The Melting of the Fortress of Solitude

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The Melting of the Fortress of Solitude

The American dream is the eternal one: wealth by luck, power by wealth, and freedom from responsibility by power. The American nightmare is our most democratized experience: impoverishment by design, powerlessness by impoverishment, and the shackling of the powerless to responsibility for the crimes of wealth.

We live in a mediocracy, the mark of failure is success. To be fully human is to fail at being a successfully commodified robot.

The orgy of gun violence we live with daily is the product of a complete failure to craft and make universally available systems of genuine education. It is because minds are depreciated and discarded en masse to facilitate the obsession for accumulation that our mass consumption and massive violence are so pervasively mindless. We are drowning in the blood of our own unacknowledged denial, our own decapitated awareness of responsibility.

Genius for social uplift and human enlightenment are quarantined as diseased, as deadly infectious threats to the barbaric insanity of our approved nationalist ideology — as they rightly are. Ours is a society of blithe mad mediocrity, which is only confused by the continuing urge of the excluded to resist their impoverishment and disappearance. The ploughing under from public visibility of the exploited disfavored and the powerless meritorious is our greatest and most assiduously censored tragedy; but the coincident creeping destruction of a species that lusts for its viral affliction to sociopathic degeneracy, and its own ultimate extinction, is not. Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad. Character is fate.

Some would say it has always been so throughout human history, and others would say that today’s American societal rot is of recent origin: since Trump?, since Bush?, since Reagan?, since Nixon?, since the defeat of Henry Wallace?, since the end of World War I and the death of Eugene V. Debs?, since the betrayal of Lincoln’s last hopes by the tawdry Grant administration and in the fatal corruption of Reconstruction after the Civil War? Regardless, it is our tolerance for that rot today and our obliviousness to history before yesterday that is our fundamental civic sin. The scrawny weed poking through the cracks in that blanketing obliviousness is hope.

Hope is a delusion that makes it possible to get through life day by day, and so it is immensely valuable. Perhaps by the unpredictable quantum fluctuations of the physical universe, and the unknowable future emergent variants of genetic succession, hope will percolate through the obstacles of our times to decisively kill off the obdurate fearful bigotries that collectively imprison us, and to miraculously deliver us — more likely our descendants, should we have any — into a humane form of advanced civilization.

And while the despairingly idealistic and fearfully materialistic will mock the popular yearnings for liberation as stupid millennialist naïveté, those yearnings will persist as long as they are denied realization, whether that end-of-history is the improbable and transcendent enlightenment of our species, or the implacable iron socialism of extinction brought about by Nature’s indifferent abandonment of us all.

Our compulsions are willed, not pre-ordained. Our particular isolations are the triumph of mediocrity over the potential of humanity. It is our coldness of heart that is melting our finest dreams.

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Message #1 to a Young Artist

I want to commend you (give you praise) for your resolve to study deeply, even if that means taking “hard classes” with “lots of work.” Any creative person who produces worthwhile work is a person who has studied deeply, whether formally at a school or independently and intuitively by conscientious practice (or both). Good and great work comes out of a prior build-up of deep study. On a simple and practical level it is best to get as much “learning” as you can out of a school you are paying to attend. But beyond that, it is artistically and intellectually most beneficial to gain as much information, insight and understanding as possible about your chosen craft, and about the history of the culture you come from and the society you are living in, so your knowledge has depth, which will be the well from which you will draw the elements of your future creative works. When you remain committed to this “career” of study, and focussed on your personal artistic (and intellectual) vision, you will be able to move through your schooling (and life) with greater ease even as friends and acquaintances drop in and drop out of your social circle: you will be able to navigate beyond others’ dramas with less distraction and damage to yourself, and you will find that there will always be new and delightful people who can come into your life without being clingy drags. Over time, the experiences (both good and bad) you gain from your self-motivated course of study and practice build up as a growing fund of wisdom, which improves your ability to continue navigating your voyage through life, and improves your ability to create finer art. I am writing you this because I do not want you to get discouraged by the loss of friends, and the fleeting nature of many seemingly close friendships. There is no blame, just the unknowable chaos of the flow of life. Be happy in being immersed in your learning and in doing well in your creating. Love.

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For Message #0 to a Young Artist, see:

Art versus Stomach
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2018/01/29/art-versus-stomach/

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Art versus Stomach


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Art versus Stomach

Whether an artist will have enough means to buy the next meal, and subsequent meals, depends on how much editing and limitation of his artistry he is willing to accept. If your aim is to produce the greatest and most refined art you are capable of, then you cannot expect to capture a sufficient audience to meet your ego’s hopes for approval and enriching rewards, nor your metabolism’s need for its necessary nourishment. This is the eternal conflict between art and commerce, between fulfillment and popularity. Committed genius is more likely to die of an empty stomach, than a reliable hack is to want for a full belly. A happy artistic life is one that strikes a balance between the extremes of: an isolating commitment to the compulsion for creating excellence, versus the popular mediocrity of a comfortable prosperity.

28 January 2018

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SAME OLD, SAME OLD

SAME OLD, SAME OLD

I have given you the secrets of the human universe.
Did you notice?

You can’t change people,
only they can change themselves,
though they usually would prefer to die
than have to.

It’s not Trump’s fault,
the preference for TV over books
inoculates ignorance and bigotry
against learning and knowledge.

In American politics:
bigotry is allowed to shape the argument,
and money is allowed to control the voting.

Everything you know is wrong,
and you know everything.

It drives me crazy and breaks my heart
to see so much stupidity and cruelty
in our human world.
That is why I hate people.

The graveyards of our war dead
are garbage dumps for capitalist expansion.

I think back to all the times I was kind and unkind,
and I wish I could go back and fix half of them.

21 June 2017

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The Virus of Cruelty in American Democracy

“Men are always the same – fear makes them cruel.”
— W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence

Ignorance is lack of awareness, information and knowledge.

Ignorance can be overcome with personal effort.
Reducing ignorance is work, remaining ignorant is easy.

Stupidity is the defense of ignorance.

Stupidity is lazy and cowardly.

Stupidity shields religious belief from questioning,
and bigotry from exposure and eradication.

The imperative for greed arises out of the fear
of being excluded from the ranks of the secure.

The Republican Party is a conspiracy for theft.
It is a political virus finely tuned to exploit the national weakness of popular stupidity.

Just as lying is the sound of theft, so is hypocrisy the signature of the Republican Party.

The greed imperatives aggregated as the Republican Party
react to humanity with xenophobia and otherization, expressed as:
– racial and ethnic prejudices
– misogynist sexism
– sociopathic attitudes towards wage earners, the poor and the destitute
– homophobia
– pedophobia (as with the destruction of public education).

How can the Republican Party gain votes (ballots, as opposed to dues) for a program that aims to disenfranchise otherized populations, subjugate women, and impoverish most of the public?

You would have to be stupid to vote for that.

Bingo!

Hence, Republican Party efforts to manage the public focus on capturing the DNA of popular stupidity, by injecting viral control directives into the nucleus of public attention, to effect the auto-enslavement of the vast majority of the nation.

The attack on science and the coddling of religion are all part of the strategy
to strengthen the force of stupidity and expand popular ignorance.

Your stupidity is your enslavement, and their triumph.

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Hello Void, A Thanksgiving Message

This is a country of very ignorant selfish people who are being exploited by very smart selfish people. I can’t do anything to change that, but I don’t have to help it along, either. I can forgo getting the best possible deal at the lowest possible price with the least amount of thought.

I don’t talk politics during the holiday season, at family gatherings, or basically ever. People believe what they want to believe, and facts don’t matter. Challenging people’s beliefs only upsets them and drives them into bunkers of defensiveness. By adolescence, people don’t change, certainly not because of what others tell them. Any change of thinking and attitude is purely a result of responding to life’s traumatic experiences, and such change is rare even when the traumas are regular.

All talk of universal cooperativeness: world socialism, population control, decarbonizing industrialization to prevent climate change, and similar visions of worldwide social justice and economic equity are fantasies never to be achieved. Individual selfishness will always trump social responsibility, satisfying immediate desires will always trump achieving long-term social improvement, confident willful ignorance will always stymie hesitant and deliberate thoughtfulness and understanding.

The fear for human extinction caused by climate change, overpopulation and nuclear war, which is increasingly expressed by intelligent, socially conscious long-range thinkers, is beyond permanent relief. This fear springs from a deep-seated belief that humanity must endure eternally, that it cannot be allowed to pass away. But why? The history of life on earth is one of species emerging, evolving and fading away. Extinction is the rule, the average lifespan of species on earth is a few million years.

A human lifetime is too brief an instant for any individual to have any impact on the course of humanity’s drift toward extinction. It is true that some individuals find themselves in positions of immense temporal power and are able to initiate, or halt, genocidal events. However, the power to cause rapid human extinction is beyond any single individual. The intentional rapid extinction of humanity requires the cooperative madness of many individuals engaged in launching the world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons in one apocalyptic world war. Individual selfishness is one deterrent to the selfless cooperative attainment of this radioactive crescendo of extinction.

A better response by socially conscious people, to the realization of humanity’s drift toward extinction as a mass of insular selfish individuals ensconced in their little logic and fantasy bubbles that are opaque beyond close-in personal horizons, is to make their face-to-face interactions as compassionate, honest, honorable and calming as is reasonable given the circumstances. Obviously, sometimes conflict is necessary and right, but one tries to minimize that. This is “being peace” as Thich Nhat Hanh has written about so eloquently.

You as a living experience are peace for your own well being in the here and now, and as a socially conscious expression of solidarity with whatever individual human being you are dealing with at the moment, because you recognize the same spirit of life in them as in you, and because you realize that every other person is a bundle of largely unseen and unknowable mental fears and psychological conflicts – just as you have, largely unseen by the rest of humanity.

Be peace because that is what you can do. Forget about saving humanity, you can’t do it, it can’t be done, and it doesn’t matter. Before you were here, while you are here, and after you are gone, the universe is.

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