Culture of Make Believe, The

by Derrick Jensen


Wow, one of the more intense books I have ever read. If you’re prone to depression, I recommend taking this one in very small amounts, maybe a chapter a week. I read the whole thing in about a week and spent the last few days in a very pessimistic fog about our prospect as a species.

Jensen has the strangest way with words when describing some of the most horrific historical events imagineable. He is eloquent and forceful without being too in-your-face. He does come off as a little arrogant at times, but I think anyone who is convinced that their radical (and under-represented) opinion is correct would do the same.

Ultimately, he takes thoughts and ideas that I have vaguely floating around in my head and organizes them elegantly into strong arguments. His treatment of the subject is a little diffuse: he starts out on a quest to define “hatred” and never really arrives at a concrete definition, but the journey is fascinating nonetheless.

It normally bothers me quite a bit when an author offers all critique without any sort of feasible solutions, but here it seems appropriate — Jensen honestly doesn’t think there is hope for our civilization, and for him, the faster we help destroy it, the better.

I look forward to reading the two Endgame volumes (Endgame, Vol. 1: The Problem of Civilization and Endgame, Vol. 2: Resistance — update: see my reviews here and here), hopefully for more ideas on what I can do to help. But I’m going to take a Jensen-free sabbatical for a couple weeks at least, until I can build up enough optimism to have it once more rudely ripped away (in a good way more or less).


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