A List of 'Psychologies' in the Global Warming Story

John Jay's Strozier, who has also written a book called "Apocalypse" about apocalyptic Christian sects, says that such sects' favorite topic of conversation is often imagining what it will be like when the Apocalypse happens and the Messiah returns -- conversations that sometimes occur in a mood of what he calls "Apocalyptic glee."

Strozier adds that some apocalyptic groups appear to have long since taken news of potentially catastrophic climate change in stride, as if unsurprised by the sort of universal upheaval they've been counting on and eagerly awaiting.

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The above are just some of the many psychological dimensions to be found in the global warming story.

Perhaps you can add some under our "comments" section. (What about the coping psychologies of humor, for one. Heard any good global warming jokes lately?)

But even so short a list as this is incomplete without what is surely the most important psychological category of all -- sanity.

9. What Would Sanity Look Like When Facing Possible Climate Catastrophe?

Sigmund Freud, according to some scholars, was not all that interested in the subject of sanity. He compared it to a diamond -- strong and sparkling but essentially too clear, you see through it.

They say he found psychopathology, with all its flaws, more interesting.

But today's psychologists, including Professor Strozier and others, speak of what they describe as the fascinating and complex structures of sanity - of mental health.

Proponents of an emerging paradigm of psychology called "Affect Regulation Theory" say it is just as important to understand the complexities of what they call healthy "adaptive states" as it is to understand unhealthy or "maladaptive states."

They say that a number of mental states that have traditionally been labeled pathological are often more rigid - inflexible, unable to adapt successfully to a crisis or other urgent requirement.

New-York-based psychologist Daniel Hill says that, in general, "states of mind that are maximally complex and therefore stable and flexible are ideal."

This view suggests that, by and large, a healthy state of mind is one in which it has complex access to a variety of moods and information and to a wide range of possible approaches with which to respond flexibly and appropriately in any given situation.

A combination of maximum complexity with maximum flexibility could have great advantage in so complex and challenging an event as accelerating human-induced global warming.

Those struggling with climate change -- scientists, policy makers, government leaders and economists -- often speak of the need for great flexibility as they deal with the enormous and continually emerging complexity of facts and factors brought on by the climate crisis.

The Psychology of How Good It Feels to Clean Up Your Room

And to get a feel for what sanity might feel like, says one member of the John Jay seminar, consider how good it feels when you finally decide, after long delay, that you're going to clean up your room or office -- and then do it.

As the psychologists might put it, that action brings many transformations and regulations of affect -- a good feeling that can reinforce itself and lead to a better workspace, living space or world.

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