Primitivism and the "Regressive Left"

  • Posted on: 29 July 2016
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

Among the weak arguments against Progress, there is the peculiar case of dominant ideologies hosting factions that reject it in the name of dominant values. The so-called “regressive left” is an example of this from humanism. The regressive left argues that Western civilization embodies power structures that prevent it from living up to humanist or post-humanist values. That is, these structures either prevent Western civilization from acknowledging the equal moral worth of all humans, or from acknowledging the moral standing of humans plus something else, like sentient animals or nature. For instance, Merchant (1980, p. 278) writes,

The female earth was central to organic cosmology that was undermined by the Scientific Revolution and the rise of a market-oriented culture...for sixteenth-century Europeans the root metaphor binding together the self, society and the cosmos was that of an organism...organismic theory emphasized interdependence among the parts of the human body, subordination of individual to communal purposes in family, community, and state, and vital life permeate the cosmos to the lowliest stone.

The origins of this regressive humanist ideology lie in the 1960s and is a result of two major historical developments. The first was the disillusionment felt from the two world wars and, later, the Cold War. Before the world wars industrial cultures had an air of optimism about them, residual effects of an Enlightenment mentality: the dominant attitude was that science and reason could solve human problems, and society could be restructured such that poverty, racism, disease, and other cultural divisions could be mitigated or even eradicated. From this optimism there came a rise in the Old Left's Marxism and several liberal progressive movements. But WWII changed all that. Fascism presented a real threat to democracy; Nazi Germany and the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan showed, at least superficially, that technical Progress and moral Progress are not linked; and as the Cold War developed, it became clear that socialist optimism was untenable as well, not least because communist as much as capitalist nations contributed to a generalized cultural anxiety.

The second major development was purely technical, a result of the transformation WWII wrought on science and technics. Indeed, the war marks the transformation of industrial societies into techno-industrial societies, based on information and global trade (Mindell 2009). As a result, the Old Left's focus on industrial labor quickly became outdated from automation, the beginning of globalization, and economic precarity. And as technical developments profoundly changed human life, making it more comfortable, genuine mass discontent over material issues was difficult to find in techno-industrial nations.

Borne from this was a whole generation that had to put only minimal effort toward satisfying their innate needs, and as a result, it found itself uneasy with boredom and a sense of purposelessness. Revolt became something of a fad to fill this need, but it wouldn't be in the name of delegitimized ideologies like Communism. These were “rebels without a cause.” Of course, because Communist fervor hadn't totally been eradicated by that point, the organizational infrastructure that remained took advantage of this revolt and, conveniently, had a few targets for it, like the Vietnam War. But revolt for the sake of revolt was the true reason for these rebels' activism; their banner was a tangential concern. As a result this protest age was full of many divergent, sometimes contradictory causes, and even organizations with a specific target were saddled with young people who had many other causes to contribute. Kenneth Keniston (1965), who published a number of studies on these phenomena, writes, “Whatever the gain of our technological age, whatever the decrease in objective suffering and want, whatever the increase in our 'opportunities' and 'freedoms,' many Americans are left with an inarticulate sense of loss, of unrelatedness and lack of connection.” And, later:

Alienation is not, of course, a uniquely modern or American phenomenon…. So it is only relatively that we can speak of a 'new alienation.' But by this term, I mean to suggest that the origins and forms of our modern alienations are new...that in such a society alienation characteristically takes the new form of rebellion without a cause, of rejection without a program, of refusal of what is without a vision of what should be.

These technical transformations also changed the industrial man's psyche. Propaganda and managerial technics became far more powerful, so humanist values were more successfully inculcated through new social institutions (Beniger 2009; Burnham 1972). TV, for example, strongly benefited the Civil Rights movement (Everet). And unsurprisingly universities, transformed into the backbone of the U.S.' science and technics systems (Atkinson & Blanpied 2008), were a major site for humanitarian causes. Together with the aforementioned unrest, the rebels found themselves revolting in the name of the ideals society was already professing, but attacking science and technics as the means to achieve them. The rebels called for racial equality when society was already moving that direction; world peace when leaders, scared of powerful new weaponry, were just starting to see this as desirable; an end to police brutality just as less controversial surveillance methods were becoming preferred. Then they fashioned themselves revolutionaries and dissenters. A whole culture was born that believed its prevailing society to be against its own values, and they became unwitting enforcers.

In his Propaganda, Ellul dissects this dynamic. One reviewer explains (Bois 2010):

One of the ironies of propaganda to work is that its population must be educated....So the more educated you become, the less aware you are that you are a victim of propaganda and the more you are ready to spread your ideology to others who will in turn reinforce you and be reinforced by you in a horizontal process. Leaders aren't telling you what to think (directly), you are being told by your peers what to think and you pass along this information to others to inform them what to think. Then when this ideology has reached a substantial portion of the population, you demand the leaders to comply and they reluctantly do so (which was their intention 30 to 40 years previously, but they won't tell you this).

In a collection of essays entitled The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution (later The Return of the Primitive), Rand identified this trend among the humanist left and attributed it to a social turn towards collectivism. A recent study on “microaggressions” reflected her conclusion, arguing that the offense-prone culture of college campuses is dependent on highly accessible third party authorities (e..g, college administrators), the availability of collective support (e.g., through social media), and the inability to deal with conflicts autonomously (Campbell & Manning 2014)—all changes that have resulted from technical developments rooted in the techno-industrial turn of the 1940s.

Rand also correctly predicted that, after the Vietnam War, the next major cause of these New Left rebels would be environmentalism. She noted that it squared quite nicely with the ideologies of the hippies and Woodstock, and noted that it conveniently aligned with the New Left's disillusionment with reason, science, and technics as the means to make the world more humanitarian. Of course, such is currently the case.

All these components were later embodied to the extreme in a left-wing ideology, birthed in the 1970s, known as “primitivism,” or, sometimes, “anarcho-primitivism” (Origins of Primitivism 2010). According to it, primitive man actually lived in conditions that are very much compatible with modern sensibilities: there was no warfare, or at least less of it; societies functioned cooperatively; there was “fierce” equality; animals were respected; and so forth (Moore; Zerzan 1994). Far from being the bastion of humanist values, they claimed, modern civilization, the Western one in particular, actually polluted the natural humanism of primitive man with institutions, which continue to pull us further away from the ideals of human peace and cooperation (ibid.). Originally, these primitivists, who wrote about their views in the radical left publication The Fifth Estate, did not mean their critiques to justify a total rejection of civilization. They wrote that they merely wanted an “appraisal of the primitive.” One early advocate wrote, “The aim is not to replicate or return to the primitive, merely to see the primitive as a source of inspiration, as exemplifying forms of anarchy” (Moore). Only later did their “critique of civilization” become just that, due to a rogue individual named John Zerzan, who believed that the problems identified by the primitivists warranted a revolution against “the totality of civilization” (Zerzan 1994).

Incidentally, Rand was once again correct in writing that this radical environmentalist philosophy has ties to Marxism. She wrote (in her characteristically polemical style), “The old-line Marxists used to claim that a single modern factory could produce enough shoes to provide for the whole population of the world and that nothing but capitalism prevented it. When they discovered the facts of reality involved, they declared that going barefoot is superior to wearing shoes.” This is, to a less outrageous degree, precisely what occurred. Many of the individuals who influenced or were involved in The Fifth Estate's early version of primitivism—Jacques Camatte, Fredy Perlman, David Watson, John Zerzan—were ex-Marxists, anarcho-Marxists, or heavily influenced by Marxism, and who had indulged themselves in anarchism as a replacement (Origins of Primitivism 2010). In addition, the cadres of primitivists joined forces with a new academic movement, “the radical anthropologists,” an attempt by similar characters to “reappraise primitive life” and often for political reasons related to indigenous land rights (see radicalanthropologygroup.org). This would not be worth mentioning except for the fact that socialist and communist values color the entire ideology. This was no return to the primitive; it was the return of the noble savage.

Over time the claims of the radical anthropologists were dismissed for being rose-colored or, worse, an intentional misrepresentation of the data (Alcock 2001; Chagnon 2013; Pinker 2003). But the ideology of primitivism remained, and its influence extended to most corners of anarchism. As a result, the primitivist tendency was a central pillar of the anti-globalization movement of the 1990s, John Zerzan's variant in large part responsible for the 1999 Seattle Riots (Campbell 2001). Other major organizations or figures in the new anarchist movement, like CrimethInc., adopted and adapted the ideas in a way that resulted in “anti-civilization anarchism” or the closely-related “green anarchism.” It remains a significant radical element of New Left protests today, affecting many social justice movements having to do with race, police, prisons, environmentalism, food production, and even workers rights.

All this is to point out that there is an intrinsic problem with regressive humanist ideologies: one cannot effectively resist a society based on that society's own values. For sure, the most extreme elements of the regressive left may notice that their ideology entails a rejection of industrialism. But their rejection of Progress is a weak one because it is wrong: primitive cultures are much more violent, hardly egalitarian in the way modern humans would find appealing, usually not good conservationists, often cruel to animals… (See Chagnon 1983; Diamond 2013; Kaczynski 2012, pp. 126-189; and Pinker 2003, 2011 for evidence for these claims.) And in any case, these values are certainly not achievable with a return to post-primitive but pre-industrial conditions, which would undoubtedly be the result for many should industry collapse. Finally, the primitivist will and does find that their projects to bring about a less racist, less patriarchal, more cooperative, more egalitarian society will always be set back when industrial societies accede to their demands, as Ellul pointed out. In other words, primitivism will never be able to motivate a true rejection of Progress because at base, it is unwittingly an embrace of it.

Bibliography
Alcock, J. (2001). The triumph of sociobiology. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.
Atkinson, R., & William Blanpied. (2008). Research universities: Core of the US science and technology system. Technology in Society 30, 30-48.
Beniger, J. (2009). The control revolution: Technological and economic origins of the information society. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Bois, D. (2010). Why do some people not understand Jacques Ellul? The Montréal Review.
Burnham, J. (1972). The managerial revolution: What is happening in the world. Westport: Greenwood Press.
Campbell, B., & Jason Manning. (2014). Microaggression and moral cultures. Comparative Sociology 13(6), 692-726.
Campbell, D. (2001). Anarchy in the USA. The Guardian 2(18), 1-4.
Chagnon, N. (1983). Yanomamo: The fierce people. New York: Henry Holt.
Chagnon, N. (2013). Noble savages: My life among two dangerous tribes—the Yanomamo and the anthropologists. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Everet, A. (n.d.) The Civil Rights Movement and television. The Museum of Broadcast Communications.
Diamond, J. (2013). The world until yesterday: What can we learn from traditional societies? New York: Penguin Books.
Ellul, J. (1964). The technological society. New York: Vintage Books.
Ellul, J. (1973) Propaganda: The formation of men's attitudes. New York: Vintage Books.
Kaczynski, T. (2010). Technological slavery: The collected writings of Theodore John Kaczynski, a.k.a. “The Unabomber.” Port Townsend: Feral House.
Keniston, K. (1965). The uncommitted: Alienated youth in American society. San Diego: Harcourt, Brace & World.
Keniston, K. (1968). Young radicals: Notes on committed youth. San Diego: Harcourt, Brace & World.
Merchant, C. (1990). The death of nature: women, ecology, and the scientific revolution. New York: HarperOne.
Mindell, David. (2009). The science and technology of World War II. In Walbert, D. (ed.) The Great Depression and World War II. North Carolina Digital Library.
Moore, J. (n.d.). A primitivist primer. Green Anarchist.
‘The Origins of Primitivism’ set (1977-1988). (2010). Radical Archives.
Pinker, S. (2003). The blank slate: The modern denial of human nature. New York: Penguin Books.
Pinker, S. (2011). The better angels of our nature: Why violence has declined. New York: Viking Books.
Rand, A. (1999). The return of the primitive: The anti-industrial revolution. New York: Penguin Books.
Último Reducto. (2011). Izquierdismo: Función de la pseudocrítica y la pseudorrevolución en la sociedad tecnoindustrial. In Kaczynski, T., La socieded industrial y su futuro. Spain: Ediciones Isumatag.
Zerzan, J. (1994). The future primitive and other essays. New York: Autonomedia.

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Comments

Dear author: how much time have you spent in so-called primitive cultures? Or have you just read about them in anthropological works, deciding which descriptions seem most convincing "scientifically" (i.e., according to what already resonates with your preexisting agenda and preferences)? Why should we take seriously anything you have to say on the subject?

You cite a bunch of thinkers to argue that "primitive cultures are much more violent, hardly egalitarian in the way modern humans would find appealing, usually not good conservationists, often cruel to animals", but it is hardly a convincing list (the chief badge of legitimacy for one of them is just that he sent bombs by mail), and I could surely come up with an at least equally credible list of references to argue the contrary.

Does anyone from an actual "primitive culture" want to weigh in, or are we just going to let book-smart wanna-be academics represent them (and the entire potential of all humanity) to us? No surprise if this author never, ever even interacts with the people he has such clear ideas about.

