Summary facts to counter climate alarmism narratives;
The real enemy of humanity, the real hero’s quest to slay a monster- the monstrous mythology of apocalyptic declinism;
Core themes of lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption mythology (the ideas and impulses);
Patterns in apocalyptic alarmism movements;
Did you really leave your religion? (The endless regurgitation of mythical themes in newer “secular/ideological” versions);
The true state of life on earth- data on main indicators;
“The more we learn about climate (i.e. natural cycles of constant change, the dominant and complex influence of natural factors, the limited role of CO2 (the actual proven physics of CO2), the larger paleoclimate context, etc.), the less susceptible we will be to alarmist hysteria over natural climate change”, Wendell Krossa.
General site project– Go after and counter the core themes/myths of alarmism narratives from across history- i.e. the “lost paradise/redemption” complex of primitive myths. Particularly, counter the latest historical eruption of this “apocalyptic/millennial” complex- i.e. the “profoundly religious” climate alarmism crusade.
New from below: Read this as if your life depended on it, because it does. This is where governing elites are taking countries- back to dangerous primitivism (“de-development”). They are doing this without public debate, not permitting democratic choice. Politicians and other elites (scientific, entertainment), now possessed with hysteria over a narrative of looming apocalypse, have dismissed the democratic process to coercively enforce their vision of Green salvation on all others. Net Zero decarbonization has all the features of just another historical eruption of a “madness of crowds” episode.
Consequent to decarbonization, the only real decline in life is the decline in human standards of living.
From Tilak Doshi, “Luxury Beliefs And Energy Policy: The Fatal Conceit”, Forbes, April 16, 2023
Quotes: (see below…)
“Decarbonization, Net Zero, de-development…”. Here’s what it means…. A return to primitivism, collectivism, and the consequent totalitarianism of alarmism crusades.
The very best climate science reports and news:
Climate facts before moving into the commentary further below (i.e. “The human meaning impulse and the consequent creation of the pathology of “lost paradise/redemption” mythologies, and the horrific influence of such myth on human lives and societies”)….
Summary facts to counter the climate alarmism narrative:
Contrary to endless media exaggeration, distortion of the true state of things, and outright lying- Storms, floods, heatwaves, droughts, tornadoes, wildfires are not becoming more frequent and intense. In some cases, they are declining in frequency and intensity (see links below). More people are not dying from climate change but, to the contrary, there has been a 95% decrease in climate-related deaths over the past century. The fact that ought to concern us all is that 10 times more people still die from cold every year, than die from warmth (Lancet study in Lomborg report below). Our still abnormally cold world (we are still at the coldest period of our Holocene interglacial) is the far greater threat to life. Yes, our current world is cold compared to the Phanerozoic history of life when average world temperatures were 3-6 degrees C warmer than today and all life thrived.
Sea level rise remains at the same slow rate of most of our Holocene interglacial. Ocean islands are not disappearing but, contrary to alarmism narratives, most have actually increased in size https://wattsupwiththat.com/2023/04/15/tropical-paradise-islands-are-not-sinking-and-shrinkingmost-are-in-fact-growing/. Polar bears are not endangered as populations have increased and flourished significantly over the past half century. The Great Barrier Reef is doing fine.
This is all to say- there is no “climate crisis/emergency”. And the common sense conclusion from the evidence- There is no sound scientific reason to tax carbon or decarbonize our societies.
And much more at the linked sites above (“very best climate science reports and news”)…
All to say- Stop kowtowing to the climate alarmism narrative and crusade. End the mindless affirming of its false assumptions and exaggerations/lies. Yes, climate is changing. Yes, the world has warmed a mild 1 degree C over the past century. Yes, CO2 has a small warming effect/influence. No one denies such facts.
Climate has always changed in cyclical patterns that are explained mainly by varied natural factors. And the mild warming of the past few centuries has been significantly beneficial to all life in our sub-optimally cold world where far more people die every year from cold than die from warmth. Life would benefit even more from a further 3-6 degrees C warming that was the average during most of the Phanerozoic era (last 500 million years) when all life emerged, developed, and flourished. Yes, you heard that right. That much warmer world was the “original paradise” that life has lost. (See the research on the Eocene warm period- “the golden age of mammals”- by Donald Prothero, “The Eocene-Oligocene Transition: Paradise Lost”)
These facts need to be stated bluntly to jolt alarmists back to common sense and to counter the hysterical exaggeration and distortion of the alarmist claim that another 1-2 degrees C warming pushes life toward purported catastrophe, collapse, and ending. That is absolute ‘Alice in Wonderland’ upside-down nonsense.
Extra heat radiation coming into the tropics does not cause already warm tropical areas to “ignite on fire and fry”. Contrary to Al Gore’s hysterical claim that the “oceans will boil”, tropical temperatures have remained “remarkably stable” over paleoclimate history, even when average world temperatures were 10 degrees C warmer than today. This “equable climate” issue confounds climate alarmists and points to negative feedbacks that keep climate within a range that is beneficial to life.
Extra tropical heat is transported (“meridional transport”) to the colder regions of earth to even out climate across the world (“Sun-Climate Effect: Winter Gatekeeper hypothesis” https://co2coalition.org/2022/08/09/the-sun-climate-effect-the-winter-gatekeeper-hypothesis-part-i/. See all the reports in this excellent series on the complex of natural factors that influence climate change).
That spread of warming to the colder areas of the world is beneficial to all life with extended habitats for more diverse life forms and increased agricultural production for humanity. Further global warming brings life-saving benefits as far more lives are saved from cold deaths than are lost from any increased deaths due to warming.
Add that the small rise in CO2 over the past century or so has resulted in the addition of 15% more green vegetation to the Earth since 1980 (meaning- much more food for animals across the world). And current CO2 levels are still far below the multiple thousands of ppm that were the average over the past history of life. The doubling of CO2 from 400 to 800 ppm would take about 200 years at the current rise of about 2 ppm per year. Climate physicists tell us this increase in CO2 levels “might” contribute to a further mild increase in warming. “Might” is the key word here. Because varied other natural influences on climate have always shown stronger correlations to climate change. Other natural factors consistently overwhelm the small CO2 influence.
The “physics of CO2” is the key issue in the climate debate and that evidence affirms that there is no climate crisis and hence no sound reason to tax carbon or decarbonize our societies.
Now back to going after the real enemy of all humanity, back to the real hero’s quest to conquer a monster…
Many who self-identify as “materialist/atheist” still feel the same primary impulse for meaning as everyone else. And not surprisingly, they then resort to the same old themes of all past mythology/religion to satiate that impulse. The narratives that they subsequently create and propagate, such as the underlying narrative of the “profoundly religious” movement of climate alarmism, show that they affirm the same old themes of “lost paradise/redemption” mythologies that all the rest of the human family have long believed. There is nothing really new under the sun. (Careful to not miss the point in this argument- terms change across history and from movement to movement, but the core themes remain the same old.)
Joseph Campbell nailed it in stating that all people have embraced the same primitive myths all across history and across all the cultures of the world. This fact points to those deeply embedded “archetypes” that have dominated human minds since the beginning and continue to shape both religious and “secular/ideological” belief systems today. We’re talking about hard-to-root-out stuff. Deeply rooted weeds. You pinch them off at the ground level and they resprout again and again. The roots of the old archetypal ideas/myths go deep into human subconscious.
Here’s the issue that I am pointing to-
Try to imagine, try to calculate the harm and destruction over history that has been incited by the worst human impulses, notably, (1) tribal exclusion of differing others, (2) domination of weaker others, (3) destruction of “enemies”, and then carefully note the ideas/myths that have endlessly validated these impulses to harm others. (Note: Here I repeat my ‘oversimplified’ definition of “archetypes”- i.e. inherited impulses and the ideas/myths that people create to affirm and validate the impulses.)
Look at the dominant narratives from across history. We have so much good research today on the most destructive ideas in our narratives that have incited the impulse to harm others, that have ruined lives and societies, that have caused incalculable suffering and death by inciting and validating bad behavior. The stunning realization from historical research is that so many of these ideas still dominate our meta-narratives and personal worldviews today.
What themes dominate your worldview and mind? I think I know. And yes, most of us find admirable ways to counter our worst impulses. We find alternative ideas/beliefs that help us to rethink our worst impulses, ideas/beliefs that affirm our better angels.
