Book Review: Unlearn, Rewild: Earth Skills, Ideas, and Inspiration for the Future Primitive

Unlearn, Rewild: Earth Skills, Ideas and Inspiration for the Future PrimitiveUnlearn, Rewild: Earth Skills, Ideas and Inspiration for the Future Primitive by Miles Olson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An enterprising young hobo details the finer points of conservation as defined by squatting in an abandoned building on the outskirts of a major city and supplementing what the dumpsters are giving with fresh roadkill, grubs, and homemade pickles.

Miles Olson propounds a gentler, more on-the-grid version of off-the-grid anarchoprimitivism where you eke out your living by eating dead things you find, or kill, along with whatever you can steal from the most-despised hubs of civilization or grow in “your” yard because you can’t, like, own land, man.

It was interesting, but more as a case study than a real philosophy. It could work for one dude, or maybe one dude and a few of his crustpunk friends, but for a book preaching sustainability, it’s not terribly sustainable. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be.

The Unlearn, Rewild could be universalized with the proviso that we are rocketing toward the primitive future of the Future Primitive. Everyone can grow lettuce in vacant lots and eat out of the garbage until society crumbled entirely, at which point we would be able to use some of those wildling skills to survive in “the hands of the gods” to borrow a phrase from the dude who wrote the monke novel, and abandon the rest of them since they’d no longer apply. For the purpose of hastening the collapse of this busted-ass civilization experiment, these work just fine, and leave you better off in the post-war (face it, it’ll be a war) wasteland than you would have been watching Netflix until the curtain fell.

Three stars. I’ll make pickles, but I’m not eating skunk that got hit by a car. Not yet.

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