chi.st

Reader

Read the latest posts from chi.st.

from nudism as an illegalism

CW: detailed discussion of one person's groin area, somewhat extensive discussion of sexuality, child abuse mention

When I was a younger man, I came across the web page of a gay guy who was, like, really into being gay and really into sex.

So, I think of myself as being into being gay (because I am gay, and basically I don't have any hang-ups about that as far as I know, at least compared to some other “men who have sex with men” or whoever) and also, like, I think of myself as being pretty into sex (insofar as sex is something that I enjoy, e.g. you could qualify me as homosexual).

But this guy, he was more into sex than I was. Maybe not the actual act of sex (who knows!), but definitely the idea of sex, the aesthetic of sex. His gayness seemed to be infused with his sexuality – which is kind of a funny thing to say, insofar as we might understand gayness (or queerness) as a type of sexuality. But that's not how I understand my own gayness. The word “gayness” is just the word that I apply to my experience of being gay (or at least the one I'm using right now, lol).

The quality of being gay pertains to more than just my sexuality, but to other aspects of my personhood as well, which aren't all sexual. For instance, because people may happen to know that I am gay, they treat me one way or another, in situations that aren't sexy at all. I could get into what that looks like, but basically, to invoke that word and apply it to me – or to invoke any other, like the rather clinical Greco-Latin term homosexual – is to fail tragically to describe the uniqueness, or at least relative ineffability, of whatever my sexuality is. I can assure you that it is markedly different from the sexualities of others who may also be qualified more or less accurately or appropriately as gay, homosexual, queer, or whatever else, given the discursively constructed and historically contingent categories that are important right now, and around which they may have formed their own “sexual identity”.

So, back to this other guy. Basically, the reason I bring him up is that he had a tattoo of an erect penis, in colour, in a pretty choice location. The head of the penis was just below his belly button, and it was adorned with an eye – the all-seeing third eye that is, more often, depicted as being above and between the two eyes that everyone is used to, squarely in the centre of the forehead. The base of his tattoo penis met with the base of his flesh penis.

I do not remember, specifically, if this guy called himself a nudist or a naturist, or not. But I think he might have had some difficulty getting into some naturist clubs if he did. Calling attention to the groin area – with jewelry or tattoos or whatever – definitely needs to be the subject of a blog post at some point... Suffice it to say, though, a lot of naturists do not approve.

But, there is a certain current of “gay naturism” on the internet – and which certainly has a corresponding existence in the embodied world – to which I imagine he might be able to adhere. At the very least, as ostentatious as this guy was, he would have a better chance fitting in among other gay dudes.

Sexuality – among adult gay men – isn't always front and centre, but it often is, and it is never as hush-hush as is the case among most naturists (i.e. those who call themselves as much). So it is, too, in the online spaces that gay nudist-naturists populate. There are photos, as there are elsewhere on the naturist internet, but everyone in these photos appear to be men, which is to say, they have the sorts of naked bodies that gay men are typically interested in, sexually speaking.

On most of the pornier blogs, most of them are athletic and/or thin if they are younger, big and buff if they're older, and while most of the dicks are flaccid, there is a little more leeway regarding erections than is the norm for elsewhere on the naturist internet. On the less porny, more body-positive blogs, the guys are more diverse but they're usually still pretty cute.

The affect is typically one of wellness, of acceptance, of people who are in love with each other (when there are couples) and certainly in love with the way they are living their lives (among other things, nakedly). Photos are a lot more common than ideas, but there are often exhortations to a loose sort of peace-and-love spirituality, or quotes from religious teachings and scripture (especially from “Eastern” traditions). A general support for a vague environmentalism is also common, but there are rarely any other sorts of politics.

Gay naturism is a very visible current on the English-language naturist internet. The only other very large current is family nudism/naturism – and it is much larger.

I have denoted family nudism/naturism as such, with the slash and both terms, because there is no apparent preference for one or the other. It is, in fact, the adjectival marker family that is the more critical part of the combined term. Insofar as we can imagine “gay nudism” as the aggregate of nudism practiced by gays, the term “naturism” is necessary to qualify the subject as an ideology, i.e. a set of ideas about nudism as practiced by gays, and that accords this practice a special significance or purpose. But with the family thing, well, the presence of the word family is sufficient to impute some kind of significance or purpose to what is being done.

An aside: I thought, at first, that I would write about Christian naturism. To be sure, there are lots of Christian naturists, and seemingly much more in North America than, say, in Europe – but that makes sense given that there are so many more true-believing and church-attending Christians in North America. I only really want to make two generalizations about these Christian naturists. First, they do not understand anything in their religion to be in contradiction with a practice of nudism – and, in a number of cases, they may in fact believe that the Bible exhorts them to take off their clothes. Second, they are mostly also participants in, or orientated towards, something that's worth calling family nudism/naturism; I am sure there are a few Christian naturists who are doing something more hedonistic and sexual, and calling it “naturism”, but they aren't a particularly visible tendency.

