Hmm i have the feeling that whats being discussed here is all about tactics not strategy.
maybe im just not following because english isnt my native language. anyway probably i do misunderstand most of these posts because it IS teh internets after all.
What im trying to say is that there is a world of difference between tactics and strategy. Tactics are about our personal and local lives. Tactics are situational. Tactics are utilized by our tribes, affinity groups, family, friends, cells, and all that. Strategy is a whole different beast. Strategy is a unified plan for the big picture. It lives on command chains on orders, on abstractions and numbers. It does not need worry about our lives as real things, merely as statistics and resources. Strategy is about a vision applied to the whole.
I feel uhmm a bit uncomfortable by how easy we use the word strategy in this discussion, because i have the feeling people are really talking about (and sharing) tactics here.
I feel a bit uhmm weird about saying these (above) things , but something about it bugs me and i can see it inside me, but have difficulty finding words for.
In no way do i mean to say that we shouldnt discuss the ways we want to change things and all that, it is merely that i want to put a little sidenote into this discussion to remind us that we don’t need a strategy to change things, we merely need to change things.
You’re right Timeless, ultimately this thread is more about tactics, with the implied overall strategy being the earth’s and tribalism’s “win” over both the physical manifestation and mindset of civilization. And it doesn’t really make sense to put it in those “war” terms anyway … so I’ll try to refer to them simply as “ideas” or “actions” from now on. Sorry
[quote=“bereal, post:14, topic:1182”][quote=yarrow dreamer]My life experiences have shown me that I can wish for people to change til I get blue in the face, but I can’t hand them a prepackaged gift epiphany that will fit. Sometimes folks need to bump into change on their own.
Also, I’ve had the experience of folks not ready to hear “the civ” challenged who find anything contrary to it “condescending”. It makes them feel bad!
You’ve hit on the exact reason why I believe in materialism - that reality shapes consciousness. I do think it can go the other way as well, but not NEARLY to the same extent, particularly on a social level. I support the book distribution idea, because I believe that many people out there are receptive to these ideas, but just haven’t heard them yet. But I also believe that those who do not want to change their mindset, who aren’t open to these ideas, won’t change no matter what we do.
I believe that most people don’t WANT to hear these ideas, because most people have been so completely brainwashed by this culture. They identify with it enough to feel personally threatened by anything that challenges it. As DJ said, “the civilized will smile while they tear you limb from limb”. I don’t blame them, because we have very strong herd tendencies in our nature, like many other animals. So much of our personalities, our behavior - our identity - is shaped by those around us. Most people would find it extremely difficult to go against the grain, and most would never want to. For these people, who I believe make up the vast majority, they would only reject civ once the majority around them reject civ.
Yes, fringe ideas can become the mainstream, over time, but the more they threaten the dominant culture, the more effort is made to wipe them out. Only rarely do subversive ideas become mainstream - and pretty much always the process of becoming mainstream changes them, domesticating them so that they no longer represent a threat.
I totally agree with this, and think this describes well why we need to both reach out people with these ideas, and do the direct action necessary to materialize the ideas (another description of materialism = physical actions change reality, not ideas). But getting the ideas out there (propagandizing) becomes necessary in order to get more people to take action. In this way it represents an important stage in the process.
I hear what you’re saying about the materialism vs. idealism thing… and the more I think about it, the more I realize that they are equally important to think about right now, and that it is totally dependent upon who you are for which paths you pursue in your actions for change. The point we seem to be getting to in this thread is that for many people, materialism initially shapes consciousness through sensory input, but over time, civ’s assumptions about the material world have turned into subconscious ideas that have been further entrenched into the subconscious by other people’s ideals and threats of violence… and a collective delusion and its new social structure results.
And as I have personally been discovering through reading this thread and others, I think the key to unlocking the collective delusion is therefore in the hearts and minds of the dissillusioned as they use their most powerful tool (their spirit, personality, physical skill, whatever) to restore the hearts, minds, social structure, and land around them. But the system is of course not very receptive to change. It is because of this that I try not to let anger and frustration in civ flow through my interactions. It is more helpful for me to think of civ as a prison or matrix and to think of myself and everyone else as slaves of that same system. When you are angry at a thing which you are part of that has no currently visible alternative, and you let that anger show by directly accusing the your fellow prisoners as perpetrators and guardians of the system, it will usually only serve to alienate yourself further and not add a bit of understanding of civ to your mindset.
