Anarchy 94/The machinery of conformity

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The machinery
of conformity


In the conflict of anarchist aims with the existing social structure it is clearly of vital importance to be fully aware of the tools at the disposal of the State in inducing conformity, and to attempt to work out positive alternatives.

  I propose to discuss two central means of bringing about conformity. The first is upbringing, the second the activity of the State towards the adult nonconformist. The child has to cope with two environments—home and school. Both these, as we shall see, are remarkably potent forces for conditioning conformist behaviour patterns. No doubt anar­chists are aware of this anyway, but I think it is crucial that we recognize the full depth and extent of it.

  In adulthood, the State copes with deviation in two ways—by sending the offender to prison, or giving him psychiatric treatment. Again it is obvious that this is so, but again I feel we must recognize just how important it is.


  The parents provide love, in particular the mother. She provides too frustration. At one time she allows the child to feed: at another time she denies him this possibility. The child reacts, reasonably enough, by loving her in the first case and hating her in the second. As he grows older, however, he must adapt to these conflicts. At the same time, he is totally dependent for the satisfaction of his needs on his mother. He must conform: if he does not he is threatened by the withdrawal of the very thing he depends on.   Clearly it is not difficult for the parent to exploit this dependence on her. Progressively she introduces patterns of behaviour that repre­sent conformity to what she wishes for the child and of it. It starts
with training it to defecate in the appropriate place: it ends with indoc­trinating it with the attitudes of the parents. Sartre remarked: “Long before our birth, even before we are conceived, our parents have decided who we will be.” (Foreword to The Traitor, by Andre Gorz.) But the attitudes of the parent may contradict with those of the society in which they live. And let us remember that however we try not to impose our attitudes on the child, we give them away by our approval or otherwise of their behaviour.

  It is well worth noting in all this that the most successful method of conditioning to our society is love—at least to the more “liberal-minded” sections of our society. But at the same time a certain frustra­tion probably helps to produce the more successful businessman. He is less concerned for his fellow man, more with getting what he wants. The petted child though is the same: having got everything from his parents, he intends to get it from society.

  Society however produces various child-rearing techniques. These the parent will tend to adhere to. In a society where the middle-classes, at least, have a variety of techniques to choose from, generally running in fashions—as much for the progressive parent, so-called, as for anyone else.

  It is more revealing to study the child-rearing techniques of more static societies, as they stand out clearer. But we should not assume from this that our techniques don’t produce conformity: the rapid changes in technique are equalled by changes in technological methods and every other aspect of our culture, if not the basic system of com­petition—though even this is converting from the direct struggle of the 19th century to competition within an increasingly bureaucratic system of management that is likely to become more so as time goes on and at the same time increasingly state-controlled or private mono­polist (see, e.g., Paul Cardan: Modern Capitalism and Revolution).

  Erikson in Childhood and Society provides a good deal of infor­mation on two particular examples of the relationship between child-rearing techniques and the demands of the societal structure. It is worth summarizing part of it—the part on the Yurok people. The newborn baby is not breast-fed for ten days: it is then generous and frequent, but it is terminated at the sixth month, the time of teething. The Yuroks’ sweets are salty foods, while pregnant the mother does heavy work, with the general aim of preventing the child from resting against the spine! A taboo on sex until the child can creep vigorously ensures the parents do their best to bring this about. Even during the breast-feeding period, a number of devices are used to prevent the child from feeling too comfortable during this activity.

  The supernatural providers arrange that the Yurok salmon fisher­man be successful. “The Yurok attitude towards the supernatural providers is a lifelong fervent ‘please’ which seems to be reinforced by
a residue of infant nostalgia for the mother from whom he has been disengaged so forcefully.”

