Scenario #8 - Being Emotional

The right to be unhappy

Ecological grief is the grief humans can experience when species, ecosystems, and landscapes like polar ice caps and glaciers disappear due to changes in the environment. We realize that we are responsible for global warming and mass extinction. We live in extremely disorienting times. How are we going to deal with this?

In the last millions of years, the scope of our human experience was little more than our direct surroundings. Our brains are still stuck in that setting. In the meantime, our world has expanded to a globalized, borderless heap of stimuli, complex information, and alternative truths. The world is extremely complex, and we can merely experience snippets of the whole.

Simultaneously, Western society has us strive for continuous bliss. Our world has become far larger than our brains and cognitive systems can handle. We are on a never-ending search for meaning in grand narratives, religion or material goods, but we have lost track of the big picture. What connects us? Is it our shared feeling of disorientation, ecological fear, or sadness? How do we mourn? Is it possible to emotionally connect with other species and things? Should we as a species claim the right to be unhappy? Should we stop taking our collective desire to live longer so seriously? What role is played by technological developments when we consider these questions?