Rewilding Adulthood

I’ve spent some time lately burning through a book called “Gypsy Law“, edited by Walter Weyrauch. I’ve had revelation after revelation, and so many things have crystallized regarding my ongoing quest to “piece the invisible technologies back together”, without cultural appropriation, or the pick-and-choose consumerist paradigm.

Perhaps (concerning what I’ll write in a moment, here) I knew this already, but I didn’t KNOW it, if you get my drift. It sounds really simple, but I challenge you: do you really hear what it means, deeply? Apparently, I didn’t. To wit:

An intact rewilding culture, one based on the primacy of family and land relationships, maintains itself owing to a pool of constantly maturing adults who have the capacity to understand, make, and back up commitments to each other.

A maturing adult, according to this view, can make commitments not because they “just do it”, but because they understand their own surpluses and limitations. They do not agree to things that they cannot back up.

To understand one’s own ability to “back up” commitments, means exactly to understand the needs and feelings that drive human people, most of all, your own person.

This means that domesticated folks, beginning rewilding, will likely spend most of their time saying “No” to proposed commitments, as a default. They would do this, I suggest, because they do not understand what it means to honestly commit to something out of a natural capacity to back it up.

The status quo for modern domesticated folks has people saying “Yes, yes, yes” to requests, constantly breaking them and flaking out, blaming others for asking in the first place, overcommitting and out of balance. Or, worst of all, burning the candle at both ends in the “martyr syndrome”: never turning down or breaking a commitment, and slowly depleting one’s own health and vitality until…personal crisis or death.

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Once a rewilding adult really understands this point of view, and puts it into action, I feel strongly that they make a quantum leap in trustworthiness and reliability. An intact rewilding culture means a group of people you can rely on, correct?

Current popular perceptions of rewilding may overly focus on the initial state of one-who-rewilds, that of reclaiming childhood passions, freedoms, and self-care, in order to come back into balance as a fully rewilding person. However, this initial state merely creates the foundation for one’s future reliability as a maturing adult, borne out of the self-knowledge that fruits from one’s reinvestment in self.

If I ask you to make a commitment to me, and you do any of the following things:

1) Say “yes”, even though you don’t want to, but you say it because of what you think I want to hear, meaning you eventually “flake out” on the commitment.

2) Say “yes”, because you want to make the commitment, but in honest reflection you know you don’t have the health and energy to back it up, and following through will further undermine your health reserves. You then eventually either “flake out” on the commitment to save yourself, or you follow through and have even less capacity to support your community.

If you respond these ways, how can I trust you? I need to know that you will only agree to things that affirm life, yours, mine, and everyone in our micro-culture.

This means that a maturing adult in a rewilding culture can not collaborate or rely on (though certainly they could support, befriend, play and eat together) any person who does not sufficiently understand their own needs and feelings.

No matter how much that other person wants to enter the world of “maturing adults”, no matter how much they will sacrifice to do it, an honest rewilding adult cannot support it, if they don’t share a common insight into the needs and feelings of human animals. As the saying goes, “we pave the road to hell with good intentions”. It refers exactly to this kind of situation, a lack of understanding of oneself and others.

Of course, you will see no clear line between someone who understands their needs, and someone who doesn’t – it runs in an unbroken continuum, from one end to the other. So all of this looks more like, “collaborating with those of a common level of understanding their needs and feelings”. Flock together with birds of a feather.

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Now we get to the good part. Once you have a certain ability to make realistic commitments and back them up, and you associate with a group of adults with similar capacity, you have what the Mohawk call “Kashastensera”, translatable as both Power, and Unity.

You see, this points to one of those pieces of the Invisible Treasury that we lost. The ability to reach “one mind”, to act in accord with a group of rock-solid reliable adults, and change the world as a single organismal body when needed.

Once I understand myself, and don’t fear my needs or feelings, you can finally trust me. Once we trust each other in a real way, we can do anything together. One person, in accord with another person, have more than the power of the sum of two people. They have ten times the power. Ten people fully in accord with each other, have a thousand times the power of ten people not in accord.

Unity means we have the ability to conflict and disagree with each other, safely, because we no longer fear, or feel inconvenienced by, our needs and feelings, but rely on them to keep us true to course. This can look like arguments, mellow chatting, raucous laughter, whatever. It doesn’t mean we act like a bunch of monks at a buddhist monastery (or, our false image of even such a place).

It means we act like fully empowered adults. And we rock our world together.

Written by Willem