Daniel Quinn Critique


#21

[quote=“Raven, post:18, topic:1069”]PEOPLE do this. Not “Civilization”

If you can plunk down “Civilization” on the table in front of me, I may think twice.
You call it an “it”, but you can’t show me it. And neither can I show you.[/quote]

The indigenous experience (and more and more, my experience) of Story, as I understand it, points to the aliveness, the “being”-ness, the bodied-ness of Story. Stories, Songs, Ceremonies, all have mouths that eat, and food to feed others.

Civilization, as a Story (also known as a Mythology, or Dream, or Song), has its own living-ness. It most certainly has a mouth that eats. And where Civilization speaks the people into action, the People act accordingly.

I resonate with Martin Prechtel’s traditional Tzutujil Mayan view that the gods, the-ones-you-cannot-plunk-down-on-the-table-and-yet-also-take-the-form-of-many-things,
they speak Poetry that makes us. If they stopped, we would die. Why would they stop?

Because we stop feeding them. This may mean actual literal food, it may also mean the food of our hearts and minds. Traditional native peoples don’t draw a line between these kinds of food either (the second of which you couldn’t “plunk down” either).

Plunkability doesn’t work very well as a measure of realness, in my experience. I have other senses than my sense of touch.


#22

I think it’s safe to say that there are many fronts on which to battle civilization, whether those be in the material realm, the mental realm, etc.


#23
Because we stop feeding them. This may mean actual literal food, it may also mean the food of our hearts and minds. Traditional native peoples don't draw a line between these kinds of food either (the second of which you couldn't "plunk down" either).

I’m guessing this is what indigenous philosopher John Trudell is getting at when he says, “We’re in a vibratory reality, right? I mean, really, and we are. And it’s like, so a word, what’s a word? It has its meaning and definition, but you go to another level and in another dimension of reality a word is a sound that has its own vibratory thing. So it’s how you use the sounds to synchronize the energy.”

You really can’t plunk that down on the table, can you?

take care,

Curt


#24

Curt, have you read Spell of the Sensuous?


#25

This is just it, though - civilization (as described above) has a death-wish. It is an instrument of converting the living to the dead - in a word, PRODUCTION. By it’s very nature, it must continually grow economically (or it will collapse), and how it accomplishes this growth is by continually consuming (the mouth that eats) living things - trees, rocks, fish, mountains, human beings, the list goes on - and converting them into “products” - paper, lumber, fish sticks, metal parts in a hardware store or factory, etc…

Because of this, civilization has removed itself completely from the web of life and death, and is entirely concerned with consuming and killing. If it is not stopped (or unless it collapses on its own, but then the question is minimizing the damage), it WILL consume all life on the planet - at least until it can no longer sustain itself (and the humans that act to keep it going).

Could I not turn that around on people BOTH for and against "Civilization"?

People who worry about the future, and past have no presence.

Yes, I worry about the future, the future of ecosystems, of species, of humans, but what I am most concerned with is the present. Mountains, rivers, reefs, ocean bays, are being destroyed AS WE SPEAK. 214,000 acres of forest are deforested EVERY DAY, an area larger than New York City.

Fully 90% of each of the world’s large ocean species (cod, halibut, tuna, etc) have disappeared in recent decades (this was reported in 2003). The newspaper also reported that “fishing has become so efficient that it typically takes just 15 years to remove 80% or more of any species unlucky enough to become the focus of a fleet’s attention.”

From Derrick Jensen’s “Engame” (the most important book I’ve ever read):

"Because of civilization, almost 1,400 square miles of land per year are converted into desert, more than twice the rate from thirty years ago… In about twenty years, two-thirds of the arable land in Africa will be gone, as well as one-third in Asia and one-fifth in South America…The corporate press further acknowledges that prior to civilization even some of what are now the most inhospitable deserts were habitable, saying that ‘much of the Middle East, the Mediterranean and North Africa were once green. The Sahara itself was a savanna, and rock paintings show giraffes, elephants, and cows once lived there.’

As industrial civilization kills the land, so too it kills the oceans. Each summer a dead zone covers 8,000 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico… Altogether, there are almost 150 dead zones, places where the water contains too little oxygen to sustain life. This number has doubled each decade since the 1960’s."

And even worse for the oceans is deep-sea trawling. The CBC reports that “every year, the giant nets that trawler ships pull across the bottom of the sea devastate an area of the global seabed twice the size of the United States, scraping up everything from coral to sharks.”

I could go on, but I won’t. :wink: There is plenty enough to be concerned about in the present, to make worrying about the future a luxury.


#26

Blue Heron,

Curt, have you read Spell of the Sensuous?

