In this current time of social unrest, hope seems to be fading with each species that goes extinct. Upon reading and getting mentorship from several psychotherapist whom I respect and admire, most of them agree that our sense of hope for humanity will be shattered in the dark night of the soul. However, this does not mean that we can’t still give ourselves permission to feel joy. I have counseling numerous clients that are end of life and they experience a full range of emotions from complete despair to elated bliss and ecstacy. Thus, don’t let anyone fool you that you don’t have permission to feel hope and joy. However, you need to also be very weary of those who fall prey to “hopium”, which is a false sense of positivity in the midst of dire evidence based scientific research. I am very leary of overly optimistic people, particularly those who have never worked in the trenches of our communities and witnessed the dire reality of what is happening in people’s homes as a result of neoconservative values about humanitarian aid. I will be speaking up about theses issues as I am tired of being marginalized.
Carolyn baker believes that their will be people who choose to be in denial up to the very end. And we are sadly seeing this with our own president and numerous climate deniers in government. In some respects we have to expect that some people are simply too fragile, or, have a neurosis of keeping themselves insulated from the truth of an assortment of social problems, not just climate change.
Numerous social scientist, environmentalists, mystics, and new paradigm scientists agree that we are on the brink of the 6th mass extinction of humanity and millions of species due to global warming. This is a human extinction, which is a result of a multitude of factors such as unregulated capitalism, rapid population growth, an insatiable appetite for materialism, frivolous conspicuous consumption, pollution and exploitation of the earth, rampant social problems due to social inequality and oppression, overconsumption of fishing, abhorrent wasting, greed, pride, vanity, narcissism, arrogance, denial, and long histories of war.
According to Edward Edinger, who wrote a book titled Archetype of the Apocalyse, we are in the midst of a monumental cultural change that will end the world as we know it. This is the result of the increasingly powerful force of our collective unconscious, the Apocalypse archetype. This archetype manifests itself through various signs: the drama of international relations, the breakdown of social structure, and the widening gap between political, ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic groups, in science fiction and New Age books, TV, and movies. The public's preoccupation with natural disasters and the rise of religious cults and survivalist sects are other indicators.
We are now in the midst of a massive global dark night of the soul that is evoking massive social upheaval and changes in our deeply held values and beliefs. For example, our deeply held societal values of progress and growth have been under scrutiny for a long time now, particularly with postmodern sociologists and environmentalists.
The radical changes are also invoking trauma associated dissociation. Some of these behavioral symptoms include; cognitive fragmentation of the psyche, memory loss, insomnia, anxiety, depression, forgetfulness, and amnesia. These dark night of the soul symptoms will not only drastically affect our personal lives, but our work places, families, and communities.
It is time to remove the blinders of collective denial and come to the horrific understanding that we need to shift into a mode of “hospicing of humanity.”
Climate Scientist Guy McPherson and Carolyn Baker PHD (Psychotherapist) released a book in 2015 called The Extinction Dialogues: How to Live With Death in Mind. I ordered this book hot off the press in 2015 and my life was forever changed. No one who truly reads this book will ever be the same afterward. I was just finished up graduate school at Portland State University and was vulnerable financially and living alone. I felt completely isolated and had to endure dark night of the soul symptoms pretty much by myself. I had anxiety attacks at night a few times and had to seek support from mentors.
The global dark night of the soul is inevitably going to bring up an assortment of negative emotions such as existential despair, grief, hopelessness, rage, anger, and suicidal ideation. Tragically, we are already witnessing suicide rates increase on a daily basis in Southern Oregon, all of which has been on the local news stations. And larger social trends reveal higher rates of teenage suicide in the United States.
A few years ago, the Medford mail tribune published an article on the front cover purporting that population demographers have estimated that the population of Southern Oregon is going to double in the next five years. However, we are clearly not prepared for this massive influx of people. Southern Oregon has massive social problems that sociologists and social service organization have been known about for over twenties years and still have not been solved—such as, the dire shortage in low-income housing, the shortage of funding for people in crisis, the shortage of transitional housing, homeless shelters, the lack of living wage jobs, the lack of services for the mental ill, and the lack of services for addictions…..this is a short list of the longer list i have compiled.