Christianity per se is not a major factor for many family nudist-naturists who live basically secular lives, obviously. But in post-Christian cultures, the influence of Christianity looms large – as does the influence of the Industrial Revolution in post-industrial societies, as do the ideas of the Victorians in an age that came after the rise and fall of the British Empire. This history puts family nudism/naturism, which is the dominant affect within the English-language naturist internet, at odds with gay naturism. The issue is sexuality.

A clear difference between gay naturism and family nudism/naturism on the internet is that, pretty frequently, the family folks will have representations of kids – usually on the younger side of things. They're rarely photos, but it does happen. Ideas are significantly more in evidence than is the case with the gay naturist internet, and they often focus on raising up kids, which is what a family (in the normative sense of the term) is for. It is worth saying as well that white people appear to make up a larger proportion of the participants, as far as I can tell, than is even the case with gay naturist internet, itself probably inequitably white.

Gay naturism has an outsized presence on the naturist internet, I think, compared to what it corresponds to in the embodied world and/or the population of gay men. I have a theory as to why this might be (very quickly: gay men are more likely than the average person to be interested in nudism, and gay men are also more likely to spend a lot of the time meeting each other and/or “building community” on the internet), but that can be put aside for now.

Despite its outsized presence on the naturist internet, its relationship to the mainstream of naturism (on the internet, and in general) is similar to the relationship of Mormonism to the mainstream of Christianity. It is, at the very least, strange and suspect. At worst, it is heretical, a different religion altogether; maybe it can be talked about as such, and even tolerated for what it is, but it can't be considered the same. Certainly this is even more true of its most extreme manifestations, and this is the point in my weird and long-winded analogy when I will compare polyamorous Mormon fundamentalists (a group so scandalous and outrageous as to be the subject of a 2006-'11 HBO series with five seasons) to a wholly hypothetical penis tattoo guy that also considers himself to be a naturist.

In any case, these two affective currents, gay naturism and family nudism/naturism, are almost the only ones I can really find represented and reproduced on the internet. There is only one other current to speak of, which I will hesitantly denote as “youth nudism”.

This current comes off as mostly an “activist” project spearheaded in particular by conventionally good-looking white women in their 20s who are savvy with social media. There have been a number of “youth nudist” named associations, most of which don't seem to have lasted too long (such as Florida Young Naturists, or FYN, whose only online presence in 2021 appears to be a Wikimedia Commons category page). These folks have had gatherings, for one thing, which have been promoted in various online spaces. There are also some ideas present, most of which seem to concern a need to modernize, diversify, and otherwise improve the broader “nudist movement” as a whole, with a mind to the fact that a family naturist affect does not really speak to where a lot of “young people” (this category is often delineated as meaning 18 to 35) are at with their lives and/or what they could ever be into.

Personally, I appreciate that these folks generally avoid the word “naturism” (even if the name of the organization FYN is a challenge to that claim) and that they have always been trying to make things more relevant for me, up fairly until recently still just a spring chicken.

On the other hand, I have not appreciated the fact that they thought I could just spend a lot of money to go to Florida (mostly) or other sunny and/or expensive and/or faraway locales in the U.S., and I didn't like appreciate that, from what I could tell, I would have to do be into doing yoga or meditation or juice cleanses or other decidedly not-my-thing stuff in order to enjoy myself. It's also worth saying that, from what I have been able to gather, they always seemed quite heterosexual and coupled up, which might make me wonder how much I would fit in even if I was down to be an Instagram normie.

But like, I'm hard to satisfy.

So, why have I itemized these three currents? Well, it seems to me that these are the currents that most people, whoever they are, might be able to come across if they ever went looking for “nudism” or “naturism” on the (English-speaking) internet.

There is something gay for them to join: very large groups on TrueNudists.com, the relatively active (and selfie-focused) r/gayplusnudists, etc., which may arguably be kinda horny but it's all relatively tame and par for the course as far as gay dudes go.

There is also something family-friendly for them to join, realized in r/nudism, r/naturism, and most formal associations (which may or may not have a website and/or some kind of on-the-ground presence in a given area).

With youth nudism, it's more hit and miss; there are a few subreddits (which I won't link to) that are for teenagers or whatever, but there's generally less to find that's still active, that is able to sustain its own consistent pattern of engagement, new content, and so on (in many cases, as a clear complement to a largely willpower-driven project of making things happen in a particular place, which again, has mostly meant Florida as far as I can tell).

Still, third place is way ahead of whatever is in fourth place. There is no major visible nudist current with respect to any religion apart from Christianity; I suppose there appear to be a few nudity-inclined movements in India, but they hardly have an online presence (easily found using English-language search terms, at least) beyond, like, what results from a seemingly exploitative practice of publishing photos from the Kumbh Mela festival from time to time.

