Alytus Biennial 2015: Discussion with Ben Morea on Revolutionary Animism
- Written by DAMTP
Tae Ateh. I want to present our friend, I met with some years ago and that was only few years after I first time heard about him. To be precise – it was him who actually found me – and I am very thankful for that. His name is Ben Morea and most people know him because of his activities in 60-s. Alytus Biennial already hosted him 4 years ago in 2011. Then we talked about the past. Today we will try to focus on the present situation. Two years ago Ben proposed an issue of revolutionary animism. The combination of the words had immediate development in my own fantasy. He never told me what he actually kept in mind. I even didn’t ask. Instead I developed my own way of understanding how this concept works for me and the forum is specially arranged to somehow discuss it in a wider prospective then I am able to follow up myself - collectively. Now we have great opportunity to listen what the words mean to its originator. Moreover I am looking forward for a great discussion because here we have really diverse group of unspecialized persons – this is very much about what animism deals with – everybody is different, and we must learn how to deal with full respect to it.
Ben Morea. First of all I really want to apologise – I am not really comfortable in giving talks. I thought more about discuss. I want to give some slight introduction so we have some common ground. And then see what you think. What a term revolutionary animism is about? First of all this word revolutionary is overused … it is like a commercial word now. The revolutionary is a product wherever you look. And the only reason because I use it – even when I feel uncomfortable with it – is that the other word animism is a profound agent of understanding. And it can be entertained on its own. Person can approach animism just for itself… as spiritual life force of animism. But I personally see it as a vehicle for change…the vehicle to detect where to go in a future. For a beginning I will give a small introduction – in the 60-s I was very military activist. And it reached the point where in response to activism people started to be assassinated, eliminated. There were several attempts and I disappeared for 39 years. First 5 years I went to the mountains and lived on a horse back. And then I came out and home stayed completely out of a public domain. I never spoke to the people about my past or my ideas. And after 39 years somebody contacted me and asked me to come out to speak about the 60-s. I actually refused…I was really satisfied with what I was doing. I spent 39 years together with native people. And I was interested in understanding. Rather in the 60-s it was to radicalize and change the word as we new. We understood the political needs, the cultural needs, the artistic needs, the sexual needs, but we had a very little understanding of the spiritual needs. And I felt that was important. It was part of the picture, a puzzle. I fascinated with Native American culture. I felt there is something, a key that we were missing in a materialist Western culture… some understanding what is going to be necessary, but I couldn’t grasp it. And at the point that this physical need for my disappearance became necessary I decided it to be an opportunity to go to the mount native people and I satisfied that interest I had to understand were that missing piece spirt in. And through all 39 years I just get a beginning of understanding. The native people always say that it is a life time education… a life time experience. I don’t feel that after 39 years I understood enough to come back to try, but I understood enough at least to enter into a dialogue to the people about that missing link. Because my feeling was that materialist world which is dominant today and we lack of respect and understanding for the planet itself, that creative forces itself will bring us down. I felt I can use as a metaphor a coin, a materialist coin: the one side is obviously the capitalism, while on the other Marxist communism. They actually both are materialist. I doubt we can survive on a materialist basis. We have to understand we are a part of a larger edifice which is based not on the materialist law.
Benas Šarka. Do you know Terence McKenna?
Mark Dyson. My question was about animism. Animism for me does different ways of understanding it: from the transformation of matter to the self-organizing. All way through the potential for an animated spirit to exist within non life forms: rocks, water – things we normally think as not having consciousness. Were you come on that spectre?
B.M. Personally I believe it all life. All the planet. Everything has life force in it. And within that everybody has different understandings and different degrees. I am really sceptical about ideological approach where you define it and then everybody must see it in a way you see it. This is very political, very European mood of consciousness – where everybody must see the same. So there are going to be variations like you said…it’s a tapestry it is always all together. And how you interpret that - I guess – everybody has slightly a different understanding, but basically it is a life. And if you will understand that and will respect that life – then we will come to some conclusions that made the beneficial harmful. At this point everything that has being done is done backwards. Like they want to correct one problem and they create ten more problems. And that is going to remain until we will understand what that one problem is. The complete ignoring of the life force itself. Like to focus on what is either profitable or necessary. Rather then what is the ultimate need … The humanism was part of the problem – to see the humans as pinnacle of the pyramid of life. That is the ultimate mistake, because it ignores the triangle, the bottom itself. The bottom of all this is creation, it is life… and the human is not at the pinnacle at all. And the materialism itself benefits only us as human beings, but not benefits the planet, or not benefits life. Not even us as humans but only capitalists as class.
