The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism
By Hakim Bey
COMMUNIQUES OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR ONTOLOGICAL ANARCHY
COMMUNIQUE #1 (SPRING 1986) I. Slogans & Mottos for Subway Graffiti & Other Purposes
(for scrawling or rubberstamping on advertisements:)
THIS IS YOUR TRUE DESIRE
STRIKE FOR INDOLENCE & SPIRITUAL BEAUTY
YOUNG CHILDREN HAVE BEAUTIFUL FEET
THE CHAINS OF LAW HAVE BEEN BROKEN
KIDS' LIB URBAN GUERILLAS
IMAGINARY SHIITE FANATICS
(SODOM FOR THE SODOMITES)
CHAOS NEVER DIED Some of these are “sincere” slogans of the A.O.A.–others are meant to rouse public apprehension & misgivings–but we're not sure which is which. Thanx to Stalin, Anon., Bob Black, Pir Hassan (upon his mention be peace), F. Nietzsche, Hank Purcell Jr., “P.M.,” & Bro. Abu Jehad al-Salah of the Moorish Temple of Dagon.
II. Some Poetic-Terrorist Ideas Still Sadly Languishing in the Realm of "Conceptual Art"
1. Walk into Citibank or Chembank computer customer service area during busy period, take a shit on the floor, & leave. 2. Chicago May Day '86: organize “religious” procession for Haymarket “Martyrs”–huge banners with sentimental portraits, wreathed in flowers & streaming with tinsel & ribbon, borne by penitenti in black KKKatholic-style hooded gowns–outrageous campy TV acolytes with incense & holy water sprinkle the crowd–anarchists w/ash-smeared faces beat themselves with little flails & whips–a “Pope” in black robes blesses tiny symbolic coffins reverently carried to Cemetery by weeping punks. Such a spectacle ought to offend nearly everyone.
3. Paste up in public places a xerox flyer, photo of a beautiful twelve-year-old boy, naked and masturbating, clearly titled: THE FACE OF GOD.
4. Mail elaborate & exquisite magickal “blessings” anonymously to people or groups you admire, e.g. for their politics or spirituality or physical beauty or success in crime, etc. Follow the same general procedure as outlined in Section 5 below, but utilize an aesthetic of good fortune, bliss or love, as appropriate.
5. Invoke a terrible curse on a malign institution, such as the New York Post or the MUZAK company. A technique adapted from Malaysian sorcerers: send the Company a package containing a bottle, corked and sealed with black wax. Inside: dead insects, scorpions, lizards or the like; a bag containing graveyard dirt (“gris-gris” in American HooDoo terminology) along with other noxious substances; an egg, pierced with iron nails and pins; and a scroll on which an emblem is drawn (see p. 57).
(This yantra or veve invokes the Black Djinn, the Self's dark shadow. Full details obtainable from the A.O.A.) An accompanying note explains that the hex is sent against the institution & not against individuals–but unless the institution itself ceases to be malign, the curse (like a mirror) will begin to infect the premises with noxious fortune, a miasma of negativity. Prepare a “news release” explaining the curse & taking credit for it in the name of the American Poetry Society. Mail copies of this text to all employees of the institution & to selected media. The night before these letters arrive, wheatpaste the institutional premises with xerox copies of the Black Djinn's emblem, where they will be seen by all employees arriving for work next morning.
(Thanx to Abu Jehad again, & to Sri Anamananda–the Moorish Castellan of Belvedere Weather Tower–& other comrades of the Central Park Autonomous Zone, & Brooklyn Temple Number 1)
COMMUNIQUE #2 The Kallikak Memorial Bolo & Chaos Ashram: A Proposal
NURSING AN OBSESSION FOR Airstream trailers–those classic miniature dirigibles on wheels–& also the New Jersey Pine Barrens, huge lost backlands of sandy creeks & tar pines, cranberry bogs & ghost towns, population around 14 per sq. mile, dirt roads overgrown with fern, brokenspine cabins & isolated rusty mobile homes with burnt-out cars in the front yards land of the mythical Kallikaks–Piney families studied by eugenicists in the 1920's to justify sterilization of rural poor. Some Kallikaks married well, prospered, & waxed bourgeois thanx to good genes–others however never worked real jobs but lived off the woods–incest, sodomy, mental deficiencies galore–photos touched up to make them look vacant & morose–descended from rogue Indians, Hessian mercenaries, rum smugglers, deserters–Lovecraftian degenerates
come to think of it the Kallikaks might well have produced secret Chaotes, precursor sex radicals, Zerowork prophets. Like other monotone landscapes (desert, sea, swamp), the Barrens seem infused with erotic power–not vril or orgone so much as a languid disorder, almost a sluttishness of Nature, as if the very ground & water were formed of sexual flesh, membranes, spongy erectile tissue. We want to squat there, maybe an abandoned hunting/fishing lodge with old woodstove & privy–or decaying Vacation Cabins on some disused County Highway–or just a woodlot where we park 2 or 3 Airstreams hidden back in the pines near creek or swimming hole. Were the Kallikaks onto something good? We'll find out
somewhere boys dream that extraterrestrials will come to rescue them from their families, perhaps vaporizing the parents with some alien ray in the process. Oh well. Space Pirate Kidnap Plot Uncovered–“Alien” Unmasked As Shiite Fanatic Queer Poet–UFOs Seen Over Pine Barrens–“Lost Boys Will Leave Earth,” Claims So-Called Prophet Of Chaos Hakim Bey
runaway boys, mess & disorder, ecstasy & sloth, skinny- dipping, childhood as permanent insurrection–collections of frogs, snails, leaves–pissing in the moonlight–11, 12, 13–old enough to seize back control of one's own history from parents, school, Welfare, TV–Come live with us in the Barrens–we'll cultivate a local brand of seedless rope to finance our luxuries & contemplation of summer's alchemy–& otherwise produce nothing but artifacts of Poetic Terrorism & mementos of our pleasures
going for aimless rides in the old pickup, fishing & gathering, lying around in the shade reading comics & eating grapes–this is our economy. The suchness of things when unchained from the Law, each molecule an orchid, each atom a pearl to the attentive consciousness–this is our cult. The Airstream is draped with Persian rugs, the lawn is profuse with satisfied weeds
the treehouse becomes a wooden spaceship in the nakedness of July & midnight, half-open to the stars, warm with epicurean sweat, rushed & then hushed by the breathing of the Pines. (Dear Bolo Log: You asked for a practical & feasible utopia–here it is, no mere post-holocaust fantasy, no castles on the moon of Jupiter–a scheme we could start up tomorrow–except that every single aspect of it breaks some law, reveals some absolute taboo in U.S. society, threatens the very fabric of etc., etc. Too bad. This is our true desire, & to attain it we must contemplate not only a life of pure art but also pure crime, pure insurrection. Amen.)
