Black Blossoms at the End of the World by Invecchiare Selvatico
"Black Blossoms At The End Of The World"
by Invecchiare Selvatico
(the unedited version)
“Well, the sun is settin’…our ship has sailed…we missed the train…the show is over…time to throw in the towel…yes, doom is upon us” says a boy in a strangely cold and ambivalently detached tone.
“But if you think like that, son, we’ve already lost. You might as well just go to sleep or join the circus” replies an obviously disappointed man with a weathered face framed by graying hair.
In comes crookedly staggering the spirit-induced black-clad outlaw: “I’m gonna kill this bottle of bourbon from last night’s wickedly invigorating debautrous carnival, fill it with some stolen petrol, stuff in an ol’ snot rag, light it, and toss it at whatever stands in the way of my freedom, and maybe, if time allows, and some impressionable youth filled with their own righteous rage are around to hear, I’ll loudly snarl to that particular beast why I felt it needed to be slaughtered, but being sure to duck back into the darkness before it could offer one more dying breath excuse….then go plant some daisies with those I love!”
And the curtain closes as flames begin to engulf the auditorium……
Fragments From Scribbles And Ramblin’s
Found In A Secluded Winter Cabin
It is in the critical question that I find in myself what some might constitute or perceive as a glimmer of “hope”. Those who recognize deeply, completely, and unapologetically the context we inhabit (at least the best I could imagine any of us doing), both historically and contemporarily, and move from that with cutting clarity, emotional vulnerability, an honest sense of subjectivity, and clever imagination…..at least in the external world these questions are some inspirations…….out there. In my own life, what some might characterize as “hope” is a continuous flowing river…….rough at times, stagnant in places, temporarily held back by the obstructions constructed by myself (knowingly and not) and (mostly) by others. But “hope”, as most would use the term, is merely one more scheme to keep the dogs from leaping at their master’s jugular, the “hope” for a better tomorrow, for a special treat, for one more meal, for a bigger park, for one less kick in the head. Hope is for cowards who can’t see themselves jumping head first (or feet first if you are less cerebrally-oriented) into the abyss of freedom. Yes I said freedom, sorry if y’all feel that’s an antiquated, loaded, or too amorphous of a term….its my bottom line, my heartbeat, my dance, what fires my guns……a place where safety, guarantees, plans, ideologies, and happy endings are foreign concepts. Freedom is not a goal, something to win, someplace to go or get to. Freedom is lived. It is within us, busting at our fabricated seams. You can’t get there from here, ‘cause yer already there if ya want it, if ya can see through the layers upon layers of scarification, masks, and armor, not to mention the uniforms and gangs to boot. So, concepts like “hope”, goal-oriented procedures, and dialectical relationships can only obscure and derail any authentic imputes for freedom.
In times when humanity and technology have become intertwined more deeply, interdependently, completely, and willingly than described in the most horrific of any past-day’s sci-fi novels, where they are becoming one……dsytopia and utopia become blurred and indistinguishable…….the only “hope” is of escape, hopefully while tossing a match, and if there is an opening of space, perhaps a communique describing an overgeneralized intent, and possibly even a heavily coded mapping of exodus. I have no intention of saving a sinking ship, rescuing any of its passengers, or singing a sorrowful ballad of its demise……I’m grabbin’ those I love and makin’ a swim for it….without a life jacket….and with no apologies to the delusional moralists fightin’ the “Good Fight” to save this vessel of misery. I am escaping. I am free.
On The Shores Of The Garden of Unique
As I awake on the shore of some unknown place, the salt and sun blinds my perception. I rub my eyes, and I begin to see an odd but luscious garden, one that is both familiar and foreign to me. As someone who tends toward finding threads of significance from a wide-range of narratives, who finds more relevance in the tension between ideas than in any pure pole, and who is basically disinterested in most of what passes for critique, I want to thank those who are breathing fresh air back into anti-civilization and anarchist discourses. Those who weave a beautiful and detailed tapestry against the nightmare by intertwining various consecutive, paralleling, diverging, and even contradictory perspectives, texts, and directions into an unarguable condemnation of civilization, domestication, and the general brutality and capture of life. As potent fragments against domestication continually set their scope on the infectious monster whose tentacles slither around and within us, not only offering rage and admonishment towards the beast of civilization, but also by continually strengthening resistance by offering up honest challenges to marxist, essentialist, and primitivist short-comings, limited scopes, and over-simplifications in relation to the domesticating process and its effects. Unfortunately, these efforts are too few, and are usually the targets of disingenuine attack by so-called allies.
