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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 5:01 pm 
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I try to maintain a wide survey of online groups to keep from getting sucked into echo champers and myopic subcultures, and some of those I try to keep periodic tabs on are the Rewilding, Permaculture and Green Anarchist movements. They tend to have loose connections to homesteading, bushcrafting and primitive living culture, often just with more political/philosophical/theological baggage.

I find them a very useful counterpoint to traditional prepper culture for several reasons:

1) In some ways they are even MORE pessimistic then your average prepper. Some believe that massive, society wrecking disasters are just around the corner (just as some preppers do) unlike my own "something might happen, maybe, but hell if I know what" generalist prepping mindset, or the ZS focus on normal, boring, plausible disasters. These beliefs push some groups to REALLY put their money where their mouth is and do some real-world testing that would never get past the speculation phase for most of us.

2) Some groups, through either a pessimistic view of the future or because of current beliefs, are much less dependent on fossil fuels (or at least aim for such), its like they already live in a Mad-Max world! But with less leather, pillaging, and no V8s. So a really lame Mad Max world...

3) Almost universally they focus on communities more then the normal prepper. There are certainly great examples of prepper tribes, clans and communities but they still tend to be insular and isolationist, so I find watching the interactions of these more open communities a useful experiment in what a non-war post-collapse society might face. The more honest ones will share numerous and serious interpersonal issues that could plague any small group of people living together during serious times.


On that note, I'd like to share a more recent group I found. I have only a broad, shallow understanding of the nuances of green movements but they seem to fit somewhere in between Permaculture, hard-core Paleo hunter-gatherer, and Re-wilding anarchy:

http://forums.feralculture.com/

What I like about them:

1) Since their philosophy is still being formed there is much less to wade through, it is easy to overlook the philosophical underpinnings all together if you choose and just take lessons learned.

2) They seem more focused on the experiment itself then attacking mainstream society, declaring their own superiority, or other silliness that often comes from similar communities.

3) They acknowledge and are even openly critical of some of the obvious problems with "intentional communities," communes and other social experiments. One of the major takeaways I got from their speculation is that multiple, small, mobile groups of people in the same area give a much needed release valve as That One Guy can jump to a different group if he just pushes everyones buttons too far, or if two members of the same band have a falling out. This is much different from the aggressive clan culture I hear promoted by some, which is either all-in "he's one of us" or all-out exile to the wilds to die.

3) While I'm sure they have other long-term goals, they have no arbitrary aversions to modern equipment. They leverage solar power, modern fat bikes, motors on their boats, and modern clothing to achieve their higher priority goals. They seem generally more concerned with what works within their loose framework rather then meeting the arbitrary restrictions of an historical fantasy.

4) Since the members are at least moderately invested (seems to be more then a vacation/weekend hobby for most of them) their problems and solutions are real. One of the glaring issues with prepping in general is that you are nearly always basing your supplies and solutions on hypothetical problems, or the at least speculation of the prevalence of known problems. While I'm sure these guys aren't subsisting on hunting and gathering they are dealing with realities and not theories.


While they certainly still seem dependent on modern society, they are closer to living in an INCH situation then most people I've found, and the long-term nature of the experiment is more educational then the weeks-to-months long survival/primitive living trips you usually hear about. The social aspect of it also seems to lend it a legitimacy that is usually lacking in the lone mountain man/trapper archetype that permeates views on long-term wilderness living.
Their forum isn't terribly active, but the facebook feed seems to indicate they are still going at it, and I'll be looking forward to updates as winter rolls in. Here are some posts I found interesting:

Bike powered generator:
http://forums.feralculture.com/t/diy-bike-power-station-mostly-photos/2058

Earth lodge (and some discussions on the realities of decomposition):
http://forums.feralculture.com/t/earth-lodge-one/1990/11

Some discussion on gear for longer term Alaskan living:
http://forums.feralculture.com/t/going-to-alaska-gear-list-please/1967/49

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 5:29 pm 
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The problem with a hunter gatherer concept is that there are billions of people on the planet and not nearly enough resources to hunt and gather. Seems a short route to starvation and was not particularly effective means for civilized living.

