The Ecology of Freedom : Epilogue

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1982

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(1921 - 2006) ~ Father of Social Ecology and Anarcho-Communalism : Growing up in the era of traditional proletarian socialism, with its working-class insurrections and struggles against classical fascism, as an adult he helped start the ecology movement, embraced the feminist movement as antihierarchical, and developed his own democratic, communalist politics. (From : Anarchy Archives.)
• "...anarchism is above all antihierarchical rather than simply individualistic; it seeks to remove the domination of human by human, not only the abolition of the state and exploitation by ruling economic classes." (From : "The Ghost of Anarcho-Syndicalism," by Murray Book....)
• "The social view of humanity, namely that of social ecology, focuses primarily on the historic emergence of hierarchy and the need to eliminate hierarchical relationships." (From : "The Crisis in the Ecology Movement," by Murray Bo....)
• "...Proudhon here appears as a supporter of direct democracy and assembly self- management on a clearly civic level, a form of social organization well worth fighting for in an era of centralization and oligarchy." (From : "The Ghost of Anarcho-Syndicalism," by Murray Book....)

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Epilogue

Epilogue

In this book, I have tried to "turn the world upside down" in a form more theoretical than the efforts of the Diggers, Levelers, Ranters and their contemporary descendants. I have tried to shake out our world and explore the conspicuous features of its development. My efforts will succeed if they demonstrate how profoundly the curse of domination has infused almost every human endeavor since the decline of organic society. Hardly any achievement — be it institutional, technical, scientific, ideological, artistic, or the noble claims to rationality — has been spared this curse. In contrast to highly fashionable tendencies to root the origins of this curse in reason as such or in the "savage's" attempts to "wrestle" with nature, I have sought them out in the sinister endeavor of emerging elites to place human beings and human nature in a condition of subjugation. I have emphasized the potentially liberating role of art and imagination in giving expression to what is authentically human, utopistic, and free in human nature.

In contrast to Marx and Freud, who identify "civilization" and "progress" with a repressive self-control, I have argued that anthropology and a clear reading of history present an image entirely antithetical to that of a grasping, Hobbesian type of humanity. Psychological self-abnegation comes with the social conflict and repression that accompany the rise of hierarchy, not of reason and technology. The bas reliefs of Egypt and Mesopotamia reveal a world in which human beings were forced to deny not merely their most human desires and impulses, but also their most rudimentary sense of personality. Eve, the serpent, and the fruit of the tree of knowledge were not the causes of domination but rather its victims. Indeed, society itself, conceived as the work of maternal care with its sequelae in human interdependence, is a standing reminder that the Garden of Eden was in many respects real enough and that the authentic "original sin" closely accords with the radical gnostic image of self-transgression.

I do not profess to believe that we can return to the pristine garden where this violation first occurred. History provides hope for a solution to the problems of hierarchy and domination. Knowledge, or gnosis — to know and transcend our primal act of self-transgression — is the first step toward curing our social pathology of rule, just as self-knowledge in psychoanalytic practice is the first step toward curing a personal pathology of repression. But the thought without the act, the theory without the practice, would be an abdication of all social responsibility.

In our own time we have seen domination spread over the social landscape to a point where it is beyond all human control. The trillions of dollars that the nations of the world have spent since the Second World War on means of subjugation and destruction — its "defense budgets" for an utterly terrifying weaponry — are only the most recent evidence of a centuries-long craze for domination that has now reached manic proportions. Compared to this stupendous mobilization of materials, of wealth, of human intellect, and of human labor for the single goal of domination, all other recent human achievements pale to almost trivial significance. Our art, science, medicine, literature, music, and "charitable" acts seem like mere droppings from a table on which gory feasts on the spoils of conquest have engaged the attention of a system whose appetite for rule is utterly unrestrained. We justly mistrust its acts of generosity today, for behind its seemingly worthy projects — its medical technology, cybernetic revolutions, space programs, agricultural projects, and energy innovations — seem to lie the most malignant motives for achieving the subjugation of humanity by means of violence, fear, and surveillance.

This book traces the landscape of domination from its inception in a hidden prehistory of hierarchy that long precedes the rise of economic classes. Hierarchy remains hidden not only in humanity's prehistory but also in the depths of its psychic apparatus. All the rich meaning of the term freedom is easily betrayed during the course of our socialization processes and our most intimate experiences. This betrayal is expressed by our treatment of children and women, by our physical stance and most personal relationships, by our private thoughts and daily lives, by our unconscious ways of ordering our experiences of reality. The betrayal occurs not only in our political and economic institutions but in our bedrooms, kitchens, schools, recreation areas, and centers of moral education such as our churches and psychotherapeutic "conventicles." Hierarchy and domination preside over our self-appointed movements for human emancipation — such as Marxism in its conventional forms, where any self-activity by the "masses" is viewed with suspicion and, more commonly than not, denounced as "anarchistic deviation."

Hierarchy mocks our every claim to have ascended from "animality" to the high estate of "liberty" and "individuality." In the tools we use to save human lives, to sculpt things of beauty, or to decorate the world around us, we remain subtly tainted by an ever-assertive sensibility that reduces our most creative acts to a "triumph" and inscribes the word "masterpiece" with the traits of mastership. The greatness of the Dadaist tradition, from its ancient roots in the gnostic Ophites to its modern expression in Surrealism — a celebration of the right to indiscipline, imagination, play, fancy, innovation, iconoclasm, pleasure, and a creativity of the unconscious is that it criticizes this "hidden" realm of hierarchy more unrelentingly and brashly than the most sophisticated theoretical games in hermeneutics, structuralism, and semiology so much in vogue on the campuses of contemporary western society.

A world so completely tainted by hierarchy, command, and obedience articulates its sense of authority in the way we have been taught to see ourselves: as objects to be manipulated, as things to be used. From this self-imagery, we have extended our way of visualizing reality into our image of "external" nature. We have mobilized our human nature to embark upon a great social enterprise to "disembed" ourselves from "external" nature, only to discover that we have rendered our own nature and "external" nature increasingly mineralized and inorganic. We have perilously simplified the natural world, society, and personality — so much so that the integrity of complex life forms, the complexity of social forms, and the ideal of a many-sided personality are completely in question.

In an age when mechanical materialism competes with an equally mechanical spiritualism, I have emphasized the need for a sensitivity to diversity that fosters a concept of wholeness as the unifying principle of an ecology of freedom. This emphasis, central to the goals of this book, contrasts markedly with the more common emphasis on "Oneness." In my opposition to current attempts to dissolve variety into mechanical and spiritual common denominators, I have exulted in the richness of variety in natural, social, and personal development. I have presented an account (admittedly somewhat Hegelian) in which the history of a phenomenon — be it subjectivity, science, or technics — constitutes the definition of that phenomenon. In each of these cumulative domains, there are always degrees or aspects of comprehension, insight, and artfulness that we must judiciously reclaim in order to grasp reality in its various gradations and aspects. But western thought has tried to understand experience and act upon reality in terms of only one mode of subjectivity, science, and technics. We tend to root our conceptions of reality in mutually exclusionary bases: economic in one instance, technical in another, cultural in still a third. Hence, profoundly important lines of evolution have been selected as "basic" or "contingent," "structural" or "superstructural" from the standpoint of a limited development in natural and human evolution.

I have tried to show that each such "line" or "superstructure" has its own authenticity and historical claim to identity — doubtless interdependent in its relationship with other "lines" of development, but rich in its own integrity. My greatest single concern has been with the interplay between the evolution of domination and that of freedom. By freedom I mean not only the equality of unequals, but also the enlargement of our concepts of subjectivity, technics, science, and ethics, with a concomitant recognition of their history and the insights they provide over different "stages" of their development. I have tried to show not only how these aspects of freedom form a rich, increasingly whole mosaic that only an ecological sensibility can hope to grasp, but also how they interact with one another from organic society onward, without losing their own uniqueness in the rich diversity of the whole. No economic "base" underpins culture any more than a cultural "base" underpins economics. Indeed, the very terms "base" and "superstructure" are alien to the outlook that permeates this book. Reductionist and simplistic, these terms tend to reflect naive views of a reality whose wealth of interactions defies overly schematic and mechanistic interpretations.

If precapitalist history demonstrates anything, it is the dramatic fact that men and women have made extraordinary sacrifices, including giving up life itself, for beliefs that have centered around virtue, justice, and liberty — beliefs that are not easily explicable in terms of their material interests and social status. The remarkable history of the Jews, an account of almost unrelieved persecution for nearly two millenia; of the Irish in more recent centuries; of sweeping popular revolutionary movements from the time of the Reformation to that of the Paris Commune — all bear witness to the power of religious, national, and social ideals to move hundreds of millions of people to actions of incredible heroism. To say that they were "basically" impelled by "economic factors" of which they were unconscious — by a hidden "economic" dialectic of history — assumes that these economic factors actually prevail when their very existence or authority over human affairs has yet to be proven. Even where economic factors seem to be evident, their significance in guiding human action is often highly obscure. When John Ball or Gerrard Winstanley describe the greed of the ruling classes of their day, one senses that their remarks are guided more by ethical ideals of justice and freedom than by material interest.

The hatred of injustice has seethed all the more in the hearts of the oppressed not simply because social conditions have been particularly onerous but rather because of the searing contrast between prevailing moral precepts of justice and their transgression in practice. Christianity was pervaded by this contrast, hence the highly provocative role it played for so much of human history in generating revolutionary millenarian movements. Not until capitalism tainted history with a "sense of scarcity," making its mean-spirited commitment to rivalry the motive force of social development, did so many of these ideals begin to degenerate into brute economic interests. Even the earliest movements for a "black redistribution" seem to be evidence less of great looting expeditions than of efforts to restore a way of life, a traditional social dispensation, in which sharing and disaccumulation were prevailing social norms. Quite often these movements destroyed not only the legal documents that gave the elites title to the authority and property, but also the palaces, villas, furnishings, even the granaries that seemed to embody their power.

