Not only is the spirit of our age changing, growing more optimistic. Our
ideologies and action programs are also evolving, becoming more global, more
cosmic. Social, economic, and political systems of the past are increasingly
obsolete. They are less and less relevant to new conditions rapidly brought on
by the loosening of authoritarianism at all levels of all societies, the death
of god, the increasing strength and fluidity of the ego, the humanization and
convergence of mankind, modern contraception, common markets, international
economics, international politics, communication satellites, nuclear energy,
electronics, lasers, space travel, biologic control of life ...
Never before has our condition undergone as basic and total a restructuring
as it is today, and therefore never have our social institutions and ideologies been as deeply challenged and rendered irrelevant. This applies even to the most radical ideologies.
We still consider radical or revolutionary any movement seeking to overthrow the social, economic, or political status quo. We fail to see that today a far more transcendent and cosmic revolution is going on all around us challenging far more basic status quos.
This is so obvious that most people still do not grasp it, preferring instead to go on with all that is familiar. Even radicalism must remain familiar. Even the radical has difficulty accepting the new radicalisms. This is also why many people will react resentfully - yes, resentfully -
when one day soon they wil be told that they can enjoy eternal life.
People can cope with the old "radicalism" that seeks to overthrow a government, a religious establishment, or an economic system. This is familar radicalism. It can be coped with. But this new radicalism of our age that is altering our very situation in Time and Space - this is too emotionally threatening, too monumental to cope with. It is a revolution in an entirely
New Order of Things, introducing a new set of cosmic premises. It demands a total psychological and social reorientation.
In the light of our revolutionary situation in Time-Space all the radicalisms of the past are now conservative. So too are democracy, socialism, liberalism, New Left. They too were progressive movements in an Old Order of Things. What do quibblings between nations, races, ideologies now mean? They are irrelevant, insignificant.
In the light of our cosmic and biologic revolutions all violent uprisings are also now child's play. Those who still resort to violence for whatever cause are no longer revolutionary. They are romantics, their methods archaic, their contributions negligible.
There was a time when the revolutionary gave his life to undo wrongs or generate changes. In those slow-moving times this supreme sacrifice was often the most effective way of making a dent in the granitelike status quo. Moreover the militant who was prepared to risk his life for a cause was often sure of a life after death. The leader said, "Give your life for our cause and you will go to heaven. The gods will reward you."
What can the leader today promise? Give your life for what? To overthrow tyranny? To undo oppression and injustice? Is there a tyranny or an injustice greater than death? Death itself is the end of freedom, the end of progress. Today more than ever before, life - life itself - has become too valuable, too full of promise and potential to squander for any cause. "Give me liberty or give me death." Two hundred years ago this may have had some logic; today it is a sure sign of stupidity. If the leaders want to "fight the enemy to the last drop of blood", let
them do it. Don't drag in the blood of others. "Hell No, We Won't Go", is the rallying cry of today's revolutionary. He is too aware of the fantastic potentials of life - this life here and now - to want to die on some stinking battlefield of causes.
The real revolutionary of today fights a different battle. He wants to be alive in the year 2050 and in the year 20,000 and the year 2,000,000. Is there anything more radical than this determination? Intellectuals who still romanticize guerrillas and violent revolutions are
themselves far from the scene of violence. Militance may impress a girl friend, but it is no longer revolutionary.
Who are the new revolutionaries of our times? They are the geneticists, bilogists, physicists, cryonologists, biotechnologists, nuclear scientists, cosmologists, astrophysicists, radio astronomers, cosmonauts, social scientists, youth corps volunteers, internationalists, humanists, science-fiction writers, normative thinkers, inventors ...
They and others are revolutionizing the human condition in a fundamental way. Their achievements and goals go far beyond the most radical ideologies of the Old Order.
A totally new set of premises and goals are now emerging:
* We are no longer content with simply building shelters for the homeless, better houses, towns, and cities. We are on the way to eliminating the very concept of fixed shelters, homes, towns. We do not want to remain rooted or spacebound but space-free.
* We can no longer settle for better family life, more compatible marriages, more enlightened parent-child relations. We are on our way to dispensing with the very institution of family. We will settle for nothing less than the total elimination of neuroses, insecurities, and competitiveness which such inherently exclusivist systems such as family, clan, group, nation invariably engender.
* We are no longer content to simply refine the capitalist and socialist sytems. We recognize existing trends towards increasing automation, cashless economies, international economics, etc. But we will not settle for anything short of the complete elimination of money and labor.
* We are no longer content to simply strive for increasing democracy or government by the proletariat. All this is now too modest. We want instant universal participation that will do away with the very institution of government.
* We can never again be even content with civil rights, human rights, the right to self-determination. These rights by themselves are also no longer enough. We now want cosmic rights. We want the freedom to roam the universe. We want nothing less than the right to determine our own evolution. We want the right to live forever - to succeed with our revolution against death itself. So long as we have not overthrown the tyranny of death, all mankind belongs to the Third World, all mankind is proletarian.
As revolutionaries in a rapidly expanding world we concede nothing, accept
no despair, believe in no ultimate mysteries, abide by no absolute truths,
adhere to no eternal values, to no ultimate goals, consider no human problems
irreversible, nothing unattainable - not even dimensions beyond Time and
extracted from Toward New Ideologies
the final chapter of F.M. Esfandiary's Optimism One (1970)
paintings of Friedensreich Hundertwasser.