Where do we want to see differences in our lives? Another way to ask this is to consider: what are the aspects of the received culture that we find the least tolerable, or the most threatening? Nutritionally vacuous and toxic food may be at the top of some lists; endless, mindless, soulless media streaming for others. The replacement of infancy and childhood with cradle-to-maturity (sic) incarceration and indoctrination, prefabricated, dictated, every encounter preordained, every experience pre-digested, every impression predetermined; the replacement of adulthood with impermanency, virtual reality and wage slavery. Are these inflictions going to be thrown off, are we going to replace them with a rich sensual experience of the world, unfiltered, direct; with choices open for our making, with action and reaction, real encounter in a world of which we are an organic part, that responds to us organically; with the right, becoming imperative, to decide what is worth living and dying for and then to do our level best to live – and perhaps die – for it?
Because if we are, it’s not going to be by making little breaks with the techno-digital-military-industrial-brainwashing behemoth. We won’t fulfill our parental obligations by putting our kids in charter schools and making sure they go to church on Sundays; we won’t wrest our souls from the slough of self-indulgence, nor our bodies from a chemically-depressed adulthood and a pharmaceutically-dependent old age, by putting organic blueberries on our industrial-imitation greek yogurt in the mornings and doing yoga over the lunch hour. Bosh, tish and piffle.
A fig for your organic blueberries. Are we human beings? Have we immortal souls? Do we belong to the same race as Dante, St. Francis and the meanest serf who ever drove Boss and Crumbocke out to graze on the village commons? Our universe is the same one which for them teemed, surged, fulminated with power, mystery and fruitfulness, even if by a unanimity of unawareness and indifference civilization has for centuries been drawing a thick shroud over that mystical body and calling it a corpse. It hasn’t gone anywhere; when we lift our eyes from our screens, open the doors and windows of our ugly, flimsy dwellings, whenever we step outside, it surges in at our ears, noses, eyes in a welcome as boisterous, and perhaps as sloppy and even (initially) frightening, as that of a large, exuberant dog. We don’t need permission to go looking for it; we don’t even need, in many cases, to go anywhere at all. Any dirt, sunlight, water are pregnant with incipient life, life that accepts our absence with complete indifference, but which, the moment we show a disposition to play, makes room for us in the scuffle and tosses us the ball. Let’s step outside and get in the game.