pre-civ or post-civ?

Submitted by curious in AskRaddle

Post civilization is all I see as viable. Trying to reject technology, language, and education doesn't really speak to me. We need to use the lessons we have learned from history to create something new, not something old, yet still something sustainable.

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celebratedrecluse wrote

You don't have to reject technology, language, and education to realize that the roots of hierarchy lie ultimately in domestication. Nor do you have to reject these three things to realize that domestication currently permeates all of them, not in a superficial way, but indeed in a very deep and problematic way.

If you want to create technology, language, and education that is non-hierarchical, you need to have a deep and broad critique of domestication, which primitivism offers.

What primitivism cannot offer, unfortunately, is a viable non-genocidal path to a future, sustainable world, or a kind of technology/language/education that are not domesticated.

But then again, no political ideology can offer everything on a platter with no further thought required. Such an ideology is little more than a mirage, receding constantly.

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Pop wrote

What primitivism cannot offer, unfortunately, is a viable non-genocidal path

(I'm not a primitivist, but) why do you think this? If the assumption is that we cannot live effectively as hunter-gatherers without a massive die-off of people, why can't this be done just by people voluntarily choosing to have less children?

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bloodrose wrote

If we cannot live effectively as hunter-gatherers without a mass die-off, then we cannot live effectively as we are now without a mass die-off....and this is supported by facts such as the increasing soil depletion. The reality is that we are killing ourselves with the current way of life, it's just not highly visible that this is occurring because we are removed from our food sources. Were we to live primitively, the resource constraints would be highly noticeable, and some form of population control would naturally occur.

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Pop wrote

and this is supported by facts such as the increasing soil depletion.

Also how our food production presently fundamentally requires fossil fuel extraction.

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celebratedrecluse wrote

some form of population control would naturally occur.

I don't disagree that we are facing a total ecological collapse of mass society, but the collapse is going to be horrifying and terribly unjust-- not the return of a natural order, but an ongoing catastrophe which limits the prospects for most of forms of life for many generations to come

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bloodrose wrote

I don't disagree with you there. I'm not looking forward to some utopia following the collapse. I realize it is just kinda over for us and most all other life on earth.

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celebratedrecluse wrote

Frankly, what worries me even more than the ongoing collapse process is the way so many of us feel resigned to it.

What is more domesticated, more civilized, than sitting calmly in place, waiting for the foundations of our seats to rot away?

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mustard wrote

doesn't utopia mean"non place" so that, looking forward to it just means creative imagination ?

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mustard wrote (edited )

why do you say "the collapse" would be unjust? doesn't mass society already horrifyingly limit the prospects for most forms of life? has a natural order ever left and what has it to do with Justice?

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celebratedrecluse wrote (edited )

why do you say "the collapse" would be unjust?

Well, I'll acknowledge that the collapse of industrial civilization is basically an ontological object, it isn't just or unjust in of itself because it isn't a historical actor-- it's a phenomenon, the predictable outcome of a social trajectory.

However, what is certainly unjust are people either accelerating the destruction of the ecological rhizome, or refusing to attempt to change human society in order that it stops destroying the ecological rhizome. I'm not a moralist, I don't think, but I think that both of those behaviors can be reasonably and intersubjectively assessed as unjust.

I don't think humans, or any life, are condemned to any particular kind of world. We're at a crucial litmus, where many different social arrangements are possible for the future. We are going to be suffering with the consequences of industrial civilization, and mass extinctions are ongoing, but life is resilient-- including human society. If we choose to lie down and rot, rather than challenge and surpass industrial civilization, we are making a decision with consequences that can certainly be deemed unjust, at the absolute bare minimum.

But I say the consequences of choosing to acquiesce to collapse are unjust because some humans would survive in that world, and many others would not. Still more would be resubjugated by insurgent reactionary tendencies, which we are already seeing a rise in as the political situation deteriorates in many countries as part of the collapse. This maps very clearly on to racial, gendered, class-stratified, ability-differentiated privileges, and I am not willing to simply idle along and watch this happen.

