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ziq_postcivver wrote (edited )

I'm not a primitivist but I am definitely critical of civilization. I think a lot of the concerns come from a misunderstanding of what primitivist and other anti-civilization anarchisms really are.

There is no "anarcho-primitivist system", no one (save maybe a few romantics) is seriously proposing that we immediately "revert" back to a pre-civilizational existence (as if such a thing were even possible).

Instead, most primitivist and anti-civ theory is about making substantial and well-reasoned critiques of civilization and exploring possibilities for a future beyond civilization. Industrial civilization, at the very least, is obviously not sustainable, not to mention the vast amount of misery it requires to maintain itself. I know I hate living in it.

The usual accusations of bigotry against various groups:

Strict gender binaries are a product of civilization as well, A lot has been written on this subject, I'd suggest "The Prehistory of Sex" by Timothy Taylor for more on trans people before civilization.

Vegans: If you really want to be "cruelty free", industrial agriculture is not the way to go. Just because a vegan today does not eat direct animal products, the vast swaths of land required to produce their soy hotdogs and almond milk, as well as the entire industrial infrastructure that manufactures and transports it is killing plenty of animals.

The elderly: Most pre-civ people lived to around 60-70 years so I'm not sure what the point here is. I'm also not sure what the allure of living to 95 is if you spend your last few decades plugged into a dialysis machine or a television in a nursing home.

To summarize, primitivists don't have "notions that are not in favor of disabled people...". Maybe they just see these things in a different light.

This is a good essay that illustrates much of anti-civ theory:

https://sites.google.com/site/vagabondtheorist/elsewhere/destroying-civilization-destroying-nature

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amongstclouds wrote (edited )

Very good post and you summarized everything I see on the topic perfectly. I think the 'left' needs a boogieman at times so it can continue playing the 'moral' high-ground, but without doing much else besides virtue signaling.

There is too much faith put in science and technology as if they are inherently good things that will bring about a utopic paradise for us in its own right -- if only things were this simple.

I also think a lot of people expect alternatives to coincide with the critiques of civilization... but again, if only things were this simple.

One thing a lot of people do tend to gloss over in anti-civ circles is the idea that civilization is a purely material entity. By this I mean they ignore the state/colonizer/police in their minds and expect that changing their material circumstances alone will bring about immense societal change. As long as that colonizer exists within our mind we will be doomed to the repetitive rhythm of history.

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HugeChessBrain wrote (edited )

Let me know if I mischaracterize your position in any way, but I have a small objection I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on.

It is true that rigid gender binary is closely linked with civilization. I am a trans woman and my personal conception of being transgender (I don't believe this applies to all transgender people) involves a disconnect between my "brain sex" and my (now former) physical sex characteristics. This is the only understanding of being transgender I've found that fits my personal experience. I believe this idea can be found in The Whipping Girl by Julia Serano. As a result of this I believe that even in a society without a rigid gender binary I would have a need to physically transition to whatever extent possible.

In a future beyond industrial civilization, I'm assuming this physical transition would be more or less impossible. I find the anti-civ position appealing, but as a result of possibly being unable to physically transition I'm not sure I'd want to live in a post-civilization world. No amount of freedom to determine my gender and have it acknowledged by others would make up for my physical sex characteristics being wrong.

I'm curious to hear any general thoughts you have on this. In your view what would the life of a person such as myself be like, post-civilization? Is this response just completely misguided? I'm operating from a place of nearly complete ignorance so please forgive me.

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ziq_postcivver wrote (edited )

Since you specifically mentioned 'post-civilization', that's a lot different than anarcho-primitivism. Postciv anarchists don't reject all technology, instead we weigh the benefits the technology provides us against the harm it does to the world and keep the things that make the world a better place.

https://www.reddit.com/r/PostCiv/comments/56qwlj/transhumanism_has_nothing_to_do_with_postciv/ is worth a read if you want to know more about postciv anarchism and how it approaches different technologies.

Die-hard anarcho primitivists would likely reject surgery and HRT if they actually lived a primitive lifestyle (which few do). I've seen trans primitivists that will only use herbal alternatives to HRT (which don't work nearly as well). But if you need surgery and drugs, anarcho-primitivism isn't for you. There are plenty of other anticiv persuasions that aren't so dogmatic and rigid when it comes to industrial tech.

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shanoxilt wrote

Based on some of the clueless things here, I can discern that none of you has a disability that requires electricity or medicine to survive.

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SouthsideGrackles wrote

Oh, Cool user name...

I disagree with the assessment, but some of the reasons Ive seen people say that is because primitivists are opposed to the technological and industrial systems that some people rely on -- they thus get called ableist since people with certain needs think primitivists are fine with them dying sue to lack of the tech they depend on. And then Ive seen some trans people accuse them of being anti trans because they depend on medical and pharmaceuticals that they think primitivists would get rid of.

Again I disagree with that but people ive argued with thats what they said.

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ziq_postcivver wrote (edited )

Yeah, sounds like those people just assume anprims are collectivists because ancoms are. Anprims don't expect any kind of anti-tech revolution. They believe the planet is dying because of industry, but they don't have any plans to destroy industrialism. They're realists. They know they have no way to change things. They just live in the woods (or dream of doing so) and wait for industrialism to inevitably destroy civilization (and the planet).

