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Dripstone is the research blog for queer visual artist, researcher, writer and curator Venus Jasper.

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The frontline is us.

Late 2016, the day after it was clear that #45 had won the elections I landed in Houston for a layover on my way to Guatemala, where I went to study natural building and permaculture at the Atitlan Organics farm and the IMAP institute across the lake.


The USA always feels to me to be covered in a dense electric grid, both when seeing it from an airplane and while being there. There is a frenzy, a program running. I intuit this as electric. A grid of power. While on another level the USA is fire; destructive, dangerous and/or transformative in quick booming ways - which indeed is powerful for many reasons, potentially key in the future of mankind.

WAR

Awaiting to get out and onwards, I conceptualized the notion of a frontline in war, or in peace for that matter, to be localized inside of each of us. A frontline, as we know it traditionally, is perceived as being the front of person-to-person battle like some kind of Napoleon or WW1 scene. But is this still the case? Today a teenager drafted into the army (because they seek camaraderie or an escape from debts) sends off long-distance missiles via computers as if playing cool games. Those that grab power and kill aren't often in the frontline like they are in heroic knight's tales and D-day films. Some are, though, horrendously traumatized amidst fire, explosions and blood. Those that survive will seek shelter in the arms of therapists upon return, when they're lucky and able enough to open the psychotic wound inside of them. If anyone is actually available for this process.

HYDRA

When we call for the killing of crooks such as Trump we are often redirected to the symbolic notion of chopping off the Hydras head, which will make another 4 pop up. We seem unable to target any one leader of why our system is failing to support our ecology and people. Also, we wouldn't want to take the violence of killing into the future we unlock by doing so, would we? Non-Violent Protesters seek exactly that road of Civil Disobedience without defaulting into violence to get things done. Marianne Williamson argues that it is not capitalism, but the puppet-masters which currently run it, that is the cancer. More and more, we can access evidence of the absurdly unlimited amounts of money one person can possess while entire nations starve. Money being not simply the amount on a bank account, but the monetary power which is in investments, contract and patent ownership, real estate and other vehicles of cashflow. Power over money, that is in the name of a citizen but nonetheless used by banks to buy arms and invest in anti-life industries. Mind you, you don't own any amount of your money.


In a world I believe in someone making a billion does it because they do or sell things that are aligned with the best for all people and thus, they will also feel called to share and redistribute their wealth, knowing that this too will benefit everyone. Only someone who doesn't have an interest in the world for all keeps so much that it warps the entire financial reality for everyone. And yes, our systems and industries allow this to happen. Tax-havens, fraudulent governments, loop-holes in law. It is a tragic state of affairs and we cannot judge someone for having such a strong believe in their ego/personhood and such a lack of trust in the common good of all beings that it leads them to feel good while living in a total separate monetary dimension, far removed from 'the masses' made up of beautiful souls able to create art, love, beauty and tremendous societal value if they wouldn't be set back institutionally their entire lives. No one is poor. One is being made poor. One is impoverished and made to identify with that condition as if it's who they are. We must rise from this. Collectively overthrow any limited notions of our worth.

For the record, I believe people can and should have various incomes, depending on skills, careers, value to the whole, perhaps age and experience. Diversity is a sign of health in each system, it will generate more richness. I believe people can earn shittons of money and/or keep it - it's a non-issue that people have various incomes+savings because everyone evaluates what they have and who they relate to differently anyway. A millionaire can be depressed or living their highest good, just as someone with an average or lower income can. Yet the unprecedented height of some incomes and capital and the incomprehensible large inequality between top and bottom should really be capped off, redistributed, made to flow more - if anything, wealth should flow more, like seeds in a liberated world. This doesn't even need to be argued for anymore. It can mean there are very crazy loaded people, but it won't mean one person can hold the monetary Life Energy of an entire nation in their name. In short, I do not advocate for everyone to have or earn exactly the same, but I do stand for the eradication of personal wealth that floats on institutional warfare, destruction and depletion of resources, natural wealth and people's freedom. So I'm pretty sure some hydra heads can be chopped off and some thirsty inner children can find fulfillment in more sustainable ways.


