I have long been a critic of our western / American culture's focus on putting a happy spin on everything; why, just the other day I was told to move to Iowa and not be such a killjoy because I suggested releasing balloons at Husker football games was mass pollution. Bummer, all those birds strangled to death, but what can you do? Balloons are fun.
But here's Joanna Macy saying things perfectly (not about balloons) -- and you bet this is going in the new book.
“To discover what we know and feel is not as easy as it sounds, because a great deal of effort in contemporary society is devoted to keeping us from being honest. Entire industries are focused on maintain the illusion that we are happy, or on the verge of being happy as soon as we buy this toothpaste or that deodorant or that political candidate. It is not in the self-perceived interests of the state, the multinational corporations, or the media that serve them both, that we should stop and become aware of our profound anguish with the way things are.
None of us, in our hearts, is free of sorrow for the suffering of other beings. None of us is indifferent to the dangers that threaten our planet’s people, or free of fear for the generations to come. Yet when we are enjoined to ‘keep smiling,’ ‘be sociable,’ and ‘keep a stiff upper lip,’ it is not easy to give credence to this anguish.
Suppression of our natural responses to actual or impending disaster is part of the disease of our time, as Robert Jay Lifton, the American psychiatrist who pioneered the study of the psychological effects of nuclear bombs, explains. The refusal to acknowledge or experience these responses produces a profound and dangerous splitting. It divorces our mental calculations from our intuitive, emotional, and biological imbeddedness in the matrix of life. That split allows us passively to acquiesce in the preparations for our own demise.”