“There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.” – Thomas Jefferson
We live in a world that runs on a war based economy. Wars create jobs. When we have peace people find jobs scarce.
I first discovered this several years ago when a man at one of my screenings of Leni Riefenstahl’s film, Triumph of the Will, after hearing me speak, gave me a copy of Jerry Mander’s book, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television.
It is a fascinating book. I recommend it to you. As a result of reading it I eliminated television from my life. You may, too.
The thing that really galvanized me was when I read: “In retrospect we can see what should have been obvious all along. The Great Depression of the 1930s never ended. It went underground, covered over by a war which created jobs and expanded industrial capacity, and then, when the war was over, by an advertising fantasy, a pipe dream sold to us with a purpose.”
My father was living with me at the time.
“The Great Depression never ended,” I told him.
“You finally figured that out,” he said with a smile.
Actually, I knew it all along without knowing it.
“Peace. Peace,” said people joyfully when the Cold War finally ended.
“You will be singing a different tune in six months,” I said to everyone who was so cheerful then.
And, of course, in six months when one war based industry after another began shutting down or trimming back and unemployment began to rise people began to sing a different tune.
911 was what the economy needed.
For the first time in history a major attack on a nation led not to cries of, “We want revenge,” but to the President of that country going on national television to tell his people to, “Spend! Spend! Spend!”
The Invisible War On Terror is the perfect answer to the world’s dilemma as it will never end. We do not want to capture Osama Bin Laden and the key people behind this because when we do the economy will shudder to a standstill.
What brought about the great party of The Roaring Twenties but the false economy created by World War One?
It is time for a new revolution.
We do not need a revolution against the government.
To get power men and women promise much but time and again once they have gotten power those same men and women who promised to change everything become themselves the biggest obstacle to change.
As of December 31, 2010, the “total American public debt outstanding” was $14.03 trillion.
To whom is most of that money owed?
It is owed to a nation that not too long ago was viewed as America’s mortal enemy, Communist China.
As a result the American people as a nation have been sold into slavery.
I refuse to see any person as my enemy.
From time to time people rise up who decide, for one reason or another, to wage war with me.
I am like Russia. I let them have Moscow for the winter, while time and the weather fight for me.
In 1980 I brought five times Academy Award winning animation director Friz Freleng, creator of The Pink Panther and one of the five great Warner Brothers’ cartoon directors, to Toronto.
I did not do this to make money. I have found people with money boring. Their wealth keeps them from having interesting lives. While others suck up to them hoping for the crumbs that will fall from their table I shun them.
The least interesting thing about a person is their mommy or daddy’s money.
I brought Mr. Freleng up here so he could share with young animation artists the fruits of his career. I made the event pay what you can so that everyone could afford to come. The poor, of course, gave much and felt they had not given enough while the rich, of course, gave little (as they always do) and bristled when they were asked if they could dig a little deeper.
One animation artist had slandered me high and low.
Mr. Freleng had been asked by Warner Brothers to create new work. I knew he needed talented people. This fellow is very talented. I showed Mr. Freleng samples of his work. “How do I meet him?” he asked.
“How could you do this for me after what I have done to you?” said the fellow after I introduced him to Mr. Freleng.
How could I not?
A fellow who, like myself, had been wounded mortally by a person who hurt more people during her life than any other human being I ever met asked me, “What do you think is the best revenge?”
“To have former friends friends again,” I replied.
“You never quit, do you!” he said enraged.
To do anything less is to surrender myself to being mean spirited.
In Toronto we have a new mayor whom many people in my part of this city are not happy with.
The problem is that a whole lot of people in the rest of the city overwhelmingly voted for the guy.
I voted for him.
His name is Robert Ford.
When he entered the election my gut told me it was his to lose.
This is a man with a BIG gut, by the way. He is a bear of a fellow.
One thing he did reminded me of Jane Jacobs.
If someone called him he answered their call.
It did not matter whether that person was from his ward or not, he took the call.
THOSE WHO TAKE THE MEAT FROM THE TABLE
Those for whom the contribution is destined
Those who eat their fill speak to the hungry
Of wonderful times to come.
Those who lead the country into the abyss
Call ruling too difficult
For ordinary men.
The atheist says I do not believe in God.
But how can we not believe in the sermon on the mount?
What kind of person can turn their back on the ideas expressed there?
“It is not enough to do good to those who love you,” teaches Jesus, “Do good to those who hate you as well.”
What kind of shriveled excuse for a human being can choose not to do that; not to love those that hate us? Our love is the only thing that frees us from their hate.
People forget that what we call education is really a business which, like all businesses is trying to sell us something we do not need under the pretense that getting what they offer will make our life better.
No, of course, not.
For if the promise is kept we will stop buying.
Many people have said I am crazy.
Why do they say that?
Because I am not like them.
Folks who call themselves religious fall back on THE BIBLE.
“But THE BIBLE says,” they say.
My answer is where?
Where does the THE BIBLE say anything?
It tells us a great deal but it actually says nothing.
It can’t. It is a dead thing.
I saw some Bible thumpers one hot summer day dressed in jet black suits wearing white shirts and ties that could not but choke them on the corners of Dundas and Yonge. I went up to the head dude. “The word of God. Where is it found?” I asked.
“In THE BIBLE!” he thumped.
“Not true,” I replied, adding, “Moses, Deuteronomy 30: 10—14, ‘If you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.’” (New International Version, ©2011).
“Not true,” he roared waving his BIBLE at me.
“Guy,” I said, “It is in THE BOOK.”
Organized religion is a business offering us something we do not need, never needed in fact, under the pretense it will help us.
The atheist in rejecting God and listening to his inner voice is closer to God than the so-called believer who turns his heart from that living word to become a slave to dead words written on paper.
And what is the command and decree of God?
It is that we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, visit those sick and in prison and treat the stranger as our long lost brother or sister.
What kind of shriveled excuse for a human being can turn their back on that?
Well, the truth is it seems that most of what we call humanity comes from that shriveled stock.
We can hardly call humanity humane.
There is a story of a very respected Buddhist master who passed through a town.
“Stay in my house,” said the town’s richest man.
The rich man’s daughter became pregnant.
“Who fathered this child?” asked her father.
“That priest raped me,” said the girl.
“You had your fun. Now pay the price!” said the father to the Buddhist master.
Two years passed. The Master, a prisoner of the rich man, raised the child as his own.
The daughter finally told her father the truth.
A handsome boy working in her father’s fields had planted his seed in her.
“Why did you not tell me you were not the father,” said the rich man to the Master who replied, “Would you have believed me?”
Last year, just before Christmas, an anonymous person shot an arrow from his hiding place at my heart.
It was a slow arrow.
It did not find its target until almost four months later in March.
“You are running a business from your home. You can not do that. It is against the law,” I was told.
“I am not. No business person would do what I do,” I replied.
In The Way of the Tao Lao Tse, old when Confucius was young, writes:
“When a Sage Of The Highest Order hears about the way he is keen to act in accordance with it. When a sage of the middle order hears about the way he half believes, half doubts. When a sage of the lowest order hears about the way he laughs loudly and says, ‘This is shit.’ If he does not laugh loudly and say, ‘This is shit!’ it is not yet the true way.”
What do I do?
Well, it started by accident, but as I learned long ago, there are no accidents.
I was running a program up the street in a bar close to where I live.
A conflict with the management led me to terminate the program. Since the bar is so close I put up a sign telling those who came out to come down the street to my home.
“We like this,” they said.
“Good. This is where it will be,” I replied.
And this is where it has been since around 1990.
But why were these laws against working out of our home put into effect in the first place?
They were done to keep the poor poor.
The rich folks sat on their verandas judging the world as they always do: harshly.
They saw folks going to the widow’s house to get their washing done.
“We can’t have that in our neighborhood,” they sniffed.
So laws were passed so that the widow could no longer provide for her family. In those days there really was not much a widow could do. If she sold her body she could make a lot of money. If she worked with her hands, menial work, she could make a little. But then, when she chose to make a little her “good” neighbors grew outraged.
Then they created the public purse: welfare.
The widow stopped being self reliant. She became a beggar.
We are suckers for the ideal.
