Zang Productions

Benjamin Blower - Babylon Is Dead Vol #2 - The Illusion Of Freedom

Babylon Is Dead Vol #2 - The Illusion Of Freedom
The Illusion of Freedom Lyrics
1.
The Illusion of Freedom

The Illusion of Freedom

She stood with a green bank-note for a flag and all her sins
And the Queen and Adam Smith were waving up there in the wind
And the Queen looked uneasy
And Adam Smith was dead
And Charles Darwin had a question mark graffitti'd on his head

And the flag-pole was stabbed into corpses from the south
A billion tortured souls from the breath of her mouth
She was partly naked with expensive shoes on
And a glass of red wine b'tween her finger and her thumb
And we stood behind her
Armed with Telephones
And songs
And uneasy laughter
And the unshakeable images of bodies in thong
Our beating hearts and our thirsty tongues
And she looked lusty and sick of us all
And I imagined that if (and when) the war was won - she would be a good lay but we would've never got on
And I was right
None of us did
Not with anyone

Freedom is my right to do what I want, when I want to do it
And have what I want to have, when I want to have.
Freedom is flat-screen TV with 1,000 channels and 1,000,000 voices
A giant supermarket with endless consumer choices
Freedom is freedom from inconvenience, because inconvenience is evil
Responsibility is of the devil
We want food without washing up
Travel without time
Sex without relationships
And children without sacrifice

Screw fraternity
We're talking about freedom for the self
Freedom from entanglements with anybody else
Screw equality
Honestly you don't have the good looks or the wealth
And you will be left behind to sit dying on the shelf
Screw liberty
The illusion of freedom is something else
Jealousy
Conceit
And justice for the self
When one man's loss is another man's gain
When one lover's pleasure is another lover's pain
When one people hits the floor and another prevails
And when nations march off to war

Freedom

And justice for the self

Freedom

And justice for the self

Freedom

And justice for the self

Freedom

And justice for the self

You better believe our enemies put their hands to their cheeks and screamed
Rooted by their feet and up to their knees in fallen leaves
Their armies evaporated like careless dreams in the morning when the first beams of the sun come in
Half of them joined us
The rest we devoured
Except for one who stood alone
Like an orphan
Like a tower
She opened her mouth and addressed the blinking crowd saying:
"How has it come about that, in your thinking, freedom and selfishness became the same thing?
What did you think you were doing?
And who told you there would be no reckoning?
That the greatest of virtues lay within the self?"

"Self/Freedom"
The spin doctors pored over it and shouted out
"Self/Freedom"
The advertisers rebranded it
"Self/Freedom"
The witches and wizards danced around with it
"Self/Freedom"
The politicians all voted for it
"Self/Freedom"
The weathermen smiled and predicted it
"Self/Freedom"
The priest and the clergy were blessing it
"Self/Freedom"
And the illusionist did his little trick
And the trick was done
Selfishness is the illusion of freedom

Spirits were high and fists raised up in the air before she died
As we outnumbered her standing there
And she said:
"You can take your illusion and stick it up yourself until you tear
Liquefy it and rub it into your hair if you want to
If you think it'll make you look better
Get your poor people to knit it into an expensive sweater
Do whatever you're going to do
But as for myself
I won't touch your illusion
Because I am here to love you


© 2011 Benjamin Blower
The Rule of the Loudest Voices Lyrics
2.
The Rule of the Loudest Voices

The Rule of the Loudest Voices

So we won all the wars and picked up all the pieces
Made them into buildings bigger than Jesus
Forsaken of meaning
Our children were dreaming
Heads bowed down to the illusion of freedom
And the old shrugged their shoulders and rolled their eyes
Washing their cars with stiff spines
And decided to try not to worry for their kids
Because each individual makes his own life
And the young cut themselves
And covered themselves
Then uncovered themselves
And then covered themselves up again
Reinvented themselves
And went off looking for themselves hopelessly in places that they'd never been
And Adam Curtis shouted to Isaiah Berlin
"What the heck happened to our dream of freedom?"
Meanwhile I was dreaming about the girl we shot down in the story just previous
And she said
"Wake up sleepy head
Democracy is dead
You're not the people anymore
You're the market
You don't tell anyone what you want
You want what you're told
You pay and you get
Wake up sisters and brothers
Democracy is over
We've got nothing but £signs over us
You're not the people anymore
You're just numbers in an equation
Suckers"

