People Live in Bubbles

While recently reading a book about living a more healthy, green, organically-oriented lifestyle, I found myself struck by the idea that I was reading an instruction guide on how to live more snugly in a bubble separated from nature: separated from the natural world and all the toxins and garbage that we’ve dumped into it. Ironically, this book also extolled the virtues of spending time in nature, though its supposedly nature-loving author failed to acknowledge how he (and most of us) lived under completely different rules from the wildlife of nature. The animals of nature, after all, live outside the bubble. They drink whatever water they find, however toxic. They breathe the toxic air that we try to keep out of our climate-controlled homes. They suffer far more than we do under the extremes of the modern, weird weather caused by our excesses. And of course they eat whatever they find—and in many cases get poisoned by it. Take dolphins and whales: as long-living animals at the top of the oceanic food chain, they have bodies so polluted by the heavy metals of human industrial waste that it’s questionable if they’ll be around in a generation or two. And that, or course, assumes that something else, like human overfishing or plastic in the sea or naval sonar or harpoons, doesn’t wipe them out first. No bubble protects them.

Yet I found myself thinking a second thought: that human beings live in a parallel bubble: a psychic one. We are an emotionally traumatized species—made up of traumatized individuals. We are all carriers of childhood trauma. The extent of this trauma is too horrible for most people to fathom, so they split off from it and wall it off in the unconscious, such that they don’t have to feel it or perhaps even think about it. This protects them from the overwhelming pain of that which seems too much to process. Yet they go on living inside of a bubble of limited consciousness, protected from the horror that they have experienced—often at the hands and emotions of those whose jobs it was to love them most: their parents. Just as toxic dolphins nurse their offspring on a mammalian milk rich in heavy metals, traumatized human parents emotionally feed their children a psychic soup rich in their own unresolved trauma.

But I find these two types of bubbles to be more than just parallel. Actually one causes the other. The toxic wasteland to which we are relegating nature is just an outward manifestation of denied human trauma, writ large. Of course, denied trauma plays out in other ways, like physical symptoms and child abuse and emotional problems that get labeled as mental illnesses and addictions and perversions. But the answer to resolving all these outward manifestations is the same: heal the traumas. That is: discover the split-off truth in the psyche, witness the historical horror, feel it in all the unadulterated ways it could never previously be felt, and grieve it at whatever the cost. In short: destroy the bubble. Organic farming and veganism and decreasing our carbon footprint might seem like steps in the right direction, but they don’t touch the cause. And often they only foster a sense of smugness.

And a final note: if we don’t solve the basic underlying problem, we are doomed as a species. We will soon go extinct—because we can’t live in a bubble forever. In the same way that unresolved traumas eventually overtake the traumatized, the toxins we have foisted on nature will overtake us. The bubble just keeps things at bay, but in the end nature is more powerful than any bubble we can create. In the end nature will win. The question is, will we learn to live in sync with nature before it’s too late?

7 thoughts on “People Live in Bubbles

  1. “traumatized human parents emotionally feed their children a psychic soup rich in their own unresolved trauma”
    This says it all. Thanks Daniel. Well said. All of it!

  2. Interesting points, Daniel. Until we humans deal with our lust for power that drives us to control and dominate others and to take matters into our own hands when we feel powerful enough to do so, our grand plans to solve the world’s problems will continue to steam roll and cause trauma and collateral damage to others. The problem is not parents, but forces that undermine the parenting instinct that itself does need to be nurtured with wisdom. I agree with so much about the need to heal our planet and put an end to toxic and exploitative activities, and to practice contentment rather than lust and greed and coveting. Nevertheless, I am very alarmed by movements that seek to centralize power and micro-control the raising of children and erode the natural role of biological parents. I think it is very important to do our best to walk in paths of peace, to pursue peace, humbly. One day, this world will be transformed and I am looking to Messiah, Jesus Christ , to accomplish that.

  3. Nice one Daniel. Great to see an article from you. Enjoyed and appreciated. Well put together points too. Your message certainly landed and had an impact on me.

  4. Thank you so much, Daniel! I’ve had many similar thoughts myself, especially about veganism. A human animal could hardly live less “naturally,” right? I could go on and on, but I won’t.

    It may be an error, though, to ascribe these issues to world as a whole. I believe these warped patterns are largely related to U.S. culture. This country is at the forefront of these sad developments, though, unfortunately, it is not unique and is spreading this nonsense globally.

    Personally, I seek to heal my developmental trauma (which is in part a product of Anglo-American “stiff upper lip” programming), so I can heal my nervous, immune, and endocrine systems, and go forth fearlessly in the world, without reading ingredient labels or using hand sanitizer or….

  5. At this point it seems the survival of all large animals (along with many other species) depends on how we prepare for the increasingly intense wake-up calls that are coming. I can imagine two very different ways we might collectively react to a famine that kills over 100 million people: by reinforcing our bubbles and continuing to destroy the living world, or by letting the horror shake us awake and healing our traumas as quickly as possible. How can we steer the general consciousness toward being ready to react in the second way?

    • Daniel: I so deeply appreciate your view and your choices. I jump with joy when I see you have posted. I too, feel an overwhelming pain with “the way it is”. I walked all day through Beverly Hills (being what is called an Orthodox Jew, I have an excuse/reason for living without turning off or on an electrical devise…) Looking around, I see the adaptations people feel they have chosen so they can survive. This is Beverly Hills! Seems like a world of “just get mine, who cares about yours.” An ugly, sick, self destructive bubble. You can have your lifestyle of the moment, but it is embedded in the multigenerational sickness. By the time a person is old enough to realize the mess his/her parents got him/her into, there is little to do but join the survival mode. Thank you for posting about Margaret Mahler. This is from a review of one of her books:
      Margaret Mahler says that newborns are in a state of fusion with their mothers, and until they psychically understand “where one ends and the other begins,” at around the age of three, their blurred boundaries create a condition where their acquired beliefs about their actions co-create beliefs about themselves. It’s hard for a child under two to think to himself, “Whoa, my parents must be under a lot of stress for them to be abusing me in order to make themselves feel better. Perhaps my needs remind them of how their needs got unmet? Do my needs trigger their unconscious false beliefs of being ‘bad?’ And if they are coming from a place of believing that they are bad, then I guess the survival portion of their mammalian brains must be on overdrive. How can I get them to see that now is not then? And how can I get them to see that they were born good?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *