Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

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Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Scott »

One of my family members sent me the following question, and about eight or nine paragraphs into writing my blabbering reply, I decided to copy my answer here.
I'm interested in your thoughts on how society would function if people were truly free to do whatever they wanted. As in, if government doesn't make any rules that services need to be available to all, would that make the inequalities and injustices better or worse? People are kinda **** and I imagine there would be groups of people deprived entirely of essential services. For example, if there are only a handful of doctors in a state qualified to treat a rare medical condition and all of them refuse to serve people who are left handed, lefties would be SOL.
What a great question! :)

First, I want to say that the majority of my philosophy and the best aspects of my philosophy, in my opinion, are not political. My beautiful glorious non-political overall philosophy is centered around a deep value for spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) and a transcendence of flesh and of fear of death. My first tattoo was a stoic meditation, "Memento Mori", which is Latin for "remember you will die". I put that stoic meditation on my left arm where I see it every day.

Political philosophy mostly only interests me to the extent that it acts as an analogue for my spiritual philosophy of spiritual freedom. For instance, self-government can act as an analogue of self-discipline, and self-employment can act as an analogue of both of self-government and self-discipline.

Primarily, the authorities and enslavements I seek to firmly, stubbornly, and defiantly reject are much more than merely petty political ones. I suspect generally only those people who are way too attached to the material world of the flesh could care very much about the topical human politics of a sliver of time on a tiny planet in an endless sky.

One reason all of that is important to note is because it speaks to this point: I don't believe in "shoulds" or "oughts" or other moralizing. So if hypothetically I'm asked "what should the government do" or "what ought my neighbor do", I cannot answer. There are no shoulds or oughts in my philosophy, only cans and cannots; and then from ‘can’ there is only do and do not. In my philosophy, there is no ought, no should, and no try. I can tell you what I will or would do, and only time and happenstance will tell if my answer is honest and true.

With all that said, I agree that humans are **** (and arrogant, selfish, cowardly, short-sighted, addiction-prone, and self-righteous). Man is not fit to govern man. No human on this planet is fit to wield the power of non-defensive violence, especially not of the state-sponsored variety.

The idea of the benevolent dictator is an impossible naive pipe dream, in my opinion. The idea of a mob of people acting as a multi-person benevolent dictator is even worse and more absurdly impossible. It may falsely sound pleasant in random specifics (e.g. "let's use non-defensive violence to end world hunger") but it is easily shown to be an absurd impossibility. Impossible imaginary ends are used to justify foolish means, the foolish means being namely non-defensive violence such as murder and rape.

If anyone's plan to 'save the world' or do charity requires committing rape, murder, or other non-defensive violence, then let me give that person fair warning they need to be ready to fight me to death. I believe not only in the principle of "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it," but also I believe equally in the broader principle from which that one is derived: "I strongly dislike what you do, but I will defend to the death your right to do it."

I don't care how noble the Noble thinks the end goal of their prima nocta is, or how legal of a raping it is, I would still rather die as a William Wallace than live to become a murderer, rapist, or coward--to sacrifice the one thing that is worth anything: self-discipline, self-ownership, and spiritual freedom, three different phrases that all mean the same exact thing to me.

I don’t philosophically agree, but I understand why an act utilitarian would hypothetically commit murder, rape, or slavery as a perceived lesser of two evils, such as by murdering an anti-left-hand doctor's child to coerce the doctor into saving two left-handed children against his will, presumably as a form of utilitarian slave labor. A more traditional philosophical thought experiment is to murder a fat man by pushing the fat man in front of a train to save 5 others.

I would still rather fight a good-hearted act utilitarian to the death to defend the mean doctor from slavery, or to defend the fat man from murder, than violently enslave a doctor myself or violently murder a fat man myself.

But in practice such act utilitarianism never works anyway for many reasons. One is that humans are too selfish and foolish to do utilitarian calculations with any reliability. For example, in real life, those claiming that committing murder, slavery, and rape is for the greater good in a utilitarian sense are simply mistaken, like a child failing his math homework. More often, they are self-serving liars who know they are playing a shell game. In another example, most people’s utilitarian calculations are biased and perverted by their own denial-ridden dishonest fear of death. For instance, any accurate trolley problem needs to have a loop in it very closely because the trolley is going to get us all very soon. You can’t save any human from death ever; we are all going to die very soon. The best you can do is postpone a human's death for a little bit. I've heard many different wise people say, we all die, but we don't all really live.

