“They say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one” (John Lennon)
See new comment below on “They need encouragement, man” by Jordan Peterson. Also, “The Climate Alarmist’s Greatest Fear”. And also further below: Theological comment/speculation that goes to the very heart of the issue of encouragement- “The NDE affirms the most profound insight of Historical Jesus”, i.e. that ultimate Reality, or deity, is stunningly, transcendently inexpressible unconditional love. Also, Evidence of the improving trajectory of life, and more…
Jordan Peterson was recently interviewed again by Joe Rogan (Episode 1933 free on Spotify). Among other topics, he discussed his new project- i.e. his work on a new narrative to counter the dominant public narrative of today that is profoundly anti-human (i.e. referring to the themes of the climate alarmism cult that claim corrupt, destroying humanity is ruining the pure, virginal natural world). Go Jordan, go.
Now, some main points in this section: The project to create a new narrative is about creating a complex of ideas that better expresses the true state of reality and life. Its about a narrative that expresses the true status of humanity (not “fallen” from an original perfection but actually rising and improving from a worse past). A new narrative will bring out the best in people. It will offer truly humane ideals to inspire our best impulses and to guide our stories to the safest route through life. It will reveal the actual trajectory of life to be one of rise toward a better future, not decline to something worse. It will affirm hope in the progress of life and thereby unleash love in creative innovation to make life better for all. And it will be a narrative that liberates consciousness from the darker themes of old narratives and their threat theology that has long deformed human consciousness and life. A new narrative should take us to the best of metaphysical or “spiritual” insight, speculation, and faith.
This linked report below affirms my argument that much more warming will benefit all life. An entirely ice-free world is more normal and optimal for all life. For over 80% of the history of life (i.e. the 500 million-year Phanerozoic era) Earth was ice-free. In a much warmer world, some cold region species will suffer, others will adapt, and many more will flourish. Also note that the fossils of tropical species of plants and animals have been found in both the Arctic and Antarctic.
Also remember that in a much warmer world, already warm areas (tropics) will not “ignite on fire or fry” as per alarmist apocalyptic scenarios. During the much higher average world temperatures of the past (3-10 degrees C warmer than today) tropical average temperatures only varied by a few degrees. They did not spin out of control into climate disaster. This “equable climate” evidence over paleoclimate history speaks to the fact that strong negative feedbacks work to keep temperatures in a range optimal for life.
Extra heat in the tropics is transported to the colder regions (much like the Arctic is warming today), and that “meridional transport” of heat energy warms the colder seasons (winter), and colder times of day (night). Temperatures “even out” across the world and storminess decreases as gradient differences between warm and cold regions lessens. A better world all around.
Sources? Data/evidence? See the “Sun-Climate effect: Winter Gatekeeper hypothesis” reports in sections below.
Input on site project: A new meta-narrative, Wendell Krossa
This site, among other projects, is my contribution to going after and trying to bring down the monster of all monsters- i.e. the myth of threatening, punitive deity that has been passed down through history from primitive mythologies, to later world religions, and then into the modern era in “secular/ideological” systems of belief, even in scientific systems. This monster has dominated human consciousness for multiple-millennia with unnecessary fear, anxiety, guilt/shame, fatalism/resignation, despair, depression, nihilism, and even violence. A great retaliatory, punitive Ultimate Reality, or deity, has been at the very core of humanity’s great narratives from the beginning.
The archetypical retaliatory, punitive Force/Spirit behind life is still given expression today in the persisting themes of the “retaliatory, angry deity” of religious traditions (see for example the New Testament books of Romans, or Revelation). The very same threatening Spirit/Force is now also found in more “secular/ideological” versions like “vengeful Gaia, angry Planet/Mother Earth, punitive Universe, and payback karma”.
Additionally, there is a related complex of mythical features (the “lost paradise/redemption” complex) that continues to support the threatening deity monster, notably, the following primitive ideas:
(1) The myth that a perfection-obsessed deity created a better past or original paradise (i.e. Sumerian Dilmun or Jewish Eden).
(2) The myth that the earliest humans committed an original fault/error and subsequently “fell” or become “sinful/corrupted” beings that ruined the original paradise.
(3) The vengeful creating deity then cursed the world and life began declining toward something worse, eventually toward complete corruption, collapse, and ending via apocalypse.
(4) The great creating Force/Spirit behind life, obsessed with lost perfection, and obsessed with punishing imperfection, then demanded a sacrifice to pay for the sins of corrupted humanity.
(5) He also demanded suffering as further punishment, “suffering as redemptive”. Humanity has embraced this in self-flagellation or self-punishment for being bad. Today, this involves giving up the good life for a return to the “morally superior” simple life, a retreat to the primitive status of original “noble savages”, early people that were believed to be stronger and purer humans more in tune with nature, before the “fall into civilization…the degeneration of humanity in civilization”.
(6) The punitive Force/Spirit behind life also demands the purging of some great threat to life, some threatening “enemy”. This involves embracing the hero’s quest, to heroically engage “a righteous battle against evil”, the quest to conquer an enemy, to slay a monster. This all stems from the myth of cosmic dualism- i.e. that there exists a great cosmic battle of a good Spirit against some evil Force or Spirit. That cosmic level dualism is to be replicated in this-world dualisms among humanity (validating tribalism).
Purging also takes place in the apocalyptic punishment and destruction of the old corrupted world, a necessary destruction in order to make way for the new.
(7) With purging accomplished, the threatening deity then promises salvation for true believers, salvation in the restoration of the lost paradise or the installation of a new utopia/millennial kingdom.