What a wasteland this digital landscape is.

Regarding other currents in “the West”, too, I certainly don't know of any nihilistic, iconoclastic, or Satanic practice of nudism; all the goth kids are dressing up, it seems, and not dressing down. There isn't even any kind of green anarchist and/or primitivist nudism, which has always struck me as a little weird, I suppose, because I feel those sorts of ideas they would pair nicely with most worthwhile parts of the nudist-naturist canon and tradition.

Perhaps there are more interesting affects around nudism that do exist, somewhere, among some people – but they don't exist in a way that they can be found too easily on the internet. I have been searching!

Speaking for myself, to the extent that I am gay and sometimes also horny, I have appreciated the gay naturist internet for providing me some, y'know, slightly classier material to concentrate my mind upon (when I'm in the mood for something that elevated), but I don't really think that a nudist current that – wilfully or just a consequence of how it is – excludes, not just women, but also men (of any sexual orientation) and nonbinary people who aren't comfortable with that kind of sexuality in that kind of situation.

I have heard that “gay nudist gatherings” in my own city, advertised (in the time before covid) on Craigslist or whatever, usually devolve into a circlejerk by the end of the evening, which sounds fine I guess, but it's not a thing that I could reasonably invite my mother or my brother to (in the rather unlikely event that they somehow also got turned onto the joys of nudism at this late stage). As for my sometimes cis, sometimes straight, in any case often a bit prudish anarchist roommates, I probably could invite them, but I don't know how fun it'd be for them or how comfortable I'd be as a result.

Also, to the extent that gay naturism makes the case for some kind of spiritual power or divinity about the naked male body, just by itself or in the act of sex or both or whatever, I find it... intellectually dubious. I think gay sex can just be gay sex, and that's absolutely good enough for me, an occasional gay sex enjoyer.

And the dominant ideological and affective current, family nudism/naturism, is also not my bag!

To be clear, all things being equal, I suppose I think that it would be better, on the whole, if kids were raised in families that were less obsessively clothed, that did not impart any more body shame to young ones than they would inevitably absorb from the wider society, and that in fact went against the grain of the wider society in terms of this sort of thing, affirming that nude is not lewd or whatever. But a) I'm probably not having kids (I'm not only gay, I'm also an anarchist, so it's not like anyone will ever let me adopt) and b) on an intellectual level, I mostly oppose the way that families are constructed and reinforced as the basic unit of capitalist society and discipline (e.g. I think, well and truly, that the generally patriarchal, always isolated model of the “nuclear family” ought to be systematically abolished everywhere).

Usually I'm pretty chill about all that, of course. And I think that, given how pernicious both capitalism and the couple form are, there is probably space to talk a bit about “better” rather than insisting on “perfect”. But yeah, I'm queer enough, in the (anti-)political sense of baedan, to not really want to give a fuck about this shit. Families can probably be done better, which might include better attitudes re: clothes, nudity, what the rules are, etc., but I think the basic structure is still something that needs to be negated. Especially because, insofar as we know that nuclear families are frequently generative of child abuse, it is impossible to ignore the fact that rhetoric on “nudity in our family” that a person like could ostensibly agree with, might also be used as a cover for some bad shit.

And youth nudism, such as I have seen?

Well, it didn't do much for me in the whole time I was aware of it, and I think I might be too old for it now anyway.

My ambition for this whole project of internet-engaged writing is to give rise to a different sort of affective current within the naturist internet – one which will, I hope, actually be able to break from the naturist internet in a significant way (and on its own terms, too), but which can also be found by all those confused, possibly lonely people in exile in Cyberia. It probably won't be for everyone, but I think there are a lot of people out there that it could speak to.

It's important to say that I hate the internet – a lot actually. I would like that hatred of the internet to be part of whatever affective current I'm trying to build, I suppose – and I would say that there's just a contradiction here, that's worth acknowledging! But I live in a society where the internet exists and everyone almost everyone is plugged in, and more so all the time.

A discussion of affect is important, I think, because nudism/naturism by itself isn't really... anything. It is always something more, something connected to something (or everything) else, and to speak of nudism/naturism as a unified whole is to ignore its internal diversity and contradiction.

Each affective current I have spoken of, therefore, is strongly connected to a larger culture – be it the culture of gay men, the culture of heterosexual breeders and/or Middle America (largely overlapping), or the culture of relatively affluent, relatively young North Americans who are fluent in Instagram.

The current I want to help make a reality – one which I have previously called “comfortism” – ought to be connected to anarchists and the things that they do, and steeped in the ideas of that cohort (and preferably, good ideas, not just the dubious exhortations of new radlibs who fell off the back of some campus-connected activism and onto r/anarchism).

