Category Archives: civilization

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?

dying and living and sleeping and waking

i feel as if my soul is dying a slow painful death and taking my body down with it. or vice versa. either way, i’m dying a slow painful death, or at least it feels that way monday through friday, from approximately 8am to 430pm.

i remember about a year ago, i was so happy to have gotten this position with my current employer. this current position started out paying more than what i earned at the last library i worked at, plus i thought it would build on the foundation i had created at the other job.  and truthfully, in some ways it has. i have learned a lot at this job, especially in areas of web development, and the intricacies of interlibrary loan and copyright law. this knowledge is something i may be able to take with me wherever i go next. (and i am going, somewhere, but that will be the subject of another post.)

and yet, today my work consisted of comparing a printed out list with the contents of a database. basically, this is bullshit work, as far as i’m concerned. much of the work i do in this position is bullshit work. i spend most of my days moving bytes of ‘info’ from one computer to another, in an ‘industry’ i’m feeling less and less respect for with each day that goes by.

there is so much real work to be done in the world, and i’m feeling as though my soul and mind are wasting away. just today i finished reading derrick jensen’s dreams, which is an amazing, amazing book,  and has made one hell of an impression on my psyche. one thing this book has inadvertently done is made glaringly obvious to me all the ways in which my job, and current way of life, are 1. bullshit,  2. pointless, and 3. evil. yes, evil. the building i work in is located next to, and affiliated with, a vivisection lab. plus, there’s this whole morality, or lack of, in the medical-pharmaceutical industry, a morality that revolves around little more than making money. it seems the purpose of the medical-pharmaceutical industry is not to get people healthy, but to keep them sick yet somewhat functional, and dependent on the industry. sadly, the work i do in an academic medical library supports this paradigm.

meanwhile, this country is literally on the verge of financial collapse, and this planet is on the verge of a far worse collapse. if it isn’t too late, i want to do something about the latter, at least in my little corner of the world, but am not doing a damn thing, other than going to and from my little cubicle every day like a good little serf. other than the plants in my cubicle, the closest i am to nature most work days is the contact made with all the paper i waste (although we do recycle – what good little stewards of the planet we are), paper that used to be in a forest somewhere. as of now, i’m still contributing to the problem (if you could call the planet dying simply a ‘problem’), and i want to do something different from that. i want something where i’m giving back instead of calling myself environmentally conscious while working a job that is in conflict with my soul, just so i don’t have to worry so much about keeping a roof over my head and sallie mae off my back. dreams has touched off an awakening in me where i want to work towards what is important and real. and these are all things i’ve thought about before, but jensen’s book about intangibles has shown me what is real and necessary and urgent. i won’t go into all that now because i do plan to write a fitting review of dreams sometime in the next couple of weeks. for now,  i’ll just say that this book is something of a catalyst for me and the upcoming changes i’m planning to make in my life. yes, i’ve known all along that collapse is imminent, and even if it isn’t ‘imminent’, it is going to happen probably in my lifetime (which i guess would make it somewhat imminent), and sooner would be better than later. it’s helped me to realize that maybe now is the time for me to extricate myself from this system, which i am in the slow process of doing. (also, more thoughts on this extrication in future posts.)

are you happy with the work you do (whether it’s paid or unpaid)? are you contributing to the demise of this planet or to the demise of civilization? (those ideas are opposites, believe it or not.) whom do you serve, Life or Death?

review of ‘zeitgeist: moving forward’

over the weekend i watched the third in the series of zeitgeist documentaries, zeitgeist: moving forward. i ‘enjoyed’ (well as much as one can ‘enjoy’ movies telling us why we’re fucked in the ways that we are) the first two movies, although i found myself disagreeing with the solution first presented in zeitgeist: addendum: a resource-based economy, as demonstrated in the venus project. it just seemed too utopian in its vision and much too dependent on technology.

in moving forward, the idea of a resource based economy seems to have been kicked up a notch from addendum. but here’s the thing: the film is absolutely right in what it says about human nature and about how the monetary system will basically be the root of our demise. the first two films were right on in unmasking religion, christianity in particular, as a tool of control, as well as in the questions asked about 9/11, and in its explanation of how the federal reserve system works, to our detriment. the creators of this film series have nailed our society’s problems on the head, and then some. it’s the solution presented where these films are lacking, in my opinion. and i’m not one to necessarily present better alternatives; i’m not that smart. i think ultimately  solutions will work themselves out, out of necessity, as we cross various bridges. whether or not the solutions humanity comes up with will be enough to save ourselves remains to be seen. but, i think the energy that has obviously gone into the thinking about the venus project has been wasted, because this solution is only viable to someone who grew up on and believed what he saw on the jetsons. this well-meaning energy needs to go instead into planning for the future based on the way things are now, not working with a clean slate, which is pretty much the premise behind solutions presented in the film. (the earth exists with the same number of resources currently in existence, but i’m not sure about the number of people or what happened to the cities and/or countries currently in existence.)

