[Republished – 2nd edit: March 16, 2017 – from original article April 2015]
I suspect this is one of the biggest questions in people’s minds ( skeptics ), about how we can live in a non-hierarchical, non-authoritarian, completely anarchic world … the mainstream narrative tells us such a thing is impossible, and that anarchy is synonymous with chaos – but nothing could be further from the truth.
So in this rewrite, I’ll endeavour to make it as clear as I can, but you may want to look also to other articles in which I describe more specific hypotheticals to deal with specific scenarios … if I had to put them all in one article, it would become a book very quickly, and perhaps this is something I will do at some stage.
Imagine a world with neither authoritarian nor hierarchical leadership of any kind – no rulers – a world where decision making for both individual and collective benefit are made by individuals, ad hoc collectives, and established collectives, but no one has any authority over anyone else, they’re just aligning themselves to prioritised objectives, and the best way of going about achieving them.
In this world, there is no battle of ideological viewpoints; imagine also there’s no social class of wealthy & powerful who control and manipulate others, no religion, no nationalism, and no brainwashing for any other purposes.
Finally, imagine there are no rules, no laws, no authoritarian enforcement. There are principles at play, and there are systems run by those principles, but they only guide & motivate – they claim no authority to enforce compliance.
These principles are not based on ideologies, nor based on the bias of vested interests, nor based on domination by violence and warfare … they’re based on perspective agnostic argument, reason, logic, maths, and science.
In this world, there’s even no need for democracy, except in some extreme cases that may require collective and united action, where the data we have cannot give us a definitive and unambiguous guide for action, or for situations where – despite the guidance offered by the science being clear – the ideological differences between people are irreconcilable, and stand at odds with the advisory we are offered by science.
In such hypothetical cases – as a worst case scenario – we can resort to direct democracy to resolve the matter, knowing also that people understand if things turn out badly ( and they were the ones who voted for the failed action ), this will reflect poorly on their personal statistics in the framework – thus people are motivated to think carefully before putting their personal ideology ahead of what the data is telling them.
However, these “tie-breaker” scenarios do not suddenly give people any kind of “authority” over others, their action is not made exempt from analysis, nor in any way “sanctioned” by the system … as the system itself is impartial, and remains so, it was merely advising them on the best course of action, and either way is going to record the consequences of the path taken, whether that path follows the advisory or not. In this way, the system is never assuming it is right, it is merely offering the best advice it can according to the best data available.
In this world, we govern ourselves – and to some degree each other – by the simple common motivation of reducing quantifiable harm, and increasing quantifiable benefits ( of our actions ), in both ecological & social terms, from a non-species-biased perspective.
To just explain that a little deeper:
- If you want access to any abundant resources, you may simply go get them – because so long as the means by which we harvest, process, utilise, and recycle resources, does not increase scarcity, and does not cause a nett negative ( deleterious ) set of ecological and social consequences, then there’s no reason for you not to have as much as you need, regardless of what you may or may not have done to contribute to society.
- If however you want access to scarce resources, well now we need a system to determine who gets access, because the meaning of scarcity is that demand is greater than supply … so here the most sensible thing to do, is to allocate those scarce resources to that which:
- doesn’t increase scarcity further
- preferably reduces scarcity
- minimises its own deleterious consequences
- reduces other existing deleterious consequences
- maximises its own beneficial consequences
- increases other existing beneficial consequences
- Thus we are all always motivated to do no harm, or at least minimise the harm we do – as if the entire population had taken the hypocratic oath – and to do as much good as we possibly can, through every action and interaction we have
- You’re free to ignore this motivation, and for those who don’t want much out of life, that’s fine, because you’ll still get access to abundant resources – but if you ignore it to the degree that you’re actually causing quantifiably significant ecological &/or social harm, you may inadvertently motivate others to put a stop to you … and while they will be motivated to do the least harm to you – and will likely use diplomacy to negotiate with you at first – depending on the extremity of consequences of your actions, if you refuse to compromise, it’s possible the system will quantify the best course of action against you to be either:
- Forcibly disarming your capacity to do harm
- Incarcerating or exiling you this
- Killing you ( in the worst case scenario )
So this is not about giving anyone authority over others, it’s about the redundancy of the very notion of authority … they are neither authorised nor unauthorised to intervene in your actions, they’re simply taking responsibility for the consequences of intervention, which you were foolish enough to push to these extremes, where it was actually in their best interests to do so – because the negative consequences of inaction outweighed the negative consequences of action.
in other words:
karma is a bitch
In such a system, it could not be said we would never make mistakes, nor would life become magically “perfect” … but … what can be said, is that both successes & failures would feed back into changing our behaviour and psychology over time, and would cause evolution of the principles we’re applying.
Thus we make fewer mistakes with time.
Ultimately this process would exponentially evolve our understanding of the symbiotic relationships in the ecosystems that support us, and which in return we must support if we hope to survive as a species long-term.
the question of “human nature”
There are many belief paradigms ingrained in the human psyche, many of which are claimed to be immutable laws of the psychology or the universe. Few – if any – live up to these claims, and most are easily debunked.
The claim that anarchy means chaos is as easy to debunk, as the claim that without rulers, people are just savages.
It may be true of some, but that doesn’t make it a universal law. It is also a misinterpretation ( or misrepresentation ) of evolutionary behavioural psychology, and completely ignores the reality of cooperation and symbiosis between individuals, populations, and species.
Capitalism artificially creates scarcity where it is neither productive nor necessary to do so, and it then uses the resulting behaviour of people exposed to this artificial scarcity as a justification for its social narrative that competition and aggression are somehow superior traits, which is a load of utter bollocks, which only an absolute imbecile or ignoramus would believe.
the sociopathic narrative:
Phrases like: “human nature”, “might is right”, “alpha male”, and “survival of the fittest”, are the universal go-to excuse for people who claim change is impossible, and whom wish to justify and rationalise their abhorrent behaviour towards other people and species.
It is the absolute failure of both character and imagination of these people, which leads them to believe nothing better is possible, or to be too afraid to admit to it, let alone actually fight for anything better … and cowardice is not a virtue.
Take for example the claim that experiencing misfortune means:
- you are lazy
- you make bad choices
- you have a bad attitude
I call shenanigans on all this, because it’s absolute bollocks.
This is nothing more than victim blaming in order to justify exploitation and abuse. It is an assertion without evidence, and no decent human being should have anything to do with it.
There is no such thing as a universal human nature … there’s behavioural psychology which is inherited, and that which is learned.
It is not universally in our nature to do harm to ourselves, nor to each other – quite to the contrary our natural disposition is to seek peace, happiness, contentment, fulfilment, love, harmony & cooperation.
The only reason you see so much aberrant and abhorrent behaviour – which would seem to contradict this statement – is because:
- We live in an economic system that incites, nurtures, and rewards ignorance, narcissism, and predatory behaviour
- This system abuses and exploits altruistic behaviour and vulnerability – thus it is killed off – UNLESS such altruism is connected in some way to supporting the status quo, or where the altruism is defended from attack by resources and power OR where it is flying “below the radar” in a supportive community, and not currently a priority for attack
- People have been intergenerationally brainwashed, damaged, and traumatised by this system – so you’re not seeing how they would behave had they not been interfered with from a young age by the status quo
Change the system
Change the behaviour
The status quo uses measures of brainwashing, indoctrination, & other social engineering ( such as economic manipulation & military conflict ), to create a self-justifying, fulfilling, and perpetuating prophesy … ie:
“See! We told you people were animals, didn’t we?”
This narrative is implied, stated, and repeated before, during, and after inciting and provoking the very behaviour used to justify the actions that incited and provoked them.
Such circular logic is never valid, but it is used to justify the abuse … and people are so brainwashed, they don’t notice.
the alpha male myth:
Many people mistakenly believe that survival and evolution are not possible without a strong & aggressive alpha male to keep the tribe safe, but this is not necessarily the case ( for a number of reasons ).
