(weirdest change of subject I've seen in a while)
The problem with a lot of moderate views of Marxism and Socialism is that
they react to a very base element of spirituality (which many people do).
This is really true with any secular movement. The interesting thing though
is that revolution serves the same function that religion might.
Erich Fromm suggested that there were two types of religion- humanistic and
totalitarian; and that totalitarian religion is an escape from freedom,
while humanistic religion allows an individual to look at their own freedom
and not be afraid, but to embrace freedom for positive action. I think a lot
of secular movements, like Marxism, look at totalitarian religion and
mistake it for *all* religion- certainly Marx did. Totalitarian Religion is
the opiate of the masses, indeed- but humanistic religion shares its aims
with Marxism: Liberation of the human spirit. The underlying disagreement is
unfortunate for both.
Humanistic religion sees God as an idealized state for humanity to struggle
towards; Revolution is about the struggle for an idealized state. God is
within each follower and allows each individual to reach their greatest
potential in Religion; just substitute "revolution" with "god" and you get
the same thing. The key difference, from what I see, is that I see far more
happy religious people than happy revolutionaries. Revolutionaries fall so
quickly into totalitarianism; it is hard to turn down the power over others
that comes with equating oneself with a state of righteousness, be it
political or spiritual.
Situatationists, Dadaists, and your beloved Conceptual artists; at their
best, take the ideas that Fromm took as well- that the evidence of
liberation is in spontaneity; which is a different realization from much of
religion, though much-abused Zen thought lends itself towards understanding
enlightenment as spontaneity as well. Have you read Meister Eckhart? He's a
Christian Mystic from the 13th century, and a lot of the translations I have
of him are decidedly Marxist. Here's his poem, written here in prose form to
emphasize its Marxist nature:
"Commerce is supported by keeping the individual at odds with himself and
others, by making us want more than we need, and offering credit to buy what
refined senses do not want. The masses become shackled, I see how their eyes
weep and are desperate- of course they feel desperate- for some remedy that
a poor soul feels needs to be bought. I find nothing more offensive than a
god who would condemn human instincts in us that time in all its wonder have
made perfect. I find nothing more destructive to the well being of life than
to support a god who makes you feel unworthy and in debt to it. I imagine
erecting churches to such a strange god will assure the endless wars that
It strikes me as interesting that anyone with religious views would hold
such a strong disregard to conceptual art, when I have always seen it as an
extension of religion. I get in trouble for using the word "mysticism" in a
secular way now and then, so maybe my pov hasn't allowed me to see how
someone who is *truly* religious could find it offensive. Do you think
conceptual art is challenging the position of actual faith in God? (I mean
this in all sincerity- it has always been my understanding that conceptual
art ala Cage, Beuys, Tzara and Duchamp is all about mysticism- I know Cage
and Tzara say it pretty explicitly.)
—– Original Message —–
From: "curt cloninger" <email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, November 04, 2003 9:05 PM
Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No Web Art in the
> Michael Szpakowski wrote:
> > All marxism at bottom asserts is that ideas don't come
> > from nowhere but arise out of how we reproduce
> > ourselves and the necessities of life - food,
> > clothing, shelter.
> > I'm not trying to fluffify it here - the consequences
> > of these ideas are far reaching, but the ideas
> > themselves are pretty straightforward.
> > It's indubitably the case that without the things
> > above listed then
> > "love and intimacy and thanksgiving and
> > creativity and celebration and barbaric yawpin'"
> > which I too value in all their glorious human
> > particularity and enormously varied manifestations
> > throughout history, would not occur.
> Hi Michael,
> I'm not so sure that's true. There is no denying that reproduction,
food, clothing, and shelter are ever with us on this earth, but I don't know
whether their persistent presence makes them the underlying (or even prime)
cause for every other thing we do. I've always had two eyeballs in my head,
but not all my actions derive from that fact.
> If a spiritual world exists, but I don't allow for its existence, I will
wrongly attribute spiritual influences to material causes. If a spiritual
world doesn't exist, but I believe one does, I will wrongly attribute
material influences to spiritual causes.
> I believe a spiritual world exists.
> local mileage may vary,
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