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Aaron Kinney (M, 41)
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    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
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    Space Collective and Anarchy: A Perfect Match
    I recently had an email exchange about Space Collective with our well-known friend, Obviously Subtle . In the email, he said something that really stuck with me. Referring to what Space Collective is all about, he called it "post religion and post politics."

    Of course, I already knew what Space Collective was about before I read Obviously Subtle's remark. But not until that moment had I ever heard it phrased that way. It was such a direct, honest, and inspiring description for this community that I had to write about it.

    The reason his description of Space Collective affected me so deeply is because it is exactly in line with the beliefs and goals that I have held since long before I joined this community:

    You see, I am an atheist and an anarchist. This means that I do not believe in God, nor do I believe in the legitimacy of government. Furthermore, I have dedicated a large part of my time and energy toward promoting and developing these ideas. Popularizing godlessness and statelessness is a major, major goal in my life.

    For the moment, let's set aside the "post religion" part of Obviously Subtle's statement, and focus on the "post politics" part. What does post politics mean? It seems obvious enough: it means a world without politics or politicians. But what kind of world would that be, exactly?

    The answer is that it would be an anarchistic world. Now I know that to most people, the word "anarchy" brings about strong emotions and opinions. When people hear the word "anarchy" they tend to think molitov cocktails, society run amok, and general chaos. But how many of these people know what the actual definition of "anarchy" really is?

    The definition of anarchy is conceptually very similar to the definition of atheism. Both words are negative statements. To put it another way, both of these words are descriptors of what is not, and not what is. "Archy" means an entity that rules over society, like a government. "An-" is a prefix that means the negation of something. So "anarchy" is the lack of a ruling body.

    Anarchy is the very definition of "post politics." Anarchy is the elimination of politicians, politics, and the entire government from society. When one imagines a world without politics, one is imagining an anarchy.

    Anarchy is not violent; it is the champion of peace. Anarchy is not chaos; it is the foundation of order. Anarchy is not regressive; it is a catalyst for human progress.

    Conversely, government is not the keeper of peace; it is the cause of war. Government is not the bringer of order; it is the creator of chaos. Government is not progressive; it is a hindrance to progress.

    These are bold assertions to be sure. But can I back them up? Yes I can, and I can do it with one word: consent.

    Consent is the difference between right and wrong. It is the dividing line between peace and war, between order and chaos, between progress and regress. When two or more humans consent to a given interaction, there is peace, order, and progress.

    But when an interaction occurs that all involved parties did not consent to, inevitably it breeds violence, chaos, and destruction. Consent is the difference between charity and theft, between making love and rape, between profit and loss.

    A government (politics/politicians) by definition is coercive. That is, it violates consent by its very nature. For example, a democracy is a force-based monopoly that subjugates the minority vote. Democracy has been described as "two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner," and with good reason. Regardless of the good intentions of a government's action, it always violates another person's self-determination, disregards their consent (or lack thereof), and retards their progress.

    An anarchy would be a world without the legitimization of coercion precisely because it would not have a government. It would not have a coercive monopoly spreading violence and chaos among its citizens. In an anarchy, the only interactions between people that would be sanctioned as legitimate would be those interactions that are mutually consensual.

    Post politics is one of Space Collective's goals. And post politics is anarchy. Progress, peace, exploration, experimentation, and cooperation are goals that anarchy and Space Collective share. I sincerely believe that anarchy and Space Collective are a perfect match.

    There is much more about anarchy that I want to get into, but I fear this post is already too long. Perhaps I will make a follow up post where I can elaborate further on these ideas.

    For further reading on anarchy and why it is the post-politics social framework, give these sites a try:

    http://www.marketanarchy.com/

    http://www.simplyanarchy.com/

    http://www.perbylund.com/

    http://www.strike-the-root.com/

    http://www.mises.org/

    http://www.lysanderspooner.org/

     http://www.podfeed.net/category_item.asp?id=3476 

    Thu, Nov 22, 2007  Permanent link

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    Counterform     Fri, Nov 23, 2007  Permanent link
    Thoughtful post Aaron. The idea of SpaceCollective standing for principals of post-politics, and post-religion are notions I am also deeply interested in.

    But after that distinction, our views differ greatly. You see, there are many perspectives & possibilities in this 'post-ideological' world, and it seems the language & concepts you identify yourself with, are more AGAINST something, rather than FOR something.

