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frontman Max Bemis Say Anything wrote an essay on his definition of anarchy.
Creating Anarchy Is For The Greater GoodI am a fairly passive, overly analytical and neurotic Jewish guy with almost no set political beliefs or attachments and a seemingly tame lifestyle. I spend most of my time reading, playing music and hanging out with my wife. Gone are the days of wanton self-destruction and flagrant drug use. Thankfully, I've pulled myself out of a couple of pretty Sid and Nancy-esque relationships and now rest comfortably in a loving, supportive one. I sit around and play with my dogs a lot and live in a very conservative, slow-paced town in Texas. So why is it that at this stage in my life, I identify so strongly with the idea of creating anarchy, enough so that I felt compelled to write an entire record centered around it?
Perhaps it's because my definition of anarchy isn't what pops into most people's heads when they hear the word. The two most widely accepted definitions of the word are A) a state of chaos due to a lack of authority or directive pattern, and B) the absence of a government (see the root of the word, an-archy: No government). My interpretation is a bit more metaphysically and spiritually based but mixes the two.
I believe that all of our collective existence, that of life itself, time and energy is essentially an all-encompassing, constantly evolving organism. Weird hippie crap, yes, but it's what I believe. You can call this being God if you want, but if you're not the religious type, feel free to just see it as evolutionary progress personified as some kind of willpower. I also believe that we are all on a quest towards enlightenment and the more we become enlightened, the more this collective force continues to evolve. To me, embracing the freedom to think what you want, being true to yourself and balancing a love for all things while honoring your individuality is the deepest struggle we all undertake in life, and what stimulates our collective the most. What one might define as chaos is really just each particle of this greater thing expressing itself and thereby powering a greater truer good.
The idea of a ruling class, or a defined system of beliefs or government that is imposed on everyone in the world, slows and negates this path to enlightenment because it stifles creative energy and freedom of thought. I really do believe in my heart that in an ideal world, there is culture but not the boundaries of governments and nations and the struggles for power and wealth they create. There is no war, especially over religion or oil or anything fleeting and superficial. I am smart enough to know we are countless years away from achieving this kind of a society. I am not smart enough to know how to create it, but I know in my heart that a balance of freedom, compassion for our fellow man and personal expression will create the kind of world that we all somehow deserve.
The only way an ADD-infected, clumsy and right-brain centric dolt of a man such as myself can do his part in creating this reality is starting with the environment I create around myself. I love who I love and do what I do because I want to do so voluntarily, because I know it's the right thing, not because there is someone looking over my shoulder telling me who is deserving of it and who is not. I play music for a living, live where I live and dress how I dress because it works for ME, whether it happens to be socially acceptable, "cool" or not.
In fact, taking it easy and the act of not destroying myself and being full of false anger or self-loathing is the most anarchistic thing I can do. I've found the lifestyle that works for me and I freaking love it to death no matter what, because I know it's true. I choose to question the idea that being a rebel means disregarding your health or happiness, and even though I question that line of questioning sometimes, I come to the answer that suits both myself and the greater good: Being how I am is OK for me and I don't give a crap who disagrees.
Another defining tenet of my beliefs is that often false rebels start to try to subvert social expectations for the sake of doing so, because they are secretly looking for approval (see our flawed, sad modern "indie" culture). Though everyone is guilty of this sometimes, I always try my best to avoid this and to even fight against it, as it's just as powerful a force of mental manipulation as fascism. Do I see myself as "punk"? The real question is "Who cares?" If punk is a questioning spirit of dissent rising against hypocrisy and those who would exert power over the weak, then sure. If it's defined by how I dress and who I vote (or don't vote) for, then certainly I'm about as punk as my dad.
So basically, I'm about to go eat a brown rice bowl and most likely watch a Matthew McConaughey romantic comedy with my wife and perhaps read my new Spider-Man comic later on. We will not be shooting up, organizing a protest of anything in particular or listening to Anti-Flag or even Fugazi, because, frankly, I'm in no mood for it. However, I'd like to think this is my own brand of chaos, and I couldn't be more proud of it. #max bemis #say anything
06:59 AM on 02/25/12
I like his particle idea of chaos.
Nicely put, Max.
07:05 AM on 02/25/12
EAGLES, Phillies, Flyers, tacos.
08:00 AM on 02/25/12
So, why did he write this?
08:04 AM on 02/25/12
He seems like a very well-read, intelligent man. Very interesting read.
08:21 AM on 02/25/12
Sounds like someone may be a Ron Paul supporter :(
08:23 AM on 02/25/12
Maybe he's trying to say "I do whatever feels good to me at the time and that's anarchy"?
08:51 AM on 02/25/12
Max puts a lot of labels on himself. He's sort of becoming "say everything". I'm looking forward to the new Two Tongues record with Chris, because I'm hoping some of the magic Chris had on Daybreak can be brought back by Max into the next Say Anything record.