A Critique of the Nomadic Hunter / Gatherer Ideal

  • Posted on: 16 June 2018
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

Source: The Wild Will Project

Contradictions in the Reasoning

Ted Kaczynski (TK) suggests a nomadic hunter/gatherer (NHG) ideal, because, he claims, a movement needs a positive ideal as much as it needs an enemy. On the other hand, he says that it would be impossible to control post-collapse conditions and in fact imagines that agriculture will inevitably arise where the soil and climate are suitable for it. “No ideology,” he writes, “will persuade people to starve when they can feed themselves by planting crops.” He also repeatedly states that revolutions have only ever succeeded at destroying or conquering their target society, never implementing their ideal society (see ISAIF, paragraph 182). Therefore, the object of anti-industrial revolutionaries should only be “the elimination of modern technology.” Otherwise, they might be tempted to use the techno-industrial system to implement their ideal, and, if history is any indication, they will fail.

These two considerations make the NHG ideal seem rather useless. What could be the purpose of it if nothing about it has practical applications?

The Impossibility of the Ideal

Advocating NHG society as an ideal seems kind of silly when few, if any, could do anything to seriously approach it. Suppose a hypothetical situation in which a small group of individuals form a band that escapes civilization for one of the remaining wilderness areas.

(a) What would they do when people get sick? While it is true that NHGs before colonization were relatively free of infectious disease, nowadays, after colonization, that doesn’t matter. The hypothetical band would have to use industrial medical infrastructure to deal with these kinds of illnesses. Traditional medicine is no alternative, not only because it cannot deal with some of the health problems modern people face, but also because most of the localized knowledge of traditional medicine has been lost in now-industrial nations. One could imagine this hypothetical band doing research to reclaim some of the remaining knowledge, but all they would have are scraps isolated from a system of knowledge that largely works as one unit, and that was the result of collective wisdom accumulated over a great period of time. Furthermore, these traditional medical systems involved some degree of specialization of labor, along gendered lines and in regards to “medicine men” and the like, and that kind of community dynamic takes a while to function properly.

Furthermore, a huge amount of traditional medicine was preventative and relied on active lifestyles, healthy environments, and good nutrition to combat the majority of the illnesses that would be encountered. Wilderness areas that remain do not usually suffice. Many of them are wildernesses precisely because humans could not inhabit them, and environmental degradation in areas that could once support humans now make those areas unsuitable for more than just a small group. Pollution in the air, water, soil, and food chain would also affect the ability of the hypothetical group to have good nutrition, which is a primary determinant of good health. Even present-day indigenous people are having difficulty supporting themselves because of environmental degradation.

If the hypothetical group needs to go to hospitals for sufficient medical care, it will also need IDs, birth certificates, the ability to follow civilized manners and mores, etc. This significantly reduces their ability to implement the NHG ideal.

(b) Where would they find people to marry and have children with? Humans need other humans, and other humans are in civilization, which has a monopoly on social life as much as it has a monopoly on land or the use of force.

(c) How would they deal with the legal system, its police forces and its property laws? Presumably this hypothetical group would spend a large amount of its time avoiding the legal system and skirting property laws. But inevitably some of its members will get wrapped up in the legal system, also requiring IDs, birth certificates, etc. This is all assuming that the hypothetical group can skirt property laws effectively enough to truly live off the land, which would require, at the very least, a nomadic cycle of travel or an enormous and biodiverse region of land with few borders dividing it.

Of course, as stated below, the ostensible purpose of the NHG ideal is not to encourage people to implement it, only to provide a positive social vision. Still, the factors listed above are important because they will presumably be just as relevant during and some time after a collapse of industrial infrastructure anywhere it happens to occur. In any case, people don’t successfully form societies based on abstract commitment to ideals. They shape their societies in response to the economic, technological, and environmental conditions around them, and usually they will choose the easiest path to satisfying their needs. If societies transition to an NHG mode of subsistence, then, it will be out of necessity, not ideological commitment.

The Population Problem

If the world were to revert to a hunting and gathering mode of subsistence, most of the population would die. This is one of the primary criticisms aimed at primitivists, and there is no way around it. But if the goal is only to “eliminate the industrial system” and not to implement an NHG way of life, then discussion of the NHG ideal makes discussions about the population problem unnecessarily difficult.

For one, if TK is right that the rise of agriculture is inevitable in suitable environmental conditions, then the end of the industrial system would not necessarily mean a world of a few hundred thousand hunter-gatherers. In fact, the world would likely be able to support large population centers and even complex governments akin to those of the Romans or Incans. Certainly it would be able to support many of the social structures present in the rural, isolated, or “undeveloped” parts of the world.

Should there ever be a widespread reaction against the industrial system, it will most likely instigate a collapse that would span several decades, at least. And, although some civilizations have collapsed rapidly even from the perspective of its constituent citizens, world society is likely to fall apart because of disparate and sometimes unrelated disasters — more like the fall of Rome than the collapse of Easter Island. In this case, some regions will fare quite well. Consider how well much of Europe did after the economic collapse caused by the Bubonic Plague, or what life in the Middle Ages was like beyond pop culture stereotypes.

In other words, the collapse of world society would not result in the deterioration of all social infrastructure everywhere, mainly just the social infrastructure of states, large corporations, and world or state economies. This means there would be significantly less death and destruction than people imagine. It also means that a number of people will survive off of materials scavenged from the deteriorating societal infrastructure around them, which will increase the size of the supportable population for a time. Small communities with minimal reliance on the system would no doubt find innovative ways of surviving as the large social systems around them break down, and this may result in societies that look nothing like the kinds of HGs extolled in primitivist anthropology.

There would of course be immediate dips in population that always occur during wars or revolutions. There would also be the immediate dips that occur during, say, economic or environmental disasters that contribute to war or revolution. (Importantly, however, these would not affect the merits of a revolutionary program, since the program would largely be in response to them).

But, after initial unrest in the collapsed or collapsing region, most people’s day to day lives will simply be reshaped by a new set of social rules and regulations as they learn to cooperate for survival under their new conditions. Some regions may even see a population increase for a while, given that industrial nations nowadays tend to have very low birth rates.

The Effect of the Ideal

Because of the implications and impossibilities of the ideal outlined above, only a few classes of people would be attracted to it, and they do not hold much promise for effective responses to the problem of industry. Many of them are the very “crazies” that TK tells anti-industrial revolutionaries to separate themselves from. (Paleofantasy is, on the whole, a terrible book, but provides some examples of kooky theories with a nomadic hunter/gatherer ideal).

Furthermore, emphasis on the NHG ideal tends to cause unnecessary fights about anthropological facts. For instance, TK wrote a very long essay, “The Truth About Primitive Life,” for the sole purpose of critiquing what he saw as anarcho-primitivist fantasies. But none of these discussions are particularly relevant when it comes to actual action against the industrial system. What does it matter whether or not hunter/gatherers were egalitarian when industrial collapse will probably not make your society a hunter/gatherer one? What does it matter whether or not NHGs before colonization had this or that advantage, when NHGs after no longer have those advantages because of effects of colonization that cannot be undone?

There is also a certain stereotype of white people dancing around and trying to be Indians, and it exists for a reason. The NHG ideal advocated by Ted Kaczynski has some to do with the influence primitivist anthropology had on the radical environmentalist movement of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. This bred several variants of a subculture that extolled the values of primitive life, often based on romanticized visions, and produced the aesthetic we now associate with the wanna-be-Indian types today. Unnecessary emphasis on the NHG ideal would associate radicals with this stereotype, and I don’t think that is to their advantage. Speaking from personal experience, the people you want on your side don’t exactly take you seriously.

