• Uncivilising

    Barefoot standing on sand and shells in the sea
    Rewinding civilisation (Photo by Nirzar Pangarkar)

    A clash of civilisations is indeed underway, but I’m not talking about Islam versus the West. I’m talking about a clash between civilisation as we have come to understand it, and its unraveling in pursuit of something better. 

    The revolution won’t be televised

    This clash is between people who instinctively want things to stay the way they always were (or rather, have been for a long time), and people who want to find new ways of living (or rather, resurrect older ways of living). 

    Unschooling, ‘barefoot’ footwear, chucking out the TV, rejecting car and plane travel, eating only local produce, being anti-plastic, sitting on the floor rather than in a chair, burning your bra, buying experiences instead of bling. 

    What do all these micro-tribes, these mini-movements, have in common? They are all about uncivilising. They are rejections of a highly artificial, manmade way of living in favour of lifestyles stripped back to more authentic essentials. 

    Living in a two-speed world

    It could be assumed that those not taking part in the uncivilising movement would be in the emerging economies where people are experiencing prosperity for the first time. Maybe, but it’s not the whole truth.

    In fact, many innovations that could be part of an uncivilising movement are being led by emerging markets. China, for instance, is innovating for a sustainable urban future better than most Western nations. 

    It’s quite possible that the biggest resistance to uncivilising movements may actually come from people brought up on Western consumer values and with a sense that such manmade commodities are their birthright. 

    Hence the clash of civilisations – or the civilized versus the uncivilised, as it may well be couched – that is already playing out in most Western societies. Things – it seems – are only going to get more tribal, which might just be yet another dimension to the uncivilising phenomenon.