Multiple realities occupied
Australian academics Ghassan Hage and Gerhard Hoffstaedter analyse the Occupy movement:
One of the Occupy battle cries in New York has been 'Respect our Existence or Expect Resistance'. The Occupiers will resist. But because they are their own demand, they are how they demand. They cannot opt for anything other than a pacifist occupation and assertion of existence. Can capitalist societies live with alternative realities existing right in the midst of their urban centres without trying to reduce them to a nuisance in their increasingly faltering capitalist reality? The governor of Oakland, the St Paul's Cathedral authorities in London and the Mayor of Melbourne couldn't. True to the neo-liberal spirit of the 1 per cent they tried to reduce them to the cost of their existence.In the alternative reality inhabited by these two highly educated, mumbo jumbo-spouting bright sparks Oakland is a state rather than a city.
Many might think that the co-existence of multiple realities belongs to science fiction films such as Inception. But there is an important and growing body of work in anthropology showing that rather than being defined by individualism, or territorialism and private property, or instrumental reason, what marks our modernity is that it has increasingly limited us to become mono-realist. What marks the cultures of many non-modern peoples is not that they do not live in an instrumentalist and territorial reality but rather that this is not the only reality they live in. They are multi-realists experiencing their existence as a continual movement between intersecting realities. This is not to say that the Occupiers want to revert to a non-modern mode of existence. It is to assert that, the idea of societies that allow the co-existence of multiple realities is not a figment of someone's utopian imagination. It is to assert that, as the saying goes: another life is possible.