Drawing on varied meta-narratives and insights from the public realm, we create our own personal belief systems/worldviews that help us to navigate the darker parts of life, to avoid harming others, and to become better persons. Pat yourself on the back for your success is doing such.
Arthur Herman (“The Idea of Decline in Western History”) states that the most dominant theme in the world today is the theme of “decline”- i.e. the mythical idea that the world or life is becoming worse. Add here Arthur Mendel’s comment that apocalyptic has been the most violent and destructive idea in history (“Vision and Violence”).
While affirming Herman’s general comment, I would add that, more than just decline, a larger complex of tightly-related themes dominate most human narratives/consciousness today. My correlating evidence on this is from studies on the historical emergence and development of myths/religious beliefs (Campbell, Eliade, and many others), studies on the emergence and development of later historical ideological belief systems (e.g. Herman’s study on Declinism), world surveys on human worldviews and outlook (e.g. YouGov survey in “Ten Global Trends”), world religion surveys (pewresearch.org- the survey on the percentage of the human population affiliated with major religions), prominent Hollywood movie themes (public story-telling themes/trends), common media commentary and narratives, the widespread acceptance of the climate alarmism narrative by governments across the world (and related widespread embrace of Net Zero decarbonization), etc.
Just note, for example, that 85% of humanity affiliate with a world religion and that the “lost paradise/redemption” complex of ideas dominates the belief systems of these religious traditions. And yes, the themes of this complex also dominate Eastern religious traditions like Hinduism with its belief in cyclical patterns of decline toward catastrophic ending. See for example… https://www.crhsd.org/cms/lib/NJ01912642/Centricity/Domain/124/How-the-World-27s-Religions-View-Apocalypticism.pdf
But, here I am stirring embers of hope, we have the potent counter to these apocalyptic decline narratives of despair. We have the new themes for an entirely different and liberating narrative of hope.
For starters, research on “Historical Jesus” (i.e. “Q Wisdom Sayings” gospel) overturns Paul’s apocalyptic Christ myth that has been mainly responsible for affirming “lost paradise/redemption” narratives in the contemporary world. Paul’s apocalyptic Christ myth has shaped the Declinism narratives in both religious and secular versions. The apocalyptic Christ of Paul has been mainly responsible for re-enforcing the pathology of apocalyptic Declinism in Western societies.
“The most compelling myth [the Christ myth] in the history of mankind”, Hyam Maccoby.
And this from https://clas.charlotte.edu/node/123
“The Apostle Paul is the single most influential figure in human history, suggests University of North Carolina Charlotte Religious Studies Professor James Tabor in his latest book, Paul and Jesus How the Apostle Transformed Christianity. Tabor argues that Paul has done more to shape all we think about almost everything than anyone else. In terms of influence, Paul trumps even the great “founders,” whether Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, or Mohammed.”
If the central message of Historical Jesus had not been buried by Paul’s Christ myth, then we would have had entirely different meta-narrative themes to guide our lives and societies. If early Christians had instead chosen to promote the non-retaliatory, no conditions theology of Jesus, then Christianity, over the past two millennia, would have promoted a powerful alternative to the retaliatory theology of apocalyptic Declinism. Apocalyptic Declinism would not have become the dominant theme in Western narratives and consciousness.
The main themes where Historical Jesus differed entirely from Paul’s Christology:
Jesus taught a non-retaliatory God in stating that there should be no more eye for eye retaliation but instead we should love our enemies because God does (Matthew 5, Luke 6). Paul later rejected that “stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory deity” and instead re-affirmed the entirely opposite theology of divine vengeance by quoting an Old Testament passage- “’Vengeance is mine, I will repay’, says the Lord” (Romans 12).
The conclusion from the Jesus insight is straightforward: If Jesus was right that God was non-retaliatory, then God will not engage the ultimate act of retaliation that is the apocalyptic punishment of humanity and destruction of the world. A non-retaliatory God is a non-apocalyptic God. Rejecting eye for eye retaliatory justice means that there will be no apocalypse.
And Jesus, in the tradition of Old Testament prophets (e.g. Micah, Hosea), also rejected sacrifice as necessary to pay for sin and attain forgiveness/salvation. Jesus actually died for protesting the sacrifice industry (see Bob Brinsmead research in sections below). Paul, to the contrary, rejected the anti-sacrifice stance of Jesus and, entirely contradicting Jesus’ message, turned him into the ultimate sacrifice to pay for sin and attain salvation.
The overarching message of Historical Jesus (note the contrast with Christian “Jesus Christ”) was that God was an unconditional reality. God did not demand sacrifice or any payment for sin. With an unconditional God forgiveness was free. An unconditional God would also not demand some purging of the world (violent apocalypse). There is nothing of such an unconditional deity in Paul’s Christ myth and highly conditional salvationism with its related religious conditions. The unconditional theology of Jesus was entirely contrary to the highly conditional nature of Paul’s Christianity.
On the secular side…
And then note Julian Simon’s great work on the amassed evidence that shows that life has over the long-term been improving, not declining to something worse.
All this and more overturns the lost paradise/redemption mythology and provides us with the alternative themes for an entirely new narrative, a story that liberates our consciousness from fear, anxiety, guilt/shame, despair, depression, and violence, and orients us to a soundly evidence-based hope.
First, understand the outline of what is wrong. Try to get a good grasp on the core themes of the greatest pathology to have infected human consciousness across history- the “lost paradise/redemption” or “apocalyptic millennialism” complexes of ideas. That provides a baseline from which to evaluate meta-narrative ideas today, especially in their “secular” versions.
The project here to re-evaluate fundamental narrative themes is very much about the latest, greatest stage of human liberation, a liberation that takes place at the depths of human consciousness/subconscious, at the level of the deeply embedded archetypes. This project is about the liberation of human thought/outlook, emotions, motivations, and responses/behaviors, a liberation to live as authentically human.
This project is my “cognitive therapy” approach to bad thinking. I offer here a complete set of new alternative ideas to shape narratives, themes that are oriented to humane reality, to hope and love. Themes that affirm the fundamental goodness of all people. Themes that counter the anti-humanism of old narratives and reorient human identity entirely toward essential human goodness.
I have posted lists of such themes in sections below, variously titled: “Explaining reality and life: The worst and best ideas that we have come up with”, or “Inherited bad myths and better alternatives”, and “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives”.
If it helps soften the ‘ouchy’ impact of the argument here- My comment on varied theological and spiritual issues is not an affirmation of atheism. Further, my comment is not a wholesale rejection of the Christian tradition. I am more concerned with making a clear distinction between the actual teaching and message of Historical Jesus (i.e. the “Q Wisdom Sayings” gospel) as contrasted with the distortion of Jesus that has occurred in Paul’s Christology that dominates the New Testament. This is what Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy argued when they stated that the “diamonds/pearls” of Jesus were buried in the New Testament’s overall teaching on Paul’s Christ. Context shapes all.
First, a reposting of comments from psychologist Harold Ellens and psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo regarding their work on the influence of bad religious ideas on human personality and society. Again, my point here is that the fundamental themes of primitive mythologies have not faded from human narratives and consciousness today but continue in the great world religions and have also been given new embodiment in so-called “secular/ideological” versions as in the climate alarmism crusade. The old themes still impact our consciousness, lives, and societies.
Comments from psychotherapist/theologian Zenon Lotufo (quoting psychologist/theologian Harold Ellens) on how images/beliefs, notably images of ultimate reality and ideals, like deity, how such images influence human consciousness, emotion, motivation, and response/behavior in daily life. Both men affiliated with the Christian tradition. Ellens was a US Army chaplain. There is no throwing stones from without.
Quotes from Lotufo’s book “Cruel God, Kind God”
The Introduction states that, among others, “(Lotufo) explores the interface of psychology, religion, and spirituality at the operational level of daily human experience… (this is of the) highest urgency today when religious motivation seems to be playing an increasing role, constructively and destructively, in the arena of social ethics, national politics, and world affairs…”
My insert: The destructive outcomes of “religious motivation” are notable also in terms of the “profoundly religious” climate alarmism crusade and its destructive “salvation” scheme of Net Zero decarbonization (“save the world”), as evident in the spreading harm, from Net Zero and renewables zealotry, in societies like Germany, Britain, and California. Climate alarmism exhibits the same old themes and destructive outcomes of all past apocalyptic crusades.