The lodge was interesting. I imagine one that was lived in full time by people living off the land would be much easier to maintain.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 6:22 pm 
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well, a large part of the "baggage" that goes along with the whole thing is a general rejection of the superiority of civilization in general. Of course their are varying degrees of self-awareness and hypocrisy in everything that goes along with that belief, but I think they mostly see civilization as something to wean themselves off of, not something to continue with increasingly primitive means.

As for how many people could be supported by such a lifestyle I am far from the best person to speculate, but I can say anecdotally that my home state used to have 500,000 acres set aside for a single non-food crop in prime hunting ground.
The paleo folks aslo seem to point to hunting and gathering as utilizing a lot of ground that is marginal at best for agriculture. Also I assume their fantasy utopia entails at minimum a massive curb of population growth, while the typical prepper collapse scenario usually involves a fairly sizable die-off, either of which would largely render the population question moot.

This aside, I am not so interested in how applicable their systems are for the current world but what we could learn from them for any kind of post-collapse fantasy that I at least indulge myself in speculating about.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 6:41 pm 
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Quote:
Also I assume their fantasy utopia entails at minimum a massive curb of population growth, while the typical prepper collapse scenario usually involves a fairly sizable die-off, either of which would largely render the population question moot.


Not really. Even a sizable die off wouldn't be that much better for them. Much of the habitat has been destroyed that would enable a HG culture.

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but I think they mostly see civilization as something to wean themselves off of, not something to continue with increasingly primitive means.


If they want to shorten their life spans and live a tougher life who am I to get in the way of their happiness?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:02 pm 
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You won't find me running off to join up, but I was hoping to focus on their means and not get bogged down about their ends. Without a desire to understand their deeper motivations and goals any discussion of their success or failure is doomed to be glib and dismissive.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 1:49 pm 
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RonnyRonin wrote:
You won't find me running off to join up, but I was hoping to focus on their means and not get bogged down about their ends. Without a desire to understand their deeper motivations and goals any discussion of their success or failure is doomed to be glib and dismissive.

I can understand wanting to keep discussion focused on what they're doing and how they're doing it rather than why they are doing it. On the other hand, with no discussion of why they are doing what they're doing this thread might end up being a few people saying "That's cool, thanks for the links."

RonnyRonin wrote:
1) In some ways they are even MORE pessimistic then your average prepper. Some believe that massive, society wrecking disasters are just around the corner (just as some preppers do) unlike my own "something might happen, maybe, but hell if I know what" generalist prepping mindset, or the ZS focus on normal, boring, plausible disasters. These beliefs push some groups to REALLY put their money where their mouth is and do some real-world testing that would never get past the speculation phase for most of us.

Yeah, it's pretty hard to nail down what exactly an average prepper is. I also float around in permaculture and more environmentally-focused homesteading communities. In my opinion, they do seem have more doomers than your average prepper/survivalist community. It's hard to say though, as I actively avoid the doomer, religious and anti-civ focused permaculture/homesteading communities as much as I actively avoid the doomer, religious and militant prepper/survivalist communities. My thoughts are based entirely on my own experience, and I suffer from severe selection bias.


I think that there is a lot to be learned from watching what other people are doing, even if you don't agree with the why. It's funny though, I've seen some permaculture folks who are somewhat critical of survivalists say things along the lines of "at least the survivalists are out there putting some of this stuff into practice." I think it might be a "the grass is greener on the other side" type of situation.

Aren't the Alpha Rubicon survivalists who are all about actually testing stuff out? Like they're a closed group and you aren't allowed in unless you can prove you are actually doing things in real life. I've only seen the articles they've put out for the general public and haven't been to their site in many years.

