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How do you reconcile antisocial anarchism with living in an urban environment?

+3 votes
Everyday when I walk outside I get pretty angry.  I get angry at the uncritical beast that lives within the people around me.  Seeing people enter expensive ass boutiques as others are shooting up outside.  Not to mention then talking with people and being repulsed by what they perceive as important.  I have a hard time relating to other people's banalities.

I have an antisocial perspective. It is how I consider this world, and I think it is pretty accurate. However I find that when I cultivate this (it oscilates) I find that I am more depressed.

How do you interact with such feelings, and those feelings on a day to day basis?
asked Dec 26, 2015 by selftormentor (840 points)
retagged Dec 30, 2015 by selftormentor
have you seriously considered leaving behind the urban environment? i realize that many prefer it to a rural environment, but one thing about living rural is, you don't have to deal with people nearly as much. i dealt with my own misanthropic tendencies by moving away from people. i still have to deal with them often enough, but when and how is now much more under my own control.
Whew... glad I'm asocial rather than antisocial. Meaning I lack the desire to be social. I can go without it and be a-okay. It seems that y'all have some sort of desire to be social whereas I don't.
Yeah, I think that is interesting.  I definitely have a desire to be social, but I find it difficult to find people who can fulfill my needs. Maybe my needs are so alienated from myself and therefore I will be in a constant state of discontentment, or that people who are genuine and have gone down the same wormholes as me are so few and far between.  

I think a rural environment offers a lot of solutions or enhanced experiences, particularly to an anticiv perspective. But I have a strong desire to be social and the rural life is pretty calm.  Maybe a medium is  communal living.
Yup, I've been told by others that being asocial is desirable to them. I've been "trained" to socialize when I was younger because the way I am is seen as abnormal, apparently. It's kinda like they were trying to forcibly integrate me in society and be "productive" regardless of my thoughts on the matter. Not to say I don't socialize, because I do sometimes.

Perhaps you lack empathy to a certain degree and because of that, it's harder for you to relate to people or chit-chat with them and somewhat care about what they say to you. That's all that pops into my brain and I can't really relate, except with the part of being "repulsed by what they perceive as important." But I wouldn't say I'm repulsed, but more or less a sense of indifference some of the times. I have a set of phrases I cycle through when those times occur. :)

This was probably not useful info to you, I'm guessing.
great questions, beautiful answers....i really would like to meet more of you face to face some time....and oh yeah, fuck christmas.
just noticed we should tag this question...
im going to comment on this question to keep it going, because this question encapsulates the problems i have with being interested in anarchism. It's why I don't read much anarchist stuff anymore, except occasionally.

However, for me I've found it's better to maintain your negative view of the world (you can't suppress it when it's such a big part of things) but to simultaneously hold an understanding and compassionate view towards other people. There's a lot to be said for living in the woods, but as human was suggesting, you probably desire to be with other people. It's all a matter of specifics in terms of how you deal with people, but it's all about learning to manipulate your time spent with them and speaking and acting in a way that keeps shitty interaction away at least some of the time and keeping good company when you need it.

3 Answers

+9 votes
i stay in my home as much as possible. i encourage people i like to come to me. i am not on facebook.

not recommending this for anyone else (or even for myself necessarily--it can lead to a very small life).

i also try to challenge my own sense of self-righteousness and judgement. and i have been lucky to find other anarchists who share some amount of my people-sadness.

also, dogs.
answered Dec 26, 2015 by dot (57,810 points)
also, dogs.

xo
"i also try to challenge my own sense of self-righteousness and judgement."

This. In my experience challenging my own sense of self-righteousness, and hosting a dog in my home have been the most powerful tools for managing my misanthropy (actually I really like your term 'people-sadness', it's less aggressive). I don't know exactly when I really started making an effort to do this, and it's still a struggle a lot of the time, but it's made me a lot happier, and more thoughtful.
+7 votes
I struggle with this.

I am not social, in most senses of the word. I am very friendly, but I keep most people at a distance, and I find most social situations exhausting or annoying.

Unlike dot, I maintain more connections, but those connections are often very surface ones - I get along with many, and truly close to very few. For myself, I am pretty committed to staying in the place I live, and that has meant making some choices around feigning financial responsibility, maintaining employment that I can stomach, and so forth. I go out, but mostly only if I know I will see people I actually like, or if the crowd will be such that I can feel somewhat anonymous.

Honestly, I don't have an answer, If I did it would be something along the lines of: Find whatever people you need/want to be close to. Carve out some means of survival that you can tolerate, Be ready to adapt, because urban living is highly volatile. Find projects that interest you (or start them yourself). Learn what things in your urban environment are either still wild or wild again.

Go to movies alone.

Also, dogs.
answered Dec 27, 2015 by ingrate (23,770 points)
your situation sounds a bit like mine, before i left the urban life 15 years ago. it is tough, being anti-social and/or misanthropic (especially) while living in a city.

when i was in the city, it was cats that were my best friends.
+7 votes

I wouldn't consider myself anti-social much of the time as much as decidedly un-sociable. Then again, I don't find what most people call socializing all that sociable. Parties, concerts, holidays, as such simply don't interest me.

That said, I've some really beautiful relationships. We hike in the desert and mountains, sometimes watch a movie, usually accompanied with discussion afterward, there's music at times, conversations of levity and depth, affectionate touch. Sometimes this falls on, and within, what most consider party, concert and holiday, but most often not in my case. They simply happen when and where they do. We each desire to be with the others.

Honestly, at times this intimacy is incredibly challenging and painful. In my case, what 'should've' come from my parents perhaps, came later in life and even after almost 30 years with some of these folks, what I can only describe as 'armor' makes itself felt, most often by way of a subtle sense of inexplicable fear. Sometimes it announces itself as a note of sadness, which I'm able to follow somewhat:  a very real feeling that most people most of the time, and for myself during periods of my own life, of the rarity of this intimacy too delicious to label the blandness called 'love.'

For me, to be 'anti-social' is to be against some-thing, every bit as demarcated sociability social is to be for some-thing else. The emphasis becomes set on 'being' some-thing or another firstly and only within some very narrow parameters of interpretation and acceptability . It's another sneaky way of thingifying, counting, and thus immiserating,  multitudinous and multifaceted ways and senses of participation with others.

As others have mentioned, cat and dog friendships, while not unproblematic (from certain perspectives anyway) within our uber-civilized environs tend, I feel, to indicate a host possible relations, and yes, sociability with a greater dynamic living world.  As a living instance, and I feel this increasingly as I live, it's not only desirable to expand this sense of relation with 'the world,' but perhaps we, each one, are in dire need for this (re-)connection, severed as we have been by way of normative concepts placed upon each one at birth to immiserate, frustrate, confuse, chaining every one to a wall with only that barred and narrow window from which to sense the world...if at all.

All said, I sense the active expansion of possible sociabilities as a major aspect of my anarchic process as well as a way in which this process chases off the the twin curses of utter despair and the emptiness of hope.

Edit for clarity and typos.

answered Dec 27, 2015 by AmorFati (8,720 points)
edited Dec 27, 2015 by AmorFati
ditto on not finding parties, concerts, holidays to be all that social. Parties are generally really fucking boring unless i know everyone who's there, same with concerts even though I'm a musician, one thing i really hate about the society we live in is the crowd-spectacle relationship inherent in so many things.
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