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What strain of Anarchism do I fall into?

+1 vote
Proudhon is the thinker I agree with more than any other I know of.

I've always been content to live my own values quietly in my own little sphere of existence, but with all the political stuff going on I started speaking up. When I say something, and say I'm an anarchist, people who know more about it than me say I'm not an anarchist and not a mutualist. That I'm just an idiot.  That should not be unsettling, since I've never really cared for ideological classifications and never sought to fit into any political-type group. But out of pure curiosity and in pursuit of the pleasure of meaningful discussion, I'd like to find a few informed but not-snobby individuals who can help me organize and articulate my thoughts; figure out if my thinking can be associated with any respected thinkers or groups of thinkers, or if I'm just a lone ranger.

Does anyone have a few questions that, based on my answers, can serve as a sort of identification key?
asked Aug 7, 2016 by Syrphant (560 points)
Maybe a couple of my core beliefs to help get started:

(1) Something is alive if it moves itself wilfully, rather than simply being moved by external forces alone.

(2) there is an absolute morality that applies equally to all living things: a duty to move with determination to support the continued existence of life, despite the futility of the struggle.

(3) humans can't learn right-and-wrong from other humans because this species is naturally ego-centric. We have to learn ethics from watching how larger ecological communities thrive or fail.

(4) Considering that life = the ability for self-willed action, and the moral duty of all living things is to struggle for the continued existence of life itself, any social organization that limits morally right self-willed action is morally wrong. That is, the liberty and dignity of all living things MUST be respected, encouraged and protected, and oppression, exploitation, manipulation and marginalization CANNOT be tolerated.

(5) The value of specialization and mutual aid, symbiosis, is obvious in ecosystems. Equally obvious is the negative, vicious cycle caused when selfish activities -- predation, competition and parasitism -- get too important. In society, we have to look out for these antagonistic elements, and actively participate in mutually beneficial business relationships.

(6) There can be no hierarchy here. No coercion. No one-sided dependency. Individuals must refuse to particpate in capitalism and wage-slavery.  Individuals must be seen and see themselves as lone entrepreneurs, proud of their work, concerned about the value of their activity to their customers (not their bosses).

(7) There is no "social-contract", no Oneness. Only individual points of self-awareness and self-will, each in numerous one-on-one relationships forming a network -- not a collective. Collective is a bad word. Cooperation, yes, but only in multiple one-on-one relationships, not relationships between the individual and the "whole."

I'll stop here for now. Need to get to work.

i appreciate the way you have framed the question.

i wouldn't even attempt to provide an answer, as i find almost no value in the need/desire to fit oneself or others into tidy ideological boxes. (there are exceptions...)

looking at your core beliefs, some initial responses i have:

1, 2 and 3 have pretty much nothing to do with anarchy per se; they describe your worldview, but aside from maybe 2, i don't think they necessarily align with or against an anarchic view. moralism is highly questionable for an anarchist perspective, imo. how can there be an "absolute morality" without some sort of authority to define it? and when you talk about the human species being "naturally ego-centric", you are declaring a human nature, which is hugely problematic for me.

because both 4 and 5 presume the moralism previously articulated, i find both to be questionable at best. and your reference to "business relationships" in 5 is also quite problematic from this anarchist perspective. that seems to imply a mindset of economic systems and relations, which i personally find completely anti-anarchistic.

6, despite mention of hierarchy and coercion, continues your seeming reliance on "business" as a (if not the) primary means of relating. bosses and customers?  not in my anarchy.

7 is the point that seems most resonant with me, although i am never very clear on what people mean by "will". and while i myself tend towards an individualistic focus, saying stuff like "collective is a bad word" just seems like moralistic word policing.

in general, i find your perspective - as articulated in those "core beliefs" - to be very prescriptive. which i do find problematic. combining that with your moralism and "business" focus, i would probably say you are not my kind of anarchist. but then, honestly, relatively few are.

i agree with dot that there are elements of individualist @ and possibly even a greenish @ perspective in there - though your valuing of specialization (and business in general) would conflict with that. i don't know enough about mutualism to say much about that. i do wonder if maybe you lean in the direction of a greenish-anarcho-capitalist. how's that for specialized categorization?!?! 

a few questions for you:

do you think there is a single, correct way for all humans to live? and what of that applies to the non-human world?

how do you define "will"?

how do you define "absolute morality"?

how do you define equality?

how do you define "duty"?

you talk about all life being "equal", and of predation and competition in a negative way. would you also look to eliminate those "antagonistic" behaviors in the non-human world? or perhaps you are using those terms in purely economic context?

do you see the existence of entrepreneurs, bosses and customers as feasible in a world of anarchic relations?

would you say that the growth of a plant is "willful"? or the formation of a mountain?

anyway, i'll be interested to see what you and others have to say about where you fit in the realm of ideological categories.

Thanks for the thoughtful questions and suggestions, funkyanarchy.

Yeah, terminology is troublesome. It is so hard to define words and find words that effectively communicate my thoughts. I don't even have the vocabulary that would be required to think clearly.

I think the judgement of anarchy -- social self-organization without relationships of dominance -- as good or right necessarily grows from a worldview based on absolute morality or absolute, universal ethics (as opposed to a relative ethics, whereby there is no standard of judgement that can apply to all situations). And that this absolute ethics shared by all anarchists places mutual respect for the liberty and dignity of the individual above all else. I could be wrong, but I think you can't be an anarchist if you accept that maybe a social system of hierarchy is good for some people in some situations.

Yes, I think there is a human nature with distinctive abilities and responsibilities in ecosystems; there are particular activities that we are relatively good at (eg driving tractors), others we are bad at (eg photosynthesis) giving humans a pretty well defined ecological niche to occupy, distinctive ways to contribute to the struggle of life to continue in the face of forces indifferent to the existence of the phenomenon of matter moving with free will.  I don't think this is arguable. I don't know exactly what the whole set of human ability and responsibility is, but I know it includes a relatively heightened sense of self-awareness, which has the potential to lead people to selfishness. I don't see how selfish individuals can have mutually empowering, fair relationships with other things.

I don't consider myself a "green" because I don't think non-human nature is good or that humans largely mess things up. I see life (the ability of matter to take action and not just be acted upon) in a hopeless struggle. We are part of it; the duty to contribute to the struggle is communicated to us somehow by other struggling things, past and present. Giving each other dignity is how we thank each other for and encourage each other to continue positive contribution.

Business. Probably not the right word. I am trying to express the activity of free exchange of products of work. It is where the individual finds meaning, finds its specialized niche. I'm a farmer, and I see my interaction with my crop plants as business: they work and produce seeds (and other things), part of which they freely give me in exchange for chemical fertilizer. I know that sounds silly, but think about it: there is no boss here: individual plants and I are in mutually empowering relationships. Selfishness can pervert business, but Ricardo's comparative advantage ideas about international trade can be applied to all relationships between individuals and be truly mutually beneficial. The plant is my customer; I sincerely want to "matter" to my customer, and by extension, indirectly to his other trading partners, like soil bacteria. That's where I find meaning, my role in the struggle. I do my best to empower my trading partners; I do make mistakes. I do accept responsibility for my mistakes and expect to be humbled if I get selfish. I'll humble some beetles if they get selfish.

However, I don't like the idea of eliminating antagonistic elements completely because I recognize that I can't really understand the complexity. I DO know when it gets out of hand, when it causes an ecosystem to self-destruct, and I feel a duty to intervene when I know I can and should. How do I know? I don't know. I always doubt, but I will not sit by and let beetles prevent an entire crop of my plant trading partners from producing grain. Due to my doubts I don't want to completely eliminate all the beetles...

Yes, a plant is willful. Mountains, no.

Absolute morality doesn't require any authority. The duty to struggle for the continuation of life -- not my own life, but life itself -- is communicated to us. We don't need metaphysics. Only ethics. The only question that needs an answer is "what should I do?"

well, clearly we see things very, very differently. but i appreciate your desire to engage, and the way you have done so.

when i have a bit more time, i will ask for some further clarification on things you said in this response. but i suspect the only truly meaningful discussion to be had, especially between individuals with such divergent perspectives, would be face to face, while sipping our beverages of choice. the internet - and all digital technology - is such a shitty medium for real conversation.

With your rejection of even the word "collective" and the focus on "individual entrepreneurs, you're putting some distance between yourself and Proudhon. You might dig deeper into Proudhon to see if you change your mind and work through some of the better egoist material (Stirner, James L. Walker, Landstreicher, Bonanno) to see if perhaps the unique, and not so much the individual, holds some interest for you.


I admit I haven't read all of Proudhon -- there's too much to read and too little time. And furthermore, I do have to consciously fight against a strong confirmation bias when I read people who write beautifully. My formal schooling was in economics, so I was particularly interested in his Philosophy of Misery, What is Property and Theory of Property.  In these I got several "epiphanies" where I often get moments of disgust reading economists and philosophers. So, in my awe of Proudhon's genius I latch onto some things he says that confirm my own experience and justify my own feelings... probably ignoring whatever he says I wouldn't agree with, or shrugging it off as simply unfortunate use of confusing terms.

A couple things I latch onto with Proudhon are: slavery is murder, the value created by a man and the only thing he can rightly control the use of is the product of his labor; competition naturally leads to monopoly; abundance naturally leads to alienation; we have a moral duty to respect, equally, every man's right to his life (=liberty) and his (legitimate) property, which are, infact inseperable.  Production and trade are the most fundamental bases of human activity and interaction (for me, this can be extended beyond our species, but he was only concerned with humans at the time). He also said something like this (which I think means he also rejects the legitimacy of any "collective"): no sooner have "the people" taken control of their destiny must they delegate the actual job of law making and enforcement to a few representatives, and we are right back to tyranny.  HOWEVER, he is in favor of small, leaderless cooperatives, as am I, to facilitate mutual aid, but only when each individual retains control over the tools he works with and the product of his own labor. So really, this is not a collective as one thing, but rather a collection of multiple, free commercial interactions between independent entrepreneurs.

On the other hand, while I haven't read any Stirner, I am revolted by some key ideas that are largely attributed to him. I once thought I might be, politically, a Libertarian, and found Ayn Rand's works "interesting." But there is something very, very bad -- morally disgusting, evil -- in the glorification and defense of rational self-interest; something so profoundly mistaken in the idea that it is OK to put ones own interests above the interests of others.

On your suggestion, I just looked up Stirner on Wikipedia, and you are right: all he says about the Unique I can adhere to strongly. But what matters -- all that really matters -- is the response to the question "what should I do?", and Stirner's response - whatever makes you happy -- is totally wrong.  His terrible error is plain to me by observing non-human interactions on my farm.

Happiness is overrated. Except in scattered brief moments when we ignore reality, we are all struggling desperately in the interest of a higher duty, which is ultimately just to help each other struggle better.  If it was just all about me I woudn't see any point, since I won't be around long. But it isn't; I don't really work for me -- consciously or subconsciously I work for you, and for the continued existence of this phenonomenon of life (=liberty).  It's the same for plants. This is where we find the answer to "what should I do?" that, I think, Proudhon also tried to lead people to find.
Surfing around on Wikipedia (which is of course the ultimate authority on everything), I'm leaning towards Spooner. I'm clearly an adherent to the concept of natural law. Probably need to read Richard Cumberland, too.

Interestingly, I think Spooner (from what little I know of him at this point, having just discovered him) totally missed it with his view on ownership of land -- because he only applied his property ideas to relationships between humans, and not all life in larger ecosystems. There is, really, no unoccupied land or any material whatsoever that is not in occupation and use by any other living thing -- and hasn't been for millions and millions of years. Unoccupied natural resources are extremely rare in the history of this planet. So, he fell into the all-too-human trap of species-vanity. But maybe if I can apply his thinking to the concept of greater and lesser organisms as distinct living things with equal rights and moral duty of symbiosis under universal natural law....  I'll look into it and let you guys know.


The shoe, as presented second-hand by Spunk anyway, fits pretty well.

Until further notice I shall refer to myself not as a mutualist but as a spooner (even if my wife would say I'm not)

syrphant, you have made it abundantly clear that i have virtually no affinity with the positions you espouse.

i reject moralism (which you take further than most religionists i know); duty; any kind of law (especially "natural" law); any knowable human nature; the concepts of property, work, and economic systems (and the perspectives that lead to and support them); and most everything else you seem to support. but most of all, i reject any perspective that claims to be the "correct" one for everyone, and prescribes how everyone should think, feel and live.

 Syrphant: "Happiness is overrated." 

not in my experience....

i find most people put very little importance on it, whereas i think of happiness (or joy, or creative living) as one of the main reasons i continue wanting to stay alive. 

 Syrphant: "we are all struggling desperately in the interest of a higher duty"

you can exclude me from this "we". i have no interest in "a higher duty".

"Happiness is overrated.Except in scattered brief moments when we ignore reality, we are all struggling desperately in the interest of a higher duty, which is ultimately just to help each other struggle better."

no. not me. none of this...starting with the miserable presumption that 1) the parameters of 'reality' are so narrow, 2) insufficient for joy and 3) that 'reality' is ignored only in 'scattered brief moments.' it seems to me that civilization, particularly now, is predicated upon this ignorance which predominates and reproduces itself in perspectives such as you seem entrenched and espouse.

i have to concur with ba@ and af on syrphant's take on "happiness".

self-sacrifice as a way of life is of no interest to me. living an unmediated, full, self-created life is. joy is a major part of that; without it, what's the fucking point? sometimes, my joy comes from doing stuff with/for others. other times, not at all. that whole "higher duty" of doing for others is pure religion, in different clothes.
i don't think it's especially revealing to talk about how we're different. syrphant pretty much came on here already clear on being quite different.

but also, language could be getting in the way here, which is why i'd be interested in syr's take on other threads of this site, since coming at things sideways can sometimes be more clarifying than head-on approaches. never tell anyone that i said that.
OK, let's do this.

Happiness is overrated. I like to be happy as much as anyone, and I am truly happy from time to time.  Feeling good feels good, but that is of no importance. If it was, I would get my kids high, or at least encourage them to take as many anti-depressants and opiates as they could. We know that feeling good and feeling bad is just chemicals. I want my life, your life, and my childrens' lives to have value. Life is matter moving of its own volition = liberty = labor. The value of one's labor is discovered through exchange: I offer these typed words -- product of my labor, manifestation of my free-will, my act of living -- and they will only have value if someone reacts to them. This tiny point of my life will have only so much value as you find in it; and I will only be encouraged to continue this kind of activity if I receive confirmation of its value. Otherwise I should go do something else for something that appreciates my labor, my life, my liberty.

No, that's not a cry for help. Many people spit on inductive reasoning, that is, supposing the highly probable existence of general laws based on observations of nature. But that's how the human brain works at its best; don't fight it. When you see something that seems more or less universal, actively look for exceptions; if you can't find any.... keep looking. Look around: people want to feel that their lives have value; they only think they want happiness because they've been led to believe happiness is the reward for value. It isn't. Many people whose lives had value died poor and alone. But they mattered. They did it. They obtained what we all want for our lives: meaning.

I can't help but laugh when you say I'm religious. I am more anti-religion than I am anti-government. This is not religion, it is strictly ethics. A man doesn't have to be religious to be a good person; just because he tries to figure out how to be a good person doesn't make him religious.

In fact, I refuse to let any human tell me how to be a good person. I assume that IF there is a natural law, it would be silly to think it only applies to humans. No one even knows what it means to be a human, anyway.  IF there is a universal system of right and wrong, it must be so simple that any quality of intelligence can know it.  A natural law would be one that, when adhered to life thrives and when broken life is oppressed (ie liberty reduced).

I have only found one such law here on my farm:  symbiosis.  That is when individual organisms specialize and interact in such a way that each party appreciates the labor of the other. Why the mutual appreciation? because each contributed to the others' personal struggle to have meaning. Circular, I know, but I can't see beyond it and won't listen to anyone trying to sell me any kind of religion or other pre-packaged ideology. So I'm stuck.

That's it, that's the only natural law I've found so far.  And when you look at us humans: this painful craving for meaning is probably just the innate drive to FIND these honestly reciprocal exchanges of value. Hard to find in other humans, so willing to fool each other and get more value than they give, but not so hard with non-humans.

When too many organisms break that law -- by direct competition, predation or parasitism or whatever interaction in which the other party would prefer you not exist -- life itself, liberty, labor, will ultimately self-destruct.

My spirituality that you call "religion?"  There's only one word in my bible:

dot: "i don't think it's especially revealing to talk about how we're different. "

i reveal that i disagree.  i think where we disagree is often quite revealing, maybe more so than where we agree.

syrphant: i was not referring to any spirituality (not sure where you get that, much less what you mean by it), i was referring to your morality and "higher duty", etc. i see those as religious beliefs, even if the believer despises organized or traditional religion.

why would you call symbiotic relationships a "law"? is love also a law? or friendship? or playing music with someone? i would also point out that you are completely anthropomorphizing when you talk of plants and other forms of life "appreciating" and "struggle to have meaning".

"Many people whose lives had value died poor and alone."

value to who? based on what criteria? and do you have a problem with someone dying poor and alone? especially if that is how they choose to live? i'd also question what you mean by "poor". more economics? most people would consider my life to be one of abject poverty; i feel far richer, and freer, than most anyone i know.

in the above post, you seem to be using the word "value" in 2 different ways. you talk of one's life having "value". and then you talk of exchange "value" (and humans getting more value than they give). do you see those as one and the same?

"In fact, I refuse to let any human tell me how to be a good person. "

perhaps not, but you sure do claim to let "absolute morality" do so. do you only see authority as embodied in another human?

what is "good"? if you define goodness strictly for yourself, then cool, have at it; but then you would be seemingly contradicting your belief in absolute morality, no?

it is the intent of defining "good" and "bad" (and value, and happiness, and meaning, etc) in any context outside your own individual life, that i find problematic. unless i have misunderstood everything you have said so far, that is exactly what you are doing; you are telling everyone what is right and wrong, regardless of context. have i misunderstood you?

"... this kind of activity if I receive confirmation of its value. Otherwise I should go do something else for something that appreciates my labor, my life, my liberty."

i guess this hits a core issue. why do you need to live for someone/something outside yourself? and let me be very clear: living entirely for yourself - making yourself the primary focus of your life - does not in any way preclude doing things with and for others. you can be a servant all your life; if that is what you truly want, then you are doing it for yourself. it is when you do it out of duty, or the expectations of others, or any of a variety of other possible externally driven reasons, that you have sacrificed your own freedom, autonomy and desires. and if that is the case, i would seriously question why you are interested in labeling yourself within the realm of anarchy at all.

"Feeling good feels good, but that is of no importance."

do you perceive this as 'happiness'? i guess it could be so. it seems to be the most common opinion of happiness/joy; that is, as a mere sentiment, but not of any consequence. i rarely use 'happiness' in my own language precisely due to this connotation.

i prefer 'joy' and its derivatives, since there was an inherent connection between mirth and gratefulness in the roots. i like that relation. so even feeling 'bad' may be joyful in that one is able to feel at all, and hence might be of the greatest importance.

dot: "i don't think it's especially revealing to talk about how we're different. syrphant pretty much came on here already clear on being quite different."

perhaps. but i often feel compelled to respond to "happiness is" and "that is not important" and other absolute type of statements, especially when my experience varies greatly.

