Category Archives: abuse

review: derrick jensen’s ‘dreams’ and ‘a language older than words’

back in mid-july i wrote that i would soon have a review of derrick jensen’s latest book, dreams. however, somewhere along the way, i got a bit distracted by what is probably his best-known work, a language older than words. i first read language back in 2003, and i remembered that it had had something of an effect on my worldview. i remembered that he basically showed that the sexual and child abuse that he had suffered growing up was not dissimilar to the way our culture is treating the planet. however, with so many words and books and thoughts between then and now, i felt that, after completing dreams, it was time to go back to the work that first introduced me to his writing.

so i’m just going to say first off that i’m of the opinion that dreams is basically a rehashing of language. honestly, all of his books seem to be a rehashing of each other. however, this is definitely not a bad thing, at least in his case! what he writes is simply the truth: industrial civilization is incompatible with life on this planet and needs to be stopped. each of his books just focuses on different aspects of the destruction we are taking part in (whether we do so intentionally or knowingly, or not). a section of page 262 in language seems to me to be the point of what he’s trying to get across in all of the books he’s written over the years:

We need to learn from egalitarian religious and especially extant indigenous groups that the emphasis of our society must be on process: not on the creation of things and the accumulation of monetary or political power, but on the acknowledgement and maintenance of relationships, on both personal and grand scales.

that’s it, pure and simple. dreams focuses on the acknowledgment and maintenance of relationships between humans and what jensen calls ‘other sides’. part of the way the other sides attempt to communicate with us is through dreams while we sleep, but there are other ways, subtle and not-so-much, that other beings (for lack of a better word) try to get through to us humans. however, most of the time we write these things off as coincidence or flukes or as products of our imagination. or, we view these communications as being evil, because of some old testament verses that basically write off any extra-biblical communiques of this sort as being forbidden and of the devil. anyway, jensen’s main message in dreams is that these other sides are more than willing to help humanity bring down civilization (and that it’s going to happen regardless, whether or not humans choose to participate or just ‘let it happen’, as we so often do).

personally, what he wrote in dreams about this topic fully resonates with me. i’ve kept a dream journal off and on for a number of years, and can clearly see where some ‘other’ has been guiding me, giving me messages about what i should and shouldn’t be doing, or about my motivations, blatant and subconscious. and even outside of dreaming, from time to time i’ll get ‘a feeling’ about something, or do something that i initially find inexplicable, but eventually it makes sense why whatever event happened the way it did. for example, the morning of march 11, 2011, i woke up with a feeling of deep dread in my chest. the thought ‘something really bad is happening right now’ went through my head, and i lay there in bed, really scared. eventually i fell back asleep, but upon waking up later that morning, of course the first news i heard was of the massive earthquake and tsunami in japan. (actually, a local news station is the alarm on my clock radio, and what i woke up to was the announcement of a tsunami warning for hawaii.) the worst was (and still may be) yet to come, with the meltdown of the fukushima nuclear reactors. we still don’t know the full effects of this, effects likely made worse due to the attempted (and continued) suppression of information by japanese (and world) officials regarding this event. i’ve heard that every person in the northern hemisphere has been exposed to radiation from the fukushima event (sorry, can’t currently find a link to back this up, but will continue to look). who knows what long term effects this will have on our health? so, yeah, ‘something really bad’ happened that morning, and i was told about it by some mysterious other as it happened on the other side of the world.

dreams is an amazing book, and should be read by everyone, although admittedly if you’re not open to the idea of there being reality beyond what is seen with the human eye, you’re gonna think it’s all bullshit. however, while dreams should be read by everyone, i believe that a language older than words must be read by everyone. i think (and, as much as i understood what i was reading, i didn’t get this back in 2003) that this is the most important book i have ever read. and it’s not even for the abuse angle, which of course is important. i just think language has the ability to remind people of what’s important, of why we’re here, of what the point is. and what is the point, according to jensen (from page 150 of language)?

What if the point of life has nothing to do with the creation of an ever-expanding region of control? What if the point is not to keep at bay all those people, beings, objects, and emotions that we so needlessly fear? What if the point instead is to let go of that control? What if the point of life, the primary reason for existence, is to lie naked with your lover in a shady grove of trees? What if the point is to taste each other’s sweat and feel the delicate pressure of finger on chest, thigh on thigh, lip on cheek? What if the point is to stop, then, in your slow movements together, and listen to birdsong, to watch dragonflies hover, to look at your lover’s face, then up at the undersides of leaves moving into your movement, to bring trees, wind, grass, dragonflies into your family and in so doing abandon any attempt to control them? What if the point all along has been to get along, to relate, and experience things on their own terms? What if the point is to feel joy when joyous, love when loving, anger when angry, thoughtful when full of thought? What if the point from the beginning has been to simply be?(emphasis mine)

read both books, and other books by jensen as well. i just started walking on water: reading, writing, and revolution, his views on the educational system in this country, and plan to reread the culture of make-believe after that (plus i’m also in the middle of reading his work with aric mcbay and lierre keith, deep green resistance). however, if you are only going to read one book of his, hands down it should be a language older than words. if nothing else, it will remind you of what you deep down already know. it’s dark reading at times, but who says beauty always has to be about sweetness and light?

