27 February 2007

The Enemy Is Lifestylism

Sage Kiesel, in a comment posted to the previous entry, suggests that even the most batshit (Scieno or otakukin) universes are "plausible and existent, even though they are not practical". Probably true, although Chaos Marxism is interested in practicality above all.

But we assert strongly that diversion of consciousness into impractical reality tunnels is one of the prime means by which the Corporate Egregore maintains its power. Of course it's easier and more fun to live in an alternative universe where it doesn't exist. Until of course you have to go to a horrible job, or deal with other people who live in a less pleasant universe - or until the ecosystem goes belly-up and we're all underwater or breathing brown goop instead of air. Which is still reality for 99% of people, even in the advanced industrial capitalist nations.

I have therefore great contempt for any reality tunnel which has the same political/magickal effect of an ostrich hiding its head in the sand, or a child putting its head under the blankets. Encouraging people to adopt "lifestyles" or - more pretentiously - "personal paths" which lead them away from engagement with consensus reality is not only a good way to demobilise any possibly dangerous rebellion, but also a good way to create more markets to sell people mindless crap. (Walk into any magic or New Age shop and see how much overpriced crap there is for sale and you see what I mean).

The really awful thing is it's not just religion, magic, or sci-fi fandom which has gotten to this point - it's politics. So many people aren't anarchists, socialists, libertarians or even conservatives because they want to be part of a political project to change consensus reality. They want a an alternative reality-space where they can hide from that reality. You can see this most effectively with conservatism because they have the most money. There are entire industries (and projects - "Conservapedia", for fuck's sake?) which aim to make sure that conservatives never have to deal with outside reality. It reminds me of a Ken MacLeod novel where they sold Christians telescopes doctored to make it look like the universe was geocentric.

But exactly the same with the small-group psychosis associated with so-called revolutionary left political projects. Far too many of them end up as cliques or clubs or internet forums full of people who only want to talk to people already like them, continually performing the rituals which make them feel like they are the Chosen Ones - whether this be "direct action", "making and selling the revolutionary paper", etc etc etc. These people too are being sold a lifestyle by the corporate egregore - and thus making themselves completely and utterly harmless.

(One of the most annoying things about "lifestyle politics", as an aside, is that you can no longer have a political debate. If someone's politics are their identity, then you can't argue with a conservative or an anarchist any more than you could argue with a committed Christian or a supporter of Glasgow Celtic. Of course, debate is an intersubjective phenomenon which requires communications between different realities - exactly what they don't want.)

Unless someone somehow creates a "lifestyle option" where we can avoid the physical reality of world capitalism, the necessity to work horrible jobs to survive and the steady collapse of planetary ecology - i.e. getting off the planet altogether and leaving the simpering humans to choke on their own filth - lifestylism is the enemy. And I don't think I'd take that option anyway.

5 comments:

  1. just a GREAT rant!

    gotta link to this baby asap :)

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  2. I've been stewing on this one for a while, Dolores. I agree with the above poster that you make an excellent point, tying this into political lifestylism. I submit to you it is not hiding, my friend, because in order to hide they would need to know about something they should be hiding from. Hardly anyone knows any real revolutionary analysis of the past and present. Much like how BISKIT teams in America's military prisons and the CIA before them discovered that the best form of torture is one that forces the prisoner to be the active agent of the pain being inflicted upon her/himself. Rather than having a big goon doing it, you see. Rather than enslave us literally, Capitalism sees fit to put us in wage slavery, making us trample over eachother scrambling and begging to get a job and serve them. In both cases, the external oppression is only indirectly involved in the suffering the victim is forced to inflict upon her/himself. No, they see nothing to hide from, because they will likely never understand that it is the truth which is so repulsive and unacceptable to them. No, they just laugh it off as ridiculous, and go on living in the reality-tunnel which facilitates best their emotional, social, and (personally) political needs.

    And who the hell can blame them? It's the bourgois that is responsible for the cruel machinations of the system, not the slaves at the end of chain of command. They are simply rats looking for the cheese. Other than patronizing local business rather than corporate or chain business, at the end of the day my (immediate) economic best interest wins over my genuflections to the loquacious left. And the same with the ordinary proletariat, as well as most of working America. It is indeed a luxury to live as more than an animal or beast in any capacity, a luxury largely of circumstance. To use RAW's or Leary's circuit model with you on this, it seems you are giving a 2nd circuit question a 3rd circuit answer. Or, to get even obnoxious, it is not the jackass libertarians/liberals/centrists who are the problem, but the society which creates them. If the left were able to open a conduit somehow through which power which had been withdrawn from the people were returned, then, then, then, my friend, would thier mouth be open to swallow our shit, our school, our historical materialist analysis, and our revolutionary agenda.

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  3. If the impractical realities are strong enough, the frustration of not being able to turn that into a material reality could work to push people into practical reality? Or do you believe the only way if it get´s strong enough is madness?

    If power is given, not taken, by changing people´s values to hocus-pocus maybe it could rust the practical reality.

    I think the corporate egregore is building the it´s own ruin.

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  4. "If power is given, not taken, by changing people´s values to hocus-pocus maybe it could rust the practical reality."

    I think that what you're getting at is that deliberately encouraging denial, narcissism and an unhealthy fantasy lifestyle, the corporate egregore is sawing away at its own foundations. This is absolutely correct. But: if people are that screwed up, how will they be able to create something better? Will it be back to the Stone Age, or the Middle Ages? Or can we do something better, next cycle?

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  5. Maybe the only way to create somethin better is doing it from scratch. Not necessarily primitivism, but maybe all those illusory lifestyles are pregnant with some unknown that we won´t be able to name until all this virtual frustration explodes (and I hope that happens before an actual bomb, which would be a much more sad way to re-do from scratch, if possible).
    I don´t believe we can name the next cycle with our thought patterns. If it´s all about reality, ideology and job benefits can keep people docile. Because that´s the only reality possible to most people. The ones who chose to live out of this misery find their freedom in wandering the streets drunk and sleeping on the sidewalks (and this is in the real world, not in the USA) The ones who sacrifice, well, they end up dead. If the impossible is thought possible, thoguh, then the "problems" start.

    The way I see, a revolution is not a safe party, but an orgy of violence and ecstasy. I think it will inevitably hurt. But it has got to hurt less then the safety of real world. Then something better might flowrish.
    It is not predictable, so all we can do is push this madness to it´s point of no return where there will be people thinking they are fairies and jumping out their windows.
    I feel sad by this, but I don´t think there´s any hope of safety.
    Is there something strong enough to make people risk their safety? What about the possibility that it might not go well, and that we actually made it worse with our efforts? And then death.

    If all we now about life is that we are born to work breed and die, where can new values be born?

    I can´t see beyond. Is a smooth transition possible? Is it possible for us to imagine what´s beyond? I mean, who can tell what values will make it possible for us to live a more responsible and fulfilling life?

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