Moreover, I would even argue that an authentic primitivst point of view would recognize that these reactionary stratifications are not truly of the "primitive" social world which preceded civilization, nearly as much as they are derived from civilization itself, and that in turn the challenging of stratification of possibilities for life in periods of scarcity along lines of privilege is actually much more in line with a primitivist praxis than it is with civilization.

doesn't mass society already horrifyingly limit the prospects for most forms of life?

Yup. It also has produced the capacity for new forms of life, medically assisted and enhanced, bioengineered, which are no less legitimate than other forms of life, although as we would both agree the stability of the ecological system has certainly been thrown into a state of disequilibrium.

mass society must be challenged, reimagined, but to take the stance that it has only limited the prospects for life is deeply dogmatic and opposed to the social reality immanent around us for the time being.

More importantly, it erases those who currently have had their lives made possible by industrial technology. It is important to me, and most of my comrades, that any action we take to construct a society which can exist after the collapse centers shared values of justice, compassion, and community. This is why the non-industrial manufacture of medicine is a key focus for me-- it frees us from dependence on petrochemical industries for things that are essential to human (and non-human) lives.

However, what I find concerning about primitivst rhetoric, and not useful at all, is the idea that "what will be, will be" when it comes to constructing society. That is never how society has been constructed, and in fact that just cedes ground to reactionaries who would commit genocide in our time. In light of many famous primitivists' "coming out" as reactionaries themselves, a lot of non-primitivist anarchists and revolutionaries are justifiably skeptical of primitivists who do not clearly differentiate themselves from these fatalistic primitivists, who seem to relish more in condescending to those who would struggle against fascism, ecological collapse, and hierarchies of all kinds...than they relish in struggling against these thanatic forces alongside other radicals.

If you have no positive vision for the world you want to live in, you're living in a thanatic worldview, which personally I view as a dead-end: conversationally, politically, and certainly ecologically.

has a natural order ever left

it never existed. One of the fundamental internal contradictions of a primitivist worldview is embedded in the name: primitive. By valorizing the natural order, primitivist ideology valorizes and extrapolates the concept of the noble savage to the rest of the non-human world as well. However, nature is a funny thing. Humans and industrial civilization are as natural as anything else, it is just the reference point of our observation (civilization) that anyone would think there is a meaningful division between humans, animals, and the rest of the natural world.

Even the term natural order derives etymologically from colonial constructs like "the great chain of being", which were used to not only justify destruction of the environment, but also racism, sexism, and hierarchy in general. By naturalizing these social processes, uneven power relations were solidified and expanded.

Basically, it seems to me that primitivist ideology and discourse frequently puts the great chain on its head. This is useful in deconstructing the concept, but only if you take it a step further afterwards and move from antithesis to synthesis/post-thesis. What I would argue is a more useful is to discard the entire concept of natural order, which I actually think you may possibly agree with?

what has [the natural order] to do with Justice?

well, that's not really what I was trying to communicate-- humans and human society have conceptions of justice, and we should keep those concepts in mind as we try to create a society that can live within and among the ecological world.

Writing off the prospects for a sustainable society that values the equal opportunity of human beings for self-determination, for justice, is...unacceptable to me, and frankly if the world is going to burn and become harsh enough to eradicate us anyway, I'd rather spend my last moments struggling to create and defend that vision of society, as opposed to dismissing the prospects for that as puerile fantasy.

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mustard wrote

yeah , me too. thanks for sharing your thoughts so clearly. it's quite common in conversation, encountering people who have these instilled objective ideas about Righteousness and Nature and that they assume others must neccessarily be subject to their standard. hearing your perspective helps me to breathe with confidence and hopefully; to stand up in-turn for shared values and that vision

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celebratedrecluse wrote

I am so glad! I was worried that my Extremely Online Walls Of Text come across kind of authoritarian lol

I just have emotional problems and spew out all my feels, I'm grateful you got something out of it

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celebratedrecluse wrote

Well, I speak mostly of the ideas of people like Ted Kaczynski (spelling?) and other famous primitivist men, who openly accepted and even embraced the die-off of billions as "inevitable". i disagree, i think that we can deindustrialize production of what is necessary for people to survive and thrive in a post-collapse world, and that we in fact should. I think primitivist critiques can help keep us honest as we (revolutionaries) try to do this.

