I have a friend. I care about her a lot. Although she is my favourite kind of friend – black, female – nonetheless while I could imagine us getting wasted and pumping each other stupid somewhere sometime or, in the meanderings of my ever so lucid and fantastical mind, us realising one day years from now that actually we love each other like biscuits and end up living this weird, gratifying partnership after years of mutual care without knowing that that stuff was and is the true fabric of intimate relationship, it’s never been that thing… Or, put another way, I would never reduce her to sexual gratification. I couldn’t engage her that way and remain unchanged, leave my life unchanged. I love her, you see. I love her a lot. Care about her a lot. It’s never been romance nor desire… I always saw her, from when I first met her, the child in her, her pluck and massive heart and also the wounds she sustained from living so large and openly and lovingly and crazily at times and always just wanted to hug her. Her sass and charm and sweet openness is a model for many of us lesser beings. She calls me baba’khe (father of the child). I am happily content with being daddy, not who’s your daddy, with her. I am completely fulfilled standing on the sidelines, wishing her well, hoping for everything for her, loving her with my time and attention whenever I can because she fills my heart, so lovely is she, such a privilege is it to be able to cheer someone like that on. Fresh, young, sassy and brave, pretty, smiling, lovely and so deserving human that she is. Even the sexual tyrannosaurus I am or, let’s say, in spite of the constantly erect T Rex that I am, I know many, many subtle shades of life and heart and spirit and I value the relationships I have that don’t include my dick.
Wow, I just realised what an indictment saying that might be, like, I glimpse that most normal people would be shaking their heads and saying “Uuh… duuh… welcome to normality” about that statement of mine but, anyway, you get the point.
Dee’s mother is a paranoid schizophrenic. While I am not a medical professional I am going to go out on a limb here and say that any parent who comes across their child and seems to want to jump on a bible and sprinkle themselves with holy water is probably a candidate for psychiatric medication and I’ll leave the exact diagnosis to those who value being authorities on crazy. She went AWOL last night (Dee’s mom, not Dee) and the stress in a friend (Dee called me traumatised and also just flat and seemingly bereft) and the sadness of her mother’s dementia, moved me. But I need to worry about money today.
So, do I get to pop around and just sit in the sun and chat with Dee, knowing as I do that that kind of moment in time, that kind of stuff, is the best kind of stuff we humans can do – giving time to show care and swelling all hearts present in it – no, I don’t. I don’t even have taxi fare today. The tall, goofy street kid, my favourite street kid, Simon, is mooching for food and he and I both stand around Gandhi Square, Jo’burg CBD, soaking up the sun, two shadows fretting away the day because, no money, no food. I need to worry about money today. I can’t fill a kid’s stomach, because I have no money. Hundreds of thousands of meals will go into hundreds of thousands of mouths in this city today, go down those throats, hit those stomachs, feed the organisms, come out the other end and pass on and all of those beings somewhere inside of them, at the back of their consciousness, are ferreting away at work in the knowledge that this is their life and, without those insignificant and ultimately worthless hours spent sitting in that building, they will have no money and without money they will have no food. And without food they will be standing with Simon and I, ashamed, fallen, no food. No status. No worth under late capitalism.
B2, the beautiful young woman with whom I awoke this morning, journeying now through this town, buying fabric, keeping even a loose clock time. How I wish I could meet with her, sit with her, reaffirm her as lovely and charming and delightful, kiss her face, walk amongst my fellows, smile, relax. But I am worried about money. No money, no condoms. Not nice ones anyway, ones that don’t feel like they were made from secondhand tyres. No money, no food. No money, no leisure time. No work, no career. No career, no social standing. No sense of self worth. No money, go to hell. They’re waiting for you…
We are all, each one of us, huge assholes that we accept this scenario. We stand, a creative genius, each of us, a spirit, an angel walking the soil, beautiful, bright, shiny, and wrap it up and go to work. And dumber than dumb we become. “My work’s not so bad.” “I enjoy my work.” “I love what I do.” It’s the male spider, the male praying mantis, heading off for the wildest fuck ever, sex and then death. An orgasm you’ll never forget nor remember. We have actually gotten to a point as a species where we will argue for the denigration of our souls. I can imagine people who give, who design, who care and who aid perhaps. They can say “I really enjoy my work” with some legitimacy. But even they only get to say it due in some part to the lack of consciousness of their innate angelic qualities. Their own massive creativity and spirituality. I know that doing a mountainside meditation retreat for ten years will outstrip anything you can possibly do in the world of work, even if you’re helping people aggressively, which you’re fucking not. I know that having a few decades to meditate, practice yoga, travel the world, experience jets and boats and foreign countries and delightful foods and super delightful naked foreigners, would make the sun pale due to the shining light that our species would project from this globe. You don’t know this. You think a four bedroom house in an nice suburb is the pinnacle manifestation of your worth. A good credit record. A luxury sedan. A brief overseas vacation, with bling pics on Facebook, shopping for shoes.