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TheLegendaryBirdMonster wrote (edited )

disclaimer: idk what to call myself, maybe some sort of egoist @h+, but I havent read enough about it. What's sure is that I've read about primitivism/anticiv and I know I'm not primitivst.

What I liked about primitivism is theire critique of technology. There is one text that I cant find anymore that compared technologic systems and civilisation to a steam engine that keeps gaining speed and can't stop. Maybe it's an anticiv text I dont remember. Can someon link it if you know what it is.

On the other hand, @h+ is also a critique of technology, and I found it much more pertinent and deep than anprim critiques. especially that basic "you need to mine metals so technology is inherently violent" that anprims flock to, wich is stupid.

What I didnt like: They idealise primitive tribes and use those idealisation as counterarguments to any critique, they have almost religious views on "nature" and idealise the "untainted humans" as eden garden. they also see nature as some sort of god that they need to preserve and protect while I see it just as a tool.

Also, I dont really understand anprim praxis, there isnt anything "real" about it. Like, green anarchist make community gardens, syndicalists do syndicalist stuff, ... anprims whine and build theire hut in the woods.

Further reading:

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ConquestOfToast wrote

God Im kind of in the same boat I'm struggling to synthesize a bunch of stuff I've been exposed to and transhumanism doesn't necessarily define accurately what I believe about technology or its utility.

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alexander wrote

People these days learn about -isms by reading the first two paragraphs of the relevant Wikipedia article, or by seeing someone mention something on Twitter, or places like Raddle. 99% of the detractors of primitivism haven't read any primitivism. Just like 99% of the detractors of anarchism haven't read any anarchism. The only thing you're missing is that people are clueless yet vocal. It's similar to "but if we have anarchism everyone will just kill each other".

There's many things to criticise in anarcho-primitivism, and I frequently criticise them. However, the knee-jerk stuff about ableism, transphobia, is unfounded, and mostly espoused by anarcho-leftists—who, honestly, usually don't even understand their own brand of Anarchism™ beyond the first two paragraphs on Wikipedia.

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buttercupcake wrote

because they spout complete and utter bullshit like "ancoms want a collectivist totalitarian society"

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ziq_postcivver wrote (edited )

That's literally what anarcho-communism is though. It's not a put down. All collectivist ideologies are totalitarian - it just means they encompass the entire society. At least when an individualist anarchist uses the term.

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Mullvaden wrote

Well, what I've read of primitivism they tend to defend their skeptic view of anti-biotics (because it's a civ thing) with the notion that civilization somehow caused the sicknesses they cure. While some people get sick because they eat to much and exercise to little it's complete bullshit to state that civilization created TB for instance. Civilization don't create germs (not yet at least). They have a romantic view that people in hunter-gatherer groups never get sick which is also bullshit. They just don't get exposed to as much people and germs as folks in civilization. The only way to reach a primitivist society is to kill off 99% of the world's population or somehow restrict breeding voluntarily which is unlikely to work ever.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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Mullvaden wrote

I fail to see how anything you write isn't deductible from what I wrote. If anything, you show primitivism to be the misanthropic ideology it is.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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Mullvaden wrote

I wrote that civilization did not create TB, I didn't write that germs/viruses don't spread faster and mutate in larger populations.

Being against the only option we have right now for the human population of the world, unless they all commit mass-suicide, is in my view a misanthropic standpoint.

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kore wrote

nature is such a non-word, all technology is natural

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Dumai wrote

"nature" and "civilisation" are, in themselves, constructs of modernity - any critique of civilisation worth its salt recognises this

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selver wrote (edited )

They start from a position of telling people that literally everything in the world sucks. Even trying to convince someone who grew up in the modern era to give up the internet would be a total waste of time, people like the internet. But primitivists aren't even starting at the internet, they're starting at fucking chairs and toilet paper. How could that position possibly be well received? It's so far outside our way of life.

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Pop wrote

  • Lack of imagination, related to which are
  • lazy misunderstandings of the position, and finally
  • real problems with 'primitivism'
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boomco wrote

Because they want to hunt furry creatures and eat them.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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TheLegendaryBirdMonster wrote

when you believe animals have as much worth as other people, eating animals far less than average is still eating animals too much.

But yeah, i understand what you meant.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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leftous wrote

I think it's disingenuous to say that ancoms are projecting based on totalitarian or collectivist ideals.

When someone reads into a particular text, of course their first thoughts will be to consider how it applies to them and those they care about. E.g. if someone is or knows a trans person, they will immediately recognize that anprim can't be applied to them and will exclude people like them.

Most anprim stuff I've come across starts with the idea that people who aren't anprim are horrible or environment destroying, without presenting an alternative for people who rely on the technology they're critiquing.

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ziq_neutral wrote

I still don't understand how someone choosing to live in nature excludes people who choose not to. It's a personal choice and it doesn't affect anyone but the person making it.

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leftous wrote

I agree that anprim is individualist. My point was that anprims do a horrible job of articulating that this isn't viable for a lot of people, and don't bother presenting sustainable alternatives for them.

So it is understandable why the first response from a lot of people would be "this doesn't apply to me"/"this excludes me". As I mentioned, anprims often go so far as to criticize people who do rely on technology.

When you're used to being attacked and excluded, that's what you come to expect. Although I do understand that anprims have no intention to do this, I can see why it is interpreted that way.