The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Green Psychology (A Book Review)

If you want to understand how we have come to the present day environmental malaise, then Ralph Metzner’s Green Psychology1 is a worthwhile read.

Metzner (who died one year ago) was a psychologist who pioneered psychedelic research in the 1960s with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert.  He was interested in consciousness, spirituality, and the burgeoning environmental awareness.

His particular expertise was to bring these interests together in the relatively new field of ecopsychology – a term coined in 1992, just seven years before this book was published.

Green Psychology traces our (western) religious, scientific, mythological, and psychological histories in a way that helps to explain how we have got into a disrespectful relationship with the Earth and nature.

From each of these fields has arisen an anthropocentric view that breeds a sense of human superiority.

Psychologically Metzner considers a number of diagnoses.  He explores Paul Shepard’s “arrested development” idea, addiction,2 narcissism, dissociation, and amnesia.  Indeed, the last of these – amnesia – Metzner suggests is a double amnesia: we have forgotten that we have forgotten how to live in harmony with nature.

The Scientific and then the Industrial Revolutions gave us a worldview that was linear, deterministic, and mechanistic.  The advent of scientific thinking also separated the divine and morality from matter and forces.  Our worldview became dualistic.  Furthermore, science became free of value, and the techno-destruction of today is simply the inevitable consequence of that split.

In the religious realm our eyes became pointed upwards towards heaven and away from the Earth, plants, animals, food, and water.  In the pre-Christian era spirituality and nature were not separate, they were the same.  Spirituality IS nature, nature IS spirituality.

Historically, around 6,000 years ago, Old Europe was invaded by the Kurgs who imposed a patrilineal, patriarchal system on the Earth goddess cultures of the time.  Sky and Warrior gods deposed the Earth/nature divinities.

The current age of information and electronics is no better Metzner contends. rather, it is just a continuation of the same mechanistic, technological mind-set. 

Recovery from our psychological illness is possible though, according to Metzner.  The present day re-discovery (or re-emergence) of sacred and inner experience bodes well.  So too, the cultural critiques of feminism, environmentalism, civil rights, anti-war movement and some creative elements of the arts, all help to transform our worldview.

Shifts are happening, and Metzner mentions a couple, primarily bioregionalism and ecopsychology (a discipline he helped establish).

Our task, according to Metzner is to reinhabit the world and re-identify our place, time, and story.

May you rest easily in this Earth you so loved, Ralph Metzner.

Epilogue

I was given this book by a friend late last year when I asked to borrow it.  I promised to send her a synopsis of it.  That synopsis is seven A4 pages long.  If anyone would like a copy of my synopsis, then please send me a request and I’ll gladly pass it on.

 Notes:
1. Ralph Metzner, Green Psychology: Transforming Our Relationship to the Earth, Park Street Press, Vermont, 1999.
2. Addiction as a diagnosis for environmental collapse is well covered in Chellis Glendinning’s My Name is Chellis and I’m in Recovery from Western Civilization.


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