6/1/16 (or so)
- Just beautiful passages
- It hijacks history classes and funerals, waylays secretaries on the way to the coffee machine, turn rails into slides and shopping malls into playgrounds, it sends lives spinning out of control. Movie directors endeavor to harness it, travel agents to peddle it, political parties to enlist it; but fantasy, like those who pursue it in earnest, can serve no employer.
- An insurgent without allies fighting a war without fronts.
- I was finally throwing myself off the cliff; I would invent the airplane, or perish in the crash.
- You who no longer dance in the street
Who have given up on winning
But not yet on giving in;
Have you made your peace with war?
Did they bribe you to betray
Your scorn for bribery and betrayal?
Would you seek accommodation
With the ones who broke your heart
And trade the bitterness of struggle
For the sour grapes of defeat?
- A revolutionary aspires to have a tight grasp on reality without the converse being true.
- Every revolution is essentially the revolt of a people against itself. The hands that raise skyscrapers are the same ones that assemble barricades. Like a body in upheaval, painfully transforming itself into something else, people seized by insurgent desires wrest themselves from everything they know and attempt to reconstitute themselves as a new society.
- As the masked window-smasher yelled at the law-abiding liberal protestor who tried to restrain her, “It’s not your job to stop me from ‘making your cause look bad,’ but to distance yourself from my actions as much as you have to to keep the respect of the demographic you’re trying to reach! It’s my job to make something happen here so they’ll have to listen to you in the fucking first place!”
- If you need to follow leaders, find leaders who will help you depose them from the pedestal you put them on; if you wish to lead others, find equals who will help you dethrone yourself; if you have to fight against others, find wars you can wage for everyone’s benefit.
- When it comes to dodging the imperatives of your conditioning, you’ll find that indulge and undermine is a far more effective program than the old heritage of “renounce and struggle” passed down from humorless Christianity.
- With a little hard work, you can make yourself feel alienated by just about anything.
- At the same time, it won’t – and shouldn’t – always be possible to surround yourself with people who see things the way you do: be ready to leave your comfort zone, and bring a generous heart when you do.
- let the past go. All the old battles you’re still fighting, all your denial and defense mechanisms, all the addictions and inertia you’ve accumulated and all the fears that bind you to them. This is going to be the hardest thing you ever live through – but let them go, let them die, have courage through the silent moments in the void as you wait, trembling, for your new life to be born. It will be.
- Hierarchy, democracy, government
- The terror-mongers insist that hierarchy is necessary to protect us from the violence inherent in our species – but hierarchy is simply the large-scale manifestation of the violence intrinsic to this particular system. The fact that hierarchy can be absent – between friends, in movements of widespread teamwork, in other societies – is proof that we can live without its violence, too.
- If you ever found yourself in a vastly outnumbered minority, and the majority voted that you had to give up something as necessary to your life as water and air, would you comply? When it comes down to it, does anyone really believe it makes sense to accept the authority of a group simply on the grounds that they outnumber everyone else?
- Democracy is the most sustainable way to maintain the distinction between powerful and powerless because it gives the greatest possible number of people incentive to defend that distinction.
- the implicit function of the courts is, at best, to impose the legislation of the majority on the minority.
- Common sense and compassion are always preferable to the enforcement of strict, impersonal regulations.
- Autonomy is the anthesis of bureaucracy. There is nothing more efficient than people acting on their own initiative as they see fit, and nothing more inefficient than attempting to dictate everyone’s actions from above – that is, unless your fundamental goal is to control other people. Top-down coordination is only necessary when people must be made to do something they would never do of their own accord; likewise obligatory uniformity, however horizontally it is imposed, can only empower a group by disempowering the individuals who comprise it. Consensus can be as repressive as democracy unless the participants retain their autonomy.
- If you’re willing to coexist with us, we’ll share everything we have with you, we’ll go to any lengths to work out conflicts – but if you want to be the boss… we’re going to have to fight…
- We live in a violent, oppressive world. It’s as sensible to blame anyone one of us for being colonized by this violence and domination as it is to blame the oceans for being polluted.
- Thus we can see that, on every level, fighting, commanding, and obeying comprise perhaps one percent of human history. What about games, kissing, and picnics, then? Aren’t they the heritage of our species, representative of our “nature” if anything is?
- Every government that holds power today is defended in a direct line from this brutality, how ever much they distance themselves from it.
- If it seems we are not fit to govern ourselves, it is because government has systematically disabled us.
- Force people to live in concentration camps: they will become suicide bombers, and everyone will understand why the camps are necessary.
- If consensus cannot be reached within a group, that group can split into smaller groups that can achieve it internally – such a thing may be inconvenient and frustrating, but it is better than group decisions ultimately being made by force by those who have the most power. As with individuals and society, so with different collectives: if the benefits of working together outweigh the frustrations, that would be incentive enough for people to sort out their differences. Even drastically dissimilar communities still have it in their best interests to coexist peacefully, and must somehow negotiate ways to achieve this.
- Heaven help those who make long-term plans today and stick to them, whose lives will never be greater than what they can imagine right now!
