This night was such a mess, nothing worked out and I feel distress (it rhymes). I hate the feeling of losing control and the feeling that I’m failing, I guess it hits some old wounds or something. I’m too tired to even put up the pretentious writing style that I have, I guess I’m a bit bitter too. This situation did lead to some thoughts, some introspection of some sort. I get so angry about failure and of course its due to some trauma that I have, it goes to show that events can really shape who you are for a long time. Thinking about the fact that others probably feel the same was, to me, very reassuring. The idea that I was not alone in this felt like support, even if it is imagined. It invigorated this desire in me, that if we are to build a new society what we need is love, care, a sense of being together instead of the individualist units we have now. Something, something anarchism.
It is easy, in the world that we live in, to fall into despair. With capitalism running amok, the violence of the State intensifying, the environment decaying by the minute and so much more ; there’s enough reason to feel like there is no escape from certain doom. And yet, I am hopeful for a better future.
I am not here to criticize those who feel cynicism brought by our dire situation, as I feel that their sentiment is perfectly understandable and I find myself sometimes sharing it. My desire to write this comes more from an introspection: “why do I feel like this, although the world has chewed me up and spat me out. Why do I feel compassion, empathy and kinship to people who are not only indifferent to me but often hostile. Why do I still hope when I’m faced with bleakness”. This ideal of a better world, I think, is one of my core values that developed in me as I grew up. It is of my theory that there are two reactions to being the recipient of violence (this is of course a gross generalization): becoming a tool of violence ourselves, repeating the cycle or seeking to destroy what caused our suffering and build a new structure based on fraternity. Being myself a recipient of violence in many forms, I went for the latter. As a teenager and even in my early adulthood, I first strove for justice in the form of vengeance. I thought that if my adversaries received punishment for what they did, then all would be repaid. I applied this thought to everything: eliminate the bad elements from society and the world will be fixed.
I now regard those times as times of naivety. I wanted to stop the violence so that no one would suffer the same way I did, but my mind was too ill-equipped and came to the wrong conclusion in regards to the solution. Removing the bad apples is often what is repeated when discussing the wrongs in politics, society and other institutions, yet no one stops to question where all those bad apples come from. We must cut the tree that produces them. This is how I was drawn towards libertarian socialism, an ideology of hope. Hope for a society of equals, where fate is in our hands, where the structures of violence and authority has been rendered obsolete and where people live with dignity. In the wake of this self-discovery I realized something else: I was not alone who shared this idea. This ideology has a rich history and people my age who also have a longing for deep social changes, for liberation. A real delight.
But then, with our struggle for a better world comes the reactionary elements, trained with years of Capitalist education and a giant pool of resources given by the State apparatus looking to perpetuate itself forever. Their might seems impossible to circumvent, like a Goliath, compared to us. And this feels crushing, this is what brings despair and cynicism. We feel constantly defeated as we see all our efforts to usher in the new age met with great violent resistance in all spheres of life. Everyday, we’re bombarded with news of the dominance of the State, marginalized people continue to receive endless violence and imperialistic forces continue to conquer for their own benefit. Against all this, what do we have? The tools of resistance have been taken away from us, our blade has been dulled. All around me, comrades lower their arms and give in because they feel that it’s not worth it anymore. We’ve lost.
Everything might seem lost, but I see a glimmer of hope. The same kind I got from discovering that others around me felt like I do, people who wants change. All around the world, people have started to rise up. In Rojava the kurds have started one of the recent experiment in libertarian socialism, in Mexico the Zapatistas continue to prove that our ideals can be real, in Hong Kong people fight for their freedom, in Canada the Wet’suwet’en are resisting imperialistic invasion, etc. There is more and more anger as everyone realize that the problem is rooted deeper than we’ve been told. The reactionaries elements of our society are starting to drop pretense and we have had enough. I cannot say for certain that some sort of mythical revolution will come. In fact, I don’t think it will. But there is a storm that is brewing and we can’t back down now. we live at a time where a lot is happening, a time perfect to take action. Now, more than ever, we can start building the foundation of our future. Some days will be darker, but we’ll have each other to pick us up when we fall. And if we still fail, I’ll go out knowing that I fought teeth and nails for what I believe in.
Together, we will cut down the apple tree that keeps poisoning us.
This text is inspired by a small experience I had during a weed trip. Later, while rethinking about it, words started to flow. And so I continue my technique of writing whatever comes to my mind, even if it doesn’t make much sense. Hope you enjoy, at least a little bit.
I was sitting in an old forest beside a burning fire, surrounded by the darkness of the woods with no stars in sight. I was lost and alone and so I had decided to establish camp among the tall ancient trees who would slowly crack and sway under the soft breeze. Their trunks were reaching so far, they seemed to be spires that reached the clouds and the forest seemed to go on forever. Some say that this place is as old as the world, that Gods walk its labyrinthine paths. I had a feeling that not all the sounds and whispers I was hearing were made by cracking wood, that critters and beasts were lurking beyond this shield of light emanating from my flame keeping them at bay.
I sat there for a while, staring at the fire. Its flames where dancing along the logs in a chaotic, yet mesmerizing way and I found myself hypnotized by it. Soon enough, I wasn’t thinking of my predicament anymore. I felt the heat of fire more and more, until I lost myself to the flame. My skin seemed to be burning, a great pyre of flesh and bones, I wanted to scream but nothing came out of my mouth.
I suddenly felt a great relief, the weight on my shoulders was gone and so was my despair. I had become more than myself, more than human. I became fire, great destroyer and energy heating the world. I became wind, eroding stone to shape the land. I became water, cradle of all life. I became soil, ever eating and drinking in endless gluttony. Others were with me, I could hear their voices in this maelstrom of colors and sound. They were all shapeless, part of the world as much as I was. With my own presence, I tried to touch them and immediately felt a connection. All of them entered me, we spoke with a single voice. We watched as the Great Cycle turned right before us, we watched the flow of life slowly stream down like a river everywhere nature was. We were terrified as we saw its destruction at the hands of machines and weapons. We saw birth and death. The first flame and the last.
I got suddenly pulled away from this collective. I was cold and alone again, the fire had extinguished and I was back in the forest. Dazed and confused, I shambled away from my camp. Somehow, I knew exactly where to go. I walked for hours until I reached a clearing with a stone structure at its center. The stones where arranged to look like a humanoid figure with barely any details on it, its arms where joined at its center where its hands formed a circle. The soil around it was a grayish white, like ash. Before the statue was some form of bowl on a pedestal which was calling to me. I walked up to it and stared at the face of the statue, my mind became blank again. Without thinking I gathered small branches and leaves and put them in the bowl. I pulled out my flint and my knife and then quickly rubbed them together to produce a spark that ignited the mass of shrubbery. My thoughts were now filled with a call drumming in the back of my mind again and again. There weren’t any words or even a voice, but it was somehow clear what it was telling me. I extended my arm and touched the fire, which rapidly started to spread on my body. I was burning, but it didn’t hurt. On the contrary, it felt welcoming and comforting. I felt whole again, I felt welcomed! The presences from earlier joined me and we embraced, fused in an everlasting passion.
We were one, we were the first and the last flame.
I was walking close to the public market when I saw her in the crowd, covered in crimson drapery. She stood out like a stain of blood on a white sheet of paper. I followed her as she walked down to a boutique that I had never seen before. Her movements were slow and her clothes were flowing, like she was walking through water. She opened the boutique’s door to the sound of a small bell and disappeared in the shadows inside. The smell of herbal concoction made me feel light headed.
Once inside, guided by my curiosity, I was presented with counters of strange trinkets, pots filled with herbs and dusty books of old. A young person was sitting behind the cash register with round glasses slipping down their nose, messy wavy wheat colored hair and soft amber eyes. They looked up to me, softly smiled and presented a veil covered door to me that led to the back of the establishment. I approached the door with my heart thumping like a drum.
