A few thoughts on what the bourgeoisie think the masses want, what everyone really wants, and not telling comforting lies about lives that stray from communism

I think I’ve made the theoretical breakthrough (in my own understanding) necessary to answer the question of why the bourgeoisie won’t go down without a fight in a scientific and “closed-form” way. I’ve been working on that piece a lot to flesh out that understanding and put it in terms that are succinct, compelling, and accessible. Working on that piece and rounding out my understanding is deepening my understanding of what capitalism is, of what the bourgeois mindset is. That set of thoughts is the soil that the rest of this post grew out of.

The masses will work hard for a wage—for material, for stuff—which every capitalist thinks is their sole desire, but in fact the masses want bread because they think it will give them room to go for some light. Nobody just wants raw materials. They want what the bourgeoisie promise everyone: the ability to pursue happiness. The ability to pursue having one’s creativity empowered to make changes in the world, allowing an experience that teaches one about both oneself and the world. This is the light. This is what everyone wants. But the bourgeoisie keep this for themselves, the power to enact one’s curiosity, while selling the idea that everyone can have it. And the bourgeoisie either delude themselves that everyone *can* have it right now (and somehow fail to get it), tell themselves that not everyone is really fit to have much of it because most people are innately inferior to the few elites who run things, tell themselves that maybe one day everyone could have it but right now there’s not enough stuff to go around in the world so the best we can do is for the elites to steward the masses to raise the productive forces until there is enough, or shrug and say “fuck them, I got mine.”

Art for art’s sake, or (what *may* amount to the same thing) the philanthropy that everyone in the bourgeoisie engages in, goes up a cul-de-sac. It settles for a light that cannot include everyone, a light that is furthermore compromised with bourgeois (and therefore false and self-hating and anti-human) ideas. It settles for a light oozing with poison because they can pay for enough pus and anesthesia to keep the infection (and the pain it causes) at bay.

Only communism seeks a way forward with and through all of humanity, only communism sends you forward with an undiseased model of what humanity is.

Marx may already have explored this. I think you see that he understands this idea when he says that, in communist society, labor (that is, the act of producing value that a machine cannot produce) will be the thing people most want out of life (“life’s prime want”). But anyway I think this has to be part of historical materialism—and maybe it always has been and I just haven’t read enough Marx or Marxists—but yes although people go into political motion on behalf of bread, the bread isn’t the end goal: they want the bread because they want life, they want light.

I have a deep urge to act as what C.S. Lewis calls a “senile benevolence” and tell everyone I meet who is getting dragged up that cul-de-sac by their falling for a narrow love (that is, fooling themselves that they will be contented with art for art’s sake, or a fondness for academia, or a life close to nature, etc. etc.) that of course they should choose what they like and if they’re happy they’re happy.

But I want to fight and overcome this urge, because doing that would be unkind in a deeper sense. Let us tell the truth—a person is deeply mistaken if they think they see a whole and unpolluted future for themselves up that path, because scientifically we know that that river runs with poison, and it does not flow into the ocean but only—eventually—into a fetid lake. If you need to—if it is truly objectively necessary for you to be basically stable and reliable—then sure, keep some distance from the violence, but don’t leave the movement: you will be selling the most important thing you own.

From Aldous Huxley’s Time Must Have a Stop:

“Apotheosis—the personality exalted and intensified to the point where the person ceases to be mere man or woman and becomes god-like, one of the Olympians, like that passionately pensive warrior, like those great titanesses brooding, naked, above the sarcophagi. And over against apotheosis—deification—personality annihilated in charity, in union, so that at last the man or woman can say, ‘Not I, but God in me.’

. . . Apotheosis and deification—the only roads of escape from the unutterable wearisomeness, the silly and degrading horror of being merely yourself, of being only human. Two roads; but in reality only the second led out into open country. So much more promising, apparently so vastly more attractive, the first invariably turned out to be only a glorious blind alley. Under triumphal arches, along an avenue of statuary and fountains, you marched in pomp towards an ultimate frustration—dead end of your own selfhood. And the dead end was solid marble, of course, and adorned with the colossal monuments of your power, magnanimity and wisdom, but no less of a wall than the most grotesquely hideous of the vices down there in your old, all too human prison. Whereas the other road …”

Some reflections on my path toward communism, and some thoughts on methods and motivations for going onward

Somehow—because they are so unbelievably, plainly, and immensely absurd—part of me has felt significantly responsible for the absurdities the world has seen ever since I learned what was going on in the world. I saw them passing, saw so many simple things that could be done or said, and yet I still can’t master myself well enough to stop them. There are only so many hours in the day before I have to sleep again. These painful and tragic events are such a farce and have been for so long. George W. Bush? Donald Trump? Even Barack Obama was and is such a hoax, such an obvious scam if you know even a little bit about how the world works. Surely I could do something. Surely I can get a few well-worded paragraphs around these strings that have become knotted up in history, so viscerally, hatefully ridiculous.

