I recently finished reading the Jonathan Franzen novel Purity. It was a commendable book, but has little to do with what I am about to write other than I was struck by the name, and spent some time ruminating upon it, and upon the rare people I've met who displayed this quality in some aspect of their life. This is what I strive for, I thought, purity.
Just because I've distanced myself from some of the rhetoric of rewilding, doesn't mean I don't think it has a ton of good to offer. Wild food plants and animals DO have better nutritional value than more domesticated food crops. We DO live in a horrifically toxic world. People ARE incredibly traumatized. The coyote howls and the screech owl calls eerily-beautifully outside my open bedroom window as I type this and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Daniel Vitalis, who got his internet health celebrity start in the raw foods world, is the first person to attempt to capitalize on rewilding by targeting the paleo lifestyle crowd. I personally don't have any problem with that. I think its smart. I think it will help the same information reach more people. I think it is only a step beyond what I was attempting when myself and some of my compatriots were “hipsterifying” rewilding in the mid-late 00's and drawing ire from the “real” green anarchists whom we felt were douche-bags for their inability to understand the clear value of infiltrating popular culture.
I know some people are reading my posts and thinking, “Emily, when did you get so clever?” What no one is thinking that? That's just me? Ah well. But I know there are people from my past who are wondering when I switched from proselytizing about the about the collapse of civilization (in a hopeful way, I thought that would be the best thing for humanity back then) to proselytizing about spiritual matters. I know because for one thing I got a comment on that very matter:
“I'm curious, how did you make this shift in your beliefs? I am struggling with that myself ... And maybe you'll share at some point how you went from "radical anti-civilizationalist" to your current status.”
Those of you who know me, know that I come from a radical background that tends to promote things like walking away from civilization and returning to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Money, and charging for things, even skills classes and information that would help accomplish that goal is not very cool in that subculture. But I've changed. Some might say grown.
I don't have a problem with money anymore. Money symbolizes energy, nothing more. So many people have issues with money, with commodification, with capitalism, but I have a hard time following their arguments these days because money alone is just so basic. It almost doesn't exist. It's like a vapor between us, commemorating our dealings.
I'm on some online dating sites and I often get messages from guys all over the US and Canada that go something like this (this is a made-up conglomerate):
Hi There, You have a very interesting profile! I think we have a lot in common! My life dream is to be an organic farmer/homesteader/permaculturalist/nomadic goat herder/beekeeper. I'm hoping to buy land someday. I really want to to grow all my own chemical-free food and live off the grid. I can no longer justify living in a way that doesn't align with my beliefs. I value community, resilience, and self-sufficiency. I am very skeptical of technology and not optimistic about where this world is headed, but nature is my religion and I think getting back into relationship with the earth is the solution to most of the world's problems. -forestlover1029