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By its nature, anarchist theory is a vagabond theory, light of step, always on the move. The reason is simple. Reality is not a static thing, but a play of phenomena in which every individual is actively immersed. Entrenchment of positions makes no real sense, but traps the anarchist in the bogs of ideology and militancy. For this reason, anarchist theoretical endeavors go their farthest when they are taken lightly and playfully, as explorations, experiments and adventures, not tasks or duties. What appears here is done in that spirit. Some of it I wrote years ago, and no longer necessarily agree with, but I think it has a certain challenge, a certain bite to it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I can only be amused when the religious mindset insinuates itself into the viewpoints of those who claim to oppose this society, filling these radicals of various types with its binaries, its puritanical/moralistic thinking, its renunciations and its judgments. It is not so surprising when this occurs. After all, if one doesn’t launch her challenge against this society from herself, but rather from an ideal placed above himself, he inevitably confronts the world as a righteous judge aiming to condemn and punish rather than as an enemy aiming to defeat and conquer. Therefore, this moral challenger has no choice but to absolutely reject everything that she has come to associate with this world and to embrace everything he has come to associate with the ideal. This can be particularly entertaining when the world that is opposed is something as broad as civilization and the ideal is something as ethereal and abstract as “wildness”. The amusement stems from the fact that far too often the term “civilization” is poorly defined, and therefore the opposing ideal “wildness” can be little more than the definitive opposite of this ill-defined entity manifested in a gut “instinct” the faithful opposer feels – much as the born-again christian feels Jesus in his heart. And how dare I challenge her instinct? Especially with reason, which is placed within “Civilization” in her ideology… Here is the binary logic of morality in which “instinct” is “wild” and therefore “good” and “reason” is “civilized” and therefore “evil”.

But I do not challenge civilization from wildness. I do not pretend to know what “wildness” is. I would argue that the only “wildness” that any of us human beings who have been civilized can know is one that we create. The question is: do we create it as an ideal above us to which we must then conform or as something we own and play with as we desire? The former could only challenge civilization in a civilized manner, because it has become an ideology. The latter cannot, in itself, challenge civilization at all, because it is simply a tool or toy. And so those of us who wish to challenge civilization in a way that may truly destroy it can only do it from ourselves.

This has always been the basis of my own opposition to civilization. Civilization is a network of institutions and systems which imposes reified social relationships on me, stealing away my energy, my creative capacities through which I could construct my life and transform my environment in relation with others whose desires coincide with mine. It uses these energies and capacities to reproduce itself. The destruction of civilization and the industrial system are thus certainly necessary if we are to take back our capacity to create our lives as we see fit on the social level.

But I certainly don’t know how individuals will choose to use these capacities in a world where social constraints have been removed. I don’t know what relationships, what ways of interweaving our disparate dreams and desires, what ways of creating this “harmony of opposing tensions” that describes my conception of anarchy so well, these individuals would create. How could anyone know, since these ways and methods would be constantly changing with our dreams and desires and the circumstance in which we act to fulfill them?

If we choose to call such a post-civilized existence “wildness”, then wildness is simply the unknown that we create, now in those moments and spaces of revolt, and in the future, hopefully in the whole of our ever-changing existence. In the present, we can only create this unknown, this negation of our own domestication by using the whole of our selves, overcoming the separations and the moralistic binaries this society has imposed on us. Thus we will use our passionate reason and our consciously created and willful passions, our projectual spontaneity and our capacity for immediate decision, our egoistic generosity and our expansive selfishness, our cruel and poetic love for a universe we wish to devour as we wish to devour ourselves. We will use all this and more in our project of creating new and marvelous ways of being that have never existed. My war against civilization has always been aimed at opening the possibility to realize this creative, utopian dream of my full enjoyment of myself and of the universe that that surrounds me.

But if radical “wildness” is something that each of us must create for ourselves, then it is something that can never be created once and for all, definitively. Like uniqueness, it is a concept that has no content in itself. We give it content by the ways we choose to create it, to live it in each moment, and this content changes with each moment. This is why wildness must always remain an unknown, why it cannot be a reduced to a set of skills or an adherence to instinct nor raised to an ideal to which we surrender ourselves. As soon as it becomes something definable, it has been domesticated and is obviously no longer wildness. Sanctified “wildness” (“Wild Nature” or the “Primal Being”), like all gods, is a domesticated beast. This domestication becomes obvious when this beast is used to judge, to determine right and wrong. Those whose “instincts” tell them what ideas are right or wrong, those whose “gut feelings” allow them to judge the choices and behaviors of others on a moral level, are domesticated creatures with domesticated “instincts” and feelings.

