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Topics - Willem

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I've noticed that as rewilding becomes a stronger culture, we're starting to have more and divergence about what it "means". What "is" rewilding, what "isn't". In other communities of practice and learning that I'm involved in, we've come up with a great way of organizing our thinking and cleaning up these discussions/arguments, through what might be called a "fluency tree".
For example, in my work in language revitalization, I became acquainted with a proficiency scale that looks at your ability to perform in the moment, in the language, rather than your ability to talk "about" the language - grammar etc.
What happens then, is we have a natural emergence of understanding of who has what to offer - who is fluent in what.
For example, in language, you could say there are four levels of broad ability - newbies arrive with memorized words and phrases ("Hola! Yo quiero tacos!"), then build adaptive, live conversational fluency as apprentice speakers ("Where is the bathroom? How much would you pay for this?"), then begin to tell complex stories as journeypersons ("I got lost in Manila, and here's what happened first..."), then engage in debate and discussion as masters of the language ("I'd like to make three points about the moral implications of this...").
I think this way of thinking - novices, apprentices, journey persons, and masters, would be a helpful of talking about why folks like Vitalis etc seem to be doing "rewilding wrong" to some - but not to others. Why folks like Finisia are the perfect messengers for some - but overwhelming and paralyzing for others. I think this all goes to where you're at, what you can do, and how you're experiencing your rewilding right now.

I'm super excited nowadays about the conversations I read on the internet. I feel like all kinds of folks are connecting and affirming feeling heard, speaking out, and speaking ever-more-eloquently and bluntly (not mutually exclusive concepts!) about ending misogyny, white privilege, and colonial thinking.

I'm super excited about conversations about ending cultural appropriation.

I'm super excited about women, indigenous peoples, people of color, finding their voices - or probably said more accurately, finding opportunities to use their voices more publicly.

I have no problem being stripped down for being "white" or having "white privilege. For "mansplaining", for transphobia, for misogyny, for my blindspots and ignorance. For my unintended cultural appropriations.

It's an awesome feeling. I love it. Well most of the time.

I see so many white people, and white men, panicking about all of this. It's pretty hilarious.

I don't think anything can possibly really happen before civilization gets much further into its crash than it currently is. There are no resolutions when rights are given or taken away in accord with who has the most men with guns to back them up.

But still. It's a great time to be alive. "It was the best of times - it was the worst of times."

Tracking & Awareness / Pressure Release Tracking
« on: August 16, 2014, 02:36:25 PM »
Hey folks! I've begun some serious and well-documented (IMHO) study into pressure releases. Check it out at:


Grief & Praise / "Burning Man Gets Torched"
« on: April 04, 2009, 09:12:36 AM »

I don't know if I need to say anything else. Anyway, it sums up my feelings on why I feel wary about Burning Man culture.

I just read Steven Pinker's, 'the Language Instinct'. I disliked it immensely.

In fact it put me right out of sorts.

From the smug dissmissing of the 'radical ideas' of Benjamin Lee Whorf (''no one is really sure how Whorf came up with his outlandish claims") to the childish indictment of this or that thing as facile and wrong (such as the 'absurdity' that 'we can be coerced into buying by subliminal messages').

What amazes me so much about his writing stems from his use of the very things he claims have no impact - his rhetorical devices and categorization. This is right; that is wrong. "No one is really sure...". Who 'isn't' sure, Steven? Do you really mean no one, anywhere, at all? Who did you ask? Did you have a sincere curiosity about this, in any case? Steven, you disappoint me.

The second half of this means, of course, that he can't examine the impact of others' language use on him, his life, his well-being. To say that something doesn't exist, renders it imperceptible for sure. Uh oh. Well, who knows.

I read this book because someone told me Steven Pinker had something to say about the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, something damning and clear. I ran into nothing of the sort; just another person muddling through an entire book's worth of trivia, some interesting (the plural of 'Walkman?' Nobody seems to know!) and some (as above) offensive and simplistic. He quotes someone he considers an expert, who says this as an aside to the general point at hand "The thing is: I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate anything else...".

I suspect that it struck an emotional hot-button in me because I've grown tired on the poverty of deep discourse about things I care for. In a reverse-proportional way, the more I discover people who care about what I care about, and think about what I think about, the more shocked and disgusted I feel when I run into mainstream currents and thinkers who dismiss the entire body of my intellectual world out of hand.

Their 'obviously that thing there sucks' runs smack into my 'obviously this thing rocks' and creates a little explosion of cultural assumption. Unfortunately for them, I feel I can make a strong claim for my position grounded on observation, experience, and critical reflection, whereas theirs seems mostly to run 'that doesn't really interest me so it must be [sic] wrong - besides, everybody else agrees with me'.

