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What is Wildism?

+4 votes
I've seen this term mentioned here and there, but I can't pinpoint what it means other than it may have something to do with rewilding. So, just curious if anyone on here knows.
asked Apr 16, 2016 by Zubaz (4,110 points)
Thanks. I'll have to read more in the first link, but the second link was overly hostile and described it as similar to primitivism. I sort of dismissed the 2nd link when the author broke out the tu quoque argument concerning anti-civ/primitivists and wildists.

Unrelated, but the 2nd link mentioned theunterrified. That dude all but upped and vanished. I wonder if something happened.
if anyone can find the differences between wildism, primitivism, and ... feralism, i think? i would love to hear them.

1 Answer

+4 votes

Hi, I'm John Jacobi, one of the main popularizers of wildism. The major text explaining wildist ideas is "The Foundations of Wildist Ethics" in the first issue of our journal, Hunter/Gatherer. Because it is long and can be simplified, I'll do that here. It really focuses on three elements: 

1. Acceptance of our material condition

We believe that the natural world is the real world. This is technically a philosophical jump, but there's no reason to get into all that here. What's important are the consequences of this philosophical naturalism: (1) nihilism, or the belief that there is no objective morality; (2) fatalism, or the belief that everything is predetermined, or at the very least it is outside of human control in any real sense; (3) philosophical pessmism, which is hard to explain, but I recommend reading the Wikipedia page; (4) psychological egoism, or the recognition that all desires, values, moral imperatives, etc. come from an individual's "will" or "nature," which combined with the rest of our philosophy (evolutionary perspectives, fatalism, etc.) is not something we can really choose. In other words, "You can do what you will, but you cannot will what you will." 

2. Rejection of all forms of progressivism

"The Myth of Progress" is defined as the belief that modifying and dominating nature is a moral imperative, a moral good. The dominant progressivist narrative today is humanism, which believes in the equal moral value of every human person. It is used to justify much of industrial development, since further development includes marginalized classes in industrial life, it is the only path forward for universal medicine, etc. We reject this. We believe it is dangerous to view nature, including human nature, as something to be "improved" upon, as if that were some kind of divine imperative. This includes ESPECIALLY social progressivism, such as ideologies like feminism, gay liberation, pro-democracy movements, etc. 

3. Acceptance of the imperative to rewild

Because our values come from our will, and because no morality is objective, wildists believe that those with a "wild will" or "indomitable spirit" have nothing holding them back from accepting in accordance to that will. As a result, we accept the imperative to rewild as borne from our own will. We simply want the world to collapse into a less managed place. It matters little whether this is through natural disasters, revolution, and so forth. In fact, it doesn't even matter if it is impossible. What matters is that while these things are here, we do not have to respect them. 

Wildism is less of an expansive ideology and more of a discourse and set of values that unites the people who claim the name. The discourse is really simple: 

  • The Cosmos --- the Cosmos, or capital-N Nature, or Reality, or "the material world," is all that exists. 
  • Nature/Artifice --- nature is the part of the Cosmos that is not made or controlled by humans or their technical systems. Artifice is the part that is made or controlled. "Naturalness" is more of a quality on a spectrum with "artificialness," so those things that are less controlled or dominated are called "nature" and those things that are more controlled or dominated are not. It's just a rough way of talking about our values. Note that artifice is not inherently bad; the distinction is only descriptive. It is progressivism that we reject.
  • Wildness --- wildness is the "not controlled" part of nature. It is the defining quality dividing nature and artifice. For example, a caged animal doesn't immediately lose its naturalness, but because of its immediate loss of wildness, its naturalness starts to deteriorate as it is domesticated. Conversely, a dammed river becomes more natural after it is un-dammed, or rewilded. Our concern with nature is secondary to our concern for wildness. Nature is simple what we would expect in a more wild world--we can't expect amenities of industrial life, for example, because those are highly artificial or rely on highly artificial systems.
  • Progress --- the myth of Progress is the belief that artificialization of nature is a moral good, a moral imperative. Progress is the process of artificialization. Progressivism is an ideology that is based on the myth of progress, like humanism, colonialism, etc. 
  • Humanism --- humanism is an ideology that states that every human being has equal moral worth. Associated are the imperatives to bring marginalized people into the fold and to extend moral consideration where it is due. For example, just like in previous times racial progressivist ideologies expanded to include blacks and whites (creating humanism), now humanists are being pushed to include some sentient creatures by animal rights proponents, or even all of nature by some progressive environmentalists. 
Our VALUE is the value of wildness. We want the world to move from a less artificial and managed state to a wilder and more natural state. In particular, we feel no loyalty to artifice at the level of civilization, or life based around cities, enabled by agriculture and later industry.Thus, in the course of rewilding, we advocate acting without regard for civilization, with no loyalty to it whatsoever, so far as that is manageable. 

