Psychiatric Views on the Daily News - Episode 72

What Groundhog Phil Really Wanted to Say About the Climate

What did Punxsutawney Phil really say on Groundhog Day?

PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS

Yesterday, February 2nd, was Groundhog Day 2022. This date goes back to the ancient European celebrations of Candlemas, halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox.

Annually, Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most famous groundhog prognostic, comes out of his den to convey his prognosis for the rest of winter. This year he reportedly communicated in “groundhogese” to the Groundhog Clubs’s Inner Circle that he saw his shadow, meaning that we will see at least 6 weeks more of a long winter in the United States.

When I think of shadows, I think of Carl Jung. He formulated the shadow as that part of our personality that is put in the darkness of our unconscious.

We in psychiatry know that patients often do not say what they are really thinking at times because the truth is so difficult and painful to accept. Given that we are mind readers of a sort, here is what I think that Phil’s shadow was really saying.

“You humans are so stupid sometimes! What does a shadow have to do with weather and climate? You are just displacing your responsibility unto us groundhogs like you do with your fellow humans who are different.

The question is not whether the weather will be a longer or shorter winter, but how unstable it will be. And we already know that climate instability has been worse this winter. We had a “bomb cyclone” in the Northeast, and another winter storm is just now starting to sweep across the US right before your very eyes.

Like so many living things, your behavior is endangering how we live and survive. Don’t you care if we suffer, or are we just a pet tool for your entertainment?

Let me predict more than 6 weeks. If you humans do not get your act together, the climate around the world will get more and more unstable, even threatening the future of humans. Stop denying that! Next year get a psychiatrist to tell you about the shadow. Now, I am going back to my den to work on my survival skills.”

Now that I have read Phil’s mind, I understand the Jungian truth behind the shadow. The treatment is obvious. Drastically reduce our carbon and methane storm in the atmosphere. In the long run, these invisible particles are much more dangerous than the visible snow.

Dr Mofficis an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues relate to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric TimesTM.