One of the telling events of our times was the election of a porn star, Monica Cicciolina, to the Italian Parliament. This is a testimony to the state of our society—not because we are talking about a novelty in human history, but because ideals that were once shameful, which were, for a time, overcome by Christian common sense, are now returning to society in their most vulgar form.
Young people think that if they sleep around or take drugs and the restraining shell of morality is smashed, they will achieve freedom. The philosophy of Jim Morrison, which sounds like this: “If even dogs love each other whenever they want, why can’t people do the same?” is not the answer. When we are faced with an existential concept, we would do well to look first at its consequences in its patron’s example.
Such philosophies that promise freedom can be found in Nietzsche, Morrison, or Kurt Kobain—who all ended very badly. They either lost their minds, or committed suicide. If someone thinks that committing suicide is a great deed or that losing your mind is very interesting, he is mistaken. I myself was one of those terrible teenagers, “actors” of high school, who read my fill of Arthur Rimbaud or Eugène Ionesco and imagined that being insane is something extraordinary. But I stopped thinking that way after I was hospitalized in the psychiatric ward at age eighteen. It is one thing to watch “One Flew Over the Cuckoos’ nest” and quite another to actually wear those striped pajamas.
Only a person who has never been in a coma can believe that suicide will free you, and only a young person who has never been locked up in a madhouse and been medically treated against his will can say that insanity is interesting. Freedom should first of all save you from madness and pain. Being free means that nothing can blackmail you.
People suffer because they are free. Each imagines that he has to have one thing or another in order to be free. Salvador Dali said that in order to be free you have to be just a bit of a multi-millionaire. When it come down to it, each person thinks that he knows what he would need to be free.
What does it mean to be free? I think that everyone would agree that you can’t be free if you depend on someone else. If you depend on two people, you are twice as unfree. And if you are dependent upon circumstances you are still less free than if you were dependent on everyone altogether. Nevertheless, you are even less free if the cause of your dependence is inside you, like cancer, growing every day.
Once I met a woman who has a disease of the eyes, and this meeting shocked me. This woman’s eyes could not moisturize themselves, and so she had to continually use special eye drops that were very expensive, otherwise she would simply go blind. I was shocked by the thought of how dependent she was upon these drops. I think that anyone would be horrified at the thought of dependence. I saw a film, and have heard about the spasms that a drug addict goes through if he doesn’t get a fix. I have seen alcoholics in crises. It is not pretty, and we don’t want to be like them. But we have to know that both alcoholism and drug addiction are how some people escape the suffering of loneliness. Another form that is considered less reprehinsible because it is more widespread is fornication.
Doctors treat alcoholics and drug addicts, but no one treats the sickness of fornication—to the contrary, they’ll offer you aphrodisiacs. Yes, fornication has all the characteristics of an illness: it causes pain, it can be fatal, it isolates you from society and destroys your life. A promiscuous woman inflicts wounds on her organs during an abortion, and if she uses contraceptives, she disrupts her hormonal activity, deforms her own body, and gets sick. If a schoolgirl goes down this road she becomes intolerable to her parents and her parents to her, she is incapable of studying properly and becomes a bundle of ingratitude; that is, she suffers just like any sick person. She is no longer capable of normal socializing, because it takes only one form for her—sexual relations with her “partner”. But if anyone needs to be convinced that this is an illness, let him look at an object of fornication, and he will see that the spasms of a drug addict and the humiliation of an alcoholic are nothing next to the crisis of a sex addict.
People have come to such a pass that they have become a kind of extension of lust. The world is a sanatorium for the sick, who use each other as a medicine for their sickness. That is why they need each other. They are inseparable, bound together like jailbirds by the chains of their lusts.
These days a girl’s pride is cheaper than toys from a sex shop. But if you are capable of pride, you must also be capable of shame. If you are proud of your boyfriend, who is unfaithful if he doesn’t see you for a week, this is very strange. If you are proud of being pretty, but humiliate yourself at the same time to such an extent, this is even stranger. What then could cause you to be ashamed? That you couldn’t go to that bar because it is too expensive? That you do not know who that star is on some wretched poster? To shirk your mother when she suddenly walks by your gang, because she’s old-fashioned?
