Don't fear the forest!

'The outlaws, the outcasts, the bewildered, the ecstatic - these are among those who have sought out the forest's asylum... '
Robert Pogue Harrison - Forests: The Shadow of Civilization


'The start of domestication, or taming of nature, is seen in a cultural ordering of the wild ... the female as a cultural category seen as wild or dangerous dates from this period ... The non-domesticated know that only the present can be total ... People are being stretched and beaten on the rack of everyday emptiness, and the spell of civilisation is fading ... the means of reproducing the prevailing Death Ship (e.g. its technology) cannot be used to fashion a liberated world ... The truly humanitarian impulse is that which is committed to relentlessly destroying the malignant dynamic known as civilisation...'
John Zerzan - Future Primitive

What is the Forest? Why do we fear it?

At least half of the earth was once covered by trees, particularly Britain and northern and western Europe. It is thought that western Europe has now lost over 99% of its primeval forest in a process that began around 10,000 years ago - relatively recently in human history - with the shift from nomadic hunting and gathering to more settled agricultural communities and ensuing population expansion. The disappearance of forested landscape has really accelerated over the last few hundred years, with most of the loss occurring in the past few decades.

With the exponential growth of towns and cities we became alienated from the forest, and began to think of it as a frightening place full of beasts and monsters. It became the setting for myths, folk legends and fairy tales; associated with outlaws, outcasts and outsiders, witches, strange happenings and madness; a metaphor for the darker regions of the human psyche. Humans may be descended from forest-dwelling ancestors, but as 'civilised' people we like to feel we have left the forest behind as part of a supposedly linear trajectory we call 'progress'.* For Jung, the forest was a symbol of the collective unconscious; the archetypal antithesis of reason, potentially perilous. The forest is the place beyond our control, and it remains deep in our subconscious; it is part of us. It is the place where we have transformative experiences and encounter our real, and other, selves. In Old English, the forest is the weald; the Wild.

* an illusion; regarding which, more soon.