Will Natural Resilience Leave Humans Behind On The Escalator To Extinction?

If You’re Feeling Anxious, Try This 2,000-Year-Old, Neuroscience-Backed Hack

Some 2,000 years ago, in the throes of a targeted chase to his death, a Roman philosopher named Seneca had a thought: “what’s the worst that can happen?”

Illustration by James Steinberg for TIME

Today, a growing body of research finds that a Seneca-inspired exercise—inviting the worried brain to literally envision its worst fears realized—is one of the most evidence-based treatments for anxiety.

“Before encouraging people to actively confront their worry, Galanti starts with a simple question: why is it there in the first place?”

In scientific terms, that exercise is called imaginal exposure, or “facing the thing you’re most afraid of” by summoning it in your mind, says Dr. Regine Galanti, the founder of Long Island Behavioral Psychology, and a licensed clinical psychologist who regularly integrates imaginal exposure into her therapy…READ ON

Will Natural Resilience Leave Humans Behind On The Escalator To Extinction?

While our species, unique in its capacity to envision a future and plan its behavior, stumbles toward climate action in the misty precincts of Scotland this week, the rest of nature can’t wait. It is moving on in evolutionary resilience, one organism at a time, flexibly adapting to human-induced planetary warming.

“The key to Denmark’s success is precisely the kind of innovative flexibility Hanson calls for, bringing civil society, business and government together so that urgency is met with agency.”

This capacity to conjoin “urgency” with “agency,” biologist Thor Hanson writes in Noema, is a lesson humankind needs to learn sooner rather than later if it is going to either avoid the tipping point of no return in despoiling our only livable biosphere, or figure out how to survive after the fact.

“In nature, the responses of individual organisms determine the fate of populations, species and entire ecological communities,” he writes. “The same pattern applies to society. Addressing climate change requires a fundamental cultural shift in our relationship with energy, from how we produce it to how much of it our lifestyles demand…READ ON

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