But also, in walking through this world it is of great value to our own health, happiness, and autonomy to be able to reconcile the diverse paths from which we can abhor, feel betrayed by, and find inspiration in……without becoming a post-modern jester or new-aged huckster. I continue to pick through the refuse and wreckage of the world I’ve been pushed into……I sometimes find what appear to me as treasures mixed in with the plastic debris, and on my crooked mantle I temporarily place these trinkets, potions, and skulls, and in my workshop I dismantle and reconfigure them, and in my bedroom I strap them on, and in my kitchen I combine them, and through my copper coils I distill them, and in my songs I summon them. Here and now, this is what I have to play with…….
Clarity And Confusion
As I wander the heart-breaking landscape of this last-breathed terrain, I admit that I am clearly confused by what I perceive. But to seek clarity out of confusion is perhaps more dubious than being confused by clarity. My desire in this virtually dead world is to be authentic to what I can best understand as mySelf through this life-long process of getting to know my personal story, and with each moment through all forms of perception I can comprehend….open to what may seem conflictual understandings of mySelf and how I inhabit this world through the various relationships I encounter. I wish to wake up each morning amazed by how wrong I am, and, how much I do seem to comprehend, sometimes in the same moment. I want to grow into a dementia of being by knowing mySelf and forgetting the domesticated me.
When I look outward, I am deeply saddened by most versions of what is presented as the stories of this world, and still, it seems, I could not care less. I have no external hopes or dreams, yet joyousness, playfulness, deep care, focused intention, visions, and spirited rebelliousness abounds through and all around me. While it seems that clarity can often lead to deeper confusion, not knowing is always too easy. Just as being certain is too damn hard for anything short of a God or Law. Still, despite the ever turbulent undertow beneath a sliver of glassy calm, I’m mostly convinced of some things….I know that civilization is a generalized collective spastic plotting epoch of misery that extends for millennia, one that has twisted the human experience into a monstrous and deranged form….with an infinite number of diverging and converging intersections in the process all along the way, while wrecking havoc on all of our coconspirators of life on this planet (whether they want anything to do with us or not). Not necessarily fully intended, nor can it be viewed as accidental, I don’t think civilization’s logic and mannerisms were sent down here from on high or flew in from another galaxy (…but maybe that guy whose always on the computer at the library is right, which might require a very different tone). Obviously, I don’t think its that simple. It’s dynamics and motivations are clear, veiled, distorted, and layered.
I have often viewed domestication as the significant process in civilization’s control and brutal alterations, in the context of agriculture and animal husbandry, and in the general concept of manipulation and control for the benefit of a specific being, collection, or system over another. Both contexts work against my bottom line, I might even call it my spiritual guide.…that of freedom….the fuel, by-product, off-gassing, and essence of anarchy. Not necessarily the essence of who we are, but maybe a glimmer of who we may have once, in certain situations, been related to, a few have been able to momentarily enact and express, and what some may be able to move towards and dance within….not a prescription, tonic, or idea….but an essence of freedom.
……and in this pursuit of freedom, I act accordingly to the fullest of my being, unless I am temporarily seduced by others’ dreams, some I briefly welcome, others I situationally bend to. Temporary detours can teach us a lot about ourselves, our processes, and lived ecology. And to those who cast doubt on me, I ask you to prove me wrong, provided you really have something unique to show me. Don’t waste my precious time. I still have much venom to release and love to share. I can’t honestly say that I really care about your world. I live in mine……maybe we’ll meet someday, either arm in arm or across the sometimes clear, sometimes blurry, line. When? Where? You decide the terms of engagement, I know where my feet stand and what I am armed with. I am still for much of the same things I have ever been…..to live freely. But I’m still tryin’ to figure out who deserves more of my focused animosity, the sheriff about to strike me down and violently tear me from those I care about or the all-pervasive tentacles of the beast. True, they are the same, but one I can still evade or possibly slay, the other I can only strike with shadows.
