the green flame podcast

“They Need Not Dominate Our Minds.” On Existential Fear.

In this short excerpt from the last episode of The Green Flame podcast, Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith offer a poetic reading from a piece by C.S. Lewis, originally written in 1948, in which the author speaks of the threat of nuclear war and how to live in an age of existential threats.

“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. How are we to live in an atomic age? I am tempted to reply, ‘why as you would have lived in the 16th century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might have landed and cut your throat every night, or indeed as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented, and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors: anesthetics. We have that still.

It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance but a certainty.

This is the first point to be made and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things: working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a a game of darts, not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies, a microbe can do that, but they need not dominate our minds.”

Derrick’s website: https://derrickjensen.org/

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About The Green Flame

The Green Flame is a Deep Green Resistance podcast offering revolutionary analysis, skill sharing, and inspiration for the movement to save the planet by any means necessary. Our hosts are Max Wilbert and Jennifer Murnan.

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