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OfflineNiamhNyx
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Back to our senses: ...fear
    #2972964 - 08/06/04 07:26 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

This is an incredible essay. Please read it and let me know what you think about it.



Back to Our Senses
How do we free ourselves from the trap of fear?
?
by Derrick Jensen

I?m holding a newspaper clipping from 1996. The creases are torn, the page yellowed. The headline reads ?Mother bear charges trains.? Trains had killed her two sons, and so this mother grizzly charged train after train after train.

At first I carried this clipping in my wallet, and then I taped it over my desk. It helps me remember what it means to be courageous, what it means to be alive.

I used to think the world is being destroyed by the greed, hatred, and insanity of those in power. Of course I still think that?as must anyone paying attention?but I see more and more how our own fearfulness causes us to collude with this destruction.

No, I?m not spewing the same old line about how because I use toilet paper I?m just as culpable for deforestation as the CEO of Weyerhaeuser. I?m not saying we need to have compassion for those who are killing the planet, that we need to drive all hatred out of our own hearts before we can stop those who are destroying our homes. I?m not perpetuating the magical thinking that proposes that we are all equally responsible for the destruction of the planet, and that if I personally and a bunch of other ?environmentalists? collectively are just ?pure? enough, ?kind? enough, ?loving? enough, that things really will turn out okay.

Not at all. Because they won?t.

I don?t think the mother grizzly worried about the ?purity? of her own heart. She merely followed her heart to act against those who had killed those she loved.

My culpability for deforestation is much more extreme than my mere use of toilet paper. My culpability is that I do not physically stop the deforesters, that I do not defend my home and the homes of those (humans and nonhumans) I love with the ferocity and love manifested by this bear.

We suffer from a misguided belief that love implies pacifism. I?m not sure mother grizzly bears would agree, nor many other mothers I?ve known. I?ve been attacked by mother horses, cows, mice, chickens, geese, eagles, hawks, and hummingbirds who thought I was threatening their children. I have known many human mothers who would kill anyone who was going to harm their little ones. If a mother mouse is willing to put her life on the line by attacking someone eight thousand times her size, what does that say about our own hearts? (The mother mouse won, by the way.)

I say that I love the salmon who swim up the streams near my home, but the salmon are being driven extinct, and what do I do to help them? I write about them, sing love songs to them, stand and watch with tear-stained face as they spawn in silted streams. But what do I do?

The problem is not complex. If I really care about salmon, I need to remove dams, I need to stop industrial forestry and commercial fishing, and I need to stop global warming. These are actually straightforward technical tasks. But I don?t do them.

Why not?

I can come up with all sorts of pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-spiritual, or pseudo-moral reasons, but when I?m honest with myself the real reason underlying all of the others is that I?m afraid. I?m afraid that if I act effectively thepolice will kill me or put me in prison forever. I?m afraid that if I act effectively I will be an outcast from this society. I?m afraid that if I act effectively, some people won?t like me. They will judge me.

Here are some questions I?ve been thinking about lately. If Nazis or other fascists took over North America?long pause, the raising of one eyebrow?what would we all do? Consider Mussolini?s definition of fascism: ?Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power.? What if this occupied country called itself a democracy, but most everyone understood elections to be shams, with citizens allowed to choose between different wings of the same Fascist (or, following Mussolini, Corporate) party? What if protesting and other nonviolent dissent were opposed by storm troopers and secret police? Would we fight back? If a resistance movement already existed, would we join it?

And what would we do if those in power then instituted laws allowing them to put one-third of all Jewish males between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five into concentration camps? Substitute African-American for Jewish and ask yourself the same question.

Would we resist if the fascists irradiated the countryside, poisoned food supplies, deforested the continent, or made rivers too filthy for drinking or swimming? What if the fascists poisoned not only the land, but the bodies of those we love with dioxin?one of the most toxic substances known?and dozens of other carcinogens? I ask audiences at my talks how many have loved people who?ve been killed by cancer. About eighty percent raise their hands. Now, would we resist if those in power poisoned not just the bodies of those we love, but our own bodies?
If we won?t fight back when our loved ones are dying and our own bodies are being poisoned, when will we take a stand? We each need to find our own threshold: the point at which we break free of our fear and act on behalf of those we love.

Why are we so terrified? What are we afraid of? Neither of these questions is rhetorical. They are, at this point, some of the most important questions we need to ask ourselves.

On the most basic level, fear is the belief that we have something to lose. And on one level, of course, we do have so very much to lose. We all know what those in power do to those who threaten them or their possessions. Jeffrey Leuers burned three SUVs in an act of symbolic resistance, and was sentenced to more than twenty-two years in prison, a far longer sentence than that typically given to rapists, to men who beat their wives to death, to chemical company CEOs whose decisions release into the world the toxins that give so many of us cancer. If we were to seriously threaten the perceived entitlement of those in power to convert the living world into consumer products to be sold, they would try to stop us by any means.

