A Virtual Post-Anarchist Roundtable: An Interview with Jürgin Mümken, Anton Fernendaz de Rota, and Süreyyya Evren [Part 1]

  • Posted on: 17 March 2011
  • By: worker

<table><tr><td>From <a href="http://adcs.anarchyplanet.org">Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies Blog</a>

<strong>Duane Rousselle:</strong> Post-anarchism has come to mean different things to different people. In the anglophone world, Saul Newman has described a Lacanian/Stirnerian “post-anarchism,” Todd May has called for a practice-oriented “post-structuralist anarchism,” Lewis Call has described a time of “post-modern anarchism,” and Hakim Bey has called for a reinvention of traditional anarchist discourse in his 1987 essay “post-anarchism anarchy.” In my own research, I have noticed that there is a striking difference in the way post-anarchism has been conceived in the non-anglophone world. I would like to ask you a bit about what post-anarchism means for you and for your audience.

<strong>Jürgin Mümken:</strong> In order to answer the question of what post-anarchism means to me, I must first of all discuss my ‘philosophical beginnings.’ While I was studying architecture during the end of the 1980s, I grappled with the problem of prison architecture. I was struck by Michel Foucault’s <em>Discipline and Punish.</em> This was serendipitous for me because at that time in Germany, Foucault barely played any role in those discourses that occurred outside of philosophy.</td><td><img title="fart. how can you be post something that has never been" height=220 width=220 src="http://i53.tinypic.com/260a5hf.jpg"></td></tr></table>
In the 1990s, I began to bring together Foucauldian thought with anarchism. When, in 1997, my first article on this topic—“No Power for Anyone: Attempts at an Anarchist Appropriation of the philosophical project of Michel Foucault”—was published in an anarchist newspaper, I did not know about the analogous argument in the Anglo-American world. In this article I referred also to the method of <em>deconstruction</em> present in Judith Butler’s work. I called my approach a “deconstructive anarchism.” However, I now argue that this ought not to be a new anarchist trend, as I had formulated it at the time, but rather a form of anarchist thought with wide-reaching consequences in intercourse with the dominant categories and concepts of our time.

While doing research on the Internet I discovered the work of a student in Berlin, whose thesis was that I had in fact been carrying on the thought of Todd May. As I have said, I made recourse to Judith Butler’s <em>deconstructivism</em>, elaborating that an anarchist society ought not to be identified through the absence of power but rather that it is founded upon a reversal of power relationships in accordance that no rigid state of authority be permitted to develop. At that point in time, I had just published my book <em>Freedom, Individuality and Subjectivity: State and Subject in Postmodernity from an Anarchist Perspective</em> but I had not yet heard of Todd May or Saul Newman. I began to research their work on the Internet and came upon the term “post-anarchism.” I considered (and then adopted) the term as my ‘label.’ Later I registered the website http://www.postanarchismus.net. Today post-anarchism remains for me a label within, but increasingly tightly-bound with, the multifaceted approaches to the contemporary actualization of anarchist theory and practice.

However, I do not use the term “post-anarchism” to set myself apart from “classical anarchism.” Foucault, Derrida, Butler, Deleuze, among others, can help us to read classical anarchism <em>again</em>. For example, there are many new and interesting things to discover in Stirner and Bakunin. In the anglo-American world, the German and French approaches to post-anarchism are largely ignored, whereas May, Newman, Call and Day have had no real relevance in the debates in German.

To me post-anarchism means an actualization of anarchist theory and practice with help from the “post-structuralist toolbox.” The prefix “post” stands for challenging and rejecting some of the basic assumptions of classical anarchism, but not for the abandonment of anarchist goals. For me, post-anarchism holds fast to the goal of a classless and stateless society, the term only makes sense within that context.

<em>This is part one of an ongoing conversation about post-anarchism with Jürgin Mümken, Süreyyya Evren, and Anton Fernendaz de Rota. It has been translated from German to English by Enkidu (enkidu[at]AngryNerds.com) with adaptations by Duane Rousselle.</em>


What is this I don't even

words mean everything; everything means words; every word means things; things mean every word; every mean thing words; every mean word things; the mean of everything is words; words thing every meaning; every meaning things words; every meaning words things; thing words mean everything; words mean everything.

now, do you understand?

we have a broad kaleidoscope of thought outside of words. so i understand mostly of what was said above as bullshit.

i tried to get involved in this by emailing duane rousselle and getting no response. i guess this project doesn't need copy editors?

I either did not receive an email from you or else I responded to you and you did not receive it. I do not ignore emails.

At this time, we do not need copy-editors.

Duane Rousselle

it must have been some sort of technical error. i emailed Süreyyya Evren, she said she would forward it to you. this was after i already attempted contacting you first hand.

Ok, well sorry about the whole mess. We found a copy-editor, and thanks for your interest!

This looks interesting and I def want to read more as you have it coming in.

All of this ‘post-anarchist-theoretical discourse’ on anarchism seems to want to kick off from the unnatural forms of organization that some cultures, but not all, have evolved; i.e. anthropocentrist organizational approaches that generate class-structures and statist structures.

