The Way Of The Violent Stars (excerpts)

To be clear, I would never identify as an “anarcho-primitivist,” but there is much in the discourses and methods of those who do, and who have contributed greatly to ecological awareness within discussions on anarchy, that needs to be included in our reconsiderations and attempts to develop alternatives to the prevailing and dominating (aspiring) ultra-modern regimes of our time.

To suggest that we ‘uncivilize’ is primarily to suggest that we seek exits (or alternatives) to the existing civilizing superstructures that platform the contemporary eco-catastrophe that is the extractive profit-driven order. And any exit strategies worth pursuing entail, at the very least, being open to a wide variety of resources and unlikely alliances that may operate outside the normative arena of acceptable consideration. Strategies that fail to index and potentially adopt the resources and opportunities available likely won’t succeed.

It is in this spirit that we offer the following excepts from “The Way Of The Violent Stars,” by Ramon Elani, originally published in Black Seed 5, August 2017. Elani’s essay discusses the romanticism of primitivist conceptions, and explores an uncompromised view of the existence and role of violence in the modern world.


People who do not know what it means to fight cannot understand violence. They fear it because they have never experienced it…

This is to say, the type of violence, the experience of the violence, makes an enormous difference. As critics of civilization and techno-industrial society we have inadequately accounted for this. Violence and war are not to be feared or condemned. It is the nature of the violence that must be interrogated and reconsidered…

The violence that we experience, as modern, civilized humans, that we perceive around us in countless ways, brings nothing but trauma. It is utterly, radically distinct from the violence of the primitive societies. It is depersonalized, sterile, and more destructive on a previously unimaginable scale of magnitude. In techno-industrial society we experience the violence of the police, the violence of men against women, the desperate random violence of humans driven to madness and hopelessness, violence against minorities, violence against the poor, and most importantly, no matter where we are, all around us, every single hour of every day we experience unspeakable degrees of violence against the earth…

The violence of the soldier is the violence of the machine. It is a bloodless kind of violence, a violence that erodes the soul, no matter what it does to the body. Those pitiful beings that serve as the instruments of the brutality of the machine understand nothing, they are numb and insensate. They are appendages of the thing that annihilates. They have never felt the challenge of facing a foe who is trained and prepared for them, to be joined in valor. They execute. They bomb. They murder…

Peace is understood as little as battle. Peace is not synonymous with joy, nor with righteousness, nor with abundance. Peace has only ever been achieved through history’s greatest atrocities. Peace has only ever meant power to the victor and misery and degradation to the vanquished. We, in the heart of technoindustrial society, are experiencing what peace means. A life devoid of joy. A sterile life. A non-life. And worse still, it is a life maintained perpetually by the slaughter of those on the fringes of our world. As the world-machine continues to expand outward, more and more will be pacified and brought within our life of shopping malls, endless highways, obesity, sickness, despair. And peace will reign. Peace, peace, peace.

But let us be clear: the world we have is the world that exists. And wishing will not make it otherwise. Moreover, the skill, courage, and strength of the warrior will never defeat the impersonal mechanized destroyer.

In our greatest manifestations and noblest moments, we are beasts. The myth of human exceptionalism has poisoned us to the core. There is nothing wrong with being animals, in fact it is a far greater thing than the fantasies that humans tell themselves about their supposed superiority. Anything good that has come from human action or thought has come from our animals nature. The evil and vileness we do, contrary to received wisdom, comes the part of us that no other animal shares. To understand this means to understand that the world of beasts involves its own kind of brutality. When lions slaughter hyena babies, it is not because they are hungry. We dislike this because of our human moralizing. We easily perceive that “nature, red in tooth and claw” is not the whole story. But it is an inescapable part of the story.

The only way for humanity to make itself immune to violence is to allow the creation of a vast authoritarian system that protects individuals from personal violence through the endless impersonal violence of the state. If you can’t protect yourself, you will rely on someone else to protect you, whether you realize it or not, regardless of the cost. Humanity is capable of radically limiting pain and suffering. We can live longer and longer. We can cure diseases. We can create enlightened societies with relatively low rates of violence. All of these things come at the cost of the earth, the things of the earth, and our connection to the earth.

Posing a vision of humanity without hardship or suffering denies the reality of the wild world and it distracts us from what is truly important: not the avoidance of pain but our unity with the myriad things and spirits of the world. The strength and the future of the human race lies only in its ability to show proper reverence to the gods of the earth.

5 responses to “The Way Of The Violent Stars (excerpts)

  1. This offers an important perspective. I recently argued with someone idealizng New Agey pacifism, even in the face of violence. But to my mind, this person simply was benefiting from a privileged life where she didn’t need to acknowledge the violence of the system.

    Just because violence isn’t seen doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Slow violence is some of the worse and with immense suffering. Attriibuted to pollution alone are 40% of the deaths worldwide. And that is one factor of violence among many, most of them not consistently recorded in any data, if recorded at all.

    Besdes pollution and environmental damage and climate change, if we consider military and covert actions, along with sanctions, not to mention propping up authoritarian regimes and arming paramilitary groups, the American Empire probably harms and kills millions every year, at least.

    There is an additional violence to the refusal to acknwledge violence. When the victims are silenced and made invisible, it creates an entire culture of mass trauma, which further contributes to violence and misery. The mortality accounting of the likes of Steven Pinker ommits the largest costs of violence and suffering.

    • yes, absolutely. in fact i believe there is good reason to think that the presence of personal, immediate violence in society lessens the degree of vast, impersonal, “slow” violence. the modern capitalist industrial world kills more people than any possible form of pre modern savagery.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s