What I believe by Ammon Hennacy

When I was sixteen years of age, I had written a page entitled WHAT LIFE MEANS TO ME. I had used this title because my favorite author, Jack London, had written a pamphlet with that title. The substance of my belief in 1916 was: On with the Revolution; there is no God. Churches are opium for the people.

Now on June 1, 1948 I wrote a page listing my attitudes on life.  Following are the issues that seemed to me most important:

1. Courage is the most important virtue, for, as Johnson said to Boswell, if you do not have it you cannot practice the other virtues.

2 Voluntary poverty, the fundamental means of the Catholic Worker and Tolstoy, keeps the radical from becoming bourgeois and selling out.

3. Pacifism and the Sermon on the Mount I had learned in solitary and they provided a basis for a worthwhile personal life and for a philosophy upon which to meet all other social problems.

4. Anarchism is the negative side, but necessary to keep one from the treadmill of politics.

5. Decentralization is needed, of course, so that the above principals might work to best advantage.

6. Vegetarianism, which includes no drinking,  smoking, gambling or medicine, is necessary to live healthily and to be efficient; otherwise, with one hand you are pulling one way and with the other hand you are pulling the other way. Keep well.

7. Reincarnation seems a more reasonable theory than the heaven and hell of orthodoxy, although it may be just a deferred heaven that we have to earn.


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