“But it’s valuable to build for the species!” It’s what humans do, pull together. Commerce and industry are positive. That’s us. A proud, industrious species, heading off to the farthest reaches, out into space. Really? All statements like that need to be seen against the backdrop of children begging in the streets of the world. Children raped. People killed. Women traded for material goods. People trading their time – and that’s all of us working saps – are but one step up from cutting open people to trade their organs. Raping children for sport. Some humans killing other humans for the same gratification. Can’t you see it? The absolute dearth of morality in a life of work, no matter the “ethics” of business.
God, what an oxymoron. Business ethics. What is the point of business? To make money. And not just money – profit. Money on top of money. And not just profit year on year. But growth. Just like greed, it starts with a “g”. More profit each year. This is the sole raison d‘etre of business and anyone who tells you otherwise is either a humongous doos or a lying piece of shit. Thanks for all the corporate social responsibility programs, thanks for all the charity tax offsets and nice to see pics of you suited niggers trenching veggie gardens ekasi in the papers. But we all know that if anyone were to ever, eeeeever reach for the bottom line, their hands would be cut off in a brutal parody of Sharia retribution that would see even Arabs screaming and sprinting to the dunes on camel-back. You can’t see it? The dark molasses of Satan’s drive in men to power, dominion. Do you think the cosmos wants that shit in it? Do you think wonderful new worlds await us with smiling hearts? This cretinous species… so accomplished and so broken. So advanced, and such apes… No money, no food.
I have never seen chimpanzee children go hungry. I have never seen a chimp in a group outcast, sleeping on cold stone, while the troop hunkers down in leafy style above. The chimp child might die and we’ll all tut-tut and slap ourselves on the back about being so much better than animals simply because we choose not to walk city streets at night and witness the lives of others that too are a manifestation of our beautiful little world of commerce but I tell you now that chimpanzees are better at Win/Win or No Deal – the highest form of interaction – than we are.
Fuck you and your proud contentment with your work. You’re a moron and you moronise your children and us all…
I have realised, over years, hearing words from different people but the same words, that I am too vehement, too weird, too messed up or too something – vociferous and vaguely psychotic perhaps – and that my words so often fall into the thorn patch beyond normal, decent, rational social intercourse.
Well, fuck it. I mean it. Fuck you. And I say “fuck you” not because I dislike you nor want you to clip my earhole but because I love you. Because I see you. Even you dumb, fat Americans. Even you old-money, aristocratic European assholes, totally oblivious to the pain of others in this world. Even, well, you. I know what you have inside you. And it’s light and light in this universe is free. So I guess I think shitting on you or swearing profanely will result in a good thing – you’ll stop and maybe feel upset or offended for a moment but still my words will linger in your ears and because I am so off kilter, so obscene, such a dick, such a bitter, failed, hippy kind of punk, pissing on the system, it might just mean that the experience of me will register in a way all of those billboard ads and trendy shows and extra big couches and shiny automobiles won’t.
The reason everyone sings Jesus’ praises yet cannot even begin to live a life like him is because Jesus didn’t have to work for a living. The reason everyone praises Allah but trades hashish and oil and children and bubblegum is because Mohammed wasn’t fucked up about being an accomplished shopkeeper. The reason everyone coos over the wisdom of the Buddha yet cannot possibly fathom nor imagine the nature of his life and thus manifest his sublime dhamma is because he wasn’t running camel caravans through Nepal to make a living. The reason, people, the wisdom and grace of our own spirituality eludes us, is work. It’s a fucked up way to live life. No one of any historical merit ever worked full time. God… Steven R Covey, Nelson Mandela, even Clint Eastwood, whose films I love, immediately come to mind. But those are nuances, rare balances of folks who can be deemed employed yet so much bigger, obviously, than their “employment”, no matter that they do have medical aid and an RA. And – those historical giants – they sure as fuck didn’t work as we do nowadays – this mindless, churning shit that merely reinforces ownership of the globe by a handful. Not true? Dispute it? You’d be a bigger doos than even I thought if you did. People who avoid facts and further avoid extrapolating them into a new direction really irk me. Aristotle said that “citizens must not live a mechanic or mercantile life, for such a life is ignoble and inimical to virtue…” He said labourers make poor citizens. Notwithstanding, no doubt, that ancient Greece had slave labour to free up their lily white hands and also that Aristotle glorified the pursuit of logic and politics and that the latter has clearly become a scourge of vermin in the homes of humanity, his point stands.
