Has urban life made us crazy?

Carolyn Baker suggests that separation “from the land … appears to correlate with an increase in emotional distress during the industrial revolution and subsequent centuries” Peak Psychotherapy, Abundant Human Connection.

Carolyn claims that psychotherapy evolved to deal with this distress, noting that those whose lives are woven with the natural world have a very different psychology from urban people. Can that be so? Has urban life driven us a bit crazy?

It’s not a new idea – see for example the brilliant and chilling film Koyaanisqatsi. The title is from the Hopi language and translates as “life out of balance”, “a state of life that calls for another way of living” or simply “crazy life”.

Still from koyaanisqatsi

Koyaanisqatsi - "crazy life"

The film blew me away when I first saw it back in 1982 and I still get goose bumps and a welling up of sorrow when I hear that haunting chant.

A lot has changed since 1982. We’re even more immersed in our koyaanisqatsi, but there’s a much deeper understanding of our situation and practical progress on getting us back in balance. I’ve no idea if we’ll make it back to another way of living, but I’m certain that understanding the intimate connections between bodymind and place is on the route map.

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