We fear because we are not sure of the consequences of some action that somehow involves us. We approach the feared thing, heart palpitating, perhaps shuddering as it approaches. Calming the soul so that one can carry out smooth action was the purpose of ancient schools of true philosophy that have been buried under centuries of boring philosophical analysis—to what end? In order to combat the anxiety and worry that attends the feared object, it is crucial to nurture a courageous spirit, or at least confidence, and this depends on action, not talk; proof, in the broadest sense of the word, not empty promises.Building confidence is done in small doses. As more feared objects are neutralized, one gains power over them. In general, we do not fear if we have power over the other. And this means rejecting the idea that all power is necessarily evil. On the contrary, power is wonderful if it works to an individual’s personal advantage.
Here there is a classic liberal position on the topic that must be addressed if only to forestall confusion. Nihilism about morality says nothing about trajectories; it merely says there are consequences. It is therefore not that there Ought to be a praised ethical judgment about power flowing from the ground up, from the dictatorship of the proletariat; it is therefore also not the case that there is anything bad (in itself) about the existence of power over us. We might not like it, sure, but nothing more than the spirit of revolt supports our judgment that it is ugly. And its existence over us is all the more glorious because it permits the possibility of a life worth living in glorious revenge.
I want to meander about the claim that nihilistic morality is more sensible than anarchist morality.Consider this dilemma. If X should call pigs to take out Y, anarchists may say that this is akin to snitching. If we ask why? we seem bound to say that X falls into a privileged class, and that the very act perpetuates “systems of oppression”. On the other hand, if an other on the ascending ladder of privilege should do the same to gain power over an other above them on the ladder, we are less likely to call them snitches. In truth, no one should call cops, but there is something about being disempowered by the system that permits anarchist permissibility of using that system to your advantage (power-with “in opposition” to power-to). To clarify this view, we have three social-ontological relations at play. Power over, power-to, and power with. Privilege generates power over according to the rules of power to. Power-with corrects this imbalance and rejects power to. Ideally, power-with would negate the very idea of power-over; but in practise, it seems clear enough that power-with is just another form of power-over, in this case, power-over the individual.
In order to overcome a perpetrator of whatever we deem improper according to our rules, we permit the use of whatever methods. Of course, the absurd internal breakdown comes into play when we talk about the state itself as a perpetrator (power-with here excludes the use of the state); but for the most part, this issue is not on the table because the creation of empowered subjects is reformist and disables nothing. My point here is to call attention to the growth of power. Underprivileged persyns are permitted to assemble with leftist states (permissible power-with) to form power over coded (bourgeois) bodies that follow as such from the leftists’ defining attributes; privileged persyns, on the other hand, are not permitted to assemble power against the underprivileged, given that this is actually the repetition of power-to. The problem here is not power, clearly, but a particular form of power, power-to, against which one must* assemble according to leftist morality. Anarchist Morality then is merely a code of ethics whereby one assembles alongside the useless left to crush the power of consequences over our sociological lives.In order to carve sense into this arbitrary negotiation of power over, “clarified” by power-with and power-to, we have to clarify the rules that generate the sorting procedure. Privilege helps to clarify the notion of the anti-aesthetic, and the dictatorship of the proletariat points the way to the politico-aesthetic. The nihilist idea of there being consequences gets all of this without precluding the possibility of rejecting even leftist power over the individual. It therefore rejects the aesthetic of thinking that power-over is good so long as it confirms liberal and sociological manipulation, and thereby avoids power-to. Any rational persyn would see that this obviously fails to address the fact that coded bodies in opposition do not necessarily conform to power-to. In other words, what is a manarchist? Merely a conversation stopper, to use Rorty’s term, a device that is meant to hide the fact that one is generating new wine for old wineskins. Power-with is another form of power-to against the individual. Such is also the existent for queer insurrection.
Having genuine power is a matter of capacity for oneself; it is a matter of genuine autonomy; it is a sign weakness to depend on others to generate power. Of course, your friends probably want to explore erotic desire in the act of revenge as well, and it would be all too selfish to suppose that their uniqueness undermines your own capacity to be free. Such is not the point that I want to address here. What I want to say is that power-with need not be a matter of acceptance of the sociological apparatus. On the contrary, power-with might not be repugnant with power-to. For this sociological apparatus is weak analysis in suggesting that the male individual in acting individually is perpetuating systems of domination. The question is: What does it mean to act with the system? Having the power to act in a manner that is free need not depend on privileges attributed by the system; these might have been gifted, but these can be used in free acts of negation. To transcend the system may be possible only for some sociological molar masses in the system; but transcending it, or downgoing, to call upon Nietzsche, is the key that is often ignored. The counterpoint that the system privileges some to transcend it is nonsense because the sociological apparatus doesn’t permit exclusions. One might say that the system generates the illusion of freedom for some, and this is more on point; but we nihilists have the difference between quality and quantity to demolish this bad argument: quantitative living is ugly (and boring) as fuck.
According to Spinoza, the rebel that wishes to revolt against the monarch should do so only if (s)he has the power to win; otherwise it is rational to wait until such power-with is brought forth—and all of this only if the king is corrupt. The king might (collectively) have all our interests at heart; such is the promise of enlightenment representation (leftism). But this all depends on what it means to live qualitatively. If such has nothing to do with quantitative calculation, if such is merely a living in ones’ own life, upon which one has decided to live and grow power, sacking the king is hardly necessary. To have freedom does not mean one is the king, or the delegate, or the socialist in a general assembly; to be free, one merely needs to assemble Unique power against consequences that we fear, which may or may not be individual.In other words, not only must we overcome our own fears by building confidence, we must also overcome the fear of being perceived as a barbarian, that is, a coded body, caught up in the consequences of anarchist colonial morality. We will work through all of our external fears until they are nothing to us.
To sort out instances of permissible power-with strikes this reader as silly because when it comes down to it, there is only desire and consequences; nothing but revolt underpins the reality of consequences given that History will not redeem us.