I'm just one guy, who happens to be an anarchist, and as I have said before, I don't want to be the only one doing this sort of thing – and ultimately, I can't be in order for it to take off. My own exhortations are probably not relevant for lots of people.

That being said, and being who I am, I do want to see an affective current of nudism that, apart from the inclination towards being naked when it's comfortable and actively fighting against body shame (which is obviously important, but nothing different from what the other currents are doing, or at least striving for), is also inclined against legalistic petitioning, inclined towards appropriation of space, hostile to representation, and at least doing its best to get past oppressive bullshit (like gender I s'pose), naïveté, and I don't know what else, let's say cities. So, y'know, nudism informed by a lucid, serious anarchism.

So, I'm doing my best to make it happen – but let's all make it happen, how about? There's f/nudism on Raddle already and there could be other forums for discussion too. I will certainly boost any interesting and/or anarchist analysis from my personal Hometown account on the ni.hil.ist fediverse instance, too.

Coda: affect is better conveyed by memes and images than blog posts that hover well north of 3000 words; this might be a strategic problem for me, the guy with too much to say.

 
Read more...

from bugs

woodie

I'm trying to build out an anarchism that begins with power relations observable by an individual which then works its way from there in a relatively concise form, one that also intentionally avoids the historical and cultural aspects of anarchy.

I have some sense that the anarchism many people encounter has grown bloated and complex, with many diverse cultural interests telling an extreme variety of stories about what anarchy is and what living it can look like.

Plurality (a value that the worst of positions seek to destroy) is undoubtedly a positive thing, however, the world as it exists does not truly allow for pluraversalism. Instead, even the most divergent existences are slowly recuperated back into the body of the populace, the body of Leviathan. I think that anarchism has been affected by this process also. If anarchism is a forest, it's my belief that the canopy has gotten too thick, invasives too prolific, and that we are in need of a forest fire, so new growth can flourish.

First things first, a definition which we can build out from: Anarchism is the philosophy (or anti-politic) that focuses on moments of anarchy, moments where dominating power dynamics (the state, capitalism, social power, etc. vs the individual(s)) aren't present or are otherwise negated.

How do those power dynamics present themselves? Does the state itself reach its giant hand made of concrete, steel, and paper down to stop me in my tracks? That has not happened to me yet. Rather, individuals are one of the places where these empowered ideas appear: The cop who stops me has not only the death-tool on his belt, but the more dangerous weapon of a hostile bureaucracy that he can leverage (and which leverages him) against me all in an attempt to suppress my will. This suggests that there's something more powerful than the body of the individual policeman present during our encounter, and if we met only as individuals I might have a fighting chance. In this situation that third thing is The Law; an empowered idea that functions to limit every ones capability by dictating when their agency is acceptable and when it must be punished.

Building from this example, we can start to look elsewhere and flesh out an understanding of what these anarchies are going on about. What powerful idea is present when a father commands his daughter, a jailer his convict, a mob their pariah, or a priest his congregation, and what is the threat each of them leverage? Which powerful phantasms haunt your life?

In short, the ideas (and quite rarely, individual beings with their own original idealism) that occupy the grounded side of the power seesaw have their interest placed in hoarding power and subjugating others, keeping us in the air, legs flailing. They gain and maintain their position by coercing people to “play along” through the use of reward and punishment, ultimately manipulating each person's agency in their own service. Also, interesting to note how most of them (law, family, prison, marriage, school, state, etc.) claim to bring order or normalcy of some form, considering the hostile relationship between anarchy and order.

Of course, expressions of power can and do exist without being dominating or totalitarian. If we think of “power” as a synonym for “capability” (which is slightly sloppy but will work for now), then that much is clear. Considering the policeman once more, the issue at hand isn't the existence of his power, but only my powerlessness in that situation. A far more palatable interplay exists in relationships between friends, who may each be more or less capable than the other in some regard, but who don't have complete control over the will of the other. My friend can convince me to act or not, but they cannot compel me to without my complicity. If you could imagine a game between multiple people who are all holding candles, where each participant is attempting to extinguish the flame of the others, it isn't hard to imagine playfully trading blows with friends, all in good nature and little hard feelings. However, if domination were embodied as a player, it would be equipped with a fire extinguisher, a dozen flames in another room, and a cold look on its grey face.

Until now, we've focused on the direct confrontation of the individual against authority, but in recent times a far slyer coercion is becoming dominant, one which has its frontier in our very minds. Somewhat different from the rewards and punishments used in service of other dominating structures, this structures power comes from leveraging technologies (cultural, digital, and psychological) to manipulate ones desires and undermine their agency with more subtle implications of violence. The embodiment of this broad force is different from the vulgar form as well, generally showing itself more in broad, massified expressions, as opposed to structures which live in the heads of select individuals. Analysis of this new form is a bit more complicated than the more vulgar expressions of domination we looked at prior, so I will leave it open-ended and just gesture towards the importance and complication of figuring out whose interest one is acting in service of. Do I really want that new object? Do I really want to sacrifice myself for this idea? Who actually gains through my participation that?

