Some people (notably in the Transition Towns movement) are saying we need to give people a positive message, not too grim and frightening, or they will give up rather than be inspired to action.
I don't find this concept at all persuasive. I suggest some good analogies for the transition process may be the experiences of polar explorers and record-setting mountaineers, along with the many millions of soldiers who have entered into battles, and the many civilians who have found themselves surviving in dire straits after wars had devastated their countries. All these groups of people have in common that they were faced with the knowledge of very real possibility that these challenges would be not merely very unpleasant and arduous but with very high probability of utter failure, ending with their deaths. And yet they faced up to these challenges nevertheless.
I would add to this list of analogy examples one more crucial one. That is the experiences of those obscure individuals and groups who founded civilisations. It is in the nature of things that we tend to see the ends of civilisations relatively clearly, with names of rulers and their circumstances clearly recorded. By contrast, the origins are relatively hidden in obscurity. And yet as Arnold Toynbee explained, there is good reason to reckon that these civilisations originated in response to severe, life-threatening adverse circumstances. For instance the growth of the Sahara desert putting the hunter-gatherers in prospect of starvation. They would thus have been forced to descend into the treacherous swamps of the untamed Nile valley, where they would have to cope with not only daunting huge floods but also the existing inhabitants such as crocodiles and snakes. We can only guess at how many millions may have died rather than survived to go on to create the ancient Egyptian civilisation in that once-terrible land. And yet such can be the way to the future of human community.
Some people cannot cope with a terrible prospect of the future. They may become suicidal, psychotic, depressed, paralysed by anxiety, obsessed with delusory false hopes, or too stressed out physically or overloaded mentally to be able to go on. They may lack the imagination to forsee specific key problems, they may lack the judgement to see what solutions may work and which may not. They may lack the necessary experience or training to prepare them for the tasks they must undertake for survival. They may lack the personal qualities required for survival in a group of people who find they must selflessly cooperate or else die.
For these reasons, such persons are liable to be fore-doomed to not survive the challenges they face. That's life. Regardless of how kind and empathic you and I are it remains the case that That's life.
If siamese twins share one heart between them, we can wish that they could have a separate heart each; we could even have a group session of envisaging them having a separate heart each, but that wishing and envisioning is not going to change the fact that they do not.
What all those grim example groups abovementioned have in common is that they went forward with no illusions that they were going to go down a safely predictable or comfortable pathway into the future. In many cases they even chose to enter into such challenges. And note that none of those survivor groups had any emotional therapy workshops or treatments, before, during or after their ordeals. That's life. Here to illustrate this principle is a photo of a homeless family of three living in the freezing ruins of Stalingrad in a hole in the ground with the desolation all around.
And the elegant city they had lived in.