Monday, September 30, 2013

Mary Pipher

Mary Pipher is a clinical psychologist and the author of nine books, including Reviving Ophelia, which was #1 on the New York Times bestseller list for 26 weeks. Her area of interest is how American culture influences the mental health of its people.

Pipher's new book is The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture.

From her Q & A with Steve Curwood of Living on Earth:

CURWOOD: In your book, you say, as a society, we’re basically in denial about climate disruption. In fact, we all know that some people don’t believe in it at all. But actually, you’re getting at something deeper than that. Can you explain?

PIPHER: I have in the book, a list of some of the kinds of things we do to block out awareness. We compartmentalize, we have times, all of us, when we want to eat some jumbo shrimp without thinking about the mango groves in Thailand, or we want to read our grandchildren or children a story about polar bears without thinking about the melting ice caps. So we all move in and out of kind of states of denial, and that’s totally understandable. In fact, it’s totally human, and it’s probably adaptive.

I never make the case that there’s something wrong with people for being in denial. I make the case it’s very understandable, and that we all are in denial some of the time, but what I do say is that unless we come out of that denial some of the time and face our situation squarely, we’ll be unable to solve it and deal with it. I have a quote I really like by James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed that is not faced.”

CURWOOD: So what can people do who in fact recognize that there is a problem, but feel paralyzed. What’s the best therapy here?

PIPHER: See, that’s probably the most important question you could ask because people get what I call “distractionable intelligence” which just makes them feel badly, and feel powerless, and I’m really a big fan of “actionable intelligence” that gives people an idea of what to do next. And the main thing I encourage people to do is...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Mary Pipher's website and Facebook page.

The Page 99 Test: The Green Boat.

--Marshal Zeringue