The beginning of the end, when humans became civilized you could argue that it was the beginning of the end for mother earth. That the growth of man into an organized culture is truly going to kill this planet. Once people became civilized, they became colder and hard, feelings were lost. Today we humans have very little feeling very little emotion very little control. Humankind will destroy the world and bring extinction to everything.
The area i've been residing has been hit with drought for three years straight. it's gotten so bad that i live just south of canada and i don't remember what snow looks like. farms going under rancers going to retirement homes, the governmental ie mental organizations of the area have finally decided that the problem might be linked to global warming, they've decided in all their great power to start a coalation to study if it is in fact a warming trend, to see if they need to make another coalation to see if there is anything they can do about it. investments in hybrid cars rake big returns
civil eye zation
The Wise Will Arise:
a brief history of CIVILIZATION and
resistance against it
"Nature is not simply the random flight of atoms through electromagnetic fields. Nature is not the empty, despiritualized lumpen matter that we inherit from modern physics. But it is instead a kind of intelligence, a kind of mind."
- Terrence McKenna
SEEDS OF RESISTANCE
The seeds of the “tree of resistance” to what we know as civilization start with the beginnings of and inherently target all aspects of civilization itself. From its conception, civilization has been resistant to normalcy and all normalcy (later masked as deviancy within civilization) has been resistant to civilization. Civilization masks its destructive nature with religion and the promise of a better life. Resistance to civilization by human beings is therefore not always immediately initiated with the arrival of civilization; moreover, resistance to civilization from inside, by the civilized, usually does not manifest until late in the game. Arguably many early civilizations were dismantled from the inside. Many seem to have spawned new offshoots of what may be civilization, and many were conquered and swallowed by other civilizations. Of those that collapsed without assistance, with or without resistance, few civilly legitimate written records remain to bear substantial evidence. Resistance to civilization becomes more apparent, more common and more visible as the system spreads and affects more areas of the world, and as it becomes more and more transparent in its screening of truths.
Often throughout history civilization has successfully masked its inherently destructive qualities enough to target what Nyan Chanda alludes to as the inherent yearning and striving towards, in humans (and every living thing,) for a better life. As a result, resistance is not always immediately initiated with the arrival or indication of civilization It’s possible and has proven to be necessary to mask the ills of civilization with the lure of leisure and less work (physical or mental activity directed towards the production of accomplishment of something). Understanding the way words are defined and used in the English language speaking about civilization is crucial, as words may shape one’s perceptions.
Currently, any previous civilizations have molded and gelled into one, which threatens to destroy the overall health of the planet. Consequentially, resistance from inside is growing, strengthening, spreading, evolving, and advancing, in the true senses of the words, continuously.
THE POWER OF CULTURE COMPELS YOU
I don't want to do this.
I have little interest in doing this, save the reasons of writing something so I can turn it in so I can get a grade so I can stay at this school so I can graduate so I can get a piece of paper that says I graduated so I can put it on my wall and write down on job applications that, yes in fact it does exist, so I can get a job working somewhere doing something that isn't too awful so I can get paid in paper money so I can use that money to give to people who are also working their jobs so I will be allowed by The Powers That Be to Live and eat and drink and clothe mySelf with some silly, sick, sad, sorry, fake semblance of what is known colloquially as Peace.
There is some sanity left for me in the fantasy that my words will be helpful to someone. I have more interest in work for this class than work for other classes, specifically because of the importance and direct applicability of this work (physical or mental activity directed towards the production of accomplishment of something).
I have interest in applied, natural, organically generated, organically motivated, wild (wild is “occurring… in a natural state”) growth, learning and education. This happens naturally and without effort on the part of all humans. Barring mental retardation, human beings pick up languages, movement, and a near-infinite amount of other skills and trades remarkably easily. It takes little work for a human to learn--usually only concentration. It goes against my natural state as a wild animal to be in a structured, manipulated, subsidized, consciously organized and manipulated, industrial educational institution. I understand the necessity of work. It is hard for me to see “schoolwork” as beneficial beyond the reasons described in the above paragraph. Schoolwork is comprised mostly of the memorization of “facts” that are “known” about the world and in part the generation of new ideas. Much of school as we know it today, if not all, is not about learning at all: it is about enculturation (the adoption of behavior patterns of the surrounding culture.)
What would compel human beings to whip themselves, to run through coals or over the backs of fifty cows, to pierce and cut and stretch their body in painful and unprecedented ways, to build a tower and jump off it, to dance and go into a trance and shake and jive and perhaps have what is closest to a seizure, to go through industrial schooling from ages five through twenty-five, to cut one's own wrists, to commit suicide? Among other possibilities, but perhaps most broadly, what compels people to do all these things and much more is culture. Much of the above list, including industrial schooling, is seen as initiations or rites of passage, which signify a transition toward maturity. The American Indian didn’t cut himself for the white man because it felt good: he did it because his culture taught him to show respect and self-sacrifice for alien visitors.
The English, Latinate word "culture" (from cultura, from colere, meaning "to cultivate"), means, according to the first definition in the American Heritage Dictionary, "The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought." Other definitions include "development of the intellect through training or education," and even "enlightenment resulting from such training or education."
This dictionary, these definitions, these words themselves, are all of course products of the same culture. It is important to understand the definitions of words because they can specifically dictate the workings of the human brain: the Sapir-Worf hypothesis suggests a systematic relationship between the language one speaks and how one interacts with the world.
Language speakers throughout (uneasily) conceivable time have coached their minds, trained their minds, molded, manipulated, and ordered their minds to only think within the parameters of their language. Knowing the difference between definitions of words and true meanings of words, as well as the implied and true uses of words, is very important. It is also very important to understand there is much about the universe, life, everything in it and out of it, that is not explainable, conveyable, solvable, able to be understood or manipulated. This is perhaps the most difficult concept to understand, explain, and convey.
Culture can be defined as human activity, the way humans interact with themselves, their world, or non-humans, but most specifically other humans around them. Understanding culture can help us understand social norms, social guidelines and boundaries--culture is part of what gives a human being his sense of ethics, morals, values, virtues. It is both one's social structure and the specific structure of that structure, the way it structures itself, those around it and the natural world, and the way it works. Culture may refer to organically formed, perhaps ethnic tribes, to any larger, "more developed" social structure such as what is commonly known as Civilization, or even be applied [with a prefix] to smaller sects within a larger group known as subcultures. These groups may or may not serve as a sort of subversive outlet for members of the "dominant" culture.
The word is, of course, like most, or perhaps all words, open to interpretation.
More recently, some people have begun to interpret the meaning of the word in new and different ways. There may be the culture of corporations, for example, or the culture of tennis-players, basketball fans, or guitar players. These are debatable uses of the term, as it is arguable whether or not they are a culture and not a sport, hobby, activity, pastime. Regardless, participation or involvement in these groups, whether deemed truly cultural or not, may in fact dictate certain behavioral characteristics or worldviews. The never-very-trustworthy internet website Wikipedia.com, and a good probable percentage of people polled on any city street, say the word culture may be used as a synonym for the word civilization.
The word "civilization," originally from the Latin civilis, the adjective form of civis, meaning citizen, is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as "an advanced state of intellectual, cultural, and material development in human society, marked by progress in the arts and sciences, the extensive use of record-keeping, including writing, and the appearance of complex political and social institutions."
Citizen, incidentally, is defined as "a person owing loyalty to...the protection of a state or nation." Nation is "a relatively large group of people organized under a single, usually independent government." The ninth definition of the word state is "a specific mode of government." Govern is defined brilliantly as "to exercise sovereign authority." A sovereign nation is one that is self-governing. Another way to define government, or the state, is, “the sole entity with the power to legitimately use violence to enforce decrees.” To Advance is "to cause to move forward, to put forward, to raise in amount or rate." Complex is involved or intricate, as opposed to the simple or the plain. Science is “the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.” (A phenomenon is any occurrence…perceptible by the senses.) Art is most broadly defined as “human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature.”
Society is “the totality of relationships among humans.”
Many early anthropologists describe civilization, and cultural evolution itself, as a whole, in terms of what is known as unilineal evolution. This is the idea that humanity moves forward on a measurable linear timescale from a “primitive” to an “advanced” state. Primitive means “not derived from something else, primary, basic,” that which has evolved and been selected and been essentially proven to work (physical or mental activity directed towards the production of accomplishment of something, in this case survival of a species.)
Much of the English language is derived from Latin, Greek, and Anglo-Saxon roots. Language, of course, is an organic process and requires no definite rules: the main purpose is to communicate, to be understood. Words change over time and words are invented; things are invented, and words are invented to name them. There's no reason to believe the word "wheel" was used before the wheel was invented, or "desk" before desk was invented: arguably the words citizen, civility, civilization, even city, were all invented along with the things they described, or perhaps slid into like forming a habit, right along with the birth of the State.
Examining the origins and definitions of words is especially relevant when we use words to describe something that human beings may or may not actively resist.
Civilization: An advanced state of intellectual, cultural, and material development in human society, marked by progress in the arts and sciences, the extensive use of record-keeping, including writing, and the appearance of complex political and social institutions.
“Advanced” is a highly subjective term. Human cultures have always existed and continue to exist today; this very existence can be considered by members of said cultures and outsiders to be “advanced” intellectually, culturally, and concern any number of things definable as “material development.” Every human being has parents, and thus, even if there were only three of them (which has rarely been the case,) those three humans would have a society.
The concept of “progress” is also a subjective, cultural concept: unilineal evolution is a misconception of early anthropology. Every human has arts and sciences; presumably these progress in individual, perhaps immeasurable ways. Every single human society that has ever existed has kept records: the word “record” holds many more connotations than simply “a human state of writing,” or even a human culture that writes. The civilized may write, but that’s not all that makes them civilized. Even oral histories and stories passed down over generations, even knowledge of and a relationship with the land are records. Which of these records are better or more “advanced” cannot be determined, and is not relevant.
The suffix “-ation” suggests a physical state, and especially a process or action; civilization, then, suggests a process, a schooling or teaching: the act of becoming civilized. Domestication is another great word to use to bring it into focus: domestic, referring to the home, or in the case of animals, tame. Its opposite would be wild, organic, pure, unadulterated, without having been affected or manipulated by conscious [human] effort. People, things, places, areas, regions must be civilized–they are that way innately; it must be enacted upon them. Civilization, then, can only be imposed by itself– that is, the Mohawk Indians never tried to civilize themselves or their land arguably because they themselves were not civilized.
Civility is used to suggest and imply a sense of morality, virtue, justice, composition, maturity, poise, correctness, cleanliness, true humanity and obedience. Civility is one of those words which is best understood through its opposite; in this case generally barbarity, savagery and all that is wild. Human beings, as it’s generally understood, are not born civil or civilized: it is a process; they say, “act civilized,” and then verbally describe or physically demonstrate, and we learn to behave in a civilized manner.
Derrick Jensen defines civilization as “a culture—that is, a complex of stories, institutions, and artifacts—that both leads to and emerges from the growth of cities, with cities being defined—so as to distinguish them from camps, villages, and so on—as people living more or less permanently in one place in densities high enough to require the routine importation of food and other necessities of life."
