Imagining feral revolution in times of carnival

The principle of laughter and the carnival spirit on which the grotesque is based destroys this limited seriousness and all pretense of an extratemporal meaning and unconditional value of necessity. It frees human consciousness, thought, and imagination for new potentialities. For this reason, great changes, even in the field of science, are always preceded by a certain carnival consciousness that prepares the way.

Mikhail Bakhtin

Amidst of carnival celebrations, one may be forgiven the loss of memory of ancient celebrations in which the occasion was a moment for the exorcism of all authority: moral, religious, political, social … .  That carnival has for the most part been domesticated and commodified is testimony not only to the expansion of capital, but of the of fear of any expression of wild, Dionysian life.  Our festivities are often as dead as the merchandise that we consume and the lives that we lead.  We seem no longer to know what real fear is, and thus and thus we ignorant of real joy.  Our socially induced hunger for security strips us of the courage to live dangerously, even as we celebrate.

In a feeble effort to call forth, through text on a virtual platform, what was and what can still be the ecstasy of ritual transgression, we share below a selection of essays and texts by Feral Faun/Wolfi Landstreicher (the name of the author is ultimately unimportant) on revolution as the struggle to abolish power and liberate creative desire, the chaos that flows through all life.

It would be a mistake read this as an apology for the madness of a permanent carnival; it is instead an animal cry against the chains of society and for permanent possibility of destroying all that is created. 

By way of an introduction to this collection, we begin with a series of quotations from the selection of texts that follow …

Feral revolution is an adventure. It is the daring exploration of going wild. It takes us into unknown territories for which no maps exist. We can only come to know these territories if we dare to explore them actively. We must dare to destroy whatever destroys our wildness and to act on our instincts and desires. We must dare to trust in ourselves, our experiences and our passions. Then we will not let ourselves be chained or penned in. We will not allow ourselves to be tamed. Our feral energy will rip civilization to shreds and create a life of wild freedom and intense pleasure.

All social relationships have their basis in the incompleteness produced by the repression of our passions and desires. Their basis is our need for each other, not our desire for each other. We are using each other. So every social relationship is an employer/employee relationship, which is why they seem always, to one extent or another, to become adversarial — whether through joking put-downs, bickering or full-fledged fighting. How can we help but despise those we use and hate those who use us?

… we want freedom to relate in terms of our unrepressed desires, the opening of all possibilities, the raging fire of our passions unbound. And such a life lies outside any system of predictable, predetermined relationships.

A world of free relating among unrepressed individuals would be a world free of society. All interactions would be determined immediately. All by the individuals involved, in terms of their desires — not by the necessities of a social system. We would tend to amaze, delight, enrage each other, to evoke real passion rather than mere boredom, complacency, disgust, or security. Every encounter would have a potential for marvelous adventure which cannot fully exist where most relating is in the form of social relationships. So rather than remain captive in this “garden of precious stones” called society, I choose to struggle to abolish society — and that has several implications as to how I understand “revolution” (for want of a better term).

The struggle to transform society is always a struggle for power, because its goal is to gain control over the system of relationships that is society (a goal which I see as unrealistic since this system is now mostly beyond anyone’s control). As such, it cannot be an individual struggle. It requires mass or class activity. Individuals have to define themselves as social beings in this struggle, suppressing any individual desires which do not fit in to the. “greater” goal of social transformation.

The struggle to abolish society is a struggle to abolish power. It is essentially the struggle of individuals to live free of social roles and rules, to live out their desires passionately, to live out all the most marvelous things they can imagine. Group projects and struggles are part of this, but they grow from the ways in which the desires of the individuals can enhance each other, and will dissolve when they begin to stifle the individuals. The path of this struggle cannot be mapped out because its basis is the confrontation between the desires of the free-spirited individual and the demands of society. But analyses of the ways in which society molds us and of the failures and successes of past rebellions are possible.

The tactics used against society are as many as the individuals involved, but all share the aim of undermining social control and conditioning, and freeing the individual’s desires and passions. The unpredictability of humor and playfulness are essential, evoking a Dionysian chaos. Playing with social roles in ways that undermine their usefulness to society, that turn them on their head, making toys of them is a worthy practice. But most importantly, let us confront society with ourselves, with our unique desires and passions, with the attitude that we are not going to give in to it, or center our activities around it, but are going to live on our own terms.

Society is not a neutral force. Social relationships only exist by the suppression of the real desires and passions of individuals, by the repression of all that makes free relating possible. Society is domestication, the transformation of individuals into use value and of free play into work. Free relating among individuals who refuse and resist their domestication undermines all society, and opens all possibilities. And to those who feel that they can achieve freedom through a merely social revolution, lend with these words of Renzo Navatore:

“You are waiting for the revolution? Let it be! My own began a long time ago! When you will be ready…I won’t mind going along with you for a while. But when you’ll stop, I shall continue on my insane and triumphant way toward the great and sublime conquest of the nothing!”

The attempt to make a moral principle of anarchy distorts its real significance. Anarchy describes a particular type of situation, one in which either authority does not exist or its power to control is negated. Such a situation guarantees nothing—not even the continued existence of that situation, but it does open up the possibility for each of us to start creating our lives for ourselves in terms of our own desires and passions rather than in terms of social roles and the demands of social order. Anarchy is not the goal of revolution; it is the situation which makes the only type of revolution that interests me possible —an uprising of individuals to create their lives for themselves and destroy what stands in their way. It is a situation free of any moral implications, presenting to each of us the amoral challenge to live our lives without constraints.

True revolt is never safe. Those who choose to define themselves in terms of their role as a victim do not dare to try total revolt, because it would threaten the safety of their roles. But, as Nietzsche said: “The secret of the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment of existence is to live dangerously!” Only a conscious rejection of the ideology of victimization, a refusal to live in fear and weakness, and an acceptance of the strength of our own passions and desires, of ourselves as individuals who are greater than, and so capable of living beyond, all social roles, can provide a basis for total rebellion against society. Such a rebellion is certainly fueled, in part, by rage, but not the strident, resentful, frustrated rage of the victim which motivates feminists, racial liberationists, gay liberationists and the like to ‘demand’ their ‘rights’ from the authorities. Rather it is the rage of our desires unchained, the return of the repressed in full force and undisguised. But more essentially, total revolt is fueled by a spirit of free play and of joy in adventure—by a desire to explore every possibility for intense life which society tries to deny us. For all of us who want to live fully and without constraint, the time is past when we can tolerate living like shy mice inside the walls. Every form of the ideology of victimization moves us to live as shy mice. Instead, let’s be crazed & laughing monsters, joyfully tearing down the walls of society and creating lives of wonder and amazement for ourselves.

Feral Revolution

When I was a very young child, my life was filled with intense pleasure and a vital energy that caused me to feel what I experienced to the full. I was the center of this marvelous, playful existence and felt no need to rely on anything but my own living experience to fulfill me.

I felt intensely, I experienced intensely, my life was a festival of passion and pleasure. My disappointments and sorrows were also intense. I was born a free, wild being in the midst of a society based upon domestication. There was no way that I could escape being domesticated myself. Civilization will not tolerate what is wild in its midst. But I never forgot the intensity that life could be. I never forgot the vital energy that had surged through me. My existence since I first began to notice that this vitality was being drained away has been a warfare between the needs of civilized survival and the need to break loose and experience the full intensity of life unbound.

I want to experience this vital energy again. I want to know the free-spirited wildness of my unrepressed desires realizing themselves in festive play. I want to smash down every wall that stands between me and the intense, passionate life of untamed freedom that I want. The sum of these walls is everything we call civilization, everything that comes between us and the direct, participatory experience of the wild world. Around us has grown a web of domination, a web of mediation that limits our experience, defining the boundaries of acceptable production and consumption.

Domesticating authority takes many forms, some of which are difficult to recognize. Government, capital and religion are some of the more obvious faces of authority. But technology, work, language with its conceptual limits, the ingrained habits of etiquette and propriety — these too are domesticating authorities which transform us from wild, playful, unruly animals into tamed, bored, unhappy producers and consumers. These things work in us insidiously, limiting our imaginations, usurping our desires, suppressing our lived experience. And it is the world created by these authorities, the civilized world, in which we live. If my dream of a life filled with intense pleasure and wild adventure is to be realized, the world must be radically transformed, civilization must fall before expanding wilderness, authority must fall before the energy of our wild freedom. There must be — for want of a better word — a revolution.

But a revolution that can break down civilization and restore the vital energy of untamed desire cannot be like any revolution of the past. All revolutions to date have centered around power, its use and redistribution. They have not sought to eradicate the social institutions that domesticate; at best they have only sought to eradicate the power relationships within those institutions. So revolutionaries of the past have aimed their attacks at the centers of power seeking to overthrow it. Focused on power, they were blind to the insidious forces of domination that encompass our daily existence and so, when successful at overthrowing the powers that be, they ended up re-creating them. To avoid this, we need to focus not on power, but on our desire to go wild, to experience life to the full, to know intense pleasure and wild adventure. As we attempt to realize this desire, we confront the real forces of domination, the forces that we face every moment of every day. These forces have no single center that can be overthrown. They are a web that binds us. So rather than trying to overthrow the powers that be, we want to undermine domination as we confront it every day, helping the already collapsing civilization to break down more quickly and as it falls, the centers of power will fall with it. Previous revolutionaries have only explored the well-mapped territories of power. I want to explore and adventure in the unmapped, and unmappable, territories of wild freedom. The revolution that can create the world I want has to be a feral revolution.

