To determine the health of cultures we must know the quality of their relationship toward their environments, and most intrinsically, the relation toward memes that are used to unite individuals with their ecosystems.
Before this however, we must undertake a strong criticism of everything cultural around us by understanding primitivism. For us to ever evolve healthier cultures, first we must understand what it is that we have lost since civilization and then understand what we have gained from it. Only then can we find an alternative organisation that champions the riches of our past with the riches of our futures to attain true advancement, and to bring with us every experience we can – for when our species leaves the cradle of the earth for the cosmos, we will find ourselves even more alienated, as being totally removed from an ecosystem.
John Zerzan, speaking on culture in his ‘Running on Emptiness: The Failure of Symbolic Thought’:
We seem to have experienced a fall into representation, whose depths and consequences are only now being fully plumbed. In a fundamental sort of falsification, symbols at first mediated reality and then replaced it. At present we live within symbols to a greater degree than we do within our bodily selves or directly with each other.
The more involved this internal representational system is, the more distanced we are from the reality around us. Other connections, other cognitive perspectives are inhibited, to say the least, as symbolic communication and its myriad representational devices have accomplished an alienation from and betrayal of reality.
This coming between and concomitant distortion and distancing is ideological in a primary and original sense; every subsequent ideology is an echo of this one. Debord depicted contemporary society as exerting a ban on living in favor of its representation: images now in the saddle, riding life. But this is anything but a new problem. There is an imperialism or expansionism of culture from the beginning. And how much does it conquer? Philosophy today says that it is language that thinks and talks. But how much has this always been the case? Symbolizing is linear, successive, substitutive; it cannot be open to its whole object simultaneously. Its instrumental reason is just that: manipulative and seeking dominance. Its approach is “let a stand for b” instead of “let a be b.” Language has its basis in the effort to conceptualize and equalize the unequal, thus bypassing the essence and diversity of a varied, variable richness.
Culture and technology exist because of language. Many have seen speech, in turn. as a means of coordinating labor, that is, as an essential part of the technique of production. Language is critical for the formation of the rules of work and exchange accompanying division of labor, with the specializations and standardizations of nascent economy paralleling those of language. Now guided by symbolization, a new kind of thinking takes over, which realizes itself in culture and technology. The interdependence of language and technology is at least as obvious as that of language and culture, and results in an accelerating mastery over the natural world intrinsically similar to the control introduced over the once autonomous and sensuous individual.
Culture triumphed at last with domestication. The scope of life became narrower, more specialized, forcibly divorced from its previous grace and spontaneous liberty. The assault of a symbolic orientation upon the natural also had immediate outward results. Early rock drawings, found 125 miles from the nearest recorded trickle of water in the Sahara, show people swimming. Elephants were still somewhat common in some coastal Mediterranean zones in 500 B.C., wrote Herodotus. Historian Clive Ponting (1992) has shown that every civilization has diminished the health of its environment.
We are caught in the cultural logic of objectification and the objectifying logic of culture, such that those who counsel new ritual and other representational forms as the route to a re-enchanted existence miss the point completely. More of what has failed for so long can hardly be the answer. Levi-Strauss (1978) referred to “a kind of wisdom [that primitive peoples] practiced spontaneously and the rejection of which, by the modern world, is the real madness.”
Either the non-symbolizing health that once obtained, in all its dimensions, or, madness and death. Culture has led us to betray our own aboriginal spirit and wholeness, into an everworsening realm of synthetic, isolating, impoverished estrangement. Which is not to say that there are no more everyday pleasures, without which we would lose our humanness. But as our plight deepens, we glimpse how much must be erased for our redemption.
Running on Emptiness: The Failure of Symbolic Thought
Although Zerzan mentions that mass violence, cannibalism and every other un-anarchist thing began with culture, I don’t believe this as such, it began with concentrated memes. Mass violence is natural selection of social groups acting as a single unit; chimps in forests have a socialization that allows them to organise militias to go and beat the crap out of other chimps to steal their tree and their females, even cannibalising – and these arn’t even hunter gatherers, yet.
The only violence that did begin with culture was that of domestic violence, the violence of holding an inanimate object and using that to increase strength over other animals – thereby possessing that object and other organisms through ‘domestic’ violence. A trans-natural sort of meme built upon itself to create weapons and with this the ‘mass warfare’ through alienation that he is thinking of. Apart from that, primitivism is a great critique of culture and is highly recommended as food for thought.
What is culture really?
