01.12.2016 Lifestyle

Back to Nature

In Australia and around the globe there is resurgent interest in primitive technologies to reconnect with Nature.

Sydney-based Daniel Sainty spoke with 10 participants at a recent primitive technology gathering in the USA. He posed the question:

"Why would someone practice original skills and what is the

intention behind your practice?"

Christopher Nyerges:

School of Self-Reliance

I practice because I have always realised that the conveniences of the modern world may not always be here. It is clear that most of humanity did without all the modern technology for most of human history, yet so many of us have forgotten the skills.

Even when I went backpacking as a teen, I learned that I enjoyed it more if I took less and less stuff from home, and learned from nature, about food, water, fire, plants, animals, other people, and myself.

As for the intention behind my practice, I do it today because it frees me from the machinations of modern life that most of us are entrapped and enslaved to.

I do it to be simple, to be able to live in the moment, and because I have tried to make an art of doing more with less. It is very fulfilling and inherently valuable. Plus, since I have also made it a profession to teach the skills, I force myself to constantly learn more and more.

That said, I still live in the city and do many "normal" things, but I find that I can apply the skills every day.

Hazen Audel

From National Geographics "Survive the Tribe"

Primitive skills/Original technology allows one to participate when they’re outside.

Being outside isn’t just looking at pretty flowers and listening to the birds.

If you know how to see a plant, that’s one thing, but if you know how to interact with that plant, what it's used for, all the properties that it has, it makes you that much more active in the outdoors.

That is what we need to be doing - finding more ways that we can have more fun, how we can make use of and be more aware of what's out there.

It is the only way we will be able to understand where our resources are coming from, by actually going and finding out hand to mouth where our resources are from and that’s by going outside, using these old skills.

Once people start to understand that all these plants, animals, and more have a specific use they’re going to be using it, connecting to it - which is what we need. We can't afford to have things that are just pretty - if we have humans that are still using those resources that are out there growing wild, we will ourselves automatically be protective of those areas.

Norm Kidder

Primitive technology modern pioneer

If you're interested in understanding how the world is, you need to get back into contact with it and the people who are living outside.

All of our ancestors and in more recent years indigenous people have lived with it the closest - we all live in it - we've just forgotten that we do.

Coming back into a more simplified time of getting things directly from nature helps us to understand that we are still getting everything from nature, just more and more indirectly.

It is still all from nature - you can’t separate us out from the rest of the world.

We seem to think that we can live independently from nature, yet we are killing ourselves trying to do it.

We need to remake that connection. I think people will be a lot happier if they’re reconnected, I don’t see technology causing happiness.

Luke McLauchlan

"Naked and Afraid" Reality show veteran.

To say it plainly I think if we wish to continue as a species on this planet I think the only way we go forward in this world is by going backwards, by shedding ourselves of our current culture and going back to a more ancestral culture.

We need to get into these skills, dig into the earth and realise how interconnected we are.

Cody Lundin

From National Geographics "Dual Survival"

I think it’s important to practise primitive living skills on some level because it promotes a deeper connection with our planet. So whether you ever use the skills for real, just going outside and getting in touch with some of the things that everyone's ancestors did, strengthens that person, period.

Whether it’s the confidence level or it’s integrating with where they come from.

I think a lot of the problems on the planet are caused by a disconnection with nature. Primitive living skills can help that for sure.

I choose to teach because I think it promotes greater self reliance, confidence and promotes a healthier person who knows how to do more with less.

Lynx Vilden

Living Wild Stone Age Immersions

Why would someone practise primitive skills? It’s a technique to reconnect people to the Earth. It’s the avenue into something deeper than just the material aspect of it.

The intention behind my practice is just that, to connect people to the earth in a very real and direct way. When you use the materials around you, you see the impact that you make in an immediate way.

You build a relationship with the earth, and you build a relationship with other people and create community when you’re working in a communal environment. Simple.

Dick Baugh

Engineer and Primitive technology researcher

Why do I practise primitive skills? It makes me feel good.