There can be no programs or organizations for feral revolution, because wildness cannot spring from a program or organization. Wildness springs from the freeing of our instincts and desires, from the spontaneous expression of our passions. Each of us has experienced the processes of domestication, and this experience can give us the knowledge we need to undermine civilization and transform our lives. Our distrust of our own experience is probably what keeps us from rebelling as freely and actively as we’d like. We’re afraid of fucking up, we’re afraid of our own ignorance. But this distrust and fear have been instilled in us by authority. It keeps us from really growing and learning. It makes us easy targets for any authority that is ready to fill us. To set up “revolutionary” programs is to play on this fear and distrust, to reinforce the need to be told what to do. No attempt to go feral can be successful when based on such programs. We need to learn to trust and act upon our own feelings and experiences, if we are ever to be free.

So I offer no programs. What I will share is some thoughts on ways to explore. Since we all have been domesticated, part of the revolutionary process is a process of personal transformation. We have been conditioned not to trust ourselves, not to feel completely, not to experience life intensely. We have been conditioned to accept the humiliation of work and pay as inescapable, to relate to things as resources to be used, to feel the need to prove ourselves by producing. We have been conditioned to expect disappointment, to see it as normal, not to question it. We have been conditioned to accept the tedium of civilized survival rather than breaking free and really living. We need to explore ways of breaking down this conditioning, of getting as free of our domestication as we can now. Let’s try to get so free of this conditioning that it ceases to control us and becomes nothing more than a role we use when necessary for survival in the midst of civilization as we strive to undermine it.

In a very general way, we know what we want. We want to live as wild, free beings in a world of wild, free beings. The humiliation of having to follow rules, of having to sell our lives away to buy survival, of seeing our usurped desires transformed into abstractions and images in order to sell us commodities fills us with rage. How long will we put up with this misery? We want to make this world into a place where our desires can be immediately realized, not just sporadically, but normally. We want to re-eroticize our lives. We want to live not in a dead world of resources, but in a living world of free wild lovers. We need to start exploring the extent to which we are capable of living these dreams in the present without isolating ourselves. This will give us a clearer understanding of the domination of civilization over our lives, an understanding which will allow us to fight domestication more intensely and so expand the extent to which we can live wildly.

Attempting to live as wildly as possible now will also help break down our social conditioning. This will spark a wild prankishness in us which will take aim at all that would tame it, undermining civilization and creating new ways of living and sharing with each other. These explorations will expose the limits of civilization’s domination and will show its inherent opposition to freedom. We will discover possibilities we have never before imagined… vast expanses of wild freedom. Projects, ranging from sabotage and pranks that expose or undermine the dominant society, to the expansion of wilderness, to festivals and orgies and general free sharing, can point to amazing possibilities.

Feral revolution is an adventure. It is the daring exploration of going wild. It takes us into unknown territories for which no maps exist. We can only come to know these territories if we dare to explore them actively. We must dare to destroy whatever destroys our wildness and to act on our instincts and desires. We must dare to trust in ourselves, our experiences and our passions. Then we will not let ourselves be chained or penned in. We will not allow ourselves to be tamed. Our feral energy will rip civilization to shreds and create a life of wild freedom and intense pleasure.

First published in Demolition Derby #1, 1988, Montréal, Québec-Canada
also printed in “Anarchy: A Journal Of Desire Armed” Issue #19 May-July 1989
and Feral: A Journal Towards Wildness #1 Spring 1999
republished by Elephant Editions (London) 2000/2001 in the collection “Feral Revolution”

Nature as spectacle. The image of wilderness vs. wildness

(Author’s note: The frequent use of quotation marks in this essay is to reinforce the idea that nature and wilderness are concepts, not actual beings.)

Nature has not always existed. It is not found in the depths of the forest, in the heart of the cougar or in the songs of the pygmies; it is found in the philosophies and image constructions of civilized human beings. Seemingly contradictory strands are woven together creating nature as an ideological construct that serves to domesticate us, to suppress and channel our expressions of wildness.

Civilization is monolithic and the civilized way of conceiving everything that is observed is also monolithic. When confronted with the myriad of beings all around, the civilized mind needs to categorize in order to feel that it is understanding (though, in fact, all it is understanding is how to make things useful to civilization). Nature is one of the most essential of civilized categories, one of the most useful in containing the wildness of human individuals and enforcing their self-identification as civilized, social beings.

Probably the earliest conception of nature was something similar to that found in the old testament of the Bible: the evil wilderness, a place of desolation inhabited by ferocious and poisonous beasts, malicious demons and the mad. This conception served a purpose especially important to early civilizations. It induced fear of what was wild, keeping most people in the city walls and giving those who did go out to explore a defensive posture, an attitude that they were in enemy territory. This concept, in this way, helped create the dichotomy between “human” and “nature” that keeps individuals from living wildly, that is, in terms of their desires.

But a totally negative conception of nature was bound to reach its limits of usefulness since it made civilization into an enclosed and besieged fortress, and to survive civilization has to expand, to be able to exploit more and more. “Nature” became a basket of resources for civilization, a “mother” to nurture “humanity” and its civilization. It was beautiful, worthy of worship, contemplation, study…and exploitation. It was not evil…but it was chaotic, capricious and unreliable. Fortunately for civilization, “human nature” had evolved, rational and needing to order things, to bring them under control. Wild places were necessary so that people could study and contemplate “nature” in its untouched state, but precisely so that civilized human beings could come to understand and control “natural” processes in order to use them to expand civilization. So the “evil wilderness” is overshadowed by a “nature” or “wilderness” that has positive value for civilization.

The concept of nature creates systems of social value and morality. Because of the apparently contradictory strands that have gone into the development of “nature,” these systems also may appear contradictory; but they all achieve the same end: our domestication. Those who tell us to “act civilized” and those who tell us to “act natural” are really telling us the same thing: “Live in accordance with external values, not in accordance with your desires.” The morality of naturalness has been no less vicious than any other morality. People have been imprisoned, tortured and even killed for committing “unnatural acts” — and still are. “Nature,” too, is an ugly and demanding god.

From its beginnings, nature has been an image created by authority to reinforce its power. It is no surprise that in modern society, where image dominates reality and often seems to create it, “nature” comes into its own as a means of keeping us domesticated. “Nature” shows on TV, Sierra Club calendars, “wilderness” outfitters, “natural” foods and fibers, the “environmental” president and “radical” ecology all conspire to create “nature” and, our “proper” relationship to it. The image evoked retains aspects of the “evil wilderness” of early civilization in a subliminal form. “Nature” shows always include scenes of predation and the directors of these shows have been said to use electric prods in attempts to goad animals into fights. The warnings given to would-be “wilderness” explorers about dangerous animals and plants and the amount of products created by “wilderness” outfitters for dealing with these things is quite excessive from my own experiences wandering in wild places. We are given the image of life outside of civilization as a struggle for survival.

But the society of the spectacle needs the “evil wilderness” to be subliminal in order to use it efficiently. The dominant image of “nature” is that it is a resource and a thing of beauty to be contemplated and studied. “Wilderness” is a place to which we can retreat for a short time, if properly outfitted, to escape from the humdrum of daily life, to relax and meditate or to find excitement and adventure. And, of course, “nature” remains the “mother” who supplies our needs, the resource from which civilization creates itself.

In commodity culture, “nature” recuperates the desire for wild adventure, for life free from domestication, by selling us its image. The subliminal concept of the “evil wilderness” gives venturing into the woods a tang of risk that appeals to the adventurous and rebellious. It also reinforces the idea that we don’t really belong there, thus selling us the numerous products deemed necessary for incursions into wild places. The positive concept of nature makes us feel that we must experience wild places (not realizing that the concepts we’ve had fed into us will create what we experience at least as much as our actual surroundings). In this way, civilization successfully recuperates even those areas it seems not to touch directly, transforming them into “nature,” into “wilderness,” into aspects of the spectacle which keep us domesticated.

“Nature” domesticates because it transforms wildness into a monolithic entity, a huge realm separate from civilization. Expressions of wildness in the midst of civilization are labeled as immaturity, madness, delinquency, crime or immorality, allowing them to be dismissed, locked away, censured or punished while still maintaining that what is “natural” is good. When “wildness” becomes a realm outside of us rather than an expression of our own individual free-spiritedness, then there can be experts in “wildness” who will teach us the “correct” ways of “connecting” with it. On the west coast, there are all sorts of spiritual teachers making a mint selling a “wildness” to yuppies which in no way threatens their corporate dreams, their Porsches or their condos. “Wilderness” is a very profitable industry these days.

Ecologists — even “radical” ecologists — play right into this. Rather than trying to go wild and destroy civilization with the energy of their unchained desires, they try to “save wilderness.” In practice, this means begging or trying to manipulate the authorities into stopping the more harmful activities of certain industries and turning pockets of relatively undamaged woods, deserts and mountains into protected “Wilderness Areas.” This only reinforces the concept of wildness as a monolithic entity, “wilderness” or “nature,” and the commodification inherent in this concept. The very basis of the concept of a “Wilderness Area” is the separation of “wildness” and “humanity.” So it is no surprise that one of the brands of “radical” ecological ideology has created the conflict between “biocentrism” and “anthropocentrism” — as though we should be anything other than egocentric.

Even those “radical ecologists” who claim to want to reintegrate people into “nature” are fooling themselves. Their vision of (as one of them put it) a “wild, symbiotic whole” is just the monolithic concept created by civilization worded in a quasi-mystical way. “Wildness” continues to be a monolithic entity for these ecological mystics, a being greater than us, a god to whom we must submit. But submission is domestication. Submission is what keeps civilization going. The name of the ideology which enforces submission matters little — let it be “nature,” let it be the “wild, symbiotic whole.” The result will still be the continuation of domestication.

