Honesty. It is something which people are more likely to deny to themselves than to others. While in a conversation with another person, someone may unconsciously express their own fear, intimidating, affection, love, desire, hope, dreams, hate. But once a person retreats to what their own safe place, to a place that they are comfortable with, and their own suppressed thoughts and desires begin to arise, they may deny it even to themselves. Society and culture has molded into each person's mind what is expected of them, what they are expected to love, what they are expected to hate... once a person deviates from what is expected of them, what is expected of their emotions, they may feel outcast, different. The person who can come to grasp their emotions and honestly comprehend what they feel may in fact feel like a radical, and in fact they are. They have overcome one obstacle that civilization had intended to be unconquerable. So begins the long line of thought of a Freethinker, an individual who will disregard authority and listen to reason, a person who will violate the rules of a tyranny and follow their own heart further than any leader.
It seemed that all around me, I found people intoxicating themselves with a culture that robbed them of truth and integrity. Why is it so impossible for people to speak their minds? Why can't we scream at the top of our lungs about what bothers us, without being labeled as a lunatic? Why is that complete honesty about emotion is compared with mental retardation? Every fiber of our soul is so integrally woven through our experiences and our thoughts on this planet. And yet, to speak of those ideas that cross our mind is a heresy, a violation of society. It is not only about the social regulations which inhibit us from speaking our minds, but it is also the social regulations which dictate how we must respond to those who speak their minds. If a man were to pour his heart out in the mold of words, to allow his emotions to take the expression of certain face muscles -- to use the physical body he was given to tell those around him what he feels, he would be responded to with xenophobia. Branded as a fool, he would walk as an outcast, looked upon with suspicion and held in contempt, because he was different in a monoculture.
Those without confidence crave acceptance from a conformist mass. It is simple and easy to hide behind fashion trends; to become part of everything else requires nothing compared to becoming something unique. We have allowed ourselves to destroy insecurity by sacrificing anything that had meaning. We are fluent in nothing but how to react or respond; properly trained by a culture and society that has defined boundaries of thought and action, misery and depression become commonplace parts of everyone's psyche. Trying to forget these parts of our lives, people have engaged in what may best be described as soulless activities: social drama and relationships, hollow ideals (patriotism and religion), mind-numbing games.
We have become the tools of a culture that holds no reverence for goodness, kindness, truth, or justice. In this state, we have allowed our souls to decompose.
In a series of social experiments, I decided to push myself to the limit and do something more radical than ever conceptualized by the old philosophers. I was going to say what I thought. I have always followed this philosophy, this idea of speaking one's mind to those it concerns, but only slowly have I managed to push this ideal further and further, tearing down every boundary as I go. Borders which I would have considered by far too embarrassing or appalling I have now pleasantly crossed. In a society that has made a taboo out of meaning, purpose, honesty, and justice, I have decided to do all that I can to violate these social regulations, to prove to these people that their lives are nothing but a tragic play, as they appeal to vanity more than they do to any other faculty. Reason, thought, emotion, kindness all go neglected.
In my social experiments, I managed to incite a variety of responses. Of the most obvious and blatant of taboos there is sex. In this regard, I approached the matter with boldness, courage, and a sense of humor. With some of my friends, I met a woman who seemed comfortable with herself. With less than five minutes of conversation I said to her, "It would be very fortunate if you and I had sex together." The others in the group stared at me, as I left the table barely capable of holding my laughter. Of course, though, the words I spoke were completely true. Of another girl I held some affection for, I decided something rather simple, "Would you care to talk about politics or make out?" To another I was even more simple: "Can I ask you something awkward? Can I kiss you?" (Of which, by the way, I received a no.) And while all of these may seem like they are radical violations of social law, the last border I tore down was in fact the most difficult. I walked up to a girl whom I have seen around, introduced myself, said, "I think you're pretty... I just thought you might care about what an anonymous boy thinks," and then left. It was not a pickup line, because for that one moment, I just wanted to be a friend. The thing that made it much more taboo than suggesting to sex to someone I knew for less than five minutes, is that it was far more humbling. My first class of Introduction to Politics, I was asked how the government effected my life. With my voice resonating off the auditorium walls, I responded, "Fat ass cops kick the shit out of my friends." It was uncouth, vulgar, and completely true.
