August 24, 2020

Civilization vs Wilderness

"What is the opposite of civilization?" I ask myself.

Checks dictionary for antonyms. 

"Barbarianism, barbarism, decline, decrease, destruction, ignorance, primitiveness, retreat, and retrogression." 


Those aren't opposites. Most of them describe the current state of our much vaunted civilization. 

Is war civilized? Ecocide? Hate? After hundreds of thousands of years, how has the last 10,000 years of trading equality and freedom for hierarchical societies turned out for us? 

In a blink of an eye, we went from the wilderness and Earth-friendly spartan lifestyles, all the way to the big city, pushing a consumer lifestyle in a bulging shopping cart through the mall parking lot while looking for the car. 

No wonder we are so disoriented.

My dictionary search was not entirely unfruitful. There was one more antonym that actually is the opposite of civilization.

And that word is, "wilderness". It is one I can get behind. 

Whenever I tire of civilization (it doesn't take long), I retreat to its opposite, the wilderness. It is the balm that soothes the soul.

I don't want to be domesticated. Domestication could turn out to be as deadly for us as it has for other domesticated creatures.

Since we will not be going back to the wilderness as hunter gatherers any time soon, we need to envision a whole new form of civilization. 

Or some other new way of living that we have not yet considered.

Because what we have now, essentially 10,000 years of repeating the same flawed model, isn't working.

"I wonder what that might look like?" I ask myself.

1 comment:

  1. I find myself thinking about this a great deal of late. The one thing I certainly do not want to see is a return to the "normal" we had before the pandemic. I was born in the wilderness of northern British Columbia and, although I am realistic enough to know I could no longer withstand the rigours of living in that time in that place, it is still the home of my heart. All around I hear things that give me hope for the future - a friend noted just recently that he hopes the worldwide state of emergency doesn't end too soon for the new thought processes that have begun to germinate to take root. Hope all is well with you all. Mela


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