Articles, Essays, Poems and More

A Reflection on Being Part of Take A Hike – written before the show aired

When I was contacted to be part of a BBC2 TV series about walking in Devon I was excited for the prospect, as well as somewhat horrified. What I enjoy about television is primarily watching stimulating fictions, generally for the horror, thrill, or violence within the performance. With regards to “news”, documentaries, “reality TV” and “factual television”, I am generally revolted by my experience of what is called “the Spectacle” by Situationists and “hyper-reality” by the sociologist Baudrillard. This contradiction goes with the experience of living between the technologically-drivenurbanising mass-extinction machinery called civilisation and the wild breathing world of the living.

I will share here that I thoroughly dislike “nature shows/documentaries”, that propagate and perpetuate the ideology of the living world as one of images, disembodied factoidal objects, far away & not here or now, and that it is explainable; rather than the living world being here and now, an experience we encounter in our being-alive & when with living flora, fauna and minerals, and is not limited to the facts and explanations of “experts”. Why watch a scientist talk about trees, rivers, hares and birds of prey, on TV, when there are trees, rivers, hares and birds of prey outside your door, that you can meet in the same way that you might meet a friend, face-to-face and in-person?

So why agree to participate in the making of such a spectacle? Is it hypocrisy for me to have engaged in such activity? Well, I don’t consider it hypocrisy, though I’ll accept it being a contradiction. What this was, for me, was primarily the opportunity to infect BBC2 with my badger-loving, rebellious, guerrilla ontology, taking this moment to use the largest microphone I will ever have and not losing the potential it holds. I was also excited for the opportunity to experience this mode-of-production, to have a more tangible basis for my thoughts on the matter. After this, my reasons for being part of the show were to experience the walks and see parts of Devon that I have not yet been to. 

When it came to the week of filming the episodes, I had a nasty cough that eventually turned into a chest infection, and was getting through cough sweets and syrups at a rate I have never done before, so was not at my friendliest or most socially-agreeable – I tried my best to not be too much of a grump, while also not being insincere or inauthentic. At risk of coming off as being a dick, if I’m honest, it also didn’t help my frustrations with the situation that the other individuals on the show were less than interested in the spaces the walks were located, the experience of being-there, and how they’d agreed to be on a walking show but seemed to hate walking – the complaining about walking was stunningly ridiculous!

What I loved most about the experience was encountering beautiful spaces and affirming the intensity of life that lives here in Devon (despite encroaching urbanisation, pesicidal-machinery and cull-culture). There is a power in the rocks that constitute the coastline of this landscape, the inhuman sea, in the rivers that force their way through the soil and the hills that constitute the topography of this land. There is a dance that is danced by the wild plants, from the tallest trees to the tiniest daisy, by the wild animals, from the smallest of the insects to the mightiest of the deer, and by the winds, rains, hail, sunlight and shadows. While I am horrified and revolted by the abuse that this culture enacts upon the living here, I am in awe of those living beings who live here in-spite of it and who find joy, love, creative potential and home here. I love living here, in this beautiful part of this island in the North Sea – not for cultural or historical romance, but because I am able to walk from my home to woods where birds sing, flowers bloom, pollinators feed, badgers make setts, foxes hunt, ivy climbs walls, the waters of the sea beat against the rock throwing the scent of the salts on the air, and where I experience myself being-here, being-in-this-space, so intensely that I can cry and laugh and dance; and this is what I wanted to affirm through participating on the show, through the largest microphone I will ever have the opportunity to use. 

I don’t know if I will get what I desired from participating in the project. I hope that my presence within the spectacle affects some of those individuals who experience it, so that they seek the presence of trees and badgers and rivers in their lives. Perhaps I will only have exacerbated the spectacle and the mediation, alienation and psycho-geographic-distancing. My feeling is that taking the risk was worth the potential it contains, so I can affirm the experience and my choice to partake in the project.

Dancing & Digging by Seaweed/Shaun Woods – a review

Seaweed’s collection of proverbs is not a book, it is a cartography. It is a cartography of a space that is wild, sensuous, feeling, desiring, striving, willing, and fighting, amidst the machinery of Leviathan. There is no argument, debate or reasoning to this, as there is no need for argument, debate or reasoning – it is a work of honest, caring, loving, destructive expression; that I experienced as like drinking mead, on a sunny day, with bird song surrounding me.

Seaweed affirms that “(f)ree wanderers spread anarchy”; that “(a) cluster of free wanderers is anarchy”; that “(n)ature is the marvelous that the surrealist seeks”; and that “(l)aughter is a formidable philosophical position”. Seaweed also reminded me that “(t)he tragedy of civilization is that self-creation is absent”; that “(i)ndividual refusal is the most urgent move”; and that “(d)iversity makes life interesting, technology erases difference” – all resonating intensely with my individualist-eco-anarchist perspective!

Seaweed has beautifully expressed their experience of mystical-eco-anarchy, and I am so glad to have read this. Certainly the best writing I have read from this writer and I hope for more like this!

You can order the book here – https://www.nightforestpress.com/product-page/dancing-digging-proverbs-on-freedom-nature-by-shaun-day-woods?fbclid=IwAR0sFvvzzl_Sos0NBTWFoMdCsvRw7ziD4LlFWlC8-JXEq1C0AQ8DjHasepU

A Personal Reflection on Confrontation

Last night I woke at 1:37 am after having possibly the most significant “stress dream”/nightmare that I can remember ever having. After my experiences as a cancer patient, the death of my mother and other challenging encounters in my life, I live with fluctuating intensities of post-traumatic stress. This manifests itself most intensely during sleep; through dreams like the one I had last night.

In last nights dream, I was brought back to the school that I went to between the ages of 10-14, where, when I was 13, the school IT teacher and caretaker showed me extreme BDSM pornography, of a man with a bleeding anus and the blood dripping over his testicles. At this point in my life I was going through a personal identity crisis and was open about questioning my sexual identity, with the school, Stowford College, being aware of this. There was an investigation into the incident, after I’d told my dad what had happened, where the police accepted Arthur Miller’s account that he’d “accidentally” stumbled across the image while showing me something in class – one of my earliest points of losing faith in the system. I knew that his “accident” claim was a lie, with the smile he had on his face, when I looked at him in horror, being firmly planted in my mind, and it was agreed between my dad and the school that I would no longer have any classes with Mr Miller. He was attempting to groom me and the attempt to confront the situation through systemic processes had failed, putting all the other children at that school at risk, as well as children at the church where he was said to volunteer at. In last night’s dream, I was returning to Stowford to start a job there as an adult, but found myself walking into a scene of cock and ball torture, and as I attempted to leave found that I’d become a young child again. I attempted to leave through the front door of the school I became aware that it was a dream, but that a ghostly presence had followed me to the door, who was preventing me from walking through the door and waking up and would so until I had confronted them. As I tried to punch this spook, I became aware that the only way I was going to be able to confront the spectre was to say “I am not afraid. I am not scared” and know that that was true.

In the space between waking and sleep, I felt myself saying those words out loud and woke up with a jolt. I could feel that I needed to do something cathartic/expressive, so I picked up the book I keep by the bed for drawings and took it to my living room, did an automatic drawing, wrote a few lines of poetry and wrote some of the words from the dream. In my waking, I realised something about myself from the dream. What I had taught myself is that I have an experience of a primal desire to confront directly and authentically what I encounter as revolting, fuelled, in part, by experiences such as this one, where indirect, mediated, systemic confrontations have failed. The most significant other fuel for this desire is from having lived in a very non-confrontational family, who has through my life repressed so much desire-to-confront, mostly out of avoidance or Buddhistic-type non-violent morality, that to this day has such petty bitterness within it that as I write this I am filled with bitter feelings for the patheticness. 

Life has taught me the importance of confrontation, most brutally through cancer treatment, because the tumour was an intolerable presence in my brain. It has become so much of who I am, with a certain confrontational-quality having become a huge part of my personality. I can affirm this, as I am very comfortable with who I am. 

To be clear, by confrontational, I do not mean violent. Violence, particularly in political-systemic machinery, as in to-violate, generally disgusts me – where it does not is in the cases of hunting for food (in hunter-gather contexts), where the hunter breaks the body of the prey, in self defence, where an attacker is broken to prevent the individual being-attack being-broken, and, if honest, in sport-fighting, which I enjoy as a spectacle of bodily-power. Arthur Miller’s attempt to groom me was (psychically) violent (in the pursuit of bodily violation) and I have no tolerance for any part of what he or other violators/abusers do in their search for domination. 

Confrontation is to me a destructive/creative) process, rather than violent. This is most obvious to me in situations where individuals seek to confront abusive machinery, so as to create their destruction. To be clear, I affirm destruction as a positive-process, differentiated from annihilation – annihilation perhaps being best located in oceanic-dead zones and death camps, both manifesting from constructed Realities – with the positivity of destruction being located in its spatial-affirmation of the structure being detotalised and its creative qualities perhaps being best identified in the sight of great valleys created through the destructivity of rivers upon landscapes, with all the life potentiality they bring.  Confrontation’s positivity is also obviously manifested in my eyes through the aggression of a mother fox or mother sparrow, doing all in her power to protect her young – which is not an act of violence – and I am continually inspired by confrontation as an act of loving-care. 

I am grateful for this opportunity to reflect on my primal-confrontationality.

When We Are Human, by John Zerzan – a review

[DISCLAIMER] – following the publication of this review Zerzan has apologised publicly on his radio show for his piece on autism and I personally consider the matter to be resolved, though I can’t speak for anyone else. If you want to hear the apology, the episode can be listened to here https://archive.org/details/anarchy-radio-07-20-2021_202107 . I’ve made no changes to this review following this, but want it to be acknowledged openly.

__________________________

When I found that a copy of Zerzan’s new book, When We Are Human, had reached me I was immediately excited and keen to read. I am continually moved by Zerzan’s thought and writings, despite many points of difference in perspective or approach. It was largely a desire to encounter these differences that motivated me to email John and ask him to send me a copy of the book, to review. As I encountered these points of difference in perspective I was mostly very glad to experience them, because they affirmed my experience of John Zerzan as someone who is not me and someone I can appreciate for being-them and the thought being-theirs – there is one point of the text, which I go into more detail on in a more critical section of this review, that, I will share at this point, did offend me and is in my eyes the worst thing I’ve ever read by Zerzan; but I will state that much of this text is some of the best and most beautiful writings by Zerzan.

This book, in my eyes, is largely a response to anti-humanist thought – thought that is critical of the concept of “human” – and misanthropic thought – thought pertaining to human-hating collectivised bigotry – within anarchist and environmentalist theory and practice. I have described my thought as anti-humanist and feel that label is somewhat fair placed on me, and with this encounter this quality of the book as an attempt to save an aspect of Zerzan’s thought that is very intense – anthropological-realism. It seems clear to me that Zerzan believes in Humanity, very much from an anthropologically-centred world-view, and I appreciate this quality of his thought, as Zerzan seeks to defend Humanity from misanthropic hatred, bigotry and abuse – though it is undeniable that there is a strong anthropocentrism within Zerzan’s thought, with animal, floral and mineral life being all-but-excluded from the thought within this text (perhaps there is potential for a follow up from Zerzan, drawing from anthrozoology and zoopoetics[?]).

There are some stunningly beautiful pieces of writing in this collection. An example of this early on in the text is a section on fire, where Zerzan shares personal encounters with fire in a way that I thoroughly enjoyed. While the book is somewhat history-dense, I enjoyed Zerzan’s affirmation of the Luddite rebellions, his (attempted) destruction of Enlightenment thought and a section affirming anti-history that also acknowledges that “this book … is a testimony to the need for historical awareness” – a wonderful contradiction/paradox, which I feel truly embodies so much of Zerzan’s work. Like many other of his books, there are excellent diatribes seeking to destroy time, technology and the failure that is civilisation. My favourite section of this book, which I think might be Zerzan’s best piece of writing, is the section titled Experience, where he affirms that “(w)e must uncover, reclaim, the immediacy of lived experience …” and that “(t)he absence of mediation doesn’t last …”. These are all aspects of the book that I value and feel appreciation for. 

The positioning of this critical turn is very intentional and I believe that this would likely be obvious if I were not stating it outright here. I go into more detail on the aspects of the book that I am critiquing here than those I am affirming as valuable, as I feel that the desirable qualities of this book need my affirmation less than the undesirable qualities deserve my destruction. It should be clear that I am positing value in this book as worth-reading-and-considering and I encourage no one reading these critical points to reject the book because of them. The three areas being critiqued are a section on autism, Zerzan’s anti-philosophy and the matters of individualism, egoism, nihilism and postmodernism (and how much [perhaps] John misses the fucking point[!]). 

The piece on autism is the only piece of writing by Zerzan that has ever left me feeling utterly disgusted by him and I will not deny that it is offensive to try and save John some face. Zerzan attempts to make the argument that autism is a product of civilisation and contemporary domesticating-distance, and that Humanity is losing its humanness to becoming-autistic, relying on many stereotypes regarding individuals we call autistic that I can tell you, from my lived experience of working with autistic individuals, are often bullshit. From a primitivist historical-anthropological-realist ideology, Zerzan’s positioning of autism is easily rejectable, given the likelihood of autistic individuals having distinct advantages in hunter-gather contexts [1] and the likelihood of their being “championed” in the context of pre-civilised communities [2]. Positioning individuals this culture calls autistic as being not-desirable, or less-than(-Human), is the worst part of this book and the worst I’ve ever read by Zerzan. 

With regards to Zerzan’s anti-philosophy, while I am sympathetic to his rejection of Enlightenment thought (perhaps from a slightly different route there) and his rejection of much of the thought that Enlightenment builds from; I feel that Zerzan both misses something and thoroughly fails to affirm those aspects of philosophy – as a lived experience, not an ideology bound to the Academy – that has impacted his thought and life. Zerzan makes it clear at one point of his attacks against philosophy that he does not identify as a philosopher, which I find strange, as I certainly consider Zerzan to be a philosopher, with his anti-philosophy being a philosophy-of-philosophy – to the extent that there are these objects called “philosophy” and “philosophers” I’d affirm is only true in name, but still hold discursive relevance. Zerzan calls philosophy an “impersonal pursuit”, which (again) strikes me as bizarre, as I couldn’t imagine a more personal area of study than philosophy. In a section titled A Note On Freedom, Zerzan affirms freedom, mostly through affirming resistance from within death camps – in a very similar way to that done in the anarcho-nihilist book Blessed is the Flame – and this is perhaps the most intensely personal-philosophical act I can imagine any individual doing, as I am aware that I often experience my individuality most intensely through the experience of pain, with all the existential aspects that invokes. I do love that Zerzan’s final paragraph in his essay The Case Against Philosophy affirms Diogenes of Sinope (who is a personal philosophical hero of mine) and cynicism, while noting a peculiarity to this, given Diogenes’ mockery of Plato, who Zerzan draws from at one point (though perhaps missed Plato’s meaning in the allegory of the cave).

This final critical thought (obviously drawing from the last one) regards another paradox/contradiction within Zerzan’s writings/philosophy/thought that I can understand and appreciate, but encounter often as disappointing. Now, it seems clear to me that Zerzan’s desires are rooted in an affirmation of Life over anthropological-machinery/Leviathan/civilisation, or as I will term it here the System – this is not being questioned in any way. What I notice though is that, when Zerzan is attempting to negate art, poetry, Decadence, aestheticism and nihilism, he is not doing so from any affirmation of the Life that is the experience of being-individual, but from a Systemic-perspective, opposing them as a mode-of-Systematising – I will note here that in my book Feral Consciousness I affirm the hyper-exploitation(/acceleration) of symbolic-aestheticism, to its inevitable point of collapse, to affirm the post-collapse eco-aestheticism; in my book Feral Life affirm poetry and art for their non-systematising and animalising potential; and in my book Feral Iconoclasm affirm a life-affirming nihilism, based in absurdity. (These areas are those where I most intensely differentiate from Zerzan’s thought.) Alongside the intensely Systematic qualities of Zerzan’s writings, the individual gets affirmed in this book in his critique of ritual, his extremely beautiful (philosophical) piece on death (very relevant within mass-extinction culture) and in other sections, that are far less Systems-oriented. I notice this Systemetic quality most when, like when Zerzan seeks to negate art and poetry, Zerzan fails to recognise, or even affirm an inability to recognise, what nihilism and the destruction (de-struction/de-structuring/de-constructing [which I affirm as a positive-activity]) of value might mean to individuals who find beauty (or, dare I say, value) in them. Those individuals are life, the are alive, not the Systems that Zerzan places as more valuable than their lived experience. And it should be noted that, within all this Systematising, sadly, the individual most lacking within this book, like most of Zerzan’s writings, is the individual writing the book – I feel so much affirmation for those points where we do encounter this individual within the text. 

Being honest, I am uncertain how to end this review. This book truly embodies both the best and the worst of Zerzan’s thought, and I am sincerely grateful for having been sent the copy that is in front of me now, for the purpose of writing this review. I am intending to write John a poem, in pen, and send him a couple of my drawings, in the hopes that he might receive them and experience an affirmation of poetry and art that is individual, non-Systematic and perhaps stupid and absurd (but okay). I guess, my final thought regarding this book is that this book has really affirmed to me that it is okay to feel conflictual, contradictory and split feelings about any book, writer and individual – I can survive the confusion and, I believe, you can too!

Notes

[1] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110603122849.htm?fbclid=IwAR3kRdCe8I-ty8uTuqPGI58M3rAf3v9kF4Z8TmNUmxAuzrXTKDdj-I5tDOs

[2] https://www.zmescience.com/science/news-science/autism-stone-age-evolution/?fbclid=IwAR1DgcYRGMuC_tr4JgsWQXQpeaYCcLDOxqa9frBbJB8QhyNIuLuOUW5PbO0

My Anti-Cull Philosophy

A Crow Calling

Yesterday I felt fury, after reading reports regarding government plans to extend the culling of badgers on this island in the North Sea, for several years. I felt a hateful rage, which embodies a far less likeable aspect of my personality than those aspects most people would likely wish to encounter. 

After having been involved in anti-cull rebellion since 2015 and living in North Devon, frequently seeing dead badgers by the side of the road, I have come to experience a deep personal sense of care for these beautiful creatures. Finding a sett with healthy looking entry points brings an experience of joy to me, which would undoubtedly be considered bizarre to most members of this culture. I experienced this joy yesterday when I visited the sett that I was regularly checking during the 2020 cull season and will be checking regularly this year too. It is a huge sett and had all the signs of being active with badger life coming in and out, living as they do, despite the pesticidal, specicidal machinery attempting to negate their living presence. I do not mind sharing here that I did a small dance at the sight of these stunningly gorgeous holes in the ground – probably looking utterly ridiculous to the birds, squirrels and trees who shared the space with me in that moment. When I got back to my house my wife asked me how the sett was looking and I was so pleased to tell her, going on to say that I am probably going to write something about the cull (again).

This morning I saw more reports on the government plans to extend the cull for several years – possibly even longer than I had read yesterday. I was hit with a deep feeling of sadness and an experience of despair that hit me in the centre of my chest, sitting there like a crow calling out so often as to render forgetting its presence impossible.

I had in mind other activities to engage in today, but the crow’s calling persisted in my chest, leaving me with the awareness that a primal and immediate aspect of my Being was communicating to my conscious awareness that now another activity was more desirable. Listening to this visceral, instinctual voice within my body, I decided that I would put off those other activities and begin writing this piece. 

The most difficult part of writing anything for me is the space that comes before the writing of the first sentence. There is an intense cosmological quality to starting to write something for me, which is frankly absurd and stupid, but is undeniably the truth of my experience. Because it is an absurd activity, as I know that writing this is not going to stop cull-culture or save badgers from mass-extinction-machinery, but yet I feel this intense experience of existential responsibility regarding whether or not a choose to write about this matter and how I write about it. I have decided though that I will embrace the absurdity of the act and write about badgers and the cull, but how now to do it? Do I write an inspirational call to action, reminiscent of revolutionary rhetoric? Perhaps I will attempt to write a very logical assessment of why the cull makes no rational sense, with a moral case against the practice, detailing aspects of animal cruelty? Maybe I will write an open letter to my MP and publish it in the hopes that it might encourage others to do so, possibly motivating the politician to appeal in parliament for the end of the culling? I mean, fucking hell, how do I go about putting the caw of this crow and the beauty of those holes in the earth, into words for someone to read and maybe decide to rebel against cull-culture? 

The words “quit over rationalising this you daft tit” come into my head and I decide to write this as I have been doing so – as a personal, raw, individualistic account of my experience on the matter. I find beauty in what has been described as uncivilised writing[1] and feel happy with this approach to describe the crows calling. 

Tomorrow writing this piece will be less of a struggle, as the great cosmological event of “beginning” has occurred. There will be less anxious, confused moving from one direction to another and more moving from space to space, that will be more akin to shinrin yoku praxis. 

I will leave this here today with one story of my experiences in cull resistance that I feel to share here. In my second year involved in anti-cull rebellion, when out with a hunt sab group, we were walking across a field at night, after having checked the woods at the far side from where we had parked. We were aware of badgers playing a short distance away from us in the field, but were unaware of the shooters behind us, who must have snuck in while we checking the woods. I felt the bullet go past the left side of my torso, as it displaced the air between it and me. Moments later, we felt the badger die in our arms, as we desperately attempted to bring them to the car alive, to take them to a wildlife hospital. It was this experience, more than any other, than confirmed to me the intensity to which this culture is waging a violent campaign upon wildlife, akin to other militarist efforts in cultural-extermination. My awareness of this remains today and I remain on the side of wildlife. I will speak about “tomorrow” tomorrow … 

Respect Existence or Expect Resistance

Yesterday I decided that this section would be titled as it is and took opportunities to reflect on those words. “Respect existence or expect resistance” is a phrase I have come across often in anti-cull media and is probably my favourite radical-slogan – or is equal to the line “death to Gilgamesh”, which I was informed is, or was, a popular statement amongst Rojavan anarchists, the YPG and YPJ. I’m not generally a fan of sloganing and find that it often cheapens and weakens the communication of statements that I find valuable. An example of this would be the Situationist line of “be realistic, demand the impossible”, which I’ve seen to my horror being used in electoralist party propaganda. It strikes me as utterly tragic to encounter this 5 word poem, created out of anti-Spectacle desires, to be Spectacularised into the theatre of parliamentary musical chairs. It seems to me though that those who are most responsible for this situation are those radicals who sloganized this statement of surrealist rebellion to the intensity that it has been. But moving back to the subject of “respect existence or expect resistance”, as far as slogans go, I am quite fond of this one. 

“Yeah yeah, okay Julian, we get it – you like the punchy word collection. But, so what?” Okay, yes, I will go into the phrase further, but first I am going to clarify two factors regarding what it is I am stating he. First of all, due to the egoism I am bringing to this writing, I am not seeking to morally justify this statement and encounter nothing that requires me to provide any justification than is greater than my experience of desire. After this, due to the absurdism I am also bringing to this writing, I shall not seek to provide anything more than reasoning that is absurd reasoning [2] as unreasonable reasoning, accepting the limits of this attempt to articulate any reason behind these words or reason for valuing them. You might read these stipulations and decide to disregard what comes next, favouring writings that attempt to hide the writer’s subjective-individuality and the absurdity of their attempts at reasoning – that is, of course, your choice.

Moving on now. 

Respect. Respect is one of those words that is used in so many different ways, meaning many different experiences, that your use of the word might be totally the reverse of mine. As I encounter the notion of respect though, I notice how there are two immediate qualities to it: how I experience an-other and how I treat them. To respect this other individual before me I first experience the sensation of being affected by them with the feeling of respect – I encounter their presence as a being who affects me with the affirming feeling of respecting-them, which is generally quite a pleasurable experience, with the sense of positive-relationship it brings. How I treat them, following this experience of positive affirmation, manifests out of a desire to care for them, as a presence that I encounter as valuable enough to care for. (It is hopefully apparent that this description of respect in no way pertains to the authoritarian narratives regarding “respect” that are so often drilled into the ideological rhetoric of this culture!) Towards those badgers who the cull-advocates are seeking the annihilation of, my experience of respect for their presence as an-other, who I encounter as desirable, inspires me to seek to care for them, as best I can.

Existence. Not wanting to go too deeply into the matter of existence and what that means here, I would encourage any individual reading this to read my piece regarding Gorgias’ Trilemma and my reversal of his position to state as an affirmation that “nothingness exists”, “nothing exists”, “no-Thing exists”, “existence is nothing”, “existence is no-Thing” and “existence is nothingness” [3]. (Assuming that this has been read, or my meaning here is understood, I will continue.) How this pertains to the affirmation of badgers as existing as being nothing/no-Thing/nothingness is to affirm their lived presence as not conforming to the dictates of this culture’s Thing-Reality, which does not really exist. The point here is that they are living beings, not objects for the purpose of this culture’s Man-ipulation (of which there really are none). 

Expect. The meaning of the word “expect” here, certainly in my eyes, is one of a threat, which holds the statement together beautifully. It positions the force of an active will as a being lurking in the darkness of expectation. The expectation is not an imaginary future though – some kind of utopian salvation. The expectation is a hear and now lived experience of a psychologically immediate presence, intended to bring to the attention of cull-ideologues the presence of this being in the dark, prepared to enact this threat.

Resistance. Resistance is the actualisation of the threat that was positioned in “expect”. But what does resistance mean? Well, to groups like the Jensenite organisation Deep Green Resistance, “resistance” means “organised political resistance”, generally positioned as a solution to a problem – a very optimistic notion. For myself, this is not what resistance means, largely due to my doubts regarding political organisations and my corresponding awareness of how this notion of resistance both requires the “problem”, so that they can be “solution”, and actually, generally, supports the “problem” more than challenges – an example of this being how trade unions now, for the most part, support capitalist infrastructure, by making it more comfortable for “workers”, so as to neutralise any potential challenge to capitalism, rather than actually challenging capitalism. As I encounter resistance in this statement I encounter it as a position of refusing to conform to the ideology of cull-culture and a refusal to tolerate it. The intolerant destruction of cull-ideology is the positive affirmation of the living presence of badgers – feral iconoclasm [4], as I wrote about in my book with that title.

So the statement “respect existence or expect resistance” means to me this – positively affirm the living presence, through care, of the living beings called badgers, who are not Things, or expect to experience iconoclastic-destructive intolerance of a rebellion that refuses to embrace cull-ideology. Not wanting to go too deep into the realms of differance, I am comfortable leaving this meaning as it is. 

200 Species A Day And Species-Being

As I approach writing this section an avoidant, weaker, part of my being is tempted to put off starting this section to tomorrow. I wrote about tomorrow in my piece Doomed To Deferral [5] stating – 

“Ultimately, you and I will both be doomed, if we rest our hopes on reading or writing tomorrow, but perhaps being doomed is a decent enough ending to start at.”

and, 

“Perhaps there is something to be said about being hopeless and fearless today.”

I am going to begin this section today, as I have done, and I have decided that I will finish it another day. Cull rebellion happens between many sunsets and sun rises, not as a History, with a future to achieve, but as a lived experience of being cosmically tiny, immersed in an ever changing space, which too large to ever fully comprehend.

But anyway, 200 species … 

When I try to comprehend the scale of mass-extinction devastation I am struck by the sheer horrific vastness of the situation. It is both immediately happening where I am and a planetary event, far greater than the limits of my embodied power to affect. The cosmic-pessimism that this brings would be dishonest to deny, especially considering the will-to-life it took for living beings to overcome previous mass-extinction events, with all the struggling and suffering that would have involved. The intensity of the strength and power of those beings who lived amidst those mass-extinction events is truly heroic to me, with all the tragedy that real heroism involves, given their inevitable deaths, which fuelled the births of other beings who also lived and struggled and suffered amidst mass-extinction. 

When I first encountered the statistic of 200 species going extinct a day I was awestruck by the sheer magnitude of that scale of annihilation. To comprehend this culture’s totalitarian practices as that colossal was, as they say, “mind blowing”. And as I come to write about this here I am aware of my inability to truly comprehend the entirety of this matter, feeling somewhat “mind blown”. So I am going to move away from writing this for the moment, go into my garden and sit with the wild flowers, bugs, birds and cats who generally share that space with me. I have started this section today, as I decided I would, and now feel like my energies are best put into experiencing other living beings who are also living amidst mass extinction. I will come back to this tomorrow, or more likely the day after (as I am aware that tomorrow is likely to be very busy and active, leaving me unlikely to have the mental energy to write more here) … 

… 

The pause in writing this has been a few days. As I am writing, I am sat in my living room, after just having eaten breakfast, with some ambient music playing, the window open and allowing the sound of birds chirping to be heard over the music, and it is a cloudy and chilly morning. Also, as I am writing this now, today, the G7 event is happening in Cornwall, which is a relatively short drive from where I live, with politicians and protesters having flooded to. Last night I meditated on this political spectacle of Greenification and this morning I have sat with a feeling of longing that, after G7, those who have travel through cull zones will seek to challenge cull-practitioners, on their return journeys home. I will share more about my meditations later in this piece though and return focus for now on the subject of this section.

So, mass extinction. Fucking hell; how do I write about this here? To attempt to write something on mass-extinction, through Mesodma, I engaged in speculative palaeontological-realist fiction [6]. But I am not going to do that here. I could attempt to explain the machinery/apparatus of mass-extinction culture, so that someone reading might encounter new informational nuggets that enlighten them to situation at hand – in the ways that many environmentally minded individuals and groups try to do. But I don’t believe that that approach to writing holds much value. 

I tend to focus on encouraging individuals to turn their attentions to their immediate, authentic, experience of living amidst mass-extinction culture/machinery (civilisation/Leviathan as I would generally describe it), with an affirmation of the primal life desire, will-to-life/power, that I notice in all those I see embracing their being-alive. With this affirmation of individual, egoistic, experience, I have affirmed a position of rejecting species-being throughout much of my writing, which I will also do here – this coming from an ontological perspective that fits a nominalist mode of thought, which I have also named as eco-egoism (see my essay An Eco-Egoist Destruction of Species-Being and Speciesism [7]). From this perspective an uncomfortable encounter hits me and that is the prospect that every individual is actually an Endling, the last of their kind and that every death is an extinction event. This does not neutralise the devastation that is mass-extinction culture in any way – at least, not for me – as it actually does the opposite, with every individual living being’s life being far more intensely unique and rarefied and valuable, than any collectivised analysis could pertain-to. 

How does this relate to badgers and/or anti-cull philosophy and practices? Well first of all, yes, I do talk and write about the species-collective called badgers, mostly for easy(er) communication. But as I consider the abusive practices enacted towards those living beings I might name as “badger”, my feeling of horror, disgust and revolt is not lessened by the notions of “population numbers” or “percentage being-culled”, as I feel intolerant towards the pesticidal abuse enacted towards any of these individuals. Just because the numbers of those named as Melee Melee (another name for badgers) are said to be generally increasing, I do not encounter the life of any individual to be lesser for this, nor their experience of desiring-life. Along with this, I am not attempting to “save the species”, as I know that would be a ridiculous thing for me to attempt – akin to trying to be a badger messiah, providing salvation for “the people”. Rather, I wish to defend those individuals, who share living in this space that is local to me, from cull-machinery. While I can speak to my disgust towards the cull in its entirety, my anti-cull rebellion is localistic to the cull zone that I live in and directed towards caring for individual setts fiercely, rather than the species in an exhausted manner.  

I know that it is not within my authentic power and responsability (ability-to-respond) to save any species from mass-extinction culture. I do, however, have the power, responsability and desire to care for individuals who I encounter in my life as willing their primal-life desire as a rebellion in the face of Leviathan.  

Helpful and Hopeless

With regards to the aforementioned meditation I had last night, one of the points that came into my awareness regards 4 positions that I find as fair generalisations for environmentalist psycho-philosophical “camps” – hopeless-helpless, hopeful-helpless, hopeful-helpful and hopeless-helpful. 

With regards to hopeless-helplessness, I do not feel entirely rejecting of the position, but have no desire to embrace it for myself. I can sympathise with the feelings of hopelessness and that the world is a very dark place to be, but encounter the position of helplessness as basically pathetic and weak. The individual who has no desire to help or are frozen by a lack of help in their life is not one I encounter as beautiful, but I can affirm their honesty in the sense of cosmic-pessimism. 

The hopeful-helpful position is also one that I neither entirely affirm nor reject. While I do not share their faith in political-narratives and/or green-technologies, in any way, I find their willingness to care for wild living beings beautiful and desirable. From my perspective, this it a naïve stance to take regarding hope, but the beauty of the helpful activities are wonderful to encounter. 

Hopeful-helplessness is to my eyes a position that is utterly grotesque and revolting. To place faith entirely in the political-productive machinery of Leviathan, whilst offering nothing of help or attempting to deny the responsability that being a living-free-individual involves, is revolting to my eyes. But sadly this appears to be the position pedalled most often – that we are helpless and must place our hope in abusive apparatus.

This position that I affirm in its entirety and very much occupy is that of helpful-hopelessness. To be without any feeling of hope, not believing that salvation is coming, seems to me an honest position. I feel this and encounter a sense of desire to help those who I experience care for. I encounter individuals who occupy this position as intensely beautiful, for their strength, honesty and will. 

I have no hope that the system will stop seeking to repress the lives of individuals we name as badgers, but experience a desire to help those individuals survive free from cull-machinery. It is not a comfortable place to be, but it is where I am. 

To Organise Or Not To Organise

It has been a week since I finished the last section. I’ve not written any more for this, nor have I done any sett checks in the past week. In all honesty, as I type this, I am pretty tired, after trying to do too much, recovering from my second dose of covid-19 vaccine and having to sort out unexpected car problems. This type of experience is very common to individuals who are engaged in activist activities – feelings of being burnt out and needing to rest. And activism is the focus of this section. 

So, activism, what the fuck does activism mean – or, what does it mean to me (and might do to you soon)? Well, that is a huge question really. I will start my consideration of the question by considering how my “activism” differs from (perhaps?) the definitions of other individuals who consider themselves “activists”. Then I will describe what “activism” means for me, with specific reference to my anti-cull activities. 

My “activism” is not that of “organising” or “organisation” – though I do appreciate the activities of organised hunt saboteur groups. In my experience, the energies gone into “organising” and the “organisation” are often wasted life potential, gone into constructing anthropological-machinery for the Cause, rather than seeking to deconstruct and destroy abusive anthropological-machines. Likewise, I am not interested in activism or activists as experts(/authorities) or martyrs, as that typically has the smell of vanity-missionary work, that is entirely about activists positioning themselves socially as objects for worship – I’m thinking in particular here about the media driven activities of the organisation Extinction Rebellion and its worshipers, as well as the organisation Burning Pink (another project very much infected with Roger Hallam’s vanity-missionary agenda). This form of “activism” revels in that most tragic of successes, the small incremental improvement that satisfies the appetites of those who were seeking to have their actions affirmed by state and/or corporate infrastructure – ultimately supporting Leviathan’s abusive practices, by making its violence more comfortable to live amidst so that rebellion is less likely – or, if nothing else, press attention. 

What activism means for me is care, expressed as an authentic, immediate, affirmation of the presence of life. My desire to affirm the presence of living badgers is actualised through my practice of defending setts without mediatory organisations/groups, as an individual activity. This generally involves going to visit setts and checking that they are free from abusive apparatus. But there are other aspects of my anti-cull activist practice and to describe these I am drawing from my thoughts on Massumi’s ideas on the principle of unrest (the book by the same name is excellent reading on activism and ontology) [8]. The 3 concepts I am going to focus on here are those of unrest, affectivity and capture. With regards to unrest, I agree with Massumi that there is no such phenomenon or thing as rest, and would affirm this with regards to self-care as an aspect of activist unrest, as the processes of change occurring within my body. Rather than self-care being, as many “revolutionaries” would position it, being a form of passive liberal indulgence, (my) self-care affirms (my) living bodies (as my individuality is a multiplicity of living bodies) as activist unrest, as I encounter myself as Earth and the living world extending from my body – the attempt at totalising rest(/death) being Leviathan itself. Taking the principle of unrest seriously and considering Leviathan’s anthropological machinery as an attempt at totalising rest(/death), it is impossible to not be an activist, as being alive is unrest, with death being being-impossible – where activisms differ is in what they are active in, i.e. the difference between ideological, political, work-placed activisms and life affirming activisms. The second concept of affectivities enters into my thoughts on my practice when I consider what is going to intensify my ability to affect the well-being of badgers most significantly. So today, rather than going to do sett checks, I have decided that I will self-care, through giving myself space to recover, and write here, so that I might psychically affect other individuals who read this. Affectivity in this sense is not attempting to Cause an effect, as in determinism, but to effectively affect the world as an (absurd) act of care. In much the same way that I am always at unrest, I am always affecting the world, as I affect this chair I am sat on, I affect the air through my breathing, I am affecting this piece through writing, I can affect other individuals through weird conversations and breaking social conventions through everyday activities and so on. The last concept I will comment on here is that of capture, which is very much at the core of my rebellion – rebelling against the apparatus of capture being at the core of many of the ideas in my book Feral Life. I am revolted – as both disgusted by and inspired to revolt by – by the apparatuses of badger capture and annihilation, with my desire for total liberation being my desire for the destruction of the anthropological apparatuses of capture that is mass-extinction machinery/culture. As such, my activism is foremost resistant towards the structures of capture that constitute this culture’s Reality. I describe this practice as being neither above-ground or under-ground, as I find that dualism in (so called) activist praxis to be both unhelpful and bullshit – with individuals like Max Wilbert who peddle that rhetoric succeeding only in propagating organisational theatrics. How I describe my activist praxis is non-localisable localism, which is easily differentiated from the localisable non-localism of green ideologues who are concerned only with the easily locatable matters of international green industries and politics, with no authentic relationship to the space that they are here/now. Being non-localisable, the practice is very difficult to find (if you’re not very close to me), but its intensely local to where I choose to live – as I live in the middle of one of the cull zones and actualise my rebellion here.  

Now that I have finished this section, I feel that my activist praxis is best placed in doing some dancing, cooking some dinner, bathing and then sleeping. I will likely start the next section tomorrow, which I have been planning over the past few days. 

Conservationism? No – Preservationism!

In my book Feral Life, I wrote a meditation on conservationism as “jam jar” politics and articulated my feeling of revolt towards the ideology. What I mean by “jam jar” politics is simply the Man-ufacturing of a preserve, which is reminiscent of making jams from fruits to keep the fruit longer for Humanised consumption – rather than preserving the presence of the fruit outside of anthropological systematisation by leaving it as it is where you encounter it in the world, or eating it as you encounter it and doing something to care for the space where you found it, which I put forward here as a mode of preservationism (somewhat akin to Quinn’s notion of being-a-Leaver). The jam-jar preserves of conservationism are intensely Man-aged and Man-ufactured spaces, with the ideological focus being on preserving the flavours of what was once a living space for future generations of Humans to “enjoy”, so that green-ideologues feel less guilty about the industrial ecocidal and specicidal annihilation that this culture enacts, almost everywhere at its current totalising state.  

Recently two conservationist organisations have reminded me of how intensely I dislike the ideology. The more recent of these instances is the Mammal Society spreading speciesist rhetoric about racoon dogs as being a “non-native invasive species” and a threat to the wildlife on this island on the North Sea. Calling any living being invasive for migrating from where they live while trying to survive amidst the totalitarian violence of Leviathan, whether they be Syrian refugees or racoon dogs, is just ridiculous, especially as it is coming from an intensely invasive culture, technologically, ecologically, militarily and through essentially all other forms of dialectical systemisation. I am also repulsed by the positioning of wild animals as invaders and a threat to living beings here, when cull-practitioners are blocking the entrances and exits to setts, are out with guns amd are putting cages near setts to capture living beings and annihilate them. The other recent example of revolt inspiring conservationism is learning of the John Muir Trust engaging in deer culling – something Muir would have been disgusted by, with its conservationist non-preservationism.

The distinction between conservationism and preservationism, within environmentalism, as practices has its roots in the disagreements between Pinchot and Muir. Muir, who interviewed bears and considered the preservation of forests to be defending God’s first temple [9], sought to affirm an intrinsic value in the living world through his preservationism, with his desires being that bears and forests would be left to live their lives without experiencing interference from Leviathan. Pinchot’s conservationism, which was embraced by the American political establishment and has sadly become the go-to rhetoric of many environmentalists, sought to position instrumental (systemic/machinic) value in some living beings, as being worth keeping (as property) for their usefulness to Leviathan. The difference between these perspectives is largely the difference between transcendentalism (Muir) and materialism (Pinchot). 

In my book Feral Iconoclasm I articulated my rejection of materialism (as a dead perspective), through an affirmation of hylozoic-physicalism, and don’t feel any need to differentiate from materialism further, as it is clear that I am rejecting the tendency. But while I do not embrace materialism (and conservationism), I do not share entirely Muir’s perspective regarding preservationism, for its transcendentalist qualities. Intrinsic value, God and transcendence to me are spooks and phantasms. To differentiate from transcendentalism here I will use the thoughts of two relevant transcendentalists, who have both inspired and influenced my thought and practice. 

The first of these is Henry David Thoreau, who stated – 

“This is one of those instances in which the individual genius is found to consent, as indeed it always does, at last, with the universal. …. Faith, indeed, is all the reform that is needed; it is itself a reform. When the sunshine falls on the path of the poet, he enjoys all those pure benefits and pleasures which the arts slowly and partially realize from age to age. … The winds which fan his cheek waft him the sum of that profit and happiness which their lagging inventions supply.”[10]

in his piece Paradise To Be Regained, and – 

“Ah, the pickerel of Walden! when I see them lying on the ice, or in the well which the fisherman cuts in the ice, making a little hole to admit the water, I am always surprised by their rare beauty, as if they were fabulous fishes, they are so foreign to the streets, even to the woods, foreign as Arabia to our Concord life. They possess a quite dazzling and transcendent beauty which separates them by a wide interval from the cadaverous cod and haddock whose fame is trumpeted in our streets.” [11]

in his most famous work, Walden. Thoreau’s affirmation of religious and transcendent qualities of the living world is largely shared by his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, who, in his piece Nature states – 

“Who looks upon a river in a meditative hour, and is not reminded of the flux of all things? Throw a stone into the stream, and the circles that propagate themselves are the beautiful type of all influence. Man is conscious of a universal soul within or behind his individual life, wherein, as in a firmament, the natures of Justice, Truth, Love, Freedom, arise and shine. This universal soul, he calls Reason: it is not mine, or thine, or his, but we are its; we are its property and men. And the blue sky in which the private earth is buried, the sky with its eternal calm, and full of everlasting orbs, is the type of Reason. That which, intellectually considered, we call Reason, considered in relation to nature, we call Spirit. Spirit is the Creator. Spirit hath life in itself. And man in all ages and countries, embodies it in his language, as the FATHER.”

and –

 “To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing. The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child. The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. His intercourse with heaven and earth, becomes part of his daily food. In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says,—he is my creature, and maugre all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me. Not the sun or the summer alone, but every hour and season yields its tribute of delight; for every hour and change corresponds to and authorizes a different state of the mind, from breathless noon to grimmest midnight. Nature is a setting that fits equally well a comic or a mourning piece. In good health, the air is a cordial of incredible virtue. Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear. In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth. Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life,—no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground,—my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space,—all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental: to be brothers, to be acquaintances,—master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance. I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.”[12]

From the transcendental perspective, preservationism is God’s Cause as explosive holism, as seen here in both Thoreau’s and Emerson’s writings, with the intrinsic value being an essential, soul-like, quality that is appealed to. 

How my preservationism differs is that I don’t experience badgers, or any other species or individual, as being intrinsically valuable or being expressions of God’s will. My preservationism is explosive holism reversed –implosive holism. Rather than intrinsic value, I experience badgers as egoistically valuable/desirable, not for instrumental value, but for the immediate joy of their presence in my world. The reversed holism is subscendental, in that preservation isn’t a mode of connecting to God through transcendence, but an experience of being-me, of encountering my being and the world as extending from me and me from the world, as an unending paradox. From this, badger preservationism is self-preservationism, not a Cause, but an expression of egoistic-will-to-power/life – I actualise my being through the practice of preservation. Subscendence, as I encounter it, is individualising, rather than collectivising – in the same way that I described earlier on species-being. I also want to note here that one of the key differences between transcendental-preservationism and subscendental-preservationism is the difference between spirituality and mystical-experience – (transcendental-)spirituality being something bound to words and (subscendental-)mystical experience being ineffable. There is an obvious absurdity to any self-preservation, which my absurdism is happy to accept.

Anarchy!

Anarchy is here. Anarchy is now. I experience anarchy most intensely when among the living, usually while surrounded by badger setts, trees and bird song, but it is not separate from my body. My bodily presence is the ontological actualisation of primal-anarchy – not as anthropological performance, but as the free expression of my will. 

The anarchy of my anti-cull rebellion is my refusal to accept systematisation, to accept the systemic abuse of these living beings I encounter as egoistically valuable. It is primal in two senses. The first of these senses is that it is not bound to secondary or other mediatory “higher levels” of activity (rejecting that hierarchy), which are bound to organisational practices. It is also primal in that it is an expression of becoming-animal.

My anarchy is individualist and subscendentally-holist – psychic-nomadism as being here, being nowhere, being-in-the-world and being-the-world. My anti-cull rebellion is individualistic and subscends to affirm the lives of badgers as being valuable to my self-preservation. 

The Cull

Today it is really difficult, for me at least, to find a starting point to discussing the cull – in a similar way that anti-cull practice is really difficult to find a place to start with. It has been a few days since I last added to this piece and as I am sat here I am unsure how to begin this section. I can say quite easily that I hate and despise the cull with an intensity that I experience an immediate bodily reaction while writing now. But from there it is less easy. I hear that crow cawing though and wish to not give in out of weakness.

Last night I attended my first gig/concert since the pandemic and lockdowns started over a year ago. The night was comprised of a lot of folk rock music, fiddle playing and dancing, I saw more folky and crustie friends than I expected to, and my legs are now very achy from all the dancing. Among the friends I saw there were two who are active in radical rebellions, one an activist involved in Extinction Rebellion and the other a hunt saboteur also engaged in anti-cull rebellion. I was immediately intensely joyful to see both of them, after extended periods of distance. I am starting my description of the cull here because I encounter this experience of joyful affirmation of the living presence of other individuals, particularly those with a conflictual relationship to this culture, as to be an intense point of differentiation from the philosophy, practice and attitude of cull-culture. 

It takes very little research to affirm that badgers are being cull as a means for the infrastructure of agro-politics to be seen as “doing something” to address bovine TB, while actually doing nothing of the sort, as the disease is being spread due to horrendous agricultural practices. Several years ago, I did some work experience on a small free-range, organic, dairy farm, and I can remember the farmer spitting venom about the cull, the horrendous practices and the farms where TB was spreading, because the cows were being kept to close together and the farmers were spreading TB infected muck across their fields. So I don’t believe that the cull is a matter that is based in poor information or a lack of information, and I’m not bringing here any information, facts, figures, or knowledge, so as to present an analysis of the cull – I sincerely doubt such an attempt would produce the desired result, in much the same way that statistics regarding global warming don’t result in any response. The description of the cull that follows from here is intentionally expressive, rather than attempting factual-realism. 

The cull is nothing short of a Man-ufacturing effort attempting to produce death, through systematic-machinery, as a mode of anthropological-machinery that seeks to exclude these living beings, called badgers by this culture, who do not conform to the narratives of the Humanised Reality. Put more simply, it is a systemic effort in mass killing, which is only not-comparable to genocidal war efforts and the politics of ethnic-cleansing from a position of revolting speciesism. As a dialectical-effort, the cull is seeking to negate the presence of badgers, in the pursuit of Absolute-agricultural domination, as they are positioned as an antithesis to the collective endeavour. 

What else is the cull? The cull is a narrative of the production of mass-extinction. The cull is lies and deceit and cowardice and a failure to affirm the failures of farming-practices. The cull is state-apparatus and approved by the government. The cull is practiced in the open, in a culture that keeps its doors closed.

How do I experience the cull? I experience the cull as right here and right now, as it is happening where I live, today. I experience the cull when I go rambling through woods and find cages close to setts. I experience the cull with a burning hatred for its practice, feelings of disgust and detest, and a desire to revolt. I experience the cull as an effort in erasing my ability to experience beautiful living anarchic beings. I experience the cull as a Cause attempting to effect the negation of badgers, which my egoism is revolted by and wants to see collapsed.

I am ending this piece of writing on my anti-cull philosophy here. My anti-cull rebellion is not ended and will not end, even if the badger cull ends, as any and all cull-practices are revolting to me. The logic of cull I reject. The machinery of cull I detest. The culture of cull is horrendous and ultimately one of life-renunciation, which I refuse to conform to. This will continue off of these pages, as I journey through cull zones and within my being, as a primal experience of life affirmation. 

I long for a night with no cages to capture living beings. 

Notes – 

[1] Uncivilisation, 2014

[2] The Myth of Sisyphus, 2005

[3] https://ecorevoltblog.files.wordpress.com/2020/12/on-gorgias-trilemma.pdf

[4] Feral Iconoclasm, 2018

[5] https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/julian-langer-doomed-to-deferral

[6] Mesodma, 2019

[7] https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/julian-langer-an-eco-egoist-destruction-of-species-being-and-speciesism

[8] The Principle of Unrest, 2017

[9] https://scholarlycommons.pacific.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1021&context=jmb

[10] http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/henry-david-thoreau-paradise-to-be-regained

[11] http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/henry-david-thoreau-walden

[12] http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/ralph-waldo-emerson-nature

If you want to print this piece to read off screen, here is a downloadable PDF.

Beginnings, Middles and Ends

I have recently completed an introductory counselling course and am preparing to start an advanced diploma in integrative counselling. This essay that I am sharing with you here is the essay that I wrote for the introductory course and I am sharing it here basically as a marker for where I am currently.

_____________________________________________________________________

Beginnings, Middles and Endings

Julian Langer

Introduction

Whenever I am going to write something, generally, the first sentence is the hardest. It is somewhat like cliff diving, stepping forward and letting the gravitational power of the words collapse into the manuscript, with potential risks and safety checks needing to be considered. As I consider this, I notice how similar this is to first sessions with therapists I have experienced, where I have trusted them, like the sea, to catch me safely and not be hiding rocks or sharks below their depths. 

When thinking about how I will approach this essay, instinct/intuition has left me with a feeling that it would be best to start with Endings and finish on Beginnings. So this is what I have done, as I trust my instincts. It also seems appropriate to note here that, while there is an end to this essay, there is no conclusion, because my process has not concluded. 

Endings

The word “ending” brings my mind to “apocalypses” – not necessarily in the sense of “Armageddon”. The word “apocalypse” comes from the Greek apokálypsisas meaning “uncovering”. This fits much of the perception I have regarding what-counselling-does, in that I see counselling as an activity that involves uncovering psychological struggles, with a desire to end the struggle and empower the client to live their life. 

The word “ending” also brings to my attention the experiences of death, dying and grief, which are likely subjects that clients will bring to sessions. Having lost my mother at a young age, knowing multiple other individuals in my life to pass away and having experienced cancer treatment myself, these subjects are ones that I have reflected upon for much of my life. My desire to pursue training in Existential Therapy comes from a desire to be able to fully support my clients with their uncoverings regarding these matters, as well as a chance to reflect upon my personal encounters. I notice how intensely immediate existential concerns are culturally now, given COVID-19 and the unfolding mass-extinction event the world is experiencing, and I notice how little conversation there is regarding grieving the lose encountered within these situations, and my personal desire to help individuals grieve what has been lost – as Jamail put it “in facing mass extinction, we must allow ourselves to grieve” (Jamail, 2019). 

“Endings” now turns my attention to journeys, journeys-end and the “being-here” of journeys-end. When in therapy myself, I have noticed how the being-here of journeys-end has not felt like stopping, but as starting. I know that my journeys-end with this introductory counselling course will not be a stopping point, as, while I will have reached a destination I wanted to reach, my journey will not be finished. There will undoubtedly be far more learning, exploring, journeying, and I already know I want to experience the diploma in integrative counselling, as another journey to start. 

My mind is now drawn to the matter of “ending” as change. My instinct is that, outside of being coerced into attending therapy through the state, family or any other societal pressure, all that seek counselling desire change. This might be a change in them, a change in their experience or a change in the type of help they receive. In as much as an uncovering is changing from being-covered to being-uncovered, change seems to me integral to the counselling process. This ending-as-change seems to me to be a desiring-rebirth/reincarnation, as not-desiring-death; which suggests to me that being-in-counselling, even if only on an unconscious level, involves some intensity of primal life-desire. 

Middles

As I consider “middles” I notice how much I am in one, in this course and in other senses – I will often say I live in the middle-of-nowhere; approaching 30, I feel as if I am entering into the “middle” period of my expected life time; in terms of pandemics and other political narrative, I feel somewhat like this is a middle period; and now the song by Stealers Wheel, Stuck in the Middle With You, comes to my mind. 