M.D. In response to that counter-biological way of looking and to put a metaphor forward to the materialist arguments whether it is materialist or Marxist virus (or cancer) inside the life system. How it could be healed? Would you end to see the human rights as a virus on the planet? Or materialism as a treat to the humanity…
B.M. It is interesting the idea that the human race is the cancer. There was a conference in Berlin called Anropocene, which I was invited to by some people. The idea of the Antropocene was that the human is threatening the planet. But I feel quite the opposite – nor a human, but a particular group of humans. It is not all of humanity is that threat for the planet, but those who want to use the life for their own profit. So everything is torn for their satisfaction. This is not because they wan to feed themselves. The whole mentality of the colonization, of taking the material resources from some place to benefit one group. So I see the Antrpocene as an excuse – they blamed all the humans for the problem that they created. I do not think they will ever invite me back, because I told that to them… and I used the example for Northern America: when Europeans came to Northern America there were group of people who understood how to live in harmony. And instead of understanding, and sharing, and working together they started to exterminate them. Now they have the problem. And they stuck with it.
M.D. From the point of view of those who are very happy to colonize – you call them the capitalist class you can look to that in a two ways. It’s a negative, is it because of evil?…it’s evident as personal disorder – it’s a greed, a selfishness – its all expressed – is it not a narcissistic personality?
B.M. It’s a social disorder. I don’t like the word evil. As one man’s evil… but it is a social ill. And at some point – I don’t know how – at some point of time humans were living in harmony. And still some good portion of the planet seeks to maintain that indigenous understanding. In Africa, Native Americans, or Aborigines – they still want to maintain their connection to be harmonious. But at some point - and I don’t know why – there appeared one part of people who saw ownership as essential overuse. And from that moment we have developed this problem. So in the original indigenous consciousness everything was to be used. It was given to us. Apple could be an example: apple is growing, it is there for you to eat, but what they did – they did that apple taboo, so they could sell it. So they made the apple to be a product. So to own the apple, to own the apple tree – it is no longer use. Everything shifted.
M.D. Is not that shift because of the hunting & gathering – from agriculture?
B.M. That is part of it – yes. But I think in the agriculture that consciousness still could be maintained. It’s not true that since agriculture its all lost. If humankind decides that somehow agriculture is necessary to produce more because of the growing population… there always prevail consciousness: does agriculture produces for use, or it is based on ownership, power, monopoly, centralization.
M.D. Does that come from them being stable? The hunters-gatherers are constantly moving around. When they exhaust one supply they never come back and move to the next place, then move to the next place etc. When the time comes all the way round – it is a replace. And you constantly are recreating annually the same place when you stop moving. The dynamic is in the spirit.
B.M. But you can still maintain the consciousness that the items are now grown beyond anyone together. There is no need to switch to complete ownership, centralized power – bureaucratic, religious, and governmental – whatever power is not necessary. We have to find a way to live without moving, but we have to find the way to live on equality of sharing. The consciousness is what has to change. I mean we do not have to become hunters-gatherers again.
M.D. Is it all consciousness, or it is the fact that we keep giving a power to one of the classes to work at abuse, or upset the systems or mechanisms that mediates believe within the population that there is the right to rule?
B. M. We allow it but I don’t think we give it. I think they take it. But we allow. I mean we become our own victim.
M. D. We can take it back whatever time we want it….there are millions of us, but they never do that?
B. M. They can take it back and they should. This is their job.
T.A. …you took my consciousness – give it back! You took my consciousness… and I didn’t realize that…and have my consciousness away…it is a matter of consciousness, but it is away…we didn’t realize that we have a collective consciousness. Then we can come together and do that.
M.D. But could you remove narcissism from the population? Is the narcissism a personal disorder that created by upbringing the society malfunction that could be negated? And if you have no narcissism is that a way in which the desire to colonialize is slowly removed?
