How can we reconcile with the fact that we ALL benefit from CONTEMPORARY slave labor? How can we jibe with the fact that much of what we consume—from the shoes we wore to the protest march, to the laptop we used to write the 15,000 word diatribe against patriarchy/racism/homophobia, to the phone we used to organize the sit-in—were produced by modern-day slaves? How can we JUSTIFY this? How can we be out here soap-boxing so damn hard AGAINST oppression when in a very REAL way WE are FUNDING the oppression of others? Maybe we’re ‘justice narcissists1‘; only concerned with issues that affect us. And actually, that makes perfect sense. It’s not OUR responsibility to fight for THEM. If they don’t wanna be slaves then THEY need to do something about it. After all, we’re too busy trying to get other people to treat our people fairl—
I know some of you are thinking: ‘What am I supposed to do then? Nothing?’ No. Not saying that. Do whatever you want. Just pointing out a peculiar little unavoidable irony. Also, it might not be all that bad to take a couple moments to at the very least CONSIDER our stances before rushing to be a part of SOMETHING just because we see some people who look like us in the crowd. Speaking of ‘looking like us,’ let’s address this race stuff (again) real quick…
Wanna know why people think race relations are getting worse? For one, we’re bored with each other. Tired of the same ol’ shit. Secondly, we’re fake as hell! We say one thing to our so-called own and another thing to the so-called outsiders and then myopically wonder why there is so much tension in the streets. We don’t know how to just fucking BE because we’re too busy trying to figure out WHO we SHOULD be to different people. And while we’re going through this bullshit the nuance-police, aka The Media™, step in to instigate both our internal and external tensions.
And another thing…
Underneath all the superficial bullshit we’re pretty much the same—shapeless, formless, featureless ‘somethings’ (a singular plurality2). We are just VERY MUCH AWARE of how we look on the outside and how people perceive it. And by ‘on the outside’ I mean our features, our accents, our cultures—just everything that we pile on top of the self. And how we perceive these layers is also predicated on a’buncha bullshit…but underneath it all—even below the part that thinks therefore it is—we’re the fucking same; you just gotta wade through the bullshit to see it, even though you’ll never actually SEE it. I know that doesn’t make much sense, but if you go back and click on ‘never’ it just might (probably still won’t make any sense). What’s fucked up is that our awareness of the bullshit layers even affects us in our private moments…away from all the dizzying relative diversity. We can’t even ‘be’ when we’re alone…and YES, even ‘them’—the ones who you THINK3 aren’t aware of their drapery (read: ruling classes)…they TOO deal with the mind-fuck. They just know that you think they don’t and they exploit the fuck outta that for fun and a whole lotta profit. Once you realize they’re just as fucked up as you, you might end up doing some crazy shit like this…
One thing I’ve been trying to get better at is not allowing myself to be bothered by people’s dismissive attitudes towards me. I’m smiling and/or laughing to myself whenever it happens. It’s tough, but one cool thing is when people catch you from afar they have no idea what’s tickling you. More often than not they’ll probably assume it is something ‘good’ and that’s not all that ‘bad.’
Getting back on topic…
Maybe there isn’t a way for us to reconcile with the fact that while we fight for ONE we’re oppressing an-OTHER. Actually, I don’t think the hypocrisy is all that bad; matter of fact, as the title suggests, it may be kinda divine. Just think: Because we can’t save everybody we will always be kept at arm’s length from absolute righteousness. That means even when we do something noble we’re STILL fulla shit. Why is ‘that’ divine? Because it’s humbling. Militantly so.
1. Critics of social media say it is turning us all into narcissists as if everything that we currently are isn’t directly linked to everything that we were. In other words: We aspire to EVERY point that we find ourselves (even if we are unaware of our aspirations). That means our ancient, ancient, ancient ancestors ‘dreamt’ of smartphones, PS4s, YouTube, etc. They may not have conceptualized them as they currently are, but the particulate matter was there; both meta-physically (our thoughts, dreams) and physically (matter). Everything that would later coalesce to become these devices existed somewhere in the infinite universe in some form.
Just think of a child—thousands of years ago—waiting for his father to return home from battle. Imagine the thoughts he had about the POSSIBILITIES of what his father was doing, witnessing, what country he was in (what it and its people looked like), what kind of weaponry he and his enemies were using, whether or not his father would return home, the effect this had on his mother—just a plethora of thoughts ‘streaming’ through his head. And of course he wasn’t alone. All of us, all over the globe were having thoughts about all kinds of crazy things. Wondering. BEing CURIOUS. We were seeing things that didn’t exist. Imagining what COULD be. Thoughts that would later coalesce into ideas that became gaming consoles, laptops, this website. We ‘aspired’ to this moment and we’re aspiring to another…and another, and another and even if the planet blows to bits it will carry our aspirations in its debris.
One more thing about e-narcissism: What are we trying to accomplish with all the posting? With all the selfies? All the emotionally-charged and revelatory status updates? The videos? What do we WANT? Perhaps we just want people to SEE us. To ACKNOWLEDGE us. Maybe we feel invisible. Alone. Perhaps we have arrived at this building-digital-shrines-to-ourselves point because this is a feeling we have ALWAYS felt. A feeling we’re ALWAYS desperately trying to do something ABOUT.↩
2. We are terrified of the ‘singularity’ idea (the possibility that we may all reduce to one thing reverse big bang style). But get this. So is IT!!! It’s not too ‘cool‘ with being one that’s why it’s always banging (cellular mitosis anyone?). Infinitely. There is something to do with stars and light wrapped up in this, but I won’t get into that now. I’ll save that for another post.↩
3. When I hear people prattle on about White Privilege™ I often wonder: Are they mad about white people’s privileges or ENVIOUS of what they PERCEIVE to be their happiness? A happiness they believe is inaccessible WITHOUT privilege.
While we’re on this subject let’s rap about rich people real quick. We love to talk shit about them, but their desires may speak to a collective desire (a deep-down-this-is-what-most-of-us-DREAM-of desire hence why the spoils of the rich are often blandly similar). A desire that not all of us are driven to satiate, but DEFINITELY wonder about. Of course this does not apply to all of us, but DEFINITELY more of us than we would like to admit. And no, I’m not pandering to the rich, just taking an approach that isn’t so boringly us-verus-them.↩