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A Better World Is Possible - Articles Surfing
"It regards reality as the sole enemy and as the source of all suffering, with which it is impossible to live, so that one must break off all relations with it if one is to be in any way happy. The hermit turns his back on the world and will have no truck with it. But one can do more than that; one can try to recreate the world, to build up in its stead another world in which its most unbearable features are eliminated and replaced by others that are in conformity with one's own wishes."
-- Sigmund Freud
"Civilization and Its Discontents," by Sigmund Freud, chapter 2
If a generation that cherished love and affectionately adored honesty were to create two gods, they would be pessimism and optimism. The first gave them the sight and vision to realize what is wrong, without holding steadfast to prejudice and bigotry. The second gave them the strength and endurance to create a better world, even if it started and ended with one changed soul. The bible of this generation, the religious text and scripture which they would refer to in their daily lives, would consist of dialogue between these two gods. Pessimism always seemed to represent apathy, a sense of deadness accompanied by lost dreams. But, then again, it was the agitator, the creator, the mover. Optimism would always seem to represent activity and growth, a sense of life and a desire to do something about it, as well as ecstacy and pleasure. This generation of lovers and thinkers would worship these gods through acts of kindness, mercy, and love. The names they would give their children would have hidden meanings, like "romantic poet," or "moment of orgasm."
If a good person were to try to live up to the expectation of change and growth with the bold honesty to look forward, he ould be a cynic as much as an optimist. His sacred scripture would simply be: "A Better World Is Possible."
When we look upon our own society, examine its ways and its manners, we discover a great deal that we wish to change. We see crime, we see poverty, we see drug addictions, murder, war, domestic abuse, child abuse, rape, theft, brutality, and abuse of every power. Those of the humane way have always believed that it was the goodness of men that brought them together for unity and strength. Today, we stand on the corpse of modern life. It may have been the social instinct which has brought us together and has formed our families, our towns, our cities, and our nations, but there is so much more to it than that. Cities have become the hives of vice and misery, the perfect strangers to loneliness. Our modern poets and romantics stand before this marvel of life, and are speechless.
When we think of pain and suffering, what do you think it is that is the most ominous source of suffering? There is no doubt that it is from some relationship within society, or at least within human civilization. Perhaps it is the unjust social relationship between men and women, resulting in sexism and domestic abuse? Perhaps it is the unjust relationship that exists between nations, resulting in economic embargos and wars? Maybe it is the relationship between citizens, involving crime and theft, or the relationship between employer and employee, resulting in poverty and misery? Whatever it is that is the greatest cause of suffering in the world, there are some things that must be considered. First, we are analyzing the relationships that exist between each other to discover the roots of this suffering. It is an internal problem. It is not a question of natural disasters and the fury that nature has wrought on mankind. No, it is a question of the way that we act among ourselves, the customs we forge anad the rules we make. Second, as Freethinkers and those genuinely concerned with justice, when we analyze these relationships in society, we do so with the intent of creating a more free and more just system.
The essential difference today between an Anarchist and a Liberal is this: the Liberal wants to repair the damage done by the system, the Anarchist wants to repair the system. The first looks to poverty and creates welfare, completely leaving the economic system untouched. The latter wants to completely abolish any economic system that will lead to homelessness, poverty, or misery.
It was not uncommon or rare in our past for these social relationships to change, become altered, or become completely abolished. It was once tradition that men treat women like property, that wars between nations were glorious events, that poverty was god's naturally awarded condition for a certain class of people, that crime was simply second nature to each human, and therefore indefeatable. All of this was believed by the people, they took it in as unquestionable truths. Well, it was the liberating experience of any honest individual, to realize that every conscious organism simply wants to be free. From such a humble start, the progression of humane thought has come a long way. Citizens have collectively allocated women's rights, worker's rights, children's rights, citizen's rights, etc., etc., protecting the freedom, security, and happiness of those who have been oppressed for so long.
Do you think the happiness of the average person, from these prehistoric times to our current situation, has increased? I imagine that few would disagree with me. It was by altering and changing these relationships between the different groups that a better, more peaceful terms of living came about. So, when we decide to examine the social mores and relationships of our own era, and discover such large amounts of suffering, the only reasonable response to these situations is this: we must reorganize society, change the relationships, repair (or revolutionize) the system itself, before we will stop seeing the damage that it causes. What we would be doing would be a revolutionary activity, in that we would be altering our own world to attain our own ends, in the most radical way possible. It would also be the tradition of spirited independence to overthrow oppressors and cast off any chains or bondage they have given to the innocent.
Our questions must be twofold. 1) What are the relationships that are causing so much stress, misery, pain, and suffering on others? 2) What can we do to change them?
Crime. What causes it? Any educated person will give the same answer: the desire or need of material objects. If the wages offered by employers do not satisfy the needs of the workers, that is to say, the people who have no property, then criminal activity becomes the result. Psychologists and psychiatrists might try to classify criminal behavior, trying to put boundaries and lines through it so that they can understand it. The one thing that they do not understand about criminal behavior is that it is not unique, that it is not special, that it is perhaps the most natural part of animal life. If a mother bear is interested in obtaining food for its young, does it ever consider the fact that it is violating trespassing laws in doing so, or does it ever consider the opinion of other bears? Maybe only insomuch as it concerns her and her cub's welfare, but beyond that, not at all. The creature is simply committing an act that is required for life. So, too, is the human who commits crime to survive, when no legitimate means of income will suffice.