You show me a self-proclaimed act utilitarian, and I'll show you a lying hypocrite who doesn't donate enough food to starving children and doesn't donate enough organs to dying patients. If one is an organ donor and an honest act utilitarian, then I ask that person, "why don't you slit your organ-donating throat right now?"

So even though I would still oppose rape, murder, slavery and other non-defensive violence even if it was utilitarian, ten times out of ten I will bet that my way (namely peaceful non-violence) happens to be the utilitarian way anyway, at least if we limit ourselves to the practical and truly possible. To illustrate, I definitely believe that, if somehow society suddenly became much less violent (and thus by extension there was much more political localism, self-government, decentralization, and individual freedom), then there would also be less children starving to death every day and less kids being blown to pieces by drone strikes. I don't think so many thousands and thousands of children are starving to death because there is too little state-sponsored violence; I think the opposite is the case. While utopia might not be possible, I believe less violence would lead to much less children starving. For example, I definitely think I myself would personally donate more to useful charities if less of my money was forcefully taken from me to fund the military industrial complex.

But please don't think that me giving those hypothetical examples of the utilitarian benefits of the current violent plutocracy suddenly backing off so that we can enjoy the wonderful fruits of a much more peaceful society are meant to imply shoulds or oughts.

Nope.

Rather, we each have to choose for ourselves what we ourselves will do. Our freedom of spirit precedes and supersedes that of any politics or fleshy happenstance. I must choose for myself whether I murder, rape, and enslave others or not. I must choose for myself whether or not I vote in favor of murder, rape, slavery, or other non-defensive violence. When the Nazis come after the Jews, I must choose for myself whether or not I break the law and hide Jews in my attic or follow the law and turn them in. When I am given the choice to commit murder for a Nazi to prove my loyalty, and thereby live another day, or have myself and my whole family murdered by the Nazis as punishment for my peaceful civil disobedience, I must choose whether I will murder one to save multiple including myself or die as a defiant free stubborn peaceful man. Live as a murderer or die? If that choice is presented to me, I choose death, or at least I hope to have the courage and self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom) to honor the promise I have made here and bravely choose death for me and my family instead of becoming a murderer, rapist, or enslaver.

The reality of humans isn't that they are bad at designing diets, but that they are bad at sticking to their own diets, at maintaining honest spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) in the heat of fleshy discomfort and in the face of those or that which would say, "eat the cake; break your diet and eat the cake". But sometimes it's not cake that a voice in your head that is not you says to eat; sometimes it is not a delicious drink of alcohol that a voice in your head that is not you says to drink; sometimes the voice is from an external Nazi, the politics aren't an analogue, and the cake is an innocent person you could violently murder, rape, or enslave. I chose to say no. I choose to disobey, to disobey both the Nazi with a gun to my head and the egoic voices in my own head pretending to be me. If you have ever been on a tough diet, you won't doubt me when I say it may be the latter that it takes more self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom) to disobey. I've never been addicted to drugs, but I imagine it too may be tougher spirtually than having a literal Nazi put a gun to your head and telling you to either murder one person or watch your whole family die as punishment for your disobedience.

Each person is stuck choosing for themselves. What will you choose?

You have to choose for yourself.

Because unlike political freedom, when it comes to spiritual freedom, slavery is a dishonest illusion built on denial and resentful rejection of reality. You are always 100% in control of your choices. When it comes to your choices, there is no try. There is only do or do not. But many humans resentfully reject that reality, and cling to the comfort of their own imagined slavery, as self-delusional as it may be, thinking ignorance is bliss. The so-called bliss of ignorance and dishonesty may indeed be comfortable, but insofar as it is then I wish to avoid comfort and seek out and embrace discomfort. Kierkegaard wrote, "anxiety is the dizziness of freedom". Kierkegaard didn't mean political freedom, but freedom of spirit.

I believe it was George Bernard Shaw who wrote, "Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it." Shaw's words help show the analogousness between mere political freedom and grander spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline). In a Shaw-like way, we can say that the spiritual freedom that is self-discipline means self-responsibility, and that is why most humans not only dread it but also desperately lie to themselves in anxious dreadful resentful denial of this most obvious truth: Spiritually, you are free whether you like it or not. Whether one likes it or not, the obvious truth is that one's choices are 100% one's own. Nobody can make you a murderer or a rapist; you would have to choose that yourself. Nobody can make you choose to intentionally and knowingly commit non-defensive violence (such as but not limited to murder, slavery, and rape), you would have to choose it for yourself. Whether you like it or not, the choice is 100% yours.

Voltaire wrote, "man is free at the instant he wants to be."

