How We Don’t Live Under Capitalism
As much as I decry life under Capitalism, we also don’t live under Capitalism. This contradiction is important to understand. Lived life is full of contradictions and to make sense of anything you have to understand this fact, and the relative nature of facts themselves. You have to hold more than two perspectives in your head at once. Seeing this, you can see an entire life outside of Capital. You just need to look around. Most of your life is lived outside of the ambit of Capitalism at all. As the Beatles said, the best things in life are free.
Take love, take sharing, take everything you’re taught in preschool and promptly made to forget as adults. Take hugs, take shared meals, take a sunset, take everything that makes life worth living. We live 90% of our lives outside of capitalism and outside of laws and only notice these things as they hold the power of death over us. Capitalism says you must starve if you disobey it and the law says you must be cuffed and caged. And so we think these things are experience. In fact they are just the thin black line drawn around a multi-colored experience. And experience which is vastly cooperative, mostly caring, mostly free.
I, for example, give you this writing free. It is carried on the platform Medium, which completely fails at being a profit-making venture. It is also distributed on my own blog (indi.ca), which is only as capitalists as a busker’s hat on the pavement. Everything you give to your children, to your partners, to your family, even to your co-workers; most of it is not measured out, is not calculated, is not calculating. As much as we can, we give out of kindness, we take out of generosity, we live entirely outside the ambit of invoices and litigation and the coercion of the state.
Again, because these forces get invoked when things go wrong, we think that they define the space of existence, but they are in fact just the border where experience gets brutally amputated and cut off. Capitalism and ‘rule of law’ are really just the definition that life gets by its relation to death. They are not how life is lived by the living at all.
By what contract do you raise your children? By which agreement do you divide sides of the bed? What money is exchanged for meals to a grieving neighbor, how much does God charge for the flight of birds across the sky. While there is certainly energy exchanged, while there are certainly expectations, none of these are captured in GDP or in the dismal incantations of economic priests. As Bobby Kennedy said before he got capped: