Dam (sic) Civilization

Starting a couple of months age, I hit a wall in my reading regimen. Books that were too long, too specific or overly academic put a ponderous damper on my enthusiasm for the (truthful, meaningful and real) written word.

Then, for Father’s Day, my granddaughter gave me a copy of Alan Weisman’s Countdown (2013), long but the subject needed it to be. I got back on track and followed up quickly with Jane Jacobs’ Dark Age Ahead (2004) and John A. Livingston’s Rogue Primate (1994). The stage was set for my current read – Endgame, Derrick Jensen (2006).

“There are two million dams in [America], 75,000 of them over six feet tall. Every one of these dams will someday fail, yet before constructing these two million dams, nobody bothered to find out what would happen to the rivers when the inevitable happened.

What makes this even more inexcusable, absurd, obscene—evil—is that we can say the same thing about deforestation, the murder of the oceans, the manufacture of CFCs, the fabrication of plastics, the burning of oil, in fact all of civilization. Nobody bothered to find out what effects these would have on the natural world. The reason is clear: those who make the decisions don’t care.

If the entire culture is predicated on an unexamined self-assumed right to exploit everyone and everything around you, why should you bother to think about the effects of your actions on others?”

This is a book which, with the exception of the section on dam removal that I am currently reading, I have thought through. Over several years, countless periods of sleeplessness, usually bracketed around 3:00am have enabled me to independently come up with so many of the concepts Jensen built this work on: western society is insane, corporations and their institutions are the enemy of the Earth, governments and their institutions are the enemy of the Earth, civilization is the enemy of the Earth, globalization must be dismantled, financial systems must be dismantled, current systems of government must be dismantled, civilization itself must be dismantled, “This culture is insane. It must be stopped.”

So, to me, the book reads like an old and trusted friend, corroborating my thoughts on all the most extreme and most urgently needed changes to reality; REAL reality, the reality of the only planet in the multiverse which will ever support the lives of homo sapiens (an oxymoron if there ever was one).

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