Anarcho-environmentalism allegorised

The name Anaarkali in the present context has many meanings - Anaar symbolises the anarchism of the Bhils and kali which means flower bud in Hindi stands for their traditional environmentalism. Anaar in Hindi can also mean the fruit pomegranate which is said to be a panacea for many ills as in the Hindi idiom - "Ek anar sou bimar - One pomegranate for a hundred ill people"! - which describes a situation in which there is only one remedy available for giving to a hundred ill people and so the problem is who to give it to. Thus this name indicates that anarcho-environmentalism is the only cure for the many diseases of modern development! Similarly kali can also imply a budding anarcho-environmentalist movement. Finally according to a legend that is considered to be apocryphal by historians Anarkali was the lover of Prince Salim who was later to become the Mughal emperor Jehangir. Emperor Akbar did not approve of this romance of his son and ordered Anarkali to be bricked in alive into a wall in Lahore in Pakistan but she escaped. Allegorically this means that anarcho-environmentalists can succeed in bringing about the escape of humankind from the self-destructive love of modern development that it is enamoured of at the moment and they will do this by simultaneously supporting women's struggles for their rights.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Reflections on Anarchism, Atheism and Deep Ecologism

If human beings have to live together in large centralised societies then there will be state systems and bureaucracies to run them with the ever present danger of injustice, violence and inequity. Anarchists therefore speak of living in small societies even if that means the sacrifice of many of the material advantages of living in centralised systems. The important question today is whether it is possible to retreat from the highly centralised systems that control our lives and which are held together by the legal monopoly of force granted to states to run them. If this force is suddenly withdrawn then there will indeed by anarchy which may not be what the anarchists want. I am an anarchist but i have not yet found an answer to this problem in the writings of the many famous anarchists. The suggestion that people should limit their desires and live frugally thus obviating the need for force to discipline greedy and so violent people is an utopian one and parallels the suggestions of the spiritual ascetics (not that the monopoly of force given to states has been able to rein in greed and violence with much success). Personally one can live frugally but to expect the whole of humanity to do so is impractical. The tribal peoples have done so for millennia and are still doing so today in some places but they are a miniscule minority. Also given the huge push for consumerism to sell the goods and services that are being produced in ever larger numbers by a capitalist global economy backed up by heavy military expenditure to ensure that the Occupiers do not succeed in derailing the global system there is little likelihood of anarchist or spiritual projects succeeding.
Atheism is a rational choice. There is no proof of the existence of God. Neither is there any proof that God does not exist. Under the circumstances one is free to choose either way. Atheists generally choose to not believe in the existence of God in the absence of any proof of such an existence. Atheists may be anarchists and they may not be as in the case of most Marxists who are die hard statists (at least till as long as communism does not come and as has happened so far socialist states degenerate into capitalistic ones before that eventuality). Similarly anarchists may be atheists like in the case of Berkman but they may not be as in the case of Gandhi. Atheists may be nature conservationists like the Deep Ecologist Arne Naess or they may not be so like most Marxists. At the core of ascetic spiritualism, naturalistic atheism or deep ecologism and anarchism is an ethic of frugality and that is their strength. As a naturalistic atheist and anarchist I can only suggest the adoption of the frugality ethic but I cannot expect it to be adopted universally for that is a form of religious expectation! The greatest anarchist credo will always remain the one that was voiced by Thoreau and forms the bedrock of my own anarchism -” If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."


Anonymous said...

'At the core of ascetic spiritualism, naturalistic atheism or deep ecologism and anarchism is an ethic of frugality and that is their strength...' how ridiculous and how loaded! The problem is when people like you live theoretically defined lives or fix their lives into boxes of definition of 'isms'.

I do not believe in the existence of God per (an atheist someone would say)but no way frugal - I indulge in life. Now this may not fit in the definition atheism = naturalism = frugalism.

Rahul Banerjee said...

i said naturalistic atheism or deep ecologism and not just plain vanilla atheism which you seem to follow. everyone defines their own ideology as you have done for yourself by not believing in God while still believing in indulging yourself. now your ideology of indulgence to me is both problematic and ridiculous given the bad effect it has on nature. i did not equate atheism to naturalism and frugalism that is your wrong interpretation of what i said. so please read carefully instead of putting in meanings that were not intended.

Anonymous said...

....your ideology of both problematic and ridiculous given the bad effect it has on nature...??!! where do you draw this conclusion from, simply stumps me. I didn't know there was an 'ideology of indulgence'!! i indulge in life - zindagi, you get it? jeene ki ada me, not jeene ke tareeko me.

Ok, if i misread, then write simply enough. nature is simple and pure why do people who draw their inspiration from nature make it appear so complicated?! khair choodo..... jaane kya tune kahi, jaane kya maine suni .... baat kuchh ban hi gayi... Ah, never mind. Don't get so agitated...its your life, you define - you live - kya farak padta hai.

Rahul Banerjee said...

whatever a human being does consciously is based on an ideology of their own making. so if you indulge then there is an ideology behind it whether you like it or not. if one renounces then again there is an ideology. your point regarding using simple language is a good one but since i was discussing philosophy the language became a bit complicated. however, nature is not simple but very complex. that is why instead of understanding nature people are going around destroying it. i have a bad habit of arguing. if you argue then so will i there is no agitation here but just cogitation.