Of course, when I bring out what is in the depths of my being, what has been repressed by this civilized society, I do not lose the capacity to make distinctions. But these distinctions are not based on any absolutes, on universal concepts of “right” and “wrong”. So I do not make these distinctions by casting absolute judgments, declaring, for example, that “I know in my heart this is wrong”. Rather I use my capacity to make distinctions for determining whether something is likely to enhance my existence, increasing my self-enjoyment or not. In this process, I don’t merely rely on “instincts” or “gut-level feelings”. Rather I use all the tools I have at hand including my capacities to decide, to reason, to plan, to organize my activities, to consciously develop relationships with others with whom I can develop projects.

But I have veered from my main intention which was to speak about “wildness”. As I said above, it is an unknown that has to be perpetually created, destroyed and re-created. Since we have already been civilized and domesticated, it can only be of use to us as that which perpetually negates domestication and this capacity to negate resides precisely in its remaining an unknown, an empty concept which we perpetually fill with our desire to create our lives as our own as it confronts the world that has stolen our lives. Once reified into an ideal to which we must conform and from which we can cast judgments, it becomes a domesticator itself. Thus, its real use is as an iconoclasts hammer for smashing all reified concepts including that of “wildness” itself if that becomes necessary.

Considered as this indefinable, unknown empty concept whose content we create in every moment, wildness is nothing more nor less than a poetic way of describing the uniqueness of each of us. For like wildness, uniqueness is destroyed the moment it is defined. It too is an empty concept that we endlessly fill through our perpetual creative activity. And since “wildness” has begun to have more and more ideological constructions attached to it, perhaps it is better to simply speak of uniqueness as the tool through which each of us can negate the processes of domestication civilization has imposed upon us.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


"Each of them seemed to see the mortal challenge in the others' eyes - to feel that the other two were sweeping him along by the whole force of their bodies and their wills - out to sea - farther - toward unknown spaces - toward a gulf from which return would be impossible - and neither of them had any doubt as to the insidious nature of this abrupt accord of their will and their destinies. IT WAS NO LONGER POSSIBLE TO RETREAT."--Julien Gracq

"No longer possible to retreat." We are all so cautious in our revolt, in our creative venture of making our lives our own. How would we ever reach that point where it is "no longer possible to retreat"? And yet, if we are ever going to move past the current inertia, break out of the movement of capital, of the state, of what is - with its trajectory toward boredom and disaster...

Let's think for a moment about certain times in history (the Paris Commune of 1871, May 1968 in France) or in our own lives, those times when we knowingly cast ourselves into the unknown. Certainly, at first, there was that mortal challenge in each others' eyes. When did that challenge start to fade, transforming into a look of fear, a compulsion to turn back, to find safe ground? And when did that, for some, become an ideology of safety, of security - the demand for safe spaces, safe language, safe words, for caution to be the order of the day?

After all, I am an anarchist. I don't follow orders. And any meaningful conception of freedom defies safety and security and tosses caution to the wind.

Saturday, December 26, 2009



Ruins are playgrounds whether Zapotec or Mayan, Egyptian or modern. Rather than preserve them, why not play with them ’til they wear away into nothing, and forget the cultures that created them? The memory of culture is the preservation of culture - and culture is merely the sacred limit placed on creativity and play. Insurgents destroy sacred limits.

The consensus process subjects the individual to the group. It subjects the immediate to the process of mediation. It is conservative by nature since it only allows change when the entire group agrees to it...It is internalized control, not anarchy.

For society to function, desire has to be tamed. It has to be colonized by the economy - turned into lack/need, the fulfillment of which is attributed to the commodities offered by society. To so direct desire requires restrictions and structures. As these increase, desire fades into a mere ghost of itself. The restrictions and structures gradually come to exist only for themselves.

My interest in ruins stems, in part, from attempts to develop strategies for deconstructing cities playfully, through active, conscious encouragement of unconstrained rebellion. This requires extensive explorations of cities to learn secrets which can be used against them.