I think that there's a common problem of too much talking about things and not enough actually doing things. On the other hand I think that part of it is just a perception problem caused by lack of documentation. My own experience has been that it generally takes 3-4 times longer to do something, document it and then post it than it does just to do it. I know I don't post most of my stuff out of sheer laziness. I've been thinking about getting a GoPro or something similar and then just saving the video to edit and post in the winter, but I'd probably end up with mostly super-shaky video and audio the consists entirely of swearing.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 2:39 pm 
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That lodge thread was pretty interesting. Seems like there are a lot of Alaska stuff, which is cool. I'll have to check it out more as it is somewhat relevant to my area. (Most of it is in the Interior where I used to live. I've now moved back to a warmer and wetter part of Alaska.)

My understanding is that most of Alaska's indigenous peoples used to live in earth-sheltered dwellings, which was pretty common to people living in cold climates around the world.

Mors Kochanski has a drawing of one such dwelling (called a "keguri" IIRC) that looked to me like it would make an ideal structure for someone with a remote BOL who didn't have a lot of money to build a house and wanted something that would be really hard for random people to find and burglarize. The Eastern European "zemlyanka" buildings are also interesting.

I've also been reading Mike Oehler's books on earth-sheltered buildings. I'd like to build one of his greenhouses. There are tons of designs for underground or more commonly partially underground houses. Different strategies seem to be required for different climates.

My brother and I want to build a few remote camps, mostly for fun and hunting. I think it would be fun to build some of these structures but most are probably going to be basic lean-tos.

Stercutus wrote:
The lodge was interesting. I imagine one that was lived in full time by people living off the land would be much easier to maintain.

I imagine so, but wasn't the guy who lived there for a year living there full time? I guess it depends on what full time means, as it sounds like he was also trapping, fishing, etc. so he might have been gone for days or even maybe weeks at a time.

Paul Wheaton had a video up where he toured one of Mike Oehler's buildings which had been mostly unoccupied for decades, and he made a comment along the lines of not noticing any mold or mildew problems. Of course it's not a good comparison, as Mike Oehler used plastic sheeting and windows and his buildings were relatively sealed.

I've seen pictures of really old (as in centuries) earth covered houses in cold places, but only from the outside. For all I know the insides are either collapsed in or a fungal nightmare like something out of Lovecraft.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:05 pm 
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Awesome thread, I will be checking the Feralculture site out more over the next week or two, but gave it a quick scan.

My take away was they are combining multiple other concepts into something else to create a bit of an amalgamation along with some newish ideas. I embrace folks doing this, not just letting themselves be put into a labeled box. Mixing and borrowing ideas from others, blending different ideas and philosophies.

I really liked how you mentioned you like checking out other groups out side prepper circles to see what else might be going on.

*edit to add, I am a prepper, bushcrafter, homesteader, permiculturist, and much more. I don't let any one label completely define me, each are just facets and not the complete whole.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 4:35 pm 
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ineffableone wrote:
*edit to add, I am a prepper, bushcrafter, homesteader, permiculturist, and much more. I don't let any one label completely define me, each are just facets and not the complete whole.

I think this is important. Labels can be a quick and easy way to identify things, but when it comes to people they can also lead to a lot of misunderstandings.

There is a ton of overlap between the different communities, although they are not all focused on the same things or made up of the same people. I would say that the large majority of permaculturalists are survivalists, although they might not self-identify as such due to misconceptions and silly political BS. I also think that many survivalists who focus on the long-term are also permaculturalists, although they might not self-identify as such again due to misconceptions and silly political BS.

I think of myself as both a permaculturalist and a survivalist (I'm a bad example of both, but I'm working on it). I don't much identify with the doomer and anti-civ folks. I'm a techo-optimist myself, which puts me at odds with many (but definitely not all) in those communities.The thing I like about permaculture, homesteading and survivalism is that done right they make people's lives better if everything goes to shit or if everything goes better than expected.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:09 pm 
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Interesting thanks for sharing. I've worked and been around people who tend towards these ideas - some more realistic than others. Intentional communities rarely seem to last based on ideological reasons is what I gathered...

You can take a lot from the primitive types - one of my favourite radical environmentalists is an extreme Fin by the name of Pentti Linkola (think extreme misanthropy) and I don't agree with all that he says but his writings produce interesting trains of thought.

quazi - Paul Wheaton has done a bunch of work on upgrading ideas from Oehlers houses and his forums have really taken off. Last I was there I remember seeing some pretty impressive builds of houses on his principles. You should have a poke around there.