Lotufo then notes “the pathological nature of mainstream orthodox theology and popular religious ideation”.
He says, “One type of religiosity is entirely built around the assumption or basic belief, and correspondent fear, that God is cruel or even sadistic… The associated metaphors to this image are ‘monarch’ and ‘judge’. Its distinctive doctrine is ‘penal satisfaction’. I call it ‘Cruel God Christianity’… Its consequences are fear, guilt, shame, and impoverished personalities. All these things are fully coherent with and dependent on a cruel and vengeful God image…
“(This image results) in the inhibition of the full development of personality… The doctrine of penal satisfaction implies an image of God as wrathful and vengeful, resulting in exposing God’s followers to guilt, shame, and resentment… These ideas permeate Western culture and inevitably influence those who live in this culture…
“Beliefs do exert much more influence over our lives than simple ideas… ideas can also, in the psychological sphere, generate ‘dynamis’, or mobilize energy… (they) may result, for instance, in fanaticism and violence, or… may also produce anxiety and inhibitions that hinder the full manifestation of the capacities of a person…
“The image of God can be seen as a basic belief or scheme, and as such it is never questioned…
“Basic cultural beliefs are so important, especially in a dominant widespread culture, because they have the same properties as individual basic beliefs, that is, they are not perceived as questionable. The reader may object that “God”, considered a basic belief in our culture, is rejected or questioned by a large number of people today. Yet the fact is that the idea of God that those people reject is almost never questioned. In other words, their critique assumes there is no alternative way of conceiving God except the one that they perceive through the lens of their culture. So, taking into account the kind of image of God that prevails in Western culture- a ‘monster God’… such rejection is understandable…
“There is in Western culture a psychological archetype, a metaphor that has to do with the image of a violent and wrathful God. Crystallized in Anselm’s juridical atonement theory, this image represents God sufficiently disturbed by the sinfulness of humanity that God had only two options: destroy us or substitute a sacrifice to pay for our sins. He did the latter. He killed Christ.
“Ellens goes on by stating that the crucifixion, a hugely violent act of infanticide or child sacrifice, has been disguised by Christian conservative theologians as a ‘remarkable act of grace’. Such a 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 2,000 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 possibly 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’…
“Hence, in our culture we have a powerful element that impels us to violence, a Cruel God Image… that also contributes to guilt, shame, and the impoverishment of personality…”.
As Harold Ellens says, “If your God uses force, then so may you, to get your way against your ‘enemies’”.
Add also that the themes of (1) tribalism (true believers favored and “saved”, versus unbelievers who are rejected and destroyed), (2) domination (deity as dominating Lord, Ruler, King), and (3) ultimate violent destruction of the differing others (apocalypse, hell)… such themes, sacralized in deity as ultimate ideals and authority, then serve to re-enforce the same features in the adherents to such belief systems.
Further reposting of previous comment (revised, updated):
The core themes of lost paradise/redemption mythology that dominate world religions and also dominate contemporary “secular/ideological” systems of belief like Declinism (the most dominant and influential theme today). These core themes now dominate offspring movements like climate alarmism. Wendell Krossa
A ‘quickie’ summary for visitors on the run.
The core themes of the “lost paradise/redemption” complex of myths are evident in the earliest human writing (i.e. scattered in the Sumerian mythologies, later more formalized in Zoroastrian theology). These themes have subsequently dominated human narratives across history in varied religious traditions and are now found in the modern world in “secular/ideological” versions.
The core themes of human narratives vary little across history. We repeatedly get the “same old, same old”, world without end. Young moderns self-identifying as “materialist”, even atheist, also mouth these very same themes, notably in “profoundly religious” movements like climate alarmism. The lost paradise/redemption complex of ideas are the basic themes of apocalyptic Declinism, the “most influential and dominant theme in the modern world” (i.e. life declining toward something worse, toward collapse and ending). Note: Try to find a contemporary public story (i.e. Hollywood movie) that does not affirm some form of apocalypse as true and inevitable.
Get this point that in contemporary versions, primitive myths have been given new “secular/ideological” expression for the modern era. The terms may change but the core ideas/themes remain the same. Campbell nailed it in stating that “the same primitive mythical themes have been believed all across history and across all the culture of the world”. This speaks to the issue of deeply embedded “archetypes”, subconscious things that keep re-emerging in meta-narratives generation after generation. It helps understand why people keep falling for the same old scams again and again, despite the horrifically destructive outcomes.
Many people simply respond to narratives like climate alarmism at an intuitive, emotional level as unquestioningly “true”. Apocalyptic declinism narratives just “feel right and true”. That is how subconscious archetypes work on human minds, emotions, motivations, and responses. This also explains the widespread tendency to “confirmation bias”- the tendency to select data that affirms our personal beliefs and to ignore or discredit contrary data. We have a hard time letting go of beliefs that meet deeply felt needs.
(Archetype- “model, ideal, original, pilot, prototype, pattern, standard, classic exemplar, classic, representative, forerunner, epitome, prime example, etc.”)
Re-evaluate your personal worldview to see if it is really as “scientific” as you have assumed. Perhaps your worldview contains more primitive mythological themes than you might like to admit. The “lost paradise/redemption” or “apocalyptic millennial” complexes provide a baseline of comparative ideas against which to evaluate your own views.
Also worthwhile is the project to try to understand why we hold certain themes in our personal narratives. What “emotional” needs do our beliefs meet? What fears are we responding to, and what incites those fears? What sense of guilt are we trying to assuage, and what is that guilt actually based on? Much contemporary human shame/guilt is based on the long-ago embedded fallacies of human fall from original purity into sinfulness/corruption, human guilt for ruining an original paradise and sending life into decline toward worse, and consequent human responsibility to make some sacrifice, to endure some form of suffering as redemptive, in order to “save the world” and restore an imagined lost paradise. The myths that have long incited such deeply embedded guilt are entirely false.
Here is more of the “lost paradise/redemption” complex that is further detailed below:
There was a better past (i.e. original wilderness paradise world), but early people “sinned” (degenerated into something worse) and ruined paradise. Life- now cursed by God- then began to decline toward something worse, toward collapse and ending, even toward the ultimate catastrophe of apocalypse. That threat of collapse and ending is the ultimate punishment for human sins. A sacrifice must now be made to pay for sin, and suffering must be embraced as part of the “redemptive” process. Self-punitive suffering today will involve giving up the good life for a return to the “morally superior” simple life, a return to primitivism (“de-development”). This general felt need to embrace self-punishment as payment for personal failure is more common than many imagine.
There must also be a violent purging of some purported evil threat to life (i.e. CO2 has been demonized as a “pollutant/poison” that threatens life today). Further, affirming the myth of cosmic dualism, people must heroically engage a righteous battle against some evil threat or enemy. Overall, industrial civilization has been demonized as the “evil” that destroys the paradise wilderness world (CO2 is the identity marker of this larger evil threat). With atonement and purging accomplished, people are then offered the hope of salvation in the restoration of the lost paradise, or the installation of a new utopia/millennium (i.e. a “fossil fuel-free” world).
The above points are not my thinking and research alone. Good historians have traced these themes in past apocalyptic movements like Marxism and Nazism, and these themes are also evident now in environmental alarmism (see, for example, Arthur Herman’s “The Idea of Decline in Western History”, Richard Landes’ “Heaven On Earth”, Arthur Mendel’s “Vision and Violence”, and David Redles’ “Hitler’s Millennial Reich”, among others).
One book alone overturns entirely the above complex of apocalyptic declinism themes- i.e. Julian Simon’s “Ultimate Resource”. Many others now offer the same evidence. Just as the one central insight of Historical Jesus on non-retaliatory, unconditional deity (anti-sacrifice) overturns the Christian version of the above “lost paradise/redemption” complex (i.e. the Jesus insights overturn Paul’s Christ myth).
We know today that there was no original paradise and life is not declining toward something worse. To the contrary, due to the creative input from human minds, life has been rising toward something ever better than before. So also, no sacrifice is necessary to appease some imagined metaphysical threat. And no violent purging is required to save life, but rather, our “salvation” is to be found in contributing to the long-term “gradualism” of improving life (Mendel in “Vision and Violence”). That is the only “salvation” that we need to embrace. We will never attain utopia, but we can continue to make life ever better over the long term, just as we have successfully done over past centuries.
