TOTW: An anarchist's day in 2020

I've been finding myself with little excitement about my day to day these past couple months (years). Get up slowly, check my phone, eat, hop on the computer, exercise, social activity, eat, kill time, sleep. Maybe this is an abnormal schedule but it seems to be quite standard at least for those around me.

Routine is a useful tool for surviving in the world, but I don't need to tell you that it can feel incredibly constricting.

Maybe I should relish my leisure time? But it hardly feels like my own. The easily accessible time-killers like netflix, social media, booze, and porn are filled with other people values and desires but there's little if any of myself in those activities. So I want to transform the mundane parts of my life (or at least feel affirmed in my frustration with them) but I'm lacking ideas.

Do you allow the facile pastimes in to your life, fully, with conditions, or simply not at all? If not, what do you do with your downtime on any old day? Is "A conscious, playful, exploratory creation of our own motions through space" possible from my couch?

What does a mundane day in the life of an anarchist look like in 2020? Be specific!

[Thanks to bugs for sharing this TOTW via email!]

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Hello there,

So, I assume a lot of the reason these kinds of things get posted on anarchist news is because we tend to look at anarchism as being a way to escape a boring and mechanized existence. I tend to look at routines by themselves as a form of maintenance and nothing more just for my mental health. Like you, I need to exercise in a strenuous manner every day, or else it leads to issues with sleeping. I feed my pets every day so that I can see them alive, enjoy them, and so that I don't feel guilty...

and as you realize, you find yourself wanting more out of life than those same chillax activities you are accustomed to. They are not yours, other people create the booze, the screen fucking, the netflix movies, and the conversations people bring to the table surrounding those activities aren't always so stimulating...

So in terms of living a more exciting life, there also needs to be elements of stupidity and danger. The boxes labeled with such words are often the boxes that people back away from...also, figuring out ways to transform your computer dungeon and move around outside of the house have helped me tremendously. Other than that, I just assume that my life will always have the elements of the mundane, and finding interest and excitement in those elements has joys of their own.

If that's not good enough, I suppose there's thievery and assassination, which is like woah instant excitement, movie material. Anarchists still seem to praise those activities, not terribly foolishly!

even successful (never guaranteed!) thievery and assassination also may require boring routines and preparation, practice, even hard work. all in all your advice is spot-on even if you're barely holding back on your condescending tone.

i'm just being humorous, i think the TOTW asker puts forth a reasonable yet somewhat complex problem to solve...i think that humans were meant to put up (or enjoy) some danger and excitement as many primitivists and anti-civers have pointed about, that's why we have adrenal glands, and why we get erotically attracted to all the deeply negative stuff that journalists report on. Yet, life hardly gaurantees us entertainment and excitement...especially when we look at life as being alienated as such: "i need something to do",etc.

there's also this thing that people talk about called "meditation", it doesn't have to be structured at all or related to buddhism. To me it's simply the activity of observing something, the polar opposite is mulling over stuff in your head, worry, complaining to yourself, fantasize, think, yet you can do both at the same can notice things about yourself as you go on adventures inside of your head. Noticing the sounds outdoors and the birds makes me feel less lonely living out in the country...

the purpose of meditation is not to find entertainment or excitement though, it's basically just to free yourself from your self-created shackles.

there's also structured meditation, and one only need to surf the web and practice to figure out how to do this, i've stopped doing this for the time being as it can be self-destructive and un-englightening.

“Said the mass-produced faux-painted wood sign hung right below one saying ‘live laugh love’”

something a bit more nuanced than that. pretty sure i don't believe it anyway, though it can be useful to reflect on, in this world of assumed hyper/hypo-agency...
also, i have learned more about the benefits of boredom and appreciating slowness, particularly in relation to the addiction to constant feedback and stimulation.

Despite all the mystique, the script still retains a Christian morality and a premeditated theistic obsession with existence. Where is the spontaneity when the concept " boredom " can actually be envisioned and contemplated upon? Fail!

I find it impossible to seriously engage with any comment written in the style of a Trump tweet.

Its not about style its about content. Pre-existentialist mindset can be recaptured, the alienated person can be reunited with a wholeness. Just observe the pre-Western Christian indigenous cosmologies for a start.

As in, how can one be bored if they could die tomorrow, but faith in a god and afterlife produces a mental smugness and idyllic confidence, which is what boredom is, an uneventful dreary fatalism, christianity.
And one has to admit, Jesus was soooo fucking boring, he turned the cheek, he didn't put up a fight and try to escape, he just talked talked talked about boring shit.

Whoa there, its human to get bored its no sin to get frustrated and tired of nothing happening, but the trick is to suck it up and enjoy doing nothing, like the other commenter said, meditate about frustration, idleness and unsatisfied desires, BUT DON'T get tricked into hating boredom or you will become a commodity fetishist consuming and forever feeling restless and going on expensive holidays, eating out and attending spectacles, or feeding capitalism.
Learn to enjoy your boredom and curing it at home by selfcooking, singing songs, interacting with people. Love your mundane existence and dreary fate, explore the exciting universe between your own ears. Stay at home inactive and bored and suck the dreariness up liķe an elixir, or die.

Anarchists AREN'T BORING, they can never be. Every hour of their day must be interesting or tranquil. Politicians, religionists, capitalists, communists are all boring.

Because it was a link to a Hollywood spawned crap pseudo-intellectual TV series which made a shallow ambiguous statement about boredom, but diverting and avoiding the main query which is why would anyone bother watching crappy HBO tv series in the first place if they WEREN'T BORED SHITLESS.

unlike the utter genius that is the rest of this discussion, and how.

You posted a YouTube link by itself. Transcribe the bit you wanted to say along with the link if you must insist. Lone links are not permitted.

Just checked and found several bare or nearly-bare links in the past couple months, including several youtube links. Now I'm really curious as to what the actual reason was. Somebody's feelings get hurt by being the butt of a joke, perchance?

Nearly-bare is allowed depending on context and content of link. Please share the rest of the bare link examples so I may remove them as well. Like I said, you may post the link again with a brief introduction. I'll even help you out. "This reminds me of what [name of character] said: [link]". I can even do it for you if you wish, restoring your original comment with the edit.

Now, because some emo narcissist got their feelings bent because their link was deleted because it had no additional words, NOW all lone link comments are going to be deleted. WESTWORLD ADDICT!!

anarchists are people just like any other, people are alike all over, living through the same crap, doing the same shit, except for the cosmetic differences. we're all apes doing ape shit, except we're this kind of ape, not the other kinds of apes.

"Maybe I should relish my leisure time?" sure yolo why not

"Do you allow the facile pastimes in to your life, fully, with conditions, or simply not at all?" sure yolo why not

"If not, what do you do with your downtime on any old day?"
do nothing or anything until something else looks more pleasing in comparison and then i do that instead

"Is "A conscious, playful, exploratory creation of our own motions through space" possible from my couch?"
no, get rid of your couch, trade it for something more fun, anything really

"What does a mundane day in the life of an anarchist look like in 2020? Be specific!"

well, i don't think anarchists exist, or that that word means anything, but let's assume they do and that i've been one for a couple of years. how many? enough to make it interesting. it turns out i've lived long enough as an anarchist to have had different routines and life circumstances so that one year to the next, or even half of one year to the next, look differently. how could that inform my perspective and help me address this topic? i don't know. routines seem to emerge out of functional adaptation to circumstances, be it a job, vital necessities or assortment of predictable whims (some call them hobbies, interests, pastimes etc). repetition makes the routine.

if you get tired of the routine, then change is what you need. what is it that you're tired of? every single aspect of your routine, or just some bits?

