Entering Into Relationship With Everything with Derrick Jensen

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Ecologist, activist, and prolific author Derrick Jensen asserts that the human species is not by nature a plague species. Indigenists (his term) lived for tens of thousands of years in harmony with the planet that sustained them. The difference between those cultures and what Westerners think of as civilization is, in essence, our perception of the world. Jensen notes, “The principal difference between Western and indigenist ways of being is that even the most open-minded Westerner generally views listening to the natural world as a metaphor, as opposed to the way the world really is.” Further, the predominant culture is not characterized by open-mindedness, since to that world-view nature is a commodity. Jensen argues that the key to change and life sustaining action is rooted in seeing nature as sentient – a being worthy and deserving of personal relationship. In this dialogue he compares and contrasts both world-views as he has encountered them in his life. The good news, he asserts, is that because so much is messed up there’s a way for everyone to get involved. (hosted by Michael Toms)


Derrick Jensen is an environmental activist, lecturer, and teacher. He sees civilization to be inherently unsustainable and based on violence.

His books include:

To learn more about the work of Derrick Jensen go to www.derrickjensen.org.

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • Who knows what to do to live sustainably
  • What is a panopticon
  • What is really good about everything being so messed up
  • What are the three rules of a dysfunctional culture
  • What is a writer’s job
Host: Michael Toms      Interview Date: 10/31/2006      Program Number: 3180