Why not start from organization in general? In which case we do not have to depend on notions that start, anthropocentrically, with ‘class’ and then remove it as in ‘classLESS’, or start, anthropocentrically, with ‘state’ and then remove it as in ‘stateLESS’.

Organization in the history of philosophy, has come in three flavours; (a) intrinsic [Aristotle’s acorn-to-oak-tree ‘telos’ or purposefulness], (b) extrinsic [Plato’s ideal forms, outside-inward sucking-imperfect-forms-into-shape], and (c) conjugate extrinsic-intrinsic relation [Heraclitus’ flow, where the trough suck in the crest at the same time as the crest fills the trough]

Michelangelo opined that he did not construct his sculptures purposefully [in which case he would have created the same form out of any available material) but that each block of marble contained within in, forms that were waiting to be liberated by chipping away the stone that enclosed them (the rock-habitat's organizing influence predominated over the rock-inhabitant's organizing influence).

Nietzsche also endorsed (c) and asserted that ‘evolution was a simultaneously reciprocal [conjugate] process of diffusion wherein endosmosis [extrinsic organizing influence] predominates over exosmosis [intrinsic organizing influence]. This agrees with modern physics wherein matter is understood as ‘ripples in the energy-charged spatial plenum’; i.e. matter is organization within the spatial plenum in the manner of the convection-cell in the flow of the atmosphere. This is understood by way of Mach’s principle: “The dynamics of the habitat are extrinsically conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are intrinsically conditioning the dynamics of the habitat.”

Nietzsche’s view comprehends within it, three basic types of ‘organization’. Terms like ‘stateless’ and ‘classless’ give a constrained view of organization that pivots from organization type (a) [Aristotelian acorn-to-oak-tree ‘telos’ or ‘purposefulness’].

Thus, the statement in the article;

”For me, post-anarchism holds fast to the goal of a classless and stateless society, the term only makes sense within that context.”,

...doesn’t say a hell of a lot, in terms of the possible topologies of ‘organization’. It merely says that ‘post-anarchism’ is a form or organization that is ‘not.(a)’ based.

The (a) is ‘anthropocentric’ as it is based on the model of ‘purposeful systems’ wherein behaviour is locally originating and JUMPSTARTS (as implied by ‘intrinsic’) from internal producer-product/goal-oriented intellect and purpose). The ‘post-anarchism' opting for a ‘not.(a)’ approach to organization can still be anthropocentric. It simply needs to put some ‘new programming’ into the ‘intellect and purpose’ that is the notional driver of locally originating class (a) behaviour; i.e. new programming such as putting 'peer-to-peer’ cooperation into precedence over competition-based hierarchism.

Zapatistas and Amerindian ‘decolonizers’ have opted for (c) class organization as in the Nietzschean option. In this understanding, organization is no longer viewed as anthropocentric as it does not START FROM locally originating, intellect and purpose-directed behaviour; i.e. (c) class organization does not start from ideas in the minds of men.

Nietzsche’s point that ‘extrinsic organizing influences predominates over intrinsic organizing influence’ corresponds to acknowledging that we are, first of all, ‘sailboaters’ in the sense of ‘fragile barques in life’s tempestuous sea’. Organization in nature is like a continuing ‘tsunami’ which is often ‘mild’ and occasionally ‘humongous’ (but the fact that 'man is not in control of organization' is the general case) and the attraction of 'high ground' in the habitat is always the primary organizing influence. Oklahomans were attracted to the fertile plains like ants are attracted to honey pots, and if those plains become infertile topsoil-less windswept gravel plains, the ‘Okies’ will swarm and be organized like ants by honey-pots in response to the attraction of californian 'oases'. In the (c) class of organization, we acknowledge that our individual and collective behaviours are FIRSTLY organized so as to cultivate and sustain habitat-inhabitant balance and harmony. Like the sailboater, we acknowledge that our power and steerage derive from the habitat. Only during long periods where the habitat is ‘good to us’ do we shift to powerboating mode where we proudly declare that our power and steerage is all inboard, that we (man) are fully and solely responsible for our own producer-product achievements. We say that our richly producing Oklahoma farm is due to us; i.e. we buy into (a) class Aristotelian acorn-to-oak-tree notion of organization which ignores and makes no mention of the primary organizing role of ‘habitat’. Of course, when our production drops to nil, even though we are applying our very best human intellect-and-purpose directed behaviours [i.e. when dustbowl conditions come], we are forced to acknowledge the natural primacy of ‘habitat’ in orchestrating our behaviour, and we load up our trucks and let the oases-honey-pots of california orchestrate our individual and collective ant-like behaviours.

State-based and class-based organizational systems start from human ‘intellect-and-purpose –directed class (a) organizational behaviours. They are ‘anthropocentric’ organizational approaches that do not acknowledge the natural primacy of the habitat-based extrinsic influence.

