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Uit de oude doos

Ik kwam een oude tekst tegen, van Opdevulkaan editie 2012. Het laat een stukje zien van waar Opdevulkaan over gaat, als een soort associatief manifest in wording. Het avondgedeelte van Opdevulkaan was in het Engels, met een discussie tussen 2 studenten over Occupy, over politieke verschillen en menselijke overeenkomsten.

 

Hersenstormen & hartstochten Opdevulkaan

Wat willen we bereiken? Waar komen we vandaan?

Breed gedeeld gevoel: zo kunnen we toch niet doorgaan?

Onbehagen, onvrede, onrust, oproer:
economische crisis
ecologische onbalans: we putten uit, overvragen, overstresst, woekeren (ziektes die daarmee te maken hebben, ziekte van deze tijd als signaal)

Wereldwijd verbonden: connecties ….. ook daar uitputting, uitbuiting, wereldwijde solidariteit, is moeilijk te realiseren, ontzettend veel gevraagd. Ook hier: het oude werkt niet meer: ontwikkelingssamenwerking heeft langste tijd gehad (NRC: Afrika heeft de witterik niet nodig)

Kracht vanuit mensen, niet vanuit overheden.

Verlustigen in crisisdenken (lekker griezelen)

Onheilsprofetieën

Bezuinigingen: op kunst, op ontwikkelingssamenwerking. Signaal: het gaat niet goed en misschien is dat ook wel zo, maar ook niet goed om vanuit rancune van eng nationaal denken, van puur economisch nut denken ‘ikke ikke ikke’ = ook angst

Jongeren? Consumentisme: maar ook onvrede/ rellen Engeland/ rechts non-conformisme, ook daar: het oude voldoet niet/vragen bij democratie/ook: complotdenken

Internet/sociale media: wat doet dat?

Van lineair naar cirkeldenken, religie van patriarchaal/monotheïsme naar andere vormen? Is dat zo?

Veel starheid/zoeken naar eenduidigheid: kan kunst dat doorbreken? Kan kunst ons wegen naar nieuwe tijden laten zien? Of zitten kunst en kunstenaars zelf vast in oude structuren?

Beleving: hapinezz en andere spiricommercie

Ook: vonken van inspiratie

Aarde is ziek/wij zijn ziek

Dansen op de vulkaan

Times they are changing …. een eeuwig verlangen? Een eeuwige waarheid en daarmee nietszeggend?

Paradigmashifts, ook al zo’n versleten woord

Niets dan versleten woorden

Nieuw vocabulaire? Wat een pretenties

Zo stormt mijn brain door

Draait de verbeelding door

Voortdurende voedselvergiftiging

Bloed aan ‘onze’ handen, aan wiens handen niet?

De achtbaan van het hyperconsumentisme: en de God van het kapitalisme zag dat het goed was? (Amerikaans plan na wo II om economie weer op gang te brengen)

Zand in de machine?!
Ik koop dus ik besta, ja, ik ook, al zijn het dan de goede dingen in het leven: bio, echte thee, goede wijn, designerschoenen (niet zo bio vlgns mij) want vrouw van de wereld, geen auto maar fiets en ov (lekker dwarse lifestyle, geld- en milieubesparend komt dat even goed uit voor mijn ego), grotestadsmiddencreaklasse in wijk waar gezellige verantwoorde koffietentjes als paddenstoelen uit de grond schieten, in zo’n huis niet te groot maar ook niet te klein met ornamentenplafond, kleurtje op de muur en suiteseparatie? Zo’n ‘als ik nog een jong kind had, had ik een bakfiets gehad’ mens? Oh ja goed boek ook, moet tijd maken om met de twitterboekenclub van Bas Heijne mee te doen

Zo iemand die het over crisis heeft terwijl ze het zelf heel erg goed heeft, wat een salonsocialist eigenlijk, nou ja, socialist, nou ja, hardwerkende salonsocialist dan wel, salonfeminist?!

Zo iemand die heus naar zichzelf kijkt, maar ook best het systeem de schuld kan geven, maar toch ook echt niet begrijpt waarom iemand, systeem of niet, miljoenenbonussen opstrijkt.

Zou zo’n Peter Bakker nu al zijn geld aan goede doelen schenken? Zou het echt? Verbonden aan wereldvoedselprogramma, verbonden aan Urgenda, maar postbodes mogen creperen, wat zijn we toch een schizofreen zooitje met zijn allen, ook dat is – gelukkig – niet eerlijk verdeeld. Zij toch echt een beetje meer dan wij. Welke zij? Welke wij?

‘Ga toch werken man’ tegen de Occupyers, werken waar? Werken waarvoor? Stemmetje klinkt ook in mij, de paplepel en zo.

Vrijheid? Wakker worden big brother is allang onder ons het is allang bit(s) of freedom

Controle en beheersdwang is alom. Risicomanagement: hoge opbrengsten met lage risico’s.     Mensen als risico’s. Mensen die zorg nodig hebben. Mensen die willen leren als poort naar een betere toekomst. Gruwel ervan. Angst angst angst. Gif.

Op de apenrots, hoeveel bonus ben jij waard? Hoeveel risico’s met andermens geld durf jij te nemen? Hoeveel is de stront die je over je heen krijgt van het gepeupel, uitgedrukt in bonus, waard? Big swinging dicks.

Grenzen vervagen, geografische grenzen tegelijk worden er vestingen gebouwd, muren opgetrokken om het ‘kwade’ het ‘ongewenste’ buiten te houden. Een hang naar veiligheid, daar geven we dan kapitalen aan uit en we voelen ons nog onveiliger. Dan is er toch iets aan de hand? Van muren optrekken, van leegten opvullen wordt toch niemand blij?

Grenzen vervagen tussen disciplines, tussen domeinen: politiek=cabaret, wij staan erbij en kijken ernaar

Gezocht: politicus met moed om naar zichzelf te kijken, met moed om het goede te doen, niet voor zichzelf, niet voor de buhne

Het is veel: heel veel
Veel moois
Veel veel minder fraais

Het teveel zoekt een uitweg: in verveling/in negativiteit  verzet, transformatie in mooie energie

Revolutie: welke revolutie: gaat te snel?!

Heel veel initiatieven, energie die het anders wil

 

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Radical reflection is needed. And what about the notion that Politicians should be looking inward before acting out, wouldn’t that be great? Perhaps we should all be looking inward as well, and then connect these self – reflections with reflections on the political, social, economical, and ecological realities outside.
This of course, is not easy in this time of media exposure, the era of the sound bite, of ‘snapshots’ on FB and twitter. Contemplation is ‘out’. Some of us are not participating in this crazy overexposure of quick images and imaginary I’s that are being played out. Some of us don’t care about being cool, don’t care about “stuff”. Well maybe this story is not for this minority of people, although we certainly have to cherish them, give them credits for their way of being, and listen to them.
We don’t all have the ability to live autonomously, as much as possible outside ‘the’ system. We need these people, among them autonomous artists like my own partner Chris. I myself stand with at least one leg inside, at the margins maybe. And everyone with kids most certainly has to; to survive, to be a good parent and guide our kids through this complex society and give them a future with perspective.

I bought a book the other day from a Dutch sociologist, Willem Schinkel –  it has already made a big impression on me. Here are some snapshots:
Schinkel:
The Dutch political system smells of rotten meat. It remains society’s mirror in the sense that we might liken it to that of a museum. Take the Museum Netherlands for instance, with its inward looking gaze, its gerontocratic mentality, historical conservatism and production of ‘Dutch values’.

With the perspectives of this book, I hope for energy, energy to escape the compelling yet mediocre stories about politics, the economic crisis, safety and security and law, and the failure of multicultural society.

