Making a change means acknowledging the difference making the change earlier would have made

From Existential Psychotherapy by Irvin Yalom:

‘To decide to change would entail accepting existential guilt‘

Change can often be good & powerful, but the existential guilt is often too powerful for all of us at different times in our lives. Better to make no change and avoid having to deal with the truth.

that corporate ladder

Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzqnNx9NpVo

Quote Post: Vladimir Nabokov

'The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.'

― Vladimir Nabokov

Quote Post: Thomas Hardy

If a way to the better there be, it lies in taking a full look at the worst.

― Thomas Hardy

Childhood methods of coping with fear of death that can carry through to adulthood: ‘I Am Special’, and ‘Supernatural Rescuer’

Screenshots from Existential Psychotherapy by Irvin Yalom:

Capital G

I'm sick of hearing about the haves and the have nots
Have some personal accountability
The biggest problem with the way that we've been doing things is
The more we let you have, the less that I'll be keeping for me

Don't give a shit about the temperature in
Guatemala
Don't really see what all the fuss is about
I'm not going to worry about no future generations
I'm sure somebody's going to figure it out

Don't try to tell me how some power can corrupt a person
You haven't had enough to know what it's like
You're only angry because you wish you were in my position
Now nod your head because you know that I'm right



[Lyrics from the song Capital G by Nine Inch Nails]

Quote Post: Dame Deborah James

Dame Deborah James talking about when she moved into end-of-life hospice care at home:
 
"I am not brave - I am not dignified going towards my death - I am simply a scared girl who is doing something she has no choice in but I know I am grateful for the life that I have had."
 
— Dame Deborah James 1982-2022


Source: https://news.sky.com/story/deborah-james-dies-podcaster-and-cancer-campaigner-passes-away-aged-40-12610225

Quote Post: Superette

"I'm gonna die
I don't know why
Never killed nothing
Never hurt no one"

— Lyrics from Killer Clown by Superette

Are we ultimately hardwired to go extinct?

Over the last few months or so I have been having conversations with friends & family about the findings of Seth Wynes & Kimberly Nicholas (2017) with regards to the top five actions each of us can personally do to combat climate change:

(Source: Seth Wynes and Kimberly A Nicholas – ‘The climate mitigation gap: education and government recommendations miss the most effective individual actions’. Published July 12, 2017. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa7541.)

One of the most common comments I’ve had in response to the top five is people referring to the often-quoted line “100 companies are responsible for 70% of all carbon emissions”. Which is true, and we need to put pressure on those companies to urgently find ways to significantly reduce their carbon footprint. But I have found it surprising that this quote is used to provide cover for not making individual efforts to try to reduce personal carbon emissions as much as possible. Surely the majority of us can be doing both?

Some people can’t financially afford to fully take all the top five steps, which is fair enough. And some people argue over the wording of the top five and/or question the validity of the findings. And while I’m all for critical thinking, this just feels like sophisticated denial to me.

But besides the reactions above, often what people do in response to hearing the top five steps is react defensively and start justifying why they haven’t started or won’t start doing one or more of the things on the list. It’s not always articulated this way, but it often comes across as “well, yes, OTHER people should start doing those things but I can’t/won’t because…”

It seems to be part of the human condition: these rules don’t apply to me. Or to put it another way, not obeying these rules has no negative consequences for me right now so I’m not going to change my behaviour. I think part of this is an aversion to discomfort and/or change. It’s a perceived threat to “my way of life” which I think some people unconsciously interpret as “a threat to my survival”. Which I can understand, I want to survive too.

But it makes me wonder: this hardwired survival instinct i.e. selfishness, if one way it’s manifesting is a resistance to making personal changes to combat the climate crisis, is the human species ultimately hardwired for extinction?

Here’s my question:

At the scale of billions of people, is it realistic to try to get enough people to cooperate & overcome our selfish instincts in order to ultimately avoid the extinction of the human species?

Please let me know what you think in the comments 🙂👍 >>