About the critique and solutions of Primitivisms

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AnrBjotk's picture
AnrBjotk
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Jul 23 2011 15:53
About the critique and solutions of Primitivisms

Love them or loath them, they’re (we) are here to stay. We present ourselves as the only genuine, radical and pragmatic solution to the problems of mental illness, depression, consumerism, capitalism, and perhaps foremost the environmental crisis.
We aim to treat the disease, not mask the symptoms.

Primitivism, or anarcho-primitivism is, I know, not very welcome nor appreciated here at LibCom; The critique against Primitivism is at times passive-aggressive, juvenile, typical leftist, and at best misguided. Some arguments hit home harder than others, such as the anarcho-primitivists solution for physical disability, treatment of disease, and the millions of people who will die without technology (I will reply to this critique soon).
However the argument that primitivists ignore the millions of death that would occur had their “utopia” been executed, and the problems of severe physical disability is unfounded. To quote John Zerzan: “We encourage the questioning, just the questioning”. Primitivism does not place itself as some elitist ideology, answering all ailments like other post-modern pseudo-philosophies. The issues are, embarrassingly unanswered, but there is a reason: We do not know the answers. But not knowing how to fly did not stop people from trying to create an airplane. Primitivists are mainly preoccupied with the problems that are a result of modern civilization (for instance an entire civilisation based upon non-renewable resources); We hold the belief that so much of the ailments today are a result of the lack of intimacy, interaction between people (real interaction, not facebook chats), the lack of control over out life’s (Marx, chattel slavery, etc) and the lack of contact with nature (and therefore, to follow Aquinas, ourselves)

As for the millions who would died without technology; For Primitivists this is proof of the problem, that so many are addicted to technology, so many are not able to take care of themselves and are therefore not in contact with life, but wander aimlessly towards life.

I do not know if I will meet only silence or personal abuse, but I hope this thread will once and for all set the record straight. I hope there will be a loving and understanding talk. And I do not hold all, if any, answers. But I have not yet gotten any arguments that have lead be away from Primitivism.

If we can get past the initial banter, I would love to discuss the issue of pacifism versus violence within the movement.

Love, Anr

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Jul 23 2011 16:06

The problem with primitivism (for me at least) is this background myth of return to 'nature' and 'life' assumption. It literally pales in the face of 8 million people and their problems in twenty first century london. Apart from obscure references to nature and mythical references to some sort of fall (modernity), it has very little to say about the problems (and their concomitant solutions) facing humanity and its relationship to the earth (apart from, as Zerzan says, question, question, question yourself into stoic defeatism).

RedHughs
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Jul 23 2011 19:54

I think it is important to realize there is not a single critique of primitivism with the overall anarchist/communist "spectrum" (or this board). Rather, there are a number of critiques from different perspectives that may not especially agree with each other.

I personally feel at least as close to primitivists as to what I'd see as the anarchists who want to maintain wage-labor-via-rationing and/or police-and-prisons, rock-concerts-and-stars, automobiles, etc; the structures of modern capitalist society without the "unfairness". And some fraction of what I'd see as proponents of this, on this board, are happy to dole out abuse to, uh me as well (the working class won't line up with us unless we sound reasonable by say, promising them rationed-rock-concerts, prisons-for-pederasts and no hippie-mud-hut-communes-as-the-solution). So don't feel alone here...

Certainly, among, say the more conservative wing of syndicalism, the critique is nothing more than "I want my television" and "You want to live in a cave? The working class doesn't want to live in caves". Obviously, there is also the critique that it's simply impractical, which has some weight but we need more.

Beyond that, there's the critique that some portion of primitivism merges with a kind of romantic vitalism and so has shown some similarity to fascist ideology - notice the unpleasant vegan fundamentalists, the crazed articles (from early "Green Anarchy" say) calling for the death of billions of people (who would be conveniently dark-skinned, etc).

That's something a serious primitivist should answer but I believe that that's an not an adequate critique because it's looking at the worst, not the best of primitivism (still, the willingness of the best primitivists to make common cause with the worst should make them think).

What I think is most serious critique of primitivism is that it's basic position involves giving up an analysis of social conditions in favor of an technological determinist position. On the one hand, the cars, factories, shopping malls and prisons of modern society don't force we human to use them, they need capitalist social relations to impose them. On the other hand, primitive people are generally not "anti-technology" - not only do they not object to using "advanced" technologies when they are at hand but pre-agricultural humans modified their environment in many significant fashions to allow themselves to live a more "abundant" existence - from exterminating large carnivores to burning forests and introducing useful plant species. It is far more accurate to call primitive people "pre-civilized" or "primitive communist" than "non-technological". What's important about primitive people is that they are not at the stage of class society, of the exploitation of one class by another. And this is why a post-capitalist communist society, which would involve the end of class exploitation, would have some resemblance to a primitive society (why Marx used the "primitive communism" for example). For the most intelligent communists (or simply the one I like the best), the end of the fetish of the commodity would be the end of the fetish for consumption and for technology-for-technology's-sake, the end of the automobile-dominated-geography-of-capitalism, etc. A communist society would be neither "primitivist" or technology-driven - rather it would be driven by the needs of a human community.

And this brings the whole "how to get there" point. For communists-who-embrace-the-communization-perspective, the way to get to communism through the creation of a human community that will organize communist society. We self-conscious-communists aren't going to supply a blue-print but act as catalysts, act to cujole, provoke, educate and so-forth the vast majority to take action to directly control their lives and society as a whole. By this token we also couldn't and shouldn't impose either a pro-technology or an anti-technology blue-print - in this process, its quite possible the most intelligent primitivist will join us, while the wankers make hardcore songs about killing all "flesh bags". But the point is that a process, a group of people far larger than the primitivists or the (self-conscious) communists would determine what actually happens after the end of capitalism - defining oneself by one's blueprints rather than one's analysis of social process is thus ... dumb, counter-productive, shallow (etc) - "anti-technology" just doesn't "inform" the process of transforming society into a society dominated by a human community.

John Zerzan spouts a whole range of contradictory but dogmatic positions (abolish language, abolish music, etc). When the contradictions become visible he falls back to the "question, question, question" response - well, I think any intelligent proponent of any political position at would agree that one should question one's position as one goes along (ie, I say "question, question, question" too, hah!). There's nothing unique here. But having political position means you also have "working answers" if not final answers. If you're wandering about with screaming contradictions and using "question, question, question" as the explanation, you're NOT questioning but just making excuses. I mean, Zerzan is indeed in many ways correct that human language itself opens the door to "technology" in a basic sense - so why not follow the logic of that and (as Zerzan would say) "give-up all the crap" about ending technology as such and instead embrace the creation of a human community that could use technology in an appropriate fashion.

And finally, the "external" critique I could finally mention for primitivism is that it dovetails with the "romantic bourgeois" pseudo-critique of capitalism. IE, from Lord Byron onwards, "simplifying life" has been a reform that's been avocated for each person's life disregarding that human are social creatures. And however much the primitivist-informed-by-the-communist-critique might say "technology is social relation", the general tendency of situating oneself as a "primitivist" tends to put one in the spectrum of individual solutions, from bearded men retreating to the hills to bourgeois reformists who set-up foundations to reduce "our use of petroleum" etc. And the problem with this is it definitively not treating technology or capitalism or anything as a social relation but merely treating it as a "consumption choice". And that dovetails with bourgeois reformists who imagine change will come when we-consumers wish for it hard enough (by hypothetically altering our consumption patterns).

Now, certainly one can the most insightful primitivists as communists who reached "a point of despair" and jettisoned their "faith" in the working class. Sure, but I having around a bit, I haven't found despair the most useful to guide to coherent thinking, of the opposite.

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Jul 23 2011 21:13
RedHughs wrote:
I think it is important to realize there is not a single critique of primitivism with the overall anarchist/communist "spectrum" (or this board). Rather, there are a number of critiques from different perspectives that may not especially agree with each other.

I personally feel at least as close to primitivists as to what I'd see as the anarchists who want to maintain wage-labor-via-rationing and/or police-and-prisons, rock-concerts-and-stars, automobiles, etc; the structures of modern capitalist society without the "unfairness". And some fraction of what I'd see as proponents of this, on this board, are happy to dole out abuse to, uh me as well (the working class won't line up with us unless we sound reasonable by say, promising them rationed-rock-concerts, prisons-for-pederasts and no hippie-mud-hut-communes-as-the-solution). So don't feel alone here...

Certainly, among, say the more conservative wing of syndicalism, the critique is nothing more than "I want my television" and "You want to live in a cave? The working class doesn't want to live in caves". Obviously, there is also the critique that it's simply impractical, which has some weight but we need more.

Beyond that, there's the critique that some portion of primitivism merges with a kind of romantic vitalism and so has shown some similarity to fascist ideology - notice the unpleasant vegan fundamentalists, the crazed articles (from early "Green Anarchy" say) calling for the death of billions of people (who would be conveniently dark-skinned, etc).

That's something a serious primitivist should answer but I believe that that's an not an adequate critique because it's looking at the worst, not the best of primitivism (still, the willingness of the best primitivists to make common cause with the worst should make them think).