But there are more fears too. We know that we?those of us in the United States who are the primary physical beneficiaries of the exploitation?would lose access to some consumer products. What does it say about us that we are willing to accept the destruction of the planet in exchange for products like coffee, chocolate, cars, and electric blankets?

We all face choices. On the largest scale, we can have automobiles or we can have ice caps and polar bears. We can have dams and paper and wood products, or we can have salmon. We can have cardboard boxes or we can have living forests. We can have electricity and a world devastated by mining, or we can have neither: even solar electricity still requires an industrial infrastructure. We can have imported fruits, vegetables, meat, and coffee or we can have at least somewhat intact human and nonhuman communities in Latin America. ??????

Does this mean we should despair? Maybe. Despair is certainly an appropriate response to a desperate situation. But even more than this, we should simply recognize that these choices aren?t really choices anyway: for more than ninety-nine percent of our existence, humans have lived quite happily without destroying their communities or the planet. These choices are the result of an aberrant and frankly bizarre way of living.

On a more personal level, we can flow along with the mainstream of a culture that does not serve us well?does not really make us happy, does not really make us comfortable, does not really make us safe; but only offers illusions of happiness, comfort, safety?or we can begin the oftentimes prickly work of searching for our own hearts, for asking who and what we love, who and what we feel strongly enough about to change our lives for, to fight for, to live for. How about our own happiness? I?ve long had the habit of asking people if they like their jobs: about 90 percent say no. What does it mean when the vast majority of people spend the vast majority of their waking hours doing things they?d rather not do? How about your own health? How about the health of your children? How about their happiness (by which I don?t mean the variety of toys at their disposal, but the actual quality of their lives)? How about the health and happiness of the land where you live? How about a planet not being killed? What is most important to you?
We can?t have it all. The belief that we can is one of the things that has driven us to this awful place. If insanity could be defined as having lost functional connection with physical reality, to believe we can have it all?to believe we can simultaneouslydismantle a world and live on it; to believe we can perpetually use more energy than the sun provides; to believe we can take more than the world gives willingly; to believe a finite world can support infinite growth, much less infinite economic growth that converts ever larger numbers of living beings to dead objects (industrial production, at core, is the conversion of the living?trees or mountains?into the dead?two-by-fours and beer cans)?is insane.

Deep inside, we all know this. And yet we cannot speak it to ourselves, because we are afraid. We are afraid of losing what we have. And so we stand by.
???????????
But we are afraid of something else. We are afraid of not belonging. Even when the whole social system is insane, we still fear to be excluded from it. Just yesterday I took my mom to Wal-Mart to exchange a new phone that didn?t work. Now, before you shout hypocrite, recognize that in this small town Wal-Mart has already wreaked its damage, and Radio Shack was her only other choice. There was a line at the return counter, and it was a nice day, so I waited outside. On one bench sat a woman eating a sandwich, and on another sat a man smoking a cigarette. I often prefer the company of bushes to humans anyway so I sat on the curb near some imprisoned pyracanthias. Now here?s the point: I could tell that those who walked by, especially Wal-Mart employees, were uncomfortable that I was sitting in an unauthorized spot. And I know the problem was where I was sitting: I didn?t have unauthorized long hair, nor unauthorized body odor, nor unauthorized dirty clothes, nor was I frowning in some unauthorized manner. But I could feel that people wanted me to move, and consequently I could feel myself wanting to move, to get back in line. The feeling was almost overpowering.
???????????
The same psychological pressures to conform would be at work were I instead poised at a mass media magazine rack, choosing between Soldier of Fortune, Penthouse, or Car and Driver. At the next level this pressure might cause me to stand with a chainsaw in my hand, pointing it at an ancient tree, or, in another circumstance, to aim a pistol at a Russian Jew kneeling beside a pit filled with writhing bodies. We should never underestimate the power of internalized social pressure to conform.

One of the smartest things the Nazis did was to coopt rationality, to coopt hope, to coopt short-term fear. At every step of the way it was in the Jews? rational best interest to not resist: many Jews had the hope?and this hope was cultivated by the Nazis?that if they played along, followed the rules laid down by those in power, that their lives would get no worse, that they would not be murdered. They faced these questions: get an I.D. card, go to a ghetto, get into a cattle car or resist and possibly get killed. What happens when we ask ourselves the same questions? Would we rather get in the showers, or resist and risk getting killed?

The Jews who participated in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising?including those who went on what they thought were suicide missions?had a higher rate of survival than those who went along. Never forget that.

