“Most of the stone a nation hammers goes towards its tomb only. It buries itself alive.” (Thoreau Walden 44) what is at the base of our desire to objectify? why do we need tombstones? is our whole life one long journey towards an epitaph? (when i die i imagine they will write on my tombstone, “here lies wade, the poor son of a bitch couldn’t think of anything worth chiseling into stone.”) NO. i refuse the tombstone. i want to be burned to ashes in a searing heat. i want the ashes to be scattered in the breeze, scattered and trampled into dust. and forgotten. and this dust is no smaller than my life. a grain of sand on an infinite beach. we are obsessed with ownership because we believe that by owning it references our self. we want to be known and remembered as the writer, as the creator, as the owner because we believe in immortality. we are obsessed with capturing power, with holding it. and we will build up, through cycles of the storm, through the undercurrents a gigantic and powerful wave. and it will break and crash on the beach with incredible force and a roaring turrent. and it will recede. and the beach as smooth as ever. we can not separate power from itself. we can not hold power. we can only be a vehicle. and the miserable tombs we create are only stones in a field. and the miserable writings we write are only pages yellowing. we need tombstones because we fear death. we objectify because we fear death. we own because we fear death. we create because we fear death. in fact, most of the things we do every day are done because we fear death. i say let us abandon ownership. let us abandon authorship. let us cast our creations and thoughts into the void and let go. the creation is separate from the creator. this is the definition of creation, of objectification. objectification produces something that is no longer dependent on our thoughts about it. it is the attempt to hold on to power which destroys us. it is our demand that our creations remain attached to our self that drowns us with our creation. “Is this not torture? Setting the soul in marble and then mocking the living.” (Malevich) so why am i writing then? why do i desire to create? because i fear death. because i remain unable to let go of the limits of my self. and someday, some glorious day, i won’t write anymore. what i fear even more than death is the fear of death. i fear living my life creating useless stones in an endless cemetery where the dead remember the dead. i want to live my life living life. every second wasted on death is one more second of death. some people spend their whole life trying to preserve it, wallowing in formaldehyde. and maybe they succeed in growing to an age of 100 and getting a really big tombstone. but out of those one hundred years how many seconds did they really live. how many seconds do you really live? out of a day maybe there are a couple minutes. the rest are given over to the preservation of life, to the fear of death, to death. yes, these creations that we create do live on their own. so let’s let them. let’s stop photographing, autographing, copyrighting. if there are things which must be created let us make them so that they can stand on their own. so that they can become a part of life rather than be an eternal monument to death. let us create so that life will stem from our creations. let us create from life a new life. rather than from death a new death. this forces us to evaluate the entire process of creation. because we have within us a belief that we must be outside the process to change it. we believe that we must be outside life, within death, in order to change life, in order to create life. we believe that we must be outside experience, within thought, in order to create experience. this is the great lie of language and of capitalism. that we can create something out of lanugage which is not language. that we can work our whole life in death towards a something which will endure beyond death. that we can create from thought an experience. that we can create objects which will force us to experience. that we can create thoughts that will free us from our bodies. that there is an economy. there is no economy. we can not trade in death for life. and yet we continue to make tombstones. this is where capitalism gains its strength, this is where language inflates its power. in the belief that there is economy. there is no economy. there is only now. that is all we will ever have. and yes someday you will be dust, and so will i. but now i am not. this is what i propose for art. this is what i propose as the final creation which will free man from his chains. this is what i propose as victory over economy, as destruction of the entire system, as life unbridled, lived to its fullest experience within the eternal present. this is what i propose as the greatest work of art ever. this that i propose is: abstention. to not create. to not consume. to not objectify. to stop wrestling economy. to stop living a death to preserve life. to live life in a constant state of the present. (and from life, life will stem.) we must stop believing in the great lie of economy. economy takes everything that you give. economy relies on a belief in a return. time can never be returned. actions can never be returned. consumption can never be returned. economy makes us believe that there is a big picture, that there are goals, that the object will be greater than the life put into it. nothing is greater than life. and it is our beliefs and perception that make life what it is to us. economy steals the minutes of our life from us. economy steals the present from us and gives us a future. and future never comes. economy keeps us focused on the ‘big’ decision while stealing from us our every decision. economy extracts from us while we do not even know. if there is one trend in our attempt to economize life, it is that life can not be economized. it refuses in fact. the more the modern project attempts to capitalize