What is Anarchism? The short answer: anything. No matter how hard anyone tries to define it, anarchism should be a way of talking about belief in the indefinite, in change, in movement, in relativity. That is the only way of turning it into a powerful philosophico-ethical theory. I think.
My vision of anarchism in summary: everything built up parsimoniously from its most basic parts. Not a way of interpreting things so much as an attempt at finding truth. I use anarchism to remind myself not to assume, not to take for granted, but instead to ultimately view everything as a line of creation with a past, present and future, without which the thing would not behave as it does. Only when we see something in its totality do we stand a chance of knowing its Truth.
In this way, anarchism is part reference to the old Greek “chaos” in the sense of formlessness, of building blocks – everything stripped back to its essential contents, each thing linked to those resources and moments that make it. It says “remember where we came from”.
It means I can potentially feel reassured in pursuing anything. It makes infinity accessible, because it asks “what is?” rather than telling “this is”.
At the same time it puts limits on actions without invoking morality. Those acts we previously referred to as evil become unreasonable. In doing such acts, the anarchist should be constantly self-reflective, and thereby eventually realise that the act is simply not the best. That there are other, preferable, truer methods of action. Evil is not disgusting, it is wrong in a deeper sense. In an understandable, comprehensive, near-absolute sense. The closest we can get to the absolute without fallible faith.
What limits there are on the anarchist are only set by their humanity: emotions, rationality. Believing it to be superior, I pursue reason wherever I can, guided by Occam’s Razor – the brilliant principle that “Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.” In other words, I content myself with probability. I pursue truth but understand the seeming relativity of humanity. In the melee of life, we can only try to limit our assumptions and maximise the rational and evidence-based compents of our conclusions.
Philosophy, consideration, ultimately communication, is what anarchism is based on. Not bombs. Not guns. Not meaningless revolutions.
Anarchism is a way of talking about that spirit which hovers over the land, be it Marx’s perfect society, or the Christian God. The absolute thing that connects us and guides us.
It is an attempt at Truth.