My Spiritual Anarchism
I’d describe myself as a philosophical anarchist. I have no opinion on what society should look like and have no strategy of getting there, I just view the modern State as inherently unjust. I reject in theory that society should be based on coercion and violence, and in practice I abhor the State out of empathy and compassion for those it persecutes and kills.
But all I can really do is express my opinion. I may succeed or fail at persuasion, but I don’t see the benefits of angry confrontation. That’s why I clarify my anarchism as philosophical.
That said, I’d also describe my position as spiritual anarchism. I view it as the bread of the sandwich; if I changed my mind on spiritual matters, I’d still have the meat of philosophical anarchism.
My spiritual anarchism flows from this: I believe love is real, that love is God, and therefore the human is divine.
The idea of human divinity comes from a variety of sources all over the world, but I’ll use the Bible. (A disclaimer: I don’t know where and to what degree the Bible is factually accurate or was ever intended to be. But I believe there’s a lot of truth in the Bible, at least in the same way I believe there’s truth in The Matrix. Truth and facts are different things.) All verses NRSV:
“God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” — 1 John 4:16
“God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24
“Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.” — Genesis 1:26
Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? John 10:34
“I say, ‘You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you.” — Psalm 82:6–7
“Our Father…” Matthew 6:9
God is love. God is spirit, and we are children of love and spirit, so we are love and spirit. We are divine beings.
And, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.” 1 John 4:18
Contrast our divinity with 1 Samuel 8. Israel had no ruler at this time. Since Joshua’s conquest, Israel had remained independent. When Israelits became corrupt, they were insecure; when they repented, they were able to repel their enemies. Excerpted, verse numbers removed, emphasis mine:
But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to govern us.” Samuel prayed to the Lord, and the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.”
He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots; and he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.
He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day.
They said, “No! but we are determined to have a king over us, so that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.”
Israel got a King, then constant war, than over-taxation and bankruptcy, then disunion, then domination by one empire after another. Might as well have stayed in Egypt.
It’s obvious to say Israel chose slavery over freedom. On a deeper level, the people rejected God, which means they rejected Love itself. They rejected their own divinity. They rejected the divinity in their neighbor.
They rejected their own personal connection to God, to Love, as the basis for life and action, in favor of someone with a spear telling them what to do.
This is what The State is, practically and symbolically, whether monarchical or democratic: it is the rejection of our divinity. It rejects love and embraces fear. We’re born into Statism and fear. Not only do we not know we’re divine, we’re constantly told that we’re not.
As a result, we don’t know how to love our neighbor because we don’t know how to love ourselves. We dwell on our supposed faults instead of our divine potential. We see the supposed faults in others instead of their divinity.
That’s why disagreements or different ways of living rise to the level of hatred. Of people across the world. Of people online. Perhaps even of next-door neighbors.
To reject our own divinity and the power of divine Love, is to let outside forces capture our freedom and even emotions. The State captures not just the body, but the soul. Even of those who hate the State. Perhaps especially those who hate The State.
My spiritual anarchism involves not only formally tolerating the peaceful activities of others, but of loving them as myself, of seeing the divinity in them even if they don’t see it or believe it themselves. It means letting go of fear, and the anger flowing from fear. It means refusing to let the conflicts outside lead to inner conflict. It means freeing my mind and claiming peace of mind. For that is really all I can control.