To simply ‘negate’ class (a), intrinsic, organizational approaches (i.e. to speak of ‘post-anarchism’ in terms of ‘classless’ and ‘stateless’ society) implies that there are other superior ‘anarchist’ organizing approaches that are, nevertheless, ‘intellect and purpose’ based. Such systems are still ‘authoritarian’ in that the organization is jumpstarted from human minds. The principle of Lafontaine continues to apply; “La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure’ (“The reasoning of the most powerful is always the best”)

Meanwhile, the source of the organizational dysfunction we have locked ourselves into is not ‘statism’ and ‘classism’ per se, but rather from the anthropocentrist notion that organization must originate in the intellect and purpose of men.

The Zapatistas and the Amerindian ‘decolonizing’ initiatives have implicitly declared their opting for the non-anthropocentric class (c) organizing approach which lets our sailboater psyche predominate over our powerboater psyche.

Discussions of ‘post-anarchism’ that fail to address the unnatural primacy of class (a) intrinsic organizing approaches wherein we assume that organizing starts from the intellect and purpose of men (‘anthropocentric organizing’) relative to the class (b) and class (c) organizing options implicitly suggest alternative BUT STILL ‘ANTHROPOCENTRIC’ organizing approaches which will involve new ‘intellect-and-purpose’ based mental programs. Anthropocentric ‘stateless’ and ‘classless’ [class (a)] ‘post-anarchism’ approaches may differ fundamentally from the Nietzschean (c) class [Zapatista and 'decolonizer'] organizing approach, and the possibility of such fundamental difference in organizing approach ['intrinsic-predominates' versus 'extrinsic predominates over intrinsic'], if not overtly stated and discussed, will lead to confusion.

That is, the category of 'all those who support stateless and classless society', although the author fails to state it, splits into two very different approaches to organizing; 'anthropocentrism-sourced organization' and 'nature-sourced organization'

That was even more boring and incomprehensible than original article.

Post-anarchism should rightly be called (Academic)poseur-anarchism. Absolutely fucking useless to anyone involved out on the streets or at least outside of the campus. Ivory tower armchair anarchists for the win! Fucking wanker garbage.

the term ‘anarchism’, being a negating of ‘archism’, seems to set back the whole business of cultivating a common understanding as to what so many of us are pissed off about in our society, and what it is we’d prefer to have.

of course we want ‘archism’ to stop dominating our approach to organizing our social dynamic, and it’s natural that those in the toughest situations and feeling crushed under the heel of ‘archism’ are going to be most interested in action-related discussions and ‘tune out’ when then encounter what sounds like ‘ivory tower theory’, and that’s fine, but ‘what are teams for?’ ... if not to attend to multiple needs at the same time? ‘overthrowing’ one regime and replacing it with another ‘more just’ regime leads on to the same injustice and social dissonance, with a new cast of characters.

my point about ‘post-anarchism’ is equally applicable to ‘anarchism’; i.e. schemes that attempt to re-organize by changing out ‘intellectual programs’ are not the answer. they implicitly assume an approach to social organizing that is anthropocentric (that assumes that social organization must originate from the intellect and purpose of humans). believe this if you want, but it is not how ‘nature organizes’ since man is included in the natural habitat, so in spite of the hubris of man, man is organized by the dynamics of habitat. when the flood or drought comes, man is animated by these habitat-based dynamics; i.e. the habitat dynamic ‘predominates’ over the inhabitant-dynamic.

we are bewitched by our own thought and language because we (our acculturated psyche) has us believe that our actions initiate within ourselves, from our internal intellect and purpose. this is Fiktion. ok, this is nietzsche’s call, but he is right. we can check him out on this or not, but if we do, we see ‘anarchism’ in a different light.

if we fly over oklahoma in the 1920’s and see a bright yellow rectangular patch (a field of wheat or sunflowers or etc.), we call this ‘an effect’. this is wrong. an ‘effect’ or ‘result’ is an absolutism that implicitly constrains our understanding of ‘organization’ to ‘cause-and-effect’. once we start thinking in terms that this emergence of a rectangular yellow patch is an ‘effect’, we search for ‘cause’. our investigation then shows that the ‘farmer’ is the ‘cause’ of this ‘effect’. what we have done here is to implicitly reduce the organization of nature, sun-cycles, soil-web, water-cycle to a blank page on which this ‘cause-and-effect’ is writ. the yellow patch is more realistically understood as ‘interference’ into a continuing natural organizational dynamic. all we get out of this ‘cause and effect’ model is a recipe for getting such and such a result from such and such actions ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL (ceteris paribus). the farmer can write out the recipe for his children to pass on to his grandchildren. but the habitat-dynamic predominates over the inhabitant-dynamic (farmer-dynamic), and if an arid zone migrates so as to include the rectangular patch and the green zones migrate elsewhere, then the simple ‘cause-and-effect’ recipe (theory) that credits the farmer as being the ‘causal agent’ responsible for the ‘result’ of the rectangular field of wheat is exposed as an over-simplistic representation of what is going on. the farmer’s magic runs out when the magic carpet of the green zone is whipped out from under his feet.

