Monday, February 14, 2005

How long must we sing this song? 

Would that it be at least sometimes things could be chalked up to serendipity and not fate, but I feel that Marxy and I are indeed star-crossed as of late, at least as far as our socio-political interests are concerned. I was in the middle of indulging in a little musical time-trip back to the year in 1983 with the WAR album by U2 (that's right folks, 22 years ago) when I happened to read the newest neomarxism on the Japanese revolutionary spirit of the 60s lacking a certian je ne sais quoi, nach! I naturally concur. I also see that this is a hard one to triangulate, so the best thing to do might be to enlarge the scope of the conversation a bit, by admitting that almost NONE of the post-WWII student revolutionary movements outside America had a lasting POLICITAL effect. The resonance was mainly sustained in circles of Radical Philosophy (in Paris, Tokyo, and other places). Hey, at least Che is having the last laugh up in rebel heaven (hell?) with his recent stardom in the western cinema, right? In any event, since this is way too long to pass as a neighborly comment on the current thread over on David's blog, I'm posting it here on my blog...mostly for David, but I imagine that there will be a few other people out there who will be looking over our shoulders. Of course fewer still may comment...Anyway, looking forward to taking these and other issues on with you next time over a neat glass of Aberlour, David. By the way, have you seen Pacchigi, yet?

In discussing the direction modern society should take, some people propose the ideal of socialism and others the ideal of the welfare state, but these two are actually one and the same. At the extremity of freedom is the fatigue and boredom of a welfare state; needless to say, at the extremity of a socialist state there is suppression on freedom. With one part of his heart man supports grand social "visions", but then while he proceeds one step at a time, as soon as the ideal seems attainable he becomes bored with it. Each and everyone of us hides within his subconscious mind deep, blind impulses.

These are the dynamic expression of the contradictions filling one's life from moment to moment, a manifestation that has essentially nothing to do with social ideals for the future. In youth these are manifested in their boldest, sharpest form. Moreover, such blind impulses appear in dramatic opposition, even in confrontation with one another. Youth possesses the impulse to resist and the impulse to surrender, in equal measure. One might redefine these as the impulse to be free and the impulse to die. The manifestation of these impulses, no matter how political the form it assumes, is like an electric current that results from a difference in electrical charge - in other words, from the fundamental contractions of human existence...

I believe that the battle over the renewal of the American Security Treaty is one instance of extreme difference in electrical charge. The Security Treaty struggle was politically complex, and the young people who participated in it were simply seeking a cause for which they would be willing to lay down their lives. They were not necessarily goverened by ideology, and their conduct was not founded on their own reading of the text of the Security Treaty. They were trying to satisfy both their inner drives, the drives for resistance and death.

The frustration that followed the failure of the anti-Security Treaty demonstrations was even worse, however. Those who had participated were made to realize that the political movement to which they had devoted themselves was a sort of fiction, that death does not transcend reality, that political achievements provide no satisfaction, that the energy of all their actions had been in vain. Once again the youth in modern Japan received the crushing sentance, "The cause for which you died was not worthwhile."

- Excerpts from Mishima's "Hagakure Nyumon"
And it's true we are immune,
When fact is fiction and T.V. is reality,
And today the millions cry,
We eat and drink while tomorrow they die.
The real battle just begun...

- Lyrics from U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday

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