Memory Loss. (Art by The Plague.)
Yesterday on public transit I saw the weight of the world.
I saw that what has been weighing us down is,
Not that we no longer know how to have faith in dreams;
But that it has become socially unacceptable to believe in the dreamer.
I saw us all watching on,
Thinking we are watching others watching us,
But really only looking at the image of ourselves being watched.
If you have trouble seeing that “How did we get here?” is really a rhetorical question, then
Wonder why we have so much trouble holding eye contact with strangers?
The NSA is watching, watching the Russians watching
The conquest through virtual reality as having replaced the race for space.
Still, NASA is scouring the emptiness of the Universe as well.
“Big Brother is watching”, said the godless prophet.
The dialectic of voyeuristic exhibitionism
Everyone is watching and no one sees a thing.
The sound of our anxious breathing muffled by the anonymous bustle
The weight of a struggle worth fighting gone unrecognized,
Lost on ears deaf to a tune worth dancing to -
Dancing instead to the death of pop star icons when we are all made of stardust and most stars we would still be able to see, if it weren’t for smog and light pollution, are already dead -
A tune worth dancing to, worth celebrating and mourning
(We would cry tears of joy every morning if we knew how lucky we are.)
Regardless of instrumental value.
“You can have your peace,
Spiritual warrior. All you have
Is prove you deserve it
By working a little harder.
You have to earn your comfort, it’s a cold and dangerous world out there.”
And if we have only, in the face of fear of scarcity, accumulated comfort,
And the lust for comfort; that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes host and master, mask that greedily murders the passion of the soul, and walks grinning at the funeral,
Then tell me why it is so uncomfortable to meet the gaze of a stranger in the subway?
Yesterday on public transit I saw
Eyes twitch as news feeds scrolled past, muscle memory engraved in our neural pathways as thumbs learned to text faster and faster
Everyone wanting to be heard, but nobody listening:
Would we even be recognizable if we saw ourselves from outside?
You might hear, scratching beneath the surface of it all,
The sound of our breaking the back of our mother;
We broke her lifting Moloch to Heaven.
Mistakes were made, but no one’s to blame
Just another scapegoat on whom to pin the shame
Just another distraction
Just another drink to chase away the absurdity of our collective failure to recognize that
The space race will never be over!
Not until we slake the thirst within ourselves.
Nature gives the greatest example
All cells of an organism must be working in harmony for homeostasis to be achieved
And even then homeostasis is not a state but a constant process.
We must let go of the illusion of progress if we are to escape oblivion.
I believe the way it was put by Black Mirror on a certain streaming service was as follows:
The sleek world of tomorrow offers opportunities beyond our wildest dreams.
At the price of our worst nightmares.
The ultimate irony!
The circuitry on which this manifesto was written is made from rare earth minerals that were stripped from the crust of the earth,
And shipped across an ocean, to commemorate the birth of our saviour.
What am I trying to make manifest, you may ask?
A sense of urgency.
Not as a need for speed,
But as a shock to our system.
If a war must be waged,
Let it be against the misshapen idea that someone in some distant land is your enemy,
Let it be against the blasphemous ideal that ideas must cater to the lowest common denominator,
Let it be against the twisted delusion that what matters most is your sense of identity and the way you present yourself!
Let us be present
That we might see signs, omens, visions, ecstasies, illuminations,
The whole boatload of sensitive bullshit! Washed down the evermore filth-clogged arteries of this attempt at civilization, or so the screens would have us believe.
Here’s a policy to upload to the cloud:
There can be no such thing as political agency when we’re all either too busy
Working to survive
Or worried about worrying about people worrying that if we don’t worry then we’re insane!
Every mistake I’ve ever made has had an inexplicable sense of beauty that I could never replace.
There’s no making the pain go away,
And we can run it all into the ground or we can start
By not hiding from the human condition
By God we’ve spread to all corners of the globe there must be some merit to our ingenuity that escapes the ease with which we demonize our species and dive into navel-gazing hedonism
(of which I am most guilty)
But if I cast stones it is only to shatter idols.
One misanthrope once said, a barbaric yawp unleashed by his silent whisper: Culture in the service of life.
And the whisper was carried away by the wind.
But history is cyclical, bound to repeat itself if we do not learn from our mistakes.
And though he was cynical about his time I have not escaped being touched by his hope.
And idols are not shattered for the sake of iconoclasm, nor for the sake of erecting new minarets to posterity, but so that there may simply be a breath of fresh air.
“And absurd [they] may be, but [these idols] built these streets!”
What of (if it really is too hard to kick off our shoes and go for a barefoot stroll on the beach, or perhaps even worse, too blinded by privilege to the hardships going on as we speak),
A form of knowledge that rests simply on acknowledgement?
If truth is a continent over which we propose dominion, an appropriate mode of expression will be the tract.
But suppose it is an archipelago.
Suppose to know is more like to visit or cohabit, than to own?
We’re all passing through on our way home, though we may roam.
Valar morghulis, all men must die.
The beauty of myth is that it teaches us to think metaphorically.
The face of the other as a Universe of possibility.
The eyes as the window to the psyche -
One day, one step, one breath at a time
This might be a stretch but - one realignment of our needs with what we truly desire
Not props or gadgets or fancy attire,
But love in all its expressions.
The simple - so simple it is in fact a miracle - recognition that
Behind every face, beating every heart, breathing every breath, weighing every step
Is another being entire.
And that’s just the people! Think of the birds, rivers and mountains we’ve eclipsed with our cities…
Think of the paradox, how mighty yet how precious the earth.
Wonder never died.
Behold each other in all your pathetic beauty!
One last question, forgive me if you find it too leading my love:
Is this truly the best we deserve?
And for all those who believe there is nothing left to be done,
Because we live in a designerless clockwork,
Bound to tick away as inexorably as the sun is to burn
To you, this I say, pointing and hoping:
There is no burden of proof. I know what life is worth.