Sunday, November 25, 2012

Our neglected, coming-apart-at-the-seams Home


As Russet and I did errands yesterday afternoon, the temperature plummeted and the wind started to whip, chasing odd-shaped, dark clouds across the sky. Driving home we were intrigued by the haunting play of light and shadow on a falling-apart, abandoned Victorian house at the end of a long gated lane in Northwood Narrows. We couldn’t resist stopping and trespassing past the no trespassing signs to take some photographs.

The above image is my best effort to document what we found. It looks best to me rendered in black and white, so that’s what I did.  To my mind, this once gorgeous home, now so pitifully neglected and coming apart at the seams, is a perfect metaphor for our planetary home, Mother Earth. 

Whenever I think about it, I feel guilty that my profession remains so blind. What Theodore Roszak said about us in the early 1990s, unfortunately, still holds true: Today’s psychology and psychotherapy “stop at the city limits, as if the soul might be saved while the biosphere crumbles.”*

To date, we have no more insight about this than our patients: If we can't imagine our own deaths, as Freud insisted, how can we be expected to imagine the death of our planet?  The answer, I believe, lies beyond the purview of psychology and involves reconnecting to a deeper, more fundamental sense of spirituality and ethics. 

It seems to me that it is not enough to master Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the art of swallowing psychotropic medications: To be fully actualized, healthy human beings, we must develop an ethical responsibility for the Earth not only to save our souls but to prevent our imminent extinction. If we are to be successful in this effort, we must disengage from the marketplace and reconnect instead to our bodies, our sense of place, and Mother Nature.
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*Theodore Roszak, The Voice of the Earth: An Exploration of Ecopsychology., p. 19.

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