A State of Nature
"In wildness is the preservation of the world" Henry David Thoreau
"...strip off the thin veneer of civilisation." Edgar Rice Burroughs
Go wild in the country! Take off all your clothes and climb a tree! Do that Tarzan-style yodel whilst beating your chest with both fists! Make like an ape(wo)man! Stop taking the medication! Going wild is part of our culture it's when we give ourselves leave to step beyond the bounds of normative behaviour, so that we can embrace our innate otherness and celebrate a brief escape from all that tedious intrapsychic phenomena.
Sometimes this happens whether we like it or not.
In psychology the onset of a fugue state, or dissociative fugue can mean that the subject will suddenly get up and leave their ordinary circumstances, often traveling great distances with no clear idea as to a destination. These fugueur were well known in the nineteenth century, particularly in France. People, usually men, dropped everything and simply began to walk, unencumbered by baggage of any kind. Famously, author Agatha Christie disappeared only to be found much later, living in a hotel under an assumed name. This episode has been attributed to the onset of a fugue state. Japan's Hikikomori manage to attain a state of nature within the confines of their own homes. These are mostly adolescent males who deliberately confine themselves within a room in their parents home, sometimes for years at a time. Theirs is a total refusal of ordinary social mores and an attempt to disappear whilst in full view. Drugs too have traditionally been used to deliquesce the boundaries between our selves and the world, narcotic escape being just as all encompassing as walking naked into the wilderness.
In the Hobbesian sense of preserving individual autonomy at all costs, taking to the woods makes perfect sense. This may be the only practical way to absent oneself from the tyranny of the nation state. It is, to paraphrase Thoreau, the ultimate act of civil disobedience.
"What has risen may sink, and what has sunk may rise. Loathsomeness waits and dreams in the deep, and decay spreads over the tottering cities of men." 'The Call of Cthulhu' H P Lovecraft
Where I grew up the local golf club tried to stop us proles from using the right of way across their course, this took the form of thick earth banks and tangled hedging; as if they hadn't already stolen enough land they wanted more! Its not so much the hitting of balls with clubs, it's the voracious appetite for land and resources, the snobbery, the cultural apartheid, the bland absorption of common land. Golf is Capitalism! Think about the things that really make life worth living - love, sex, creation, attraction, destruction, wild places - then think of golf - it's disgusting. As a teenager my friends and I would regularly attack the local course. We smashed it good! Ripped turf, trashed bunkers. Or we'd steal their balls from under their noses (so to speak). It was war. Mutual hatred. The only good thing to come from a golf course is the occasional crop of magic mushrooms. Even then it's likely that they will have been adulterated due to excessive use of pesticides. Golf means control - of nature, of culture - in time it will swallow the planet. Perhaps it already has. Fuck golf.
In the 'Cthulhu Mythos' stories produced by H P Lovecraft (and a host of imitators) there is a posited class of 'elder gods' or 'Great Old Ones' that come from somewhere beyond space and time. These creatures are so unsympathetic to the needs of humankind, so utterly other that even a glimpse of their unholy forms can send one spiralling towards madness and death. Yet in spite of their monumental indifference they choose to involve themselves in human affairs and in doing so they spread a kind of diseased conformity. Theirs is a vision of eternal numbness, the world as an endless well-manicured cemetery. Do you see where I'm going with this yet? Do you see that we are sleepwalking into a future that will fulfil all of our deepest desires for vacuity, for Nyarlathoteptic narcolepsy! That's right, global capitalism is the spawn of the aforementioned Nyarlathotep and Great Cthulhu, Shub-Niggurath, Dagon, Yog-Sothoth and the rest of the writhing, squirming, festering pantheon of the Outer Dark.
I repeat: Fuck golf.
The Stiggish Places
"I have always been one for margins, for edges, borders or thresholds." John Cowper Powys
"And the trees were like candles jutting right up into the sky; like spiders on gnarled paws squatting on the earth; like mute, green fountains..." 'We' Yevgeny Zamyatin
"Between urban and rural stands a kind of landscape quite different from either. Often vast in area, though hardly noticed, it is characterised by rubbish tips and warehouses, superstores and derelict industrial plants, office parks and gypsy encampments, golf courses, allotments and fragmented, frequently scruffy, farmland...This peculiar landscape is only the latest version of an interfacial rim that has always separated settlements from the countryside to a greater or lesser extent. In our own age, however, this zone has expanded vastly in area, complexity and singularity...for most of us, most of the time, this mysterious no man's land passes unnoticed: in our imaginations, as opposed to our actual lives, it barely exists...... jungles of marshalling yards and gasometers, gravel pits, water-works and car scrapyards seem no more than repositories for functions we prefer not to think about...This is a vaguely menacing frontier land hinting that here the normal rules governing human behaviour cannot be altogether relied upon."
'Edgelands' Marion Shoard in: '. Remaking the landscape: the changing face of Britain' Jenkins J, ed.
Wayward children are often referred to as 'feral' in the popular press. In carrying out some terrible act they are supposed to have moved beyond the bounds of civilised behaviour, become 'wild' and indeed 'feral'. When some youths lob a concrete block from a bridge into the path of oncoming motorway traffic its as if they are saying - 'look, we don't care about you or your rules. We don't give a fuck about any of this shite'. I suspect that they are not actually thinking in terms of murder rather, they are giving warped voice to our unacknowledged helplessness in the face of modernity; in some sense they are speaking for all of us, their lack of empathy for their victims is a mirror image of our own unthinking acceptance of a harsh and unforgiving social landscape. Often these kids, and other 'outsiders', will head to the margins - brown-field sites, derelict railway land, gaps, holes, stunted forests, reforgotten industrial estates. It is here, on the edges, that boundaries are crossed - drug-taking, fighting, fucking, bonding, it all happens here, beyond the strictures of a watchful and puritanical state apparatus.
What is the attraction of these places, these edgelands? Is it that, in having been designated as commercially and aesthetically worthless they have slipped beyond the gaze of officialdom? In the children's book 'Stig of the Dump' by Clive King it is in one of these rotting, forgotten places that the protagonist, Barney, finds Stig, a left over 'cave man' - in a chalk quarry cum rubbish tip. Stig is the avatar of a time before the maddening complexities of modernity gave us all 'the fear'. He exists on his own terms, scavenging amongst the detritus of our 'civilisation'. Yet he is another outsider, living apart, mute exemplar of a time before war, golf, television (although he makes fine bows and arrows from our tv arials), white goods, blah blah, he is a reminder perhaps that it needn't be this way, that the debilitating conformity secreted by neo-liberalism is negated not just in so-called 'wilderness' areas but in the marginal lands that surround our cities. These 'stiggish' places give license to the human need to deviate, to experiment - with our bodies, with social mores, intoxicants... Alright, at the same time a little damage is done, some blood is spilt and strings of fresh ejaculate may be found decorating some horticultural escapee or other. Somebody else might get pregnant, someone else will lose an ear, an eye, their innocence. But if we do not have these places, if they are all turned into golf courses and housing estates, then this is when the real trouble will begin. If there is nowhere for Stig to live anymore then we really will be fucked.
black forest sleepers desisting.
vulvoid scrapings felted,
---------------- of fishes waxed and
materialism surfeited with masks of dark and hunting,
the creatures--------------- are loving your wife