There is a trade off of course - the big open sky light in the Feral Culture thread is your light source and it does remind me more of a temporary hunting location than permanent residence. Oehler was pretty big on 3 sides open to the sky and maximizing natural light in underground houses.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:49 pm 
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the_alias wrote:
quazi - Paul Wheaton has done a bunch of work on upgrading ideas from Oehlers houses and his forums have really taken off. Last I was there I remember seeing some pretty impressive builds of houses on his principles. You should have a poke around there.

There is a trade off of course - the big open sky light in the Feral Culture thread is your light source and it does remind me more of a temporary hunting location than permanent residence. Oehler was pretty big on 3 sides open to the sky and maximizing natural light in underground houses.

Wheaton's wofati idea is definitely interesting. Permies is the forum I hang around on the most after Zombie Squad.

I'm thinking I'm going to build an earth-sheltered winter greenhouse first. If that doesn't collapse I'll then try building a barn*, and if that doesn't collapse I'll give building a small house a shot.

*The barn would be more above-ground than the other structures, to avoid becoming to dank and nasty.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:57 pm 
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Not much for me to add, but some might find this site of interest
http://www.primitiveways.com/

Pretty much stone age.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:47 pm 
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quazi wrote:
Yeah, it's pretty hard to nail down what exactly an average prepper is. I also float around in permaculture and more environmentally-focused homesteading communities. In my opinion, they do seem have more doomers than your average prepper/survivalist community. It's hard to say though, as I actively avoid the doomer, religious and anti-civ focused permaculture/homesteading communities as much as I actively avoid the doomer, religious and militant prepper/survivalist communities. My thoughts are based entirely on my own experience, and I suffer from severe selection bias.

I think that is why I always come back here to ZS, one of the few prepperish places where one is not guaranteed to daily encounter doomers.

quazi wrote:
Aren't the Alpha Rubicon survivalists who are all about actually testing stuff out? Like they're a closed group and you aren't allowed in unless you can prove you are actually doing things in real life. I've only seen the articles they've put out for the general public and haven't been to their site in many years.

I think that there's a common problem of too much talking about things and not enough actually doing things. On the other hand I think that part of it is just a perception problem caused by lack of documentation. My own experience has been that it generally takes 3-4 times longer to do something, document it and then post it than it does just to do it. I know I don't post most of my stuff out of sheer laziness. I've been thinking about getting a GoPro or something similar and then just saving the video to edit and post in the winter, but I'd probably end up with mostly super-shaky video and audio the consists entirely of swearing.


Alpha Rubicon is an interesting case, a higher barrier to entry is an interesting thought but also prevents potential contributions. I couldn't help but shake the feeling they quite simply took themselves too seriously, their certainly seem to be a few prolific youtubers and bloggers that can at least match if not beat AR on quantity and quality of content all by themselves.

The Content problem is at least twofold, like you say the effort involved is probably the main barrier, I probably have 5-10 times the content I actually publish sitting idly in my hard drive. The second part of the problem is of course the OPSEC/PERSEC concerns inherent in the prepper culture. There was a discussion on Reddit the other day about how the overweight, loud mouthed preppers always ended up on TV while the fit, intelligent ones where probably too busy leading normal lives to be bothered.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:10 pm 
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I will admit I was initially VERY dismissive of the feralculture folks as the easy assumption to make was that they were yet another gang of "into the wild" wannabes destined to a similar fate, but I have a good deal of respect for anyone that will actually pack up and try stuff. Their lack of internet activity is disappointing for me, the armchair spectator, but probably indicates actual activity on their part. I'm hopeful that perhaps a third party might go up for a visit and do some more in depth documentation.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 10:47 am 
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RonnyRonin wrote:
I will admit I was initially VERY dismissive of the feralculture folks as the easy assumption to make was that they were yet another gang of "into the wild" wannabes destined to a similar fate, but I have a good deal of respect for anyone that will actually pack up and try stuff. Their lack of internet activity is disappointing for me, the armchair spectator, but probably indicates actual activity on their part. I'm hopeful that perhaps a third party might go up for a visit and do some more in depth documentation.

