Meaninglessness Vs. Rewilding

Depression ain’t just for the economy. It sucks. I haven’t felt this depressed since age 20. At least, I haven’t felt noticeably this depressed since age 20. Age 21-24 I self-medicated using alcohol and cigarettes so I can’t clearly say what I felt during that time. But now, I don’t medicate at all, legal, illegal, prescribed or otherwise. I drink coffee for the occasional boost, like right now, in order to write this.

My mom asked me today if I always feel either up or down, with no just normal “hum-drum.” I told her that I never feel good if I don’t follow my heart. That when I have to do something boring that I hate, over a long period of time, I always get depressed. Since I rarely have the opportunity to follow my heart (aside from living off the now-extinguished inheritance for the last year and a half) I almost always feel depressed. She said that working a job she didn’t like felt hum-drum to her. I said it feels like slavery to me.

At the moment, I miss most of my friends in Portland. I miss drinking, club-hopping, dressing up, bumping into friends at bars, dancing, feeling like part of something bigger. I wonder how much of all that filled sincere social needs or just worked to distract me from my deep seeded depression. The last time I felt this depressed, I ate a healthy paleo diet, exercised a ton and didn’t do any drugs, but I did work at a shitty coffee shop wage-slave job while working my ass off trying to create a non-profit that went no where.

I often have thoughts about suicide. It seems a lot easier than existing sometimes. I’d probably have done it at age 11 (thinking of all those times I fell asleep with a knife at my wrist, eyes red and tired from crying myself to sleep) if I didn’t feel a stronger need to save the world. I hate this feeling of meaninglessness. Hopelessness. Despair. The regular, all-to-familiar bouts of anxiety that feel like a knife up under the sternum and lungs full of water, drowning in grief. I think about all the factors that add up. Moving out of the inner city, losing frequent contact with my best friends, working a wage-slave job that doesn’t use my best talents (even though I respect the company and support what they do), not speaking with my dad for seven months now. Add the weight of the world to that, and the grief gets too heavy to carry. I slip and fall, and I have trouble standing back up.

I often say that I come to rewilding regardless of collapse, and I do. I also come to it because I strongly believe that it works to stop environmental destruction and restore it. I rewild because it works as a means to an end, whether that end means surviving collapse or creating a better way to live or both. But when I read about ice caps melting and methane and positive feedback loops of climate change and that we can’t change things now, that it will all melt and release methane that will heat the planet up more and kill us all, wild or domestic, it makes me feel a kind of hopelessness and despair that I can barely articulate. While I no longer freak out about the apocalypse, I still have a ton of anxiety about the future. You won’t find me screaming on the street corner, but you’ll find me having trouble putting my clothes on in the morning. No matter how good or complete my life gets, no matter how much fun I have rewilding, I still struggle with a huge sense of impending doom and the feeling of meaninglessness.

On a large enough time line, everything happening in this moment has no relevance to the whole of time. Some day the earth will merge with the sun and everything alive today will have died long before. Does that make my life meaningless? If we look at life in a linear fashion, yes, it looks rather meaningless. If the methane heat apocalypse happens in 20 years, does that make this moment meaningless? In a linear sense, yes.

Civilizationist’s find purpose in progress, which they see as endless growth and expansion. We measure this progress with linear time; from “stone age” to “space age.” I find meaning and purpose in maintaining quality relationships with humans and other than humans. Ironically I also perceive this purpose through linear time; from “domestic” to the eventual “wild.” Most of the time rewilding still feels like a kind of progress to me, and that makes it feel meaningless when I hear that I may never live a wild life because the methane will heat up the planet so hot that we will all die, and all that “progress” towards creating cultures of rewilding mean nothing.

I don’t always struggle with this. For some reason when I sit on the earth in a quiet place and feel her with my hands, I imagine my death. I see my body decompose and return to the soil. My connection to any kind of progress slips away and I fade into cyclical time where humans don’t exist at all. I only see matter and energy constantly changing form. I realize that I don’t care about the survival of humans, nor any kind of life, we all came from the same source and will return to it. When I die, my body will change into something else. When the earth and the sun unite, the matter and energy that made me will become one with the sun.

Wild, animistic hunter-gatherers do not experience this purpose of maintaining quality relationships in a linear fashion, but in a cyclical one. This way of perceiving linear time vs. cyclical time feels a crucial part of rewilding to me. If I don’t see rewilding as a kind of progress, but rather making and maintaining relationships, it doesn’t matter whether or not everyone burns up. Of course, that would suck and carries its own grief, but it doesn’t lead to meaninglessness because life (depending on your definition of life), matter and energy, will continue. It feels difficult to see rewilding as non-progressive, since we feel so strongly the chains of domestication, and moving away from that feels like progress towards an end goal of living wild. I would say that rewilding means maintenance and not progress. Even indigenous peoples spent their lives “rewilding,” renewing their landscapes and psyches.