What I think is most serious critique of primitivism is that it's basic position involves giving up an analysis of social conditions in favor of an technological determinist position. On the one hand, the cars, factories, shopping malls and prisons of modern society don't force we human to use them, they need capitalist social relations to impose them. On the other hand, primitive people are generally not "anti-technology" - not only do they not object to using "advanced" technologies when they are at hand but pre-agricultural humans modified their environment in many significant fashions to allow themselves to live a more "abundant" existence - from exterminating large carnivores to burning forests and introducing useful plant species. It is far more accurate to call primitive people "pre-civilized" or "primitive communist" than "non-technological". What's important about primitive people is that they are not at the stage of class society, of the exploitation of one class by another. And this is why a post-capitalist communist society, which would involve the end of class exploitation, would have some resemblance to a primitive society (why Marx used the "primitive communism" for example). For the most intelligent communists (or simply the one I like the best), the end of the fetish of the commodity would be the end of the fetish for consumption and for technology-for-technology's-sake, the end of the automobile-dominated-geography-of-capitalism, etc. A communist society would be neither "primitivist" or technology-driven - rather it would be driven by the needs of a human community.

And this brings the whole "how to get there" point. For communists-who-embrace-the-communization-perspective, the way to get to communism through the creation of a human community that will organize communist society. We self-conscious-communists aren't going to supply a blue-print but act as catalysts, act to cujole, provoke, educate and so-forth the vast majority to take action to directly control their lives and society as a whole. By this token we also couldn't and shouldn't impose either a pro-technology or an anti-technology blue-print - in this process, its quite possible the most intelligent primitivist will join us, while the wankers make hardcore songs about killing all "flesh bags". But the point is that a process, a group of people far larger than the primitivists or the (self-conscious) communists would determine what actually happens after the end of capitalism - defining oneself by one's blueprints rather than one's analysis of social process is thus ... dumb, counter-productive, shallow (etc) - "anti-technology" just doesn't "inform" the process of transforming society into a society dominated by a human community.

John Zerzan spouts a whole range of contradictory but dogmatic positions (abolish language, abolish music, etc). When the contradictions become visible he falls back to the "question, question, question" response - well, I think any intelligent proponent of any political position at would agree that one should question one's position as one goes along (ie, I say "question, question, question" too, hah!). There's nothing unique here. But having political position means you also have "working answers" if not final answers. If you're wandering about with screaming contradictions and using "question, question, question" as the explanation, you're NOT questioning but just making excuses. I mean, Zerzan is indeed in many ways correct that human language itself opens the door to "technology" in a basic sense - so why not follow the logic of that and (as Zerzan would say) "give-up all the crap" about ending technology as such and instead embrace the creation of a human community that could use technology in an appropriate fashion.

And finally, the "external" critique I could finally mention for primitivism is that it dovetails with the "romantic bourgeois" pseudo-critique of capitalism. IE, from Lord Byron onwards, "simplifying life" has been a reform that's been avocated for each person's life disregarding that human are social creatures. And however much the primitivist-informed-by-the-communist-critique might say "technology is social relation", the general tendency of situating oneself as a "primitivist" tends to put one in the spectrum of individual solutions, from bearded men retreating to the hills to bourgeois reformists who set-up foundations to reduce "our use of petroleum" etc. And the problem with this is it definitively not treating technology or capitalism or anything as a social relation but merely treating it as a "consumption choice". And that dovetails with bourgeois reformists who imagine change will come when we-consumers wish for it hard enough (by hypothetically altering our consumption patterns).

Now, certainly one can the most insightful primitivists as communists who reached "a point of despair" and jettisoned their "faith" in the working class. Sure, but I having around a bit, I haven't found despair the most useful to guide to coherent thinking, of the opposite.

Thank you so much, RedHughes, for an informative and fair post. You’ve made my day. I’d like to address some of the points you make, especially the romanticism part.
I do not myself see my views as romantic, far from it, but I realize a lot of the members, especially the younger ones, are quite hippie-ish and romantic in their views; I was myself until I stumbled upon Theodore Kaczynski, fairly recent, essay entitled The Truth About Primitivism (I have it all on facebook, it’s too long to copy in its entirety here)
This essay once and for all addresses the issue of the romanticising of primitivism. Fair dues, Kaczynski is not in touch with the current movement, and very likely dislikes anything popular, and probably enjoys being an outsider (as recently discovered journal entries have shown), but none the less, Kaczynski really explains it well: There is nothing romantic about the primitivist utopia; It would be a very hard and gruelling life, certainly not simpler times. But times were we would be more in touch with ourselves. One of the main points is violence; Kaczynski debunks the theories of, what he calls over socialized anthropologists, that primitive life was easy and simple. The difference can be summed up in the act of war. In out society war is controlled by men behind desks, sending out soldiers like chess pieces, in primitivist societies killing was an honour, not taken lightly, you would kill the person that defied you, you would physically plunge the spire into him, you would be aware and in touch with what you did. This goes back to one of the main reasons I got into primitivism, the awful truth that we are living our lives like zombies, to paraphrase Gurdjieff.
Another issue is that primitivism want to go backwards, this is even covered in the libcom article I believe; Primitivists want to move forward, not back; The idea is that progress is not necessarily linear, that we could liken it to having taken the wrong route, the idea being to backtrack in order to move forward, and the idea is that the very notion that progress, technological, is non-stoppable. Also, the end of oil will likely hurdle us towards a very different civilization.
As for the most important critique you mention, giving up analysis. I’m afraid I don’t agree. I do not see capitalism, police-prison, shopping malls, as voluntary. To again refer to Gurdjieff, we are zombies, systematically brainwashed and conditioned to only be able to see the options laid out in front of us. The primitivist work is to de-condition, make people understand that TV, shopping malls, etc, are NOT necessities. And that by making a sacrifice in some basic creature comforts can open the door to a spiritual and mindful evolution. Within this view one could also mention La Boetie’s The Politics Of Obedience

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Jul 23 2011 21:31

I would like you to define what you mean by 'modern society', 'nature' and 'technology'.

