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From the Micro to the Macro; taking a look at our own disconnectedness

Our individual disconnection with ourselves and with Mother Nature is the metaphoric beating of the butterflies’ wings which has led to the hurricane we call modern human society. It is this disconnection at our feet that we have control of and where it all starts; where a fuller life, healthier environment and more balanced humanity starts. My premise is that whether we look at the microcosm or the macrocosm we will notice that we are living a severed existence which is echoed both within and without; with our bodies and nature taking the physical toll of our disconnection. We need a dramatic shift in the way we conduct ourselves internally, interpersonally and externally, and it starts when we get out of our heads. A little gardening could help make this happen.

 Dissociation head above body

In psychological terms dissociation occurs at varying degrees and simply means disconnected from self: it usually occurs by experiencing trauma or neglect that wasn’t able to be dealt with in a healthy-adult manner. As a result parts of our psyche can be affected, such as the ability to experience our full range of human emotion, be fully in touch with what our body is telling us and to access to the totality of our rational faculties. In effect, we are blind to our actions or inactions due to dissociation and as such, are unable to create the lasting change we want in our lives and in society.


On an impersonal level it’s easy to say that individuals in society are dissociated: we live almost exclusively in our heads, we ignore our body, we ignore our effect on others, we discount our emotions and limit our human connections and we are not really present in the moment. To observe the personal dissociation in an individual you have to get to know the person’s emotional pattern, their past and their suffering. We were all born in an imperfect world where there is suffering and trauma; it follows that all of us who are not self-realised are dissociated to some degree or another. Living a conscious life could therefore be considered as a journey from dissociation towards wholeness as you make life decisions.


Perhaps the most visceral way I can highlight the expression of collective dissociation is to point toward the movie Avatar; a very good metaphor or fantastical account of the rampant disconnection in our society. Movies showing unemotional groups of non-individualised humans desensitized to the violence they perpetuate serves to highlight our collective dissociation. Our emotional gut reaction to these movies may be our individual humanity our own microcosm, empathetically reflecting the experience of the macrocosm, humanity. Oddly enough less of us have that gut reaction towards the actual conditions of our society, less still act on that feeling. Destructive military materials, caustic banking practices, wasteful designed-obsolesce, industrial farming and GMOs, mountain top removal and fracking can all be considered dissociated violent manifestations towards the natural world and its human inhabitants.


I bring up these disconnections not because it is novel to do so, but because in order to firmly desire individual or societal change we have to really feel our personal / collective Dissociation child with adult patterningsuffering and perhaps also have a notion that something else is possible. The choice becomes to go that way or this.


Soil-Soul-Society, this new holy trinity being authored by Satish Kumar will be the more inclusive “mind-body-spirit” of the next decades. The trio symbolises natural world interconnectedness, self-work and self-care, as well as interpersonal relationships and societal structures. Satish points to examples of how education systems can and should be demonstrating positive human values which elevate humanity and happiness by focusing on the 3Hs (Hands, Heart and Head) over the current (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic) education model.


The society we have known is geared towards us living solitary lives and the perpetuation of impersonal large scale societal structures. This new society that Soil-Soul-Society presents carries the Gandhian philosophy that small scale community models inherently allow for a fuller and more sustainable human experience; with less of a toll on nature through the scale of waste involved with globalism. Some might exclaim that, “this is utopian!”, but let us look at our human hardwiring and see which societal structures better address or contribute to our human needs and the dissociated damage we went over in previous paragraphs.


Dissociation little monster and childAs humans our mammalian nervous system has an innate need to feel in control and supported, its part of our human evolutionary biology to be driven to meet those needs and when unmet our bodies produce cortisol. Media and culture of the Western-world is incentivized up to keep us on a diet of fear and distrust, while the daily news gives us the impression that the world is a highly dangerous place. So how do we meet our need to feel supported and in control? Well, we have deluded ourselves that these needs are gratified by perception altering drugs, PC language and interactions on social media, rather than developing genuine emotional human connection. We have declared war on the fear and danger of uncertainty and pre-emptively assassinated people with drones while we allowed ourselves to be monitored and subjected to big- brother checkpoints in agreement to feel more secure and in control. According to chronic stress (cortisol) levels we are failing to meet these two mammalian needs. Basically, we have been looking in all the wrong ways and places to have our needs met. A ‘mammalian society’ could start from local individuals conquering their fears and coming together dialoguing (preferably utilizing Non-Violent Communication framework) creating local groups that support each other personally and work towards creative change and local reliance.


While self- exploration, care and communication are at the heart of the journey of actual change; active observation and participation in the natural world can teach us how to be human. It is necessary to deepen our respect for and thus conservation of nature. When we shift from learning about nature to learning from nature, nature dialogues with us about itself and its interconnectivity and you learn about your own inner and outer presence in the world. Nature helps us ground, to slow the pace of our rushing lives and settle. Take nature away from our everyday experience and we are likely to have a more dissociated, frantic and damaged world. Actively incorporate nature into our daily lives and we are likely to have more resilience, steadiness and a deeper understanding of interconnectivity which leads to a more compassionate world.

 Dissociation Logo and lawn sign together

Backyard Groceries aims to bring clients back in touch with the nature by sustainably transforming idle spaces into productive spaces that people want to spend time in. This year, I’m offering perennial ecosystems that are built with the relationships between plants, insects and animals in mind. By combining productivity with awareness we encourage people to deepen their interconnectedness with nature.

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