Such is the complex of pathological “lost paradise/redemption” myths. Note the intense anti-human orientation of these old myths. They emphasize the fallacy that humanity has “fallen” or degenerated from an imagined original perfection. That distortion buries the entirely opposite truth that the real story of humanity is how amazingly we have improved compared to our original barbaric animal existence.
These “lost paradise/redemption” myths constitute the “mythical/spiritual” substrate- the archetypes- that undergird most human belief systems or narratives, whether religious or “secular/ideological” narratives, and even scientific ones. These themes are deeply embedded in human consciousness/subconscious- hardwired in human minds from millennia of tight interaction with some of our most basic impulses. Early people created ideas/myths to validate some of the worst of the animal drives that we inherited from millions of years in animal existence. Those earliest myths eventually became religious dogma and then even infected modern era ideological systems of belief.
The more prominent of the darker inherited impulses, and their validating myths, would include (1) the impulses to small band existence or tribalism (given expression in human societies in such divides as those between true believers versus unbelievers in religious and ideological systems), (2) the impulse to alpha domination given expression in myths of dominating gods and the validation of powerholding human kings/lords/priests as representatives of the dominating gods, and (3) the impulse to the destruction of competing others (myths of enemies/unbelievers that should be eliminated or cast into religious hells).
Contemporary “lost paradise/redemption” advocates, such as in the climate alarmism crusade, voice similar themes to those above and that resonates powerfully with many people. The core “lost paradise/redemption” themes resonate with deeply embedded archetypes, lodged even at a subconscious level. (“Archetype” meaning- prototype, representative, pattern, model, standard, exemplar, ideal, etc.)
Example: Remember how Hitler, initially a fringe lunatic madman largely ignored by most people, eventually began to resonate more widely with the German Christian public. With the Weimar collapse of the German economy due to the Great Depression, his formerly ignored message of “decline toward looming apocalypse and promise of salvation (creating the millennial Third Reich)”- that message then began to resonate more widely with those same archetypical themes that dominated the belief systems and consciousness of most Germans. Hitler was then able to persuade many ordinarily good Germans to join, or at least not oppose, his mass-death projects.
The message of decline toward disaster incites primal fears of some punitive spirit or force behind the natural world that is rightly punishing us “bad” people for ruining originally pure nature. We feel intuitively that we deserve such punishment coming at us through natural disaster, disease, predatory cruelty from “enemies”, and other misfortunes common to life. Remember that Japanese lady after the 2011 tsunami asking, “Are we being punished for enjoying the good life too much?” She illustrates this very intuitive human sense that natural disasters are expressions of some angry god punishing people for their sins. So also, Nancy Pelosi claimed (Sept. 2020) that the forest fires of California were evidence that “Mother Earth is angry” with humans enjoying too much fossil fuel energy and causing the “climate crisis”. Bad people being punished by angry deity. Same old, same old as ever before.
The belief in some great threat to life incites the human survival impulse. That panic-mongering then pushes many to abandon rationality, out of desperation to survive. Hence, many people will then heed the craziest exaggerations of apocalyptic prophets (think the prophesies of Paul Ehrlich as a contemporary example) and will support the most irrational salvation schemes, to “save the world”, even when the evidence mounts that those schemes are so obviously destroying societies as in the Net Zero mania that is currently devastating Germany and Britain. The contemporary climate alarmism crusade and its destructive decarbonization salvation scheme is just another repeat of past similar apocalyptic millennial eruptions that have destroyed societies across history. Remember the irrational Xhosa cattle slaughter of 1860, and the horrific destruction of the Marxist and Nazi “lost paradise/redemption” crusades.
As Richard Landes warned in “Heaven On Earth”, if you don’t understand how apocalyptic millennial themes can lead to mass-death in societies then you have learned nothing from past history (i.e. the Nazi madness). We are watching all this play out today in the demonization of the basic food of all life- i.e. CO2, the endless media hysteria that a climate apocalypse is imminent, and the consequent irrational decarbonization madness. The outcomes will not be good if we continue to let this madness shape public policy as in the elimination of fossil fuels.
(Insert on irrationality: Marinate a bit on the scale of irrationality in the widespread public acceptance of the demonization of the basic food of all life- CO2- as the great threat to life. And consider- CO2 levels over the past millions of years of our “ice age era” have been at “starvation” levels, just in the hundreds of ppm. Plant life prefers CO2 in the multiple thousands of ppm and thrives when it is that high, as over paleoclimate history when life was a “paradise… a golden age for mammals”. And with CO2 in the multiple-thousands of ppm, there was no “climate crisis”, no “world on fire”. Also, with much higher temperatures, 3-10 degrees C higher than today, along with much higher CO2 levels, life thrived. Just as plant life is once again beginning to flourish with the restoration of more optimal levels of CO2 today- notable in the addition of 15% more green vegetation to the Earth since 1980.)
Added note on myths of a better past or original paradise– The foundational or baseline myth of the “lost paradise/redemption” complex of myths. The belief in an originally more perfect world may have arisen from early humanity’s experience of decline in the natural world. John Pfeiffer (“The Creative Explosion: An Inquiry into the Origins of Art and Religion”) suggests that the belief in an original “golden age” may have emerged over 100,000 years ago. I took a look at how that belief may have arisen in early human minds.
