Guerrilla Ontology: On Destruction, Violence and Direct Action

Smashing badger traps and creating psycho-geographical distress is not going to stop Empire nor the ecological collapse that is a byproduct of its violence. But this is not our task…. Our aim as guerrilla ontologists is to be agents of destruction, poetic terrorists and involutionary fighters, disrupting history and resisting its violence.

From Julian Langer



We hear about violence all the time. We talk about violence all the time.

We label this violence as good and that violence as bad. This violence as necessary and that violence as unnecessary.

This violence theirs and that violence ours. And the conversation goes on and on and on.

Often we don’t recognise when we are talking about violence, as violence takes so many forms, wears so many masks, and we’ve been raised to uphold most acts of violence as simply factors of ordinary daily life.

To the pacifist, all violence is evil and must be avoided at any cost. Pacifists believe in the great cosmic separation of forces of light from forces of darkness. They view the universe as fundamentally flawed in this way. Pacifists believe that there is such a feature of existence, which can pervade all of Being – this notion of evil and darkness – which is something that must be rejected at all points.

To say something is evil is to presuppose a moral ought, that something should or should not exist, and that each existent example of evil must be rejected and expelled from society. What evil is ultimately is that which threatens the machinery that is society.

But while we talk about violence again and again, we rarely talk about what violence is, nor what it isn’t. Oh sure, we talk about their violence and even our own on occasion (though usually sanctifying its enactors, the living as heroes and the dead as martyrs who sacrificed themselves for God, the God of the machinery of the technosphere).

Rarely, if ever, do we talk about what violence is, what are violence’s origins, and other questions that might be considered too abstract or conceptual for “realpolitik.”

Violence seems to be a very specific type of action (again embracing generalized categories), which often gets mistaken for another. So, before giving any type of definition of violence, I will discuss what it is not: destruction.

Destruction as a phenomenon is the event of a singularity whereby, due to certain physical intensities, a new situation, space, location, Thing (etc.) is created. In this way, creation and destruction are in no way a dichotomy, but rather the monist force of the flow of motion, energy, transience in an entirely physical sense.

A hurricane and a wildfire are destructive, but they aren’t violent. In their destruction they create new situations, spaces, locations; Things, from the intensity of their energetic releases. A meteor that kills most of the life on planet Earth, including the dinosaurs (arguably this planet’s most successful occupants if we assume a paleontological realist epistemology), is not violent and does not enact violence upon those it has killed. The Chicxulub meteor was destructive, and its destruction lead to the creation of a situation that resulted in mammals becoming more prevalent (as a generalized category of species-Being) as the dinosaurs died out.

Destruction and creation are the monist flow of Life, where life and death are one and the same thing. They are the same thing in each present, temporarily bound by the physical dimensions of embodied Being – wild-Being as I choose to term it. As such, destruction(/creation) is an aspect of what is wild (or natural, if you prefer).

Violence as Violation

Violence presents itself not as destruction, but as violation. This doesn’t mean that violence is defined by the intent to violate. No, the perception of an action or event doesn’t alter its physicality, only the relationships of those within or towards it. As such, violence can occur with no intent to violate.

So what does it mean to violate? To violate something is to assert authority (not power) over a given space, place, moment, individual, or group, and to interrupt the wild authentic flow of living energies into the constructions (not creations) of the supposed authority, which asserts itself through violence.

Rape is an act of violence, where rapists assert themselves as an authority over whom they are raping. Rape interrupts the wild authentic flow of living energies of those raped, via usurpation of their body, and makes of them a constructed object of the rapist’s pleasure resources.

This authority stems from the mythologies of civilisation, surrounding hierarchies of Others who are granted the ability to dominate and oppress through innate privileges. This is not to say that rape and other acts of violence do not occur outside of civilisation; rather, civilisation is the monopolisation of violence and a force that intensifies violence, to such a degree that it corrupts Being into something inauthentic and entirely different from what is wild.

Myths of authority (again, not power) are what violence is. Civilisation is defined by the machinery of the technosphere, the body of the metropolis, the materiality of its ideology. Its violence does not and cannot create, but rather it constructs. It constructs through language and through what civilisation deems as resources.

To civilise, to domesticate, to assert authority, to construct, to mechanise is to be violent; whereas to be destructive(/creative) is to be wild, living, natural.

This definition might feel uneasy to those who have been involved in (or have been active voices for) resistance groups whose tactics have included those generally considered violent. In fact, many have sought to justify the use of violence, and this is not just limited to groups within “western” nations, such as ALF, ELF, DGR etc., but also indigenous resistance fighters in their appeals to those “citizens” who seek to oppress them. But this is simply a misunderstanding brought about through the limitations of language as a means of conveying meaning.

