A Taste of My Latest Thinking

I've been going through some pretty significant changes: personally, professionally, and philosophically. In the latter category, I'm trying to take stock of these changes to clarify my reasoning and mark what I consider a new phase of my intellectual life. Here's something I wrote on the LeftLibertarian2 list that went off in the direction I'm headed (and strayed completely off the thread's topic), adapted for the blog:

We're not going to reach some bright, shining, voluntary future. Life is a permanent struggle, and the reward can only be in the journey, in the work itself, in the experience of being ourselves. That's the only starting point to figuring out what it means to be human, and therefore what it means to voluntarily associate with them. I'm not saying we can't rest sometimes, both intellectually and physically; it's just that we should realize that state of rest is not the destination, nor where we're likely to grow and learn.

We're going to have to accept that we will make mistakes. We'll have to accept that we'll disagree with each other and likely part ways, if not come to blows. We'll have to have faith in ourselves to bounce back from setbacks. We'll have to have compassion for ourselves and others, as easy as it is to strike them from our hearts and minds as "wrong" or "evil".

The anarchist project must be synonymous with the project of being human. It's too easy to decide on the mechanistic, dogmatic principles that we believe and then, based on that personal conclusion, set out to judge the world and everybody else by those principles. I'm starting to think it's too much to believe that we should hold ourselves to that standard. We simply don't understand ourselves or the world sufficiently to act in a fundamentalist manner, whether that be based on libertarian, communitarian, nationalist, or religious principles.

Once we accept that our principles, values, and beliefs are just opinions, we can get on with the task of persuasion - and being persuaded - and release our need to pass judgment on the world. If it's O.K. to err, then we can finally accept reality without fearing that we'll lose our identity by releasing our disproved conclusions. We can learn instead of constantly trying to shoehorn the world into our ideological box.

More to come. But don't let that stop you from commenting - I want this line of thought to be critiqued. It can't be perfect (indeed, that's the point of all this).

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Written on Saturday, December 08, 2007