Manifesto, November 1999.
Back in the day, Matthew Good used to write monthly manifestos for his bands’ website. These began as autobiographical, or alluded to events occurring with the band in the weeks past. But over time, they evolved into creative works – short stories, long stories, anecdotes – in which he flexed his imagination, leaked song lyrics, and so forth.
Matt Good wrote these from around October 1997 to about December 2000, although he did some writing here and there in 2002. The bulk of these manifestos have been gathered into one package, called At Last There Is Nothing Left To Say, which you can order here.
These days, Matt is a solo artist and political activist, and you can catch up with him at matthewgood.org. Here though, is one of my all time favourite manifestos, from November 1999.
Rule 1: Everybody gets a shit kicking.
Maybe just to ensure that you don’t spend the rest of your life thinking you’re better than those who get shit-kicked every day of theirs.
Rule 2: Morality extends no further than acceptability.
You will go as far as you’re willing to go. Such distances have never been equal between us. One man’s evil is another man’s amusement park.
Rule 3: Ignorance belittles those around you more than it does yourself.
Ignorance and the Ebola virus are comparable in three respects:
1] They’re both invisible
2] They’re both infectious
3] And they both kill
Rule 4: Infinity is unimaginable. So imagine reduction.
If heaven can be found in the sky’s reflection off of calm waters then it’s a fucking shame that it’s too polluted to swim in.
Rule 5: Prisons do not exist without capitulation.
Between the bars there is nothing. And if you look close enough you’ll realize that there’s always more nothing than bars.
Rule 6: Time is greater than suffering.
Those that we pity in our time will pity us in another.
Rule 7: Power begets fools. Fools beget power.
Thinking that one can control that which cannot be controlled attracts fools like a magnet. Enough so that, in a short period of time, the epicenter becomes an institution of them.
Rule 8: Death is the working class’s luxury.
Some people take vacations. Others spend their lives working towards a prolonged leave of absence.
Rule 9: Tomorrow is the cause of today’s nothing.
The promises of tomorrow reduce the chances of today.
Rule 10: We do not exist.
In comparison to spending your entire life wondering why you exist in the first place.
Rule 11: Myths are nothing more than easy truths for idiots.
The need to offer easy answers to the general populace only reflects it’s inability to think for itself.
Rule 12: Assume only that you know nothing. Within silences you will learn what you need to know.
The difference between knowing and assuming is vast. To assume is to fail miserably at acting intelligent enough to know when to keep your mouth shut.
Rule 13: The past is a minefield. So follow only those footsteps that do not end at the edge of large holes.
To ignore the past it is to prolong our mistakes of it.
Rule 14: The world is not your oyster.
Prying it open ruins your chances of putting it back.
Rule 15: No one remembers who you weren’t. Just who you were.
The realization of your true self far outweighs the consequences of unpopularity.
Rule 16: Supreme beings are kind of like pets. They make you feel better when no one else will listen. Strangely enough, neither can respond.
The need for something more than yourself ultimately diminishes the need for yourself.
Rule 17: Freedom is just a word.
If freedom is fraught with regulations then why not just call it Regulated Freedom and stop trying to convince yourself otherwise? Huh?
Rule 18: The pressures of being have no remedy. Just placebos.
If guilt and fear were currencies then we would have all started our own religions to capitalize on them by now.
Rule 19: The truth is versed in versions, not nobility.
If it were we would never have bothered inventing a device that can evaporate an entire city in under a minute.
Rule 20: The future is x-rated.