January 17, 2020-
This weekend is a respite from the urgent task I’ve accepted, albeit for probably not much more than the coming week, after all. I spent the morning catching up on what’s happened here and further afield, over the past several days. I also spent an hour at Prescott College, reflecting the engaging presence of people who are on the cusp of adulthood. I was there to offer a view of ordered life, that departs from the draconian and the decrepit.
When the small group of young women had left, I perused some of the literature which they had brought to the table. Among the tracts was one on anarchy. I was raised to think of anarchy as synonymous with chaos, and it can indeed be accompanied by such a state of affairs. Then again, chaos can also accompany too strict a social order, much as over-tightening the threads on a screw, or a fitted pipe, can strip the equipment.
Anarchy, as defined in this tract, eschews chaos. It is, instead, defined as a state of complete internalization of responsibility for one’s actions. The advocates of such a community, while seemingly naive and idealistic, see a place where there is a total absence of egoism. This is, of course, straight out of Thomas More’s “Utopia”, and would presage a complete transformation of the human spirit.
Baha’u’llah points out that there is no system, in the phenomenal world, where a need for order is obviated. Order may be internally imposed, or be the result of external codes. The goal, in any case, must be justice.
The anarchist will, of course, retort that externally-imposed codes fail to secure justice because, in the end, they serve one group of people over others. Initially, that is difficult to avoid, with a truly equitable society coming only after a process of inclusivity, that requires a level of fairness to self and others, not seen on a wide social basis, as yet.
I’ve seen a few families, where child-rearing practices and relationships between adults are based on the true equitability and high level of personal responsibility advocated by the authors of this tract on anarchy. These qualities are goals on which, I believe, anarchists of this school of thought and Baha’is can agree. It will be a process that will take far longer to establish, however, than the time any of us now alive have left. The initial steps, though, are well worth taking. Internal codes of fairness, also known as conscientious mindsets, can be established.
“Be fair to yourself, and others”-Baha’u’llah