A Language Older Than Words

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A Language Older Than Words Response Paper
In the novel A Language Older Than Words, Derrick Jensen covers many different themes in the many chapters that he has divided his book into. The two chapters that really interested me were Breaking Out and Economics. The two themes that Jensen discusses is the relationship with the self and other as well as the monetary symbol in our society respectively. I was able to relate to both of these topics in different ways.

In the chapter Breaking Out Jensen focuses on the image of the self and the relationship we have with each other. Jensen writes about how we are constricted to our own concentration camp in our society. It is not an actual concentration camp yet it is a concentration camp in our way of thinking and constructing the image of ourselves and our relationship as human beings. “In a concentration camp, it is better (in terms of maintaining physical life; spiritual life is an entirely different question) to be the killer than the killed, better to be a collaborator than a resister, a guard than a collaborator, a supervisor than a guard, and better still to be the boss (125).” He states that having everyone act in his or her own best interest may not be the best interest for society in general. “Part of the reason we’ve been able to convince ourselves that by exploiting others we’re acting in our own best interest is that we’ve accepted a severely constricted definition of self (125).” Jensen speaks about how the image of our self is not the image that we should accept. We must break out of that concentration camp that society has constructed and create our own view of what type of individual we want to be without the help of society or the fear of society judging ones self.

The quote that Jensen wrote about the concentration camp really strokes a chord in my head. My own analysis of this is that we are stuck as a society by always wanting to be the best and not looking out for others. The mentality of all...
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