Revolutionary Letter #9

I just finished The Undying by Anne Boyer in which the author recounts her painful experience with breast cancer and its treatment and the culture associated with it in striking poetic prose. In it Boyer quotes Diane di Prima’s Revolutionary Letter #9,” 1. kill head of Dow Chemical / 2. destroy plant / 3. MAKE IT UNPROFITABLE FOR THEM to build again.” This was written in its own context, and Boyer applies it to her own, and reading it in Boyer’s context I can apply that version to my own context (such is art right?).

If we want to make lasting change in the world around us, old infrastructures, and the people and cultures that create and sustain them need to be destroyed. If I want to make lasting change within myself, it can be a bit trickier, but I can apply a similar framework:

“1. kill head Dow Chemical”
Dissociate myself with the person I am in the present.

“2. destroy plant”
Free myself from the environment that sustains the behaviors I want to change.

“3. MAKE IT UNPROFITABLE FOR THEM to build again”
Make it inconvenient or burdensome to return to the old ways, and find joy in the desired behaviors.

Of course all of this is easier said than done, and like many great revolutions throughout history a catalyst is likely needed.

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