(Thanx to the Grim Reaper & other members of the Si Fan Temple of Providence for YALU, GANO, SILA, & ideas)
COMMUNIQUE #3 Haymarket Issue
“I NEED ONLY MENTION in passing that there is a curious reappearance of the Catfish tradition in the popular Godzilla cycle of films which arose after the nuclear chaos unleashed upon Japan. In fact, the symbolic details in the evolution of Godzilla filmic poplore parallel in a quite surprising way the traditional Japanese and Chinese mythological and folkloric themes of combat with an ambivalent chaos creature (some of the films, like Mothra, directly recalling the ancient motifs of the cosmic egg/gourd/cocoon) that is usually tamed, after the failure of the civilizational order, through the special and indirect agency of children.”–Girardot, Myth & Meaning in Early Taoism: The Theme of Chaos (hun- t'un)
In some old Moorish Science Temple (in Chicago or Baltimore) a friend claimed to have seen a secret altar on which rested a matched pair of six shooters (in velvet-lined case) & a black fez. Supposedly initiation to the inner circle required the neophyte Moor to assassinate at least one cop. /// What about Louis Lingg? Was he a precursor of Ontological Anarchism? “I despise you”–one can't help but admiring such sentiments. But the man dynamited himself aged 22 to cheat the gallows…this is not exactly our chosen path. /// The IDEA of the POLICE like hydra grows 100 new heads for each one cut off–and all these heads are live cops. Slicing off heads gains us nothing, but only enhances the beast's power till it swallows us. /// First murder the IDEA–blow up the monument inside us–& then perhaps…the balance of power will shift. When the last cop in our brain is gunned down by the last unfulfilled desire– perhaps even the landscape around us will begin to change…/// Poetic Terrorism proposes this sabotage of archetypes as the only practical insurrectionary tactic for the present. But as Shiite Extremists eager for the overthrow (by any means) of all police, ayatollahs, bankers, executioners, priests, etc., we reserve the option of venerating even the “failures” of radical excess. /// A few days unchained from the Empire of Lies might well be worth considerable sacrifice; a moment of exalted realization may outweigh a lifetime of microcephalic boredom & work. /// But this moment must become ours–and our ownership of it is seriously compromised if we must commit suicide to preserve its integrity. So we mix our veneration with irony–it's not martyrdom itself we propose, but the courage of the dynamiter, the self-possession of a Chaos-monster, the attainment of criminal & illegal pleasures.
COMMUNIQUE #4 The End of the World
THE A.O.A. DECLARES ITSELF officially bored with the End of the World. The canonical version has been used since 1945 to keep us cowering in fear of Mutual Assured Destruction & in snivelling servitude to our super-hero politicians (the only ones capable of handling deadly Green Kryptonite)… What does it mean that we have invented a way to destroy all life on Earth? Nothing much. We have dreamed this as an escape from the contemplation of our own individual deaths. We have made an emblem to serve as the mirror-image of a discarded immortality. Like demented dictators we swoon at the thought of taking it all down with us into the Abyss.
The unofficial version of the Apocalypse involves a lascivious yearning for the End, & for a post-Holocaust Eden where the Survivalists (or the 144,000 Elect of Revelations) can indulge themselves in orgies of Dualist hysteria, endless final confrontations with a seductive evil…
We have seen the ghost of Rene Guenon, cadaverous & topped with a fez (like Boris Karloff as Ardis Bey in The Mummy) leading a funereal No Wave Industrial-Noise rock band in loud buzzing blackfly-chants for the death of Culture & Cosmos: the elitist fetishism of pathetic nihilists, the Gnostic self-disgust of “post-sexual” intellectoids.
Are these dreary ballads not simply mirror-images of all those lies & platitudes about Progress & the Future, beamed from every loudspeaker, zapped like paranoid brain-waves from every schoolbook & TV in the world of the Consensus? The thanatosis of the Hip Millenarians extrudes itself like pus from the false health of the Consumers' & Workers' Paradises.
Anyone who can read history with both hemispheres of the brain knows that a world comes to an end every instant–the waves of time leave washed up behind themselves only dry memories of a closed & petrified past–imperfect memory, itself already dying & autumnal. And every instant also gives birth to a world–despite the cavillings of philosophers & scientists whose bodies have grown numb–a present in which all impossibilities are renewed, where regret & premonition fade to nothing in one presential hologrammatical psychomantric gesture.
