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Geological Illiteracy: I Deny It

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  • Dana Visalli
    ... a ... on ... I don t know to what degree we have discussed the psychological phenomenon known as denial in this group, but it plays a major role in the
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 30 8:48 PM
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      >It just occurred to me that there may be a more fundamental problem that
      >needs to be addressed before we try to convince people that we have a
      >problem re energy resources. That fundamental problem would be
      >geological illiteracy.

      >I think what we're talking about is not so much 'geological illiteracy' as
      a
      >refusal on the part of the majority of people to consider that reality is
      on
      >a verge of a profound change.

      I don't know to what degree we have discussed the psychological phenomenon
      known as 'denial' in this group, but it plays a major role in the daily life
      of most human beings and it will be a major force at work deflecting efforts
      to arouse society to the respond to the danger presented by the end of cheap
      oil.

      It would seem that the recent USGS report, generated by some of world's best
      trained geologists, which deduced from a survey of crustal geology that we
      are "awash in oil", weakens the argument that geo-literacy might help people
      percieve the terrifying challenge of oil depletion.

      To my mind, the willingness of society to build 50,000 nuclear weapons from
      1960-1980- weapons, as we all know, capable of destroying most of the
      biological world and of course most of human society- is a clear
      demonstration of the surpassing power of denial. Many of us on this list
      helped to pay for these weapons of mass destruction, and continue to pay to
      maintain the US arsenal. But to penetrate into the agony of that reality is
      too much for us.

      Similarly, I doubt if most people- even most of us- have the fortitude to
      process the information coming in to our brains about the potential end of
      life as we know it (due to energy depletion) in a way that actually changes
      our actions in the world in a substantial way. I'm sure denial has had its
      place in our evolutionary history, but like many human attributes it has
      'hypertrophied'; grown to such dimensions that it no longer serves us but is
      rather a curse.

      Dana Visalli
    • Larry Boatman
      ... Greetings! One of the classic texts on this issue would be Ernest Becker s The Denial of Death (published originally in 1973 [and a Pulitzer Prize winner]
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 1, 2000
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        Dana Visalli wrote:
        I don't know to what degree we have discussed the psychological phenomenon
        known as 'denial' in this group, but it plays a major role in the daily life
        of most human beings and it will be a major force at work deflecting efforts
        to arouse society to the respond to the danger presented by the end of cheap
        oil.


        Greetings!

        One of the classic texts on this issue would be Ernest
        Becker's The Denial of Death (published originally in
        1973 [and a Pulitzer Prize winner] it has recently been
        republished
        http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0684832402/qid=970449962/sr=1-2/103-2429409-2411055
        [this URL may wrap in text only email]).

        Politically, Becker was run out of the medical school at
        Syracuse University because of his alignment to the
        sociological views of Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz which
        (rightly in my view) criticized the medical model of
        mental illness (Szasz was also stripped of his teaching
        duties in the medical school at Syracuse University).  After
        stints at UC Berkeley (where Becker's contract was not
        renewed even though the students at the University in a
        creative move voted to hire him with student funds), and
        San Francisco State University (from which he resigned in
        protest of the continuance of the Viet-Nam war), Becker
        finally expatriated to Simon-Frazer University in Canada
        where he died of cancer before The Denial of Death was
        published.

        The Ernest Becker Foundation attempts to continue
        Becker's work in the area of dealing with "violence
        in societies" - something to which we might all want
        to turn our vision towards in the face of the coming
        violence in our society due to the energy crisis -
        http://faculty.washington.edu/nelgee/

        Over and out for now . . .

        --
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         "Human society is inextricably part of a global
         biotic community, and in that community human
         dominance has had and is having self-destructive
         consequences."
              William Catton,
              "Overshoot:  The Ecological Basis
              of Revolutionary Change"
         

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