A LANGUAGE OLDER THAN WORDS

coyote(My ISP has been down since New Year’s — hopefully they’ll be up soon, and I’ll be back at full speed).
F
rom Derrick Jensen’s A Language Older Than Words:

There are times the lies get to me, times I weary of battering myself against the obstacles of denial, hatred, fear-inducing stupidity, and greed, times I want to curl up and fall into the problem, let it sweep me away as it so obviously sweeps away so many others. I remember a spring day a few years ago, a spring day much like this one, only a little more sun, and warmer. I sat on this same couch and looked out this same window at the same ponderosa pine.

I was frightened, and lonely. Frightened of a future that looks dark, and darker with each passing species, and lonely because for every person actively trying to shut down the timber industry, stop abuse, or otherwise bring about a sustainable and sane way of living, there are thousands who are helping along this not-so-slow train to oblivion. I began to cry.

The tears stopped soon enough. I realized we are not so outnumbered. We are not outnumbered at all. I looked closely, and saw one blade of wild grass, and another. I saw the sun reflecting bright off the needles of pine trees, and I heard the hum of flies. I saw ants walking single file through the dust, and a spider crawling toward the corner of the ceiling. I knew in that moment, as I’ve known ever since, that it is no longer possible to be lonely, that every creature on earth is pulling in the direction of life — every grasshopper, every struggling salmon, every unhatched chick, every cell of every blue whale — and it is only our own fear that sets us apart…

Ours is a politics, economics and religion of occupation, not of inhabitation, and as such the methods by which we are formed and governed have no legitimacy save that sprouting from the end of a cannon, from a can of pepper spray, from the rapist’s penis, from the travesty of modern education, from the instilled dread of a distant hell and the false promise of a future techtopia, from the chains that bind children to beds and looms and from the everyday fear of starvation — as well as an internalized notion of what constitutes social success or failure — that binds us to wage slavery. The responsibility for holding destructive institutions, systems and culture accountable falls on each of us. We are the governors as well as the governed…

If someone were to ask me what to do about the problems facing the world today I would say: Listen. If you listen carefully enough you will in time know exactly what to do.

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4 Responses to A LANGUAGE OLDER THAN WORDS

  1. Jon Husband says:

    IMO this is why blogging is actually very important, for more than just a small band of bloggers – whether it remains with the name blogging, or the process actually extends into a greater scope of use, such as in the workplace.Blogging, and writing and reading, are almost the polar opposite of reengineering driven efficiency, and exhortations to “keep your email short and to the point” (thereby often providing little or no context, and no human voice). In fact, a gentle jibe re: Time Savers for Bloggers – maybe the point is to take more time, with yourself and for your potential readers, people who deserve your rspect since they are offering you their time abnd attention. Listening well takes time – your time to get to know yourself well enough that you don’t want to fill silence, both before and during the silence itself, and other peoples’ time once they realize they are actually being listened to – they’ll talk more and better, revealing who they are, what they believe and what they are open to learning.Damn, polarities everywhere.I wrote a short post earlier today on my blog, stimulated by a blogpal, about why IMO blogging actually does dialogue very well. I keep experiencing that more and more.The permalink, if interested: http://www.blogue.com/wirearchy/2004/01/02#a303

  2. graywyvern says:

    thanx for the quote…beautiful, & needed.

  3. Rebecca says:

    I read this book a couple years ago. A gift from my mother (who admitted that she read it before she gave it to me). Very moving, inspiring, thought-provoking, and heart-aching. Thanks for reminding me about it, I’m going to go dig it up and read it again.

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