|2008 : How does this generation die?|
* Century of Antohins (new 2005)
Summary[ break in two ] If you see quotations with (K) or (M) it is simply to save myself time: Gassett, Kierkegaard, Foucault, Marx -- are the commentators on my time, me and you. The fathers, grandfather and the other dead and great minds.
The Possessed 2003
2004 & After
2006: my updates
... generation, part 2 [?]
I like this word in English -- Generation! Full of energy, future, dynamic... In Russian it's different.
THE PROMISE OF A PROMISED LANDTestimonials: The Second Half of the 20th Century. [Key words: Gassett, Kierkegaard, Foucault, Marx]Contents: I. SHORT HISTORY OF ONE GENERATION II. FATHERS' REVENGE III. ELECTRONIC (NEW) AMERICAN: Netizen Epstein IV. PROPERTY OF MYSELF V. LAST WILL. RUSSIAN INDIVIDUALISM? VI. IN LOVE WITH THE FUTUREThe Berlin Wall is no more, but there is another wall in Washington D.C. -- with the thousands names on the dark shinny stone. Mine and Bill Clinton's names are not there. They say, most of the my generation will live till hundred on everage. We are the lucky ones. I didn't shoot anybody and nobody shot at me. I am the first in the long line of Antohins, who didn't fight in the war. I didn't kill anybody and I wasn't kill.
Is it so? Maybe we are the first generation to kill ourselves...
I. SHORT HISTORY OF ONE GENERATIONI was born in the land of victorious, triumphant communism at the year of the Soviet test of the atomic bomb. After almost fifty years of thinking about this fact I have to say that "was born" is from my parents' lexicon. As far as the state was concerned I was produced. Actually, "I" has nothing to do with the general purpose of my appearance. This "I" was a problem, as I soon was about to discover. "I" never existed, it was acknowledged and accepted as a black hole in the bright universe of collective utopia. The state was everything, I was nothing. It was expressed plain and simple. Propaganda knows no shame, agitation can't be humble: it was said loud and clear that I live in the best world ever existed in history. "I" "was born" at the right time in the right place.
Communism is a promised (virtual) land. We didn't have to travel in desert but in time to arrive at the place of New Jerusalem. Communism was a promise. I grew up knowing that even a better world is waiting for me. The future. I and Time were friends rushing to meet each other. I was eleven when the party announced that my generation will live in actual communism. As if what I already had wasn't enough -- ahead of me, in the year 1980, was a full blown paradise. It were the sixties when not only the flower generation but the governments believed that there was no limit for our powers over the future. Kennedy and Johnson were optimistic no less than Khrushev. Why? Because there was no war, only the Cold War? Because of the space program? Or the post-war prosperity (the peace was so magical? What did turn wrong by the end of the sixties?)
The rest of my life was a recovery or endless attempts to regain the promised life...Whether we like it or not, human life is a constant preoccupation with the future. In this actual moment we are concerned with the one that follows. Hence living is always, ceaselessly, restlessly, a doing. Why is it not realized that all doing implies bringing something future into effect? Including the case when we give ourselves up to remembering. We recall a memory at this moment in order to effect something in the moment following, be it only the pleasure of re-living the past. This modest secret pleasure presented itself to us a moment ago as a desirable future thing, therefore we "make remembrance of things past." Let it be clear, then, that nothing has a sense for man except in as far as it is directed towards the future. [On this view, the human being has inevitably a futuristic constitution; that is to say, he lives primarily in the future and for the future.] [G XIV. 8]
How could we believe in perfect world on earth (and in our times)? It's simple. We want to believe. We lost our heads, we were in love. Could a dream be a lie? Oh, the world was such a nice place to be, what else could we expect from the future in such a world? Only "more better"! The old evils were old, we were young. The old was about to vanish and die. Do I have to tell you what science meant to us? Everything! Everything was possible...
What went wrong?
It was Vietnam and everything after. It was Prague of 68.
What we didn't want to see? The near past. Budapest of 1956? Korea. The lies of dreaming, including Communism and Great Society. Lies or hopes?
We were intoxicated with time. We were happy to die putting together such a wonder -- (Chernobyl) nuclear reactor. For the first time in that old history of submission and survival we were in charge of life. We loved Time. For a change Time worked for us, with us, not against us. At least that's how we felt at the time. We were so high, any wise man could predict that the next decade should be nothing less than a letdown. That the rest of our lives is set to be a disillusionment. We had no wise men among us. They were in the past. They were gone, silent, shamed.
All our miracles turned out to be something vulgar -- Tv and even computers (see chatting USENET). Holy Science became a routine of working for defence departments. We wanted to break the barriers, not to "farm" knowledge. The inspiration, the promise were so short-lived. I took down from my wall the portraits of Einstein and Hemingway. What should take their place? The icon? Crucifix? The wall was there.
What was missing in us?
Do you what to know who's portraits were not on the wall of my room, but on the wall of my house? Read on.
We didn't notice who we are.
We were the children of the ruling mass-man, the offsprings of emancipated slaves. We were ashamed of our parents, boring, working beings. We were ready to be the first generation of the new intellectual aristocracy. Above the past.
We became the true last generation; generation X has no generational attributes.
We had to discover that we weren't in charge. How could it be? The others, they -- where did they come from? -- were making all the decisions. Our brothers and sisters, and, yes, we too, went alone. Why didn't I think that I could be in this tank rolling over Czechoslovakia? I was 19. Oh, I was a student? I was good, I was different, the change, the break, the miracle...
I was in this tank. The next big discovery was that I am working for them. I could write what they can't, and I was writing for them. I was in the tank which rolled over me.
I compromised myself, I sold myself out -- I lived. Was I in the wrong place and wrong time? That's how I learn that there is no line between paradise and hell. It wasn't a step, but a fall down to the underground -- myself. Exile has many forms. I stepped out of history. We got divorced with "our" beloved time. Was it a passive resistance? I left the country when I left history, when I left "my" time. If only I could notice myself, I would know about everything what was ahead of Russia. The dream world ended in me -- and the dream machinery collapsed.
The bond with history was broken, no Reagan or Gorbachev mini-restorations of the real could hold it together. The future died. I didn't trust my dreams anymore. I didn't trust myself. Every day I saw that the wonders I called "freedoms" were my limitations. I was going deeper and further inside myself. I wasn't young anymore. My world was no less disappointing than the world outside.
What could I offer myself? I lost it. Everything. No, I never had anything. It was a promise, a mirage. Would you think that after so many years of walking across the desert the promised land would look like a tropical paradise? It was rocky Israeli land, with nothing spectacular and even our rights to call it "our land" were in question. The people are everywhere you go. Moses got old and tired. You have to settle down somewhere.
Here comes the end of my life and my story. I have nothing to offer my children. Even our relations, the family is gone. I don't think my life could be a model for them. Not even for me. Baby boomers. Maybe, this is the right definition after all: baby and boom, nothing else. The by-product of the post-war euphoria.
Is my story over? Or there are more revelations ahead? Nice guy Bill will look more and more empty. Is there more to find inside my tired self? The emptiness, the talents turned rotten. Is that all what could be said about us, the second half of the century?
The children, or grandchildren, of the great barbarian, the mass man, we have nothing to say. We are them. We had only wishes, good intentions. They only can promise.
