Free to be Stupid and Violent.

Originally written in 2009 while working on my Bachelor’s of Fine Arts.

Capital, violence and stupidity are the top three catalysts to world events according to a documentary on stupidity. “If most of us are idiots then what is an idiot?”(Nerenberg, 2003) The term was coined for the IQ tests, those below a score of 25 were idiots and identified as being less then three years old in mentality. When we attempt to go back to our evolutionary roots, we find the idiotic, animalistic, frequently violent and overly sexual part of us. However this term was used differently prior to it’s current definition, Idiotai in Ancient Greece was the common people as differentiated from the poor (penetes) and the more powerful (dynatoi). Idiotai was also “unskilled worker.” These people didn’t vote, didn’t own land, were typically uneducated. They became like a wandering herd that allowed itself to be led. The correlation rings true today that most of the population is an idiot. They know very little about anything outside of the life set before them. They don’t participate or pay attention to how they are governed. Chomsky states “the issue is much broader. Its whether we want to live in a free society or whether we want to live under what amounts to a form of self-imposed totalitarianism, with the bewildered herd marginalized, directed elsewhere, terrified, screaming patriotic slogans, fearing for their lives and admiring with awe the leader who saved them from destruction.” (chomsky, 57) When the mass populace are idiots, it greases the wheels for the politically powerful.

Jensen made a claim that inaction is violence when you allow someone else to act violently. I disagree, one is not violent because they failed to predict another’s act of violence. Nor because they failed to stop it. It is no way a direct result of the inactive person. When brought out of the context of subjective violence and viewed through objective violence inaction is merely an acceptance of oppression, it is a form of self suffering. Jensen also attempts to classify people as good or bad by declaring those who care are not violent and listen and all others are opposite. This is a bold and blind statement to make about matters of humanity. I declare this to be untrue. A man who cares deeply about his family and neighbors will act out violently in order to protect them. A psychologically disturbed person may behave violently because they care deeply about an idea or a person and do not know how to manage their intense emotions. A sense of honor drives many sane and caring people to fight for ideals, for countries, for change. For many decades people have been clamoring for change and it goes unheard. The last great political change to the benefit of the people was the Civil Rights Movement. “The primary focus of the movement was aimed at cleaning the rotten food out of the same old refrigerator… the refrigerator needs to be destroyed.”(Rosenbaugh, 21)

The Civil rights movement made great changes with nonviolent means, these were at a time when boycotts and sit ins were effective. The nationalization of large corporations makes it near impossible to replicate this today. Although the internet has opened up another possible form of organizing to us, it is relentlessly exploited for entertainment only. The powers that be gain the advancing technology and use it against us faster then we can use it to organize and act. Revolution is only peaceful when the change is allowed to occur… and currently change is stifled. Take a look at this quote “At best sharecropping was barely a step up from slavery. Not only were blacks repaid little for their work in growing crops, most were forced to buy overpriced items from plantation stores. As a result most sharecropper families accumulated large debts and many were forced into financial dependence on the white plantation owners.” (Rosenbaugh, 67) Now take a close look at this revised version. At best capitalism is barely a step up from slavery. Not only are the working class repaid little for their work in manual labor, most are forced to buy overpriced items from stores. As a result, most working class families accumulate large debts and many are forced into financial dependence on the rich business owners.

The poor live in direct subjective violence, the poor and middle class are victims of objective violence (often they don’t realize) and the rich are protected from both and often perpetrators of the latter and sometimes the former, either way they have the power to decide who gets to be on the receiving end. Rosenbaugh claims “it is a resistance of the spirit”(Rosenbaugh, 243) that cause those in poverty to act in violence and it is the only way we have left to express ourselves. I partially disagree; the poor have proven over and over we can find new visual, musical and performance acts of expression. Again Rosenbaugh like Jenses states a black and white divide between “those who are well” and “those who are sick”(Rosenbaugh, 243) It is not so clear an issue, one is not evil or good. Rising above the turmoil the two create within us is progress and enlightenment. Oftentimes the law does not protect any of us in the lower class. I personally have been told until a life threatening individual actually takes violent action against me, the police can do nothing. Therefore I am left to protect myself, but if I do I can be held accountable and punished if the self defense becomes violent. On a daily basis forms of physical, economic, & emotional violence is enacted against citizens and is frequently undeserving. These are not published or recognized events. Tactics like bias ticketing and false charges allow police to play bully and keep “suspect” individuals from accumulating the wealth that may allow them to make changes in society. This is the reality of getting by, what options are we left for generating social change? Non violent demonstrations worked during the civil rights era, but more recently they have been met with violence such as Kent state.

“A Progressive Theory of Liberal Democratic Thought.” is a theory by Lippmann. “This theory asserts that only a small elite, the intellectual community that the Deweyites were talking about, can understand the common interest, what all of us care about, and that these things ‘elude the general public.’ ”(Chomsky,10) In current capitalism/faux democracy we are treated like children, distracted, allowed only enough say to elect a representative. Any declaration of our own ability to decide what is best for us is rejected as naive, disruptive, and sometimes criminal. “They may start to think, which is very dangerous, because they are not competent to think.” (Chomsky, 23) This attitude is realized by how the U.S. takes whatever military action they find due, no matter how much public opposition there is. We are able to speak, but not to be heard, all mass media is controlled. Art is not a violent act, nor does it directly exhibit violence, if it did, it would be illegal. It is part of the infectious movement of information to an expanding population attempting to either null or encourage the freedom of thought, which gives us the power to choose. It is part of the dialogue about violence, it is still argued what is right, wrong, true, false, acceptable, and not. Underground Music today embraces violence as an appropriate retaliation for acts of objective or subjective violence. La Coka Nostra’s song Soldiers of Fortune reads:

“I make war on the man that makes war on the D
Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim, caporegime, captain of the team
I know I’m uncivilized, I know I’m unclean
I know I get high, I know I’m sick, I’m obscene”

Also Jahred from Hed P.E. in the song Renegade says:

“Me you will never control
No Genocidal maniacal Devil
The party’s over

I’m a renegade, a runaway slave
I’ve been dreaming about my freedom on the underground train
It’s Armageddon you’re getting just what you wanted
Critical mass, freedom at last, freedom at last”

Personal and family protection, pride in belief, leadership and rejection of authority are all reasons to act out, in verbal or physical violence. Retracting to the survival instinct manifests a similar reaction to an animal caged. Rage and a desire for true freedom wells within. Horror movies flood the market either fantasizing or trying to make sense of the serial killer and the vigilante. The SAW movies initially promoted the idea that suffering makes one aware of the desire to live. The purpose of violence in movies is often portrayed as moral violence or evil violence. Or a struggle, complication of the two and so on. These events again stimulate the survival instinct and the struggle of ones will. People can act violently in our society as long as it is stupid, immature violence. Such as the T.V. show Jackass, or Jerry Springer. If one acts out with violence of a due purpose to promote a cause or to retaliate against the unseen, unpublished, and occasionally nonphysical violence of society, then they are to be dealt with as a threat to others civil liberties, when they are really only a threat to the system they are retaliating against. Even non violent demonstrations and organizations are met with such hostility. “Every other effort and strategy short of a full scale, fundamental political and societal revolution in the United States has been exhausted.” (Rosenbraugh,21)

It appears only those who seek higher consciousness understand it, and those that don’t are left to be the herd. Some art and music spread information like an infection to share higher understanding. Guerrilla Art, Independent Labels, sometimes brands such as S.R.H.(Supporting Radical Habits). What isn’t always apparent is that “life feeds off life, and because every action causes killing, the purpose of existence cannot be to simply avoid taking lives.”(Jensen 198) Both violent and non violent means of change require a negation of the status quo idiota and sacrifice of self or “self-suffering” to make progress. There is no way to avoid a loss of lives, and ignorance of this is a choice to be conditioned, to remain childlike and naive. This act is foolish, for the ones who have the power are willing to sacrifice any one of us to keep that power. “The sociopath finds it hard to sustain relationships and shows a lack of regret in his or her actions. A major personality behavior trait is the violation of the rights of others. This can appear as a disregard for the physical or sexual well being of another. Although these symptoms are all present, they may not always be evident. Research has shown that the sociopath is usually a person with an abundance of charm and wit. He or she may appear friendly and considerate, but these attributes are usually superficial. They are used as a way of blinding the other person to the personal agenda behind the sociopath’s behavior.” (http://www.wisegeek.com) I find these traits in the elite of political power. A feeling of superiority to level of deity, or a view of other people as lesser animalistic beings are inherent within this attitude. Serial Killers are often identified to be Sociopath’s. Educated and most notorious for that reason are Ted Bundy, Kalzynski(most educated on record), and Wagner.

How do we identify when it is time to observe, and wait, and remain calm and peaceful? When is the time to act? How do we identify whether to use nonviolence or to act out in violence? “The truth of the matter is buried under edifice after edifice of lies upon lies.” (Chomsky, 32) When truths and histories have become overly obliterated by lies and propaganda it becomes near impossible to sort out. Some try to create an ideal of how things should be, there is too much internal arguing about what new system to implement, nothing gets done. Zizek recognizes the dedication to eradicating subjective violence as a distraction from the real problem and thus participating in reinforcing its legitimacy. “Where terrorism has been successful its aims have usually been limited and clearly defined.”(Rosenbaugh, 255) While political and subjective violence in the case of defending one’s people or morality is self-legitimizing it isn’t the only effective route. Remaining ignorant, exploiting stupidity or refusing to move forward puts all the control for change in someone else’s hands. Perhaps finding the proper combination of violent and non violent means merits attention. Either way tactics must be implemented, for thinking many moves ahead of ones opponent applies to more then sports and games, it is part of political change.

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Art and evolution on the edge of chaos.

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