As a sociogist and social scientist, I have read social research that reveals that funding for social services is the lowest it has ever been, despite social needs being the highest (particularly among the poor and working poor.) This is mainly due to a neoconservative political agenda that wants to completely do away with social services and humanitarian aid. It is also the result of unregulated capitalism and the corruption of our democratic political system by the corporate elite. This exposure of the power elite was addressed in the 1970’s by a brilliant sociologist by the name of C Wright Mills (see book Power Elite).
Another social trend is the rising gap between the super wealthy 1 % of our population and the 45 million people who are in poverty in America. We have also been experiencing the larger social trend called the “middle class slide.” The overarching economic narrative is the idea that life for the middle class has grown more difficult due to inflation, rising fuel and food prices, falling house values, impending recession, and turmoil in the financial and mortgage markets.
For the past four years, I have been a home health medical social worker. I have a dual masters degree is Sociology and Social Work. I havebeen working in the trenches in Southern Oregon serving people with chronic diseases, physical disabilities, an assortment of mental illness, high rates of addiction to various substances, homelessness, unemployment, and social/economic oppression.
I have had the honor of working with several modern day heroes who quietly serve without any accolades or awards. While numerous celebrities have been acknowledged for their generous humanitarian aid, these modern day heroes may not make a lot of money, but they are doing some of the most critical work in our communities of Southern, Oregon. I am excited to be recognized these true leaders in a TV episode I am working on for PBS.
Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of these celebrities people for donating their money in times of great social need. However, I find it ironic that some of the greatest American leaders and heroes work quietly in the trenches serving some of the most down and out folks. Our worshipping of famous people, or idolatry, is something that has completely repulsed me. This is just another example of how capitalism has completely distorted our evaluation of heroes. In America athletes that profess to be sex addicts are worshipped and considered modern day heroes, yet our caregivers (who are doing some of the most important work) not only get paid shit wages, but have to deal with the negative stigma of doing this kind of work.
I have seen it all folks……and I am appalled that our so-called conscious community has continued to sit on it’s laurels in regards to preparing for these tidal waves of social problems. We have had plenty of time to address these problem in Southern Oregon. I understand how deeply entrenched things are, but we have not allowed our true authentic leaders to speak in this community. I believe that I have a unique perspective on things and I empowering myself to speak up. I received a 3.7 in my undergraduate work at SOU, majoring in Sociology. I also received a 4.0 in my master of Sociology and NAU. I also worked my butt off doing minimum wage jobs to get me through a MSW degree at PSU, 3.8 GPA.
I worked a lot of back breaking minimum wage jobs growing up in Southern Oregon. I worked as a house cleaner , caregiver, Baker, waitress, landscaper, house painter, and even a dishwasher. And while these jobs built character, the negative stigma that pink collar workers are faced with can not only lower your self esteem, but cause deeply entrenched poverty consciousness and an undercurrent silencing that makes one feel small. And if someone works these kinds of jobs for a life-time, there is a continuum of mental health problems that can occur such as trauma, anxiety disorders, and health problems .
I pride myself on having the courage to work despite the shame I felt at times; however when you are in survival mode one has to do what they can in order to survive in southern Oregon
The author of this article, Barbara Ehrenreich wrote an amazing book about the working poor called "Nickel and Dimed." As a journalist she decided to work several minimum wage jobs and write about the dehumanizing experiences she had.
I am always amazed by people that have never really had to work labor intensive jobs yet they judge others for working minimum wage jobs. They can often have an undercurrent judgment of poor people that is hard to detect, but I felt it all the time. I really get pissed off by the elitist attitudes that some people in Ashland hold for working class folks in medford and Ashland.
I worked really hard to receive an education so I could help oppressed people have a voice and get access to resources. I have massive student loan debt and am barely able to pay off my debt due to ridiculously low wages for social workers. I am currently on an income sensitive repayment program because their are few work places that offer the student load repayment plan for social workers that are helping low income and disadvantaged people.
In my evaluation of leaders— I want to know if they have done any social service work or volunteered to help the community in any way: have they had the courage to get out of the comfort of their own homes to help vulnerable and oppressed people or did social activism work. I am sick and tired of self proclaimed leaders that are so self absorbed and self righteous that they can’t get out of their own navels to do what they can to help.
I understand that there are many ways to serve but I am sadly disappointed at how few people do service work.
The current state of our communities in Southern Oregon are completely fractured and fragmented. People are totally traumatized and deeply wounded by unregulated capitalism, social isolation, social oppression, and social stratification. We are more divided than we have ever been due to religious exclusivism and rampant competition.
MORE TO COME>>>>>>>