I understand Clinton. What else would I do in his place but to try be nice all the time? His brother, Ted, has his little ideas mailed to his friends, blowing them up. That's the product of decades of self-searching? I understand them both and I won't vote for them. I wouldn't vote for myself.
In my youth the party was insisting on spirituality, on need for ideas -- they were right. That's what is missing. The feeling, thoughts, visions -- the future. Mcluhan global village is in Central L.A.
Wait, don't close the book. My confessions are not over. What do you have after rejecting yourself?
Disclaimer: we are depressed because the freedom exposed our own limitation. There's nothing between us and possibility of City of God, except for us. All obstacles were removed, destroyed -- and we discovered who we are, the scam, the dirt, the nothing. We suffer because too much freedoms are granted, because we thought so highly of ourselves, because we thought that everything is possible tomorrow. The blow came unexpected, we still deny that our problems are We.
Last before the Last Century. "The sixties." Twenty five years later they came back from Siberia. The Crimean war was lost. In 1861 came the abolition of Russian slavery, The Decembrists played no role in Russian history since 1825. That was the end of the era of aristocracy. The end of liberalism, reformism. Next came the marxists, the terminators.
What we waited for in the sixties came in the late eighties. It was too late for us, we were wasted. It was too late for the country, which was dragged into history. In the sixties we desired tomorrow, we welcomed it. Twenty years later it was forced on the country because the country didn't trust its own children.
If not for the twelve years between the two Russian revolutions the Bolshevism wouldn't have the drive. Quarter of the century is a long stretch for one generation. "Lost people" was said about post-Decembrists.
So, what did take place in Russia after the fall of the wall? The Soviet Union is no more. No more Union. But the Soviet is still there.
The Menshevicks, the social democrats (the majority of the Soviets before the Bolsheviks coup) now got the power. Finally, almost 80 years later. The original Russian socialism can't be recognized in the present leaders of Russia. They won't recognize the last Duma, 80 years is too long for country's memory (more than one generation). Who would remember Kerensky? Savinkov? Rodzyanko?
Nothing could be done. Russia always lived in two different time frames (classes). Russia of the majority finally arrived where the Russian society was almost a century ago. Russian people and Russian society never lived in the same century. Russian society and culture were destroyed by the Russian people. Now they have no state and no society. Not even Soviet state, only Soviet culture.
Post-postmodernism, nobody could get back to modernity. In time (history) there're no roads back. Alas, we meet the past in the future.
Many lives for a price of one.
If I lived in two worlds, how could I link them. One history (through the Cold War). I'm the carrier of this history. Not only I went through cultural revolution, but Russia ten years later, after me, experienced it. All I did was one step ahead of the catastrophe. Humans sense history like animals feel natural disasters. Did Russian intelligencia broke with Russia before Russia died? Did we cause the death?
[ pause ]
I do not have time to paint, write, think, feel -- I am too busy surviving, defending myself, hiding behind my wall...
What is home? A house. We build walls to protect ourself from the world. My "homepages" -- protection from you, reader. More I write the bigger the distance...
My generation is the generation of gentle men... We are safe. We smile. No problems. We like everybody and all should like us. We are not non-smilling Arabs. We are cool. we are TV Wall Generation, when nothing is real. We are light, like the light. We are passing through. We are not here, or there, we are nowhere. We never existed...
You see, when you get to the eternity, time doesn't exist -- what and who does? [ This is the story of the last three books -- Self, POV, Tech ]
The images below are the two rulers who were everywhere and above in my short Soviet life. For sixty years Russia was ruled by the three, who could not speak Russian language, one after another. Stalin came after Lenin, who also had a speach defects. What does it mean? It was the Soviet history, not Russian. Anti-Russian?
Officially we were called the generation of the Real Socialism. Later it was replaced with "Stagnation years." After 1968 it was obvious that we, the Soviets, were going nowhere. The sixties generation which came at the wave of denouncement of Stalin's Gulag had no courage to protest the invasion of Czechoslovakia, as they didn't speak about Budapest of 1956 or Berlin of 1953. It wasn't about us, the Russians. Later, in 1979, nobody noticed invasion of Afghanistan. There were dissidents, expulsions from the Writers Guild, human rights groups, samizdat -- our problems.
Generation? What were we supposed to generate?
We weren't a generation. But it has to be discovered later.
"The individual and the generation come between and stop each other," Kierkegaard wrote in "Present Age."
From a flood of indications one might think that either something extraordinary happened or something extraordinary was just about to happen. But one will have thought wrong, for indications are the only thing the present age achieves, and its skill and virtuosity entirely consist in building magical illusions (AA); its momentary enthusiasms which use some projected change in the forms of things as an escape for actually changing the forms of things, are the highest in the scale of cleverness and the negative use of that strength which is the passionate and creating energy during Revolutionary Ages. Eventually, this present age tires of its chimerical attempts until it declines back into indolence. Its condition is like one who has just fallen asleep in the morning: first, great dreams, then laziness, and then a witty or clever reason for staying in bed. (K)
What a description for the sixties! Here or in Russia. The idea of enthusiasm was popular both with the official thinking and the counter-culture. Great Society or hippies, Communism by the year 1980 and confessional prose -- we had great expectation of ourselves and our times. By the early seventies this inspiration was gone.
..."the most clever thing to do is nothing at all."
Russian images. Oblomov. The third way. In the faraway forgotten past the understanding produced the master, who would use their ability to know to dominate the others. Than came great thinkers who make understanding into art of reflection and discourse. Finally, arrive our spiritual father turning the gift to understand into submission to the lowest...
A Revolutionary Age is an age of action; the present age is an age of advertisement, or an age of publicity: nothing happens, but there is instant publicity about it. (*AA) A revolt in the present age is the most unthinkable act of all. (K)
It took me another, American, life to understand the idea of propaganda. Yes, the American agitation tought me -- the Triumph of Advertisement! Only now I understand a little about the power of ideology. Oh, should I leave it for my American Book?... but how can I explain that it was the same process: East and West?
...The Double Life, mine and the double existence of the world.
...Do you know what we did hear on the radio day and night? Do you know what listened to?
Do I quote in vain?
Did I live for nothing?
President Putin is a man of my generation.
So does George Bush.
The baby-boomers. The children of the last war of the world...
Did we know that the wars will become our personal nightmares, when life becomes war?
What did we know?
"I have a dream"...
Dream, all right.
We dreamed into the third millennium. Is it time to wake up?
Do we want to know?
I still making faces in front of the mirror -- I want to see myself the way I want to, I do not want to see my real face.
I am 54.
When my generation will die, maybe then somebody could say the truth about us. Not we, not us -- we have to lie...
The Lie is my name. Mr. Lie.
... O. J. Simpson trail. Tabloid news became our history. That's what happens when nothing happens.
..."now we have an age of intellectual tourists." (K)
Yeah, we did read great books. "Classics and We" -- popular theme in the Soviet seventies. Us and Them, the masters, the fathers, behind the wall of time. Pushkin, the giant. We treated "them" as if they weren't humans. "Founding Fathers" -- in America. We behave as their illegitimate children. We admire them but not as equals. This equality among ourselves dictates principle of fundamental inequality with the past heroes. How would I grant Boris or David the status of genius, how can I separate one of us into a superior being? Celebrity, yes, Michael Jackson, isn't Mozart -- and we like it, we pay him not to be different (only "special"). We rush to make any talent into a celebrity. Buy, own, package him!
Our admiration of the Great is a feeling of slaves. Who said that slavery ended? Slaves.
We STUDY the past. It's not ours, but BEFORE us. We put it in museums, under the bullet proof glass. Do not touch! Revolution Age destroys, because it builds. We want to preserve, to save, to protect. The past is our environment, not a material. We have to keep safe distance with the past Revolutionary Ages. Our revolution in consumer products.
"The age of great achievers is gone, the present age is an age of anticipators." (K)
Me, I -- about me! Anticipators! "I have a dream..." We inherated it, the dreaming.
Yeah, you still think that I write about Russia, about myself. Well, I too spent my life in denile -- it's not me, it's them, I am diffrent, I am better...
Soory, friend, soory, my readers. I know you are tired of this unfinished narrative, jump shots and so on. You can't image how I am tired reading and writing it. The notes. without the notes. Look at the following: "Waiting Room. Waiting for Godot. Vozhnesensky" -- what the hell is that? How could we read it? Oh, curse on you, Anatoly! Yes, you are right....
Waiting Room. Waiting for Godot. Andrey Vozhnesensky's poem "Nostalgia for the Present" (or "Real" since the word in Russian has double meaning).
[ "Waiting Room" is the name of the play I wrote in Moscow in 1970, nobody has the copy. "Waiting for Godot" is Beckett, many know the play. Vozhnesensky is the Soviet poet, good. Do not expect me to write more comments on my comments about life. ]
Film, media, we report about anything, including nothing. "Reflective age." When did this wonder of discourse turn into a curse? We became talkers, kitchen philosophers, semi-underground opposition. What was our position? We were "against" -- and the state called it "anti-Soviet propaganda and agitation." All were against and all were included in what they were protesting against. We were corrupt and our revolt was corrupt, tamed, and domesticated.
To eliminate changes, we make them constant. Little steps. Small improvements.
Envy which is establishing itself is a levelling, and while a passionate age pushes forward, establishing new things and destroying others, raising and tearing down, a reflective, passionless age does the opposite, it stifles and hinders, it levels....Levelling at its maximum is like the stillness of death, where one can hear one's own heartbeat, a stillness like death, into which nothing can penetrate, in which everything sinks, powerless. (K)
One, a few, the many, and -- all.
One person can head a rebellion, but one person cannot head this levelling process, for that would make him a leader and he would avoid being levelled. Each individual can in his little circle participate in this levelling, but it is an abstract process, and levelling is abstraction conquering individuality. The levelling in modern times is the reflective equivalent of fate in the ancient times. The dialectic of ancient times tended towards leadership (the great man over the masses and the free man over the slave); the dialectic of Christianity tends, at least until now, towards representation (AA) (the majority views itself in the representative, and is liberated in the knowledge that it is represented in that representative, in a kind of self-knowledge); the dialectic of the present age tends towards equality, and its most consequent but false result is levelling, as the negative unity of the negative relationship between individuals." (K)
... So, what is the story, Anatoly? What is your story? Why can't you tell it?
I am afraid.
I fear the truth.
"And the truth shall make you free."
I am not free. I fight this freedom. I try to preserve my wall. I built it.
Negative unity = unity of opposition. Democrats in Russia lost all their influence in two years after the fall of communism. They were against communists, but there were no more communists around to be against.
How could I missed it! The trap.
Kierkegaard: the category of "generation" supersedes the category of the "individual."
My generation was a tool for my individual suppression! Our songs, our poetry praised friendship, togetherness, solidarity! We were comrades in "true" sense, we applied the same principles that the revolutionary a couple generation ago. Why couldn't we see that it was the same sacrifice of an individual for a group? We never valued one. One, according to the Christian archetype, was dispensable, yes, for the benefit of all. We were communists at heart. (It took "democracy rule" to discover that many rather have the communists back. See post-communist Russia election preferences). That much for our friendship.
"In ancient times, the single individual in the masses signified nothing; the outstanding individual signified them all. (A)" (K)
The Epoch of Heroes was before us. We saw them, we watched them, we were the PUBLIC! There was no stage to step on, the history died. I saw it.
To insist in public on your individuality is to reinstate the power of masses. The notion of "I" is no less responsible for creating the mass mentality.
In order for levelling really to occur, first it is necessary to bring a phantom into existence, a spirit of levelling, a huge abstraction, an all-embracing something that is nothing, an illusion--the phantom of the public. The public is the real Levelling-Master, rather than the leveller itself, for levelling is done by something, and the public is a huge nothing. (K)
Public? As if in theatre? How did we become the spectators of our own life?
"The public is an idea, which would never have occurred to people in ancient times." (K) Who? The Romans? They had no chorus in their dramas. They had to tragedies.
We wouldn't know how to think about ourselves without public opinion pools.
....a clever society makes concrete reality into nothing, then the Media4 creates that abstraction, "the public," which is filled with unreal individuals, who are never united nor can they ever unite simultaneously in a single situation or organization, yet still stick together as a whole. The public is a body, more numerous than the people which compose it (AA), but this body can never be shown... (K)
Public instead of Classes? Not even Masses anymore?
The public is not a people, it is not a generation, it is not a simultaneity, it is not a community, it is not a society, it is not an association, it is not those particular men over there, because all these exist because they are concrete and real; however, no single individual who belongs to the public has any real commitment; some times during the day he belongs to the public, namely, in those times in which he is nothing; in those times that he is a particular person, he does not belong to the public. Consisting of such individuals, who as individuals are nothing, the public becomes a huge something, a nothing, an abstract desert and emptiness, which is everything and nothing.... (K)
Zhirinovsky is one out of my generation. He is inside me. What is inside him from me or Michael Epstein? And this is Russia's big problem. But it's not "them" and "us" anymore. It's them and me. The generation is split between "then" and "there." "There" could be in Russia, or in NYC. Generation is divided geographically. Physically, some of us are in the West, some are still in Russia. Most are in Moscow (Arbuzov's studio). Who and how did split this generation? And why? None of us who left will be back. We are gone. We are cut off the Russian social (real) life. We are not in exile. We are out. Not Hertzen or Berdyaev, not even Nabokov. We are Americans. Of another sort than they are in Russia. They're the same, they also left Russia, staying in Russia. Russia is empty (St. Petersburg knows this expression).
The three generations of my friends; the grade, the high school and the college -- Kokorin, Lobachev, Korkia. There were thousands of them, writing poems, singing, talking about their country. I know what I experienced then, it was a peaceful revolution. I should know that we were this quiet revolution, the end of the Soviet era. Was it all what we had to accomplish? We expected more from ourself. I was losing them, the boys I admired. They were sucked into this huge body, the country with no respect for her talents. There were no places for them to be and there was no place to keep their hopes high. We weren't strong enough to take it by force. Every day was another chipping away routine. The families, jobs, homes, children. They were the stars of the moment, the short-lived falling stars, the comets. The rest of their lives was the darkness of night. We didn't help each other and the country had no need for them.
"You know, he is drinking," said Korkia without looking into my eyes. I expected it. I remember Valera before I left; he was lost. He knew it, but wouldn't talk. Lobachev saw that I keep the distance with him. He was my best friend in the school's last years. My father still believes that he was responsible for spoiling me, an exemplary Soviet boy. Our parents never knew us. We grew by ourselves, educating each other. The generational link was broken. For too long this country was killing its best. We knew who did it -- our fathers. They killed our teachers. They were communists, our fathers. We were from the establishment, they were men of power, our fathers. Not the top, but the class of the Soviet managers, who brought the country into a dead end. None of them even attempted to pass on us the ideology they themselves didn't believe in. They had no idea what to do with us. They watched us the way we watched the official life outside. They had medals and party meetings, they worked long hours and they were the ones who made the system functional. The big machine was moving because of them. They had nothing to say to us. The fathers, they wished us the best and the best was to continue what they did -- to serve the dragon.
When I look back I don't know how else could we act. We tried. We read. We read the forbidden books. We didn't think about the punishment (up to ten years of hard labor). We wrote and read each other writing. Through my five years in the Cinema Institute none of my real stories was accepted, hundreds of them. They couldn't keep them in the office, never-mind the grading. We had to meet somewhere in somebody's apartment to share our writing.
.... My father was sixteen, when he went to the front. When did I do it? Maybe 13 -- and went to war with my father. This is why he is in Moscow and I am in Alaska.
We love each other, I have my American grandsons and he has his great grandchildren. I do not talk to him about the war between us, when I call Moscow. I can't tell him about the reason, why we are on the opposite sides of the globe. We both are old. We both are tired of this war. He will die and so do I. Maybe then the wall will vanish, there will be no time, no reason to fight. To fight your own father, your own self...
.... Please, don't tell me that you do not understand. The faces you see on your TV screen will be gone -- so do you. Don't tell me that it doen't matter. Your own death. Your generation...
MEDIA and MEDIOCRACY. The abstractions rule.
Why should I trust them -- the anchorman, the reporters? Oh, they have the access! Do they? Is there anything to know? How come they always miss the real changes? They only can make news.
We accepted it. The Nothing, and its message.
This lazy mass, which understands nothing and does nothing, this public gallery seeks some distraction, and soon gives itself over to the idea that everything which someone does, or achieves, has been done to provide the public something to gossip about. . . . The public has a dog for its amusement. That dog is the Media. If there is someone better than the public, someone who distinguishes himself, the public sets the dog on him and all the amusement begins. This biting dog tears up his coat-tails, and takes all sort of vulgar liberties with his leg--until the public bores of it all and calls the dog off. That is how the public levels. (K)
Tarkovsky's "Mirror." What to remember? Felini's "Amarcord" -- Russians do not smile. Even the best of the best. They are sentenced by the country. He knew that he will die. Outside of Russia. He wasn't the first to do it.
Generation is an expression of living culture, and at its pick. Golden or Silver Ages in Russia were based on generational feelings. Generation isn't "natural" but history produced phenomena. Including the Revolutionary Age, Kierkegaard wrote about.
PS. Strange, this dragon, the Soviet Union, died, and I'm still alive. Mandelstam's poetry lives. He didn't fight with them (except for one poem about Stalin, and another one -- an attempt to praise the tyrant). Mandelstam ignored it all, even when it was impossible to do so. How did he know something I learnt after reaching the age of his death? Wasted years of trying to be with history! He had his work (Tsvetayeva understood poetry as profession, mission, job -- as even Mayakovsky).
Do you want me to vote, to participate, to be engaged, connected -- under control.
I have nothing to offer you; my life is taken away already -- Apollo has it. Walk away, my love, away from family, children, yourself and history, away from it all. Don't mix your immortality with anything mortal you should not even know about. They want you to be everywhere, to be informed, plugged in, wired -- they want you to support their life with yours, because without you the dragon has no life. The Soviet Union died because I took away my life, I left the thing -- and the system has collapsed. It lives on attention, on your feelings. Away, away.
To where? To the useless things which they will never value. They don't see them, the beauty. No, beauty won't save the world (Dostoevsky) but could save you, your world.
Man from the underground and the poet have something in common -- the rejection of this world. But the poet doesn't envy it, he is not interested, he misses nothing. Not everyone is a poet? Too bad. Is this "art for the art's sake"? Wait. What is art anyway? For what "sake" was the world created?
Away, away from yourself, from the poisoned waters of too personal and very individual. What business of yours to be stuck with something which will be gone soon. Inside or out are many things ask for your attention.
How could I both (opposite) feelings -- STAGNATION and CONSTANT CHANGES? Or the sense of stagnation comes out of the realization that the changes are there to reenforce the status quo? Maybe the news, and new technologies are to keep me dis-focused, distant from concentration which bring in true new ideas -- and real changes. I'm motionless in the car (and more restricted with higher speed). I'm plugged on changes in my environment, I have to react to the aggressive environment, situational changes. In order for the system to survive it has to throw more news at me, they have to be manufactured, made up and sold as relevant to me. Lets open the world wider, lets have more people on earth -- the supermarket idea. Stock of the same brand if you don't have variations. Terrorize them with choice between the same. How peaceful is the night sky with the stars moving with the super-human speed.
PERSONAL NOTE TO MYSELF
A few words from a former Soviet communist. What's wrong with Russia? Russia is occupied by communists. They may call themselves democrats, nationalists, socialists, patriots; they are true communists, the people of Russia. They don't need PC to be communists as nobody needs a church to be a believer.
We forgot our expectations at the time of the Berlin Wall's fall. We forgot that nobody mentioned at that time Bosnia, Somalia, Armenia. We didn't think that there's a price to pay for the end of the Cold War. (We talked about a peace dividend). We thought that everything was paid off. We still don't know that the sky fell on America. Who would think that instead of benefits of victory America would speed up into a crisis. We were proud to be the only super-power, forgetting that the same pride bought down the collapse of the Soviet Union... They were proud too, they still miss their national pride. The peacenicks were right; Americans and Russians have a lot in common -- both are abscessed with pursuit of happiness. They have this mutual desire with two different ways of achieving it. That was the reason for the confrontation and the Cold War (which had not only the arms race aspect but also wars in the third world).
We won. What does it mean? US inherited all the Soviet areas of control; now we have to control not a half but the whole world. Thanks a lot.
This is not (only) our choice but a destiny.
III. ELECTRONIC (NEW) AMERICAN: Netizen Epstein
M. Epstein. _HYPER IN 20TH CENTURY CULTURE: THE DIALECTICS OF TRANSITION FROM MODERNISM TO POST MODERNISM_ Postmodern Culture v.6 n.2 (January, 1996)
M. Epstein. _A DRAFT ESSAY ON RUSSIAN AND WESTERN POSTMODERNISM_ Postmodern Culture v.3 n.2 (January, 1993)
MIKHAIL EPSTEIN. _WHO I AM AND I DECIDED TO START INTELNET_ Mikhail Epstein Home Page. INTELNET Home Page
M. Epstein. _RELATIVISTIC PATTERNS IN TOTALITARIAN THINKING: AN INQUIRY INTO THE LANGUAGE OF SOVIET IDEOLOGY_ Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies. Occasional Paper #243
1. MY PROBLEMS:
1. "Electronic" asks for a definition of Performance in Cyber space. Since the physical Michail Epstein is not present in such a space I can judge his presence only by his texts, which are the trajectory of his performance. Duality of Internet is in nature of cyber space; communication (media) makes Michail Epstein not only visible but provides the material environment for his (electronic) existence. It's a fully alienated individual (a wave), which could (and does) exist as a particle. His "home" page is his action (will) and the only facts I can use to "know" Michail Epstein. It's his presentation of himself. In print format his presence doesn't have such strong immediacy. It's a trace (record) of his action. Internet makes his presence inter-active.
