When I contemplated the possibility of sitting down to share, in a coherent, structured manner, my assumptions of what I term the reality of power, and how an understanding of the reality of power equips us as individuals and free associations to be less entangled with systems of coercive governance, I had a few concerns about engaging in such an endeavor.
I want to share these concerns because, in so doing, I also have an opportunity to introduce you to some of these assumptions which will be laid out more thoroughly as the series progressives.
One such concern was based on my experiential knowledge of how my understanding of the reality of power, even my understanding of the nature of the coercive enterprise model (‘the state’) has shifted over the years. What if, for instance, I commit to semi-permanent form these assumptions that later on, through an acquisition of new information and experiences, I come to reject, even vehemently oppose?
After all, I’ve experienced this personally with many writings, videos, even podcasts I produced during periods of time when I supported the coercive enterprise model because I imagined it was a ‘necessary evil’ that could be held in check so long as that ‘necessary evil’ was hemmed in by the concept of Rule of Law.
The other primary concern is the inherent danger of producing a cohesive system, a pattern of analysis, outlines for human governance standards, etc that can be coopted and deployed for systems of thought that might actually run counter to an end goal I was hoping to achieve through expressing my thoughts systematically in the first place.
One could argue that many of the ideas expressed by Karl Marx, for instance, produced systems of governance that did not lead to the imagined ‘end of history’ through the closing of the dialectical loop as he hoped for, but rather produced systems that had even greater disparities between the ‘classes,’ that had produced even more extreme dialectical cycles.
Whether you agree with Marx’ end goal or not, you can easily see that agents who claimed the Marxian succession produced systems that had decidedly betrayed the end-goal expressed by Marx himself. These systems led to the murdering of millions and the reduction of individuals to little more than disposable mechanism of the unaccountable ‘state.’
I don’t pretend to suffer from such hubristic notions that I imagine the thoughts I will be expressing in this series will offer the same revolutionary potential as did the ideas of a Marx or a Bastiat (to offer a counter to the Marxian assumptions).
Yet, the concern does exist that ideas can sometimes become larger than you imagine they can be, that ideas begin to take on a life of their own as individuals outside the ideas’ originator take those ideas and make them their own, altering them in ways that are mostly (I would argue) unpredictable, in ways that could produce ‘positive’ evolutions of the originating ideas (in the sense that the ideas increase the chance that the end-goal of the originator of the ideas increases), or could produce ‘negative’ devolutions of the originating ideas (in the sense that the ideas decrease the chance that the end-goal of the originator of the ideas decreases).
When I weighed these two concerns against the reasons to dare put to the proverbial digital pen my assumptions in a more developed, systematic form, I came to the conclusion that I would go forward with my efforts.
Why? I am not owned by my ideas, to the degree that I have a level of self-awareness that allows me to consciously act in ways that demonstrate this lack of ownership. Nor do I own the ideas I articulate (again, to the degree to which I have a level of self-awareness that allows me to consciously act in ways that demonstrate this lack of ownership).
Rather, I recognize that the ideas I will be expressing here are the product of an amalgamation of self-observation, self-discovery, and, more significantly, the product of an understanding of ideas I have gathered from multiple sources ranging from the Bible to Bastiat, from Hegel to Wittgenstein.
In word and deed, in various forms, I already manifest my thoughts, the very thoughts I hope to systematically outline in this series, so I am already ‘daring’ to share thoughts with the world that can influence others in ways that are largely unpredictable by me (or anyone else, I would wager).
While articulating these thoughts in a more systematic, cohesive, all-in-one-place manner could potentially increase the likelihood my ideas could be co-opted in ways that would ultimately run counter to my end goals, I cannot be sure that articulating my ideas in a more systematic way might not actually reduce the opportunities for individuals to be more ‘negatively’ (subjectively speaking) influenced by my ideas.
Offering my ideas in a more systematic way could reduce, in part, the ambiguity of expressing thoughts in less cohesive ways, in forms that are spread throughout, with no organized structure, through various podcasts, articles, etc.
Either way, I am comfortable in the uncertainty of what potential ‘negative’ influence my ideas might produce. To the degree to which I can work to ‘assure’ (such as that is even remotely possible) that my ideas might be deployed in ways that run counter to my end-goal preferences, I will do so, and I will also accept the near-undeniable ‘fact’ that my opportunity to control such outcomes is minimal, as surely as I cannot know whether my ‘silence’ might also not work against my end-goal preferences.
To the first concern, of committing my ideas to a more permanent repository (a cohesive, contained unit such as a book, a series of podcasts, etc), I have greater hesitation. But, I believe, putting these thoughts to a semi-permanent repository is an action that reinforces within me a willingness, an acceptance of not being owned by my ideas, or claiming ownership of my ideas.
I am, in other words, willing to put my name to a repository of thought that could in the future no longer reflect the ideas I contain. I am willing to be, from my perspective, wrong.
To the degree to which I can be self-aware regarding the level of certainty I possess with assumptions that have helped me formulate the ideas I am going to express in this series, I will do so. It is my hope that my demonstration of comfort with uncertainty will help ideationally influence others to adopt a less certain position in life, and yet find ‘useful’ (subjectively speaking) structures of thought within frameworks of degrees of certainty that rarely, if ever, achieve absolute certainty.
As I have stated in the beginning, I do have a reason for beginning this series with this caveat. It is to demonstrate some of the assumptions I will be articulating in the series, as well as to ground the series, in the start, on a foundation of uncertainty that, I hope to show, leads to greater self-awareness, which leads to greater opportunities to affect real self-empowering and free-association empowering change at the ground level, right where you live.
The intention of this series is a layered intention, one that begins, first and foremost, in my own preferences, and serves to satisfy those preferences directly. It is my assumption, one of the key assumptions that formulate the ideas I will present in this series, that self-awareness is the key to empowering the self to have the greatest opportunity to affect outcomes that favor the self’s preferential framework.
To that end, it is my intention to work through, in a systematic manner, my assumptions regarding the nature of power and how an understanding of the reality of power equips individuals and free associations to command more opportunities to proactively decide to take (or not take) action (the term reality here being used in the contextual sense of the individual’s capacity to perceive and process external influence on the individual’s ability or impediment to act, to experience).
The purpose here is to simply understand my own thoughts and to test them in a systematic manner. Going in, I begin this series willing to abandon it should I come upon fatal flaws in my assumptions (such as I might perceive them).
Going in, I begin this series with a reasonably confident outline I have developed through a considerable amount of self-reflection, but yet I possess a willingness to alter that outline as the process of systemic investigation may yet yield unanticipated discoveries that could lead me down unanticipated paths.
The act of producing this series is a path to self-discovery in and of itself. Taking ownership of this preference is an essential starting point (as I hope to show throughout this series) that makes it possible for me to produce this series at all.
Owning the self-interest of your action is, to me, perhaps the greatest act of rebellion against a world that would trap you behind idealistic curtains which hide you from your own self-wizard creating illusions that prevent you from taking more power than the world would have you believe you possess, would have ME believe I possess.
The ideas which I will be pursuing in this series will hopefully influence others to take ownership of their preferences, to stand on their preferences, and not on the edifices of spooks, as Stirner calls them, notions of value that have no objective basis.
The ideas which I will be pursuing in this series will hopefully influence others to become more self-aware of the reality of power around them, in terms of the limitations placed on them through others, as well as the opportunities to reduce the influence of others on their actions when those influences do not align with their own preference.
Conversely, I hope these ideas will influence others to recognize the opportunities to INCREASE the influence of others not just on their own actions, but the actions of others, when those influences DO align with their own preferences.
In other words, I hope to show the reader, the listener, the viewer the benefit of recognizing self-interest in moving the individual towards greater opportunities to satisfy their own preferences, I hope to show the reader, the listener, the viewer the benefit of recognizing the advantage of free association alignment, and finally I hope to show the reader, the listener, the viewer the benefit of working, within the capacity you are able to do so, to empower others to have the same opportunities to satisfy their own preferences so long as their preferences do not include invoking the implied or direct threat or application of force to influence the actions of others who have not DIRECTLY threatened or applied force against individuals.
Not the Intentions
This series is NOT intended to be a regimented, fixed in time, space, and thought system for self-empowerment. This series is NOT intended to be a definitive statement on my assumptions regarding the reality of power and how understanding the reality of power emboldens and equips individuals and free association to disentangle from the limitations of the coercive enterprise governance model we currently find ourselves surrounded by.
This series is not intended to be a blueprint, a closed-system model, but rather it is a conversation, one that, for my part expressed here, is born from a response to what others have “spoken” to me, even those who did not share in my core, long-term preference, to be influenced as minimally as possible by the direct or indirect threat or application of force by others.
While what I express is done so with varying degrees of certainty that must meet a minimal threshold of certainty to even be included in this series, I do not assume that what I express here should be accepted as certainty, nor do I expect that you the reader, the listener, the viewer should receive anything I articulate in this series as unquestionable, or that my assumptions should not, could not be challenged by alternative assumptions.
This is not a work of mathematical precision, nor is it a work of absolute decision, but rather it is a work of assumptions born from the mind of an individual who recognizes that just about ALL individuals, including myself, have scotomas, that just about ALL individuals, including myself, have influences in their lives which presuppositionally condition them to be attracted to certain assumptions that reinforce, sometimes mythologically, courses of action that are, at the end of the day, more of an emotional response to a condition beyond the individual’s control than a coherent, self-aware action born from an understanding of preferences and assumptions objectively (such as that remains possible) gained.
Yet, for reasons outlined above, despite these limitations I possess, I find it useful not only for me to pursue the work of creating this series (with an allowance for following unanticipated paths, should they emerge) but also useful for you, if, like me, you recognize in yourself a core preference to be empowered to take action in your life that is increasingly less influenced by the implied or direct threat or application of force.
This is a conversation, a conversation I hope to participate in, with those who came before me, and with those who may be reading, listening, and watching now, a conversation I hope to have with those who desire to diminish the influence of the coercive enterprise, the state, on their lives, and recognize the advantage to themselves to work to diminish the influence of the coercive enterprise, the state, on others’ lives as well.
What I have planned in the weeks ahead, subject to revision should unanticipated discoveries alter my course, is first an explanation of the ‘iState,’ the smallest and most significant ‘sovereign’ in community. This explanation will also include how I began my own path towards the iState.
Next, I plan on discussing the limitations of language itself, or, of freeing yourself from the seductive ideational power of language, a power that often prevents individuals from discovering similarly held assumptions and preferences because they cling to terms and labels that others find off-putting, negative, even dangerous (such as the terms capitalism and socialism and the dogmatic battles that occur by those who are, I would argue, owned by words, words that have become little cathedrals that destroy thought in favor of unquestionable dogma).
Once I have set the limitations of language, such as I understand and accept it, I will then take on the task of attempting, within the limits of language, to define the terms that I will be using (some of which I have already used, such as preference and power).
All of what I have described above will be laying the foundations that will then, hopefully, allow me to present a more thorough theory of the iState, the necessity of the other to the state of I (with some exceptions), and the theory of the reality of power.
Finally, I will propose not applications, but guidelines for applications of utilizing the theory of the iState and the theory of the Reality of power to equip yourself and aid others in equipping themselves to disentangle from the coercive enterprise, to see iStates emerge, iStates that are able to form free association alignments with other iStates.
In short, I will end this series (barring unanticipated discoveries that lead me down unanticipated paths) with hope, such as I can offer, for a potential, eventual end to the model of coercive enterprise governance that has destroyed so many lives, that has crippled and reduced to shadows and dust the potential of so many more other lives.
What I can promise you in this series is an honest effort, such as I am able to possess the self-awareness to execute such effort, to pursue ideas I have held in various forms since I was a child and I first learned, stunningly at the time, that individuals can (and have) intentionally create community that reflects the preferences they sought to pursue.
If that journey leads me to prematurely end this series, then so be it. If that journey leads me to deviate with the outline I have formed and crafted over a period of the past two years, then so be it.
I invite you to join me in this journey, to contribute to this conversation, to influence me, ideationally, in the same way that I unapologetically hope to influence you.
If you are reading this as a completed book, then take note of the parts of this book, such as the paragraphs above, and the ones to follow, which demonstrate the organic process of having ideas, assumptions, and attempting to work them out in a more coherent, systematic way, with a willingness to not be owned by the thoughts, or to own the thoughts, but only to own your preferences, to stand on them, and to form plans of action, such as you are able, where you are equipped to do so, which satisfy those preferences.
Power, Power Theory, iState, Egoism, Marxism, Socialism, Capitalism, Libertarian;