Wednesday, April 01, 2009

depression...,

Bill Moyer's Journal | BILL MOYERS: There are two ways to measure the health of a society, the gross national product, the sums of the goods and services that we produce, and the gross national psychology, the sums of our hopes and fears. Is it possible to think that this depression you experienced can also affect us politically, socially, and communally as a nation?

PARKER PALMER: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I don't think it's an accident that we talk about the Great Depression and maybe the impending depression that we're going into economically is about clinical depression.

There's a lot of darkness out there. And there's a lot of lossness. And there's a lot of people feeling that their lives are over. We need to learn to be present to one another in listening ways, in compassionate ways. Do we need to be doing outside work that has to do with repairing a broken economic system and a political system that's in disrepair? Absolutely we do.

But we need to be drawing for that on an inner wisdom that isn't there when it's only fake science that's driving our reconstruction efforts, when it's only an illusion of rationality or an illusion of affluence. We need to penetrate those illusion bubbles. Thoreau said reality is fabulous. And I agree with him. It's a lot more fabulous than illusion because it won't let you down. Reality won't let you down. It is what it is. And we have to learn to deal with it. Because when you're standing on the ground of your own reality, your society's reality, you can fall down, as we do and we will continue to do, and simply get up and dust yourself off. You aren't falling from 100 feet in the air where you're likely to kill yourself.

BILL MOYERS: Is this a heartbreaking moment in American history?

PARKER PALMER: Absolutely. It's a heartbreaking moment. And part of the heartbreak is around things that never should have happened, like the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. We're seeing that in our faces now. And it's good that we are because those things never should have happened.

Part of the heartbreak is around having to give up illusions that we've carried for far too long. And it's good that that's happening, too. And the two, of course, are related. But, yes, it's a moment of heartbreak. And it's a moment for people to step up and say we have to learn to hold these tensions in a life-giving way. We have to learn that Camp Obama has to be for all of us, whether we're Democrats or Republicans or Independents. We have to learn that we need to hang together or we're going to hang separately. We have to learn a new set of habits of the heart. And I think that can happen.

BILL MOYERS: Parker Palmer, thank you for being with me on the Journal.

PARKER PALMER: Thank you, Bill.