To paraphrase yet more thinkers who are probably wiser than I am, in this case Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Emiliano Zapata, I believe liberty and non-violence are the mother, not the daughter, of order, and regardless I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Scott wrote: January 23rd, 2021, 9:37 pm One of my family members sent me the following question, and about eight or nine paragraphs into writing my blabbering reply, I decided to copy my answer here.
I'm interested in your thoughts on how society would function if people were truly free to do whatever they wanted.
What a great question! :)

Isn't the question just referring to anarchy? Is it that simple? Anarchy describes an absence of social rules of conduct, yes?

Wikipedia wrote:Anarchy is the state of a society being freely constituted without authorities or a governing body. It may also refer to a society or group of people that entirely rejects a set hierarchy.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Scott »

Hi, @Pattern-chaser, thank you for your reply! :)

Scott wrote: January 23rd, 2021, 9:37 pm One of my family members sent me the following question, and about eight or nine paragraphs into writing my blabbering reply, I decided to copy my answer here.
I'm interested in your thoughts on how society would function if people were truly free to do whatever they wanted. As in, if government doesn't make any rules that services need to be available to all, would that make the inequalities and injustices better or worse? People are kinda **** and I imagine there would be groups of people deprived entirely of essential services. For example, if there are only a handful of doctors in a state qualified to treat a rare medical condition and all of them refuse to serve people who are left handed, lefties would be SOL.

What a great question! :)
Pattern-chaser wrote: January 24th, 2021, 10:09 am Isn't the question just referring to anarchy? Is it that simple? Anarchy describes an absence of social rules of conduct, yes?
It is not my question, so I cannot say with certainty what the person who asked it meant. I can only speak to how I interpreted it.

I didn't interpret the question as being about anarchism, but rather specifically about my philosophy whatever that may be.

With that said, among the many great thinkers I quoted in my long OP, I did incidentally quote the man who coined the term "anarchism".

However, the equivocal word does not appear once in the question nor my response.

The terms I used are self-government (to refer to political freedom) and self-discipline (to refer to broader spiritual freedom). I did not use the words non-government and undisciplined, mainly because they are too equivocal, in my opinion. To me, when I think quickly off-hand of what so-called ungoverned chaos would mean, I picture an arrogant violent tyrant waging wars and dropping bombs, which is the antithesis of what I mean when I refer to the peaceful political freedom of self-government and the transcendental spiritual freedom of self-discipline.

The philosophy I proposed in the OP is not a political philosophy at all of any name, but rather it is a much broader personal philosophy that encompasses all decisions I might make, not just petty political ones.

I hope that answers your question! :)
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Sculptor1 »

Example.

Place where people think they are free. 418,000 COVID deaths USA
(in some areas the highest on earth. i.e. New Jersey 2359/mil pop)

Place where they are more free because they know they have a duty to their fellows. 25 COVID deaths New Zealand. (5/mil Population_

Where would I be more happy to live. New Zealand. Where would I feel more free New Zealand.

If you think this massive success has something to do with NZ being an island look at the UK, with similar GDP, and reliance on Tourism, but with 100k dead (1400/mil pop deaths)
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by evolution »

Pattern-chaser wrote: January 24th, 2021, 10:09 am
Scott wrote: January 23rd, 2021, 9:37 pm One of my family members sent me the following question, and about eight or nine paragraphs into writing my blabbering reply, I decided to copy my answer here.
I'm interested in your thoughts on how society would function if people were truly free to do whatever they wanted.
What a great question! :)

Isn't the question just referring to anarchy? Is it that simple? Anarchy describes an absence of social rules of conduct, yes?

Wikipedia wrote:Anarchy is the state of a society being freely constituted without authorities or a governing body. It may also refer to a society or group of people that entirely rejects a set hierarchy.
A Self-governing society is obviously NOT a society being freely constituted without authorities or a governing body. As the authority and governing body is thee Self.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Sy Borg »

There has always been tension between the interests of the one and the interests of the many. Lean too far towards the former and you have anarchy. Lean too far towards the latter and you have stultification.

There is an optimal distance between a planet and a star for life, neither too close or distant. There is an optimal size range for each species and an optimal climactic temperature range. So there is also a balance between individual and societal interests that will be optimal - for a given place at a given time. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to governance. It's a matter of how (or if) a society adapts to a changing world.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Steve3007 »

The OP appears to me to be talking about something fairly closely related to a combination of Existentialism and individual liberty in the sense that the Libertarians envision it.

