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The Kingdom of Utopia is Immanent

Added: Wednesday, February 8th 2012 at 12:23pm by SAUSAGE-PANTS
 
 
 

This was deleted for some reason, so I'll post it again.

I think every person longs to be a child again, just for a little bit at least. Adults sometimes find oases; hidden places stumbled upon where they can be alone, rest and drink and breath in the generous spacing before fear and jealousy pull them out of the clearing and back into the bustling urban jungle where they must compete, compete, compete. What was that innocent freedom that existed on the playground, which whispers like a ghost in my memory now? The day itself was something to be made, a creative adventure. The playground was the canvas we used to breath life into our imagination, and our imaginations played. We were little utopians, not yet fallen.

I remember as a kid I felt free, at least much more so than I do now. Maybe that freedom was an internal spaciousness: the belief that I could be myself, that I was allowed to explore and play, create and invent, build and destroy according to my will. The guilt of transgression hadn’t been nailed in me yet. And now that I’ve been educated on proper and improper expressions of self, I realize that I haven’t grown up. I’ve only become an obedient part of adult culture, and the radiant child in me still roams homeless under a dark cloud, trying to escape from my own guilt of never measuring up to ideals that, in an increasingly globalizing world, no longer match up to each other.

The 20th century has been a dark one: a century of alienation and disillusionment, with a touch of melancholy. From the birth of mass manufactured slaughter in WW1 to the Final Solution of WW2, from the crash of the free market system to the Capitalist commoditization of everything, from the Death of God to the end of philosophy: distrust has pulled the rug from under us, and we realized that our faith in the ground we stood on was never justified in the first place. Symbols of authority-- whether it be God, the nation-state, or complex metaphysical systems-- have been ruthlessly criticized and their claims to being “true” or “right” are continually under siege. First world western society has lost faith in its parents, and now we’re in the process of killing them in hope of obtaining a condition of greater freedom and justice: two ideals that authority must not fully tolerate. But what if parenticide isn’teven necessary in order to gain emancipation from the ideological/cultural tyranny imposed by far-reaching propaganda and advertising? What if “growing up” is an art-- the art of creating yourself? What if a child, faithful to his/her own whimsical inclinations, ignored the bright blinding lighthouse of cultural conformity and instead rowed out into the uncharted night in order to craft his/her own star?

Who was Jesus Christ, and how is he even relevant—especially after the “death of God”? The Jesus Christ I was- and still am drawn to is a startling activist/revolutionary: reversing social norms by sharing meals with the unclean and the poor. He is idolized now but still largely un-followed in his radically nonconformist treatment of the lower classes. Such a radical marriage to the principle of justice is social suicide. The “body of Christ” that is the church has become dead weight: united in a rhetoric of sustained mediocrity and lukewarm symbolism. I grew up Catholic, now in the process of emancipating myself from its grip. Every time I think about God I feel like cold musty air from a crack in my memories of Catholic Mass is wafting, trying to seduce me, to co-opt my mind through monotonous, meaningless ritual and guilt. I didn’t find the message of Jesus, which breathed so much bright life into me when itconfronted me, mirrored in his “body”. The poignancy of Jesus’ political strategy-- aggressive compassion to subvert and reverse notions of good and bad, and divorce the claim to “truth” from those in power-- had been transformed into an institution and was deflated through repetition. All we need to do for a perfect world, a perfect self, a ticket to heaven is altogether believe in him, maybe say a prayer and go to church now and again- right? Well some people just want to watch the world burn, and that will never change, even in utopia. As children playing on the playground, still untouched by the toxic weight of what “ought” and “ought not” be done, we nonetheless had the class bully, the know it all, the tattletale, the gossipers and the rest. I don’t think there is any system- or anti system- that can cure human nature. Maybe we’ll never rise above ourselves.

Then what is to be done? This is where Jesus becomes relevant through his political strategy: the strategy to make your own self a biosphere of heaven, an agent of utopia-- to act as if utopia was present among you. In other words be in the system, but not of the system by enacting a behavioral anarchism, a divorce from the ruling ideology, a creation of self through faith in who you are and acts representing it. We humans are perpetually seeking a sense of completeness and we try to fill it through commodities, etc., but that chunk that’s missing from my image in the mirror is the space I use to create and recreate my self and my day- it’s my mind’s playground. This kind of behavior may seem far fetched but we do it every day: the use of humor subverts and reinvents in exactly this way. And possibly that’s part of the problem: social and cultural institutions are functionally unable to laugh like children, tolaugh at themselves, and maybe that’s precisely what emancipation from self is. Maybe evil is conquered when one surrenders to the whispers of the nascent inner nature?

And why end there, why let the ring of a poignant ending stop my dreaming? What if the social systems facilitated such radical, nonconformist freedom? What if politics became a game, what if play became a serious career choice? What if schools taught the techniques to emancipate one’s self from the pressure to conform; what if schools taught how to ask questions? Maybe then each day would be a work of art, something to be created. Maybe then each person would be his/her own creation, emancipated from identity in order to become his/her own masterpiece, each person acting like a seed of the future mind, forming and reforming the ideology of the age in a spirit of playfulness, aware that they are just a ripple in time building history itself.

 

User Comments

Deleted or not I am still a child a lot!  LOL

There's a Bob Dylan song I like to sing to people on their birthday called "Forever Young" because I believe we are still just little children inside and that must be nourished, celebrated and honored...good essay!

Thanks :).

 

Two things:  God's not dead, and, if you research the original word "utopia," it does not mean "a perfect place" -- But it actually means "no place" or "without place"...  Just one of many things that have been twisted and changed over the years...  Anyway, have a good one over there... 

I agree that God isn't dead. It's a famous saying by Nietzsche that has percolated into postmodern philosophy. I should have been more clear on my standing. Thanks for pointing that out!

I'm familiar with the original meaning of utopia. What's your point?

It's all good, it's an interesting post, I misunderstood the whole "god's dead section," and I am familiar with Nietzche and the people who were behind him, it is unfortunate how prevalent it has become, all of these echoes of people like Crowley, etc.  Wasn't sure if you knew the origins of utopia or not...  Keep finding myself in debates in real life where people are going on and on about "utopian futures" as a clearly distopian future is unfolding all around us...

Yeah I hear you on the utopian future and all. 

Just the way Christ internalized Judaism, I'm trying to explore an internalization of the process towards utopia (I don't think utopia is possible, but I feel that it's a good idea to aim for.) It's still a semi-rough draft, and I'm still in the beginning of these ideas, but that's the general direction...

Good luck with the journey / experience...  I spent the first couple decades of my life in cities and was fairly unhappy / stressed out most of the time...  It wasn't until I moved to the rocky mountains and spent most of my time exploring forests and trails, etc.  that I began to find inner peace and a greater understanding of this elaborate system that is interconnected and all encompassing...

Yeah that's where I want to end up eventually, somewhere wild :).

You have an enlightening journey as well :)

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