Possible paths towards "in-the-heart" solutions to the maze we are caught in
“…Any politics we pick up and follow, they are…alien politics…[and] do not reflect the reality of who we are, but our culture and art does. …if we are going to use [politics] then let’s recognize that’s what we are doing. It’s a tool. It’s not an identity…”–a Lakota wisdom keeper
Dear reader, I suspect that you will find this page a bit too wordy, tangent-tending, and not easy to read; I hope you will persevere, though, and at least scan/hop around for the nuggets of value which i claim are here. Composing text is not “first nature” for me…
(note: i think this is the second portion of solutions coming from a webpage that is quite hard to find.)
points to be considered here:
informal resistance consciousness (and pros and cons of formal orgnanization)
the meta game
a new imagination, liberation of our desire and an obstacle,
Continue the war, or
understand and implement liberatory desires?
spirit liberation or psychological ju-jitsu,
an example, another example,
the problem of institutional fear.
Paths towards an in-the-heart solution
Intellectual self-defense and an informal resistance of consciousness towards spirit liberation.
Intellectual self-defense has been deeply articulated by the much despised luminary, Noam Chomsky. Basically, the method is to “undertake a course” (of self-instruction via Chomsky et al’s *institutional analysis*) so that we may better understand how we are collectively manipulated via notable methods of thought control by major influence institutions: i.e. the mainstream media and the State.
Informal resistance consciousness
The still quite marginalized John Trudell (a Lakota Indian who has paid a heavy price for speaking his heart, including having his wife and children killed by obvious state complicity) articulated this idea in a very basic way in his *We Are Power* speech, shared with his fellow indigenous people in 1980. Basically, I see this way as a way of utilizing (tooling) the excellent values of formal resistance, while not letting the destructive sides of formal resistance tool us.
Formal resistance, as the model lives in the popular imagination (and especially the imaginations of institutionally “well-educated” persons (a phrase to ask significant questions of)), brings into our imaginations certain camoflauged angles which we need to scrutinize more carefully if we are to see exactly when we become tooled and fooled.
Let’s take ideology (or, rigid belief system) for a moment: One must subordinate the “serious” sides (at least) of their individualities to the Given ideology that formal organizations have chosen; usually, this seems to be the political route or program in which the organizational controllers/designers/planners have decided to follow as THE way (and no other way is possible, unless one is prepared to fight, tooth and nail, to have the way finally added someday–a microcosm to what the organiztion is seeking to do in seeking reform in the larger society!).
Formal organization also imposes a conventional imagination of confining concepts like “memberships” and “leaders”, “dues” and “social ettiquette”; and a usually uncritical acceptance of the kind of orthodoxy which provides these models of formal, “reputable”, or what is supposed to be “serious” organization in the first place. (Incidentally, this model has, over and over, proven disasterous to groups not yet allowed “a place at the table”–much less the ‘right’ to negotiate for their independent survival. It’s probably disasterous also for individuals who have gotten stuck in believing that they are making some reformist gains, but let’s save that, too, for another conversation).
(The most pointed examples of this disasterousness for groups not yet allowed “a place at the table”/social appearances of acceptance, has been the continuing havoc wreaked by legal and illegal official covert action upon formal organizations since at least the 1950s; as well as the strange, yet systematic pattern of ignorant naivity of “well-educated” organizers and leaders in these organizations. The best lessons may be gleaned from the f.b.i.’s illegal COINTEL Program; for those into reading, try the websites booklist, or explore William Kunstler’s autobiography (_My Life As A Radical Lawyer_) as well as one by Philip Agee (_On The Run_); see also the anarchist critique of formal organization, via such luminaries as Feral Faun; contact the editor of a certain crucial anarchist publication at http://www.anarchymag.org)
Informal resistance, on the other hand, offers much more room, at least as far as the informal member’s individual imagination may be “allowed” to go, either by chance, spiritual path, or error. With no one to coerce or manipulate a member’s ideological conformity or keep them from going into “dangerously” independent inquiry, or even simply escaping the list of tasks given by organizational functionaries, informal resisters have much more freedom to explore areas that interest them.
This especially rings true when we see that informal resistance motions are usually made up of individuals who are oriented to working/playing on their own, or with small groups of friends or “affinity groups”. They may come together in order to carry out direct actions, but most of their time is spent doing activities they, individually, are enamored to. They remain focused on the activities they’re interested in, whereas in formal organizations, they may become *burnt out* by tasks which run far from their original desires (re: fund-raising, newsletter editing and mailing, and other secretarial duties). They can still take advantage of peer critique or support, when they ask, but the interaction remains much more oriented to directness, and has less of a chance to be clouded over by the need to conform ideologically, and remain “in good standing” in the formal group.
