Tag Archives: Derrick Jensen

Endgame, The Premises: Derrick Jensen

Finishing up here with Derrick Jensen’s premises for his two-volume tome, Endgame.

Premise Fourteen:  From birth on – and probably from conception, but I’m not sure how I’d make the case – we are individually and collectively enculturated to hate life, hate the natural world, hate the wild, hate wild animals, hate women, hate children, hate our bodies, hate and fear our emotions, hate ourselves.  If we did not hate the world, we could not allow it to be destroyed before our eyes.  If we did not hate ourselves, we could not allow our homes and our bodies to be poisoned.

Premise Fifteen:  Love does not imply pacifism.

Premise Sixteen:  The material world is primary.  This does not mean that the spirit does not exist, nor that the material world is all there is.  It means that spirit mixes with flesh.  It means also that real world actions have real world consequences.  It means we cannot rely on Jesus, Santa Claus, the Great Mother, or even the Easter Bunny to get us out of this mess.  It means this mess really is a mess, and not just the movement of God’s eyebrows.  It means we have to face this mess ourselves.  It means that for the time we are here on Earth – whether or not we end up somewhere else after we die, and whether we are condemned or privileged to live here – the Earth is the point.  It is primary.  It is our home.  It is everything.  It is silly to think or act or be as though this world is not real and primary.  It is silly and pathetic to not live our lives as though our lives are real.

Premise Seventeen:  It is a mistake (or more likely, denial) to base our decisions on whether actions arising from them will or won’t frighten fence-sitters, or the mass of Americans.

Premise Eighteen:  Our current sense of self is no more sustainable than our current use of energy or technology.

Premise Nineteen:  The culture’s problem lies above all in the belief that controlling and abusing the natural world is justifiable.’

Premise Twenty:  Within this culture, economics – not community well-being, not morals, not ethics, not justice, not life itself – drives social decisions.

Endgame, The Premises: Derrick Jensen

Premise Seven:   The longer we wait for civilization to crash – or the longer we wait before we ourselves bring it down – the messier the crash will be, and the worse things will be for those humans and non-humans who live during it, and for those who come after.

Premise Eight:  The needs of the natural world are more important than the needs of the economic system.

Premise Nine:  Although there will clearly someday be far fewer humans than there are at present, there are many ways this reduction in population may occur.  Some will be characterized by extreme violence and privation. . . . Personally and collectively we may be able to both reduce the amount and soften the character of violence that occurs during this ongoing and perhaps long-term shift.

Premise Ten:  The culture as a whole and most of its members are insane.  The culture is driven by a death urge, an urge to destroy life.

Premise Eleven:  From the beginning, this culture – civilization – has been a culture of occupation.

Premise Twelve:  There are no rich people in the world,  and there are no poor people.  There are just people.  The rich my have lots of pieces of green paper that many pretend are worth something – or their presumed riches may be even more abstract:  numbers on hard drives at banks – and the poor may not.  These “rich” claim they own land, and the “poor” are often denied the right to make that same claim.  A primary purpose of the police is to enforce the delusions of those with lots of pieces of green paper.  Those without the green papers generally buy into these delusions almost as quickly and completely as those with.  These delusions carry with them extreme consequences in the real world.

Premise Thirteen:  Those in power rule by force, and the sooner we break ourselves of illusions to the contrary, the sooner we can at least begin to make reasonable decisions about whether, when, and how we are going to resist.

Endgame, the Premises: Derrick Jensen

I’ve decided to begin writing again on Eve’s Daughter.  I’m going to finish up the premises of  Derrick Jensen’s work,  Endgame, and then move on to blogging my experience in becoming as self-sustaining as possible.  I’m getting chickens this year – maybe a goat, and I’m going to plant a garden.  I’m a complete novice with all of it, but what I’m lacking in experience I more than make up for with passion.  Still, it could get hilarious pretty quickly.

Premise Three:  Our way of living – industrial civilization – is based on, requires, and would collapse very quickly without persistent and wide-spread violence.

Premise Four:  Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unatrticulated hierarchy.  Violence done by those higher in the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed.  When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized.  Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the festishization of the victims.

Premise Five:  The property of those higher on the hierarchy is more valuable than the lives of those below.  It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control – in everyday language, to make money – by destroying or taking the lives of those below.  This is called production.  If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below.  This is called justice.

Premise  Six:  Civilization is not redeemable.  This culture will not undergo any sort of voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living.  If we do not put a halt to it, civilization will continue to immiserate the vast majority of humans and to degrade the planet until it (civilization, and probably the planet) collapses.  The effects of this degradation will continue to harm humans and non-humans for a very long time.

Endgame, The Premises: Derrick Jensen

Premise Two

Traditional communities do not often voluntarily give up or sell the resources on which their communities are based until their communities have been destroyed.  They also do not willingly allow their landbases to be damaged so that other resources – gold, oil, and so on – can be extracted.  It follows that those who want the resources will do what they can to destroy traditional communities.

Endgame, the Premises: Derrick Jensen

Premise One:  Civilization is not and can never be sustainable.  This is especially true for industrial civilization.

Do you feel the rumblings?  Does your heart ache for something more simple, more free, more human, than what we have created?

I do.  Mine does.

Are you beginning to sense that something is not quite right?  Have you pinpointed the moment that your creativity, your wildness, your heart and soul and humanity, was co-opted?

I am.  I have.

Have you ever really thought about how this country became “ours”?  Does it make you uneasy and do you tell yourself that was a long time ago and we had nothing to do with it?  And then do you wonder about these wars we continue to fight?  Do you wonder about the people in Afghanistan and Iraq?  Do you comfort yourself by believing they are all terrorists, out to take our freedoms and our lifestyle, our manifested destiny?

Are you afraid to look, afraid to follow the crumbs back to their original source?  Is everything still working for you or is your home foreclosed, your job gone, your child hungry?  What will it take for you to see?

Is it beginning to occur to you that you, too, might get in the way of progress?  What if that is what you decided to do – get in the way of progress, before progress decides it for you?

Do you feel the rumblings?

 

Derrick Jensen

Derrick Jensen is a writer and environmentalist, a survivor of abuse, a man with a brilliant mind and a great, great love.  But most of all, in my mind, Derrick is a realist.  He’s unafraid to ask the questions that most of us would never consider asking and he’s unapologetic toward those who  make judgements uninformed.  Which is most of us by the way.  He’s been called, unfairly I think, the “violence guy” because he is not afraid to say that violence returned may be the only thing that will work to reclaim our world from the powers that have overtaken it.

Following are the first two paragraphs from Derrick’s book, “A Language Older Than Words”:

“There is a language older by far and deeper than words.  It is the language of bodies, of body on body, wind on snow, rain on trees, wave on stone.  It is the language of dream, gesture, symbol, memory.  We have forgotten this language.  We do not even remember that it exists.’

In order for us to maintain our way of living, we must, in a broad sense, tell lies to each other, and especially to ourselves.  It is not necessary that the lies be particularly believable.  The lies act as barriers to truth.  These barriers to truth are necessary because without them many deplorable acts would become impossibilities.  Truth must at all costs be avoided.  When we do allow self-evident truths to percolate past our defenses and into our consciousness, they are treated like so many hand-grenades rolling across the dance floor of an improbably macabre party.  We try to stay out of harm’s way, afraid they will go off, shatter our delusions, and leave us exposed to what we have done to the world and to ourselves, exposed as the hollow people we have become.  And so we avoid these truths, these self-evident truths, and continue the dance of world destruction.”

Derrick’s writing, his fearlessness in questioning the assumptions by which we have all come to live, and his ability to pry truth out of the delusions that frame our world are at once courageous and terrifying, wound and balm.

Read him if you dare.