Animism, because it seeks to relate and converse with the world, rather than to define and control it, always renews itself. It wakes up every morning fresh and alive, and every evening it tucks itself to bed to dream again for the very first time. Since animism involves a relationship with the world, a living being that exists in the now, the present moment, what more relevant perspective could you find?

– Willem Larsen, The College of Mythic Cartography

These thoughts help me with the meaninglessness, but they don’t help me in the moment, because I still have to get up and carry the grief of civilizations devastation with me to my wage slave job. I see no one mourning for the collapse of salmon populations, though I spend hours sobbing over it, too sad, frustrated and hopeless to take action, legal or otherwise. Honestly I don’t know how people make it through this fucked up culture. I just don’t. A best friends death I can handle (for the most part). The death of the world? The threat of the death of the world? I don’t think humans come into the world equipped to handle this kind of grief. That any of us wake up and continue to live should show us our beautiful inherent resilience (or our great ability to deny reality!).

I wish I knew how to get over depression, how to process all this grief. I wish sweat lodges, tinctures, prozac, massages, acupuncture, alcohol, video games, television dramas, diets and blogging did more than temporarily relieve me from the pain. I mean, I know that if I got paid to rewild I wouldn’t feel as depressed. But I don’t know how to get paid to rewild, aside from what I do now. Of course, not having to pay for clean water, a place to live and store things, and all of my food would kick ass too. I think this grief and depression will just exist until civilization comes down and the stress of this system will no longer lock us in jobs we hate. I don’t know.

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45 Comments on “Meaninglessness Vs. Rewilding”

  1. Urban Scout-
    This article touches me deeply because I too feel the overwhelming hopelessness that comes with depression. I find it so hard to cope with this fucked up society and ruin my entire life trying to pass classes to earn good grades to go to college to get more good grades waste more time increase my depression finally get a career get money more depression more time wasted etc. I just don’t understand how so many millions of people can do this day in and day out blindly without stopping for a second and thinking about how fucked up and pointless civilization is. I feel overwhelming sadness about the fate of the world, my own problems, I even get sad about being sad. I am against all this bullshit depression medicine and I realize I am going to have an uphill battle against depression my whole life. That freaks me the fuck out. I feel as long as I remain in civilization I will always have to deal with depression. People to tell me to study things and eventually get a career in something I am interested in. But theres the problem, what if my interests all revolve around not working and not getting into the groove of civilization. Your idea of utilizing animism to help with depression inspires me and I truly hope I too can have a more meaningful connection to the Earth. But even with the occasional bursts of hope, it’s really hard. It’s really hard to do any of it. Especially for anarcho-primitivists. Although this post may seem pointless and rather depressing, I just wanted to let you know that I recognize your struggle and hope you can overcome it. So many people greatly appreciate all the work you do for the anarcho-primitivist movement and I applaud you. Hopefully you can realize how awesome that is and how much people appreciate it. Civilization is cruel, but I just hope that people will finally wakeup.

  2. I’m going through a similar mental chaos. Many of us are. Most philosophers and visionaries do too.

    “Existence itself may be considered an abyss possessed of no meaning. I do not read this as a pessimistic statement.” – Hakim Bey

    There is ALWAYS beauty to build, destroy, and behold, so long as you live.

  3. I don’t know what to leave for a comment, except ditto to just about everything you said, and how you feel.

  4. Scout–

    Thank you for writing this. You say you have a hard time articulating, and I know exactly what you mean, because I feel that way often, too–Especially lately–But: Thank you for articulating what you did here.

    One thing: When I quit drinking and doing drugs a long time ago, I had to stay away from those friends with whom I lived that way. It’s very common for those who choose to live without self-medicating to have to completely redefine our lives (sometimes daily, and in this culture, for the rest of our lives…)

    “…I often have thoughts about suicide. It seems a lot easier than existing sometimes. I’d probably have done it at age 11 (thinking of all those times I fell asleep with a knife at my wrist, eyes red and tired from crying myself to sleep) if I didn’t feel a stronger need to save the world…” Thank you for that, and thank you for knowing it.

    “…But when I read about ice caps melting and methane and positive feedback loops of climate change and that we can’t change things now, that it will all melt and release methane that will heat the planet up more and kill us all, wild or domestic, it makes me feel a kind of hopelessness and despair that I can barely articulate. While I no longer freak out about the apocalypse, I still have a ton of anxiety about the future. You won’t find me screaming on the street corner, but you’ll find me having trouble putting my clothes on in the morning…”

    I know exactly what you mean…

    “…I don’t always struggle with this. For some reason when I sit on the earth in a quiet place and feel her with my hands, I imagine my death. I see my body decompose and return to the soil. My connection to any kind of progress slips away and I fade into cyclical time where humans don’t exist at all. I only see matter and energy constantly changing form. I realize that I don’t care about the survival of humans, nor any kind of life, we all came from the same source and will return to it. When I die, my body will change into something else. When the earth and the sun unite, the matter and energy that made me will become one with the sun.

