Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Living Simply, An Important Aspect of Living Sustainably

(The following presentation was given at 10th Annual Sustainability Summit and Exposition held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on March 6-7, 2013 <www.sustainabilitysummit.us>)

Americans are not living in a very happy place right now. There are looming threats to an already problematic health care system. Wages have been stagnant for decades and two-income families struggle to keep their heads above water. Meanwhile, the 1% are making off like bandits. A spate of bad weather phenomena is making us uneasy about the developing apocalyptic dimensions of climate change. The American Dream seems to be slipping through our fingers.

There are many and complex reasons for these problems, but today I will focus on an issue that goes to the core of our unhappiness—consumerism. Seventy percent of our economy is driven by consumerism and the American consumer and the American economy supports a substantial proportion of the world's economy through our exports and imports.

There are two main problems with consumerism. First, our poor planet can't sustain the high levels of consumption in America and the rest of the developed economies. We are destroying the very fabric of our existence as we contaminate our air and water. We engage in ever riskier means of obtaining oil and gas; runoff of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides pollute our streams and rivers; and we are contemplating an open pit mine in northern Wisconsin that will destroy an entire watershed feeding into Lake Superior and sustaining an Indian tribe. The second major problem with consumerism is its very premise---you can buy your way to happiness This runs contrary to every form of perennial wisdom. “Can't buy me love!” the Beatles sang.

Why is consumerism so powerful? Again, there are many and complex reasons but, as I see it, there are two outstanding factors. The first major problem is the corporation as the dominant economic form. Corporations are given the rights of a person but international corporations are often more powerful than people's governments as they suppress worker's rights and environmental standards in the name of greater profits. Corporations are amoral at best; they have no concern for any children or grandchildren let alone the seventh generation. Their only concern is with making a profit for the shareholders in their quarterly reports, and most of the shareholders are very wealthy people.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Land, Weather, Seasons, Insects: An Archetypal View

News Release - April 17, 2012 - Just Published:
Land, Weather, Seasons, Insects: An Archetypal View  — The Dairy Farmer's Guide to the Universe Volume IV
by Dennis L. Merritt

Land, Weather, Seasons, Insects explores the environment, with the Midwest as an example, using traditional Jungian and Hillmanian approaches to deepen our connection with the land, the seasons, and insects.

The Dalai Lama said how we relate to insects is very important for what it reveals much about a culture’s relationship with the psyche and nature.

"I had several Big Dreams in my last year of training at the Jung Institute in Zurich, including a single image dream of a typical Wisconsin pasture or meadow scene. This was the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen because it shown with an inner light, what Jung called a numinous or sacred dream. Since returning to Wisconsin I have let the mystery and power of that dream inspire me to learn and experience as much as possible about the land and the seasons of the upper Midwest, a process of turning a landscape into a soulscape."

"The means of doing this are presented in Land, Weather, Seasons, Insects: An Archetypal View, volume IV of The Dairy Farmer’s Guide to the Universe—Jung, Hermes, and Ecopsychology. This involves the use of science, myths, symbols, dreams, Native American spirituality, imaginal psychology and the I Ching. It is an approach that can be used to develop a deep connection with any landscape, meeting one of the goals of ecopsychology. Carl Sagan believed that unless we can re-establish a sense of the sacred about the earth, the forces leading to its destruction will be too powerful to avert."
—Dennis L. Merritt

Front Cover: A Monarch butterfly on Buddleia in Olbrich Gardens, Madison, Wisconsin. This “King of the Butterflies” is probably the best known of the North American butterflies and is the chosen image for the Entomological Society of America. The caterpillar feeds on the lowly milkweed, genius Asclepias, named after the Greek god of healing. The plant and the insect are toxic to most organisms. The insect is known for its uniquely long and complicated migrations. Photo by Chuck Heikkinen.

DENNIS L. MERRITT, Ph.D., is a Jungian psychoanalyst and ecopsychologist in private practice in Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A Diplomate of the C.G. Jung Institute of Analytical Psychology, Zurich, Switzerland, he also holds the following degrees: M.A. Humanistic Psychology-Clinical, Sonoma State University, California, Ph.D. Insect Pathology, University of California-Berkeley, M.S. and B.S. in Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has participated in Lakota Sioux ceremonies for over twenty-five years which have strongly influenced his worldview.
Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including 
Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, 
and a growing list of alternative titles.