However, if the appeal of tribalism grows through increased understanding, and the disillusioned grow in numbers, it will become easier to make “material” changes and living alternatives for the new “converts” to join in. This seems to be happening already, which is why this site makes me hopeful. Unfortunately for me, I live in a particularily unreceptive social climate. I lived in the Pacific NW for a year and the atmosphere was definitely a bit more receptive (socially and physically) to different ways of living than the east coast where I live now with my family. I think my most effective tactic right now is to try to reduce my physical dependence on the system (very difficult), while attempting different ways of “converting” other people. I eventually hope to seek out or encourage people to live in “occupational tribalism” like Daniel Quinn described in Beyond Civilization.
One thing I have difficulty understanding about the Jensenian view of change is how or why,at this point in time, we should/could be putting our efforts into physically assaulting civilization. The size and hierarchical structure of civilization makes it way too powerful at this point in time (in my mind) to attack physically. I think DJ’s anecdote about the “environmentalist Star Wars” makes some good points about the lack of effectiveness of environmental protesters, but real life is not a fantasy movie and civilization doesn’t have an easily targeted “self-destruct” button. Plus, us “rebels” are still too small in numbers and unorganized and the “storm troopers” include our friends and family!
I’m sure I need to read more Jensen… but I would encourage people to read or re-read and promote Daniel Quinn when approaching the especially civ-minded. The thing I like about Quinn is that even if he doesn’t necessarily convert people completely over to “Rewilding,” he at least allows them to challenge their own basic assumptions about that type of lifestyle. I think what I want to focus on in the waning days of civilization is to effectively challenge those assumptions in the best ways and in as many minds as I can. We know that either way,civ will wither on its own,so let’s build and “advertise” the alternative…then at some point we can adopt the Jensenian “strategies” to stop a resurgence of Civ.
So,in conclusion,I think both “strategies” are important… depending on the time and situation.
Brian, I also think that both direct and indirect actions are important.
When you are angry at a thing which you are part of that has no currently visible alternative, and you let that anger show by directly accusing the your fellow prisoners as perpetrators and guardians of the system, it will usually only serve to alienate yourself further and not add a bit of understanding of civ to your mindset.
I like the quote by Edward Abbey that says: “Love implies anger. The man who is angered by nothing cares about nothing.” I think anger can serve constructive or destructive ends, depending on how one acts on it. Above you were referring to anger directed horizontally, towards other “inmates” of the system - and I also find that destructive. But without applying anger vertically - towards those in power - I don’t think people will ever succeed in changing society.
One thing I have difficulty understanding about the Jensenian view of change is how or why,at this point in time, we should/could be putting our efforts into physically assaulting civilization. The size and hierarchical structure of civilization makes it way too powerful at this point in time (in my mind) to attack physically.
I would agree, with regard to an organized, frontal assault trying to take civ out in one fell swoop. But DJ specifically argues against this, at least at this point in time. But small-scale, individual or small group attacks on civ, with much more modest goals of doing specific, localized damage to the system, can add up to a lot of damage over time, bleeding civ dry by a thousand paper cuts. And focusing one’s efforts on civ’s choke-points and fulcrums could amplify the effect greatly. The Star Wars analogy doesn’t seem appropriate to our current situation.
We know that either way,civ will wither on its own,so let's build and "advertise" the alternative...then at some point we can adopt the Jensenian "strategies" to stop a resurgence of Civ.
I also think that we should build and advertise alternatives to civ as much as possible. I just hope you don’t mean that we should sit back and let civ collapse on it’s own, without doing anything to help bring it down, because the process of civ’s collapse could take decades - and every year it continues diminishes the human race’s (and many many other species’) chances for future survival. I believe that if it lasts a few more decades, we have no future. We NEED to take direct action against civ, NOW. (Along with indirect actions, of course).
About the question of tactics v. strategies - I think it totally depends on what one means by the terms. I definitely have not intended strategy to mean globally, applied for all times and places, in my usage of the word. I think it varies person by person, situation by situation, just like tactics do. I think of strategy as the long-term plan, and tactics as the short-term steps to achieve the strategy.
Personally, I agree with Derrick Jensen in Endgame that civilization has (for all intents and purposes) declared war on the natural world and life in general. Everyday, more of the natural world is destroyed, torn up, paved over, etc.
