The E-primitive Thought Experiment


Thanks, Anneke. I was scared to admit how I felt for a long time. I needed to make peace. And in doing so, I continue my path of rewilding.


There’s something else I feel I need to share that frustrates me on this forum. I write this hoping to look for guidance here as I share this, and please don’t take this as criticism. I’m just trying to make sense of some logic I see on this forum that I personally fail to understand. I have concluded in life that when something appears to you as “illogical,” it probably has logic, but you just don’t understand the logic in what someone else has written. Right now, I’ve read a lot of stuff on this forum, the College of Mythic Cartography, and other rewilding forums, and I’ve noticed what I perceive as an inconsistency that doesn’t make sense to me. However, it clearly makes sense to many of the authors and admins here, so I’m going to ask them honestly to clarify this inconsistency, so I can learn and understand people here rather than eternally spend my days puzzled by it:

I find an inconsistency on this forum regarding the verb “to be.” I have grown to agree with much of the wisdom of “E-Prime” as I have matured, yet I have noticed many people on this forum constantly use that verb in order to argue many claims regarding the inherent unsustainability of civilization and its facets, alongside hierarchy, agriculture, and other things. How can we announce that “civilization is sustainable,” or “x is y,” even if that statement reflects Truth, if the word “is,” a part of the verb “to be,” does not truly reflect the nature of the world with its unchanging, godlike statements? It confuses me that, despite the realization of the limitations of the verb “to be,” I see it used by many people who acknowledge those limitations to make many absolute claims. In my opinion, if the verb “to be” truly reflects the flaws that people have mentioned here, then arguments using such terms should have inherent limitations as well.

I have actually changed my writing style based on the ideas challenging the verb “to be” on this website and the College of Mythic Cartography’s website. I’ve worked hard to avoid it as much as possible, though sometimes, I cannot write what I feel or say without using that verb because of the limitations of the English language as we know it.

I may be wrong, but I have concluded that making any claims regarding the inherent unsustainability of any entity don’t seem to mesh with the ideas against the verb “to be,” which argue that the absolute, factual, unchanging way of seeing the world meshes with the true reality of the world. Maybe this is just my own perception, and I am not understanding something. Can someone help me with this paradox that I seem to have observed?

Willem has written other amazing pieces on the “College of Mythic Cartography” regarding “the grave of right and wrong” and living in a “perceptive, observational” mode versus a “factual” mode. I agree with so much of what he shares in the College of Mythic Cartography. Yet I then see by so many Rewilders absolute assertions regarding Civilization that they claim as absolute Truth, yet so much of Rewilding represents abandoning that way of thinking. Probably I just cannot understand the Logic that people have shared here, but it has been hard for me to Agree with what I perceive as a Paradox.

I have grown to agree that asserting concepts of right and wrong, and consistent facts, represent flawed, Civilized modes of thinking. Willem has helped me understand these concepts. But to agree with these ideas has caused a paradox to emerge in my brain regarding many ideas on this website:

How can we assert so many facts about Civilization, hierarchy, agriculture, and other ills, if the factual mode of thinking represents a flawed way of thinking? How can we claim to assert that a mode of thinking represents a flawed one, yet then use it extensively to justify many of our other beliefs? Wouldn’t that mean that those beliefs themselves have limitations and flaws?

Can someone help me understand this logic? Thank you. I’m not trying to oppose or disagree with anyone, just trying to learn more at this point.


Congratulations James! If writing is your passion, it will be the vehicle to empower you and your contribution to humankind. Listen to others with an open heart but don’t let their opinions dictate your life. Follow your passions and everything (even death that you mention often in the previous post) will be fine.


Writing is my passion. And although rewilding is beyond my abilities due to my own limited means, I still enjoy much of what is read on this forum. Yet so much of what is written here puzzles me.

I know I have said this before, but it has been buried in other thoughts, so I am just going to specifically write about it here, and hope that someone tries to give me an explanation. This is meant to be a request for understanding, not a criticism or challenge. (My adolescent self would have thought it as a criticism.)

So much beauty has been written about the limitations about the verb “to be,” and how they represent an idea related to domestication. And as a person with autism living in the autism community, I have grown to truly value this idea, since so many “non-autistic” people often use that verb to make “god-like” statements (to quote others in this forum) about people with autism, in my work as an autism advocate.

Yet so much of the basis of this forum, I have felt, is based on “god-like” statements using that verb. The mere phrase: “Civilization is unsustainable,” is a statement that uses the word “is,” a version of the verb “to be,” to make a god-like statement about civilization, and many god-like statements have been made regarding that many things “are” unsustainable, such as cities, hierarchy, etc.

I find myself puzzled in a paradox–to truly be a part of this forum, I must accept these “god-like” statements regarding civilization and its “ills.” Yet part of rewilding also means shedding the concepts of “god-like” statements. Can anyone help me understand this paradox more? How do the people who have created these “god-like” statements reconcile the idea that “god-like” statements are part of being domesticated, yet god-like statements appear to be needed to justify the issues related to civilization.


“Civilization is unsustainable.”

Shall we try and apply the e-primitivization process to this one? And does that even help?

“In many Rewilder’s opinions:
…civilization builds upon unsustainable practices”
…civilization cannot co-exist with sustainability"

Yet again I think it comes down to most of us having a foot (or half of our brain) planted in each view of reality. We try to rewild our thoughts and beliefs and language, but our thoughts and beliefs and language were formed within civilization.

How do you paint a picture of a green tree and a blue sky, when your culture of origin only provides you with black and white paint, (and which typically cannot even see green or blue should you go out there and find some color to paint with?). Or else you just sigh and paint in black and white anyway–and endure the criticisms of those who do see in color.


Indeed it does help. Your post also helps me understand some of the inconsistencies I have felt with the tone of Rewilding.