Anarcho Primitivism and accusations of ableism

Rewilding and staying in civilisation do not have to be contrary at all, I think, not just learning about plants and animals, or any craft without modern equipment, but certainly also many social skills, like peacemaking. Even if you will never find yourself in a position to practice these skills in a tribal context, doing what you can and passing them on to others will benefit many people at some point in future.
I do not know the names of all the people that made up the lineage through which I learned the bow drill (or any other skill, for that matter). But I feel grateful to all of them. There may even have been moments in time that if they hadn’t passed them on, I would never have learned that skill at all.
So, who knows, you may form a key link in that chain for someone in the future…


Thank you James, for sharing your story. And I want to echo what others have said here, that rewilding does not need to be (and in fact can’t really be for us moderns) an all or nothing situation. Little steps can count for a lot, and for me, doing anything at all in the direction of rewilding gives me a huge peace of mind. Even if those small steps would seem to count for nothing in the big picture…it is very much like the Starfish Story I think.

I wonder if it might be helpful to you at all, to back off a little from the word “rewilding”. It sounds like it has become a bit of a trigger word for your family and friends–and perhaps for yourself as well? Using “rewilding” as a search term may also limit the connections and skills you are finding in your area…there are people all over the place that are interested in nature connection, basketry, wild edibles, urban foraging, bird watching, bird language, naturalist studies, going on nature walks, weaving, wood carving, nature crafts, campsite camping, kayaking, fishing, etc. Perhaps you might find the kind of connections you are looking for if you widen your focus a little? Yet still be working towards the greater “rewilding” vision or goal that attracted you in the first place?


I’m enjoying this thread and glad to see this topic discussed! Diversity is very much needed. I’d say let’s just see what role people of varying bodies, minds, and experiences play in rewilding. Some of us might be surprised. It’s not like any of us really know what the hell we’re doing. :slight_smile:

Personally I’m not interested in rewilding as a survival strategy. In fact a lot of survivalist types seem to lean more in the direction of survival-of-the-fittest/supremacist/extreme-bro-dude/insane—no thanks, I’d rather die in the city, thank you. If catastrophe kills me, that’s the way it goes. I’m interested in rewilding because I want to live a sane/healthy/connected/dignified/animistic/etc. life with reciprocity and loving f$&%ing kindness at the center, not because I want to survive an apocalypse that kills everyone else. “I shall go down with my family and the community I belong to.” You said it best, James.

James, I see you apologizing a lot on this forum. I wasn’t part of those early conversations you’re apologizing for, but I suspect all is well. You seem pretty awesome to me and clearly offer a unique and much-needed perspective around here. Thank you for being who you are! I’m glad you’re here telling your story. So much good stuff in those stories you tell.


Mona_Rose and mindyfitch,

I am working at a convention and will reply to you on Monday. The apologies result from some conversations where I made some mistakes and behaved inappropriately, but I have now recovered from. I have a reply to share, but I need to wait until Monday. Thanks.

I tried to reply on this earlier, but was unable to because of a series of computer errors.

The truth is, what causes me pain on this forum is that due to my autism, I fail to understand, many of the beliefs that many of the “rewilders” have on this forum. They have puzzled me, and my autism makes it difficult for me to make much sense of them. In addition, the more I read outside of this forum, the more I see just how diverse human beings truly are in their opinions on the world. I see so much of here closing off my ability to understand the perspectives of others.

Monarose, you mentioned the importance of broadening one’s horizons, and you were right. I have done that, and I have seen that so many “adamant” claims on this forum are not universally believes. Not everyone in the rewilding community is as adamant about civilization’s inherent unsustainably as people are on here, yet they are working just as hard to rewild as people here. I also have seen people banned off this forum whom I have gotten along with, and that has disturbed me.

One other thing that was discussed many years ago, when I was an adolescent, on this forum, was the acknowledgment that 6+ billion (now 7+ billion) people cannot be sustainably supported by any means. That helped me conclude it was in my best interest to die with civilization, but with the knowledge that others could survive in ways I never could. “Rewilding” has become a trigger word for me, and I realize that I have to shelter myself from some things in order to function in life.

