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Messages - Willem

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Grief & Praise / Re: Stupid F$#(*&($ Billboard
« on: March 15, 2007, 05:37:40 PM »
Yeah. Disgusting. Jeezus.

Language & Oral Tradition / Re: The E-primitive Thought Experiment
« on: March 15, 2007, 05:36:00 PM »

Ha ha. Yeah, I like mothering a lot. Funny how "fathering" connotes just insemination, but "mothering"  connotes ongoing nurturing, rather than just giving birth or carrying to term.

Penny Scout:

Beautiful examples! So true, too. They feel so vital, and simple, and alive, and the English translations so jargony, technical, and life-less. Who really wants to belong to an 'anarcho-syndicalist commune'? But who wouldn't want to belong to a 'they-cherish-each-other-together', or a "they-celebrate-eat-sleep-in-family-together"?

Social Technology / Re: Girls Gone Rewild
« on: March 14, 2007, 03:30:14 PM »

Some thoughts.

I respect that you feel safe enough and can broadly expand your boundaries to include american-male perspectives in potentially volatile contexts.

I still place a high value on respecting boundaries and making room for a place on this forum for different kinds of people who just need to talk for a while, without responses. I definitely want to voice my support for that.

My comfort with my own (rewilding) american maleness actually makes it possible for me to offer this up, without feeling embarrassed or ashamed about my biological status. So you have no need to worry about me, and I appreciate your firm feelings about the lack of "orginial sin" in the male gender.

I achieved this comfort because my good male friends and I do renew and refresh the ongoing converstation about how this culture specializes (although clearly not exclusively) in some forms of predation and fear-mongering towards women and children. Once men grow up, the pressure may let off a bit, but from listening and observing I see many women continue to have very simillar experiences.

I don't have a victim/perpetrator paradigm of this whole situation. I do perceive predatory activity, as humans and entire human cultures have always predated on each other as much as anyone in the community of life. I find as much inspiration in the elegrance and grace of an elusive human prey, as I do in human predators.

I read a wonderful book, Gypsies, by Jan Voors, in which explores the lack of revenge ethcics or martial culture among the Rom. The had found a way to slip through the margins, foraging/gathering nomadically among the fields and towns of the word, and continue to do so where allowed, I imagine, much like a herd of deer.

Hope this clarifies my POV for ya.

Language & Oral Tradition / Re: The E-primitive Thought Experiment
« on: March 14, 2007, 03:12:56 PM »
Thank you for sharing with us, Willem!

I have a question for you:  what does e-primitive language mean for possessive terms such as my, your, our, his, hers, Willem's, Dandelion's, etc.?

Excellent, excellent question, one I think about a lot.

I bet you can guess my personal first instinct...Rewild the noun! In Mohawk, familial relations work as verbs...he-fathers-me...I-grandchild-her. If you've ever had someone ask "Who's this?" in reference to your mother and tried to answer in e-prime, you can see the pickle it puts you in. "Uh...she gave birth to me?" "She raised me? Really, what she does you can best describe as "mothering" you. How easily e-primitive solves the stupid (a little emotion here, heh) question, "who are my real parents?" or "You're not my Mother!!". Does she mother you or not? A word which we already use that way in English from time to time. Others... A pet "isn't a pet", they keep you company (companion). In Chinuk wawa, you say "mitlayt kupa naika" or "such-and-such living being/'object' sits with me".

I've played with our local trade jargon and speak it with all nouns as reflexive verbs as much as I can. Example: "We-family-ourselves", "Nêsmêstilikêm" -- "Our family".

Also, as Hotspring has helped remind me in another posting, we can learn a lot about our beliefs by our language and what we spontaneously say/write.  By examining our language, we grow as people.

I believe this very firmly.

I can't recommend enough the following books if animist languaging fascinates you:

Spell of the Sensuous, David Abram
Wisdom Sits in Places, Keith Basso
Any book by Martin Prechel
Animism, Graham Harvey
the Hobbit Companion, David Day

And of course, dip into any traditional (not neo-evangelical, a common problem with indigenous grammars) indigenous language teaching guide for loads of fascinating tidbits.

It really excites me that this interests so many folks here. Thanks for expressing it. If you don't know already, I write about this all the time at the website listed in the sig below.

Language & Oral Tradition / Re: The E-primitive Thought Experiment
« on: March 14, 2007, 01:25:33 PM »
Yay! I like it. Have you tried the experiment of seeing "objects" as active subjects yet?

Social Technology / Re: Girls Gone Rewild
« on: March 14, 2007, 01:23:03 PM »
Male talking here (me). I apologize in advance if this sounds ranty or intrusive; it won't offend me if you say so:

This kind of thing drives me nuts, the whole predation on women, the incredibly twisted system of resolving conflict that I believe bases itself on the psychology of abused children. I wouldn't even call it childish, I would call it the behavior of enslaved and powerless children. Who cares who "started it"? Who cares who to blame? Sickness afflicts everyone involved, and you owe nobody anything except to save yourself so you can have a good life with people who truly care for you. It breaks my heart to hear these things happen, but it enrages me even more to hear "i don't get the big deal...get over it...you played a part too".

This kind of scenario inspires me to care more about the "philosophy" of rewilding, than any particular shelter building, hunting, or fire-making skill. How can we even think, with the voice of the counselors and helpers employed as agents of mother culture sneering in our ears about our complicity in all our woundedness?

Fine! So what? Let's make lives worth living then. If tribal law indeed always points toward remedy rather than finding fault, then lets heal our lives and watch froma distance the mad thrashings and catcalling of those who refuse to extricate themselves from an enslaved morality.

I also work to heal my family bonds, and sometimes this can seem to work at cross purposes with muting the unhelpful voices, when families feel disinterested in any sincere healing. We just have to find the balance, I guess.

My two cents.

Language & Oral Tradition / Re: The E-primitive Thought Experiment
« on: March 13, 2007, 11:21:32 PM »
Ha ha. Fun stuff, Scout and Penny. And I agree, animalhands, that it looks very similar to the whole buddhist nonduality paradigm. Don't get me started on my anti-buddhist rant though! Just kidding. Sorta.

To tell you the truth Scout, I think you deconstructed English too much. You run into a problem here, that conventional English has a rhythm and sound that pleases the native (non-indigenously - I mean someone born into it) speaker's ear, and if you change it, it "clangs". For example, no one has to teach you grammar, you know it instinctively. Ebonics has a very consistent grammatical system, even though we consider it "dumbed-down english".

Just look at "nouns" as "verbs"; re-verbify them. I should have said in my last post (for example), not that 'talêpês' means to "act like coyote", but rather it means "to coyote". As in, I coyote, you coyote, he coyotes, we coyote, they coyote, 'they coyoted across the field'.

We do this all the time in English. He 'fishtailed' all over the road. I 'cupped' the water in my hand. Let's 'table' that vote. We can just do it more and more, staying aware that the nouns speak more accurately when used to describe a pattern of appearance or movement.

So, "I traveled to the store today", could work just fine, if you think of "store" as a verb (to "store" boxes). Think about it - those U-Store rental places actually have quite the e-primitive ring to it...they've named themselves after the pattern of activity that best describes their business.

Actually, that demonstrates some unconscious brilliance on their part. Never thought of that before.

To change "traveled" to "leg lifted" doesn't make it more accurate, in my mind. One lift's one leg to pee (dog), to do excercises (leg lifts), to put one's pants on, to step over things. I would imagine that if you wanted to make "traveled" more descriptive you could either use more involving verbs like "ambled" "strolled" "jetted" "trotted". Think about it in terms of tracking...how exactly did you travel to the store? In what "gait"? That might rewild it a little bit.

Changing "sun" to "fire-ball" just changes it from one noun to another. To verbify it you could say "it shines", but really, you could also just use sun as a verb. We already do it. "The cat sunned himself on the porch". I wouldn't change today anyway...it acts more as a time marker than a usable noun.

Not to criticize what you wrote, of course. The play of it makes it worth while. The most important game I play:

Whenever I track, or observe, I look at the world in terms of its activity. Like David Abram says in Spell of the Sensuous, colors beckon and grab my senses, inspire feelings. Dirt doesn't just sit inertly on the ground, it consists of living tissue, quite literally. Concrete doesn't just lay there, it holds-me-up, it sweats moisture.

I've got an idea: every time you notice yourself looking at something as if it just "exists", as an object, I want you to come up with all the ways that it actively interacts with the world. For example, a glass cup not only contains liquid, or air, but the glass that forms the cup oozes downward at an imperceptible rate (those who've studied chemistry will know that glass behaves as a liquid). Also, the glass may have fingerprints on it, or scratches, that slowly age. Also, it refracts light in diverse ways. Old glasses will have more character than young, freshly crafted ones. Etc. Remember, if you hold the glass, it pushes back with an equal and opposite reaction. The glass literally vibrates at an atomic level. Everything enacts patterns of movement.

Just play with looking at the world in this way. It'll totally screw with you, but it'll shoot your tracking through the roof.

And funny how quickly this way of observing/interacting takes you right into the heart of animism.

