Thursday, July 7, 2011

Commonplace digest 3: Derrick Jensen edition

Back in May when I was reading the second volume of Derrick Jensen's Endgame I kind of had the idea that I was going to write a series of posts of thoughts inspired by it. But then I ended up, you know, not doing that. Partly it was laziness. Partly it was getting distracted by whatever I was writing about at the time. But mostly it was that, since I read the first volume (almost exactly a year ago now), a good portion of Jensen's ideas and arguments have become foundational parts of my worldview, to the point where I found that I had as little to say about them explicitly and in isolation as I do about, say, breathing air. I don't write and think about these ideas anymore; I write and think with them.

Another thing is that while the ideas themselves are the same, there is a huge difference between volume one (The Problem of Civilization) and volume two (Resistance). While it made a lot of sense to me, and honestly delighted me, to discuss the philosophical (or intellectual or whatever) implications I found in Jensen's ideas as presented in the first volume, doing so with passages in the second volume seems to me to miss the point. In many ways, the most important passages in volume two (which I am not referencing here) are the ones that give specific information on what can be done to actually take down civilization and list resources for where to find even more specific information. Ideas, as Jensen would surely agree, aren't worth anything. Action is what matters. And since a blog isn't exactly a platform for action, lengthy discussions of the book here seemed like a waste of energy.

But! I did type up some nice passages, so if you'd like, click over and read Jensen on meticulous records of atrocities, on the best definition of history I've ever seen, on the purpose of the rules, on our disconnection from death (and consequently from life), on the master's tools, on the chicken and egg question of civilization and violence, on the proper targets, on our unshakable but false faith in the products of civilization, on production--or the conversion of the living to the dead--including the wonderful description of the Nazi concentration camps as "production stripped of the veneer of economics," on what kind of culture should replace civilization, and on the land coming back.

1 comment:

Justin said...

I just got the volume II. Never read him before, really interesting quotes.

I have a social networking article I think you would like in the works. Just needs heavy editing, but its very in line with some of the interesting angles Jensen takes.

The Holocaust thing was a mind bender, I had never considered it like that before. Its valid to me. That was the holocaust, it was an economic contraction event; we only have resources for these people, these people have to go. Our economy functions very much on the same dynamic, and as we are seeing with the growing problem of commodity speculation, this is becoming even more aggressive. Meaning that the commodity speculation is driving up food prices and starving out third world people from access to resources. As we enter an age of scarcity, I'd expect that mechanisms that liquidate people through the systemic and diffused pathologies of economic markets will begin multiplying and worsening.