Has the Gen Y promise come true? The unbundling of the workplace? The free spirited new kids, working online, working from the beach, doing their own thang, redefining the global marketplace? No. That’s a story for another time but, no. That’s the short answer. If you could float for a moment in space, looking down upon the writhing serpent that is human travail, you’d see that while it may be sloughing its skin, shedding skin and glistening in a new way, the sundry few preposterously wealthy motherfuckers who own most of the shit on this planet still have their hands firmly around its throat.
While anarchism has been sullied for me by my realisation, probably during a moment sitting naked in a hooker’s room in Hillbrow, cutting lines, or something similar, that I actually do need a stick on my back in order to not end up behind bars. Nonetheless, that is probably more a product of my distaste for the way the world turns rather than any innately criminal or otherwise antisocial bent. And also, while the forefathers of what we currently know to be anarchism – a regal, proud and beautiful idea of people without government so often miss labelled and destroyed by the media who tout any bunch of looting assholes to be anarchists – the forefathers I tend to think of as a collection of broadly positive yet seriously flawed pricks (due mostly to their inability to give women their due at the time), nonetheless Proudhon was spot on – “Property is theft.” He said it. Here’s my addendum. It isn’t, when everyone owns what they need and want. So clearly it remains theft as not just the gulf between rich and wretched is so obvious but also the disparity between simply people who have that middle class life and people who have absolutely nothing shows us as we live on this planet every day. We just make our eyes slitty, narrow our gaze, and keep moving…
Dee wants to quit her boring, mindless job at a broadcaster, selling glitz to us assholes who feel that DSTV is some kind of essential, who think that watching fucking worthless, indulgent twats like the Kardashians is somehow edifying and become a doctor. Here is a woman who feels her pull, knows her route, imagines the doing of medicine, the healing of others. But, she’ll have to pay. Work like a dumb bitch for a little while still, save, pay for tuition, shit in her pants for food, rent and fuel for years, until maybe she makes it through having every last cent wrung out of her and becomes a doctor one day.
Here’s a thought… That doctor might save your life.
Or, one day, because she dropped out, because she had to pay for the ‘privilege’ of becoming a doctor, because the cost of the study of medicine here is linked to your future earnings or even just lumped in along with everything else, with all of us, as a monetized thing, she might not make it. Somewhere at a clinic somewhere there might be a doctor short because she never made it, because she couldn’t afford it. And you’ll wait an extra few minutes for attention. While your ribs pierce your lung. Or while your innards give up. Or while a bullet remains lodged in your brain.
And you’ll fucking die.
Floating off into the ether (up, if you’re lucky) and experiencing the massive grief all beings suffer as they lose their life (down, if you’re unlucky) you’ll be hard pressed to justify the presence or absence of something as utterly fucking worthless to all conscious lives as money and the role it played in your death there, then. Wouldn’t you? Do you think you would still feel so warm and fuzzy about having been a member of a species who spend life working? Really?
You who are so proud of capitalism and all of its giant successes. You’ll die like an animal when you could have been healed and saved. But here, now, you’ll give me a quick explanation or offhand rebuttal of my stance and march on with the other ants. I’ve got news for you – ants treat one another better than we do too. We’re not even ants. Not capable of the cohesion and oneness they are. Otherwise there is no way on God’s abundant planet that we would have ownership. Have-nots. Status. Monkey status. Pride in our possessions alongside knowledge of the dispossessed and suffering masses beyond our door. We are not even insects, morally. We are the slime of the universe. But you’ll refute that, won’t you? You’ll tut-tut and move swiftly along with the rest of the dumb herd, heading to the cliffs because that’s just the way it is. The Buddha said, of the two men involved in slander, he who responds in kind is the worse of the two. And why? Because when the first guy said “Hey you? Fuck you, you cunt!” the respondent had a moment in which to choose better. To stay OK. To be light. To side-step his ego and be a being of greater substance than the first man who is busy dragging us back to the animal realm. Likewise, us humans, as a species when we adopt that “Oh, well!” stance or say “Yes, but you can’t help everyone” or “Well, I didn’t make the world, I’m just trying to make my way in it” or even worse, have nothing to say because Jesus is coming to make it all lovely one day so screw the here and now, we’re the worse of the two. Only, there’s only one. Us. We suck. Because we know better. We do. We have all had glimpses of our own hearts. But because beer tastes nice or pulling chicks with a jetski and getting blown on a beach feels awesome or because Oprah said it or because some surgically enhanced “celebrity” twat wore it we’ll slap ourselves on the back for our moment of introspection, feel a little warm and fuzzy, and then get right on back into the brawl for stuff, status, wealth, that apartment that overlooks that leafy little valley.