Finally, the ideal also seems to attract people from the higher strata of society who only understand NHG society in abstract terms and have no real conception of the work required to live in non-industrial conditions. This breeds the kind of idealization of primitive life mentioned above, as does the widespread acceptance of various “noble savage” mythologies. An example of the latter: some members of my family often mention how Native Americans “used every part of the animal” without wasting anything. At first I didn’t say anthing about this. But when we went to visit a museum on Native American history, I saw an exhibit showing a plains Indian buffalo hunt, during which Natives would drive whole herds of buffalo over a cliff and only take a percentage of the kill. I briefly mentioned the “every part of the animal” mantra, there was a short discussion of denial, and I simply let the topic pass. These conceptions of Native life are much too widespread, especially in the U.S., to really counter, and arguments about them seem to me to be a waste of time.

Uses and Alternatives to the Ideal

None of this is to say that we should never mention nomadic hunter/gatherer society. On the contrary, knowledge of primitive societies is extremely important, for at least two reasons.

First, it is useful for critique. As Paine wrote,” “To understand what the state of society ought to be, it is necessary to have some idea of the natural and primitive state of man.” Nietzsche writes that “everything essential in human development occurred in primeval times… Man probably hasn’t changed much more in these years.” And Rousseau, of course, famously used primitive life as a central pillar of his social critiques.

The second reason knowledge of NHG societies is useful is that it demonstrates one of the many possibilities for human life that are cut off completely by the continued progress of the technological system. I do not think we should advocate any model of society, both because we cannot be sure enough of our own knowledge to do so, and because advocacy will always lose to material conditions, which create the most basic and powerful incentives that determine the shape of a society. Instead of advocating a model society, then, it is wiser and more convincing to talk of various possible modes of life that would be in grasp if the stumbling block of the world technological system did not exist. This takes into account the diversity of the responses people have to the world social system; instead of seeking to homogenize those responses, all Kaczynski’s revolutionaries have to do is point out their common enemy. Muslims in Middle Eastern society are probably not going to embrace a pagan society as an ideal; neither are Christian fundamentalist cults in the U.S. Individuals who grew up in farmlands are not going to buy a critique of agriculture. But all of these groups cannot realize their desires precisely because of the stronghold of the world technological system.

That is not to say that the main leaders of Kaczynski’s revolution could afford to be lax about their anti-civilization values, regardless of their practical course of action. As he points out in a letter to Professor David Skrbina:

… if one takes the position that certain appurtenances of civilization must be saved, e.g., cultural achievements up to the 17th century, then one will be tempted to make compromises when it comes to eliminating the technoindustrial system, with the possible or probably result that one will not succeed in eliminating the system at all. If the system breaks down, what will happen to art museums with their priceless paintings and statues? Or to the great libraries with their vast stores of books? Who will take care of the artworks and books when there are no organizations large enough and rich enough to hire curators and librarians, as well as policement to prevent looting and vandalism? And what about the educational system? Without an organized system of education, children will grow up uncultured and perhaps illiterate. Clearly, anyone who feels it is important to preserve human cultural achievements up to the 17th century will be very reluctant to see a complete breakdown of the system, hence will look for a compromise solution and will not take the frankly reckless measures that are necessary to knock our society off its present technological-determined course of development. Hence, only those can be effective revolutionaries who are prepared to dispense with the achievements of civilization.

But this is more a concern about values than a concern about ideals, and it requires no model society. There have, in fact, been many anti-civilization impulses that did not see hunter/gatherers as particularly model examples of human life. For example, some pessimistic philosophers believe that human life is inherently painful and perhaps a product of some irreversible evolutionary mistake, like consciousness. This kind of thinking argues that even NHGs had the problems that lead pessimistic and nihilistic philosophers to reject the project of civilization, which they view as a futile attempt to escape the facts of human existence. In other words, to these philosophers NHGs are not an ideal; they are just an inevitability. Their rejection of the civilizing project stems from their rejection of the idea that our central human problems can be improved upon, as well as a conviction that almost all of our attempts at improvement have only worsened the situation.

