Thursday, June 04, 2009

Looking for Answers

Ever since I read Ishmael I've been looking for answers as to why the world is so messed up. Actually I have been wondering about this since I've been a child. It's funny, because when I read Ishmael I pretty much had the attitude that this is just the way things are, so deal with it and try to find some happiness in this life. Ishmael brought those important childhood questions back up to the surface again, and I'm happy for it.

One of the places I find myself looking for answers is Derrick Jensen's work. I can't tell you how many times I've found myself thumbing through his books looking for quotes. And this excerpt out of A Language Older Than Words has been on my mind lately. I said before I was going to write more on this blog, so I'm going to make myself do it, even if I am copying quotes.

Derrick asks: "Why is our behavior so predatory? What are the common factors among predatory cultures?"

"It's interesting," [Judith Hermann] responded. "The anthropologist Peggy Reeves Sunday looked at data from over a hundred cultures as to the prevalence of rape, and divided them into high or low-rape cultures. She found that high-rape cultures are highly militarized and sex-segregated. There is a lot of difference in status between men and women. The care of children is devalued and delegated to subordinate females. She also found that the creation myths of high-rape cultures recognize only a male deity rather than a female deity or a couple. When you think about it, that is rather bizarre. It would be an understandable mistake to think women make babies all by themselves, but it's preposterous to think men do that alone. So you've got to have a fairly elaborate and counterintuitive mythmaking machine in order to fabricate a creation myth that recognizes only a male deity."

The rest of the quote is what really interests me.

"There was another interesting finding, which is that high-rape cultures had recent experiences--meaning in the last few hundred years--of famine or migration. That is to say, they had not reached a stable adaptation to their ecological niche. Sadly enough, when you tally the risk factors, you realize you've pretty much described our culture." Pg. 350

This tells me that we all need to start paying attention to our relationships with nonhumans. That's if we want to stop the cycle of abuse in this culture.


Idzie said...

I, too, find myself turning frequently to Jensen's work for answers. I truly love his writing!

Curt said...

Hi Idzie,

Yeah, his writing reall speaks to me.

I don't think there is a day that goes by where I don't feel grateful for both Daniel Quinn's and Derrick Jensen's work.