Civilization, then, most plainly, is a human culture that is based on resistance to all that is wild. It must be taught, encouraged, metaphorically drilled into the skull, brain, memory as all that is right. Civilization is all that we in the very intimate sense know, and all that we have known for our lives. We subconsciously, often unthinkingly, consider it to be correct, right, and to uphold all the values we are taught it stands for. Civilization requires direct use of force and the direct use of the material earth (including human beings) to keep it going. If force fails, or civilization as a whole runs out of materials (plants, animals, rocks, water, land) to use (read: consume), the civilization fails. Since the earth’s material components are theoretically finite, and civilization requires material components to survive, it must continue to grow as it consumes materials. Civilization is based on continuous and, hypothetically exponential, growth.
I'm going to rent myself a house
In the shade of the freeway
I'm going to pack my lunch in the morning
And go to work each day
And when the evening rolls around
I'll go on home and lay my body down
And when the morning light comes streaming in
I'll get up and do it again
Say it again
I want to know what became of the changes
We waited for love to bring
Were they only the fitful dreams
Of some greater awakening
I've been aware of the time going by
They say in the end it's the wink of an eye
And when the morning light comes streaming in
You'll get up and do it again
Caught between the longing for love
And the struggle for the legal tender
Where the sirens sing and the church bells ring
And the junk man pounds his fender
Where the veterans dream of the fight
Fast asleep at the traffic light
And the children solemnly wait
For the ice cream vendor
Out into the cool of the evening
Strolls the Pretender
He knows that all his hopes and dreams
Begin and end there
Ah the laughter of the lovers
As they run through the night
Leaving nothing for the others
But to choose off and fight
And tear at the world with all their might
While the ships bearing their dreams
Sail out of sight
I'm going to find myself a girl
Who can show me what laughter means
And we'll fill in the missing colors
In each other's paint-by-number dreams
And then we'll put our dark glasses on
And we'll make love until our strength is gone
And when the morning light comes streaming in
We'll get up and do it again
Get it up again
I'm going to be a happy idiot
And struggle for the legal tender
Where the ads take aim and lay their claim
To the heart and the soul of the spender
And believe in whatever may lie
In those things that money can buy
Though true love could have been a contender
Are you there?
Say a prayer for the Pretender
Who started out so young and strong
Only to surrender
Jackson Browne, in his iconic, classic ballad The Pretender, beautifully illustrates the archetype of today’s citizen – the modern-day civilized slave who rejects the wild within him. He started out so young and strong, only to surrender to what he knows is a pretend game: he resolves to be a happy idiot, struggling for the legal tender. They say ignorance is bliss. Harriet Tubman said, “the hardest part of freeing slaves is teaching them that they’re enslaved.”
“Long ago, perhaps simultaneous with its conception, our culture placed value on this ambiguous term “production” in varying degrees of “efficiency.” Wealth was placed in objects, and the ideas of good and bad were determined by how quickly, smoothly and simply objects were produced. The simplest, fastest, smoothest, easiest way--the way that requires the least amount of energy or effort--is deemed best. If a human makes an object, this is called creation. When numbers of humans make numbers of objects, this is called production. When these objects are made simplest, quickest, and smoothest, with the least amount of energy, this is called efficiency. Humans who practice this way of life build and live in civilizations, and the spread of this way of life is called globalization” (Rouda).
But I’m getting ahead (or behind, it’s all the same) of myself.
The American Heritage Dictionary, incidentally, defines production as “the act or process of producing” and efficient as “producing… with the minimum waste, expense or effort.” This, ideally hypothetically, would make for a simpler, easier, more manageable, generally happier life. Indeed, the shadowed, screened, presented appeal of civilization has always been the promise of a better life.
However, I like to define good, bad, better and worse in terms of health. Health is defined as “a condition of optimum well-being.”
Inside of civilization, it’s collectively understood and stressed, or maybe stressed and understood, or maybe invented, presented, stressed and finally accepted, but never quite understood, that civility, civilization, the nation-state, the fundamental structure of the domicile and the domestic, and above all that which is tame is better, best, and, above all, the only option. Many so-called “civilized” humans are taught to and often do feel superior to other, so-called “uncivilized” humans who are outside their culture. Civilization teaches, honors, values and is deeply dependent on an inherent and infallible, and perhaps unfounded, fear of that which is organic, natural, wild, original, normal.
Normal is defined as “conforming to… a norm.” What is normal is the same as what is sustainable, is only definite in qualitative terms--if the grass is green for 10,000 years, then green grass is normal, but if one day it switched to blue and remained that way for 500 years (and humans live 0-120 years), then blue grass might become the norm. It seems to all be about adjusting, levels of adjustment, levels of comfort. If it’s normal to be sitting, and then you stand, it becomes normal to be standing. It also seems to be measured proportionally: if there are 50 people, and five are standing while the rest sit, the standers could be considered abnormal. It is common knowledge today that civilization, that is, deviation from the organic, natural, wild, normal, causes all kinds of sicknesses and diseases--the opposites of health.
Arnold Devries, in his Primitive Man and His Food, writes,
The facts are known, and these comprise a very interesting and important story. They indicate that, when living under near-isolated conditions, apart from civilization and without access to the foods of civilization, primitive man lives in much better physical condition than does the usual member of civilized society. When his own nutrition is adequate and complete, as it often is, he maintains complete immunity to dental caries…. There are no prenatal deformities. Resistance to infectious disease is high, few individuals being sick, and these usually rapidly recovering. The degenerative diseases are rare, even in advanced life, some of them being completely unknown and unheard of by the primitive. Mental complaints are equally rare, and the state of happiness and contentment is one scarcely known by civilized man. The duration of life is long, the people being yet strong and vigorous as they pass the proverbial three score and ten mark, and living in many cases beyond a century (Zerzan, 32).
