chi.st

Reader

Read the latest posts from chi.st.

from nudism as an illegalism

When I was a teenager, I ended up reading two books, by two different Japanese guys, within a relatively short span of time. The first book, by Fukuoka Masanobu (b. 1913, d. 2008), bore the English title The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming, and it was lent to me by someone I had a crush on at the time. The second book, called The Book of Five Rings in English (although my understanding is that it was originally either a scroll or a collection of scrolls, rather than a book per se), was by Miyamoto Musashi (b. 1584, d. 1645); it was lent to me by a friend's older brother, with whom I had started hanging out occasionally, perhaps in part because I had been seen to talk about Fukuoka's book from time to time.

Fukuoka's book, obviously enough, was (and is!) about farming – specifically, a technique of farming that did not rely on heavy industrial inputs. Miyamoto's book was (and is!) about using swords effectively in order to kill people (which is something that, as I understand it, he managed to do quite a bit of in his life). Neither subject had much to do with my life, either then or now, but the books are not just about those subjects; they are works of philosophy. Not in the sense of philosophy as an academic discipline, but in the more colloquial sense of a “philosophy for life”. In other words, both books can be understood, through a contemporary lens, as examples of self-help literature.

Don't get it confused, of course. They are absolutely about their respective subjects, and impart many lessons that could, presumably, come in handy if one wanted to be a natural farmer or a person who kills people with swords. But that's not necessarily why the books are shared and read. I remember that the blurb on the back of The Book of Five Rings had a lot of verbiage about how Miyamoto's words could translate into lessons for “business strategy”, that in fact a number of Japanese business executives kept his book on their front desks and Western executives ought to start doing the same. When I read Fukuoka's book (which, overall, was the more important of the two in my own life), I took a lot from his idea about a sort of considered laziness (my words, not his). When he affirmed that farmers, in the past, had had the time to write poetry and practice calligraphy and otherwise live a worthwhile life, I was into it. When he said that, whenever he was doing anything that he did routinely, he started asking questions of himself about whether he could get away with not doing that thing, whether there was a technique to reduce the amount of time he spent doing the thing, I was really into it.

So, for almost the whole time that I wanted to write a book or a zine about nudism, I wanted to produce something similar to what Fukuoka and Miyamoto had produced. I wanted to write something that furnished practical lessons about a subject that a reader might want to learn about, but I also wanted to convey something else, sort of between the lines. Something profound, I suppose.

The issue is that I don't have much to say that's practical, at least not in the same way as Fukuoka or Miyamoto. I certainly could say any number of banalities and/or absurdities about getting naked, recapitulating, for instance, this list of “100 nudity ideas to increase nude time and nudist friends” – but that's not my style. Alas, when it comes to what I want to be talking about, I don't really have the experience, and certainly not the know-how. I cannot offer a technique that is so refined that I have been able to furnish a name to it, akin to Fukuoka's “do-nothing farming” or Miyamoto's “Way of Strategy”. I can offer a “nudism-comfortism” that exists in contrast to a specialized and decidedly polemic notion about a “nudism-naturism”, but insofar as there is any technique here at all, it pertains to a way of thinking about nudism, and not the practice itself.

Unlike Fukuoka or Miyamoto, I am writing as a relatively young man, not as an old guy who sort of figured it all out already. But also, what works for me simply will not work for others, and I think it wrong to presume that it could. For instance, I have already mentioned that I am a man, but I'm a cis man at that. I also live in a specific part of the world. As a subject of diffuse systems of power – or however you want to conceive of things like race, class, (dis)ability, and so on – I exist at a particular point in that matrix, which is different from where others are at. I've certainly got my own body image issues, but I'm not and never have been fat by any meaningful definition.

The project, up to now, has mostly been one of critique. I have mostly been critical of naturism, which is, in my estimation, a failure from a philosophical and political standpoint. But I've also criticized anarchists, as a collectivity, for their failure to realize a “free body culture” (to use the German verbiage) within their own spaces, almost in spite of their professed ideas.

But critique, divorced from practice, doesn't amount to much.

The degree to which I have lived in accordance with what I think about clothes, comfort, nudity, and morality and/or ethics pertaining to the aforementioned items has been, up to this point, pretty limited. I have things to talk about, but I can't present myself as living, or having lived, an especially “nudist” life – by which I mean a life that involves being naked whenever it is eminently the most physically comfortable option. What I have lived, instead, is an anarchist life, which doesn't mean a life that is befitting of a “true” anarchist or any specific idea about anarchy and/or its aspirations (I would never presume so much about myself), but at least a life that involves engagement with anarchist scenes (and overlapping scenes), anarchist projects (and anarchist interventions), and stories about anarchist history.

So, I want to get from here – which may be different for me than it is for a reader in Europe, in Southeast Asia, or anywhere else, but by which I mean the prevailing culture as regards clothing and nudity in anarchist scenes writ large – to there – by which I mean a culture that is more comfortist in its orientation, or at least that allows space for the option of nudity, nudist-comfortist subjectivities, and even other things.

I don't know how to get there, but I have proposals. I'm not sure if I know how to articulate all of them yet, but I have said a few things already and I suppose I'll say more.

I am pretty sure that it isn't enough for me to simply get naked more often, as an individual. I would love to get to a different emotional place with stuff, to not care about a few things I still sometimes care about, but insofar as it just amounts to me getting to flex on others about how confident or unselfconscious I am being naked, that won't quite be enough to change my social context to the point that I feel less lonely as a conspicuously nudist sort of person. It's also not going to do much to keep my bare ass from getting incarcerated (or at least mixed up with the judicial system), depending on how I express any newfound devil-may-care attitude.

The sort of world I'm aiming for won't be bruteforced through brazen and unrepentant nudity, in other words – and certainly not by individuated action alone.

There is definitely something to be said for just doing the thing (in fact, there's a lot to be said for it), but it is not sufficient. And it cannot be said that reading theory, reading stories from history, and/or reading about the problems that other people have faced will never help others to do the thing themselves. So I write.

 
Read more...

from rhamnousia's abode

My Father the Policeman: A Critique of Anecdotes of the Privileged

This article was originally published here on July 5th, 2020.

Have you ever noticed that upon critique of a power structure a privileged person will pipe up with an anecdote to quip back? "My uncle was the county sheriff." "My aunt is a judge." "My father was a policeman." They mean it—I believe—either to show their understanding of the issue or to illustrate tacitly how they take personal offense. Both deserve to be addressed.

With regard to the demonstration of their ostensible understanding—it only goes so far, given their privilege; they will be sheltered from the gritty injustices that their privileged relatives will commit, because it would be perceived to bring disgrace onto the family otherwise. Or at least, they will be sheltered from the gritty realities that are considered unacceptable within the family culture.

This distinction is one that I can attest to myself; my grandparents worked for the police department. Now I come from a very traditional Italian-American family; the conservative ken of "law and order" runs strong. Most of the anecdotes that I have heard are sourced from my father, since he frequently witnessed the relevant actions of his family members—who worked for the police department. What he saw was awful: the corporal punishment of petty thieves for no other reason than police pleasure, alongside a general abuse of power. They also were quite racist; my grandfather believes—to this very day I believe—that Black people do not deserve equivalent freedom to white people, and he also distrusts Jewish people. This of course would hamper his ability to treat everyone equally, which is supposed to be a necessary skill in the job, given the diversity of people with whom an officer will have to cooperate, as in a community.

There is no doubt in my mind however that he—along with my grandmother, and everyone else in that police department for that matter, all giving their approval to these injustices—believed that his actions and beliefs were correct; everyone is the hero of their own story. But a person's pureness at heart is truthfully irrelevant to these discussions. When minds are scarred, when situations are escalated, when violence breaks out—intentions are no longer relevant, since the damage is still done all the same. If the intentions of the terrorists—in effect, what police are, causing terror to pacify the people out to whom they are dispatched—were ill, then the solution to the problem would be simple: fire all the iniquitous servants and replace them with good-natured people. But no, the problem is in how the structure inherently corrupts; therefore it must be abolished. It has nothing to do with how kind a family member may be.

