Thursday, December 8, 2011

Regarding the question of Gandhian "positive programs" and Zuccotti park. There has been discussion concerning whether Gandhi would either try to disband the movement in that location or work to encourage positive programs right there. This mediation works with this issue -- rather like a fiber that one spins, as may become evident to the reader in the progression of the meditation.

It is important to realize is that positive programs also provide sites for meaningful satyagraha. A positive project basically is the bus on which Rosa Parks rode. The occupiers are creating a false conflict in the main; they have to build the bus first. The skirmish line with the police is more appropriate for a movement concerned primarily with police brutality. Positive projects would involve initiatives which would then be sites in which people forwarding their alternatives could run up against the prevailing systems and face the stasis that might well never provide an opportunity for these programs to be implemented without real resistance and holding-to-truth. Thereupon the satyagraha as protest and civil disobedience might -- might -- be needed but would and should only take place out of an original relation to others that itself is essentially good-willed. But therein lies a host of problems that really need explication. It is not easy; it is both highly possible and at the same time very hidden by the over-developed rage and vengeance culture, including the entirety of the Western traditions.

To realize "positive programs" in Zuccotti park or elsewhere and get clear on what this entails requires the decisive turn from the hidden-in-plain-sight capitalism of rage that dominates both Left and Right, creating, quite often, a mockery of Gandhi's own simple – and not so simple -- path and professed belief and practice of a deeper, truer nonviolence founded not simply in a practice of “non-anger” and “good-will”, but rather, quite radically, on a truth upon which that good will is founded. This points to the heart of Gandhi which is apparently simply rarely understood. While many idolize mohan (let us not go along with Chernus in saying “the Mahatma”!), far fewer actually step foot on the path he actually trod (indeed, who would dare call themselves a saint or mahatma, so why bother trying that sort of level of engagement…), which is by no means reducible to creativity, nor even to experimentation with the truth: it is the truth that he experimented with that is the issue.

The creativity to few rightly emphasize remains trapped in the rage culture and rage capitalism that systematically degrades it, in spite of its own ostensible manifestations of "creativity", hiding the fact that beyond the many rage-products we are sold and which have lodged themselves in many hearts, there lie resources of creativity whose quantity, like the light of the sun, can one day dwarf our best efforts today and empower those in great need beyond what is considered in any way realistically possible currently. The path to these “resources” is closed by the great economy that diverts the emergence of this truth. No, it is not the materialism we are constantly told is the “man behind the curtain” determining the stasis and dominance of our culture. It is the great economy of rage and vengeance as this expresses itself in heart, mind, court, social milieus, media, religion, philosophy, theory and activism. It is this culture that must be refused, both in its dark moments, which is easy, but also in its boldest affirmations of “necessary” violence, as in the war in Iraq and the sanctions before and in the rage against oppression that flourishes within progressive culture.

Yet what was Gandhi’s truth? Was it simply the disclosure of the world founded in good-will and nonviolence? In other words, one version of truth? Not exactly. The culture that sells us the truth that the media and capitalism sell us “lies” has sold us many lies as well. They are no mere lies, however. They are meta-lies in service of the greatest lie of all: that materialism and greed are the problem rather than the rage and vengeance culture that goes on unchecked. When the meta-lies are exposed along with the fundamental lies of violence itself, mohan’s truth begins to show itself for what it is: the truth. Without a capital letter, oddly enough! Positive programs (which I term enconstruction, enarchy and envolution) limp in precisely this way: truth is diverted into rage and vengeance culture which serves as the true basis for materialism. Materialism flourishes in violence culture because violence is the great illusion of justice and action, and thus has great stakes in rendering minds being fitted for reception of the spirit of violence. Gandhiji’s fundamental action was the refusal of the reception of and participation in that spirit and illusion.

In other words, the call for the positive program, and the idea that Gandhi wouldn’t be simply protesting as the occupiers are today may be true, but this entails dealing with certain, specific issues. Only when the occupation movement is oriented fundamentally to confront the criminal justice system and vengeance-based media and spirituality will it be able to adequately limit corporate, capitalizing greed and its partner, *consumption*. For this other consumption remains the chief problem: the spiritual consumption of rage logics wherever these occur. They flourish in their own way in the progressive movements and additionally systematically degrade positive projects and creativity, not to mention problem solving.

The decisive confrontation with, departure from and enpositivization of the rage culture need not seem daunting, however. For if one is given to the positive program one need only realize this: that it is not just any positive program that needs to be enacted, but specifically, that program which consists in the unfolding of the essential matters as is needful regarding the elucidation of the rage and vengeance culture. This is a specific, substantive turning, which I would suggest is itself a kind of spinning. I suggest it is an elegant solution to a difficult problem that enables the most full-fledged efforts possible but does not suffer from the problem in which Gandhi’s truth languishes and limps today in the effort to vaunt positive action and *satyagraha* without understanding the situation as regards the great capitalism taking place and what is truly unique about Gandhi’s holding-to-truth.

In other words, there is indeed a great need for the positive program, but if one thinks Gandhi would just be setting up positive programs, think again. And again. And again. In fact, don’t stop thinking at all: realize this, if you will: that the positive program that needs to be developed is precisely the positive program of the unfolding of the nonviolence thoughtaction in its essence that addresses specifically this rage and vengeance, that is to say, violence-based, culture. For that is truly Gandhiji’s – mohan’s – truth. That is the truth of satyagraha. No mere tactic, nor violence of shaming, nor method of trumping up crimes for which to prosecute cops or oust chancellors or fill the prisons with Wall Street bandits, or method of social shunning that capitalizes on the idea that not to physically hit amounts to nonviolence like the sanctions in Iraq capitalized on the idea that not to bomb is relatively nonviolent (the opposite is evidently true), mohan’s first and foremost positive program was this truth, spun together in his first act of spinning truth and action together in satya-agraha. Specific actions were founded on precisely this and in a way only this. This is what eludes most of the “nonviolence” contingent within most movements. The releasing and realization of nonviolence at the same time releases and realizes the potential of the positive program. The rage and vengeance culture shuts down this development systematically because it orients the mind to receive its proffered illusions of violence as such, crippling in essential ways the development of positive potential. Without getting clear on this, calling for positive programs is like suggesting that a firefighter who is spraying a burning house with gasoline point the spraying hose on another part of the house. Satyagraha consists in this: standing in the stream of that gasoline in such a manner as to transform it into water. It is a fitting analogy given the role of the self-immolation of the Tunisian who helped to start these revolutions and attempted revolutions, while we do not serve his hideous and sad suffering adequately if we do not do precisely this.

The finding of nonviolence does not lie in its capacity to vaunt positive programs, although these are obviously quite important. Gandhi wasn’t simply creative. Pushing for these won’t suffice. No, it lies in the happenstance, felicity and unique and irreducible condition that the positive program one chooses to develop is nonviolence as such, a happening that one must strive ever to make happen more, but never with violent force, but only by working to help unfold and develop the conditions of possibility of this turn and specific devotion. For this is at the same time the very form of alternative, restorative and meditative justice, which Gandhi likewise vaunted quite fully in spirit. The radical action of nonviolence lies in this turn. Gandhi’s promotion of positive programs was a fruit of his nonviolence. The lack of the manifestation of this fruit today is an indication of the underlying status of nonviolence. Nonviolence is indeed “creative”, but not simply in order to “solve things in order to ameliorate violence” or creatively interact with violent oppressors, although these things are good and are involved. No, nonviolence fosters creativity in a more original way, and it is out of that specific way that Gandhi was able to vaunt the positive program: that nonviolence opens the eyes of its practitioner far beyond the squint of rage’s hyper-focusing and can disclose rage for what it is: the blinding of possibility that in turn closes the positive program.

This turn is a spinning. This is always in a way the first spinning. This was Gandhi’s spinning. This turn is a kind of revolving that turns and spins, in a kind of revolution that enjoins without toppling, enlists without forcing, enables without owning, enriches without suffering depletion, enacts without pummeling with “action” and force, en-… well you see the role of the “en” in this, and that is why I term what is needful here as “envolution”, which was Gandhi’s mode of revolution and the basic mode of the positive program some are en-visioning. This nonviolence thoughtaction is engaged and creative, unfolding and in a way infinite. I would suggest it is far more Jeffersonian than one might think at first, oddly enough, and that his kind of cosmopolitian, learned, disciplined, skilled, polymath engagement and living might be an important example of the kind of work that is needed. And that really is a bit of a far cry from Zuccotti park, but closer to Gandhiji than one might think, in a way. But it is a far cry from Zuccotti for a real reason, and that has to do with the culture of rage and vengeance and its great capitalizations that continue to hold sway and essentially immolate truth, indeed, Gandhi’s truth. For this we must stand in the face of the stream of rage, the flow of the gasoline, and help to create the happening of the positive program that finds itself unfolding the specific positive program of nonviolence that identifies and release from the strangle-hold of the culture of rage and vengeance that keeps positive programs from developing.

While this thinking seems complex, it is at the same time repetitive and may even admit of a certain beauty and, in any case, an odd capacity for a kind of continuing unfolding. Indeed, it does so just as spinning may be repetitive and may unfold or en-fold together disparate strands and fibers into a certain thread, a spinning thread that may constitute a certain act of affirmation of a kind of freedom and a kind of resistance to a dominating capitalism. I have indicated just what I think that capitalism is. I hereby spin and continue to spin in a kind of joyous spirit (for the moment), what I call *satyagrahaha* that stands within the flow of the flames and gasoline of the culture of rage, vengeance, judgment and its ongoing crippling of positive work, amelioration, problem solving, empowerment and nonviolence in that peculiar manner in which the violence of it is at one and the same time the very closer of the unfolding that this unfolding releases itself from in this spinning that has happened to take up the issue of this very spinning in this way: that it undertakes in the space of the question of nonviolence the opening of the question in light of the nature of that opening and in the darkness of the closure of that opening in the dominance of the violence of many kinds that holds sway both in the darkness of the prisons but in the blinding light of the rage of the movements that protest materialism yet, oddly enough, not so much the prisons, not so much the sanctions, not so much the wars, even. Oddly enough.

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