I saw a smart beggar yesterday at Yonge and Bloor. He had a big box of Resse’s Cups (chocolate cups filled with peanut butter) and what looked like an official tag hanging from his neck. “Chocolate for a donation. Every little bit helps,” he said to passers by who gladly gave him because he looked right what he asked for. Look for him at the beginning of the video above.
He has learned how to lie.
I know he was lying because I had my camera with me. I was filming the area.
“Why are you filming me? Don’t do that?” he said.
Only the guilty do not want the truth recorded.
The guilty come to our door in many forms but always wearing the same mask.
“It is to help the poor,” they say.
You want to help the poor than get rid of the laws that lock them in cages.
How can a rich man go to church/synagogue/temple and expect God/Allah/The Buddha/what have you to seriously give a shit about him when he charged the hungry man who took an apple from his cart with being a thief?
Don’t make me laugh.
Take your phony piety and shove it up where the sun don’t shine.
During the twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties and into the nineties the educated rich turned to socialism/communism because that system more skillfully than all others pretended to help the poor.
The great African American singer Paul Robeson was sent to prison in an America that saw communism as the mortal enemy.
Finally, after years in jail, Robeson was released.
He went to the land of his dreams, Russia, to sing.
There he met before his concert what few of his friends were left alive by a system that demanded the ultimate in standardization.
He never gave that concert.
They found him in the bath room lying on the floor in a pool of blood after having cut his throat.
Our dreams seem so fine but in truth once realized they turn into Fascist nightmares.
“I love you,” said a person who came into my life last year, adding, “I want to live with you. I want to learn from you.”
So I invited him in.
I gave him a camera.
“Make films,” I said.
“I do not know how,” he replied.
“Learn by doing. Point and shoot,” I said.
I showed him everything he asked to see.
He made a damn fine film. I am so very proud of him.
Had he gone to university he would have spent thousands for one year at the end of which he would have made one three minute movie no one would ever see.
Here he made a superb twenty minute film in the space of less than a month.
Then one day he said, “I do not love you.”
“Then you have to leave,” I replied.
We use the words “I love you” so lightly never thinking what they actually mean.
How can one person stop loving another?
Only one who never loved in the first place.
For love means never giving up.
I had a beautiful dog I raised from birth.
One day I came home to find vomit everywhere.
The vet was away when I took him there. The staff, thinking he might have distemper, reluctantly took him in.
Two weeks passed before the vet returned.
During that time my dog neither ate nor drink as he could not swallow.
He looked awful when I saw him.
The doctor ran tests. It turned out my dog’s esophagus had gone lax.
“There is no cure. You had best put him down. If you want a second opinion you could take him to the Veterinary College in Guelph,” he said.
Two more weeks passed.
I returned to Guelph.
Reefer, that was his name, looked like death on four legs.
“No dog in this country has survived with what he has,” I was told.
“What about outside this country?”
“Two in America did.”
“If two in America did one in Canada will,” I replied.
One in Canada did.
But then, during a time of tribulation, I left him in the care of a friend who thought he was sick and had him put to death.
I learned never to give to another to care for any one or any thing I love.
I learned that the only way we ever learn: the hard way.
Whenever I have a question with an answer hard to understand I ask myself, “If this is true how is it that it is true.”
Then, while I am walking around the city putting up flyers for my programs my self speaks to my self.
I asked my self, “If Jesus came back to life after dying on the cross how is this true?”
My self told my self how this is true and why.
There are no enemies.
Those who see Robert Ford, our new mayor, as an enemy are, in the words of Brecht, themselves the enemy.
Those who see those who oppose many of Ford’s ideas, like my councilor Adam Vaughan, as the enemy are themselves the enemy.
This idea of the enemy is an old idea whose time is done.
Let those who continue to hold it hold it, for the weight of it will bring them down.
Meanwhile the millions of children in this world who live lives crippled by war continue to grow up with artificial legs, arms, hands, faces and bodies which most of us turn our eyes away from.
So what is the answer?
This is the answer.
Stop looking for a job. Stop looking for work.
“I came not to bring peace, but a sword!” said the great humanitarian. That is not the utterance of a militarist, nor is it the utterance of a pacifist: it is the utterance of one of the greatest artists that ever lived. If his words mean anything they mean that the struggle for life, for more life, must be carried on day by day. It means that life itself is struggle, perpetual struggle. This sounds almost banal, and in fact it has become banal, thanks to the frog-like perspective of Darwin and such like. Banal because our struggle has become banal, because our struggle is for food and shelter—not even that, by God, but for work. Men are struggling for the right to work! It sounds almost incredible but that is precisely what it amounts to, die great goal of the civilized man. What an heroic struggle! Well, for my part, I will say that whatever else I may want, I know I don’t want work.
“To live as an artist I stopped work some ten or twelve years ago. I made it extremely uncomfortable for myself. I cannot even say that it was a matter of choice, my decision. I had to do it, or die of boredom. Naturally I was not paid to stop work and live as an artist. The time came quickly enough when I had to beg for a crust of bread. They said strange things to me, those whom I asked for food or shelter. Brother, said one man, why didn’t you save your money for a rainy day? Said another: brother, open your heart to God that you may be saved. And another: join the union and we will find you a job so that you may eat and have a place to sleep. None of them gave me money, which is all I had asked for. I realized that I was ostracized and I understood quickly enough that this was just, because if one chooses to live his own life in his own way he must pay the penalty.
The last thing we need is work. “Why do we not rid ourselves of tuberculosis, syphilis, cancer, etc., when we know so well how to combat them? Why do we not prevent instead of cure? Because cancer, syphilis, tuberculosis, neurosis, are as definite and fixed a part of our life as the machine, the aeroplane, the skyscraper, etc. This is the psychic and substantial configuration that we want. The moment we want another one we shall have it—just by wanting/ And the aim of the artist, as I see it, is to make people want another, a different picture. The sane, the wise, the adjusted souls are always ready to reply—But this is the way life is … you can’t alter it . . . you’re mad! And the artist always answers: ‘You are right. I want only the impossible, only the marvelous. To-morrow you will see that what I proclaimed was not impossible. But then it will be too late, for to-morrow we will see again with different eyes and again you will cry Impossible! You live to-morrow and yesterday; I live only today. Therefore, I live eternally. I am timeless. And since this is obviously untrue, you are right and I continue to be wrong. It is out of my wrongness that your right is created. To be right is to be either late or ahead of time. The only span between us is time!’
“Art, as I see it, is the expression of this chasm, this desynchronization: it is the projection of the universal picture of individuation. Man against the universe. Against, please notice. The work of art, the poem, is the symbol of his latitude and longitude, of his temporal position in time and space.”–Henry Miller, AN OPEN LETTER TO SURREALISTS EVERYWHERE.
“But we need our government to take care of us,” cry the sleepers.
“I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labor and in our amusements. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.”-Thomas Jefferson
Under the pretense of caring for them the American government has sold its people into slavery for generations to come.
We live in a world that chooses not to believe in the living but the dead. A man must die before people will believe him.
I am not calling anyone to believe in me. Nor am I calling people to believe in God or Jesus or Buddha or Karl Marx.
I am calling you to believe in something much harder than all of these and that is your self.
What of my friend who told me when we first met, “I love you,” and when we last communicated, “I hate you.”
I accept his hatred. Hatred is just love at its fiercest.
He learned so much in the brief time he was here he had to get as far away from here as possible to make it his own.
That is why Hell exists.
Only in the farthest place from God can the seed of God that is planted in us find room to grow.
“Pear seeds grow pear trees. Hazel seeds grow hazel trees. We have the seed of God in us. God seeds grow gods.”—Meister Eckhart.
That is why this generation is moving as far away as possible from God.
We need room to grow,
Editor’s note: We’ve known Reg Hartt since 1970, and he’s never been one to have trouble expressing his beliefs. In Toronto, his city of residence, he’s been screening and lecturing on movies since the 1960s, although in the last several months the city government has been trying to shut him down. For more on Mr. Hartt, we encourage you to visit his web site at http://reghartt.ca/. We also encourage you to visit his YouTube video site at http://www.youtube.com/user/reghartt.
- “The man who speaks of the enemy is the enemy himself.”—Bertholt Brecht. - January 29, 2011