    But this is also the problem I have with many facets of post-modernism. Instead of being enthralled & excited for something passionately, it is instead an ironic dismissal of all the things it is not. Sort of a waste of time and good energy.

    One should always strive to be in a positive affirmative state... in love of the world of it's creation. It's about being for something... being ecstatic about something... crazy in love with something.

    I believe the language and terms you champion, such as 'anarchy', do more harm than good for your righteous cause. Thing is, anarchy has multiple definitions. Yes, it does convey a 'society without government', but it also means a 'chaos', 'social disorder', 'confusion'. Not only is this true from a Webster's Dictionary perspective, but more importantly, in the mind-share of the majority of people. Like Atheism, it comes loaded with too much cultural baggage. And comes off more as a bleak proposition, than an inspiring one. Even Ron Paul would not dare call himself an Anarchist, even though he may express some beliefs like one. And recently Sam Harris, one of the principals in the New Atheism movement, has suggested they abandon the descriptor 'Atheist' for similar reasons.

    So if we are to abandon these outworn terms, what would you then call it? Honestly, I don't know. Possibly something new, a new creation, a new idea. Like Buckminster Fuller has eloquently said, 'Don't fight the system. Rather, create a new one'.

    The same thing has happened to the term 'God'. Talk about cultural baggage! And you and I differ here as well, because being post-religion to me, is not the same as being post-God. I do acknowledge a spiritual dimension to our universe, and also know, that our 'reality' is only a faint slice of the mind at large.

    Lastly... on your point of 'Consent'. It's a good one, but only part of the picture. It can be better expressed through the choice between Fear & Love. This is the true dividing line. And within Love, you will find consent..... and empathy, peace, progress, unity, joy, and compassion. And not only that, within Love, one actually finds an ecstatic exuberance FOR something.

    // mc

    aaron kinney     Fri, Nov 23, 2007  Permanent link
    Counterform,

    Thoughtful post Aaron. The idea of SpaceCollective standing for principals of post-politics, and post-religion are notions I am also deeply interested in.

    Thank you!

    But after that distinction, our views differ greatly. You see, there are many perspectives & possibilities in this 'post-ideological' world, and it seems the language & concepts you identify yourself with, are more AGAINST something, rather than FOR something.

    Yes, I am well aware of this problem of being against rather than for something. That is why I subscribe to "Market Anarchy" which promotes a system of open competitive markets that are consumer driven, and absent any monopolistic government intervention. But for this post, I wanted to keep it simple as possible.

    But this is also the problem I have with many facets of post-modernism. Instead of being enthralled & excited for something passionately, it is instead an ironic dismissal of all the things it is not. Sort of a waste of time and good energy.

    True. And to be "post-something" is also to be against rather than for something.

    One should always strive to be in a positive affirmative state... in love of the world of it's creation. It's about being for something... being ecstatic about something... crazy in love with something.

    Agreed. I, for example, am in love with life, learning, sharing, interacting, and all those things that make us smile. Indeed, since I became an atheist and an anarchist, I have been enjoying life more and more :)

    I believe the language and terms you champion, such as 'anarchy', do more harm than good for your righteous cause. Thing is, anarchy has multiple definitions. Yes, it does convey a 'society without government', but it also means a 'chaos', 'social disorder', 'confusion'.

    Actually, in this post I explained that order comes from consensual interactions, while chaos and disorder come from the initiation of force.

    Not only is this true from a Webster's Dictionary perspective, but more importantly, in the mind-share of the majority of people. Like Atheism, it comes loaded with too much cultural baggage. And comes off more as a bleak proposition, than an inspiring one. Even Ron Paul would not dare call himself an Anarchist, even though he may express some beliefs like one. And recently Sam Harris, one of the principals in the New Atheism movement, has suggested they abandon the descriptor 'Atheist' for similar reasons.

    The baggage you speak of is definitely there, and thats one reason why dictionaries give silly descriptors like "chaos" to anarchy. But these baggages must be removed; you dont a priori go looking for a new word just because of social baggage. And while I love Sam Harris and have read his End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation, I do not agree with him about ditching the word atheism. Rather, what we should do is promote atheism and anarchy until the words extinguish themselves. We dont have a word for anti-leprechaunism, cause its not necessary. So if we were to popularize and implement these ideas, the words would no longer be necessary.

