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Does conflict trigger growth?

Submitted by ziq in AskRaddle (edited )

I'm sure you've all noticed we keep having this big conflict on raddle between green anarchists and transhumanist anarchists.

I think it's mostly a cultural clash stemming from the two sides living diametrically opposing lifestyles.

A lot of people in urban areas live disconnected from nature (please don't take this as an insult) and look to technology to escape from the desperation they feel under capitalism. Technology is their only refuge from the dehumanizing decay they sense around them. Sometimes, it's the only method they have to connect with other humans.

And the other set of people have rejected the concrete jungle lifestyle and tend to have pretty violent reactions to industrialism and the exploitation of nature. Or to any ideas that would bulldoze, drill into and pave over the natural ecosystems they depend on to survive.

They feel these ideas would displace more people from natural environments, send them to cities, and create more need for everyone to hook themselves up to machines to get relief as we struggle to compete over the dwindling resources and space in cramped cities and suburbs.

Nature is the Green anarchist's escape from capitalism and they understandably fear losing that escape just as much as transhumanists fear losing theirs.

While transhumanism largely aims to further opportunities for humans to blend their minds and bodies with artificial industrial constructs as a means to liberate themselves, green anarchism struggles against industry's encroachment on life and the push for a global industrialized civilization. It's honestly a match made in hell.

Some other frequent conflicts in radical circles: Vegans vs omnis, white privilege vs those that try to expose it, class reductionists vs holists, collectivists vs individualists, authoritarians vs libertarians.

So my question is - does conflict trigger growth?

I'm a big believer in the idea that humans require a jolt to the senses in order to affect change within them. For example, loss is always a big vector for change. When you lose a loved one, your job, your health, etc, it forces you to stop walking in a safe, straight line. Often it results in you taking a completely different path than you would have - had you not experienced the loss. (Watch the movie 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' if you want to see a good example of this idea - healing and growth coming about via loss.)

But can conflict create the same vector for growth? Can people with conflicting ideas of what it means to be free - sometimes even ideas that can't really co-exist in the same space, be jolted into changing the trajectory of their lives?

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5

Pop wrote (edited )

I've got two thoughts here

1 - that it can create growth for the people who are just reading the conflict (especially when they are unfamiliar with the arguments) as opposed to people who already have a stake in it (through identification with one side of it)
for people involved it might just be a matter of luck - or the conflict today might create the ground for a change of opinion when there is what you called a jolt to the senses

2 - that we should try to be much nicer to each other in the way that we disagree, spend more time really trying to understand each other's positions, and spend more time trying to express ours as well as possible
except for cases of intense trolls, which none of our regulars are, this approach is most likely to promote good things all-round

edit: wording

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Tequila_Wolf wrote

I like point 2 especially, because this is a public forum that in part works to show people both what anarchists are like and also what their arguments are. I don't think that we need to pretend to be anything we aren't but I do try to keep in mind the potential effect we might have on casual readers.

Good, accessible, well set-out arguments is my preferred way to go - and I try to do it whenever I have the energy - often even when we're arguing with people who are trolls or in bad faith, because we're not just arguing with them, we're presenting our position to anybody who reads it. And though we understand each other much of the time, people who don't know our politics are going to have a hard time understanding us if we're just brash and insulting each other.

Taking the time to make a good, accessible argument here is also good practice for articulating ourselves for other written and AFK arguments in general, and specifically where we have to be extra careful, for example with family members.

Finally, I think we do better learning things from arguments and enjoying each other in general when we do the work to act in good faith about it.

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[deleted] wrote

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Dumai wrote (edited )

i wouldn't call defasher a troll and more often than not i get where they're coming from, but agree they can be needlessly combative sometimes, as much as i enjoy snark. i think conflict definitely can be productive but not really if you're refusing to engage with what your opponent is actually saying.

edit: btw this goes equally for people trying to paint green anarchists as ableist luddites

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Dumai wrote

I think it's mostly a cultural clash stemming from the two sides living diametrically opposing lifestyles.

A lot of people in urban areas live disconnected from nature (please don't take this as an insult) and look to technology to escape from the desperation they feel under capitalism. Technology is their only refuge from the dehumanizing decay they sense around them. Sometimes, it's the only method they have to connect with other humans.

And the other set of people have rejected the concrete jungle lifestyle and tend to have pretty violent reactions to industrialism and the exploitation of nature. Or to any ideas that would bulldoze, drill into and pave over the natural ecosystems they depend on to survive.

i don't know if this is true - of these two thumbnail portraits i definitely fit in more with the first than the second, but i find anarcho-transhumanism really politically shallow and kind of scary to be honest.