Citing a bunch of people who agree with you isn't really how this works. That's why I cited books that tended to critique the actual theoretical assumptions of the radical anthropologists, like Pinker's works. There's more though, you can try:

* War Before Civilization by Lawrence Keeley
* The Calusa: A Savage Kingdom: https://malpais.noblogs.org/post/2016/07/13/opk2543/
* Daniel Everett, Don’t Sleep, There are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle

That last one has a bit you might be interested in:

Steve Sheldon told me about a woman giving birth alone on a beach. Something went wrong. A breech birth. The woman was in agony. ‘Help me, please! The baby will not come,” she cried out. The Pirahas sat passively, some looking tense, some talking normally. “I’m dying! This hurts. The baby will not come!” she screamed. No one answered. It was late afternoon. Steve started toward her. “No, she doesn’t want you. She wants her parents,” he was told, the implication clearly being that he was not to go to her. But her parents were not around and no one else was going to her aid. The evening came and her cries came regularly, but even more weakly. Finally, they stopped. In the morning Steve learned that she and the baby had died on the beach, unassisted.

Steve recorded the story about this incident, repeated here. The text… recounts [the] tragic incident that provides insight into Piraha culture. In particular it tells us that the Piraha let a young woman die, alone and without help, because of their belief that people must be strong and get through difficulties on their own.

The point simply being that materially developed conditions tend to guarantee things civilized people value --- like peace or manners or caring for women --- a lot more than undeveloped conditions would. Of course there are some exceptions of primitive people who lived with fierce equality and so forth, but the bigger point is that developed conditions don't have very many exceptions. Across the board, the more "civilized" a country is, the better conditions are for women, the less likely you are to die a violent death at the hands of another, etc.

The rest of your comment isn't worth responding to. You think because I've never lived among hunter/gatherers that I obviously know nothing about them? That's ludicrous. Your point is worthy if it was meant to inspire a little bit of humility, but that's not actually what you're saying. You're suggesting that we shouldn't actually take secondary opinions seriously simply because they are secondary.

Just to add to this: "You think because I've never lived among hunter/gatherers that I obviously know nothing about them?"

To be completely honest knowing about hunter/gatherer ways of life is not _strictly_ necessary from a wildist perspective. Hunter/gatherers are mentioned as an ideal not because of specific ways they lived, but because of the simple fact that their technics placed material limits on how much power they could have over nature. That's all that we need to know, since the basis of wildism is the value of wildness.

The only reason the anthropology in this article is necessary is because primitivists DO have to know a good deal about hunter/gatherer life in order for their perspective to be valid. Because it matters to their ideology whether HGs were peaceful, cooperative, equal, etc. It's not about wildness in and of itself. That value is legitimized by other, humanist values, a holdover from the "left" part of "post"-left.

-C.

"The point simply being that materially developed conditions tend to guarantee things civilized people value --- like peace or manners or caring for women --- a lot more than undeveloped conditions would. Of course there are some exceptions of primitive people who lived with fierce equality and so forth, but the bigger point is that developed conditions don't have very many exceptions. Across the board, the more "civilized" a country is, the better conditions are for women, the less likely you are to die a violent death at the hands of another, etc."

That quote proved none of that. Your take of that quote is also absolutely contrary to what Everette was getting at in that book. You think egalitarianism equals some kind of forced equality where everyone is cared for. This is based off of your understanding of the noble savage, not AP. No one in AP is pretending that life in the wild or the life of a hunter-gatherer knows no hardships. They do, that is what makes them resilient and capable.
The quote you pulled says that a woman refused medical treatment from an outsider. She called for her parents and her parents were dead. Cultural customs arise because of cultural history. There are reasons why people do things and this isn't an instance of systemic degradation of women, it's a case of a woman dying during child birth. That is something that happens in the rain forest and it certainly happens in hospitals.
Had another person interjected and things gone wrong, in a society without professions or specialization, they could actually cause more harm than help and be left in an impossible position. The goal of AP isn't to judge or gloss over these instances but to try to understand more about why some societies are egalitarian and others aren't. More importantly, why the nonegalitarian societies rose and how they function.
Women die in egalitarian societies. Men die as well. Children die.
Also a lack of war has to do with the lack of social structures and organizations that make war (organized violence) possible. This does not mean that violence doesn't exist or that peace does. It just means that you don't understand the difference.
The freakish thing about your quote is that you seem to think that civilization has saved women and children from violence or thinking that hospitals are a solution. Based on your supposed anti-tech virtues you should have applauded her refusal of medicine as it is technology.
The fact that you can't distinguish between systemic inequality and egalitarianism is just part of the reason why you're a public joke. But there are many others as well.
Want to tell us more about this "person who mails you things"? Because apparently that's where Ted gets his shitty and freely chopped quotes as well.

The freakish thing about your quote is that you seem to think that civilization has saved women and children from violence or thinking that hospitals are a solution.

It has, and depending on your values they are. They certainly save a shit ton more people from death than natural medicine can. (There's the problem of the "bubble bursting" with things like anti-microbial resistance, but I mention that in my critiques of modern medicine.) That's a fact, whether you are anti-industrial or not.

You're funny because in several places in this comments section you've tried to take hold of this one quote and use it to delegitimize everything I've said. But what about the overall points I've made? I've already said pretty directly that I can't really defend or refute the larger context of that specific quote because it's outside of the pool of books that I've read. So I could TOTALLY have used it incorrectly, and I'm more than happy to concede that, given I can't really do otherwise at the moment. I again mostly just used it because the person who sent it to me (through email, btw) is someone I basically trust, and they HAVE read the book, so it wasn't just cherry picked.

Anyway, if you really want to have a discussion about this, feel free to contact me through HG. I'm leaving the computer for the night.

"They certainly save a shit ton more people from death than natural medicine can. "

that is a completely uncritical perspective. if you want to understand medicine and cures, you need to understand disease and their causes. most of modern medicine, which you are clearly defending in that comment, has been developed primarily in order to remedy diseases that are direct results of modern human civilization. not to mention that modern medicine directly kills and sickens many more people than traditional, "natural" medicine.

you probably believe the common idiom that the only way to fix the problems caused by technology is... technology. yeah, and more politicians are all we need to fix politics.

wow, i used to think you (jj) were at least a partial thinker. but using ayn rand as support for your positions? combining that with your dogmatic proclamations makes you not worth engaging. knowing you are a twenty-something academic white man makes it all the more hysterical.

give it up. go back to your followers and read atlas shrugged again.

that is a completely uncritical perspective. if you want to understand medicine and cures, you need to understand disease and their causes. most of modern medicine, which you are clearly defending in that comment, has been developed primarily in order to remedy diiseases that are direct results of modern human civilization. not to mention that modern medicine directly kills and sickens many more people than traditional, "natural" medicine.

I know it's an uncritical perspective, this is an @news comments section. That's why I referenced my more critical writing in the very same project. There are good critiques of modern medicine; they aren't founded on the assumption that medicine hasn't saved lives or doesn't work.

And your claim that "most" of modern medicine just fixes the problems of modern medicine is largely false (although "most" is obviously a slippery term). Smallpox and similar problems are naturally occurring and kill a lot of people. Modern medicine makes that largely preventable.

JJ breaks leg and runs to hospital, gets Xray and pin inserted so he doesn't heal with a short leg and a limp for the rest of his life.

If it was the left leg then that would make it a regressive left leg if healed the primitivist way amirite?

JJ can't distinguish a lot of things. His grasp of what AP actually is, is weak and juvenile, and his reading comprehension and scholarship is at approximately a grade 9 level. If he had handed in the above article at my college, he would have gotten an F.

His grammar is solid, though. I'd give him a D.

"(the chief badge of legitimacy for one of them is just that he sent bombs by mail)"

Did you read what he wrote though? You can't say that someone's argument is invalid just because you think they're a bad person. Read the text, then come back with an argument.

Anarchist News is neither.

Chagnon is guilty of genocide among the Yanomami. He created the circumstances of their assured destruction, injected them with diseases as he was paid to do so by the Atomic Energy Commission, and then he documented how their warfare patterns showed humans were innately evil. If there was a basis to saying that humans were evil, the case point would be Chagnon, not the Yanomami.
But go ahead and keep trying these half-assed statements to pat yourself on the back while your faux-buddies in Milan and Mexico write shit poetry about how they didn't get enough media attention when they're bombs left in open spaces didn't create the "indiscriminate terror" that they wanted. Because caring is a civilized value you dumb, fucking autistic piece of shit.
Jacobi was always a school shooter in the making, but the only thing he could shoot was jizz all over Industrial Society and its Future. He's about 2 years in now on being a college "radical", so fortunately for the rest of us he's about out of steam anyways.
So why is anarchist news posting this? Because the flipside is more wanna-be ISIS fan fare and that's fucking cool because killing people is so super-anti.
Fuck off.

injected them with diseases as he was paid to do so by the Atomic Energy Commission

Lol.

Here's a good and fairly unbiased review of the controversy. There are reasons to doubt a lot of the claims, but it'll likely never be resolved http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/magazine/napoleon-chagnon-americas-mos...

Your reasons don't catch up to the fact that pre-'70s, American anthropology was heavily dominated by ultra-conservative, racist, sexist White men, who had to problems getting funds from imperialist ventures like United Fruit and co.

Beyond your above example this idiot relies on Stephen Pinker, someone who's book is more pop science then anything to take seriously by more rigorous anthropology. Kaczynski is not exactly an expert in the field(though he should be given credit how he lived his life in the wild). He is the other side of the coin to the overly rosy John Zerzan.

Try harder Jacobi, a number of your sources suck and the others don't necessarily agree with what you are saying(Diamond and Everette for example) You might want to actually read or watch video of what they ACTUALLY have to say about primitive life.

Ya'll complain that he uses academic sources and that we shouldn't trust them but then you say that Kaczynski's opinion isn't worth considering because he isn't an academic. Which is it?

These are the things that gave us pseudo realities like HIV/AIDS after all. It's about having sources that have at least put in the quality and quantity of work. These can be academics, it can also be independent researching autodidacts. Kaczyski doesn't cut the mustard in either direction. It's not about whether he is academic or not(at least for me).

actually, tk was a professor before he moved to the wilderness. that makes him at least some sort of academic, no?

I acknowledge that Pinker is both hated and revered. I've read his works though, and I think they're convincing. It's up to others to determine that themselves, after they have read his argument.

You're right I should probably remove Kaczynski as a source. I mostly kept it in because the people who read my writings knows who he is, and because most of what Kaczynski does is pointing out contradictions in the favorite texts of APs rather than providing his own sources.

As for Diamond and Everette, tell me what I'm missing here? Depending on which Everette you are referring to, I haven't actually read the book "Snakes in the Garden." Only that quote. So it's entirely possible I could be misrepresenting him (that's why I didn't put him in the essay). But I've read Diamond, and am interested in what I've written that he would take issue with.

The simply reason is that his theories on primitive violence are based on a small sample OF A SMALL sample of humanity(in this case the Yanomami) He completely decontextualizes these things. Whether you are an expert in the field or an autodidact who has put the research and work into the larger data of human communities, both groups consider the man a joke. He's for plebeian level anthro readers.

Everette and Diamond have mostly good things to say about their experiences with primitive life. Here's what Diamond actually has to say.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/jan/06/jared-diamond-tribal-lif...

Overall you are completely unimaginative when it comes to the possibilities of what post humanist history can look like.

Yeah, I'll just restate that people should read Pinker's stuff and decide for themselves. His best two books on this subject are "Betters Angels of Our Nature" and "The Blank Slate."

I know what Diamond's thesis is, but I'm starting to think you actually haven't read his stuff. He's been condemned because the same book where he shows "what we can learn from traditional societies," he mentions all kinds of things that he doesn't believe to be helpful, and he emphatically DOES NOT believe we should return to primitive life. In fact, he agrees with Pinker in saying that some, if not most, HG societies had rates of violence comparable to, for example, Detroit. (This does not necessarily apply to Paleolithic HGs like they try to claim, since their idea of "primitive" is more expansive and sometimes even includes horticulturalists.)

So...?

Diamond does mention the nasty things(mostly based on his New Guinea experiences from what I remember) but he does not come at it from a new Hobbesian point of view even though he is no radical. Diamond to my knowledge has never made such a loaded categorical claim beyond some when it comes to primitive cultures with violent tendencies. Again, a lot of his experiences are based on his New Guinea fieldwork which is hardly the whole picture of human tendencies. Whether there is violence or not is usually determined by the environment and resources.

Pinker and most of that evopsych crow are a bunch of retards. The first book by him(BAOON) suffers the problem I already mentioned. He basis his thesis on a particular group and a particular group within a group. It's a fucking stupid book for anyone that is actually seasoned in anthropology either as an academic or an autodidact. Evopsych science as a whole is built on a house of cards. Darwinism as such is bad enough(as emile rightfully points out) but evopsychology is is Darwinian analysis gone full retard.

He basis his thesis on a particular group and a particular group within a group.

Yeah that's totally not true and 100% proof that you did not read the book.

Anyway, thanks for pointing out that Diamond and Pinker and esp. Chagnon are controversial figures among anthropologists (although not forensic or biological anthropologists, usually only --- surprise! --- humanist cultural anthropologists), but this is a debate that can't really happen in @news comments. If people want to read up on the conflict, check out

* The Triumph of Sociobiology by Alcock
* Noble Savages by Chagnon (will obv. be biased, but at least it gives a look into the conflict), and
* Political Correctness and the Death of Cultural Anthropology: http://www.academia.edu/2480246/Political_correctness_and_the_death_of_c...