But then, if the objection is not rational, what about an emotional objection: that one's bloodlines lead them to be victim of personal offense? What a pitiful concept: that one having family connections granting privilege should be accounted for when the institution that grants these privileges is criticized more than the people whom it hurts on the basis of their social status, often derived from their lineage! This can be observed in communities of people of color most notably; their deep family connections—id est their very race—affects the way they are treated by people with hierarchical control. Yet lest not—oh heavens—these people—among other people: neurodivergent people, queer people, and so on—express the same distaste that the power structures they fight against show for them, right back! What a laugh that we should remain in silence because of the abled cishet white person's affiliations!

So in effect this citation of anecdotes is a form of tone policing: that marginalized people should accept their circumstances, lest they face the censure of the privileged minority. Why should we seek respect from the system that gives us none? Why should we play on that field when we'll never win? What reason do we have to not devote our efforts into welding the oppressed masses into a destructive force? There is no need to enable the privileged; we have no choice but to oppugn them until they are free of their control.

 
Read more...

from nudism as an illegalism

I have a lot to say about the internet. Most of it is negative (insofar as I hate it, and computers generally, and would hypothetically prefer to do without any of it), but up to a point, I can wax positive too. I grew up with the internet, after all. Interesting things have come out of things that I learned there, or relationships with other people that were either initiated and/or substantiated there. Lots of people can relate, I'm sure.

I first heard about the fediverse – which I will explain better in a moment – in late 2018. At that time, I had been running a blog on Tumblr that was also about nudism (for the most part, at least), but then it was announced on December 3 of that year that Tumblr would be changing its policy on nudity in just two weeks' time, effective December 17. The content of my blog actually included quite a few depictions of nudity, and I felt that that was pretty much that on that, i.e. I wasn't going to continue using Tumblr. There weren't very many other nudist and/or naturist pages on that site that I considered worth following, but the few that I did care about also went defunct once they were no longer able to post pictures of naked people.

The current iteration of this blog, here on chi.st, doesn't have any pictures (except for that one of Luigi up at the top), and I have made a pretty big deal about being “against representation” myself – but I think it makes sense to imagine that, well, nudists and/or naturists will probably want to be able to depict “female-presenting nipples” and other such parts of the human anatomy from time to time. I certainly enjoyed reblogging funny, on-theme image macros from across Tumblr (and theoretically, I would do the same more from my Mastodon/Hometown account on ni.hil.ist if, like, the fediverse had a similar output of nudism-relevant funny stuff as was true of Tumblr in 2018).

Right now, there don't seem to be very many nudists and/or naturists on the fediverse (if there are more, I don't think I have found them yet), and the nudist-naturist space on the internet seems to be pretty ignorant of the fediverse's very existence. Their screen time and their attention, instead, is focused on major platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, and – to a lesser degree – the likes of Tumblr and Pinterest. In other words, platforms owned by major companies that seek, above all, to maximize profit.

As far as I know, all of these platforms have hostile policies with respect to unfettered, consequence-free sharing of depictions of human nudity. These companies are still beholden to governments, most of which have laws against the often vaguely defined category of pornography. Pictures of nudists living their lives run afoul of these laws in many jurisdictions, and even where they are legal, they may nevertheless be understood as pornographic by large numbers of people. Profit-seeking companies need to have governments on-side and populations on-board, and thus nudity is a problem. How, then, to handle that problem? A comprehensive ban may be more cost-effective than assiduous moderation that, more likely than not, will fail to even satisfy the larger, more important, and more conservative part of the user base, i.e. the users who matter, unlike representatives of the naturist subculture and/or whatever other assortment of libertines and weirdos there are.

It is, in any case, the shareholders and the CEOs – Zuckerberg, Doherty, et al. – who have all of the power here. These platforms are not public assets, beholden to the will of some idea of “the people”; they are privately owned fiefdoms, the property of monied partnerships. Even if (sufficiently online) nudist-naturists were thrice as numerous and/or thrice as politically powerful as is the case, their complaints and petitions would still amount to nothing in the calculus of making policy decisions.

From a perspective that seeks to perpetuate the naturist subculture, then, this is a problem. The administrator of Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park's Reddit account, possibly Stéphane Deschênes himself, recently wrote that Facebook, Instagram, et al. are “de facto public spaces. If you don’t or can’t use them, you are excluded from public discourse.” There is certainly some truth in that comment, and I think it's fair to say that nudists of any kind are going to be less able to propagate their ideas than the partisans of any other position that is able to use these platforms without restrictions. Personally speaking, based on what I've seen, it seems that nationalism and conspiracy theory – simple ideas that act on anger and fear – are privileged by the algorithms on these sites, and the mere presence of depictions of human nudity (evidently a critical component of naturist activists' prefigurative politics) will cause a lot of people to recoil before they can take in any ideas at all. But, still, it's true: a different policy would allow nudist-naturists to participate in public discourse to a larger degree than they can currently, it would allow them to perform a certain kind of activism-by-selfie (hashtag “normalize nudity” and all that) that other people could see, and all of this might have some marginal impact on the vitality of that subculture.

But it's a moot point, because it's not happening.

If the goal is to post naked selfies – and that largely seems to be what it's about – then it makes so much more sense to build new web infrastructure than to petition these companies to change their ways or, otherwise, petition governments to force them to change. Even before the recent Facebook vs. Australia showdown, the idea that governments can do anything, in most cases, is laughable in and of itself, and it's even more ridiculous to think that they would take up the cause of nudist-naturists! This is simply not a realistic approach to the problem, such as it is.

Enter Mastodon – and the fediverse more broadly.

Eugen Rochko et al. have been maintaining Mastodon, a Twitter-like microblogging software using the ActivityPub protocol, since 2016. ActivityPub is a decentralized protocol, like email. What that means is that anyone can set up their own “instance”, at their own URL, which will then be able to communicate with any other instance in a straightforward manner, just as an email from nu@gmail.com can go to nue@protonmail.com without problem. It is relatively easy to set up a Mastodon instance, or to use an entirely different sort of software that also relies on ActivityPub, but which is still going to be able to interact with other ActivityPub-reliant services that serve the same “type” of content. The administrator(s) of each instance can then determine their own policies about what content they will allow, which instances they want to block (because all instances are “federated” by default, hence “fediverse”), and so on.

In other words, it's a free-for-all where people can make their own rules about depictions of nudity or just about anything else. Governments may try to impose their rules over servers that are physically located within their jurisdictions, but they are much less likely to know about each small instance, much less likely to care about it, much less likely to know what to do about it.

The profit-seeking logics of bigger companies also don't really apply. Most instances are run at a loss, but a modest one, often sustainable on the salary of a single administrator or, otherwise, by a collection of people who are all willing to pitch in to pay the bills.

As far as a “public square” goes, the fediverse still has many less users than the big sites that have managed to corner the market in human attention, but that is to be expected. I don't think it's unreasonable to think that more users will show up, and I also think that, to the extent that this could be a good thing – or at least a superior option compared to other options, i.e. continuing to rely on Twitter, Facebook, et al. – there is some space for individual agency to have an effect, i.e. people can join up and encourage people they know to do the same. (I tend to think that the effect of people with larger followings, a Stéphane Deschênes for instance, might have a larger effect than relatively anonymous and obscure users saying the same.)

The major advantage of the fediverse, though, is that it avoids the “island” problem that exists with everything else, including purpose-built nudist-naturist websites like TrueNudists.com (which is, incidentally, utter trash). Perhaps there are still islands on the fediverse, each with its own rules and effective rulers, but it is relatively easy for people to migrate around, discover new content, and so on, without losing everything, having to learn a whole new software, etc.