Language & Oral Tradition / Re: The E-primitive Thought Experiment
« on: March 13, 2007, 12:46:24 PM »
Animist languages - Languages of Place

Animists speak high-context, low specific/technical languages. One word serves for many, many meanings, mediated on context. You could call this "metaphor", layering, poetry, etc., whatever, animist languages do it intrinsically. For example, apache trackers use the same words for the geologic landscape (cliffs, valleys, ridges, canyons) as they do to describe the microcosm of the inner world of an animal track. Or, in english, to describe stealthy activity, we could say "sneak, slink, creep, tiptoe, move furtively, etc.", while in the Chinuk wawa speakers would just say "talêpês", which means coyote, sneak, move furtively, slink, creep, etc. all at the same time. 

Patterns of Behavior/Movement/Activity

Animist languages seeks to describe patterns of activity, and to connect similar patterns to each other. To separate the way of the coyote away from words describing sneaky behavior, destroys connection, destroys layering. In fact, to use the word "coyote" also means to "act like a coyote", "to sneak". In fact, the word "talêpês" means most properly "to act like a coyote". So in English, I can describe this as "the word coyote does not describe a thing, but a pattern of activity - I must denote a coyote by saying that it "acts like a coyote". I cannot point out a coyote itself." In an animist language I'd find it difficult or impossible to say what I just said. English intrinsically looks for Aristotelian essences, inner natures, fixed realities, whereas native trackers know that a set of tracks may match the pattern of coyote activity, but that does not mean that "a coyote" made them. In quantum mechanics: "is it" a particle or a wave? Pointless question that creates a paradox. In animist language, "does it move" like a particle? a wave? Effortless conceptualization of a former paradox created by the actual structure of a language dedicated to enslavement according to rigid classes and conceptions.

Verby, Not Nouny

This means that animist languages commonly see the word in terms of verbs, and rarely (or not at all, depending on the particular language) see noun-entities. In Mohawk green also means herbs/greenery/grass, it describes a pattern of appearance, not an entity. In Mohawk, one points out a "hunter" by saying "ratorats", literally "he-hunts". Civilized languages innovated the professional class, thus labels like "Hunt-er", "plumb-er", "farm-er", etc. "He-hunts", "he-plumbs", "she-farms", etc. Notice the difference between calling someone an "artist" and saying that "they create art". Many of us can finally let go of civilized conceptions of success once we click into this thinking..."one day, I'll 'be' an artist/writer/tracker/hunter-gatherer". Do you make art? Do you write? Do you track? Do you hunt and gather? Only that can we honestly describe. "When will I grow up? When will I feel like an adult?" Do you do adult things? Do you do activity associated with "grown-ups"?

One famous Iroquois speaker, whose name we mistranslate as "Cornplanter", would correctly require us to call him in his native language "He-plants-corn". Your ear has probably picked up on all the native american names that fit this model, and the few that don't, which we can easily explain as a similar mistranslation.

All this goes to explain why we need not just "E-prime" (no verb to-be), but E-primitive. In E-prime I can still use professional labels, like police officer/soldier/politician, but these imply intrinsic craft-oriented natures. If I point out an accountant to you, and say they also happen to "be" the greatest painter of the age, can you feel the smoke come out of your ears? E-primitive must jettison anything that gets in the way of as close to a reflection of the world as possible.


Animist languages begin with sound and mimicry. If you know birds, then someone imitating bird calls will immediately bring that bird (and everything it relates to - habitat, season, myth, coloring, survival use, edibility, character) to mind. The brilliant flowering diversity of mouth-sounds in native langues, hisses, clicks, pops, gutterals, reflects the astounding variety of sounds that hit the human ear. As languages lose their animism and become civilized, they round out, lose sounds, and shrink. You can find exceptions to this (Mohawk only has a little over a dozen sounds), but this works well as a general rule.

Rewilded Mimicry

This also points to how easily we can resurrect animist language. Simple playful mimicry will over time rewild your language. To make a game of referring to birds by their song or alarm calls makes a good beginning, rather than signifying through the name of the british naturalist who "discovered" them (Steller's Jay, Clark's Nutcrack, Bewick's Wren, blah blah blah).

Rewilded Verby-ness

Why describe those same birds according to some other person's idea of their character or coloring (Mourning Dove, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, etc.). Why not re-own them, and call them by the pattern you see them demonstrate? "Watches-among-the-reeds", "Thistle-ambles-without-care", etc.? The next time you have an argument over "is it this or that" with someone, consider stepping out of the civilized framework. Does it behave like this? Does it behave like that? If both, what third thing emerges? Do both patterns together create a new possibility?

Abandoning the Prison of Identity

"Is that" a woman? "Is that" a man? "Am" I gay? "Am" I straight? "Am" I good? "Am" I evil? "Am" I Christian? "Am" I Jewish? "Am" I rewilded? "Am" I a Taker? "Am" I a Leaver?

You can't even construct these pointless, meaningless questions in a language that sees the world as an active, creating, destroying, celebrating process. Even to call it a "process" creates a noun-state...more accurately, you could call it "process-ing". Do you notice how that brings it alive, makes it vibrate, to acknowledge that it hasn't stopped doing, and may do something else at any time?