It also mentions the benefits of non-violence a lot. I have to say I always find that kind of thing a bit empty, a bit like the often repeated complaint that if only people would stop fighting there would be no more wars. That's obviously true, but not necessarily much help in actually achieving that goal. People have cried "stop fighting everybody!" in the past without necessarily having the desired effect. I prefer proposals as to how people might be motivated to behave in ways that we might see as desirable, given existing human nature, not simply stating how much we wish people were different than how they currently are.

If the conversation is about the general theme of how to make a better world, I always tend to prefer potentially actionable proposals rather than general aspirations as to how the whole of human nature should somehow change. To me that means suggestions as to what we would do if we were in some position of influence, and how we might try to use that influence, with what goals in mind.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Pattern-chaser wrote: January 24th, 2021, 10:09 am Isn't the question just referring to anarchy? Is it that simple? Anarchy describes an absence of social rules of conduct, yes?
Scott wrote: January 24th, 2021, 1:49 pm It is not my question, so I cannot say with certainty what the person who asked it meant. I can only speak to how I interpreted it.

I didn't interpret the question as being about anarchism, but rather specifically about my philosophy whatever that may be.

With that said, among the many great thinkers I quoted in my long OP, I did incidentally quote the man who coined the term "anarchism".

However, the equivocal word does not appear once in the question nor my response.

The terms I used are self-government (to refer to political freedom) and self-discipline (to refer to broader spiritual freedom). I did not use the words non-government and undisciplined, mainly because they are too equivocal, in my opinion. To me, when I think quickly off-hand of what so-called ungoverned chaos would mean, I picture an arrogant violent tyrant waging wars and dropping bombs, which is the antithesis of what I mean when I refer to the peaceful political freedom of self-government and the transcendental spiritual freedom of self-discipline.

The philosophy I proposed in the OP is not a political philosophy at all of any name, but rather it is a much broader personal philosophy that encompasses all decisions I might make, not just petty political ones.

I hope that answers your question! :)
Yes, I see what you're saying, but we have a word for what you describe, I think, and that word is anarchy. It is true that the word "anarchy" has, over the years, gained a reputation that is negative in many ways, but "self-government" and "self-discipline" are not really that different from "non-government" and "indiscipline", are they? Despite your claim to the contrary, it looks to me like you're espousing a (political) philosophy based on anarchy. There's nothing wrong with that. Anarchy (no organised government) is perhaps a good starting point to develop a philosophy of life? And, though politics is pretty universal anyway, I see what you mean about a philosophy of life, not just political life.

In the end, I suppose I'm just wondering why we are so resistant to calling a spade a spade? Anarchy is what it is, I think.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Greta wrote: January 25th, 2021, 3:01 am There has always been tension between the interests of the one and the interests of the many. Lean too far towards the former and you have anarchy. Lean too far towards the latter and you have stultification.

Yes, I think one of the fundamental divisions between types of political system is the balance between society/tribe/etc and the individual. [There are other divisions too, of course.]
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Steve3007 »

Pattern-chaser wrote:Yes, I see what you're saying, but we have a word for what you describe, I think, and that word is anarchy....
I guess the test of whether you're right to say that Scott is describing a form of anarchy is whether he says anything which looks like a rule which he thinks should be enforced on all members of a society by a central authority of some kind. If he does, then he's not proposing anarchy. As far as I can see, he doesn't. He tells us how he proposes to behave himself in various circumstances and leaves it to us to decide how we propose to behave ourselves, as in this passage:
Scott wrote:Rather, we each have to choose for ourselves what we ourselves will do. Our freedom of spirit precedes and supersedes that of any politics or fleshy happenstance. I must choose for myself whether I murder, rape, and enslave others or not. I must choose for myself whether or not I vote in favor of murder, rape, slavery, or other non-defensive violence. When the Nazis come after the Jews, I must choose for myself whether or not I break the law and hide Jews in my attic or follow the law and turn them in. When I am given the choice to commit murder for a Nazi to prove my loyalty, and thereby live another day, or have myself and my whole family murdered by the Nazis as punishment for my peaceful civil disobedience, I must choose whether I will murder one to save multiple including myself or die as a defiant free stubborn peaceful man. Live as a murderer or die? If that choice is presented to me, I choose death, or at least I hope to have the courage and self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom) to honor the promise I have made here and bravely choose death for me and my family instead of becoming a murderer, rapist, or enslaver.
...which was the part which most reminded me of Existentialism (as I understand it in my limited way), which some would say is closely related to anarchy.

I think extreme Libertarianism is a long way along the spectrum towards anarchy, but it stops short of being anarchy because it proposes minimal, but not zero government.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Papus79 »

I can sympathize with a lot of the self-development goals in the OP and the sense that you're really the only person who can resolve (at least psychological) exigencies.