The “normative” past or the future heat-death of the universe mean as little to us as last year's GNP or the withering away of the State. All Ideal pasts, all futures which have not yet come to pass, simply obstruct our consciousness of total vivid presence.
Certain sects believe that the world (or “a” world) has already come to an end. For Jehovah's Witnesses it happened in 1914 (yes folks, we are living in the Book of Revelations now). For certain oriental occultists, it occurred during the Major Conjunction of the Planets in 1962. Joachim of Fiore proclaimed the Third Age, that of the Holy Spirit, which replaced those of Father & Son. Hassan II of Alamut proclaimed the Great Resurrection, the immanentization of the eschaton, paradise on earth. Profane time came to an end somewhere in the late Middle Ages. Since then we've been living angelic time–only most of us don't know it.
Or to take an even more Radical Monist stance: Time never started at all. Chaos never died. The Empire was never founded. We are not now & never have been slaves to the past or hostages to the future.
We suggest that the End of the World be declared a fait accompli; the exact date is unimportant. The ranters in 1650 knew that the Millennium comes now into each soul that wakes to itself, to its own centrality & divinity. “Rejoice, fellow creature,” was their greeting. “All is ours!”
I want no part of any other End of the World. A boy smiles at me in the street. A black crow sits in a pink magnolia tree, cawing as orgone accumulates & discharges in a split second over the city…summer begins. I may be your lover…but I spit on your Millenium.
COMMUNIQUE #5 "Intellectual S/M Is the Fascism of the Eighties--The Avant-Garde Eats Shit and Likes It"
COMRADES! Recently some confusion about “Chaos” has plagued the A.O.A. from certain revanchist quarters, forcing us (who despise polemics) at last to indulge in a Plenary Session devoted to denunciations ex cathedra, portentous as hell; our faces burn red with rhetoric, spit flies from our lips, neck veins bulge with pulpit fervor. We must at last descend to flying banners with angry slogans (in 1930's type faces) declaring what Ontological Anarchy is not.
Remember, only in Classical Physics does Chaos have anything to do with entropy, heat-death, or decay. In our physics (Chaos Theory), Chaos identifies with tao, beyond both yin- as-entropy & yang-as-energy, more a principle of continual creation than of any nihil, void in the sense of potentia, not exhaustion. (Chaos as the “sum of all orders.”)
From this alchemy we quintessentialize an aesthetic theory. Chaote art may act terrifying, it may even act grand guignol, but it can never allow itself to be drenched in putrid negativity, thanatosis, schadenfreude (delight in the misery of others), crooning over Nazi memorabilia & serial murders. Ontological Anarchy collects no snuff films & is bored to tears with dominatrices who spout french philosophy. (“Everything is hopeless & I knew it before you did, asshole. Nyahh!”)
Wilhelm Reich was driven half mad & killed by agents of the Emotional Plague; maybe half his work derived from sheer paranoia (UFO conspiracies, homophobia, even his orgasm theory), BUT on one point we agree wholeheartedly–sexpol: sexual repression breeds death obsession, which leads to bad politics. A great deal of avant-garde Art is saturated with Deadly Orgone Rays (DOR). Ontological Anarchy aims to build aesthetic cloud-busters (OR-guns) to disperse the miasma of cerebral sado-masochism which now passes for slick, hip, new, fashionable. Self-mutilating “performance” artists strike us as banal & stupid–their art makes everyone more unhappy. What kind of two-bit conniving horseshit…what kind of cockroach-brained Art creeps cooked up this apocalypse stew?
Of course the avant-garde seems “smart”–so did Marinetti & the Futurists, so did Pound & Celine. Compared to that kind of intelligence we'd choose real stupidity, bucolic New Age blissed-out inanity–we'd rather be pinheads than queer for death. But luckily we don't have to scoop out our brains to attain our own queer brand of satori. All the faculties, all the senses belong to us as our property–both heart & head, intellect & spirit, body & soul. Ours is no art of mutilation but of excess, superabundance, amazement.
The purveyors of pointless gloom are the Death Squads of contemporary aesthetics–& we are the “disappeared ones.” Their make-believe ballroom of occult 3rd-Reich bric-a-brac & child murder attracts the manipulators of the Spectacle– death looks better on TV than life–& we Chaotes, who preach an insurrectionary joy, are edged out towards silence.
Needless to say we reject all censorship by Church & State– but “after the revolution” we would be willing to take individual & personal responsibility for burning all the Death Squad snuff-art crap & running them out of town on a rail. (Criticism becomes direct action in an anarchist context.) My space has room neither for Jesus & his lords of the flies nor for Chas. Manson & his literary admirers. I want no mundane police–I want no cosmic axe-murderers either; no TV chainsaw massacres, no sensitive poststructuralist novels about necrophilia.
As it happens, the A.O.A. can scarcely hope to sabotage the suffocating mechanisms of the State & its ghostly circuitry–but we just might happen to find ourselves in a position to do something about lesser manifestations of the DOR plague such as the Corpse-Eaters of the Lower East Side & other Art scum. We support artists who use terrifying material in some “higher cause”–who use loving/sexual material of any kind, however shocking or illegal–who use their anger & disgust & their true desires to lurch toward self-realization & beauty & adventure. “Social Nihilism,” yes–but not the dead nihilism of gnostic self-disgust. Even if it's violent & abrasive, anyone with a vestigial 3rd eye can see the differences between revolutionary pro-life art & reactionary pro-death art. DOR stinks, & the chaote nose can sniff it out–just as it knows the perfume of spiritual/sexual joy, however buried or masked by other darker scents. Even the Radical Right, for all its horror of flesh & the senses, occasionally comes up with a moment of perception & consciousness-enhancement–but the Death Squads, for all their tired lip service to fashionable revolutionary abstractions, offer us about as much true libertarian energy as the FBI, FDA, or the double-dip Baptists.
