"Oh, calm down, dumbass," Martin rolled his eyes. "You know what I mean."
"Well, no, actually. I don't." Jokay was being a bit disingenuous here, but baiting Martin was not a bad way to pass the time. "All that violent shit never gets anyone anywhere."
"Violence? Who's talking about violence?" This really got on his nerves. Baited, he was. "Same with 'anarchy.' The two sweetest and most liberating ideas to infect the human mind are forever associated with violence." He paused. "Well, maybe you're right... about the 'violence' part, not whether it got anyone anywhere. Not that I'm answering that right now."
"No, no. Of course not." Jokay smirked. "Do go on."
"Well, shit, I mean, is it 'violent' to say 'No!', to resist the violence of coercion? OK, probably yes, but isn't acquiescence a form of collusion with coercion? Like, you're letting your brothers and sisters down?"
"So, what? You're gonna strike down the Man, and save 'em all? Last time we had this conversation, you admitted that when you do that, then you the Man, and it's only a matter of time until some other smarty Marty comes along and starts it all over again." His eyes slid over. His friend has answered this a dozen times before, but it never seemed to gel for Jokay.
Joseph Kaineman always wanted Martin to be right. Often, after enough hours had passed, and enough beer and pot were consumed, it felt that he nearly inhabited that strange place where his friend always seemed to be speaking of, his eyes trained on some middle-distant place or object. Shuddering, he found himself once again pointlessly following that gaze.
"Jokay, you're right! Of course, you're right!" Where others might have felt that this was a point conceded, for Martin it was a delight. Because there is nothing more effective in bustin' new ideas than starting with an apparent paradox. "But, you know, as I've said before, that kind of 'revolution' ain't revolution. It's a coup, with one greedy elite replacing the other, leaving the people spectators at best, but more likely co-victims. And of course the beat goes on. It's the dissolution of power..."
"Yea, yea, and power abhors a vacuum, right? Enter the new smarty Marty..."
"Could we not use tired aphorisms when we're trying to think freshly?" he snapped. "Jesus Christ, it really helps, you know."
"Oh, that's funny, coming from you. Everything that comes out of your mouth sounds like an aphorism. Mr. Philosopher, pronouncing from above." This was gonna get nasty tonight.
This is going to be nasty tonight, Martin thought. Wait, no... "Jokay! Have a bong hit!" He waited until the bubbling stopped, and waited... Christ, how many times do I have to tell him that it's stupid to hold in the hit for that long... and waited...
"OK. I'll take on your aphorism. Sure 'power' abhors a vacuum. As long as 'power' is around. But 'power' is just an idea." He peered at his friend.
"It's a pretty fucking powerful fucking idea!"
Martin laughed. "Well, it's the belief in the idea that lends it power.""
"A lot of fucking people believe in power, Martin."
"Yup. So, what is revolution, really, then, Jokay?"
"You know, I hate when you do that," he said drolly, "how 'bout you fill me in? Oh, wait... education!"
Jokay knew Martin pretty well. "Yup."
Jokay sipped his beer. And stared.
"Well, I didn't say that it wasn't dangerous." He stared back.
"Education?! What the fuck are you talking about?" he jumped. "You're starting to piss me off."
Martin chuckled. You're not the only one that can bait, my friend. "Nah, not education... revolution! That is to say, well, yes, education, exactly, since that's what we're really talking about. We're talking about ideas, my friend!"
"Look, it's actually pretty simple. To summarize, a power grab is not a revolution, it's just a rearrangement of the deck chairs. The only true revolution would completely eschew power - just as anarchy is merely the absence of a ruler, not a description of chaos. In order for this to have any meaning, some significant tipping-point of the population, the people, have to understand what is happening, or there you will have your aphoristic power vacuum. Bong hit.
"So," he croaked out on the big exhale, "You have to educate people. It's not hard to see, however, that thems that runs the place ain't gonna take very kindly to yours truly or anyone else 'splainin' these sorts of facts in any kind of effective medium, or to any significant number of people, especially if they start getting to know each other and reinforce this 'Power, what power?' meme."
"Oh, you mean like the Internet," Jokay has an 'aha' moment.
"Not really." Jokay really wanted to punch him for that one, so Martin took another bong hit, for purely tactical reasons. "Problem with the Internet is that it's just like us two sitting around and talking about this shit. Sure, most sly power-users may be able to dodge any selective censorship that might occur, but your average person - and that's who we're talking about here - can be easily misdirected, redirected and confused by the owners of the backbone of that goddamned wonderful and awful thing. And those owners have 'power.' And of course, owners of 'power,' being believers in it themselves, will use it to stop anything for real going on here on the education side."
"So, what are you talking about, ssssMarty?"
"Fuck you, man." He laughed. "Nothing new or smart or sophisticated or original. Just old-fashioned clandestine meetings, impromptu schooling in churches and taverns, hiding from 'vacuum-fillers,' as it were.
"Like I said, I didn't say it wasn't dangerous."