On the question of fitness to rule, I think this is where I tend conservative. I think the more instrumental government is at just solving basic problems rather than trying to 'change the world' the better. I say that because when it gets to be about reshaping the world to some grand vision - the people who have the advantage are those with passion and quite often it's the ideas with the most romance and sex-appeal that end up with tens of millions dead.

I know you didn't speak specifically to anarchy but my sense of it goes something like this - order is emergent, and it emerges as society finds benefit in delegating certain tasks, ie. you have the various professions for this reason and handling things like fire fighting, police work, raising funds for a municipality and fixing roads, water pipes, sewage systems, water treatment, etc. it's stuff that takes a good degree of competency and it's tough to parcel it out to thousands of people in a reliable manner.

This is sort of where I see federal government doing well at relatively minimal things like enforcing basic rights via the Constitution, enforcing the Uniform Commercial Code, having armed services to deal with foreign threats, and as little as possible else. For minimal safety nets and the like I debate whether that's better at a federal or state level. If safety nets were at the state level and a particular state decided to have none - that's probably not an experiment that should be allowed to stand, so some parameters should be set.

My sense of Washington DC though - the massive pile it's turned into is what happens when it becomes the place where 'the power and prestige' is at and when so much of what might be better left to states gets consolidated in one place - it becomes a choke point for every monied interest. I'd even argue, in the days of social media, that it makes our republic more vulnerable to stochastic terrorism of the sort that we saw a few weeks ago.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Steve3007 wrote: January 26th, 2021, 9:13 am
Pattern-chaser wrote:Yes, I see what you're saying, but we have a word for what you describe, I think, and that word is anarchy....
I guess the test of whether you're right to say that Scott is describing a form of anarchy is whether he says anything which looks like a rule which he thinks should be enforced on all members of a society by a central authority of some kind.

Yes, perhaps that's the test of a real anarchist, that they espouse the virtues of anarchy for themselves, but wouldn't dream of trying to enforce their preference on others. The latter would, after all, resemble government of one individual by an outside agency. 😉😋
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Scott »

Steve3007 wrote: January 26th, 2021, 5:45 am The OP appears to me to be talking about something fairly closely related to a combination of Existentialism and individual liberty in the sense that the Libertarians envision it.

It also mentions the benefits of non-violence a lot. I have to say I always find that kind of thing a bit empty, a bit like the often repeated complaint that if only people would stop fighting there would be no more wars. That's obviously true, but not necessarily much help in actually achieving that goal.
Hi, Steve,

Thank you for your very thoughtful reply!

I could be wrong, but I suspect our views diverge slightly at the point where you write "achieving that goal".

Keep in mind, I am not saying "the government should do X" or that "you or someone else ought to do Y".

Rather, the bottom line context of my comments on the alleged benefits of non-violence are to my choice of whether not I choose to intentionally and knowing engage in non-defense violence myself. Since one's choices are 100% in one's own control, if my stated goal is to not choose to intentionally commit non-defensive violence (e.g. murder, rape, etc.), then I think that is a decently achievable goal; don't you?

I think we can agree it is at least as achievable as a no-cake-eating diet is for the dieter themselves.

Telling others what kind of diet they "should" engage in, or expecting others to stick to one's own personal chosen diet (e.g. "please stop fighting guys"), is--I think we agree on this--a recipe for disappointment.

Pattern-chaser wrote: January 24th, 2021, 10:09 am Isn't the question just referring to anarchy? Is it that simple? Anarchy describes an absence of social rules of conduct, yes?
Scott wrote: January 24th, 2021, 1:49 pm It is not my question, so I cannot say with certainty what the person who asked it meant. I can only speak to how I interpreted it.

I didn't interpret the question as being about anarchism, but rather specifically about my philosophy whatever that may be.

With that said, among the many great thinkers I quoted in my long OP, I did incidentally quote the man who coined the term "anarchism".

However, the equivocal word does not appear once in the question nor my response.

The terms I used are self-government (to refer to political freedom) and self-discipline (to refer to broader spiritual freedom). I did not use the words non-government and undisciplined, mainly because they are too equivocal, in my opinion. To me, when I think quickly off-hand of what so-called ungoverned chaos would mean, I picture an arrogant violent tyrant waging wars and dropping bombs, which is the antithesis of what I mean when I refer to the peaceful political freedom of self-government and the transcendental spiritual freedom of self-discipline.

The philosophy I proposed in the OP is not a political philosophy at all of any name, but rather it is a much broader personal philosophy that encompasses all decisions I might make, not just petty political ones.

