Peace Labor May

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My own personal Matrix

I kinda hate postmodernism. It makes me feel like... I am stupid? Like I don't know enough? Oh, well, most philosophy makes me feel stupid. Except for Engels, he is my boi. Or Fromm. Or Lenin. Oh, well.

The vague thoughts of concepts similar to the one of a Matrix used to circulate in my bedraggled brain way before I have seen the movie, or ever heard of Baudrillard, however you pronounce his name. It is a universal truth, banal and simple: to see oneself as a part of a bigger whole, to feel connected to an omnipotent and all-consuming entity; this is why and how many religions were born. To not feel the self, to continuously doubt oneself, to feel like only when mirrored, when vindicated, one can live – to me, this seemed a default, a way to operate that corresponded with my desires and drives. Yet, the doubt once became unbearable when in the eyes of those I was supposed to trust the most, I saw no reassurance, no acceptance, no... love? Into the vast ocean of the unknown, my little unadapted self has been immersed and, underwater, it had to learn to breathe. The unplugging didn't go smoothly – it was a violent act that felt like a betrayal, like a death, or something worse than death. Like descending into the hell of water, it felt to be separated from the imaginary warmth of the whole, of the pretend embrace of the universe. It did not feel liberating. It did not feel like a revelation of a bigger truth. It felt like a ruthless hand of a prison guard chopping at your umbilical cord.

In this real-world, that to me, felt like suffocating chaos of too many sounds and smells, and textures, and everything, it felt... what they describe hell like? And in this real world, nowhere appeared a mission, or vision clear enough to strive for. What was I supposed to suffer for? To live?..

Aside from this existential nihilistic nonsense, a Matrix, one way or the other, has always been and always will be a representation of our collective intuitions, fears, and desires – we fear so, yet long so to be together, no, actually, together, dissolved in the primordial steaming hot ocean of death!.. Or maybe not, and it's just a bunch of weirdo commies on the internet? Just me?..

No, but the collective unconscious! The hive mind! I'll stop being facetious. Let's get back to the story. My own personal Matrix. I've always felt this peculiar mix of a Truman show delusion and a Freudian inferiority complex – when one feels like he is being watched, yet knows that one is too insignificant of a scum to actually be watched. Not a paranoia, but a conviction that people can understand me, I am an “open book” to them, because they can see the circumstances just like me, right? And when they didn't understand, I'd feel endangered, like we had all of a sudden been unplugged from the common source of knowledge and understanding, and I made some malfunction of a system surface. Therefore, conflict of any sort flashed a big scary alert in my mind – error, error, miscommunication, no full information, unplugged, unplugged, you have been unplugged! To feel yet again to be separated was unbearable, I experienced all hues of sadness and rage from simple, everyday misalignments: an acquaintance not returning a hello felt like a slap in the face; a stranger giving me a side-eye felt like an absolute intrusion; the most minor conflict would send me into endless loops and loops of despairingly looking for the right answer – where did I make a mistake, where?!

It felt like I was slowly molten into the boiling waters of the orange ocean of bodies and slime and magma of this hellscape – and isolation instead of the warmth would chill me even upon touching the burning surface of that nightmarish waters of my unconscious.

Run! My mind would scream over and over and over again, and I would run from everything: I didn’t want the hivemind, and the bees seemed stupid; I needed to be alone, because alone was safe, alone was familiar, even though, I couldn’t stand it, somehow, alone on the island of silence I forced myself to feel safe.

And only through the painstaking process of the return home – the banal and the zen – the proletarian awakening, my journey took a sharp turn left into the cooling embrace of the materialist analysis. Dialectics! Finally, the spiral of knowledge claimed me back – and I could rejoice being alone surrounded by people, and in the gross hot ocean of bodies I started seeing, more and more often, faces that resembled my own – the fear and uncertainty in their eyes I remembered vividly, and my heart would fill with compassion, and I would want to run to them and scream – “I know! I know!.. You are not alone!.. You and I, we are together in this loneliness?”

I am not yet insane and brave enough to dare to run to a fellow human in distress; but this day is right around the corner. I plugged myself back in, and the Matrix responded differently. This time, I heard a dull buzzing, an echo of a sound, a song, perhaps, on a vintage radio. It sang The International, I would like to think, but in the noises of the hivemind, reentering my solitude, I could not honestly tell.

And I have trashed your brain with my pseudo postmodernist analogies and I have wasted a few minutes of your time – but, traveler, I see your reflection, and the hellscape in your eyes is still burning bright. Turn this agony within, with me, with us, into the agony of rebirth, the loud and strong tread of the united human, enter the giant primordial monster of a human movement, the one that is unstoppable and the one that is coming.

Raw

Raw energy, raw power, this art piece is so raw... Raw... What a peculiar word. So powerful, poetic, yet… Why raw? Undercooked, unrefined, wild? Unchained, free, forceful, but, in a “good way”? Have you noticed what else is not said when something, especially, art, is described as raw? Raw is almost never white. Raw is almost always female. Raw is often, very often, marginalized. Raw is exotic, raw is animalistic. Why raw? Because it’s exciting, outside the norm. It’s what many are thinking about, what many are hungry for, but it is impolite and immodest to ask for it. Or point to it. Because it’s foreign, it’s scary. Exhilarating, forbidden. You want to look, you want to stare, to devour with your eyes. But you avert them, because it’s not good manners to stare. You are too well-bred to show your curiosity. But why you strive for the noble savage so much, oh, the white master? Why you want so vicariously to live through the eyes of the uneducated? Ahh, the delicious languages so different from your own, the guttural sounds are tantalizing, awakening something long forgotten deep inside your...mind. The foreign structures, mistakenly imaginative use of words are annoying, but you allow them, as you allow a child yet to grow up, to play with your belongings, your words, your superior... your international language. You want to platform the raw, unrefined, savage women, excuse me, authors, because you understand the importance of giving them space, and fostering diversity, and, because they are beautiful. Their words, that is. But their art is not only raw, it's radical. So sooner than later it will cut through the facade of the foreign glamour and exhaust its exotisicm, and you will see it for what it is – the truth. Not your truth. Not the truth decided by your conquest. Not the truth you've carefully inscribed in your polished books you printed on your clean white pages. The truth of the civilized savage, too wild and wise to be tamed by your religion, too young and too earnest to be defiled even by your corrupt god, too fresh out of the mouth of mother nature to reek of your foul breath of death and decay. The truth that the trees whisper, and the streams have not forgotten. The truth of the vast blue skies above the immense yellow steppes. The truth in the horse's clatter, and the laughter of the fox. You cannot appropriate the truth. You cannot murk it with your deceit. For everyone you silence, ten will arise. Rise up, my ignoble, my mud-bedraggled, raw, and radical, my scared and horrifying, my people, the children of the Earth, and stomp away at the clean sterile story, tear apart the chains you have been so mindfully accustomed to, tear at the throats of those who dare not acknowledge you and your power, of man, raw.

Why centralize?

As much as I love, or think I love little red spaces, little red “us”, as much as I affectively want a little group, a community, a sense of belonging, I have to examine closely why, why do we, and I, in particular, might want to separate, isolate, be against? In my neurodivergent naivete, I actually have never wanted to be apart. I've always wanted to consume and be consumed by a larger entity – an organisation, a family, a colony of ants, or, better yet, bees. A hive, where everyone's role is clear and concise, where you do for the collective good, and questions are not needed because the goals are out in the open, the vision is shared. And, interestingly, despite a lifelong fear-filled caution, I've never feared the big brother dominating my conscience, I've never suspected the betrayal. If we do it right, we ought to succeed, the ideal us, the honest drive for freedom and equality, we cannot possibly betray that!.. The suspicion is contagious, though, and not everyone is Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky. Not everyone can, or knows how, to put the collective interest first... And into the depths of doubts, I have been thrown, time and time again, all the what ifs sternly asserting their presence – what if there is a rotten apple among us... What if an opportunity too good to decline arises... What if a power of desire, mightier than one's good conscience, creeps upon an unsuspecting comrade... Comrade Kropotkin gives me reassurance – if one suspects a snake in oneself, he ought to come and confess and demand that fellow comrades help rid the community of it, of the snake... What if I become the snake?.. What if, in my weakness, I am not to confess?.. Am I earnest enough?.. Do I have enough good sense to notice?.. And in this paralyzing doubt, arises a glimpse of the truth – well, I am the snake, and so are you. It's not the essence of the snake, not the “spirit” of opportunism we concern ourselves with; it is the consequence, the aftermath, the accumulation of power we are against. There is no need to punish the intention. To fear the snake in one is a religious, idealist notion – it doesn't matter, if the “evil” resides in you. I fear no evil when I understand its roots. When I know the consequence of a deed, I am free to make a decision – for benefit, my own, or collective. If I see my own process of “perfecting” myself as the remedy, well, the resolution is apparent – I will NEVER be enough of a faithful comrade. And no one will. And in this collective imperfection, we can find our strength, in our human limitation we can see just how much we depend on one another. To be apart is to fail – construction is never an individual endeavour, it is never a single one's effort. You cannot build on your own. When we are apart, we are floating in the loose spaces that are too dim and too fog-filled for us to see, to understand, let alone build. There are too many individual factors to consider – one's chemical composition changes so often, one's mood is way too unpredictable for a rationalist approach to fulfill its purposes in reality. Only in each other, and with each other, can we begin to see an ever so mundane fuller picture; only when comrades are there to help, not ostracize can we strive for the building of the new world. So, why centralize?.. If I were to give a simple answer, I would say – because we, humans, have been born by an intricate process of socialisation, and only together we are fully human. No man, no matter his strength and virtue, can bear the burden of collective responsibility. And why would we want to place such responsibility on individuals? Why are we so blinded by the idea of a great man? No single man's greatness can solve our collective woes. And I assert, again, that in separation, in the divide, we will find our demise. Only in a united effort, and, to an extent, in forgetting and/or ignoring one's individual interest, can we move forward. No, not in a hypocritical “sacrifice” I see us propelled into the bright red future, but in a realization that each one of us is only made whole by another.

I am so fed up with everything. There are so many of us, SO MANY who are smart, capable, strong, resilient, resourceful, yet we are confined to a miserable existence of barely scraping by, no matter how much we try. And you know why? Not because of some mysterious “human nature”, not because this is the secret “order of things”, not because there is some evil villian who is consciously keeping us from living fulfilled lives, no, no, there is no mystery! It's plain and simple: the economic circumstances shape our lives! We happen to be born to an existing set of conditions which are supported by a status quo that benefits a select few, who also, appeared where they did by mere luck, pure coincidence, a “fate” if you will. One may influence one's condition, don't get me wrong; we are not some puppets whom the invisible hand is carefully manipulating; we absolutely can change our circumstances, however... The amount of effort that is purely wasted to keep the appearances, to keep to the script is astounding, and is ridiculous! The good old empirical analysis is what we all need, not philosophising incessantly about the proverbial “good and evil”, not wasting our breath dissecting our own insignificant selves, not half-heartedly attempting to put a band aid on an open bleeding wound; we have to see that the vast majority of human effort nowadays is wasted – not much can be “fixed” in a superstructure that is based on chasing profit. And the sad reality is that much of the vocabulary has been appropriated, words have become marred, meaningless, empty – you say freedom and you mean chaos and gluttony; you say equality and you mean performativism and sameness; you say human rights, but you forget to specify who you consider subhuman. Loud words and pathos-filled propaganda has been flourishing for the past century, and I'll let you in on a little secret – it had not been Soviet Union that has been the culprit, that started it all, and life before the revolution was all daisies and butterflies under a kind tzar. For the first time in history, people rose up against the oppressors, rose up to take the matters in their own hands, to get rid of the “fate” of the poor, to negate the luck of birth, to, for the first time in history, let the people decide what it is that is worth chasing. And now it is all trash talked to hell, twisted inconceivably, lied about in the most ridiculous manner possible. And we, the modern slaves, in our own individualist gilded cages, keep toiling away, for nothing. Not for the collective “good”, whatever the hell that means nowadays; not for the development of the species; not for the safe and bright future for our offspring. For profit.

Let me be honest. This is how everyone's hateful confession begins. It is usually followed by how such and such status quo thing is actually good and right. How the modern days SJWs are ruining it all for the people. How the Not Hate Speech™ can be possibly such.