The French Revolution, as Hannah Arendt has pointed out, marks a reversal in the goals of social change from various kinds of ethical desiderata to a conception of the "social question" defined in terms of material need. Actually, this shift in perspective may have occurred much later than Arendt realized, notably in our own century. If Marx exulted in this new sense of economistic "realism" or "materialism," we, in turn, who are afflicted by a conflict between our "fetishization of needs" at one extreme and our yearning for ethical meaning and community at the other, have become the schizoid products of a world frozen into immobility by our sense of personal and social powerlessness. We have invented a mystique of "historical laws" or of "scientific socialisms" that serve more to replace our frustrated drives for meaning and community than to explain the remoteness of these cherished goals in real life.

If there is no single generalization of an economic or cultural character in which we can root social development, if no "social laws" exist that underpin an intellectual orientation toward social phenomena, then by what coordinates shall we take our social bearings? I suggest that the most powerful and meaningful context illuminating the human enterprise is the distinction between libertarian and authoritarian. I do not mean to imply that either of these terms expresses any sense of finality about history, or that they are not without ambiguity. Whether there is any terminal point in human history that corresponds to a Hegelian "Absolute" or Marxian "Communism" — indeed, if not to outright extinction — is certainly not for this generation to affirm or deny. It is merely metaphorical to say that humanity's "real history" will begin when its "social question" has been resolved. The Enlightenment's commitment to technological advances is certainly the least reliable system of coordinates we possess. Even today, in our most technically oriented of worlds, where ethics itself has acquired the adjective "instrumental," we are being forced to acknowledge that our most alluring designs — for all their "convivial" or "appropriate" attributes — can be deployed to create "alternative" strategies for war.

More than ever before, we must emphasize that the words libertarian and authoritarian refer not only to conflicting forms of institutions, technics, reason, and science, but above all, to conflicting values and sensibilities — in short, to conflicting epistemologies. My definition of the term "libertarian" is guided by my description of the ecosystem: the image of unity in diversity, spontaneity, and complementary relationships, free of all hierarchy and domination. By "authoritarian," I refer to hierarchy and domination as my social guide: the gerontocracies, patriarchies, class relationships, elites of all kinds, and finally the State, particularly in its most socially parasitic form of state capitalism. But without including conflicting sensibilities, sciences, technics, ethics, and forms of reason, the terms "libertarian" and "authoritarian" remain simply institutional terms that have only an implicit character. Their implications must be elicited to the fullest extent to cover the entire range of experience if the conflict between them is to be meaningful and revolutionary.

Reason, placed within this tension between the libertarian and authoritarian, must be permitted to stake out its own claim to a libertarian rationality. Philosophically, we have made far too much of the belief that a libertarian rationality must have canons of truth and consistency, indeed of intuition and contradiction, that completely invalidate the claim of formal and analytical thought to truth. To the extent that intuition and contradiction have more than adequately served the ends of authority in the folk philosophies of fascism and the dialectical materialism of Stalinism — just as analytical reason has served the ends of freedom of thought — we have no certain guide beyond our ethical criteria that unconventional modes of thought will necessarily yield emancipatory conclusions. The Buddha and the Christ figures have been used to serve the ends of authority with as much success as they have been used to serve the ends of freedom. Radical mysticism and spiritualism have been as antinaturalistic and antihuman as they have been ecological and millenarian. What is decisive in considering the "canons" of reason — or, more precisely, in shaping a new approach to subjectivity — is the extent to which we raise a biotically variegated ethical standard based on the fecundity of life, on the virtue of complementarity, on the logical image of an ever-richer mosaic of experience, rather than on a hierarchically reared pyramidal view of experience. We need not abandon even Aristotle's Organon, which served western thought as its logical tenets for centuries, or systems theory, whose notion of a circular causality blends the very idea of a point of departure with its conclusion. We have only to sculpt reason into an ethically charged sensibility that is personally and socially emancipatory — whether it is "linear" or "circular." Reason, whose defeat at the hands of Horkheimer and Adorno evoked so much pessimism among their colleagues, can be lifted from its fallen position by a libertarian ethics rooted in a radical social ecology. Such an ethics retains its openness to the richness of human sensibility as the embodiment of sensibility itself at all levels of organic and social evolution.

And there is a ground on which this libertarian ethics can be reared — an area that provides a sense of meaning that does not depend upon the vagaries of opinion, taste, and the icy need for instrumental effectiveness. All nonsense of "folk," "race," "inexorable dialectical laws" aside, there seems to be a kind of intentionality latent in nature, a graded development of self-organization that yields subjectivity and, finally, self-reflexivity in its highly developed human form. Such a vision may well seem like an anthropomorphic presupposition that also lends itself to an arbitrary relativism, no different in character than the "subjective reason" or instrumentalism abhorred by Horkheimer. Yet even the philosophical demand for "presuppositionless" first principles is a presupposition of mind. We have yet to establish why the ancient belief that values inherent in nature provide more reason for doubt than Bertrand Russell's image of life and human consciousness as the product of mere fortuity, a meaningless and accidental freaking of nature into the realm of subjectivity.

Is it too fanciful to suggest that our very being is an epistemology and ontology of its own — indeed, an entire philosophy of organism — that can withstand accusations of anthropomorphism? Form is no less integral to nature than motion and, ultimately, function. Whatever else we choose to call "natural" involves both form and motion as function. To invoke mere fortuity as the deus ex machina of a sweeping, superbly organized development that lends itself to concise mathematical explanation is to use the accidental as a tomb for the explanatory. In a deeply sensitive argument for teleology, Hans Jonas has asked whether a strictly physicochemical analysis of the structure of the eye and its stimulation as a source of vision "is meaningful without relating it to seeing." For we will always find

the purposiveness of organism as such and its concern in living: effective already in all vegetative tendency, awakening to primordial awareness in the dim reflexes, the responding irritability of lowly organisms; more so in the urge and effort and anguish of animal life endowed with motility and sense organs; reaching self-transparency in consciousness, will and thought of man: all these being inward aspects of the teleological side in the nature of "matter." . . . At all events, the teleological structure and behavior of organism is not just an alternative choice of description: it is, on the evidence of each one's organic awareness, the external manifestation of the inwardness of substance. To add the implications: there is no organism without teleology; there is no teleology without inwardness; and: life can be known only by life.

Indeed, one could add that life can be known only as a result of life. It can never, by its very nature, be dissociated from its potentiality for knowingness, even as mere sensitivity, need, and the impulse for self-preservation.

Doubtless there is much we can append to Jonas's observations on teleology. We can conceive of teleology as the actualization of potentiality — more precisely, as the end result Epilogue 355 of a phenomenon's immanent striving toward realization that leaves room for the existence of fortuity and uncertainty. Here, teleology expresses the self-organization of a phenomenon to become what it is without the certainty that it will do so. Our notion of teleology need not be governed by any "iron necessity" or unswerving self-development that "inevitably" summons forth the end of a phenomenon from its nascent beginnings. Although a specific phenomenon may not be randomly self-constituted, fortuity could prevent its self-actualization. Its "telos" would thus appear as the consequence of a prevailing striving rather than as an inevitable necessity.

But what is most fascinating today is that nature is writing its own nature philosophy and ethics — not the logicians, positivists, and heirs of Galilean scientism. As I have noted, we are not alone in the universe, not even in the "emptiness" of space. Owing to what is a fairly recent revolution in astrophysics (possibly comparable only to the achievements of Copernicus and Kepler), the cosmos is opening itself up to us in new ways that call for an exhilarating speculative turn of mind and a more qualitative approach to natural phenomena. It is becoming increasingly tenable to suggest that the entire universe may be the cradle of life — not merely our own planet or a few planets like it. The "Big Bang," whose faint echoes from a time-span of more than fifteen billion years ago can now be detected by the astrophysicist's instruments, may be evidence less of a single accidental "event" than of a form of cosmic "breathing" whose gradual expansions and contractions extend over an infinity of time. If this is so — and we are admittedly on highly speculative grounds — we may be dealing with cosmic processes rather than a single episode in the formation of the universe. Obviously, if these processes express an unending form of universal "history," as it were, we, who are irrevocably locked into our own cosmic era, may never be able to fathom their reality or meaning. But it is not completely unreasonable to wonder if we are dealing here with a vast, continuing development of the universe, not simply with a recurring type of cosmic "respiration."

Highly conjectural as these notions may be, the formation of all the elements from hydrogen and helium, their combination into small molecules and later into self-forming macromolecules, and finally the organization of these macromolecules into the constituents of life and possibly mind follow a sequence that challenges Russell's image of humanity as an accidental spark in an empty, meaningless void. Certain phases of this sequence constitute a strong challenge to a view in which the word "accident" becomes a prudent substitute for virtual inevitabilities. A cosmos interspersed with dust composed of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen molecules seems geared to the unavoidable formation of organic molecules. Radio astronomers have detected cyanogen, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, formic acid, methanol, acetaldehyde, and methyl formate in interstellar space. In short, the classical image of space as a void is giving way to the image of space as a restlessly active chemogenetic ground for an astonishing sequence of increasingly complex organic compounds.

From there, it is only a short leap to the self-organization of rudimentary, life-forming molecules. Analysis of carbonaceous chondrites (a group of stony meteorites with small glassy inclusions) yields longchain aromatic hydrocarbons such as fatty acids, amino acids, and porphyrins — the compounds from which chlorophyll is built. In a series of laboratory studies beginning with the famous Miller-Urey "spark-gap" experiment, simple amino acids were formed by passing electrical discharges through a flask containing gases that presumably composed the earth's early atmosphere. By changing the gases in accordance with later theories of the primal atmosphere, other researchers have been able to produce long-chain amino acids, ribose and glucose sugars, and nucleoside phosphates — the precursors of DNA.

Hypothetically (albeit with an impressive degree of supporting evidence), it is now possible to trace how anaerobic microorganisms might have developed simple membranes and, with increasing complexity, have emerged as distinct life forms capable of highly developed metabolic processes. Few working hypotheses more strikingly reveal the highly graded interface between the inorganic and the organic than speculations on the formation of genetic structures. Such speculations bring us conceptually to the most central feature of life itself: the ability of a complex mosaic of organic macromolecules to reproduce itself and yet to do so with changes significant enough to render evolution possible. As early as 1944, Erwin Schrodinger may have provided a clue to organic reproduction and evolution. In What is Life? this eminent physicist observed that "the most essential part of a living cell — the chromosome fiber — may suitably be called an aperiodic crystal." The "chromosome fiber" does not merely repeat itself and grow additively, like a "periodic" crystal; instead, it changes significantly to yield new forms — mutations — that initiate and carry on inherited, evolutionary developments.

