The Deviant’s Struggle

The Deviant’s Struggle (a.k.a. Mission Statement)

Deviant: one who adheres to the Deviant’s Ethos when taking up the Deviant’s Struggle, which is the struggle for continual deviation (Refer to Deviant’s Dictionary)

Deviation: the action of departing from an established course or accepted standard(s), but doing so in alignment with the Five Principles for Ethical Deviation

Living with a free mind and a free spirit is innately unsettling to contemporary society, abundant with structure and an ever-expanding selection of roads or directions from which to choose. Once chosen, the journey along any one path is largely prescribed by those same abundant and multitudinous structures. Imposed standards and behavioral norms permeate the entire social spectrum. Even weirdness is standardized. Regardless of whether you are an accountant, a preacher, or a poet there is a norm from which to deviate. Anyone can be a deviant.

By scouring existing conditions for seams or cracks that can be repurposed, applying new behaviors or governing logics to systems already in place, we deviants believe that freedom is a process to be pursued through inspired daily action. We strive not to wipe the slate clean nor to blindly adhere to existing customs simply because they already exist. Instead, by momentarily going astray of expected behaviors imposed by custom, laws, or rules, we actively engage in the positive pursuit of heightened Self-rule — aka, pure democracy. There is little freedom in living strictly by the book — 100% obedience. There is also little freedom in living by a strict code of lawless anarchy — 100% against. In both cases the courses of action are predetermined. By providing a series of principles useful for navigating the murky grey zone that separates strict obedience and strict lawlessness, the Deviant’s Struggle is the struggle for a truly Self-governed society — a society comprised of individuals who possess the ability to positively govern their own behavior in situations in which right and wrong are not always well defined. It is a mission only achieved through the cultivation of refined Self-awareness. In practice, the Deviant’s Struggle is the struggle for continual deviation — the ability to continually go astray of barriers that interrupt or prevent Self-rule. We love that no two deviants are alike, but are instead Self-governed snowflakes of defiance, so to speak.

The Deviant’s Ethos

While it may sound silly, setting out rules for breaking the rules, Deviation is not a tacit promotion of anarchy. And to be clear, one can deviate without breaking any laws or rules. Perhaps one simply breaks from absurd social standards. ‘Rules’ is perhaps an overly strict descriptor. More accurately, the Five Principles for Ethical Deviation function as a series of overlapping criteria or loosely defined edges to assist deviants in steering a true course by way of Deviation. These principles also help to define what Deviation is not. It is not a posture to embrace, nor is it a means for expressing falsely motivated deeds.

Fundamental to this ethos is the recognition that all things exist simultaneously as evolving processes and all processes are simultaneously things. As an individual I exist right here and right now. But I also exist as a continuously worked and reworked narrative of Self; a flowing movement from an unknown origin to an unknown terminus. The goal of Deviation, for those who engage in the Deviant’s Struggle, is to inspire the flowing narrative of Self on an increasingly free and empowered trajectory.

Everything in life can be viewed through this evolving thing-process lens. Structures of economic and political governance, for example. As systems continually in motion along an evolutionary course, little benefit is gained in opposing this or that system at a specific point in time. Better to assist in steering those systems up the evolutionary spiral by honestly acknowledging their functional positives and negatives and deciding our politics with unbiased clarity. Opposition is a motivated attempt to freeze those systems in place — glossing over the negatives or exaggerating the positives and embracing a for or against position grounded on half-truths or misinformation. It is not a means for tactically circumventing the logics that secure an existing power by inhabiting a higher sphere of logic. In other words, opposition does not allow one to tactically navigate a constrained system by inhabiting and expressing a higher level of consciousness that embraces a process definition of freedom and occasionally moves across static parameters called laws or rules. Deviant’s must know how to inhabit the sketchy gray zone between black and white oppositions, using that ill-defined terrain as a playground. The end goal is Self-rule; a civilization comprised of Self-governed individuals who are unwilling to commit the acts of theft, violence, and dishonesty that serve to justify the existence of a sovereign government (which commits those acts in their stead). In place of laws imposed from above, Self-rule is the point at which governance is internalized. However, it is not internalized as a form of obedient governmentality. It is the result of liberated individuals making moment by moment choices informed by a deep sense of whether the repercussions of those actions will result in positive or negative outcomes, and being willing to pay the personal price for those repercussions. To quote Henry David Thoreau:

“I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe—“That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.”

The Deviant’s Ethos is intended to promote conscious evolution by reinforcing Self-rule through everyday thought and action. Adhering to the concept that all things are simultaneously evolving processes, this ethos is no exception.

Five Principles for Ethical Deviation

Freedom is a pursuit

Freedom is a pursuit, or process, not a thing-like entitlement granted by static citizenship rights. There is no right to deviate. Rather, there is the freedom to deviate and one must continuously curate this freedom, as a pursuit. Deviation is a means for curating Self, or individual consciousness, beyond the tolerances of the existing power structures (social, economic, political). It is a process of actively and continuously living freely in an unfree world.

Non-opposition

Non-opposition is a form of resistance to authority, or circumvention of authority, whose fundamental methodology is based on defining a new terrain of “conflict.” It rejects the grounding logic of an existing regime, not as something invalid or nonexistent, but as a logic that does not apply to the non-opposing group or individual. Non-opposition is a process of defining and implementing new procedural logics within a space already held by an existing regime. It is imperative to the act of deviating, straying from the norm without reinforcing the governing power one is deviating from and within. Deviations break from the procedural logic of the governing power although they take place within the terrain of that governing power. Non-opposition is therefore a means for living as an outsider to the inside. It is the very essence of Deviation — going astray rather than going against. Rebels go against. Deviants go through, ignoring the existing power altogether.

Non-violence

Deviation is inherently nonviolent. While there may be real time situations in which violence, theft, or property damage are necessary, maybe even noble actions, those situations go to an extreme no longer relevant to Deviation. Actions that impose risk on others are considered violent actions. Aside from externalized risks inherent to everyday activities, such as driving busy roads, deviations involving risky behavior must contain those additional risks to the deviant(s) involved. Respect for the property of others is a form of nonviolence as well. Violent actions against the property of another person — physical, mental, or spiritual — is an expression of violence against that person.

Honesty and Truthfulness

In order to embrace the other four principles one must possess both honesty — the quality of being honest or sincere — and truthfulness — the fact of being realistic or true to life. Deviants must be able to accurately acknowledge both the positives and negatives internal to systems, forms of governance, or individual merits and actions — yours and others. It is the ability to honestly and truthfully assess our ourselves, our place in the world, and the current conditions in the world, in order to then act accordingly and spontaneously. Honesty and truthfulness are also necessary for conducting productive critiques — stating the negatives with the aim of promoting the evolutionary process of going through not against. Honesty, as the first quality of this principle, intentionally separates the universal demands of truth from the situational demands of being honest about one’s own truth. Honesty is therefore secondary to the requirement to stay true to higher values than those being enforced by law or social custom.

Responsibility

Deviants must accept responsibility for any repercussions to arise from taking up the Deviant’s Struggle. Precisely because deviants live by a higher ethic — and they express that higher ethic through Deviation — all deviants must be willing to pay the price of going against laws, rules, or conventions as defined by lower conceptions of right and wrong, or acceptable and unacceptable.