“Therefore, we put our hope in you, Adonai our God, to soon see the glory of your strength, to remove all idols from the Earth, and to completely cut off all false gods; to repair the world.”
After crossing “the barrier” (III), one has the feeling of being reborn. It is a totally new phase of restoring one’s natural condition of health and vitality, a phase of corrections for your past errors, times when your internal sicknesses ruled over you and, like a virus, infected the people around you. These corrections should — must — be done concurrently with external restoration of the world. But, especially at first, correcting yourself (I) should — must — be the emphasis.
There is no place for guilt in this process. Instigating guilt is a method of control, and I suspect is has no other use (see “Taking Rewilding Seriously” and Repent to the Primitive, pp. 73-74). As I write in “A Critique of the Concept of ‘Leftism’“: “People everywhere feel powerless; people everywhere lack purpose.” Our lashing out is just an expression of this powerlessness and purposelessness. But after crossing “the barrier,” you will be able to see more clearly how sickness manifests itself in all of us, and it will leave no room for guilt, only a compulsion to repair.
Here I will issue out some corrections for errors I made in my writings and conversations. Most of these are not about factual errors, but errors in character that led me to put out diseased ideas that I’d rather not infect this world with.
In Meditation Notes 2–3, I spoke about “abilities.” It is important to emphasize that these are not supernatural abilities. True, historical and non-Western systems of thought have often used the language of the supernatural to explain them, but I wouldn’t be so dedicated to explaining these concepts in materialist terms if I thought they could only be explained in supernatural religious language. Just like the went-to-a-hindu-temple stories will tell you, man has been closed off from his senses and the true powers of his mind and body. Rewilding is a matter of opening them back up, restoring man’s natural, dignified condition to the furthest possible extent under our material conditions.
I also do not want to give the impression that the effects the Wild Roots method had on me can be generalized or universalized. People have natural propensities, and releasing all the “dams in our mind” that keep us from truly expressing these will result in humans just as diverse as we see in our degraded conditions.
Finally, there are some things having to do with “my abilities” that I do not feel like I can share, because I’m quite serious when I say that they involve secrets, and I want to be slow to share them. The problem is I am unsure of who to ask for permission.
In sum, “rewilding” as I conceive it is just like psychotherapy today, which “releases” various tensions in the individual. It is only a fuller and more holistic method of liberating the mind and body of these tensions, these blocks, these internal dams. It is a means of again making man the dignified predator that he is.
Probably my worst character trait is my arrogance, borne from childhood frustrations at not being taken seriously, being regarded as stupid because of my Southern accent, being disregarded because my most treasured intellectual ideas were considered kooky, marginal theories, etc. My self-confidence has been damaged pretty severely from these things, and it will take some work to get rid of the overcompensating I do.
I do a few things to mitigate this character trait. First, I impose isolation on myself. This is so that I do not let compliments get to my head, and so that I do not feel the pressure of being regarded as a fake when I do things that I (probably unnecessarily) worry will be regarded as performances. Second, I smoke, even though I talk about the need for health, because I want to emphasize that I am not a model of anything. At best I am a gesture at what rewilding methods can do to a person, and that’s got more to do with my circumstances than with me. Third, I have over-emphasized my “note” writing-style (see “Misc. Notes on Misc. Notes” and “On My Ignorance and Isolation“). This is because I want to counter the tendency for some of the younger, wanderlusted readers to take in what I say uncritically.
My main work right now is correcting these defects. Regarding my isolation, I am, in a measured, self-restrained way, trying to socially engage a little more, to the extent that I can detect my ability to do it without getting sucked in by insecurities again. Although I have crossed what I am calling “the barrier,” a fairly powerful whirlpool of anxieties is still spinning in my head, and it sometimes takes some Olympic-grade swimming not to get overtaken by it. This is especially true in environments that are particularly distracting or artificial. For example, when I bowled the other night I lost a lot of my bodily confidence, because the flashing lights, loud music, and wide-open view was a little too much to handle. Again, “barrier crossed, rungs of the ladder ahead of me.”
Regarding my smoking, I am only trying to mitigate its effects at the moment. I try to drink a lot of water when I smoke, and I’ll use spicy foods to provoke my body into coughing up all the phlegm that forms when I smoke too much. At the moment, though, I suspect that I will not be able to stop smoking. It is related to a lot of different anxieties I have yet to get to. See Freud for more on the psychological roots of oral fixations. Again, I am at best a gesture. If I and my readers can properly devise a psychotherapeutic rewilding method, the consequences will be a generation of children who surpass us beyond our wildest dreams.