So, you've begun to recognize the things in the world that seek to process you into usable, efficient, plastic, parts for a large machine, and have said “fuck that, I contain more than you could ever know”. You're probably wondering what can be done about it? This is where I will leave you to your own devices, with minimal advice, as it would be absurd to try to prescribe a resolution to a problem I know nothing about. My only suggestion is to start from yourself and understand what ails you, seek empowerment from and for yourself, not an ideal, a method, or a cause. Find moments where you can breathe, dance, and play freely, moments of anarchy.

Perhaps, at this point, sticking your hand into the murky pool of anarchism could be useful! Most of us didn't get tetanus

 
Read more...

from nudism as an illegalism

CW: extensive discussion of shit & adjacent topics

There are good reasons to dislike shit. (Throughout this post, feel free to replace the word “shit” with the word “feces”, “poo”, or whatever else suits your fancy, for the purposes of reading these words aloud on air or in excessively polite company.)

Shit is a potent vector of disease. It attracts flies and other creatures. People who smell like shit are disadvantaged in society. This is subjective, I suppose, and I'm not trying to yuck anyone's yum, but most people think it typically smells somewhere between bad and wretched.

Shit is also a part of life. It's something we will have to deal with ourselves if we ever want to have kids, grow a garden, track an animal, own a cow (or whatever), or live a life that includes a digestive system and no dedicated ass caddy.

Shit is everywhere. And I don't just mean the yeast shit in beer (i.e. the alcohol) or the shit produced by other microorganisms that leads to tooth rot. I mean human shit too, and pet shit, and wild animal shit. Some of us have to deal with it more than others, because of class, caste, the way our bodies work, our socially inscribed relationships to production and reproduction, or whatever else.

I think hygiene is good, notwithstanding early CrimethInc.'s most widely lampooned article. I repeat: shit is a potent vector of disease, and that alone is good enough reason to wash our asses and clean our toilets with some degree of frequency. But we shouldn't be obsessive about it. Shit is not an eradicable part of life.

It can be minimized, sure. But this process of minimization can go too far. For instance, scientific studies have shown that people living in environments that are regularly blasted with toxic cleaning chemicals, and who never encounter any pathogens at all, are typically less hardy than, say, people living in clean and tidy but very much shit-adjacent environments (for instance, Amish people, living on farms, adjacent to livestock, without the benefit of some of the products that are to be found in most North Americans' homes).

I don't think an excessive fear of butt germs does anyone any good. As 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds are taught, everybody poops – and fortunately, in most cases, people are quite capable of dealing with that reality in a responsible manner by themselves. To get worked up about the possibility of invisible, effectively undetectable traces of shit, then, is unhelpful. Of course there are traces all over the place, and probably in greater number than most of us would really like to care about. These traces don't meaningfully affect us.

It's not the sort of attitude that does us much good for those moments when we might actually have to deal with shit, for any number of reasons, and it's not very healthy to be quite so worried about it before those situations actually rear up.

I am sure that some nudists live differently (i.e. filthily), but I presume they don't have many people to hang out with. The most visible part of the naturist subculture, for its part, seems to be quite serious with cleanliness. I am against it, frankly – not because cleanliness is a problem in itself, but perhaps because I read some things in the queer nihilist tradition (at the conclusion of Towards the Queerest Insurrection, for instance, in which the Mary Nardini Gang channels Divine and claims “filth is our politics! filth is our life!”) and I suppose I took that shit to heart.

But that's me. Most nudists are into naturism, not what I'm into and definitely not into, say, baedan at its most extra. They're, like, pretty clean people. My years of perusal of the nudist-naturist internet indicates that a lot of them jump into the shower every time they take a shit, which is probably pretty easy given that they're already naked. Even so, it is a matter of the most basic nudist-naturist etiquette to sit on a towel, or some other kind of individuated barrier item, instead of sitting one's bare ass on a seat that may be used by someone else later on. I won't pretend to think that most nudists with bachelor apartments sit on towels when they're at home, at least not every single time, but in the company of others, it's a pretty widely understood norm. Y'know, just in case!

A lot of people, including a number of anarchists I've met over the years, don't know about the towel thing, or they have a hard time believing it even if they've heard right. I feel like this must be because the naked and dirty semantic circuits are mixed up in their heads, perhaps along with the evil and/or wrong semantic circuits. I don't know how to untangle all of that for them, but I presume that learning a little bit more about what they're talking about – germs, nudism, nudists, the world at large – would help a bit.

I believe that a comfortist practice of nudism would benefit from the importation of naturists' towel etiquette, and I am not particularly interested in some kind of radical rethinking of the human relationship to shit; in other words, I do not, in concert with baedan,

insist upon flushing away the whole machine that chambers excretion and channels excrement.

