Monday, June 10, 2013

Why I am a Holarchist and not an Anarchist

About a month ago, was it really that long ago? I really lose time when I have my head in my app development!  I saw a posting which some of my friends liked, titled "coming out anarchist".  To see the full post:

This article really caught me attention and resonated in so many ways.

It supported the non-aggression principle (NAP): That it is immoral for a person to initiate the use of physical force against another person or their property without consent.  
I believe that this one of the most important principles that we could integrated in any social/governance change going forward.

The author focused on the idea: the State is the most chronic and large-scale violator of the NAP. 

I believe that you would have to be in denial to not understand and recognize that as a fact in today's world.   I believe that we can take this even further and include most of the organizations in the world, in particular the largest businesses.  The larger the business the more likely they become depersonalized and worship simple profit to the detriment of  the world ecology as well as continued suppression of the majority of the people over the few leaders. 

The author further focused on voluntaryism the belief that all human relationships should be based on voluntary consent of all parties, and that no person has the right to enter into a relationship with another person or their property without consent.  

An awesome concept and a guiding force for moving forward.

Where I diverge from the author's conclusion is that this is anarchy. This redefinition fails, a possibility of the parts do not define the whole.  I suspect that the Author is looking for a container to harness his ideals and the label anarchy seemed attractive.   But, anarchy is in its simplest definition, an absence of rules. Anarchy is an unstable state. When humans find themselves in an a state of anarchy, they automatically start to self organize and develop rules.  Often, it evolves into a strong man society where the strong rise to power and use/abuse the weak.  It is possible that a society based on voluntaryism could arise, but human history does not hold out much hope for that succeeding in the log run.

I agree that anarchy allows the formation of a voluntary society, but a democratic society tends to be a bit safer for developing a voluntary sub-culture than anarchy. You are less likely to be killed by citizens of a democracy for participation in voluntaryism than the strong men that naturally arise from an anarchy. In a democracy there are less violent ways to affect the power holders than a violent revolution.  Compare the leader transition in Syria today with the leader transition in the US.

The sense of rule-less-ness that seems attractive is well understood and described in Zen Buddhism.  First as a beginner you don't know any rules, you have little skill, this is at the level of anarchy.  Then you take on tasks that teach you rules and how to live and see reality.  After many years you begin to develop a mastery of the rules.  Eventually you reach a state of mastery where you naturally know when to follow the rules and when to break the rules.  As this is perfected, the master appears to not follow any rules and thus appears to have returned to the beginners mind.  But this is a misconception  the master has not returned to that beginner state of anarchy, but has transcended to a higher state of awareness and responsibility. It is only those with the lack of development that see it as a return the the original state.  Organizations follow the same sequence, from anarchy through sometimes oppressive rules to some transcendent state in the future.

With human organizational development today, we have come a long way from the anarchy from which we arose.  I, for one, would never want to go back to an earlier state. I do value the contributions that each earlier state contributed and the sacrifices of the individuals need to make progress.  Having seen the possibilities of the future, the current strong man model that most of our states and business organizations embrace today has become obsolete and painful to observe and endure.  The principles expressed by vountaryism need to take precedence.  

That can never be anarchy.

The system that I have experienced that provides the best practices to promote voluntaryism is Holacracy.  Holacracy gels all of these great principles into a well defined completely self consistent set of practices for the individual in an organizations and the governance of the overall  organization.  It has a clear path from our current broken organizations to a fully power distributed voluntaristic organization, which both more effective at getting things done and more respectful of the principles of vountaryism.  

Holacracy is alive and well in the world today. It is being implemented with great success in many organizations in the US, Europe and Australia. 

I implore you to abandon the backward banner of Anarchist and join the future under the banner of Holarchist.

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