The Evil of Suffering Uselessly


'"Since Christ's coming, we are delivered not from the evil of suffering but from the evil of suffering uselessly", writes the Jesuit father Charles. How right he is: power's problem has always been, not to abolish itself, but to give itself reasons so as not to oppress 'uselessly'. Christianity, that unhealthy therapeutic, pulled off its masterstroke when it married man to suffering, whether on the basis of divine grace or natural law. From prince to manager, from priest to expert, from father confessor to social worker, it is always the principle of useful suffering and willing sacrifice which forms the most solid base for hierarchical power. Whatever reasons it invokes -- a better world, the next world, building communism or fighting communism -- suffering accepted is always Christian, always. Today the clerical vermin have given way to the missionaries of a Christ dyed red. Everywhere official pronouncements bear in their watermark the disgusting image of the crucified man, everywhere comrades are urged to sport the stupid halo of the militant martyr. And with their blood, the kitchen-hands of the good Cause are mixing up the sausage-meat of the future: less cannon-fodder, more doctrine-fodder!'

did i say that? no. but i'm glad somebody did. i love mr vaneigem's revolution of everyday life. it's like a politicized version of a course in miracles. in the end, neither one is as opaque as they seem. try reading out loud.

a couple of months ago, a single white mom we know moved out of her house near ours. foreclosed. i suggested we move in, share the costs. it's a huge house, only three of them were in there. she used to send her kids to albany free school, but got priced out of that. turned to the public school. now, we don't know where she is. my kid asks about her kid almost everyday. where's joaquin? we don't know. of course, people have wondered that about me before. for now, this is where i am. but who knows where i'll be next? i won't surrender to useless suffering. not yet. but i am pretty nervous. i figure that soon, people i know will start cozying up together. start growing vegetables instead of grass. tomatoes potatoes and maize are all native to the americas. peanuts, too. for me, the land beckons. plant me, the earth whispers. but we only want to whisper into this electronic vapor. funny thing is, everything is electric.


  1. i can relate. at 46 i have roamed half the planet, assembled and disassembled dozens of domestic arrangements...fallen in and out of wage-labor compromises...lived in the gutter and in prime real estate but most of my life has been spent in run of the mill aesthetically enhanced scrape-by middle class rental units which ultimately tax me far more for what they demand in hourly physical and psychic commitment to a deteriorating outside system of structure than any "security" i receive from the guaranteed shelter they far as i can tell, this might be the beginning of some kind of post-industrial, post-work...or some other post-it...epoch...nomadism, de-territorialization, societal rot. i mean, most of the people i know who really have stability are corporatized to some extent..what we're moving into will probably resemble a cross between the world of don Quixote and blade runner...come to think of it, roaming the landscape with sancho panza and rocinante might not be so bad...anyway, i'm rooted for the time being but its in the mid-west...just a station on the way...

    it just rolls on. i assemble a few thousand dollars, start paying the bills, by my seed some stuff to keep her going, get stressed out or inspired by a new idea, and then roll on.


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