Yes, it’s been a ludicrously long time since I last wrote here. A hairy burning infernal kind of time, full of phantoms, monsters and eaters of death. Engorged with maddened effort, frenzied frustrations, killer obstacles and so forth. All in a day’s work you might say for an obsessive, soul-of-an-anarchist person like myself but no matter what you think, it’s despicably hard. Fighting alone for something as vague and confused as individual freedom, starting with art and the freedom to sell it, is idiotically difficult. Mostly because no one gives a crap or recognizes that it isn’t a f*cking luxury activity but something that is vitally important, even if its value isn’t immediately apparent. Fact is, a lack of individual pride and freedom is something that slowly kills you if you don’t have it. It is at the heart and source of all the despicable poisons that are killing us as an otherwise magnificent, beautiful, wonderfully inventive species.
(It is precisely this inventive beauty of the human soul that Revenge Ink is ALL about celebrating.)
Let me tell you an interesting story that I picked up from a National Geographic documentary about alligators in Florida. Now if Nat Geo as they now call themselves are saying modern man is involved in the death of his ‘environment’ you know we’re truly f*cked. You know we are doomed.
Anyway, the story is that hundreds of gators were dying in this lake. Lake Griffin I believe. It took scientists six years of research and more almost-killing of experimental gators to figure out what the problem was. A fatal deficiency of Vitamin B1 or Thiamine, it turned out. Caused by a fish that contained an enzyme that neutralized Thiamine in the gators’ bodies. The gators had been eating this fish before, but recently, with excess pollution and human toxicity, the lake bred only these Vit B killer fish while ALL other plant and animal life died, yes, ALL other plant and animal life, so the gators were eating nothing else and pretty much OD-ing on these killer fish.
Apparently Thiamine or Vitamin B1 is responsible for cell regeneration in the body which is the real face of what we naïvely call ‘energy.’ In other words, you lose thiamine in your body and you can’t move anymore, you can’t eat, nor metabolize your food, your cells just keep on dying and you can’t do shit. Gradually, your body dies in a slow atrophy of extreme lethargy. So the gators were eating these fish, the fish were killing the gators’ natural reserves of Thiamine and the gators were simply slowing down and ending up dead.
In case you didn’t notice, there is a superlatively perfect readymade mythic metaphor here. Individual freedom is like Thiamine. And the Vit B killer fish is that nasty poisoning part of us that survives, our brains and souls toxically polluted by enslavement, in a poisoned environment of callous habitual greed, aka modern corporate life. The thiamine-killing enzyme in us is the corporate consumer life we live, that consumes everything, even our own desire to grow as human beings and to create anything, until we are gutted and fattened on toxic filth and begin to breed death around us without even knowing it. Just like the killer fish, as half-dead enslaved individuals, we now kill life around us without a care.
Unfortunately, the gator here is us too. It represents our deepest side, our inner life, our most profound humanity; our continued happiness, well-being and health. It represents our potential to live, in a word. It represents our future as extant beings. The gator is that part of us which refuses to be tamed, it is our capacity to live as free human beings, it is the most ecstastic part of us that is now gradually being inertia’d and apathy’d to death by the killer fish in us: our braindead enslavement to the system. Most unfortunately of all, the gator is the predator in us, the deepest ‘eater’ of the joys and pleasures of life, it is the one within us who loves and values life, who savors it even when we’re not looking.
