Illusions, Political Selves, and Responses to the Anthropocene Age: A Political-Psychoanalytic Perspective

Ryan LeMothe


Psychoanalytic Perspective

Abstract This paper considers, from a political-psychoanalytic perspective, the varied responses to the realities of climate change. In particular, I address the emergence and features of the Western political psyche, arguing that the Western political self, which is supported by varied political, economic, and religious apparatuses, comprises four key interrelated illusions that shape perceptions and organize relations to other human beings, other species, and to nature. Moreover, these illusions can be seen as collective defenses against facing existential vulnerability and dependency. By identifying and understanding these illusions, we can better grasp the complexity of some responses to the news of climate change, such as eco-anxiety, eco-denial, eco-mourning, eco-melancholia, etc. and their connection to larger apparatuses that shape Western psyches and obstruct effective climate action.


Climate Change, Eco-mourning, Eco-melancholia, Political Psyche, Psychoanalysis

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