in moving forward, jacque fresco, the mastermind behind these ideas, suggests building cities with different rings, or zones, designed for various activities. one of my questions is, what happens to the cities that exist now? are we going to raze all currently standing cities so these perfectly round cities with populations of 50,000-ish can be built? and each of these cities has an agricultural belt, where the city’s food (presumably vegetables?) will be grown in high rise one-acre gardens. with these gardens ringing the city, providing the city’s food needs, supposedly you wouldn’t have to go outside the city to get food ever again. if everyone in the city is a vegetarian, that is. a vegetarian diet is not an ideal diet, no matter what its pundits say. so, are you going to raise livestock in these high-rise towers? that would take factory farming to a whole new level (no pun intended). and it seems that some sort of artificial lighting would be needed in a high rise farm, because all sides cannot be optimally oriented towards the sun, which means some sort of power source would be needed. maybe it would be solar, maybe not, but solar energy requires extraction of resources as well (for panels). the devil is in the details.

additionally, this example of a resource-based economy is much too dependent on technology. it is suggested in the film that computers be used to globally monitor resources (the global monitoring thing kinda smells like big brother to me), so that resources can be shipped to where they are in short supply anywhere on the planet. but when the grid goes down, computers (and ipads and e-readers and smartphones and that big flat-screen telly, etc.) are going to be pretty useless, except maybe for use as doorstops or paperweights. and driverless cars, and trains that can get from china to new york city in an hour – it’s all basically wishful thinking bullshit. it seems there are more pressing needs than getting from point a to point b in the shortest amount of time, just because you can. (plus, what about the idea that it’s really all supposed to be about the journey, not just arrival at the destination?)

this utopian fantasy of fresco’s is still based on extracting resources from the earth on a massive scale. however, just because you have the ability to keep track of a resource and where you think it needs to go doesn’t mean the resource is available to be used to begin with. the fact is that any solution to the problems the people of this planet face (once the world economy collapses/the grid goes down) will have to deal with people learning how to do things for themselves, by hand, locally, and not dependent on a system whose home base may be on the other side of the planet. this means learning how to do things like growing and raising food, sewing and mending, even bartering and trading skills. besides, we don’t really have the time to wait for dr. fresco to build these magical cities that will solve all our problems for us with the push of a button, while we currently continue to grow more distant from one another, even with the world at our fingertips via the internet. we have to solve our own problems: ‘we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.’ and i fear that we may even be too late on that front, but no matter, there are some of us who see what’s going on and realize that we need to do what we can, while we can.

so, overall, i do support the zeitgeist franchise, in that it is waking people up and getting us to at least think about taking control of our own destinies. but i wish it would leave it at that, or at least offer realistic suggestions on how to do so, without proposing another system of control (which i think is rather ironic since much of the content of these films is about exposing the control world systems have on us). honestly i didn’t watch the last 45 minutes of moving forward (which is nearly 3 hours long), because my thought was that the solutions offered were pretty much non-workable. maybe i’m too quick to judge, who knows, but it seems to me that with converging global crises a very real matter, we just don’t have the time for this fantasy foolishness. we have work to do.

same shit different year?

what a difference a year makes, right? 52 weeks ago today i moved out of what had been a cute little house i had shared with someone who at one time had been one of my best friends. i was moving into a temporary situation where i was to sleep on my sister’s couch, with my cat who didn’t like other cats (of which my sister had three), working 15-20 hours a week at the b&n with the possibility of a second job on the horizon, but not certain. even if the second job came to pass (which it did), it was only seasonal work, and i had no idea what was going to happen once the season was over. my plan for spring/summer 2010 was to find a room rental that was month-to-month and would allow me to keep my cat. at the end of the season, if i didn’t have a ‘real’ job, i’d pack everything and go to new orleans and see what happened. fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how one looks at it), in a relatively short amount of time i got a ‘real’ job (with benefits and everything! please note the sarcasm attached…) with the state of kansas and was able to move back to kansas city.

