Not only can no one predict the future, we donít understand the present - and there isnít even any certainty about the past. --Harry Browne
Maybe I should try it here, the Francis love story.
The Possessed 2003
WRITE : nonfiction
SummaryShould I call them "Neo-Americans"?
2004 & After
NotesMarch 2003: I made a new directory Personal Politics and will continue my recent notes (War) over there. Of course, "personal"! In America any politics must be personal. We are not supposed to have politicians, as you know.
Maybe I am too lucky. Maybe I am so lucky that I get mad when I am not lucky enough? She had blue eyes, very light. She was fluent in Russian and I didn't have to struggle with the language. She was smart. She was independent. And she fell in love with me.
Yes, she struggled with herself, because it's always dangerous to fall in love, it's a fall after all. She struggled for weeks. She even brought her boy-friend and his friends from New York to help herself. They came in a big Mercedes to Norwich for the weekend, all young laywers, the right guys to date and to marry. Quick, light and secure. They laughed a lot and when they didn't laugh they smile. One of them was her boy-friend, but they were like brothers and I don't remember his face.
She was a friend with my friends, she was a part of that Russian intellectual circle even before I came to the State. She was at Columbia with Lilya or Lilka, a daughter of the new immigrant-dissident family that left Moscow ten years before me. They watched it, because they were friends and saw that between me and Francis was more than a friendship.
"We are friends," she would say. "We are your friends."To be an American is of itself almost a moral condition, an education and a career. --Santayana: Materialism and Idealism in American Life (1920)The story of those thoughts is my life story. I am an American. A new American. A postmodern American. Or super-American. More American than Americans. It's not a matter of citizenship or residency. It's a question of ideology, set of values and beliefs. I rather to analyze an American to understand the state of America, something I know well -- myself. Oh yes, to be myself is a profession and a career. I studied myself the way one studies math or history. I had many problems in reading the events of my life. Born in Moscow I knew that I am not a Russian but a Soviet. There was no country for me to live in; according to marxist doctrine, as a communist I belonged to a super-nationality. Since I had no class feelings I was on my own, very much in situation of a single individual. To leave USSR for USA was a mere a relocation. In America I felt better because my natural situation was openly common. Although there was a new problem -- the Americans thought that Americans are in USA, they didn't know that Americans are everywhere. They still don't know that America won all the wars of the modernity, that in China Americans speak Chinese, in Russia they speak Russian, in Germany -- Germans. They still think that there are Japanese, because there is such a geographical thing as Japan and people living there. We have no problems with calling some our citizens Asian Americans, but we stop short understanding that some Japanese Americans could live in Japan. Of course, they think that they are Japanese; one could think of himself as a Japanese living as an American citizen. Being a catholic or a protestant doesn't necessary contradict your historical position-identity. It's just cultural-ethnic identity. There is another broader culture which includes all the subcultures -- American culture (we sometimes call it pop-culture). Of course, being an American has this ethno-domestic dimension, but we should know that there is a postmodern, universal, post-human essence borne out of American state of mind.
The two great German books helped me a lot in my youth; _The Sunset of the West_ and _Self and Own_. As a teenager I took to heart; Spengler and Sterner helped me to understand two other German thinkers -- Nietzsche and Marx. All of them talked about a radical departure from the past and I saw this grand break all around me. This social revolution manifested itself in visible, aggressive forms and I was searching for an understanding of the effect of this change on the inside -- my inner world. I believed that the colossal transformation of the world is not just a cause but an effect of my different sensitivity. The postmodernism theory did help to sort out my emotions I could find in the books. I still recognize the insights of understanding of experiences of the present in pomo, but postmodern has no guts to break away from the intellectual heritage. The thought proved to have more inertia than the physical universe. The name itself (post-modern) indicates that the mind is looking for continuity. After all, Marx happened to be more radical than Stirner; he rejected the Self. Strange, they all were not Americans.
Europe never admired America as an intellectual entity. I think that we still do not understand the catastrophic novelty of communism or Americanism. Communist arrogance and American ignorance is a part of a problem. They are not interested in knowing themselves, they are what they are and this is enough to go on. Why should they analyze something which works fine. The both saw that European civilization is in coma. To this day I don't understand why we think that America is a continuation of Western tradition. Because of its origins? So do the communism. There is more similarities between Europe and Africa than between America and everything know as the West.
For me an American extremism is no less obvious than my experience of communism. Even more! Everything from architecture to music is so different from the past, that all the Soviet ideological constructions look pale next to the sight of American corner. America is a violation of all what we knew as a civilization -- West or East. Sometimes I have a sense of hallucination, the New screams at me but the words are used to refer to something which is not there. I never saw "cities" in America, my first experience of New York "City" told me how different is American "city" is from cities and towns of the past. It's like with English we use, we do think that we speak English! Of course, there are formal resemblances! There are resemblances between humans and monkeys also.
I had to keep a safe distance from myself while becoming an American; I wanted to see it -- America. I knew that in 1980 I crossed not a state line, that i indeed arrived at what the Soviets leadership promised in the sixties -- arrival in the initial stage of communism. The world of plenty was too loud to miss. I didn't take it as a superiority American economic system only. The chicken of the size of a Soviet swan rotating in oil at the window of the Delicatessen was more than a dollar v. a ruble competition. The chicken wasn't normal, it was an abnormal "American" chicken -- it wasn't a chicken! This chicken was based on a chicken and everybody still called it "chicken" but in fact it was something else. I bought this one dollar creation (not creature) wrapped in silver(!) foldage and brought to my hotel room across the street. It tasted as a chicken, actually, there was something wrong -- it was a better chicken than chicken! This super-chicken was created for me to eat. It wasn't born for its own sake, it was PRODUCED for my consumption! The God's creature domesticated by endless generations of humans, was re-created to become a part of me. It was a HUMANIZED chicken! It was a human's extension. This chicken has no being outside of my world.... The KFC was my second American day discovery, because I didn't know that it was a "chicken" -- another step toward me. This chicken was aimed at me -- I had to do nothing but to plug it in. "Everything for Man!" That was written above the airport in the capital of communism I left. Now I understood what they meant.
Well, if the chicken has to be alienated from itself in order to be a communist chicken, don't I have to undergo the same transformation to be a communist? I remember that they asked me to do it without knowing how. In reality, I was already outside of myself. I knew no English, I had nobody in America, the only thing I had that I was present in New York City and they thought that I am a human. I remember the pleasant shock I experienced when within a few days I was hired as a guard -- I was an American as long as I was functional. Nothing else mattered. I hadn't need to be human. I got the uniform and was plugged in at the corner of the Fifth Ave and the 48th St. It wasn't a personal recognition, but I couldn't get over the easy start of my American life -- I didn't have to be an American to live in America. I was a legal alien, a male, 31, white, available -- enough to call the police in case of trouble. I wasn't allowed to get into any other action. To be present in the uniform on the ground floor of the skyscraper was my job. I knew that nothing of this sort would ever happen to an American in Moscow. There was a big difference between an American and a Soviet (human) being. In Russia I had to be integrated into the life of the people, I had to be one of them to work with them. In America the work made me a part of the system. It must be a different system, I thought.
There was a negative side of this miracle of immediate transition; we heard a lot about an alienation of the capitalist society. But this very law of de-humanization made my acceptance possible. Yes, they didn't know Anatoly and weren't interested to know me in order to hire. Of course, it was a minimum pay, but the system was an open system. To stay open it has to be de-personalized and non-human. It has be a machine to work efficiently. For me it easy to understand that I came from the land which has no clue about what "work" is. In Russia they labor, they achieve, they socialize, they live -- everything but they do not work. The dollar chicken was working its entire life, or call it "existence" -- it was brought into being for that purpose -- to function. I knew what the Soviet slogan "All for the Man" actually meant -- "Nothing for Man, Everything for the by System!" I wasn't insulted by the open text of my first American experience, which gave me the law of the present without any pretence. "Man is nothing," wrote the first communist who never lived in America. I never had fascist or nazi inspirations to be a part of the bigger whole. I was happy to be left alone when I can step in or out of the system. There was a quite visible line between being a human and a guard -- the uniform. I knew what it was, I spent enough time learning a few things about Marxism.
For Karl Marx, the fundamental "evil" (that socialism would eradicate) was neither capitalism nor private property but commodity exchange itself. In my name he condemned the dark-blue uniform which made into a commodity. You see, according to Karl, the trading on the market itself "alienates" workers from their labor. I feel stupid and un-utilized in the glass wall with thousand people around. Perhaps, the chicken in the window of the delicatessen felt the same. After a week I quit my career as a security guard and return the uniform. The Russian chickens, I guess for the same reason, did quit their work as a chickens long ago. In Moscow there were no communist chickens on the shelves.