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red_pepper wrote

It creates a certain type of growth. Conflict makes us better at defending our own ideas and better at attacking other people's ideas. I don't know if it actually makes our ideas better, though.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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zod wrote

Have you actually changed anyone's mind with that tactic?

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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shanoxilt wrote

>implying you can't be green transhumanist

>implying you can't commune with nature in your posthuman herd/hive

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ziq wrote

Green anarchism (individualist, anticiv), not bright green anarchism (social, prociv).

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Random_Revolutionary wrote

I dont really want to throw oil on the fire, but it's not green anarchists vs anarcho-transhumanism, it's anprims vs @h+. There is much less conflict between other brands of green anarchism such as solarpunk and @h+. There may be anticiv and @h+ conflicts, but even then it depends on our definition of civilization.

In arguments such as "authority vs anarchy", "vegan vs carnist", "privileged whites vs everyone else", and all the other arguments you cite, there is clearly one ideological stance that is anarchist and studied, and the other is bigoted and a uneducated. (I say ideologically bc pragmatically we dont all have the possibility/ressources to engage in these conflicts). It's the same with @h+ vs primitivsm: one ideal implies the death of 90% of humans and the other implies total liberation, from even our bodies's natural limits. Clearly those stances do not hold the same value, at least for true anarchists™.

Ps: on individualism vs collectivism, I stand with emma goldman an believe one implies the other, so it's not like the other exampes you made.

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Pop wrote

it's not green anarchists vs anarcho-transhumanism, it's anprims vs @h+

it is?
I don't think there are any anarcho-primitivists on this site

are there?

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Random_Revolutionary wrote

Yeah solarpunk is green and compatible with @h+, for example.

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Pop wrote (edited )

I have no idea what solarpunk is and I've never come across a green anarchism that wasn't against technology, agriculture, and cities
(which includes many more green anarchists than anarcho-primitivists, and I'm confused at your conflation here)

actually so far as I've understood, green anarchism is those things or it's just anarchism

I'd be interested to learn more about how solarpunk is suppose to work and in what sense it's green

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ziq wrote

There has recently been a push by some anarchists for a 'bright green' anarchist movement (as opposed to the traditional dark green anarchism).

https://infogalactic.com/info/Bright_green_environmentalism

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Pop wrote

I don't know why they differentiate by calling it green, if even red anarchists are like this

I've never heard of a liberal or red radical who wasn't interested in at least 'bright green' stuff

Thanks for the info! Gonna have to think about this

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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Pop wrote

This is my thought also, and your statement

Bright 'greens' are just ancoms who like tofu and teslas.

seems to sum up my general intuition here,

but since it's all new to me to consider (because how is this even a thing?) I'm going to try to ponder it for a bit

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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[deleted] wrote

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Dumai wrote (edited )

i practically need medication to feel human most days and if it comes down primitivism vs transhumanism i'm more inclined to prefer the former over the latter. i don't really like either movements as a whole but i'll take john moore over william gillis any day.

also you really shouldn't use words like "primitives" derogatorily! that is literally the language of colonialism you're using there.

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[deleted] wrote

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Dumai wrote (edited )

no, not at all. while i probably don't have anything in common with the image of primitivism you've got in your head (i don't think it's desirable or even possible to "go back to the stone age") i think primitivism has a lot of untapped potential that is best evident in the work of people like john moore.

that said it's obvious primitivism hasn't lived up to this potential at all, and as you're probably aware, the quality of primitivist discourse on the internet is really bad. so i wouldn't call myself a primitivist or anything. at a pinch i might call myself post-civ.

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Random_Revolutionary wrote

What's wrong with gillis? I've only read one text of his and I found it quite woke.

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Dumai wrote

his transhumanist politics seem to centre on "the recognition that social liberty is inherently bound up with material liberty, and that freedom is ultimately a matter of expanding our capacity and opportunities to engage with the world around us" (his words), which historically has not been true at all, for reasons any radical should know? i mean the industrial revolution vastly expanded human productive and creative capability in material terms while also giving rise to generalised wage labour? an increase of "material liberty" doesn't necessarily provide you with a higher degree of agency, which means even isaiah berlin with his positive/negative liberty dichotomy is more useful in this regard than gillis. if a liberal has a more developed conception of liberty than an anarchist, i'd say something's gone very very wrong here.

and besides, "free human 'individuals' shaping 'nature' according to their 'will'" is like, bourgeois subjectivity 101? i don't know. gillis seems like a good guy but he's also a huge dork.

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ziq wrote (edited )

AnPrimitivism isn't a collectivist anarchism so that's a bit of a strawman. Individualist anarchists don't have any aspirations to assert control over society.