When wilderness is seen as having nothing to do with any monolithic concept, including “nature” or “wilderness,” when it is seen as the potential free spiritedness in individuals that could manifest at any moment, only then does it become a threat to civilization. Any of us could spend years in “the wilderness,” but if we continued to see what surrounded us through the lens of civilization, if we continued to see the myriads of beings monolithically as “nature,” as “wilderness,” as the “wild, symbiotic whole,” we’d still be civilized; we would not be wild. But if, in the midst of the city, we at any moment actively refuse our domestication, refuse to be dominated by the social roles that are forced upon us and instead live in terms of our passions, desires and whims, if we become the unique and unpredictable beings that lie hidden beneath the roles, we are, for that moment, wild. Playing fiercely among the ruins of a decaying civilization (but don’t be fooled, even in decay it is a dangerous enemy and capable of staggering on for a long time), we can do our damnedest to bring it tumbling down. And free-spirited rebels will reject the survivalism of ecology as just another attempt by civilization to suppress free life, and will strive to live the chaotic, ever-changing dance of freely relating, unique individuals in opposition both to civilization and to civilization’s attempt to contain wild, free-spirited living: “Nature.”

From “Anarchy: A Journal Of Desire Armed” Issue #29 Summer 1991.
Republished by Elephant Editions (London) 2000/2001 in the collection “Feral Revolution”

Radical Theory: A Wrecking Ball for Ivory Towers

It seems to have become a given among many anti-authoritarians that radical theory is an academic pursuit. On the one hand, there are the ideological activists who accuse anyone who attempts to critically analyze society or their own activities in a way that goes beyond the latest hip anarchist sloganeering of being armchair intellectuals or academics. On the other hand, there are those who supplement the income of their academic/intellectual professions by writing tracts criticizing society, the left or even their own professions, but in such abstract and insubstantial terms as to be meaningless in relation to their lives. These intellectuals “radicals” and anti-intellectual activists remain equally enslaved to society’s discourse. Radical theory is elsewhere.

Radical theory springs from the energy of insurgent desire first as a basic recognition that the social context in which we find ourselves impoverishes our lives. Because we have been educated not to think, but rather to have thoughts, it is very easy to fall from this basic recognition into accepting one or another “radical” ideology, mouthing the appropriate slogans and participating in mindless activism (better called reactivism) which jumps and dances for every cause and issue, but never attacks society at it’s root. I’ve heard “class war” anarchists (many of them from upper middle class backgrounds) justify such stupidity by declaring any attempts at more precise and critical thinking to be an expression of classist privilege — even when those making the attempts are high school dropout lumpen. But there is nothing radical about stupidity or “thinking” in slogans even when they’re anarchist slogans.

Radical theory is the attempt to understand the complex system of relationships which is society, how it reproduces itself and the individual as a part of itself, and how one can begin to undermine its control and take back one’s life in order to become a self-creative individual. It has no place in either the ivory tower of the academy or that of the mindless ideological (re)activism. It is rather an integral part of an active insurgence against society.

Having recognized that society impoverishes our lives, it is a very small step to realize that the simplistic sloganeering that is frequently passed off as radical thought is part of this impoverishment. It belittles us as individuals by substituting itself for thinking and imagination. “Smash authority” is a wonderful sentiment, but that’s all it is. It tells us nothing about the nature of authority, our relationship to it, its trajectories and tendencies or how we can go about destroying it. This is why those for whom this slogan is an adequate analysis of authority continues to repeat the same futile and insipid actions over and over again as signs of their resistance to authority, actions which have long since proven only to reinforce authority by creating easily confined rituals of pseudo-opposition which keep rebellion domesticated.

The small step which opens the possibility of thinking beyond slogans is an about-face, a reversal of perspective. If society impoverishes our lives, if it offers nothing worth having, then there is no reason for any of us to let this absurd system of relationships into which we have been integrated continue to determine how we view the world either by acceptance of its perspective or by reaction to it. Instead our attempts to create our lives as fully and intensely as possible, which will bring us into conflict with society, can be the basis for an ongoing analysis of society and our relationship to it that challenges and enhances our thinking and imaginations and stimulates an active insurgence against authority as it exists in the interactions that create our daily lives. This analysis can not be a static set of ideas and principles, because it is an integral part of a dialectic of thinking and living as an insurgent, self-creating individual. As such, it is an integral part of action, not a separate specialization. Written expressions of this analysis (which should not be mistaken for the analysis itself) require the development of a language that is very precise and very fluid, very pointed and very playful. I am very far from attaining this, but am trying to develop it. The language of the situationists (particularly Debord and Vaneigem in his SI days) was aiming for this. But those who prefer slogans to intensive analysis frequently accuse those attempting to develop such language of “intellectualism,” yet only by developing such a language can the expression of theory be wrested from intellectual specialists and made into an integral part of an active insurgence.

Radical theory is an aspect of a way of living which smashes all ivory towers. It exposes the theories that spill from the academic ivory towers as lifeless shams. It exposes the actions of the ideologues of activism as mindless reaction. To put it another way, theorists who aren’t living insurgent life say nothing that’s worth saying, and activists who refuse to think critically do nothing worth doing. Radical theory is thinking becoming sensually integrated into an insurgent life and learning, however slowly, to express itself with precision and fluidity. When developed it cuts like a well-honed knife.

From Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed #38 Fall 1993
republished by Elephant Editions (London) 2000/2001 in the collection “Feral Revolution”
reprinted in the pamphlet “The Iconoclast’s Hammer” by Venomous Butterfly Publications.

Insurgent Ferocity: The Playful Violence of Rebellion

“We don’t just talk about violence; it is our element, our everyday fate…the conditions we are forced to live in…”

Os Cangacieros

Social control is impossible without violence. Society produces systems of rationaized violence to socialize individuals — to make them into useful resources for society, while some of these systems, such as the military, the plolice and the penal system can still be viewed separately due to the blatant harshness of their violence, for the most part these systems have become so interconnected and so pervasive that they act as a single totality — the totality which is the society in which we live.

This systemic violence exists mostly as a constant underlying threat — a subtle, even boring, everyday terrorism which incuces a fear of stepping out of line. The signs and orders from “superiors” which threaten us with punishment or poverty, the armed, uniformed thugs who are there to “protect and serve” (huh!?!), the barrage of headlines about wars, torture, serial killers and streeet gangs, all immerse us in an atmosphere of subtle, underlying, rationalized social violence which causes us to fear and repress our own violent passions.

In light of the systematic social violence that surrounds us, it’s no surprise that people are fooled into viewing all violence as a single, monolithic entity rather than as specific acts or ways of relating. The system of violence produced by society does become a monolith which acts to perpetuate itself.

In reaction to this monolithic system of violence, the “pathology of pacifism” develops. Unable to see beyond social catagories, the pacifist creates a false dichotomy, limiting the question of violence to the ethical/intellectual choice between as acceptance of violence as a monolithic system or the total rejection of violence. But this choice exists only in the realm of worthless abstactions, because in the world in which we actually live, pacifism and systematic violence depend upon each other. Pacifism is an ideaology which demands total social peace as its ultimate goal. But total social peace would require the complete suppression of the individual passions that create individual incidences of violence — and that would require total social control. Total social control is only possible through the use of the constant threat of the police, prison, therapy, social censure, scarcity or war. So the pacifist ideal requires a monolithic system of violence and reflects the social contradiction inherent in the necessity that authority strive to maintain peace in order to maintain a smoothly running social system, but can only do so by maintaining a rationalized system of violence.

The rational system of violence not only perpetuates itself, but also evokes responses, often in the form of blind lashings out by enraged individuals, which the system then manipulates into justifications for its own continual existence, and occasionally in the form of consciously rebellious violence. The passionate violence that is suppressed turns in on the one feeling it, becoming the the slow-killing, underlying violence of stress and anxiety. It is evident in the millions of little pinpricks of humiliation that pass between people on the streets and in the public places of every city — looks of disgust and hostility between strangers, and the verbal battle of wits exchanging guilt and blame between supposed friends. This is the subtlest and most total form of rationalised violence; everyone conforms out of fear of each others’ disgust. This is the subtle form of violence practiced by pacifists.

“I do not dream of a gentle revolution. My passion runs to the violence of supersession, the ferocity of a life that renounces nothing.” —Raoul Vaneigem

Those of us who are fighting for the freedom to create our lives for ourselves need to reject both sides of the choice society offers between pacifism and systematic violence, because this choice is an attempt to socialize our rebellion. Instead we can create our own options, developing a playful and passionate chaos of action and relating which may express itself at times with intense and ferocious violence, at times with the gentlest tenderness, or whatever way our passions and whims move us in the particular moment. Both the rejection of violence and the systemization of violence are an attack on our passions and uniqueness.

Violence is an aspect of animal interaction and observation of violence among animals belies several generalizations. Violence among animals does not fit into the formula of social darwinism; there is no perpetual war of all against all. Rather at specific moments under particular circumstances, individual acts of violence flare up and then fade when the moments pass. There is no systematic violence in the wild, but, instead, momentary expressions of specific passions. This exposes one of the major fallacies of pacifist ideology. Violence, in itself, does not perpetuate violence. The social system of rationalized violence, of which pacifism is an integral part, perpetuates itself as a system.

Against the system of violence, a non-systematized, passionate, playful violence is the appropriate response. Violent play is very common among animals and children. Chasing, wrestling and pouncing upon a playmate, breaking, smashing and tearing apart things are all aspects of play that is free of rules. The conscious insurgent plays this way as well, but with real targets and with the intention of causing real damage. The targets of this ferocious play in the present society would mainly be institutions, commodities, social roles and cultural icons, but the human representatives of these institutions can also be targets — especially where they present an immediate threat to anyone’s freedom to create their life as they desire.

Rebellion has never been merely a matter of self-defense. In itself, self-defense is probably best achieved by accepting the status quo of its reform. Rebellion is the aggressive, dangerous, playful attack by free-spirited individuals against society. Refusing a system of violence, refusing an organized, militarized form of armed struggle, allows the violence of insurgents to retain a high level of invisibility. It cannot be readily understood by the authorities and brought under their control. Its insurgent nature may even go undetected by the authorities as it eats away at the foundations of social control. From the rationalized perspective of authority, this playful violence will often appear utterly random, but actually is in harmony with the desires of the insurgent. This playful violence of rebellion kills “inadvertently as (one) strides out happily without looking back.”