The previous interglacial- i.e. the Eemian- occurred between 130-115,000 years ago. That blissfully warm interglacial (some 3-5 degrees C warmer than our current interglacial) may have ended quite suddenly, over just centuries or even decades. Life then descended from previous life-affirming warmth into the devastating cold of the following ice age or glaciation (the “Wisconsin” in North America). Early conscious people would have remembered that better past compared with their more miserable present conditions in a colder world. That would have given rise to speculation that the past was more perfect and the present was a decline toward something worse.
If you believe that the past was better or perfect, and then compare that with the obviously imperfect present world, then you can “logically” conclude that life is declining toward something worse. You have created a reasonable argument for your belief in apocalypse.
Add that traditions of sacrifice have been around for a long time also. People offering sacrifices to appease angry, punitive spirits or gods. Gods that expressed their anger at “sinful” people through the destructiveness of the natural world- i.e. through natural disasters, disease, accidents, and predatory cruelty.
All such primitive beliefs would contribute to the fallacious mythology of “Lost paradise/redemption” that we have inherited from those ancestors. It is inexcusable that many people today continue to hold to contemporary versions of such primitive thinking, contemporary versions as in the major world religious traditions, along with many “secular/ideological” and even scientific versions (notably, in the “profoundly religious or cultic” climate alarmism crusade).
A lot of my comment here probes the themes for a new narrative, Wendell Krossa
I also draw on what is best in traditions that have been handed down to us, notably the “Q Wisdom Sayings” gospel of Historical Jesus (particularly, the Luke 6:27-36 material). That material is among the best ever offered to inspire our better impulses, the “better angels of our nature”. And though it may upset true believers, I have also noted the nastier inherited themes that were embraced by Paul in his Christ myth, themes that have incited our worst impulses- i.e. the residual animal drives that emanate from our core brain (i.e. the “monstrous” impulses that need to be tamed in order for us to function humanely in civilization).
I approach the Jesus material with something like Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy’s approach of separating the Jesus “diamonds/pearls” from the Christ teaching of Paul, what Jefferson called “the product of lesser minds”. It’s a simple project of distinguishing and separating good from bad, right from wrong, according to widely accepted standards of what is humane and inhumane today (i.e. what is embodied in human rights codes, constitutions, etc.).
I would argue that the historical Jesus material on non-retaliation, love of enemies, non-dominating service to others, free acceptance of failing others, etc.- all such principles/practises are aspects of the “no conditions love” that was his core message and ethic, an ideal that helps us navigate through life in the most humane way possible.
And, to the contrary, the Christ myth of Paul embraced some of the worst features of past narratives that re-enforced the inhumanity of our baser impulses- i.e. the features of tribal exclusion (true believers versus unbelievers), ultimate retaliation and punishment/destruction (punitive justice in this world along with after-life judgment and destruction), and servitude to a dominating cosmic Lord.
And yes, some better features were also included in Paul’s theology but those kinder and gentler features are too often distorted and buried by the darker features of the Christ myth. For example, love in Paul’s teaching is ultimately not love in its highest form- i.e. unconditional, nontribal. Paul’s God exhibits a highly conditional love that demands full payment for all wrongs, and punishment of wrong, before forgiveness is offered. The conditional nature of Paul’s version of divine love is most evident in the demand for the cosmic sacrifice of a godman (the Christ) to effect proper atonement. And the love of Paul’s God is a tribally limited love that separates true believers from unbelievers who are ultimately damned.
(Insert: Note in the New Testament lists of “sins” that render humans deserving of divine wrath and eternal damnation, such things as “boasting… lying… gossiping…” etc. As Paul states- all have sinned and deserve damnation.)
Add to the above condition of full payment for all imperfection, the condition of faith in Paul’s Christ gospel in order to be saved from the wrath of Paul’s God. And further promoting the worst of past narratives and inciting the worst of human impulses: Paul’s Christ myth emphasizes violence, as in the bloody death of Jesus, as the only solution to humanity’s greatest problem- human imperfection. That ideal of a God using violence to solve problems sets a dangerous precedent for humanity.
Psychologist Harold Ellens and psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo have both commented on this dangerous ideal of believing in a deity that uses violence to solve problems, what Lotufo calls “cruel God theory”. Lotufo quotes Ellens as follows:
“(The) metaphor of an angry God who cannot forgive unless appeased by a bloody sacrifice has been right at the center of the Master Story of the Western world for the last 2000 years. And the unavoidable consequence for the human mind is a strong tendency to use violence. With that kind of metaphor at our center, and associated with the essential behavior of God, how could we hold in the deep structure of our unconscious motivations any other notion of ultimate solutions to ultimate questions or crises than violence- human solutions that are equivalent to God’s kind of violence?” (“Cruel God, Kind God: How Images of God Shape Belief, Attitude, and Outlook”)
Like Jefferson and Tolstoy, I would strip away the Christ material to hold mainly the core message of Jesus as per passages like Luke 6:27-36. That offers some of the best human insight to constitute the core of a new narrative- truly humane ideals that takes us toward the most humane outcomes in life. Historical Jesus reframed the ultimate reality- deity- in terms of the ultimate ideal of “no conditions love”. There is no more humane, no better organizing center for a narrative than this.
Unconditional at the center of a truly human narrative, Wendell Krossa
In varied essays on this site I have urged the reshaping our basic meta-narrative (the overall big story that informs and guides our lives also embodied in our personal worldviews or stories). I have emphasized that the feature of unconditional is central to overturning the monster at the heart of old narratives (the weapon to slay the monster). Unconditional, as the core feature of a new narrative, takes us to the most humane conception of ultimate reality, the ultimate human ideal. Unconditional takes us to the height of the great human ideal of love. It takes us to the highest understanding of what goodness means- i.e. what goodness means in terms of becoming most authentically human or humane. There is nothing higher or more profound than unconditional to define goodness or love. Nothing better. Unconditional defines the ultimate of good.
