I just finished Ramon Elani’s Wyrd against the Modern World, which as anyone familiar with the author might expect, strikes a lot of familiar notes with regards to modernity and the need to escape from it. The alternative he offers, as he puts it in a previous essay, is to
…restore the world of dreams! Let loose the madness of the moon. Dive into the abyss of beauty. Bury yourself in the dirt and the mud. Offer your blood to the forgotten gods. The intuitive, magical, noumenal world never truly vanished. We have blinded ourselves to its presence with four hundred years of delusion. We must not fear our darkness but embrace it and welcome it home.
How are we to escape the curse of modernity? That I can tell you in one word: tradition. We can also add to all the blood and burying oneself in mud the less exciting (to some, to many?) practices of crafting chairs or cooking traditional recipes, and all sorts of other practices and beliefs that conflict with what he perceives as a secular, industrial world which is the author of so much of our misery.
While Ramon isn’t an anarchist, these ideas aren’t foreign to the milieu. The old ways of living on the land, relating to each other or perceiving time – ways that predate (and thus supposedly escape) much of the bad stuff of Society – offer a standpoint outside of and potential escape hatch from the planetary work machine and all the petty authoritarians waiting in the wings to take it over. And yet, to quote bolo’bolo, “Once upon a time we were all good savages, yet here’s this monster civilization.”
How important is tradition to you? Which traditions do you draw from? Is tradition the enemy? Should we rediscover the old ways or seek novelty?