    Wild, animistic hunter-gatherers do not experience this purpose of maintaining quality relationships in a linear fashion, but in a cyclical one. This way of perceiving linear time vs. cyclical time feels a crucial part of rewilding to me…”

    This is very powerful, very beautifully said.

    One of the reasons I can squeeze out of “liking” my day job, is because for the most part, I get to work alone (I clean houses). That means I can process my feelings–I can _feel_, without people around denying reality, or invalidating my perceptions or experience. I can cry when I need to, feel the rage, let the anxiety “slide up under my sternum”.

    I thought about this–What you wrote here– all day today, and cried on and off, too. Then I came home, and read what you wrote, and now I am crying again. Thank you for sharing this.

    Thank you for resisting slavery, and for your work to rewild, regardless of collapse.

  5. There’s a lot of great things I could say about this, but everyone else already has. There’s another reason why I decided to leave this reply. I rarely ever think about suicide, but for some reason in the last couple hours much of what you talked about has been going through my head. Then I pop on the computer and the first thing I see is this. Quite a “coincidence”

  6. Thanks Scout. I treasure your honesty. I’ve been there too. I know it’s hard to know this when you’re in the midst of it, but it passes. The universe wiggles her hips some way or another and something falls off the shelf into your lap and life moves on and it doesn’t become any more meaningful, but you can deal with it.

    There’s a really great book about depression called The Noonday Demon, which I highly recommend. It’s intimidatingly large, but you can just read the good chapters if you want. The author describes this moment of depression when he’s laying in bed thinking through what he needs to do, and it would all be okay. He just needs to move his legs to the side of the bed and sit up. There are socks in the dresser. He would grab a pair of socks, bend down, pull one sock over his foot and straighten it out. But then he realizes that he would have to do EXACTLY THE SAME THING again with the second sock. And the part that really puts him over the edge is when he realizes that then he would have to repeat the same thing for his shoes. Both of them. And so he stays in bed. For weeks. I laughed so hard because I could relate so well. I spent a couple months mostly in bed while I flunked out of college (the first time).

    It’s also a great book to hand to people who don’t struggle with depression and don’t understand your experience (your mom?).

    At some point, you realize, “Fuck ya, it’s all meaningless!” And in some cosmic way, however the fuck it works, I’ve chosen to be here now in this moment, and I’m going to dive in and experience it because there’s no other reason to be here other than to, you know, fucking Be Here!

  7. Peter, let me just sing with the choir. I think about suicide all the time, and many of the same things you mention. How can I fix something so immense? Rewilding fucking breaks my heart and cracks me open every day. I feel the cycle of finding meaning and finding meaninglessness tightly intertwined around me.

    I keep reading about the Rom. The other day I came across this:”Courage about death betrays cowardice about life”. What keeps pulling me back from the edge? Maybe that. Like a dare or something.

  8. I really appreciate what you are doing here US. You are on track. Don’t doubt that. There’s a lot of people who love you and how you are carrying yourself in this world. In the time that I have been reading here and other things you write, I’ve developed a lot of affection for you.

  9. I have felt the grief you mention only occasionally, because I have to. I can’t let if take me over, I can’t live with the death of the planet, can’t bear witness. I have to turn my head, forget, block it out, so that I can function and not do anything. Ohhh, it sounds so stupid, I am trapped by my own devices, unwilling to leave school, but unable to do anything within it. In this environment, I can’t allow myself to feel grief or horror or anger on a daily basis, I have to slog on.

  10. i still struggle with some of this from time to time, but not like i did when i was a teen. that was back in the 80’s, and what we lacked in “proof” of things like global warming (and more), we made up for with imagination. on top of that, i had already sensed the relentlessness of civilizations demands, even tho’ I wouldn’t have been able to put it that way at the time.

    for a while, i struggled with thoughts of suicide. my life up to that point wasn’t exactly “ideal”, tho’ it certainly could have been worse. taken together, the crap that i already been thru, and the crap that i saw in store ahead of me… well, it just didn’t seem like much of a recommendation for living.

    finally, one night when i was 15, sick of feeling like i was living in hell, i decided it was time to shit or get off the pot, find a reason not to do it and put it behind me, or do it and end it. i couldn’t really find a reason, much less a particularly good one. so, i got the knife, got some warm water going. then something very odd happened to me (not the first odd thing, but, one of the more startling). i had this instant, this one consciousness-exploding instant when the good moments, the kindnesses i had received, the brief moments when i had really connected with others, it all hit me and i just sat there for a while. and i slowly began to realize that we don’t live a zero sum life. some moments are so valuable, so precious, that they overwhelm the crap. and i realized that, even if from that moment on, my life became the worst of the worst, then… i’d still keep on for the chance that i’d have another one of those moments.

    it’s about experiences. you’ll have crappy experiences that make you cry in pain, frustration, fear, hopelessnes and all of them at once, but you’ll also have unbelievably awesome ones too, where you cry out of joy, gratitude, love and pure awe at the world.

    and, seriously, if you can arrange to have more of the latter, go for it!

