non governmental society

by edward carpenter (1917) via anarchist library []


The chief difficulty, then, which arises in people’s minds at the thought of a free nongovernmental society does not concern its desirability — they are agreed as a rule that it would be desirable — but concerns its practicability. And much of this difficulty is derived from the society of the present. People see, in fact, that an internecine competition for subsistence is the ruling force of life to-day, and the chief incentive to production, and they infer that without government society would dissolve into a mere chaos of plunder on the one hand and of laziness on the other. It is this difficulty which has first to be removed.

in other words.. when people realize myth of tragedy and lord ness.. that all our data/history ness/research ness to date is illegit (being about whales in sea world)..

so.. we need to model it

Though it seems a hard thing to say, the outer life of society to-day is animated first and foremost by Fear. From the wretched wage-slave who rises before the break of day, hurries through squalid streets to the dismal sound of the “hummer,” engages for nine, ten, or twelve hours, and for a pittance wage, in monotonous work which affords him no interest, no pleasure; who returns home to find his children gone to bed, has his supper, and, worn out and weary, soon retires himself, only to rise again in the morning and pursue the same deadly round; and who leads a life thus monotonous, inhuman, and devoid of all dignity and reality, simply because he is hounded to it by the dread of starvation; — to the big commercial man, who, knowing that his wealth has come to him through speculation and the turns and twists of the market, fears that it may at any moment take to itself wings by the same means; who feels that the more wealth he has, the more ways there are in which he may lose it, the more cares and anxieties belonging to it; and who to continually make his position secure is, or thinks himself, forced to stoop to all sorts of mean and dirty tricks; — over the great mass of people the same demon spreads its dusky wings. Feverish anxiety is the keynote of their lives. .Each one clings by handhold or foothold where he may, and in the panic if he push his neighbor from a point of vantage, it is to be regretted certainly, but it cannot be helped.

this was our focus (for 10ish yrs).. how can we change the way we spend our days.. which resulted in these findings:

1\ undisturbed ecosystem (common\ing) can happen

2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b legit free people

But such a state of affairs is not normal. 

myth of normaltwo books

I want the reader to imagine for a moment this burden of fear lifted off the hearts of a whole people, and the result.

Let us imagine for a moment that some good fairy — some transcendental Chancellor of the Exchequer — with a stroke of his wand, has assured to us all not only an old age pension, but a decent provision for all our days of the actual necessaries of life (to go no further than that); so that for the future no man could feel any serious or grinding anxiety for his own material safety, or that of his family. What would be the result on our actions?

ie: short bp

perhaps let’s try/code money (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence w/ubi as temp placebo.. where legit needs are met w/o money.. till people forget about measuring

But let us suppose, since a bare living has been assured to us, and we are in no danger of actual starvation, that we all take a good long holiday, and abstain religiously from doing anything. Suppose that we simply twirl our thumbs in idleness for *two, three, four, or six months. Still, is it not obvious that at the end of that time nine-tenths of the population would find **sheer idleness appallingly dreary, and that they would set themselves to work at some thing or other to produce comforts or conveniences rising above the level of sheer necessity — objects of use or beauty, either for themselves, or for their families and neighbors, or even conceivably for society at large; that, in fact, a spontaneous and free production of goods would spring up, followed of course by a spontaneous and free exchange — a self-supporting society, based not on individual dread and anxiety, but on the common fullness of life and energy?

perhaps there’s a way to hasten *that detox

ie: imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness..

**or not.. we don’t know.. ie: norton productivity law.. we have no idea what legit free people are like.. only what whales in sea world are like

That people relieved from care do spontaneously set themselves to work is sufficiently shown by the case of the well-to-do classes today. For these people, though having everything provided for them, and not merely the bare necessaries which we have supposed, exhibit the most extraordinary and feverish energy in seeking employment. A few decades of years have been quite sufficient to make them feel the utter failure of picnics as an object in life; and now we are flooded with philanthropic and benevolent societies, leagues, charity organisations, art missions to the poor, vigilance crusades, and other activities, which are simply the expression of the natural energies of the human being seeking an outlet in social usefulness. It is, of course, to be regretted that owing to the very imperfect education of this class their ideas and their capacities of social usefulness should be so limited. However, this is a defect which will no doubt be remedied in the future. All that concerns us here is to see that since the rich, though in many ways ill-adapted by training and tradition, do spontaneously take up a life of this kind, there is nothing extravagant in supposing that the average man, surrounded by so many unfulfilled needs, might do the same.

