(This essay is the first chapter of Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality, the first book in The Conscious Resistance series. Download it for free here.)
There is a deep struggle in this world that dates back thousands of years and has created an untold amount of suffering. It is a struggle towards freedom and peace taking place while so-called ‘civilizations’ are ravaged by slavery, genocide and war. Today, many of us live under the illusion that these horrors are a thing of the past or the problems of some far-away land, but they are just as real today as they were in the middle ages. These problems are just as real in America as they are in the rest of the world.
To heal the widespread suffering in this world there are many social and political changes that must take place. The entire structure of our societies must change in order to achieve peace and freedom for all people. While a truly utopian world is likely impossible, a world without systematic and socially acceptable violence would certainly be a paradise compared to what we have now.
To create the social and political changes necessary to end the violence, we must use a different method than those tried in the past. We cannot simply storm the gates of the castle and hang the masters from the highest trees. This will only result in a new master sitting on the same throne, exactly as we have seen throughout history, again and again.
Real change comes from within. In order to stop this cycle of madness, we need an evolution of consciousness. The state and all of its predatory appendages, like the corporate and military industrial complexes, are more than groups of people with weapons who need to be overthrown– they are bad ideas that can be rendered obsolete with the right combination of good ideas.
As the fight for freedom has evolved, so has our understanding of what “freedom” actually means.
The desire to understand and pursuit of “freedom” has existed for as long as conscious beings have been on this planet. Different cultures throughout history have had their own ideas and visions of how freedom manifests itself.
Throughout this book, we will be careful to define important terms that may have different meanings for different people.
There are two ways to define philosophical terms like government, country, democracy, capitalism, communism, freedom, slavery, etc. We can define these terms theoretically, or we can define them according to how they operate in reality.
For example, many people now recognize the word “propaganda” as a negative term used to describe psychological manipulation. However, a hundred years ago propaganda was just another word for “media”. There are many modern words that are largely defined by their theoretical definition, instead of how they operate in reality. When we define terms throughout this book, we will not only be looking at the standard dictionary definition, but we will also break down what that word has truly represented throughout history. With “freedom” being the very basis of this conversation, it is important to be clear about how we are defining the term.
Freedom is defined by Webster’s dictionary as follows: “: the quality or state of being free: as
a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action b : liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another
c : the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous
Pay attention to the first definition of “free” – “the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action”. It is this definition on which we base our vision of freedom. Not only do we advocate a voluntary society free of coercion, but we also advocate that each individual have the utmost control over his or her own life and affairs. Despite the commonly-held belief that humanity would regress to a barbaric state without government, we propose that the individual who
governs himself is better equipped to create a free and enjoyable life.
From this definition of freedom we can begin to analyze the history of humanity and decide whether we are living in a state of relative freedom, or in varying levels of slavery. By studying philosophy, economics, politics and history we can determine whether humankind is freer than it was in the past, or if we have been slowly losing our freedom over time.
In the following pages we propose that it is not only humanity’s physical struggles for freedom that should be studied, but also our daily internal struggle for freedom. We believe there is a vastly deeper and extremely personal “fight” for freedom taking place in every moment. This is the internal struggle, the mental battle, the war waged between our desire for our “highest good” and our doubt and self-imposed limitations, perpetuated by our own internal tyrants. It is on this field where humanity’s greatest war is fought.
As a result of our research and experience we have come to conclusion that it is extremely important and necessary to challenge and expose the physical manifestations of power. Equally important is our ability to face and challenge our doubts, fears, insecurities and pain.
No matter how hard and long humans try to establish a freer world, we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes if we cannot conquer our own inner demons. Poverty, corrupt governments and wars are manifestations of our inner struggles, and the fact that we allow these travesties to carry on shows that we are a species in need of deep healing. Until that healing takes place, humanity will be ripe for control by an external source or “leader”, and in fact, people will be begging for that control.
It is with this thought in mind that The Conscious Resistance was born.
“Consciously resisting” means being willing to engage in self-reflection. Without knowing our own doubts, hopes, fears, dreams, insecurities and strengths we cannot truly know what freedom means to us as individuals. Becoming conscious of your actions is one of the most important steps towards understanding and claiming your own freedom from that clear state of mind one can lead by example and help others in their own pursuit of self-discovery and freedom.
This book is aimed at those who already possess some level of understanding about the search for freedom, but are ready to challenge long-held beliefs about where freedom begins and ends. These essays are for those who live as free humans in the physical realm but desire a deeper, fuller experience of liberty. The words are also written for the spiritually curious; the researcher; the wayfarer who values themselves spiritually but may have yet to consider how to achieve freedom, or may be intimidated by some of the darker aspects of our five-sense reality that need to be overcome.
We would also like to make it clear that this book is not meant to be the final word on ANY of the topics discussed. Rather, we hope to broach the conversation and spark healthy debate about how far one should take their desire for freedom. None of the ideas expressed should be taken as arguments for a monopoly or “one size fits all” model of freedom. In the New Libertarian Manifesto, Samuel E. Konkin III, founder of Agorism, writes:
“There is no One Way, one straight line graph to Liberty, to be sure. But there is a family of graphs, a Space filled with lines, which will take the libertarian to his goal of the free society, and that Space can be described.”
We believe The Conscious Resistance, the coupling of selfgovernance with a sense of self-reflection, is the best path towards the goal of a free society.