An Antirealist Manifesto

Vi- Grail
12 min readApr 29, 2023


Soulism, also known as anarcho-antirealism, is a school of anarchist thought which views reality and natural laws as unjust hierarchies. It is the basic principle of anarchism that hierarchies in which one person holds power over another are not inherently self-justifying. They must justify themselves through good work, and it must be possible to dismantle them at any time. It is the opinion of soulists that this principle must not be extended just to people, but also to the world itself. This is soulism at its most basic.

The soulist flag

The story of soulism begins with the story of reality. Throughout this work, the term reality will be used in many ways. First, it will be used to refer to an experience which is considered objectively extant. This is a reality. Second, it will be used to refer to a person’s entire experience of the world as if it were objectively extant. This is their reality. Third, it will be used to refer to the experience of the world as objectively extant which is expected by and enforced upon society as a whole. This is consensus reality. To be socially real is to be a part of consensus reality.

The word consensus comes from the same etymology as ‘consent’, but the two should not be confused. Consensus can be coerced, and it can be imposed by force, at least in the sense we use it here. At one time, it was consensus reality that the sun revolved around the earth. This is not an objectively true statement, but in being considered so and experienced as such by the people of the world, it was reality. And those who disagreed were at times persecuted. This is the manufacturing of consensus as to the nature of reality.

One may ask how something can be at the same time real and untrue. Consider the nature of the human mind. We are minds, made of information. The world, at least as most people believe it to exist, is made of matter. Matter and information cannot interact directly. Instead, our senses and our brains create a world made of information to represent the external world, and that is what we experience. This interface was sculpted by evolution to increase our chances at survival and reproduction. It was not handed down from above with the intention of perfectly representing the world. What is externally and objectively true is fundamentally unknowable. We can only perceive the ways our flawed interface interprets this data. When we talk about reality, we are talking about our experiences. There exists no language to describe the world beyond our interface in perfect clarity. Even assumptions as basic as the objective existence of spacetime can be questioned.

As I have alluded to above, our consensus reality is hugely influenced by the traditions of Roman Christianity within Europe. For a thousand years, this is where our ideas about truth and the universe came from. At least, those of us who are from Europe. For those of us in most of the rest of the world, we had indigenous traditions describing the nature of the world in thousands of different ways. Thousands of consensus realities.

And then they were destroyed. The colonisers from Europe brought not just guns and plagues, but they brought textbooks and teachers and bibles and preachers. They brought a worldview of reality. Religions and languages and cultures were destroyed. Our fundamental ideas about the structure of the universe were wiped out in the name of “progress”. In Australia, this process continued at its most blatant until the 1970s. Up until that point, aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their parents and placed by the government with white families, in white schools. The rationale being to “civilise” these children. If you kill their language, their culture, their religion, and their history, then perhaps you can “save” them from “neglect”. The intent was quite clearly to destroy their native consensus realities. This was a genocide.

And so we arrive at the present day, with countless subjective worlds destroyed, or close to. The traditions of metaphysical, universal, moral, religious, and identity views brought to the brink of extinction or farther across most of the world. What do we have in their place? We have the consensus reality of Europe. Influenced first by the Roman Church, and later by the philosophy of Enlightenment thinkers, applying so-called “Rationalism” with all of their cultural biases worked into their “logic”. And even into the modern paradigm of empirical science.

Those who have studied the history of racism will be well familiar with the pseudosciences of phrenology, aryanism, scientific racism, and eugenics. Remember, reality as we perceive it is constructed by the mind. When you apply empirical evidence-gathering to a construction that is racist, you will find racism. You will find a scientific basis for racism so long as you believe in racism. Should you believe in empathy, tolerance, and kindess, you will find a scientific basis for those instead.

Again, soulists believe first and foremost that our lives should not be governed by reality’s unjust hierarchies. Study history, and you will find for yourself that consensus reality is governed by the dominant attitudes of society, be they hateful or tolerant. The first conclusion, then, is obvious: Take power over reality for ourselves. Choose kindness, and spread kindness into the values of everyone you meet. Believe in a kind reality, and science will show you that same kindness. This is how you create a better reality.

The second conclusion is less obvious. Unless you are an anarchist. Anarchists understand both the dangers of power, and its corrupting influence. It is not enough to give power over reality to the right people and hope that they will govern our lives with respect. What is necessary is to destroy the tool that gives the powerful so much more power than they already have. Destroy reality. This is where soulism gets interesting.

What does it mean to destroy reality? As said above, reality is experience considered objectively extant. All we have to do is stop considering it as such. Stop believing that it exists objectively. Acknowledge that it is a creation of our senses and we have little to no information on how well our senses depict an external world. We can take our senses seriously without taking them literally. If I see a crocodile lunging out of the water at me, I know that my life is in danger. I know this because my senses evolved to keep me alive, and I can trust them in life or death matters. But is the crocodile real? No, it is a symbol created by my occipital lobe. There is something there, but it is not a crocodile. The concept of there being such a thing as a crocodile only makes sense within our evolutionary interface.

Imagine you are using a computer running Windows. You want to open a program, so you click on your Start button and scroll down the list. Are your programs physically located inside the start button on your screen? No, they are ones and zeroes on your hard drive, in the tower beneath your desk. You can take this interface seriously, but do not take it literally.

Imagine a skeptic, in this hypothetical world where people take computer screens literally. Our skeptic says, “of course I know that the icons on my computer screen are an illusion! I took a magnifying glass to my screen, and I found tiny pixels making up the computer. This is what programs and files are made out of!” This skeptic is making the core error of taking a representation literally. Two — dimensional space exists on his screen because it’s easier for him to understand. The data on the hard drive isn’t arranged two dimensionally. His entire perception of what he considers spacetime is flawed at a basic level.

These examples are taken from Donald Hoffman’s book The Case Against Reality. If one wishes for a scientific basis for soulist theory, it is an excellent place to start.

And how do we as soulists implement these ideas? How do we turn theory into practice, or praxis? We stop taking our perceptions literally. I happen to know a transgender person who is genderfluid. On some days he feels male. On other days, she is female. Much of the time, they are nonbinary. We are all taught from a very young age to perceive people as either male or female, and to form rigid perceptions of a person’s gender. When it comes to my genderfluid friend, this kind of thinking is rude. At its worst, it could provoke dysphoria resulting in suicide. Fortunately, soulism can help us.

First, I simply recognise that my perception of my friend as rigidly male or female is untrue. I may experience it, but it is not real — nothing is. Second, I exert my willpower to change my perceptions to obey my will. And what I will is kindness, to see others as they wish to be seen. This takes practice, but the benefits are clear. For those outside a binary conception of gender, this is extremely invaluable. It is literally lifesaving.

Soulism can help us win ideological battles with transphobes who would do our trans friends harm, as well. No matter what assertions they make, we can simply choose to recognise them as not real. Whatever truth lies in their claims is subjective, and it is our choice whether to accept it. Gender, like consensus reality, is a social construct. We have the power of choice over our experience of gender, and this example to others is powerful.

Some people, called otherkin, do not identify as human because doing so makes them feel dysphoric and potentially suicidal. Almost all other political philosophies deny their identities, because they are realist, and hold humanity as part of objectively true reality. Not soulists. We soulists are allies of otherkin, because we do not recognise the reality of humanity as true, and we know that seeing others as human is a choice.

Some people, called plural people, have more than one person sharing a head. And sometimes, rarely, there exists one person across more than one body. Soulists are allies of plural people, because we do not recognise the reality of the belief in one person per body as true. We know that perceiving a person is a choice, it is not dependant on a body.

Soulists are allies of people with schizospectrum and psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia. Treatments by medical professionals for psychiatric disorders always focus on the negative effects of the disorder upon the patient and others. It is about preventing harm, not about enforcing beliefs on others. Realist ideologies may take issue with this. Soulists are allies of neurodivergent and psychotic people. Our goal is to take control of perception of reality away from the disease, and put it in the hands of the person suffering, not in the hands of society or the government. This is not always practical, but I believe our approach is more empathetic, and we should put empathy and the patient’s needs foremost. Conformity is not necessary.

Soulists are allies of the racially marginalised; of people of colour. We recognise that races are social constructs, and have often been wielded as ideological weapons by bad actors in history. Cultural identities are invaluable on a personal and community level. They must be protected. But racial identities are often applied from outside, by those who have power over consensus reality, and when this happens, it must be questioned. The goal is to destroy the belief that these ideas of culture are objectively true. Belief in biological or essential race has no place in soulism. Neither does supremacy, as it is hierarchical. The questioning of race is key to liberation. Keep the good, and throw away the bad. Seek justice for the marginalised. Create a society founded upon mutual respect and freedom, that can protect all members.