  11. Hey Scout,

    I am sorry you are feeling so down right now. I can empathise with pretty much everything you said (and others have said).

    I too think of suicide often and it seem like it would be a blissful escape..but then like you, i also feel that it would be a cop out because there is so much to be done and so few people that are willing to do it..

    And yeah, just thinking about the enormity of destruction we have caused is incredibly depressing, but i do think thats probably the appropriate reaction to it, it’s just everyone else that’s asleep.

    I hope you start to find some more happiness in your day to day life soon. 🙂

    Take good care of yourself


  12. The search for deeper meaning is depressing – do it less often. The purpose of life is to exist. It’s that simple. If you want to add another level of meaning, do what you can to improve the quality of life for all living things. Of course, defining quality is where humans inevitably go wrong, because improved quality in one area typically requires diminished quality in another. It’s a problem we must work on, and that gives us additional purpose for living.

    Example: I save biodegradable food remnants to enrich the poor soil in my garden. Skunks like to dig up my garden and pick through the food remnants. I hate having to repair and replant my garden. So, I borrowed a cage trap from an old farmer and caught the skunk. Question: what do you do with a caged skunk? First, you calmly approach it with a plastic tarp between you and the skunk and cover the cage. Pick up the cage and carry it to an open area. Take a large plastic trash bag and work it over and under the cage until the cage is completely inside the trash bag. Work slowly so that you don’t alarm the skunk. Put away the tarp, place the plastic-enclosed cage carefully in the trunk of your polluting car (hopefully a small import that runs “clean” and gets over 40 mpg, like mine), and drive calmly 10 miles out into the country. Find a quiet spot with water nearby and stop by the side of the road. Take the cage out of the trunk, place it near some bushes with a clear patch in front of the cage door, then open the door while standing behind the cage. The skunk should trot off without looking back, none the worse for wear. Return home and set the trap again. I caught a second skunk two days later. I spent a few dollars in gas and polluted the air as a result, but both skunks will hopefully adapt to their new territories, and I should finally be able to grow something to eat. That’s life. It’s a struggle. Rather than look at it as “depressing”, look at it as “interesting” and a problem to be solved. There is no end to problems that need to be solved, and that should keep you busy until your final breath, which will occur soon enough without you deliberately shortening your precious time among the living. Live, think, learn, and improve the world around you. You are life. Yes, you are fragile, but you are also powerful. Use that power in wiser ways than those that have come before you. Make life better.

  13. I struggle with depression and feelings of meaninglessness as well. Spending as much time as possible outside helps. A lot of the time, I still can’t muster up the energy to put my socks on, but it keeps me from going over the deep end.

  14. Thanks Scout…sharing such powerful, intimate emotions. I think anyone who pounders these things will struggle with these types of emotions from time to time; as Derrick Jensen so often points out, how could we not be a little crazy? This civilization makes me wonder how anyone can not be depressed.

    I’ve been seriously depressed most of this winter; I work at a domestic violence shelter, and although I find the work meaningful, sometimes it makes me freak the fuck out. I can’t understand how dads rape their four-yr olds, I don’t get it when wives feel so oppressed they stay fifteen years (or more,) with a man who regularly pushes them down the stairs…anyway, that and college was seriously getting me down, to the point where my friends where urging me to get medicated.

    Instead, I started taking Motherwort tincture, and took time off from work, and spent some time in the woods in Washington.

    Lately, I’ve been happier; I think the advent of spring is helping, and I have no doubt that eventually, my depression will come back (it always does.)

    Anyway, your blog is part of my inspiration and part of what keeps me somewhat sane…it means much to me to hear the vulnerability and struggles of another rewilding human…

    Thanks and keep writing,

  15. I think alot more people than we all think also feel the same way, it’s just they’ve pushed the feelings deep down, or had them destroyed all together by civilization.

    To keep these feelings alive and in check shows a real fighting personality and one that our planet and species will need when civilization does finally come to an end … and it will or we’re fucked … nothing but an utter and total collapse of civilization as we know it will save our species and more importantly the planet and its animals … but how many animals and how much of the planet is left when it does happen is a different matter….

  16. I know you’ve most likely read this before [maybe even multiple times], but it just seemed that right about now you could use it again. cheers:ishistic

    RE: Hope, from “Endgame, vol.1”

    “Hope is the real killer. Hope is harmful. Hope enables us to sit still in the sinking raft instead of doing something about our situation. Forget hope. Honestly and candidly assessing the situation as it truly stands is our only chance. Instead of sitting there and ‘hoping’ our way out of this, perhaps we should recognize that realizing the truth of our situation, even if unpleasant, is positive since it is the required first step toward real change.” -Gringo Stars

    “Hope is the leash of submission.” -Raoul Vaneigem

    “The cure for despair is not hope. It’s discovering what we want to do about something we care about.” -Margaret Wheatley

  17. When dealing with this sort of thing, like we do, I ask myself WWAD – what would animals do? A wounded animal, and depression is a sort of woundedness, DUH, will frequently seek a quiet place by a stream, lay down, munch some grass, and let the wound mend.

    When I let my mind get really quiet and then reemerge to look at the things going on around me, the things outside of my sphere of influence, the weight and immensity of it – in all it’s sorrow inducing insanity – looks absurd. What the hell are these stupid super-chimps doing now? I can’t control it… wings will be grafted on pigs by mad scientists before what I want to see happen happens. but as long as I do the best with what I can control I’ve done everything I can, and that has to be enough. & enough isn’t quite as depressing to me.

    Light-heartedness, good-naturedness, these things come natural to me. Everything else is imposed – and someone else said it best when they said ‘don’t let the bastards grind you down.’

    That’s just as relevant when it’s a bastard of a boss or a society of 99.9% bastards – who I can’t blame because they were made weak by an old and too effective oppressive system put into action by who knows who who knows when. Stay sharp, keep evolving, roll with the punches – my best – what else can I do? Without further expectations there is no struggle.

  18. Now that I rally think about it – if every five minutes or so a person were confronted with a scene of rape and torture could they learn to shrug it off? This has me thinking depression is here to stay and the best I can swing is to not mind it so much. The fine art of detachment. The fine art of bullshitting myself.

  19. I feel like this all the time, for many reasons. It used to be like your experience… now I just find the whole world to be empty and cold, and that bothers me much more than destruction and ugliness ever could. I have to cling to pieces of comfort and warmth wherever I find them, knowing how ephemeral it all is.

    I believe there is a better way to live, even within the same situation–even if it’s one you hate. I’ve felt it before, and not just for a moment, so I know it’s really there. I just don’t know how to get myself to that place. If I ever manage I’ll try to help you out.

  20. Maybe it’s the age differance, I don’t know. I’ve delt with depression by using alcohol for years. I finally broke free and had to change my whole way of thinking. It’s easy to feel down about the world. Mankind has accelerated and altered Earth’s nautral cycles of warming and cooling, the long term consequnces of which we are mostly guessing at. We have altered and polluted our enviroment. We have created various idealogies and war with one another over them. We have allowed ourselves to become serfs to various systems maintained by top heavy buearcratic governments run by elites. We have created imagined and real dependences on others who have no real intrest in us or our well being. We have allowed our hubris to blind us into thinking everything revovlves around ourselves as a race.

    Yep there is no shortage of things that can get you down. The world is changing at a hellious rate. I like techonology, as a tool using primate I find intresting what the human brain can concieve and build. However I don’t see it as our saving grace but as a path to our obsolence. It may be possible that within our lifetime that machines may no longer need the human element, called in some circles The Singularity. Should be intresting.

    If things collapse enough or totally in the near future things will be grim. There will be mass migrations of people from third world to first world, natural and manmade resouces will be used up at alarming rates, people from poor to powerful will go nuts and pretty much any sort of TEOTWAWKI scencrio you can imagine might come to pass.

    Aborginal Earth skills will be a boon for one’s survival but it may be years before parts the Earth stablizes enough to support any number of people. So best not give up all the modern stuff yet. I regret not paying more attention to the training I had dealing with NBC, HazMat and firefighting while in the military. Might come in handy.

    I learned to deal with depression by accepting something. Chaos reigns. Sooner or later it will take control. Might as well embrace it because without there would be no great changes. We can delay and maybe even stop some events but not all. Entropy wears away at any unstable or unsustainable system. The results can be both terrifing and beautiful. Look up sandpile effect sometime.

  21. Unhelpful platitudes I have heard over the years of dealing with depression:
    “Count your blessings.”
    “Cheer up. It could be worse.”
    “Aw, EVERYONE feels depressed now and then.”
    “It must be hormonal/moon phase/seasonal/food-related.”
    “Have you seen a counselor/tried Zoloft/Cymbalta/Paxil?”
    “You need to exercise more.”

    In reality, the ONLY reason I have not committed suicide in the past was the thought of one of my children finding me…and the trauma it would cause in their lives. The immediate pain in my life felt too great to go on, except for those two people.