how about the political leader’s magic, and the local government’s magic, .. their claims of being responsible for maintaining the health and welfare of the local farming community? that was the same sort of over-simplistic ‘cause-and-effect’ recipe, and they can stick around and solicit people to vote for them and claim what great things they are going to do for the community, but their emperor’s new clothes will be fully exposed when the green zone migrates out from underfoot and all their 'followers' have moved on.

this is what the IWW and other anarchist thinkers back at the turn of the 19th century were saying about ‘the means of production’ relative to ‘capital investment’; i.e. the means of production predominate over capital investment. first comes the ‘green zone’, then the ‘workers’ and only then comes the ‘capitalists’ and the ‘politicians’. it is the inverse of how we commonly present the sourcing of dynamics.

it is the ‘fiction’ of ‘cause-and-effect’ (simple newtonian scientific thinking) that inverts our notion of the sourcing of production and attributes its source to the top of an intellectual hierarchy. farm production doesn’t originate with human intellect and purpose, it originates with the habitat-dynamic, the dynamics of the spatial plenum in which we are included. ‘organization’ is in place in nature, in the land, before the arrival of the farmer. it is anthropocentrism (man’s hubris) that has him redefine ‘organization’ as something that starts from ‘him’, from his intellect and purpose. this is where/how (with this belief in ‘cause-and-effect’) we let thought and language ‘bewitch’ our understanding (wittgenstein, nietzsche).

anthropocentric thinking is the mother of authoritarianism and statism and capitalism. and, insofar as intellectual frameworks such as ‘post-anarchism’ do not acknowledge this, and continue to pretend that ‘man’ is responsible for ‘organization’, it will take us back down into the same ‘archist’ dysfunctional pit.

You have way too much time on your hands.

The political leaders "magic" isn't at all: They are "responsible for maintaining the health and welfare of the local farming community" insofar as they, as an active subject, could order its destruction. The state is not just an abstract relation - it is a relation certainly, but it is concrete, and certain (or this whole business would be fucking easy). "Man" (seriously, what the fuck?) IS responsible for organization on a practical level. We certainly are not alienable from our environment, but such an observation is not particularly relevant to a project of active subjects.
So, like, y'know, shuit the fuck up, hippie.

omg i kant believe you used the word man that is like soooo opressive dood!

your remarks suggest that you are the slave of idealized concepts. the state is an idealization. it is not 'real' in a physical sense. the notion of a 'subject' is fiction. the notion that 'subjects are the source of causal actions' is a fiction. the 'state' IS an abstract idealization. anyone with enough violence to back them up can get the talk going that speaks of the birth of a new state [the popular media will pick up on it], the kingdom of ralph, or whatever. it is the propensity of people, the propensity that you are showing, to regard idealization as 'real' that cultivates a 'belief' in the existence of the 'new state'. once you get enough people to subscribe to the belief, like offering them a piece of the real-estate action that comes from dividing up the imaginary-line bounded area that king ralph has laid out, then they become defenders of the belief in the existence of this idealization called 'the state'. the trick used by colonizers is to secure the notional 'existence' (pure idealization) of 'the state' by offering prospective immigrants a stake in the newly proclaimed state in exchange for swearing an oath of allegiance to belief in the existence of the state and to agree to bear arms and to give their lives, if necessary, to protect belief in the idealization [to use violence to 'make believers' out of anyone who balks at accepting such idealization, like the local indigenous peoples].

of course, if there are bunch of nutcases around you who have bought into the idealization and made it THEIR REALITY, then one has to pragmatically deal with living inside such a nuthouse, but there is no reason to buy into the madness. for those who do buy into it, they end up saying stuff like you are saying; i.e. defending the 'reality' of what is purely Fiktion.

like marx says, all this talk about 'freedom' as in 'free trade' boils down to a relaxing of the artificial restrictions of movement that come from the idealization of 'property' of 'locally existing owned land' and the state is a colonizing device based on the idealization of the 'existence' of an imaginary line bounded closed geometric form, the boundaries of the notional 'kingdom of ralph' or whatever.

what anarchism is faced with is 'believers' who confuse idealization with natural reality, as you are doing. all we can expect from such folks is yet more schemes based on idealization that is radically divorced from the 'real world' dynamics of the natural habitat.

this insanity of belief in 'states' and their 'authority' is a bewitchment of our understanding that we need to break ourselves out of.

in the mature stage of this madness, the entire surface of the earth is divided up by imaginary line boundaries, so that even if there is a common pulse of rejection of this statist bullshit, e.g. as in the arab world at present, if you suspend belief in your local imaginary line bounded states on a state by state basis, the neighbouring states' imaginary line boundaries continue to pen you in. one has to get down to the very notion of 'property ownership' and reject it in order to re-establish 'free trade' and 'free movement'. people who are proud of the ersatz 'free passage' that their statist passports give to them (the 'device' of colonization) are bewitched by legal jargon to the point that they confuse 'idealized freedom' and 'idealized free passage' with 'natural freedom' and natural 'free passage', to the point that they start talking like you, confusing idealization for reality.