B.M. But that is the constant effort to put blame on the victim. I am really uncomfortable with the idea that we have inflicted this problem on ourselves. I rather look at it… that it is from top down…that we become acceptant of it but we didn’t initiated it. Somehow those who grasped power – we have to accept that. Where the point is now – mankind can realize once again that we don’t have to be controlled; we don’t need that centralized power anymore. We should begin to see that the power is within us. It’s a big task. I do not want to implant that this should be done overnight… To be honest, in a 60-s not only in America, but everywhere in other countries too – the appealing was that we can change it then. We believed that. I woke up every day and felt we gonna change that. We gonna bring it down or we gonna die trying. We believed it. But I really came in conclusion that this is not gonna to happen overnight. We really need to develop it. This thing is gonna collapse. This edifice. But we have nothing to replace with yet. That is our task to figure out how what we gonna put there. And we cannot only blame those, but we have blame ourselves if we gonna do nothing. And that is a part of the problem for example like in Greece. They have so much sentiment how to get out from EU. But I think they are now at the moment of decision. They are so fierfull – what do we put, what do we have, what do we without? Because nobody build that consciousness. We must do it ourselves.
T.A. Consciousness goes with practices. I do not think the primitivism is the answer going back to hunters-gatherers.
B.M. No, we can’t…But we can in terms they had something we need. An understanding. We can find it again. That is what we came to stay with Sámi for couple weeks and talk to them. I am trying to understand what it is we have lost as a people. Like for instance in America before Europeans came people didn’t owned the land – they used it. It’s not totally negative – it’s how they maintain the use of this area. But there was no extermination. There were never attacks on villages killing women and children… You are right - we are not gonna come back to it, but we should understand the idea of use. Not ownership.
M.D. In all o those examples is the technical, industrial, hyperrational, systems to the human aggregation to the resulting, material demonstration. This is the examples you are bringing – Sámi, North American natives… they are not primitivist, but they are very much societies not engaged into industrial, technical development. This is the society we live in and are by-products of. What we call capitalist, industrial society – I am much part of it. Even if I don’t want to be I am as a consequence of it.
B.M. But if you switch instead of material control of you – you control the material. In other words – at this moment materialism and commercialization control you. They have you moving to their need. In the example of computer: you use the computer to get the information you find useful. But can’t let to control you. So you are going to have obviously industrialization or certain…whatever people decide. But they can’t use that to manipulate others, you can use it to put you life but not to manipulate others.
Riccardo Balli. I have a doubt – might be a step backwards. Don’t you think that a part of economics, capitalism does even on a biological level have a drive towards domination? Isn’t the domination not in the instincts of the living beings…like in quantum physics the neutron?
B.M. I don’t see that way. I see it as neutral…for example one part of your body doesn’t take the control over the other. They work together.
M.D. But sometimes it goes wrong… What is we are witnessing – is a biological failure of the living planet somehow… or is it solvable?
B. M. But it’s up to us to reverse it.
T.A. What are the other practices we can to develop animism in revolutionary way? And what are material changes we need to bring about for the general changes?
B.M. Lets take an example - Greece: I believe they should get out of the EU. So what they have to replace with it – each area should develop the way how to feed themselves and maintain their life independently from the monetary system that controls them now. So it would be very important to understand what the balance of agricultural need is. And specialization is not the way. They need to solve it to maintain their life. But Greece stays with EU because they are getting funds. It’s important to understand that they don’t need the funds – you can’t eat money. You need to develop the society of working together to supply your needs. Rather then the needs being controlled. You should control them from a panel. Local control rather then centralized. Not the nation state.
M.D. But international financial capitalism is so interconnected everywhere – it’s impossible for one self-compartment to declare themselves independent from financial capital if it’s already been totally dominated by …it requires the circulation…
B.M. But each locality can cooperate with the others – they do not need to do it alone. They must find a system to work together rather then going through nation state or EU. It seems obvious to me, if the system is controlling you, destroying you – you should create your own system. You can’t just to blame them. You can’t say: they created the problem… You are the part of the problem if you will not solve it on your local level.
M.D. The entire financial capitalist system – it comes to a local - should be taken out of the boil and transformed into something else. Not just doing it locally. And if you try doing it globally it is so powerful. It has to be insurrectionary. It’s got to be something that absorbs thinking that it’s gonna succeed.
B.M. I really appeal that the approach should be from the bottom. Right now everything is from the top down.
Martin Zet. I think it is much more simply – the main thing is just to overcome the fear. Fear of being detached from the system. I think it is about to let people to get to the point that we are living in some mass psychosis and that those who are used to control are loosing the control. And it will lead us either to the new mass psychosis or to somewhere what is unknown yet.