    So if we are to abandon these outworn terms, what would you then call it? Honestly, I don't know. Possibly something new, a new creation, a new idea. Like Buckminster Fuller has eloquently said, 'Don't fight the system. Rather, create a new one'.

    Thats the problem. Its pretty much impossible to have a word that is "for" something while simultaneously describing the discarding of a false ideology. For something like that, you need a phrase. You need two words combined. For example: Market Anarchy is a kind of stateless society that utilizes open markets for social function. Market being the positive, and anarchy being the negative. See?

    The same thing has happened to the term 'God'. Talk about cultural baggage! And you and I differ here as well, because being post-religion to me, is not the same as being post-God. I do acknowledge a spiritual dimension to our universe, and also know, that our 'reality' is only a faint slice of the mind at large.

    It is true that being post religion doesnt mean being post god per se, but it depends on how you define "God." Clearly, you are a smart guy and you are well informed about atheism. So surely you know that what one theist calls "god" can be quite different from what another theist calls "god." I actually once had an argument with a guy who claimed that the universe itself is god. I told him that I use a different definition than that, and that what he calls god I just call the universe. It was very instructive about the different kinds of gods that people envison.

    So in many ways, there can be an atheistic world where the "god" that we typically define is no longer believed in, and religion as we know it is gone, but people still believe in some different kind of higher power or force anyway. For my atheistic activism, I typically attack the god concept as theists define it.

    Lastly... on your point of 'Consent'. It's a good one, but only part of the picture. It can be better expressed through the choice between Fear & Love. This is the true dividing line. And within Love, you will find consent..... and empathy, peace, progress, unity, joy, and compassion. And not only that, within Love, one actually finds an ecstatic exuberance FOR something.

    Good point, but in a way, isnt fear and love just another way to phrase force an consent? Fear is usually a reaction to force, while love is usually a reaction to consent... at the least, they are related concepts. Consent, in my opinion, breeds empathy, peace, progress, unity, joy, and compassion. I would even go so far as to say that consent is a prerequisite for love ;)

    I want to thank you again for your thoughtful comment. And I think that you and I disagree on less details than you believe. Most of the things you brought up were things that I omitted or didnt address in favor of brevity and simplicity. Im thinking of doing a follow up post to this one where I flesh out some details... and you gave me some good ideas to touch on when I write it! :)
    josh     Tue, Nov 27, 2007  Permanent link
    interesting post aaron. i find myself more in line with counterform's point of view than yours. while i understand your goals are similar to mine, i agree with much of what counterform says regarding both the negativity and baggage with such words as anarchy.

    while there was once a time when anarchy did not have the connotations of chaos and disorder that they do now, there was also once a time when fagot meant a bundle of twigs. these words are so engrained in the vernacular, it is nearly impossible to separate them from their current meaning - wrong or not.

    regarding the purpose of this website in the larger picture, counterform also nailed it with
    Like Buckminster Fuller has eloquently said, 'Don't fight the system. Rather, create a new one'.

    this is exactly what we are attempting to do here. we are not fighting the system. we are "post" the system. we are moving on to create a new one. one with an open discussion and lines of dialogue (much like this) on how to better it for the future.
    aaron kinney     Tue, Nov 27, 2007  Permanent link
    Good point all around, ObviouslySubtle. And anarchy itself really is like wiping a slate clean in preperation for moving past the old and creating the new.

    A place like SpaceCollective is a perfect example. That is because SpaceCollective is a purely voluntary collection of individuals, who trade ideas in their own information marketplace. SpaceCollective is like a forum where these ideas can take hold, be shared and improved upon, and acted upon.

    To move beyond a given social order, you need a framework or a base of reference from which to construct your new society. A free marketplace of ideas is the perfect format for pursuing these goals.

    A rose by any other name would sound just as sweet. Call it what you will, but SpaceCollective is a great example of that clean slate that has all the old wiped away, and all the new being written across its surface.

    Regarding the word post, it is also a word describing what is not. So if there were to be a positive-based phrase to describe this new system, what would it be? I believe that we are all looking for these new words; these positive ways to identiffy what we are about.
    cupcakewizard     Tue, Nov 27, 2007  Permanent link
    Juicy stuff! I've really enjoyed reading your post as well as the various views from the commentators. Great food for thought.
    alborz     Thu, Nov 29, 2007  Permanent link
    A rose by any other name would sound just as sweet.