need 1st/most: means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature

Thus it appears to be at least conceivable that a people not hounded on by compulsion nor kept in subjection by sheer authority, would set itself spontaneously to produce the things which it prized. It does not, of course, at once follow that the result should be perfect order and harmony. But there are a few considerations in the positive direction which I may introduce here.

only because we need detox first..

again.. imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness.. as detox/order.. as means to..

org around legit needs

the only true economy is to arrange so that your daily labor shall be itself a joy. Then, and then only, are you on the safe side of life. And, your work being such, its product is sure to become beautiful; that painful distinction between the beautiful and the useful dies out, and everything made is an artistic product. Art becomes conterminous with life.

oikos (the economy our souls crave).. ‘i should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.’ – gaston bachelard, the poetics of space

And the human body itself, that marvelous epitome and mirror of the universe, how about that? Is it not Utopian too?..t It is composed of a myriad cells, members, organs, compacted into a living unity. A healthy body is the most perfect society conceivable. What does the hand say when a piece of work is demanded of it? Does it bargain first for what reward it is to receive, and refuse to move until it has secured satisfactory terms, or the foot decline to take us on a journey till it knows what special gain is to accrue to it thereby? Mot so; but each limb and cell does the work which is before it to do, and (such is the Utopian law) the fact of its doing the work causes the circulation to flow to it, and it is nourished and fed in proportion to its service. And we have to ask whether the same may not be the law of a healthy human society? Whether the fact of a member doing service ‘however humble) to the community would not be quite sufficient to ensure his provision by the rest with all that he might need? Whether the community would think of allowing such an one to starve any more than a man would think of allowing his least finger to pine away and die? Whether it is not possible that men would cease to feel any anxiety about the “reward of their labor”; that they would think first of their work and the pleasure they had in doing it, and would not doubt that the reward would follow?

huge.. organism as fractal ness

But it is getting time to be practical.

Of the possibility of a free communal society there can really, I take it, be no doubt. The question that more definitely presses on us now is one of transition — by what steps shall we, or can we pass to that land of freedom?

We have supposed a whole people started on its journey by the lifting off of a burden of fear and anxiety; but in the long, slow ascent of evolution sudden miraculous changes are not to be expected; and for this reason alone it is obvious that we can look for no very swift transformation to the communal form. Peoples that have learnt the lesson of “trade” and competition so thoroughly as the modern nations have — each man fighting for his own hand — must take some time to unlearn it. The sentiment of the common life, so long nipped and blighted, must have leisure to grow and expand again; and we acknowledge that — in order to foster new ideas and new habits — an intermediate stage of definite industrial organization may be quite necessary.

not if legit free in sync

But tomorrow, when the gulf of poverty is practically gone, the indicating line between one person and another need run no harsher than an elastic band. People will wake up with surprise, and rub their eyes to find that they are under no necessity of being other than human.

Simultaneously (i.e. with the lessening of the power of money as an engine of interest and profit-grinding) the huge nightmare which weighs on us to-day, the monstrous incubus of “business” — with its endless Sisyphus labors, its searchings for markets, its displacement and destruction of its rivals, its travelers, its advertisements, its armies of clerks, its banking and broking, its accounts and checking of accounts — will fade and lessen in importance; till some day perchance it will collapse, and roll off like a great burden to the ground! Freed from the great strain and waste which all this system creates, the body politic will recover like a man from a disease, and spring to unexpected powers of health.

In the course of these changes, moving always towards a non-governmental and perfectly voluntary society in the end, *it is probable that some Property-founded institutions, like the payment of labor by wages, though not exactly ideal in their character, will continue for a long period. It may perhaps be said that in some ways a generous wage-payment convention (as for instance sketched in the last chapter of Carruthers’ Commercial and Commercial Economy) on a thoroughly democratic basis, gives more freedom than a formless Anarchism in which each one takes “according to his needs,” simply because under the first system A could work two hours a day and live on the wage of two, and B could work eight and live on the wage of eight, each with perfect moral freedom — whereas if there was no wage system, A (however much he might wish to loaf) would feel that he was cheating the community — and the community would think so too — unless he gave his eight hours like everybody else

*then will never get there.. we need a cleaner break

perhaps let’s try/code money (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence w/ubi as temp placebo.. where legit needs are met w/o money.. till people forget about measuring

Custom will remain — slowly changing. And the form of the Societies of the future will be more vital and organic, and far more truly human, than they have been or could be under the rigid domination of Law.

far more truly human.. but not legit free humans..

we have to let go enough.. or we will never see it

ie: there is a nother way