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boys and girls, this is how a sociopath behaves

very early sunday morning, i called the police on my sociopathic gentleman caller. we had not had any contact for about three weeks, other than a midnight knock at my door about ten days ago that i did not answer. saturday night we saw each other in the lobby, although at that time we did not acknowledge one another’s presence. still i knew that at some point in the evening he’d be knocking at my door to try and f*ck with me, literally or figuratively, because he had seen me. and a couple of hours later, faithful to who he is, there was his tap at my door.

basically his purpose in showing up was to intimidate, as apparently he is still mad at me for not coming up with the money to get his car out of the police impound lot, where apparently it still sits nearly a month later. our last communication consisted of a note i left on his mailbox telling him to leave me alone, to stop harassing me, and that i would involve apartment management and the police if he didn’t. i also called him a loser in the note, saying i wanted nothing to do with him, and called his car raggedy and ghetto-ass. i told him to use the energy he was expending toward me towards getting his car back instead. his saturday night visit consisted of him calling me racist because i dissed his car, telling me i was the loser because i had previously had sex with a trans-sexual (say what?!; i know he was referring to a previous relationship with a boyfriend who turned out to be gay, but he needs to get his terminology right!), and that he had gone to the police because of my previous two notes (i wrote a note back in mid-may calling him a liar and once again asking him to leave me alone). the police had supposedly told him that *i* was harassing *him* because of the notes and that *he* could take *me* to court, but he wasn’t going to do that, although i suggested that he go right ahead. also, the fact that i let him in, both three weeks ago, and this past saturday night, supposedly negated any argument that i had against his harassing me, according to him.

where he f*cked up, though, was the fact that although he did not verbally threaten me, his actions toward me where physically threatening. saturday night there were two initial times when i verbally clearly told him to leave and physically indicated the same thing by unlocking my front door and attempting to open it. however, both times he shut the door and indicated that he wasn’t leaving. the second time he then put his arms above where i was standing against a closet door. i believe he was going to attempt to kiss me, then wisely thought better of it. i had to ask him several times at that moment to put his arms down and step back, and he kept asking me why, and if he made me nervous, and then asked me if i wanted to hit him, to which i answered no. however, i believe he was trying to coerce me into making the first physical move so he could act against me. at any rate, he made some comment about my neighbors not believing me if i said something to them about him being there against my will, and i said something about the way he was acting at that moment justifying getting the police involved. finally a third time i asked him to leave, very loudly, with the door open so my neighbors would be able to hear it, and he reluctantly left, but not before telling me that i was crazy and i needed professional help. he’s a f*cking sociopath, i’m telling you.

he kept telling me how smart he was, but if he was so smart, he should have left well enough alone after my last note, and just not had any contact with me. or even if he did, even though i was foolish enough to open the door this last time, he should have been smart enough to not act physically threatening toward me. i guess he thought he could physically and verbally intimidate me into just putting up with his harassment for the indefinite future, but having grown up in a home where this type of abuse was a regular occurrence between my parents, there’s no way i’m going to put up with that now. i called the police, and was told of course that i did have options. they found him (he was not in his apartment, but, ironically, had gone outside to shoot the shit with apartment security after his visit to me) and *i assume* let him know that he is to have *no contact* with me. (i’m sure he told them that i’m mentally unstable and a liar, which isn’t true, but what can i do when he’s the mentally unstable liar?)

this morning i spoke with the apartment management first thing about options in dealing with him. she said there wasn’t a whole lot she can do at this point, because he wasn’t officially arrested the other night, and it’s hard because we live in the same building. however, the security guy will keep an eye on him and if he’s on my floor (after the ex parte is approved) he can be arrested. also, i asked her what he might have said about me. he had told me saturday that he had warned management about me, although i’m not sure what he could possibly have warned her about that would be true. anyway, she said that he had never spoken to her about me. in addition, this morning i also went to the jackson county courthouse to get an immediate ex parte filed against him, and to set a court date regarding a restraining order. i’m currently waiting to hear back regarding the judge’s approval. finding another place to live is really not a viable option because i plan to move out-of-state in the next few months and to move now within the city would be inconvenient, to say the least.

i was not physically fearful before saturday night; i figured i could handle his words, because i know that ultimately whatever he says about me has absolutely nothing to do with who i really am. however, if i don’t feel physically safe in my own home, it is my obligation to myself and potentially to other women to do something about it, to the best of my ability.