My first thought regarding middles is of how much being-in-The-middle denotes experiencing The sensation of Becoming – “The” is capitalised here to emphasise both its active meaning here and to stress not-“A” here, and “Becoming” capitalised to stress that my focus here is on the active status of Becoming, rather than passive becoming-thing or becoming-that. At the middle part of this course, I am at the middle of my Becoming of becoming-introduced-to-counselling-as-a-counsellor. This means that I am experiencing something Happening that is affecting me in many ways. By this course, I am intellectually affected, emotionally affected and probably affected in a multitude of other ways that I am probably only aware of at an unconscious level. These all impact who I am Becoming, especially at this point in my life, approaching 30, considering who I want to be, what career I wish to undertake and how that might impact my loved ones, the kind of father I want to be for any children I might be part of the lives of, and my personal desires to help living individuals experience wellness, as part of my practices as an environmentalist. 

My attention is now brought to middles-as-processes. I like the term process – not in a clinical sense of “being-processed” by some kind of authority, but process as meaning not-static – my experience of the world being very much that life is continually in process-as-movement, which is why I have somewhat embraced a philosophical perspectival-framework call psychic-nomadism (where home is both nowhere and everywhere) (psychicnomad.wordpress.com, 2009). As I reflect on this now, I am noticing how intensely the experience I have of the processes of this course is currently technologically mediated and situated from-home-as-my-house. This throws my attention onto how different, perhaps even radically so, my experience would be if this were happening face-to-face. Perhaps when I do the diploma in integrative counselling I will be able to reflect upon the differences between the face-to-face learning experience and that of via videoconferences. Working in a school currently, I cannot help but notice how different the experiences seem to be between the children in the classroom and those at home.

Certainly, at this middle-point, I am learning; not only learning about what I am learning, but learning about what I have still to learn. I know I want to learn about integrative counselling, eco-therapy, primal therapy, existential therapy and the anarchist play therapy known as soma-therapy. But I am also aware that there are approaches that I know I do not know about, which will spark my interests in other moving directions and be potentially intensely beneficial to my practice. This fills my body with feelings of excited anticipation for exploration! I also notice another state of knowing, whereby I might also be unaware of some therapeutic techniques that I have already learned and that live within my intuitive, instinctual unconscious mind – having had a father who has been a qualified counsellor for much of my life, who knows what I might have learnt from him through my life, particularly regarding Gestalt practices, and how that will and will not be to my benefit! (The question of where and how to apply what counselling skills I have and will learn, considering ethical matters, comes to my mind now. It would be unethical to attempt to manipulate friends into doing any counselling therapies without their consent; as it would also be for me to attempt to start private practice today without having completed my training.)

My attention has now come to focus on Time and the-present. I do not believe that time exists – as in the past or the future being actual, in this present moment. But, if I consider myself as experiencing time, I notice the concepts of being in-time and being out-of-time – especially with regards to how this impacts contracting with clients and being-a-student. In these senses, I want to be in-time, out of a sense of care towards clients and classmates, as well as not missing deadlines for essays. There is the potential experience of time moving at different paces for myself as therapist and for any client, which seems important to remember. As far as this pertains to being-in-the-middle, I am noticing how time-awareness is integral to beginnings and endings. 

Beginnings

In the sense that this course is an introduction, it is certainly a beginning. I am at the beginning of an experience that is an ending of who I have been and what I have known, as an experience of Becoming and learning. There is much to be excited about with this beginning and also somewhat of a quality of grief, in affirming the change that involves the loss of aspects of who I was. There are also questions regarding how and where I can ethical use those counselling skills I have learned/possess already. 

I notice, at this beginning, how much I bring into this moment who I have been and those experiences I have encountered throughout my life. I experience a sense of anxiety with regards to how some may weaken aspects of my ability to help clients; alongside a sense of joy for the way in which most will intensify my ability to help as well. The learning I have undergone through my undergraduate work in psychology and philosophy, as well as my independent para-academic work, will no doubt affect my learning somewhat in both of these senses. Also life experiences of trauma, being-in-therapy and being-raised-by-a-counsellor will also have an impact in a multitude of ways. I notice how I cannot help but bring these experiences into my therapy training, as experiences that have affected me.

In a broader sense of what “beginning” might mean, my mind turns to the subject of cosmology and theological-cosmic-origins. Being raised between different Abrahamic religions, a place of unity in the perspectives was that of in the beginning God creating the world – not as fact but as story. As I became interested in physics – particularly the more theoretical areas – the subject of what came before the Big Bang, as the origin of origins, became more of a focus in my attention – as sought to find some kind of answer to the question “why are we here?”. While I have reached a somewhat Absurdist position of “there is no reason to answer that question” I have my own, perhaps absurd, reasons that have inspired me to undertake this course. My experience of a desire to help individuals is at the forefront of these reasons. Then there is my desire to not find myself working jobs akin to some of those I have undertaken in the past three years, which have been of no existential value and only functioned to provide an income. 

As far as my beginnings go, from this absurd position I find myself in, my mind has turned to the concept of dark precursors that the philosopher Deleuze articulated as the untraceable intensive phenomenon that occur, allowing for the manifestation of events that are seen (Deleuze, 2014) – such as the conditions that result in lightening or what-came-before-the-big-bang. For myself, these will be those life events that led to my conception and birth, which my father has not told me of or even knows about; the aspects of my early childhood that I forgotten and that lurk in my unconscious mind; and similar other aspects of my origins that I have no awareness of.

Not A Conclusion

As I look at this narrative and collection of thoughts that I have recorded here, I notice that I have written this for an Other. I notice that a therapist is, in a sense, an Other, and that when I have been in therapy, to support the therapist in helping me, I have somewhat presented myself for the Other that is the-therapist. This Other cannot see all of me though, as no one can – unless God really is watching. The narrative, as a description of selfhood through time, I don’t believe can provide a sense of knowing for the Other that is totalising – so I guess that there is something of a feeling of doubt towards narrative work (not doubt as in rejection, but doubt as in unsure).

My attention has now turned to another aspect of my experience of being in therapy, which inspires a feeling of joyful affirmation towards the activity. That is the here-and-now experience I have encountered when the therapy has the quality of relational depth, wherein I am not experiencing the therapist as an Other, but as an egocentric/person-centred exchange of seeking-help-and-receiving-help. While this is not a conclusion, I want to affirm that this the kind of therapeutic experience I want to provide clients. 

I am ending this essay with a similar excited feeling to that I have had at the endings of being-in-therapy I have experienced. It is an experience of not-knowing, filled with life-desire. I want to learn more, train more and see where I eventually find myself. 

Bibliography

Anonymous (2009) The Psychic Nomad Manifesto, https://psychicnomad.wordpress.com/2009/04/22/the-psychic-nomad-manifesto/

Deleuze (2014 ed) Difference and Repetition, Bloomsbury

Jamail (2019) In Facing Mass Extinction, We Must Allow Ourselves To Grieve, Truthout.org

Enemies Of The Logic Of Totalitarianism

Nomadism Not Dialectics

I generally describe my anarchist-philosophy as ontological and one of my reasons for this is due to my lack of belief in authority, with my basic position being that all-is-(actually-)anarchy – the attempt at assuming authority I encounter as an admission of being-powerless. As I do not encounter authority as any-Thing with any meaningful existence, my rebellion is directed towards non-conformity towards totalitarianism (and I consider Daniel Quinn’s definition of civilisation as totalitarian-agriculture to be, basically, right). 

This piece is intended as a work of destruction, seeking to rebel against a form of philosophy/logic/thought that I encounter as totalitarian – Hegelianism and dialectics. This is not an analysis or critical review of Hegel or his dialectical system; it is affirmation of anti-Hegelian thought, through destruction as a positivist activity. To avoid any individual reading this piece and finding that they are mistaking my approach for a dialectical synthesis, seeking to build a system, please note from the outset that I am approaching this from a position of psychic-nomadism – the difference between psychic-nomadism and dialectical synthesis cannot be overstated – dialectics seek to totalise, while nomadism moves between spaces. Finally, this is not an attempt to verify anti-Hegelian arguments or falsify Hegelianism, to convince any reader that Hegelianism is as I encounter it or as the individuals I will reference encounter it – all I am seeking to do here is affirm areas of anti-Hegelian thought that I find value in. 

It could be questioned why I would even bother writing this! Why write about a dead philosopher? Also, if I’m going to write a piece about a dialectical-philosopher whose thought I find terrible, why not write about Plato – a philosopher whose entire philosophical project seemed to be focused on the annihilation of thought that differed from his, or neutralising it so as to incorporate it into his system through dialectical methods? And I do find myself experiencing similar feelings of revolt towards Plato’s work, as I do when encountering Hegel. However, I consider Hegel’s influence now, particularly with regards to totalitarian anthropological systems that seek to annihilate or neutralise anything that contradicts/does-not-conform-to their system, more dangerous and undesirable than that of Plato. 

This piece could also be criticised for being an entirely circular piece in its argument, as I am starting from the affirmation that Hegel’s dialectical-philosophy is a form of totalitarian systematising/reasoning and ending with that position. I am completely comfortable with this criticism, as my skepticism inclines me towards the position that any statement ultimately collapses under Munchhausen’s trilemma and that it is more desirable to say things regardless of epistemological issues. 

Destroying Hegel

In his book Eroticism Bataille states an observation that in Hegel’s thought the immediate, meaning experience, is “bad”. Also note that, for Bataille, experience is bound to being discontinuous(/alive), with the state of absolute totalising continuousness being found in death – he positions eroticism as the activity of assenting to life, even in death. So I encounter Bataille’s observation as stating that Hegel’s thought positions being-alive as “bad”, as a statement of rejecting that thought and differentiating from it through his embrace of eroticism, as assenting to life. While this point might not be seen as following from the first part of this piece of writing, as it is not obviously an observation regarding totalitarianism, it seems relevant to me when considering how totalitarian-systems function as death-machinery – agricultural monocultures, death camps and other similar examples come to mind. As far as my rebellion goes, I have embraced a practice I describe as presentist, or immediatist, as one that affirms the immediacy of the living world, which includes the immediacy of me-as-a-living-body=here/now. Rather than rejecting life/experience/immediacy/myself, as Hegel would seek to do, I wish to embrace it with a(n absurd) passion – as I do not encounter life as either good or bad (and reject that dualism), but absurd and beautiful and horrifying and wonderful and more experiences than I could ever hope to include here.

