18 March 2010

Beyond belief and non-belief

Alan Moore claims to have met John Constantine in real life. Twice. The question, as I'm sure most of you who've been following will understand, is not whether this "really" happened or not. The question is, what rules does Alan Moore's personal reality follow in which things like this can happen? And are they rules that might be profitably adopted by others? How does it differ from the world in which bread and wine transform into the living presence of the Son of God, or the world in which a Koori headman can point a bone at someone and they die right then and there? (Apologies if I've got the details of the last one confused.)

My political mentor suggests that the job of revolutionaries is to be "organisers of optimism". I take this to refer to Gramsci's "optimism of the will", as opposed to "pessimism of the intellect". In other words - "we're probably all screwed, but if we do something it just might work". Million-to-one chance, and all that.

Chaos Marxism rejects solipsism. It is simply not true that every individual has their own hermetically sealed personal reality, mainly since individuals do not exist on the level of biological evolution or class struggle, the first and second most important defining factors in human existence. But given the material substrate of the above, there can be many different kinds of social, cultural, subcultural and personal "etic realities" (i.e. realities based on ideologies, abstractions, cultural images and other automatic parts of consciousness). Some of us never emerge from the world-as-it-seems that we are taught by our parents, our schools and our TV shows. Others reject that reality and substitute their own, based on consumer goods or possibly weird things we read.

In Chaos Marxism, we want to create a reality where the possibility of large-scale, technologically advanced civilisation based on ties of solidarity rather that wage labour and commodity exchange is possible. Our analysis of material reality says that it's objectively possible; but as long as the idea seems a ridiculous utopia or dystopia to the vast majority of humanity, it's never going to actually happen. And we will not be satisfied with play-acting "living in a better world" (the domain of lifestylers or cults) because that is what the Black Iron Prison allows everyone anyway - to live in their own little world as long as they don't cause problems.

If Hugo Weaving and the machine intelligences said that if you sat down and shut up, you could have your own little section of the Matrix just as you liked it, would you take the bait? Be honest, now. That would be much easier, and much more fun.

Myself, I'm going to experiment with living in an alternate reality where people are naturally kind and willing to listen, rather than hostile and mean. It might just work.

1 comment:

  1. The Spanish Alan Moore...