Monday, October 6, 2014

On Anarcho-Collectivism and Fatalism. Or: On the Ideal and Reality

The works of Mikhail Bakunin and Max Stirner are some of the most under-rated and under-appreciated works of all philosophy and political discourse.  Those who love reading those expounding on existential truths and their relation to social and political discourse will find far-more wisdom in Stirner than in Kierkegaard and arguably Sartre and debatably just as much as in Nietzsche.  For Stirner unlike Sartre and Nietzsche relate these existential truths of sovereignty and thrown-ness to deep realizations of the nature of the individual in contrast to society (Nietzsche in a way acknowledges this but throws any realization away when speaking of the essential nature of a steep hierarchical system) and the illegitimacy of force, hierarchy and the perceived notion of social norms and obedience to customs being the highest good; which is a sentiment of conformity we see even in those “radical Liberals” who believe they are so fundamentally apart from republicans yet take great pride in their Patriotism and view America as a fundamentally good country despite empirical evidence of the contrary – unless one is to make the claim that it, like all other countries to varying extents, is fundamentally good because of the fundamental goodness of the people who reside in it, or in other words of the fundamental goodness of the human character despite the effects of being warped by religion, Government and commerce.  Stirner has the ideals of a true Cynic and Individualist and fails only in his Nihilist sentiments and logic.  Bakunin however has none of these failings has all the wisdom of an Epicurean and Marxist in materialism and all the understanding of our connected nature as a Buddhist.  I could go on to further praise of these two fine men, but ultimately I wish to make a brief argument for the correct social dealings that they helped lay, and then the proper attitude and understanding of reality in relation to those ideals.
Those who are ignorant of the self-apparent wisdom and eternal truth of the Non-Aggression Principle, a fact of human being more evident and relevant to human life than gravity, are those who are psychologically either without help in achieving “enlightenment” of philosophical truths or are simply temporary ignoramuses and momentary foes in the struggle for liberation of body and mind.  For be assured, the soul suffers just as much, if not more, under the constraints of utilitarian or religious law as does the moment-to-moment thoughts and wishes of the individual which is the primal (subjective at the very-least) make-up of this thing we call the self.  For though joy is always a victim when liberty is curtailed, intelligence, reason and psychological health are the far-more common and constant victims of the murderer that is authority and Rule of Law.  For the mind which naturally understands the notion of freedom, the essence of “live and let live” is commanded by the authors of the ludicrous notions of God and Government are expected to surrender their reasoning faculties to obey the letter of the law not only in action but in sentiment.  For as O’Brian said in 1984, “It is not enough that you obey him, you must love Big Brother.”
The only major distinctions between Liberal Democracy and Religious and Utilitarian-based Dictatorships (all dictatorships having an essence of both – including those which are claiming to be and are referred to as atheistic) are in use of illusion and sentiment (propaganda exist for both but they differ, though sometimes by very-little) is a Dictatorship will purge dissent in the individual and be blatant with its demonstrations of force.  A Liberal Democracy will only express its true attitude against subversive trouble-makers fighting for freedom, justice and equality if they have the slightest chance of being effective in bringing about any change – the rest is little-more than a façade.  They are still systematic defilers of freedom and common-sense on a daily basis (and more-so in America seemingly every day) but they are far-more subtle, cautious, and intellectual with their murder of Liberty than the Conservative or defender of tyranny – this is essentially the main distinction ‘tween the Autocrat and the Liberal when all is said in done; matters of degree in enforcement of Law, and the extremity and expression of often nearly identical sentiment.  Orwell acknowledged this quite well, when in 1984 he speaks of the American Founding fathers and all other revolutionaries only half-believing in their talk, and in-essence being half-liberator but half-autocrat, or half of what would become the logical realization of Force-based ideology namely Oceania.
Now that such notions have been gotten out of the way, the more important distinction in features of Anarchism can be analyzed.  Frankly Mutualism suffers from a major fault seen in Capitalism.  Profit does not exist true, but the average individual is still subjugated to the preferences and interests of the property owner.  If he owns a store, he not only can run it in such a way where those who don’t have any ownership are doing the most daunting tasks, but his own character and attitude will present itself quite easily and transparently, like if the store owner has a great propensity to react to swearing or political discussions with anger and injury to the individual who breaks the rules established and dictated solely by the owner.  Also how this individual will be expected to not take a profit in a Stateless society (out of the goodness of his heart) and to pay his employ objectively what they are worth is something I’ve always considered naïve.  I am not incredibly familiar with the school of Mutualism, so I cannot say I am well-versed with the arguments and counter-arguments of such philosophy, all I can say is that I find such notions of private property inside Anarchist societies to be a mild form of oppression and a minute form of the lack of individual responsibility and interdependent decision-making and cooperation that one finds in societies based on the dictates of Capitalist profits, Government dictates or the instruction of the Bible or Koran.
