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What is the relationship between addiction and the ecological crisis? How can we use the lessons of individual recovery to address our collective need to heal society and the Earth? Chellis Glendinning goes beyond the personal to the very heart of Western civilization to answer these questions, and she shows how we can use trauma recovery and deep ecology, along with the w What is the relationship between addiction and the ecological crisis? How can we use the lessons of individual recovery to address our collective need to heal society and the Earth? Chellis Glendinning goes beyond the personal to the very heart of Western civilization to answer these questions, and she shows how we can use trauma recovery and deep ecology, along with the wisdom of native cultures, to reclaim our innate wholeness.


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What is the relationship between addiction and the ecological crisis? How can we use the lessons of individual recovery to address our collective need to heal society and the Earth? Chellis Glendinning goes beyond the personal to the very heart of Western civilization to answer these questions, and she shows how we can use trauma recovery and deep ecology, along with the w What is the relationship between addiction and the ecological crisis? How can we use the lessons of individual recovery to address our collective need to heal society and the Earth? Chellis Glendinning goes beyond the personal to the very heart of Western civilization to answer these questions, and she shows how we can use trauma recovery and deep ecology, along with the wisdom of native cultures, to reclaim our innate wholeness.

30 review for My Name is Chellis and I'm in Recovery from Western Civilization

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily Crow

    I found this book to be quite frustrating. On the one hand, the author comes across as being sincere, passionate, well-intentioned, and kind (also confused and wounded), and I totally agree with her basic premise: our modern, industrial, consumerist society is pathological (destroying the environment, engaging in wars, encouraging apathy and anomie, etc.), to the extent that many of its citizens suffer from at least some degree of dysfunction (addictions, depression, abuse, workaholism, fracture I found this book to be quite frustrating. On the one hand, the author comes across as being sincere, passionate, well-intentioned, and kind (also confused and wounded), and I totally agree with her basic premise: our modern, industrial, consumerist society is pathological (destroying the environment, engaging in wars, encouraging apathy and anomie, etc.), to the extent that many of its citizens suffer from at least some degree of dysfunction (addictions, depression, abuse, workaholism, fractured families, interpersonal conflict). So I really wanted to like this book and perhaps even find some inspiration in it. Instead, I found myself picking apart sloppy arguments and getting annoyed at her assumptions. Glancing over reader reviews here and at Amazon, I can see that many people have really connected with this book, and felt it has helped them to heal and renew their connection to nature. However, it's safe to say that I am clearly not the right audience for this book. For one thing, the author is a therapist, and I'm not a big fan of psychology. I found the recovery/therapy metaphor to be a bit heavy-handed, and I don't believe that all of us modern folk are suffering from post-traumatic stress. A lot of the theories she mentions (including the reliability of recovered memories) are controversial or simply out of date. On the other hand, if the recovery paradigm resonates with you, you may respond to this book much more favorably than I did. Second disclosure: I am a historian by training, which means I value documented, verifiable facts in an argument. For instance, I was curious what aspects, exactly, of "Western Civilization" she found so problematic, and why. It turns out that she has a bone to pick with civilization, western or otherwise, tracing the roots of our pathology to the adoption of agriculture and pastoralism, and the end of the paleolithic era. She praises "nature-based" societies, which she equates with hunter-gatherer tribes, and sees anything else as something unnatural and traumatic which has been inflicted upon us. And...that's not exclusively Western, is it? Just off the top of my head, I can think of several societies--the ancient Chinese, the Aztecs and Mayans--who developed stratified, agricultural societies, complete with wars and atrocious human rights violations, without any influence from Western Europe whatsoever. Perhaps her title should have been My Name is Chellis and I'm in Recovery from the Neolithic Era. Speaking of which, I found her discussions of "nature-based" societies to be equally imprecise. She states that she does not want to idealize tribal, indigenous cultures, and then proceeds to do just that, depicting all of them as peaceful, democratic, egalitarian, completely sustainable, in which all members are equally competent, valued, and satisfied. Obviously, we can only speculate, based on scant paleontological evidence, what the earliest hunter-gatherer societies were actually like, and can't state with any certainty that these early peoples were free of unhappiness or pathology. As for historical or current indigenous peoples, many aren't hunter-gatherers (e.g., they practice agriculture or herding) and aren't entirely peaceful (some were positively feared by their neighbors.) Nor did they always live harmlessly on the Earth; the Australian aborigines, for example, hunted the large, flightless birds of that continent to extinction. Don't get me wrong--I am very respectful of native cultures, and would love to know more about their ways of perceiving the world. But they are/were not perfect, and if you try to tell me otherwise, I have to call BS. Finally, towards the end of the book, she seems to imply that only native peoples are qualified to have a real connection to nature or participate in mystical experiences. In fact, she mentions a talk where a member of the audience asked, What about European paganism and Goddess traditions, and was basically told that those are irrelevant. To be honest, out of everything that was problematic in this book, that was probably the one thing that annoyed me the most. Not all of us of European descent feel estranged from nature, uncomfortable with transcendent experiences, or ashamed of our origins. To imply that we are (or should be) seems awfully arrogant. In sum: there's some interesting content here, and the author seems like a great person, but I can't really recommend this book (unless you are really into psychology).

