Looking For Saviours

Where have all the anarchists gone?

It seems everyone is looking for a saviour these days. Donald Trump will save us from the establishment elites, Allah and Jesus from the infidels and moral bankruptcy of the modern world, Jeremy Corbyn from capitalism and the Tories and a strong leader will save the Labour Party from Jeremy Corbyn; the list goes on. Anger, disillusionment, fear and blame grow; hatred and bigotry quickly follow. The world gets more divided, everyone has an axe to grind, an argument to win and a faith to defend.

Putting our faith in saviours is always tempting, and powerful, positive movements can be set in motion as a result, but generally speaking, inspiration is more effective than direction. The obsession with ‘strong’ leaders seems to me to be a hangover from our patriarchal society, the need for a ‘father figure’ to protect and save us (though it could be a female one). Rebellion is often fuelled by the same desire, in this case as a reaction against the authority figure and the search for an idealised patriarch/matriarch to lead us all to freedom and some imagined utopia. Even the few who see through this and call themselves anarchists may easily succumb to it when an idealised leader appears.

There seems to be two aspects to anarchism, often acting together in some kind of incoherent, unruly chaos. I prefer to think of it as an unconscious force running through all societies rather than a political and philosophical movement adhered to by a small number of strongly identified individuals. It echoes the unconscious forces within the individual, Freud’s ‘id’ with its instinctive drives for survival, rebelling against the superego demands of society and the more subtle forces of love, compassion and altruism, desperately trying to find a way back to oneness. Firstly, there is an infantile, ego-obsessed reaction to authority, which demands ‘freedom’ for the individual, like the self-obsessed toddler driven by desire having a tantrum. S/he may start throwing things around and smashing things up in a desperate bid to change the system. Secondly, there is the recognition that society changes and evolves slowly, through the raising of consciousness and awareness. It has love and compassion at its core and far from exhibiting the slave morality of Nietzsche, it is strong, full of self-confidence and self-belief, because it recognises that the ‘self’ works together with many selves and not alone as a vulnerable, isolated toddler. Unfortunately, many anarchists lose this self-belief when society appears to take a step backwards as it inevitably will. Human beings have a tendency to fear change and to look backwards to the past, often imagining the world to have been a better place before. This happens because all change, whether technological, psychological, social or political, has complex layers of effects, some of which will seem to be negative. Society tends to oscillate between progressive and reactionary, reflecting aspects of our nature, such as self-preservation and compassion, or competition and cooperation. When times are tough, there is a tendency for self-preservation to gain the upper hand, but sometimes, we may surprise ourselves by becoming more compassionate, helping out those worse off than us.

One huge factor in the world taking dangerous and frightening turns for the worse, is that the great majority of people on the planet still believe in violence and military solutions, (an expectation of ‘strong’ leaders), which inevitably have far-reaching and sometimes unexpected long-term consequences. The ricochets can be felt decades later and the response is often more violence with ever-more powerful weaponry, fuelling even worse consequences. People look for saviours.

We must not lose our faith in social evolution and progress, the march of compassion, the raising of consciousness and increasing awareness of consequences for our world and our neighbours on this small and fragile planet. We do not need saviours. They will inevitably fail us. But we do need inspiration. We need people who unite us, rejecting all violent means of change whilst acknowledging the violence within us all. We must retain faith in humanity, even in the face of such violence, and when we are unsure as to whether the cup is half-empty or half-full, sometimes the best thing to do is just to smash the cup; things are always as they are and things are always changing.

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Uprising

First you notice the oppression of the state

And its partner, the man-made God;

Then you see the oppression of lovers, friends and family;

Finally you see the oppression of the self;

The crushing censorship of the conscious mind,

Denying the all-encompassing vitality of the Great Unconscious;

The attachment to opinions that makes others your enemy,

And you know that given the space and freedom to express itself,

This being that you once called your self,

Would be nothing less than the Universal dance of Love,

The Anarchy of the true God,

The moment,

                Being

                                In

                                                Time.

 

Conversely, when it all goes wrong,

The mirror tells you,

First to blame others,

Then to blame the world,

And finally to blame yourself,

Until you realise,

That no one is to blame

For the nature of existence.

 

What began as the state of the Universe,

Is manifest as a state of mind,

Until it recognises once again,

Its own birth and the fact that it was never born.

 

On the cliff edge,

I have a sense that if I jump,

I will be pulled up by the sky,

And if I do not jump,

I will be pulled down by the earth.

Reaching out to pick a bilberry,

I know I will fall,

But the sweetness fills my entire being,

And sustains me in rapture,

As my other self walks away from the cliff in fear.

 

And then we merge,

And I know that from now on,

It will not be fear that makes me step back,

But the lingering sweetness of a berry that all have tasted.

The Way of the Path-seeker.

When I lay a paving stone I am not thinking about the path I am making, but only about laying that stone. I put all my attention into the task at hand and put my best effort into it. This stone will be stable, level with both the ground and the adjacent stone, with just the right sized gap around it. I take care of my body while I lift and move it and I take care of the stone while dropping it gently into place. I am unhurried. I gently smooth out the sand, tending to any lumps and ridges with my bare hands and I notice they are very skilled at this. Then I make allowances for any uneven thickness in the underside of the stone, so that every bit of it is resting, supported on the bed I have made for it. In this way, laying a stone today is always building a good path for a good tomorrow. And when tomorrow has become today and the path is finished, I do not try to keep the path only for myself, but take pleasure in watching others enjoy it, perhaps even a lizard enjoying its heat in the sun. If I notice an ant trail crossing it, if possible I will seek out their nest and rebuild the path around it, because in reality, everything we do, we do for all beings. When the path is truly completed, then it is time to carry out the next task in exactly the same manner. In this way, the Way of the path-seeker is the way of the path-builder.

Even more on truth

There is a grain of truth in every opinion,

and a bucket of lies in every tiny white lie.

Like a rolling snowball, they accumulate and stick,

and as the ball grows, it becomes distorted.

Unfortunately, truths also grow distorted,

and are soon obscured,

engulfed in the fog of misperception,

which descends upon them.

Though the light may be piercing,

still they fade,

becoming harder and harder to find

and harder still to define.