Human brains deny facts, truths, memories and pains in order to cope with life, yet individual and collective denial has resulted in a long history of suffering and harm to millions.
I am fascinated by the shared sense with my ADHD clients that we don’t do denial, our brains are less “compartmentalised”, we stare uncomfortable truths in the face and see the emperor has no clothes, yet this this awareness does not necessarily equate to our taking action.
In States of Denial, Cohen asks why in this world of increased information and knowledge about suffering, do we continue to accept, deny and ignore it? He is compassionate as he handles an uncomfortable subject, a behavior of which we are all guilty, though some are more guilty than others.
Cohen considers pollution, the oil wars, over-consumption of global resources, the inequalities for women – denial at personal, individual, social, political and universal level. He reviews the explanations for denial and identifies different types, styles, motives and cultural and personal collusions. In the end Professor Cohen argues that everyone has a responsibility to recognise, acknowledge and voice the truth.