TOTW: Fear and Decision on New Year’s Eve

oh shite, they spotted us

The date is December 31st of 2019: Governed subjects everywhere are the target of fear from state terror, channeled into obedience and acquiescence by the chilling effect of repression. Blackmailed into compliance by the economy, their subsistence on the line. Looming deadlines summon waves of dread which plummet like lead in your gut. Panic triggered by cyclic crisis flows through your nerves like strychnine.

Generalized anxiety has been called the dominant affect of our era. We all seek shelter in delusions of Safety and Security, in denial of the fact that we'll die anyways, so we should enjoy doing what we want. Everything that we want in life is on the other side of that fear, and the only path is through it.

The secret is to begin, but platitudes won't save you.

How does one find a wellspring of courage in the pit one's fears? The major ingredient for any recipe for fear is the unknown. The more certain you are about what you want and how you can get it, the slipperier you become for fear's grasp. One you're decided, what you desire becomes a goal. Only then you may consider which strategy you can employ to achieve it.

Decision precedes the courage to act. The hardest part of strategy is choice; to choose one path and eschew others. Rather than a vague aspiration, it requires saying no to whole other worlds of hopes and dreams. It requires the ruthlessness to kill all other possible versions of you, so that one may live. In a world where many worlds are possible, but only one is actualized, so are you. Projectuality demands resource commitment and time allotment.

When a strategy works, we tend to remember what was accomplished, not the possibilities discarded. When no strategy seems to work, all possibilities are up in the air, there's chaos and uncertainty. Discourse around a diversity of tactics presupposes a unity of analysis, of goals, and of strategy; such tacit coincidence is rarely the case. Even if in agreement upon a same strategy, the sequence of tactics and their specific details of execution can vary, and such details are not trivial. Any real contingency plan is supposed to be thorough rehearsals with explicit what-if scenarios.

Lack of clarity in proximate goals plus fear of risks in all directions hinders the smooth flow of initiative into immediate courses of action. You retain the initiative by knowing what matters the most to you, making fear your ally by choosing what to fear more; loosing what you value the most due to inaction, rather than the inherent risks on the path to enjoy it. The line between bold and foolhardy is an awareness of the dangers, and your capacities and limitations.

Alternatively, discarding that framework entirely; the choice to focus on the now eliminates conflicting demands and interests that aren't immediate. Turning to being fully present, paying full attention to whatever is at hand. Never letting one project overtake your life to the exclusion of everything else that matters to you.

Preparation is rational and methodical; jumping off is visceral. Hurled into becoming, we're already mid freefall. It's the fall, not the landing that makes you feel alive. It's curiosity, not certainty, that is the dimension of imagination. Anarchy lies between the pit of one's fears, and the summit of one's desires. The place is here. The time is now. We journey into the shadows and meet with the unknown. As the signpost for a new year is up ahead, our next stop is a retrospection of the things we can do better and the things we've been avoiding and putting off due to fear:

How did you overcome fear or use it in your favor? What choices did you have to make? Or alternatively: what currently gets in the way of making those choices and taking those leaps? What would you dare do if you weren't afraid? Concretely, what are your proximate goals for this year?

Thanks to Anonymous for this Topic of the Week submission (e-mail:

There are 24 Comments

im sorry but this reads like a George Addair motivational speech. should've stopped at "The secret is to begin, but platitudes won't save you" because everything that follows is a bunch of meaningless trite.

"meaningless trite", sounds like someone is a little nihilistic today! Clever.

My favorite part is the smiling porpoise. He/she looks like a fearless human being.

that wouldve been a dumb pun to use because people arent aware the porpoise evolved from cows.

i thought it was run of the mill 'just do it' and 'kill the devil inside you' to move forward stale poop resolution nonsense. its so cliche and ultimately meaningless. it is neato how ingrained this protestant christian practice is to score the coveted totw on here.

As I get older, i'm even more convinced that i don't really have a thing called "free will". It's an illusion like "safety and security", even though safety and security aren't always illusions. Sometimes, like with security, it's like your using a machete instead of scissors to address a problem, safety is real but most people wildly exaggerate its use.

My goal is just to continue experimenting with art, and maybe either something more profitable or popular will come out of it, but it honestly doesn't matter if that doesn't happen, and i have absolutely no idea of knowing what will happen. It's all just an open book. The popularity and wealth aren't really the goal, but that's how it may become a little less alienated and lively. Or, the exact opposite happens, and it becomes some awful burden. I'd rather just sit in my chair rather than have that happen.

We have no free will as children, we seem to get more as we age, or do we? Is it all just a determinate act of the universe? Is "taking action" really the binary opposite to amor fati?

More and more questions, all of it equally silly, especially the ones who come and say its all garbage!

"It requires the ruthlessness to kill all other possible versions of you, so that one may live."
i disagree, strongly. i want ALL possible versions of me to thrive, i don't want reduce myself to some singularity of thought/action.
the dearth of interesting discussion has become unbearable.

I thought the same thing when the author implied that you should kill all other versions of yourself except for one of them. However, I didn't say anything because i wasn't sure yet what the author was advocating.

To sound like a populist for a moment: If we want to be anarchists within a careerist and money-grubbing system, we must reject the notion of being cogs or specialists. The thing that is so surprising is that this is something anarchists have been saying for years and only crazy psychopaths like me have really taken this to heart.

There are all these writers who talk about doing "one thing", but this is only the case for each moment: shut up and do something, because your thoughts will probably mislead you if you continue to listen. Don't talk about what you're doing, just do it, don't dwell on all the aspects and colors.

However, these writers speak from the standpoint of "life advice", and this falls into the RIDICULOUS identitarian/life-work conundrum.

Our lives are nothing but series of moments, and the moment you lose site of it, you are in danger of losing everything.

Quote that!

I've been obsessed with cambridge analytica and this person Zuboff lately.

Almost always kept a 10 foot pole between me and this social media koolaid ya'll drank deeply of for the last 2 decades and I don't really have crippling anxiety and therefore don't need to climb a mountain just to leave my room? Coincidence?

i have never used social media. i have only periodically and briefly had a cellphone. the further away i can get from the modern nightmare humans have created, the better i feel. anxiety in my life is directly related to the extent to which i am forced to deal with that nightmare. are there even actual communities of living, breathing beings outside the domain of bits and bytes?

but you might be hearing much about them in here, as their lives are geographically-defined and also potentially limited by language barriers or cultural cleavages.

i 100% agree with your perspective regarding this, however to assume that im a big user of social media is a mistake. I've experimented with it a lot of the past 10 years and i tend to wake nasty trolls out of their complacency. However, it isn't hard at all for me to leave my room.

In "species being" they talk about how humans can never really "just do anything". That's somewhat bullshit, but it is important to note the role in their over-sized brains to either keep them from doing things or to add all this garbage to the things that they do that isn't really necessary or useful in the end.

What i think all of this points towards is the need for anarchists to both use the internet less than the general population, and to also be incredibly mindful of the fact that it's a heavily watered down form of communication that leads to grave mis-understandings and confusion.

Lao Tzu talked in somewhat of a cryptic way about "the age of confusion", if we aren't living in the age of confusion, then it simply does not exist. I believe that Lao Tzu and the buddhists saw a lot of wierd tendencies in their civilizations that have only gotten worse with time.

Hey, yeah, didn't mean to single you out at all. I'm just spraying shade in to the void ;)

as Nihilist, TaoistBitch, *-Anti-Fa-*...endless pseudonyms for fun...i think you and i actually have a lot in common SOT. The problem in the end is that the more we spend on these websites, the more everyone else is also going to want to do it as well.

We at the anarchist anons associations shall spray our -- "insanity" -- in whatever is suitable to us at the time, cuz clearly Donald Trump won't compromise his insanity either!! Unfortunately for him, it's just going to make retirement even more pathetic than it already is.

uh … k? I'm just here to chat and troll. Exposure to a wider range of grumpy anarchist ideas is worthwhile imo. Presumably we're both interested in some of the same ideas? Not sure why you bother pointing this out. Is it because I'm grumpy with you sometimes? cuz I'm not sorry ;)

I would love to be the monogamous partner of that chubby thick dolphin gal in the picture and live in a tropical lagoon all to ourselves, without being possessive or having a nuclear family ethic.

to find sluttier people, hence my name change, or situations where i can share my body more openly. However, i haven't found particularly good mediums so far, im thinking maybe a fetish site or something, idk...

no one has any tips for dealing with the jitters before blowing something up?

take 2mg xanax

It's called "perspective". The moment you can see what you are doing from an outside -second or third person- pov, and also see it from the angle of doing the task in itself; you realize there's ain't no big fuss with that. Also being smug about it is a inherently anarcho-nihilistic approach. It's just doing things, like other things.

Of course it's kinda predictable to feel jittery when doing fierce shit that's also pretty abnormal or insane. It's all with the moral intensity YOU CHOOSE to put to it, or not. Just détente!

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