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For the first time since the dawn of time, we’re living in a hyper-connected society. Around 5,000 active satellites allow for this fantastic communication exchange. Let's not count the 9,800 tonnes of space debris right now which was caused in order to reach this technological milestone (a weight heavier than the Eiffel Tower). An unbelievable amount of antennas and interconnected objects enable this transfer of information, thereby immersing the planet in an electromagnetic bath. All of this is for the comfort of humans and is intended to be planetary. In Western civilisations, “being connected” has become the norm, whereas “not being connected” needs justification. Within the mainstream, nobody should be stopped from reaping the full benefits of this hyper-connectivity: objects in our homes are anticipating our needs thanks to home automation, doctors are able to save patients located thousands of miles away, machines are becoming “smart” and allowing for increased performance and productivity without human intervention, our social relationships are becoming virtual allowing us to overcome distances. Even during the pandemic, we were able to see each other on screen even though movement around the globe was very limited. Technological advances have been exponential and seem so unlimited, that it has allowed us to focus on, among other things, our personal pleasure. Thanks to the Metaverse pledge, even though the real world is heading towards an environmental and social abomination, we will soon be able to find refuge in a much more pleasant parallel virtual world. We’re reaching Heaven... Without physically leaving our houses, through our avatars, we can have fun with friends’ avatars, chat, go shopping to dress up our avatars or have things physically delivered, travel to all the replicated or imaginary worlds, teleport our avatars instantaneously from one virtual place to another, or even go to work. But aren’t these promises superficial and isn’t there a danger of them slowly diluting our self-awareness and our awareness of others? Are we not currently becoming engulfed in this idealistic, self-fulfilling prophecy in which we believe that by connecting online, we are becoming entirely independent from the laws of Nature and we can indulge to our heart’s content? With a few short video clips called Dopamine, the ARTE channel warns of the dangers of this fantasy digital world and details how all of these technological models are based on addiction, fleeting self-satisfaction and, all to the exclusive benefit of the economy.


With the advent of our hedonistic consumption patterns, our relationship with the rest of Nature and our sensitivity towards it has therefore worsened, leading to the deterioration of our interdependence awareness with other living organisms. (Topic 4 explores the notion of interdependence in further detail.) And yet we’re bombarded with distress signals from real world news which should bring up a lot of emotions and reactions in the human race. So why are we paralysed by the demons of akrasia which push us to act against the result we expect?


As an initial attempt to answer the question, let’s take a look at what the Dalai Lama had to say in the documentary. He encourages us to explore our relationship with our emotions. Indeed, there is very little education on emotions in Western cultures. This prompts us to suppress part of our emotions, the part which we interpret as irrational or even dysfunctional. In our collective culture, these emotions could provoke an unpleasant state to be in, they could make us lose control, feel down about our powerlessness, hurt others, make us look inadequate, break down with regard to the situation, blame ourselves for our contradictions... It thus becomes much easier to look away, deny reality and offset our anxiety with materialistic obsessions. However, cognitive science shows that the purpose of our emotions is to serve as a warning signal to allow us to respond appropriately. The issue therefore lies in suppressing them, not in feeling them! By trying to suppress this warning signal, we’re stifling feedback as well as suffocating the possibility of an appropriate response. How strange: by (unsuccessfully) trying to inhibit them, we're cutting ourselves off from ourselves and from the actual situation and responding in a way that doesn’t give the desired result. Nobody is exempt from feeling their emotions. For example, the suffering we feel for the Earth is increasingly palpable in our societies. Eco-anxiety is on the rise in the human race and the fi elds of psychology and medicine refer to this new syndrome as “solastalgia”. Sadly, we’re currently relegating “solastalgia” to the ranks of a condition that needs to be fought rather than seeing it as a warning signal that allows us to respond appropriately to its triggers. If we were to unpack this suffering a little bit, we would realise that it is an expression of our psyche reflecting how distressed we are about the ecosystems. Solastalgia is a sort of pre-traumatic stress, telling us to move on towards desirable futures.


