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Anarchist Elements of Geocaching


Slackmason
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Hello, i am reasonably new to Geocaching, i got about 25 under my belt right now. and am working on placing my first one.

 

i have also been a long time Anarchist. (Its been about 15 years since my grand realization)

now, i know that a lot of people read that word "Anarchism" and have a strongly negative gut reaction. i hope that i can help ease the pain a bit!

 

Anarchism is the belief that people can, and prefer, to organize non hierarchical, non coercive methods of production and distribution. and that authority is only justified when it can be proven to be legitimate.

 

an Anarchist, is a person who understands this and believes it. he who seeks out authority and tries to apply to it tests of legitimacy.

 

How does this apply to Geocaching? well. Geocaching contains nearly every necessary element of an Anarchist styled organization.

 

Everyone participating is doing so voluntarily.

 

there is no supreme centralized authority dictating the laws and by laws of Geocaching. all "rules" are merely suggestions to keep the game entertaining.

 

and in that spirit nearly all those who participate in Geocaching find it in their best interest to follow the "rules". so there are no needs for penalties or punishments.

 

and another interesting facet of geocaching is that it is in effect what is called a "Gift Economy". where everyone is expected to contribute at least as much as they take away. though most find it more personally gratifying to contribute far more material to the economy than they take, creating an abundance of wealth!!!!!!!!!!

 

Geocaching is just one more example of how technology is making a new type of society possible!

 

Long Live Anarchism!!!!!!

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Benjamin R. Tucker, a famous 19th century individualist anarchist, held that "if the individual has the right to govern himself, all external government is tyranny."

 

I would argue (if political argument were allowed here) that today's technology has done more to reduce individual governance. Everything we do today is pretty easily known to others, and non-conformity is soon met with authority (there's a rule for that!).

 

Try "doing your own thing" in geocaching and see if Groundspeak and the community of Volunteer Reviewers or Forum Moderators don't enforce some governance on you pretty darn quickly!

 

I don't see how anarchy fits the game at all, and that's a good thing! :huh:

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How does this apply to Geocaching? well. Geocaching contains nearly every necessary element of an Anarchist styled organization.

 

Everyone participating is doing so voluntarily.

 

there is no supreme centralized authority dictating the laws and by laws of Geocaching. all "rules" are merely suggestions to keep the game entertaining.

 

Long Live Anarchism!!!!!!

 

Ah, just like the laws of phsyics - try defying gravity and you come to the realization that while not obvious, they are still in place. The laws may be difficult to detect, but they are there and applicable.

 

Try placing your first cache with a theme of dedication to Anarchism. You will quickly discover the "authority." :huh:

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Benjamin R. Tucker, a famous 19th century individualist anarchist, held that "if the individual has the right to govern himself, all external government is tyranny."

 

I would argue (if political argument were allowed here) that today's technology has done more to reduce individual governance. Everything we do today is pretty easily known to others, and non-conformity is soon met with authority (there's a rule for that!).

 

Try "doing your own thing" in geocaching and see if Groundspeak and the community of Volunteer Reviewers or Forum Moderators don't enforce some governance on you pretty darn quickly!

 

I don't see how anarchy fits the game at all, and that's a good thing! ;)

 

Yep. You said it better than me. I was trying brevity on for a change. :huh:

 

I prefer individualism over anarchy. :(

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For a long time when I discuss with people or teach it in my class I use two words to describe this community.

 

Not a nanny sport

 

Slightly to moderately anarchistic

 

Although the fact that one person is the complete authority over the entire hobby does belay that. He could be described as a benevolent dictator (the best form of government).

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I've been in appeals now for nearly two months, and I can't get an answer from them why they think the cache is unacceptable.. they have even stopped answering my emails!

 

Thankfully I have found a grocery store that sells frog legs - and will be holding a "themed" event in the months ahead... :huh:

 

and another interesting facet of geocaching is that it is in effect what is called a "Gift Economy". where everyone is expected to contribute at least as much as they take away. though most find it more personally gratifying to contribute far more material to the economy than they take, creating an abundance of wealth!!!!!!!!!!

 

hahaha... Anarchism will never work very well then, will it?

Edited by Juicepig
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I've been in appeals now for nearly two months, and I can't get an answer from them why they think the cache is unacceptable.. they have even stopped answering my emails!

As a parent I found that spoken or implied "Because I said so!" was often all the explanation I needed to give! :(

 

and another interesting facet of geocaching is that it is in effect what is called a "Gift Economy". where everyone is expected to contribute at least as much as they take away. though most find it more personally gratifying to contribute far more material to the economy than they take, creating an abundance of wealth!!!!!!!!!!

 

hahaha... Anarchism will never work very well then, will it?

With far more hunters than hiders and cache content degradation to junk being the norm rather than the exception it's hard for me to see how we are a "Gift Economy"! :huh:

 

More like redistribution of wealth... hiders contribute caches and trinkets, finders take $5. items and leave a soon-to-be-moldy paper bookmark!

Edited by TheAlabamaRambler
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=

and another interesting facet of geocaching is that it is in effect what is called a "Gift Economy". where everyone is expected to contribute at least as much as they take away. though most find it more personally gratifying to contribute far more material to the economy than they take, creating an abundance of wealth!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

The doomed society using this model of economy will collapse under the weigh of McToys.

 

 

I once had a friend who was President of the local Anarchists Society. How does that work then?

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I've been in appeals now for nearly two months, and I can't get an answer from them why they think the cache is unacceptable.. they have even stopped answering my emails!

As a parent I found that spoken or implied "Because I said so!" was often all the explanation I needed to give! :(

 

As a customer/client relationship though.. Not something I would ever get away with - thats for sure! :huh:

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While there are some elements of anarchy, the occasional cache that gets placed on the far side of the "no trespassing" sign, perhaps other caching sites would have more of this than one run by a business like Groundspeak. And while I like to believe that people would choose to voluntarily cooperate I have to be careful lest someone run me over when getting the FTF. And although I encourage sharing, I wish people would not keep my geocoins or loot my caches.

 

Rather than anarchy I see more allusions to outlaw culture or the pirates of yore; more Harry Potter than Emma Goldman.

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I've been in appeals now for nearly two months, and I can't get an answer from them why they think the cache is unacceptable.. they have even stopped answering my emails!

 

The appeal must be fairly unremarkable since I don't recall seeing it posted in the forums which is one of the steps of the appeal.

 

Ooops...sorry...back on topic. Long live tyranny of the majority! (Another definition of 'anarchism')

Edited by baloo&bd
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Whew, for some reason I read that as Antichrist.

 

...and another interesting facet of geocaching is that it is in effect what is called a "Gift Economy". where everyone is expected to contribute at least as much as they take away. though most find it more personally gratifying to contribute far more material to the economy than they take, creating an abundance of wealth!!!!!!!!!!

 

Judging from all the threads here complaining about the degradation of cache contents over time, it's evidence that anarchy as a system would fail miserably.

Edited by briansnat
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... Anarchism is the belief that people can, and prefer, to organize non hierarchical, non coercive methods of production and distribution. and that authority is only justified when it can be proven to be legitimate. ...

 

The Idaho Geocachers Org is organized this way. All efforts to organize to a higher level (mostly around getting an IGO coin made and solving the money problems associated with it) have been brutally beaten down, leaving behind bloody and bruised volunteers. These are the folks who saw a problem and made an honest effort to solve it and tried to do it in a way that would be a colaboration.

 

Ironicly the main opposition while perhaps making great anarchists are also control freaks. I think their motivation is closer to "if we can't do it, you can't do it either" than it is to keep the purity of the model that IGO operates under.

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"I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under the European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, & restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did anywhere. Among the latter, under pretence of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves & sheep. I do not exaggerate."

 

— Thomas Jefferson

philosopher, statesman, anarchist

Sort of reminds one of today's Democratic - Republican divide, eh?

 

In that sense there is a measure of anarchy in geocaching in that we for the most part self-regulate the game by agreeing and choosing to adhere to certain standards, codified by authority (the Groundspeak guidelines) but developed by the community.

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"I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under the European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, & restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did anywhere. Among the latter, under pretence of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves & sheep. I do not exaggerate."

 

— Thomas Jefferson

philosopher, statesman, anarchist

Sort of reminds one of today's Democratic - Republican divide, eh?...

 

Both are power hungry parties who lost their meaning and their way. Another founding father wrote about the evils of political parties.

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... Anarchism is the belief that people can, and prefer, to organize non hierarchical, non coercive methods of production and distribution. and that authority is only justified when it can be proven to be legitimate. ...

 

The Idaho Geocachers Org is organized this way. All efforts to organize to a higher level (mostly around getting an IGO coin made and solving the money problems associated with it) have been brutally beaten down, leaving behind bloody and bruised volunteers. These are the folks who saw a problem and made an honest effort to solve it and tried to do it in a way that would be a colaboration.

 

Ironicly the main opposition while perhaps making great anarchists are also control freaks. I think their motivation is closer to "if we can't do it, you can't do it either" than it is to keep the purity of the model that IGO operates under.

The Alabama Geocachers Association (AGA) is fashioned in this manner.

 

We have a forum (DixieCachers.com) run by folks who dropped out of the game over a year ago but host the forum as a gift to the community.

 

When our original website and forum was lost (the domain owner quit and kept the domain) we adopted DixieCachers.com as our 'official' AGA website but that's never been anything but an agreement that all of us would use that site to communicate.

 

Why wasn't it a formal agreement? Because we do not exist!

 

The AGA is a state of mind. We have no structure. No officers. No committees. You become a member by saying that you are one.

 

Other than the nearly 1000 cachers who belong to the forum we have no membership roster.

 

Anyone who wishes to have an event in the name of the AGA is free to do so.

 

There is no person who has authority to slap your hand should you violate the community standards that we have developed informally over the years. Though we do have forum moderators they don't have to act very often... in fact I can't remember when one did (I think it's been at least a year since a post had to be moderated) - we get along because we choose to!

 

Yet, despite the fact that we don't really exist in any identifiable form we have thousands of cachers all over Alabama who happily interact to form the AGA.

 

From that perspective yes, anarchy works, at least for us. :huh:

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Hello, i am reasonably new to Geocaching, i got about 25 under my belt right now. and am working on placing my first one.

 

i have also been a long time Anarchist. (Its been about 15 years since my grand realization)

now, i know that a lot of people read that word "Anarchism" and have a strongly negative gut reaction. i hope that i can help ease the pain a bit!

 

Anarchism is the belief that people can, and prefer, to organize non hierarchical, non coercive methods of production and distribution. and that authority is only justified when it can be proven to be legitimate.

 

an Anarchist, is a person who understands this and believes it. he who seeks out authority and tries to apply to it tests of legitimacy.

 

Dress it up any way you like. Anarchy is still anarchy.

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this is good discussion, its funny that benjamin tucker came up so quickly in this discussion. 3 or 4 years ago he was a pretty obscure intellectual. As far as American Anarchists go, they are patently obscure, and with benji, even more so! haha.

 

as far as the Anarchist Geocache, in the works. i plan on having one hidden that will contain much anarchist literature. hopefully some cd-audiobooks. (pretty much all anarchist literature is in the public domain!) and i REALLY REALLY want to have a Zapatista TB with a mission to visit the grave of either Buenaventura Durruti, or Emma Goldman.

 

excuse me if i dont take the time to answer each of the "jovial" disparagements against anarchism that have gone on in this thread. i dont want to make this a debate. i was just hoping to bring new information, maybe a new light on a much maligned, but beautifully optimistic ideology.

 

to you i will say, if you enjoy this community. and the game. you should look into Anarchism. and try to shed the inaccurate and pessimistic view of humanity that keeps us alienated from each other, and building free, egalitarian and sustainable communities.

 

whether you care to accept it or not. there are very easily recognized elements of Anarchism involved here.

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... Geocaching contains nearly every necessary element of an Anarchist styled organization.

 

Everyone participating is doing so voluntarily. Hmmm, OK... most are... perhaps with the exception of a few uninterested partners, or children, who tag along under protest.

 

there is no supreme centralized authority dictating the laws and by laws of Geocaching. all "rules" are merely suggestions to keep the game entertaining. However, there are enforced guidelines to be followed by any cacher who wants to have their cache listed on this particular site. As for the other "rules", some are more flexible than others. Their degrees of flexibility provide many hours of interesting/boring debate on these forums.

 

and in that spirit nearly all those who participate in Geocaching find it in their best interest to follow the "rules". so there are no needs for penalties or punishments. Again, there are penalties and punishments meted out by Groundspeak for infractions in the use of their site and their forums. I can't comment on the situation on the other geocaching listing sites.

 

and another interesting facet of geocaching is that it is in effect what is called a "Gift Economy". where everyone is expected to contribute at least as much as they take away. though most find it more personally gratifying to contribute far more material to the economy than they take, creating an abundance of wealth!!!!!!!!!! See comments above regarding the regular degredation of swag in caches etc.