At the moment, I am aware of only one Mastodon instance with a specific focus on naturism and/or nudism, the aptly named naturism.social, which is run by one Matt Crawford of Iowa. I have a lot of misgivings about this site, some of which has to do with my opposition to naturism as an ideology (as opposed to either comfortism and/or anarchism), but more of which has to do with Crawford himself, a guy with a Gab account – which, for those in the know about Gab, probably says enough about the guy's politics and how I might personally feel about them. [Update: As of July 2021, Crawford has discontinued the sites, or at least his involvement with them.]

It is fortunate, then, that naturists and/or nudists have many other instances – not necessarily on any kind of nudist or naturist theme – where they can set up accounts and post to their hearts' content. Not all instances are completely posi about nudity, but plenty are, and they may have other praiseworthy features as well.

At the same time, it is unfortunate that, apart from Crawford (and one other person, whose lower-profile project I won't post publicly, for fear of bringing too much traffic to his site), there don't seem to be any efforts to build up fediverse infrastructure that specifically caters to the needs or desires of nudists and/or naturists. Once again, I feel the need to mention Stéphane Deschênes specifically, in part because a recent post on Bare Oaks' blog bragged that, thanks to a new fibre optic installation, those folks would now be able to host their own “naturist server farm”. Surely, then, they could endeavour to learn about Mastodon, or some other software using ActivityPub, in order to provide a viable service that is neither an island unto itself nor, like naturism.social, under the sole control of a Trump supporter? They would also have enough of a following to bring a lot of other people on-board.

At this point, it's worth saying, again, that I think the internet sucks. More precisely, I think online sociality is a wasteland. And yet I cannot deny that it is important, at least for subjects (such as myself) that are caught up in societies that have, broadly speaking, gotten screenlost. Given this fact, and considering it more or less immutable, there are probably numerous incidental benefits to the relatively decentralized sort of internet that the fediverse represents a part of, as opposed to the highly centralized model of the internet that is currently extant.

I personally don't want to use the internet to post, or see, unremarkable naked selfies – or to join, like, a voice chat channel for “nudist gamers” with whom I can chat about... being naked? while gaming? Like, I sort of think this type of thing is weird and/or distasteful and/or seriously detrimental to the ability of people, either individually or collectively, to exercise any kind of power that can compete in any way with presiding power structures (e.g. Facebook, neoliberalism, civilization, etc.). But hey, I wouldn't mind, say, some capacity to find roommates in my area who could be chill with nudism, to share news about public spaces where swimming naked (or like, playing volleyball naked, whatever) will be lower-risk and/or free, etc. In other words, I would appreciate any service that allowed me to live a life online that facilitated the kind of relatively more naked life I'm trying to live offline, and that helped out anyone else with a similar life orientation.

In any case, my own preferences and positions should only mean so much to the ways that others choose to engage with the internet. Who am I to say that people shouldn't have a nudist gamer voice chat channel, this critique notwithstanding? Who am I to say that, uh, people shouldn't be each others' “virtual shower buddies”?

I should mention that, a few weeks ago, I was, quite apropos of nothing, made into a moderator of the mostly defunct subreddit r/anarcho_naturism, presumably because I recently posted a link to this blog there, been very clear about the fact that I am an anarchist, and the other moderator, whose flair is “anarcho-naturist”, is also a moderator of the significantly more active subreddit r/naturism, so it's fine to concede me that turf. Alas, in part because I am not a naturist, and in part because I am really not okay with giving the corporate internet my attention for many reasons, it's not a particularly appealing bit of turf to own.

With respect to this project and its concerns – namely, articulating a specifically anarchist practice, philosophy, and sensibility of nudism (as anarcho-naturism once did, and which I hope either nudism-comfortism and/or anarcho-comfortism will be able to do going forward) – it seems useful to have some kind of space where other people can talk about the ideas, start to lead their own conversations (for instance, on topics I know less about, or about which I am less confident I have anything useful to say), and otherwise just build up some hype and/or leave me comments that encourage me to write more. I suppose r/anarcho_naturism could serve as such a space, but I much prefer raddle.me, which is run by an anarchist whose politics, as far as I can tell, I like. I also like a lot of the other users!

So, if you want, feel free to continue the conversation – about the poverty of online sociality or anything else! – at f/nudism. I'm looking for moderators, I guess?

A final word: chi.st runs on WriteFreely, which is another ActivityPub-based protocol; what this means is that this blog can be subscribed to using just about any Mastodon account, for instance, simply by searching @nudism-as-an-illegalism@chi.st within that application's own search bar. The URL https://chi.st/nudism-as-an-illegalism/feed/ can likewise be entered into an RSS reader. It's also possible to follow the Hometown account associated with this blog (Hometown being a fork of Mastodon), the discovery of which I leave as an exercise for the reader; I crosspost every blog entry on chi.st with searchable hashtags.

 
Read more...

from to kick as a horse would

The beckoning soul

Modern humans created nature to separate themselves from the earth and institute the world.(1) Was this act self-legitimizing, self-denying, or both? Was it an appeal to a divine authority out of fear of death: of the end of a life no longer measurable?

The false sense of stability and security this transcendence provides continues to face challenges. Preserving the self or humanity (and the corresponding ontologies of being and being Human through humanism) remains the official discourse of authority. Following this discourse, the technocratic war on viruses pit rational, reasonable, and impenetrable beings against a mutable, malicious, external other. Like Bayo Akomolafe describes, Covid is a trickster god exposing Human weaknesses.

One of these weaknesses has been called spirit. Two iconoclastic German philosophers known for their critiques of spirit are Max Stirner and Ludwig Klages. They share many similarities, and respective controversies.(2) Metaphysically, they both argue against idealism, transcendence, and the absolute. They both criticize the enlightenment rationalism of modernity. Like Heraclitus and Laozi, they both argue for an ontology of becoming over being: an ever mutating flux over a fixed stasis.(3) They also share a sort of immanent philosophy: emphasizing mind and matter as one-and-the-same. This immanence counters the alienating Cartesian dualism serving the projects, processes, and progressions of civilization and humanism. This dualism separates human beings (or rather, human becomings) from the earth and creates Humans.

The two differ somewhat in the directions they take this immanence. Stirner takes it to rail against the moralism of mass society and its collectivist sensibilities. They argue that Humans exist through a code of justice called moralism that authorizes domination against inhuman monsters. They also argue Humans act in the service of an abstract external authority that permits domination of unique persons through collective conformity. Klages takes it in an ecological direction: railing against the accelerating violent impact of industrial technology on the biosphere. Klages also, through Friedrich Nietzsche’s formulation, takes up the Dionysian call of chaotic passion over the Apollonian rationalist order. In a partly feminist take, Klages attributes this destructive Apollonian order of spirit to man, and the generative Dionysian chaos to woman.(4) Wo-man, Without-man, Without-spirit. The origins of the familiar gender symbols also go back to ancient Greece, with female being the passionate Venus and male being the authoritative Mars. While I consider Klages’s emphasis on gender here an essentialist trap, I agree that a chaotic ensouled immanence has been violently suppressed by a dominant logical materialist order, leading to a whole host of problems. Klages relies heavily on a polar understanding of the cosmos, even as they claim: “The origin of thought is not to be found in the duality: concept and thing, but in the trinity: concept, name, and thing. The name embraces the totality, but concept and thing are its poles.”(5) They also use this tripartite schema to divide what they consider human essence between body, soul, and spirit (the colonizing force attempting to overtake the body and soul polarity). Even if the Apollonian and Dionysian are considered both distinct poles and one-and-the-same (the yin and yang of Daoism comes to mind here), Im not sure how convincing I find this framework as since it seems limited in its symmetry and easily leading to a habitual either/or reading of almost anything. This is where I look more to Stirner, among others, for an antidote to essentialist and dualist thinking generally, and gender specifically.(6)

The major distinction Klages makes in their effort to counter spirit is through the soul. The soul embraces an immanent ontology previously described: that mind and matter are one-and-the-same, and human beings are inextricable from their ecology on earth. The soul also embraces invisibility and illegibility to counter the authority of visibility and legibility: “[spirit] is absolute or ex-centric externality, while soul is a natural interiority: and the latter is akin to darkness and night, as the former is to clarity that knows no twilight.”(7) This is something to keep in mind for anyone engaging in fugitive and anarchist study. The soul is the linkage between human beings and the underworld in what Klages claims is an eternal tension:

In the myths of almost every people we encounter bloody battles in pre-historic ages between solar heroes who are bent upon installing a new order and the chthonic powers of fate, who are finally banished into a lightless underworld…over the soul rises the spirit, over the dream reigns a wide-awake rationality, over life, which becomes and passes, there stands purposeful activity.”(8)

Against the purposeful teleology of spirit, the soul carries with it the negating function of the elemental underworld that Susanna Lindberg describes:

the elemental is, but it is not a thing. It is no thing…It is not a thing but the withdrawl of being in beings, the refusal of ground in things, the absence of reason in reality. The elemental is the absence of transcendental ground, an absence which signals that the negation of such a ground does not amount to the empty nihil of nihilism but to another way of encountering being.”(9)

This other way of encountering being I could describe as becoming, but Id like to take it in a further direction. This elemental absence resides in an “underworld that contradicts but nonetheless conditions the world was conceived as raw nature behind the functional ecosystem and as death behind human society” This seems to be the planetary or cosmic perspective. This raises a nihilist question: when speaking of the elemental, what is it? Lindberg answers: “It is a kind of a generous nothingness that is not simply absent but signals its own absence: it is not an empty void but a dynamic nothingness that calls and beacons from afar.” Perhaps that call resonates in the soul, and that call is a coming to terms with death against preservation: that both living and dying are one-and-the-same.

alt text Byblis, William-Adolphe Bouguereau

(1) I use Eugene Thacker’s formulation of the earth as the ecosystem for-and-in itself, the world as for-and-of humans only, and the planet or cosmos as without humans, and possibly without the earth as well. In other words: planet = without humans, world = only humans, and earth = both.

(2) There are a number of people who have read very literally the early Steven Byington translation titled The Ego and Its Own, and advocate for an atomistic and almost social Darwinian individualism I find incompatible with Stirner’s philosophy. There are others who are drawn to the racial essentialism found in Klages's writings, eager to formulate a type of blood and soil ideology from Klages’s critique of modernity. After a deeper reading, Klages certainly suffers from not only troublesome racial and gender essentialist claims, but at times anti-Semitic rantings and admiration of what they consider Germanic and/or Aryan values. This unsurprisingly has led to their reputation as an antecedent to Nazism, which is under debate given their fundamental disagreements with the Nazi intelligentsia. Ill have to investigate further to determine how much these values were central to Klages's worldview, since the most detestable statements Ive found only in the texts from a publisher who seems heavily invested in these perspectives, and absent from from another who defends Klages as having been unfairly portrayed as a forerunner to fascism. I wouldnt define Klages as a fascist, but they certainly hold a heavily racialized understanding of the world, and identify with Germanic ideals they deem superior. I also wouldnt consider their essentialist perspectives on race and gender integral to their metaphysics, and find their concept of soul a valuable alternative to materialist rationalism and idealist spiritualism.

(3) At least two philosophers in whats called the post-structuralist camp: Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida, also share similar understandings, and have both written about Stirner.

(4) “The analogy of gender, too, between spirit and man, and soul and woman, has a deep foundation, which can be traced all the way back to the Greeks” (Klages, Soul and Spirit) Apparently Camile Paglia also makes a similar claim in Sexual Personae, but I have not read into it.

(5) Ludwig Klages, Cosmogonic Reflections: Selected Aphorisms From Ludwig Klages.

(6) Tim Elmo Feiten also makes this claim.

(7) Ludwig Klages, Soul and Spirit

(8) Ludwig Klages, Man and Earth

(9) Susanna Lindberg, Unthinking the Underworld: Nature, Death, and the Elemental

 
Read more...

from to kick as a horse would

Lesser known individualism

As an exercise in rendering down a bare-bones definition of anarchist practice, Ive come up with: the tension between resisting (anti-) and/or avoiding (a-) being controlled on the one hand, and letting go of control on the other.

I find a collectivist foundation incompatible with this definition. Ill define collectivism as a logic that prioritizes the goals of an abstract we over those of unique beings.(1) The abstract we can be given an endless number of names: group, community, the people, hairdressers, Italians, zoomers, etc. Or it can be simply we, with the speaker assuming that they and their audience are all a we. This abstract we lives in the realm of the ideal, as something external to the beings it claims to be. The collectivist logic uses categorization to make all sorts of determinations based on singular beings as units of measurement, or numbers on papers and screens. While fundamental to politics (strategies and tactics to manage large numbers of people), I find this logic detrimental to a liberatory anarchist practice that isnt willing to deny the unique contingencies of beings, and desires to let go of control.

Regarding the individualist perspective, I think there are two conceptions to grapple with. The first is the more commonly known individualism found in liberalism.(2) I find it individualistic in name only: conflating an atomistic separateness with individualism. This perspective insists on independent self interest as a foundational principal, yet depends on abstractions to motivate interests: rationalism, humanism, progressive teleology through technology, and perhaps the most emphasized– economic relationality. This creates a conflicting existence for the atomized: wanting, but never fully able to own themselves. The ideals of this perspective also alienate beings from the ecology they find themselves in, leading to metaphysical extremes such as hard materialism (the denial of mind). The result is endless civilizational growth through resource extraction and servitude through work. Individuals are understood as economic agents and rational subjects: not in service of themselves, but economics and rationalist philosophy. I see this form of individualism not as individualist as it claims to be, and more collectivist than it admits.

The second understanding is the lesser known radical ownness of individualist anarchism. I find this to be truer to the name in that it also emphasizes self interest as a foundational principle,(3) but seeks to shed the abstract demands that liberal individualism clings to. In the text, The Individualist Anarchist Discourse of Early Interwar Germany, Constantin Parvulescu puts it this way:

the power void [left by revolution] brought to the fore a disoriented being, one frightened by freedom and addicted to transcendent guidance. Stirner’s predictions proved to be true: liberalism had failed to produce a free subject; instead it created a monad that conceived of itself as incomplete, as part of something bigger than him or her: an order, a body politic or a mission.

In contrast to this monad, the unique being (or individualist as individualist anarchist) rejects the abstract subjecthood defined by the polis, preferring instead the embodied real defined through lived experience. This perspective also seems more compatible with ecological principles: with beings not static, determined, or separate from their ecology. It recognizes that unique beings are composed of other unique beings, in both mind and matter, yet retain their uniqueness. The unique being is both singular and plural. Singular in that every being is the unique set of contingencies that only it can be made up of, and plural in that they are continuously in flux: becoming something they werent prior in potentially many ways at once. This capacity is the liberatory potential of the unique being as practiced through the creative unlearning of assigned values: the power to not only transform oneself, but to lose oneself. This is the freedom of forgetting, of letting go of control. It is anti-humanist in that it rejects the determined ideal of the Human, in favor of the indeterminate living of human beings. It is a passion for being. It values difference over sameness, and finds disagreement more interesting than agreement. It values heresy and play, and takes seriously laughing at itself.

The universe, in its greatness, can seem to want to crush me, but it cannot penetrate me, I, who am a formative and indispensable part, and the further the unique strives to spread itself out and its aim and its action, the more deeply it understands its situation and its need for the cosmos.” – Anselm Ruest and Salomo Friedlaender, Contributions to the History of Individualism

alt text

(1) For now, Im choosing unique being to describe what could be also called person, individual, or the overly complicated singularity, but the appropriate term (or if there should be one) is up for debate.

