Monday, September 3, 2018

Moving at All Speeds Simultaneously

(by QMS, 2015-2018)

We must run while they walk.” (Julius Nyerere)

"We are enslaved by speed and have all succumbed to the same insidious virus... To be worthy of the name, Homo Sapiens should rid ourselves of speed before it reduces us to a species in danger of extinction." (Folco Portinari)

Do you know that at this very moment you are surrounded by eternity? And do you know you can use that eternity, if you so desire? Do you know that you can extend yourself forever in any direction and use it to take the totality of yourself forever in any direction? Do you know that one moment can be eternity?” (Don Juan Matus)

Climate change and capitalism and patriarchy and racism operate at all speeds and so must we. Reclaim the infinity of time: How it can be stretched and compressed, accelerated and slowed, emptied and filled, found and lost, paid and unpaid, spent and seized. The Pachakuti calls the warriors of the rainbow to the horizon. So let us come in all colors to where the sun meets the storm. Let us move instantly and endlessly, let us be faster than the sun and slower than the storm, and in blazing beauty paint the way to the horizon. We must move at all speeds simultaneously.

We must move fast enough to prevent and/or prepare for climate armageddon: as fast as glaciers are melting, as fast as permafrost is thawing, as fast as deserts are advancing. Fast enough to out-maneuver the National Security States; their cops on the corners, their drones and their death squads. Faster than war, faster than famine, faster than the oceans are turned to acid... Those of us awake now in the early 21st century have a uniquely planetary prerogative to act on behalf of future generations of all species. “We must run while others walk,” insisted Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. Tomorrow is too late, and so was yesterday. Now is the only time. “Focus your attention on the fact that you don't have time and let your acts flow accordingly. Let each of your acts be your last battle on earth. Only under those conditions will your acts have their rightful power,” counseled Don Juan Matus. We have a need for speed.

But speed is killing us – finance and freeways and food are moving at velocities whose violence can be measured by the minute. “We are enslaved by speed”, wrote the founder of the Slow Food movement. Against the space-time compression of the doomsday clock culture that ticks exponentially faster towards extinction, going slow can be an act of resistance. So we must also move at the slowest and deepest speeds: The speed of community, the speed of contemplation: the speeds of reflection where human beings strive alone and together to comprehend themselves. The Zapatistas call it “the speed of democracy” and their mascot the snail insists, lento pero avanzo: the speed at which the tortoise beats the hare to the finish line. We must remember how to move like our ancestors, at the speeds of the stars, the sunrise and sunset, at the speed of the seasons; of the forests, of the mountains, of the rivers, of the ocean waves; the speed of learning, of forgiving, of loving; the speed of the cosmos, the speed of the soul. We must reset our clocks to the cosmic almanac of the milpa, the conuco, the allyu, the chacra, the shamba, etc; the calendar of the commons; the speed of the seed!

In short, we must move simultaneously at the speed of revolution and at the speed of evolution. But remember, time is not a spectrum ranging from fast to slow. Time is a whole dimension with a multiplicity of geometries. We must move not only fast and slow, but move in multiple time signatures: retool our ontologies to dance and dream and make decisions, not only in patriotic 4/4 time, but in 5 and 7 and 9 and 11 and 13 and beyond, and all mixed together. This is what it means to reclaim the infinity of time, to move at all times and in all time signatures the melody of freedom.

Sun Tzu promises: “If you know the place and time of battle, you can join the fight from a thousand miles away.” This is what it means to move at all speeds simultaneously: to destroy the enclosures and to create the commons; to topple the world government of transnational corporations and to build beloved communities; to shut down nuclear, coal and oil energy industries and to build the and soil and agroecologies necessary to replace them; to fight imperialism and to prefigure a new mode of production.

Anyone can learn the technique of traveling at all speeds simultaneously. We all lived that way once as children. We were spontaneous and persistent, playful and serious, living in multiple worlds at once. Return to the speed of the source. "You can use that eternity, if you so desire" -- so a sorcerer revealed the greatest secret. Spread the word.

[T]ime doesn't run out, people run out. Time comes from a long ways away and follows its path waaaay out there, where we can't even see. We are like little bits of time. That is, time can't walk without us. What we do is make time go forward, and when we are gone someone else comes and pushes time along a little more until it gets where it needs to go. But we aren't going to see where it goes, it will be others that see if it arrives alright or if all of a sudden it doesn't have the strength to go on and somebody has to come give it a push again, until it gets there for real.... we have to look far into the distance, further than either time or our gaze can reach.” (Subcomandante Marcos)

These actions are proposed for the short term – a time of struggle, for the medium term – a time of construction, and the long term – a time of utopia ... we will construct our own meanings together with all our peoples, in order to fight the alienation of the international capitalist development model and its side effects... It is true that this is a long term task, and precisely because it will take a long time, it is the first which must be initiated in the short term. ” (Combined Strategy and Plan of Action of the First Ecosocialist International)