This kind of nihilistic thinking — there are many versions — may not seem like it could contain a lot of revolutionary potential, but history contains several major counter-examples. For example, many of the individuals the fundamentalist Islamic movement appeals to are less interested in Islam and more interested in its project of negation and sacrifice. The Nazis, too, coopted several surging nihilist and anti-civilization impulses to fuel their rise to power. To a lesser extent, anarchist and communist forces did the same in their various revolutions. And today, some of the most powerful social forces could be characterized as nihilistic ones, including, for example, the various major ways 4chan has influenced American society in particular. Although these impulses do not prop up the nomadic hunter/gatherer way of life as an ideal, and certainly not as a model society, they possess the willingness to dispose of civilization wholesale in the way that Kaczynski suggests will be necessary for effective revolutionary action. There is no reason to wall ourselves off from these forces by adopting an NHG ideal.

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Comments

White people dancing around trying to be Indians is a harsh way to summarize alternative methods of subsistence. It not as if the consciousness of the indigenous psyche is inaccessible to the Westerner, in fact, some of the rage parties are just as wild and connected as any tribal collective pow-wow ritual. Strip away the modern garments and gadgets and the new born infant carries the spirit of every nomadic hunter/ gatherer.,.

Of course, it's harsh. But it's the stereotype.

i have literally seen this at an AP gathering

Clearly, anyone who feels it is important to preserve human cultural achievements up to the 17th century will be very reluctant to see a complete breakdown of the system, hence will look for a compromise solution and will not take the frankly reckless measures that are necessary to knock our society off its present technological-determined course of development. Hence, only those can be effective revolutionaries who are prepared to dispense with the achievements of civilization. Slaves to stuff! Must save the stuff! Without the stuff, what are we, who are we: the stuff defines us! Achievements of civilization????? Hmm! Oh yeah, driverless cars, I forgot! Anyway, we're going to Mars... so don't worry, be happy :-)

And if the natives had dispensed with the repeater rifle they may have most likely been slaves to extinction. I'm happy if NASA consider designing Martian teepees and igloos if Idpol organizations are willing to fund them ;)

Martian colonilization is a spook. I'm a Stirnerian and will take my chances on Earth.

I'm not an anarcho-primitivist (AP) or Kaczynski loyalist but I think this critique misses the point – and also there's a lot more validity in AP than it allows.

Following through its criticisms one by one:

1. The ideal is unachievable on an individual level, or hard to realise in one's own life. This isn't a strong criticism as it also applies to most radical and anarchist positions – ancom, ancap, syndicalism, prison abolition, destruction of patriarchy, post-work, zero carbon footprint, New Afrika to mention a few. Capitalism makes it difficult to live outside capitalism in one's own life – if one is realistic, and unprepared both to try radical options and tolerate a gap between ideal and reality, then one pretty much has to accept neoliberalism. And it misconstrues the AP position. I've never seen an AP claim that someone can become “primitive” overnight. It would take generations to regenerate pre-scientific knowledge and so on. The point is to move in an AP direction, “rewilding” is a process. And actually, it's a lot easier to drop out and live in the woods, or set up an off-grid commune with a few like-minded people, than it is to realise zerowork communism or gender abolition or a hundred other ideas flying around leftist/post-left circles.

2. The ideal is unachievable on a social level, because of population problems, people's tendency to meet their needs in the easiest way available, lack of remaining wilderness, likely patterns of collapse of the current empire, etc. Again I don't see how this is a worse problem for AP than for any other non-neoliberal perspective. The AP response is either that AP is only possible after a catastrophic crisis or that it will be realised through small steps beginning with degrowth and voluntary population reduction. It's easy to point to tendencies which go against AP but there are also tendencies in its favour – forced delinking of peripheral areas, growth of informal economy, “half-earth” proposals, moves towards creating tree-filled tower blocks to offset climate change. All of these create potential for AP-like alternatives. Collapse might not destroy all hierarchical structures everywhere but it would create openings for dropping-out on a wider scale than today.

3. A new NHG tribe would be unable to survive due to infectious disease and needing to use hospitals. This objection makes the same mistake as 1. in assuming AP's are seeking to immediately become “primitive” overnight. But, it also needs to be remembered that millions in the US do not have health insurance, many in Europe (e.g. undocumented migrants, most Roma) do not have ID's and much of the global South has barely any health infrastructure. Someone might actually increase their life-expectancy with an NHG experiment in these circumstances. Also a hypothetical group which achieved isolation would be at reduced risk from *infectious* disease as its contact with other humans would be minimal. It would be at more risk from problems arising from pollution, injury or scarcity. But, it would be at less risk from car accidents, suicide and war.

4. A new NHG tribe would be suppressed by pigs/armies/etc. Again this repeats the mistake of 1. But, historically there are three ways that people deal with the problem. They hide from detection, flee when discovered, or fight to defend their territory. Of course there's a logistical issue involved – whether a group can obtain the hard or soft power to protect itself, but again this is true of every radical tendency. AP possibly stymies its development of counter-power by refusing hi-tech options, but in practice I think AP's compromise enough on this point that it isn't at all fatal.

5. AP leads to silly debates about anthropology and/or relies on “romanticised”/inaccurate views of indigenous ways of life. These are actually rather contradictory accusations as the author clearly engages in exactly the anthropological debates which s/he has dismissed as silly. This criticism is on stronger grounds than the others as both the ethnographic and the archaeological record are contested, and it doesn't seem to be true that all NHG's in all times and places are completely egalitarian, peaceful, or environmentally friendly (and actually Kaczynski's criticisms of Zerzan partly rest on this). AP's have to introduce a lot of ad hoc explanations to deal with deviation from the ideal model (why does X group have gender inequality or Y group have warfare or Z group domesticate animals). But, a few NHG societies (Bushmen, Mbuti, Nayaka, first contact Aborigines) do approximate the AP ideal closely enough that it's just about a viable reading. At least, these are some of the most anarchistic societies that have ever been documented as existing. If we assume the AP model is an ideal-type rather than a description of all NHG's, or even an aspirational model for an anarchist NHG drawing on aspects of existing NHG's, then really the debates are not so important. Also the shifts in orthodoxy do not necessarily entail better evidence. The current wave of anthropologists are highly influenced by poststructuralism (or “postmodernism”) and idpol, and therefore inclined to find hierarchy, lack, and confirmations of their grimdark worldview everywhere. And they're running out of NHG's to study.

6. AP encourages an unhelpful stereotype of “white people pretending to be Indians”. Leaving aside the idpol here (what's wrong with copying other cultures?), pretty much every brand of radical theory has similar stereotypes. The bitter white-bearded paper-seller stuck in the nineteenth century, the evil nihilist bomb-thrower who plots assassinations by lamplight, the angry bra-burning feminist who's ugly and hates men, the sixteen-year-old kid who likes to dress up in black and throw things and pretend s/he is changing the world, the middle-class college kid who “drops out” and slums it for awhile on trust fund money before becoming a banker, the gun nut living in a fallout shelter who thinks the government's poisoning the water, the internet “SJW” who's constantly looking for excuses to be outraged and scream at people for no reason and who's probably an otherkin with a neo-pronoun... Sadly, if you're fighting the system, you're probably gonna be stereotyped at some point. Why is the AP stereotype any worse than any of the others? Capitalism controls the media, and of course it will use the media to churn out stereotypes of anyone it doesn't like. As for “70s, 80s, 90s movements” these were a lot more vibrant and effective than today's, partly because they had a more-or-less sustainable drop-out infrastructure that today's movements lack.

But, I think the biggest problem with the critique is that it misses the main point of the AP argument. AP is not primarily about providing a “social ideal” of NHG, it's a theory of alienation and the root causes of social oppression. AP's believe that technology involves a division of labour which necessarily leads to hierarchy. Hierarchy once established will tend to unfold in ways which have devastating human and ecological effects. The only way to get by without hierarchy is NHG. I don't know if this is true or not, in fact I tend to think it's not, but it's a viable argument and it's an argument which opponents tend to sidestep. Showing that NHG ways of life are hard to achieve individually or collectively does not rebut the argument. Showing that NHG societies are not necessarily ideal does not rebut the argument. Showing that there are negative stereotypes of AP's or that AP is a hard sell does not rebut the argument. If you wanna rebut AP then you're gonna need an alternative theory of where oppression comes from and how to stop it, and you're gonna need better evidence for it than AP has.

how dare you infect this website with cogent critique! you are a monster! off to the re-education camp! (reply to @critic of course)

In the near future, only a very small number of people will be interested in "reverting to savagery" (fully regenerating normal/healthy human life). A deep, total rupture like this can't be done all at once (obviously), it has to be done in phases. It is VERY helpful for those who do to actually receive some experience at the level of normal humans ("savages"), especially "mystical experience" in the backwoods (Seeing Properly for the Ju/'hoansi). This is also HIGHLY motivating.

I'm getting to know an appropriate area for "reverting to savagery", including the people who already live there.

A fundamental reason why "rewilding" is difficult for people of European/Mediterranean ancestry is that we carry a 5000-10,000 year accumulation of massive epigenetic damage, consolidated by an inappropriate upbringing in a very sick excuse for a society. What is striking in Freddy Perlman's The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism piece is how AUTOMATICALLY slavery reproduces itself, including in "revolutions". The damage to the Deep Structure of human nature I mention here is the most fundamental reason this happens. This damage will not be reversed overnight. People in intact hunter-gatherer-permaculturist societies do not have this problem.

There are partial, transitional ruptures from (capitalist) slavery, such as worker-owned/self-managed enterprises, neighborhood assemblies, and permanently affordable home-ownership cooperatives that have a sustained record of success. These begin regenerating healthy social relations. Much larger (and growing) numbers of people will be interested in these in the near future.

I think @critic is spot on with this false critique of NHG.

My problem lies in how complicated it can be, or be perceived as, to be going out to live in the wild, and wildly. The people I've seen doing this recently were migrants from afar... The same Arabic or Afghan refugees I had met in Europe, who are truly living, just like many Natives here, a nomadic, primitivistic lifestyle. What are White kids doing these days? They go out in over-civilized cafés and bistros.

This is unbelievable for a old dude like me.... Kids no longer, just, having fun by the riverside doing bonfires, jamming and drinking. Instead, the language I heard around the fire, tonigth, in a wild place by the river, was arabic. These people don't give much of a fuck about the obsession for land property and legality, they just gather and have BBQs and chat. A whole inherently anarchistic tradition has been lost with the millenials, but I don't think it's their fault too much.

But beyond that, will you also be going around carrying a bow or crossbow by the cycling trail to hunt your weekly meal? You likely to get into a lot of trouble being an actual NHG and not some pipedreamer, into those over-developped regions of the West. So this leads to moving to areas more suited for this way of life.

23:17 have a look on Quora, at the post "why aren't there any anarchists in India". One of the top answers says, radical politics is dominated by the left and there isn't space for it. The other top answer says, nobody bothers calling it anarchism because everyone's living anarchy already. Nobody trusts the state and everyone looks out for themselves and their affinity group and tries to find DIY solutions.

It's great to hear that refugees are bringing anarchic cultures with them. I've had some bizarre experiences where local working-class kids of all ethnicities have instinctive anarchist ideas (fuck the police, fuck you I won't do what you tell me, DIY solutions, space belongs to everyone) but the hippy/idpol/leftist currents struggle to relate to them at all. So we have anarchists telling off non-anarchists for being too anarchic. It's absolutely surreal. Of course the kids don't have a perfect anarchist culture, there's a lot of consumerism and scarcity thinking and machismo and racism/intergroup rivalry. But nobody seems to have a sense of how to relate to, and articulate the anarchist aspects of their culture rather than either idealising them as pure subaltern proletarian subjects or trying to police all the rough edges. Oh, and AP's use slingshots if they're hunting I think, or scavenge roadkill. In my country they're actually at more risk for carrying knives and other bushcraft tools. One guy I knew had a dog trained to hunt, which is against strict AP but they split the kill so it's close. I have heard a theory from an anthropologist that it would be possible to provide all the protein needed for an urban population if we hunted rats in the city. Though, I really hope there aren't *that* many rats in the city.

By the way, I wrote the critique before I realised the last paragraph situates it in the nihilist/ITS-ish milieu, I'd assumed it was some kind of leftist critique. Oops. Personally I still think we need some kind of ideal, we need kundalini power to drive us to build what we can whether we succeed or not, though certainly we need to be engaging with the big nihilist turn among the young and disaffected (and even if there's human extinction, life would probably recover). The turning point for the revival of anarchism might well hinge on the question: how do we reproduce/vary the squatter-social centre-autonomous zone-FNB-90s CrimethInc model in a shanty town in the poor world? Can anarchism do what Marxism/Maoism did in the 60s, and Islamism in the 80s and basically implant itself in these sites, where people are already living anarchically? I think we can, but nobody's really tried (there's leftist groups doing workplace organising and there's anarcho-punk groups importing the cultural milieu but not really an attempt to make it a general form of life). If refugees are picking this stuff up, maybe some of them will eventually take it to the places they came from.

Anyway yeah... the NHG ideal attracts me but I've only dipped the smallest toes into acting on it. In practice the AP's I've known usually combine some degree of rewilded NHG with urban scavenging, informal/petty economy and mutual aid. But I know that people can and do do this in the most remote parts of the rich world, because I've come across remote off-grid communes and homesteaders and so on. It's bizarre to think, but actually there's a lot more uncontrolled wilderness in the US and Canada than there is in Africa or Southeast Asia. In densely packed countries like the UK and Holland it's much harder, but there's settlements of this kind in Wales and Scotland for example. The main thing that worries me about it is, there are strategic potentials in new technology which it maybe neglects, which make a hybrid scavenger lifestyle easier. For example, it's always surprised me that there are (AFAIK) no hacker communes (I know CommanderX is kinda setting up a bolthole but he's retired). It seems a very obvious strategy in principle, that people running infrastructure for a free internet would create hidden bases which are hard to find or repress. Similar there might be cases where technology could be used to disguise a hybrid NHG group from aerial surveillance for example. I feel it's a lot better to make compromises on the issue of tech than to make compromises by actually conforming to the dominant system.

Actually random BBQs like this are quite common in the Mideast also and they usually happen semi-impromptu roadside, like on medians near a highway

Can you make this more permanent than a @news comment, please? Cultural property......it's bullshit but the notion that one culture owns a cultural practice is prevalent. "They took everything else, can't we keep these?"

change in relations between human animals and all else will bring about a viable future for life on earth. It won't be achieved by small challenges but by world-wide consensus. The issues are world-wide and interrelated, so it makes to me she is on the right path.

Well as said before, the NHG psyche is accessible to anyone, but it doesn't usually survive after cultural traits semantically begin infusing the child's perceptions with value judgements. Later come the moral guidelines which legalize or prohibit certain relationships and lifestyles. At this stage world wide consensus usually follows the path towards totalitarian submission.

Layla, we all know you make these comments under every AP writer bc of your claims that people don't pay attention to women AP theorists. When will you realize that people don't pay attention not because you're a woman, but because your ideas are bad!

oops makes 'sense' to me

The normal ("savage") way I'm most familiar with, here in northern/central California, was not really nomadic. There were seasonal and in many cases permanent villages. Also, there was not immediate use - food was stored. The salmon run comes only at a particular time of the year, and a year's supply could be gathered and jerked in as little as a week. Black Oak bears acorn in great abundance, but only every other year, and the crop has to be gathered and dried in as little as a month. There were acorn granaries holding 500-1000 lbs. each.

My use of the word permaculture refers to the tending of an entire ecosystem to maximum health. Symbiosis (mutually beneficial relationships) between organisms is common in nature. Humans (before agriculture) were unique in that we formed a symbiosis with entire ecosystems as a totality, and this has probably gone on for hundreds of thousands of years. In all this time, agriculture probably occurred to people, but no one bothered. It was an emergency response to (local) overpopulation during the rapid climate change at the onset of the Holocene, made the overpopulation much worse, and became entrenched. Here in CA, there was some permaculture, such as the propagation of brodea to a density of 100 per square foot, that resembled agriculture. But in this case the soil was only broken up every 6 years, not tilled with plows every year.

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