TOTW: You Will Know The Truth, And The Truth Will Set You Free

  • Posted on: 10 February 2020
  • By: thecollective

By now we’ve all heard John Zerzan’s weekly sermons on the dangers of post-modernism lambasting the lack of stable truth and values in our lives. The obviously ideological nature of JZ’s position makes it seem simple enough to disregard for those of us who find no appeal in Truth, he fits the image of mad-eyed (or at least bloodshot) prophet well enough to cause most non-true-believers to avoid his camp. Yet, I think more anarchists agree with at least part of his position than would like to admit, on some less-than-conscious level I might as well.

Coming into Anarchism, for me, felt a bit like finding pieces of truth, or at least realizing that what I had seen as True was actually contingent and mostly just convenient. Democracy wasn’t actually the highest form of engagement, Capitalism wasn’t inevitable, mass-society wasn’t exactly awesome. Some positives surely slipped in with these negatives as well, namely ideas like humans crave autonomy, freedom is of the highest importance, etc. Finding these stories made it feel like I was approaching a more realistic, informed view of my life and of the world. However part of bringing Anarchism further into my life has been questioning these positive (and negative) stories, and though I’m only at the beginning of that journey I’m interested to hear how others are also doing this, or how others think it is wrongheaded.

What do you base your Anarchist project/life on if not capital T-Truth? Are we forced to choose between Objective Reality and caricatured post-modernism (nothing is true, everything is permitted)? Is Anarchy at least partly, if not entirely, allowing for the proliferation of stories? Of small t-truths? What uncomfortable positions are we forced to take if that is the case?

Tell me!

Comments

dive for a Monday, anews totw!

Truth & reality are slippery like eels. You think you've grabbed hold of it but the tighter you hold, the faster it slips out of your grasp.

I'm not a relativist, I don't think just anything goes, I don't think the things of the world are merely socially constructed. I think there is a world of things, a solid world, but it is not in an 'out there' as opposed to my 'in here'.

For me, I am an anarchist because I neither want to tell anyone else how to see/believe/understand truth or reality or even if there are such things, nor do I want anyone else telling me how to see/believe/understand truth or reality.
It seems clear to me, though, that these questions require sincere, thoughtful, rigorous, lighthearted engagement that most people, anarchists included, do not have the desire to do. Most people are fine with received notions of Truth & Reality, anarchists included.

So, my weird experiences opened me to other ways of seeing, being, understanding the world and a integral part of that is an anarchy that can accommodate all understandings. I'm still trying to figure that out, of course. How can we, in our myriad & often opposed understandings, share this physical world?

Relativism doesn't necessarily means anything goes. It means that we go accordingly with subjective parameters or premises, and that there are no real absolutes.

yeah but often tho. PICK A SIDE relativists.

GOMD SOT

1st of all, you’re asking us to do philosophy and that’s not a very nice thing to do. We’ll only make a fool of ourselves with our lowly anecdotes, assumptions and assertions (and fallacies, rhetoric?).

“What do you base your Anarchist project/life on if not capital T-Truth?”

Definitely not based on capital T-Truth, but also not based on anything. Life was not a conscious choice, the survival instinct, and the basic urges are there. No single overarching project either, just things to do in the meantime.

“Are we forced to choose between Objective Reality and caricatured post-modernism (nothing is true, everything is permitted)?”

We are not forced to choose or even to think of things in these terms. Most daily personal judgements, estimations, and perceptions are not so hotly disputed, and when they are, the resolution rarely requires agreeing (or verifying/fasifying) on a capital T truth.

Capital T truth is mostly relevant in the sphere of authoritative argumentation, be it academic, legal or scientific. And I’m making this up, does it make sense?

“Is Anarchy at least partly, if not entirely, allowing for the proliferation of stories?”

A single his-story is civ and not anarchy, but our current order is partly running on the proliferation of stories. Is the ultimate question one of for or against language and narratives? “Stories” as a category are not facing an existential crisis as such (specific stories and cultures are, of course), only by extension of people at risk. Some think life is. But life is inherently mortal. What is really anarchy? Is anarchy the proliferation of life?