I hope that answers your question! :)
Pattern-chaser wrote: January 24th, 2021, 10:09 am Yes, I see what you're saying, but we have a word for what you describe, I think, and that word is anarchy. It is true that the word "anarchy" has, over the years, gained a reputation that is negative in many ways, but "self-government" and "self-discipline" are not really that different from "non-government" and "indiscipline", are they?
Hi, Pattern-chaser, I think I agree with you.

If we use the equivocal word "anarchy" or "anarchism" as it was originally defined by the man who coined it, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, then to me the terms "self-government" and "anarchy" are essentially synonymous. As I understand it, that is the meaning behind the expression "anarchy is order" which is to suggest that the definition of non-order (i.e. chaos) is non-defensive violence. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon wrote that liberty is the mother, not the daughter, of order.

Insofar as the equivocal word anarchy means self-government and the absence of the chaos that is non-defensive violence then I am certainly an "anarchist". Insofar as the word is used to mean something else, then I am likely not an "anarchist" in that particular usage of the equivocal word.

Regardless, my points about self-government and the benefits of non-violence are meant merely as an analogy for my broader philosophy of spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline), to help give context to the ideas of free choice and transcendence of the flesh (e.g. bravery in relation to fear, or embracing the discomfort of hunger pain while on a tough diet), which I present as being a form of or at least analogue of disobedience, rebellion, freedom, and a refusal to be disciplined or pseudo-enslaved to anyone or anything, at least anything besides the true free-spirited conscious so-called "self" referenced by the word "self" in the phrase "self-discipline".

Of course, if you would rather call me a spiritual anarchist rather than a supporter and seeker of self-discipline, it's all the same to me. :)

In the words of Shakespeare's Juliet, "That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet."

Steve3007 wrote: January 26th, 2021, 9:13 am
Pattern-chaser wrote:Yes, I see what you're saying, but we have a word for what you describe, I think, and that word is anarchy....
I guess the test of whether you're right to say that Scott is describing a form of anarchy is whether he says anything which looks like a rule which he thinks should be enforced on all members of a society by a central authority of some kind. If he does, then he's not proposing anarchy. As far as I can see, he doesn't. He tells us how he proposes to behave himself in various circumstances and leaves it to us to decide how we propose to behave ourselves, as in this passage:
Scott wrote:Rather, we each have to choose for ourselves what we ourselves will do. Our freedom of spirit precedes and supersedes that of any politics or fleshy happenstance. I must choose for myself whether I murder, rape, and enslave others or not. I must choose for myself whether or not I vote in favor of murder, rape, slavery, or other non-defensive violence. When the Nazis come after the Jews, I must choose for myself whether or not I break the law and hide Jews in my attic or follow the law and turn them in. When I am given the choice to commit murder for a Nazi to prove my loyalty, and thereby live another day, or have myself and my whole family murdered by the Nazis as punishment for my peaceful civil disobedience, I must choose whether I will murder one to save multiple including myself or die as a defiant free stubborn peaceful man. Live as a murderer or die? If that choice is presented to me, I choose death, or at least I hope to have the courage and self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom) to honor the promise I have made here and bravely choose death for me and my family instead of becoming a murderer, rapist, or enslaver.
...which was the part which most reminded me of Existentialism (as I understand it in my limited way), which some would say is closely related to anarchy.
Thank you for your thoughtful and nuanced reading of my words! :)

On the matters in question, I would (perhaps mistakenly) see my own views as being closer to that of Camus than self-proclaimed existentialists. Although, many would argue that Camus was an existentialist.

Nonetheless, your comparison is at least far from wrong. There do seem to be shared claims between existentialism and my overall spiritual philosophy of spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline), particularly in the rejection of or rebellion against some kind of objective moral authority or objective so-called purpose. Such an objective purpose would typically at least seem to mimic the belief in some kind of personified external god authoritatively commanding down some kind of chore list or ultimate goal that defines what we "should" or "ought" to do or "try" to accomplish, usually with some kind of special guilt, immorality, or criminality we are supposed to have or feel upon failure or upon commandment-breaking. I think the existentialists and I share a common rejection of all of that.

Papus79 wrote:This is sort of where I see federal government doing well at relatively minimal things like enforcing basic rights via the Constitution...
Thank you for your thoughtful and well-written reply, Papus79!

I have quoted the one partial sentence above because I want to focus my reply on the idea of federal government. If we agree on non-violence and self-government as the ideal, then I think with that simplistic ideal in mind, we can then see the benefits of federal systems as a way to increase the degree of self-government, while also providing a practical answer for the recursive question, who policies the police?'