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    One of the big themes that I took away from this book is the idea of "dissociation." Chellis talks about the similarities between dissociation and post-traumatic stress (forging a link between personal healing and the healing of our relationship with the Earth). Dissociation involves a fragmenting of what Chellis calls the "primal matrix": the interconnectedness we inherently share (as worldly beings) with the natural world as well as the psychological wholeness that constitutes personal integri One of the big themes that I took away from this book is the idea of "dissociation." Chellis talks about the similarities between dissociation and post-traumatic stress (forging a link between personal healing and the healing of our relationship with the Earth). Dissociation involves a fragmenting of what Chellis calls the "primal matrix": the interconnectedness we inherently share (as worldly beings) with the natural world as well as the psychological wholeness that constitutes personal integrity (so, for example, a Cartesian mind/body split is an instance of a dissociated self; another example is a fragmented identity). In the first part of her book, Chellis talks in detail about the psychological and social characteristics of nature-based people which nurture a self that is engaged with the primal matrix. She also describes the process of our historic dissociation from nature beginning with the advent of agriculture and moving up to our present, mass technological society. People who have experienced trauma enter into a state of dissociation (which can be mended; Chellis describes her own ongoing process of weaving herself back into the primal matrix). But even people who have not experienced major psychological trauma are compelled to participate in our widely-dissociated and fractured society, and that also constitutes a state of oppression and denial. In our society, we are prevented from knowing, from a very early age, our true place and purpose, our real belonging, intertwined with the web of life. In the latter section of the book, Chellis introduces some ideas for solving this dilemma. She notes that such a solution cannot take place on a merely individual psychological level; that it must involve interwoven restoration efforts on personal, social, and ecological scales. I'm running out of time here, so in summary - I highly recommend this book. It's a seminal work of eco-psychology, well-researched, on point, intelligently and poignantly written.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Chellis Glendinning is an "ecopsychologist" --- one who believes that connection to nature and living a life not too different from the kind of life humans have lived over most of the course of their 2-to-3-million-year history lie at the heart of mental health. She also believes, and spends much of this book espousing, a corollary to this belief: that modern industrial civilization actually induces mental illness. Unfortunately, the book is not very well written. Its organization is chaotic, mo Chellis Glendinning is an "ecopsychologist" --- one who believes that connection to nature and living a life not too different from the kind of life humans have lived over most of the course of their 2-to-3-million-year history lie at the heart of mental health. She also believes, and spends much of this book espousing, a corollary to this belief: that modern industrial civilization actually induces mental illness. Unfortunately, the book is not very well written. Its organization is chaotic, more a collection of loosely related meditations than a cogent, sustained argument, and her prose is murky, jargon-laden and unmemorable. There are a number of brilliant, "Aha"-inducing insights scattered throughout this book, but they are tucked away deep within pages and pages of psychobabble. You'll get something out of it if you have the patience to wade through that, definitely, but for the most part I would recommend seeking out other, more lucid, writers on the same subject.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Arthur

