It appears increasingly obvious that we have reached a “point of no return.” That from here on, we will look back to mid-2016, and say that this is when everything changed. For good or ill? It’s up to us.
I want to focus on two current essays by well-known activists here, one by Derrick Jensen and the other by Julian Rose. Both authors are revolutionary and dedicated in service to the Earth Mother; both essays deserve close reading, being massive in their comprehension, beautifully and compellingly articulated. However, only one, the second one, starts from the inside out, which, I feel, is the sine qua non of any authentic and productive human expression into the world.
I say this because of personal experience. Of having been a “violent peace activist” for many years. Of having been burdened with an unrecognized inner landscape littered with old wounds, pain, unprocessed, and then denied, frozen, but projected out, righteously and obsessively: something’s wrong out there. “Radiation is poisoning the planet. 50,000 nuclear missiles pointed at each others’ throats.” Endlessly, on and on, I would spout this desperate vituperation, begging audiences to hear by radiating the same kind of poison that I feared. Of course, nobody listened. Instead, they covered their ears and tried to get back to normal.
I may have been “right” in my assessment, but my way of going about trying to “correct” the situation only fed it, made it stronger. The poison was inside me. I needed to neutralize that poison first. And then? What? As Derrick Jensen says, there’s room for everybody. Everybody has a purpose. Everybody is needed in this “fight” to save the planet.
After ticking off, point by point, the reasons why the planet is, thanks to civilization’s ongoing industrial engine, on its last legs, the Jensen article concludes:
“We need to fight for what we love, fight harder than we have ever thought we could fight, because the bottom line is that any option in which industrial civilization remains, results in a dead planet.”
And yet, when I sent the above piece to my friend Ted, who labors daily, minute by minute, to consciously nourish his own small part of our common world, I received this response.
“Something about resistance at the level dgr promotes doesn’t sit right with me. The best we can do, it seems to me, is to stop feeding the beast anywhere and everywhere possible in the simple acts of daily living. This could look like “resistance” maybe but is based in an instinctual devotion to following out an intimate, personal quest fueled by the longing for the fulfillment of incarnation rather than “fighting” which inevitably leads to becoming a target. Undercover in the belly of the beast!”
In contrast to Jensen’s approach, Julian Rose, who works both on local and global issues while observing himself and his own process all the while, recognizes that we must do both: work in the world and work on ourselves. That work on ourselves transforms fear and hatred into compassion. That without compassion no real transformation is possible.
“There is no other way of changing a society than through the process of change in the individuals who make up that society. Nor is it possible to change people from outside. However, it is possible to inspire an awakening, or reawakening of the individual or individuals, through sharing awakened energy.”