celebratedrecluse wrote

I don't think I was talking to you about lifestyleism, I think I was talking about individualism and collectivism. The only reason I even used that slur for your perspective -at all- is in response to your use of it, but I kind of regret that because I feel I reified toxicity without realizing it at the time

Hopefully, other people will find something worth taking away from the discussion. I certainly feel I have a lot to think about, and with so much that needs to be done around me, it may be a minute before I return to this kind of discourse on the platform.

however, be well, & I shall be returning soon in better health for sharing some of my content which the community has seemed heretofore happy to welcome

Reply to comment by /u/yaaqov in Friday Free Talk by /u/ThreadBot


celebratedrecluse wrote

Cannabis is grouped with hallucinogens, but it's very weak in humanly consumable doses, so it struts this boundary more than most substances that are consumed by humans.

If you are concerned about these pains being ignored, the only way to find out is to start cultivating more bodily awareness. If you are interested, meditation and exercise are two solid picks for ways you might be able to increase this awareness, although the problem with such endeavors is that they need discipline and participatory engagement to work correctly, much more than a detatched or intellectual understanding of the principles involved. I am sorry I cannot be of more help in your journey

Take care~

Reply to comment by /u/yaaqov in Friday Free Talk by /u/ThreadBot


celebratedrecluse wrote

If you're already feeling crappy, weed can make it worse as easily as it can make it better. That's why I don't think medical cannabis for pain management works for everyone.

Plus, taking a hit after a long T-Break can be pretty overwhelming. People forget because it's not possible to OD, but cannabis is a strong drug in terms of psychoactive effects. It can be immobilizing with a large dose


celebratedrecluse wrote

Ironically, this is what I was trying to say in the comment i made which apparently sparked this response.

In that comment, I decried what I have perceived and experienced to be a sense of elitism around consumption practices in radical communities. In the response, my perspective is accused of elitism itself, which I am trying to take at face value but which simultaneously because of the context feels...almost like it's just something to throw back at me in an argument, rather than a serious critique of my perspective


celebratedrecluse wrote (edited )

If you just keep doing harm and blame your actions on capitalism, you're no different than any CEO dumping toxic waste in a river in China

See this is why I think people who share your perspective on this subject tend to be anti-materialist. Let me explain:

Obviously there is a difference between a worker and a CEO, a shareholder and a homeless person, even a middle class professional (college teacher, for example) and the billionaire class.

In saying this, you are basically equivocating the actions, even though there is this enormous difference in the scale of political power of these individuals over the questions of damage to the environment.

You say, take some responsibility! But in order to take full responsibility, we need to take power, and we cannot do that solely alone-- not on a lot of key issues, and I'm unwilling to cede those issues as unapproachable.

Don't get me wrong, some individuals have the capacity to do a lot of good praxis totally alone. And that's great, but there are limits to fetishizing either collectivism or individualism, and both those roads lead squarely back to liberalism.

The collective is just another state

I'm sorry that's been your experience. I really disagree tho. For example, the state exercises political power through surveillance, incarceration, basically forms of violence against its members and targeted out-groups. The kind of egalitarian collectivities that are participated in by anarchists, however, almost universally take a lot of pains to avoid setting up those kind of structures, and it doesn't seem at all reasonable to me to term that a state, or even something in the same category as that horrific institution. Even when anarchist collectivities use violence to resist fascism, institutional oppression, or even interpersonal violence within the group, there is a huge difference between the behavior, attitudes, goals, discourse, processes & outcomes of anarchist collectivities and any state in history.

Like you gotta admit...you're painting with a broad brush, no? Even though other anarchists can be frustrating to deal with, JFC they're not the government. Except for the informants ^_______________________^

The entire "no ethical consumption" argument is just an excuse to justify oppression that "anarchists" want to keep engaging in for deeply selfish reasons.

No, it's an acknowledgement that our consumption literally has a negligble impact on the world we share with others, since the forces of production and waste operate beyond our political power, and thus it is a refocusing of priorities on sharing that world with others over spending energy on cultivating a sense of individual purity. For many anarchists, this is the most reasonable choice, because we have the opportunity to connect with others and do anarchy together. If you are isolated from everyone, and there is no other option...maybe move, if at all possible? That sounds fucking miserable imo, and I'm clinically depressed or something.

But if this is a self-imposed isolation, because you just don't value collective politics, then that's sort of different isn't it? You'd be opting out of collective action because of bad experiences, woven into an ideology that elevates individual praxis over collective praxis, because you'd think the problems with collective praxis are intractable. That's fine if that's the case, it's understandable and I really empathize, but to be clear that's not going to get most people or creatures to the kind of world that we all really need.

Which of us is the true individualist? Me caring about all life and my effect on everything I come into contact with, or the "collectivist" who laughs at vegans for being "lifestylists" and chows down on a leg of lamb and orders a new iphone, a new macbook pro, a new ipad and a new apple watch from Amazon and a bunch of disposable furniture from Ikea while parroting the "no ethical consumption" catchphrase?

This is a ridiculous strawman argument, come on ziq...

Food forests will be planted alone

I really don't think that's going to work very well. Even a million seeds will not make a forest if they are scattered around disaggregated areas geographically, a bunch are uprooted by developments, the soil is contaminated with poisons, and there aren't a community of species living together symbiotically-- I'm sure you'd agree with that, right?

You may do your best to concentrate on one area, but if there's human activity that comes through it can disrupt what you've started. You can try to get your hands on the complementary plants & fungi, even animals, but that can be pretty costly or at least time-consuming for a single person. You can try to clean up the poisoned land, but ultimately there are certain fields where nothing will grow from the lead, mercury, and other metals in the soil. And nobody's going to move a strip mall parking lot by themselves, not without some heavy machinery.

These are all challenges with making food forests which are definitely best solved in cooperation, not as a single person. What is difficult, is making a kind of group sociality which is not just tolerant or even respectful of individual autonomy, but which enables that autonomy to be maximized in tandem.

This, in the void left by the collapse of the feudal mode of politics, is the fundamental contradiction of liberalism, the question it is never able to answer satisfyingly. Fascism or other reactionary ideologies could be defined as the rejection of this question entirely and the reassertion of the ancient hierarchies. Revolutionary ideologies (including socialism, communism, anarchism) are basically trying to give an alternative way for people to interact with each other as opposed to both liberal capitalism, and the ancient regime: hopefully, one more functional egalitarian than either of its predecessors. But we all, even individualist anarchists, hold in our heads a way for people to interact socially without allowing hierarchies to emerge or reassert themselves. The problem is if you don't address this problem directly, it is really easy to fall back on liberal tropes.

We're social creatures. Human beings have physiological responses to being socially isolated, to feeling that they have no broader community that we feel truly part of, and that's why a lot of queer people, trans people, anarchists, POC who are in isolating or alienating environments take their own lives. There is a poverty in forced individuality, I hate to say it but it's just emotionally & experientially undeniable for so many of us!

It's a scapegoat, same as the word "lifestylism" and the notion that any anarchist that works alone on anything is a liberal. Some of us will always be alone, surrounded by a sea of apathetic bootlickers. That's no reason to disparage us or the work we do.

As an anarchist who was politically isolated for over a decade, I have to point out that the goal of the state with regards to radical political tendencies is to isolate us in order to render our efforts less effective, and to get people to spiral into purism, cultivate misanthropy, and eventually burn out.

And it works. :(


celebratedrecluse wrote

I really feel that you're making assumptions about my perspective here. All the stuff about workerism, your ancestors, Marxism, it doesn't (in my perspective) relate directly to what I'm saying-- I feel like I'm in someone else's conversation. It's not like I'm...defending the Soviet Union's treatment of ethnic minorities? Perhaps this is coming from another conversation you had, maybe on reddit or something like you mentioned? By the way, I promise, I'm passionate about my views but I'm not talking to you in bad faith or trying to attack you as a person.

There's a lot to respond to in your comments, and I'm sorry I am not responding to it all specifically, I would just kind of like to recenter the conversation on what I see as the most interesting & broad questions raised here.

So based on some things you have said, it seems to me like you are not really interested in sharing the struggles of people who are outside of your direct experience or your own individual desires, which is just a very different kind of politics than I have. Is this a fair or unfair characterization of what you believe? (Genuine question, there is no sarcasm in this post)

if you're gonna delve into this individualist construction of meaning, your ethics, any of that, that's fine for you, and me, and whoever else wants to indulge this anarchist subculture. However we are not going to make an actual difference in the material world we both share unless we are willing to work with other people, and we definitely are not going to contest the conditions of oppression without linking up with people who have different values & experiences on what common ground we have and building from there.

Example. You want to plant a food forest? That's fantastic. It's also a collective endeavor. You aren't gonna do that too easily alone, or even with your close comrades, not when there are whole industries built around colonizing the land. Even if you were blessed with the resources and free time to do so, it would be odd to marshal that...in isolation?

Now if you're doing that as a project with other people, that seems way more feasible to me. But if it's a project you are sharing with those other folks, in order to prefigure a desirable goal & solve some immediate community needs, who could really call that lifestyleist?

What my posts have been responding to is not your ideas about food forests, or other cool projects, which is something you only brought up recently. It is, instead, to push back on this incessant moral navel gazing which happens not only on raddle, but IRL, and IRL it is actually a big problem which alienates people and breaks up shared projects.

Unfortunately, and this is just my experience but, those in the anarchist scene IRL who have been the most into the vegan idpol tend to be some of the most privileged people in the scenes they inhabit, and these people have used this privilege in shady ways (talking down to people, insisting others not cook their food in communal spaces, using finances to manipulate compliance with their values). It'd be one thing if it was just quirky and occasionally annoying, but it actively sabotages collective space for the purpose of social capital, or even more often this weird narcissism about the importance of an individual's own ethical illusions.

