Monday, February 16, 2015

Who are you?

The lines below are some of my favorite lines ever written. They are a big reason why I don't send my kids to public school. They are a big reason why I live the way I do. They are a big reason why I resist this culture. I read them to my son last week, and I'm eternally grateful for this. They should be read in high schools across the nation. Ever since first laying my eyes on them I have wanted to type them out so I have quick access to them. Well, this morning, I finally did it. After exactly 30 minutes of typing they are now copied to my computer. It's funny because my book is a signed copy from the author. This morning I noticed he signed his name on 2/19/04. That's almost 11 years to the day. I remember the day I got this book. I pulled up to the mailbox in my pic-up, opened the door, reached in and grabbed it out, then closed the door. I drove up to where I usually park my truck, shut it off, then proceeded to tear off the brown grocery bag paper covering it. I opened the book and didn't get out of my truck until my future wife asked if I was going to come in the house (Life was a little different for me back then). I had to be out there for well over an hour. From where I'm sitting right now I can look out the window that wasn't there at the time and see myself sitting there in the old pic-up that I'd recently bought of my dad reading these revolutionary lines. Gawd, what memories. What a place. It's good to be alive resisting.

Be careful when you read the lines below. You just might do something you never expect to do.

"There's really only one question in life, and only one lesson. This question is whispered endlessly to us from all directions. The moon asks it each night, as do the stars. It's asked by drops of rain that cling to the soft ends of cedar branches, and by teardrops that cluster at the fold of your nose or edge of your mouth. Frogs, flowers, stones, pieces of broken plastic, all ask this of each other, of themselves, and of you. The question: Who are you? The lesson: We're born or sprouted or hatched or congealed or we fall from the sky, we live, and then we die or are worn away or broken or disperse in a river, lake, or sea, ripples flowing outward to bounce back from the far shore. And in the meantime, in that middle, what are you going to do? How are you going to find, and be, who you are? Who are you, and what your going to do about it?

"If modern industrial education--and more broadly industrial civilization--requires 'the subsumption of the individual,' that is, into a pliant workforce, then the most revolutionary thing we can do is follow our hearts, to manifest who we really are. And we are in desperate need of revolution, on all scales and in all ways, from the most personal to the most global, from the most serene to the most wrenching. We're killing the planet, we're killing each other, and we're killing ourselves.

"Our current system divorces us from our hearts and bodies and neighbors, from humanity and animality and embeddedness in the world we inhabit, from decency and even the most rudimentary intelligence. (How smart is it to destroy your own habitat? Who was the genius who came up with the idea of poisoning our own food, water, and air?) I've heard defenders of this system say that following one's heart is not a good enough moral compass, that Hitler was following his heart when he tried to conquer the world, tried to rid the world of those he deemed unworthy. But Hitler was no more following his heart than any of the rest of us who blindly contribute to a culture that is accomplishing what Hitler desired but could not himself bring to completion. The truth is--as I have shown elsewhere, exhaustively and exhaustingly--that is only through the most outrageous violations of our hearts and minds and bodies that we are inculcated into a system where it can be made to make sense to some part of our twisted and torn psyches to perpetuate a way of being based on the exploitation, immiseration, and elimination of everyone and everything we can get our hands on.

"Within this context, the question the whole world asks at every moment cannot help but also be the most dangerous: Who are you? Who are you, really? Beneath the trappings and traumas that clutter and characterize our lives, who are you, and what do you want to do with the so-short live you've been given? We could not live the way we do unless we avoided that question, forced others to avoid placing that question in front of us, and in fact attempted to destroy those who do.

"As we see." (Derrick Jensen, Pg. 41-42, Walking on Water: Reading, Writing and Revolution)

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