Throwing Down The Gauntlet

The third basic attitude to our predatory nature is to defy it. To say, “The world ought not to be”. Evolution knows of no mechanism of self-restraint; any such thing must necessarily come from, so to speak, outside. We may suggest embryological and endocrinal explanations, or social trauma, but in the rare cases where this happens, it is ultimately rather a mystery.

Where the ideologies of adulation and complicity represent the ratification of water flowing downhill, Defiance represents a challenge to water to flow uphill. This will not, of course, occur; and Defiance must therefore content itself with minimising the damage caused by the downhill-flowing water, or else challenging the water to flow uphill for the sheer hell of it, an existential decision taken to celebrate one’s freedom, with, as the Gita might put it, no thought for the consequences thereof. Or, as William the Silent said, “It is not necessary to hope in order to act”; one can chisel out a whole ethic of As If (act rightly, As If it will make a difference), a defiance purified of all calculation.

The ultimate defiance of our entire animal agenda of survival, dominance and reproduction (or the Three Fs, namely feeding, fighting and fucking) would, of course, be the fast unto death, as was indeed performed by some of the Cathar Perfecti, or at least the self-castration of the Doukhobors. Then there is vegetarianism – if done for its own sake and not to earn spiritual kudos in the eyes of the world – and ahimsa; which only the Jain monastics do thoroughly, although it may be assumed that even they are cruel to plants.

The key to a less hair-raising form of ethical defiance of competition, reproductive strategising and manipulation is resources; for if you don’t have any, no one will be very much interested in you. It will then be possible to live beneath the radar of the Big Beasts. Thus, “holy poverty”, or at least the Beghard and Anabaptist path of independent craftsmanship. Quietism, that is, total non-participation in politics or any relationships involving power and authority, goes without saying.

Another way of saying all this is: failing the really radical Gnostic steps of self-castration or the fast until death, a truer defiance of our predatory, acquisitive, power-hungry nature is found, not in mendaciously promising its more perfect fulfilment to those who obey the rules and make donations, nor yet by postponing it to paradises stocked with golden thrones and virgins, but by stepping as lightly as possible upon the earth.

Posted on February 14, 2011 at 11:52 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: AGAINST NATURE, Defying The Demiurge

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