NECESSITY FOR CHANGE!
~ by Hardial Bains
First Published 1967 Second Edition 1998 (National Publications Centre, Ottawa, Canada)
The Struggle Between Anti-Conscious Acceptance and Conscious Rejection Intensifies
The Will-to-Be Demands Fundamental Change
Being and Consciousness
Going-Out is the Root Cause of Discord, Which Confuses the Fundamental Issue
NECESSITY FOR CHANGE!
This great humanity has said “enough” and has started to move forward!
Understanding requires an act of conscious participation by the individual, an act of finding out. In other words, understanding, or becoming conscious, is an experience. We develop it through our direct experience of phenomena. In the Anglo-American society in which we live, our act of finding out is distorted at an early age through the oppression of culture, that is, anti-consciousness or the forced acceptance of a set of values and beliefs which are, in fact, not acquired by the act of finding out but by the act of consciously suppressing any findings which might contravene and contradict the so-called “ways of the civilised world.”
This conscious act of suppression is the result of the capitalist nature of society. For example, our society renders meaningless the very act of finding out because:
(1) the anti-consciousness of society projects the impression that there is nothing to find out; and
(2) to reach and grasp even relative knowledge is interpreted as if to do so is to demand the ultimate truth and on this basis to conclude that an ultimate finding is not possible.
In so doing, people have not only been deliberately confused about the nature of the ruling class and exploitation, but also about the real attributes and qualities of living or “the act of living.” Thus the Cold War operates. We only remember what is culturally rememberable.
The socio-economic and political history of humankind during this entire class era, the historical period of classes and class struggle, has always been a struggle between the “various classes of people who have usurped power by force,” hoping to maintain it forever, and the classes created as a result of their policies, the result of the mechanism and method of acquiring their living. But our parents, schoolteachers or religious people never tell this. They always assert that history exists as such and the people have had no role to play in its development. It is always about kings and queens, rajahs and maharajahs, sheikhs and imams, warlords and landlords, and their hand-picked agents. This has been the English way of looking at things and they wrote the history of their colonies accordingly. People are compelled to learn that history by heart.
Such a definition of history is propagated by an institutionalised and homogenised educational system, which is public in name only. Any denunciation of it is considered heretical and foolish. Universities and other institutions of “learning” indulge in a sophistic development of history. For them, history is “out there,” and that is why they have nothing to say about the existing human condition. Their history does not begin from the present. The human condition cannot be understood in terms of their definition of history as they are but the chroniclers of the activities of the ruling classes.
Children emulate kings, queens and the so-called strong men who govern the nation. No one discourages them from doing so and no one points out that it is wrong to emulate someone who is an agent or a lackey of the ruling class, the perpetrator of a system that causes discord between people. They are actually trained to think in this way. There are museums to convince them that their interpretation of history is correct. People do not stop to think that museums, like history itself, are the creation of the ruling classes. Literature and philosophy, traditionally the preserve of the elite, are used to confirm the idealist interpretation of history and to lead people to certain comfortable conclusions like these:
1. History operates as such and the masses have no role to play in its development;
2. “Good” and “responsible” people at the helm of national and international affairs (for instance the armed forces and university academicians) defend history, culture and heritage for the people;
3. People are bound to emulate what history tells them; for example, we must emulate a soldier who wins the Victoria Cross because our culture and heritage tell us that those who win such a distinction are great persons and that we should try to follow them.
As a result, people cannot become conscious of their own culture, their culture as a whole, not to speak of understanding the culture of others.
The oppressed people have no history, according to this view. The reason why they have no history is that, under an elite system, they are not important enough to be discussed. The master’s history is good enough for them because what is good for the master ought to be good for the slaves. This is why all the countries under colonial domination have had their culture and heritage destroyed, their languages mutilated, and their people reduced to the level of living the borrowed lives of the colonialists. There are no problems for the masters and therefore, they say, there can be no problems for the people. But when the oppressed people rise the masters do have problems, problems of survival, which are taken up by their agents who attempt to convince the populace that if the masters are not protected the world will fall to pieces.
People are not born in a vacuum. They are delivered into an environment of expectations, the parents looking upon the new-born as someone who will fulfil a purpose. Just as a social environment creates prejudices which people are forced to accept, so the baby is forced to accept the prejudice of its parents. It must not be just a baby but the baby, a baby with the parental name, a baby with the parental style, a baby with the parental anti-consciousness.
The particular prejudices of a society, transmitted through parents and social institutions, constitute the historical crib into which we are born. Like the womb of the mother, it provides us with everything we need. Our purpose and our goal are defined, that is, how to receive nourishment and how to be grateful for it. The historical crib gives us a perspective with which to look at the world and the people in it, including ourselves. We only see those things, which can be correlated with that perspective.
This perspective is the active blindfold of anti-consciousness. Whenever we see through the blindfold we destroy that consciousness by using all kinds of cultural and historical-crib arguments. In other words, we destroy our understanding by camouflaging our experience. The covering up of experience precludes development. Thus we can never grow up and confront the “various classes of people who have usurped power by force” as long as we are unconscious of that historical crib.
For many people The Internationalists have become a new historical crib, a new perspective through which they can rationalise their position in almost all circumstances. They believe they can say: “I am an Internationalist. Therefore, by definition, I am a developing person.” This attitude causes widespread ignorance amongst the so-called Internationalists. There is, however, at least the possibility of development among the Internationalists because of opposition to them from the “various classes of people who have usurped power by force.” The ruling circles call them rebels, that is, people who do not belong to an historical crib. The malaise of the Internationalists can be thought of in this way. They reinforce their own personalities within the group and derive satisfaction from being called rebels outside of it.
We create history-as-such when we eliminate all experiences, which do not agree with the historical crib. The perspective for this activity is anti-consciousness, which is a weapon against all that is antagonistic to this comfortable position.