Emotions allow us to constructively respond to the way we feel about a situation. But they also allow us to develop and nurture the link we have with ourselves and the world in which we live. In this sense, the Dalai Lama encourages us to teach our children about this emotional hygiene and to cultivate compassion. He believes that it is crucial for us to (re)acquaint ourselves with the ability to recognise, understand, express, use and and live peacefully with our own emotions as well as those of others. Accepting feelings of pain for the world also allows us to perceive the rest of Nature, whether human or non-human, as a partner with whom we are united in solidarity. This state of mind brings compassion: we become aware of needs other than our own and feel the sincere desire to help. We thus cultivate this connection with the world which, in turn, cultivates our compassion and so on... “The wellbeing of an individual depends on the well-being of the community” in the broad sense.

Could the environmental crisis primarily be seen as a crisis in our relationship with the rest of Nature?

It is probably time to renew our sacred bond with other humans. That which is sacred is worthy of sacrifice, is worth committing to, or even fighting for. Joanna Macy suggests a more concrete approach which allows people to (re)gain awareness of this sacred bond. Through the spiral of “Work That Reconnects”, the workshops allow you to seamlessly experience four fundamental stages which are cited at various times in the Ecocide documentary and this press fi le. They include: (1) anchoring ourself in gratitude, marvelling at and joyfully rediscovering our interdependence with the rest of Nature, (2) in order to recognise how bad we feel for the world, peacefully experience our emotions and use them appropriately. This step is fundamental in order to allow us to (3) change our attitude and broaden possibilities. The final objective (4) is to go forward and implement the changes that seem the most legitimate to us.


Another approach, which Sofia Stril-Rever shares with us, consists of re-establishing harmony between the mind and body through the practice of meditation. Meditation is deeply rooted in most Eastern and ancestral traditions, but our modern Western societies have remained quite closed off to this practice for a long time. However, it has now caught the eye of the scientific world. Let’s start off by stating that the meditation we’re referring to here is completely secular and apolitical. Christophe André is a psychiatrist who has been using meditation since 2004 in therapeutic settings. He gives us a definition of it: “Pausing and observing what is going on within (our breathing, bodily sensations, constant fl ow of thoughts) and around us (sounds, smells...). Simply observing, without judgement, without any expectation, without blocking any thoughts but also without holding onto anything. That’s it. It’s simple. It’s mindfulness meditation. And it is far more effective than it may seem to minds that are in a hurry or that strive to ‘control’ themselves”. A complementary description is given in a scientific article in the Science & Vie magazine : “Letting your mind become calm and feeling like you're slowly reaching a state of acute awareness of your own emotions, thoughts and perceptions, to the point of being able to observe them in a detached way, like a tide fl owing out and then reaching a state of serenity, of wellbeing. Before coming back to the world, renewed from within...” The same article talks about the appeal of meditation in neuroscience. Matthieu Ricard, along with other meditation experts with at least 10,000 hours of practice, have been helping with the research since the turn of the millennium. Thanks to “brain imagery, neuroscientists were able to shine a light on three main effects linked to mindfulness meditation: 1- Enhanced attentional control thanks to the activation of the anterior cingulate cortex which plays the role of a referee with respect to the multitude of information reaching the brain; 2- Improved emotion regulation: when an emotion arises, it has a tendency to demand much of our attention. Instead of focusing on these emotions alone, mindfulness promotes a disconnect between perception and psychological interpretation, thus releasing pressure from the amygdala, our emotional seat; 3- Access to metacognition, because this internal detached approach is developed, we can question our own reasoning.” It is therefore about being aware of the now, about focusing our attention on the present moment without reacting or dwelling on it, but simply observing and feeling it. From childhood, we learn about personal hygiene from the youngest age. In the same vein, education around emotions, compassion and mindfulness are necessary to appropriately respond to stimuli from the real world and move towards a more harmonious life. Could this be the key for us to progress towards wisdom?

