Monday, November 24, 2014

a better way to live


forget about whether “the revolution" will ever actually happen—the best reason to be a revolutionary is simply that it is a better way to live now. 

it offers you a chance to lead a life that matters, gives you a relationship to injustice so you don’t have to deny your own grief and outrage, keeps you conscious of the give and take always going on between individual and institution, self and community, one and all. no institution can offer you freedom—but you can experience it in challenging and reinventing institutions.

 when school children make up their own words to the songs they are taught, when people show up by the tens of thousands to interfere with a closed-door meeting of expert economists discussing their lives, that’s what they’re  up to: rediscovering that self-determination, like power, belongs only to the ones who exercise it. 

shout it over the rooftops: culture can belong to us. we can make our own music, mythology, science, technology, tradition, psychology, literature, history, ethics, political power. until we do, we’re stuck buying mass-produced movies and compact discs made by corporate mercenaries, sitting faceless and immobilized at arena rock performances and sports events, struggling with other people’s inventions and programs and theories that make less sense to us than sorcery did to our ancestors, shamefacedly accepting the judgments of priests and agony columnists and radio talk show hosts, berating ourselves for not living up to the standards set by college entrance exams and glamour magazines, listening to parents and counselors and psychiatrists and managers tell us we are the ones with the problems, buying our whole lives from the same specialists and entrepreneurs we sell them to—and gnashing our teeth in secret fury as they cut down the last trees and heroes with the cash and authority we give them. these things aren’t inevitable, inescapable tragedies—they’re consequences of the passivity to which we have relegated ourselves.