So in that respect, I think that to be on a path of rewilding but ignoring (or choosing to do nothing about) this destruction - which ultimately means our own/our children’s destruction - is akin to sticking one’s head in the sand. IOWs, there is a war going on, civ against everything wild (a.k.a. the plot to domesticate the world ), whether we acknowledge it or not.
But I guess we don’t HAVE to use the word “war” to describe this. Although I do think it’s pretty apt (because of the destruction it entails).
That doesn’t mean we all have to “fight”, however. Like people have said elsewhere, all forms of rewilding are necessary and beneficial, and people should rewild their own communities & land in whatever way they can do best. Still, dams need to come down though (soon!), so SOMEONE will have to contribute in that particular fashion. And the more people involved in that the better, IMHO.
Yeah I agree with you Jessica,
and I’m beginning to see all the dimensions of this…
I really don’t feel like we should “sit back and wait” for collapse. And I’m definitely angry and frustrated at civilization and feel ready to take action at what ever oppurtunity I find or can think of. That’s why i wanted to start this thread! I’m happy that you feel so ready to take action. When I was making those points about anger towards civ I was mostly talking about “horizontal” anger, like you described. I just think we need to be careful of “marginalizing” ourselves for the time being, and I know Derrick Jensen has addresed these concerns. (I’ll be getting Endgame soon!)
Part of the thing I was saying is that, on the individual “conversion” level I’d prefer that potential new “rewilding” people initially be exposed to the Daniel Quinn school of thought. I see it as a “baby step” for someone to at least acknowledge the truths presented in Ishmael. Have you read much of his works? I feel like there are misconceptions with them sometimes. They are relatively un-emotional but I think their power lies in their ability to transform thinking in the “rational” part of the brain to understand how civ came to be as it is, and why it is so harmful. I think this is helpful and powerful to civ people with whom the death of biodiversity doesn’t resonate emotionally. I guess you could say they appeal to the readers more “selfish” insincts to make them think less selfishly.
If Ishmael and other books are the primer books… then I’d say Endgame is definitely the call to action once you have that new rational framework in place. DJ’s books are mostly addresed to those who have already been transformed in some way or another, and are just ready to do something to stop the violence against life…
All that being said… I do think i have envisioned some scenarios for ways in which tribalism could emerge victorious… I just don’t know if I feel comfortable mentioning them on this site. Wouldn’t want to anger anyone or get anyone in trouble
For me, I stopped trying to “change peoples minds” a long time ago because I realized that by changing who I am I inspire the people around me. Rather then spend time handing out copies of Ishmael (which I did at one time, and still encourage those who feel inspired to, to do so), I changed the way I lived and others caught on. Even Daniel Quinn says it’s better to give his books to people who ask for it. When I write or run my events, I put up posters and hand out flyers and send out press releases. I’m not interesting in “converting” people to my ideology. I’m interested in putting up a beacon so others who already share my feelings can connect with me and each other, and build something from there. I would never try to convince someone they “needed” to rewild. (or course, the current title of my book is “rewild or die” haha) but you get the idea. I don’t try to change minds, but I do through changing my own life as much as I can. By changing your own life, it builds curiousity in others and that leads to an open conversation with them about what you do. If they never were curious about what you do, they won’t give a shit about talking to you about it.
If I were to actually give a book to someone (which I can’t remember the last time I did that) it would be Endgames Vol I and II, without question. I agree with you Brian, that Quinns books have a sort of mental framework, but the more time passes, the more I think that framework creates blocks rather than promotes real change. (as seen in my “Daniel Quinn is Dead to Me” thread. He himself doesn’t believe that civ is inherently unsustainable, so he would never “promote” such a thing as rewilding. In fact, he always makes a point to talk down to those people who feel they need to “go back” to living in a primitive culture. Though I should say that I would never tell someone to “not hand out books” as you just never know and any information spreading like that is a good thing to me.
As far as “what actions to take” indirect vs. direct… I don’t really see them as two different things personally. Action is action. Change is change. Make whatever change you can. Make the change that your heart tells you to make.
Generally when I hear someone say, “There is no way we could take down civ on a large scale” what they really mean is, “I’m not curious about taking down civ on a large scale” or “I’m too scared to think about this on a large scale”. Both of these responses are fine. I’m too scared personally. But I’m not against the idea or that it isn’t possible. Get some Derrick Jensen in the hands of a few dis-enheartened soldiers returning from Iraq. Some people already have this training. You know? Everyone plays a different part in cultures. I don’t think it’s as “black and white” as “direct vs. indirect.” And I think that seeing it that way will only create endless debate. I recommend reading my “Rewild Frontier” chapter. (here I am, recommending my own shit! I’m such a fucking hypocrite!)