Systems of Consequence

I think there is a subtle critique beneath many anarchist arguments of artificial systems of consequence as opposed to organic systems of consequence. What I mean by these terms is that the environmental conditions (the material conditions) which human beings are connected with can be very different, but two distinctly different environmental conditions can be understood by observing the predominant sources of consequence (feed-back, conditioning, etc.). There are situations like ours where the most acceptable ethics are those rooted in a focus on the artificial or pragmatic consequences: laws, debts, rents, etc. These consequences are a facade over what I think of as systems of organic consequence: pain, illness, stress, embarrassment, solidarity, sensual pleasure, play, etc. Ideological arguments about human nature try to demonstrate a high degree of correlation between the artificial and the organic systems of consequence, or at least make some sort of appeal to organic systems of consequence to demonstrate why artificial systems of consequence are superior. But many anarchists don't and I even think that a sort of deep hatred of artificial systems of consequence shows itself in taking up a title that is a negation (an-archism). In Colin Ward's writings, there is "The Theory of Spontaneous Order" ...in Kropotkin, there is a dedicated analysis of mutual aid (as an organic phenomenon and part of an organic system of consequences). As just two examples, it seems like organic systems of consequences are at the basis of an ethic. The uneasiness of proposing blueprints (for a good example, see AFAQ section on what an anarchist society might look like) may come directly from an intuitive understanding of this. It is also a very easy lesson to learn from life, especially from the estranged life of capitalist society. The moment you begin to rely on the organic consequences of your actions to justify them and scoff at the artificial systems of consequence (rules, laws, etc.) as an idiot's pragmatism, this critique has come into consciousness.

This can be an important focus when it comes to anarchist tactics and strategy. Partially, because it would lead to actions that are guided by the presumption of organic consequences as the goal - actions that would be less symbolic. Also, because it points to a system (or a world) that is outside human planning: the organic world. My unfamiliarity with Green Anarchism may be why this thought has novelty to me. But, grounding an ethics in an understanding of organic consequences instead of in something like Reason, may be quite useful. It aligns choice with a realty that is more profound than the reality of police and the class-antagonisms they water down and the interests they protect (or, laws), the economists' logic of resource value and labor value, and other such systems. It also illustrates a much more profound conflict: between life (organic systems) and the dominance of life (artificial systems).

squee, your comments on different types of consequence are, in my view, right on target.

as in my reply to anon - Sat, 2011-03-19 10:49, we are so bombarded with 'artificial systems' jargon that we fall into the trap of confusing this 'idealization' (artificial systems) with 'reality' (organic systems).

the 'sailboater' understands that the organic system that he is situationally included in is the 'primary reality'. his power and his steerage derives from this organic system he is included in. but his mind has a mischievous tendency to have him think of himself as a 'powerboater' with his own inboard power-drive and steerage. after all, this is how the science of biology describes him, as a 'local system with its own locally originating, internal process-driven behaviour'; i.e. '... its own intellect and purpose-directed behaviour'. this is pure 'idealization'. his behaviour does not originate from within his own interior. that is the 'artificial systems' view of himself. his behaviour originates from the organic system he is included in, ... whether we call it the 'energy-charged spatial plenum' (bohm) or whatever.

many people would prefer to believe that they are 'local independent machines made of meat'; i.e. the reductionist scientists like dawkins, crick and many more, while philosophers like emerson, schroedinger, bohm, poincare, nietzsche, would say that we are included in the organic 'becoming', an understanding that contradicts the 'artificial systems' notion of ourselves as 'locally existing systems with our own locally originating, internal process-driven behaviour'. for those caught in the japanese tsunami and in the radiation contaminated dynamics of space that they are situationally included in. it is a degenerate logic that would conceive of them as 'local systems with their own locally originating, internal process directed behaviour', since that would fail to address the behaviour-orchestrating influence of the dynamic space (organic system) that they are included in.

there are no 'local systems' that are NOT included within the dynamics of the organic suprasystem of nature. such inclusion, and its implications of a conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation (rather than locally-originating behaviour) 'predominate' over the artificial systems view of ourselves as having our own inboard power-drive and steerage. as nietzsche says, 'local being' and the artificial concept of the 'subject' as the basis for 'doer-deed' dynamics are fictions; i.e. we are included in 'evolution as a process of diffusion wherein endosmosis predominates over exosmosis'.

by incessantly talking in the jargon of artificial systems [as if they dealt with 'organic reality' which they do not] which confuse 'subject' and 'object' ['being'] for reality [reinforced by such artificial systems theories as darwinism and genetic determinism], we keep ourselves enslaved in the statist/authoritarian madness that characterizes the world-dominating colonizing culture.

"squee, your comments on different types of consequence are, in my view, right on target.

Ouch squee, thats gotta hurt!