JJ cultural anthros don't have a monopoly on humanist values, your postulate Pinker and the evopsych idiots he represents are not better. Cultural anthropology on the whole is less wrong then the idiocy that informs you and your analysis. Here is more on Pinker's fails.

http://www.survivalinternational.org/articles/3289-brutal-savages

Daniel Everette is the author of 'Don't Sleep, There are Snakes' about the Piraha. Not 'Snakes in the Garden'. But no, you didn't misrepresent him because you cited Anna Everett, a film and media studies professor at UC Santa Barbara. And you didn't quote her, you just referenced an article she wrote.
But do go on showing us how smart you are.

I just openly said I haven't read their stuff and only got that quote from another person. So thanks for clarifying, but the insult doesn't hold.

You're telling me that you didn't read the tiny article you referenced for a citation with a hyperlink? And you were totally unaware of the author of your citation on an essay you just posted?

I'm telling you that the quote I got was sent to me by someone who I trust. And it did come from "Don't Sleep: There Are Snakes," by the way. I just looked it up. https://books.google.com/books?id=iQV9l-s7y2IC&pg=PA90&lpg=PA90&dq="Steve+Sheldon+told+me+about+a+woman+giving+birth+alone+on+a+beach.+Something+went+wrong."&source=bl&ots=AQ-vQ_PscZ&sig=W6RtjTNRtJg-Uth86hbqm3KTP7M&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjBvMit05rOAhVJox4KHbkwBckQ6AEILDAC#v=onepage&q=%22Steve%20Sheldon%20told%20me%20about%20a%20woman%20giving%20birth%20alone%20on%20a%20beach.%20Something%20went%20wrong.%22&f=false

And in any case, the quote and experience is legit so doesn't disprove my point. Once again, I didn't use it in the essay precisely because my knowledge on his works isn't that great.

He's about 2 years in now on being a college "radical", so fortunately for the rest of us he's about out of steam anyways.

Not if things keep going the way they are. It's true that for almost two years I've been espousing these ideas with almost no return. But lately there seems to be a turn in the milieu that takes the ideas more seriously, and the core crew (Wild Will) is growing a lot faster now. So it'll be at least another two years before I burn out, unfortunately. :P

Not a bad article, glad to see that you're still quoting Ellul. While I think that your central argument here definitely has merit, it still seems as though you're ignoring the fact that few primitivists deny the negative aspects of "primitive life". Even Perlman & Watson were somewhat nuanced with their writings, influenced as they were from the New Left. Like, you've obviously been somewhat immersed within some aspects of this tendency for a few years now, so one would think that you'd have more to say than the usual accusations of " humanism" & "leftism".

As for those accusations, I think that while it's worthwhile to try to be aware & skeptical of the spooks that one encounters on a daily basis, there's probably no likely way in which humanistic values/norms will be erased from the planet, at least anytime soon. They've colonized the world as effectively as capitalism has, and will likely remain in some form for thousands of years, just like Christianitu has. I'm not one for imposing ideology onto day-to-day existence, but how does one move away from " leftist" values without becoming a sociopathic asshole? The traits that the Kaczynskites & wannabee balaclava'd Tarzans seem to venerate would make sense in certain scenarios, but it's not all for nothing. So mock or scrutinize as you want to, but how is this so-much-more "realistic" & "scientific" Hobbesian view any more legitimate than the noble savage one? Couldn't it be said that they're both equally shit, & don't allow for any sort of variance in the immense ways through which humans can live?

Yaahl, thanks for the comment. Here are some answers.

it still seems as though you're ignoring the fact that few primitivists deny the negative aspects of "primitive life".

You're right about this. The problem isn't that primitivists don't recognize the negative aspects. The problem is that the basis of their resistance isn't anything that techno-industrial society can't take. Sure, primitive people (especially before agriculture) were astoundingly diverse, some hyper-violent "warrior societies" and some really peaceful, with no recorded deaths due to conflict between two members. But that tells us something about the primitivist analysis: their solution of ending industrial society doesn't follow, because primitive life couldn't ensure their humanist values. In fact, many primitive people don't give a shit about humanist values, even if they live by them (clearly this isn't true across the board because of their diversity, but that's not an issue). Even worse for primitivists, the collapse of industry isn't going to ensure that people are going to live a primitive way of life and is probably much more likely to result in conditions similar to the kinds we see in the Middle East and Africa, where there have been many failed states, and where humanist values OBVIOUSLY don't reign. The only way primitivists could counter this is by believing that they can choose what kind of primitive society they want to live in, but that suggestion has already been addressed. You simply can't design a society from scratch, especially when environmental factors determine the structure of a society so much. See Technical Autonomy and some of the essays over at https://malpais.noblogs.org (esp. Calusa: A Savage Kingdom?).

That's not to say that you can't advocate primitivist / humanist values. But if you do, primitivism doesn't make sense. It makes more sense to stick with civilized society. The collapse of industry just isn't gonna cut it.

there's probably no likely way in which humanistic values/norms will be erased from the planet, at least anytime soon. They've colonized the world as effectively as capitalism has, and will likely remain in some form for thousands of years, just like Christianitu has.

TOTALLY. That's why the goal isn't to make everyone a non-humanist. All this does is explain why the people I've chosen to ally myself with under the Wild Will Coalition are not going to be humanists. It means that I'm not willing to put my name next to something advocating humanist values, because those are actually contrary to my own.

Let's face it: if industry EVER completely collapses (highly unlikely) it's not gonna happen in our lifetime, and the process that it'll take for that to happen will be slow, several decades at least and probably several centuries. But while it here, we do not have to respect it. But in disrespecting it, the reasons we give matter. It matters, for example, if you throw a pie at a Jewish CEO because he's a CEO or because he's Jewish.

So mock or scrutinize as you want to, but how is this so-much-more "realistic" & "scientific" Hobbesian view any more legitimate than the noble savage one? Couldn't it be said that they're both equally shit, & don't allow for any sort of variance in the immense ways through which humans can live?

This may very well be true. I personally believe that the scientific way of knowing is the most reliable way of gaining knowledge about the world (which is not to say that it'll be possible under uncivilized conditions, at least to the present extent). But yeah, there are some good arguments for why it may, in fact, be false, and we know for sure that we can never know for sure that it IS True, with a capital T.

That said, I can't deny that I think some ideas about the world I live in are more or less true. So, for example, if I value wildness and if I say that I am willing to sacrifice industry even if it means living as a hunter/gatherer, I say that because as far as I can understand the reality of the situation, hunter/gatherers did not have as much power over nature as agriculturalists or industrialists did. Also, from anthropological, sociobiological, and historical accounts of hunter/gatherer life, it just seems to me that this doesn't quite equal a life of humanist values. So, that in mind, I have to ask what the trade-off is. Do I want cooperation or wildness more? Wildness. As someone pointed out above, that doesn't require that my account of hunter/gatherers is completely accurate. It just requires that I am correct in saying that it will be harder for hunter/gatherer technics to dominate nature than others.

how does one move away from " leftist" values without becoming a sociopathic asshole?

This is a pretty complicated question because there's a difference between my "big picture" perspective and how I personally go about this. Suffice it to say that "sociopathic assholes" are going to be a part of this, I know that for a fact. If anyone is going to contribute tension to industrial society from an anti-industrial perspective, it will be "warrior societies," with all their callousness, hard to swallow rhetoric, and even, sometimes, uneducated opinions. Here's a quote from "The Coming Anarchy":

Also, war-making entities will no longer be restricted to a specific territory. Loose and shadowy organisms such as Islamic terrorist organizations suggest why borders will mean increasingly little and sedimentary layers of tribalistic identity and control will mean more. "From the vantage point of the present, there appears every prospect that religious . . . fanaticisms will play a larger role in the motivation of armed conflict" in the West than at any time "for the last 300 years," Van Creveld writes. This is why analysts like Michael Vlahos are closely monitoring religious cults. Vlahos says, "An ideology that challenges us may not take familiar form, like the old Nazis or Commies. It may not even engage us initially in ways that fit old threat markings." Van Creveld concludes, "Armed conflict will be waged by men on earth, not robots in space. It will have more in common with the struggles of primitive tribes than with large-scale conventional war." While another military historian, John Keegan, in his new book A History of Warfare, draws a more benign portrait of primitive man, it is important to point out that what Van Creveld really means is re-primitivized man: warrior societies operating at a time of unprecedented resource scarcity and planetary overcrowding.

and

Van Creveld's pre-Westphalian vision of worldwide low-intensity conflict is not a superficial "back to the future" scenario. First of all, technology will be used toward primitive ends. In Liberia the guerrilla leader Prince Johnson didn't just cut off the ears of President Samuel Doe before Doe was tortured to death in 1990—Johnson made a video of it, which has circulated throughout West Africa. In December of 1992, when plotters of a failed coup against the Strasser regime in Sierra Leone had their ears cut off at Freetown's Hamilton Beach prior to being killed, it was seen by many to be a copycat execution. Considering, as I've explained earlier, that the Strasser regime is not really a government and that Sierra Leone is not really a nation-state, listen closely to Van Creveld: "Once the legal monopoly of armed force, long claimed by the state, is wrested out of its hands, existing distinctions between war and crime will break down much as is already the case today in . . . Lebanon, Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Peru, or Colombia."

That said, I'm obviously a product of my environment, and I do have some concerns that are likely a result of values being inculcated into me. My solution for this is to simply wait for a situation to arise, examine my deeply held values, and act the best way I see fit, even if that means betraying what is "logically" the non-humanist course of action. This is what I call "placing my bets": there's some inherent uncertainty involves because I don't have all the answers. Still, I am confident enough in my values and ideas that I do not think this will result in a complete reversal. But it comes with some hard questions.

For example, rape is abhorrent. I can't NOT believe that. But it's clearly a big thing in nature, and it's rampant in many primitive communities and ALL agricultural ones. So what do I do? Obviously as far as immediate experience goes, I am not going to defend rape, I'm not going to engage in rape, I'm going to protect people from rape. But that's different from the humanist perspective, which, because it views all of humanity as equally important (in the moral sense), views a rape EVERYWHERE as their own responsibility. I am arguing that this universalist project to end injustice among large groups of people necessarily buys into the idea that we are a single unit --- whether that means a whole race, a whole nation, or all of humanity. I obviously am hurt when I hear of a rape, and don't like it. Same when I hear of an impoverished child. But I am a human being, not a robot, and my heart only beats so much. The only way to fulfill the moral imperative to take care of all injustices is to artificially supplement my own will and abilities to technical systems, which eventually means the subordination of my will. Ultimately, I care for my autonomy more than I care about global injustices (non-egalitarian egoism). So I do not advocate NGO programs to "bring internet and water" to all places or socialist policies of "universal medicine." I choose to prioritize me and my own.

One more thing. Although rape is close to a cultural universal, injunctions against rape ARE cultural universals (except for the rape of wives, which was only banned very recently in industrial nations). Both are present, and from a scientific perspective there's a good evolutionary reason for it that I encourage you to read up on. So the point is that humanist values aren't bad IN THEMSELVES and they aren't usually ENTIRELY artificial. Instead, they are an extension and modification of natural desires and the subordination of other ones. They are the conversion of the human will into a cog in the industrial machine. This is the point of my piece "Misanthropy." In sum: caring isn't BAD, cooperation isn't BAD, peace isn't BAD and desires for all of these things are indeed natural to human behavior. The question is caring in the context of WHAT? cooperation in the context of WHAT? Me and my own, or some unit that is a function of indiscriminate solidarity?

OMG I've been mind-raped and enjoyed it!

"The problem isn't that primitivists don't recognize the negative aspects. The problem is that the basis of their resistance isn't anything that techno-industrial society can't take."

The basis of resistance for most primitivists I know is the return to hunter-gatherer subsistence and its corresponding egalitarian cultural and natural relations. Those goals are fundamentally at odds with techno-industrial society.

"The only way primitivists could counter this is by believing that they can choose what kind of primitive society they want to live in, but that suggestion has already been addressed. You simply can't design a society from scratch, especially when environmental factors determine the structure of a society so much."

Primitivists aren't trying to design a society "from scratch." They're building rewilding communities based around foraging. Environmental factors don't determine structure of society; subsistence does. The idea was never that people magically become IR foragers after collapse, it was the emerging materiality of collapse creates openings for wild relations.

"In sum: caring isn't BAD, cooperation isn't BAD, peace isn't BAD and desires for all of these things are indeed natural to human behavior. The question is caring in the context of WHAT? cooperation in the context of WHAT?"

First, I'm glad you don't like rape. But your reply here, to me, shows that your attack on primitivism for being "humanist" is disingenuous. Primitivist values arise in the context of forager activity, and insofar as we are "naturally" foragers, peace, cooperation, etc are indeed "natural to human behavior." That is to say they are part of our "species being."

I expect that you'll revert to quotations by Pinker, Kacyzinski, or Diamond to try to show that some primitive people were a nasty bunch. But they of course blur the lines by using the mystifying category "primitive" which blurs crucial distinctions in subsistence patterns.

This is a good reply, and the strongest primitivist argument. I'll note offhandedly that most primitivists don't actually think this way, which I know from interacting with them, but of course that doesn't dismiss this particular argument.

The basis of resistance for most primitivists I know is the return to hunter-gatherer subsistence and its corresponding egalitarian cultural and natural relations. Those goals are fundamentally at odds with techno-industrial society.

