Friday, July 21, 2023

Wild New World


Dan Flores is a historian who has been studying the stormy relationship between humans and the family of life for many years.  He calls this subject Big History.  Wild New World is a fascinating and disturbing masterpiece.  It’s a thick book loaded with ideas gathered over a long career.  The core focus is on North America, which was once an Eden-like paradise of abundant wildlife.  What happened?

Our species emerged in beautiful Mother Africa maybe 300,000 years ago.  Maybe 60,000 years ago, adventurous folks began wandering off into the outer world.  Our exploration of the planet was underway.  Folks went east to Asia, and north to Europe.  By maybe 45,000 years ago, folks were in Siberia and northern Asia.  So far, the earliest evidence of humans in America dates to maybe 25,000 years ago.

Flores described two important discoveries in New Mexico.  At Folsom (1908), the bones of 32 extinct giant bison, 12,450 years old.  At Clovis (1914) the bones of extinct mammoths, 13,000 years old.  At both sites, flaked flint points were found with the bones, smoking gun evidence of human hunting.  A huge surprise!

Humans were team hunters skilled at killing delicious wild animals, preferably jumbo sized megafauna.  As bands of pioneers migrated into new frontiers, a number of megafauna species gradually went extinct, in one region after another, a sequence corresponding to the timeline of human arrival. 

Today, our culture celebrates human brilliance.  We’re simply too smart to disrupt the planet’s climate — global warming is a hoax!  We deny responsibility — not our fault.  Similarly, we’re too smart to cause mass extinctions — not our fault. 

It’s much more comfortable to blame prehistoric climate change.  But the wiped-out species in America had survived for millions of years, including numerous eras of unusual heat and cold.  They weren’t dainty weaklings.  Why did this killer climate shift only exterminate large animals, not small?  Why did it just affect America, but not other continents at the same time?  Hmmm…

In the 1960s, Paul Martin began using a new technology, radiocarbon dating, a better tool for dating prehistoric artifacts.  This enabled him to compare the dates of human presence in North America with the dates of extinctions.  He learned that human arrival came first, and extinctions came later — during a process that took maybe a thousand years. 

Stunned, he referred to this process as “blitzkrieg overkill,” because of its unusual speed.  To Native Americans, this implied that their venerable ancestors foolishly hunted too hard.  They’ve never been fond of the paleface settlers who foolishly obliterated their ancient homeland, and they especially disliked Martin.

We’ve now learned that as the human diaspora advanced around the world, the same pattern followed: arrival first, then extinction.  By 2006, Martin had learned more.  He wrote, “I argue that virtually all extinctions of wild animals in the last 50,000 years were anthropogenic.”  Yikes!  The indigenous white folks of Europe had done it too!

Evolution had fine-tuned us for living in tropical climates.  Many of the new lands we wandered into had uncomfortably chilly non-tropical climates.  We were forced to develop innovative solutions, like needles, awls, sewn clothing, and protective shelters. 

When we arrived in new regions, the wildlife was clueless.  Mysterious bipedal primates did not trigger danger alarms, because we didn’t fit the standard predator template.  “We were a brilliant new predator with sophisticated weapons, dogs, and fire.”  For a while, hunters enjoyed the pursuit of fearless prey, many of whom became victims of fatal tameness, like dodos.  During the Lewis & Clark expedition, Clark once bayoneted a wolf that calmly walked past.

Hunting focused on jumbo sized animals that didn’t breed like bunnies, or zoom like gazelles.  Small groups of humans roamed across vast roadless wilderness on foot, armed with Stone Age weapons.  Game was depleted over the course of centuries, and the process of decline could have been imperceptible to living generations.  As game got scarce, the diaspora advanced into new regions.

Everywhere we migrated, the megafauna had evolved large strong bodies, a traditional defense against fierce predators, like sabertooth cats.  Unfortunately, when the predators were bloodthirsty primates from outer space, jumbo size was a vulnerability, and high speed escape was not an option.  The big guys could be killed with primitive spears.

