While I was not writing here my hair grew very long, however last Friday, after taking the sudden decision during my pottery class, I came home in the dark and chopped enough (I obviously don’t do hairdressers) to make—to me—a massive difference in the way I look. Perhaps that was a jostle enough to bring this blog out of its torpor.
Off went a good few months’s growth—dead wood—but all in all not quite 15 g of hair—I call myself an artist: I weighed the hair I collected from the bathroom wash-hand basin to save it perchance for some interesting project (I have written here about how being an artist is a good way to negotiate with insanity…) and here is perhaps a new version of me. I have been silent here but active in other places, particularly with tools and soil, so the nails of the new version of me are short and often dirty.
I have been silent as things have brought to my attention the very necessity of being extremely clear when you decide to exist in the public eye even in a modest way, here in this blog or making art or things for others to see, about the kind of stance your utterings are taking for you.
You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.
Where do you stand when you start to talk? “Whose side are you on?” What vision of the world are you existing in? What do the things you do say about your beliefs? What degree of humanity does your mode of existence bestow upon the other humans? If you are benefitting from a system that excludes or oppresses people (this one for instance), are you doing all you can to expose and change it, rather than attempt to singly ascend the rungs and fetishize your relative suffering in the process so that you can choose to ignore the violence subjected to others?
Even if you turn a blind eye—awareness is a super power—arguing for powerlessness at the core of you, you sense—you know—if your behaviour is condoning an unfair construction of our being together. Truth be told I have not much to say in favour of the way that we humans have organized, hieriarchized, segregated atop exploitation, annihilation, destruction of other people’s lives.
I think I have a pretty good understanding of the kind of existence that the tiny minority who obscenely profit from this ridiculous financial belief system that we are abused by, and I think I can find in me the power to feel sorry for them, the hollowness of their life and the blood on their hands. What I have survived, the violence and the shit I see, do not in any way challenge my conviction that we can do better. I have a lot of ambition for us. Indeed what I do know with certainty is that striving to do better will instantly makes us happier, less alone, more fulfilled, more whole, more purposeful—bring us closer to home.
I remember reading about ants: apparently the way to understand their organising, their highly developed yet pretty inscrutable level of communication, their deep co-operation, is to realize that all of them together make one single organism. I, for one, more so perhaps since reading Etty Hillesum a few years ago, am wondering if we are not, at some level all of us living things part of the one single (strange) organism (energy)? As long as a single one of us is excluded from the table and the conversation about our survival, each of the others is condemned to feel unsure about their entitlement to a seat…
Truth is nobody wins this shit game not even the guys on top who having taken from others are condemned to live in constant fear that their rank and riches will be taken from them. Meanwhile we, the others, divided/oppressed/shamed, have observed the race from the back seats, have suffered, been punched enough, and will now build something better, inside our heads, in our intimate relationships, on our street, in our garden so that we may eventually link up horizontally our tiny pockets of true humanity and save us all.
This is a quiet but determined call to stop internalizing the hatred and the violence, stop feeding the enemy or playing its game, this is a call to stand up, resist, rebel, dissent, reinvent, organize, love ourselves more.