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do people here think of their age as being relevant to their understanding of anarchy, anarchist behavior?

+1 vote
how would you say your thoughts on this topic have changed, or not, over time?


i was close with one quite elderly anarchist who'd been one for a long time. her changes were obvious, as she talked about them, because she talked about her different stages, that happened, mostly it seemed, because she got more information. she ended being an anarchist pacifist (not against property destruction), but she had gone through all these insurrectionary, federationalist, an-com stages, and seen what other people were doing. i wish i'd talked more to her about what her pacifism was -- if it were logistical (hurting people makes people more likely to hurt you/other people in response) or more philosophical (othering people is part of the deeper problems).

so if aging is a combination of getting-more-information (doesn't always apply), and changes in personality and physique (also doesn't *always* apply) and perhaps changes in what seems possible... well, first of all, are those what aging is? and if so, then what?
asked Mar 18 by dot (52,800 points)
edited Mar 23 by dot
this is a good question. I do think my age is relevant, but I need to think more about exactly how.
age is relevant for sure, just as much as time, place, environment.  everything that goes into your head effects what you will think in the future, effects the context in which thoughts can exist.  it is not that the number itself is relevant, but the experiences and variety of experience, of which age is a factor.
age is a factor in human development, which plays a role in behaviour and physiology.  but particular events experienced in those years also leave their mark.
aging isn't as much about "getting more information", it's about the adjustment of how you feel in your own body, and re-evaluating ideas and theories you had over time. Looking back over my short life, there are many things i would have done differently, who wouldn't have? I would have acted out certain impulses I had more dramatically or seriously, with so many other things i've learned that inaction is much better than action or reaction. We aren't meant to think about this kind of stuff as we do in the modern era. I want to get better at being the human animal that I am and avoid bringing more suffering and pain on myself than i already have.
@Nihilist - I think this is an answer, not a comment.
@ingrate - the line between the two is too blurry for my recognition!
@nihilist i quite enjoy suffering and pain in measured amounts.  or even not so measured amounts.
the game of life is often about exchanging certain kinds of suffering for better or more fulfilling kinds of suffering, it can't be quantified...
then hopefully im getting a good score.  +1000 points!

2 Answers

+1 vote
I really appreciate the edit to give more background about just what you are thinking on. As I've aged, I've both become more extreme in my anarchist perspective, while also recognizing a lot of nuance that I once didn't see.

I can see how your friend might have come to a pacifist perspective, even if I am not there. Activism and do-somethingism, as currently evidenced in the antifa focus of many anarchists, feels pretty reactionary and hopeless, even while I am glad that some of my comrades beat the fuck out of folks I would consider my enemies. Maybe I am old and lazy, maybe I am being practical. Who knows?

Relating to the physical aspects of aging, yes. It absolutely informs what I do and don't.
answered Mar 23 by ingrate (22,360 points)
+1 vote
absolutely my age is relevant to my understanding of anarchy and how i choose to live as anarchically as possible.

there are 2 obvious ways in which my biological age is relevant to me:

1. with age comes ever more experience and observation, which both strengthen and make ever more pliable the body of ideas that live and grow inside this meat-brain. because my anarchic desires come much more from lived experience than from books and theory, every day i live has the potential for new lessons that can help shape my anarchic thought and behavior. e.g., only through experience and observation did i reach the conclusion that leftist activism was a boring, authoritarian dead-end whose objectives were actually light years from my own.

2. the biological deterioration that results from aging impacts what i am physically capable of - and willing to try - doing.  as someone with very strong diy desires and a life that requires a great deal of that, this has become a huge factor. among other things, it has made me have to think about cooperation and coordination - or changing my goals - in accomplishing things that i used to be able to do easily on my own. that has been a much larger challenge than i would have thought, and i am still figuring it out.

i may revisit this answer...

edit (revisited):

i guess it is the things which typically come with age - rather than age per se - that are really relevant to me. broader perspective, "maturity", experience, skill building, relationship experience, etc. all of those things, which came with age, are supremely relevant to my own anarchic worldview.
answered Mar 29 by funkyanarchy (12,420 points)
edited Apr 1 by funkyanarchy
thanks funky. can you say more about How/What you're talking about in your revisit? maybe tell us a story?

as you know from all my babbling here, i am not averse to sharing stories. :-) i'm just not sure i can think of one right now. hmmm.... not sure if this is a good example, but:

when i was in my early/mid teens, i was a graffiti writer on the subways in nyc. i virtually lived in the subway system for a good 2+ years. i knew where the engineers and conductors had their lockers, i stole all kinds of shit from them, slept in parked/locked trains, had keys to all the transit locks and train doors, had lanterns, vests, other equipment, etc. we even found blasting caps once.  if i had even an inkling back then of the anti-state, anti-civ worldview i have now, i could have caused serious disruption to the city of new york. (not sure how much that would have even been noticed in the early-mid 70s there, but i digress). with some thoughtful planning and the help of a few of my (even more adventurous than me) comrades, it's fun to imagine what we could have done.

if i had had the anarchic perspective then, that i have now...

i was anti-capitalist (in my mind, anyway) from much earlier, but i was damn near 40 by the time my perspective fully acknowledged the futility of "the democratic ideal", mass society, government, etc. i reached that place only after decades of experiencing my life in the u.s. yet, since then i have met quite a few folks in their 20s (to me, young) that already see through the travesty of a mockery of a sham. based on the context of my life, it took me so long to understand some things that are clearly understood much more quickly by folks growing up with different contexts.

maybe that doesn't really address the original question. once you get me started on stories... :-)

just had another thought (that's 3 this year, a new record!).

direct action is an anarchic principle that took root later in life for me. particularly as a city kid, there was always a tendency to look to others for certain activities related to urban survival. water i used came from the tap. electricity i used came from the plug outlet. shit and piss i excreted went down the toilet. even the food i ate required me (and my parents before that) to work at a job i had little interest in, to make money in order to purchase that food from a store that was probably at least hundreds of miles and several mediating capitalist businesses away from where it grew.

thinking about direct action in terms of the basics of living my life was nowhere near my awareness back then.  with age and experience came some understanding of these dependencies and my role in them. my desire for independence from these dependencies - particularly the dependency on money and the work it required - drove me towards an anarchic perspective.
thanks :)

your response is perfectly in tune... i came here kind of trying to get at a general statement about aging, and you respond with your specific life. i laugh at both of us for being so much our selves. :D

your comment brings up thoughts about generational shifts for me... the youth who take for granted what we were figuring out, and will never know what we took for granted... all inside a rejection of progress.

where are we going?!

when you asked for a story, i assumed you meant from my own life. you know how i (usually) feel about generalizations.