Unconditional, as the most humane ideal ever conceived, takes human thought, emotion, motivation/intention, and response/behavior to its safest state and to the safest forms of expression in this world.
Unconditional, for example, urges us to rethink and reframe human justice systems in terms of restorative justice as opposed to punitive justice.
As always with justice issues, a qualifier comes immediately to the fore- This is not an advocacy for dogmatic pacifism as in “turn the other cheek”. That is simply not practical or desirable in our world with pathologies like psychopathy. Unconditional as an ultimate ideal is more about the practise of love as the intention, response, and action to treat all humanely despite our natural rage and even hatred of the inhumanity that is too often expressed by others. For example, those unable or unwilling to restrain their worst impulses to harm others must be incarcerated till they can better self-control their urges, and if not, then remain incarcerated, as the protection of innocent people is the highest priority in societies. Any form of love must never abandon common sense.
Additionally, suffering the full consequences of our actions is critical to human learning, development, and maturing. This includes taking responsibility for both the natural consequences and social consequences of our choices and behavior.
We become the heroes of our stories when we fight and win the great battle against evil that takes place primarily within us. I refer to Solzhenitsyn’s comment that the real line between good and evil runs down the center of every human heart.
More on site project:
Probing the nature of ultimate reality, and thereby understanding ultimate ideals/ultimate meaning. All essential to becoming authentically human. This project is a quest to answer the great question of- “What does it mean to be human?”, to probe the purpose of human existence- the why of it all.
The essays I will repost soon, present the argument that the foundational feature of “unconditional” in deity transforms human narratives entirely. The ideal of unconditional deity liberates human consciousness from primal fears, anxiety, and shame/guilt. An unconditional ultimate reality shapes human ethics around the most profoundly humane reality ever conceived to inspire and validate thought, emotion, motivation, and response/behavior. Further, unconditional overturns traditional justice systems, orienting us away from punitive justice and toward restorative justice. Overall, an unconditional approach toward people motivates us to develop toward a more humane existence.
All us have to answer for ourselves the most fundamental question of all- What does it mean to be human? What is the nature of ultimate good- the ultimate ideal- that will inspire truly human emotions, motivations, and behaviors?
Variations on this basic question include- What is the nature of authentic goodness or love? What is the real difference between human and inhuman, between right and wrong, between good and evil? How do we live as fully human in this often violent and hellish world? How do we maintain our own humanity in the face of offenses/evil from others?
Unconditional is a critical feature to answering these fundamental questions.
The essays that I will repost in coming days focus on the most important things that I would tell anyone about the meaning and purpose of life on Earth, and about what it means to be truly and fully human. These essays highlight the potent influence of foundational ideas, for good or bad, in human narratives across history (i.e. how bad ideas incite/validate our worst impulses, how good ideas inspire/validate our better impulses).
The essays go after the greatest monster of all- the gods of religious traditions that have long been defined by the monstrous features of (1) ultimate tribal exclusion (true believers favored, unbelievers rejected), (2) eternal separation from good, (3) ultimate domination (bowing eternally to some ultimate king/lord), (4) and ultimate judgment, punishment and destruction in hell (following the destruction of life on earth in an apocalypse).
These features underly other human fears and anxieties in life- i.e. the normal human fears of natural disaster, disease, and predatory cruelty that have always been exacerbated and intensified by myths of threatening deities behind such natural elements.
Unconditional overturns all such fears. Unconditional slays the monster gods at the core of human narratives and replaces that monstrosity with the supremely humane feature of ultimate goodness/love.
And some more on Declinism…
The ideology of 19th Century Declinism now dominates modern consciousness. Contemporary climate alarmism is an offspring of Declinism.
At the core of Declinism is the belief that life has degenerated from an original paradise toward something worse, and eventually life will collapse in some great ending/apocalypse.
Add here the former “scientific” version of Declinism that was expressed in beliefs that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics dominated the trajectory of the cosmos, and even biology. The fact of emerging and growing complexity and organization, in both the cosmos and life on Earth, challenged the theory of the 2nd Law as the dominating Force behind reality and life (dominating the trajectory of reality and life). As Julian Simon noted in Ultimate Resource, Stephen Hawking waffled back and forth on the dominance of the Second Law.
Another on the new narrative project…
The greatest problem humanity faces today is a severely pathological meta-narrative, the big public story that explains life to people. Watch how the themes of the reality-deforming narrative of “lost paradise/redemption” are beaten into public consciousness daily- i.e. the endless media panic-mongering over every out-of-the-norm weather event as portending disaster, death, and the end of life (“climate crisis”). That panic-mongering incites the intense fear and anxiety of the survival impulse- the desperation of people to just live.
It is a narrative that endlessly demonizes humans as corrupt destroyers- as a “virus or cancer on the Earth”. It claims that all we do is destructive of the once paradise world of “untouched nature without humans”. It claims, for example, that corrupt and greedy humanity, using too much energy, is responsible for all the life-threatening perturbations in weather occurring today.
I once took part in an online discussion group that included a scientist working with Natural Resources Canada or Environment Canada. He claimed that since the emergence of agriculture some 10,000 years ago, all that humans have done in changing nature since then has been destructive. While his was an extreme version “sinful humanity destroying paradise” mythology, many others hold some similar version of that myth, along the same spectrum of people demonized as destroyers.