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Jul 23 2011 22:00
darren p wrote:
I would like you to define what you mean by 'modern society', 'nature' and 'technology'.

I would be delighted to, my good man, I trust you are a fellow-Korzybskian?

Modern society was an awful term to use, a thousand pardons, what I meant was technological society, i.e post-industrial revolution, and perhaps in this context, the computer-internet age.

Nature. In which context? I wrote of man returning to nature, I meant by that returning to the land, to get back in touch with ourselves and therefore the planet. It is my personal belief that we are all 'one' but that is neither here nor there. What I meant was the idea of returning to a way of life where we follow certain universal laws, where we have a mutual relationship with the planet. Where we do not play unfair, i.e shoot animals with rifles, destroy the atmosphere, etc.

As for technology...that's a hard one. I guess what I mean is anything after the hunter-gatherer period and anything that requires elitist or other individual with special skills to be made. If it can be made with simple skills it is not technology (though I am willing to discuss this more) and anything that requires a larger network to function (i.e writing here is very easy, but it requires: electricity, globalization, silicon chips, oil consumption, wage labour, etc)

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Jul 23 2011 23:39

AB, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you used to post as ToR something or other and although you claimed you were sympathetic to primitivism, denied you were a primitivist? Or was it that you just like Hakim Bey and Kazynsky.

Fucking mental in either case.

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Jul 24 2011 00:31
Chilli Sauce wrote:
AB, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you used to post as ToR something or other and although you claimed you were sympathetic to primitivism, denied you were a primitivist? Or was it that you just like Hakim Bey and Kazynsky.

Fucking mental in either case.

Yes, that is me. I can confess I am now much more comfortable with the label primitivist, and my love for Bey has not diminished. My "love" for Kaczynski is more complicated

RedHughs
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Jul 24 2011 00:51
Quote:
To again refer to Gurdjieff, we are zombies, systematically brainwashed and conditioned to only be able to see the options laid out in front of us. The primitivist work is to de-condition, make people understand that TV, shopping malls, etc, are NOT necessities

That's problematic in a couple ways.

One: It's ridiculous and contemptuous to call people today zombies. People today are making rational individual choices in the context of current circumstances, their personal repression and atomized relations. I wager there are ways you compromise with dominant order and I suspect they don't happen because you are a "zombie".

Two: How do you "wake up" these "zombies"? Some further Gurdjieffian magic? Teaching them correct thoughts?

If we are going to return to some kind of community, the only to get there is through (at least partial) community, through mutual education rather than conveyor-belt education or thoughts injected into people. Primitivists can't inject "primitivist consciousness" into the population any more than Maoist can inject "Marx-Lenin-Mao-thought" into the proletariat. Change who's final is people having choice in their lives can't be imposed on people.

RedHughs
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Jul 24 2011 01:07

Also, I didn't mean "romantic" as idealizing things, having the idea that everything was/is great in primitive societies. I meant it in terms of the bourgeois movement "romanticism".

Actually, I'd disagree with you and Ted's "a very hard and gruelling life" - that's ignorant of the actual conditions of at least the most pleasant forms of primitive existence and has a kind of ridiculous macho chest thumping quality (I have read by Ted C. indicating he has knowledge of or even interest in what original primitive existence involved btw). Some primitive certainly did engage in rather brutal warfare against their neighbors but I'd wouldn't idealize that, even using the "strong, brutal, direct" warrior ideal (there were plenty of ambushes as well as instance one group totally exterminating another - woo hoo!).

One thing I'd also mention is that the metal smiths of the tribal areas of Pakistan are quite able to craft guns without being otherwise advanced in modern technology. Which leaves the strong implication that if we leave brutal tribal warfare as our manner of relating guns would be involved really soon and these would "change the game" a lot quicker than the original rise of civilization. If you somehow to got us back to a hard, grueling, brutal primitive existence, you sure would keep us there long because at some minority would think of a "solution" pretty darn quick.

And again, if you're willing to just kind of let all these contradictions "just ride" with the statement "I'm just asking questions", how much "questioning" are you really doing? It is more like making excuses.

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Jul 24 2011 11:02
AnrBjotk wrote:
darren p wrote:
I would like you to define what you mean by 'modern society', 'nature' and 'technology'.

