Arbeit Macht Frei

Stanleyville. Find it on a map. It no longer exists. It was replaced long ago with Kisangani in what became the Democratic Republic of Congo. The city was transformed from the silent oppression of colonialism to the hustle and bustle of open civil war and bloodshed, the favorite way to mutilate was to bind someone with a tyre and then set them on fire. The Jewel of the Indian Ocean, Mogadishu a lawless center of pirates and extremists reduced to living in crumbling European-style buildings and mud huts. The Paris of the east, Bucharest bulldozed and bombed out, the center of orphans and AIDS in the early 1990s (I was there to see these street children). The pearl of the Hudson Valley, Newburg, bulldozed in the name of urban renewal, drug infested and made intentionally ugly. Motor City, reduced to rubble better than any fifth column Nazis could have even dreamed possible and by their own people, by not agent provocateurs, but burned down by its own citizens. The sign at the gate translated to “work shall set you free.” We are constructing our own prisons, our own concentration camps, and when the bell rings, the thinning veneer of civilization will slip off, as it has in so many other cities and nations before, and here, as there, some of us will play the guards, and the others will play the victims.

Was that Stanford Prison experiment or some spree of lobotomies at McGill University that showed us our ugly tooth and fang, our ability to all goose step to Hitler, to ClinbusObamatonsh, to Papa Smurf, to pet rocks and pussy? But this can’t happen here, you citizen of the United States say. Oh no, not here, perhaps in a Third World Shithole, but America? Land of the Free? Home of bank manipulations and revolving door government? Home of unlimited money in politics? Of ATM fees? Of One month late bills being sent to collections? Home of pushing our children harder and harder to get good credit so they don’t have to sell their buttholes to fat men or get through the day by eating dicks because we’d rather they compete to win than cooperate? This can not happen here, said the ostrich. Oh shit, the spectator says, that’s a reference to Dr. Seuss. That’s funny…. What’s for dinner? However, the residents of Stanleyville had built themselves quite a little town. So to with the residents of Newburg. Newburg even had an opera house. And in less than a generation, the world that they knew, vanished. And it did not vanish under democracy and opportunity; it vanished into a mire made of blood and cum.

The world that is around us is tenuous at best. There is no evolution of man, or woman for that matter. We still bleed and fuck the same as our ancestors who poured molten lead into enemies, fucked each other in the bad place, and smote enemies and betrayed friends and family. There is no change from those people, we have just had an opportunity to have enough to eat, drink, and be merry for a few generations, and that looks like it will slowly be ending. Returning us humans to the angry chimps that we are.

Humans are not from the divine, we are told by Holy Mother Science. Yet, they cannot face that we are then just animals. And our cage is getting tighter and tighter fit, the bedding more and more shat in. These trappings of civilization do not change our nature. That is what makes them so important. If we cannot work to keep up civilization, we are doomed to return to those bad old days of talon, tooth, and fang. The cities we have build may be complex, perhaps not any better for the environment than any other hive of humans, but we need to keep up the show in order to continue being human, the flush toilet and not college degrees separating us from The Savage. However, so many Americans are turning their back on Civis, Politi, and the Commonweal. We are becoming tribal, but not in the good ways. Selfish and base with no reason. We have more food than ever, more water, more sushi, and yet we are turning our back on civilization itself and stressing a system that is already stressed rather than looking to solve our current issues and conserve our resources in order to play this game a little longer, in order to allow us apes to dress in clothes and have dinner sitting up.

What to become of this matter? Is there a way out of this self destructive behavior, or do we like all addicts have to hit “rock bottom,” that mythical headspace where we are puking wine into our hands and drinking it before realizing our error? That moment we have a spiritual awakening; call on a god we know doesn’t exist since all the Ph.Ds told us so, all those many years ago. There may not be a way for the hairless apes to face our bad choices until it is too late. We continue to make all the wrong choices, to wreck our patrimony, spoil our environment, and bring the machine of state into a standstill. Get three Americans into a room and you have ten different opinions. Is this our culture, or our destiny? We wrecked Newburg, intentionally. We burned down Detroit, and most of our major cities, intentionally. We have made the world as we want, with highways, brownfields, and strip malls, intentionally. If it is ugly, it is no mistake. Our chipping away at humanity, wasting the spoils of the environment and then sitting on the couch farting, is intentional. Perhaps that is also primeval too. The need to attack that which nurtures us. That thin thread that keeps us walking and talking on two legs over four, and maintains our Stanleyvilles in order to prevent them slipping into a series of Kisanganis we are cutting because we are apes and apes do that. We don’t have to cut that string. We can still choose to extend the benefits of our existence, but I doubt we will. Most don’t think it can. But, as Dr. Seuss said, it can happen here.

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