An electronic American is obviously new (non-traditional American, and maybe, not an American at all). Cyber existence knows no (traditional) nationalities, it's global. The electronic identity is not a new phenomena,6 but how to fund a method to see the ways of expression of so many? I thought that the one person (who is "many") is the only task I can handle. I find the one close to my heart, the "home page" of Mikhail Epstein.
2. Thinking as a performance... I noticed his article in _Postmodern Culture_ and was impressed so much that I ran the search on "Mikhail Epstein." In addition to my aim to analyze the Internet as a performance, I got a new problem -- to understand the complex, rich, fancy world of a thinker. I suspect that my reflections will suffer because of this dual task; Mr. Epstein's writings deserve a long and detailed discussion. So, I should limit myself to my own impressions that I "know" the person because I "heard" him through what he choose to open to me.
3. Is Internet an interactive media?
It was a monologue. I like the e-communication quality not-to-be-communicative. Since it's not physical, there's no need to access each other, to establish contact, to get to know each other (everything that the Britannica salesman would do to you).8 There's no cocktail party environment which is no less a wrong way to start relations, than a single bar situation. Does anyone who choose to put himself on Web has to be confessional? What is a dramatic format of web pages? In short, you, the secret (private) person. Only later you can find out the social details (CV, age, pictures). This reverse way of acquaintance is very economical (and sacred?). The journey through "home page" isn't the same as reading a book. You have to overcome the physical presence of the book, you have to forget that you're reading. (What about the screen?) Well, writing a book is "marketing," "packaging," "selling" yourself (since other people who are marketing, packaging, selling it are involved). Cyber writing has a wonderful irresponsibility of talking (chatting), there's nothing but your own self-discipline and love of your subject restricts you. (Something from the desert Christian prophets. Your audience is like God, unknown and undescribable).
4. I stopped at "one" page of Michail Epstein: "WHO I AM AND WHY I DECIDED TO START INTELNET" (for details, please check the page9 -- this is another wonder of the Internet). [Instead of a footnote: I feel as if I have to apologize to Mikhail for taking him as a "subject" instead of talking about his ideas in his publications, but I feel that I was invited to do so and I do so because of my admirations for his ideas, which I believe are the best of his identity.]
5. "I was born in Moscow, in the very middle of the twentieth century..." I cite the begining of his page which could be a begining of my own. Do I have a starting point for the identification (ID)? (If you are not born in Moscow, most likely you were born in the twentieth century).10 The Internet ID is very "contemporamental.' A book has this beautiful flavor of the past, the text on the screen makes you believe that it's an e-mail message written today. Electronic text (even if it's the Bible) feels as it is dialogical, a response. The power of being contemporary is a very communal, interactive. Right now, at this very mortal moment somebody is also alive and send you a signal of being-alive. The Internet expresses the extreme alienation which comes and overcomes its limits.
6. I appreciate Mikhail Epstein's confession that he prefers the genre of essay, which is the border line between fiction and scholarship. We live at the crossroads of times and histories (my Russian background asks for even stronger words -- Apocalypses, Rapture, Judgement Day) and Dr. Epstein knows that the academic "paper" format would betray the nature of our time (multicultural, interdisciplinary, etc.) He goes for a form which the print would resist -- "`auto-cultural' approach, combining elements of research and introspection."11 (quote from _ON THE BORDERS OF CULTURES: RUSSIAN--AMERICAN--SOVIET_ PR of the M. Epstein's book. Bold -- AA).
Our present scholarship in many ways is a super, hyper, pseudo-ship because the element of personal introspection is lost. The past scholastic works required a personal involvement, which made easier for us to understand the work. To study interterritorial subject should require a border position. Between the science and the art?
7. Criteria for evaluation of anything of the Internet:
remote control syndrome. How would you read anything on the WWW?
You don't read, you scan. You are looking for a signal that you
should read or not read this text. We all became some sort of
editors with no time to waist on noise. How do you scan? What are
you looking for something to stop scanning and start reading? A
word? A combination of words? "... this period of `timelessness'
was nothing but a crude imitation of eternity." (WHO I AM)
"Timelessness - imitation of eternity"? What was that about? "The
co-called era of stagnation during the seventies and early
eighties was politically miserable and dull, although it provided
the opportunity to concentrate on metaphysical matters which were
not subject to the changing political fashions." (WHO I AM, 4) A
paradox? Formed thoughts.
The Internet reading more than "normal" reading is a contextual; I already know about the time of stagnation in Russia under Brezhnev but I haven't heard that this is actually a beneficial situation!
Since the Internet is ocean of information and I can get any possible data, only the thought could be a criteria of originality. The Net is processing knowledge and only an individual mind creates.
8. I have to confess that I liked the draft of _RUSSIAN AND WESTERN POSTMODERNISM_ (1993) better than _HYPER IN 20TH CENTURY: THE DIALECTICS OF TRANSITION FROM MODERNISM TO POSTMODERNISM_ (1996). Actually, the two cover different subjects. I missed the smell of total recognition in Mikhail's analysis of a paradox of Soviet postmodernism next to his discussion of "western" postmodernity. The idea of the Russian revolutionary leap into postmodernity as means to modernize Russia is very powerful and would put many Soviet and Russian "mysteries" in place. The "Western" reading of postmodernism is taken in its "independent" form, which contradict the proposition that the history of modernity (and postmodernism) should be taken as one process. Following this strong (global, universal) notion of history, I expected that the communist ideological drive would be a mutual quality of the "western" and "Soviet" models. It's about time (late postmodernism) to look at the political meaning of the competition of the two super-power from the position of dialectics of a conflict over the same subject (human and humanity). I believe that Mikhail makes a case of cultural mutuality of democracy and communism as ideologies (former in societal and later in statehood form). That's why I was waiting for a revision of the notion of ("western") modernism and postmodernism. (At the same time I was glad that the word "western" disappeared in 1996).
9. American, French and Russian revolutions are one process: the universal history, the roots of modernity. (1993, 8) Modernism is a departure from history (the end of history).13 Among the 20th centuries revolutions, the Stalin's three revolutions of the thirties must be mentioned (most importantly, the cultural revolution), which are a departure from modernism to postmodernism in Soviet Russia. The American cultural revolution from the New Deal to the Great Society should be examined in social expressions of the postmodern sensitivity. Politically, both super-powers were borne out of this sense of the post-modernity (attitude). My expectations are based on insightful propositions by Mikhail Epstein about the universality of modern and postmodern, which he could carry further.
If Russian and Western Postmodernism have their common roots in their respective Modernist past and the revolutionary obsession with the "super," so also the current parallels between Western Postmodernism and its Russian counterpart, their common engagement with the "pseudo," allow us to glimpse the phenomenon of Postmodernism in general in a new dimension. This new depth, which it acquires through the comparison, is projected as the path leading out of a common revolutionary past, whose heritage both postmodern paradigms -- the Russian and the Western one -- are striving to overcome. (1996, 7)
Pseudo? Since pm uses the pastiche idea? Copy is a "pseudo" original. Attempt to define the post-postmodernism, pseudo-history, pseudo-state, pseudo-society.
10. "Home Page" -- our home is only in cyber space. Our homeland is even more ephimerical. In between. Where and when does "generation" come into a play? Instead of class? Masses are not less "natural" than an individual: What is *artificial*? Computers? Why not life itself? It's too a product of evolution. (Kierkegaard)
(1996, 14) "Paradoxes" of Marxism:
Since "social existence determines their consciousness" we could be (should be and are) constructed; all what's needed is to arrange the social environment. So, in order to create "new man" we create "new world." We construct ourselves.
The same paradox with hyper-materiality: (pseudo) primacy of the material world makes it into an object (material) for construction.
11. POST or PSEUDO-HISTORY. Transformation of super-powers into pseudo-powers, or from the start they were nothing but hyper-powers? (Cold War as a pseudo-war, as in "Gulf War' by Baudrillard).
[Super-power and super-man, not hyper-power (mass culture likes "super." "Hyper" has negative connotation). Marxist's origins. Super-structure exists in two forms: hyper and pseudo. Since its reality is built on the basis of primary reality, super-structure has only relative independence. It could be viewed as expression (or translation of the first reality), or maybe, it should be seen as a true reality, which uses the first only as a building material (Christianity). Both are right.] Politics is a cultural expression and our politics are very postmodern, civilized, empty. Pseudo-politics.
Modernism dismissed the notion of "Western," it was
anti-past (which is anti-Western for the Western civilization).
The modernism was active inclusion of non-western cultural
values. Postmodern (pseudo-modern, since the modernity can't be
ever overcome) multiculturalism is nothing but a
pseudo-multiculturalism. If modernism was seeking a synthesis of
different cultures, we work in opposite direction of
museumization of cultures. We're making all national cultures
into pseudo-cultures. The Soviet national policy created ethnic
people's (folk) cultures for the purpose of political
correctness. There were Ukrainian folk singers and dancers,
Uzbek, Yakut, even Russian, according to the quota system (equal
and proportional representation). Constructed, planned culture.
Soviet social experimentation could teach us a lot about the present stage of American democracy. The absence of "free"14 development of popular culture in Soviet Russia was possible only at expense of the enormous push into political POMO. In many cases we could look at the Soviet past as our own future. The collapse of the Communist educational system (propaganda of ideology) and American educational (moral ideology) system are of the same origins. The Soviets had their dream (collective), the Americans had their, "personalized", but the same American dream. The Russians believe that the common good is good for any individual, the Americans believed that what is good for an individual is good for us all. Both beliefs are gone.
12. Why? Because we do not live in PM, we are the POMO. We are the reason for any society to fall apart. We, the (primite) postmodernists, who through totality of technology did overcome such an institution as society. We don't need the KGB or the Judo-Christian morality, we have all the techno-cultural connections to stay together (subways, highways, cars, planes, phones, etc.) My body has no need for ideology to hold its part together. My arms are attached, there's no social or any other contracts between my legs and my head. (Wouldn't the individual drive to preserve his last independence be consider "normal"?)15 I have to be against anything (ideologically) social because I'm over-nationalized (globalized). If the USSR treated me as a state property, the new techno-democracy made me into its integral part (Stalin's and Hitler's dream). The old classical conflict between an individual and a society now isn't a fate of heroes but a destiny of every common man. "Follow me," said the Teacher. For two thousand years we did. Should I be surprise to find myself in his position at the end? I'm not only alone (the old song of existentialism), I am actively seeking my own alienation. I have to divorce myself (at least on ideological level) from anything social, I am much too much socialized already ("dividual" through the integration into many structures). My surprises come not from the fact of rising crime rates but that the collapse of a traditional "society" is too little too late. We are ready for more. And more is to come.
13. This is our (new) culture (we call it "popular culture" as if there's such a thing as non-popular culture). As any culture it has its own ideology. The "death of ideology" is highly exaggerated: the motion of ideology hasn't vanished. On the contrary, now everybody became an ideological creature, each of us is required to have his own private ideology. (How else the direct democracy could function?) Of course, we can't be agree on anything but this fact matters little. The beauty of the New Order is a duality of power; my personal participation is needed and by the same token it would never have a decisive vote. An individual is removed from the position of super-power (thanks to Stalin and Hitler, Khommeni and Saadam). Not a single idea has a chance to succeed in our super-hyper-society. Unless we all would accept it. Our dynamic society as slow as pre-historical tribal time (that why we need super-computers, satellites, Internet, news around the clock -- we need to speed up the dissemination, distribution of information in order for us to form "public opinion"). Of course, not a single "original" idea could be accept in such an environment. We all have to have the capacity to understand it. Any idea has to be transformed into pseudo-idea, something to grasp within 30 seconds (we don't have time). Pop culture has to use only imitations of ideas = imitation of culture. Anybody who is interested in "real" ideas must do a research, dig in, be an archeologist of the present.
14. PLAYING CULTURE (playing as culture). The postmodern
culture has to remember that its not a real culture and no
culture at all. Any Soviet dissident knew that anything
officially "cultural" means "corrupt" and "anti-culture." My
colleagues on American campuses do not fully understand their
underground position. They do not believe that universities are
intellectual ghettos, of the same formation as the Soviet
professional guilds for writers, artists, scientists. They are
excluded from the mainstream (popular) culture to a greater
degree than the inhabitants of inner cities.
Does it mean that anything cultural or original can't be accepted by the popular culture? My experience in Russia indicates -- possible, the monster takes it in and -- turns it into a trivia. But you have to know that you're playing culture. Leave the cave, entering the church.
15. Mikhail Epstein, this New American, is happened to be
from Russia. The Internet is a manifestation of postmodernism and
knows no other nationality besides "American."
I'm glad that I or Mikhail (or anything else "real") wasn't in the way of our meeting. I'm glad that I could know him before I could meet with him. This is the way I met my best friends (Dostoevski and others). How the Internet would use this wonder of meeting the dead who are actually alive (nice surprise), we don't know. Most likely, in all three forms -- super, hyper and pseudo relations.
IV. PROPERTY OF MYSELF
Marx of 1844 is not a marxist yet. At least not a communist. It's about Marx. If Hegel constructed the world around his search for self-definition, Marx did the same. We all do. His simple teenage thought that his identity is pre-constructed (determined) by the society (letter to his father) lead to investigation of social production of individuality. Marx managed to answer it for a mass man, not Marx himself. Perhaps, this problematic area of individuality, which preoccupies us all, has no answer. My initial interest of understand my own very self produces all the ideas but not the answer to my youth's questions. Intellectual labor, the questioning, brings objectivization to my feelings; Marx becomes marxism, and, maybe, this is the only result one could expect from living.
Yes, I need the sense of myself, I need to occupy myself the way animal explores the territory. My inner world is bigger than the universe (poetically we accepted this idea), and I am the only one who can own it. Yes, in my self-exploration I bring with me to this last frontier the society, which is willingly colonize my soul. To some degree I welcome them (love, friendship, preaching), to I still want to keep my copyright for my mind, my soul, my feelings. My Soviet experience tells me that "private property" is tautology; there's no sense of private without property sense and there's no property (rights) without "privatization." Communal, state and other forms of property is periphery of private property. Property is private and private is property.