We differ from anarcho-primitivists in several ways, but the most important of these is our rejection of progressive humanist values. Zerzan still talks of equality, connections between human beings, a more peaceful life, a life without any authority, and that sort of thing. We reject all that. A good explanation for why we reject these values is in my essay "Misanthropy," published in Hunter/Gatherer 1.3

It is also important to note that AP does not necessarily imply action. Many APs seem to regard it as some sort of academic or philosophical mind game they can play sometimes. But wildist eco-radicals are united by their desire to ACTUALLY rewild. This means attacks, defense, and personal changes. It means it all. 

Finally, AP is a brand of anarchism, which we reject. There is some overlap, of course, especially with the egoists and nihilists, but there is nothing to little of use in the labor movement, social justice movements, and most progressive green anarchist movements.

If you'd like to discuss this further in a non-public place, just email me (see first issue of HG). Otherwise I'll keep replying here. 

answered Jun 22, 2016 by johnjacobi (210 points)
i upvoted since you answered the question.

but, i gotta admit after reading your answer, this still smells a bit too is-ought for my tastes, among other things...
The man himself answers what it is. Thank you. o questions after I read it a few times.
i appreciate john's fairly concise explanation of wildism.

let me express my own response to this.

things i agree with:

- civilization sucks

- moralism sucks

- rejection of the myth of progress

- rejection of humanism

things i disagree with:

- the ideological/dogmatic nature of the perspective

- the absolute determinism

this is just a quick, fairly visceral response. there could be some interesting discussion out of this. let's hope the @news crowd doesn't follow jj over to dilute/pollute it. ;-)
yes, there's much which resonates with me, too, but i'm left wondering just where and how wildists determine 'control' and 'artifice.' how are they separable from our 'naturalness' and how is our 'naturalness' separable from 'Nature'? this are some of the same problems plaguing AP...

also, i find i share less and less affinity with the concept 'Nature'. gotta say i kinda feel Pessoa on this one:

I saw that there was no Nature,
That Nature does not exist,
That there are mountains, valleys, plains,
That there are trees, flowers, grasses,
That there are streams and stones,
But that there’s not a whole to which this belongs,
That a real and true ensemble
Is a disease of our ideas.

Nature is parts without a whole.
This is perhaps that mystery they speak of.

edit for typo
indeed AF. Nature is as much a massified concept as The People.
i've challenged JZ on just this too, but, it seems it's much easier to build and hide behind one's own conceptual wall-o-green than to engage each unique life not wholly on one's own terms. one may find out not all desire one's company...that they're little 'egoists' even.

'nature' creates a safe distance from such 'rejection' and yet this may be what one requires to form healthier relationships than the normal course of seeing and falling in love with one's reflection everywhere.


yes, some potentially interesting discussion of "nature", "natural", etc. i also don't find much resonance with that particular concept.  even on its own it implies some kind of dichotomy to me (at least given my own history and understanding) that i don't find useful.

i love dot's massification analogy!


re:  wildism, and new words in general... i question the need for a new word when it would make as much sense (to me) to wrest the premise of GA and/or primitivism away from JZ's and Kevin Tucker's death grip. Is the idea to have a new precious, desperately-defended term for every nuance of a concept? how many angels do dance on the head of a pin? i mean, i feel no particular allegiance to primitivism (the word or the perspective), but it is also tiresome and i think distracting to the ideas, to have new movements/philosophies every time someone disagrees with daddy. (that snark is towards JZ, not necessarily JJ, who i know nothing of.)

