Regarding that last post–I was NOT speaking ONLY of human beings, or only recent human cultures. I certainly wasn’t saying that non-urban or less centralized cultures are more “wild”, and I’m well aware that we do not hold the monopoly on technologies and innovations and correct ways of thinking. That sort of ethnocentricity is NOT something I wish to be associated with, thank you.

When I was speaking of the wildness and risk inherent to life, I was speaking of ALL life that has ever existed on this planet, of which humans–ALL humans–are a tiny, miniscule fraction. For most of these beings that have EVER existed, life was/is a much riskier proposition than we generally experience. And when I say “we”, I mean those of us who live relatively comfortable, secure lives. So I’m rather frustrated that people translated this into such an anthropocentric view, forgetting that I was speaking of much more than humans.

Please re-read the previous post. I spoke quite a bit of “living beings”, and nowhere was I only comparing the standard of living I and others enjoy ONLY to other human beings. Nor was I saying that even this comfortable life is without risk. But I feel risk is more resonant of our wild heritage–not just HUMAN heritage–than the outer trappings and symbols I spoke of. All this was was some musings I had about what (usually white, urban) people like to call “wildness” like wearing dead animals and worshiping nature deities, compared to the risks of being a wild animal; and drawing casual, loose comparisons between the *slightly* greater risk of self-employment and how that makes me feel a little closer to the wild because I could see similar challenges between the ebbs and flows of my income, and the successes or failures of a day’s hunt–by ANY predator, not just human ones.

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8 thoughts on “Clarification

  1. Seriously, I really wonder at your readers sometimes! Do people speed read and miss your words. It was very noticeable to me that you were talking about all living beings and not just humans.

    • Forming different interpretations of printed media does not, of itself, indicate a lazy or inattentive manner of reading said media.

  2. I totally get your point, after this clarification. However, it’s not like we weren’t paying attention – it was an honest mistake. Look at the first couple sentences (generally the “thesis statement” of an essay) of the meat of your post:

    “But it also gives me context for where we as a species are right now. Just a few thousand years ago there were only a small handful of humans scattered across the land, just one more species of wild animal amid the rest. ”

    You then expand it to all living beings, using very specific language, but the way you started out definitely got me thinking that you were talking mainly about humans. Also, some of what you said seemed to echo the very common sentiment of our “wilder” (indigenous) ancestors having a worse quality of life (in the sense of food abundance, workload, lifespan, etc). You didn’t say such explicitly, but I felt that the implication was there, so I wanted to address it anyway (since it is such a pervasive, and harmful, misconception).

    I’m glad to hear that you don’t hold that view! It’s worth talking about anyway, though, regardless of the situation – the more the facts get out there, the better, because that myth is such a huge contributor to our cultural myopia.

    • No, I get that it was just a different angle of interpretation; I just wanted to be sure I made myself clear. This was a really rough set of thoughts, something I was exploring with.

      And I am definitely against the idea of the “noble savage”. It’s a harmful stereotype that does at least as much damage as “vicious savages” and so forth.

  3. Jessica pretty much stated my own thoughts of the matter. It is true that most of what you wrote was a comparison of modern humanity’s and your life with that of non-human creatures. But there were also things that brought for a comparison to early humanity, too which was what my response was directed at.
    But I did get where you were coming from. Your method of making a living requires more hustle and roaming with no guaruntees but doesn’t put you on a tight leash, as oppossed to people who know they will get a pat on the head and their daily ration of kibble as long as they perform pleasing tricks and behave. :-P

    • And it’s good that you did, because it will remind me if I write about this further to clarify that part of it. There are enough misconceptions and stereotypes running around, and part of the benefits of writing to a readership is different perspectives. I;m feeling a little worn from debate and discussion of hard topics this week because there’s been so much of it, but again, thank you.

  4. I agree – I read your post and took it to mean humans. The writing seemed to focus on humans and their ways of coping. As you know, I do work with extinct or prehistoric beings, and do understand what you are driving at. However, perhaps I am more dense than usual but I took the piece in terms of human survival. If you expand the definition beyond humans, actually humans are a successful species because of their adaptability to things. But insects such as dragonflies are still very much with us as well as sharks. So whatever they do to survive is also working.

    However, in relative terms of aeons, humans are a brief blip much like the primitive Lystrosaurus who once ruled the earth, and accounted for 95 percent of the land biomass after the Great Dying of the Permian. They only lasted a few million years before giving way to more “advanced” taxa.

    My question about the piece is who is it directed to? Who is your audience? I guess I don’t think the same terms as the people you are directing your writing to. I was raised in the Maine wilderness, and do understand how fragile existance can be and how capricious it is. As a brain injury survivour, I am dependent on the kindness and generosity of others, since my independence and abilities are compromised greatly.

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