Graham Cairns-Smith has advanced another hypothesis (one among the many now being proposed and soon forthcoming) that may help clarify the nature of early reproduction processes. DNA is much too unstable chemically, Cairns-Smith emphasizes, to have survived the radiation and heat to which the early earth's surface was exposed. In an analogy that could bear improvement, Cairns-Smith compares DNA with a "magnetic tape: it is very efficient if provided with a suitably protective environment, suitably machined raw materials and suitably complex recording equipment." This machining equipment, he contends, can be found in the inorganic world itself:

With a number of other considerations, this leads [Cairns-Smith] to the idea of a form of crystallization process as the printing machine, with some kind of crystal defects as the pattern-forming elements. Being as specific as possible, a mica-type clay seemed the most promising possibility.

Minimally, Cairns-Smith's hypothesis suggests that life, in its own ways and following its own genetic evolution, is not miraculously separated from phenomena existing in the inorganic world. I do not mean to imply that biology can be reduced to physics any more than society can be reduced to biology. Insofar as Cairns-Smith suggests that certain clay crystals could possibly be templates of organic reproductive material and thereby launch the evolution of secondary and still more advanced forms of organic hereditary materials, he is also suggesting that nature may be unified by certain common tendencies. Such tendencies would share a like origin in the reality of the cosmos, however differently they function at different levels of self-organization.

My point here is that substance and its properties are not separable from life. Henri Bergson's conception of the biosphere as an "entropy-reduction" factor, in a cosmos that is supposedly moving toward greater entropy or disorder, would seem to provide life with a cosmic rationale for existence. That life forms may have this function need not suggest that the universe has been exogenously "designed" by a supernatural demiurge. But it does suggest that "matter" or substance has inherent self-organizing properties, no less valid than the mass and motion attributed to it by Newtonian physics.

Nor is there so great a lack of data, by comparison with the conventional attributes of "matter," as to render the new properties implausible. At the very least, science must be what nature really is; and in nature, life is (to use Bergsonian terminology) a counteracting force to the second law of thermodynamics — or an "entropy-reduction" factor. The self-organization of substance into ever-more complex forms — indeed, the importance of form itself as a correlate of function and of function as a correlate of self-organization — implies the unceasing activity to achieve stability. That stability as well as complexity is a "goal" of substance; that complexity, not only inertness, makes for stability; and finally, that complexity is a paramount feature of organic evolution and of an ecological interpretation of biotic interrelationships — all these concepts taken together are ways of understanding nature as such, not mere mystical vagaries. They are supported more by evidence than are the theoretical prejudices that still exist today against a universe charged with meaning, indeed, dare I say, with ethical meaning.

This much is clear: we can no longer be satisfied with a passive "dead" matter that fortuitously collects into living substance. The universe bears witness to an ever-striving, developing — not merely a "moving" — substance, whose most dynamic and creative attribute is its ceaseless capacity for self-organization into increasingly complex forms. Natural fecundity originates primarily from growth, not from spatial "changes" of location. Nor can we remove form from its central place in this developmental and growth process, or function as an indispensable correlate of form. The orderly universe that makes science a possible project and its use of a highly concise logic — mathematics — meaningful presupposes the correlation of form with function.[61] From this perspective, mathematics serves not merely as the "language" of science but also as the logos of science. This scientific logos is above all a workable project because it grasps a logos that inheres in nature — the "object" of scientific investigation.

Once we step beyond the threshold of a purely instrumental attitude toward the "language" of the sciences, we can admit even more attributes into our account of the organic substance we call life. Conceived as substance that is perpetually self-maintaining or metabolic as well as developmental, life more clearly establishes the existence of another attribute: symbiosis. Recent data support the view that Peter Kropotkin's mutualistic naturalism not only applies to relationships within and among species, but also applies morphologically — within and among complex cellular forms. As William Trager observed more than a decade ago:

The conflict in nature between different kinds of organisms has been popularly expressed in phrases like "struggle for existence" and "survival of the fittest." Yet few people realize that mutual cooperation between different kinds of organisms — symbiosis — is just as important, and that the "fittest" may be the one that most helps another to survive.

Whether intentional or not, Trager's description of the "fittest" is not merely a scientific judgment made by an eminent biologist; it is also an ethical judgment similar to the one Kropotkin derived from his own work as a naturalist and his ideals as an anarchist. Trager emphasized that the "nearly perfect" integration of "symbiotic microorganisms into the economy of the host . . . has led to the hypothesis that certain intracellular organelles might have been originally independent microorganisms." Accordingly, the chloroplasts that are responsible for photosynthetic activity in plants with eukaryotic, or nucleated, cells are discrete structures that replicate by division, have their own distinctive DNA very similar to that of circular bacteria, synthesize their own proteins, and are bounded by two-unit membranes.

Much the same is true of the eukaryotic cell's "powerhouse," its mitochondria. The most significant research in this area dates back to the 1960s and has been developed with great elan by Lynn Margulis in her papers and books on cellular evolution. The eukaryotic cells are the morphological units of all complex forms of animal and plant life. The protista and fungi also share these well-nucleated cell structures. Eukaryotes are aerobic and include clearly formed subunits, or organelles. By contrast, the prokaryotes lack nuclei; they are anaerobic, less specialized than the eukaryotes, and according to Margulis they constitute the evolutionary predecessors of the eukaryotes. In fact, they are the only lifeforms that could have survived and flourished in the early earth's atmosphere, with its mere traces of free oxygen.

Margulis has argued and largely established that the eukaryotic cells consist of highly functional symbiotic arrangements of prokaryotes that have become totally interdependent with other constituents. Eukaryotic flagella, she hypothesizes, derive from anaerobic spirochetes; mitochondria, from prokaryotic bacteria that were capable of respiration as well as fermentation; and plant chloroplasts, from "blue-green algae," which have recently been reclassified as cyanobacteria. The theory, now almost a biological convention, holds that phagocytic ancestors of what were to become eukaryotes absorbed (without digesting) certain spirochetes, protomitochondria (which, Margulis suggests, might have invaded their hosts), and, in the case of photosynthetic cells, coccoid cyanobacteria and chloroxybacteria. Existing phyla of multicellular aerobic life forms thus had their origins in a symbiotic process that integrated a variety of microorganisms into what can reasonably be called a colonial organism, the eukaryotic cell. Mutualism, not predation, seems to have been the guiding principle for the evolution of the highly complex aerobic life forms that are common today.

The prospect that life and all its attributes are latent in substance as such, that biological evolution is rooted deeply in symbiosis or mutualism, indicates how important it is to reconceptualize our notion of "matter" as active substance. As Manfred Eigen has put it, molecular self-organization suggests that evolution "appears to be an inevitable event, given the presence of certain matter with specified autocatalytic properties and under the maintenance of the finite (free) energy flow [that is, solar energy] necessary to compensate for the steady production of entropy." Indeed, this self-organizing activity extends beyond the emergence and evolution of life to the seemingly inorganic factors that produced and maintain a biotically favorable "environment" for the development of increasingly complex life forms. As Margulis observes, summarizing the Gaia hypothesis that she and James E. Lovelock have developed, the traditional assumption that life has been forced merely to adapt to an independent, geologically and meteorologically determined "environment" is no longer tenable. This dualism between the living and the nonliving world (which is based on accidental point mutations in life-forms that determine what species will evolve or perish) is being replaced by the more challenging notion that life "makes much of its own environment," as Margulis observes. "Certain properties of the atmosphere, sediments, and hydrosphere are controlled by and for the biosphere."

By comparing lifeless planets such as Mars and Venus with the Earth, Margulis notes that the high concentration of oxygen in our atmosphere is anomalous in contrast with the carbon dioxide worlds of the other planets. Moreover, "the concentration of oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere remains constant in the presence of nitrogen, methane, hydrogen, and other potential reactants." Life, in effect, exerts an active role in maintaining free oxygen molecules and their relative constancy in the earth's atmosphere. The same is true of the alkalinity and the remarkable degree of moderate temperature levels of the earth's surface. The uniqueness and anomalies of the Earth's atmosphere

are far from random. At least the "core," the tropical and temperate regions, surface and atmosphere [temperatures] are skewed from the values deduced by interpolating between values for Mars and Venus, and deviations are in directions favored by most species of organisms. Oxygen is maintained at about 20 percent, the mean temperature of the lower atmosphere is about 22°C, and the pH is just over 8. These planet-wide anomalies have persisted for very long times; the chemically bizarre composition of the Earth's atmosphere has prevailed for millions of years, even though the residence times of the reactive gases can be measured in months and years.

Margulis concludes that it is highly unlikely that chance alone accounts for the fact that temperature, pH, and the concentration of nutrient elements have been for immense periods of time just those optimal for life. It seems especially unlikely when it is obvious that the major perturbers of atmospheric gases are organisms themselves-primarily microbes . . . . It seems rather more likely that energy is expended by the biota actively to maintain these conditions.

Finally, the Modern Synthesis, to use Julian Huxley's term for the neo-Darwinian model of organic evolution in force since the early 1940s, has also been challenged as too narrow and perhaps mechanistic in its outlook. The image of a slow pace of evolutionary change emerging from the interplay of small variations, which are selected for their adaptability to the environment, is no longer as supportable as it seemed by the actual facts of the fossil record. Evolution seems to be more sporadic, marked by occasional rapid changes, often delayed by long periods of stasis. Highly specialized genera tend to speciate and become extinct because of the very narrow, restricted niches they occupy ecologically, while fairly generalized genera change more slowly and become extinct less frequently because of the more diversified environments in which they can exist. This "Effect Hypothesis," advanced by Elizabeth Vrba, suggests that evolution tends to be an immanent striving rather than the product of external selective forces. Mutations appear more like intentional mosaics than small, scratch-like changes in the structure and function of life forms. As one observer notes, "Whereas species selection puts the forces of change on environmental conditions, the Effect Hypothesis looks to internal parameters that affect the rates of speciation and extinction."

The notion of small, gradual point mutations (a theory that accords with the Victorian mentality of strictly fortuitous evolutionary changes) can be challenged on genetic grounds alone. Not only a gene but a chromosome, both in varying combinations, may be altered chemically and mechanically. Genetic changes may range from "simple" point mutations, through jumping genes and transposable elements, to major chromosomal rearrangements. It is also clear, mainly from experimental work, that permutations of genetically determined morphological shifts are possible. Small genetic changes can give rise to either minor or major morphological modifications; the same holds true for large genetic changes.

Trager's observation that the "fittest" species may well be "the one that most helps another to survive" is an excellent formula for recasting the traditional picture of natural evolution as a meaningless competitive tableau bloodied by the struggle to survive. There is a rich literature, dating back to the late nineteenth century, that emphasizes the role played by intraspecific and interspecific cooperation in fostering the survival of life forms on the planet. Kropotkin's famous Mutual Aid summarized the data at the turn of the century, and apparently added the word "mutualism" to the biological vocabulary on symbiosis. The opening chapters of the book summarize the contemporary work on the subject, his own observations in eastern Asia, and a sizable array of data on insects, crabs, birds, the "hunting associations" of mammalian carnivores, rodent "societies," and the like. The material is largely intraspecific; biological "mutualists" of a century ago did not emphasize the interspecific support systems that we now know to be more widespread than Kropotkin could have imagined. Buchner has written a huge volume (1953) on the endosymbiosis of animals with plant microorganisms alone; Henry has compiled a two-volume work, Symbiosis, that brings the study of this subject up to the mid-1960s. The evidence for interspecific symbiosis, particularly mutualism, is nothing less than massive. Even more than Kropotkin's Mutual Aid, Henry's work traces the evidence of mutualistic relationships from the interspecific support relationships of rhizobia and legumes, through plant associations, behavior symbiosis in animals, and the great regulatory mechanisms that account for homeostasis in planet-wide biogeochemical relationships.

"Fitness" is rarely biologically meaningful as mere species survival and adaptation. Left on this superficial level, it becomes an almost personal adaptive enterprise that fails to account for the need of all species for life support systems, be they autotrophic or heterotrophic. Traditional evolutionary theory tends to abstract a species from its ecosystem, to isolate it, and to deal with its survival in a remarkably abstract fashion. For example, the mutually supportive interplay between photosynthetic life forms and herbivores, far from providing evidence of the simplest form of "predation" or heterotrophy, is in fact indispensable to soil fertility from animal wastes, seed distribution, and the return (via death) of bulky organisms to an ever-enriched ecosystem. Even large carnivores that prey upon large herbivores have a vital function in selectively controlling large population swings by removing weakened or old animals for whom life would in fact become a form of "suffering."

Ironically, it cheapens the meaning of real suffering and cruelty to reduce them to pain and predation, just as it cheapens the meaning of hierarchy and domination to deinstitutionalize these socially charged terms and dissolve them into the individual transitory links between more or less aggressive individuals within a specific animal aggregation. The fear, pain, and commonly rapid death that a wolfpack brings to a sick or old caribou are evidence not of suffering or cruelty in nature but of a mode of dying that is integrally wedded to organic renewal and ecological stability. Suffering and cruelty properly belong to the realm of personal anguish, needless affliction, and the moral degradation of those who torment the victim. These notions cannot be applied to the removal of an organism that can no longer function on a level that renders its life tolerable. It is sheer distortion to associate all pain with suffering, all predation with cruelty. To suffer the anguish of hunger, psychic injury, insecurity, neglect, loneliness, and death in warfare, as well as of prolonged trauma and terminal illness, cannot be equated with the often brief pain associated with predation and the unknowing fact of death. The spasms of nature are rarely as cruel as the highly organized and systematic afflictions that human society visits upon healthy, vital beings, animal as well as human — afflictions that only the cunning of the hominid mind can contrive.

Neither pain, cruelty, aggression, nor competition satisfactorily explain the emergence and evolution of life. For a better explanation we should also turn to mutualism and a concept of "fitness" that reinforces the support systems for the seemingly "fittest." If we are prepared to recognize the self-organizing nature of life, the decisive role of mutualism as its evolutionary impetus obliges us to redefine "fitness" in terms of an ecosystem's supportive apparatus. And if we are prepared to view life as a phenomenon that can shape and maintain the very "environment" that is regarded as the "selective" source of its evolution, a crucial question arises: Is it meaningful any longer to speak of "natural selection" as the motive force of biological evolution? Or must we now speak of "natural interaction" to take full account of life's own role in creating and guiding the "forces" that explain its evolution? Contemporary biology leaves us with a picture of organic interdependencies that far and away prove to be more important in shaping life forms than either a Darwin, a Huxley, or the formulators of the Modern Synthesis could ever have anticipated. Life is necessary not only for its own self-maintenance but for its own self-formation. "Gaia" and subjectivity are more than the effects of life; they are its integral attributes.

The grandeur of an authentic ecological sensibility, in contrast to the superficial environmentalism so prevalent today, is that it provides us with the ability to generalize in the most radical way these fecund, supportive interrelationships and their reliance on variety as the foundation of stability. An ecological sensibility gives us a coherent outlook that is explanatory in the most meaningful sense of the term, and almost overtly ethical.

From the distant Hellenic era to the early Renaissance, nature was seen primarily as a source of ethical orientation, a means by which human thought found its normative bearings and coherence. Nonhuman nature was not external to human nature and society. To the contrary, the mind was uniquely part of a cosmic logos that provided objective criteria for social and personal concepts of good and evil, justice and injustice, beauty and ugliness, love and hatred — indeed, for an interminable number of values by which to guide oneself toward the achievement of virtue and the good life. The words dike and andike — justice and injustice — permeated the cosmologies of the Greek nature philosophers. They linger on in many terminological variations as part of the jargon of modern natural science — notably in such words as "attraction" and "repulsion."

The fallacies of archaic cosmology generally lie not in its ethical orientation but in its dualistic approach to nature. For all its emphasis on speculation at the expense of experimentation, ancient cosmology erred most when it tried to cojoin a self-organizing, fecund nature with a vitalizing force alien to the natural world itself. Parmenides's Dike, like Henri Bergson's élan vital, are substitutes for the self-organizing properties of nature, not motivating forces within nature that account for an ordered world. A latent dualism exists in monistic cosmologies that try to bring humanity and nature into ethical commonality — a deus ex machina that corrects imbalances either in a disequilibriated cosmos or in an irrational society. Truth wears an unseen crown in the form of God or Spirit, for nature can never be trusted to develop on its own spontaneous grounds, any more than the body politic bequeathed to us by "civilization" can be trusted to manage its own affairs.

These archaisms, with their theological nuances and their tightly formulated teleologies, have been justly viewed as socially reactionary traps. In fact, they tainted the works of Aristotle and Hegel as surely as they mesmerized the minds of the medieval Schoolmen. But the errors of classical nature philosophy lie not in its project of eliciting an ethics from nature, but in the spirit of domination that poisoned it from the start with a presiding, often authoritarian, Supernatural "arbiter" who weighed out and corrected the imbalances or "injustices" that erupted in nature. Hence the ancient gods were there all the time, however rationalistic these early cosmologies may seem; they had to be exorcized in order to render an ethical continuum between nature and humanity more meaningful and democratic. Tragically, late Renaissance thought was hardly more democratic than its antecedents, and neither Galileo in science nor Descartes in philosophy performed this much-needed act of surgery satisfactorily. They and their more recent heirs separated the domains of nature and mind, recreating deities of their own in the form of scientistic and epistemological biases that are no less tainted by domination than the classical tradition they demolished.

Today, we are faced with the possibility of permitting nature — not Dike, Justitia, God, Spirit, or an élan vital — to open itself to us ethically on its own terms. Mutualism is an intrinsic good by virtue of its function in fostering the evolution of natural variety. We require no Dike on the one hand or canons of "scientific objectivity" on the other to affirm the role of community as a desideratum in nature and society. Similarly, freedom is an intrinsic good; its claims are validated by what Hans Jonas so perceptively called the "inwardness" of life forms, their "organic identity" and "adventure of form." The clearly visible effort, venture, indeed self-recognition, which every living being exercises in the course of "its precarious metabolic continuity" to preserve itself reveals — even in the most rudimentary of organisms — a sense of identity and selective activity which Jonas has very appropriately called evidence of "germinal freedom."

Finally, from the ever-greater complexity and variety that raises subatomic particles through the course of evolution to those conscious, self-reflexive life forms we call human beings, we cannot help but speculate about the existence of a broadly conceived telos and a latent subjectivity in substance itself that eventually yields mind and intellectuality. In the reactivity of substance, in the sensibility of the least-developed microorganisms, in the elaboration of nerves, ganglia, the spinal cord, and the layered development of the brain, one senses an evolution of mind so coherent and compelling that there is a strong temptation to describe it with Manfred Eigen's term, "inevitable." It is hard to believe that mere fortuity accounts for the capacity of life forms to respond neurologically to stimuli; to develop highly organized nervous systems; to be able to foresee, however dimly, the results of their behavior and later conceptualize this foresight clearly and symbolically. A true history of mind may have to begin with the attributes of substance itself; perhaps in the hidden or covert efforts of the simplest crystals to perpetuate themselves, in the evolution of DNA from unknown chemical sources to a point where it shares a principle of replication already present in the inorganic world, and in the speciation of nonliving as well as living molecules as a result of those intrinsic self-organizing features of reality we call their "properties."

Hence our study of nature — all archaic philosophies and epistemological biases aside — exhibits a self-evolving patterning, a "grain," so to speak, that is implicitly ethical. Mutualism, freedom, and subjectivity are not strictly human values or concerns. They appear, however germinally, in larger cosmic and organic processes that require no Aristotelian God to motivate them, no Hegelian Spirit to vitalize them. If social ecology provides little more than a coherent focus to the unity of mutualism, freedom, and subjectivity as aspects of a cooperative society that is free of domination and guided by reflection and reason, it will remove the taints that blemished a naturalistic ethics from its inception; it will provide both humanity and nature with a common ethical voice. No longer would we have need of a Cartesian — and more recently, a neo-Kantian — dualism that leaves nature mute and mind isolated from the larger world of phenomena around it. To vitiate community, to arrest the spontaneity that lies at the core of a self-organizing reality toward ever-greater complexity and rationality, to abridge freedom — these actions would cut across the grain of nature, deny our heritage in its evolutionary processes, and dissolve our legitimacy and function in the world of life. No less than this ethically rooted legitimation would be at stake — all its grim ecological consequences aside — if we fail to achieve an ecological society and articulate an ecological ethics.

Mutualism, self-organization, freedom, and subjectivity, cohered by social ecology's principles of unity in diversity, spontaneity, and nonhierarchical relationships, are thus ends in themselves. Aside from the ecological responsibilities they confer on our species as the self-reflexive voice of nature, they literally define us. Nature does not "exist" for us to use; it simply legitimates us and our uniqueness ecologically. Like the concept of "being," these principles of social ecology require no explanation, merely verification. They are the elements of an ethical ontology, not rules of a game that can be changed to suit one's personal needs.

A society that cuts across the grain of this ontology raises the entire question of its very reality as a meaningful and rational entity. "Civilization" has bequeathed us a vision of otherness as "polarization" and "defiance," and of organic "inwardness" as a perpetual "war" for self-identity. This vision threatens to utterly subvert the ecological legitimation of humanity and the reality of society as a potentially rational dimension of the world around us. Trapped by the false perception of a nature that stands in perpetual opposition to our humanity, we have redefined humanity itself to mean strife as a condition for pacification, control as a condition for consciousness, domination as a condition for freedom, and opposition as a condition for reconciliation. Within this implicitly self-destructive context, we are rapidly building the Valhalla that will almost certainly become a trap rather than a fortress against the all-consuming flames of Ragnarok.

Yet an entirely different philosophical and social dispensation can be read from the concept of otherness and inwardness of life — one that, in spirit at least, is not unlike that of the Wintu and Hopi. Given a world that life itself made conducive to evolution — indeed, benign, in view of a larger ecological vision of nature — we can formulate an ethics of complementarity that is nourished by variety rather than one that guards individual inwardness from a threatening, invasive otherness. Indeed, the inwardness of life can be seen as an expression of equilibrium, not as mere resistance to entropy and the terminus of all activity. Entropy itself can be seen as one feature in a larger cosmic metabolism, with life as its anabolic dimension. Finally, selfhood can be viewed as the result of integration, community, support, and sharing without any loss of individual identity and personal spontaneity.

Thus, two alternatives confront us. We can try to calm the antagonistic Bronze-Age warrior spirit of Odin, pacify him and his cohorts, and perhaps ventilate Valhalla with the breath of reason and reflection. We can try to mend the tattered treaties that once held the world together so precariously, and work with them as best we can. In the fullness of time, Odin might be persuaded to put aside his spear, cast off his armor, and lend himself to the sweet voice of rational understanding and discourse.

Or our efforts can take a radical turn: to overthrow Odin, whose partial blindness is evidence of a hopelessly aborted society. We can abandon the contractual myths that "harmonized" an inherently divided world, which the Norse epic held together with chains and banishments. It will then be our responsibility to create a new world and a new sensibility based on a self-reflexivity and an ethics to which we are heirs as a result of evolution's relentless thrust toward consciousness. We can try to reclaim our legitimacy as the fullness of mind in the natural world — as the rationality that abets natural diversity and integrates the workings of nature with an effectiveness, certainty, and directedness that is essentially incomplete in nonhuman nature.

"Civilization" as we know it today is more mute than the nature for which it professes to speak and more blind than the elemental forces it professes to control. Indeed, "civilization" lives in hatred of the world around it and in grim hatred of itself. Its gutted cities, wasted lands, poisoned air and water, and mean-spirited greed constitute a daily indictment of its odious immorality. A world so demeaned may well be beyond redemption, at least within the terms of its own institutional and ethical framework. The flames of Ragnarok purified the world of the Norsemen. The flames that threaten to engulf our planet may leave it hopelessly hostile to life — a dead witness to cosmic failure. If only because this planet's history, including its human history, has been so full of promise, hope, and creativity, it deserves a better fate than what seems to confront it in the years ahead.

[1] I use the word "orthodox" here and in subsequent pages advisedly. I refer not to the outstanding radical theorists of the nineteenth century — Proudhon, Kropotkin, and Bakunin — but to their followers who often turned their ever-evolving ideas into rigid, sectarian doctrines. As a young Canadian anarchist, David Spanner, put it in a personal conversation, "If Bakunin and Kropotkin devoted as much time to the interpretation of Proudhon as many of our contemporary libertarians do . . . , I doubt if Bakunin's God and the State or Kropotkin's Mutual Aid would have ever been written."

[2] Lest my emphasis on integration and community in "organic societies" be misunderstood, I would like to voice a caveat here. By the term "organic society," I do not mean a society conceived as an organism — a concept I regard as redolent with corporatist and totalitarian notions of social life. For the most part, I use the term to denote a spontaneously formed, noncoercive, and egalitarian society — a "natural" society in the very definite sense that it emerges from innate human needs for association, interdependence, and care. Moreover, I occasionally use the term in a looser sense to describe richly articulated communities that foster human sociability, free expression, and popular control. To avoid misunderstanding, I have reserved the term "ecological society" to characterize the utopistic vision advanced in the dosing portions of this book.

[3] I use the word "man," here, advisedly. The split between humanity and nature has been precisely the work of the male, who, in the memorable lines of Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, "dreamed of acquiring absolute mastery over nature, of converting the cosmos into one immense hunting-ground." (Dialectic of Enlightenment, New York: Seabury Press, 1972, p. 248). For the words "one immense hunting-ground," I would be disposed to substitute "one immense killing-ground" to describe the male-oriented "civilization" of our era.

[4] The term ecosystem — or ecological system — is often used loosely in many ecological works. Here, I employ it, as in natural ecology, to mean a fairly demarcatable animal-plant community and the abiotic, or nonliving, factors needed to sustain it. I also use it in social ecology to mean a distinct human and natural community, the social as well as organic factors that interrelate to provide the basis for an ecologically rounded and balanced community.

[5] An important distinction must be made here between the words community and society. Animals and even plants certainly form communities; ecosystems would be meaningless without conceiving animals, plants, and their abiotic substrate as a nexus of relationships that range from the intraspecific to the interspecific level. In their interactions, life-forms thus behave "communally" in the sense that they are interdependent in one way or another. Among certain species, particularly primates, this nexus of interdependent relationships may be so closely knit that it approximates a society or, at least, a rudimentary form of sociality. But a society, however deeply it may be rooted in nature, is nevertheless more than a community. What makes human societies unique communities is the fact that they are institutionalized communities that are highly, often rigidly, structured around clearly manifest forms of responsibility, association and personal relationship in maintaining the material means of life. Although all societies are necessarily communities, many communities are not societies. One may find nascent social elements in animal communities, but only human beings form societies — that is, institutionalized communities. The failure to draw this distinction between animal or plant communities and human societies has produced considerable ideological mischief. Thus, predation within animal communities has been speciously identified with war; individual linkages between animals with hierarchy and domination; even animal foraging and metabolism with labor and economics. All the latter are strictly social phenomena. My remarks are not intended to oppose the notion of society to community but to take note of the distinctions between the two that emerge when human society develops beyond the levels of animal and plant communities.

[6] In fact, natural hierarchy is meaningless in the literal sense of the term because it presupposes a knowingness — an intellectuality — that has yet to emerge until the evolution of humanity and society. This knowingness or intellectuality does not suddenly explode in ecosystems with the appearance of humankind. What is antecedent to what exists may contain the potentialities of what will emerge, but those antecedents do not acquire the actualization of these potentialities after they have emerged. That we now exist to give the word hierarchy meaning hardly imparts any hierarchical reality to plants and animals that are locked into their own antecedent historical confines. If there is hierarchy in nature, it consists of our vain attempt to establish a sovereignty over nature that we can never really achieve. It also presupposes that we are sufficiently part of nature to render the nonhuman world hierarchical, a notion that dualism is inclined to resist.

[7] See Dorothy Lee, Freedom and Culture (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1959). Dorothy Lee's essays stand almost alone in the literature on "primitive mentality," and my debt to her material and interpretation is considerable. Although her data and views have become increasingly widespread lately, It is unfortunate that she has received so little mention, not to speak of acknowledgment, among recent journalistic critics of hierarchy.

[8] The potlatch ceremonies of the Northwest Coast Indians of America, in fact, no longer clearly reflect the wealth of community that leads to disdain for objects. These "disaccumulation" ceremonies already fetishize the giving qualities from which they may have been derived, but they remain impressive evidence of more innocent forms of usufruct that lacked all connotations of prestige and social recognition.

[9] It is not always clear how pressing these sexual desires are from a heterosexual standpoint. My own studies of early sexuality suggest a degree of "polymorphous perversity," to use Freud's perverse formulation, as a communal phenomenon — and even more, of bisexuality and homosexuality — that would appall even our own "liberated" age. So ubiquitous is this sexuality that what the anthropologist may discreetly describe as masturbation is, in fact, intercourse with all natural things, particularly animals. Hence, marriage may well involve more economic considerations and social bonds than sexual ones — and sexuality may be latent with a richer animistic meaning than we can ever hope to envision. The sexuality that imbues early technics itself has not yet been fully explored, together with the way it defines work in preliterate society.

[10] Powerful as the Oresteia may be psychologically to the modern mind, I would thus regard Aeschylus's trilogy, which deals as much with kinship as it does with mother-right and the claims of citizenship over those of blood-ties, as a haunting Greek ceremonial rather than a well-crafted drama. Only now, perhaps, in our defenseless isolation and monad-like condition as socially alienated beings can we sense the power of the trilogy over an ancient Greek audience that had yet to exorcize the blood oath and tribal custom from their enchanted hold on the human psyche.

[11] Lest I be misunderstood as contending that any current trends in linguistics, communications theory, and semiology have created the tools for the renewal of remembrance, I would like to emphasize that this work will be done by anthropologists and historians, insofar as they remain sufficiently self-critical of their own use of language and its ever-changing historical context.

[12] Since these lines were first penned (1970), a number of works have been published that push back certain features of this image to the Paleolithic hunting-gathering period of human development and even earlier, to a more remote hominid foraging stage. Allowing for a number of differences between them, these writers generally view hunting-gathering communities as truly pacific, egalitarian, and probably matricentric societies. This image is sharply contrasted to the modern farmer's world (in my view, patently colored by the traits of more modern tight-fisted peasants) centered around a calculating, stolid, and sullen male, to borrow Paul Shepard's imagery, who presides over a large, obedient family that has been lured from a more carefree life based on hunting to a hardworking, day-long discipline based on food cultivation. Marshall Sahlins has even described the hunting-gathering "stone-age economy" as the "original affluent society" inasmuch as needs were so few, the tool-kit so simple, and the accouterments of life so portable that men, at least, enjoyed very leisurely lives and considerable personal autonomy. Elizabeth Fisher has carried this pristine image of hunting-gathering to a point where she argues that matriarchy really existed only when men did not associate coitus with conception, an association that first occurred when seeds were planted in the soil and animals bred — more accurately, in my view, selected — for their docility.
I do not share these views. Indeed, I not only find them simplistic but regressive. Leaving aside the significance of such crucial social developments as writing, urbanity, fairly advanced crafts and technics, and even the rudiments of science — none of which could have been developed by Paleolithic nomads — hold that the case for hunting-gathering as humanity's "golden age" is totally lacking in evolutionary promise. But an analytical excursus into the issues raised by Shepard, Sahlins, and Fisher does not belong in a general work of this kind. However, it cannot be ignored at a time when the need for a new civilization threatens to evoke atavistic feelings against any kind of civilization, indeed, to foster a new "survivalist" movement that is antisocial, if not fascistic, in character. Let me note that this trend is not a "return" to the supposed self-sufficiency of the Paleolithic hunter, with all his alleged virtues, but a descent into the depths of bourgeois egotism with its savage ideology of the "lifeboat ethic." As for the more readable and well-argued accounts of the hunting-gathering case, the reader should consult Marshall Sahlins's Stone-Age Economics (New York: Adine-Atherton, Inc., 1972), Paul Shepard's The Tender Carnivore and the Sacred Game (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1973), and Elizabeth Fisher's Woman's Creation (New York: Anchor Books/Doubleday, 1979).

[13] Whether many edible plant varieties were consciously selected or developed spontaneously under conditions of cultivation is arguable. Erich Isaac and C. D. Darlington incline toward the view that spontaneous selection accounted for the early development of cereals and other plant varieties. Levi-Strauss, on the other hand, contends that most of the technological advances achieved by neolithic agriculturists (including transforming "a weed into a cultivated plant") "required a genuinely scientific attitude, sustained and watchful interest and a desire for knowledge for its own sake." That preliterate communities achieve a remarkably sensitive and knowledgeable adaptation to their environments is certainly true, but a "watchful interest" nourished by grim need is a far cry from "a genuinely scientific attitude," which even an Archimedes lacked during the heights of the Hellenistic era. See Erich Isaac, The Geography of Domestication (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1970); C. D. Darlington, "The Origins of Agriculture," Natural History, Vol. LXXIX, No.5; Claude Levi-Strauss, The Savage Mind (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966).

[14] How much this entire ideological complex of rescuing "savages" from the trials of nature, of paganism, and of the ignorance of modern technology, not to speak of profligate values, accorded with the colonialist mentality of Europe and America is difficult to emphasize. Economistic interpretations of human social development, whether liberal or Marxian, provided a superb ideological rationale for bringing "savages" into history by placing them under Euro-American sovereignty, not only to "civilize" them culturally but to "industrialize" them technically. For Marx this consideration was all-important in his treatment of the colonial world, but it was no less important for such rugged imperialists as Kipling, H. Rider Haggard, and Leopold of Belgium.

[15] Here, I cannot resist Karl Polanyi's priceless observation: "Rational action as such is the relating of ends to means; economic rationality, specifically, assumes means to be scarce. But human society involves more than that. What should be the end of man, and how should he choose his means? Economic rationalism, in the strict sense, has no answer to these questions, for they imply motivations and valuations of a moral and practical order that go beyond the logically irresistible, but otherwise empty exhortation to be 'economical." See Karl Polanyi, The Livelihood of Man (New York: Academic Press, 1977), p. 13.

[16] How deeply ingrained these notions are in the male mind can be seen by examining the attitudes of male radicals, many of whom earnestly raised the banner of female emancipation as a basic social issue. Marx, for example, in response to personal questions by one of his daughters, remarked that what he liked most in a woman was "weakness." Robert Briffault, a Marxian anthropologist of the 1920s, whose three-volume work, The Mothers, was (despite all its deficiencies) a monumental critique of social biases toward women and their historical contributions, nevertheless concluded that "women are constitutionally deficient in the qualities that mark the masculine intellect . . . . Feminine differs from masculine intelligence in kind; it is concrete, not abstract; particularizing, not generalizing. The critical, analytical, and detached creative powers of the intellect are less developed in women than in men." See Erich Fromm, ed., Marx's Concept of Man (New York: Frederick L. Ungar, Inc., 1959), p. 296; Robert Briffault, The Mothers (New York: The MacMillan Co., 1927), Vol. III, p. 507.

[17] To cite only one of many examples: Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, who spent many months with the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, describes one of their young women, Tsetchwe, slight-boned and well under five feet, who entered the camp with a sackload of melons and firewood after food-gathering on the plains. With her infant son riding on it, Tsetchwe's load "must have weighed almost a hundred pounds . . ." — and this load was not carried by the women for just a few feet or yards. See Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, The Harmless People (New York: Vintage Books, 1958), p. 90.

[18] These observations on the male's well-developed muscular capacities are not meant to deny the female's considerable strength. The physical differences between the sexes are relative. Early society made the most of these differences because)t had to, but it did not fetishize them or polarize them as we do into "strong men" and "fragile women." Nor did it extend their physical differences to character and personality

[19] Here, I must reiterate the point that a "matriarchy," which implies the domination of men by women, never existed in the early world simply because domination itself did not exist. Hence, Levi-Strauss's "proof," so widely cited these days, that men have always "ruled" women because no evidence exists that women ever "ruled" men is simply irrelevant. What is really at issue is whether "rule" existed at all. When Levi-Strauss assumes that "rule" always existed, he merely projects his own social outlook into early society-ironically a typically masculine trait to which even Simone de Beauvoir falls victim in her splendid work, The Second Sex.

[20] This is not to say that the emergence of cities immediately conferred citizenship on its occupants, irrespective of their ethnic or social status. Quite to the contrary: ethnicity, whether real or fictive, still formed the juridical basis for urban consociation; only gradually did the city wean its dwellers from the realities or myths of a common ancestry. The most vulnerable victim of urban society was the clan or, perhaps more generally, corporate ties and responsibilities based on kinship. Until Roman times, when the exigencies of empire required loyalty from widely disparate ethnic groups, cities accorded privileges of one kind or another and in varying gradations to members, who shared claims to a common ancestry, rather than to strangers, who were often confined to separate quarters of the city as were Jews in the ghettoes of the medieval world.

[21] The sale of the clan lands should not be regarded as evidence for the right to freely alienate traditional community lands. The new feudal dispensation that normally followed the rise and later the weakening of military kingships still viewed land as the locus for a nearly sacred sense of place, not as mere "real estate." Most likely, the clan lands that were sold to the emerging nobility were viewed as a transfer of title within the community, and between the clan-folk and their military leaders. Even Aristotle could not buy land in Athens because he was not a native Athenian, however renowned his fame and influential his teachings. Greek though he was, in Athens he was still a stranger, not a citizen.

[22] This description is admittedly a Weberian "ideal type." It does not take into account the many variations and complexities that enter into Bedouin or, more generally, pastoral ecology. There is now general agreement that pastoralism represents a late development, in fact, a spin-off from agricultural society, not the intermediate "stage" between hunting and agricultural "stages" to which it was assigned by nineteenth-century anthropologists. Hence the later patriarchal structure and values are mixed with matricentric traditions from earlier ways of life. This fact may explain the equivocal position of women in the Hebrew Bible and in many existing pastoral communities today. Nor do all pastoral communities confine themselves to shepherding. They will cultivate food when they can and have peacefully interacted with farming communities at all levels of development throughout history, both trading with them or grazing their flocks on the stubble of harvested farmland. My concern, here, is primarily with what is unique to the pastoral world, not what it shares with the many horticultural and agricultural communities that were to become objects of pastoral invasions.

[23] Ironically, the morally demanding and antinaturalistic Bedouin values of the Hebrew Bible played a more formative role in the New Testament than the Old, despite Christianity's gospel of love. In the period directly preceding the emergence of the Roman Empire, Judaism acquired a highly ethical character. The Hebrew prophets, particularly Amos, imbued Judaism with a commitment to justice and a hatred of tyranny so intense that the ancient Jews revolted incessantly against the Roman imperium — leading finally to the destruction of Judea as a national entity. By Jesus's time, the Pharisees had reworked the Deuteronomic Code into one of the most humane in the ancient world. The Mosaic lex talionis, with its demand for "an eye for an eye," had been replaced by monetary compensation; corporal punishment was greatly restricted; the use of ordeal to determine female adultery was abolished; finally, both debtors and slaves were treated with a degree of consideration that was virtually unprecedented for the time. As Hyam Maccoby's Revolution in Judea (New York: Taplinger Publishing Co., 1980) indicates, the interface between Judaism and Christianity was crassly, almost cynically rewritten by the Hellenistic authors of the existing gospels. According to Maccoby these authors distorted beyond all recognition Jesus's nationalistic goals, the ethical ideas of his Nazarene followers, and the activist message of the Jerusalem Church led by Jesus's brother, James.

[24] Plato's tripartite theory of souls was not laid to rest in Tile Republic. It surfaced again in very radical Gnostic theories of late antiquity and in embattled Christian heresies of the Middle Ages and the Reformation. See Chapters 7 and 8.

[25] My quotations are drawn from Paul Radin's excellent work, The World of Primitive Man (New York: Henry Schuman, Inc., 1953). Apparently independently of Radin, E. R. Dodds made the distinction between a shame-culture and a guilt-culture around the same time, based largely on early Hellenic materials. See E. R. Dodds: The Greeks and the Irrational (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1951). That I have not drawn extensively on Dodds' work is due merely to oversight. His work was not known to me when these lines were written.

[26] This distinction is worth elaborating further with two examples. What the Bantu people blame "is not cheating, nor stealing," observes W. C. Willoughby, "but a clumsiness of operation that leads to detection." This "amoral" attitude was to linger on into historical times as a behavioral norm in Sparta, the least developed of the Greek city-states. As part of their military training, Spartan youth were sent out to rob citizens of their own community and kill serfs or helots who were suspected of aggressive attitudes toward their masters. What was shameful, not evil, was the fact that they were caught. To the Hebrews and Athenians, by contrast, cheating and stealing were regarded as intrinsically reprehensible, not merely as social acts but as violations of divine commandment or rational behavior.

[27] The similarity of the Freudian drama with the Hobbesian has not received the attention it deserves. Perhaps no one more than Hobbes would agree with Freud's view that individual liberty "is not a benefit to culture. It was greatest before any culture, though indeed it had little value at that time, because the individual was hardly in a position to defend it." Further: "The desire for freedom that makes itself felt in a human community may be a revolt against some existing injustice and so may prove favorable to a further development of civilization and remain compatible with it. But it may also have its origin in the primitive roots of the personality, still unfettered by civilizing influences, and so become a source of antagonism to culture." See Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents (London: The Hogarth Press, Ltd., 1930), p. 60.

[28] The principal weakness of this moving statement is the extent to which the authors ignore woman's productive role in the very economy the male preempts. Unwittingly, they reinforce the image, so current in their own time, that woman is always confined to a domestic world — one that is literally conceived as a shelter — and her functions in the world of labor are minimal. In fact, the primordial domestic economy, which Horkheimer and Adorno exile to prehistory, was one in which woman was far from "sheltered," indeed, one in which she was of the world no less than the man, but a world whose environment was largely domestic rather than civil.

[29] In Marx's case, I refer to the very curious formulation in The Civil War in France that freedom "consists in converting the State from an organ superimposed upon society into one completely subordinated to it" — a formulation that calls not for the ultimate abolition of the State but suggests that it will continue to exist (however differently it is reconstituted by the proletariat) as a "nonpolitical" (i.e., administrative) source of authority. In Kropotkin's case, I refer to the belief he shared with Bakunin that the State was a "historically necessary evil" and his elaboration of the virtues of the medieval commune as a quasi-libertarian form of social life with only limited regard for its political trappings. There is a much larger question that anarchism, particularly its syndicalist variant, has not clearly faced: exactly what forms of the State's administrative organ would disappear if the pyramidal structure advanced by syndicalist theory were actually realized? Martin Buber, in his Paths in Utopia, exploited such paradoxes in his criticism of Kropotkin and his snide reference to Bakunin's notion of the regenerative effects of revolution.

[30] The great Stalinist purges of the last generation attest to the loss of any human dimension in bureaucratic rule. The nearly genocidal proportions which these purges were to assume among the Stalinist bureaucrats themselves are vivid evidence that virtually everyone in the system was seen to be expendable and easily liquidated, to use the barbarous official term for mass arrests and murders.

[30] The great Stalinist purges of the last generation attest to the loss of any human dimension in bureaucratic rule. The nearly genocidal proportions which these purges were to assume among the Stalinist bureaucrats themselves are vivid evidence that virtually everyone in the system was seen to be expendable and easily liquidated, to use the barbarous official term for mass arrests and murders.

[31] The ritualistic side of Joseph's acquisition of power, which is later to be secularized into the electoral ritual, is one of the most compelling passages in the drama: "And Pharoah took off his signet ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck. And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him: 'Abrech'; and he set him all over the land of Egypt." (Genesis 41: 52-41, Masoretic Text)

[32] By this I mean creating a qualitatively new society, not merely establishing "work democracy," an "equitable distribution of goods," or even "expropriating the expropriators" — i.e., retaining capitalism without its capitalists. Lenin's assertion that "socialism is state capitalism for the benefit of the people" reveals the bankruptcy of the socialist project of appropriating the present society while unthinkingly perpetuating its old perverse traits within the "new" one. Nor do economistic libertarian movements offer us a qualitatively new alternative, however anti-authoritarian their goals.

[33] The most common definitions of direct action are usually exemplary rather than theoretical. They consist of citing strikes, demonstrations, "mob violence," sit-ins of all kinds and in all places, Ghandian civil disobedience, and even vigilantism. In all such cases, our attention is directed to events rather than goals and theoretical generalizations. What unites this behavior under the term "direct action" is the unmediated intervention of people into affairs that are usually resolved by parliamentary debates and legislation. People take over the streets; they may even occupy the parliamentary structures and rely on their own action rather than on political surrogates to achieve certain ends.

[34] Most notably the massive uprooting of village populations and the engineered "famines" carried out by the British more than a century ago in India and the wholesale slaughter of country people by the Americans in Indochina. Perhaps it will seem uncharitable, but I must add that the Americans inadvertently performed a great service for the cause of "socialism" when they destroyed the Vietnamese village society. Whatever the future of southeast Asia may hold, I am convinced that this service will coincide admirably with the schemes of the North Vietnamese Communists for establishing collective farms and fostering industrial development — just as the genocidal destruction of the Russian village by Stalin in the 1930s paved the way for "socialism" in the Soviet Union.

[34] Most notably the massive uprooting of village populations and the engineered "famines" carried out by the British more than a century ago in India and the wholesale slaughter of country people by the Americans in Indochina. Perhaps it will seem uncharitable, but I must add that the Americans inadvertently performed a great service for the cause of "socialism" when they destroyed the Vietnamese village society. Whatever the future of southeast Asia may hold, I am convinced that this service will coincide admirably with the schemes of the North Vietnamese Communists for establishing collective farms and fostering industrial development — just as the genocidal destruction of the Russian village by Stalin in the 1930s paved the way for "socialism" in the Soviet Union.

[36] Hannah Arendt reminds us that the word humanitas, with its generous implications of a universal human commonality, is Latin, not Greek. In Attic Greek, the term for "mankind" is pan to anthropinon, which is often misleadingly translated as the word "humanity." Certainly, to Aristotle (unless I misread his Politics), the phrase refers to "man" as a biological datum, not a social one. In itself, the word has no distinctive qualities aside from the obvious differences that separate human beings from animals. Hence, in Aristotle's eyes, there would always be "men" innately destined to rule and others innately destined to obey.

[37] Here I must again guard the reader against confusing patriarchy with patricentricity. Even the term patriarchal state can be misused if we fail to see the perpetual antagonism between the State and any kind of autonomous family unit.

[38] At various times, it should be added, this was done to politicize the family and turn it into an instrument for the State or, for that matter, the Church. The Puritan family comes to mind when we speak of extreme examples of religious zealotry, but by no means were Anabaptists and utopistically oriented religious tendencies in the Reformation immune to theocratic types of family structures. The most damning examples of this development were the family relations fostered by the Nazi regime in Germany and the Stalinist regime in Russia. Neither men nor women were to benefit by these totalitarian family entities, which only superficially restored the role of the paterfamilias in all its atavistic splendor in order to colonize his children in the Hitler Youth and the Young Pioneers.

[39] For the wary reader, I wish to note that I use the term "political society" here, in the Hellenic sense of the polis as a society, not in the modern sense of a State. The polis was not quite a State, the views of many radical theorists notwithstanding. Institutionally, in fact, it was a direct democracy whose equivalent, at least along formal lines, we have rarely seen since the dissolution of organic society.

[40] In contrast to the philosophical radicalism that sees in atomic theories as far back as those of Democritus and Epicurus evidence of an ascendant individualism, I would argue that they are evidence of the dissolution of the self into a decadent individualism. Atomic or atomistic theories, I suspect, do not achieve general acceptance when the self is well-formed and well-rooted, but when its form and its roots have begun to wither and the community base by which it is truly nourished has begun to disappear. The great individuals of history like Perikles, Aeschylus, the Gracchi, Augustine, Rabelais, Diderot, Danton, and the like are rooted psychologically in viable and vibrant communities, not neurotically confined to gloomy attics and mummified by isolation like Dostoyevsky's Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment.

[41] To undo this specious principle of " compensation" as the warped form of freedom was the radical function of justice. The "freedom" of the feudal nobility to be "unequal" took a highly concrete form. Juridically, class differences "were manifested by differences in the extent of penance," observe Georg Rusche and Otto Kirchheimer. "Penance was carefully graded according to the social status of the evildoer and of the wronged party. Although this class differentiation only affected the degree of penance at first, it was at the same time one of the principal factors in the evolution of corporal punishment. The inability of lower-class evildoers to pay fines in money led to the substitution of corporal punishment." Rusche and Kirchheimer contend that this development "can be traced in every European country." G. Rusche and O. Kirchheimer, Punishment and Social Structure (New York: Columbia University Press, 1939), p. 9.

[42] This point was made a generation ago by A. L. Morton in The English Utopia (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1952) and recently emphasized by Frank E. and Fritzie P. Manuel in their Utopian Thought in the Western World (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979)

[43] Here, as in Augustine's work, is another of those ambiguities that foster either complete social quietism or a fiery social activism. Although Marcion's denigration of the Judaic "just deity" as mean-spirited forms a marked advance over the limited notion of justice, his asceticism marks a decided regression in ancient political life. Marcion's doctrines spread widely after the Jews had failed in one of the most heroic and selfless revolts against the Roman Empire — a revolt that led to the extermination of Judea as a nation. Marcion, like Paul before him, thus appealed to some of the most quiescent political tendencies in the Empire. His image of Jesus fostered a totally distorted version of a Hebrew nationalist who, as Hyam Maccoby puts it, "was a good man who fell among Gentiles . . . . As a Jew, he fought not against some metaphysical evil but against Rome." (Hyam Maccoby, Revolution in Judea, p. 195). Fortunately, the radical Christian "heretics" who later emerged and unsettled the medieval world were men and women who were just as earthly oriented as the original founder of their religion. Like Jesus, they too fought "not against some metaphysical evil" but against the Papacy and the territorial lords of their day. Marcion formulated a body of ideas that, in the real world at least, were used in the pursuit of ends he never intended to achieve.

[44] Jefferson, in fact, was more of a liberal whig than a radical democrat, and more of a classical republican than a decentralist. Here, I am exclusively concerned with intellectual aspects of Jefferson's political philosophy rather than his vexing, often opportunistic practice. For a useful correction of the "Jefferson myth," see Elisha P. Douglas, Rebels and Democrats (New York: Quadrangle Books, 1955), pp. 287-316.

[45] Significantly, this was precisely the strategy that guided the counterculture of the 1960s, not the use of drugs to provide the "highs" and "lows" for adapting the individual to an utterly insane society. By the 1970s and 1980s, people were employing a bewildering variety of drugs to render them either functional or indifferent to the system — not to discover alternatives to it. The sixties' "drug culture," whatever its faults, was concerned with "blowing" consciousness, and it provided living alternatives — however unsatisfactory many of them proved to be — in the form of communes, personal support systems, a credo of sharing, and a gospel of love to sustain the "heretics" of its day. The present "drug culture" is entirely sinister; it is a strategy for attuning one's flow of adrenalin to meet the demands of the society or simply to render the individual insensate. And, of course, it offers no alternative or support system whatever except the psychoanalyst's office or the so-called "mental" institution.

[46] The extent to which Aristotle's image of techné influenced Marx is hard to judge, particularly in terms of Marx's own image of technology and design. But these classical insights appear in most of the Marxian problematics we group under the category of "alienation," the distinction between human labor and animal activity, and the notion of the "humanization of nature" in Marx's early writings. Aristotle, far from being a "primitive" in economics and technics, was in fact highly sophisticated; his views, far from "preceding" Marx's, actually anticipated them.

[46] The extent to which Aristotle's image of techné influenced Marx is hard to judge, particularly in terms of Marx's own image of technology and design. But these classical insights appear in most of the Marxian problematics we group under the category of "alienation," the distinction between human labor and animal activity, and the notion of the "humanization of nature" in Marx's early writings. Aristotle, far from being a "primitive" in economics and technics, was in fact highly sophisticated; his views, far from "preceding" Marx's, actually anticipated them.

[48] Lest there be any misunderstanding about this statement, I repeat that I am not questioning scientific insight and method as such but rather its preemptive, often metaphysical claims over the entire cosmos of knowledge. In this view I would stand with Hegel, whose distinction between "reason" and "understanding" has never been more valid than today. Speculative thought — imagination, art, and intuition — is no less a source of knowledge than are inductive-deductive reasoning, empirical verification, and scientific canons of proof. Wholeness should apply as much in our methods as it does in the evolution of reality.

[49] I would add that the phrase "libertarian technics," as distinguished from "democratic technics," has become all the more necessary today. "Workplace democracy" has come to mean little more than a participatory approach to productive activity, not an emancipatory one. A "democratic technics" is not necessarily a nonhierarchical or ecological one.

[50] This curse of the crowned dwarf lingers on, from the pyramid of Cheops to the concentration camps of Hitler and Stalin — indeed, from the silver mines of Laurium to the textile factories of Manchester. Far more repellent than the material hedonism of tyranny is its greatest single luxury: its pleasure principle of pain. To delight in the spectacle of degradation and suffering, rulers have created huge mortuaries and palaces whose construction consumed the lives of thousands merely to provide a cosmic shelter for the few. Not for nothing did the Pharaohs of Egypt complete their tombs long before their deaths: the loathesome pleasure in witnessing the construction of these strictly human-made edifices was as great as the contemplation of their own grandeur.

[51] Lest a reader remind me that Czarist Russia was not an agrarian paradise, I would add that this is precisely my point. Such scenes reflect not Czarist Russia but an earlier time that was to persist in Russian peasant life despite the landlordism of the old regime and the industrialism of the new. Long before I read Tolstoy's account, I heard even more vivid stories of the same nature from my plebian parents who were born in Russian towns and villages near the turn of the century, for there was not only chatter, laughter, and an all-embracing sense of communal warmth, but also eating, drinking, singing, and often dancing. To make toil truly onerous, the people had to be cheated of their own buoyancy, rhythms, natural environment, and communal spirit. Early in time, when the pounding of a drum and the lash of a whip replaced the spontaneous pleasure of physical activity, labor degenerated into the tyranny of toil and the penalty for belonging to the wrong social class.

[52] See "Toward a Liberatory Technology" in my Post-Scarcity Anarchism (Palo Alto: Ramparts Press, 1971). On the actual availability of food and the politics of demography, see Frances Lappe and Joseph Collins, Food First (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1977); Richard Merrill, ed., Radical Agriculture (New York: Harper & Row, 1976); and Richard J. Barnett, The Lean Years (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1980). The Lappé-Collins book is the best of its kind on the "food problem" and compellingly refutes the myth that there is a "natural scarcity" of food and arable land, even in areas with rising populations. Although Barnett lines himself "up with the Cassandras," this is primarily because he believes that "timing" may lead to an excess of demand for petroleum and certain minerals over supply, not that nature is "stingy." Whether or not this is plausible as a viewpoint, I do not know. But his data reveal that we are faced not with an absolute shortage of materials but with an irrational society.

[53] Experience has taught me to add a caveat. Fustel de Coulange's account of the Athenian's lived freedom is not a "burden" that I would expect the modern individual to bear at this point in history. But that it could be so — but it is not. Hence, I am merely providing an illustration of freedom as distinguished from "free time," "recreation," and that empty word "leisure." Nor is it "busyness" or "business" — the "business" of "occupying" or "entertaining" oneself. In any case, I am offering an example of freedom, not a recipe for it.

[53] Experience has taught me to add a caveat. Fustel de Coulange's account of the Athenian's lived freedom is not a "burden" that I would expect the modern individual to bear at this point in history. But that it could be so — but it is not. Hence, I am merely providing an illustration of freedom as distinguished from "free time," "recreation," and that empty word "leisure." Nor is it "busyness" or "business" — the "business" of "occupying" or "entertaining" oneself. In any case, I am offering an example of freedom, not a recipe for it.

[54] Lest these remarks in support of consciousness seem a bit idealistic to acolytes of "scientific socialism," it is worth noting that Marx too based his ultimate hopes for a new society on consciousness — that is, on class consciousness. To speak of class consciousness as the result of material or economic factors does not shift the balance of the case in Marx's behalf; ecological breakdown, the destruction of human community, and the threat of nuclear extinction are no less material challenges than economic breakdown, alienation, and imperialism. What is lacking in "scientific socialism," however, is the ethical orientation and ecological sensibility that could vitiate its crude scientism — a scientism that reduces the "principle of hope" to mere egotism and self-satisfaction.

[55] The extensive literature on these issues began in the early part of this century, with the decline of mechanism and the emergency of relativity. Leaving the pioneering work of late nineteenth-century thinkers aside, one thinks of the influence of Whitehead's Science and the Modern World, the synoptic vision of Collingwood's The Idea of Nature, and the discussions generated by Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Bertalanffy's Problems of Life, Herrick's The Evolution of Human Nature, and particularly Hans Jonas' admirable The Phenomenon of Life, which is perhaps only now receiving the appreciation it deserves.

[55] The extensive literature on these issues began in the early part of this century, with the decline of mechanism and the emergency of relativity. Leaving the pioneering work of late nineteenth-century thinkers aside, one thinks of the influence of Whitehead's Science and the Modern World, the synoptic vision of Collingwood's The Idea of Nature, and the discussions generated by Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Bertalanffy's Problems of Life, Herrick's The Evolution of Human Nature, and particularly Hans Jonas' admirable The Phenomenon of Life, which is perhaps only now receiving the appreciation it deserves.

[58] The radical thrust of utopian thinking, as exemplified by Fourier, has been transmuted by academics, statisticians, and "game themists" into a thoroughly technocratic, economistic, and aggressive series of futuramas that can be appropriately designated as "futurism." However widely at odds utopias were in their values, institutional conceptions, and visions (whether ascetic or hedonistic, authoritarian or libertarian, privatistic or communistic, utilitarian or ethical) , they at least had come to mean a revolutionary change in the status quo and a radical critique of its abuses. Futurism, at its core, holds no such promise at all. In the writings of such people as Herman Kahn, Buckminster Fuller, Alvin Toffler, John O'Neill, and the various seers in Stanford University's "think-tanks," futurism is essentially an extrapolation of the present into the century ahead, of "prophecy" dematured to mere projection. It does not challenge existing social relationships and institutions, but seeks to adapt them to seemingly new technological imperatives and possibilities — thereby redeeming rather than critiquing them. The present does not disappear; it persists and acquires eternality at the expense of the future. Futurism, in effect, does not enlarge the future but annihilates it by absorbing it into the present. What makes this trend so insidious is that it also annihilates the imagination itself by constraining it to the present, thereby reducing our vision — even our prophetic abilities — to mere extrapolation.

[59] Does this commitment to universal competence yield an "absolute freedom" — to use Hegel's term — that divests a free society of the motivation, meaning, and purpose we so readily ascribe to the effects of conflict and opposition? Charles Taylor, in a recent work, has raised this possibility of a freedom that "has no content," presumably one that will result in the subversion of subjectivity itself. This dilemma of a reconciled world that is boring and lacking in "situations" reflects the agonistic sensibility that pervades the modern mind. What Taylor's concerns express is a larger crisis in western sensibility: the conflict between aggressiveness toward reality and reflectiveness. We may well need a Fichte's aggressiveness to change the insane world in which we live today, but without Goethe's sense of equipoise and reflection as the basis for an ecological sensibility, we will almost certainly slip into a terroristic society — which Taylor, no less than Hegel, is eager to avoid. See Charles Taylor, Hegel and Modern Society (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979) , pp. 154-160.

[60] As Ynestra King observes in an excellent article from Heresies (Vol. 4, No. 1, Issue 13): "Acting on our own consciousness of our needs, we act [as women] in the interests of all. We stand on the biological dividing line. We are the less rationalized side of humanity in an overly rationalized world, yet we can think as rationally as men and perhaps transform the idea of reason itself. As women we are a naturalized culture in a culture defined against nature. If nature/culture antagonism is the primary contradiction of our time, it is also what weds feminism and ecology, and makes woman the historic subject. Without an ecological perspective that asserts the interdependence of livings, feminism is disembodied."

[61] The mathematics to which I refer is as much a mathematics of form as it is of quantity — in fact, emphatically more so. In this respect, I follow the Greek tradition, not that of the late Renaissance, and the truth that inheres in the Pythagorean emphasis on form rather than the Galilean on quantity. We have too readily forgotten that mathematics has fallen victim to instrumentalism and the myth of method, no less than have ethics and philosophy.

From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org

Chronology

November 30, 1981 :
Epilogue -- Publication.

July 10, 2019 16:28:12 :
Epilogue -- Added to http://www.RevoltLib.com.

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