As an alternative to a huge supreme centralized national (or global) government that micromanages the lives of its citizens, including in terms of consensual activity such as adult prostitution, marijuana use, etc., where some handful of wealthy-special-interest-selected millionaires a thousand miles away decide if armed uniformed soldiers will break in your house over some alleged marijuana you might allegedly have, a minimal federal government can be much closer to the ideal of self-government, at least insofar as it does delegate most powers to the states which themselves delegate most powers to small town city councils and the boards of private condo communities and such. Federalism can be a practical way to move closer to the diverse peaceful localism of peaceful self-government.

There are dangers to impractical utopian perfectionism, even when we look at that which the politics are meant to merely be an analogy (namely self-discipline a.k.a. spiritual freedom). For example, before I got my heart-rate monitor, I once pushed my body way too hard on the treadmill, and later that night hours after I had finished on the treadmill I almost fainted, and took a few unexpected days off from my exercising at all as a result. Luckily, I didn't seem to do permanent damage to my heart, but I'm sure such a thing is possible. But even the fact that I missed a few entire workouts just to squeeze out a couple extra nearly worthless minutes on the treadmill shows how such impractical extremism can be counterproductive. I've heard it said that perfection is the enemy of progress.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Scott wrote: January 27th, 2021, 4:25 pm ...my broader philosophy of spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline)...


You mention this several times. How would you respond or react to those other members of society (😋) who do not seem to possess or exercise "self-discipline"? Clearly, you would not attempt to coerce their behaviour. You might not even attempt to persuade them of the wisdom of "self-discipline". But would you do anything at all, or just leave everyone else to get on with it, even though they are not following the path of anarchy as you prefer it?
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Scott »

Pattern-chaser wrote: January 27th, 2021, 4:37 pm
Scott wrote: January 27th, 2021, 4:25 pm ...my broader philosophy of spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline)...


You mention this several times. How would you respond or react to those other members of society (😋) who do not seem to possess or exercise "self-discipline"? Clearly, you would not attempt to coerce their behaviour. You might not even attempt to persuade them of the wisdom of "self-discipline". But would you do anything at all, or just leave everyone else to get on with it, even though they are not following the path of anarchy as you prefer it?
Great question! :D

Unfortunately, as is arguably the case with most great questions, there is no easy or simple answer.

Indeed, as you correctly realize, my philosophy would have me not coerce anyone to exercise self-discipline or such. Assuming I am not a hypocrite or liar (which is a terrible and false assumption since I am human but we can pretend for now for the sake of argument), I won't be going to my neighbor's house anytime soon and pointing a gun at his head to force him to go the gym and workout instead of eating cupcakes and watching soap operas. Even if I did, it would be a contradiction in a sense, since that would not be self-discipline but rather me disciplining him against his will according to mine. In short, it would be a contradiction (and hypocrisy) to force self-discipline on another. In practice, that can become a very meaningful point because, for example, maybe my neighbor is a recovering gym addict, or was having an affair with someone at the gym, and for him staying home watching soap operas and not going to the gym is his way of exercising great self-discipline and me going to his house with a gun is just the excuse he needs to cave to his addiction and go to the gym to continue the affair.

With that said, I think the better analogue to politically violent coercion is moralizing, namely by using the words should or ought. So the analogue of--in politics--using a gun to coerce a pacifist into slavery could be--in my spiritual philosophy--for me to sit around my house saying "my neighbor should go to the gym" which according to my philosophy is just not a true statement if even meaningful at all. One way to look at it is as untrue, but another way to look at it is as meaningless nonsense.

Saying such falsehoods and nonsense to oneself can manifest at least indirectly in ways that cause harm to others, such as but not limited to me actually going to my neighbor's house and self-righteously interfering in his life in ways that are not the best even from a utilitarian perspective.

But the real victim of me thinking or saying untruths and nonsense is me.

Since in human form my time and energy is finite, any time or energy I spend blabbering to myself in my own head about shoulds and oughts (let alone any time or energy spent acting on such nonsense) is time, energy, and attention taken away from concerning myself with and acting upon cans and cannots, and, from can, do and do not. In other words, any time or energy spent resentfully or unacceptingly worrying about what I cannot control, or "trying" to change that which I know is unchangable, is time or energy taken away from concerning myself with what I can do. Instead of spending my time and energy focusing on what my neighbor "ought" to be doing or complaining about what the weather "should" be doing, I can look in the mirror and talk to that guy (me) about what he can do, and from there decide of all the countless things he can do which one shall he do. I can only do what I can do.