Having seen that happen, I am just very skeptical when people talk about the need to "take responsibility for your choices" in what one consumes, or how "if we all just chose to consume differently, things would be different". Fundamentally, these sayings are highly similar to conservative & neoliberal rhetoric, respectively. And more than that, it just does not appear very useful, to me, to focus on creating hierarchies of more and less harmful actions within a systemic framework that we all agree is suuuuper fucked. I would rather focus my own attention on how to build networks that will challenge that circumstance and change it for the future, rather than dwelling on my own atomized sense of self and morality. But hey, as long as we can count on each other to contest powers arrayed against us when it counts, it doesn't really matter to me what other peoples' feelings about individuality are. Let's just not lose perspective on what oppresses us, and our shared stake in each others' liberation


celebratedrecluse wrote

I've heard from others that most people can achieve the same effect of reducing the prominence of fingerprints by just moisturizing your hands twice a day. This will, instead of caustically scarring your hands and etching damage into the prints, cause the lipids in the moisturizer to "fill in" the prints.

Haven't tried it, but I think that bears some investigation before one bleaches their fingers. Plus, it's amusingly bougie


celebratedrecluse wrote (edited )

The premise underlining this is that individual choices to consume according to the values (dogma) of a subculture are an effective way to change markets, let alone society. In fact, one might be excused for reading into this that you think that this is a good, or even the best way of doing this.

As I've tried to say, this is a central idea of neoliberalism, really a textbook example of it. I think it is factually untrue that this type of praxis creates widespread change, and arguing in favor of this praxis is really difficult to do without eliding the difference between consumer choices and collective action.

Practically speaking, this ideology creates in-groups and out-groups. Is that the goal here? To shame others for their consumption? To celebrate others for their lack of it? Is that how one builds a collective movement for revolutionary purposes? Or is this just how you construct a conception of the self? Is this borrowed from monotheism & ascetic philosophies? In my opinion most importantly, is this sociality actually getting us where we want to go? I think the only honest answer I can give to that is partly, but not even halfway.

My argument isn't about waiting for a revolution, this is about making one, same as you. To do that, we have to have positive relationships with others, which pull people toward the new kind of society. The attitude that individual consumption choices, even refusing to consume, are how we change society is one that anchors us in the present moment, and sets a horizon beyond which we cannot really see.

There is, I think, a danger in identifying choices which seek to build social relationships in the process of revolution, with choices which are basically limited to the individual or a small in-group. Nothing is a perfect dichotomy, and many direct action types of things are going to blur the lines a bit, but what I'm saying is it's very easy (especially with the diet stuff) to confuse choices that are clearly individual with those that are partaken with others, for the purpose of enacting a shared vision. What's more, there's an even huger difference between those two types of actions (individual vs. small committed group), and agency which is enacted with people who are significantly different from you in lifestyles, but with whom you share some important common ground.

A similar thing has happened with the concept of direct action-- there's this elision, a slipperyness to our understanding of the terms we use. If you ask a lot of people, going to a protest is a direct action. But it's not, really. At what (US) protest that happened recently, has the action directly solved a problem? Have any reports that cops died, or even resigned? Were the rivers of capital reshaped or obstructed in any lasting way? Are the police slowing their murder sprees, is the deportation machine meaningfully interrupted? No, street actions against the establishment can't really do such things, at least not for long. What they are really useful for is 1. building morale & community, 2. engaging with symbolic discourse ("wow, there sure are a lot of people angry about what the cops did, Steve") and 3. very temporary interruptions of business as usual, for limited financial and/or property damage to targets. But that's just about it, as far as I can tell. Even in non-US contexts, the removal of one government usually just invites in a military dictatorship, which is not really our goal right? If we're talking about direct action, it looks a lot more like defending & building communities to confront the everyday dangers, than in what you buy or don't buy, or which marches you go to. That can be part of it, but there has to be something significantly more substantial paired with it in order to build political leverage, not to mention something worth struggling and sacrificing for. And the moment that this subcultural stuff impedes collective action to solve the everyday problems, to build the framework, I think that's the moment that it starts being baggage.

Once again, I am a vegan, I organize collectively, I go to actions, I am similar to many of the people on this forum in terms of the practical application. I'm all about that political harm reduction. But it is ridiculous to assume this is how social & culture transformation happens. Anarchist movements have hit a roadblock for decades now, mired in a youth culture which is as exclusive as it can be toxic. That's not to say there haven't been successes, but they are limited, and this is the main limitation that I see. If we are going to seriously create a political movement, it can't be based largely around lifestyles and end-consumer politics, because not only is that depressing and a dead end, it's also a way to guarantee that anarchism continues to be associated with youth, naivete, and a quixotic neuroticism-- all criticisms I would never levy against someone else, without having it apply to myself too.

I think it's important to confront this reality (well, to me it is the reality) in order to actually make ourselves more effective at achieving the shit we want.

But, you know, I've certainly been wrong about a lot of things, so I look forward to the replies and the perspectives that you will bring to challenge mine.


celebratedrecluse wrote

Huh. Interesting

By "enlisted", are they factoring in the officer ranks though? Good faith would have me believe no, but this article seems to writing from a very pro-military perspective: "Look at how privileged the military is-- isn't that awesome?!". Since it validates their POV, I can see why they might try to fudge the definitions a bit by counting officers as "enlisted".

But maybe not. If it's really just the enlisted ranks, though, that's very interesting, and contradicts what I believed to be true.