Middle Aged (35-54)
North American (General)
Note: Transcripts are generated using speech recognition software and may contain errors.
a language older than words by Derrick Jensen. Chapter one. Silencing our behavior is a function of our experience. We act according to the way we see things. If our experiences destroyed, our behavior will be destructive. If our experience is destroyed, we have lost our own Selves. R D Laing There is a language older by far and deeper than words. It is the language of bodies of body, on body, wind on snow, rain on trees wave on stone. It is the language of dream gesture, symbol, memory. We have for gotten this language. We do not even remember that it exists. In order for us to maintain our way of living, we must in a broad sense, tell lies to each other and especially to ourselves. It is not necessary that the lies be particularly believable. The lies act as barriers to truth. These barriers to truth are necessary because without them, many deplorable acts would become impossibilities. Truth must at all costs be avoided when we do allow self evident truths to percolate past our defenses and into our consciousness. They're treated like so many hand grenades rolling across the dance floor oven improbably McCarver party we try to stay out of harm's way, afraid they will go off, shatter our delusions and leave us exposed to what we have done to the world into ourselves, exposed as the hollow people we have become then. So we avoid these truths, these self evident truths, and continue the dance of world destruction. As is true for most Children. When I was young, I heard the world speak stars saying stones had preferences. Trees had bad days. Toads held lively discussions crowed over a good day's catch like static on a radio. Schooling and other forms of socialization began to interfere with my perception of the animate world and for a number of years. I almost believe that Onley humans spoke. The gap between what I experienced and what I almost believed confused me deeply. It wasn't until later that I began to understand the personal, political, social, ecological and economic implications of living in a silenced world. This silencing is central to the workings of our culture. This staunch refusal to hear the voices of those we exploit is crucial to our domination of them. Religion, science, philosophy, politics, education, psychology, medicine, literature, linguistics and art have all been pressed into service as tools to rationalize the silencing and degradation of women, Children, other races, other cultures, the natural world and its members. Our emotions, our consciences, are experiences and our cultural and personal histories. My own introduction to this silencing and this is similarly true for a great percentage of Children as well within many families came at the hands and genitals of my father, who beat my mother, my brothers, my sisters and who raped my mother, my sister and me. I can only speculate that because I was the youngest, my father's somehow thought it best that instead of beating me, he would force me to watch and listen. I remember scenes vaguely is from a dream or movie of arms flailing of my father chasing my brother Rob around and around the house. I remember my mother pulling my father into their bedroom to absorb blows that might have otherwise landed on her Children. We sat stone faced in the kitchen captive audience to stifle groans that escaped through walls that were just too thin. The vagueness with which I recollect these formative images is the point here because the worst thing my father did went beyond the hitting in the raping, to the denial that any of it ever occurred. Not only bodies were broken, but broken also was the bedrock connection between memory and experience between psyche and reality. His denial made sets not only because an admission of violence would have harmed his image as a socially respected, wealthy and deeply religious attorney, but more simply because the man who would beat his Children could not speak about it honestly and continue to do it. We became a family of amnesiac. There's no place in the mind to sufficiently contain these experiences. And as there was effectively no way out, it would have served no purpose for us to consciously remember the atrocities. So we learned day after day that we could not trust our perceptions and that we were better off not listening to our emotions daily, we forgot. And if a memory pushed its way to the surface, we forgot again there'd be a beating, followed by a brief contrition and my father asking, Why did you make me do it? And then nothing Save the inconvenient evidence. A broken door, urine soaked underwear. Ah, wouldn't room divider my brother repeatedly tour from the wall trying to pick up speed around the corner. Once these were fixed, there was nothing left to remember. So we forgot and the pattern continued. This willingness to forget is the essence of silencing. When I realized that I began to pay more attention to the how and the why of forgetting and thus began a journey back to remembering, what else do we forget? Do we think about nuclear devastation or the wisdom of producing tons of plutonium, which is lethal even in microscopic doses? For well over 250,000 years? There's global warming. Invade our dreams in our most serious moments. Do we consider that industrial civilization has initiated the greatest mass extinction in the history of the planet? How often do we consider that our culture commits genocide against every indigenous culture it encounters as one consumes the products manufactured by our culture? Is she is he concerned about the atrocities that make them possible? We don't stop these atrocities because we don't talk about them. We don't talk about them because we don't think about them. We don't think about them because they're too horrific to comprehend. As trauma expert Judith Herman rights. The ordinary response to atrocities is to banish them from consciousness. Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud. This is the meaning of the word unspeakable as the ecological fabric of the natural world unravels around us. Perhaps it is time that we begin to speak of the unspeakable and to listen to that which we've deemed un arable. A grenade rolls across the floor. Look, it won't go away.