There is more than one way to create an elite. Ruling classes, intellectual classes and aesthetic classes create an artificial inaccessibility of their power, knowledge and skills to "the rabble" to reinforce their position. On the other hand, self-proclaimed "class-conscious" radical activists deny themselves access to knowledge, vocabulary and well-honed analytical skills which are readily accessible, in order to prove their "class purity" or some such nonsense, and, by their absurd self-denial, create an involuntary elite of those radicals who are unwilling to impoverish themselves in this way.

Many anarchists are actually leftist or liberal libertarians or, in some cases, simply angry people who still "think" in terms of the images created by the social context, trapping their thought within society’s discourse. Until one gets beyond this discourse, thinking outside of its categories, one’s rebellion remains part of the structures of authority. Most anarchists are quite content with society’s discourse, happily creating an "anarchy" that is thoroughly unchallenging, mild-mannered, tame and palatable - all in the name of "education" and "action."

Cybernetic technology is dependent upon industrial technology for its existence. So much for the pipe-dreams of cyber-utopia.
Barter is still economic exchange. Money allows for a more efficient flow of economic exchange. Why not just get rid of economy altogether? ]

Often "health" opposes vitality. Those who value "health" often pursue it in an ascetic and passive manner - by giving up something. Their longing for health is not a vital, intense desire-trajectory - it is a business transaction or a manufacturing process - an attempt to achieve an end - but such a process is never satisfactory, because it is the nature of a longing to perpetually reproduce the void that is its origin. Vitality, intensity - these are the only reasons to have health - and living them creates health or makes it irrelevant.

The best of post-modernism fails because it removes the drift to the realm of the intellect - static lives moved by random thoughts rather than ecstatic lives created by the dialect of active conscious thinking and ec-static doing?

If the "subject", the "self", has been destroyed/deconstructed, then all that prevents one from creating one’s own self, one’s own subjectivity in each moment is the continued belief in something greater than oneself that is creator - i.e., the continued belief in god. In the present era, god is society.

Monday, October 12, 2009

AMOR FATI: in love with fate

There is only one way to be in love with fate, and that is to refuse to be its victim. In other words, to challenge it at every turn. Thus, amor fati is the most passionate of loves, based in constant conflict. What has to be understood though is that fate as a predetermined course of events does not exist. At every moment, wherever I may find myself, I have a choice, at the very least, the choice to call it quits for good, to declare the game is over. But this choice always occurs (even within the most ideal of situations) within conditions that are not completely of my choosing.

The complexity of natural relationships is one level of these conditions. It is not too difficult to see the options that exist within the conditions on this level. In fact, challenging these conditions always has the feel of an adventure, and among the highly civilized, becomes a form of recreation.

But social reality takes things to another level. Here there is the paradox of a set of conditions that exists only because of our activity, and yet that also determines that activity, creating what appears to be an inescapable cycle. It is precisely in this area, where our own alienated activity determines our choices, that fate begins to appear to be a predetermined course of events. Even though every single thread in the social web is an activity carried out by an individual in relationship with other individuals, the complexity and vastness of the web can give this activity a mechanical appearance, as if there was some huge loom, beyond our control, actually weaving the web. In earlier times (and still today among those who choose to embrace the simplicity of stupidity), this imaginary loom was called God or the gods (in ancient Greece, it was imagined as three goddesses weaving cloth). Now it may be called History, the Forces of Production, Class Struggle, Progress,... any number of abstractions to distract us from the responsibility of our own concrete everyday activity in creating these conditions.

Amor fati, the passionate love of fate, in such a context, takes on the form of rebellion against the existing social reality. If social reality seems set, if I am forced to create my life in conditions not of my choosing, I will throw out my challenge to fate by striving perpetually to create my life against these conditions insofar as I am able. No doubt, social reality will perpetually throw up new walls in the face of my rebellion. External walls (more and more forms of social control) and internal walls (more and more aspects of my own repression coming out from the depths of my mind). But for the lover of fate, these are not defeats, but new challenges to be faced and embraced, new conflicts heightening the passion of life.

Philosophers can bicker all they want over the question of determinism versus free will. What matters to me is the lived battle between the conditions that have been imposed on my life and my creative will.