As I note in my essay, it's clear that wanting to end industrial society is being against industrial society, and to that extent primtiivists are anti-industrial. What I'm doing is investigating the reasons they want to do so, and those reasons are not good reasons.

Primitivists aren't trying to design a society "from scratch." They're building rewilding communities based around foraging.

This is my bad. I didn't word my assertion properly. You can't CHOOSE what kind of society you want to live in. How about that?The above links argue for that assertion as well. We might as an example look at nearly all intentional communities, which have failed. I may be wrong about this, but I am not actually aware of any good counter-example. If the intentional communities DID make it, they've been utterly transformed, because in order to make your society conform to your rational blueprint, you're going to need to have a level of control that can't be attained in agricultural or primitive conditions (the goal of most intentional communities so far) or even, right now, industrial conditions (although I'm not aware of any attempt along these lines, the closest that I can think of being city planning, which I point out in "technical autonomy" have all failed).

Primitivist values arise in the context of forager activity, and insofar as we are "naturally" foragers, peace, cooperation, etc are indeed "natural to human behavior." That is to say they are part of our "species being." I expect that you'll revert to quotations by Pinker, Kacyzinski, or Diamond to try to show that some primitive people were a nasty bunch. But they of course blur the lines by using the mystifying category "primitive" which blurs crucial distinctions in subsistence patterns.

Yeah, I can point to those thinkers. There are others though. Look at the work of sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists, for example, or human ethologists. Some texts:

* Human Ethology by Eibl-Eibesfeldt
* The Adapted Mind by Cosmides, Toobey, and some other guy I can't remember
* The Sociobiology of Ethnocentrism
* Darwin, Dominance, and Democracy by Somit and Peterson

Also, note that this claim comes with a very, very extensive task: demonstrating that naturally, ALL human beings will have similar kinds of social conditions that you espouse. A group of examples to the contrary will be enough to demonstrate that these social values are not a part of our "species being" and so on. I believe that from the available evidence, it is clear that this is true: human beings are not naturally cooperative, etc. This is especially true between tribes, but also within them. But at base this is an academic and scientific argument about human nature, and it can't be had in @news comments. So I can't really engage it, sorry.

Society is a reification. There are only human beings and how they relate to one and other. There have been plenty of human beings that have lived in the wild. Ever heard of Gone to Croatan. See the Masterless Men that seaweed writes about. Rationality and society do not enter the picture. Neither do messyanic means and ends. It does not matter to the subsistence insurgent whether civilization is still standing or not.

"Society is a reification."

Margaret Thatcher, is that you?

I thought you were dead and buried.

She still however believed in all the other spooks and was not consistent with what a rejection of society entails.

Tatcher never said anything about a reification. She said that society does not exist... Which is both true and false.

No, she didn't use the word reification, but when Ziggy uses the word reification, he means basically that society is an abstraction i.e. not real, or doesn't really exist. In other words, he is saying the same thing.

Society is a reification. There are only human beings and how they relate to one and other. -- Ziggy

"There is no such thing as society, only individual men and women and their families." -- Margaret Thatcher

Nope, you're wrong!! Reification is the manifestation of moral sublimation and drives the institutionalized values to their authoritarian climax,i.e. the society/culture. The difference between Sir E's and Thatcher's quote is contextual. Ziggies is metaphysical, Thatchers is materialist.

"Nope, you're wrong!! Reification is the manifestation of moral sublimation and drives the institutionalized values to their authoritarian climax,i.e. the society/culture. The difference between Sir E's and Thatcher's quote is contextual. Ziggies is metaphysical, Thatchers is materialist."

Hahahahahaahahaahahahaaa! That's got to be the stupidest defense of a personal, made up definition I've ever heard. That makes zero sense. Do you even know what you just said? Because I'd like an English translation.

Lol.....thanks for the laugh though.

Wait!! I'd like to know firstly at what level of intelligence are you at concerning psychology and political theory, to save me explaining quite obvious socialogical concepts which I assume you know nothing about.......? Hmm, what shall we do with you,,,,,.? Mmmkay, so in the morning you climb out of your basement and plead with mom to make you a bowl of cereal, lol? Thanks for the laughs.
Its not actually a bad thing to sublimate as an individual, other sublimations are herd mentality masse formations, which should be avoided.

What's "quite obvious sociological concepts"? You mean like: "Reification is the manifestation of moral sublimation and drives the institutionalized values to their authoritarian climax,i.e. the society/culture."

Reification has NOTHING to do with moral sublimation (what the fuck is 'moral sublimation'? I understand what sublimation is in psychology, but have never encountered its moral variant. And even if there were such a thing, it would still have nothing to do with reification), nor does reification drive anything, let alone anything to their "institutional climax" (again, what the fuck does this even mean?).

It just sounds like you have picked up some jargon from some academic source and are trying it out here on @news to impress us all.

Listen unimpressed person, if you know what sublimation is in psychology, then you understand how controlling instinctual drives is sublimation. Mmkay now, controlling ones instinctual drives to obey moral codes is "moral sublimation", take the work ethic , by obeying it, everyone drives the reification by their actions and obedience and are thus reified themselves. Got that fuckin now dudo?

Take the term band society. There are two words, which is more concrete(think of another bad western language term like lightning flashes, something emile points that out all the time). Reification is essentially the fallacy of misplaced concreteness and society is most certainly built on this arelational reification. Whatever anarchic existences are, they are not societies.

Except nobody actually thinks society is a 'thing'. Ergo, nobody is reifying the concept of society. When people use the word 'society', they simply mean a group of people living together in the same geographical region under similar rules/customs and who identify with each other as a distinct group from other groups. There may be borders, or not; the group may be homogeneous, or heterogeneous. The group membership may be permanent or fluid. But whatever the group is, it is relational, and interdependent. It is not something people 'misplace' for something physical, tangible, or concrete, or 'turn in to' something concrete, since, groups already have a real existence. (unless you believe groups of people don't really exist?). But they are not a 'thing', and nobody really confuses society for a thing (except maybe politicians and economists). 'Society' is of course a noun (i.e. a thing), but it's also just a shorthand for the group, the band, the tribe, the association, the nonprofit society, or whatever group one wants to demarcate.

I don't know. I find getting the concept of reification difficult. But my belief is that a group of free wanderers or a group of kin free to come and go with semi-permanent camps, does not constitute a society. There is an inherent antagonism between the individual and 'society". Society constrains. So if we want to be as free as possible, we would likely find ourselves in very small groups of people, like a band. A band or a group of kin isn't a society.

Yes, some anthropologists don't like the word society applied to H-G bands. But I don't see the problem. Just because a society is very small and fluid, doesn't mean it's not a society. However, I can see why such kin based bands do not really fit in with what we would normally describe as a society, since there is usually very little permanent structures within it..

That's what makes it retarded. It's misplaced concreteness pure and simple. We don't create redundant reified terms for other animal groupings of which humans are a part of and no different from. There are no school(fish) societies, or pride(lion) societies or pack(wolf) societies. There are also no human societies. Ghost busted. Just because we have coordinated meaning and significance that can scale on abstract levels does not change this. Maggie was right, she believed in economics and had no individuated anarchic acumen but as such she was right.

"We don't create redundant reified terms for other animal groupings of which humans are a part of and no different from.

Yes we do.

"There are no school(fish) societies, or pride(lion) societies or pack(wolf) societies..."

Yes there are. It's just that instead of using the word 'societies', we call them schools, prides, packs, gaggles, troops, flocks, herds, etc. They refer to the same basic concept of a group of individuals living together. Why is this so hard for you?

Schools, prides, packs ect have a different definitional connotation then society. This is fairly obvious. Our groupings are band, tribe, chiefdom and state. We scale up by rational abstraction not by actual dunbarian relational activity. The abstract is what has no physical(relational)reality. Again me and Maggie are correct(in different ways of course)

does an activity at some point become a noun? i.e. does a relational social activity become a 'society'?

answer: not ever in the physical reality of our actual experience; i.e. relational activities nest within relational activities within the transforming relational continuum.

however, it is possible to assign a name to an activity within an activity such as a convection cell within a flow, and then use that name as a noun in a grammatical construct [subject-verb-predicate] to make it into a subject that jumpstart authors actions and results. it's still an activity within an activity, but its convenient [delivers economy of thought] to forget about the supra-activity that the activity is included in, and to assign subjecthood to the activity and talk about the activity as if it were fully and solely in charge of its own actions.

when we elevate the local activity [cell/system] within the nonlocal activity [flow/suprasystem] to noun status, we invent the concept of 'internal intelligence' as an internal animating force, to sit inside the system [formerly acknowledged as an activity within a larger activity] as a logical substitute for the suprasystem [larger activity in which it is included] which is inductively actualizing its development and behaviour.

in semantic reality, the epigenetic suprasystem influence that is actualizing system development and behaviour is notionally disposed of and replaced, in the semantic subject-verb-predicate structure with the powers of authorship of an implied internal intelligence within the system depicted as a noun-thing-in-itself. this is how we get 'society' and impute to it the authoring powers that inform the social behaviours of its constituents.

of course, 'society' is just a semantic-logical cover for an activity within a larger activity. this physical reality has not changed 'just because we got us a noun-and-verb language'. only in 'semantic reality' is there a 'society' with its own jumpstart authoring powers that inform its constituents' behaviours. the authoring powers imputed to 'society' are a logical substitute for the influence of the suprasystem/nature (the transforming relational continuum), so that the latter can be ignored.

the semantic creation of noun-subjects serves to split off the activity within the activity [e.g. the storm-cell within the flow] by installing notional powers of authorship of development and behaviour within the local activity. this is done for convenience and 'economy of thought' [Mach]; i.e. to avoid having to deal with the relational complexities of a relational activity within an unbounded relational activity (the transforming relational continuum). in violent activities within the relational social dynamic, it is easier to subjectize the violent activity as 'violence' and identify [scapegoat] a jumpstart author [assassin, killer, terrorist, violeur] of the activity. local jumpstart authors are a semantic-grammatical device of convenience and exist only in semantic reality. 'society' is one of them.

It's being drowned out in nouns that's the issue. As I said, I have no problem with this as such as long as we know we are doing this. I doubt we are going to go back to an immediate language anytime soon, but we can at least be rational and and aware about all this noun/verb overdose.

BTW there is no actual 'we'.

The definition of a group does not need that reified extra just as lightning does not need the flash right after it. There are some definitional contexts where the word is not bad(say you form a group called the terrestrial society, I have no problem with that) but the capital S use of the word needs to stop. There is no such thing as Society.

Yes, Margaret, there is. You're living in one. Stop pretending otherwise, and deal with it.

point me to it. Which Society am I living in?

Which part of the world do you live in? That's the society you live in. Amazing, huh?

Toronto is a name on a map try again.

I mean a physical existence in systems-relational sense. Where is this called society. Spooky language based extensions of man don't count. Dunbarian based group names are at least describing something physical.

So you live in Canadian society. There's you're answer.

You live in the midst of all the laws, rules, customs, history, by-laws, architecture, transportation patterns, government policies, rights, responsibilities, expectations, culture, language, education system, shops, housing, etc. All these things make up what we call society. You can point to all these things. And you are affected by them all.

Is denying the obvious reality around you part of egoism / nihilism?

They still do not demonstrate that society exists in any physical way on the same level as more baseline group dynamics(which has some of those listed characteristics). All those things you mention are a product of language and information systems(which not every human is sublimated into). It still does not give Society any concrete existence.

Are you on drugs?

All those things I mentioned are physical concrete things, or at least have physical concrete consequences. In any case, something does not need to be physical to be real. This is high school metaphysics. Society is merely the sum of all those physical and not-so physical things. If you want to get really physical, then technically, language and thought are both physical i.e. they physically exist as neuronal synapses in the nervous system and larynx of the human body.

But keep believing that society doesn't exist. It's adorable !

No wonder nobody takes egoism / nihilism seriously.

Define 'nobody' and 'nihilism'! Why aren't _YOU_ on drugs? Why don't _YOU_ look deeper in _YOUR_ relationships, because it is their sum that constitutes the ephemereal and elusive appearance and form of 'society'. Anyway, 1 am an existentialist-ontological-nihilist so none of this really concerns me. Just saying

You on the other hand are hung up on reification born assumptions of reality. Of course something does not have to be physically real to have some type of reality(religion, myth ect), BUT I'M TALKING ABOUT PHYSICAL REALITY!!! Sure there can be concrete consequences from spooks like religion and society, but that does not change the fact that they are spooks. You use the term 'sum of all' which is predicated on a recursive language structure. If you have anything that is primarily predicated on reification and recursion and divorced from any physical tangible relations it probably doesn't exist(PHY SI CAL LY). Again I doubt you can point me to something relationally concrete called Society(Toronto does not count)

As to egoism/nihilism, I'm an anarch. I have an indirect relationship to those thinking patterns. I don't care for nihilism, and egoism can have different definitions. Having said that, the anarchy of tomorrow will probably come from me and these tendencies.

in Western north america there has been overlapping membership in indigenous aboriginal society, Chinese society, Japanese society and Euro-American society. during WWII, this overlapping of different societies became a contentious issue which culminated in the internment of those who had overlapping membership in Japanese society and Euro-American society.