 

Geocaching is just one more example of how technology is making a new type of society possible!

 

Long Live Anarchism!!!!!!

 

... whether you care to accept it or not. there are very easily recognized elements of Anarchism involved here.

 

Can you give some specific examples of the anarchistic elements in Geocaching? I've never thought of much anarchy being involved. Admittedly a few of the Flash Mobs are a bit "strange" but that's about it... :huh:

 

MrsB

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Can you give some specific examples of the anarchistic elements in Geocaching? I've never thought of much anarchy being involved. Admittedly a few of the Flash Mobs are a bit "strange" but that's about it... :huh:

MrsB

I had to think about this one too, it's been a long time since college and we just touched on this stuff, but the AGA example I gave above is an example of an anarchistic society (informal association).

 

We've derided his idea mostly, I think, because we've been taught that anarchy means pitchforks and government overthrow, or mad bombers like Theodore Kazinsky (sp?), I don't know about in the UK but in the US most of the history and sociology books we use to teach are full of lies or omissions aimed at making us believe such things.

 

However, even the seemingly shared sentiment today that less government is good government is really built on the foundations of anarchy.

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... Anarchism is the belief that people can, and prefer, to organize non hierarchical, non coercive methods of production and distribution. and that authority is only justified when it can be proven to be legitimate. ...

 

The Idaho Geocachers Org is organized this way. All efforts to organize to a higher level (mostly around getting an IGO coin made and solving the money problems associated with it) have been brutally beaten down, leaving behind bloody and bruised volunteers. These are the folks who saw a problem and made an honest effort to solve it and tried to do it in a way that would be a colaboration.

 

Ironicly the main opposition while perhaps making great anarchists are also control freaks. I think their motivation is closer to "if we can't do it, you can't do it either" than it is to keep the purity of the model that IGO operates under.

The Alabama Geocachers Association (AGA) is fashioned in this manner.

 

We have a forum (DixieCachers.com) run by folks who dropped out of the game over a year ago but host the forum as a gift to the community.

 

When our original website and forum was lost (the domain owner quit and kept the domain) we adopted DixieCachers.com as our 'official' AGA website but that's never been anything but an agreement that all of us would use that site to communicate.

 

Why wasn't it a formal agreement? Because we do not exist!

 

The AGA is a state of mind. We have no structure. No officers. No committees. You become a member by saying that you are one.

 

Other than the nearly 1000 cachers who belong to the forum we have no membership roster.

 

Anyone who wishes to have an event in the name of the AGA is free to do so.

 

There is no person who has authority to slap your hand should you violate the community standards that we have developed informally over the years. Though we do have forum moderators they don't have to act very often... in fact I can't remember when one did (I think it's been at least a year since a post had to be moderated) - we get along because we choose to!

 

Yet, despite the fact that we don't really exist in any identifiable form we have thousands of cachers all over Alabama who happily interact to form the AGA.

 

From that perspective yes, anarchy works, at least for us. :(

 

Interesting. GITBuff is fairly loose but I take all the blame for it. Some call it a monarchy but I prefer benevolent despot. I'd hold people to my standards but they wouldn't stoop that low. :huh:

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Can you give some specific examples of the anarchistic elements in Geocaching? I've never thought of much anarchy being involved. Admittedly a few of the Flash Mobs are a bit "strange" but that's about it... :)

 

MrsB

 

well, i believe i have. with the examples you cited above. (which I'm glad you are here to show that they are not perfect examples, anarchism is not a utopia after all. But, it is a rational alternative to the conglomerate corporate-government system we have now.)

 

its kinda sad to see how afraid of the word "Anarchist" people are. and how far they will go to disassociate themselves from it.

 

historically Anarchists have always fought for improvement in the standard of living.

 

a little history, before the 1950's, Anarchism was a huge influence on the Labor movement which, ironically, resulted in many of the labor laws we see today. such as the 8 hour day, child labor laws. overtime pay. weekends!

 

But this is all getting away from my point.

believe me. I'm Glad Geocaching is how it is.

 

I'll check out the guidelines as suggested regarding my Anarcho-Cache. Thanks for letting me know.

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I once had a friend who was President of the local Anarchists Society. How does that work then?

 

I've been meaning to start a Society of Procrastinators for quite some time now.

 

I was gonna join an apathy support group but figured why bother.

I was going to start a Mensa club but don't no how.

