Two statements by Nietzsche, which I have taken quite to heart, are –
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”
“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.”
I can remember after my first round of brain surgery being sat in the hospital café, eating chips with family who had come to visit me, talking about both of them and why I didn’t want to just rest in bed. An unreasonable refusal surged through my body, and I rebelled against the push for me to just be in bed.
When recovering at home from surgeries and other aspects of treatment, I would listen to music for several hours in a single go, play guitar and explore alternative tunings and techniques, when I had the energy to do so, write songs and poetry, as well as cook, again when I had the energy to do so. Of course I slept and rested when I was tired. But I made sure that I did all I could to engage in experiences that I found an experience of beauty in.
With the Covid 19/Coronavirus situation as it is, perhaps there seems like less reason to dance and like it would be madder to dance today than it would at other times. The existential anxiety is terrible to many. Businesses are failing to stand before the weight of the situation. Governments are implementing increasingly authoritarian measures, so that they might regain some perception of control.
Ecological healing might be beautiful to those of us who are earth-minded and anti-anthropocentrism. It is less joyful to those who are struggling, social distancing and experience isolation as something that is crushing.
I do not see that there are any comfortable “political” outcomes to the situation. My instinct is that, as ecological situations worsen and the political machine continues to lose what little stability it has, economies will worsen and authoritarianism will be used as means of grasping for control, as it slips from between their fingers. My belief has been that the 2020s will include a great deal of systemic collapses, which will not be repairable or reconstructable, where most illusions around this culture really being able to control the world will fall apart. However, I don’t want to play the game of future prediction or future planning.
Life is here and now.
Consider this a clichéd existentialist-type statement, but death has always been here and now too. This is a thought I’ve had with me throughout the Covid 19 panic. We’ve always carried death’s shadow with us.
In this way, perhaps it has always been unreasonable and insane to dance. But the music of life sings away. The other day I sat under a tree, listening to birds sing and the wind make music through the trees, like breath flowing through a flute.
I enjoy living somewhere that already very socially isolated – in a small barn-conversion house out in the Devon countryside. My house is a T.A.Z., which fluctuates between low-intensity capture by the machine – in the paying of bills like council-taxes – and being an immediatist tribal space full of anarchist fun. Much of my anarchist praxis is based in immediatism – immediate revolt and rebellion, immediate experience. I’m not waiting for anyone else for the world I want to create and I am not relying on mediators, like organisations, to facilitate structures that provide the image of liberation.
Much of the immediatist fun that happens in this space where I live, with my wife and the chaotic cat who lives with us, is through cooking decadent flavourful food, spontaneous live music, crochet creativity, dancing, games, gardening and the enjoyment of scented candles and incense. Immediatist games and art projects are best kept out of “the media”, so I do not showcase much more of this through the spectacle of social media, other than when I decide to do so to support non-immediatist projects, as I am doing here – this is not immediatism, but an image of immediatism.
I enjoy this small tribal experience of immediatist fun, joy and shared struggle, as we seek to survive Leviathan. I consider us a tribe in the sense that there is a quality to the shared experience that is prior to any encoding and consider a tribe to be individuals sharing a space out of egoistic desire to do so, which comes before any conceptualisation.
Immediatism is in many ways like dancing – even more so when it is dancing. And even when it is a form of madness – perhaps especially when it is madness, when considering what it means to be sane in a thoroughly sick culture – it would seem terrible, to me, for anyone to go a day with no immediatist experience. Much of what I wrote in Feral Consciousness was an attempt to deconstruct processes of mediation, as what I wrote in Feral Iconoclasm was an attempt to articulate processes of the destruction of mediation – in the sense that humanisation is an attempt to separate from the wild world through layers of mediation and becoming-feral is a naked embrace of animal experience.
As attempts made by governments to control the world ultimately fail, so does domestication and processes of mediation. We cannot cut the world out, because we are the world. It is right here and there is nowhere else to go, really. They can build images of and monuments to our perceived cosmic-separation, but they fall apart when the world comes flooding back in.
In many ways, immediatism happens more than anyone ever realises. It creeps up on you and takes you by surprise, like when you suddenly find yourself being hugged by a friend you hadn’t expect to see, but suddenly find yourself in the arms of.
It is happening now. Even as authorities attempt to grasp out for control, through intensifying mediums of mediation, life happens immediately.
You might consider activities and experiences of immediacy within your life, even as this culture fetishizes distancing as a means of keeping the dangers of the wild world out. Are you creating live music where you live, singing to yourself and those you live with, cooking delicious foods, playing together, engaging in the craft-creativity or any other style of immediatist fun? If not, why not?
As the authorities try to repress activity and the world, now seems the perfect opportunity for secret tribal gatherings with immediatist play – as right now is always the only opportunity for immediatism to happen. Individuals sharing spaces together engaging in collaborative fun, without the presence of facilitators and mediators, as means of psychic and physical rebellion. One-person dada-style theatre performances to an audience of friends; secret music festivals created collaboratively and with no spectators; story telling that contains nothing from within the dreadful mental-prison of “news-media”; and so on, with as many potential means of insanity amidst all of “this” as you dare to try.
Stop reading this right now! Abandon this moment of mediated experience and dance. You think there is no music? I am convinced that there is. All around, coursing between and through our bodies, there is the music of life. The heartbeat is a beat, like a drum, pulsating the rhythm of your animal body.
Why are you still reading? What are you afraid of?
Sing! Scream! Dance!
There is nothing to wait for; as it is already right fucking now and you are already right fucking here.
Okay, I’m finished with this piece. I’m gonna go take a piss and then play some guitar.
Will you dance before the day is lost and you have can no longer be insane right now?