Indeed, Mark Nathan Coehn, in Health and the Rise of Civilization, referring to primitive man, writes,
Protein deficiency is almost unknown in these groups, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies are rare and usually mild in comparison to rates reported from many Third World populations. Archaeological evidence suggests that specific deficiencies, including that of iron (anemia,) vitamin D (rickets,) and, more controversially, vitamin C (scurvy)--as well as such general signs of protein calorie malnutrition as childhood growth retardation--have generally become more common in history rather than declining…because increasingly complex society placed new barriers between individuals and flexible access to resources, because trade often siphoned resources away, because some segments of society increasingly had only indirect access to food, because investments in new technology to improve food production focused power in the hands of the elites so that their benefits were not widely shared, and perhaps because of the outright exploitation and deprivation of some segments of society” (Zerzan, 82).
Verily, in an independent interview, Derrick Jensen can be quoted as saying,
Well, what measure do you want to use to determine the planet’s health? The climate is changing. 90% of the large fish in the oceans are gone. Phytoplankton populations are collapsing. Each summer a dead zone covers 8000 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico. Another blankets Chesapeake Bay. Another the Baltic Sea. Altogether, there are almost 150 dead zones, places where the water contains too little oxygen to sustain life. This number has doubled each decade since the 1960s. The cause? Industrial agriculture. Seabird populations are collapsing off the UK. American chestnuts are gone. The cod are effectively gone. Passenger pigeons used to fly in flocks so large they darkened the sky for days at a time. Same with Eskimo curlews. They’re gone. And do you know why there are no penguins in the northern hemisphere? Because they were eradicated…I mean, somebody could certainly say, There’s still a tree standing, obviously things are okay. But that’s obviously an insane position… (Perkins)
Among the diseases which are widely, casually accepted today as being caused by civilization are cancer, acne, diabetes, rickets, tooth decay, high blood pressure, heart disease, and the self-destructive drug addictions and eating disorders which may be understood as a form of resistance. Not to mention the millions of microscopic dioxins inside every mother’s breast milk, and every one of us, for which we only have plastic to thank, which was produced by civilization.
In order to continue we need a brief, factual, workable timeline of the true history of all that we know: the universe, planet earth, life, and humanity, up to today. Today’s understanding is that the universe itself is approximately 13.7 billion years old. The earth is about 4.6 billion years old. Life is said to have “appeared” on the planet anywhere from four billion years ago. The dinosaurs went extinct about 65 million years ago. All-trusted-by-stupid-humans internet website Wikipedia.com calls the birth of genus homo at 2.5 million years ago, but the last time I was in the National Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. (whose world history exhibit had just been modified to accommodate recent research), it said 10 million. What we inside of what we call civilization call civilizations appeared first, so we have decided, between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago.
So, for 24 hours of the party, you’re standing. Then, you sit down for one minute and check your watch. What’s normal? The standing, or the sitting?
Let’s say for over 99% of its collective existence, humanity lived in organically ethnic, originally nomadic tribes with complex social structures, hierarchies, division of labor, religions, arts and systems of communication, which hunted and gathered naturally occurring food which was given to them by the earth for the cost of the physical work it took to obtain it. Then, .001% ago, a new system of social structuring and food acquisition, what Daniel Quinn refers to as “totalitarian agriculture,” the building of cities, and as Derrick Jensen points out, its necessary systematic acquiring of “natural resources” from the earth and those who live on it, arose organically in some tribes, then spread very quickly by force and choice until it claimed dominion over 98% of all living human beings. This is how cancer spreads in the body of an organism.
It began as one man, then a group of men, separated themselves from nature, shifted from Martin Buber’s “I and Thou” to “I and It.” Once they, them, anyone perceived an animal or a bird or a tree or a rock or the wind or the river not as a brother, sister, cousin, mother, father, grandfather, but as a thing, an object, a material to be developed, a resource to be extracted, a tool to be used, the destruction began. And that destruction has now extended to every corner of the earth, and even into the deepest recesses of the human soul, and it is now threatening to completely destroy humanity and, without exaggeration, the entirety of this biosphere we call earth.
In light of this truth, we need to ask ourselves, once more, what is normal? What, for that matter, is wild? What is organic, what is natural? What is right?
What is healthy?
Evolution is real, and evolution is natural, which makes it wild, which means it works and has worked, which means it is healthy, and I know that evolution requires diversity. So what is most healthy? Diversity is necessary for the continued, sustainable, “renewable” general overall health of species of animals.
Arguably, civilization values diversity. New York City is a prominent piece of our current civilization and it is a very diverse place. Arguably more arguably, civilization is based on production and growth, and the subsequent spread of civilization, which is after all just one culture (whereas there used to be many, infinite cultures), which means general human culture is being systematically destroyed, changed, manipulated towards more civilization, more uniformity, more manipulated order, and most importantly of all less diversity, which is unhealthy.
In a culture that values production over health, the concept of unilineal evolution is, beyond understandable, necessary. And thus, the wise arise to assist the demise of lies and resist the demise of lives.
ROOTS OF THE ANTI-CIVILIZATION MOVEMENT
The urge to dismantle civilization is neither a traditional political “movement” as the term is classically used (like the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, formed by Ken Saro-Wira of the Ogoni people of Nigeria to defend Ogonis from the destruction caused by Shell Oil; the prime accomplishment of the movement being Saro-Wira’s execution, which can serve as a metaphor for the entire Environmentalist Movement) nor is it based on class, color, creed, kind or consciousness. Resistance is an urge that resides in the bone marrow of every human being, and of course every non-human being. Resistance arises in the mind of the commuter who abhors the cubicle, the traffic jam, the queue. Resistance arises in the heart of the mother who weeps over her child lost to cancer caused by carcinogens in the environment, to drugs, to suicide, to war. It arises in the soul of a community ravaged by violence. It arises in the roots that crack the asphalt, in the ivy that blankets the prison wall, in the thousands of birds who collide with airplanes and the thousands of deer (and others) who collide with cars each year. Resistance arises in the whip of wind against every power line.
