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Crimethinc for Beginners

   Real Freedom

   Normal?
   Anarchy. Once you've tried it...

   The Revolution of Everyday Life

   The Concealment Of Death

   The Contents of Your Daily Life

   The Dead Hand of the Past

   Seduced by the Image of Reality

   Washing... and Brainwashing

   AlieNation: The Map of Despair

   Product is the Excrement of Action

   How Ethical Is The Work 'Ethic'?

   The Domestication of Animals and of Man 1

   The Domestication of Animals and of Man 2

   Alive In The Land Of The Dead

   8 Things You Can Do To Get Active

   How to Get What You Want

   Transformation/Utopia

Days of War, Nights of Love


Crimethink for Beginners

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Thought Crime

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Related Thought
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Crime  

Thought Crime

"Sacred cows make the best hamburger."


Mark Twain

WORK - PSYCHOLOGY - CAPITALISM - HERESIOLOGY  

WORK - PSYCHOLOGY - CAPITALISM - HERESIOLOGY

The tripalium is an instrument of torture. The


Latin word labor means "suffering". We are
unwise to forget this origin of the words "travail"
and "labour". Raoul Vaneigem

The Psychopathology of Work

The Abolition of Work


The decline and fall of work

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Thought Crime

Aphorisms Against Work


How Ethical Is The Work 'Ethic'?

Revolt Against Work


Zero-Hour Day, Zero-Day Workweek
Rest From Work Capitalism
by Vincent Van Gogh
LINK S

My young men shall never work. Men who work cannot


dream; and wisdom comes to us in dreams. Smohalla, founder of
the dreamer religion

WORK - PSYCHOLOGY - CAPITALISM - HERESIOLOGY

Time is a social construction which is used to


measure motion through space in order to control it
and bind it to a social context.

The Liberation of Motion Through Space

People are bewitched into believing that time slips


away, and this belief is the basis of time actually
slipping away.

The Fascination of Time

The largely hidden key to the symbolic world is time;


indeed it is at the origin of human symbolic activity.
Time thus occasions the first alienation, the route
away from aboriginal richness and wholeness.

Time and its Discontents

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Thought Crime

Amnesia is essential to civilizing human beings:


when one forgets the possibilities (the richness of
past, present, and future) one is domesticated, one
disappears.

Against Amnesia

Running on Emptiness
The Failure of Symbolic Thought

Perceptual Revolution
Only as a band of armed poets are we to overcome every day fascism.

Sanity possesses a constellation of defining


characteristics which are at first sight unrelated. In this it
resembles other, more widely accepted, psychological
syndromes... A sane person believes firmly in the uselessness of
thinking about what he does not understand, and is
pathologically interested in other people. These two symptoms,
at first sight independent, are actually inextricably related. In
fact they are merely different aspects of that peculiar reaction to
reality which we shall call

The Human Evasion by Celia Green

An Interzine review of Celia Green and her memes.

Alan Watts explains


The Value of Psychotic Experience
Osho discusses Psychology, The New Priesthood.
Osho is clear as a bell in Ego - The False Center.

Recent history is the record of one vast


conspiracy to impose one level of
mechanical consciousness on mankind. -
Allen Ginsburg

Basically, the setting and goals and patterns of behavior, which are imposed
mechanically or externally, and without understanding, produces a rigid

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Thought Crime

structure in consciousness that blocks the free play of thought and the free
movement of awareness and attention that are necessary for creativity to
act:

Creativity and What Blocks It


The Psychopathology of Work

This is a warning of what happens to spirit when it becomes


divorced from its soul pairing, when it ceases to find its
reflection in soul - and loses it. It becomes the solitary heroic
rational ego which deludes itself into believing that there is no soul. It
creates a correspondingly delusional world for itself which, deprived of
its connection with a personal and personified counterpart, opens on to
the soul's depths, as abysmal as deep space and as impersonal as the subatomic
realm.

In our modern society the image and mythic process has been taken over by
corporations that directly control advertising and, indirectly, the
entertainment industry. Powerful erotic images are used for the sole purpose
of selling consumer products; the side effects of this commercialization have
a profound impact on the sexual imagination and identity of vast numbers of
people. The Armored Knight of the 20th Century

There Are No Reasons


Journey Into Savagery
LINK S

WORK - PSYCHOLOGY - CAPITALISM - HERESIOLOGY

When Corporations Rule The World


Assault of the Corporate Libertarians
The Betrayal Of Adam Smith
Economic Myths
Markets are for People
An Economic System Out Of Control
A Citizen Agenda to Tame Corporate Power, Reclaim Citizen Sovereignty,
and Restore Economic Sanity.

The alternative to intellectual property is straightforward:

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Thought Crime

intellectual products should not be owned, as in the case of


everyday language. That means not owned by individuals,
corporations, governments, or the community as common
property. It means that ideas are available to be used by
anyone who wants to.

Against intellectual property


Intellectual Property Myths
The Financial Advantages of Anti-copyright
Reevaluating Copyright: The Public Must Prevail

Why Capitalists Want To Sell You Deodorant


Immediatism vs Capitalism
MILLENNIUM
Call & Response
Mormons In Space
Car Trouble?
WO R K

In our country are evangelists and zealots of many


different political, economic and religious
persuasions whose fanatical conviction is that all
thought is divinely classified into two kinds—that
which is their own and that which is false and
dangerous. Justice Robert H. Jackson

WORK - PSYCHOLOGY - CAPITALISM - HERESIOLOGY

"The great snare of thought is uncritical acceptance of irrational assumptions."


Will Durant

The belief that we are pluriforms of God voluntarily descended to


this prison world...
is one of the most radical religious views known in the West.

Outline in Abstract Form of a New Model of Reality Updating Historic


Models,
in Particular Those of Gnosticism and Christianity

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Thought Crime

The Ten Major Principles of the Gnostic Revelation


The Logos was both that which thought, and the thing which it thought:
thinker and thought together. The universe, then, is thinker and thought,
and since we are part of it, we as humans are, in the final analysis,
thoughts of and thinkers of those thoughts. —How to Build a Universe That
Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later by Philip K. Dick

"As living information, the plasmate travels up the optic


nerve of a human to the pineal body. It uses the human
brain as a female host in which to replicate itself into its
active form. This is an interspecies symbiosis. The
Hermetic alchemists knew of it in theory from ancient
texts, but could not duplicate it, since they could not
locate the dormant, buried plasmate. Bruno suspected
that the plasmate had been destroyed by the Empire; for
hinting at this he was burned. "The Empire never ended."
—Phillip K. Dick

Tractates Cryptica Scriptura

All the philosophies, creeds, dogmas and beliefs that humanity has
evolved are variants of three great paradigms, the
Transcendental, the Materialist and the Magical.

Ten Theses Toward the End of the Flesh-Spirit Dichotomy or,


Radical Spirituality is Radical Sensuality or it is Nothing

"To judge from the notions expounded by


theologians, one must conclude that God created
most men simply with a view to crowding hell."
Marquis de Sade

The Crime of Galileo


by the Catholic and Apostolic Church of Rome, 1630 A.D.

Rome's Syllabus of Condemned Opinions


The Last Blast of the Catholic Church's Medieval Trumpet

"Now Christianity sounded good at first to the naive convert. Love, peace and
charity—what's wrong with that? I'll tell you what's wrong—a series of
unprecedented horrors perpetrated by so-called Christians: The Inquisition, the

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Thought Crime

Conquistadores, the American Indian wars, slavery, Hiroshima and the present-
day Bible Belt." William S. Burroughs in Sects and Death

"The tradition transmitted by the great Hermetic masters affirms that at a


crucial moment in the history of humanity, a powerful 'diabolic Archangel,' if
we are allowed to so call him, succeeded in penetrating the occult defenses
and entered into the atmosphere of the planet, provoking a great
disturbance. To be able to imagine such a being, we suggest reading the
book The Lurker by H.P. Lovecraft. The direct, although involuntary, cause
of this catastrophe which affects us to this day, was Moses, according to
Hermetic Records."

If Jesus had returned, in Europe, anywhere from


A.D. 300 to perhaps A.D. 1800 he would have
been very likely burned at the stake. Perhaps he
did and was.
Jack D. Forbes

Does God Favor Slavery?


Did God Ordain The Holocaust?

The accounts in the Old Testament, although condensed from


more detailed accounts pre-dating them, are true and accurate in
their most minute detail and the evidence supports the fact that
the "god" or "gods" of the Old Testament and the New were not
and is not some transcendendent infinite Being, but an advanced
race of humanoids, the Nefilim mentioned in Genesis, who created
man, as we know ourselves, for their own practical purposes. It
should be emphasized that this is not a discovery but a re-
discovery.
Neil Freer

Hooray for the Devil


BEWARE OF MONOTHEISM
Notes on the Christian Imagination
Anti-Christian Strategies

Reason adapts impulses and beliefs into the real world;


rationalization, on the other hand, adapts the concept of
reality to the impulses and beliefs of the individual.
Reasoning discovers the true cause of our acts,

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Thought Crime

rationalization finds good reasons for justifying our acts.


Gordon Allport

The recently unearthed Gnostic tract Thunder: Perfect Mind

A dying culture destroys everything it touches.


Language is one of the first things to go.  

"The Christian enmity (of entheogens) is easy to explain. Since the


Christians were promulgating a religion in which the core mystery, the
holy sacrament itself, was conspicuous by its absence, later
transmogrified by the smoke and mirrors of the Doctrine of
Transubstantiation into a specious symbol, an inert substance, a placebo
entheogen, the imposture would be all-too-evident to anyone who had
known the blessing of ecstasy, who had access to personal religious
experiences. Thus a concerted attack on the use of sacred inebriants was
mounted, and the supreme heresy was to presume to have any direct
experience of the divine, not mediated by an increasingly corrupt and
politicized priesthood. The Pharmacratic Inquisition was the answer of the
Catholic Church to the embarrassing fact that it had taken all the religion
out of religion, leaving an empty and hollow shell with no intrinsic value
or attraction to humankind, which could only be maintained by hectoring,
guilt-mongering and plain brute force." Jonathan Ott

BEMUSHRÖÖMED

Mushrooms and Man


outlines some evidence of mycological influence on human culture.

Our collective conclusion seems to be that nature,


both in whole and in many parts, is magically self-
reflecting and aware E N T I T I E S.
LINK S

LINKS
Constructing a Logical Argument FAQ
List of common logical fallacies
ADDICTIONMANIA
Impropaganda screws with your mind until you come to your senses,
WORK

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Thought Crime

Someone is stealing your life


HERESIOLOGY
The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold by Acharya S
"When one examines this issue closely, one will find a tremendous volume of literature
that demonstrates, logically and intelligently, time and again that Jesus Christ is a
mythological character along the same lines as the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Sumerian,
Phoenician, Indian or other godmen, who are all presently accepted as myths rather
than historical figures." The Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical
Jesus Christ
Is Cannibalism a Religious Experience?
"Considering how many people have been killed in the name of God and not the Devil,
maybe the world is worshipping the wrong entity ... Think about it: No army has ever
marched off to war in the name of the Devil."
Christ Conspiracy Links
"Lucifer" is the term originally used by the Romans to refer to the planet Venus when it rose
in the morning, before sunrise.
Syndicate 23 Questioning Religion
The Biggest Cult of All
Does God Lie? Highlights biblical contradictions
IN PRAISE OF THE DEVIL
The Complaint Against Jehovah (Lord of the Weak)
The Virus of Christ: Jehovah's Plague of Obliviousness
Life In Our Anti-Christian America
Thomas Paine
Biblical Blasphemy a lying spirit has been in the mouth of the writers of the books of
the Bible.
The Tower of Babel Those who most believe it are those who know least about it, and
priests always take care to keep the inconsistent and contradictory parts out of sight.
Of the Religion of Deism Compared with the Christian Religion The creation is the Bible
of the true believer in God. Everything in this vast volume inspires him with sublime
ideas of the Creator. The little and paltry, and often obscene, tales of the Bible sink
into wretchedness when put in comparison with this mighty work.
Freethought - Heretics and Heresies
Holy War Now
SATAN ON WAR
Resume of Gods
The Unity of Christ and Satan had three aspects. First, it encouraged acceptance of one's darker,
socially suppressed impulses, private and subconscious longings that a Freudian might call primary
process phenomena connected with the id. Second, it was an attempt to bridge the gaps between
people of very different needs and personalities, to achieve cooperation where hostility had
reigned. Third, it was a structural theory of the origins of existence, part of an intellectual world.
—Beyond the Process
Sodom 2: a Modest Proposal to Placate the Christian Right
PSYCHOLOGY
d|i|s|i|n|f|o's >> anti-psychiatry dossier
Capitalism, Consumerism, and Creativity
Yes, We Are Zombies, But We Can Become Conscious!

Diseases of Consciousness
Critical Art Ensemble Medical Guide
Chicken Wire Mother
Popular legal consciousness-altering drugs

Restriction of free thought and free


speech is the most dangerous of all
subversions. It is the one un-
American act that could most easily
defeat us. —Justice William O. Douglas

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Thought Crime

Other places
Example: DEA Prohibition Propaganda
The infamous U.S. Supreme Court descision that established indecency regulation in
broadcasting and the FCC as the largest censorship body in the world: FCC v. Pacifica
Foundation - 438 U.S. 726 (1978)
The extreme geopolitical misconceptions induced by common mercator maps of earth are
rectified by area accurate maps such as Gall-Peters projection or the Fuller Projection
Dymaxion Map
Banned Books Page
Check out the pineal gland
Wall O' Shame - Incredible tales!
DARE to think for yourself

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philosophos

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philosophos
"Philosophy, in its very diachrony, is the consciousness of
the breakup of consciousness." Emmanuel Levinas

"To be and not to be arise mutually." Lao Tzu, 600 BC

"To be, or not to be: that is the question." William Shakespeare, 1603

"To be or not to be is not the question; to be is not to be." Alan Watts,


1970?

What we're trying to do with all these religious and philosophical forms
is to try to link up with the original intimacy, which we lost when we
began to experience cognition.

Cybernetics & Entheogenics: From Cyberspace to Neurospace

Bewilderness is an extreme condition, an encounter with transcendence,


possession by elemental energies. But it allows the possibility of more
measured and integrated lifeways. After such experiences, individuals and
communities can accept convivial coexistence because they wittingly live within
and amidst the oceanic consciousness. And such a state characterizes the
condition of total anarchy.

