My mind has been racing with thoughts tonight, and I am hoping to catch a few within a net of words – first of all for myself, to wrestle further with the ideas – and secondly for you, because I think perhaps (despite the limits of words), you may appreciate them. Sadly, not knowing where you are, I am capturing what I can of these ideas on this contemptible machine (that I believe – I hope? – is dying….).
I was playing with an Italian translation of the words of a beautiful man (his photo – from the late 19th century – on the back of a book made me smile and dream of kissing his pointy beard and waxed moustache) and drinking nectar brewed from grains and hops… Then a dance began in my brain …
I realized that if we are pessimistic (and nearly all anarchists I know – except the few who are delusionally optimistic – are, even if they try to hide it behind some quasi-deterministic “vision” of the future), it is because we are still too much of this world, the social reality we claim to hate. This reality is one in which our dreams are always in the future, always yet to come, something for which we must strive. The very talk of ends and means – discussed in oh so many ways within our own milieus – is itself a reflection of this… It assumes a future toward which we strive. And inevitably, particularly in times like these, if one is not delusional (regardless of one’s political or anti-political views), it is nearly impossible not to be a pessimist. But what if anarchy, rather than being an end for which we strive, is a way we confront the world? What if insurrection and revolution are not means to achieve an end, but ways of living in the world? What if utopia is not a destiny, but an endless journey elsewhere for the immediate joy of it, an endless stretching beyond (more the “no place” of endless exploration and experimentation than the “good place” where you settle, plant roots and vegetate)? This is the difference between Nietzsche and Hegel (and thus also Marx). Hegel’s dialectic was a journey down a single path toward a specific end. Nietzsche’s “stretching beyond”(? – there is no accurate English translation) has no end; it is an intense urge to perpetually encompass all that is possible and more – now, immediately. In any case, there is no place for either hope or despair, optimism or pessimism in any of this, simply the joy of the immediate challenge and conflict.
Yes, the thoughts are dissipating, but that isn’t important. Do I have dreams of the world I would like to live in? Yes, but they are constantly changing – unique in their place and time, like the one who dreams them… And they are of less importance than my immediate confrontation with the world. They simply provide it with energy.
Pessimism (but also optimism in a different way) eats away at creative imagination. I refuse it.