My general opposition to civilization does not manifest itself in an acute opposition to either this chambering (e.g. a measure of privacy while on the toilet, in contrast to the open toilet chambers of the ancient Greeks and Romans or the panoptic regime that exists in many prisons today) or to the channeling of shit.

I repeat, again: shit is a potent vector of disease, which is why it is a broadly good thing to make efforts to channel it away from people; the fact that hundreds of millions of people lack access to functional sanitation systems of the kind that I enjoy, and may be forced to engage in open defecation in slum-adjacent canals or whatever, is a problem that I'm not especially interested in trivializing through some kind of anarcho-Delanyian embrace of the radical and/or transgressive potential of shit. I am amused by this communiqué from “the pentagon bumfuck committee” but I do not think that “elaborating a logic of scat” is nearly as important as attacking “the poo taboo” (as Sara Wickham calls it in this article related to her practice as a midwife), i.e. the undue fear of shit, to the point that even talking about shit is difficult.

It's a problem for a lot of reasons. Here's an example, from institutional contexts that have nothing to do with my life. It's possible to collect money from billionaires and middle-class people to build schools in “underdeveloped countries” – but building functional sanitation systems, which are far more basically necessary (because, uh, fuck schools, honestly), is typically a non-starter because people just don't want to talk about something as lowly and base as shit. With regard to the main focus of this blog, the taboo also stymies discussion of a different sort of culture or practice around clothes and nudity. Butt germs loom much larger than they should in the imagination of people when discussing a practice of social nudity.

I would argue that nudists probably have a more consistent and frictionless practice of hygiene than is the case with most people, but again, that idea goes directly against the widespread assumption in many societies that nudity is adjacent to filthiness – or at least not far from it!

More open cultures vis-à-vis nudity are pretty likely to be suppressed on the grounds that nudity is unhygienic and, consequently, detrimental to some notion of public health. In 2011 and 2012, for instance, the campaign to ban public nudity in San Francisco focused on the practice of people who would, apparently, regularly sit their bare asses on the chairs outside of cafés and restaurants. I think these people were mostly tourists who were ignorant of, or in any case had no respect for, the established naturist towel etiquette; they were simply living an interesting experience which, to be sure, wouldn't be quite as possible (or at least as tolerated) in many other places.

In my opinion, despite the fact that that was kinda gross (because, what if!), it probably wasn't really a huge problem. Most of the time that a bare ass hit a plastic seat, I would expect that excrement was not caking the inside of those cheeks. Even if, though? Well, shit is everywhere; it's unlikely that one unwashed bum on a plastic seat was going to cause an outbreak of anything, in and of itself.

I think this sort of bare bum tourist behaviour bullshit is shitty (lol), and maybe even worth a bit of shaming – but it's not a real issue and it wasn't really why, on February 1, 2013, nudity was generally banned in San Francisco. The bare bums on seats were just an excuse for achieving something that a coalition of property owners and political conservatives (most of whom didn't even live in the Castro, where most of the nudity took place, or even in the city limits of San Francisco at all) wanted anyway, which was to stop a handful of mostly older, mostly gay, mostly men (who were generally not tourists, but actually lived in the area) from hanging out naked whenever the weather was suitable, maybe smoking medicinal weed or talking about politics or who's dating who, and (it could be argued!) scaring away revenue to local businesses from people who are grossed out by nudists.

The local nudists (or at least the ones featured in a mainstream article I read in 2012) used towels when they sat down.

I am sure similar things have happened elsewhere, or could happen again, wherever a relatively easygoing cultural attitude and/or a light hand from local authorities gives rise to people actually hanging out naked a lot – and then, that area gains a reputation as a place where it is possible to have a one-off naked tourist experience. The people who oppose public nudity (and there will be some) are going to say whatever will work to stop it from happening, and a quality of being somehow unhygienic is just one useful thing for them to bring up. For this reason, I don't think it behooves nudists to go too far in trying to prove just how how hygienic we really are. It won't stop anyone from calling us dirty anyway.

I also worry about cleanliness-is-next-to-godliness puritanism and its effects, namely insofar as it divorces people further from their environment (it is telling how much American nudist clubs all exude a sort of 1950s “suburban idyll” aesthetic). Nevertheless, it is important to insist on some facts about nudism and hygiene, at least whenever we end up ensconced in conversation about these topics. One is that, logically, nudism makes hygiene easier. Another thing is that most nudists are probably already cleaner than most members of the basically clothes-wearing majority.

Bringing it back to anarchist spaces, it seems to me that both nudism and a concerted effort to degrade the poo taboo could be complementary efforts. I think nudism has a lot to offer, but composting toilets probably do too.

