The Thirty Theses

Special Series » The Thirty Theses

See “The Future of the Thirty” for what’s currently going on with the Thirty Theses.

  1. Diversity is the primary good.
  2. Evolution is the result of diversity.
  3. Humans are products of evolution.
  4. Human population is a function of food supply.
  5. Humans are neither good nor evil.
  6. Humans are still Pleistocene animals.
  7. Humans are best adapted to band life.
  8. Human societies are defined by their food.
  9. Agriculture is difficult, dangerous and unhealthy.
  10. Emergent elites led the Agricultural Revolution.
  11. Hierarchy is an unnecessary evil.
  12. Civilization must always grow.
  13. Civilization always pursues complexity.
  14. Complexity is subject to diminishing returns.
  15. We have passed the point of diminishing returns.
  16. Technology cannot stop collapse.
  17. Environmental problems may lead to collapse.
  18. Peak Oil may lead to collapse.
  19. Complexity ensures collapse.
  20. Collapse is an economizing process.
  21. Civilization makes us sick.
  22. Civilization has no monopoly on medicine.
  23. Civilization has no monopoly on knowledge.
  24. Civilization has no monopoly on art.
  25. Civilization reduces quality of life.
  26. Collapse is inevitable.
  27. Collapse increases quality of life.
  28. Humanity will almost certainly survive.
  29. It will be impossible to rebuild civilization.
  30. The future will be what we make of it.

What are these?

We all have basic assumptions about the world, human nature, and the relationship between the two. We are taught certain perspectives as children, and this recieved wisdom forms the common ground for communication. Ultimately, when we see the whole picture, our major disagreements are squabbles over details. Should gays be allowed to marry? We assume here a common understanding of what “marriage” means. Should we raise or lower taxes? We assume the legitimacy of government, and of taxes at all!

What happens when the disagreement occurs at an even more basic level? Like, whether or not our civilization is even a good thing?

The case is complex, but in truth no more complex than our “common ground” of unexamined, recieved wisdom. In many cases, it is much less complex. But it is different. Since forming these ideas, I have faced an increasing obstacle in communication. Unspoken, differing assumptions force me routinely to return to the same arguments again and again. So I resolved some time ago to crystalize my philosophy into a single, comprehensive work, which could from a base for further communication.

There have been several failed attempts at this, the most recent being “The Anthropik Canon.” The Thirty Theses recycles much of my previous work, but extends and elaborates on all of it, as well. This is my latest attempt to develop a comprehensive treatment of my core philosophy, reduced to thirty pronouncements which I individually defend.

You are also watching the writing of an “open source” book in real time. These will become the rough drafts to a final book version that will be published by the Tribe of Anthropik and distributed online, including through this website. Your comments, criticisms and questions about these entries will be addressed and incorporated into the final work.

Jason Godesky
Technoshaman, Tribe of Anthropik
28 July 2005

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  1. […] He isn’t alone in seeing what he wants to see of course - the Viridian camp sees a shiny green future awaiting us in the post oil world, old school oil guys like T Boone Pickens see a exploration and drilling bonanza, energy industry investors like Matt Simmons and Henry Groppe see soaring energy prices, gold bugs see rampart inflation and soaring gold prices, ferals and hippies see a return to living closer to nature, socialists see the revivial of marxism, conspiracy theorists see government/elite conspiracies and the rise of the new world order, primitivists see the collapse of industrial civilisation and human dieoff, libertarians see an opportunity for the market to bring new energy sources and technoloies to us, fascists see an opportunity for a return to authoritarianism and some of the uglier approaches to population control used by their ilk in the past, economists see suuply and demand issues being resolved by energy prices, military-industrial complex members see the need to militarily dominate the energy rich regions of the planet, end-times Christian fundamentalists see another symptom of the impending rapture and survivalists see an opportunity to say “I told you so” and finally get to use the skills and tools they’ve spent their lives practicing for. […]

    Pingback by On Hope » The Anthropik Network — 6 December 2005 @ 12:07 PM

  2. […] Certain changes are taking place within the tribe. We’re beginning to research the practical side of tribalism (hunting, gathering, et cetera), we might be adding two new official members, and Jason plans to have The Thirty Theses completed within the next month or so. Best of all, Jason and I are now engaged. Our impending wedding is raising a lot of questions about how to create a tribal wedding when most - if not all - of one’s cultural traditions are sexist, hierarchical, and materialistic. […]

    Pingback by Changes in the Tribe » The Anthropik Network — 2 January 2006 @ 12:39 AM

  3. […] Lately I find myself reading many posts and essays over at The Anthropik Network. This collective focuses on topics such as complexity and diversity in cultures, resource consumption patterns of populations, and the collapse of civilizations. One contributer, Jason Godesky, is slowly putting up his Thirty Theses that crystalize a core world view relating to the relationship between the natural world and human nature. Fascinating work. […]

    Pingback by Vortex Egg » Cheops to Cassini — 28 February 2006 @ 2:05 PM

  4. […]  Ett kollektiv av grönanarkister som under ett drygt år skrivit oehört initierade och genomtänkta texter om allt mellan himmel och jord. Deras teser, deras artiklar om både shamanism och Peak-Oil är utmärkt läsning. Fyrasvartgröna stjärnor av fem även den. […]

    Pingback by F I M B U L V I N T E R :: Grönanarkistiskt bloggosfär :: March :: 2006 — 25 March 2006 @ 3:28 PM