The actions of these radicals aren’t violent, but destructive(/creative), and as such aren’t attached to the authoritarianism of violence and its ugliness. That’s not to say that there aren’t groups who call themselves radical, but actually just want to reconstruct the same machinery of violence they supposedly oppose. Rather, resistance/revolt/rebellion/etc., is destructive/creative, not violent.

Guerilla Creation/Destruction

What does this mean for radical practice, eco-anarchist, ontological-anarchist or otherwise? Simply it means we are agent of destruction; we are the creation of destruction, we support the destruction of the violent constructions of civilisation, in machinery, language, myths, socio-normative forms of interaction and all else that encompasses the metropolis, the Leviathan, the state, the economy.

This action of destroying the reality constructed by civilisation is the activity of guerrilla ontology, which amounts to destroying civilisation’s machinery and myths, and creating events, spaces, places, situations that allow for the anarchic flow of wild-Being to move freely.

Guerrilla ontology has not generally been viewed in the sense I am describing here. It was first described by Robert Anton Wilson and defined on Wikipedia as:

“The goal of guerrilla ontology is to expose an individual or individuals to radically unique ideas, thoughts, and words, in order to invoke cognitive dissonance, which can cause a degree of discomfort in some individuals as they find their belief systems challenged by new concepts.”

So with it being drawn from Wilson’s philosophy and writings, guerrilla ontology is typically associated with new-age, Discordianist spiritual practices.

Ontological anarchist Hakim Bey describes his concept of the Temporary Autonomous Zone as a practice in guerrilla ontology, and is where the term is first located within anarchist thought. We should expand the concept past mere quietism and pure lifestylism, so as to be the basis of destructive(/creative) attacks of sabotage, resisting civilisation in a revolt based in Life. But to do this we must explore what it is to be a guerrilla. Guerrilla fighters are fighters who utilise a guerrilla-based approach to conducting warfare. So what is the guerrilla mode of attack?

Che Guevara, the famous Marxist guerrilla fighter of the Cuban revolution, stated in his work Guerrilla Warfare: A Method that the objective of the guerrilla strategy is the seizure of power. Now obviously in the case of Che, and the Marxist project he was involved in with Castro, the seizure of power translated to the reconstruction of the Leviathan under their authority, not liberation, wild freedom or anything actually desirable. But this is an issue regarding the authenticity of the project in question, not in the approach itself. And given Che’s proficiency as a guerrilla fighter, I feel comfortable with this objective of the method, regardless of its ideological outcome.

So we will follow from this presupposition that the guerrilla mode of attack is based on the objective of seizing power, and for our purposes this seizure of power is a destructive(/creative) one, not a constructive violent one.

Guerrilla groups – such as the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, Khmer Rogue, The Japanese Red Army, The Ñancahuazú Guerrilla, M-19, The IRA, New Peoples Army, Movimiento Peronista Montonero, Democratic Army of Greece, Free Papua Movement, The Angry Brigade, J2M, Individualists Tending Towards the Wild, YPJ and YPG, Conspiracy of Cells of Fire, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta and other such organisations – have all taken as their approach seizing power strategies and tactics that are based in acts of sabotage, ambushes, raids, hit-and-run style approaches and other means of attacking, while avoiding large scale head on warfare of the traditional militarist approach. This is not to advocate all the specific forms of irregular warfare these groups and groups like them use or have used – bombing “civilians” (for example) just for the sake of it is ugly and only succeeds in goading civilisation to dominate through greater authoritarian means.

Why Guerilla?

Why utilise tactics of irregular warfare with small-scale attacks like ambushes and sabotage? Why not attack head on? Lets look to a historical potential that led to ruin to discuss why not.

After she was beaten by the Romans and her daughters were raped, Celtic druidess and queen Boudicca led a guerrilla campaign that almost saw the Romans out of Briton. The Iceni tribes under Boudicca’s leadership enacted rebellions and ambushed cities held under Roman rule. Through their guerrilla tactics they successfully depleted the Roman position in Briton to near defeat.

Had they not ever directly engaged the Roman military, with its technologically superior weaponry and armour, the Iceni and Boudicca would likely have seen the Roman colonial invaders off, defeated in blood drenched Celtic victory. Unfortunately they did face the Romans in open battle and the Celts lost.

So it seems sensible to advocate guerrilla type tactics given the technological might of empire and our available means of attack.

