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Why am I seriously considering creating a rewilding-lifestyle coaching activity?

Until my young adulthood, I found my life was fulfilled with usefulness and was still strongly connected to Nature.

As a geosciences student, I had faith that my master’s degree will be the gateway to a fulfilling professional life. I was convinced that it would allow me to contribute to the conservation and restoration of ecosystems. This cause matters to me as I believe that the beauty and diversity of ecosystems is the key to our physical and mental well-being and is what makes life worth living. At the same time, my implications in youth movements allowed me to spend most of my weekends and holidays educate young people in Nature, help them acquire new social skills and become autonomous and critical individuals. Build huts, swim naked in cold streams, walk barefoot, cook on a fire, sleep under the stars, stare at the sunset, listen to singing birds, climb rocks and trees, run in the forest, pick wild fruits were activities that occupied an important part of my daily life. These have always made and still make me feel truly and deeply alive, human and connected to the wholeness of the universe.

But when I started to enter professional life, things have begun to change.

I felt more and more deprived of the deep connection I had with Wilderness. Paradoxically, as a geoscientist working in the field of climate change research, I have spent countless hours in offices working behind computer screens rather than study and learn from the field (even if I’ve had the chance to participate in 3 field expeditions in polar regions). Although I felt much more connected to Nature than the majority of people around me, I had reached a point where I considered myself nothing else than a typical product of the 9-5 rat race lost in a city, totally disconnected from what makes him a human being. Moreover, I had a growing feeling that my job was not in accordance with the faith I expressed as a student. My feeling of usefulness was decreasing as I realized that the very narrow topics I was working on did not satisfy my natural tendency to constantly start to explore vast new domains of knowledge and did not provide any positive tangible impact on daily people’s lives or nature conservation and restoration. I had the growing sensation that I was wasting my time and my talents in a context of nature deficit disorder. This situation was meaningless.

I needed a serious change.

This is the reason why I decided that my life should be more focused on what is really essential to me: spend more active time in Nature while getting involved in what I consider truly useful projects that would allow me to exploit my full potential. But how to achieve this while earning an income? I had found a purpose but I didn’t know how to reach it yet. I first had the idea to create a remote freelance business based on my scientist and IT skills. I imagined it would provide me enough flexibility and freedom to take back my lost connection with Nature. But in the end, I came up with the conclusion that doing so I would still spend too much time behind a computer screen working on what David Graber would call bullshit jobs. I was craving for more coherence between the values I preached and the behaviors I adopted, between the science I read and the conclusions I drew from it in my life. This coherence is essential because it is what makes you feel aligned and makes it possible to denounce, by mirror effect, the incoherence of the society around us.

And so I came up with the idea of creating a nature-based business.

This would be the perfect setup to regain my connection with Wilderness while experiencing a deep feeling of usefulness. I consider this feeling of usefulness to be the meaning of life rather than the endless pursuit of happiness. The latter explains why we collectively buy stuff we don’t need, spend time with people we don’t necessarily appreciate and try to work hard to get the approval of people we don’t like while the former drives us to create, share and add something to society. I wanted to do something that would make a difference. I had a variety of ideas in mind ranging from guided hiking tours to hosting forest bathing events for urban dwellers until, while doing research on the Internet, I stumbled upon the concept of human rewilding. This concept immediately appeared as the missing piece to my personal quest for an authentic and meaningful professional activity that totally resonates with my aspirations and my personality.

Rewilding lifestyle inspirer became the specific nature-based professional activity I wanted to develop.

Being outside in contact with the elements and discovering the world is part of our deep nature. Since the dawn of time, humans have lived and flourished in full immersion with Nature. But modern life is becoming more and more complex, the digital world is taking hold of us and the pace is accelerating both at work and in our private lives. We live more and more inside, disconnected from Nature and our world becomes more and more artificial and techno-centric. It seems like we are forgetting where we came from. We actually suffer from a lack of Nature disorder. This has led us to feel out of nature, to differentiate ourselves from it and to act irresponsibly towards it. This is a big mistake. As human animals, we cannot live and prosper without a connection to the natural world in which we have been shaped by hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. We need trees, animals, stars and elements. They are our masters and feeders and we need them for our physical and mental well-being. We urgently need to reconnect with our origins and introduce rewilding in our daily lives. I want to actively take part in the movement and as an aspiring rewilding coach. I want to raise awareness about this urgent need of a reconnection with our origins. This is crucial if we want to find health, vitality, serenity, meaning, hope, and joy again, especially in the anxiogenic context of our modern civilization, its propensity to make us addicted to digital technology and its systemic environmental crisis. I consider the Rewilding lifestyle as a transformational experience that is a radical political action. It could positively raise awareness about this urgent need of a reconnection with Nature, foster coherence in actions that people take and enable a paradigm shift in which we would be part of Nature rather than dissociated from it.

