Illusion of Seperateness
(btw..this page contains a spoiler for the movie "The Ballad of Jack and Rose")
The Ballad of Jack and Rose
In the movie "IMDB:Ballad of Jack and Rose" ('05), Jack seems to to me a 'counter-culture eco-commune-village ex-hippy" who has a daughter (Rose) from a deceased wife. Taking place sometime in the 90's or 2000s, Jack is slowly dying of some fatal disease. He and his daughter are the only ones living on this commune he built some time during the 60's revolution. It wasn't always just the 2 of them, back in its day it seemed to be a real thriving self-sustaining commune made up by a like-minded group of individuals who wanted to build something for themselves. Solar Energy, Wind turbines, cattle, gardens; built to be self-sufficient, and independant from the 'outside world'. They had a vision and they had the funds to make this reality come true (Emic Reality).
But it didn't last, and now Jack is left with his daughter Rose, who is soon to lose her dad and who has lived a somewhat sheltered life, homeschooled and raised to be independant. She seems to be treated like an adult and is quite sharp yet naive at the same time due to her innocence and shelteredness. Jack himself seems very educated and super-resourceful and very rich. Holds the 'outside world' and 'buisness men' and their exploitive practices on the land and on people to be contemptable and dispicable.
'Us and Them'
The point of telling this story is this: Not to give away too much of the movie, but Jack has a defining moment of realization and clarrity. By sitting down with a 'buisness man' who has interest in buying his property (this happends because of a very extreme circumstance) he realizes at some point in the exchange something very fundamental about himself. That he is defined by who he opposes. His 'self-sense' defined by who he is not, and what he does not believe in, or practice. How polarized he had lived and become. He learns this from understanding some similarities between his 'enemy' and himself.
Drawing a line in the sand
Douglas Rushkoff and Grant Morrison in Disinfonation (The disinfo.com convention that took place sometime in '01-'02) address the audience back-to-back. Doug comes on and talks about the fiction and the illusion of "Us vs. Them". He is standing in a room full of what seemed to be defined as 'counter-culture' people, asking them what does it really mean to be (him included) called this label. What does being labeled 'not something' or being against something really mean? To be definined as seperate from something else. It creates a duality. The duality created by 'drawing a line in the sand', according to Rushkoff, leads to pathology like that of Hitler (Not that simplistic of course, watch the speech to see the argument, See Sombunall for understanding this comparison). Because now there is an enemy, now there is a symbol that is OK to destroy. This is how wars are fought, this is how prejudice and discriminiation perpetuate. 'THEY', 'THEM', the 'Enemy', have become abstractions or symbols that have lost their 'realness' and 'humaness'. He proposes to not define yourself by what you aren't but try to find the humaness in that which you detest or despise. 'There is no Us and Them, There is only Us'.
Grant Morrison comes out and hillariously and quite amazingly tells his story (which i think is worth buying the whole DVD set for, its awesome <laugh>). He talks about making his erieness of working for 6 yeas on a comic that changed his life and growing up in glasgow and trying to see if the authors we've all read (RAW, Leary, Crowley, Phil Hine etc...) are all 'talking shite' or are valid verifiable techniques that work. It took guts to say what he said on the podium and I salute that. Essentially, he talks about a realization that parrallels Doug's. How the embracing and defining everything by your individuality from it will lead to neurosis (neurosis on the personal scale. On the national scale it leads to borders and nationalism). Because man is not seperate from nature and individualty means that there exists self and non-self. On the atomic level there is not disconnection, everything is connected.
So is it an illusion that we are all seperate? Is there something we haven't understood yet?
According to the Dalai Lama, "war is an obsolete concept", and we know this by looking at recent history. The Holocaust, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, the Cold War, Nuclear and Chemical weapons possesed by quite a few nations now. We not only can inflict massive and fatal damage to one another, but it can be done quickly and inter-generationally(Radiation mutations, destruction of land fertility and habitat etc..). War is an obsolete concept because we can't inflict damage on anyone specific without feeling the repercussions (tainted ecosystems, health problems etc..). So war is not the solution.
In Buckminister Fuller "World Game" which you would play on a one of his maps (add more here later), the easiest move you can make is to wage war against another nation. The most difficult is to develop a thriving highly educated nation while making diplomatic alliances with other nations.
Are we all familiar with "Meat-Hook Reality" as Hunter Thompson once wrote. A description which ti me seems to be a perception of reality based on:
- Self-preservation's "I got mine, don't worry 'bout his" and "do ill on to your enemy, before he do it on to you first" reign undisputedly
- Shit smells when we step in it
- The Rat race
- Too busy to care
- Too self-centered and selfish to understand and feel compassion