From what I can gather there is a couple who are the 'core' and actually live out in remote Alaska. The woman had an instagram profile and a patreon to help fund themselves. Naturally seems they couldn't post much beyond trips back into Fairbanks for supplies.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:20 pm 
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RonnyRonin wrote:
Alpha Rubicon is an interesting case, a higher barrier to entry is an interesting thought but also prevents potential contributions. I couldn't help but shake the feeling they quite simply took themselves too seriously, their certainly seem to be a few prolific youtubers and bloggers that can at least match if not beat AR on quantity and quality of content all by themselves.

Yeah, I had a hard time telling how seriously they take themselves based on the stuff I read.

I mean, I like all the paranoid doomsday prepper stuff because I think it's fun. I do think that if done right that it can make a person's life better and make the world a very slightly better place, but the returns on that kind of prepping have diminished to the point that it's really just a hobby. People should only engage in hobbies if they find them fun. Kind of like how HEMA can make some people's lives much better even though the chances of getting into a sword fight are pretty low.

So I like to put on my tinfoil hat but I also keep my tongue in my cheek. I think that I might too often assume that other people are of the same mindset, when there are some people out there who are very serious and quite possibly crazy.

(Sorry if that was too off-topic.)

RonnyRonin wrote:
I will admit I was initially VERY dismissive of the feralculture folks as the easy assumption to make was that they were yet another gang of "into the wild" wannabes destined to a similar fate, but I have a good deal of respect for anyone that will actually pack up and try stuff. Their lack of internet activity is disappointing for me, the armchair spectator, but probably indicates actual activity on their part. I'm hopeful that perhaps a third party might go up for a visit and do some more in depth documentation.

I'm certainly guilty of writing people off as crazy too quickly. I think that if we give people a chance to explain what they're trying to do, how they're trying to do it and why they are trying to do it then more often than not it just turns out to be a misunderstanding. This takes way too much time, and keeping an open mind is difficult. This isn't me trying to be holier-than-thou and critical of other people, it really does take time and effort and I often default to quickly dismissing people based on my shallow understanding. It's way easier to take a quick glance, make some assumptions and write people off. (Of course, not being crazy or stupid doesn't make a person right, and sometimes people do just turn out to be crazy and stupid.)

Okay, I'll try to stop navel gazing for now, but no promises. :lol:

the_alias wrote:
From what I can gather there is a couple who are the 'core' and actually live out in remote Alaska. The woman had an instagram profile and a patreon to help fund themselves. Naturally seems they couldn't post much beyond trips back into Fairbanks for supplies.

I was trying to tell if I could recognize them from the pictures. Fairbanks is small enough that you run into most people a few times, but big enough that you have no idea who most of the people are.

Of course, if they just came in for groceries a few times a year there's a decent chance I would have never seen them.


When it comes to people actually getting out and trying things I think there can be a lot of value in people who don't directly do the stuff themselves but rather travel around and document what others are doing. There are some people doing this, but I think there is room for a lot more.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:00 pm 
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I just have a lot of trouble taking anybody too seriously who rants about the evils of a technological society ...... on the internet :awesome:

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flybynight wrote:
I just have a lot of trouble taking anybody too seriously who rants about the evils of a technological society ...... on the internet :awesome:

Did you see that on their forums?

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http://forums.feralculture.com/t/de-technologizing-yourself/2035 here try this. Not the rant I found last night but I already went through most of the blog and gleened what I want. Don't want to go searching for it again

edit .........yes on their forums

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flybynight wrote:
I just have a lot of trouble taking anybody too seriously who rants about the evils of a technological society ...... on the internet :awesome:

:lol:

To be fair, a lot of the time when primitivist/re-wilding/anti-civ types talk about the evils of technology they don't actually think that technological advancement is overall a bad thing and that we need to scrap it all and go back to the stone age. Some do, but I would guess most don't.