I have presented abundant references, quotes, and summaries on this site that frame an entirely different narrative of life. A narrative that shows life to be something the very opposite to the dark narrative noted above. The true new narrative of life shows humanity to be for more creators than destroyers. It shows that our efforts to make life better have been wildly successful, especially over the last two centuries. We have improved the human condition immensely while at the same time taking better care of the natural world.
This improving trajectory of life is evident in many things…
The doubling of the human lifespan over the past century, with people becoming healthier ever later in life.
The 96% decline in deaths from climate-related disasters over the last century.
The amazing decline in poverty across the world.
The increase in forest cover worldwide, even with increasing population and spreading industrialization.
The amazing greening of the planet as the by-product of our use of fossil fuels (15% more green vegetation across the Earth over just the past half century).
The historically low levels of species extinction as compassionate people seek to save more and more species.
The attainment of “peak agriculture” where we are now returning more and more farmland back to nature as we have learned to increase crop production on less land.
Also, the “dematerialization” trend in our societies where we use less material inputs per person with further development.
And so much more… See for example, Humanprogress.org for more detail.
“They need encouragement, man”, Jordan Peterson
In the YouTube link just below is a good interview of Jordan Peterson by Piers Morgan.
Near the end, Peterson tears up when Morgan asks him why he defends young men. Peterson responds, as he similarly did on his Rogan interview (Joe Rogan Experience, Episode 1933 on Spotify), that young men just need encouragement because they are so demonized and beaten down today in varied ways, just for being men. They suffer all kinds of excessive and generalized abuse such as being damned for “toxic masculinity”, being part of the oppressive “patriarchy”, or being callously dismissed as “incels” (another too-broadly applied generalization), etc.
Peterson’s comments hit me hard, and I felt his empathic concern intensely.
Yes, like so many suffering under the varied forms of overly-generalized demonizing, hateful commentary of today… many young men just need encouragement. Hope. Love.
This site is an intentionally-driven project to encourage people (i.e. to say “Fear not”). I especially focus my fear-alleviating concern toward young people, offering encouragement in varied ways, such as with evidence-based hope that counters the alarmist narratives on the natural world- i.e. notably, challenging the “climate crisis” narrative and its panic-inciting end-of-life scenarios. Based on the best evidence available, we should confidently tell children that humanity is not destroying nature but, to the contrary, humanity is doing well in caring for the natural world as well as improving human well-being immensely in industrial civilization.
And on spiritual, metaphysical, philosophical issues- This site is about encouraging people with the most humane insights that we have discovered to counter the darker narrative themes that have long incited unnecessary fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, depression, resignation, and nihilism in populations. “Darker narrative themes” as in the varied versions of “threat theology”- i.e. angry, punitive Forces/Spirits such as the retaliatory gods of religious traditions, or the related “secular” versions of such deities as in “Angry Mother Earth, angry Planet, punitive Universe, payback karma, or vengeful Gaia”. These threatening realities still dominate the narratives of most people today.
Retaliating, punitive deities are the core ideas that sustain the entire complex of “lost paradise/redemption” mythologies. Yes, I acknowledge that the human ideals of love, mercy, forgiveness, etc. also define such deities. But my argument is that the darker features of such deities, in the larger contexts of religious holy books and belief systems, distort and bury the better features. This was also the point made by Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy- that the larger New Testament context of affirming Paul’s Christ myth buried the “diamonds/pearls” of Jesus’ teaching that is found in passages like Luke 6:27-36.
As part of the encouragement project, this site also challenges dogmatic materialist narratives that give ultimate explanatory status to entities like “Natural law” and conclude that the dominance of the material element in explaining reality thereby renders existence ultimately meaningless and purposeless. Natural law, and similar entities (e.g. the “Self-Organizing Principle”), as ultimate explanations for the existence and development of reality, especially when framed in terms of dogmatic “materialist philosophy”, leaves us anchorless in terms of meaning, left with only the cold cruelty of an uncaring reality that functions randomly, without meaning or purpose.
And yes, elements like randomness are part of reality. Randomness, or indeterminacy, is undeniably evident in reality and life, even at the quantum level. But note that philosophers, theologians, and others have offered helpful explanations that a feature like randomness plays a vital role in the fundamental freedom that is essential to human experience, learning, growth, and development. In other words, there are more encompassing “spiritual/metaphysical” explanations for such things that offer better alternatives to satisfy the human impulse for meaning, and don’t abandon us to meaninglessness or purposelessness (i.e. Stephen Weinberg’s “Pointless universe”).
This site offers encouragement in relation to the most foundational reality that human curiosity has probed over the millennia- the nature of ultimate reality or deity, the Source of all. The primal human impulse for meaning has always moved people to understand better this ultimate source of meaning- i.e. the metaphysical embodiment of human ideals. This site probes how the varied features attributed to that great reality influence human consciousness, understanding, feeling/emotion, motivation, and response/behavior.
To cut directly to the point- I have found no more profound feature to define deity than the feature of “no conditions” or “unconditional” love (Unconditional meaning- “Absolutely no conditions. None”). Unconditional embodies the highest understanding of good that we know.
Unconditional overturns and supplants the darkest and most damaging ideas in the narratives that we have inherited from mythical and religious traditions. Unconditional most potently liberates our consciousness and emotions from the “consciousness-deforming and personality-deforming” myths of metaphysical threat (Psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo in “Cruel God, Kind God”).
There is nothing more encouraging than this- to let your mind explore and toy with the insight that there is a transcendently wondrous love at the core of reality and life, an inexpressible unconditional love that not only awaits all of us at the end of life, but is incarnated right now within us all as the human spirit, the thing that inspires and motivates us to live humanely in this world, to work to make life better for ourselves and for others.
And that greater Consciousness that is unconditional love, is also our truest self. This ties to the insight that we are inseparably one with a greater Consciousness and therefore we share the nature of that creating Consciousness. We are not the “fallen, sinful, corrupted” beings that mythology and religion have always told us. We are not our inherited animal brains with their base impulses. And yes, the animal inheritance inside each of us is where the real “battle against evil” takes place in life (Solzhenitsyn’s point, again).
To borrow Jeffrey Schwartz’s book title- “We are not our brains”. That is, we are not the inherited animal part of our brain. We are something much better, in terms of our very core self, something that is defined most essentially in terms of unconditional love. Mull it over a bit. It’s a better explanation than much of what we have inherited from religious traditions. See if you find this encouraging.
Behind the veil of the material (the invisible surrounding, interpenetrating realms) there is not darkness but light. And a most wondrous kind of light. A light that is essentially love. That takes some of the sting out of death- if we can view death as a return, a transition back to our true home in the infinite and transcendent love that is at the core of reality (no conditions love being the core nature of the metaphysical or “spiritual” realm). I find that encouraging at a very deep level.
There are a lot of insights out there- whether material or philosophical/metaphysical/spiritual- to encourage people with. These insights offer better responses to the primal impulse for meaning than what past religious, or other, narratives have offered.
This theological comment/speculation goes to the very heart of the issue of encouragement. The NDE affirms the most profound insight of Historical Jesus.
Clarifying notes: As I similarly posed this question in my essay on “Historical Jesus versus the Christ myth”, why go after something that is held in such high esteem as the God of religious traditions. Because, while acknowledging that supreme reality, ideal, and authority does embrace some of the best features of human goodness- such as love, mercy, forgiveness, etc.- these features of deity are embedded in a larger complex of themes that distort and bury the better features.
I refer to the larger context of divine anger at human imperfection, divine retaliatory justice, punitive response to human imperfection, and ultimate exclusion and destruction (myths of apocalypse and hell). Note in this regard also one of the most persistent and destructive ideas ever conceived by human minds- i.e. that some punitive, destroying Force/Spirit works through the natural world to punish people for their “sins” (i.e. exhibits punishment through natural disaster, accident, disease, or predatory cruelty of others).
This was Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy’s argument regarding the diamonds of Jesus that were buried in the larger New Testament (NT) context of Paul’s Christ myth. The larger context distorted and buried the core themes of Historical Jesus- a person entirely different from the Christian “Jesus Christ” of the larger NT.
A critical point in my argument- despite the emergence and spread of modern era rationalism as in the scientific movement of the past centuries, primitive themes that originated with the earliest mythological traditions and were later embraced by great world religions, these themes continue to dominate human narratives today- in world religions and in so-called “secular/ideological” systems of belief, even in scientific systems of belief.
They are “archetypical” themes/ideas so deeply embedded in human consciousness/subconscious and narratives that it takes some intentional probing of our personal worldviews and larger public narratives, to delineate, confront, and eliminate or exchange such “Cruel God” features for more humane themes.
I tackle such things because of the horrific impact of such ideas across history in inciting and validating the worst of human impulses. People “become just like the God that they believe in”, just like the highest ideals and authorities that they believe in. Cruel God theories have long deformed human personalities and societies with unnecessary fear, anxiety, shame/guilt, resignation, fatalism, despair, depression, nihilism, and violence.
Sources? Again- see psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo’s “Cruel God, Kind God” or psychologist Harold Ellen’s “The destructive power of religion” or his “Honest Faith for Our Time”. Also, see Joseph Campbell’s comments that “we have been bred to one of the most brutal war mythologies of all time”, as in the biblical teaching regarding deity validating the slaughter of “enemies” (“Myths to Live By”, p.175).
Note also the above themes and their outcomes in terms of the “profoundly religious” climate alarm crusade of today, especially its society-destroying salvation scheme of decarbonization.
Another note: Deity is still humanity’s highest ideal and authority. Note the World Religion survey that found some 85% of humanity still affiliates with one of the world religions and most of the remaining 15% “unaffiliated” are still “spiritual but not religion. That is, they still hold beliefs in some punitive metaphysical Force/Spirit such as karma or Universe, etc.
You will never eliminate speculations on deity from the primal human impulse to meaning, notably the impulse for ultimate meaning and purpose. The better response is to fully humanize such a reality- purging it of subhuman features and projecting onto it the best of human insight from across the millennia. This is a project where the feature of unconditional will spell the end of conditional religion. But not to fear as the alternative- unconditional deity- is beyond liberating in its impacts on human consciousness, life, and society. Unconditional deity goes to the root causes of much unnecessary human suffering, mental and emotional suffering that originates from residual bad ideas in our narratives, ideas that have long distorted the nature of reality and what is happening in life.
Note: More on the shape of a new narrative… History’s most profound insight- i.e. that deity is not retaliatory, exclusionary, punitive, or destructive but is a stunningly inexpressible unconditional reality- this insight on unconditional is self-validating as true and right. We know of nothing better or more humane than unconditional love. There is no higher form of love. Unconditional as the highest good is a “self-validating” reality.
It is critical to project this insight onto humanity’s highest ideal and authority- deity- and thereby counter the baser features that continue to dominate this highest of human ideals and authorities, the ultimate reality in human narratives that still most potently motivates people for good or bad.