  5. […] Un nota suelta: si están interesados en lo que parece ser el eminente colapso civilizacional que se avecina, chequeen esto […]

    Pingback by Liar-Q CPU: el blog de Señor Loop » Blog Archive » Buzón de sugerencias — 27 July 2006 @ 3:22 PM

  6. […] Nu när jag fått gråta av mig lite så ska jag försöka skriva mer konstruktiva texter. Först och främst hade jag tänkt förklara för grönanarkister som Väinämöinen varför jag tror på en fredlig linje. Då hade jag tänkt rada upp mina premisser, med källor som stöttepelare, och ur premisserna dra en slutsats. Det kunde, förenklat, kunna ha sett ut så här: Civilisationen kommer att kollapsa inom detta århundrade, eftersom livsnödvändiga råvaror som olja börjar sina, och när efterfrågan är långt större än tillgången kommer civilisationen att äta upp sig själv istället. (Se Jason Godeskys 30 teser och Life After The Oil Crash.) […]

    Pingback by FIMBULVINTER - anarko-primitivism på svenska :: Svaga premisser :: October :: 2006 — 14 October 2006 @ 3:06 PM

  7. […] Last year while I was in France, I came across Jason Godesky’s theses on humanity and civilization’s prospects during the next century or so. At the time, I had planned to write a response, mainly because I found the logic underpinning the conclusions to be embrasive of an attitude I believe negligent — the notion that by in its very functioning, agricultural society exceeds ‘natural laws’ that regulate population levels, and so there is really nothing to be done to prevent a mass die-off. I even got so far as to write two portions of my response before I decided that responding wasn’t worth the effort, since the notions proposed are not widespread and the issue was essentially one of definitions: Godesky believes that civilization is essentially unsustainable, and so will collapse of necessity, while I do not. At the same time, I don’t think there won’t be a massive collapse or recession resulting in mass instability; in fact, I find that possibility to be very likely. I just don’t believe that collapse to have been entrained 11,000 years ago with the birth of agricultural activity. […]

    Pingback by Fragments, or: » Blog Archive » “Food Race” — 14 October 2006 @ 7:20 PM

  8. […] These are our questions; these are our hopes. With The Thirty Theses, we have managed to share our rationale, but it has been considerably more difficult to communicate our vision. How can we communicate our vision? The ways vision has always been communicated: in an imaginal reality, a shared dream, by a shaman, in art, in a role-playing game. The Thirty Theses told you why we believe what we believe; now, we will share with you what we believe. […]

    Pingback by The Fifth World Manifesto (The Anthropik Network) — 13 November 2006 @ 5:47 PM

  9. […] Simple, it is how it has “always” been done. “Always” of course, means since the agricultural revolution, because, as we now know, human life was infinitely better for 99.9% of its history, as so eloquently laid out by Jason Godesky, in his “Thirty Theses”. The educational system took a turn for the worse, via the usual method; “standardization”. Make everybody the same, make them think the same, act the same, dress the same. “Children should be seen and not heard”, is a good example. These tactics are used not only to force children to conform to social and cultural concepts, but to time itself. We are born oblivious to time, it doesn’t exist to children. Before you create slaves out of people whose deepest instincts and desire if freedom, you must acclimate them to the false construct of time. As John Zerzan writes: For a while in my 20s, I asked visitors to take off their watches as they entered my home. Even today children must be broken of their resistance to time. This was one of the primary reasons for the imposition of this country’s mandatory school system on a largely unwilling public. School teaches you to be at a certain place at a certain time, and prepares you for life in a factory. It calibrates you to the system. French situationist Raoul Vaneigem has a wonderful quote about this: “The child’s days escape adult time; their time is swollen by subjectivity, passion, dreams haunted by reality. Outside, the educators look on, waiting, watch in hand, till the child joins and fits the cycle of the hours.” […]

    Pingback by Matrix of (Un)Reality « Permanently Indignant — 15 November 2006 @ 6:25 PM

  10. […] And while we are talking about hilarious, the Anthropik Network’s advocacy of primitivism and survivalist tribalism is whacky if not downright sinister but their 30 Theses make for a thought provoking read. One bit we can agree with is their catchcry that “First, civilization is fragile, and second, humans are not”. Of course, as they point out, we all see these things through our own prejudices He isn’t alone in seeing what he wants to see of course - the Viridian camp sees a shiny green future awaiting us in the post oil world, old school oil guys like T Boone Pickens see a exploration and drilling bonanza, energy industry investors like Matt Simmons and Henry Groppe see soaring energy prices, gold bugs see rampart inflation and soaring gold prices, ferals and hippies see a return to living closer to nature, socialists see the revival of marxism, conspiracy theorists see government/elite conspiracies and the rise of the new world order, primitivists see the collapse of industrial civilisation and human dieoff, libertarians see an opportunity for the market to bring new energy sources and technologies to us, fascists see an opportunity for a return to authoritarianism and some of the uglier approaches to population control used by their ilk in the past, economists see supply and demand issues being resolved by energy prices, military-industrial complex members see the need to militarily dominate the energy rich regions of the planet, end-times Christian fundamentalists see another symptom of the impending rapture and survivalists see an opportunity to say “I told you so” and finally get to use the skills and tools they’ve spent their lives practicing for. […]

    Pingback by adaptivereuse.net » Blog Archive » The joy of apocalypse — 27 January 2007 @ 9:23 AM

  11. […] To look down on this practice, in fact, shows the hypocrisy in most modern folks…because what other explanation can you provide for the lack of activity in dissolving civilization? We have plenty of clear evidence for the inevitable collapse of civilization. But we don’t find it interesting, any more than an addict would to know about more reasons to quit smoking. We have plenty of information right now. We don’t need Al Gore to tell us. Simply looking out our kitchen windows has sufficed for decades to give us all the information we need. […]

    Pingback by The College of Mythic Cartography » Blog Archive » Rainy Day Rant — 22 February 2007 @ 8:08 PM

  12. How does a Rix go feral?

    I still remember the first seeds of my rewilding.  They were sown in my childhood–little things that took root.  My mom told me one time, while I was blowing away dandelion fluff and making wishes, that dandelions were edible.  She had never e…

    Trackback by WildeRix — 28 February 2007 @ 5:05 PM

  13. […] Originally Posted by Sam988 I don’t know about you guys, but i dont want death, and i’m going to do everything i can to avoid it. To know more visit: Immortality Institute ~ Advocacy & Research For Unlimited Lifespans KurzweilAI.net […] Anyways, its much easier to believe in immortality here on earth than to believe on immortality by us being spiritual beings. At least for me… I occasionally post on the imminst.org forum, and have gotten kurweil’s newsletter for a while now. His latest book, "The Singularity is Near" is well done, along with his and Aubrey deGrey’s talks on ted.com, though I also enjoy reading other views such as that of primitivism found here The Thirty Theses (The Anthropik Network) I find much of the singularity/transhumanism info to be interesting, and optimally would like to be able to remain youthful for as long as I like, while having the ability to enter astral realms and decide if/when physical death is desirable. As long as I’m enjoying myself here, why not stay? Whatever is after this life can likely wait. A lifespan of a few millenia would still be fairly brief in the grand scheme of things anyhow. That said, I’m generally okay with the idea of dying at any moment. I’ve lived a very experience filled life already. I used to write poetry about death being my constant companion, as I’d had so many close encounters with it. Nearly losing one’s own life or that of a close family member can wake one up for a while. In my view it’s fine to mourn the loss of someone close, or of a favorite tv show not being given a new season Tears can be cleansing. It should also be fine to celebrate good times shared. As for whether or not pain can be pleasurable, does no one get hickeys anymore? […]

    Pingback by Making Peace With Death (Blog) - Page 3 - Personal Development for Smart People Forums — 3 May 2007 @ 11:07 PM

  14. […] I’m not sure exactly what particular horse Fernandez is beating here: does he feel that horticulture is somehow a negative term, and that ‘craftsmen’ is better? Fine. But he seems to be deeply confused about the difference between horticulture and agriculture. There’s an excellent post by Jason on this over at Anthropik (see also this post, both part of his excellent “Thirty Theses” series). In the transition to modern society, lowlanders generally force tribal people off the best land, with a typical defense in the face of conflict being to simply push deeper into the forest. Very few tribes in the 21st century are living on the land they once inhabited. With commercial farms and others taking the choice land closest to rivers and oceans, the immediate impact on the tribal diet is they can no longer supplement it through the fishing or river trading. […]

    Pingback by buddh•ism ad•junkt › Good article on Hilltribes in Cambodia — 17 July 2007 @ 11:03 AM

  15. […] Av samma författare finns en samling essäer med argument för civilisationens ohållbarhet och fördelarna med att leva som naturfolk: http://anthropik.com/thirty […]

    Pingback by FIMBULVINTER - anarko-primitivism på svenska :: SvD:s ledarsida och svarsmail :: November :: 2007 — 30 November 2007 @ 4:16 PM

  16. […] Anthropik’s Thirty Theses on Human Life and Civilization: thoughts on the values of the biosphere and the civilization’s inherent conflicts with these values […]

    Pingback by The Return to Old Ways « It’s Getting Hot In Here — 13 February 2008 @ 3:15 PM

  17. […] I’m not just doing this for my son. When the Crash happens, whether it’s as fast as Anthropik predicts or as slow as Ran Prieur depicts, I want to be ready. And I want my son to be ready too. And if you […]

    Pingback by My Mission « WildeRix — 20 May 2008 @ 12:35 PM

  18. […] don’t pursue green anarchism, because although we do see the unsustainable nature of civilization in all its historical forms, we see a need for more than just political and social […]

    Pingback by The College of Mythic Cartography » Blog Archive » What does Rewilding Mean? — 1 March 2009 @ 3:19 PM

  19. […] around. These theses are posted partly as a response to the primitivist Anthropik Tribe’s Thirty Theses detailing their primitivist ideas. In giving memetic flesh to these fifteen theses I seek not to […]

    Pingback by Rallying against primitivism « @H+ :: Anarcho-Transhumanism — 3 April 2009 @ 9:59 PM

  20. […] Jason has written extensively about complexity and diminishing marginal returns on complexity within… But I have seen, in those discussions and overflow discussions elsewhere that the one repeating argument against his thesis surrounds the definition of complexity in relation to natural systems. How can we say that complexity is unsupportable when, in fact, natural systems are far more complex than anything civilization has ever designed. This, of course, has led to extended discussions of the disconnect between designed complexity and ‘natural’ complexity. […]

    Pingback by Elegant Complexity « Eros Philia Agape — 29 June 2009 @ 11:12 AM


Comments

  1. friends,

    i can understand what you are trying to do - i wish you the best. these are strange days indeed.

    uptown ruler

    Comment by uptown ruler — 25 October 2005 @ 12:29 PM

  2. half a lap to go!
    keep on running

    i cannot thank you enough for giving me so much to think about, reading material, and making the grind worth it.