Dot is just being open-minded.

Funkyanarchy: excellent, excellent points. You've totally hit on the problems I have communicating my thoughts. The apparent contradictions you highlight are not uncomfortable in my mind: they are resolved in a synthesis that I have extreme difficulty describing. I just don't have the vocabulary or definitions to talk intelligibly about the truth I've discovered. That's why my recent decision to speak up has only been frustrating. That's why, if I am to speak up my original question is of urgent importance. Other people, more skilled in language than I am, have undoubtedly seen the world as I do. I've always laughed at "isms" but now I see their value: If I can find a respectable established "ism" that accurately corresponds to my own ideas I can use the words good writers have already used to say the same thing I want to say. I can say "yeah .... what he said."  Otherwise, in the eyes of others, I'm just sitting out here on the moon. My words, intended to provoke serious thought just get ignored, snubbed or at worst they provoke hostility.  I can either shut-up and return to my plants, or try to aquire the tools and materials to contribute to participate effectively in a very exciting social battle that has reached a potential turning point. What I'm seeing in the world right now is a huge surge in populism -- Trump, Bernie, Brexit, ISIS -- all boiling down to an attempt by large numbers of people (a critical mass?) to overturn a demeaning system they can no longer endure.

Only... they don't know what they really need, so they are being manipulated. Lack of knowledge is being abused. Most humans will remain half-dead and half-worthless in the struggle for the continuation of life in the universe unless they are led to truth by people with sincerity, empathy and the awareness that anarchy is the only satisfying social order.  And I have a feeling this is a moment in history when the voices of anarchists can matter. So I'd like to add mine to yours.

Just so you'll take me seriously when I respond to others' questions on this site, let me try to respond to your points. Whether or not you agree -- yet -- with my ideas, it is important to me that you not dismiss them outright. I'm not joining your group simply as comedy relief (although I will try to keep it light).

Absolute morality and higher duty. Yeah, I can't deny their existence. It begins with this statement: The existence of life is "good." Therefore, to support life and defend life from forces that would destroy it are "right" actions.  There you go: how describe this any way other than absolute morality and higher duty?  Its existence seems to be confirmed because plants and microbes -- much wiser than humans, having been around much longer and quite capable of passing information down through the generations -- largely act for the continuation of life rather the continuation of their own individual lives.  That's just obvious and I'm not going to go into the multiple observations that have led me to this. Not relevant to this particular forum. Suffice it to say that "to contribute to the continuation of life is morally, ethically right; to work against its continuation is morally, ethically wrong."

I'm not sure anthropomorphism is stupid. I would say that thinking humans are somehow more alive than plants is anthropocentric. I hate arrogance and try to resist any self-centered tendencies in myself. I guess it depends on how you define life.  Think about this: an earthquake; a body falls to the ground; if it gets back up without external cause it is alive. It is the difference between a tree and a wooden chair. Same matter but one influences its own movement, the other is entirely dependent on external forces for movement. At least that's the way I see it, and to see it otherwise would leave me with no free will and therefore no meaningful answer to the ethical question "what should I do?"  If this question is moot... no, I can't accept that. I totally refuse to accept that. I will insist to the end that I can respond to external signals in ways that cannot be predicted purely with mathematical formulas of laws of physics.

So the answer to the question "what should I do?" is somehow going to be "what supports/defends life."

Does this call for altruism or supporting the life of others more than the life of oneself? I don't think so, because I'm a part of it as much as anything else. It is also not utilitarian "greatest good for greatest number," because as groups of collaborating things grow larger communication breaks down and the group breaks apart. The size of life or the quantity of living organisms is by no means the best assurance of its continuation. Small things and members of small groups have the flexibility to adjust rapidly. To be important to the continuation of life I have to be in small groups. Others in groups I'm not part of will just do their own things in their own groups.

