"Anarchism" from Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature

  • Posted on: 23 October 2012
  • By: worker

<table><tr><td>Reprinted by <a href="http://voidmirror.blogspot.com/2012/10/anarchism-from-encyclopedia-of-re... Mirror</a> - by John Clark

The anarchist tradition has been sharply divided in its relationship to religion, spirituality and nature. On the one hand, the mainstream of Western anarchism has in general been atheist, anti-religious and anti-clerical, and has looked upon religion as a supernaturalist negation of the natural world. On the other hand, there is a long history of anarchistic thought and practice having strong spiritual or religious dimensions, and very often these have taken the form of nature spirituality. The following discussion will examine first the more familiar anti-religious perspective of modern Western anarchism, then various anarchist tendencies across history that have held a spiritual view of reality, and finally, some contemporary anarchist views that exhibit both standpoints.

Almost all the major European classical anarchist theorists opposed religion and defended a secularist, scientific and sometimes positivistic view of nature against what they saw as religious obscurantism and other-worldliness. Max Stirner (1806&#150;1856), the major individualist anarchist theorist, dismissed religion as a belief in illusory &#147;spooks&#148; that undermined the individuality and self-determination of the individual. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809&#150;1865), the first important social anarchist theorist, stated that the concept of God was contradictory to rational thought and to human freedom, and that social progress is proportional to the degree to which the concept is eliminated. The anarchist anti-religious viewpoint is perhaps most widely associated with political theorist and revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin (1813&#150;1876), who proclaimed, &#147;I reverse the phrase of Voltaire, and say that, <i>if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him</i>&#148; (Bakunin 1970: 79&#150;80).</td><td><img title="I only believe in the god of attack!" src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/holeinearth.jpg"></td></tr>...
For Bakunin, religion denigrates human nature and the world, and is a means of oppressing humanity. In his view, it is a negation of nature, since it exalts a supernatural and transcendent reality and devalues the material and natural. He claims that there is an objective naturalistic basis for religion: it arises essentially out of the human being&#146;s feeling of absolute dependence on an eternal and omnipotent nature and out of primitive fear of its awe-inspiring powers. He contends that it begins with the attribution of this power to fetishes and ends with its concentration in an all-powerful God, which he sees as the reversal and magnification of the human image itself. Religion is thus essentially a misunderstanding of nature. The system of social domination makes use of this confusion to keep people in a state of subjection and submissiveness throughthe alliance between the coercive power of the state and the ideological power of the Church.</span></span></span>

The large anarchist movements of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in general shared the atheism and anti-clericalism of its theoretical founders. The Bakuninists of the First International (International Working Men&#146;s Association, 1864&#150;1876) fought to make the workers&#146; movement officially anti-religious, and the large anarcho-syndicalist movements in southern Europe and Latin America defined themselves in part through their strong opposition to a generally reactionary and hierarchical Church and clergy. The Spanish Revolution (1936&#150;1939), the most important event in the history of the anarchist movement, was marked by fierce opposition to the Church, to the extent of the desecration and burning of churches and harsh treatment of clergy. The Spanish anarchists largely shared Bakunin&#146;s view that religion was based on a denial of the natural world. Yet a kind of nature spirituality emerged even within their milieu. This tendency was expressed in a cult of the natural, the romanticizing of nature, and practices such as health-consciousness, nudism and vegetarianism. In this regard, the movement was influenced by the anarchist philosopher-geographer Elisιe Reclus (1830&#150;1905), who developed a non-theistic but holistic and spiritual view of nature, advocated animal rights, and wrote of the sublime and inspirational qualities of the natural world.</span></span></span>

When one turns to the positive relationship between anarchism and spirituality, one finds a wealth of evidence in many cultures of the world. Some have found one of the earliest anarchist philosophies of nature and human nature in the ancient Chinese classic, the Tao te Ching of Lao Tzu (ca. fourth century B.C.E). Daoism is the philosophy of the tao, or way, a term that refers both to the source of all being, and to the path of self-realization of all beings when they are allowed to act freely and spontaneously according to their nature. Lao Tzu presents a vision of nature and human society as an organic unity-in-diversity in which the uniqueness and creative activity of each part of the whole are valued. The natural world is seen as a dynamic balance (symbolized through the complementary polarities of yin and yang) that produces order and harmony when not disrupted by human aggression and domination. Lao Tzu describes this natural harmony in poetic terms: &#147;Heaven and Earth unite to drip sweet dew. Without the command of men, it drips evenly over all&#148; (Lao Tzu 1963: 156). Coercive and authoritarian social institutions are shown to destroy natural balance and the generosity of nature and produce disaster not only for the surrounding natural world, but also within human society itself. The ideal society is depicted as a decentralized, egalitarian community in which all value the &#147;Three Treasures&#148; of compassion, simplicity, and humility. Lao Tzu was a harsh critic of the violent, hierarchical society of his own day, and laments the injustices and inequities thatare created in human society by the pursuit of political and economic power. He declares that &#147;[t]he Way of Heaven reduces whatever is excessive and supplements whatever is insufficient. The Way of Man is different. It reduces the insufficient to offer to the excessive&#148; (Lao Tzu 1963: 174). For Lao Tzu, the pursuit of wealth, power and egoistic gratification must be rejected in favor of a way of life based on &#147;non-action&#148; or &#147;actionless action&#148; (wu-wei), by which is meant activity that is in accord with one&#146;s own Tao or way, but which respects the ways of all others.</span></span></span>

Despite these apparently anarchistic or libertarian tendencies in Lao Tzu&#146;s thought, some have interpreted him as a defender of the traditional system of rule and even as an advocate of manipulation of the people for authoritarian purposes. For example, the eminent Chinese scholar D.C. Lau interprets the Tao te Ching as a rather eclectic collection of writings that has a primarily ethical rather than mystical or philosophical import, and which does not question the concept of political rule. In his view, passages concerning the sage or ruler apply to any follower of the Tao, but are also specific references to an enlightened and skillful &#147;ruler,&#148; in a quite literal sense. Social ecologists Murray Bookchin and Janet Biehl have contended that ancient Daoism is merely a form of regressive mysticism. They attacked the idea that the Tao te Ching has any anarchistic implications and contend that all references to rulership should be interpreted in an entirely literal sense.</span></span></span>

The second great ancient Taoist philosopher, Chuang Tzu, has sometimes been seen as even more radically anarchistic than Lao Tzu and equally ecological in outlook. Chuang Tzu warned against the impulse to eliminate chaos and impose order on the world, which in his view leads ultimately to great destruction. He took a perspectivist position on knowledge and truth, and emphasized, often through humorous or ironic anecdotes, the fact that each being has its own good and perceives reality from its own ultimately incomparable point of view. He rejected human-centered views of reality and the tendency to project human meanings and values onto the natural world. Though the specifically political implications of Chuang Tzu&#146;s thought are far from clear, his Daoism has been interpreted as one of the most consistently anarchistic critiques of the domination of humanity and nature and of the egocentric and anthropocentric mentality that underlies domination.</span></span></span>