There is a fire spreading in the building we live in. It should be easy to point that out and see action. But that is not how the world we are actually living in works. Fascism was always absurd. It was always inevitable, too, always bizarre. Such an affront to science for the Nazis to elevate their horseshit to the idea of science. But can “science” even be insulted? I guess the reason it seemed that way is that the region of the overall socioconceptual terrain that we call science seemed to some rarely explored part of my mind like some kind of sacred ground. But this is a liberal idea. Every way to draw conclusions about the world will be profaned by the hordes of reactionaries striving to hold on to dead establishments. With no exaggeration, every insult—literally insults, mockeries, attempts to verbally harm—will be given to the truth and the movement that honors the truth. It might hurt those who fight for the truth to hear these insults, but it won’t hurt the truth.

I woke up in a world… in the middle of the greatest and most banal empire in history, as it was telling itself the story was over, but the people were at war for their liberation in Peru even as I was born. I marinated in the dry leather of Bush Sr.’s face. I soaked in the chalky dry vapidity of loud TV commercials for products being manufactured in the billions, being told by the reactionary establishment that the greatest of victories one could achieve was the sheer quantity of these sales numbers.

When the moisture of human truth came back to the middle class, or at least to me, it was through the pain of earnesty in longing. This truth was progressive for me at this time. The extreme carelessness with themselves of those who wore dark eyeliner, who drank heavily from pain, it was all confession and validation of a truth: we are alive in a world where something really vital is missing. For me to watch the nighttime snowfall, the graceful melodies of pain and longing in a counterculture that hadn’t yet been principally monetized, it meant at least that the search for truth was not over. It was a vast (and in retrospect frustrating) naivete on my part that I didn’t confront myself with the reality of the greatness of the pain that was ongoing all over the world, but it was progressive for me personally to know that the rivers of the world were still flowing toward truths that more deeply honored what was within us. The fact that this pain was enunciated again and again proved that it was all flowing, that it did need to flow. The pain that was enunciated was the pain of the soul—it could not be satisfied with trinkets or smoothness or extremely well practiced smiles. It needed the truth. It also needed something deeper than gracefully expressed longing, itself a kind of trinket—itself good only when it is a signpost, not when taken as medicine in itself.

If you had told me the price for that truth while I was still seeking it in dance halls, in beautiful people in eyeliner, in something called art-in-itself, I would have found it beyond belief. But the pain of the world’s masses was somehow an irrelevancy to me then. I had options to eat and do well for myself materially. What I consciously told myself was that it was not my problem, that I would only get in the way because I was too coarse a person to care in a way that was fine-grained enough to be effective in these delicate situations, and besides that the problems that did still exist were solving themselves. I was not born into the world of suffering that prevails on most of the planet. I was born and lived on the edges beyond it.

An extremely sharp militancy and a passionately sought humility are both aspects of what the revolutionary science we have won tells us we must do with ourselves, ways we must transform ourselves—and principally the militancy. We must see to it that the masses become cut from the dream. The house is burning, and we cannot open the way out without great numbers—it is necessary that many people are rudely awakened. How can we expect all these billions of rude awakenings to go well? How can we expect all 7 billion to even wake up?

But when we wake them up, will they not see a light? Isn’t a better world coming together, isn’t it something realer than they have ever seen? Isn’t there a light on the people bringing this news, a flame whose brightness approaches gold, a flashlight whose beam approaches the blue of the midday sunlight—when the world of those being given the alarm has been dimness and smoke?

But the darkness will not go of its own, it is not defeated by seeing faces and hearing voices lit up this way. The darkness floods in—and the light within us, simply in our shining with it, will not destroy it. The question of the full emergence of the world into light from the darkness is a military question. It can only be settled through guerrilla and then conventional warfare. The hideousness and disease of the darkness, and the pure, all-nourishing, all-encompassingly valid value of the light, are justification for the war we must wage on the darkness, of the enormous care and attention we must have in nurturing and cultivating the light. The war is principal, but it will never happen without the light. People will never see the need for war against the darkness if they do not clearly see the light in us, in themselves, see the truth of the theory of how the light works, see and remember the light that shines in children, the light that is shining in the future, beyond this hell that can and must be killed.

We can have both motivations—we can fight in order to bring ruin and panic to this thing that has killed so many and twisted and hurt us and everyone we have ever loved or wished well. But it must be done mainly for the light, the light that will grow within us, the illuminatedness we will see on those who will gather to the true movement toward dawn, the light that we can know for sure will come. We must stand rifle in hand knowing that we are protecting the light that is growing behind us.

* * *

“The working class emerged, a new class was born. … That is who we are. The proletariat begins to illuminate the darkness. … This light was transformed into steel. …

Perhaps some people think that we should only speak about the positive, but there exists light and shadow, a contradiction.”
“For the New Flag,” Communist Party of Peru