Why quit Google?

In this article, the first of a series that I will devote to live without Google, I will linger on the reasons that motivated me to start my ungooglisation journey. In the coming posts, I will reveal how I managed to (almost) completely quit Google using privacy-friendly alternatives.

Today it must be a lit bit more than a year since I seriously started my ungooglisation process. In this article, the first of a series that I will devote to live without Google, I will linger on the reasons that motivated me to start this process. In the coming posts, I will reveal how I managed to (almost) completely quit Google using privacy-friendly alternatives.

As you will see, it hasn’t always been an easy path to take. Even if some points can be improved, I am already getting a lot of satisfaction out of it.

The name of this blog is an excellent starting point to understand the why of my approach, especially the second term. Rewild … Rewild as rewild or undomesticate. My desire to create a less alienated, wilder and freer way of living has led me to undertake many changes in my life (like finding a piece of land where I could live in the middle of Nature on a mountainous island – but that’s another story!). And among these changes was the desire to no longer depend on a multi-billion dollar and over-powerful company to manage my digital life.

It was unthinkable for me to continue my approach while remaining captive to Google. Thanks to my consensual use of their services, a large part of my life was recorded, classified and analyzed by their algorithms with the sole purpose of making money out of my data sold to advertising companies.

My personal data (hence life) no longer held any secrets for Google, which knew everything about me: who I visit, where I go, my questions, my favorite subjects, the content of my correspondence, my lifestyle, my biometric parameters and much more. Like hundreds of millions of other individuals, I was totally alienated from Google.

By using their free services, I was actually volunteering for them. I actively participated in the creation of the monster that Google became and became one of their slaves. Through rather harmless acts (exchanging emails, saving photos, watching videos, etc.) I was actively feeding mass surveillance capitalism.

With Google, it is the first time in the history of mankind that a company is able to know and analyze every little detail of actions and thoughts of hundreds of millions of individuals. But also to influence their behavior. The algorithms of the giants of the web are not neutral and their functioning remains a secret. In particular, they participate in the cleavage of society through what Eli Pariser has called filter bubbles.

Moreover, as an advertising agency, Google does everything possible to make you addicted to its services, with the sole aim of maximizing the chances that you will interact with their targeted advertising. We talk about attention economy. Attention has become the new black gold and companies like Google will do anything to capture yours. Their applications are designed to steal your time and enslave you. Google’s engineers (and not only) have figured out how to get you hooked. Their applications and increasingly complex artificial intelligence algorithms are designed to influence your primitive brain and its reward system based on dopamine, the pleasure hormone. As says Tristan Harris, a former Google employee:

Tech is downgrading Human.

Google is a concentration of power never before encountered. The company that was, just 20 years ago, a small web startup is now able to influence the course of humanity according to its own vision, a vision that may well not be yours (unless you consider yourself as a transhumanist).

If your addiction, or even your enslavement to Google doesn’t give you the creeps, and if you don’t feel concerned by mass surveillance because you think you have nothing to hide, I invite you:

You may well change your mind and see your relationship with your smartphone from another angle. In my opinion, the GAFAMs’ hold on our lives is as critical an issue as global warming. It’s a threat that can damage the balance that supports the lifestyles of all humanity (I’ll try to take the time to detail this vision in a future article).

My approach to a rewilded lifestyle had to go through the ungooglisation process. What I mean by rewilding does not mean a rejection of technology and a return to the Stone Age. As Bernard Stiegler puts it:

technology carries the worst as well as the best.

Rather, it is about regaining control over one’s life and living more freely, living more in tune with one’s true human nature, shaped by millions of years of evolution in a non-technocentric world. It is about living more critically and consciously in relation to the conventions and expectations of the society in which we evolve (we will see all this in another article) but also in relation to the technological tools we use. So nothing prevents us from starting a process of rewilding while using open source technological tools, for example. In my opinion, the question is not whether or not we accept the technology but rather what technology do we accept and what use do we want to make of it?

And in any case, in our modern societies, whether we like it or not, technology is imposing itself on us and we have to deal with its growing influence. Not being able to master technology is today a source of exclusion as much as illiteracy. Nevertheless, we can fight to ensure that an awareness of the critical use of technology emerges. By whom is it developed? For what purpose? With what conditions of use? With what implications for our way of life? These are, in my opinion, the right questions to ask ourselves when faced with our daily use of technological tools. My ungooglisation process is therefore in no way a rejection of technology and the digital world.

The Internet is a formidable invention. Do we really want this invention to be reduced to a tool for monitoring and controlling the population dominated by a handful of over-powerful actors in cahoots with intelligence agencies? For my part, the answer is no. My attempt to ungooglise myself is therefore part of a process to escape from the enslavement of entreprenocraty, to regain freedom, and to fight against the predation of my existence.

In a next article I will reveal a first series of alternatives that you can easily implement to significantly reduce your dependence on Google. I have taken the time to enrich this article with many links so that you can by yourself continue digging into the subject. I hope it will at least have aroused your curiosity. This article is only a reflection of my current vision and I will be happy to hear your feedbacks and thoughts in the comments, regardless of your opinion of my approach.

To go further :

Pourquoi se dégoogliser et s’éloigner des GAFAM ?

Aujourd’hui ça doit faire à peu près 6 mois que j’ai sérieusement entamé mon processus de “dégooglisation“. Dans cet article, le premier d’une longue série que je consacrerai à la vie sans Google, je m’attarderai sur les raisons qui m’ont motivées à entamer ce processus. Dans les articles qui suivront, je vous révélerai comment je suis parvenu à (presque) entièrement quitter Google à l’aide d’alternatives respectueuses de la vie privée. Vous le verrez, le chemin n’aura pas toujours été facile à emprunter et même s’il m’en reste une partie à faire, j’en tire déjà une grande satisfaction.

Le nom de ce blog est une excellente façon d’aborder le pourquoi de ma démarche, enfin surtout le deuxième terme. Rewild… Rewild comme réensauvager ou dédomestiquer. Mon envie de me créer un mode de vie moins aliéné, plus sauvage et plus libre m’a conduit à entamer de nombreux changements de vie (comme me trouver un lopin de terre en pleine nature sur une île montagneuse – mais ça c’est une autre histoire !). Et parmi ces changements il y avait la volonté de ne plus dépendre d’une entreprise multimilliardaire et surpuissante pour la gestion de ma vie numérique. Il m’était impensable de poursuivre ma démarche en restant captif de Google. Grâce à mon utilisation consentie de leurs services, une grande part de ma vie était enregistrée, classée et scrupuleusement étudiée par leurs algorithmes et ce dans l’unique but de faire de l’argent en me proposant de la publicité ciblée. Mes données personnelles n’avaient plus de secret pour Google qui savait tout de moi : qui je fréquente, où je me rends, mes interrogations, mes sujets de prédilection, le contenu de mes correspondances, mes habitudes de vie, mes paramètres biométriques et bien plus encore. Comme des centaines de millions d’autres individus, j’étais totalement aliéné à Google. En utilisant leurs services gratuits, je travaillais en réalité bénévolement pour eux. Je participais activement à la création du monstre qu’est devenu Google et étais devenu l’un de leurs esclaves. Au travers d’actes plutôt anodins (échanges d’emails, sauvegardes de photos, visionnages de vidéos, etc) j’engraissais activement le capitalisme de surveillance de masse.

Avec Google, c’est la première fois dans l’histoire de l’humanité qu’une entreprise est en mesure de connaître et d’analyser les moindres faits et gestes et les moindres pensées de centaines de millions d’individus. Mais aussi d’en influencer le comportement. Les algorithmes des géants du web ne sont pas neutres et leur fonctionnement reste bien secret. Ils participent notamment au clivage de la société au travers de ce qu’Eli Pariser a appelé les bulles de filtre. Par ailleurs, en tant que régie publicitaire, Google met tout en oeuvre pour vous rendre accros à ses services, et ce dans l’unique but de maximiser les chances que vous interagissiez avec leur publicité ciblée. On parle d’économie de l’attention. L’attention est devenu le nouvel or noir et des entreprises comme Google sont prêtes à tout pour capter la vôtre. Leurs applications sont pensées pour vous voler votre temps de vie et vous asservir. Les ingénieurs de Google (et pas seulement) ont très bien compris comment vous rendre accros. Leurs applications et leurs algorithmes d’intelligence artificielle de plus en plus complexes sont pensés pour influencer votre cerveau primitif et son système de récompense basé sur la dopamine, l’hormone du plaisir. Comme le dit Tristan Harris, un ex-employé de Google, Tech is downgrading Human. Google, c’est une concentration de pouvoir encore jamais rencontrée. L’entreprise qui fut, il y a 20 ans à peine, une petite startup du web est désormais en mesure d’influencer le cours de l’humanité suivant sa propre vision, vision qui risque bien certainement de ne pas être la vôtre (à moins que vous ne soyez aussi transhumaniste).