For the words I have said, the things I have expressed to people, I have received a great deal of criticism. In a variety of ways, I have been told that I am operating in a way that society doesn't understand -- and I know this quite well. I am not appealing to a person's sense of culture, to their idea of civilized behavior. I am appealing to a person's own nature, to their own passion, behavior, conscience, reasoning, intelligence. When our culture has brought misery and depression to millions, making them feel inadequate in more than a thousand ways, it would only be a cruel and debasing thing to submit to this culture. Why would I do so? To help people validate their ideas because they're afraid of change? To help people feel secure when magazines, television, and radio have done enough damage to give them insecurity for a lifetime?
Of the company I have kept, I have known people of all religious backgrounds, whom have held a variety of opinions on politics, running the gamut of Leftist ideology. I have known and loved people who were heroin addicts, who were the types of junkies to use any chemical given to them, some of them were particularly in love with one substance (DXM, AMT, LSD, DMT), while others were simply alcoholics and still others would refuse to indulge in alcohol beyond two drinks, or sometimes not even that. In this group of people that I have cared for, they all have showed a great deal of uniqueness to their character, of intelligence to their decisions, of compassion to their interaction with the world, and particularly of their good humor in every day situations.
In this group of comrades and brothers, I have seen men and women living on the last strands of life that they have. One kid, whose life consisted of abusive parents and abusive teachers, went on a spray paint tour of his town, writing anti-Capitalist slogans. A news story about how Nike workers were abused in third world nations had touched his heart deeply. Strengthened by nothing but his own perseverance, he decided to add his touch of political cynicism to his hometown. He ran hard, fast, and intoxicated, and at the end of his run, I thought he would be depleted in soul and body, but he said to me, "I could have done that with one hand tied behind my back." He may have been poor in worldly possessions, granted nothing but brutality from his authorities, and sometimes stricken with the disease of sadness, but he survived, with more than a large chunk of his soul.
Another girl I remember, by the name of Megghann (pronounced may-hawn). She had been the inspiration behind the piece "Beautiful" that I had written. She was a gorgeous homeless girl, with orange and dreaded hair, and a very pale face. In a way, she reminded me of a sexually active version of Raggedy Ann. To gather money for food, clothing, and substances, she would sell roses. I remember her touch as being the most intimate, the most knowingly gentle, warm, and soothing. There are few days that go by in my life, that I don't wish I could be with her again, even if just for a short amount of time. So soft and kindly... Her words came to me like a welcome visitor, always adorable and admirable.
We are all presented with these dire situations, these horrific conditions, these terrible cruelties. Some of us give in to vice, admit that we will do what we must to improve our own condition at the expense of others. Others have sacrificed every enjoyment of their life to prove that they will not succumb to such inhumanity. For them, not one waking moment was not spent as a dedication to every soldier who fell to iniquity -- not one kind gesture was without the gentle spirit of affection. To us, brothers and sisters are not made through blood but by a bonding love. We have never fallen victim to the government propaganda which has promoted a great deal of unjust ideas: war, poverty, anti-drugs, anti-civil liberties. We have done all that we could to sustain our own spirits while saving the lives of our comrades in revolution.
Just the other day, the police brutality count rose by twenty in America. What will I have honestly lost, if I were to walk up to a random girl, and speak to her, "You know, I think you're very pretty." What would I have honestly lost, if I treated my life like a canvas, and decided to express my soul's desires? I crucified my inhibitions, and fell upon my knees. What did I lose by entering society strongly feeling and thinking for myself?
Last week, two hundred people were slaughtered during the United States' international "peace-keeping" activities. If I were to walk up to a girl, not knowing anything about her, and express the idea that I find her attractive, the only thing I really could say about her with what I know -- did I really commit any crime, did I cause any pain, did I violate justice? If I were to tell a friend that he was my brother and I loved him with all my heart, despite whatever society tells me I shouldn't say that, and despite whatever society tells him to respond, am I not committing a beautiful act?
We have allowed ourselves to become desensitized by society's obscure standards. Superiority and inferiority, domination and submission, all ideas that are expressed and fought over within the socially restrictive confines of our culture. The idea of communication is no longer used to express personal ideas, but rather, to artistically recreate the ideas of social suppression.
Depression becomes a mental state of mind for many of these people, no matter what class or background. Unlike sadness, depression is a clinically recognized mental disorder. It is a sadness, though, but it is seemingly caused by nothing. One who falls victim to the horrors of a great depression will feel sorrow for no reason, will feel a complete hopelessness, the lacking ability to dream. The causes of depression are admittedly not understood by the psychiatry community. I feel that once it is understood, it will be accepted that it is caused primarily by a feeling of being trapped. When an individual is forced into a situation which causes them a great deal of unequaled misery, and they are allowed no method of escape, no ability to fight back, then they certainly have no hope. But, as today's society works, everyday life has become a trap. We are trapped by relationships, by physical needs, by commercialism, by patriotic and religious sentiments that demand a great deal of loyalty. Because we didn't have the strength to respond to the world how we feel, because we couldn't speak our mind or do as we desired, we find ourselves living in confines. Depression develops as our hopes sink like anchors. We become trapped, because we didn't have the strength to respond to the world's inquiries as our heart and mind desired to.
The world may find itself in wars, in economic depressions, in a flurry of political deception and social prejudice. We trudge through this life as it is delivered to us, as the authorities of the world see fit to put their restrictions upon us and call it protection. Everyday we face a constant and unending barrage of media, all of trying to convince us of responding to authority pleasingly. If for one moment, I decided to express an honest thought, place my heart's desires into one action, what would I have lost? And if I were to abstain from it, what would have I gained? Some may argue that at least with following social regulations, you can have personal security, contentness, and pride. But for what? Personal security -- so that you can feel secure by withholding every true emotion and secure by exposing only what is expected of you? Contentness -- so that you can feel happy and pleased with yourself for living an everday lie? And pride... What is there to be proud of? You have made yourself into a tool of a society that has no respect for the method of reason or the spirit of compassion. Our leaders and politicians can lift their voices and say that they are working for the cause of liberty, they can resound the old dogmatic slur of patriotism, all that they wish... It has always been their ideal to keep things in the way of the old and their heroes were slavers, sexists, and Fascists. They are nothing to idolize and everything to abhor.
In our society, one who tries to view the world is some way different, is viewed by the whole as someone different. It is a very unfortunate state of things that so-called civilization has reached this point.
By the end of tonight, one hundred more victims will fall to the cruelty of an unrepressed and uncontrolled greed, an inherent quality in our nature... One thousand more appeals for mercy will become a cry and then an echo, for "victims" whose nature was completely determined by their own environment -- some of the appeals will be granted, others denied. The friends and families who made these appeals will be crying or laughing, and nobody will be able to sleep with the knowledge that the world is without hearts broken, spilling out destructive and painful emotion... By the end of tonight, there will be nations scattered with craters caused by massive bombing, there will be ten thousand more starving children on this planet, and the minds of millions of people will find refuge in sleep as they escape problems and dilemmas that honesty would have relinquished.
By the end of tonight, I will be passed out drunk, just like many other nights. At that time, my thoughts will drift through the fantasies I have yet to live out, the fantasies which I may never live out. I will travel through my memory hundreds of times, each time expressing a solemn tear or a secret smile.
By next morning, I will have every reason to get up. And once I have reemerged myself into this society, I will be operating on different premises than others. When it comes to the moment where I must either compromise my values or say what I think, I will have already made the leap -- with the integrity of a Spartan soldier and the vision of an Athenian scholar -- I will say what I think. There is one life and one life only, the one on earth. The religious prophets have lied all along and I won't sacrifice the one thing that I can possibly know to be true: that this is our life. I will admit to the world what I think and I will stand behind every sentiment. For whatever iniquities they attempt to convict me of, deceit will be the last one they can charge. This is my one life, and by the end of tonight, one hundred more victims will fall to the cruelty of greed -- and I intend to do what I can to protect the defenseless, to say what I feel to those whom incite a special emotion inside of me.
It may seem difficult for some to recognize... How is social and political reform at all related to the honesty and truth we give those around us? One kid throwing a burning Molotov cocktail at a blockade of police playing judge, jury, and executioner -- how does that relate to a person expressing their loves, their hates, their fears, to the people around them? Bombs are falling on third world nations and our people are convinced that repression of emotion is not just a culture but a fixed way of life. Is there not an injustice in both of these? I do not liken them to each other in any specific way, but one. They are both produced by the same thing: a culture sedated by a constant and unending flow of cheap media, a society that has come to believe that virtue means conformity, that vice means anything to threaten its own structure -- an entire world that has formulated the hypothesis that poverty only comes to those who are poor of spirit. The apathy people have for political issues today, or ever, is in fact caused by their upbringing. So too is how they approach social situations. A pattern, a type of formula, is actually used when it comes to approaching the heart of another person. There is no originality, no honesty, no truth, no beauty or creativity any more, but just a stale, heartless, thoughtless pattern. It acts to desensitize an already sedate society... So we find it, political issues and our approach to social situations are produced by the same thing: careless and thoughtless people who make up our society.
