Our Bars of Freedom
It’s all so unsure, this search for stability; to stabilise one’s ‘self’ under the necessary imaginings of /Being/ here, in a place, physically, mentally, cosmically – with purpose. Indeed it is necessary in order to attain, develop and maintain a sanity – so it goes.
The plenitudal pursuit of such a state of stability/security/wholeness is a dangerous fiction; it is not single faced, but Janus. It reflects itself and your self culminating in an endless matrix of flows – flows of desire – navigated by desiring machines who have as much hope of achieving such a transcendental goal as one has of escaping (or relinquishing) one’s self of it all together.
So I search, you search, they search, we search and what we find are only further footholds toward new desires, new goals, new destination – the insatiable dream.
For me, I will travel. I will travel and find – find that there is nothing to be found but the very unquenchable desire (one innately bound up with endless social pressures) to continue as a desiring machine. But surely we can learn to be content – teach ourselves to be content. Stop; pause. Be. I Am.
By necessity, by ‘naturality’, by our Reality, we desire as subjects of normalised social structures and cultural norms – and let us not forget the subcultural microcosms where social capital is everything, so crucial, yet one which can be attained and bolstered through something as simple (in terms of its tangible application at least) as an entertaining Facebook status, or a good-looking hat.
However, we often forget that we have the power to teach ourselves, albeit it within somewhat rigid (yet by no means concrete/fixed) established structures. The fact that we are learned beings is both the door that closes and the window which opens.
With consumerism came de-secularisation. And with de-secularisation came incredulity toward spiritualist aspirations – in turn, inward thinking and the exploration of the self as a primary motive, exploration, and indeed study, has given way to the pursuit of continual technological developments which are the literal analogy of an unattainable state of plenitude; of desire begat desire begat desire until the intellectual deportation from this very world: the Moon, the Stars, Space, Nebulas, Black Holes, the Universe, Parallels, Expansion….. ad infinitum.
One cannot help but admire the factions of the human race who continuing to explore that which itself believes (and which necessarily by definition) has no answer, no end, no final last word or conclusion. It is an admirable, even beautiful, expression of the human condition.
To be ultimately content (the word is so general, so layman yet so very apt), to achieve that Nirvana from which Siddhattha Gotama became Buddah under the tree of Enlightenment – this is clearly not the desire of western cultures. For this goal – this desire – is a desire of non-desire; theirs is a desire for paradox, whereas we are willing to construct entire structures of fiction on which we can develop understanding of our entire worldly experience and label them definitive – mathematics is an incredible subject. What better an idea to contain an uncontainable world than by creating the structures yourself, the impermeable rules in which 2+2 can only become 4.
It is hard to become self-aware of your own desires – indeed we do not want to. It is a daunting endeavour and indeed a demeaning experience to deconstruct oneself. To admit that you have no definitive ‘self’ to truly know, to accept that you are a bricolage of everything and everyone you have ever known; an intertextual and always-already-interpellated subject. Your every expression, emotion, action, reaction, whisper, branded and unbranded, your inner-newsreel, the said and unsaid, that Self you know so well – they are all survival mechanisms; the culmination of learned meanings we develop and change to function within whichever social situation we may find ourselves within. And it is admirably malleable when trained and exercised properly. We are socialised creatures and the hunting ground is the street, the school, the playground, the family home, the club, the bar, your work, Facebook, the room you step into with any new person you’ve ever met; any person you don’t feel comfortable enough with to fart in front of.
These social mechanisms and field of play are by no means innately ‘bad’, and as such neither are the desires which we pursue in tandem with the Civilised, consumerist lifestyle which has emerged as part of the condition of late Capitalism. However, we must always remain self-reflexive. Wilde said we can forgive a man for making something useless, as long as he admires it intensely. To the same effect, self-awareness of our own desires is validation toward our actions. We can forgive a man for desiring as long as he is aware of his desires, the reasons for them (i.e. his social implications and pressures) and he is still wholeheartedly content to animate them, indeed to work toward this animation, and where necessary (or applicable) express them on the social field.
One thing we cannot criticise is choice. Choices are established through negotiations made and conclusions drawn from innumerable measures of micro and macro norms; these are the most difficult processes we have to navigate every moment of everyday of our lives – and as we also police ourselves, this is maintained even in the absence of interaction with other social beings, or indeed objects. Whether these negotiations animate themselves as a momentary decision or the endless path toward a lifelong goal, a decided mode of character or a developed attitude or political stance, we need these to survive in a social world which demands we find our own firm grounds – the crumbling footholds which help sustain the ‘self’ and ‘identity’ necessary for survival and meaningful existence in this CRAZY MUTHAFUCKIN WORLD!