Culture is the bridge for civilization between idealism and reality. Between a socialized meme and a natural biosphere surrounding us, feeding us. Whenever we have a healthy culture – we are realistic and create ideals that reflect the earth and cosmos around us. Likewise, healthy ideals reflect that reality and increase its beauty rather than stealing and not contributing to the overall quality of the biosphere.
Modern civilization, is very unreflective - it has taken the bad apples of previous civilizations and multiplied them by a thousand. In such an impoverished environment, there is nothing great to reflect and every reflection is a distortion. Therefore lesser beings, like the prole, cannot reflect because they have lost all sensuality with the ‘here and now’ environment, despite their frustration with it. They will instead reflect the shit that pours into their heads through their televisions. Only those who can reflect the future or the past, those above the haze of noise can satiate their minds and fulfill themselves.
When we destroy our environment and leave nothing but the same, boring, grey after grey after grey – then, as being reflective animals ourselves, we will reflect this inside and become empty. If however, we take a walk through a forest, a wood – away from this saturated meme filth, then we can really internalize healthy ideas that are unsaturated memes and therefore these are much more reactive with our conscience.
Similar to fats, there are the saturated fats in industrial foods which take more energy than they give toward our bodies, and then there are the healthy, organic, unsaturated fats from natural sources that give us the reactive proteins that enable our bodily chemistry to have something to generate energy and nutrition from.
Memes are no different, we ALL need food for thought, and we do not get that by digesting fatty opinions off our TV’s and liberal idols. The greatest minds in civilization did not get them from civilization, but from walking through natural environments. All the greatest minds did not create their ideas out of a vacuum, but from a mental digestion of organic memes from nature, creating more from less in a different sense.
But also we can take the view that since ideas are necessarily digested from nature and abstracted toward us as symbols, the stuff which comes out the other side is generally faeces, that then enters a civilization eco-system of ideals which is called culture. Therefore our cultures are crap when we get them from other people, but when we get them from ourselves, from ourselves actually mentally digesting nature around us - we actually gain them from nature and really taste them, as opposed to nutrient poor crap.
There are two main groups of memes
From the above description of where ideals come from, we can split culture into two obvious groups. The first choice culture, organic, unsaturated memes that saturate our minds and keep us happy healthy humans, and secondly the impoverished faeces of inorganic, saturated memes that takes more energy from us, therefore making desperate, depressed, miserable, unhealthy humans.
These two then, are like matter and anti-matter, a ‘organic’ meme and an ‘anti-organic’ meme. There is a organic meme (nutritious toward the ecosystem) and the inorganic meme. Inorganic memes are vital to the ecosystem in tiny doses, cosmic evolution, perhaps as little as 0.01%, such like the dose of iron that humans need to ingest for healthy blood cells – if we decide to eat an iron bar made of more than 50% Iron atoms, we poison ourselves and die, likewise for our cultures, if we overwhelm ourselves with metallic, ill-nutritious memes, we poison our minds and die of ecocide.
Organic memes reflect everywhere in nature, this is idealism in nature. For example, the birds of paradise drive their evolution into many vibrant species through what we know as memes, it allows a social selection process to occur through an organic surrogation. Organic surrogation is not saturated memes and drives the evolution of animals where there is plenty of energy for vibrant colours and variation.
The birds of paradise are organically surrogating, they don’t need to show off to reproduce, but because there is no barbaric environment forcing them to fight or die, they will use their excess energy socially that then allows them to drive evolution beautifully.
In our civilization we are juxtaposed against that spiral of evolution with an anti-spiral, an inorganic surrogation is saturated memes, which is a poisonous by-product of decaying cultures – and as an opposite with organic memes, the two will always annihilate each other. In an environment predominating with organic memes, we will have happy minds. In an environment predominating with inorganic memes, we will become depressed – and as a side note, it will probably be surrounded by symbols and machinery.
The inorganic memes we create through civilization are above a certain evolutionary altitude that the totallity of organic life surrounding us cannot sink that information back into the ecosystem as to refresh and recycle as it should. Civilization is like the volcanoe in the ocean that chugs up magma through explosions, creating islands of life with it, islands of life that cannot exist underneath that sea.
And that does not mean we do not need the sea, of course we do, that sea of life will give the water that the land animals need to drink, they are evolving onto a higher niche – and as we see adaptive generalist species of mammals that grow out of the wilderness onto these civilization islands with us, you see rats, pigeons and other ‘domestic’ animals that evolve like animals in our civilization tree.
