I suppose for my few readers I owe them an update. A lot has changed since I last wrote, and Donald Trump has only, ahem, accelerated things for me.
In the beginning I was drawn to philosophy because it can be a guide to living. More than ever, I’m still working on my blend of Marxism, environmentalism, and Buddhist thought but in times like this I’ve become a lot more interested in rageless philosophies. There’s too much to be angry at. The world is still an inhuman machine hurtling towards ecological annihilation, civil war, and even ethnic cleansing, but I don’t find enough reasons to stay inside all day and think about it all day. I think that when I first started this project reading people like Zygumnt Bauman, Giorgio Agamben, and George Ritzer was cathartic to me, but once I understood what I took to be their core arguments I had to live a life that’s trying to address their concerns. And I feel like that’s what I’m doing, though I’m sure that just because I smile at the world Zizek would think I’m undialectical or something.
I feel a great sense of loyalty to people who struggle against oppressors around the world, but I don’t think they would want me to cry over every injustice. If I did I wouldn’t have time to actually change anything. There are just too many abuses of power under capitalism for me to mourn over every piece of still fresh fruit that’s thrown in the trash. Though I’ll brush up on my Gandhi and MLK and see how they felt about that.
And I’m also tired of being angry all the time at my political opponents. If I’m really being honest, the only reason why I became a Marxist is because I was born into a liberal family, and then the political institutions my family supported failed, so becoming a Marxist addressed their concerns but retained their original cultural values. In other words, I was born into it, or thrown into it. Me and the alt-right, and everyone else on this planet, we all come from the same source. We all get squeezed out into this world, and then like water percolating down into the earth, we get divided from each other based off of where we grew up, who we knew and what was around us. The landscape of power divides people into political camps. I’ve been using that phrase a lot lately (the landscape of power) and I hope it makes sense. A person doesn’t really choose to become a Marxist in a completely disembodied way, divorced from their circumstances like a brain in a jar, no, everyone’s reacting to what they find around them, the landscape of power. I feel better thinking like that. It gives me the outlook to forgive all sorts of people who don’t see what they’re doing. Just the other day I met nurses looking to unionize who didn’t think that global warming was a thing. You gotta meet people where they are.
Do I think we’re going to make it through this dark and depressing time period? I’m not sure there’s a point in asking. I can’t predict the future. If I said no, would that make you want to give up? If I said yes, would that make you sink back into your chair and take it easy?
The best I can do is to pour my energies in understanding the needs and motivations of those around me, and then try to re-route them in more productive ways. And I find when I meditate, I better understand my own needs and motivations. When I do that I can adapt what I’ve experienced to other people, and I feel like I can manipulate them better. So that’s what I’m working on, and when I’m not doing that I’m trying to keep myself sane in an insane world.