(2) This is by far the most familiar understanding, which is why almost any discussion of individualism immediately points to it. This creates a predicament: drop the term individualist for something lesser known, or fight for it. Im undecided, since both options seem to mislead either way. Since collectivist tendencies dominate the general discourse, the same predicament applies to anarchism as well.

(3) Self interest does not imply that others are not taken into consideration or separate from the self, in fact the opposite: it is in one’s self interest to highly consider and not neglect the mutuality between beings, for they are composed of each other. It emphasizes that acting for oneself in turn benefits those with whom one is interacting, and by the wants of desire, not the shoulds of duty.

 
Read more...

from to kick as a horse would

Dissection of a three line poem

nobody knows shit

Disillusioned with the functionaries of the monastery, it is no surprise that Ikkyū draws this conclusion. Sitting through most any meeting can lead to the same sentiment.

Although I do not suppose that either of us knows anything really beautiful and good, I am better off than he is – for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know.” – Socrates in Plato’s Apology

nobody lives anywhere

Perhaps Ikkyū is claiming there is nowhere to live, referring to the Buddhist concept of śūnyatā (primordial emptiness), or that the anātman (non-self) must live anywhere; for if you are not, you cannot be but anywhere.

If this seems too acosmic, perhaps the line is simply a critique of everyday life: who is really living?

hello dust!

ex nihilo nihil fit

The hard problem of consciousness seeks a solution to how or why qualia (conscious subjective experience) exists, or came to be. Panpsychism proposes that mind exhibiting qualia is fundamental to existence, and present in all matter. There are varying degrees to which mind is attributed to dust.

Within a panpsychist framework:

panexperientialism – conscious experience is fundamental and ubiquitous (parts of dust have some degree of mind) pancognitivism – thought is fundamental and ubiquitous (dust can think)

Outside panpsychism:

animism – all matter, pluralistically, has mind, thought, and agency (dust can attack if provoked) pantheism – all matter is god (dust is god)

alt text page from Ikkyū Sōjun's notebook

 
Read more...

from to kick as a horse would

From the end of this world to the back of the alley – Part II

Now for some of my own thoughts:

Im limited by my sensory perception of the cosmos, but Ive no belief of a transcendent beyond. I am, and have already been, uniquely a part of what I cannot fully see or feel. Im both accident and agent set in motion. Embracing the uniqueness of this experience as a human being (what I am) over the human abstraction (the idea of what I am) seems preferable. Enriching the relations I have with other beings (human or otherwise) strengthens this embrace. This calls for abandoning three interrelated tendencies: the obsession to manage, orienting around predictability, and the desire to preserve ideals. When I die, the limited perception Ive been familiar with will end, and I will decompose to recompose to decompose again. Here are three ideas to help me until then:

1) Break the clock. We now live in a world so pervasive with measurement that the science of it (metrics) has become dogma. The goal seems to be endless comparison of every incomparability, no stone left unturned. Evading measure is a key part of avoiding capture. Though there are some practical uses for measuring when cooking or crafting, rejecting this dependency is crucial for any liberatory lifeway. Most importantly, this applies to time and money: the most limiting of measurements. Doing this full-stop could have some interesting and painful results, but a limited engagement strategy seems more viable in the current state of things.

2) Light the candle. Focusing excessively on preserving an ideal of life is an unnecessary and fraught way to live. Taking efforts to burn out quickly (while at times admirable) is often just as fraught, and can lead to miserable outcomes other than death. Rather than arguing for a moderate life, Im instead for allowing life to take its course as a lit candle would. This could look quite extreme in infinitely imaginative ways.

3) Empty the cup. This is a derivative of pu, often translated as uncarved wood: an early Daoist concept of a return to simplicity or emptiness before being put to use. Other derivatives include a clean slate (tabula rasa), and the unlearning process. Nietzche’s final stage of the child in Thus Spoke Zarathustra is another similar idea. The forgetful child sees the world anew as a bounty of possibility, theirs for the taking. Nietzsche’s Übermensch as child loses in order to gain, yet I prefer Stirner’s Unmensch (or inhuman being), who loses in order to gain in order to lose. Once your cup is filled, it requires an emptying-out in order to remain capable. That capability is not an end in itself, but to be put toward a loss of the self through the self. Get lost and stay lost.

 
Read more...

from bugs

Wrote this guide ages ago and put it nowhere, so I thought I'd drop it here so maybe you too can have some fun!

This method is by no means perfect. It does not have the highest yields and there is lots of potential for contams. However, this is what I know. It has worked for me, it requires little ingredients, and it will fit into a small space. The method we will be using for inoculation is what is known as the PF tek, and we will be using Mini Mono Tubs for the fruiting. I encourage you to look into other methods! If this doesn't work for you don't worry, experiment and try some other techniques, browse around shroomery.org or read some mushroom growing guides. You will definitely need patience for this as a full cycle takes around 2 months. You should try to schedule it so that you will be around for the last few weeks.


Equipment

  • Mushroom spores: ~20$ I recommend sporeworks.com as they allow bitcoin purchases and have a good rep. If you mention that shroomery.com sent you in the notes they will send you extra as well. You only really need purchase one syringe because we will be making our own liquid cultures. The ideal strain for a beginner is the B+ cubensis.
  • ½ Pint wide mouth canning jars: ~15$
  • Microspore tape: ~5$ – Optional
  • Large pot/Pressure cooker This is for sterilization. If you are just doing this once I would not recommend going out and buying a 100$ pressure cooker, just use what you have. It will just take longer to sterilize your jars.
  • Fine vermiculite: ~10$
  • Organic brown rice flour: ~10$ If you have brown rice you can also use a coffee grinder to grind it into a very fine grain.
  • Tin foil: ~5$
  • Isopropyl alcohol: ~5$
  • Lighter: ~free
  • Coco coir brick: ~7$
  • 5 Gallon bucket: ~10$
  • Sterilite 1896 container or similar: ~10$
  • Drill: ~15$
  • Duck tape: ~4$
  • Spray bottle: ~1$
  • Honey: ~5$
  • Fan: ~2$

Total cost: Around 120$ if you have none of the equipment prior or don't have the... skills necessary to find these things. I stole lots from work so it cost me less. If you do not have that kind of money to spend immediately you can buy what is necessary for part one first, then go buy part two's, then part 3's.


Part 1 – Step 1: Preparing jars

We only need 6 jars worth spawn however I made 7 in case of contamination. Poke 4 holes with a nail in a + shape on the lid of each jar as near to the rim as you can. The magic ratio for substrate is 2 parts Vermiculite(verm) 1 part water and 1 part brown rice flower. But because we're making an odd ratio of jars we'll make a little extra but you can just put it in your garden or something.

  1. In a large bowl first add 3 cups of vermiculite then add 1.5 cups of water. Stir it up real good.
  2. Then add the 1.5 cups of brown rice flour and stir until it's loose and there aren't any clumps.
  3. Fill all the jars up evenly and make sure not to pack the mixture down, you want it airy. Leave a half inch space at the top of the jars. Then with a paper towel wipe down the rim the you left clear.
  4. Now fill the remaining space with dry vermiculite, then cap the jar and cover the tops with tin foil. The tin foil is to keep the jars airtight while they are sterilizing.

Part 1 – Step 2: Sterilizing

Now that we have to sterilize the jars. We have to prepare our pot for sterilization.

  1. Line the bottom of your pot with spare jar rings as shown jars in a pot with a layer of tinfoil on top
  2. Add water to the top of your layer of jar rings. You want 1-2 inches of water. another layer of jars on top of that
  3. Place your layer of folded tinfoil on top of the layer of jar rings.
  4. Next place your substrate jars on to the tinfoil and make sure they are not in direct contact with the water, we are not trying to cook the jars, we are only using the steam to sterilize them.
  5. Place your TIGHT fitting lid on and turn your burner to high. Once the water starts boiling turn the burner down to a simmer and start your 90-120 minute timer.
  6. If you are not using a tight fitting lid a lot of steam will escape and your pot will tend to boil dry. This will warp the bottom of your pot ruining it. If you need to add more water at anytime, use hot tap water and carefully pour it in your pot. Keep a close eye on your pot, and add water if and when needed.
  7. After the time is up leave the lid on, remove from heat and let cool overnight or for at least 8 hours.

