From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool.
— Bhagavad Gita
Going barefoot in the colder months, before snow, is not as difficult for the person living a traditional mode of life. In his childhood especially, while he plays, he takes frequent breaks to warm his feet by the fire; and the ground is padded and insulated by fall leaves. If a city person, however, tried to go barefoot for the colder months, the coldness of the concrete and the inability to enter warm places or make a fire would cause him to get sick rapidly. As a result in his adult years his feet are not properly hardened to withstand long periods away from the fire, hunting or some such thing.
We might divide the human mind into two aspects, which can be read differently — conscious and unconscious. The conscious mind is expressed through art or language or math and can be provoked through interrogation. The unconscious, however, is expressed in the body, either latching on to a vehicle of conscious expression, like a word, and adding more nuance to its meaning; or through some nervous tick resulting from an intrusive thought or responding to some discomfort in the environment. Understanding this division and learning to decipher both sides is the art of character analysis, and lays the groundwork for the character magician.
Unfortunately the person who is himself too saddled by his unconscious will lack the eyes to see the expressions of unconsciousness in another. His own sicknesses are like scales over his eyes. Only by focusing on the Lo of his experience will the scales fall from his eyes, like when Saul focused on Christ on the road to Damascus.
What is this Lo? It is the highest point of consciousness, when the individual unifies with the part of himself that observes even the I (and is therefore not the I). Perhaps it is a process of fixing his mind on the self-conscious, reflective aspect of the mind and then inhabiting it by gradually letting go of the I that has been inhabited so far. The result of such a shift is the ability to see the stretchiness of any experience, the multiple sides, and to act of course with desires, but as an observer of the I with desires. So when, for example, something outside the I‘s power to control occurs, the individual does not feel the I‘s anger and frustration; instead he observes the I‘s frustration and can direct it. A god of oneself.
See Character Analysis, Wilhelm Reich.
The key to surviving primitively is using the body as a tool: long hair in the winter, even longer hair as a kind o fblanket for the upper-upper body; etc.
And most of the time primitive skills don’t involve knowing every natural material systematically. It is usually enough to know what qualities you are looking for in a material and to investigate what is around you. For example, to make a water container you usually need to have some kind of sealant, which most often means pine pitch. But any non-poisonous, non-water-solvent liquid that hardens will do. And to make fire by friction, you need not memorize a dozen types of trees. It is enough to know that the wood must be soft enough to give to a hard press of the thumbnail, but not a soft one. This is because what matters is not the species of wood, but the quality of the wood to produce shaving when rubbed against itself, which at a certain speed and intensity will create a glowing ember to coax a fire from. To go into the wilderness with this knowledge and approach means you do not even need to know the ecology of the area in scientific or systematic terms. In fact, the first few tries one can experiment, investigate, and afterwards remember the look and locations of usable woods, without ever knowing their bestowed names.
Notably, this is the approach to living taken by many of the homeless in the city, who already know that they are looking for materials that work before materials that they favor; who already know how to scan for shelter; who have already acquired the scavenger’s eyes. The implications for policies and legislation around homelessness are pretty obvious: perhaps what is needed is not permanent housing so much as making it legal to be vagrant; not integration into the mainstream state of affairs so much as acceptance of the alternative approaches to living, relating, and subsistence. To a certain extent men have lived as “homeless” creatures for most of their evolutionary history. The only reason it appears to be so decrepit a condition today is precisely that it is not sanctioned by the powers-that-be. And what can be expected to result from constant shame other than sickness? Can a person constantly thrown into internal examination and guilt be expected to have the energy to acquire his necessities for the day? It is easier to drink!
See Repent to the Primitive, pp. 110-112.
Nearly all the elements of a great cultural movement already exist. What is needed is a forthright faction of people who set themselves apart in dedication to the cause. Their purpose is not to exercise political power to pass legislation or achieve goals, although they may. Rather their purpose is to inspire those who are in the position to exercise political power by demonstrating that there is, in fact, a constituency for this or that law, or changed cultural norm, or piece of infrastructure.
I imagine such a faction for our purposes would be nomadic, would live with few possessions, would risk prison or comfort or even life and limb for autonomy and a certain set of autonomous social relations. Much like the Ishmaels, or the Romani.
But to be effective they would have to be more than living a lifestyle — they must have a means of expressing their beliefs and values to others — and themselves, especially — ideally ways tied into their lifestyles, like music, liturgy, sayings, ritual, gatherings, symbols and stories…
Meanwhile those who are unable to display that kind of commitment (such as parents bound to families and beholden to state regulations) might occupy different roles: politicians legislating, business owners funding, home-owners providing safe bases for travelers, etc.
“Technology” is not as aesthetic as “civilization.” This is funny to say, but for some reason a clash between nature and everything humans have built conveys with an almost religious force what a battle between nature and machines only conveys superficially and abstractly.