Some have also found a deeply anarchistic dimension in both ancient Buddhism and also in various schools in later Buddhist history. Original Buddhism as established by the founder Shakyamuni Buddha (ca. 563&#150;463 B.C.E.) came out of a questioning of both the social order (the caste system) and the ideological basis (the authority of the Vedic scriptures) of ancient India. It also rejected the idea that any authority, whether a person or written document, could lead one to truth, and that it must insteadbe reached through direct personal experience. The central Buddhist idea of non-attachment can be given an anarchistic interpretation. Although historical Buddhism has been to varying degrees influenced by inegalitarian social institutions, its goal of non-attachment can be seen as an attack on the foundation of political, economic and patriarchal domination in the desire to aggrandize an illusory ego-self. According to such an interpretation, the ideal of the sangha or spiritual community is seen as an anarchistic concept of association based on compassion and recognition of true need, rather than on economic and political power and coercive force. Similarly, Buddhist mindfulness, an awakened awareness of present experience, is seen as implying a sensitivity to the realities of nature and human experience, as opposed to appropriating and objectifying forms of consciousness. The Buddhist tradition is vast, and has been developed in many directions, but it is not difficult to discover in the Buddhist concepts of awakened mind, non-attachment, and compassion an implicit critique of material consumption and accumulation, coercive laws, and bureaucratic and technocratic forms of social organization.</span></span></span>

Nagarjuna (ca. second century) is often considered the most important Buddhist philosopher since Shakyamuni Buddha. Indeed, he can plausibly be interpreted as the most theoretically anarchistic thinker in the history of philosophy. His radically destructive or deconstructive dialectic reveals the contradictions in any formulation of truth or attribution of substantiality to any being. The only &#147;truth&#148; for Nagarjuna consists not in ideas or propositions, all of which lead to contradiction, but rather in the practice of universal compassion and non-attachment. His rejection of the imposition of dualistic and objectifying categories on an internally related and &#147;dependently arising&#148; reality can be seen as an affirmation of the non-objectifiable wholeness and self-creativity of being and nature.</span></span></span>

The anarchist tendencies in Buddhism were developed furthest and synthesized with certain aspects of Daoism in the Chinese Ch&#146;an (meditation) School of Buddhism and in its Japanese version, Zen. Zen questions all authorities, including political, intellectual and spiritual ones, and insists on the absolute priority of direct personal experience. Lin-Chi (Rinzai) (d. 866) the founder of Ch&#146;an, is known for his shocking admonition, &#147;Whether you&#146;re facing inward or facing outward, whatever you meet up with, just kill it! If you meet a Buddha, kill the Buddha. If you meet a patriarch, kill the patriarch!&#148; This iconoclastic maxim is a classic Zen statement of the radically anarchistic view that none of our concepts of substantial realities (including even our most exalted concepts) can capture the nature of an ever-changing reality that constantly surpasses all categories and preconceptions. Inherent in this outlook is a deep respect for the integrity of nature and a desire to allow nature to express itself without humandomination. Zen painting and poetry (much in the tradition of Daoist art) are noted for their focus on nature and on the numinous power of things themselves.</span></span></span>

Anarchistic forms of spirituality have not been limited to Asian traditions, but have also emerged periodically through the history of Western religion. The Joachimite tendency in medieval Christianity is perhaps the most striking example. Joachim of Fiore spoke of the &#147;Third Age&#148; of world history, the Age of the Holy Spirit, which would supersede the rule of law and authority and usher in the reign of universal freedom and love. The Movement of the Free Spirit, which emerged out of the Joachimite and millenarian traditions, is often considered the most anarchistic tendency within medieval and early modern Christianity. The movement originated in the thirteenth century and spread widely across central and Western Europe during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Its most radical tendencies rejected the established Church, the state, law, private property and marriage. Its social outlook was at times a rather curious combination of a radically anarchistic quest for freedom and an elitism that justified an instrumental view of non-members and of things in nature, and a ruthless destructiveness toward all who stood in its way. Nevertheless, it often strongly affirmed nature and the natural. The Adamite tendency in particular saw believers as existing in a &#147;natural,&#148; pre-fallen condition, and others spoke of exercising &#147;natural freedom&#148; and following &#147;natural desires.&#148; They practiced nudism and free love, held property in common, and waged relentless war against their surrounding enemies. The anarchistic interpretation of the Free Spirit is best known from Norman Cohn&#146;s classic work, <i>The Pursuit of the Millennium</i>. The Free Spirit also plays an important role in anarchist theorist Fredy Perlman&#146;s critique of civilization, <i>Against History</i>, and Situationist Raoul Vaneigem devoted an entire book to the movement.</span></span></span>

A more recent expression of an anarchistic spirituality within the Christian tradition is the radical religious vision of Romantic poet William Blake (1757&#150;1827). Blake stressed the sacredness of nature, its organic qualities, and the need for humane treatment of other beings. He was one of the most important early rebels against the mechanistic, objectivist, reductionist worldview that came out of Newtonian science. His rejection of the dominant mechanistic worldview is encapsulated in his well-known plea, &#147;may God us keep / From Single vision and Newton&#146;s sleep!&#148; (Blake 1988: 722). His attack on the patriarchal authoritarian God and a spiritually degraded world, and his creation of a new radically utopian mythology can be interpreted as an anarchistic critique of the state, early capitalism, and any ideology or social imaginary based on hierarchy, domination, and the repression of desire, the body, and nature.</span></span></span>

Although nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European anarchism was generally anti-religious, eventhere one finds a more overt religious tendency, primarily under the influence of the famous novelist and pacifist anarchist Leo Tolstoy (1828&#150;1910). Tolstoy&#146;s conception of God was not the naively anthropomorphic image that other anarchists attacked, but referred rather to the whole of reality and truth. Furthermore, he believed that the true essence of Christianity is found not in a transcendent Supreme Being or an afterlife with rewards and punishments, but rather in Jesus&#146; teaching of universal love. For Tolstoy, an acceptance of this teaching satisfies the human longing for meaning in purpose in life, and has far-reaching implications for one&#146;s relationship to both society and nature. First, it results in a dedication to complete nonviolence in society, including an absolute anarchistic rejection of participation in the state, which Tolstoy saw as the most monstrous form of organized violence and coercion. Furthermore, it requires a nonviolent stance toward the whole of nature, a refusal to inflict suffering on sentient beings, and a practice of ethical vegetarianism.</span></span></span>

Another important nineteenth-century literary figure in whose work anarchist themes intersect with a spirituality of nature is Henry David Thoreau (1817&#150;1862). In his essay &#147;Civil Disobedience,&#148; Thoreau proclaimed the priority of individual conscience over political authority, asserting his view that &#147;that government is best which governs least&#148; and consequently &#147;that government is best which governs not at all.&#148; He refused to pay his taxes to the state on the anarchist secessionist principle that he could not recognize as his own government one that was also the slave&#146;s government. Although Thoreau&#146;s philosophical and religious perspective is usually associated with American &#147;Transcendentalism,&#148; it can also be seen as an anarchistic spirituality with affinities to aspects of Daoist, Buddhist and indigenous traditions. Thoreau is best known for his eloquent expression in Walden of such themes as the love of and communion with nature, the affirmation of life, compassion for all living beings, and the ills of a materialistic society that is alienated from the natural world and enslaved by its own possessions. His spirituality is perhaps best expressed in the essay on &#147;Walking,&#148; which contains his famous statement that &#147;in Wildness is the preservation of the world.&#148; Thoreau links wildness, freedom, sacredness, and &#147;the gospel according to this moment,&#148; an idea much in the spirit of Buddhist mindfulness. His concern for and celebration of the particularities of place link him to later bioregional thought, and contain an implicit critique of political and economis-tic conceptions of reality.</span></span></span>

