Traps

Traps, dead ends and unending loops

The common situation for many people is this: They see many possibilities where to go and they accept the walls. If you see the walls, you feel like in a maze and don't want to err around in the prison forever. You want to break the walls down. But if you really manage to break down a wall, you face the next one. You could count that as success: You've made the prison more liveable. However, your fellow prisoners appearing behind the wall will make the system of mental control stronger and you end up replacing visible walls with invisible ones. The formal openness contributes to the inescapability of the panopticon.

You try to do the right thing, but in the end it turns out to be wrong. Have you fallen in these traps?
  • Have you enganged in political struggle aiming at fundamental change? - And have you found yourself believing in what you were saying, irrespective of reality?
  • Have you organized counter-media in order to motivate others to think for themselves? - And have you found the recipients to just consume your words?
  • Have you played political power games to influence discourse and change something? - And have you found yourself making people think what you think - instead of making them think for themselves? And have you finally accepted that most people will need a guiding discourse?
  • Have you used a naive approach to change society? Did you just want to be on the good side? - And have you found that you first have to understand how the system works, before you can do something that will not be integrated and turned against your intentions?
  • Are you projecting yourself into society and declaring yourself insignificant, instead of taking your experiences (however limited) and desires (however wishful) for real?
  • Have you tried to make groups think homogeneously in order to organize counter power. - And have you found people were constructing identities from the belief of homogeneity and lost contact to reality?
  • Have you been enjoying an attitude idyll? Have you created or consumed discoursive bubbles, avoiding conflict? - And have you found that your creativity would die through agreement?
  • Have you been questioning the questionable? - And have you missed questioning the unquestionable?
  • Have you engaged in activism? - And have you lost the ability to see what happens behind the scenes?
  • Have you been clinging on the historical hierarchies? - And have you failed to see that most have been replaced by regulated networks of control?
  • Have you been highlighting the operation of the neoliberal system without showing alternatives? - And have you unwillingly contributed to spreading fear and Angst?
  • Have you been taking part in the production of abstract discourse? - And have you found yourself reenforcing fictions? (Postmodern discourse trap)
  • Have you developed a self-ironic attitude? - And have you lost reality?
  • Have you used images or abstract notions not tied to shared experiences for discussing utopian perspectives? - And have you been talking at cross purposes?
  • Have you been dissociating yourself from unsustainable political beliefs? - And have you found yourself fighting against the wrong enemies?
  • Have you been taking part in a subculture? - And have you found it to be an obscured assimilation experiment?
  • Have you been taking part in leftist culture, hanging out in pubs? - And have you found yourself talking instead of doing?
  • Have you been demanding something from (visible or invisible) authorities? - And have you found yourself making them more powerful through that?
  • Have you been doing something about the horrific state of this world? - And have you got lost in detail?
  • Have you been specializing in improving society? - And have you found yourself buried in an institution?
  • Have you been demanding freedom? - And have you been obtaining a series of prefabricated options to choose from?
  • Have you been focussing on the real walls, declaring the virtual walls unimportant? - And have you found that to be an oversimplification?
  • Have you learned to quickly form your own opinions and express them? - And have you been discovering that your opinions were nonsense?
  • Have you been expecting that change is about to come automatically? - And have you found that it will require serious intentions of conscious people?

Nichts ölt den Mechanismus, der die Lebensfreude in einen Todesreflex verkehrt, so wirksam wie die existenzielle Verzweiflung, die der weltweite Druck erzeugt. Und was tun die hellen Köpfe? Versuchen sie, die Maschine zu zerstören? Nein. Sie erklären, wie stark die Schraubenmutter bereits angezogen ist, mit welcher Methode die Schraube immer tiefer hineingedreht wird, wie stark der Druck sein muss, damit das tägliche Leben zerbirst und ausblutet.

Raoul Vaneigem