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THE NATURE OF ACTION

by
Dale Allen Pfeiffer

1. Argument

We must give up expectations but not the confidence that we can deal with any contingency. Humans only act if they believe their best interests are being served. Look for the best, not in the future but in this moment as it transpires. Educate others, fight injustice, but never lose sight of the beauty in this moment. Every plan right down to the most finely conceived incorporates within it a probability that the future shall deviate, which probability increases in direct proportion to the timespan of the plan and also to the number of people it will affect. This is the dualism of purpose: we must be subjective of the present while objective of the future. Live in the moment. If your formulations help you to get more out of this present moment, then that is fine, but donít be disappointed if the world doesnít live up to your expectations. Next time try to place a little less importance on expectations and a little more importance on this world as it is being experienced.

Small scale action is much more likely to succeed. The smaller scale an action, the greater its chances of success. This is part of the appeal of both anarchism and Buddhism: both promote the proliferation of small scale action to affect major change. The best of anarchist thought contains an almost spiritual element in its view of individual responsibility and the common welfare. Perhaps we do have a chance, if we can pull our heads out of the clouds and stop arguing about the best way to proceed. If we could simply act from the heart, then we could do no wrong.

Action can either be directed internally into the self, or externally into the environment and community. There are four courses of effective action: self-education, education of others, fighting injustice and organizing.

2. Self

Put your own house in order, first of all. Strive for enlightenment and education. Open yourself to the world, choose to feel. Cultivate compassion. Study science (hard and soft), history, literature. Remember, however, that the definition is secondary to that which is defined; a name is but the smallest part of anything. Look for the divine in all matter and events. Judge not least ye be judged.

Furthermore, never accept anything told to you by the mass media; even where self-interest is not evident, information is distorted by misinformation, misunderstanding and delusion. Be critical and selective, seek out alternative sources of information. The mass media can paint a view of the world which will have strong and subtle effects on individual perception. There is no such thing as truth--or, rather, truth comes in many versions.

Avoid obsession, unless it is obsession with the miracle of existence. Dwell in contentment with consideration for cohabitants and environment. Awaken.

3. Others

Fight ignorance. Strive to help others see clearly even as you strive to focus your own awareness. Know that, next to self-enlightenment, bringing awareness to others is the most important thing you can do to benefit the entire world. Acquire knowledge and teach. Try not to contribute to disinformation.

Try never to overlook suffering or injustice but seek their resolution. Determine never to be complacent. Understand that a good deal of suffering and injustice is a product of our socio-economic condition and comprehend what this admission implies. Do not convert and subvert, rather communicate and illuminate. Where social injustice is an issue, civil disobedience tactics are appropriate, and revolution (with all that entails) would even be justified should it provide a reduction in suffering and injustice. Fight not with might, but with illumination.

4. Organize

Do not struggle on by yourself. Despite individualist presentations of history, a single human being holds little immediate influence over the tides of time and events. One person alone must fight for her or his own existence while two people can work together for their mutual benefit. The history of mankind is an epic of movements and star-crossed individuals who pop up to lend focus at key confluences.

Network and organize. Seek out people who think as you do, people who can offer you help and support. Together you can form a common basis on which to found your actions. A dream alone is but a dream, while a dream shared has greater reality.

Organize to fight injustice. Find others who share your concern and organize with them to produce a solution to the issue of contention. Work as a humanitarian, with no intention of harming anyone. Work for solutions, not persecutions.

Always be aware that you are fighting for the recognition and respect due to everything, from each and every human, tree and stone down to every atom.

5. Liberation

Everything physical is made of matter.

The fundamental constituents of matter are the atoms, which are themselves composed of subatomic particles which are, in fact, energy.

Energy is made of momental elements of existence. Each moment of energy is an unbiased perception of existence, pure consciousness. So once again we find the mystical, animistic view of the universe; anything of atoms made is all ablaze with life.

Marx sought to liberate the working class from capitalist exploitation; we seek to liberate commodities as well. All so-called commodities have a right to exist untampered; they take meaning of their existence and should be respected on that account. The artful manipulation of matter treats material with respect and therefore is justifiable so long as the resource is not threatened by exploitation. The right of existence must be granted to every resource, humans being no more favored than any other arrangement of atoms and other arrangements being no less divine. We seek to liberate the chicken and the cow, the corn and the cotton, the timber and the ore.

All resources must be respected and conserved; the natural state should be our ideal. All livestock is owed a basic quality of existence; all environments and ecosystems are to be kept healthy and viable, as our vitality is linked to theirs. We must take responsibility for every bite of food that we eat (meat and vegetable--yes, every single oat) and for every commodity that we consume. We should apologize to the grass as we tread upon it, and we should ride upon the gestalt of the physical universe. Please donít walk on the grass--dance upon it.

Mankind needs humility and compassion, both of which are amply supplied by poverty and hardship. Oh, that there were some other way. Only wounded heroes could possess the humanity to bring enlightenment to our homes. Sound the rally of the wounded heroes.

6. Conclusion

Capitalism is merely our best explanation of the current socio-economic environment. As such, this theory is marred by all the weaknesses of human thought and perception. It was a description of one phase in the unending and dynamic evolution of socio-economic ecology. We can speculate about the next trend in this evolution, but the only thing we can say for certain is that change will come. All we can do is work in our own small way to insure that the next phase is as equable and humane as possible. We must identify the motive force behind this change and learn how to manipulate it with wisdom and mercy.

Market, work place, media, home and church; these are the environments of socio-economic existence. Changes in the socio-economic situation are affected through changes in the market, work place, media, home and/or church. The market is the stomping grounds of capitalists and corporations, and must be carefully infiltrated by capable sympathizers who should seek to expropriate capitalist profits for the workers, and who will lend their talents to the process of socio-economic evolution. Workers should seek the one big worldwide union, based on the anarcho-syndicalist pattern. Once the size of this union has attained a critical mass, workers should seek to liberate the tools of their profession. The workers need skills in mass civil-disobedience and sabotage, and they must be prepared to fight if necessary. The media must be opened so that everyone can better appreciate what is actually transpiring about each of us. Perhaps the Internet has the freedom and the reach to communicate effectively. You are still in charge of your own home, make it a harmonious place. Except for a minority of fundamentalists, most people have drifted from institutional religion, liberalizing the tenants of the church. Through church or through intellect, everyone needs to become aware of the sacred bond tying each of us to the rest of existence. Subversion and subterfuge are the watchwords of the day and pureness of heart is the attitude to be attained by all true agents of evolution. The agent of evolution, in whatever sector of the socio-economic environment, above all must strive to make herself or himself a better person and the world a better home. Evolution is about getting on with life, not the sacrifice of life.

All the progressive economics and radical sociology, all of the theory and science, will get you nowhere with the masses. This is a job for the poet, the artist and the musician. The coming volution must be foretold in myth and folklore, that is: in the very consciousness of humankind. We must live the evolution, and by doing so blow life into even the most empty of existences. We must remember to supplicate the spirits and atone for our ignorance. Praise the existence of God in everything of atoms made. If we could give to everything the right of existence, there would be no need to worry about human rights. We can never achieve utopia so long as our motives harbor any element of greed. We will walk into the future pure or we will be dragged in, bloody and beaten.

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