Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Am I an Anarcho-primitivist?

I believe in freedom through simplicity, by utlizing the resources which are available to us for free and which are meant to be free, by drive and determination for self-sufficiency, and by living in harmony with oneself, one's surroundings, and one's neighbors.

In a search for my true socio-political philosophy I have tried to identify with many positions and labels. I know it is somewhat useless and I don't like being labeled, let alone labeling myself, but I guess what I am trying to do is to find an idea which closely resembles the undefined and undeveloped idea I have inside of me so that I can take that idea and compare it to my own. I am not doing this because I am incapable of original thought but for three reasons: there is nothing new under the sun; there are and have been lots of people with lots of ideas and at least one of them is bound to be very similar to my own; and it is simpler to build a logical and coherent personal philosophy if you are kept honest by testing the ideas of others against the ideas of yourself. In this search I have found that at this moment in my life I most likely identify with what is known as Anarcho-primitivism.

Wikipedia defines Anarcho-primitivism as an anarchist critique of the origins and progress of civilization, and advocation for a return to non-civilized ways of life through deindustrialisation, abolition of the divisions of labor or specialization, and the abandonment of large-scale organizational technologies. In short, anarcho-primitivism seeks to eradicate all forms of domination and advocates a return to the simplest form of human society and its relationship to the environment. Anarcho-primitivists believe that civilized society, particularly technological society, is destroying both the environment and humanity.

Now, before I discovered this philosophy I found that I could most closely identify with libertarianism, however, I never could quite buy into unbridled capitalism even though I view socialism as much worse. Libertarianism has its roots in anarchism, so libertrianism to anarcho-primitivism is no large jump, but it is libertarianism's embrace of the underlying structure of what is “the system” which causes me to differ sharply from its basic tenets. Basically, my problem with libertarianism is the same problem I have with socialism and most all economic or political philosophies – they are based on the same underlying structure, which is “the system”. I just never understood how any of us can expect for “this” thing we live in to get any better if we keep on using the same old formula and only change the manner in which we apply its main components.

In my mind, the organism is the problem, not some part of it or fungal growth on it, so how is a different form of economics going to help any? How is privatizing schooling or leaving it public going to change the problem that is schooling, not in schooling? How is the privatizing of prisons or leaving them public going to promote individual liberty? How is a smaller or larger governing authority going to abolition despotism? How is the ownership of any property either by private individuals or by the public through the apparatus of government going to promote freedom of movement and one's natural right to the use of natural resources, not for economic gain or power, but for day-to-day survival? How can anyone expect to have individual liberty when they are forced to be part of an organism which can and will punish them for not only refusing to be part of it, but also for not being part of it in a manner consistent with what that organism deems fit to the purposes of its own survival?

I agree with anarcho-primitivism's critique of "the system". I have been questioning "What is this for? What are we trying to do with this grand experiment we call civilization? Is it delivering, has it ever delivered, and do I believe it can ever deliver whatever it is we, the people, think it did, does, or could accomplish? Who's idea was this, where did it start, and who started it? Did people opt in or were they forced in? Can people opt out or are they forced to participate through coercion? Was it all started by we, the people, or did it all begin with authoritarians, and if the latter, how can we, the people, ever expect an authoritarian system to deliver us from itself?" With these questions I am constantly critiquing modern society, its origins, purpose, and progress.

In the aspect of critique I most certainly agree with anarcho-primitivism, its value, and its necessity to the welfare of us all – without question. In the aspect of "rewilding" I am not so certain I agree with some of the more extreme elements who wish to eventually abolish written language, the division of time (think: clocks and calendars), and similar fundamental building blocks required for mere reason, not just civilization. To put it plainly, I don't think anarcho-primitivism can justifiably or even rationally conclude what it does if it attacks the very foundations of the reason it used to arrive at its conclusions. That does not mean it cannot disagree with civilization itself, for there is a difference between the system which allowed for advanced reason to develop and the fundamental priniciples of reason, but it does mean language, division, and similar basic elements of coherent thought and transmission of thought are off-limits. Taking the most extreme position, as some anarcho-primitivists do is, in my mind, always a dumb idea – extreme anything is hardly balanced and harmonious and often also irrational.

