I really didn’t want to throw myself into the fray with such a contentious issue; I wanted to just hang back a little & ease myself into the conversations here. But after reading several threads here related to the issue of using violence to bring down the system, I find myself very disturbed by what some people are saying, & seem to be (half-heartedly) advocating. Every fiber in my being is screaming “NO! THIS IS BAD! THIS IS WRONG! WE CAN’T DO THIS!” And I don’t think this issue has been satisfactorily resolved at all, & it needs to be resolved.
Not only do I believe that it’s possible to rewild nonviolently, I will go so far as to say that REWILDING MUST BE NONVIOLENT OR ELSE IT WILL NEVER WORK.
I think the issue of violence is the great unresolved issue of rewilding. And I need to be absolutely clear about this: I think the real issue here is VIOLENCE BETWEEN HUMAN BEINGS.
The guys who want to do violence to the system, to “bring it down,” seem like a bunch of very angry guys. They may very well be addicted to their anger. But my experience with anger tells me that it warps your perceptions & your judgment, & causes you to do stupid, foolish things. And it seems to me that using violence to bring down the system is an extremely stupid & foolish thing to do. I think the angry guys who want to bring down the system are confused in their anger; they are not thinking clearly about this issue at all.
What these guys are really talking about is going to WAR against civilization. I don’t think they understand what that really means. I don’t think it’s possible to war against civ & rewild at the same time. We have to devote all of our energy to either one thing or the other. And I do not want civilized people to get the idea that rewilding equals a war against civilization; I don’t want them to think of rewilders as their enemy. People who are totally dependent on the system for their very survival will see an attack on the system as an attack on them. If they see us as the enemy, then they will treat us as the enemy, & it might well end up leading to situations like Ruby Ridge & Waco. The system is designed, at least in part, to defend itself against all threats to its continued existence.
I’m just trying to look at this issue in the most realistic & practical way I possibly can.
I don’t want to go to war against civilization – I just want to be able to rewild in peace & quiet. I want peace & quiet so bad! I’m sick to death of being full of anger, rage & hate all the time; it’s eating away at me like cancer, & I want to be free from it. We are not going to be able to rewild in peace & quiet unless we can show civilized people that rewilding is actually a good thing. And if they see it as a good thing, then some of them might even choose to join us.
I think it’s the aggressive, macho, militant stance of a lot of rewilders that turns a lot of women off to it & keeps them from joining up with us.
Based on my research, truly wild humans are peaceful, gentle, loving people. I refer you to the writings of Jean Liedloff, E Richard Sorenson, & James W Prescott. Just Google those names. Liedloff & Prescott have their own websites; Sorenson’s writings are less easy to find on the web, but I think his work is extremely important & has staggering implications.
As far as I’m concerned, the natural-unnatural distinction just doesn’t work, because it completely misses the point. According to my definition, Nature means everything that exists, therefore, nothing that can exist or happen in Nature is unnatural. That means that civilization itself is perfectly natural. The distinction that works for me is between HEALTH & SICKNESS. According to my view, wildness means health & civilization means sickness.
Human beings are social animals. A true society cannot be held together if people cannot get along with each other. Fear, anger, rage, hostility, aggression & violence between people cause social cohesion to break down. These negative emotions are symptoms of the disease we call civilization – signs that something has gone terribly wrong. True social cohesion can only exist when people are kind, gentle, loving & peaceful toward each other. Without this kind of relationship between people, social cohesion breaks down, & laws are created to take its place & try to hold society together. But I think we can all agree that laws really do a lousy job of holding a society together.
It makes more sense for me to view civilization not as a thing or a group of things created by humans, but as a PROCESS. More specifically – & essential to my argument – civilization is a PATHOLOGICAL PROCESS – in other words, a DISEASE. Even more to the point, the damage done to human beings by civilization is essentially PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMA. I believe that all the problems civilized people suffer from can be traced back to psychological trauma, usually done to us in infancy by our own parents.
If civilization is a disease, then rewilding should be seen as the cure. In my view, the essence of rewilding is HEALING OURSELVES from the trauma done to us by civilization.