Three techniques are used in order to break dependency at all


levels—on authority figures, on the authority of doctrines, on the
authority of thought itself—and thereby to induce illumination.
Taken together, these techniques constitute a potent array of
methods for undermining control structures:

Toward a Cultural Ecology of Anarchy 

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't

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philosophos

go away." —Phillip K. Dick


Fully realizing that any art "manifesto" written today
can only stink of the same bitter irony it seeks to
oppose, we nevertheless declare without hesitation
(without too much thought) the founding of a
"movement", IMMEDIATISM.

Radio Sermonettes
by The M.O.R.C. Collective

History & Catechism of the Moorish Orthodox Church of


America

There is no becoming, no revolution, no struggle, no path.


Already you are the monarch of your own skin.
Your inviolable freedom waits to be completed only by the love of other monarchs.
A politics of dream, urgent as the blueness of sky. —Hakim Bey

MILLENNIUM by Hakim Bey

Any system of ideas with an


abstraction at its center—an The Revolutionary Pleasure of
abstraction which assigns you
a role or duties—is an Thinking for Yourself
ideology. An ideology provides
those who accept it with a false consciousness, a necessary component of
which is other-directedness. This leads those who accept the ideology to
behave as "objects" rather than "subjects," to allow themselves to be
used rather than to act to attain their own desires.

Real Freedom
Normal?
C Anarchy. Once you've tried it...
R The Contents of Your Daily Life
I AlieNation: The Map of Despair
M Alive In The Land Of The Dead
The Domestication of Animals and of Man 1
E The Domestication of Animals and of Man 2
T Seduced by the Image of Reality
H Washing... and Brainwashing
I How Ethical Is The Work 'Ethic'?
N The Dead Hand of the Past
8 Things You Can Do To Get Active
C
How to Get What You Want
Transformation/Utopia

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philosophos

R E V O L U T I O N   A S   A   G A M E

"The significance of de-sanctifying the earth, the animals, the


plants, the trees, and even human beings is that the world is made
a potentially ugly and very exploitable place." Jack D. Forbes

Nature, what is left of it, that is, serves as a bitter


reminder of how deformed, non-sensual, and
fraudulent is contemporary existence.—We Have to
Dismantle All This

The Sabbats do not commemorate any historical


event and are, as we shall see, almost antithetical
to the concept of history. Indeed, these eight
holidays might be said to be as old as the Earth
itself.

Practical observations accumulated over thousands of years.

The Laws of Magic


Trees have been considered to be magickal for many centuries.

The Magick of Trees

Tao Te Ching

Aleister Crowley's Liber CLVII: Tao Teh King


Very complete Tao Te Ching index at dmoz

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philosophos

Ten Bulls
"I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute Freedom and Wildness, as
contrasted with a freedom and Culture merely civil,—to regard man as an
inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society. I
wish to make an extreme statement..." Henry David Thoreau, WALKING
Life Without Principle
Civil Disobedience
The Nietzsche Page
Leibniz's Monadology
Crowley's Equinox
The Thinking Man's Minefield is for those magnificent individuals who seek the
eternal.
CTHEORY international journal of theory, technology and culture
The Spoon Collective

The Moorish Science Reading Room


Zero News Datapool, HAKIM BEY
More Hakim Bey

"The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has
made the world ugly and bad." Friedrich Nietzsche

Zen@SunSITE ||| Yahoo Philosophy ||| Philosophy at Galaxy

E=±mc²=Thé Ðëòxÿríßøñµçlëìç HÿÞêrdïmèñsîøñ

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Anarchy. Once you've tried it, nothing else compares.

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Relatedtoto
Related Anarchy.
Anarchy. OnceOnce you've
you've tried it...
tried it...  

Would you like to pay by personal check, or credit card? Money order,
cash up front, put it on lay-away, financing and no money down?
Automatic withdrawals to pay off the bank loans, college loans, Visa
and Mastercard debt, State and Federal taxes, rent and food and health
"care," a thousand banalities that keep you running like a hamster in a
wheel between the classroom and the sucky job and the marriage altar,
the freeway and the office and the corporate golf course meeting?
Death on the intsallment plan, or all at once like a stockbroker mid-life
crisis suicide on the next Black Monday?

Or would you really like something else, something


altogether different? Would you like not to pay at all,
never to pay again for land and food and even water?
100% off, everything MUST go! Have you ever had a
dream in which everything was free, and you could eat
whatever you wanted and go wherever you wanted and do
anything you wanted? Have you ever wanted to have
enough of everything that you could share freely with
everyone else, without worrying about spending your
resources "efficiently" and "responsibly"? Ever wated to
quit being responsible for one moment and just do what
your heart demands?

What "insurance" could you buy that would keep you safer than living in a
world where people actually cared about each other?

Perhaps you should find yourself some like-minded


friends, stop talking about how bad traffic was and start
discussing tactics. Or swear to yourself that you will
never, ever again do anything but chase your wildest
dreams, every moment of your life. Or buy yourself a liter
of gasoline and a bottle. It could be your last purchase
ever.

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Anarchy. Once you've tried it, nothing else compares.

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Real Freedom

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Freedom is a sensation.
We have only "choice."
It's almost ludicrous to think of how many men and women have
fought and died for the American idea of freedom: a man in a voting
booth with a pencil, choosing which box to check. Real freedom, the
kind of freedom we are fighting for, is something much grander--it
means creating the choices you choose between, for starters. A better
illustration is the musician in the act of playing with her companions:
in joyous, seemingly effortless cooperation, they actively create the sonic and
emotional environment in which they exist, participating thus in the transformation of
the world which will in turn transform them. Take this model and extend it to every
moment of our lives--now that would be real freedom!

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Real Freedom

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Normal?

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Normal?
People from the (rapidly splintering) "mainstream" of
society in Europe and the United States today take a
peculiar pleasure in considering themselves "normal"
in comparison to legal offenders, political radicals, and
other members of social "outgroups." They treat this
"normalcy" as if it is an indication of mental health and
moral righteousness, regarding the "others" with a
mixture of pity and disgust. But if we consult history,
we can see that the conditions and patterns of human
life have changed so much in the past two centuries
that it is impossible to speak of any lifestyle available
to human beings today as being normal in the natural
sense, as being the lifestyle for which human beings
have adapted over many generations. Of the lifestyles
from which a young woman growing up in western
civilization today can choose, none are anything like
the one for which our ancestors were prepared by
centuries of natural selection and evolution.

It is more likely that the "normalcy" that these people hold so dear is rather the feelings of normalcy
that result from conformity to a standard. Being surrounded by others who behave the same way,
who are conditioned to the same routines and expectations, is comforting because it reinforces the
idea that one is pursuing the right course: if a great many people make the same decisions and live
according to the same customs, then these decisions and customs must be the right ones.

But the mere fact that a number of people live and act in a certain way does not make it any more
likely that this way of living is the one that will bring them the most happiness. Besides, the lifestyles
associated with the American and European mainstream were not exactly consciously chosen as
the best possible ones by those who pursue them; rather, they came to be suddenly, as the results
of technological and cultural upheavals. Once the peoples of Europe, the United States, and the
world realize that there is nothing necessarily "normal" about their "normal life," they can begin to
ask themselves the first and most important question of the next century:

Are there ways of thinking, acting, and living that


might be more satisfying and exciting than the
ways we think, act, and live today?
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Normal?

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The Revolution of Everyday Life

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Related
Related to to
TheThe Revolution
Revolution of Everyday
of Everyday Life Life  

"Work is the very opposite of creation, which is


play.
"The world only began to get something of value from me the moment I stopped
being a serious member of society and became—myself. The State, the nation, the
united nations of the world, were nothing but one great aggregation of individuals
who repeated the mistakes of their forefathers. They were caught in the wheel from
birth and they kept at it until death—and this treadmill they tried to dignify by calling
it "life." If you asked anyone to explain or define life, what was the be-all and end-
all, you got a blank look for an answer. Life was something which philosophers dealt
with in books that no one read. Those in the thick of life, "the plugs in harness," had
no time for such idle questions. "You've got to eat, haven't you?" This query, which
was supposed to be a stopgap, and which had already been answered, if not in the
absolute negative at least in a disturbingly relative negative by those who knew; was
a clue to all the questions which followed in a veritable Euclidean suite. From the little
reading I had done I had observed that the men who were most in life, who were
molding life, who were life itself, ate little, slept little, owned little or nothing. They
had no illusions about duty, or the perpetuation of their kith and kin, or the
preservation of the State. They were interested in truth and in truth alone. They
recognized only one kind of activity—creation. Nobody could command their services
because they had of their own pledged themselves to give all. They gave
gratuitously; because that is the only way to give. This was the way of life which
appealed to me: it made sound sense. It was life--not the simulacrum which those
about me worshipped." —Henry Mil1er, The Revolution of Everyday Life

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The Concealment Of Death

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The Concealment Of Death


Here's an exercise to try at home. You will need a working stopwatch, or another
timepiece that measures seconds. Before you begin, seat yourself in a comfortable
chair and loosen your clothing.

Watch the second hand as it passes around the face of the clock. Picture the moment
of your death, perhaps many decades in the future, or perhaps only a few years or
months (who can know?). Wait for the second hand to reach the starting point at the
top of the clockface, and then watch as it records the passing of one minute of your
life. Now imagine the clock counting down the minutes of your life to the moment of
your death. Try this exercise picturing this moment a few decades in the future, then
repeat it picturing the moment next year. Repeat it picturing the moment of your
death next month. Next week. Tonight. After all, you never know.

Now observe the minute and hour hands on the clock. What were you doing at this
time twenty four hours ago? Forty eight hours ago? One month ago? What will you
be doing at this time in a week?

Imagine that the moment of your death is one month away. Consider--if you knew
that this was true, what would you be doing right now? What would you be doing at
this time tomorrow? Repeat this step, imagining your death to be one year away.
Does this make very much difference in your thoughts about what you would do
today and tomorrow if you knew the date of your death?

Compare your activities over the last twenty four hours to the activities you would
have chosen if you had known that you would leave this world in one month or one
year. Compare your activities over the last month, the last year, the last decade to
those you would have chosen if you had known that on this day you would have only
thirty days or twelve months left to live. How different would your life have been if
you had known the date of your approaching death? Would you be ready to die in a
month or a year, having lived the life that you have?

Chances are, at least as far as we all know, that most of the people who read this
text and participate in this exercise will live for many more years or even decades
afterwards. But still, look at the second hand of the stopwatch, and follow it as it
records the passing minutes, counting down the minutes of your life that remain to
you as they slip away. Are you living the life that you want to live? Are you living a
life that, at any given moment, you could look back upon with satisfaction if you
suddenly realized that it was about to end? Are you living the sort of life that you
would wish upon a human being, a life that is exciting and full, a life that is well
spent, every minute of it? If the answer is no, what can you do in the time that still
remains to you--however long or short that may be--to make your life more like the
life you would like to live? For we all do have only a limited amount of time granted
to us in this world--and so we should use it with this in mind.

If you find, looking back upon your life, that you have spent years living without any

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The Concealment Of Death

consideration of your mortality, this is really not unusual. For our social/cultural
environment does not encourage us to think much about the limits that nature places
on our lives. Death and aging are denied and hidden away as if they were shameful
and embarrassing. The older members of our society are hidden away in "retirement
homes" like lepers in leper colonies. The billboards, magazine photos, and television
commercials that meet our eyes at every turn show only images of healthy men and
women in the prime of their life. Cemeteries, which once memorialized the dead and
preserved a place for them in the thoughts of the living, are now forgotten in
abandoned neighborhoods and overgrown with weeds. When a man dies, the rituals
which once would have celebrated his life and brought the subject of human mortality
to the thoughts of those who survived him are now often regarded as mere
inconveniences. Death is impolite and embarrassing, it is considered bad etiquette, for
there is no place for it in today's busy world of corporate mergers and record-
breaking conspicuous consumption. Our busy schedules and glossy magazines neither
make allowance for it nor offer any explanation of how it might be relevant to our
value system or our lives.

And indeed if we were to stop and ponder the subject, perhaps we would find that
when we seriously consider the limits of our time on this planet, keeping up with
television comedies and having a good rsum seem less important than they did
before. Our cultural silence about human mortality allows us to forget how much
weight the individual moments of our lives carry, adding up as they do to our lives
themselves. Thus we may squander countless hours watching television or balancing
checkbooks--hours that in retrospect we might have done better to have spent
walking on the sea shore with our loved ones, cooking gourmet meals for our children
or friends, writing fiction, or hitchhiking across South America. The reality of our
future death is not easy for any of us to come to terms with, but it is surely better
that we consider this now than regret not doing so later when it is too late.

Our modern denial of death has a deeper significance, beyond its functions as a
reaction to our fear of mortality and a selective blindness that helps to preserve the
status quo. It is a symptom of our ongoing struggle to escape from the cycles of
change in nature and establish an unnatural permanence in the world. Our mortality
is frightening evidence that we do not have control over everything, and as such we
are quick to ignore it, if we cannot do away with it altogether--a feat towards which
our medical researchers are slowly working. It is worth questioning whether this
would even be desirable.

Since the dawn of Western civilization, men and women have hungered for
domination not only of the world and each other, but also for domination of the
seasons, of time itself. We speak of the eternal grandeur of our gods and empires,
and we design our cities and corporations to exist into infinity. We build monuments,
skyscrapers, which we intend to stand forever as testimony of our victory over the
sands of time. But this victory can only come at a price, at this price: that though
nothing passes away, nothing comes to be, either--that the world we create is a
static, standardized world that can hold no surprises for us any more. We would do
well to be wary of fulfilling our own darkest dreams by creating such a dystopia, a
frozen world in which no one must fear death any more, for everyone exists forever
and no one lives for even an instant.

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The Concealment Of Death

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The Dead Hand Of The Past

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The Dead Hand of the Past


Remember how differently time passed when you were twelve years old? One summer
was a whole lifetime, and each day passed like a month does for you now. For
everything was new: each day held experiences and emotions that you had never
encountered before, and by the time that summer was over you had become a
different person. Perhaps you felt a wild freedom then that has since deserted you:
you felt as if anything could happen, as if your life could end up being virtually
anything at all. Now, deeper into that life, it doesn't seem so unpredictable. The
things that were once new and transforming have long since lost their freshness and
danger, and the future ahead of you seems to have already been determined by your
past.

It is thus that each of us is dominated by history: the past lies upon us like a dead
hand, guiding and controlling as if from the grave. At the same time as it gives the
individual a conception of herself, an "identity," it piles weight upon her that she must
fight to shake off if she is to remain light and free enough to continue reinventing her
life and herself. It is the same for the artist: even the most challenging innovations
eventually become crutches and clichs. Once an artist has come up with one good
solution for a creative problem, it is hard for her to break free of it to conceive of
other possible solutions. That is why most great artists can only offer a few really
revolutionary ideas: they become trapped by the very systems they create, just as
these systems trap those who come after. It is hard to do something entirely new
when one finds oneself up against a thousand years of painting history and tradition.
And this is the same for the lover, for the mathematician and the adventurer: for all,
the past is an adversary to action in the present, an ever-increasing force of inertia
that must be overcome.

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The Dead Hand Of The Past

It is the same for the radical, too. Conventional wisdom has it that a knowledge of
the past is indispensable in the pursuit of freedom and social change. But today's
radical thinkers and activists are no closer to changing the world for their knowledge
of past philosophies and struggles; on the contrary, they seem mired in ancient
methods and arguments, unable to apprehend what is needed in the present to make
things happen. Their place in the tradition of struggle has trapped them in a losing
battle, defending positions long useless and outmoded; their constant references to
the past not only render them incomprehensible to others, but also prevent them
from referencing what is going on around them.

Let's consider what it is about history that makes it so paralyzing. In the case of
world history, it is the exclusive, anti-subjective nature of the thing: History (with a
capital "H") is purportedly seen by the objective eye of science, as if "from above;" it
demands that the individual value her impressions and experiences less than the
official Truth about the past. But it is not just official history that paralyzes us, it is
the very idea of the past itself.

Try thinking of the world as including all past and future time as well as present
space. An individual can at least hope to have some control over that part of the
world which is in the future; but the past only acts on her, she can never act back
upon it. If she thinks of the world (whether that "world" consists of her life, or human
history) as consisting of mostly future, proportionately speaking, she will see herself
as fairly free to choose her own destiny and exert her will upon the world. But if her
world-view places most of the world in the past, that puts her in a position of
powerlessness: not only is she unable to act upon or create most of world in which
she exists, but what future does remain is already largely predetermined by the
effects of events past.

Who, then, would want to be a meaningless fleck near the end of the eight thousand
year history of human civilization? Conceiving of the world in such a way can only
result in feelings of futility and predetermination. We must think of the world
differently to escape this trap--we must instead place our selves and our present day
existence where they rightfully belong, in the center of our universe, and shake off
the dead weight of the past. Time may well extend before and behind us infinitely,
but that is not how we experience the world, and that is not how we must visualize it
either, if we want to find any meaning in it. If we dare to throw ourselves into the
unknown and unpredictable, to continually seek out situations that force us to be in
the present moment, we can break free of the feelings of inevitability and inertia that
constrain our lives--and, in those instants, step outside of history.

What does it mean to step outside of history? It means, simply, to step into the
present, to step into yourself. Time is compressed to the moment, space is
concentrated to one point, and the unprecedented density of life is exhilarating. The
rupture that occurs when you shake off everything that has come before is not just a
break with the past--you are ripping yourself out of the past-future continuum you
had built, hurling yourself into a vacuum where anything can happen and you are
forced to remake yourself according to a new design. It is a sensation as terrifying as
it is liberating, and nothing false or superfluous can survive it. Without such purges,
life becomes so choked up with the dead and dry that it is nearly unlivable--as it is
for us, today.

None of this is to say that we should condone the deliberate lies of those who would

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The Dead Hand Of The Past

rewrite history, with the intention of trapping us even deeper in ignorance and
passivity than we are now. But the solution is not to combat their supposed
"objective truths" with more claims to Historical Truth--for it is not more past we
need, to weigh upon us, but more attention to today. We must not allow them to
make our lives and thoughts revolve only around what has been; instead we must
realize that it is up to us to reveal what is true about the present and what is possible
from here.

So what can we embrace in place of History? Myth, perhaps. Not the obscurist
superstitions and holy lies of religion and capitalism, but the democratic myths of
storytellers. Myth makes no claims to false impartiality or objective Truth, it does not
purport to offer an exhaustive explanation of the cosmos. Myth belongs to everyone,
as it is made and remade by everyone, so it can never be used by one group to lord
itself over another. And it does not paralyze--instead of trapping people in the chains
of cause and effect, myth makes them conscious of the enormous range of
possibilities that their own lives have to offer; instead of making them feel hopelessly
small in a vast and uncaring universe, it centers the world again on their own
experiences and ambitions as represented by those of others. When we tell tales
around the fire at night of heroes and heroines, of other struggles and adventures
and societies, we are offering each other examples of just how much living is
possible.

Myth = History Without Time


There may be those who will threaten that the whole world will unravel if we stop
concerning ourselves with the past and think only of the present. Let it unravel, then!
A lot of good history has done us until now, repeating and repeating itself. Let's
break out of it once and for all, before we too tread the circular path that our
ancestors have worn so bare.

Let's make the leap out of History, and make the moments of our daily lives the
world we live in and care about--only then can we make it into a place that has
meaning for us. The present belongs to those who are able to seize it, to recognize
all that it is and can be!

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Seduced By The Image of Reality

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Seduced by the Image of Reality


When I would look through magazines as a small child, I used to
think that there must be a magical world somewhere where
everything looked--and was--perfect. I could see pictures from it in
those pages, the smoky air of dimly-lit rooms heavy with drama as
the young models lounged in designer fashions. That is where
excitement and adventure is to be found, I thought, in the world
where every room is flawlessly decorated and every woman's
wardrobe is picked and matched with daring and finesse. I resolved
to have an adventurous life of my own, and began looking for those
rooms and women right away. And though I've discovered since
then that romance and excitement rarely come hand in hand with
the images of them that are presented to us--usually the opposite is
true, that adventure is to be found precisely where there is no time
or energy for keeping up appearances--I still catch myself
sometimes thinking that everything would be perfect if only I lived in
that picturesque log cabin with matching rugs.

Whatever each us may be looking for, we all tend to pursue our


desires by pursuing images: symbols of the things we desire. We
buy leather jackets when we want rebellion and danger. We purchase fast cars not for the sake of
driving fast, but to recapture our lost youth. When we want world revolution, we buy political
pamphlets and bumper stickers. Somehow we assume that having all the right accessories will get
us the perfect lives. And when we construct our lives, we often do it according to an image, a
pattern that has been laid out for us: hippie, businessman, housewife, punk.

Why do we think so much about images today, rather than concentrating on reality, on our lives and
emotions themselves? One of the reasons images have attained so much significance in this society
is that, unlike activities, images are easy to sell. Advertising and marketing, which are designed to
invest products with a symbolic value that will attract consumers, have transformed our culture.
Corporations have been spreading propaganda designed to make us believe in the magic powers of
their commodities for generations now: deodorant offers popularity, soda offers youth and energy,
jeans offer sex appeal. At our jobs, we exchange our time, energy, and creativity for the ability to
buy these symbols--and we keep buying them, for of course no quantity of cigarettes can really give
anyone sophistication. Rather than satisfying our needs, these products multiply them: for in order
to get them, we end up selling parts of our lives away. We keep going back, not knowing any other
way, hoping that the new product (self-help books, punk rock records, that vacation cabin with
matching rugs) will be the one that will fix everything.

We are easily persuaded to chase these images because it is simply easier to change the scenery
around you than it is to change your own life. How much less trouble, how much less risky it would
be if you could make your life perfect just by collecting all the right accessories! No participation
necessary. The image comes to embody all the things you desire, and you spend all your time and

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energy trying to get the details right (the bohemian tries to find the perfect black beret and the right
poetry readings to attend--the frat boy has to be seen with the right friends, at the right parties,
drinking the right beers and wearing the right informal dress shirts) rather than pursuing the desires
themselves--for of course it's easier to identify yourself with a prefabricated image than to identify
exactly what you want in life. But if you really want adventure, an Australian hunting jacket won't
suffice, and if you want real romance, dinner and a movie with the most popular girl at your school
might not be enough.

Fascinated as we are by images, our values have come to revolve around a world we can never
actually experience. There's no way into the pages of the magazine, there's no way to be the
archetypal punk or the perfect executive. We're "trapped" out here in the real world, forever. And yet
we keep looking for life in pictures, in fashions, in spectacles of all kinds, anything that we can
collect or watch-instead of doing.

WE LOOK FOR LIFE IN THE IMAGE OF LIFE.

Watching from the Sidelines

The curious thing about a spectacle is how it immobilizes the spectators: just like the image, it
centers their attention, their values, and ultimately their lives around something outside of
themselves. It keeps them occupied without making them active, it keeps them feeling involved
without giving them control. You can probably think of a thousand different examples of this:
television programs, action movies, magazines that give updates on the lives of celebrities and
superstars, spectator sports, representative "democracy," the Catholic church.

A spectacle also isolates the people whose attention it commands. Many of us know more about
the fictitious characters of popular sitcoms than we know about the lives and loves of our
neighbors--for even when we talk to them, it is about television shows, the news, and the weather;
thus the very experiences and information that we share in common as spectators of the mass-
media serve to separate us from one another. It is the same at a big football game: everybody
watching from the bleachers is a nobody, regardless of who they are. They may be sitting next to
each other, but all eyes are focused on the field. If they speak to each other, it is almost never about
each other, but about the game that is being played before them. And although football fans cannot
participate in the events of the game they are watching, or exert any real influence over them, they
attach the utmost importance to these events and associate their own needs and desires with their
outcome in a most unusual way. Rather than concentrating their attention on things that have a real
bearing on their desires, they reconstruct their desires to revolve around the things they pay
attention to. Their language even conflates the achievements of the team they identify themselves
with with their own actions: "we scored a goal!" "we won!" shout the fans from their seats and sofas.

This stands in stark contrast to the way people speak about the things that go on in our own cities
and communities. "They're building a new highway," we say about the new changes in our
neighborhood. "What will they think of next?" we say about the latest advances in scientific
technology. Our language reveals that we think of ourselves as spectators in our own societies. But
it's not "They," the mysterious Other People, who have made the world the way it is--it is we,
humanity ourselves. No small team of scientists, city planners, and rich bureaucrats could have
done all the working and inventing and organizing that it has taken for us to transform this planet; it
has taken and still takes all of us, working together, to do this. We are the ones doing it, every day.
And yet most of us seem to feel that we can have more control over football games than we can
over our cities, our jobs, even our own lives.

We might have more success in our pursuit of happiness if we start trying to really participate.

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Seduced By The Image of Reality

Rather than trying to fit images, we can seek exciting and rewarding experiences; for happiness
does not come from what you have or how your appear, but from what you do and how you feel.
And instead of accepting the role of passive spectator to sports, society, and life, it is up to each of
us to figure out how to play an active and significant part in creating the worlds around us and within
us. Perhaps one day we can build a new society in which we can all be involved together in the
decisions that affect the lives we lead; then we will be able to truly choose our own destinies,
instead of feeling helpless and left out.

What's the point of doing anything if nobody's watching?

We all want to be famous, to be seen, frozen, preserved in the media, because we've come to trust
what is seen more than what is actually lived. Somehow we've gotten everything backwards and
images seem more real to us than experiences. To know that we really exist, that we really matter,
we have to see ghosts of ourselves preserved in photographs, on television shows and videotapes,
in the public eye.

And when you go on vacation, what do you see? Scores of tourists with video cameras screwed to
their faces, as if they're trying to suck all of the real world into the two-dimensional world of images,
spending their "time off" seeing the world through a tiny glass lens. Sure, turning everything that you
could experience with all five senses into recorded information that you can only observe from a
distance, detached, offers us the illusion of having control over our lives: we can rewind and replay
them, over and over, until everything looks ridiculous. But what kind of life is that?

"What's the point of watching anything if nobody's doing?"

Text by NietzsChe Guevara.

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Seduced By The Image of Reality

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Washing... and Brainwashing

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washing... and brainwashing

"The remaining noticable characteristic of 'Che' is his filth. He hates to wash and will
never do so. He is filthy, even by the rather low standard of cleanliness prevailing among
the Castro forces in the Sierra Maestra. Once in a while, "Che" would take some of his
men to a stream or pool, in order that they might wash. On those occasions "Che" would
never wash either himself or his clothes, but would sit on the bank and watch the others.
He is really outstandingly and spectacularly dirty." --slanderous description of Che Guevara from
the 1958 C.I.A. dossier

Even in the most anti-establishment of underground


circles, I'm amazed by how frequently I hear people
complain about people they call "hippies" or "crusty
punks." "These crusty punks came in here and
smelled up the whole place," they'll say. What great
transgression have these people committed to be so
reviled? They have a different orientation to the
question of "cleanliness" than the rest of us do.

Where do our ideas and values about so-called


"cleanliness" come from, anyway? Western civilization
has a long history of associating cleanliness with
goodness and merit, best summed up by the old
expression "cleanliness is next to Godliness." In
ancient Greek plays, evil people and spirits--the
Furies, for example--were often described as filthy.
The Furies were dirty, aged, and female, exactly the
opposite of how the playwright who described them
saw himself; their filthiness, among other things,
identified them as an outgroup--as alien, animal,
inhuman. Over time, cleanliness became a measure
with which the "haves" separated themselves from the
"have-nots." Those who possessed the wealth and
power required to have the leisure to remain indoors,
inactive, scorned the peasants and travelers whose
lifestyles involved getting their hands and bodies dirty.
Throughout our history, we can see that cleanliness
has been used as a standard of worth by those with power to ascribe social status--and thus, the
"Godly," the self-proclaimed holy ones who stood above the rest of us in hierarchical society,
proclaimed that their cleanliness, bought with the labor of the others who were forced to work for
them, was a measure of their "Godliness" and superiority. To this day, we accept this traditional
belief: that being "clean" according to social norms is desirable in itself.

It should be clear from the history of our ideas about "cleanliness" that anyone who is critical of
mainstream values, any radical or punk rocker, should be extremely suspicious of the great value

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placed on being "clean" according to traditional standards. Besides, what exactly does "clean"
mean?

