Your shadow walks faster than you
You don’t really know what to do
Do you think that you’re not alone?
You really think that you are immune to
Its gonna get that the best of you
Its gonna lift you up and let you down
It will defeat you
Then teach you to get back up
After it takes away
All that you learn to love
Jack Johnson, Hope
I have seen a lot of articles at Orion Magazine that I am pretty sure are merely passages from Derrick Jensen’s Endgame. Maybe he re-wrote some of them as articles, with little changes here and there, but to me they read like excerpts I have read before. That’s okay, I’m not dissing it at all. Just another way to get his words out to people. I take it back – I just took the time to look and sure enough, they are excerpts.
In any case, the most recent one: Beyond Hope is a passage i was recently trying to recall. I was talking with a friend about this mess we are in and he kept saying something about, “but everyone needs hope. Right? And that’s a good thing, right?” I wanted so much to say no its not. But I didn’t. Partly because I did not want a really good discussion to degenerate into a debate. Not that this statement would have caused that, but it certainly would have dragged the conversation out much longer. And partly because I could not, in that moment, really put my finger onto a coherent explanation of my response. I didn’t feel like throwing out something that heavy and being unable to defend it.
Now that I have reread the article I should be in a better place to disagree, the next time someone tells me that everyone needs hope. Because whether it is false hope (which, really, I think it usually is), or if it is honest hope, Derrick is right. Hope abrogates responsibility. So forget hope. If something isn’t the way you want it to be, change it. Because if you don’t, no one will.
Re-reading the passage just now, I also discovered once more my favorite paragraph in all of Endgame:
PEOPLE SOMETIMES ASK ME, “If things are so bad, why don’t you just kill yourself?” The answer is that life is really, really good. I am a complex enough being that I can hold in my heart the understanding that we are really, really fucked, and at the same time that life is really, really good. I am full of rage, sorrow, joy, love, hate, despair, happiness, satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and a thousand other feelings. We are really fucked. Life is still really good.
I love this. This is how I live every day. Some days I forget or it slips away from me for a time. But I always get back to it sooner or later. Recently its almost always sooner. And I find myself more and more, surrounding myself with people that are similar. Not necessarily people that have thought things through or made an conscious effort. Just people that live in joy. Life is good. And no amount of daily crap can change that.