Maybe, I am a theatre guy and see nothing wrong with playing roles. I think it's fun. Perhaps, too many are frustrated with what they do and therefor don't "work." Humans are not suitable for being perfect workers. They get tired, they need a lunch break, they are too complicated for a task of a machine. They need to be simplified. Pop-culture tries to narrow they down (Dostoevsky about Russian Man). Canned laughter and forced applause, both are the signs of understanding, but the laughter is a release, when the applause is an approval of a higher orders, something above our head. Pop-culture totally excludes poetry, we have no need for a further complication of human emotionality. How to overcome humanity, Nietzsche-man? The Virtuality will do it.
Get rid of the humanism (or humans) and the issue of property will be solved.
Ah, the Postmodern Americans: complete alienation from humanity, themselves and the nature. Full independence from everything! This is product of existence in communist environment. Further individualization, when the sense of self is lost. Our human solidarity is secured outside by the totality of socialization through technology and the inner communization through programmed education. "We" are present always and everywhere.
These exiles had to return to the Old World and they did, victorious and masters. The New Americans from every corner of the world, they will be back to take over the home lands. Go and get them, the privileged and the lazy. Oh, they are merciful victors -- after all, it was the home of their ancestors. They don't even have to return back physically..... It was after the openning of the show. As if she made her mind. On the high heels she was tall -- and put the long light dinner dress, and the makeup. She wasn't a graduate student anymore. "Who is this woman?" He didn't recognized her, that professor of hers, when she passed by us.
Her body was so white that it had that moon glow in the darkness of the room. Or maybe it was the moon light through the open window. She was quiet and serious, getting used to new her.
I didn't tell her about the night when I thought about Esther. Yes, she was backstage doing lights. But nobody thought much about her, not as a woman. She wasn't a part of the group. Yes, all knew that she a great grand daughter of the last Ethiopian emperor, but she was different, like somebody from another world. And she looked so young, almost a child. That is what I said to myself that night, when I could sleep at all. After the first rehearsal. Her face in the darkness of the backstage, when you almost can't her. No, it's just a sexual attraction, I kept saying myself. Why do you think about her. Put it out your mind. This is rediculous. But all what I feel that I want her. I didn't understand myself, but I saw her. Crossing the lawn, at the table in the dinning hall. What is that! What would you with her? You have your girl-friends.... I would get to smoke another cogarett.
And I did put her out my mind. In POV, the book after the next (SELF), I will write about the women with whom I wasn't close, who came and pass and all you remember as being shaken. For the rest of your life you will asking yourself, why didn't you follow? Why didn't you do it? There is no answer to this question. Maybe because it was too much, maybe because it was her, the one. I remember only when our met -- and I never saw her again. I remeber that the angel flew through your chest and took your soul away. That is what I said to myself. Keep it there, in your memory.
I wasn't young then and I knew that it is important for a man and a woman to be friends, not only lovers. First, friends. Important to understand each other. Frazer calls it "symphathetic majic" -- an attraction of the simular, your own kind. Francis was a friend and our friends watched us and waited, because we were right for each other. They weren't sure as we weren't sure that it will happen, but when it happened, all were happy, because we could missed each other and that would be wrong.
We know wrong what is right and wrong for us. But that is not how it works; it doesn't work -- the knowing.
Francis was a right woman for me. She was one semester away from her master's degree, she goes to Moscow for her thesis and back in December. Her father, who was a big name American architector in Europe, where she spent a lot of time, must be gave that appreciation for culture and Europe, for books and literature. "I want you write," she became very thoughtful after that first night. "I will work. It's okay, it's America."
Voices from AmeRussia:FOREIGNERS have trouble understanding the following: Production is collapsing, teachers and doctors are not receiving their pay and pensioners their pensions. And this is not the second or third year of reform, but well into the fifth year. No one seriously talks about us as part of the developed world any longer. Our inclusion in the world economy implies only access to our natural resources and mastery of our domestic market by foreign production. Is this an indication of the inapplicability of the Western path to Russia?
Yes, comrade! Westernism aims at the True Universal Empire, a boundaryless consumer Heaven-on-Earth where the Holy Trinity of the corporation, the commodity, and the homogenized identity are worshipped in covered malls and environmentally-controlled office complexes.
