The Liberation of Wilderness

Today, environmental action is both essential and urgent.  Even world leaders are quite happy to mouth the words, while their actions continue the downward spiral towards environmental catastrophe.  There are imminent ecological dangers that must be faced, climate change and its consequences being, perhaps, the most terrifying.  As the rulers of capitalism prevaricate, more afraid of falling profits than of human extinction, it is at least some small encouragement that the awareness of this has become more widespread, no longer the preserve purely of ageing hippies and backwoods radicals.

Yet for us as Surrealists, even a triumph of environmental activism would not be sufficient to turn humanity aside from millennia of conflict with nature.  Our own radical ecology, our quest for the poetic unification of the human imagination with the lived and living environment, is not a matter of salvaging whatever we can from the wreck, nor is it dependent on a sentimental re-visioning of nature.  Rather, we demand the absolute liberation of wilderness.

The civilised bourgeois hates and fears the wilderness, damning it as evil in its untamed vitality and eroticism, even as he builds civilised killing machines and uses them to fight civilised wars.  For us, on the other hand, wilderness is essential to the creation of a truly complete humanity.

And where is wilderness to be found today?  It is in the spirit of rebellion and of revolution, it is in human desire, in the forests of the imagination and in a fully liberated sexuality as much as it is in mountains or oceans.  The Surrealist vision sees our world not simply as a physical, environmental, unity but also as a poetic unity.

Thus when another species is extinguished by the vaulting greed of capitalism, the destruction affects the ecosystem outwardly and at the same moment it extinguishes a part of our humanity.  Whether the victim is dodo, redwood or wolf, the loss inevitably resonates through the deepest levels of our own being.

We want to bring back the wolves.  We even want to bring back the dodo.  Only this will bring us back to becoming fully and irrevocably human.

There can be no true victory for the ecological movement unless and until we are able to bring about the rebirth of wilderness in the most profound sense.  This, beyond the prevention of climate change or the preservation of ancient landscapes, is a central objective of the Surrealist revolution.

London Surrealist Group


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