I Drink Blood


The sort of selfhood (this disconnected, egoic selfhood) that Alan Watts is talking about is what I think of as an objectified self. It is a subject and an expression of dead things. This says little about the sort of selfhood that is a subject and expression of a living, organic world that is consistently undergoing the tortures of humanity guided by this prior sort of selfhood. Nor does it mention what an organic response to that torture is like. It isn't as peaceful as the steaming tea and the misty mountains or the smoking incense of hippy culture when like other expressions of life, it is backed into a corner. It revolts ...as Bakunin notes: "To revolt is a natural tendency of life. Even a worm turns against the foot that crushes it. In general, the vitality and relative dignity of an animal can be measured by the intensity of its instinct to revolt." The authoritarian wants to tame this reflex and direct it into some sort of useful program that serves the Cause. When anarchists affirm and defend it (or when De Sade, Nietzsche, or some other dreaded philosopher does), this itself strikes terror into the belly of the saints, police, politicians, and capitalists. Unfortunately, our neighbors and friends are also terrified of this urge. But, there is a perspective on this issue that speaks volumes to me. It is something that was said by one of the Greek anarchists touring with the Void Network in SF; "first they will fear us ...then they will respect us!"

yes, the alan watts presentation on the fiction of 'being' is classic, and it echoes nietzsche's similar 'organism-is-the-environment' wake-up call, but as someone wrote underneath it [on the youtube website];

Interesting video. Indigenous people all over the world have been sending out this message, that we are part of nature. Seems that the message is still not getting through 40 yrs later.

the implication that we can't get to where we want to by 'doing' seems to be continually lost in the popular emphasis on 'doing'.

the spam-detectors rejected my expanded comment on alan watts, which i submitted to anarchistnews.org as a story after transcribing his oral comments in the 12 minute youtube video-clip, so i’ll see if it ‘makes it through’ as a comment here.

what watts is saying is that our ‘self’ doesn’t boil out of a local point in our interior. that is the ‘ego’, a self-deception that makes us think that we are a ‘local system with its own locally originating, internal process driven-and-directed behaviour’.

this ‘local system’ view of ‘self’ which is nothing other than ‘ego’ (a ‘concept’) is something that we have built into our sciences (making our sciences ‘anthromorphism’ as nietzsche pointed out). the ‘local system’ concept is what we have also built into ‘sovereigntism’. once again, it is a concept of a ‘local system’ with ‘its own locally originating, internal process-driven and directed behaviour’.

you will recognize this as our commonly accepted concept of the ‘cell’, ‘DNA’ (genes), ‘organism’, ‘state’ and ‘corporation’. that is, we have deployed this concept all over the place, in spite of the fact that it is ‘fiction’. it is ‘absolutist fiction’. nothing starts out from a ‘local point’. the very notion of a ‘local point’ or ‘local source’ is fiction, absolutist ‘idealization’. is it useful? sure, ... as long as we don’t confuse it for ‘reality’ which is precisely what we have been doing.

alan watts goes to great length (12 minute presentation) to try to ‘get this across’ into our millennia-long culture-bewitched ego-believing minds.
how should we think about ‘the self’ or ‘the system’ if we want to take alan watt’s advice and let go of the absolutist thinking that would have us see the ‘self’ as having locally originating behaviour? (a mindset that has us trying to solve all our problems in ‘doer-deed’ mode which simply messes something up ‘other there’ while we think we are fixing it up ‘right here’.

think about the relationship between jean valjean and french society in the era immediately preceding the pulse of revolutions that spread across europe in 1848. think about it in the same spatial-relational flow sense as a (storm-)cell in the flow of the atmosphere. jean valjean is a whorl in the flow; i.e. he is a conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation, and Mach’s principle of space-matter (habitat-inhabitant) relativity applies; i.e. “the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat.”.

sounds weird to you? well, the quantum physicists say that it sounds weird to them too; i.e. that material structures are ripple structures in the energy-charged spatial plenum, ... but that’s what relativity and quantum physics, validated by experiment, are saying. so, ‘no virginia, you are not REALLY a ‘local system with your own locally originating, intellect and purpose directed behaviour’. that is merely fiction, ... useful fiction relative to linguistic discourse and the sharing of ideas, ... but fiction that one mustn’t confuse for reality; i.e. one confuses it for reality at the price of screwing up the social dynamic we share inclusion in. in alan watts terms, we are screwing up our society and the biosphere because we are confusing such fiction for reality.

so, the flow of energy is from the habitat through jean valjean back into the habitat, as with the whorl in the flow. jean valjean’s behaviour does not ‘really’ originate within his interior as the absolutist ‘ego’ model of self suggests, but that is what we have built into the justice system so that’s how the ‘law’ looks at this behaviour. it says that our behaviour starts from within us, so that it doesn’t matter a damn how oppressive or how supportive our social/environmental habitat is, our behaviour is seen as ‘jump-starting’ from our interior and we are fully and solely responsible for our own behaviour and the ‘law’ and the ‘justice system’ of the sovereign state need look no farther for the source of our behaviour than into our interior; i.e. to our intellect and purpose, as the causal source of our behaviour. so, no matter how oppressive the habitat becomes due to the policies of the sovereign state, this has nothing to do with the sourcing of our behaviour as far as the ‘justice system’ goes.

alan watts is trying to tear down this false impression that our behaviour originates within us, which has us thinking of ourselves as ‘doers of deeds’ who are responsible for all the bad stuff that happens and, by the same token, are the doers of good deeds that we imagine will rescue ourselves from the dysfunction that the doers of bad deeds have been causally sourcing. as watts says, this doer-deed fixing things up is going to mess things up just as surely as the doer-deed screw ups are accused of doing. the world dynamic is not determined by ‘doers of deeds’ regardless of what ‘science’ (the classical variety, the biological sciences which define everything in terms of ‘local systems with their own locally originating behaviour’) is saying.

so, think about sovereign states and their ‘representative democracies’. we portray the sovereign state as we portray the ego, as a ‘local system with its own locally originating behaviour’. as an informal group of people, we might actually choose this method as an expedient way to organize our collective behaviour. we would ‘choose a father’ and we, all of the rest, would put ourselves under the authority of the father, for the expedience of organizing our actions. of course, the father would have to get his directions from us, and we could change out the ‘father’ at any time since it is just a voluntary approach to organization. but supposing the father started thinking his authority was absolute, and further more that it was a ‘moral authority’ that came from ‘above’ or somewhere absolute, and that it was his job to take care of his children even if they thought his directions were bullshit and were making life difficult for (some of) them. when the children started protesting, he would have to ‘suppress their disturbance’ in order to do the best thing for the full collective. and if the protests go really extreme, he would have to suspend all ‘democratic processes’ until he could get the situation under control again, by arresting and incarcerating those would throw the whole system into chaos.

this [absolutist] ‘rigidity’ that we have built into sovereign state governance (‘representative democracy’ as in sovereign statism) is nothing other than the deployment of the ‘ego’ concept on a collective basis; i.e. it is insane to really believe that the state is a ‘local system with its own locally originating, internal process-driven behaviour’ (this amounts to believing in imaginary-line boundaries and the mutual exclusivity of the ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of the state, ... which is why historians of law refer to ‘sovereigntism’ as a ‘secularized theological concept’ [so is ‘the ego’ a secularized theological concept. nothing originates locally. nature is inherently nonlocal in its dynamics]).

so, that is an elaboration of alan watts 12 minute video presentation transcribed below along with some of the implications, in terms of social dysfunction, that watts alludes to (i.e. how confusing the ego for reality messes us up).

Alan Watts on the nature of ‘Self’

”I’ve just come back from Los Angeles. I was down there to meet with a group of rather important people, people in the movie industry, scientists and so on, who were considering calling a congress of the best minds in the world in Los Angeles, in the near future, to be a kind of planetary alarm conference.

They wanted scientists and statesmen, religious leaders, ... to do something to impress upon the world through all the media that we are in very serious danger of destroying the biosphere, that is to say, the whole envelope of living creatures which covers this planet through pollution, over-population, nuclear fallout, poisoning of our food and the very lack of food. And we met to discuss the problem of organizing this conference, and sure, there are all these brilliant people and it came over us that we really didn’t know what to say. You can scream and create a state of panic but that won’t do any good. And when it came down to it, we didn’t know what we ought to say, because we really don’t know what to do.

Some things that we might do, for example, to increase the food supply with high yield crops may be ecological mistakes. And so the consensus of almost everybody at the meeting, was that in some way or other, the human has to learn to leave the world alone and let what is called the natural homeostasis, that is the self-balancing process of nature, take care of the mess. Now how we going to do that?

See our problem is that we don’t really know how to stop. We’ve got something started and we see its going in the wrong direction, and I think the difficulty is, to borrow an old chinese saying, that ‘when the wrong man uses the right means, the right means work in the wrong way. In other words, there’s something wrong in the way we think. And while that is there, everything we do will be a mess.

Now what is it that’s wrong? Now as far as i can see, the basic mistake is that we’ve invented this wonderful system of language and calculation, and that it is at once too simple to deal with the complexity of the world. And also, that we are liable to confuse that system of symbols with the world itself, just as we confuse money with wealth. A lot of people are in business to make money instead of wealth. When they make the money they don’t know what to do with it. And so, in the same way, we confuse happiness with status, and we confuse ourselves, as living organisms which are one with this whole universe, with something we call our personality.

And what is our personality? Our personality is what we call our image... our image of ourselves... and also our thought about ourselves, our idea of ourselves. This is the person. In other words, what people meet and understand, and what I understand as Alan Watts is a big act which is not really me. Because in the image of Alan Watts, there are not all my unconscious processes, both psychological and physical. The construction of my brain is not contained in the concept Alan Watts, and the concept Alan Watts does not contain all the inseparable relationships which I have with the rest of the universe and therefore that concept is a fraud. And when it’s mistaken for the real me, there’s a confusion, because ... if somebody says to me, ‘Alan Watts, do something about it’, the concept Alan Watts can’t do anything. In other words, because it’s only a concept, you can’t make it lift a weight.

Just as three is a concept --- three, the number--- you can’t make just plain three do anything. So also, you can’t wrap up parcels with the equator. It’s a useful, imaginary line, but it can’t do anything. But we all feel that this concept of ourselves which we call our personality or our ego, can do something, because we think it really exists and I’ll tell you why we think it exists. What happens when you, ... if I were to say to you; ‘Now look hard at the television screen, ... really look at it. What do you do as distinct from just watching it in just the ordinary way when you say ‘now I really got to see that’, what do you do? Notice, ... that you tighten muscles all around here [eye brows], that you frown a little, you clench your teeth, perhaps. Now what has that got to do with seeing anything clearly? [It has] absolutely nothing to do with it. Same thing when you listen carefully, ... ‘now listen... catch everything that’s said’. You start tightening up around your ears. That has nothing to do with hearing clearly. Now from the moment we were little children, when teachers in class screamed at us ‘pay attention!’, we go tight, in various ways, either to see or hear more clearly, to concentrate, or to will something which is supposed to be difficult to do, and that constitutes a habitual tension over the whole body, that’s there almost all the time.

And that feeling of unnecessary tension is as it were the material sensation upon which we fasten this concept of ‘I’. We hang it on to that feeling. The concept is not us. The feeling of tension is completely phony, it has nothing to do with success in seeing, hearing, acting, and so we get the marriage of an illusion with a falsehood, and that, we call ‘ourselves’. No wonder we feel cut off from everything, alienated, frightened of life and death, so what has to happen is, ... we have to come back to a sane view of our own life, which is the way we really are, an organism functioning in terms of the whole environment, with the whole environment, instead of this funny little separate personality. But, how are we going to do that? People say, ‘oh you can’t change human nature over night.’ ‘You’re asking us to give up the ego, and that’s the most difficult of all things to do.’ ... ... Actually, it isn’t, ... because the ego doesn’t exist. But of course if you try to give up your ego with your ego, then it will take you ... to the end of time. Because this is the point. You can’t transform youself. You can’t make yourself sane, you can’t make yourself loving, you can’t make yourself unselfish, .. and yet it’s absolutely necessary that we be that way.

It’s absolutely necessary, if we are going to hand over the direction of nature to nature, which is what it comes to. It’s absolutely necessary, that we let go of ourselves, and it can’t be done, not by anything we call doing it, acting, willing, or even just accepting things, ... you can’t do it. Why? Because you don’t really exist, as that kind of a separate ego or personality. It’s just an idea based on a funny feeling. So when it comes down to it, it’s shocking news for us, for the human race, for our pride. You’re only making a mess by trying to put things straight. You’re trying to straighten out a wiggly world and no wonder you’re in trouble. So you can’t do anything. So you can’t transform yourself. And what can you do? What happens then, if you actually realize that you’ve come to a dead end? ... and the human race has come to a dead end, in my opinion.

What then? Commit suicide? Or is there something else? What happens, when you just wait, when there’s nothing you can do? You watch, ... and all you see is what goes on that is happening of itself. You’re breathing, the wind is blowing, the trees are waving, your blood is circulating, your nerves are tingling, ... its all going on of itself.

But you know, that’s you. That’s the real you. The you that goes on of itself. It’s not the symbol. It’s not the person. It’s you that’s happening, as when you breathe. Yes, you can get the feeling that ‘I am breathing’, by shoving your breath, but your breath goes on, day in and day out without you doing anything about it or even thinking about it, the same way your brain is functioning without your forcing it. So when you come to a dead end, as we are, individually and socially, now, in 1971, at a dead end, this is the moment of which it is said, man’s extremity is god’s opportunity, because we have to stop, and when we stop we find a world that is happening rather than being done, being shoved, and that happening, as distinct from doing, is our fundamental self.

And our fundamental self is not something just inside the skin, it’s everything around us with which we connect. When you look out of your eyes at nature happening out there, you’re looking at you. I’m not going to say, what we should do from then on. But simply, that before we think of doing anything in this critical situation, we realize the completely illusory nature of the beings that we think we are, and get back again to the beings that we really are, which includes all this outside world, no longer left outside.”

* * *

"the spam-detectors rejected my expanded comment"

Take the hint, emile. Take the hint.

ignoring categorical rejection is a badge of honour for an anarchist.

I disagree. Keep up the interesting posts emile.

Yes, more interesting posts. Less boring posts, like post-anarchism.

If your really want to get to a fairly intense core of anarchic individuated thought patterns just fuse Stirner and Lao Tzu those 2 in essence represent the novelty of civilization going full circle to is dissolutionary end, one in ancient times the other in modern times(there could also be something said about jesus whatever that novelty was), that's the short explanation basically calling for the same thing emile winds on about.

The sticking point is whether it is a technological intensive individuation or a concrete one, there's ambiguity in navigating that position but right now anarchistic thought even at its best is still somewhat incoherent, perhaps it might make sense to read John Zerzan and Terrence Mckenna off each other, they both articulate the same thing in vastly different directions.

nomadic thoughts

bored now

now bored. board now. now board. now broad. broad now. bore into now. now into bore. bone drone roan own mown

As soon as someone mentions Focault, I stop giving a shit.

Useless masturbatory bullshit for little bourgeois brats who want to play at "anarchy" without ruining their manicures.

I hope you choke on a PBR can tab.