Westernization of the post-colonial colonialism: in order to westernize Chinese we have to become orientals. A bit. Market economy! How about a formula for Paradise Two -- The Kingdom of God (KOG)
KOG: COMMUNISM = AMERICA > I-GODAfter all Marxists always clain that the main target is this NEW MAN.
I write to jump out of my skin. Why can't I produce myself outside of myself? I'm a postmodernist by birth. I was born in 1949 when Stalin blew up the first communist nuclear bomb stolen from America. I was born into American-Communist-Pomo universe. Baby boomers are the children of the Cold War. What do you think we would produce? The total war machine, peace as war! We don't need hot wars anymore because our everyday existence is a pure war. The wars moved humankind technologically, we decided to make them constant -- and that why we come with new technologies every day. Do I need to fight anybody when I fight myself day and night? Now multiply it by billions to understand the magnitude of this battle.
We are not ready for ourselves. All the generations before us with their energy of desire for God, they pushed us into this situation of paradise. Their prophecies are our news reports. What future could I have? I'm this future. Or maybe even the future of the future....
What do you expect from me who gets his news from TV, Internet and radio. Not even a newspaper, too slow. Do you really believe in westerns and can be faster than a bullet? I'm dead before I can notice the danger. And I live dead ready to be dead any moment. That's how my peace and prosperity looks like.
I see, you still don't understand your situation. You still want to be human in non-human conditions. You still didn't learn about life in a concentration camp. You think it's not about you, it's over.... you don't understand what "concentration' means. Poor wreck, you're happy to have a cellular phone.
.... Often in the middle of the night I stop writing and go to the bathroom to look at myself in the mirror -- is it possible? This stuff about being God. But who cares? I'm in this position. I run, I fly -- that's my celestial world. You tell me about your day. Did you see the handicap access in your office building? We run them all -- weak, small and sick. Ms. Liberty is a stone lady, she knows no mercy.
Postmodern God, Super-man is an American. Another logical step of Protestantism. I-God. But it's practical, not in reflective forms. Maybe that is the reason why have this anti-intellectual attitude. They better not understand how deeply religious their civilization is. Maybe they should be naive, like it was in the Paradize # 1. Why do you want them to know, you snake! Is that how the blessing and grace of God looks like? What is wrong with THAT kind of communism?
The only way to avoid communist emotions is to stop being human. Didn't you know it? And you don't have to become an animal again. Go upstairs. Buddhism? Soulless, non-human, machines.... a preparation for non-human existence. The Soviets were asked the same. But they were TOLD....
In order for God to be God, he has to have experiences of being non-God: human, animal, thing. It's in Genesis. Universe is a slowed down God. Matter is arrested energy. Call it God's projection, a physical shadow.
The communists asked to submit my human feelings to (class) ideology. (Party, a support group, was there to help -- discipline). Can I have enough self-discipline to submit my self to MY ideology?
What is it? Existentialism? American existantialism is different. How about jazz? Or even rock?
To relate to yourself as God means to treat yourself as Nothing. Nothing as Unknown. Absent. Non-existing. Always a potential. Actualization -- alienation of the human self (Ego). The society has to be distanced from you, Anatoly, because you have to create a distance from yourself. Super-Ego is a full negation of Ego (Reason? Or including the Rational?) Self is only a step up. There's another step to take.
Christian mystics: what is up there, above your-self?
Being God is a practical matter, your best ability to serve yourself.
Enough said about the cosmic, the universal union. Enough said about constructing yourself. Not enough about knowing and studying it.
Objectivism -- seeing yourself from the outside, making yourself into a stranger to yourself. What are the techniques? Being Others: diversification, controlled (?) multiple personalities.
Why today I would be interested in maintaining the same identity.
Several names! Several "me"?
Don't call it hobbies, make them into professions. Second job, self-employed new Americans.
You can't have me in totality. I myself can't have my many selves together. One at the time.
Divorce yourself from yourself.
Stop! All this is for another book, for my next book, for the Book of Self.You probably did it too, when you put a flower between the book pages. That summer flower that becomes so thin, but still remembers its colors and forms. Sometimes many years later you can find in the middle of big hard cover book. The encyclopedia was perfect. And that is what I thought will happen to Esther, just a memory between the pages of my book. You do fall in love with a flower, not to the point of not sleeping at night. It was a crazy night. Yes, something like the opposite to that unexplained fear we have. That is what I thought when we left Vermont in August and drove down to New York.
NOTES : America files
See file _Communism_
What does communism do to you? Read _Russian Book_