Grid Not Goal – Part 2: Anarchy Grid
WHAT IS MEANT BY “GRID?” Well, it’s an idea borrowed from Discordianism. Though intended as a way to describe opinions about metaphysical truth, I apply the term to opinions about the characteristics of Western society. Here’s what the Principia Discordia has to say about grids, in the section entitled “THE SACRED CHAO.”
With our concept making apparatus called “mind” we look at reality through the ideas-about-reality which our cultures give us. The ideas-about-reality are mistakenly labeled “reality” and unenlightened people are forever perplexed by the fact that other people, especially other cultures, see “reality” differently. It is only the ideas-about-reality which differ. Real (capital-T True) reality is a level deeper that is the level of concept.
We look at the world through windows on which have been drawn grids (concepts). Different philosophies use different grids. A culture is a group of people with rather similar grids. Through a window we view chaos, and relate it to the points on our grid, and thereby understand it. The ORDER is in the GRID. …
… Some grids can be more useful than others, some more beautiful than others, some more pleasant than others, etc., but none can be more True than any other.
The point is that (little-t) truth is a matter of definition relative to the grid one is using at the moment, and that (capital-T) Truth, metaphysical reality, is irrelevant to grids entirely. Pick a grid, and through it some chaos appears ordered and some appears disordered. Pick another grid, and the same chaos will appear differently ordered and disordered. [Principia Discordia]
Why do people desire social order in the first place? Why do they disregard individual reason in favor of custom? Why allow their strengths and aptitudes to be appropriated and prostituted within a social order and take part in a system of alienated labor? Why allow hierarchical authority to bend their abilities toward its own ends? It’s a deeply ingrained, almost religious faith that those ends are the same, or at least in concert with their own natural drives and desires.
It’s obvious people need other people. We need other people to reproduce. And then, our infants are so helpless that a whole cooperative family structure makes sense in order to get youngsters to the point where they can take care of themselves. Beyond that, when it comes to meeting basic subsistence needs, cooperative social relations are clearly advantageous for groups of buddies helping their buddies out.
Well, this notion of cooperation and society has in a way taken on a life of its own. The culture that emerged to hold the cooperative together has been shambling on down through the centuries sloughing off generations of people like dead skin cells, developing and persisting in its own right. Today we have nation states, millions of people strong, and that seminal ideal of cooperative solidarity is writ large: every individual is responsible in their fair share for the well-being of the millions of people who occupy the borders of whatever nation they happen to have been born to.
So, if you are a Normal you might look at the current state of affairs and see that it’s bad. You might say that the US state has ‘lost touch’ with the basic purpose of ensuring people’s wellbeing. That corruption and profiteering are like rust and rot that eats away at the bolts of an ocean liner over time, which comes without regular maintenance, upgrades, necessary retrofits. You might even subscribe to Lawrence Lessig’s call to “build a system to fund campaigns in which all of us, or at least the vast majority of us, become the effective funders, [sauce,]“ as if the powerful could be called upon to enact laws to put an end their own corruption. You might think of politics in terms of “the common good,” or “of the people,” or “equality under the law.” If so, you are employing what could be called Benevolent State Grid.
The Malcontent might look at the current state of affairs and see that it’s bad, and realize that my friend Mr. Fundamental’s society-as-Titanic analogy is apt. That the very idea of an unsinkable ship, too big to fail, is pure folly. That the thing Normals fear when they think of anarchy, “a world where the biggest gang has grabbed all the guns and cowed everyone they can’t shoot,” where there is no authority strong enough to hold the gang to account, is precisely what we’re dealing with today. That the basic purpose of the US state is not ensuring people’s wellbeing; it’s the preservation of entrenched power. That society has developed a whole mythology that serves to cover up this fundamental untruth. This is how things appear through Anarchy Grid.
To employ Anarchy Grid to evaluate the characteristics of Western society is to harbor what JR Boyd calls “skepticism toward authority … in the absence of justification.” Under this regimen of skepticism, one sees that the gang with the most guns, the state, is based on nothing more than the FAKE justification for it’s exercises of negative power, of domination. Nurturing, or the positive use of power, is its own justification, no state, no authority, no mythology necessary.