When civilizations start to die they go insane. Let the ice sheets in the Arctic melt. Let the temperatures rise. Let the air, soil and water be poisoned. Let the forests die. Let the seas be emptied of life. Let one useless war after another be waged. Let the masses be thrust into extreme poverty and left without jobs while the elites, drunk on hedonism, accumulate vast fortunes through exploitation, speculation, fraud and theft. Reality, at the end, gets unplugged.
Certainly nothing can be done to stop the collapse of industrial civilization, but much can be done to hasten its demise. I will leave that topic, however, to my friends Derrick Jensen, Keith Farnish, and Guy McPherson. Nevertheless, as I have written before, if you choose to invest your time and energy in expediting the unraveling, by all means do so, but giving industrial civilization a swift kick off the cliff, while temporarily exhilarating, is not sufficient to protect you from your own psychotic break or the precariousness of living in a world where violence escalates on a daily basis. In order to forge that kind of stability and enhance your safety, much more will be required of you.
In “The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why ?” (New York Review of Books, 2011), Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, discusses over-diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, pathologizing of normal behaviors, Big Pharma corruption of psychiatry, and the adverse effects of psychiatric medications. While diagnostic expansionism and Big Pharma certainly deserve a large share of the blame for this epidemic, there is another reason. A June 2013 Gallup poll  revealed that 70% of Americans hate their jobs or have “checked out” of them. Life may or may not suck any more than it did a generation ago, but our belief in “progress” has increased expectations that life should be more satisfying, resulting in mass disappointment. For many of us, society has become increasingly alienating, isolating and insane, and earning a buck means more degrees, compliance, ass-kissing, shit-eating, and inauthenticity. So, we want to rebel. However, many of us feel hopeless about the possibility of either our own escape from societal oppression or that political activism can create societal change. So, many of us, especially young Americans, rebel by what is commonly called mental illness.