As I see it, anarchy is not proliferation or extinction, of life nor stories, it’s the quality of whatever is, however much or few of it remains. Is it free? Is it bound by rule? Who rules? Anarchy as absence of rules and rulers, simple to define it as such. Thing is no one has to agree on definitions.

“What uncomfortable positions are we forced to take if that is the case?”

Discomfort and positioning as such are unavoidable, not forced by that specific line of inquiry. We’re forced to reason by language and reason, by bosses who need us to make sense of things, to optimize acting upon the world, to optimize understanding the world more accurately so we can increase our leverage and magnify our power as species that occupy the top spot in this civilization, the top-tier of slaves. We could not escape current affairs if we all dropped down on all fours and began to graze until we wore down, or all took to jotting down narratives until we wore down. We will wear down regardless.

Do these questions console you? What do stories make you feel? When will the questions and the stories end? How does the inevitable end make you feel? If that feeling less great than how stories make you feel? Are all endings merely narrative devices and nothing really ends? Are all questions merely rhetorical devices and nothing is really answered, the questions are never over?

"1st of all, you’re asking us to do philosophy and that’s not a very nice thing to do. We’ll only make a fool of ourselves with our lowly anecdotes, assumptions and assertions (and fallacies, rhetoric?)."

fool ourselves? Who's fooling who by talking about the super relevant spooks/ideas of basic western/industrial/elightenment culture. I think there's a basic animalistic tendency to reject lies, even though there's also a basic animalistic human tendency to make stories, gods, spirits, lies, etc, so once again, sifting through the "philosophical bullshit" is again given relevance by your rational logic trolling.

And yes, the truth is right in front of our faces like...you know who...above is saying,,,,,,,,,,

The more comforting truth that i keep coming back to, in terms of anarchism, is that free will is mostly and illusion, i don't give a shit about freedom or autonomy, just to be able to control the few things that i can control. There is no freedom, and no autonomy, yet, in a way they are basic tenant of human sanity, the fluid interdependence that exists no matter how much it makes us cry and stomp our feet.

Now as far as things beyond the basic solipsistic existence that we are all subjected to: it has a way of forcing that information upon us!

the only things that get hard is parsing bad actors in an increasingly noise to signal ratio of algorithmic centric curated information.

so many experts at opinions...

the conspiracy theories are the tales of dullards, simply updating the okhrana’s propaganda efforts (the protocols of the elders of zion), but they are successful as a tactic of completely hijacking small c conversation. the lack of capital T Truth still can mean folks getting stuck with a lot of feels indicating level of certainty on circular logic.

worst in this current context: the privatization of inner life out from under us. emoji are privatized language, for machine learning. now, our very thoughts and lived activity are being mapped for the first time in human history. how easy it will be to fake and hack people and create believable digital impersonations...

aspects of cancel culture represent the ironing out of human behavior, a weaponizing the monetization of data so that life changes to remain the same, entirely predictable, and avoidant of risk to the financialized system. we are the ai test subject to be honed.

not for nefarious schemes, unless you count people shrinking back from the complexity of contexts and systems utterly nefarious. the secret is that things are so complex no one human or group is in charge (and hence the need to invent conspiracies to easily explain a supposed author with a master plan).

"aspects of cancel culture represent the ironing out of human behavior, a weaponizing the monetization of data so that life changes to remain the same, entirely predictable, and avoidant of risk to the financialized system. we are the ai test subject to be honed."

however it's likely that civilization will digress very far in technology before the most extreme brain hacking can occur. The internet can't really read my thoughts, i offer it up freely to monetizing conversations because i never click on ads anyway, it is used again me in other ways but i just have to shrug about it. The internet can read people's intentions and curiosities super easily though, almost the same thing as reading your thoughts.

i guess there's a choice window with all technologies, where it starts out as just a cool thing people can tell their friends about, and then even the most superfluous things like the internet become a necessary safeguard against total isolation and poverty...kinda like what happened with cars...except i personally think it's easier to not have a car than have limited exposure to the internet now adays.

I have yet to be shown a source for the claim that postmodernism doesn't believe in a stable truth, objective reality, or value. Zerzan's sources are either taken out of context (e.g. Derrida) or simply false (e.g. Foucault).

I was going to make the same point, there seems to be this weird conflation between "socially constructed" and "non-existent". In fact that's one of the things I actively dislike about post-modernism, how hard it tries to build objectivity where there's no real need for it.

pretty laughable, to me "socially constructed" is close to a "spook", but in the end the latter just doesn't have any meaning whatsoever in the context, is a authoritarian scare tactic to get you to pay attention, whereas "socially constructed" has a social purpose and use. Actually parsing out what is what it actually impossible, when nothing is absolutely true. Read on for my confusions of de-constructionism...

I don't even really understand what post modernism really even is, it's pretty close to nihilism, but uhm...i've got no ground to stand on here. It seems like JZ has been the only one recently who's been using the term. I remember it as being a writing style...JZ definitely uses the term on a regular basis.

I mean this whole thread is about "the spook of truth", right? I mean, i don't agree with the author that that's what JZ's fixation is, to me it's more "the environment", or "obligation", "those damn nihilists".

Another thought, so post-modernism also seems to be related to deconstructionism, in the literary sense is a style which picks apart everything that a writer says, the early deconstructionist writings are extremely hard to fallow and read, whereas deconstructionism in the easier sense is basically a form of verbal abuse, where the "you" is shown to be "what it truly is"...damn, so much truth. I can't actually write anything original unless it is fiction.

Do you realise what you have just done !? You've just opened up a can of individualist psychological kickass, and its gonna take an army of spooks to close the portal.

I would recommend reading the section "Postmodern critical theory: Structuralist and post-structuralist ideologies" in Jason McQuinn's "Critical Self-Theory: & the non-ideological critique of ideology":

https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/jason-mcquinn-critical-self-theo...

I hope this happens because I would appreciate Jason explaining how he uses critical self-theory in his everyday life and what benefits and problems has come with it in his experience. If I'm thinking about my life, am I living my life or have just stopped momentarily? In other words, when we are truly living, we are not thinking, just living...in each moment. Reflecting on one's life is not actually living, it is standing outside of one's life, is it not? When one is absorbed in living, one just lives and time passes without notice. That's how I would describe actual living. Thinkers do not live. They spend much of their in contemplation, contemplating life, contemplating an anarchist life even...that ain't living. More and more people spend their lives not living. I am not living right now by contributing to this thread as I am aware that I am contributing to this thread and contemplating what to write!

but if you're spending too much time thinking, which is the norm for a lot of people, then you're probably not living as fun or an adventurous life as you could be...rather than talking about this division between thinking and living (which in my opinion is a spook), then we could be using adjectives to describe those lived lives...

my life for example: a lot of the time it's great, but then it's also confusing and miserable. I really hope that as my brain matter deteriorates that my life doesn't get any worse. That's my current fear in a nutshell, and i would hope that my fellow internet warrior egoists are not struggling with that same foolish dlimmna.

saying "thinking is not living" is like saying "sleeping is not living". makes no sense to me whatsoever. thinking is an activity, much like eating or shitting or sleeping. maybe you need to define what you mean by "thinking". i would love to see someone live without thinking at all.

which is not to say i disagree with the general point that so many "smart" people seem to live primarily in the abstract world of thought, which they then write, read, debate, theorize, pontificate and regurgitate about, ad nauseum.

the post-modernists are often like what stirner coined as "the critic of critics", those who see critique and ideas as something to be praised, very frustrating stuff to do deal with.

contradicts itself! Why pick on Zerzan AGAIN??? There is more to this TOTW than what is truth, it's a chance to dig at JZ AGAIN??? Yeah, let ITS (via ATASSA) free speech even though such outfits would do way with your free speech including your life. Now, that is true according to their published material, is it not?

I'm really sick of this website basically being an advertisement for JZ as a figure within anarchist politics.

And yup, the trolling logic of Attassa/ITS hasn't benefited anyone or helped sort through the slavish and spookish logic of humanistic reality, at best is some sort of embarassing idiocy, at worst is a real life cult. It hasn't even helped with the problem of "when to/not to use violence".

Then why you keep coming here? Somehow there's nothing better for you in your plentiful life than trolling this site for attention?

(that was a reply to TaoistSlut's bitching, not the other anon)

it's talking about ITS, if you can't tell the difference.
also, how nice hat you always know what helps / doesn't help perfect st rangers. that must be great for you.

Is to destroy humans. How does that help a human? It certainly isn't very useful to me. Maybe if someone could trick themselves into thinking they're an inhuman psychopath, yeah helpful for as long as you believe that, fucking bodygaurd.

Perfect st.? Wow, youd do anything to make someone on the internet feel shitty, wouldn't you?

I know this will sound crazy, but have you ever suspected JZ of being a crypto-nihilist. He's against culture religion, EVERYTHING, and wants everyone to live like animals in the wilderness. And when he derides "nihilists " , its his way of either self-denial OR a cunning ruse to deflect critics from going deeper into his negation of civilization.
I'm surprised no one has brought this up, it seems glaringly obvious to my trained eye for spotting nihilists.

I used to think he was a nihilist because of the Nihilist's Dictionary sections in Green Anarchy. Like "here's a bunch of reified bullshit that the nihilist sees through." That would have made a lot of sense. I guess it's more like "here are the things that nihilists believe in, although really they believe in nothing, except they actually do believe in this stuff." Or something.

Yeah, beyond an apparent paradoxical stance, they believe in not believing in materialist objects and any psychological values which associate to that belief and which bring about its manifestations i.e.reifications. Being against the consumerist industrialized culture is one of many forms of nihilism. Simply speaking, negating, refusing, not participating in, not attaching oneself to objects or ideologies, these are all nihilistic expressions.
So JZ and most people not fundamentally religious or tribally embedded into a cultures moral values are in some way nihilistic. Heretical is even the first glimmer of cynicism and disbelief in a society's beliefs.

"Savages". They "live like animals" in the "wilderness"! And to prove this Fact, they see other animals (and trees, plants, mountains ect.) as PERSONS!

Actually, "indigenous" is a spook, animism is a spook, these tribal folk, as I mentioned above, ARE NOT NIHILISTS !!

They are NOT nihilists. Only the People's Front of Judea are the REAL nihilists !!

only animals without such a fixation on their imagination can do that. There are many shades of human nihilists, but in the end it seems that they all just want to get rid of ____________ so they can have ______________, like the real nazis wanted to either enslave or kill anyone who didn't agree with them so that they could have a "pure government", and the actual communists are all about "pure revolutionaries".

Tho what do you think would be the answer of any nihilist to the nazi regime pushing their imperatives upon them? This is why authoritarians and nihilists can't work together, as the moment the first starts to have real power, the latter will become a source of major butthurt for them, and tag them with, you know... a black triangle.

I think some nihilists had it their way in the Soviet regime, tho. But they weren't exactly the kind of men you'd like. Think of people like Beria or the regional mafia lords.

you might even say nihilists are often useful idiots throughout history ;)

Oh No! Not a real nihilist like me. My genius is not being from any construct, I am the Savage, I am Pavlov's Dog, I am the Child, I am the Overman, all rapped up into one harmless cuddly bundle, cos I cannot hate or love, I can only emotionally attach myself to palpable spontaneous rewards. If you see me in the street, come on over, say hello, give me some money and food, invite me back to your house, 8ntroduce me to your wife, enjoy, be happy, no moral restraints,,,,,,

annihilation, it's beauty is the pure negativity, not using nihilism for another crazy purpose. I got into nihilism through stirner, but supposably that's not real nihilism, real nihilism is "nothing", BUT NOTHING DOES NOT EXIST. It's only a modifier for absence of "something".

I mean how do you know that I'm not a computer program?

Zig Hiel, eco-extremist anti-natilist liberals! They supposedly hate snowflakes and white fragility but...uh...guess what they are??

But does that even exist!?

Maybe in a computer program like Fallout.

You are behaving like a fascist. My liberals are your fascists, like the truth, its a subjective call. All politics is a vampire.

whoever you may be, i've posted a topic in the forums on nihilism that's a little more interesting if you want to check it out.

Well ironically, that anon is the infamous troll leway, goodluck!

with, my "wild nature" wants to reinforce what they say. When they says things i don't agree with i usually just ignore it or laugh.

I mean, LeWay is a great troll, it may seem servile to you but a lot of the things that SE and LeWay say are more helpful than the forum in general. That's why i'm trying to read non-fiction again to supplant someone else's thoughts with my shitty ones, unfortunately i have a habit of scrambling my brain that fades with time, usually when I'm posting stuff on here that's a sign that i've already started the process of the scrambling. Anyone know any drugs that help with this? I'm not joking or trolling.

For me the truth has never really been that hot, with lies having seemingly always been the electric of fingers on the skin. The truth has for a long time had too much pong of the popularity contest to get invested in.

Ever since I discovered how fallible and changeable my own observations and interpretations were the truth has been unreliable.

So with truth as good as a friend's food, I base my anarchist life upon an ethic; that is, does this 'whatever' demean or raise, destroy or nurture, is it benign or pernicious? A story, my senses, my intuition, my heuristic.

The objective reality, as I encounter it, is what it is. I cannot without care walk through walls. Heavy bleeding means black and white vision and a need of medical treatment. Beans make farts. Squirrels climb trees. Water cools. Fire burns. Everything else is mine. The truth until it isn't.

Anarchy allows diversity in a premise and a more intimate connection to its relation. The uncomfortable position that isn't the comfort of an increasingly relentless dull aching gonad.

is more like empiricism, whereas all real knowledge is based off experience, it seems like it's our task, as humans more specifically, to learn how to either see through or relate with the experiences of other human, so that we can stop getting duped and tricked repeatedly...

There is more than one kind of knowledge. Some knowledge requires experience, other kinds require empirical evidence.

write way too much, argue too much and as for action... way too little. If the state disappeared, the anarchists (of today) would lose their whole identity and purpose as most are clueless about how to live without the state... certainly in the western world. Even LBC can't eat what they produce...bound paper has little to no nutrition for body!

it's pretty hard to argue that we have lots of evidence that "action" --that is, what people generally understand as political public activity in the streets (and so on) for the purposes of a. education, b. resistance, c. etc-- doesn't work for what we actually want. is at very best a holding game, and mostly a way for the state to learn how to rebuff our efforts.
well, at least i find it hard to argue with that.

all true. however, learning how to live in the ways we desire is vital. writing about the life we want is secondary to living it, which is something many anarchists seem to forget

So you just decided to wholesale equate all "action" with our typical spectacular activism. Cool story bro. Anarchy is like... EVERYTHING! But equally nothing. Because.

That is the truth, also. The Truth.

Objective reality has always been the make-belief of determinists, conservatives, fascists, and yea them hardcore marxists too. Same as the demented worldview of "confusing" society for "life". The biopower self-servingly shows society and its material reification as a living body that we either feed or cause harm to. The determinists are animists in the fundamental sense, transforming the material into an immaterial of concepts while making the immaterial of relations into concrete matter, thus giving life to a Leviathan that doesn't really exist, as their own living, yet unassumed, god.

Of course there's no absolute truth. There's the truth that we do not need authority relations -something many people still aren't figuring- but even that ain't the universal absolute truth... as you'll need a level of concentration of power for specific purposes, so this practical truth also becomes the referent for Truth for authoritarians (as per your usual "crashing plane" allegory). You even do that in demos and actions... but then again, does it always HAVE to be that way? To answer "yes" means you believe in a Truth...

The "world" is made of made-up relations. Because it is made-up, this means we can make it otherwise.

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