People & Groups Archives: Derrick Jensen

“What if we fight back, but lose?” Derrick Jensen’s response is something like this.

There are basically three possibilities.

1. Don’t fight back. Let the dominant culture keep going.

2. Fight back, and lose.

3. Fight back, and win.

In possibility 1, the dominant culture keeps going, keeps destroying anything wild and free, and everything that gives us our life, and anything worth loving. It’s not sustainable however – the dreams of the technotopians notwithstanding – so it will eventually collapse. But along the way, it will take out as much as it can. Air will be poisoned. Water will be poisoned. Soil will be destroyed. Species that have been evolving for tens of millions of years will be wiped out. The natural processes that support life on the planet will be severely disrupted. (And all of this is happening now, you know.) Basically, the world will be destroyed.

In possibility 2, the dominant culture keeps going, keeps destroying anything wild and free, and everything that gives us our life, and anything worth loving. The resistance is neutralized by the dominant culture, or fails for some other reason, but at least some of us have fulfilled our moral obligation to defend the Earth, our home, that which has given us our very minds and bodies. Or you could say that the Earth defends itself, through the resistance. In the end, though, the world will be destroyed.

In possibility 3, the resistance forces the dominant culture to stop and creates the conditions for sustainable societies to emerge. Before it stops, perhaps it takes out a lot, but not as much as it would were it allowed to continue. Some of the damage will be permanent. Much of will be reversible, either through natural processes, or through human effort. Immediately after the collapse, there’s a good possibility that things will be not so great. In the long term, however, things will be better than before collapse. (And if you think about it, how could it possibly be worse than the dominant culture destroying the world?)

In the end, we have nothing to lose by fighting back. It’s the only possibility for saving the world from destruction, after all. This culture is insane, and it’s not going to stop by itself. Not fighting back isn’t really an option, is it? If we fight and win, we have everything to gain. If we fight and lose, at least we gave it our best effort. We have nothing to lose anyway. What are they going to do? Destroy the Earth twice?!

A friend and I took a walk in the woods today. See where the bunch of trees are in the map? Right around there. Little animals scurried away from us in the tall grass. I crouched down by a log and heard the chirping of an individual cricket. I had never listened to one so closely before; I could hear it kind of getting revved up, and then winding down. There was a great stone cliff covered in red lichen and dark green ferns. Fossils of sea shells littered the dry creekbed. The twisted branches of oak trees arched over our heads.

PS: Check out the Austin Nature & Science Center. It’s really quite nice.