• Hyper-(dis)connected society
• Solastalgia - Eco-anxiety
• Becoming more connected with oneself and the world
• Emotions
• Compassion
• Wisdom (awareness of
• Mindfulness and meditation
• Reconnecting



Mille et une valeurs 

Card game to address values and allow for better understanding and acceptance of yourself and others. This is a cross-disciplinary animation tool which makes room for any topic to be addressed. One for the tool box!

Le langage des émotions / PCPPF 

86 cards (including 7 animation tracks) to discover the range of our emotions in order to promote self-awareness and an awareness of others by understanding emotions in all their nuances.

Quelle place pour les émotions ? / Symbiose 115, Réseau Idée 

Magazine for teachers and educators, in this special issue, Symbiose covers everything from enjoying nature to the fear of climate change: how can we take emotions into account and what tools can we use? Available to download on

L’éducation émotionnelle et sociale / Michel Claeys-Bouuaert 

Practical guide for a comprehensive approach to learning processes linked to emotional intelligence. It’s all in there to create a more peaceful climate, facilitate the work of the teacher/educator/parent and increase confi dence.

Renouer avec le vivant / Special issue of Socialter

Is reconnecting with “nature” a matter of urgency? It is hard not to fall into the many traps of this somewhat naive idealisation experienced by a human race of city dwellers. And what if it were, in actual fact, time to do away with Nature in order to fi nally reconnect with... the Living? 


Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World / Joanna Macy and Molly Young Brown 

A bible on ecology, fi lled with techniques that can be used every day both personally and professionally. This book is a safe bet and essential reading!

Notre façon d’être, donne-t-elle sens et envie à nos jeunes ? / Thomas d’Ansembourg 

The author breaks down the anti-happiness traps that unwittingly weasel their way among us and gives us the keys to a lighter, deeper and richer life.

Comment ne pas finir comme tes parents / Anaël Assier and Soizic Michelot 

Survival guide to not end up stressed, worried, narrow-minded, frustrated... Meditation for 15-25 year-olds; Audio included.

Mindfulness for all: the wisdom to transform
the world
/ Jon Kabat-Zinn 

This scientist has brought mindfulness into the mainstream and shares how it can also be a political tool. 


The Mindful School / Patricia Jennings 

This book includes many practical tools to learn (and teach with) emotional balance, attention and empathy.

Happy Teachers Change the World / Thich Nhat Hanh 

An essential guide for teachers, educators, but also for anyone who thinks that a mindful, kind education can change the world.


Hypercapitalisme / Tim Kasser 

This cartoon guide explains how the modern economy got carried away and puts how to transform it into perspective. Well-being, voluntary simplicity and governance are at the heart of the debate... 


Dopamine / ARTE, capsules vidéos (6 min.) 

Dopamine breaks down app addiction and allows us to understand why and how we have become addicted to apps. Several themes ranging from Snapchat to Instagram, as well as Uber, Twitter and YouTube.
Watch it, meditate on it and spread the word!



Do you feel the need to reconnect with your values, with Nature and come up with reasons to move forward?

‣ The Work That Reconnects 

Developed by Joanna Macy, these workshops are wonderful for the soul. They allow us to reconnect to what’s essential by becoming aware of interdependence and compassion. There are local associations in most countries. Here are some of them:

‣ Terr’Eveille non-profit
organisation (BE) 

and an events calendar for France-Belgium-Switzerland on


Would you like to host workshops,
follow training courses or sessions
on mindfulness? 

Many local associations as well as meditation
centres are here to help you. 

You will need to do some research to fi nd the ones that feel right for you, but here are some of them

‣ Être, au présent (BE) 

‣ Émergences (BE) 

‣ Le village des pruniers (FR) 

‣ Academy for Mindful Teaching (INT) 

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