Thursday, 26 February 2009

Revolutionary road.

A friend today asked me, having read some of my earlier postings, whether I am an activist and whether I belong to any activist groups. I do have a fairly loose association with Amnesty and other groups but, as for being active, I was not sure that I qualified when compared with many others I know. Much of my focus recently has been in the temple and in my new relationship and also in the development of InannaTantra.

So for a very short time I did not know how to answer the question. And, I must confess, for a couple of seconds felt vaguely guilty. Perhaps I should be doing more to remedy the many injustices in the world today?

And then I realised that the question was, in fact, irrelevant. For what could be more revolutionary than working for the spread of Goddess consciousness in the world? By this I mean not a switch to a sort of god in skirts, where the name and putative gender has changed but underlying attitudes have remained constant. Not a restatement in terms perhaps more acceptable of old morals. Not a new set of "Thou Shalt Nots" to be memorised and practised. Not a new set of arbitrary and small-minded restrictions. This is not how I see Goddess. To me, She is and has always been, freedom to be simply oneself.

And this is the true revolution. As a younger man, I identified as an anarchist - and still do in many ways - but this I found to be deeply inadequate. I was impressed by Kropotkin, Malatesta, Emma Goldman and the rest and read avidly of the Spanish Civil War. I read the analyses of the failure of the Soviet Revolution and argued with Maoists and Trotskyites. The people were betrayed, I declared in the full wisdom of my 20-odd years, by ideologues, bureaucrats and opportunists. In the pure revolution we would be able to sweep aside all these obstacles and create a true anarchist paradise of mutual aid and fraternity.

The problem was that I could nowhere see Liberty, Equality and Fraternity being practised. I have written earlier of a period when I feared for my life because someone I had considered a "comrade" felt that I might be ideologically suspect. And he was right. I was and will remain forever suspect. Because I found that I could not relinquish a belief that there was something beyond, beneath and within the physical world that animated it and gave it coherence and purpose. I could not see that any human category could ever define the human soul. I could not bring myself to believe that there was no soul and that there was no divinity. And I could not see how human beings could find meaning without some sense of the divine being articulated. Sure, there are many who say that they do not need such a sense in order to find their own meaning. But even they defer to something transpersonal - science, reason or whatever other name they give. Family. Work. All are greater than the individual. And all give meaning to the individual

And it is the word "individual" which tripped me up. For within the ideologies of the left there was almost inevitably an implicit assumption, even within anarchism, that the individual was subject to and was of lesser importance than the collective. This, of course, was also replicated in many of the ideologies of the right. This I could not accept. I could not accept any ideology which did not honour the wealth and variety of the human soul. I cherished Bakunin's statement to the effect that when all bourgeois arts are destroyed he would defend Beethoven's 9th Symphony. And I realised that within this statement lay the contradiction that would never be reconciled by revolutionary theory. For it is a recognition of the sublime - something that lay beyond and transcended human categories. It was a recognition, for want of a better word, the sacred.

So I turned my back on active anarchism and retreated into a sort of mystical fog. A journey of discovery. Which took decades and led me to many places. Always in my mind was a vision of what Louis MacNeice described as:

...a possible land,
Not of sleepwalkers, not of angry puppets,
But where both heart and brain can understand
The movements of our fellows
Where life is a choice of instruments and none
Is debarred his natural music..."

But this vision was not to be seen within the tired and irrevocably compromised world of Judeo-Christianity - corrupt as it was from its birth in the denial of the sacrality of the female. When half the human race is deemed less than fully human, it is impossible for freedom to take root - it is impossible to find "our natural music". When threat of damnation is held over human souls they can only ever grow stunted and malformed.

And the political theories I was trying to navigate were all born from that mindset. Therein lay the cause of their failures. Even the word revolution carries within it the idea that all will return to the same place. The world turns upside down for a while and then completes the circle. The liberator becomes, in turn, the oppressor - how many times has this been proven?

No the vision has no hope of being fulfilled within a value system ruled by the Abrahamic absolutes where the grand old man in the sky, the thunder god with the short temper and arbitrary demands, holds court surrounded by sycophants and frightened vassals. For he is very adept at disguise and will appear anew at each turn of the wheel of history - reasserting power/over. And so it goes...

The only radical alternative is Goddess - by whatever names. For where she is truly honoured, power-over cannot be present. She thrives on power -with. The more power is truly devolved to individual soul, the more Goddess is present. She is the flowering and the rooting of all being. And none can truly shine in their full glory if they deny others the chance to shine. For what diminishes you, diminishes me and what diminishes us, diminishes Goddess.

I am still an activist when I work to increase awareness of Her. For She can only grow when human beings begin to realise their full potential and beauty. She cannot thrive where restriction reigns. She is in the conscious exercise of choice where that choice allows the choice of others. She is in the recognition that each human being is sovereign and has the right to choose what they do with their lives and their bodies- as long as they recognise the rights of others to do the same. Virgin and whore are equal in Her eyes. Free and informed choice and consent for all are the only paramount values. None can deny another the exercise of her or his free choice as long as that choice does not restrict the choice of others.

So I am still at base an anarchist. Or a libertarian. Right or left is of no real importance since those absolutes are a function of the patriarchs whose real and lasting skill is to divide. That they have practised for millennnia. And, looking around, we can see the results of their handiwork in every soldier of every army. Everyone of us who lives in fear and under compulsion is a subject of the patriarch. Every time we judge another not for what they have DONE but for what they ARE we perpetuate the oppression. Every time we call "slut" and "whore" we deny the full beauty of Goddess.

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