Civilization is based on a rejection of the wild, the calm and chaotic, the natural, the primary, the true and the pure. Civilization is based on manipulation, subjugation, the restraint of the innate; it is based on the implication of a specific and ideally universal inherently authoritative government “order.” Civilization is based on rejection of the wild. Therefore, the very norm of civilization is the abnormal.
Resistance to civilization, then, begins and ends with that which is wild. Anything that has been wild has been resisting to civilization, just as any civilization has been resistant to that which is wild. All that which is normal is resistant to civilization, as civilization values the abnormal, the manipulated, the changed and governed, as normal.
The ability to gain factual knowledge about the birth of civilization is compromised by civilization itself, historiography, and a lack of written records. It is assumed that the first civilizations began in Egypt, what is now known as the Middle East along the Indus River, and also independently in China. It is unclear and uncertain why these civilizations developed. The popular story is that a general health of regions allowed people to stop moving and settle down, practice agriculture and domesticate livestock, “specialize labor” and develop the “complex social and political institutions” of today’s civilization. There’s nothing especially wrong with this, although it doesn’t answer the key question of why humanity stopped living in harmony with the earth and started extracting resources through force. Arguably, the beginning of industrial agriculture, the domestication of plants and animals, the manipulation of the wild and the natural, and the subsequent prolonged growth and systematic sickening of world health as a whole, began with religion, which is all fairy tales. Institutionalized religion, like many of the institutions of civilization, preys on human gullibility, on the need to explain the as-previously-explained unexplainable. Indeed, a new “religion” seems to have emerged among many modern civilized humans that holds that life is meaningless, and so we must therefore accumulate as much material wealth and “toys,” and seek addictions and diversions to help us forget this dismal “fact.”
Perhaps civilization was not actively resisted by humans originally; certainly it was not resisted by the groups of humans who began the process. If we can accept Derrick Jensen’s definition of civilization as the use of violence to extract resources from outlying areas, we can imagine that the first “entrepreneur” who decided to use violence to extract resources from the landbase of now-known-as-indigenous people was met with physical resistance, which he, apparently, overpowered with greater force. It’s not a question of restating the known: today’s civilization, after starting in what was then known as Mesopotamia and Egypt, was spread across the rest of the planet (North and South America, Africa, India, Asia, Australia) by force (masked or not).
As Jared Diamond semi-correctly points out in his semi-correct questionably-scholarly book Guns, Germs and Steel, a lot of what allowed civilization to spread so quickly without resistance was impressive, overpowering firepower and the subconscious weapon of disease. Another main reason civilization grew unchecked in its incipient stages is that in many cases it was not possibly foreseeable that the initially-friendly bringers of civilization would in actuality bring nothing but sickness and destruction; on the contrary, civilizers have generally historically been welcomed and accepted as pleasant visitors by most uncivilized societies, or more so. This is arguably in part due to organized religion, specifically Anglicized Christianity.
Hoxie Neale Fairchild writes in The Noble Savage: a Study in Romantic Naturalism that “the savages, indeed, worship the whites as gods, at first making sacrifice to them by tearing their own flesh, and when this is frowned upon by the voyagers, bringing offerings of fruit.” This may suggest a general trust and good faith on behalf of those who are raised uncivilized and a tendency for the uncivilized to be able to be coerced into accept civility. We know from numerous accounts of early explorers and settlers that indigenous populations threatened by the forces of civilization are often so inherently peaceable they have been historically described as gullible or easily taken.
Let us imagine that a group of people representing civilization lives in region x and walks to region y. They meet the people living there and convince them to join their civilization. If they join, the end. If they resist, presumably the people would be convinced to leave or at least relinquish the “use” of the land they lived on to the dominators. If they cannot be convinced, they are coerced, by force.
For example, King Ferdinand of Spain wrote the following to the Taino or Arawak Native American Indians (the people on the land Spain wished to use):
Should you fail to comply [in accepting Anglizicized Christianity], or delay maliciously in so doing, we assure you that with the help of God we shall use force against you, declaring war upon you from all sides and with all possible means, and we shall bind you to the yoke of the Church and of Their Highnesses; we shall enslave your persons, wives and sons, sell you or dispose of you as the King sees fit; we shall seize your possessions and harm you as much as we can as disobedient and resisting vassals. And we declare you guilty of resulting deaths and injuries, exempting Their Highnesses of such guilt as well as ourselves and the gentlemen who accompany us (Corbett).
Indigenous cultures were often ridiculed for freely sharing their wealth with the men who conquered them. In other words, their [uncivilized] worldview could not even fathom the psychosis in the minds of the men who would use violence to take that which is not theirs to take. They were frequently lured unwittingly into traps, as when Cortez deceived thousands of Incas into attending a celebration that ended in a bloodbath. What was dismissed as ignorance and naiveté on their part was merely the absence of psychosis that can be found in healthy humans living in a healthy community; the presence of health.
Thomas Jefferson said, referring to the Native American Indian tribes, “In war, they shall kill some of us, but we shall destroy all of them.” Indeed, an unquotable Native American Indian tribesman certainly said, “For every white man we shoot, another jumps in to take his rank.” Civilization is based on growth and production and especially the spread of civilization. A wide variety of other human cultures may be based on anything from health, happiness, peace, serenity, and survival, to celebration, creativity, and hedonism. But civilization is based solely on making more civilization. This is how it spreads, and anything contrary to it is deemed resistance, which, within the very parameters in which civilization operates, must be destroyed.
Historically civilization has always been resisted by those outside of it, by those being forced or trapped or coerced or convinced to join it. However, it is not until more recently that we have witnessed resistance against civilization emerging from within.