    I'm inclined to agree with Aaron there. If SpaceCollective has certain qualities that resemble anarchism (which as I understand and Aaron describes, it does), it's fair to say it's anarchistic.

    But I think the reason for the reluctance to flat-out call it anarchist is the reluctance to call it anything. Because once you label something, you instantly limit all that it can be. Yes, post-ideological may not be a completely adequate way of describing SpaceCollective (you can argue that it is ideological), but that's only to the extent that words don't seem to be the perfect way of describing the world around us anyway. For now we'll have to agree on post-ideological and run with it.

    That being said, I think it's perfectly ok to adopt any useful idea out there regardless of what it's called. In other words, SpaceCollective, being post-ideological, is able to use the ideals of anarchy without having to call itself anarchist.
    aaron kinney     Sat, Dec 1, 2007  Permanent link
    RE: cupcakewizard,

    Thank you for the support! Im glad you find it stimulating. Whether or not one agrees with me isnt a big deal of course, but whats important is whether or not I get your brain thinkin ;)

    RE al,

    Thank you, for your support too.

    I should note that this post was meant to describe SpaceCollective's relationship to anarchy in a functional way. The word anarchy, like it or not, does have a certain history and it does invoke certain opinions and associations in peoples heads.

    Should SpaceCollective associate itself with the word anarchy, or should fellow SpaceCollective members consider themselves anarchist? Not necessarily. Whats important here is that my readers understand the concepts, not adopt the labels.

    There are all kinds of words, positively descriptive ones, that can be used to identify a post-political, consensual-based, free society. Some other words I like are voluntarism, open-source-society, consent-based society, open market, lassiez-faire, decentralization, etc.

    First Dark     Tue, Dec 18, 2007  Permanent link
    I agree, to a great extent, with what you're saying. For me, an ideal humanity has no need for government (terrestrial or celestial*). Unfortunately, our species has a long way to go before anarchy would play out as it should (and as you noted), peacefully and progressively.

    To this end, I no longer label myself as an anarchist because I find it to be counterproductive within the current state of humanity. It's either a reversal or dismissal of priorities. Rather than proposing solutions to the obstacles between humans and the ideal, the anarchist ends up simply emphasizing the goal as if the obstacles are negligible or will pretty much work themselves out. Anarchy has little or nothing to say about most of humanity's major problems (which would become uncontrollably aggravated if there were an anarchistic upheaval sometime in the near future).

    At the same time, I think that drawing a direct connection between 'post-politics' and 'no politics' is inaccurate and misleading. To me, post-politics would be a system of consensus which makes government primitive or obsolete. This follows my opinion that philosophy is the best representation of 'post-religion'.

    Anyway, I'll conclude with a couple of suggestions for what those with post-political mentalities should do while waiting for the revolution:

    - emphasize that the most important issues are non-political and that politics almost inevitably create more unnecessary problems
    - avoid using any sort of political labeling of ourselves as often as possible (to be honest, I do occasionally describe myself as Libertarian) or use post-political labeling

    *By "celestial" I am referring to the so-called 'divine [A/a]uthority of the universe'.
    Michael Garrett     Wed, Dec 19, 2007  Permanent link
    the only interactions between people that would be sanctioned as legitimate would be those interactions that are mutually consensual.


    Who would decide the meaning of terms and where would the authority to do so come from? For example just the phrase "that would be sanctioned" implies to me there is an authority that one needs to receive the favor of to be considered "as legitimate".
    cyb0     Wed, Dec 19, 2007  Permanent link
    Good thinking process, people! Thank you for that!

    My point of view is more skeptic. I found myself believing that when people believe in something, one actually stop thinking of that idea or this point of life. So whatever we called this society - anarchistic, post-politics, post-religion, etc. the point is that we must throw this ideas (or words) in the whirlpool of skepticism all the time. We must question the meaning of this words and if it's necessary to re-define them with a new one. And this is, what i think, SpaceCollective is all about. Re-define the system and create a new one based on the new meaning.

