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The Revolution of Everyday Life:
The Reversal of Perspective

by Raoul Vaneigem

Chapter 24 "The Interworld And The New Innocence"


On the fringes of uneasy subjectivity the canker of power eats away. There thrives undying hate, the demons of revenge, the tyranny of envy, the rancour of frustrated desire. It may be a marginal infection, but it threatens every side; an interworld.

The interworld is the no-man's land of subjectivity. Its borders tremble with the fundamental cruelty of cop and rebel, oppression and the poetry of revolt. Halfway between its recuperation by the spectacle and its revolutionary use, the dreamer's extra-space-time spawns monstrous creations after the image of his own desires and that of power. The increasing poverty of daily life has turned into a sort of public amenity suitable for every kind of investigation, an open battlefield between creative spontaneity and what corrupts it. As a faithful explorer of the mind, Artaud sums up perfectly this evenly-matched struggle: "My unconscious is only mine in dreams, but are the forms I see there going to come to birth or are they some foul abortion I've spewed up? The subconscious is shaped by the premises of my interior will, but I'm not really sure who reigns there; I don't believe it's me, but rather a flood of conflicting desires which, I don't know why, think in me and do nothing but struggle endlessly for total possession over me. But I re-encounter every one of these perverse desires, whose temptations treat me with such temerity, in the preconscious - only this time all my conscious wits are about me, and although the perverse desires break in waves over me, the important thing is that I feel myself there... I feel therefore that if I travelled upstream, I ought to emerge in my preconscious at the point where I could see myself evolve and desire." Further on, Artaud says: "Peyote led me there."

The adventures of the hermit of Rodez sound off a warning. His break with the Surrealist movement is a turning point. He charged them with getting caught up in Bolshevism; with serving a revolution - which be it mentioned in passing, drags Kronstadt's corpses along with it - instead of making the revolution serve them. Artaud was absolutely right to blame the helplessness of the movement on its failure to base its revolutionary coherence on its richest truth - subjectivity before everything. But no sooner had he broken with Surrealism than he veered off into solipsistic madness and magic. He was no longer interested in realising his subjective desire by transforming the world. Instead of externalising what lies inside, he did the opposite, and made it holy, finding in the solid world of analogies the eternal primal myth, to which revelation only the roads of impotence lead. Those who are reluctant to cast out the flames that devour them are just asking to get burnt, consumed, according to the laws of the consumable, in the Nessus' shirt of ideology - be it of drugs, art, psychoanalysis, theosophy or revolution, it never ever changes history.


The bloody dawn of riots doesn't dissolve the monstrous creatures of the night. It clothes them in light and fire, and scatters them through towns and across the countryside. The new innocence is baleful dreams come true. Subjectivity only constructs itself by destroying what hampers it, and the violence necessary to this end is drawn from the interworld. The new innocence is the lucid construction of annihilation.

The most peaceful of men are full of bloody dreams. We know the price of treating solicitously those whom we can't strike down now, using kindness when we can't use force. I owe a great weight of hatred to those who've failed to break me. How can we liquidate hate without liquidating its causes? In the barbarity of riots, the arson, the popular savagery, the excesses that terrify bourgeois historians, we find exactly the right vaccine against the cold atrocity of the forces of order and hierarchical oppression.

In the new innocence, the interworld suddenly erupts and submerges oppressive structures. The game of nothing-but violence is engulfed by the everything-and violence of the revolutionary game.

The shock of freedom works miracles. Nothing can resist it, neither mental illness, remorse, guilt, the feeling of powerlessness, nor the brutalisation created by the environment of power. When a waterpipe burst in Pavlov's laboratory, not one of the dogs that survived the flood retained the slightest trace of his long conditioning. Could the tidal wave of great social upheavals have less effect on men than a burst waterpipe on dogs?, Reich recommends explosions of anger for emotionally blocked and muscularly armoured neurotics. This type of neurosis seems particularly prevalent today: it's survival sickness. The most coherent explosion of anger has a great chance of being a general uprising.

Three thousand years of living in the shadows can't withstand ten days of revolutionary violence. The reconstruction of society will simultaneously reconstruct everyone's unconscious.


The revolution of everyday life will blot out ideas of justice, punishment and torture, which are notions dependent on exchange and fragmentation. We don't want to be judges, but, by destroying slavery, masters without slaves recovering a new innocence and gracefulness in living. We have to destroy the enemy, not judge him. Whenever Durruti's column freed a village, they would assemble the peasants, ask which were the Fascists and shoot them on the spot. The next revolution will do the same. With perfect composure. We know there'll be no-one to judge us, nor will there ever be judges again, because we will have gobbled them up.

The new innocence entails destroying an order of things that has always tried to pin down the art of living and which today is threatening what remains of authentically lived experience. I don't need reasons to defend my freedom.

But at every moment power is legally defending me, (as I am legally defending myself against it!) In this brief exchange between the anarchist Duval and the policeman sent to arrest him, the new innocence can recognise its spontaneous jurisprudence:"Duval, I arrest you in the name of the law.""And I suppress you in the name of freedom."

Things don't bleed. Those heavy with the dead weight of things will die the death of things. Victor Serge recounts that during the sack of Razoumovskoe the revolutionaries smashed some porcelain; and when they were criticised for having done so, they replied: "We'll smash all the porcelain in the world to transform life. You love things too much and people too little... You love men too much the way you love things, and man you don't love enough." What we don't need to destroy is worth saving: that's the most succinct version of our future penal code.


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