I think he and Richard Dawkins probably would get along quite well.

In better news, I dug up an article by a fellow also intellectually offended by Pinker's book. In it he addresses (in the book) Pinker's rather weird characterization of an experiment between Chinese and American college students on a multiple-choice test, and how he describes the Chinese language (a language which he has not personally studied) in general. The Americans outperform the Chinese by a shockingly wide margin; then, some critics of the test point out that the Chinese students correctly observed several ambiguities in the questions, thus making the available choices impossible to choose from. The Americans had no such problem. Pinker, careful to protect his point that languages don't affect thought, ascribes the difference to "Chinese students have more college science than Americans". Uhh...yeah.

Anyway, Alex Gross's article on Chinese stuff:


Tracking & Awareness / Stalking Skillz
« on: November 06, 2008, 08:27:55 AM »

Social Technology / Self-Reflection
« on: November 03, 2008, 06:05:41 PM »
So, over the last few days I've had a mosaic of weirdness piece itself together. I had a stinky collaborative storytelling experience, some difficult family stuff, and then a work relationship ended with someone I respected and thought I knew writing me off as a "wacko" (and not because of my rewilding, either!).

Sometimes I wonder if the civilized world waits until you feel a little off, then stressors smell blood and pounce all at once. In any case, it has caused me to reflect. What does it mean to deal honestly and clearly with people? How can I continue to improve my ability to spot weirdness (my own and other's) before it starts monkeying with my life (or at least before it does too much damage)?

At times like these I also need a reminder of my own sanity and sincerity. And I've realized what I tend to do, pretty consistently: I look at my friends and family. I feel very proud of the  friends in my life. Most of them I see as heroes, most of them teach me something new (often without realizing it) every time we hang out. I really love my friends, and feel their support. My family really rocks too. Though none of them rewild in the way I do, I see them take steps in following their hearts all the time now(and it took me a long time to see this).

Thinking about it, I have worked my ASS off to get this community of friends and family, however tiny. I really have worked my clarity and agreement stuff pretty hard. I've stepped away from toxic relationships, and owned as much of my own crap as I could stomach. I've really challenged myself to rewild my own adulthood, and I think it has paid off for moments like these. I still see true village and extended family a long way off (and then when I get it, then I'll have to bust my ass to MAINTAIN it), but whew. I gotta say, for anyone out there wondering about the light at the end of the tunnel: you get handed a pretty sweet lantern early on, when you rewild with these priorities, I think.

Just telling mah story.

Social Technology / Rewilding Havens
« on: October 19, 2008, 12:17:47 AM »
So this thread really began over here, with Jessica's question about creating community in BC to rewild with.

(I want to post this in "Communities of Rewilding" but it doesn't quite fit)

Rewilding Havens

What if we moved away from the ecovillage model (investment, shares, membership agreements, etc.) and began to embrace an idea of a web of havens that welcome people who rewild? What if we carried this map in our minds, and kept it unwritten? What if these havens operated according to the principles of Open Space?


Every Open Space requires a host (the keeper of the land?), a facilitator (the one who holds the space), and attendees (those who fill and circulate through the space).

Every Open Space has four principles and one law that nurtures life in that space.
[Edit: succinctly;
1. Only the right people will come.
2. What could happen, will happen.
3. When it starts, it starts.
4. When it ends, it ends.
The Law of Two Feet: If you learn nothing and have no contribution to make where you stand, go somewhere where you will.]
And the holder of such space will hold clear boundaries* according to what creates life and what doesn't.

I actually believe that in some form or another, this work has begun already, of course. So let's add to the momentum. Sometimes things just need a name. What do you think, should we open a topic in the communities of Rewilding category for folks to sign up their place (or their future place) as Rewilding Haven?

I wonder if, to volunteer such a thing, one would need a firm understanding of Open Space Gathering's principles and law. Otherwise it might de-evolve into ecovillages again. ;)

I feel myself on the verge of volunteering to somehow teach Open Space methods to anyone willing to put their place on the Rewilding Havens map. I don't quite know yet what I can really offer in terms of travel to locations and such though.

But this idea really inspires me. I do think the time has really, really come to change how we think as a community, of the connection between places and rewilding.

I welcome anyone else's insights on this. What inspires you about this idea? Where do you see the energy going? What role do you play in all of this? Would you sign up your land for such a map?