 

I'm going to create a discussion forum for those that have pledged to a vow of silence.

Link to comment

I once had a friend who was President of the local Anarchists Society. How does that work then?

 

I've been meaning to start a Society of Procrastinators for quite some time now.

 

I was gonna join an apathy support group but figured why bother.

I was going to start a Mensa club but don't no how.

 

I'm going to create a discussion forum for those that have pledged to a vow of silence.

 

I was going to be circumspect but I couldn't get around to it..

 

What are these types of jokes called?

Link to comment

I once had a friend who was President of the local Anarchists Society. How does that work then?

 

I've been meaning to start a Society of Procrastinators for quite some time now.

 

I was gonna join an apathy support group but figured why bother.

I was going to start a Mensa club but don't no how.

 

I'm going to create a discussion forum for those that have pledged to a vow of silence.

 

I was going to be circumspect but I couldn't get around to it..

 

What are these types of jokes called?

BAD! :)

Link to comment

I once had a friend who was President of the local Anarchists Society. How does that work then?

 

I've been meaning to start a Society of Procrastinators for quite some time now.

 

I was gonna join an apathy support group but figured why bother.

I was going to start a Mensa club but don't no how.

 

I'm going to create a discussion forum for those that have pledged to a vow of silence.

 

I was going to be circumspect but I couldn't get around to it..

 

What are these types of jokes called?

BAD! :)

Hey! What are you complaining about? You got your monies worth.

Link to comment

I once had a friend who was President of the local Anarchists Society. How does that work then?

 

I've been meaning to start a Society of Procrastinators for quite some time now.

 

I was gonna join an apathy support group but figured why bother.

I was going to start a Mensa club but don't no how.

 

I'm going to create a discussion forum for those that have pledged to a vow of silence.

 

I was going to be circumspect but I couldn't get around to it..

 

What are these types of jokes called?

BAD! :)

Hey! What are you complaining about? You got your monies worth.

Are you going to pay the rest of us too?

Link to comment

I once had a friend who was President of the local Anarchists Society. How does that work then?

 

I've been meaning to start a Society of Procrastinators for quite some time now.

 

I was gonna join an apathy support group but figured why bother.

I was going to start a Mensa club but don't no how.

 

I'm going to create a discussion forum for those that have pledged to a vow of silence.

 

I was going to be circumspect but I couldn't get around to it..

 

What are these types of jokes called?

BAD! :)

Hey! What are you complaining about? You got your monies worth.

Are you going to pay the rest of us too?

You haven't gotten your check yet?

Link to comment

I once had a friend who was President of the local Anarchists Society. How does that work then?

 

I've been meaning to start a Society of Procrastinators for quite some time now.

 

I was gonna join an apathy support group but figured why bother.

I was going to start a Mensa club but don't no how.

 

I'm going to create a discussion forum for those that have pledged to a vow of silence.

 

I was going to be circumspect but I couldn't get around to it..

 

What are these types of jokes called?

BAD! :)

Hey! What are you complaining about? You got your monies worth.

Are you going to pay the rest of us too?

You haven't gotten your check yet?

HeHe. I said his monies worth. How much do you think those jokes are worth?

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For a long time when I discuss with people or teach it in my class I use two words to describe this community.

 

Not a nanny sport

 

Slightly to moderately anarchistic

 

Although the fact that one person is the complete authority over the entire hobby does belay that. He could be described as a benevolent dictator (the best form of government).

No one person is any complete authority of the entire hopy...only of this listing website. There are many variations of the game being played elswhere, they just are not as popular, since they are not as easily found and accessed

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Just think, if we had anarchy, every cache would be a 5 terrain because we would have no roads, bridges, lamp posts...

Does that mean that roads and bridges did not exist before structured governments? I doubt that.

Then you should study history.

 

Infrastructure has always been built by governments.

 

Take a look at any anarchy today - most lately Somalia and Afghanistan, and see what happens when 'the people' are in charge.

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Just think, if we had anarchy, every cache would be a 5 terrain because we would have no roads, bridges, lamp posts...

Does that mean that roads and bridges did not exist before structured governments? I doubt that.

Then you should study history.

 

Infrastructure has always been built by governments.

 

Take a look at any anarchy today - most lately Somalia and Afghanistan, and see what happens when 'the people' are in charge.

I'm pretty sure the first bridges were built by gravity when trees fell, and the first roads were made by animals

Edited by WRITE SHOP ROBERT
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