– Heartwood Path Waypoint 97 –
Learn How You Unconsciously Split Off Your Awareness Of Environmental Problems
Your job in this portion of the Heartwood Path is to look for ways you, like everyone else, fool yourself into doing dumb things and not feel bad about doing them. Consider this identification of ways that you psychologically allow yourself to do things that are harmful to the environment a first step in making necessary corrections in the way you think and behave.
Sigmund Freud’s object relations theory helps us “understand our impaired relationship with the environment” (Winter and Koger, 2004, p. 28). Like Copernicus and Darwin before him, Freud “systematically dislodged human beings from thinking of themselves as the center and pinnacle of the universe” (Winter and Koger, 2004, p. 29). Freud showed us that we are irrational and biologically determined. He thought that both nature and the inner psychological world are untamable and un-masterable and the best we can hope for are anxiety-based truces and compromises. He offers three principles relevant to our present work along the Heartwood Path:
These defenses require psychic energy and are established “so that we can fool ourselves into thinking that we behave for rational or moral reasons, when, in reality, much of our behavior is driven by subversive needs, wishes, fears, and impulses that are quite selfish and unacknowledged” (Winter and Koger, 2004, p. 32). Each person has to divide up his or her psychic energy between the appetitive desires for pleasure (the Id), the reality-oriented mechanism that “considers realistic constraints on impulse expression” (the Ego), and the mechanism for moral principles (the Superego) (Winter and Koger, 2004, p. 33). With only so much energy to go around, “Freud postulated that we defend ourselves from anxiety by “splitting” our awareness, so that we can remain essentially unconscious about our instincts without entirely ignoring them” . . . thus “we continue on with our destructive behaviors while paying some, although not full, heed to the mounting threats to our ecosystem” by building defense mechanisms that come in many forms, including engaging in:
Now that we have identified the means that you may be using to psychologically allow yourself to hurt the environment, do the following activity to begin the process of working out the remedies that are needed because of your defense systems.
If this is not a day when you prefer to spend time in nature without an agenda, do the following activity: