Guest post by ecoSanity.org Kindred Defender, Dr. Peter D. Carter, M.D., March 4, 2007
Noam Chomsky, after describing the horrors of the reality of the history of U.S. invasions for ‘democratic liberations’ was asked, “is it possible for good people to work for an evil system?” He answered, “Yes, that’s always been the problem.”
I would suggest that our system (world belief/economic/political) is, by nature, insane. We are all working for it and can’t help being a part of the insanity.
We take our military industrial economic complex as normal. It is not. It is the result of over 500 years of practically continuous war in Euro-American history. It is well recognized that war causes insanity. Our fulltime war economy is insane.
One would think that the obvious fact that our industrial economy is destroying the biosphere would be enough evidence of this insanity, but people are not able to imagine any other way of life, and will not allow themselves to be perceived as insane.
When the Euro-American culture is confronted with a sane culture, the former destroys the latter, rather than admit defect.
The essential feature of our cultural insanity is the exclusion of nature from reality. Although much has been written about this, few people are aware of it, so most have no insight into it.
By definition, a delusional ‘reality’ with no insight is psychotic or ‘insane”. As the reality of nature can exist without the human but the human has no existence without nature this is in fact the ultimate insanity.
Therefore, our task is to help people gain insight into the fact that humans are only a PART of nature – not apart FROM nature. My friend told me that, in order to do that, people have to be psychologically SHOCKED out of their denial.
The human condition is the result of a large, complex brain that allows us, and only us, to make conscious judgments and choices. But that also makes us subject to errors in judgment.
1) Paranoia: Very much part of the human condition, leads to violence and defensive aggression.
Paranoia is the main insanity that leads to, and sustains, war which, in turn, increases paranoia. Total war is what separates the Euro-American culture from all others. We are a culture of full-time war, with little insight into this fact, or the fact that it is insane. We recognize that if one person acting out of a delusion of persecution kills another, s/he is insane. When thousands of people do the same thing, we say it is sane, and even praise it!
2) Psychological Projection: We project our paranoia onto who ever is available. That includes nature and any one else who is vulnerable; visible minorities, women, children, animals, birds, fish, etc.
Our insane system is concentrated in our economic institutions, specifically, the banking and investment sector. These are the institutions that perpetuate the absurd rules of our economy.
Many academic economists have pointed out the errors – the latest being Sir Nicolas Stern.
Stern says that global climate change is ‘the greatest market failure ever’ because most economists do not believe in accounting for environmental costs.
Environmental costs are accounted for in the GDP standard of societal health as benefits. The Economy seldom gives the future any value and, when doing so, it discounts the future.
The rationale for this is that, only the living, have value, and that, future generations will always be better off than the current as an inevitable result of the assumption that our economy is one of endless improvement. Hence, progress and development are inherent to our economics. And any economies that challenge that are destroyed, which proves that our’s is better.
Our economics leads to a paranoid culture of narcissism. We are the best, so anything we believe and do is the best.
Here’s a great quote from Eric Fromm:
In his classic book, The Sane Society, published in 1955, psychologist Erich Fromm proposed that, not just individuals, but entire societies “may be lacking in sanity”.
Fromm argued that one of the most deceptive features of social life involves consensual validation.
It is naively assumed that the fact that the majority of people share certain ideas or feelings proves the validity of these ideas and feelings.
Nothing is further from the truth…
Just as there is a ‘folie a deux’, there is a ‘folie a millions.’ The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane (in: Fromm, The Sane Society, Routledge, 1955, pp.14-15).
Dr. Peter D. Carter, M.D.
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