and extract time, ‘leisure time’ that is, the less life we experience. the more we sit in traffic, listen to voice mail, ride on an undergound subway with nothing to see, drive to the mall, watch tv, wait on dinner, wait in line, wait on the internet, wait for a promotion, work towards goals, put off quitting, drive on the highways, fly in airplanes, wait in line. imagine a vacation to disneyworld (or mall of america). first you have to work to make the money – weeks of waiting, saving and not doing what you enjoy so that you can take a vacation. then on the vacation you wait for the plane, wait on the plane, wait on the car, wait in the car, wait in line to get tickets, walk to the ride, wait in line for the ride. for weeks of waiting you are rewarded with 2 minutes of leisure time (but is is such ‘quality time’ it makes up for it). this makes me sick. who has enjoyed life more, he who has taken the highway to his destination and got there in 15 minutes, but not enjoyed a second of the travel. or he who has taken the backroads and explored and enjoyed and got there in an hour. it took you an hour to get here, how horrible (imagining you stuck in traffic) but where you go there is no traffic. the one who enjoyed the hour enjoyed life more because the other lost 15 minutes to economy. the city, it is not the abstraction of ideals, the metaphor of inter-relations, the looking glass in which we see subtle relations. it is the direct result of our desires, the immediate physical manifestation of our wants and needs and thoughts. if there is something about the city we hate and fear and feel is loss, it is that which we fear in ourselves. the city is endless, like points on a line. it is our choices which shape our experience of it and contribute to its form. not our choices as designers, but our choices as consumers. for jewel while ignoring and yearining for the ‘neighborhood grocery store,’ like rich’s. for starbucks while forgetting the store where the conversation is better than the coffee. for glencoe while regretting there is no where to walk to. for old orchard while forgetting chicago ave. for eddie bauer while abandoning nature. for convenience and cheesecake factory forgetting real italian. for disney forgetting road trip. for comfort and against reality. the truth is we have an entire economy based on comfort. we want the ‘experience’ without any of the hassles. we believe that we can extract life all of its pleasures. we believe that we can economize death. we believe that we can experience more, that we can live more all with the wonderful tool of economy. we believe that we can economize death by living life faster, by not worrying about the present. we believe that we can buy experience. that even spirituality is something which can be economized and consumed. we live our life in pursuit of the next spiritual nugget – a ‘powerful’ movie, a ‘spiritual’ album, an ‘unbelievable’ ride, a ‘relaxing’ vacation. the trick of economy is that there is no escape. it takes even when it seems to give. a truly spiritual experience is one that you can not separate from life, one that changes your life, one that allows you to live your life spiritually. applause is one of the greatest weapons of consumption. it allows the viewer to dismiss the experience as something to be consumed. it crushes all attacks by putting a distance, by forcing the experience back into the realm of massive economy. economy always has to take more than it gives or it would cease to exist. we are so trained as consumers not to focus on the present or the ‘small’ decisions that we do not even know when we are consuming. consuming has been made an integral part of our lives and our selves. through ownership we allow our idea of self to merge with what we consume and what we create. so that economy and self are inseparable. so that we don’t even notice turning on a light switch or flushing the toilet or using a kleenex or drinking a coke or driving a car or any of our immediate life and decisions in general. they are all “improved means to an unimproved end” (thoreau). the greatest trick of modern society is the project. work towards something great. the end don’t worry about the means. build something beautiful. don’t worry where the money is coming from. don’t worry where it is being built. don’t worry who lives there. don’t worry what it does to the neighborhood. don’t worry about politics, about favors, about payoffs. don’t worry what you build it with. don’t worry how it will affect life. don’t worry about religion. don’t worry about energy. don’t worry about the poor. don’t worry about excess. don’t worry about gluttony. don’t worry about rotting in comfort. don’t worry about ‘the little stuff’. don’t worry about coca-cola. don’t worry about mcdonalds. don’t worry about shell or exxon or amoco. don’t worry about microsoft. don’t worry about commonwealth edison. don’t worry about at+t. after all, its just a soft drink, just a dollar. just a hamburger, a gallon, a program, a light, a phone call. this is the great trick. making everything means to an end. means that do not matter. convenience is not a sin. it is a virtue of modern society. none of it costs much more than $1.50. never mind adding it up. it is a small cost. a small item. it isn’t even a decision. it is a reaction, a habit. who knows how many hundreds or thousands of dollars a year the average american spends on coca-cola making it a trillion dollar industry without a thought. it is a staple. coke or pepsi? not coke or water. we do not choose between having something or not. we ‘choose’ which name brand. half of them are owned by the same companies, but it still appears as a chice. we do not live our life as a series of decision but a series of ‘choices’ of habits. and if we are ‘political’ we can be political in a consumers way. the choice betweeen cars. not the choice between cars and walking. we’ll help your cause as long as we get some m&ms out of the deal.