These days, cleanliness is defined more by corporations selling "sanitation products" than by
anyone else. This is important to keep in mind. Certainly, most of these products have an uncanny
ability to cut through natural dirt and grime-but does removing natural dirt and grime with synthetic
chemicals necessarily constitute the only acceptable form of sanitation? I'm at least as frightened by
these manufactured, artificial products as I am of a little dust, mud, or sweat, or (god forbid!) a stain
from food or blood on my shirt. At least I know where the dirt/"filth" came from and what it's made of!

The idea that it is worthwhile to use chemicals (whether they be deodorant, detergent, or shampoo)
to eradicate organic dirt has some frightening implications, too. First, it supports the old Christian
superstition that the biological body is shameful and should be hidden--that our bodies and our
existence in the physical world as animals are intrinsically disgusting and sinful. This groundless
idea has been used to keep us insecure and ashamed, and thus at the mercy of the priests and
other authorities who tell us how to become "pure": once, by submitting to their holy denial of the
self, and now, by spending plenty of our money on the various "sanitation" products they want to
sell us. Also, as capitalism transforms the entire world from the organic (forests, swamps, deserts,
rivers) to the inorganic (cities of concrete and steel, suburbs of asphalt and astroturf, wastelands
that have been stripped of all natural resources, garbage dumps) the idea that there is something
more worthwhile about synthetic chemicals than natural dirt implies that this transformation might
actually be a good thing... and thus implicitly justifies their profit-motivated destruction of our planet,

In reality, these corporations are far less concerned with our actual health and cleanliness than they
are with selling us their products, anyway. They use the high value we traditionally have placed on
sanitation to sell us all sorts of products in the name of cleanliness... and who knows what the real,
long-term health effects of these products are? They certainly don't care. If we were to become ill in
the long run from using their special cleansers and hi-tech shampoos, they could just sell us
another product-medicine--and keep the wheels of the capitalist economy turning. And the shame
about our bodies (as producers of sweat and other natural fluids which we deem "dirty") that they
capitalize on and encourage also aids them in selling us other products which depend upon our
insecurity: diet products, exercise products, fashionable clothes, etc. When we accept their
definition of "cleanliness" we are accepting their economic domination of our lives.

Even if they agree about the questionable nature of today's sanitation products, most people today
would still argue that sanitation is still healthier than filth. To some extent this is true--it probably is a
good idea to wash your feet if you step in shit. But, aside from obvious cases like that, there are a
thousand different standards of what is clean and what is dirty across the world; if you look at
different societies and civilizations, you come across health practices that seem suicidal by our
sanitation standards. And yet, these people survive as well as we do. People in Africa a few
hundred years ago lived comfortably in a natural environment that destroyed many of the very prim
and polished Western explorers that came to their continent. Human beings can adapt to a wide
variety of environments and situations, and it seems that the question of what kinds of sanitation
are healthy is at least as much a question of convention as of hard-set biological rules. Try violating
a few of the "common sense" rules of Western sanitation some time, and you'll find that going a few
weeks without a shower and eating out of garbage cans aren't really as dangerous or difficult as we
were taught.

Perhaps the most important question when it comes to the unusual value we place on traditional
"cleanliness" is what we lose by doing this. Once, before we covered up our natural scents with
chemicals, we each had a unique smell. These scents attracted us to each other and bound us
emotionally to each other through memory and association. Now, if you have positive associations

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Washing... and Brainwashing

with the scent of the man you love, it is probably his cologne (identical to the cologne of thousands
of other men) that you enjoy, not his own personal scent. And the natural pheromones with which
we once communicated with each other, which played an important role in our sexuality, are now
completely smothered by standardized chemical products. We no longer know what it is like to be
pure, natural human beings, to smell like real human beings. Who knows how much we may have
lost because of this? Those who find me disgusting for enjoying the scent and taste of my lover
when she hasn't showered or rubbed synthetics all over herself, when she smells like a real human
being, are probably the same ones who shudder at the idea of digging a vegetable out of the
ground and eating it rather than eating the plastic-wrapped, man-made fast food that we have all
been brought up on. We have become so accustomed to our domesticated, engineered existence
that we no longer know what we might even be missing.

So try to be a little more open minded when it comes to the "crusties." Perhaps they just smell bad
to you because you've never gotten a chance to discover what a real human being smells like.
Perhaps there might be something worthwhile about being "unwashed" in the conventional sense
that you haven't noticed before. The moral of this story is the moral of all anarchist stories: accept
only the rules and values which make sense to you and really are in your best interest. Figure out
what's right for you and don't let anybody tell you different--but also, make an effort to understand
where others are coming from, and evaluate their actions by your own standards, not according to
some standardized norm.

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AlieNation: The Map of Despair

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In the modern world, control is


exerted over us automatically by the spaces we live and move in. We go through
certain rituals in our lives--work, "leisure," consumption, submission--because the
world we live in is designed for these alone. We all know malls are for shopping,
offices are for working, ironically-named "living" rooms are for watching television,
and schools are for obeying teachers. All the spaces we travel in have pre-set
meanings, and all it takes to keep us going through the same motions is to keep us
moving along the same paths. It's hard to find anything to do in Walmart but look at
and purchase merchandise; and, accustomed to doing this as we are, it's hard to
conceive that there could be anything else we could do there anyway--not to mention
that doing anything but shopping there is pretty much illegal, when you think about
it.

There are fewer and fewer free, undeveloped spaces left in the world where we can
let our bodies and minds run free. Almost every place you can go belongs to some
person or group which has already designated a meaning and proscribed use for it:
private estate, shopping district, superhighway, classroom, national park. And our
very predictable routes through the world rarely take us near the free areas that do
remain.

These spaces, where thought and pleasure can be free in every sense, are being
replaced with carefully controlled environments like Disneyland-places in which our
desires are prefabricated and sold back to us at our financial and emotional expense.
Giving our own meaning to the world and creating our own ways to play and act in it
are fundamental parts of human life; today, when we are never in spaces that
encourage this, it should be no surprise that so many of us feel desperate and
unfulfilled. But because the world has so little free space left in it, and the circuitry of
our everyday lives never takes us there, we're forced to go to places like Disneyland
for any semblance of play and excitement at all. Thus the real adventure our hearts
crave has been largely replaced by fake adventure, and the thrill of creation by the
drill of spectatorship.

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AlieNation: The Map of Despair

Our time is as thoroughly occupied and regulated


as our space; indeed, the subdivision of our atroCITY: The city is
space is a manifestation of what has already
happened to our time. The entire world moves the organization of
and lives according to a standardized time silence and isolation,
system, designed to synchronize our movements
from one side of the planet to the other. Inside
humanity paralyzed
of this larger system, we all have our lives as a perpetual motion
regimented by our work schedules and/or school
hours, as well as the hours that public
machine.
transportation runs and businesses operate, etc.
This scheduling of our lives, which begins in childhood, exerts a subtle but deep
control over us all: we come to forget that the time of our lives is ultimately ours to
spend how we choose, and instead think in terms of work days, lunch hours, and
weekends. A truly spontaneous life is unthinkable to most of us; and so-called "free"
time is usually just time that has been scheduled for something other than work. How
often do you get to see the sun rise? How many sunny afternoon walks do you get to
take? If you had the unexpected opportunity to take an exciting trip this week, could
you do it?

These restricting environments and schedules drastically limit


Tourism: The the vast potential of our lives. They also keep us isolated
process by which a from each other. At our jobs, we spend a great deal of time
space that has not doing one particular kind of labor with one particular group of
people, in one set place (or at least in one set environment,
been allocated for for construction workers and "temp" employees). Such
production or limited, repetitive experience gives us a very limited
housing (i.e. the perspective on the world, and keeps us from coming to know
eradication of real people from other backgrounds. Our homes isolate us
life) is turned into further: today we keep ourselves locked apart in little boxes,
partly out of fear of those capitalism has treated even worse
a place where fake than ourselves, and partly because we believe the paranoia
life can be had-- propaganda of the companies that sell security systems.
for a price. Today's suburbs are cemeteries of community, the people
packed separately into boxes... just like our supermarket
products, sealed for "freshness." With thick walls between us and our neighbors, and
our friends and families scattered across cities and nations, it's hard to have any kind
of community at all, let alone share community space in which people can benefit
from each other's creativity. And both our homes and our jobs keep us tied down to
one place, stationary, unable to travel far through the world except on hasty
vacations.

Even our travel is restricted and restricting. Our modern methods of transportation-
cars, buses, subways, trains, airplanes-all keep us locked onto fixed tracks, watching
the outside world go by through a screen, as if it were a particularly boring television
show. Each of us lives in a personal world that consists mostly of well-known
destinations (the workplace, the grocery store, a friend's apartment, the dance club)
with a few links in between them (sitting in the car, standing in the subway, walking
up the staircase), and little chance to encounter anything unexpected or discover any
new places. A man could travel the freeways of ten nations without seeing anything
but asphalt and gas stations, so long as he stayed in his car. Locked onto our tracks,

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AlieNation: The Map of Despair

we can't imagine truly free travel, voyages of discovery that would bring us into
direct contact with brand new people and things at every turn.

Instead, we sit in traffic jams, surrounded by hundreds of people in the same


predicament as ourselves, but separated from them by the steel cages of our cars-so
they appear to us as objects in our way rather than fellow human beings. We think
we are reaching more of the world with our modern transportation; but in fact we see
less of it, if anything. As our transportation capabilities increase, our cities sprawl
farther and farther across the landscape. Whenever travel distances increase, more
cars are needed; more cars demand more space, and thus distances increase again...
and again. At this rate highways and gas stations will one day replace everything that
was worth traveling to in the first place. . .everything that hasn't already been turned
into a theme park or a tourist attraction, that is.

Some of us look at the internet as the "final


frontier," as a free, undeveloped space still ripe A curious effect of the
for exploring. Cyberspace may or may not offer
some degree of freedom to those who can afford development of rapid
to use and explore it; but whatever it might transit systems is that
offer, it offers on the condition that we check our
bodies at the door: voluntary amputation.
as the distance
Remember, you are a body at least as much as a between communities
mind: is it freedom to sit, stationary, staring at
glowing lights for hours, without using your
closes, the distance
senses of taste, touch, or smell? Have you between individuals
forgotten the sensations of wet grass or warm
sand under bare feet, of eucalyptus tree or
within those
hickory smoke in your nostrils? Do you communities widens.
remember the scent of tomato stems? The glint
of candlelight, the thrill of running, swimming, touching?

Today we can turn to the internet for excitement without feeling like we have been
cheated because our modern lives are so constrained and predictable that we have
forgotten how joyous action and motion in the real world can be. Why settle for the
very limited freedom that cyberspace can provide, when there is so much more
experience and sensation to be had out here in the real world? We should be running,
dancing, canoeing, drinking life to the dregs, exploring new worlds-what new worlds?
We must rediscover our bodies, our senses, the space around us, and then we can
transform this space into a new world to which we can impart meanings of our own.

To this end, we need to invent new games-games that can take place in the
conquered spaces of this world, in the shopping malls and restaurants and
classrooms, that will break down their proscribed meanings so that we can give them
new meanings in our accordance with our own dreams and desires. We need games
that will bring us together, out of the confinement and isolation of our private homes,
and into public spaces where we can benefit from each other's company and
creativity. Just as natural disasters and power outages can bring people together and
be exciting for them (after all, they do make for a little thrilling variety in an
otherwise drearily predictable world), our games will join us together in doing new
and exciting things. We will have poetry in the factories, concerts in the streets, sex
in the fields and libraries, free picnics in supermarkets, public fairs on freeways.

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AlieNation: The Map of Despair

We need to invent new conceptions of time and new modes of travel, as well. Try
living without a clock, without synchronizing your life with the rest of the busy, busy
world. Try taking a long trip on foot or bicycle, so that you will encounter everything
that you pass between your starting point and your destination firsthand, without a
screen. Try exploring in your own neighborhood, looking on rooftops and around
corners you never noticed before-you'll be amazed how much adventure is hidden
there waiting for you!

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Product Is The Excrement Of Action

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Product is Excrement
is the the Excrement of Action
of Action  

Product is the Excrement of Action


by Jeanette Winterson

Honestly, when was the last time you spent a whole day
just enjoying what you were doing and feeling? Enjoying
it solely for its own sake, without thinking about the
future or worrying about the long-term consequences?
When was the last time you spent a whole month living
that way? Do you have a hard time forgetting about your
responsibilities, your goals, your productivity, and just
being in the present?

Today, our lives revolve around things. We measure our


worth in terms of our material possessions: in terms of
our control over things outside ourselves. We gauge our success in life in terms of
our "productivity"; that is, our ability to make these things. Our social system
revolves around the production and consumption of material goods more than
anything else. Even when we are not thinking about material objects, we represent
our lives to ourselves as things: we consider our accomplishments, our future
prospects, our social position... anything but how we actually feel. "The end justifies
the means," we say; that is, the products of our actions, the end results of our lives,
are more important to us than the process of living itself.

But products are the excrement of actions. Product is what is left over when the dust
settles and the pulse returns to normal, when the day is done, when the coffin is laid
in the ground. We do not exist in the settling dust or the scorecard; we are here in
the present tense, in the making, the doing, the feeling. Just as we try to immortalize
ourselves by fleeing into the world of fixed, deathless images, we try to externalize
ourselves by thinking in terms of the results of our actions rather than our experience
of the actions themselves. After all, it's so complicated to have to worry about
whether you are really enjoying yourself, how you are feeling in the moment. It is
easier to focus on the results, the hard evidence of your life; these things seem
easier to understand, and easier to control.

Modern society is centered around the production and distribution of material goods,
rather than the happiness and satisfaction of its participants. thus Modern man thinks
of his life in terms of what he has "to show for it," rather than considering the life
itself.

Of course today's average worker is used to thinking about the ends rather than the
means. He spends most of his time and energy working at a job that in all likelihood
does not fulfill his dreams. He looks forward to payday every two weeks, for he
counts on his paycheck to make sense out of his life: without it, he would feel like he
was wasting his time. If he didn't look at the "consequences" of his actions as a
justification for them, life would be unbearable-what if he constantly considered how

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Product Is The Excrement Of Action

he was feeling as he bagged groceries, or asked himself if he was having fun every
moment he struggled with the fax machine? Insofar as his everyday experience of life
is tedious and meaningless, he needs to concentrate on the coming weekend, the
next vacation, his next purchases, to fend off insanity. And eventually he is bound to
generalize that mode of thinking to other parts of his life: he comes to evaluate
possible actions according to the rewards they offer, just as he would evaluate a job
according to the wage it offers.

Thus, the present has lost almost all significance for modern man. Instead he spends
his life always planning for the future: he studies for a diploma, rather than for the
pleasure of learning; he chooses his job for social status, wealth, and "security,"
rather than for joy; he saves his money for big purchases and vacation trips, rather
than to buy his way out of wage slavery and into full time freedom. When he finds
himself experiencing profound happiness with another human being, he tries to freeze
that moment, to turn it into a permanent fixture (a contract), by marrying her. On
Sundays he goes to church, where he is told to do good deeds in order to one day
receive eternal salvation (as NietzsChe says, the good Christian still wants to be paid
well), rather than for the sheer pleasure of helping others. The "aristocratic disregard
for consequences," that ability to act for the sake of action that every hero
possesses, is far beyond him.

It is a cliche that men and women of middle class and middle age have a hard time
putting aside their insurance policies and investment programs to seize the moment;
but, all too often, we, too, end up exchanging present for future and experience for
souvenirs. We save mementos, trophies, boxes of keepsakes, old letters, as if life can
be gathered, stored up, frozen for later... for later? For when? Life is here with us
now, running through us like a river; and like a river, it cannot be held in place
without losing its magic. The more time we spend trying to "save it up," the less we
have to throw ourselves into it.

The worst of us, in fact, are the radicals and artists. All too often, we "revolutionaries"
expend our efforts thinking and talking about a revolution "that is to come," rather
than concentrating on making revolution in the present tense. We're so used to
thinking in terms of production that even when we try to make life into something
immediate and exciting, we still end up centering our efforts around an event in the
future-one that we may not even live to see. And like factory supervisors, we worry
more about our productivity (the number of new believers recruited, the progress of
the "cause," etc.) than about how we and our fellow human beings are feeling and
living. Artists suffer from this tendency most of all; for their vocation itself depends
on making products out of the raw material of real-life experience. There is
something of the capitalist's lust for domination in the way that artists mold their
emotions and experiences into forms of their own making through the act of
expression; for the expression of feelings and sensations, unique and unfathomable as
they are, always consists of a kind of simplification. It isn't enough for the artist to
just experience and appreciate life as it really is; she comes to cannibalize her life for
what is really a career, a series of products outside herself, even adjusting her life for
her career's sake. Worse, she may find that she cannot make love on a rooftop at
daybreak without planning out the excellent scene for her novel (excrement!) that
this will make for.

Certainly, excretion is a healthy and necessary function of the soul as well as the

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Product Is The Excrement Of Action

body, and there is a place for art in our lives as a way to pour feeling back into the
world when the heart is full to overflowing; but if you keep trying to do it after it is
unnecessary, you eventually force out your heart and the rest of your insides
(remember the fairy tale of the goose and the golden eggs?). We must put life and
experience first, we must meet the world with only this in mind, as fresh and innocent
as when we were children, with no intentions to cannibalize, categorize, organize, or
simplify the profound infinities of our experiences. Otherwise, we will miss what is
most vital, most beautiful, most immediate in this world, in our search for things that
can be pressed flat and preserved "for all time." Imagination should be used first and
foremost to transform everyday reality, not just to make symbolic representations of
it. How many exciting novels could be written about the sort of lives that most of us
lead these days, anyway?. Let us make living our art, rather than seeking to make
mere art out of our lives.

If we ever find happiness, it will be in the process of living, of doing what we want
and living out our dreams, not in the products of our lives. If we don't pause and
enjoy the present now, when will we? So let's stop "making history"-we're all so
obsessed with "making a mark"-and start living. That would be a real revolution. Let's
live for today, for our lives, not our "results"!

"Sometimes," said Julia, "I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either
side that there's no room for the present at all." "But I tell you, Henri, that every
moment you steal from the present is a moment that you have lost forever. There's
only now."

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How Ethical Is The Work 'Ethic'?

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Work 'Ethic'?  

How Ethical Is The Work 'Ethic'?


reconsidering work and 'leisure time'

Did you ever wonder why your parents act so


disoriented when it comes to 'leisure' activities? Why
they start one little hobby, and either fail to follow
through with it or become pathologically obsessed with
it... even though it doesn't seem to have anything to do
with their lives? Maybe they seek to lose themselves in
gardening or following the exploits of some basketball
team. Maybe your father buys all sorts of fancy tools
(the kind of tools many men his age have), but only uses
them for a few days before setting them aside--and then
buys a lot of skiing equipment the next month. Or
perhaps they just spend their time trying figure out how
to pay off the debt they owe for that wide screen
television they spend the rest of their time watching.

And--have they ever been honest with you about their


jobs? Do they enjoy them? Is their work the most
fulfilling thing they could be doing, are they able to
achieve every goal they always wanted to? Do they feel
heroic or proud every day as they return home--or are
they exhausted? Do they turn that wide screen television
on as soon as they come in the door? Do they have the
energy to do anything else?

Did you ever wonder if there might be a better way for them, for you?

WHAT IS 'WORK' LIKE?


Because of 'division of labor', most jobs today consist of doing very specific tasks, over and over,
with very little variety. If you are a dishwasher, you wash dishes: you don't get to interact with
people or solve complicated problems very often, and you never get to leave the dishroom to run
around in the sunlight. If you are a real estate agent, you never use your hands to make anything,
and you spend most of your time thinking about market value and selling points. Even jobs that
include a certain amount of variety can only remain interesting and challenging up to a point: for we
work forty hours a week on average, and at least five out of the seven days. That's a lot of our lives
to spend working. Work is the first thing we do on most of the days of our lives, and we don't get to
do anything else until we've been at work for quite a while. When we spend most of our time and
energy working on one task, or even ten different tasks, eventually we will feel bored and desperate
for variety... even if we are conditioned not to realize this.

On top of this, because of the spread of large businesses and the consequent decrease in self-

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How Ethical Is The Work 'Ethic'?

employment and small businesses, most of us do not have much voice in what our responsibilities
at work will be. It is hard to start your own business or even find a friend or neighbor to work for. We
often must get a job to survive in which we follow the instructions of a manager who probably
doesn't have much more control over his job than we have over ours. Since we don't get to decide
what we are doing, chances are that we will feel alienated from our work, disinterested in the quality
of our labor; we may even feel that the projects we are working upon are unimportant.

Indeed it is easy to feel that most of the jobs available today are unimportant--for in a certain sense,
many of them are. In a purely capitalist economy, the jobs that are available will be determined by
which products are in the most demand; and often the products that are in demand (military
technology, fast food, Pepsi, fashionable clothes) are not products that really make people happy.
It's easy to feel like all your labor is wasted when the products you work so hard to sell just to
survive seem to do nothing for the people you sell them to. How many people really are cheered up
by the soggy french fries at McDonalds? Would they perhaps be happier eating a meal prepared by
a friend of theirs or a chef they knew who owned his own cafe?

In short, "work" as we know it tends to make us unhappy because we do so much of it, because it is
so repetitive, because we don't get to choose what we do, and because what we are doing is often
not in the best interest of our fellow human beings.

WHAT IS 'LEISURE TIME' LIKE?


We come home from these jobs exhausted from having invested all our time and energy in a project
we may not have even been free to choose, and what we need most is to recover. We are
emotionally and physically worn out, and nothing seems more natural than to sit down quietly for a
while and watch television or read the daily paper, while we try to gather our strength for the next
day's labor. Perhaps we try to leave behind our exhaustion and frustration by concentrating on
some hobby or another; but as we are not very used to directing ourselves in the workplace during
the day, we often don't know what we really want to do when we are free at home. Certainly some
company or another will have some suggestions for us, whether we receive them from advertising
or watching our neighbors; but chances are that this company has their profits in mind at least as
much as our satisfaction, and we may discover that playing miniature golf is strangely unfulfilling.

Similarly, of course, we don't have much time or energy left over from work to consider our situation
or participate in any rewarding activity which requires much time and energy. We don't like to think
too much about whether we enjoy our jobs or our lives--besides, that might be depressing, and
what can we do if we don't enjoy them, anyway? We don't have the energy left to enjoy art or music
or books that are really challenging; we need our music to be soothing, our art nonthreatening, our
books merely entertaining.

In fact, we come to associate having to expend effort and do things with our work, and associate
relaxing and not doing anything with leisure time. So, because many of us don't like our jobs, we
tend to associate having to do things with being unhappy, while happiness, as far as we ever know
it, means... not doing anything. We never act for ourselves, because we spend our whole days
acting for other people, and we think that acting and working hard always leads to unhappiness; our
idea of happiness is not having to act, being on permanent vacation.

And this is ultimately why so many of us are so unhappy: because happiness is not doing nothing,
happiness is acting creatively, doing things, working hard on things you care about. Happiness is
becoming an excellent long-distance runner, falling in love, cooking an original recipe for people you
care about, building a bookshelf, writing a song. There is no happiness to be found in merely lying

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How Ethical Is The Work 'Ethic'?

on a couch--happiness is something that we must pursue. We are not unhappy because we have to
do things, we are unhappy because all the things we do are things we don't care about. And
because our jobs exhaust us and mislead us about what we want, they are the source of much of
our unhappiness.

WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?


You don't have to work at those jobs, you know. It is possible to get by without all the Pepsi, all the
expensive clothes, the wide screen television and the expensive interior decorating that all those
paychecks go to pay for. You can try to start your own business doing something you care about
(although this still involves the danger of having too little variety in your work), or you can try to find
a job in today's marketplace (good luck!) that you actually enjoy... and that leaves you enough time
and energy to do other things in your life that you also enjoy. The most important thing is to arrange
your life so that you are doing things because you want to do them, not because they are profitable-
-otherwise, no matter how much money you make, you will be selling your happiness for money.
Remember that the less money you spend, the less you will have to worry about getting money in
the first place... and the less you will have to work at those dehumanizing jobs. Learn to use all your
'free' time, not to vegetate or spend money on entertainment, but to create things and accomplish
things--things that no one would pay you to make or do, but that make your life (and perhaps the
lives of others) better anyway.

Some will argue that the system we live within would break down if we all were to walk away from
our jobs--so much the better. Haven't we built enough automobiles, enough shopping malls, enough
televisions and golf clubs, enough fucking nuclear weapons already? Wouldn't we all be better off if
there was a shortage of fast food and a surplus of unique home-cooked meals? If playing music is
more rewarding than working in an assembly line, why do we have so few good bands and so many
transistor radios? Of course a 'work-free' world is a dream we will probably never see come true;
but as always, the challenge is to make this dream a part of your world, as much as you can--to
liberate yourself from the chains of mindless consumerism and mind-melting employment and live a
more meaningful life.

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The Domestication Of Animals, and Of Man

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THE DOMESTICATION OF ANIMALS...


...AND OF MAN.

1
Throughout the history of Western civilization the relationship of
human beings to other animals has never been particularly "civil."
What was once an uneasy coexistence swiftly became a relationship
of domination and exploitation as humankind became more
organized and technologically developed. In recent years, animal
rights activists have brought international attention to the treatment
and living conditions of animals in factory farms, zoos, circuses, and
laboratories, but a serious discussion has yet to begin about the
lives of the animals that exist in an environment that strikes much
closer to home--the lives of domesticated animals, of our own
household pets. A consideration of the lives our pets must lead
reveals that they too are exploited in their relationship with human
beings; but more than that, it also reveals something to us about
ourselves.

Certainly there are plenty of happy, well-adjusted domesticated animals who manage to lead lives
that are, for them, exciting and fulfilling. Still, history shows us that human beings in the worst of
conditions, even during such periods of suffering and abomination as the Holocaust, have often
managed to enjoy life, to fall in love and forge friendships, to find meaning in their day to day
existence; for human beings are durable and resilient, and like all animals will adapt as well as they
can to survive and thrive in any situation. So the fact that many animals--or humans, for that matter-
-are happy in our homes is by no means adequate reason to set aside a consideration of the merits
of domesticated life.

Let us consider the usual contents of the lives of today's domesticated animals. Life begins, for
most of them, in what we would refer to in human terms as a "broken home." Young dogs and cats
are routinely taken from the company of their mothers and siblings at an extremely early age and
thrust into an alien environment, whether it be a crowded, chaotic pet shop or the home of their new
owner. Many of them are mistreated and abused (it is not at all uncommon for a dog, housecat, or
parrot to have a phobia of human males, for many of them are abused by men in their youth), and
many more are orphaned. More often than not, when domesticated animals reproduce it is looked
upon as an unplanned inconvenience by their human owners, and the unwanted offspring are
treated accordingly. Consider how difficult it is for young men and women who grow up in "broken
homes," or in the adoption agency/youth reform program circuit, to become happy and self-
confident, and it will become clear how difficult growing up must be for today's domesticated
animals.

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The Domestication Of Animals, and Of Man

But a difficult childhood is the only the beginning of a difficult and unnatural life for today's typical
housecat, gerbil, or parrot. For not only are the environments (i.e. cages, little glass boxes, six-
room apartments and houses with climate control, and--at best--suburban back yards with the
lawns mowed and bushes trimmed) which they must inhabit drastically different from those for which
nature prepared them, but their role in the lives of the human beings who control their fate is itself
unnatural. Most human beings who keep animals regard them as if they were, in some senses, toys
rather than real animals. That seems like an unfair charge, but consider the usual relationship of
these humans and animals, and the assumptions upon which the human owners keep these
animals. Certainly these owners try to provide for the animals' needs, and often offer affection, but
the fundamental role these animals play in the homes and lives of these people is the role of
entertainment (and, often, of surrogate family/friends as well). That is, the animals are kept by the
human beings in the expectation that they will bring some sort of fun, and perhaps love, in their
owners' lives. Their role is not to be animals, that is, to hunt mice, to fly south for the winter, to
chase down elk, to sharpen their claws where they please, to mark their territory with urine and
court members of the opposite sex. Rather, they are expected to be modern court jesters or
courtesans in the Western household.

The ramifications of this relationship between animals and humans are many, but we can see that
this arrangement is not exactly in the best interest of the animals involved when we consider the
"adjustments" human beings customarily make to their pets to make these pets fulfill their domestic
roles more effectively. Housecats are the most obvious example: their owners routinely declaw and
sterilize them so they will better fulfill their role as polite toys, rather than real animals, in the home.
Having and using claws is a pretty basic part of being a cat; a cat without claws is like a human
being without fingers: it may get used to the situation, and even figure out how to enjoy life despite
the alteration, but something will be missing from its life forever.

Similarly, though some say that sterilization is humane and makes life simpler for these animals, is
this a simplification any of us would willingly choose for ourselves? Sterilization affects more than
just the sex lives of animals; it changes their hormonal balance, changing their very personalities. A
sterilized cat will often gain weight, slow down, become less spirited. Sterilized cats and dogs are
easier for their owners to deal with in a number of ways, but this must come at a cost to their
enjoyment of life itself. A frustrated female cat in heat may not seem to be enjoying life very much,
but if you take away a being's desires, what meaning is left for it to find in life? Left with its natural
inclinations either surgically removed or frustrated by an environment much different than the one
for which nature designed it, the sterilized cat will often become dull, grouchy, and fat--for eating the
food its master provides is the only pleasure left to it.

Most of us can quickly call to mind an overweight, pathetic, neurotic dog or similarly maladjusted
housepet that we have met at some time in our lives. These animals are the casualties of the
exploitative relationship that exists today between humans and domesticated animals. Expected to
be content as mere playthings, to eat standardized pet food that comes out of a box, and to live in
quarters that are painfully cramped compared to their natural environments, it should come as no
surprise that these animals are no longer as energetic or as passionate as wild animals. Once
healthy and self-sufficient in their natural environment, these animals are now forced into
humiliating dependence upon human beings who do not--cannot--permit them to live the lives that
they would find fulfilling.

This is not to say that there is any truly viable alternative to domestication for these animals today.
The "outside world" is no place for them to run wild or reproduce in; their natural habitats, for those
animals who could still adapt back to them, have been changed beyond all recognition by pollution
and other forces. The emerging new global environment, pockmarked by fields of asphalt, forests of

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The Domestication Of Animals, and Of Man

steel, and cliffs of concrete, is only hospitable to pigeons and cockroaches. Compared to life in the
"outside world," domesticated life is a lesser of two evils for housecats and parakeets alike.

And this is what is most tragic about this situation: there is no way out of the technological, over-
organized world we have created; no way out for animals or humans. For we are really not much
different from the animals we keep in cages and fishtanks in our homes: We too live in small,
climate-controlled boxes, called apartments. We too buy standardized food to eat at McDonalds,
food much different from the food our ancestors had evolved to eat. We too can find no outlet for
our spontaneous, "wild" urges, castrated and declawed as we are by the necessities of living in
cramped cities and suburbs under cramping legal and cultural restrictions. We too cannot wander
far from our kennels, leashed as we are by 9-to-5 jobs, by apartment leases, even by political
boundaries. And if we did wander far, what would we find? Forests, jungles, wild plains, majestic
canyons? These are swiftly disappearing as we work around the clock to wrap our world in a skin of
concrete, to make sure that all the grass is watered by sprinklers and all the swamps are drained
and surveyed to be turned into office space. And what we don't transform into bigger cages and
fishtanks for ourselves, we will surely make useless with pollution, if we do not reconsider and
redirect our actions on a massive scale.

Perhaps we can learn about ourselves from the example of our own pets. We might do well to learn
from them that real happiness does not follow from merely providing for food, physical health, and
safety, but from much more complicated elements of life. The solution to the problem of the
emotional poverty of domesticated life for animals, and for humans, is clearly not a simple one. We
must begin by reevaluating what life should be for humans and animals alike, and what our society
must be so that our lives can be meaningful and fulfilling. And we do not have too much time to
waste; for already we have bred dogs that do not know how to survive without leashes, and soon
there may not be any going back for us either.

"You [white folks] have not only altered and malformed your winged and four-legged
cousins; you have done it to yourselves. You have changed men into chairmen of
boards, into office workers, into time-clock punchers. You have changed your women
into housewives, truly fearful creatures. I was once invited to the house of one. 'Watch
the ashes, don't smoke, you'll stain the curtains. Watch the goldfish bowl, don't lean your
head against the wallpaper; your hair may be greasy. Don't spill liquor on that table: it
has a delicate finish. You should have wiped your boots; the floor was just varnished.
Don't don't don't' That is crazy. You live in prisons you have built for yourselves, calling
them 'homes, offices, factories.'" --John (Fire) Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes, Lame Deer Seeker
of Visions. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994 [1972], 121.

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The Domestication Of Animals, and Of Man

See the book version of this text.

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The Domestication Of Animals, and Of Man

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THE DOMESTICATION OF ANIMALS...


...AND OF MAN.

2
Perhaps you wonder sometimes if we're getting carried away with
our criticism of moderm day life, if all the talk about the evil system
and our sick society is just youthful rebelliousness and
exaggeration. It certainly is hard to tell from here inside the human
race, with all our dissembling and projecting and pretense, whether
what we're doing really makes sense or not. ..so who knows, maybe
things aren't so fucked up, right? If you want some perspective on
whether the brave new world order really is as bad for us as some
people say; just have a look at how it affects the others who must
live in it--the animals.

If you're middle class, the animals you know best (besides the ones
in animated movies and commercials) are probably the ones who
occupy the corresponding tier of the non-human hierarchy: the
household pets, the zoo inmates and circus performers, the sports mascots and show horses. Just
like the bourgeoisie, they seem to have it easy: sitting around all day; eating and sleeping, playing
with their masters--but this is not the life these animals have been prepared for over the last million
years of evolution. Dogs have four legs so they can run through fields and canyons and chase down
prey; not play frisbee for an hour a week. Parrots have wings so they can fly over jungles and
across wild landscapes, not just sit, wings cut away; in little cages, with nothing to do to maintain
their spirits but sing to themselves and learn meaningless fragments of less musical languages.
Cats have claws so they can fight and hunt and sharpen them anywhere they choose, they have
testicles and ovaries so they can mark territory and go into heat and make love and raise kittens; cut
all these off and keep them locked inside, and they get grouchy; pathetic, fat for lack of anything to
do but eat standard-issue canned food they can't even hunt. Domestic animals are expected to be
the court jesters and courtesans of the modern household, to provide entertainment and surrogate
community; and their lives and even bodies are adjusted accordingly: Their role is not to be
animals, in all the wondrous complexity that entails, but simply to be toys.

A quick look back at middle class humans reveals how similar our situation is. We too live in
isolation from our fellows in small, climate-controlled boxes, little fishtanks complete with simulated
foliage, called apartments. We too are fed on standardized, mass-produced food that appears as if
out of nowhere, vastly different from the food our ancestors ate. We too have no outlet for our wild,
spontaneous urges, sterilized and declawed by the necessities of living in cramped cities and
suburbs under cramping legal and social and cultural conventions. We too cannot wander far from
our kennels, leashed as we are by 9-to-5 jobs, apartment leases, fences and property lines and
national borders. And just like our pets, we learn to behave, to be housebroken and spirit-broken--to

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The Domestication Of Animals, and Of Man

adapt ourselves to this nightmare, becoming fat, grouchy; songless.

Far less fortunate than us castrated prisoners, animal and human alike, are the animals that form
the non-human proletariat: the chickens trapped living in their own shit in egg-factories with their
beaks removed so they won't peck out each others' eyes, the rabbits that have their eyes
systematically burned out to test the safety of shampoo, the veal calves that spend their entire
miserable existences in tiny wooden boxes. The roles these animals play correspond to those of
factory workers, temporary dishwashers and secretaries, minimum-waged movie theater popcorn
servers--and however individual bosses might see things, you can bet the market views them all
with the same calculating disinterest. The same profit-hungry heartlessness that makes it possible
for the meat industry to regard the yearly holocaust of millions of animals as fine and just keeps
them doing their best to fight off demands for better working conditions and higher wages. And just
as cows and chickens have been carefully bred, even genetically engineered, to such an extent that
they are unable to survive outside their cages, the modern worker no longer has any concept of
what life outside the working world of plastic and concrete might be, or how to apply his energies
except under a whip. Where would he go, anyway; were he to escape? Are there habitable lands as
yet unclaimed, to which he could flee? And wouldn't he destroy these lands, too, bringing to them
the values of domination with which he has been poisoned by his bosses? In the end, unless
advised by a total rejection of industrial capitalism, his flight would be just another advance in the
tide of concrete that is sweeping across the globe.

Finally; there are the wild animals which still survive in environments polluted with oil slicks,
discarded plastic soda bottles, and air pollution, to say nothing of highways and hunters. As
urbanization and suburbanization march pitilessly forward, destroying the resources of their natural
habitats, they learn to live off human waste instead, or perish. Pigeons build nests out of cigarette
butts instead of twigs, rats learn to live in sewers and adapt accordingly; cockroaches proliferate as
the vultures of the new era. These urban wild animals occupy the same tier of society as the
homeless do, scrounging through the refuse for the bare essentials of life, although they certainly
fare better than their human counterparts. The suburban ones--the wily raccoons, possums,
squirrels who survive in the forgotten corners of conquered lands, living off what's left of the natural,
not to mention the extras and excesses of the bourgeoisie--can be compared to squatters, organic
farmers, punks, the metropolitan hunter-gatherers of the underground resistance. The remaining
species of truly wild animals, like dolphins, caribou, and penguins, are analogous to the very, very
few existing indigenous peoples of the world who have not yet lost all their culture or been placed in
zoos. For all of them, the future looks bleak, as the iron wind of standardization blows across this
planet.

All this is not to say that we've deviated from some great plan set out for us by "Mother Nature," or
that the measure of happiness and health should be our conformity to the "natural." Whenever
human beings try to describe what "Nature" is, they invariably project onto it the laws their own
society abides by, or ascribe to it everything they think their civilizarion lacks; and besides, nature
itself is something that changes constantly at this point, the natural habitat of a poodle really is a
leash and a kennel. If we have destruyed the natural wotld with our "civilizarion," then in the final
analysis this must too have been a part of our "natural" destiny (for what is there that does not
proceed ultimately from nature? Is humanity somehow blessed or cursed with powers that
are...supernatural?). The quesrion is not how to get back into subnaission to the Natural, but rather
how to reintegrate ourselves into the world around us in a way that works. Can we make a wotld in
which humans and animals can live in harmony with each other, with no divisions between them, no
disrincrion between the natural and the civilized, between the familiar and the foreign? Can we
escape from the forests of steel into the lush, green ones that linger, atavistic, in our fantasies?

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The Domestication Of Animals, and Of Man

See the web version of this text.

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Alive In The Land Of The Dead

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Alive In The Land Of The Dead

The 20th Century has marked the end of the


millennium that saw the world become colonized by
and organized under Western civilization, that saw the
industrial revolution and overpopulation restructure
both humanity and the very surface of the earth itself.
This century began with fifty years of alternating
slaughter, starvation, and rabid nationalism such as
the human race had never seen before. It is
concluding with an ominous silence among young
people in the United States and much of Europe, for
with the end of the "Cold War" the idea that there
really is any alternative at all to our modern living
conditions and society is becoming hard to conceive
of; and in the meantime, we are becoming more and
more organized and arranged by the technological
systems that we set up with the supposed intentions of
making our lives more free and meaningful.

As this century is ending with sentimental


retrospectives and the like, what we really must do is
not look back but look ahead. Now more than ever we
must consider whether our modern lives as we have
come to live them over the last thousand years really
satisfy all our needs and desires as human beings,
and prepare for the new millennium to be a new
chapter in the human experiment. We must use the
lessons we have learned from the 20th Century to
plan for a new era in which human life can be meaningful and fulfilling, even thrilling, heroic. Or
have we learned any lessons?

Don't wait for permission, for some far-off "world revolution," for later "when you have more time."
Demand joy, danger, passion in your life today!

ABOUT THE PROBLEM


The poverty against which man has been struggling throughout history is not merely the poverty of
material goods; the ennui and disorientation experienced by the members of the middle and upper
classes in today's wealthy industrial nations have revealed the poverty of Western existench itself.

The problems that we face today cannot be traced to class conflict alone. It is not merely a question
of the ruling class profiting at the expense of the proletariat, for we have seen that the profit that
those with capital do make does not make their lives any more fulfilling. It does not matter whether a

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Alive In The Land Of The Dead

woman is buried alive in a prison, in a reform school, in a sweatshop, in a ghetto, in a prestigious


university, in a condominium bought on credit, or in a mansion with a private swimming pool and
tennis courts, so long as she is buried alive. Everyone suffers from today's status quo, albeit
differently; but whether a man is starving on his minimum wage salary, exhausted by his repetitive
responsibilities at the office, or befuddled by the curious feeling of emptiness that accompanies the
undirected acquisition of material wealth, he has a stake in fighting for change. So we all, rich and
poor, must band together to consider our situation and struggle to alter it.

This also means that there is no mythical "They." Innumerable radical movements and social critics
have relied upon this concept to motivate people by stirring up hatred for the "evil orchestrators" of
human suffering, the enemies who conspire against us. But this kind of thinking only serves to
divide us against each other, and whether we are divided on class lines, on color lines, or according
to any other categories, we are distracted from the important issues and impeded in our progress.
Our true "enemy" is the social forces and patterns at work between ourselves, and it is these forces
which we must come to understand and to struggle against.

This is not to say that there are not individuals whose behavior is particularly dangerous to their
fellow human beings, insofar as it perpetuates or intensifies our present state of emergency. But
even if these individuals do have negative intentions towards others, it is still unlikely that they
possess a clear understanding of the extremely complicated conditions to which they are
contributing.

ABOUT THE PROCESS


We individuals who are unsatisfied with their lives, who do feel the "poverty" of the existench that
modern Western civilization has to offer, must seek out others who are experiencing similar
symptoms. Together, we must construct and publicize an analysis of our situation: a theory of why
human beings act and interact in the ways that they do today, and how this leads to our sensations
of alienation, disorientation, and exhaustion.

This analysis must have effective action of some kind as its necessary and immediate consequence,
or else (as have the theories of a long tradition of "radical" discussion groups) it will come to
nothing.

And this struggle presupposes participants who are fighting for themselves, to see and feel change
and improvement in the course of their own lives--as we shall see. . .

ABOUT THE SOLUTION


Whatever solution, whatever revolution, we propose, must be present-oriented rather than future-
oriented if it is to be genuinely revolutionary.

