Nietzsche and Anarchy
Paperback, 203 pages
How is it possible to live free and joyful in this world of domination? The key idea Nietzsche offers us is this: don’t hide from struggle in fantasy worlds or imaginary futures, but affirm life, say yes to life here and now. With all its violence, cruelty and loneliness; and all its encounters of tenderness, wildness, delight and possibility.
The first part of the book is a reading of Nietzsche’s philosophy of individual self-making. It begins with his radical psychology of “drives”, which understands human beings as always multiple and always open to change. It works through his theories of incorporation, herd instinct, the sovereign individual, and slave morality, to reach the image of the “free spirit” who stands against the norms and creates new values.
The second part builds on these Nietzschean ideas with others from more recent thinkers, to develop an “ontology for social war”, a framework for thinking through relations of conflict and affinity, power and domination. It addresses questions such as: how do we form groups that are not conformist herds? How do we spread anarchic desires, without becoming advertisers or missionaries? How do we fight, without becoming cruel or cold?
While the first part of the book can be read as an accessible introduction to core aspects of Nietzsche’s thought, this is not a work of scholarship but one individual’s use of some Nietzschean ideas as weapons for self-transformation and social struggle.