America was the last major stop of the human diaspora, which had begun maybe 35,000 years earlier.  During this long process, pioneers had become highly skilled survivalists.  When the Beringia land bridge emerged from the sea, they advanced from Siberia into the “American Serengeti.”

I was shocked to realize the very long time spans of evolutionary history prior to human arrival.  The camel family in North America blinked out 10,000 years ago, ending a 40 million year residence.  Horses went extinct 9,000 years ago, after enjoying four million years here.  Mammoths wandered in from the Old World 1.5 million years ago.  It’s heartbreaking to comprehend the impact of the blitzkrieg.

IMPORTANT!  So, a number of species blinked out.  When the American megafauna extinction surge wound down, what came next was 10,000 years (100 centuries) of relative stability, according to Flores.  The human pioneers remained, and eventually coevolved with the species that survived.  This preserved the continent’s downsized wildlife community.  Humans learned ecosystem limits, established wise taboos to avoid overhunting, and nurtured a culture of profound respect and reverence for the entire family of life. 

Species that survived extinction now had less competition.  With the giant bison gone forever, the much smaller bison we know today exploded in number.  They reached reproductive age faster, and successfully coevolved with the remaining survivors.  

Sadly, the 100 centuries of stability zoomed off a cliff 500 years ago, when visitors from the Old World began washing up on the Atlantic coast — something like a bloody asteroid strike.  The aliens brought with them an assortment of deadly infectious diseases for which natives had zero immunity.  There were maybe four million natives in 1492.  Epidemics rapidly spread westward, killing about 90 percent of them within 100 years. 

This die-off sharply reduced hunting pressure on the wildlife, which was free to grow explosively.  In 1585, Thomas Hariot was astonished by the fantastic abundance of animals he saw in Virginia.  It was an Eden created by disease.  Settlers were free to hunt like crazy in a wilderness where there were no rules or regulations. 

In addition to diseases, colonists also imported their infectious worldview.  Their religion had roots in a herding society that treasured enslaved livestock, and detested predators.  Their Old World culture was built on a foundation of human supremacy, domestication, civilization, manufacturing, fanaticism, patriarchy, environmental devastation, and pathological self-interest. 

From time to time, Flores stopped to take a long hard piss on the notion of self-interest, a demonic quirk in the settler’s worldview.  I suspect it emerged with the rise of farming, herding, personal property, and individual salvation.  Its one all-consuming question has been “how can I get what I want?”  We suffer from an insatiable lifelong pursuit of social status, to the fullest extent possible, by any means necessary.  Nothing else matters.  Sorry kids!  Sorry wolves!

The traditional worldview of most tribal cultures majored in cooperation instead.  It nurtured mindfulness, and profound reverence for the family of life, the mother of their existence.  They were something like the folks who made the passionate cave paintings at Chauvet.  With few exceptions, the named gods of Native Americans were animals — coyote, raven, rabbit, etc. 

In the Old World religion, humans were very special critters, the other animals were not.  By and by, settlers from the Old World flooded into America.  They had domesticated animals and religions and economic ideas wherein “animals were not kin but resources.”  Their lives had no sacred significance.  So, the more hides, pelts, and furs you could take to market, the more cool stuff you could get.  Yippee!

Native folks thoroughly detested the monstrous colonists, but were fascinated by the unusual stuff they had.  Fifty deerskins could be traded for a metal pot.  Hatchets, axes, and knives were more expensive.  Whiskey was intoxicating.  The desire for this stuff was powerful, but it wasn’t free.

It was in the self-interest of the market, and the colonies, to leave nothing of monetary value unmolested.  Wild animals were pests that stood in the path of progress, and their extermination would continue until it was no longer profitable.  For natives, all options sucked.  They struggled to do their best.

