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Monday, December 22 2014 @ 01:55 PM CST

Warrior Monk Ethos

Health

Conflict invades our inner selves. It is the single most prevalent thing in activist circles. From worrying about when the authoritarian forces will attack, to attacking other groups, in what has been labeled as “horizontal hostility”, or attacking their own communities, activist groups are plagued with an hyper-tense anxiety of what may be or what has been. Then at the same time, the activist lies within the now, the ever present moment of fluidity. The moment is something that the activist may use as a stable base for building up whatever future visions they may conceive for their communities.

Warrior Monk Ethos: A Case on the Development of Martial Aptitude and Schooling in Radical Subculture

Kaleb Hoeffgen

Conflict invades our inner selves. It is the single most prevalent thing in activist circles. From worrying about when the authoritarian forces will attack, to attacking other groups, in what has been labeled as “horizontal hostility”, or attacking their own communities, activist groups are plagued with an hyper-tense anxiety of what may be or what has been. Then at the same time, the activist lies within the now, the ever present moment of fluidity. The moment is something that the activist may use as a stable base for building up whatever future visions they may conceive for their communities.

I am writing this essay in an attempt to provide a more grounded physiological as well as functional activism, based in the internal development of the individual. It isn't enough just to announce an identity, because identities are only skin deep. The identity itself doesn't become the individual, rather the individual should come before the identity. The identity is something that organically happens when individuals act upon their own potential. The idea is this: We are born perfect beings, there was nothing that came before in regards to conditioning. So from birth we are given ourselves, and then we are conditioned into coercion, sexism, racism, and the myriad of other forms of division which the collective conditioning would have us indoctrinated in. So there are some simple questions that could be asked. Questions that I rarely think activists ask themselves. Such as:

What kind of community do I want to live in?
What does an inclusive community mean to me?
What IS a community?
Better yet, how do I go about living in that community?
How can I drop my ideological barriers which inhibit me from discussing and building with individuals of different social and political perspectives?
Is activism a burden or liberating to me?
How does an activism play out in the now? (Meaning, what would be needed to establish a community and instill the principles of self-determination, mutualism, and equality for all things?)

I have gathered through reflection that perhaps the best way to allow for the development of the potentiality of people and their communities are the following principles:

The nature of communication is one of flexibility, what may be good for one person may not be good for another. So for individuals to enter into association with one another, it is the sole responsibility of those individuals to maintain their agreement or to accept the failing of the association and move on or discuss how to work things out.

Communities each have their own unique principles about life and happiness and how to go about that. As long as their cultural practices do not impede others from pursuing their intentions (Given those others, themselves, aren't out to control or dominate) they are free to do as they wish.

Fundamentally the radical is a biocentric individual as well as a guardian of freedom and liberation.

It is in the best interest of individuals and their communities to have sustainable land practices and the skills of self sufficiency, and personal defense.

It is beneficial for the community to maintain a militia or martial discipline for the defense of the community and the development of the individual. Given that activist utopia may or may not happen, which is ridiculous to anticipate to begin with, communities should take it upon themselves to understand their bodies and their responsibilities to ensure the preservation and lifestyles of their cultures.

The last principle #5 opens up to the topic of this article. The development of an open source program that would allow for the development of the radical on the psychological, physical, and spiritual levels. This allows for the well-rounded individual to be a resource when organizing people and to be active leaders in conflict. The best ideas I've ever come across to achieve these ends are “lead by obeying” and “detached observation.” Through “leading by obeying”, we are truly listening to the needs of the individuals, whether they be human or nonhuman communities. As active listeners, we can move forward and be a collective dialogue of transformation rather than a singular vanguard saving the people from themselves.

People are the leaders they've been looking for. When they empower themselves to take responsibility for their actions, they can act in whatever fashion they choose to, hopefully for the collective benefit. Regardless of how people choose to go about things, the radical is best given the role of leading by obeying and living life by example. The second tool that would prove useful to activists and other radicals is “detached observation.” When an individual observes a situation without personal bias or the taint of social, political, or individual agenda, they can observe the situation for what it is, and determine the best, most inclusive, and mutually beneficial action that would aid in the short as well as the long term development of the goals of strong social relationships and egalitarian communities.

When we are clear-headed, detached, from a situation we may act with our true selves and come through a situation with genuine intentions. There are reasons we are attracted to helping others and finding the best ways to live and love each other. Such personal and collective journeys of discovery should not be mired and weighed down by the past or the future through anticipating how someone would or even more so, trying to force someone to act a certain way. Such anticipation leads to a sickness of the mind and the body which in the long run does not benefit either the individual nor the community. The development of living in the moment through still observation and pure intention is what can lead to a harmonization of the diverse attitudes and perspectives we all come from and attempt to understand.

On the topic of personal development. Fear is a dangerous thing, there are many different types of fears, and one of the best ways to understand this that has been time tested has been through the martial arts or other forms of psychological challenges. Not only is it important to be self-disciplined enough to follow through with commitments, but more importantly, to understand that in the long run that this is war (if we are internally fighting with ourselves, this takes away from the focus of the present situation at hand). The more we lay mired in ourselves and our own internal conflicts, the more we deviate from our ability to move beyond the the forms of oppression we say we want to purge from the face of the Earth. It's not a matter of fighting in ourselves, it's a matter of observing our actions and seeing how they benefit or hurt our intentions and the intentions of the communities we are apart of. Through the applications of discipline and personal observation, we can truly move forward in the preservation and protection of nature and life. *On a personal note, that's what I've surmised about everything I've ever devoted myself to, is the protection of nature and life.

On the idea of development of a warrior monk ethos or martial subculture, if there is a dialog to start a thread of thought toward the development of the internal potential of individuals, I think pursuing good health for radicals on all levels of understanding would blossom into something unheard of. It's not enough to just say we want sustainability, we need to live it, act it, and breathe it. If we want self-defense, then we need to learn about our bodies, our fears and how we are in the face of conflict and adversity. If we want healthy communities we need to get beyond our ideological preconceptions, and allow for the freedom of the moment, through detached observation, and develop our sense of what is and what isn't right or wrong. The dynamism of life is the best political doctrine I could ever think of, and to embody such an idea, a situation where “all our internal forces are at peace” is to me the battery of the future to power and propel us toward that world just around the corner.

In the development of a warrior-monk program, or a radical discipline program, the first idea that comes to mind in the creation of free universities. Places where people are able to develop themselves physically, psychologically, and spiritually. Such universities could offer degrees in trade work and other fields of study. They would also have militia detachments and training to allow for communities to defend themselves. The idea is to move beyond the idea of a military and to just relegate violence and conflict to the territory of self-defense and self-preservation. The schools would provide self-sufficiency skills, land based knowledge, and instruction based on wherever they are situated bioregionally. This would allow for the transition of land based communities that are so needed in the present ecological crisis and the habits of bad land stewardship. Another thing that would be offered at such a university is radical development in critical thinking, history, and community organizing skills, which would allow for whatever communities that individuals come from to benefit from the tools learned by the students from the schools. This would all be reinforced through a martial discipline that would allow for the solidification of the individual on all levels of development.

In conclusion to this essay, I would also like to add that the free university program would be open source. In that, they are applicable to almost any setting and culture. These universities would be the seeds of sustainable culture, free from the oppressive influence of modern culture and society. The discipline and understanding of radicals is of the utmost importance, especially for the coming years. We need to be able to handle the prospects of collapse and uncertainty. Primarily because if we can't handle our situations now, how will we ever handle ourselves when we don't have the comforts of convenience and modern day civilization?

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