FRONTLINE

Why would anyone one harm another one if it were not because of misconceptions, lies that are believed to be truth and a general consensus idea that there isn't enough for everyone (for you!) in the planet and the system. The frontline is in you when you have an opportunity to withhold judgment, withhold violence and withhold being taken away by sensational polarizing media/news/stories. The frontline is within us. In every moment we have a choice to operate from our hearts, to give a little space to someone (or to yourself when you need it. and trust me, sometimes you need a LOT of space to feel hate, anger, pain and this shouldn't be misregarded or ignored either. But we have a choice not to believe in the 'bad' nature of another person. Protect yourself, do your inner process, step back and take care of yourself, but ultimately the other is also a you. )

The frontline is you when you share stories of people who walk across deserts to invoke the rain in ritual. The frontline is every moment when we call forth an image of someone holding space for another person's emotional process. Someone who trusts life and beauty and love despite ongoing global headlines of toxic disempowerment and frankly, hot boiling lies. When the frontline is us, every moment is a political potentiality, where despite whoever is 'in charge' in the external world, we can act from our heart, make the decision to listen, include and welcome a person. The frontline could be the yoga mat or reading the sutra's that prepare you for an ongoingness of life that doesn't cease when this body perishes.

The frontline can be in the knowing that all the drama produced by human enterprise is but a spec of dust on the brilliant and intricate sphere of life that the earth and this universe is. The frontline can be the knowing that peace, in the end, is inevitable, due to the simple fact that war and destruction and separation between folks costs incomprehensible amounts of energy, resources, people and ongoing fabrication of lies and the masking of the grace that the natural world represents.

Peace, inevitable? Yes, albeit another 10.000 years of onslaught, at some point collaboration can be the only way to continue. It would be tragic, absurd even, to push to that very rim of existence before the craving for power ceases and transmutes into the emotional recuperation that in the end each warlord and megalomaniac psychopath bank-lord seeks. Inclusion in the whole, as part of the whole. For what wound must be operating behind industries of destruction but the blindness towards the great unity and love of everything in its very nature. I am not talking here about a nature where there is no death or destruction, those cycles of renewal and endings are as inevitable as arguments and conflicts amongst humans. But what I am talking about is the understanding that humans and nature and the universe are not as cruel and desperate and dark as the world created by mankind and broadcasted through desperate media. The current view on reality that is being advertised believes far too much in the inevitability of war. Don't get me wrong, there is war and there will be war. But that modus operandi is, in the long run, but a tainting of the light in a fecund mass global process of awakening. It is tragic to demolish so much of life and beauty to ultimately understand that life and beauty are benevolence without a price tag. Peace is free. It is free. It comes naturally when we end the investment in lies, destruction and stop putting the people up against one another. This article about Latent Fascism comes to mind here, and the notion that the only thing a person can lose (or fight for) is an idea. Ideas. Ideas. ideas. 'he is this, he is that' "they did this, they did that'. When we shed these idea's that simply slow down the unfolding of grace and love, grace and love can unfold. Peace generates peace. Peace generates liberation, more nature, more biomass, more diversified humans and cultures and arts and transcendental forms of healing and embodiment!

HOPE


Is the frontline perhaps the unrelinquished hope that, despite news of burning lands and darkened skies, remains alive? Is it the hope that stands, cries, falls down and recuperates itself despite the reports of drowning refugees in the Mediterranean, despite children locked away, starving and sexually abused in detainment camps at borders? What is this unrelinquishable hope? Is it perhaps founded and sourced in the knowing that all the current and historic human drama and institutional conflict, in the long run, will be but a bleep of time, some spec on a vast ray of colorful light of the universe unveiling itself in species, phenomena, shows of atmosphere, insect hydraulics, bioluminescent deep-sea wonders and orgasms that set your spine straight? A bleep that for many, is very very very real, deadly and unfair.

The frontline is those that help refugees with food, shelter. It is also the refugee seeking survival, shelter, food, a future. It is the refugee who finds again their freedom, their joy. The frontline is those that organize themselves to form political groups aligned with peace and love. Groups that operate outside of conventional politics and groups that operate within it. Those in communities exploring the inner worlds of intimacy, sexual alchemy, arts, and somatic therapies. The frontline is dealing with and transforming trauma and triggers. The frontline is each meeting that evolves in a deeper bond with the self and a deeper trust in the benevolence of life, in a deeper trust of the other. When you come away as more together than before.