One resistance fighter, within anti-civ eco-radical resistance, whose approach has utilised much of what can be considered a guerrilla approach, is Theodore Kaczynski (better known as the infamous UNABOMBER). Kaczynski’s infamy comes not only from his bombing campaign and his famed manifesto, Industrial Society and its Future, but from his years of eluding the FBI and other institutional agents who sought to track him down.

Kaczynski’s ideology has been a central aspect of the eco-extremist movement, who actively embrace narratives of violence. One of the things clear in Kaczynski’s writings is that, while he presents great analytic accounts on technology, his politics remain tied to narratives of history(/civilisation). The eco-extremist movement seems equally tied to narratives of history, and they mistake their sanctified deity of Wild Nature for a violent force, when the wild is destructive(/creative) and violates nothing.

Regarding the UNABOMBER (as a political entity), Kaczynski was a failure, both in historical and anti-historical terms, who, despite his many brilliant aspects, found himself in the trappings of a far more extensively intensive prison than the one you and I find ourselves located within. The eco-extremist post-Kaczynskiist movement would do well to remember this, or maybe this is something that their pseudo-active (passive) pessimist nihilism just accepts?

Perhaps I’m being unfair to Kaczynski. It is true that both the eco-radical and anarchist milieus are colossal failures in pursuing our desired outcomes outside of some smaller personal projects. Empire has now spread across basically the entire body of the Earth and ecological collapse is basically a certainty. But the energetic fury of defiant revolt that courses through my body leads me to press on, channelling the power of the wild, to be a destructive force upon civilisation, creating untame spaces/places/locations/situations.

Indigenous Resistance

Lets look at other struggles, fights, and dances.

The indigenous peoples of what we now call Australia enacted a war against the settlers that has no apparent beginning or ending outside of History; a lived reality of warfare against the reality being constructed by the British mask of civilisation. This warfare was conducted by “cheeky fella” loner-leaders, whose attacks were coordinated devoid of formal organisation, usually in the form of ambush warfare. Rather than forming organisations, militias and other general categories of organised warfare, they practiced their guerrilla far more like communities/unions of egoists, working in mutual aid to resist civilisation.

What did their resistance look like? Well, many of the guerrilla fighters took to forming bands, who focused on payback, through means of inflicting unending sabotage and psychological warfare. The sabotage is basically what we call property destruction in the form that eco-radicals are very familiar with. The psychological warfare mostly took the form of mocking, humiliating and harassing the invaders, threatening and intimidating as means of psychic-attack.

The lone-leader guerrilla fighters of the indigenous Australians include famed warrior Pemulwuy, who it was believed could not be killed with firearms. Pemulwuy fought British invaders through ambush raids and killed British officials in vengeance against their violence towards his community and the land he lived upon. Like Kaczynski and similar guerrilla fighters, Pemulwuy failed and found himself at the mercy of his enemies (the approach of a lone-leader indigenous Australian attack seems to draw in something from guerrilla ontologist attacks).

Does this mean we start killing officials or supporters of Empire like Pemulwuy? Not necessarily, as there seems to be far more prudent practical means of inflicting damage to the Leviathan. These means hold more potential for actually disrupting its narratives, not just serving as a basis for the civilised to reinstate and make those same narratives more violent. I don’t see the attempt to assassinate government officials, or to kill a few domesticated individuals, as an activity that has any pragmatic potential for desirable outcome, and it seems like a waste.

Guerrilla ontologist warfare seems best enacted through 2 types of ambush attack. The first, sabotage, is well known to eco-radicals. This type of attack through “property” destruction has had relative degrees of success for groups like the ELF, ALF, Earth First!, the Hunt Saboteurs, and other eco-anarchist groups (This is stated with the acknowledgement that, due to the sheer scale of Empire’s authority at this point, we need an honest pessimism regarding its potential and its failings in the past).

The second form of ambush attack being advocated here is the utilisation of psychic warfare, to create sensations of wildness within the consciousnesses of the domesticated. This means to shatter the technologically induced comforts that distance the domesticated from the horror of the desert of the Real, the apocalyptic situation that stands before us, into a perception that can look at little else.

Smashing badger traps and creating psycho-geographical distress is not going to stop Empire nor the ecological collapse that is a byproduct of its violence. But this is not our task. The Real is breaking through this Reality, through hurricanes, wild fires, through rust upon the metal of the technosphere and far more examples than I could ever list. Wild-Being is ultimately inescapable; civilisation is the construction of a phantasmic illusion, and it will collapse.

Our aim as guerrilla ontologists is to be agents of destruction, poetic terrorists and involutionary fighters, disrupting history and resisting its violence. And this is best done through ambushing via sabotaging the machinery of civilisation (“property destruction”) and via psychological warfare, rather than head on assaults, which always result in increased intensities in violence from civilisation and its agents.