So why is it important to refuse to be a slave? Because as a slave you bring about your own death and the deaths of others. As a mentally shackled slave to corporate greed, you do horrible, wretched destructive things. And you do them most alarmingly, to yourself. You do them unwittingly, in a lethargic slew of apathy, callousness and a vertiginous loss of personal drive (much like the dying gator). You destroy yourself as you destroy your ‘environment.’ You become chronically frustrated, bored and dribble over with envy, hatred and anger that go nowhere. You need tabloids, reality shows and a stream of competitive violence to make up for your pallid frustrations. You might hate your job but lack the energy or drive to change it. Or you may feel constantly like you’re chasing a carrot you will never catch. You despise your life, or maybe not, perhaps you are just chronically bored and ‘need a vacation’ often, you cannot survive without distractions: sex, TV, booze, drugs, pills, more sex, anything that will come along and keep you from one moment with your true self… And of course, you tell yourself this is how all people have always lived. That this is even better than how people lived before, in the ‘old’ world. And you breed philosophies of anxiety, frustration, a joyless Kierkegaardian universe that say life was always this worthless, throughout eternity. Your heart is hard, the vacations don’t make it better, they only make it worse, you resign yourself to a lonely death and eventual lovelessness, and still you tell yourself there is nothing to be done about it, this is how it is, it can’t be any different. Getting older becomes a dull struggle, life is a hum of anxiety, fears, most of all the desperate desire to please: your boss, your family, some dumb f*ck or the other. Meanwhile, in ‘doing your job’ you do nothing for your soul, you destroy life and most of all, you destroy yourself and your children by working for asshole corporations which destroy life in a slow and determined way. You meanwhile, become a creature of competition: some days you win, most days you don’t. And over time, the sheer uselessness of your life grinds down your body, your brain, your cares, that shrivel to the tiniest boundary of family, you, your children who don’t give a crap, your aging, sickened body… Until you get old and the real shit hits the fan.
But no. To live like this is not to live at all. It is only because we live in this steady atrophy as a mass of inveterate slaves, idiots and callous cowards, that life has been reduced to such resigned putrification. Our narcissism is a temporary drug against the steady and slow death of our souls, but nothing will chase away the eventual awakening, pungent with regret, that will hit you one day: oh my god, where did my life go? Was this all I could do?
Well, a genuine freedom of the soul puts an end to all this. It regenerates the mind and body, and even if you struggle like a gator in the wild, which I have certainly been doing for a while now, you feel a vital link to an inner source of refreshing energy which regulates the generation of new cells in your body. You are healed. You may be depressed or sad every now and then, but it is never as bad or desperate as when you worked for the assholes. Life is fundamentally different. The search for meaning is no longer an obsession since life itself has taken over. The philosophies of resignation are blown away under the sheer onslaught of bursting joyful thrilling life. The sheer uncontrollable unpredictable (even shitty) magnificence of it fills your being and the search for why and what and where to, all those over-wrought wranglings disappear. You know. You are alive. You are not selfish but self-informed. Freedom brings liveliness where there was inertia, compassion where there was callousness, communion where there was alienation. You are now in touch with your spiritual Thiamine and no matter how hard life hits you with its choicest weapons, you know you are at the center of your being and cannot ever be budged. NOTHING beats this sensation. It is worth living for, it is certainly worth dying for.
Living for money, for your family, for this or that. It all goes out the window. You live merely because it is all here and nowhere else. Questions cease, doubts are erased, there is only the heart beating and the everyday, the absolute raw necessity of it, but it is no longer a dull whirl. It is no longer a desperate search for something to fill the moments that come at you, no longer a scurrying through those moments, it is a powerful fullness at all times. But you pay for it.
Everything is paid for. Just as our wealth is paid for with enslaved soul-death, so our freedom is paid for with the sacrifice of our fears, doubts and over-justified anxieties. Fire is the core image of all mythology. The ancient Upanishadic Hindus had an interesting concept of fire. It was the refuge of all sacrifice, it was the ‘gator’ in us, its burning of everything was a symbol for the eater of life in us, our delicious appetite for deathless life and endless joy and unhindered freedom and pleasure. The idea then was to sacrifice even your knowledge into this fire. What is meant by this is not to give up knowledge, but to let go even of the meandering, useless thought-crunching that goes into a life lived without heart. The point is to throw it all into the fire of immediate life, the fire of pure and unhindered but terrifying freedom. Only this leads you to a fantastic thrilling experience of life, something that the soul-killing 9-to-5 of corporate life cannot ever give you.
Anyway to finish the story, the Florida govt stepped in and cleaned up the lake. The Thiamine-consuming gator-killers stopped breeding, the gators didn’t die anymore. I’ve been in my own lake too. I’ve been killing my own poison fish that were killing my inner spiritual Thiamine. And I too have ceased to feel the death of the soul within me. When I worked as an interpreter (a story told in my novel Ugly Duckling, WHICH YOU CAN BUY HERE :D), I made a lot of money but my soul was dead. Now I have little money but my soul breathes an air purer than that of the Himalayas. My soul is free. And believe me, nothing, nothing can beat this!