We have come to Wall Street as refugees from this native dreamland, seeking asylum in the actual. That is what we seek to occupy. Through this occupation we seek to rediscover and reclaim the world.

We were born into a world of ghosts and illusions that have haunted our minds our entire lives. These shades seem more alive to us than reality, and perhaps by some definition are more actual, hyper-real. We grew up in this world of screens and hyperbole and surreal imagery, and think nothing of a long-dead actor appearing on a wall in our homes to urge us to buy or live a certain way. Some generations ago, we might have all been burned, perhaps rightly, as witches. After all, who knows where these images really come from? 

We have no clear idea how life should really feel. The mind adapts itself quickly to commonplaces and absurdities alike, so that a child raised in a phantasmal funhouse will assume it is normal, especially if she can’t find the door. We sense something is wrong only through the odd clue. The power cuts off from an unusually violent storm; when we look away, confused, from our dark screens to an actual person, we’re told something about the climate deteriorating. We notice a vague spiritual nausea, hard to discuss in a world where most serious, hard-working people have little time to believe in the existence of the soul. The ghosts that come to us offer no vocabulary to describe the emptiness they helped create within us.

We have come to Wall Street as refugees from this native dreamland, seeking asylum in the actual. That is what we seek to occupy. Through this occupation we seek to rediscover and reclaim the world.

Many believe we have come to Wall Street to transact some kind of business with its denizens, to strike a deal. But we have not come to negotiate. We have come to confront the darkness at its source, here, where the Big Apple sucks in more of the sap from the national tree than it needs or deserves, as if spliced from some Edenic forbearer. Serpent-size worms feast within, engorged on swollen fruit. Here, the world is chewed and digested into bits as tiny and fluid as the electrons that traders use to bring nations and homeowners to their knees. 

At Wall Street we see that the basic quantum of experience has become the transaction; that life’s central purpose is to convert all of existence into tradable currency. The significance of the phantoms from our childhood becomes clearer. We understand them as souls detached from their former selves and meanings, and reduced to messengers. They were sent to us by people intent on grounding life into a hoard-able quintessence, who have urged us merely to buy and “do our part” in the constant monetization of life.

Television, one of the chief culprits of our spiritual vacuum, has revealed that the central action of our time involves rending together experiential units:  families, atoms, meaning, psyches. Advertising campaigns have become the central art of our generation. The artistic imagination, previously occupied with translating heaven and listening quietly for the intangible within and around us, has traded these idylls for steady employment producing fetishistic car commercials. It all seems to be of a part: the images crowding in on us as cheap and lifeless as the products they represent, built in factories owned by hollow men trying to fill their emptiness with mansions and treasures that they drained from us. In so doing they make the rest of the world as dark and dead as they are. And unsurprisingly, as the world has become too polluted with junk to live, our imaginations colonized by banalities and our souls sucked dry, we have become infatuated with vampires.

Wall Street tells us, it has always told us, that there is a plan and that it is our duty to follow that plan. We have come here to doubt and to dispute that plan. When we peek at the blueprints made for the project, we see drawn there a fantastic land of gaudy castles surrounded by a protective fence of broken glass, and outside this territory a vast denuded plane scribbled with the words “Rabble,” “Suckers,” “Consumers,” “Them.”   

What do we want from Wall Street? Nothing, because it has nothing to offer us. We wouldn’t be here if Wall Street fed off itself; we are here because it is feeding off everyone. It is sustaining the phantoms and ghosts we have always known and whose significance we now understand. We have come here to vanish those ghosts; to assert our real selves and lives; to build genuine relationships with each other and the world; and to remind ourselves that another path is possible. If the phantoms of Wall Street are confused by our presence in their dream,, so much the better. It is time that the unreal be exposed for what it is.

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