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Anarchy (or, less provocatively, Mutuality and Co-Creation)

Article Table of Contents

In 2017, I read The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey; everything and nothing changed.

Lots changed because all of I sudden, I could clearly label a dynamic that had always irked me. I could see that some people would avoid coercing others, only because both parties believed firmly enough that there was a duty for the others to obey.

That duty to obey was backed by a belief that a failure to obey would eventually bring pain or absence or lack.

I expect most people who have been coerced by others will report it as unpleasent. Or dangerous and violating.

I have so many problems with coercion, and can speak against it alll day, but an under-appreciated problem with coercion is what it supplants and replaces, in the inner/outer worlds of both the coercives, and the victims.

Because coercion is fundamentally unethical and dehumanizing, any institution or structure that relies upon it, or is rooted in it, is unable to function in any way but a perverted, violating way.

The human spirit is destroyed in the face of coercion, and everything about the human experience is enlivened and made healthy when those involved have ‘access’ to adequate safety and resources.

Most coercion, in America today, especially White America, is of an emotional kind. But when it fails, it becomes verbal, and when that fails, the ‘muscular’ bits of coercion come out. Denial of access to resources, credible threats of violence, etc.

It’s like watching a disregulated adult throwing a childish temper tantrum in which they performatively yell and throw things, in order to get their way, and when they do, they slip back into a dissociated fuge state and retreat from the world.

It’s a statement of:

If you don’t give me what I want in the right way and schedule, I’ll dominate the experience with unpleasentness, until you relent.

It’s impossible to problem solve with coercive people, because the fact that they are not coercing you in this moment is not affected by the slightest that they will coerce you as soon as they it to be an effective problem-solving strategy.

What coercion destroyed and propagandized #

I dislike, fundamentally, the space given to coercion as “just” or “ethical”.

Coercion goes hand in hand with entitlement, or a belief that it is right to dominate someone else.

a patriarchal system of belief is the idea that men are entitled to dominate women, at least one other ethnic group, children, and other men less willing to participate in domination. That adults dominate children.

The propaganda that will be pushed out into the world is:

{patriarchal ethnic group} is fundamentally superior to {all other ethnic groups, or at least that other ethnic group}

The alternative to coercion is what existed before anyone showed up with credible threats of violence.

Mutuality and co-creation #

I don’t believe that I have the right or entitlement to coerce anyone, nor do I extend welcome to people who act entitled to coerce me.

My updated view of the world could be something like:

Violence of all stripes (physical, obviously, but in some corners of society emotional and verbal violence is vastly more common) is the tool of emotionally immature people enacting their childish view on the world, and serious people are completely nonplussed by the idea of ‘using violence’.

A believe in political authority is now, to me, now different than the belief in church authority that dominated the middle ages.

The pope says no sex on wednesdays, so no one is having sex on wednesdays, right?

It is dedignifying to take seriously the kinds of people that think violence is a reasonable problem solving mechanism.

What else happens in the world without coercion? #

A broad class of acts, attitudes, and beliefs that can be summarized as: Mutuality and Co-Creation

Mutuality might be opposed to ‘individualistic’. It assumes a checking-in and temperature-taking with others. It’s the opposite of competative. It sees the other as a fully-dignified participant in the experience. It doesn’t require false humility or making everything equal - parents can be mutual to their pre-verbal children, and people of a domanant ethnic group can be mutual towards people of an oppressed people group.

Mutuality simply spends time evaluating “us”, and observing the perspective of “us”. There’s an eye towards the health of the ecosystem, accomplishing the reduction of harm and want and lack is as important as (or more important than) pursuing some reward or accomplishment.

Co-creation contains elements of making something new with the other person/people. It’s assumed that the end result and the process will be improved for the full creative, emotional part of all parties fully engaged.

Coercion is like pouring bleach on a garden. It destroys everything it touches.

Authority as Propaganda #

Jacques Euller noted that propaganda plays two functions, the second of which I’d not considered:

  1. For anyone who happen to agree, intellectually, with the propaganda, or some preceding idea, propaganda does indeed shape some societal attitudes directly, via the message, to be in conformity with the message.
  2. But for those who disagree with the propaganda, even if they roll their eyes at it and feel contempt for the kinds of people involved in its creation… propaganda still plays a role as a reminder of power and authority. It takes MUSCLE and MIGHT for an institution/person to so boldly proclaim something so preposterous. “War brings peace” and “Eat more chicken”, “I punish you because I love you” and so on, so forth. It serves a role as a reminder of privilege, and the distribution of power. It’s an assertion of power.

The concept of authority serves as propaganda. Authority is a societal fiction, a dangerous superstition.

The words behind someone who “believes” in authority (similar to how someone might believe in a god) is:

I did {such and such} because someone else said so and I am willing to throw away my own dignity and yours, simply because they gave me credible legal fiction to do so

When large groups of people are killed by other people, usually most of the killers report something like:

Well, i didn’t want to do it, gosh, that person never did anything to hurt me, but {external_authority} made me do it.

It’s tragic.

A retrospective addendum #

2017 was my official entry into the anarchist camp. Cannot, will not, ever do anything but resist the coercion and violence in the world around me.

I lived a bunch of life between 2017 and 2022, I use words like ‘nervous system regulation’ and ‘intellectual colonialism’, and already was walking away hard from the normal protestant white evangelical mono-normative nuclear-family type stuff, stumbled into the phrase ‘relationship anarchy’ and instantly was ruined.

I then began the canon around how marriage and the state are inistrincably linked. A little while ago, I read Marriage Will Never Set Us Free, and found it concisely expressing things I’ve been thinking on.

I’ll never get married again. There’s no limit to the depth of the relationship(s) I can have without marriage, and to even participate in marriage, now, rubs me the wrong way, in terms of what it normalizes.

Relationship Anarchy #

The Books, extra resources #

I’ve got a bunch of books that relate to Anarchy, Authority and more. Because Anarchy and interpersonal relating are born out of the same core views, I’ll mix ‘relationship’ stuff in with ‘political’ stuff. Decolonization stuff, etc.

Part of my movement away from marriage and monogamy is because I view those as shaping the ecosystem for conditions favorable to colonialism and supremacy. Turns out lots of people who say they mean well for you would gladly watch you self-abandon to try to conform to an unmanageable situation.

relationship smorgasboard