The Greatest Danger

If you’re really paying attention, it’s hard to escape a sense of outrage, fear, despair. Author, deep-ecologist, and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy says: Don’t even try.


| May 15, 2008



Man in Thunderstorm

As we reflect on the state of our world, we can realize the power we have to make a difference.


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How do we live with the fact that we are destroying our world? What do we make of the loss of glaciers, the melting Arctic, island nations swamped by the sea, widening deserts and drying farmlands?

Because of social taboos, despair at the state of our world and fear for our future are rarely acknowledged. The suppression of despair, like that of any deep recurring response, contributes to the numbing of the psyche. Expressions of anguish or outrage are muted, deadened as if a nerve had been cut. This refusal to feel impoverishes our emotional and sensory life. Flowers are dimmer and less fragrant, our loves less ecstatic. We create diversions for ourselves as individuals and as nations, in the fights we pick, the aims we pursue, and the stuff we buy.

Of all the dangers we face, from climate chaos to permanent war, none is so great as this deadening of our response. For psychic numbing impedes our capacity to process and respond to information. The energy expended in pushing down despair is diverted from more crucial uses, depleting the resilience and imagination needed for fresh visions and strategies.

Zen poet Thich Nhat Hanh was asked, “what do we most need to do to save our world?” His answer was this: “What we most need to do is to hear within us the sounds of the Earth crying.”

Cracking the Shell

How do we confront what we scarcely dare to think? How do we face our grief, fear, and rage without “going to pieces?”

It is good to realize that falling apart is not such a bad thing. Indeed, it is as essential to transformation as the cracking of outgrown shells. Anxieties and doubts can be healthy and creative, not only for the person, but for the society, because they permit new and original approaches to reality.





Crowd at Seven Springs MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Sept. 15-17, 2017
Seven Springs, PA.

With more than 150 workshops, there is no shortage of informative demonstrations and lectures to educate and entertain you over the weekend.

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