In 1972, I was a roller coaster operator.  Riders slowly went up the steep hill, and then rapidly zoomed downhill screaming their brains out.  Flores provides readers a similar experience.  Most of his book describes the terrifying mass insanity that ravaged America in the last 500 years.  Readers will scream their brains out as they plunge deep into the cesspool of Big History, our horrifying monster closet.

Flores wrote that the invaders forced “a transformation of a hundred centuries of Native America into a re-creation of Old World civilization on a new continent.”  Five centuries ago, Old World folks and animals arrived, “and then, like some new contagion spreading inland from the coasts, proceeded to effect a widespread demolition of almost all that was here.”

In one year, 1743, the port at La Rochelle, France “took in 127,000 beaver pelts, 30,300 marten furs, 12,400 river otter furs, 110,000 raccoon pelts, along with its big haul for that year, the stripped skins of 16,500 American black bears.”

“In 1874 Bozeman market hunters were hip-deep in the big bonanza.  That year they shipped out 48 tons of elk skins, 42 tons of deerskins, 17 tons of pronghorn skins, and 760 pounds of bighorn skins.”

“Governments at all levels paid money for the heads or ears or scalps of a suite of animals — wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, grizzly and black bears, jaguars, bobcats, lynx — for the single purpose of promoting agricultural economies.”  Dead animals (or meat chunks) injected with strychnine were put everywhere to poison scavengers — wolves, coyotes, eagles, vultures, ravens, magpies, foxes, skunks.  It was sold in bulk in every store.

To delight ranchers, Montana put out 3,567,000 poison baits to kill predators.  Between 1883 and 1928 Montana shelled out payments on 111,545 wolves and 886,367 coyotes.  In one year, a wolf killer earned enough to buy a ranch and livestock.

Passenger pigeons, had been in America for 15 million years.  My father was in diapers when the last one died in 1914.  “The largest nesting site ever reported, near Sparta, Wisconsin, in 1871, spread across 850 square miles (2,200 km2).”  One flock was estimated to have 3.7 billion birds. 

Life on Earth is powered by energy.  Sunbeams feed the plants, and plants feed the critters.  Agriculture and herding amplified the energy flow for humans.  More recently, the flow has been explosively accelerated by burning fossil hydrocarbons, which are not limitless or harmless.  We can now temporarily feed more than eight billion.  We’re heating the planet into a toasty concentration camp crematory.  The machine’s guiding force is insanely clever childish self-interest, which is dumber than dog shit, but far more powerful than foresight, wisdom, cooperation, and mindful self-control.  SCREAM!!!

Flores, Dan, Wild New World: The Epic Story of Animals & People in America, W. W. Norton, New York, 2022.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Wild Free and Happy sample 84: Wild Free Isolation

[Note: The following is some new and updated material from my rough draft of Wild, Free, & Happy.  It is primarily expansion or revision of subjects related to samples 52, 53, and 54.  The other samples of this rough draft can be accessed HERE.  If you prefer audiobooks, Michael Dowd has been reading and recording my book HERE.]

 We live in interesting times.  Bunnies aren’t acidifying the oceans.  Salmon aren’t blindsiding the climate.  Geese aren’t nuking rainforests.  Even our closest relatives, the chimps and bonobos, remain absolute champions at sustainable living.  The human mob, on the other hand, has been making quite a mess.

During my years of studying and writing, I have enjoyed learning about wild cultures that preserved elegant low impact simplicity.  They hold up a mirror so we can fully appreciate the incoherence of modernity.  Let’s take a quick peek at a few of those cultures. 


The Andaman group of islands is located in the Bay of Bengal, and belongs to India.  North Sentinel Island is inhabited by the Sentineli, a society of negrito pygmies.  Outsiders can sometimes view them from offshore boats, or from helicopters, but the natives want nothing to do with outsiders.  Intruders who get too close are showered with arrows, rocks, and rude comments.  Some have been killed.  India has outlawed all visitors.  Today the Sentineli enjoy a complete separation from the modern world. 

Their island is 14,700 acres (5,949 ha), a bit smaller than Manhattan.  The interior is forest, surrounded by sandy beaches, surrounded by reefs.  Treacherous currents make landing on the island impossible for ten months of the year, and extremely dangerous for the other two.  The island has nothing that is attractive to greedy parasites from elsewhere.  For these reasons, the Sentineli remain wild and free in the twenty-first century.

Flyovers have noted the existence of several villages with clusters of small huts.  No evidence of agriculture has been observed.  There may be 50 Sentineli, or 500, nobody knows.  They survive by foraging, fishing, and gathering shellfish.  They may also hunt for turtles, birds, and invertebrates.  Their small canoes are used in the lagoons, but not for open-sea travel.  They fish with spears and nets.

Long ago, two expeditions were able to land on North Sentinel.  They brought along folks from a nearby island to serve as translators.  In the brief and hostile meetings, the Sentineli spoke a language that the translators did not understand.  Obviously, they have been living in isolation for a long time.  They may be descendants of the folks who first settled in the Andaman Islands 60,000 years ago.

Imagine what it would be like to live in a society that was not at war with the planet and the future — a genuinely sustainable way of life, a tropical culture with a year round supply of food, where your wardrobe consisted of a g-string, headband, and a couple leaves.  Imagine a life without money, clocks, calendars, automobiles, airplanes, sirens, internet, locks, fences, bosses, salesman, presidents, police, classrooms, guns, dogs, nuclear weapons, taxes, racism, billionaires, and religions.  Imagine a paradise where the diseases of civilization were unknown.

Contemplate the enormous load of information stored in your brain, accumulated during a lifetime of existing in a highly complex society, and your constant struggle to keep pace with competitors in the endless quest for status, wealth, and power.  Now, imagine being blissfully unaware of absolutely everything happening in the outside world — and the entire outside world knowing almost nothing about your society.  Imagine having a healthy, simple, sane life.

Imagine living on an island where there were no strangers, where the soundtrack was waves, birds, breezes, and the voices of your friends and family.  We weren’t meant to live like consumers.  There are better paths.

New Guinea Highlands

New Guinea is a land base much larger than Oregon and California combined.  Around 1930, white folks from elsewhere began wandering into the highlands, in search of mineral treasure.  At that time, the highlands were home to a million uncivilized folks unknown to the outer world.

Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson wrote that native groups spoke maybe 800 languages, of which several hundred were unique, having absolutely nothing in common with any other language in the world.  Communication between tribes was limited or impossible.  It wasn’t easy for innovative ideas to spread from group to group.  This helped tribes preserve traditional cultures. 

Long distance travel (10+ miles) was also difficult or impossible because of the rugged mountain landscape, warlike enemies, and deadly fevers.  There were no roads, wheels, or beasts of burden.  One group might be completely unaware that other groups resided just a few miles away. 

So, many groups may have existed in complete isolation, living as they had always lived, in their ancient time proven manner.  Nobody in the highlands knew that they lived on an island, or that the Pacific Ocean existed.  There may still be uncontacted groups that remain wild, free, and unknown to the outer world. 

As mentioned earlier, when interaction between groups creates regional webs, and more and more webs share more and more ideas with a widening circle of other webs, shit happens.  Over the passage of centuries, accumulations of cleverness can trigger explosive snowballing chain reactions, creating situations like the world outside your window.  How clever was that?


I was especially fascinated to learn about the Pirahã (pee-da-ha) people of the Amazon rainforest.  They are hunter-gatherers who live in a few jungle villages along the Maici River in northwestern Brazil.  Estimates of their population range up to 800.  They hunt, fish, and forage.  Fish provide about 70 percent of their diet. 

Over the years, I’ve read about many wild cultures.  The Pirahã are among the simplest and lowest impact of all.  We know a lot about their culture, largely because of Daniel Everett, a missionary sent to save them.  Over time, it became painfully clear to him that they didn’t need to be saved.  He was the one who was lost.  He concluded, “I would go so far as to suggest that the Pirahãs are happier, fitter, and better adjusted to their environment than any Christian or other religious person I have ever known.”