We live in a society which advertises its costliest commodities with images of death & mutilation, beaming them direct to the reptilian back-brain of the millions thru alpha-wave-generating carcinogenic reality-warping devices– while certain images of life (such as our favorite, a child masturbating) are banned & punished with incredible ferocity. It takes no guts at all to be an Art Sadist, for salacious death lies at the aesthetic center of our Consensus Paradigm. “Leftists” who like to dress up & play Police-&-Victim, people who jerk off to atrocity photos, people who like to think & intellectualize about splatter art & highfalutin hopelessness & groovy ghoulishness & other people's misery–such “artists” are nothing but police-without-power (a perfect definition for many “revolutionaries” too). We have a black bomb for these aesthetic fascists–it explodes with sperm & firecrackers, raucous weeds & piracy, weird Shiite heresies & bubbling paradise-fountains, complex rhythms, pulsations of life, all shapeless & exquisite.
Wake up! Breathe! Feel the world's breath against your skin! Seize the day! Breathe! Breathe!
(Thanx to J. Mander's Four Arguments for the Abolition of Television; Adam Exit; & the Moorish Cosmopolitan of Williamsburg)
COMMUNIQUE #6 I. Salon Apocalypse: "Secret Theater"
AS LONG AS NO Stalin breathes down our necks, why not make some art in the service of…an insurrection? Never mind if it's “impossible.” What else can we hope to attain but the “impossible”? Should we wait for someone else to reveal our true desires?
If art has died, or the audience has withered away, then we find ourselves free of two dead weights. Potentially, everyone is now some kind of artist–& potentially every audience has regained its innocence, its ability to become the art that it experiences.
Provided we can escape from the museums we carry around inside us, provided we can stop selling ourselves tickets to the galleries in our own skulls, we can begin to contemplate an art which re-creates the goal of the sorcerer: changing the structure of reality by the manipulation of living symbols (in this case, the images we've been “given” by the organizers of this salon–murder, war, famine, & greed).
We might now contemplate aesthetic actions which possess some of the resonance of terrorism (or “cruelty,” as Artaud put it) aimed at the destruction of abstractions rather than people, at liberation rather than power, pleasure rather than profit, joy rather than fear. “Poetic Terrorism.” Our chosen images have the potency of darkness–but all images are masks, & behind these masks lie energies we can turn toward light & pleasure.
For example, the man who invented aikido was a samurai who became a pacifist & refused to fight for Japanese imperialism. He became a hermit, lived on a mountain sitting under a tree..
One day a former fellow-officer came to visit him & accused him of betrayal, cowardice, etc. The hermit said nothing, but kept on sitting–& the officer fell into a rage, drew his sword, & struck. Spontaneously the unarmed master disarmed the officer & returned his sword. Again & again the officer tried to kill, using every subtle kata in his repertoire–but out of his empty mind the hermit each time invented a new way to disarm him.
The officer of course became his first disciple. Later, they learned how to dodge bullets. We might contemplate some form of metadrama meant to capture a taste of this performance, which gave rise to a wholly new art, a totally non-violent way of fighting–war without murder, “the sword of life” rather than death.
A conspiracy of artists, anonymous as any mad bombers, but aimed toward an act of gratuitous generosity rather than violence–at the millennium rather than the apocalypse–or rather, aimed at a present moment of aesthetic shock in the service of realization & liberation.
Art tells gorgeous lies that come true.
Is it possible to create a SECRET THEATER in which both artist & audience have completely disappeared–only to re-appear on another plane, where life & art have become the same thing, the pure giving of gifts?
(Note: The “Salon Apocalypse” was organized by Sharon Gannon in July, 1986.)
THE MANICHEES & CATHARS believed that the body can be spiritualized–or rather, that the body merely contaminates pure spirit & must be utterly rejected. The Gnostic perfecti (radical dualists) starved themselves to death to escape the body & return to the pleroma of pure light. So: to evade the evils of the flesh–murder, war, famine, greed–paradoxically only one path remains: murder of one's own body, war on the flesh, famine unto death, greed for salvation. The radical monists however (Ismailis, Ranters, Antinomians) consider that body & spirit are one, that the same spirit which pervades a black stone also infuses the flesh with its light; that all lives & all is life.
“Things are what they are spontaneously…everything is natural…all in motion as if there were a True Lord to move them–but if we seek for evidence of this lord we fail to find any.” (Kuo Hsiang)
Paradoxically, the monist path also cannot be followed without some sort of “murder, war, famine, greed”: the transformation of death into life (food, negentropy)–war against the Empire of Lies–“fasting of the soul,” or renunciation of the Lie, of all that is not life–& greed for life itself, the absolute power of desire.
Even more: without knowledge of the darkness (“carnal knowledge”) there can exist no knowledge of the light (“gnosis”). The two knowledges are not merely complementary: say rather identical, like the same note played in different octaves. Heraclitus claims that reality persists in a state of “war.” Only clashing notes can make harmony. (“Chaos is the sum of all orders.”) Give each of these four terms a different mask of language (to call the Furies “The Kindly Ones” is not mere euphemism but a way of uncovering yet more meaning). Masked, ritualized, realized as art, the terms take on their dark beauty, their “Black Light.”
Instead of murder say the hunt, the pure paleolithic economy of all archaic and non-authoritarian tribal society–“venery,” both the killing & eating of flesh & the way of Venus, of desire. Instead of war say insurrection, not the revolution of classes & powers but of the eternal rebel, the dark one who uncovers light. Instead of greed say yearning, unconquerable desire, mad love. And then instead of famine, which is a kind of mutilation, speak of wholeness, plenty, superabundance, generosity of the self which spirals outward toward the Other.
