Rewilding: A Battle?


#1

Urban Scout, thanks for the clarification.

I think I was a bit confused about something.

My understanding of rewilding was that it was not a culture in itself, rather it was a catalyst for dismantling civilization.

The point I made about wilderness schools was that help teach people how to be in a group somewhat like a tribe, the intensity of which depends on the school.

But, you clarified by stating:

Wilderness awareness and Primitive skills do not lead to sustainability. The point being; even the first civilizations had primitive tools and wilderness awareness and permaculture and skin on frame boats. In order to teach sustainability, you have to teach the philosophy and science behind rewilding. That is what defines rewilding. That is why rewilding is different than primitive skills, different than wilderness survival, different than permaculture, different than wilderness awareness, different than "getting back to nature", etc. While those elements have to do with rewilding, rewilding refers to a rather large cultural context for using those skills. Without understanding the difference in context, you make the term rewilding just another buzz word for getting back to nature. It loses all meaning and continues to perpetuate civilized mythology.

These schools do not teach the history of civilization and how/why agriculture is destroying the planet, nor how indigenous horticulture/hunter/gatherers encouraged biodiversity and egalitarianism. This information is paramount to understanding rewilding and understanding stewardship. So what if you know what berries are edible? Do you know when and how to harvest them so there will be more growth the following year? So what if you know that information if civilization is going to bulldoze it all next year.

I find I am learning a great deal here.

So, would you say that rewilding can be called a battle or form of war?


#2

Regarding:

“So, would you say that rewilding can be called a battle or form of war?”

I forgot to add that I am not pulling that out of no were, I am asking because Urban Scout mentioned “the front lines.” Given that you guys are some of the people heading this movement, I figure you would be good folks to ask.


#3

Little Spider-

For clarity’s sake, I’ve decided to move your questions to a new thread.


#4

Thanks Willem.

What’s your opinion on this question?


#5

I prolly have a slightly different perspective, but…

Personally, I’m less about dismantling civilization than I am about dissolving and replacing civilization (not just our civilization, but The Civ ™ ;D). It might just be a semantic difference, but, thinking like this, it seems easier for me to work with folks who otherwise don’t get the critique of civilization, but who, I’m quite sure, will still play a large part in growing a much healthier culture.

So, no, I don’t particularly see it as a battle or a war. More like an opportunity.

Just my 2 cents.


#6

Well, I see it as an issue of survivance (as coined by Gerald Vizenor). Doing what we can to keep what we’ve got, and reclaim what we don’t got, in the face of a culture who’d like all of us who rewild to just go ahead and die or homogenize, already.

If battles come into that somewhere, then those battling know it best, in my opinion. I think Derrick Jensen has done the best job of explaining the hidden aspect of violence in our culture. I haven’t done a whole lot of work to articulate this for myself yet, so I’ll have to think about it some more. Otherwise reading DJ helps to clarify this side of rewilding.


Survival Instinct
#7

Urban Scout wrote this:

These schools do not teach the history of civilization and how/why agriculture is destroying the planet, nor how indigenous horticulture/hunter/gatherers encouraged biodiversity and egalitarianism. This information is paramount to understanding rewilding and understanding stewardship. So what if you know what berries are edible? Do you know when and how to harvest them so there will be more growth the following year? So what if you know that information if civilization is going to bulldoze it all next year.

I’m really glad that you wrote what you wrote above. I think that it ranks right up there with some of the other good stuff you’ve written. Every wilderness survival school should atleast offer a class on what civilization has done, and is doing to life on this planet. It’s driven us insane.

Of course Daniel Quinn’s work is a great tool to use as a gateway to opening up this awareness. I don’t understand why more wilderness survival schools don’t atleast offer his work as recommended reading. Hell, I think public schools are more apt to use his work.

Take care,

Curt


#8

Thanks for the replies. I look forward to more.