Take the example of those people who oppose a communist society based on the theory of scientific socialism on the grounds that it suppresses individuality. When they talk of individuality they talk about something that can only be achieved within the realm of the historical crib. It is the historical crib and not the act of living, which tells them what they should achieve. Becoming an individual does not mean following one’s own aspirations but becoming an agent of the historical crib.
To become an individual in the British Isles is to demand all the internal and external gadgetry that defines an individual. The external gadgetry is the television set and the washing machine, while the internal gadgetry comprises the slogans of the “various classes of people who have usurped power by force.” To be an individual with a different reference system is impossible, because within the historical crib no other kind of individual can exist. What kind of individuality is it that such people believe does not exist in a communist society?
It is anti-consciousness, which causes them to say this and to give all the other Cold War slogans. As products of the old society, such people inhabit the historical crib and have, therefore, not developed as human beings; that is, they are babies, still in their historical cradle, like the foetus in the womb of a mother. The “responsible” (so-called mature) people are usually those who are most adept at living the life, which the historical crib dictates.
History-as-such provides comfort to the individual only to the extent that one is alive in its context. But the moment a person goes toward an historical analysis of the situation, the so-called history of the “various classes of people who have usurped power by force” blocks the way and threatens the individual through its culture and heritage. The person finds it hard to understand why history-as-such, which has afforded comfort and shelter in the past, does not give that kind of support now. For the first time one can relate to that culture and see one-self and everything that is opposed to the self. The individual is wrapped up in a cocoon of loyalty. One’s birth requires the destruction of that cocoon, but the self denies itself the will to do so.
The Struggle Between Anti-Conscious Acceptance and Conscious Rejection Intensifies
The consciousness of the struggle against the cocoon at least brings to the attention of the individual the fact that something is straining to be free in order to see the light. This something is the root cause of the individual’s alienation from the historical crib. This something is the Will-to-be. It is a reflection of class struggle going on in our society. This will-to-be is the spontaneous reflection amongst human beings of what they are struggling against in society. The more the individual grapples with the crib the easier it becomes for him or her to subdue the forces of the historical crib and destroy it by recognising that it is a part of our being. The sooner the will-to-be leads the individual to a crisis (the moment-of-decision), the sooner he or she will consider action. The crisis is a built-in phenomenon – it is the next stage toward development. The crisis brings lies (both individual and social) to the fore. The individual is condemned to be the free agent of crisis, with no choice but to be subject to the immensity of freedom, which is released from the crisis; the moment of decision releases action. Without that moment-of-decision there would be no action, only the comfortable cries of a baby, the warmth of the historical crib. The will-to-be demands crisis of itself and that demand is heeded in a negative manner by the historical crib.
This spontaneous development of the individual consciousness can be summarised so far as follows:
1. Consciousness that there is something that gives the individual easy
answers, comfort and warmth – the historical crib.
2. Consciousness that this historical crib, which has been the guardian of being, is now coming into conflict with another force – the will-to-be.
3. Consciousness that the historical crib is going to fail the individual one day.
4. Consciousness that the final estrangement between the individual and the historical crib is just a matter of time.
This total consciousness is the first realisation that history is a living phenomenon and not some dead force “out there” as it used to be in the past. History now becomes something that reflects the various forces of society at work. This consciousness drives the individual to despise family, culture and everything else. The individual feels betrayed. This is the dawn of the crisis, the dawn of alienation, the dawn of consciousness. It is also the dawn of life. The possibility of suicide exists when the person reflects upon the seeming futility of the struggle – the struggle between the deadliness of the historical crib and the freedom of living. The individual becomes conscious of the struggle between the defenders of the historical crib (“the various classes of people who have usurped power by force”) and the forces of liberation. The liberal mind is always good at acknowledging the cruelties of the historical crib but refuses to initiate a struggle against it and so destroy it. Instead, the liberal attempts to destroy the guiding star (that is, the will-to¬ be) and is thus a true agent of the historical crib.
The historical crib can temporarily survive because of its built-in confusion and insincerity, but this also forms the basis for its eventual destruction. The deceit of anti¬-conscious living reveals quite clearly that the culture and heritage of the historical crib favours only the “various classes of people who have usurped power by force.” The imperialists and their lackeys the world over are the only people whose rights have been defined in society, in the sense that it is they who have the right to rule and to be served by the mass of the working and oppressed people. It is this right of rulership, which is questioned by the individual who responds to his or her will-to-be. The moment-of-decision comes when this will-to-be strikes at the cocoon of the historical crib. This strike is combated by anti-conscious pronouncements. The right to strike as fundamental is discredited and the right to expression of that will-to-be is called treachery. The person becomes unpatriotic because the anti-conscious life is no longer passively accepted.
The Will-to-Be Demands Fundamental Change
Rebellion per se is not rebellion against the historical crib, and we can take the example of the liberals to show this. They think that they are pious individuals because they protest against bad things in society, but they also absolve themselves of a basic responsibility. They only protest against some symptom or the other of the system, but not the system itself, which constitutes the basis of this disease. They rebel against “society” but not against the fundamentals of society or the fundamentals of the historical crib. Within a specific historical situation they have a place and this place provides them with its own kind of security, the same kind of security that some Internationalists derive from their “new society”.
To appreciate this point we must ask a very fundamental question: are you possible without an historical crib, without an historical situation, without society? It is clear that we cannot understand ourselves without understanding our whole situation and that we cannot divorce ourselves from it in practice (though idealists, of the liberal kind, think that by some magic this can be done). Thus when we say, “rebel” we mean transcending through consciousness the historical situation and making it alive. Things around us become alive and do not remain dead clichés, dead slogans and dead platitudes. We are able to see that our parents are alive and reflect on all the traits of the historical crib.
