on which his writings were always downloadable for free.
robert wolff was a friend of mine...
I never got to meet robert in person, but I exchanged calls and emails with him several times in his last years.
He died late in 2015 at his Big Island Hawaii property. He was about 93 years old.
I don't know the details, but since he lived alone and his exact date of death is not listed I imagine eventually somebody realized he was not alive anymore. In his last years he was going blind and knew he would die soon.
Hope lies in our ability to bring back to awareness what it is to be human.
by robert wolff
...previous title and cover of Original Wisdom
Re-Creating the robert wolff Library
In 2009 robert wrote about himself on his Amazon.com author's page:
Somehow I prefer to write my name, robert wolff, without capital letters. In other countries that is very common.
I grew up at a time and in a place where there were tigers; I knew tigers in the wild. The first time was when I was about eight. As I remember it: "I saw the tiger, and the tiger smiled." I like most animals, and plants. I feel I am an integral part of Nature. Probably that is why I don't like cities -- not a natural habitat for humans.
I write about "all my relations," as native Americans say. All the beings and aspects of this planet that I relate to: the feathered people, the four-footeds, the two-legged; trees, plants; weeds; storms, sunshine, wind, rain. I write about people I have learned from, people I admire. And about animals and plants that I learn from. About the chaos that is Nature, its infinite interdependencies: everything related to everything else.
And I write to remind us that WHAT THERE IS IS ALL THERE IS.
You want statistics, mileposts? Born here, lived there, worked somewhere else, married, children (grandchildren, great grandchildren), degrees, appointments, disappointments. Yes, all of those. I am a human who belongs to the planet, to Nature more than to Man's world. I've had an exciting life, lived in many different countries in different cultures. Speak a few languages -- essential, I think, to be able to understand more than one point of view.
I'm obsessed by 'simple' -- doing without rather than acquiring more.
The world of Man is not simple. We made a world for ourselves on top of the planet, thinking we can divorce ourselves from the planetary ecology. We think we own this planet, we think we can own land, plants, animals, other people. How can we?
Our man-made world is a jumble of rules and regulations that force us to be what we were not born to be, and it has become ever more destructive because we assume ourselves the masters of this planet. Our so-called civilization tames us, as we tamed, or domesticated, plants and animals.
We deny, or ignore, what our foreparents knew to live sustainably for 100,000 years or more.
We are as much part of the planetary ecology of course as weeds and fleas. But we have power, we use force. And with that force we are abusing Life, including our own species. We are destroying the planet, our only home.
Now, 2009, I cannot see how we can prevent the crash of our illusionary house of cards.
I don't know whether we can still slow down or stop climate change. Soon it will be too late. I don't believe in hoping for the best... I do best when I look whatever faces me straight on, recognizing it for what it is. If our species, humankind, survives the planet's response to our outrageous abuses we will find ourselves in a new Nature. We may even be a new, or renewed homo sapiens.
In a new and different world I foresee that we will rediscover talents and abilities we have always had but brainwashed out of us by our current so-called civilization. That is what Rain of Ashes is about.
I learned from a tribe of very ancient people to listen to my dreams. A Book of Dreams is about finding stories in the fragments of dreams we remember when we awake (not about interpreting dreams).
A few more books, and a long list of essays on my web site:
http://www.wildwolff.com/ ['wild' as in natural, of course, not as in 'out of control']
The Big Island, called Hawai'i, December 2009.
Requesting Your Collaboration
robert (who always wrote his name in small letters...) was a regular contributor to Rob Kall's OpEdNews, and also ran a website where anyone could download his latest writings for free: www.wildwolff.com.
I was shocked to discover that after robert died, no one maintained his website! This meant that all of robert's unpublished writings are no longer available.
I am sure this would make him angry and sad. Fortunately I had downloaded some of his bigger works and I am happy to make them available below in this robert wolff Library.
If you happen to have additional robert wolff material that should be shared here please get it to me. In particular I am looking for A Book Of Dreams.
I thank you so much for caring, and for being careful!
NOTE 2: In 2014 Robert combined Rain of Ashes with other writings in a volume he titled Earth Renews, which is available below in the 'Books' section.
