Site Project: This site counters the endless alarmist exaggeration and hysteria over the state of the world and life (i.e. the ‘end of days’ always just over the horizon). This project involves a thorough re-evaluation of the primitive themes, notably the apocalyptic complex, that still dominate modern thinking and contribute to unnecessary pessimism and anxiety over life. This involves problem solving at the deepest levels of thought/perception, emotion, and motivation/response.
And yes, there are problems all through life that give cause enough to fret about. But, critical to human mental and emotional health- there is no great Force/Principle/Spirit behind the imperfections of life, that threatens to punish or destroy, and bring life to some catastrophic ending.
Most important, this site confronts the bad theology of a monster deity (i.e. angry, punitive, destroying God, or Retributive Universe, angry Nature or vengeful Gaia, and karma). That bad theology is at the root of too much mental/emotional pathology in humanity… A correlation, perhaps, with depression as the number one illness on the planet?… I’m just sayin.
This site goes to this critical taproot idea of Ultimate Threat, cuts that infected root, and offers alternative themes that affirm authentic hope, notably the foundational theme of a core “no conditions Love” that overturns humanity’s primal fears- i.e. the fears of harm from greater Forces/Spirits behind life, and after-life harm.
Elements of bad theology still dominate the world religions and are now embraced in “secular” versions such as 19th Century Declinism, environmental alarmism or Green religion, and street-level theologies of angry Mother Earth or karma. As psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo has concluded, “Cruel God theology deforms human personality” with unnecessary fear, guilt, shame, and anxiety. (see “Cruel God, Kind God”).
The project on this site is oriented to removing the added, unnecessary psychic burden (i.e. divine threat) that has deformed human consciousness for millennia. It is about liberating/healing consciousness with authentic ‘no conditions’ love.
Insert note (quote from below): “Revenge, payback, karma, eye for eye, getting even- retaliation in all its expressions- is us at our worst. Retaliation is more animal-like than human. It renders us potentially magnificent beings, petty and infantile. The base impulse to retaliate, often masquerading as ‘justice’ or a fight against ‘evil’, is behind too much unnecessary harm and suffering in life. We can be so much better. Remember towering human spirits like Mandela. I would shout this message into the midst of today’s public ‘hurt for hurt’ cycles (hurt repaid for original hurt caused)- ‘Let’s all grow up, eh, and start acting like the great human spirits that we are'”.
Opening section topics: Rethinking 15 fundamental ideas (Old story themes, New story alternatives, rethinking the conditional nature of religion). See further below… Two Stories of Life- Decline or Rise?; Problem solving; “And the lights turned on…” (understanding the behavior/belief relationship as central to history’s single greatest insight); “Framework for human story” (the basic features of human life- Joseph Campbell’s outline); “Re-evaluate history’s most dominant myth- Paul’s Christ myth” (Historical Jesus is not Christ, he was anti-Christology); “Hurt for hurt cycles”, or retaliatory/punitive justice (getting even, payback, and the tribal politics of today…”Let’s all grow up, eh”); and “The basic science of CO2” (climate change update).
Re-thinking fundamental ideas in human worldviews
A set of foundational ideas/themes has dominated human thought across the millennia and across world cultures. These themes continue to dominate today in our religious traditions and they have also been given expression in “secular” versions like 19th Century Declinism (“the most dominant and influential theme in modern politics and society”, Arthur Herman). The offspring of Declinism- i.e. Environmental Alarmism or Green ideology- has also embraced these same themes. This site offers alternatives to help shape new meta-narratives.
The outcomes of the ideas/ideals that we hold are both helpful and harmful. “Specific ideas have specific consequences” (Sam Harris). While good features in the religious mix have brought succour to billions, bad ideas in the religious mix have contributed to incalculable suffering over history. Bad ideas have often incited and affirmed our worst impulses. Bad ideas are most dangerous when they are attributed to deity because they are then given divine validation and protection (“protected under the canopy of the sacred”).
We are responsible for the ideas that we embrace and promote, and for their outcomes in life. We are responsible to engage the basic project of discerning good from bad in all areas of life, including God theory.
Effective long-term problem solving must engage the foundational themes in human worldviews. These themes are the product of our primal impulse for meaning (i.e. explaining ultimate reality). They are vital to the age-old practise of basing human behavior on related belief (ethics based on theology). These themes are fundamental to guiding, inspiring and validating human feeling, motivation, response, behavior, and life in general.
Note that the meta-stories of humanity, whether in mythological, religious, or ideological versions, have all embedded subhuman features like retaliation/retribution, exclusion, domination, punishment, and violent destruction in humanity’s highest ideals and authorities- notably in human God theories or deity.