The main issue, for me, is that a lot of anarchists live in housing that is absolutely awful, or at least ill-suited to how we are attempting to use those spaces and how we would ideally like to live. We crowd into housing units that don't have enough bathrooms, using rooms that were intended as offices or living rooms as bedrooms, and sometimes we even put more than one person to a bedroom. In North America at least, most housing units have the singular shower in the same room (often a very small room) as a toilet (which is often the toilet). Given that these are the sorts of spaces that we live in, it would probably be for the best if we could, as a matter of course, foster relationships with other members of our households wherein it is okay (not good or desirable, but okay) to use these facilities at the same time as them, should the need arise.

Again, I'm not particularly fond of the idea of the ancient Greeks' and Romans' communal shitting rooms, but given an unideal architectural context that is not of our own devising, and the fact that occasionally we will face urgent situations of various kinds that conflict with others' privacy, I think it would be a good thing for us all to accept that both bodily privacy and/or the desire to never smell shit – while definitely the preference of the many – cannot and should not be considered sacrosanct. I think, too, that a number of accidents or other misfortunes might be avoided if we were all on the same page with this (or at least trying to be).

In many households, even in North America, people get on just fine with this sort of understanding among one another, without even necessarily sharing any affinity for a word like “nudism” or “naturism”; my understanding is that this usually happens in the context of nuclear families. Parents are okay seeing each other naked (if they ever had a sexual relationship, they've probably seen each other naked a lot), and they don't really care about their younger kids being naked or sitting on a toilet (whatever) or being seen naked or sitting on a toilet themselves (possibly good for kids' psychological development, but in any case not worth worrying about).

I can only presume that the larger the difference between the number of toilets and/or showers in the house and the number of residents, the greater the prevalence of this sort of thing. In any case, perhaps this sort of family understanding around nudity, clothes, and privacy goes on forever – although the wider society's stance on these things are likely to challenge or destabilize this situation at some point (e.g. when kids get teenaged and insecure, and get a better sense that their other friends at school might roast them a lot if they were to find out about the home nudist thing).

But even for people who grew up this way, it may be harder to “break the ice”, so to speak, with peers with whom they do not share such long-standing and familiar relationships.

If a person in a house of anarchists or fellow travelers has to poop very badly, and someone (it may not even be clear who!) is in the shower, they may not feel comfortable knocking on the door, never mind barging in. And what shall be the consequences of such reticence? I can say, from experience, that sometimes the consequences are gross and/or embarrassing.

Again, shit is a part of life. So is one roommate showering while another has to use the toilet. I don't think it does us any good to be, like, so weird about this. We are bringing the weirdness, the awkwardness, to this topic – and we don't have to!

If anything, I think it would do us all some good to push back a little against whatever discomfort we have ourselves, as well as whatever attitudes we see in society that don't do any good, once we care to reflect on it.

I will say, too, that I have known a number of people in my life who felt fine just leaving the door open while sitting on the toilet; they sometimes did just that in the middle of a conversation I was having with them. The world didn't end, nor has it ever done so when I have, occasionally, done the same others (though I'm really a door-closed-while-shitting kind of guy, on the whole).

Also, when I was growing up, someone-on-toilet-and-someone-in-shower situations happened all the time. These violations of the household norm weren't exactly loved when they were happening, but neither were they a particularly big deal afterwards.

Barging in while my sister was in the shower, or having my dad do the same to me, did not translate to any kind of culture of extra-bathroom nudity in my own family, and neither would I expect leaving the door open while pooping and/or a degree of simultaneous usage of a shared bathroom necessarily lead to any akin thing among anarchist roommates. Maybe, though, ever discussing nudity in our household – or actively discussing, with a mind to rejecting, the sort of regime that exists in so many other households, namely that of an always-closed, not infrequently physically locked, but in any case socially untouchable bathroom door, No Fucking Exceptions – could have paved the way to something more broadly comfortable for everyone (including me, an often uncomfortably clothed teenage nudist).

For anarchist households, I think there are some practical benefits to people feeling less weird about adjacency to others when sitting on a toilet or taking a shower. All the better if people have had a good talk about that kind of thing before someone in the household, or everyone, gets a bad case of the shits. Put it on the house meeting agenda before it's an issue.

(For the record, lest anyone think otherwise of me: I still think it will always be a good idea and/or polite to knock on a closed bathroom door, or just about any closed door, before barging in.)

 
Read more...

from to kick as a horse would

Elemental Black Metal

Hunter Hunt-Hendrix outlines what they term Transcendental Black Metal in their manifesto of the same name included in the collection, Hideous Gnosis: Black Metal Theory Symposium 1. Although I appreciate the philosophical effort (even more so the musical output of Liturgy), Id like to make use of their framework to provide a third alternative. The metaphysics of Elemental Black Metal appeals more to me than the apocalyptic humanism they prescribe, or the Hyperborean nihilism they seek to move beyond.

alt text

ELEMENTAL

According to Susanna Lindberg, the elementals are “abstract ways of articulating the materiality of being.” Elemental nature is unthinkable (beyond human thought), primordial (always ever there), and chthonic (found in the realm of the underworld). It is beyond the sensible or rational. It is “the absence of transcendental ground” existing as already available images. To Emmanuel Levinas, it is the it when it rains, il y a. It is indeterminate, opaque, and an absence that makes presence possible.