  The child was taught to slow down his eating, to carry out the whole process rather laboriously, and at the same time to think of getting rich—to concentrate on money and salmon. But he must also be convinced that he means the salmon no harm, and it is said that the fish only leaves its scales, which then turn into salmon on the nets—surely a throwback to the deprivation of the breast when the desire to bite arose, and thus guilt feelings for having wished harm, one might suggest. “All wishful thinking,” says Erikson, “was put in the service of economic pursuits.” He adds: “Later, the energy of genital day­dreams is also harnessed to the same economic endeavour. In the ‘sweat house’ the older boy will learn the dual feat of thinking of money and not thinking of women.” Apparently in fact the wife is paid for: the status of the wife and her children is determined by the price the would-be husband offers her father for her. Deviant behaviour among the Yurok is explained solely in terms of the father having made a worthy girl pregnant prematurely—before he could pay for her—or simply married her on a down-payment, and being unable to pay off the instalments. Thus money is even necessary to marry.

  The association between the frustration of oral satisfaction and the wish for money and salmon is, as we have seen, made clear. The removal of the breast at the time of biting, reinforced by the general atmosphere of frustration, at the time and later—the whole system of making the child feel uncomfortable, frustrated and thus anxious—is directed into economic gain energy. And thus the Yurok are a money-fixated tribe. But the anxiety has also the effect of making life a long plea—especially the anxiety-invoking situation surrounding oral satisfaction at the breast.

  It has been said that “conformist individuals in abnormal cultures—such as the Yurok or the Dobuan—are in fact abnormal in an abso­lute sense, even though they find complete acceptance within their own culture.” (Andrew Crowcroft: The Psychotic.)

  But as Laing in particular brings out very clearly, our own culture does not qualify as the ideal-type. “We are bemused and crazed creatures, strangers to our true selves, to one another, and to the spiritual and material world—mad, even from an ideal standpoint we can glimpse but not adopt. We are born into a world where alienation awaits us. We are potentially men, but in an alienated state, and this state is not simply a natural system. … What is to be done? We who are still half alive in the often fibrillating heartland of a senescent capitalism—can we do more than reflect the decay around and within us?” (Politics of Experience.) A point that is accepted by anarchists anyway, so hardly needs stressing.

  School is also a crucial means in the process of turning the child into an obedient conformist. This is done, not only by such methods
as Citizenship Classes and Religious Instruction. Far more relevant and effective is the indoctrination by the very method in which the teaching is carried out.

  Ours is a competitive society. Ninety per cent accept this situation and act out their desires for self-improvement in this atmosphere. Surely it is not irrelevant that the whole system of schooling is one in which success is rewarded and failure punished. Not only this, but the success of one person is the failure of another—the failure, and the humilia­tion of having failed in front of the whole class. This latter technique is especially effective where the teacher is popular. The more traditional technique of a public punishment for failure served to frighten people into conformity—with the result that they were a much more aggressive type, taking out their sufferings on those who stood in their way.

  But we are discussing the modern, and much more effective techniques. For in the traditional method there was the inherent danger that resentment would be transferred from the master to the ruling class. In the modern method this danger is dealt with. The children feel solidarity with the teacher against the failure. The shame is therefore far greater. J. Henry describes a concrete example of this technique of linking competitive success with praise and failure with shame.

  A teacher invited a pupil to reduce 12/16 to the lowest terms. He had trouble with it. She ignored the other pupils howling to supply the answer and concentrated on him, telling him to “think”, although he was probably mentally paralysed. Finally she turned to the rest of the class, asked the question, and selected one of the children to supply it. Henry comments: “Boris’s failure made it possible for Peggy to succeed; his misery is the occasion for her rejoicing. … Such experiences force every man reared in our culture, over and over again, night in, night out, even at the pinnacle of success, to dream not of success, but of failure.” (Culture Against Man.) One could point out that Peggy’s success would make a dream of this: the two dreams seem to me likely to co-exist. Admittedly Henry is describing an American school, but there seems at least a chance that, as time goes on, we may adopt this kind of technique.

  Henry also observes another phenomenon in education. The teacher did not ask who had the answer to the next question, but who would like to provide it. “A skilled teacher sets up many situations in such a way that a negative attitude can only be construed as treason.” Thus the shame is added to by the sense that in failure one has betrayed the group: and how many children want to feel an outcast?

  Perhaps, though, the method of the future will be that now present in some primary schools and secondary moderns—the permitting of the child to tackle the subjects it wants at the rate it can cope with. This does seem possible, perhaps more so than the method discussed by Henry. It has one setback—that it is less compatible with society, apparently.

  But it is necessary to ask whether in fact this is so. For it does seem unlikely that such a system would develop if it were incompatible with society. In the most modern schools, the teacher, as I understand it, is just there to help. The child decides what it is interested in, and works on this basis, seeking advice from the teacher from time to time, but also using books and other sources of information.

  Society can only accept this as a total system if the end is seen as contributing to a career, or to spare-time compensatory activities. Thus the poet and writer of mediocre standard, or better than average, who is not good enough to make the market, has a means of fulfilling him­self in his spare time. His leisure horizons are widened. And the gradually shrinking time spent at the factory will thus be less un­bearable. The budding scientist is likely to be far better at his job in the end if he has been allowed to work it all out for himself, with just advice and information—he is likely to be a better scientist if his profession springs out of an inner “vocation”.

  But these free development techniques are at present confined to primary schools and secondary moderns. In the latter, the assumption is anyway that the children are of average intelligence or below. It may well be that we will get the same techniques in bottom streams in comprehensives, but for the higher levels it seems reasonable to expect a firmer direction being provided by the teacher—a job to aim at being selected and worked towards, particular standards to be reached to get into University.

  It does seem possible, on the other hand, to see psychological techniques being introduced more and more, and the use of these to achieve the desired effect (desired by society) even in a supposedly free-development situation. Even now it is obvious that the child is largely reliant on the teacher for advice, and especially in the early stages for information and recommended books. It is in these early stages that the basis for development is laid. Clearly the choice of books and the type of advice and information will be strongly affected by the personality of the teacher—and teachers are not a noticeable revolutionary section of society!

  Robert Jay Lifton records a faculty seminar discussion following his having given a talk on the relationship of education to thought re­form and ideological totalism. One professor declared that there was no difference, that at this college they did brainwash the children. Another declared that “We do not care what the girls believe when they graduate. Our main concern is that they learn something from their college experience”, but questioned more closely it emerged that she did care what her students believed and what they would become.

  A third professor concluded a solution: “Perhaps we can avoid this by holding our beliefs with a certain amount of tension … with an attitude that ‘I believe in this, but recognize that there can be other beliefs in opposition to it’. In this way we can subject any belief which we hold to the tension and pressure of its own limitations and of other alternative beliefs.” Lifton comments that this third professor “grasped
the necessity for both commitment and flexibility”. (Thought Reform and Psychology of Totalism.)

  But the skilled teacher has succeeded in persuading the child to accept him as someone to be looked up to, like a parent. Therefore the child is more likely to accept his views. The skilled teacher will be able to maintain her authority through the troubled years of adolescence, but being prepared to talk out dissident views.

  And it seems not unreasonable to expect that teachers’ training colleges will, in providing techniques, evolve those most likely to induce conformity. The very act of becoming a teacher, indeed, implies a sense of responsibility to the community (whatever the psychological basis for this sentiment), which can be reinforced, and dissident views negated. The teachers would be encouraged to look forward, but within the context of the existing structure—thus any idealistic ten­dencies would be turned up the blind alleyway of reformism.

  Another point that it is important to remember is that adolescent revolt is only a passing phase: we can be sure those who operate the education machine are aware of this. Even in revolt the teenager often continues to hold the same views: but those who move on to the plane of ideological rebellion (a small minority, unfortunately, especially in this country) will move back to earlier conditioned patterns of behaviour and thought. The adult nonconformist will continue to be something of a rare being. In this connection a recent Daily Mail survey of teenage opinion is interesting: it gave surprisingly high figures for the percentage of those who stood by outdated prejudices. Even among the teenagers, a referendum would, apparently, bring back hanging and make life uncomfortable for residents of other pigments.

  Even if the next generation are going to be more liberal, this doesn’t mean much for us—it is only faintly comforting to think that the social services will be improved. Indeed, this is likely to happen—care from the cradle to the grave, with legislation constantly being introduced, as it is now in the motoring sphere, to reduce loss of life, regardless of the cost to what liberty there is left.

  Laing supplies a very relevant comment to round off the discussion of both home child-rearing and educational techniques. “Children do not give up their innate imagination, curiosity, dreaminess easily. You have to love them to get them to do that. Love is the path through permissiveness to discipline: and through discipline, only too often, to betrayal of self.”

  And thus we conclude with the adolescent entering adulthood, his conformist patterns of behaviour reasserting themselves. But what happens if for various reasons the conditioning fails? It may be that the family environment has contradicted the societal, or that pressures within the family have made a conformist reaction impossible and pro­voked radical and lifelong revolt or escape from reality, as certainly happens in many cases. We call such family environments abnormal—but some at least are too normal to be compatible with societal structure,
if most are bizarre to a degree, as Laing has shown present in the genesis of schizophrenia (cf. Divided Self; Sanity, Madness and the Family, Vol. 1), not forgetting of course that it seems feasible that the schizo­phrenic experience involves a certain amount of truth apart from the projections and dissociations.


  We have seen how, under certain circumstances, cultural condi­tioning can break down. Our particular form of society recognizes two types of deviant—the mentally ill, and the criminal. Up till recently it has regarded them as separate groups. Now increasingly the more liberal at least are taking up the cry that criminality too is a sign of mental disorder. Instead of punishment, therefore, the prisoner must be helped to become a productive member of society. He must be rehabilitated. His attitudes must be revised to a position compatible with the society in which he lives. So the prisons follow the lead of the mental hospitals in attempting to fit our failures to become acceptable and responsible citizens.

  The libertarian must be quite clear on his attitude to this. He has no common ground with the liberal. Our basis is totally opposed to theirs. They say society is sane, even if it needs humanizing a little: we say, as the Marxists do, that society is of its nature dehumanizing and degrading. The liberal sees modern techniques in rehabilitation as an advance: wee must see them as, in the hands of society, lethal. Never before has the State been able to use so much knowledge of man to bring about his conformity. It is increasingly recognizing this: the deviant must be helped, not by punishment, which reinforces inner alienation, but by the psychological manipulation of our very being—to twist us so we are no longer alienated from society. We cease to be human beings in the process but the liberals, seeing welfare capitalism as the epitome of freedom, are blind. They are so wrapped up in their middle-class cotton wool they do not realize they are caricatures of the whole man they idealize yet know nothing about.

  Thought reform is a euphemism for “brainwashing”. But ours is an open society, protests the liberal. We do not brainwash people. We only coerce them to prevent them hurting themselves or others. How blind can you get. You are free to do as you like as long as you conform, as long as you remain within acceptable limits. Step out of them and we will incarcerate you. Mind you, we will persuade you to change your mind. We would not use physical violence as they did in China. We will just lock you up in a cell and feed you drugs and electric shocks to block what is inside you and allow our carefully conditioned patterns of conformist behaviour to reassert themselves.

  What if I do not conform then, the outcast replies. We’ll just do the whole thing all over again. We do not care how petty your revolt. If you persist in it, we will make you suffer—at the same time of course we’re glad to say we’ll try and show you the Light, the Way of Truth and Honesty. The way of truth for the liberal—and so we die.

  Or we eke out our lives incarcerated, like the recidivist who stole a total of £178 over a long period, and has spent 26 years of his 48 in Her Majesty’s Prisons (cf. Tony Parker: The Unknown Citizen).


  Psychiatry defines three types of mental illness—neuroses, psychoses, and psychopathy. In the first of these, the patient accepts that he is ill and wishes to be cured. He has accepted the validity of his cultural conditioning and wishes to have those experiences and patterns of behaviour felt as incompatible with “normality” corrected. In the second, the patient was withdrawn into an inner world, which includes personified projections of those parts of himself he cannot face, and perhaps some valid experiences, as we have mentioned before. Unlike the neurotic, the psychotic is convinced that his mode-of-experience is valid and that of the culture invalid. The psychopath, too, does not recognize his mode-of-experience as abnormal. Society defines him as someone suffering from persistent mental disorder resulting in abnor­mally aggressive or seriously irresponsible behaviour, requiring medical care and training.

  Psychiatry has a number of approaches to the deviant, of whom the neurotic is the easiest to cure, except if obsessional. However, this type of illness, obsessive neurosis, is in fact usually a symptom of some underlying, deeper problem, such as depression or latent schizophrenia.

  The first of these is drugs. The effect is to chemically counteract the deviant behaviour patterns, thus allowing the culturally conditioned patterns to reassert themselves. This is brought out especially in schizo­phrenia, where after a long time they can produce apparent “normality”, but the removal of the drug brings about a rapid return to the former state of mind. In depression—in less fundamental deviations generally—the drug seems often to get the person over that particular bout, as part of a medical programme.

  The second is electro-convulsive therapy—electric shock treatment. We know very little about the effects of this, but it was found that dream-starved rats could be relieved by electric shocks: they showed less need to catch up on REM (i.e. dream) sleep than those that were not given shocks. One could hypothesise that, since dreams are our unconscious problem-solving technique (cf. J. A. Hadfield: Dreams and Nightmares), the psychosis is, as is the neurosis, solved.

  However, an experience with one psychotic patient suggests an alternative. He had, up till his first ECT, insisted that he must play for real, that he was not going to act any more (backing up Laing’s environmentalist explanation of schizophrenia). After the first ECT he said he had been fooling us for too long and would go on doing so. He also, having up to then begged for a shock so that he could break through “the sex-barrier”, when told that he was getting a second ECT said he did not want that kind of shock.

  It is possible, on this basis, to tentatively suggest that in fact the
sheer power of the ECT-induced dreaming was unbearable—in normal life he would have dreamed about it much slower—and drove him to return to his earlier false self-true self split, to protect himself from this overpowering annihilation. The schizophrenic’s basic problem is a sense of insecurity of being. The power of such an experience as ECT, which would overwhelm him, clearly could propel him into such a reaction.

  Either through the solving of the problem in dream, or a return to pseudo-sanity, the culturally conditioned patterns of behaviour would be restored—which after all is the object of treatment.

  Occupational and industrial therapy are another standby in psychia­tric treatment. These, like habit-training with geriatric patients, are ways of easing the patient back into work—a combination of group pressure and psychological satisfaction. Occupational therapy allows for rather more creativeness than industrial, but even so it is rather limited in the scope it provides. The general aim is to help the patient to concentrate, and indeed to get them back into the general habit of work. The psychological needs of companionship, security, stimulus and even very occasionally, when advice is asked, of independence, are satisfied, and thus the deviant is drawn into the net. If his cure is long term, he may then be moved to industrial therapy.

  This is nothing more or less than the factory brought to hospital. The person is of course helped to adapt to it and so on, but the whole purpose is to get him so that he can go out of the hospital, if not on to the labour market, at least into a sheltered workshop, where he is making his contribution to the perpetuation of the system, and helping the capitalist to keep up his rate of profit. Or, in the terminology of the System, so that he can make a useful contribution to society.

  In fact, both these forms of therapy have the objective of making the patient ready to work. The former, as we have noted, also stimu­lates concentration—not always a requisite of factory work but perhaps one the System would like to see in it. Concentration is of course important in such things as keeping yourself smart, and in fact generally fitting into the culture, if you are inclined to lapse.

  Finally, we have the various types of analysis, and group psycho­therapy. We will deal first with group psychotherapy.

  This is a method of “resocializing” the patient by providing the use of group pressure as well as the satisfaction of psychological needs. As in occupational and industrial therapy, the ability of the group to provide or withhold psychological satisfaction is a potent force for coercion into conformity. The patient is able to talk out his problems in communication with the others and assist them to work out theirs. Both by the advice of the psychotherapist and by the fact that it is something all the participants, or most of them, share, it is culturally conformist patterns of experience and behaviour that are worked to­wards. Group psychotherapy is in fact probably the closest thing we have to thought-reform brainwashing. For the lonely psychotic, the
person who does not regard the culture as valid, is subjected to tremen­dous group pressure. And the very fear of the psychotic is that he will be overwhelmed and engulfed by other people, and the total loss of identity in the overwhelming of self by the other. A high-pressured group psychotherapy could, if kept up consistently, drive the psychotic into superficial conformity. And society only requires that we con­form: it is not worried about what goes on inside us provided it does not influence our relationship to reality.

  Analysis, whether direct, or with the aid of drugs or hypnosis, is aimed at discovering the primary causes of the “disorder”. It works on the principle that every symptom has a traumatic origin, which is correct, but ignores the fact that the cultural conformist pattern of behaviour is equally abnormal—since analysis takes conformism as the ideal. It also, by its nature, treats the person as a collection of parts, rather than a whole. This must be so, because to liberate the whole person from inhibition and repression is to make him human, and thus incompatible with a dehumanized society. The analyst can only release what is incompatible with society. Modern psychoanalysis sees a place for the superego—yet the sole function of the superego is to inhibit our natural instincts.

  And, as we believe, a person is only fully human if he is free to seek his own fulfilment unrestricted and unconditioned—and that in a free environment with such inner freedom he will not indulge in a complete free-for-all.


  The main technique throughout the prison service is of course the traditional one, emphasizing punishment. We have recently added to this the shock treatment of the Detention Centre, a spreading pheno­menon aimed at shaking the deviant so much he will cower in terrified conformity, and the terror will last long enough for the cultural condi­tioning to reassert itself in the depths of the person, instead of just on the surface.

  Group psychotherapy has also appeared, in particular, in “special prisons”. The violence of the aggressive psychopath criminal is stimu­lated by the sense of imprisonment, the desire to escape, and directed into tremendous group pressures to conformity, as each feels that his way out is to pretend conformity, and in interacting, inauthentic psycho­logical violence on each other to which is added the unavoidability of the situation. For the psychopath is prepared to use any means to achieve his aims and each affects the other possibly more than superficially.

  In its crushing of his positive emotional being his family situation has made him the ultimate caricature of the capitalist ideal—it has shown in him all that goes to make up the successful businessman, the successful politician, that society prefers to close its eyes to. But it cannot face its ideal gone to far. It must tone him down, make him less extreme, his crude self-interest less apparent, his lack of concern
for others less obvious. And in the meantime it must mark him out as horribly evil, even if his evil is a product of his sickness.

  People always turn most violently on those who epitomize their own being, the being that they cannot face. So it is with capitalism. But with capitalism the horror that it cannot face is the very ground of its being—not some repressed and contradicted element.

  As time goes on we can see the invasion of the prison service by psychiatric techniques, in spite of the rearguard struggle of the upholders of free will and morality. The crude system of punishment is a failure: it works with a few, but compared to the increasing possibilities of psychological manipulation it is archaic. The System simply says the criminal is sick. Perhaps it does not even realize that its methods are manipulation, or will not face it. It is just the product of the social environment, and as such it meets its needs, irrelevant of who produces it. The Chinese Communists too regard thought reform as a purging of abnormal behaviour patterns.

  We see in thought reform the increasing use of psychological know­ledge to achieve conformity. The purpose of this manipulation is to negate the nonconformist, deviant patterns of behaviour, even modes of experience, though this is a joy in store still a little in the future on the whole, and to allow the conditioned, conformist patterns of behaviour to assert ourselves. For it is vital to remember that thought reform already has these patterns of be­haviour instilled in the deviant: it simply has to activate them. They need reinforcing as well, but the groundwork has already been carried out. It only needs to be elaborated on.


  We have seen, then, the effectiveness of cultural conditioning. It is therefore clearly insufficient to simply usher in a free society, because it will simply revert back to cultural conformity. We do not introduce freedom simply by providing a free environment: we must also set our­selves free psychologically. We must set out to decondition ourselves, so that the natural man that now lies suffocated by an accumu­lation of indoctrination can be released.

  And we must remember the problem of our conditioning especially in dealing with ways of bringing up our children.

  But a contradiction arises here. We must at the same time create a free environment and liberate ourselves. The process must in fact be an interacting evolution. To liberate ourselves before we have a free society is to face ourselves with the impossible task of working within a coercive structure—that is the quickest way to a mental break­down. What is necessary is to establish a libertarian environment as far as we can, and then work towards setting ourselves free, at the same time with the environment evolving to this change in situation.

  But this requires that everyone wants to be free, whereas most are successfully conditioned. How do we break out of this?

  Surely it requires, in fact, the establishment of libertarian environ­ments within the coercive society, started by people wishing to be free,
evolving situations relative to their own evolving humanization, pre­senting an alternative to existing society. I, at least, can see no other way.

  The most essential basis, then, is the will to be free, and to accept that, conditioned as we are to a coercive, stratified society, we have only a faint inkling of what it means to be fully free and human. To be prepared to accept that the community we form in the beginning may appear free to us, but it is only so in terms of our largely culturally conditioned being. And thus, as I have said, to evolve inner and outer freedom in the interaction of one with the other.

  In our study of cultural coercion, we dealt first with the techniques of child indoctrination, and secondly with thought reform on its various levels. In our study of anarchist solutions it is clearly necessary to reverse the scheme, since it is adults with the will to freedom that one expects to set up these potentially free communities.

  As has been made clear, the evolution of freedom is an interaction of increasing psychological freedom with increasing environmental free­dom. But since the outer reality is moulded, ideally, to the inner image, the start must be with psychological freedom. The expression of this growth in the environment will influence the inner evolution by showing certain lines of development valid and others, at that stage, invalid.

  Such a liberatory process demands extensive involvement of the identity and the personality with the group, a source of potential pain as well as satisfaction. And yet it demands that a person only becomes involved to the extent he chooses, because this is the essence of a liber­tarian outlook. But this is a conflict that will resolve itself, as the person unwilling to involve himself at depth finds the depth-relationships of the ideas as to what sort of being liberated man, and therefore rehumanized man, is likely to be. This, as has been said, is because our ideas of what freedom means and will produce are expressions of our largely conditioned personalities.

  Nevertheless, on the basis of anthropology, it is possible to put out various ideas. Are we going to have far greater communalization, or are we going to see Stirnerite self-sufficiency? Is the Marxist picture of sexual communism or the alternative of the family going to occur? Will factories be operated on a system of workers’ management? The anarchist has never been very specific about his utopia, and when he has differences of opinion have been obvious. Because in expressing his utopia he is expressing his largely culturally conditioned being. It is interesting, even helpful, to have some idea of which way we will go: but the fact remains it is very largely guesswork.


  Paul Cardan: Modern Capitalism and Revolution (Solidarity book).
  Erik Erikson: Childhood and Society (Pelican).
  Andrew Crowcroft: The Psychotic (Pelican).
  R. D. Laing: Politics of Experience (Penguin).
  R. J. Lifton: Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism (Pelican).
  Tony Parker: The Unknown Citizen (Penguin).
  J. A. Hadfield: Dreams and Nightmares (Pelican).
  R. D. Laing: Divided Self (Pelican).