Here?s something else important: A high-ranking security chief from South Africa?s apartheid regime later told an interviewer what he had feared most about the rebel group African National Congress (ANC). He had not so much feared the ANC?s acts of violence as he had feared that the ANC would convince the oppressed majority of Africans to disregard ?law and order,? that is, to think and feel for themselves. Even the most powerful and highly trained ?security forces? in the world would not, he?d said, have been able to stem that threat. When we come to see that the edicts of those in power carry no inherent moral or ethical weight, we become the free human beings we were born to be, capable of saying yes and capable of saying no.
???????????
Remember that also.
???????????
In the sixteenth century, ?ttiene de la Bo?tie reminded us that when the powerful are insatiable, submission is fatal?that the more we submit ourselves to to the ?law and order? of those in power, the more they will demand. He wrote that ?the more tyrants pillage, the more they crave, the more they ruin and destroy; the more one yields to them, and obeys them, by that much do they become mightier and more formidable, the readier to annihilate and destroy. But if not one thing is yielded to them, if, without any violence they are simply not obeyed, they become naked and undone and as nothing, just as, when the root receives no nourishment, the branch withers and dies.?

Sure, we are afraid. There is much to fear. But with a world being destroyed before our eyes, this belief that we have something to lose soon becomes an illusion. And the best guide I know to help lead me away from these illusions is my heart. Following my heart has never led me wrong.
???????????
I think often of that grizzly bear, as I think, too, of the horses, cows, mice, chickens, geese, eagles, hawks, hummingbirds who have defended their loved ones. I think of the courage of bees who have flown at me, burrowed themselves into my hair to find a way to sting me, who have driven me away from their homes, at the inevitable cost of their lives. I think of the courage of salmon, who come back home year after year, who continue in the face of all that we are doing to them, or rather, all that we are allowing to be done to them.
???????????
And I realize that before I can save them, I need to rely on them to save me, to teach me and help me remember what it is to love, what it is to step beyond my fears, what it is to act in defense of those I love.


Edited by NiamhNyx (08/06/04 07:47 PM)


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OfflineGrav
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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #2973024 - 08/06/04 07:40 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

But I could feel that people wanted me to move, and consequently I could feel myself wanting to move, to get back in line. The feeling was almost overpowering.


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OfflineRed
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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #2974595 - 08/07/04 04:42 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Thats one of the most beautiful things I've ever read in my life.. I'm sharing this with everyone I know. Thank you for posting this.


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Pussy Thunderclap, snap my back. Chop me into peices, and serve me as a snack.


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OfflineDroz
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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #2974650 - 08/07/04 05:32 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

You can either try to eliminate fear or work with it? Elimate the fear if you don't like manipulation. Or use the fear as a weapon if you do. Those who use it as a weapon will die.


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Evolution of Time.


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OfflineRed
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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: Droz]
    #2974696 - 08/07/04 06:18 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

This reply had nothing to contribute, and I feel regret for posting it in a thread which has merit.


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Pussy Thunderclap, snap my back. Chop me into peices, and serve me as a snack.


Edited by Red (08/07/04 07:34 AM)


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Offlinecleaner
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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #2974725 - 08/07/04 06:56 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. How come newspapers don't print this? Instead of latest big brother (little nephew) updates.


Seriosly, needs to be forwarded to the Guardian, they might just print it here in the UK

As Alex Jones said in Waking Life:
"
it's time to stand up and realize that we should not allow ourselves to be crammed into this rat maze! We should not submit to dehumanization! I don't know about you, but I'm concerned about what's happening in this world. I'm concerned with the structure. I'm concerned with the systems of control, those that control my life and those that seek to control it even more! I want freedom! That's what I want. And that's what you should want. It's up to each and every one of us to turn loose and show them the greed, the hatred, the envy, and yes, the insecurities, because that's the central mode of control. Make us feel pathetic, small, so we'll willingly give up our sovereignty, our liberty, our destiny. We have got to realize that we're being conditioned on a mass scale. Start challenging this corporate slave state. The 21st century is going to be a new century. Not the century of slavery, not the century of lies and issues of no significance, of classism, of sadism, and all the rest of the modes of control. It's going to be the age of human kind standing up for something pure and something right. What a bunch of garbage: liberal, democrats, conservative, republican, it's all there to control us, it's two sides of the same coin. Two management teams bidding for control, the CEO job of Slavery, Incorporated! The truth is out there in front of you, but they lay out this buffet of lies. I'm sick of it! And I'm not going to take a bite of it. Do you got me? Our existence is not futile. We're going to win this thing. Humankind is too, good. We're not a bunch of underachievers. We're going to stand up, and we're going to be human beings. We're going to get fired up about the real things, the things that matter, creativity and the dynamic human spirit that refuses to submit. Well that's it. That's all I got to say!
"


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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: cleaner]
    #2974726 - 08/07/04 06:58 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Some parts could be seen to be inciting violence, I think...they'd probably have to tone it down a bit.


