The Ecological Citizen

A free-to-access publication confronting human supremacy in defence of the Earth


Long article

Continuous dissent and the limits of reason: Ecocentric decision-making for resistance

Paul Feather

The Ecological Citizen Vol 5 No 1 2021: 74–81 [epub-042]

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First published: 9 July 2021  |  Permanent URL  |  Download citation in RIS format


Any action or social movement whose goal is to protect biodiversity and halt mass extinction must be guided by decisions that navigate irreducibly complex interconnections between human groups and the ecological systems that these groups may protect or destroy. Complex systems theory provides models for navigating and understanding these highly interconnected systems, but these models are extremely unintuitive for people immersed in the humanistic cultural constructs (of language, cosmology and identity) that pervade modern society. Complex systems theory also provides a basis for understanding how collective human behaviour is influenced by shared stories or myths. Successful resistance to ecocide must not only physically prevent further ecological destruction, but also re-shape the stories that coordinate and influence collective human behaviour. This implies that groups who actively resist ecocide cannot themselves be guided by the humanistic stories that shape ecocidal behaviour. Rather, these groups should be guided by continuous dissent: a form of perception that allows non-rational direct perception of instructions and messages from more-than-human ecological wholes.



Complexity, Direct action, Humanism, Limits, Societal change