Rebelling Against our Domestication: Towards a Feral Revolution!
When I was a very young child, my life was filled with intense pleasure and a vital energy that caused me to feel what I experienced to the full. I was the centre of this marvellous, playful existence and felt no need to rely on anything but my own living experience to fulfil me. I felt intensely, I experienced intensely, my life was a festival of passion and pleasure. My disappointments and sorrows were also intense. I was born a free, wild being in the midst of a society based upon domestication.
There was no way that I could escape being domesticated myself. Civilisation will not tolerate what is wild in its midst. But I never forgot the intensity that life could be. I never forgot the vital energy that has surged through me. My existence since I first began to notice that this vitality was being drained away has been a warfare between the needs of civilised survival and the need to break loose and experience the full intensity of life unbound.
I want to experience this vital energy again. I want to know the free-spirited wildness of my unrepressed desires realising themselves in festive play. I want to smash down every wall that stands between me and the intense, passionate life of untamed freedom that I want. The sum of these walls is everything we call civilisation, everything that comes between us and the direct, participatory experience of the wild world. Around us has grown a web of domination, a web of mediation that limits our experience, defining the boundaries of acceptable production and consumption. Domesticating authority takes many forms, some of which are difficult to recognise. Government, capital and religion are some of the more obvious faces of authority. But technology, work, language with its conceptual limits, the ingrained habits of etiquette and propriety — these too are domesticating authorities which transform us from wild, playful, unruly animals into tamed, bored, unhappy producers and consumers. These things work in us insidiously, limiting our imaginations, usurping our desires, suppressing our lived experience. And it is the world created by these authorities, the civilised world, in which we live. If my dream of a life filled with intense pleasure and wild adventure is to be realised, the world must be radically transformed, civilisation must fall before expanding wilderness, authority must fall before the energy of our wild freedom. There must be — for want of a better word — a revolution.
But a revolution that can break down civilisation and restore the vital energy of untamed desire cannot be like any revolution of the past. All revolutions to date have centred around power, its use and redistribution. They have not sought to eradicate the social institutions that domesticate; at best they have only sought to eradicate the power relationships within those institutions. So revolutionaries of the past have aimed their attacks at the centre of power seeking to overthrow it. Focused on power, they were blind to the insidious forces of domination that encompass our daily existence — and so, when successful at overthrowing the powers that be, they ended up re-creating them. To avoid this, we need to focus not on power, but on our desire to go wild, to experience life to the full, to know intense pleasure and wild adventure. As we attempt to realise this desire, we confront the real forces of domination, the forces that we face every moment of every day. These forces have no single centre that can be overthrown. They are a web that binds us. So rather than trying to overthrow the powers that be, we want to undermine domination as we confront it everyday, helping the already collapsing civilisation to break down more quickly — and as it falls, the centres of power will fall with it. Previous revolutionaries have only explored the well-mapped territories of power. I want to explore and adventure in the unmapped, and mappable, territories of wild freedom. The revolution that can create the world I want has to be a feral revolution.
There can be no programs or organisations for feral revolution, because wildness cannot spring from a program or organisation. Wildness springs from the freeing of our instincts and desires, from the spontaneous expression of our passions. Each of us has experienced the processes of domestication, and this experience can give us the knowledge we need to undermine civilisation and transform our lives. Our distrust of our own experience is probably what keeps us from rebelling as freely and as actively as we’d like. We’re afraid of fucking up, we’re afraid of our own ignorance. But this distrust and fear have been instilled in us by authority. It keeps us from really growing and learning. It makes us easy targets for any authority that is ready to fill us. To set up ‘revolutionary’ programs is to play on this fear and distrust, to reinforce the need to be told what to do. No attempt to go feral can be successful when based on such programs. We need to learn to trust and act upon our own feelings and experiences, if we are ever to be free.
So I offer no programs. What I will share is some thoughts on ways to explore. Since we have all have been domesticated, part of the revolutionary process is a process of personal transformation. We have been conditioned not to trust ourselves, not to feel completely, not to experience life intensely. We have been conditioned to accept the humiliation of work and pay as inescapable, to relate to things as resources to be used, to feel the need to prove ourselves by producing. We have been conditioned to expect disappointment, to see it as normal, not to question it. We have been conditioned to accept the tedium of civilised survival rather than breaking free and really living. We need to explore ways of breaking down this conditioning, of getting as free of our domestication as we can now. Let’s try to get so free of this conditioning that it ceases to control us and becomes nothing more than a role we use when neccessary for survival in the midst of civilisation as we strive to undermine it.
In a very general way, we know what we want. We want to live as wild, free beings in a world of wild, free beings. The humiliation of having to follow rules, of having to sell our lives away to buy survival, of seeing our usurped desires transformed into abstractions and images in order to sell us commodities fills us with rage. How long will we put up with this misery? We want to make this world into a place where our desires can be immediately realised, not just sporadically, but normally. We want to re-eroticise our lives. We want to live not in a dead world of resources, but in a living world of free wild lovers. We need to start exploring the extent to which we are capable of living these dreams in the present without isolating ourselves. This will give us a clearer understanding of the domination of civilisation over our lives, an understanding which will allow us to fight domestication more intensely and so expand the extent to which we can live wildly.
Attempting to live as wildly as possible now will also help break down our social conditioning. This will spark a wild prankishness in us which will take aim at all that would tame it, undermining civilisation and creating new ways of living and sharing with each other. These explorations will expose the limits of civilisation’s domination and will show its inherent opposition to freedom. We will discover possibilities we have never before imagined — vast expanses of wild freedom. Projects, ranging from sabotage and pranks that expose or undermine the dominant society, to the expansion of wilderness, to festivals and orgies and general free sharing, can point to amazing possibilities.
Feral revolution is an adventure. It is the daring exploration of going wild. It takes us into unknown territories for which no maps exist. We can only come to know these territories if we dare to explore them actively. We must dare to destroy whatever destroys our wildness and to act on our instincts and desires. We must dare to trust in ourselves, our experiences and our passions. Then we will not let ourselves be chained or penned in. We will not allow ourselves to be tamed. Our feral energy will rip civilisation to shreds and create a life of wild freedom and intense pleasure.