(Fin-de-Siècle . . . )
Going Naked into the Millennium Don’t Panic. I’m not here to take away anybody’s hair shirt. We all have different views as to the level of abuse we’re willing to accept. I just want to explore the possibility of entering the New Millennium completely naked. Naked, that is, in the sense of peeling off the conceptual baggage that stacks one idea against another. My survival program against yours. If we don’t learn to let go of the reassuring uniforms of group and class membership, especially those requiring us to turn away from the reality checks of Outright Intensity, the next decade will be a fascistic bloodbath.
Can you imagine Going Stark Naked into the New Millennium? You’ll never read about that program in the Oregonian! We could call it Embracing the Great Equalizer! No Rank! No Privilege! No Seniority! No Inside Information! No Transfer of Accumulated Wealth! No Waiting Hand and Foot on the Ascended Masters (while waiting secretly to slip into their sandals)!
So how would we pull off such a Transformative Striptease? I don’t think the choreography for dances this provocative is openly or willingly published. We’re talking about dropping the pants on values and procedures held dear by even the most radical of organizations. No leaders. No agenda. No assigning the dirty, boring jobs to the lowly Rank & File.
It’s not a matter of simply replacing something inadequate with something indisputably indispensable. We’re talking about a Total Paradigm Shift where trite comparisons, party rhetoric, and the obsolete measurements of success are relegated to the ragbag. You won’t find this stuff taught in schools or discussed at City sanctioned Neighborhood Meetings. Nor laid out as a twelve-step program on the inside of a matchbook cover. The New Millennium isn’t something we’re heading towards or something that’s coming towards us. It won’t descend automatically at the stroke of midnight. We ARE either IT, or we ARE NOT.
What keeps us from becoming IT is our addiction to the tight patterns of habitual response. Ones that cause us to interpret reality as black and white. Good and Evil. Saved and the Damned. To be freed from such patterns, they first must be seen. Once seen, they possess a natural tendency to dissolve themselves. This is a good thing. Trying to dissolve them by pure will power alone or by force of moral rectitude has a tendency to solidify the patterns even more. I might go as far as to say it’s impossible to “dissolve” them any other way.
Saving the Snake In the Modern West, we promote mythologies that tend to cloak this process in terms of Banishing the Evil One from the Garden. Or Slaying the Dragon. Or Killing the Damn Snake outright! If taken in a purely figurative sense, these myths may serve a useful function. But when emphasis is placed on a more literal interpretation, where an actual “killing” takes place, the existing interdependence between Good and Evil is severed. When we separate these cooperating energies, they return the favor by pulling us apart.
In the experience of Outright Intensity, the relationship between seemingly opposite energies can be felt. In that experience, ‘killing’ is seen as the destruction of the artificial categories overlaid on essential Oneness.
This experience of Outright Intensity can be your lifeline. If you, instead, fill you head with rules, teachings, diagrams of escape, the names and numbers of people in charge, you’ll be up the creek without a paddle. Or more accurately, swallowed Whole by a Raging Tempest that won’t even notice you’re there. Place your faith in Reincarnation (a poor man’s version of another chance) or Membership in the Heavenly Elect (a rich man’s version of the ONLY chance) and you’ll lose sight of the greatest asset you have—your impending Death! You are mortal. See it. Feel it. Get over it. Do that and be relieved of the biggest handle for manipulation. Be deaf to Nike ads. Blind to the Evening News. No more fears of Eternal Damnation. No more fantasies of finding Enduring Fame on the Movie Screen, the Battlefield, or as Chairman of Board. You are free at last. Free to sail out with the rest of us. Bon Voyage!
William P. Benz is an Artist, Writer, and Poet living in North Portland, Oregon. He Specializes in the Design of Information Filters, the Surfacing of Mental Models, and the Creative Reintegration of Defective WorldViews. For more info, visit his NEW WEB Space at http://www.aracnet.com/~wpbenz. Or send email him: