Filip David | “The Triumph Of Primitivism”
Primitive signifies a simple, vulgar, uneducated person. But we find the biggest Primitives, the epitome of primitive in our society among those who possess a certain level of education. One of the characteristics of real Primitives is their ability to skilfully hide their primitivism for a while.
In peaceful times, they nest within their social environment and with their manners of seeming civility, the urban looks and politeness, they manage to delude the people around them. Their substance is masked with a few expensive suits and a few memorised phrases. The Primitives are nestled down in the core of the society like larvae which can remain larvae all their life. But if they find favourable circumstances, they develop from larvae into vermin that corrode from within and bring to collapse everything they touch.
Primitivism spreads around like a cobweb. And when there’s no wind to blow through it, all kinds of things get caught in it. The Primitives recognise each other even if they are covered by hundred protective coatings. The „Primitives International“ and their mutual solidarity exists. They support and help each other when in trouble. Primitivism is strongly connected to obscenity and obscenity is fascinating for many.
A Primitive believes the world exists only for him. He has no doubts, he broods not, has no remorse, no trauma. The world in his eyes is simplified, streamlined, without moral dilemmas. „My way or the highway!“ He bangs his fist on the table or in someone’s eye to let us know it has to be the way he says. He has a broad smile with golden teeth. He wears his shirt open, to show his manly, hairy, heroic chest.
In peaceful times, the Primitives’ vulgar image is sometimes ridiculed. Their unquenchable thirst to assimilate and subordinate everything seems foolish and megalomanic. And in response to the environment that ridicules them, they create their own culture, their state within a state. They have their literature, their music, their idols, their stars and kings. Primitivism is contagious.
In dark times, the culture of Primitives becomes national culture, their idols — the idols of the masses. The spirit of primitivism is then felt every step of the way, it dominates the thinking, is imprinted into every fragment of life, becoming an overpowering metaphor for all existence.
A Primitive sniffs out another Primitive from afar. A Primitive respects another Primitive. He sees himself in another, like in a mirror. He sees the crudeness which impresses him, the vulgarity he admires, the authentic recklessness. A Primitive in politics acknowledges only the principle of force, a Primitive in the society is delighted by the general fatuity, whilst the intellectual Primitive, the „contradictio in adjecto“ but nevertheless existing in societies of imprisoned minds and narrowed consciousness, collectivism and populism, destroys every thinking, every rise of the spirit and is vanguard lead in the fight against individualism.
Primitivism is pervasive like weed. Like rust that befalls everything, like acid that eats through everything. A Primitive believes he’s always right, does not acknowledge a different opinion, he’s blind and deaf to any reasoning and facts. He is not capable of a vision of future, and he reduces history to a few stereotypes to explain the entire human history. The Primitivism is so tenacious, strong, persistent and obstinate, that it transmits like a hereditary disease from generation to generation. And there where it seems eradicated, it appears abruptly, sprouting from the ashes of its ruins. „But the longing to be primitive is a disease of culture“, Santayana wrote.
Primitivism begets fanaticism, and fanaticism gives new strength to the Primitives, the strength of barbarians ready to demolish, crush, destroy. Chauvinism, fascism, stalinism, all consolidate primitivism and fanaticism. Fanatics blindly hasten towards the realisation of their goals. They are united in hatred. Masses blinded by fanaticism, subjugated by hatred, fed on primitivism, transform into human herds. They tramp towards their own destruction, because the blindness of fanatics and stupidity of the primitives can only be stopped by the same brute force they use to destroy their own civilisation.
Our local Primitives have coupled fanaticism with action. In the name of the nation, ideology and religion, they break bones, create mass graves, they self-actualise through violence. They grind their victims’ bodies with bulldozers and throw them into mineshafts. One victim means nothing to a primitive mind nor to the power and force bred by it. There have to be hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, to satisfy the excessive primitive cravings. While visiting wounded war veterans of his army, one of the local leaders greeted them with the words: „I am pleased to see you in such large numbers!“ Another one, after being rebuked that his people do not have a friend in the world, responded: „We have one — Jesus Christ.“
They turn everything into its antithesis. Religion becomes blasphemous, patriotism jeopardised, culture degrading, administration a protection for misrule, academic institutions a screen for inanity, politics — a haven for primitivism and primitives. Ideological flail in the hands of the primitives whirls and thrashes everything it touches. Once awaken and stimulated, primitivism spreads with unrestrainable force, giving appalling examples of ruthlessness, degradation of people, devastation of basic dignity of life.
Primitivism is a mockery of mind and at the same time it indicates the poverty of mind. Self-importance without any merit, arrogance towards the weak, servility towards the masters. Primitives write a history of self-deception, „self-deception is deadly both for people and nations,“ as a poet said.
We can presume that in more peaceful times, the Primitives will withdraw from the main scene to the backstage, operating from a standby position. They will cover their vulgarity with stolen gold, decorate it with jewels and silk. Adorn it with diplomas and high governmental functions.
They’ll be less sonorous, but influential nonetheless.
They have no doubt that the future belongs to them, just as the present does. They will search and find allies everywhere. Vulgarity, fanaticism, thievery and mental poverty keep the world go round. Primitivism is uncontainable, it’s in the core of our world, but also at the very source of the most atrocious evils.”
"My translation of an excerpt from Filip David’s book “Are We Monsters”, published by Bosanska knjiga, Sarajevo 1997, pp. 151–153.
The excerpt was posted online by the Bosnian Prometej.ba,
Now, almost 20 years after the first appearance of the book in public, looking at the state of the world, these thoughts became topical once again, perhaps even more than during the rather localized conflict area of Bosnia and former Yugoslavia.
Now, it seems, his warning words have become a global reality." - medium.com/@komiska