Collective: The Sad, Lonely Life of a Word

Collective: The Sad, Lonely Life of a Word

Several strands of thought come together, collect themselves, flash. I see beyond and outside them. I know it’s too obvious. The fight. The human desire to undercut. The unconscious desire to blow up — oneself, contrary to conscious goals, even “will.” Nietzsche’s will and more, and not. Not his interpretation of that, necessarily, nor Schopenhauer’s. But mine and, I suspect, millions of others.

What am I talking about? The mass production of subverting and sabotaging oneself, multiplied. It’s no wonder that we’re lost in a sea of stupidity and the counterproductive. We have so many. Too many competing messages to deal with, too many hours a day. And the subconscious has long been a vengeful beast.

Thinking logically, for our own benefit. Wouldn’t that be  — wonderful? for a change. And our entire system is based on the idea, the requirement. The belief that we will do what’s best for us, and magically, this will somehow help everyone else. But, there is no proof that this is the norm. Just. Look. Around. There is no proof that most people ever get there, not to mention zero proof of the other part of that delusion.

Plus, and here’s the most ironic thing of all. In modern societies we absolutely need “the collective.” Society can’t function if everyone really were “out for themselves alone.” Most everything would break down, disappear. Most everything would halt, dead in its tracks. It takes the many to make one, nine times out of ten. Good or service. It takes a modern village, so to speak. And this is in relatively “good” times. When things are bad, when there are existential crises across the map, in the sky, the sea, on the ground? That necessity for collective action increases exponentially, and the degree to which any society is lost in self-centered delusion sets the stage for success or failure, and so on.

As a foundation, it has always made far more sense for a collective to work on behalf of the collective, not one person, or the few. It has never made sense for thousands, tens of thousand, millions of people to break their backs for one person or the few. But we’ve been trained for thousands of years to do just that, and it’s a big reason we’re lost right now.

There is no poetry in this, or the main crisis we face as a species. Climate change and beauty are like black tar and glaciers. Like love and slamming doors. The last time, not the first. Like Vivaldi seeking space for violins in traffic jams, and no one being heard through the screaming, the horns. We seem to hate “collectively,” but never love.

Locate the reasons, the systems, the institutions, the memes that provoke this. Change the light bulbs or replace them with something entirely new. Our only way out, our only chance, our only ray of hope is to love collectively, work internationally, smash all borders, inside and out.

Below are three new paintings, sparked in part by the above, and a friend’s comment about a painting she likes. I see many more in the future. New color schemes, new ways to use the paint brush, and hopes for at least temporary aesthetic . . . . bliss.

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