    I was in Alaska when this book was published and it's been on my "to read" list since then. Sadly, she could have written it last week. Nothing's changed and in fact, things have gotten worse. It was interesting to read it after reading Derek Jensen's tomes. I need to look but I don't think Jensen cites this book which also correlates abusive human behavior with abusing the earth. Like Chellis, Jensen was also abused by his father in horrific ways. Jensen calls for the end of western "civilizati I was in Alaska when this book was published and it's been on my "to read" list since then. Sadly, she could have written it last week. Nothing's changed and in fact, things have gotten worse. It was interesting to read it after reading Derek Jensen's tomes. I need to look but I don't think Jensen cites this book which also correlates abusive human behavior with abusing the earth. Like Chellis, Jensen was also abused by his father in horrific ways. Jensen calls for the end of western "civilization" by breaching big ass dams. Chellis wants to do it by going back to a hunter-gatherer society and ending agriculture. Cold day in hell I am afraid but still, we are fat but not happy mammals since we "sheltered in place" and then accumulated a lot of stuff all the while pumping carbon into the air to do it and now here we sit, surrounded by our stuff on a dying planet. The accumulation of stuff came in with the Industrial Revolution where instead of taking a month to make one hat, suddenly through mass production, 500 hats could be made in month and 500 of everything else and then they needed places to put all this new crap they never really needed=bigger houses...so as always, it all hinges on the Industrial DE-evolution. I liked this book very much since I see all the same things Chellis does but she wrote it from a perspective of someone who never really spent any time in nature. Never really spent any time even thinking about nature and she describes how being IN nature changed her--permanently. This gets to Ed Abbey's assertion about authenticity...and being in nature provides something being in the modern world does not--authenticity. The feeling of being truly alive. Connections with our evolutionary roots. Our biological evolution kicking the ass of what passes for cultural evolution now (pathetic). Her description of abuse from her obviously demented father was a little hard to take but it had to have taken courage for her to disclose this and I admire this. Your heart goes out to this little girl--as she describes herself, the innocent victim of a sick man as we are the innocent victims of a sick narcissistic society but unlike Chellis who 'got out', we can't get out. We probably will not get out. I tried to find Chellis on the Internet and since she, like me, disdains the tendrils of the social media machine (yes, I know I would prob sell more books if I engaged in it), I was not totally surprised to find she has moved to Bolivia. Chellis, if you are reading this, can I visit you there? Please, before the world goes completely f--ing insane?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Mainly, this is because of the place I am in life right now. Chellis was one of the folks who led to the creation of eco-psychology. She is a psychotherapist, a writer, and an activist for this planet. Reading this book gave me the words I had been searching for. Chellis really zoomed in and fleshed out many pieces of awareness I had begun to understand around our current world. Of course, these are still concepts, but I really admire her This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Mainly, this is because of the place I am in life right now. Chellis was one of the folks who led to the creation of eco-psychology. She is a psychotherapist, a writer, and an activist for this planet. Reading this book gave me the words I had been searching for. Chellis really zoomed in and fleshed out many pieces of awareness I had begun to understand around our current world. Of course, these are still concepts, but I really admire her wisdom and courage to speak so many truths about our current way of life. She takes indigenous wisdom and the indigenous mind and compares and contrasts this with our modern way of life and modern mind. She writes about her own healing experience and its connection to the 'bigger picture.' A survivor of intense childhood abuse, her work shines with compassion and clarity. This is a must read!

  6. 5 out of 5

    AJ

    At first I thought this book might be a little hokey but as I got into it I realized it's very well reasoned and the author makes a lot of interesting points. The main point the author makes is that the domestication of humans that occurred as a result of adopting agriculture has led to trauma, which can be seen in the addictions and neuroses of people to this day. She makes the argument that we are cut off from our "primal matrix," our natural way of being, and this is something that we need to At first I thought this book might be a little hokey but as I got into it I realized it's very well reasoned and the author makes a lot of interesting points. The main point the author makes is that the domestication of humans that occurred as a result of adopting agriculture has led to trauma, which can be seen in the addictions and neuroses of people to this day. She makes the argument that we are cut off from our "primal matrix," our natural way of being, and this is something that we need to heal from.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Burton-Rose

