by John Duffy
Humans are creatures of myth. We invent stories to help us understand our surroundings, but we then become slaves to those stories, and to the false truths within. The real world, is the physical world; the sun, the soil, the water, the trees, the microscopic fungus, the mud wasps, the cucumber vines… However, the world most people are concerned with, is the man made world of myth we have blanketed over the real world, thus we spend most of our time focused on nations, jobs, mortgages, religions, TV show plot lines, celebrity activity, political parties, and a whole host of other noise that is one hundred percent imaginary. Just because more than one person imagines something, that doesn’t make it real.
Personally, I have lost all but the most trivial concern for the realm of myth, the game within a game, that most people spend most of their time worried about. When people argue about whether or not a particular law or government action is Constitutional, they might as well be asking themselves if every isotope of Kryptonite affects Superman the same way. The only reason the former question has any bearing on your life, is because other humans who themselves are insane with devotion to the imaginary, to the shared hallucination of human ceremony, will come and act upon you physically if you do not bow down and worship alongside them — that is, obey the rules of the game.
We don’t, in our daily lives, concern ourselves with the laws of Mayan or Babylonian society. We do not worry about Egyptian or Norse Gods striking us down. Those human games have long since ended and evolved, so we don’t bother ourselves to play them. Of course, it is just as absurd to concern ourselves with the contemporary imaginings — possibly more so once we acknowledge the folly of adhering to the hallucinations of the past — yet people persist in doing so, for fear of falling out of line with all other humans who are hopelessly dedicated to what amounts to no more than a giant game of tag.
Remember being a child, when some other kid would run up and tag you and scream, “You’re it!” You had no idea kids nearby were playing tag, and you were on your way home from school, so you would innocently reply, “I’m not playing.” The game of tag only existed in the minds of the participants, and you were not objectively “it.” “It” wasn’t anything really, just a designation accepted by the handful of other children in the area. The same applies to being “American,” or “Republican” or “Christian,” or an “Illegal Alien.” To quote comedian Doug Stanhope, “You’re not an American, you’re a guy, a person, an individual or whatever, that’s it …. I’m no more of an American than I am an Aries or an uncle, it’s something you called me and I was, was, here.”
What we seem to have become as a species (aside from converters of living material into landfill fodder) is fleshy vessels enacting ideological war. We have allowed the names on the map to become more real to us than the territory. We have enthusiastically taken to believing that the names we have given things are more real than the things themselves. Thus “muslims” fight “jews” and “conservatives” hate “liberals” and people slave away to maintain their “credit score.” It’s all bullshit. It’s all made up bullshit that immature human minds devoid of any semblance of wisdom take up like a banner, and put the force of their limbs behind. Would you kill to win a game of tag?
Of course, the stories and myths are utilized by the powerful to move real world factors. The specter of “American patriotism” is used to access real world things like oil. It’s likely impossible for an Iraqi to explain to an American soldier that all of the things he fights for exist only in his mind. When you’re staring down the barrel of a gun, it’s hard to not pick one up yourself and defend your life. Of course, via the magic of language you will then be converted from a person into a “terrorist,” an “insurgent” or some other mythical chimera that “Americans” can feel good about murdering. We hate when a person dies, especially an “innocent” person, but we celebrate and high five when a “terrorist” has their brain smeared all over the plaster wall behind his head. And hey, if we have to wipe out a few villages and cities to eliminate pockets of “terrorists,” that’s OK too.
Often, when I share this perspective with people, their immediate response is to point out that violence is a part of life on this planet, that nature itself is savage, and that I am romanticizing the natural world. They want me to fear elements of the real world, and take comfort in the supposed grace of our human manifestations.
Yes, nature can be violent, but it can be equally as giving. What is so beautiful, is that ultimately, nature is completely and utterly fair. Natural laws are true laws, as in they cannot be broken — not through influence, not through corruption, not by any of the means used to subvert human laws. I can’t buy off gravity, or convince it to not have as great a pull on me due to my family name.
All human laws are an attempt to subvert nature, primarily, to skirt death. But our laws are farcical, imaginary, and have no force behind them but other men. (Not to mention, a police officer’s club has behind it all of the biases burned into the mind of the man behind the badge since birth.) Natural laws are divine. If you trip you fall down, if you don’t eat you starve, if you contract a virus you grow ill. They apply to all equally. Tough but fair. In the wild, there are no favorites, no loopholes, no Kafka-esque bureaucracies.
I’m not concerned with this world within a world. It’s a twisted circus of the absurd which I cannot be bothered to try and make sense of. It frightens and saddens me that most people are willing to destroy the real world, the living physical world, in order to achieve some goal in the realm of the shared hallucination. Ultimately, what will come to pass will come to pass, and I am but one body, one consciousness roaming this planet. What I am loyal to is the water, the air, and the soil — the fish and the birds and those people around me who I love. The force of my efforts, the strength of my limbs, will be used to fight for those things, those very real things on whom I depend for life and happiness. When people try to stir me up into caring about this candidate or that political movement, all I need to know is, “Does this person love what I love? Do they care more about clean water than economic growth? Do they care more about functioning biomes than job creation?” Chances are, they do not. Chances are, they are slaves to the story line, and they want to put more thrust behind converting the living into the dead. Thus I deem them what they are — Psychotic; infected with the sickness of putting myth before reality, insanely staking the world on a dream.
I realize my size in all of this, as just one man. The best I can do, is just that, the best I can do. I can speak with you, I can urge you to lower your sword and stop serving the myths, the ceremonies, the language that is supposed to describe the objective – not the other way around. When you leave the psychopaths in charge of the asylum long enough, the place will be reduced to ashes, and that is the state of the human world. A purge is coming, and it will be a long overdue immolation of everything we thought that we were. Hopefully what grows afterwards is more humble, less eager to speak and more intent upon listening, gentler, and ready to find it’s place within the world, not hacking away at everything trying to build a throne upon it’s summit.
Until that time, I shall do as Voltaire suggests, and tend to my garden.
John Duffy is an artist and an activist currently residing in Austin, Texas. Having disavowed the culture, he has given up on his previous career choice as a filmmaker in favor of growing food and raising hell.