    My son’s best friend, age 23, suicided a year and a half ago. All I can say is: You can’t possibly know how negatively suicide would touch so many people and future possibilities. Watching my son go through this loss, knowing that he, too, wanted to kill himself was a terrible experience.

    My heart goes out to you, Urb. People with the curse/blessing of seeing the world as it is and as it COULD be (and will be) always have to walk the balance of living in these two worlds.

    I hope you know that you are supported and loved by many people. I appreciate you and your work.


  22. I always use to think that being depressed is a healthy reaction to living life the way we do. I have struggled for some years with depression and found out depression was not my enemy. Depression was just me communicating with everything i got. I stopped takin pills and all that, accepted i was unhappy and allowed myself to be unhappy. Is it not our right to feel sad or lonely or small and meaningless. I no longer saw the depression as something that needed to be fixed, rather the things that made me feel that way needed a serious overhaul. Im still doing so and probably will do that until i die. You know how you can be so happy and still so sad at the same time? That is your wildest self talking in offerings of sadness and pain. Take those invaluable gifts, scream your lungs out with them, draw them violently on paper and run and leap and strike. Love them like you can best love yourself.

    take care

  23. I feel it… and have no advice to give. I have tried so many times to detach myself from this consumer/work machine/mortgage slave lifestyle so many times now, and been thwarted at every attempt by deals that were made for me when I was young, that at times I get very, very close to just walking away from everything here.

    But you know, stories of peak oil, global warming, asteroids hitting the earth, a new ice age, etc. don’t really bother me. Same as the possibility of a nuclear armageddon, the existence of a petty god who might take it all away, or nature suddenly ending it all on a whim. I’m past worrying about things that I can’t control or have an influence on.

    What really bothers me is the daily repression, dictation and sabotage that comes from people who are supposed to be supportive of your efforts and wishes – ie. friends and family. What bothers me is that these people will consciously stop someone else from carrying out plans that will enable them to live closer to how they feel they need to so that they can finally respect themselves, instead of living someone else’s shitty idea of a life.

    That’s the cause of my deep-seated unhappiness and depression, I’m sure of it.

    Anyway, hang in there (shit, and I said that I didn’t have any advice) – we appreciate what you’re doin’.

  24. Hi Scout,

    I see that you are writing again, filming, back at work rewilding and talking about it on the radio, so I hope that means you are feeling better. I read all these caring comments, and it’s so good to see people having a place where they can be honest with each other, admit not doing well, and share their understanding with each other. It’s always good to find out you are not alone when you think you are.

    I hope the sunshine is helping; I hope the darkness has passed for now, in more ways than one. I hope everyone who posted here is feeling pretty good today, and that we can all enter a more positive time as spring gives way to summer.


    PS – You talked in my son’s class five years ago, not seven. He didn’t take film till he was senior. I got my kids mixed up….

  25. hey there,

    i can only offer my solidarity. i too experience this excruciating pain which refuses to go away any more.

    hoping that the end game which has already started moves faster, then there would be more to do, till then we can only hope that there will be a tomorrow which will be better and sustainable.

    rock on…

  26. I’ll add myself to the list.

    It’s fucked up, but it helps me to put things into perspective by thinking about how many humans have been and will be, and how none of them will even know I existed. Sometimes I tempt myself to stick around just to see the Malthusian catastrophe; just so I know I was right. We are young, and so many HUGE things will happen in our lives: the end of oil, the population crash, resource wars for water, air, and land… My oh my, what have we done to this planet?

    Then I think how nature couldn’t care less. As much as I deplore the extinction of the last salmon in the Pacific Northwestern US or the Passenger Pigeons of the 19th century… nature couldn’t care less. Nature isn’t evil or good; it’s indifferent.

    Hopefully telling my girlfriend I will not have kids, own a car, work for a big corporation, blah, blah, blah will not prove to be pointless in the long run, because it sure causes a lot of problems in the short run.

    Take care, guys…


  27. Of all the advice I’ve ever heard about meaninglessness and struggling to find meaning, this sentiment has stuck with me the most:

    “If nothing we do matters then all that matters is what we do.”
    Angel (the TV series)

  28. thank you for sharing this scout. it makes it easier for me (and it seems for the many other people who have left comments) to deal with my depression and fear of collapse knowing that there are other people out there (even if i only see them on the internet) who are going through the same thing and trying to do something about it. over the years ive spent countless hours alone thinking about my depression and my dependence on alcohol and weed, hours philosophizing suicide. but about two weeks ago i started really thinking about suicide, in a much deeper and more serious way than i ever have before. i decided that if i am going to continue living my life the way i have lived it for the past few years, that it really is not worth living. so, i decided to give up alcohol (and hopefully, eventually weed) and to gradually distance myself from those people who contribute to my depression, while trying to strengthen my relationships with people who see things more the way i see them. it’s not easy being isolated from your former friends and family, not being able to talk to them about the most basic pillars of your life. anyway, i’m rambling. i guess i just wanted to be another person to say thank you, and to let you know that you’re not the only one out there who feels that way. take care and stay strong

  29. I’ll add my two ounces of spices to this, and do my best not to ruin it.

    It seems to me that if everyone (human) on this planet would feel something like you all shared here, it would be the end of this aberration aka civilization. But…

    In the “mean” time, you all are encouraging and inspiring.