I would be delighted to, my good man, I trust you are a fellow-Korzybskian?

I have no idea who or what a Korzybskian is.

Quote:
Modern society was an awful term to use, a thousand pardons, what I meant was technological society, i.e post-industrial revolution, and perhaps in this context, the computer-internet age.

Oh I see, everything was okay until the 18th century.

Quote:
Nature. In which context? I wrote of man returning to nature, I meant by that returning to the land, to get back in touch with ourselves and therefore the planet. It is my personal belief that we are all 'one' but that is neither here nor there. What I meant was the idea of returning to a way of life where we follow certain universal laws, where we have a mutual relationship with the planet. Where we do not play unfair, i.e shoot animals with rifles, destroy the atmosphere, etc.

This seems hoplessly vaugue... Do you mean agriculture is the only 'natural' way for people to live (so long as they don't use machinary)? What are these 'certian universal laws'?

'To bid people conform to the laws of nature when they have no power but what the laws of nature give them - when it is a physical impossibility for them to do the smallest thing otherwise than through some law of nature, is an absurdity. The thing they need to be told is what particular law of nature they should make use of in a particular case. When, for example, a person is crossing a river by a narrow bridge to which there is no parapet, he will do well to regulate his proceedings by the laws of equilibrium in moving bodies, instead of conforming only to the law of gravitation and falling into the river.'
http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mill-john-stuart/1874/nature.htm

Quote:
As for technology...that's a hard one. I guess what I mean is anything after the hunter-gatherer period and anything that requires elitist or other individual with special skills to be made. If it can be made with simple skills it is not technology (though I am willing to discuss this more) and anything that requires a larger network to function (i.e writing here is very easy, but it requires: electricity, globalization, silicon chips, oil consumption, wage labour, etc)

Hold on I thought you said that it's only after the industrial revolution that things went wrong? 'Anything that requires individual with special skills' 'and anything that requires a larger network to function' Well I guess flint napping is out of the question then since this requires both special skills and a large network.

Tell me, have you ever lived outside for a winter, without the aid of modern technology?

Or do you just spend all you time inside your nice warm house typing into your laptop and bothering people with your juvenile romanticist fantasies?

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Jul 24 2011 11:10
RedHughs wrote:
Also, I didn't mean "romantic" as idealizing things, having the idea that everything was/is great in primitive societies. I meant it in terms of the bourgeois movement "romanticism".

Actually, I'd disagree with you and Ted's "a very hard and gruelling life" - that's ignorant of the actual conditions of at least the most pleasant forms of primitive existence and has a kind of ridiculous macho chest thumping quality (I have read by Ted C. indicating he has knowledge of or even interest in what original primitive existence involved btw). Some primitive certainly did engage in rather brutal warfare against their neighbors but I'd wouldn't idealize that, even using the "strong, brutal, direct" warrior ideal (there were plenty of ambushes as well as instance one group totally exterminating another - woo hoo!).

One thing I'd also mention is that the metal smiths of the tribal areas of Pakistan are quite able to craft guns without being otherwise advanced in modern technology. Which leaves the strong implication that if we leave brutal tribal warfare as our manner of relating guns would be involved really soon and these would "change the game" a lot quicker than the original rise of civilization. If you somehow to got us back to a hard, grueling, brutal primitive existence, you sure would keep us there long because at some minority would think of a "solution" pretty darn quick.

And again, if you're willing to just kind of let all these contradictions "just ride" with the statement "I'm just asking questions", how much "questioning" are you really doing? It is more like making excuses.

A very good point. But it assumes that the state and technological civilization was a natural and will-full development. To paraphrase Peter Lamborn Wilson: I have no reason to believe that the state ever needed to exist, that's why I call it the coup d'etat.
Even if it doesn't, this is the basic anarchist problem: Would people want/accept such a life, or would one need to make sure they didn't have an option (communism)? My view is, as stated, that our society consist of mainly unnecessary things, that add nothing but comfort and brain washing. In order to return to the 'oneness' we need to focus on the essentials. Among this is the Kaczynski theory of levels of struggle, i.e the more you struggle for something, the better it feels when it is done. Having, like today, food handed to us on a platter, leads to decadence, depression and futility.
So, if in this imagined utopia, we would not miss the creature comforts because we would have something much more profound: Spiritual connection, a reconnection with God, a feeling of oneness, self-satisfaction, and a complete oneness with nature.

As for 'how' we can lead people out of their zombie state, I would advice you to read Gurdjieff. I would say that this way of living, primitivism, would be the antidote to the problem; And I may venture that psilocybin would work also, though I imagine that it would not be necessary as getting in touch with nature and the oneness would lead to a natural oneness state.

darren p wrote:
AnrBjotk wrote:
darren p wrote:
I would like you to define what you mean by 'modern society', 'nature' and 'technology'.

I would be delighted to, my good man, I trust you are a fellow-Korzybskian?