The playful violence of insurgence has no room for regret. Regret weakens the force of blows and makes us cautious and timid. But regret only comes in when violence is dealt with as a moral question, and for insurgents who are fighting for the freedom to live their desires; morality is just another form of social control. Wherever rebel violence has manifested playfully, regret seems absurd. In riots (other than police riots) and spontaneous uprisings — as well as in small-scale vandalism — a festive attitude seems to be evident. There is an intense joy, even euphoria, in the release of violent passions that have been pent up for so long. Bashing in the skull of society as we experience it on a daily basis is an intense pleasure, and one to be savored, not repudiated in shame, guilt or regret. Some may object that such an attitude could cause our violence to get out of hand, but an excess of insurgent violence is not something that we need to fear. As we break down our repression and begin to free our passions, certainly our gestures, our actions and our entire way of being are bound to become increasingly expansive and all we do we will seem to do to excess. our generosity will seem excessive and our violence will seem excessive. Unrepressed, expansive individuals squander in all things. Riots and insurrections have failed to get beyond temporary release, not because of excess, but because people hold themselves back. People have not trusted their passions. They have feared the expansiveness, the squandering excess of their own dreams and desires. So they have given up or turned their fight over to new authorities, new systemizers of violence. But how can insurgent violence ever be truly excessive when there is no institution of social control, no aspect of authority, no icon of culture that should not be smashed to powder — and that geefully?

If what we want is a world in which each of us can create our own lives free of constraints, relating with each other as we desire rather than in accordance with socially defined roles, we have to recognize that, at times, violence will flare and that there is nothing wrong with that. Fullness of the passions includes full and expansive expressions of hatred and rage — and these are violent emotions. Though this violence can be used tactically it will not be systematic. Though it can be intelligent, it will not be rationalized. And under no circumstances is it self-perpetuating, because it is individual and temporary, spending itself fully in its free, passionate expression. Neither moralistic non-violence nor the systematic violence of military struggle can break down authority since both require some form of authority. Only the expansive and passionate violence of insurgent individuals playing alone or with each other has any chance of destroying this society…

Forward everyone!
And with arms and hearts,
Speech and pen, Dagger and rifle,
Irony and blasphemy,
Theft, poisoning and fire,
Let us make…war on society.Dejaque

from “Anarchy: A Journal Of Desire Armed” Issue #33 Summer 1992
republished by Elephant Editions (London) 2000/2001 in the collection “Feral Revolution”
reprinted in the pamphlet “The Iconoclast’s Hammer” by Venomous Butterfly Publications.

Social Transformation — or the abolition of society

“Society…1. a group of persons who have the same customs, beliefs, etc. or live under a common government and who are thought of as forming a single community… 3. all people, when thought of as forming a community in which each person is partly dependent on all the rest” Webster’s New World Dictionary

Nothing we “know” can be assumed to be true — none of our conceptions of the world are sacred and we would do well to question them all. Many anarchists talk about creating a “new” or “free” society. But few question the idea of society itself. The conception of society is amorphous — and so more difficult to deal with than particular aspects of it like government, religion, capitalism or technology. It is so ingrained in us that questioning it feels like questioning our very nature — which makes it all the more necessary to question it. Freeing ourselves from the character armor that represses our desires and passions may very well demand, not merely the transformation of society, but its abolition. The dictionary definitions above show society to be a single entity made up of individuals who are in a condition of (at least potential) dependency upon each other — which is to say, who are not complete in themselves. I see society as a system of relationships between beings who are acting (or being treated) as social roles in order to reproduce the system and themselves as social individuals.

The dependency of social individuals is not the same as the biological dependency of infants. Biological dependency ends once the child achieves adequate mobility and hand-and-eye coordination (in about five years). But in those five years, the social relationships of the family repress children’s desires, instill fear of the world into them and so submerge the potential for full, free, creative individuality beneath the layers of armoring which are the social individual, beneath the psychic dependency which makes us cling desperately to each other while we despise each other. All social relationships have their basis in the incompleteness produced by the repression of our passions and desires. Their basis is our need for each other, not our desire for each other. We are using each other. So every social relationship is an employer/employee relationship, which is why they seem always, to one extent or another, to become adversarial — whether through joking put-downs, bickering or full-fledged fighting. How can we help but despise those we use and hate those who use us?

Society cannot exist apart from social roles — this is why the family and education in some form are essential parts of society. The social individual doesn’t play only one social role — but melds together many roles which create the character armor which is mistaken for “individuality.”

Social roles are ways in which individuals are defined by the whole system of relationships that is society in order to reproduce society. They make individuals useful to society by making them predictable, by defining their activities in terms of the needs of society. Social roles are work — in the broad sense of activity that reproduces the production/consumption cycle. Society is thus the domestication of human beings — the transformation of potentially creative, playful, wild beings who can relate freely in terms of their desires into deformed beings using each other to try to meet desperate needs, but succeeding only at reproducing the need and the system of relationships based on it.

“A pox on all captivity, even should it be in the interest of the universal good, even in Montezuma’s garden of precious stones.” Andre Breton

Free-spirited individuals have no interest in seriously relating as social roles. Predictable, predetermined relationships bore us and we have no desire to continue to reproduce them. It is true that they offer some security, stability and (luke-)warmth…but at such expense! Rather, we want freedom to relate in terms of our unrepressed desires, the opening of all possibilities, the raging fire of our passions unbound. And such a life lies outside any system of predictable, predetermined relationships.

Society offers safety, but it does so by eradicating the risk that is essential to free play and adventure. It offers us survival — in exchange for our lives. For the survival it offers us is survival as social individuals — as beings who are composites of social roles, alienated from their passions and desires — involved in social relationships to which we are addicted, but which never satisfy.

A world of free relating among unrepressed individuals would be a world free of society. All interactions would be determined immediately. All by the individuals involved, in terms of their desires — not by the necessities of a social system. We would tend to amaze, delight, enrage each other, to evoke real passion rather than mere boredom, complacency, disgust, or security. Every encounter would have a potential for marvelous adventure which cannot fully exist where most relating is in the form of social relationships. So rather than remain captive in this “garden of precious stones” called society, I choose to struggle to abolish society — and that has several implications as to how I understand “revolution” (for want of a better term).

The struggle to transform society is always a struggle for power, because its goal is to gain control over the system of relationships that is society (a goal which I see as unrealistic since this system is now mostly beyond anyone’s control). As such, it cannot be an individual struggle. It requires mass or class activity. Individuals have to define themselves as social beings in this struggle, suppressing any individual desires which do not fit in to the. “greater” goal of social transformation.

The struggle to abolish society is a struggle to abolish power. It is essentially the struggle of individuals to live free of social roles and rules, to live out their desires passionately, to live out all the most marvelous things they can imagine. Group projects and struggles are part of this, but they grow from the ways in which the desires of the individuals can enhance each other, and will dissolve when they begin to stifle the individuals. The path of this struggle cannot be mapped out because its basis is the confrontation between the desires of the free-spirited individual and the demands of society. But analyses of the ways in which society molds us and of the failures and successes of past rebellions are possible.

The tactics used against society are as many as the individuals involved, but all share the aim of undermining social control and conditioning, and freeing the individual’s desires and passions. The unpredictability of humor and playfulness are essential, evoking a Dionysian chaos. Playing with social roles in ways that undermine their usefulness to society, that turn them on their head, making toys of them is a worthy practice. But most importantly, let us confront society with ourselves, with our unique desires and passions, with the attitude that we are not going to give in to it, or center our activities around it, but are going to live on our own terms.

Society is not a neutral force. Social relationships only exist by the suppression of the real desires and passions of individuals, by the repression of all that makes free relating possible. Society is domestication, the transformation of individuals into use value and of free play into work. Free relating among individuals who refuse and resist their domestication undermines all society, and opens all possibilities. And to those who feel that they can achieve freedom through a merely social revolution, lend with these words of Renzo Navatore:

“You are waiting for the revolution? Let it be! My own began a long time ago! When you will be ready…I won’t mind going along with you for a while. But when you’ll stop, I shall continue on my insane and triumphant way toward the great and sublime conquest of the nothing!”

From “Anarchy: A Journal Of Desire Armed” Issue #25 Summer 1990, Republished by Elephant Editions (London) 2000/2001 in the collection “Feral Revolution”. Reprinted in the pamphlet “The Iconoclast’s Hammer” by Venomous Butterfly Publications.

The Cops In Our Heads: Some thoughts on anarchy and morality

In my travels over the past several months, I have talked with many anarchists who conceive of anarchy as a moral principle. Some go so far as to speak of anarchy as though it were a deity to whom they had given themselves—reinforcing my feeling that those who really want to experience anarchy may need to divorce themselves from anarchism.

The most frequent of the moral conceptions of anarchy I heard defined anarchy as a principled refusal to use force to impose one’s will on others. This conception has implications which I cannot accept. It implies that domination is mainly a matter of personal moral decisions rather than of social roles and relationships, that all of us are equally in a position to exercise domination and that we need to exercise self-discipline to prevent ourselves from doing so. If domination is a matter of social roles and social relationships, this moral principle is utterly absurd, being nothing more than a way of separating the politically correct (the elect) from the politically incorrect (the damned). This definition of anarchy places anarchic rebels in a position of even greater weakness in an already lopsided struggle against authority. All forms of violence against people or property, general strikes, theft and even such tame activities as civil disobedience constitute a use of force to impose one’s will. To refuse to use force to impose one’s will is to become totally passive—to become a slave. This conception of anarchy makes it a rule to control our lives, and that is an oxymoron.