Pressure cooker

  1. Place your trivet or metal rack into the bottom of your PC and fill with 1-1.5 inches of water.
  2. Place your jars on the metal rack above the water line.
  3. Follow your pressure cookers instructions to bring it up to pressure (15 PSI) and let it cook for 45 to 60 minutes.
  4. After your pressure cooker cycle has finished turn off your burner and allow to cool overnight or for at least 8 hours.

Part 1 – Step 3: Inoculation

Once your jars are cooled it's time to inoculate. This step is super important and if you are lazy you will ruin your jars.

  1. In a room with no airflow wipe down a table with rubbing alcohol.
  2. Take a shower then put on a clean long sleeve shirt and new rubber gloves.
  3. Take your jars out of the pot or PC and set them on the table.
  4. Flame sterilize your spore syringe and inject about 1/4cc in each hole. Flame sterilize the syringe after each jar. sterilizing flame with an alcohol wick sterilizing needle with a lighter inoculating a jar with a syringe

If you bought microspore tape put it over each hole now.

We're done Part 1! Set your jars on the shelf and wait for them to colonize. This step will take 2 to 4 weeks. Once the jars are fully colonized wait another week for them to consolidate. jars sitting on a shelf mycelium growing in the substrate now only the mycelium is visible


Part 2 – Step 1: Prepare the container

Tape (or paint) for bottom 4 ½ inches, then drill ¼” holes every 2” a tub with regular holes drilled into all sides at intervals of about 1.5 inches

Part 2 – Step 2: Prepare the substrate

  1. Throw the ½ brick of coir and the 1 quart of vermiculite in a 5 gallon bucket, add 2 quarts of boiling water and place the lid securely on the bucket. a block of cococoir in a bucket with some vermiculite
  2. Come back in 30-60 minutes and mix ingredients thoroughly,then place the lid back on for 2-4 hours. Come back and mix thoroughly again and check the temperature, it needs to be below 80°F. If it's still too warm, leave it for a while longer.

Part 2 – Step 3: Mix the spawn/last few touches

  1. Pour ¾ of your cooled mixture into the bottom of the container you prepared.
  2. One at a time we are going to take 4 of our incubated pucks out of their glass conatiner, scraping the dry vermiculite into the garbage then giving them a rinse. Crumble the cake fairly finely into the sub in the container. To prevent adding contaminted spawn into the mix I like to split my cakes in half first and check that no green mold is growing inside. If there is then you have to throw out the cake and wash your hands very well.
  3. Once you have crumbled 4 of the cakes, mix the substrate in the container. Now crumble the last cakes on top and then cover it lightly with the remaining substrate.
  4. We are basically done with this now you need to put the case inside a garbage bag with the opening folded underneath and leave it for 10-14 days.

DONT PEEK. Peeking risks contamination!!! If you don't think you can help yourself go out and buy clear garbage bags.


Part 3: Fruiting

10-14 days has passed. It's time to open up the garbage bag and take a look. Do this in a room with no airflow in case it isn't fully consilidated. To give you a rough idea this is what mine looked like after 10 days and this is more than substantial. You're looking for lots of white, and no green. The forum post below is an incredible compilation of what it should and shouldn't look. If you aren't seeing much white, put it back in the bag for a couple days.

If it's looking ready put the box somewhere where it will get substantial sunlight. Now spray the interior twice a day or as needed to keep it moist.

https://www.shroomery.org/forums/showflat.php/Number/17231150

inside the container the mycelium has fully taken over the substrate, some small bulbs are starting to appear


Part 4: Harvesting, prints, and drying.

The ideal time to harvest is right as the caps are just starting to open. Assuming you got the B+ strain it should look like this. mushrooms with the veil broken off underneath the cap

If you didn't I suggest looking up the strain you used and checking when to harvest. Just pick them off at the base and lay them out on tin foil. Cut off two smaller squares of tin foil a bit larger than your biggest mushrooms caps. Cut your biggest mush right at the top of the stem and then place the cap with the gills down and cover the whole thing with a cup overnight.

spore print on tinfoil

Hopefully you have a large enough bounty that you wont be able to eat them all before they start to go bad. So to preserve them we'll have to dry them. There are a couple methods for doing so but the easiest I have found is just to put them in front of or on a fan for 24-48 hours. Then with an oven heated to 140F with the door ajar leave it on for an hour or two until really dry. You could also just fan dry. Either way works.


Part 5: Liquid culture and repeat.

  1. Take one of your lids and punch just one hole into it near the side.
  2. Throw the lid and the jar into a pot of water and bring it to a boil (Don't put the jar into the already boiling water or it will crack) this is to sterilise the water and the jar.
  3. After 30 minutes of boiling clean your work table with alcohol then take the jar and lid out and put it on the table.
  4. Fill the jar ¾ full with the water that you boiled. Add 1 tablespoon of honey to the jar per 250mls of water then put the lid on.
  5. Cover the top of the jar and then put it back into the pot. You want the water level to be about half the way up the jar, you can tip some out if it's too high. Put on a lid and leave it for another 30 minutes.
  6. Turn the pot off after 30 minutes and leave it overnight to cool.
  7. Next day, get ready your LC, your spore print and a sharp knife on your bench top.
  8. Flame sterilize your knife. Crack the jar only slightly.
  9. In one scrape try and get as much of the spore off a spore print. The slip it into the jar and reseal.
  10. Place a piece of tape over the hole and swirl the jar gently.
  11. Label it with date, time and strain.
  12. After about a week it should be ready but it can sit for a long time.

a goopy bit of stuff

Now you can use this for our cakes, I use about 1cc of it per injection site.

And there you have unlimited shrooms! If you have mastered this then it's time to move onto a full monotub. Damion5050 has a good guide out there. Good luck!

 
Read more...

from bugs

CW: Suicide, extreme mental health hardship

Like many of you I’m sure, I’ve been considering the idea of “normal” recently. While at the moment people in North America are calling for a “return to normal” with about as much creativity as is to be expected from this continent, I would assert that most people's lives haven't changed all that much. They may have felt some irregularity in schedules, restriction of travel, or a slight increase in awareness of personal space but otherwise things are pretty much continuing as “normal” especially in contrast to the fast change of often theorized situations like revolution or fast paced collapse. There's only been a slight tweak really; we're still able to consume our goods, “go online”, and let media blast our senses. It's for someone else to do but I think the vapid nature of civilian life is being felt a bit more than usual, and this may be an insertion point for anarchists. If people are so displeased with a nearly unchanged access to life as society provides it, the only thing lacking being the loss of horizontal relationships, it's possible that our idea of authentic life beyond all that might be interesting to those for whom it doesn't come naturally. But again, that's for someone else to do.

As for me, I'm also struggling to keep my head above water. I'm also experiencing the life I alluded to: The constant assertion of standard (read: gendered, hierarchical, civilisational, anthropocentric, capitalist, statist, racist, etc.) experiences as the substrate from which I am supposed to grow a fulfilling life that is so devoid of nourishment I find very little space for my little flower to blossom (“aww how precious bugs” you might be saying, and yeah I am), a feeling all too familiar to those reading this I'm sure. Of course, this has been happening over a longer timeline than just this last year.

Mycelia growing in a plastic container

It's been interesting to watch how some anarchists are relating to this whole ordeal, and how, for the most part, (popular and/or social) anarchists are still very attached to business as usual. Or more kindly (because I still love a number of you), how little capacity we have to separate ourselves from the world at large and the movements of those with power much greater than ours. Of course, proclaiming that one is an anarchist does little to inoculate a person against the logics of the world, also more often than not the label seems to be about where people conclude their journey.