The renowned anarchist geographer Peter Kropotkin has often been looked to as the major source of ecological ideas among the classical anarchist theorists. His concepts of the importance of mutual aid, spontaneity and diversity in both the natural world and in human society have been important in introducing ecological concepts into social thought. However, Kropotkin was in many ways carryingon the work of his predecessor, the nineteenth-century French geographer and revolutionary Elisιe Reclus, who had already developed a profoundly ecological philosophy and social theory. Reclus is one of the most important figures in the development of an anarchistic ecological philosophy and spirituality.</span></span></span>

Reclus came out of a tradition of radical Protestant religious dissent, his father having been a minister of a so-called &#147;free church&#148; that broke with the Reformed Church. Though he rejected theism, his anarchism can in some ways be seen as a continuation of his religious tradition. Central to his philosophy was a belief in universal love, which in his view must be extended to all human beings, to other sentient beings, and to nature as a whole. His deep respect for the natural world sometimes reaches a level of awe that verges on a kind of nature mysticism. For Reclus, social organization must be based on this love and solidarity, expressed through a voluntary commitment to the good of the community and the Earth itself. In such a system, each individual would be guided to the greatest degree possible by a free conscience rather than by coercion or centralized authority.</span></span></span>

Reclus&#146; outlook toward nature is at once scientific, moral, aesthetic, and spiritual. In his monumental 16,000-page <i>New Universal Geography</i>, and his magnum opus of social theory, <i>Man and the Earth</i>, he offers a holistic, evolutionary vision of humanity and nature. Like later ecological thinkers, Reclus finds a harmony and balance in nature, in addition to a tendency toward discord and imbalance. His investigation of the intimate relationship between humanity and the Earth&#146;s regional and local particularities anticipates later bioregional thought. He emphasizes the moral and spiritual aspects of humanity&#146;s relationship to nature, condemns the growing devastation produced by industry and economic exploitation, and argues that whenever humanity degrades the natural world, it degrades itself. A vehement advocate of the humane treatment of animals and of ethical vegetarianism, Reclus wrote several widely reprinted pamphlets on these topics.</span></span></span>

An important though relatively neglected figure in early twentieth-century anarchist spirituality is the German political theorist and non-violent revolutionary Gustav Landauer (1870&#150;1919). Landauer is best known as a martyr killed for his leadership in the Munich Council Republic of 1919 and as the mentor of the Jewish libertarian and communitarian religious philosopher Martin Buber (1878&#150;1965). Landauer&#146;s philosophy is rooted in German Romanticist thought and is often described as having mystical and pantheistic tendencies. His major concepts are Spirit (Geist), People (Volk), and Nation (Nation), and his central focus is on the place of the individual in the larger human community, in nature, and in a greater spiritual reality. Landauer associates Spirit with the search for wholeness and universality, andinterprets it as an immanent, living reality, the underlying unity of all beings that encompasses both humanity and nature. For Landauer, the great conflict in history is between Spirit and the state. In his famous formulation, the state is above all a relationship between human beings and it can be replaced by creating new relationships based on cooperation rather than domination. Socialism, which is what he called the free, cooperative society, is not a utopian ideal in the future, but rather something that is already present in all cooperative, loving human relationships and which can expand to encompass the whole of society as more non-coercive, non-exploitative relationships are established. Landauer believed that the cooperative society would be achieved when people left the increasingly dominant corrupt and alienated urban society and returned to the land. The new society was to be based on village communities rooted in their natural regions, in which fair exchange would replace economic exploitation, and in which agriculture and industry would be integrated.</span></span></span>

Undoubtedly, one of the most important influences on modern anarchist spirituality throughout the world is Mohandas Gandhi (1869&#150;1948), who is widely known for his principles of nonviolence, cooperation, decentralization, and local self-sufficiency. Gandhi summarized his religious outlook as the belief that God is Truth, or more accurately, that Truth is God, and that the way to this Truth is through love. He also states that God is &#147;the sum-total of all life&#148; (Gandhi 1963: 316). At the roots of Gandhian spirituality is the concept of ahimsa, which is often translated as &#147;nonviolence&#148; (paralleling the original Sanskrit), but is actually for Gandhi a more positive conception of replacing force and coercion with love and cooperation. Similarly, he is sometimes called an advocate of &#147;civil disobedience,&#148; but he defined his approach, satyagraha, as a more positive conception of &#147;nonviolent resistance&#148; to evil, including the injustices of the state.</span></span></span>

Although Gandhi did not absolutely reject all participation in the existing state, he rejected the state as a legitimate form of social organization, advocated its eventual elimination, and strongly opposed its increasing power. He warned against looking to the state to reduce exploitation, arguing that its concentrated power and vast coercive force necessarily does great harm and destroys individuality. In place of the centralized state, he proposed village autonomy or self-government, community self-reliance, and local production based on human-scale technologies, ideas that have been enormously influential on twentieth-century eco-anarchism. Gandhi was also a critic of Western medicine, which he saw as dependent on concentrated wealth and sophisticated technologies, and advocated instead &#147;nature cure&#148; in which the cheapest, simplest and most accessible treatments are used.</span></span></span>

For Gandhi, the principle of ahimsa was to be extended throughout the natural world. Humans should make aneffort to avoid inflicting physical or mental injury to any living being to the greatest possible degree. Accordingly, Gandhi advocated ethical vegetarianism and had a deeply held belief that the Indian tradition of cow protection was of great moral and spiritual value. One of his most often-quoted statements is that the greatness and moral progress of a nation can be judged by its treatment of animals. Although his concern was often expressed in terms of the welfare of individual beings, he sometimes expressed more strongly ecological concepts, as when he warned of the dangers of human abuse of nature using the image of nature&#146;s ledger book in which the debits and credits must always be equal.</span></span></span>

After Gandhi&#146;s death, Sarvodaya, a movement based on his spiritual, ethical and political principles emerged. Vinoba Bhave (1895&#150;1982), the leading figure in the movement for many years, taught absolute nonviolence, social organization based on universal love, decision making by consensus, the replacement of coercion by the recognition of moral authority, and the minimization and eventual abolition of state power. Vinoba&#146;s social philosophy was fundamentally anarchist and communitarian. In pursuit of the movement&#146;s goals he pursued a policy of asking landowners to donate land to the poor (Bhoodan, or &#147;gift of land&#148;) and of establishing village cooperative agriculture (Gramdan or &#147;village gift&#148;). Over a decade, Vinoba walked 25,000 miles across India and accepted eight million acres of Bhoodan land. The history of the Sarvodaya movement is recounted in Geoffrey Ostergaard and Melville Currell&#146;s study, <i>The Gentle Anarchists</i>.</span></span></span>

Among contemporary thinkers, the celebrated poet and essayist Gary Snyder has probably had the greatest influence in linking anarchism, spirituality and nature. He has also been a major influence on the contemporary ecology movement in showing the ecological implications of Buddhist, Daoist and indigenous traditions. Snyder has connected the concepts of &#147;the wild,&#148; &#147;wild nature&#148; and &#147;wilderness&#148; with the Tao of ancient Chinese philosophy and the dharma of Buddhism. For Snyder, the concept of &#147;the wild&#148; implies a freedom and spontaneity that are found not only in undomesticated nature, but also in the imagination of the poet and in the mind of the spiritually attuned person. He expresses the anarchic nature of the Zen mind in his statement: &#147;the power of no-power; this is in the practice of Zen&#148; (Snyder 1980: 4).</span></span></span>

