The Autarch


In which the flag is not loved or hated; at least, not in the same way, for it can only ever be a matter of taste to the truely liberated one just how far he is willing to go to entertain the superstitions, spooks and fantasies of his peers if it means he can gain influence in their hollow world. After all, the things they want are the things he either has or may have.


Those are mistaken who consider things like 'freedom' and 'happiness' to be God-given rights. These things must be loved beyond all reason, beyond all polemics, never at the expense of anyone or anything, and then they must be abandoned, sacrificed to life and enthusiasm for possibility. Are freedom and happiness not merely results? Can it even be said that they're ends? No, they are the result of potency.


The Autarch is doomed to the realm of comparisons. The very inclusion of a 'the' denotes not so much a singular case as a particular form, even if it is a form that would want to ultimately mold itself in the eastern manner of formlessness. If it was a matter of coming up with better versions of older life forms, or beating another to the punch, one would be disappointed that Ernst Jünger's Anarch already grabbed the first hip comparison to the Tao, particularly in his being like 'the hub at the center of the wheel.'

   But as we do not spurn approximations here, we will go ahead and add, rather by default, Lao Tzu's Real Man who achieves without doing and acts without acting.

   Close to Lao Tzu's Real Man is The Buddha's Perfect One.

   Of course, Nietzsche's Overman and Free Spirit belong here (though these two are, incidentally, not quite the same thing), the former becoming the active interpreter and creator of values, the latter an unconditional lover of his own fate (one tends to find overlap).

   How could we forget Stirner's Unique? By the time we get to Stirner and His Critics, the Unique is being talked about like it's Tao or the Attman.

   Carlo Michelstaedter has the idea of the Persuaded, which is one who has canceled rhetoric and become self-sufficient. Instead of other beings he must convince himself of, he has only being itself. Going one direction or the other, you have an approximation to Kierkegaard's Knight of Faith, or Heidegger's project to reclaim being.

  What we arrive at, ultimately, is the form which is still present when the other forms have been witnessed for what they are. Are they illusions? It would be better said that they are, rather, emanations of the superior agency which, frozen in the realm of thought, can only be conceptualized as the ultimate, active and inactive principle of the infinite. The Autarch, in other words, contains within him the kingdom of heaven.

  A lineage of some of the chief promulgators of this idea would have its obvious candidates, but built into its very constitution is its ability to hide in people who may go entirely unnoticed, just as one can find it in a heroic soul or a nonchalant outlaw. Nevertheless, this is not the place to trace examples of the untraceable.

   One can find both Autarch rebels and Autarchs who generally go with the flow or hide in plain sight. As it is an inner attitude categorically, it can not be co-opted by any outside institution, rather, it generates it's own institutions from within. There have been more than a few of its disciples, however: Aristotle, Goethe, Byron, Emerson, Theuroux, Whitman, Rimbaud, Blake, Karl Kraus, Nabokov, Buddha, Christ, Crowley, Foucault, Canetti, Wilde, Krishna, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Hakim Bey, Bob Black, Spare, Jack London, Hemingway, Rudolphe Steiner, Robert LeFevre, D'Annunzio, Marcus Aurelius, Weininger, Evola, Georges Bataille, Pierre Klossowski, Vaneigem, Henry Miller, Proudhon, De Puydt, Guya and Blondel can be added to the list, though they are hardly the only ones...


  Because the Autarch recognizes the tragic in life, he allows for other forms of society, doesn't believe in eschatologies and, most of all, he lives with death. He is, simultaneously, the beginning and end of a kingdom. His own death and birth occurs every instant, because he has canceled the being of death with life, rather than canceling the being of life through death.

  He believes in power, not necessarily as an informality posited against a formality, but rather, understands that power exalts itself best through symbols, but it is also through symbols that power accelerates the decay of its own signification. He understands that a mask is best suited for power. And yet, this is not good enough. He knows how to ask the question, seizelessly, as to what a mask even is.

  The Autarch has transcended all resentment and seeks to heal himself and the world as needed. He does not believe in programs, whether visionary or economic, which will work for everyone. He is simultaneously working always toward freedom with great vigor, but with even more vigor does he work toward making himself worthy of freedom.


Political action, or lack thereof, are insufficient and wholly frivolous concepts for the Autarch. The anarchist, with a few exceptions, is trapped on all sides in the world, not only by his own antagonism to it, but by a purely spatial understanding of power relations. At every turn, he personalizes everything abstractly dangerous, projecting into the world the law he sees as something already broken. Leftist anarchists have a long history of barbarity and mania for this very reason, as every space that is not their anarcho-commune/compound/community is considered oppressed and stolen terrain. Since they see the world through a pair of theft-glasses, they see theft as the only alternative in kind.

   However, individualist anarchists and egoists are no better. They pilfer from Stirner that which entertains their inflated sense of self and trap themselves in a world of pleasure from below. The Autarch too sees the world, not as a series of free forces, but as properties, illusions whose hollow husks he must either make endless light of or use, accepting their hollowness all the while. He has destroyed everything that he might create it anew.


The Autarch is only an anarchist insofar as he can shrug in the company of his equals, having been in their domain for the time sufficient to see it wholly unnecessary that any of them should lead him or he them. Whereby any of them might have, through the exhibition of maximum agency or supreme, overabundant charisma acted as a sort of meritocratic, autarcho-monarch to each member of a group, the Autarch is an anarchist when he has either freed himself from the bonds of all company or when, in good faith, he has eschewed all the laws of others, allowed himself his own law, and also, allowed everyone else's law to act in harmony with his. It could be said that he is inevitably an anarchist when the situation around him is itself anarchic, but no matter the situation, he always remains an Autarch. He is an aristocrat when he recognizes the benefit of utilizing the customs and morality of others to his advantage. He is a monarchist where he recognizes the noble leadership of one able to help him better himself. He is a slave insofar as he forfeits his autarchy. In all but the final case, he remains always an autarch, insofar as he recognizes greatness, whether where he stands, below him or above him. He always gives in every direction, to the higher and to the lower. By this does he earn liberation.


The Autarch, from time to time, may want to fight in wars and revolutions, but not for political reasons. He sees what is behind, beneath and above war and revolution, and turns both into a personal venture in which he meets with transcendent forces of history, ever incarnating themselves in new forms and new ideologies. As a matter of fact, he wears ideas or uses them as tools, the best by which to test his own limits and to give him a starting point from which to develop his own ideas,  if he so chooses. But he could, in precisely the same way, become a pacifist, non-violently  protest, or drop out of society altogether. He may decide to become like the ascetics and stoics of old. He may deprive himself of all but raw mind an experience, and project his wholly particular model of understanding onto the world.


He cancels the intellectual and physical demands of all metaphysical emanationism.

  Not only do life and death exist simultaneously for him,  but the effect that the inner and outer have on one another is shortened, its chain tautened; all things which were at first distant become as near as his vision, just as all things near are seen from a distance; things rendered through infinite gradations and manifestations.

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