spills over from
Individuals can woo individuals, form teams of two. Teamwork can multiply efficiency, bring added dimensions of possibility.
Individuals can cooperate with the teammate. Individuals can betray: defect.
An individual cannot betray himself: except insofar as any individual is already himself a complex society.
Groups can form teams that can in any given short-term, outperform any team which is a mere partnership of two. An individual can murder an individual; but what individual can commit … say … a genocide? …
I remember visiting my childhood friend while he and his father watched pro wrestling on TV. I remember standing jaw agape when introduced to show biz tag team wrestling. However many rules an individual wrestler violated — violating rules (and the total ineffectiveness of the referee) seemed to be a principle raison d’etre of exhibition wrestling — a team of villain wrestlers violated vastly more rules — it seemed exponential — than a mere individual villain could violate. The villain wrestler in the ring would maneuver the hero wrestler near the ropes where his theoretically inactive partner could choke him, hit him with a chair, throw sand in his eyes …
As I grew up I watched individuals in team society invent ever more destructive cooperations.
Any partnership can tag team any individual.
For example, in the 1920’s English Music Hall phenomenon Charlie Chaplin was recruited by Hollywood. The public adored him (as I still do). The world had never seen anything like it. WWI had left the old world in pieces but a new world, more coordinated than ever before was emerging. Movie houses were springing up all over the world. And millions of people in thousands of cities and towns in dozens and dozens of cultures could see the little tramp and his acrobatic slapstick. Chaplin was adored, worshipped.
The world formed new alliances, practiced new defections, betrayals. Chaplin had made us aware of our heart, our sympathies, our compassion … It was time overdue to assassinate his character. Communism was the blunt weapon of choice for that period.
Here’s one way in which Chaplin was tag-teamed by the newspapers: large team hyenas savaging the marriage of two mere individuals.
ReporterA from PaperA isolates Chaplin team memberB: Mrs. Chaplin. ReporterA manufactures any lie and confides it to Mrs. Chaplin. Charlie Chaplin says you’re fucking around.
Mrs. Chaplin responds, says, Oh yeah? Well, he’s a liar!
ReporterA runs up to Chaplin: Hey, Charlie. Your wife says you’re a liar!
Chaplin responds, She did? Why, that bitch!
PaperA’s next headline:
Chaplin calls wife a bitch.
ReporterB of PaperA brings the headline to Mrs. Chaplin, observes her reaction … squeezes another headline from it. … Hello, Divorce. Once the public, through its newspapers, has called the hero who embarrasses them a Communist, why should he be allowed to live in peace?
Couldn’t … shouldn’t ahem, civilized people find better ways to cooperate than Hitler – Mussolini – Hirohito or Churchill – Stalin – Roosevelt? Or Hearst Syndicate vs. Chaplin?
Live in Peace
I tell you though: Chaplin made a good living in the English music hall theaters. Then he made a record-setting living in Hollywood. Then he got sabotaged; but he still lived well: castles in Switzerland. Getting called a Communist cost him but didn’t kill him.
I got called a Communist in 1968. Everyone on the campus saw that some students and faculty were standing in silent protest of American conduct in the war in Vietnam, everyone saw the reporter from the paper count thirty people as “eight” people, saw the paper call us “Communists”: when none of us had spoken a word! Being against state murder and being for Stalinist Marxism is not the same thing!
When the US jailed me in 2006, ’07 I was already broke. My Catherine died, her savings drained away: that’s when I told NYU my patience was up, gave them a deadline to understand one word I’d said to them from the 1960s through 2006: time’s running out!
Funny thing is: now the US does support me! I’m on SSI, a kind of welfare: and I get food stamps! Why couldn’t the state have simply let me both live (cheaply) and work (extravagantly) in the first place?
The state has no reason to fear thinkers: no one understands anything they say! They do no harm, they do no good. Much cheaper to feed and house me in this Sebring Gardens trailer park that to surround me with guards and junkies and muggers … Or: the school should have murdered me in the fourth grade, the second some teacher noticed a flicker of honesty, of intelligence, of independence, individuality. Instead they just isolated me, perverted what they plagiarized from me.
Killing young thinkers, creators, would be much more humane than a lifetime of isolation and torture.