AnarchoCynic Praxis

“Delicate Fly” (1952) by Leonora Carrington

While I am very knowledgeable about the workings of our political system–and I even vote, esp. locally–my energy and time goes to helping establish temporary autonomous zones wherein friends and allies can work together.

If Paulo Freire is right that our collective vocation is humanization, then my own expression of that vocation is dialog with those near me about the possibility of freedom in the society of control. I call this my AnarchoCynic praxis: Active exchange with youth seeking to challenge their understanding of reality as it has been received from family, friends, teachers, and popular culture.  The point is not to create a teacher-student relationship but to pattern the possibility of liberating interchange.

The Anarcho- concerns the proposition that human beings do not need to be ruled by other human beings. Our systems of education and governance encourage behaviors that give the appearance that the mass majority of people cannot be trusted to rule their own lives. Most folks–constantly belittled by oppressors as incapable–despair of working in solidarity to create socio-cultural evolution. Some others–allied with oppressors for a kind of limited freedom from becoming subordinate–disdain working with anyone not in a position of power. Between this widespread despair and this self-loathing disdain, any encouragement for direct dialog between people to overcome our mutual struggles seems not only impossible but dangerous. The estrangement that comes of despondency in our situation must be our first target. The disdain of suboppressors has no real force if the majority of people regain faithfulness to the vocation of humanization.

The -Cynic concerns adopting that philosophical way of life that eschewed any custom portrayed as necessary. As I often tell my young friends, it may be necessary for humans to arrange themselves according to customs, but no custom is itself necessary. Meaning: Of course, we need to establish a praxis of being with each other; nonetheless, any praxis that takes on a traditional (unquestioned) character must always be up for re-examination. Our excellence in following the vocation of humanization shows  most brightly when we recognize that a praxis of long-standing has contributed to the injury of others and/or our own selves.

There are two items from the biography of Diogenes of Sinope, the “mad Socrates,” which sum up the two aspects of AnarchoCynicism:

Anarcho- :  Diogenes was working on some thoughts in the sand about the interconnection of human life and nature.  He feels a shadow get between him and the sunlight. He looks up at Alexander the Great who stands ready to give Diogenes anything he desires. Diogenes waves him aside, “Get the fuck out of my light then!” Hierarchical structures get in the way of our light, they block a clear view of our vocation to humanization.

-Cynic: Diogenes motto… “Deface the Currency!” No “currency”–monetary system, creed, law, or habit–should be spared from profound inquiry. Propriety has neither breadth nor depth; it is a false value.

AnarchoCynic Series…

  1. AnarchoCynic Praxis
  2. AnarchoCynic Praxis, Faith and Sacred Tradition
  3. AnarchoCynic as Queer or recognizing the gravity well of domination


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