The etymological root of the term “Archon”

How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!
— Samuel Adams

Archon (Greek: ἄρχων, romanized: árchōn) is the Greek term for “ruler”. Cognate derivatives are, e.g., terms such as:

  • monarchy
  • dyarchy
  • hierarchy
  • patriarchy/matriarchy
  • gynarchy
  • autarchy
  • anarchy (etymology discussed subsequently in more detail)

According to Aristotle’s Constitution of the Athenians (78-c. 100), the power and influence of the king first devolved to the archons, and these offices were filled from the aristocracy by elections on a decennial basis.

Archon Eponymos was the primary magistrate, the Polemarch referred to the head of the armed forces, and the Archon Basileus was in charge of the religious aspects of society.
Various fraternities and sororities use the title of archon or variations on it. Some Gnostic sects used this term for demons associated with the planetspheres.

3-D computer rendering of an “archon”

The term anarchy is the negation of the term archon (i.e., the negatory prefix *a). It thus means “without a ruler/master”, i.e., human beings that do not accept a master and who do not allow others to rule over them (they are not slaves to anyone). Importantly, this derivation should not be confused with “chaos or without rules”. Anarchy simply is the negation of slavery.

Niemand ist mehr Sklave, als der sich für frei hält, ohne es zu sein. ‘
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(Transl.: None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.)

Human beings who are anarchists are thus literally beings that do not accept to be ruled by archons, i.e., they are free and cannot be ruled and suppressed by external forces (they only subordinate themselves to natural law, viz., the timeless universal metaphysical foundation of morality and ethics; cf. the Kantian categorical imperative).

Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.
— Immanuel Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals (1785)

Fulltext: archive.org/details/groundingformet000kant

In this context a quotation by the freedom fighter Malcolm X is of great pertinence.
He asked the following quintessential question concerning the highest of all virtues:

What is the price of freedom?

Answer
Death.

P.S. This does not imply that one has to die to be free, but it means that one has to be willing to risk once own life for the greatest of all goods, viz., the ultimate expression of human potential: Absolute Freedom.
If one is not willing to go “all in” one has lost the quest for freedom a priori because one is not willing to risk what it takes to achieve it. Fear is the inhibitor of freedom. Death is the mother of all fears. Ergo, overcoming the irrational fear of death is a condicio sine qua non for the obtainment of superordinate transcendental values.

Non-cooperation with evil is a sacred duty.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Freedom comes with wisdom, intrinsically. They are inseparable, and no society wants people to be free. The communist society, the fascist society, the capitalist society, the Hindu, the Mohammedan, the Christian – no society likes people to use their own intelligence because the moment they start using their intelligence they become dangerous – dangerous to the establishment, dangerous to the people who are in power, dangerous to the “haves”; dangerous to all kinds of oppression, exploitation, suppression; dangerous to the churches, dangerous to the states, dangerous to the nations.

In fact, a wise man is afire, alive, aflame. He would like rather to die than to be enslaved. Death will not matter much to him, but he cannot sell his life to all kinds of stupidities, to all kinds of stupid people. He cannot serve them. Hence, the societies down the ages have been supplying you with false knowing. That’s the very function of your schools, colleges, universities.

They don’t serve you, remember, they serve the past, they serve the vested interests. Of course, they go on puffing your ego up bigger and bigger, they go on giving you more and more degrees. Your name becomes longer and longer, but only the name – you go on becoming shorter and shorter. A point comes where there are only certificates and the man has disappeared. First the man carries the certificates, then the certificates carry the man. The man is long dead.
~Osho

Simulacra and simulation (Jean Baudrillard, 1994)


Further References

Groom, N., Baudrillard, J., & Grant, I. H.. (2007). Symbolic Exchange and Death. The Modern Language Review

Plain numerical DOI: 10.2307/3734103
DOI URL
directSciHub download

Baudrillard, J., & Glaser, S. F.. (1994). Simulacrum and Simulation (The Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism). The Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism
Baudrillard, J.. (1994). Simulacra and simulation / by Jean Baudrillard ; translated by Sheila Faria Glaser. Idea

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1017/S1359135500001081
DOI URL
directSciHub download

Nordin, A. H. M.. (2012). Taking Baudrillard to the fair: Exhibiting China in the world at the Shanghai Expo. Alternatives

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1177/0304375412444816
DOI URL
directSciHub download

Croissant, J. L.. (2006). The new sexual technobody: Viagra in the hyperreal world. Sexualities

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1177/1363460706065056
DOI URL
directSciHub download

Butterfield, B.. (2007). Ethical Value and Negative Aesthetics: Reconsidering the Baudrillard-Ballard Connection. PMLA

Plain numerical DOI: 10.2307/463427
DOI URL
directSciHub download

Constable, C.. (2006). Baudrillard reloaded: Interrelating philosophy and film via the Matrix Trilogy. Screen

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1093/screen/hjl018
DOI URL
directSciHub download

Massumi, B.. (1987). Realer than Real: The Simulacrum According to Deleuze and Guattari. Copyright
Rennett, M.. (2009). Baudrillard and The Joe Schmo Show. The International Journal of Baudrillard Studies
Baudrillard, J.. (1972). Simulacra & Simulation* precession of simulacra. Postmodern American Fiction: A Norton Anthology