Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Unfamiliar Subjects

One of the prompts we tried out at my writers’ group earlier this year was to write about an unfamiliar subject, to consider something outside of our comfort zones. I found this very difficult. If I’d had more time to think about it I may have done things differently; but the objective with prompts is to work with whatever ideas come up in the moment. Therefore, my way of exploring the unfamiliar was to write about a point of view that I passionately disagree with—the idea that we, as humans, are meant (even destined) to control nature. This is, lamentably, the dominant worldview, and the cause of many of our problems, both ecological and social. 

I am not overly happy with what I wrote—it is roughly formed, and probably wildly inaccurate, not to mention too simplistic—but it has just been published on Writers in the Mist. Please head over and have a read (it is very short).

And speaking of control:

What if the point of life has nothing to do with the creation of an ever-expanding region of control? What if the point is not to keep at bay all those people, beings, objects, and emotions that we so needlessly fear? What if the point instead is to let go of that control? 

This quote is from A Language Older Than Words (2000, p. 150), a brilliant book about interspecies communication by environmental activist, philosopher, and one of my heroes, Derrick Jensen. The quotes in the photos are from another of his books, Dreams (2011, pp. 329 and 251 respectively).


  1. I think it's a fine piece, Therese, and makes the point that she had a job to do, to the best of her abilities... We're surrounded by intensive farming here, and the push to get the highest yields possible from the land is relentless! Both the land, and the wildlife suffer - not to mention humans with allergies to whatever it is they spray over us...

    1. Thank you, Claire. Though the point I was trying to make was that this particular scientist is doing things for all the wrong reasons. We shouldn't be trying to control nature, but instead need to be working with it, and that means a complete change to how we live, how we produce food, what is an is not allowed, etc. (G.M. should not be allowed—ever!) If that means our living standards need to drop (they do!), and we surrender ourselves to Earth's will, rather than selfishly pushing our own, then so be it.

    2. I agree with all of this so much! It is so important to realize humans are not some superior beings but just a part of nature. We need to start living as one with nature, not try to control it and abuse it for profit.

      (I read Derrick Jensen´s Endgame books awhile ago and they shook my mind! So powerful!)

    3. Yes! Thank you, Hilja. We should be more humble than we are.

      I haven't read the Endgame books, though I have read bits and pieces of them (Derrick posts an excerpt from one of his books on Facebook every day). A Language… and Dreams are much more personal books, I think, dealing with his own history of abuse and illness, but so much more as well. Dreams was the first book of his that I read, and it shook my mind too. I think Derrick is a truth-speaker, and the truth is not always pleasant, but it is necessary.


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