*I've written about clear boundaries a lot from a rewilding perspective; for more info on how I experience these issues, read:
and listen:

[for those too challenged by adult conversations, newbies who just don't "get it", all the "free speech-ers" (quoting the US Constitution? I thought you called yourself an anarchist!), and those who just have very poor social skills:]


You don't belong here. Don't worry, it happens all the time. You don't realize you've now entered the "other internet" - the one where we actually have conversations rather than arguments, feel excited about fully informing ourselves before typing, and enjoy supporting each other, rather than swaggering digitally.

Other places to talk about rewilding, collapse, and green anarchy:

The Jesus Radicals - Now a Green Anarchy outpost! yep, for when you want a little religion with your green anarchy.

the REAL Green Anarchy Forums These dudes would feel they've died and gone to heaven if you wanted to ask them about what rewilders think about condoms and antibacterial soap. Don't deny them the challenge! Joust away!

Infoshop: Green Anarchy!

Ran Prieur's Forum Alright, maybe not about Green Anarchy, but if you consider yourself a collapsnik, then you've found a home here!

PaleoPlanet Talk about primitive skills and primitivism to your heart's content.

IshThink For Daniel Quinn-inspired discussions.

Derrick Jensen Forum ....for Derrick Jensen inspired discussions.

And on and on. This should get you started. An entire internet awaits you out there!

**READ HERE FIRST** / The 500 Member Mark - Celebrating Rewild
« on: September 26, 2008, 04:00:08 PM »
Well, sometime when I had my head turned away, the forum got its 500th member.

I like to acknowledge these little milestones, and it makes me think about the worth of this place, how it challenges me, and how happy it makes me that others can use this place as a stepping stone to networking and building their own communities of rewilding.

We all know that the internet doesn't suffice for meeting almost any human need. But sometimes it can get us over a gap that we don't know how else to cross.

If anybody has any stories about how Rewild.info has helped them, made their life better, or how they fell in love with other rewild.infodians and got married, feel free to post! Otherwise I just plan to bask in the numerical auspiciousness.

**READ HERE FIRST** / Willem's moderation style has changed.
« on: September 21, 2008, 11:19:45 PM »
Folks. 99% of  y'all I  just love to death. Thanks for joining in on Rewild.info. Some of you even act more concerned than necessary over possibly crossing a forum guideline; still, I appreciate the care and interest in respecting the culture here.

We have a continuing tiny percentage (very tiny) of folks who seem really uninterested in stepping lightly, getting to know the forum, reading the "READ THIS FIRST" topic, etc.

Frankly, this boggles my mind. Internet or no, anonymity or full identity disclosure, I come from a culture where you say please and thank you, respect the host, and look to others with more experience to learn how to "fit in".

I've had some experiences lately where I send a polite pm to a new member who seems a little "loud", asking them to slow down, and I get a lot of indignance in response.

Once again, this totally boggles my mind.

I used to react with patience, understanding, and a willingness to have a looooooong conversation until they felt heard and then could finally participate in the forum in the way we  all enjoy; Telling A Story, Asking A Question, etc.

Honestly folks, I don't have energy for that anymore. I spend less and less time on the internet (believe it or not :) ), and just don't have the mindset I used to have.

Also I don't get paid for this.

In discussion with Urban Scout, we've decided that we want mature people, with adult  sensibilities (even mature 9 year olds with adult  sensibilities count!), who know how to treat other folks and resist the temptations of the anonymous internet environment. And who do the work to read forum guidelines and such. We've decided to have new members experience a 30-day delay in posting privileges upon sign up.

Honestly, I don't believe in Free Speech, when it comes to my living room. Rewild.info doesn't sit in the public square; it sits in my digital living room.

Now, here comes the important part. I don't care what anyone posts on the forum here, really. You may think I do, but I don't. I care how you respond when I make a request of you to change how you post or what you post about. Do you see the difference? The first requires some mind reading ability (even though I know we have clear guidelines, but the internet doesn't always make for clarity). The second requires simple respect.

What do I want you to say in response to a request? "Oh, I didn't realize I had crossed a line. I will change how I post." or "Oh, thanks for the tip. Could you give me more information on what you mean by "Tell a Story, Ask a Question", because I thought I did that", etc. etc.

This really doesn't seem like Rocket Science to me. For me, Rewilding doesn't stop with primitive skills; it includes how we treat one another, how we conduct ourselves, how we walk as a guest in the world.

From now on, when I get an indignant response, I will now just ban the member for 30 days, without further discussion. I regret that some folks will hear this and worry that they have to walk on eggshells to avoid such a consequence. I certainly don't intend it that way, but I know that electronic-internet-words will always conspire to make communication difficult. So it goes.

For now, I would appreciate hearing that folks support these decisions, and value the atmosphere of this forum. What do you all think?

Stone & Bone / MOVED: Tomahawks and Racism?
« on: August 04, 2008, 01:31:29 PM »

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