When I wrote this post several days ago, I wrote that I was going to leave this forum. One day of thinking has helped me realize–the problem that is occurring is that my mind needs to find a way to understand what it perceives to be contradictory on this forum. I have ran from this for many years and it drives me crazy. Therefore, I have decided that it is important that I remain on the website until my questions are answered, and I can do so in a more peaceful format. I have left the Facebook group temporarily as I engage in this process, but I still want to stay here and LEARN. Not RUN from what puzzles me, but LEARN more about what is puzzling me.

1 Like

Hey James, that makes me very happy! The other day I read your plans to leave and felt sad because I always enjoy your thoughtful posts and sometimes they intrigue me because they show me a different way of perceiving the world. So yes, please continue asking those questions!


Thank you, Anneke. Thanks very much.

I could add still that pursuing a tribal community, which should only be such that would work, is just viable in a meaningful way with it being voluntary. It is important that it should be seen by many more why this is important, any who do see why should see it is important for them to pursue coming to such a change, but still it must be for them to choose that. And how can any choose it, if they don’t see that any tribal community or any that might form such would accommodate them in what is needed for it?

Surprised that Into the Wild movie wasnt mentioned on here, there were a few copy cat deaths after that movie because being able is (probably) a temporary state.

The RE in rewilding does acknowledge a need for wilderness skill building and this site is a good example of the common call for community.

(Even TV shows that emulate survival dont typically send people out alone)

What is actually really sustainable is what has the basis for pursuit, that should apply to any that might learn of it. Going out alone for what is seen as a needed change from how one lived in civilization, even knowing all the skills for that, as if one individual alone will have that, is not such sustainable choice that is needed, it leads to no others changing in any such way, and this pursuit perishes with that individual whenever that would happen. What is the very most sustainable way still needs to be searched out, it is more than what one individual assumes. A group forming a community is needed for it, living agreeably at that sustainable level, and being visible to others, that more can be born to this stable community, and more come to it with finding it, in one way or another. And if such sustainable community with this stability provides the accommodation of those in it according to their real needs, more are enabled for it and will come to that needed change, as civilization will not come to such change and continue in stability.

Yes, it must be important to them to make such a change. But no one in my community does see its importance. In addition, I see periodically the “population” issue mentioned. I’ve said this before, but this has led me to conclude that if the world can’t support rewilded, “tribal” people at the current population, then some people should be willing to die in civilization’s collapse who are knowledgable about rewilding and civilization’s issues so that rewilders can live. If I can’t succeed in rewilding, I can at least die in the collapse knowing I’ve freed space on the Earth so a rewilder can live and thrive.

I have also concluded that any tribal community that forms develops values, and you often have to play along with those values when you depend on that community to survive.

I’m part of the “autism community” in the U.S. It’s been described as the “autism tribe.” Yet it worships civilization. To speak against civilization is blasphemy in the “autism tribe.” Yet I have autism, and the “autism tribe” that I belong to consists of my friends, my social life, and a large circle of friends that I rely on for my survival as a nomadic, traveling autism advocate around the country.

I also am very financially dependent on my parents, who worship civilization as well. My father is a devout scientific atheist who opposes all religion and anything related to anarcho-primitivism. My mother opposes anarcho-primitivism as well. Yet they are still my parents, and my Family.

In a tribal setting, if you went against the beliefs of your tribe, your survival would be threatened. People can challenge each other freely in the confines of the Internet, but if you asserted the unsustainability of civilization in a civilization-worshipping community and you depended on them for survival, you’d have to change your beliefs or you’d be thrown o

But it works both ways. I couldn’t just assert the values of civilization here, in the “rewilding tribe’s” website either, without risking my ability to stay in this community as well. That’s part of tribal life–is realizing that you have to play along with values you don’t agree with, when you rely on people for your survival needs, as all humans do within their “tribes.”