From what I've seen* they are more often than not just talking about how with each advancement comes more complications and problems that will need to be dealt with. Part of the solution is voluntarily living a more primitive lifestyle, without necessarily giving up everything in the modern world. I think that is legitimate, but not necessarily for everyone.

I'm a techno-optimist, but what do I want to do when we live in a utopia where robots can do every single thing better than humans can? I figure living a life somewhat like a 19th Century homesteader would be fun and fulfilling. But it's going to be more of a re-enactment than anything. I'm not going to entirely give up telecommunications, and when I accidentally chop off my foot with an axe I'm going to use that telecommunications device implanted in my brain to summon the drone medivac chopper to take me to the hospital where the AI doctor will attach a new foot that had been grown in vat. :crazy: That lifestyle wouldn't be for everyone, and if you want to live in an archology and get physically wired into the world's greatest MMO eating delicious algae from the tanks that's cool too (I'm not being sarcastic).

*From what I've seen in general. I haven't spent much time poking around that specific forum.

ETA: I actually think that brain implants and being physically wired into things in the wetware sense probably won't be as common as less invasive options, I was just trying to be funny.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:39 pm 
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flybynight wrote:
http://forums.feralculture.com/t/de-technologizing-yourself/2035 here try this. Not the rant I found last night but I already went through most of the blog and gleened what I want. Don't want to go searching for it again

edit .........yes on their forums

Thanks! I hadn't seen this yet, wasn't looking for it either. Have a read of it later perhaps.

Internet use alone though doesn't disqualify arguments against the 'evils of a technological society'. A thief telling you not to steal does not invalidate the truth of their assertion about stealing...

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:51 pm 
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OUR SHARED NEGATIVE VALUES
We Disvalue:
Work (in the modern job sense). Rather, we strive to design ourselves out of systems We are not against hard work per se, particularly when working toward less work in the future. However, we do not value work for work’s sake.
Monoculture
Agriculture (as a system of control of earth and people). Rather, we value integration and participation.
Division of labor and specialization or reliance on experts. Rather, we minimize reliance on specialists, empower individuals with all necessary skills, then leverage the particular strengths of individuals in group setting. Resilience.
Materialism / consumer culture
Progress mythology / salvation through technology
Comfort
Reductionism / Excessive measurement objectifies complexity and richness
Commodification of relationships
Assigning market values to things humans care about reduces connection
Mediated experience
Screens, whether in the sense of filters or view screens
Domestication
Normalized gender roles
Agricultural societies deeply embed proscribed roles around sex and gender.
Private Property
We do recognize the nuance between private property and personal property. This includes land enclosure and accumulation of items beyond “personal property” as described above.
"Everywhere we find that there are sanctions against accumulation. This cannot be explained... simply in practical terms: nomadic peoples who have to carry everything they possess are concerned that their possessions should be readily portable so that they can be carried with ease when the time comes to move camp, but sanctions against accumulation go far beyond meeting this requirement and apply even to the lightest objects such as beads, arrowheads, and supplies of arrow poison."

https://feralculture.com/values

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 5:17 pm 
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:lol:
Yes their list of negative values contains many contradictory elements and some things are just terribly thought out. I'm unsurprised.

I mean listing "Comfort" - honestly that is so daft. Comfort encompasses many things - from personal relationships to a staple of living. They are kidding themselves if they think that is a negative value to define and hold dear in some shape. Could comment the same on many more.

I do not think it was OP's intention to get distracted by their ideology but rather to measure the results of their efforts.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 5:50 pm 
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the_alias wrote:
:lol:
Yes their list of negative values contains many contradictory elements and some things are just terribly thought out. I'm unsurprised.

I mean listing "Comfort" - honestly that is so daft. Comfort encompasses many things - from personal relationships to a staple of living. They are kidding themselves if they think that is a negative value to define and hold dear in some shape. Could comment the same on many more.

I do not think it was OP's intention to get distracted by their ideology but rather to measure the results of their efforts.

There's no doubt I will revisit this site in a year or so. Just to see if there's anything neat to see ( even though their how to pictorials are kinda lacking in any detail). But ummm yea meh!!

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