    This is one of those rare books that asks the big questions, and I think Glendinning's questions and answers are the right ones. As a Shambala product the book certainly reached the New Age indigenous appropriation market, but Glendinning rises above that cohort by genuinely listening to indigenous peoples and challenging the deep sicknesses of settler society. It's a brilliant move to use the self-help format to address an entire society's irrational clinging to an omnicidal lifestyle.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    I couldn't get past the buzz-word laden intro. Painfully new age (rhymes with sewage) and too, too.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    I cry every time I attempt to describe this book. It's a must read for those who know that something is broken and your soul yearns for nature and belonging.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sally Boyer

    For me, the book starts at Part 2. Part 1 felt like pure opinion and an overly idealized version of “natural people”. I also lost interest at Part 4 because while it’s nice to propose solutions to the problem she describes in Parts 2 and 3, the truth is there are no sustainable solutions aside from a total re-creation of our contemporary society and its value systems. We as individuals can decide to spend more time in nature, to change our purchasing habits, and the way we behave in relation to For me, the book starts at Part 2. Part 1 felt like pure opinion and an overly idealized version of “natural people”. I also lost interest at Part 4 because while it’s nice to propose solutions to the problem she describes in Parts 2 and 3, the truth is there are no sustainable solutions aside from a total re-creation of our contemporary society and its value systems. We as individuals can decide to spend more time in nature, to change our purchasing habits, and the way we behave in relation to the natural world and its living creatures, but that doesn’t mean our collective legal and economic entities will. If they do change, those old beasts will take decades, if not centuries. The individual can make a significant change in a couple months, if not a day, but that doesn’t change the world we live in. Chapters 2 and 3 were fascinating, however. She describes the witch hunts that killed hundreds of thousands of women as the slaughter of people who “for nothing more than seeing life from the old, elliptical, nature-based perspective.” and that “The perpetrators of this atrocity were people whose psyches had already become so detached from life’s sacred pulse that they were capable of enacting and rationalizing mass public murder.” ( P59) Welcome to the modern world. Genocide and wars have stained modern human hands for centuries now. She blames these violent and detached behaviors, along with all other psychological disorders on our domestication as humans. That we are so removed from our original way of being, both in communities and the natural world, we are suffering from a trauma that we don’t even acknowledge and have become deranged. She references Sigmund Freud here, on one of his less quoted concepts from Civilization and its Discontents (P66): 1. Ultimately it is civilization itself, not the innate drama of the human psyche, that disrupts the true nature of people 2. The miseries, crimes, and conflicts so rampant in society are obvious symptoms of this unnatural reworking of the psyche 3. The psychoanalytic approach, or any individualized approach to psychological healing, may in the larger scheme of things offer no more than superficial relief Probably the most interesting part of the book for me takes place on pages 79-81. Here she describes how when humans first moved to an agricultural society that men and women had equal work in the field and with the animals. That both men and women were “bringing home the bacon and the bread”, but soon thereafter fertility rates shot up because women were now more sedentary and eating more calories, thus they had more frequent periods and more chances of getting pregnant. With more babies, the women became increasingly unable to help with the serious labor in the fields and with the animals, as they had to stay with the children to care for them. The author explains this as the original conflict between men and women. Men have to do double the work now and feel overwhelmed and may begin to feel resentment towards the women who are not contributing to the food supply. At the same time, women are losing autonomy and power since they no longer are contributing to food production and are increasingly becoming easy targets for violence and oppression. What’s interesting about this man/woman conflict is that its our modern society that’s allowing us to change it. Women in educated countries have far fewer babies, have the option to become highly educated, and often work and make just as much as men. So, it’s almost like we’re coming full circle on this one. At least let’s hope. Overall, the book presents an interesting idea that could have been described thoroughly in an essay rather than 213 pages. If you are hesitant, try reading just Parts 2 and 3 as these sections are the essence of the message.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Richard Reese

    Chellis Glendinning grew up in a wealthy and respectable family in Cleveland. Her father was a caring doctor and a brutal child abuser. She and her brother were raped, beaten, and tortured. Her pain was swept under the carpet by the magic of dissociation — a portion of her personality split off and became unconscious. Memories of her traumatic childhood were forgotten for 40 years. Amnesia allowed her to function in the world. She earned a PhD and became a psychotherapist. One day, in a therapy s Chellis Glendinning grew up in a wealthy and respectable family in Cleveland. Her father was a caring doctor and a brutal child abuser. She and her brother were raped, beaten, and tortured. Her pain was swept under the carpet by the magic of dissociation — a portion of her personality split off and became unconscious. Memories of her traumatic childhood were forgotten for 40 years. Amnesia allowed her to function in the world. She earned a PhD and became a psychotherapist. One day, in a therapy session, her childhood traumas suddenly began to return to consciousness. Chellis was determined to fully understand them, resolve them, and recover a healthy state of wholeness. She wanted to heal herself 100 percent. Understanding matters of great importance often requires the use of a powerful medicine called history. To know who we are, we must know where we came from. Trauma and pathology are almost the norm throughout today’s society. A daunting number of people are in therapy, or taking medication, or hobbled by untreated mental imbalances. These problems are frequently passed from generation to generation. Chellis explored her family tree and discovered patterns of ancestors who were damaged by alcoholism or mental illness. She strongly suspected that her father had also been abused. She learned about her Puritan ancestors in colonial times. Reverend Thomas Hooker lived in what was to become Connecticut. On Sundays, he preached the sweet love of Jesus to the faithful, and then he spent the rest of the week as a bloody terrorist, determined to exterminate the diabolical Native American savages. Looking even deeper into the past, the trail of trauma kept unfolding. Prior to the invasion of America, Europe was also a realm of intense craziness. For 300 years the skies were darkened by the smoke of burning witches. Insane leaders routinely led their people into countless wars. The written history of Europe was insane from page one. By and by, Chellis came to comprehend that her father’s madness was just a wee speck of pathology in an enormous tsunami of pathology that spanned many centuries and regions. Very importantly, she also came to comprehend that this torrent of pathology did not in any way represent the normal human condition. It was obvious that nature-based societies, like the Native Americans, inhabited a fundamentally different spiritual universe. They did not devour the land and leave wreckage in their wake. She could see that nature-based societies more closely represented balance and normality. They suffered little from mental illness. Their reverent relationship with the Earth was rooted in a million-year tradition — 35,000 generations of low-impact living. It became clear that the madness of modern technological society could readily be traced back to a recent fork in the human journey that occurred about 10,000 years ago, just 300 generations back — the domestication of plants and animals. “This was the purposeful separation of human existence from the rest of life,” and the fence was its symbol. It divided the world into two new realms: wild and tamed. This shattered the ancient wholeness, and replaced it with chronic traumatic stress. The transition to domestication blindsided human societies. It was completely out of balance with our traditional, time-proven way of life — living with respect and reverence for the natural world. The new game was about owning and controlling nature. Eventually, these unlucky people forgot what it meant to be human beings, and they ended up living like fish out of water — flippity-floppity-flappity. Gasp! Gasp! Gasp! It was a temporary way of life with no future. The last six generations have witnessed the horrific transition to industrial civilization. The nightmare shifted into fast forward, and we are racing toward a future where nature has been erased by endless shopping enterprises, clear-cuts, crumbling pavement, rotting cities, eroded farms, toxic wastelands, and endless flocks of zombies entranced by glowing cell phones. Billions of traumatized people perceive this living death as being the normal human existence. It is no coincidence that our era of flourishing ecological annihilation is also an era of flourishing mental illness. “Well-being and wholeness depend on, and exist in constant and complex intimacy with, the well-being and wholeness of the Earth,” according to Chellis. “It’s well past time for us to come home, to return to the matrix from which we came, to recover what we have lost, to remember again the wisdom and balance of the natural world.” To explain this process, she sat down with a wooden pencil, and wrote a book called My Name Is Chellis & I’m in Recovery from Western Civilization. Readers salivating to finally discover the simple, no sacrifice, silver bullet solution to the Earth Crisis will be reduced to sobs and sniffles once again. Chellis describes a healing process that will likely take generations to complete. It’s not about healing individuals, it’s about healing the entire society. I must say that this book truly does provide readers with general guidelines for not only ending the Earth Crisis, but also restoring humankind to genuine sustainability, boundless joy, and complete wildness and freedom. There are seven-point-something billion people alive now, many of whom are victims of traumatic stress — paranoid, hyperactive, infantile, powerless, alienated, fearful, depressed, near-comatose beings whose mental wholeness has been shattered into many pieces. Imagine for a moment repairing this mess — the individuals, the society, the ecosystem, and our history. Imagine unlocking the shackles of technological society and walking away. Imagine guiding humankind to a point where we are willing and able to abandon our exploitation of domesticated plants and animals. Imagine returning home, to the family of life, to wholeness. Many thinkers have concluded that the reason we got into this mess was a combination of excessive cleverness and inadequate foresight. Chellis adds another chapter to the story — the immense, highly-contagious, psychological damage resulting from our terrible plunge from balance. When we become aware of the corrosive presence of this madness, we can more fully comprehend the anatomy of our predicament. Chellis has given humankind an important Big Vision, a potent idea to explore. Obviously, the healing process will not be quick or simple. Our challenge is simply to take a deep breath, roll up our sleeves, and take the first step.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Warren

