A struggle to understand rewilding yet a determination to do so

I wrote this privately to Willem in an E-mail, but that was only because the new Mythic Cartography website is currently not compatible with me sending comments on my computer. So I am posting an edited form here.

Almost a year has passed since I have written on this forum. Although I say that I intend to withdraw from the group, I still come back to this forum, the College blog, the Anthropik archives, yearning to learn more about the rewilding perspective. I periodically write back here, and then go back into my community that has nothing to do with rewilding. I struggle to integrate what I read here, which I truly do respect, into a community that has no ties with rewilding. I do not live near Portland, or Pittsburgh, and have never met a Rewilder in person.

As I mature, I learn more about the blindness that I have had in my past. This blindness was partly fueled by my Autism. I have Autism and will live with Autism my entire life. I’m proud of being Autistic despite the struggles it gives me, and the realization that it’s probably not possible for me, due to my autism and other reasons, to be able to survive outside of Civilization. But then again–maybe I could share my perspective and tell my stories to the other Rewilders.

I did not come to rewilding to learn its philosophy. I came to it thinking that since a societal collapse was coming, I had to Rewild or else I would Die. I realize now that just coming here to attempt to Survive will never enable me to truly Rewild. I never really shared the philosophy, I just wanted to Live. Now I have come to terms with the reality of Death and the acknowledgment, as mentioned above, that my autism will prohibit me from actually surviving outside of Civilization.

I realized that in my early 20s, in 2010, I had to walk away from the Movement because it was driving me to Madness. I could not accept the reality of dying within Civilization, since I had a career plan and a goal within Civilization that was being shattered. I wanted to be an author, speaker with autism, and possibly a special education teacher. I thought I could no longer write since writing was a sin against Reality, and deadened my senses and my being. I thought I could no longer Speak since I couldn’t give up the verb “to be” in my speaking. I thought as if my entire Identity was being destroyed by people who told me I had to give up what defined me as a person, or Die. I felt paralyzed. As if my entire soul was being destroyed at the hands of Rewilders on a computer screen. I’ve always had a career path and dream that requires Civilization, and being told of the imminent collapse of civilization resulted in the collapse of my dream, and the destruction of my soul. And then, I would then turn off my computer and find a “flesh and blood” community that didn’t even know or understand Rewilding.

Accepting Death enabled me to start the path of understanding the Rewilding Philosophy, and return to the movement earlier in 2015. No longer did I come here to survive, I came to Learn. My autism would make Rewilding impossible for me, but I can still share my thoughts and Listen to other Rewilders.

This has also allowed me to start to understand this school of thought without having to go Mad that I cannot be Purist in a belief system that I was never truly able to Understand. My lack of Understanding this, and the Shame I felt for failing to Understand this, caused the madness.

Many have said that we Fear what we do not Understand. My madness emerged from that Fear. That I never truly Understood what and why the Rewilders were telling me, and my failure to Understand them caused this madness. Freed from the desire to Survive as a rewilder has enabled me to attempt to Understand them more, and to reconcile with my past, but to do so in my relative youth. I am still in my 20s, even though I am now in my late 20s, and am attempting to still Learn as long as I am able to.

I realize now that to learn from this blindness, I had to accept the reality of Death. When this culture collapses, I will have to die with it. But I realize this–if so many people in this community acknowledge that the Earth cannot support all of the Billions of people in a Rewilded state, then there should be people willing to Die so that space can be made for the Rewilders.

Although I have never been to Portland, Portland is also a city that has actually had a Spiritual connection to me. The Spiritual connection is that it is the setting of a series of amazing stories that are respected by people with the condition of Autism. Someday I plan to travel to Portland and make a pilgrimage to a monument inside the city to admire these stories that have become legends to the Autism community. The Autism community is the community that I am a part of. And to make amends as much from the blindness of my past. I was so harsh to so many Rewilders in my past. I apologize and feel bad for my Blindness. I apologize for my failure to Listen to Jason Godesky, Ran Prieur, Oneida Kincaid, and other rewilders during the time when I wanted to just survive.