Further, when we organize ourselves informally, we are also not limited by ideological demands about what sources we may make use of. In fact, we may utilize a broad variety of resources. This is what has been called creative self-mobilization… Myself, i’ve found much value in insights found in methodological anarchy and situationism, as well as from Reader’s Digest and other places one wouldn’t normally expect to find gems. The trick is *reading between the lines* and keeping one’s ability to compare and try out, intact; this comes back to critical thought and intellectual self-defense.
the meta game
Depending on how meaningfully deep one has allowed themselves to delve, one may begin to see a pattern of similarity between ALL the vast, seemingly terribly complicated and divergent views and beliefs we have as individuals. Notably, we all are similar, it’s just that we’ve been socialized/programmed/enculturated into a seemingly huge diversity of rigid difference. This kind of realization is typically not allowed by formal, ideologically-challenged organization, which seems to need to keep a rigid dichotomy between “us” and “Them”. The reason for this I haven’t yet been able to put my finger on, but perhaps there is insight to be found in the *meta game* as played by the elites of every formalized group (i.e. every group articulating itself towards being better understood and seeking “reform”/assimilation or “revolution”/changing of the boss). As R.D. Laing says:
“…I discover there is a meta-road…[Society] is playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing the game.”–R.D.Laing, in a biography called A Divided Self p.151
We see this meta game all throughout the imagination called society and culture, and as well, formalized concepts of organization and resistance. Parents and other conscious adults play it upon persons called children. Teachers play it upon parents and kids. Administrators play it upon implementers of policy called teachers. Elite policy makers play this meta game upon elite implementers. All throughout our imagination we are neatly corralled and confined within something like Oz, though for me, a more exacting insight is to call this prevailing and imposed imagination *Is*. **The Wizards of Is** keep us “properly” subordinated, unthreatening, tooled, and mentally confined. We are modern-day peasants with neon. “Dark ages with neon glasses” as John Trudell would say.
Why this happens, why this meta game has to be played at all, probably has something to do with our “information society” being one completely subordinated to the needs and values of *propaganda* (see J. Ellul). All institutions and their public relations aparatuses utilize propaganda–manipulation–as THE method of choice for getting mass audiences/”consumers” to pay attention. Since we are basically a WAR-oriented culture, the war of propaganda comes with the territory. And thus the game that “must” be played while not speaking of the game; and those who do, being viewed as a danger because they might ruin a particular aspect of the propaganda that “MUST” rein.
a new imagination
The only way out that i can see, beyond continuing to naively strengthen that (including propaganda) which systematically attacks all of us in continually rotating ways (continually finding new differences amongst us to exploit our fears and keep us alienated and/or against each other), is by escaping the heart of the situation, and bringing forth a new imagination.
My study and experience leads me to the conclusion that FEAR, followed closely by severe alienation, is the heart of our challenge as humans at this juncture.
We need to liberate ourselves from this imagination which has been imposed upon ALL of us (including elite policy makers) from times when war was viewed as the only option (as in the history of all so-called “civilized” organization (popularly, it is also believed that pre-“civilized” groups, like the American indigenous folks, were committed to senseless violence; yet I maintain that there is a context to that which cannot be easily understood by domesticated man’s severely confined imagination)).
Liberation of our desires and an obstacle
We can see already where our desires tend to want to escape to, when we think of young children of age 3 or 5. Their spirit is still full of the “spirit of discovery” and the love of life, and the misery of “Reality” has not yet been imposed upon them (via our social norms). The lucky few (those who see this anyway) that find time to walk down paths with them and notice things that otherwise would be missed, says oodles about this all too private joy, alone.
Parents have regularly spoken fondly of “being able” to “revisit childhood” through their youngchildren. Through this imagination we call “childhood” we experience a renewing of our own spirits, and this is to be celebrated; yet, at the same time, due to our alienated conditionining, this way has turned into a way which we *mine* for our own nursings, while allowing little vitality to escape to where our children may grow and become stronger.
In our single-minded, severely alienated interests, we’ve turned the youngpersons moving through us into objects. An object similar to what John Holt characterized, in his book _Escape From Childhood_, a “superpet”. A youngperson not allowed to be viewed as fully human alongside us (thanks to the work of the convenient, and the systematically superficial analysis of the highly political, state-subordinated, social sciences).
Probably because of this value that we find in this somewhat natural time of life, the whole realm of “childhood” has become a highly sentimentalized time of all-too-escapist entertainment, aloof play, unthreatening fantasy, industry and business, keeping the very *objects* we claim to so avidly cherish and wish to “protect” locked up in a ‘prison garden called childhood’ (John Holt; see also: Paul Goodman: _Growing Up Absurd_ and Gerald Farson: _Birthrights_). We think nothing of this, until, for whatever reason, we finally allow ourselves to step back and look at a bigger picture. (Perhaps we are moved by youth liberationists of yesteryear or today, or remember our own feelings as kids)
Continue the war, or understand and implement liberatory desires?
The trick, then, is to not allow our severely alienated desires to get the best of us. (Perhaps this is where the danger of “ego” crops up, though I wonder at the validity of this characterization; is it too simplified? Reducing too quickly? I prefer a word which sheds light on the context of our resorting to all shades of allegedly bad selfishness.) This is the juncture where liberation may be had, or where struggle/war may continue (even inarticulately, as we see with so many kids now being labeled “oppositionally defiant disordered” and so on).
Liberation is the situation in which people learn the value of shirking off confined imaginations about themselves and others. Liberation is when many many people start to let their imaginations freer than ever thought “possible” before. The 1960s/early 70s was such a time of liberation (called a “crisis” by the ruling war order). Quite suddenly (all too quickly for the war powers), due to the example of a heightening black civil rights and anti-war movement, all sorts of groups and individuals were starting to think that they might be able to be heard if they dared to speak up about their intutions and awareness about the plight of themselves and those they’d been moved by.
Where the 1960s/70s liberation movement went wrong, in my view, is that they got stuck up in the game that their consciously political “leaders” played. Reformist-oriented or “revolutionary”, the same underlying “Us vs. Them” dichotomy was (and continues to be) as rigid and **unempathetic** as the established mindset (and this goes for all the anarchists as well, even if they are not ideologically-oriented). Of course, most of those who thought nothing of following along, didn’t see this. They didn’t see that they were being manipulated against each other; tooled. For the needs and interests of their even more severely alienated “leaders” and owners and puppeteers.
Spirit liberation or psychological ju-jitsu
Spirit liberation is the uniqueness of our individuality which we had in spades and flying colors when we were less programmed/socialized/conditioned/indoctrinated into imposed “Reality”/death culture/misery/severe alienation we collectively view as “Reality”. That is, to come back to this again, *when we were “kids”*. The time when we still could allow ourselves to look upon the reality all around us and come up with our OWN individual ideas; and not be completely encircled by others’ imaginations.
“There are two ways of thinking. One can either accept current ideas and associations of ideas, just as they are or else undertake, on his own account, new associations or, what is rarer, original disassociations. The intelligence capable of such efforts is…a creative intelligence.”–Remy de Gourmont (1899)
Thus, spirit liberation is the action and conscious (as well as unconscious) reverting to times when we come back under control of our own imaginations/culture/desired reality. i’ve talked about kids being naturals at this. Another group has not been mentioned: the “crazy” ones.
“Crazy” people, are, really, people whom’ve found a way, a self-taught folk way, to deal with their mental nilness resulting from living in the “norms” all around. The “norms” imposed and coerced by other persons so severely alienated and lost that they cannot allow the “crazy” people to explore their own path as they would like to explore it. This is saying things simplistically, but i see that it boils down to this. The more the severely alienated “carers” try to impose their designs/beliefs as an arbitrary remedey, the more the “crazy” person naturally seeks further escape–sometimes way too deep into the chaotic seas of “schizophrenia”. Naturally, they tend to seek the ways that resonate with them the most.
Our severely alienated society wants them to “adjust” and “adapt” to the imposed “Norms”, and anyone in their *right mind* will naturally rebell, even if they’re not articulate to their rebellion!
Where the spirit liberationist can learn from “crazy” people should be obvious by now. “Craziness” is not “sick”; it is a way we can become when we must find depth. If we can become articulate and more conscious of our needs to “let things all hang out”, or otherwise openly challenge social “norms” in ways not yet mapped by the political forms we can now imagine, while avoiding the pit-falls of inarticulate “craziness”, we can learn to tool this folk method, just as we may learn to tool the methodology of youngpeople!
Does this make sense to you yet?
In liberating ourselves and each other so that we tap back into the ways of our original, individual selves–creating culture and community which realizes the value of such an endeavor–we merely dare to bring out the artways which we’ve buried (often under heavy armor) deep inside of us, or may’ve forgotten (and may still be remembered, via examples of informal, spontaneous realness)!
That is, for example, we tool “craziness” and “pre-socialization” (“childhood”) in order to help us informally liberate ourselves from the Imposed Norms.
