Is the Jungle Neutral?

June 14, 2011

The Jungle Is Neutral by F. Spencer Chapman, first published in 1948.  The journal of a British officer conducting guerrilla operations in Malaya against the Japanese occupation.  This work is often cited as a classic of jungle guerrilla warfare and survival.

Check out the wonderful journals and photos by Keong as he retraces part of Chapman’s path through the jungle.  Keong’s site, My Rainforest Adventures, is a great collection of journals, photos, and tips by and for a modern-day jungle trekker.  Lots of ways to start a fire in the jungle.  Especially cool is the fire piston, a precursor to the diesel engine.

The myth of the jungle is that it is a wicked, inhospitable place.  What does “the jungle is neutral” mean?  It means the jungle does not care and is not a factor in determining if you live or die in the jungle.  You are the deciding factor.  Keep your head and your senses and your feet and the jungle will help you.  Lose them and the jungle swallows you.

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One Response to “Is the Jungle Neutral?”

  1. Anon said

    The jungle is truly neutral. When I went to ground in SE Asia (or up to ground in the canopies to sleep) and there wasn’t anyone else to threaten me nearby, I could see how beautiful it truly was. I once watched two tigers play and hunt for a couple of days from the first canopy. The first cats I’ve ever seen that seem to like water and play in it.

    The jungle is neutral, it doesn’t give a damn about us one way or the other. We bring our own heaven or hell.

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