- But the one who lives in fear moves only to consolidate the present. He is not capable of free action – he is too busy reacting in advance to things that haven’t even happened yet. He can only conceive of the future – any future – as a threat. He trusts nothing to chance, and thus chance cannot entrust him with more than he already has.
- Engineers and computer programmers are willing to build weapons of mass destruction and crack the codes of “subversive” groups for the government, for they have never taken the time to reflect seriously on the effects of their efforts – they simply do what they have learned to do for whoever provides them the opportunity and salary to do it. An expert who does his job well without ever reflecting upon how his work impacts the social whole is potentially extremely dangerous; without such men, theres would be no nuclear weapons.
- We come to think of being radical as a war – hence the more wars we fight, the more radical we must be.
- Those who would set rules for the unruly and regulations for the irregular deny the complexity not only of human beings but also of the struggle it will take to win our freedom.
- The old-line Marxists who insets the world will be a paradise once the proletariat takes power and can only be a hell until then is speechless in the face of the paradise discovered by a lovemaking couple; the hard-line primitivist who writes of how magical everything was before our fall from grace is similarly disoriented when it comes to the question of what matters right now.
- Generally, people make choices based on what they consider to be “realistic” rather than on what they desire, and what they consider realistic depends on what they believe others consider realistic – and is by no means guaranteed to be in the best interests of those who comprise it.
- When people do not recognize themselves as part of a crowd, but think of themselves only as sovereign individuals who just so happen to speak, vote, shop, think, and feel the same way thousands or millions of others do, they tend to see reality as fixed and indisputable.
- In our society every effort is made to prevent people from coming together in masses, to prevent masses who have come together from recognizing themselves as masses, to prevent masses that recognize themselves as such from gaining a sense of their power, and to prevent this who participate in masses that have a sense of their power from recognizing their own individual part in this power.
- Words serve as currency precisely because they are vague and simplistic; no word or concept could ever capture the infinite depth and complexity of a single instant of life.
- Our cyclopean vision of the cosmos can be traced back to ancient Greece, where Plato took the abstraction inherent in language one step further. He declared that our abstractions refer to some “higher plane” in which abstractions like “justice” exist in their pure form; in doing so, he turned everything backwards, place our broad generalizations before the experiences they summarize and claiming that they are truer than the raw materials they purport to represent. Thus he took the reference point of our concepts out of the world altogether, suggesting that our real experiences in it are less important than our ideas about it. Paul, the founder of Christianity, expanded this philosophy into a religious doctrine: the ideal exists in heaven and the earth is only a flawed, evil imitation.
- Words can only express reality accidentally, and then only briefly.
- Wage labor
- This began with the twin developments of currency and subdivided time. Suddenly, everything had an exchange value that could be determined according to an external standard, and likewise each day was divided into quantified segments. Time and worth cannot really be measured – the woman who has truly lived knows that no stopwatch can register the way times speeds up when she is in bed with her lover and slows down when she is “on the clock” at work, she knows that the best and worst things in life cannot be “deserved” or earned, let alone appraised – but wage labor and exchange economics forced people to measure them anyway, and the habit sank in.
- Every morning women weigh themselves and experience just how inadequate any scale is for measuring the diverse beauty of human beings.
- The one who fails in the course of really trying needn’t fear as she is facing to live life to the fullest.
- Failing should not be difficult, unless one is invested in success. That it is so hard for most of us to fail even in meaningless ways reveals how much we covet success for its own sake. Being able to fail fearlessly before others is one of the hardest skills to master; being able to fail before yourself without shame is harder still.
- Fail once, and it feels like the end of the world; live through the end of the world a few times, and you’ll learn how much more durable you are than it is.
- Ok, look at it this way: to fail, you have to be totally committed to something, to desire it with all your heart – to believe that life will be unlivable if it doesn’t come true. everyone has things they want that badly, what they call impossible desires – they just don’t pursue them because it would hurt too much if they never caught up to them. I think most people don’t even acknowledge what they really want to themselves, they’re so scared of not getting it. You’ve failed: that’s a real achievement.
- If a person’s dearest dreams can come true, then real failure, too, is possible. As failure is the most feared of misfortunes, being responsible for pursuing and perhaps failing to achieve precious dreams is everyone’s ultimate terror. On the other hand, if the realization of such dreams is impossible, then we are free of this terrible responsibility: many people find it easier to endure the idea that everything they want is impossible than to face down the terror of being responsible for attaining it. And once they decided that what they really want is impossible, from that moment on they are invested in that being the truth – otherwise they are fools who have thrown away their lives for nothing. They may even work, subconsciously, to prevent their dreams from coming true, to prevent the thing they long for from becoming possible. Imagine that, a planet of six billion people working around the clock to push what they want out of reach! It must require that much work – what most of us want is not really all that difficult or complex. It takes a Disaster of billions to hold us back!
- And all the groups that say they want radical changes but always try to stop anyone who tries to make them, i think they do that because they don’t want to win, because they’re invested in failing. They don’t dare risk what they have, so for them it’s never the right time to act, there’s always more preparation to be done. So long as they keep their roles as conscientious objectors, so long as their hands are clean, they don’t care what happens to the rest of us, they don’t care if people have to sleep on rooftops and rainforests are turned into pulp and cities are bombed into dust.
- Ultimately, liberation is not a question of succeeding or failing, but of moving beyond such binary ways of thinking. Our pathological fear of failure exists only by virtue of our superstitions about success; to emancipate ourselves from the former, we must forgive ourselves enough to stop pining for the latter. The mystique of victory gives rise to the fiction of defeat.
- Perhaps our fear of failure is a symptom of our inability to release ourselves to the present. To be capable of anything – even failure, and thus even success – one must be able to gives oneself entirely to the doing, neither fearing the future nor judging by its standards. To fail and overcome that failure is to grow; this is one of the ways we come to know each other and ourselves. setting out to fail – not by attempting too little, so one success in not succeeding, but by attempting so much that one can only fail gloriously – could be a way to re-center one’s life around action, not consequences.
- The cynic is not coming to terms with the heard facts of reality, but imposing them upon himself. If he really wants to learn whether the things he desires are impossible, he has to start from the premise – no, from the deep-seated conviction – that they are possible, and act accordingly.
- “I love you,” whispers the young girl.
“Do you love are more than anyone else, more than anything?” demands the boy.
“I love you… differently, because of what you are. Not more, not less – there is no comparison with love, for love cherishes what is. Love is not judgment, it is measureless, matchless…” she replies – but he has already turned away.
- If the two-party relationship system is the pinnacle achievement of a hundred thousand years of human loving, why is adultery so common that it forms the most reliable material for bourgeois drawing room humor – not to mention employment for a whole army of marriage counselors? if all any of us truly desire is our one true love, why can’t we keep our hands off everyone else?
- Growing up in an environment dominated by capitalist economics teaches certain psychological lessons that are hard to unlearn: Anything of value is only available in limited supplies. Stake your claim now, before you’re left alone with nothing. Unable to imagine that love and pleasure could multiply when shared, we come to measure commitment and affection by how much others sacrifice for us. An outsider might counter that in a healthy relationship, friends or lovers enable each other to be able to do and live and feel more. If you feel, in your gut if not in your head, that have a romantic partner means giving something up – your “freedom,” as they say – then the patterns of exploitation and control have penetrated even into your love life.
- If you really want to know the truth, you must make it easy for people to tell it to you: you must be genuinely supportive and ready for whatever it may be, not just make self-righteous demands or play good cop/bad cop (“just tell me, I promise I’ll understand… you did WHAT?!”)
- What would it look like to have relationships in which there was no such thing as adultery, or at least no cause for it? First, it would be necessary that communication be prized above obedience to social norms… We would have to grapple with our own insecurities rather than attempting to limit others’ autonomy. In short, it would demand maturity in the same way monogamy monoculture rewards childishness – including the childishness of adulterers.
- “I love you,” whispers the young girl.
- We can claim one million years of do-it-yourslef culture and resistance for our heritage; the tyrants only a few senseless wars, asinine inventions, self-important treaties, and short lived empires – which we’ve always eventually raised to the ground! The ruins of their failed nations, wrecked temples on hills where metropolises stood mere centuries ago, foreshadow the end they know awaits – our way stretches ahead of us infinitely, through the entire future of our species: for as long as inhuman institutions are made up of human lives, there will be resistance, and afterwards there will be celebrations just as there are today. Our war can never be entirely lost, theirs can never be won.
- Perhaps this world will never be free of misfortunes – people will always die before they are ready, just as magical love affairs will end in ruins, adventures be cut short by catastrophes, and moments of bliss will be forgotten. But what is most heartbreaking is the way we flee from those inevitable truths into more horrible things. It may be true that every one of us is fundamentally on her own, that life is capricious and cruel – but it doesn’t have to be true that some people starve while others destroy food or buy mansions. It doesn’t have to be that men and women are forced to squander their lives working to serve the hollow greed of a few rich men just to survive; it doesn’t have to be that we let meaningless traditions and doctrines autopilot our lives into bewildering voids. It doesn’t have to be that we never dare to tell each other what we really want, to share ourselves honestly, to use our talents and capabilities to make life more bearable – let alone more beautiful. Those are unnecessary tragedies, stupid tragedies, pathetic and pointless. It’s not even utopian to demand that we put an end to farces like these.
- Ultralists / revolutionaries
- You’re not doing anyone any favors by reinforcing its ubiquity in your own activites, nor by insulting their intelligence and passion assuming they aren’t ready to be as radical as you secretly are.
- Ultralists don’t disguise themselves as moderates to work with others towards moderate goals – your average group of moderates is just a bunch of closeted Ultraists waiting for partners with whom to go for it.
- Maximum Ultriasm will not alienate your peers – it will win you the recognition of the most daring and passionate among them.
- Ultraists can be counted upon to say what they feel and practice what they preach; they have nothing to lose and nothing to hide.
- “You’re telling me these scumfucks are destroying the land we live on, and you want me to sign a petition? What good is that going to do?”