Feeling, Relating, Existing

On emotion and the human dimension

Death, Afterlife, and Doomsday Scenario

It is from the horror of the doomsday scenario posed by climate change that the minimizers and scoffers turn away. Ironically, in turning away from the extreme dangers of climate change, we contribute to the coming to be of the horrifying catastrophe we are evading. We must face up to our apocalyptic anxiety before it is too late for the survival of future generations. Read More

Of avoidance and opportunity

This is a very weird article. Most of the skeptics I've met seem to be more skeptical of the motivations of climate change apologists than anything else. They wonder why the certitude of the international scientific community in the validity appears to be inversely related to the predictive utility of climate change theory. They wonder why the only advocated remedy for climate change is the redistribution of wealth from high income countries to low income countries. Most of all, they wonder why people starting with the premise of anthropogenic climate change aren't conducting more research into INTENTIONAL climate change, given the number of lives it could save in the short term and the potential for it to avert catastrophe in the long term.

Then again, I guess denigrating those who question your beliefs is easier than questioning them, yourself.

The old ad hominem ploy

You ought to know.

Not weird, wicked; in the Shakespearian sense.

Group selection theory is the mythical beast that just won't go extinct, and the tale woven in the OP is a version of GST -- wearing a wig and falsies, and with too much make-up and cheap perfume.

The last dodo bird behaved no differently than was species typical on account of its death representing the extinction of the species. Death happens at the level of the individual, and there is nothing additional the individual would do just because it happens to be the last of its species. It's still trying to survive just the same, and there's no way for evolution to create and perpetuate the trait of it trying even harder when it looks around and sees it's nearly or almost the last.

Endangered species aren't helped or preserved by trying to impress upon them the dire straits their species is in (say, by stressing them even more), but rather by accomodating their species typical characteristics.

The same is true of the many extinct human cultures. All were composed of individuals. Our limited awareness of abstractions such as species or the far future doesn't fundamentally change anything.

We look back hundreds or thousands of years and shake our heads in disbelief at how people could have ever been so clueless to think the way they did. We pat ourselves on the back with how superior we are in comparison. The hitch is that those in the future centuries from now (if anyone makes it that far) will no doubt have the same attitude towards US! Is anyone really going to bust their butts extra now on behalf of some hypothetical future snobbish ingrates? I don't think so.

The only question now is whether we're done in first by civilization collapsing or by climate change (ecosphere collapse). Worrying about the latter may actually hasten the former, which no one ever seems to take into consideration.

different domains of discourse

Your comment confuses and conflates different domains of discourse--the biological/evolutionary (your focus) and the existential-phenomenological (my focus). Unlike other species, human beings are meaning-making creatures, and the meaningfulness of their existence, or lack thereof, matters to them.


It makes me happy to see a psychoanalytic blog attend to issues such as climate change and grapple with the why of the problem of general social complacency. You offer the explanation that we avoid engagement because of the unbearable horror of actually facing, with eyes wide open, what is happening. Meanwhile, without the dinosaur of a subject/object split, it can easily be seen that the well-being of the natural world we are a part of, and in which we exist, is not separate, but intimately interwoven with our own Being. You persuasively point out that our mood, motivations, and purposes have much to do with future possibilities - for ourselves,our loved ones, and institutions we care about. Taking some sort of action, in my experience as an activist, can only happen when one person is accompanied by others within a context of understanding and support in which the outrage, grief, helplessness, excitement, etc., of truly knowing and acting can be 'met' by other siblings also dealing with the same darkness (and longing). The sort of awareness you discuss is new and may be helpful to structuring non-profit groups, which, again based on my experience, failed to adequately support their people in the past decades. Great topic!


Thank you for this superb comment, Penelope S! What you say here is spot-on!

Dr. Stolorow misses the mark.

Dr. Stolorow misses the mark. Perhaps a better approach would be to ask the skeptics why they are skeptical, instead of telling them why you think they are skeptical. Note, for example, the part about the sun's distant destruction of the earth, and the assurance that it would wipe out humanity. On the one hand, you don't know that humans would still exist by that point. They might already be gone by then. On the other, you don't know that by that point, humans haven't spread all over the galaxy, and the destruction of the earth would be a mere footnote. And that is precisely why skeptics are skeptical. It's not horror, or terror, or fear. It's simple recognition of all the possibilities that the AGW crowd fail to consider. The ability to imagine a particular outcome does not limit reality to that outcome, and you can't "save the planet" with a shell game.

missing the mark

I'm afraid it is you who misses the mark, as I am talking about emotional phenomenology, and you are talking about future astronomical events and demography.

What makes a person feel the

What makes a person feel the way they do about any given topic? The way they think about it, the assumptions they make about it. If a person simply stands back and recognizes that they don't know enough about the universe, future technology, and future possibilities, they may be able to let go of their own fears and not try so hard to control what they will never be able to control anyway. Go ahead and buy special Chinese light bulbs if you want to, but don't delude yourself that doing so will "save the planet". And don't be surprised when people who realize this push back against your attempts to force them to conform to your fears.

continuing to miss the mark

This strikes me as a contempt-ridden cosmological rationalization for evading the real dangers of climate change, many sources of which can actually be addressed in the here-and-now.


"the survival of humanity matters more to each of us … even than our own survival” (pp. 80-81).

This post and above quotation hit me in a profound way this morning, mere hours after a rather enjoyable mid-season finale of The Walking Dead. For those unfamiliar - The Walking Dead is a zombie apocalypse based show following a group of survivors as they attempt to find some way to navigate the world and maintain a grasp on their humanity.

(Spoilers below for anyone who watches)

In last night's episode Hershel - the sage and moral compass of the survivors - was executed by the shows antagonist. He had been taken hostage and used as a bargaining chip. In the last moments of his life though, when he surely knew his death was approaching, the most beautiful smile appeared on his face - and a look of hope/satisfaction in his eyes. In this last moment he was listening to Rick - the main protagonist - attempt to persuade the antagonist for a peaceful solution that would be much harder than violence. In this moment, Hershel saw his morals, values, and wisdom emanating from Rick and he could be at peace with his end, knowing Rick would carry the group once more.

I felt this was a rather beautiful dramatization of Samuel Scheffler's point/above quotation.


Beautiful indeed, thank you!


The birds don’t alter space.
They reveal it. The sky
never fills with any
leftover flying. They leave
nothing to trace. It is our own
astonishment collects
in chill air. Be glad.
They equal their due
moment never begging,
and enter ours
without parting day. See
how three birds in a winter tree
make the tree barer.
Two fly away, and new rooms
open in December.
Give up what you guessed
about a whirring heart, the little
beaks and claws, their constant hunger.
We’re the nervous ones.
If even one of our violent number
could be gentle
long enough that one of them
found it safe inside
our finally untroubled and untroubling gaze,
who wouldn’t hear
what singing completes us?

Li-Young Lee. "Praise Them"

gentle rather than violent


Fear Begets Fear

In order to understand that which drives the human psyche, one must, not only understand the loosh effect, but also the, so called "fallen" nature of those currently having conscious, and sub and/or unconscious awareness within earth's astral planes.
Because the non-physical self, not only has past negative physical incarnational recall, coupled with a programmed fear of the unknown, most then fear the thought of death, rejection and/or failure.
Holy books claim that to fall is to sin, when the reality appears that to fall into physical mass is our duty to the One Infinite Creator, as the One Infinite Creator maintains its beingness manifesting and expressing its-self vicariously through its manyness. (Us, the expression of the whole called "God or "good" by most.) The sin is becoming addicted to physical sensate.
When we fear, we then feed negative energy into the creation where negative non-physical life forms feed off of these negative energies much the way a physical parasite feeds off of blood plasma.
Therefore, do not think for a minute that physical life was designed to be easy, it is not, its the hell described within texts such as Enoch. Apparently, physical life is 100 times more difficult than non-physical life.
To conclude; Physical death creates rebirth, whether physical, or non-physical. The only way to non-physically die is if, that which is called "God" by most forgets who it is.
Therefore, fear not, as long as the One Infinite Creator has consciousness, so will you, you are its beingness;


If that works for you, more power to you.

Ethics of Fracking

I ask a congressman, a scientist, a medical doctor, and 2 religious leaders, is fracking safe? and other ethical and moral questions. http://youtu.be/O-OuvzwkKW0

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Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D. is one of the original members of the International Council for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, which stems from the work of Heinz Kohut.


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