The stories we hold as true shape our thoughts and actions in the world. From our early beginnings as a species, the arts have been the heartbeat and soul of our humanness, telling stories of the world and seeking to explain our place within it. The time has come to change the old story and create a new myth, tell a new story. One in which humanity learns how to create and utilize technologies that work within the systems of nature, allowing us to live in ways that are much more consciously interconnected and in harmony with all of life.
This short excerpt from the article, "Redefining the Mother Nature Myth" By Susan Colby, describes the psychology of the separation myth really well:
The Necessary Cultural Shift
This is the necessary cultural shift that Lori stresses is urgent, as she recognizes that human drive toward nature is as intrinsic as the pull away from nature. Many environmentalists and psychologists consider the separation from nature as a problem, but both Lori and Ginette agree that separation from nature is needed, just as an adolescent needs separation from her mother.
As an Ecopsychologist, Lori said, “This is a very different relationship with nature than one of disconnection. The present rupture between humanity and nature mirrors our disconnection between psyche and the unconscious and this is a core issue.” Noting that humans have, and always will “contradict the ways of nature,” she wondered whether humans “would ever do the difficult psychological work necessary to heal the deep rupture between self, other and the earth, so that we feel that we are indeed a part of nature and act from this more rooted position?”
Humans have always wanted to be separate from nature, keeping our children safe from dangerous animals, humans and other deadly harm. We have separated ourselves from nature by destroying resources, diverting and damming rivers and by killing and domesticating animals. Separation is necessary, but Ginette puts it succinctly: “It is not that we do it, it is the way in which we do it: with a lack of intelligence, and in a most destructive way.”
“Abandoning our romantic view of nature and wilderness is painful, a shattering of our illusions of protection and security by good mother and good earth.”
Ginette continued saying the fantasy of nature as the pure way while humans are the rapist suggests “a false polarization” and is the narrative that has endured, carrying the “sins of thousands of years of religious leaders who never stood up to testify against the pillage.”
Abandoning old ideas of nature are painful and shatter the illusions of security and protection by the “good mother” and “good earth” allowing new, more mature relationships to develop between nature and humans.
This is the new myth, where nature and humans are separate but interconnected and working together, rather than in opposition. It is where Lori and Ginette believe humans will heal the despair that currently permeates the old nature myth.
Ginette Paris, Author of “Wisdom of the Psyche: Depth Psychology After Neuroscience” (2007, Routledge) and “Heartbreak: New Approaches to Healing” (2011, World Books Collective) and Core Faculty, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, CA.
Lori Pye, President, Viridis Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, CA, Adjunct Faculty, Pacifica Graduate Institute, University of California Santa Barbara.
“Submit to nature, return to nature," -Matsuo Basho