An Odd, Groaning Civilization

“People are crushed under the wardrobe. Without lifting up the wardrobe it is impossible to deliver whole peoples from their endless and unbearable suffering. It is terrible that even one person should be crushed under such a weight: to want to breathe, and not be able to. The wardrobe rests on everybody, and everyone tries to lift up the wardrobe, but not with the same conviction, not with the same energy. An odd, groaning civilization.

Thinkers ask themselves: ‘What? People under the wardrobe? However did they get there?’ All the same, they got there. And if someone comes along and proves in the name of objectivity that the burden can never be removed, each of his words adds to the weight of the wardrobe, that object which he means to describe with the universality of his ‘objective consciousness.’

And the whole Christian spirit is there, fondling the suffering like a good dog and handing out photographs of crushed but smiling people. ‘The rationality of the wardrobe is always the best’, proclaim the thousands of books published every day to be stacked in the wardrobe. And all the while everyone wants to breathe and no one can breathe, and many say, ‘We will breathe later’, and most do not die – because they are already dead. It is now or never.”

Raoul Vaneigem, from his The Revolution of Everday Life (1963-65.)

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