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Climate Change Denial Perverts And The Unconscious Obstacles To Caring For The Planet

Anybody with £60 and a weekend to spare should attend the two-day event “Engaging with Climate Change: Psychoanalytic Perspectives“, organised by The Institute of Psychoanalysis, Byron House, 112a Shirland Road, London, W9 2EQ for Oct 16-17.

You will be told about psychic consequences of the discovery of personal ecological debt, different structures of feeling in relation to the natural world and about engaging with the natural world and with human nature. You will also be told about unconscious obstacles to caring for the planet, and climate change denial in a perverse culture.

Fear not, however, as it’s specialists in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in attendance. At worst, you’ll risk to be put on a couch under a barrage of questions about your childhood. Think instead of the danger of electroconvulsive therapy, if fully-fledged psychiatrists start opining about your perversions and unconscious obstacles…

0 replies on “Climate Change Denial Perverts And The Unconscious Obstacles To Caring For The Planet”

Geoff, I’m probably being a little unfair to psychologists generally; would it be accurate to say that the uncritical acceptance by social scientists of the worst-case environmental/climate-change scenarios plus solutions which involve the maximum amount of behavioral change in society, is a bit of an Anglosphere thing?

I note that the lead topic is “How does our knowledge of climate change affect our sense of identity?” It would be very interesting to turn this around: “How does our sense of cultural/national identity affect our perceptions of climate change?”

No I don’t think you’re being unfair at all, as long as you add sociologists and arts graduates in general to your list. It’s shocking to see psychoanalysts so committed though, since not making moral judgements on their patients is fundamental to their activity. Freud was a convinced atheist, but he would never attempt to interfere with the religious beliefs of his patients.
It does seem to be an anglosphere thing, to some extent. Though the same tendencies among environmental correspondents, green blogs etc exist in France and Italy, they seem less visible, possibly because the serious national press is less visible. Papers like Repubblica, le Monde, Libération republished a Guardian pre-Copenhagen manifesto last year, but they just don’t have the readership of the Guardian, Independent etc. Also, Britain, Australia and the USA have coal.
I think Maurizio’s find is profoundly depressing. One can imagine winning the argument on the science, and no-one who wasn’t an ardent blog fan taking any notice. Imagine if we’d won at Waterloo, and no-one had bothered to tell the French people.

An excellent find, Maurizio. I have my own suggestions for future topics these psychoanalysts might like to explore:

“How do we understand the widespread, knee-jerk enthusiasm of psychologists in embracing extreme climate-change doomsday theories?”

“Low expectations – why psychologists think the rest of us are stupid, greedy and need to just do as we’re told.”

“The sustainability bandwagon – competing for tenure and funding in a perverse culture where very few people know or care about their carbon footprint.”

With coffee, tea and nibbles, of course. Or maybe a glass or two of something a little stronger.

When I mentioned my quixotic obsession with countering the global warming myth to my psychoanalist, she just shrugged her shoulders and said “mass hysteria”. But this is France, where it’s considered normal to change your intellectual fad every spring …
Looking at the programme, there are relatively few shrinks on thepanel, but a lot of social science types. And Bob Ward. Perhaps they can prescribe him something.

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