I have no idea who or what a Korzybskian is.

Quote:
Modern society was an awful term to use, a thousand pardons, what I meant was technological society, i.e post-industrial revolution, and perhaps in this context, the computer-internet age.

Oh I see, everything was okay until the 18th century.

Quote:
Nature. In which context? I wrote of man returning to nature, I meant by that returning to the land, to get back in touch with ourselves and therefore the planet. It is my personal belief that we are all 'one' but that is neither here nor there. What I meant was the idea of returning to a way of life where we follow certain universal laws, where we have a mutual relationship with the planet. Where we do not play unfair, i.e shoot animals with rifles, destroy the atmosphere, etc.

This seems hoplessly vaugue... Do you mean agriculture is the only 'natural' way for people to live (so long as they don't use machinary)? What are these 'certian universal laws'.

'To bid people conform to the laws of nature when they have no power but what the laws of nature give them - when it is a physical impossibility for them to do the smallest thing otherwise than through some law of nature, is an absurdity. The thing they need to be told is what particular law of nature they should make use of in a particular case. When, for example, a person is crossing a river by a narrow bridge to which there is no parapet, he will do well to regulate his proceedings by the laws of equilibrium in moving bodies, instead of conforming only to the law of gravitation and falling into the river.'
http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mill-john-stuart/1874/nature.htm

Quote:
As for technology...that's a hard one. I guess what I mean is anything after the hunter-gatherer period and anything that requires elitist or other individual with special skills to be made. If it can be made with simple skills it is not technology (though I am willing to discuss this more) and anything that requires a larger network to function (i.e writing here is very easy, but it requires: electricity, globalization, silicon chips, oil consumption, wage labour, etc)

Hold on I thought you said that it's only after the industrial revolution that things went wrong? 'Anything that requires individual with special skills' 'and anything that requires a larger network to function' Well I guess flint napping is out of the question then since this requires both special skills and a large network.

Tell me, have you ever lived outside for a winter, without the aid of modern technology?

Or do you just spend all you time inside your nice warm house typing into your laptop and bother people with your juvenile romanticist fantasies?

There is no need to get mean. I am not an enemy, I do not threaten your freedom and I do not consider your views any less valuable than mine.

I never said everything was ok 'before', I am not nostalgic for an era I did not live through; As stated before the issue is not to 'return' to a simpler time, but to move forward to a more mindful way of living.

In certain instances machinery can be considered natural and very useful, no doubt, however, as mentioned, technology comes at a cost, and we need to consider the pros and cons of this. Kaczynski puts it beautifully: First we had the car, it was wonderful, practical, efficient, we could move around with more ease and convenience, however, very quickly the natural problems occurred. The car became a commodity, everyone wanted one, the people who made it wanted money, so they made sure everyone, who paid, got one. Then the trouble started, with so many people owning cars we needed rules, laws, regulations. Very soon you need a license, pedestrians were no longer free to walk where they wanted, today we have to stop every few yards to wait for a machine to give us the permission to move forward. Cars needed oil, more oil consumption; The car stopped being made in full, and part were made in different places, so now we had workers making only a fraction of a car, never seeing the result of their labour, and often not being able to afford the product they made. As a Marxist you can see this point, right?

How does flint napping require a large network? What I meant was, as I thought I made clear, was that the idea is to be able to have full control, to not be more dependent than needed on others.

I have lived outside, yes. Also during the winter. However, I had to stop for different reasons. Mostly economical. As long as the state exists one needs to pay taxes, etc, which requires an income. Also, I am not in favour of 'squatting' as I have no interest in playing that 'cat and mouse' game you Marxists are so fond of...

As for Korzybski, look up General Semantics on wikipedia.

tigersiskillers
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Jul 24 2011 11:22
AnrBjotk wrote:
and my love for Bey has not diminished.

Sadly, I'm guessing you're too old for it to be reciprocated....

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Chilli Sauce
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Jul 24 2011 11:24
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As long as the state exists one needs to pay taxes, etc, which requires an income

Aside from the mentalness about God, generally one only has to pay taxes if they're working, purchasing things, or paying council/property tax. Presumably living outside as a primmo you'd avoid these things?

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AnrBjotk
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Jul 24 2011 12:01
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Quote:
As long as the state exists one needs to pay taxes, etc, which requires an income

Aside from the mentalness about God, generally one only has to pay taxes if they're working, purchasing things, or paying council/property tax. Presumably living outside as a primmo you'd avoid these things?

If you own property there are taxes... At least you need money to buy land. Also, if you choose to squat you have to accept being arrested...

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Rob Ray
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Jul 24 2011 12:06
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Love them or loath them, they’re (we) are here to stay.

Personally, I don't love or loathe primitivism, I just think it's totally irrelevant and get mildly annoyed when people bang on about it.

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Chilli Sauce
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Jul 24 2011 12:24
tigersiskillers wrote:
AnrBjotk wrote:
and my love for Bey has not diminished.

