No mere slogan, that. Physical fact, biological fact, even though our cultural default setting has it the opposite: the lie that life is the war of all against all. How did that lie get started? As usual, as a truth that outlived its use. Somewhere back in our collective history it became a better bet to ignore the fact of our interdependence (and not just between humans, but between all of nature, too) and concentrate on the individual units and how they’re different from each other. And somewhere back there we got the idea (which probably saved us from being eaten by wolves or something), that to compete as separate units, somebody rising at someone else’s fall, was a good way to keep the system moving forward. Maybe that was a good idea for a few thousand years or so.
Maybe it’s not such a good idea now.
How many of us think that’s a good idea now? I mean, given the cliff we look to be moving toward?
And yet, it stays as our default setting. Someone’s got to be on top, someone’s got to be on the bottom. Survival of the fittest. Those who have deserve more than those who don’t. Unrestrained competition leads to healthy growth (hah!). Self interest is the only true motivator.
All just one way of looking at things: mutable, fallible, and, more important, as a way to organize our mutual lives, just not working anymore.
How often do we have to repeat our mistakes before we learn from them? Or are we just waiting for Nature to rearrange our stories by force?
Here’s another way to look at things, another story to tell about ourselves:
Everyone has a stake in making a better world. All different kinds of humans and human thoughts/feelings are needed to make that world, not just a small slice of human possibility. Everyone deserves to make a living, nobody deserves to make a killing. Healthy competition is situational and leads to joy; unrestrained competition leads to cancerous growth. Self interest is too narrow a principle on which to build a world, unless there is an understanding that true self interest includes the interest of all.
That’s what this issue of EAP: The Magazine, is about. Playfully as always, because there is nothing more serious than a playful dance between new and old ideas. The Death of Dumnorix, a beautifully poignant poem by Charles Kraszewski, inspired the topic—you’ll see why if you spend a few moments alone with it. And there’s everything else, in a multicolored jumble of contributions, from a reverse repeat of one sex dominating the other, to the yearning of a woman to be free of being (literally) burned over and over, to the sadness of the repetition of being treated like an object…how being treated like an object makes a subject treat others as an object, and isn’t it about time that cycle was broken?
Welcome back to EAP: The Magazine. And while we’re at it, I just want to mention a perfect little book sent to me by a sometime EAP author, Ralph Dartford: Cigarettes, Beer and Love. A hand made volume of poems. This is a collaboration between various artists, and the book design, as well as the oddly compelling poetry it dances with, show they spring from the same ideas as EAP: A love of creativity for its own sake. A joy in making beautiful things and sharing them. A belief in new voices, talking—singing—on the margins of an increasingly monolithic monoculture. A trust that it’s from these voices that new ideas spring. A belief in Spring, in the possiblities of rebirth. It’s not an EAP book, and I (and EAP) had nothing to do with its making or its distribution, but I had to mention it here since…well, not only since we share the beliefs of the artists who made it, but because we’re all in this together. Look for it on Etsy; it’s a beautiful thing, in conception and execution, too.
And speaking of all being in it together, wholehearted thanks to everyone who has contributed to our Indiegogo campaign. It’s not hyperbole to say that we can’t do it without you. I hope the individual messages I’ve been sending to contributors convey that feeling enough. If you haven’t yet contributed, please do think about doing so, even with just $5. Especially with just $5. We feel the support behind every contribution, and it’s that support that is as necessary to survival as the actual cash.