This kind of rebellion, a conscious rebellion, is possible only within the context of a society. Consider the adolescent person who has occasional glimpses of understanding his or her parents, teachers and friends. With these glimpses the youth begins to relate individual activities to those of other people. But if further development continues merely as a process of imitation, either of parents or society in general, then the adolescent remains on that level, and relationships cannot develop further without undertaking a conscious understanding of those who are being emulated. At this point history becomes part of social being. How did parents come to be what they are and society to be what it is? The historical crib exercises the dominating influence, but the possibility of progress arises within it, within the anti-consciousness.
Conscious rebellion is not against something but is something. Rebelling for a cause is something that can never happen within the historical crib. Consider the activity of seeking the truth. The anti-conscious conception is, of course, that we all seek the truth. But ask a revolutionary (the conscious rebel), and his or her response will be: “I am seeking the overthrow of all the various classes of people who have usurped power by force” because these are the very people who are blocking spread of truth.” Furthermore, the conscious rebel contends that we cannot evolve and develop a society unless we continuously question its fundamentals.
To understand the mind of a revolutionary we must keep before us the perspective of service to others. For the revolutionary, service to others is seeking the truth. When Dr. Norman Bethune worked for the People’s Liberation Army of China as a surgeon in its War of Resistance against the Japanese, he was working for the people in the true spirit of internationalism. He was working for the destruction of one kind of society in order to create a society of a fundamentally different kind. He was working for the people, and working for the people is seeking the truth. One of the rationalisations of the pacifists and liberals in the Anglo-American world is that we all seek the truth. However, what we see is that everybody is working for himself, nobody is serving the people, and yet it is claimed that truth is being sought and even found.
For the rebel of the liberal kind, to rebel against fundamentals is very difficult. Like other people in society, these types of rebels derive ontological security from the acceptance of the historical crib and the dictates of anti-consciousness. Ontological security is the need for comfort, the security of purpose, which rationalises the past as past and the future as future, leaving the matter of the present as purely accidental, a temporary phase directed towards the fulfilment of some future goal. We are thus at university to get a degree, not to be at university. We sit for a degree to get a job and that job is not for living but so that we can die in security with palaces overflowing with objects all around us.
The revolutionary demands that we use jobs to live and not that we live to be used by jobs. The National Liberation Front of South Vietnam fights to live since the lives of its people are in danger. The American GI lives to fight – a mercenary whose pay is almost doubled on his arrival in Vietnam and who is guaranteed a place in the national cemetery. Ontological security is the security of the ruling class, or it can be seen as part of the history of being.
Being and Consciousness
“I” is a relate or relationship. “I” is not an abstraction, a mere product of thought, but a phenomenon, or something which sees the phenomenon and not only sees it but acknowledges it; not only acknowledges it but analyses it; not only analyses it but reflects it in return. “I” sees the street-car and comes into being. “I” goes out there and acknowledges the situation, reflects it, receives the reaction to the reflection and carries on. This “I” is not a defined quality.
The “I” that acknowledges, analyses, reflects and receives the reflection is not the egocentric “I”. The egocentric “I” recognizes with a prejudiced definition.
That definition is the definition of the “I”. The “I” that is us defined is the only “I”. It is the “I” which acknowledges but forgets that any “I” can acknowledge. The egocentric “I” will always consider itself to be something special, something not given to ordinary people. That something special is the right to acknowledge the street-car. The egocentric “I” with its rights, its direction, its definition, cannot be an authentic “I” at all because that “I” is nothing but a definition of somebody, a definition of something. However, because “I” exists, because “I” reflects, because “I” receives the reflection, “I” must be universal. Otherwise, “I” is not possible. Any phenomenon that is not universal is not possible. “I” as a relate is universal. Because it is universal it is living. The egocentric “I” is, by definition, not universal. Thus it appears merely as an assertion, an aberration, a demand of the “ruling classes who have usurped power by force.”
What is universal? It is not something that can be somebody’s private property; it does not reside in some¬body’s privacy. It might be said that it is specific in so far as human beings acknowledge it, and there might be some that do not acknowledge it. But social being, in so far as we see it or complement it, acknowledges “I” as universal. “I” is being-incarnate. “I”-being-incarnate cannot be of the kind that the “various classes of people who have usurped power by force” believe it to be. For them, to become the “I” they have to depend on some Divine Right of Kings or some such supernatural powers that can give them the right to that privilege.
Ignorance is most prevalent in societies based on a specific “I”, that is, private property. The egocentric “I”, the “I” of the private man, stays in-state and disappears with the person. The universal “I” persists, irrespective of the person. In fact the egocentric person actually kills the “I”. Kings and queens do not see themselves as human beings but as kings and queens, and thus perpetuate the basis of their own destruction. Their being is not there at all. Although their being is not there, people believe that kings exist. The truth is that the ruling class exists and it creates the king as an “I”-symbol.
A mythicised being has simply no existence. Take example of the “I” as a lecturer and the “I” as a student. They are separate “I’s”, to be treated in ways that have defined differences. Recently, I went with a student to another department to use some apparatus. A lecturer from that department came and thought that we were two students who wanted to use the apparatus. As a result, was as unhelpful as possible. But when he found out at I was not a student but a lecturer, he came back and explained everything as politely as possible. He acknowledged me as a lecturer, a person whose being was distinct from that of a student. This is not a privilege or an honour¬ but an insult. He defined me and when one defines something one renders it dead. If he had treated me as a living being, he would have thought of me as a person who was interested in using the apparatus and would have thought it exciting to show me how to use it. That would have been a living experience in itself. This is how one works when one is in the pursuit of finding things out. But he was living the mythicised “I” of a lecturer.
No matter how we define the qualities of a mythical being – for example, that he is, by definition, an intelligent, hard-working and worthwhile lecturer – he will not be able to live this being, only to preserve it. This is the social manifestation of a mythicised being – that is something that has to be preserved. Kingliness is preserved by the king. To help preserve the kingly “I”, they create schools like Eton, Harrow and Winchester, and they create academically irrelevant universities to go with them and educate young people to believe that the kingly “I” exists. If they do not preserve the universality of the “I”, does it continue to exist? The answer to this question is yes. “I” does not need an outside force to provide it universality. Only a mythicised being, an icon, a thing that is not possible, needs preservation. The Kingliness of the King is preserved by the King with the force of arms. Without this force, the King will be merely a common scoundrel.
