Unlearning alienation: a crucial component of a revolutionary movement

Michael Regenfuss / Deep Green Resistance Bay Area

Michael gave a talk at this year’s annual DGR conference on the subject of overcoming alienation, quoting some pertinent passages from The Sorcerer of Bolinas Reef by Charles Reich. He elaborates on those thoughts here.

What is alienation, how did we become afflicted with it, and how do we unlearn it? Alienation is created when you are being systematically undervalued, abused, and traumatized. We have all been undervalued from the day we were born. We are taught not only to expect less out of ourselves, but to expect less out of other people and also to undervalue the non-human part of nature.

Alienation gets built up layer by layer over the years through a process of false conditioning, which can get into your consciousness without your being aware that it is happening. The process of alienation is a learned thing, and so it can be unlearned. You can unlearn on your own, but it’s easier and faster if you have the help of others to facilitate the unlearning process. All you have to do is first decide that you are going to do this, and then find other like minded people, and form an affinity group that focuses on personal growth and real community.

The earth’s survival is the number one priority and needs to be our main focus, but there must be an emphasis placed on fundamental personal growth too. If you engage in this part of the revolution, it will not only improve your own lives, but make you a better activist and help guard against burnout.

Reich’s book is a great educational tool that will help you to learn more how alienation works, and it has countless insights as to how to unlearn it. The way to read the book is to read 8 to 10 pages at a time, set it down and think critically about what you’ve read, and then read the next 8 to 10 pages. By reading it this way you will hopefully begin to comprehend the whole difficult concept of alienation.

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