Concentration is a double-edged sword — a gift and a curse.
On the one end of the sword, you have the Concentration Camps, the peak of Western civilization and industrialized cruelty.
And on the other, you have the «benign» concentration. You have concentrations of kids in a fenced area, the kindergarten, where the kids can play and develop social and elementary skills in a supposedly safe environment.
Of course, with such a huge concentration of kids in such a confined space, you will have all kinds of child diseases spreading like fire in dry grass. And occationally you will have episodes of child molestation, as grown-up pedophiles will be drawn to the kindergartens and orphanages like moths to a flame.
A little older, the child enters the ordered world of the school. The child learns order, discipline and, you guessed it, concentration. These «concentration camps» are where civilization grows and grooms its subjects, the Wild and untamed new citicens of the industrialized world.
And here concentration, at least apparently, is somewhat benign. The child is given a chance to develop what is undeniably an aspect of its natural self; the skills of thought and reflection. By learning the valued art of concentration, the child is formed and shaped into a modern, selectively skilled individual, detached from the Whole. Just as the doctor ordered.
Concentration in itself is the ability to shut everything out, and focus on one single field, like for instance maths, at the right time and at the present, specific task or problem. What is more generally termed intelligence or IQ, is really the trained or inherent ability to shut everything out and focus, concentrate.
Later in life, the subject may become a student at a higher education facility, where he will train to become ever more detached and focused on a narrow set of theoretical problems. His skills and trained abilities will in some cases be needed by a similarly specialized society, but nevertheless, the subject is now but a wheel in the vast machinery of civilization, and no longer a Whole person.
The entire process of education and concentration or specialization is merely a grand scheme of detachment from Nature and systemized de-learning of Natural skills on a more all-round level. We see the consequences of this in every aspect of modern life. People can no longer cook for themselves, no longer care for their kids, no longer think for themselves, and their survival skills in the Wild are almost on a non-existent level.
Monks in the monasterys did this as well. They'd hide in some sort of fortress where they would not «be tempted» by the worldly things, such as the otherwise abundant offer of sexual and social pleasure, and they'd sit in their confined spaces and chambers and develop sickening systems of religious insanity. Like moral systems and detailed instructions about how everyone should live their lives.
A detached world of clerics and nons and monks, that would develop detached worldviews, that we still suffer under to this very day. And having promised to live in celebacy, they found other ways to satisfy their urges. Animals, slaves and children were frequent victims of their holy, but sickening, «celebacy».
And pretty much the same is the case with science. The monastery is replaced by universities and research parks, but the same high level of detachment from Nature and Wholeness haunts the scientists, and their thinking and worldviews end up similarly untrue, artificial and essentially sickening and disastrous.
The economists, the doctors, the engineers and the sociologists all go out into the world and try to shape it in the name of «science». Which is really just a new form of religion, for our time. For instance, they are able to bring themselves to developing and producing IBM international business machines and sell them to nazi concentration camp managers, who needed them to keep track of all the «subhumans», some of which were in for the poison shower, and some of which were selected for the experiments, all in the name of science. And they are able to bring themselves to develop and sell Zyklon B, the poison gas for the Final Solution. And they are able to bring themselves to develop atomic bombs, that fry entire cities. And they are able to bring themselves to develop napalm, AIDS, weaponized strains of diseases, depleted uranium ammunitions, etc. To name but a few of the «great» innovations and products of civilization, and their willing scientists and executioners.
And for the rest of us, there's always the abundant «opportunities» and supply of subcultures to sink and delve into, a sort of substitute for real Diversity, related to music, movies, clothing, gaming and all kinds of popular culture, to occupy our dead time, satisfy our concentration urge, and keep us from going mad in this insane world of ours.