Without this dance of masks, nothing will be created. The oldest mythology makes Eros the firstborn of Chaos. Eros, the wild one who tames, is the door through which the artist returns to Chaos, the One, and then re-returns, comes back again, bearing one of the patterns of beauty. The artist, the hunter, the warrior: one who is both passionate and balanced, both greedy & altruistic to the utmost extreme. We must be saved from all salvations which save us from ourselves, from our animal which is also our anima, our very lifeforce, as well as our animus, our animating self-empowerment, which may even manifest as anger & greed. BABYLON has told us that our flesh is filth–with this device & the promise of salvation it enslaved us. But–if the flesh is already “saved,” already light–if even consciousness itself is a kind of flesh, a palpable & simultaneous living aether–then we need no power to intercede for us. The wilderness, as Omar says, is paradise even now.
The true proprietorship of murder lies with the Empire, for only freedom is complete life. War is Babylonian as well–no free person will die for another's aggrandizement. Famine comes into existence only with the civilization of the saviors, the priest-kings–wasn't it Joseph who taught Pharaoh to speculate in grain futures? Greed–for land, for symbolic wealth, for power to deform others' souls & bodies for their own salvation–greed too arises not from “Nature nature-ing,” but from the damming up & canalization of all energies for the Empire's Glory. Against all this, the artist possesses the dance of masks, the total radicalization of language, the invention of a “Poetic Terrorism” which will strike not at living beings but at malign ideas, dead-weights on the coffin-lid of our desires. The architecture of suffocation and paralysis will be blown up. only by our total celebration of everything– even darkness.
–Summer Solstice, 1986
COMMUNIQUE #7 Psychic Paleolithism & High Technology: A Position Paper
JUST BECAUSE THE A.O.A. talks about “Paleolithism” all the time, don't get the idea we intend to bomb ourselves back to the Stone Age.
We have no interest in going “back to the land” if the deal includes the boring life of a shit-kicking peasant–nor do we want “tribalism” if it comes with taboos, fetishes & malnutrition. We have no quarrel with the concept of culture–including technology; for us the problem begins with civilization.
What we like about Paleolithic life has been summed up by the Peoples-Without-Authority School of anthropology: the elegant laziness of hunter/gatherer society, the 2-hour workday, the obsession with art, dance, poetry & amorousness, the “democratization of shamanism,” the cultivation of perception–in short, culture.
What we dislike about civilization can be deduced from the following progression: the “Agricultural Revolution”; the emergence of caste; the City & its cult of hieratic control (“Babylon”); slavery; dogma; imperialism (“Rome”). The suppression of sexuality in “work” under the aegis of “authority.” “The Empire never ended.”
A psychic paleolithism based on High-Tech–post- agricultural, post-industrial, “Zerowork,” nomadic (or “Rootless Cosmopolitan”)–a Quantum Paradigm Society–this constitutes the ideal vision of the future according to Chaos Theory as well as “Futurology” (in the Robert Anton Wilson-T. Leary sense of the term).
As for the present: we reject all collaboration with the Civilization of Anorexia & Bulimia, with people so ashamed of never suffering that they invent hair shirts for themselves & others–or those who gorge without compassion & then spew the vomit of their suppressed guilt in great masochistic bouts of jogging & dieting. All our pleasures & self-disciplines belong to us by Nature–we never deny ourselves, we never give up anything; but some things have given up on us & left us, because we are too large for them. I am both caveman & starfaring mutant, con-man & free prince. Once an Indian Chief was invited to the White House for a banquet. As the food passed round, the Chief heaped his plate to the max, not once but three times. At last the honky sitting next to him says, “Chief, heh-heh, don't you think that's a little too much?” “Ugh,” the Chief replies, “little too much just right for Chief!”
Nevertheless, certain doctrines of “Futurology” remain problematic. For example, even if we accept the liberatory potential of such new technologies as TV, computers, robotics, Space exploration, etc., we still see a gap between potentiality & actualization. The banalization of TV, the yuppification of computers & the militarization of Space suggest that these technologies in themselves provide no “determined” guarantee of their liberatory use.
Even if we reject the Nuclear Holocaust as just another Spectacular Diversion orchestrated to distract our attention from real problems, we must still admit that “Mutual Assured Destruction” & “Pure War” tend to dampen our enthusiasm for certain aspects of the High-Tech Adventure. Ontological Anarchy retains its affection for Luddism as a tactic: if a given technology, no matter how admirable in potentia (in the future), is used to oppress me here & now, then I must either wield the weapon of sabotage or else seize the means of production (or perhaps more importantly the means of communication). There is no humanity without techne–but there is no techne worth more than my humanity.
We spurn knee-jerk anti-Tech anarchism–for ourselves, at least (there exist some who enjoy farming, or so one hears)–and we reject the concept of the Technological Fix as well. For us all forms of determinism appear equally vapid–we're slaves of neither our genes nor our machines. What is “natural” is what we imagine & create. “Nature has no Laws–only habits.”
Life for us belongs neither to the Past–that land of famous ghosts hoarding their tarnished grave- goods–nor to the Future, whose bulbbrained mutant citizens guard so jealously the secrets of immortality, faster-than- light flight, designer genes & the withering of the State. Aut nunc aut nihil. Each moment contains an eternity to be penetrated–yet we lose ourselves in visions seen through corpses' eyes, or in nostalgia for unborn perfections.