Firstly: we are no longer tribal or wild in western culture, nor dependent on aggressive animalistic survival strategies and techniques – we have technology, we can manipulate our environment, and we can free ourselves ( and other species too ) from certain pressures … not to cause a devolution of our physical bodies, but simply to remove the unnecessary ( excess ) survival pressures.
Even prior to the advent of gene technology, we could identify a genetic illness, or at least its symptoms, treat them, and give the person a better quality of life than they would otherwise have had … and if this person chooses to do so, they may remain childless for want of not passing on that genetic trait.
If a person with a deleterious genetic anomaly were to breed, this may very well be a selfish act, but who are you to deny them? Besides which, if the trait is passed on, and we’re still unable to fully cure it, there’s nothing stopping you taking responsibility for your desire to only breed with your idea of “perfection”, by asking your partner to get their gene sequence analysed … this doesn’t need to stop someone else from breeding, you’re just taking responsibility for whom you wish to breed with, instead of blaming someone else for not being that person ( which is pointless since you don’t like each other anyway ), and denying them the right to self-determination.
Secondly: as observed by naturalists, social groups of other great ape species, tend to do better once the alpha male is gone, in the respect that in his absence, the so-called “beta-males” take over, and the social aspects of the group rapidly change and evolve towards a far more cooperative regime, alongside greater cultural development.
the evolution of evolution:
When you look at any population of species, the individuals that dominate are not necessarily some kind of a “genetic ideal”, this is a total misunderstanding of biology, genetics, and evolution – they’re not even necessarily the best adapted to the environmental conditions … they are merely the most entrenched genetic trait at that moment in time.
It is entirely possible ( and likely common ) within a population of species, that a “superior” genetic trait ( for a given set of conditions ), and which has only recently come about through breeding and mutation, is ( in its infancy ) completely outnumbered by competing forces within that population ( from that competitive perspective ) … and if it enters into conflict in order to achieve supremacy, it could very well lose the battle for the simple reason that it is outnumbered and therefore outgunned.
A battle between the status quo and the newcomer within any population of species, could very well result in the only copy of that new genetic pattern being lost as a result of the battle … and the nature of the superiority may not necessarily be physical strength or endurance, it may be intelligence – so if the superior intelligence enters the battle with the superior strength, we will likely lose the intelligence … and to claim such a consequence is an “advancement”, again shows a failure to understand the evolutionary process.
Many people refer back to Darwin and his Origin of Species, plus statements like “survival of the fittest”, as their understanding of evolutionary science … but the reality is, if Wallace and Darwin were alive today, they wouldn’t even recognise the science they founded, as it has come a very long way since their time.
The mainstream understanding of evolution however, has not.
the alpha capitalist:
So if we want to use this term “alpha male”, perhaps we should be looking beyond psychotic aggression to set our standards of what is “best”, and the principles and systems by which we motivate, nurture, and reward behaviour.
In the capitalist paradigm, people have this delusion that having a lot of money is somehow evidence of superiority, but the reality is that 70%+ of all wealth in the USA is inherited … and you don’t have to be a genius to figure out that inheritance didn’t take any skill or achievement.
The capitalist wants to see him or herself as a nice and good person, so they use this excuse of being the “alpha” to justify and rationalise their behaviour and actions, because ultimately some part of them knows it is abhorrent, but they’re too cowardly to admit that, and to challenge themselves to do better ( because they’re afraid of losing ).
Which is understandable in the circumstances, but nonetheless pathetic.
Secondly, if the economic paradigm itself is flawed – as evidenced by the destruction of our society and our world at its hands – then being better adapted to that economic environment, could actually be an indication of genetically inferior rather than superior traits, which may lead to our own extinction, and which has already lead ( and continues to lead ) to the extinction of many other species, the pollution of our environment, and the decline of our societies and cultural values.
Yet despite all this evidence and reason, capitalism will actually call it’s utterly destructive, insane, and unsustainable behaviour “profitable” – as if that wasn’t the greatest oxymoron ever stated.
There is conflict and aggression in all species sure, but not all species have the capacity to manipulate their environment and to solve the root causes of such things … we do. So surely our failure to do so, is a failure of our priorities and values.
People want to tell you that “it’s just human nature”, but if this is true, why is it that some people do not behave this way? In some cases, not even when under stress.
The reason is that such aggressive behaviour is NOT human nature at all, it is one possible response only of the entire gamut of evolved animal behavioural psychology, which is common to both ourselves and likely all our cousin species … so what you’re looking at is the response of some individuals, to a variable ( and individually specific ) set of internal and external environmental conditions.
To say otherwise would be to claim that anyone who doesn’t respond with aggression, competition, and violence, somehow isn’t human – which of course is nonsense.
We suffer an intergenerational sociological form of Stockholm Syndrome, where we identify with both our captor and the ideology and systems of enslavement.
Philosophically speaking, all of this is best illustrated by the quote:
Violence is the last resort of the incompetent
I had heard somewhere years ago that this quote had originated with Sun Tzu, and other sources attributed it to Asimov and elsewhere; but regardless of whomever originally said it, I suspect they intended it as a double entendre – meaning that ( to simplify ):
- you’re incompetent if diplomacy fails
- you’re equally incompetent if you fail to defend yourself
- the most incompetent of all, are the violent psychopaths and sociopaths who mistakenly see it as their strength to be abusive and exploitative
conclusions to draw?
- Do we need leaders? Sometimes
- Does leadership always require aggression? No
- Does leadership require authority & domination? No
- Should we impose leadership as a non-negotiable? No
- Is leadership synonymous with authoritarianism? No
- Does leadership require social class & privilege? No
People confuse leadership with being ruled, and ultimately they accept domination, obedience, subservience, conformity, and other such social-diseases as virtues.
thus emerges Stockholm Syndrome at a civilisational level
I’m not suggesting aggression is never necessary or valuable, but it certainly shouldn’t be the basis of civilisation.
It’s not that we’re “better than” other species, but that we’ve evolved that capacity to do way better than we’re doing, and yet we’re utterly squandering that capacity.
We are using other species – which are incapable of many of the things we can do, especially technologically – as an excuse not to challenge ourselves to evolve psychologically and sociologically.
we are held captive to an insane & deleterious social philosophy
origins of the problem
As you’ve likely gleaned already from the above, this can all be traced back to evolutionary behavioural psychology … think of it like this:
- Our earlier pre-technological human, hominid, primate, & other mammalian evolutionary ancestors before that – going back many millions of years – lived in a predator-prey world, where resource scarcity could occur slowly, suddenly, and unexpectedly via natural change and random disasters … and for the vast majority of this time, we were without technology with which to protect ourselves
- Such resource scarcity could be prolonged, intergenerational, and perhaps ( in the most extreme cases ) lasting many millennia
- Thus: prior to modern man, agriculture, and the industrial revolution especially – we evolved individual psychological – and collective sociological – coping mechanisms against scarcity
- The advent of technology made many such evolved behaviours largely redundant, but they persisted nonetheless
- In much the same way as discussed before, where the existing ( and therefore dominant ) status quo, was so entrenched as not to allow for change, we failed to fully capitalise on our advanced capacities and collective potential
- These individual and collective behaviours, constructs, and systems persist because they are entrenched, ingrained in the psyche, and because they have momentum … not because they’re “the best” we can do, and nor because this is all just “human nature”
in other words:
We’ve created social constructs that extend, formalise and entrench selected aspects of evolved behavioural psychology, and which are then used ( in an argument of circular logic ) to justify the belief that the resulting behaviour is all ( or the best ) that is possible, or that it’s just unavoidable “human nature”
All of which is of course ( once again ) complete nonsense.
anarchic justice & politics
Anarchy terrifies people, because they’ve been deceived to think it means “chaos” … which is absolutely fabricated.