Yes! I have read it twice. Quite often I find myself revisiting David Abram’s writings.

Why do you ask?

Take care,

Curt


#27

Is that Trudell quote from SoS? Cuz it should be in there! I can’t remember, myself. :slight_smile:

You take care too!


#28

Hi Blue Heron,

Is that Trudell quote from SoS?

No. I don’t think I’ve ever heard David Abram mention John Trudell’s work.

Cuz it should be in there!

I agree!

Have a great day!

Curt


#29

Don’t you think this might be a case of DQ’s idea of a “new mind with no programs at all?” Quinn seems to avoid – and for good reason, imo – many of the details of what needs to be done.

He’s painted a picture of the problems with civilization and provided us with ways to think about these issues in meaningful ways that could lead to a solution. Very purposefully he’s avoided giving us “the” solution as, frankly, there isn’t one.

My two seeds…


#30

When it comes to understanding Daniel Quinn’s and Derrick Jensen’s work I have found this article useful.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0GER/is_n91/ai_20116096/pg_1?tag=artBody;col1

And, specifically, this excerpt from the article has helped me understand to some degree where Derrick is coming from in Endgame.

[b]From article:[/b] Folks who do systems analysis have a great belief in "leverage points." These are places within a complex system a corporation, an economy, a living body, a city, an ecosystem) where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything.

The systems community has a lot of lore about leverage points. Those of us who were trained by the great Jay Forrester at MIT have absorbed one of his favorite stories. “People know intuitively where leverage points are. Time after time I’ve done an analysis of a company, and I’ve figured out a leverage point. Then I’ve gone to the company and discovered that everyone is pushing it in the wrong direction!”

The classic example of that backward intuition was Forrester’s first world model. Asked by the Club of Rome to show how major global problems – poverty and hunger, environmental destruction, resource depletion, urban deterioration, unemployment – are related and how they might be solved, Forrester came out with a dear leverage point: Growth. Both population and economic growth. Growth has costs – among which are poverty and hunger, environmental destruction – the whole list of problems we are trying to solve with growth!

The world’s leaders are correctly fixated on economic growth as the answer to virtually all problems, but they’re pushing with all their might in the wrong direction.

Of course, this leads to Derrick’s example of dams killing salmon. We know that what is killing salmon are dams, but there isn’t much talk about removing them. In fact, worldwide there are more dams being built then there are dams being destroyed.

On the other hand, Quinn makes an important point. If there isn’t enough people with changed minds understanding what dams do to salmon, once you destroy them they will just be built again.

Then Derrick is saying if the dams that are killing salmon are rebuilt, destroy them again and again and again and again until the dams that are killing salmon can no longer be rebuilt.

Take care,

Curt


#31

[quote=“Huby7, post:30, topic:1069”]When it comes to understanding Daniel Quinn’s and Derrick Jensen’s work I have found this article useful.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0GER/is_n91/ai_20116096/pg_1?tag=artBody;col1

And, specifically, this excerpt from the article has helped me understand to some degree where Derrick is coming from in Endgame.

[quote]From article: Folks who do systems analysis have a great belief in “leverage points.” These are places within a complex system a corporation, an economy, a living body, a city, an ecosystem) where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything.

The systems community has a lot of lore about leverage points. Those of us who were trained by the great Jay Forrester at MIT have absorbed one of his favorite stories. “People know intuitively where leverage points are. Time after time I’ve done an analysis of a company, and I’ve figured out a leverage point. Then I’ve gone to the company and discovered that everyone is pushing it in the wrong direction!”

The classic example of that backward intuition was Forrester’s first world model. Asked by the Club of Rome to show how major global problems – poverty and hunger, environmental destruction, resource depletion, urban deterioration, unemployment – are related and how they might be solved, Forrester came out with a dear leverage point: Growth. Both population and economic growth. Growth has costs – among which are poverty and hunger, environmental destruction – the whole list of problems we are trying to solve with growth!

The world’s leaders are correctly fixated on economic growth as the answer to virtually all problems, but they’re pushing with all their might in the wrong direction.[/quote]

Of course, this leads to Derrick’s example of dams killing salmon. We know that what is killing salmon are dams, but there isn’t much talk about removing them. In fact, worldwide there are more dams being built then there are dams being destroyed.

On the other hand, Quinn makes an important point. If there isn’t enough people with changed minds understanding what dams do to salmon, once you destroy them they will just be built again.

Then Derrick is saying if the dams that are killing salmon are rebuilt, destroy them again and again and again and again until the dams that are killing salmon can no longer be rebuilt.

