February 25, 2009

The anarch’s relationship to authority

“Although I am an anarch, I am not anti-authoritarian. Quite the opposite: I need authority, although I do not believe in it. My critical faculties are sharpened by the absence of the credibility that I ask for. As a historian, I know what can be offered". Eumeswil, Page 67

COMMENTARY
The anarch in Ernst Jünger´s conception is not against authority, as the anarchist is. Certainly, he does not ascribe any higher truth or sense of obligation to authorities within whose domain he randomly happens to fall. But neither does he demand or even inwardly desire to be rid of external authority. Rather, he sees it as as useful structuring factor, which he needs for his own development and personal aims: external authority creates a more or less law-conforming and predictable social structure within which and against which he can test and hone his own powers and freedom. The presence of authority gives the game he plays its rules and boundaries.

The anarch understands that the particular identity of the authorities over him has come about randomly, with no inner connection with his true inner nature - he merely happens to be born or live in their domain, for the time being. Whether a Greek or an American, within a communist, capitalist or fascist structure - how could such a random association with his own nature expect special deference or respect from him? But he knows that he needs the authority for his own purposes and as a practical man, he therefore learns about its particularities and adjusts his behaviour accordingly.

Consciously recognizing the absence of any credible superior virtues or mandates in the authorities requires him to be more reliant on his own judgements and critical faculties. His understanding of history gives him a basis on which to critically judge the offers and boasts of authorities - he does not naively buy whatever is sold to him.

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Douglas said...
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