Curt,

Years ago, I took a college class about fish biology & environmental management where the professor required us to read ISHMAEL. This is actually how I came upon it the first time. In hindsight I am incredibly thankful for that. He also had us do weekly discussion groups relating to what we read in the book.

Since it was a early level college class, I was amazed that around half the people who read it actually missed the messages within. They only came to realize them once we were in the weekly discussions. Even them, some got rather glazed expressions when we discussed what I felt was pretty serious and timely issues. The teacher’s assistant who ran the discussion groups was pretty amazing, so I didn’t think it was presented in a boring way.

Some people just chose to consider what they were gonna have for lunch or what shade of lipstick they were gonna buy, instead of the messages in the book. But to my eyes and ears, most of the class got it.

I think reading the book is not enough…

Even Daniel Quinn himself admits that many people get confused about his works, and says so pretty plainly in IF THEY GIVE YOU LINED PAPER WRITE SIDEWAYS.

DQ also states that he is not prescribing a particular action, he is only giving a description of what is going on and why. I think that should be made clear when using him as a reference for how re-wilding should be outlined.


#9
Since it was a early level college class, I was amazed that around half the people who read it actually missed the messages within. They only came to realize them once we were in the weekly discussions. Even them, some got rather glazed expressions when we discussed what I felt was pretty serious and timely issues. The teacher's assistant who ran the discussion groups was pretty amazing, so I didn't think it was presented in a boring way.

I had a similar experience in college. An acquaintance of mine was required to read “Ishmael’ for an ethics class. She was (and still is) the only person I have met IRL who has read it. Imagine my shock when I asked her what she thought of it and she said, " ::slight_smile: humans are destroying the planet, blah, blah, blah.”

Ran Prieur posted this response from a reader today, which, for me shed a lot of light on that kind of response (Is it the same Paula who posted here?):

I was raised in a fundamentalist church and grew up holding rather extreme right-wing beliefs. So, I have some insight into where these people are coming from.

The key thing to understand about right-wingers’ thinking is that all their lives they are taught that morality and values are things that come from outside themselves. Anything you want to try to understand about right wingers comes back to this. A person’s feelings and experiences have nothing whatever to do with what is right and wrong. Thus it’s really quite impossible for someone stuck in a right-wing mentality to discern evil and good on her own; this determination has to come from some authority, and no matter how painful or miserable, she’ll stay the authority’s course because she believes she does not have the capacity to make moral decisions for herself.

This is why right-wing pundits are so much more popular than left-wing pundits, and why they can become continually more obnoxious, disgusting, fascist and stupid without losing audience; and why parroting the day’s party line memo is so much more rampant among right-winger bloggers and political junkies – people who have never, and because of their cognitive programming likely will never have an original political thought. It is also why appeals to right-wingers’ sense of decency or humanity are futile: the authorities have already been determined, and you and I are not among them, no matter if we speak the genuine truth or lay out a perfectly sensible argument.

Right-wingers oppose government doing good because government actions are determined by the will of the people, and the people have no capacity to make moral decisions on their own. Democratic and representative governments are intrinsically evil because they are subordinate to the people… This is why right-wingers seek to use democratic processes to end democracy.

I also believe we are all born with an internal moral compass (with a few neurological anomalies here and there). But in my experience, that moral compass is like any muscle… If you don’t exercise it, it will atrophy and you’ll end up dependent upon someone else. Perhaps the best metaphor I can think of is the old Japanese practice of boxing in little girls’ feet so that when they grow up, they can’t walk. The difference being that it IS possible to reconstitute one’s internal moral compass. For me it happened through very, very painful experiences which forced me to make life and death decisions on my own, without the help of any authority.


#10

And then there is the flip side of that thinking, the idea that there is no right and wrong, or that those ideas are not important.

I don’t think there is usually a black-and-white difference between right and wrong, it is often a gray scale, but I do feel that when people listen to their inner moral compass and steer themselves towards what it says, they are happier and feel more connected to themselves and the world. I think that by listening to your compass, you can decide that there are some actions you’d consider right or wrong when faced with a morally difficult situation.