An example of this is to enter into “an emotional break down” consciously, like I did lastnight (note: years ago now). I was depressed and wished to *go into* my depression and take it by the horns. For years I had avoided going into its fearful depths. But i was feeling at the end of my rope. i was unsure, in a really heavy way, as to whether i wanted to continue “living” in this reality, on this planet, in this dimension. So, i took matters into my own hands (i didn’t seek the alleged insight of the array of professionals around me, nor the models of “support groups”; nor the same old ‘friend’ interactions of ‘how are you?’ ‘i’m fine, and you?’ crap).
i feared living. And i was fearing living for too long. But i also feared death (by my own hand as well as another’s). So i dared to jump into this fear almost full-throttle, via my alleged “addiction” to ganja, and kept my screaming cries muffled just enough to avoid someone calling the police from outside my home (my home is not your “normal” lifestyle at all). And then i proceeded to make calls to all those i intuit have “hearts of gold”–or, enough “gold” in their hearts that they send beautifulness off in ways that i need and want. (the “heart of gold” thing comes from a favorite country song of mine, where a father is talking about his daughter) i dared to be open and direct with everyone, to make a longer story short. i dared to say what i meant and get it across emotionally as well.
And i lived through that. And i found some stability and insight, some informal spiritual/spirit liberation. A way for me to continue on and to come back here and try finishing this composition for the possible benefit of other humans.
Notably, this foray escaped the “normal” ideological grip, in that i dared to move into “my addiction”, instead of avoid it as “conventional wisdom” would pressure. The same ideas which tell us that if *things are going “bad”–i.e. “bad trip”–then it’s ‘best’ to avoid them and continue living like “shiney happy people holding hands” (remember that from a song?)*. Fakeness. Lostness. Lack of depth. Lack of realness. Lack of sharing in time of need.
Another example would be the essay i wrote called “Good Peasant, Bad Peasant” (see this blog, same date). Basically, it is a situation in which a group of people, such as in a neighborhood ghetto which is not being *openly* warred upon (i.e. wouldn’t work in WWII Jewish ghettos), is having trouble with a “public servant” of some sort, and they decide something must be done. But, at the same time, they hold no confidence in “traditional” modes of rectifying the situation. My example was individual police officers whom are not acting with enough respect/professionalism towards people, and how we, the peasantry, can apply a type of crucial classical conditioning upon those whom are out of line yet remain regularly within the ghetto community.
This is certainly a bad seague here, but I don’t have the time to rectify this: Notably, we don’t completely “throw out” the wisdom learned from our ventures in the imposed, “traditional”, and now dominant imagination. We utilize what we find liberating and valid, while *continuing* a critical awareness of WHEN such are most liberating and valid. At the same time, neither do we completely subordinate ourselves/society to the inexperience (in this world) and alleged chaos of persons called children or called crazy.
We seek the excellent **heart** and beautiful energy of people called children and people called crazy; not as yet another resource to commodify and exploit, but as a method or way of doing things which brings out our indepth needs and desires!
the problem of the institutional fear
Now, having said all this, there remains the test of the hardest challenge. My testing has been on myself and the observation of my fellow beings (humans, etc.) My testing has also touched on heavy situations (like direct emotional/nervous breakdown). Next to the direct imposition of the state (and all institutions, formal and informal, which automatically subordinate to it), there enters the problem of daring to articulate myself versus mindsets which do not value such, and see no form of rebellion as an option.
If pressed (or perceiving a threat), the human beings whom have subordinated their “professional” lives to the meta game of the state/ruling order, cannot allow themselves, it seems to me, to allow for too many people becoming of independent mind, and will (as history shows) work to see that such nonconformity becomes corralled in the smallest, unthreatening terms possible. Thus we have tiny academic circles exploring Polanyi, Kuhn, and Feyerabend. Or tiny, yet highly mystified, groups of cyberneticians. Or small groups of elite vanguardists keeping their ‘single issue’ reform measures intact at all costs (via such things as formal organization). Or ‘indigenous’ peoples remaining aloof from non-indigenous commonfolks.
Yet, this is the ultimate beauty of resistance consciousness. It remains informal. It remains “underground”. It remains as a tool to be utilized when direct actions are desired, and can only be blocked when the whole society openly loses its freedom. The beauty of this form of resistance, also, is that it remains seeing the value of nonviolent interaction towards bridging.
But, alas, not every oppressed person (across the spectrum of left, right, center, and beyond) sees the value of nonviolent interaction *towards mutually beneficial outcomes*.