Anarchy

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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

Power

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May 23, 2019-

While I was exercising, this afternoon, a former student happened by the exercise room, accompanied by a couple of friends.  The three stood nearby and watched me, out of the corners of their eyes, whilst having an animated conversation.  This student impressed me, over the past two years, as one who has a wealth of personal power and has learned, early in life, how to nurture and exercise those strengths-physical,intellectual and interpersonal.

I’ve been thinking a fair amount, about the exercise of power, over the past few days.  Knowing what power actually is, helps greatly  in that exercise.  Some regard power as the ability to outshout, to cut other people off, to be “large and in charge”.  I see this in various levels of government, in the press and on broadcast media.  Some exercise their power by seeking to exclude others from work, from social events and even from living in a community.  Still others try to legislate or shame people who aren’t living in a manner they see fit, from doing what they regard as abominable or distasteful.

While this last is a  laudable response to crimes against children, vulnerable adults or animals, or to actions causing environmental havoc, it has been carried too far when it comes to prescribing what a person should or should not do with his/her own body.  In a nutshell, regarding the abortion issue and the childcare issue overall, I stand foursquare in favour of adoption/community parenting-and a much more rigourous set of standards for foster parenting, as well.  Those are topics for other posts, though.

Power comes from inside oneself.  It can, temporarily, be augmented by the use of a weapon, by obfuscation and sandbagging, or by outright lying.  Those, however, are bandaids- and we know that bandaids must be changed, daily, lest infection set in.

Power comes from within, and must be brought to account, each day.  It must be nurtured, through prayer and meditation.  It must be strengthened through mindfulness.  It must recognize the Source of all power.   It cannot be ascribed to others.  They, our parents, our elders, our steadfast friends, our leaders, our teachers can only nurture what is already present within each of us.  It is up to the individual to exercise and maintain her/his power.