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The Cost of Resistance


#1

The Cost of Resistance

Chris Hedges

It is not about the pursuit of happiness. It is about the pursuit of freedom.

"The power elites attempt to discredit those who resist. They force them to struggle to make an income. They push them to the margins of society. They write them out of the official narrative. They deny them the symbols of status. They use the compliant liberal class to paint them as unreasonable and utopian."

#2

Mr. Hedges, thank you for your service.


#3

Most Christians would not understand Hedges.


#4

Thank the powers that be - the quantum vacuum if you will, for Chris Hedges.

I always look froward to Chris’ writings and thoughts and references, but this time he has done the impossible, which is to outdo himself.

I hardly know what to say, this article strikes so close to home.

“The Men Who Don’t Fit In” by Robert W. Service has haunted me since first I read it:

"There’s a race of men who don’t fit in…

When I became a full time mountaineer, I discovered Anatoli Boukreev, the great Soviet high altitude climber. Here is what Andrey Tarkovsky, a Russian film director, said about Toli, and it relates directly to Chris Hedges’ article:

“I am interested above all in the character who is capable of sacrificing himself - and his way of life. It is often absurd and impractical. And yet - or indeed for this very reason - the man who acts in this way brings about fundamental changes in people’s lives and in the course of history.”

  • from “The Climb”, 1999 edition.

from the article:

“Søren Kierkegaard argued that it was the separation of intellect from emotion, from empathy, that doomed Western civilization.”

Yes - Yes !

“Resistance is not only about battling the forces of darkness. It is about becoming a whole and complete human being. It is about overcoming estrangement. It is about the capacity to love. It is about honoring the sacred. It is about dignity. It is about sacrifice. It is about courage. It is about being free. Resistance is the pinnacle of human existence.”

Absolutely !!!

Forward from here:

JFK asked of us ‘sacrifice’ - and this is what a leader is always going to do.

The implicit message in Chris Hedges’ article must be for all of us, world citizens, to follow the Yaqui “path with heart” - which is what the quote of Søren Kierkegaard above implicitly implies.

I explicitly ask that those who are up to it take up this path of honor and integrity, and those who are not - try ~


#5

“The attempt to blame the electoral insurgencies in the United States’ two ruling political parties on Russian interference, rather than massive social inequality—the worst in the industrialized world—is a desperate ploy.”

Yes indeed. And the two main DNC apologists who operate here in these comment threads will never give a single nod toward this fundamental reality.


#6

Per usual for Hedges, this is a wonderfully complex, rich and disturbing essay. However, I categorically dispute this:

Power is a poison. It does not matter who wields it.

If we are afraid of building and using power to create positive change, we are lost. Of course using power is seductive; that’s why we need to learn to think collectively and develop accountability and transparency in our actions.

This essay, I think, is still caught up very much in the tradition of individualism. It is not only through irrational individual actions that that we can find freedom, but through rational (as in considered) and irrational collective actions as well. Social processes and institutions very much matter, especially as they disintegrate.

Or to be more mundane: Try to raise a family, provide food and housing, educate a community, etc. as an individual. Such a stance borders on narcism.


#7

“The rebel does not define success the way the elites define success. Those who resist refuse to kneel before the idols of mass culture and the power elites. They are not trying to get rich. They do not want to be part of the inner circle of the powerful…

Those who resist are free not because they have attained many things or high positions, but because they have so few needs. They sever the shackles used to keep most people enslaved. And this is why the elites fear them. The elites can crush them physically, but they cannot buy them off.”

I have lived my life as a socialist and own nothing. My material possessions are minimal in my small rent controlled apartment. I am proud to be a bad consumer and the freedom from the rat race gave me time to enjoy life. I am also proud that my career was with NYC Health and Hospitals providing health care wether or not it could be paid for. I have found frugality to be freedom and in New York City with its mass transit I need not even own a car. I have thus lived a simple life free from stress and worry.

Yes “in every act of rebellion we are free” and get freer even if the owners try to treat us “like the oppressed” we stand with. It’s amazing how little one needs materially to be free so “when you got nothing you got nothing to lose”. They can’t buy us and they can’t rob us. Frugality is freedom and sharing with others is priceless.

“Power is a poison. It does not matter who wields it. The rebel, for this reason, is an eternal heretic. He or she will never fit into any system. The rebel stands with the powerless. There will always be powerless people. There will always be injustice. The rebel will always be an outsider.”

It is not just the system that has always made me feel like an outsider it can even be family members. Most people are so well conditioned and propagandized that it can be hard to relate to them. Still I enjoy them to the extent I can and try to treat all with kindness.

Hatred is a trap for the unwary that at best saps one’s strength and at the worst turns one into what one hates. I cannot hate sick, addicted people. I do try to mitigate the misery done by the sociopaths that capitalism and class systems favor. I doubt that few here don’t realize that the American Ward is one of the craziest ones on Asylum Earth. One can bury one’s head in the sand or, for the sake of health and karma, fight the madmen running the asylum. You can’t reason with them and you can’t appeal to their hearts or souls which they don’t have. Sociopaths gain positions of power because they’re not hobbled by empathy or guilt. The only thing that they wish to discuss is power and control. They only understand commitment to self profit.

I care nothing for them or their rotten capitalist system. I try to be as kind as I can to everyone and, as I even hate to kill a bug, they need not fear me. Besides, they are doing a good job by doing everything they can to speed up the crash of their rotten system. Everyone on the right and the left is predicting a coming big economic crash. There is also a growing sense out there that an alternate lifestyle tied to nature and nurture is the future.

So let them bring on their tyranny and prisons as it only hastens their fall as it has done to all previous empires. Even if their armies and police can keep order within their domains the real rot lies within their diseased selves.

I pity you and I also envy you if you are young as you will live through unprecedented change. May you build well from the ruins of the coming collapse and finally bring about the true democracy of a socialist world where “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need”.

“Resistance is not only about battling the forces of darkness. It is about becoming a whole and complete human being. It is about overcoming estrangement. It is about the capacity to love. It is about honoring the sacred. It is about dignity. It is about sacrifice. It is about courage. It is about being free. Resistance is the pinnacle of human existence.”

Racism and inequality can only exist in a class system. Abolishment of private property and private ownership of the means of production will produce a classless society where all are equal. There may still arise powerless people and injustice but in a classless socialist society it will be a question of making it known and finding solutions, not in ignoring them and oppressing people. A good socialist citizen will be an aware citizen ready to identify and take on problems. Being a citizen will be a joy even for a rebel as socialism will foster “the pinnacle of human existence”.


#8

It depends on how “power” is defined. Power as it’s deemed by “the system” is based on dominance; as expressed in many spiritual paths, power is cooperation based on compassion.


#9

And that’s because those are “Sunday Christians”, and Monday Mother F*****s


#10

Chris Hedges has been quite prophetic in writing for years about the ills that are now befalling us. I imagine he has learned this the hard way, and mostly first-hand, in his war correspondence years. This article is equally powerful in its warning of things that are not just coming, but mostly already here.


#11

I don’t want to get caught up in semantic nit-picking, but it seems to me that power is an ability to accomplish things.Some of those things are benevolent and necessary for survival. Some are pure evil (like personal or social dominance). Most are extremely complex. With power comes a responsibility to sort these kinds of things out. I would call that morality.


#12

This is one more example of Chris Hedges at his best! Beautifully written, with profound thinking, universal truths and a keen analysis of the ennui and anxiety that are so much a part of our socioeconomic structure as it exists today.


#13

Excellent post, manysummits!


#14

We are all born with power, I think in the rebel that power is nurtured and retained. In others is it replaced by cultural standards and what not. And many people learn to hide their power and some just forget where it is. Hedges is very good at reminding people that they have it or where to look for it if lost. I think the system tries to convince people they have no power which is a lie but some believe it. The rebel is there to remind us that no one can take our power unless we give it up. Sounds easy but there are massive organizations aimed at just that task. It is my understanding that resistance is not the best way to retain power, it is only one of many ways.


#15

We have entered Humanity’s Next Cycle (October 1981). We have entered the Age Of Woman.

There will be peace in this world, universal and perpetual, up to and including the last word spoken by, the last breath of, the last person to be alive.

Love is the power and infinitely so. Love is the way. There is no other way.


#16

And you know, nighthawk, the comments accompanying this article by Chris Hedges are really quite wonderful to behold.

We are approaching tipping points both physically in the Earth System - and I truly believe, culturally, worldwide.

This is why I retain but do not fully understand the article:

“The Borders of Order”, by Philip Ball, New Scientist, 26-April-2014,

the main idea being that all life may exist, by evolutionary necessity, on the border of chaos.

So we are right where we are supposed to be - entirely awake because of the imminent danger.

This reminds me of mountaineering, of course - a form of meditation - entirely natural - not at all without substance and purpose - though it be but dimly perceived.


#17

Have to go through an ordeal, or pay to join something, to get article. Apparently I am going to receive the full article, for free, by e-mail if I notice it when it comes. I am already turned off by this kind of materialism.


#18

There are ‘open access’ articles, but they are still few and far between, and there are still paywalls for many online newspapers, but not all.

We are embedded in a for profit system, but not all view even that the same way !

On Youtube, I can no longer get Neil Young’s and Crazy Horse’s “This Land is Your Land” ??

Like Willie Nelson sings - ‘laugh when you can, and put up with the rest’.


#19

I laugh when I can and subvert the rest.