    I’ve survived my times of close to constant depression, and this to me is a GREAT victory.

    One of the major things that almost completely put an end to my abysmal depression was the night I realized that if I did for example
    blow a hole thru my head, “I” would be doing “their” dirty job, while they would feel sooooh sorry for me and my close ones that I “just” couldn’t adapt to society…

    Well, that was like a tremendous war cry!
    Now, “they” were gonna have to deal with me for possibly a LOOOONG
    effin time !!!! I was gonna die fightin and fightin them !!
    F*** TH** !!!!

    One of their tactics is exactly this; to make us feel overwhelmingly
    unable to do anything, to the point of killing ourselves.

    I STRONGLY urge you all to NOT fall for their trick(s) !!


  30. Hey Misko,

    I totally agree! I think that “suicide” is actually this culture murdering innocent people. I like your idea of using that as a motivating war cry. I feel that.

  31. Misko & Scout,
    I agree as well.

    Personally I feel like suicide is a weak thing to do in the face of such monsters in the world. The system and its proponents/beneficiaries don’t give two shits about the masses and their feelings. We help them out by killing ourselves, and for the more evil bastards out there, it amuses/pleases them. Even the masses don’t give two shits about each other most days.

    This might sound extreme, but I don’t care, my thoughts ARE extreme many times: Until I commit homicide on a number of corrupt/powerful/destructive entities, I will never commit suicide.

    What good am I doing by simply ending my own life? I mean, when you’re that low in spirits that you will commit suicide, then you might as well try doing something ELSE very drastic before you end your life and therefore your ability to do ANYTHING more. I mean, why not just up and run away to some random land? Start a new life? There are a million things in life that we haven’t experienced, peaceful or not, so why not just throw yourself into an extreme situation before you commit suicide? That’s the way I personally look at it.

    Also, and I may eat these words someday, but as dreary as the world may get, I will always be very curious to watch it unfold for as long as I can. There will always be events to look forward to being alive for, and that’s another major blockade to any serious intentions of suicide. It’s in our nature to be curious, even when we’re desperately depressed, and I feel like it’d be a waste not to just bear witness to the world’s flux for as long as it will sustain you.

  32. In theory, that sounds great, but when you actually feel suicidal, you generally don’t have the energy to think about homicide, you just want to end your pain and the quickest way is suicide. It has no logical bases, you can’t argue logic with someone who is suicidal because it’s emotional. At least, that’s how i have felt in those times.

  33. Well, on a lighter (?) note, I’ll say that I’m glad I kept going…
    One of the reasons is that when I started realizing what kind of world
    I was REALLY living in, I was the only one who saw things like this.
    Of course there must have been others, but I didn’t know any of those

    I’m not sure about this but it kinda seems like there are more people
    now than ten or twenty years ago who understand what this “lovely”
    civilisation is all about. And if that is really the case then it’s
    good news. You know, twenty years ago there were maybe one person out of 500 000 whose eyes were open, and now perhaps it’s one in
    100 000…No…I’m kidding, I have no clue how many there are.

    But really though, I’m quite sure we are growing in numbers and in percentage of population. You all must have heard of how, once an individual in a species starts doing something for the first time in their history, this new behaviour spreads even among the same species in other parts of the world, where they have never had any contact. Whatever the explanation is, bottom line is it WORKS !

    We CAN organize, we can re-learn how to relate to each other so we can eventually live peacefully and harmoniously with All Life, we can
    get stronger, and the stronger we get the easier it gets for others
    young and old to find themselves too. THE DRUMS ARE THUNDERIN !!!!


  34. A couple of thoughts that seem to help me through the toughest depression:

    Depression occurs when your conscious and subconscious views of reality, or what needs done, differ.

    If you’re really at the point of suicide – I think the best way to do it is to take all those hundred things or risks that most people won’t do for fear of losing something. I mean, if you’re gonna end it all anyways, what have you got to lose? The amazing part is, when you completely give up, somehow you still keep living. And often enough, living better.