I have every reason to pursue both ideals: that of a world free of injustice, and that of a world full of honest and kind-hearted people. The first will require that I actively pursue to eliminate ignorance and praise everything that ends misery. The second will require that I am myself honest with those around me, that I have the courage to do what our society has taught us as something "that simply should not be done."
The dominant world power is stuck between conservative and liberal ideology, as the wars and battles of the two-party system leave millions unemployed and tens of millions in the trenches of poverty. Everyday is a fight for our lives. People in misery find themselves without a fiber of pity or sympathy, and will exploit others around them for just a small release from the bitterness of our world. So we find in fact, that we are living in a world that was produced by those who learned to cause suffering, only by suffering themselves. Instead of learning the most valuable lesson of all, that suffering in any and all forms ought to be avoided as our humane duty, they learned that they would make others suffer before the emotional virus would come to them again... In an examination of the worldly state of affairs, there is no reason to doubt why someone would lose hope -- no reason to second guess a person convicted of cynicism. It is unfortunate, I admit, that it is those who can feel and sense like us who are the ones responsible for creating and sustaining a system that has ripped us of our rights as human beings, for a structured society that has denied us the right to openly think as much as it has the right to openly feel.
By tomorrow morning, I may very well be sitting on the freezing ground with my brothers, watching the sunset as a 15-degree wind whips at our backs. We had been up all night, with 5-MeO-AMT in our veins, spending our moments together, embracing the surreal hallucinations of tribal patterns and vines growing out of the walls. By now, we were just completely alone, with ourselves and our own consciences -- a night of thinking and questioning had got us directly to that moment in time. Six more hours would pass before I collapse into a long sleep. At least I had managed to spend time pouring my heart out through every living act, turning every move and moment into a breathing work of art, and to this I owe gratitude to 5-MeO-AMT.
In a recent statement, Larry Flynt said he would offer $10 million dollars to George Bush's daughter for her to pose naked in his famous publication Hustler. When this news reached the conservative news outlets, conservative thinkers replied with a great viciousness and cruelty. Their response varied, but some of them said... "...I would not hesitate to blow that scumbag, and the people he emulates, out of the water, given the chance." - - - "It's called a firing squad, but we don't use them in this country." - - - "Any father in the world would be justified in smacking that sick SOB across the room --- but GW, being the president, can't. Actually, I wish he would anyway. Do you honestly think the American People wouldn't stand up and cheer for a dad defending his daughter's honor?" (It would, I admit, be a rather interesting news story to read, "President Beats Handicapped Man To Unconsciousness.") - - - "Someone with a lot less to lose than myself, might take measures to silence this man if we are lucky." - - - "One of these days, someone is going to knock him out of that wheelchair and into next week. If he ever tries this with a member of my family, I'll do it." - - - "I wish him unrelenting pain." - - - "I think a better idea is to start a legal defence fund for anyone that might get in trouble kicking Flynt ass. He sure is asking for a punch in the noise. (or two, or three, or ...). I wouldn't blame W one bit kicking Flynt's butt." - - - "A good old-fashioned stoning or tarring-and-feathering wouldn't offend me. How about a horse-whipping?" - - - "If Bush really wanted to make Flynt nervous he COULD have a staffer leak the fact that Bush would consider PARDONING the guy that assassinates Flynt." - - - "I didn't like this son of a bi--h before, now I wish I could push his wheelchair down a long set of stairs. He deserves the same fitting fate as the old Atheist lady..."
I read these threats, and I see behind them an unquenched and seething rage, brought about by an attack that seems to be stronger than any other. While physically being attacked may in fact arouse a great deal of rage and anger, with the sentiment being "how dare anyone else feel they have the right to touch my body," these conservatives felt something different. It wasn't necessarily their bodies that were being attacked; it was their principles, their ideals. When a man's person (wealth or body) is attacked, it is a simple matter, but when their ideals (be it in the form of liberty or ideology) is attacked, the person becomes a sea of rage and hate. Do I really believe these people in their threats of physical harm? In all honesty, I would think that when they were about to commit their dirty deed, they would first think of how the target of their aggression was another human being, much like their brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, and lovers. But, I then am reminded of the past, of how millions have been burned at the stake, because someone so deeply was enraged against that person. It was only by German propaganda that Nazi soldiers were capable of ending the lives of millions of Jews.
