The Temporary Autonomous Zone

This is pretty kewl and interesting reading … hard to always get one’s head around it at times but intellectual fun to be had in the process.  Depending on one’s definition of fun that is.

It begins thusly:


CHAOS NEVER DIED. Primordial uncarved block, sole worshipful monster, inert & spontaneous, more ultraviolet than any mythology (like the shadows before Babylon), the original undifferentiated oneness-of-being still radiates serene as the black pennants of Assassins, random & perpetually intoxicated.

Chaos comes before all principles of order & entropy, it’s neither a god nor a maggot, its idiotic desires encompass & define every possible choreography, all meaningless aethers & phlogistons: its masks are crystallizations of its own facelessness, like clouds.

Everything in nature is perfectly real including consciousness, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Not only have the chains of the Law been broken, they never existed; demons never guarded the stars, the Empire never got started, Eros never grew a beard.

No, listen, what happened was this: they lied to you, sold you ideas of good & evil, gave you distrust of your body & shame for your prophethood of chaos, invented words of disgust for your molecular love, mesmerized you with inattention, bored you with civilization & all its usurious emotions.

There is no becoming, no revolution, no struggle, no path; already you’re the monarch of your own skin–your inviolable freedom waits to be completed only by the love of other monarchs: a politics of dream, urgent as the blueness of sky.

To shed all the illusory rights & hesitations of history demands the economy of some legendary Stone Age–shamans not priests, bards not lords, hunters not police, gatherers of paleolithic laziness, gentle as blood, going naked for a sign or painted as birds, poised on the wave of explicit presence, the clockless nowever.

Agents of chaos cast burning glances at anything or anyone capable of bearing witness to their condition, their fever of lux et voluptas. I am awake only in what I love & desire to the point of terror–everything else is just shrouded furniture, quotidian anaesthesia, shit-for-brains, sub-reptilian ennui of totalitarian regimes, banal censorship & useless pain.

Avatars of chaos act as spies, saboteurs, criminals of amour fou, neither selfless nor selfish, accessible as children, mannered as barbarians, chafed with obsessions, unemployed, sensually deranged, wolfangels, mirrors for contemplation, eyes like flowers, pirates of all signs & meanings.

Here we are crawling the cracks between walls of church state school & factory, all the paranoid monoliths. Cut off from the tribe by feral nostalgia we tunnel after lost words, imaginary bombs.

The last possible deed is that which defines perception itself, an invisible golden cord that connects us: illegal dancing in the courthouse corridors. If I were to kiss you here they’d call it an act of terrorism–so let’s take our pistols to bed & wake up the city at midnight like drunken bandits celebrating with a fusillade, the message of the taste of chaos.

Full text here which I highly encourage you to explore:

About Hakim Bey

Life and work:

Bey’s early work is described in the translator’s biography of one of his earliest works:

After studying at Columbia University, he did extensive traveling in the Middle EastAfghanistanPakistanIndia and Nepal. He studied Tantra in West Bengal and visited manySufi shrines and masters. In 1971 he undertook research on the Ni’matullahi funded by the Marsden Foundation of New York.[1]

This research was the basis of Bey’s book Kings of Love. The biography continues:

During 1974 and 1975 he was consultant in London and Tehran for the World of Islam Festival. In 1974 he became director of English language publications at the Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy in Tehran under Seyyed Hossein Nasr, and he studied, worked with, and published books by Nasr, Toshihiko IzutsuHenry Corbin and others. He was editor of Sophia Perennis, the Journal of the IIAP.

Bey left Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In the 1980s, his ideas evolved from a kind of Guénonist neo-traditionalism to a synthesis of anarchism and Situationist ideas with heterodox Sufismand Neopaganism, describing his ideas as “anarchist ontology” or “immediatism”. In the past he has worked with the not-for-profit publishing project Autonomedia, in Brooklyn, New York.

In addition to his writings on anarchism and Temporary Autonomous Zones, Bey has written essays on such diverse topics as Tong traditions, the utopian Charles Fourier, the fascist Gabriele D’Annunzio, alleged connections between Sufism and ancient Celtic culture, sacred pederasty in the Sufi tradition[2], technology and Luddism, and Amanita muscaria use in ancient Ireland.

Bey’s poetic texts and poems have appeared in: P.A.N.Panthology One, Two, and Three; GanymedeExquisite Corpse; and the various Acolyte Reader paperbacks. Many of these poems, including the ‘Sandburg’ series, are collected in the as-yet unpublished DogStar volume. Currently his works can be found regularly in publications like Fifth Estate and the NYC-based First of the Month.

He has also published at least one novel, The Chronicles of Qamar: Crowstone.[3]

Bey, especially because of his TAZ work, has often been embraced by rave subculture, as ravers have identified the experience and occasions of raves as part of the tradition of “Temporary Autonomous Zones” that Bey outlines, particularly the “free party” or teknival scene. Bey has been supportive of the rave connection, while remarking in an interview, “The ravers were among my biggest readers… I wish they would rethink all this techno stuff — they didn’t get that part of my writing.”

I’ve been lost in these texts and concepts over the last few days, many of which were previously unknown to me.  Some elements are beautiful, some violently so, and others I do not connect with … still and as always, I enjoyed being exposed to ‘new’ considerations.


  1. bigfatfurrytexan says:

    I am going to need to read up on this individual a bit more. He has a grandiose writing style. One thing he may consider is the advice of Mark Twain:

    As to the Adjective: When it doubt, strike it out.

    However, I can assume that his robust use of literary modifiers are placed with artistic intention (to provide a more robust vision of his intent). But it almost makes it impossible to read as you wade through all the artistic vernacular.

    Regardless, the ideas presented are worthy of further consideration. Thanks for sharing. I am going to go dig up what i can on this guy by first following your link. 🙂 If there are more precious gems such as “the clockless nowever”, I am sure to have my mind tickled quite nicely. 😀

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