'society' is evidently not a physical thing-in-itself, but an activity constituted by dynamic relations. since 'people' are in general, polyphrenous, they can support the operation of more than one society [system of dynamic relations] at the same time and 'in the same place'.

a storm-cell is evidently not a physical thing-in-itself, but an activity deriving from dynamic relations. as Mach pointed out, science [logical reasoning] is a technique for organizing our observations in a convenient manner that delivers 'economy of thought'. thus science makes a storming activity (a verb) into a noun and gives it a notional persisting identity based on tracking the relational form that we associate with the word 'storm' across successive observational frames (e.g. of a video-camera) and assuming it is a thing-in-itself which persists in 'time' [from past through present to future]. this is not a scientific hypothesis but a hidden definition which does not agree with the physical reality of our actual experience since "no storm-cell can step into the same flow twice, for it is not the same flow, and it is not the same storm-cell that is stepping into it. in science, convenience and economy of thought win out over the physical reality of our actual experience. that's what logic is for.

'society', likewise, is an activity and when the tide is flooding in to the estuary while the riverflowing beneath it is flooding out, one is hard pressed to reduce such local activity to a noun 'flow' without loss of important nuance, as is also the case with reducing 'society' from an activity to a noun and giving it a one-to-one mapping with a geographical region and/or temporal era.

i.e. 'space' as in an absolute euclidian measurement/reference frame and 'time' as in the abstractions of 'past and future', are the artefacts of language and grammar which do not reconcile with the physical reality of our actual experience of inclusion-in-the-now in a transforming relational continuum.

You start off by saying "society is not a property of of geographical region", then you go right into talking about "in Western North America, Chinese, Japanese, Euro-American, etc. all geographic regional designations!

You claim society is not a physical thing in-itself, but that isn't my argument, and nobody actually thinks society is a thing in-itself. Society may be described as an activity, but this does not preclude it from being physical. Many activities are physical.

Once again, you are over intellectualizing and over complicating something very simple.

"and nobody actually thinks society is a thing in-itself."

That's the issue here(think of language such as 'New York was attacked') and there is nothing physical about it. It's a reified and redundant term. Society is a sublimated belief and identification(as opposed to relation) based phenomena that is derivative of more baseline concrete human activities.

Um...except New York was attacked. Or at least a part of it was. Saying 'New York' was attacked is just a generalization or figure of speech. Most people in the English speaking world understand this.

There is no confusion, except in your mind.

A pair of occupied buildings were blown up, that is physically all that happened. Of course it's a figure of speach, however you are not supposed to take this for relational reality of which New York and Society is not.

I can't believe I have to point this out to you.

... that "society" is not something that physically exists, ... likewise "community"; i.e. 'society' as "an aggregate of people living together in an ordered community".

when we observe an ordered pattern of activity, we are looking at the 'genetic expression' that is actualized, orchestrated and shaped by an epigenetic influence [e.g. 'Katrina' the storm cell is just the local, visible, material genetic expression of a non-local, non-visible, non-material epigenetic inductive influence]. when we subjectize a pattern of activity [genetic expression] and give it a name such as 'society', we forget about the epigenetic inductive influence.

that is, we can understand 'society' in the one-sided terms of 'genetic expression', or we can understand 'society' in the terms of epigenetic inductive influence that actualizes genetic expression.

in the former case we can attach a regional name to 'society' and speak of 'british society' or 'western north american society'.

but, ... a problem arises. i.e. does this 'society' refer to the relational social dynamics of an aggregate of people living in western north america? because buried within this, we find multiple "societies" with overlapping membership.

'society' is used in two different ways here; first, in the simple sense of our observations of 'what the people in a region are doing', and second, in the sense of how a common 'operative reality' inductively actualizes, orchestrates and shapes the relational social dynamics of an aggregate of people; e.g. the Japanese-American society and the Euro-American society, both of which derive from employing operative realities that are quite different and which individuals can toggle into play depending on which group they find themselves situationally included in [they can behave as 'double agents'].

The prevailing 'operative reality' actualizes, orchestrates and shapes individual and aggregate behaviour; i.e. the observed relational social behaviour, per se, is a secondary phenomenon, it is the 'genetic expression' out of the context of the epigenetic inductive actualizing influence.

if a 1940s Japanese-American individual found himself amongst other Japanese-Americans, he might toggle in his Japanese operative reality; e.g;

"according to the Japanese constitution of 1889, the Emperor had a divine power over his country, which was derived from the Shinto belief that the Japanese Imperial Family was the offspring of the sun goddess Amaterasu."

on the other hand, if he found himself within a group of Euro-Americans, he might toggle in the Euro-American operative reality featuring the separation of Church and State.

The operative reality is the epigenetic inductive influence that actualizes, orchestrates and shapes individual and collective behaviour [genetic expression]. This epigenetic influence is in a natural precedence over genetic expression [the former actualizes the latter]; i.e. the observed social relational dynamic is secondary phenomena. Just as we cannot capture a physical understanding of 'what a storm-cell is' by subjectizing it as 'Katrina' and studying her assertive actions (genetic expression) [out of the context of the epigenetic inductive influence that is actualizing her genetic expression], there is no way to capture a physical understanding of a relational social dynamic by studying its genetic expression out of the context of the epigenetic inductive influence that is actualizing its genetic expression.

no amount of analysis of the aggregate behaviour of people within a region will reveal the internal order that derives from the different 'operative realities' that source epigenetic inductive influences that actualize, orchestrate and shape assertive expression [genetic expression].

In the case of HG "society", as McLuhan points out, the relational social dynamics of pre-literate hunter-gatherer people derived from 'acoustic space perception' (physical reality) rather than 'visual space perception' (semantic reality), ... two very different 'operative realities', the former employing the 'strand-in-the-web-of-life' operative reality as associates with the physical reality of our actual experience, and the latter employing the 'independent beings in absolute space and absolute time' operative reality as associates with the intellectual constructions of noun-and-verb language-and-grammar.

So, for those who describe hunter-gatherer society in the simplistic terms of 'what HG people do' without addressing the 'operative reality' that orchestrates and shapes their aggregate behaviour, ... and attempt to 'return to that type of society', ... they will be behaving like a cargo-cult if they simply try to replicate the social relational dynamic without embracing the pre-literate HG operative reality, the epigenetic inductive influence that orchestrates and shapes HG aggregate behaviour.

that is, ... what do we mean by 'hunter gatherer society'? ... the mechanics of doing things as an HG people aggregate? ... or the embrace of an HG operative reality that actualizes, orchestrates and shapes individual and collective behaviours?

for a two minute expostulation by Marshall McLuhan on pre-literate perception and how it differs from literate perception, click here to download the wma audio-file

further example: the founding fathers of the United States wanted a society like Iroquois society;

"“To Engels, Morgan’s description of the Iroquois [in Lewis Henry Morgan’s Ancient Society and The League of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois] was important because “it gives us the opportunity of studying the organization of a society which, as yet, knows no state.” Jefferson had also been interested in the Iroquois’ ability to maintain social consensus without a large state apparatus, as had Franklin. Engels described the Iroquoian state in much the same way that American revolutionaries had a century earlier: “Everything runs smoothly without soldiers, gendarmes, or police, without nobles, kings, governors, prefects or judges; without prisons, without trials. All quarrels and disputes are settled by the whole body of those concerned. . . . The household is run communistically by a number of families; the land is tribal property, only the small gardens being temporarily assigned to the households — still, not a bit of our extensive and complicated machinery of administration is required. . . . There are no poor and needy. The communistic household and the gens know their responsibility toward the aged, the sick and the disabled in war. All are free and equal — including the women.” — Bruce E. Johansen, Forgotten Founders

The above described actions that characterize Iroquois society are not simply the intentional product of common intellectual purpose of independent human beings, ... such harmoniously ordered actions are inductively actualized, orchestrated and shaped [epigenetically induced] by a pre-literate [strands-in-a-common-web-of-life] operative reality.

Summary: 'society' is a word signifying an ordered dynamics of a people aggregate that can be viewed in two very different ways;

(1) common 'society' as a noun-thing: --- the ordered structural dynamic of an aggregate of people in a particular geographic region; e.g. 'British society'. this usage orients to 'genetic expression' on its own, taken out of the context of epigenetic inductive influence that orchestrates/shapes individual and aggregate behaviour. the implicit reference frame for this 'what things do' view of 'society' is absolute space and absolute time, which portrays people as independent beings with internal process driven and directed behaviours.

(2) relational society: ---the ordered relational dynamic of an aggregate of people that is relative to themselves, wherever they are; e.g. 'Japanese society' as practiced among Japanese-Americans and/or Japanese-Canadians. the source of the ordered behaviour in this case is a common 'operative reality' which is the source of epigenetic inductive influence that actualizes creative potentials/genetic expression.

so, "society" can be interpreted in terms of "what an aggregate of people do in an ordered fashion", or in terms of "how different operative realities inductively orchestrate and shape individual and aggregate relational behaviour".

as usual, science and reason strip the view down to 'what things do', giving the common version of 'society' as if it were causally determined by independent beings and their internal processes and purpose, whereas, experience-based intuition informs us that different operative realities furnish epigenetic inductive influences that orchestrate and shape aggregate behaviour, a key point in understanding differences in pre-literate (HG) and literate aggregate behaviours.

the common version of the term 'society' ambiguates and obfuscates by bypassing the primary epigenetic influencing role of differing 'operative realities', taking us straight to the behaviours of social aggregates (e.g. HGs) as if we could glean sufficient understanding of social organizing from 'what people do' out of the context of the 'operative realities' that are orchestrating and shaping their aggregate behaviour.

Zzzzzz....

It's everywhere around you, stupid. Think the internet was brought to you by the sheer will of your ego?

Nothing physical, nothing tangible. The internet, cities, ect is a product of coordinated language, technology and information.

For someone who pretends to have a big brain, you're requiring a lotta help to think here... This "coordination", which is a bad wording for what is actually "collaboration", is nothing else than the reified social system of interconnections, namely "society".

Society is a big, open air factory. Of hate and delusions.

You do like to split hair where there's no cause for it. Why don't you do postgrad studies in philosophy or anthropology?

No one collaborates for civilization in any direct way. Collaboration is usually defined by scale. You can name this info coordinated spook what you want, it has about as much physical relational existence as pokemon.

Unless I missed it there was no mention of Marshall Sahlins, the anthropologist who wrote the essay "The Original Affluent Society"(available at primitivism.com). This essay discusses the life-ways of the !Kung Bushman and the Australian Aborigines, two of the few remaining hunter-gatherers groups on the planet. For anyone interested in anarcho-primitivism, this essay is a good place to start.

Jacobism says Sahlins is a leftist liar who left out all the parts about how authoritarian these people were.

Uh, he's totally a leftist:

"Sahlins received his bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees at the University of Michigan where he studied with evolutionary anthropologist Leslie White. He earned his PhD at Columbia University in 1954. There his intellectual influences included Eric Wolf, Morton Fried, Sidney Mintz, and the economic historian Karl Polanyi.[2] After receiving his PhD, he returned to teach at the University of Michigan. In the 1960s he became politically active, and while protesting against the Vietnam War, Sahlins invented the imaginative form of protest called the "teach-in," which drew inspiration from the sit-in pioneered during the civil rights movement.[3] In 1968, Sahlins signed the "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest" pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.[4] In the late 1960s, he also spent two years in Paris, where he was exposed to French intellectual life (and particularly the work of Claude Lévi-Strauss) and the student protests of May 1968. In 1973, he took a position in the anthropology department at the University of Chicago, where he is currently the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology Emeritus. His commitment to activism has continued throughout his time at Chicago, most recently leading to his protest over the opening of the University's Confucius Institute[5][6] (which later closed in the fall of 2014).[7] On February 23, 2013, Sahlins resigned from the National Academy of Sciences to protest the call for military research for improving the effectiveness of small combat groups and also the election of Napoleon Chagnon. The resignation followed the publication in that month of Chagnon's memoir and widespread coverage of the memoir, including a profile of Chagnon in the New York Times magazine.[8][9]"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Sahlins

Not a liar, but yes, he's very much a humanist and yes, he very much distorts HG life. Among the other articles already provided, you might read https://www.dissentmagazine.org/blog/all-for-one-and-one-for-all-a-respo...

Its core concepts, like Sahlins’s “kinship”—in which I recognize a distorted version of my fieldwork in the New Guinea Highlands—are immune to use and abuse alike.... “In the highlands of New Guinea,” Sahlins reports, “strangers can become your kin by eating from the land where your ancestors are buried. The food raised on that land is the transubstantiation of the ancestors….[People who eat this food] share ancestral being…[and] are as much kin to each other as people who have the same parents.” Moberg asks Sahlins how the NAS, “if it does anything in the field,” ought to work to promote peace. But Sahlins’s definition of kinship makes peace-making unnecessary. Why “study how to promote peace” in a world where each of us may encompass all others, in which “strangers”—enemies—are me, their deaths my own?
In fact, before an Australian administration violently “pacified” the region and ended cannibalism among those who practiced it, warfare was endemic. Ridge-top settlements were fortified, raids and ambushes were constant, and hatred of women was deeply ingrained. In the Eastern Highlands among the Gimi-speakers I studied, men beheaded any woman they caught looking at men’s sacred bamboo flutes. Gimi women ate men killed in battle, but they were not able, nor seeking, to share male being transubstantially. Gimi men excluded themselves from cannibal feasts, which they considered expressions of women’s savagery and innate criminality, recurring proof of implacable female otherness and inferiority, as I wrote in Between Culture and Fantasy: A New Guinea Highlands Mythology (1993).