Soulists are allies of queer people. Love is love. Gender is a construct. We value the subjective experiences of all gender, sexual, and romantic identities. We value the freedom of intersex people to live without modification of their bodies or identities by others. Soulists have no problem with BDSM practices or a majority of sexual and nonsexual fetishes. Consensual hierarchies are not unjust, so long as the greatest care is taken to maintain enthusiastic consent.

Soulists are allies of all religious people, especially those whose beliefs are the most marginalised. The destruction of an objective view of reality makes room for a great diversity of spiritual beliefs. And in fact if no spiritual belief is ever taken as objective, then it is possible to believe in all spiritual narratives and all deities at once. The only beliefs not accepted are those that establish unjust hierarchies, particularly gender or racial hierarchies as is common in some religions. The existence of deities is permissible under soulism. Soulism takes no issue with non-hierarchical divinities, nor with divine hierarchies founded upon enthusiastic consent. This is a position known sometimes as antheism — the dismantling of unjust divinities, and the attitude of questioning all divinity for injustice.

Speaking of religion, we now come to what I consider the most exciting part of soulism. The metaphysical theory. Important to this is defining magic, and for a deeply soulist definition, take the following: “Magic is observable phenomena caused by things that aren’t real.” This definition is important because it makes sense across many different realities. A wizard from the world of Dungeons and Dragons is, in faer native realm, a kind of scientist. A scholar, who examines the mechanics of the weave, from which all magic flows. Now, to us, the idea of conjuring a fireball from bat guano and an incantation is magic, because wizards and weaves and wands aren’t real. Likewise, the ancient curse of Caine causing the dead to rise from their coffins and drink the blood of virgins is magic, because curses aren’t real. This magic isn’t real either, because we don’t believe in the phenomena we observe. We read about it in stories, but we don’t consider it real. Now take a skeptic, like James Randi, who made a career of saying that stage magic isn’t real. Indeed, he proved that the causes were real, and thus that the phenomena weren’t magic. Or from another point of view, he proved that the observations were false, and that the magic wasn’t real. Arthur C Clarke said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Because the scientific principles underlying sufficiently advanced technology are not recognised as real by a primitive society (like ours, if aliens were to descend from the sky tomorrow). This definition is robust.

And more importantly, it is great for soulists. Do we recognise money as real? No? Then the financial transactions making the world go round are magic. They are founded on magical thinking. Belief made manifest, just as we seek to do. Do we recognise Deus as real? No? Then prayer is magic. Do we recognise the wiccan goddess as real? No? Then wicca is magic. But since we don’t value reality, we can use wicca, if we wish. Soulism has no problem with magical beliefs. When we exert our will to shape our perceptions of reality, what we are doing is called magic. Our belief that reality is untrue is itself not real. How could it be real? Magic sits at the core of soulist praxis.

Viewing the situation this way has benefits. The human mind benefits greatly from being able to draw its beliefs from some kind of source. If not reality, then what? Magic is the answer. Belief in magic that you can control for yourself will make you better able to command your own perceptions. It is a placebo, nothing more and nothing less. But if it’s all in your head, that’s just fine, because your head is where you keep your perceptions.

Some of these ideas may seem difficult to believe. But this is because realism lies at the very heart of all of our cultural assumptions. I recommend opening your mind to the very greatest extent possible, and approaching these ideas with curiosity. To that end, I have a reading list:

For science supporting soulist beliefs, look to Donald Hoffman’s book The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes. Or, watch his 20 minute TED talk, Do We See Reality As It Is?

For fiction exploring something resembling soulist ideas, read Ada Hoffman’s novel The Outside and its sequel The Fallen. She’s no relation to Donald, it’s just an interesting coincidence

For a guide to magic that works extremely well with a soulist perspective, read Archtraitor Bluefluke’s Psychonaut Field Manual. The PDF is available for free online.

To speak to soulists directly, visit My discord server The Outside, here: Or, visit instead.

To play a game as a soulist character, find some friends who like tabletop roleplaying games and get Jenna Moran’s game Glitch: A Story of the Not

This is not the first soulist manifesto, but it is a quick summary of theory I have been spreading for two and a half years, as of April 2023. I write it in the hope that it will clearly and quickly lay out a system of core beliefs in a manner that answers the most common questions and complaints without the need for lengthy debate. If anyone would like to have a lengthy debate after reading this, I suggest contacting Me on Discord.

Reality delenda est.

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Vi- Grail

Nonbinary Goddess explores philosophy, politics, and pop culture to find lessons that can improve people and help improve the world.