    the very simple argument that, for about a million years, humans lived completely in harmony with the earth until the advent of agriculture some several thousand years ago is enough to prove to me that this life we live is unnatural. well, that and all the disease and mental illness and violence and trauma coloring every single facet of our society. consider the violence of colonialism, and how deeply steeped all of human civilization is in its legacy. consider what we know of the physical diffe the very simple argument that, for about a million years, humans lived completely in harmony with the earth until the advent of agriculture some several thousand years ago is enough to prove to me that this life we live is unnatural. well, that and all the disease and mental illness and violence and trauma coloring every single facet of our society. consider the violence of colonialism, and how deeply steeped all of human civilization is in its legacy. consider what we know of the physical differences between pre-neolithic and modern human beings, especially the effects our domesticated, sedentary lifestyle have had on our minds and bodies. we are undeniably unself-sufficient, unskilled idiots unable to do even basic things ourselves. despite how one might wish to wail against this book and the sentiment it expresses, you cannot deny that human beings lived in harmony with the earth for nearly a million years, and only started destroying and killing it following the original trauma. we may never be able to go back to the way things were then, but we MUST change the way things are now, and right now. as soon as possible.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    26 years after being published, this book is more relevant than ever. We live in a traumatized society full of traumatized people committing further traumatizing acts towards each other, our more-than-human kin, and Earth as a whole. We need to break this vicious cycle, and Chellis does a fantastic job of providing insight into how we got here, explaining why we urgently need to change our ways of living and thinking about the world, and offering guidance as to how we each can go forwards in bot 26 years after being published, this book is more relevant than ever. We live in a traumatized society full of traumatized people committing further traumatizing acts towards each other, our more-than-human kin, and Earth as a whole. We need to break this vicious cycle, and Chellis does a fantastic job of providing insight into how we got here, explaining why we urgently need to change our ways of living and thinking about the world, and offering guidance as to how we each can go forwards in both our personal and collective recoveries from western civilization. 💚

  14. 4 out of 5

    Véva

    Part over-romanticizing humanity's common ancestry, part telling you, "It's OK. We're all crazy here." Heartbreaking/precise/eye-rolly.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ginny Hanson

    Must read

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jenifer R.

    I liked what this book is attempting to do. The recovery movement - addictions recovery, "mental illness" recovery, etc etc - is an incredibly popular facet of the self-help market. Most folks who suffer these problems of living locate the source of distress firmly within themselves. Some may find psychodynamic roots of individual dysfunction - but even that is growing less and less popular as manualized, evidenced based therapies like CBT and DBT become the standard in community mental health - I liked what this book is attempting to do. The recovery movement - addictions recovery, "mental illness" recovery, etc etc - is an incredibly popular facet of the self-help market. Most folks who suffer these problems of living locate the source of distress firmly within themselves. Some may find psychodynamic roots of individual dysfunction - but even that is growing less and less popular as manualized, evidenced based therapies like CBT and DBT become the standard in community mental health - to the broader base of the family or trauma, but increasingly psychological suffering is seen out of context. Out of the context of family, out of the context of society, and so on. Glenndinning's title is clever. Her thing is eco-psychology. It seems obvious that human estrangement from the natural world has had a psychological effect. Existing in a world of self-checkout lines, endless screens, isolated automobiles, sterile interiors, 9-5 bullshit does something to us. The book itself is a bit disorganized in its presentation, and toward the end I felt it lose steam. I wasn't fond of Glendinnings recommendations - petitioning elected officials? But I did appreciate her story of healing from her experience of childhood sexual trauma, and how she connected that experience of healing from trauma to the trauma of civilization, & the erasure of wild nature to the repression of the unconscious. She notes the dissociation endemic to society - everyone spaced out on smartphones and video games etc - as similar to the dissociation found in survivors of trauma. She goes through the symptoms of PTSD and then describes how these manifest on a cultural level. It's a beautiful psychological perspective. I do feel that she idealizes primitive people - contraception on your hip? No rape, no child abuse? I don't believe pre-civilized life was a utopia. I do, however, wonder if it were better, and am inclined to think that it was. Anyway, this was a decent enough book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Shara Saunders

    I liked it a lot when I read it. I should read it again as it's been years and I have forgotten much of it. Highly recommend it if you love the earth and want to heal in some personal way while helping it...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    This book is terrific. It is out of publication and hard to find, but well worth locating. Glendinning does a wonderful job of tracing the separation from nature that we in modern society have experienced. She correlates this to trauma, illustrating the consequences and tolerances for things like child abuse, domestic violence, sickness, depression, and disconnection. As one of the consequences of this separation, various types of addictions develop to fill the hole that exists as a result of th This book is terrific. It is out of publication and hard to find, but well worth locating. Glendinning does a wonderful job of tracing the separation from nature that we in modern society have experienced. She correlates this to trauma, illustrating the consequences and tolerances for things like child abuse, domestic violence, sickness, depression, and disconnection. As one of the consequences of this separation, various types of addictions develop to fill the hole that exists as a result of the emptiness. A great read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    GB Noriega

    I at first found myself uncomfortable with the notions in this book, because frankly who was to be told, "hey, you are dysfunctional." I also don't want to be told to discard thousands of years of my history. I really can't go back to hunting & gathering. So. The end of the book, I feel, gives a traditional therapy. Talking, having a witness, support groups, etc. There's more to healing than therapy. I suppose this book is more of a starter to healing, bringing into awareness what our real traum I at first found myself uncomfortable with the notions in this book, because frankly who was to be told, "hey, you are dysfunctional." I also don't want to be told to discard thousands of years of my history. I really can't go back to hunting & gathering. So. The end of the book, I feel, gives a traditional therapy. Talking, having a witness, support groups, etc. There's more to healing than therapy. I suppose this book is more of a starter to healing, bringing into awareness what our real trauma as a society is. We can do what we will after the first step.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    The theory presented is very interesting and vital. Such ideas necessitate more exploration. The only thing I found lacking were any solutions, or answers to the problem of living in a trauma-laden world. Maybe that was not her goal. Otherwise a decent presentation and discourse of increasing importance. This book has me thinking in a different light.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Mishap

    A truly excellent political/philosophical memoir that traces her own and her family's history as colonizers, the pathology of civilization, and her own rejection of it as she attempts to find a place in a samll New Mexico community. Really stellar--if you haven't been able to handle any anti-civ books for what ever reason, give this one a chance.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chrissy

    Thank goodness Chellis helped me give a framework to what I was waking up to in my life at the time I needed it. If you are not suffering from some form of secondary post-traumatic stress, you are not paying attention. If you don't read Chellis, you might not understand this and know what to do with it. It's difficult to live aware these days. Chellis helps.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Prasanna

    A very personal view by Chellis Glendinning that implies both metaphysical and real connections between environmental depredation and the deteriorating psychological state of humans in society. Highly recommended

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stephy

    Well written and well thought out, yet I couldn't get past the dissociation business, and I would set it aside and continue, but in fact, I gave it away without finishing it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jonagain Offagain

    Awesome call to reconnect with nature for psychological wellness.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Clivemichael

    Entertaining and informative.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    A little dated. great ideas but seems like a personal rant...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Leaves me with the things to think about, probably deserves a better rating but I did struggle to get through it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cynda

    I read this in 2002(?). Reading this book provided me with my first opportunity (taken?) to connect to the Earth. I must re-read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gene Knauer

    This is a fascinating book on the origins and ills of western civilization. Chellis, who my wife and I know, is a passionate searcher for truth and healing.

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