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