Mental Health & Civilization: A Compilation

By Ben Barker / Deep Green Resistance Wisconsin

The dominant culture, industrial civilization, is insane. Literally. It is in direct opposition to life. We can see this by looking from any angle: an economic system based on the infinite consumption of living beings; the spiritual sickness that allows clear-cuts, rape, conquest, and oceanic dead-zones; social rewards for those who can fuck others over most efficiently. as the world burns, the destructiveness of this culture has become too clear for debate.

Consuming the living and converting them into dead products is essential to the functioning of civilization. indeed, it is the meaning of the word “production”. civilization as a whole can be defined by its material functioning: a culture based on the growth of cities, with cities being defined as people living more or less permanently in one place in  densities  high  enough  to  require  the  routine  importation  of  food and other necessities of life. it can also be described as a system that socially rewards (and requires) exploitation, domination, and atrocity. Both definitions reveal civilization’s fundamental death urge.

What is killed by civilization includes the psyches and souls of  human  beings.  Consider,  for  example,  the  global  scale  of  people struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Bi-Polar Disorder (at least two million people in the United States alone), Depression, and Anxiety.   Consider  also  lives  wasted  in  wage  slavery,  addiction,  and apathy.  Some know mental struggle more intimately than others, but the dominant culture makes all of its members sick.

This book is for those who feel, in their bones, the struggle of living in such a culture, and for those who love life and want to fight back. The numerous activists, artists, and writers who have contributed to this book also surely know this struggle.   Included here is a compilation of personal stories, essays, artwork, and maps for healing, all pointing towards, and developing an answer to, this general question: what does it mean to be sane in an insane culture?

Download Mental Health & Civilization: A Compilation

8 thoughts on “Mental Health & Civilization: A Compilation”

  1. Any chance of a pdf that’s is either all single pages or all 2-page spreads? This one was a nightmare to get to print.

  2. Ben,

    Thanks so much for your efforts here! Given that a group of us here in Tacoma have just started an “Eco-action Support Group”, summary below, this is timely indeed.

    Name: Eco-action Support Group (ESG)

    Purpose: To provide emotional and social support for people learning about and concerned about the global warming, ecological, and economic collapse issues.

    Motivation: Really “getting it”—deeply understanding what is happening now and coming soon—often results in powerful, negative emotional responses. People who succeed in breaking through their denial of global warming, peak energy, ecological, and economic collapse often fall into a pit of fear, anger, alienation, loneliness, helplessness, and/or depression. For many reasons we need to help and support each other in emotional and social ways.

    Who: Anyone interested, any age.

    Notification: Word of mouth and email list to start. Possible on-line Meet-Up created.
    Schedule: Something like “5 to 8 pm the last Friday of each month” or “5 to 8 pm the last Saturday of each month”, whatever time and date we agree seems to work best for most people.

    Location: Laura Mae’s house in Tacoma, April’s studio in Fife, or Gateways For Youth and Families in Midway, depending on group size and preference.

    (1) Brief starting ritual reviewing our purpose and motivation
    (2) Everyone introduces themselves with name, where you live, and a brief comment on what attracts you to this group. (Thirty seconds, maximum, each person please!)
    (3) Meet, eat a potluck meal, talk, and share regarding our thoughts, feelings, and ideas as we continue to learn about global warming, ecological, and economic collapse issues. We might sometimes have some kind of short sharing or presentation, see and discuss a video, or discuss some paper, book chapter, or book.
    (4) Develop friendships and socially support each other as we learn about and work individually and together to cope emotionally, socially, and in practical ways (permaculture, natural building, etc.) with the changes in progress and accelerating.
    (5) Announcements: Next meeting date and location. April’s address and parking? Other?
    (6) Email notification list and/or Meet-up
    (7) Clean up and depart

    Bud Nye
    Tacoma, WA

    “Those in power will come down on us if we resist. It doesn’t matter if that resistance is violent or nonviolent. It’s resistance that brings the risk and retaliation, and it’s resistance that our planet needs.” —Derrick Jensen, Deep Green Resistance

    [Violent retaliation against any effective resistance exists as a fundamental strategy of the corrupt and brutal patriarchic dominance of Western Civilization. Force strongly supported by science and technology serves as the foundation of this culture, and our fear of that force, along with the short-term, immediate gratification benefits we get each day, serve as key reasons why we do not resist. Meanwhile, claiming to assume a non-violent position, as so many of us do, while also supporting this culture as it kills the rest of the planet, amounts to living a life of dramatic willful blindness and self-contradiction. Do the ends justify the means? Very good question indeed. With respect to this question, do the ends of industrial capitalism justify the means of killing most life on Earth? If not, why don’t we stop it? We need to choose what we want for a future. If we don’t, someone else will. —Bud Nye, 2012]

  3. George: I’ll see what I can do! Keep an eye here for an updated version.

    Bud: That’s wonderful! Thank you so much for the work you are doing; it is crucial.

  4. I work in the Mental Health industry, and I have shared this with many of my coworkers. I think this exploration is sorely needed because the system of rewards in this death-culture promotes insecurity and stable sane individuals are needed to do the demanding work of resistance.

  5. Christine: I hope you like it!

    Mutualist: I’m so glad to hear this work will find the hands of those in the mental health industry. I whole-heartedly agree we need stability and sanity in our communities and resistance movements.

  6. The above content has been articulated well by Karl Marx in his work Capital: Critique of Political Economy and also by Erich Fromm, author of The Sane Society and his greater body of work. It would be wise to learn and acknowledge this intellectual property instead of DGR’s alone.

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