It is in fact sickening to think that these people could ever wish physical harm upon someone for using their right to speech. For while they have accepted violence and brutality with open arms, they have expressed disgust at the human form and at sexuality as a whole -- such a twisted philosophy, where cruelty becomes a friend and pleasure becomes an enemy.
To live a free philosophy and a genuine understanding I believe is the greatest way to live. To uphold a great respect for the freedom to speak and to listen accompanies any idea of freedom.
The day that words fail to change men's hearts, that the social viruses of civilized society become immune to logic and reason, will in fact be the day that I put down the pen. Every moment that I am breathing, I am living in the knowledge that there are workers in foreign factors being paid less than a dollar an hour, I know that the fragile hands of children are forced to work 14 hours a day, I know that billions of animals are sadistically tortured and murdered to feed a gluttonous population -- an imposing clergy is still trying to convince us that liberty is an enemy and sexuality is a sin, the governments of the world have entered into a pact to suppress the power of every individual, and the media is still broadcasting with a sedative quality. There is a world full of injustice, of pain and misery, much of it caused by the strife between political powers as they wage wars for glory and greed. When one hears about these things, what is it that it inspires us to think? A way to resist. A way to fight back against the system which has enslaved so many and debilitated the will powers of so many more. What would that mean, though, in terms applied to our real life? Some have turned it into an ideology involving guns, bomb-making, threat letters, arson, pain and misery, everything involving warfare -- they use their bodies, not their minds, to change the world. Some may call them terrorists, and if this term meant anything beyond propaganda, then I would investigate if it were true at all. But, there is something true about them. Why they rely on such tactics to change the world is not a question that must be asked. For these are people full of passion, the reasons for their actions overflowing with meaning... They used their mind and their heart to arrive at the conclusions that they did. In some cases, they were wrong, and in some cases, they were right... But, there is just one thing we cannot doubt: that their actions as "terrorists" is thoughtless, emotionless, and without heart or consideration. For it take a boldness and strength that exceeds anything else. Whether it is pelting a fur shop with paint balls, forming a protest group for women's reproductive rights, or using explosives to destroy an Indonesian sweatshop factory, it takes so much more strength to oppose an establishment than to be a part of it. And to excuse any opposition to it as blind, thoughtless, and heartless, is to make a gravely ignorant statement.
Some people have confused friendship with simply knowing and caring about someone, regardless of their attributes, aside from loyalty to those whom they associate with. Being a conditionless friend, it is believed, is of the greatest honor and the greatest duty at the same time. But, of those who hold this opinion, I can only say that I feel them to be confused. You cannot justifiably afford affection, love, kindness, and loyalty to those you associate with simply because you associate with them, simply because they are around at the same places that you are, that you hold similar interests. If, in fact, this were the case, then you could find yourself befriending those who oppress others, those who hold cruelty to be their sport, men and women whose life consists of rapine and cruelty. So the same may be said of lovers. Simply because someone holds a strong physical attraction to another person, because they hold similarities of character, I believe people are false in their assertions of friendship or love.... and why? By what right can I offer this idea, that mutual interest is alone not enough to make a true friendship, that mutual attraction alone cannot make a real love? I may be cursed and belligerently attacked by the defenders of our society for saying this. A person must act in a way that dignifies justice, in a way that amplifies the light of beauty and creativity, in a method and means that will give bread to those starving for affection and honesty. A person must do this before I call them a friend, before I can give them the token of an unremitted love.
I fell asleep to the sound of raindrops, as I relentlessly tried to bring back the vivid memories of what it felt like to be with a lover.
A political debate in the ghetto is a single mother not being able to make the rent, asking herself over and over while she counts nickels what made this. And maybe it's not fair that your conscience is the only one that you can honestly throw ideas against. Maybe it's not fair that as you walk through your difficult life, you must do it alone.
Honesty. We deny it to ourselves and those we love when we decide to love or hate on account of what is expected of us. The greatest wisdom that could be offered to any free soul is to refuse, resist, and rebel. The system has done nothing but granted people contentness and security in submitting. It is the heart and the mind which revolt on account of their own liberty. For this, no person should ever feel strange, out of place, when they speak their minds and say what they feel -- for as much as they may be considered outcasts by those around them, they are doing one thing revolutionary that others are refraining from: being honest.