Sadly, I'm guessing you're too old for it to be reciprocated....

Best post so far.

RedHughs
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Jul 24 2011 17:07
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A very good point. But it assumes that the state and technological civilization was a natural and will-full development. To paraphrase Peter Lamborn Wilson: I have no reason to believe that the state ever needed to exist, that's why I call it the coup d'etat.

Your argument is confusing two different things. One is whether the creation of the state was a collective decision of original humanity or some group of it and no, it wasn't. The other is whether it was the conscious decision of some minority and, of course it was. Some minority of people certainly did choose civilization at some point and managed to impose it one the rest - sword or spears didn't just fly magically into their hands.

And the point is that the ability to create guns, even in a society with an otherwise fairly underdeveloped production process, means a minority would be engage in a power seizure far more easily than previously.

Quote:
Even if it doesn't, this is the basic anarchist problem: Would people want/accept such a life, or would one need to make sure they didn't have an option (communism)?

Well, that is a reason to have single, world wide system, so if some minority did try to seize power in one area, those in other areas could organize an intervention.

And, even more, having a society where people's experience is physically enjoyable, aesthetically pleasing, personally enlightening and uplifting, socially engaged and participatory, etc would be an incentive for the great majority to maintain the system and prevent other from taking it from them. "very hard and grueling" with people fighting each other to the death might not be something that everyone would feel called on to defend - it is easy to imagine a significant minority in a smaller area taking action against that.

Further, as you said, there has been at least some discussion that the warfare among primitive people actually took as many lives per capita as modern warfare. But that's without fully automatic weapons. Now add the automatic weapons. If the result isn't new civilization, it would have to be cycles of extermination down to nearly no one.

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Khawaga
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Jul 24 2011 17:25
Chili Sause wrote:
tigerskillers wrote:
AnrBjotk wrote:
and my love for Bey has not diminished.

Sadly, I'm guessing you're too old for it to be reciprocated....

Best post so far.

Yep. That's a zinger fer sure.

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cantdocartwheels
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Jul 24 2011 18:06
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As for the millions who would died without technology; For Primitivists this is proof of the problem, that so many are addicted to technology, so many are not able to take care of themselves and are therefore not in contact with life, but wander aimlessly towards life.

Totally man, thats like really deep. It would be better for disabled people if they just hurried up and died, and quit their aimless wandering.. I totally agree with you, fire up the ovens, that would end all those terrible existential dilemmas. roll eyes

Anyways they like hakim bey and support the unabomber, id say thats a straight ban.

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AnrBjotk
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Jul 24 2011 18:09
cantdocartwheels wrote:
Quote:
As for the millions who would died without technology; For Primitivists this is proof of the problem, that so many are addicted to technology, so many are not able to take care of themselves and are therefore not in contact with life, but wander aimlessly towards life.

Totally man, thats like really deep. It would be better for disabled people if they just hurried up and died, and quit their aimless wandering.. I totally agree with you, fire up the ovens, that would end all those terrible existential dilemmas. roll eyes

Anyways they like hakim bey and support the unabomber, id say thats a straight ban.

Are you implying that because I admire the books of Bey (a well published author at legitimate publishers) and find Kaczynski's writing interesting (read his book Technological Slavery, it has forewords by notable scholars praising his ideas) I should be banned from this board?

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Khawaga
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Jul 24 2011 18:15

You would not be the first. This is a libertarian communist board, not a misanthropic, terror and paedo-supporting primitivist one. One of you drop by these boards from time to time, discuss their crap and get banned in the end.

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Felix Frost
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Jul 25 2011 09:29
RedHughs wrote:
Certainly, among, say the more conservative wing of syndicalism, the critique is nothing more than "I want my television" and "You want to live in a cave? The working class doesn't want to live in caves".

This is really all the critique of primitivism that you need.

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cantdocartwheels
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Jul 25 2011 13:05
AnrBjotk wrote:
cantdocartwheels wrote:
Quote:
As for the millions who would died without technology; For Primitivists this is proof of the problem, that so many are addicted to technology, so many are not able to take care of themselves and are therefore not in contact with life, but wander aimlessly towards life.

Totally man, thats like really deep. It would be better for disabled people if they just hurried up and died, and quit their aimless wandering.. I totally agree with you, fire up the ovens, that would end all those terrible existential dilemmas. roll eyes

Anyways they like hakim bey and support the unabomber, id say thats a straight ban.

Are you implying that because I admire the books of Bey (a well published author at legitimate publishers) and find Kaczynski's writing interesting (read his book Technological Slavery, it has forewords by notable scholars praising his ideas) I should be banned from this board?

yep pretty much, defending nonces and misanthropic terrorists should get you banned in my book

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Arbeiten
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Jul 25 2011 13:13

come on Anr, you can read much better books on 'technological slavery' (Frankfurt school, etc) than a misanthropic terrorist!