The impulses and ideas that dominate human consciousness and life (a revised, updated reposting of the longer version of the “Lost paradise/redemption” complex of myths). Wendell Krossa
Subtitles: How to understand human thinking, feeling, motivation, response, and behavior today. The dominant themes of our narratives/worldviews and how they influence us.
(Useful definitions of Archetype: model, ideal, original, pilot, prototype, pattern, standard, classic exemplar, classic, representative, forerunner, epitome, prime example, etc. I would suggest that archetype has to do with our inherited animal impulses and the ideas/myths that our ancestors created to explain and validate these primitive impulses, notably the impulses to tribalism, to domination of others, and to predatory destruction of others. The ancients created the lost paradise/redemption complex to explain and validate some of our worst impulses. They tried their best to deal with the world that they lived in and the state of their consciousness at that primitive time.)
A prominent example to illustrate where I am going with this…
Climate alarmism is a “profoundly religious movement” with a consequent salvation crusade that is proving highly destructive of Western societies (i.e. Net Zero decarbonization). The “save the world” crusade of climate alarmism is being dogmatically and zealously pushed by elites (politicians, scientists, celebrities, others)- the people who control public narratives and consequently use state coercion to push policy applications that impact all of us, policies that consequently harm the most vulnerable people the most.
In the Tubi series “Architects of Darkness” Season 1, Episode 2, the narrator tries to explain what drove Hitler’s associates to engage mass-death madness. He notes that they let themselves become possessed by an ideology that placed the state’s vision above the needs of real people. Their loyalty to their state ideology then enabled them to inflict evil on others. Their ideology placed the goals of a regime above the lives of actual human beings.
Bob Brinsmead has often spoken of how dangerous people become when they place their loyalty in something above people- in some law, religion, political ideology, nation state, or whatever. Loyalty to that thing that is placed above or before real people, then results in the neglect or harm of real people.
As the Tubi narrator says, “Government enchanted by its own vision of what the future should look like turned the present into an unimaginable hell for countless victims”.
The narrator concludes how loyalty to some ideology incites evil in our hearts by quoting Solzhenitsyn, “The line between good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties, but right through every human heart and through all human hearts”.
“Enlightened elites” have always believed that they have been called to heroically engage righteous battles against evil, and that they know what is best for all others. And consequent to their unquestioning belief in the urgency of their cause (i.e. saving their world from an imagined “imminent” apocalypse) they will justify the need for violent crushing of any dissent or opposition to their crusades. Dissent from their orthodoxy is labelled “dangerous and life threatening”. The outcomes of such arrogant self-righteousness have cost hundreds of millions of people their lives. Remember the 100 million who died last century due to the forced collectivization of societies under the enlightened guidance of Socialist elites in China and Russia, and elsewhere (Cambodia, etc.). The same outcomes are becoming distressingly evident again today with the resurgence of the coercive collectivism that is being exhibited through the environmental movement and its attacks on industrial civilization, and the undermining of individual freedoms and rights (i.e. abandoning and overturning the principles and practises of Classic Liberalism).
Back to the “impulses and ideas” theme of this article…
All mythological/religious movements have embraced a similar complex of ideas/themes and this is evident in the earliest human writing. Very little changes across human history as these themes have become hardwired in human subconscious as “archetypes”. And today, the most primitive of past ideas have now been given expression, not just in the world religions, but also in the dominant secular/ideological systems of our world, like Declinism and its offspring- environmental alarmism/climate alarmism. (Source: Arthur Herman- “The Idea of Decline in Western History”)
The line of historical descent of ideas runs from primitive mythology to world religions to ideological belief systems, and even to the “scientific” belief systems of the modern world. Its always the same old, same old. As Joseph Campbell stated, the same primitive myths have been embraced all across history and across all the cultures of the world.
I repeatedly post lists of these themes on this site because they are most fundamental to what is wrong in our world today. And we have good alternatives now to take human consciousness and life in a better direction, toward a more rational and humane future. We do not have to continue suffering under the old mythologies that have caused/contributed to so much misery across history in unnecessary additional fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, resignation, fatalism, despair, depression, nihilism, and violence. We can now embrace the ultimate human liberation- freedom from ideas that have long distorted reality and life and that have long incited our worst impulses. We have alternatives to inspire the better angels of our nature, alternatives that inspire our better impulses to live as authentically human.
The ideas in the “lost paradise/redemption” or “apocalyptic millennialism” complex set us up to believe that something is wrong, that something is threatening our very existence. That naturally incites our primal survival impulse. The gatekeepers of these mythical complexes then claim to know who is to blame, what actions must be taken to correct what they imagine is wrong, how we should counter their imagined threat to life, how to save ourselves/our world, and how to make things all right again.
These complexes of bad ideas have long motivated/validated human beings to harm one another, and even destroy entire societies, all the while believing that they were doing good, their consciences approving them and their actions, affirming their belief that they had God and good on their side, that they were fighting righteous battles against intolerable evils/enemies who had to be stopped even if with coercive violence.
Consider these most basic ideas/themes and their outcomes, whether at the individual level or at larger societal scale:
The core themes (mental pathologies) that have dominated human consciousness across history… the “lost paradise/redemption” narrative:
(1) The myth that a perfection-obsessed deity created a better past or original paradise (i.e. Sumerian Dilmun or Jewish Eden). This is the baseline bad myth. It sets the stage for all the rest. If the past was better, and the present is so obviously worse (imperfect), then logically- What went wrong? The history-long obsession with blaming humanity (i.e. “fallen/sinful” humanity) arises out of this original error of a better past.
(2) The initial mistake of early people was to blame themselves for committing some original sin and thereby ruining an imagined primeval paradise. Contrary to the long-affirmed “original sin” myth (humanity ruining paradise), the original human mistake was actually their wrong assumption that the past was a paradise world and that early humans had committed a primordial sin and thereby ruined that original perfection. That wrong initial assumption cemented the baseline idea for a complex of related pathological ideas, notably myths that have subsequently blamed humanity for all that was wrong in life. That original bad myth then “logically” (logical to myth-oriented minds) led to the demand for punishment and sacrifice to pay for the initial sin, and further, the requirement that to make things better again you had to violently purge some evil threat to life. And thus emerged all the rest of the lost paradise/redemption complex of bad myths.
Response to the original pathology? We need a complete re-orientation of consciousness to fundamentally different themes in a new narrative of reality and life.
Start with alternatives to the baseline bad myth.
There was never any better past or original paradise, and the overall trajectory of life has never declined from a previous “golden age” toward a worsening future. Any history of our world shows this- i.e. the horrific conditions of early Earth. And, since that early uninhabitable world, there has been a long-term trajectory of improvement toward a more habitable planet for life- e.g. the emergence and development of an atmosphere suitable for life, along with many other factors. The history of our world shows long-term improvement in features like the increasing complexity of multi-cellular life, increasing organization/complexity in ecosystems, and an overall world more conducive to life, not the decline of life toward something worse.
Biologists like E. O. Wilson and Charles Darwin both affirmed the overall, long-term “improving” trajectory of life toward more complexity, more organization, toward more “perfection”, according to Darwin.
Conclusion from such evidence? There was never an original paradise that humans ruined. Hence, reject that long-term foundational myth that was the basis for blaming humanity. There was no “original sin” or fault. We never “fell” or degenerated from something better to become something worse. We did not become corrupted.
An alternative narrative (including metaphysical or “spiritual” speculations) would suggest that deity created the cosmos and world as originally “imperfect” and there is some good reason for that. So, with other philosophers and theologians, explore this “theodicy” possibility- that, for example, an imperfect world exists as in an arena for human experience, struggle, learning, and development. And that we only learn the better things in life when they are contrasted with the worst elements of life. Also, that problems, and consequent suffering, inspire our struggle to make life better, and bring out the best in people. For example, through suffering we learn compassion with suffering others (i.e. empathy as fundamental to being human). Much human creativity has also arisen out of compassion for suffering others. Julian Simon added that our problems bring out the best in us- i.e. creative endeavor to solve problems and find solutions that benefit ourselves and others.
The myth of a better past dominates the Declinism ideology of today as in the environmental Declinism that states the past wilderness world was paradise and humanity in civilization, notably in industrial capitalist society, has ruined that paradise and life is now heading toward collapse and catastrophe. CO2 has been demonized as the latest primary indicator of the evil of too many people consuming too much of Earth’s “limited” resources and thereby destroying the world. This primitive apocalyptic millennial nonsense, that distorts entirely the true story of life, still dominates the thinking of many people today.
(2) (Related to number 1) The myth that the earliest humans committed an original fault/error and subsequently “fell” or become “sinful/corrupted” beings who then ruined the original paradise. Again, this “original sin” myth is the primal root of all “blame humanity”, all anti-humanism. The Sumerians gave us the first examples of this pathology in the Sumerian Flood myth (Gilgamesh epic) with fuller versions coming later in subsequent Babylonian mythology. In the Sumerian Flood myth, Enlil, the waterworks god, was pissed at too many humans making too much noise- the original human “sin” of that era and place. Imagine: People just being sociable and having fun was considered an original sin. That is as petty as Adam bringing the curse of “inherited sinfulness” on all humanity for just enjoying a taste of good fruit and curious to learn something new (wanting to access the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil’). Sheesh, eh.
To get some sense of the petty and unbalanced nature of these primitive mythologies, with their ideas of pathetic deities that are obsessed with human imperfection and mistakes, note the Biblical lists of sins that incite God’s wrath and consequent intention to torture people in an eternal lake of fire. The lists include “sins” like “boasting, gossiping, coveting, sensuality, impurity, fits of anger, rivalry, dissension, drunkenness, greed, gluttony, slander, lying, pride, foolishness, loving money, disobedient to parents, loving oneself, loving pleasure (watch out you wankers), ungrateful, and reckless (i.e. adrenaline junkies in extreme sports), etc, etc.” Talk about punishment not fitting the crime, eh. Ah, it illustrates the obsessive moralizing pettiness of people that they then projected onto deity, reducing the reality of God to something perversely petty.
(3) The vengeful deity of primitive imaginations, thoroughly pissed at human imperfection, then cursed the world and life began declining toward something worse, eventually toward complete corruption, collapse, and final ending via apocalypse. This apocalyptic decline myth has long incited survival fear/terror and desperation to find some salvation/survival.
(4) The great creating Force/Spirit behind life, still obsessed with lost perfection, and obsessed with punishing imperfection, then demanded a sacrifice to pay for the sins of corrupted humanity, to restore his offended honor and rebalance justice in the cosmos. (Note: Offended holiness in Judea-Christian theology is on the same spectrum as Islamic “honor killing” to restore the offended male sense of righteousness/purity).
(5) The upset deity also demanded suffering as further punishment- “suffering as redemptive”. Humanity has long embraced this pathology in self-flagellation or varied forms of self-punishment to assuage guilt/shame over being bad. Today, one form of self-inflicted punishment involves giving up the good life for a return to the “morally superior” simple life (i.e. “de-development”), for a retreat to the primitive status of original “noble savages”- i.e. early people who were believed to have been stronger and purer humans more in tune with nature, living low-consumption lifestyles (i.e. hunter gatherers) before the “fall of humanity in civilization…the degeneration of humanity in the abundance of industrial civilization”. Such is the “degeneration” theory of Declinism ideology (humanity degenerating in civilization) as set forth by Arthur Herman in “The Idea of Decline in Western History”.
The “lost paradise/redemption” narrative has been beaten into humanity for multiple-millennia now and the outcome is a deeply-rooted guilt and shame over being imperfectly human. Most people across history have subsequently felt the desperate need for absolution from their sin. They long to be told how to make atonement, and in response, priesthoods across history have offered people the solution of blood sacrifice, or other forms of sacrifice/payment/punishment to assuage the human guilt that has been exacerbated by the original sin, Declinism, and apocalyptic destruction mythologies.
(6) The punitive Force/Spirit behind life also demands “the violent purging” of some great threat to life, some threatening “enemy”. This involves the embrace of the hero’s quest, to heroically engage “a righteous battle against evil”, to engage the quest to conquer an enemy, to slay a monster. These ideas are validated by the baseline 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 (as ultimate ideal and authority) has been endlessly replicated in “this-world” dualisms among people. Cosmic dualism myths have long validated human tribalisms (tribalism based on race/ethnicity, nationality, religion, ideology, etc.).
Think of the historical outcomes of this myth alone- i.e. cosmic dualism (ultimate Good against ultimate Evil). Note how much horrific damage has been caused across history by inciting the impulse to view the differing other as an “enemy”, accompanied by the felt need to engage a righteous battle against such enemies, to conquer and destroy them as threats to one’s own tribe. Tribalism based on dualism is among the most damaging of all primitive ideas. And tribalism intensifies its impulse to harm by giving true believers the sense that God is on their side, that God approves their righteous battles against intolerably evil enemies who must be destroyed.
It is critical to understand these primitive archetypes and how they continue to influence human consciousness, emotion, motivation, and response/behavior. We need to recognize the dangerous outcomes of these ideas over history, outcomes still occurring repetitively today. And we ought to recognize that we have much better alternatives today that work to counter our baser impulses and to inspire our better human impulses. Notably, the recognition of the fundamental oneness of humanity that inspires us to view others as family and to embrace restorative justice toward human failure.
Note again in this regard Campbell’s comments on embracing “universal love” and viewing enemies as family and thereby maintaining our humanity:
“For love is exactly as strong as life. And when life produces what the intellect names evil, we may enter into righteous battle, contending ‘from loyalty of heart’: however, if the principle of love (Christ’s “Love your enemies”) is lost thereby, our humanity too will be lost. ‘Man’, in the words of the American novelist Hawthorne, ‘must not disclaim his brotherhood even with the guiltiest’” (Myths To Live By).
Further, religious mythologies teach that the ultimate violent purging takes place in the apocalyptic punishment and destruction of the present “corrupted world”, a necessary destruction in order to make way for the new (see the New Testament book of Revelation for detail on such myth). “Violent purging of evil” myths also validated the revolutionary purging that was central to Marxism and Nazism (Again, Arthur Herman in “The Idea of Decline In Western History”).
(7) With atonement and purging accomplished, the threatening deity then promises salvation for true believers, salvation in the restoration of the lost paradise, or salvation in the installation of a new utopia/millennial kingdom.
(Sources for above myths: Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Zoroastrian mythologies. Also, Jewish-Christian history and belief systems. Add further, similar mythical themes in Eastern religious belief systems, such as Hinduism.)
Such is the complex of pathological “lost paradise/redemption” myths. Note the intense anti-human orientation of these primitive 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 over history, compared to our original barbaric animal-like existence.
(Other sources: James Payne in “History of Force” and Stephen Pinker in “The Better Angels of Our Nature” both detail the long-term historical trajectory of improving humanity, though I don’t think Pinker’s “evolutionary biology/psychology” fully explains all the causal factors behind the ongoing improvement. While our animal past goes some way to explaining our present makeup, the human spirit and human consciousness are something uniquely human and cannot be fully explained in terms of the animal. I side more with neuroscientist John Eccles on such things.)
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 (ideas/myths created to affirm and validate inherited impulses). This complex of primitive themes continues to dominate human narratives today.
Further comment- Where and how it all went wrong… Wendell Krossa
Early people, unfortunately, created ideas/myths to validate some of the worst of the animal drives that humanity inherited from previous millions of years in animal existence. They were following their primal impulse for meaning- to understand and explain their conscious existence in this imperfect world. And when they first started doing that- i.e. creating ideas/myths to explain things- they were still living as more animal than human, still very primitive in their thinking and behavior. Consequently, they created very primitive ideas/myths to validate their still very primitive lives and existence.
Those earliest myths, along with the human hesitancy to challenge the sacred, were eventually embraced by the great religious traditions and became religious dogma, and then, latterly, have even infected modern-era ideological systems of belief.
But now, it is entirely inexcusable for us moderns to continue to hold those same themes of our primitive ancestors when we have far better insights available today, far better alternative explanations to satisfy our primal impulse for meaning and purpose. Note the lists of alternative ideas in essays below titled “Explaining reality and life: The worst and best ideas that we have come up with”, or “Inherited bad myths and better alternatives”, or “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives”.