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rot wrote

the assumption is that we cannot live effectively as hunter-gatherers

can nature support that?

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Pop wrote

What, hunter-gathering? Yes.

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kore wrote (edited )

It seems that you're using "domesticated" in a pretty abstract way here and I'm just wondering what it means to you because I don't think many people here understand "domesticated" in the way that a lot of primitivists do. You're implying a whole lot with it without really analyzing what you're implying.

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Fossidarity wrote (edited )

According to Wikipedia:

Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable supply of resources from that second group.

So probably what they're talking about is that the roots of hierarchy lies in the control over the reproduction of another group, which makes a lot of sense to me.

This is valuable in an abstract way as well I think, because if it's for example about reproduction of ideas than hierarchical systems want to control/limit the propagation/reproduction of ideas: thus censorship.

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kore wrote (edited )

It's very interesting that the Wikipedia article reproduces the actual quote further down the page, which includes the second clause "and through which the partner organism gains advantage over individuals that remain outside this relationship, thereby benefitting and often increasing the fitness of both the domesticator and the target domesticate."

What primitivism does not offer (I find) is an exploration of this idea. I personally believe that humans and dogs can live in symbiosis, for example. Their skills suit each other well. I admit though that a vast majority of people in relationships with dogs do not give dogs the autonomy they deserve. To be more abstract, human children exchange some degree of personal autonomy for safety and education, and I think to argue that this is involuntary is to belittle the intelligence of children. (They often run away if they're losing more than they're getting).

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celebratedrecluse wrote

I mean by domestication both the external domestication of the earth by humans, and the "internal" domestication of humans by other humans: patriarchy, class stratification, authoritarianism, etc.

To me, and I think many primitivists (again, i am not a primitivist-- it's not an identity for me), these two aspects of domestication are deeply intertwined.

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curious OP wrote

These are pretty much my exact thoughts phrased in a way that Im not smart enough to write.

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celebratedrecluse wrote

I don't think it's about smarts, I am privileged to have had the opportunities to develop my thoughts and be stimulated by interesting thinkers/literature/theory. I implore you to not internalize the power structures reinforced by the authoritarian educational system! your thoughts and ideas and expressions thereof are valuable :)

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ziq wrote (edited )

Since by 'pre-civ' you mean anarcho-primitivist, you're working on a fundemental misunderstanding of what anarcho-primitivism is.

Anarcho-primitivists, like all autonomous anti-authoritarians (anarchists), have no intention to force their way of life on anyone else through a political program.

Communists advocate for doing that. Capitalists advocate for doing that. Fascists advocate for doing that. Anarchists don't.

They're not going to hold you down and rip your technology away from you and order you to recant your sworn loyalty to civilization.

Any self-proclaimed 'anarchist' that tells you otherwise should be laughed out of the room. Don't trust any anarchist that doesn't understand anarchy.

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mustard wrote

beware any Anarchist who claims to understand anarchy and tells you who to trust.

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ziq wrote

Anarchy has a simple definition. It's not a religion or a mystic art. There are no gatekeepers to reveal its secrets to you because it has no secrets.

Either someone opposes hierarchy or they don't. And if they don't; they're not an anarchist.

I didn't tell anyone who to trust.

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mustard wrote

hey. It has a simple definition but, I'm not sure it's clear exactly, whether anarchy resists, opposes, negates or simply doesn't contain, "hierarchy". And are anarchy and hierarchy even things or are they conditional descriptions of a relationship. if the latter; is the relationship to be opposed, or just the conditional description of one?

I personally think not of negating authority or hierarchy on their own but, the combination; hierarchal authority.