i've found that the trickiest thing is that i can change routines, but i can't seem to change "who i am". obviously "what i do" forms a part of who i am, and that part changes every so often, but how i do it, remains fairly constant, there is a certain constant "me-ness to how i do anything. this is unavoidable to an extent since it's me doing the thing. through conscious and deliberate concentrated exploration of how i do things and how i change the way i do things, called "practice", i can change the "how" as well as the "what" i do every day and that process of learning goes on as i age.

but even then, there are infinite meta levels of "me-ness", that are path-dependent, we can't retroactively change our past, our context, and we are not so mighty as to micro-manage and re-design ourselves and our life-styles to fit an ideal, unless your ideal mirrors reality pretty closely. so knowing and accepting yourself and working from there, instead of concocting ideal selves you can't achieve.

but to be direct and not dodge the last request of being specific, my most recent period and routine is that common to many unemployed people during quarantine, consisting of whatever can be done in and around the house. there is nothing stopping me or you from going outside of my neighborhood and doing whatever. in fact, back when i had a job, when i had free time i did the same kind of shut-in crap. and to be honest, i don't mind it, i was quite deliberate in choosing these activities, i have my reasons. i've tried other things and liked them less or liked them and then did them to death and got tired of them.

it can be hard to think of "what to do next" when thinking of a change of pace, specially when dealing with and atrophied imagination, when you think you've already tried it all. comfort is stronger in persuading you to keep on doing the same than whatever story you can make in your mind, so you have to use some kind of metaphysics or plot device or cut-scene to get you from here to there, or just stay in the present moment forever. comfort is also safety, the coolest thrills are also risky, and require great skills and practice to mitigate the risks. you could always just go and look other people do cool shit irl instead of url.

Routine and habit can be terrible. Crimethinc had a piece on "Behavorial Cutups" in Recipes for Disaster that has stuck in my mind. They talked about it in Hunter Gatherer before that:

"Social Yoga: Behavioral cutups

In a surrealist cutup, written text is randomly cut and recombined in search of new meaning. The resulting randomness exposes the perverse structure of rationality and habit that governs creativity.
Behavioral cutups use the same method on personal or social text. A favorite method for integrating such a practice is to choose a mundane part of life and attach some stipulation to it. This brings awareness to the action and makes it a fertile ground for new experiences. If you have ever chosen a dietary restriction, this may sound familiar—food cutups can raise consciousness about source and content of food, as well as tamper with the social institution of eating and thus put you in new situations. This is just a whiff of what is possible.
Mystics have employed behavioral cutups for thousands of years. In addition to dietary regimens, they have practiced mimicry of animals, rituals of exhaustion, deprivation and pain, the use of intoxicants, ecstatic dancing, public nudity and other taboo acts, years of ceaseless standing followed by similar years of sitting. These are time-honored techniques for independent learning."

This also came up when i was searching for the hunter gatherer copy:

"public nudity and other taboo acts," Oh wow dude, thanks, now I can tell the cops who come and arrest me for masturbating infront of the kindergarten every day that I'm engaging in a crash course in "behavioral cutups", thanks!

Nice point, lol... But I think loiter didn't care enough to properly define what a cut-up means irl, and especially that it can only work as an enclosed exercise between informed and consenting participants.

Ànd maybe a means to subvert social order in daily life too... one put to practice by dadaists, situationist and some elements of the counterculture to a degree. Tho definitely underused!

I am the anarch whale today, spontaneously breaching offshore, partly in joy but also to tear off the parasitic social restraints that have attached themselves to my radical skin! FREEEEEEEDOM!!

practicing looking closely at the minutia of one's life and you will never be bored or at a loss. but if you want to watch netflix then watch netflix - don't wobble!

If you believe that there's only this life, then the next thing you might ask yourself is "why investing so much of myself in this life, since it's going to take everything away, anyways, in the end?"

Everything you learned, all you enjoyed, and of course all the relations you knitted... all gone. Anything left is what you create, the memories you leave. For a next generation of dead people to, maybe, appreciate. Or ignore.

