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Thursday, December 1, 2022

'There is no governor anywhere'



Chad Nelson's introduction to Natural Law begins with this quote from RAW character Hugh Crane (from Schroedinger's Cat but also the story "I Opening" from Natural Law): "There is no governor anywhere: you are all absolutely free."

The quote can be traced back to the Taoist Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi, who supposedly said,  "There is no governor anywhere."  I am unable to supply any context for the remark; perhaps there is a Taoist scholar (or RAW scholar) among us who can help? 

Robert Shea's anarchist zine, No Governor, took its title from the Zhuangzi statement. In the first issue of No Governor, the statement is given as "There is no governor present anywhere," and it is attributed to Chuang Tzu, an alternate spelling. 

PDF copies of No Governor are available via this blog; see the "Robert Shea resources" section on the right side of this website. 

Here is a quote derived from from the second Cat book, The Trick Top Hat: “There is no governor anywhere; you are all absolutely free. There is no restraint that cannot be escaped. We are all absolutely free. If everybody could go into dhyana at will, nobody could be controlled — by fear of prison, by fear of whips or electroshock, by fear of death, even. All existing society is based on keeping those fears alive, to control the masses. Ten people who know would be more dangerous than a million armed anarchists.”

I don't have the text of the omnibus edition of Cat; in my copy of The Trick Top Hat, one of the three original paperbacks, much of this is on page 196. 


Hugh said...

Fantastic find and post.

Sigusmundo’s Wilderness Diary also says, “There is no governor anywhere. We are all relatives.” Another of Cagliostro’s variations from Trick Top states “There is no restraint that cannot be escaped. We are all absolutely free.” Apropos for an escape artist.

Read as part of the I Opening essay, they seem to be expressions of Buddhist concepts of no-mind/delusion/impermanence, but with a Crowleyite/Neitzschean spin. It’s this “lesson”, that governors — whatever form they may take — are in many respects self-imposed (even if they seem to emanate from external sources). The freedom that comes with that valuable lesson is what Cagliostro tried to teach.

The No Governor ethos is the tie that I believe binds most if not all of RAW’s work. But maybe I’m overstating the case because I appreciate the quote so much.

Jesse said...

Perhaps this? "It might seem as if there would be a true Governor concerned in it, but we do not find any trace (of his presence and acting)."