For Snyder, such concepts have farreaching political implications. By the early 1970s he had already outlined a bioregional anarchist position that would replace the state and its artificial political boundaries with a regionalism based on lived experience and a knowledge of the particularities of place. Snyder links the spirituality of place with &#147;reinhabitation,&#148; the development of an intimate acquaintance with one&#146;s locality and region, and the achievement of a larger sense of community that incorporates other life forms. Snyder finds the roots of such asocial vision in the Neolithic community, with its emphasis on productive work, the sharing of goods, and the self-determination of local village communities. From the standpoint of such decentralized, egalitarian communities, the state, social hierarchy, and centralized power are not only illegitimate and oppressive, but also a source of disorder and destruction in both society and the natural world.</span></span></span>

The wisdom of traditional societies has been a widespread theme in contemporary anarchist thought. This is exemplified by a significant &#147;neo-primitivist&#148; current in ecological anarchism that has identified very strongly with many of the values and institutions of tribal societies. Its proponents argue that for 99 percent of human history human beings lived in stateless societies in which nature spirituality was central to their culture. The non-hierarchical, cooperative, symbiotic and ecological spiritualities of these societies have been taken as an inspiration for a future post-civilized anarchist society.</span></span></span>

A strong influence on this current is anarchist theorist Fredy Perlman (1934&#150;1985), who in his influential work <i>Against His-story, Against Leviathan</i> depicts (in a kind of radicalized version of the &#147;Myth of the Machine&#148; of social critic Lewis Mumford [1895&#150;1990]) the millennia-long history of the assault of the technological megamachine on humanity and the Earth. Perlman describes early tribal spirituality as a celebration of human existence and nature, and depicts the rise of the ancient despotism that destroyed these societies and replaced their spirituality with a repressive, patriarchal and authoritarian monotheism. He interprets the emergence of such spiritual movements as ancient Daoism, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism as a rebellion against social hierarchy and the domination of nature, and describes the processes through which these spiritualities of freedom were transformed in religions of domination. He also outlines the history of anarchistic spiritual movements, including such striking examples as the Taoist Yellow Turbans, a revolutionary, egalitarian movement of the second century.</span></span></span>

Similar themes are developed by David Watson, a leading contemporary critic of the technological mega-machine. Watson contends in <i>Against the Megamachine</i> that in modern societies an aura of sacredness is concentrated in the ego, in the system of technology, and in economic and political power, whereas primal societies have seen the sacred as pervading the self, the community and the world of nature. Primal spirituality was, he argues, an integral part of a system of egalitarian, libertarian and ecological social values. Furthermore, the participating consciousness of primal peoples conceives of humans as inseparable from larger natural and transhuman realities. Thus, primal peoples have had an anarchistic, non-hierarchical view of both society and nature that constitutes a powerful critique of modern industrial society and offers inspiration for future non-dominating ecological communities.</span></span></span>

Ideas similar to those of Perlman and Watson inspire a rather large, vigorous and growing anarcho-primitivist or anti-civilization movement. The best-known theoretical spokesperson for this movement is John Zerzan, who presents a withering critique of civilization, industrialism, technology, the state, and even language and community. Anarcho-primitivist ideas often appear in such publications as <i>Green Anarchy, Live Free or Die, Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed</i> and <i>The Fifth Estate</i>. Anarcho-primitivism plays an important role in the Earth Liberation Front, which practices sabotage in defense of nature, and in the much larger Earth First!, which is the most important direct action environmental organization. It is also a significant undercurrent in the anti-globalization movement.</span></span></span>

Anarcho-primitivists see an inextricable relationship between civilization and the domination of humanity and nature. One of their central themes is the inevitability of the collapse of industrial society, an event that is often looked forward to with anticipation. Primitivists value all that remains free from the domination of civilization, including remaining wilderness areas and autonomous, spontaneous human activity. They look to tribal traditions and hunter-gatherer economies for examples of an ecological sensibility, a balanced relationship to nature, and an ethos of sharing and generosity. However, they do not in general propose a simple reversion to such previous social formations, which are sometimes criticized for alienated social practices. Many primitivists find inspiration in various nature-affirming spiritual traditions as an alternative to the narrow technical rationality of civilization. These include the spirituality of tribal people, various forms of nature mysticism, a general reverence for life and nature, pantheism, and neo-paganism.</span></span></span>

Indeed, one finds a continuous and strong anarchist current in neo-paganism in general in both Britain and the United States in recent decades. In Britain there are important anarchist and neo-pagan tendencies within the large marginal subculture that centers around the anti-roads movement and defends sites that are of natural, cultural and spiritual significance. Both anti-roads activists and neo-pagans often form decentralized, non-hierarchical organizations practicing such anarchist principles as direct action and consensus decision making. Starhawk, one of the best-known neo-pagan theorists and writers, and an important figure in ecofeminism, has emphasized the connection between the nonviolent, egalitarian, cooperative, anti-patriarchal, anti-hierarchical, and nature-affirming values of anarchism and the pagan worldview and sensibility. The pioneering ecofeminist writer Susan Griffin has inspired thinking about these interconnections since her wide-ranging landmark work <i>Woman and Nature</i>, published in 1978. Even earlier, the well-known short-story writer and poet Grace Paley had incorporated feminist, anarchist and ecological themes in her works, which also expresses a deep but subtle spirituality of everyday life.</span></span></span>

Hakim Bey, one of the most widely read contemporary anarchist writers, has developed an &#147;ontological anarchism&#148; that finds inspiration in esoteric spiritual traditions of many cultures, including Islamic mysticism, sorcery, shamanism, alchemy, and primordial myths of chaos. Bey&#146;s anarchic sensibility and spirituality encompass everything related to joy, eros, creativity, play, and &#147;the marvelous.&#148; His concept of the Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ) as a sphere in which such realities can be experienced is one of the most influential ideas in contemporary anarchism and has stimulated interest in heretical, dissident and exotic anarchistic spiritualities.</span></span></span>

There has also been considerable theoretical discussion of anarchism, nature and spirituality in the context of debates within social ecology. Such well-known exponents of social ecology as Murray Bookchin and Janet Biehl have attacked spiritual ecologies as forms of irrational mysticism that often produce social passivity and sometimes are linked to reactionary or fascist politics. On the other hand, proponents of the value of spiritual ecologies (such as David Watson, John Clark and Peter Marshall) have argued for the importance to an anarchist social ecology of spiritual values that are ecological, holistic, communitarian and socially emancipatory. It has been argued that some social ecologists have uncritically adopted a modernist, Promethean, and naively rationalistic view of the self and its relationship to the world, and that spiritual ecologies derived from Asian philosophies and indigenous worldviews, among other sources, can contribute to a more critical, dialectical, and implicitly anarchistic view of selfhood and the place of humanity in nature.</span></span></span>

This brief survey is far from comprehensive, and a fuller account would encompass such topics as Quakerism and other forms of radical Protestantism, the Catholic Worker movement and other tendencies within the Catholic Left, the spirituality of anarchist intentional communities, and the many literary and artistic figures (including such notable examples as poet Allen Ginsberg and novelist Ursula LeGuin) who have had important insights relating to anarchism, spirituality and nature. However, from the examples discussed, it should be clear that anarchist thought and practice have encompassed a wide diversity of approaches to religion, spirituality, and nature. This multiplicity and divergence continues today. Many contemporary anarchists (especially in Europe and in organizations in the anarcho-syndicalist and anarcho-communist traditions) carry on the atheist, anti-religious, anti-clerical outlook of the classical anarchist movement. Others, including many of the young people who have been drawn to contemporary anarchism through direct action movements, have neither great interest in nor particular antipathy to religion and spirituality. However, an increasing number of political and cultural anarchists are developing an interest in spirituality, and many others have been drawn to anarchist political movements and social tendencies through an initial interest in anarchistic spirituality. Consequently, spirituality, and more particularly the nature-affirming spiritualities of Daoism, Buddhism, neo-Paganism, indigenous traditions, and various radical undercurrents within Western religion, play a significant role in anarchism today and can be expected to do so in the future.&nbsp;</span></span></span>

