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Teleioi? Mai!

John Humphrey Noyes described the doctrine of the perfectionists in a letter to Charles Nordhoff:

"We consider the community to be a Church, and our theory of a Christian Church, as constituted in the apostolic age, is that it is a school, consisting of many classes... we recognize the two general classes, which were characterized by Paul as the "nepiou" and the "teleioi." Our belief is that a Christian Church can exist only when the "teleioi" are in the ascendant and have control."

Nepiou are like infants, lacking in maturity and protagonism. Teleioi are like grown-ups, ready for a relationship with God.

Interestingly, Arizmendiarrieta uses this classification when he talks about the need for "maturity" in workers cooperatives and uses the problem of maturity to justify qualifications on democracy and equality. In Arizmendiarrieta, maturity seems to be a mix of a kind of political and spiritual maturity with a proven technical capacity.

Noyes, a self-identified Teleioi (like Arizmendiarrieta), was in control. Arizmendiarrieta kept himself out of official leadership positions in the cooperatives, sticking with his position as parish Priest. His views were in the ascendant, but he had little to no control.

What interests me here is the inequality that is concocted and imposed by classifying people -- and their place in the community -- according to their "maturity". This anti-democratic conception -- clearly inherited from the Church -- is present in Arizmendiarrieta, despite the presence of a deeply democratic conception as well.

The modern concept of cooperativism should stand on a different foundation, the one articulated by Walt Whitman: "Neither a servant nor a master, I... I shall be even with you and you will be even with me."

Having your views be in the ascendant is not the problem, right? The problem is the bond between ascendancy of views and political control, right? But how do views become ascendant? How are they displaced by other views?