Next step, we discover that I = property. At least, as a labor concerns. That wouldn't bother me, if not for a reversal: property = I. The property (my objective essence) behave as "I" -- I become a shadow of myself.
"The subjective essence of private property, private property as activity for itself, as subject, as person, is labor."
In the ideological world of triumphant humanity any idea or concept has REAL existence. They are humanitarian (not human) beings. They are more real than real being. An individual becomes an abstract; he is the one impossible to describe, to define, to understand. Who I am is an unknown essence, even for myself; in operational sense I can only apply my known identity (property) -- and I have submit myself to myself! I become my own enemy bound to fight myself for the rest of my life. I'm "disciplined" -- I'm tamed.
A mass man avoid a conscientious awareness of himself. The only difference between pseudo-humans and hyper-human is that the later takes his duality as his personal business. The majority does drugs, shrinks, serial killings -- their dealings with themselves become our business. They are not disciplined, they have to business of their own. That's why any society tries to install apparatus of culture (state, morals, etc.) to make them busy. It could drive them crazy too. We all are in a position of super-men. We live super-life. Our techno-culture (second nature) knows no exemptions. There are only two away out -- up or down. To be a hyper or a pseudo-human. (The third, traditional way, is death).
So, although political economy, whose principle is labor, appears to recognize man, it is, in fact, nothing more than the denial of man carried through to its logical conclusion: for man himself no longer stands in a relation of external tension to the external essence of private property -- he himself has become the tense essence of private property. (A.A.) What was formerly being-external-to-oneself, man's material externalization, has now become the act of alienation -- i.e., alienation through selling [Verausserung].
"I" as my property. Sterner or Bakunin knew what is coming -- the super state and nationalization of souls. American individualism, idea of "civil" rights = my claim on myself. My (public) relations with others are contractual arrangements.
Since they make private property in its active form the subject, thereby making man as a non-being [Unwesen] the essence [Wesen]
Nothing new about me as non-being essence. That's what I was. In many ways that's what I am. In some ways (time dimension) I never was. Property is simply establishing this fact. From a social perspective I as a property is the only reality. Pseudos accepted this banal truth of life and behave as property of themselves. Hypers couldn't offer them anything beside the constant battle inside, in addition to wars we have to fight in our social fields. My social being (humanity, according to everything institution) is a superior to me, why not to be on the side of a superior force? Communism has its appeal because it has powers.
....UNIVERSAL PRIVATE PROPERTY.
In grasping this relation in its universality, communism is(1) in its initial form only a generalization and completion of that relation (of private property). As such, it appears in a dual form: on the one hand, the domination of material property bulks so large that it threatens to destroy everything which is not capable of being possessed by everyone as private property (A.A.); it wants to abstract from talent, etc., by force. Physical, immediate possession is the only purpose of life and existence as far as this communism is concerned; the category of worker is not abolished but extended to all men; the relation of private property remains the relation of the community to the world of things; ultimately, this movement to oppose universal private property to private property is expressed in bestial form -- marriage (which is admittedly a form of exclusive private property) is counter-posed to the community of women, where women become communal and common property.
Cultural institution of marriage is a "bestial form" because animal in us expressed itself through "humanity" -- culture is not a break but a negation of non-human, an extension, a super-animal. Super-humanity is another negation of super-animal; should we be surprised to see the return of animal? This religious strive to overcome the animal in us is puzzling; marxism, following Christianity, wants to illuminate our animalistic nature, to make us into angels. The resurrection has to purify human nature to the point of absolute freedom from its past. This war on animal in me is not only attack by a society by also is sanctioned by me. I want to be in control and I am using all the social devices to control my animal instincts. Nietzsche noticed this Jihad of humanity on every "natural" impulse in me. His super-man was an attempt to overpass this kind of "humanity."
One might say that this idea of a community of women is the revealed secret of this as yet wholly crude and unthinking communism. Just as women are to go from marriage into general prostitution, so the whole world of wealth -- i.e., the objective essence of man -- is to make the transition from the relation of
exclusive marriage with the private owner to the relation of universal prostitution with the community. This communism, inasmuch as it negates the personality of man in every sphere (A), is simply the logical expression of the private property which is this
negation. Universal envy constituting itself as a power
is the hidden form in which greed reasserts itself and
satisfies itself, but in another way. The thoughts of
every piece of private property as such are at least
turned against richer private property in the form of
envy and the desire to level everything down; hence
these feelings in fact constitute the essence of
competition. The crude communist is merely the
culmination of this envy and desire to level down on
the basis of a preconceived minimum. It has a definite,
How little this abolition of private property is a true appropriation is shown by the abstract negation of the entire world of culture and civilization, and the return to the unnatural simplicity of the poor, unrefined man who has no needs and who has not yet even reached the stage of private property, let along gone beyond it.
This Marx's writings were excluded from the Soviet complete Marx published since the 1930s. The description of the crude communism was too striking, too powerful for the party to handle.
For crude communism:
....the community is simply a community of labor and equality of wages, which are paid out by the communal capital, the community as universal capitalist. Both sides of the relation are raised to an unimaginary universality -- labor as the condition in which everyone is placed and capital as the acknowledged universality and power of the community.17 (M)
The first positive abolition of private property -- crude communism -- is therefore only a manifestation of the vileness of private property trying to establish itself as the positive community.
(a) still of a political nature, democratic or despotic;
(b) with the abolition of the state, but still essentially incomplete and influenced by private property -- i.e., by the estrangement of man.
In both forms, communism already knows itself as the reintegration, or return, of man into himself (*), the supersession of man's self-estrangement; but since it has not yet comprehended the positive essence of private property, or understood the human nature of need, it is still held captive and contaminated by private property. True, it has understood its concept, but not yet in essence.
(*) Since "man" is by definition is a societal concept, is there's such thing as my original self-identity I could return to? Neo-Platonism? Resurrection idea, again. Idea of Anatoly and ideal Anatoly are awaiting for me to discover them and to give them life. This pre-existing models (souls) are the masters of our life. In such approach a PM constructing yourself becomes not only a "search" but a mission, because I am in a race against time to reach my ideal identity -- and I fail...
This material, immediately sensuous private property is the material, sensuous expression of estranged human life. Its movement--production and consumption -- is the sensuous revelation of the movement of all previous production -- i.e., the realization or reality of man. Religion, the family, the state, law, morality, science, art, etc., are only particular modes of production and therefore come under its general law. The positive supersession of private property, as the appropriation of human life, is therefore the positive supersession of all estrangement, and the return of man from religion, the family, the state, etc., to his human -- i.e., social19 -- existence. Religious estrangement as such takes place only in the sphere of consciousness, of man's inner life, but economic estrangement is that of real life -- its supersession therefore embraces both aspects. Clearly the nature of the movement in different countries initially depends on whether the actual and acknowledged life of the people has its being more in consciousness or in the external world, in ideal or in real life. Communism begins with atheism (Owen), but atheism is initially far from being communism, and is for the most part an abstraction. The philanthropy of atheism is therefore at first nothing more than an abstract philosophical philanthropy, while that of communism is at once real and directly bent towards action.
This atheism is probably the most aggressive religious belief; if organized religions have some room for my acceptance, in PERSONAL RELIGION I am the only church, the only authority to decide on my faithfulness. Separating religion from a state, and now from a society doesn't make me an atheist (Dostoevski and Unabomber). To the contrary, the new primitive finds himself not in a position of a believer but a god.