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</span><span style="font-size: large;"><b>Further Reading</span></b></span></span>

Bakunin, Michael. <i>God and the State</i>. New York: Dover,1970. </span></span></span>
Blake, William. <i>The Complete Poetry and Prose of WilliamBlake</i>. David V. Erdman, ed. New York: Doubleday,1988. </span></span></span>
Chuang Tzu. <i>Inner Chapters</i>. New York: Vintage Books,1974. </span></span></span>
Cohn, Norman. <i>The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of theMiddle Ages</i>. New York: Oxford University Press,1990 (1961). </span></span></span>
Clark, John and Camille Martin. <i>Anarchy, Geography,Modernity: The Radical Social Thought of ElisιeReclus</i>. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2004. </span></span></span>
Gandhi, Mohandas. <i>The Essential Gandhi</i>. Louis Fischer,ed. New York: Random House, 1963. Landauer, Gustav. <i>For Socialism</i>. St. Louis: Telos Press,1978. Lao Tzu, &#147;The Lao Tzu (Tao te Ching).&#148; In Wing-Tsit Chan,ed. <i>A Sourcebook in Chinese Philosophy</i>. Princeton,NJ: Princeton University Press, 1963, 139&#150;76. </span></span></span>
Lau, D.C. &#147;Introduction&#148; to <i>Tao te Ching</i>. Harmondsworth,UK and New York: Penguin Books, 1963, 7&#150;52. </span></span></span>
Lin-Chi. <i>The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-Chi</i>. Boston andLondon: Shambhala, 1993. </span></span></span>
Marshall, Peter. <i>Demanding the Impossible: A History ofAnarchism.</i> London: HarperCollins, 1992. </span></span></span>
Ostergaard, Geoffrey and Melville Currell. <i>The GentleAnarchists: A Study of the Leaders of the SarvodayaMovement For Non-Violent Revolution in India</i>.Oxford: Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1973. </span></span></span>
Perlman, Fredy. <i>Against His-story, Against Leviathan</i>.Detroit: Black &amp; Red, 1983. </span></span></span>
Purchase, Graham. <i>Evolution and Revolution: An Introduction to the Life and Thought of Peter Kropotkin</i>.Petersham, Australia: Jura Books, 1996. </span></span></span>
Snyder, Gary. <i>The Real Work: Interviews &amp; Talks 1964&#150;1979.</i> New York: New Dimensions, 1980. </span></span></span>
Starhawk. <i>Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authorityand Mystery</i>. San Francisco: Harper &amp; Row, 1988. </span></span></span>
Vaneigem, Raoul. <i>The Movement of the Free Spirit:General Considerations and Firsthand TestimonyConcerning Some Brief Flowerings of Life in the MiddleAges, the Renaissance and, Incidentally, Our OwnTime</i>. New York: Zone Books, 1994. </span></span></span>
Watson, David. <i>Against the Megamachine: Essays onEmpire &amp; Its Enemies.</i> Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia,1998. </span></span></span>

See also: Bioregionalism; Bioregionalism and the North American Bioregional Congress; Blake, William; Buddhism; Daoism; Earth First! and the Earth Liberation Front; Ellul, Jacques; Gandhi, Mohandas; Griffin, Susan; Kropotkin, Peter; Left Biocentrism; Le Guin, Ursula; Radical Environmentalism; Reclus, Elisιe; Snyder, Gary -- and the Invention of Bioregional Spirituality and Politics; Social Ecology; Starhawk; Thoreau, Henry David.


JC representin dat 504. Go saints.


you apparently didn't read all the way to the part where a queer hipster smashed a window and then I threw a benefit dance party for their legal aid.

an increasing number of political and cultural anarchists are developing an interest in spirituality, and many others have been drawn to anarchist political movements and social tendencies through an initial interest in anarchistic spirituality.

What? Have I missed something as I haven't noticed anything like this. I hope this isn't true.

you apparently don't live in santa cruz.

Lucky me then.

What about Monica Sjöö?

When a mode of social interaction arises in which the wealth can be produced privately but is enjoyed communally and where the basic needs of all are met, sufficient time will be available for people to realize the highest experience: the contemplation of the infinite within which we are each a self-conscious part. Happiness is a complete life, actualized through philosophical contemplation of the unity that is Being. Such a society would be an-archical in the sense that rule is not in the service of any particular individual or group but in the interest of the whole (while protecting the freedom for each). This would be in conformity wit a principle of nature that, from the beginning, tends toward the good. That initiating and sustaining principle is "God."

"On such a principle, then, depend the heavens and the world of nature. And it is a life such as the best which we enjoy, and enjoy for but a short time (for it is ever in this state, which we cannot be), since its actuality is also pleasure. (And for this reason are waking, perception, and thinking most pleasant, and hopes and memories are so on account of these.) And thinking in itself deals with that which is best in itself, and that which is thinking in the fullest sense with that which is best in the fullest sense. And thought thinks on itself because it shares the nature of the object of thought; for it becomes an object of thought in coming into contact with and thinking its objects, so that thought and object of thought are the same. For that which is capable of receiving the object of thought, i.e. the essence, is thought. But it is active when it possesses this object. Therefore the possession rather than the receptivity is the divine element which thought seems to contain, and the act of contemplation is what is most pleasant and best. If, then, God is always in that good state in which we sometimes are, this compels our wonder; and if in a better this compels it yet more. And God is in a better state. And life also belongs to God; for the actuality of thought is life, and God is that actuality; and God's self-dependent actuality is life most good and eternal. We say therefore that God is a living being, eternal, most good, so that life and duration continuous and eternal belong to God; for this is God." the A-team

Decentralization the point of individual mass production ...and I thought 3D printers were fuckin sweet. Well fuckin' beam me up! Welcome to Q's court: you will answer for your human race and be judged accordingly. Once technology allows humanity to conquer the nano dimension ...or that M shit with all those membranes in their 11th dimension big banging each other... we'll have total anarchy. Woe unto the old order of stifling the stupid use of ultimate power! Woe unto the ideal order of limiting power to the reach of the limbs! Absolute solipsistic ethics is our triumph - Squeeteam

Death is the only true Anarchy.

- The D team

Punk no die. Eyeliner!

Punk is dead. Just as everything else should be.

- The D team

Well why else promote it?


(btw - I'm still wondering if you're going to sky god rocket me or earth god eat me)

Promote what? Death? well its the only true release from the suffering of this world.

- The D team

yes - Death. The truth we're all after and will individually one day understand. The ultimate equalizer. The breath of the black flag! To DEAth!!! What else but death could compel the grand expropriation of life? We love our forgotten robots.


Hopefully this encyclopedia will include some of the real forms of anarchy that existed for around a decade or two back during the "golden age of class struggle" (**strokes white beard softly**).