The attempt to make a moral principle of anarchy distorts its real significance. Anarchy describes a particular type of situation, one in which either authority does not exist or its power to control is negated. Such a situation guarantees nothing—not even the continued existence of that situation, but it does open up the possibility for each of us to start creating our lives for ourselves in terms of our own desires and passions rather than in terms of social roles and the demands of social order. Anarchy is not the goal of revolution; it is the situation which makes the only type of revolution that interests me possible —an uprising of individuals to create their lives for themselves and destroy what stands in their way. It is a situation free of any moral implications, presenting to each of us the amoral challenge to live our lives without constraints.

Since the anarchic situation is amoral, the idea of an anarchist morality is highly suspect. Morality is a system of principles defining what constitutes right and wrong behavior. It implies some absolute outside of individuals by which they are to define themselves, a commonality of all people that makes certain principles applicable to everyone.

I don’t wish to deal with the concept of the “commonality of all people” in this article: My present point is that whatever morality is based upon, it always stands outside of and above the living individual. Whether the basis or morality is god, patriotism, common humanity, production needs, natural law, “the Earth,” anarchy, or even “the individual” as a principle, it is always an abstract ideal that rules over US. Morality is a form of authority and will be undermined by an anarchic situation as much as any other authority if that situation is to last.

Morality and judgment go hand in hand. Criticism—even harsh, cruel criticism—is essential to honing our rebellious analysis and practice, but judgment needs to be utterly eradicated. Judgment categorizes people as guilty or not guilty—and guilt is one of the most powerful weapons of repression. When we judge and condemn ourselves or anyone else, we are suppressing rebellion—that is the purpose of guilt. (This does not mean that we “shouldn’t” hate, or wish to kill anyone—it would be absurd to create an “amoral” morality, but our hatred needs to be recognized as a personal passion and not defined in moral terms.) Radical critique grows from the real experiences, activities, passions and desires of individuals and aims at liberating rebelliousness. Judgment springs from principles and ideals that stand above us; it aims at enslaving us to those ideals. Where anarchic situations have arisen, judgment has often temporarily disappeared, freeing people of guilt— as in certain riots where people of all sorts looted together in a spirit of joy in spite of having been taught all of their lives to respect property. Morality requires guilt; freedom requires the elimination of guilt.

A dadaist once said, “Being governed by morals… has made it impossible for us to be anything other than passive toward the policeman; this is the source of our slavery.” Certainly, morality is a source of passivity. I have heard of several situations in which fairly large-scale anarchic situations started to develop and have experienced minor ones, but in each of these situations, the energy dissipated and most participants returned to the non-lives they’d lived before the uprisings. These events show that, in spite of the extent to which social control permeates all of our waking (and much of our sleeping) lives, we can break out. But the cops in our heads—the morality, guilt and fear—have to be dealt with. Every moral system, no matter what claims it makes to the contrary, places limits on the possibilities available to us, constraints upon our desires; and these limits are not based on our actual capabilities, but on abstract ideas that keep us from exploring the full extent of our capabilities. When anarchic situations have arisen in the past, the cops in peoples’ heads—the ingrained fear, morality and guilt—have frightened people, keeping them tame enough to retreat back into the safety of their cages, and the anarchic situation disappeared.

This is significant because anarchic situations don’t just pop out of nowhere—they spring from the activities of people frustrated with their lives. It is possible for each of us at any moment to create such a situation. Often this would be tactically foolish, but the possibility is there. Yet we all seem to wait patiently for anarchic situations to drop from the sky— and when they do explode forth, we can’t keep them going. Even those of us who have consciously rejected morality find ourselves hesitating, stopping to examine each action, fearing the cops even when there are no external cops around. Morality, guilt and fear of condemnation act as cops in our heads, destroying our spontaneity, our wildness, our ability to live our lives to the full.

The cops in our heads will continue to suppress our rebelliousness until we learn to take risks. I don’t mean that we have to be stupid—jail is not an anarchic or liberatory situation, but without risk, there is no adventure, no life. Self-motivated activity—activity that springs from our passions and desires, not from attempts to conform to certain principles and ideals or to blend in to any group (including “anarchists”)—is what can create a situation of anarchy, what can open up a world of possibilities limited only by our capabilities. To learn to freely express our passions—a skill earned only by doing it—is essential. When we feel disgust, anger, joy, desire, sadness, love, hatred, we need to express them. It isn’t easy. More often than not, I find myself falling into the appropriate social role in situations where I want to express something different. I’ll go into a store feeling disgust for the whole process of economic relationships, and yet politely thank the clerk for putting me through just that process. Were I doing this consciously, as a cover for shoplifting; it would be fun, using my wits to get what I want; but it is an ingrained social response—a cop in my head. I am improving; but I have a hell of a long way to go. Increasingly, I try to act on my whims, my spontaneous urges without caring about what others think of me. This is a self-motivated activity—the activity that springs from our passions and desires, from our suppressed imaginations, our unique creativity. Sure, following our subjectivity this way, living our lives for ourselves, can lead us to make mistakes, but never mistakes comparable to the mistake of accepting the zombie existence that obedience to authority, morality, rules or higher powers creates. Life without risks, without the possibility of mistakes, is no life at all. Only by taking the risk of defying all authority and living for ourselves will we ever live life to the full.

I want no constraints on my life; I want the opening of all possibilities so that I can create my life for myself—at every moment. This means breaking down all social roles and destroying all morality. When an anarchist or any other radical starts preaching their moral principles at me—whether non-coercion, deep ecology, communism, militantism or even ideologically-required “pleasure”—I hear a cop or a priest, and I have no desire to deal with people as cops or priests, except to defy them. I am struggling to create a situation in which I can live freely, being all that I desire to be, in a world of free individuals with whom I can relate in terms of our desires without constraints. I have enough cops in my head—as well as those out on the streets—to deal with without having to deal with the cops of “anarchist” or radical morality as well. Anarchy and morality are opposed to each other, and any effective opposition to authority will need to oppose morality and eradicate the cops in our heads.

From Anarchy: A Journal Of Desire Armed #24, March-April 1990.
Republished by Elephant Editions (London) 2000/2001 in the collection “Feral Revolution”.
Reprinted in the pamphlet “The Quest for the Spiritual” by Venomous Butterfly Publications.

The Quest for the Spiritual: A Basis for a Radical Analysis of Religion

This civilized, technological, commodity culture in which we live is a wasteland. For most people, most of the time, life is dull and empty, lacking vibrancy, adventure, passion and ecstasy. It’s no surprise that many people search beyond the realm of their normal daily existence for something more. It is in this light that we need to understand the quest for the spiritual.

Of course, many, if not most, religious people are not really questing for anything. Religion provides them with dogmas, easy answers which allow them to stop thinking, feeling or acting for themselves. I feel nothing but disgust for their mindless, dogmatic spirituality and will deal no further with it. It is rather with sincere spiritual questing that I wish to deal.

I was raised a fundamentalist Christian, so I have first-hand experience of one of the most repressive forms of religion. A few—though very few—fundamentalists are truly questing for something more. I was one of these. I questioned, I probed, I sought for the intense depth of passion that this religion promised but that its practitioners rarely manifested. I decided to study for the ministry, not because I wanted to be a minister, but because I hoped to gain a greater understanding of the spiritual. During my studies, I left my fundamentalism behind, embracing a Christian mysticism which combined aspects of pentecostalism, Tolstoyan anarcho-pacifism and non-violent millenarian revolutionism.

In order to better live this “radical Christianity,” I dropped out of college and wandered around the country visiting “radical Christian” communes. I finally settled in a commune in Washington, D.C., because they really seemed to be doing something. Within a few months, my attempts to live my faith came to a head. I was putting all my strength and energy into actively expressing the “radical” self-sacrifice that I believed would transform the world into the kingdom of god. Twelve hours a day, I worked on a project designed to help poor ghetto-dwellers create a housing cooperative in which they would collectively own and control their housing. My energy gave out. When I called on god to help me, he wasn’t there to answer. When I was most dedicated to him, the god I had trusted all my life failed me. As a result, I had a nervous breakdown and went through several months of severe depression. What finally brought me out of it was recognizing that there was no god, there was no reason to expend myself in absurd self-sacrifice and my energy would be best used in creating my own life.

My rejection of Christianity and god first took the form of a crass mechanistic materialism, but someone who had so passionately pursued the spiritual could never be satisfied with a dead mechanistic view of reality. So I dissected Christianity—my two and a half years of theological studies was useful in this—and compared and contrasted other religions. I already knew that Christianity was dualistic, dividing reality into spirit and matter. I discovered that this dualism was common to all religions with the possible exceptions of some forms of Taoism and Buddhism. I also discovered something quite insidious about the flesh/spirit dichotomy. Religion proclaims the realm of spirit to be the realm of freedom, of creativity, of beauty, of ecstasy, of joy, of wonder, of life itself. In contrast, the realm of matter is the realm of dead mechanical activity, of grossness, of work, of slavery, of suffering, of sorrow. The earth, the creatures on it, even our own bodies were impediments to our spiritual growth, or at best, tools to be exploited. What a perfect ideological justification for the exploitative activities of civilization.

But I don’t believe religion necessarily developed purely as a way of justifying exploitation. Much more likely is that as exploitation immiserated the lives of people, the ecstatic joy of wild existence and of the flesh unrepressed became fainter and fainter memories until at last they seemed to be not of this world at all. This world was the world of travail (from the Latin root word which gives all the Romance languages their word for work) and sorrow. Joy and ecstasy had to be of another realm—the realm of spirit. Early religion is wildly orgiastic, clearly reflecting the lost way of life for which people longed. But by separating this wild abandon into the realm of spirit, which is in reality just a realm of abstract ideas with no concrete existence, religion made itself the handmaiden of civilized, domesticated culture. So it is no surprise that in time shamans evolved into priests who were functionaries of the state.

