Giving up hope frees you to solve the problems yourself
January 3, 2015
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Derrick Jensen in his lectures and books advocates decolonizing yourself so that you are free to stop the destruction caused by this culture. Here is an excerpt from his book Endgame.
A wonderful thing happens when you give up on hope, which is that you realize you never needed it in the first place. You realize that giving up on hope didn’t kill you, nor did it make you less effective. In fact it made you more effective, because you ceased relying on someone or something else to solve your problems—you ceased hoping your problems somehow get solved, through the magical assistance of God, the Great Mother, the Sierra Club, valiant tree-sitters, brave salmon, or even the Earth itself—and you just began doing what’s necessary to solve your problems yourself.
When you give up on hope, something even better happens than it not killing you, which is that it kills you. You die. And there’s a wonderful thing about being dead, which is that once you’re dead they—those in power—cannot really touch you anymore. Not through promises, not through threats, not through violence itself. Once you’re dead in this way, you can still sing, you can still dance, you can still make love, you can still fight like hell—you can still live because you are still alive, in fact more alive than ever before—but those in power no longer have a hold on you. You come to realize that when hope died, the you who died with the hope was not you, but was the you who depended on those who exploit you, the you who believed that those who exploit you will somehow stop on their own, the you who depended on and believed in the mythologies propagated by those who exploit you to facilitate that exploitation. The socially constructed you died. The civilized you died. The manufactured, fabricated, stamped, molded you died. The victim died.
And who is left when that you dies? You are left. Animal you. Naked you. Vulnerable (and invulnerable) you. Mortal you. Survivor you. The you who thinks not what the culture taught you to think, but what you think. The you who feels not what the culture taught you to feel but what you feel. The you who is not who the culture taught you to be but who you are. The you who can say yes, the you who can say no. The you who is a part of the land where you live. The you who will fight (or won’t) to defend your family. The you who will fight (or won’t) to defend the others you love. The you who will fight (or won’t) to defend the land upon which your life and the lives of those you love depend. The you whose morality is not based on what you have been taught by the culture that is killing the planet, killing you, but on your own animal feelings of love and connection to your family, your friends, your landbase. Not to your family as self-identified civilized beings but as animals who require a landbase, animals who are being killed by chemicals, animals who have been formed and deformed to fit the needs of the culture.
– pp. 332-333 of chapter entitled Hope from “Endgame,
Volume I: The Problem of Civilization”