Joanna Macy on “Staying Sane in a Suicidal Culture” for Truthout

Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, has a remarkable new interview with engaged Buddhist icon Joanna Macy now appearing at Truthout. It is well worth your time. Do give it a read. You can find it right here.

Here’s a snippet:

Macy, during the interview I did with her for this article, warned of the consequences of not allowing ourselves to access the feelings elicited by our witnessing.

“Refusing to feel pain, and becoming incapable of feeling the pain, which is actually the root meaning of apathy, refusal to suffer, that makes us stupid, and half alive,” she said. “It causes us to become blind to see what is really out there. We have a sense of something being wrong, so we find another target and project our anxiety onto the nearest thing handy, whether it is Muslims, or gays, or Jews, or transsexuals, or on Edward Snowden, who is now being accused of being a Russian spy and behind the Ukraine conflict. See how stupid we can be?” She laughed.

After a pause, she added, “The closer we get to midnight, the more we lose intellectual capacity. So not feeling the pain is extremely costly.”

Macy is, of course, the eco-philosopher and scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology whose books include the essentials World As Lover, World As Self: Courage for Global Justice and Ecological Renewal and Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory: The Dharma of Natural Systems. In addition, her hugely valuable teachings on working with “environmental despair” have made her a vital voice in the environmental movement more generally.


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