Anarchism for me has always meant a rejection of what is normal, such as school, parenting, the state, various other commonplace things, and the moral frameworks that uphold them. What is often missed, and “who” misses this is being made clear in the present moment, is that when we take an idea that works well in one moment and turn it into a static framework we immediately turn something anarchic into something that's not. Beyond just the pandemic, we can see examples of this in the social frameworks drawn upon often in our encounters, and relied on in our spaces. Predictability and stasis are comfortable ways of being, but so long as they exist in a world we hate then they will be unavoidably laden with values that I have no interest in. Our ideas should be the Agar plate upon which a bacteria grows, not the parasitic organism that devours that growth. Though frameworks and formulas seem useful as starting points, be wary them. Not only are they often actually not very applicable to the situation they're brought into, but the logic behind referencing a guideline is similar to how those who enforce laws operate (gasp).

A growth on an agar plate

One prime example of the fluidity I so value, and the consequences of static ideals can be told by sharing this story from my life:

Several years ago, a close friend of mine began to develop a serious paranoid schizophrenia. Watching the sudden and drastic change in him was certainly hard, but something exceptionally unique came with it as well. As his brain began to make more and more distant connections between ideas, things, and experiences the of course the nature of our interactions changed. He shared a number of fascinating things with me, ideas I would have never dreamed of and that likely only he could have produced. Likewise there were a number of times he acted in ways I could only describe as psychic. Of course there were also some fairly incoherent, or even scary moments but they were all part of a person who I cherished and wanted to celebrate. But of course “normalcy” and the “standard” could not be overcome. Others didn’t appreciate him for what he could share. The way he existed, spoke, and simply was, was not compatible with what people expected of him and was taken (similarly to how a bigot perceives their target), as something to be corrected, retaliated against. Driven into a self-destruction of anxiety, and fear that was provoked by his interactions with people seeking to correct him, he took his life last May.

Fuck your normal, fuck your respect, fuck your expectations, fuck your standard, fuck your manners, fuck your psychologists, you killed my friend.

#abugslife

 
Read more...

from bugs

I was reflecting on my own path into Anarchism, and subsequently the nihilistic position that I now embrace, and how they very much resembled a series of explosions and implosions, always destructive but also always leaving interesting rubble. Only possible when fuel, oxygen, and a spark meet, I'd like to share a series on those meetings. This will be the first.

The first time I ever encountered the word anarchist was embarrassingly enough, coming across The Anarchist Cookbook on a strange website online. My friends and I, called little-shits often enough to start smelling slightly putrid, were interested in learning more advanced ways of getting up to no good. Firing up a copy of the Tor Browser we'd downloaded on one of our parents work computers, we navigated to a strange website called ParaZite who hosted the content we we're looking for... and more.

Anarchist as in HPVAC (Hacking, Phreaking, Virii, Anarchy, Cracking), ParaZite hosted a plethora of dangerous content that many modern anarchists would shudder to have their ideas associated with. It's still out their but be warned, there's some seriously nasty stuff to be found. Sandwiched between the sections Cannibalism and misc. (or Jihad and Gore depending on which page you're on), the Anarchism section has only two linked files; Direct Action and The Dominant Idea by Voltairine de Cleyre. Those two pieces, as well as the image at the top, lit a fire of rebellion in me that has burnt bright for nearly a decade now.

It's a common anarchist refrain today to “get of the internet” and look for communities locally, to meet face to face with people. But I think this ignores an important point. We live in a different world than we did 30 years ago, and a new way of living has emerged, one that I am certainly indoctrinated into. This bizarre website inspired me to a teenage rebellion that consisted of all the classics; punk, drugs, hacking, graffiti, and other fun things, all motivated to some extent by my newfound anarchist perspective. Perhaps a familiar trajectory, except that due to my living in a place without any anarchist scene to speak of, once I was done with my period of immediate and direct rebellion against the life I was prescribed (if it ever really does end) the only recourse was to return once again to the internet and seek community there. I don't want this to turn into an anthropological study of hacker subculture, but it may be interesting to note that that's where I returned.

My point of sharing this with you (if there is even a point beyond me writing about the past) is to tell a story that I think is incredibly common. For those of us who came to anarchism past a point where it seemed like an exciting/accessible(!) social space, who live in a world where geography plays a crucial role in deciding what ones social life looks like and where the only obvious remediation is to go online, us anti-socialites place less value in spaces where the intricacies of old social forms are important. And perhaps that's not such a bad thing, but as I may point out in a later piece, it's complicated.

#abugslife

 
Read more...

from sneering-lepus

i don't revere nature

grand narratives explaining everything tend to say that “Nature” is localized and it isn't here where we live but no, there is no clear boundary between the two — “natural” and “civilized” only the times and spaces where human systems are firmly in place to repeatedly extinguish that which spontaneously grows systems that use human hands to build and maintain that which would self-destruct if left unattended

“Nature” may be the sum of the inhuman ways of life we witness and try to document and generalize and package into Knowledge

you're pretending to know that which is unknowable and who worships “Nature” as a Thing but someone who truly doesn't know what they're looking at or where they are

“Nature” does not welcome you you are one of many lives no grand plan holds space for you to flourish as well, nothing in “Nature” wishes to violently extinguish you because you are who you are

Forget “Nature” as a feminized parental authority figure who cares for all Her children wants to keep them in line and scorns those who stray from Her Law if anyone hates us, let it be those individual lives we trample and tear apart but not “Nature”

Forget “Nature” as a machine with a directive inclined toward elegance and efficiency optimization and progress and expansion There is no domination for its own sake there is no economy of time and energy

there is will to live seeing opportunity noticing being alert play with your food chase and howl for there is no plan or purpose only the bullshit games where humans have turned obedience and compliance into matters of life and death

but how do we separate Leviathan from our true feelings how do we trust our warped instincts, our dulled senses, our proprioception which way is up?

do you, who talk of going feral, understand what it means to sever ties that bind you to not just state and the global economy but to family and friends and those threads running through your body that narrative that justifies your existence in words words words

imagine being in the jaws of the fierce and indifferent
the vast and alien uncaring expansive and endless Everything mountains inconceivably high barren solid rocks and ground eternally deep oceans unyielding and enveloping forest inconceivably dense firm and stoic trees tall, thick, and Everywhere What do you eat now?

your body subject to roaring, explosive powerful elemental forces that reduce you to nothing your body subject to those beings, neither friends nor enemies sinewy predator who has set their sights hot breath and undeniably present strong death is inescapable close at any moment and words do nothing to change it it's always been close

Enter the Wendigo* the Call of the Wild in flesh with a sweet, musty, and lonely smell humans hear the call and change they are first taken, then they run of their own volition feed on human bodies possessed to fly with feet of fire over mountains bounding, fleeing, leaping with enough force to tear and deform one's own body

you outrun yourself into an unrecognizeable form be wretched embody that which disgusts you that your loved ones would not recognize and you would not recognize them in turn abscond into abjection that feels so natural so alive there is no other way to be

imagine truly abandoning those imposed structures we orient our lives around fighting against and never even seeing a choice of whether to stay or go life means ceasing to be you lose yourself, lose what you have called your “life” into “another scheme of life” in the “beyond region”*

what could it look like what could you be capable of what could you do to those things you care about today here and now

“There are things about us, I’m sure, that make for disorder, disintegration, destruction, our destruction,”*

*References to Algernon Blackwood short stories – The Wendigo and The Willows

 
Read more...

from sneering-lepus

Facts of the Body that Can't Be Decolonized Just settler bullshit.

