(This is a translation of Södra Stockholms dödsbok, published by the mysterious and notorious Högdalen Business School. The original text can be found here.
Lorenzo Lamas, guest professor at Högdalen Business School, presented us with a broken text, the first part clear and concentrated, and in the second part a stiff genre-formalism sets in. The reason for this is probably that the author wanted to publish the text in some glossy business magazine. However, this forces me to modify the text, delete some repetetive and stereotypical parts, save the essentials, and so change a little bit of the meaning, or at least change the form in which this mix of theory, satire and lived literature is presented in.
South Stockholm’s Book Of Death can be read as a continuation of a theme common to christian, muslim and buddhist mysticism, that is killing your own self, your ego, “cutting the head of your personality”. When this mystic practice meets with the de-individualization of present day society, and is put in contact with the revolutionairy activity of the working classes, it’s fucking dynamite.)
South Stockholm’s Book Of Death
Death is nothing to play around with. You have to handle it carefully. Not like Antonin Artaud who one day in november 1947 declared war on his own organs. That is clearly taking things a bit far. But it can be good to kill yourself a little bit now and again.
Next to the suburb where I live there is an old grown-over landfill. I go here often, sometimes in the middle of the night, when I feel restless or unsatisfied in some way. I feel like that pretty often, so I consequently spend quite some time here. The top of the landfill is the highest point in Stockholm. I am sitting in an old car-seat right by the edge, looking down over the south of Stockholm. I go here when the world is turning to slowly, to fast, when you never call me, or when the five last missed numbers on my cell phone ends in zero zero(1). Most often when the world is going too slowly. I get stressed of not being stressed and I have to produce all the time to feel good. Do things, find new artificial needs, new kicks, new drugs and new people to fall in love with. I am completely empty and have to find things to fill up with all the time. Once upon a time this scared me. It felt “unnatural”. I was not “myself”. But now I have killed “myself”. Now I am my desires. No more and no less. Since I have realized that is has to be this way I feel so much better, in fact better than I have ever felt. I can die and be reborn all the time. I don’t have to be anything I don’t want to. Least of all I have to be normal. I can be whoever the fuck I want to. I can die and resurrect as Lorenzo Lamas, a b-actor with writer-ambitions and a strong homoerotic image. The only things I have to pay attention to are some basic needs like eating and sleeping.
It is exactly at this point you have to be careful. Not to go to extremes. I suspect that was exactly what the french playwright and actor Antonin Artaud did that day in november in Paris. Artaud however had an extra big reason to be mad at his own organs. When he was a kid he had a brain fever that never really let go. He had a headache his entire life. Besides that Artoud suffered from cancer and died a couple of months after his declaration of war.
But he was on the right track, despite the exaggeration. It is totally logical that Artaud who said that he was born of his own works, of his creativity and not by some mother, sooner or later have to deal with his own organs, his own body. With the illusion of “the human being”. We are what we do. Not what we are born to or what we are expected to do. There are no housewives who like to be housewives because of nature or men that are born to be car mechanics. That things end up that way anyway depends on the way that we are trained to believe it has to be that way. That we are tricked into believing that there is an original human being that is made in different ways from the beginning. That we during our entire life are divided into a bunch of categories. Man, woman, white, black, worker, young, old and so on. Most characteristics are forced upon us so that it will be easier to control and make money of this control. If women are to work for free in the homes it is of course good if they believe that this corresponds well with their inherent caracteristics. If society needs car mechanics it is convenient if some people think that they are genetically suited to be intrested in engines. If someone wants to sell popular culture it’s not a bad idea to invent the category “youth”. There are a lot of forces telling you that you are in a specific way. Ad agencies, school, Rigmor Robert(2), psychologists, christian democrats, big business. All of them are of course lying because of highly selfish reasons. For you to behave in a special way that they profit of. I could be a little bitter and claim that we work round the clock producing personalities that fit into the different categories. But I will save that for another time. Now you have been warned anyway.
Start from the other way instead. I am nothing(3), but can become more or less anything. Grab ahold of something and start producing yourself. A different human being, an activity or a thing. How does this thing work? What can I become with it? Be careful when it comes to things though. Most products are totally idiotic and the way we are meant to use them are even dumber. But everything can be used in a different way than it was originally designed to. Well, not really everything. Perhaps not shampoo against dandruff, but definitely popular culture, alco-soap(4), Internet, spray cans, pieces of cloth, sidewalks and cobble stones. And of course, all ways are good except the bad ones. And remember that things are useless in themselves. It is only when you use them that they fill some kind of function whatsoever. You have to give away, or perhaps even throw away all things you have not used the last month.
The only thing left is the same old problem. Society, also known as “The Empire” or “The Global Biocontrol Industry”, is thus designed that you have to work in order to get the things that you want. We are also divided into categories that make it easier for us to be controlled. But if can we kill ourselves perhaps we can also kill society. Let us all form a big death cult, where we once and for all can settle with all the ideas about ourselves. Kill categories like “human being”, “normal”, “man”, “woman”, “worker”, and all other stupid labels they opress us with. Kill the idea that we have to produce anything else than things that satisfy our desires. Society, as we know it, will fall the day when enough people feel that they don’t have time to work if they are going to be able to satisfy their desires in an effective and stimulating way. When we no longer allow those who make money on our work to define how we “are”. Then we all together are going to be forced to find a new way to organize existence. New ways of being. A new world where you work very little, but produce things all the time anyway. I imagine that society as a fat orgy in roman times, but with modern toys. Or perhaps not. That is something we have to reach a conclusion about together, and we’ll see where it all ends up. Until then you have to promise not to go to extremes, like Antonin Artaud. You are probably going to have to both eat and sleep. But don’t forget to kill yourself every now and again. That can be real fucking refreshing.
(1) Telephone numbers from swedish governmental and municipal institutions usually end with the numbers zero zero.
(2) Rigmor Robert is a swedish psychologist who is know for defending a “biologist” point of view in public debates.
(3) Or, like Olof Petterson says in Deleuze och Platon – Filosofi som förvandling “I am a black hole, a singularity, with only the simple experience of once having been sun”.
(4) There are cases in Sweden where teenage girls have drunk this kind of soap to get drunk. It works, but I wouldn’t recommend it.