About a year ago, I was experiencing just such a struggle (I can’t remember the details) regarding what to say to a friend about something that had to do with our friendship. One of the options was effectively lying to her or otherwise deceiving her by withholding the truth. I immediately ruled out that option, but I still couldn’t decide what to do instead, and it was weighing on my mind, so I brought it to the therapist/counselor that I used to have.

So I told her about the situation and then started telling her what I thought about each of the “solutions” that I could imagine. I said, “Well, of course I can’t lie to her, because that would be wrong.” To which she responded, “I’m not very interested in what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’.” I said, “NO. ‘X’ (a different friend) lied to ME in a similar way, and it really hurt me, it is WRONG.”

I still don’t understand how anyone could say that, especially someone in her line of work.


#11

I think my chapter on Resistance Vs. Rewilding sums it up:


#12

Damn, wish I had read that earlier. It put me in a very clear headspace. I’ll remember those ideas because they speak to my personal struggle as well.


#13

Ai like that article, exept for one thing. The dams. According to my dad (an engineer by trade), even the largest, highest-tech dams wont last more than 200-300 years without maintenance; most much shorter. Not the thousands that you speculate. (unless you have some source you get that idea from?)


#14

PS. No pun intended! :smiley:


#15

That sounds great about the Dams, though I dont know if I believe it.

The main part about that though is that the salmon will be dead soon, thanks to the dams (among other things). The sooner it all comes down the better and the more chance we have to stop their extinction.


#16

tru dat.


#17

Little Spider,

Years ago, I took a college class about fish biology & environmental management where the professor required us to read ISHMAEL. This is actually how I came upon it the first time. In hindsight I am incredibly thankful for that. He also had us do weekly discussion groups relating to what we read in the book.

Since it was a early level college class, I was amazed that around half the people who read it actually missed the messages within. They only came to realize them once we were in the weekly discussions. Even them, some got rather glazed expressions when we discussed what I felt was pretty serious and timely issues. The teacher’s assistant who ran the discussion groups was pretty amazing, so I didn’t think it was presented in a boring way.

Some people just chose to consider what they were gonna have for lunch or what shade of lipstick they were gonna buy, instead of the messages in the book. But to my eyes and ears, most of the class got it.

I think reading the book is not enough…

In my last post did you think I was trying to say that all one had to do was just read ISHMAEL to understand why civilization is killing the planet?

Take care,

Curt


#18
In my last post did you think I was trying to say that all one had to do was just read ISHMAEL to understand why civilization is killing the planet?

Nope.

Just pointing out that it is only a starting point.

With all the conversations we’ve had Curt, that would seem silly.


#19

Little Spider,

Just pointing out that it is only a starting point.

I was too. That is why I was confused.

Take care,

Curt


#20

What I said in response to your statement was not a disagreement, but re-reading it again several times I can see how it might sound that way.

I think reading the book is not enough...

Even Daniel Quinn himself admits that many people get confused about his works, and says so pretty plainly in IF THEY GIVE YOU LINED PAPER WRITE SIDEWAYS.

DQ also states that he is not prescribing a particular action, he is only giving a description of what is going on and why. I think that should be made clear when using him as a reference for how re-wilding should be outlined.

I wanted to help create and maintain more clarity around DQ’s work. After reading IF THEY GIVE YOU LINED PAPER WRITE SIDEWAYS, I felt that I meet readers of ISHMAEL sometimes who, like Quinn mentions, are confused about the works. I am not implying that you or anyone here is necessarily confused, though. But given the amount of people who traffic through this site, it would be great to help hold a lot of clarity around DQ’s message.

I think that the local ISHMAEL community discussion groups are a great resource that should be used on top of reading his books. His website is pretty good too.

Hope that cleared things up. :wink: