I recently stumbled upon an interesting article about hunter and gatherer societies. The conclusion states: “Judging from historical accounts of hunter-gatherers, for most of the time humans have been on the planet we have lived in relative harmony with the natural world and with each other. Our minds and cultures evolved under these conditions.”. Also, we can read: “Hunter-gatherers and other indigenous people still exist and still offer alternatives to the possessive individualism of world capitalism.” and “[…]many indigenous people are maintaining, even expanding, alternatives to economic man (Lee 1993, Sahlins 1993). These alternatives may one day lead us to a new, environmentally sustainable, and socially just economy.”.
What I in general learned from from the article is that we are hunters and gatherers. That is how we evolved, that is how we were formed. Deep inside we are still natural creatures in search for a good life, either for all of us, for some of us (tribe) or at least for us as individuals (are we?).
Why not behave like one?
The life of a hunter and gatherer in the jungle of our present society.
Noah Essl, 09.01.2016
Over the recent years I have been searching for a way to live, a way to take as little part as possible in the destructive network that we perform in this time. Some things are easy to loose. I already did or want to get rid of my destructive actions.
In this essay I talk a lot about thinks that might be concerned as ‘antisocial’ or ‘abusing the society’. I claim that I am not since what I take is either considered garbage – which I consider waste – or overabundantly present already. I also consider myself and my actions ‘social’ since they are repeatable by many and I am looking for the people that want to join me to share this life with me, people that have a similar idea of what feels good and what does not.
ME HERE AND NOW
Money and it’s tail
I work about 2 months a year. I do not fancy paying tax and I do not ask the government for anything. For the time when I work I am obliged to pay health insurance so I use that time to visit a dentist or anything that I regard as rather urgent. Everytime that happens – which is about one to two times every two years – I do it in concern of my future and not because of actual unsolveable health problems.
There are uncountable free seats in the cars driving on our streets, I feel free to use them by hitchhiking. People give them to me by their free will anyway. I accumulated several bikes around me, some working and some not. The persons around me and I use them frequently for any short distance, somtimes up to 200km. And I have two feet and do not suffer from being disabled regarding them or have any chronical problems.
I eat trash. I dumpster dive about 98% of all I eat. I buy pasta and rice, oil and spices. Sometimes I buy special goods for baking or cooking for friends. Whenever I am unlucky I accept the offers of foodsharing or other networks where people want to get rid of food. I never starve.
I am embedded in several circles of people. My close relatives and friends. People that I know through studying. People I know through hitchhiking and travelling around in Europe. People I know because I spend a lot of time in Vienna. These people are the core, the shell and the aura of my life, they define me, they carry me, they support and criticise me. Only through them I am alive, they are what I want to protect and keep the most.
My cave, my jurt, my geographical center
I rent a room in Vienna. Luckily I have a good deal and pay only very little, about as much as I earn in the two months of work. I share it with a friend, her parents own it. I am not in danger of eviction or of loosing the place. This is a great archievement and I am eager to keep it that way.
How can I become a ‘true’ hunter and gatherer without loosing my social network and thus the benefits of modern society? How can I make this first world my jungle? Where are the people that feel likewise and are interested in joining me on the path towards solving those questions?
Food: I hope I do not have to stress that further. We know about – not only but of concern here – edible goods that end up in the dumpsters of stores, factories, restaurants and private households.
Two live examples: We fed between 50 and 100 people over 3 weeks at a gathering with trash we found/arranged within the locality of 25 kilometers. Also we fed around 18 people over 2 weeks from the dumpsters that are in a 5 min walking distance around the flat in Vienna. Both of the times we had too much food and had to throw several things in the end.
Water: In Austria there is enough drinking water. In Europe there is generally enough drinking water. I consider the possibilities of cleaning/sterilizing/filtering water as enough to provide drinking water in about 80% of all cities in the world. Prove me wrong.
Housing: The society that we live in produces empty appartments. To raise prices in the process of gentrification, as speculative objects, because nobody wants to pay the set price or just because owners are not able to sell or rent them to somebody. Vienna estimates about 30.000 empty flats (2014). Various processes allow us to use them. Open/Silent squats, arrangement with owners, arrangement with governmental institutions (arrangements are not prefered). Also – if the climate allows – we can sleep in rundown buildings, caves, forests and so on. Necessary tools like blankets, matresses etc. will be taken from the dumpsters.
Health: Live healthy. You can not stop accidents from happening. Death is part of life, when it is coming, do not run away from it.
There is too much to debate about it that is under question. A major case is to make capitalist structures and all its offsprings unnecessary. To constitute out of the reason that some people feel the same way about the present age.
I appreciate Feedback and comments. The more critiqe, the further the idea develops.