Climate chaos would be problematic enough if we were able to stand and face it with intact systems of democratic governance and an economic system capable of adaptive resilience. Unfortunately we are instead faced with a truly dysfunctional trilemma of climate chaos, rising global fascism, and an economic system that continues to defy physics. 

The world is currently in total global debt of $188 trillion equivalent to 230% of the global economy. The future that this debt was based upon does not exist, a major collapse is imminent. The perpetual growth algorithm that corporate capitalism is based upon has reached the point where negative interest rates are emerging as the latest band aid to pour more fuzzy cash into the failing global economy. Never before in history has this been attempted, it is like science denial now includes maths denial for those who can’t see beyond the cargo cult of perpetual growth.

In Australia and around the world we are seeing the rise of maladaptive conservatism and fascism as societies fail to come to grips with the need for rapid and fundamental change. Governments are attempting to lie, pump prime and arrest their way of the climate crisis.

So…. How do we keep going faced with this trilemma?

The first step is to realise that we are dealing with collective psychosis. The inglorious collapse of modern civilisation has been a long time in the making and the insanity, lies and violence emerging now reflect the desperation of those consumed by it.

So what are the elements of this collective psychosis?

Disconnection is the root cause of the modern malaise at both the personal and the political level and reconnection our only hope for staying sane, and if possible turning it around.

The first and greatest disconnection lies in our anthropocentric (human centred) worldview and the demonstrably false and narcissistic idea that somehow humans are what’s most important on this planet. We are not, we are simply one of the more complex species that have managed to evolve due to a long period of climate stability that we are ourselves undoing. The true masters and servants of life on this planet are microbes and they will surely outlive us.

The second great disconnection is individuality, the obsession with what’s inside our bag of skin to the exclusion of what is outside it. In truth; inside, outside its all the same, just part of the universe, how could it ever have been any different. Yet as we have lost connection to community, to nature and to each other we have been left with the hollow prize of individuality. Little wonder we fear ageing and desperately seek material wealth to keep us ‘safe’ in the future. Yet we watch in line as our treatment of elders continues to demean us all.

The third great disconnection is from our own bodies. “I think therefore I am” what a ridiculous proposition. In reality, “I am, therefore I need not question my existence” makes far more sense. In our cult of the mind we have become disembodied, yet our bodies are what connects us intimately to nature, to reality, to time, to each other, to our emotions, our past and present and future. The mind is but a tool of our whole and deeper selves. Disconnect our mind from our bodies and the result is psychopathy and sociopathy. A clever but rudderless form of intelligence, capable of believing any falsehood it constructs for itself.

The fourth great disconnection is our fervent belief in linearity, our disconnection from the  complexity and wholeness of time and space. This lack of perspective, in which we see our current existence as a culminating moment of whatever grand narrative we indulge (progress, perpetual economic growth, the march of civilisation, the rapture, or the Jonestown massacre) blinds us to the wholeness that surrounds us. The interconnectedness between ourselves and all life, the vastness of time, the grand and beautiful underlying chaos over which we have no control.

These four disconnections have combined in a global culture of collective psychosis. Science was one of the few remaining pillars that somehow kept our culture connected to the grand and complex universe as it really is, it was all we had left after we turned away from the ancient wisdom of First Nations peoples’ understandings of wholeness and complexity. With science we were humble, inquisitive children exploring the world with open eyes, but the madness of the collective psychosis can now no longer cope even with science. This is so because to the terminally deluded, reality appears to have a contradictory bias.

This is the madness we live in, this is our literal post-truth world.

The first step for all of us, internally, and together with each other is to begin to dismantle the collective psychosis. Recognise this global mental illness for what it is. Staying sane in insane world demands that we look deeply within ourselves and dismantle the collective psychosis within ourselves. 

There is a simple, healthy and effective way to go about this though (but I didn’t say easy). If disconnection is the disease then reconnection is the cure.

Reconnection to nature displaces the anthropocentric delusion.  Reconnection to community, and service to others is the antidote to the delusion of individual separateness. Reconnection to our bodies is the antidote to the sociopathic cult of the mind. Reconnection to our child-like awe at the intricacy, vastness and complexity of the universe is the antidote to  delusional reductionism and linearity. Humble reconnection to what is known in science and in First Nations wisdom is the antidote to narcissistic hubris.

Whether we can collectively turn this ship of humanity around and save ourselves remains unknown, but what is certain collectively and individually is that we won’t be able to do it if we don’t heal from the collective psychosis. Faced with clearly insane national leaders, we all need a place to stand to watch this mad chapter of the human story. The earth is still real and sane, other species are still real and sane, so are the stars, the wind the sun. Once we know we are connected to all of these things it is from here that we watch the circus. It is from here that we will do what we can to stop the fall, or to reimagine our regeneration during and after the fall, remember, its not linear anyway, its is all happening at once. Complexity science tells us that when we are close to the edge of chaos unexpected shifts become more likely. The most unsustainable thing in a complex world is the status quo, and change and uncertainty are permanent features of the universe. It is likely that whatever catastrophes occur that novel reorganisation of what remains (with or without humans) is our inevitable future. The closer we remain attuned to the inherent intelligence of the whole, the greater our collective chance of survival.


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