The capability of rubbing two sticks together to start a fire makes me feel good and teaching somebody else to be able to do that makes me even feel better.

The scientist and engineer in me want to know how things work and gather a deeper understanding of how they work, what happens when we rub two sticks together? How hot does it have to get? When we use a woomera to throw a spear, what’s going on? How is our muscle power transferred to that spear? What goes on then? I’ve done a lot of work on archery. How do wooden bows work? What determines the speed of the arrow? These are all engineering and science type questions, and again it makes me feel good.

I see beauty in this also, looking at that beautiful wildflower and knowing that six inches under the ground from that flower there’s a bulb that’s delicious. There’s beauty in that.

David Wescott

Primitive technology modern pioneer and host of Rabbitstick gathering

A society of people using their hands, heads and hearts to create something significant from simple materials I think is lost in our culture. So I think to regain that idea that crafting, not crafting in the contemporary context where you’re making doilies and that kinda stuff, but you’re making significant things that are going to benefit your life - I think it’s a concept we need to reinstitute in our country or our culture.

The rewilding concept is taking these things and trying to figure out some context for them in a modern world.

I don’t now how broad-based that can be, how sustainable that can be, but to me it’s a fascinating concept, and I think it’s one worth pursuing and one worth cultivating.

It builds a huge level of confidence in me as a person who can say ok, I can be self reliant because I’ve been self reliant.

At the same time, it changes my perspective of how I live my life on a daily basis in modern society. So to me, it’s the basis of who I am. I’ve been doing this for 45 years, so it’s hard not to think about it in that kind of a context.

David Holiday

Primitive technology modern pioneer

As a boy, I went to the museum and was looking through the glass at those Clovis points (stone spearheads). I was fascinated with the colours of those stones, they were backlit, clearish, agates. I realised that nature did that. God did that. I wanted to do art that exposed that kind of beauty, that created beautiful functional things like that.

I didn’t really know why I was getting into it in any conscious level, that’s just what I wanted to do, and always has been. It’s what I’ve always wanted to share. I get excited about it and love sharing what I get excited about.

It does wonders for anyone who gets into it in terms of being able to function well with using modern tools – meaning that if I know what to do with my fingernails and my teeth, a rock becomes a real big help. And if I know what to do with a rock, a pocket knife becomes a great help. And if I know what to do with a pocket knife, a bench grinder and a saw and power tools become a great help.

At one point I realised I don't feel as good at the end of the day listening to all those power tools and risking my life and limb trying to get things done faster. The products don’t turn out any nicer. In fact, they have less soul and less functionality in some fields and so going backwards technologically for me also slows me way down and the intrinsic value and the joy level of production increases as I step away from electricity and modern power tools.

Stone age tools are always more beautiful and have more power.

So my reason for doing it is because I can do it, I love it, I like sharing it, it makes me feel better. I’ve noticed it’s been very healing and therapeutic to those people who are very disconnected from themselves, the earth and their own inner health.

So whenever I turn somebody onto it and they get it, they begin to enjoy life more and find a depth of meaning that they didn’t have when they were trapped in a less personal relationship with their tools.

Tamara Wilder

Paleo Technics

The most common reason that I hear is that people practise primitive skills to get in touch with their connection to the natural world, and their place in it.

The myriad of other reasons are that it is just plain fun, it can greatly enhance your life, it can increase your health and coordination, it can be challenging and it often just feels supernatural and good.

My intention is to continue to more deeply explore what I do.I found the skills quite by accident over 25 years ago and at the time was so excited to discover that people were doing these things, even in this modern age. I was immediately hooked and don't feel like there is really another viable option.

Daniel Sainty

Believes it is your birthright to have access to land, ancestral knowledge and powerful community members.

He runs Rewild Australia, a non-profit beyond survival, beyond permaculture school that aims to reintegrate man's vital role in nature.

Daniel Sainty

Daniel Sainty runs Rewild Australia, a non-profit beyond survival, beyond permaculture school that aims to reintegrate man's vital role in nature.