Psychic Epidemic

Indeed, it is becoming ever more obvious that it is not famine, not earthquakes, not microbes, not cancer but man himself who is man’s greatest danger to man, for the simple reason that there is no adequate protection against psychic epidemics, which are infinitely more devastating than the worst of natural catastrophes. Modern man is battered by the elemental forces of his own psyche. 
Carl Jung

Almost 100 years ago Jung coined the term “psychic epidemic”. So apt for what we are experiencing today. The psychic epidemics that have been spawned by COVID epidemic. My recent conversations with deeply religious, apolitical, non-philanthropic, un-vaxed persons reminds me of the complexities of of our egos and imaginations. We can add to our own anxiety, fear, and unwittingly enhance or exacerbate the problem. Think Asian Hate, QAnon, or the discussion over Critical Race Theory. But to me the most pernicious outcome from these psychic epidemics is inaction. Pushing us further into NIMBY land. Take this week’s statement from former Irvine (CA) Mayor Christina Shea about a long proposed veteran’s cemetery that would take up space  for more multi-million dollar homes—“It just kind of gives a sense of sadness and a continual reminder of death and your own mortality.” 

The neutral space of taking care of me and forgetting about we. As Dante wrote, a special place of infamy is reserved for neutral angels. Yes the world is complex. Yes it is difficult to to understand truth. Yes it erodes our faith in leaders and institutions. Yes, we are exhausted. But we can not let a pandemic fasten our seatbelts to our couches of comfort. We are battered by our own psyches. We cannot disengage. If we do not stand for something we will fall for anything. And often that anything is nothing. Let us help each other see the opportunities to re-engage, learn, and activate our compassion for one another. 

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