    Comment by Anonymous — 12 November 2005 @ 12:41 AM

  3. The grey background - while aesthetically pleasing - causes my eyes to hurt much more than a white one when reading your thesis. I will copy and paste and read them, but a white background (or the option of the same) would be an improvement from my understanding.

    Otherwise, nice site.

    Comment by jane — 18 January 2006 @ 5:30 AM

  4. You mean the margins? OK … I’m planning a redesign soon, so I’ll keep that in mind.

    Comment by Jason Godesky — 18 January 2006 @ 10:45 AM

  5. White background? that’ll make MY eyes hurt, what about making it darker?

    I’m not joking either, although it must look funny

    Comment by Aaron — 21 January 2006 @ 4:47 AM

  6. Great stuff here. I have you linked at our site, as well. I think we believe much of the same thing. I have some material I want to put on the site (and I can send to you).. I am also working on an “open source” book project - great name for it, by the way. And don’t redesign! The site is so good! Heh. I found you guys via some shamanism link, an article about how some of it is crackpot or something. Keep up the great work, and talk again soon.

    Comment by anonymous world citizen — 17 February 2006 @ 9:00 PM

  7. One more thing - wanted to clarify, when I said I had material, I did mean for OUR site (NOT FOOLED) - I wouldn’t mess with your already-great structure! But I’m going to send a few things your way, just for you to check out.

    Comment by anonymous world citizen — 17 February 2006 @ 9:02 PM

  8. Heh, maybe an annoying question but: when do you think you will have the book finished Jason?

    I can’t wait to get it and spread it around. Maybe I could translate it in Dutch if I find the time, although people here should be able to understand english quite well.

    Comment by gunnix — 21 February 2006 @ 6:04 PM

  9. Mid-2006, perhaps?

    Comment by Jason Godesky — 21 February 2006 @ 6:06 PM

  10. I stand in awe, man, and I look forward to digging through this. I’m sick as a dog, lying on the couch and feeding of some neighbor’s wireless….this looks like a good way to spend a day. Thanks for this.

    Comment by Wombaticus Rex — 28 February 2006 @ 2:43 PM

  11. I don’t know where it would be appropriate to post this seeking a response from the site regulars, so I thought the last entry in the the “30T” would be as good a place as any.

    I just read this very pessimistic interview of scientist and author James Lovelock on global warming. Here’s a quote from it:

    “Across the world, from the American Indians to the aborigines of Australia to European hunters, research is suggesting that native peoples played a key role in the burning of forests and the extinction of thousands of species. “

    Jason is the anthropology answer-guy, but I would be interested in hearing what anybody around here has to say in response to this assertion by Mr. Lovelock. :-)

    Comment by Thomas Rondy — 5 September 2006 @ 12:35 PM

  12. so I thought the last entry in the the “30T” would be as good a place as any.

    As would the cover page of the same series, where I in fact ended up putting it. :-D

    Comment by Thomas Rondy — 5 September 2006 @ 12:37 PM

  13. I wrote a response to Lovelock’s claim back when it was first circulating in advance of the publication of Gaia’s Revenge, in the form of an article with the same title: “Gaia’s Revenge.”

    Comment by Jason Godesky — 5 September 2006 @ 12:50 PM

  14. I’m glad I discovered this website. It is certainly not lacking in worthwhile reading material.

    Comment by Thomas Rondy — 5 September 2006 @ 3:14 PM

  15. Thank you!

    Comment by Jason Godesky — 5 September 2006 @ 3:48 PM

  16. Also, my own response to the specific claim about deforestation (you already answered the one about extinctions in a one of the 30T) is that while it makes me sad to think of primitive humans abusing the environment, what harm they did before agriculture was vastly exceeded by the harm they did with the implementation of totalitarian agriculture.

    Hopefully a mythology will be developed by our primitive-living descendants about the devestation wraught by humans during The Time of Madness so that they know why they would be well-served not to repeat the mistake!

    Comment by Thomas Rondy — 5 September 2006 @ 8:16 PM

  17. Comment by Giulianna Lamanna — 7 September 2006 @ 7:11 AM

  18. I would very much like to send you an email with attachments. If at all possible please could you let me have an email address. Love, light, peace, truth, & justice.

    Comment by Julie — 27 September 2006 @ 4:35 AM

  19. Contact info is available on our author pages: me, Giuli and Mike.

    Comment by Jason Godesky — 27 September 2006 @ 10:11 AM

  20. Ha! Mr. Godesky, you’re a freakin’ smart one. I only read your post at metafilter, one thesis here, and the title to all your other 29. Don’t need to read any more, but I will.

    Amazingly enough I too have come to a similar conclusion, right down to #30: the future is still unwritten.

    But unfortunately, I also believe most people are either too stupid, scared, or greedy to change until it’s too late; and that their unwillingness to face reality in time to make a difference will bring every one else down with them.

