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Desert Solitaire
by Edward Abbey

Days of War, Nights of Love: CrimethInc. for Beginners

CrimethInc.

My review of Evasion was less than glowing.  It just seemed like the work of a pissed-off kid with lousy social skills.  So I didn’t expect anything too amazing from Days of War, Nights of Love, also from the CrimethInc. syndicate.

And so I was very pleasantly surprised.  Days of War is intelligent, thoughtful, playful, provocative, and dangerous.  It doesn’t preach, it doesn’t condescend, it just points the way to another world, one where corporations don’t serve the role of being moral law-givers, and where individuals don’t compartmentalize themselves away from the feelings and social structures that allow us to be human.

There’s a lot going on in Days of War, but the basic premise is this: What would you most like to be doing in all the world?  Think on it, fix it in your mind.  Now, ask: why aren’t you doing that thing right now?  Is it because of your job?  The expectations of your family?  Your religion?  Your sense of social propriety?  Your credit card debt?  Your fear that if you finally, finally gave yourself the chance to be what you want, that you’ll fail at it, and there will be nobody there to catch you?  And so rather than risk disappointment or failure, we decide instead not to try.  If we don’t try, we can’t fail.  Instead we try to live risk-free lives, which equate to excitement-free lives.  We get bored, we get fat.  We buy things to mitigate the boredom, we buy doctors and health clubs to ward off the fat.  And we forget how to ask:

What is my true desire?

Will your bank visit you in the hospital when you’re old?  Will your boss help you plant your garden?  Will your credit card company stay in bed and make love to you late on Sunday morning?

If not, then why are we giving our time, our very lives, away to those entities?  Why do we accept in return petty scraps of paid holidays, two weeks vacation a year, social networking web sites that we can use on our lunchbreak to keep track of our hundreds of virtual “friends” who are also on their lunchbreaks?

Days of War is radical not so much in its politics as in its aesthetics.  It resonates with a youthful manifesto that I wrote for myself when I was twenty years old, in which I made a vow that my living would be my art.  My own art is not yet perfect, but a performance piece in progress, a continual unlearning, and that’s okay, necessary even.  Like everyone else, I need people to remind me not to forget to ask:

What is your true desire?

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