Monday, July 26, 2021

Comments by Sapper

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  • Being anti-authoritarian begs the question ‘what is authoritarian?’

    Homo sapiens has been in his/er present mental patterns for some 200,000 years but only in the past 12000 years have we been faced with social organisations bigger than the extended family group or ‘tribe. In a tribe individuals are intimately aware of each other, and authority structures that do exist there are developed in an inter-subjective world of emotional-cognitive fluidity. Hierarchy is low on strat but high on inter-personal power. step out of line with alpha and the response is strong, but equally if a challenge to alpha is valid and successful the group quickly supports the new regime. Fluidity.

    I have no problem with this form of organisation. It is how I live my life, in my family, and as a self-employed person. I do not mean this in terms of ‘brutality’ but that relationships and authority is continually renegotiated. As the contexts change so too much human relationships and powers. Today I am working with less experienced workers, we intuitively know that I should lead and they should follow my cues but I am continually attentive to when that moment shifts and one of the other workers has cognitive authority in the tasks. Tomorrow I may work with people more experienced or better trained than me. At every moment of the day the balances shift. This is life, this is how we are made to be. Fluidity.

    Now consider the mass extended hierarchy of civilization. How to mediate relationships with authority when we cannot know the social field? We reify authority, fix it, set it into strems of relationships that make rigid hierarchies. This is a recipe for a high transaction cost so the moral of civilization is built around teaching us to accept abstract authority rather than negotiate it at every turn. But we are programmed beneath this training to continually negotiate. We are ill-equipped for rigidity in social relationships, it is not in our nature to subdue our cognitive-emotional drives to an abstract system of hierarchies. We crave fluidity, and therein lies the rub.

    When I truly found my feet I deregistered from social-economic relationships that tie me into authorities that I do not need – eg institutions, corporations, programmes. I observe the law but plough my own furrow and only contract with people (socially and economically) who do not assume that we are from that point on rigidly yoked. There is no need for it. I found myself when I started to see life this way, anxiety fell away, and so did any notion that I might ‘have a problem’. My children go to an alternative school where they are given the real skills to negotiate authority between themselves, skills that will 1. set them up for a life of their own making 2. Teach them to avoid getting caught up in the traps that many of us who had a state school training in mass hierarchy and corporatism.

    I no longer have a Problem With Authority, I simply avoid abstract authority like the plague it really is.