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LBW: Part of my struggle is that as you had mentioned earlier regarding climate


Crisis in particular the ecological crisis more or broadly but it's um it may be too late right there is that sense that we have definitely crossed certain thresholds and you're still doing the work you know you're still trying to generate this this massive shift and humanity's role within the story of life on this planet how do you I don't even know how to ask how you like how do you feel about that but that's not even a really adequate question because to me it's like what I deal with is that I've kind of come into this acceptance that there's gonna be a massive die-off at the very least there's going to be a radical decline of human population as well as as we're seeing radical decline of other populations of other species and we may it be entering into a hot they call the hot what they call it a hot house Earth I almost said hot state but you know into a new normal as it were a new a new state that that we've had but only millions of years ago and human beings weren't around at all for that how do you cope with this I mean how do you continue doing the work in the face of this information JOE BREWER: Something that's really helped me that is a maybe surprising is that I've uh I've struggled with depression for all of my life including in my childhood and by dealing with depression if you've ever been depressed when you're in the mindset of depression it's not just like you're feeling a little bad and you're gonna feel better later it paints the color of your world it is the eyes and ears that you have it's the body that you have so you can't escape it when you're in it and so it can be very dismal the feeling of despair when one is in depression but something that really helped me was discovering ways to address my depression when I was young that enabled me to honor and be responsible for things that I cared about because the worst thing about being depressed is when you do that hurts someone that you love and now on top of your depression you have all of this shame and guilt because you feel terrible that you harm this thing that you love you know it's like I said this bad thing to my mom and I really hurt her feelings I was a total dick oh it's because I was dealing with anger and depression doesn't excuse it now I feel even worse you know so there's this way that that the despair gets even worse when we when we violate things that are sacred to us because we're aware of that even when we're depressed it's what I gradually came to realize was that there were ways to preserve the sacred even when I was depressed and then when I wasn't depressed I had more skill skills for serving and supporting the things that were sacred and so over time I've just gotten better and better at this because of this you know accident of my history that I dealt with this particular kind of mental anguish and yeah now as I go about the work today I have I've realized just how profound it is that my wife and I chose to have a child knowing what's happening in the world now there are very diverse perspectives to be had about whether people should have children right now and there's not a simple answer so I'm not gonna say because I have a child that everyone should or shouldn't whether it's someone who chooses not to as good or bad you know it's there's no simple way to deal with the ethics of this but after we chose to have a child knowing what is coming and then feeling the vulnerability of a newborn in her hands and then raising this child who is not able to do things up for themselves now but also completely powerless to choose whether they want to be alive in 2050 we made that choice not them we chose to give birth to them that it's given me a daily practice of doing two things one is allowing myself the incredible joy of being with a small child cuz small children are just amazing how inspiring and beautiful and wonderful how fun they are how nice it is to get to be a kid yourself when you're playing and that's just a good healing like break or respite from from the work but the other thing is that I now I'm responsible to something other than myself so even if I was really depressed and I was like feeling suicidal and I wanted to kill myself I would think about the consequences for my child and that would stop me and that would make me do the hard work of serving what is sacred to me because I cannot violate it like I won't allow myself to and I think that this is something that maybe is a tough pill to swallow you know it's like medicine it doesn't taste good but but we need to take this medicine seriously but only when we suffer in our own pain and hold to what is sacred to us and honor it and do the hard work even when we don't want you it's the only way that some of this is going to be done and so I might be feeling pretty inspired at the moment because things are going well you know maybe they're going well this week but that doesn't going well in six months we may not be going well tomorrow you know it's just very difficult to predict but this ability to continue doing the work in service to the sacred regardless of how we feel is the key it's a meditation it's a lifetime practice honor the sacred even when you don't feel like you can sometimes you honor the sacred by just leaving it alone and taking care of yourself other times you honor the sacred by actively doing something that really causes you pain because to not do it would lead to something worse and see like I'm not gonna give a rosy picture of how easy it is to be inspired because one of the most important parts of this work is discernment the ability to see the world as honestly and truthfully as possible with all the limits of the human mind all the tendencies towards self-serving bias we have to overcome them and see the world honestly and painfully as it really is but also how beautiful and inspiring it is so it's not all bad it's just that we have to take the good with the bad and that requires a lot of work LBW: Yes thank you yeah that really uh that resonates with me quite a bit that's the bit I've struggled with and you know there's a you know the thing about social media it's great I mean you know connect with people that's how we connected it but you know coming into contact with people that are coming into this awareness of what's happening they're finding each other using social media oftentimes what I see is a resignation right it's you know it's too late and I'm like it might be it probably is I'm not gonna deny the science on this but like you said you know what is sacred to you and what is worth defending and protecting and holding up and in continuing to do the work in spite of this I I think a lot about this and I thank you for your perspective on that JOE BREWER: Yeah another thing I would just say to kind of wrap it up right to wrap up that part of it is that the the only way that we behave like adults in a time like this instead of behaving like adolescents which is what consumer marketing tells us to do to be good consumers is to you know perpetually be selfish and pursue your own interests pursue your needs but to put your own needs aside and help something else is to be an adult and so in that sense when we ask ourselves what is sacred then we are asking ourselves what must I do regardless of the outcome which is I may feel miserably this may not work at all but is it something I still have to do and when I think about safeguarding the future for my child who was now alive I as a parent have to do that or else I've dishonored myself as a parent I've dishonored my child I've disgraced myself and this is something that in the modern Western world we've really lost which is the important of the importance of the positive version of honor the importance of really taking our own conscience and our own characters seriously that we may fail ourselves a thousand times and still still find that there is a time where if we failed one more it would be a disgrace and that is the time when we rise above and there are lots of I mean a lot of our great literature that most of our dramas and great literature have these turning points where someone rises above the failures of themselves this is a key element of of tragic drama Greek tragedy has this element and its story structure is overcoming the unavoidable weakness so it transcends it the unavoidable weakness remains and yet right action is still achieved and right action is achieved because it's serving something larger than ourselves so our personal feelings don't keep us from doing it but we sacrifice ourselves to do it and this is a spiritual Epiphany it's really a spiritual Epiphany to see that we are capable of doing this at any time and at a time like this with what's happening to the planet we need more and more people who have this level of seriousness about their actions