The “I” is the one that sees “out there”, that acknowledges the “out there”. The “I-out-there” is being¬ in-operation, a phenomenon in operation, which is acknowledged by some other operation, or by some operation. So I acknowledge “I”. We can use “I” for “you” in the sense that I acknowledge you. I acknowledge “I”. “P’ looking at the street car, is being- in- operation. I am that operation, made operational by the act of looking at it. If I do not act, then I have nothing there. I make life by living it. This is being-in-operation, being-in-state. The operation that has made it operational is consciousness of being-in-state. Where does consciousness reside? It resides somewhere, and that somewhere is “I”.
Operationally, it is the consciousness of being-in-a ¬state-of-change that resurrects “I” and this is how I see. If this seeing becomes static, then it does not change and develop. IT STOPS. Anything that becomes static becomes anti-consciousness. The message is there, crystallised, static, buried-in-state. We can receive such messages from our culture or from our past activities, and cherish it. When I cherish you, I love you, I love you to infinity and I will sit down in a trance for infinity; receiving that message. How idealistic!
Something I receive without questioning stays immobile, as the receiving of a message by a stone from a stone. This is consciousness-in-state, anti-consciousness. But the preservation of that stone, the preservation of anti-consciousness, is not a passive activity. It is an active negation of reality against which one has to struggle. The active negation of reality is perpetuated by “the various classes of people who have usurped power by force,” hoping to maintain it forever. The uniqueness of this activity is that it does not take into consideration any fresh revelation and keeps on repeating the same old story. It does not attempt to understand that a living system is a developing system and that development creates history¬ and history without development is not possible. Consciousness of being-in-a- state – of-change, on the other hand, conditions itself to reality and thus is acutely aware of the historical process. When the historical process ¬dies, consciousness, the reflection of being, dies. Nothing ¬remains except the will of the idealists and the trance of a stone.
I am born and provided with anti-consciousness. I am born in a definite society. One day I wake up and find myself alive and thus come in direct conflict with anti-consciousness. The comprehension of childhood changes, although their external manifestations may remain the same. Parents remain parents, houses remain houses, objects are still objects, but the sense of them changes. This is birth. It is an active process, which leads to all the attributes of anti-consciousness, which are then destroyed use that culture fails to fulfil my demands. I have to destroy it or else I will become the incarnate and I will fail to fulfil my historical role.
It is obvious that in this situation there are two things that are static – individual inertia and social inertia. As long as these two inert states balance each other, the person will remain comfortable. If society leaves me, or I leave society, the balance is upset. I become alienated by the shock that there is something within the situation that does not work for me. Memory tells me that it has worked before and that there is no reason why it cannot be perpetuated in the future. As long as I do not question the fundamentals, I will be chained to anti-consciousness. Questioning is not a predefined mechanical activity; questioning is to become operationally a consciousness that is always in a state of change.
We could have rules and regulations among The Internationalists and say we have got the analysis that we can apply to everybody to achieve a definite change. This would be the crime of doing that very thing which we were trying to destroy. Rules and regulations will not go wrong so long as the aliveness of the people is taken into consideration. If we can give aliveness to the rules of a built-in phenomenon, they will not go wrong. It is only the preconceived notions and definitions of anti¬-consciousness that go wrong. To be aware of this is consciousness-in-itself.
Consciousness of being-in-a-state -of-change has something in it that questions comprehension, destroys it, and reaches a new comprehension and so on ad infinitum. Built-in development is there. Any part of comprehension in its pure state is anti-consciousness. The thing that destroys it is a confrontational ethos. The difference between consciousness-in-state and consciousness of being-in-a-state -of-change is that the latter has a confrontational ethos, whereas the former lacks it. If I am in a society that lacks a confrontational ethos, then for me to come out and acknowledge it will put me in a very serious crisis, the moment- of, decision.
Consciousness of being-in- a- state – of- change is that of finding out in action. If it does not remain in action, then it becomes anti-consciousness. If one becomes conscious of anti-consciousness, then it is automatically destroyed. To become conscious of anti-consciousness is the act of destroying it. I have not seen anybody who can live with a malignant growth, whether it is physical or spiritual. Similarly, I have not seen societies that do not destroy evil manifestations. But one can live with anti-consciousness, if one is not conscious of it. The moment one questions, one becomes conscious.
When societies fail to see beyond their anti-consciousness, they are destroyed. This is precisely what will happen to the American State Department. It is full of anti-conscious people who refuse to respond to the aspirations of the people. A person in an anti-conscious state can never see what is happening to him or herself. Who is going to tell me that I am in an anti-conscious state? This forms the basis for the destruction of anti¬-conscious people.
Understanding does not bring freedom. Liberation does not come with awareness. Only consciousness is liberating and consciousness is “I”. Only “I” is liberating because the operation that acts is “I” and liberation without action is not possible.
The idealists claim that perfect knowledge is a prerequisite to action. This is the greatest obstacle to liberation. The dream-world of the idealists which rejects the “act of finding out,” may be understood in the following way:
What is happening to us as a result of what is going on? When I am conscious of all of it, I will be conscious of the whole situation and will attain the perfect state. I will be conscious of the situation in a certain way, although ideally the perfect state of consciousness will be that I should be conscious of it in all ways. Because I am not a perfect system, I cannot create a perfect world and I am therefore carrying an illusion about what has happened. In its perfection, that is, the ultimate quality of a thing, and in my perfection, there is a perfect state, a void. An idealist is woefully aware that such a perfect state, such a void cannot be transcended. The idealist would argue if I had perfect knowledge, I should be ideally able to solve the problems of how illusion and reality become one, how actuality and potentiality become one and how consciousness becomes anti-consciousness (that is, ultimate consciousness).
Children indulge in wishful thinking and oblige themselves by believing that they are at the centre of the earth and that the whole world revolves around them. The imperialists and revisionists, for example, are children of that kind. Children are immersed in wishful thinking when they claim they know what friendship is, what reality is and what the human condition is. It is wishful thinking because it bears no resemblance to reality. Similarly, the imperialists believe that the people whom they exploit are their loyal friends and the anti-imperialists believe that their oppressors will lay down their butcher’s knives of their own accord.
To seek truth is to serve the people, but I cannot serve imperialists and still claim that I am serving the people. I must find the people to serve. Those people do come to me as people who demand a charitable gesture from me. Instead, I develop myself in such a way that all my actions become one with the aspirations of oppressed and working people. They are the people I serve. The people who serve charity serve imperialism because it is the imperialist who robs the workers and other people of their labour and rights and throws a few crumbs of bread around to exhibit his sense of care, love and kindness. Such a being is to be pitied, as he is the oppressor and will come to a sad end.
The hoax of the imperialist and the oppressor is exposed and confronted when he boasts about how much he cares about life and at the same time he does everything in practice to negate his pronouncement. If one believes that to seek truth is to serve people, then one must show it in practice. The moment I see it, I feel that I am alive and everybody around me is alive. The “I” of self and the “I” of the other become one, and one can relate to one another. This is the consciousness of being alive or the consciousness of being- in-a- state – of – change. But how can I remain being-in-a-state-of-change when I relate to a dogma or history-as-such? What is common between the “I” of being-in-a-state-of-change and the “I” of anti-consciousness? What is common between the “I” of seeking truth and the “I” of evasion? For somebody to believe that the “I” of being-in-a-state-of-change is out there and has no bearing to his life (which some people consider to be something private and sacred) is to suffer from schizophrenia. It is a clear-cut case of wishful thinking.
Going-Out is the Root Cause of Discord Which Confuses the Fundamental Issue
The “I” is an active disease. The more defined and particularised the “I” is, the more actively diseased it becomes. The more exploited or repressed the person is, the more it becomes necessary for him to cater to his “I”. Take, for example, the prevalence of the egocentric “I” amongst children. We claim that children do not care for the welfare of others. Do children look after their own? Only in terms of superficial and illusory interests. But what are the terms of reference of looking after oneself? If the child is taught to be selfish, what kind of care does the child have for him or herself and for others? The “I” of the child always claims: “I am right.” This is the ego¬centric “I” and will keep on developing as such if it is not combated at an early age.
Anti-consciousness-beyond-itself-in-itself is the most unexploited feeling amongst children. Infants perceive no value in existence except that they enjoy the thrill of the biological experience. The child demands particularised things and gets these. The child asks for food, then gets food and so on. This process concretely fuses with the biological self of the child. The child defines freedom in terms of biological satiation and all responses are directly linked with the need for food, money, clothes, movies, etc. But at no time do these responses reveal anti-consciousness-beyond-itself-in-itself.
As the child grows, external needs also grow and transform from simple food to pride, vanity, sexuality, etc. The young child used to cry for food, now the adolescent yearns for sexuality. And when these yearnings are not satisfied, the youth becomes lonely.
Adolescence the most lonely age and children may either confront and reveal anti-consciousness-beyond-itself-in-itself or consolidate the consumption mania. Loneliness in such cases is also a need like food. Previously food was demanded and used to satisfy (ontological) hunger and now loneliness is demanded. This loneliness is combated in the contemporary world by “going-out” and “going-in.”
“Going-out” is looking for a solution outside one¬self. The moment “going-out” fails to satisfy a person’s needs, the individual “goes in” and finds that there is nothing but loneliness and so “goes out” again. Going-in and finding out that there is nothing in the person should show amply and succinctly that the person has never dealt with his anti-consciousness-beyond-itself-in-itself. Going-in also shows that going-out was illusory and junky and that living is going-in and seeking truth. Large numbers of people who experience going-in and finding-out shut themselves off from any contact with reality.
To see and not to act upon that seeing is the greatest example of (1) internal nausea and (2) external impotency. The person goes in and sees and then goes to sleep only to be rested for going-out again. Going-out is demanding popularity or demanding acceptance.
Going-out is an activity of tokenism and not of depth. Anything, which is an activity of depth, is irrelevant to the person and the world he lives in. Going-out is following history-as-such. Going-out is supporting a cause, joining the Peace Corps, and doing charity work and so on.
Going-in is demanding change at the fundamental level. It reveals the reality of the human condition and provides strength to combat the progressive corrosion of being by loneliness. The built-in phenomenon of society that provides ready-made answers will be questioned once and for all, and the individual will enter existence as existence (and not into the shadow of some other existence).
Going-out is the root-cause of discord, which confuses the fundamental issue. Going-out teaches people to be smart and distrustful of other people. Self-preservation is considered the greatest purpose of life and going-out is to ensure it; this is the most heinous crime one can ever commit against one’s life. Everybody is seen as the enemy and is always considered as if, by definition, they are out there conspiring to destroy you. The thing to do is to go out there and kill the enemy before he ever gets the chance to do the same to you. Going-in, on the other hand, reveals that the self-preservation phenomenon, as manifested by various people, is in fact a self-destroying phenomenon. Going-in reveals the true nature of being, which is to seek the truth to serve the people.
When the going-out does not provide an active resistance to loneliness (because loneliness still demands going-out, which means that the individual is enslaved or tied down to loneliness), then any x number of versions will fail to eliminate it and the individual goes into crisis. The individual now has to decide ether to (1) pursue the past incorrect path or (2) correct the decision and accept existence. The NECESSITY FOR CHANGE comes to the fore as reality and the person either has to accept it and become what reality reveals in good faith or go back and believe that it is in the nature of things that wrong and incorrect, ideas can never be corrected. This is the extent of the alienation one faces in life and it is a conscious phenomenon. No Freudian psychology or mythical rationalisation can combat the onslaught of the forces of history, the forces of development.