Sahlins is considered part of "radical anthropology." I even think he identified (past tense) with the movement, although I could be wrong about that. http://radicalanthropologygroup.org/person/person/102

He's also said openly that he was wrong about a lot that was written in that text. I'll try to find the link.

Most of the core claims in his piece have long been debunked.

For example, http://kk.org/mt-files/reCCearch-mt/kaplan-darker.pdf

That paper doesn't really 'debunk' Sahlins claims, but merely puts them in perspective, and prunes the rosiest bushes of Sahlins' thesis. Don't get me wrong, it's a good paper, and a well argued critique of the Original Affluent Society.

Sahlins made sweeping generalizations about the affluence of all H-Gs based on limited data (and most of the data not being accurate to begin with). Some H-Gs were quite affluent ( e.g. Natufians and other Paleolithic groups living in the Mediterranean region, the more modern-era Calusa, the groups in the Pacific Northwest of North America, the Iroquois, a few Plains Indian groups, etc.), while others were/are not so affluent (e.g. H-Gs living in marginal environments such as deserts [Kalahari, Australian], or the Arctic Circle, etc).

The OAS thesis was very much a product of it's time...coming in the late 1960s, as an antidote to The Brutal Savage Myth, and at the height of both academic as well as popular skepticism about Western Civilization during turbulent, almost revolutionary, times.

i would add turnbull's "the forest people" to the list of worthwhile reads, for those who insist on basing their worldview on the writings of others.

fuck that shit.

Jacobi wants to pile on AP for "humanist values" and cites Ellul, a Christian anarchist.
But whatever right, as long as he's attacking AP anything goes around here.

"Anarchist who cite Proudhon are Jew-haters because he's anti-semitic."

What aspects of civilization were you-JJ- hoping to maintain? Civilization is defined, at least in part, by a sedentary urban settlement pattern. How can city life be wild? what wildness does an inhabitant of a city experience?

Also, the wild doesn't have any respect for the official narratives of the Leviathan (Science for instance). The wild is a cacaphonous mix of intuition, paradox, contradiction, patterns, chaos, etc. The universe is not a rational place and humans are not rational beings with a unique place within it that gives us a unique opportunity to understand it.

I completely disagree with most of your assertions and conclusions as far as you make coherent ones (you seem to slip and stretch and avoid and defend a lot).

Finally you say that you know from experience what primitivists believe/advocate for because you have met

Also an intentional community that forms is a success, one that lasts a year or two is an even greater success, one that survives through a generation is amazing. After that, the organic takes its toll, time and the environment make it decay. All very natural. Your idea of an intentional community seems to be limited to the idea/concept of one, not to the diverse ways that people experience them. Your measure f an intentional communitys success seems to be based on quantity (of time). There are countless examples of people getting together and intentionally doing things, creating/experimenting together, with living arrangements over long periods of time. In many ways, anarchy is just experimentation-serial intentional communities in a sense. That none of them last 'forever' is not a sign of failure.

You should consider what SirE has to say more closely. He has a much better grasp of the debate.

What aspects of civilization were you-JJ- hoping to maintain? Civilization is defined, at least in part, by a sedentary urban settlement pattern. How can city life be wild? what wildness does an inhabitant of a city experience?

This is such an incoherent question. The very center of my belief system is a rejection of civilization and a willingness to dispense of all of it. I'm prepared to face a world where I will have to live as a nomadic hunter/gatherer or die. That's not because I necessarily view that as an ideal choice, but because that's what the collapse of industry would necessarily mean and because when I consider agricultural conditions I find myself not liking them very much either (esp. after experiences with farms / mostly agricultural small communities).

Also an intentional community that forms is a success, one that lasts a year or two is an even greater success, one that survives through a generation is amazing. After that, the organic takes its toll, time and the environment make it decay. All very natural. Your idea of an intentional community seems to be limited to the idea/concept of one, not to the diverse ways that people experience them. Your measure f an intentional communitys success seems to be based on quantity (of time).

Actually read "Technical Autonomy" and then we can have a discussion. It's pretty clear there that I'm making an argument about the fundamental way we view cultural development, intentional communities just an example, and not entirely resting on the idea that "they don't last long enough."

You should consider what SirE has to say more closely. He has a much better grasp of the debate.

Ha.

Hey Jacobi you should come on my next show and duke it out with me - verbally of course. That's if your not chicken?

I'd be happy to be on your show. I just figured that you wouldn't want me to, since a while ago our relationship seemed to settle into us simply ignoring each other. I wasn't mentioning your work since it wasn't really what influenced my anti-civ ideas, and since I disagreed with a few fundamentals, and you understandably started doing the same.

That said, do you think it would be productive? If you actually want this to happen, feel free to email me (you have my email and it's available on HG) and we can discuss that.

And to be clear, as I've said since the beginning, I have nothing against you personally, so this isn't a personal attack. It's solely about ideas and politics.

Sounds good Jacobi, so long as you can do a little something for me in return if you get my drift? It's been a while since I've had my salami serviced live on air.

Sounds good JZ, I'm actually quite partial to wrinkly old salami. I hope you are getting prepared and abstaining from any intimate activities until the show in order to deliver a decent sized load to my tonsils.

Wrinkled old Salami. I'm glad to know now that it's a tool and not Technology, Wild rather than Domesticated, Grounded rather than debilitated. I'll be sure to not tune in to the Wildjism vs Primijism masterdebaters...oh, I don't anyway.

Well if you -JJ- believe that "across the board the more civilized the society the better women are treated", then I assume that you wouldn't want to trade off half the populations well-being for yours. So along with your other Hobbesian outlooks and pro-Science belief, I also assumed, (incorrectly now I know), that you hoped that some, if not many, aspects of civilization, would be carried over in the event of the end of industrialism.

I have been hanging around sort of loosely the AP milieu for decades. I've gone to gatherings, met many of the known authors, read a lot of the stuff. I don't recall any of them, except for the youngest and most wild eyed, describing HG lifeways in utopian terms. Some generalizations have been made as the tendency developed, but new ideas and data and insights have continually transformed and regenerated it. I have not met any AP who puts forth this blueprint idea you are arguing against. To a person they have only claimed that if we want to be the freest possible and to have the healthiest habitat to support us, then we should aim toward de-civilizing and embracing some form of HG lifeway. That isn't humanism or ideology. I think you want to view yourself as some sort of unique thinker within the tendency, but you come off as someone who doesn't yet have a full grasp of the diversity, arguments, history or subtleties involved.

On your next speaking tour you should stop by Kanasetake or one of the indigenous re-occupation camps in Ontario or BC and tell the indigenous women there that " across the board the more civilized the society the better off the women are". Face to face encounters can do wonders for opening ones eyes in a humbled way. I know because I've had to experience that too.

In terms of intent and designing societies from scratch. Again I'm not sure who exactly you are debating with here. I can't think of one AP in over 30 years of interacting with them that believed or assumed that if civilization were to end tomorrow (by its own volition or by social upheaval), that folks all over the world would naturally/intentionally set up HG utopias. It was always assumed that each group of people, each area, random folks thrown together by history, would struggle to collectively create agreements, among each other and between different groups as they re-wild. That's all. Of course the first generation will contain more seeds of the old world within them. But, assuming no coercion (which might be what you are debating?), different permutations of social relationships and relationships to nature will rise and fall, organically. Isolated people near a jungle will develop differently than New Yorkers. But if they are free wandering people, without large settlements, mostly engaged in immediate return subsistence, I think its fair to say that they will be anarchic. And if they cluster in large permanent settlements using more delayed return systems, then I think its also fair to say that some form of hierarchy is more likely to develop. The Calusa by the way, based on my research, were not immediate return nomadic HG's/foragers. They had large settlements and used delayed return (preservation techniques for fish) systems primarily. In other words they were more similar to West Coast peoples in North America, who also had hierarchy. using the Calusa as an example of the 'negative' aspects of HGs or as proof that some HGs had social strata etc is a big mistake because they weren't nomadic, immediate return HGs, but much closer to civilized peoples.

If you think that JZ and KT are ideologues who paint a utopian, inaccurate, generalized picture of all HGs then argue against ideology and give a few examples that disprove them. Don't try to stretch the context of some anthropologists and use the perspectives of other ideologues like Pinker to counter their assertions because then you just sound like an ill-informed mirror image of them. And remember that JZ and KT are just two people with AP perspectives. They don't represent anyone but themselves. Don't confuse debating with them as a debate with the thousands of APs who each have their own opinion.

Didn't Zerzan once state that "Primitivist women are fair and buxom during the day and bare and,,,,,," His idea of Utopia I suppose, food would be my first concern though, I can't go without food daily, whereas I can go without women for about a year, I'm not highly sexed, as I imagine most primitives were, with the low sugar diet they existed on, or if I'm secluded in the mountains over winter, doing the wilding thing.

don't recall any of them, except for the youngest and most wild eyed, describing HG lifeways in utopian terms. Some generalizations have been made as the tendency developed, but new ideas and data and insights have continually transformed and regenerated it. I have not met any AP who puts forth this blueprint idea you are arguing against. To a person they have only claimed that if we want to be the freest possible and to have the healthiest habitat to support us, then we should aim toward de-civilizing and embracing some form of HG lifeway. That isn't humanism or ideology. I think you want to view yourself as some sort of unique thinker within the tendency, but you come off as someone who doesn't yet have a full grasp of the diversity, arguments, history or subtleties involved.

First, my argument is NOT that primitivism is utopian. My argument is that they base their ideology on the fact that HGs exemplified humanist values, and better than civilized society.

And I am unsure of what you're talking about in the second half of this quote. My argument is that many primitivists think they can just choose to live as foragers with certain social arrangements. That's not how it works. See above.

tell the indigenous women there that " across the board the more civilized the society the better off the women are".

Look, I'm perfectly aware that people don't like hearing that their society is violent. Look at Americans when they hear facts about gun deaths. They hate it. But facts are different from the narratives we tell ourselves. I'm not gonna walk into a reservation and proclaim that everyone there lives in a violent society. And it's clear that my experience of violence will be different from my understanding of it statistically (I don't walk around fearing death by gun in the US). But when I'm writing about this, I'm not gonna shirk on the facts as I see them.

would struggle to collectively create agreements, among each other and between different groups as they re-wild. That's all.

Once again, I know this and am saying that it is not a realistic politic. You can't "struggle" for certain social arrangements that fit your ideological blueprint of what is proper and right, i.e., equality. Those things develop in a culture autonomously of you. READ "TECHNICAL AUTONOMY." I've written this all there already.

If you think that JZ and KT are ideologues who paint a utopian, inaccurate, generalized picture of all HGs then argue against ideology

I don't think this. KT is far from utopian. JZ is a little more so but not in any way that should surprise someone who knows he is a product of the 60s. I also don't think they generalize. They're actually very keen to particularize. The problem is they think they can choose AND they think it's valid to point out HG ways of life when industrial collapse would almost certainly lead to conditions similar to those in Africa and the Middle East where there are failed states.

No, the person I got the quote from doesn't like the eco-extremists at all, so it couldn't be the same person.

Gosh.. I didn't know this eco-extremist clown was so deep into malthusian evolutionnist crap.

Rule of the strong, right?

It all depends on the situation, sometimes survival means the sacrifice of others, that's just a natural law, nothing to do with Malthus or philosophy.

On the contrary. Proto-fascist or fascist ideologies like that of Malthus, Darwin, Gobineau and Herbert Spencer and the later Nazis and eugenicists all use the so-called "natural law" in order to legitimate their own flawed paradigms, through an exemplifying projection on non-human animals behavior.

If there's such a thing as "natural law" it's a complete nonsense that it would be based on these specific situations where sacrifice of others is a necessity. A natural law is universal or it's simply not a "law", only a phenomena, an occurrence, or at best a pattern.

OK, its an occurence, a natural phenomena, and nothing to do with Malthus or philosophy "DEPENDING ON THE CIRCUMSTANCES"

Real rehashed 90s pomo, cultural infusion, tech sustainability, the 'caring' question, a throw of the dice between humanist empathy or callous nihilism, democracy by default, will our iPods still shine through in the post-apocalyptic Dark Ages? Leave all the material behind, there is only the Now, eat when there is plenty, tighten the belt in scarcity, laugh at death and cry in joy, it depends on ones perspective.

Chimpanzees make little nest beds out of banana leaves and stuff to sleep on. Let's start a company like Matress World but for leaf beds. "Leaf-bed World: your primitivist mattress super-store."

Lotsa potential given the current neo-naturalist, pre-post-hippie trend among the hipsters.

1. The word for JJ's scholarship is "cherry-picking."

2. All "primitive" peoples are not the same. There are different ones with different norms and values. It's ridiculous to make arguments about what they are all like, as if they are homogenous. JJ's arguments above are circumstantial at best.

3. If there are different "primitive" cultures, you can be against techno-industrial civilization, and also be in favor of some "primitive" cultures and against some others. Very simple.

Here's the real question: what does it say about JJ that he wants to figure out how to give himself permission not to care about anyone being raped, if they aren't a personal friend of his?

