As “children”, we play, we explore, we imagine, we create, we have fun, we are taken to mystical lands and parallel universes; we construct the worlds we want to see in the moments we want to see them and we break the boundaries of the physical world, of norms, of rules, of laws, of governance and of hierarchy. Through the school, the television, “adults” around us, the media, work experience, and countless other institutions of authority we are taught the dogma of so called “adult hood”. We are constantly berated with questions like “when are you going to get real/get a job/grow up”; and have responsibilities, “not wasting our so called fucking potential”, and employment forced upon us.
As “adults”, we become mindless autobots: snippets of other peoples imaginations are forced down our throats though the form of television, film and music, our fun is commodified into package holidays, weekend festivals, and parties (small explosions of freedom that can be neatly slotted into our alloted holiday time), and we spend our days inputing endless streams of data, building lifeless office blocks, and buying and selling shit we don’t need from/to people we don’t like. Our lives as adults exist entirely in the physical, the so called real; even philosophy, science, and art are only of value when they become commodities, physical entities (capitalism cannot feed on imagination).
Growing up, is not about the process of aging, gaining life experience, learning, or wisdom (all of which are beautiful, meaningful, and worthwhile things); many twelve year olds are “adults” in the sense that I say it and some seventy year olds are “children”, growing up is the process of accepting the 9/5 work-life, the 2.5 kids and house in the suburbs, the death of the imagination, and the five year fucking life plan, as some kind of infallible religion. Growing up, is the process of learning deference to the Politician, the Police Officer, the Factory owner, of learning discipline to the Parent, the Teacher, the “God”, of learning slavery to the system; growing up is learning to be a worker and forgetting how to play.
As children we are not useful to the capitalist world around us, we would rather create share and love with our fellows than spend our times producing pointless crap like adverts and designing the latest Nike Air Max. As children we ask questions which threaten the hierarchies and systems that enslave us as. As children we endlessly ask why? Why do they go and kill people granny? Why do we have cars teacher? Why do we have to work mr/mrs/it? These questions, these questions that we forget through years of psywar(1), could be the beginnings of revolutionary and fundamental change in our somewhat floundering and generally totally fucked up society were they to be asked by “adults” in the same numbers as they were by “children”, but the sad truth is the the slow monotony of the production line has us sold (in more ways than one).
Yet, there is still hope, we can find inside ourselves inside all of us that free spiritedness that once we knew as a good friend. Every single one of us, when we climb a tree, write a song, make love, build something for our home, create something for us and our friends; is tapping into that “child”, is tapping into the world of play that can make us free. Play, one of the corner stones of childhood, is revolutionary in so far as “Play is Voluntary(2)”, it does not have set rules save for those designed by the players (in this sense it is about community self organization), it is creative and liberating allowing us to make and live the world we want to see. Play is not the antithesis of work, but rather what work should be; if we allowed ourselves to play and not to conform we could build fabulous houses for everyone, invent new medicines for our ill, and feel the cool wind on our faces once again instead of simply surviving through a constant chain of soulless interactions, money making schemes, and work houses.
Personally I don’t ever want to grow up, I want to be free to ask every why and when it is not answered or answered badly I want to ask and ask it again until with those around me the why becomes no longer a question of merit and a new one becomes our goal. I want to spend my days pretending to fly, and watching as whole universes open and close before my eyes, I want to make games of building houses and fun of clearing the waste; I want to create where adults have destroyed and I want to live a life free of the monotony of work under bosses and managers. I want to say fuck responsibility, responsibility is a word designed to make us individualists, to believe that we alone have things of importance to do and to subjugate us- usually work or children are considered the only meaningful responsibilities to have, lets care and work together so that all responsibility is shared until there is no such thing. I want to tear down the schools, and in there place let us all learn together, always; not just as people of young years but as people of all years horizontally, vertically and diagonally. I want to tear down the billboards selling us our own poor asses back to us, and in their place lets plant trees and in there branches build tree houses and on the walls of those tree houses let us paint beautiful pictures. I want to create music all around us every day, not listen to some recorded sound mass produced to make money for some spineless record company. I want to run away to a never land and never come back; because never land does not have to be some world far far away and not in this “reality”, it can be here, and now, and forever, so long as we believe it, so long as we create it.
Please, lets you and I not grow up together.
*Panarchy: A ridiculous invented word, splicing pan (as in peter pan the popular “boy who never grew up”) with the word anarchy.
- psywar or psychological warfare is the concept that as well as physical wars e.g. killing foreign soldiers, there are frequent attacks through media etc to change or attack the ways we think. For suggested examples of psywar see http://www.psywar.org/
- Bob Black- The abolition of Work