Thus the choice is between development and nothing. History-as-such teaches us that to be nothing is the most comfortable attribute, and one should acquire it as early as possible. However, the people who know that history-as-such is a weapon used by “various classes of people who have usurped power by force” against development denounce it and liberate themselves from the forces of fear and slavery.
The extreme form of egocentricity is the “I” of the fascist. The fascist poses as the only person that matters. The egocentric “I” of the fascist is defined and qualified terms of distinctions between oneself and the remainder of humankind. Fascism starts from a person’s being, and it is important to go into its genesis and tendencies.
When idealists talk of fascism they usually refer to the murderous crusades carried out as a result of social, political or religious dogmas. They picture dismembered bodies and recall all kinds of physical killings that have taken place through the centuries. They recognize fascism when somebody has been physically killed or when somebody is being physically killed. History-as-such teaches us that all of a sudden somebody, some class of people or some society went crazy and started killing others. We would suggest that this is an easy definition of fascism, a comfortable rationalisation that allows us to ignore the genesis of fascism within ourselves and within our society. It is an easy definition because it does not take into consideration the reality of the human situation.
Do people become murderers all of a sudden? We would say no. The manifestations of fascism are many, and an anti-conscious definition cannot explain them. We would suggest that the moment we believe some¬thing without undertaking the act of finding out, we are manifesting a fascist tendency. The acceptance without questioning of the fundamentals involved in a statement, an analysis or a concept is laying the basis of fascism. Cold-War slogans operate in this manner, being built on half-truths and distortions. The Western capitalist press, radio and television all refer to the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam as “communist”. Because the ruling classes of these countries have created the bogey of “international communism” to justify their opposition to all the national liberation movements in the tri-continental countries, it is more to their advantage to continuously refer to Buddhists, Catholics, communists, businessmen, teachers, lawyers and the countless peasants who support them as agents of “international communism”.
Beliefs devoid of experiential validity, the accumulated prejudices of society, constitute the dogma which gives rise to overt fascism. During the Nuremberg Trials, Herman Goering remarked: “Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of their leaders; that is easy. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country”.
Fascist tendencies operate when beliefs are held without question and are expressed as the mode of thinking and the mode of action in non- confrontational societies. Consider, for example, the attacks made on the Internationalists by various writers in the local and national press. None of these writers undertook the activity of finding out what we have been doing for the list few years or why we have been doing it. Instead, everyone is content to discuss the Internationalists on the basis of rumours. An Internationalist who had been “dealt with” in the local press described the following experience: “I talked to one student, a nice naive student. After I had explained to her how character assassination operates, she kept on saying to me how could I say that what was written was wrong when it was written down there in black and white. I said for God’s sake consider me as person and try to understand what I am saying. Now I am not suggesting that the girl should believe me, but since the magazine was writing about me, she should at least be interested to find out what I have to say about myself.”
This is active fascism and affects both the persons involved. That student was consciously avoiding the possibility of ascertaining the reality, and in so doing she was killing the personality of the other as well as her own. The soldier who sends human beings into gas chambers, the bomber pilot who rains napalm on villages or the scientist who enthusiastically sells his services to equip the armies of aggression do exactly the same thing. In order to perform this operation the person concerned has to consciously suppress their own living activity, their act of finding out, whether what they are doing is justified or not. The person has to turn oneself into a robot, define oneself in historical-crib terms (“patriotism” and “duty”) and act as a machine in order to treat others as machines and not human beings.
The freedom of living necessitates a continual destruction of objectification in all its manifestations, individual and social. Objectified existence is the living of death; not the living of life, and it is necessary to go more deeply into the whole process in order to effectively combat these forces. The NECESSITY FOR CHANGE is that humans will liberate themselves from the domination by objects of all kinds, the abundance of material goods in the so, called civilised world, and also from the imperialist conception of a human being as one who is solely a consumer of goods. The NECESSITY FOR CHANGE reveals concretely the direction of the change.
What is material abundance? The Oxford English Dictionary definition of material is concerned with the abundance of material blessings: “Material relating to the physical, as opposed to the intellectual or spiritual aspect of things; concerned with physical progress: bodily comfort and the like.” “Physical progress” and “bodily comfort” cannot be achieved without an abundance of material blessings. Thus “material abundance,” that is, “physical progress” and “bodily comfort,” is dependent on the abundance of goods produced and made available or the consumption of various people within society. Those who are going to consume these goods are also labelled; there is always a certain class or section of society, which is conceived of in terms of the consumption of particular kinds of goods, for example, the various income groups,” etc.
The definition we will take as regards material abundance is the exploitation and development of human resources, or the release of human initiative in society. The more people play their role in the society, the more there will be material abundance, people engaged in developing their own initiative towards their own end.
When we talk of materialism or material, we must ask ourselves whether our definition pursues the line from the standpoint of the objects or from the standpoint of the living person. Thus we can consider material either some object or as an extension of human being.
In terms of material abundance there has been much confusion created in contemporary society. This confusion stems from two main sources: (1) those who are open renegades from Marxism; and (2) those who consider themselves to be Marxists and conceal their renegacy. In Anglo-American society the Marxist parties have never posed the question of material abundance in the correct Marxist form, that is, from the standpoint of the living person. These so-called Marxists conceive of material abundance in terms of the availability of a large quantity of material goods that can then be consumed by a large number of people.
It is quite interesting to note that almost all these parties base their whole outlook on the principle that the working class in Britain and the USA has lots of consumer goods at their disposal. In the past two or three years, mainly due to slumps and inflation, there exists a danger of a shortage of these goods. There is a wage freeze, the cost of living is increasing, and there are a number of things that are not available. The so-called Marxist parties say that because the public in Britain and the USA is used to consuming large quantities of these material goods, it will not be prepared to accept for much longer the austere policies of Mr. Wilson and Co. They think that there is going to be some kind of revolt. In order to stop this revolt, these parties would like to have a larger quantity of goods made available to the public.
In other words, according to these people, whenever there is a lack of objects there will be a revolt in favour of restoring the availability of these objects. This same view has been propagated by the revisionists in the Soviet Union. Articles in several magazines and newspapers in that country are now giving the line that consumer goods are necessary for the liberation of human resources, and so the leadership has undertaken to provide these consumer goods.
Historically it can be seen that the more liberated the person, the more his or her revolutionary zeal is released. African, Asian and Latin-American countries are good examples of this. A number of people within this system, who use the logic of imperialism, say that the revolutionaries in the tri-continental countries are socialists because they do not have the same standard of living as the people in the so-called developed countries of the West. They say that everyone is clamouring for more consumer goods, for a higher standard of living based on the Western model, and that it will be easier and quicker to achieve this through the adoption of Marxist philosophy.
This is deliberate confusion of the true state of affairs. By saying these things they can deceive the people in the Anglo-American world about the real nature and purpose of these struggles. The nature of the struggle is that it is directed against two evils of the contemporary world – imperialism and feudalism – and as far as the creation of a better person is concerned, the socialist human being is the only real alternative.
The whole approach to material abundance in Anglo-American society can also be clearly seen in the upsurge of trade unionism, especially in North America, where the job of the trade unions is to get part of the loot distributed on an equitable basis. The policy of these trade unions is simply material abundance in terms of consumer goods. The correct Marxist approach to material abundance is unequivocal opposition to a consumer goods-based society and the concomitant struggle for the liberation of the individual – liberation in terms of seeking truth and serving the people.
We have two important problems to face: one, the hazard to our existence that comes from within, and the other, the hazard that comes from without. The outside hazard is that a lot of people want us to be enslaved to the consumer industry. They want us to become consumers. This form of enslavement manifests itself to the individual as the force for self-preservation. Let us discuss self-preservation in terms of combating the environment. The consumer industry is not combating the ill-effects of the environment. The consumer industry is encroaching upon the inside of the individual. If the problem was one of combating the environment – cold, hunger and all the various diseases – then we would simply do that; we would produce clothes, shelter, food and medicines on a large scale.
If we look into various societies around the world, we find that social welfare in terms of medicine, shelter and food are precisely those things which are being most neglected. In the USA, Seymour Melman writes, the number of doctors per capita has decreased, instead of increasing, due to the upsurge of the consumer industry there. The number of teachers has also decreased, while the expenditure on war production has leapt ahead of everything else. The same is true of housing. There were reports recently in the press that the war in Vietnam is having a most severe effect on the building of homes for the American people. As we know, in Britain and Ireland housing has always been a major scandal. There have never been enough homes provided, and there does not seem to be any intention of providing them in the future.
In the USA, where something like 20 per cent of the people are living under the poverty line, there are millions of scientists and technicians employed in war production. The number of people in the armed forces also runs into millions. Four million people work for the Defence Department alone. The numbers engaged in occupations like journalism, banks, public relations, insurance and so on is substantial and, taken together, mean that a large number of individuals are employed in non-productive jobs. The problem of food and shelter remains. All this is in the USA, the “most advanced country.”
This kind of pattern prevails in the other so-called free-world nations, and its effect is seen in the worst form in India. There are twenty million unemployed persons, one million lepers, and the entire population, save the privileged few, lives at the subsistence level. India has a large army and, since 1962, armaments production and the equipping and maintenance of the Indian armed forces has been a major priority for government spending.
Let us look at this hungry world again, this hungry world in which others are hungry. Consider the humanist looking at the problem of how to solve the shortage of food in a world where many others have a problem of dieting due to over-eating. The humanist begins to analyse the situation and at the end of the enquiry comes to the conclusion that there is not enough food because these people do not work. Now this is logical, commonsensical, sensible and, “of course,” if people work they will get enough food. But what are they working for? A large number of people in this world work for armaments production, they do not work for food production. You will find that the number of people who are working for the production of food is lower than the number engaged in the manufacture of nylons, cosmetics etc. It is this kind of logic, the logic of the pacifists and the liberals, which has confused the people as to the true meaning of material abundance.
If you study the history of the suffragists – the history of the struggle for the freedom and equality of women – you will find that at the end of this struggle you have a female in a bikini walking along a beach. You do not have women standing alongside men both of whom are working for the betterment of society. Instead, you have this female, this so-called liberated person, as a sex symbol for some man to go and mutilate. This is what is called necrophilia – you convert a living person into a dead body and mutilate it. You eat it the same way as you eat other flesh. The consumer industry is basically such.
When we talk of material abundance in terms of the exploitation of human resources and the liberation of the individual in the sense of seeking truth and serving people, do we mean that humans are now enslaved, enchained? This is precisely what we mean. How many people are willing to say to themselves: “I am going to be an individual and live, exploit my resources, look into myself and see what I can do. What is there for me to do here?” There are a few who will pose the problem this way, but there are many more who say: “Of course we are all individuals.” Then they follow all the advertising, do everything that the public relations firms tell them to do and, in addition, all that the historical crib urges them to do and think. This whole sense of individuality is one of enslavement, which in fact destroys true human individuality.
To be able to explore and develop oneself, one must have an attitude or sense about the self. Is that self meant to consume goods, or should that self combat the ill effects of the environment? If that self is to combat the environment, then the self must be conscious of the nature of the environment. If the nature of the environment is such that it necessitates the liberation and exploitation of human resources, then this has to be done.
But the fact of the matter is that in this highly mechanised society there is no need for this real kind of individuality because everyone says that this individuality is a hindrance to the efficient functioning of industry. You’re a machine. You should never question, you should work. There is another truth, however, and that is that the environment is not static. Within the environment there are individuals who are willing to combat an enslaving environment – the environment that says that all individuals should be homogenised. When these individuals refuse to be homogenised, you have large-scale slaughters.