"It matters, for example, if you throw a pie at a Jewish CEO because he's a CEO or because he's Jewish. "

not necessarily. many would support - or denounce - the throw regardless of the intimate motivations of the thrower. guess why? because NOBODY BUT THEM can know what their motivations are. and everybody else will impose their own interpretation on it, based on their particular ideas, biases, etc.

the same is true of EVERY fucking anthropological book ever written. stop relying on other biased people's interpretations of pseudo-scientific historical "data". that goes for jj and his critics.

pathetic.

Okay, so this is my last major comment, although I will keep an eye on the comments section to see feedback. This article is actually an excerpt from a larger book that will be published in a few months. I posted it here to see the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments I presented. I've learned that I need to modify the article to include the following:

1. I need to better explain the divide between the sociobiologists and cultural materialists. My view of human nature is shaped by my theoretical commitments (just like the APs) and I come from the other side of the anthropological divide as APs do. Now, I actually think cultural materialism has more merit than many early sociobiologists were willing to admit. In particular, its emphasis on infrastructural determinants is indispensable for a full-bodied anthropological theory. Nevertheless, I think evolutionary psychologists and sociobiologists are right more often, and, better, you can actually check this because their methodology is, imo, better. This is an academic divide though, not solely political, so to fully understand the differences requires an awareness of the history. From the 60s-80s and even in the 90s there was a VERY nasty campaign by many cultural materialists and Marxists to delegitimize sociobiology by calling them racists, fascists, etc. Books that support this view are "Final Solutions" by Richard Lerner (best summary from the other side I've seen so far) and "Darkness in El Dorado" by Tierney, which is what started the whole controversy about Chagnon. Most of the claims in DIED have been debunked, though, as minimal Googling will tell you. There are also alternative accounts from the sociobiologists like "The Triumph of Sociobiology" by Alcock and some sections of Pinker's book. I think Robin Dunbar has also written about it.

2. I need to explain that I don't think the primtiivists are utopians, or at least the most compelling. The problem isn't that they think HGs PERFECTLY exhibited humanist values. The problem is that they think that HG societies BETTER exhibited those values, and that those values are the basis of primitivist resistance at all.

3. I need to include some thoughts on where I think the primitivist argument is the strongest. The comment above talking about "species being" is a good example of this. Primitivist conclusions aren't STUPID. I just think that they're wrong, and they also hold values contrary to my own. So it's a two pronged argument, but the most learned of primitivists (KT being a good example) aren't dumb by any means. Their arguments follow, given their premises. JZ is a little more idealistic, mostly a holdover from his 60s mentality, but he falls into the same camp of "learned primitivists."

4. Finally, I need to provide a wider array of sources supporting the sociobiological view of human nature. I don't think this will actually do much good when it comes to the primitivists reading it, since they will reject the view no matter what and probably won't even read the sources. However, it is true that Pinker, Diamond, and Chagnon have been controversial figures, and I unnecessarily relied on them alone when I have quite a few other books that I've read and make what I think are convincing arguments supporting these claims.

That's all. Thanks for the feedback. Even the ludicrous and inane comments have been somewhat helpful.

One last question professor--How is quality of life measured ultimately? The number of orgasms per capita ?

Here. one last point I'd like to drive home...

John, true or false: there are SOME hunter/gatherer societies that, by all accounts, do not match the generalizations about "primitive peoples" that you offer here. True, right? What do you make of that? I know you know what I'm talking about. Why are you writing them out of history?

That's why people are accusing you of cherrypicking. As it stands, I think they are right to do so, and that it represents a fundamental flaw, not in your argument, but in your method itself.

Anon: Yeah, there are extremely peaceful HG societies with no recorded homicides, for example. I mentioned that in a comment above. That doesn't matter though. My argument isn't that all HGs are the complete opposite of humanist values. My point is that enough of them are that the primitivist argument doesn't make sense, unless of course you assume that you can rationally direct a society to conform to your blueprint (of equality, cooperation, etc.) which I don't think is possible (again, see comments above).

I'll rewrite this piece for the book version to be more clear on this point. I'm not trying to give a generalized picture of HG society, just showing that there are enough examples to throw huge kinks in the primitivist argument WHEN WE ALSO demonstrate that you can't plan a society.

If you're not trying to give a generalized picture of hunter/getherer society, you need to go back to square one with your thinking. The above text depends crucially on your slipshod summary of such societies.

Can you imagine an argument that primitivism is necessary but not sufficient for the society we want to live in? That seems obvious to me (hence anarcho-primitivism, rather than fascist primitivism or whatever) but you seem totally confused when it comes to any questions about ethics--even though it is presumably ethical questions that drew you to this line of thinking in the first place. I think you could stand to do some soul-searching about what it means that you are writing essays like this (rather than focusing on other concerns).

_My_ argument does not depend on that, no. Perhaps you're saying that my critique of primitivism does. If that's the case, then you're going to have to explain to me how the critique applies given these assumptions (whether you accept them or not): (1) You cannot choose the social relations of your society. At most you can choose how you will as an individual interact with others. (2) Primitive peoples are a diverse bunch, some living peacefully and cooperatively, some not. But not all of them do. Living as even a nomadic hunter/gatherer is not enough to ensure that your society will be peaceful, cooperative, egalitarian in the left-wing sense, or nice to women. (3) We should reject the imperative to grant all human beings equal moral standing, and we should instead prioritize our wills and those of our "own," our "relations," our immediate circle of close ones, our "small group." Normal questions of morality depending on moral standing and altruism do not necessarily apply to those outside of that circle. (Axiological morality may, but that is a question of your will, what you value, and how you interact with those things you value, and not a question of social relations, since you are not bound to social rules in respect to people outside of what you deem as a legitimate social authority---even if that authority is the collective, evolved norms of your small group.)

Thus, primitivism can be called out as not a truly anti-Progressive force. Values of peace and cooperation are fine, of course, if you prioritize them as something you as an individual want. But that is peace and cooperation within your social unit. To argue for peace and cooperation with "the alien," "the masses," "humanity" or anything like that is to buy into the humanist line that we are all in this together. We are not. Furthermore, even if you hold values of peace and cooperation with people you relate to, you cannot expect to live in a society that lives according to those values. You can determine basically only how you interact with other people, and you can gain the strength to remove yourself from situations you do not wish to be in. Or you have to face the practical fact that you can't actually live according to certain values, that your values do not align with the material reality of a situation (think a person who values peace but must kill to survive). You DEFINITELY cannot determine what society will look like "after collapse" (for those primitivists who think that). Finally, you can't say "peace" and "equality" are values that every other individual or small group must live by. There are warrior societies that are violent, not cooperative at all, etc. But their social values are none of your concern. So with that in mind, Wild Will is a coalition of individuals and small groups who live by wildly different values, some of them wanting to interact in their social units peacefully, some preferring things to be determined by strength, some completely vile by humanist standards. We do not concern ourselves with the matter of other units' intra-social values, however. All we are united by is a desire to have our individualities and small groups to be wild, to be undominated by human and technical control, up to the point of the nomadic hunter/gatherer level of control over nature.

This is not compatible with primitivism because, as has been demonstrated with the eco-extremist controversy, they explicitly rebuke those who reject humanist morality in the most extreme sense, e.g., the eco-extremists who advocate attack without regard for alien others when they are targeting something. Now, I don't personally like that tactic and wouldn't involve myself in it. But I am not going to try to impose my morality on them when their specific social arrangements and values are none of my concern except in the self-interested sense. They do what they do. All I can say is that as far as I can tell they don't contradict any of the value-assertions that wildists make (they disagree on their epistemological and ontological claims, but that's a different matter).

This is also not compatible with primitivism because they will claim, on the basis of their "species being" arguments, that any society that is non-egalitarian, engages in warfare, etc, is not ACTUALLY what they are going for, what the Tuckerites call "IR societies." In their view, these societies are necessarily egalitarian, do not have warfare, etc., and so any truly primitivist society will live according to those values. Some are willing to make some pragmatic exceptions (KT seems to do this with "primal war") but these are constrained by their overall moral commitments. In the end primitivists will be useless because they'll be trying to go out and form an "IR society," which will fail because that has certain environmental / historical / etc. requirements, and because a rejection of promiscuous solidarity is not built into primitivist ideas, so always there will be some group that because it believes its moral standards are universally applicable will not be able to stand with those who reject those moral standards.

That was pretty convoluted, because that was the first time I've tried to explain it like that and I might have done a bad job. But does that make sense?

anthropology starts from the assumption that 'man is a species-in-itself' that can be studied and understood as a 'species-in-itself'.

on the other hand, understanding man in an inhabitant-habitat non-dualist [strand-in-the-web-of-life] context is more difficult. as the systems sciences [e.g. Ackoff] say, analytical inquiry [the study of systems-in-themselves] must be grounded in synthetical inquiry [the study of the relational suprasystem the system is included in]. in other words, in the ecosystem, the relations among the members are the epigenetic influence that inductively actualizes and shapes genetic expression (the ecosystem members).

anthropology commonly believes it makes sense to study 'man' as a local piece of material anatomy directed by its own internal psychological faculty. this is a linear solution to a nonlinear problem. in information theory terms, it is "constructing twenty pound theorems from ten pound axioms" [Chaitin].

in a non-dualist understanding of nature, man is a strand-in-the-web-of-life; i.e. the inhabitant and habitat do not 'come' in two parts, the collection of inhabitants, and the habitat that the inhabitants reside, operate and interact in. the inhabitants are relational forms in a transforming relational plenum.

man is not the author of man, as in the time-based lineages of Darwinism, but the child of the energy-charged relational space he gathers within, as in Lamarckism [wherein epigenetic influence inductively actualizes genetic expression].

science, as in anthropology, imposes dualism to linearize the model, splitting apart mind and body [psychology and anatomy] so as to re-present the inhabitants as self-directing occupants of the habitat, which science reduces to an empty container/operating theatre.

obscuring the habitat as an energy-charged field (plenum) within which inhabitants are continually gathering and being regathered, ... and portraying relational forms as self-directing material objects simplifies understanding, but also puts such simplified understanding at odds with the physical reality of our actual experience.

there is a good reason why anthropologists struggle with primitive societies having no concept of 'nature' as a kind of playground in which they operate and interact, and why there is a problem with the term anthropocene which implies an era in which man has been the dominant author of 'changes' on the earth.

e.g. to say that the storm-cell changes the flow it is included in is deceptive since the flow is engendering the cell which is changing the flow [this is a non-dual dynamic]. language allows us to construct the statement 'the cell is stirring up turbulence in the atmosphere' and also 'atmospheric turbulence is stirring up cells', but there is a problem if one's portal into understanding from the secondary level and starts by studying the cells as things-in-themselves since there are no things-in-themselves in the non-dual physical reality of our actual experience, there are only relational forms in a transforming relational continuum.

the anthropological study of man out of the context of the study of all of nature is unrealistic linearization that derives from human ego [the ego supports the view of self as an independently-existing, internal process driven and directed being that resides, operates and interacts in a habitat that is independent of the inhabitants that reside, operate and interact within it].

i.e. anthropology is based on bullshit dualist scientific assumptions, as is the general case in scientific studies. when one has adjusted to living in a world of bullshit [semantic realities] as is the case in Western civilized society, there is no reason to refuse admittance to more bullshit.

In case anyone forgot the piles of human misery that has gotten industrial civilization to the current point:
https://shar.es/1Zcq3B

"sociobiological view of human nature"

yuck.

jj, you seem to be about answers, not questions. do you even bother questioning the very concept of "human nature"? you come across to me as a hardcore ideologue, completely reliant on academic anthropological "sources" etc. you seem no different than jz in any way except your ideological differences. which i suspect are far less than you'd like to imagine.

do you actually live a real life? or are you a robotic jargoneer, like emile?

do you even bother questioning the very concept of "human nature"?

http://wildism.org/hg/article/the-meaning-of-human-nature/

Oh my god it's so obvious that KT is in this thread.

Oh my multiverse, a juvenile gossip troll....

There is a lot of history packed into this article, and a lot of conglomerate words like humanism,progress,regressive Left and primitivism.These words lose their meaning when they are used indiscriminately or when they are used to misrepresent what another writer has articulated.In addition to the packed history,there are a lot of literary references.Steven Pinker is one of them.He is not an anthropologist.He is listed as a cognitive scientist, a psychologist,and a linguist.To put the matter simply,he is not a friend of the anarcho-primitive point of view.To put the matter bluntly,when it comes to anthropology as it relates to paleo-humans he does not know what he is talking about.Back to the history.This article mentions the positive impact that television had on the civil rights movement.Really? That is not how I remember it.As many people were turned off to the struggle for civil rights as we're turned on by what they saw on their television screens.Most Americans had a negative view of Martin Luther King.A majority of blacks also had a negative view of him, although their views were nuanced.The article discusses the rebels who "found themselves revolting in the name of the ideals society was already professing,but attacking science and technics as the means to achieve them." One of the ideals mentioned is less intrusive surveillance methods. Ever here of COINTELPRO? I do not recall a significant attack on science and technics by the rebels,unless you're referring to the communal movement which at its zenith numbered nearly ten thousand. You describe Zerzan as a "rogue individual". How so? He wrote many articles for Fifth Estate and knew the people who worked on this publication.He had disagreements with the direction of this zine and left. Moving on. You confuse primitive with the term noble savage.They are not the same thing.You end with "primitivism will never be able to motivate a true rejection of progress because at base,it is unwittingly an embrace of it."This makes no sense to me.What do you mean by Progress? Enlightenment values? Humanist values? There is nothing in anarcho-primitive/anti-civilization literature that I know of that embraces Enlightenment thinking.On the contrary, the Enlightenment is their point of departure.Primitivism is a confusing term unless it is used in the context of discussing domestication and division of labor- the dividing line between primitive and civilized.