Relevant to the question of what to do with "your" life, I guess?

Obviously leisure time is there as a resort from "non-leisure", i.e. work. Which is the deprivation from random activity, that includes inactivity, i.e. deprivation from freedom. So any work that arises from a compromise with the purpose of "earning a living" is anti-leisure, where working actually to build and maintain a living would be part of a kind of pleasure. A hunter or gatherer is pleased at catching a prey or meditatively picking the fruits of nature, then doing the creative work of transforming.

It is a game in itself, and holds spiritual value with a narrative of living, of overcoming -not retreating from, or coping with- the harshness of life. Hence why it is pleasing.

This narrative, and attached practices therefore end up surviving to everyone and becoming a way to live through and beyond time. "His-story" becomes null, and death is no longer an object of fear, or even a cause of emotional pain.

Of course the hunther/gatherer lifestyle is an example here, not the only way there can be, I guess...

This reads like the person is asking for advice in Dear Abbey column.

Person with habits like their phone addiction and needing to stay *connected* is bored. They have convinced themselves that their habits are in fact a routine. They feel constricted by their habits. Wants to break their habits, but makes no effort to. They apparently can't think of any ideas on how to break their habits.

Fucking hell lol

If one were to speculate, one could say there are underlying unmentioned psychological issues that make that difficult.
Speaking from experience, depression can leave one with less energy or enthusiasm to pursue other tasks or activities, and a low self-worth could make one avoid seeking other for spending time together or do activities. The way out of this is to exercise every day, go out and walk very far away, talk to a lot of people, and text everyone for invitations to do something. Problem solved! High five! Let's go 2020! What else you got in store? Ah yes, an anarchist routine! Like a nutritional pyramid consisting of molotov cocktails, assassinations, mutual aid projects, sustainable sustenance, and building and maintaining anarchist infrastructure. Foster relations that don't feature coercion, nor dominance/obedience. Brush your teeth, eat your vegetables, take out the trash. I wasn't comment on this, I got carried away.

Here is what anarchist prisoner Sean Swain has to say about this topic, particularly routines that make you stronger and keep you sane:
And it's also sadly an increasingly relevant to answering the question of what does "An anarchist's day in 2020" looks like since more anarchists are getting imprisoned.

I have the good fortune to be on unemployment right now and will drag that out as long as possible.
While home, I am doing things that can be accomplished within a bout a year, since that's how long I'm trying to stay unemployed. So, I have a fitness plan and a goal for a year out (I know, goals! But I do need to lose weight for my health). I do an online Zoom language class, Tibetan, which is interesting to me and no one else and will never make me any money, but I am genuinely engaged by it. It's a year-long class. One of my two podcasts is Buddhist/Anarchist and has no listeners -- purely for my own pleasure. The other is anarchist and has listeners so it keeps me intellectually sharp and a bit socially engaged. I do a weekly anarchist study group online, for same reasons. And I have graduate school because I may as well earn more money when I do go back to work (and it's pretty easy), and also to keep sharp. The reason I share this is, I think people can still have anarchist projects while stuck indoors with covid. They can still engage socially with other anarchists and should. If you don't have a study group or podcast of your own, maybe start them.

That couch sounds like it has chains attached. I'd suggest taking it outside and putting some heavy duty castors on it and riding it down the street... if you don't fancy just putting a torch to it.

Well, as for my mundane and boredom, I am increasingly bored by all those age-old frustrations which set me onto anarchism in the first place. My eloquence in the face of "others" has become "FUCKING HELL! I AM SO FUCKED OFF WITH TELLING THIS FUCKING STORY... LOOK! JUST FUCKING LOOK! WHAT IS YOUR FUCKING PROBLEM DIM-LO?!?! LEVEL UP FOR FUCK SAKE!!! FUCK!!!" Which is pretty damn boring and unsatisfying.

There is some differentiation to be made. For me, anarchy is far more compelling than anarchism. Make of those castors what you will.

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