Saturday, February 20, 2010

Future Primitive

Future Primitive
By John Zerzan

I don’t really get anarcho-primitivists. Yes, yes, I’m using the internet right now, and I enjoy having hot water and electricity, and I don’t want to live in a world that doesn’t have art or culture, but it’s not that (or at least not just that) that bothers me.

There’re more than six billion people in the world right now, and no way that many people could survive in a gatherer-hunter (the term this zine uses) way of life. Not because they’re stupid and don’t know what they’re doing (they are, and lots of them would die because of that), but because our world can’t support a population that large if we’re not doing intensive farming.

Now to be honest, I think the world is horribly overpopulated, there’s absolutely no reason for the amount and types of intensive farming we do, and we’re all fucked anyway, but I question the point of even writing about this lifestyle.

Before I even get into what the essay in this piece is about, I must address a complaint I have with its form. Throughout the essay there are citations saying where quotes and ideas come from, except they are completely useless. All that’s given is a last name and a year. Are these articles? Books? Speeches? I have no idea, and it doesn’t seem possible to figure out as there’s no bibliography or reading list included. (And it’s not like there wasn’t room, there’s a blank page at the end.) If you’re going to try to write something scholarly and then not bother to actually include your references, why write it in that style in the first place?

Anyway, back to the content. There’s two essays, the first one is 36 pages on how awesome primitivism is and how we were so much better off before we all settled down and started living in houses and growing crops, and the other one is a postscript (only seven pages long) that begins by asking how to actually achieve a primitivist world. It encourages destroying the thing that is society, and just generally ignores that doing that will kill off most of the population of the world in a slow and horrible manner (ie. starving to death).

And really, if that’s the result you want, we might as well just keep going the way we are now. At least then we’d still be able to look at art and listen to music for a few more years.

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