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A Continuation of the Ecopsychology Journal Interview With Michael J. Cohen
INTERVIEWER (Applied Ecopsychology Student): Since I've been studying your application of
Ecopsychology, I've begun to use NNIAL as a means to examine our
relationships as members of Industrial Society. Like yourself, I can
see many lies I've been taught and live. To me, they indicate that we
are aware that we have all the information we need but, for profit,
liars in our society condition us not to apply it. We have ignorantly
been on an
invasive and exploitive collision course nature for a long
We are no longer ignorant. Today, the life of our planet and its people
is deteriorating because the way these liars train us to think is a
distortion. It makes our thinking twisted or hallucinatory
respect to how nature works to achieve its balanced, non-polluting
perfection both in the natural world and in our body, mind and spirit.
You say that this warp occurs in nature and us because we are
identical but our thinking is so full of deceit about the natural
world that it seldom can acknowledge, no less act in support of our
oneness with nature. How does your thinking know how to tell
lying is taking place and avoid that dishonesty?
COHEN: For the past 45 years, I have sought the consent of natural areas to help me
differentiate between the detrimental fib that Industrial Society has
conditioned me to think and feel and the truth of my felt-sense natural
attraction way of knowing and relating that I inherit from nature. I
respect the latter because it plugs my mind into the grace and powers
of natural systems and how they work to produce nature's
self-correcting and restorative ways.
INTERVIEWER: How do you differentiate our society's fiction from your
felt-sense way of knowing.
Natural areas have taught me to think of them as a beautiful song. It
is being performed by an orchestra that is so wise that it creates and
plays it own music to fulfill and renew itself. However, a contemporary person has written the
song's words. Only people register its story line and are guided by the list of lies in them.
This is because the natural area is non-literate, it neither produces
of heeds our warp story.
If the song's words help make the music
more attractive to me, then I am whole and in tune with respect to
nature. But if a fabrication in its words capture my thoughts
feelings and distract me from the music, or make me critical of the tune, or
make me try to change its perfection, then the music in nature and me
becomes a distorted untruth. The false stories in the song's
words disconnect me from nature and its restorative music, in and
around me, and I suffer the loss. It feels like I'm singing
"Santa Claus is Coming to Town" to the tune of "Home on the
Range." If I can't ignore the story warp in my mind when I'm
natural area, I can be in nature, but I'm conflicted by the story as it
plays in my mentality. This disrupts the music and its
"You better watch out" overwhelms the beauty of the tune.
Do you automatically disregard the words in your mind when they tell
you lies, or do you have to make a conscious effort to disregard them?
do it with help. Natural areas help my thinking identify and address
the stories and distortions that twist how we think and feel.
this reason I developed, use and teach a science that helps us think
like NNIAL operates. It acts like a pair of whole truth glasses that I
can choose to wear at any time. The glasses make me aware of
natural perfection of my natural attraction senses, say, for example,
as my sense of thirst consciously registering my natural attraction to
water. It increases my attraction to the "perfection" powers of natural
areas to sustain pure water. You see, we need help. We learn
overlook that natural areas are attractive, intelligent paradises. In
them, things like non-polluted water "spring" from the "dirt" or "soil"
without being dirty or soiled. Its actually amazing how
are, for most of us already know the organics of nature's purity and how
good it feels to connect with nature. We already know that connecting is much
less expensive getting our jollies from nature than getting them from the likes
of shopping, excessive technologies or amusement parks.
lived well because I have learned how to differentiate between how
nature's paradise works and how what some call Industrial Society's
"bullshit stories" influence us in nature-deteriorating ways. The
stories often incite our thinking to excessively exploit nature for fun
and profit. In the process we block or replace nature's
That flow within us, is us. It nurtures, heals and sustains
Lies that hurt it or remove us from it deteriorate our health.
INTERVIEWER: So you think our attachment to the false or misleading
tales about nature must somhow be acknowledged and addressed.
