This is part 6 of a 7-part series.
Click here for part 1
Two of the most restrictive myths about humanity is that we must extract our standards and moral codes from either the religious or the political institutions — the assumption being that, without a government, god, or master of some other description, people will descend into amorality and there will be chaos in the streets.
This means that a great majority of our philosophies, moral frameworks and socioeconomic ideologies have that silent assumption built into their cores, as do many of our theories of human behaviour. Not only does that serve the function of keeping us reliant on authoritarian control, but it also goes some way towards limiting our interests in alternative concepts as a whole.
When discussing these alternative concepts with others, it’s not unusual to be met with absolute blanket responses about how “that’s just the way it is” and that can never change, or that people are a certain way because of “Human Nature” — answers that explain nothing and only seek to shut down exploration of whatever the alternative concept may be.
Anarchy, for example, has come to be popularly synonymous with chaos, civil unrest, blood running in the streets, buildings burning down, etc. In fact, Anarchism was originally a concept based on self-governing communities without the need for political rulers. It was a conceptual attempt at drawing up the blueprints of a peaceful society where people are educated and self-directed, and free from the risk of tyranny as no political or class-based hierarchies would be given rise to in the new system.
Nothing to do with destruction. These two definitions are obviously at odds with each other.
A similar thing is true for Stoic philosophy. While originally, the Stoics were intent on agreeing to work with the suffering in life in order to face it and overcome it, the new definition of Stoicism that many uncritical thinkers now accept is that it is some kind of rejection of emotion and reality as a whole, as if a Stoic person is not someone who faces their challenges head-on, but is just someone who acts like nothing affects them.