There she stood, the crimson woman, among lit candles and burning incense. I couldn’t see her face before, but now I can see that she is masked. Her facial accessory is completely white and flat. Golden threads starts on each sides and goes down the mask between her eyes until they meet at the bottom, giving it the look of a barn owl’s face. In the middle of her forehead is a crescent moon with three stars in a triangular configuration on each side. Her eyes are completely black.
I sat in front of her and waited for her to speak. My eyes couldn’t break contact with her gaze, like a starless sky. When she finally spoke it was like her voice came from beyond. The air vibrated to her song of old long gone Deities, conducted by the movement of her thin fingered hand. She gave me an empty amulet and told that when I am ready, when I hear the song in my heart, I should mark it with my life. I left the store humming the song, others in the street hummed it with me.
I have been sitting on this blog for 2 days since creating it, wondering what to post. I keep imagining in my mind what a person who stumbles on this blog will think, how they will pass judgement on me & possibly mock me (directly or not). This idea brings me great distress. Lately I have been sitting down to think about this matter a lot. I have always wanted to create things, I make up stories & characters all the time in my mind or with my friends. I have studied in cinema before with the dream of becoming a writer & director, in fact it has always been a dream to produce at least a short film of some sort or maybe a web series. I have also, since I was young, been writing fiction & short stories which I have never really shared anywhere. And yet, with all this creative desire, I have never published anything serious because of the same voice in my mind that stopped me from writing on this very blog.
A Boogeyman in the brain
Such fear doesn’t come from nowhere, it was instated by someone or something in my mind like a monster under the bed. Although I can probably point out exactly at specific people in my life that caused this worry to appear in me, I think these people are part of a larger system that pushes people to reach a certain mindset: a mindset of productivity. Under capitalism, it is primordial to make things that will have value & so things that only have cultural or personal value are seen as superfluous & useless. This way of thinking makes it so people feel obliged to make art that can be sold instead of appreciated. When I was in primary school & high school, I’d draw a lot of comics & write a lot of stories to the displeasure of my teachers. They’d tell me that these fantasies of mine would not lend me a job & that I should focus on studying & my peers would mock me for drawing silly cartoons. When I went to college to become a film maker, my parents were quick to tell me that maybe I should pursue something else because film making was not something that brings money to the table. Getting pushed in all directions to not pursue your desire to create, to feel bad for indulging in it creates in oneself a discomfort with sharing things that you made.
The passive coercion
But what if you go through & begin creating as your craft? What if you defeat the boogeyman in your brain? Well you are not free from you chains. As mentioned before, capitalism is a system that pushes to create monetary value & it will steer your art by forcing you to sellout for the benefit of corporate entities. Artists that become graphic designers for big corps, the ones that create online content of the latest meme or trend, web videos creators that have to bend backward to generate clicks at an exponential rates & that are choked by rules to please advertisers, etc. I have been in many art oriented fandoms or websites & I have seen many artist who said that they’d never do adult oriented material that ended up doing it because that’s what sells (nothing against people who make erotic art, of course). I have also seen many artists say that they’d love to make stuff that they want to do, but restrain from doing so because that’s not what brings food on the table. Create engagement or die, generate clicks, sell merchandise, don’t forget to click subscribe or I will starve. This passive coercion drains people of their creativity & effectively makes them alienated from their art. And when they feel like there’s nothing left for them, that what passionates them became their personal hell, they become ashamed of their own art.
Creating to destroy the mental walls
And so after all this rambling, what does this mean for me. Realizing the existence of these walls in my mind awoke the radical in me, the thing that makes me strive for freedom. Despite of the pressure of others, despite the feeling of worthlessness of my work, I will express myself. I think it is a liberatory act to do what I wish to do, to say what I want to say even if it will bring judgement or if I do it simply by pleasure rather than monetary gain. The time of shame is over, here comes the time to create.