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+3 votes
as is said in things that John Zerzan has written, with further departure from a purely hunter-gatherer way of life, people started to see a need to worship some sort of a god-form or develop shamanism. His theory is that "God" (and as a sternirist would even words and images!) have come to replace a sense of connectedness to other life-forms.

Do you believe this to be true and why?

rs: "i wish i had the attention span to study anthropology more, then i could come up with some sort of primitivist formula formula for making people happier..."


one problem i have with jz and some other primitivists is precisely their reliance on anthropology; and particularly, the supposedly objective truth of *some* anthropological interpretations of historical information (which itself must always be questioned).

another problem i have with many primitivists is the prescriptive nature of a "primitivist formula for making people happier". i don't care for the capitalism formula, i don't care for the communist formula, i don't care for the primitivist formula, .... i don't want formulas. (which is not to say that there aren't aspects of ANY "formula" that i might take as my own).

primitivism can be very appealing to those who see the inherent fundamental problems with the modern world humanity has created, especially when one is fairly new to those realizations. alc, who posts here periodically, is one of the less dogmatic, flexible seeming (self-identified) primitivists i have come across, at least from what i can glean.

the disconnection from nature at the root of your question is a huge, relevant issue imo. what role any god plays in that (where that is in fact the case) is perhaps an interesting question, but it is rarely of much interest to me.

1. although i really enjoy some of jz's critical work, i've never really jived with jz's version of the apple-biting tale nor his churchy moral fits. i resonate more with eisenstein's take on the process of civ ('the age of separation'), though, like ba@ said elsewhere, i'm not quite as optimistic as eisenstein in finding a way out of it...but i am open to hearing it.

2. within his critique, eisenstein challenges the 'replacement' notion of God, the abstract, remote, reified God of civ, by way of  a deep sense of loss of connection within increasingly fragmented conditions (cities, number, language, money, etc.). this, of course, is co-opted by the most fragmented (the power-hungry) into yet another form of increasing alienation. (i may be paraphrasing far too much. it may be worth exploring on your own)

3. from another perspective, i've heard and read jz's style of argumentation enough to understand he argues in bad faith, particularly against those who critique civilization from a non-primitivist perspective. straw-men, name calling, appeals to emotion, moral-finger-wagging etc. examples: jason mcquinn, bellamy from free radical radio, and of course, lawrence jarach. to put it bluntly, these latter three folks simply strike me as more embodied, engaged with the here and now, than does jz who seems to me to inhabit a world of ideas, abstractions, nostalgia, and dogma. that is, what i consider a deep narcissism..

which leads me to...

4. i most definitely see and criticize what's present to me here and now as best as i'm able. i can only work from here. i most definitely use, and come to make my own, anthropology, linguistics, history, etc., as it suits, where i am, when i am, who i a living process(?) rather than an idea in future or past. this is, to me, the difference between narcissism and 'egoism' (for a lack of a better term). in other words, i have no (conscious) desire to continue formulating pictures of myself to fall in love with, be it a 3015 cyborg or pre-columbian arawak, although the latter holds far, more in common with my own desires than does any form of transhumanist legotopia.


edit for typos, extra thoughts

good stuff, af. i relate a lot to your last paragraph.

regarding eisenstein's observation (that i agree with) of the deep sense of loss of connection most people feel today, i like to view that further through (my interpretation of) alan watts' description of life as a cosmic game of hide and go seek - as humans we circle around, continually losing our sense of connection, and then seeking and finding it again...on and on it goes.
just letting yall know that these are real cool responses, i would definetly like to read about einstiens age of seperation

what i like about all forms of critiques of totalities is that it takes the burden off myself in terms of realizing how fucked up I am, and the issue i see with today's ideological beliefs is a lot of them are based off nonsense and spooks, and i have no faith in society abandoning its spooks...

as far as JZ, i don't like the fact that he criticized Hakim Bay for just admitting that he doesn't know what the future is going to be like, by saying the technological utopia could be humanities freedom. He definetly doesn't want to depart from his ideological beliefs
I believe god and other deities were created to explain the world around us, help us cope better with the harshness of life. Something to look forward to.

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