97 To Be Continued at Another Time (2)
I Mythology, when understood to be more than about ghosts, vampires, and dragons is a set of images whose complexity give evidence of having once been a well thought out and well told. The story of Oedipus, re-presented in my blog series “Tiresias’ Revenge” (see blogs 68-81), and my re-construction of “The Story of Clever John and Crazy Jane” (blogs 92-95) give support to the belief that these stories are profoundly spiritual in content. Unfortunately, in both cases, the world dwells on fragments and easily and often misinterprets them as a convenience to forgetfulness.
No doubt, my interpretation of the story of King Oedipus (“Tiresias’ Revenge”) puts emphasis on something passed over by Sigmund Freud’s interpretation. At the same time, the knowledge of how a story can be constructed and deconstructed and constructed yet again—rather than one example being the only example for all times—tells us that many examples may be tried and not always the best model is chosen. The story of King Oedipus clearly bends the plot of the play more to my reconstruction than that of Freud. Sophocles’ version of the play masks some disturbing events in the background that Freud and most everyone pass over.
Both of the aforementioned stories (“Tiresias’ Revenge” and “The Story of Clever John and Crazy Jane”) give an interpretation of The Real that we are not accustomed in perceiving. Most of us know the Real as a Western positivist projection. While the positivist advertisement best points its finger at the Barbie Doll, the Real of Oedipus and Clever John gives evidence that their creators knew how to chop wood. For a king to discover that it is not for having slept with his mother that ten of his family die, but for him not having suffered the risk of sacrifice is devastating. It is devastating for all who trusted the king’s (or government’s) authority. Clever John (clever in the sense of the unhesitatingly using his wit in an invidious manner when opportunity allows) gets taught the priorities of the Sun in no uncertain terms.
It is through the story of Clever John (a story very likely from before the written word) that we discover that proto-Latvians knew what the price of a wagon load of gold was. It was the “Clever Johns”, the kaupos, who came to replace the itinerant Johns of arch-Christianity. Crazy Jane became crazy because Clever John could not be trusted though it cost him the spectacle of the lights going on just in time to discover that in return for a wagon full of gold, he has the pleasure of making love to a straw doll.
The people who formed the Latvian governmentwhich followed the “singing revolution” and exposed Latvia to the shock treatment of neo-liberal economic policies, betrayed the people and the state of Latvia by seizing it for conspicuous consumerism. One may argue that they neither knew nor understood better, and were mere kaupos on behalf of neo-liberalism. Ought they to not know now? There is no evidence that they do. The recent appearance of a group that calls itself “The Meierovic Group for Progressive Changes” (whose initial members count 43 prominent names) proves that the fault is not only with the government, but the intelligentsia of Latvia. Perhaps it is mute; perhaps it does not exist, though it is mentioned frequently as if asserting it makes it so.
Describing itself as “non-political”, the Meirovic Group has announced that its members are “…ready to give their time and energy to make of Latvia a dynamic, self-aware and honorable 21st century Western nation” (re Press Release of 21-3-2010). Are they joking? Does not the word “Western” represent—implicitly and explicitly—a political orientation?
If before the disintegration of the Soviet Union and with it the orthodox Left in the West, one could argue that “West” (or Western) was a word that contained both the Left and the Right political wings, today this is no longer true. Anyone who follows politics today knows that politics has been captured by money that favors a neo-liberal orientation. True, the latter pretends to be an all embracing “Western” political ideology. But it is unlikely that the members of the “non-political” Meirovic Group do not understand that “Western” has come to stand for the creation and maintenance of weak citizenship. What else is the Latvian government, but a bought off conspicuous consumer partidocracy making a gross spectacle of itself with the “positive” political support of its corrupt self? The Latvian people stand outside this glass bowl with but one orange fish in it and watch the fishy wiggle its tail as a form of reform.
The Maeirovic Group asks citizens to be “demanding” and suggests that this demandingness will metamorphose into a demand for schools and health care. Have the Latvian people not been demanding this all along, but have been yoked by their government to debt and tax slavery and banks instead? The political winds of today blow people not toward benign globalization, but toward more neo-liberal exploitation of the politically weak and uninformed populations said to believe in something the government and its cronies call “populism”. The “growth” of the consumerist Humpty Dumpty goes on uninterrupted even in a crisis that is as permanent as the war on terrorism by “democratic” and “freedom (loving)” consumer nations. Even Alice (in Wonderland) knows that Humpty Dumpty falls off the wall; not so, it seems, the said Meirovic group.