One man who has gone the other way, the exact opposite way in this regard, is Amos Keppler. To learn from him and maybe be inspired by him, you can read an email interview I made with the man. After reading this, you may also want to check out his own blog, The Midnight Fire Blog, which can be found at this address: midnightfire.blogspot.comRobin
: Tell us about living in the Wild, Amos!Amos
: It’s awkward at first, but after that you feel like you’re slowly awakening from a bad dream. You stumble a lot in roots and such the first few days, but then your feet remember, more and more what your conscious mind has forgotten. And it’s slowly becoming second nature. The ability to live in the wild is in all of us.Robin
: And how did you provide food & cooking?Amos
: I didn’t usually cook. The fire was mostly for heat on cold nights. I was never totally self-sufficient, even though that was the goal, but I didn’t need to go and fetch civilized food often, and during the summer and autumn hardly at all. I experimented a lot and was lucky, I guess that didn’t catch more bad stuff. I was sick a few days now and then by ingesting inedible stuff. I learned a bit more as time went by, though I’ll say I’m still not skilled enough to survive for years. You get rusty again quickly, too, after having returned to civilization.Robin
: It must have been cold sometimes, and wet too. How did you keep warm?Amos
: I hardly got wet, and when I wanted a fire I made a fire by picking the bark of willow, scraping off its wet, inner «skin». What is beneath is dry as desert sand, and fairly easy to make a fire with. And to add to that I tap Resin from pines. It contains turpentine. I also make healing tea from the willow bark. There was a kind of cave, slight overheads where I could avoid the rain. I did wander a lot, though, and didn’t carry anything more than I could carry. That’s what any Nomad must learn. We must all learn not to gather more than we can carry.
And you toughen up after a while. Temperatures bothering you initially won’t, after a while.
I also try to absorb as much knowledge as possible of natural medicine and herbs, and recognize it in nature. That isn’t easy either. You can’t learn life only from books. They can’t be more than a supplement in the learning process. Experience is the milk and the key.Robin
: What were the first things you missed from civilization?Amos
: I didn’t really miss anything, and I did find that strange. I brought a laptop the first year, and a lot of batteries because a paper notebook isn’t really feasible when you have a lot of writing to do, and one of my reasons for learning to live and survive in nature was to write a book called Thunder Road Book One: Ice and Fire, about the and of civilization that will be published next year or the year after that. I also wrote a lot of poems. The thing about being a Storyteller, though, I can do in a tribe, too, after civilization is gone. Easily.
There will always be a need for a Storyteller around the campfire. Oral tradition is mankind’s natural way of telling stories. A wild tribe encourages diversity. It has to, to evolve and grow and becoming better suited to survive, both as a group and as individuals.
The second year I didn’t bring any advanced technology at all, except for a brief trip to the far, very far Norwegian mountains and «national parks», where I did drive. And kept «writing» in my head by memorizing everything, and I learned to contain it in my head. I can honestly say I hardly forgot more than a few words. It felt amazing. That, too.
The other reason is simple: Civilization will end soon, and we should help bring it about. It’s destroying everything making life worth living. I wanted to learn to survive for the case of survival itself.
I’m convinced civilization will collapse totally in the near future, because of Global Warming, the coming pandemonium and social political breakdown hitting us fairly simultaneously. Each and every one of them cataclysmic events in itself, but joined they’ll be absolutely devastating to a system denying nature, and its vast power. And I want to be ready. I’m not yet, but I am working on it.Robin
: What made you go back? (to civilization)Amos
: Winter, I guess, and convenience and habit and all the strains and shit of the web pulling us back to our chains. And you can’t really escape civilization, not as long as it is There, as long as it exists anywhere. It will exist inside us, until we rid ourselves of it, totally, like disregarding rotten food, and avoid festering still ponds. Btw I wasn’t really sick a day out there, but the first day I got back in I got a cold…Robin
: Will you go back again?Amos
: I do go back all the time. I haven’t spent months outside in a couple of years, now, though. But I’m constantly prodding, probing, both mentally and physically the true life of the Human Being. That btw is the most enduring and prevalent realization you get out there: We belong there. It’s our home. The cities, this current walking dead life isn’t.Robin
: Thank you very much! Maybe we’ll bump into each other someday out in the Wild!Amos
: Paths that cross will always cross again.