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OfflineBlueCoyote
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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #2974736 - 08/07/04 07:15 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

:heartpump:  this essay !


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Though lovers be lost love shall not  And death shall have no dominion
........................................................
"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."Martin Luther King, Jr.
'Acceptance is the absolute key - at that moment you gain freedom and you gain power and you gain courage'


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OfflineStrumpling
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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #2975322 - 08/07/04 02:45 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Very well-written, but yes I agree with deafpanda..

It seems like this person is saying "FIGHT!" like literally FIGHT and NOW!!!

heh that is why we don't see things like this very often. They don't like people using their own newspapers to try and shut down the whole system.

This is the same reason why its hard to get messeges out on television or in big movies. Its like buying out a giant corporation and shutting it down - very difficult to pull off.

Very serious stuff.. VERY serious, and I like a lot of what he had to say, but I know there's gotta be ways to stop this that don't resemble a bear attacking a train.


--------------------
Insert an "I think" mentally in front of eveything I say that seems sketchy, because I certainly don't KNOW much. Also; feel free to yell at me.
In addition: SHPONGLE


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: Strumpling]
    #2975355 - 08/07/04 02:58 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Yeah, that's the problem...if this was written in a muslim paper/journal/whatever about the west (or vice versa), there would be outrage. If everyone fought for what they believe strongly in, there'd be chaos, more so than there is now, when only some people are fighting for what they believe strongly in (see terrorism).

I don't think violence can be excused as a means of "getting the message across".


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OfflineAlan Stone
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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: deafpanda]
    #2976077 - 08/07/04 07:01 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

I don't think violence can be excused as a means of "getting the message across".




It's the only way to make sure your message is heard. Do you think Al Qaeda (with no disrespect to U.S. citizens or Al Qaeda members) would have gotten the attention it has - and become the scapegoat and propaganda tool it has for the Bush and Blair administrations - if they hadn't killed anyone, if they'd just marched up and down Wallstreet, blocking business? All real power can be reduced to one thing: the potential to cause suffering in another person, no matter how little. As such, terrorism is a form of power, because it kills people and scars their relatives for life. On the other hand, so does warfare if it employs depleted uranium bullets, but that's another matter entirely. Anyway, 9/11 wouldn't be remembered and infamous on a global scale today if no one had died that day.


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It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

- Aristotle


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: Alan Stone]
    #2976083 - 08/07/04 07:04 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

They brought themselves to the forefront, but they didn't get anyone to actually consider negotiating with them. They have caused chaos and been noticed, but not helped their "cause" (death to the infidels) one bit.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #2976694 - 08/07/04 11:37 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

NiamhNyx writes:

Please read it and let me know what you think about it.

Can do, NiamhNyx.

The first thing that leaps right out at the reader is that the story about the mamma bear is a total non-sequitur re: "the trap of fear". Why in the world did the guy open this screed with something that has nothing to do with fear and everything to do with revenge? As an aside, if he truly feels the Mamma bear is illustrating "what it means to be courageous, what it means to be alive," it logically follows he should be a strong backer of the war on terror. Am I the only one here who gets the feeling he's not?

The next thing I noticed is that he accepts as a given that the world is being destroyed and that "we" are in fact "killing the planet".

Then of course he implicitly compares favorably the tree-huggers with the pure and noble mamma bear -- an animal with no reasoning capacity or factual knowledge of anything outside her immediate range of perception who acts on emotion and instinct rather than analysis of fact. "We should all model our actions on those of Mamma bear, even though we as Homo sapiens sapiens depend on an entirely different mode of survival than do instinctual animals."

Enough generalities -- time to move on to a more detailed Fisking:

Quote:

If I really care about salmon, I need to remove dams, I need to stop industrial forestry and commercial fishing, and I need to stop global warming.


What is really being said here is -- "If I care more about salmon than I do about humans..."
Quote:

Consider Mussolini?s definition of fascism: ?Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power.?


Mussolini's definition is at best incomplete and at worst woefully misleading.
Quote:

On the largest scale, we can have automobiles or we can have ice caps and polar bears.


Simplistic gibberish with not an iota of truth to it.
Quote:

We can have dams and paper and wood products, or we can have salmon.


Same response as above.
Quote:

We can have cardboard boxes or we can have living forests. We can have electricity and a world devastated by mining, or we can have neither: even solar electricity still requires an industrial infrastructure.



