I think it’s safe to say we live at a confusing time in history. With global interconnectedness the highest it’s ever been, it feels like the system is just getting more and complex and out of hand. How are we meant to keep up with all of the layers of information stimulating our senses, our minds, and our souls, and what does it all mean? As a living organism and a species we have a natural drive to evolve and improve in order to survive. So how come this is not reflected in our our society as a whole, which instead of improving is evolving in a direction which could even be leading to our own destruction, as well as the destruction of the planet we call home?
What if, for once, we looked far enough back at history, and figured out where we went “wrong”? What if we already know where we went wrong but have been in denial about it for so long that this denial has become the norm, all the while covering it up nicely with layers and layers of cultural baggage getting in the way of us stepping out of the opaque box of civilization and seeing the clear bigger picture?
For me at least, the Rewilding philosophy has enabled me to take a big leap outside of the box. And the impact it has had on my perception of the world and the ways in which I have started to see solutions to the mess we have created has been profound. I would not be sitting here writing these words if I had not felt this impact and did not sense the urgency that this worldview be spread and understood if we are to create some form (or hopefully many forms) of positive change for our future and future generations.
Although the complex web of information that is currently out there appears overwhelming, the Rewilding philosophy gives us a filter which we can look through in order to step back and see things a little more objectively, which is important as a species if we are to move forward in a positive direction.
The aim of the Human Rewilding Project is to provide an educational and community based platform which combines the knowledge we have of our evolutionary past & current traditional cultures, with modern tools such as science and technology, in order to understand our present and the ways in which we can implement positive change into our evolutionary future.
The Rewilding Philosophy is about looking at the changes our species went through about 12 000 years ago during the Agricultural Revolution, when we essentially went from hunter-gatherer nomads to domesticated sedentary humans. It’s about looking at this change not especially as a positive evolutionary change towards civilization and productivity, but more as a time during which we lost our intimate connection with nature and community, and the natural balance we had within our ecosystem.
The current paradigm, which has been instilled into many of us via the industrial and imperial era of colonialism is that the only way forward is by “civilising” each and every individual on this planet with the use of western education. But what if for once we turned things around a looked at what there is to learn not only from our hunter-gatherer ancestors, but also from traditional cultures worldwide?
It is time that we understand how the current worldview imposed on us by our “civilized” cultural education might in fact be causing us a lot of harm. It’s time to grow up, wake up and stop self harming. It’s time to figure things out and start to heal.
Health should be at the forefront of our common goals if we are to create positive change. Luckily this is a common focus that unites many of us in many fields. The development and understanding of health in science is a good place to start, but must also be connected to our evolutionary past and traditional cultures if we are to draw solid conclusions from findings and studies.
It is now emerging that many aspects of human health stem from the promotion of connectedness and integration. One thing we can learn from our pre-agricultural ancestors is how to return to a feeling of connection rather than disconnection, such as immersing ourselves in nature via the harvesting of wild foods(for example), as well as living within a balanced and integrated community.
Dr. Dan Siegel, an award winning educator, does an amazing job of bridging the gap between science and spirituality through the lens of overall physical and mental health of the individual. He brings together fields such as psychology, neuroscience, anthropology and quantum physics, all in a quest to understand what lies at the core of the mind. Why is this relevant to “rewilding” you might ask? Well, in his research centered on finding a true definition of what “the mind” is, he also gives an understanding of what health is and how it is attained as being a product of “integration”. Integration is the linking of differentiated parts within a system. Impaired integration, rigidity and chaos, is something that occurs through becoming disconnected within ourselves but also between us, others, and the earth we are part of.
When we look back at hunter-gatherer societies it is easy to see how they were much more integrated not only as individuals, but within their equal connections to each other and their community as well as their integration within the ecosystem. If we look at current civilization it is even more easy to see how the focus on the individual has created disconnection within one’s own awareness of one’s self, as well as with others. The lack of community and trust between individuals is sadly obvious, and even more obvious is the disconnection and lack of integration with the natural world.
Someone else who also understands the importance of connection and global health is Daniel Shmachtenberger, a great mind who’s focus is based an creating and developing and a new system in which the individual will innately be connected to, and therefore feel the connection to the whole. He sees clearly how the post-agricultural system, which much of this world is built upon, has created a strong sense of disconnection, and that the only way we will truly regain that sense of connection on a global scale is by creating a “new” model in which each individual feels inherently connected to.
Both these great minds don’t just share their first name in common, but also strongly believe that if we are to create positive change in this world we have to search for solutions, influenced by a holistic and well-informed education based on reclaiming our sense of interconnectedness to the whole. In order to bring back our sense of connection we must live in a world in which we naturally see and feel the inherent connections between everything.
If we look at the bigger picture it becomes obvious that the Agricultural Revolution was the bridge that took us from a hunter-gather lifestyle to a domesticated one. By domesticating and mass producing our food and animals, we also domesticated ourselves. This in turn has had the effect of not only disconnecting us from the earth, but also from each other and the natural connection we should feel within ourselves, which never disapeared, but has for many been hiding.
Rewilding is important as it aims to bring back that sense of lost connection, by not only returning to an understanding of our pre-agricultural lifestyle, but also by taking a cross-cultural stance, and by using our current modern scientific knowledge and uncoverings to bridge the chasm that’s been created over the last 10, 000 years.
Gaining self-awareness through reconnecting will enable us to start to strip off our cultural baggage, with the aim to uncover a deeper truth and world view which can empower each and everyone one of us to align with our paths, with the support and trust of our wider community.