Personal Anarchy: Part II
"it is man reduced to a unit, a cypher, who no longer has a sense of Justice. He is anonymous independent, indifferent. He does not feel even the cohesive emotion of a wolf pack. He is alone. And against him is the state, that complex of laws, rules, and regulations which have no reality for the cypher individual, in whose making he did not participate, whose meaning he may not understand. Liberty is one of the conscious values of a civilization. It is conceived and cultivated, defined and protected, it can also be abrogated, denied, and perverted. But freedom is the unconscious creation of a culture. It cannot be abstracted or defined, it cannot be cultivated and protected, it is a pulse, a living breath of which we are scarcely aware of until it ceases. And sinks slowly, as the body is sick, or kept restricted."
Can a man be both free and imprisoned at the same time? Can a woman with every legal right as the freest man be a slave? Can a poor man be liberated without money? Can one imagine Sisyphus happy?
In an era of oxymoronic “social justice,” I’ve been left on multiple occasions wondering where the individual fits. It is made to seem as though your worth is inherently linked to certain immutable characteristics and the popular history of those who have shared said characteristics, despite levels upon levels of separation. It seems as though some anonymous council at some time or another got together to choose which historical wrongs would be inherited by their post-generational look-alikes, regardless of the individual innocence of most if not all of the chosen group. For example, if my father stole an apple and wasn’t found out until years after his death, would it be on me and the rest of his children to supply an apple to the family of the man whose apple was originally stolen? One might attempt to make such a case. However, how far back and with what consequence is a line to be drawn? One year? One hundred years? One thousand years? With what accuracy are we to repair all past wrongs? To direct lineage? To race? To nationality? To religion?
The answer: to the individual. If a man stole an apple, then that man is the one, and only one, responsible to replace the apple and remedy the inconvenience caused by the theft. If this was not the case, then like the Christians say, we would all be damned for the transgressions of our fathers, and none are innocent.
On the other side of the same coin, we have no claim whatsoever to the past accomplishments and glory of our parents and ancestors. If my grandfather was a great pilot, that alone will not make me any better or worse at flying planes. Perhaps I can find some comfort or strength in knowing that I am descended from a man who once flew, but this can also become a dangerous road to bind myself to, for if I am metaphysically or epigenetically connected to his greatness, then also his darkness.
Whether I am or not, it matters little to me personally. I refuse to accept either the glory and the filth of generations past or of a people who share my skin colour.
If Man is to ever forge his or her own destiny and experience true freedom then Man must accept total responsibility for every action and inaction taken or passed on an individual basis. Again, I can observe the accomplishments of those people whom I relate to, but they will never be mine until I choose to act in such a way as to accomplish them within my own life.
Men and women have also found themselves from time to time encumbered by the chains of control, not of others over them, but by their own desire to control others; such is the birth of statism. One of the more tragic cases concerns the people who espouse anarchy in their own political philosophy but neglect its implementation within their own lives. The desire to see a world that fits your own wants can be as real of a prison as a concrete cell. In fact, chances are that you’ll find that the world around you, especially the people, don’t bend easily, if at all, to your will alone. You can force people’s actions to a certain extent, but that will lead you nowhere, and what results you do see, will, in the end, be outside of your control.
In your own body and mind though, you are a God. Every man, woman, and child is an end in themselves.
“The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.”
Personal anarchy is the embodiment of Ms Rand’s phrase, and it is personal anarchy that is the highest degree of freedom one can attain, because in reality it’s you who must live, and you who must either hate or love each moment of consciousness. It is you who is, in the end, responsible for everything you chose, every person you love or hate, and every second you use.
There is no one who can take from you the responsibility of living your life.
Once you understand that everything you do and say is fully under your control, you are free to experience reality. Now, that’s not to say that everything that happens to you or around you or that passes through your mind is under your control; it’s not. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. But it’s the acceptance of it, and rebellion against its absurdity that makes a man free.
"The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion."
To shake off the chains of expectation, duty, and unconditional loyalty is to be personally free. It is also important to note, that simply because you reject the prepackaged norms and morals of current society, that you will not necessarily be free; one must be conscious.
You are in a position today similar to Sisyphus, King of Ephyra, who was sentenced by Zeus to push a boulder up a hill for the rest of eternity. Very much like Sisyphus, you are checking boxes every day that will only uncheck themselves tomorrow, and in the grand scheme of things, will fade into obscurity. You work to live, only to continue working to continue living; all to the end that we must all face, death.
But as Albert Camu has famously said,
“I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain. One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself, forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”
What will you do then? You were thrust into this world without any semblance of consent. Now that you exist though, it is up to you to find happiness and a reason to keep living. Past generations can and will tell you how you ought to do that, but they simply aren’t you. You must arise and shake off the dogmatic dust heaped upon you at birth. It is your boulder and your mountain.
Find joy in it and rebel against the Gods.