It is a long story, not tormented but from the heart. Sometimes you feel the pulse of the civilization with your skin, and don’t need scientists or pundits to understand. Sometimes childhood memories and people’s faces explain the civilization better than scholarly volumes and proud speeches.
My civilization, the one I am a child of, can be recapped in two sentences:
‘We are going to build a neurological association for you, and you are going to be a fucking bastard if you don’t fold yourself in four, and play along. You are going to be a deviant if you don’t offer yourself as a sacrifice to my feeling of ORDER.’
ORDER. The poor man’s replacement for pulsing together with the mystery. The thing that comes in handy when the wholeness of your system depends on depriving others of their free will, because something is broken, and you don’t trust them.
ORDER. The machine. Organized religion. State army. Conveyor. Handcuffs. Mortgage slavery.
Real whips. Emotional whips. Financial whips.
Nukes. Marches. Original sin.
Dog eat dog. Servants of the people.
Witches. Hostile Indians. Inferior races.
Children with twisted souls, because, Order.
So, I like Saul Williams. I relate to him as an artist. His art is incredibly true, intelligent and articulate. I recognize the language of my home, something connects immediately and moves my soul.
Whenever he performs in New York, I try to go see, and recently I went to see the film he made with Anisia Uzeyman.
The film is a work of beauty in itself, very poignant. But something else struck me: the imagery, the music performance, the words. The pain. The pain of being interwoven with the messy history of everything and everybody. My civilization. My brothers and sisters, each trapped inside one’s heart, fighting a fight with the cruelest, steel-eyed machine that has many faces and many ways to humiliate the spirit.
In, out, in, out.
CX Kidtronik wearing a Kaepernick shirt. The dignity. How hard is it to feel another being’s pain?
This strangely real argument on my Facebook about whether a human being can kneel when listening to a state anthem.
The feeling that good people feel when the neurological pathways are disturbed.
Because I was raised by the European civilization and later found my way to something else, I feel like a child of both worlds. I feel the love, and the pain, and no anger toward anybody because it’s hard to swim in the sewer. And yet it boggles me how anybody can filter out the live outcry for respect. How hard is it, really?
ORDER. The deceived man’s replacement for moving freely together with the mystery.
At some point I lived with a psychopath, and I learnt that while his behavior was insane, his suffering over lack of control was very real.
And then Saul posted a photo of a Dove bottle, in the aftermath of the infamous ‘whitewashing’ commercial. The bottle innocently said, ‘for skin from normal to dark.’
It pierced my heart not because my skin is dark (my skin is anything but) but because, that little toxic tagline a victorious smirk of the machine. The machine that maims perfect children and makes people feel like they have to prove something extra. The machine I dreamt of as a child, the machine that runs on unlove and contempt for the unraped.
Now, I grew up in Moscow where everybody looked like me; I felt like a weirdo in need of mimicry for other reasons. As a kid, I didn’t know what I know now. As my civilization was raising me and teaching me to be proud of my intellect and to conquer my nature, something on the inside was screaming. My soul was free, and it pissed everybody off. I couldn’t bear their unhappiness over my natural state. I suffered. The arrangement was faulty, and I thought the fault was mine. I was scarred by a priest as a kid, he told me all about guilt and the need to apologize for my very nature, and the poor bastard scarred me for years with the best of intentions. I dreamt of being an imaginary nun and an imaginary temple prostitute at the same time.
The gloom of history, the pain of my ancestors’ exploratory choices hung over me, good people suffering, good people hurting each other. The strict grandmas inside churches and in the street who would judge you if you are too happy for this miserable world of hard work and self-sacrifice… the gloom, everywhere, the innocent and painfully toxic jealousy of those who were themselves fucked up by the machine and who harmed because they didn’t know better.
When I grew up, I understood that my torturers were subjected to a grinder of their own. The people who did so much to prevent me from being me, were themselves misled and needed love whether they knew it or not. History of the machine is tremendously fucked up.
There is theory, there is an acute feeling of history, there are forgotten memories of home, there is awe of mysterious trajectories we take as a species.
And then there is a Dove bottle that sums up the unlove and adds insult to the injury for no reason at all.
Get over it.
Your soul is not real.