Anarchy ( from the Greek ‘anarchos’ ) merely means “without rulers”
The kind of people who belligerently claim we cannot have social systems, peace, and prosperity, without authority and governance – are the kind of people who are guilty of the arrogant ( yet common ) thinking:
” … if I can’t think of a solution, then one does not exist … “
If we want to talk about a new anarchic paradigm for life and civilisation on Earth, we must devise systems where decisions are not “handed down from on high” by a class of social “elite” or rulers, but which can handle all the things they claim we need them for, and preferably show benefits beyond that as well.
to achieve this, we must do the following:
- Understand what objectives we wish to achieve
- Understand what consequences we wish to avoid
- Find and define the common ground between them
- Determine how to predict, measure, and quantify them
- Create a motivational framework based on such outcomes
This is precisely what the Open Empire Foundation vision is all about … it’s taking everything we have achieved so far as a species and civilisation – this empire WE have built ( but which the “rulers” claim is entirely their doing ), and remove from it the fundamental flaws which make it so unjust and unsustainable.
This is the reason I chose the name “Open Empire”, because the empire already exists, there’s no denying that … but there’s no reason for the empire to remain a force for evil, if we instead open it up, reprogram it, decentralise it, and redistribute its resources in such a way as to maximise the benefit ( increasingly over time ).
We should do this – not just for all people, but for all species – and since this cannot be achieved by consensus ( or at least, not in the short term, and not without a very ugly draconian and dystopian journey as a result – which mind you, we’re already experiencing ); we must therefore do it in such a way that neither requires authoritarian imposition, nor consensus.
Without anyone telling anone else what to do, but by instead providing people with the information systems, that quantify, contrast, and thus differentiate between the consequences of various optional methods of achieving a given set of objectives – then by motivating people to minimise harm, and maximise benefits – people get to freely choose what they want to do and how they want to do it … BUT … they tend towards the choices that minimise harm & maximise benefits, as this is what maximises their opportunity for access to scarce resources.
In such a system, with no authority at all, human behaviour changes over time at both the individual and collective levels. As time goes on, feed-back evolves the possibilities of further reductions in harm, and increses in benefits.
motivation without authority
So the only question remaining is how am I motivated without authoritarian command?
This comes down to a simple classification of all resources into scarce & abundant ( non-scarce ), as discussed … and by the fact that everyone else has the same motivational construct influencing them.
- If I want abundant resources, I can have them
- If I want scarce resources, I earn merit for access
- Merit is acknowledged by minimising harm & maximising benefits, also by reducing scarcity, and increasing abundance
- This modifies our motivations, but does not absolutely control our behaviour – we are free to choose to what degree we require merit, for access to what amount ( and type ) of scarce resources
- I can still influence my access to scarce resources, by arguing a case for merit that doesn’t ( yet ) show up in the statistics, or by appealing to the personal values of the supplier – all of which ( either way ) results in feedback to further evolve the system
- I’m further motivated to moderate my own behaviour to at least some degree, in order to avoid the possibility that others might be motivated to stop me, where my behaviour is so damaging, reckless, and negligent, that it puts others in danger, causes suffering, and where I will not listen to reason or make any compromises
in other words:
Without authoritarian control, everyone is self-regulating to whatever degree they feel the need, relative to maintaining resource abundance, and relative to quantifiable consequences of their actions, including social repercussions
Making a transitional system from the status quo – with all its vested interests & momentum – toward something based on wholly different principles, is not an easy task ( to say the very least ), which is the very reason it took me more than 2 decades to get to this point, from questions that started 3 decades ago.
During transitional arrangements, the Open Empire Foundation is designed to evolve itself in stages, via feedback from projects undertaken within the Project Collaboration Development & Resource Allocation Framework, where it develops its own foundations & core capabilities, and then evolves and expands them vin new sub-projects ( from the output of earlier projects ).
The kind of people who would be involved in earlier stage projects are not the nay-sayers, and we neither need nor want them at this early stage, as they’re likely to be more of a disrupting and disturbing influence ( in a bad way ) … they will come into the picture later, once their cognitive dissonance can no longer deny the reality in front of them, and when their fears have been alleviated by the courage and vision of the early adopters.
One of the key design features of the Open Empire Foundation, is that it interweaves all aspects of itself to increase efficiency & reduce waste – so its capacity to deliver quality of life to an ever increasing number of people ( and other species ) – while in harmonious & sustainable symbiosis – increases with time.
I hope you enjoyed this article, and will share it with your friends … please also see the links below to donate or sponsor the vision.