Aside from my fear lies this feeling that I don’t have that power even if I summoned the courage. Civilization, this phenomenon that has occurred in many places across the globe for thousands of years – I have the power to stop that, to bring that down? Civilization, which controls military might so vast and powerful they could destroy the whole earth with their atomic bombs – I have the power to stop that, to bring that down? Civilization, which holds millions and billions of peoples its captives, and many/most of them willingly so – I have the power to stop that?
I don’t know, really. Obviously bringing down civilization would take more than me. But do I really have the power to influence that in any major way? I’ve grown up hearing that it takes just one person or a small group of people to change the world. I feel less convinced of that. I feel more and more my own powerlessness against this thing called civilization. I feel like I’m trying to have a fist-fight with a hurricane. Can I really do anything to stop that?
I’ve done a lot of thinking about this, ever since I read Endgame Vol. I & II last December, and lately I feel that there just isn’t any way I can influence some control over the situation, at least not in a way that I can say: If I do this, then civilization will weaken.
Another thing I’ve thought of in regards to this is why haven’t other generations successfully brought down civilization. If civilization has been going on for so long and was so detrimental then, why did folks 2000 years ago not bring it down? Did anyone think of such a thing? If after all that time no significant action against the whole of civilization has occurred, why now? Why me, why now? I’m not a messiah. I can’t save the world. I can only take responsibility for the things I can take responsibility for, and I don’t feel Civilization is one of them.
Part of the thing I was saying is that, on the individual "conversion" level I'd prefer that potential new "rewilding" people initially be exposed to the Daniel Quinn school of thought. I see it as a "baby step" for someone to at least acknowledge the truths presented in Ishmael. Have you read much of his works? I feel like there are misconceptions with them sometimes. They are relatively un-emotional but I think their power lies in their ability to transform thinking in the "rational" part of the brain to understand how civ came to be as it is, and why it is so harmful.
I also think there is an underestimated power in observing our culture through the eyes of a Martian Anthropologist (Like DQ talks about in Lined Paper). A thing changes depending on how you observe it.
“Anthropology, abstractly conceived as the study of man, is actually the study of men in crisis by men in crisis.” Stanley Diamond
I think this is helpful and powerful to civ people with whom the death of biodiversity doesn't resonate emotionally. I guess you could say they appeal to the readers more "selfish" insincts to make them think less selfishly.
This is a good point, Brian. I really didn’t have much of an emotional connection to wild nonhumans at the time I read Ishmael. At the time I remember thinking that we really can go extinct liked the dinosaurs did, and that God will not make any effort to save us. Now I’m thinking less selfishly though, I have more of an emotional connection.
Don’t worry Urban Scout, I’m not wasting my time trying to “convert” everyone (unfortunate wording). I can’t even seem to effect my closest friends thinking, so why would i try that?!!! But, yeah, I do always have the feeling I want to do something,and while I’m always trying to change “who I am”, general promotion seems to be my best option right now. I’m working on being a better public speaker and getting into a position where I can make some more “noise”. But not everybody has the personality to be a “Rewild celebrity”!!! I’ll eventually make my own path, but it would be nice to find some other Delaware rewilding people or “Ish” fans. Hmmm… maybe I’ll do some web searching…
It seems to me that the ability to live homeless by choice is the beginning of an answer to the big questions of civilization (the population problem discussed in another thread, etc., etc., etc.—all of those horrendous issues that seem too huge to even contemplate). Going homeless is a powerful step in withdrawing support from civilization. And those who are actually doing it are an inspiration to the rest of us (Are there others here who have taken that step?). It has for some time been my wish to learn to live homeless—by choice, as you say. (I can see that the homeless people around here all show far more resourcefulness than anybody else, and I do admire them, but don’t know how much any of them may feel a sense of choice about it). I have taken some tiny steps in that general direction, but the prospect is still quite intimidating. I for one would appreciate anything you are willing to share about how you arrived at this ability.