Finally, regarding my overemphasis on the note-taking form, I am done with all that. I am tired of putting “Notes on…” in front of every topic I write about anyway. From now on, I am simply going to employ the aphoristic form unabashedly. As commentaries on Nietzsche and other pessimistic philosphers have noted, the aphoristic form has been favored by thinkers who want to emphasize the unstable nature of intellectual life. Ideas come and go; people change their minds; thoughts contradict each other; and any pretensions of a “system” are just that: pretensions, an indication of a fundamentalist psychology. So I will no longer tell you, my true readers, that you should regard my writing as “notes.” Instead I hope you will realize yourselves that you must engage with what I say as your own person, not as someone hoping to gleam wisdom from some sage, not as an absent-minded consumer of screen-induced bursts of dopamine — but as one who has made up his mind to become a wild will (note III). If I mention this again it is only to mitigate the effects of spectacle (see “Notes Concluding the Uncivilization Project,” note II and “Oh…,” note V), not to overcompensate for an internal anxiety.
By far the idea I most regret ever putting out in the world is the idea of indiscriminate attack. I never actually condoned it, nor did I come up with the idea myself. It was first advocated within an eco-radical context by the “eco-extremists,” a loose moniker for a terror group that originated in Mexico but has since spread through Latin America and Europe. While in college I interviewed a propagandist for the group, although I’ve updated my thoughts on this interview in “A Review of Earlier Works and Their Merits.” The same updates apply to the article I wrote for Atassa: Readings in Eco-Extremism, “Apostles and Heretics.” That article is the real issue. After my experiences at Wild Roots I realize how much of my lust for violence was, as mentioned above, a result of internal problems. That’s not to say that violence is untouchable. On the contary, it is a part of the nature of life, and a part of human nature. Man is a predator, and like a predator he kills as his means of subsistence; man is a social animal, and like a social animal he does not avoid violence when it seems the only means of protecting his group. But see “Meditation Notes 2“, note VIII.
I have emphasized the population problem a lot in the past. I still think it is an extremely critical issue. But I want to take a few steps back from what I have said, mostly orally, and put it back in the air as a problem to examine and approach carefully. We must not uncritically fall into the simplistic formula of many early environmentalists (e.g., the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement). At best I regard the population problem as an open question.
I have before appeared sympathetic to jihadism, but I should clarify that I have never intended to suggest that the goal is to create a bunch of little martyrs. Jihadism is a totalitarian ideology, one that attempts to use the fundamentalist psychological type as an instrument for political gain. On the contrary, our goal is to “raise the individual,” to “thrust individuals into a social context where they are taught how to be independent and assured of their own spirits..” See “Organization,” footnote 1.
Still, one should consider with realism how many individuals we truly can unleash, and ask ourselves whether use of the fundamentalist psychological type is a political necessity.
Hitting Where It Hurts
Because of my sympathies and aggrandizement of Ted Kaczynski, I feel the need to correct some of his errors too. Kaczynski tended to frame radical politics as a simplistic, symmetric fight (I believe unintentionally, given his other writings, but this is beside the point). For example, in “Hit Where It Hurts,” he sometimes seems to suggest that the only way to fight is to engage in constant acts of direct sabotage against the industrial system. In other letters, especially when he was younger, he seems to confirm this belief. In recent years Kaczynski appears to have evolved into a more nuanced strategic thinker (see Anti-Tech Revolution: Why and How), but I want to make it clear that radical politics is not a fist-fight. Any radical political fight will be assymetrical; that is, the raw power of your enemy will always be more than you, making it necessary to, per TK, “hit where it hurts,” in the system’s weak spots, where you have power but they don’t. See, e.g., the Vietcong, Mao’s Red Army, or the hit-and-run techniques of the American Revolutionaries. All these examples are, of course, most relevant in times of out-and-out combat. But our current stage of reaction is not and cannot be out-and-out combat. It is, rather, time for power-building (see “Notes on Revolution, or Reaction“), for establishing strongholds (see “Organization“), for infiltrating, for strengthening.
Furthermore, the 21st-century political landscape calls for new strategies. These include, for instance, networked forms of organization and “swarming” tactics — see Networks and Netwar and Swarming and the Future of Conflict, both by Arquilla and Rondfeldt. See also The Organizational Weapon by Philip Selznick.
In sum, radical politics is first of all about figuring out where you already have power; second of all where people you can cooperate with have power; and only third of all how you can accumulate power, which is mainly done by cooperation. I know this is a lot less exciting than bombs and sabotage, but that’ll all be worth it when you win.