“Our resistance to the planet’s destruction—this resistance is often called environmentalism—is of course servile to the core. Our activism consists almost exclusively of begging those in power to go against the requirements and rewards of this omnicidal economic and political and cultural system and do the right thing, something we know they will never do with any consistency, something we know they cannot do with any consistency, because to do so would cause the entire economic system (based as it is functionally upon unsustainable and exploitative activities) to implode. We never demand they do the right thing. And we certainly never force them to do the right thing. And God forbid we actually cause the right thing to be done by using our own power. That would be too scary.”
“The culture’s problem lies above all in belief that controlling and abusing the natural world is justifiable.”
“The natural world is not valued within this culture except as it can be considered resources convertible to cash.”
“Without question, most people in this culture prefer their “comforts or elegancies” to a living planet, and so theft and rape and pillage are allowed to rule the day. Upton Sinclair famously said that it’s hard to make a man understand something when his job depends on him not understanding it. I’d say here that it’s hard to make people care about something they receive tangible benefits from not caring about.”
You can talk all you want about violence, as long as you don’t mention social change… Similarly, you can talk all you want about social change, so long as you never mention violence. But you must never put them together.
…[It’s] why it’s okay for the military to teach so many people how to make and use explosives, and why it’s okay for the military to blow people up all over the world. That’s sending violence down the hierarchy. That’s why it’s okay for corporations to teach people how to make and use explosives to put in a mine and destroy a mountain. That’s sending violence down the hierarchy. But if you mention explosives and the possibility of using them to go not down but up the hierarchy, you must be punished.”
—Derrick Jensen, Endgame Vol II: Resistance
“Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on 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 fetishization of the victims.”
“To be a forest, I think - or feel, or am told - is to realize, to be, that contradiction: of life and death melting together on one hand, and separated by a chasm on the other. And of course it’s not just life and death that are both miscible and immiscible. The same is true for everything: where does the bee start and the wind end? Where does the tree start and the boring beetle end? Where do the bush, the gall wasp, and the gall each begin and end? To be a bee, or spider, or tree, or woodpecker, or wild human being, is to have entirely different relationships with life and death and each other than all of those relationships I have learned. Life and death – and all others – are partners with whom we dance from beginning to end and back to beginning.”
“The only measure by which we’ll be judged by those who come after us is the health of the land, and the health of the water, and the health of the Earth. They’re not going to give a shit as to whether we recycled. They’re not going to give a shit as to whether we wrote our legislators. They’re not going to give a shit as to how hard we tried. What they’re going to care about is whether they can breathe the air and drink the water, whether the land will support them… What they’re going to care about is do we live on a living planet?”
We have lost touch with the natural order of things… which day of the workweek it is may be more important to many of us than the great transition moments in the seasonal cycles. And which hour of the day it is—will I get to work on time? Will I avoid rush hour traffic? Will I get to watch my favorite television program?—may be more important to us than the transitional moments in the diurnal cycles. We have forgotten the great spiritual import of these moments of transition. The dawn is mystical, a very special moment for the human to experience the wander and depth of fulfillment in the sacred. The same is true of nightfall. And it’s true when we pass from consciousness to sleep, where our subconscious comes forward. That this is a special moment of intimacy… It’s the great transitional moment in our day-night cycle.
There are magical moments in the yearly cycle, too… winter solstice, the moment when the transformation takes place between a declining and ascending sun. It’s a moment of death in nature, a moment when everything is reborn. We have lost touch with this intimate experience.
In the springtime, humans are meant to wonder and to ceremonially observe succession, leading to the fulfillment of summer, and the beginning of the movement again toward death. At the harvest there is another time of gratitude and celebration…
All of this is cosmological. Such experience evokes a sense of wonder at the majesty of things. We participate in the world of the sacred, the world of mystery, the world of fulfillment. To recognize our fulfillment in these moments is to know what it is to be human.
We can say the same for places as for moments. To be fully human is to fully experience the spectacular formations of the planet: particular mountains, particular rivers, certain rock structures.
We no longer do this. We don’t experience the natural world surrounding us. We deny ourselves our deepest delight by not participating in the dawn, the dusk, the solstice, the springtime.”
“We were not meant for this. We were meant to live and love and play and work and even hate more simply and directly. It is only through outrageous violence that we come to see this absurdity as normal, or to not see it at all. Each new child has his eyes torn out so he will not see, his ears removed so he will not hear, his tongue ripped out so he will not speak, his mind juiced so he will not think, and his nerves scraped so he will not feel. Then he is released into a world broken in two: others, like himself, and those to be used. He will never realize that he still has all of his senses, if only he will use them. If you mention to him that he still has ears, he will not hear you. If he hears, he will not think. Perhaps most dangerously of all, if he thinks he will not feel. And so on, again.”