I know I may never attend a rewilding group, as I am a man of limited means and have no car, prohibiting me to drive to many rural places (sadly, public transit only serves certain cities and towns). But I can still read the forum, yet do so peacefully and with Patience, Wisdom, and the ability to better Listen, and share Stories as well. And not just come back when I am going through times of Depression. Join the community when I am now hopefully Ready to do so!

Happy New Year everyone. I shall now go back to celebrating New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with some old friends. Sometimes the computer takes you away from interacting with real people a little too much!

Hello, James. I’m so glad I read this wonderful expressive post, thank you! I wonder what the monument in Portland is that you refer to.

I am referring to the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden at Grant Park in Portland, Oregon, where sculptures of characters from the Beverly Cleary books exist, and in particular, the statues of Ramona Quimby and her friends.

The fictional character, Ramona Quimby, in the Beverly Cleary books, has many tendencies of autism. Many people with autism empathize with her. My pilgrimage would be to visit her statue and meditate there, sometime, in the city of Portland.


Awesome! I had no idea Ramona is important in the autism community. I like that character too; in fact I’m reading Beezus and Ramona to my two little daughters right now. Next time I’m visiting Grant Park I’ll say hello to Ramona for you. She’s just down the street from us. :slight_smile:

What is important to me is learning how to understand and coexist with the Philosophy of Rewilding, even though, due to my disability and my Autism, I find myself unable to Rewild myself as it would be too painful for me to do so.

I just want to learn. And sometimes post if I feel the need to. Learn about the philosophy, since, as a person who makes their living teaching Awareness of a disability, I am always looking to learn about new values and ideals. Live a life about respecting others and learning more. When you have Autism, you don’t always have an instinctive sense of how people Interact, and you see the world very differently.

Yes, I do hope to see the Ramona statue someday.


Hi James,

Thank you for your long post and especially also for your updates about how you have changed/developed/grown during the past couple of years. As a new member, I’ve been reading through many old posts (and still haven’t them all) and it seems like many folks here had (and probably still have) their own struggles. Because the texts of many of these posts date many years back, I constantly try to realize that every single post is just a momentary expression, and that the person who wrote it has likely learned and changed quite a bit since then.

That is where your post comes in as a gift to me, it brings life by showing change.

I think that’s true. Any person changes throughout their career.

I have Asperger’s, at least according to mainstream medicine. I know it usually isn’t as difficult as autism, but it’s greatly affected my relationships with other humans, usually in negative ways. The term rewilder means very little to me. It isn’t a set of standards to live up to, it’s simply a term that best describes my own personal beliefs and goals, and these will always very from person to person. What matters is what we share, not what separates us. I’ve always had a deep love for nature and ancient culture, a love I imagine all rewilders share to an extent, regardless of how our mindsets and lifestyles may differ. My AS is what led me to that love, because I just can’t get along with the modern breed of Homo Sapiens. I don’t understand their slang, interests, ideals, or stupid social expectations. We don’t have a problem, they do. (my phone might make me type this as 2 posts)

Yeah we may have a problem in our brains that makes communication difficult, but that’s absolutely no damn reason to rely on civilization. We’re all better off without it. The toxins modern medicine f eeds babies like candy is why we have any flaws we do, the machines that artificially promote life only perpetuates such flaws, and the body and brain both have a remarkable ability to heal when returned to a state of natural balance. I wonder more and more if mental, emotional, and social disorders are so much an individual problem as they are the result of a species-wide imbalance. Either way, people like us, people who have trouble understanding both modern social nuances and ancient instinctive body language, will THRIVE after a bottlenecking event, NOT die. There’s nothing stopping you from learning to live with nature; you only need civilization to help you live within society’s boundaries, not to feed you or shelter you.

I can’t even bring myself to call for pizza, I start to panic that…I don’t even know why, I just feel a strong aversion to calling people I don’t know, I imagine you can sympathize even more than I can. but I’ll be damned if I can’t grow and forage the ingredients, light my own fire, make my own cookware from clay pit down the street, and bake my own damn pizza. I already made multiple sturdy shelters hidden around town to have dinner in. None of it required civilization to learn how to do, just going on this forum or Permies (easy to get banned there though, so try to “be nice”, not sure if my supposed AS or bipolar is what makes me such an apparent asshole) at most, and you seem to do fine online. You want other rewilder friends? Good luck, I think we all have trouble finding like minds offline. You wanna help people? Don’t be a special ed teacher, the education system is bass-ackwards. Find a way to teach kids that they’re fine and society is messed up instead. YOU’RE fine dude.