so things have gone relatively well since my return to the city. i have a decent job in a medical academic library, and my current living situation i couldn’t have planned better if i tried. (actually, during a reading with my psychic last year shortly after my move, she told me that i had ‘created’ this ideal situation in my head, and made it happen, something she said i have a real ability to do. hmmm.)

on the surface, it all seems pretty sweet. i basically could work this current job until retirement (20-25 years!), after which i’d have a nice pension, and in the meantime, i could buy a cute little house in the volker neighborhood, and live happily ever after, maybe as part of a happy couple, maybe as a single old maid librarian-ish person with a bunch of plants and cats. point is, most people would look at my current situation and tell me i’m set. hell, if i were a normal person, i’d think i was set.

last weekend, talking on the phone with one of my best friends, i told her that i was thinking of doing all that, buying a house and settling down. her initial response was, ‘you want to spend the rest of your life in kansas city?’ when she put it that way, well, um, no. and that question and answer have been gnawing at me all this past week. i mean, it even kinda had before, but i had pushed my doubts under the rug. i figured i could buy a house here, and ‘bloom where i’m planted’, literally and figuratively. a cute little fixer-upper with a decent sized backyard would provide me with the space to do the urban farming thing, and i could work full-time to keep the roof over my head. never mind that i have hated the past two winters here, swearing that i needed to live somewhere warmer (new orleans?). never mind that while i do have friends here, finding freedom-loving sustainability-minded integrally-informed people with decent taste in music (no lady gaga allowed!) here in the nation’s breadbasket hasn’t been easy. never mind the fact that even though i have a good job, it has its pitfalls, namely that there are days where maybe i do 2 hours’ worth of work in an 8 hour day, and those two hours (or four or seven, but never eight) consist basically of my moving bytes of information from one computer to another. and i tell myself that i’m helping out society by giving current and future medical professionals the information they need to help people get healthy, but most of the information i’m moving about is nothing more than folks with a bunch of letters behind their names spouting conventional wisdom, and you can look in any doctor’s office waiting room, or even just take a look at people walking down the street, and you will see how far conventional wisdom has taken us. but i digress…

a couple of weekends ago, my roommate had a birthday party at which one of the guests included a professional psychic. after most of the guests had left, he gave readings for the few of us that remained. in my reading, i got several major arcana cards, which are the cards that indicate major life changes. (the 56 card tarot deck contains 22 major arcana cards. i drew six of them out of the ten cards contained in the celtic cross spread.) the cards i drew included the wheel of fortune, which the psychic told me indicated that something very good was about to ‘fall into my lap’; the magician, which he said indicated that my powers of manifesting were very strong, and i was good at getting what i wished for (which kinda backs up what my regular psychic said last year); justice, which he said indicated that i needed to take advantage of this upcoming opportunity because i passed it by in a previous lifetime; also, the hermit, the hierophant, and the lovers (reversed, which is just my luck) were pulled.

so, what does it all mean? even though i’m more settled down and things seem more stable this year, is it a case of same shit different year? maybe this current job is a temporary situation designed to get my feet firmly planted on the ground before making the next move. but what is that next move? i still want the little homestead where i’m raising veggies and chickens and making my own soap and knitting in front of the fireplace in the winter (some place where it’s not snowing every other day), and if i *must* work a regular job, it’s only for 20 hours a week, preferably in a library setting; otherwise i also make a little money writing about whatever it is i’m doing. i think some really bad shit is about to go down over the next few years, on a planetary scale, and there’s no reason to believe that the united states will be spared any of what might happen.  i don’t want to get all doom-and-gloom, but i think the ‘little homestead’, whether urban or rural, will be the best way to protect myself and whoever happens to be around it with me (because another piece of this puzzle is that i don’t want to do this alone). really, i’m not doing this for that reason, i genuinely love the idea of raising my own food and taking care of my own needs (whether by growing it myself or through barter/trade/etc. with others), and being more in tune with nature’s cycles, and more in tune with other people, and with reality. but there are definitely practical reasons why i’m interested in all this too. so we shall see. as i try to do with all matters, i put all this in the universe’s hands, and wait to see what happens next…

more f*ckery

(yeah, as far as nablopomo goes, i’m out. i hope i’m not making excuses here, but i sit in front of a computer every day for at least 7+ hours. i don’t want to come home and turn on a computer and be forced to write in the evenings after staring at a screen all day.)

continuing in the spirit of my last post on the word ‘fuck’, i’m going to repost something i wrote back in 2006 on my now defunct blog ‘books music food’ formerly hosted by bloglines. it’s mostly something of a treatise on the use and misuse of the f-word, and how it loses its meaning if it’s continually used (and i guess i’m at the risk of doing something similar here…).

fucking for dummies

I have a friend who has read my blog and made the comment that I am ‘brave’ because I used the ‘f word’ in a public forum where it could be read by anyone.  I’ve thought a lot about his comment (incidentally he made several other comments about my blogging that were quite complementary) and realized that I disagreed with him (on this one comment only).  Saying the word ‘fuck’, or many of its variations, in public is no sign of bravery; indeed the brave thing is to be able to converse with another person without using it.  In my travels throughout a typical day, whether it’s on the city bus, in the grocery store, being around loved ones, or complete strangers, it’s a rare occasion where I can go without hearing the words fuck, fucked, fucking, motherfucker, or a poor excuse for an euphemism, such as freakin’, flippin’, frickin’ (these usually uttered by an adolescent whose parent is somewhere nearby).  Thankfully I’m in a workplace where some sort of professionalism prevails, but otherwise I feel like my poor little virgin ears (sarcasm) are assailed most places I go.

Trust me, I’m not a prude and I can throw about the f-word with the best of them.  In a heated moment (and define heated however you wish), I can and will introduce the word into a given situation as warranted.  A good percentage of the music I listen to and the fiction I read (and the nonfiction for that matter) has a noticeable presence of the word.  However, I truly believe there is a time and place for everything, and that includes profanity.  It seems to me that a definite downside about excessive use of this word is that it loses meaning when heard and used all the time.  I know people who literally will use the word ‘fucking’ at least one time per sentence.  (I’ve heard sentences like, ‘I fuckin’ hope it don’t fuckin’ rain again to-fuckin’-day.)  So how is one to know if you are truly upset about something or need to make a significant point if you are constantly fucking up your sentences with this word?

Also, excessive use of the word shows me that you really don’t have anything worthwhile to say, so you’re just filling up spaces between your meaningless words.  Instead you are making yourself look low-class and just plain trashy, with a minimal education and vocabulary, even if you have an advanced degree.

I do understand the need and place for the word; all I ask is that people only say it when they really mean it.  And if you take issue with anything that’s been said on this topic, please, go fuck yourself.  (Just kidding…)

On a related note, I have another friend who is currently living in Ireland.  She recently told me of a milder version of the word fuck, ‘feck’, that people use in pretty much the same way as fuck, except the meaning is not so intense.  So I’ve been amusing myself and others (getting on other’s nerves is probably more like it) by using it in conversation on occasion.

In completely unrelated stuff, here is what I’m currently reading: Collected Fictions by Jorge Borges, The Middle Mind: Why Americans Can’t Think for Themselves by Curtis White, and still working on The Devil Never Sleeps by Codrescu.  I’m also trying to listen to a 3 cd lecture by writer, activist, and anarchist Derrick Jensen entitled The Other Side of Darkness, where Jensen discusses injustice and what humans are doing to the planet and each other.  The only problem is that these days I don’t have time to listen, but I guess I need to find it somewhere, because he’s incredible.  I would recommend to anyone a couple of books of his, The Culture of Make-Believe (on how Americans are in denial about racism) and A Language Older Than Words (about his experiences with child abuse and how those experiences really are a metaphor for what western civilization is doing to the planet).  He doesn’t really give answers in these books, both of which are rather lengthy, but that’s one problem with Americans; we always seem to look to other people to solve our problems, instead of looking at what we can do to begin to fix things.  (But now I’m digressing…)  On the other hand, according to Jensen, he thinks it’s too late and we’re fucked no matter what we do.  Whether you agree with that or not, I think Jensen gives a much needed dose of reality and would be well worth an investment of time.


born, never asked

i just had an experience that confirms to me that my decision to stay in kc (for the time being) is the right thing to do. there are lots of things that go along with that decision, that i’m not going to go into with this post, but part of it is that in the not-so-distant future i feel that we are coming upon some big changes to our way of living. my decision to stay here is based on my using this as a time of preparation, on a number of levels.

that being said, i am currently reading derrick jensen’s two volume endgame, and it is blowing my mind. i have previously read his a language older than words and the culture of make believe, both a few years ago. although the subject matter of each book is somewhat different, the underlying premise in both is that western civilization is inherently destructive. in endgame, he ratchets this up by saying not only is it destroying the planet (he says simply in a number of places in the book, ‘we’re fucked; we’re so fucked.’), but it needs to be taken down.

frankly, most of you reading this blog, or people who manage to make it through both books (they total 929 pages), are going to write him off as some sort of environmentalist whacko (as rush limbaugh would say), and probably think that what i’m writing here is a little over the top. here we have a grown man who claims to communicate with trees, and with coyotes, and is in love with salmon, not as a well-prepared seafood entrée, but as living species who are being driven to extinction by humans. he advocates violence as an appropriate mechanism to take down the system. by violence, he means, well, look it up in the dictionary, you know what it means. by system, he means… well, in his ideal world, there would be no internet, because there would be no computers, because the cheap third world labor used to build those computers is instead living directly off of their own land, instead of working to supply ‘our’ ‘needs’, and as for us, well, we’re living off the land too. yeah, that means you.

but to even ask if anyone reading this would be prepared to live off the land if necessary would be a huge joke. hell, i live in a 10-story high-rise apartment building. if an e-bomb went off tomorrow, i (along with many millions of others) would be totally screwed. as i sit here today in my air-conditioned haven with background music going and plenty of filtered water available (who in their right mind drinks straight from the tap anymore?), i have no fucking clue as to where i would get fresh water and anything edible (outside of looting, which helps only in the very short term). however, jensen is not the only person thinking that, some time not so far off, this is what it will come to here in america, the most affluent society to ever exist. of course it may not be due to an e-bomb, but any number of scenarios could cause this: remember katrina? with the advent of global warming, and political hot spots ever increasing around the world, and the arrival of peak oil, and many social ills here and around the world, our affluence is simply unsustainable. something’s got to give and it’s going to be ugly for at least a couple of hundred years when it does. the only thing different about what jensen is saying compared to many others is that we should be the ones to instigate the downfall of civilization, in order to prevent it from doing any further damage to the earth.

um, so, anyway, a couple of hours ago i started reading this passage from page 436 of volume 1:

Far less likely to fight back even than slaves are those so deeply and thoroughly enslaved that they no longer perceive their own slavery. This is what we today would call normal. As Frank Garvey wrote, “In this country people are rarely imprisoned by their ideas because they’re already imprisoned by their ideas. The wage-slaves of today aren’t ripe for revolt because they don’t know that they’re slaves and no more free than the slaves of yore, despite the fact that they think so…. You can’t get rid of slave culture until the slaves know that they are slaves, and are proud of the historical responsibility it gives them to be the agent of social change.”

It’s not too much to say that most of us have essentially no understanding of what it would be like to live free.

at the moment i am reading this passage, in the background i have on community radio station kkfi, and i hear the beginning of my favorite laurie anderson song ‘born, never asked’ from the cd ‘big science’. i put the book down and turn the radio up so i can listen to the entire song, which is actually mostly instrumental. in the beginning there is a brief monologue with no background music, then about a quarter through the song, she speaks one line, then the rest of the song is without vocals. beautiful, beautiful song.

the one line she speaks is this: ‘You were born. And so you’re free. So happy birthday.’ tears just start running down my face when i hear this. because i finally get it. *i get it.* buying all the environmentally friendly toilet paper in the world and eating organic foods and recycling, while all these things are good and necessary, they are not what’s going to save the planet. corporations and the government are now encouraging us to ‘go green’, so we can feel good about ourselves, like buying a hemp knapsack made in honduras is going to save the planet, and meanwhile, they continue on with their abuse of the forests and the oceans and brown-skinned people. i’ve had a distrust of government in general for a number of years, especially since 9/11, but this book has helped me to realize that they have never had my best interests in mind or the best interests of any other person or group of people (except for maybe stockholders). and if they don’t care about people, they are certainly not going to care about ‘lesser’ beings such as animals or trees, or inanimate items.

i see the system for what it is, and i want to do something about it. i plan to continue to be a part of the system and use it for what i can (and eventually use it against itself), but i no longer am a member of it. library school is still in my plans (what better way to inform and prepare people than through being a stewardess of knowledge), and i still plan to make yearly treks to new orleans (even though ultimately, rebuilding may be a waste of time?), and i’ll go to concerts still (next one: ben harper on september 2; i also may go to etta james on august 23), and just live my life. but in the meantime, i’m also going to slowly but surely prepare for whatever is ahead, and talk about what i’m reading by jensen and other likeminded people, and write about it, and live it, and maybe get another person or two to break off the chains.