    Again thanks for sharing this ideas with us! Peace!
    Wildcat     Wed, Dec 19, 2007  Permanent link
    Thanks to all of you for a very stimulating read.
    have you read this:
    Noam Chomsky on
    Anarchism, Marxism and Hope for the Future
    chr15     Wed, Dec 19, 2007  Permanent link
    Great stuff, and its wonderful to know people are talking about this on my first day with SpaceCollective!!! Aaron, I really hope you post more thoughts on this in the future, here are some thoughts/problems I have with the above discussion.

    Anarchism is not a unifying description of a system and encompasses many ideological positions. For example there are libertarians who don't believe in government but do believe in capitalism and the free market (you might fall in this category aaron?) and marxist- anarchists who dont believe in government and capitalism as corporations and wealthy elite are as or more likely to oppress and deny consensual practices than governments (I fall into this category). This important to your analogy of the SpaceCollective (SC from here on out) to anarchist practice because in its ideal form the collective will provide for a plurality of opinions that anarchism needs to maintain informed consensual organization.

    I don't think that the present state of humanity can be post-ideological. Ideology is simply a platform that allows for and enforces how people think in society and not just political belief. For example, the belief in consumerism (as opposed to self sustainability) is ideological as is the western preference for technological fixes (as opposed to social ones). This is important to SC because ideally it would build an ideology (or platform) open to new and dissenting opinions about how to work towards futurity.

    To me (and I believe much of the anarchist movement) anarchism is founded on three positive society building beliefs:

    -autonomy - consensual organization outside vectors of power wishing to dictate how people live and die (important to SC: hopefully we can express ourselves here without being pressured by military, entertainment, consumerist, stalinist apparatus)

    -mutual aid- supporting each other rather than relying on capitalism and the state who by providing us with goods seek to enslave us to their systems of distribution (in SC we can help eachother develop our ideas)

    -solidarity- aligning with others who might also be oppressed by authoritarian mechanisms (SC could be crucial to challenging those who would use techno scientific development for their own profit at the expense of others and the planet. this might be the most important belief for SC as it might be able to do more in this way than help us create autonomy and mutual aid in the physical world where power can do more harm than in cyberspace, such as murder or deprive individuals of food or medical care)

    however the achievement of these positives require some negatives including challenging injustice and defending ourselves from authoritarian systems threatened by our fruition. building new systems might always be negative because they threaten the status quo of state control and capitalist profits. open source does so and we will see increased attacks on it by the incumbant system, why would a system not if they are already trying to patent things like organic seeds that have always been a common good. If SC lives up to an ideal as a futurological commons it will be attacked for its postition outside state control and profit

    thank you for bringing this up aaron, it is an important discussion to help SC become the best it can be

    aaron kinney     Wed, Dec 26, 2007  Permanent link
    Re: Michael Garrett

    Who would decide the meaning of terms and where would the authority to do so come from?

    Individuals themselves. If I say "no" to your sexual advances, for example, then you better not fuck me. And I, or a representative whom I designate, would have the sole "authority" to lay claim to whether or not an interaction I took part in was consensual or not.

    For example just the phrase "that would be sanctioned" implies to me there is an authority that one needs to receive the favor of to be considered "as legitimate".

    Sure, and YOU are your own authority! Self-reference can sometimes be a confusing thought I know, and to be sure, most people today are used to the idea of automatically having an external authority to determine such things, but the fact of the matter is that you are your own prime authority, and nobody else.

    I hope that helps!
    Michael Garrett     Thu, Dec 27, 2007  Permanent link
    Re: Aaron

    Individuals themselves. If I say "no" to your sexual advances, for example, then you better not fuck me. And I, or a representative whom I designate, would have the sole "authority" to lay claim to whether or not an interaction I took part in was consensual or not.

    Sorry, but I am not clear on the representative you designate as having sole authority to lay claim to what? So your designated rep has sole "authority". You and you alone dictate sole authority! Wait a minute , please! Let us take your scenario, a rather severe example but OK, what then is my punishment and who would administer it? Also, let's say I have my own representative, for example, and he/ she disagrees with your representative concerning the consensual nature or not. Where does that leave us? Am I then a rapist or are you liar and a spurned lover?

    you are your own prime authority, and nobody else.

    I heartily agree with you there, how could I not, but you seem to be relying on sharing your space with reasonable and rational human beings. I know, no matter how much I wish it were true, this is not the case.
     
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