Black Flame said it best when they said, "Stirner and Proudhon are not anarchists. Marx, Haywood, DeLeon, and Connolly are. If we want to live in pure anarchy, we all have to sell newspapers for the local platformist group and recruit people to the mass movement that we will initiate once we reach 2 members per area code."

if you want to join the real fight go to www.libcom.org/
just don't post any texts from black flame, unless you want lucien van der walt or michael schmidtt to demand you remove them out of fear of hurting their capital accumulation scheme.

yeah, you big rrrrrevolutionary keyboard warrior, don't bother posting what the libcom issue was: "we are using the royalties to fund the Spanish translation...project involving militants in Chile and Spain..."

also, remember, in good little american brat fashion, to yell very LOUDLY until people believe what you say.

like claiming that black flame says Marx was an anarchist.

in speaking of the relationship of ‘the anarchist tradition’ to religion, spirituality and nature, a basic ambiguity in what we mean by these words, is not mentioned; e.g. nietzsche’s views are often considered anarchist and his quote ‘god is dead’ is relevant to this review.

nietzsche, mach, schroedinger and others understand the world as a continual 'becoming', ... and understand ‘being’ as in ‘local material systems’ as ‘appearances’, or ‘Fiktion’. as with eastern views, the flow of becoming is understood as transcending the forms that gather in the flow, that we impute ‘being’ to. insofar as ‘God’ is equated with ‘cosmic order’, God is ‘done away with’ by conceiving of the world in terms of ‘local, independently-existing material objects/organisms/systems’ separated by empty space.

‘emptiness’ in the views of the aforementioned [nietzsche etc.] agrees with the emptiness of the taoist and buddhist view and vedic views; i.e. as transcendent fullness or ‘sunyata’. if there were to be talk of God in the nietzschean, machean view etc. it would have to relate to the cosmic order in the ‘energy-flow-field’ that transcends the transient manifest forms.

since western man tends to believe in the notional ‘local, independently-existing being’ of ‘material organisms’, he also believes that behaviour jumpstarts in the interior of these absolute entities like man, and so he imputes man to have a local internal ‘mind’. essentially, this is a God-in-the-machine and thus a belief in mainstream science [not quantum physics which implies ‘sunyata’] which fosters belief in ‘local, independently-existing material beings’, as science describes ‘humans’ [instead of resonance structures within the transforming relational spatial-plenum or ‘flow of becoming’] amounts to a belief in 'God'; i.e. 'God' as the secularized theological concept of an absolute, local ‘mind’ as in the local ‘mind-in-the-material-machine’ or ‘ghost-in-the-material-machine’.

nietzsche mocks these ideas and mach mocks them as well. meanwhile it is the standard belief in the Western culture and it imputes God status to man and organisms and cells, by notionally endowing these notionally local, independently-existing material systems with their own local, internal God-in-the-machine ‘mind’.

the alternative view is to acknowledge that the material system is like the storm-cell in the atmosphere which is a conjugate receptor – effector relational dynamic; i.e. the dynamic form is the energy-flow it is included in. hierarchy is not possible in this system since everything is in connection with everything else.

this type of world view, based in a transforming relational space, is inherently ‘anarchistic’ as the article identifies those buddhist, taoist, vedic, aboriginal views in the review. this ‘anarchism’ associates with the view of space as ‘non-local, non-visible, non-material ‘fullness’ [energy-charged spatial plenum] rather than ‘empty emptiness’.

the invisible ‘energy field’ of quantum physics, since it transcends the material forms that gather within it, equates to the ‘cosmic order’ or ‘God’ if one desires to use this word.

scientific atheists who believe in absolute local material being and thus in the God-like mind [the standard belief of our Western culture] are seen by nietzsche et al as ‘worshipping at the altar of science and rationality’; e.g. as believing in a Deity in the local material organism, a ‘ghost-in-the-machine-made-of-meat’. this in effect makes man into God and by believing that space is empty/Euclidian, removes the transcendent sourcing from space, therefore ‘killing off God’ at the same time as making man into God, ... and creating hierarchy to boot since a plurality of absolute local, independently existing material entities is the basis of the number system.

In other news:

"Violent strikes are the only way to get bosses to listen, almost half of a group of young South African adults surveyed told market researcher Pondering Panda.

Forty-seven percent of 2888 people questioned subscribed to this view, researchers said on Tuesday."


as the comments/discussion on the article from south africa suggest, the majority has no monopoly on the truth in definitions of what constitutes ‘good violence’ and ‘bad violence’. the violence done by police on behalf of a majority or a powerful minority that has the dominant grasp on the helm of the sovereign state is not automatically ‘good’ on the basis of ‘keeping the peace’ if ‘keeping the peace’ is a perpetuation of unjust conditions in the state. the example was given of the violent strikes in ireland during british occupation of what is now the republic of ireland. history sees the colonization of ireland by the british in the same sort of light as the colonization of turtle island by the european colonizers; i.e. the violence of the state against those it has taken prisoner of is less justified than the violence of those who seek to break the stranglehold of the forcibly imposed statehood.

the definitions of ‘illegal’ and ‘violent’ have nothing to do with ‘justice’ in the philosophical sense of ‘justice’; i.e. the ‘legal violence’ of the state against the people it imprisons is only ‘justified’ or ‘just’ by the absolutist God-like defining power of the state.

““ … western political thinking itself is grounded in theological concepts of “Christian nationalism.” The notion of “absolute, unlimited power held permanently in a single person or source, inalienable, indivisible, and original” is a definition of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God. This “God died around the time of Machiavelli…. Sovereignty was … His earthly replacement.” —Walker, R. B. J. and Mendlovitz, Saul H. “Interrogating State Sovereignty.”

this goes back to the discussion of anarchism’s relationship to religion and spirituality. atheist science’s model of man is the same absolutist ‘sovereign being’ model; i.e. mainstream biology sees the human organism as a ‘machine made of meat’ inhabited by a God-like central authority called ‘the mind’ which purportedly inhabits ‘the brain’, the central authority, which directs a hierarchical structure including a centrally directed system of messengers that carry directives from the God-like absolute source of direction, the ‘mind’ and inform the muscles whose job is to obey the directions the messengers of God [middle managers] are bringing to them.

atheist scientists actually believe this crap.

of course, there are no absolutes in our real-life experiencing of the world, everything is in flux and the sovereign state is an anthropomorphism born of this secularized theological concept of ourselves as a notional’ local, independently-existing material system with its own locally originating internal process [biophysics and biochemical] driven and directed development and behaviour.

this Fiktion has been shown to be Fiktion by modern physics but it is has become the supporting pillars of the Western civilization.

what is common in much of the anarchist belief cited in the above article (toaism, zen etc.) is the pooh-poohing of this model of man as an ‘independent being’ which is the basis for hierarchical systems thinking [i.e. if the organism is seen as an internally directed local, independently-existing material system, then its operations, because they jumpstart from inside the system, must then unfold hierarchically, from the internal source of direction/directives [the CEO, boss God], down through the intermediating messaging/messenger system, to the ground floor doers or muscles of the system who work ‘where the rubber meets the road’.

the origin or hierarchical organization is in the Western civilization’s atheist scientific assumption that man is a ‘sovereign being’ [an absolute local, independently existing material system that is self-directed from an absolute jumpstart centre of authority]. Western mainstream science [which loves to over-simplify with its imposing of absolute space and absolute time reference framing] is the purveyor of one-sided patriarchal hierarchy by way of its model of man, the way we are encouraged by simple science to see ourselves, which is the same model as we use when imprisoning ourselves within a ‘sovereign state’.

modern physics agrees with the eastern view where the world is NOT ‘emptiness populated locally by absolute local independently-existing material objects or organisms or systems’, but is instead ‘fullness’ [an energy-charged relational spatial plenum, or ‘flow’ or ‘becoming’ or ‘spacetime-continuum] or ‘sunyata’ which is the source of material forms such as man, in the manner that the atmosphere is the source of the material forms such as the storm-cell.

