Sunday, 16 November 2014

Will you bite the hand that feeds you?

Sitting around listening to Nine Inch Nails, reading Marx and thinking about art and capitalism. I've got the black dog by my side tonight, and some beer. A great and terrible combination indeed.

Can you have integrity, and can it sit side-by-side with the need to eat?

I think you should. It's something to strive for. I don't write characters and stories with fairytale endings, though, and the world isn't a fairytale place. It's a constant battle. The man who's offered a million to save his starving family...kill a man and he'll get a million to feed his loved ones...

It's an extreme. It's a morality tale. Everything is, isn't it?

And yet, hypocritically, I'm listening to an album (With Teeth) on YouTube. There are no adverts, and NIN (can't do a backwards 'N', sorry) aren't making a penny from me. I tried to watch a movie earlier, that I've paid for, on Amazon Instant Video. It didn't work. Spoke to my friend earlier this evening about piracy and how it's hitting sales of *everything*. People don't want to pay. Artists really, really don't want to give their work away for free. Yes, it's art, it's passion...but we need to eat, don't we?

My friends, writers and non-writers alike, are monkeys to Mr. Business' whims. Should we be? I don't think so. But what place have ideals in living? You simply can't live without food, without shelter, without the tools, even, to create. Even a painter needs paint, or he's reduced to painting in his blood on borrowed walls. That's not healthy.

Writing is easy, says Hemingway - all you do is sit at a typewriter and bleed. That's what art is, isn't it? Art takes blood, sweat, passion, soul. You can't price these things the same way as a pair of machined-socks.

Do you bite the hand that feeds, or stay down on your knees? asks Reznor, though probably not in direct response to Hemingway. Maybe they were both talking about art, life...the world of money sucking their blood. Again, probably not, but when the black dog's at your heels, everything looks darker.

Do we need to eat? Yes. But at the price of our souls, our humanity, at the cost of the best thing about us, as humans? Are we now simply part of the machine? If we bite it, can we even break it anymore, or just our teeth? Shouldn't we bite away, anyway? After all, what use is it to us, the cogs of that great machine, to turn time and time again, simple to wind the great machine above? Our endeavours feed not *us*, but them, the great them above. Our overlords are getting fat on our labour, and that same dissatifaction breeds heavy hearts indeed.

But...meh. Sometimes I think the black dog's a cunt. Other times, I wonder if his teeth are just tougher, his eyes sharper, than mine.

And so, to Marx, 170 years ago. A man who describes how it feels when a person becomes part of a mill that churns labourer up and out, creative or not. Stick 'em in a pit, make 'em fight for a profit, and watch the humanity drain into the dirt.

The following, which I'll leave you with, is an excerpt from Marx's 1844 'Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts'

***

The simplification of the machine, of labour, is used to make a worker out of the human being still in the making, the completely immature human being, the child – whilst the worker has become a neglected child. The machine accommodates itself to the weakness of the human being in order to make the weak human being into a machine.

***

But what if the machine that turns humans into machines doesn't work...and never did?


I don't have the answers. Maybe it was never intended to work, because the soul isn't a machine and never can be.

Love you. :/