Our elusive free-for-all was the rule of the loudest voices and all the biggest wallets
We stood in line

(she continues)
"The illusion of freedom is self interest
Which in turn is desire
And desire is an economic goldmine
Not a precious virtue that a person could admire
But predictable
Cheap
And the same every time
We wanted to believe we were special individuals
Unique snowflakes floating in the sky
But our selfish interest was as common as dirt
We were ripe and wet
They drank us dry
We did what we were told because we lived in a race of gods
And some gods became greater than the rest of us
We did what we were told because the meaning of freedom is selfishness
Community is merely competition
We did what we were told because they held the keys to the kingdom
And we'd have done the same to them
We did what we were told because those were the options given
We didn't know there were other ways of thinking
They put desires in our hearts that we had to gratify
Dreams in our heads that we had to satisfy
Rats in our pants and they watched us dance
Milked all the money from our wasted lives
So wake up boys and girls
Democracy is sliding
You will know what the people want by what their buying
And the people will know what to buy when the liars arrive and begin all the lying"

Our elusive free-for-all was the rule of the loudest voices and all the biggest wallets
We stood in line

When I woke up and saw how stupid I'd been I did not shake my fist and scream
I hung my head and wept
And tore my clothes
Rubbing ashes into my head
We let them touch us
Coughed up money on endless disappointment
Dressed up as other people's selfish fantasies
Stole from other countries
Took our pills
And denied our children's souls
We hung up our sisters naked in the streets and we called it freedom
Do I feel cheated exploited and abused?
Did Babylon have its wicked way with you?
We chased hollow satisfaction and became just that for somebody else
We didn't rebel
We just wept
And what can we say?
The system didn't let us down
The system never claimed to give a damn about this town
The system laid it out: "every man for himself"
They called it "freedom"
And we said "yes"
And we will lay out the same to whoever comes next



© 2011 Benjamin Blower
The Hamster Wheels of Desire Lyrics
3.
The Hamster Wheels of Desire

The Hamster Wheels of Desire

O!
The glory of the spinning blue planet!
The Universe!
And beyond it all the glorious platonic forms!
O!
The mysteries of time!
The memories of the old!
The miracles of the young!
We forgot it all!
O!
The recession of pleasure!
The shrunken endeavour!
The experience of existence become so small!
O!
The treadmill forever!
Pursuing each desire as it arises until we finally fall!

Individual freedom was everything
And individual freedom was the appetite
And so the appetite became the soul
And the soul was the centre of the being
So we defined ourselves by our appetite's goals
And the submission was endlessly bitter as we all got sucked into hungry black holes
Standing by the burning furnace forever
Getting weaker
And thinner
And shovelling coal

O!
The illusion of freedom was enslavement!
Self interest was the devil himself!
Hungry as fire!
Dissatisfied as industrial chimneys!
Relentless as death!

Coffee a little stronger every time
Roads a little wider every year
One more image for the harem in my heart
All consuming
The destroyer of worlds
And a world of fear

We lost ourselves
And there she was
Quietly singing
"Whatever glory was beyond was forgotten or ignored down in hell
We never saw passed ourselves"

O!
Myself!
Packed up and ran off with everything!
Hey!
Myself!
If not you
Then who are we anyway?

We lost ourselves
And there she was
Quietly singing
"Whatever glory was beyond was forgotten or ignored down in hell
We never saw passed ourselves"

(she continues)
"And now
With your ankles all in chains
And your faces painted the same
You all agree that we should never talk about such things
But your freedom's made of steel
You're all running on hamster wheels of desire
You can't remember who you are"

And there she was
And I never saw her again


© 2011 Benjamin Blower
The Illusion of Enslavement Lyrics
4.
The Illusion of Enslavement

The Illusion of Enslavement

Jesus said
Whoever loves his own life the most will lose it
We got some patronising religious labels for that kind of thing
We said we were beyond that
Said that his way was good for him
Even though he just said that no man's own way is good for his self
But we didn't really get that because we weren't really listening
We said that to abandon self interest could only be enslavement
And then we all became slaves to the diabolical throes of self interest
With all its exhausting vanities and social derangements

We'd rather be slaves to stone cold crooked masters than live under a truth we could respect
Because with corruption there is nothing to live up to
Each to his own and justice for the self

Jesus said
A seed needs to fall to the ground and die before it can become what it's meant to be
Only then it grows freely
We said that that was crazy
But anyone who could take it lived like immortal romantics with volcanic heartbeats
They had nothing left to lose
And nothing in the world left to fear
But we're still terrified of losing all the things we think we have here

We'd rather be slaves to stone cold crooked masters than live under a truth we could respect
Because with corruption there is nothing to live up to
Each to his own and justice for the self

Jesus said
If someone wants something from you you should give them twice as much
We said that that was reckless and unjust
Unnecessary and tasteless
The image of enslavement
Religion needs a facelift...
And all that kind of stuff
But those who could take it won a freedom that the rest of us never heard of
What say you Gandhi?
What say you George Cadbury?
What say you Martin Luther King Jr?
What say you God?
We would've killed you
And we did
But how could we if you hadn't let us do it?
And since you did let us we all want to know why
What kind of freedom is that?
The freedom to die?
The freedom to act at your own expense?
What kind of dream were you pursuing?
O LORD!
What kind of illusion drove you to it?
The illusion of enslavement?
What is it?
The illusion of enslavement is this
Freely you receive and freely you give

We'd rather be slaves to stone cold crooked masters than live under a truth we could respect
Because with corruption there is nothing to live up to
Each to his own and justice for the self

You know it ladies and gentlemen
There is no masterless freedom
We just reach deep down inside and we choose between them
And most of the time we choose the selfish over the selfless
Prefer our own conceptions to the unconceived image
And what do we gain?
What we gain is this:
The right master puts us in the wrong
But the wrong master puts us in the right
What I mean to say is:
Self interested and crooked masters justify a people of self interested and crooked lives
 

© 2011 Benjamin Blower
Cat No: ZANGFD0006
Release Date: 31st October 2011
Release Type: FREE EP

Volume 2 of the Babylon is Dead series. Crudely formed out of the writings below.
Available for free download. Please pass it on...
 

II
The Illusion of Freedom
The Self! The Self! The Self!

“The Self! The Self! The Self!” we said. And if this is not what freedom is, then what else could freedom ever be? Being able to do what I want, when I want to do it. Being able to have what I want, when I want to have it. So long as I can afford it.

And endless choices. A flat screen TV with endless channels. A supermarket with endless products. An infinity of availability surrounding the self. Freedom is an infinity of amusements and diversions. Freedom is an infinity of conveniences. And freedom from inconvenience is freedom from evil. Food without washing up. Travel without time. Sex without relationships. Children without responsibility or sacrifice.

...And justice for self! When one person’s gain is another’s loss… When one person’s pleasure is another’s heartbreak… When one group prevail and another are down and out… When nations go to war, and when other nations fight back… We say “freedom!”

We used to talk about it as if it were an absolute value. A transcendent virtue to live up to. A Platonic form. A universal human right. Everlasting wisdom. The eternity in our Grandparents’ eyes. The beat that our hearts still dance to. But if that is so, then whatever this is that we now call freedom has to be something else.

The glory of every age was there in its values. The highest value of our day was individual freedom, and the god of our day was the individual. "The Self! The Self! The Self!” we said. We thought that we were free because we could do whatever we wanted to, so long as we had enough money to do it. Our notion of freedom was defined by the agency of the self.

What happened to freedom that it became the same thing as self-interest? What happened to self-interest that it ascended to the lofty heights of freedom?

Self-interest, used to be like an erection in a public place. A private appetite. That member which we all knew we had, but were embarrassed to mention. That which we publicly denounced in others, and which we privately wept over in ourselves. And so we lied to ourselves twice over. First, under the previous order, was denial. And then afterwards came the brazen and shameless diabolical vanity. Our forefathers denied their self-interest. We justified it.

"Self!"

The spin doctors pored over it and shouted: "FREEDOM!"
The advertisers re-branded it: "FREEDOM!"
The wizards danced around it singing: "FREEDOM!"
The politicians voted on it: "FREEDOM!"
The weather girls smiled and predicted it: "FREEDOM!"
The priests and the clergy blessed it: "FREEDOM!"
And with sleight of hand the illusionist did his little trick and it was done: self-interest - the illusion of freedom

Economies, industries and advertisers, instituted it as the bedrock of society, to encourage more discretionary spending, and they said, greater ingenuity in the spirit of men. Governments, religions, and other powers followed suit and we were coerced to all their interests. It became our philosophy, our praxis, our religion, our ideology, the central premise of our educational system, our political system and our social structures. It watched over us as we came and as we went. It united rich and poor, black and white, man and woman. And it destroyed the names of those who would not adhere.

The illusion was complete, and if we thought it was an illusion we played along anyway. We liked it. It went along with what we wanted so we went along with it. The truth is, we could hardly imagine any other way of thinking about freedom anymore. If there was something crooked about the illusion we had no idea what the actual thing could be. And we didn’t talk about it. For us the dream was enough. It justified itself: the dream of a masterless freedom.

Illusion#1
But the dream blossomed into nothing very diverse or beautiful, and we wondered to ourselves about that. The old shrugged their shoulders, shook their heads, pursed their lips. Washed their cars slowly with stiff spines, and decided emphatically not to worry about their children, because each must make his own life. The young cut themselves, covered themselves, and uncovered themselves, and then covered themselves again. Reinvented themselves. Went off looking for themselves hopelessly in places they had never been.

There was no masterless freedom. There could only ever be an exchange of masters.

Self-interest turned out to be predictable and easily steered. We liked to talk about freedom of speech, but we all said the same things, and the same things, and the same things. We liked to talk about individualism but we all went on doing the same things over and over. We liked to believe that we were all unique snowflakes, but there’s nothing unique about selfish interests. The same hand-full of desires come around again and again and again. We were weak, gullible, predictable. Dull machines under strip lights monotonously humming out the same old whatever on the conveyor belts winding out of ourselves. Every day.

We said we were doing what we wanted, but we really just did what we were told. We obeyed anyone rich enough to put a wet dream on a billboard, a screen, or a magazine. Without questions. Self-interest is an endless goldmine of desire. We were ripe and they harvested us like fields of green money. Through the illusion of freedom the people became a people no more. The people became a market.

The illusion of freedom was relative. One interest against another. One individual against another. One generation against another. One nation against another. Those on top called it healthy competition. Those below died with no voices.

We did what we were told because we lived in a race of gods, and some gods became greater than others. Because freedom is selfishness, and community is competition. Because they held the keys to the kingdom, and if we’d had the brains or the money we’d have done the same to them. Because those were the options given. We didn’t think there were other options. We didn't think. It was every man for himself, and we didn't have the energy.

They put desires in our hearts that we had to gratify. Dreams in our heads that we had to satisfy. They put rats in our pants and watched us dance, and milked us for all we had. Then they lent us more money so we could keep on dancing and also pay them interest on the money they had lent at the same time.

We let them touch us, coughed up our money on endless disappointments, dressed up as other people’s selfish fantasies, ate food stolen from other countries, took our pills, denied our children’s souls, and hung up naked girls in the street. And we called it freedom.

We chased hollow satisfactions, and we became hollow satisfaction for somebody else. We didn’t rebel, we just wept.

Because, what could we say? The system did not let us down. The system never claimed to care about us. The system laid out the terms: "every man for himself," and called it “freedom.” And we agreed. And we are now laying out the same terms to whoever is coming next.

Illusion#2
O, the glory of the spinning blue planet! The endless universe! The forms beyond! Within and without! We forgot it all! O, the mysteries of time! The miracles of the young! The memories of the old! We forgot it all! O, the recession of pleasure! The diminished quest! The experience of existence become so small! O, the treadmill forever and ever, pursuing each and every desire as it arises until the lost and forgotten end of what, in the end, turns out to be really nothing at all.

The world had got smaller and simpler. The business of satisfaction. Gratification. The appetite.

Individual freedom was everything, and individual freedom was the appetite, and so the appetite became everything. It became the individual's very soul. And so we defined ourselves by our appetites, and then lost ourselves somewhere within the obnoxious demands of our appetites, until we believed ourselves to be our appetites, and appetites only.

The illusion of freedom was enslavement! Self-interest was the devil himself! As hungry as fire. As hungry as death. As endlessly dissatisfied as industrial chimneys. Coffee a little stronger every time. Roads a little wider every year. One more image for the harem in my heart. All consuming. The destroyer of worlds. We were enslaved to it. We had no will to resist it. It became us. We didn’t recognise the freedom to deny it’s endless wants, only the freedom to pity ourselves if we couldn’t afford it. We did not even recognise ourselves apart from it.

Whatever glory was beyond the insatiable self, we never talked about such things. It became necessary to let go the belief in any truth beyond the realm of self at all. Particularities faded away and characters quietly withered under-used, while appetite paraded loudly over all things with its religious zeal, it’s dogma and it’s self-help rhetoric.

Really, what is freedom if not the power to appease your desires whenever they arise? We couldn’t remember.

The Illusion of Enslavement
Jesus said that whoever who loves his own life will lose it. We smothered Him with patronising religious labels. We said we’d outgrown Him. We said that that way was good for Him, even though He just said that no man’s own way is good for himself. We said that to abandon self-interest could only be enslavement, and then we became slaves to the diabolical throws of self-interest and all of its exhausting vanities.

Jesus said that a seed has to fall to the ground and die before it can become what its meant to be, and we had lost any structure of thought to make sense of it. Mysticism! A game with words. The cheap business of looking clever by simply turning the obvious up-side down and claiming a higher truth. But whoever could accept it had nothing to lose and nothing to fear, while the rest of us continued in our quiet enslavement to the terror of losing something.

Jesus said that if someone wants something out of you, you should give them twice as much. Did it sound reckless? Whoever could accept it had a freedom which was loving and relational. The freedom to love, steamrolling petty appetites and vanities. The rest of us continued with our lonely illusion of freedom; where the only concept of others was competition, or fair game. We withered away endlessly shoveling coal into the angry furnace of self, and pitied Jesus for His strange enslavements.

What was it supposed to mean? What say you Gandhi? What say you Martin Luther King Jr? What say You God Himself? What say You God? We would have killed you… and we did kill You. But could we have done it if You hadn’t let us. And since that is what we did, we ask, why? What kind of freedom is that? The freedom to die? The freedom to act at your own expense? What kind of dream were You pursuing? What kind of illusion drove You to it?

The illusion of enslavement: Freely you receive. Freely you give.

There was no masterless freedom. There is no masterless freedom. We exchanged one master for another. The selfless for the selfish. The image of God for the image of man. And what was gained? It was this: The right master would put us in the wrong but the wrong master would put us in the right… Because self-interested and crooked masters justify a self-interested people, while living off of their blood.
 

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