The attainments of my ancestors & descendants are nothing more to me than an instructive or amusing tale–I will never call them my betters, even to excuse my own smallness. I print for myself a license to steal from them whatever I need–psychic paleolithism or high-tech–or for that matter the gorgeous detritus of civilization itself, secrets of the Hidden Masters, pleasures of frivolous nobility & la vie boheme.
La decadence, Nietzsche to the contrary notwithstanding, plays as deep a role in Ontological Anarchy as health–we take what we want of each. Decadent aesthetes do not wage stupid wars nor submerge their consciousness in microcephalic greed & resentment. They seek adventure in artistic innovation & non-ordinary sexuality rather than in the misery of others. The A.O.A. admires & emulates their sloth, their disdain for the stupidity of normalcy, their expropriation of aristocratic sensibilities. For us these qualities harmonize paradoxically with those of the Old Stone Age & its overflowing health, ignorance of hierarchy, cultivation of virtu rather than Law. We demand decadence without sickness, & health without boredom!
Thus the A.O.A. gives unqualified support to all indigenous & tribal peoples in their struggle for complete autonomy–& at the same time, to the wildest, most Spaced-out speculations & demands of the Futurologists. The paleolithism of the future (which for us, as mutants, already exists) will be achieved on a grand scale only through a massive technology of the Imagination, and a scientific paradigm which reaches beyond Quantum Mechanics into the realm of Chaos Theory & the hallucinations of Speculative Fiction.
As Rootless Cosmopolitans we lay claim to all the beauties of the past, of the orient, of tribal societies–all this must & can be ours, even the treasuries of the Empire: ours to share. And at the same time we demand a technology which transcends agriculture, industry, even the simultaneity of electricity, a hardware that intersects with the wetware of consciousness, that embraces the power of quarks, of particles travelling backward in time, of quasars & parallel universes.
The squabbling ideologues of anarchism & libertarianism each prescribe some utopia congenial to their various brands of tunnel-vision, ranging from the peasant commune to the L-5 Space City. We say, let a thousand flowers bloom–with no gardener to lop off weeds & sports according to some moralizing or eugenical scheme. The only true conflict is that between the authority of the tyrant & the authority of the realized self–all else is illusion, psychological projection, wasted verbiage.
In one sense the sons & daughters of Gaia have never left the paleolithic; in another sense, all the perfections of the future are already ours. Only insurrection will “solve” this paradox–only the uprising against false consciousness in both ourselves & others will sweep away the technology of oppression & the poverty of the Spectacle. In this battle a painted mask or shaman's rattle may prove as vital as the seizing of a communications satellite or secret computer network.
Our sole criterion for judging a weapon or a tool is its beauty. The means already are the end, in a certain sense; the insurrection already is our adventure; Becoming IS Being. Past & future exist within us & for us, alpha & omega. There are no other gods before or after us. We are free in TIME–and will be free in SPACE as well.
(Thanx to Hagbard Celine the Sage of Howth & Environs)
COMMUNIQUE #8 Chaos Theory & the Nuclear Family
SUNDAY IN RIVERSIDE PARK the Fathers fix their sons in place, nailing them magically to the grass with baleful ensorcelling stares of milky camaraderie, & force them to throw baseballs back & forth for hours. The boys almost appear to be small St Sebastians pierced by arrows of boredom. The smug rituals of family fun turn each humid Summer meadow into a Theme Park, each son an unwitting allegory of Father's wealth, a pale representation 2 or 3 times removed from reality: the Child as metaphor of Something-or-other.
And here I come as dusk gathers, stoned on mushroom dust, half convinced that these hundreds of fireflies arise from my own consciousness–Where have they been all these years? why so many so suddenly?–each rising in the moment of its incandescence, describing quick arcs like abstract graphs of the energy in sperm.
“Families! misers of love! How I hate them!” Baseballs fly aimlessly in vesper light, catches are missed, voices rise in peevish exhaustion. The children feel sunset encrusting the last few hours of doled-out freedom, but still the Fathers insist on stretching the tepid postlude of their patriarchal sacrifice till dinnertime, till shadows eat the grass.
Among these sons of the gentry one locks gazes with me for a moment–I transmit telepathically the image of sweet license, the smell of TIME unlocked from all grids of school, music lessons, summer camps, family evenings round the tube, Sundays in the Park with Dad–authentic time, chaotic time.
Now the family is leaving the Park, a little platoon of dissatisfaction. But that one turns & smiles back at me in complicity–“Message Received”–& dances away after a firefly, buoyed up by my desire. The Father barks a mantra which dissipates my power.
The moment passes. The boy is swallowed up in the pattern of the week–vanishes like a bare-legged pirate or Indian taken prisoner by missionaries. The Park knows who I am, it stirs under me like a giant jaguar about to wake for nocturnal meditation. Sadness still holds it back, but it remains untamed in its deepest essence: an exquisite disorder at the heart of the city's night.
AGAIN & AGAIN WE hope that attitudinizing corpse has finally breathed its last rancorous sigh & floated off to its final pumpkinification. Again & again we imagine the defeat of that obscene flayed death-trip bogey nailed to the walls of all our waiting rooms, never again to whine at us for our sins…
but again & again it resurrects itself & comes creeping back to haunt us like the villain of some nth rate snuff-porn splatter film–the thousandth re-make of Night of the Living Dead–trailing its snail-track of whimpering humiliation…just when you thought it was safe in the unconscious…it's JAWS for JESUS. Look out! Hardcore Chainsaw Baptists!
and the Leftists, nostalgic for the Omega Point of their dialectical paradise, welcome each galvanized revival of the putrescent creed with coos of delight: Let's dance the tango with all those marxist bishops from Latin America–croon a ballad for the pious Polish dockworkers–hum spirituals for the latest afro-Methodist presidential hopeful from the Bible Belt…
The A.O.A. denounces Liberation Theology as a conspiracy of stalinist nuns–the Whore of Babylon's secret scarlet deal with red fascism in the tropics. Solidarnosc? The Pope's Own Labor Union–backed by the AFL/CIO, the Vatican Bank, the Freemason Lodge Propaganda Due, and the Mafia. And if we ever voted we'd never waste that empty gesture on some Xtian dog, no matter what its breed or color.
