Primitivism and rewilding are currently two of my favorite concepts to research/think about. Both have something to do with not only getting in touch with our ancestral roots, but also eschewing our current marriage to contemporary, civilized lifestyles.
I land somewhere between. I’m attracted to primitivism and rewilding, and I’d like to get more in touch with what it takes to survive as a “wild human”, but I don’t see how that necessitates divorce from current living standards.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I believe we’ve (to our detriment to some extent) allowed ourselves to become the domesticated pets of our respective governments (no matter what form of government you live under). Like domesticated animals, our “wild muscles”, if you will, have atrophied. If we were to be immediately dropped into an environment which required wild survival skills, most of us “civilized” folks would perish not long after.
Does that suggest that we must put aside forever our technological and even interpersonal progress outside of that which is naturally required in the primal wild?
Another thought: since mankind was once entirely wild, doesn’t it follow that every bit of progress since then has been a natural progress upon the last? So long as we live in this world, can it ever be said that we are living unnaturally?
Even if it can (and I’m not so sure), does it necessarily follow that in order to build back up those natural wild skills, we must first (or simultaneously) divorce the new/unnatural?
I don’t think so. At least not immediately or even too soon thereafter.
This again hearkens to the quote by Henry David Thoreaou:
I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe- “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.
Replace “government” with “nature” or “environment” and you have a proper analog to our current discussion.
I think it is wise to reincorporate our primitive, natural strengths/instincts alongside our current living environment. Maybe, after doing such for a sufficient amount of time, we will naturally put off the “luxuries” of today’s society. Not necessarily, but maybe.
If a wild man had with him the luxury of an electronic gps, but lacked not the primitive skills for survival, wouldn’t he only benefit from the “unnatural” piece of technology? You could think of countless similar examples. I do not think the two states: natural and unnatural, are irreparably opposed. In fact, don’t we see evidence of their effective coexistence all around us (drive cars to supermarkets, use alarm systems to protect shelter, and so on)?
Many of us may be neglecting our core, wild, primitive nature. The only thing that this indicates is that we should place some priority on reintroducing and reinforcing the primitive rather than abandoning the contemporary.