I thought a forest was made up entirely of trees, but now I know that the foundation lies below ground, in the fungi.— Derrick Jensen
The most useful Derrick Jensen quotes that will activate your inner potential
Surely by now there can be few here who still believe the purpose of government is to protect us from the destructive activities of corporations. At last most of us must understand that the opposite is true: that the primary purpose of government is to protect those who run the economy from the outrage of injured citizens.
I've since come to understand the reason school lasts thirteen years.
It takes that long to sufficiently break a child's will. It is not easy to disconnect children's wills, to disconnect them from their own experiences of the world in preparation for the lives of painful employment they will have to endure.
All we want, whether we are honeybees, salmon, trash-collecting ants, ponderosa pines, coyotes, human beings, or stars, is to love and be loved, to be accepted, cherished, and celebrated simply for being who we are. Is that so very difficult?
To be clear, civilization is not the same as society.
Civilization is a specific, hierarchical organization based on 'power over.' Dismantling civilization, taking down that power structure, does not mean the end of all social order. It should ultimately mean more justice, more local control, more democracy, and more human rights, not less.
All the mega corporations on the planet make their obscene profits off the labor and suffering of others, with complete disregard for the effects on the workers, environment, and future generations. We have a straightforward proposal: if they want public money, we want public control. It's that simple.
If your homeland were invaded by aliens who cut down the forests, poisoned the water and air and contaminated the food supply, would you resist?
To pretend that civilization can exist without destroying its own landbase and the landbases and cultures of others is to be entirely ignorant of history, biology, thermodynamics, morality, and self-preservation.
Have you ever felt love? Did you need scientific proof of this? How would you have definitively and scientifically proved your love existed? If you could not prove it, would that mean your love didn't exist? What would you trust: your own feelings, or science?
No matter what we call it, poison is still poison, death is still death, and industrial civilization is still causing the greatest mass extinction in the history of the planet.
So many indigenous people have said to me that the fundamental difference between Western and indigenous ways of being is that even the most open-minded westerners generally view listening to the natural world as a metaphor, as opposed to the way the world really is. Trees and rocks and rivers really do have things to say to us.
We have been too kind to those who are killing the planet.
We have been inexcusably, unforgivably, insanely kind.
Many Indians have told me that the most basic difference between Western and indigenous ways of being is that Westerners view the world as dead, and not as filled with speaking, thinking, feeling subjects as worthy and valuable as themselves.
The global industrial economy is the engine for massive environmental degradation and massive human (and nonhuman) impoverishment.
We have a need for enchantment that is as deep and devoted as our need for food and water.
The big dividing line is not and has never been between those who advocate more or less militant forms of resistance, or between mainstream and grassroots activists. The dividing line is between those who do something and those who do nothing.
Violence, and evil, doesn't always come dressed in black, and it doesn't always look like Charles Manson. Nor does it always come to us as obvious and arrogant[...]. Often it comes to us with the simple plea to be reasonable.
We are members of the most destructive culture ever to exist.
Our assault on the natural world, on indigenous and other cultures, on women, on children, on all of us through the possibility of nuclear suicide and other means--all these are unprecedented in their magnitude and ferocity.
Love does not imply pacifism.
Yes, it's vital to make lifestyle choices to mitigate damage caused by being a member of industrialized civilization, but to assign primary responsibility to oneself, and to focus primarily on making oneself better, is an immense copout, an abrogation of responsibility.
Writing is really very easy. Tap a vein and bleed onto the page. Everything else is just technical.
Like the layers of an onion, under the first lie is another, and under that another, and they all make you cry.
The process of schooling does not give birth to human beings - as education should but never will so long as it springs from the collective consciousness of our culture - but instead it teaches us to value abstract rewards at the expense of our autonomy, curiosity, interior lives, and time.
We cannot hope to create a sustainable culture with any but sustainable souls.
If you only had a limited time to life (which is of course the case), how would you spend your time?
In order to maintain our way of living, we must tell lies to each other, and especially to ourselves.
A language Older Than Words
Slavery was a central concern of governance form the time of the first nation-state. The Code of Hammurabi, the earliest know set of laws for governing an empire, prescribed death for anyone who harbored a fugitive or otherwise helped a slave to escape. The relationship between the law and bondage goes back even farther: Indeed, the oldest extant legal documents don't concern the sale of land, houses, or even animals, but slaves.
a real partnership in which all parties help all others to be more fully themselves
There is always money to kill people. There is never enough money for life affirming ends.
The task we all face as human beings .
.. is to find and become who we are. The task teachers face is to find their own way of teaching, one that manifests who they are.
It's no wonder we don't defend the land where we live.
We don't live here. We live in television programs and movies and books and with celebrities and in heaven and by rules and laws and abstractions created by people far away and we live anywhere and everywhere except in our particular bodies on this particular land at this particular moment in these particular circumstances.
So long as we only believe in the justice of the state, of the law-made by those in power, to serve those in power-so long will we continue to be exploited by those in power.
We can follow the example of those who remembered that the role of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much integrity as possible, but rather to confront and take down those systems.
Stand with me. Stand and fight. I am one, and we would be two. Two more might join and we would be four. When four more join we will be eight. We will be eight people fighting whom others will join. And then more people. And more. Stand and fight.
I thought that, given the system of rewards central to our economic system, in which profit maximization is valued above all else and specifically above life, it is probably just as irresistible to the owners of capital (human or otherwise) to exploit workers (and the land): "Nothing personal," they say as they load their property onto the ship bound for the Middle Passage, "but a man's gotta turn a dime."
Forests precede us and deserts dog our heels.
I think a lot of us are increasingly recognizing that the dominant culture is killing the planet.
Civilization is not and can never be sustainable.
As is true for most people I know, I've always loved learning.
As is also true for most people I know, I always hated school. Why is that?
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.
To believe Christianity stands in opposition to slavery is at best to think anachronistically and at worst to not understand Christianity.
Every morning when I awake I ask myself whether I should write or blow up a dam.
I tell myself I should keep writing, though I'm not sure that's right
I wondered what it does to each of us to spend the majority of our waking hours doings things we'd rather not do, wishing we were outside or simply elsewhere, wishing we were reading, thinking, making love, fishing, sleeping, or simply having time to figure out who the hell we are and what the hell we're doing.
Within this culture wealth is measured by one's ability to consume and destroy.
If any thing can be predicated as universally true of uncultivated man, it is that he will not labour beyond what is absolutely necessary to maintain his existence.
I am only so beautiful as the character of my relationships, only so rich as I enrich those around me, only so alive as I enliven those I greet.
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.
But what, precisely, is hope? At a talk I gave last spring, someone asked me to define it. I turned the question back on the audience, and here’s the definition we all came up with: hope is a longing for a future condition over which you have no agency; it means you are essentially powerless.