man, rather than being a ‘unit of being’ is instead a ‘unit of perception’ as with the modern [epigenetic-genetic] understanding of the ‘cell’, as the stuff that develops between the ‘receptors’ and ‘effectors’.

this understanding of man is not going to lead to the sovereign state with its patriarchal hierarchical structure, it leads instead to fractal structure composed of ‘units of perception’ instead of ‘units of being’ that have to be ‘directed’ by a supreme centre of Direction.

patriarchal hierarchy comes directly from atheist science’s model of ourselves, man[/woman, humanity] as Fiktional absolute, internally directed local, independently-existing material systems that populate an absolute, fixed empty and infinite space [Euclidian space].

in other words, patriarchal hierarchy, which we have built into the foundational thinking and institutions of Western civilization [including 'the sovereign state'], derives from our secularized theological view of ourselves as local Gods with machine-made-of-meat bodies.

there is no authority higher than that which is the notional God-like jumpstart sourcing of Direction that notionally inhabits the absolute local independently existing 'thing-in-itself', therefore, whatever it defines as 'good' and 'bad' [e.g. good violence and bad violence] is the defining definition. that is the logic that we build into the system and as we also know, all finite systems of logice are incomplete and subject to inconsistencies [Goedel's theorem]. The Russell's paradox expression of Goedel's theorem can be stated; "The Director that directs all those that cannot direct themselves cannot direct Himself", hence his non-directed behaviour is a loose cannon, this side of infinity [this side of appointing someone to direct the director and to direct the director of that director and so on and so forth ... to infinity.

thus this patriarchal hierarchy system has a big exposure in it right at the very top. where the highest source of Direction has no higher source to direct it, hence, to top dog in patriarchal hierarchy makes statements like the following;

"in the words of President Franklin Roosevelt, we lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good. I still believe that America is the last, best hope of Earth. We just have to show the world why this is so. [obama, april 23, 2007] ..."Mia Love [2012] concluded by declaring that “we are truly the last best hope on Earth.”

what's wrong with the people of the world working together? why does the future depend on a patriarchal hierarchy that unilaterally defines what is 'good' and what is 'just' and backs up the Direction it imposes with the world's most powerful weapons of mass destruction and military?

the majority of people in the world 'vote' against this. therefore to proceed with it is to dictate on the patriarchal basis that one 'knows what's best for everyone else [all the little people that cannot make such decisions for themselves since we won't let them because we don't trust their motives/competences].

poo-pooing emile. nietzsche's grand politics happens when a "patriarchal hierarchy that unilaterally defines what is 'good'and what is 'just' and backs up the Direction it imposes with the world's most powerful weapons of mass destruction and military." once we embrace the flux and allow our own will to power, itself directed by a greater quanta of force and sense of strength, the necessary values of us masters of the earth will become manifest. a caesar with the soul of christ, a self-perpetuating wheel of creation, a life-affirming "ja sagender" will surmount current humanity and use it as materiel for a new, higest achievement of humanity.

it all fits man.

team ubermenschen

nietzsche's 'will to power' is the evolutionary force as immanent in all of nature and its forms, including man. did your nietzsche material come with an intro/summary by joseph goebbels by any chance?

"--do you want a name for this world? A solution for all its riddles? A light for you, too, you best-concealed, strongest, most intrepid, most midnightly men?--This world is the will to power--and nothing besides! And you yourselves are also this will to power--and nothing besides!" ---Nietzsche, 'The Will to Power'

ohhhhh, emile knows how to quote nietzsche. try this one on douche bag:

"Europe would have to resolve to become equally threatening, namely to acquire a single will by means of a new caste dominating all Europe, a protracted terrible will of its own which could set its objectives thousands of years ahead... The time for petty politics is past: the very next century will bring with it the struggle for mastery over the whole earth - the compulsion to grand politics."

nietzsche, "the will to power."

the whole point of nietzsche's classical nihilism is the foretaste of the ubermensch whose strength is suberabundant and feels no slave-morality angst in commanding others, those fit by their weakness to be commanded. the whole point of the "genealogy of morals" is the celebration of distance between those who have the strength to command and those who must obey. zarathustra is a bridge to the overman, dipshit, who will revivify europe with a new master morality and take on the responsibility of commanding. maciavelli, the borgias, caear are all respected for their ability to conquer.

anarchists, by contrast, have a common origin with christians.

joseph goebbels? fuck you; you act so fucking smart, when you don't know shit.

it's ok; you're just the floating protoplasm of the web of force vectors in the non-subjective world beyond the doer-deed fiction. so, really there is no emile; "he" has no responsibility for what he types just as "he" cannot articulate a standpoint from which to actually develop an actual anarchist politics. it's all so hippy-dippy. emile could just as easily be timothy leary: tune in to the cosmic flow, turn on, and drop out.

your quote cherry-picks nietzsche’s writing to fit your own personal concept which is clearly at odds with nietzsche’s concept. the first part of the quote, which you dropped off, i have re-instated in bold;

“It may need not only wars in India and Asian involvements to relieve Europe of the greatest danger facing it, but also internal eruptions, the explosion of the empire into small fragments, and above all the introduction of the parliamentary imbecility, including the obligation upon everyone to read his newspaper at breakfast. I do not say this because I desire it: the reverse would be more after my own heart- I mean such an increase in the Russian threat that Europe would have to resolve to become equally threatening, namely to acquire a single will by means of a new caste dominating all Europe, a protracted terrible will of its own which could set its objectives thousands of years ahead... The time for petty politics is past: the very next century will bring with it the struggle for mastery over the whole earth - the compulsion to grand politics."

nietzsche sees the world as a ‘continual becoming’ that is beyond ‘things-in-themselves’. this view does not permit absolute truths which means that you can’t read his writing as if he is propounding absolute truths in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ or ‘what things-in-themselves need to do’ such as 'take over the world' [the Nazi interpretation-of-convenience that you also seem to be using]. nietzsche also points out that while we use metaphors to substitute for the absence of the absolute/solidly-existing, metaphors are purely relational and they, too, fail to ‘bottom-out’ in absolute truths or absolute things-in-themselves.

currently biology is discovering this in the case of the ‘cell’ which ‘epigenetics’ is showing up to be a form that is not an end but a bridge between ‘receptors’ and ‘effectors’; i.e. the ‘cell’ is no longer being portrayed as a ‘thing-in-itself’ [an atomic thing-in-itself unit like a brick in the imputed structure of the material edifice of the organism] but as a continually transforming relational dynamic, in the same sense as a storm-cell in the atmosphere, or in david bohm’s metaphor, a ‘ripple’ in the energy-charged ‘spatial-plenum’.

as mach said, the ‘quantum step’ is not a forward step from one solid/absolute ‘state’ to the next higher/progressive version of the solid/absolute state, but is instead THE BRIDGING MEDIUM between what is ‘coming over’ [the outside inward precipitation of the new form] and what is ‘going down’ [the inside-outward subsiding form].

on a personal level, we can think of ourselves in terms of our ‘continual rising to the occasion’ and transcending who we just were. ‘what is coming over’ is a new body-mask and what is ‘going down’ is the prior body-mask. That is, ‘who we just were’ as an experience does not ‘go away’, it ‘goes down’ and inside, like geological deposition that is continuously accumulating. this is nietzsche’s view of evolution [conjugate relation of endosmosis and exosmosis] and it applies to the world or cosmos and all things in it, including man.

as nietzsche says in ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’, the man [or culture or continent etc] that is continually transformed by its learning experience and which never stops and holds onto its current body-mask, is the ‘overman’. the overman celebrates his own continual ‘going down’;

“I love him who lives in order to know, and seeks to know in order that the Overman may hereafter live. Thus he seeks his own down-going.”

