Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Distrust Scarcity, Trust Abundance

Could it be that that which seems to be helping to destroy the world is also its salvation? This may sound paradoxical, but alchemy suggests all things in the right proportions, which means that all kinds of energies can be included, and it may just be that we don't have things in the right combinations. Dialectics suggests that the world twists and turns, and what sounds like contradiction is merely the many sides of paradox, to which we must adjust ourselves in order to find truth.

What I'm referring to is the attitude of "To hell with the world! I'm just going to have fun. I just want my life of pleasure."

Many would argue that it is this attitude which is leading the world to go to hell in a handbasket, because of its essential narcissism, and to the degree that the attitude is captured in narcissism, and people have no capacity for empathy, and no capacity for any kind of systematic thinking, yes, that can lead to a downfall ; and by placing responsibility only in the hands of the experts, it allows those experts to have much greater say over things. But at the same time, I think there's something essential about the idea of "to hell with the world, I just want to have a good time."

There's always something healthy about hedonism. Always. Whenever we hear a condemnation of hedonism, our ears ought perk up, and we ought suspect that there's some sort of scam at work. We ought suspect that someone is trying to pull something over on us. We ought suspect that there are monks with whips waiting in the wings.

Now this is not to say that we can't moderate hedonism, and we can't ask for it to hold its proper place. Obviously it sometimes needs to be put in place. But as an ingredient in the larger mix, it is necessary and essential.

Beyond this, it is not just pleasure that is important, but actually, fun, because fun implies a certain amount of frivolousness and it implies a certain orientation of play, and these are needed to combat deadly seriousness.

When our ecologists are enforcing on us a notion of scarcity and are approximating the austerity measures that the IMF and World Bank try to place on countries, telling us that this is how it is, and this is how it is going to be from hereonin, and we have to stop having fun, and get used to the economy being depressed, I begin to suspect that ecology has gotten hijacked, and a particular brand has gotten funded and propagated by interests who wish us to be austere while they go right on hoarding. The way with which the "underground" or "alternative" has just fallen in with this lock, stock, and barrel is frankly just disgusting.

This is not to say that the American consumeristic lifestyle is sustainable, but what it is to say is that we ought to be placing ourselves at all times on at least that side of the balance that tends towards hedonism and playfulness and fun. Now, yes, obviously, that will include a level of self-management that implies a certain level of seriousness and a certain level of taking responsibility for things, but frankly, from my standpoint, one of the things that is entirely wrong with this world is its overemphasis on deadly seriousness, and moreover, the emphasis on scarcity, and that we should adapt ourselves to scarcity. Wow, we might as well just give our birthrights up if that's the case!

Because in fact, this is an abundant world! It's a completely abundant world. Now, we have been exploiting it, and whenever you engage in exploitation, there's going to be blowback, so we need to figure out how to work with things. What's needed is not austerity. What's needed is a kind of Taoism, an active working with Wyrd.

And of course, we haven't been. We have not been doing that at all. We've had a completely imperial way of doing things, of imposition, where we take the attitude that we're just going to do what we want and to hell with any other considerations. When we want a resource, we just go in and we take it. When we want something to be made out of that resource, we go in and we impose that on the resource, and if we have to pay people 30 cents a day in order to do so, then we'll do that, too. Well, this is arrogance.

So there is a price to be paid for arrogance. There is a price to be paid for empire. But the lie of empire is, Well, you can have abundance through empire and imposition, or you can have austerity and you can live as impoverished monks. Well, what bullshit is that!

And if there's anything positive that Ezra Pound, in all of his insanity and his deplorable fall into anti-Semitism, has to give us --- and there still is a baby there in the bathwater not to be thrown out --- it is, don't believe the lie of scarcity, because that's artificial scarcity.

This doesn't mean there aren't some means to be lived within, but don't accept an external notion from outside your concrete situation, outside your authentic needs, and outside the palpable abundance of the earth, of what that is. Don't begin by limiting yourself. Instead, let's think systematically of ways in which felicity, lightness, playfulness, and the natural unfolding and blossoming of human capacity can become the hallmarks of a production that will facilitate abundance and happiness. Let's affirm that these are possible, and that against the notion of classics as things which are heavy and weighty and to which we must give the full weight of deadly seriousness, that instead, true poetry and true creation is about making things lighter so that they can be enjoyed more. And to use a metaphor, to approximate this world, just a little bit more, to adjust it towards Elfland, where things are a little bit lighter and more enjoyable. And the elves are children of Mother Earth! That's what life should be about. We should be adjusting life towards joy, and following our joy.

Joseph Campbell called it "following your bliss", and he distinguished it from a kind of crude and vulgar hedonism, which I have called the "Roman attitude towards partying", an imperial seizing of pleasure that really has no authentic joy in it. This statement of Campbell's is exactly the right formula. Whether there are deadly serious people who think that is our downfall or not, fine, let it be our downfall, because I had rather go down being me than thrive being something I am not, and it is that kind of defiance and Luciferian spirit, coupled with a biophiliac love of life that I think will bring our salvation.

This is a matter of trusting Frey and Freya. It's a matter of turning around from exploitation and imperialism, and turning towards the earth, and following the way of wyrd, and trusting that that will bring the abundance we need. Too often scarcity is a result of hoarding. Let us not let Angrboda -- she who bodes angst, frightening us with fires that may come -- speak to us of ecology. What does she know or care of the earth? At the same time, let us allow the natural, abundantly flowing joy and love of Frey and Freya to temper our desires so that our simple yearnings for simple pleasures and rich festivity do not blow out of proportion into a greed that would eat the earth, but rather sate themselves on the fruits of good work. We have a choice. We can walk Gullveig's road, never sated, never allowing ourselves to fully enjoy, because we are frightened of scarcity, and restrict our options, or we can walk Frey and Freya's road, and permaculturally work with nature, and discover her natural abundance. Is there a way we can trust our sense of fun, and still flow with the Earth's wondrous ways?

Faith says of course there is. Trust abundance. Distrust scarcity.


Anonymous Eric Sjerven said...

Well stated, Siegfried. The Havamal urges us toward moderation in our practices, not complete denial of those things that make life worth living. The absence of those factors that motivate us and bring life to our daily drudgeries causes crystallization as opposed to growth. I have only recently found your work, and I am immensely enjoying the read. You dare to take that extra step to synthesize what you perceive and to produce new works based upon the gestalt of your experience and wisdom. Well done, my good sir. I look forward to reading more of your works in the future.

9:59 AM  
Blogger SiegfriedGoodfellow said...

Wassail Eric! Thank you for your words of praise. They are appreciated. And as far as more works are concerned, I am presently in the works of taking the most important articles from this blog and making them available in book form. I know for myself I can sometimes digest information more easily in print form. So that is coming up. Then ... when I have the time ... I will scan the old 8 X 11 Wyrd Megin Thew into a PDF file, and get that reprinted as well for folks!

9:07 PM  

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