There Is Nothing Left In Anarchy
I began with nothing on this journey, and I am once again left empty-handed, and so, I must arm myself with the lessons obtained along the way. As I reflect, I acknowledge that in my optimistically naive youthful transition from activist to anarchist, I too fell into some trappings of the anarcho-Left, unaware that I was positioning myself in the street-fighting and aggressive rhetorical portion of the ideological Left (….still waiting for my check from ol’ Soros). It didn’t take long, however, for me to scratch through the surface of popularized anarchist history and theory to understand that despite how most anarchists behave, we are not on political spectrum of the Left. We are inherently different, or at least we should be. In fact, we share as much with the political Left as we do with the political Right. Nothing more than fragments of situational details. As individuals seeking freedom and autonomy, we may personally resonate or relate with specific motivations of those trapped all over the political spectrum without being trapped ourselves by their politics. This is most difficult for those unaware that they are trapped, who often make it impossible to veer outside certain politicized boxes. Most subjects are presented in ideologically-driven distortions by the Left and the Right, using loaded and often misrepresented terms like “tribalism”, “eco-extremism”, and “fascism” and trapped in prefabricated and too easily opportunistic subjects like “identity” and formulaic interpretations of “privilege” and “oppression”. In this context, not much can be openly and honestly discussed without being quickly discarded as an enemy “who just doesn’t get it”. One, of many reasons for my almost complete abandoning of anarchist discourses and my so-called and alleged nihilistic leanings.
Just one ongoing and irritating aspect of the anarcho-Left is their inability to refrain from self-righteous rhetoric that espouses clichéd catch phrases and over-generalizations (“fuck white supremacy”, “smash patriarchy”, “compost capitalism”, etc). Not only does this sloganeering come off as juvenile and inarticulate, it is often coupled with a superiority complex, as if spewing sophomoric catch-phrases frees one from deeper implications. I can understand what it might be like to leave a suburban bubble and get out into the world, exposed to how horrible things really are, and the enormous emotional toll it takes on one to go down the rabbit hole of honest assessment. I understand that most of us get into more complex ideas from more superficial understandings and that regurgitation of rhetoric is often a starting point for many to travel into deeper comprehension, but the false comfort of perpetually dwelling in this space is frustrating and gets in the way of depth, and, is often coupled with reactionary impulses. Unless one can put these ideas into context with more complicated understandings, what we are left with are nothing more than idea-actors playing pre-fashioned roles, similar to the bonehead reactionaries they are positioned in opposition to, stuck in an idea war of Left vs. Right, Good vs. Bad, Right vs. Wrong, Forward vs. Backward. Not a war anarchists should be a part of. Let them eat each other, our war is one for freedom. Freedom of thought without ideological restraint. Freedom of action without political litmus. Freedom of association without gang-like loyalty.
If people are so concerned about social transformation, something that usually carries its own authoritarian connotations, there are simple lessons that are easily learned. Bullying people into joining your column will create three camps. One camp, who go along with the bullies out of fear of social and physical retribution. One that positions with the opposite direction as a reaction. And one that escapes the playing field entirely out of either apathy or disgust. Anarchists should have the most appreciation for the last. In my experiences, most people go through radical changes in their perspective during dramatic lived experiences, both traumatic and blissful, not through political persuasion and rhetoric. Forcing personal growth (and this is assuming that anything to do with politics could even be viewed as a positive transformation) only produces ideological zombies. There is no need to even address nuanced diversions from general topics, since appreciation for subtle variation has been sidelined by impenetrable declarations, usually structured around specific moral agendas, rather then unique personal perspectives. The sad dead world where things are “Liked” or “Ignored”.
Of all the aspects which still linger like a foul death stench from the residue of the Left within anarchist discourse and action, morality is the most distinguishable and seemingly most difficult to extinguish. Either by choice, unconsciously through habitual practice, or through mere lack of critical reflection, many anarchists position themselves through their thoughts and actions as the most radical position of progressive politics. Of course, most would reject this statement through some sort of vague articulation and juxtapositions, but that does not make this obvious fact untrue or less troubling.
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
While this crashing super-sized jetliner always points forward, even as it speeds towards its descending doom, it is tempting to look over our shoulders at what brought us to this disaster, and what may have preceded its horrific flight….tempting, and in some very provocative ways, useful and inspiring. Examining the past, within and outside human-centric contexts, allows us the opportunity to try to understand various perspectives on situations and to calibrate our thought process based on the perceived motivations for telling these narratives and the influence behind it. But the lessons to be learned, once we sift through the layers and incentives, and understanding of how our eyes view them, seems most helpful for inspiration, limited techniques, and for warning, not for direct instruction or overarching specific form. Being inspired by more primitive modes of living in this world has always motivated me. As I became more conscious of the dynamics of the convoluted civilized world, I looked for a way out, a return to a more simplified, less problematic time. For a period, due to the overwhelming weight and misery of this world, I took comfort in the perceived life-ways of an over-generalized hunter-gatherer and felt close to perspectives wishing to reproduce this situation. While I still appreciate many of the fundamental questions initially raised by these perspectives, challenging vital civilized assumptions, these critiques and questions, unfortunately, seemed to turn into blind obedience to a singular and fixed notion, one fraught with over-speculation and biased singularization, creating what I now view as approaching a fossilized primitive historical society paralleling the out-of-context medieval antics of the Society For Creative Anachronisms. This is not how I wish to interact with primal impulses, nor anarchy.
I still tend to look at pre-historic and hunter-gatherer peoples with much inspiration, respect, and even envy. These varied groupings of primarily nomadic earth-based primitive bands who existed prior to agriculture, domestication, and even language and art, seem to be generally fraught with less problematic qualities than of anything that follows. Institutions, for example, do not seem to appear where and when there were no material rationales for them to, such as surplus from agriculture, militarized warfare over territory, and hyper-organization and over-arching moralistic enculturation to deal with heavily populated societies. Environmental destruction was minimized by practices that seem more integrated into ecological situations, but also, by the shear size and minimal density of people. Small, decentralized living, especially in band-type self-organization seems to allow for more authentic face-to-face decision-making, which prioritizes the wants and needs of the individuals involved and more easily leads to more egalitarian power dynamics. Much of all this, however, seems to be primarily informed by logistics and material conditions, such as low population density and intact and thriving ecosystems and subsistence strategies in balance with them, rather then some inherent “good” in humans or positive “human nature”. I also consider, yet restrain from plotting specifics, that there were quite possibly other less tangible and more etherial conditions involved in the situation of primitive peoples which allowed for a more anarchistic experience, along with physical, psychological, and emotional states that were not tainted, twisted, and damaged by domestication and all that it entails. Again, I strongly hesitate to reify these dynamics into any proposed practice, but instead, explore these possibilities in situational and personal ways.
So, yes, there are many vital lessons to be learned from more primitive ways of living as social creatures, but not as a blueprint for where to go from here. The world is not the same place it once was, and won’t be anything like this tomorrow. Environmental destruction has wrecked havoc, in varying degrees, in every ecosystem on the planet, and due to an industrial-induced warming biosphere, those will likely be dramatically changing and becoming less stable and dependable for supporting subsistence through solely foraging. Many plant and animal species, most of which were vital parts of intricately evolving food webs, are currently in extreme decline or have become extinct. The global population is increasingly urban and quickly approaching eight billion people. The majority of this population has been living in methods that are completely removed from life-ways connected to anything resembling a balanced and earth-based reality, let alone a hunter-gather existence. Yes, some hunter-gathers still exist. Yes, they are inspiring and need support, mostly by leaving them alone. Yes, we can learn incredibly from them. They have been able to survive externally from the beast, and like species at the edges of glacial advances reseeding baron areas once glaciers retreat, so too can these people’s life-ways possibly help to inform a way forward, but this is at best very hopeful thinking in hopeless times.
Probably most directly useful for our lives here and now, and in the foreseeable future (if we choose to think along these lines) are the lessons we can learn from the multitude of those who have been living creatively and rebelliously in the margins over the past few hundred years, against industrialism, mass society, and the proliferation of modern technology….those living in intergenerational revolt….those living through transitional situations….those adapting to completely foreign circumstances in healthy and in unique ways….those living in escape….those yearning to connect to deeper currents of living. Flexibility and adaptation are the processes for successful life, a process humans claim to be superior at, yet, what they are usually referring to is accepting and rationalizing unacceptable situations. There are other ways to adapt, grow, and flourish in the margins, and possibly, as this world crumbles, in the cracks, from the refuse, and on the rubble. Regardless, the ultimate determining factors are the motivations of those involved and their connection to the place they inhabit. But, we are getting ahead of ourselves. While this process may begin its infantile stages, there is much in our way that makes most of this discussion, in many ways, hypothetical.
You Can’t Get There From Here, But In The Meantime
From where my tattered and dusty ol’ boots touch the earth, the place between here and there seems extraordinary. In reality, it is both right in front of our face while remaining infinitely colossal, depending on personal situations, scope, priority, attitude, and perspective. A baby step to some might be a great leap for others….but a great leap can be tremendously devastating. Creating our worlds within this one is clearly neither satisfactory nor desirable. Yes, the edges offer temporary spaces of experimentation and personal moments of liberation, but this is not a place for long-term visions of freely living. No, there is much which needs to come down, both structural and systematic. Whether collapse happens through the system’s own weight, or with help from the barbarians is not knowable, but what is for sure, more possibilities open up the sooner and more swiftly this happens. Soft landings offer too many opportunities for management, unhealthy rationalizations, and recuperation, while prolonging irreversible environmental degradation, not to mention missing the opportunities of living our lives without all of this. Anarchist propaganda geared towards convincing the masses, promoting peaceful transitions, and condemnation of so-called “eco-extremism” as a moralistic stand or as a public relations move does nothing more than delay action, undermine effectiveness, and promote self-aggrandizing concepts that we are the just ones with the reasonable ideas. But to those trapped by the logic of the system, we can only be viewed as their enemy. Unless one is attempting to sell books, obtain positions within the system, or enshrine their historical legacy as a thinker, this positioning is counter-productive and dishonest.
Most of this world has to go, and this cannot be managed, directed, or planned. Despite my public cheerleading and endorsement of the inspiring and courageous Earth Liberation Front actions in the late-90’s through the mid-2000’s, I often felt their “code of ethics” held them back. Moralistic, public relations focused, not to mention their often tangential and symptomatic targets, I hoped they would merge with more extreme and strategically relevant activities, moving with a more honest look at the world and what might be necessary to truly “Hit ‘Um Where It Hurts”….without getting into detail here, crippling infrastructural damage (techno-grids and cyber-networks along with those who manage them). This has not happened on any meaningful level, especially here in the United States, with anything approaching this on any level (even rhetorically) is quickly denounced. But such extreme tendencies for these actions are more than understandable given the world we currently inhabit and most civilized human’s acquiescence within it. I look at modern humans and see almost nothing left in them. Its how we interact with these nihilistic tendencies that matters, rather than being dismissive and judgmental of those honestly expressing them. For instance, I understand an explicit critique of the Mexican nihilist group ITS. They seem to have gone off a deep end (if there is even much actual reality to much of the phenomenon), but rather than pretend it has no relevance to an anti-civ discourse and comes from mars, why not approach it in a critically intelligent way like some have done, rather than just throwing one-line insults that are not that dissimilar to the rest of the moralists of the system. In a time of unprecedented ecological crisis, compounded by the nightmare of technological addiction and reactionary politics, extreme resistance to this horrific reality seems reasonable and unavoidable, but anything remotely effective will not fit into any moral or ideological parameters….and perhaps, the deep end is the only place we can dive into that our necks won’t get broken.
One thing is for sure, the hardening of ideology is an unfortunate direction, whether focused on just ideas or the action which comes from them. Ideology is the inertia of a self-perpetuating feedback loop, with false-questions coming from predetermined answers. Most troubling along these lines, in regard to anti-civilzation anarchists, has been the rigidness of anarcho-primitivists, weakened by a methodology of juxtaposed “proof”, and hostile towards mostly paralleling, yet somewhat diverging, opinions that don’t fit exactly with their cemented position, opinions that could offer interesting context and exploration. There are many intelligent and thoughtful anarchists who have their own critiques and plans of action against civilization. Must we all agree on exactly what civilization is before we fight back? Is ideological argumentation a replacement for action? It is always helpful to draw some lines and be clear. There is much that I want nothing to do with, but to be dismissive and hostile with people who are overwhelmingly allies against civilization just because their hatred for civilization is hued differently, yet very real, very tangible, very anarchistic, is troubling. Some seem to be painting themselves into ideological corners that will leave them very marginalized, which is very unfortunate for the primitivist critique and the general anti-civilization perspective.
Hope is another false promise of the ideologue, especially in times of great misery and despair. But I refuse to provide pie-in-the-sky false narratives for people with a straight face. I would rather move ahead in my life’s projects against civilization with an honest clarity that is responding to the stark reality I wish to destroy, than to offer delusional wishful thinking for people who probably aren’t that serious anyway to glam onto until their next fad comes along. Some have said that anarchists not active in the specific, more hopeful ways, ways that tend to look more like activism than revolt, are just “throwing in the towel” and have given up or are in retreat. But who’s retreating? Those of us who despise civilization even more each day, and act on that accordingly with an honest heart, clear mind, and rebellious spirit, or those who continue on the ineffective course of public preaching of ideology to the brain dead smart-phoned masses.
Some within our crowd cry: “if you’re cynical and jaded, how can you call yourself an anarchist?” But, how can you be an anarchist and not be cynical about modern humans? Again, let’s be honest. I do not believe humans are inherently “good”. I believe, based on the relatively objective human record (from the vast pre-history until now) and from my immediate experiences, that we are all capable of unimaginable beauty and unfathomable horribleness. And yes, the (mostly material) conditions of a more integrated hunter-gather life-way in healthy intact eco-systems allows for the more desirable human characteristics to flourish while strongly limiting the more detrimental. Yes, this could be termed “primal anarchy”, but minus the moralistically driven notion of “human nature”. Yes, it is a degenerative and saddening slope downward and away from the human as hunter-gather, and yes, domestication is the dynamic which pulls it down. But, what does this understanding offer us but a glimmer of situational hope, sadness as to how far we’ve gone, and potential for individuals in small groups to possibly learn from, considering the world we currently inhabit on most levels of social and ecological existence.
Some tend to equate disagreement over some of these ideas with ignorance, as ideologues often do, but this is a cheap and unfounded attack stemming from arrogance and intolerance, and not critical thought. For me, the more interesting and provocative perspectives weave various narratives, stories, and understandings of history with their place within it. Do primitivists hold the myriad of varying indigenous perspectives to their same rigidness? How about marginalized peoples stuck in feudal or industrial situations? How about those outside academia with a more experiential hatred for civilization? There seems to be little room in the primitivist mind for other perspectives. Is not domestication the enslavement of the individual and its freedom and autonomy to live as one pleases without the subjugation of its own desires? Yes, domestication, as primitivists refer to it could be said to be the beginnings of what we call civilization......its origins. I tend to agree with most of this analysis, but is it not also the major active dynamic that controls our lives here and now? Isn't domestication the dynamic which forces social compliance? Doesn't domestication force compulsory dependance on everything from economics to the state to technological enslavement to moralistic thinking? Yes domestication is about agriculture, animal husbandry, and the institutions and authoritarian situations that arise from this way of relating to/dominating the world we inhabit, but it is much more then that. Is it not just as relevant, and possibly more so, to talk about the domestication of our daily lives today? Isn't this social domestication what keeps all the sheep in line, living in ways which benefit the system’s proliferation at our expense?
Morality (and its softer cousin, ethics) should be mocked, ridiculed, and set aflame. It has, and will always be a major drive behind control and domestication, and all of the reactionary responses to it. I am for a completely different world, one that may be very similar to how many primitive peoples live(d) in some very key ways, but also very specifically defined by who I am here and now, and my dreams and desires in collaboration with those I have affinity with. For primitivists to somehow elevate their own general analysis over other people's subjective feelings, analysis, and experiences is arrogant and opportunistic. Do they somehow fear egoist and individualist perspectives? Do other positions interfere with their approach or agenda? Do they feel competitive about ideas? Can they not see relevance in diverging opinions, at least from people who have every reason to be skeptical (even hostile) to the more mass-movement, pseudo-optimistic green revolution that some primitivists seem to promote at times. It seems that primitivism has become an answer to the potent questions they themselves once raised, but I am not looking for more answers….I burned my little green book.