Anarcho-Communism is (at-least at-first glance to many) perhaps the best in a totally ideal situation.  That is not only divorced from our current material, social and political realities but the very nature and persistent reality of humanity.  In hunter gatherer societies (which is what Anarcho-Communists and Communists in general point to for historical credence) it is true that currency did not exist, but in such scarcity societies one had to work to live, and the individual who did not contribute to the tribe was spotted quickly and was either (unless he was a High-Priest or Shaman of some kind) told to get to work or was very-likely shunned or killed.  In a larger industrial society however, one could theoretically get-away for some time with not paying his contribution of labor to the collective and still take from the collective store of food or entertainment items.  Also if all luxury items are theoretically available to all individuals at all times, it seems that not only will these items not be taken care of unless there is some cost (such as ostracism or insult) to not preserving them, but there perceived value and enjoyment will be depleted substantially.  All those living in a Capitalist society know that there is a certain psychological merit in working towards something and then gaining it through the efforts of one’s labor – I’m here talking purely of material goods but this applies outside the context of Capitalism towards non-material goods (working towards finishing a novel and then completing it for example) as-well – when in our days of childhood freedom and lack of responsibility that which was available without cost (being able to rent a movie or video game nearly whenever one wanted with no cost to provide a personal example) was also available only at often a fraction of the entertainment for there was no effort involved to attain something.  And as Positive Psychologists are showing, though wealth has almost nothing to do with happiness, putting labor towards one’s desires and receiving a return of said investment of mental and at-times physical labor is crucial.  Currency solves a litany of potential problems that a gift-economy would create that still leaves possible the ethical domain and reason of Mutual Aid which is one of the corner-stones of Anarchism – sorry An-Caps.
Anarcho-Collectivism if not the best in a perfectly ideal world is without any critical-conceived doubt the best form of societal management in the idealization of human nature as it is to be understood stripped from cultural and material factors.  For within such freedom there is both the maximization of freedom and responsibility for the individual.  There are no laws prohibiting drugs, forcing taxation, creating unjust distribution and irrational management of resources, nor would there typically any religious sentiment of subservience to a cosmological author.  But there also would be the responsibility of both the management of society (involvement of the community in organization of general policy and current events), the affairs of one’s work that would be handled democratically by the workers rather than by Capitalist or Government management, and to work to achieve a living by performing a service of objective value to the community and perhaps even globe of people regardless of one’s motivations and love of said work – though in an Anarchist society there are no reasons exterior to one’s self that one could not realistically, that is actually, strive towards whatever passions sway him. 
Currency also aids in the management both of collective and personal affairs in having individuals take something only when they have accumulated enough wealth to purchase it – and in an Anarchist society any object could be purchasable by the average worker with some amount of determination and savings.  Currency however is the sheer stupidity and excuse for apathy and prolonging suffering in the case of Government.  To have a budget for housing assistance for example, and then deny affordable housing when the budget has reached its cusp, when there are more-than enough resources for every man and woman to have a fine place to live, is to punish the individual for either the stupidity or miserly attitude of the State.  Why are there found-raisers for Cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimer’s?  Is there some machine or experiment that the scientists can’t afford to buy or perform?  If so, why?  Because of the ridiculous nature of Capitalism and Government of course!  A mockery of reason and utility that trumps even the absurdity of the cosmos; showing once and for-all (with the help of religion and human existence in-general) that Man is the most absurd animal of all.  His buffoonery trumps even that of the lemming, for at-least the lemming is quickly falling to his doom while Man chooses to continue this absurd charade of meaning under the guise of intelligence and practicality.  Currency belongs to the realm of personal affairs, not the realm of social management and motivation for economic trends as seen under the profit-motive.
But now that I have spent a brief amount of time highlighting the ideal and the reasoning for its supremacy to alternatives of Stateless organization, how is the individual suspected to respond to this knowledge of the ideal the sharp distinction one finds between it and the harsh reality of contemporary society both in America and to varying degrees and fashions around the globe?  I would argue any attitude other than Fatalism is to practice a delusion.  I argued in my essay “On Lucy” that without intellectual action one surrenders to Fatalism, and the intellect only has potency with the creation of argument and art, which when experienced by others can create some cultural impact but will be minor when compared to the economic, political and cultural norms that both keep Man in chains, but perpetuate the culture that forces in-a-sense many men to rationalize and justify the very systems which keep them ignorant and enslaved.  However, it is often not the intellectual who has surrendered the world to this fate, but the world itself.  Even Liberal Democracies (particularly America, and perhaps my view is jaded by the Fascist policies of our Government, for revolt is far-more common in Europe whose people are far-more politically conscious and Progressive than the toadstools of the States) have long histories of banning and curtailing the freedoms they boast to be bastions of in a harsh and intolerant world, and change is very unlikely due-to both the nature of apathy and regurgitation of religious and right-wing propaganda by many which keeps them enslaved and a foreigner to the truth of both Man-as-Caused-Being and Man-as-Sovereign being.  However, perhaps I should define my brand of Fatalism, for I don’t want it to be confused with the ridiculous doctrine that one is pre-destined to get well whether or not one calls a doctor, so it is futile calling a doctor.  Even with the existence of Indeterminism, our lives seem largely “fated” or caused by forces outside our control.  Those forces are what make us who we are (including our genetics or internal make-up) and will decide our actions and ultimate end as well as the end of our species and Universe.  I therefore am clearly an Incompatibilist and a Hard Determinist, but Fatalism is more-than this. 
Fatalism, divorced from the Determinist, Indeterminist debate, is the doctrine of the ultimate futility of human endeavor and any meaningful realization of the ideal outside of the rare individuals who have found it and are expressions of it.  This is different than Camus’ “Absurdism” for this doctrine holds that reality is in-essence absurd, which it is, but more importantly than it’s absurdity is the inevitability of human destruction and the incapable nature of the intellect to sway material forces to bring about justice, freedom, opportunity and universal reason to all.  The Universe and Man’s place in it could be forever “absurd” in the sense that it forever fails to have objective meaning and Man is fated to die, and yet be composed by humans who treat each other fairly without force or exploitation, are kind and rational and humans could find meaning in their lives in completely understandable and productive ways – in essence, the main tenants of Absurdism (outside of aspects of the absurdity of Man) do not in any way or form whatsoever contradict the formation and functioning of a Utopia.  Fatalism is the declaration of the inevitable death of Mankind.  And with such conclusion the realization that life is better spent in intellectual endeavor increasing one’s creativity, imagination and intellect rather than risk surrendering it trying to enlighten a world that chooses instead to be ignorant.  Reasonable and genuine people are the exact criteria for those who are not to be listened to, which is clear whenever one listens even briefly to American politics.  It is true that Right-wingers (e.g. holy men, government men, Capitalists, etc) have conditioned people to ignore reason, resent it when it is spoken and instead persistently search for whatever outlet of propaganda verify whatever unreasonable and often contradictory notions one already had before reading or viewing, but ultimately human nature has shown itself to be largely far-more infantile and self-destructive than any man of intelligence would be immediately ready to believe.  It is simply stifling to enter the external world, leave one’s self-constructed environment of safety and ignorance of men’s stupidity, and see people for what they are and realize the depths of Mankind’s vapidity, apathy, hatred, ego, ignorance and daftness.  There are those who are not as intelligent as the philosopher, but are smart and capable to influence change.  It is their role to influence society to the small extent that it can, and for trying day after day to educate, enlighten and lend a helping hand I give them my most sincere commending; but it is the essence of the philosopher to be heartfelt in their stoicism, that is to be always sincere in one’s self, including the realization of the futility of one’s involvement of society, that such involvement is far-more of a hindrance to the self than it is a improvement to the masses, and therefore learn to be emotionally resigned of the inevitable death of humanity and the everyday suffering of millions of individuals that one has no competency in eradicating – though the death of the species shall surely do just that.
However, this in no way means that the intellectual receives a “pass” from doing any good works, only that those works should remain predominantly intellectual (e.g. essays, novels, lectures, works of art, etc) while the works of the Revolutionary Socialist (whether through violence or Civil Disobedience) or any other form of social reform through action is the works of the idealistic and courageous who are fundamentally Activists, not Philosophers – for philosophy with its devout dedication to the deconstruction and analysis of the world ensures and even demands a certain kind of departure from it.  An intellectual who does not produce any work is a hypocrite and one of the most immoral people on the planet save those who force others to comply with motivations and standards (save from the Non-Aggression Principle) external to themselves.  The person who has potential but fails to live up to it regardless of our lack of free will should be hated and reviled, for he is one who has a gift of immense beauty and rarity, but neglects it to live the common life of the mundane and unreflective.  That is not to say that one must divorce one-self from reality entirely, of course this must not be true for one’s health and if one is to have material to contemplate over, but the nature of the intellectual, yes again, is a type of emotional divorce from this world.  To see it more as a map to study than a real thing, and the map must be more real to the intellectual than the world it is depicting – though one must never forget as many mystical philosophers do that there is still the distinction ‘tween the map and reality.  The true intellectual is one whose words of truth have become more real than the phenomenal truths dancing about in the real world, but has the sense to realize that this doesn’t make the words themselves synonymous with the reality they are describing.  For just as most would find it obvious that the word “chair” is not an actual wooden object, those who believe that reality is fundamentally mathematical should be reminded that there is a difference between constructing a model of a blackhole as mathematical relations and formulas and the actual vacuum where no light escapes.  Just as there is the eternal distinction between the idealizations of proper ethic and living created by the philosopher, which are indeed what is correct and true, and the fundamental truth of reality that these truths are largely ignored and there is no foreseeable path where the common can receive the proper freedom and responsibility in personal, existential and political matters that are due-to them.  For as the wisest of all books states in its understanding of Doublethink (the main cause of human despair; for while material conditions can be corrected, the capacity of the human psyche to rationalize and internalize evil is the downfall of our species):  and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.

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