CONTINGENCY

Contingency is a potential force, and the force of potential. It is unexpected and not destined. It is an unintended consequence. It foils teleologies and disrupts ecologies even as it erupts from them. It is a senseless reshuffling of the cards. To humans, it is felt as looming cosmic catastrophe. It undoes worlds. It is nihilism to humans, but not something (or a nothing) one can be for.

FORGETTING

Creative forgetting is unlearning mastery, as Bayo Akomolafe puts it. This could be also considered unthinking. This is what Friedrich Nietzsche describes as the child stage in Thus Spoke Zarathustra: approaching the world anew having shed the burden of the camel and the ressentiment of the lion. It is what Laozi describes as the uncarved block: the capacity to become. It is not a rejection of the past, but an awareness that the past has yet to come.

DRONE

Drone is an enveloping, pulsating resonance. In metal, it is exemplified generally by much of the work of bands Earth and Sunn O))) of Cascadia, and Boris and Corrupted of Japan's urban epicenters. It is exemplified specifically by the track Tanggalkan Di Dunia (Undo The World) by the band Senyawa of Jogjakarta. The blackest of drone metal best accompanies Eugene Thacker's notion of cosmic pessimism. More than listened to, drone is felt.

EARTHLY (SUBTERRANEAN)

Elemental metal is earthly, but more specifically subterranean. It lies beneath bogs and marshes, and is buried under sand in windswept deserts. It forms underground caverns and deep sea trenches. It moves through mycelia and magma flows. It is of the underworld: connecting the living and the dead, and blurring the line between them. It is known by humans for its opacity.

GETTING LOST

The outcome of becoming lost is unknown. Losing oneself is impure, and resists preservation. It is breaking free from the fixed continuity of self and time, not through external transcendence, but passionate corporeality: a reckoning with the soul, followed by grotesque laughter.

ENTANGLEMENT

According to Carlo Rovelli, entanglement is predicated upon three aspects: granularity, indeterminacy, and relationality. An entangled understanding unmasks time for what it is: a relation between human perception and the cosmos. The cosmos is composed of indeterminate becomings in relation to each other, rather than finite or infinite being.

DIFFUSION

Diffusion is a withdrawal from incapacitating concentrations. It is an exit strategy. It is fluid, dissolvable, and becoming illegible. It is fleeing to the forest or going underground. It is fugitivity.

 
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 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 convinced the symmetry of this framework is all that useful to break free from a limited either/or reading. 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 of Stirner's Der Einzige und sein Eigentum (titled The Ego and Its Own by them), 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 draw a blood and soil informed politics from Klages’s critique of modernity. Upon deeper reading, Klages not only suffers from troublesome racial and gender essentialist claims, but consistent 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 has been debated given their fundamental disagreements with the Nazi intelligentsia. Ill have to investigate further to determine how much these values were integral to Klages's philosophy, since the most detestable statements Ive found are only present 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. From what I currently know, I wouldnt define Klages as a fascist, but they certainly hold a heavily racialized understanding of the world, identifying with Germanic ideals they tout superior. I also wouldnt consider their essentialist perspectives on race and gender integral to their metaphysics, and find their concept of an immanent soul to be 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).

(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. More preferable yet is embracing both what I am becoming (additive) and unbecoming (subtractive) over being (fixed). Enriching the relations I have with others (human or otherwise) strengthens this embrace. This calls for abandoning three interrelated tendencies: an obsession to manage, orienting oneself around predictability, and a desire to preserve ideals. As far as I know, the limited perception with which Ive been familiar will end with my death, and perhaps I will decompose to recompose to decompose again continuously. Here are three ideas to help me until then:

1) Break the clock. This world is so pervasive with measurement that the sciences of it like metrics and statistics (or state-istics) have become dogma in almost every realm of life. 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 exceptions 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 strategies for limiting engagement and sharpening discernment seems a more viable place to start.

2) Light the candle. The preservation of an ideal of life is an unnecessary and fraught way to live. 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 struggling to maintain some moderate ideal, it seems more appropriate to allow life to take its course as a lit candle would . This could be as imaginative as one takes it to be.

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 (or unbecoming or unraveling) process. Nietzche’s final stage of the child in Thus Spoke Zarathustra is another helpful example: 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), who loses in order to gain in order to lose. A filled cup requires emptying-out in order to remain capable. That capability is not an end in itself, but a means toward a loss of the self through the self. Theres much to find in getting 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...