FORMS OF RESISTANCE
I am: yet what I am none cares or knows,
My friends forsake me like a memory lost;
I am the self-consumer of my woes,
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shades in love and death's oblivion lost;
And yet I am! and live with shadows tost
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems;
And e'en the dearest--that I loved the best--
Are strange--nay, rather stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes where man has never trod;
A place where woman never smil'd or wept;
There to abide with my creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
The grass below--above the vaulted sky.
Like most poets, John Clare (author of above) was unappreciated, ridiculed, and confined to a mental institution. He died poor and sickly. Like most poets.
Of those civilized humans who have not yet had the ability to feel beaten out of them, many feel something is wrong. Perhaps they do not turn, with awareness, to the overarching schema of civilization as the source of the problem, but they feel a primal resistance deep inside, beneath their budget crises and deep-seated psychological depression. They are then often told, or they decide, or they are made to understand, that the problem lies within them, and so they work and change and pray and hope for difference, hope for sanity, hope for happiness. Some create it or something like it, and some manage to find some of it, and some never do and die feeling utterly wasted. And many commit suicide, “the easy way out.”
As these tortured souls strive to articulate their pain, some question the systems of control: the state, the government, the nation, the police, and the school, even the created infrastructure of our world. They may attempt to change any number of these using any number of methods which have been tried, tested, have failed, and thus been deemed legitimate and effective ways to encourage change. These may include working within the system to initiate a shift, or actively working against the system using tactics of communication, subversion or what may be referred to as “direct action.” This means what it says: directly taking action against the authority of civilization to compromise its interests.
It’s easy to assume that the majority of accounts of direct resistance were suppressed, denied, manipulated or at least sugarcoated throughout the process of historiography—witness the fairly recent dismissal of Malcolm X in the current canon. Or consider that in most cases, civilized people who left pre-American British colonies to live with the Native American Indians were referred to as having been captured and held against their will. Then, of course, there is The Last of the Mohicans.
Phil Konstantin, in his calendar of “holidays” concerning the period of American colonization, relates the following for January 13, 1833: “Reverend Samuel Worcester is a missionary to the Cherokee Nation in Georgia. The state of Georgia ordered all whites living with Indians to swear allegiance to the state of Georgia. Reverend Worcester refused to do so. On September 16, 1831, Reverend Worcester was sentenced to 4 years at hard labor in a Georgia prison. Even though the Supreme Court rules that it is unconstitutional for Georgia to jail Reverend Worcester, he will not be released until today.” This is just one of many stories of “civilized” people choosing to live in what seems to them a saner way.
The truth as it appears is that direct resistance to civilization, named as such, from inside the thing itself, has been scarce until very recently. With civilization’s smokescreen of good intentions, from-the-cradle enculturation to be loyal to the machine, the panopticonic nature of the system, the menacing, enforceable penalties for fighting back, resistance must mask itself as well. Often humans verbally address what they are “resistant to” as something other than civilization, when in fact the core target is none other than that. Resistance to civilization may also be identified as any deviation from the abnormal norm; may be described metaphysically as subconscious activity of the soul; and may include a measurable rise in the rates of base, uncivilized human activity such as depression, substance abuse, homicide, suicide, and rape.
Ned Ludd (King Ludd, General Ludd, Captain Ludd,) widely slandered in modern history as having been a simpleton, is the namesake for the ongoing “movement” by civilized humans to destroy machines or other tangible tools or representations of industrial advancement. Ludd, whose factual existence lacks civilly-legitimate proof, was or was not a textile artisan from the British village of Anstey, who in the early 1800’s did or did not destroy two stocking frames (knitting machines,) which sparked a movement by artisans and others from then on to destroy mechanical structures. From Ludd’s day up to modernity, Luddites around the world have taken credit for the destruction of factories, farm machinery and other engines of industrialization.
It’s worth mentioning that, despite a passionate speech by Lord Byron, “machine breaking” was made an executable crime in the U.K. in 1813, and the U.S. today may punish treason (war against the State) and espionage (spying on the State) with death. If you take out a dam, for the sake of the wild, thus resisting civilization, this can be twisted into direct action against the State, which is punishable by death. One can wipe out the entirety of old-growth forests, one can systematically remove the tops of mountains, one can even drop bombs on humans and non-humans halfway around the world, and this is all acceptable (and legal) within the guidelines of civilization. However, one 23-year-old self-described “environmental activist” Jeffrey Luers (who many or may not have called what he was resisting “civilization”) was sentenced to 22 years and 8 months in Oregon State Penitentiary for the burning of three SUVs that belonged to a Chevrolet car dealership in Eugene, Oregon. This is considerably longer than the sentence one might be given if convicted of rape, kidnapping, or murder in Eugene, Oregon. (The cars that Luers “destroyed” were repaired and sold, and an anonymous “criminal” who destroyed 100 cars at the same location in solidarity with Luers was never prosecuted.)
The North American hippie movement of the 1960’s, if it could speak, might say it was against the war in Vietnam and in favor of a more loving, probably democratic, world, and then again it might say it was resisting civilization. Many of its members were drawn to hippiedom as a way to escape what they called their lives, i.e. civilization. They were drawn away from school, away from work, away from the war, and towards a freer, more open, carefree, perhaps hedonistic way of life. Some hippies left civilization, the cities, altogether, usually in small groups, to form what they called communes, what were perhaps an attempt at tribalism [the societal structure into which humans naturally evolved.] Civilization may or may not be culpable for the coercion and conversion of resistors, notably the hippies, specifically Tom Hayden and Jerry Rubin, to allegiance to civilization under the beautified ideal of democracy. Tom Hayden, after serving as a member of the California State Senate, is now a member of the advisory board for the Progressive Democrats of America, which claims to aim to expand progressive political cooperation within the Democratic Party. Progressive restates a value of progress. Jerry Rubin, after being on the forefront of the so-called counterculture hippie movement, observed that “the individual who signs the check has the ultimate power” (Horstman). This can be seen as a direct endorsement of the system that Rubin, earlier in life, spoke passionately against.
