Terrain and Environment: Questions

1

What is the terrain and environment that you stand upon? How much do you know about your surroundings, the places you frequent, visit, and live in? How effectively and quickly can you navigate and traverse your terrain? Simply: How much do you know about your personal environment?

2

Knowledge of terrain is obtained through through various methods: Research, observation, and direct experience navigating a terrain are a good start. Knowledge of your terrain comes from exploration, observation, and play with your environment.

Your terrain is your playground.

This is where the games are played.

Sometimes our terrain is familiar and safe, other times our environments are unknown to us, filled with new encounters and experiences.

3

Our environments can be understood in a historic, present, and future perspective. One can study and construct how something in our environments came to be as presently experienced or encountered. We may also consider lines, paths, and possibilities of the future.

These theoretical, constructed, and imagined futures and histories, can be playfully considered for possibilities in your present, transitory, and momentary experiences with your terrain.

4

Who are all the players in the things you observe, encounter, and experience? What is the ebb and flow; the rhythm and pulse of individuals and their things? How are things distributed and transported; changed and shaped? How do things interact and relate to one another? How are these things valued, qualified, and quantified?

5

Consider all the possible paths and lines that extend from you. What directions may you move in? What are some needs, obstacles, and waypoints for effective movement, action, and activity? Where do you meet resistance, where are you unencumbered? What are your paths of attack, defense, retreat, and defeat?

6

Where are the steep cliffs, quiet ponds, deep ravines, rolling hills, steep mountain passes, rippling streams, raging waves, thickets, marshes, swamps, forests, and grasslands? Where are the high and low places? Where are the little places, the hidden locales, the quiet streets, the sparsely traversed paths, the busy and vital corridors, the well traveled and frequented? Where are the cities and the suburbs; the farms and industrial districts?

7

Where can you find something to eat? Where can you find something to drink? What resources are in plain sight? What things are kept under lock and key? What can be stockpiled and cached? What can be crafted and built? How can you mend and care for your body? How can you heal and care for yours and others wounds, injuries, and illnesses? Where are you secure and sheltered?

8

How is power embedded and concentrated throughout your environment? What sort of force can be projected and who does the projecting? What sort of force can you project across your terrain? What is your capability and power?

Where are your friends? Where are your foes? Who can be relied on and trusted? What can you accomplish; what activities may you undertake? What is beyond your power?

What can you get away with?

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A Visit

A demon came to me, perched behind my chair.

It whispered inhuman words to me, assumed a dreadful and inarticulate shape.

I laughed at it, and muttered my own inhuman words in response, assumed my own dreadful and inarticulate shape.

I did not seek to overcome it or topple it; run from it or fear it; but instead became well acquainted with it—my dear duzbrüder.

The Union of Egoists

Note: I use association and union interchangeably. I refer from my reading of the Wolfi Landstreicher translation “The Unique and Its Property”. 

I

The phrase union or association of egoists is found only a few times in Max Stirner’s “The Unique and Its Property”, and yet it is often referred to as Stirner’s alternative to the relationships of state and citizen; lord and servant; master and slave. Stirner did not provide us with a blueprint for the future, nor a new system, to replace the socioeconomic and belief/thought systems he critiqued and attacked. I believe that this omission was intentional — Stirner was not about to annihilate all fixed ideas, authority, and sacred beliefs only to recreate a new fixed idea.

The union is something more mundane, if not commonplace, yet an incredibly powerful tool for all individuals. The association is a phenomena that we all experience and create throughout our lives.

The union is often referred to as some crystallized structure or organization. This is at complete odds with Stirner’s actual writings on union, association, and relations between individuals in “The Unique and Its Property”. Stirner does not discuss the union as some static relation between two or more individuals, but instead as shared life activity of two or more self-interested individuals. The association is one of both immanence and transience, it is felt, lived, and experienced in-the-moment. When me and a good friend part ways after a night of both enjoyable and pleasurable fare, our union has come to an end; when our rebellious plot has been successfully hatched and we split up to lay low, our association has ceased to be.

The enjoyable thoughts remain, the love I feel for my lover after parting from them, the excitement and restlessness at the thought of our next union — but the association itself has come to a timely end, only the idea or thought of the union exists and an idea or thought is not what I am relating with. Instead I relate to you as I, and you relate to me as you, in the flesh, as corporeal, and sensuous individuals. We accept no representations in such a relation, no symbolic determinations or flesh-and-blood masters as mediators of this relationship. In our union with one another, we are ourselves and we bring ourselves with all of our property.

Our union is a thing of self-interest, self-enjoyment, and self-fulfillment.

We come together for a common and shared aim, not because we are bound by duty, honor, morality or any other cause, but because we both find some mutual utility in such a union. Our shared activity could be anything: Gardening, hiking, botany, insurrection, photography, writing, art, cooking, sex, farming, fishing, hunting, robbing a bank, playing a game, etc. The only thing that matters is that you and I are both getting our own fulfillment or satisfaction from our association with one another.

Our relationship is one of mutuality and reciprocity. We both gain what we desire from our union, and thus are satisfied. We consume, but are also consumed. We are used by the union, while also using the union. The union is our tool, our power, it is created for our own needs, desires, and purposes—for our own selfish ends. The union of egoists is a union of self-interest, a union of power.

When we no longer find such an association as beneficial to ourselves we withdraw and end the union. The union only exists at the behest of our own individual power. If we find that we are working towards another’s ends, no longer enjoying oneself, or desiring a new activity—we withdraw—ending our association.

Throughout our lives we enter and exit many relationships with individuals that are intentional, enjoyable, based on reciprocity, and mutuality. You do this without thinking about it, hanging out with your friends because they bring you happiness, having sex because it is pleasurable for all participants, cooking a meal for guests because it brings you joy at feeding your friends, resisting political authorities because you refuse their orders and commands, every day you come into and out of relationships of shared selfish activities with others.

II

We also engage in many relationships not based on intentionality, mutuality, or reciprocity. Such relationships are ubiquitous in our lives, we are forced through various means to associate with those that we do not care for, engage in activities that are not our own, and take part in relationships where we do not get our own satisfaction and fulfillment. We repress our desires, our wants, and needs, and sacrifice them to hollow and empty ideas that are backed with heavy handed violence, intimidation, guilt, and shame.

The society is to have power over the individual, while the individual is to have power over the union. The individual is a tool of the society, the union is a tool of the individual. The societies claim over the individual is absolute, the individual may not end this claim, an association is transient, ends when the individual wills it. The society is a relationship of master and slave, the union is a relationship of individuality, reciprocity, and mutuality. The society is imposed upon you, an association is an intentional act of your own power.

Why should we feed the rotten and stagnant “gardens” of society, when we could instead water the sweet ephemeral blooms of our own unions? We should be with those actual living, breathing individuals that bring us satisfaction and enjoyment, engaging in activities that all bring us self-fulfillment. Instead, we trudge endlessly in boring and unfulfilling activities, working for the accumulation of others power and wealth for most of our lives, forced to associate with people we have zero interest in and have no mutuality or affinity for.

Do you ever ask yourself: Am I really enjoying what I am doing at this present moment? This is not to say that acknowledgment of our unenjoyment in some sort of present condition or activity will free us from its constraints and power. We must exercise our own power to free ourselves from those individuals, relationships, and activities that fill our lives with the boring, mundane, and unimaginative.

Who should enjoy you but yourself? A strange question to some perhaps, but a question that needs asking. Only you feel and experience yourself and your life, why should your life be for any other than you? Only I can feel the ache of my muscles and bones after a grueling 12 hour shift. Only you can feel the stress and anxiety that builds when you don’t have enough money to make rent. We should not be passively submitting to those who maintain, reproduce, and build the systems of domination and exploitation we experience, but should instead actively resist and strike back.

What exactly you experience in your daily life is most certainly different then what I experience, but of course we may find commonality, mutuality, and affinity in our personal experiences with our worlds. Our mutual domination and exploitation can merely be the spark for our shared fires of resistance.

III

Our worlds change and flux before us, and we can follow our desires, needs, and passions, as our worlds and lives unfold before us, entering into unions and associations as individuals come into and out of our power. By seeking out those who have some commonality and affinity with us, we may gain much, and by enjoying ourselves in a mutual and reciprocal way, we share ourselves and our desires with those we choose to be with. Our activities are limited only by our imaginations, power, and finding willing partners.

Our unions are like a flowing river, they are in constant change, coming together and coming apart, growing, contracting and expanding, sometimes a vigorous, passionate, and raging river, other times only a small, quiet, and gentle spring. We are much like our unions, are also in constant motion, in a state of stochastic and chaotic change, ebbing and flowing throughout our lives.

We need not play along with the dull and uninteresting, the expected, and submissive roles and behaviors that are desired of us by our rulers, masters, and lords. Our own lives are far too enjoyable for us to allow such a thing. We have no need to hold ourselves to any of the codes, laws, and morals of those who claim power over us. We need only to live our lives, and create ourselves in every moment as we see fit and as our individual power allows.

Lines

His hands

Cracked, worn, rough

From years of work and faithful service

And what did he get for such an effort

But a few tokens, and a tired and worn expression

That hung heavy on his face like a veil

The wrinkles and furrows of his face, deep as canyons

Each line telling a story

A story of work and faithful service

And nothing to show for it

The Storm

In the distance storm clouds brewed, swirling in a violent and unsettling manner, they coalesced and rose into the sky, spitting tongues of lightning out upon the Earth.

Immense fires burned on the horizon, sending up dark plumes of cancerous and acrid smoke that mixed with the storm in a dreadful and disconcerting way, turning the sky black and scornful.

I stood there some unknown distance away from the destruction, gazing at the sight—unmoving and unflinching.

I could not possibly tell when the storm would reach me, or what it would bring but I could see it nonetheless, skirting the horizon, approaching me silently and steadfastly in the distance.

Would I be ready for it?

Nightmare

I awoke into a nightmare.

A hellish landscape, denuded of vegetation and life was before me. The gray and black hues of cold dead steel and concrete greeted me, welcomed me into its maw. The sounds I heard were piercing, tearing at me, shrill mechanic screeches and high pitched hums, beckoning me to an embrace.

Everywhere I looked something or someone was screaming at me, willing me to do this or do that, live like this or live like that. I looked into the gutters and only saw the fetid, rotten remnants of those who came before me, their entrails, bone, and blood were mixed into a horrific mixture, 12,000 years in the making.

The buildings leaked blood and sweat, dripping down the facades of gray and black, flowing into the streets, mixing with the oil and soot that was everywhere. The air was filled with a dense suffocating fog, that obscured my view of the entire perverse spectacle. The smell was oppressive, the combined odors of human and machine, of life and death, of civilization and state.

I gazed upon the city and saw nothing for me, was sustained by nothing within it. I retched, fighting the urge to vomit at the bizarre scene splayed out before me. I wandered for years, aimless, lost, and confused. In my travels I saw an old, long dead decayed trunk of a tremendous tree. I touched it and it felt as cold and dead as the concrete and steel the surrounded it.

Wandering without aim, and thus exhausted, I collapsed into a heap on the sterile, dead sidewalks, that looked more and more like factory conveyor belts than ever. My head was laid upon the harsh, uncompromising concrete, jagged edges stabbing my head. I lay there, when I realized a small sapling or seedling was breaking through a crack in the cold dead concrete.

I stared at this miniscule thing, its colors, beautiful shades of greens and purples. I reached out my ever-so-weakening hand, trembling in excitement, and felt not the cold dead numbness of everything I had encountered, but the warm familiar touch of life.

I rolled onto my back and stared into the bleak, desolate, sky, at the ever present fog. I said my goodbyes to my green, lively friend, and breathed my last breath.

I fell asleep into life.

 

Desolate

What will you eat when there is no fish in the sea?

What will you grow when the soil is too sterile for your seeds?

What will you sip when all the water is too polluted to drink?

Where will you find shade when all the trees have been cut down and removed on a whim?

What will you breath when the air is too thick and dusty to live?

Edifice

It was built on an edifice of bones and blood; sweat and tears

Brick by brick; slave by slave

It towered to the sky, time after time

But one day it could go no further

The precipice had been reached

It began to teeter and totter, wobble and falter

Till one day it collapsed under its own fetid weight

Crushing the rich and poor alike

No one was spared from its might

Suffering

I will not suffer for you.

I owe you nothing, am not indebted to you.

I will not labor for you, you are not my master.

I will not sacrifice myself to you, I am not your offering.

 

Do not suffer for me.

You owe me nothing, am not indebted to me.

Do not labor for me, I am not your master.

Do not sacrifice yourself to me, I will accept no offerings.

 

You wish to end all suffering?

You seem to have only perpetuated it everywhere with your myriad but failed attempts at explaining and understanding it.

I suffer because I have the power to suffer.

I do not experience any other suffering but my own suffering, that is mine because I feel it.

My suffering is my own, is my property.

I own my suffering as I own my joy, both experienced and felt by and through me.

You can never take my suffering from me, it remains my inalienable property, never to be taken or given.

 

I suffer for nothing.