About a year ago I started my uncivilization project, and about half a year after that ended it, morose and convinced that it was, overall, a failure, although a teachable one. Now that I’ve had a few months of reflection I’ve decided to start it back up again with a slightly different purpose.
This time, the project isn’t going to be about my own attempts to gain independence from the constraints of civil life. After my time at Wild Roots et al. my priorities have fundamentally shifted. I of course still have a preference for personal independence — living off the land, providing for my own food and shelter, etc. still stands out as an excellent landing spot for life. But the main lesson I learned from Wild Roots is that even the most well-developed land and skilled community faces a few insurmountable, structural problems to gaining real independence on the land. Property laws, environmental degradation, and transportation stand out as a few of the most important. And since these are structural problems, built into the social system, the most important work I could do is to help make political advances. There are now a number of interest groups — the primitive skills movement, the travelers, back-to-the-landers, the homeless, the wild children movement, indigenous people, land-based conservatives — whose overall enemies are the same. Connected, there is more than enough social power to make advances.
But there are still a number of people out there living some version of the life I set out to live at the beginning of the uncivilization project, and their stories are worth telling. Recording them gives me a chance to examine the variety of options available, and to share that information with other people who have similar values, the whole point of the site in the first place.
The overall theme, of course, is to focus on people who believe true independence will be gained not by increasing everyone’s wealth, but by access to territory, knowledge of how to use it, and freedom to do just that.
This time around the project is structured to continue indefinitely. No doubt I will encounter people with interesting stories to tell the rest of my life. When I do, I will post them under the uncivilization project.