Kirby Farrell, Ph.D. teaches at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. His new book, due out this winter from Leveller's Press, is The Psychology of Abandon. He is the author of Post-Traumatic Culture: Injury and Interpretation in the 90's. For the Ernest Becker Foundation he has lectured and written on radical existential criticism, the psychology of violence, and social justice. He is also the author of several novels and a jazz pianist and composer.
We're impossibly conflicted creatures. We're biological animals, but also symbolic creatures who can conceive of the Higgs boson, the Mona Lisa smile, the yo-yo, and infinity. To keep your mental balance we use denial to manage these creaturely contradictions. Whether it's healthy or toxic, funny or crazy, denial is built into us. It protects us from the undercurrents of terror and insanity that course through life. We joke about Da Nile to raise our spirits to explore it.
Take a paddle and let's put some back into it.