I recently began identifying myself as an Autarchist, rather than the more common term Anarchist, because I believe it to be a more accurate description of the ideology (at least as I integrate it).

Anarchy, meaning no rulers, can be—and, as we’ve all seen, typically is—conceived as total lawlessness, chaos, riots in the streets, etc. And this is understandable, I think, because “no rulers” can easily include oneself, i.e., not ruling even oneself.

Autarchy, on the other hand, is defined as self-rule, while at the same time specifying “and ruling nobody else,” i.e., no (external) rulers. So this more aptly addresses both sides of the liberty coin—liberty, in the anarchistic sense, as well as the requisite personal responsibility. Self-rule, in my opinion, implies self-mastery, self-discipline, self-reliance, and even developing a healthy self-esteem—defined as the dual facets of self-effacy (competence, trust in one’s mind) and self-worth (belief that one deserves love and happiness). [Re: The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem]

Then I recently learned that Jung differentiated between individuation (self-actualization through integration of the conscious and the unconscious), and individualism, which he claimed to be “essentially no more than a morbid reaction against an equally futile collectivism.” [Re: The Essential Jung: Selected Writings]

I think that dovetails nicely with my differentiation between Anarchy vs. Autarchy—not merely the rejection of external rule, but the careful integration of self-rule, as with Jung’s Individualism vs. Individuation, not merely the rejection of collectivism, but the hollistic development of the individual.

Now, combine those ideas with my more recent observation, when I posted:

“I’m coming to believe that there is addiction, and there is enlightenment, and there is no in-between.”

(Note: I use the term addiction in the psychological sense, not necessarily implying drug or alcohol addiction).

Today, I believe this even more strongly; there is a continuum, to be sure—but there are only two directions in which individuals can move along that continuum: toward addiction (attempts at external fulfillment, with one manifestation being statism) or toward enlightenment (fulfillment from within, which ultimately manifests as personal liberty or liberation).

Within these concepts, I believe, is where the real understanding and pursuit of liberty resides: as integrated with the self-actualized individual.