Habits and idols

I wear clothing (a habit) to cover myself (from the cold, modesty, and everything else), but I have not often asked myself the meaning of this word: what does ‘habit’ mean? Putting aside scientific and literary meanings there remains the derivation from habitus, a simple Latin word that has nothing to do with clothing, rather it means aspect, attitude. In other words it has an active and a passive side. I give myself an aspect by wearing clothing, for others I assume an aspect which the clothing I am wearing is not extraneous to. In the things that we do we wear clothes that we feel are suitable, this garment yes, the other no.
Many have a profound meaning/philosophy composed of a series of subdistinctions, producing a state of mind that allows them to face the things they want to do in the best possible way and here clothing is a prosthesis that helps them and supports them in the daily weaknesses that are common to everybody. Taking things to the extreme, I think those capable of going to the corner shop in top hat and tails are few.
And idols, what are idols? They are objects or images to which one attributes divine powers and characteristics due to our need to admire something fabulous and out of the ordinary. It certainly doesn’t help us to have a correct image of the reality surrounding us and, in the end, derives from the Greek word eidolon meaning simulacre.
When I am not sure what to do, of how to face a problem, I contain myself, I wear a garment of prudence, of waiting. Then I appeal to my being a human being, that is, to belonging to a species that shares, more or less, certain fears and certain devices to face these fears. In this way I am in the hands of what I have experimented, read, studied and also understood. Usually very little. Then my habit changes, I put on a different garment, my fears surface, the personal fears, not those of my species but precisely the darkest and most intimate ones that I don’t confess even to myself, and that usually I drown in the idol that I accept because it is common to all the others. This second idol is that of cavern, that which stays closed up inside me, for which I carry out a ritual wearing the suitable habit (not necessarily pyjamas and slippers). But things can also get more complicated, I can be forced to assume an attitude for speaking to others, here a suitable garment is necessary. I thereby learn to become eloquent, capable of making an impression on the listener, while before my eyes yet another idol materialises, that of the fear of making a mistake in communication, in the use of words, in my very putting myself as an active figure in the forum, where the sharp eyes of everyone are capable of penetrating my habit (not necessarily the habit of the revolutionary here it is sufficient to cover my nudity). If fear is still spreading, I fall back on the habit of waiting, I decline the affabulators the contact with the idol of theatre, that which helps me to my quell my fears, telling fables and little tales more or less worthy of the name.
From this long metaphor one can draw an important reflection of the great symbolic work of Frances Bacon: I am pursued by fear, I cover myself and build idols of reference because I am anxious and trembling.The more I raise my voice and wear clothing suitable for battle, the more, nearly always, I am a cad. ‘The ringing of the great bell / made everybody jump out of bed, / some took up arms, and leapt down the stairs / some ran to the window, and some to the chamber-pot.’
The social reality that is facing us is quite well known, even if it is constantly necessary to keep it under analytical control. We study it, analyse and separate the individual contradictory components. It is a job that keeps us very busy.
At the same time, with the other eye, the intimate one, the third eye of Siva, we look at what is happening in the courtyard next door, how many chiocce there are … and in what way, if chickens have been born, if some are growing a crest a bit higher than usual, if some are starnazza and jumping out of the seminato (metaphorically by us preventively countersigned). This third eye, contrary to what is believed, is not the eye of wisdom nor even that of compassion, it is a squinting eye thirsty for blood, implacable, waiting to be covered by the ashes of the pyre where someone has been burnt. An enemy? I don’t know.
In any case, two or three eyes are not enough, it never ends, one doesn’t often pass from doing to acting, nearly always one remains in the chioccare of hens. But that’s not because of our fear, we have more or less exorcised that with recourse to one or other of the idols seen earlier, and then is not my clothing the ceremonial one—the funeral ceremony, of course? Instead it depends on the call to arms. Not that which once came with a government postcard, but the repressive initiatives of power.
I shall give three examples and won’t put them in ‘order of merit’: the struggle against high speed trains, the refuse emergency, conditions of prisoners in the ‘temporary permanence centres’. I am using terms that are not my own, but mutated from that which current opinion is supplying on the orders of power. However, I think we understand each other.
But I don’t wait, I fremo on my feet, like the old motorcycle riders did when they had to start the race on foot before jumping into in the saddle, not having the starter on board. Fremo and wait. Me I’m a racehorse. Anzi, to be more sure of not losing even one colpo, I metto d’accordo so that who has a finer ear on any repressive problem posed on the carpet by the State mi avverta, permitting the automatic scatto of the garretti.
But I, anarchist, have a winning card on my side. I have my habit, my aspect (that of the revolutionary, to be precise), and I also have my ‘idola fori’, my idols that allow me to communicate my project to others, opportunely closed in my sacred cards and experimented in an ineccepibile manner for a long time.
If there are the masses, I, anarchist, know that in the face of the specific problem that is oppressing them and making them suffer they will unmistakeably move in the way I have found described in my project. It can’t be otherwise, inside me are the ‘idola specus’, the idols of the cave, that are inside me alone, that guarantee me this intimate relationship, as inevitabley as a hangover after a drinking session.
Ebbene, and if there are no masses? If they are late in coming? If they have enrolled, precisely en masse, in the promising lines of the wicked dwarf [or the BNP]?
I think that in that case neither does the project necessarily become inconsistent and therefore inapplicable, nor is my action blocked once and for all.
We want to try talking about it? Let’s close the bloodthirsty eye of Siva, even just for a moment.