Who needs this myth about the sexual emancipation of women? It can have no good consequences in society, or in the subconscious of someone where, whether you like it or not, the traces of Christian morality are still retained. A European, even one who is not baptized, cannot suppress his own jealousy even for the sake of the greatest pleasure. To the contrary, the more pleasure, the more his jealously grows. And here is a paradoxical phenomenon: a man wants to have an “emancipated” woman, he’ll even steal her from other men, but he cannot bear to have someone else come close to his woman. At first he takes her because his foolish pride tells him that he is great and strong since he was able to win a woman everyone wants. He does not feel jealousy over the men that have been with this woman because he considers that he has stolen her from them and is above them. However, with time, now that she is his, when she becomes loathsome to him it seems to him that all those before him were in fact happy to be rid of her. This is the origin of that age-old situation rotting in the majority of families, which many simply call “unhappiness.”
This unhappiness has to be overcome in our youth. The body is not a toy that you can play with until you break it. Our bodies are like the cave of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.” We say, “Open sesame” when we go in, and when we drink our fill of what we find there, we forget the password and can’t leave. If we have seen lifeless corpses who feel no pleasure, nor do they evoke it, it means that there is something else, unseen, that forces them to move and be attractive. This “something else” is the soul. Only it makes us something more than a rubber doll, if we do not neglect it. Otherwise, we are even cheaper than a doll.
We have to break free from the world’s cold paws. Do not allow yourself to be modeled after the billboards and those idiotic tests that you hear everywhere: “Do you want to know if he/she loves you? Do you want to know if you are self-assured? Do you want to know if you are a good partner?” These tests do not reveal to us what we are, but rather teach us to be what we aren’t. Someone after this will certainly use us. Young people are not wise; they take seriously any “secret” to knowing about themselves and others, especially when these secrets are brought to them in a semi-scientific form of psychology or philosophy.
You cannot allow yourselves to be zombified to such an extent—it’s inhuman. How can you feel flattered when you are called a “mare” or an “elephant”? That is the very ideal that the Kama Sutra offers you. If your classmate were to call you a mare you would be offended, but if your read something swinish that makes you a “mare-woman” or a “goat-woman”, you consider yourself interesting. Of course, no one can forbid you to be a mare or a cow, but I don’t think this is a particularly honorable thing.
Young people are in a rush to “experience their moment”, and that is good. But every moment should be lived in a way that does not deprive you of access to moments that come afterward. Every incautious act remains on our faces like a tattoo. When you get the urge to have a hissing snake tattooed on your face, think about how it might be when the moment comes, and you want to have a clean face, but you can’t. Therefore take a good look at every step that you take out of love of freedom: Will it close the doors to you forever to another kind of freedom, other kinds of people, and to another life? Perhaps when you understand more, you might want them, but you won’t be free to have them.
Life is not only what you see at a given stage; there are many parallel lives, no doubt more interesting than the monotone of clubs and discotheques. After all, the joy of the crowd cannot be a highly developed joy; it remains in the zone of the grotesque and heavy, where one would not want to get stuck.
Living a moment of life means projecting it into the future, it means concentrating the best of everything you have in that moment. And the farther off that future is, the richer and more intense is the moment. Those who rejoice in a perfectly experienced moment are those who have an awareness of eternity, for their moment will not burst like a soap bubble at the hour of death.
Also, society has never been so monotonous and flat as it is today. And it is the youth—who have always been the fuel for the steam engine of innovation and non-conformism—who have become the most conservative and boring strata. Unpredictability and adventure have disappeared from their lives, and individuality and valor have been lost. Everyone wears the same clothes, listens to the same music, has the same arguments, and what is even more disgusting, has the same vocabulary, which is shrinking every day.
Young people even have the same walk and the same gestures: they hold a guitar in a certain way, gulp coffee in a certain way, and turn their heads in a certain way whether you’re calling after them in New York, Bucharest, or Moscow. Their whole lives are an imitation of stars, actors, or mediocre musicians. All their energy goes into aping gestures and remarks that they like. They are like shadows falling from television screens.
Today it is very important to be a human being, and not a blow-up doll.
When couples look for families with whom they can exchange partners, when a woman is considered backward if she hasn’t been unfaithful to her husband, I think that it’s time to lay the myth of Don Juan to rest. Farewell, Don Juans and Cicciolinas, there is simply no room for you to grow in our era, you are commonplace, you are lost in the crowd and no longer stir any admiration, neither indignation, nor envy.
This is because in our society, contrasts are little-by-little melting away. The concepts of good and evil have been intermingled beyond any differentiation. The white half of the Taoist yin and yang seems to have darkened, and no more than a tiny white spot flickers feebly against the black sky of sin.
 Arthur Rimbaud (1854—1891), a French poet and one of the founders of symbolism, prefiguring surrealism; Eugène Ionesco, a Romanian playwright who wrote in French, and is one of the founders of the theater of the absurd.