Sunday, January 31, 2016

What I learnt today, or the lessons of a zombie-apocalypse anime

It's been a weird month this last one. Or shall I say first one? Sinquenza left a few weeks ago to assist to his grandfather funeral in NL and today Alex left for Cuba to box.

Next sunday we should be leaving for Puerto Varas to bring to life the first summer school on japochilean carpentry. We are making 4 hip roof models and then joining them together into a roof.

As I've been organising the event and meeting the people who will join I started to realise something. We are quite similar, all of us. Not in the long curly hair only, but we share some experiences, or perhaps ways of experiencing things that makes us get together and try to build something by hand. And the awkward moment several months ago when Keiran and Jose came for that first lesson and me trying to understand why they wanted to be there, and do that that we were doing has given way to a comprehension of how we humans feel good when making something.

And it's getting very visceral this thing. You meet someone new as today with Matias, you smell each other like dogs on the street, and get to work fast and easy.

Which brings me to the talk we were having with Alex at lunch, about how fucked up is Chile and if you are born in the wrong place you are pretty sure to end up just there or maybe worse. On how they have everything there in europe, yet they don't. And how we have so many things here, yet we lack... we lack respect, decency, trust, proper job contracts and some kind of health support, the knowledge that if you need, there is someone you can count with on (learn english you wanker).  And then Alex says something like it would be too easy to live here, and forget about the immigrants in Germany her friends are helping or the kurdish people other go to fight with...

She also asked me about how are the political groups here in Chile and I say just crap, we are too indoctrinated by neoliberalism to think that we can do things together, and benefit from that. Jedes für sich und Gott gegen alle.  Each for himself and got against everyone.

And that was when the big tits of the picture made sense.

Highschool of the Dead is a japanese anime that I find utterly political and intelligent. It's like a modern fable that teach young nerds how to fight the revolution against the zombies. The plot is just as a typical zombie movie: someone wants to enter the high school and bites one teacher. Soon 99% of the people has turned into flesh eating zombies and a few kids get together to stay alive.

When Alex told me about the fight in Germany my answer was something like you don't need to look too far to find people harmed by capitalism. True we are not refugees here but if you are born poor you are gonna die poor, and most probably violent, abused, hurt and just have a shitty life, shitty job, shitty wife and children. For reasons that you don't control and you cannot control. My point was, I think now, the zombies are fucking everywhere, you don't need to be in any particular place to fight them.

But you cannot fight them alone.

That's why you need tits, to bring people together, as my story of the empathy I feel with my students shows.


Let me put it in some Freudian terms if no psychologist in the room feels offended for bringing Freud to a woodworking blog. What are tits for Freud? The first object of love. And not only an object, but when experiencing them the boundaries between self and other are blurred and the world feels good. You know, like resting your head on tits. (You can ask me for the reference but I rather send you to read love against dead, by Norman O. Brown.)

That's what sharpening is about. You learn to relate with objects in lovely way. You develop a sensory motor loop with the steel, the stone and your hands that connect you to a certain elusive object of the world that is sharpness. And when you learn to relate to it your world becomes larger, and furthermore, it becomes larger in a very specific way, a way that is not determined by your fancy but by the steel's fancy. That's why I can understand what you feel when you are sharpening, because we have a common ground. This common ground is the world, which is accessible to everyone independent of their sex, colour, or place where they are born.

This is what the zombi ideology managed so well to makes us forget here in Chile. We feel we are all different. A person is simply the sum total of what they can buy, and there is enough stuff to be bought to assure that we are all different from each other.

So next time somebody asks me how are the political groups in Chile, I can, hopefully, reply: "Great, they are building japanese roofs and fighting zombies."


  1. Excellent to hear that you're building! I finally made it out to Marks, and though we're a world apart and I just drove two thousand miles, lets fight some fucking zombies!

  2. It seems Miyazaki, too, understands mammary semiotics . . .