Out of Civilitopia

gathering

Women gathering murnong and other food,

as sketched by squatter Henry Godfrey, on November 1, 1843.

Drawing from the artist’s sketchbook,

La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria.

The nutshell story of civilization begins with an evolutionary adaptation based on humans’ advanced intelligence setting them apart from other animals. Civilized humans see, experience and understand the world objectively, rationally, as it really is. Their advanced technological abilities make them the most adaptable, prolific, thriving species. All this combined with humankind’s ethics gives them the intrinsic right to assume the role as stewards of all others (who are rightfully used to support and progress the advancement of civilization).

This fascinating tale has now culminated into life worldwide writhing in dystopic drumbeats of civilization-initiated environmental collapses. A growing lot of dissenting humans are rumbling, freeing themselves by reading between the lines that this Civilitopia they were fed is a storyline birthed, owned and shape-shifted by rulers who enforce its following to the detriment of all. Just decades ago civilization’s patriarchal elite propagated the hype: Humans are hunters by nature, and that is what accounts for their success as a species. Why was caveman hunting selected for the podium, and not murder or rape or infanticide or cannibalism or causing species extinctions when there was also evidence of those in pre-history humans? When evidence of some hunting was found, why did that result in the practice of eating animals being applied to all humans going back to origins? Did the machismo leaders cherry pick a more alluring ‘killer ape’ early ancestry to justify current carnistic practices? Was it strategic that this lie also boosted the noxious ego to fuel the march toward the magical kingdom of Civilitopia? (For fun, google images of the word ‘caveman’, then ‘cavewoman’ to visualize the propaganda.) The mass of followers didn’t ask to be born into this shameful story, ensnared in a social structure where children with instincts to forage are systematically trained to proudly bear the blood placed on their hands. No life, wild or domesticated, want to live in a land scarred with ghosts of living nature communities replaced by rows of monocrops and caged bred animals to feed the story for it thrive. In these times, human senses and gut intuitions are awakening, recognizing the horrific realities as the official narrative’s foundation cracks.

Thorns of truth are stinging through sciences, like paleoanthropology. Evidence left behind is reinterpreted and new evidence is concluding that early humans were more prey than predator, that Neanderthals adapted their foodways to the local environment to the extent that some subsisted on a vegan diet, that the advent of organized hunting resulted in mass extinctions and rigid sex roles, that women largely provided the staple subsidence through gathering, and that the impetus for certain rituals and myths was to overcome the innate aversion humans feel to harming animals. Tough truths are hitting soft and hard sciences alike, such as: humans are biological herbivores with some behaving as omnivores either by privileged choice or due to decreased nature foraging opportunities brought on by civilization’s destruction of humans’ indigenous habitat and overpopulation. Some out of bounds truths merge with others filling in the picture of a wholly different human story, like the previous example combined with this: humans eating a plant diet have the healthiest bodies, with raw vegan being the healthiest, and conversely the more animal products a human consumes the worse his health, even amongst indigenous ‘hunter-gatherers’ eating wild animals. Truth bombs such as ‘humans are folio-frugivore by nature’ are resulting in furious fights by those desperately clenching the old storyline, or parts of it, as it crumbles.

If the human story is to be rewritten in a way that recognizes the inevitable doom of civilization and places humans back into nature, perhaps it will go something like this: Humans came down from the trees walking two-legged foraging for plants. There were many food and shelter opportunities along the sunny forest edge. As prey, they were constantly vigilant to signs of danger. For a while they took solace returning to trees by day to forage and by night to sleep. A quick environmental change left them moving on to other lands where they adapted their lifeways. Dire hunger drove them to scavenge off the remains of other animals’ kills. When plentiful plant food opportunities returned, they continued scavenging as supplement sporadically. They invented stone tools first to mash fibrous plant foods such as tubers, then to break open scavenged bones for marrow. They discovered how to control fire, in time leading to many changes such as specialization, hierarchal roles, and organized hunting. They began thinking symbolically, expressing their thoughts through art and language. Many species of humans moved across lands. Some groups met and interacted. Some died out. One species of humans outlived the others and spread across all lands, increasingly impacting and shaping plant and animal communities. Most large mammals survived in Africa because they gradually co-adapted with humans, learning to fear the inventive ape. As they spread out of Africa, Homo sapiens wiped out swaths of megafauna within a short time. They planned into the future, honed technologies, and progressively intensified control of life and death of themselves and others.