It's another variation of “ I am not a (insert a non-trendy -ist), but...”. It's the way to justify unjustifiable. It's a way to display childhood rigidity of “I was raised with it and therefore it's good!” It's the way of the insecure and mentally unstable.

I speak so brazenly of this because I am, too, the Not Actually A Bad Person™. I have done wild carousel rounds around and around, the dangerous, the taboo, the what if's. And I understand. And I admit. I am insecure. And mentally unstable. And was not raised right. And am an -ist of sorts. And a scared child deep inside.

And so are you. You are human and so am I. But hate is not the answer. This honesty is not the truth. It is a symptom. A symptom of a deeply-buried wound, of a crime against a child, indoctrination ran amok. The hate in you is the hate of the previous generations. The hate of the powerless poor stripped of dignity. The hate of the women kidnapped into slavery. The awe and indignation in front of a faceless enemy who comes at night and rapes and pillages the village. The hate that is born of fear, and raised by ignorance.

And it is within your power to change that. You are not bound by your ancestors' fate (where is my Arwen dress?). They are not coming after you at night and not kidnapping your children, if... If they are human, as well.

And they are! The faceless enemy does not exist! Put a face on the war criminal! He has a face! He is not an inconsistent mass of human flesh, all marching as one; he has a name! Our enemy has a name, and a system, and a propaganda machine, and it funds war, war, war against the people!

I am not going to tell you the name. I don't want him to come after me. But deep inside you all know the names of enemies. The enemies of the people.

Why do I strive so much to convince you, my dear audience, that you are inherently benevolent and, for a lack of a more precise term, “good”? The reason is that for the longest time, I have longed to hear it. For the longest time, I was convinced that I am ultimately flawed, flawed beyond repair, irreversibly damaged, too sickly to be of help. For the longest time, I have lived in the shadow of fear, continuous fear of a fellow man. I dared not to reach out and ask for help, ask for reassurance, for acceptance, for fellowship. I hid, under the innumerable blankets of insecurity, hateful delusions, overly cautious demeanor, frightened as a child who has been abandoned. And abandoned child I had been, for too long, and out of the depths of my despair, I've heard voices of those who came before me. Whispers of dust-laiden manuscripts, faint at first, then louder and more confidently, have revealed to me all the possibilities for kindness and compassion of which humankind is capable of. And for the longest time, I refused to believe them. I feared so greatly to be let down, to be betrayed by the tales of yore, to be proven wrong, once again. But the more I live with my eyes half-opened, the more I dare to open them, just a little more. To see the glimpses of truth, the fairy lights of possibilities, the dawns, that keep coming, day after day. And I come to you, my reader, my friend, with my honest plea – give humanity another chance. Look into the vast plains of human capabilities. Stare boldly at the stars that used to be alive. See all the amazing feats of wisdom and insight left for us to ponder upon. See that another life is possible, new life, in which men treat each other as fellow men, and produce to sustain, not to destroy.

And I keep on waiting. Waiting for the moment to come. The moment when I won't care. The moment when I'll feel calm. The moment of peace. I'm tired of waiting. How do I make my own peace? How do I gain more control over my own perception of the world outside? I have been searching for the answer. In books, in the wisdom of the past. In pleasures, the fleeting moments. In mirrors, other people's beliefs. Nowhere yet I have found how to make my own peace. I can “calm down”. I can tire my nervous system. I can distract myself from the waiting, from the worry. I can forget, for a time. But it comes back, time and time again. The cloud, black smoke, radiating pain of uncertainty – what does the black cloud contain? Fear, anger, regret? Resentment, shame, frustration, disappointment?.. I have wasted many years anticipating the cloud. I have trained myself. I have made myself familiar with every sign, every curve of the cloud – before it comes and after it passes. But I cannot get used to the rain. I cannot stop my nervous system from reacting to the piercing coldness of the arrows of water, icicles of hate. It's like agony to me, again and again. I cannot seem to bear the pain of human experience. Yet I live. I live through the rain, through the hail, the snow. I sit, stunned, shaking, but the pain subsides. And I ponder, over and over again, how to make the next cloud pass. How to avoid its waters, its vengeance. How to find peace. And I keep on waiting... Sometimes, more often than not, the pain is unbearable. The fear is intolerable. Yet I bear. How? How am I still alive? Am I alive? What does it mean to be alive?.. Is this madness? Is this how it smells? Does it reek of despair, is darkness its color, is it here forever?.. The time and space bend to let the darkness close over. And the rays keep piercing through it, and the hope is but a cruel joke. Why have hope if the cloud is to come again?.. And I have no answers. I've felt on the edge, under the cloud so often, and the fall has seemed so certain, that I do not know how it is that I still converse. Converse with you, my unknown, obscure companion, the one who I will never know, in you, somehow, I still stand. In you I seek the answers, still. Do not get me wrong. You, a companion of which I speak, are not an omnipresent power, no ethereal entity, you are – a human of flesh and bone, and to you I speak. In you I seek my reflection. And if in a Hegelian hell I am stuck, I am forever grateful and forever warring with you, my fellow human, my fellow traveler, my comrade in misery.

