By Ria Montana, forest & wetland rewilder https://veganprimitivist.wordpress.com/
Within anarcho-primitivism plays an ongoing dialectic pinpointing origins of the problem of civilization. Impugning only capitalism or the industrial age is much too timid. From the left, radical environmental activist leader and author Derrick Jensen impugns the point people exceed their capacity for self-sufficiency, the dawn of cities. In the trilogy Ishmael, The Story of B and My Ishmael fiction writer and civilization critic Daniel Quinn renders agriculture as humans’ dichotomizing choice to be Givers or Takers. Couple city settling with plant cultivating & animal herding and you’ve hit the collective anprim sweet spot.
Looking farther back than agriculture as the start of humans’ split with nature slashes approval. Anarcho-primitivist author and Anarchy Radio host John Zerzan’s look back to origins of art and language has appealed to some but with less enthusiasm. In his 3/13/19 radio show Zerzan reals in analysis on the catalyst of controlled fire, instead positioning civilization’s birth at the point humans domesticated animals and plants. Some say focusing at this fixed ~10 millennia point paints too simple a picture, ignores all civilizations’ embers heating up, culminating to ignite the world ablaze.
The debate on civilization’s origins parallels the debate on what qualifies as a technology. Values connoted by technologies are biased to support the interpreter’s view on origins. For example, those who blame agriculture see the plow as an obvious tool of civilization. Those who include controlled fire in the blame see hearths uncovered in archeologic digs as technological shifts in humans’ relationship with living communities that set the stage for domestication of plants and animals. Agriculture-blaming purists deny that using fire is technology toward civilization, perhaps to justify keeping fire in their rewilding repertoire, or perhaps in an effort to ward off criticism of hunting and cooking animals. In the premise set forth here placing civilization’s origins with the beginnings of human primate’s colonizing lifeways, inventions such as mortar and pestle are not catalysts toward civilization if they are not used as colonizing instruments, but spears are catalysts toward civilization if they are used as colonizing instruments, no matter the complexity of design. (Yes other species use hunting implements, but not in a way that degrades and massacres large scale living communities in a mega-regional and eventually worldwide colonizing schema as humans have.)