Religion—which started as an attempt, clearly flawed, to regain the ecstasy of unconstrained pleasure—as the hand- maiden of authority had to take a different stance toward pleasure. For the most part, religion has declared pleasure to be gross, evil, or a distraction from “higher” spiritual pursuits. Present pleasure was to be repressed for a future paradise. A few schools of religious thought took a different tactic. Since pleasure could so clearly induce ecstasy, these schools said that it was fine to practice these activities as long as it was done in the right way, at the right time, for purely spiritual purposes. The spontaneous, playful expressions of pleasure were strongly discouraged as they distracted from the spiritual expressions of these practices. The puritanism and productivist orientation to pleasure in some tantric and sexmagickal texts is astounding. In these spiritual practices, pleasure is subverted from its natural course in which it would create a world of free play and is transformed into spiritual work.

The rejection of religion in recent centuries has mainly taken the form of crass, mechanistic materialism. But this is not truly a rejection of religion. This form of materialism still accepts the matter/spirit dichotomy—but then proclaims that spirit does not exist. Thus, freedom, creativity, beauty, ecstasy, life as something more than mere mechanical existence are utterly eradicated from the world. Mechanistic materialism is the ideology of religion updated to fit the needs of industrial capitalism. For industrial capitalism requires not only a deadened, dispirited earth, but deadened, dispirited human beings who can be made into cogs in a vast machine.

But there have been other rebellions against religious ideology. I am most familiar with those that arose in Christian Europe. In their most radical expressions, the Free Spirits, the Adamites and the Ranters utterly rejected the flesh/spirit dichotomy, claimed paradise for the earth in the present, claimed divinity for themselves as physical beings and rejected the concept of sin and absolute morality. At their best, they were radically anti-religious. They used religious language in a way that turned religion on its head and undermined its basis. It seems that these anti-religious radicals weren’t aware of the full implications of what they were doing, and because of that their rebellion was recuperated where it wasn’t simply wiped out.

Industrial capitalism and its attendant ideology, mechanistic materialism, have drained the life and beauty from our experience of the world. We have been taught to distrust our own experience and to accept as “knowledge” the word of authority as found in textbooks, heard in lectures or poured into us by television or other media. And the picture of reality we are spoonfed is so joyless, so lacking in passion, that if there is any feeling left in us, we must have something more. Because religion has usurped the passion from the world, its language is often quite passionate, ecstatic, even erotic. It certainly sounds like the place to look for the depth of feeling and wild creativity for which we long. In my own explorations, I experimented with mystical practices and magical ritual. And both within the context of these experiments and outside of that context in wilderness areas, I have had experiences which don’t fit into the framework of a mechanistic materialist worldview. Certainly, religion could provide a framework for those experiences.

But, ultimately, religion fails to meet “spiritual” needs. It fails because it declares those needs to be spiritual—of a nonworldly realm—and so cannot deal with their roots. For it is civilization with its need to exploit the earth, and most especially industrial civilization for which even humans must become mere cogs in a huge machine, that drains our lives of beauty, of creativity, of passion, of ecstasy. William Blake said, “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is: infinite.” And I know our senses can be doors to vast worlds of wonder. I have experienced as much. But our senses have been bound to the needs of production and consumption, and so made incapable of experiencing the vibrant life that is the physical world on a moment-to-moment basis.

Religion claims to give us back the freedom, the creativity, the passionate fullness of life that was stolen from us, but, in fact, is part of the conspiracy to keep this fullness from us. In relegating creativity, passion, freedom and ecstasy to the realm of the spiritual, religion safely takes them out of the realm of daily life and puts them in their “proper” place where they cannot become a threat to civilization—the realm of ritual and ceremony. My own experiments with magic and mystical practice taught me something interesting. When I looked back on my experiences without putting them in any sort of ideological context—and without religious metaphors to obscure what was really going on, I realized that everyone of these experiences was a physical, bodily, sensual experience, not an experience in some sort of “spiritual” realm. But it was an experience of the senses free of their ideological, civilized chains. I was momentarily experiencing the world as a wild being, without mediation. It’s interesting to note that the metaphor that I have found most useful in describing these experiences is the lycanthropic metaphor—I felt that I had turned into some non-human creature. Civilization has become so much a part of our definition of the human, that our minds seem to view experiences of uncivilized sensuality as experiences of inhuman sensuality. When religion defines these experiences, it destroys their sensuality and wildness, denies their bodily nature, and so civilizes them. Eventually, they fade. Religion ceases to be orgiastic and turns dogmatic—and to those with any perception it becomes clear that religion is incapable of fulfilling its promise.

The revolutionary project must certainly include the end of religion—but not in the form of a simplistic acceptance of mechanistic materialism. Rather, we must seek to awaken our senses to the fullness of life that is the material world. We must oppose both religion and mechanistic materialism with a vibrant, passionate, living materialism. We must storm the citadel of religion and reclaim the freedom, the creativity, the passion and the wonder that religion has stolen from our earth and our lives. In order to do this we will have to understand what needs and desires religion speaks to and how it fails to fulfill them. I have attempted to express some of my own explorations so that we can carry on the project of creating ourselves as free, wild beings. The project of transforming the world into a realm of sensual joy and pleasure by destroying the civilization that has stolen the fullness of life from us.

From Anarchy: A Journal Of Desire Armed #17, Fall/Winter 1988.
Republished by Elephant Editions (London) 2000/2001 in the collection “Feral Revolution”
Reprinted in the pamphlet “The Quest for the Spiritual” by Venomous Butterfly Publications.

The Ideology of Victimization

In New Orleans, just outside the French Quarter, there’s a bit of stenciled graffiti on a fence that reads: “Men Rape.” I used to pass by this nearly every day. The first time I saw this, it pissed me off because I knew the graffitist would define me as a ‘man’ and I have never desired to rape anyone. Nor have any of my bepenised friends. But, as I encounter this spray-painted dogma every day, the reasons for my anger changed. I recognized this dogma as a litany for the feminist version of the ideology of victimization — an ideology which promotes fear, individual weakness (and subsequently dependence on ideologically based support groups and paternalistic protection from the authorities) and a blindness to all realities and interpretations of experience that do not conform to one’s view of oneself as a victim.

I don’t deny that there is some reality behind the ideology of victimization. No ideology could work if it had no basis whatsoever in reality. As Bob Black has said, “We are all adult children of parents.” We have all spent our entire lives in a society which is based on the repression and exploitation of our desires, our passions, and our individuality, but it is surely absurd to embrace defeat by defining ourselves in terms of our victimization.

As a means of social control, social institutions reinforce the feeling of victimization in each of us while focusing these feelings in directions that reinforce dependence on social institutions. The media bombards us with tales of crime, political and corporate corruption, racial and gender strife, scarcity and war. While these tales often have a basis in reality, they are presented quite clearly to reinforce fear. But many of us doubt the media, and so are served up a whole slew of ‘radical’ ideologies—all containing a grain of real perception, but all blind to whatever does not fit into their ideological structure. Each one of these ideologies reinforces the ideology of victimization and focuses the energy of individuals away from an examination of society in its totality and of their role in reproducing it. Both the media and all versions of ideological radicalism reinforce the idea that we are victimized by that which is ‘outside’, by the Other, and that social structures—the family, the cops, the law, therapy and support groups, education, ‘radical’ organizations or anything else that can reinforce a sense of dependence—are there to protect us. If society did not produce these mechanisms — including the structures of false, ideological, partial opposition — to protect itself, we might just examine society in its totality and come to recognize its dependence upon our activity to reproduce it. Then, every chance we get, we might refuse our roles as dependent/victim of society. But the emotions, attitudes, and modes of thought evoked by the ideology of victimization make such a reversal of perspective very difficult.

In accepting the ideology of victimization in any form, we choose to live in fear. The person who painted the “Men Rape” graffiti was most likely a feminist, a woman who saw her act as a radical defiance of patriarchal oppression. But such proclamations, in fact, merely add to a climate of fear that already exists. Instead of giving women, as individuals a feeling of strength, it reinforces the idea that women are essentially victims, and women who read this graffiti, even if they consciously reject the dogma behind it, probably walk the streets more fearfully. The ideology of victimization that permeates so much feminist discourse can also be found in some form in gay liberation, racial/national liberation, class war and damn near every other ‘radical’ ideology. Fear of an actual, immediate, readily identified threat to an individual can motivate intelligent action to eradicate the threat, but the fear created by the ideology of victimization is a fear of forces both too large and too abstract for the individual to deal with. It ends up becoming a climate of fear, suspicion and paranoia which makes the mediations which are the network of social control seem necessary and even good.

It is this seemingly overwhelming climate of fear that creates the sense of weakness, the sense of essential victimhood, in individuals. While it is true that various ideological “liberationists” often bluster with militant rage, it rarely gets beyond to that point of really threatening anything. Instead, they ‘demand’ (read “militantly beg”) that those they define as their oppressors grant them their ‘liberation’. An example of this occurred at the 1989 “Without Borders” anarchist gathering in San Francisco. There is no question that at most workshops I went to, men tended to talk more than women. But no one was stopping women from speaking, and I didn’t notice any lack of respect being show for women who did speak. Yet, at the public microphone in the courtyard of the building where the gathering was held, a speech was made in which it proclaimed that ‘men’ were dominating the discussions and keeping ‘women’ from speaking. The orator ‘demanded’ (again, read “militantly begged”) that men make sure that they gave women space to speak. In other words, to grant the ‘rights’ of the oppressed—an attitude which, by implication, accepts the role of man as oppressor and woman as victim. There were workshops where certain individuals did dominate the discussions, but a person who is acting from the strength of their individuality will deal with such a situation by immediately confronting it as it occurs and will deal with the people involved as individuals. The need to put such situations into an ideological context and to rent the individuals involved as social roles, turning the real, immediate experience into abstract categories is a sign that one has chosen to be weak, to be a victim. And embracing weakness puts one in the absurd position of having to beg one’s oppressor to grant one’s liberation—guaranteeing that one will never be free to be anything but a victim.

