Many people lust for control. They need to control objects, animals, and people. This need for domination leads some to use violence to sate their urges. Their blind obedience to control unlocks a pathology that destroys their thinking faculties. It turns them into animals, driven by a fetish for control. In some ways, this need to manage their surroundings can be seen as a disease.
Wisdom of Taoism and Failings of Confucianism
This sickness has led to the rise of laws, monarchs, government, and the bloodied reign of the nation-state. These institutions leverage control as mass coercion and violence, and even enshrine control as a social necessity. Luckily, there is a counterbalance. There is a cure for the disease of control. It is the anarchist sentiment. Anarchists can heal humanity and transform society.
Anarchists disavow control. They yearn for an absence of domination via absence of government. They acknowledge control is an illusion. There is no way a person or group of people can control another human being. Attempting to control anything leads to suffering, strife, and chaos. Whenever people thirst for control, they become tyrants. The anarchist, however, realizes things are best left in peace. Anarchists adopted this philosophy from the ancient Taoists.
The Taoists believed attempting to control their surroundings only causes backlash. They believed in the principle of Wu Wei, or “non-action.” This principle suggests trying to undermine the natural order does not achieve happiness. Taoists, then, focused on practicing peace of mind and compassion. They reveled in the purity and ecstasy of nature. The Taoists believed in staying in tune with nature.
Control, in their view, was not the way. It is antithetical to the ebb and flow of the universe. The sage creator of Taoism, Lao Tzu, hinted at this when he said: “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
The Authority of Confucianism
However, Taoists believed resisting nature implies control. Taoism thus arose as a reaction to Confucianism. The Confucianists believed in control. They believed in the idea of authority. They adhered to the notion that the family’s father was the ruler. Therefore, the Confucianists ingrained familial piety into the heart of society. There was no room for equality in the family. The father was the divine leader. An online article clarified this position:
“The central focus by which Confucian standards of ethics are measured: family. Family was the foundation of moral society in Confucianism. Every member of a family had a proper relationship with the others, defined by age, sex and birth order. A minor owed the elders respect, but could also expect protection, and so, everyone was part of this system.”
Of course, this “respect for elders” often got translated as domination by elders. This hierarchical organization in the family was also mirrored in society. The Confucianists ported their authoritarianism over to the metaphysical realm and into the social ecosystem. In matters of religion, God was the father. In matters of government, king was father. Thus all power flowed from these hierarchies. And until now, the Confucianist effort triumphed over Taoism.
For the most of history, iterations of Confucianism have dominated society-at-large. Sometimes it was called divine right of kings. Sometimes it was called democracy. Other times it was called fascism. Each of these systems have been brewed inside the cauldron of violence-backed hierarchy, where piety to a controlling ruler takes precedence. Only recently has the anarchic spirit of Taoism reemerged to overturn this age old hogwash.
Today, computer developers, techno-alchemists, and anarcho-entrepreneurs have been building tools that undermine control structures. These techno-Taoists are crypto-anarchists. They wield information technology to loosen control, and provide individuals with freedom from coercion. The Crypto-Taoists and anarchists have created three tools that have began to unfetter humanity and disrupt the Confucian control-class.
First is the internet. Ironically, the internet was partially crafted by coercive influences within the American government. This demonstrates the tendency for Taoist spontaneity to erupt within the context of control. The internet still represents a counterbalance. It is a techno-dialogical hymn to freedom. The internet is a packet-sharing protocol that gave birth to the digital realm, freeing the flow and transmission of information. Before the internet emerged, governments controlled social narratives and beamed media indoctrination down on the unwitting masses.
With the rise of packet sharing information, people were also freed to provide dissenting information from the comfort of their own home. This was a essentially a Taoist technology. It possessed all the hallmarks of naturalistic and spontaneous order. Now counter-cultural revolutionaries, Arab Spring demonstrators, and voluntaryist hippies have counteracted the machinations of government with their own voice, shot down the rabbit hole of society with the laser-guided precision of the internet.
The second is Cryptocurrency. The first one was bitcoin, which was created by an anonymous figure named Satoshi Nakamoto. It is a peer-2-peer decentralized money technology, which uses proof-of-work mining to lessen the influence of central planners. It works by leveraging a network of nodes that make it resilient against sabotage. The network of currency does not possess a central point of failure.
Overall, cryptocurrency is Taoist in nature. It seeks to be impervious to control measures. It operates on the wavelength of nature, defying most efforts to control it. That said, cryptocurrency may be imperfect on a technical level, but it still destabilizes controlling influences across the world. In this sense, cryptocurrency is the first manifestation of the Crypto-Taoist will. It is money without control or censorship if used wisely. It is money anyone can use, and it provides the impetus for a new kind of Taoist revolution that subverts control of value and decentralizes it once and for all.
Finally, there are printable guns. This is one of the newest iterations of Taoist anti-control measures. It is Wu-Wei and Kung fu combined into one powerful invention. As a result of the information revolution and decentralized technology era, 3D printable guns have come bursting out of the anarchists closet, largely thanks to Cody Wilson. He is the CEO of the company Defense Distributed, and he has printed the first widely available, single-shot printable handgun without a serial number. He calls it “the Liberator.”
Anyone can find plans for The Liberator online and print it if they have all the materials and equipment. This greatly unnerves the Confucian control class, because it means anyone can print a gun regardless of regulations and controls. This idea is anathema to everything sacred to their coercive regimes. Furthermore, there are a myriad of plans for all kinds of guns, including assault rifles and military grade weaponry. The advent of printable guns may forever alter the balance of power, threatening to dethrone the Confucian elite from power.
All of these crypto-anarchist technologies represent a return to Taoism. They represent a paradigm shift away from the methods of Confucius to the ways of Lao Tzu. This means society will be humbled through loss of control. It implies becoming one with nature and recognizing the urge to control is a disease that requires a counterbalance.
Furthermore, attempting to control anything inevitably creates violent people and leads to the formation of totalitarian governments. This is why the flow of nature leads toward balance and harmony. This is why artificial barriers erode with time, and the principle of control gets overturned and turned to ash.
Let go of the lust for control. Embrace change; be enraptured by the ebb and flow of technological Taoism. It has returned, and the control mentality is being heavily disrupted. This trend will continue as more anarchic tools emerge to guarantee a freer future for humanity. Be here now! The Taoist renaissance is at hand.
Do you think the spirit of Taoism is returning? What does the future of freedom look like? Let us know in the comments section below.
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