A HOUSE ON FIRE, a meditation on change in a world of conflict . . .
On the road in North America. [click photo for next . . . ]
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OCCUPY?—A radically simple view
of a complex movement
"It is no measure of health
to be well adjusted
to a profoundly sick society."
Pick your problem: Money in politics. Failure of democracy.
Climate chaos. Runaway militarism. Corporate tyranny.
All these problems are like separate, isolated rooms
in but one house, a house which on the outside projects
strength and stability, but on the inside is utterly rotten
and rife with contradiction. It is a house about to burst
into flames. This house is our consciousness, our way
of seeing ourselves and the world.
The key feature, it seems to me, of this consciousness
It uses force both to get, and to hold onto, what it needs.
Use of force underlies everything it does, and characterizes
all of its relationships, with itself, with others, and with
the very Earth on which it depends.
Force means conflict, means war, means contradiction.
Contradictions are non-sustainable, because they
inherently waste more energy than they create, and are
In order to sustain contradiction, massive inputs of external
energy are necessary. Collapse comes once these artificial
inflows of energy decrease to a level which is inadequate
to fuel the force necessary to sustain the inflow.
Around the world, both people as individuals, and the
natural environments upon which they depend, are
suffering, are feeling the pain and pressure which comes
once they are pushed to the brink of collapse. So there
is natural outrage.
We are all citizens of this consciousness of force. We
have all participated to varying degrees. We have all been
beneficiaries. But now that collapse is upon us, those who
have suffered most and the least to lose have seen the
necessity of change. Those with the most to lose, of course,
simply want to keep their positions of privilege, power and
control for as long as possible.
Conflict-as-contradiction is not a part of natural systems.
It is crucially important to see this, to really feel it.
The inherent intelligence of Nature will invariably burst
the walls of the dams that attempt to restrain it. So
people will rise up against tyranny with the natural freedom
of intelligence upon which democracy depends.
So, to Occupy then, is first and foremost, simply to stop,
to get out of the house on fire, to so say no. What is
unprecedented about the great self-organizing creative
vortex of generative chaos characteristic of the occupy
movement so far are two things: First, both the scale
and highly interconnected / interdependent nature of the
sum total of occupy uprisings as a global movement,
together with the manner they / it is being both enabled
and tremendously amplified by an all-pervasive digital
revolution, in all its many manifestations. Second, that the
necessity of nonviolence has been, by and large,
embraced and recognized unconditionally.
So, what is the Occupy movement about? Well, in my view,
it is about saying no to, and ending, the way of force in all
its embodiments. It is about absolute nonviolence standing
its ground against the way of conflict and violence.
What remains to be seen are two things: First, whether
we are capable of ending the way of force as it manifests
in our near total dependence on non-renewables, and
radically generating a new renewable energy revolution
which parallels, and complements, the current information
revolution. Second—and this is by far the most difficult—
that we see that the problem is not "out there," whether
that 'out there' be corrupt government, or Wall Street, or
Capitalism, or whatever, but rather that the problem at
its root is me—is us—is the present contradictory state of
our consciousness, a consciousness, as I have suggested,
is at present thoroughly based on conflict and force.
[Below is a sketch of what I call the Three Revolutions Triangle. What is
important is a kind of 2-fold NECESSITY, ie., that they are all individually necessary,
which means we cannot afford not to do them, AND, that they work synergistically
as a unity, that is—again, a necessary unity. In other words, success depends
on doing all three, togehter, as one.]
To see this for oneself is to say no and to stop in the
most profound sense. It means to irreversibly and without
hesitation leave the house on fire. What happens after
that, no one knows. It is, in a way, the wrong question.
What matters is to first see, to understand, and then
This is something of what the Occupy movement
means to me.
The South Wallowas,
Related Photoweek pages . . .
All Photographs & texts by Cliff Crego © 1999-2012 picture-poems.com