There it is -- the Luddite false choice mentality of the eco-terrorist. The choice is to be either electricity -- clearly the greatest boon to mankind in recorded history -- and a world "devastated" by mining, or we can go back to making do with simple fire. Oh, wait a minute! Fire requires burning stuff, so I guess that's out as well. Does anyone here have any doubt as to which alternative the author prefers?
Quote:

On a more personal level, we can flow along with the mainstream of a culture that does not serve us well?does not really make us happy, does not really make us comfortable, does not really make us safe; but only offers illusions of happiness, comfort, safety...



The benefits of modern dentistry are illusory? The eradication of Yellow Fever, smallpox et al doesn't make us safer and more comfortable? Please, dude!
Quote:

What does it mean when the vast majority of people spend the vast majority of their waking hours doing things they?d rather not do?


It means that the vast majority of people are more realistic than the guy who wrote this article. Does he really think some woman who spends the majority of her waking life squatting in a rice field fertilized with human shit wouldn't rather be doing something else? Does he think medieval women enjoyed the drudgery of the spinning wheel and the hand loom? Human existence requires human effort. Whether mamma bear charges a train or not, that is an irrevocable law of nature. Who has ever said that the expenditure of such effort need be enjoyable?
Quote:

We can?t have it all.



Indeed we can't. He seems able to identify the most obvious facts of life, but then insists on drawing the most bizarre conclusions from these facts. Earth to author -- humans cannot exist without altering the environment in which they live. By the way, this holds true of all living entities, including Mamma bear.
Quote:

I often prefer the company of bushes to humans anyway....



Oh my. That came as a complete surprise, didn't it?
Quote:

At every step of the way it was in the Jews? rational best interest to not resist: many Jews had the hope?and this hope was cultivated by the Nazis?that if they played along, followed the rules laid down by those in power, that their lives would get no worse, that they would not be murdered. They faced these questions: get an I.D. card, go to a ghetto, get into a cattle car or resist and possibly get killed.



Ah yes. I am surprised it took the author this long to get to it. The inevitable trivialization of the horrors of the Holocaust. Having people notice you because you are sitting near some bushes is morally equivalent to being a prisoner in Auschwitz. The sad thing is that this guy probably really believes it -- he's not being devious or using this as a rhetorical flourish -- the poor shmoe probably really doesn't grasp the difference.
Quote:

In the sixteenth century, ?ttiene de la Bo?tie reminded us that when the powerful are insatiable, submission is fatal?that the more we submit ourselves to to the ?law and order? of those in power, the more they will demand.



Yep, that's right. Those who attempt to keep Jihadists from crashing planes into your place of work and those who recover your stolen goods (those who work to maintain law and order) are demanding that more salmon and grizzly bear cubs be killed. Uh huh. I'd tell this guy to add another layer of aluminum foil to his beanie, but I'm afraid he'd burst a blood vessel screaming at me that aluminum foil production is destroying the planet.
Quote:

And the best guide I know to help lead me away from these illusions is my heart. Following my heart has never led me wrong.


Yet another hapless shlub who's never had a relationship with the opposite sex, I see. Newsflash for you, Skippy -- emotions are not tools of cognition.
Quote:

And I realize that before I can save them, I need to rely on them to save me, to teach me and help me remember what it is to love, what it is to step beyond my fears, what it is to act in defense of those I love.



If this were an essay submitted by a high school freshman in a government school, I'd give it a solid "B" -- just because it is grammatically correct and the words are spelled correctly. Wait a minute -- the reference to ?ttiene de la Bo?tie deserves a bit of a nudge for a high school freshman. Let's make that a "B+".

However, as a philosophical justification for eco-terrorism written by a supposed adult, it gets a "D-".

pinky


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OfflineNiamhNyx
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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #2976833 - 08/08/04 12:25 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Before I respond to pinksharkmark I would like to thank cleaner for posting the best damn part of one of my favourite movies ever. That is a beautiful monologue and it lifted my spirits a lot to read it.

A quick response to panda... it seems to be inciting violence? Pacifism creates more violence than it prevents due to the fact that it allows it to continue. If someone was brutalizing your child/brother/mother/friend I'd hope you would do whatever it took to stop them, even if it included physical violence. Well, the violence of the state, of capitalism, of anthropocentrism, of patriarchy, institutionalized racism, of civilization itself is very real and a whole lot more massive than a single case of some crazy fuck attacking your kid. This entire system we've created is built and maintained on the foundation of the most extreme violence both physical and psychological. Asking power to please stop pointing a gun at your face while you watch them rape your mother and burn your sacred sites to the ground is absolute fear masked as some abstract morality. It is not moral to ask someone to stop being violent, watching them continue and not taking the requisite action to actually stop them in thier tracks. Defensively stopping someone from committing violence should allow from the minimum necessary force, even state laws recognize this on some level.