This book is about keeping the spirit of utopic longing alive amidst the depoliticising of politics.

Left of left is a space where we can think of real alternatives – it is not left in the current use of the term in politics or concept.

What is left in the cowardous embracing of a neoliberal market illustrated by setting aside politics and democracy in the restoration of so called free markets, markets that gave rise to the current chaos in the first place?

What is left about the lack of courage to bend the worries about loss of consuming power into something positive because it brings ecological gains?

What does freedom mean? Freedom of choice? It’s the freedom to choose between the existing and the same. The differences exist in a tickle of tolerance here and a percentage of consuming power there. There seem to be no alternatives. Even stronger so: who thinks about that is a dreamer and dreaming is dangerous.

Which freedom then is being defended against the instructions from ‘Islam’? That’s only a smoke screen to hide the lack of real freedom.

 

Left and right have become hollow concepts. The image of the bamboo plant pops up, with this difference: a bamboo was made to wave in all directions the wind takes it

Besides Schinkels book, I bought a book called the Green Revolution (Groene Revolutie) from Roger Scruton. Scruton isn’t that the – maybe ultra-conservative thinker, and he is talking about a green revolution? Yes he is.
Advocating local policy and civil society action in small groups, and yes he is talking about revolution.
Interesting isn’t it?
There is one big difference: Scruton is talking of a revolt in society, moving away from (state) politics whereas Schinkel is fighting depolitising tendencies and wants to reform politics.

Do we need left and right and all the in betweens and points beyond. Stating this question is stating the question of whether we need politics or not. Politics is supposed to function as an orientation point, as beacon of society, when functioning properly, when meaning full.
Meaning full means in this (con) text: a way to political identify yourself. Yes, politics is always about emotional binds, about identity as well as rational ideas. It’s about a passionate longing and fighting for a better world by declaiming sweeping visions, grand design worldviews,  on stage, to inspire people.
If you try to eliminate this from politics you destroy its soul, it becomes meaningless, technocratic machinery for the benefit of the market; for the benefit of maintaining the system although it has become meaningless, disenchanted, without soul: and that is just what has been happening over the last 30 years.

We can all stand here, longing for a better society, for a future for ourselves and our kids, for a good life in peace and health, and each one of us can have a different utopia in mind, and if not, than the way to reach that utopia will certainly differ… I for instance like to think of Rosa’s Luxembourgs famous line: If I can’t reach the revolution dancing, than better not have a revolution at all.
It’s the process that counts stupid.

I don’t like the conservative label although I can personally find a lot of ideas that stem from the conservatives. I don’t like to be called liberal, although I most certainly am…why not then? Because in the Dutch context this means neo-liberal, rightwing liberal. And that’s not me. But maybe it’s you and we still might share some common dreams and feel the same discomfort.

Should we even try to overcome these differences? NO NO NO they are the core of a healthy democracy, the core of debate, a debate with respect for the other, a debate about life and death, about matters of concern and not so much matters of facts (thank you Latour for this insight)

Crisis. Democracy is in crisis. That’s for sure. Let’s ask our students. They have doubts. Strong doubts. And rightfully so. What bothers me is not their doubts, their critical voice, it’s the solutions they come up with: solutions which I think are part of the problem instead. We need to go back to the core of democracy and improve it by making it more inclusive. That’s not the solution they are advocating: their solution is one of picking up the pieces and throw them in the garbage bin. Opgeruimd staat netjes. Auch… that hurts my already bleeding democratic heart.

Students, youngsters and all others: what is left of your dreams? Aren’t they worth living? Don’t you have dreams for a better society? For a better future? Can’t you imagine a different democracy? A system that encompasses positive human values, nourishes people and cherishes their human dignity, their value as humans, and not as economic instruments.

The Financial-economic crisis: I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough, certainly that is the case, so much to read, to watch, to experience … So I need to make time to really dive into it, to explore and thoroughly study and analyze it. But there are more reasons why I just don’t get it. It’s one big piece of performance art, of drama, of comedy, of the most basic animal instincts and I’m not talking about the touching, heartwarming parts of instinct here.
It’s about big swinging dicks stupid! Don’t you get it?
Aha: so I need a different vocabulary, different tools, other ways of looking to get it? Now we’re talking. One of the best books about the crisis is written by an anthropologist, certainly not by an economic scientist. What can art mean here? A lot I guess, but I suppose there are people here who can provide better answers to this questions than me.

What I do know is that the economic system is not sustainable, but that itself has become a meaningless statement, the system has gone mad, nuts, wacky, dolgedraaid,  and you don’t have to be a genius to come to that conclusion, do you? Although some are acting as in denial, most of our politicians are, for instance, acting against common sense, against knowing better, and deep down they must know it. They are acting with the courage of despair, against all odds, which is no real courage at all, and it looks more like a lack of courage to face the facts.

We need to make those politicians clear that they should open up their eyes, look what is going on in reality and deal with it. Left, right, in between and beyond. In that, we can be united. If we have the guts to do so. To face the fact that we are incorporated as well, we are part of that same system and to a more or lesser extent are enjoying it like we are all in ‘Luilekkerland’ having a good life. A decadent life, while others are doing the slavery for us. Yes for all of us and I don’t mean to argue about poverty here in the Netherlands, yes, that does exist, I won’t deny it, and I ‘m certainly not asking of those who don’t have much money, and I’ve been there myself although it didn’t feel like it because I knew it was temporarily, to be grateful for what they have. No, inequality is part of the system and we should fight for a more human one which is sustainable, healthy and respectful for every human being, but having said that: on a global scale we are rich, the clothes we are wearing, the food we are eating, we consume it at the expense of others in the so called third world. I can’t speak for you and you and you, but I know if we don’t face that we are part of the system, that we helped to create it in some perverse way, and that we are certainly profiting from it as well, that there will be no real, lasting, sustainable if you want, change.

The ecological crisis: the same as the economic one. I am guilty as hell, guilt may not be a constructive attitude, it is there and I have to face it. Of course I can look to others and give myself a pat on the shoulder, well done: you don’t drive a car, have 1 child, don’t fly that often et cetera. But on different points my footprint is large, huge. What about yours? We know we need to find ways to create a positive footprint, as the founder of cradle to cradle Michael Brautigan states.

We have to diminish consuming and stop producing all the crap, all the instant junk products that are poisoning ourselves and the earth. But do we have to cut spending, period? No, says Brautigan, no says philosopher Karim Benammar. We have to find creative, innovative ways to deal with abundance, to generate positive energy out of it.

Brautigan: cradle to cradle: we have to create a positive footprint, it’s not about being carbon neutral, that would mean: stop acting, stop living, would be negative not positive. Why are we poisoning ourselves? Is there so much self- hatred? Don’t we as humans, all humans, deserve more? Again: what about our own free will, no I don’t want to get into that ‘it’s the brain stupid debate’. But I do have doubts about humans as rational (calculating) creatures. Why for crying out loud would we poison ourselves with crap?
In a discussion about art and the environment said a very interesting thing at the end which puzzled me: We can’t go back. We don’t need an image of Mother Earth. Mother is a punishing figure? Karim Benammar on that same occasion: what is your standpoint? Do you travel from the idea of scarcity or abundance? If our starting point is scarcity then we should lower our consumption, diminish our food print, doing less, and living a sober life, like an ascetic. It makes sense but not as a complete fulfilling lifestyle for everyone, because that can turn into a life of guilt, of strictness, about NOT doing, and holding back the energy.
The idea of abundance is that we as humans together create so much energy, energy that is not needed to survive, there is a big spill over, lots of abundant energy. This abundant energy can flow in two directions, positively into creation: art, sex, and ritualism and negatively into violence and war. It has the tendency to go into the negative direction, unless we act consciously and create something positive. His ideas stem from Baudelaire, influenced by World war I, where so much young men died in the loopgraven. I was wondering: as this isn’t a gender neutral theory, what about women? There is a more female way of acting violent I’m sure. Maybe more like psychological warfare, women are good at that, that’s for sure. In these times of relative peace in the West how does violence show itself: into violence towards nature and politically oriented violence/attitude against the other against … against …. against life?

Needless to say maybe I am at the abundant side, with all the corresponding traps such as having too much “stuff”. Let’s celebrate abundance and create positivity, but that only can be done if we face the negativity, the violence that is always nearby. We have to cope with it. We just have to…

Let’s turn to art: art is in the positive stream, but is not only about beauty, about serenity, nice calm pictures, music et cetera. Of course, just enjoying a beautiful, aesthetic, soul touching piece of art is a big joy, but for me, if that was the only flavor I could choose, it would be boring. Art can also be disturbing, leave us in trouble, confused.

Joep van Lieshout: slave city. Same debate: the Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout created a slave city. A society where the useful (bright and healthy) people are needed, the healthy, strong but not so bright can be useful as workforce and the rest can be eaten and so be useful as food for the rest. Quelle horreur. A dystopic view into …. our future? Or the present? …. Let’s think of it: isn’t that the way much of our abundant energy goes: to the violence of utility maximization, put to the extreme of course, but you don’t have to think long to come up with real examples from right here, right now, do you?
Disturbing art indeed. Not beautiful. No. Fascinating? Sure.

Whereas Benammar labelled rituals as positive, they are not necessarily so. Even the beautiful side has been corrupted, as a market, as consumer goods as markers of a lifestyle.
“Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life. That we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction in consumption … we need things consumed, burned-up, replaced and discarded at an ever accelerating level.”According to Retail analyst Victor Lebow after World War II, one of the ‘wise’ men after World War II that formed a think tank to give the economy a new boost.
And so it happened
And the god of capitalism saw it was good.
Or? …….
These don’t seem to me the rituals that are on the positive side of the energy spill over …

Speaking about rituals: politics is full of rituals as well, and I think it is important to bear that in mind…to keep the rituals alive, to find new rituals to turn away from the bald, and cold technocratic solutions

I was talking of different kinds of crises as if it’s possible to separate them, to neatly categorize them, no, they are intertwined, different aspects of the same thing, it’s a netwerk stupid! With connections and broken connections. With healthy and more unhealthy ties.

Interesting times we are living in:
At the brink of a major change?
Are we?
If we aren’t forced to, will we change?

If we come to think of it, really look, and analyze what is going on, we have to say: this is insane. Many people feel it, a growing discomfort, this is not right, we keep on poisoning the earth and therewith ourselves (breastmilk is on the top of the food pyramid which contains most toxins) we transport our problems to the so called third world and exploit the people and nature there. But of course in a globalised world there is no far away: the wind blows the polluted air back in our face and the exploited come to our ‘Paradise’ where we don’t want them unless maybe they are a useful contribution to our economy.

We need to do things differently. But how? Who catches the core of the problems? What language do we have? Words are not enough, not by far. I don’t have answers here, what I do know is:

–      There will be no real change if we don’t connect the inner world and the outside world. The political and the personal, the body, the soul and the mind. System and individual. I think we need some kind of spirituality, but not in a dogmatic ‘pure’ way.

–      We have to face the negativity, the destructive forces, also in ourselves, especially in ourselves.

–      Art could help to find a ‘language’ , by imagination, to analyse what is going on, to see the broader picture and really understand it, as long as we don’t do that, there will be no real change.

– Art can make sense without being logical, heterogenity is the norm, celebrating difference, celebrating the beauty of complexity, living in contradictions is being human. Let’s celebrate.

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