In Indonesia recently there was such a slaughter when people did not want to subject themselves to the homogenisation of Mr. Suharto. The same is happening all over the world. In the societies in which homogenisation is in progress, the more obediently you get yourself processed, the more rewards you will get in terms of consumer goods. Therefore, everybody is in the process of homogenising themselves in the pursuit of material goods.
An Internationalist heard two economics graduates boasting that they could get a job anywhere, and that they would go where the wages were the highest. Now they were not concerned about knowing what that particular firm produced, nor were they interested in finding out what they would have to do for their money. See how homogenisation slowly but surely starves the resources of the person. Instead of exploiting and developing those resources, the person becomes more and more like a machine and needs to be directed at every step. Such a machine loses any sense of value or any sense of existence in society. For example, if you have money you can do a lot of things in this kind of society, and one of them is to make people believe whatever you want them to believe. This is only possible in a society, which is dependent upon consumer goods, not in a society in which individuality is exploited and encouraged.
There are numerous examples of the exploitation of the resources of the individual around the world. Take the example of guerrilla warfare. When guerrilla warfare starts there are no wireless sets, no sophisticated communications systems and so on. Regular armies deployed against the guerrillas have, as the Americans have in Vietnam, the latest and most efficient systems, operated and maintained by “experts.” Despite their primitive equipment, the National Liberation Front’s forces are much more aware of what is going on than the Americans, as is shown by their conduct of the war. Now, how does a guerrilla communicate with fellow fighters? First of all a guerrilla knows what he or she is fighting for and what he or she is fighting against. The guerrilla’s fight is neither for the protection of, nor the creation of, a consumer industry. The guerrilla is not fighting for some consumer-type reward. The guerrilla’s fight is on a much deeper level, an inner level. The fight is that the guerrilla wants to be free, and the guerrilla wants to help in the creation of a society in which the guerrilla can be free and in which the guerrilla’s human resources can be developed.
Despite the fact that not a single worthwhile ideologue has emerged in the Anglo-American world in the twentieth century, a large number of conscious people have nevertheless been created. These people, in all spheres of life, are formulating a new basis for the development of society. Some people think that Anglo-American society is going to crumble by itself. This is wishful thinking. What is going to happen is that the entire capitalist, imperialist and colonialist psychology is going to crumble and the consumer-based society will be exposed.
Think about consumption, about the needs of the individual. We can easily calculate that a person’s physical needs are finite, despite what the public relations firms tell us. You could make love only about 50,000 times in a lifetime. Yet we can see people yearning in their impotency, and the result is that they lose all sense of value. Mentally they are degenerate, obsessed. Malcolm X describes these people very well in his autobiography. The same goes for food and drink. Human beings are physically finite; the human species, in relation to individual humans, is absolute. But are humans emotionally absolute? Humans need the development of their emotionality and not corrosion of it by the consumer society. However, for people who do not cater to this emotionality, corrosion may take only five to ten years. If an individual is in the pursuit of physical consumption, the result is that such a person will end up consuming him or herself.
Things performed by people require personal involvement and personal care and understanding of the situation. Things performed by a machine require only mechanical care. In a dehumanised and mechanised society like the consumer society, even leisure is mechanised. The NECESSITY FOR CHANGE exists at a fundamental level. It involves making relevant things relevant and irrelevant things irrelevant. We would suggest that an understanding of society is the most relevant activity for any person and the other is the resolving of contradictions inherent to it. At no time is it comfortable to continue saying one thing and doing another. That is schizophrenia. Good ideas do not come from the skies; good ideas come from human experience: ideas are sought out and the act of finding out is life itself. One may not follow this belief, of course, and instead believe that the act of following obediently the jurisprudence of society will provide the most comfort¬able physical life.
For the socialist person, however, the liberation of human energy, the exploitation of individuality, is the fundamental upon which society must be based. Subjugation of this individuality runs counter to the socialist human person. No amount of Cold War slogans is going to prove that people like Fidel Castro and Che Guevarra are enslaved by somebody sitting in Moscow. The people of the world are rising, and their consciousness cannot be throttled by some sahibs sipping tea in the Himalayas, sahibs who exploit the masses of the world and who then rationalise their positions by claiming that the people just do not work.
The peoples of the world are moving towards the liberation of being. It has now gone full circle. The nineteenth century built the stage for the launching of the twentieth-century revolutionary movement. In this century, colonialism in its old forms is being dealt its death¬blow and neo-colonialism is being fought on an ever¬ increasing scale. The twentieth century will see the final destruction of world imperialism. Whether the liberals and pacifists like it or not, wherever there is exploitation there will be conflict – conflict between the exploiters and the exploited. No amount of clichés or platitudes will change the situation. Only the complete elimination of the basis of this exploitation and this dehumanisation will liberate us.
The historical context of the latter half of the twentieth century is fundamentally the context of the struggle between the imperialist and the revolutionist (that is, the anti-imperialist) societies of the world. The imperialist societies, represented by the so-called free-world nations, are responsible for bloodbaths and oppression internal as well as external) on a scale never witnessed before in history. The revolutionist societies, on the other hand, are responsible for the staunch development of resistance movements on a scale also never seen before in history. Within the context of this struggle, Anglo-American young people are rising to support the revolutionist societies and for that purpose are meeting in England from August 1-15, 1967.
The historic significance of this conference can only be understood with the realisation that we are a movement for the development of a new personality, the personality which is revolutionist. And we are gathering together to demand not just changes in detail, but changes at the fundamental level. This demand can only be properly presented through collective work with direction, that is, we believe that this work must be carried out at the grass-roots level and it must be achieved through mass work and a mass line.
We are not advocating just any kind of equitable society. We are advocating a society based on a principled line – the line that promotes the development of human resources and the complete elimination of oppression.
With full conviction and high hopes, we resolutely recognize the Necessity For Change!
Internal Consolidation: External Strength!
To Seek Truth:
To Serve the Working and Oppressed People of the Whole World!