Yes, our runaway exploitation of nature will continue until we stop
overlooking what we inherently know and have experienced. We
no longer afford to take for granted that the quiet time we spend in a
natural area nurtures our senses and sensibilities to be more sensible
with respect to nature and Mother Earth. We each know from personal
experience that this contact reduces the impact of the lies, from the
stress and anxiety they produce that disturbs our natural senses and
reasonableness. We can learn to incorporate this fact in our mentality
and think with it continually. No doubt somebody could make a
fortune if they invented a pill that could provide the health and
sustenance that we get from nature while simultaneously increasing
social and environmental well-being, too. Making contact with NNIAL is
that pill and its free.
INTERVIEWER: Where on the planet do the NNIAL powers of nature come
from? Are they universal?
The natural attractions that our 53 natural senses enjoy in a natural
area, register in our psyche and thinking because they are today,
exactly the same thing that they were when they first came into being,
far back in nature's eons. As if attraction emanated directly
from the conscious attractiveness and intelligence of a living deity or
creation, their self-correcting purity gives us a practical means to
incorporate nature's recycling and renewing powers in our thoughts and
feelings. They are NNIAL in action and they function
from the radical distortions of Industrial Society. For
they don't produce any garbage and although they produce a wide range
of diversity, they also produce optimums of life and cooperation.
INTERVIEWER: You think our 53 natural attraction senses are God things?
We can choose to perceive this to be true if we choose to believe in an
attractive God. My Natural Attraction model works because it
recognizes that through our natural senses, there is nothing we can
think or feel about, or know, past, present or future, that isn't being
held together by, or is in natural attraction relationship.
attraction holds true from sub-atomic particles to our solar system and
beyond. No surprise, our natural senses are extremely
to us. We would not want to lose any of them. All this
that some diety, a Creative Force, Great Spirit or God made our
universe out of his/her/its attractiveness. We don't know how
other universes are constructed, it could be through a Creator's power,
wisdom or demand for obedience. However, our empirical
demonstrates that, no matter the God or spirituality that we learn to
believe in, fundamentally natural attraction builds, organizes and
sustains our material and non-material Universe including this paradise
that we call Earth. It includes ourselves as well, When we
miracle to a God or some other spiritual story, we bypass directly
paying attention to, revering and giving thanks to nature as it
manifests itself as the "weed" in our backyard or the air we breathe
for survival. Our daily thoughts and feelings are so
that we insensitively juggernaut over nature like a runaway
bulldozer. What then is surprising about the life of our
nature and the environment crying out to us that they are being
assaulted? It's not our imagination. They are under
or suffer from having been attacked.
What we call our
"civilization" can also be seen as an undeclared war against the
balanced ways of natural systems, in and about us. How can
us believe that this is going to change if liars still pay to think
that acting this way is progress, or economic growth or the power of
the human spirit to be a winner? As long as we don't know how
make contact with NNIAL and have it help us stop thinking and feeling
this way, what or who will change or promote change? Our
No. They are the most powerfully disconnected. What will urge
them to make contact with NNIAL in order to help them think like
nature's organic powers work? Corporate lobbyers?
Since it is not readily accepted, why do you think your form of Applied
Ecopsychology contributes a remedy or antidote to Society's untruths
and their destructive warp story effects?
philosophies and psychologies from which Ecopsycholgy seem to have
developed in academic circles and they are theoretical. They
stories about how and what society "should be" or abstract ideas about
how nature works. With respect to living harmoniously with
nature, our thinking is not grounded in sensory contact and
communication with NNIAL. This leaves us to think with distortions or
"as if" stories. As these deceitful tales train us to think
their nature-disconnected ways, we suffer the consequences of us
deteriorating our biological and psychological life support community.
This is a perfect way to define madness. Its like trying to
sense by having a discourse with our twisted image in a mirror and
expecting the mirror image to accurately reflect the antidotes we omit
because we are nature disconnected. It is far more reasonable to mirror
ourselves from nature, the real thing, as NNIAL flows in, through and
around us. The ECHN process reflects our fibs to us by
how nature works. It accomplishes this by activating the
NNIAL of nature within us into our awareness.
ECHN contributes three practical aspects of hard science that
Ecopsychology often tends to omit:
It is based on empirical evidence and thinking derived by making direct
sensory contact with the NNIAL of nature's attributes. Like
pinching ourselves, what registers on our senses is an indisputable
felt sense fact in comparison to reasoning with evidence obtained by
carefully examining stories that describe a pinching, but are not the
real thing. Reading circumstantial evidence about, or
descriptions of, a pinch that occurred can be suspect and
limited. The description is usually not as whole, informative
or true to life
as is actually being pinched. The latter is the real
If a pinch happens, our senses directly register and report it. There
is no doubt about it. It is irrefutable to us that we have been pinched
and this is doubly true if we are the ones that have pinched ourselves.
ECHN engages us in the phenomenological thinking used in Earth
Sciences. It says that if we observe or experience geological phenomena
today that produces certain kinds of landscapes, we know that these
same landscapes, when we identify them in ancient geological
formations, result from the same processes that operate
For example, we believe that Lava fields that we find from millions of
years ago were produced by the same type of volcanic actions that
produce lava fields today.
Similar to Lava field production,
today's natural attraction sensitivities and their results are the same
as those that have operated from the beginning of time, until proven
otherwise. For example, under certain conditions, the
of hydrogen atoms to transform into helium atoms, today, has occurred
if we see the sun is shining. There is little reason to
that this is not the same natural attraction in hydrogen-to-helium
atomic transformation that existed in similar conditions at the
beginning of this universe.
3. ECHN helps our thinking register
how nature works from reasonable sensory evidence gathered from
authentic nature in ever-changing natural area environments.
is different than evidence about nature derived from the sterility of
artificial laboratories that create standard conditions of temperature,
pressure, motion, light, strength, materials present, etc. A
static laboratory environment is precisely the opposite of how the life
of nature works. For this reason, our laboratory findings may
strengthen our indoor world, but with respect to nature they are
fiction. They mislead our inherent ability to live in balance with the
ever changing flow of the global life community and its ability to live
with itself in purity and balance. Similarly,
apart atoms to study how their particles work probably distorts how
they actually work. This is because nature seldom blasts
atoms on this planet.
INTERVIEWER: You have
engaged in developing this science of nature-connected thinking for
over half a century while in contact with natural areas. Is
a fundamental thing that helps us identify and address the deceitful
way that we think with untruth about nature?
itself it that fundamental. Since NNIAL helps us be the happiness of
fundamental relationships we find in nature, NNIAL must be a
fundamental way this universe operates. At will, our felt
can make us aware of NNIAL in natural areas. This helps the
natural sensory part of our psyche, as of old, register how nature in
and around us is operating in the moment. Each time this
it increases our happiness and demonstrates how to continually
strengthen it in a good way. What I want to help people
is what the attractive song of the wind wants us to know so we can be
INTERVIEWER: So, your key to living sensibly with each
other and our living planet is to learn how to make genuine sensory
contact with NNIAL in nature and in people.
COHEN: I have yet to
see another way that works for our situation, have you? When I have
presentations in spiritual settings, most folks deny the necessity of
learning how to strengthen their inborn feelings of love and reverence
for nature, be they for or from an insect or a rainbow.
tell me nature-contact is unnecessary for them because their stories
and spiritual practices give them the power to connect with and
communicate directly with God through prayer and their love God. Our
strong spiritual thoughts and feelings can bypass nature and be blessed
by a God who does not live on our planet.
The deteriorating state of the world today shows that this way of
improvement. It does not address that our addictions to our
replaces our love of nature. For this reason, we place nature
risk. This is because we seldom protect or nurture things that
we do not
love. God may be in good health, but nature as we know it is at-risk
here on Earth. Maybe not. Can a healthy God let Her or His Garden of Eden be raped and polluted?
I have demonstrated that seeking assistance from NNIAL can
help us revitalize our love of nature and vice versa. That is
much neeeded remedy for the emotional fulfillment we obtain
distortions that allow us to assault nature in and around us. As
William Wordsworth noted, "Nature never did betray the heart
find that ECHN is practical, it's attractive and it makes sense but
that's not enough. I also need to be part of a group of
that are enjoying each other's company while making and sharing their
contacts with NNIAL. I seldom obtain enough fulfillment just
seeing that my long term goals may met. I need immediate
satisfactions, too. What's wonderful for me is that my
are practical and fun. I love making happiness contacts with NNIAL in
natural areas as well as in my classmates.
Journal Entries from Anonymous ECHN Participants:
took myself out for a walk. I was beachside. I was
'treading hard' on the earth for a bit, trying to get some much needed
exercise and fit it into a time slot. I caught myself again.
The theme for me is so clear about pushing and making it happen
and fitting it in and scraping by with just enough goodness so that I
can get back to 'the real business of living'. I am so
embarrassed by this! And yet it is what so many suffer from so it
gives me compassion to be so flat honest with you about mine.
decided to slow up. I felt each step, still going to fast,
especially now that I was with closed eyes. I had to take it at a
real pace. I still walked on. I began to feel the
environment rise around me. The wind was stronger and yet oddly,
more gentle. The waves sounded more powerful and yet took on a
predictable rhythm that gave me comfort.
I peeked to see that I
was not walking into the ocean. I walked backward to let the wind
on my face and felt the goodness wash through me.
I felt like a child in this great immensity. It was the parent whose lap always awaits me.
then the fear came. I sat. I wondered if it would all overtake
me. I wondered if I was really safe. If the ocean wouldn't
eat me up in a spark of fury, would the neighbors have me committed?
felt the sand and how it was sand because it had been pummeled for eons
and wondered what evolutionary process it was that created such a
complex being as this body of mine. I felt not like an embodied
soul....but like an ensouled body. I had some perspective.
It was a very human terror of losing what I think I know and then
a much broader experience of moving outside my current identity to
embrace the inherent tenuous nature of this precious life force I
It brought me home to purpose and place...and to
being right here...right now....and then to a willingness to open in
surrender to what the next moment might bring."
Anonymous ECHN Participant
this evening I sat on the steps of our front porch and
immediately felt drawn to a tall, spindly, fuzzy/spiky cactus
that inhabits a big ceramic pot, not far from the
front door. I gazed at the cactus silently,
probably for ten or twelve seconds, then asked if it would be
ok for me to connect with it more. At first nothing happened, and the
skeptical part of me started making such a ruckus, that
for a few moments there, I felt like I was in the middle of an
agitated and disapproving crowd, rather than simply sitting by
myself in the quiet, desert night. Then, quite unexpectedly, I noticed
the most tender and welcoming feeling in my heart. The sensation
was subtle, yet so powerful. It made me happy to experience
this, and I thanked the cactus for welcoming me. Then I
thanked all the other cacti and desert plants that surrounded
me, and finally the balmy monsoon night, in which I
could see the barely swaying sillhouettes of Palos
Verdes and giant Prickly Pears. Presently I turned my head to
look once more at my spindly green companion. It was then
that I noticed something. This cactus -- and a
tall, robust grass plant growing next to it, in an adjoining
pot -- were in relationship. The grass plant's dark,
maroon colored leaves extended toward the cactus so
gracefully, pressing against its jade green flesh and
stretching out between its long unruly spikes. This was
not simply a case of me being romantic or poetic, the relationship
was unmistakable. It amazed me! I felt honored as well as privileged to
be witnessing a connection that was so intimate, and ongoing, and
Anonymous ECHN Participant
couple of nights ago, my wife and I had a "discussion" that ended in
both of us shutting down. I was unable to sleep, so I ended up
going out on the porch where the comfortable breeze helped me to cool
down. The moon was full, beautiful, and reassuring. It took
some of the edge off for me. After a few minutes, my wife
followed me out. In the light of the moon, we ended up being able
to start up the conversation again and make some headway. I
believe our natural attractions for the moon was a factor in our
conversation becoming a bit more peaceful and uniting.
Anonymous ECHN Participant
press release about this web page is
For the few
of us who have
developed an immunity to our detrimental hallucinations
about Mother Earth, the hidden source of them and
an Applied Ecopsychology online
program remedy for them are available in the article Increase Well-Being: Stop Our
Destructive Mass Hallucinatory Fantasy.
information: contact Michael J. Cohen, Ph.D.
Resource Book: http://www.ecopsych.com/ksanity.html
you to visit www.ecopsych.com
livelihood. Increase its value.
may obtain a
nature-connected Applied Ecopsychology degree online in conjunction