**The ideas contained in this post are the opinions of the writer and communicated without reference to supporting documentation. The writer also recognizes that BPD is a disorder that affects both males and females, and uses of “she” or “he” in the communication of ideas are not intended to covey sexual bias. Breakaway MHE Disclaimer
Please do not proceed any further if you are having emotional difficulties at this time, or if you suspect learning about “end of the world” topics may lead to unmanageable emotional overwhelm in the future (TRIGGER WARNING). Similar to two other articles I produced (Mental Health Reason Humans Destroy Themselves (and The Living Planet) and Managing Anxiety While Pondering “The End of The World” (My Chat with Dr. Guy McPherson)) I recognize this article may come as a surprise for presentation on a blog about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Nonetheless, I believe there are mental health relevance and value to be found as you read through the article, START to FINISH.
Almost everything I learned about the world (and how the world works) during childhood was communicated without mention of the many associated and harmful side-effects inflicted upon humans, non-humans, and the living planet. I had some intuitive suspicions that selfishness and greed could be harmful, and I recall a time when my environmental naivety was briefly challenged in a grade ten biology class, but in general I believed there was no problem with pursuing “the dream” – seeking fame and fortune, driving cars, buying homes, flying in planes, living in cities, being materialistic, depending on grocery stores to survive, and existing almost entirely separate from nature. It was as though the way of life I was introduced to was unimpeachable and outright normative. And beyond appearing normative, it was as though this approach to living was inherently virtuous and had embedded within it essential learning opportunities that might be lost if the paradigm were otherwise. I gave my early teachers every benefit of the doubt. Can you relate?
It wasn’t until I experienced the full brunt of human life and what it means to become mentally broken, and after I had learned about the developmental experiences of many others through my job as a mental health therapist (psychologist) that I could finally see what was happening. In due time, I could see the repeating patterns of human life in industrial civilization. In particular, I could see how industrial civilization was itself a major player in the ongoing facilitation of much unnecessary stress and distress contributing to much unnecessary illness and death. I could furthermore see the full insanity of it all, which is to say that almost every person passively (ignorantly, naively, obediently) plays along with the culture of their birth, and therefore, unwittingly contributes to illness and death in ways unfathomable. The reasons, I suspect, that most everyone so willingly plays along is because they grow up presuming their way of life is innocent and universal, even benevolent, envied and predestined, and because they couldn’t imagine living any other way.
After developing an understanding of the conditions that induce mental brokenness in humans, it doesn’t take much of a stretch to realize that those same conditions could be harmful to all other living things (e.g., the earth and all non-humans). A further leap of insight leads one to realize that human lives are inseparably intertwined with all other living things (one can’t survive without the others). So easily overlooked is the fact that ALL life is in life together, ALL life in the same lifeboat, meaning that when the place of habitation becomes degraded and vulnerable due to certain conditions, then the entities within that habitation likewise become degraded and vulnerable. As indicated above, the conditions that I speak of are industrial civilization that favors human privilege (some humans more than other humans) and profit above all else, and thus as a rule neglects and abuses all living things (including humans) as necessary to maintain those conditions. My experiences as a mental health therapist inform me over and over that when there are chronic neglects and abuses in any relationship between living beings, illness and (in some cases) death inevitably follows.
In recent months prior to writing this brief essay, I have been following the work of climate scientists and climate journalists who explain how environmental neglects and abuses associated with industrial civilization have multiplied and culminated in the extinction of untold numbers of earth species, and will inevitably end in human extinction (one can’t survive without the others). It is subject matter that has the potential to induce fear of loss and existential crisis, but at the same time is freeing in the sense of realizing truths about human nature, life on earth, relationships, and costs and consequences.
From my vantage point as a mental health therapist (and someone who has personally suffered from mental illness) I have seen plenty for myself how neglects and abuses in family relationships often stem from the stresses and pressures coincident with participation in modern human life (industrial civilization) and how this translates into illness and desperate forms of coping. I am now firm in my position that industrial civilization incessantly sets the conditions for much of the mental (and physical) illness in all living beings, no matter how much such a civilization attempts to deny the truth of the matter, and that the final unveiling of this truth will be the extinction of most (if not all) life on earth, including all human life.
Much of my understanding of extinction has come through the works of Dr. Guy McPherson, although there are other scientists, educators, and journalists who have filled me in as well. I have had several discussions with Dr. McPherson and posted the results on YouTube for any who are interested in tracking the interactions. In taking this course of action, I fully admit my limitations in attempting to grasp climate science, but at the same time I believe I am qualified to recognize similarities between climate catastrophe and human catastrophe as it occurs when certain conditions are locked into place. As previously mentioned, my therapy observations inform me over and over that when there are repeating patterns of neglect and abuse between living beings, it is followed by degradation and sickness and death. I subsequently dare to generalize that this observation applies not only to relationships between humans, but to relationships between each human and himself, relationships between humans and non-humans, and relationships between humans and the earth.
I have outlined my experiences suffering from (and ways to recover from) Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) in the book available at BreakAway MHE: 9-Steps to Mastering Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). The learning and writing process I underwent over several years informed my position as pertains to modern human life and connections to mental illness. In very short form, I was born into a set of living arrangements where individuals were suffering from mental illness but had no idea what it meant, how they got there, or how to get out of it. I developed mental illness patterns similar to parents due to a combination of genetic predispositions and lack of emotional learning. This lack of emotional learning is nearly guaranteed to all persons living in such a system (industrial civilization) that typically has no interest in teaching emotional intelligence. A lack of genuine human connection and failed attachment often follows from the lack of emotional intelligence, and failed attachment translates into illnesses like Borderline Personality Disorder (and related illnesses) for many humans.
The behaviour of the climate in recent times has been extreme, more unpredictable and chaotic, if you haven’t already noticed. Now if you look at the earth as another living being (which of course it is!) then it makes perfect sense that it could be reacting to an extremely unhealthy relationship with one of its more dominant and ever-multiplying species (humans). In my view, this is no different than humans who are forced into a non-negotiable “relationship” with a monetary system that encourages and induces incessant neglects and abuses, and who therefore end up developing illnesses that result in many unpleasant reactions (symptoms). The extreme fires, floods, freezes, heatwaves that have all become more and more commonplace… I believe those are all symptoms of an unbalanced earth system and underlying earth/human relationship crisis, such as billions of industrialized humans raping and poisoning their long-suffering provider (earth).
The fact of the matter is that Industrial civilization as a way of living is not innocent or healthy. It does not care about living in balance or harmony with all the sweet generosity of nature. It does not care about the type of relationship it has with nature. It only cares about empowering itself through capitalizing and monetizing every living thing. It is predatory, self-devouring, and self-defeating, self-annihilating, and ultimately, it is insane. Despite the fact that it attempts to project a “Disney-like” or “God-like” character, and suggest to its prey (its users) that it is benevolent and trustworthy, it is, in truth, insane. It seeks to dominate every living being for profit until no more profit can be made, and then it wants to profit off the dead. Is it any wonder that people get so mentally sick and self-destructive in such a set of living arrangements?
Veiled insanity (at the core of industrial civilization) makes many suggestions that eventually harden into belief and keep humans blissfully unaware of the harms that await them. One of many of these insane (pitched as sane) suggestions is that every person on earth can live “the dream” and be spared the environmental consequences. In other words, veiled insanity says that there are no resource limits on a finite planet, nor any requirements for humans to live in harmony or balance with nature. Humans can take and accumulate as much as they want without consideration for the whole. And not only can they endlessly take, but they can also assume they are entitled to the taking as part of their birthright. In like manner, veiled insanity suggests that there is no need to learn in advance about healthy relationships and mental health because relationships and mental health will take care of themselves, so long as there is proper dedication to “the dream.” If relationship and mental health problems do arise, then veiled insanity suggests that the individual has merely failed to achieve “the dream.” This logical fallacy, in fact, is one of the most repetitious and insidious culturally conditioned patterns of thought that I routinely support people in confronting in my work as a therapist.
The most shocking (but most freeing) realization in all of this is that industrial civilization had no hope from its very inception. There never was hope for an indeterminate human experience in the industrial civilization paradigm. Industrial civilization is a program that depletes and destroys the matrix of life and, subsequently, terminates human life, while at the same time convincing its many adherents along the way that it is immortal and immune to reality. Despite the fact that there are many observant caregivers who see the need to mitigate, preserve, and conserve, it will never be enough to balance the system and offset the rampant neglects and abuses inherent in industrial civilization. To have no hope in industrial civilization is the closest a human can get to being sane after being born into a system of veiled inanity. Having no hope in industrial civilization is seeing things as they are; it is living in reality.
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This is one of the most succinct and "cut through all the bullshit" essays I've read on this topic. It couldn't be stated more clearly. With all the squabbling about the "facts" of climate change, if we'll all be dead tomorrow or 100 years from now, everything this essay addresses gets lost in the shuffle. It's a doomed system that we have created and it will be the end of us. I would add that I do believe, somewhere deep down inside of us (or at least most of us), we've always known these truths. We just didn't want to believe them.