    Where do you see religion in all this? Seems to me if we could get rid of all the christians who are convinced jeebeshus is going to give them a new earth, the US might actually stand a chance of doing some good. As it is, we’re going to do much damage to the rest of the world while we implode…

    Comment by Johanna — 1 December 2006 @ 4:43 AM

  21. Thanks for your kind words, Johanna. Every society has its religion; it’s part of culture, and as such, it supports whatever it is that the culture needs. Check out “No One Dies For Religion.” The same applies here. The role of religion in contemporary American is not a reason, but a rationalization. It is driving forward the expanding complexity that our civilization requires to keep going. If you somehow strip away the religion but leave the civilization, the need will remain, and it will simply be replaced by some other excuse. I thought the South Park episode with Richard Dawkins was actually fairly spot-on, showing how you could just as easily use another excuse for the exact same ends. So I think that religion is a red herring. All too often, we accept the rhetoric at face value that religion is why these things are happening. But that’s not the case at all; religion is just the excuse cooked up once you’ve already decided what it is you’re going to do for entirely other reasons. Humans aren’t rational creatures—we’re rationalizing creatures.

    Comment by Jason Godesky — 1 December 2006 @ 10:50 AM

  22. Very interesting reading. I am not ready for the hunter gatherer society but I can live with and society with the civilization and technology that existed in Europe in the 1600’s. So I have been part of the SCA since 1979. It is a step in the right direction as the technology circa 1600 is pre-industrial revolution and is very much familial in most of its aspects. And while it is true that the SCA does have a hierarchy that form is far more fluid an establishment then the modern hierarchy here in America. For more information on the SCA please go to http://www.sca.org
    and find out what we have been doing to create a currently available transitional society between the modern and the post collapse societies.
    Thanks for reading this.

    Namarie,
    Cathrea

    Comment by Cathrea — 28 February 2007 @ 6:47 PM

  23. Secular humanism — boring and reminiscent of the 60s ‘doom’ movement if not downright destructive to freedom.

    Sickening.

    Comment by NH — 5 August 2007 @ 9:32 AM

  24. It’s not secular humanism at all. It’s deep ecology, it’s ecopsychology, it’s systems thinking, you could even call it animism, but it’s not secular humanism. Secular humanism is all too often blatantly anti-environment, acting as if there’s a trade-off to be made between human interests, and the foundation of all human interests.

    As for “the 60s ‘doom’ movement,” to quote the documentary What a Way to Go, “Remember thirty years ago, when scientists told us, ‘If we don’t do something in 30 years, we’re going to be in some serious trouble’? Well it’s now, and we are, because we didn’t.” If The Thirty Theses seems reminiscent of claims you heard back in the ’60s, it’s because for people like me who weren’t alive at the time, we now need to face the consequences of your inaction. You were the last group that had a chance to change things, but you didn’t even try. That’s why my generation now needs to come up with some way to deal with the mess you’ve left us.

    If it’s any consolation, you’re only the latest generation of the past 10,000 years to pass the buck, and each time it becomes a little heavier. When you passed it on, it crossed the line into the full-blown threat of human extinction. So we can’t pass it on like you did, or your parents or your grandparents, because if we do, there won’t be a humanity left.

    As for “downright destructive to freedom,” as the Thirty Theses clearly show, that is a good description of civilization. And I agree, civilization is sickening.

    Comment by Jason Godesky — 6 August 2007 @ 8:48 AM

  25. brilliant

    glad I stumbled across this

    Comment by jacques de beaufort — 4 May 2008 @ 8:20 PM

  26. Good post. You make some great points that most people do not fully understand.

    “The case is complex, but in truth no more complex than our “common ground” of unexamined, recieved wisdom. In many cases, it is much less complex. But it is different. Since forming these ideas, I have faced an increasing obstacle in communication. Unspoken, differing assumptions force me routinely to return to the same arguments again and again. So I resolved some time ago to crystalize my philosophy into a single, comprehensive work, which could from a base for further communication.”

    I like how you explained that. Very helpful. Thanks.

    Comment by Evaine — 21 May 2008 @ 9:29 AM

  27. When you’re right you’re right, but when you’re fuzzy you’re wrong.

    When you say evolution is irrefutable that is presumptuous. And when you say you know can satisfactorily explain through Darwin’s work, that is presumptuous. Because the fact is that you don’t know. Saying you your theory explains it, damages your message. The fact is you don’t know anymore than Darwin or any of the rest of us that God didn’t create the Earth and everything on it and the rest of the universe. Could he not have created the Earth already aged?

    I’m not arguing for the existence of God, or whether or not evolution is real, but to say that it is irrefutable, definitely damaging to you message.

    I like what you say about the collapse of civilization. Let it be!

    Comment by Ryan — 20 August 2008 @ 5:36 PM

  28. great!

    thanks for the list!

    Comment by Norhafidz — 18 October 2008 @ 11:07 AM

  29. I’m seriously considering walking away from it all, the feeling of being in this cage is destroying me, I only get to be outside in the sun on weekends, but I don’t want to find just another job… I want out! I feel it’s a matter of life and death… I need to live life, I’m sick of being a slave… can anyone point me in the right direction? I’m not saying I don’t want to work- I just want a better quality of life. I read all Quinn’s books and considering how my world view has been forever changed (for about 7 years now) I don’t think I will ever be happy in civilization… Does anyone know of a way to declare myself a tribal member and have nothing to do with this system any longer? I know I’m not alone.

    Comment by Ted — 19 March 2009 @ 11:11 PM

  30. I know how feel, Ted. Not a day goes by that the mortal terror doesn’t claw at me that the inertia of living this way will suck me in, and I’ll never find the strength to pull free. I can bear the tiny death of the day-to-day only with the promise that I won’t live like this for the rest of my life, but now I keep questioning to what degree I just try to kid myself. If I knew a quick, easy way to cut free, I’d have done it long ago. So far as I know, it falls on us to create the world we want to live in, and that takes time, effort, and patience. That doesn’t offer much solace while you pull stones up the pyramid, I know, but with a good plan, you can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Right now, I have nothing more than that.

    Comment by Jason Godesky — 20 March 2009 @ 4:41 PM

  31. Jason,
    Thanks for taking the time to write me back. I do agree that we must take part in changing this culture/ civilization… sometimes it seems so hopeless but I think those moments are more or less depression for me. I never used to get depressed when I was very young, it wasn’t until I’ve read Ishmael and understood how little freedom I actually have. but I do my best to promote Ishmael and those things… I recently started making MP3 CDs of the Ishmael audio book and just putting them places: peoples cars, door steps, laundry mats, bus stops and so on. They come with a note and instructions. Also working on a photo series inspired by DQ and Derrick Jensen. So that’s how I cope- spreading the message. Have any other suggestions?

    Comment by tantrangle — 26 March 2009 @ 10:43 AM

  32. What you describe is mostly true, all except #5 and #30 (partly true). We are fallen. Our fallen state occurred when we chose civilization over ‘the Garden’. We ate the ‘apple’. We knew that we were not to eat the apple.

    Once this process is over, we will never eat the apple again.

    Who are we and what are we heading?

    Comment by Dave — 22 May 2009 @ 6:00 PM

  33. Jason,

    I wanted to let you know what I’ve decided to do… after about 7 years of thinking about this I’ve finally realized I’ll never be happy working for the goals of corporations and so I quit my job and left my apartment. I’m currently living in a tent on some private property in PA and I’m looking into buying some of my own land to build a tree-house. So far it’s been easy going, I decided to withdraw my 401k and I’ll use that money to buy land and the very little things I will need to build my home. the t-house will not have running water or electricity but it will be warm in the winter and cool in the summer. You can buy just about everything you need for extended camping at any outdoors store. If anyone has any tips for me I’d like to hear. Also, if anyone lives in PA Derrick Jensen is coming to Hunker PA June 20th to Maggies 3rd annual farm festival.

    Comment by Ted/ tantrangle — 2 June 2009 @ 9:48 PM

  34. Funny how those who attack agriculture as unhealthy or unsustainable have never had to produce their own food. Funny too how those who would advocate some variant of “rewilding” or launch a grand critique of civilization are often those who live an indoor life of academics and philosophy.

    I respect any who criticize the modern state and modern systems of soft-fascism and statism.

    However, I would invite you to live off the land, to farm and raise livestock and split wood for your fire. To work with your hands mending and repairing and preserving. To live and work with sympathy for the land and its product while understanding and appreciating its fruits and gifts.

    When you have lived this life of work and sweat and self-sufficient satisfaction, you will appreciate freedom no less, you may be no less anti-statist, but you will have a better perspective on the fine lines between the modern state (and all of its evils) and the concept of “civilization”, without which most (if not all) commenting on this site would quickly die a miserable death of starvation and exposure.

    In other words, try walking the walk before you talk the talk.

    To do less is to appear as intellectually dishonest in advocating for us all a road that you yourself have not yet travelled.

    Comment by Barbedwiresmile — 17 June 2009 @ 9:22 AM

  35. Have we met, “Barbedwiresmile”? I have my doubts. For one thing, I would know your name then, wouldn’t I?

    For another, you would know something about me, in turn. You presume much.

    Do you really think that a farmer has the best perspective on the value of farming? Or, as you put it, that anyone who questions the value of farming without living as a farm seems “intellectually dishonest”? I would agree that a farmer could offer the best insights into techniques or procedures for farming, having put them to use personally and seen their effects, but it seems to me that only the farmer lacks the ability to really assess the value of farming. After all, I did not come by these views easily. I resisted them. I did not want to think of the system I had spent my life participating in had done so much damage to the world and to us. If, on top of that, I had my own work, my own years of labor, the means of my own sustenance and daily work to justify, it really wouldn’t matter how much evidence sat in front of me. I would need to defend not just the system I participated in, but myself. Only a farmer has his own pride and self-worth on the line. We all have our personal feelings to work through when it comes to facing this kind of evidence, but a farmer brings a lot more of that to the table.

    But let’s, for a moment, entertain the caricature you’ve painted of me. Let’s say I haven’t spent years now involved in primitive skills and permaculture. Let’s say I haven’t made shelter, prepared meals of foraged food, or grown gardens. Let’s say I’ve lived the sheltered life you accuse me of. If I suddenly broke that pattern and went out to start farming as you suggest, would that change the historic pattern of agriculture? Would the Fertile Crescent blossom again? Would the Meander River straighten? Would the Great Plains become healthy prairie again? Would the human population drop to less than a billion? Would the relationship between population and food supply change? I’ve provided an argument here, and that argument has a life quite distinct from mine. Even if you knew something about me and could make an argument about my own hypocrisy, it wouldn’t change the validity of the argument I’ve made here. In fact, I could take all of your advice—and still, nothing of the argument I’ve written here would change. Have you heard of the logical fallacy of the ad hominem? It means addressing the faults of the person making the argument, as if it faulted the argument itself. Personally, I find that more than a little intellectually dishonest.

