Derrick Jensen is my new favorite author. He’s a poet, philosopher, preacher (spiritual speaker), scientist, and activist. I like his writing because even though he is sounding the alarm about the death of the air, soil and water he is so honest about his own emotional evolution that it takes my breath away sometimes. The first book I read by him was A Language Older Than Words. This book is about the connection between child abuse and the abuse of animals and the land.
I first read him in the summer of 2010 when I was recovering from iatrogenic poisoning, detoxing myself from the demonic cocktail of toxins I was prescribed- essentially to cover up the effects of my having been the hostage of the violent pedophile that I was forced to live with as a baby and young girl. I was going thru hell on several fronts as I freed myself from the psychiatric ghetto I had fallen into. This book helped me get a grip and it also galvanized me into my activism.
After being forced into chemical sedation for 20 years such that I couldn’t think or read or write, it was exhilarating to scream about the denied pain I suffered for so long. Instead of being helped to cope with my hyper-reactive nervous system in the wake of years of massive trauma, I was fed a noxious array of neurotoxic chemicals created to CONTROL BEHAVIOR, not to cure any brain diseases.
Right now I’m reading What We Leave Behind, his missive on poop, plastic, and our horrible abuse of the landbase. It was co-written with organic farmer Aric McBay . There’s a chapter called “Despair” which moved me deeply:
(B)one crushing despair…can be a necessary part of the process of decolonization. This despair is, at least in my own case, intimately tied to death. It began with death, it led me to and through death, and when I emerged from this death, death is still my constant companion, only now everything was different.
Our cultural denial of the other side of life, the processes of death and decay and recycling are deeply denied and repressed, and this explains why we are killing all of life to make piles of dead shit. A kind of reaction formation. Pretty paradoxical, but that’s denial and projection for you!
But Jensen points to what may lie beyond our fear of death and decay and the sense of futility that any life-loving person must feel as she regards the death of all life on earth. He says further in the chapter:
This drove me deeper into…sorrow and despair about this culture’s destruction of so much of life, it’s conversion of the living into the dead. I had no outlet for this sorrow, this despair, this inchoate rage at these clear injustices and the sheer stupidity of it all, so I turned this sorrow, despair, and rage inward.
And then I found action, and resistance. At first my steps were tiny, and timid: letters to the editor under a pseudonym because I was too scared to have a voice; protests where I stood silently because, once again, to have a voice was too frightening. But even these small steps encouraged me. And they were really fun! Not only the actions themselves; and not only the camaraderie of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with others who were at least doing something to try and stop the horrors; and not only the profound joy and ecstasy-and I mean ecstasy-of doing the right thing; but also the equally profound and ecstatic joy of, however timid and terrified one may feel on the inside, rising up from one’s knees, standing full upright, and saying, “No!’
By the way, I highly recommend getting in touch with whatever your core issue is; for me it is the systematic psychiatric stigmatization and poisoning of mostly women and children who express pain over their oppression and abuse. Because that’s what the profession does – it shuts up the abused for the convenience of the abusers. For you the sparking point could be salmon or hummingbirds or honeybees or moths or frogs or trees or glaciers.