A group take on unique personalities and are capable of action on a different scale than the action of any of its members. So it is not really a "group" of individuals at all. It is just another individual living organism. I deal with all living organisms as equals. I will not submit to the will of any collective "person." I will exchange value with it on equal terms.

That's why, naturally, my morality leads inevitably to anarchy: If I give up ANY of my ability to move of my own free will I give up part of my life -- I give up part of life. I am capable of movement and my options of action are entirely unique because nothing else has ever before been in this place and time and never will be. That includes any collective "persons."  They have their own things to do; I have mine. If we both have a duty to support life, we both have a duty to empower whatever life-forms we encounter, including ourselves, as long as that life-form is doing the same (if not, empowering life entails weakening its attackers).
Bringing it round to economics: Can you see how self-willed action = life = liberty = labor? And that the "value" of this labor is a purely subjective judgement of its level of positive contribution to the continuation of life?  Doing things for oneself has very little value because the death of the life of the individual is very short. Selfish action that contributes to your life at the expense of others does not really add to the chances of life to continue any longer than your own life.

Symbiosis is what works. It is the only thing that works in the interest of the continuation of life. That is: division of labor, specialization and exchange of value. The value of one's labor, therefore is determined not by oneself, but in the exchange. Commerce -- the exchange of the fruits of labor -- is how we find our places in symbiosis, to maximize our value, to contribute to the mission we all share. Living things helping each other live. Life = self-willed movement = liberty = labor. The value of all these synonomous things each individual is capable of is determined by another living thing through exchange: "I'll give you this mu

So you see the two meanings of value are indeed one-and-the-same to me. All the value of any life derives from its labor; value is related to the contribution to the continued existence of free-will in the universe; symbiosis is the only way to contribute in a purely positive manner; value is related to one's effective participation in symbiosis; that involves specialization and exchange; value is the subjective judgement of the other trading partners; receiving this signal from the other, and driven to matter, and applying reason, the individual continues or adjusts his self-willed actions to be certain that his/her life has meaning. Whatever holds back this circular striving to have value to each other is morally bad, as it weakens life.  It is a struggle. A struggle to empower me to empower you to empower me to empower you and you and you to empower others.... to fight for the continued existence of free-willed matter. Because life is good. It's support/defense is right. Period.

Anything working against this -- whether indifferent non-living pheonomena or actual living organisms that are either selfish or altruist -- should be set right by someone or something. Can I contribute to that setting-right effort? I have my doubts. But the moral code of Spiderman is "with great power comes great responsibility."  Duty to empower... The internet has empowered us all to empower others, dammit !

Whether or not you agree with any of this, I ask you try to see that it is a coherent, consistent philosophy, worthy of being taken seriously in the current social context. At least, you can try to see that our respective ideas lead in the same direction. Until I can find an articulate thinker to fall back on, I have to ask for some allowance in definition of terms.

Sorry this is so long and messy. Frankly, if you made it this far you are incredible.

ok - here are some things that i responded to, since we're going there.

you don't like arrogance, which is cool, but you talk about people being "led to anarchy." as i have said before, this gets to one of the crucial issues with anarchy for me at least, which is that i believe in autonomy and that people know themselves best, and i also think that i know a better way to be in the world. those two things don't go together. yet here i am.

next point: there are people who claim urges similar to the ones you describe, but in the name of themselves and their own joy, rather than in the name of morality or duty. you seem to take empowerment from your frame of this as something universal, rather than personal. which seems like the religious part to me (i think F@ probably already said that, but sometimes different words are helpful?). i for one am suspicious of people thinking that they know the way i should live. see my first point...

ps:i really sympathize with looking for people who know how to say things i already think.

pps: f@, i was just complaining about the brief expressions of only disagreement. going into the particulars is more interesting, although i continue to think that head on is easiest but not necessarily the most educational.


i definitely appreciate your serious attempts at explaining yourself. and i definitely understand the difficulties of finding words to express your thoughts/feelings/etc.

i do think i understand where you are coming from, at least to a reasonable extent. your perspective simply does not resonate with me at all. i think there was a time that i probably would have been less critical of it. but since you originally asked about where your views fit in an overall anarchist perspective, that is the basis from which i critique it. i find much of your perspective contrary to what i think of as anarchy.

the fact that you make it clear that "value" (based on "labor" etc) is your defining aspect of life and freedom (i'm short-cutting there), combined with your continued assertion that absolute morality and higher duty are the driving forces (by your account, for all of life), confirm that i have not misunderstood you - at least not by too far. your acceptance and submission to external forces (morality and duty, at minimum) - and your idea that one overarching set of ideas apply to all of life equally - are primarily where i find an irreconcilable difference with anything i can think of as anarchy.

i have no doubt your various ideas have a consistency for you. from my own anarchistic perspective, while they may well hold a consistency within the sphere of your world where they exist, they do not seem consistent with my own anarchy. but again i point out - that is just my own thinking. i speak for nobody but myself.

i give you props for your efforts in this discussion. but it is unlikely we will ever agree. i am fine with that. i have no illusions about some single, "consistent" worldview being correct for everyone. perhaps others here (or passing through) will engage with you more meaningfully. i don't think i will be able to do so any more than i already have.

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interesting. as far as i can tell, you don't fit neatly into any of the tendencies that have been clearly demarcated. your reliance on extra-human systems points to an anti-civ path, while your focus on entrepreneurial (yeesh, can't even type that word) relationships and your distaste for collectives point towards mutualism (i know least about that tendency, so there might be a more particular piece of that terrain that fits you better than the m word), and obviously your "individual points of self-awareness" is individualist, but that doesn't have to be in conflict with either the anti-civ or the mutualism (which do tend to pull away from each other). you embrace morality, which argues against egoism, but not individualism (as i understand the difference).

(another way to address this question would be for you to comment on some questions or answers on this site. we all might learn something.)

edit: have you been to
http://contrun.libertarian-labyrinth.org/ ?

he's wonderful and thoughtful. maybe you're a shawnian!
answered Aug 7, 2016 by dot (52,030 points)
edited Aug 7, 2016 by dot

Not so sure about Krotopkin anymore. perfect approach but he appears to miss the conclusion. Just because, like all those anarcho-communists, he seems to think the focus should be on meeting material needs and wants of consumers; whereas I say that's crap and the focus should be on labor and its value.

Reclus doesn't look very interesting. The Rhizome concept does not appeal to me since I have a sort of hegelian kind of reasoning. Surfing around I tested my feelings in Deep Ecology again -- no way. I hate "oneness," I hate the idea that we are all connected in any way that might be relevant to our existence, and I hate the idea that humans are bad and nature is good.  Never liked Thoreau, Emmerson or Muir anyway.

Thanks for the tips though. I will go on to read Krotopkin, and try to keep in mind that he was writing in a context where scarcity was more of a problem than obesity, homelessness more of a problem than consumerism.

Between Krotopkin, Spooner and a re-read of Proudhon I've got plenty to read for now !   Let's stop this conversation !! Please! I feel like I'm in a hot-dog eating contest and can't hold in another bite !  Please, no one respond to this question anymore. Anyone have a problem with me, we'll take it outside. To some other question.
i think you've just been bit by a radioactive spider
Syrphant: we may never agree on worldview, but you seem like someone I might enjoy hanging with for a beer and a laugh.

I have prepared and uploaded this schematic diagram of my worldview in hopes of getting some good discussion out of you. This is pretty much my whole entire worldview -- the way things are. All my more practical ideas flow from this.  Would really enjoy a vigorous attack on this diagram.



syrphant, that diagram is completely repetitive (even within itself), and provides exactly nothing new on your perspective from what you have expressed here in words. it simply reiterates your views that i already find problematic:

property, labor (especially as equal to life), products, exchange, value, specialization, etc. a perspective completely rooted in (mass-based) economics. i want no part of it.