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+3 votes

2 Answers

+2 votes
I use it to mean intentionally nullify, especially toward roles, institutions, and paradigms.

For instance, as someone classified as a "man" in a patriarchal order, I have pressure to internalize an expectation of "masculinity", including two relevant elements: competitiveness toward "men" and authority over "women". To negate this social role I would abolish identification with the category of "man", no longer seeing those expectations as part of my identify. Individually I would no longer default to such thoughts as "How do I make sure I look strong enough in front of my male friends" or "Where is the man in charge of this project".

Comprehensive negation in this regard would require an assault on the institution of patriarchy, the totality of sources and ways in which male dominance can expand and escalate, reproduce and recuperate on a social scale (rather than just an individual level). As we nullified the patriarchal order,  we would begin to see new expectations, norms and behaviors arise outside of its perspectives, meaning the entire paradigm of society would change. We would have to collectively refuse, dismantle, and overcome it as a value system.

This has relevance to the anarchist project in particular because we realize that removing an oppressor does not automatically abolish the socialization of the oppressed. For example, even without "the boss" and "the owner" we can still allow the workplace to rule over our lives. We must nullify the identities in addition to overthrowing the relationships.

Anarchist negation means the abolition of authoritarian and exploitative modes and practices, and the first step into autonomy.
by (8.9k points)
+1 vote
In my mind negation has a nearly infinite set of scales on which it can be applied. While you can apply negation to politics, identity, discourse, life, and many other terrains i will limit myself to two strata for examples: ontology (the study of what exists) and systems.

At the level of knowledge, truth, arguments and theory negation can mean the total denial of the principles that your opposition or a given orthodoxy is putting before you or the denial that their foundational claims are based in any reality whatsoever. Deconstruction, as one example, has been labeled the most negative of negative theologies. What this statement is meant to signal is that deconstruction operates purely on the basis of exposing the absence of foundations (the absence of a transcendental, eternal truth) behind any narrative or truth claim; that their foundations are always broken, leaking, and internally irreconcilable. Deconstruction proceeds by saying NO to everything. There is no positive (YES) statement to back absolute truths except to say that those absolutes are merely chimeras. Deconstruction functions as a tool that clears the ground of myths and debris, leaving behind a space of play in the ruins of what was taken for truth.

At a grander scale we can think negation with regard to systems: economies, forms of social organization like race or government, weather, bureaucracies of all types, or earth-wide carbon cycles. Some of these systems can be human influenced or created but many systems are para-human, post-human, or non-human (even if humans are affected by them).

Within systems theory (if not social or material reality) there is the notion that systems, which are composed of multiple and varying elements, have emergent properties. Emergent properties are dynamics or phenomena that arise within a system but are not necessarily reducible to the elements that compose that system.

In economies there are properties like interest, inflation, depreciation, value, crisis, and so on that are unhinged from any intentional creator and escape the control of the elements of which it is now one. With race we see segregation, wealth and income disparities, the very notion of identity and blood quantum, white flight and urban renewal become dynamic actors in their own right alongside these things we call Whites, Latinos, or whatever races or groupings are identified within your geographies. In global carbon cycles global warming or global climate change is said to be at thresholds where the excess of trapped heat is creating self-propelled, self-governing, or self-creating (autopoietic) processes which will not cease if humans cease introducing carbon to the atmosphere, which gives us the risks of potentially catastrophic climatic changes (from the perspective of affected humans).

In all these cases there are non-human or post-human actors that are independent of any intentional human actor, even if humans can sometimes have some minimal effect on their management and administration. They are emergent properties endemic to systems to which (human) elements of those systems must answer to, must guide their conduct in relation to, must concede their potential or desires to.

If you follow and except that the systems (theory) approach has something to say about the reality of our lives than negation in this context would involve the destruction, nullification, or obliteration of some systems in order to throw off yokes and oppose powers that are both human and post-human in their complex nature.

When looking at negation in these ways it becomes clear that the terrain in which you apply this tool, tactic or concept acts back to help determine what negation actually is, means, or does. Negation is fluid and it is mean.
by (310 points)
For the record, do you dispute any of the following:
(1) scientists have empirically measured current atmospheric carbon at ~392 ppm by volume
(2) significant evidence suggests the present CO2 level exceeds any time during the last 800 thousand years, and likely the past 20 million years too
(3) CO2 acts as a greenhouse gas significant enough to alter and de-stabilize climate at this volume and create positive or negative feedback loops
(4) species adapt in the short-term primarily through migration within relatively stable climates, and take millions of years to significantly evolve through natural selection to cope with such phenomena as pronounced climate change
(5) de-stabilized climates accelerate habitat loss, the primary engine of mass extinction of species
(6) behaviors of human populations, primarily industrial, urban, and agricultural practices, have enabled this change in CO2 density
(7) current CO2 density results chiefly from burning fossil fuels previously held inert underground for many hundreds of thousands of years, releasing CO2 into the Earth's atmosphere, creating or soon leading to a carbon cycle that current species planet-wide have not evolved for millions of years to cope with
(8) the planet's oceans act as a carbon sink, CO2 emissions in this new cycle create oceanic carbonic acid, and this threatens keystone species such as phytoplankton, who provide us with a notable portion of our breathable air
(9) runaway climate change through positive feedback loops strongly defined the hellishly poisonous atmosphere of the planet Venus, and the Earth could likewise experience a hellishly poisonous atmosphere if CO2 emissions are left unchecked, especially via exposed methane clathrates in the arctic
(10) a primary resource base of the majority of the human species (fossil fuels) threatens the subsistence base of the majority of the human species (agriculture) through climate de-stabilization
hey ALC, why these questions (as opposed to the more pedestrian question of how jeezy's answer applies to anarchy, for example)?
just curious.
I confront anything I interpret as climate change denial, because I believe that such denial enables planetary suicide. 96% of all species died off in the Permian extinction, and in this one we have not only a similar scale but more importantly responsibility and agency. Jeezy's inclusion of climate change parts in their response seemed somewhat ambiguous -- I didn't really understand the point except maybe to question the certainty of systems theory models -- but I always err on the side of exposing denial in this regard.  In my year of college, one of my professors, a former NASA climatologist, had cancer and essentially his dying wish was for his students to not succumb to wishful thinking, denial, or apathy, and to stay militant and active in the face of a grim future.
Anarchic relations presupposes the existence of multicellular life; climate change could very well end multicellular life. Therefore this has to do with anarchy as well in a foundational sense.
Hello ALC,
I don't dispute any of your facts. I am not denying anthropocentric causes for climate change or climate change itself. My language was intended to raise doubt in my own choices of theoretical frameworks. Many people insist on clarity, simplicity, and in avoiding abstraction in answering questions. I am of a different approach that sees causality and the world as so complex that it requires more, not less abstraction. I am trying to be between these worlds now. I am open to critique and the possibility that my chosen tools are the wrong ones. I was trying to leave that door open, not the one you sensed opening.
Thank you for your response, and my apologies if I came across as unduly confrontational. You had good points as to the use of deconstruction for anarchist purposes btw. If only everyone could practice your statement "I am open to critique and the possibility that my chosen tools are the wrong ones" we would have a much better world.