The psychologist might be right that the brain changes somewhat with criminal behavior. New instincts, behaviors, reflexes, and understandings are required in group behavior. All of the shoplifters that I know, including myself, have developed group senses -- we develop a subconscious that analyzes and understands where everyone in the room is and where they are looking. This allows us the capability of seeing if we are being watched, an invaluable skill for us lifters.
Without poverty, there is no crime. Crime is caused only by the poor conditions in which human beings live, and their dire attempts to escape those conditions. At least, this can be considered true with all those conditions in which property crime is involved. We want to develop a system, an order of society, in which crime is completely eliminated. That is our objective. What ways would we mend or forge the current system so as to complete our objective? Well, when we look at those who have been inflicted with the miserable profession of criminal, what class in specific are we examining? The working class. Their relationship that brings them to poverty and eventually crime is the their relationship with the Capitalist class, or the employer class.
The only way to mend this relationship, between the haves and the have nots, is to make it so the result of it is more wealth in the pockets of the have nots. This could be done with a policy so limited and conservative as minimum wage, minimum working hours, safe working conditions, lowering the work hours per week, etc., etc.. All of these laws, if they were be implemented into a government's laws, should be based on the collective's understanding that the working man must be protected -- not from other working men, but from those whom they work for. With these limited policies, the employer class would be viewed much like the government: a necessary evil, without which we would have tranquility and peace, at least for a little while.
In a more concerned effort, we might eliminate the employer class entirely, dissolve it into the working body of citizens. It has been said that to establish Democracy, every citizen must be treated like a king. If we apply the same reasoning to economics, in an effort to eliminate the poverty that comes from Free Trade, then every citizen must be treated like a Capitalist. Using this system, the entire conflict that would arrise in a Capitalist system -- with workers fighting for living wages and the employer class fighting for worsened sweat shop conditions -- this entire conflict would be removed, and something called Communism or Socialism would take effect. The relationship that causes poverty, misery, and so much abuse of the spirit is the relationship that exists between those without property, who must sell their labor to survive, and those with property, who employ the masses to work for them. To eliminate this relationship, thus eliminating the conflict, we are establishing a better world. Among the most important revolutions, Socialism and Communism are of the highest degree for any revolutionary.
When we try to think of the relationships in society that allow for a great deal of unnecessary suffering and misery, we tend to think about the relationships that exist between us and those that we love and care about. In literature of every culture and every era, we find that adultery has been at the source of misery for so many lovers. It has been the inspiration to a volumes of sad poetry. It has been the cause of so much conflict, so much fighting, so much quarreling and violence. I admit that some cultures were intelligent and thoughtful enough to avoid such useless brutality and misery. However, as we see it in our modern world, it is quite easy to see that the relationship that exists between lovers is one of great distress and pain. We are attracted to it by the thought of happiness, pleasure, a feeling of connection and mutual understanding. The origins of intimate relationships are the same in any culture: they come from the most natural desire to feel love, as though the universe could end and all a lover could do would be to welcome it.
Yet, we see so much abuse come from this relationship that exists between lovers. The time for a new moral code is necessary. The time has always been ripe. I suggest that lovers learn to love more openly, that their relationships are not confined to one person only -- what in fact has been the cause of all these problems. If sexual activity with other partners was accepted in our modern society, then the problem of the lonely and disheartened lover disappears. When we learn to accept that sharing sexuality with others is a positive aspect of life, in that it creates affection, something beautiful, and a connection -- when we learn to accept this, then so much misery, pain, and depression would be swept out. But, the problem of the matter is in changing ourselves, in learning to accept that you cannot tell anyone what to do with their bodies, even in a relationship. I'm not evading a double standard. Men should be as promiscuous as they like, as should any woman. It may be difficult and long for individuals to overcome these social prejudices. We wince every time the thought of a forgotten lover comes to mind, and we are reminded of the pain that comes from a dead passion. We do not forget the misery that we have suffered, that others have, that others still will, and it is our intention as revolutionaries to uphold our scripture: a better world is possible.
There are so many origins of pain and so many other great reforms and alterations that could happen in our modern society to abolish the sources of misery. The animals of the world are slaughtered for the taste of their decomposing carcasses. Presidents and tyrants switch places constantly as I find more and more people confused at the political situation. Books are banned at the same moment courts rule guilt by association is "reason to convict." Men and women are thrown in jail when they make the personal decision to inebriate themselves, and gain a gentle happiness via artificial means. Workers slave away at work, hours of their lives taken away with dreams crumbling and sinking.
I want to explode when I see the walls of chain convenience stores and rip apart the monotony of a "brick after brick" architecture. In my dreams, I am taking enormous buckets of paint to make child-like paintings of clouds on the side of every Walmart. I want to place a paper-mache rose on the doorstep of every girl who feels alone, give a confident speech to every boy who feels alone. I want to scream for every rape. I want to die for every resurfaced memory. I want people to worry less about death, and think more about their life as a unique and beautiful experience. I want people to stress less about life, and concentrate on the parts of living that give a feeling of ease. Everywhere that I turn, every voice of the strangers I talk to, they are based on so many petty things. I want swing my arms and lose understanding of my consciousness, and... let go... I want to let go... And maybe find a little peace, a little understanding, a little "the beautiful part oflife is that society can be called the collective experience of every living and breathing creature," maybe in the bossom of intoxication.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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