Chapter 2 – Paradigm B: Sleepwalking in America

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As human beings we are engaged in a monstrous denial of both our personal and collective experience. Monstrous because the consequences are tragic almost beyond comprehension, but comprehend we must. The Titanic analogy is so apt as to be overused but again let’s imagine that we believe that we are on a similarly ill-fated ship. Existential anxiety would then describe the psychological state of humanity. Denial of the reality of this Titanic narrative is one of our survival strategies.

For example, many of us have developed a dependence on various medications readily prescribed by our “health providers” better characterized as “avoidance providers.” The health providers are aided and abetted by our “mental health providers,” our therapists, better characterized as enablers of “victimology,” the pervasive belief that we are powerless in the face of our dire predicament.

Properly medicated and/or securely contained within our dysfunctional story, we continue our self-delusional behavior.  We have all agreed to avoid the truth: “the ship is sinking.” Our shipboard behavior is characterized by the lies, denial and secrets that we use to escape our current reality. This behavior is irrational and self-destructive. We are going to have to face the truth that the ship is listing, that we are going to drown in the icy, dark waters of the North Atlantic. We can dance away the evening in the ballroom or overindulge in the sumptuous buffet but at some level of our dull and distracted awareness, we sense the awful truth. Our ship is “low in the water,” the deck is sloped and slippery.  The ship is sinking, not because of the load she is carrying but because of the gaping hole in her side. In this chapter we must consent to look at that violent rupture, the water rushing in, and make a courageous decision. If we continue in our denial of reality then we can only conclude that we are a nation of cowards.

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