It is hard to take Jacobi seriously as he takes on radically different positions constantly. While I admire people experimenting with new and different views and adapting such knowledge, I would not be terribly surprised if, a year from now, Jacobi is an Alex Jones/Infowars fanboy or a National Bolshevik or a RCP/Avakianist or a Strasserian Left Wing Nazi or a Ayn Rand Objectivist or a Mary Daly essentialist feminist or a Gillisian Transhumanist or any other sort of obscure + random philosophy follower.

Then, 20 years from now, Jacobi will be living in a wealthy suburb of North Carolina laughing about how they were such an idealist (of so many varieties) as they smoke a cigar and look through the S&P 500 as they figure which next company will increase their retirement fund.

Where have his positions changed?

The thing is APs, and I do describe myself loosely that way, are not making any claims about wanting to or being able to, design societies. We are envisioning situations in which 20 or 50 or 100 people get together and make a limited number of agreements as we practice our subsistence-forage and hunt and fish together. The notion is of small, organically self-organized groups of people embedding themselves in a habitat, and that habitat creating them as they create the habitat. In other words a slowly developing set of context determined practices between friends and kin, not a world of intentional communities in the left-liberal sense. So it seems that the premise of your essay might be mistaken. I am finding it difficult to understand who you are arguing with (i.e who is making the claims you are opposing).

Civilization-domestication, division of labor, urban settlements, politics, economics, etc., - thwarts the possibility of experimenting with free and ecologically healthy ways of living. Should we get the opportunity to experience uncivilized lives, its assumed of course that over the long term some experiments will fail and some will succeed. In the meantime many of us see value in experiencing some degree of 're-wilding' and of exploring possibilities of being embedded in a habitat here and now. Those folks defend their potential ecological homes, learn subsistence skills and often join with indigenous people in trying to stop industrial expansion close to where they live.

Every civilization was predicated on exploitation, coercion, domestication, conquest, misery and destruction, and by definition, on a large scale, because part of what defines civilization(s) is mass. Yet the same cannot be said for HG lifeways. In fact, as far as my research shows, the HGs you describe as being unkind to women, destructive to nature and violent toward their neighbors are few and most were sedentary with largish populations who preserved their food-i.e., people on their way to becoming civilized. In any case, my point is that I would rather throw my hat in the ring with HGs lifeways than civilized systems any day.

Ha! You're mush more rigid of an anarcho-primitivist than to be loosely identifying as one. Your projects come from "free will" and "freedom of association" and are inspired by "pick and choose" which has nothing to do with primitive life and a lot more to do with the history of anarchist and hippy communes, in other words, progressive lifestyles.

"In fact, as far as my research shows, the HGs you describe as being unkind to women, destructive to nature and violent toward their neighbors are few and most were sedentary with largish populations who preserved their food-i.e., people on their way to becoming civilized."

Yeah we know, your research is based on very few handpicked quotes who say what progressives want to hear, and some of the same used by Zerzan (and Tucker, who is Zerzans source for anthropology) and similar ideologues who are stuck on the half-assed texts and flawed data of progressive anthropologists of the 60-70's like Richard Lee and Marshall Sahlins who are references for anarcho-primitivists. If it would be otherwise you obviously wouldnt be so confident in stating what I just quoted from you. "As far as my research shows" there's nothing that permits us to state a general universal trend in HG's as to their social behavior... unless you're ideologically inclined to. For all the traits which would resemble progressive values, i can find some who would seem "oppressive", etc. to the modern progressive human (even sometimes in the same books). But every time someone points this out, the same old tired anarcho-primitivist rebuttal of domestication shows up... so only the progressive traits of HG's are not a product of domestication! how convenient for selling your ideology to the masses!

"Your projects come from "free will" and "freedom of association" and are inspired by "pick and choose" which has nothing to do with primitive life and a lot more to do with the history of anarchist and hippy communes, in other words, progressive lifestyles."

Just no. Flexable non hierarchical association has been around for a loong time before the ideology of progress and modernity. Also it has never been about primtivism without anarchic informed values.

"Flexable non hierarchical association has been around for a loong time before the ideology of progress and modernity."

Who cares? Is Seaweed proposing projects for a "time before the ideology of progress and modernity"? No, its within a physical context where you can try and choose an optimal space, decide with others what you want to establish, leave without consequence, etc. which has nothing to do with primitive life where you're embedded from birth within an specific environment with specific traditions. BTW your grasp of progress is simplistic if you believe it origins from an "ideology of progress".

He is building something from the context of today, the only thing you can do if you want to avoid being some type of intentional cult. Any type of orientation including archaic is going to be existential. There's not rules against appropriating things within the context of civilization, numerous primitive groups do this today. There are no set defaults to primitive existence because there is not default environmental habitat/inhabitant existence, you take advantage of what you have.

Jacobi's views are moving closer to those of elitist 'conservationists' like Ted Turner with every new essay

Ted Turner wants to end civilization?!

in the 100+ deployments of the word 'society' in this thread, there is clearly a split in how people understand the word.

Poincaré sums up this classic split between 'Cantorian realists' (logicians) and 'pragmatist idealists' (intuitives) as follows;

" At all times, there have been opposite tendencies in philosophy and it does not seem that these tendencies are on the verge of being reconciled. It is no doubt because there are different souls and that we cannot change anything in these souls. There is therefore no hope of seeing harmony established between the pragmatists and the Cantorians. Men do not agree because they do not speak the same language, and there are languages which cannot be learned." -- Poincaré, ‘Dernières Pensées’

Intuitively, our actual experience informs us that the world is one thing, a transforming relational continuum. Pragmatically, it facilitates sharing our experiences within the unfolding continuum by using noun-and-verb-language-and-grammar to idealize local, visible, tangible relational features within the unified flow, depicting them as 'things-in-themselves' with persisting 'independent existence', and then using these idealizations as 'logical elements' in logical propositions.

such pragmatic idealization allows us 'economy of thought'; e.g. we can call a storm-cell; i.e. a relational feature within a transforming relational [atmospheric-flow] continuum, 'Katrina'. Using noun-and-verb language-and-grammar, we idealize the 'liberation' of the relational feature [figure] from the transforming relational continuum [ground], converting that which, in our actual experience, is an inhabitant-habitat non-duality, to the LOGICAL DUALITY of 'FIGURE', and 'GROUND'. for the intuitive person, this creation of 'independent things-in-themselves-identities' is 'pragmatic idealization' that should not be confused for reality. for the hardline 'logician', these are not 'pragmatic idealizations' but are are 'real things' and since they are used as logical elements in logical propositions, for the realist, this equates the truth of the logical propositions that make use of them, to reality. e.g. if colonizers notionally divided the middle east into pieces and called them iraq, syria, kuwait, jordan etc. ... the realist would see the truth of logical propositions based on these invented [pragmatic idealizations] things-in-themselves, such as; --- "iraq attacked kuwait" ---, as 'reality' even though it is no more than a 'semantic reality' based on pragmatic idealizations. Western civilization is 'realist' and it lives in [believes in] its own 'semantic realities'. Politics is the art of convincing people that one's preferred semantic reality is the 'correct reality' and launching debates to get others to vote for/endorse it that that particular 'semantic reality' can serve as the 'operative reality' for political followers.

this thread's discussion on 'society' splits commentators on the basis of whether they see 'society' as a 'pragmatic idealization' to facilitate discourse, but not to be confused for the physically real world of our actual experience, ... or, ... as 'something real' that is 'governing our lives'. don't forget, as soon as colonization divides the middle east into iraq, syria etc. or north american into the united states and canada etc., we have 'iraqi society', 'syrian society', 'american society', 'canadian society' etc. this is convenient to discourse and delivers economy of thought; i.e. it is 'pragmatic idealization' but it is in no way 'real'. semantic realities are no substitute for the physical reality of our actual experience. if we want to avoid 'incoherence', we must keep our experience-based intuition in its natural precedence over our pragmatic idealization based logical propositions.

of course, the shabby state of the social relational world dynamic derives from our inverting of the natural precedence, treating pragmatic idealizations as 'real' and thus equating the truths of logical propositions for 'reality' ['truths' in which pragmatic idealizations are employed as logical elements]. Western people's common belief in 'semantic realities' ["Katrina is attacking New Orleans", "Iraq is attacking Kuwait" ] and the diversity of personally constructed (self-serving) 'semantic realities' gives rise to politicking to chose which semantic reality is to be employed as the operative reality of the political collective.

the key feature of 'democracy' is that the semantic reality that is chosen by a tug-of-war [body count/ vote] is to be employed as the 'operative reality' for all members of the political collective, in spite of contradictions that arise between it and the physical reality of one's actual experience. 'anarchism' suspends this unnatural putting into precedence of a semantic operative reality, over the physical reality of one's actual experience. thus, 'pragmatist idealism' is a basic qualification for anarchism [one is not bound by belief in the operative reality of the group'] while 'realism' is a basic qualification for authoritarianism [wherein one believes in the equivalence between one's semantic operative reality and 'the way the world of our experience really is'].

anarchists and libertarians both reject 'group semantic operative realities' but while the libertarian is a 'realist', the anarchist is a 'pragmatist idealist'

please don't generalize. you like generalize every time you post. stop it! stop generalizing! please. OMG!

pre-literate, primitive man lived in 'acoustic space' which is 'everywhere at the same time', a continually transforming relational continuum as in modern physics.

as primitive man became literate, Western man's use of noun-and-verb language-and-grammar allowed him to construct 'semantic realities' in which visual-space 'figures' [relational forms in an inhabitant-habitat non-duality] became independent 'subjects' seen as jumpstart authors, causal agents of material results ["the farmer produces wheat"]. the 'operative reality' was no longer the physical reality of one's actual experience of situational inclusion in acoustic space, but the semantic reality associated with visual space social discourse.

this opened the way to violent debates over whose version of semantic reality was 'most true' and thus which semantic reality merited adoption by the debating collective, as the 'operative reality'. the physical reality of one's actual experience was no longer 'front and centre' and political leaders were the authorities as to which semantic reality would serve as 'operative reality' for the leader-follower social aggregates.

the tribes of primitive humans who were still using the physical reality of their actual experience as the grounding reference for their 'operative reality' discovered through their encounters with literate man, that literate humans were using language to set up a common 'operative reality' to orchestrate and shape their individual and collective behaviours; i.e. as their social relational organizing engine. these 'semantic realities' reconstructed the world dynamic in dualist (visual space), logical-semantical terms of independently-existing inhabitants residing, operating and interacting in a habitat deemed 'independent' of the inhabitants that were residing, operating and interacting in it. this time-based, dualist, constructionist view of 'independent human beings' and their 'cooperate actions' attributed change to humans and their purposeful actions, and let to a belief in over-simplified logical propositions that depicted the construction of a desired, scientifically determined future.

we are now at the point where this 'trade' in 'semantic realities' is being exposed/recognized as political bullshit, and there is nostalgia for return to living in a natural-experience grounded way. the problem is that the modern 'primitivism' is being promoted 'politically' in the form of a constructed semantic reality, which sets the stage for people to conceive of 'primitivism' by way of a primitivist semantic reality, that will serve as an operative reality to orchestrate and shape individual and collective behaviour. this is a kind of cargo cult approach to primitivism.

that is, ... insofar as people are 'realists', they do not see any difference between 'semantic reality' and the physical reality of their actual experience. pragmatist idealists, who are in a tiny but growing minority amongst civilizeds, are coming around to acknowledge that 'semantic realities' are nothing more than pragmatic idealizations which should never have been allowed to take precedence over intuition grounded in the physical reality of actual experience; i.e. people's actual experience, as shared in a 'learning circle', must serve as the orchestrator and shaper of individual and collective behaviour, not the twenty-pound theories built from ten pound axioms that constitute semantic reality.

the 'learning circles' and 'restorative justice' of indigenous aboriginals (indigenous anarchists) are social relational organizing tools that tap the 'heart-voice', keeping the physical reality of actual experience in natural precedence over the head-voice rhetoric of semantic realities; i.e. semantic reality can be recognized as pragmatic idealization that is more grounded in ego-centrism than in the physical reality of actual experience. in the global human collective, the institutionalized realism continues to rule so that 'semantic reality' remains the legal currency no matter how disconnected it has become from the physical reality of our actual experience. the nostalgia for primitivism equates to a desire to get off the 'institutionalized standard' of 'semantic reality' as orchestrator and shaper of social relational organizing, and restore the physical reality of actual experience in this role.

I tend to share most of what you're saying here emile, though, your constant insistence on "learning circles", "restorative justice" and "indigenous anarchists" are also part of a rhetoric of "semantic reality" seeking to orchestrate an "operative reality" disconnected from physical reality and experience.
There is no blueprint for relational dynamics, the rich "cultural" variations among primitive people demonstrates this. The dynamics of physical reality inform me in a more pertinent manner than certain specific overexposed cultural traits of a handful of north-american tribes, which speaks of their own experience of relational dynamics/physical reality.

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