The frontline is the breathwork, the meditation, the calmness and the forgiveness despite the many reasons to seek revenge. The frontline is running into a coalmine to block it. The kissing afterwards with new lovers met in the action. The frontline is not abiding to law which jeopardizes the life and freedom of others. It is the destruction of power systems by eroding it one person after another. It is the city-state that unfollows the nation's leader, the University that publishes every article on the climate publicly. It is waking up from the myth that is scarcity and poverty and lies about others that come to take away your livelihood. The frontline is forgiving a parent from abuse before they die. It is boycotting news that generates hate. The frontline is realizing the difference between personhood and your true self; a ray of light, colored as you but part of the one light. The frontline is AOC being witty, sassy, relevant, relatable, young, in position and slaying the fuckers. The frontline is ayahuasca seeping through the veins of Zuckerberg, waking him up to alignment with the greater waves of peace that the beauty of life utters in each of her vast and myriad crevasses and moments.

It is every indigenous activist, rainforest protector and teenager who invents ways to delete plastic from the oceans, collects energy from wind and sun and garbage. It is every kid winning an award for an invention on sustainability and every kid that did all of this already decades ago but was silenced. It is the survival of indigenous agricultural and holistic environmental management wisdom, either by traditions that are still alive or those that have been translated via permaculture movement. It is new wisdom, old wisdom, aligned with the larger benevolence for all. It is a NVC master who manages to dissolve the illusion that a politician wants the opposite of the activist. The frontline is the fact that all the ways to live sustainably and excitedly on the planet, with respect to differences and space for variety, is already here. The frontline is that this alignment with peace can't be killed even when millions have and will. The frontline is each somatic therapist helping to transform cross-generational trauma from those that lived before us and from the offspring of the troops going off to war today. The frontline is all the healing, all the resistance, the compassion, the relentless power to feel love despite that cocktail of polemics we call 'the news'.

The frontline is each lover, kid, parent, student, soul, that rises up from being mistreated and mistreated by their very own mind. The frontline is also everyone else who isn't a hero or who isn't managing to stay standing. The frontline is also crying, collective grief, taking a pause from information input, blocking aggressors, calling the cops on an abusive boyfriend. The frontline is managing to overcome conflict by giving love, by choosing to see the light in the other from the light that is within your person. The frontline is in being able to laugh at Trump when he loses his wig on a video but refraining from it because each second wasted on the likes of such villains is stealing the time you could be working on the skills and beliefs you carry into the future as a survivor of war.

SURVIVOR

Did it ever occur to you that perhaps you are a survivor? That there will always be survivors. Some of us will survive the next decade of climate disaster, fires, floods, shifting societies due to billions of dislocated people. Abbandon the contemplation of a mars colony. The same things apply both in a scenario of survival as much as in the scenario of escape. WHAT will you bring into that next moment? Into the after, into the away, into the duration of war and decay? Perhaps it is odd to talk about survival while we don't at this point feel that we could die tomorrow. Probably you will be one of the survivors, perhaps one that will suffer the least directly from the decay of our global ecosystem. The bloodshed of beings. Yes, the shit might flood your lawn, your farm, your marina. Yes, it might depress you - cause you to have an awkward relationship to your social media. But so many have experienced lots worse on daily, no, ongoing cross-generational basis.

If you read this, you are one of those lucky ones that still has ample opportunity to choose peace, to choose compassion, to choose love, to choose space for the drama and the pain to yell and shout for attention while inside you know that only the light is what remains and stays eternal. Use this power to hold space. To process, grief, express and anchor the decade ahead. Stand in that which you wish to see alive after the war is over. Invest in that which you wish to see alive. Be it love, art, dance, beauty, environmental knowledge, healing crafts, intersectional feminism, anti-racism work, successful food distribution, compassion and joy, the kids who invent ways of delete plastic of the mushrooms that eat it and can rewire depressed brains. The indigenous tradition, song, medicine. The plants, animals, pencils. Whatever you cherish and whatever makes you feel reinforced, happy, safe and thriving. Don't let that go. Take that light into the future. Into the inevitable moment of peace beyond the hills of time.

What is your frontline?

Jasper Griepink,

2020

Related: Overcoming Fascism (about Latent Fascism)

Images: Jan Rose Kasmir confronts the American National Guard at The Pentagon to protest against America’s involvement in Vietnam Photography by Marc Riboud, Washington DC, 21 October 1967





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