Valentino. I want to switch away from politics, or geopolitics, or capitalism and to focus on the education – how you transmit things from generation to generation. Is it a way to skip mistakes what we do daily. If somebody says it’s good or bad… should you listen to it? Or experience on your own?
T.A. …is that you talk about teaching domination? Is it that what you mean?
V. Yes. You can look back thousands of years, our tools are changed, but the problems of person and its life – it’s cyclic. It’s the same. Centuries ago, or thousands years ago the problems are similar – inside of a family, or inside of a society, or how labour is structured… and we are repeating it all the time…
B.M. The idea of education means teaching somebody – it is really itself treacherous. Because the objective is to share with somebody – it is to pass on the information. But the very idea of teaching somebody when you want somebody to fallow your word - that is a wrong approach. It’s better to give them the tools to think and change. I mean it is how religion has maintained – they teach you what they want you to fallow. And that’s how the governmental education system teaches you to be a good citizen. Rather then to give you an information that you can then decide. Either spiritually, or daily, governmentally.
Otto Karl Kamal. So, our problem is how to recollect our information? How to reverse it to people?
B.M. Here it is! That’s what we are doing. The whole life was like this. Like for instance, I live in Colorado the most of the time. And I have friends that are really involved with agrarian lifestyle. So I go around and I try to understand – I am not a farmer myself – how they live. And they – lets say agrarian communes – they are sharing with others with what they produce. And that is the education. That is my example that you should participate in it at some level. With them.
M.D. Is it not a danger of the autonomous zone like that? It is just a temporary outburst… the evolution of the system just going faster and faster…
B.M. But you should do something to slow it down.
O.K.K. But it has nothing to do with autonomous zone. Autonomous zone is the created system. It has to do with the dialectics or triolectics… It’s a self ruling system of having, getting and spending… the same in sports and….ideology…even more then trying to solve the educational thing. More then education. It’s a self-education how to create structures…
M.D. The question was what we are gonna do with the structures which hundreds years ago are coming with generations, and which are getting worse and worse. And we still are asking what we going to do to stop it. We know its going worse and we do not know how to stop it. If we would know we would do it. But we don’t. Its like a game theory – we want to test how it works in different ways.
B.M. And what is you do to change it?
M.D. We going to play three sided football tomorrow.
B.M. We all have different approaches. I am sure each of us sees our roles differently. But it gonna take all of us.
M.D. Yeah. If I am gonna take on it the system is completely lost its sense of spontaneity and creativity. And if you keep facing surrounding it with mirrorism then you can see it turned into self-parody, irrational and spontaneous thing. You’ll get better to understand it even somebody with personality disorder – that is therapy. One thing you gonna do is to show them what’s up – that person has to know what he is doing with that disorder and cognitive dialectic allows it. What is that mirror? For me it is a fun: the ludic, spontaneous, and creative.
B.M. I don’t want to be simplistic, but I would be more interested in sharing the mirror, then putting it up.
Disidentas Bacevyčia. …kitaip mes čia nesėdėtume, jeigu netikėtume, bet, ką daryti, kad mes net nesurenkame kritinės masės? Aš netikiu ginkluotu pasipriešinimu – čia visiškai ne mano sfera. Kiek žinau neginkluoto pasipriešinimo formų – jos visos išdėstytos Šarpo [Gene Sharp] klubo. Jis suveikė pas mus, kovojant prieš sovietinį kapitalizmą, suveikė Ukrainoje visai neseniai…kas paskui dedasi – tai jau kiti dalykai. Netarybinis kapitalizmas rekuperuoja – čia Guy Debordas pradėjo – visi dabar šneka apie rekuperaciją…kad mes sėdime čia, tai irgi kapitalizmo sąmokslas…mes čia šnekame prieš kapitalizmą – viskas tarsi dalis to visko. Ką jūs galvojate visi – žodžiu, kapitalizmas su mumis net nekovoja… mes grandinėmis nesurakinti, kalėjimuose mūsų nelaiko…mus išdūrinėja… ar negalime mes rekuperuoti kažkaip tų visų dalykų – išduoti, apipisti kapitalizmą? Mūsų draugas Stanislovas Tomas naudodamasis demokratinėmis priemonėmis norėjo pakliūti į Seimą. Jis norėjo, kad mes visi už jį prabalsuotume, jis pakliūtų į valdžią ir taptų mūsų atstovas, gal net prezidentas… tada žadėjo paskelbti anarchiją. O kodėl mes negalime nupirkti šito dalyko. Čia ne mano vieno idėja – aš dabar rašau tokį grožinį veikalą. Taigi vienas kelias – parlamentinis, kitas – mano herojaus kelias – nupirkti kapitalizmą, trečias – būti prezidentu ir paskelbti anarchiją, ir dar vienas kelias – biblija – parašom scenarijų ir pastatom filmą Holivude…
T.A. You still need Hollywood? Why? What for?
M.Z. Anarchistic Hollywood!
D.B. Kad surinkti kritinę masę?
T.A. I see a big problem in leftist thinking that all are talking about critical mass…What you think about the position that masses of the people are needed to change the situation. It leads to the roots of ideology. So the complex question: critical mass, ideology of masses, ideology of resistance – that was what Byelorussian comrades wanted to ask - and leftist thinking – and what is about all of them in relation to revolutionary animism? Actually I know that in 60-s there were some situationists who accused you personally in mysticism, believing into the spiritual matters, spiritual dimension, what already then obtained a shape of animist approach – I don’t know it was consciously chosen position or not. So the question is about relationship between leftist thinking, about critical thinking, about multitude as a concept – that one what was chosen by Bolsheviks once upon a time – that’s on the one hand, and revolutionary animism on the other. This time I want to avoid classical Marxist position based on British pan-economist sources, including the role of class in the class war situation, which sometimes resembles one more attempt to westernize and therefore to conceptualize the resistance.
B.M. Oh…that’s the question…lets start with Guy Debord. At one point with Guy Debord we had a lot in common. He was to communicate with me quite a bit. And he send some people to stay with me and participate with us – before the issue of mysticism there was an issue of activism. So these people he sent that stay with us said to me: you’ve not realized who those people are - they are not ideological. So they accused us of being pure activists. And rather then having a platform – we never had a platform – and that is Guy Debord’s problem. If you look at him – even from a very beginning he was about to expel people. If somebody comes up with some variation of his idea, he expels him. Rather then sharing with all that information. Actually I mean he got to a point to expel himself. He got to expel me as well. I said you can’t to expel me because I am not a member. Its serious – I got an email from somebody, who is doing his personal archive of Guy Debord and they asked me – they said there is a manifesto in it that I wrote and signed and send it to him. And that was in his private archive. He kept it. They wondered if they can to reproduce it. I said – go on. Obviously he [Guy Debord] was not consistent. But he expelled more people then he kept. No need for ideas to be ideologically pure…ideas needed to change the things. And it will take more then just ideological purity. We could work together. Lets stay in 60-s with an example: I worked with the Black Panthers quite a bit. They were Maoists, I was an anarchist. They were even Stalinist-Maoist almost. And I said – some day we gonna settle this and to fight it out, but then we had a common enemy and that made us able to wok together and that changes things.
O.K.K. How far we can bring our common point out? What is the real common point to fight the reaction against the society? And to fix that common point and to say – yes, we fight together exactly to reach this common point…that is the point of the left – non systematically working people. The problem that there are no common points. Coming together 2 leftwing groups and you have 3 enemies.
T.A. You are talking about leftwing people who are non systematic people, but usually leftwing people have very much systematically structured thinking. Even bureaucratic… anarchist organizations included…especially anarchist organizations! Except they are honest about it.
B.M. That is the problem of using the paradigm of left and right. There are so many people who claim to be left, but who actually are opposite from what we want. I am sure Lenin thought he was left. I think somebody in the left still lie that Leninism was correct.
T.A. But Lenin was very much about the critical mass… we are entering a very dangerous territory. We’ve seen the results of fascism. And the fascism present danger. For all of us. Somebody asked me where are the networks of the 90-s ...kind of falling apart… a network of a communal way to make a work. It doesn’t happen now. But in 90-s there were a lot of rightwing infiltrations into the leftwing networks. They took into the international global networks. That is why it was torn down. And that is not ideological problem – that is practical problem. Those networks could not withstand neither ideologically, nor practically, nor in any other way the infiltration of the rightwing elements. So we need to deal with the ideological questions. The moving to the practice is the better way. Turning into communes or TAZ’es or occupy movements that have been present last 10 years. And there has been a lot of communalization…. Oh, that’s a wrong word…
B.M. …better mutualisation.
T.A. yes, that’s mutualisation and also self-organization of the local groups of people … as you said before – we need to be moving around those places. We need to be sending people out. We must do that. If we would be not able to do that – the local group will collapse because it will not be able to withstand the rightwing infiltration. I mean sending from one meeting to another one, from local group to other local groups, to other communes around the world.
B.M. Maybe you disagree, but I think more helpful is to see that margin is between authoritarian and non authoritarian, rather then left and right. There are so many people might call themselves left and who are totally authoritarian. I would be as afraid of them as afraid of rightwing authoritarians – fascists. So we have always to go beyond that – left doesn’t mean you are alien, and right doesn’t mean you’re enemy. Authoritarian or not means if do you want to control us or do you want to help.
M.D. Could that contestation has to be confrontation for the reasons you said? Because it has too much power when it is confronted directly. It will win. It infiltrates, it absorbs, everything is gonna happen what we even don’t know. Everything we can do is directly to confront the system for its failure. It cannot know of being attacked, it gonna be something that happens subliminally what starts to permeate on a very very low way…like liquid running slowly, seeping between the systems, so it even doesn’t know. What is that? Is it a deliberate form of insurrection? Or it is a change of consciousness, is it a different thinking, but I will it comes back to the very idea of animism. It is the thinking differently that ignores the psychological invasion with the part of the society, because you can not escape from that in the session of mediation – system protects and introspects.
T.A. There will be moments of the direct confrontation.
B.M. … but that could be your only program.
O.K.K. There is a big problem to go back to the national idea. To the idea of soil and ground and bottom [land] like the Nazis denominated. And we have very much to do with the Marxist ideas – we have to do this break. We cannot concentrate on nationalist concerns of the land.
B.Š. …on monotheist…
O.K.K. yes, monotheism is a product of this nationalist land and “unique” root.
B.Š. …we must ask the anima religion indigenous people in Latino America, in Guatemala…
O.K.K. …kind of soul stringed to the roots… but it is different from the nationalist land idea…
B.Š. I think anima is our teacher.
T.A. …anima is empty…
B.Š. Anima is all – it’s your own system. Western people don’t see that… apie tą ploną erdvę, kurios mes akimis nematome… to dvasios struktūrinio pasaulio - tik analizuojame protu. Senosios ikimonoteistinės religijos tai paprasčiausiai matė darydami įvairiausius ritualus. Jie tikėjo, nes matė, o mes analizuojame, nes nelabai žinome, kas yra tas tikėjimas. Dvasia yra tai, ką budistai sako, kad viskas yra viena – iš to viską ir išmoksti. Mes nebeturime suvokimo apie erdvę…
Karen Karnak. Мне кажется, что общество устроенно так, что мы все говорили бы в маленьких группах, и капитализму это очень выгодно. Из-за этого он и продолжает существовать дальше. Мне кажется, что сегодня надо ставить вопрос класса, потому, что капиталисты как класс никуда неизчезли и продолжают управлять миром. А вот с классом пролетариата стало все сложно, потому что пролетарии изменили форму – сегодня мы практически говорим о прекариате. И никто не понимает, как этих всех людей из разных сообществ соединить в единый класс. У всех этих сообществ есть одно важное общее – все находятся в состоянии сметения, а класс капиталистов продолжает их угнетать. И если все эти сообщества договорятся между собой хотя на одном этом вопросе... для этого нужна общая платформа, чтобы попытаться бороться и изменить эту систему.
B.M. That [the class war in a begonning of the last century] was correct then in a sense. Then the power was held by the upper class. But we reached the point where it‘s not going to be class based. Now its going to be life based. So those, who realize that dominant system has implaced, cannot to maintain either itself, or life on a planet. We cannot depend on one class ... there are some people in the upper class – may be – i don‘t know them... but maybe there are somebody who agrees with us. I don‘t think the future struggle will be based on that economic class classification. But based on those who realized that we cannot live ... I mean the totality of life. You are compartmentalized in the system we have today. You are alienated from the need itself...
O.K.K. But the needs are very close to the production... The power as such is the power of the system – so, of course it is a class based.
T.A. Or do you think the bourgeoisie is also alienated by capitalism?
B.M. But I do not believe we are able to mobilize on the class level. Like for example in the case what they call the Third World. They need to live in a non-colonial system. Its not going to depend on a class struggle from the outside. There its going to depend on the controling... the elements of control should be changed, should be eliminated.
