03 February, 2015

a letter

Dear Viviane

 I have already written the letter you are about to read and have to warn you that it is long and heavy and do not actually address the message you sent me, except in the sense that I’m having kind of a hard time too, these days.

Empty. I believed I was empty yesterday, but I was wrong, as something fell out of me today, so I could not have been yesterday, if you follow me? It is like throwing up the tenth time. You only expect acid, but to your surprise there are still some leftovers from a good meal. But now they are gone too. Your touching letter came just on top of it all. Where the fuck is this world heading and what is the point?

The above may well be the most moody and depressed start I ever had on a letter, but it clearly reflects my thoughts and feelings around life right now. For a long time, I have been moving in mood waves. My doubt in society has been a bit deeper each time I hit the bottom, and the “highs” have happened when I have given myself completely to a project of some kind, like last year, when I kayaked around my part of Norway and made a documentary series. Up and down. Down and up. Down when I raise my head and look at the world and where it is heading, the uselessness of it all, and up when I bend down to focus on single individuals that stands for something. Individuals with spirit, guts and personality. These are the only ones that interest me. Not the psychopharmaed crowd that staggers around believing in a material world that has no meaning at all. People who find shopping stimulating. It is as if they are already dead. 

I see dead articles in the newspapers. It is all about dead things. I used to believe that I was not afraid of death, but these kinds of walking deads - the zombies with Kalvin Klein, Gucci and Canada Goose copied and ingraved into what they believe is their personality - they scare me. How did it get this far? How come the alarms did not ring loud enough when there was still time to tell everybody that your path leads to eradication of yourself? You are willingly reducing your being to a product. You are mass produced by the all mighty powers of greed. Science Fiction books have formerly described what already reside in the past! It has gone that far.

Of course there were protests. And protesters exist, still today, but the most often heard protesters these days, protest on behalf of other protesters! We protest defending the right to speak. Important, but still hilarious. What does it tell you about the evolution of humanity, when we still fight for not being punished for what we orally express? The bravest of us save children from slavery, or … even braver … go to school under threat of being killed because they are girls. But for the time being we in the west are occupied by the right to speak, write and draw. In Norway, protecting animals was big last year. I agree, totally, but it is so damn easy to be against putting a fox in a cage. It is easy not to buy a mink coat, as it is so expensive anyway. Canada Goose is different. Those jackets are cheap. We don’t protest so much then, now do we, in spite of wolves and coyotes being trapped bleeding to death and the birds are never allowed to stretch their wings.

In our select countries, where girls go to school and children are slaves to violent video games and gossip blogs rather than unpaid work, voices of protests rise. Mainly about matters that directly concern ourself. That goes without saying. Like drilling for oil in what should rather be a marine reserve, risking polar life by redefining the acceptable search areas for oil in the arctic or, as in England, planning to start fracking to cover Britains future need of gas. Never mind that scientists we trust tells us that we must not use more than two thirds of the oil, half of the gas and a fifth of the coal that is already found so far, in order to avoid calamity. No, never mind that! This is our country, our money, our energy, right? Even a child would understand the fatal stupidity of this destruction. And the very same child will see the consequence, hopefully after our generation has passed away, so we do not need to face the blame.

The only true protestors today, except for a group I will mention later, are the scientists. They figure things out and give us their theories. Now, there you go. Theories. A scientist would not be a scientist if he said anything for sure, and that is where even his well reasoned and thoroughly worked out protest fails. “Probabilities”, how ever probable they might be, is an easy match for “certainties”, however false they might be. And the zombies thrive on certainties. They pay up for false ideals presented by false people from false companies and false PR-agencies, who promise them beauty, happiness and success because “they deserve it”. We live in a controlled and manipulated world, where we close our eyes to unpleasant facts, accept conditions and consequences that would be unheard of only ten or fifteen years back and abuse physical, mental and social sedatives in order to fend off reality and what actually goes on. It is all outdated science fiction. Sience fiction came true.

The peace price. Lets be positive. Focus on the peace price. I have already indirectly mentioned last years winners, Kailash and Malala, in my opinion maybe the biggest war heroes on Earth right now. Their fight is immense, but by far won. So what is the difference between the peace price and all other prices? It is, for one thing and some reason, taking place in Norway. That carries no importance. But the other difference, is that all winners I can think of (or find with google) of the other Nobel prizes, be it in litterature, physics, maths or medicine, all have accomplished something concrete, absolute and lasting. They had a theory, figured something out and created it. A vaccine. A process. A book. It is done and it is great. None of them was given a medal for working on a revolutionary idea, for being in the middle of a manuscript or for having a promising experiment going. That is the difference. My biggest heroes may win battles, but not the war. What is peace when it exist on terms of war? As the icing on the cake of absurdities, the single most impressive symbol of peaceful principles we have, Mahatma Gandhi … he never got to put the award on his mantlepiece. Not even post mortem on his grave stone.

I had a peculiar conversation on the bus home from town one night last week. A young man started it. The discussions was about a project done by a couch surfer (guest sleeping on my couch) of mine. He was fascinated. I asked him what he was doing, and as 99% of us would do, he began by talking about his job. If it had been a job he loved and lived for, I would have applauded the subject. But it was not. He was a salesperson. He did not know that, but generally speaking, I am not in favour of salespersons. It does, however, depend on what they sell. So I asked if he sells something good. Something people really need. He plainly admitted that not to be the case. But he is damned good at it, he told me. One of the best in his department, actually.
     “-So your life is just crap,” I told him. It was not a question.
     The young fellow, maybe around 30 of age, after looking a bit puzzled, agreed.
     “-You live in Norway, a country with all possibilities you could probably dream of, you are damn good at selling, and yet you have a crap life!?” I continued.
     He could not deny this quick analysis.
     “-If you had just one good idea about any project you could think of, being usefulness and constructive, you realise that your wonderful talent in sales would convince people to support it and you could make it happen?”
     His face sort of lit up, as the thought had never crossed his mind. “-You are right,” he said.
     I left the bus at the next stop.

When a man in his best age in the most free and rich country on the planet is not able to realise the simplest truth, it is because it has been hidden to him. If his values are fucked up, it is because he never were given an alternative. Society would simply not benefit from this guy stopping selling. It would be what Usanians (people from the USA) would be told is “unpatriotic”. After 9/11 they sat at home, loving each other, but they were literally told to go out and eat and shop, for the country not to collapse. “Prove your patriotism,” president Bush said. “Shop.” No one has said it better.

What Bush actually said, is that the consumer is in control. If we stop buying something and start buying something else, we change the world. Every time we buy, we give our vote. Every time we click on a link … there goes our vote. Every thing we do, that has a commercial interest to any … is our vote here on Earth. Vote for sexy articles in the newspapers, and you are granted less foreign politics. Vote for cheaply produced crap from child labor, pesticides or oppressive states, and what do you get less of? The opposite, of course, all the things you do not vote for. Looking at the situation of the world, we actually have nothing to fear. Not at all. We are in complete control. All we have to do, is to not buy into low quality, inhumane crap. Then it will stop by itself. It even works with war. Just stop doing it, and you have peace. It is so simple, yet seems impossible to push through. People keep clicking the tempting buttons that are put there for pure profit. They still buy the sweet chocolate that deprives a child education in the other end. They skip checking which orange juice that is fairly traded and they change their car, jacket, purse and kitchen long before it reaches uselessness. Those are some immensely strong votes right there. So this wonderful system provides for you exactly what you vote for - and what you deserve. This planet as we know it is not dying - it is killed.

I will write to you again, Viviane, as I did not give you any comfort what so ever as to your situation and told you nothing about my plans and the direct cause of why I am especially sad these days. I must say, though, that it is a good feeling that you share your emotions with me and I am honestly surprised, as so many years went by since we met. I tried to keep in touch, but after a while i figured I was only a pain in the ass, and gave up. I never get used to loosing contact with people I care for, but it happens over and over again. I am probably just a nutcase not giving up the friendships in time, or not understanding that people do have a lot of other things in their lives and on their minds. But I am very happy to see that it still works between us, after all.

But do you know what? I’ve had it, about conformity. The sense of being overly fed up actually made me Skype my mother in the middle of this letter, and I cried. I am not afraid of tears, but I usually protect my parents from them, but I need them to understand the choices I make. You can google the quote “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it any more!”. Maybe you saw the movie already. That is how I feel about things.

More about this later. I hope this letter was not too much.

love, Paul