Like all ideologies, the varieties of the ideology of victimization are forms of fake consciousness. Accepting the social role of victim—in whatever one of its many forms—is choosing to not even create one’s life for oneself or to explore one’s real relationships to the social structures. All of the partial liberation movements—feminism, gay liberation, racial liberation, workers movements and so on—define individuals in terms of their social roles. Because of this, these movements not only do not include a reversal of perspectives which breaks down social roles and allows individuals to create a praxis built on their own passions and desires; they actually work against such a reversal of perspective. The ‘liberation’ of a social role to which the individual remains subject. But the essence of these social roles within the framework of these ‘liberation’ ideologies is victimhood. So the litanies of wrongs suffered must be sung over and over to guarantee the ‘victims’ never forget that is what they are. These ‘radical’ liberation movements help to guarantee that the climate of fear never disappears, and that individuals continue to see themselves weak and to see their strength as lying in the social roles which are, in fact, the source of their victimization. In this way, these movements and ideologies act to prevent the possibility of a potent revolt against all authority and all social roles.

True revolt is never safe. Those who choose to define themselves in terms of their role as a victim do not dare to try total revolt, because it would threaten the safety of their roles. But, as Nietzsche said: “The secret of the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment of existence is to live dangerously!” Only a conscious rejection of the ideology of victimization, a refusal to live in fear and weakness, and an acceptance of the strength of our own passions and desires, of ourselves as individuals who are greater than, and so capable of living beyond, all social roles, can provide a basis for total rebellion against society. Such a rebellion is certainly fueled, in part, by rage, but not the strident, resentful, frustrated rage of the victim which motivates feminists, racial liberationists, gay liberationists and the like to ‘demand’ their ‘rights’ from the authorities. Rather it is the rage of our desires unchained, the return of the repressed in full force and undisguised. But more essentially, total revolt is fueled by a spirit of free play and of joy in adventure—by a desire to explore every possibility for intense life which society tries to deny us. For all of us who want to live fully and without constraint, the time is past when we can tolerate living like shy mice inside the walls. Every form of the ideology of victimization moves us to live as shy mice. Instead, let’s be crazed & laughing monsters, joyfully tearing down the walls of society and creating lives of wonder and amazement for ourselves.

First appeared in “Anarchy: A Journal Of Desire Armed” issue #32, Spring 1992, and again in “Anarchy” issue #55 Spring/Summer 2003. Republished by Elephant Editions (London) 2000/2001 in the collection “Feral Revolution”. Reprinted in the pamphlet “The Iconoclast’s Hammer” by Venomous Butterfly Publications.

To Have Done With the Economy Of Love

“Love of all things is integral beauty; it has no hate or possessiveness…. So accept love wherever you may find it: It is difficult to recognize because it never asks.” —Austin Osman Spare

Sexual love, erotic pleasure, is the source of boundless ecstasy, the expression of the infinite divinity of our bodies. It is the very creative energy of the cosmos. When this energy flows through us unchecked, we come to be in love, to desire to share erotic pleasure with the entire cosmos. But only rarely do we experience this boundless energy. Within the bounds of commodity culture, love too is a commodity. An economy of love has developed, and that economy destroys the free flow of pleasure.

The economy of love can only exist because love has been made a scarcity. As infants, we are wild, divine lovers in love with ourselves and with all other beings. But parents steal this from us. They deny the sexual nature of their love for the child and sell expressions of love in exchange for acceptable behavior. They punish or reprimand us for blatantly sexual behavior, calling it bad. They judge us and so teach us to judge ourselves. Instead of loving ourselves, we feel obliged to prove ourselves—and fail often enough to never feel sure of ourselves. Love ceases to be a free gift to the cosmos and becomes a very scarce, high-priced commodity for which we must compete.

The competition for economized love changes us. We lose our spontaneity, our free and playful self-expression. It doesn’t do to act as we truly feel. We must make ourselves desirable. If we are good-looking by cultural standards, we have a big advantage, for appearance is a major part of what makes a desirable sexual commodity. But there are other useful traits—strength, sexual prowess, “good taste,” intelligence, sparkling wit. And, of course, knowledge of how to play the social-sexual games. The better actor wins at these games. Knowing how to put across the right image, knowing just what role to play in what situation—this will buy you economized love. But at the expense of losing yourself.

Few people have both physical attractiveness and adeptness at playing the social-sexual games. So we are left without love except on very rare occasions. It is no surprise that when these occasions arise we do not let them flow naturally, but seek to hold on to them, to extend them. When love is economized, it no longer lends itself to free relating, because the flowing away of a particular lover has come to mean the end of love itself. Instead of relating freely, we seek to build relationships — making relating permanent, hardening it into a system of exchange in which lovers continue to sell love to each other until, at some point, one of them feels cheated or finds an economic relationship because of the fear of losing love — and having to go through the whole process of earning love all over again.

And relationships—being an expression of economized love—are usually supposed to be monogamous. We do not want to lose our lover to another. If we do not agree to only sell our love to each other, might not our lover find a better product, a lover they prefer to us, and leave us? And so the fears induced by the scarcity of love help to create institutions that reinforce that scarcity.

Some people don’t choose the way of relationships. They want to prove themselves to be truly desirable commodities. So they become sexual conquistadors. They want to rack up a high score in the arena of sexual conquest. They don’t care about sharing pleasure. They just want to create an image. And those who fuck them do it for the status as well. For these people, the ecstasy of total sharing has been lost completely to the economy of love. It is the score and only the score that counts. In order to make the commodities more valuable, the economy of love has created sexual specialization. Of course, the cultural emphasis on masculinity or femininity over our natural androgyny is the foremost aspect of this. But the labels of sexual preference, when made permanent self-definitions, are also a part of this. By defining ourselves as gay or straight or bisexual, as child lover or fetishist or any other limited form, rather than letting our desires flow freely, we are making a specialized product of ourselves and so reinforcing the scarcity of love.

When love becomes a commodity it ceases to be real love, for Eros cannot be chained. Love must flow freely and easily without price and without expectations. When love is economized, it ceases to exist, because the lovers cease to exist. Since we must become desirable products, we repress our real selves in order to take on the roles which our culture teaches us will make us desirable. So it is mask kissing mask, image caressing image—but no real lovers to be found anywhere.

If we are to experience the infinite energy of sexual love, the wild divinity of our bodies in ecstasy, then we must free ourselves of the economy of love. We have to throw off every aspect of this lifeless shell that our culture passes off as love. For nowhere in its realms can the wild joys of boundless pleasure be experienced.

But to break free of the economy of love, love must cease to be a scarcity for us. While the wild cosmos abounds with lovers, commodity culture has stolen this from us. So we are left with one way to free ourselves of love’s scarcity. We need to learn to love ourselves, to find ourselves such a source of pleasure that we fall in love with ourselves. After all, is not my body the source of the pleasure I feel in love? Are not my flesh, my nerves, my tingling skin the vast galaxies in which this boundless energy flows? When we learn to be in love with ourselves, to find ourselves a source of endless erotic pleasure, love can never be scarce for us, for we will always have ourselves as a lover.

And when we love ourselves, the boundless joy of Eros will flow through us spilling freely forth. We will not grasp for love because of need, but we will freely share our vast erotic energy with every being who opens to it. Our lovers will be men and women, children, trees and flowers, non-human animals, mountains, rivers, oceans, stars and galaxies. Our lovers will be everywhere, for we ourselves are love.

As mighty gods of love, we then can roam the earth as outlaw heroes, for having escaped the economy of love, we have the strength to oppose all economy. And we will not tolerate this culture where our lovers are abused, enslaved and threatened, murdered and imprisoned. With all the mighty energy of love, we will break every chain and storm the walls until they fall and every one we love is free. And so will end the long, nightmarish rule of economy, the death-dance of civilization.

From “Anarchy: A Journal Of Desire Armed” Double Issue #20/21 August-October 1989

Paneroticism: The Dance of Life

Chaos is a dance, a flowing dance of life, and this dance is erotic. Civilization hates chaos and, therefore, also hates Eros. Even in supposedly sexually free times, civilization represses the erotic. It teaches that orgasms are events that happen only in a few small parts of our bodies and only through the correct manipulation of those parts. It squeezes Eros into the armor of Mars, making sex into a competitive, achievement-centered job rather than joyful, innocent play.

Yet even in the midst of such repression, Eros refuses to accept this mold. His joyful, dancing form breaks through Mars’ armor here and there. As blinded as we are by our civilized existence, the dance of life keeps seeping into our awareness in little ways. We look at a sunset, stand in the midst of the forest, climb on a mountain, hear a bird song, walk barefoot on a beach, and we start to feel a certain elation, a sense of awe and joy. It is the beginning of an orgasm of the entire body, one not limited to civilization’s so-called “erogenous zones”, but civilization never lets the feeling fulfill itself. Otherwise, we’d realize that everything that is not a product of civilization is alive and joyfully erotic.

But a few of us are slowly awakening from the anesthesia of civilization. We are becoming aware that every stone, every tree, every river, every animal, every being in the universe is not only just as alive, but at present is more alive than we who are civilized beings. This awareness is not just intellectual. It can’t be or civilization will just turn into another academic theory. We are feeling it. We have heard the love-songs of rivers and mountains and have seen the dances of trees. We no longer want to use them as dead things, since they are very much alive. We want to be their lovers, to join in their beautiful, erotic dance. It scares us. The death-dance of civilization freezes every cell, every muscle within us. We know we will be clumsy dancers and clumsy lovers. We will be fools. But our freedom lies in our foolishness. If we can be fools, we have begun to break civilizations chains, we have begun to lose our need to achieve. With no need to achieve, we have time to learn the dance of life; we have time to become lovers of trees and rocks and rivers. Or, more accurately, time cease to exist for us; the dance becomes our lives as we learn to love all that lives. And unless we learn to dance the dance of life, all our resistance to civilization will be useless. Since it will still govern within us, we will just re-create it.

