Saturday, September 24, 2016

Our nightmares connect to planetary destruction

In May this year Jungian psychotherapist Douglas Thomas writes "Eco-sadism: Why are we Torturing the Planet?" using Thomas Moore's book Dark Eros: The Imagination of Sadism (1990) to explore global destruction of our home.
"As I contemplate the relationship we humans have negotiated with the planet, this shadowy aspect of our collective sadism seems quite apparent. Certainly the images of strip mining, slashing the rain forests, dumping barges filled with garbage into the oceans all seem readily available for sadeian commentary.

Perhaps we are at our most sadistic when we are at our most unconscious, denying the perverse and repugnant cruelty of our collective actions against the planet. First denial, and then rationalization, two common defense mechanisms that regularly appear in the therapy room, also serve as the preferred mechanisms to permit and justify the torture and corruption of the planet. If we re-imagine the Earth as one of de Sade’s literary protagonists, the victimized damsel Justine for example, the libertine zeal of our collective insistence to strip, cut, penetrate, immobilize, neutralize, slash, burn, seize, corrupt and devastate quickly comes into focus."
Thomas concludes, "Once we become conscious of the psychological connection between the devastation of the planet and the torturous sadeian images of our own nightmares, an opportunity becomes available to engage the imagination in a contemplative exploration of how the root images of eco-sadism might transform through tending them as living images rather than literally enacting them."