The Withway

I have a new book out! The Withway is available as a free pdf, or to buy, via the Winter Oak site, which also describes the contents. In the meantime, here is the preface.

It has become a commonplace observation over the last couple of years, amongst dissidents thrown together in an epoch-defining struggle for freedom, that the left-right divide has no more meaning.

Perhaps this has always been the case, given the evident absurdity of trying to squeeze the whole glorious complexity of political and philosophical thought into a one-size-fits-all linear model. But at least the labels “left” and “right” provided, until recently, a rough idea of somebody’s position regarding certain key social issues.

Now, however, even that approximate guide does not work. On the so-called “left”, people who theoretically oppose both big business and the state are suddenly enthusiastic admirers of a toxic combination of the two, with their commitment to “fundamental human rights” replaced overnight with the conviction that it is “selfish” for individuals to resist the arbitrary dictates of power.

On the so-called “right”, those who have claimed to be trying to preserve a certain familiar way of life, guarantee a certain sense of order, have stood back and applauded as the society they always claimed to protect is subjected to controlled demolition and long-vaunted democratic values are abolished in favour of the kind of ruthless martial law that was supposed to be impossible in their “free world”.

The separation today, between those who support the system’s narrative and those who challenge it, simply does not follow the left-right divide. Another way of seeing the current situation is in terms of people versus power, as below versus above. While this is true as a kind of shorthand, which I have myself often used, it does not provide us with the whole picture of what we are facing.

The Withway is an attempt to identify the deeper issues at stake and point at a different way of seeing the civilizational choices with which we are being collectively presented.

It is not, as will be readily apparent, a political manifesto or a detailed programme for action. It is, rather, an exploration of ideas which is intended to act as a preliminary signpost, a rough sketch of the way in which many of us know intuitively we ought to be heading.

The primary direction in which we urgently need to move is, of course, away from the technocratic tyranny currently being imposed on us by force. In order to do so, we need to embrace and express the values which separate us from the cold “scientific” authoritarianism of the dominant cult.

In the pages that follow, I frame this in terms of re-establishing connections – social, natural and metaphysical – which have been stolen from us over a long period of time.

The overall perspective is holistic; not just in terms of seeing the whole picture, but in knowing that seeing the whole picture is important.

Within that overall reality, we could focus on the many fundamental differences between the way of being and thinking encouraged by the dominant system and the alternative which I happen to here term the Withway.

We could compare their power with our empowerment; their desire for control with our need for freedom; their lust for quantity with our quest for quality; their emphasis on price and profit with our commitment to value and fair exchange; their life-hating fetish for artificiality with our love for nature within and without; their twisted addiction to lies with our gut feeling for truth; their shallow, fragmented and subjective outlook with our profound and all-embracing organic vision; the ugliness of their world with the beauty of the archetype we hold in our hearts.

There is much work to be done in expanding, illustrating and joining together these themes, and many others, in a philosophy both ancient and new which can challenge and replace the deadthink of this toxic and moribund system.

I will try to play my small part in the months and years ahead, but if we are to have any real effect we are going to have to be numerous, creative and determined.

What name might we give this effort, what flag might we fly under on this ideological journey? I am not sure we can credibly give a label to a great movement of thought which is, in part, against the kind of mentality which always insists on labelling things!

But one will emerge, in due course, as it always does, and our task will be to ensure that the content of our thinking is sufficiently grounded, solid and authentic to stop that eventual label from being polluted, corrupted and turned against our intentions.

For this, depth of thinking is required; depth grown from eternal truths, rather than cobbled together from cheap slogans and passing fads.

In the ruins of this civilization, we need to plant a mighty tree of authentic wisdom that will watch over the health, freedom and future of humankind for many centuries to come.

About Paul Cudenec 185 Articles
Paul Cudenec is the author of 'The Anarchist Revelation'; 'Antibodies, Anarchangels & Other Essays'; 'The Stifled Soul of Humankind'; 'Forms of Freedom'; 'The Fakir of Florence'; 'Nature, Essence & Anarchy'; 'The Green One', 'No Such Place as Asha' , 'Enemies of the Modern World' and 'The Withway'. His work has been described as "mind-expanding and well-written" by Permaculture magazine.

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