*This post originally appeared at UnicornWorld.org by Joshua Scott Hotchkin*
Here are the reasons I am putting down the black flag and replacing it with nothing, and why you should too.
Four years ago I was a self-described AnCap, having earlier been through both leftist and non-secular phases of anarchism when I had a vision about reputation economics. Over time those ideas continued to develop into the Anarcho-Futurism I have written about here at Unicorn World. Near the end of last year those ideas developed further into Adaptive Anarchism through a philosophical partnership with Jordan Rockwell.
As our Facebook group of that name slowly began to grow, our philosophies developed rapidly. As we tested our ideas out on the anarchist community at-large we both became increasingly disillusioned by what we saw as authoritarian absolutism which had become interwoven with modern anarchist thought. At some point it became obvious that, if that is what anarchism was, we had no further interest in it.
Of course we still want statelessness, but we have taken that beyond the literal state to mean that we reject any alleged absolutes within reality itself and aim to challenge them, and in doing so innovate those things which make the state obsolete.
Besides having become dogmatic and overly narrow in scope, the word anarchy is a detriment to helping spread the concepts that will help us get there. It has acquired a lot of baggage and the general public reject it outright, and I am not so attached to that word that I will let it interfere with the work.
Anarchism isn’t a method. It is not a verb or a noun. Anarchy is a state of human relationships. It is one that can only be reached if human conditions make it possible. Making those conditions possible in no way requires that people do it for the sake of anarchism. They can be done simply for the sake of humanity. The less disharmony there is among us, the more obsolete the state becomes.
The majority of disharmony has its roots in two areas, human ideologies and environmental limitations. The transformation of each of these require thinking beyond the politics of anarchism. They require alchemy.
When you see the word alchemy you probably think of historical Europeans dressed like wizards trying to turn lead into gold. The transmutation of metals is indeed alchemical, but that is a rather small portion of what alchemy really is.
Jordan took this misconception as a symbolic metaphor for alchemy and ran with it.
Traditionally, alchemy was about the transmutation of lead to gold.. poison to purity.. this is symbolic of what we would like to achieve not only on a personal level, but on a technological level as well.
The focus of alchemy is very much on “doing the things” in order to achieve the goal.
Through the creation of adaptive values (a facet of adaptive alchemy) and many more things to come.. we seek to transmute ourselves from the primal self, to the golden self.. and continue to develop the technologies which began in the stone age to an eventual age of post-scarcity.. and then beyond.
The focus of Adaptive Alchemy will be to apply the idea of transmutation to reality itself.
As people kept asking us what alchemy was we kept coming up with different answers, but a member of the group suggested “hacking” and it was perfect. Alchemy is Reality Hacking or Life Hacking. It is unlocking the dormant potential in things to transform them into something of greater value, even if that something is an individual human being or an entire species of them. But it might also be turning thin air into energy and resources, as to escape the social, economic, political and psychological hazards of resource scarcity.
The most simple explanation of what Adaptive Alchemy hopes to achieve involves two basic immediate goals.
The first of these goals is to fundamentally change the way that human beings think, so as to help them shed their self-imposed limitations which also contribute to limitations in reality. Materialism – or objectivism, physicalism, literalism – are all impediments to personal and external evolution. They are rigid ideological rulers just as oppressive as any government, and it is in fact the belief in them that drives the ideology of authority and it’s supporters.
As it is these belief systems are taken for granted as absolutely true by almost everybody. Even religious and spiritual people often assume a static clockwork reality. Materialism is so entrenched in everyday thinking most people don’t even know they are doing it.
Materialism is the idea that matter is the primary substance of reality and that things like consciousness and experience are just accidents that arise when matter and its interactions get complex enough. According to that thinking you are just a piece of delusional meat that thinks it is a you, but is really just a vessel through which adaptation can occur via endless reproduction. You are pointless, purposeless and meaningless. All that matters is your genetic code, and even it doesn’t so much matter as it is just a compulsive ‘natural’ process which arose accidentally out of the complexity of interactions between matter.
It’s a virtue signal of nihilism.
However there is nothing at all to verify materialism. Whether matter is primary to existence or consciousness is remains an open question, best illustrated in David Chalmer’s Hard Problem of Consciousness.
I personally think consciousness is primary to existence, but I could be wrong. Materialists somehow believe that they are absolutely right even when they cannot verify their most basic premises. If someone pretends that the issue is solved and condescends about it, which I have seen anarchists doing as much or more than anyone else lately, you should consider them a pretentious, self-deluded nihilist and move on.
If reality itself is a straightjacket affair and the walls are real, I would still bang against them, because only a coward won’t fight against its cage. But if I am right and consciousness is primary, then we can use it to change the very nature of reality itself. To what degree I do not know, but examples of it are already ripe throughout history.
In Pascal’s Wager the question is posed whether one should believe in God just in case He is real. I consider non-materialism to be Pascal’s Wager of reality. There is nothing to lose in trying to transform the fundamental aspects of our existence for the better, but everything to lose if it is possible and we do not try. I will not bet my life that this “cage” is more powerful than me, even if it is a cage and it is.
The second goal of Adaptive Alchemy is to inspire technological innovations that free us from resource scarcity; which gives rise to inequality, conflict and fear, the fundamental sources of human disharmony. I think three basic technologies could change the entire game and I am for using the empowerment of non-materialism to encourage and inspire the innovation which brings them about.
Energy – There is no empty space. Even thin air is full of all sorts of potential, which can be used to produce free and limitless energy with no environmental cost. Work on this has been going on for over a hundred years and there is no reason to believe it will not be solved. In fact, many believe Tesla licked the problem long ago but that it has been suppressed by those with other interests and agendas than the good of humanity. Maybe so. So we will also need to protect it, peacefully, which brings me to…
Force Shields – Why fight when you can just neutralize threats? Hopefully these would become obsolete as human conflict dies with scarcity and authority, but during the transition we need to defend against the ruling class. The poor things don’t know it, but they too are prisoners of human ideological folly. We don’t want to hurt anybody, just rescue us all, but there will probably be some resistance to it.
Replicators – I assume that even if you haven’t seen Star Trek you know what I am talking about. If we can transmute that free and limitless energy into matter then we no longer rely on the environment or each other to be completely provided for. Each human being would be completely self-sufficient.
All three of these technologies are already things that are being worked on by scientists, engineers and inventors. And all of them have made great progress and continued to move towards the goal of realization. If we can direct more effort into them we can solve the greatest human issues in a very short time.
I can only write so much about all of this. It is simply too much to explain without interaction. You probably have a lot of questions and are skeptical of several aspects, as you should be. Question everything. But try thinking about all of this before you allow yourself to express a reaction or criticism. Let the ideas soak in and play with them and see if your initial instincts to reject might soften under genuine introspection.
If you like the ideas or are curious and want to know more then join us at Adaptive Alchemy on Facebook. The current plan is that in the near future we will start to convene in the Denver area to discuss these ideas with one another and spread them and create a movement. It is my hope that, by the time we relocate there, enthusiasm enough will exist that many will join us on this journey which will include music, art, dancing and as much fun as we can possibly have.
In the end I do this so that life may be more enjoyable. Not so I can be right. While the anarchists are handing out awards for perfect scripture recitals to each other I am going to start a party that hopefully changes the world.
What do you want out of life?