Following from this; Kierkegaard’s work Either/Or was written principally as a rejection of Hegel’s dialectical annihilation of choice, as a rebellion affirming freedom. A basic quality of totalitarian systems is the attempt at erasing choice, by seeking to set limits that reduce the scope of potential to only those that conform to the system and do not contradict. The individuals in communication with each other in Kierkegaard’s work are confronted with choosing between different modes-of-living, aesthetic life practices, moral life practices and religious ones, and while Kierkegaard’s conclusion is that the religious path is the best, I do not encounter him as advocating that a religious life be the only option for individuals – instead, Kierkegaard affirms the individual’s basic experience of being confronted by choice and being unable to think away their choices. Not being able to think away your choices leaves logical-systems, such as dialectics, hollow and empty, with no meaningful value, as phantoms of bad-faith. While I have not arrived at the same conclusion as Kierkegaard, in choosing a religious life – as my lifestyle and philosophy is more of an aesthetic one – I entirely agree with him that choice is more desirable than the dialectical attempt to reconcile, and that that attempt can only fail. As I take note of my experience here, I notice seemingly unending possibilities and potential for the anarchy of my immediate freedom – I could continue writing, or stop and do some tidying up before returning to this work, or I could smash my laptop on the table until it breaks, or I could jump on my bed and fling poop at the wall, or I could go into my garden and dance in the rain, or I could sit here and quietly think for several minutes before continuing to type, and there are more and more choices available to me and I cannot think them away. 

But, what about the overtly political qualities of Hegelianism – which I am aware I have not yet commented on)? Hegelianism and the totalitarian logic of dialectics are at the core collectivist in thought and practice. Camus affirms this in The Rebel, as he notes how Hegel is indifferent to the life of the individual, who is only valuable as a means of achieving “human salvation”, as he comments on the “kill or be enslaved” quality of the dialectical system (annihilate/negate or neutralise/synthesise) – all that contradicts/does-not-conform must undergo either mode of systematising. It is obvious how intensely these qualities fit the ideologies and practices of collectivist-totalitarianism, with states deemed “far right” or “far left” (Fascists, corporatist or Marxist) being obvious examples – though I would affirm Quinn’s position again of civilisation/agriculture being totalitarian, in as much as its pesticidal-domesticating philosophy and practice fit this description. Camus also notices that in the system “all is necessary”, as in all-that-can-be-is-necessary-for-the-system, rather than “all is possible”, as the system must annihilate or neutralise all possibilities that contradict. Again, consider the pesticidal-domesticating systems of agriculture and civilisation that would destroy possible living beings to include only those living-beings who are necessary for production to function, or (if you are not comfortable with anti-civilisational thought) consider how much the annihilation of possibility to allow only what is necessary for the system fits the ideology and practices of despotic-communist regimes. Stirner’s individualist work The Ego and its Own, which is partly a mockery of Hegel’s dialectic seeking to destroy the system by using the system (his nihilism as negating the negation – a form of weird-positivism, as I encounter it (and argued in my book Feral Iconoclasm, which was partly a work of anti-Hegelianism)), also notes the collectivist and humanist qualities of Hegelianism; that the system is just conceptual dogma, aimed at regulating life, as a violent and despotic force; and that, within the dialectic logic of absolute-thinking the “my thinking” gets forgotten, as the individual thinker is subsumed by the system. (Rather than writing a fuller critique of collectivism here, I would encourage any reader wanting to explore such a critique to read my essay An Eco-Egoist Destruction of Species-Being and Speciesism and/or my essay Becoming Animal: My Feral Individualism).

Some of my favourite attacks against Hegelianism come from Deleuze, whose philosophy of affirming-difference I encounter as a project dedicated to destroying Hegel’s philosophy, through the creation of new concepts (to use as bricks to smash Hegel’s theatre). Deleuze names Hegel and his system as mediation, which resonates with my embrace of immediatism and I notice also fits primitivist-type rejections of mediation; as false movement, as the system doesn’t go anywhere, but builds and develops, until it totalises, in very much the same way as we witness dehabitation happening daily, as towns and cities expand, annihilating the spaces where wildlife live; as recognition, akin to politicians stating that they recognise that mass-extinction is happening, to satisfy the appetites of liberal-greens (but nothing ever happens to seek to stop mass-extinction-machinery/culture); as representation, like how many groups will now be granted representation in politics and the media, as individuals feel disgust towards bigotry and collectivised-hatred, with nothing of actual authentic liberation-from-systematisation occurring; as monocentricity, with there being one-centre, basically the systemic machinery of production, that all sub-systems, economic, productive, governmental, state, etc., functioning to maintain and support, in servitude – Leviathan; and as distortion, which I notice today most intensely in mass-media machines, such as news outlets on television and websites like Twitter. (These are my interpretations of Deleuze’s statements on Hegel, not just Deleuze’s statements – just to be clear and honest). Deleuze also affirms the philosophy of Nietzsche as largely an anti-Hegelian endeavour. Rather than the dialectical method of annihilation of neutralisation, Deleuze affirms Nietzsche’s life-affirmation and yes-saying as affirming difference/contradiction, which is at the core of Deleuze’s philosophical project, as efforts to reject and rebel against the totalitarian logic of dialectics. 

A defender of Hegel might seek to undermine this effort in destruction by stating something akin to “but dialectics work” and be willing to accept basically all the comments on Hegel’s system made here – a state/civilisation/Leviathan fetishiser. My counter to that would be simply “they don’t though”, as Sartre identifies in his book Being and Nothingness. Sartre states that Hegel and his system is unsuccessful in its aims, that his system of optimism is a failure, and that Hegel’s totalitarianism can only be a failure as totalities are constantly detotalising – a strangely joyful notion, considering it is coming from an existentialist famed for being a depressing philosopher. I notice this happening in the world continually, as systems breakdown, individuals refuse to conform to totalitarian narratives and all manner of other processes – feral-iconoclasm happening as everyday involutions, which I desire the acceleration of as the embrace/experience of total liberation. De Beauvoir continues Sartre’s critique of Hegel in her work The Ethics of Ambiguity (one of the most underappreciated works in philosophy), as she affirms that, while Hegel’s system supports dictatorships, Hegelian “fullness” (Absolute/totality) passes into absence (Nothingness) – De Beauvoir describes Hegel’s philosophy as one of “comfort”, which, coming from this existentialist, I encounter as a point of mockery. There is a sort of optimistic-comfort to the politics of totalitarianism, with its promises of safety, security and so on, but I notice how this perpetually falls into absence, as systems de-totalise – my tendency to affirm pessimism in part comes from this awareness, as a rejection of Hegelian optimism.

Affirming Failure

While this effort in destroying(-de-structuring) Hegelianism is a destruction of Hegelianism, it clearly has not destroyed the totalitarian presence of Hegelianism within discourse, nor dialectical machinery – it never could, as this is one short ontological-anarchist essay. In a political sense, this piece is a failed attempt at destroying totalitarianism, as totalitarianism is continuing to do what totalitarianism does. Individuals are right now, as I write this and as you read this, experiencing the abusive pesticide-domesticate/annihilate-neutralise/negate-synthesise dialectical machinery that is mass-extinction-culture/civilisation/Leviathan. 

As well as the failure of this piece, I want to affirm the failure that is Hegelianism and dialectical-machinery. It has not overcome the freedom of choice, as choice is insurmountable. It has not transcended the immediate world that is life/experience, nor could it ever. The collective is only ever a theatre attempting to subsume individuals into its totality, but they remain individuals. Difference/contradiction has not been erased, as all-is-different, which I affirm as a yes-saying to life. The totality is always de-totalising into Nothingness, as totalitarianism and its optimism surmounts to total-failure. I encounter this as wonderful and joyous to affirm, with a sense of horror regarding those who have embraced the system and/or are encaged in it. As despotic totalitarian regimes collapse, there is often a great deal of struggle for those who they abused. I am reminded that the world is a messy, confusing and often uncomfortable place to be, but I’d rather be-here than be-dead. Unlike Hegelianism, I cannot offer comfort and do not wish for it, as I’d rather embrace the aesthetic-encounter of experience/life, with sensations that include the heights of happiness, love and pleasure, as well as intense suffering and sadness.

I have included this downloadable PDF, for anyone wishing to print this piece to read offline.

Here is a free to download and print zine of this essay, which I would encourage being done and copies being left inside copies of Hegel’s books in libraries https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/julian-langer-enemies-of-the-logic-of-totalitarianism.a4.pdf

An (incomplete) Affirmation of My Relationship With Primitivist Thought

My relationship with the school of thought that is primitivism is very split between intense affirmation and intense differentiation. And that is essentially all I wish to communicate through this piece. It is in many ways intended as a reflective effort for me and also as a point of clarification for those who might wonder what my perspective on primitivism. This is certainly not intended as a rejection, or an embrace. I will address first some common themes within primitivist thought in a broader sense, before commenting on the influence of and points of differentiation from key individuals within the topography of primitivist discourse, who have impacted upon my perspective. 

(I will note here that, while I will include Quinn as a primitivist (for reasons I clarify later), I am not using primitivism here to refer to all anti-civilisation thought, so there individuals who have influenced my thought, who are critical of civilisation, that have been excluded from this piece.)

Main Themes – 

Traditionalism

Many within the world of primitivist discourse and practice will advocate traditionalism as a lifestyle that people should embrace. What I mean by traditionalism is basically seeking to adopt a life-style that is considered generally historically past – this could also be described as regressive or reactionary. This is seemingly embraced to form an alternative narrative to that of progression, which is often tied to technological-narratives. 

I can appreciate much of where the desire for traditionality comes from and do see a great deal of beauty in those cultures who live now in ways that might be described as “backwards” or traditional by this culture – though I feel that to describe them as backwards is offensive and revolting. I would also be dishonest if I did not acknowledge that I have a fondness for traditional folk music, which might well, come from a similar psycho-aesthetic to the primitivist desire for tradition. 

I am not a traditionalist though. To me, traditionalism, as an attempt to provide a blueprint for a lifestyle people can adopt, is a mode of lifestylism – rank with much of the narcissism of greenwashed “ethical-consumerism”. In this way, the push for tradition strikes me as an attempt to provide a choreography for individuals to conform to – a choreography that stereotypes those cultures they deem desirable-to-emulate in a thoroughly romantic way. 

I also wonder why traditional living would be desirable to me, here and now today? How does embracing tradition provide a desirable way of rebelling against the Leviathan today, particularly when its violence historically saw the end of traditional practices that it sought to annihilate?

Rewilding

I think rewilding is perhaps the most beautiful concept and practice within primitivism, even if I have a point of differentiation from general primitivist use of this term. I love how primitivists have used this practice not just of one done in the garden, but as something that they individually do to themselves. That rewilding is taken as a personal endeavour positions the activity as one of self-becoming, self-actualising, metamorphosis, destructive-creativity where who they are dies and is reborn. 

As I expressed in my book Feral Life, I do not find the practice of rewilding to be limited to just the boundaries that primitivists will often limit it to – but would not deny that they can be part of a practice. For myself, rewilding is a process of reweirding, as what is wild is weird and what is weird is wild. This opens up rewilding to including modes of weird-experience that primitivists would often deny being at all valuable for rewilders. I have been disappointed to see primitivists push the line that rewilding is an embrace of normality, out of some historical stereotypes around “primitive” people – as if normalisation and normality are desirable qualities.

