TRIGGER WARNING: Discussion of violence
Disclaimer: My statements here do not come from ignorance. I suffer from PTSD, as I have been a victim of extreme violence.
-We cannot remain in a state of anticipatory victimization. Our extinction as a species should not have any bearing on how we view ourselves in the interim. To hold on to the identity of the victim, we sabotage the opportunity to make the most out of what very well may be our last decades on this planet. Our narrative is such that we are prone to falling into a Post Traumatic Stress (or perhaps I should say Pre-Traumatic Stress) reaction. Dealing with this reaction means that we must reclaim power over our lives, and re-frame our narrative to one of empowerment.
- The first step that comes to my mind is that we must not blame ourselves. A major tactic of corporate power, and one that the mainstream NGO environmental movement buys into, is to lay the blame for climate change at the feet of every individual who uses fossil fuels. This has a bi-fold effect. Number one, it removes blame from the powerful, who under this rubric only share as much blame as poor people driving to work at McDonald's and Walmart. Number two, it derails the environmental movement into a foray of useless spending habits, personal guilt, and at the extreme, suicidal grief and depression. In short, we must understand that this is not our doing.
- Overcoming trauma means re-framing the narrative of the traumatic event as to empower the victim. The traumatic event that we are dealing with is gradual and unfolding. This makes even perceiving the narrative as a whole very difficult. However, it also means that we have the opportunity to shift the narrative in real time, as someone fending off an attacker might do. Although our actions may not change anything in the long term, and our species will still be doomed to extinction, we can live our time left on our own terms.
- What does this mean for how we live? What would fending off our attacker look like? I don't make claims to know exactly. I know how it feels to be a victim, I know how it feels to shed that identity. I know that we will not be able to shed that identity if we do not call out those responsible. I know that not doing so is paralyzing, and that, we cannot afford.