Stay, stay, How comfortable Stay In this little cave The cushy walls Won't stain From the tears. Quiet, quiet, Quiet, my child If you could stay quiet We would survive. No, no, my child, The time has not yet come They still have too many guns They still will not shy away From harm. Hush, hush, my child, There won't be any food for now They took away more this time Tomorrow, maybe... No, no, my child, You will have to survive You cannot just die without me You have to live. What, what, my child, Your nagging makes me tired, There is no food or water, You have to work harder, won't you? Wait, wait, my child, In waiting you won't be blinded By hope and by reckess pride The thoughts of another life I, I, my child, am afraid, will have to die, Stay strong, my child, Alone you will have more time... No, no, my child, The time has not yet come, They have even more guns now They'll bring more and more harm. I, I, my child... No breath left to soothe you now You are on your own, my child, No need to avenge me, child. Death, come easy, now All I have done is bow My child will take my place And bow down to the superior race!

Peace... I dream of peace... But do I? What is peace? I won't recognise it when And if it comes Maybe One is not accustomed To peace... Peace... Sweet sounding word But empty To those Who only knew chaos Who only knew struggle Peace... Give me a piece!.. Or a chunk How do you measure it? In kilos, or pounds?.. Peace... Is it calm Is it dark? Is it happy Is it content? What is peace Peace for one's soul Culmination of the struggles This word Unknown... I hate peace Like one hates the unknown Like one hates what has not been given to one Like one's birthright A lack of one, that is. Peace... To rip one's soul out for it To gurgle one's own blood And spit it out What is it?... If not another mockery An insane mind devises If not another empty promise Who will ever like it?.. At peace... I, one day, will lie When the struggle of people Will no longer be mine When the voices of the oppressed Will no longer be heard When the hoardes of the children Will be fed and be led To the bright red future... When I am dead.

To write, for me, has always been this one outlet, this one respite, in which I can be, float, allow myself to breathe, to be vulnerable, to be, to just plain be. No other aspect of my life has ever let me be, except, dance and music, I suppose. But I was never offered a gift of notes, never even allowed to consider expression in the realm of the senses. I was stuck in the world of words, never-ending, never resting, words, words, that run aimlessly, run because to be still meant death, to be quiet meant losing one's voice, forever. And so I ran, literally and figuratively, ran from grief, from fear, from anything and everything, because to stop and face one's true condition was too unbearably painful. And so in the books and the world of the imaginative, I have lost myself, and my pain became somehow bearable. And for years, I had frantically searched, searched with all my might, a quiet place, a place devoid of secretive meaning, the world where, finally, I'll understand, and I'll forgive. Forgive myself, for being weak, forgive my caregivers, for being human, too human. But the word combinations never ceased to stop – more and more words, definitions, theoretical interpretations had me hypnotized, and in this grew a new kind of pain. The pain of longing for freedom – for the lack of rigid rules, the absence of right and wrong, for emptiness suddenly my soul was striving. And I have not yet found my quiet place – my mind buzzes with billions of bewildering revelations day after day, and I succumb, surrender, and let words guide me. But this time, the words are not merely a crutch, a password to a door to an escape room, a way to shut down the outpour of external energy. It is now, a way, a way in itself, to continue the journey, the search, and maybe, possibly, find companions, to share the voyage with. On the voyage from oneself back home to the innermost being of forever changing human, a human whose fate is not decided yet.