Understanding Collapse Depression
Maybe its just that as someone who has read Greer for so long, I'm not depressed about the Future. I've had time to understand how things are changing, will change and just what my personal limits are to mitigating those changes. Maybe Greer has helped me see the Long Descent as a process (or predicament) to live through, without a solution.
I do see more and more articles today, about how for some, the realization that we are facing a harsh future causes depression and anxiety.
Its a long read.
"The critics are right about two things: Chris and I are sick, and we need treatment. But they’re missing a critical perspective. If we are sick because our society is sick, shouldn’t society be treated alongside the patient? Ultimately, a lot of the disagreement over climate-induced mental illness boils down to vocabulary. We have words to describe the flu, or depression, or the common cold. We know the contours and symptoms of these illnesses. But when it comes to climate grief, the experience can be hard to define, and thus harder to understand and demonstrate. If climate sickness exists in the overlap of the physical and the emotional, we need words for those feelings, a dictionary of sorts that allows us to see patterns in the experiences of individual people. Fortunately, that’s exactly what a group of motley philosophers, artists, and doctors are currently working to devise."
"Around the time of the protest, I told Chris about the bureau’s dictionary for the Anthropocene and asked what word he would add. Chris teaches philosophy of language, and I knew he’d be into it. But he got even more excited than I’d expected, rattling off a long list of possibilities. Ultimately, he settled on one to describe both others and himself. He called it ignore-ance, or “returning from a state of consciousness to a willed state of not knowing.” That’s where he was now, he said, and where so many people insist on being. He was surviving, but he didn’t admire himself. “You do it by pretending,” he said, as if teaching me how. “You pretend that this life is OK, that college football is fun, that driving is normal. You pretend to justify living a lie.”
Chris feels daily that he’s not doing enough. In reality, he is accomplishing more than almost anyone I know. But he’s had to make certain concessions in order to stay alive. He’s happier now that he’s not sleeping in the hills outside of Davis, subsisting on boiled wheat and self-loathing, but that also means he spends more time in a place of willed not-knowing. In the language of Bruce Levine, the dissident psychologist, Chris is sick not because he is inherently anxious or depressed, but because he lives in a sick society in which both his belonging and survival depend on inaction.
Maybe the word we need is not one for a sickness. Maybe we need a word for a difficult truth: that when the world is ending, our health depends on closing ourselves off to awareness of this fact. Where you choose to draw your boundaries is arbitrary, not rational. If you draw them wide—if you include trees and refugees and animals and whole nations—you will be sick from overwhelm and will be seen as crazy. But if you draw them narrowly, you’ll suppress more and admire yourself less—which is its own sort of sickness."
I don't want to appear like I'm minimizing the anxiety that people like the writer has. I realize its real for them.
I'm asking two things: First, has anyone here come across this in their circle of friends, or have you yourself felt this, Second, how do you think Green Wizards should discuss this?
By looking at ways to survive in a Collapsing World are we practicing "willing not-knowing"?