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I'm wondering to what extent, in both anarchist and non-anarchist living, that the dichotomy is useful. Life as a non-anarchists, the dichotomy is shoved in your face on a regular basis. Both news outlets and movies present good people and bad people on a regular basis, and the court system seems like one of the worst institutions to me, as if it's the lowest circle of hell.

And surprisingly on anarchist news, the theme of the good guy and bad guy seems to have been deeply ingrained in everyone who uses the comment section. I've tried to discuss this topic on there in a fairly mature/nice manner but i would one day like to find it in myself to stop posting on there altogether, i feel like that would make me a hero.

EDIT: When i started typing this question, the first word was "Peter Kropotkin", but in the end i have to admit i don't know what anarchists in general think of this bearded man.
by (2.4k points)
edited by

2 Answers

+3 votes

i personally do not think in those terms, to me they are nothing more than "good vs evil" style binary thinking, moralism defined. also, "hero" has a bit of a structural, hierarchical connotation to it. villain just seems synonymous with boogieman.

but there can be a bit of nuance. this is rather similar to the "authority vs expert" discussion. which really points to the question of reified/static roles vs dynamic, adaptable, contextual relations.

anecdote: i have a good friend whose drunk son led a sheriff's deputy on a high speed car chase (very rural). after dumping the car and sitting under a tree waiting for the cop, he actually fucked that cop up and got away (only for a while of course). he was a small guy, but he happened to be the state high school judo champion. that kid was a disaster waiting to happen, but in that moment... i'd be using the word loosely, but i could see calling him a "hero" of sorts.

i guess i would prefer to use more descriptive terms like admirable, instructive, helpful, ...

[edited to add bold word above]

by (13.4k points)
edited by
+3 votes
I think there's a certain type of person whose brain doesn't really start working unless they've "scented blood" -- for that person, it's important to choose a really good enemy/adversary/rival, one that you can simultaneously hate and admire. There's definitely also a type of person who, in order to know how to begin at all, needs a "heroic" model. In both cases I think there's clearly a risk that, the stronger the model you choose, the more likely you are to rely on and start to resemble him/her too much. But I think basically you've got to take that risk.

Also, I'm less sure about this part, but I think it's common in really impressive thinkers that at some point they reverse the "polarity" of their relationship with their intellectual "model," maybe even more than once - Nietzsche and Wagner, Heidegger and Aristotle, Marx and Hegel...
by (8.0k points)
your first paragraph makes sense to me.

I think your comment about needing the heroic model rings true very often for children and some adults. They say that "children need rolemodels", there's a little truth to this. I've wanted to live like certain people: when that happens ya gotta try it out! A great source of embarrassment for when i was growing up...

However, this doesn't really speak to me and i want a little more clarification, examples usually help:

"Also, I'm less sure about this part, but I think it's common in really impressive thinkers that at some point they reverse the "polarity" of their relationship with their intellectual "model," maybe even more than once - Nietzsche and Wagner, Heidegger and Aristotle, Marx and Hegel..."
In the second paragraph I basically just meant, you probably don't want to be reacting to just one enemy for your whole life, and you also don't want to be an epigone. At some point it's good if you can "outgrow" your enemy, by admitting what you have in common with him, or "outgrow" your heroic role model by starting to rebel against his ideas or move in a different direction.

Maybe another example I could give is Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. I think Nietzsche clearly needed Schopenhauer as a model, and was influenced by his pessimism in his very early work, but ultimately to become who he was, had to come up with an "answer" to nihilism, an affirmative philosophy.
since i tend to think about this kind of stuff in terms of dynamic relational/contextual roles, i would probably be more inclined to talk of how and by whom i have been influenced, and how that influence changes (or not) over time. which i guess speaks to your point (asker) about "reversing polarity...".
I'm just happy to say that you, asker, is still sticking around after the heated argument concerning the COVID pandemic and the great reset theory. Schopenhauer seems very interesting to me, I'm not as into philosophy as some other people are, but he seems to have gone places where that I haven't explored personally.
Hmm I must have missed that... sounds from how you are talking like that might be for the best. Schopenhauer is really interesting, and a wonderful writer, I think.
oh sorry i got you confused with "whatever", kind of a similar very humble username, lol, at least to me.