Psychologist Mary Pipher on America's Biggest Social Taboo | Psychology Today
Mary: Let’s return to the example of a family where the father is an alcoholic. All these things happen -- dad’s grumpy most mornings, he misses work, and the kids are afraid to anger him -- and yet nobody ever talks about alcohol. What that family also isn’t doing is feeling safe and vibrant, because there’s a big thing they can’t talk about. The amount of energy it takes to do all that filtering keeps the family from being loving and engaged in the ways families ideally want to be.
It’s the same thing with our denial of climate change: If you use a lot of energy to tamp down despair, you tamp down everything, such as your capacity for joy and love. In writing about Germans during the Holocaust in “States of Denial,” the author Stanley Cohen described the phenomenon of “willful ignorance” in which the Germans both knew and didn’t know what was going on at the same time. That state of “willful ignorance” he described is not a happy state -- and that’s the state that Americans are in right now.