I see nothing wrong with oral language and I don't necessarily think written language is detrimental to the environment and humanity although I do agree printed or mechanically produced language (be it oral or written) has allowed for and always will allow for a loss of humanity, individuality, and is the root of many problems, particularly media exploitation – in the end I do not think all of the pros of printed or mechanically produced language justify all of the cons. I also see nothing wrong with counting, basic mathematic operations, calendars, and the measurement of cycles via the division of time. Unlike government institutions, impersonal monetary units, institutional schooling, and organized religions, I do not think the tools of language, division of time, and math are inherently only useful as mechanisms of control and domination.

So far, concerning what I know about anarcho-primitivism and my personal position on things, I applaud anarcho-primitivism's critique and I share in its critique. However, concerning its advocation of a return to non-civilized ways, I personally advocate a return to simplicity although I am not quite certain as to how far back humanity should go or how simple I believe things should be – I only know that "this" is not working. I cannot say I disagree with anarcho-primitivism's approach or some of its conclusions concerning "rewilding", but on the other hand, I cannot say at this time whether or not I agree with it enough to consider its principles desirable, necessary, or feasible.

Now, concerning environmentalism... I am not an extemist, nor do I absolutely believe in man-made climate change. Do I believe it could be a problem? Yes! Do I believe it is a problem? I'm not convinced it is currently a major catasrophe as some would have us believe. Do I believe pollution is a problem? Yes! Do I believe technology and civilization aid in pollution and are a major cause of it? Yes! Do I think humanity has a responsibility to its environment? Yes! Do I think we should be good stewards of the earth? Yes! Do I think humanity should try to have a sustainable relationship with nature and live in harmony with it? Yes! Do I think humanity should exclude itself and all of its natural drives, as part of nature, from the equation? No! Do I think "carbon taxes" and similar ideas are good and are an answer? You're out of your mind! I agree with many thngs, but I do have my limits, although I remain open-minded, but some things simply take more to convince me than others.

I recently acquired a book by one of anarcho-primitivism's main proponents, John Zerzan, entitled, Running on Emptiness: The Pathology of Civilization, and there are several other texts which I intend to read in order to get a better hold on my position, including: Against Civilization: Readings nad Reflections, also by John Zerzan, The Kingdom of Heaven is Within You by Leo Tolstoy, The Techonlogical Society and Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes both by Jacques Elul, The Gutenberg Galaxy by Marshall McLuhen, Men Against the State: The Expositors of Individualist Anarchism 1827-1908 by James J. Martin, Technological Slavery: The Collected Writings of Theodore J. Kaczynski, a.k.a. "The Unabomber" by Theodore John Kaczynski, and The One Man Revolution in America by Ammon Hennacy. I look forward to reading these texts and seeing where they lead me.

Now, as for where I currently stand... I believe in strongly critiquing civilization and I advocate minimalism and the simplifying of one's life as a means to both acquire individual liberty and to protest the inadequacies, wrong-doings, and falsehoods of "the system". I believe that the closer humanity can get to a harmonious connection with the whole of nature the closer humanity will get to a connection with its own nature and purpose. I believe that in order to reach this point one must not be "anti" anything, but rather must advocate a position based on something more concrete than merely being against something, such as technology or civilization. Basically, using the mindset of "simplified living" one should eliminate what is deemed unnecessary and do what is necessary to live in harmony with the whole of naturewhich includes humanity and its natureand seek to revere and sustain that relationship.

I believe this simplification and critique can be obtained by eliminating the purchasing of products which are both unnecessary and manufactured using specialization and division of labor, purchasing and using only secondhand or "used" products when necessary and possible, the studying of wilderness skills, learning plant identification, studying botanical medicine using local plants, learning to forage, acquiring gardening and farming skills, learning to fish, hunt, and trap, shopping at local farm markets, minimizing one's possessions, and otherwise trying to do as many things as possible which minimize one's dependence on "the system" while promoting all-around harmony – this is where I currently stand.

I would probably not be considered an anarcho-primitivist by most anarcho-primitivists at this time, although they might agree I have some leanings. In fact, at this time I would probably consider myself an environmentally conscious individualist anarchist who is also a minimalist and neopagan. However, if you are interested in anarcho-primitivism you may find the following links useful:

For further information..."web search" is your friend.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Freedom: The Hunger Games and the Future

I had been dead set against watching The Hunger Games, as I wondered what the infatuation was with watching children kill one another, but my knowledge of the film's metaphorical meaning intrigued me anyway and so, with much reservation, I rented the film to see what the fuss was about.

