Everything Vs. Rewilding!
I got into a fight with a friend who plays music. He thought I had judged him as a musician, thinking that I would eventually “put music under the long list of ‘everything vs. rewilding.'” In a sense, I could see how he (and others) think that by putting something up against rewilding, I mean that rewilding does not include it. I see how people could easily make the assumption that I think everything but rewilding, sucks. By now you too, might have had the thought, “this ‘vs.’ shit has really started to bug me.” Let me explain…
I chose the “Such-and-Such Vs. Rewilding” platform for this book simply because it sounds cool to me. On some level it doesn’t even really mean what I want to say. Yet, I like the feel of it. I thought about having “Such-and-Such or Rewilding” but it just doesn’t have the same bite. I also thought of changing some of them to say “Such-and-Such in Rewilding” because the vs. sounds more like a contrast than a layering.
When I juxtapose something next to rewilding it doesn’t mean that thing necessarily opposes rewilding (except of course domestication, agriculture, hierarchy and civilization). I mean to point out looking at the subject through the lens of rewilding. Rewilding doesn’t refer to a way of dressing or a cool new diet or a a sustainable product you can use to fuel your car, or voting with dollars or any of that. It refers to a new way of living that requires an entirely new way of looking at the world. Before you can physically rewild, you need to see the world through the eyes of the wild, which means seeing it in contrast to that which domesticates; civilization. When most people don’t even notice their own domestication, have never juxtaposed their life to a wild one, they will not understand rewilding and will simply replicate civilization with more primitive tools than we use today.
Once we understand the fundamental picture of civilization, we can hold up rewilding next to anything and “see the civilization” in it. Once we see the civilization in something, we can rewild it. Civilization does not have a monopoly on music, art, language, violence, irony, etc. We can use those tools too through the lens of rewilding. My friend Chris thought of a good metaphor for it;
Thereâ€™s a Huge Pink Elephant in the room that no one seems to talk about, and its (whatâ€™s the quote from Princess Mononoke?) a Big Huge Slimy Life-Sucking Monster of Death called Civilization. I love permaculture and regenerative design, and those are the folks Iâ€™ll talk to when I want to figure out how to garden my yard, or how to inhabit my land with my community more sustainably. But what about that little problem of civilization? 75 species a dayâ€“gone. 90,000 acres of forest a dayâ€“gone. 13.5 million tons of CO2 a day into the atmosphereâ€“fuck! Thatâ€™s civilization. What I hear Scout saying is simply â€œbut letâ€™s talk about that too!â€ And specificallyâ€“in what ways does not directly addressing that elephantâ€™s presence influence us when we get into our permaculture design, or regenerative design, or ecovillage planning, or re-souling work, or whatever? For me, itâ€™s pretty significant to look around and think â€œWe really canâ€™t do this good stuff for real with all this here. With all of US here. Only a small amount of whatâ€™s here now can be here and have this work.â€ I would rather NOT notice that, and feel good about buying my heritage seeds and my commerically-produced organic compost. But the more I take an interest in the long viewâ€“â€how is this really going to play out and work out?â€ the more I see that elephant sitting there, shitting on everything (no offense to elephants), and thereâ€™s just not enough room. I like the â€˜vs.â€™ to the extent that it gets us to look up from what weâ€™re doing (regardless of how friendly that activity might be to rewilding) and ask â€œyeah, and how exactly are we addressing the elephant as we do this?â€
Rewilding means un-doing domestication. We need to see how civilization domesticates us in order to rewild. We need to see the elephant so that we can make sure to kill it. Sorry Dumbo. The Art of Rewilding begins with “seeing” the civilization in everything that we do, so that we can uncivilize it together. I hope this book can give you those tools.
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