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Jul 25 2011 14:00
Arbeiten wrote:
come on Anr, you can read much better books on 'technological slavery' (Frankfurt school, etc) than a misanthropic terrorist!

And I do. I am not saying it's my bible or anything. I'm simply trying to say, partly, that just because a man did an unspeakable act, his work is still important (besides, Kaczynski was the first one to pose the ideas anyway)

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AnrBjotk
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Jul 25 2011 14:00
Arbeiten wrote:
come on Anr, you can read much better books on 'technological slavery' (Frankfurt school, etc) than a misanthropic terrorist!

And I do. I am not saying it's my bible or anything. I'm simply trying to say, partly, that just because a man did an unspeakable act, his work is still important (besides, Kaczynski was the first one to pose the ideas anyway)

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AnrBjotk
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Jul 27 2011 03:02
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CRUD
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Jul 27 2011 09:56
AnrBjotk wrote:

Primo's (and many of us old fashion anarchists) have a problem distinguishing consumption under capitalism and consumption under communism/anarchism. Ecologically it's simply not sustainable for the entire Earth to live the average American consumer lifestyle. It's also true technology is being used to regulate and control almost every aspect of life in advanced capitalist nations. This is one thing Orwell and Huxley wrote about and they were was no Primos.

In China they're already using DNA to "train" their children in a genetically proper carrier (as far as so called genetic aptitude goes)- that's straight out of "Brave New World". You people in England/London should see the cameras all over the place....if that's not Orwellian then I'm not sure what is. Even production in and of itself is a form of control. In primitive communist societies people would spend about 4 hours a day working for their needs (according to Marx's study of the Iroquois). Today we're spending 8...9...sometimes 14 hours a day at work. Fuck that. With more people available to work in an advanced communist society one would assume the work day could be minimized.

A problem both camps have (traditional and primo anarchists) is being too far to one side- pro consumption/technology vs anti consumption/technology. There does need to be a "shift" in how we perceive technology/consumption, not as extreme as the average primo's view but a priority shift non the less. The immediate goal of communism shouldn't be to provide the world with useless shit it should be to meet every humans material NEEDS. Life as you know it, reality as you know it would change and that's not acceptable for some of us (especially on these boards).

My personal vision of advanced communism/anarchism is a global community- not a utopia but a "federation" of sorts under one symbiotic economic system where more value is placed on community over ego driven materialism (as in consumption). This isn't to say 'hive mind" but a sort of individualistic community as exited in some primitive communist cultures but with the utilization of industry to provide material needs and a SANE amount of entertainment derived from earths resources (in a sustainable manner). With the amount of consumption and the specific resources we're using now the entire globe cant live the current advanced capitalist nation "lifestyle". This should be obvious to all of us.

What should also be obvious to primos is the way technology is utilized under capitalism. People like Adam Smith calling for the division of labor and later Fredrick Taylor pushing it to the extreme have in fact created a society where technology/production controls almost every aspect of out lives. These days the saying IS true....Thoreau said something like- "you can measure the amount of a mans freedom by the amount of things he can leave alone". The problem with Primo's is the inability to imagine how technology would be used in advanced communist societies and how the division of labor would be minimized. They do have some ecological points but as far as technology controlling us primo's could use a tad more imagination (especially the ones who are against modern medicine).

Has anyone else read Heidegger's "The Question Concerning Technology". I'm fully aware of the NAZI party support but it's his philosophy I respect- in the same manner Sartre respected Heidegger's philosophical works (not personal idiot support for NAZI's views).

"The will to mastery becomes all the more urgent the more technology threatens to slip from human control"

-Heidegger-

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CRUD
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Jul 27 2011 09:44
cantdocartwheels wrote:
AnrBjotk wrote:
cantdocartwheels wrote:
Quote:
As for the millions who would died without technology; For Primitivists this is proof of the problem, that so many are addicted to technology, so many are not able to take care of themselves and are therefore not in contact with life, but wander aimlessly towards life.

Totally man, thats like really deep. It would be better for disabled people if they just hurried up and died, and quit their aimless wandering.. I totally agree with you, fire up the ovens, that would end all those terrible existential dilemmas. roll eyes

Anyways they like hakim bey and support the unabomber, id say thats a straight ban.

Are you implying that because I admire the books of Bey (a well published author at legitimate publishers) and find Kaczynski's writing interesting (read his book Technological Slavery, it has forewords by notable scholars praising his ideas) I should be banned from this board?

yep pretty much, defending nonces and misanthropic terrorists should get you banned in my book

Terrorist is such a bourgeois concept...I'd use the term murderer. Obama is a "terrorist" (murderer) and I see assholes supporting him on so called socialist boards all the time.

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Fall Back
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Jul 27 2011 10:35
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Obama is a "terrorist"

No he isn't. He is the elected head of an imperialist state. You appear to have misunderstood the term terrorist.