Autumn and Anarchism


I smell the musky, earthy, damp leaf loam of Autumn.

Everything is falling apart a little bit.

Everything is becoming a little frayed and undone.

The crisp perfection of spring tulips, that once stood to attention along tidy borders like governmental obelisks are crumbling like coliseum pillars. Petals are transparent, leaves brittle and curled. All things change and there is a little death in every change. Yet in every death there is also a resurrection, a renewal, a rebirth.

The garden is but a raggle, taggle jumble in the stewy, dewy, un-brewed tea light of a sun that can’t be bothered to climb to the heady heights of noon anymore.

Bits of old man’s beard roll through flaky Hydrangea like tumbleweed.

The windfall russet’s skin is crumpling like old brown paper.

All has withered, weathered and gone to seed.

It is like nature is breathing a gentle sigh.

I like autumn’s disregard for order, it’s tumbling, leaf strewn pathways, the maple and sycamore mulching of neatly trimmed lawns. There is a  Zen like quality to how autumn strips the garden leaf, by  leaf down to its bare bones.

Maybe I’m personifying autumn too much, or perhaps everything has a spiritual dimension to it.

Florence defiantly dozing the afternoon away.

Autumn has an air of Anarchism about it

Anarchism, a word, slurred by the establishment to be no more than a synonym for chaos.

But perhaps chaos occurs in the absence of anarchism.

Self organisation has proven innovative in progressive business models. When structure is too strongly imposed from above self-organisation and the innovation it engenders is blocked. Nature and language development are perfect examples of how a self organised template ends up remaking better versions of itself over and over again.

Similarly, when people are too well conditioned by their external environment they disconnect from the wisdom of their own bodies. If you have had to put your hand up to go to the loo from infancy, or stifle your sadness at being separated from your family for 8 hours a day, you may find it challenging to access your true needs in later life. It is true that we all need some form of conditioning to behave appropriately in society. The problem starts when that conditioning begins to serve the system above and beyond the individual.

Well individuated individuals  go forth to build healthy societies. Investing in individual development positively impacts broader society. All positive change starts at the roots and works upwards and outwards. Problems arise when conditioning forces people to create new personas in order to function within society. Once the established rules for “civility” or “order” become too constraining an individual has to either disconnect from their truth to fit them or customise a subculture to meet them. The problem with sub cultures is that they are often extremist in their philosophy. This is because they haven’t been created by healthy, integrated, self-organising individuals but individuals which have disassociated from themselves in an attempt to fit the conditioning of their environment and have failed. Perhaps because they have failed to fit into the system because their particular temperaments and attributes are not valued within that system. Perhaps they have failed to fit because their integrity won’t allow them to compromise their innate wisdom. Whatever the reason, sub-cultures are reactionary by design.

This kind of division both within societies is reflective of divisions within individuals and is particularly prevalent when people become bereft of the ability to construct a meaningful narrative to express their struggle. When every story is another version of, it’s you, it’s your fault, if only you only broke your back a little more, perhaps you’d  stand taller, a conflict arises. How can the problem be within the individual if the individual follows all the “rules” and still fails?

The question which arises from this is, whether a persons intrinsic worth dependant on their market value? If we are strongly connected to our inner truth we will know the answer to this question and recognise our own integral worth despite our circumstances. To establish this trust in ourselves we need signals from significant people in our life that tell us we can be trusted. In short, we need to be trusted with our own autonomy. This is how children make the transition into adulthood.

Above is a beautiful print from the amazing artist Rima Staines of The Hermitage. This drawing reminds me of Seraphina who being a child is also, naturally, an anarchist. Below is a quote from Antoine de Saint Exupery: tout acte est prière s’il est don de soi” Words for life.
I bought this in Paris years ago. I love her nonchalant expression in that serious Napoleonic hat, rendered clown like beneath all that confetti. Yes, governments  are  the same, just with different hats.

Below is an excerpt, published anonymously online and free for anyone to distribute and use:

“Can you put a value on a beautiful day, when the birds are singing

and people are walking around together?  How many dollars an hour

does it take to pay you to stay inside and sell things or file papers?

What will you get later that could make up for this day of your life?


How are you affected by being in crowds, by being surrounded by

anonymous masses?  Do you find yourself blocking your emotional

responses to other human beings?



How are you affected by being moved around in prescribed paths,

in elevators, buses, subways, escalators, on highways and sidewalks?

By moving, working, and living in two- and three- dimensional grids?

How are you affected by being organised, immobilised, and scheduled…….

instead of wandering, roaming freely and spontaneously?  Scavenging?  Seeing?


How much freedom of movement do you have – freedom to

move through space, to move as far as you want, in new and

unexplored directions?”


Group activities, especially for kids, are becoming more organised, structured and scheduled. Public spaces are becoming more privatised and experiences in the natural world commodified. Loitering is practically illegal, especially for teens.

As adults we often become desensitized and accept that the way things are just a reality that needs to be resigned to. Young people often identify the unconscious needs, fears and desires embedded in their own particular society. They innately recognise all the precious and fundamental fragments of such loss even if they can’t clearly articulate them, like a grief that can neither be named or wept for. An adolescence’s disturbance and rebellion is often a deep awareness of truth. The truth of our human limitations, their parents fallibility and systemic injustice amongst other things. This is unsettling for adults but it acts as a constant and important reminder that life must be progressive not stagnant if it is to retain its vitality.

In a strange and paradoxical way, anarchism may lead to natural self regulation, a north star or centre point which moderates and as a consequence leads to moderation and balance. When someone is given full responsibility for something they often step up to meet it. Studies have proven again and again that labelling often leads to self identification with that label. Labels, good or bad, are often self fulfilling prophesies.

If the nth degree of a libertarian economic system creates greater inequality and thus less liberty for those on the short end of the deal then perhaps the nth degree of an anarchistic system would engender more internal order.

On a metaphysical level, the idea that opposites emerge from one another has been mythologised throughout many cultures. The yin/yang symbol illustrates this. Nature illustrates this. Springs green shoots emerge from the composted loam of autumn’s fallen leaves.

Our current political and social climate is far from moderate. There has been a swing to the far right in many countries, Politically this means more imposed order, hierarchal structure and social conditioning. At the same time, mental health issues, suicide rates and addictions have increased indicating that this cry for external order is to balance individuals’ internal sense of disorder or chaos.

Whenever there is a swing to one extreme there is a counter swing to the other. The current political climate is deeply polarised by ethnicity, politics, economics, class, gender, and any other possible demarcation. We are divided and conquered by systems both within and without that utilise our primal tendency to tribalize and over identify with ideologies, especially when those ideologies offer a sense of coherence and cohesion that mimics the loss of kinship, identity and belonging in an ever more relativist world.

To recalibrate we might need to re-connect our minds to our bodies and our bodies to our spirits.

Perhaps, we can trust our spirit more than we imagine we can.

Perhaps the spirit can  paradoxically both transcend and ground our basic drives better than any external systems of control.

Perhaps encouraging individual responsibility and autonomy will engender individual responsibility and autonomy.

Perhaps Anarchism may not be as chaotic in practice as we have assumed it to be in theory.


8 thoughts on “Autumn and Anarchism

  1. Thank you for this beautiful gently cascading meditation. It is so important to learn to trust the rhythm and the truth that is in our bodies. Interesting, the realization that the appropriate amount of what some disparage as anarchism, is actually simply autonomy and respect and serves to strengthen rather than dissipate the natural bonds of our kind when nurtured and celebrated. For some reason I can’t quite place, your piece made me think of this Autumn poem by Poe. Maybe it is the recognition of the beauty that lies in the ability to see things differently, although, as Poe shows, that can also lead to a feeling of isolation… but oh those Autumn tints of Gold!

    I love your opening!!!

    “I smell the musky, earthy, damp leaf loam of Autumn.

    Everything is falling apart a little bit.

    Everything is becoming a little frayed and undone”

    So nice to meet you, and thank you also for your recent notice of my little blog-type-thingy. Lona.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful comment. I actually hadn’t read that poem by Poe before.
      So evocative.
      I agree that a diversity of individual perspectives broaden the collective lens and enrichen the view. To develop our individual vision is to enable others to see further too. Lovely to meet you too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s