Take care,

Curt[/quote]

Why not build dams that DONT kill salmon? (if a dam is needed)


#32

[quote=“bereal, post:25, topic:1069”][quote author=Raven link=topic=1130.msg12409#msg12409 date=1221887197]
All life marches to death/life. You can worry about it if you want.
[/quote]

This is just it, though - civilization (as described above) has a death-wish. It is an instrument of converting the living to the dead - in a word, PRODUCTION. By it’s very nature, it must continually grow economically (or it will collapse), and how it accomplishes this growth is by continually consuming (the mouth that eats) living things - trees, rocks, fish, mountains, human beings, the list goes on - and converting them into “products” - paper, lumber, fish sticks, metal parts in a hardware store or factory, etc…

Because of this, civilization has removed itself completely from the web of life and death, and is entirely concerned with consuming and killing. If it is not stopped (or unless it collapses on its own, but then the question is minimizing the damage), it WILL consume all life on the planet - at least until it can no longer sustain itself (and the humans that act to keep it going).

[quote]
Could I not turn that around on people BOTH for and against “Civilization”?

People who worry about the future, and past have no presence.[/quote]

Yes, I worry about the future, the future of ecosystems, of species, of humans, but what I am most concerned with is the present. Mountains, rivers, reefs, ocean bays, are being destroyed AS WE SPEAK. 214,000 acres of forest are deforested EVERY DAY, an area larger than New York City.

Fully 90% of each of the world’s large ocean species (cod, halibut, tuna, etc) have disappeared in recent decades (this was reported in 2003). The newspaper also reported that “fishing has become so efficient that it typically takes just 15 years to remove 80% or more of any species unlucky enough to become the focus of a fleet’s attention.”

From Derrick Jensen’s “Engame” (the most important book I’ve ever read):

"Because of civilization, almost 1,400 square miles of land per year are converted into desert, more than twice the rate from thirty years ago… In about twenty years, two-thirds of the arable land in Africa will be gone, as well as one-third in Asia and one-fifth in South America…The corporate press further acknowledges that prior to civilization even some of what are now the most inhospitable deserts were habitable, saying that ‘much of the Middle East, the Mediterranean and North Africa were once green. The Sahara itself was a savanna, and rock paintings show giraffes, elephants, and cows once lived there.’

As industrial civilization kills the land, so too it kills the oceans. Each summer a dead zone covers 8,000 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico… Altogether, there are almost 150 dead zones, places where the water contains too little oxygen to sustain life. This number has doubled each decade since the 1960’s."

And even worse for the oceans is deep-sea trawling. The CBC reports that “every year, the giant nets that trawler ships pull across the bottom of the sea devastate an area of the global seabed twice the size of the United States, scraping up everything from coral to sharks.”

I could go on, but I won’t. :wink: There is plenty enough to be concerned about in the present, to make worrying about the future a luxury.[/quote]

Wow your in a lot of places at once!

I know the effects of the idea “Civilization”.
But I don’t see the noun Civilization. Because it aint there.

Yet people talk about it like it ACTUALLY exists… show me.

When Civilization is a noun in the mind (an image), it becomes an idol to war against. It becomes Satan, to your God. Be careful

When people try to impose their idea of “greater good” they equally create a “greater evil”. Example: Stopping Civilization.

You can only stop “Civilization” for YOURSELF. In your own head. Then your action will show others. So THEY can decide for themselves. No idols. Or thou shalts necessary. You don’t even have to speak, if you don’t want.

Trying to stop Civilization, is good for some (in their minds) and evil for others (in their minds).

Worrying about it crashing is the same as cheering it on. It’s a waste of energy.

“inevitable crashing”, is an end-time prophecy… religion. Waste of energy.


#33

Care to explain how a dam can not block the waterflow, therefore keeping salmon from breeding? It’s what dams do.


#34
I know the effects of the idea "Civilization". But I don't see the noun Civilization. Because it aint there.

Yet people talk about it like it ACTUALLY exists… show me.

When Civilization is a noun in the mind (an image), it becomes an idol to war against. It becomes Satan, to your God. Be careful

Fascism
Capitalism
Sexism
Racism
Child Abuse
Domestic Abuse

All of these things are patterns of behavior and/or ways of organizing ideas. They make themselves apparently only through their results. Are they also not worth recognizing and warring against?


#35

Oh yea, read:

http://www.rewild.info/conversations/index.php?topic=567.0
http://www.rewild.info/conversations/index.php?topic=1086.0

Because frankly, I suspect you haven’t read these yet.


#36

[quote=“Willem, post:21, topic:1069”][quote author=Raven link=topic=1130.msg12409#msg12409 date=1221887197]
PEOPLE do this. Not “Civilization”

If you can plunk down “Civilization” on the table in front of me, I may think twice.
You call it an “it”, but you can’t show me it. And neither can I show you.[/quote]

The indigenous experience (and more and more, my experience) of Story, as I understand it, points to the aliveness, the “being”-ness, the bodied-ness of Story. Stories, Songs, Ceremonies, all have mouths that eat, and food to feed others.