When we reside in a civilization, internalization occurs at a rate above the speed at which the environment can re-externalize that, the sea cannot erode the island of civilization faster than it is being created by the volcanoe. It cannot re-emit that memetic information back into the oceans. Like toward the river of life, A-dam builds up, preventing the water from flowing as it cis-naturally did. Much information cannot pour out into the ocean around it, and is socially forced up within this internalization, and this generates saturated memes that do not give ‘nutrition’ toward organic intelligence, such as humans, leaving them inert, but is instead a food for artificial life to be created (technology) in these lakes and rivers that are away from the sea of organic life, all in all, creating a new species of life, divergent evolution.
Culture is therefore, below our technology and beyond our natures, it is our pleasant path back into nature from the icy mountain top of our island. It is toward the sea of nature from our high altitude in evolution, it is our beach, and from there we can enjoy the sun of reality.
Creating the Civilization of Paradise
If we observe the bird of paradise, and the information above, combining them both we can firstly increase the nutritiousness of our cultures so minds are filled with enormous amounts of energy, secondly, we must make them beautiful in their re-emition of memetic energy.
How we go about the first hurdle is simply centralizing every city and town and destroying small little villages, holiday homes, industrial farms, roads, fences, and gypsies that we don’t really need and between those cities and towns crush every symbolic and manmade artifact and object into dust, destroy it, it is poisonous to our minds and to our earth. Remove everything that is ugly, this is civil natural selection and if we ever want a beautiful civilization we must destroy the ugly, useless, satiated filth, give more energy to the growth of a new wilderness between every city and town.
Now after that, we would have isolated social groups diverging from one predominant national ethnicity, their towns and cities would be shrunk and concentrated into the centres and evolved upwards to create high tech aristocratic arcologies, the surrounding unused expanse of the urban filfth is crushed into dust and weeded out of any plastics and manmade junk also.
That unused expanse is then free for humans to play, they can do whatever they want as long as it is organic – the domestic animals mentioned earlier would then come in the fill this ecological niche also. This is where the fun begins.
Agrology is a new idea, it is the combination of the wilderness and agri-culture. Given that our culture would be restructured on unsaturated memes, we would have great mental health. Everything we then cultured would be given more for less, they would have a meritocratic incentive to come toward our ‘civilization of paradise’, thus we would use our primitive agriculture to feed rats, pigeons, crows and other intelligent adaptive animals to both our advantage. They would weed out our weakest crops, giving food in return for us to predate them, and eugenically hunt them to create super-species able to threaten, challenge, dominate certain societies evolving therefrom.
Then no moron or prole, fat ugly beast of a human would ever be evolved, it would be sacrificed to the wilderness before it could ever devolve into mediocrity, and likewise other mammals, our pets and other roaming pests in the surrounding civil-wilderness would be hunted at a certain threshold, allowing them plenty of energy from supercrops for organic surrogation, and plenty of organic food for them to devour – humanity would have food on the menu which exceeds even our greatest cuisines today.
Neitzsche talked about creating super wildlife for the superman to hunt, because the superman in his eyes would require lots of energy to ultimately function, therefore by pumping up the flimsy pests of modern society and evolve, ascend them into beautiful creatures with tremendous intelligence and strength, turning rats, pigeons and crows into exotic super species, divergently speciated toward each individual city. Then we would not only serve our agricultural needs to grow our own food, but we would also function as a deity like evolutionary force for the local ecosystems. It would function as a wilderness and a civilization combined.
The resultant exotic species evolved through the interaction with superhuman colonies would steadily increase their complexity, until they would be fighting ‘hand’ to human hand combat, and the benefits toward them both would be enormous. Humans would crush the weaker, uglier, and give rewards to those which are more fascist and aesthetic. This is art in action.
Ultimately, they are evolved to be our guardians, and we theirs, so that we never fall into such a pathetic phase as is today, never. Astroprimitivism emerges, it is everything and more. AI thrives within a centralized CPU within the arcology, and it has a labyrinth like catacomb beneath the crust of the earth where the mechanization will reside, where the superhumans will live by night, and by day they are hunting the super wildlife.
Toward any crappy civilization, say if a modern day civilization existed on a continent next to it, they would (due to being bred into superhumans) be of superior physical and cognitive abilities, also having superwildlife strangely compassionate toward them, act as a single unit, the AI mechanization would eat the enemies electronics leaving them without any trigger happy proles to operate drones and such, and the superhumans would raid the continent by hand and sword, stealing everything of worth and crushing the fools, collecting skull trophies; the superwildlife would follow, the ecosystem would raid also to scavenge anything left behind.
Welcome the new era of evolution.