NOTE 3: Additional robert wolff writings have been gratefully shared with me to re-publish online by fellow robert wolff lovers:
Jan Höglund <http://janhoglund.eu>
Anand Shanti <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Becky Suzik <email@example.com>
Louisa Archer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thank you so much!
Note From Becky Suzik, 5 February 2019:
I was contemplating the mystical nature of this collaboration yesterday: How remarkably mysterious and wonderful it is that I felt compelled a few years a back to save robert wolff's writings. I wasn’t able to read all of these at the time, but I remember the urgency I felt to take the time to download all of them. And here you are recreating his site and sharing his writings as he would have hoped. And there was your Facebook post seeking the missing pieces. And there was my search for a Robert Wolff Facebook page. And there was our existing connection because of your Sparks. And that I somehow had the exact missing pieces?!
It feels like the 'collective dreamtime work' that robert wolff wrote of, doesn’t it?!
After having had a personal phone call with mr. wolff, I became even more enamored and inspired by him and his concerns for all of us. It was very difficult to understand him as we spoke, but his work touched me in such a profound way—beyond words in liminal space. I was deeply touched by the way he was challenged by technology but strove to use it to get his messages out into the world, despite his visual impairment. Really remarkable isn’t it?!
Feels like we were supposed to do this for him and for Gaia. Some kind of magic, for which and I grateful.
Thank you so very much for doing this.
Kind regards, Becky Suzik
Note From Aja Thomas, 26 April 2021
I just saw your website on Robert Wolff, and it sounded as if I had written it.
I, too, was able to talk and write with Robert in his last few years, and was very saddened by his passing. (My wife had a sudden intuition about him very shortly after he passed... I went to his website and found he had left us.)
Thank you for creating this alternate site for him!
I hated the idea he may have slipped into total obscurity!
Blessings 🙏❤️ Aja Thomas
2002 SPIRAL by robert wolff
The spiral we call evolution circles around the center that is Life becoming.
Evolution spirals around and to the light.
robert's story begins thusly:
"At first there were rumors. Yet another so-called Unidentified Object. I did not pay much attention. I am deeply aware of my environment, I cherish and nurture the plants and trees and the animals that live in and around my garden (what Americans call ‘yard’). Outer space seems very remote to me. But very soon after those first rumors the Media exploded with what apparently was real news. Observers had seen something in orbit around our earth. And inevitably a few days after that the media talked about an alien space craft..."
Stories are rarely new, their value is in the retelling of human truths. Many of the stories in this collection are old, they happened many years ago, and were written a few years ago. What made me want to put them together in this book is that they are like snapshots of a past that is only just behind us. Our world is changing very rapidly, so rapidly that the world of a previous generation seems almost incomprehensibly strange.
"Ha‘ina mai ka puana" is a Hawaiian expression, used in almost all traditional and many modern Hawaiian songs. It is the last verse, used very much as a story teller might end his telling with “and so it is.” As many Hawaiian expressions it can mean other things as well, including “let the story be told.”
FROM THE FOREWORD "There were survivors. Somewhere in the far northern part of North America a few survivors found each other at a cabin in a forest. Their story is told in Rain of Ashes. Other survivors had started a village of sorts, near a west-facing coast of middle Africa. As elsewhere, among the survivors were some who had recovered an ancient human talent to commune without words. For some of them, distance apparently was no barrier. One such, an African, called a cry that was heard by some in the cabin in the woods. The African organized a daring expedition. They had found an abandoned private jet, and with a few companions—and a 'real' pilot—they made it to the people in the north woods. Eventually, they returned, leaving two passengers that had come from Africa, and taking on two American women who wanted to join 'the Africa group.' This book, Anansí, is the story of the travelers, the African group, beginning after they left the north woods."
Reality is a concept made in my head, shaped from experiences, sights, feelings, many ideas that were taught me, impressed on me. And out of all those perceptions my mind somehow makes a whole that in the modern world is the stage and backdrop of where and how I live.
All societies, villages, tribes, cultures have ways to educate, describe the tribal reality to growing children. From birth our parents, teachers, neighbors, peers, shape the experiences and the meanings attached to experiences that make up my reality. Western culture is more forceful and more determined perhaps to impress a certain way of seeing what IS. Modern, or civilized, people have definite ideas about good and bad. Anything and everything can be good or bad: the way we dress, the color of our skin, what we do, what we can‘t do, what we say, how we deal with life. In the real reality (a useless concept of course) there is no good or bad, because that is a value judgment humans invented. And, as we all know all too well, what is good for me most likely is bad for someone else.
In 2014 robert combined revised versions of Rain of Ashes, Saba, and Anansi into one all-encompassing volume he titled Earth Renews, and human kind... (robert's undying unanswered question).
robert also added a two-page Epilogue - flashes from a book that will never be .
To be clear, Rain of Ashes is included as the first 161 pages of Earth Renews.
robert's masterpiece of a future becomes less fictional day-by-day. It begins like this:
"Tomorrow I die. That's what the new teacher says. How can she know? Joe and Larry died a long time ago. Maybe ten days, or thirty? It's hard to know what days mean any more when it is always night. The teacher's name is La Honda. Funny name. She says it is where she grew up, or where she was before, I can't remember. La Honda says it will be day again. One of these days she said. I've sort of forgotten what 'day' means. Night was when we were in bed, but now I sleep when I'm tired. So many hours are a day. But, how do you know what hours are? When La Honda said I die tomorrow, she meant soon, I think. Because I threw up in school. Well, not really school. It is that house where some people lived we did not like. I don't know why we did not like them; I thought they were okay. But, my mom says they do bad things. How does she know?"
This is the last and most complete version of Earth Renews that I know of.
From time to time someone will ask me, very seriously, Can you teach me how to listen to my intuition, or, learn what you call, knowing? This knowing, is knowing things that in western thinking I cannot know. Like knowing who is calling before picking up the phone when it rings. Or, slowing down, for no apparent reason, when there is a speed trap around the next corner—placed there because drivers cannot see it before they are in range of the machines that measure speed. Or knowing that this plant is unhappy and needs to be moved to another place. Some call this intuition. I am convinced that knowing is not a supernatural, or unusual, capability. Many animals have it, and it is not rare among humans. Can it be learned? Yes, probably. Can it be taught? Maybe. I learned it, so someone else should be able too, right?
Dear friends, this is a continuation of what is getting to be a three part long story that I am sending you in parts. The first was called Control -- which some of you read as a story about chickens and ducks -- it was meant to be about people and our need to control nature and ourselves. The second part was Chaos, the thing we most want to control. This part i call Ecology, although of course all three parts are about ecology.
So-called modern agriculture is asymmetrical warfare on Nature. All indigenous peoples knew that food plants must be planted mixed. As I have been told in three different countries, “what one plant takes out of the ground, another puts back in.” That kind of agriculture was sustainable for thousands of years. But no, we modern man, knew better. We flatten a thousand acres of rich soil, and plant a thousand acres of corn in straight rows so that a few machines can do the work of a thousand men and women. It so happens that there is a tiny animal that loves corn; an insect probably. When there is one corn plant that is grown in the middle of a bean plant that climbs all over it, the insect may have a bite here and there, but does little damage. Where there is a whole row of nothing but corn. Oh boy! Insects multiply fast, and soon a thousand acres of corn has a million or more little insects leaving a thousand acres of damaged corn overnight...
2010 What's The Point Of Remembering? by robert wolff
What’s the point of remembering, a little girl asked. Well, it’s what we all do, all the time. You remember your name, don’t you? Oh, it’s like learning. Yes, learning is remembering. Cats and dogs remember their name, too, but they have other ways of remembering as well, but scent. Remembering makes me think. Remembering makes me know that there are differences between your name and mine, between cats and dogs. And today can be different from yesterday. Do you remember what you had for breakfast yesterday? The same we have every day except sunday then we have eggs do you like eggs? That was a good conversation with a young person. For me, the point is also that I can know there is, was, another way to live. Easier. Better I think. Certainly more sustainable. Not as confused, not as violent, not as mean-spirited. People were not as broken up as we have become...
