From a shamanic perspective, the psychic blockade that prevents otherwise intelligent adults from considering the future of our world – our obvious lack of future, if we continue on our present path – reveals an occult dimension. It is like a programming error written into the software designed for the modern mind, which has endless energy to expend on the trivial and treacly, sports statistic or shoe sale, but no time to spare for the torments of the Third World, for the mass extinction of species to perpetuate a way of life without a future, for the imminent exhaustion of fossil fuel reserves, or for the fine print of the Patriot Act. This psychic blockade is reinforced by a vast propaganda machine spewing out crude as well as sophisticated distractions, encouraging individuals to see themselves as alienated spectators of their culture, rather than active participants in a planetary ecology.
“What is happening to our world is almost too colossal for human comprehension to contain. But it is a terrible, terrible thing,” lamented Arundhati Roy, the Indian novelist – turned – activist, who documented and protested the enormous dam projects in India, orchestrated by the World Bank, displacing 30 million people from their homes, with little tangible result beyond the enrichment of multinational corporations and an increase in India’s debts. “To contemplate its girth and circumference, to attempt to define it, to try and fight it all at once, is impossible. The only way to combat it is by fighting specific wars in specific ways.” But among the people I knew in New York, there was little contemplation of the situation, and no courage, anger, desire, or will to fight against it.