Sustainable for a Future

Primitive Skills

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This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Primitive Skills
  • Primitive Skills

Primitive often includes the notion of “lesser” or other negative relative terms and when discussing “primitive” skills I feel it’s very important to dispel that at the start. Yes, these skills used sticks, rocks, plants, and animals and it’s very easy for the modern mind to place that into the subconscious notion of modern man as superior and our ancestors as inferior ape-like beings.

Having practiced primitive skills off/on for 7 years I can say that most of the skills are quite difficult and greatly nuanced and require a strong connection to the present moment through your senses. Most crafts from the past were done with such quality you can feel their spiritual connection to what they did everyday. A far cry from modern man’s existence of disconnection from the most basic notions of where our food comes, where our poop goes, and what it means to be connected to each other and this beautiful planet that is our home and, I believe, creator. This living, intelligent biosphere makes my mind go cross-eyed whenever I get even the smallest inkling of its true brilliance and complexity. Anyways, primitive skills are our shared heritage.

No matter who you are, your ancestors lived in and of the land using the same underlying principles to fulfill their basic needs, and their spirituality arose from that ongoing relationship. The specifics differ greatly based on the ecosystem, but everyone built shelters from the natural materials around them, used plants for food, medicine, and tools, hunted animals for food and useful materials, made fire, drank water, etc. The needs of modern humans are no different and yet we seem bent on overcomplicating the whole notion and prove that we can eat plastic and money.

Making your first fire from rubbing two sticks together brings such a feeling of satisfaction that I cannot imagine a life unchanged after that moment. I believe that within us all we feel the absence of connection to our ancestors, that we are a lost people. Something as simple as making string from plants forms a single tendril of connection that can initiate a process of change far greater than the sum of its parts. No longer are you as dependent on the machine of civilization to provide for your livelihood. The only way I see balance arising from the current global situation is for change on the individual level, and learning these skills is one foundation of that process. I’d love to show the basics to any and all visitors to L’isola, so please come on out.


One Comment

  1. Hi,
    I’m from Marshfield, MO. Just got on HelpX recently, & found your link to here.

    I’m wondering if I can be of any help to you. I feel we may have a lot in common. I also teach & demonstrate Primitive Skills, am associated with Bo Brown & First Earth Wilderness School. I attend Bois D’arc primitive skills rendezvous whenever I am in the US. (I mostly work overseas). I am in Afghanistan at the moment.

    This will serve to introduce myself, but maybe we have already met, perhaps at Mojam?

    Anyway… I will keep this short for now. Please see my profile on HelpX. I messaged you through HelpX website as well. Please get back with me.

    Keven Statwick

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