Pablo Servigne and Philippe Cornu: collapsology and emotions

- through Henry Oudin

Published on

Second part of the dialogue between the collapsologist, Pablo Servigne, and the specialist in Buddhism, Philippe Cornu, on our emotions in the face of "ecological pain".

The second seal enunciated by the Buddha is the following: “All emotion is suffering”. How would this truth free us from the pain inherent in collapse?

Philippe Cornu: Emotions are neither good nor bad. It is the attachment to emotions that is problematic. Buddhism identifies three poisons: attraction, repulsion and indifference (in the sense of ignorance). The conditioning factors are thus a source of suffering. Any action done with a motivation related to these three passions of the spirit will condition our way of thinking. This is called karma. If, for example, we start to react to everything with anger, the anger will be more and more spontaneous, creating an alienation from our mind. Which is a source of suffering. You have to accept your emotions. How ? Through meditation. Ethics is essential to awaken the spirit.

Pablo Servigne: This reminds me of the reproach addressed to us collapsologists: “But stop wallowing in all these negative emotions! Joanna Macy, on the contrary, tells us: “Welcome fear. Come on, let's sit around a cup of tea and spend a long time together”. The emotion then diminishes while remaining present. If we put it under the rug, it comes back to us.

"Buddha said, 'If you prick yourself with a thorn, you experience pain. But if, in addition, you react to this pain, it's like a second thorn”. You just have to accept what is happening. »Philippe Cornu

Philippe Cornu: If we put it under the rug, it is a manifestation of ignorance. Fear is a scarecrow. If we face it, if we cross it and go to the end of the tunnel, we will see the light.

Pablo Servigne, you devote a chapter ofAnother end of the world is possible to the question of emotions and you write that "it will be necessary to forge a morale of steel to weather the storms to come". How to overcome “ecological pain”?

Pablo Servigne: In her ecopsychology workshops, Joanna Macy has set up a spiral that comes in four main stages. The first is gratitude. Each participant opens their heart and anchors themselves in this gratitude. Second stage: we dive into the shadows, we honor the pain and all the other emotions. Each participant will then submit their fear, sadness, despair, anger, etc. We welcome and compost in a way collectively. This is a lot of good and very strong bonds are forged between the participants. These rituals around suffering have united human communities for thousands of years. It touches on the sacred in the relationship, empathy, reciprocity. It is something beyond us. It is even religious, in the sense of “religare”. The third step in the spiral is to step aside and, finally, the fourth step is to move forward. Could this workshop have anything to do with Buddhism?

Philippe Cornu: Yes, in the sense that Buddha said, "If you prick yourself with a thorn, you experience pain." But if, in addition, you react to this pain, it's like a second thorn”. You just have to accept what is happening. And defuse the illusory side of believing in emotion and seizing it. Because our emotions, our thoughts too, are like sales representatives who want to sell us stories! When we meditate, we look at these emotions and thoughts for what they are: a surge of energy.

You are referring in Another end of the world is possible, to “active hope” as Joanna Macy conceives it. How would this, again, free us from suffering in the face of collapse?

Pablo Servigne: The Buddhist dimension of Joanna Macy was a trigger for me. When we bring the word disaster to a conference, there are immediately people who are optimistic and hopeful. But there are also people who see in hope a posture of expectation (esperar means, in Spanish, to wait). Waiting... for the savior to find a solution. This passive side of hope is unbearable and takes us out of the present moment. Joanna Macy writes in Active Hope “I never thought I would dedicate a book to hope, since for Buddhists, this word is linked to fear and takes us out of the posture of the here and now”. What she calls “active hope” is doing now what seems right to us and what we want to see happen. Whatever our chances of getting there. There is no expectation there.

Philippe Cornu: In the West, we always have the impression that we are active. However, according to the Buddhists, we are passive to the emotion since we are under its influence. It is she who directs our action.

Pablo Servigne: And that doesn't amount to doing nothing. This is what people don't understand. When we tell them about the collapse, they immediately want to act urgently. Calm down ! First you have to ask yourself, feel, think.


Continuation and end of the dialogue soon on Buddhist News…

photo of author

Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

Leave comments