Julian Langer

Writer of Feral Consciousness: Deconstruction of the Modern Myth and Return to the Woods, blogger at Eco-Revolt, and has been published on a number of other sites. Eco-anarchist and guerilla ontologist philosopher. Lover of woods, deer, badgers and other wild Beings. Musician and activist.


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Before The Beginning Were The Waters

From Julian Langer

We are witnessing the destructive power of wild-Being, through the medium of water, as well as wind and fire.

Before the beginning there was the waters. This is the case in a great many mythologies. In Genesis the spirit of Yahweh floats atop the surface of the waters, when the earth was Formless. Before Vishnu commanded Brahma to create the form of the world, Vishnu slept floating upon the waters of the world, wrapped in the coils of a great snake – Vishnu the preserver and Brahma the creator are one being, in the Hindu pantheon, as is Shiva the destroyer.

In the Sumerian Eridu creation story, An, Enill, Enki and Ninhursanga first create the world, for mankind and the animals, before a great flood comes to destroy everything. Zi-ud-sura learns of this and, like Noah in the Abrahamic mythology, builds and ark to save the animals. In the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, Ea (the Sumerian Enki) instructs Utnapishtim to demolish his house and build a boat, in preparation of a great flood that the gods are going to bring, to save himself and other living beings.

In Chinese mythology, Nüwa repairs the four pillars, whose collapse brought floods, fire and great beasts that ravaged mankind, bringing about peace. Flood control signals the dawning of civilisation in China, with Yu the Great’s controlling the waters leading to the dawn of agriculture in the region.

The Hopi people, who viewed themselves as descendants of the Spider-Grandmother, believed that Tawa destroyed the Third World in a great flood. The Aztecs believed that the gods destroyed the world in a flood, which had no survivors, and that creation had to start again. Also, the indigenous peoples of the Andaman islands believe that their creation deity Püluga sent a devastating flood, which left only 4 human survivors, but destroyed all the other living beings and their fire – Püluga brought back the flora and fauna, but didn’t return the fire.

In the myths of science and evolutionary theory, first the earth had to be covered in waters before life could flourish. And we all find our earliest biological origins in the depths of those primordial seas of the pre-Cambrian era.

The waters of the world are a primal force of creation and destruction in the world. Within this planetary bioregion, there is no life, in the sense of organic matter, without water. Life is a process of simultaneous creation and destruction.

Wild-Being – the geo-spatial extensive topologies and differential flow of intensities of energy, which surmount to what we call the wild – is this process of boundless life in flux. Heraclitus’s river articulates this in a way that can be immediately drawn from phenomenologically – “no man ever steps into the same river twice, as it is not the same river and he is not the same man”. The rivers flow creates its new body and destroys its old one. The mans life creates its new body and destroys its old one. And with this, the univocality of Being as Becoming if the basis of life/existence/wild-Being.

We are witnessing the destructive power of wild-Being, through the medium of water, as well as wind and fire.

As the biosphere collapses into climate chaos, those energies of wild-Being repressed, sublimated, directed and redirected, harnessed and channelled by civilisation into “order”, through the geometrical quantitative machinery of the technosphere, the violent/destructive explosive shattering of this chaosmic release is vibrating across the body of the earth and is a terrifying force for those unprepared to embrace the wild.

The existential dread of Hurricane Harvey’s violent shattering might have been easily repressed, were it not for the immediate arrival of Irma and Jose’s and Katia’s destructive dances upon the body of the earth.

The Taino indigenous peoples of the Caribbean worshiped a zemi the Spanish invaders called Juraćan, who was their deity of chaos. This deity’s body is the same as the Mayan god Huracan, which is the root of our word hurricane.

These hurricanes exist outside of the repressive order of civilisation, as a destructive chaosmic release, a wild reaction to the excretive effects of this culture’s violating/violent technological means of consumption.

The destruction the floods in America, South East Asia and Europe we have recently witnessed, either directly or through the hyper-real spectacle of contemporary media, are points of chaosmic release from order, where the flow of wild-Being becomes released, allowing for the potential return to the wild – outside of both order and chaos. They shatter the perceived safety of the technosphere, revealing our existential nakedness immersed in the world.

Today, as I write this in the British countryside, the gale-force winds of the tail end of the aforementioned three hurricanes are battering these islands in the North Sea. This obviously pales in comparison to the force of their immediate bodies, but the winds still roar like a raging beast, furious in the face of its abuser. Their free dances upon the earth, stretching across an entire ocean, bring to my mind Anaximander’s notion of a boundless cosmology called apeiron, which flows uninhibited by any-Thing. This is made clear by the destruction produced by Hurricane Harvey’s winds, with houses left in ruins.

