The Individual and His Relations

As with most of issue 1.4, this article has been rejected by the majority of individuals belonging to Wild Will and should not be regarded as representative of the members’ views. For more representative writings, see the series “Foundations of Wildism.”

Summary-This article explains the wildist variant of egoism by emphasizing the wildist focus on will and its undominated expression. Such a focus leaves room for altruism in the context of relations, or the individual’s natural social group, and it explains why “interests” are of little concern to wildists, unlike other egoists.

Wildists speak often of the individual and his relations, the latter, relations, being a particularly important concept in the context of social concerns. Here I offer some clarifications on the philosophical roots of the concept, the concept itself, and its importance. I focus especially on its connection to the egoistic philosophy underpinning some wildist ideas.

“Relations” are “an individual’s natural group of close connections.” These connections can be to family, friends, environments, animals, or any other object with which a connection is possible; and the concept is not restricted to blood relatives, although it is restricted in size according to the naturalness or artificialness[1] of the individual’s condition. The latter was made clearest by Robin Dunbar, who explained that a human’s close connections can reach a maximum of about 150 people, after which cohesive groups require more extensive rules and regulations. Evolutionarily the concept of relations was made possible by biological mechanisms evolved to propagate genes of closely related individuals, although the same mechanisms can be and are applied to non-relatives, as is evidenced by the way they play out in the context of racial and national solidarity. Consider the way a patriot calls his fellow citizens his “brethren” or the way a soldier calls his group a “family.”

The concept of “relations” is important because it provides a natural base with which to measure progressivist imperatives around solidarity, whether it be to a whole nation, all of humanity, all sentient creatures, or even all of nature. And per usual, the wildist idea isn’t so much that an individual should be in solidarity with only his relations, only that attempts to improve this natural condition are fraught with the problems cited in the wildist critique of Progress.

In other writings on wildist theory it was made known that wildism can be classified as an “egoist” philosophy, at least in an academic sense. However, most normative egoisms tend not to include a concept like relations, since altruism toward anyone is seen as either impossible or undesirable. Instead they insist that all individuals must act from their own self-interest, one of the more popular variants specifying that the self-interest must be rational self-interest. But as was just mentioned, wildists argue no oughts in this sense. Instead, the emphasis is primarily on negating progressivist claims or attempts to improve the natural condition. A positive way of expressing this negation is with the term “wild,” or “not controlled by humans or their technical systems.”

This in mind, we should understand wildist egoism as concerned with will, which can include unconscious and irrational elements just as much as conscious and rational ones, rather than temporary and fleeting interests or desires. Thus, instead of saying that individuals should pursue their own self-interest, wildists insist that an individual should have a wild will, one that is unrestrained and unhampered by artificial attempts to improve it. Put another way, wildists are concerned with the wildness of human nature, called “freedom.” Since we know that altruistic behavior in the context of relations is common in most individuals, this explains how wildism can be both an egoistic philosophy and not be wholly concerned with the interests of a particular organism. Will is much more complicated than that simplistic and superficial conception.[2]

Thus, when the contemporary progressive makes calls for equal moral consideration for all humans, with an emphasis on inclusiveness for excluded classes, wildists have the tools to recognize how deeply misaligned these values are with our own will to be untrammeled by progressivist “improvements.” Knowing that the natural man does not extend his altruism to all of humanity, the wildist equipped with the concept of relations is able to identify how far-reaching civilized modification and domination must go to achieve humanist ideals. Incidentally, it is for this same reason that wildists offer the hunter/gatherer mode of production as a social ideal by which to indicate, roughly, what our values amount to, as well as how thoroughly violated they are by current conditions.

In sum, wildism is an egoist philosophy because it is fundamentally concerned with the wildness of an individual’s nature, or will. Given the innate human concern for “relations,” the wildist variant of egoism does not discount all altruism, recognizing it as an expression of human nature in a way that rational egoists, for example, do not. Finally, these insights are not to be understood as imperatives to impose onto nature; rather, since wildism is fundamentally about unchaining nature, it should be understood primarily as a negation of progressivist attempts at improvement. The term “wildness” is just a way of putting this negation into positive terms.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Barkow, J. H., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (Eds.). (1995). The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture. Oxford University Press.

Darwin, C. (1871). The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.

Dawkins, R. (1976). The Selfish Gene.

Dunbar, R. (1992). Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates. Journal of Human Evolution, 22(6), 469-493.

Fehr, E., & Fischbache, U. (2003). The nature of human altruism. Nature, 425(6960), 785-792.

Greene, J. (2013). Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them. Penguin Books.

Haidt, J. (2001). The emotional dog and its rational tail: A social intuitist approach to moral judgement.Psychological Review, 108(4), 814-834.

Jacobi, J. (2016). Ideology and revisionism. Hunter/Gatherer, 1(3).

Jacobi, J. (2016). Relations and the moral circle. Hunter/Gatherer, 1(2).

Jacobi, J. (2016). The foundations of wildist ethics. Hunter/Gatherer, 1(1), 6-55.

Jacobi, J. (2016). The meaning of human nature. Hunter/Gatherer, 1(2), 21-23.

Kaczynski, T. J. (2010). Technological Slavery: The Collected Writings of Theodore John Kaczynski, a.k.a “The Unabomber”. (D. Skrbina, Ed.) Feral House.

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Nietzsche, F. (1886). Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future.

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Pinker, S. (2011). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. Viking Books.

Schopenhauer, A. (1818). The World as Will and Representation.

Schopenhauer, A. (1839). On the Freedom of the Will.

Singer, P. (1981). The Expanding Circle: Ethics, Evolution, and Moral Progress. Princeton University Press.

Singer, P. (2000). A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation. Yale University Press.

Stirner, M. (1907). The Ego and Its Own.

Último Reducto. (2009). Con Amigos Como Éstos…: Último Reducto vs. Los Amigos de Ludd.

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[1] In the context of wildist theory, “artificial” means “made or controlled by humans or their technical systems,” and “natural” means the opposite, not made or controlled. Note that this is different from the concept of “nature” in the physical sciences, which is meant to contrast with the supernatural. See “The Foundations of Wildist Ethics.”

[2] It could be argued that wildism is not an egoistic philosophy at all precisely because it allows altruism in some cases. However, because egoism is either of the psychological or normative variant, this complicates manners. Wildists are not normative egoists, but they are psychological egoists in the sense that they recognize all human actions, desires, and values to stem from an individual’s will or nature. This comes with no real normative implications until one also considers the critique of Progress and the value of wildness.

2 Comments

  • Lone Raven says:

    2 things:

    1. Did all of the cited texts really have an input on this single, short piece?

    2. You don’t define altruism, so overall I can’t tell what you mean.

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