One of my emerging passions is exploring ways of being together. How do we co-exist and even thrive as a global society? Much of my work with Sutra and these podcasts revolves around trying to understand this question in some way.
Recently, my friend Alnoor Ladha introduced me to the term mystical anarchism – a form of self organization based on self agency and responsibility. In a recent essay he wrote on the subject, Alnoor emphasizes a belief in the conscious individual as the unit of free society. “This requires sovereign women and men who understand the structure of power, consent to rules they themselves have legitimized, and consciously choose to live within their own communities according to their shared principles and values.”
Alnoor is the founder of The Rules, a global network of activists, writers, researchers, artists, designers, hackers, and others focused on addressing the root causes of inequality, poverty and climate change. He is a Board Member of Greenpeace International and a visiting lecturer at New York University, Columbia University and the Ontario College of Art and Design.
A traditional framework of governance is almost implicitly based on the past – on how things were rather than how they are and how they call us to be in this moment. Mystical anarchism is a system of no system. It entails radical agency and responsibility but offers a unique freedom of being completely authentic to the demands of the moment. Leadership in this context is not just about embracing the unknown, it is about deprogramming what you think you already know.
Alnoor challenges us to simultaneously take responsibility for our own experience and contribute to the reshaping and remaking of our world. This, he says, isn’t activism – it’s just taking responsibility. What I resonate most with in this conversation is this concept of non-dualistic responsibility. Self agency and self responsibility does not exclude the broader agency and responsibility of the whole. It is a thread of the same impulse rooted in a mutual acknowledgment of the certain unknownness and interdependence of life. Honoring this calls for deep presence and mutual respect.
This conversation is a little more political than most and whether you agree with the views expressed or not, I suggest you listen to some of the deeper implications behind what Alnoor is saying. His approach to understanding the root causes of social issues offers much to consider. Please enjoy our conversation.