"Is the idea to have a new precious, desperately-defended term for every nuance of a concept?"

if one believes the fate of the world rests upon and is determined by both the purity and implementation of one's concepts, then perhaps the desperation becomes more understandable.

Hey everyone. New account because I forgot my password and we can't seem to find a way to recover it. Sorry about that. I'll try to respond to a few of your comments now: 

First, a question for funkyanarchy. Can you explain what you mean by the "dogmatic/ideological" character of wildism? I don't necessarily disagree when it comes to the core points, but I just don't fully understand why so many anarchists say they are against "ideology." No matter how hard I try, I can't make heads or tails of it. What is the alternative, and is it possible? 

Dot, you asked about new words. Funny story. I actually agree with you in general. I hate neologisms with a passion, so I didn't like "wildism" at first. In fact, early on I just used the word "primitivism" -- without the "anarcho-" -- because, well, I agreed with you. But then two things happened. 

First, the primitivists were up in arms. Kevin Tucker in particular went all out in attacking me, as he does. Zerzan completely ignored me. It was a frustrating experience. 

Second, the people I was working with, some Spaniards who work with Kaczynski, refused to adopt the name. As a popularizer of their ideology at the time, I said that we needed SOME kind of name, and they recommended "indomitismo," which means "ideology of indomitability" or "wildism" or whatever. So I went with that. 

Later I went off and did my own thing, keeping the name "wildism" because, as it turns out, the indomitistas didn't want to be called anything. Also, the website is already wildism.org, and I don't want to change it. And besides, it's useful to have the name, because while I like "eco-radical" or "eco-anarchist" or even, sometimes, plain-old "primitivist," the term "wildist" conveys in a very direct manner what the philosophy is about, and through questions about wildism I, as a popularizer, am better able to accent the unique aspects of the ideas. 

In regards to the questions about "nature":

It's important to understand that there are two mutually exclusive definitions of the word "nature" that are relevant here. The first is capital-N Nature, synonymous with all of reality. This definition is popular in many of the hard sciences, like physics, a holdover from the Enlightenment when natural philosophers needed a word for the world without the supernatural. 

Another definition of "nature" is in contrast to "artificial," and these are categories WITHIN the material world, like "Jew" and "Gentile." This contrast between naturalness and artificialness is important in many biological fields, like conservation, sociobiology, and ecology; and it is also the meaning of "nature" in environmental ethics. 

If it helps, there is an alternative discourse used by the indomitistas. They only use Nature to refer to the material world, or reality. Then, they speak of "wild Nature" or "the wild" in contrast to "the artificial." I don't use this only because the "nature/artifice" discourse that I use is so common already, and in fields that I draw on to articulate many of my points. It would be too confusing to have a new discourse entirely. 

Someone also brought up the "is-ought" problem. There isn't one here. It would be a problem if I equated what "is" with what "ought" to be, but that's not quite what occurs. Instead, we apply our value of "wildness" to the "is," and from this we can an "ought." Not an objective "ought," mind you, but an "ought" that is our own, based on our individual values. 

There's another aspect of this that I don't often bring up, but "wildness" is basically a negating value, not a positive one. It is a call to NOT control, to NOT dominate nature. This negation is characteristic of the pessimistic philosophers, from whom we derive most of our critique of Progress. This isn't entirely relevant to the question, but I thought you'd find it interesting nonetheless. 

Finally, there was a question about what constituted "control" and "made." This is a complicated question. Like I said, these terms are just to provide a rough language for talking about our values. In general, I would recommend "Refocusing Ecocentrism" by Nedd Hettinger and Bill Throop. In it, they describe what makes qualities more wild (i.e., natural) and the opposite, more artificial. For instance, although a baby is "made" by humans, this can only be confused with the artificial kind of "made" because of the messiness of language. Clearly childbirth has enough of a quality of naturalness that it would be considered part of human nature. It is a process we generally discern as mostly outside of human and technical control. 