Glad you acknowledged the difficult of finding the most sustainable way. Personally, I’m tending to side more with Ran Prieur’s take on the subject from his website–that it’s really difficult to determine what’s truly “sustainable.” And honestly, every different “sustainability” website I go on has a little different definition on what it truly means. This has led me to conclude that humans really don’t have the ability to actually determine sustainability, only the “gods” or the “Earth” does. What we need to do is try to find what we think is the most sustainable, and then the “gods” will have their final say in determining that for us. We have to live somehow, but to spend our time debating sustainability will get us nowhere. We just have to live as best as we can and hopefully the gods let us live.

1 Like

I’ve seen sustainability defined different ways as well - theres a little bit of quantum physics / *butterfly effect going on when people theorize (inaction) whats best instead of avoiding (action) what we *know to be unsustainable or wasteful.

I agree. But the fact is, you still have to live. And people have to build something. And for every person that argues that something IS sustainable, there’s a lot of people who argue that it’s UNsustainable. Don’t forget, civilization tried to annihilate a lot of tribal people on the grounds that their way of life was unsustainable.

I don’t say that what should be pursued is unsustainable, and I don’t say that it is sustainable for nothing. The pursuit for us is what is most sustainable, that is the call for us, so doing that will be sustainable by definition. So, what is most sustainable? It wasn’t the civilization annihilating tribal people in its path. The way of such tribal people might not be the most sustainable which is needed now. What is the most sustainable is what should be found. It should work for all coming to live that way, and as it is other than civilization it must come to be with such as those separate from civilization. It shouldn’t have any die off of any people as opposed to any other way of living that people might come to. It would be then what the world can best provide for people generally doing. With as many as that might be, it would then not be with hunting animals and depending on animals, as the way it is or as it might yet be. For the most sustainable, vegetation with what provides for our needs would be grown in the location away from civilization being used, among other vegetation naturally growing, and there can be more familiarity with useful vegetation that grows wild. There can be natural farming methods used, as there is information available for. It can be with as much simplicity as is seen called for, and it can be primitive and work really well still. And it would be with people in community with each other, where needs are provided for. Other ways to pursue will not be as sustainable, or not be as worthwhile.

Pursue whatever you wish, and good luck with it. One person whom I respect is the philosopher Ran Prieur, who has honestly pointed out that in the long run, nothing lasts forever, not even the Sun or the Earth.

At the same time, I also realize that my experiences are vastly different than many people here. Although I can read extensively regarding the inherent unsustainability of civilization on this website and other websites, I personally do not observe this inherent unsustainability others have experienced. And I’ll turn around and enjoy the time I spend at the pow-wows I go to annually with my tribal friends, who work hard to preserve their culture in the heart of civilization. Perhaps I can join them when the system finally collapses.

In the end though, I do believe in the old saying–“If you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.”

Whatever others here do, which might not be very different, I will pursue what should be and needs to be pursued, others will come to it as it happens that they will have to, for their best alternative. It will be what the land, the environments at hand, can support. The use of animals for food and resources the way humanity now uses them is unsustainable, and continued use of them is changing our world faster than anything else, period, with billions and billions of animals used each year, for the benefit of the more privileged among humanity as many other humans starve when that could be avoided, and with worsening of the world along the way. So as there is betterment for the future of many to depart from civilization, even in groups and communities living more simply, there is better future for all such with using vegetation much more, and diminishing use of animals as far as they would, if not eliminating the use. This will mean doing something as simple farming for more available varied vegetation adequate for them.

Saying the earth or sun will not last has no relevance to these things, they will last in our lives, the lives of our children, the lives of their children, and the lives of their grandchildren. It reminds me of certain ones who continue in a destructive behavior or unhealthy habit who would say, everyone dies anyway, so what does it matter? What won’t last for certainty for those future generations, or even for all the rest of all our lives, are the standards our civilization has us expecting for us, while such is taking from our world as environments are being diminished, and resources we think are important are shrinking, while we don’t really change anything. At least some among us take steps, and there can be much more for us to do. Those that are able, in what I envision, are taking care of those who are not able in those things that are needed for them, so that all in such community together have such things they need, still taking part in what they can.

It is a good general rule and can apply to each and all of us, to continue hearing the communication around us with other ideas not all in agreement with our own thinking. We, any of us, don’t know enough about many things we could yet learn.

Good luck with what you are pursuing, and I hope you are able to help many people while you are doing so.