    But as to your last point, that I advocate that people take a path that I myself will not, I can tell you haven’t read much else on this site. I don’t put myself up as a great example to follow, or claim any great talent or disposition. In fact, just about everything you could ask to go wrong for someone with my ambitions, I suffer from. I have poor personal health, a sheltered, indoor childhood, and not even the basic familiarity with the outdoors that you would expect from a normal kid growing up. But I’ve started changing that. Now, I know a pretty good catalog of wild edible and medicinal plants. I have a medicine cabinet of herbal medicine I brewed up myself. I’ve made meals of foraged foods. I’ve built shelters, made fire with a bow drill, and knapped a flint blade. I don’t say this to brag, because I remain keenly aware of how far I still have to go, but I have made a start. I try to put my efforts online so that others can learn from my mistakes, so that we can all compare notes and find what works best. Mostly, I think it makes for an inspiring story precisely because I have so much going against me: if I can do it, anyone can. One day, I aspire to live in a wigwam in the woods. But I’ve never encouraged anyone to do more than I’ve done myself: namely, to look for ways to rewild a little bit every day. I’ve never encouraged people to run off into the woods tomorrow. I know full well the inertia that the system we live in exerts, and the difficulties it puts in the way of any real change. I don’t blame anyone who struggles against those obstacles. I only condemn complacency, and a lack of curiosity.

    Comment by Jason Godesky — 17 June 2009 @ 11:53 AM

  36. Jason,

    About Barbedwiresmile: As soon as I began reading his/her comments I realized it as an ad hominem attack. Which you made good points about, which Derrick Jensen talks about in endgame, which this person needs to read.

    Barbedwiresmile: It doesn’t matter what my personal history is, what I’ve been brought up in. From the early days of my childhood I’d ask questions like, “why don’t the animals have to pay taxes?”, “Why do the animals only work for what they need?”. These questions led me to where I am today. Living in a tent, using herbs, doing what I can on my own, but doing all of this on the foundation civilization has provided me… you remind me of an abused woman who has made up her mind to stay with the man she loves even though he beats her on a regular basis and is not treated as an equal and is given duties that only keep her from her own life… very much like my own father did to my mother. But you cannot deny that just because I am wearing blue jeans and I know how to use a computer, car, shower and I’ve been saved once by modern science and all of this from a system that would indeed keep me healthy so I can work until the day I die (all the while destroying life outside & within this system), granting me a vacation once every 3 or 4 months- you still cannot deny that the true Americans who were here 1st have lived without doing such destruction and you cannot deny that they (although we all know it was not perfect) didn’t do even a fraction of the damage WE (this still includes me) are doing today- and attacking ME or ANYONE for wanting to try to find a way out of this shit and start a new path is just your way of dealing with the obvious fact that this civilization will not last much longer.

    We must begin somewhere, it might be a bit sloppy and not meet your ideals but it has to be done.

    Comment by tantrangle/ Ted — 17 June 2009 @ 2:30 PM

  37. Jason and tantrangle:

    First, thank you for allowing me to discuss these issues with on your site.

    Second - my post was in no way an ad hominem attack, nor is it mean-spirited. It is not an attack of any kind. Simply a comment. And in fact, I spent quite a bit of time this week reading various sites and forums that I linked to from your site.

    I would suggest that acquiring “primitive skills” at classes at weekend retreats is a very different thing than truly living an outdoor life, close to nature and the very fabric which keeps us alive, the earth that feeds and clothes and warms us. To live as a farmer and/or rancher over an extended period of time is as different from what I have read on anarcho-primitivist forums as a vacation in South America is to understanding the culture and people and politics of South America.

    I applaud the desire to shed the dehumanizing forces of modern civilization - the division of labor, the prison of the “specialized” man, the oppressive state, and the unsustainability of our modern economic and political systems.

    But like most who have not prized and suffered a life close to nature, it appears that you may not fully appreciate the cold, hard reality of nature - that nature is not your friend, nor your enemy, but rather a dispassionate force who cares nothing for your pain and suffering. *Yes* - one may intellectually understand this. One may even expose oneself to this reality in doses, within controlled environments. But this is very different than living with it on a daily basis - full-time with no safety net.

    Why is this important? Because those who *do* live with this reality *do not* romanticize a primitive past that cannot be relived, or devolved back into. Is our modern society unsustainable? Yes. And yes we may very be close to collapse. But I would suggest it is the farmers, ranchers and others who live from the land that will survive and carry the flame of humankind through the dark.

    Romanticizing a hunter/gatherer existence suggests, despite the best possible intentions, a lack of deep experience with living from the land.

    Finally, I do not disparage you or your movement. I applaud all who would intelligently critique modern society and take philosophical (if not pragmatic) common cause with (true) anarchists of various stripes.

    But no amount of ‘bushcraft’ seminars, classes, excursions, vacations, reading, training, or meditation will suffice for years spent living from the land and dealing with nature’s cold, cruel ways - cold and disease and infection and scarcity and hard work. To ignore this fact risks idealizing and romanticizing a primitive past that may exist only in the minds of those who would, from the relative comfort of their modern existence, suggest a philosophy that has, at its core, an inaccurate frame of reference.

