LESSONS FROM THE LAST THOUSAND YEARS
Without the experience of Civilization, there would be no need for an anarcho-primitivist critique of it. Contre the postmodernists, this dualism doesn’t affirm Civilization, only the need to get shot of it. People got on just fine without it for the majority of human existence, and didn’t need some wordy anarcho-primitivist meta-narrative to explain their lives to them either.
However, granting that I do write from this perspective, the immediate and obvious lessons to be drawn from the last thousand years, I see them, are:
- The realisation that ideas of ‘Progress’ and ‘Reason’ are historically-specific (c. 18th century), were always pernicious and served only sectional interests, and have—if anything—now been superseded by ideologies more unchallenged but even worse.
- An extension of this: what a hypocritical class the bourgeoisie that have dominated this era are, always saying one thing and meaning another, and always presenting their own interests as the common interest. How repressed and in love with the artificial and abstraction they are, rather than reality they have abstracted from, presumably because they find their own creations easier to control. They are also a vicious lot, always accusing others of the atrocities they are responsible for.
- A tendency for Power—whether in the form of money, control, State structures or whatever—always to concentrate itself whilst simultaneously trying to elaborate and extend itself to control as far and as variously as possible. Contre Marx, if this tendency continues unchecked, it will keep doing this until what we know as human—or is worth knowing as human—wholly ceases to exist.
- An extension of this—and of the increasingly complex nature of society—is how fewer and fewer are ‘in the loop’ when it comes to exercising real power, how utterly unaccountable and inaccessible they are, and how little real power even they exercise in overview due to their specializations and the way this limits their capacity for vision and general understanding.
- The consequence of this has been a loss of the immediate, a loss of our sense of Self, of the selfhood of others (including non-human others) and our affinity with them, and also—paradoxically—a loss of control and of the meaningfulness and satisfaction of life the more Power is concentrated and elaborated.
- The futility of entering into an ‘arms race’ with Power—particularly when it comes to mobilizing mass v. Mass, a relatively recent (c. 19th century) and highly contradictory phenomena—as this only accentuates the tendencies mentioned above, win or lose.
- An extension of this: that material affluence is what such eruptions are most usually bought off with and this doers nothing to address our root dissatisfaction, as our alienation is the root of this affluence, a particular feature of the problematic above.
- The realization that—however inaccessible it is to me now—that there is an ‘outside’ to this empire, Civilization, whether in distant past or places where Civilization’s writ doesn’t run and these are useful in drawing comparing, contrasting and critiquing the existing world order.