The adage "become ungovernable" has become popular in internet and meme culture and is typically associated with libertarian and anarchist movements.
The catchy motto is recited to inspire others to resist tyranny and stand up against the government's misuse of power. It's also used as a form of satire in meme culture.
But beyond the realm of cyberspace, is there any cultural or philosophical significance to the bold statement?
The answer is yes, there is real meaning to the slogan 'become ungovernable.'
What Does it Mean To Be Ungovernable?
To civilized society, the repetition of the words "become ungovernable" may spark concern or panic, fearing that rebellious youth could be inciting riots and encouraging degenerate behavior. But there is profound meaning to the statement.
Being or becoming ungovernable, at its core, is a state of mind rather than an overt action, although action is sometimes justifiable. But we'll get into that later.
Stoics, theologians, and great philosophers throughout history have understood that the mind, and one's perception of reality, are of the utmost importance. Rene Descartes said, "I think, therefore I am." He was not heard to remark "I act, therefore I am."
Your physical reality is intuitively and uniquely based on your mental perception. Some philosophers and quantum scientists have even conjectured that physical reality ceases to exist when the mind is no longer a part of the equation.
So the mind, we understand, is extremely important, and must be constantly protected from external manipulation, oppression and governance. Your mind must always remain free and under your control, not anyone else's.
In essence, this absolute ownership of your mind is what the philosophy of becoming ungovernable is all about.
Being or becoming ungovernable is not an endorsement of chaos or violent and uncivilized behavior.
Sure, there will always be mischievous youth gassed up on Sid Vicious and cheap beer yelling "Anarchy!" in the streets, but the philosophy is ultimately a call to self-governance and personal responsibility.
Becoming ungovernable is a statement that the individual will govern themselves, implement critical freethinking and be unaffected by external forces attempting to manipulate their minds for dubious purposes.
When the mind is controlled, the actions of an individual are dictated by those who wield power over them. The ardent believer in self-governance simply wishes to be the one who maintains power over themselves.
To many, mind control and mental slavery are things of science fiction that no reasonable or rational person would ever give credence to. But in reality, there are and will always be people attempting to control how and what you think, thus controlling how you behave (governed).
When to Become Ungovernable
An individual should always proudly maintain autonomy and authority over themselves.
There are cases and events, however, when it's prudent and especially important to resist tyranny and reclaim ownership over your own body and mind--if that control has slipped away.
When governments around the world join forces to strip away the individual rights of citizens, it's a critical response to acknowledge the tyrannical oppression and to fight against it.
Libertarians and others who support the idea of being ungovernable maintain that it is the individual's responsibility to behave in a manner conducive to peaceful coexistence with others.
As we said, chaos and violence are not objectives of the philosophy.
Cooperation, order, natural hierarchies, and a basic level of function that we typically refer to as "civilized society" is imperative to the philosophy of self-governance and autonomy.
Most people who subscribe to the idea of becoming ungovernable wish to live normal healthy lives that are peaceful and fruitful.
There may come a time, however, when it becomes the responsibility of the citizen to operate outside of the law. This is not done to arouse chaos and disorder for the sake of chaos and disorder, but rather because it is a necessary response to tyranny and oppression.
That is why Thomas Jefferson said, "When tyranny becomes law, resistance becomes duty."
Becoming ungovernable is a decision. It's a bold statement that you will not allow any outside force to dictate how you think or behave. It is a statement that the individual will remain an individual and not be subjugated and rendered helpless under the authority and oppression of despots, rulers, oligarchies or governments.
Moreover, becoming ungovernable is a stance. It is a stance that the individual will adhere to their own set of values and ethics, uncompromised and unadulterated.
Becoming ungovernable is a testimony. It is a testimony that individual, inalienable or "God-given" rights matter and will be protected by any means necessary.
Becoming ungovernable is a declaration. It is a declaration that no other person, organization or institution shall control and dictate an individual's behavior. It is the declaration that will echo throughout the ages; that we are and will remain abundantly and perpetually free.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also like 'How to Become a Critical Thinker'.