A Distilled-Spirit Rebellion In The Virtual Age
And from the wreckage, our spirit may be broken or released. While our connection to, and understanding of, our spirit changes through time, space, and circumstance, our essential being, who we are, I believe, remains fairly continual. While dents, scars, bruises, growth, and connections alter layers or aspects our spirit in meaningful ways, our unique spirit may be our authentic unmediated selves. Consider this in reference to the world we currently inhabit, the most profoundly critical crisis our species has ever been enveloped by, and in many ways have welcomed with open arms and closed minds. In some respect that has always been the dilemma, but somehow this period seems more fundamentally horrific, and the only time I really know and can care about. This is where my rebellion begins…..the bottom floor….subterranean….at the roots and from the decay of rotten debris our anarchic spirits may rise.
This current global culture (at least in the so-called first-world) is filled with helplessly narcissistic entitled victims who need everything at their fingertips, with no real responsibility or skills for their immediate world. Sure, they have the latest correctly defined, produced, consumed, and regurgitated views on the most specific of subjects and artificially-nuanced perspectives that could only be thought about atop a colossal mountain of excess and privilege, and yet most can’t begin to feed themselves, remember anything, directly communicate meaningfully with others, and, of course, think critically. They are the product of the post-post modern world, one which arbitrarily solidifies and dissolves into the next customized ad….and its just beginning. I tap out. My immediate goal is escape….with accomplices of affinity. And in evasion, departure, and escape, imagination and survival work together as in some improvised interweaving of rhythm and melody to create a rhapsody of the authentically living. It is here that our thoughts, experiences, lessons, and motivations begin to make sense. Authentic anarchy is not in internet discussions, podcasts, books, periodicals, or radio shows…..its in our flesh and bones, in our relationships….it is our spirit.….in our lives! These other forums are merely venues for dialogue, debate, and raising questions, but no substitute for real lived anarchy.
Some wish to continue on the path of giving people answers, which we all know is (whether intentional or not) dishonest, manipulative, and counterproductive, while I wish to support those who offer unique perspectives to raise questions for us to ponder, perhaps integrate pieces into personal perspectives, possibly use some of these concepts in the creation of our lives and in our fight against the logic and apparatus of civilization, and, perhaps, in the formation of collaborations. We don’t need another all-encompassing panacea or rigid ideology, we need critical thinkers and courageous doers that contribute in their own unique way to the momentum against civilization and create lives based in wild anarchy….that’s my take…that’s what I pass on to my kids.
So, some ask what I do…..its the same as I’ve always done, just in a healthier context and with more thoughtful and intentional creativity than when I was more engaged with the anarchist scene. I live in a small rural anarchist grouping within a network of anti-civilization-oriented anarchists (all with our own unique perspectives) who are creating a life of joy and connectedness on a human scale, removing ourselves from as much of the system as possible (its a process), helping each other where we can, relearning skills we long lost or may have never had, challenging authority all around and within us, undermining the system and its logic in both mundane and creative ways, making mistakes, laughing a lot, crying some, writing a little, playing a bunch, putting our energies towards people we are in deepening relationships with rather than the faceless mass of humanity, preparing for battles that will make Seattle look like a picnic and the sixties revolts look like a love-in, and helping critically thinking free kids grow along these lines in a world at its end. If that’s throwin’ in the towel, than let that blood-stained rag fuckin’ drop.
And so, I leave. Exit the stage and into life. But there are other footsteps dancing in the sand, seemingly haphazard, and at the same time patterned. Authentic freedom, essentially, has always been the anarchist project to understand and to live. It is a quest which has united and divided both in idea and in practice. Bringing us to the obvious conclusion, that only in radically decentralized affinity-based relationships is authentic freedom even possible. In my mind, these types of relationships obviously need to extend to the non-human world we are inherently part of in order to retain authentically free dynamics. But primary focus on mico and localized affinities does not necessarily divorce us from the possibility of larger partially overlapping and situational affinities which may exist in varying degrees of difference or divergence, especially in terms of sharing and in revolt….always reforming and rearranging in relationship, some more so, and some less, creating swirling clusters of affinities. This, as opposed to organized deadness, is what life seems to be. Ideas, principles, and morals on any plane outside the individual diminish this essence of freedom. But to engage with another in freedom is the joy of living. That is my theory and my practice. I am one of the black blossoms at the end of the world.
“I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world.”
- Oscar Wilde
The Picture of Dorian Gray