Culture Collapse Disorder

 
Quotes on Ecopsychology, Culture & Nature
Crisis has the potential to transform our hearts. This is a great gift. What might help us to be open hearted and resilient as we live through testing times? How do we build inner resilience, as well as resilient communities, so that we can endure and resolve conflict? What are the steps we need to take to find a different way of relating to ourselves, to each other, and to the earth?

~Mary Jane Rust. "Resilience of the Heart: From Transition to Transformation." Paper presented at the Transition Network, "Transition Everywhere". http://transitionculture.org/wp-content/uploads/resilience-of-the-heart-may-2009-1.pdf, para. 1
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In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order... we are caught and entangled in aimless experience....It is a moment of collapse....Only when all crutches and props are broken, and no cover from the rear offers even the slightest hope of security, does it become possible for us to experience an archetype that up till then had lain hidden... this is the archetype of meaning.

~ C.G. Jung, (1959). "Concerning Rebirth". In Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Collected Works Vol. 9, Pt. 1, p. 32
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“The study of lives and the care of souls means above all a encounter with what destroys and is destroyed, with what is broken and hurts” ~James Hillman, Re-Visioning Psychology, 1975, p. 56
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"We have plunged down a cataract of progress which sweeps us on into the future with even wilder violence the farther it takes us from our roots. Once the past has been breached, it is usually annihilated, and there is no stopping the forward motion. But it is precisely the loss of connection with the past, our uprootedness, which has given rise to the "discontents" of civilization and to such a flurry and haste that we live more in the future and its chimerical promises of a golden age than in the present, with which our whole evolutionary background has not yet caught up. We rush impetuously into novelty, driven by a mounting sense of insufficiency, dissatisfaction, and restlessness. We no longer live on what we have, but on promises, no longer in the light of the present day, but in the darkness of the future, which, we expect, will at last bring the proper sunrise. We refuse to recognize that everything better is purchased at the price of something worse; that, for example, the hope of greater freedom is canceled out by increased enslavement to the state, not to speak of the terrible perils to which the most brilliant discoveries of science expose us. ~C.G. Jung in The Earth Has a Soul: C.G. Jung on Nature, Technology and Modern Life (pp. 141-142). Edited by Meredith Sabini. North Atlantic Books. Kindle Edition.
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The Earth with its layers of land and water and air provides the space within which all living things are nurtured and the context within which humans attain their identity. If in the excitement of a secular technology reverence for the Earth has diminished in the past, especially in the western world, humans now experience a sudden shock at the devastation they have wrought on their own habitation. The ancient human-Earth relationship must be recovered in a new context, in its mystical as well as in its physical functioning. There is need for awareness that the mountains and rivers and all living things, the sky and its sun and moon and clouds all constitute a healing, sustaining sacred presence for humans which they need as much for their psychic integrity as for their physical nourishment. This presence whether experienced as Allah, as Atman, as Sunyata, or as the Buddha-nature or as Bodhisattva; whether as Tao or as the One or as the Divine Feminine, is the atmosphere in which humans breathe deepest and without which they eventually suffocate.
~ Thomas Berry, "Evening Thoughts: Reflecting on Earth as Sacred Community", http://blog.gaiam.com/quotes/authors/thomas-berry
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"There are the elements, which seem to mock at all human control: the earth, which quakes and is torn apart and buries all human life and its works; water, which deluges and drowns everything in a turmoil; storms, which blow everything before them; there are diseases, which we have only recently recognized as attacks by other organisms; and finally there is the painful riddle of death, against which no medicine has yet been found, nor probably will be. With these forces nature rises up against us, majestic, cruel and inexorable; she brings to our mind once more our weakness and helplessness, which we thought to escape through the work of civilization. One of the few gratifying and exalting impressions which mankind can offer is when, in the face of an elemental catastrophe, it forgets the discordancies of its civilization and all its internal difficulties and animosities, and recalls the great common task of preserving itself against the superior power of nature." ~ Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion, 1927/1964, p. 24
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“No longer can we merely regret the passing of one of the great whales, or the blue butterfly, nor even the smallpox virus. When we eliminate one of these from Earth, we may have destroyed a part of ourselves, for we also are a part of Gaia.” ~ James Lovelock, "What is Gaia?" para. 8, Retrieved from http://www.ecolo.org/lovelock/what_is_Gaia.html
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The deeper "layers" of the psyche lose their individual uniqueness as they retreat farther and farther into darkness. "Lower down," that is to say as they approach the autonomous functional systems, they become increasingly collective until they are universalized and extinguished in the body's materiality, i.e., in chemical substances. The body's carbon is simply carbon. Hence "at bottom" the psyche is simply "world." ~ C.G. Jung, "The Psychology of the Child Archetype" (1940), In CW, Vol. 9, Part I: The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, p. 291
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“The psyche is not of today; its ancestry goes back many millions of years. Individual consciousness is only the flower and the fruit of a season sprung from the perennial rhizome beneath the earth; and it would find itself in better accord with the truth if it took the existence of the rhizome into its calculations. For the root matter is the mother of all things. ~ C.G. Jung,  Symbols of Transformation, Collected Works Vol. 5, p. xxiv   
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Aren't we the carriers of the entire history of mankind? . . . When a man is fifty years old, only one part of his being has existed for half a century. The other part which also lives in his psyche, may be millions of years old ... Contemporary man is but the latest ripe fruit on the tree of the human race. None of us knows what we know ~ C. G. Jung, C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews & Encounters, 1977, pp. 57-58
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Making a personality, the task that Jung called "individuation," may be the adventure of a lifetime. But the person is anchored within a greater, universal identity. Salt remnants of ancient oceans flow through our veins, ashes of expired stars rekindle in our genetic chemistry. The oldest of the atoms, hydrogen – whose primacy among the elements should have gained it a more poetically resonant name – is a cosmic theme; mysteriously elaborated billions-fold, it has created from Nothing the Everything that includes us. When we look out into the night sky, the stars we see in the chill, receding distance may seem crushingly vast in size and number. But the swelling emptiness that contains them is, precisely by virtue of its magnitude, the physical matrix that makes living intelligence possible. Those who believed we were cradled in the hands of God have not been so very wrong. ~Theodore Roszak, The Voice of the Earth, p. 319
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"The facts of nature cannot in the long run be violated. Penetrating and seeping through everything like water, they will undermine any system that fails to take account of them, and sooner or later they will bring about its downfall. But an authority wise enough in its statesmanship to give sufficient free play to nature - of which spirit is a part - need fear no premature decline." ~ C.G. Jung, Collected Works Vol. 16, para. 227
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"The problem is the way we are thinking. The problem is fundamentally a cultural problem. It's at the level of our culture that this illness is happening." ~Thom Hartmann, in the Documentary Film, The 11th Hour
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“As we destroy nature, we will be destroyed in the process. There’s no escaping that conclusion,” ~ David Orr, Environmental Studies Center, Oberlin College, in the Documentary Film, The 11th Hour
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"The world into which we are born is brutal and cruel, and at the same time of divine beauty. Which element we think outweighs the other, whether meaninglessness or meaning, is a matter of temperament. If meaninglessness were absolutely preponderant, the meaningfulness of life would vanish to an increasing degree with each step in our development. But that is or seems to me not the case.

Probably, as in all metaphysical questions, both are true: Life is or has meaning and meaninglessness. I cherish the anxious hope that meaning will preponderate and win the battle." ~ Carl Gustav Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, MDR, p. 358-9
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Life now insists that we encounter groundlessness. Systems and ideas that seemed reliable and solid dissolve at an increasing rate. People who asked for our trust betray or abandon us. Strategies that worked suddenly don’t. Groundlessness is a frightening place, at least at first, but as the old culture turns to mush, we would feel stronger if we stopped searching for ground, if we sought only to locate ourselves in the present and do our work from here. ~ Margaret Wheatley, The Place Beyond Fear and Hope
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“There are a lot of people, when they look at the situation, the facts, the pollution, the economy and meltdown, the militarism, the generation of yet more weapons, the extinction spasms of the species, of course, who wouldn’t be in despair? I mean, it seems like if you’re not, you’re out to lunch.

But that’s not the whole story. We have to really not be afraid of feeling pain for our world– that we recognize that the anguish we feel for what is happening to our world is inevitable and normal and even healthy because how are we going to do the huge about-face, psychologically and socially, that we need to do to create, out of the present disarray, an exquisite life-sustaining, life-respecting society unless we are ready to just galvanize everything? So pain is very useful. Just don’t be afraid of it. And recognize that the anguish, the horror even, that we can feel over the devastation that we read about or see or experience, that it’s okay to feel that. We’re tough. Because if we are afraid to feel that, we won’t feel where it comes from, and where it comes from is love– our love for this world. That’s what is going to pull us through.

So know that the feelings of grief, anger, outrage that can come as you look at how this world is being trashed– and its people–that that pain is just the other side of love. And if you try to anesthetize yourself, then you numb your whole psyche and that is so boring and ineffective. So this is the time for ourselves to reach and expand into our full humanity, and in that humanity will be our anger and outrage, our imagination, our creativity, our laughter. We are going to come alive now, and we are. I call that The Great Turning.”

— Joanna Macy, video interview for the Pachamama Alliance with Lynne Twist, Northcutt Productions, March 2009

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In cases of Colony Collapse Disorder, bees have lost their connection to the hive, failing to return home with the nectar and pollen needed to keep the hive alive.

Culture Collapse Disorder is an eco-psycho-pathological disorder in which humans, due in part to our immersion in our current consumer-oriented culture, have lost our own vital connection to home, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and archetypally, leaving us capable of severe eco-apathy and ecopsychopathy.

Is our culture on the brink of collapse as we continue to destroy our own home?