Perhaps, postmodern, or Soviet experience makes me wonder how much of childish wishful thinking was in our immediate past. The Greeks, the Christianity, the marxism -- they all are full of desires to "have it the way we want." Never-mind that what we want is not clear and questionable, the drive itself is a mystery for me. I have my problems with my times, but do I dream of "right" (utopian) society? No, never. This science fiction mentality is very human, and very immature. Maybe, I am too much consume with figuring out my own place or mission, maybe, I am too postmodern, but I feel that my primal responsibility is something nobody could truly explore -- myself as a subject and my object. Something very un-artistic, plebeian in this desire of social harmony, as if I am not mortal and will be around forever. This is another arrogance of a primitive mind which one could expect from a child. I respect the Judgement Day and being on trail. I would like to focus on my judgement on myself before judging others. I think of others only as a part of myself. The service, the sacrificing and everything else about devoting myself to people can't appeal to me. I saw nothing but Many using One. Everything I witnessed was this forced love of Many, a rape of One. I am not insulted by the gravity, death, seasons -- I have no problems with a structured world. I need rules, I love regulations, I like the resistance of material to be formed. Mother nature is not aggressive, she is not after me. If I careless and break my leg I don't take it personally (child does). I have to remind myself that human kind is not personally after Anatoly (I have to remember it writing anything in the USSR). I know that Father nature (humanism) is no less indifferent to me personally. Although I am sad to break with the Father who turns to be nothing but my environment, my circumstances, my situation. There is a child in my heart too.
V. LAST WILL. RUSSIAN INDIVIDUALISM?
There is something surveillance, or more accurately in the gaze of those involved in the act of surveillance, which is no stranger to the pleasure of surveillance, the pleasure of the pleasure of the surveillance of pleasure, and so on. (F 186)
We don't really watch TV (do we even see it?); it's present.
PM = communism. Real Communism (Real socialism of Brezhnev) v. Communism as an ideology. Cinema = PM, or modernism? BEING SEEN IS BEING CONNECTED.
Love is an instinct (feeling for yourself, or others?)? Work as a true love (see "Americans").
Hey, man! Mr., Brother and Comrade (informal or formal address (in Russia), the way to identify relations).
Accept marxism: they are right... There's more in me besides being a sum of social functions (others), but the communist in me is always present. The comrade is the first to speak in public, the first to be seen. Am I closer to others than to myself? What about me?
Who is "me"? It's good that they don't understand you, it's wonderful that they don't know you. Thank God, love isn't that almighty. (Whose love?) Never you would be able to share yourself with another, or even with yourself. Why don't you cry "Halliluyah!"
Good, you can concentrate on yourself. What for?
But the pain...
Don't panic. You're hurting yourself because you don't see things, you bump into WALLS.
Dostoevsky's flat is a museum. Next to the market with the horrible, 19th century smell. In 1993 with my "American" family, children and students, we lived on Dostoevsky Street. Even a subway station has his name "Dostoevskaya" (what a twist of name!). White Nights. Oh, the inner yards of St. Petersburg's buildings. Wells. Walls. Good, that we never met; I know only best of him.
THEY. "Power is no longer substantially identified with an individual who possesses or exercises it by right of birth; it becomes a machinery that no one owns." (F 156)
Slaves of the past, spirits, ruled by the dead and by the future lives. All that is included in technoculture.
In Russia I feel that they enter my space (most painful -- my mind = sacred space, space-time). They knew that they have rights to do it, they knew that they are power. The only way I could separate myself is/was to have a sign of power (party, social position in their world), I had to be more powerful than them on the bus or train.
In America I was left alone, and I could stay in "my" space as long as I do not enter their territory. I can't exit my room without entering their country...
I have no tolerance in me, they do. They don't care. There's a place for me among them (Anton's wedding, the country bar and the boys). What is their place in me?
My problem; I would like to have relations with life. Love? Love turned into hatred? We can't love each other as long as we "equal."
They are smiling? Why?
Why nobody notice how tense, defensive, unsecured they are? Stressed no less than Russians or Ethiopians, more. Mistrustful, closed in heart. They are smiling to cover, they don't want any contacts, troubles, problems. They know better, they are Americans.
God created Adam, not a family, not a nation, not a society. A man like He Himself. We were too busy to feel it. Now we want to live (existentialism). We have time to do it, we are working and not locked into any class with structure and mission to fulfill. He are useless. Like Father.
All right, tell me how to live alone? Another question I have. Has God no reason for existence?
The Church said, you don't know how to love, come and learn. Love could overcome anything. Could it save a mortal man? No, not an immortal soul, but a mortal (dying) man? Alone. You are. Who needs it now. You love, you give. Not being loved -- don't you know what this man could do?
Confession? (Books, the old way). You have to trust "them" to confess to them. I need some distance from them to love them. Confession is protected.
I don't have enough courage to take it, why?
CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY: the Soviet period in Russian history. Culture of Communism.
IDENTITY: why is it so important? In 20th century an identity is my personal effort. Religion as culture, and culture as religion.
How to turn the past into a blessing not a curse? To it off? America is a perfect place to do it. Nothing is for granted. You make out of yourself whatever you want (yours "wants" are not really yours but the society). We all have equal chance to be special and unique, to be recognized, to be celebrated... ? That's what made this country great...
Well, that's the America's problem now. We are not free from the past and shouldn't be.
Never mind Americans, now the rest of the world trying to learn this lesson of disconnecting itself from its own past (revolution). At least Americans were original in their path -- they left the old world. That was a choice, a decision, a step. Their poor present imitators do it within their countries without leaving. Who is there to balance it? Th nationalists, even more ignorant than homemade democrats.
All what we have is build on our past. All our electronic and atomic revolutions nothing more than a result of ideas of the past (intellectually). The notion of any revolution (as a rejection of the past) is ignorance -- there's a contradiction between evolution and creation? Without power of the past we wouldn't be able to afford a revolution. [Obvious]
Memory: from writing to hard drives.
If you are about to lose memory, I had to lose my mind.
Not to know! I wouldn't dare to imagine what other people who know me, think about me. I rather not to know. It's too much, too overwhelming...
My fight with time; natural reaction of a mortal. My death (mortality) > time as a mortal enemy. Time is my personal foe. (See "Time").
VI. IN LOVE WITH THE FUTURE
Futurism made future into a present (killed it). First, the past has to be destroyed. NO-TIME Time = result of the idea of progress. Americanism: the progress as a form of existence (the only constant thing is changes). Treating future as present had to lead to the end of history (historical time).
Poetic forms of history (imagination deals with the future), we live imaginary present. We are artificial universe, created by us.
UTOPIA (that's how they invented time and history). TIME CONSTRUCTION asks for deconstruction of history (as an idea). Futurism ("Presentism," Zamyatin): no to your love, and there's no love anymore. No to your books? No books. Nothing is left; no country, family, friends (The night of Mayakovsky's suicide). Visit to his apartment (Museum).
The idea of Utopia (progress as "time-space") -- what a feeling it must be (dreaming), _fantasy_. Plato's Ideal State (I don't have it, maybe in Kafka's way, at the best).
2005-2006 Theatre UAF Season: Four Farces + One Funeral & Godot'06
Film-North * Anatoly Antohin
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