O.K.K. You mean the class inside the national system. If we have it within the national state – we still have the same problem with the classes.
M.D. …the psychological issue…the greediest and selfish will take all what they can…
M.D. …incredible sentiment… it come from the personality disorder…
P.H. …class. But it is still a class problem…
T.A. …слишком много всего, чтобы что-то понять...
B.M. ...I see a problem – you consider yourself as I would appeal I am - from the lowest class position...what we need is everybody to understand the process that bring us down. But what to do if somebody from that upper class agrees with us? We cannot to say that you can‘t...
T.A. Even Marx said in the Communist Manifesto that there will be defectors from the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy. What is interesting about the classes that we can expand the notion of class to include whole of life. To make it animist...
B.M. We have to. But the Marxists do annihilation of class with necessary, because that is how they would be able to maintain power to the class profit. That is why they expelled Bakunin and the anarchists, because the anarchists didn’t want to be dependent only on the state apparatus. They wanted to depend on the people like they had some opinion on agrarians…but the idea of the proletarians was a mistake to begin with. Because the whole of the society was not proletarian. There was mass of the peasants, and Lenin thought that they were petty-capitalists, petty-bourgeois. That’s bullshit. They were the foundation – they were growing what you needed. But they [Bolsheviks] didn’t saw a power based on them. So they used the proletarians to see its power. But it all fits into the old formula: divide and conquer.
T.A. I just saw people already leaving the discussion – probably they had some prejudices what we are going to talk about and might be the word animism was promising a different prospective then just the economical approach and power discourse. But this is how we think – English speaking people are very much based on economy. Might be it is more related to the colonialist thinking… and its apparent already in everybody’s mind. And my question: what are the people you have a communication with? And what is the effect of this communication? Does animism is apparent in it? Not necessarily verbal communication… that is that I do not believe too much in the verbal communication and animism gives me a vision of other possibilities of relationship between people… I don’t like the word people anymore…workers…
B.M. Yes, we have no choice – that’s the way we communicate with each other and this is as you say – we stuck with the words for now. But I sense that this interest is growing among the young people. I feel that they understand that the materialist culture as they were taught is not sufficient to live a complete life. So whatever young people are seeking – I do not want to proselytize one culture – but more and more people are attracted to the animist belief that something exists outside of materialism, outside of economy. And I cannot tell to you how to find that – you have to find it on your own. We all have different ways – we have talked about some Czech people who emulate life of Native Americans – they are living in the tippies… I am not sure that emulating somebody else is a solution, but the understanding that there is something outside of this culture and we are not allowed to see or understand, and to go to the natives and to try to see what that might be and then do something with it in your life rather then emulate. I don’t think we want to become pseudo-Sámi, or pseudo-Native Americans, or pseudo-Aborigines, but there is something in all of those cultures that is universal. Like some understanding that this culture has eradicated, some connection to creation itself. Like for instance aborigines’ dreamtime. It is so profound… just an example on a daily life: they live in a semi arid environment; they use a certain amount of water to live. When European conquerors came in and they used water to live, in one year the European conqueror uses as much water as an aborigine uses in 4 000 years. So if you continue with that – there will be no water. It means all that water was taken for a misuse. They had swimming pools, loans – you don’t need a loan, when you do not have water. In California, where is dry, those guys still live with loans… What you really need to live – that is to be established.
M.D. Looking at the sustainability. Mutual sustainability with the resources...
B.M. This is respect – if you respect creation you will not going to misuse or just take it for granted…
M.D. So, for example within Australian aborigine’s soul lines, dreamtime – this is an economy - the way you manage your way to survive
B.M. …and living in harmony with the planet
M.D. …spoken soul language that gave spirit to different parts of everything that surrounds: the water, shelter…. that narrative – the dreamtime – was an economic system.
B.M. Why to limit it to an economic system – it was life system. This is the way of life.
M.D. The word economy means the way you manage your interaction with resources.
B.M. This is insufficient word.
M.D. It relates to the anima or spiritual resources as well.
B.M. And so you have one society which manage the things that are sustainable, and have another society which manage the things on the level of enjoyment, entertainment. In Western society everything is entertainment. Everything is corporal. It is not about life.
M.D. But if we are not going back to primitivism and not becoming aborigines and accepting the innovations of technology…we can arrange sustainability in different ways…
B.M. That is our job - to limit the idea of profit. Now everything is done to make a profit. Its not about profit, it’s about limit.