The Pirahã knew the usefulness and location of all important plants in their area.  They understood the behavior of local animals, and how to take them, or avoid them.  They could walk into the jungle naked, with no tools or weapons, and walk out three days later with baskets of fruit, nuts, and small game.  By the age of nine, all of them were capable of surviving in the jungle on their own, feeding themselves and making shelter.

The Pirahã were able to effectively communicate via speaking, singing, humming, and whistling.  When hunting, whistles were less likely to spook monkeys and other game.  Whistled words allowed conversations between folks who were not close together.  Their language has nothing in common with any other language in the world.

The Pirahã had no leaders or social hierarchy, all were equal.  It was taboo to tell someone to do something.  They were amazingly content, tolerant, and patient.  Children were never spanked or given orders.  They were free to play with sharp knives.  Adults spoke to them as equals, no baby talk.

In the tribe, memories of ancestors or historic events were not preserved, they evaporated.  Their realm of reality was limited to stuff that they could personally see or hear, or things seen or heard by their living parents, grandparents, friends, and kinfolk.  History was strictly limited to living memory.  If a missionary had not actually met Jesus, then jabber about Jesus was meaningless.

The Pirahã people were remarkably easygoing and infectiously happy.  They wore bright smiles, and laughed about everything.  Folks didn’t worry about what happened yesterday, or what might happen tomorrow.  They had no word for worry.  They lived entirely in the here and now.  They had no cultural folklore, legends, fables, or worship.  He wonders if they might be the only group in the world that has no numbers, and no creation myth.

Everett wrote, “Committed to an existence in which only observable experience is real, the Pirahã do not think, or speak, in abstractions.”  (“Abstract” is the opposite of concrete.  Abstractions only exist as ideas or thoughts.)  They have no concept of heaven, hell, sin, god, creation, apocalypse, devils, angels, guilt, punishment, salvation, damnation, sustainable, rich, poor, overshoot, democracy, capitalism, and on and on.  

Modern folks spend their entire lives with their heads constantly buzzing with swarms of abstractions.  The Pirahã spend every day of their lives being highly attuned to the incredible living paradise that they are so lucky to inhabit.  They enjoy living in a stable, low impact, time-proven culture where everyone shares the same belief system. 

Everett was amazed by them.  “This is a culture that’s invisible to the naked eye, but that is incredibly powerful, the most powerful culture of the Amazon.  Nobody has resisted change like this in the history of the Amazon, and maybe of the world.”

They were lucky to have enjoyed centuries of isolation in a vast tropical rainforest.  They had very little contact with clever outsiders who had bad habits, odd tools, dark impulses, and heads slithering with brainworms.  Unfortunately, the outer world has found them, and wants to “help” them enjoy the wonders of modern living.

Every morning, I listen to news reports describing a world that is out of its mind.  I think about the Pirahã, who are also getting up, smiling and laughing, down by the river, welcoming the beginning of a new day.  Same species, same morning, same planet.  They have not forgotten who they are, or how to live.

If you are curious about the Pirahã, and have a couple hours to invest, I recommend that you listen to the 52 minute The Humanist Hour #183 podcast (2015), and watch the 2012 documentary, The Grammar of Happiness.   


Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Wild Free and Happy sample 83 Update: Human Web

[Note: The following is some new and updated material from my rough draft of Wild, Free, & Happy.  It will be included in the revised Human Web section, which was originally released as samples 52 and 53.  The other samples of this rough draft can be accessed HERE.  If you prefer audiobooks, Michael Dowd has been reading and recording my book HERE.]

Magical Thinking

Imagine living in an era when bubonic plague epidemics were common and horrific.  Geoffrey Marks noted that the Black Death arrived in England in 1348, and was followed by epidemics in 1349, 1361, 1363, 1365, 1369, 1371, 1373, 1375, 1378-1382, 1390, 1399-1400 …and on and on… until the Great Plague of London in 1665-1666.  Over the course of several months, the Great Plague killed about 100,000, almost a quarter of London’s population. 

In 1772, Daniel Defoe (author of “Robinson Crusoe”) published “A Journal of the Plague Year.”  He was a young boy during the Great Plague, and had a front row seat on the horror show.  As an adult, he interviewed a number of survivors.  His uncle kept diaries during the nightmare.

The city was a fantastically filthy nightmare.  Sewage was dumped in ditches along the streets.  Horseshit and garbage everywhere.  Everyone had lice, bathing was rare, and great mobs of rats enjoyed a wonderful life. 

When folks heard news of an approaching contagion, anyone who had options (nobility, clergy, physicians, officers, etc.) fled London in a great stampede.  Poor folks were left behind to experience what the fates would deliver.

Efforts were made to slow the spread of disease.  When someone was known to be infected (or so suspected), a red cross was painted on the door, and the dwelling was guarded day and night by a watchman, to prevent escapes, and to provide necessities.  Thus, the entire family was condemned to die.  Folks were infuriated, and there were riots. 

Bell ringers moved through the streets, shouting “bring out your dead.”  They were followed by buriers or bearers who loaded the dead carts.  Large pits were dug in which to dump the corpses.  Defoe wrote, “It is impossible to describe the most horrible cries and noise that the poor people would make at their bringing the dead bodies of their children and friends out of the cart.”

Doctors had no cures, and prayers got no response.  Johannes Nohl reported that during plague years, a number of communities in Europe engaged in ceremonial dances, hoping to drive away the evil spirits.  Hundreds danced until they collapsed from exhaustion.  Folks were overwhelmed with despair.  People rolled in filth, begging others to beat them.  “Otherwise modest maidens and matrons lost all sense of shame, sighed, howled, made indecent gestures, and uncovered obscene parts of their bodies.”

It was obvious to everyone that the plague was killing the clergy at especially high rates (it was their job to visit the dying).  Why did God have no interest in protecting his own special agents?  Many priests lived with concubines, an abominable sin.  Did this mean that the baptisms they performed were worthless?  Many lost their faith.  While large crowds danced, the churches sat empty.   A furious mob of Germans went to Liège, determined to massacre all clergy.

One tradition noted that in 1424, a lad named Maccaber arrived in Paris, and took residence in an ancient tower next to a cemetery.  Folks believed he had supernatural powers.  He initiated an ecclesiastic procession.  Every day, for months, crowds of men and women danced in the cemetery.  Folks wore scary masks to drive away the evil spirits. 

Over time, in many places, during many plagues, folks experimented with a wide variety of rituals.  Despite good intentions, their efforts failed.  The rats and fleas remained alive and well, and the grim reaper worked overtime.  Blind faith in rituals is called magical thinking.  Unfortunately, beautiful wishes don’t always come true. 

Today, of course, global telecommunication systems and the internet allow magical beliefs and assorted conspiracy theories to spread through large populations at astonishing speeds.  Societies become fiercely polarized, echo chambers roar, intolerance punches, courtesy vaporizes, bullets fly, and daily life becomes a surreal tragicomedy.  Elections no longer have losers — every candidate claims victory!


Many humans imagine that our species enjoys a superior status in the family of life.  Indeed, many hiss and snarl at the notion that humans are animals (!!).  We are obviously smarter, stronger, and greater in every way!  A number of religious traditions assert that humans are something like the glorious crown of creation, the managers of the world.  Earth is our playground.

These beliefs typically emerged in cultures that became addicted to the exploitation of domesticated plants and/or animals — turbulent societies that cleared forests, planted fields, raised birds and herds, and radically altered (and damaged) the ecosystems they inhabited.

