The Saddest Existence of All
Notes of an Anarchic Coward
“An anarchist without courage is an anarchist with no will, he knows what is right yet doesn’t have the strength to confirm it with deeds, he stands still watching, at most he speaks, he writes. The saddest existence of all.”
— A Few Words of “Freedom” An Interview with Alfredo Cospito by Conspiracy of Cells of Fire Imprisoned Members Cell
I never know what I want and hope to never know. Twenty-five years diffuse with memories of failure and incompetence, several moments I just wanted to escape forever. But do these failures matter?
I live alone in a studio apartment. My friends are anonymous internet comments – apart from them, I have no friends. Proud, young, and independent, I spend my days however I like. In other words – doing nothing. Just boring jobs and jobbing bores.
When I wake up, my blinds are open. The sun illuminates my dusty living space. It would be better to awake in the evening, but I am never patient enough. Better to leave bed again, I tell myself. Maybe there will be something interesting. Naturally, it is a foolish idea, but I fantasize it up as an excuse for getting up again, because no matter how much I toss and turn on my narrow bed, I can never return to sleep once the church bells sound. Tears have dried at the corners of my eyes. My back does not hurt anymore. I gaze out the window and see the streets littered with cars and people, the air polluted by the ceaseless roar of existence. I am lonely, but don’t feel alone. I dress, pick up my bicycle, and go out into the street to become lost in thought. A partial suicide.
Thought is a task for the forlorn, a wretched revenge. When I am in company, I do not think. I think only when free; the compulsion: the minor examination to prepare for obligations, the labor to which I have to submit myself. All waged work leads me to despair, that is to say – suicide, which is the same thing.
Astride my bicycle, I confront myself. What is there really in your heart, melancholy specter? Where does it come from, this shadow, the regard of disgust and animosity toward the existent? I want no more of these sinister feelings.
Thought leads to nothing apart from itself. It invents the future and calls one to sacrifice themselves for it. And yet, knowing there is no future desirable or possible, how is it that I remain passive in the present? I have scruples where others don’t think twice, and when seeing what I don’t do done by others, I wonder: Why do I think so much if it only makes me suffer?
Am I so made of pride that I can only regard possibilities? If I know I can do a thing, I am satisfied and perhaps do not do it at all. This is not to say that I am entirely reduced to passivity, that I live in dread of besmirching the splendor of my inner being by action and an existence; and, aiming to preserve the puerility of my heart, flee from contact with the actual world. No, there have been a few unusual days, a few nights filled with the experience of shattering hallucinations, a short upward momentum, a feeling of being extraordinary – and afterwards the fall, reality. The realization that it has all been an illusion.
There are only two attitudes: to resign oneself or to rebel. Both, if it comes to the crunch, demand the same liberty and the same lucidity. Unfortunately — rebels are still, and always, far too resigned and resigned ones far too rebellious. Some people really live and others just watch them do it. And myself?
For those who have no future, the desire for death and the joy of living mingle in a beautiful way. It’s not the lightness drawing me in, it’s the darkness propelling me on. The lived experiences of revolt change one forever: we carry them with us on our way to work, we hold our heads up a little higher. An intensity in living spills over into other aspects of our lives. It emboldens us to seek out more of what we previously thought was impossible and acknowledge that everything is within reach when one no longer accepts the rations of representation and claims participation for their self. The possibilities are many. It is frightening to be faced with the realization that there is little stopping oneself from really acting. The police and other enemies are certainly frightening as well. But it is more frightening to live in fear, the soul-crushing drudgery of everyday life, and the disappointment of one’s dreams remaining dreams simply because we chose not to act when we could have. Let’s do more of what we’re capable of.
Can I really call myself an anarchist if I have no concern for a future? When I don’t believe in any utopian vision? When I just stated a few paragraphs ago that there is no possible or desirable future? I can’t. I am merely anarchic.
Anarchism is merely another musty thought. Anarchy IS TO BE LIVED. Anarchy is not a raw material of literature or philosophy nor a dust-cover to protect reality from fading beneath our eyes. Anarchy takes to the streets. It is in the eyes of the child as it is in the fuck-ups of the century. It has the leading role. Let us not gag it under the pretext of progress preserving smiles for the future. We are free every day.
As I read over what I have written I have alternate periods of hope and despair. At times I think I am succeeding admirably – and again, what I have written compared to what I have felt seems vapid and tame. Who has not felt the futility of words when one would express feelings?
In my feelings that are as a deep intoxication, I’ll worship animals in the night. I’ll lay violent hands on the holiest icons, I’ll clutch at lies, I’ll grow feral in my dreams and will rampage like a beast. There is obviously not a word of truth in these statements and I am the most mild-mannered anarchic person in [city where I live], but I have so often delighted in managing a few honorable exploits and expropriations that it isn’t exactly a lie either. Perhaps my refusal of a preordained method and an acceptance of a shifting order of priorities has lead only to failure. Indeed, there’s no hope for people like me in the world: all that we can do is suffer as bravely as possible and put our oppressors to shame. We all liberate ourselves in our own fashion. One who appears to be committing a mistake is doing something. What is the real reason I commit actions, however scarcely and apprehensively? For anarchism? No. To succeed? No. To carry on with my daily toils under the conviction that living is worth the trouble, is something unique. For the day, not eternity. A momentary intensity in living suffices to itself; it can fill a cavity that has been decaying for twenty-five years. I may never succeed but at least I am free.
The bicycle ride is over now. The writer’s block that obstructs the path is a weight off my mind.
“Thus ended Heliogabalus, without inscription and without tomb, but with atrocious funeral rites. He died a coward, yet in a state of open rebellion; and such a life, crowned by such a death, needs, I think, no conclusion.”
— Heliogabalus, Or The Crowned Anarchist, Antonin Artaud