T.A. It is a capital. Isn’t it? We need an animist relation to the capital, not just a land.
O.K.K. Then we have again that production and classes...
T.A. We cannot escape that. But I think the animism is about the expanding the idea of the working class.
M.Z. Might this is about experimenting. You reminded about those “Czech Indians” – I don’t now how many there are of them – one family or couple of friends, but if they said: ok we had enough with that country and this system and decided to live as Native Americans – to give minimum to the society.. might be some of them is going to work on the working days to get some money…and basically they live in the forest in the tippies for 30-40 years… and it is very optimistic as one of the examples that it is possible to live in another way. This is not that everybody wants to live in the tippies, but shows that the system is not so tight that there is no space to experiment like that.
O.K.K. That is the options of the system…that is what systems give you as an option.
M.Z. So it is very easy to try something for us… the decision is actually on us – how much I want to be corrected, how much I want to profit from the system, how much I want to sacrifice for the system or it is possible at least to use the system to live differently.
B.M. Nobody is going to propose that everybody is going to live in the tippies. That would be absurd. But understanding what living in the tippy brought – that we need. I will use the simplistic example – like buffalo hunters. Once in the discussion I said that we are not gonna become buffalo hunters, but we are coming to them anyway. So, when they kill a buffalo they use every single part of that animal. We don’t need to be buffalo hunters, but we need that consciousness – whatever we gonna do: we are going to mine, or whatever - we have to use it in a way it is applicable – we can’t kill just to extract part of it.
M.Z. But I still don’t like this word to use. At least there should be something like mutual use. Not just one way.
T.A. There is some answer – before killing a buffalo the hunter have an exchange with the energies, thinking of buffalo, sharing the soul … this is about psychic work. That is what I’ve got an idea of animist attitude - you are giving your sole ant taking the body. If you avoiding doing that – it just makes misbalance in the exchange system we call life. Later on this will be taken as revenge from you by force.
It is physical – in the language, in the painting.
M.Z. But what has buffalo to do with the painting?
T.A. I see relevant here a nice example of animist practice of Siberian shamans who did inhabited the souls of the “communards” shot at the conclusion of the Paris Commune in 1871 and finally got refuge in the Lake Baikal and so ensured good fishing for the local people. There is important to point that they did what the materialist left-side-brain-thinkers of Europe never even got to mind: that the souls of the people – of the communards – who died unhappy make disbalance in the nature. People, who call themselves leftist, prefer to follow the concepts, or to identify with the workers what Marx criticized in the case of Paris Commune, or have sentiments for critical mass. The question is about the Europeans’ irresponsibility of the acts they do, or their ideologies do. And what I got from my investigations in the field of animism – this is not a religion at all. Religion out of it was made by European anthropologists. The result of it – one more spectacle, one more entertainment. Animism is not a system – it is not created – it creates itself – it is a life force as Ben said. And one more detail – there is no dualist separation between body and soul in animism – the soul is just a spiritual dimension of the material body. There is no separation between living and non-living matter. There is nothing about what we say to believe in soul – this is about living with soul. All the time since the very first move to organize this event I was trying to invite people as diverse as I can – the point is to come and to try to talk and to do things together and to get to some collective decisions not about some common goals or platforms, but rather about connectivity itself. Not only between humans, but also with non-humans and more-then-humans too. We should change the Cartesian paradigm “I’m thinking therefore I am” to “I am relating therefore I am”.
B.M. I came up with this parallel many times – I would rather think in a way that I am therefore I think or relate. They reversed it by placing thinking as mostly important. But it is in reverse – first is I am. Existence and being is primary and thinking is secondary, otherwise it leads to the problems.
[T.A. almost a year passed after this discussion had happen and while transcribing it I got to the point that existence and being cannot be primary – the being and the relation always goes together – no one of them is neither primary, nor secondary… the paradigm of numbering is consequence of thinking, which is secondary to the whole totality of life]
M.Z. If the thinking is first – then it’s easy to sacrifice your life for something.
M.D. …as a speculation reason to think, to have a consciousness, to enable into relationship …everything else is purely individual, its not about having a consciousness, that’s only in the relation with somebody else that you need to be able….
T.A. Its time to round up the discussion – do you have something for the conclusion?
M.Z. Ben, the last question, - so, what is that Revolutionary Animism? Or you have no idea?