Why we're committing ecocide - the psychology (and other things) cover image

Why we're committing ecocide - the psychology (and other things)

Dorian Minors • May 18, 2015

This is an archived article from our predecessor website, The Dirt Psychology. The idea there was to take psychological scholarship and turn it into wisdom. The Armchair Collective tries to go a little further than just psychology. As such, these articles live here in archive form, until they're updated.

The Weekly Dispatch

We curate the best psychological dirt from all over the web each week so you don’t have to. Get a jumpstart on the week, over your cup of morning coffee or on the way to work with The Weekly Dispatch.

Police Brutality: All in your mind?

No. It's definitely not. It happens, especially when there's bad leadership at play (we talk about what influences things like police brutality here). But, since this topic has suddenly infiltrated media globally, it's important to note that it really isn't as easy as it seems to determine when the police have messed up and when they haven't, because our memory is terribly flawed. The New York Times relates that several witnesses called in reporting things that never happened during the recent shooting of David Baril, in Midtown New York. One witness reported him running from officers. One reported him being shot while handcuffed, execution style. The CCTV footage from the incident couldn't be more clear, showing Mr Baril chasing an officer with a hammer and the partner shooting him moments before Mr Baril caught up to the first officer. It's a classic example of false belief building, says Dr Deryyn Strange. A very common occurrence, especially when we're upset or distressed. Scary stuff.

Why are we destroying the environment? The psychology of ecocide.

Dr Steve Taylor suggests that it might be because we have a disorder: humania. Cultures can be separated into two kinds. Collectivist, and individualist. Collectivist cultures think about 'we' more than 'me' and individualist cultures place far more emphasis on the independent person. Dr Taylor suggests that as individualists, we have become separated from feelings of community and by extension the land which supports our community. We see ourselves as separate from the Earth on which we live. Dr Taylor goes on to suggest that as children, we're learning and thus experience the world vividly. But as adults the vividness is gone and much of what we do is automated (shortcuts being a thing the brain makes constantly, as we talk about alot at The Dirt) and thus, the world becomes 'de-sacralised' - less important. But it's not all bleak, because the trend these days is towards personal development (possibly the same reason you received this issue of The Dirt) and Dr Taylor hopes a shift is underway.

Are you into 'open-relationships'?

Probably not, a new study suggests. Interviewing almost 2,400 people about 'attitudes towards sex', only 5.3% responded that they were into 'consensual non-monogamous' relationships. The bulk of which were non-heterosexual males. Which isn't surprising, given that more often, it is men who tend to be high in sexual sensation-seeking (talked about here), and thus more adventurous sexually. The study itself is rife with issues but is consistent with the literature. The trend suggests that open-relationships are far more of a dream, at least in our culture, than a reality and for those willing to enter into them, represent a significant challenge both in terms of your emotional resilience as well as pressure from society.

What's your personal hell? Myers-Briggs has the answer

Have you heard of the Myers-Briggs typology? It's a way of conceptualising yourself. Sort of like a star sign (but backed by science). Basically, if you do the test, it'll describe you in four words. You're either extroverted or introverted. You're a sense things or intuit them more (do you go with your gut feeling, or prefer to have all the facts first?). You're a thinker or a feeler (emotion vs logic). A judger or a perceiver (are things black and white for you, or do you prefer the shades of grey?). This delightful article from the thought catalog describes the personal hell for each Myers-Briggs personality. Which one are you?

The dangers of denying your emotions: the illustrated story

My nephew is getting close to that reading age, so I'm starting to look out for children's books that tell a better story than 'Spot'. 'The Heart and the Bottle' is just such a book, tenderly describing what happens when we try to deny difficult emotions. Since Maria Popova (author of Brain Pickings) is a far better writer than I, I'll leave it to her to tell you why I've already ordered my copy. Turning scholarship into wisdom without the usual noise and clutter, we dig up the dirt on psychological theories you can use. Become an armchair psychologist at The Dirt Psychology.

Turning scholarship into wisdom we can use at The Armchair Collective.

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Dorian Minors

I mostly do brain science. Sometimes I train honeybees. I promise they're related. I made this site because there's no reason why scholars should be the only ones to own knowledge. My special interests are interpersonal relationships, the science of community, spirituality and the brain, and the neural basis of complex behaviour. I hope this stuff is as interesting to you as it is to me. You can find out more about me here.