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Pop wrote (edited )

Not really sure what you mean by pre-civ and post-civ. For example, post-civ does try to reject those things (i.e it rejects civilisation; see this intro to it with first subtitle/premise "We Hate Civilisation"), so far as I understand

If you mean anarcho-primitivist vs merely anti-capitalist, just note that there are a lot of positions in-between that can be taken. Anarchists who are merely anti-capitalist are hardly anarchist, because we seek the death of all hierarchy, and there was hierarchy long before capitalism; much of which is rooted in civilisation (the social stratification that becomes naturalised in cities with the advent of agriculture)

once you dump primitivIt's not clear to me that there are large differences between anti-civ people and post-civ people in practice. I would like to hear from some users here if they know some

And, just to be clear, there are non-primitivist types who critique things like language, abstractions, time, etc. e.g. "Time, Work-Discipline and Industrial Capitalism".

And when you include anti-colonial thought and indigenous takes in your considerations it will also likely draw you to an anti-civ position

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curious OP wrote (edited )

Pre-civ meaning primitivist, post-civ as in a Desert-style existence after the economic/ecological collapse.

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Pop wrote

I think of Desert as anti-civ rather than post-civ

I only know of one person who calls theirself a primitivist on this site

Also primitivists don't think of themselves as pre-civ, so far as I understand; hence terms like "future primitive"

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curious OP wrote

Curious who the Anprim is? In case they respond to my post I want to see their explanation.

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GaldraChevaliere wrote

Not the one Pop's talking about more than likely, but I'm very sympathetic to anti-civ arguments. Nobody really argues that there can be a return to pre-civ life, because civilization's impact has made that impossible. There's no opting out of the leviathan, whether it's the tyranny of capital or the tyranny of cities and the industries that keep them on life support. What's instead argued is that we've opened a pandora's box that cannot be shut, only mitigated at best, and for us to have a collective chance to survive into the future, we need to seriously critique and ultimately dismantle the structures that arose from opening that box. The way I approach technology is suspicious and somewhat hostile, but ultimately pragmatic. I use the tools I must use to survive in a world where I cannot rely on more traditional skills and means. That means having a laptop, using the internet, and using HRT both to help deal with my own body issues and to help reduce the threat of violence from breeders through 'passing'. But having these things doesn't mean I won't critique them, the necessity they've forced us into with them, or the means by which they're made and propagated. We've had some useful things arise from technology and agrarianism, but ultimately it has hurt us, hurt the environment, and forced us into a relationship with it that we cannot opt out of, cannot refuse to participate in, and that enslaves us through capital's use of these tools to restrict our food and time and living/communal spaces. This ideology is largely about learning from our past mistakes and refusing to make them again, without subscribing to a cultish mentality of positivism where technological progress can make it all better when it got us in this mess to begin with. So, no, we're not talking about burning down the hospitals or killing the disabled or trans folk (all bogeymen technofetishists love using). We're talking about how we cannot unfire a gun, and arguing that we should stop waiting for some new life-saving medicine and just plug the wound already.

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curious OP wrote

unplug the wound

That was a damn cool turn of phrase

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Pop wrote

They can introduce themself if they like. They haven't been online in a few hours.

Found a quote I was looking for in the post-civ piece:

Primitivists reject technology. We just reject the inappropriate use of technology. Now, to be fair, that’s almost all of the uses of technology we see in the civilized world.

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mustard wrote

, curious how they'd define technology. personally, as i play with identifying the word, primitivist; it becomes synonymous with autonomist.

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ziq wrote

Desert isn't post-civ, it's nihilist anti-civ.

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curious OP wrote

Then what I'm calling "post civilization" might be "anti civ" to you. I'm referring to the inevitability of a population that lives after the current state of civilization, in comparison to the typical Anprim that wants to return to a feral lifestyle as humans.

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ziq wrote (edited )

Post-civ is a specific anarchist school of thought with literature behind it tho. These words all have clear definitions already.

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