For someone else's school assignment, I was reflecting on what decolonization is in concrete terms, beyond the slogan “decolonization means no state.” Riffing off “Decolonization Means No State” by Tawinikay and “Decoloniztion is Not a Metaphor” by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of colonial impositions that are not, contrary to official history, “good for us” or inevitable or necessary: landlords, paying rent, being employed, identifying as a “citizen” or “worker”, buying food from grocery stores, factory farming, compulsory heterosexuality, two and only two binary genders, whiteness, racialization, industrial agriculture, only letting food plants grow in tiny little plots, embalming our corpses, getting served food at restaurants, the stock market, psychiatric institutions, assembly lines, plastic-wrapped food, the imperative to be productive at all times, ubiquitous advertising, human resources departments, prison, police, “private property”, spending most of our lives sitting down and inside a climate-controlled cube, “corporate social responsibility”, a few weeks of vacation per year, air travel, one-day shipping, English as a lingua franca, the institution of Science, compulsory schooling/kid prisons, keeping animals as pets, humans thinking they're not animals, bottled water, the concept of “dating”, rich people starting charities, the concept of “value”, concrete sidewalks with the occasional tree, lawns with nothing but grass on them, micromanaging our kids, cities built around highways and car sales, separating life into “work” and “leisure”, conceiving of time as a resource to spend and save, conceiving of rocks and water and dirt as “resources”, dreams of terraforming mars...

While maintaining these things is really only important for the wealth and well-being of a small group of people, nearly everyone is subjugated by this this toxic shit. All of these impositions are mutually supportive. You can only lock an upstanding canadian citizen into pointless jobs for life when they have to pay rent and buy food. So private property has to be protected with violent force, and food has to be grown and processed by slave labour “somewhere else.” I don't think I have to spell out much more. There is no removing and fixing isolated elements in this system, which is designed to accumulate Value and dismiss all other factors as externalities.

Here's my sense: decolonization is expansive and penetrating as state and corporate control are totalizing. I'm thinking it's not possible to reduce decolonization to a series of discrete, manageable processes. Maybe there is no stable set of conditions to aspire toward and protect indefinitely. There is no correct social organization to prescribe. There is no central authority imposing structures on everyone at once to achieve “decolonization.”

Considering what it all practically means, I thought about my local context. I thought about myself and my positionality. I wondered about what decolonization could mean on the individual level, for a settler who has been steeped in capitalist industrial mass culture from birth.

I live in the city. I sustain my body with commodities purchased from stores with money. I navigate bureaucracy to obtain what I need from institutions that hold that shit hostage. If urban parasitism is all you know, if you have no family and no history that tells you anything else was ever possible, you can't even imagine the life-ways that are excluded and extinguished so more cities like yours can flourish, so more highway malls and sweatshops get copy pasted everywhere. No drinking from a river. No picking berries from a bush. But it goes so much deeper than observable activities and consumption choices like that.

There is an interiority, a subjective experience beyond my imagination, that I cannot possess because nearly every facet of my body has been sculpted and stunted to suit the needs of employers. My sense of what is possible or real has been bent into shape by the tools I use.

I feel like decolonization is not a state you can arrive and stay at, like “death” or “employment.”

“I” cannot be “purified” or returned to a “state of pre-colonial nature”. “I” am an extension of the colonial process. This is a social order intended to reproduce and support people (somewhat) like me: potentially productive and reproductive worker-renter-consumer-citizens. Everyone else is supposed to die or go “somewhere else”. Industrial production and material flows hold my life. My “self” right now only has a future in a world that is as genocidal and cruel as the present.

Not to self-flagellate or sermonize on the necessity of settler guilt. This may be the plain fact of how things are, the outcome of causality, devoid of moral meaning. I wanna accept the body and circumstances I have and make the most of existence anyway. I'm not gonna insist there are any “should”s here for how you feel about yourself.

I messaged my friend with much of the above to help pad their assignment. I don't think any of it was usable. One flippant line I wrote went like so: “Hot take: decolonization in practice is self-annihilation*. Self-annihilation, unlike decolonization, can be a metaphor.”

I’m not going to stand by that equation. But I do jive with the idea of becoming something you’re not, when the present you makes you feel so not at home, and guiding that iterative process of reinvention with intention and active rejection of the ideological slosh getting pipelined into our brains.

In practice, I think that means not going through the same unthinking motions as usual. It means uprooting the habits and thoughts and forms-of-life that make “you” up. The flipside is inventing new, deliberate forms-of-life that make sense for where you’re at and who you’re with. It means fucking with your sense of time, what matters to you, choosing the places you wander and inhabit, cultivating new a sense of “possible” and “real.”

Taking it metaphorically, 'self-annihilation” is probably never a place you get to, unless you literally die and are forgotten by everyone. Maybe I'll never untie every knot there is to untie. Maybe I'll never live a completely free and uncompromising kinda life because we all live interdependently, amidst forces of overwhelming scale. Maybe there will always be an urgency and compulsion to preserve and grow the “self”.

All I want for myself is to reject (as much as possible) scripted modes of life for securing a future for myself as an amenable, recuperable human resource.

No Self. No hope for living the Good Life within the bounds set by Empire.

*I'm not the kind of person who literally gets told I should die. This idea of yeeting yourself, literally or not, has a different meaning for me than someone who is actively encouraged to stop existing. You know if you're one of those people. I’m not telling anyone what to do or how to feel. I only know I’m sick of myself, as I’m sick of all this shit.

 
Read more...

from sneering-lepus

EATING IS CRUEL

Mass-produced living creatures, who are born, raised, and killed on an assembly line, perhaps understand on some level what is coming, what has happened to hundreds of thousands of others just like them. Perhaps they are attuned to the echoes of their predecessors looping and trapped in this time and place. Perhaps, for the duration of their short lives, they have the stillness to think through questions like “why?” Perhaps they understand enough to be angry that it didn't have to be this way, and to curse their own meat down to the bone. May the farmed turn their disgust and rage inward. May they inlay their technologically-accelerated swollen tissues with their futile desire, fury, and terror. May these emotions with nowhere else to go accumulate like shards of asbestos of everyone who swallows with delight these farmed bodies into their own. May every egg be invested with hot corrosive hatred for those who knows it as a neutral commodity, rather than living tissue forcefully extracted from a body cannibalizing itself until it is exhausted to nothing. May the memories of hundreds and thousands of lives born to die suffuse and penetrate every cell of every thoughtless human eater. It is a burden worth carrying, if we are going to nourish ourselves this way.

We all know what happens in a slaughterhouse, as we have all seen the videos. Think about what it would be not to outsource this killing and do it yourself. Think long and hard about what it is to deliberately deprive a creature of choice and movement, to put it right where you want it in a trap. It is easy to see yourself and your will to live in this creature, who fully sees what's coming because it knows immobility is death. You have to injure its body to the point of full system breakdown, so that the light inside goes off and you're left with meat and no spirit. Living tissue is robust. It holds itself together. It wants to heal and perpetuate itself. You must puncture holes in the container, so inside bleeds into outside. Sever critical transport tubes and organs, so fluid pools and spills where it's not meant to. Rend, cut, and shred muscle fibers, so they can't contract and produce tension on bone. No fighting back, no seeking egress.

We are not meant to confront the horror reality of inflicting pain and death so we may sustain ourselves. Streamlined economic functioning systematizes and abstracts that reality to have endless reams of food product on demand. It's been set up to keep us consumer-user drones from metabolizing the true, fleshy weight of killing and death.

And perhaps the worst part is that we can walk this world knowing, but we still don't get to choose how we eat. Those who have never taken the stillness to process it all would only be destroying themselves to carry all there is to carry, regarding life and death and production and consumption. A small portion of us are allowed some lateral movement to avoid putting the worst of it in their own bodies, for being born in the right time and place, but ultimately don't get to climb out of this hole. It's not a simple matter of choosing between modes of consumption with clear ethical rankings. Organic, grass-fed, family farm-raised. You know what continues regardless of the pains you take to eat differently. We were born losers in a sense.

We all eat and shit and breathe the fumes. This is a people farm. A people grinder. It exists to continue existing. Eternal snake eating itself, crapping into its own mouth. We must keep the economy running or there is no “we” that continues to feed and get fed.

—– to be continued —– forever in a circle —– not done yet —-

 
Read more...