Since you asked,
I started contemplating a “nomadic” lifestyle as both an exercise in freedom & as a way to pay off debts faster/not pay rent for stolen land. I spent a couple nights in the bed of my rusty, 30 year old pickup & realized I was still living like a king compared to many others around the world, so I found a camper shell for $50, packed up my necessities, & ditched my slave quarters.
Maybe that sounds like cheating to you, and, well, it is. I havent told anyone I work with, & generally try to disguise the fact.
Being homeless is tough. I reckon it takes a lot more skill & resourcefulness than living “conventionally” (tho largely because of the stigma & absurdities the “normal” world places on it). I also have the whole white-male privilege thing in my favor, so I’d highly recommend you try truck/van/car-life first if you decide to give it a go. It may not be sustainable, 100% free range living, but rewilding requires crawling before we can run.
One of the great things about not having to pay for housing is that you can work WAY less - yes, I still recommend having some kind of income - that way you can do something you love instead of doing whatever pays the bills, & still have lots of time for your own personal projects, extra money to donate, etc. I guess what I’m really saying is, I certainly haven’t developed the ability yet, but I’m working towards it.
I’ve noticed another truck-dweller at some of my “camping” grounds, & I know there are some way more resourceful people here. Some of them travel with pack animals (where y’all at!?)
Full disclosure: I’m not particularly skilled at being homeless, & winter pushed me into a friend’s place back in December, tho I plan to try again when Spring comes (it takes LOTS of insulation to comfortably sleep in a drafty metal box at temps under 20F).
Thank you so much for relating some of your personal experience with taking the challenge. Reading your post, I immediately felt energized to move ahead with my own changes sooner than I had formerly intended.
I never even thought that you had gone all the way into purest “homelessness”—it seemed impossible to juggle that along with being a student and fulltime wage slave, as you say. Nevertheless you took a big step away from the daily maintenance of civilization that we all perform by way of our addiction to it, and that is inspiring.
Yesterday I found the place where I will try making my “camp” starting a couple of days from now. Not going to give any details until I have actually done it, but will post if and when I have something solid to offer.
There is not effective dismantling of civilization that is called for, and I don’t see that working. What I see most effective, and most desirable, is the move of people on their motivation for it and their preparation out from civilization to where they would live in sustainable ways independently and apart from civilization. Communities of small groups of people in this pursuit work best for that. Land for it which will have it possible will be needed and should be found. Each should be serious for living in what can be found to be most sustainable, and people in a group for a community would need to be really compatible together. Through human existence such small community groups were possible, and worked, so this is what people can come to. This would be the most effective way, for a needed transition soonest, and only more doing so then will decrease civilization sooner.
In recent years I have also become skeptical of dismantling civ as a tactic (ie. trying to take it down). While I get that the longer it continues as is, the more damage is done to the planet, if it goes down too quick there would potentially be even worse consequences, such as all the world’s active nuclear reactors melting down all at once (if the global power grid went down suddenly), or rampant warfare as people start starving all over the place.
However, I also want to be realistic about the likelihood of enough people voluntarily stepping away from civ to actually take it down. Unfortunately the system has created such effective hurdles against doing that - from the system of private property and paying taxes, to zoning laws and building codes - that I just don’t see people stepping away on a large scale. At least not as long as civ exists as it is.
With that said though, I wholeheartedly support such attempts to do so, and I’d love to be part of making it easier for people. The biggest obstacle for most is coming up with the $ to buy land, so if we could connect the people who own land and who want to live in community with all the people who want to rewild who don’t have access to land, beautiful things could ensue. I actually bought a website url to be a place where people can do this kind of networking, but setting it up requires more technical know-how than I currently have.
I see that with one person who affords it buying land with which a rewilding community comes together where sustainable simple living can come to be practiced, such person then takes position as leader, being the owner. It should be thought more desirable to have more of an egalitarian arrangement without one person as leader, with community consensus through meeting together with discussion. So it would be better for as many who would, really to depart from civilization effectively, to invest what they can, even when some can invest more, bearing more for those who can just invest less, for the sake of a community where all are bearing for each other, the way communities have worked. Through human existence, people in communities always lived for their community, it was never thought of to leave one’s community. But to come to such, that is that involving, all who would join each other really need to be in communication for it, before even having some land they acquire, and actually meet each other, that there could be effective planning and secure comfort for such in who they have in community for it. We really need to find people we are compatible with for such simple primitive community.
Maybe information about such website can be shared, that a joint effort among some will make that site and its purpose effective.