The more prominent of our darker inherited animal impulses, along with their related 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, as 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 in this life, or cast into religious hells).
Advocates of contemporary “lost paradise/redemption” narratives, such as in the climate alarmism crusade, voice the same themes as those listed above and those “secularized” themes still resonate powerfully with many people today. The core “lost paradise/redemption” themes resonate with deeply embedded archetypes, lodged even at a subconscious level. (Again, “archetype” meaning- prototype, representative, pattern, model, standard, exemplar, ideal, etc.)
An example of the primitive “lost paradise/redemption” complex of myths resonating with modern minds to devastating outcomes:
Remember that Hitler, initially a fringe lunatic madman, embittered by his WW1 experience and the Versailles Treaty, and largely ignored by most people, eventually began to resonate more widely with the German Christian public. With the Weimar-era collapse of the German economy due to the Great Depression, his formerly ignored message of “decline toward looming apocalypse and promise of salvation (i.e. creation of the millennial Third Reich)”- that message then began to resonate more widely with the same archetypical themes that dominated the belief systems and consciousness of most Christian Germans. Hitler was then able to persuade many ordinarily good Germans to join, or at least not oppose, his mass-death crusade.
The message of “decline toward disaster” incites primal fears of some punitive spirit or force behind the natural world that is justly punishing us “bad” people for ruining originally pure and paradisal nature. We feel intuitively that we deserve such punishment coming at us through natural disaster, disease, accidents, predatory cruelty from “enemies”, and other misfortunes common to life. Remember that Japanese lady, after the 2011 tsunami, giving voice to this mythical pathology when she asked rhetorically, “Are we being punished for enjoying the good life too much?” She illustrated this very intuitive human sense that natural disasters are expressions of some angry god punishing people for their sins. Similarly, 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 were being punished by an angry deity seeking retribution. Ah, its all just the same old, same old primitive thinking as ever before.
The belief that there exists some great threat to life then incites the human survival impulse. The panic-mongering over such threat (exaggerating natural events to apocalyptic scale) then pushes many to abandon rationality, out of their desperation to survive. Hence, many people will then heed the craziest exaggerations of the apocalyptic prophets of any given time (think of the prophesies of Paul Ehrlich as a contemporary example, also Al Gore and others). Alarmed populations will then 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 outcomes of 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 repeatedly destroyed societies across history. Remember again the irrational Xhosa cattle slaughter of 1860, and on a larger scale, the horrific destruction of the Marxist and Nazi “lost paradise/redemption” crusades.
As Richard Landes warned in “Heaven On Earth”, regarding the Nazi madness- If you don’t understand how apocalyptic millennial themes can lead to mass-death in societies then you have learned nothing from past history. We are watching this same “lost paradise/redemption” pattern play out again today- the same old themes of “better past, sinful humanity ruining paradise, sacrifice and violent purging necessary to ‘save the world’ and restore the lost paradise, etc.”
These profoundly religious themes undergird the cult of climate alarmism. We see them in the claims that a better past existed in the earlier more wilderness world. We see these primitive themes in the false claim that life is declining/worsening due to human industrial civilization. We see them in the demonization of the basic food of all life- i.e. CO2- as the great threat to life that must be purged. And we see them in the endless media hysteria that a climate apocalypse is imminent. They are evident in the consequent irrational decarbonization madness that is claimed to be the only way of salvation in order for the lost paradise to be restored. The outcomes will not be good if we continue to let this myth-based madness shape public policy as in the elimination of fossil fuels.
Added 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 today. 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. Over paleoclimate history, when, with CO2 levels 5 to 10 times higher than today, life was a “paradise… a golden age for mammals”. And with CO2 in the multiple-thousands of ppm over past history, there was no “climate crisis”, no “world on fire”. Varied paleoclimate studies (Phanerozoic era) note the significant disconnect when climate was much warmer but CO2 levels were low, and when CO2 levels were high but climate was cold. So also the Vostok ice core samples reveal that climate first warmed, followed by warming oceans that outgassed CO2, which then rose in the atmosphere. Not the other way around- i.e. rising CO2 causing climate warming.
Added note: Consider the fact that during the Eocene era some 55-33 million years ago, average temperatures were up to 10 degrees C warmer than today (25 degrees C average versus today’s world average of 15 degrees C) and that was the “Golden Age of mammals” when our ancestors flourished.
It needs repeating- That over the entire 500 million years of the Phanerozoic era life, temperatures averaged 3-10 degrees C higher than today, and 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. Sources: Wattsupwiththat.com, co2coalition.org, co2science.org, among others.
A further note on my claim that the myth of a better past or original paradise is the foundational or baseline myth of the “lost paradise/redemption” complex of myths. Wendell Krossa
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 closer look at how that mythical 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 Holocene 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 what became their more miserable conditions in a colder world. That would have given rise to their speculation that the past was more paradisal or perfect, and their present reality was a decline toward something worse.
That has been true at all times across history: If you believe that the past was better, or perfect, and then compare that better past with the obviously imperfect present world that you inhabit, then you can “logically” conclude that life is declining toward something worse. You have created a reasonable baseline argument for your belief in apocalypse- i.e. life declining toward something worse, even toward life ending. People have done that across history.
Add here that traditions of sacrifice have been around for a long time also. People have long offered sacrifices to appease what they believe were angry, punitive spirits or gods. The ancients believed that gods expressed their anger at “sinful” people through the destructiveness of the natural world- i.e. through natural disasters, disease, accidents, and predatory cruelty.
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” cultic climate alarmism crusade).
This very appropriate (for today’s world) comment in David Redles’ history of how apocalyptic millennial themes shaped Nazism-
“For some millenarians, the signs of imminent apocalypse, and the promise of a coming, transformed, better world, is their signal to induce that apocalypse. Believing themselves chosen not only to witness the End-time, but also to help bring it to fruition, some true believers consciously or unconsciously induce the apocalypse, “forcing the end”, as the ancient Hebrews terms the actions of impatient messianic movements. These millenarians assume that, since the signs of the time tell them that now is the time and since they have been chosen for a special mission, then the apocalyptic event must occur in their lifetimes. The apocalyptic event is induced because the possibility that the prophesied apocalyptic event will fail to occur, means that the believer’s sense of being chosen, of having a special mission, of being immortal, indeed the whole new post-conversion identity, is illusory. This cannot be tolerated….”.
Also from Redles…
“The messiah/prophet (of apocalyptic millennialism) knows all truth, knows exactly what must be done to achieve salvation. He often is a warrior figure who will lead the righteous into battle against the minions of evil…” (David Redles in “Hitler’s Millennial Reich: Apocalyptic belief and the Search for Salvation”, p.6,5).
A contemporary example of a warrior figure leading true believers into righteous battle against evil enemies…
UN Secretary General says, “Battle against climate change calls for ‘war footing’”.
Another repost- Patterns in apocalyptic movements: Destructive outcomes from alarmism crusades
Apocalyptic millennial scholar Arthur Mendel (“Vision and Violence”) stated that apocalyptic was the most violent and destructive idea in history. Today we are living through a real-life eruption of “human-induced apocalypse” in the destructiveness created by history’s latest apocalyptic movement- the climate alarmism movement and its “human-induced” crusade to destroy Western societies (i.e. decarbonization, Net Zero). Is climate alarmism exhibiting the pathology of “unconsciously inducing the apocalypse” through its “salvation” scheme of decarbonization?
(Note: “Net Zero Watch” newsletters of the Global Warming Policy Forum daily update the devastation from decarbonization policies in European countries like Germany and Britain).
It needs to be probed: Is the destruction of Western societies perhaps more just an “unintended consequence” of the alarmist’s irrational, though otherwise ‘nobly-intentioned’ salvation scheme? That is quite likely. I would grant that possibility in the mix of motivations. As Redles said above- “true believers (will) consciously or unconsciously induce the apocalypse”. So yes, “unintended” may be the more logical explanation in the mix. True believers in some crusade are often well-intentioned people, convinced by their narrative that they are heroically saving something, saving their world. I see that in Rachel Carson’s anti-chemical crusade, notably against DDT, and her sincere belief that she was saving life from her imagined and exaggerated chemical apocalypse. She probably did not imagine, nor intend, the mass-death that resulted from her influence (again, see “The Excellent Powder: DDT’s Political and Scientific History”, Richard Tren and Donald Roberts). See also…
There is a well-known historical pattern that operates with apocalyptic millennial narratives and crusades, and if we had learned anything from history we would not be ignorantly and irresponsibly repeating this destructive pattern once again today. So yes, while “unintended” may be partly behind the alarmist’s motivation, I would be careful to not fall back on that for an excuse as the destructiveness of apocalyptic millennialism once again unfolds. We ought to know better, what with the historical examples that have occurred even over our lifetimes (i.e. Marxism, Nazism, environmental alarmism).
(Further reposting of previous comment) The pattern:
First, you abandon your own sanity and rationality by unquestioningly embracing primitive apocalyptic millennial themes. These themes are still everywhere present in the major world religions, and are now also embraced by varied “secular/ideological” versions like Declinism and its direct historical offspring- climate alarmism, or overall environmental alarmism.
With apocalyptic millennialism (similarly “lost paradise/redemption”) themes ensconced in your worldview, you then view life and its ever-present nasty elements (i.e. natural disaster, extreme weather events, disease, predatory cruelty) through that apocalyptic millennial lens. You also start to view yourself as some sort of enlightened insider who has seen the truth (true believer) and you then begin to feel responsible to go forth and heroically save yourself, your people, and your world. You begin to believe that you have found a righteous cause, a “righteous battle against evil enemies/threats” that must be eliminated in order to “save the world”.
Then you start to terrorize others with your apocalyptic narrative and its exaggerated threat scenarios. Today’s apocalyptic prophets have been waging a crusade of panic-mongering over a very mild period of natural climate change (1 degree C warming over the past century). This hysterical panic-mongering exhibits the anti-science irrationality of alarmism crusades. Climate change has been very mild and beneficial in a still too cold world where 10 times more people die every year from cold than die from warmth. But such facts be damned. They get in the way of the apocalyptic narrative and its need to exaggerate every twitch in nature as something portending the imminent end of days.
Irresponsibly inciting fear in the wider public then results in the further spreading abandonment of rationality and a willingness of many to further believe the most distorted scenarios of threat. Again, note the widespread practise of now viewing all extreme weather events (common all across past paleoclimate history) as ongoing affirmation of your hysterically exaggerated and irrational narrative. A narrative that is shaped by pathologically distorting mythical themes from the “lost paradise/redemption” or “apocalyptic millennialism” complex of myths. (“Pathologically distorting themes”? Yes, they distort entirely the true state of life and the actual trajectory of life across history. I repeatedly urge visitors to read the amassed evidence in studies like Julian Simon’s “Ultimate Resource”, and numerous similar follow-up studies. See also the good research of climate physicists Richard Lindzen, William Happer, and others listed below.)
(Insert note on the apocalyptic prophet’s exaggeration of contemporary mild climate change: See paleogeologist Ian Plimer’s graph (p. 33 of “Heaven and Earth”) of the past 55,000 years of climate change and note how massive were the changes in climate from roughly 55,000 to 20,000 years ago during the tail end of the Wisconsin glaciation (i.e. swings between cooling and warming periods of up to 25 degrees C). Then note how that previous severity in climate changes moderated significantly and became much milder with the beginning of our Holocene interglacial some 20,000 years ago. Subsequently, over our interglacial we have had swings between cooling and warming periods of only a few degrees. Nothing anywhere near a “climate crisis” scale of climate change. Point? To understand the “true state” of anything, put that thing in its full long-term context.)
Continuing with “human-induced destructive outcomes of alarmism crusades”…
Populations of normally rational people, with their survival impulse incited, are then rendered desperate to embrace the most irrational of salvation schemes to save themselves, to save their world. Even if those salvation schemes entail the “unintended” destruction of their way of life, the destruction of their well-being and societies.
The promised hope of salvation offered by apocalyptic millennial narratives, the promise of a renewed paradise/utopian future, also helps keep alarmed populations receptive and committed to apocalyptic millennial salvation schemes.
The apocalyptic millennial themes outlined above distort entirely the true state of life, of the world. The apocalyptic millennial, or “lost paradise/redemption” narrative, frightens people into embracing salvation schemes that “save the world” by destroying it. We know apocalyptic millennialism in its secular version today- “Declinism” (i.e. life declining toward something worse, toward collapse and ending). Today, the direct offspring of Declinism is climate alarmism. Again, see Arthur Herman’s “The Idea of Decline in Western History”.
The entirely false narrative of apocalyptic millennialism, in its contemporary Declinism incarnation, states that human industrial civilization has destroyed the former paradise of a wilderness world and we are now heading toward environmental collapse and even ending. This narrative of despair has deformed public consciousness and prevented people from recognizing the amazing capability of humanity to correct mistakes of the past, to learn from such mistakes, to engage new measures to protect the natural world, and the result has been an ongoing improvement of life. We are now living in the best of all times, historically.
Some authentically progressive facts (“progressive” in the sense of life progressing toward improvement over the long-term): The human lifespan has more than doubled over the past century. Deaths from climate-related disasters are down 95% over the past century. Major diseases have been eradicated. Species are protected and flourishing. There is more forest cover on Earth today than 70 years ago (with three times the population). Poverty has been undergoing a stunning decline across the world… and much more improvement of both the human condition and the natural world (see Humanprogress.org, Ultimate Resource, etc.).
Another reposting: Some background assumptions, definitions, clarifications that are related to regular topics engaged on this site– i.e. “apocalyptic millennialism”, or “lost paradise/redemption” themes and how they influence human consciousness, emotion, motivation, and response/behavior, often to destructive outcomes…
Some of our most basic impulses are very animal-like, inherited from our origin in animal existence, our shared heritage with the animal realm. Notable here are the impulses to (1) tribal exclusion of differing others (small band orientation), (2) domination of weaker others (the alpha male/female thing), and (3) punitive destruction of competing others. These rank as the more “animalistic” of our inherited impulses. The do not belong in truly human societies/civilization.
Early humans created frameworks of ideas to explain and validate these impulses, among others. Why did they create the primitive myths that they did? They were responding to their primary human impulse to meaning- to understand, explain, and validate their existence. This impulse to meaning is fundamental to emerging, developing human consciousness and the human spirit.
The early mythical themes that they created became the “archetypes”- i.e. the models, ideals, originals, prototypes, patterns, standards, representatives, forerunners, or prime examples that would shape most subsequent human quest for meaning. Their early mythical ideas became the narrative of “lost paradise/redemption”, and that meta-narrative subsequently shaped most people’s overall worldviews- how they understood and explained life. Those same ideas/themes then eventually shaped the great world religions that emerged across history and have now shaped even our “secular/ideological” systems of belief in the modern world. Hence, today the same old primitive mythical themes are resonating as “true” with many people, in contemporary “lost paradise/redemption” movements like climate alarmism.
Remember also that those early ancestors created the ideas that they did because their mentality was still very animal-like, just as many features of their existence and societies were still very animal-like. They were still on their way to becoming more fully human. That has always been a “gradualism” process (Arthur Mendel in “Vision and Violence”).
We have the information and insights today to counter the destructive influence of this inherited mental pathology that still affirms some of out worst inherited impulses. We can correct the systems of beliefs that we have inherited by understanding more exactly which ideas in the mix are subhuman/inhuman. Then with that subset of ideas/themes held clearly in mind, we can evaluate the true nature of the themes that shape our contemporary narratives (note that terms evolve and change over history but core themes remain the same).
With our criteria, our set of pathological ideas/myths, we can then identify the pathological ideas/themes in our narratives, intentionally reject the harmful ones as false, and then replace them with new ideas/information to shape new narratives, narratives that embrace more humane ideas that affirm our better impulses, our better human self.
This often involves the complete overhaul of worldviews, the thorough reshaping of the meta-narratives that still dominate our world.
To motivate others to engage this project, consider the endlessly destructive outcomes of the old mythical themes in terms of fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, despair, depression, nihilism, violence, and even mass-death (see, for example, psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo’s points in “Cruel God, Kind God: How Images of God Shape Belief, Attitude, and Outlook”).
