November 21, 2006

This posting was kind of prompted by Ted’s current state of searching. I sort of knew I was on a search but until I hadn’t realised that my outward search was a response to very specific inward needs.
I always feel slightly confused when people start talking about categories of thinking, like anarcho-primitivism or Marxism or Progressive-ism or whatever. I always feel like an outsider who doesn’t quite get it, but then I’m never that interested in sticking to a particular category so maybe that’s why.

I’m trying to get to the bottom of stuff and mostly it seems to be quite a subjective, personal thing, which is why there’s not a lot of academic rigour about this site. It seems to be important to figure out who I am in order that I don’t identify with someone else’s dogma and end up wrapping my identity around.

Anyway, if I resist the urge to fit into a particular crowd – or more accurately please the members of that crowd and then zero in on what I feel like I most need that might be a way of finding out what really matters to me. It might be better than trying to fit myself into a particular subset of anarchism for instance, and it definitely will be easier than trying to read a really wide cross section of writers to see where my place might be. In other words, I need to look inward and find out what’s there before looking outward at what other’s are doing.

I think this can work even if we’re full of walls and defences like I am because our greatest needs are usually screaming at us in a really loud voice.

For me than, this need is for people. I need people around me, maybe like, I don’t know – a tribe. Except these days I might be better off aiming for a mere community. Regardless this is what has been driving everything I’ve been looking at on this blog even if I didn’t realise it.

However the weird thing is, I feel like I’m fairly alone in this need. I see a lot of interest in outdoors kind of skills or solitary spiritual quest sort of stuff but who of us is building community? – the thing we’re going to need most of all in a crash situation. Maybe it just isn’t apparent because we’re online or maybe the online stuff is our substitute community – in which case we may all be in severe danger. I seem to have gotten onto a topic Ran was discussing recently, it’s not where I was intending to go but the fact that it’s written itself in may be significant.

Civilisation is incredibly isolating and incredibly good at separating us from each other. Having this strong community on line kind of increases the problem because I have been developing a lot of ideas but no one around me (except Karen) can even begin to understand what I am talking about. Half the time I don’t know what to discuss with people in my social life these days.

I’m aware that this is not very coherent and I’m not entirely sure I’m going with it, but mostly I just want to put a stake in the ground. I always feel the pressure to fit in with what’s going on around me, to live up to some kind of image to be honest, I’m not very interested in rewilding, going primitive, bringing down civilisation (in fact a part of me is dead against that) or studying anarcho-primitivism. I just want some people you know.


One comment


    I understand where you are coming from. My issue is seemingly worse: I don’t really want people around me. People let you down. People are needy. People are… human. I enjoy the company of others and have many wonderful people with whom I can spend time, but in the end I find it to be a drain of energy. I guess that makes me an introvert? My personal outlook aside, you are correct when you say that we need a clan. When you reach a certain age (sheesh, I sound like someone’s dad) you have been through cycle after cycle of relationships. It takes a lot of time and energy to initiate, nurture and evaluate a relationship. In most cases, they run their course. After a few rounds of this, you become less inclined to invest the energy into this relationship cycle unless you are very, very sure it will pay off in the end. I know that sounds jaded, but it is my experience. I agree that finding others with whom you share intellectual and spiritual commonality is daunting. Without those components the work of relationship is even more of a challenge. This may necessitate various superficial relationships which satisfy a narrow spectrum of needs (a drinking buddy, a golf partner, a tech pal, etc.) to compensate for the few fulfilling relationships that can meet a larger or even complete spectrum of needs. I’m not so sure I like civilization as it is now, but I like to dream we can do better. And, I know I can’t do it alone.

    Posted by: Frank Black | 11/22/2006

    Frank, the issue of people who like time to themselves is an important one. If any community is successful it needs to provide for the whole spectrum of experiences – from solitude to full on party. In a village it’s relatively easy to design a physical layout that caters to the entire spectrum but in other forms of community I’m not sure what you do.

    Maybe this issue of people walking out all the time is not just because our society makes it so easy to walk out but also because we find it hard to get the right combination of solitude and interaction we need and because we end relyong just one person to meet all our needs.

    This has just occurred to me, but think how much easier it would be to maintain a relationship if the relationship didn’t have to meet all the needs of both partners at the same time – If we lived in a tribe and had life-long relationships with a variety of people instead of just our partner and 2 children there would be so many more people we could rely on.

    Posted by: Aaron | 11/22/2006

    a good post. it seems we really do need to look inward to find what’s there before we look outward to find what others are doing. even then, what we find looking inward is constantly changing, usually slowly and subtlely, but we are never truly the same one day to the next. If we can really be aware that all of us are constantly changing, growing, developing new subleties in our perspectives, that there is really nothing about us that remains constant(just look at how our opinions today are at least slightly different than yesterday), then it would change our expectations of others and how we view relationships(personal, communal). That’s what came up for me after reading your post and franks’ comment; that needs-desires are constantly changing and we don’t really see that so we expect some kind of constancy and predictability which really has never been there, or possible. And we feel frustratred in relationships because we think we’re “not doing it right” when the goal(constancy/predictabilty) never was possible. So we have catagories and labels so we can keep acting as if it’s not all constantly changing. I say this because I need to get it, not because I already do get it.

    And that means that how we need people is always changing too.

    “half the time I don’t know what to discuss with people in my social circles” …. I know the feeling. My perspective has changed greatly in a few years. people who I recently felt were on the same wavelength don’t seem to be so anymore, and it’s scary, makes me wonder if I’ve lost touch with reality. As if the measure of reality is what others perceive as reality. as if there’s any such thing as objective “reality”. I also feel the pressure to fit in with what’s going on around me, to be accepted, to belong. Standing alone is scary if you don’t have a strong sense of self, as many of us don’t. But eventually it seems we start to see that being accepted doesn’t give us what we really want. Being truly willing to stand alone, to not compromise to be accepted, seems to be the requirement for deep peace that so few ever realize.

    This is rather rambling, I know. it’s just what came out right now. maybe I’ll post something more coherent later. thanks for initiating the topic; it seems to be a good extension of your previous post.

    Posted by: kyle | 11/23/2006

    Kyle that last big paragraph sums it up quite nicely – possibly because of the rambling quality – it’s kind of like what it’s like in my head with all those thoughts and worries floating around

    Posted by: Aaron | 11/23/2006

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