 

To control their food supply, they began storing food, settling into lifeways based on herding and breeding more docile animals into submission on swaths of wild animals’ habitats. They soon settled even more firmly with food storing cultures based on agriculture, breeding plants into monocrops and animals into pens, encroaching farther still into free animals’ homes. Through this process they domesticated themselves. They developed a sense of ownership of land, plants, animals, and each other. Settled human populations living in escalating stratified power structures with one another and collectively as colonizers of all others slowly swelled in population. Industrialization sped the pace advancing both civilizing customs and impact on free living communities. Humans’ waning connection with wild places did not quash the their longing for a life simpler, more mutualistic, more homeostatic with other life… more primal. With overpopulated humans living in structures of civilization dominating everywhere, the last of the hominids faced the choice before their evolutionary dead end, to continue heedlessly participating in civilization’s death march, or to begin the great return.

The return has a myriad of old ways with new actions based on in-between storylines. For example, being that humans have shown their ability to shift diets with environmental conditions, and that humans eating animals is distinctively devastating Earth’s living communities, will humans use their civilized intelligence to shift their diet back the one of its deep origins, taking a huge step out of civilization’s path of destruction? Will they hear and heed their primitive instincts as they were before technologies, colonization and bloodlust led them astray, catalyst by catalyst, toward Civilitopia?

 

Readings:

Animal Oppression and Human Violence: Domesecration, Capitalism and Global Conflict, David Nibert

Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, Richard Wrangham

The Caveman Mystique: Pop-Darwinism and the Debates Over Sex, Violence, and Science, Martha McCaughey

Children’s Literature, Domestication, and Social Foundation: Narratives of Civilization and Wilderness, Layla AbdelRahim

Dominance and Affection: The Making of Pets, Yi-Fu Tuan

In a Few Centuries, Cows Could Be the Largest Land Animals Left: Throughout our entire history, humans and other hominins have selectively killed off the largest mammals. Ed Yong https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/04/in-a-few-centuries-cows-could-be-the-largest-land-animals-left/558323/

Man the Hunted: Primates, Predators, and Human Evolution, Donna Hart and Robert Sussman

Neanderthal behaviour, diet, and disease inferred from ancient DNA in dental calculus, Laura S. Weyrich, Sebastian Duchene, Alan Cooper. https://www.nature.com/articles/nature21674

A Northwoodsman’s Guide to Everyday Compassion, Kenneth Damro

On Their Own Terms: Animal Liberation for the 21st Century, Lee Hall

Rogue Primate: Exploration of Human Domestication, John A. Livingston

An Unnatural Order: The Roots of Our Destruction of Nature, Jim Mason

A View to a Death in the Morning: Hunting and Nature Through History, Matt Cartmill

Ria

ecofeminist@riseup.net

 

 

"to continue heedlessly participating in civilization’s death march, or to begin the great return."

what a false dichotomy. in lock-step with the ideological primitivist perspective of some requisite return to eden. fucking religious.

there is NO GOING BACK. but bailing on this horrific civilization is surely a good start for moving forward.

The hardware (technology) is irrelevant, its the software, the monopolization of food program, which has enslaved everyone. If food was free, no one would have to work.,.

The whole of society has become driven by the fear of the abuser bogeyman. This transpired through the call-out culture but if you look elsewhere in totalitarian society, you got niceties like (1) families being broken apart on-the-spot by CPS little despots, for the children to be later (2) handed over to either professional abusers in juvenile "care" centers, or to people who get paid to take children under their wing. In Quebec, maybe more widely in Canada, all government officials are now being legally obligated to snitch upon anyone in a person's life who MAY be potentially abusing this person, one way or another. This means unlimited potential for criminalization of solidarity within a family or group of friends. This sets precedent for a total invasion of the private sphere by external agencies, under the belief that those agencies are to be trusted unconditionally and unquestionably, while the peers and family members are to be forever exposed to suspition. This is the world we're into, and the one that anarchists, too, are facing.

The biggest problem with the whole securitarian morals and their politics is how they are helping to defend instituted men who are abusers themselves. This is how moralism works, and how religious orders and groups have been given so much unshaking trust over the centuries as they were abusing people behind closed doors. Rooted in the same old fear of the Witch, or the Werewolf or whatever bogeyman.

The "behind closed doors" is the key element here, as the enclosure privacy is what really supports abuse, in any given situation. Abuse happenign out in the open is easy to record, expose, denounce, even as it happens. Abuse within closed doors is the toughest thing to deal with... and since fact-checking is difficult it can be defended by a veil of lies and deceit. More efficiently, it falls in the dead angle of other people when accusations of identical nature are thrown upon a scapegoat.

This is all obvious to some people here, tho I'm sure there are some supposed anarchos who still aren't getting this. Civilization thrives upon this kind of fear, and you'll remain a slave of its games if you can't challenge or break it apart rationally.

Can someone please explain the relevance of this article? I read it and it doesn't appear to mention any issues or dynamics related to the current civilization we're into...

Its a hypothetical scenario in a nutshell (like this comment) describing the evolution of humanoid civilization in materialistic terms and ending with a pithy conclusion that we are all doomed and really fucked up as a species, as if we didn't already know this :).,.