I understand and agree with where you are coming from, and I completely respect your choice. I wish you the best in your pursuit, and can relate to your struggles. I don’t have as many social struggles anymore, but I used to be like that.

The reality, though, is that vast differences exist between different people with autism and Asperger’s. The biggest roadblock I have currently is that I am very dependent on my family for my survival. I never truly gained full independence from my parents. As many people in the rewilding community have pointed out, humans need some form of a community to survive, and this has been referred to by many as a tribe, band, etc., by many. I have many in-person friends as well. But they are all committed to civilization. I never was able to build any social community of rewilders except virtually on a computer.

I have always been interested and into nature as well. Unfortunately, I also do not have a car or drive, which has made many rural, “wild” areas very inaccessible to me.

What has made me decide to stay in civilization is the reality that I do not want to abandon my family and friends. They are all committed to civilization, and refuse to live any other way. My parents, whom help me immensely for my survival, dismiss rewilding as a fantasy and refuse to even speak of it. I have realized that humans are hard-wired to stay with their community. However, I can still read about what others are doing and what the rewilding community is hoping to accomplish, even if I can never truly be a part of it. I don’t want to abandon my younger sister, my parents, and my friends, as they are my community.

In addition, I realize that most humans in the Wild state lived with their families, in a tribe. They didn’t abandon their families to be wild. Obviously, we live in a different world. But I don’t want to abandon my family and friends. I do, however, want to build friendships with people that are rewilding that are more than just speaking on a computer screen, regardless of whoever they are, and show support for the cause as much as possible.

I do agree about your point about not becoming a Special Ed teacher. I had a dream to become a Special Ed aide as a teenager, not a teacher, and even abandoned that dream. The educational system IS messed up. I actually travel the country as a nomadic bus traveler to teach awareness as to how messed up society is, when I am not at home with my family, staying as a guest in people’s homes and traveling primarily by bus and sometimes by airplane.

I shall read in detail the “Help Dealing with Parents” section on this forum, as I see that I am not alone. Indeed, my autism has often made me feel quite alone in my struggles.

My parents label my mate and I as delusional as well. Like you, we have no one but domesticated friends, and my own friends are only my immediate family. Other humans seem to be offput by what is essentially a nerdy cavegirl. When I explain to them my beliefs and goals, reactions range from dismissive amusement to shocked offense. But there’s always a silver lining: as rewilders, we’re aware of the problems civilization has caused and how unstable the whole system truly is, thus when it all comes crashing down, we’re already much more prepared than our domesticated companions. Whether or not our practical skills reflect our greater perception, our loved ones will no longer ridicule us, but instead turn to us for help when they realize we were right all along. Or they’ll die. So we do have our own tribes, they’re just kinda useless, and rather than abandoning them to go live off in the woods, I encourage you to hone your skills to better protect and provide for them. :stuck_out_tongue:

There are more opportunities for learning and growth than you realize. It may be slow going at first if you aren’t “fully independent” from your parents, but there are different degrees of independence according to subjective opinion. My parents don’t consider me independent; I don’t drive either, I work odd jobs under the table, and currently live in a trailer with a wood-burning stove and no running water or electricity. To them, I’m not independent because I have no credit, car, insurance, or social security for the future. But I don’t need any of that. You at least travel and make a difference in the lives of others, I’m sure you could afford to buy some gear and go camping. xD I thought I just lived in a shitty polluted hoosierfied mill town, which is still true, but I was amazed when I discovered the many thickets just a few blocks/miles away. Then I started exploring them, getting to know them, and getting to know myself. That’s where all journeys start, right where you are.

Firekin4, I admire your efforts. And I actually have camped even more primitively than that–I go on a weekly camping trip in rural Iowa to a national convention of migrants and tramps annually, where I just sleep on a blade of grass without even a tent.

Sadly, I suffer from many major health issues as well that would make rewilding difficult. But I hope to meet “in person” rewilders before the collapse occurs. At this point, I’ve talked to people, but only on computer screens. It’s time to change that.

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