First in a series about inhabiting and acting in the edge-places of our civilization as crucial for humanity’s passage through these challenging times – and inviting you to share your personal edge-dwelling experiences
Denial wears many faces. Whether it’s average people who are too busy with their lives to take on board the more extreme reports of environmental degradation; bloggers and politicians who believe that it’s all a hoax cooked up by evil scientists to get grant money for bogus studies; or, perhaps surprisingly, the green activists who believe that more political or technological change will improve or even fix the situation – these are common techniques we use to avoid confronting the horror of global collapse face-to-face.
By and large, mental health professionals in the modern world are able to connect the dots between the explosion in the number of clients suffering from addictions, depression, anxiety, attachment disorders, learning disabilities, and other illnesses with world events at large. Most fall somewhere on the liberal side of the political spectrum and support efforts to maximize the quality of life for humans and the quality of the environment for all species. Yet I believe that most clinicians who are not familiar with the “Three E’s” of energy, environment, and economics as converging crises signaling the collapse of industrial civilization, will be emotionally challenged in working with a client who embraces this perspective.
Mutually Assured Well Being: The Continuity Of Community And Individual Resilience, By Carolyn Baker
I invite the reader to review the features of community resilience and personal resilience several times. In doing so, I believe it is impossible to miss their inextricable connection and how the two types of resilience impact the other given the reality that individuals and communities foster both.
When a story nears its end it goes through death throes, an exaggerated semblance of life. So today we see domination, conquest, violence, and separation take on absurd extremes that hold a mirror up to what was once hidden and diffuse.
When you know the truth about our predicament and have no one to talk with about what you know, it can be painful. Sometimes when we are surrounded by people who prefer to remain oblivious, we begin feeling crazy and tend to doubt our own truth. Often, this makes it even more difficult to move ahead and prepare for an uncertain future, doing the things we know we need to do. If this describes your situation, consider life coaching. Ask me about Discount Life Coaching Packages. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
So the real trade-off, the real choice we face, is not between climate protection on one hand and economic growth on the other. It’s between planned economic contraction (with government managing the post-carbon transition through infrastructure investment and useful make-work programs) as a possible but unlikely strategy, and unplanned, unmanaged economic and environmental collapse as our default scenario.
We can agree that the modern industrial age has certainly severed our sense of connection to nature, and even to ourselves. Cheap fossil fuels gave us the illusion we could dominate, subjugate and use the natural world for our own ends, and in the process we forgot that we are a part of the world, not above it. It cut us off from our sense of our own natural selves and our sense of community with our neighbors. After 150 years of fossil fuel driven growth we have forgotten what this sense of connectedness feels like. Perhaps my dream says, “Prepare the ground for its return, build the bridges of connection. In the future this energy will flow again.”
There is a key difference between change and transformation. We often speak of “change”–as a potent political slogan, as a permanent feature of life, as a “good thing”–but we rarely speak of the often-wrenching process of change. I think the reason is self-evident: change often involves loss.
In older, more traditional civilizations preceding our own, one finds a remarkable capacity for embracing paradox. In fact, paradox inhabited the psyches of indigenous cultures as if in their DNA, as exemplified in their art, literature, stories, and other cultural artifacts. It was not until the dawn of modernity, greatly facilitated by Rene Descartes’ dualistic perspective which became increasingly predominate in Western intellectual tradition, that either/or thinking triumphed.