    Comment by Barbedwiresmile — 18 June 2009 @ 10:02 AM

  38. I daresay, I think your comment illustrates my point quite well. I didn’t say you had made an ad hominem attack; I didn’t want to suggest that you had made your case as an attack. But your case does rely on the ad hominem fallacy: you make a point about me and my experience, and from that extrapolate a fault in the argument. To dispute the argument, nothing about me will do; you’ll need to find something in the argument itself to dispute. For instance, if you think I’ve simply romanticized hunter-gatherers, then you should find a claim that I’ve made that you consider romanticized, and provide some evidence that the reality involves much more difficulty than I’ve portrayed. My own experience will never make that point, though.

    But, I also made the point that farming would make me less capable of judging the value of farming. I have, for instance, in the past contended that the very act of farming changes our relationship with the more-than-human world, from one of trust, dependence, and abundance, to one of domination, hierarchy, and scarcity. I’ve sketched out the mechanisms and history of that, but in your comment, you provide another excellent piece of evidence for this. Your description of the more-than-human world as “not your friend, nor your enemy, but rather a dispassionate force who cares nothing for your pain and suffering” could hardly differ more from the descriptions given by native people, who invariably describe the land they inhabit as Paradise, or a nurturing mother, or even a lover, who provides them generously with everything they need. I have had a small taste of this; I’ve had a taste of the agricultural life, and felt drained and exhausted afterward. The fields stared back at me like resentful enemies to conquer, and I felt victory more than anything else after toiling under the blazing sun, carving into the earth with a plow, and finally seeing the crops I’d sown begin to grow. I have also had a small taste of wild life, from foraging wild foods to permaculture, and it left an entirely different impression. Learning wild edibles made me aware of the abundance around me. I realized I could only ever starve out of ignorance. I saw food and shelter all around me. Then, realizing that even this small experience had begun to pull my thinking in line with the strange sentiments of native people around the world, I realized it had everything to do with how we relate to the world.

    So, yes, I do agree that farming will teach you that nature doesn’t care about you, that life requires toil and weariness. But I’ve also had the experience of the wild life, and how that teaches you about trust and abundance, just like native people have said for millennia. The difference doesn’t lie in the world, but in our relationship with it.

    Comment by Jason Godesky — 18 June 2009 @ 11:10 AM

  39. Jason, an outstandingly well-written response! I applaud you, and congratulate you in front of your readers for making the best case I have ever read for your position.

    Just as you allude to the experiences and context of native peoples forming their view of the earth, so to do our experiences and the contexts of our existences as modern men and women form ours.

    If it is your position that modern men and woman have the capacity to rewild and relate to nature in the same manner as ‘primitive’ people - in other words, to transcend and somehow shed their context - than I must accept your view at face value when it is presented with such obvious lucidity and passion.

    My view, and my experience, is that modern men and women lack this capacity.

    I would be interested in hearing your views.

    Do you find that many profess an anarcho-primitivist philosophy experience nature only in small, controlled doses? Does this affect their ability to draw accurate observations and conclusions? Is the desired outcome actually “rewilding”, or rather a rewilding of the mind that comes from the intellectual experimentation with such concepts?

    As it regards farming and ranching, we have a philosophical difference here that need not interfere with other aspects of the discussion. I am happy to be the “foil” (the farmer, the rancher) to the anarcho-primitivst audience for one who writes as thoughtfully as you. By challenging each others assumptions, observations and conclusions, we all walk away better - regardless of whether we reach any agreement.

    Regardless, you have given me much to think about. And for that I thank you.

    -BWS

    Comment by Barbedwiresmile — 18 June 2009 @ 11:30 AM

  40. BWS,

    alright, now after some re-reading and after reading the two recent posts, I see where you’re coming from. I guess you’re more concerned (not attacking) my bad for being so deffensive.

    So far on my new path I’ve experienced very little head-on-nature, although from my perspective I see all things as nature and there is no way (even sitting in a car, in the busy traffic of some oversized city) to escape it. I totally agree that nature takes no sides and has no care for any living thing. Being everything, it has no fear of death, and no mind to ever think of such concepts. But As I’ve said in my journal lastnight I am trying my hardest to get over the importance placed on the human beings life. We’ve made ourselves into gods and strive for imortality, it is blasphemy for “animals” to do harm onto humans, as we do not see ourselves as animals, but beings who are destined for bigger things, created by a God who makes our everyday lives his number one concern, placing ourselves in the most arrogant of positions- and the concept of heaven is a big reason why we care so little for this world. But religion is a symptom and not a cause of our selfish quest to be Gods (at least the Mormans just come out and say it!)

    Anyways, I’m living a Transitional Life, somewhere between many lifestyles, but this is the way I know how to make change, by at least doing the best I can with what little I know, but thanks to the passing down of knowledge, be it book or word-of-mouth, I will use whatever means I can to survive without contributing to the System that’s doing all the damage.

    Any suggestions? Let me know if anyone knows anyone with Land for sell in PA, in the Pittsburgh area, I want to build a tree house on some land… I’m going to go check out the sheriffs auctions.

    Comment by Ted / Tantrangle — 18 June 2009 @ 1:47 PM

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