II It would have been politically more neutral for the Meierovic Group to say that it stood for an East-West neutral 21st century nation. This evidently did not occur to the group. Why not?
The answer is only a guess, but the ones who should have questioned the politics of a “non-political” group should have been those with links to the “old left”. The Maeirovic Group does have members with such links. However, apparently these members stand for that particular “left” which has no ideas of its own and finds primitive accumulation an apolitical act. In short, the Meierovic Group sees the war currently being waged on the behalf of and to further the cause of Conspicuous Consumption as an end in itself, and of course as destined to win. Therefore, so the logic goes, why oppose “Western” political ideology which is a Winner from the word go? Did not the so-called Cold War happen between the Soviet Union and the West? Did not the “West” win and provide proof of a successful depolarization of politics?
What the Meirovic Group does not say is that the “West” unambiguously supports Conspicuous Consumption with the military forces of NATO. Only a decade after the fall of the Soviet Union, the symptom of Conspicuous Consumption broke out in an acute event, which we know as “9/11”. A group of young people, saturated by, with, for, yet unaware that they had been poisoned by the bacillus of Conspicuous Consumption, motivated by jealousy (and angered by delay in the instant gratification promised in televised soap opera ads), they attacked one of the financial centers of the West. For all its paradoxes, it was a chronal moment. The events ocultated (sorry; a new meaning to the word ‘occultation’), occultated in such a way that paradoxes met, shorted, and something humongous happened: the sick unknowingly retaliated on those who made them sick more profoundly than they had dared imagine. [For backup of this hypothesis of the new polarization see “Afflicted Powers”, Verso, 2005, by Retort, a group of San Francisco Bay area that describes itself as “antagonists to capital and empire”. An interesting read; see Ch 5 & 6 to be sure.]
The crisis of Latvia is that of a community without a purpose, dreaming of conspicuous consumption, financially poor, psychologically adrift. The present Latvian government (a partidocracy controlled by businesses wholly committed to conspicuous consumption) sells conspicuous consumerism to the people without reservations, because the government emerged from under the Soviet yoke as a political a tabula rasa. A moment after this reconstituted entity rid itself of the inspired romanticism of “liberty” explicit in the “singing revolution”, it instantly morphed into a failed imagination. The imagination fails the Meierovic Group. This does not mean that its surreal presentation of itself as “not a political party” does not continue the romantic notions of the “3rd Awakening” of Latvia. Indeed, it does continue it. However, this suggests that the crisis which the group perceives and of which it is born is more serious than the group knows. This will present the group or whatever may emerge from it with either a strategic failure, i.e., a continued preoccupation with a fake present, or the emergence of the only alternative—a revolutionary act.
As this writer has suggested many times, one such revolutionary act (or, if you will, not-violent terror—see blogs 1-81) is a “not-vote” in the upcoming elections in Latvia in October. Unlike the pean of peacemakers: “They declared war, and no one came”, which is far too soon to predict to be soon doable, ‘not-voting’ is doable. The members of the Meierovic Group have not only the potential talent and influence to carry off the act, but to prepare for its success (of which there is a good chance) by preparing forums for the necessary debates, conferences (to rewrite the Latvian Constitution for one), and install a temporary government while the house of Latvia is debated over and put in order. This kind of effort will surely be worth joining and its growth will send chronal echoes through all political spectrums of the world.
P.P.S. For all those of you who did not care a wit for any of my blogs, I send you herewith the greetings and “apologies” of Clever John and Crazy Jane. See here. I have a feeling that you will want to see this twice.
Last but not least: a link to a workshop of “How to start a populist NOT-VOTE movement” or
any-other-such and to “"Eso's Chronicles" for a philosophical trump over the usual “a Not-Vote is Sin” sweats (see blogs 96 & 97 to get the idea): It is the only way for people to recover the State.
Asterisk & Notes of Interest
On material deprivation in Latvia.
On the theme of “more-equal-than-others” see George Orwell's "Animal Farm".
A recommended read: “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” by Emmanuel Goldstein (A book within a book from George Orwell's "1984".)
Of interest to me is this (news on the California elections to legalize Johns Grass) and this article (coca politics in Bolivia). The articles express some of my reasons for supporting the growing of Johns Grass in Latvia.
Interesting material relating to Johns.
A provocative and stimulating news-analysis-opinion site (from someone very American): http://emsnews.wordpress.com/
These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you read you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.
Partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum –ONLATVIANPOPULISM vs LATVIJASLABEJIE. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and http://esoschronicles.blogspot.com/