I will scrounge up an essay that deconstructs pacifism and make the next conversation piece so that this issue doesn't become the focus of this thread.


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OfflineNiamhNyx
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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: Phred]
    #2977051 - 08/08/04 01:14 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

pinksharkmark said:

The first thing that leaps right out at the reader is that the story about the mamma bear is a total non-sequitur re: "the trap of fear". Why in the world did the guy open this screed with something that has nothing to do with fear and everything to do with revenge? As an aside, if he truly feels the Mamma bear is illustrating "what it means to be courageous, what it means to be alive," it logically follows he should be a strong backer of the war on terror. Am I the only one here who gets the feeling he's not?

***The point of that story about the momma bear was that she didn't allow fear to stop her from attempting to stop the creature that hurt her children from it's capacity to continue doing so. She wasn't worried about her own personal safety, so was standing up in defense of her children. It's courageous to take on something a whole lot bigger than you in defense of something you love. Clearly a bear wouldn't realize that a train is a fucking train, a massive machine that can't feel anything, but that isn't the point. He isn't asking you to throw your body against a train to protect baby bears, but the story illustrates a point quite clearly. ***

The next thing I noticed is that he accepts as a given that the world is being destroyed and that "we" are in fact "killing the planet".

***in much of his other writing he illustrates very clearly why this is so, he obviously can't argue every single point in it's entirety in the duration of an essay.***

Then of course he implicitly compares favorably the tree-huggers with the pure and noble mamma bear -- an animal with no reasoning capacity or factual knowledge of anything outside her immediate range of perception who acts on emotion and instinct rather than analysis of fact. "We should all model our actions on those of Mamma bear, even though we as Homo sapiens sapiens depend on an entirely different mode of survival than do instinctual animals."

***He is making the point that we need to trust our instincts and emotions and allow them to guide our energies (of course we may also use rational thought to decide what is the most effectual and appropriate response to any given challenge.)***

Enough generalities -- time to move on to a more detailed Fisking:

Quote:

If I really care about salmon, I need to remove dams, I need to stop industrial forestry and commercial fishing, and I need to stop global warming.


What is really being said here is -- "If I care more about salmon than I do about humans..."

***or how about "I'm I'm not an anthropocentric idiot who doesn't recognize the interconnectedness of all life and the fact that if we destroy salmon (and entire ecosystems in the process) we destroy the intricate balance that keeps us alive..... if I care as much about other creatures as I do about my own species and desire to give us all the space and conditions we need to thrive...."***

Quote:

Consider Mussolini?s definition of fascism: ?Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power.?


Mussolini's definition is at best incomplete and at worst woefully misleading.

***Mussolini was a fascist was he not? Of course that particular definition is broad, but it serves a valid point.  In some of his other writing he spends a chapter on defining fascism and comparing and contrasting it to what we've got going on right now...***

Quote:

On the largest scale, we can have automobiles or we can have ice caps and polar bears.


Simplistic gibberish with not an iota of truth to it.

***Not an iota of truth? I believe that statement is a reference to global warming. It is true that automobiles are the main contributor to the melting of the polar ice caps, so I believe his statement does indeed have both legs to stand on.***

Quote:

We can have dams and paper and wood products, or we can have salmon.


Same response as above.

***dams destroy salmon habitats and kill salmon as they are thrust through the damn things. Clearcut logging has in a significantly massive number utterly demolished spawning streams. So again, his statement holds a lot of weight, and can be confirmed factually.***

Quote:

We can have cardboard boxes or we can have living forests. We can have electricity and a world devastated by mining, or we can have neither: even solar electricity still requires an industrial infrastructure.



There it is -- the Luddite false choice mentality of the eco-terrorist. The choice is to be either electricity -- clearly the greatest boon to mankind in recorded history -- or a world "devastated" by mining. Does anyone here have any doubt as to which alternative the author prefers?

***here we go. pulling out the "terrorist" word. How utterly fucking ridiculous. It sure is convenient to label anyone willing to put thier own body on the line and utterly resist this monstrosity of a machine we have all become cogs in a terrorist. The author prefers a world in which LIFE is not traded for usurious and tawdry "comforts" and entertainments. In which living beings are not fuel to be burned to fulfill manufactured and false desires.***

vel, we can flow along with the mainstream of a culture that does not serve us well?does not really make us happy, does not really make us comfortable, does not really make us safe; but only offers illusions of happiness, comfort, safety...



The benefits of modern dentistry are illusory? The eradication of Yellow Fever, smallpox et al doesn't make us safer and more comfortable? Please, dude!

***I would like to note that apart from parasites it is almost conclusively proven that all of our diseases and illnesses did not exist in primitive cultures. They are the products of a civilized lifestyle, so perhaps in the last centure we've finally been able to scrape our way out of some of the problems we caused ourselves when we began to dominate the earth, but it hardly changes
the source of the problems. This author is concerned, primarily, with the initial source of such concerns.

Also, would you trade 8 hours a day, 6 days a week of your life to utter drudgery so that you could aquire the benefits of having straight teeth?***

Quote:

What does it mean when the vast majority of people spend the vast majority of their waking hours doing things they?d rather not do?


It means that the vast majority of people are more realistic than the guy who wrote this article. Does he really think some woman who spends the majority of her waking life squatting in a rice field fertilized with human shit wouldn't rather be doing something else? Does he think medieval women enjoyed the drudgery of the spinning wheel and the hand loom? Human existence requires human effort. Whether mamma bear charges a train or not, that is an irrevocable law of nature. Who has ever said that the expenditure of such effort need be enjoyable?

***NO, that means the vast majority of people do what they have to do to get by right now, but what they have to do is IMPOSED and certainly not directly connected to thier own survival. The Capitalist system of production (as well as the feudal and communist systems of production to name a couple more) are completely abstract. People don't have anything to do with thier own survival, or the survival of thier immediate communities. I would also like to note that although survival requires effort, the amount of effort and the direction such effort takes varies greatly depending on the kind of society in which one lives. I would like to refer you to the essay "The original affluent society" by Marshall Sahlins to demonstrate how for the vast majority of human history (something we like to call "prehistory") humans worked very little and that work was much more like play, they were far healthier than we are today even with the "wonders" of western medicine,... how basically, life doesn't have to be miserable and crude in order for a community to flourish.***

Quote:

We can?t have it all.



Indeed we can't. He seems able to identify the most obvious facts of life, but then insists on drawing the most bizarre conclusions from these facts. Earth to author -- humans cannot exist without altering the environment in which they live. By the way, this holds true of all living entities, including Mamma bear.

I dont' know what you consider bizarre, but I consider the incredibly amount of labour that goes into creating the most trivial of products utterly ridiculous, especially when taking into account the ecological impact and the human impact of misery and oppression. So much of what we make is not anywhere near worth the trade.
Quote:

I often prefer the company of bushes to humans anyway....



Oh my. That came as a complete surprise, didn't it?
:rolleyes:

Quote:

At every step of the way it was in the Jews? rational best interest to not resist: many Jews had the hope?and this hope was cultivated by the Nazis?that if they played along, followed the rules laid down by those in power, that their lives would get no worse, that they would not be murdered. They faced these questions: get an I.D. card, go to a ghetto, get into a cattle car or resist and possibly get killed.



Ah yes. I am surprised it took the author this long to get to it. The inevitable trivialization of the horrors of the Holocaust. Having people notice you because you are sitting near some bushes is morally equivalent to being a prisoner in Auschwitz. The sad thing is that this guy probably really believes it -- he's not being devious or using this as a rhetorical flourish -- the poor shmoe probably really doesn't grasp the difference.

***and here you go, trivializing the horrors experienced by other communities and making the assumption that the holocaust came out of nowhere, that it was some strange evil thing that was entirely unprecenteded and certainly couldn't have come from this modern civilization we have. The fact is that there are atrocities that equal the utter horror of the holocaust and they happen everywhere, all the time. The atrocity is that very fact. It's pretty ridiculous of you to make it seem as  though he was comparing his experience at walmart to the holocaust when he was refering to a lot more than that, to things that are a lot bigger than one enlighteningly uncomfortable interation.***
Quote:

In the sixteenth century, ?ttiene de la Bo?tie reminded us that when the powerful are insatiable, submission is fatal?that the more we submit ourselves to to the ?law and order? of those in power, the more they will demand.



Yep, that's right. Those who attempt to keep Jihadists from crashing planes into your place of work and those who recover your stolen goods (those who work to maintain law and order) are demanding that more salmon and grizzly bear cubs be killed. Uh huh. I'd tell this guy to add another layer of aluminum foil to his beanie, but I'm afraid he'd burst a blood vessel screaming at me that aluminum foil production is destroying the planet.

***Funny how you attempt to make america look like some valiant and glorious hero for pounding the shit out of poor brown countries with the excuse of countering "terrorism" when the quote you were responding to said nothing about the United States of America at all. It was talking about power in general, which could easily mean Canada or France, or the World Bank, or the United Nations, or the entirety of the power structure of civilization. The USA would certainly be included in that structure, but wasn't mentioned as the focus of the statement at all. How convenient to latch onto the patriotic bullshit of the war against terror when it's completely irrelevant.***
Quote:

And the best guide I know to help lead me away from these illusions is my heart. Following my heart has never led me wrong.


Yet another hapless shlub who's never had a relationship with the opposite sex, I see. Newsflash for you, Skippy -- emotions are not tools of cognition.

***Emotions are by definition not tools of cognition because cognizance is an intellectual concept and process. However, your statement does nothing to refute the validity of ones emotions being an appropriate place to look for guidance. It's not always easy to understand or sort out what emotions mean, but that is part of the process of self discovery and healing from a psychopathic culture, getting in touch with your own body, emotions, intellect and spirit in order to know yourself. Also I would like to point out your heterocentrism, assuming that because the author has a male name that he is attracted to women.***


Quote:

And I realize that before I can save them, I need to rely on them to save me, to teach me and help me remember what it is to love, what it is to step beyond my fears, what it is to act in defense of those I love.



If this were an essay submitted by a high school freshman in a government school, I'd give it a solid "B" -- just because it is grammatically correct and the words are spelled correctly. Wait a minute -- the reference to ?ttiene de la Bo?tie deserves a bit of a nudge for a high school freshman. Let's make that a "B+".

***That is a bullshit statement if I've ever heard it. You've simply degraded your argument to personal attacks. A clear sign of a lack of any significant analysis and argument. Nice try. ***

However, as a philosophical justification for eco-terrorism written by a supposed adult, it gets a "D-".

***again, he pulls out the terrorism card, and ageism to boot.  A poor ending to an altogether poor criticism.***


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OfflineLumocolor
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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: Phred]
    #2977060 - 08/08/04 01:15 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Pinky, I agree with you, I thought the essay was quite extreme. Having said that I do agree with some of his ideals, I just believe he is looking at the subject with a heavily biased clouded mind.

Personally I believe that we should attempt to draw on our instincts far more than we do, and our "heart" as he calls it rather than logical, factual thought. As you rightly stated we cannot survive using our basic instincts alone and looking wholely on our direct surroundings, however, i believe we as a race over analyze many subjects to the point where logic and facts become extremely messy, and get misplaced with in them selves... Maybe to rise to the next level we need a combination of both, integrating factual, logical thought, with instinct? hmm :-p

Waking Life - "Which is the most universal human characteristic: fear or laziness?"


Edited by Lumocolor (08/08/04 01:17 AM)


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Offlinecastaway
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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: Lumocolor]
    #2977178 - 08/08/04 01:57 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

Lumocolor said:
Personally I believe that we should attempt to draw on our instincts far more than we do, and our "heart" as he calls it rather than logical, factual thought.




Hitler harnessed emotional support to overcome reasonable objections and commit atrocities against mankind.

Encourage rage, this is the message I'm getting here.


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OfflineLumocolor
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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: castaway]
    #2977251 - 08/08/04 02:23 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

hmm, as I stated later in my post, I think a combination of the two is required. If the German public where not persuaded by propaganda that stuffed one sided facts / fiction down there throats, which intern led the people to over analyse the information... clouding the mind of the average citizen to what the simple truth was. And the simple truth is that what Hitter’s regime did was atrocious. And that is what the essay is saying (in a round-a-bout way). Fear of many different things (all sprouting from over analysing information, in my opinion) led to the masses being treated like cattle, driven down a narrow path, and sitting dormant with no will to overthrow the monsters controlling the facts. You know it is wrong, but the logical rational aspect of your brain stops you from acting.

Quote - Martin Niemoller
First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the communists
and I did not speak out--
because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

The point of the quote is to emphasise how simple it is to control a society by isolating the separate groups. In doing this, it is very easy to manipulate any singular group, as they believe they are alone. Fear again is what stops them from acting.


Edited by Lumocolor (08/08/04 02:33 AM)


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Offlinecastaway
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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: Lumocolor]
    #2977262 - 08/08/04 02:31 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Germany suffered under huge debt at the time and violence was a means of ridding the debt .

This is how I see it.


"... Have you heard the news? The dogs are dead! You better stay home and do as you're told, get out of the road if you want to grow old.


Edited by castaway (08/08/04 02:36 AM)


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OfflineDivided_Sky
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Re: Back to our senses: ...fear [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #2977380 - 08/08/04 03:43 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

I have to say I strongly disagree with the first part of the article, about not being compassionate or nice if you have some kind of partisan belief. The happiness we create is ALL the happiness there is. You are not going to be happy with an eco-freindly left wing government if you have to get their through hatred, anger and violence. It is all an illusion, the same one that all human suffering has resulted from, that the solution is out there and not in here. By resorting to anger, tunnel vision, and black and white attitudes you only perpetuate unhappiness, and nothing changes. This is why revolutions fail, people are trying to use violent means to solve their problems externally, but when all is said in done they have accomplished nothing within themselves. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss...


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