What this group is about
[Note: This is not a paleo diet group, though yes, that is one topic which may come up from time to time. Please read the description below.]
Interested in the ways of hunter-gatherers? Think you'd like to feel more connected to the earth, at one with the rest of the natural world? Feel the costs of civilization may outweigh the benefits?
Do you suspect that, for the sake of life on earth and human well being, the future for humanity should and in fact might see a return to hunting and gathering? Interested in activities designed to help shed some of the domestication civilization has forced on us? Then this is your group!
That's the gist! The rest is detail with an important section on who might not be a good fit for the group.
Okay, so almost everyone who read the bit above shook their heads and moved on. :-/ If you're still reading…
Nearly all of human history occurred prior to the advent of agriculture. For all that time, our ancestors lived as hunter-gatherers. The oldest human societies today (e.g., the Ju/’hoansi, the Hadza…) trace their ancestry straight back to the pleistocene, and a few members of some groups still live as hunter-gatherers, practicing little or no purposeful plant cultivation. This is a group for anyone interested in the the lifeways of such people, past and present, in deepening their connection to the earth, and in looking toward a future beyond civilization. Perhaps you've pondered the idea of somehow undoing some of the "domestication" that comes from living in civilization (i.e., rewilding** yourself), getting in touch with what it's like to live as an integral part of the natural world, or perhaps learning some aboriginal living skills. If so, you know how few of us there are! Hence this group.
This will start as a social/discussion group, but may easily segue as well into such things as sharing primitive skills, themed day hikes, even primitive/minimalist backpacking trips.
Examples of topics and activities we might pursue:
•Wild edible and medicinal plants
•Lifeways of human societies going back to the paleolithic: Ju/’hoansi, Hadza, Australian Aborigines...
•Fire by friction
•Barefoot day hikes
•The problem of agriculture and the controversial question of cultivation in hunter-gatherer subsistence
•Simplified backcountry medicine
•Heightening our senses
•Writings of authors such as Paul Shepard, John Zerzan, Daniel Quinn, Chellis Glendinning, Marshall Sahlins, Richard B. Lee…
•Design ideas for earth-centered, self-sufficient living arrangements for post- civilization or present day. In particular, simplifying by adapting hunter-gatherer ways (see, e.g., the Tom Elpel article, The Art of Nothing, linked to in the discussion forum.) So this is not about your standard homesteading!
•Bow making / Archery
•Beyond camping: Ideas for primitive/minimalist backpacking and backcountry camping
•Current ecological issues / Habitat protection
•Mountain versus desert living and survival skills
•Communication with and among plants and non-human animals
•Applying hunter-gatherer ways in civilization today
•Natural camouflage, escape, and evasion!
•Responses to the inherent destructiveness of civilization and it's damage to the web of life
•Social dynamics and conflict resolution in hunter-gatherer bands
•Recent archaeological and anthropological findings
We'll start out meeting once a month and adjust from there. Just show up, we'll talk, and take it from there. Our mutual interest in these topics will do the rest!
This group is open to nearly anyone with the relevant interests, the only exceptions listed below. GLBT friendly. People under 18 are welcome in theory, but we may require parental accompaniment or permission forms as we figure it out.
This group is not for you if…
•You find absurd the idea that civilization is surviving on borrowed time, and that the future may see a huge decline in human numbers and a return to hunting and gathering.
•You would join planning to debate the fundamental theoretical issues. I've made clear the core ideas of the group. Of course a little polite debate of details is fine, but the idea at the outset is to bring together a group of like-minded people, not to bring together opposing camps.
•You strongly prefer the idea of a horticultural society (using permaculture techniques to make food forests etc.) to that of semi-nomadic, "immediate-return" hunting and gathering. Evidence for the former only goes back in human history about as far as that for agriculture. The only human way of living we know has a track record of sustainability of hundreds of millennia and more is semi-nomadic, immediate-return hunting and gathering. There is a solid argument, therefore, that it is the best ecological bet for the future of life on Earth. That will be one of this group's fundamental assumptions.
**Note: In some contexts "rewilding" refers to aspects of wilderness restoration. Though related, it's use in this group comes from a newer meaning, now in common use. A simplified definition is: "reclaiming what we've lost with civilization, undoing domestication, returning to a more natural or wild state, a state typical of hunter-gatherers past and present."