What is happening to us, human beings? We are rapidly getting more cruel, confused, complicit. We were never like that. We are getting detached from what is real, what is true — believing in ideas that are obviously unsustainable and inhuman. It would be easy to make up some explanation that it comes from outside. A virus, the whispering of aliens. But probably it is our own species that is going crazy. A tiny percentage of humans is pushing with all the might of their almost unlimited wealth to literally destroy the planet. If that is not crazy I don‘t know what is. In all of the history of Life on Earth have there been other species who systematically set out to destroy the ecology that is all Life? Hard to believe. And if there were they obviously did not survive because not that long ago we had a normally working ecology.
(view 1 of 3) It’s war. No, I don’t mean the was or terror. That may be one of the faces of the great war that is going on. The great war is waged by the very few against everyone else. The uprisings in the Middle East are the model. The many are finally rebelling, resisting. Strangely, even Israel has seen thousands of protestors on the streets objecting to the dictatorial rule of Netanyahu. The people of Papua, now a province of Indonesia, are rebelling against their masters again. This battle has been fought for half a century and more. In Bahrain, an important US Naval base, the “rebels” are fought by charging doctors and other medical workers for helping citizens who got wounded by their own government. In the US the poor, now a third of all Americans are systematically criminalized for being poor. Having lived in an occupied country for five years I am firmly on the side of all popular uprisings...
Note: these words are translations of thoughts that we think come to us humans from somewhere in space, far away.
What we get are thoughts, concepts, images, not these words we must use to communicate with you. We are not among you. We are on my planet and your are on the planet the Elder asked us to study. We were lucky that we found so many of you allowing us to perceive their perceptions. We have very strict rules about that, we must only share with willing beings.
In Samoa one does not make fun of a Samoan Chief! The Chief Nurse was large, with a larger voice. When I sauntered around the hospital she saw me from two hallways away, laughed loudly and yelled: “Eh Doc, wanna go on a field trip with us?” Sure; where are you going? A small island, Aunu’u, not too far from Pago, with little more than a hundred people. The public health department decided the island needs modern sanitation: flush toilets. The island is small and very rocky. In fact it is difficult to land there because there are no beaches, Our boat will stand off shore and the local people will ferry us ashore, one by one in their canoes. We leave tomorrow morning. Very early, before daybreak, she added. We did not actually leave that early, of course, but we tried.
I imagine that a majority of all humans by now must sense the end of something. Our planet has become a dangerous place, and almost all of us know all too well that we are the ones who have radically changed this planet. We, humankind, have amassed enormous powers that we have willfully applied to destroy at least half of all rainforests, have poisoned the air, the ground, and the water of this planet with our ferocious chemicals. It is we who have destroyed animal and plant habitats on every continent and so have caused the extinction of thousands, perhaps millions, of species of Life—a great danger for the planetary ecology: reducing biodiversity threatens the planetary ecology with collapse. It is easy to see the end. Much more difficult to see a new beginning.
December 17, 2018 I wanted to publish two emails from my correspondence with robert wolff (author of Original Wisdom, Rain of Ashes, A Book of Dreams etc.) who died in 2015 at the age of 90+. Although towards the end of his life he had trouble with his eyesight, he still managed to send out newsletters and reply to personal emails in his wonderfully attentive way. The amazing Original Wisdom (and his emails) became my primary source of inspiration for all things ‘nature’ during that time and helped me to set the path along a homeschooling life for my two daughters, which in turn set the tone for the life I now lead. robert’s writings (wildwolff.com) went offline after he died, so I wanted to make some of his words available online here after being inspired by seeing his writing archived by Clinton Callahan here. Louisa Archer
It is a privilege to have lived through some very different times—in war and peace—and lived in several different lands. Adapting to and knowing many kinds of people was a challenge and a great education. I know some very different realities, spoke different languages, known people with very different kinds of education and ideas. All that gives me a peculiar view on life with a focus on us, humans. At the end of my life I admit that I am disappointed, to put it very, very mildly, that we, in this country, haven’t done much to reduce emissions and changed to greener energy.