Old story themes, new story alternatives (15 fundamental ideas to re-evaluate)
1. Old story theme: The myth of deity as a judging, punishing reality that metes out final justice- i.e. rewarding the good, punishing the bad. This myth continues at the foundation of the world religions and is now given expression in secular versions such as vengeful Gaia, angry planet/nature, retributive Universe, and karma. This myth of God as a retaliating, punishing reality has long under-girded human justice as similarly retaliatory and punitive. From the beginning, belief in a punitive deity has incited the demand for punitive response to human imperfection and failure.
This primitive view of deity as punitive and destroying is the single most important “bad idea” to engage and correct. All other bad religious ideas are based on this foundational pathology in human thought.
New story alternative: The “stunning new theology” that God is an inexpressible “no conditions love”, a non-retaliatory Reality. This means that there is no ultimate judgment, no ultimate exclusion of anyone, no demand for payment or sacrifice, no need for redemption or salvation, and no ultimate punishment or destruction of anyone (no such thing as “hell”).
The adjective “unconditional” points to our highest understanding of love and is therefore most critical for defining deity as transcendent “Goodness”.
(Note the qualifiers below on holding people accountable for their behavior, the need to restrain bad behavior, and restorative justice approaches. All necessary for healthy human development, in this world.)
2. Old story theme (Key element- perfection versus imperfection): The myth of a “perfect beginning” and that God is obsessed with perfection in the world and life. God creates perfection, is enraged at the subsequent loss of perfection, and now wants to punish imperfection. (This idea of deity obsessed with perfection originated with the misunderstanding that any good and all-powerful God would only create perfection, and if things are not perfect then blame bad humanity for mucking things up that were once perfect. It can’t be God’s fault.)
We- humanity- have always had a terrible time understanding and embracing imperfection in life and in ourselves. Imperfection, and fear of divine rage at imperfection, has long deformed human consciousness with fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, and depression. Yes, we ought to engage the struggle to improve ourselves and others, and to improve life in general in all ways. But we ought to do so without the added psychic burden of fear of angry deity or divine threat.
New story alternative: The world began in “chaotic imperfection” but has gradually evolved toward something more complex and organized. Life on this planet is never perfect, but it gradually improves. And over history, humanity has created something better out of the original imperfect, wilderness world.
In this new story theme, God has no problem with imperfection but includes it in the original creation. Imperfection (in a new story) serves the important purpose of providing an arena where humanity struggles with a messy wilderness situation in order to learn to create something better. And, most critical, we learn how to love in the process of engaging that struggle with imperfection in others (i.e. we learn more humane values in our “righteous struggle against evil”, Joseph Campbell).
Perfection, aside from being boring, does not bring forth the best of the human spirit. To the contrary, struggle with imperfection in life, and in others, brings forth the best in humanity. See Julian Simon’s comment that our struggle with problems in the world leads to creative solutions that benefit others (i.e. Ultimate Resource). See also the comment below on Joseph Campbell’s outline of human story and our struggle with a monster. That struggle is where we gain insights and learn lessons that can help others (e.g. Personal suffering can lead to empathy with others that similarly suffer).
3. Old story theme (related to previous): The myth that humanity began as a more perfect species but then became corrupted/sinful (i.e. the “fall of man” myth). The idea of original human perfection, and human degeneration toward something worse today, is still common in the “noble savage” mythology that dominates throughout academia (the myth that original hunter/gatherer people were more pure and noble but humanity has degenerated in civilization). See, for instance, Steven LeBlanc’s ‘Constant Battles’. Contemporary versions of “fallen humanity” mythology include Green religion’s belief that humanity is a “virus” or “cancer” on the Earth. These are pathologically anti-human views.
New story alternative: Humanity has emerged from the brutality of animal reality (original imperfection) but has gradually become more humane, less violent, and more civilized. See James Payne’s History of Force, and Stephen Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature.
4. Old story theme, related to previous (key element- life as an overall declining trajectory versus life as an overall rising or improving trajectory): The myth that the world began as an original paradise and that “golden age” has been lost and the trajectory of life is now “declining”, or degenerating, toward something worse (“Each present moment is a degeneration from previous moments”, Mircea Eliade).
New story alternative: Life does not decline overall but the long-term trajectory of life shows that it actually “improves/rises” toward something ever better. Humanity, as essentially good and creative, is now responsible for the ongoing improvement of life and the world. (Note Julian Simon’s conclusion that we- humanity- are “more creators than destroyers”.)
Evidence of life improving over past millennia and recent centuries: Julian Simon’s Ultimate Resource, Greg Easterbrook’s A Moment on the Earth, Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist, Indur Goklany’s The Improving State of the World, Matt Ridley’s Rational Optimist, Ronald Bailey’s The End of Doom, James Payne’s History of Force, Stephen Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature, and others.
On the longer “improving” trend of the overall cosmos and the long-term emergence of life (i.e. more complexity, organization, suitability for carbon-based life to mediate human consciousness), see Brian Green’s ‘The Universe Story’ and Harold Morowitz’s ‘The Emergence of Everything’. Further, even Darwin affirmed that evolution trended toward something more “perfect”. Read the rest of the opening comment here