We live in “a monstrous time for which we have no name yet” says philosopher Peter Sloterdijk. This page contains essays I wrote during the years 2018 and 2019 to wrap my mind around three questions:
WHY is it that our gorgeous western culture is obviously racing towards the Apocalypse?
WHY is it that this is a well known scientific fact, and yet nobody seems to care?
HOW can a feeling and thinking person, driven by reason as well as moral and empathy, live during such monstrous times?
Writing helped me to find answers. It helped me to develope a political consciousness. And it helped me to remain mentally stable during monstrous times.
You can find all of the essays below compiled in my book entitled “Babylon Apocalypse” on the English books section of this website.
THE MEGAMACHINE AS A FORM OF SOCIAL ORGANIZATION
On July 10th, 1985, the Rainbow Warrior, ship of the environmental organization Greenpeace, was sunk by agents of the French Service Action. From the 1940’s until the 60’s, the US-Army had been testing atomic bombs on the Marshall Islands. What used to be a South Pacific paradise was now contaminated.
CALL ME CRAZY: BABYLON APOCALYPSE
Call me crazy, but I spent the last evening sitting in my garden and telling the first toad I met this year what I do and why. I told her about Deep Green Resistance, about the destruction of the natural world by our culture, and I asked her to tell me how she and her kind perceive all this. I don’t know if I understood her correctly, but what I heard was: “Well, too many of us are dying. We know that some of you are trying to help us. That’s not enough. It has to stop.“
The most basic commandment of our culture: Thou shalt pretend there is nothing wrong.
Indigenous cultures, uncivilized societies that did not build cities and lived as hunters and gatherers or small scale subsistence farmers, were land-based cultures. Their livelihoods were based on the land and the ecosystems. Our culture –in the broadest sense civilization, in the narrower sense western, more recently industrial civilization– is based on faith. In terms of livelihoods, our culture is no longer based solely on the exploitation of its land base, but on the hyper-exploitation of almost all parts of the world, including the oceans.
“Since the beginning of history, attempts have been made to develop power techniques with which our moral sensitivities can be undermined, so to speak, which activate less resistance in the people. These power techniques are now often referred to as soft power. Soft power is the full range of techniques to manipulate public opinion. Intermediaries for these forms of exercising power are supported by foundations, think tanks, elite networks and lobby groups — in particular private and public media, schools and the entire education and training sector as well as the cultural industry. The effects of soft power techniques are largely invisible to the public, so protests against these forms of indoctrination are unlikely. Economic reasons speak in favor of primarily using soft power and refining and optimizing these technologies for manipulation purposes on the basis of scientific research of our cognitive and affective characteristics. This has happened over the past hundred years in a very systematic and consequential manner.”
“Capitalism reaches fulfillment when it sells communism as a commodity. Communism as a commodity spells the end of revolution.”
I’m a permaculturalist. And I became a permie in the first place because I wanted to break free from this culture. To me, permaculture was and still is highly political. “Permaculture is revolution disguised as gardening” is one of my favorite Bill Mollison quotes. After all, what freedom can we have without subsistence, without having control over our most basic resources, our own food? “There is no sovereignty without food sovereignty” said Native American activist John Mohawk.
LETTER TO MY MIDDLE CLASS FRIENDS
Congratulations on your new job!
To be honest, I’ve never understood how people like you can do practically anything for their job, while the whole world around us is burning. This is not a criticism of your person, but only my attempt to better understand your way of life. I know you do have some understanding that our entire culture is based on violence and exploitation and destroys all life on the planet. Nevertheless, you do everything to be a functioning part of the machine and to live a “normal” western life.
It is very difficult for me to live in this culture. I just can’t psychologically survive in the high performance society, where everyone is passionately exploiting themselves while all life on this planet is being destroyed.
I have severe depression and anxiety disorders and I have to take good care of myself to be able to take care of my son.
It is very difficult for people who have never experienced poverty to understand what poverty means. The constant nagging fear. The permanent stress and psychological terror of state authorities on which you are dependent, that harass you and try to keep you small and oppressed.
PRESERVE AND PROTECT REMAINING UNTOUCHED WILDERNESS
After I wrote the previous article and posted it on facebook, someone posted a video of the positivist permie Matt Powers,1http://www.thepermaculturestudent.com a guy who seems to be always smiling and promotes “UNSTOPPABLE ENTHUSIASM”2https://www.booktopia.com.au/unstoppable-enthusiasm-matt-powers/prod9781732187863.html in response.
It made me think, and I articulated my thoughts in this article. A positivist person like Matt Powers is certainly more successful in this society than a negative person. And yes, I often wish I could be as positive as Matt. I find the positivism in permaculture sometimes refreshing, but sometimes, I must confess, I find it frighteningly naive.
POLITICAL EDUCATION FOR THE POOR – AN ADVOCACY FOR A NEW POLITICAL AWARENESS
“Coming to a political consciousness is not a painless task. To overcome denial means facing the everyday, normative cruelty of a whole society, a society made up of millions of people who are participating in that cruelty, and if not directly, then as bystanders with benefits. A friend of mine who grew up in extreme poverty recalled becoming politicized during her first year in college, a year of anguish over the simple fact that “there were rich people and there were poor people, and there was a relationship between the two.” You may have to face full-on the painful experiences you denied in order to survive, and even the humiliation of your own collusion. But knowledge of oppression starts from the bedrock that subordination is wrong and resistance is possible. The acquired skill of analysis can be psychologically and even spiritually freeing.”1Aric McBay, Lierre Keith and Derrick Jensen (2011): Deep Green Resistance: Stategy to Save the Planet S. 73
Strictly speaking, all of my problems, the whole drama of my life and suffering can be summarized in one word: poverty.
POLITICAL EDUCATION 101
The idea for this article came to me when I heard a man say at a demonstration that he was confused because he didn’t know if he was “right” or “left”. It therefore seems very important to me to define such seemingly basic political terms as sharply and clearly as possible.
“left” & “right”:
The terms “left” and “right” as political terms have their origins in the French Revolution. At the first French National Assemblies, the traditionally “more honorable” seat to the right of the President of Parliament was reserved for the nobility, so that the bourgeoisie (the relatively wealthy middle class, or capitalist class in Marxist contexts) sat on the left. Therefore, those who want more equality are called “left” until today, while those who want to preserve existing power structures are called “right”.
THE WISDOM OF THE TOADS
I want to tell you a story. A story about permaculture, food chains, friendship, love and death. People are storytellers. We transport information through stories, or narratives, to use the more sophisticated term.
Actually I wanted to go with my good friend Cengiz to a political event, a meeting of the initiative aufstehen (stand up) about the resistance of the yellow vests in France. However, Cengiz decided to spend the evening with his newly hatched chicks, his cats and a good friend whom he looks after because she has addiction problems. He is one of the finest characters I have ever met. I taught him how to kill. We have already taken the lives of many proud roosters together.