”I teach you the overman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him? ... All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood, and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is ape to man? A laughing stock or painful embarrassment. ... The overman is the meaning of the earth. ... Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman - a rope over an abyss ... what is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end.” ---Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’

like Mach’s understanding of a ‘quantum step’, it is NOT a step in a progression that is going somewhere in some sort of structural progression. it is a bridge and not an end, a rope over an abyss of non-definition [the nothingness/sunyata of relational becoming, the energy-charged-flow-stuff that continual becoming is made of].

thus, these Fiktional interpretations of ‘overman’ in terms of a man [or of a Europe] as a 'thing-in-itself' that is committed to having more power over others, or control over more land, misses the very point that is core to nietzsche’s philosophy, that the man or the political unit [Europe, Russia] must let their identity ‘float’ rather than holding on to their identity like holding on to their ego or sense-of-self-as-thing-in-itself and feeding it by increasing its domination over others so that it becomes a fat and inflated ego/identity.

nietzsche detested nationalism and its ‘petty politics’ so your ‘overman’ interpretation is totally out to lunch.

whether we are talking about a man, a nation or a political alliance such as europe, that which is great in it, is NOT an enlarged-self-as-end, but itself-as-bridge;... “what is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end.” ---nietzsche, 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra'

my reading fits my conception of nietzsche... uhhh, what's the abbreviation? lmao! pathetic. the nietzschean anarchist who senses his strength in the distance between the one who has the will to command and the other who must be commanded given his weakness.

i think your own clinging to a scientism that can endlessly deny responsibility for its own choosing is the essence of a bridge to nowhere. yes, the child knows that nietzsche posits a world of becoming. i give you credit, emile, you have reached the third metamorphosis of the spirit that of the child. interestingly you were able to bypass the spirit of the lion. so, type away brother. be a child, a self-cretang wheel, spinning out scientistic fantasies that gets anarchism not one inch closer to any real political destiny.

oh, i forgot, there is no destiny.

"I am a tremendous atavism. You would have to go back centuries to find this race, the noblest there has ever been on earth, quite so instinctually pure as I represent it. I have a sovereign feeling of distinction compared to everything that is nowadays called "noblesse"--I would not grant the young German Kaiser the honor of being my coachman... The GREAT individuals are the oldest: I do not understand it, but Julius Caesar could be my father--or Alexander, that Dionysus incarnate." Ecce Homo

Have your narcissistic and scientistic fantasies, devoid as they are of all greatness, but leave Nietzsche out of it.

my impression is that many people, although they intuit something very wrong in the current state of our society, are reluctant to ‘make a move’ in support of transforming the established system because of the confusions and contradictions that associate with varying ways of looking at the same thing. morality is a value that introduces confusions/contradictions, and nietzsche is one who articulates the case for a change in values that would take our social dynamic ‘beyond good-and-evil’.

my comments are not offered with the intent of a defining ‘anarchism’ and supporting it as a political movement. to me, ‘free association’ based on the beyond-good-and-evil values of cultivating and sustaining balance and harmony in the relational space we share inclusion is the way to go. this corresponds, in my view to the aboriginal/natural anarchist traditional values which are radically unlike the hierarchical and moral values that are foundational in our our Western cultural institutions [governance, justice, commerce, education].

your comments seem to see ‘anarchism’ as a ‘thing-in-itself’; i.e. as a political movement-in-itself based on ‘what we, as anarchist-things-in-ourselves-need-to-do’, while i am seeing it as a values-based way of life, rather than a political movement. that is, i see it NOT as a way of making things happen the way we want them to, ... but as a way of bridging ‘signals from the environment’ [receptors] and ‘environment-informed assertive actions [effectors].

i.e. you say;

“so, type away brother. be a child, a self-cretang wheel, spinning out scientistic fantasies that gets anarchism not one inch closer to any real political destiny.”

i have no problem with you [and many similarly motivated others] trying to define and promote anarchism as a political movement. and neither do i agree with that approach.

my ‘entrée into this discussion’ was in regard to ‘morality’ being tied to religion and religion being tied to hierarchy and hierarchy being [negatively] tied to anarchism and these relationships were the feature topic. my my core comment was to share how confusion is thrown at us by ‘morality’, which continues to be a mainstay value of our society and at the same time a major trouble-maker. ‘morality’ is tied to religion and religion is tied to hierarchy and hierarchy is [negatively] tied to anarchism and these relationships were the feature topic for discussion.

insofar as the validity of my commentary is acknowledged by a fellow forum participant, it may help to clarify how morality is a problem; i.e. how morality is used to support hierarchy and thus to make anarchists appear ‘immoral’ and how it is used in the justice system to deter and punish anyone who attempts to contribute to needed transformation in our social dynamic; i.e. how the moral foundations of the justice system are used for immoral purposes; i.e. to perpetuate injustice.

in my view, if we could get rid of morality as a foundational value and organizing principle in our society and institutions, we would restore natural free association aka ‘anarchy’ based on the beyond-good-and-evil values of sustaining balance and harmony in our relational dynamics; e.g. the values of aboriginal anarchist traditions.

this is the approach advocated by those in ‘decolonizing’ initiatives [to erode the intellectual foundations of colonialism]. ‘decolonization’ is not an ‘anarchist political movement’. ‘anarchism’ is the natural result of a shift to ‘beyond-good-and-evil’ [pre-colonization] values.

this is where my comments are ‘coming from’, and yes, of course, ‘science’ comes into it. mainstream science is based on ‘secularized theological concepts’ [e.g. the assumed jumpstart central authority/God in the organism-as-machine etc.] mach didn’t say that he was ‘quitting the church of physics’ for no reason. his view of physical reality is the same as nietzsche’s and schroedinger’s; i.e. although we RE-present physical reality in terms of ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what they do’ [which enables us to judge the goodness or badness of causal agents who we hold to be fully, causally responsible for ‘good’ or bad’ ‘outcomes’], this is idealization that should not be confused for physical reality. physical reality is instead the continuing transformation of the relational space we are included in which we can only infer from the dynamics of local, visible, material forms, dynamics that we give representation to in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves are doing.

in straightening out confusion on these matters, we erode the intellectual foundations of colonialism and the fallout is that ‘anarchism’ becomes the natural organizing mode.

you say; “[my view] ... gets anarchism not one inch closer to any real political destiny” and my view is, like the ‘decolonizers’, that the path to anarchism by way of collapsing the intellectual foundations of colonialism [the globally dominating Western cultural belief and values set] is an approach that does not require defining and building anarchism as a political movement akin to marxism, capitalism or etc.

that is, a variety of activisms from black bloc to 'occupy' have not needed a defined anarchist political movement banner to operate under. all of the activisms intuit the bogus intellectual foundations of our [morality-based] society and its institutions. my comments aim to help expose these bogus foundations. there is no dependency on nietzsche [or anyone else] in such an exposé, so feel to ignore the nietzsche bits. the reader is free to reflect on the core premise based on his/her own experience; i.e. that 'becoming' is the primary physical reality while 'being' is useful idealization that, in our current dysfunctional society, we are confusing for physical reality.

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