Even the abbot at my chosen Buddhist center once said “This is just the wave we’re on right now so, just ride it…” Thanks, but I don’t surf. That’s A. And B, no, I don’t want to ride it. While capitalism’s highs may make all of us glow with pride, its lows eat children and put a price on human life. Still so proud now? You’re OK with that, are you? It’s possible you are and it’s only possible because that’s what the system does – makes us mercenary fucks who will often go to great gregarious and generous lengths but – take that “give all you have to the poor and follow me” shit seriously? – no. Not to that length, thank you. Oh no. No thanks. And that abbot, for the record, is a part of the most massively capitalist, huge Buddhist evangelism this planet has ever seen, merrily selling merit like a packet of crisps so I’ll take that comment from where it came.
We make the way it is. Idiot. There is one revolution. One only. One thing to do. One only. Change your heart. Love and support your children. Love them enough to free them from industry. Commerce. Bling status. Trivial, evil, tinselly life as we know it and live it. In your heart. It’s all you can do. One thing. Change your heart. Play more. Wrest time from the man. Take it. Push the boundaries of employment until they break. Give more. Sing more. Smile more. Love more. Talk more. Pray more. Meditate always.
We can still build rocket ships to take us to the stars. The difference will be that we’d be welcome then. No-one there would fear that we’ll put them to work to buy back their time like we do to all of us, do to ourselves.
All work is, is a mostly futile attempt to buy time, time to be ourselves, which is not to work. One reason. One compulsion. One point in your life when you see the contract and sign it and then that’s it. You’ve become a modern human adult. And a slave. I guess, for my part, I still have my pen hovering over the dotted line.
Natalie just buzzed me. While we broke up recently and B2’s shriekingly lovely face and ass have been filling my vision and creasing my sheets nowadays. Nonetheless I do love her (Natalie) and want to cuddle her heart a little if she needs it as I know she hoped more than anything in this life that we would make it. Oddly enough, having just written above about how I value the relationships I have in which I don’t get to be naked, it occurs to me now that Natalie and I have found, albeit through her heartbreak, the space I always should have been in with her. Loving her (she is so raunchy and zany and funny at times and is such a worthwhile human being) completely openly and freely, without marriage and baby potential which was never company to my hard-on that initially met her because, well, I’m an asshole. That’s the short answer. But this feels good now. Loving her. I miss her conversation at times, her absolute loving of me, her constant readiness and willingness for me. But I just can’t do that thing with her. It has occurred to me, in terrifyingly emotion-devoid moments, that she might actually be the most amazing woman I have ever met who is saying everything I ever wanted to hear in a woman and does everything I ever wanted a woman to do to me and for me and in my life. Selfish though that might sound and I am throwing that away as the rampant, rutting stallion I remain but anyway… That, too is a story for another time. She has a cocktail evening this evening. Can I come? No. I’d love to. Love to show someone that I care about that just because we won’t bang each other any more doesn’t mean that it’s all dark. Show someone that life is still good, people are good, things can change and we can still smile. Can I? No. There are no free cars on this planet. And right now I don’t own a vehicle. No free cars, no free fuel, no free taxis, no free transport. No free shit. And I have no money today.
No money, no food. No money, no cocktails…
“And a merchant said, speak to us of Buying and Selling.
And he answered and said:
To you the earth yields her fruit, and you shall not want if you but know how to fill your hands.
It is in exchanging the gifts of the earth that you shall find abundance and be satisfied.
Yet unless the exchange be in love and kindly justice it will but lead some to greed and others to hunger.
And before you leave the market-place, see that no one has gone his way with empty hands.
For the master spirit of the earth shall not sleep peacefully upon the world till the needs of the least of you are fulfilled.”
That master spirit is an emaciated spirit now…