Since for any one human time and energy is finite, any time spent worrying or complaining about the metaphorical cards you are dealt is time counter-productively taken away from playing those metaphorical cards the best you can. This is the sense in which it can be said that, when it comes to your choices, there is no "try" and pretending to "try" to chance the unchangable cards is wasteful of finite resources and counterproductive. At best, it's just wasteful and there are no other extra costs beyond the waste itself to the deviation from what you would do if you spent all of your time and energy focusing on what you can do and playing your metaphorical cards the best you can. That's at best. When you choose to stop playing the cards the best you can (best according to you yourself in an honest free-spirited sense) in a pseudo-attempt to do what you cannot, it just becomes a question of how significantly you deviate from what's best. Anything that is not the best is worse than the best. It's just a question of how badly you choose to play the metaphorical cards compared to how well you could have played them had you not been wasting your time with imaginary shoulds and oughts or other self-deception or other pretend trying instead of actual doing.

Thus, the answer to your question is that it depends on the circumstances and what I truly believe, intend, and want at the time about the unique situation.

Am I self-righteously imposing on someone else as a way to distract myself or deceive myself into worrying about what they should do instead of what I can do but am not doing? Or, with a strong sense of self-responsibility, my own self-discipline, and acceptance of that which I cannot control, am I genuinely offering help, in the form of advice, charity, or encouragement, because I can and I think that's the best way to play my metaphorical cards at that time? Unlike in politics, much more often only I will know what's truly in my heart.

I find, as a rule of thumb, the more someone worries about what others should be doing, the less self-discipline the worrying person seems to have. There is no shortage of alcoholics at bars complaining about the alleged mistakes of others while drinking their should-ridden worries away. The morbidly obese person going through a McDonald's drive through is likely to judge and criticize, even if just in their own head, the cigarette addict smoking on the corner, who themselves is probably shaking their head worrying about the morbidly obese person's diet more than their choice to smoke.

And maybe they both look at me as a fool when I drive by the whole scene on my motorcycle.

I am reminded of these words by The Buddha in the Dhammapada:

"By oneself is evil done; by oneself is one defiled. By oneself is evil left undone; by oneself is one made pure. Purity and impurity depend on oneself; no one can purify another."

I believe there is a sense in which we all have the capacity to save or free ourselves, basically meaning exercise self-discipline. In other words, we are all 100% in control of our own choices.

It's true that sometimes we also have the ability to slightly influence others in a limited way, meaning indirectly influence the choices of others, even though they are directly 100% in control of their choices, such as by doing something to allegedly help a homeless loved one addicted to drugs get off drugs and get back on their feet, or allegedly help a fat neighbor with their diet or exercise habits by writing a diet plan for them. However, I estimate that 999 times out of 1,000 any alleged attempt to do such things doesn't actually help, e.g. you enable your loved one's addiction or make your fat neighbor feel sad and shamed when they do not really mind being overweight and have bigger fish to fry in more ways than one. Instead, I estimate 999 times out of 1,000 that whole thing ends up itself being an excuse, distraction, and/or unwitting catalyst for one to sacrifice their own self-discipline, which is 100% within their own control unlike the self-discipline of the one they allegedly seek to allegedly help. For example, while writing a diet plan for his fat neighbor that the far neighbor didn't even ask for, maybe the imposing diet-writer forgets to put on their nicotine patch and relapses. While the parent is enabling their drug addicted child, maybe the parent thereby worsens their own addiction to enabling and worsens their own shopaholic-induced credit card debt problem. Maybe the enabling parent does not fully realize they are an enabler because the parent is so busy worrying about the drug addicted child and what the drug addict needs or "should" do that the enabling parent fails to take full self-responsibility for their own choices.

There is no one size fits all answer, but more often than not I would err on the side of, as you put it, "just leave everyone else to get on with it" and focus heavily on not sacrificing my own self-discipline by self-righteously imposing on others, especially in ways that would betray a god complex on my part of one sort or another. Long story short, respect and accept the choices of others, and focusing primarily on my own choices and my own self-discipline.

I saw a meme once that said something like this: "One day that person for whom you are doing so much and to whom you are giving so much will say that they never asked for any of it, and they will be right."

It's not perfect, but one rule of thumb I personally use in my everyday life is to avoid playing proactive mind-reader and wait for people to actually assertively ask for me to do something rather than exhaust myself shoving my so-called help down their throat. It works decently for me, but your mileage may vary.

I'm sorry for writing a long answer to your question! It was a thought-provoking one for me! :)
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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