Civilization, as a Story (also known as a Mythology, or Dream, or Song), has its own living-ness. It most certainly has a mouth that eats. And where Civilization speaks the people into action, the People act accordingly.

I resonate with Martin Prechtel’s traditional Tzutujil Mayan view that the gods, the-ones-you-cannot-plunk-down-on-the-table-and-yet-also-take-the-form-of-many-things,
they speak Poetry that makes us. If they stopped, we would die. Why would they stop?

Because we stop feeding them. This may mean actual literal food, it may also mean the food of our hearts and minds. Traditional native peoples don’t draw a line between these kinds of food either (the second of which you couldn’t “plunk down” either).

Plunkability doesn’t work very well as a measure of realness, in my experience. I have other senses than my sense of touch.[/quote]

makes me think about the native story tellers of the bay area who would carry a little pouch around with them in which they kept their stories. when the stories were told, the bag would be opened and the story was “released”. when the story was finished, it was put back in the bag. stories literally had a life of their own and weren’t created , but were kept and passed on.


#37

Hi Raven,
you mentioned:

“…Yet people talk about it like it ACTUALLY exists… show me…”

Not sure I understand. Because if you want to be shown civilization, nothing, I think, is easier. I think it’s so evident that there is no need to even start describing it. Unless you’re part of some tribe that has never had any contact and which is unaware of the “killing machine” that has spread just about everywhere on Earth now. But that is certainly not the case since you’re using internet, and a computer which are both part of civilization a.k.a. “the machine”.

As for civilization’s essential ideology which, in my view anyway, is that of man’s superiority over All that exists, thus entitling him to control, subjugate, pervert, commodify, and kill All
he desires to, well, it’s an idea so it can only be “shown” as its manifestations which can be perceived everywhere or almost in one or many forms.

Of course this ideology has to disappear. And some people are working on it.
And yes, people are free to choose to continue living according to civ’s ideology, and continue
promoting it. As I’m free to stop its promoters from doing what it wants with me and my loved ones, human and other-than-human.

I don’t know, maybe I didn’t get the sense of what you were talking about, and I’m totally off track…


#38

Care to explain how a dam can not block the waterflow, therefore keeping salmon from breeding? It’s what dams do.[/quote]

I’m saying that there is no one right way of looking at something. Because a “dam” is an infinite possibility, everthing is. THAT I’m sure of. How to go about building one that lets salmon through is not something I’m interested in right now.
You’d have to know the area, community needs, purpose of such a dam etc. That can only be done on an individual basis.

Dams will continue to be built to block salmon, so long as we think of dams as “salmon-blockers”

So completely destroying dams would cause them to be hastily rebuilt in the same manner… as salmon-blockers.

In the time that we are worried about stopping/going to war with what we don’t like, we could have been coming up with new ideas/doing new things… What WE want… as individuals.
If you want such a dam, invent it!
And if you want to knock one down, go for it!! (i’m sick that night)
If you want to build the same ol’, build it.


#39

[quote=“incendiary_dan, post:34, topic:1069”][quote]I know the effects of the idea “Civilization”.
But I don’t see the noun Civilization. Because it aint there.

Yet people talk about it like it ACTUALLY exists… show me.

When Civilization is a noun in the mind (an image), it becomes an idol to war against. It becomes Satan, to your God. Be careful[/quote]

Fascism
Capitalism
Sexism
Racism
Child Abuse
Domestic Abuse

All of these things are patterns of behavior and/or ways of organizing ideas. They make themselves apparently only through their results. Are they also not worth recognizing and warring against?[/quote]
Recognizing, as in understanding that they are just ideas, and hold no water. Warring against ideas perpetuates them, makes the SEEM like they hold water. This CAUSES the patterned behavior.
The result is not the idea. All of Sciences knowledge about the bee, is not the bee.


#40

[quote=“Raven, post:9, topic:1069”]Tearing down infrastructure before people see the stairs, is not a river I would take. Render infrastructure useless as a civilizational ideal (see the art in it), then put it to use based on how it benefits the area it is in…

Unless we WANT war… taking toys away from babys with guns.[/quote]

I’m confused… how does “putting infrastructure to use” in whatever way we see fit NOT equate to “taking it away”, in the eyes of those who have legal ownership of the infrastructure? I believe that your proposed strategy would lead to war just the same. One could only repurpose infrastructure AFTER the legal, economic, industrial, etc systems fall apart.