Saturday, May 14, 2011

Modernist Primitivism



Our humanity took us in the wrong direction. Our modernism, our concepts of Utopian society, city life,  progression remove us so far from our virtues.  Removed from the self, being filled with so many things that cloud the mind distracting from a path placed before by an unseen and often neglected hand.   I have come to see the reverse of tolerance.  People tolerate the things they choose to. Through toleration we come to find appreciation in our separateness in the way that we stand out, unique individuals amongst a sea of similarity.  Perhaps our toleration stems from our own desire to be accepted and thus to become anonymous, but left to fit into our niche and to be respected.  The twist is the darkness ever present, picking at our thoughts, changing our perspectives, chasing out of our heads the innocence of being separate from the beast which compels us to be how it sees fittest or most desirable.  Note here that using words like darkness and beast to represent this something that is not modernism but is coupled with it,  intermingled, sinking in tentacles and infusing itself parasitically into the host of positive spirit and human energy.  The big city comes with a view of itself based on values created to perpetuate the mass.  The metropolitan comes complete with chic.  Well tailored and carrying itself in an aristocratic way.  The wisdom generated by the harshness of this soulless and blasé environment gives this particular human power, thought, over its "dumber" less educated parallel which I am going to here label as 'Savages."   That it is important to keep the gears cranking and turning is propagated by the media which is suppllied to build an entire economic system on falsity.  
We can all see it...
Actually, I am afraid that all we cannot see it.  There is the basic Calvinist idea which was predestination.  Some humans are meant to be saved and some are meant to burn, the separating of chaf from grain.  It sometimes seems so apparent.  In Isaiah, around chapter forty-three, it talks about the good of the servant who is able to see and is bothered by those who proudly wear their veils with closed eyes moving in unison and chattering imitations of wisdom.  They chop down a tree which has lived for years.  They make lumber from it and build a fire then praise the fire for the warmth it provides then taking silver and gold from the earth they melt it in the fire and shape it in the form of a human. In reality we shape it into Mcdonalds signs and concrete and little peices of colored paper we call currency.    Humanism has always been about replacing God, that's the whole point, to deify ourselves or our creation.  We want control of the thing controlling everything, the further we evolve the more we build, the fewer baby steps still remain between us and the prospect set by the serpent in the Garden of Eden.  The more we eat from this tree of knowledge the more quickly we become Gods.   
So Post religious bird walk,  If you are trying to figure out how this is relevant to modernist primitivism then please proceed to room G 604 where Gauguin leaves for Tahiti in 1891...  In the jungle, City Culture is only a byproduct of the western idea of conquest and claiming possessions presumably originated in Egypt thousands of years ago.  So in a modern world the only thing left or even vaguely important is to possess the game, to possess more than the person standing beside you. Realistically the city life forces this standard upon us, excepting those who refuse the concept of the ever expanding mass of concrete constantly forcing the "less sophisticated savage to the outskirts to perpetually carve out the next piece of gold.  Once discovered This new wonder will serve as grounds for the next rape of the natural world to create space for our ever feeding parasitic virtual modern world.   Setting oneself apart from this world is met with the highest of opposition.  But unlike the self or god ordained opposition to take part in the world, worldliness calls and nature yields.



The intrigue of primitivism lies in its separation from any system resembling control.  Its almost a desire for anarchy, a desire to be truly free to live life in any way that one feels compelled to partake of.  To be an artist one cannot allow themselves to be caught up in the flow.  The savage is an individual,  savages are individuals relying on each other for protection, safety,  food, shelter,  all the things that modern society claims to hand out to you as long as you have some way of obtaining possesions which serve to perpetuate the system.  The Savage's system contains no way of feeding a beast such as the city.  The savage system relies only on the ability to be small, moveable and adaptable. The City system is about duration, about lasting, growing roots and using the right amount of recourse to jump start a self sustaining environment.  Every day for the savage may be his last.  This gives a perspective on the importance of every moment, every meal, every action and interaction.  The non-savage holds no desire for life on that level, he drifts through life following signs that say stop and go.  Failure to respect the cold rigid line of these signs will result in an unfavorable end.  While the savage seeks, explores, and struggles, the metropolitan goes through motions and performs mundane tasks to perpetuate the system, which in return feeds the individual's need for temporary escape from the system he helped create. 
So why does the soul disappear in the metropolitan system.  Is it a currency sign that eats it or that search for personal identity in the statistic sea.  Is it the repetitive tasks or propaganda posing as guide posts to freedom.   Diving back into religion:   When Jesus Christ walked and taught his message was rebellious,  it went against the structure of the Romans and of Jewish tradition, it was about separating the self from the beast.  His message was savage, it was about living life in the best way you could, not blindly accepting what ever was thrown your direction.   Christianity fell victim to the same curse and merged with the ideals of the Roman empire,  The apposing beast it found its way to incorporate and destroy the soul, as it does any system that comes in contact with the mass.  Christianity was used as a tool of control taken out of context and used without relevance to the text in order to control an illiterate society.  What was once a lifestyle became a cog, a gear wheel in the system more relevant to class than philosophy.   When Primitive Art was introduced, the concept of an untamed world was allowed to re-sneak into the imagination of the mass.  It turned heads, averted attention, was met with opposition riots, it was unacceptable, maybe even revolutionary.  Unchecked it could have brought the created world to its knees, but the beast quickly seized its opportunity and swallowed the savage, plundered it, squeezed it like a wash rag until every drop of its life was gone. Then they sold cups for a penny a piece and society obliged saying "Yes' I will have a sip".  When the world drank from the cup the rush of the spirit no longer held sweetness, but instead tasted bitter, but the hope of possibility exists that something free lives out there, that adventure is possibility, that there still exists something of the idea of a circle of life and that maybe having control is less important to being in control than not having control forcing oneself into the situation of surviving.
I want to leave with this thought "Modern is now, life is passing by."  Times spent in mountains trying to find what has been beat out by the city are never long enough.  It's like allowing a callous to wear away.  One of my friends who moved out of my small hometown to Dallas introduced me to the analogy of the big city callous or the blasé attitude if one wants to use big fancy french terms.  Growth happens on more than just one level, there are are many ways to gage the worth of a person.  The metropolitan man is no better person than the man from the small town.  The man from the small town tends to have more soul and love to tap from.  Cities deal in dollars and cents you get what you pay for, sometimes you get screwed.  In the ideal you have a community, small, interconnecting, you build a family with those that surround you, the good of one is the good of all and at the end of the day you eat or you go hungry and you all do it together.  Ayn Rand leaves this scenario as taboo due to moochers and others that refuse to pull their weight.  Yet in the end of Atlas Shrugged those who shrug off the weight of the world end up in a small community of equally driven individuals.  The cold and slicing city seems more savage than savage to me.  The extreme fix says "Utopia will not exist as long as people do.  So buy an uzi and start mowing.   Better days are ahead."  It is true there is no going back, giving up our modern conveniences.  But I like to think that we can adopt the community of our savage ancestors and use the fractured togetherness in our modern setting.  In any case,  "Goodness is not what has been it is ever what shall be".