For starters, as I had assumed before watching the film, Hollywood, in this day and age, could not resist the chance to show a murdered child dying on screen, and indeed, the viewer will watch at least one child die a very intimate death. However, after having seen the film I do not believe it would have been as effective in its presentation had the scene aforementioned not been included – it is pivotal to one's full emotional understanding of the allegory the movie presents concerning the direction of future society. In other words, I do not believe Hollywood simply included the scene for its “sales” or “shock” value!

The Hunger Games is an allegory concerning the current direction our society, and indeed the direction all of global society, is headed in. Its ending expresses clearly that if one understands the “art of man-herding”, as expressed in Plato's Republic and Statesman, and how society is controlled, then one (through the awakening of many who do likewise and act independently) can alter the course of the game.

You see, all society's are controlled from the top down through manipulation of the mob, or masses, by the “philosopher-kings” who are otherwise known as billionaires and wealthy anthropologists. They control the “play” and each of our “lines” by manipulating the action of the mob (causing us to concede to peer-pressure) and through the direct technical manipulation of both the environment and the regulations involved in “the game” of society. As soon as one is aware of this fact then, if they are intelligent and resourceful enough, they are fully capable of changing their “lines” or otherwise altering the scene and therefore the outcome of the “play”. Should many uprise and do likewise “the game” is then over and we are truly free and no longer controlled.

Life, which very much includes the “art of man-herding”, is a lot like a chess game wherein a “master” attempts to cause the various players to move in accordance with their will in order to achieve the desired outcome of victory. Like chess, the only way to alter the course of “the game” of life is to think outside of the box, refuse to follow the mob, and to create one's own rules by choosing options other than the obvious ones laid out by the opposition.

In other words, what The Hunger Games is trying to say is that if you want to be free (e.g. “live”), then you have to write your own lines and make your own rules – you must act and not react!

I believe each and every one of us on this planet wish to be free. I believe that even those who wish to control us want to be free, but their own fears drive them to control the rest of us as a means to that end. I believe “We, The People, are capable of being free and that we can and will figure all of this out, individually – I believe. We do not have to follow any one philosophy or anyone's idea – we only need to follow our own belief in our principles.

We must stop voting party lines – they are controlled! Most of us are moderate and we do not want either the extreme right nor the extreme left, but we want something in the middle. Still, we need to understand that the controllers want something in the middle as well (Hegelian Dialectic) and it is that which they are directing us towards, so we must ask: “what are MY principles, and what are those things which have been placed into my head? What do I want? What do I believe in? What do THEY want, and why do THEY want it?

If you agree with anyone 100% you need to ask yourself where you went wrong! On the other hand you must compromise to get along, but you need to ask yourself: “am I compromising because I think it is the most workable solution for all, or am I compromising because others told me that is the case? Is it what I think, or is it what I have been told to think? Am I truly compromising, am I capable of such, and if so, is it really my own feeling? Where do I stand and what am I willing to give in order to get; furthermore, am I really compromising or am I too in-love with my own idea of what should be to see the points presented by others? Is that stupid redneck or dirty hippy really all that dumb? What is this valuable human being trying to say, why are they trying to say it, and where can I reach a compromise with them? Do I really understand my neighbor and their point of view? Do I think I need to understand my neighbor's point of view in order to reach a reasonable compromise? Must it be my way or the highway, and if so, do I really think that or am I being convinced by someone other than myself that it must be that way? Do I really believe in freedom and the rights of the individual to rule their own life or do I want to control or force others in some way? Where do I really stand?

If you are incapable of foreseeing a compromise then you have failed yourself in that you are incapable of envisioning a realistic solution, since nature is full of compromise whether you believe it was designed that way or merely an accident – it is the way of nature. How can you hope to succeed against nature and how can you call your ideology “true” if it goes against the only thing we all know to be true in the here and now – nature?

Just remember that compromise is not necessarily agreement, but it may just be the closest you can peacefully come to what YOU think is correct, and after all, isn't peace what we all seek?

Deny what I say – I do not care, but I highly recommend you watch The Hunger Games, if you have not, and see how it speaks to you.