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GOATWALKING by Jim Corbett


by Jim Corbett

Pub Date: June 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-670-82846-7
Publisher: Viking

Best known as a leader of the Sanctuary Movement for Central American refugees, Corbett is a former cowboy, goatherd, and librarian. This complicated, dense book develops his philosophy of ``goatwalking,'' a way to live ``cocreatively rather than possessively.'' With references to his conversion to Quakerism and a reliance on a convoluted logic dependent upon the concepts of civil disobedience, ``sabbatical communion,'' ``covenanting,'' errantry, and biblical passages on ``cimarron'' communities along with the basic tenets of Taoism and Buddhism, goatwalking would seem to encompass thinkers from Ayn Rand to Edward Abbey, from Henry Thoreau to Carl Schmitt. In any case, Corbett is frankly brilliant in the sections on goat husbandry and survival in the wilds. He offers tips on nomadic goatherding: how to supplement a goat-milk diet with plants and insects; how to milk a goat and how to housebreak one to sleep in a tent; how to avoid poisons (including bat urine) and find medicines out on the range; and how to prepare goat milk, yogurt, and cheese. His transitions are so weak, however, that his philosophical discourse never seems to connect, alternating between the unfathomable—``the assumption that meaning must be centered on the self-conscious self dies harder than its geocentric analogue''—and the curious: ``...the Sermon on the Mount is worse than foolish...we must serve Mammon rather than the God proclaimed by Jesus.'' Difficult to follow and often contradictory, but the practical sections would make a great handbook for nomads.