The NDE affirming the most profound insight of Historical Jesus
Do NDEs (Near-Death Experiences) offer some new insight into ultimate reality, and thereby contribute to a new narrative for humanity? I touch base with these experiences because they offer insights that are found nowhere else in “spiritual” traditions or religions.
The central discovery of the NDE movement is that deity is love. And not just love but love of a uniquely transcendent kind- i.e. unconditional love to an overwhelmingly and inexpressibly wondrous extent. NDE people state that the unconditional love of the Light or God is a love unlike anything we know. It is infinitely beyond and better than anything we can imagine or express in words. Absolutely inexpressible in its overwhelmingly blissful wonder.
And that discovery of the unconditional nature of God overturns most of what religion has told us about deity. All religious traditions have buried the true nature of God under endless religious conditions- i.e. Gods requiring conditions of right belief, demanding payment/sacrifice, and obligating followers to engage rituals and a unique religious lifestyle that identifies true believers. Conditions, conditions, and more damn conditions. No religion has ever communicated the wonder of a stunningly unconditional God to humanity.
Admittedly, in religions like Christianity, there is also love in deity but the feature of divine holiness takes precedence over love. The argument goes that because God is just and holy, he therefore demands that justice be properly fulfilled as in retaliatory, punitive justice. All wrongs must be punished fully first before God can properly forgive, accept, and fully love anyone. The upset balance of the cosmos must be restored with full payment/punishment for wrong. God cannot just forgive or just love without preconditions first being fulfilled. God cannot love freely as we are urged to do.
Retributive justice, as the only right and true kind of justice, has been beaten into human consciousness for millennia.
I frame the nature of that holiness feature in God as belonging to the same mentality and category as Islamic “honor killing” (on the same spectrum of offended holiness ideas). That belief and practise is based on the view that if someone’s honor has been wronged then there must be severe punishment of a wrongdoer in order for that offended holiness to be made right again. Too bad if it destroys family members, such as daughters for just wanting to be part of modern life.
This primitive thinking is also applied to God- that God has been dishonored by human wrong so a full atonement must be made. And because all the sins of humanity are an infinite offense to God, then the payment/sacrifice to appease God’s offended holiness must be equally infinite. Only the sacrifice of a godman- i.e. the Christ- will do the job.
Note also the Hebrews 9:25 statement that “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness”. That is biblical thinking. A violent death- i.e. shedding of blood- is the only solution acceptable to the holy deity of Christianity.
Much justice is viewed in such terms. There must be some form of eye-for-eye rebalancing of things when wrong has been done. If not here in this world by us, then ultimately by God. Paul stated that in Romans 12:17-20. “Don’t you repay anyone but leave room for God’s wrath… ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’”.
And the New Testament points repeatedly to the intense fury of deity toward wrong. Paul calls the attitude of deity toward wrong- the “wrath of God”. Revelation speaks of the Christ “trampling out the fury of God’s wrath”. Religious deity does not calmly look on human imperfection but feels intense outrage and fury. And yes, that is somewhat of a projection onto deity of what we naturally feel toward the horrific inhumanity of offenders- outrage, hatred even.
But then note the distortion in the New Testament lists of what enrages God, aside from murder and similar more serious offenses. The lists include “gossip, gluttony, lying, boasting, arrogance, disobedience, drinking, envy, jealousy, lust, swearing”, etc. Things common to every one of us. These items in the list are included to make sure that we get the point that “all have sinned” and deserve the furious wrath of God. Not even the best among us escapes wrath.
But something different is expected of us in our response to human imperfection. We are told that authentic love will not punish the offender. There should be no “eye for eye” retaliation toward offenders, but instead just we are urged to just “love the enemy” because God does. How so? God does not retaliate against enemies but instead shows the same acceptance, forgiveness, generosity, and love toward all people the same, toward both good and bad. Jesus said this was evident in the fact that sun and rain are freely given all alike. There is no discrimination with God. No exclusion of anyone. No punishing justice for the bad guys.
Historical Jesus advocated this same authentically humane love in Luke 6. He urged people to be better than those who lived by an eye-for-eye type existence. He stated that authentically humane love would just give and not demand debt payment, or an equal return of love, before love or generosity would be expressed. Authentic love would just heroically initiate love and generosity toward others no matter what their response might be. It was genuinely “free” love. Without conditions.
The same standard is intimated in I Cor. 13- i.e. that real love does not keep a record of wrongs. It just loves. It just forgives. If such are the highest expressions of love, then why do we assume that God is held to a lower standard of love than we are? Is God- i.e. ultimate Goodness- less humane than us?
So also the Prodigal Father is an illustration of the unconditional love of God. The Father exhibits no demand for payment or making things right first. He insists on just celebrating, accepting, forgiving, and loving the offender. The older son watching the father is the one who exhibits a traditional sense of offended holiness that demands proper fairness/justice. His attitude is more of- How can you just forgive, accept, and love without demanding proper justice first, and that restitution be made?
If the Prodigal Father exhibits the best of being human, and the best of human behavior, then why do we hold God to a lower standard than is expected of us? Did not Jesus intend for that character to illustrate what God is really like?
And as always, the qualifiers: A distinction must be made between an ultimate reality that is unconditional love and our imperfect ‘here and now’ world where consequences to all behavior are vital to human learning, development, and growth. Our societies would cease to function properly without all members taking full responsibility for natural and social consequences of their behavior. So though Jesus may have told us what God was like, that is not an advocacy for pacifism in this world.
The one takeaway would be that the non-retaliatory justice of Jesus would be an advocacy for restorative justice as opposed to punitive justice (as, for example, in the Danish restorative justice approach in their criminal justice system).
The NDEs, among historical “spiritual” movements, alone get this stunning new view of deity right. As one Catholic lady said after returning from her NDE (she had a degree in Christian theology), “There is only unconditional love. There is no judgment, no angry God, no hell. My Christian religion is all wrong”. An unconditionally loving God overturns all religious conditions entirely. Who needs religion if God is unconditional love?
Another NDEr said that the very essence of God, the “very atoms of God”, are unconditional love. That means that the love that is deity is a more basic or fundamental reality than energy, quantum fields, light, or whatever else we may have considered to be the most fundamental reality of all. If God is that kind of love, then that love is the most foundational of all realities.
Some suggest that consciousness is most fundamental and creates all else. The NDE insight then argues that more than just consciousness it would be more correct to suggest that a transcendently divine “Consciousness as love” is the most basic, most real thing of all. And consider- this love is also at our core as we are “One with That”. As Hindus say- “I am that” (Atman is Brahman). Such love is our true self, the real us. It defines us more truly than our inherited animal brain with its base impulses (“You are not your brain”, Jeffrey Schwartz).
There is a lot to explore here in relation to a new narrative.
It is a challenging thought to consider, that at the core of reality, beyond the limited dimensions of our material realm, at the level of the most foundational reality of all, there is a love beyond comprehension in its “no conditions” nature. Love that is a multi-faceted reality encompassing all the very best ideals that humans have imagined across history- ideals of full acceptance, unlimited generosity, and inexpressible peace, beauty, and bliss. We get some intimations of such reality in the stories that we hear of people in this life forgiving enemies for horrific wrongs, of loving enemies (The Forgiven, The Railway Man, To End All Wars, the Mandela story, etc.). The Prodigal Father and Luke 6 passages also point to this same reality of no conditions love. Its not just something recently discovered in the Near-Death Experience movement. Its as old as the Historical Jesus insight on a “stunningly non-retaliatory deity” (James Robinson). An insight that was buried by Christianity a generation later when Paul’s Christ myth became the dominant theme of the emerging Christian religion.
Marinate on it a bit- What if the true glory of God is not holiness as portrayed in the Old Testament or Revelation but is something like the unconditional love of the Prodigal Father or the “love enemies” ethic of Jesus? That is the true light that emanates from God.
It’s a thought-provoking insight to consider as a truly humane ideal, an ultimate ideal. Also consider how such an insight takes the sting out of death. Long central to human mythology is that death was first instituted as a punishment for human sinfulness. Adding to natural human fear of death were myths of after-life harm in threats of divine judgment, exclusion (unbelievers rejected), and punishing destruction (i.e. hell).
From Wattsupwiththat.com, Jan. 29, 2023 by Andy May- “The Climate Alarmist’s Greatest Fear” (further links and sources included in the original article). See…
“Is it just me, or are the climate alarmists more unhinged than usual lately? Al Gore screaming about “boiling oceans and rain bombs” is just part of it. As Eric Worral has reported, the BBC blamed global warming for the lack of snow, just after they blamed global warming for colder winters. And, who can forget John Kerry’s World War 2 style mobilization to fight a possible man-made climate change disaster? What disaster? There is no observational evidence today that human activities are causing any climate-related problems and there is considerable evidence that warming and additional CO2 have been beneficial since the so-called “pre-industrial” era.
“Could they be worried that global warming is slowing down? Are we entering another hiatus or pause in warming (horrors!)? Talk about in-your-face humiliation. They didn’t predict the first “Pause” from 1998-2014, if they miss another one, how does that look? Certainly, CO2 is marching on at a steady pace, as shown in Figure 1. No slowdown there.
“If the atmospheric CO2 concentration continues to increase as it has in recent years, it will be 438 ppm in 2032, what if there is no warming, or very little warming, between now and then? How does that look?
“We will remember that the first pause occurred after the 1998 super El Nino. The 1998 Niño marked the beginning of a major climate shift that resulted in the Pause in global warming. This is logical, El Niño’s are nature’s way of expelling excess heat from the ocean to the atmosphere so it can be radiated to space. El Niños temporarily warm Earth’s surface but have a long-term cooling effect…
“After the 1997-1998 Niño, we had rapid atmospheric warming as heat was transferred from the ocean to the atmosphere. Then, through meridional transport the heat was moved from the tropics to the higher latitudes and altitudes and expelled to space. This caused the world to cool for a period. Then we had another large El Niño in 2015-2016 and the atmosphere warmed again, only to settle into a new cooling phase…
“Solar activity probably ultimately drives long-term climate change, but in the shorter term, the solar effect is obscured by changes in the meridional transport of energy, which has a lot of drivers. It is the strength of this meridional transport that directly causes global climate changes and the energy it transports provides the energy to change the climate. Variations in solar activity only trigger the changes. Other important factors in natural climate change are climate system inertia, internal ocean variability, and changes in stratospheric ozone and winds. In the very long term, changes in Earth’s orbit play a role.
“So, a warning to Al Gore, John Kerry, and the BBC. You need to realize that your now 50-year-old very out-of-date hypothesis that humans dominate climate change through fossil fuel emissions and other human activities is becoming less likely with time. It has not escaped our notice that the IPCC has published 47 reports on the possible dangers of man-made climate change over the past 32 years, and yet polls suggest the public is not convinced climate change is a priority. The next ten years will test your climate change ideas, and the result may not be pretty.”