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Dreams Paperback – April 5, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583229302
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583229309
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #694,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Activist, philosopher, teacher, and leading voice of uncompromising dissent, DERRICK JENSEN holds degrees in creative writing and mineral engineering physics. In 2008, he was named one of the Utne Reader’s "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World," and in 2006 he was named Press Action’s Person of the Year for his work on the book Endgame. He lives in California. 

Customer Reviews

I am very glad I spent many days reading this book and taking notes.
Guttersnipe Das
Unfortunately, people rush to blame Christianity instead of focusing the blame on the individual person where the blame rightfully belongs.
puke skybarfer
To be clear, his ideas don't upset me, his unfocused rehashing of old themes does.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Guttersnipe Das on September 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
A few years ago I began to read books about ecology and climate. First I read books like Thomas Friedman's Hot Flat and Crowded, that claims we can use a "green revolution" to save the earth and get rich. It's embarrassing to think that just four years ago this seemed to me a reasonable idea. Then I read the more serious books, that argued that profound sacrifice would be necessary: Orr, Brown, McKibben.

Meanwhile, natural communities are destroyed at ever-increasing pace. Meanwhile, government and business are wholly unwilling to make real changes to avert destruction. They can't even manage hollow gestures and window dressing! Meanwhile, many of the smartest and best people I know -- who appear otherwise thoughtful -- say they can't be bothered or hide themselves away in easy nihilism or nauseating New Age vapidity.

People act as if they had someplace else to live. They appear to be waiting for an new iphone application that will save the Earth in just one click.

Now here is Derrick Jensen, every cell in his body radiating outrage, kicking in all directions in his fury. I think Derrick Jensen is wrong about plenty of things. I only wish that he was wrong about the things that matter most. He's not wrong. He's right: there is no reason to believe that the system of which we are a part, and which is destroying the Earth, is going to voluntarily dismantle itself for the good of all. It isn't going to happen.

I groaned aloud when Jensen related yet another zombie nightmare but the zombie metaphor is hideously apt: what are we doing but moving in stunned lockstep toward the destruction of the basis of our own lives and spirits?

Naysayers will find this book effortless to dismiss.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By deena metzger on June 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
At a time when our culture systematically and consistently threatens all life, might there be means to resist and even overcome these deadly forces? Determined, rigorous, desperate, exacting, passionate lover of the earth and beauty, Jensen is determined that we accompany him as he examines, with the stated intent of undoing, every activity, theory, belief, assumption, illusion and delusion of this dominant omnicidal culture. He insists that we bear witness to our own destructiveness, ruthlessly and broken-heartedly face these patterns, and, finally, act and live on behalf of the earth. In his precise and painstaking investigation of what is real and true, Jensen sees the possibility that lies in thinking, again, according to the indigenous wisdom traditions that prevailed over millennia and gave more to the earth than they took.
Dare to read this book. Scrutinize your life and the culture. Change! Become a fierce ally of life and so open yourself to the guidance of dreams and the intelligence of non-human beings. Commit yourself to the vitality of all the myriad creatures - salmon, bear, caribou, redwood, frog, fungi, bat, bee, waxwing, whale ­ river, ocean, mountain, cloud and stone. Live ardently on behalf of the earth.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By John Locke on July 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
In Dreams, Derrick Jensen is laying the foundations for a new way of life, for a new society, for a new approach and for a new way of thinking and perceiving the natural world and doing it first and foremost with philosophy. We can't do anything without philosophizing about it first, just as the Europeans couldn't de-land the natives without first having ideas and concepts of private property, capital versus production, might makes right and patriarchy. And in doing so, Mr. Jensen leads the way to how we are to create a new world and to manifest these philosophies as we interact with the natural world and work to save it and defend it against the destructive forces of industrial capitalism and Western civilization.

Firstly, the book's title, Dreams, is indicative of this new way of thinking about our lives and experiences. The modern scientific view teaches us that dreams are meaningless, just random neuron firings of the subconscious. But Mr. Jensen points out by spending many pages describing and analyzing his own dreams and their meanings, that this is not true. Dreams are powerful tools and meaning filled lessons given to us by the land, by animals, by the stars, the galaxies, by supernatural forces and by those who inhabit other sides. Only after taking our dreams and their messages seriously will we then wake up and realize our own individual power, our own volition and realize our right to live in a natural world not polluted by giant chemical corporations, not denuded by logging companies, not raped, not scarred and not controlled by distant rulers for their sole benefit (think retail stores at your local mall and their far-flung headquarters in Houston or Dallas).
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Taeguk on November 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'Dreams' starts off like it's going to be another penetrating, insightful, and emotionally charged work, much like Jensen's previous works such as 'Culture of Make Believe' and 'Endgame'. For about the first quarter of the book or so, that's precisely what it was. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, it loses its coherency, and the book's main thread unravels into a series of sometimes bizarre vignettes.

Jensen's criticisms of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are well argued, and provide a much needed animist dimension to the atheist/Christian family feud. His forays into mycology and his brief history of the evolution of life on earth are also excellent and worth reading.

The rest of the book, unfortunately, is a strange and random collection of anecdotes that does not hang together very well, let alone convey an urgent or powerful message. Much of this content is about dreams and personal experiences. But instead of artfully weaving conversations, dreams, and encounters into a broader indictment of civilization as Jensen has done so successfully in his previous works, 'Dreams' feels like an inconsistent bunch of ramblings. While the dreams and experiences were undoubtedly meaningful for the author, his recounting of them falls flat.

At other times Jensen attempts to tackle the subject of spirituality, and in my opinion these are the worst sections of the book. In an attempt to avoid cultural imperialism and appropriation of indigenous spiritual traditions, the author attempts to reinvent the wheel and ignores millenia old traditions and practices that offer far more consistent, powerful worldviews. I can't help but feel that a reader interested in anti-civ spirituality would do better to read the introduction to Ellen M. Cheng's translation of the Tao Te Ching.
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More About the Author

Derrick Jensen is the prize-winning author of A Language Older Than Words, The Culture of Make Believe, Listening to the Land, Strangely Like War, Welcome to the Machine, and Walking on Water. He was one of two finalists for the 2003 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, which cited The Culture of Make Believe as "a passionate and provocative meditation on the nexus of racism, genocide, environmental destruction and corporate malfeasance, where civilization meets its discontents." He is an environmental activist and lives on the coast of northern California.

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