Fight the Power – A Confession

The life of a rebellious person is made more difficult by the accumulation of knowledge.  As I grow I see there is a constant temptation to use knowledge as a defense against, what is innate in some people, the tendency to advocate for justice, in the form of the complacency that can come with comfort.  I am guilty of this, and as I look at my relative material security, I am resistant to making enemies of those who might provide further support for my desires, some of which are good like providing for my family.  However, as the speed and direction of the capital machine, that serves itself more than the people, increases I am left with the thud in my chest that comes when I realize time and time again that I am in a corner out of which there is only one escape, and that is to resist.  I am damned if I do, and damned if I don’t.  It is a painfully unoriginal place to be.

The secret that I am confessing is that for most of my days I have resisted, fought the power, with some hope that my skills would be recognized, and that I would be taken into the fold.  This was not my only intention, much of my anger and repugnance concerning injustice was sincere, but as an individual I was hoping for a bright and comfortable future with which to look back and revel in my victories with the knowledge that I ‘did my part’.  This desire becomes more glaring now, as I am more comfortable than I have ever been and I suddenly lack the ambition to offer myself up to the business model that runs my particular social endeavor, as an artist.  I just can’t seem to do it, I can’t seem to find enthusiasm for the enterprise of branding myself.  It is truly startling to me.  I want to.  I want to leave the ghetto behind, I do.  I want to raise my daughter well, and have extra money and take vacations, but I cannot escape the constant notion that this American dream is hurting other people.  It sounds trite, but it is my life I’m talking about.  I go over and over it in my head, and I ask myself, “Am I afraid of rejection?”  And this could be the truth, but I offer my awareness as a defense against this prudent assumption.  I have had and transcended many many rejections in my life.  A great number of my victories are marked by the rejections to which I responded.  If I am dealing with rejection it is of a more insidious kind, the rejection of my individuality, a kind of totality that I must dissect and dissipate in order to belong.  No, I am not dealing simply with fear, I am dealing with an existential truth about myself, a type of calling from which I cannot escape, and I want to document it, because I am sickened by it, by the awareness it arouses of something more than a challenge to my ego.  It is nothing as simple as this.  It is like an invisible wall, that no matter what I muster I cannot penetrate, a boundary that threatens to define my future.

I am not alone with this.  This is not paranoia.  I am not some isolated, disgruntled boob.  I am a fairly well loved guy.  I have a nice family.  I have had some successes.  This is important only to illustrate that I have lots to lose, I have no incentive for this thing that lives inside of me, but I must speak about it, I must get it off my chest, because whatever the answer is, it has something to do with my relationship to work, with what I do with my effort, and how I relate to ‘the market’, that mysterious force that is to us as the Gods were to the Greeks.

I have friends who urge me to go deeper, when all I want to do is retreat, they urge me to fulfill what, as a young man I claimed as my intention, my destiny, to make the world a better place, but the truth is that now I am a man bound by those promises, and as I attempt to make my little world better I have no luck.  Only when I forsake myself and toss away all ambition does anything good happen in my life.  It’s not even ironic that I asked for this, it’s maddening.  I just wanted to say plainly how much I know the pull, the comfort of simple security, and how much I hate to threaten it, how much I am resisting putting myself out there, the way I did when I had nothing to lose, how weak I am, how much I know this, how pitiful I am as a human being, and how powerful is this something, this force that is dragging me along and teaching me something about the universe, a force to which I have no pure love, not pure rage, no pure knowledge, no pure anything, except the occasionally pure awareness of my powerlessness, and my desire for a happy destination.


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