What do we want, and do we have the courage to demand it from the universe, or the cleverness and patience to construct it without permission?
There are a lot of people who don’t actually know what they want.
To be fair, it’s kind of a modern challenge, isn’t it? Used to be ‘wanting’ stuff was as simple as going and getting food, or building a fire. These days, you’re expected to invent an abstracted map of your life in the near, mid, and long term timescales, and then devote every waking minute to pursuit of it.
And it’s a bit grueling, and a bit depressing, when you realize that you’re giving up every moment of blissful presence so that you can ‘create value’ for one severely detached old capitalist standing at the top of a very, very tall pyramid. And that everyone else is, too. And that we’re all so used to it that, at this point, NOT living that way might lead you to feel less joy than living this way does. At least this way, you can feel like you’re being productive, and like the distributed face of society might be smiling down on you from somewhere. At least this way you can afford Disney+.
We’ve sufficiently abstracted everything into these sublimely inefficient catastrophes of industrial power, trapped in their operations and mitigated by the bureaucratic wonderfuck that is the magick art of LAW. Don’t step out of line or somebody — can never be sure who — will come along and wallop your ungrateful, lazy, sorrowful excuse for a citizen’s ass in the jaw, and then charge you tens of thousands of dollars to wire it shut. Don’t fall out of line. We’ve emerged into systems of spiraling complexity geared towards this: limit the creative spark of the individual, keep them in the dark as to their own potentials, and ensure that, from their childhoods, into adolescence, and into adulthood and beyond, that they never once spend a significant amount of time considering their place in the world and the implications of being dissatisfied with it. Outlaw psychedelic drugs. Impose strict rules around shame and expectation without ever having explicit discussions about it that might reveal their inherent absurdity. Just. Keep. Going.
When we experience moments of profound tragedy, they overwhelm our senses and shut us down. They knock us out of the habit momentum. They change our emotions, and prompt weird conversations that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
People who have experienced profound tragedies tend to have a deeper understanding of how these moments can be useful in a broader context. As you grieve, and move onward from the thing that hurts you, you start to see how the pieces of your shattered heart are growing back together, like vines and flowers pulling in the pieces of a shattered pot. You are hardened by it, and softened by it simultaneously, because much like the tragedies themselves, none of this makes any sense.
These moments are where freedom has the chance to emerge.
What do we want, and do we have the courage to demand it?
Are we conscious enough to be clear about what we want?
Do we have the words? Do we have the sacred knowledge?
If not, might we simply shut the hell up and continue the charade?
If so…how will tomorrow be different in the world if we do not behave differently in our own lives?
What are the patterns we are following like a stream runs into a river? What valley have we carved where death and misery lie, and what debris will it take to redirect that flow?
Are we content to drive on habit energy till death, if doing so means the continued spread of this cancerous fear and hatred? Are we content to be conservative in the limits of our imaginations?
Or are we interested in the truth of what it means to be a human, and open to the simple objective fact that we are all born creative geniuses and that potential never leaves us?
David Graeber, that sweet and wonderful Anarchist Anthropologist said, “The ultimate hidden truth of the world is that it is something we make and could just as easily make differently.”
So then HOW are we going to DO that, friend? Yes, I’m asking YOU.
(This piece has been minted as my genesis NFT on the Optimism L2 blockchain via Mirror.xyz. You can read and collect this piece there.)