. I envy nuance and re-imagining. There is the fact of eternity, the fact of judgement on belief not works, and the binary of incomprehensible reward or suffering. I was told heaven would be better than anything I could possibly imagine; hell the mirror. And to suffer eternally, without end, without recourse, without pity by a hangman satisfied with his perfected justice who never told me I was loved enough to be spared. World without end past the end of the world.

    I ran this morning trying something new. No music– Ray Lewis, the legendary NFL linebacker and demigod of motivation screaming in my ear, “you ain’t gonna die from pain. You ain’t gonna die!” At the end of pain: “your promise.” I can’t bear eternity. I need the other side. I could burn for a million years if it meant purification and holiness. But not without end. The last sentence I wrote in December 2015 in the hotel room: “I’m sorry God for not believing in you.”

    It’s not that the world will destroyed for accumulation of money, or Jameson’s bit about how it is easier to imagine the end of the planet than the end of capitalism, or our helplessness in the face of extinction. No. It is that among us are the same God(s) that would will it. I’m like Dr. Manhattan in simultaneity between 9th grade and 2063 as Mr. Burns intones to Springfield: “Ever since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the sun. I shall do the next best thing: block it out.”

    The deep cultural resonance of Alfred’s quip: “some men just want to watch the world burn” rattles me. People quote it. But they’re drawn to rubies bigger than tangerines, to money, they live to be bought and bargained for. And they want to watch the world burn alongside their eternal acquisitions, like F-18s flying in tight formation to rain death upon villages of shepherds in places we know nothing about.

    Fire, sunrise, pain. What is the promise to be won on this wager we’re laying down on the existence of an other side? “The World Without Us?”

    A good person cannot comprehend God’s implacable eternal wrath — his insistence on fury. A good person cannot comprehend that when the last two humans on earth, neck deep in the sea, bourgeois and proletarian, when they confront one another in common fate, the bourgeois will guard his money to maintain natural order in the last moments before the end of all things, satisfied that there was no other way, breathing the water without fear, perfectly solitary in the oneness of destruction, owning everything, the world entire.

    I just run. I gasp and metabolize. I feel my body tauten through days of push-ups, leg-raises, bridges, squats, pull-ups. I would drag God down with me into the pit. My pain bars the hotel door from the outside. My prayer is to a woman in my arms, summoning the courage to change the things I can, the wisdom to know the difference. I keep the pilot lit and it’s enough. Her body is rain and it is spring again. We never think to square circles. I sleep soundly with her in my arms as the fire returns to its place of dreams.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This cuts to the quick. Thanks for sharing it, dude. Despite my hatred of capitalism, I’ve never been drawn to Manichaeism. For whatever reason, I’m unable to convince myself emotionally of the existence of divine judges or divine reckonings. Rather, everything in my experience suggests awe-inspiring mystery, with hints of a loving cosmos for those who grant themselves the right to it.

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