Ecopsychology: Addiction Recovery for a People (pt. 1 of 5)

What if we stopped talking about the “oil addiction” as a metaphor and actually started treating it like an addiction?

Addiction has many characteristics: I will leave it to better social-service specialists than I to lay it all out.

What I want to talk about today is recovery.

The way I see it, the principal problem we face in our dependency on oil (and factory slaves, and industrial agriculture, and so on) is there really aren’t alternatives.

Our civilization is kinda like a wino stranded in a city where the only choices for calories are beer, whiskey, or wine.  He may be able to supplement with the odd free-range pigeon; but no matter how desperately the alcoholic wants out, or how deep his self-disgust every time he drinks, his odds of quitting aren’t good.

It offends, I think, many peoples’ sensibilities to genuinely see themselves as coerced by outside forces into choosing from a few poor or mediocre choices.  We’re a-MARE-kins, dadgummit, and we’re the captains of our souls.  We know that if we’re not living 100% (or at least 90%) in accord with our environmentalist convictions, it’s just because we lack the blistering zeal that we should have.  You know, the blistering zeal that would enable us to finally admit out loud that Yes, we’ve known all along that CFLs and cloth shopping bags doesn’t really do that much in the big picture, and push us over that final hump to drop out of society and go live lightly on the land where we’ll turn our kids’ education over to the birds and the trees.

Hold it right there!  Shouldn’t it be clear that if your best option for an environmentally sound life is to drop out of society, then the real problem is a lot bigger than you?  This is not a problem of you being a faulty individual with insufficient chutzpah to live your convictions.  It is a very real lack of choices.  We don’t dare train our kids up to be like the birds and the trees, because we’ve seen what happens to the birds and the trees.

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