“Home” is a word for the feeling of being whole, of being at peace with oneself, and with the world. Home was a reason for going off to war, yet it is becoming more difficult for the warriors to find a way home again. Modern wars are not simply more lethal, they are also more confusing and soul-battering. The enemy can be anywhere, can be anyone. IED’s can erupt at any time and reverberate in the brain for years making it impossible to simply drive in traffic or enter a shopping mall. A city street or parking lot can become a “war zone” simply because of an unexpected noise or a sudden peripheral movement. The war fragments the soul and makes the peace-time fragile at best.
While much has been written in the field of psychology about resilience, the disaster environment provides an active and ongoing opportunity to reframe, reorganize and construct new meaning in a compressed timeline. In Japan, the disruption they face challenges, as a society, their capacities to respond to widespread loss of human life, environmental devastation and infrastructure. The sheer magnitude of the natural and man-made catastrophe boggles the mind for those of us who are, for the present, frozen bystanders. While we may share some of the intense anxiety and fear, we cannot grasp the full impact, both physiologically and psychologically to this country.