For those of you who don't know me, don't worry, it doesn't matter too much. I am just some dude from the middle of Europe who grew discontent with life in the so-called "developed world" and, sensing the imminent collapse of global civilization due to its inherent destructiveness and disdain for the non-human and the Sacred, started a journey "back to the roots" when, in search for a more self-sufficient life with a smaller ecological footprint, I moved to the tropics to intern on a small peri-urban permaculture farm in the South of Thailand at the beginning of 2014. I stayed there until I met my wife and we moved to our current plot of land to start our own project in November 2018. Now I'm a full-time subsistence farmer/forager (the closest you'll get to a job description), in the process of developing a new (or rediscovering an ancient) way of life uniquely tailored to the landscape I inhabit, and I finally found what I was looking for all along without even knowing it: a meaningful life, embedded into a complex web of interrelated living beings, buttressed by a profound spiritual vision of the wider world and all its myriad inhabitants and forces.
What to expect
I contemplate (and sometimes write about) my own journey, the simple life, indigenous societies, human nature, spirituality, traditional vs modern, our ancestors, mythology, alienation, "Nature", Neanderthals, the Paleolithic, the Neolithic and the transition from foraging to farming (and sometimes history in general), patriarchy, de-growth, anarcho-primitivism, anarchism, globalization, localism, the low-tech lifestyle, the dangers of progress, development and scientism/reductionism, foraging, food systems resilience, permaculture, herbalism, interspecies understanding and communication, plant and animal consciousness and personhood, and, of course, animism.
You can expect quaint theories, personal experiences, neat allegories, angry criticism of articles in popular magazines and newspapers, rants against the modern world, technology, scientism and civilization, thought experiments, misanthropic critiques of other people's behaviors, and, ultimately, attempts to connect the dots and create something of a bigger picture; answers to the stereotyped questions of the "meaning of life", who we are, why we are here, and where we are heading. Subscribe at your own peril!
I have occasionally referred to myself as an armchair historian/anthropologist, who presumes to hold strong opinions on specific fringe subjects despite not having any formal higher education whatsoever. Needless to say, don't take anything I say too serious or personal. I think of myself as forever trapped at the lowest point beyond the peak of the Dunning-Kruger curve, perpetually condemned to realize how much more there is to learn, despite having more freetime to spend on reading than anyone I know (you'd be surprised how many books you finish in two years without electricity). Like many classical and medieval scholars, I see myself as more of a vessel for the thoughts of folks or spirits much smarter than me, and much of what I write is a synthesis, a compilation, a review or a summary of thoughts and opinions of a wide range of authors and thinkers, from indigenous foragers like Yanomami shaman Dawi Kopenawa, Nemonte Nenquimo, and Tuira Kayapó; white-man-turned-savage Bruno Manser; anarcho-primitivists like John Zerzan, Kevin Tucker and ziq; and anthropologists like Philippe Descola, James C. Scott and David R. Graeber; over counterculture thinkers like Daniel Quinn and Fredy Perlman; podcasters like Nate Hagens and Arnold Schroder; archeologists Rebecca W. Sykes and David Wengrow; geologist David R. Montgomery; indigenous scholars like Robin W. Kimmerer, Tyson Yunkaporta, and Jack D. Forbes; to controversial radical environmentalists like Derrick Jensen and mathematics professor Theodore J. Kaczynski (to name only a few).
I am plagued by the reoccurring realization that most of what I say has already been said (often more eloquently than I could ever manage), and even my most witty and original thoughts have probably been thought before - an inescapable consequence of living in a world populated by almost 8 billion other humans. The danger of becoming just another blogger parroting fringe opinions is a real fear for me, as is the prospect of being just another voice shouting down into the virtual abyss, drowned out by the roar of all those others who also think their oh-so-valuable opinions should be heard. Insecurity over those and other aspects keep me from publishing much of what I write privately. I hope this format and your feedback will help me get over it!
I won't try to convince you. A paid subscription will give you, to put it bluntly, no additional benefits whatsoever. If you like what I write, subscribe for free, and if you think it's worth supporting (and you have some leftover cash at the end of each month) you can opt for a paid subscription - but the content you'll get is exactly the same as with the free subscription. My wife an I run a small non-profit permaculture/rewilding project in the foothills of the Cardamom Mountains in Southeast Asia, and each paid subscription helps us realize the vision(s) we have:
that even modern humans can “go back” to a simpler life (and actually enjoy it!),
that humans can be a functioning part of the ecosystem they inhabit,
that you don't need a “job” to get by,
and that if you honestly try to do good, you'll have at least some support, one way or another.
Needless to say, all content of this blog is 100% human-made and AI-free. Guaranteed.
I realized a few weeks ago that both Paul Kingsnorth and Charles Eisenstein, whose opinions I value, whose essays I read regularly and whom I used to follow on social media, moved much of their regular publications to substack, partly because of its simple format and the possibility to have at least a little bit of an income while writing, but also for the ability to make their writing easily accessible for those who opted out of the endless ride down the social meatgrinders' bottomless feeds. I used to publish my writings on medium, mostly for reasons of convenience, but there are many things I disagree with: the "recommended" section leading readers down the AI-propelled rabbit hole that leads to radicalization about things that don't matter (QAnon, flat earth and alien origin theory); the fact that your writing is hidden behind a paywall if you want to earn money from writing (without an alternative option for those with limited financial means); and the indiscriminate focus on "views" as a measure of how much you earn - the very opposite of a focus on quality. I don't write short, easily digestible, attention-grabbing clickbait segments for people with newsfeed-damaged attention spans and an intellect that is entirely outsourced to Google and Wikipedia. I write for folks who like to read, who are open for opinions that are further off the main road, and I don't think that my opinions are important enough to vindicate forcing people to pay money to hear them.