Abandoning the Prison of Factuality

Civilized peoples worship facts, reliable unchange-ables. A common defense of the concept of "fact" goes, "Well, 'it's" a fact that the sun will rise tomorrow. That we know." Since I know many native american cultures that feel that in order for the sun to rise, they must call it up, and welcome it, and if they don't, it may not rise that day, I know that it won't surprise them when the Sun's furnace goes cold, or if the earth itself gets pushed out of orbit by very real cosmic phenomena (asteroids, nomadic black holes, etc.). A civilized reaction to that would involve saying, "well, yes, our science predicts that, but you know "it's" a fact that..."

Civilized people require "facts" to feel safe and to go about their day-to-day lives. To animist peoples, the ongoing change-ability and need to re-new and court the universe daily, monthly, yearly, gives life its meaning, gives life its center. They feel safe knowing the universe has moods just like us. That same notion horrifies civilized folks.

Language & Oral Tradition / Re: The E-primitive Thought Experiment
« on: March 13, 2007, 12:43:01 PM »
First some ramblings - the following comes from my own personal study. I claim no expertise and welcome questions, comments, other perspectives, etc.

English - the language of Commerce

The language we speak exists as an amalgam of countless languages - latin, greek, germanic, french. It embodies the spirit of a homeless, rootless culture. As it evolves, it acquires more and more words, getting more and more specific.

As a language of commerce, the strength of English lies in its low-context, highly technical/specific capacity. "Low-context" means you don't have to know backstory or belong to a specific subculture to understand English the world over. Business english stays the same globally, along with software/IT english, agricultural english, oil/petroleum/geologic english, etc.

Whereas animist languages can barely keep it together to stay consistent from one side of the valley to the next. Why? Because they base themselves entirely on connection to place. Their specificity lies in nonverbal experience of a specific, unique place, or cycle of places (in terms of nomadism).

Social Technology / Re: Foundational Visions
« on: March 10, 2007, 06:57:52 PM »
Christ. Thanks for sharing that excerpt, stricken. Whoah. That'll stick in my head for a while.

Rewilding Mind & Heart / Re: not sure if i'll ever rewild.
« on: March 10, 2007, 08:51:40 AM »
Ha ha. i think I have a much more cushy conception of rewilding than you guys may have.

For me, rewilding means not just withdrawing from the mechanical arms of mother culture, but also running back to the arms of friends and family. Of behaving fully, truly, wholly human, the way we did tribally for 3 million years.

It sounds like implied in your statements that the rewilding idea (with or without endpoint) involves survivalism, living off the land without any group support, a skill associated with native scouts and certain extremely nomadic peoples.

Have you seen any pictures of the inside of a period plains indian tipi? The piles of furs, the tea water on the boil, the dried foods for snacks, the entire family in there?

Also, what about the many many peoples of the Longhouse [EDIT: Think Viking hall! Like in Lord of the Rings, the Golden Hall of the Rohirrim...Native peoples loved big bunkhouses in the cold, wet places of the world), like the Iroquois, the vast diversity of NW Coast Indians, the Huron, etc. They loved their big halls of feasting and communing.

Did you know plains indians gardened corn-beans-squash during the buffalo hunting off-season? They'd then  leave their gardens behind for the hunting season, and come back to harvest.

These people knew how to live fat. Not civilized fat, but old-school FAT.

I see my life only getting cushier as I rewild into the arms of human support, delicious foods,  comfortable dwellings, etc.

I wonder sometimes if Tom Brown's Scout ideal has skewed the conception of rewilding.

Perhaps we all rewild differently, as simple as that.

Media Reviews & Recommendations / you spelled recommendations wrong
« on: March 09, 2007, 03:13:25 PM »
sorry dude. sobriety sucks.

REWILD FORUM / Add an introductions section and a FAQ
« on: March 09, 2007, 03:09:08 PM »
We need a special introductions section.

We also need a "get to know the REWILD forum" section/FAQ, perhaps locked, that explains the purpose of this forum, rewilding, and also about getting info ready here for the wiki section. The best of this forum should end up right on the wiki, after getting hashed out over here.

I know the wiki has a discussion page for each wiki page, but I'd reserve that for fine-tuning/editing.

Just some thoughts.

Tracking & Awareness / Re: Wilderness Movement - Rewilding the Body
« on: March 09, 2007, 02:39:56 PM »
"Training your mind"

Article on parkour and expanding beyond the limited movement of civilization.

Rewilding Mind & Heart / Re: Why I'm here
« on: March 09, 2007, 02:17:01 PM »
I've come here to kick some rewilding ass.

read my stuff at http://www.mythic-cartography.org


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