Is Derrick Jensen’s Logic Supremacist? An Open Letter

Image result for derrick jensen myth of human supremacyDear Derrick,

I wonder if you’d be open to feedback on your latest, The Myth of Human Supremacy. If so, read on.

I’ve followed your writings since you started your writing career with exquisite narratives of polemic anti-civ activities. Inspiring anti-civ stuff that feeds my spirit! (Let’s check to see if your writings still pass the anti-civ litmus test: I’ll turn your book over to see who you selected to comment. Wtf? The pro-civ leftists Eve Ensler, Chris Hedges and Bill McKibben? Oh Derrick, how did such a wild spirit and lucid mind end up falling into hypocrisy’s deep abyss? When you first started noticing your schism, I bet a chat with your old friend John Zerzan could have helped you avoid your self-promotion as the Leftist Leader heading humans down a farcical path.) Well, I guess I could say that your book follows both your motif of elegiac insight into civilization’s anti-biota blind spots, and your path ever toward a mainstream audience?

Don’t get me wrong, you still have an astounding ability to see through civilization’s veils, and share a view of Earth and all life that domesticated humans no longer notice. But then you make the classic leftist mistake by laying out a sound anti-civ case and inconsistently leaving off the sound anti-civ conclusion. And now with this book, you also noticeably expose your vulnerabilities by letting your self-denial intrude into your flair for truth in sound form. (Yes, you got it Derrick. I see through your deep shame of feasting upon flesh. I tried not to see it, but your logical twists & outright failings just made it too obvious to ignore. ) Folks were wondering why you fail to see your blatant self-contradiction of using supremacism itself to refute supremacism. It is merely a reflection of your thick denial brought on by internal incongruences from which you suffer.

So now, in addition to losing your standing as anti-civ, you have turned your unresolved meat shame into blatant vegan bullying. Let’s start at what may be the first crack of your schism. Even if you do still consider yourself anti-civ, you can’t be both anti-civ and anti-primitive. (I just can’t believe I have to explain this to you.) After you lay out your sound case for why humans need to end civilization, what do you want in its stead? Are you proposing some sort of kinder, gentler civilization? (Hopefully, you haven’t grown that delusional.) So if not civ, then what? (If you are resistant to giving this basic question consideration, you’re never going to reach the deep questions, like What role did controlled fire play in humans becoming domesticated and invasive?)

What’s that? You want me to give you an example of your ‘logical twists’? Sure. Well the most obvious is that you keep equating veganism with consumerism, which equates just the same as meat eating does. (Logic 101: Compare apples to oranges and end up with… lemonade?) Now, with that out of the way, I’m going to try to help you break through your shame denial. (Feel free to consider this a primal therapy session.)

You spend the first several chapters pounding away on the anti-vegan theme dancing with these three points:

  1. Plants are sentient, thinking, emoting, perceiving, communicative, intelligent, cooperative and worthy beings who have memories and complex social relationships.
  2. There is no existent difference between animals and plants, and to try to draw a line between them is hierarchy rationalized by religion and science.
  3. Plants are just as worthy of human consideration as animals, and to not do so is supremacist.

As a forest creature myself, I wholeheartedly experience the truth in and power of your first point. But as for your second point, is it not natural for live beings to sense and interact with other live beings differently? If so, is nature hierarchy? How would you like eating your pet dog, or mold, or your child, or soil? Is it supremacist to draw such lines? Were our earliest ancestors supremacist for being folio-frugivore for millions of years? To assume that humans naturally eat meat, could it be that you are anthropomorphizing wild humans? You present the wildness of beings intuitively sensing what to eat, but lack a sound case that early humans’ wild diet consists of meat. (Meat-eater supremacy?) When you seem to be on the cusp of wild’s truth, you unexplainably fail to finish.

“We co-evolved with plants and others who grow substances that when eaten and metabolized provide us with different amounts or kinds of nutrition, so we evolved such that we experience a pleasant sensation when we ingest, for example, huckleberries or blackberries, as a way of encouraging us to do so. Likewise, many substances that aren’t good for us taste bad. There’s a reason huckleberries taste better to most of us than shit…” p. 61

Let’s start from the basis that controlled fire sparked domestication and hence civilization. A reasonable assumption would be that raw meat doesn’t naturally taste good to humans, but berries do, hence the early human diet was intuitively folio-frugivore based. That is the way humans interacted in nature for millions of our earliest years, as seed dispensers. {What is that, you say? You think controlled fire is anti-civ, and even primitive? That will be covered in my next letter.}

What if one of the keys to humans stopping their ‘murder of the planet’, to rejoin the symphony of the wild, is to shift our diet from animals to plants, not out of supremacism, but because that is the wild human diet, how humans thrive with nature? Instead, what if hunting animals, as opposed to foraging plants, is human supremacism?

(And the icing on the cake Derrick, you make the case against animal agriculture, but later tell stories of all-you-can-eat steaks, McDonalds and cheesecake, brashly. You contradict yourself in a way that normalizes mainstream meat for your readers.)

(And no Derrick, the salmon are not making deals with you, offering their lives to you to be eaten. That would be the quintessence of supremacism. Plants and animals may think, but only civilized humans have magic thinking to soothe their shame.)

If you made it all the way to this end, Derrick, take a few deep breaths. You’re ok, still alive. It’s called constructive criticism. When you choose to join the big league mainstream, you gotta brace for anything, even worse than this.

Wildly yours,

Ria

P.S. It’s not too late to give JZ a call. Just sayin’.

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3 thoughts on “Is Derrick Jensen’s Logic Supremacist? An Open Letter

  1. Pingback: Is Derrick Jensen’s Logic Supremacist? An Open Letter — vegan anarchist primitivist – Vegan Primitivist

  2. Nice rebuttal, Ria. It will be interesting to see the response, if any. My only speedbump in your article was “controlled fire sparked domestication and hence civilization”. With at least 200,000 years before the advent of controlled fire and civilization, “spark” seems a little out of the time line.

    Liked by 1 person

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