We All Live In Waco
THE QUEST FOR AUTHENTICITY AND COMMUNITY, completely denied and rendered desperate, finds its home in Jonestown and Waco. The sense of truly being alive and of belonging has almost nowhere to go in the society whose two fastest growing classes are the homeless and prisoners. Daily existence is increasingly that of despair, depression, and derangement, punctuated by news of the latest serial murder spree or global eco-disaster, consumed as horrible
entertainments in the emptiness.
DEBORD expressed the situation accurately: “It should be known that servitude henceforth truly wants to be loved for itself, and no longer because it would bring some extrinsic advantage. Previously, it could pass for a protection; but it no longer protects anything.” Even the apparatus of oppression concedes
virtually the same point: Forbes, organ of finance capital, commemorated its 75th anniversary with a cover-story theme of “Why We Feel so Bad when We Have it so Good.” In the Psychological Society at large, in which the only reality is the personal, its hallmark denial and delusion are challenged, almost ironically, by the definitely impoverished realm of the personal. More and more clearly, the choice is between craven servitude or a qualitative break with the entire force-field of alienation. In a cult everything that an individual has is invested, the only
guarantee against the total refusal of that cult. How else, for example, could it be endured that wives and children were offered up to David Koresh and blind submission obtained rather than revolt? Evidently autonomy and self-respect can be freely given over when the world so thoroughly devalues them.
NONE OF US is immune from the horrors, commonplace and spectacular; the immune system itself, in fact, seems to be giving way, and this is not confined to AIDS or TB. The stress of work, according to a March report on the UN's International Labor Organization, is advancing to the point of a “worldwide
epidemic.” The overall situation is gravely worse than when Nietzsche observed that “most people think that nothing but this wearying reality of ours is possible.”
CURRENT reality has become impossible and continues to lose credibility. We must be outsiders, never represented, investing nothing in the death march we are expected to help reproduce. The ultimate pleasure lies in destroying that which is destroying us, in the spirit of the Situationists, who, when asked how they were going to destroy the dominant culture, replied, “In two ways: gradually at first, then suddenly.”