Anthropological-realism

Another point of differentiation, though not rejection, is with regards to anthropological-realism. For many primitivists, anthropology holds the truth. So much of their theories and practices draw from anthropology as truth. 

I am somewhat influenced by anthropology in my perspective – particularly Sahlins and his work Stoneage Economics. But for me anthropology is just a means of forming stories about how one or another group of individuals are living. 

In my rejection of species-being (that goes with my rejection of speciesism), I do not encounter a desire to embrace anthropological-reconstruction, in the way that many primitivists advocate. As I experience anthropological-machinery as the apparatus for life-abuse, which is mass-extinction-culture(/this culture), I would rather see and partake in the deconstruction and destruction of anthropological-Realities than the (re-)construction of alternatives.

Collapse

Like most primitivists I have encountered, I find the ending of civilisation through collapse. But I differ in many ways regarding what I mean by collapse and how I see this occurring. Where I find similar ground with most primitivists after this is in finding value in healing through rewilding post-collapse. 

For most primitivists I have encountered, the collapse of civilisation is something that happens through essentially political – revolutionary-political – programming, in ways that (at least somewhat) conform to the ideas of Derrick Jensen, Ted Kaczynski and John Jacobi. The narrative goes somewhat like this – in the Future, civilisation gets too big for itself and can no longer support its own weight; and at this point in history, when the material conditions are right, a revolutionary vanguard rise up the People (not as masses but as People), who engage in “decisive ecological warfare” and civilisation is brought down through the revolutionary effort; after this political programming is completed, individuals experience freedom. There will no doubt be differences to this narrative between primitivists and I have generalised here, but generally this has been the “plan” as I have seen it from primitivists – a revolutionary theory/political narrative, or roadmap. 

I do not see collapse as a political narrative or revolutionary occurrence, or as something that is waiting for Humanity when the right historical-material conditions arrive from the future. Rather, I experience collapse as a here and now process that is continually happening, with civilisation continually needing to attempt to rebuild itself. This process, as I experience it, is not a revolutionary movement, but an involutionary process; not political or designed, but wild and without a blueprint or choreography to follow. I notice that, where civilisation fails to rebuild itself – abandoned/ruined cities and buildings being some of the most dramatic examples of this process– rewilding happens spontaneously and without design. I know that, during my personal experiences of civilisation collapsing, the most intense places of healing and life-affirmation have been ones where I have experienced rewilding/becoming-animal. 

Key Individuals

John Zerzan

Undoubtedly the most famous of the primitivists, there is a lot that is valuable in Zerzan’s thought – more than I will go into now. My personal relationship with Zerzan has always involved a point of tension, regarding his disapproval of my having collaborated with LBC and Aragorn!. But I have always found John to show something of caring affirmation, behind his grumpiness. 

The most valuable areas of thought I think Zerzan brings to the conversation are his criticisms of symbolic-culture (though I do have some differences to his thought – symbolic-culture and symbolic-experiences are different to me, especially in totalitarian contexts) and time (which I would say Zerzan’s key failure is his not taking this far enough, with his embrace of historicisms). These influenced my thought in both Feral Consciousness and Feral Iconoclasm.

The most significant area where I differ in perspective to Zerzan is with regards to art and aesthetic-experience. My experience of artistry is of it being a point of civilizational collapse, where the will-to-life/power, which is wild-Being, cannot be caged and actualises the destructive processes of creativity (wild-life being creation); and I often think that whenever Zerzan critiques the arts he is limiting his perception of art to that of being the viewer/spectator, and that he fails to consider the artists experience of creativity.

Kevin Tucker

I approach writing about Kevin Tucker with somewhat of a feeling of amusement and quiet laughter. Tucker’s feeling about me have been made clear through his aggressive dismissal and attempts to insult via Twitter (one insult finding itself in the opening pages of my Feral Life). 

I do feel that the concept of primal anarchy, which I encounter as Tucker’s creation, is very valuable – which is why much of Feral Life is focused on affirming primal anarchy. However, I do differ from Tucker in what I mean by primal anarchy, as I feel that Tucker doesn’t actually understand the concept he created. I’ll explain myself. As I encounter him, Tucker takes primal anarchy to be a lifestyle articulated through an anthropological-realist lens – that of the nomadic hunter-gatherer – and basically only this. While primal anarchy includes this for me, I do not encounter it as only this. In my usage of the term, primal anarchy is immediate-freedom, anarchy occurring as a primary-process (primal-process) and not something occurring through a secondary “higher-order” processing. The difference between these meanings is vaster than it might initially appear. Tucker’s is with regards to an anthropological-reconstruction of a lifestyle – actually a secondary form of processing. My meaning pertains to a psycho-geographic-experience – a primal form of processing. One way of further differentiating Tucker’s meanings and mine is that in Tucker’s meaning “primal anarchy” is “out-there” and some-Thing away from us. For me, primal anarchy is a here and now encounter that I experience in the present moment.

One other (similar) point of differentiation between Tucker’s thought and mine regards our differences regarding the idea and practice of nomadism. Again, Tucker seems to take nomadism as something that is essentially limited to “nomadic-hunter-gatherer” ideals that he upholds as the true anarchy-ideal. I feel disinclined to limit the idea and practice of nomadity in this way. I encounter nomadism as both geographic and psychological and just how the mind changes through the experience of moving through a space, a space changes through movements within the mind. For me, the lack of psychic-nomadism within Tucker’s thought and his apparent ideological sedentism is astounding, and while I may be able to be accused of being a bag floating in the wind, I’d rather that than being a brick, stuck in the concrete.

Fredy Perlman

Perlman’s impact on me is a strange one. His more analytic pieces often do not inspire much in me, if anything, whereas I enjoy his more expressive pieces of writing immensely. Where he has impacted me most is in his work Against Leviathan, Against His-Story, not really for the ideas and narrative he expresses within the book, but for the feeling I was left with after reading it. Reading Perlman’s Against His-Story was part of my motivation for writing Feral Iconoclasm – fuel to my fire. I actually included a quote from Against His-Story in the opening pages of the book. 

Daniel Quinn

While Quinn did not call himself a primitivist and is not usually considered a primitivist, I am including him here. My main reason for doing this is because I encountered Quinn when exploring primitivist thought and find a great deal of similarity between Quinn’s thought and that of most primitivists. I am aware that many would disagree with me on this and am happy to accept that. 

Quinn’s thought I find immensely beautiful in many places – often far more beautiful than self-described primitivists (particularly the more political individuals within primitivist discourse). The areas of Quinn’s thought I want to affirm are his observations of the environmental situation being primarily a psychological occurrence – i.e. individuals forgetting as part of “the great forgetting” – rather than just a political one, and his identifying that ecological wellbeing is an egoistic (rather than moral) pursuit, where individuals embrace what they “really want”, rather than conforming to what this culture states they “ought to” want. With this, Quinn does not limit praxis to collectivist-type political-narratives – he affirms the open potential of the individual to remember/re-member and desire. I cannot understate how intensely this resonates with my thought and how enriching I find these qualities of Quinn’s thought. 

Where I most intensely differ from Quinn is in his advocacy of the-teacher, or teaching-as-practice. My initial reason for difference is first and foremost because I don’t believe this thought can be taught, but occurs first and foremost through experience. After this, I feel an immediate skepticism towards those who seek to position themselves as “teacher” – especially in the context of meditation teachers or individuals who claim to be able to instruct individuals on how-they-should-think. Finally, I feel that there are far more and frankly better ways to impart thought, ideas and so on than teaching, such as art, poetry, conversation and (maybe) writing. 

John Moore

The primitivist who today I wish to affirm the thought of most intensely is that of John Moore. I consider Moore to be immensely brilliant and beautiful. 

The aspects of Moore’s thought that harmonise most intensely with mine are his affirmations of bewilderness (his concept that I stole in my Feral Life), ecdysis, poetry, post-structuralist thought and post-Situationist praxis. To me, Moore is delightfully refreshing and invigorating to encounter, when contrasted with a world of discourse that is disappointingly dominated by anthropology. There is also a lively playfulness to Moore, most noticeable in his Book of Levelling, which is nowhere to be seen in the lifeless serious political-analytics of primitivists like Jacobi. 

The one point where I will differentiate my thought from Moore’s here is in the romantic gender-essentialism he embraces throughout his piece Lovebite. He is obviously coming from an eco-feminist perspective throughout this piece and while I appreciate where he seems to have come from, to me the propagation of reductive gender norms in this way ultimately supports patriarchal narratives – or at least, that is how I see it. 

Conclusion

As the title states, this piece is not a complete affirmation of my relationship with primitivist thought. There are subjects, such as technology and food-consumption-narratives that I have not included here, which I perhaps could have done. Equally, there are individuals who many might consider key to primitivist thought who I have not commented on. Regarding individuals who I have not included, my choices in individuals I have included has primarily been due to which primitivists have impacted me most intensely. 

Through this piece I have sought to affirm areas of primitivist thought I find value in, as well as affirming areas of difference. This is to reflect neither a rejection of primitivism or an embrace. I am not a primitivist and have never described myself as a primitivist. I am though inspired, moved and affected by primitivist thought, as well as occasionally disappointed. 

I would encourage anyone who would wish for me to have written more here to read my Feral books, as these have all be influenced by primitivist thought, while being different to primitivist thought.

The Year of Quiet Oceans- poem

The Year of Quiet Oceans

The year of quiet oceans will not go unforgotten by many,

But to the Oak tree a short walk from my house, the Lyn river and cliffs at the edges of my world, the rocks of which have encountered the orchestras of primordial seas, full of untamed life,

The year of quiet oceans may be forgotten by them – perhaps only remembered as another unusually scorching summer for them.

In the year of quiet oceans the instruments projecting anthrophonic sounds in the air – with that rank and arrogant song, that seeks to silence other melodies – fell quiet, before silence,

A sound that, with all the qualities of a cancerous tumour, grows,

But who today listens to the ocean, other than those individuals who survive in it their home.

The pursuit of dead flesh, without the authenticity of the fight, as well as acid rain and other very civilised occurrences have removed the orchestras from the ocean.

But what does causation, causality or the Causes of individuals who wish to save them, mean to those who live amidst the anthrophonic song,

And who undoubtedly enjoyed the year of quiet oceans?

Now, do not take this as a celebration of ill-health,

No,

This is an affirmation only for the space where geophonic and biophonic melodies might crescendo again,

Without being polluted by the songs of the industrial death machine of Leviathan!

I will try to listen to the ocean, to hear the songs that it sings.

This Spring morning, I’m hearing goldfinches, sparrows and blue tits,

As well as others, whose songs dance on the air,

Like they were floating on water.

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