May 7, 2008

The anarch and the rules of society

“ The anarch differs from the anarchist in that he has a very pronounced sense of the rules. Insofar as and to the extent that he observes them, he feels exempt from thinking.

This is consistent with normal behavior: everyone who boards a train rolls over bridges and through tunnels that engineers have devised for him and on which a hundred thousand hands have labored. This does not darken the passenger’s mood; settling in comfortably, he buries himself in his newspaper, has breakfast, or thinks about his business.

Likewise, the anarch – except that he always remains aware of that relationship, never losing sight of his main theme, freedom, that which also flies outside, past hill and dale. He can get away at any time, not just from the train, but also from any demand made on him by state, society, or church, and also from existence. He is free to donate existence to Being, not for any pressing reason but just as he likes, whether out of exuberance or out of boredom.

Why do so many people strive for the career of petty functionary? No doubt because they have a sensible notion of happiness. They know the rules and their taboos. Time flows by nonchalantly. You are already half-way to Tibet. Plus the security. No state can do without minor officials, no matter how high the waves may surge. Of course, you have to keep a low profile.” Eumeswil, Pages 154 - 155


COMMENTARY

A fundamental operating principle for the anarch is his preference for operating within society, albeit inconspicuously. By harmonizing with and apparently “believing in” society, but at the same time preserving his essential, that is, his inner freedom, he is able to draw more personal profit from his existence. Were he outside of society, either by choice or from being driven out, he would retain his freedom but would lose the personal advantages he gets by being integrated.

To maintain this equilibrium between freedom and personal utility, he must retain constant awareness of two points: his essential freedom and the rules of the society. Were he to lose sight of his freedom, the game would be lost before it began. Since he understands that his freedom can manifest in different dimensions, depending on the external situation, he is not bothered when he must hide his freedom from the world – he is aware of it, possesses it and is ready to exercise it when needed, and that is all he requires. (He does not need to show off or boast of his freedom to others – this would attract undesirable, potentially dangerous attention.) Nor does he need to reject the social structure per se, as the anarchist does, for within himself he has already rejected it in its essence – his freedom is based on the practicalities of actually being free and not on ideals.

Instead, the anarch finds a modest, unassuming position within society and uses society's tried and tested infrastructure for his own purposes, settling in for the journey while quietly and secretly pursuing his own agenda. This requires that he have an intimate, even instinctive understanding of the rules of the society. In as much then as he chooses and is able to obey these rules, he need not waste energy on thinking about them. Rather, he lets the captain and crew run the ship, while he concentrates on his own affairs. If he senses the limits of his freedom threatened beyond what he is prepared to accept, he is ready and able to abandon the ship at a moment’s notice and survive outside society. But he reserves this contingency for an emergency, since it is the weaker, less personally profitable path. Indeed, in the extreme case that he irretrievably loses control or becomes estranged from the personal purpose of his life, he is even ready to sacrifice his life for his freedom, that is, to give up his existence and return to pure Being.

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