Application to Join the Party


Dear Weed,

For the past few months, I’ve been considering whether to join the Party. To be honest, I don’t know you well enough. I met you two years ago in West Bund in Shanghai, and unexpectedly have been attached to you ever since. C asked me yesterday if I’m too obsessed with you. He doesn’t know I’m writing this letter to you.

You were everywhere when I was young. You were nothing extraordinary. There’s a hill right next to my home. All I can recall is wild jujube. They have thorns. Once I fell and my face was scratched. I also remember removing you from the sports field at school. When I visited N in California, she told me not to touch poison ivy. Before 2013, all I cared about are human issues. Perhaps it’s T’s influence, or perhaps seeds planted by my mom have finally sprouted. I suddenly changed.

But why joining the Party? I was at Xinyang Military Academy in 1992 for one year of military training. I remember one day I was on duty. The political commissar squatted down by the flower bed at the entrance to smoke. He asked if I would consider joining the Party. I was busy memorizing English vocabulary then. Later in the States, I ran into a classmate who attended military training in Xinyang as well. He did join the Party. After graduation he went on to work on Wall Street. He then started a company in Beijing. Last year he also organized singing red songs in his company.

Why joining the Party? Is it because of belief, love, ambition, beauty, or efficiency? I’m not so sure, but increasingly I believe a new -ism will emerge. “New” is not the right word. W has said that the revolutionary consensus developed in early 20th century China already included a kind of non-anthropocentric understanding of liberation. I haven’t yet investigated whether my feelings are similar to thoughts of that period. I’m only writing down my feelings for now.

M said if not for us, you as a concept would not have existed. Though you as a concept are created by us, you are not created by us. Just like we are not created by us. Maybe today’s world is revolving around concepts, but the universe cannot be filled only by concepts. Beyond these concepts created by us, there is you and thousands and millions of other beings that I will probably never be able to meet in my life. We have occupied space and time, occupied energy and possibilities. You are trying to remind us that we are not all.

How can more people come to see that we are limited, and accept our limitedness? Is joining the Party the only way? I don’t know, but I have to do something. I have to find a few trustworthy friends.

Zheng Bo
July 18, 2015