DUAL STRESS IN SOCIAL STRUCTURE
Two tendencies within a social movement.
Another view of the dynamic quality of the opposites is expressed in the words:
CENTRIPETAL and CENTRIFUGAL, of which Lama Anagarika Govinda writes:
"Life has two fundamental tendencies: the one contraction (centralization), the other expansion. The former one acts in a centripetal way, the latter in a centrifugal way. The one means unification, the other differentiation of growth. I growth prevails over unity it results in disorganization, disintegration, chaos, decay. In organic life hypertrophy leads to the final destruction of the organism ("cancer"). In mental life growth without unity (centralization) leads to insanity, mental dissolution. If centralization prevails over growth it results in atrophy and finally in the complete stagnation of life, whether physical or spiritual."
Lama Anagarika Govinda, The Psychological Attitude of Early Buddhist Philosophy.
Is that all that you have left to do - is to dress up in black leather and whip one another? Or watch banal TV games with naked women running with oranges under their chins?
"True freedom exists only were it is fostered by the spirit of responsibility. Responsibility towards one's fellowmen is an ethical feeling arising from human associations and having justice for each and all as its basis. Only when this principle is present is society a real community developing in each of its members that precious urge towards solidarity which is the ethical basis of every healthy human grouping. Only when the feeling of solidarity is joined to the inner urge for social justice does freedom become a tie uniting all; only under this condition does the freedom of fellowmen become, not a limitation, but a confirmation and guarantee of individual freedom."
After a period of living in Amsterdam, I ask myself, if in a city such as Amsterdam, with its history of 'alternative' culture,, there exists what Rocker calls, "..the precious urge towards solidarity which is the ethical basis of every healthy human grouping." And I answer myself, yes and no.
What, is any, cultural identity, does Amsterdam lay claim to? Perhaps to the dreadful, pretentious 'KREMLIN MOLE' from the MAZZO cultural Mafia on Rozenstraat and its second hand prostitution of New York avant gardism, where one is clubbed to death with the fact that Rob Malash is a friend of Philip Glass.
'KREMLIN MOLE' has about as much social conscience as a Cartier advertisement. Then, one can range in publications, from the Diary (HET DAGBOEK) of Fabiola, exquisitely hand-crafted in a titanic edition of 20 copies. to the 'PSI_LIST' magazine from the Amsterdam Balloon Company and Ruigoord community; the one and only (we think) 'ATOM CLUB' magazine, which carried some excellent creative/co-operative ideas and good listings and juicy cultural thoughts from Bill Levy; the 'esoteric' New Age magazine BRES; the Radio magazine 'ZENDER' also beautifully produced, and 'BLUFF' a dynamic vehicle for the Kraker (Squatter) Movement, and then the various Dutch clones of 'The Face', which say little, but pose a lot.
The impression one has from these various publications, is that they all need to maintain their respective ego-territory, the divisions amongst the various Amsterdam cultural groupings indicates that no common front has yet been achieved, by way of a participatory democracy.Perhaps a lesson may be learnt )before it is too late) from the now destroyed GLC in London, where many groups with similar social objectives managed to converge under the "GLC Working for London" banner. Talk is in the air that cultural subsidies are being cut in Amsterdam (e.g. the closing of 'The Kosmos Centre).
A day browsing around the magazine shops in Amsterdam can be a traumatic experience.The full spectrum of social, cultural, political, scientific, anti-nuclear, Third World, feminist,, lesbian and gay, etc. publications are enough to nourish any need. One cannot help feel, that if this multitude of threads were woven together, then we would have the "...precious urge towards solidarity.." bearing fruit, and certainly pushing the Netherlands into the forefront of coming developments.
One of the most positive projects was 'The International Youth Media Festival' of November last year, and its ongoing projects. It is sad that the word 'youth' has to be used, when actually the issues at stake have much broader application.But in the fine-tuning of the project, the broader sweep of recent history has not been swept out of sight. Whatever victories were achieved over the past few decades, whatever ground has been gained and lost again to Rambo Mania and the Hegemony, the 'International Youth Media Festival Report' does fill one with hope, because it talks of a practical strategy and especially in terms of the vital issue of the moment: INFORMATION AND THE MEDIA.
If there were specific historic conditions that made Amsterdam a focal point over the past few decades, then here in the International Youth Media Festival we can see one direction in which the continuity has not been lost.
But the vitality of the project would be enhanced if the base was broadened - and a solidarity achieved with parallel strategies.
THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON
THE LADY IN THE Q
If you remember , years ago, SABC TV screened a series called 'The World at War'. In South Africa, the South African Broadcasting Corporation banned one of the episodes, but after a general outcry, it was eventually screened. There was one scene in particular that had a powerful effect on me. It was an interview with an elderly woman, who had lived in a village near a concentration camp. She was standing in a Q, perhaps waiting for bread, and started to ask some of the other women, if they did not realize what was going on in the camps, i.e. the gas ovens. Their response was immediate.She was actually attacked by the other women, and called a traitor and a liar. I think she was physically beaten up as well.
These details may not be correct, but the principle is the point. Another example is to be found in 'The Futurology Congress' by Stanslav Lem, the brilliant science-fiction writer. He describes a society drugged by mass-medication into believing they live in a paradise. With an antidote drug, dispensed surreptitiously by an underground resistance movement, the social reality is seen for the first time for what it really is - a filthy, impoverished hell. This novel, and the other works of Lem, are well worth reading.
I could not help seeing the parallels between the shattering sufferings, for example in the refugee camps in Rwanda, with the luxury images of the Perfect Home and the Perfect Family on European Television Commercials.
In fact, let us look at a few other IMAGES - In an Italian magazine, on the same page is a bloody series on men having their ears cut off - in a West African country - contrasted to a man in Luxury Bubble Bath.
The starving children in Sudan - their legs and arms like black twigs, eyes festering, huge clouds of flies - cut to - adverts - luxury cars, etc.
Endless luxury food items immediately followed by rows of bodies of little children - close up of a little blond boy of about 6 years in a pale blue anorak - the eyes still open in death - Sarajevo.
Do we really care? Are we totally desensitized to this flood of violence? How much further can this process of dehumanization go?
Hang the Rocker - Violence of the State, with Schiller, Rambo etc.
Contrast to meta-motivation of Maslow.
Chuck Conners article.
1.) Goonatilake: the emergence of new legitimizing groups from the hegemonic blanket.
2.)The formation of creative communication strategies - a culture of resistance.
The role of NWIO in this, if any:
Update on the 100th Monkey Law, the 100th Termite. Groups and Individuals with parallel objectives will begin to converge - not into new social coagulations and the deadening effect of the route to bureaucracy - but to radiate outwards to fresh possibilities.
The democratic participation of all groupings and individuals in a process of information sharing - will help establish new frontiers for practical social action. This need NOT led into future strangulations of organization.
The priority of establishing a cultural data-base, would be, through the emancipatory effects of the new information flow, to assist in the birthing of patterns of social creativity. This is to face, "...the threat to human culture from the tyranny of the totalitarian state."
The popularity of this story -
Washing potatoes does not stop teflon coated bullets. The 100th Termite supplants and updates the 100th Monkey Law. It is a time to organize - "create new organizations."
Is there any evidence that it has come about?
The process of building any social structure, i.e. an 'organic' - ization of human resources, is always fraught with difficulties. Without going into any specific details, I think we have extensive evidence that many social groupings have suffered from personality clashes, ego trips, and the power games of inter-personal politics. In fact, I would go so far as to say, that often we may be overdeveloped on the ideological side of the brain - with not enough development of the chological aspect. Spaciousness, gentleness and compassion are in short supply.
Many of us still inhabit, or 'display' very hardened edifices, or psychic shells. Social intercourse is reduced to a clash of brittle, unyielding surfaces, of likes and dislikes, gender preferences and so on. We co-habit, merely to extricate contacts and information to utilize on the personal climb up the social ladder.
Note: Persona means 'mask'. It is the mask that thinks it is climbing. Unfortunately, Impermanence is always around the corner, be it in the form of illness, disaster, or death.
Once that is achieved, those ascending, drop those beneath them like the proverbial hot brick! The Achievers then create their own insulated society - which can be examined with anthropological exactitude in the social pages of 'STYLE' magazine.
30th April 1994
1. Increase in violence amongst adolescents.
2.Bacchae, p. 28 : "..the disease which produced them is not yet dead."
3. SM in gay circles, Robert Maplethorpe.
Creating an Enlightened Society. What exactly, do we mean by these words.
Cruelty - intentional cruelty - like the M. de Sade and Gilles de Rais.
Virtual Reality, S.M. Billions of dollars spent on a technology to inflict pain.
Swan Lake and the knife slashing breast open at supper time.
10,000 books and articles written about Hitler and the Reich.
The Fascist salute bursting OUT of the TV screen.