Wildness means “in a natural state; not domesticated, cultivated, or tamed”. It means refusing control, and refusing the role of controller. Most wild animals take what they need and leave the rest. Most wild animals prefer avoidance to conflict. Ecology informs us that wildness has more to do with limiting competition, improving landbases, social bonding, reciprocal relationships, and sharing resources, and less to do with patterns of constant aggression, greed, a “war of each against all”. If not, we could never have reached a world of fertility, diversity, and abundance. Neither passive species nor exterminator species persist. Parasites exist but species live primarily in balance. Mutual aid exists at least as much as struggle and conflict.
I define rewilding as a process of embracing innate evolutionary biorhythms and drawing upon or returning to a wild state; in short, becoming feral. We practice this process by acting as social animals; supporting ourselves in small groups; reclaiming ancestral skills; returning to evolutionary pattens for diet, sleep, and exercise; developing animistic perspectives; practicing attachment parenting; taking holistic approaches to wellness at cognitive, emotional, physical, and spiritual levels; practicing gift economies; and in many other ways. Rewilding means remembering the 99% of human existence in nomadic foraging bands with autonomy, egalitarianism, and wellness as common features.
As much as people tell us humans exist separate from and superior to this thing they call "nature", we as a species still act as animals requiring a community of life on an intact planet, and have evolved our own biological needs and expected rhythms to give us life and fulfillment. Ignoring or repressing our fundamental nature leads us to sickness, misery, madness, and death, just as with any other animal. Rewilding allows us to apply this understanding as a process of empowerment.
An organism displaced from the environment in which it evolved becomes pathological. We are no different than the apes in the zoos, pacing in our cages, drifting between boredom and frustration, looking outside longingly but trained to live in fear of living without a master. Rewilding means to thwart the masters, smash the cages, and revive autonomy, community, and ferocity.
III. Further Reading