Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Culture of Make Believe

Earlier this year, David Edwards, the author of Burning All Illusions, said to me, "If the first rule of a dysfunctional system is 'Don't talk about it,' then our primary goal should be to tell the truth, to be as honest as we can manage to be. When I read something truthful, something real, I breathe a deep sigh and say, 'Fantastic - I wasn't mad or alone in thinking that, after all!' So often we are left to our own devices, struggling in the dark with this external and internal propaganda system. At that point, for someone to tell us the truth is a gift. In a world where people all around us are lying and confusing us, to be honest is a great kindness."

The primary point is this: I now understand that the dissonance I felt for so long is a natural step in rejecting one's socialization - a less refined term would be brainwashing. It is not possible - at least in my own case - to move from one way of perceiving the world to another without a transition of confusion, loss, even hopelessness. Had I known this earlier - had I an understanding of how transitions occur - my period of questioning my sanity may have been shorter, my desperation less deep. This may have been a good thing. Or it may not have been a good thing: My search for a community of like hearts and minds (in books and in person) may then have been less intense, less immediate.

I don't suppose that at this point it much matters. That particular transition is over for me, and so far as the other transitions and transformations that take place now, more or less routinely, I have come to accept dissonance - confusion, contradictory impulses, fear - as something not to be feared in and of itself, but in a sense to be welcomed and entered into as a necessary doorway to new understanding.

-- from The Culture of Make Believe by Derrick Jensen

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