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In Civilisation, Everything Lies

November 2008

Now. What I am beginning to understand, though, is that there’s a difference between the way things speak in Nature, and the way things speak in civilization. Or, rather, there’s a difference in the way we perceive what speaks when we’re out in Nature versus here in civilization.

The difference is this: In civilization, everything lies.

Okay, that’s a bit melodramatic. The truth is that I find that I lie to myself, on a subconscious level, when I open to listen to the things that speak.

What do I mean? Well, when I look down at my desk, I perceive the superficial form of a desk. But underlying that desk is a lot of other stuff. Wood from a hundred places. Whatever chemical or mechanical process it took to form the compressed wood, and the workmanship it took to form it into boards and to paste a natural wood finish on the outside. So much human intervention and intent, and so many voices from a hundred different places. The voices all speak so differently, creating a cacophony. And each voice is the tantalizing end of a thread that leads elsewhere — to where, I don’t know. Was sweatshop labor involved? Were sustainable practices used in harvesting the wood? What chemical toxins were or are present? Who has suffered to bring me this desk?

In order to survive this barrage, I have to shut the door completely and say: It’s just a fucking desk.

The Great Mystery: Perceiving the Dishonesty of This World