Apeiron was intended to signify all 4 of the classical elements – fire, water, wind and earth.

The destructive force of the earth has been revealed, yet again, in the form of the earthquake in Mexico. In the Greek pantheon, Poseidon is the god of the sea and earthquakes, known for his vengeful wrath and being easily offended. So in a world where fishless oceans by 2050 is a likely possibility, due to the toxifying and polluting excretions of this culture, and where hydraulic fracking and geo-engineering undermine the body of the earth (directly bringing about their own earthquakes), the earthquake appears to be a medium of destructive release for the vengeful energies of wild-Being.

Fire is often viewed as a basically destructive force upon the world – this is probably predominantly due to civilised-man only using fire for fundamentally violent purposes. But those of us familiar with fire ecology, wild or rewilded, know that fire has its creative aspect to it, in ecological terms. And we know that the wild-fires destruction leads to the creative regrowth of forests, in the cosmic flow of wild-Being. Most of us will know the intimate, immediate, beautiful warmth fire creates through the flickering dances of its flames, in a directly phenomenological sense.

But like the wrath of the recent hurricanes and earthquake, the recent wildfires in North America and Greenland bring our focus onto its more destructive aspects. Fueled by the conditioned produced by climate change and agricultural production, the intensity of these fires and their destructive fury is a force, whose wild release undermines the ordering of civilisation, in chaosmic release of wild-Being’s flow. The existential dread produced from their wild fury is drawn from the awareness that fire will burn through most means of technological mediation and leave bare naked flesh burnt and scarred, in its indiscriminate dances upon the earth.

The eco-extremist movement, whose liberation theology and anti-anarchist anti-politics has upset and displeased many in eco-radical and anarchist milieus, revere and worship Wild Nature, and seek to emulate storms and hurricanes and wildfires through their methodology of indiscriminate attack. And while there is much to find ugly in and criticise the eco-extremist movement for – especially the infamous group ITS – there is a certain poetic beauty in this desire to embrace their being extensions of wild-Being, through emulating Wild Nature – though they often appear (certainly to my mind) to miss that destruction is creation, and that what is wild is alive.

Naturism, paganism, rewilding through prim/wild-craft skills, sexual/erotic exploration, activist actions, guerrilla ontology and many other forms of praxis that those of us within eco-radical milieus, whatever ideological/semiolinguistic lexicon we choose to embrace, stems from the energetic fury of a wildfire inside the very core of our being and Being, and a desire to relinquish that which civilisation uses to repress our wildness. And in these practices, we need to find this unequivocal unity in destruction and creation in what it is we are doing.

I wrote in my previous piece for this site, and have done so in my book and on my personal blog, of iconoclasm. Now in once sense, this is intended to signify the material body of the onto-theology of the technosphere – civilisation. But I am also intending to signify the praxis of destroying icons of mythology, in the sense meant by great iconoclasts, like Renzo Novatore and Bruno Filippi.

So why then have I drawn from the icons of so many pantheons within this text and others?

Because when the fox, lion, bear, shark, tiger, badger, orca, wolf, crocodile, racoon, boar, eagle or whatever other example you care for, devours what it destroys, it creates its-self, in its immediate body, and creates the world it is an extension of, through the excretions of their flesh. This is not only true of carnivores, as herbivores, like rhinos, actively create life through the destruction of their consumption.

So as I consume these icons, I devour their bodies, to attempt to create something living.

And as I leave you at the end of this piece, I wish to conclude with this poem Gates of Ys by pagan anarchist writer Christopher Scott Thompson –

Half a nation drowned by water,
Half consumed by fire.
Those who profit, smug with laughter,
Fear no prophet calling “Liar!”.

Ash comes floating from the heavens,
Storms come rolling in.
Preachers close the doors of churches,
Calmly fold their hands, and grin.

We who listened, we who bargained,
Now praise God in sheer despair.
Gods like fire and wind and water
Do not heed such prayers.

Sorcerers of coal and oil,
We invoked, they came.
Never mind the prayers and praises,
Last-ditch rages, guilt and blame.

Gods as deaf as us have gathered:
Storm and flame and wind.
Now the gates of Ys are opened.
Now the ocean rushes in.


Julian Langer

Writer of Feral Consciousness: Deconstruction of the Modern Myth and Return to the Woods, blogger at Eco-Revolt, and has been published on a number of other sites. Eco-anarchist and guerilla ontologist philosopher. Lover of woods, deer, badgers and other wild beings. Musician and activist.


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