So let’s dance the dance of life. Let’s dance clumsily without shame, for which of us civilized people isn’t clumsy? Let’s make love to rivers, to trees, to mountains with our eyes, our toes, our hands, our ears. Let every part of our bodies awaken to the erotic ecstasy of life’s dance. We’ll fly. We’ll dance. We’ll heal. We’ll find that our imaginations are strong, that they are part of the erotic dance that can create the world we desire.

From the pamphlet, “Rants, Essays and Polemics of Feral Faun” (Chaotic Endeavors, 1987) reprinted in Green Anarchy #10 (Fall 2002)

The Liberation of Motion Through Space

Time is a system of measurement, which is to say, a ruler, and authority. There is a reason why, during many insurrections, clocks have been smashed and calendars burned. There was a semi-conscious recognition on the part of the insurgents that these devices represented the authority against which they rebelled as much as did the kings or presidents, the cops or soldiers. But it never took long for new clocks and calendars to be created, because inside the heads of the insurgents the concept of time still ruled.

Time is a social construction which is used to measure motion through space in order to control it and bind it to a social context. Whether it be the motions of the sun, moon, stars and planets across the skies, the motions of individuals over the terrains they wander, or the motions of events across the artifices know as days, weeks, months and years, time is the means by which these motions are bound to social utility. The destruction of time is essential to the liberation of individuals from the social context, to the liberation of individuals as conscious, autonomous creators of their own lives.

The revolt against time is nothing if it is not a revolt against the domination of time in one’s daily life. It calls for a transformation of the ways in which one moves through the spaces one encounters. Time dominates our motion through space by means of “necessary” destinations, schedules and appointments. As long as the social context which produced time as a means of social control continues to exist, it is doubtful that any of us will be able to completely eradicate destinations, schedules or appointments from our lives. But on examination of how these modes of interaction affect the ways one moves through space could help one create a more conscious motion. The most notable effect of having to get somewhere (destination), especially when one has to be there by a certain time (schedule/appointment), is a lack of awareness of the terrain over which one is moving. Such motion tends to be a sort of sleep-walking from which the individual creates nothing, since the destination and the schedule pre-exist the journey and define it. One is only conscious of her surroundings and how they are affecting her to the minimal extent necessary to get where she is going. I don’t deny that many of the environments through which one may move, especially in an urban setting, can be disturbingly ugly, making such unconsciousness aesthetically appealing, but this lack of consciousness causes one to miss many chances for subversion and play that might otherwise be created.

Subverting one’s motion through space, making it one’s own, freed from the bondage to time, is a matter of creating this motion as nomadic motion rather than self-transportation. Nomadic motion makes a playful (though often serious) exploration of the terrain over which one is passing the essential aspect of the journey. The wanderer interacts with the places through which she passes, consciously changing and being changed by them. Destination, even when it exists, is of little importance, since it too will be a place though which one passes. As this form of motion through space becomes one’s usual way, it may enhance one’s wits, allowing one to become less and less dependent upon destinations, appointments, schedules and the other fetters that enforce the rule of time over our motions. Part of this enhancement of the nomad’s wits within the present time dominated context is learning to create ways to play around time, subverting it and using it against itself to enhance one’s free wandering.

A radically different way of experiencing living occurs when we are consciously creating time for ourselves. Due to the limits of a language developed within this time-dominated social context, this way of experiencing life is often spoken of in temporal terms as well, but as a subjective “time”, as in: “The time when I was climbing Mount Hood…” But I’d rather not refer to this as subjective “time” since it has no shared purpose with social time. I prefer to call it “nomadic experience”. Within nomadic experience, the peaks, the valleys and the plateaus are not created in steady, measurable cycles. They are passionate interactions of the sort which may make one moment an eternity and the next several weeks a mere eye-blink. On this passionate journey, the sun still rises and sets, the moon still waxes and wanes, plants still flower and bear fruit and wither, but not as measurable cycles. Instead, one experiences these events in terms of one’s passionate and creative interactions with them. Without any destination to define one’s motion through space, linear time becomes meaningless as well. Nomadic experience is outside of time, not in a mystical sense, but in the recognition that time is the mystification of motion through space and, like all mystifications, usurps our ability to create ourselves.

A conscious, playful, exploratory creation of our own motions through space, of our own interactions with the places we pass through, is the necessary practice of the revolt against time — nothing less than creating events and their language. Until we begin to transform ourselves into nomadic creators of this sort in the way we live our lives, every smashed clock and every burned calendar will simply be replaced, because time will continue to dominate the way we live.

On Madness and Anarchy

I am sure there are those who would label me mad for some of the desires I express. Fine, I gladly embrace such madness. When rational order has proven its absurdity, those who would be free must express themselves in terms of madness. A festival, a whirlwind, the screaming elation of dionysian rites are true revolution. Artaud and Julian Beck have both tried this, but in the theater. And theater is bullshit! It’ s time to take this madness out of the theaters and to start living it. We are wild beings trapped in the cages of civilization. Rage, grief, joy, ecstasy, hysteria, all of our animal passions need release, public release, now! But how? How do we avoid incarceration? How can we be freely mad? How can we turn it from mere individual idiosyncrasy to anarchic revolution? I don’t know. All I know is that a mad cruelty must be aimed at civilization while erotic ecstasy is aimed at friends. We need to learn to scream, cry, laugh, howl, growl, roar, jump, roll, dance, caress, kiss, hug, fuck, somersault, sing, feast. We need to be bodies, to be animals, freely without restraint. This will be the greatest cruelty to civilization, for such action mocks it mercilessly. To those who love to be ordered, it will appear to be the greatest madness. But to our friends, whether human, plant, rock, river, or any wild being, it will be the gentlest love. For this madness is Eros unbound.

From the pamphlet, “Rants, Essays and Polemics of Feral Faun” (Chaotic Endeavors, 1987)

Chaos Is Beautiful

Chaos has been much maligned and slandered. Even most anarchists refuse to associate themselves with chaos. It has been equated with murder and mayhem. Yet it should be obvious that this is the lying propaganda of the forces of order. For the history fo the imposition of order is the history of increasing warfare, murder, rape, mayhem and oppression. Order, not chaos, destroys wantonly for it cares only to impose its form on all beings. Only those who dare to be avatars of chaos can stand against the murderous rule of order.

But if chaos is not murder and mayhem as we have been told, then just what is it? Is it disorder? No, for disorder requires order and chaos is beyond all order. Disorder is order fucking up. The universe is naturally chaotic. When someone tries to impose order on some small part of it, the order will inevitably come into conflict with the chaotic universe and will start to break down. It is this breaking down of imposed order that is disorder.

Undisturbed by order, chaos creates balance. It is not the artificial balance of scales and weights, but the lively, ever-changing balance of a wild and beautiful dance. It is wonderful; it is magickal. It is beyond any definition, and every attempt to describe it can only be a metaphor that never comes near to its true beauty or erotic energy.

Our freedom depends on learning to be part of chaos’ erotic dance. To do this, we need to get in touch with our animal instincts, our deepest desires. We need to reject every form of authority, external and internal, for all repress our instincts. We must not seek to be masters of our lives, but rather to truly LIVE, to end every separation within ourselves so that we ARE our lives.

By taking freedom and pleasure for ourselves now, we become part of the beautiful dance of chaos. We become involved in the magickal adventure of creating paradise on earth now. The bloody history of order ceases to be the only reality we know and the beauty of chaos begins to show through. For chaos is beautiful, the ecstasy of androgynous Eros shining throughout the universe.

From the pamphlet, “Rants, Essays and Polemics of Feral Faun” (Chaotic Endeavors, 1987)

The Last Word

“When you launch information you become information yourself.”

—Adilkno

Yes, it is possible to be possessed…not by demons, spirits, or other alleged supernatural entities. No, what possesses us, undermining any attempt at autonomous self-creation, is identity. This thing with no life of its own rides us to our deaths as though we were underfed, abused horses in the clutches of some hobgoblin.

In the game of insurgence—a lived guerilla war game—it is strategically necessary to use identities and roles. Unfortunately, the context of social relationships gives these roles and identities the power to define the individual who attempts to use them. So I, Feral Faun, became…an anarchist…a writer…a Stirner-influenced, post-situationist, anti-civilization theorist…if not in my own eyes, at least in the eyes of most people who’ve read my writings.

I took on these identities only semi-consciously, with little awareness of the pitfalls I would encounter. They did not become tools I could use to create interactions with others which integrated practice, analysis, and passion into a game of conscious insurgence and lay aside when they ceased to be useful. Rather, these identities became armors glued onto me which prevented the possibility of real interactions…replacing them with the absurd relationships of the identified in which individuals do not revel in each other’s uniqueness, but rather find comfort in some shallow image of similarity. In such relationships, passion, intensity, love, amazement, cruelty, and real critical interaction have no place. The game of conscious insurgence gets replaced by a game of simulated rage and ritualized protest over all the appropriate issues—that is, the game of anarchist activism.

Well, I’m tired…tired of being ridden by the hobgoblin of identity, tired of half-assed interactions where no one really teaches anyone, tired of the simulated rage and ritualized reactivism which tries to pass itself off as insurgence, tired of social contexts which are always boxes which isolate me by naming me, tired of being information to people rather than flesh and blood and desire and passion and intensity. By the time you read this, Feral Faun will no longer be…this is the last word.

From “Anarchy: A Journal Of Desire Armed” #42, Fall 1995

(The complete collection of essays by Feral Faun, published under the title Feral Revolution, can be found at the anarchist library)

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