(A letter that ended up being to myself, about a collaborative forum in the works.)
We really ought to write a book about this.
It is an important body of insight and practice in perspective.
Reclamation of our sense of sovereign selfness is absolutely vital in beginning to question and restructure the role that Systems of Profit and Power: (Which is the best way that I am able to typify them, these collectives of structured idea and practice (often dysfunctional and traumatic) that manipulate natural systems of relation/consumption in such a way that our basic understandings of what the world and our own lives entail. The purpose and driving mechanism of this manipulation of our worldview, modes of economy and means of relation is a rewarding investment in practices that harm human beings and habitat for the purpose of gain, real or imagined.)
(Wow. There is a chapter in that paragraph alone.)
(This whole process of organizing complex ideas coherently and pragmatically is very valuable to me. Thank you.)
When we mold our identities in response to the Systems which have placed themselves in authoritarian positions, we reinforce those Systems either directly or indirectly, in support for personal gain or in an oppositional admittance of their dominance in our lives.
Thus, in order to genuinely ‘fight the System’ it might help to disallow reactive contempt in the shaping of one’s self.
(That’s a good way for me to think about it.)
If one invests in a belief of a Systems authority, one is then shaped within the (often baffling) frameworks of relation that is system-built, system-driven. In order to reclaim a sovereignty of self, one must disengage their belief in the Systems which have the capacity to pervade our lives in some very insidious ways, so that they are able to restructure their normative frameworks and attachments to ideas.
I started this process by beginning to notice how weird everything is. Such as the fact that 30 years ago, the internet barely existed. Or how about television? Or pharmaceuticals? Or malls? Convenience stores and the stuff of the counter? Movies? Toys? Made In China? Schools? Police? Terrorists?
This doesn’t make sense. I know. That’s the point.
The human mind instinctively seeks clarity?
However, we live in such a distorted and macabre-plastic, media-jumbled world that we can’t even face our own realities without experiencing extreme cognitive dissonance. For example, at some time, every child in American schools feels dissonance when they say they Pledge with their hand over their heart and yet look around and see the disparity. Some children are proud to be an American and they are, by and large, good children. They will have their moment of doubt, their moment of clarity. That dreadful sinking feeling that comes from realizing that something that you love might, in fact, be hurting people and destroying places you care for. Many will turn from that feeling. They will avoid it by absorption into the comforts of the proud Pursuit of The American Dream. They will acquire all the necessary accoutrements of A Good American, or they will die trying. At the very least, they will shut down trying to avoid the truth that so much of it is a lie.
Others do not turn from the truth so easily. Others are bothered by it, bit by bit. They begin to ask questions about what they see when they look around. They begin to get angry. They die their hair to piss off their parents. They take the pills that make them feel *nothing* and sometimes they stop even being alive.
It is hard to live in a dissonant world. To have ideas that don’t match the truth and to be caught trying to do something, to do anything, to just make.it.stop.
This is the case of the fortunate. In the case of the unfortunate – those who have been born into terrible situations, only to try to survive and to watch their families die and their homes wither – well, the case of the unfortunate is unfortunate indeed. The vast majority of the populations in the developing, recovering, transitioning, underdeveloped, redeveloped, marginalized regions of the world are…unfortunate.
That has ugly overtones…undertones…but I mean it in the sense that these unfortunate people had the misfortune to happen to get caught up in some filthy trapping of oppression and exploitation and that their lives are a living hell.
Our brains would break if we – the fortunate – had to live in just one of their days. The things we might see would destroy us, so fragile our gusseted minds have become.
Interestingly, it seems that there is a popular conception that the unfortunate are, contrary to all reason, somehow ebullient and filled with a great transcendent gratitude.
This can and does happen as a result of being close to death.
Being close to death is no way to live.
It is here that I encounter the outrage and confusion. How can we let something that puts us so close to frightening death even exist? Isn’t frightening death evil?
If anyone questions this statement, please inform them that the mere existence of nuclear weapons (not to mention the laundry list of other atrocious things that exist because of Systems of Control) puts us all close to a frightening death, the End of the World, never to be the same. Oh? Does that seem like a rant? Give me a break.
This is reality I’m talking about here.
Who would keep a bomb in their bedroom?
The United States, apparently.
That’s what I’m talking about.
Not in the slightest.
As for atoms, splitting the elements is never a good idea.
What are you, God?
This was started as a letter regarding a practical idea. How to Heal Systems. Or something to that effect. As you can see, I got a little off-track. As I am doing now.
My observation has been that Systems rely on our compulsory participation and in order for that participation we must be complicit and malleable. What is our motivation for being so dismissive of our basic right to live in a less scary and more functional world? Why do we turn so easily, fold so quickly under the pressure, tell ourselves that we like it all just fine, that it’s a dream come true?
Because we are scared? Because we are tired? Because we have no other choice under threat of death or starvation or social pariah status with all which that entails.
Now, with our friends at Strafor and associated entities, we can add the threat of a military detention center for questioning to the squadron of horrific things that may happen if you stand up for yourself around here, if you even try to ask any questions.
Well, I’m not falling for it. I never could. Not since I was very, very young. I stopped believing it. I still lived a lot of System-lives. I dropped out of highschool – at least four times. I went to Georgia Military College at Kings Bay Submarine Base, where my English class was held in a conference room at the Trident Training Facility. I listened to punk rock music with the windows down. I left home, I came back, I left again. I got into graduate school and then I dropped out of that, too. Salt it heavily with psychiatric hospitalization and going to the drugstore and crying because nothing made sense and everything seemed so bitter and damply hopeless.
The sun came out and then it set. I got married.
I had two children. I still have them.
I got divorced.
I am regular in the way that many Asheville moms are regular. My children are amazing people who will be very emotionally wise after all this childhood. I just want the world to be okay for them and for all the kids who didn’t ask for this sh*t.
There are a lot of tattooed moms in Western North Carolina.
If all the tattooed moms got together, we’d raise a ruckus just by being ourselves in our regular way.