As for the real Xtians, those bored-again self-lobotomized bigots, those Mormon babykillers, those Star Warriors of the Slave Morality, televangelist blackshirts, zombie squads of the Blessed Virgin Mary (who hovers in a pink cloud over the Bronx spewing hatred, anathema, roses of vomit on the sexuality of children, pregnant teenagers & queers)…
As for the genuine death-cultists, ritual cannibals, Armageddon-freaks–the Xtian Right–we can only pray that the RAPTURE WILL COME & snatch them all up from behind the steering wheels of their cars, from their lukewarm game shows & chaste beds, take them all up into heaven & let us get on with human life.
II. Abortionists & Anti-abortionists
REDNECKS WHO BOMB ABORTION clinics belong in the same grotesque category of vicious stupidity as bishops who prattle Peace & yet condemn all human sexuality. Nature has no laws (“only habits”), & all law is unnatural. Everything belongs to the sphere of personal/imaginal morality–even murder.
However, according to Chaos Theory, it does not follow that we are obliged to like & approve of murder–or abortion. Chaos would enjoy seeing every bastard love-child carried to term & birthed; sperm & egg alone are mere lovely secretions, but combined as DNA they become potential consciousness, negentropy, joy.
If “meat is murder!” as the Vegans like to claim, what pray tell is abortion? Those totemists who danced to the animals they hunted, who meditated to become one with their living food & share its tragedy, demonstrated values far more humane than the average claque of “pro-Choice” feminoid liberals.
In every single “issue” cooked up for “debate” in the patternbook of the Spectacle, both sides are invariably full of shit. The “abortion issue” is no exception..
COMMUNIQUE #10 Plenary Session Issues New Denunciations--Purges Expected
TO OFFSET ANY STICKY karma we might have acquired thru our pulpit-thumping sermonette against Xtians & other end-of-the- world creeps (see last ish) & just to set the record straight: the A.O.A. also denounces all born-again knee-jerk atheists & their frowsy late-Victorian luggage of scientistic vulgar materialism. ///// We applaud all anti- Xtian sentiment, of course–& all attacks on all organized religions. But…to hear some anarchists talk you'd think the sixties never happened and no one ever dropped LSD. ///// As for the scientists themselves, the Alice-like madnesses of Quantum & Chaos Theory have driven the best of them towards taoism & vedanta (not to mention dada)–& yet if you read The Match or Freedom you might imagine science was embalmed with Prince Kropotkin–& “religion” with Bishop Ussher. ///// Of course one despises the Aquarian brownshirts, the kind of gurus lauded recently in the New York Times for their contributions to Big Business, the franchise-granting yuppie zombie cults, the anorexic metaphysics of New Age banality…but OUR esotericism remains undefiled by these mediocre money- changers & their braindead minions. ///// The heretics & antinomian mystics of Orient & Occident have developed systems based on inner liberation. Some of these systems are tainted with religious mysticism & even social reaction–others seem more purely radical or “psychological”–& some even crystallize into revolutionary movements (millenarian Levellers, Assassins, Yellow Turban Taoists, etc.) Whatever their flaws they possess certain magical weapons which anarchism sorely lacks: (1) A sense of the meta-rational (“metanoia”), ways to go beyond laminated thinking into smooth (or nomadic or “chaotic”) thinking & perception; (2) an actual definition of self-realized or liberated consciousness, a positive description of its structure, & techniques for approaching it; (3) a coherent archetypal view of epistemology–that is, a way of knowing (about history, for example) that utilizes hermeneutic phenomenology to uncover patterns of meaning (something like the Surrealists' “Paranoia Criticism”); (4) a teaching on sexuality (in the “tantrik” aspects of various Paths) that assigns value to pleasure rather than self-denial, not only for its own sake but as a vehicle of enhanced awareness or “liberation”; (5) an attitude of celebration, what might be called a “Jubilee concept,” a cancelling of psychic debt thru some inherent generosity in reality itself; (6) a language (including gesture, ritual, intentionality) with which to animate & communicate these five aspects of cognition; and (7) a silence. ///// It's no surprise to discover how many anarchists are ex-Catholics, defrocked priests or nuns, former altar boys, lapsed born-again baptists or even ex-Shiite fanatics. Anarchism offers up a black (& red) Mass to de-ritualize all spook-haunted brains–a secular exorcism–but then betrays itself by cobbling together a High Church of its own, all cobwebby with Ethical Humanism, Free Thought, Muscular Atheism, & crude Fundamentalist Cartesian Logic. ///// Two decades ago we began the project of becoming Rootless Cosmopolitans, determined to sift the detritus of all tribes, cultures & civilizations (including our own) for viable fragments–& to synthesize from this mess of potsherds a living system of our own–lest (as Blake warned) we become slaves to someone else's. ///// If some Javanese sorcerer or Native American shaman possesses some precious fragment I need for my own “medicine pouch,” should I sneer & quote Bakunin's line about stringing up priests with bankers' guts? or should I remember that anarchy knows no dogma, that Chaos cannot be mapped–& help myself to anything not nailed down? ///// The earliest definitions of anarchy are found in the Chuang Tzu & other taoist texts; “mystical anarchism” boasts a hoarier pedigree than the Greco-Rationalist variety. When Nietzsche spoke of the “Hyperboreans” I think he foretold us, who have gone beyond the death of God–& the rebirth of the Goddess–to a realm where spirit & matter are one. Every manifestation of that hierogamy, every material thing & every life, becomes not only “sacred” in itself but also symbolic of its own “divine essence.” ///// Atheism is nothing but the opiate of The Masses (or rather, their self-chosen champions)–& not a very colorful or sexy drug. If we are to follow Baudelaire's advice & “be always intoxicated,” the A.O.A. would prefer something more like mushrooms, thank you. Chaos is the oldest of the gods–& Chaos never died.