  35. in every suffering there’s a meaning..meaning does not invented, it must be found…

  36. Pingback: W66,67: Perma-fried | Urban Scout: Rewilding Cascadia

  37. “Life. What are the chances? Wildly improbable. That in the wastes of space, there is this one wild and living planet, the complex, stonking grace of the thing: there is life here, now, and how it spins. Earth the feast in the famine of space, the festival in the desert…

    Earth the shaman, Earth the fool, Earth, the most entire and sublime joker in the ultimate subversion, subverted deadness, made life out of laughing gas and quickened creatures from slow rain, made puns of the galaxies on the spiral of a snail. She was the oridginal anarchist wit who cracked the first joke, which split the sides of the moon and, roaring with a dirty laugh fit to soil herself with good brown muck, said the first word-F*%K!-again and again. Earth the nomad, Earth the maened, Earth the shaman, Earth the clown in boots too big, walks the wild way, the curly way, curling the stars, on, on, in fecund riot and feral grace” Wild, an elemental journey; Jay Griffiths.

    Urban Scout, rewilding has resulted in me feeling alive again, listening to Molly Strand’s cello reconnected me with that essence, what a priviledge to be part of it all,

    “And even if Earth were home to just one iridescent dragonfly for just one morning, reeling one waltz over just one stream, it would still be enough, the flicker of grace. But life gives more: another dragonfly, another stream, another pitcher plant, another Mozart. Life gives it extra, just for fun. Generous, promiscuous, have another one.

    Earth, self-created, born of self-will and stardust, made her self-willed way her own, the aboriginal I Am. Wilful and subversive planet that she is, grinning into the dark, roaring out her rebel yell, Earth is the rebel against the whole damn (solar) system; Earth, protesting against vacuum, in riot and revolt, throws her knickers at the space police. Wildness is subversive and Comedy’s a rebel angel: Earth itself the ultimate wild comedian.” Jay Griffiths, Wild

    For me meaning has been realising that, despite all the assertions of this culture I’m embedded in, there is a human way of being in this world that is bt nature deeply fulfilling, that there are languages that reflect this, stories that keep this, aboriginal songlines that navigate it. self-willed, free, with deep love of imtimate knowledge of and connection to land-base, and a deep sense of belonging to the community of things, deep respect. that is my capoeira, just knowing it exists/has existed seems enough.

  38. I’ve had thoughts of suicide before too, one time where I also thought it would be better to not have to feel so terrible, and I couldn’t even understand the cause of that particlular bout of depression, the other times were when I felt that I had totally just fucked something up so bad that I could never fix it (of course those things turned out ok eventually).

    Very recently, my grandfather committed suicide, and I’m still confused, sad, and even angry about it. I can understand having thoughts of suicide, but actually going through with it is very difficult, especially when thinking about your friends and family who love you dearly. It then occurred to me that since I’ve recently learned more about the rewilding movement, I now have this drive to keep on with the rewilding and whatever I gotta do for the sake of the earth, even if that means the little things I can do.

    I very much understand how it feels when you see people who dismiss the reality of what their prized civilization is doing to the world, when I was younger the anger and depression I had was based around endangered species, and when you talk about the effect of those emotions becoming physical as well, like grief, I’ve felt that too. It fucking pisses me off that polititians like Sarah Palin and others in our country are working to make it legal to kill off wolves and bears so they can have more animals to hunt for sport… I can understand that people hunt for food, but a lot of it is actually for tourism and sport, and it makes me so sad that people can actually be so selfish, it seems almost heartless to me, or like they have disconnected themselves from what it means to be a living thing on this planet. I don’t want to get too far into that, or I’ll completely lose track.

    What I really want to say to you is that I am so grateful that you even do this rewilding stuff, following your heart, and when I was talking about the recent realizition I had after my grandfather’s suicide was that when topics of despair arise, I feel that following my heart to rewild is the best solution of all. In fact, now I feel a drive inside to rewild, it feels so right. I think that even if you do have to work a shit job and don’t have time to follow your heart to your content, you may at least be able to do some of it, or at least enough to hang on.

    Thanks for all the awesome stuff you do, Urban Scout, it truly means a lot!

  39. by the way, even though I mentioned a little politics, I actually don’t really care for politics, it just happens that I situation I do care very much about involves politicians.

  40. <3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3!

    It helps me a lot to hug everyone all the time. It’s better than candy. And rolling on the ground. Being very sensual, is very boosting! Sensing when you wake up: this linen is so soft! And I can touch the wall and it feels so cool! And it’s cold outside. And it’s warm by the fire and soft on the pelt! And here is my friend and I kiss her. I like that. Sensuality over rationality.

    I think it’s never so bad to be really sad, as long as one is not lonely. Like 22-Pistepirkko (Finnish band) sing:

    Here comes my darling
    saying hello you
    hey, why you look so worried?
    what’s a-wrong with you?

    I felt something evil
    lying in my room
    it makes me really scared,
    don’t you feel it too?

    I know it don’t really matter
    does it really matter
    if we go insane my darling
    will we always be together?
    does it really matter
    if we go insane my darling

    Also thinking that how this world is completely absurd is funny. And crying together often ends up in laughing together.