Si votre addiction, voire votre asservissement à Google ne vous fait pas froid dans le dos et si vous ne vous vous sentez pas concerné par la surveillance de masse car vous pensez n’avoir rien à cacher, je vous invite à visiter le site degooglisons internet de l’association Framasoft, à vous (re)pencher sur les révélations du lanceur d’alerte Edward Snowden et à regarder le documentaire Nothing to Hide réalisé en 2017 par Marc Meillassoux. Vous risquez bien de changer d’avis et de voir votre relation avec votre smartphone sous un autre angle. Selon moi, l’emprise des GAFAMs sur notre vie est un problème aussi critique que le réchauffement climatique. Il s’agit d’une menace pouvant porter atteinte aux équilibres soutenant les modes de vie de l’ensemble de l’humanité (Je tâcherai de prendre le temps de vous détailler cette vision dans un prochain article).

Ma démarche de mode de vie réensauvagée se devait donc de passer par la case dégooglisation. Ce que j’entends par réensauvagement ne signifie pas un refus de la technologie et un retour à l’âge de pierre. Comme le dit Bernard Stiegler, “la technologie est porteuse du pire autant que du meilleur“. Il s’agit plutôt de reprendre contrôle sur sa vie et vivre plus libre, vivre plus en accord avec sa vraie nature humaine, façonnée par des millions d’années d’évolution dans un monde non techno-centré. C’est vivre de façon plus critique et consciente par rapport aux conventions et attentes de la société dans laquelle nous évoluons (nous verrons tout cela dans un autre article) mais aussi par rapport aux outils technologiques que nous utilisons. Rien n’empêche donc d’entamer un processus de réensauvagement tout en utilisant des outils technologiques opensource par exemple. Selon moi, la question n’est pas de savoir si nous acceptons ou non la technologie mais plutôt quelle technologie acceptons-nous et quel usage souhaitons-nous en faire ? Et de toute façon, dans nos sociétés modernes, que nous le voulions ou non, la technologie s’impose à nous et nous devons composer avec son emprise grandissante. Ne pas être en mesure de maîtriser la technologie est aujourd’hui source d’exclusion au même titre que l’illettrisme. Nous pouvons néanmoins nous battre pour faire en sorte qu’émerge une prise de conscience quant à un usage critique de la technologie. Par qui est-elle développée ? Dans quel but ? Avec quelles conditions d’utilisation ? Avec quelles implications quant à notre mode de vie ? Telles-sont selon moi les bonnes questions à se poser face à notre utilisation quotidienne d’outils technologiques. Ma démarche de dégooglisation n’est donc en rien une démarche de refus de la technologie et du monde numérique.

Internet est une invention formidable. Voulons-nous vraiment que cette invention se réduise à un outil de surveillance et de contrôle de la population dominé par une poignée d’acteurs surpuissants et de mèches avec les agences de renseignements ? Pour ma part la réponse est non. Ma tentative de dégooglisation s’inscrit donc dans une démarche de sortie de l’asservissement de l’entreprenocratie , de reconquête de liberté, et de lutte face à la prédation de mon existence.

Dans le prochain article je vous révélerai une première série d’alternatives que vous pourrez vous aussi facilement mettre en place pour significativement réduire votre dépendance à Google. J’ai pris le temps d’enrichir cet article de nombreux liens pour que vous puissiez par vous-même continuer à creuser le sujet. J’espère qu’il aura au moins suscité votre curiosité. Cet article n’est que le reflet de ma vision actuelle et je serai ravi de pouvoir échanger sur le sujet une discussion avec vous dans les commentaires, qu’importe votre opinion vis-à-vis de ma démarche.

Pour aller plus loin :