Metanoia - the Wisdom beyond Wildness
The War against Greed
1. Finding the new roots of "Progress"
It is time to leave the dark satanic mills behind us. It is time
to say goodbye to wage slavery and crazy money. It is time
to rethink our cities and reclaim our Earth. The rude
predatory period of human existence is coming to an end - as it
We are the spearhead of life. We are the cosmic warriors
who fight the endless and universal struggle against disorder and
entropy. Beauty and dynamic magic are our
watchwords. Waste and discord are our enemies.
It is time to reach for a new story - a story beyond the
wilderness. Our old stories are crude and ultimately
destructive, laced as they are with greed and needless urgency.
So where are our pointers for a life enhancing future?
Perhaps our gardens are a metaphor for our inner cosmic magic.
Like a beautiful piece of music or fine work of art, we know that healthy
gardens are living symbols of our life enhancing
instincts. And "healthy" is the important word here - we
know all too well that a poisoned mono-culture stinks of hell itself.
Of course we scream and cry out against the rape of Earth.
Trapped, as we are, in a web of human institutions which are profoundly
dysfunctional and dangerous to life. The primeval lure of
wilderness is naturally our first base for healing and relief.
Our urban millions who live in a bubble of artificial reality need to
rediscover wildness and the magic of nature before they can find a new
wisdom beyond its harsh realities. But we must pause in praise
of wildness in case we forget that we ourselves are
"wild". We are clever, imaginative, determined, and
brave. We ride on the crest of life's cosmic
wave. We have come far in a very short
time. Like a surfer who sees rocks ahead we can change
Our present struggle is less with nature and more with ourselves -
brainwashed and conditioned as we are by the hollow myths of what we call
modern civilisation. How can we find wisdom in this
invisible cultural prison? Is there no way we can
escape through the vortex of our doomed and dangerous institutions?
Our real struggle is not against the forces of nature - our struggle is
against the cultural barriers we have created for
ourselves. And we have to come to terms with the
startling fact that we ourselves are one of the major forces of nature!
No doubt our scientists and greatest minds are searching for sources of new
energy or pollution reducing fertilisers or discovering a hundred and one
environmentally friendly crutches for our ailing
civilisation. Billions of dollars, pounds, euros etc. are
being diverted to such searches. Our tragedy is that
such efforts do nothing to help us escape our cultural prison - if anything
they simply reinforce its locks and bars.
We are wild and we are behaving with the rapacious greed and wildness that
has fuelled our escape from the caves to the neon lit sophistication of our
modern cities. Now we face the challenge of going beyond
wildness. It is we who must take
responsibility for trying to make sure the Earth continues to function as a
home for a rich and varied collection of life forms (including our
civilisation) or whether it becomes a life threatening
desert. Just as a teenager leaving school suddenly
finds a need to take full responsibility for the future, so we, as wild
humans, now face the same challenge on this planet Earth.
We can only succeed in this if we go "beyond wildness" and use our brains in
a new way. Unlike the bees or the ants we have
consciousness - we know we are alive, we know that what we do affects the
future. It is this consciousness that must now take
us beyond wildness.
The first step is to begin to see the bars and locks of our cultural prison?
If we are to escape this prison we must try to understand its geography and
building blocks. Money, democracy, the free market,
banks, crime, advertising, education, hospitals …….these might be a good
starting point. For just as a garden is made up of
different plants so is the fabric of our culture made up of different
institutions. These "institutions" are just systems
of habits, rules and behaviours which we humans have
invented. If our cultural garden is to be beautiful
and life enhancing then like any effective gardener, we must learn to
understand these institutions for they are in effect the cultural trees,
flowers and vegetables which control our lives.
We have anthropologists, economists, sociologist and psychologists but we do
not (yet) have dedicated cultural engineers. It is
true that we have "soft" cultural engineers who are our artists,
writers and poets. The stories and inspiration they provide can
powerfully influence our view of the world. We have also
seen cultural engineering on a grand scale through the preaching and
martyrdom of great religious leaders and modern suicide
The "soft" cultural engineering which art can achieve is unlikely to be
sufficient to effect the cultural changes now required.
There is a desperate need now for skilled "hard" cultural engineering.
We need, for example, to urgently change our money and banking
systems. We need to change our political system and the way we choose
and legitimise our leaders. Artists and writers can alert and inflame
the need for such change but they may not have the technical tools to
Perhaps we are impotent because we no longer realise we are a major force of
nature. The all enveloping propaganda of consumerism, the
dogmas of religion and a blind faith in science and technology have stolen
our wildness. Certainly the rediscovery of our wildness is
a pre-condition for us to go beyond wildness? And
this rediscovery has to be a spiritual journey whose roots lie beyond common
logic and the tenets of cartesian thinking.
Physicists and cosmologists have been screaming the new quantum and
relativistic magic of the universe at us for almost 100 years now - is
anyone listening? Can the huge spiral arm of a
distant galaxy tell us anything? Can the mysteries of the
Hadron collider tell us anything? Those shimmering
icons of beauty have somehow produced wild life and ultimately
us…….. Now we hold the future in our hands -
and the challenge is great and urgent.
We are Wild
We are wild like the rocks with sweat, cunts and cocks
We are wild like the sea as we curse, shit and pee
We are wild like the birds even quiet software nerds
We are wild like the flowers with deep hidden powers
We are wild like the bees tho the world's on its knees
We are wild like the rain tho' our Earth is in pain
We can act and be wise, use brains, hearts and eyes
We can dare to stand tall, break away from it all
We can act to make change, that thought's not so strange
We can dare to rebel and save Earth from hell
We can act to save life, cut our chains like a knife
We can dare beyond wild like a magical child
USE THE FORCE!
Nothing in the world of science can explain it. Nothing in
the world of science can understand it. Nothing in the
cosmos seems to be able to stop it. This is the
Force of Life. Get closer to the life force and every day
will hold a deeper meaning.
Life creates order and beauty from chaos. It started doing
this from the very beginning of time. It continues to do
it today. Whether and how humans will be part of its
future is the great question of the moment.
So far as we know humans are the most complex form of life yet produced by
the cosmos. Every atom in our bodies was created millions
of years ago in the nuclear furnace of a dying star. How
billions of them got together and learned to work as a team to make a human
is a miracle. We are, or we could be, the spearhead of life’s
But there is a paradox here. We humans have brains that give us
consciousness – we know we are alive and we know good from
bad. We certainly know enough to destroy
ourselves. The question now is whether we are clever
enough to save ourselves and carry the magical process of life on to its
next (unknown and unknowable) destination. Will we be able
to discover the wisdom beyond wildness? Will we
learn to use the force or will it use us?
Most of the humans who are educated and brought up in cities have lost sight
of the real magic of life. Their food comes in
lorries from somewhere far away. Their air and water
are created and purified somewhere far away. Their shit
and waste is taken far away and dumped they know not
where. Their main contact with “life” is through
newspapers and the television. They are, in effect, only
partially “alive”, many are in the sad state of "being
lived". As wage slaves they tumble out of bed each
day simply to enable their masters - the "merchants of greed" to amass more
wealth and power.
Sadly most of the humans now living on Earth live in its cities and control
(in so far as anyone can) its institutions and its
politics. They have lost their grasp of true reality
as well as their innate understanding of the force of
life. Life on Earth has already suffered mightily because
Metanoians are those who have discovered the wisdom beyond
wildness. They know that consciousness and intelligence bring
responsibilities that cannot be avoided. They believe that
we can, indeed we must, try to influence the future even though we cannot
control it. Metanoians find happiness and satisfaction through
enhanced human relationships and positive interaction with the living world
without the need for excessive consumption and crude harvesting of other
life forms. They believe that humans should use
their intelligence and consciousness to enhance life rather than exploit
it. They believe that humans can and should take
responsibility for trying to safeguard their own future while recognising
that the Earth herself is the ultimate life form whose health and vitality
are a necessary conditions for our survival.
This life enhancing philosophy is underpinned by a number of important
- our present predatory civilisation is trapped in a life destroying dynamic
by the cultural institutions we ourselves have created. We
made them, we can change them.
- "Life" is the greatest force for beauty and order opposing increasing
entropy throughout the cosmos
- the human brain is (as far as we know) the most complex and
beautiful life structure yet produced by the unknowable magic of the cosmos.
- humans have a unique role in the struggle between beauty and chaos which
dominates the unfolding Universe
- because humans are conscious and possess free will they can and should
transcend "wildness" and face up to their unavoidable responsibility to
foster and enhance the phenomenon we call "life"
The Tiger's Tail
So speaks the disembodied intellect. Sadly
history tells us that the necessary cultural change is not going to happen
before nature makes it happen - and that will be harsh and very
Can you see the bars of our invisible cultural cage? Even
if you can see them - you will never crawl past them on your
own. Like addicts we continue a lifestyle that we know
must soon end. It's time to wake up and seize the
tiger's tail before those claws and teeth devour us.
Talk alone will not save us (however deep, clever or profound) - it is what
we DO tomorrow that will make a difference.
civilised - a person who believes in and lives within the set of
institutions (particularly debt based money, fractional reserve banking,
democratic government, free market trading, global profit driven
corporations, endless supplies of natural resources and a magically
self-sustaining ecological life support system) which dominate our current
predatory relationship with the Earth and the natural world
uncivilised - a person who understands that the tenets and
institutions of current civilisation are at best dysfunctional and at worst
wild - a person who understands and lives within a belief that humans are
simply one of many "wild" life forms that have evolved to live as part of
the life supporting dynamic web of life we call the Earth
wildness - behaviour dominated by the natural tendencies and instincts which
evolution has fostered over millions of years
wisdom - the ability to use a conscious brain to influence the future
(largely through cultural engineering, science and technology) in ways
beneficial to life in the long term
Metanoia - the change of mindset which enables humans to escape the bars of
their cultural prisons and create new cultural forms which are life
enhancing rather than life destroying
2. Getting from here to there - Playing the Game
We won't do it by preaching. We won't do it by passing
laws. We won't do it with a new
religion. We won't do it by violence or suicide
bombing. We won't do it by lobbying parliament or voting in the
greens. We won't do it by creating squalid campsites in
city squares. We won't do it by following a new guru.
We will do it by teaching and showing the way.
We will do it bit by bit. We will do it by moving
the cultural goal posts. We will do it by tricks and
things that are fun. We will do it by withdrawing our
support from life threatening institutions. We will do it
by changing the ways we spend our money. We will do it by
creating new life enhancing institutions. We will do it
using new social networking possibilities. We will do it
by harnessing the natural energies of people in small groups and
The greatest forces for social and political change have always depended on
new insights and the state of technology. Martyrs have
always been a powerful force for cultural engineering but the greatest
"discovery" of modern times was the power of peaceful mass action and, in
particular, the boycott. The one armed irishman
Michael Davitt was the first to see this truth and put it into action with
his Land League and the withdrawal of labour from Colonel
Boycott. He was followed by Ghandi and
others. Today we have new possibilities,
powerful possibilities, because of the power of social networking on the
We CAN change the way we live and the way we think of ourselves on Planet
Earth. And we can do this in ways that are joyful
and life enhancing. Better still, these ways do NOT cost
money - on the contrary they will save us money.
Consumerism - An Addiction
Humans that continue with behaviours they know are harmful are called
'addicts". Experience has shown that "addicts"
cannot pick themselves up by their own bootlaces - they cannot cure
themselves by themselves. This is, in effect, the
definition of an addict.
Our society, our civilisation, is driven by addiction to
consumerism. Consumerism is the wanting of
more and more "stuff" that we do not really need.
Alcoholics Anonymous has been the most successful piece of cultural
engineering ever devised to manage addiction. The
key to its success is the willingness of the individual (finally) to
understand that it is only by surrendering some of his/her power to others
that escape from the trap of addiction is possible.
You surrender some "power" to your group and they, in turn, give back a new
strength which enables you to fight addiction. You are
only prepared to do this when every other avenue has been
The Dark Mountain movement and its Uncivilised Manifesto are precisely
the realisation that our civilisation has reached this point of
desperation. None of the old remedies are working, nor are they
going to work, and the future looks BLACK.
The magical spearhead of the process we call "life"
Each one of us is this "spearhead". Some of us (a few) may
understand this simply by thinking and reading but for most the process of
understanding can only be achieved by practical
actions. If we can persuade people to take actions
for reasons that fit their current state of mind then the fact that they
take such actions may, in turn, change their understanding and value systems
in ways they never expected (ways that will be life
enhancing). This offers the greatest possibilities for
beneficial change. Such change is not prescriptive but
varies with the tendencies and talents of each individual or
group. Beneficial here being defined as life enhancing - however
we see that with our eyes open.
Metanoia - the Game
So this is the logic behind the "game" of Metanoia.
(Metanoia means "change of mind" - compare with