As we have seen, civilization may coerce and convert its opposition using subversive tactics. Civilization may, over time, be proven to appeal to humans. Those who abhor civilization in youth may, with wisdom of age, decide civilization is in fact beneficial and good. Another way to say this is that the animus or soul which is present within every living thing, including humans, ceases to be visible on a conscious level and may begin to eke out existence in other less visible ways. As civilization spreads, rates of depression, substance abuse, suicide, homicide and rape grow. These can all be described as wild, base, animalistic acts, the use of which is usually dictated by one’s culture. Civilization is perhaps so sterile it cannot nurture its very human members.
Sometimes resistors to civilization are silenced under the declaration that they are insane. Dr. Theodore Kaczynski, labeled by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Media as the Unabomber, arguably a very well educated, rational, sensible individual, observed, “It would be better to dump the whole stinking system and take the consequences” (Zerzan, 140). In his manifesto entitled Industrial Society and Its Future, Kaczynski outlines the problems with industrialism; he blames “society’s” downfall on the Industrial Revolution and its consequences. Kaczynski, like most resistors to civilization, asserted he just wanted to be listened to: in the middle of his bombing campaign, he said he would cease his attacks if a newspaper or popular journal would publish his writing.
In his work Ship of Fools, Kaczynski relates a parable of a ship with a mad captain, forever sailing north. The faculty of the boat is concerned with minor injustices and indifferences, while the cabin boy says, “You damn fools! Don’t you see what the captain and the mates are doing? They’re keeping you occupied with your trivial grievances about blankets and wages and the dog being kicked so that you won’t think about what is really wrong with this ship--that it’s getting farther and farther to the north and we’re all going to be drowned. If just a few of you would come to your senses, get together, and charge the poop deck, we could turn this ship around and save ourselves. But all you do is whine about petty little issues like working conditions and crap games and the right to suck cocks." We can infer from this a parallel with civilization and its tactics: civilization is constantly trying to confuse and coerce the resistor into resisting or fighting other, insignificant evils while the parent problem of civilization is allowed to continue. In the end of Ship of Fools, the boat crashes into an iceberg and everyone drowns. In this story, Kaczynski articulates the powerful way civilizations cloud the minds of its citizens, forcing them to think about other things beside the Big Picture, and offering them the illusion of choice: better wages on the doomed ship, or perhaps the illusion of voting.
Henry David Thoreau, in his Resistance to Civil Government, writes, “All voting is a sort of gaming, like chequers or backgammon… even voting for the right is doing nothing.” It’s true that as human society grows and self-civilizes, the will of the individual becomes transformed into the ambiguous “will of the people.” The problem is the people can be manipulated, the people can be misled; the people can say one thing and fully harm the individual.
Jesus Christ, arguably the first anti-industrial, anti-production, anti-civilizationalist preacher, can be quoted as saying, ““If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you (Gospel of St. Thomas).” A possible interpretation of this is, “if you value what is natural, organic, innate and wild within you, the wild will support you. If you do not value all that which is wild, the wild will destroy you.” This is true. More, in the same Gospel, Jesus can be quoted as having said, “The Kingdom (of Heaven) is inside you and it is outside you… Split a piece of wood, and I am there… Lift up the stone and you will find me.) He can also be quoted as saying, “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.)” These quotes, among others, are interpretable as discouragement of the production-centered, production-driven nature of civilization, and a value of the innate inside and in the natural world. Christ was allegedly crucified and certainly thought insane by many.
In his novel Brave New World, Aldous Huxley paints a dystopian future strikingly similar to the workings of modern industrial civilization. The civilized in his novel take soma, a hallucinogenic narcotic which takes them on a “trip” to forget their problems. “Real” civilization has this too: organized religion, television, and most notably pharmaceutical drugs. A commercial on the radio said, “Are you over fifty-five years old? Do you feel lonely and depressed? This is NOT NORMAL. Please see your doctor and inquire about x anti-depressant.” The depression these people, these many, many people feel, is the innate wild nature within them resisting civilization.
Aforementioned John Clare, Emily Dickinson, William Faulkner, Leo Tolstoy, Paul Gaugin, Jean Michel Basquiat, Vincent Van Gogh, Henry Darger, Ezra Pound, Janis Joplin, W.B. Yeats, Jim Morrison, Christopher Smart, Kurt Cobain, Michelangelo, Samuel Coleridge, Mark Twain, Hart Crane, Conor Oberst and hundreds of other poets, artists and visionaries have been widely regarded, at least during their lifetime, as being insane. (All of the above, arguably, argue, most basely, for an acceptance of the wild.) William Blake, during his time considered mad by many, now recognized as brilliance, can be quoted as saying, “Prisons are built with stones of law, brothels with stones of religion.” Perhaps echoing Christ in, “…If you do not value all that which is wild, the wild will destroy you.”
Seigelman (1989) has observed that the percentage of “depressed” people in the U.K. has multiplied ten times from 1945 to 1989 (http://www.clinical-depression.co.uk). A pediatrics report, showed an increase in the amount of [American] teen suicide by 18.5% from 2003 to 2004. Andrea Shaver, in Teen Suicide, supports the claim that the rate of teenage Canadians committing suicide is at its highest in the country’s history (Shaver). Moreover, according to the World Health organization, someone around the world commits suicide every 40 seconds, and in the year 2000, 815,000 people committed suicide. How many others? Is it increasing?