But even at that... it's just early evolution it's talking about. Like dynamics that are completely alien and detached from contempo Western anarchists. So yeah, again, I fail to see the relevance of this overly-polished essay.

Some relevance is that food dynamics and instinctual drives are quintessential life forces, however much they may be manipulated and rechannelled into " civilized " contractual arrangements and moral codes. This essay may be a plee for contemporary Western anarchists to drop any ideological pretences concerning their dreams for the future, even in the face of a seemingly tech dominated hegemony, beneath the digital screen and plastic facade there will always be a primeval force and consciousness which is reawakened with every infant scream of defience which will always return the species infallibly back to its wild origins,

6/10 for the ridiculously cheesy rhetoric...

Are you LeGay?

Oooooh yes, you recognized my distinct schtick, my tirade in defence of the sacredness of the infant consciousness before it is fouled by the industry of culture. Beware all you ideologues, the purity of my raving is harmful to your philistine mentalities!

A major part of an anarchic breakthrough would be the rise of some type of cultural neotenous behavioral psychology that breaks learned adult authoritarian behavioral patterns(anarchic flylords but without the adult projected breakdown). I have a concept of what I call Neotenous Knowledge which I might turn into an essay or book one day. Sugata Mitra's work is very inspirational in this regard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk60sYrU2RU

Think that but without the civilized, educated, work based domestication.

It’s a cliche but you are what you eat. We eat capitalism, ecocide, colonialism, misogyny...ESPECIALLY when we eat animals. Yelling about ‘moralism’ doesn’t change that. Your gut has as many neurons as your brain; unfortunately you can’t put different ideas into your gut (directly), just different food.

I'm the author. I was asked to write a piece on veganism for an anarchist audience, but I did so through my anprim perspective. To me, all problems that anarchists of all stripes face & fight will repeat in various manifestations until the root cause is acknowledged and addressed. A lifeway that maintains technologies of civilization is intertwined with ways of domination over other humans, other animals, and intrinsically over oneself, whether consciously aware or not. Humans have so disconnected themselves from their wild beings that many have even lost their sense of the upcoming doom. You can read about it, it's more & more out there, but your wild self can just sense it. This whole identity politics thing has won the day distracting anarchists from the deep underlying issues. Gotta say, sometimes reading anarchist discussions is no better than reading democrats doing what amounts to their righteous mutilation dressed up as shiny gifts, with their big smile and warm heart.

i sympathize but actually think about it a little differently.
carnism is like the model, or a key model for the dysfunctional emotional/psychic training in commodity metaphysics. little kids get it, and a lot of times start to freak out when they realize what they're eating (not even knowing about factory farms or climate change or the sexual politics of food or antibiotics or...). they have to be taught patiently the difference between 'pork' and 'pig'. a person who tortures animals is a monster and a probable serial killer; but to pay someone else to torture animals on your behalf is so normal that you're a weirdo if you *don't*. because to torture for pay is not really evil, just business, and the result is a shrinkwrapped object in the marketplace just like any other - objects with a certain weight, color, etc, and above all, price tag - the exchange value is the key property of the commodity, its interchangeability (cf. tiqqun, "the economy as black magic"). it's true that things like 'ethical production' and the whole process that used to be carefully hidden from view has now begin to be reintroduced as another marketable attribute for the likes of health food shoppers - fair trade, organic, humane, even vegan. but at the same time there is a really basic cutting-off not just from non-human animals, but from everything that happens when we flip that commodity metaphysics switch and i think carnism is so key to that cognitive dissonance because when you come down to it the only argument against veganism that doesn't break down logically or practically is "but i like it!" like this is the only thing that matters, everything in the world (incl humans) are commodified objects that either please us enough at their price point, or don't, and it's no wonder people don't want to know whose tiny fingers made their clothes, or who got killed for the coltan in their phone etc anymore than they want to know where their food came from. it's just a thing that is there and has certain properties; as marx explained, the appearance of the commodity is fundamentally the dis-appearance of the dynamic sociality of the production process that it emerges from. and where is it easier to learn this than at the end of a dinner fork?

"A commodity appears at first sight an extremely obvious, trivial thing. But its analysis brings out that it is a very strange thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties."

where do we go from there? it seems fair to say, that if we don't believe in treating people "like animals" - as most antifa and idpol types would have it - we should not be treating animals "like animals" in the first place...!

So is there a core agreement that the main point is the 'eew' factor, that it is not natural or innate for humans to eat other animals?

as an anti-civ vegan i am always excited to see more writing like this. if i knew how to write well i would def write stuff like this because there should def be more!

Wow whoever wrote that is insanely naïve

read it again. this time with your eyes instead of your mouth.

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