If you want a better answer, I wrote some stuff on it in "The Foundations of Wildist Ethics," pp. 33-34 ("The Social Progressivists' Trick") and "Misanthropy." 

If anyone wants to avoid all the academic reading and just get on to how this would look in practice, I recommend looking into Individualidades Tendiendo a lo Salvaje and the eco-extremists. Although we used to be divided on them regarding the question of "revolution," I've recently been convinced of their position, so we no longer disagree on that point. And with that gone, I'd say that the philosophical foundations -- pessimism, fatalism, etc. -- are nearly the same. And their modus operandi is decidedly non-, even anti-, humanist. There is one major and obscure difference between ITS and my own position, but not enough for me to not recommend them or republish their stuff. 

john j: I just don't fully understand why so many anarchists say they are against "ideology." No matter how hard I try, I can't make heads or tails of it. What is the alternative, and is it possible? "

imo, you simply don't engage in it.  you let go of concepts forced on you, advertised to you, and promoted to you practically since birth.

is it possible? yes, much like the wild things you speak of don't have beliefs, or organize around ideology, as far as i can discern. ideology doesn't feel wild to me - it makes me feel more limited, less creative.

johnj: i'll return to this post in the coming days to be sure, but, for now, i cannot see anything but a rewording and reformulation of is-ought in your ideology. it simply strikes me as a postponement of is/ought reformulated as 'if/then.' that is, is ≠ ought now, but it can/will/may later.

in fact, i started a thread over at @news (in an attempt to get some of the APs to actually engage, JZ in particular...nuthin' doin' tho) which pertains to much of this, and the problem(s) with ideology(ies).http://anarchistnews.org/content/ap-and-egoistsnihilists

AmorFati, before you respond, let me clarify two things. First, it's unclear to me whether you are concerned with the is/ought problem or the naturalistic fallacy. They are slightly different. I will say, though, that I discussed "is/ought" in "Foundations of Wildist Ethics," p. 8.

Also, I haven't actually expressed this anywhere before, but I don't really think there is an is/ought problem. This is something that is discussed sometimes in evolutionary ethics. If we are completely biological creatures (which I accept), then an "ought" is just another way of saying what "is" --- a certain biological state, values that an individual just holds, etc. See "Evolutionary Ethics," esp. the section on sociobiology, and "Morality and Evolutionary Biology." 

Hi, bornagainanarchist. Okay, I suppose. I am okay with dispensing of "ideology" to a certain extent. I still think it is important, however, to outline one's core values and to maintain a similar discourse for those who are discussing and acting on those values. Do you consider that an ideology --- a hard core of values and a language to talk about them? If not, then I am non-ideological. I will act with others if they accept my core values and I won't if they do not. If it is, then I accept it: I am being ideological, and I have no qualms with that.
There's no such thing as wildness and seems like a human concept. Your example of wildness didn't really make it clear as to what you mean. Nature doesn't exist either per se, so i'm just confused.

Progress is the myth of it is BS, so I agree. Humanism I think is nonsense.

So, maybe if you log on again, you could explain it in simpler terms?
human, could you explain your own premises more? saying progress is bs and humanism is nonsense isn't especially clear.

@johnj: i guess this "core element" of wildism is what initially jumped out at me as dogmatic:

Acceptance of the imperative to rewild

let me give you a description of what i think of as ideological/dogmatic thinking. i realize that some people use "ideology" to describe something less rigid and more generic, so perhaps dogmatic is a more consistent word.

When one takes a set of ideas, reifies them, and turns them into a static, de-contextualized doctrine that is held sacred. There is a somewhat blind allegiance to the ideas, which gets in the way (big time) of critical thinking. Anything of relevance that contradicts those ideas is either dismissed as objectively “wrong”, or is co-opted or distorted to fit.  The ideas themselves are irrelevant; it is the way they are used (too often as a bludgeon), adhered to, politicized, etc, that I am referring to. Metaphorically, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

i don't speak for anyone other than myself, but as one with strong anarchistic tendencies, subsuming myself to some set of ideas is antithetical to the anarchic life and relations i desire. principles can be cool, maybe even necessary. but to me they are just that; individually derived guidelines for behavior that are consistent with one's ideas for how they desire to live and relate to the world. they need not define some doctrine to be faithful to regardless of context.

@funkyanarchy. Okay, that's clarifying. Why, though, would the "imperative to rewild" be dogmatic but not "rejection of progressivism," which seems more focused on ideas and worldview?
@johnj:  well, the word "imperative", for starters.

if there was a stated imperative to reject progressivism, i would feel exactly the same way about that; i would see it as dogmatic, and a bit authoritarian.

i may individually reject progressivism, based on my own personal experience (and all the other factors that play into what continuously becomes my worldview, for lack of a better term). that is my own perspective. i do not state it as an imperative, and in fact it could only possibly apply to me alone. not to mention that my perspective grows and changes as new information and experiences become part of me. so i might find myself in complete opposition to that perspective at some time in the future. i am not afraid to change my mind about things; most dogmatists sure seem to be.
Oh, I see, it's a problem with language. Well we don't say it's an objective imperative. It's not that other people have to do it. It's that we understand this as an imperative based on our own values -- like I said early, our own wild wills. This is why there is a sort of "take it or leave it" attitude. If you agree, claim the name and work with people to the extent that you want. If you don't, our aim isn't to convince you anyway.

I agree that dogmatism seems to encourage people not to change their minds. I think this is a little more of a problem when it comes to facts --- like whether or not a revolution will occur, an argument that frequently occurs in Marxist circles -- and less of a problem when it comes to values --- the core of your approach to life. I don't think values change all that often. But sure, if you suddenly change your mind and values, leave. Like I wrote above, there isn't an objective morality. It comes from each individual's will and values, and from there we work with others or not to live according to those values. Wild Will is just a banner for people who accept these common tenets, especially the value of wildness, from which we derive the inherent imperative to rewild.

johnj, thanks again for responding. none of the following is meant as an attack on you btw.

i don't perceive a difference between the naturalistic fallacy and the is/ought problem in your case. i would say that wildism, like many, if not every, if/then scheme, seems an attempt to a reach a state of is=ought (in fact, you've said so, no?) via some form of ('natural') progression.

there seem a few assumptions lurking here.

1. the world, living, is insufficient for joy now. being a bit of a 'nietzsche geek' (as my screen-name implies) joy refers to the unhesitating, active approval of one's life. all of it. not just the 'good times,' those aspects we like better, and what we hope for, but the very tragic aspects, suffering, which characterize living, all living.

now, i can see you've said nothing about 'joy' directly, but as in every if/then scheme, i cannot see how joy isn't at work here (and i mean 'work') in that 'a better way of living' isn't in view, desired, wished for...

2. that one knows from this 'insufficient state' just what a 'sufficient state' feels like without ever having lived 'it.' this seems, not only if/then, but smells a bit to my nose of 'the afterlife.' one can call in good feelings in reading the word of god or what couch it in what one considers 'natural.' it doesn't really matter here as both place one's energies in some distant 'there.'

3. thus, some vague sense of and/or wish for, certainty. this comes across in your emphasis on science/logic which leads into...

4. with its emphasis on logic/science your project seems to me to distance living relations rather than foster closeness much less permitting (due to the heavy anthropocentric hand) 'others' as fully capable of relating to you on their terms. sensing how each relates to us may very well have become impermissible in techno-land, but this has been impermissible since that unknown primeval person looked around them and said: 'not good enough'...which gets to the heart of presup #1. at the same moment morality and ontology became con-fused.

johnj, the following is from your site:

"Our ideal is the nomadic hunter/gatherer way of life,"


"...and keeping away from other leftists and similar undesirable people (the impractical, the inefficient, the irrational, the unbalanced, etc.)"

i'm curious just how well hunter/gatherers would actually fare in your account. first, like AP you oppose h/g's with civilization. which h/g's? where? who? this question is important since 'h/g' indicates a multiplicity of lifeways/ways of flourishing, whereas, 'civ' contains far less a multitude and some fairly perceivable patterns. it's simply not an across the board comparison.

as to your parenthetical quote above, it seems to me that most h/g's and their inclusion of non-humans in their communities (certain  'plants' as full persons and participants ) would kinda seem 'irrational' 'impractical' etc., while dancing, dreaming, etc., might be 'inefficient.' could it be that anyone who points this out is then 'unbalanced'? shit, what if they actually do enjoy such relations?

what's the scale you're using for all these pejoratives?

Hi, AmorFati. You are pulling that from an old piece, either the Statement of Principles or an essay originally entitled "Izquierdismo," both of which are by UR, who I've since separated from, not least because of his overly incendiary character. See "Some Context for Issue Six" in HG 1.6. 

I'll try to get to your other questions by the end of the week. I am about to go on a trip, however, so it may not be until after that I get to respond. Sorry. 

accidentally hid for less than one second.

AmorFati, thanks for your comment. Some replies.

1. To the contrary, embrace of wildness has nothing to do with what will give us joy and what will not. Our life's value is not dependent on the achievement of our goals. As our fatalism implies, we wouldn't be in any other position than we are anyway. The question is how we are to act in the face of this absurdity. What are the values we will embrace in going about this life that guarantees nothing to us but death? THIS is the sacred "yes": acting in accordance to our own will and values despite chances of success, because that is simply what we believe, and the world is simply as it is. 

2. The argument isn't that we are guaranteed a fix to our problems if only we became hunter/gatherers. The hunter/gatherer way of life is important because that is still what we are, biologically, despite technical and cultural evolution outpacing us dramatically. The question --- regarding our values, not the sacred yes --- is whether we accept this project to modify nature continually in pursuit of some ideal, or whether we reject progressivist attempts and embrace wildness. The role of the hunter/gatherer ideal is similar to the role of it in evolutionary psychology: it provides insight into who we are. And because of that, we can be sure that a result of collapse, which because of our values we do not regard as negative, will be many people living as the new savages. We are saying we are willing to reject civilization even to the point of living that way.

3. My use of science / logic has been overemphasized in some of my writings, like Foundations and those I produced immediately after. I've come to realize this. However, I do not think that it is required so much as it is what we are stuck with. It is similar to the dispute between the pessimists: some would have us respond to the problem of consciousness and time (our pessimistic condition) by living entirely in the present or returning to a primitive state of mind, albeit in a civilized way, such as through religious asceticism (which annihilates the self-conscious mind, allegedly). This, I believe, like Leopardi or Nietzsche, is nonsense. We are stuck in a historical context and cannot be distanced from it simply because we will ourselves to be. So as someone who sees the world around me in scientific terms and someone who has already gained this knowledge about the world, I cannot respond by simply pretending it isn't here or by rejecting it. Instead, I respond to life from where I stand --- and that includes using science and logic. There are other elements of this answer, of course, but that is one that I think would most interest you. See also my discussion of science in "A Dialogue on Wildism and Eco-Extremism." 

4. Here's where you lost me. Have only a vague idea of what you said here. "Living relations"? Sounds like that insufferable term "lived experience." 

Hope these answers were clarifying. 

jj: However, I do not think that it is required so much as it is what we are stuck with.

well, by that "logic", aren't we "stuck with" civilization as well? 

jj: Sounds like that insufferable term "lived experience."

i find it rather interesting that you see that term (lived experience) as insufferable. why is that, exactly? are you opposed to the full experience of living life? i see the phrase as contrasting with pure theory, abstract concepts, etc. what do you find insufferable about it? 

if you have that reaction solely based on having heard it repeated rhetorically ad infinitum, i would kind of understand. but having that reaction to the concept of it, i don't.

as a simplistic and obvious example: jz has a shitload of theory about primitivism; he has essentially zero lived experience with it. can you say why that phrase is insufferable?

Edit to say: As these comments are becoming far too long for my computer eyes, this will more than likely be my last unless something comes up which may be addressed with less.


1.'...what will give us joy'? I believe I was clear in stating my perspective on if/then schemes as well as that joy, as I'm using it, as 'amor fati,' is the unhesitating and total approbation of one's life. There's no in-between. Joy, that is, total approbation, isn't a goal or a thing one may possess. You either totally approve of your life in this moment or you don't, including the tragic aspects, one's enemies, even one's particular 'dislikes'.

If an 'embrace of wildness' is something which, accordingly, is missing and/or must be added, you've simply said, like every other ideology/religion, a resounding 'no' to your own life even as you live it, 'miserabilism' as the Surrealists might call it. You've so much have said, then, that the very conditions of your life are somehow insufficient for your approbation. You hesitate. Perhaps because you see in joy some sort of result or sentiment regarding that result, ' a destination,' whereas I see joy as precisely a 'port of departure' through which most humans have rarely recognized as possible even while scoffing it as mere sentiment, setting 'it' as goal-postponed, etc. I simply cannot know with certainty, or even imagine, from where I am now, how the world will look, the possibilities which will open, happy, tragic or otherwise.

It seems a silly posture (and one I've encountered before) to pretend joy has nothing to do with your ideology. Why else would you pursue 'wildism' if not for joy? Postponed, qualified (and quantified?), and ideal perhaps, but joy nonetheless.

2.There's that bugaboo word 'nature' again. There is no 'nature.' In using this concept you've simply accepted, once more, the very gross metaphysics you are telling us you reject! There are no h/g's of whom I'm aware which hold this duality between 'nature' and 'culture.' This is a subject of some debate w/in anthropology itself. A map of Paris will not lead you up the Xingu, much less its tributaries.

3.Yes, we live in our historical context. No real issue there. In fact, I think I've been abundantly clear that I approve it unhesitatingly. Where I see we differ in perspective is that you seemingly desire to overcome 'it' without realizing that 'it' is a whole only in your ideals. I do not.

As I describe myself as a Dionysian pessimist on occasion, I have to say that your either/or dichotomy between 'pessimists' has nothing on me. While I share the sense that one can only live where one is (I actually have said that every 'I' is more a 'where' than a 'what' on several occassions, btw), I cannot hold to any particular picture of 'future.' Unlike you, I stride rather than stand. My 'where' changes and hence my perspective. There's simply no divide between 'where' and perspective.

You do realize that 'pessimism' comes from the same root word as 'foot' right? I mean, that one's 'stride, gait, pace' can include dancing as much as 'stumbling, falling' with which the word is most associated concomintantly with a value judgement as 'bad, worst.' A Dionysian pessimist on the other hand, one who approbates even the stumbling/falling, doesn't therefore curse 'the world' as bad or the worst, for stumbling/falling is part of the movement we live: dancing, walking, running, ...stumbling, falling, suffering. Yes, this I affirm.

Wildism thus seems to me a cessation of the very movement/flux which characterizes life as well as yet another postponement of total approbation (why else desire different conditions of life, or in this case in all probability, your after-life?). It is nothing but control since that which may only have been fleeting/ephemeral is taken as what ought to be/must be/will be.

4. 'Lived experience' is a bit redundant...one must be living to experience, no? And it seems a bit too needy for self-recognition to me. And, I never used those terms anyway.

But, then again, there is an abyss between 'nature' and each of those 'thousand-million leaves.' The former only speaks of a whole which doesn't exist and where there's a 'thousand million leaves' only a bland wall of green sits in the distance. Poetic? Maybe, but then again logic has never been too keen on affirming life with all the messiness involved and makes for some pretty boring habitat when it's not used as justification for killing us outright.

Amor Fati

1. Compare the value of "wildness" to Nietzsche's value of "strength." 'Amor fati' doesn't mean denying the fact that you care about certain things in the world or that you long for this or that thing. Nietzsche's "Yes" is said from a far-off view of life. He even gives us the metaphor of Greek tragedy in theater: as an actor we have our values (e.g., my value of wildness) but when I take the view of the audience and look at it overall, I accept the tragedy for what it is. Of course, it could just be that we have different readings of Nietzsche. 

2. To say that "nature" doesn't exist without defining it first is to engage in really sloppy thinking. Here's my definition of nature, one that actually suits popular intuitions fairly well, but is theoretically useful and doesn't rely on woo or untenable metaphysical claims: http://wildism.org/hg/article/the-nature-artifice-distinction/

3. Okay. 

4. Okay


Yes, we are stuck with civilization for now, and possibly/probably long into the future. Now how will you respond to it? 

And I don't mind the concept of "lived experience," but it's intimately tied to postmodern theories and theoretically weak brands of anarchism. By "theoretically weak" I mean it's full of young people who aren't well read and instead of fixing that decide they can use their very limited experiences to engage in larger political questions. Same delusion the identity politics college students are under. Also commonly comes with a stupid idea that you can't understand something if you haven't experienced it. 

"Yes, we are stuck with civilization for now, and possibly/probably long into the future. Now how will you respond to it? "

by creating my own life, on my own terms, as much as possible. i don't seek to present my own way of doing so as better than anyone else's.

" I don't mind the concept of "lived experience," but it's intimately tied to postmodern theories ..."

well let me clarify that i have no affinity with anything i understand as "postmodern". so i don't agree with your assessment that "lived experience" is intimately tied to postmodern theories. on the contrary. maybe that is a terminology issue, related to academic perspectives, which i generally despise. i think of "lived experience" as ... the actual experience of one living their life. to me, nothing could be further from what i think of as postmodern, or poststructural, thought. which to me is a world of abstraction, rather than experience.

but no doubt there is some generalization there on my part...

"To say that "nature" doesn't exist without defining it first is to engage in really sloppy thinking."

hogwash. i sense that 'nature' is a sloppy concept. your article does nothing to change this, at least for me. on one hand you say that 'nature [as non-artifice] leaves us something to work with' and so tacitly admit to 'nature' as a concept, that is, an artifice. any notion of 'nature qua non-artificial' can only be an artifice since there can be no perception of any such 'nature' by you or anyone else. self-contradict much? you artificially leave yourself out of your own perspective in doing so and create a metaphysical dualism despite yourself. the belief in a unified 'nature' is one of the spookiest presups there may be, and all too modern civ to boot.

you then go on about 'obscurantism' and 'wordgames' and yet that's exactly what you're peddling. you still wish to maintain thought and speech geared to a wide audience (abstractions, generalities, etc) , that is, mass society.  i don't so much.

living out in very remote places over the last four days and i encountered 'nature' exactly never...not once. i am joyful of the reminder. your 'wildism' ain't for me.

for what it's worth, you/jacobi comes up in a significant way in one of the episodes of the brilliant that just got put up.


for those who are interested. it is about science, not about wildism, but obviously there is a relationship...
Dot: Thanks, I saw that. They made some really good points. I sent a link to it out on the HG newsletter.

AmorFati: You remind me a lot of the folks from Disposess Podcast. Do you know them? They're easy to get into contact with, and I think ya'll have similar enough opinions that connecting would be a good idea.

And I wasn't really trying to convince you after the second (?) comment when it became clear that we were just explaining our views to each other, nothing more.

Finally, yeah all human language is artificial. But artificial doesn't mean bad. Artifice is a fundamental part of human life. If you haven't gotten that I've either not explained well enough or you don't understand. I doubt you're interested in me reiterating these things though, so if you _are_ interested in filling in the gap, I'd basically just repeat some of what I've said above.
Also, for anyone who is interested, there's an AMA on wildism going on over at the /r/DebateAnarchism subreddit right now. Some good questions that I think really flesh out wildism as a lot of the people in the Wild Will Coalition see it.