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anarchist_critic wrote

Depends what "we" have learned.

Too many people nowadays buy into the idpol/behaviourist bullshit that everyone learns the same "subjectivity" or whatever from the system. Or, at least, it only differs with positionality. As well as silly ideas about how things are learned and unlearned. "Conditioning", "culture", sanctions and incentives etc.

People are complex beings and the unconscious exists. Social norms and assumptions "stick" to some people and not others. Two people exposed to the same situation will "learn" very different things. And of course, people aren't exposed to exactly the same parents, schools, neighbourhoods, pigs, etc. There's plenty of anarchists who've been fed years of school, media, pig bullshit and never believe it. The more they're oppressed, the more they hate the system. Just because a lot of the generation coming up have been successfully sheepled, does not mean that "everyone needs to unlearn what they've learnt".

Desire is never completely plugged into social assemblages. The extent to which it is, varies from person to person. There are many people in today's world who are not at all plugged into social assemblages at the level of desire. They are socially isolated and nihilistic, or their only reference-points are "small-world networks" such as gangs or cults. Also relevant here: James Scott, Antonio Gramsci, Colin Ward. Oppressed groups have hidden transcripts which are already largely outside the dominant social script. Oppressed groups have "good sense", beliefs elaborated from their own perspective, which exist in unstable combinations with conformist "common sense" and are seeds of a revolutionary perspective. Many everyday practices are already anarchist in that they involve the "social principle" and don't operate hierarchically.

Most of what passes for "unlearning" in anarchist circles today passes through the superego. It's about using guilt, punishment and social pressure to try to overcome complexes which are assumed to be primarily "beliefs" and "behaviours". But you only get real change if the person's unconscious fundamental fantasy and their attachments of desire shift. There's more change on this level from ten minutes in a liberated space than a lifetime of moral pressure.

CBT is crap. "Behaviour change" is fascist thought control. Capitalism is a socio-economic structure. Blaming the effects of a socio-economic structure on individual psychological failings is neoliberal bullshit. One of the core mechanisms of neoliberalism is "responsibilisation", or displacement of systemic effects onto individuals (blaming the poor for poverty, the sick for sickness, etc). The key mechanism here is not just which "behaviours" get targeted. We can't make this model progressive by replacing neoliberal behavioural prescriptions with anarchist or socialist prescriptions. The key mechanism is turning the superego into the master of the self, instead of the ego and id. Subordinating the proletarianised body and proletarianised desire to the bourgeoisified mind, to the rational self-controlled subject. This is almost identical to reactionary psychology in the 30s, and it is the opposite of revolutionary psychology. A liberated subject does not constantly watch themselves for "behaviours" they don't like, they live intensely in the moment. Liberation is disalienation and disinhibition.

You don't create cooperative spaces by making people less narcissistic and competitive. You make people less narcissistic and competitive by creating cooperative spaces.

You wanna do anarchist psychology? Give up the bourgeois idealist pop-psychology crap and read some Reich, read some Marcuse, read some Laing and Guattari and SPK, read Anthony Skillen and Alfred Hirschman and Paul Goodman and Nietzsche and Foucault on madness, read Susan Bordo and the Situationists and Germaine Greer and Barbara Cruikshank, read about Somatherapy and feminist CR and liberation social psychology and ecotherapy and soul wounding. Once you know what the unconscious is - and what the superego is - and how desire might work at the machinic or molecular level - and how responsibilisation relates to capitalism historically and today, then we can have some serious discussions about unlearning.