The past and the present are both full of examples which indicate this. To consider one: Christianity
demands of its followers that they delay gratification until they enter the next world, when they will
supposedly be rewarded for their proper conduct; in doing so it assumes that this proper conduct is
not fulfilling enough in itself to be worthwhile unless it is rewarded. This kind of thinking reflects a
dire misunderstanding of the nature of human happiness; for happiness is to be found in activity, in
activities that are exciting and satisfying in and of themselves, rather than in passively awaiting
rewards for unsatisfying activities. Therefore it is not surprising that many devout Christians are
bitter, spiteful individuals who jealously resent healthy activity and excitement in others--for they
believe that they will find true happiness only in their "heavenly reward" for behavior that is not at all

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Alive In The Land Of The Dead

exciting for them, and thus must watch enviously as others freely do what they can only dream of
doing in their most "sinful" fantasies. Conversely, many Christians who are happy are happy despite
their Christianity, because they are able to take pleasure in their lives and deeds in this world.

Traditional Marxism takes the Christian mistake one step further by asking its adherents to work
towards a revolution they will probably never live to see--that is, in the Marxist "faith," gratification is
delayed beyond the reach of human experience. It should be no surprise that today, beyond a little
anachronistic romanticism about the "nobility" of self-sacrifice, the Marxist offer serves as little
incentive for people to seriously fight for the "communist revolution." In contrast, today's capitalistic
consumer market at least promises prompt gratification in the form of material goods (and the myths
and images it associates with them) in return for the generally unsatisfying labor it requires. But--
does it deliver true gratification to its participants?

Again, happiness is an active experience, not a passive sensation. Thus, a woman who cooks a
recipe of her own invention for her friends may find a great deal of pleasure and meaning in this
undertaking, while a man who slaves all day to cook exotic food in an expensive restaurant will find
that the purchases he makes with his paycheck cannot compensate him for the days of his life he
has given up. You can purchase a twenty acre estate, the latest in status-symbol automobiles, and
an entire wardrobe of unique and exquisite fashions, but the pleasure that these possessions afford
cannot compare to the exhilaration of spending a day freely pursuing your desires.

Accordingly, our revolution must be an immediate revolution in our daily lives; anything else is not a
revolution but a demand that once again people do what they do not want to do and hope that this
time, somehow, the compensation will be enough. Those who assume, often unconsciously, that it
is impossible to achieve their own desires--and thus, that it is futile to fight for themselves--often
end up fighting for an ideal or cause instead. But it is still possible to fight for ourselves, or at least
the experiment must be worth a try; so it is crucial that we seek change not in the name of some
doctrine or grand cause, but on behalf of ourselves, so that we will be able to live more meaningful
lives. Similarly we must seek first and foremost to alter the contents of our own lives in a
revolutionary manner, rather than direct our struggle towards world-historical changes which we will
not live to witness. In this way we will avoid the feelings of worthlessness and alienation that result
from believing that it is necessary to "sacrifice oneself for the cause," and instead live to experience
the fruits of our labors. . . in our labors themselves.

To put it another way, our revolution must be above all a revolution in the ways we live and think. It
must be a recognition and rejection of the thought patterns and patterns of social interaction that
have led us to today's unsatisfying existench, in favor of patterns of thought and interaction that will
be satisfying in themselves. It must be a revolution in our motivations, replacing reward-motivated
behavior with behavior that is intrinsically meaningful. It must be a revolution in our everyday lives.
Rejecting boredom, exhaustion, and despair for excitement, danger, love, passion and compassion-
-that is a revolution worth fighting for! And certainly there are large scale, long term goals that we
must fight for, to make this revolution possible for all of us in the years to come; but we should fight
for these goals not out of servitude to a doctrine or cause, but because it is exciting and invigorating
today to strive for difficult and worthy objectives.

Alive in the land of the dead. They eat dead food with false teeth. Their buildings have false fronts,
their radio and television stations broadcast dead air. They kill time as spectators of false images.
Their corporations are guilty of false advertising, and their employment 'opportunities' offer only
murderous mistreatment, lethal boredom, and fatal submission; they demand that you meet
deadlines, that you pitch tent in the death camps. Does the dead end justify the means? They
inhabit dead cities and make false moves, really going nowhere at all, treading day after day the
same path of despair. Even their air is conditioned. They ask you to give your lives for their

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Alive In The Land Of The Dead

countries, for their religions, for their economies, leaving you with only. . . . Their system is
organized by artificial intelligence and provides only virtual reality. Their culture will pin you down
and bore you to death, their lifestyle is lifeless, their existench is a permanent deadlock. Everything
about them is dead and false. The only thing that is unbearable is that nothing is unbearable. When
will we demand more?

The struggle is for life, for real life. Fight foul, life is
real!
Footnote: The word "revolution" may be amusing or off-putting to the modern reader, convinced as he is that effective
resistance to the status quo is impossible and therefore not even worth considering. Gentle reader, we ask that you
suspend your disbelief long enough to at least contemplate whether or not such a thing might be worthwhile if it were
possible; and then that you suspend it further, long enough to recognize this disbelief for what it is--despair!

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8 Things You Can Do To Get Active

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Related
Related to to 8 Things
8 Things You You Can
Can Do To Do
GetTo Get Active
Active  

Things You Can


Do To Get
Active

1. Pay attention to where and how you spend your money. Is your money going to
support companies that don't care about you? Are they destroying the environment, killing
animals, treating your friends who work for them like shit? Are they trying as hard as they can
to sell you a product that gives you cancer? Are their advertisements designed to manipulate
you, to make you feel insecure or make their product seem like more than it really is? You
don't need to give those motherfuckers your money! For that matter--do you buy many things
that you don't need? Soft drinks and junk food at convenience stores, for example? Do you
end up spending a lot of money whenever you want to relax and have a good time? There are
a thousand things you and your friends can do that are fun, creative, and don't cost anything
(having intense discussions, exploring hidden parts of your town, making music--instead of
drinking at bars or going to movies and restaurants) just as there a thousand ways you can
eat and live more cheaply (Food Not Bombs, building furniture instead of buying it, living in big
houses with a bunch of friends). Once you experiment a bit, you'll probably find that you enjoy
life a lot more when you're not always shelling out cash for it.

2. Now that you spend less, you can work less, too! Think about how much more
time that gives you to do other things. Not only will it be easier to do things that help you
spend less, like volunteering at Food Not Bombs (the less you work, the more time you have
to make sure you don't need to), you'll also be able to do all the things you never had time for
before: you can travel, exercise, spend more time with your friends and lovers. When it's
sunny and beautiful outside, you can go out and enjoy it!

3. And you'll have time to do the other things you need to do to take back
control of your life and your world. First, start reading. It doesn't really matter what, so
long as it makes you think about things and gives you new ideas of your own. Read novels

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8 Things You Can Do To Get Active

about human beings struggling against their society, like J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye or
George Orwell's 1984 or Joseph Heller's Catch 22; read the beautiful, dreamers' prose of
Jeanette Winterson or Henry Miller. Read history: learn about the Spanish revolution in the
1930's, where whole cities were run by the people who lived in them, rather than by
governments; learn about the labor union struggle in the USA, or the Free Speech Movement
in Berkeley in the 1960's. Read philosophy, read about environmental issues, read vegan
cookbooks and underground 'zines and comics and everything you can get your hands on.
Here's a hint: if there's a university in your town, you can probably get a membership for about
$10 a year--and most libraries include videos, too!

4. Reading isn't the only way you can expand your horizons and clarify your
ideas. Talk to people about the things that interest you, arguing when you don't agree, so
you'll get to know your own beliefs better. Write to the people who are doing the 'zines you
like, discuss and debate things with them, ask them for directions to find out more about your
interests. Try writing about your own ideas, and sharing that with people, until you feel
confident doing this. Travel to different places, try to learn about other cultures and
communities, so you'll have more than one perspective on the world and you can start to
imagine what the world is like through other people's eyes.

5. Now you'll know what you want, and you can go about getting it. Seek out
other people and groups with similar goals, and figure out how to support them or participate
in what they're doing. Maybe you can copy fliers and give them out at shows; maybe you can
organize benefit shows for organizations you want to support (women's shelters, radical
bookshops, local groups protesting against the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal or lobbying for
protection of the environment). Maybe there are public protests and demonstrations going on
that you want to be part of. Try to help find ways to make these more challenging and fun than
just a bunch of people holding signs; everyone's so bored with doing that that there must be a
more effective and exciting way to go about it.

6. You can start your own projects, as well, you know. If there's no Food Not Bombs
in your area, get a group of people together and find some local businesses that will donate
their leftover food. If there's something fucked up at your high school or college or workplace,
try organizing a walkout to force the "authorities" to do something about it... and to show
everyone that those "authorities" only have as much power as we let them have. If the main
street of your town lacks life and excitement, try organizing an unexpected festival to take
place in the middle of it one weekend. Shake up everyone's lives and expectations, shake
them out of their apathy and boredom so they'll start thinking about things. Establish networks
with other people who are also interested in having an effect on the world around them, so
you can help each other do this.

7. Through all of this, don't stop questioning yourself and your assumptions.
Try to see through all the social programming you've received throughout your life: consider
how gender roles constrain the way you act, how your own relationships with people
reproduce the same hierarchical order that your fighting in mainstream society. We're not
going to really change anything unless we can create new ways of living and interacting, new
values that show themselves in the way we treat each other. Show your friends how much
you care about them. Consider doing things you never thought you should or could do:
dancing, singing, admitting things that you've been taught to be ashamed of.

8. Now look to the future. How can you stay involved with these things as you get older?
How can you construct your life so you will always be free to do what you want to? Talk to
people older than you who haven't given up and gone back to the daily grind of eat-work-

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8 Things You Can Do To Get Active

sleep-watch TV. With a little input from them and a lot of resolve on your part, you can
maintain your activities and your lifestyle as long as you want to. Idealism, adventure, and
resistance don't have to be reserved for youth alone. History is filled with men and women
who refused to compromise or calm down, who went all out from the cradle to the grave. They
are the artists, the leaders, the heroes and heroines even people from the mainstream
respect. We can all have lives like theirs, if we're brave and idealistic enough.

If all of us demand control over what we do and what goes on around us, if all of
us do what we can to make life exciting and fair for everyone, things are bound to
change. A lot of people know that we don't live in the best of all possible worlds,
but persuade themselves that it's hopeless to try to improve things because they're
afraid to commit themselves, to take any risks. But it's that lack of ambition that is
the biggest risk of all--for what if you do nothing, and nothing happens, and we
lose our chance to make this world the paradise it should be? Don't be shy or
timid--there's nothing more exciting than taking an active role in the world around
you, and there's nothing more worthwhile!
This message brought to you by the
CrimethInc. Special Forces c/o C.W.C., 2695 Rangewood Drive, Atlanta, GA 30345 USA

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How to Get What You Want

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    Random : Koan : The Last Will & Testament    

How to Get What You Want


What do you want most in all the world? More money,
a new car stereo, a vacation? To lose ten pounds, to
get home from work in time to see your favorite
sitcom? Or is it something more than that, something
harder to define?

Maybe you've given up on ever realizing your true


dreams, and you settle for smaller things because
they, at least, seem possible. Maybe it never occured
to you to ask yourself if the goals you've been
pursuing really are what you want most. Perhaps, like
many people, you feel as if you are being compelled
to do things, as if your life is not your own. How often
do you feel like that?

Here's a wild idea: everything you do in your life, you


should do because you want to do it, more than
anything else in the world. And when you make plans,
you should aim for the most exciting, glorious life you could imagine, not just for conventional
"success" or "security," the consolation prizes of the tired and hopeless. What could be more radical
than choosing your actions according to how enjoyable they are, rather than how moral, how
responsible, how socially acceptable they seem? And yet, what else really makes sense? Haven't
we tried serving every master but our own wishes, fighting for every cause except ourselves?
Where has that gotten us?

Pursuing your desires doesn't just mean blindly following your impulses wherever they lead. It
means, first, discovering what you really want: weeding through your desires and deciding which
are real and which are illusory, which are stronger and which are weaker, which will bring you the
most happiness in the end. It means reconstructing yourself and your life so that you can pursue as
many of your desires as possible (since there is no guarantee that all of them can be simultaneously
achieved--most of us find ourselves always pulled in different directions by competing impulses and
longings); it means prioritizing and analyzing your desires themselves. Maybe what you want is to
feel better about yourself: is getting your nails done the answer, or could that impulse be a part of
your insecurities? Perhaps you love the countryside; is it enough for you to buy a few acres of it and
enjoy that, while the rest of the world is slowly wrapped in concrete?

Pursuing your desires also means reconstructing our society. Each of us is the product of the world
we live in; and yet, this world is itself the product of our own efforts. To reconstruct yourself and
your life, you must reconstruct the world that constructs and affects you, and for this you will need
everyone else's help. If we want to pursue happiness, we should take responsibility for the world we
are creating, and together make sure that it will be one that creates happiness in us. But won't doing
whatever we want pit us against each other? No--it will force us to work together. For the greatest,
most ambitious endeavors cannot be carried through alone; they require the participation of other
people, even of whole societies. Most of us want community, friendship, to feel safe and free with

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How to Get What You Want

others more than almost anything else; we need each other to achieve all these things. To create a
community in which each of us can live life to the fullest, we must make it possible for all of us to
pursue our dreams and be free and creative. Otherwise we're cheating ourselves of each other's
potential, as well as our own. That's the secret that the very unambitious "me generation" missed:
past a certain point, greed and generosity intersect.

And yes, this will be hard, especially at first. Nothing is more difficult than pushing yourself to
always be honest with yourself, demanding the most from yourself and from every day of your life. It
will put us at odds with the existing order, that's for sure. But it's a struggle worth fighting if any is! A
contest of the vast potential that each of us has, and the vaster potential that we all could have
together, against everything in this world that is pointless, petty, ugly...

The alternative, of course, is to settle for what we have today, and never question whether there
could be more to life.

Ultimately, happiness doesn't come from just getting what you want and having it, but rather from
the process of seeking it--from the free pursuit of your desires and ambitions. It's that feeling of
excitement and weightlessness you experience when you feel free to do and be whatever you want,
when life becomes a joyous, ever-changing dance. After centuries of dull servitude to responsibility,
propriety, and necessity, we're not used to expressing and following our dreams--the time has
come to learn how.

Think back to the most important day of your life, the day you first discovered love or music or
adventure... when a thousand new doors opened, and the world seemed bigger than it ever had
before, and suddenly everything was possible.

Why can't every day feel like that?

Well, for one thing, we don't exactly live in a society that is designed to help us discern and pursue
our hearts' desires, do we? Whatever the rhetoric about "freedom and the pursuit of happiness"
may suggest, our society is filled to the point of absurdity with distractions and restrictions. We're all
so busy struggling to keep up that it's hard to even remember our dreams, let alone chase after
them. And each of us feels so powerless that it's equally hard to keep in mind that this world we live
in is entirely the result of our own efforts: it is our work that has made it this way. Our species has
completely transformed the planet. Is this the best of all possible worlds we have built?

If it's not, why don't we stop building it, and invent new ways of living and working together--so we
can construct another, better world, that will be more pleasurable for all of us! For what should we
work towards, if not pleasure and joy?

Have you ever made love and it felt so good it seemed dangerous?
Being in love means really wanting to live in a different world:
a more exciting world, a more beautiful world, a more joyous, carefree world.
A world where everything matters and nothing is ever, ever dull.

Why shouldn't we start to build that world right here, today?

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Transformation/Utopia

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    Random : A Short Guide To Hallucinogenic Drugs Fo...    

Transformation/Utopia
I. Transformation
If the accumulated knowledge of Western civilization has anything
of value to offer us at this point, it is an awareness of just how
much is possible when it comes to human life. Our otherwise
foolish scholars of history and sociology and anthropology can at
least show us this one thing: that human beings have lived in a
thousand different kinds of societies, with ten thousand different
tables of values, ten thousand different relationships to each other
and the world around them, ten thousand different conceptions of
self. A little traveling can show you the same thing, if you get
there before Coca-Cola has had too much of a head start.

That's why I can't help but scoff when someone refers to "human nature," invariably in the course of
excusing himself for a miserable resignation to our supposed fate. Don't you realize we share a
common ancestor with sea urchins? If differing environments can make these distant cousins of
ours so very distant from us, how much more possible must small changes in ourselves and our
interactions be! If there is anything lacking (and there sorely, sorely is, most will admit) in our lives,
anything unnecessarily tragic or meaningless in them, any corner of happiness that we have not yet
thoroughly explored, then all that is needed is for us to alter our environments accordingly. "If you
want to change the world, you first must change yourself," the saying goes; we have learned that
the opposite is true.

And there is another valuable discovery our species has made, albeit the hard way: we are capable
of absolutely transforming environments. The place you lie, sit, or stand reading this was probably
altogether different a hundred years ago, not to mention two thousand years ago; and almost all of
those changes were brought about by human beings. We have completely remade our world in the
past few centuries, changing life for almost every kind of plant and animal, ourselves most of all. It
only remains for us to experiment with executing (or, for that matter, not executing) these changes
intentionally, in accordance with our needs and desires, rather than at the mercy of irrational,
inhuman forces like competition, superstition, routine.

Once we realize this, we can claim a new destiny for ourselves, as individuals and together. No
longer will we be buffeted about by powers that seem beyond our control; instead, in this
exploration of ourselves through new environments, we will learn all that we can be. This path will
take us out of the world as we know it, far beyond the farthest horizons we can see from here. We
will become artists of the grandest kind, painting with desire as a medium, deliberately creating and
recreating ourselves--becoming, ourselves, our own greatest work.

To accomplish this, we'll need to learn how to coexist and collaborate successfully: to see just how
interconnected all our lives are, and finally learn how to live with that in mind. Until this becomes
possible, each of us will not only be denied the vast potential of her fellows, but her own potential
as well; for we all make together the world that each of us must live in and be made by.

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Transformation/Utopia

The other thing that is lacking is the knowledge of our own desires. Desire is a slippery thing,
amoebic and difficult to pin down, let alone keep up with. If we're going to make a destiny out of the
pursuit and transformation of desire, we first must find ways to discover and release our loves and
lusts. For this, not enough experience and adventure could ever suffice. So the makers of this new
world must be more generous and more greedy than any who have come before: more generous
with each other, and more greedy for life!

II. Utopia
Even from here, I can taste the question already on the tip of your tongue: isn't this utopian?

Well, of course it is. You know what everyone's greatest fear is? It is that all the dreams we have, all
the crazy ideas and aspirations, all the impossible romantic longings and utopian visions can come
true, that the world can grant our wishes. People spend their lives doing everything in their power to
fend off that possibility: they beat themselves up with every kind of insecurity, sabotage their own
efforts, undermine love affairs and cry sour grapes before the world even has a chance to defeat
them... because no weight could be heavier to bear than the possibility that everything we want is
possible. If that is true, then there really are things at stake in this life, things to be truly won or lost.
Nothing could be more heartbreaking than to fail when such success is actually possible, so we do
everything we can to avoid trying in the first place, to avoid having to try.

For if there is even the slightest possibility that our hearts' desires could be realized, then of course
the only thing that makes sense is to throw ourselves entirely into their pursuit and risk that
heartbreak. Despair and nihilism seem safer, projecting our hopelessness onto the cosmos as an
excuse for not even trying. So we remain, clutching our resignation, as safe as corpses in coffins...
but this still cannot ward off that dreadful possibility. Thus in our hopeless flight from the real tragedy
of the world, we only heap upon ourselves false tragedy, unnecessary tragedy, as well.

Perhaps this world will never conform perfectly to our needs--people will always die before they are
ready, perfect relationships will end in ruins, adventures will end in catastrophe and beautiful
moments be forgotten. But what breaks my heart is the way we flee from those inevitable truths into
the arms of more horrible things. It may be true that every man is lost in a universe that is
fundamentally indifferent to him, locked forever in a terrifying solitude--but it doesn't have to be true
that some people starve while others destroy food or leave fertile farms untilled. It doesn't have to
be true that men and women waste their lives away working to serve the hollow greed of a few rich
men, just to survive. It doesn't have to be the case that we never dare to tell each other what we
really want, to share ourselves honestly, to use our talents and capabilities to make life more
bearable, let alone more beautiful. That's unnecessary tragedy, stupid tragedy, pathetic and
pointless. It's not even utopian to demand that we put an end to farces like these.

If we could bring ourselves to believe, to really feel, the possibility that we are invincible and can
accomplish whatever we want in this world, it wouldn't seem out of our reach at all to correct such
absurdities. What I am begging you to do here is not to put faith in the impossible, but have the
courage to face that terrible possibility that our lives really are in our own hands, and to act
accordingly: to not settle for every misery fate and humanity have heaped upon us, but to push
back, to see which ones can be shaken off. Nothing could be more tragic, and more ridiculous, than
to live out a whole life in reach of heaven without ever stretching out your arms.

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CWC Books : Days of War, Nights of Love

books:  Days of War . Expect Resistance . Recipes for Disaster . Letters Series | journal | texts | tools | store | blog | about

$8
At 292 heavily illustrated pages, our flagship book is the perfect size for any knapsack and
the perfect reference manual for anyone seeking a life of passion and revolt. AK Press
calls it "an underground bestseller," but as it says in the preface:
Add to Cart
"This book isn't designed to be used in the way a 'normal' book is. Rather than reading it
[Wholesale copies are $4 each]
from one cover to the other, casting perfunctory votes of disapproval or agreement along
the way, and then putting it on the shelf as another inert possession, we hope you will use Early versions of many of the texts in
this as a tool in your own efforts—not just to think about the world, but also to change it. Days of War, Nights of Love can be
This book is composed of ideas and images we've remorselessly stolen and adjusted to found in our Reading Library.
our purposes, and we hope you'll do exactly the same with its contents.
"As for the contents themselves: we've limited ourselves for the most part to criticism of the
established order, because we trust you to do the rest. Heaven is a different place for
everyone; hell, at least this particular one, we inhabit in common. This book is supposed to
help you analyze and disassemble this world—what you build for yourself in it's place is in
your hands, although we've offered some general ideas of where to start. Remember: the
destructive impulse is also a creative one . . . happy smashing! "
Your ticket to a world free of charge.

REVIEWS
“A manifesto for building a new “Less of a novel and more of an
world that should be on the exploded manifesto, this might be
bookshelf of every idealist, student, just what we need. Glorious, even
punk rocker, worker and ex-worker, for the most cynical reader. What
poet, and lover.” more can we ask from a book?”
HODGEPODGE, issue #7, January 2001 CLAMOR, issue #6, January 2001

TECH SPECS
Size: 5.5" x 8.5" x .75" Words: 68,361
“Less of a novel and more of an exploded manifesto, Days of War, Nights of Love might
Weight: .9 pounds Illustrations: 127
be just what we need. It is the type of book you'd thumb through in the store and actually
want to buy (or steal). Avoiding the "thin gruel of narrative," the book instead gleefully Pages: 292 + cover Photographs: 52
mashed appropriated art pieces with personal testimony—reconfigured Frank Miller comic Ink: Full-color on cover and Index: Yes
panels shout, "Face it, your politics are boring as fuck!" Whether you agree or not, there's a black w/ full bleeds throughout.
refreshing quality to a book that offers the same amount of information to both the serious
reader and casual browser, because despite steady sales of The Revolution of Everday
CONTENTS
Life and Nation of Ulysses CDs, most of us are still living lives that are frustratingly
incomplete. Preface: What is a "CrimethInc."?
Foreword by NietzsChe Guevara
“The past four centuries are all fodder for this new manifesto, everything—from the I. A Short History of the CrimethInc. Workers' Collective
Unabomber to the Smiths, Henry Miller to the German J2M movement, Kalahari bushmen II. Important Documents: A CrimethInc. Contra-diction-ary
  A is for Anarchy
to Natural Born Killers—finds its way on the pages. Such voracious stealing from history   B is for the Bourgeoisie
and applying as needed becomes not just a practice, but a saving grace. By never labeling   C is for Capitalism, and for Culture
themselves punks or new Dadaists and instead stealing all manner of praxis and pranks,   D is for Death, and for Domestication
CrimethInc. remains elusive, avoiding pitfalls that toppled previous revolutionaries. Beloved   F is for Freedom
  G is for Gender
nihilistic comic characters Milk & Cheese re-emerge as Soy Milk & Tofu to offer shoplifting
  H is for History, for Hygiene, and for Hypocrisy
as the true antidote to capitalism. the book is simultaneously tongue-in-cheek and as   I is for Identity, for Ideology, and for Image
serious as getting up in the morning for work, yet avoids the inherent alienation of most   L is for Love
historical and cultural texts (whose authors they dismiss as careerist historicizers").   M is for their Media, for Movement, and for Myth
  P is for Plagiarism, for Politics, and for Production
“Topics range from anarchy to hierarchy, work to sex, alienation to liberation and   S id for Sex, and for Space
technology, but every page burns with a passion for a freer life. Lies, exaggerations and   T is for Technology, and for Theft; and finally,
  W is for Work
blatant plagiarisms mix freely with passionate arguments. Nadia admits on page 171 that
III. Conclusion: Anywhere Out of This World
this may all "sound like anarcho-mystical academic nonsense (which it is of course— Afterwor(l)d by Gloria Cubana

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CWC Books : Days of War, Nights of Love

freedom cannot be understood except through mysticism!)," but the CrimethInc. workers do Bibliography
weave a good spell. Who disputes obvious, but unvoiced concerns like, "We pay rent Index
before we live there a month. But we get paid 1-4 weeks after doing the work."? Other About the Authors

essays walk a precarious line between arrogant and inspiring: activists are taken to task
for being dull and guilty; radicals and artists as excrement peddlers, forever squirreling
moments away for their next product. Too Harsh? Or a necessary critique?
“The books vehement insistence that living is more important than art carries the argument
beyond the typical debate. When you make it to the end, the personal testimonials about
not working and the closing art pieces become an aria of voices urging you to close the
book and live. Glorious, even for the most cynical reader. What more can we ask from a
book? Whether or not you buy it probably depends on what you thought of the last
Refused LP—revolutionary cannibals or well-dressed poseurs? Well-read former straight-
edge kids or new messiahs? Don't think too hard about it—the book warns from page one,
'This book will not save your life; that my friend is up to you.'”
CLAMOR, issue #6, January 2001

“'This is how we have came to be the ones to fire the first shots of the third and final World
War, the war which will be fought for total liberation.' So the book begins, beautifully written
and crafted—Days of War, Nights of Love breathes a vision of living life for every sunset
and every star, for every kiss and for every brick thrown, not for consuming or buying and
selling. This book tells a story of a future that is attainable only if we look to ourselves to
create it, a life of living for the beauty of things, for living life like every day is your last. The
writing is both poetic and inspiring, not only criticizing the world we live in today but also
provides a broad vision of a more just and liberating world. It is broken up into various
sections. Writings are on a wide variety of topics from sex to consumerism to theft to love
to anarchism and hierarchy. It consists mostly of essays and writings from the free
newspaper Harbinger, also put out by the CrimethInc collective. What makes it so complete
is the beautiful layout and artwork that graces each page. Days of War, Nights of Love is
arguably one of the most inspiring and liberating books that I’ve read in a long time, a book
that I find myself going back to again and again, to suck the marrow out of it and collapse
within its wonderfully crafted words. A manifesto for building a new world that should be on
the bookshelf of every idealist, student, punk rocker, worker and ex-worker, poet, and
lover. 'And life is waiting for you with us, on the peaks of unclimbed mountains, in the
smoke of campfires and burning buildings, in the arms of lovers who will turn your world
upside down. Come join us'”
HODGEPODGE, issue #7, January 2001

“Wow! This is impressive! Every inch screams for you to pick it up. Close to 300 pages with
new-school cut-and-paste layout. They broke it up into sections, each focusing on a
different aspect of life; for example, W is for Work, G is for Gender, F is for Freedom, etc. It
covers capitalism, media, love, left, death, anarchy, culture, sex, technology, history,
politics, and so on. The writing is the usual CrimethInc. style—down to earth, direct, logical,
passionate, and overflowing with kick-your-ass energy. It’s a new approach to older, dry
academic anarchist theories and essays rewritten and added to, so as to hold relevance in
our age and reality. The graphics are equal counterparts to the text, and some pieces have
a strong similarity to the art used by the Situationists of the 60's, taking comic strips and
adding ironic political text. They strongly encourage the reprinting of any parts of the book
which is always a rad "fuck you" to traditional copyright beliefs. Its the kind of book that
after you finish reading it, you can't get over to a friends house fast enough to recommend
that they read it too and pass it on. It holds things that everyone needs to take to heart
when pondering about life. So, enough of my recommendation babbling, get that eight
dollars in the mail and get ready for this.”
SLUG & LETTUCE, issue #66, Winter 2001

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