Friday, August 8, 2008

A Langauge Older Than Words

Per recommendation from a friend, I picked up Derrick Jensen's book A LANGUAGE OLDER THAN WORDS from my local library. It is an intense, powerful book that speaks of the challenges of helping heal this planet, and more specifically our relationship to it.

I feel I will post at least a few times with quotes from this book, because there is so much good stuff found in it.

One section that particularly struck me as profound was early on in the book were Derrick is remembering a conversation with Jim Nollman. They are discussing why the animist view point is so hard to accept for people from western culture.

I stepped away from the conversational fire, and asked, knowing well the answer, why the notion of communicating with coyotes, whales, plants, is threatening to the culture.

"If the Earth is dead, it feels no pain. If the Earth weren't considered dead, we couldn't build the Empire State Building, because we couldn't bring ourselves to hurt the planet so much just to make a big building. The entire culture is based on the belief that the earth is inanimate."


"We need to distinguish between listening and hearing. I believe I listen better than many people, but I still don't hear very well. I have a lot of friends around the world who are able to actually hear the natural world. Still, whether or not we hear, listening is important. Until we start to listen - and, I hope eventually hear - the natural world for ourselves, nonhumans will be regarded as objects. Just the act of trying to listen can change a lot of our perceptions about nature, and that can change the way we live."

I found these words a great thing to meditate on...

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