Our wild ancestors were far more humble.  They were hunters and foragers, not planet smashing thunder beings.  Peter Ungar wrote that when an anthropologist in Tanzania asked some Hazda hunters how humans were different from other animals, they were completely baffled.  There is no difference.  What a stupid question!  We all eat, drink, breathe, excrete, wander, and reproduce.  Many carnivores think we’re absolutely delicious, and they eagerly enjoy every opportunity for having us for lunch.

Richard Nelson spent time (1976-77) with the Koyukon people of Alaska.  Their often quoted proverb is: “Every animal knows way more than you do.”  They believe that animals can understand everything we say, regardless of distance.  The Koyukon were not a culture of motor vehicles and glowing screens.  They were a hunting culture that had an amazingly deep understanding of nature, and absolute respect for it.  Modern folks have lost this intimate wild connection to home.  Nelson wrote, “We live alone in an uncaring world of our own creation.” 

David Ehrenfeld wrote The Arrogance of Humanism.  It was an aggressive critique of the widespread belief in human supremacy.  He wrote that humanism was “the dominant religion of our time.”  It’s essentially the air we breathe.  Humans are absolute geniuses, and our technology is amazing.  There is no problem we cannot solve.  We have no limits.  As resources become depleted, we’ll readily develop excellent alternatives.  Our children will enjoy even better lives than our own, and the best is yet to come.  Yippee!

Ehrenfeld wrote back in 1978, when pollution controls, if any, were weak, and the air and waters were heavily contaminated with noxious substances.  The entire city of Gary Indiana was hidden in a stinky orange fog of steel mill filth.  The Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught on fire.

In the ’70s, numerous eco-disasters were occurring around the world, but the general mob paid little attention to stuff happening elsewhere — out of sight, out of mind.  Network television avoided the yucky stuff, and hypnotized folks with generous servings of sports, entertainment, and happy news.  School systems tirelessly preached the holy gospel of humanism, and celebrated the age of miracles that students were so lucky to enjoy.

While the thundering human juggernaut was beating the living shit out of the planet, the mob barely noticed.  They were busy polishing their new cars.  Most remained zombie-like cheerleaders of the wonders of modernity, and the beautiful future that laid ahead.

This baffled Ehrenfeld.  Nobody <bleeping> cares!  The poor lad apparently suffered from a devastating incurable mental disorder known as critical thinking.  He was a sick pariah.  Humanist culture has zero respect for hopeless nutjobs, defeatists, misanthropes, oddballs, and doom perverts.

Ehrenfeld shrugged.  “Evidence is growing that the religion of humanity is self-destructive and foolish.  But the more it fails, the greater our faith in it.  We imagine that what we want to happen is actually happening.” 

He was not a misanthrope.  He didn’t hate, distrust, and avoid humans.  Actually, he was an “anti-humanist.”  He detested the ridiculous mass hallucinations — the enthusiastic celebrations of human genius, and the wondrous technological utopia that we have brilliantly created.  We are so lucky to live in the spectacular gushing orgasm of the entire human experience!

Ehrenfeld noted that pure anti-humanists were rare.  Most folks who know how to read have spent their entire lives in fanatical humanist cultures.  We’ve been constantly absorbing humanist ideas for years.  They have deep roots in our minds, and a strong influence on how we think.  It’s sort of pleasant to imagine that we’re on the path to a better tomorrow.  Progress will wash away the pain.

On the other hand, having read a pile of anthropology books, it’s clear that wild folks who lived undisturbed in their traditional way, in their ancestral land, tended to be enthusiastic and shameless anti-humanists.  They seemed to be nearly unanimous in perceiving civilized folks as being absolutely batshit crazy!  How could people be so stupid?  How can they have no respect and reverence for the natural world?  Why are they so aggressive and selfish?

Ehrenfeld wrote that a general rejection of humanism is now long overdue.  It won’t be easy.  Blind faith in humanist hopes and dreams remains strong, and the insanely furious war on the family of life rages on, and on, and on.