Any chances for a country to be ruled by alternative rule will always be zero because -as many economists, philosophers and scientists claim- the way the various parts reality consist of interrelate is dominated by forces we won’t in a billion years have any chance of controling. An anarchist with aspirations to help build organizational structures not based on governing from above’s best bet is to get a clear picture of those areas of science that are leading the way in terms of future progress.
In setting out to get any broad idea of what’s driving our society’s progress, the sciences open up a plethora of ideas for alternative ways governing reality. It is simply surprising what limited bearings these abundant ideas have on real life governments, business and any organised part of public life, given the fact that many of them have been around for so long.
Talk of the anarchization of structures that govern us is not new, yet it’s likely that we’ve become immune to it. To think anarchy has so far always boiled down to getting a pretty close idea of existing governing principles more than what they can be replaced with. Our tolerance levels for more general new ideas have also risen a lot due to the rise of technology. So much so that we hardly are knocked over if someone supposes that doing away with governments altogether might suit us even better than the adoption of another procedure based on true science.
Neither are alternative theories very much seen as subversive. Anyone with a subversive streak simply has to start shouting or display odd behavior and will still likely fail to be recognized as such. Even though naturally we sidestep systems that do not testify of authority from above as having any chance of being implemented, so long as you don’t package the subject with blatant “anti establishment’ labels, you have equal chances of getting as good a hearing as the man who’s proposing the next major overhaul of the national health system or so.
So in this sense, the anarchy project is really rather simple. Compile ideas at random and start preaching them. Yet the fact that none of us can imagine what a country is going to look like that’s done away with government (history kindly doesn’t provide us with precedents) combined with the fact that organising this is a real possibility is somehow again highly indicative again of the state of play in the developed world. It’s the anomaly of the ‘Third World vs Developed World’ type. Poverty can’t be simply reasoned away. We know that. But we’re less sure about subversives. Why? Because we don’t know at which levels they are active.
The shift in the debate from the real and tangible to a higher, almost metaphysical level, is something that many old time revolutionaries objected to but which modern anarchists simply take into their stride. The abstractization of reality somehow is objectionable when it comes to real life threatening situations like poverty in Africa and terrorist strikes on our cities, yet most anarchists, like the mainstream, see the fact that terrorists have forced us to take this portion of reality at face value not as a reason to abandon this domaine. To do so would be to abandon all options to make a difference, it is argued.
Political realities no longer are dialectical, but rather a viral ooze, infecting language and thought. The search for alternative ways governing reality is underway full swing and it it’s taking place without our knowledge in governments, business and any organised part of public life.
Depending on one’s take on the subject, it is not so much the viability of chance that any given country will by choice adopt a system based on anarchy that is sought, but the ideas surrounding this. Man’s ultimate strife is to master nature in a fully free and autonomous way.
To gain any insight of where alternative ideas have a chance to find a solid base on par with the ideas that are currently employed by governments, one simply needs to take a look at what’s the hottest topic in the philosophy of science. The arguments here likely shed most light on how we are likely to think about the future in coming years.
The talk in the philosophy of science is yielding an overwhelming plethora range of ideas for our argument and almost serves as a microcosm for the rest of the world. Number one; we haven’t had by far enough time to find decisive answers as to whether there’ll ever be a theory that conclusively decides whether reality is deterministic – ie ruled by logic. This argument was hot when nano technology sprang to the fore a few years ago and carved out a whole new dimension, making the epistemology of determinism an even thornier and more multi-faceted issue.
The philosophic sciences bring out the issues that the wider society has been dealing with intensely since the 1970s in many ways. Both proponents of determinism and their opponents, the ‘pluralists’, boast incessant streams of prominent examples. “One would think that it should be at least a clearly decidable question”, according to Carl Hoefer in an article “Causal Determinism”, which is due for publication in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy in the Summer of 2005. But further reading teaches you soon that to expect any outcome in the battle between determinists and pluralists is not realistic.
The debate, which to some extent has been ongoing for almost as long as humans have been around, was first highly topical for a brief moment at the turn of the previous century in the more restricted area of mathematics. What’s become known as the ‘Russell Paradox’ knocked the mathematical community off its feet. It gave rise to more experimental mathematics than any of the generally lazy formula makers had expected, who thought they were making progress in denoting reality this way, had been reckoning with. The Russel paradox points out that until then, the mathematicians had held false pretenses as to the ramifications of their field. The paradox in simple terms amounts to the following question about sets (a collection of objects that can be defined as a rule).
He wondered whether it was possible to create a set out of sets defined as ‘not members’. Russell wondered if that particular set contains itself and this way formulated the first paradox in mathematics. He argued that there are only two possible answers to the question of whether a set made up of sets not part of themselves can actually be part of itself. If the answer is yes, then set A does contain itself. But if set A contains itself, then, according to its definition, set A would not belong to set A, and thus it does not belong to itself. Since the assumption that A contains itself leads to a contradiction, it must be wrong.
If the answer is no, then set A does not contain itself. But again, according to the defining condition, if A does not belong to itself, then it would belong to set A. We have contradictory propositions that imply one another. The assumption of no yields yes, which yields no, and so on apparently.
To still see this as a threat to the foundation of mathematics would be a somewhat out of date response, because the dilemma apparently has been fixed since. Ed Pegg at Math.com says the Russell paradox was later fixed, via the so called ‘Zermelo-Fraenkel axioms’. “So far, no errors have been found”, Pegg says.
It’s a cliche but this is probably one of the first examples to show us that reality is not black and white. And rather than grey, it’s just bigger all the time. That is one thing every scientist agrees on. Perhaps the Russell Paradox only indicated an end to the era of the hunter gatherers in the mathematic sciences, but it is interesting to see that Russell went on to deal with this issue by basically working on a new domain in the sciences.
Rather than solving the problem in maths, his resultant thoughts were better applied in another field of science and the man is still credited in part for the rise of computer science. In attempts to argue his way out of the paradox, Russell invented a concept of a logical transformation as an operation that requires the equivalent of a quantum of time. He designed a set of logical operations in which a particular problem would be expressed as a program of operations to follow. ‘We then turn the program on and let it run. Each logical inference is implemented in turn, and when the process is completed, we get our answer’, Hoefer describes the essence of the work as.
A search for an ‘end theory’, some explanation for everything which incidentally will also decide the determinist ? pluralist issue is in some ways the goal of everybody’s scientific work, but the argument these days is more or less centered around alternative ways of discovering possibilities to obtain knowledge on this issue.
Work on the ‘earth’s genomics’ has hardly been anything more than making silly presuppositions, efforts to piece together a puzzle which ultimately might just appear to be an exercise trying to stack boxes on top of each other in an atmosphere which doesn’t allow for gravity.
To say that only a sound system for anarchy could be found after we’ve actually figured out how nature really works would be defeatist. All good systems are in need of some real protestant work ethic, rather than dreams of utopic proportion that simply prove false. The vastness of the universe is at once dizzying, awe inspiring and also offers a bounty of opportunities.
Angelique van Engelen is a freelance writer based in the Netherlands, from where she runs http://www.contentclix.com. She also contributes to a blog http://clixyPlays.blogspot.com