If what I say matters, everybody I’ve ever asked says they have contemplated suicide, if only for a second. My peers are struggling, confused, lost, depressed, upset, all of them. Most of them. More every day. Nobody knows what to do. At a party, if one is asked, “isn’t it all messed up?” chances are one will respond, “Yeah, what the hell do we do about it?” Civilization has succeeded in numbing its citizens from birth. The proverbial Road to Self has been fenced off. There isn’t even a tollbooth. The “Race” seems the only option. If every member of a culture thinks about suicide at least once, even for one second, what does this say about the culture itself?
Those who resist, all are resisting, at the core, civilization. The suicide victim is resisting civilization. The homicidal maniac is resisting civilization. The sickening rapist is resisting civilization. The tax evaders, the fare-jumpers and shoplifters, are all resisting civilization. The environmentalists, the women’s liberationists, the equalitists, the go-greeners and the save-the-earthers are all resisting civilization. The drunk on the street is resisting civilization. The heroin addicts in the basement are resisting civilization. The slacker is resisting civilization. The free spirit is resisting civilization. The monk is resisting civilization. The hobo is resisting civilization. Even kids in the park skipping school to smoke marijuana are resisting civilization.
The trees, the rocks, the [non-human] animals, the uncivilized humans, the wind, the rain, the snow, the rivers, the seasons, the mountains, the stars, the universe, and time itself are all individually and continuously resisting civilization. Children are very active in their resistance to civilization. In the popular children’s story Winnie The Pooh, by A.A. Milne, Christopher Robin, while explaining to Pooh he won’t be able to spend as much time with him because he must start going to school, says his favorite thing to do is Nothing. Specifically, “Well, it's when people call out at you just as you're going off to do it 'What are you going to do, Christopher Robin?' and you say 'Oh, nothing,' and then you go and do it.... It means just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering" (Milne) . The young and old all over the world identify with this description of one’s favorite thing to do. When one identifies with this passage, and does the nothing it speaks of, one is resisting civilization.
For ideas on how to most effectively resist, and the best advice to give those “young adults” who find themselves resisting something but aren’t quite sure what it is, perhaps we can, in closing, turn again to the words of Jackson Browne, addressing the healthy nature of organic, natural, wild, tribal human society (the totality of relationships in humans) in his song The Only Child:
Boy of mine
As your fortune comes to carry you down the line
And you watch as the changes unfold
And you sort among the stories you've been told
If some pieces of the picture are hard to find
And the answers to your questions are hard to hold
Take good care of your mother
When you're making up your mind
Should one thing or another take you from behind
Though the world may make you hard and wild
And determine how your life is styled
When you've come to feel that you're the only child
Take good care of your brother
Let the disappointments pass
Let the laughter fill your glass
Let your illusions last until they shatter
Whatever you might hope to find
Among the thoughts that crowd your mind
There won't be many that ever really matter
But take good care of your mother
And remember to be kind
When the pain of another will serve you to remind
That there are those who feel themselves exiled
On whom the fortune never smiled
And upon whose life the heartache has been piled
They're just looking for another
And when you've found another soul
Who sees into your own
Take good care of each other.
We may also listen to the sage Walt Whitman, who was thought crazy, and was adamant in his resistance to civilization:
This is what you shall do: love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning god, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open and every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body….
Cupp, Bob. Murraysville house built by pioneers once captured by Indians. Tribune-Review. 11/30/2007. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribunereview/news/westmoreland/s_540213.html -
Numias, June. White Captives: Gender and Ethnicity on the American Frontier. UNC press, 1993.
Kacyznski, Ted. Ship of Fools. http://www.sacredfools.org/crimescene/casefiles/s2/shipoffoolsstory.htm
Interview between John Zerzan and Derrick Jensen. http://www.altpr.org/apr12/zerzan.html
Interview with Derrick Jensen (attatched)
Shaver, Andrea. Teen Suicide. For the Political and Social Affairs Division. August 1990.
http://dsp-psd.pwgsc.gc.ca/Collection-R/LoPBdP/BP/bp236-e.htm - shaver teen suicide
Dicum, Gregory. GREEN flaming SUVs: A Conversation with Convicted Eco-terrorist Jeff Luers. San Francisco Gate. June, 2005. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2005/06/22/gree.DTL
Global problems article
Corbett, Bob. King Ferdinand’s letter to the Taino/Arawak Indians. http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/41/038.html
Thoreau, Henry David. Resistance to Civil Government. (The Norton Anthology of American Literature: Shorter Seventh Edition. W.W. Norton and Company, Inc. 2008.
http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fe/Geologic_clock.jpg/350px-Geologic_clock.jpg&imgrefurl=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Earth&h=346&w=350&sz=27&hl=en&start=3&sig2=klOZRCgnJc7_oTo83Ucx1g&um=1&tbnid=Zl4qfT-qkAfijM:&tbnh=119&tbnw=120&ei=eDFOR4uyEJqmeIn3nJkO&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dtimeline%2Bclock%2Bmesozoic%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DG (earth clock)
Zerzan, John. Against Civilization: Readings and Reflections. Feral House, LA, CA. 2005.
Jensen, Derrick. Endgame Volumes I and II. Seven Stories Press, 2006.
Milne, A.A. The House at Pooh Corner, Winnie the Pooh. Dutton Children’s Books, 1991.
Chanda, Nyan. Bound Together: how traders, preachers, adventurers and warriors helped shape globalization. 2007.
Robbins, Richard Howard. Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism. 2005, Pearson Education Inc.
The perceptions of those around me and around the world
http://www.youtube.com and the people who use it
How "civil" of you to hijack the "civilization" page with a large text we could have found elsewhere and isn't of your own generation.
? you can't find this anywhere else. it's written by me, zzz33333.
? you can't find this anywhere else. it's written by me, zzz33333.
your paper is SHITE, bra.
ZZZ33333, ur my hero
what's it to you?