COMMUNIQUE #11 Special Holiday Season Food Issue Rant: Turn Off the Lite!
THE ASSOCIATION FOR ONTOLOGICAL ANARCHY calls for a boycott of all products marketed under the Shibboleth of LITE–beer, meat, lo-cal candy, cosmetics, music, pre-packaged “lifestyles,” whatever.
The concept of LITE (in Situ-jargon) unfolds a complex of symbolism by which the Spectacle hopes to recuperate all revulsion against its commodification of desire. “Natural,” “organic,” “healthy” produce is designed for a market sector of mildly dissatisfied consumers with mild cases of future- shock & mild yearnings for a tepid authenticity. A niche has been prepared for you, softly illumined with the illusions of simplicity, cleanliness, thinness, a dash of asceticism & self-denial. Of course, it costs a little more…after all, LITEness was not designed for poor hungry primitivos who still think of food as nourishment rather than decor. It has to cost more–otherwise you wouldn't buy it.
The American Middle Class (don't quibble; you know what I mean) falls naturally into opposite but complementary factions: the Armies of Anorexia & Bulimia. Clinical cases of these diseases represent only the psychosomatic froth on a wave of cultural pathology, deep, diffused & largely unconscious. The Bulimics are those yupped-out gentry who gorge on margharitas & VCRs, then purge on LITE food, jogging, or (an)aerobic jiggling. The Anorexics are the “lifestyle” rebels, ultra-food-faddists, eaters of algae, joyless, dispirited & wan–but smug in their puritanical zeal & their designer hair-shirts. Grotesque junk food simply represents the flip-side of ghoulish “health food”:–nothing tastes like anything but woodchips or additives–it's all either boring or carcinogenic–or both–& it's all incredibly stupid.
Food, cooked or raw, cannot escape from symbolism. It is, & also simultaneously represents that which it is. All food is soul food; to treat it otherwise is to court indigestion, both chronic & metaphysical.
But in the airless vault of our civilization, where nearly every experience is mediated, where reality is strained through the deadening mesh of consensus-perception, we lose touch with food as nourishment; we begin to construct for ourselves personae based on what we consume, treating products as projections of our yearning for the authentic.
The A.O.A. sometimes envisions CHAOS as a cornucopia of continual creation, as a sort of geyser of cosmic generosity; therefore we refrain from advocating any specific diet, lest we offend against the Sacred Multiplicity & the Divine Subjectivity. We're not about to hawk you yet another New Age prescription for perfect health (only the dead are perfectly healthy); we interest ourselves in life, not “lifestyles.”
True lightness we adore, & rich heaviness delights us in its season. Excess suits us to perfection, moderation pleases us, & we have learned that hunger can be the finest of all spices. Everything is light, & the lushest flowers grow round the privy. We dream of phalanstery tables & bolo'bolo cafes where every festive collective of diners will share the individual genius of a Brillat-Savarin (that saint of taste).
Shaykh Abu Sa'id never saved money or even kept it overnight–therefore, whenever some patron donated a heavy purse to his hospice, the dervishes celebrated with a gourmet feast; & on other days, all went hungry. The point was to enjoy both states, full & empty…
LITE parodies spiritual emptiness & illumination, just as McDonald's travesties the imagery of fullness & celebration. The human spirit (not to mention hunger) can overcome & transcend all this fetishism–joy can erupt even at Burger King, & even LITE beer may hide a dose of Dionysus. But why should we have to struggle against this garbagy tide of cheap rip-off ticky-tack, when we could be drinking the wine of paradise even now under our own vine & fig tree?
Food belongs to the realm of everyday life, the primary arena for all insurrectionary self-empowerment, all spiritual self-enhancement, all seizing-back of pleasure, all revolt against the Planetary Work Machine & its imitation desires. Far be it from us to dogmatize; the Native American hunter might fuel his happiness with fried squirrel, the anarcho-taoist with a handful of dried apricots. Milarepa the Tibetan, after ten years of nettle- soup, ate a butter cake & achieved enlightenment. The dullard sees no eros in fine champagne; the sorcerer can fall intoxicated on a glass of water.
Our culture, choking on its own pollutants, cries out (like the dying Goethe) for “More LITE!”–as if these polyunsaturated effluents could somehow assuage our misery, as if their bland weightless tasteless characterlessness could protect us from the gathering dark.
No! This last illusion finally strikes us as too cruel. We are forced against our own slothful inclinations to take a stand & protest. Boycott! Boycott! TURN OFF THE LITE!
Appendix: Menu For An Anarchist Black Banquet (veg & non- veg)
Caviar & blinis; Hundred year old eggs; Squid & rice cooked in ink; Eggplants cooked in their skins with black pickled garlic; Wild rice with black walnuts & black mushrooms; Truffles in black butter; Venison marinated in port, charcoal grilled, served on pumpernickel slices & garnished with roast chestnuts. Black Russians; Guinness-&-champagne; Chinese black tea. Dark chocolate mousse, Turkish coffee, black grapes, plums, cherries, etc.