Culture Collapse Disorder
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Culture Collapse Disorder
Culture Collapse Disorder
Culture Collapse Disorder: The loss & destruction of home (places & planet) due to human impact and our modern consumer mindset
Curated by Bonnie Bright
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What is Culture Collapse Disorder? Ecopsychopathy and the End of Culture as We Know It

What is Culture Collapse Disorder? Ecopsychopathy and the End of Culture as We Know It | Culture Collapse Disorder |
Industrial waste Earth’s inhabitants are in peril largely of our own making. We are, consciously or unconsciously, systematically destroying our home places, habitats, ecosystems, and above all, the only home we collectively know: earth.


Reports are emerging daily about the implications of human impact on our environment, presenting dire warnings about pollution, urban development, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, natural disasters, and displacement. The tally of global losses grows daily as we perpetrate ecological destruction through our relentless consumption of the earth’s dwindling resources; through rampant use of toxins, chemicals, and pesticides; and through deforestation, erosion, and devastation of natural ecosystems, wetlands, rivers, and oceans.


The unchecked demands of a burgeoning human population on the planet are initiating conditions that... (click title for more)

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The Necessity of an Ecopsychology of/as "Nature Religion"

The Necessity of an Ecopsychology of/as "Nature Religion" | Culture Collapse Disorder |

As a psychologist of religion, I should like to make some observations about the relationship between the human psyche and the other-than-human natural world, in particular as one tradition in psychology sees that relationship. Let me begin by quoting words I take to be both exemplary for the tradition in question and pertinent to our discussion of "nature religion":

Yet there is so much that fills me: plants, animals, clouds, day and night, and the eternal in man. The more uncertain I have felt about myself, the more there has grown up in me a feeling of kinship with all things. In fact it seems to me as if that alienation which so long separated me from the world has become transferred into my own inner world, and has revealed to me an unexpected unfamiliarity with myself.

This striking passage appears on the last page of C.G. Jung's autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, written at the end of his long life and career in psychology. It was initially pointed out to me for its evocative oddness by James Hillman, Jung's revisionist successor, in connection with a theme Hillman has pursued since at least 1982, when he published an article on it entitled "Anima Mundi : The Return of the Soul to the World."

By this Hillman means the return of psychological subjectivity to the outer, non-human world, including the...

Paulette Turcotte's curator insight, May 16, 2015 1:05 AM


EXCERPT     But having understood what post-Jungians say are the sources and strictures of the alienation from nature that psychology has wrought, we need also to reflect on the strange shift Jung felt at the very end of his life and described at the close of his autobiography to inspire a reader like James Hillman.


We recall that, having felt a "kinship with all things" ("plants, animals, clouds, day and night, and the eternal in man"), Jung also encounters "an unexpected unfamiliarity" with himself, an uncertainty about himself. Here is confessed a startling reversal that we can see, with Hillman, as the genesis of a sweeping eco psychology, offering a measure of hope that the alienation from nature and the severe obstacles to a modern nature religion imposed by a psychological culture might be mitigated if not overturned.


Beyond modest if valuable ecopsychological efforts to psychoanalyze attitudes toward environmentalism or to use diagnostic categories to assess the mental causes of our historical divorce from nature, psychology's sense of the boundaries of the self will need to expand, so that the individual psyche, losing its familiar isolation, might become an "eco-psyche," participating in the subjectivity of the more-than-human as well as human realms. Such a reconceptualizing of the self would, at its most extreme, require that psychology revision its own nature and purpose, admittedly a political unlikelihood. Still, we who are trying to reflect upon nature religion's contemporary reality would be well-advised to take account of these post-Jungian issues and options.


Such a psychological education would learn, for instance, that through sensing a kind of widespread cultural grieving for the biosphere--perhaps that soulful recognition of the things of nature for which Peter Bishop called--post-Jungians also allow the possibility that psyche is manifesting itself once more in the outer world. This, at least, is an implication of Hillman's 1982 article on the return of the soul to the world, where he says that. . . that cataclysm, that pathologized image of the world destroyed, is awakening again a recognition of the soul in the world. The anima mundi stirs our hearts to respond: we are at last, in extremis , concerned about the world; love for it arising, material things again lovable. For where there is pathology there is psyche, and where psyche, eros. The things of the world again become precious, desirable, even pitiable in their millennial suffering from Western humanity's hubristic insult to material things.


The ramifications of Hillman's heartfelt words here are worth probing in relation to what I am proposing about the need for an ecopsychology in relation to "nature religion."


He emphasizes, for one thing, that "the more we confine interiority to within the individual, the more we lose the sense of soul as a psychic reality . . . within all things." Notice the critique of individualism that comes with this application of the anima mundi perspective. A return of soul to the world in a revolutionary ecopsychology will entail a more communitarian focus. As Hillman puts it,


In place of the familiar notion of psychic reality based on a system of private experiencing subjects and dead public objects, I want to advance a view prevalent in many cultures (called primitive and animistic by Western cultural anthropologists), which also returned for a short while in ours at its glory through Florence and Marsilio Ficino. I am referring to the world soul [anima mundi ] of Platonism which means nothing less than the world ensouled.


But it is important to understand that the Renaissance sense of an anima mundi , which he significantly equates here with tribal animism, is not only a "view" being "advanced" by Hillman intellectually. It is also, he insists, a presence experienced through the pain of our alienation from the world , including our mistreatment of non-human nature. "Psychology," he says, "always advances its consciousness by means of pathologized revelations, through the Underworld of anxiety. Our ecological fears announce that things are where the soul now claims psychological attention." This assertion connects to the point mentioned above about the appropriateness of cultural grieving, what the late Michael Perlman wrote about as an "ecology of mourning."