The old narrative themes of apocalyptic millennialism, or lost paradise/redemption, are still dominant today in the widely embraced public narratives of world religions (i.e. the 85% that affiliate with a world religion, while the other 15% “unaffiliated” still hold to “spiritual but not religious” as in “payback karma, punitive Universe, vengeful Gaia, angry Planet/Mother Earth”, etc.). Add also the wide embrace of old narrative themes in much public story-telling (Hollywood movies), as well as in “secular/ideological” versions like climate alarmism.
The hesitancy to abandon “lost paradise/redemption” mythologies, helps to understand and explain why “good people” in the modern world have continued to embrace mass-harm and even mass-death movements. A few years back, a young lady working at a Holocaust remembrance agency wondered why “good Germans had become caught up in the Nazi evil”. She understood that most of those Germans were not fundamentally evil people.
I would have suggested to her that the narrative themes that Hitler employed (i.e. apocalyptic millennialism or lost paradise/redemption) resonated with the Christian consciousness, the worldview of many Germans. Those were themes of ruined and lost paradise, looming apocalypse, the need to make atonement, to purge some evil threat (“Jewish Bolsheviks” in Hitler’s version of the narrative), and thereby restore the lost German paradise in a new millennium (i.e. the restoration of lost original German purity and strength in the Third Reich). Hitler’s perverted use of fundamentally Christian themes resonated with the Christian consciousness of many Germans and consequently led to “good Germans” becoming caught up in the madness of Nazism. Hitler’s message subconsciously felt true and right to many Germans at that time, even “good”. Germans sincerely believed they were saving their society from an apocalyptic threat.
We are seeing this embrace of primitive and destructive themes again today, in movements like climate alarmism. The same old patterns are taking place using the same old themes that appeal to the same old impulses- i.e. panic-mongering over some purported threat to life, presenting an irrational salvation scheme that many unquestioningly embrace, urging people to embrace a heroic quest to engage a righteous battle against an evil enemy, demanding a sacrifice, challenging people to conquer an evil threat and save something (their world), and thereby restore lost order and install a paradise.
Also, add to the mix the inciting of the felt need to assuage guilt with suffering as redemptive, as in abandoning the good life for a return to primitivism. This particular element of “return to primitivism” is based on the belief/fallacy that early humans were “noble savages”- a more pure and strong people, more connected to nature, who viewed life mythically as they lived in paradisal wilderness, before the “fall of humanity” in “corrupting” civilization with its “distorting” rational science.
Once again, this mythological complex resonates with many “good people” today as true, right, and good.
But note carefully- The destructive outcome of embracing the primitive themes of “lost paradise/redemption” mythologies is, once again, becoming evident in the “self-suicide” of Western societies as many embrace Net Zero decarbonization.
Why do so many people still believe that “the world is getting worse”? (YouGov world survey in “Ten Global Trends”) Why especially when so much evidence to the contrary reveals that, while problems still remain across the world, humanity has done exceedingly well in solving problems and consequently life is improving on all the main indicators (see “The true state of life on Earth” at bottom of this section).
More particularly… Why do so many people still believe apocalyptic mythology? Why especially when an apocalypse has never occurred and never will occur (that 100% historical failure rate). Yes, horrific natural disasters have occurred across history but they have never been divine interventions to punish humanity by ending life or ending the world which is the mythical/religious meaning of “apocalyptic”.
Many still believe the myth of apocalyptic Declinism because apocalypse and related myths were made archetypes at the very beginning of primitive human mythmaking and were subsequently deeply embedded in human consciousness/subconscious. Those early mythical themes have remained among the dominant themes in human narratives since, including their dominance in “secular ideological” systems of belief in the modern era (Arthur Herman- The idea of decline is the most dominant and influential theme in society. “Decline to something worse” is a central feature of apocalyptic mythology.).
Insert: Definitions of “Archetype”– “model, ideal, original, pilot, prototype, pattern, standard, classic exemplar, classic, representative, forerunner, epitome, prime example, etc.”
It is no stretch of investigative capability to detect the outlines of apocalyptic Declinism from its front-page posting in the great world religions. It is similarly easy to detect apocalyptic declinism in “secular ideological” belief systems, as it also dominates there. Terms are changed but the core themes remain the same. The differences between primitive mythical/religious original versions and contemporary secular/ideological versions are superficial.
Apocalypse has long been affirmed in human narratives, along with a complex of related impulses and their supporting ideas/myths. We have inherited impulses from our animal past and our ancestors created ideas/myths to explain and validate the impulses. And that constitutes my paraphrase of the “archetypes” (standard core ideas/beliefs) that shape our worldviews, our thinking, feeling, motivations, and responses/behaviors. The archetypes respond to deeply felt needs, inherited impulses. The ideas that we create, affirm and validate the impulses that we feel, both good and bad.
Hence, certain prominent themes repeat themselves across history in all human narratives and societies.
Notable examples: As human consciousness began to emerge in the ancient past, and early humans progressed and developed, they became intensely of their imperfection, and that led our ancestors to consequently feel that they deserved punishment for being bad. Mythical/religious traditions, in particular, then explained natural human imperfection (our origin in a brutal animal past) as something that deserved divine punishment because, they claimed, our earliest ancestors intentionally broke an original taboo of the gods- illustrated in the myths of Enki eating the 8 forbidden plants and ruining the paradise of Dilmun, or Adam eating the forbidden fruit and ruining the paradise of Eden.
Thus, our ancestors began to view themselves as something far worse than just the naturally imperfect beings that they were from having emerged out of animal existence. They viewed themselves as something that mythical/religious minds called “sinful”. Something that deserved divine retaliation, punishment, and even destruction (apocalypse or hell).
Hence, still embracing that primitive mythology, many people still today intuitively feel that we “sinners” should suffer for our badness. Punitive treatment by deity, in response to human imperfection, is viewed as right and just.
Add that, consequent to our sinfulness, our ancestors also created the mythology that we were obligated to make a sacrifice to pay for our sins, to make atonement for our badness. Sacrifice was invented as required to appease upset deities, to pay for wrong, and to re-establish equilibrium in cosmic justice (debts paid, punishment meted out for wrong). That primitive thinking was based on the logic that deities were behind things like natural disasters and such disasters were evidence that the gods were angry with humanity. (Note: Sacrifice was originated for varied reasons such as to feed the gods)
A contemporary illustration of such belief: Remember the Japanese lady who voiced her feelings that the 2011 Japan tsunami was deserved punishment from deity for human sin- “Are we being punished for enjoying the good life too much?”
People have consequently long believed that natural disasters and ultimate world-ending apocalypse were righteous divine punishment for human sinfulness. Many today will submissively nod their heads in agreement with the teaching of New Testament books like Revelation. That is the rightly/justly deserved future of humanity. Hollywood affirms that view of rightly deserved ultimate punishment with endless movies based on the theme of apocalypse. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_apocalyptic_films
The primitive mythology of apocalyptic declinism dominates the narratives of environmentalism- i.e. that a great environmental collapse and ending is looming due to human greed/excess in using too much of nature’s resources and enjoying the good life too much.
Further, we also feel the urge to do something heroic and to engage a righteous battle against some evil, to conquer some monster, defeat some enemy. Add here the hope of salvation into some future paradise/utopia, after suffering through the apocalypse.
Ah, these “archetypal” impulses and related validating themes are still accepted without question by too many people today. They have long been so deeply embedded in human narratives and consciousness/subconscious that they just feel “true”. So what’s to question? Deniers/unbelievers- Just shut up and believe.
The above complex of impulses and validating ideas/myths (“lost paradise/redemption” or “apocalyptic millennialism”) continues to maintain apocalyptic declinism as the most dominant and influential theme today. You cannot be more clear or straightforward than to respond that it is all a great lie, a fraud, a distortion of reality and life, and a form of madness when it erupts into unhinged hysteria over normal changes in the natural world as it has today (i.e. media hysteria over extreme weather events that have been common all through history).
The themes of apocalyptic millennialism deform human consciousness and outlook on life. Apocalyptic millennialism has endlessly ruined lives and entire societies. Remember that these very ideas inspired the Marxist and Nazi mass-death movements. Marxism promised the restoration of the lost paradise of primitive communal life following the decline of capitalism to its deserved apocalyptic ending (selfish, greedy capitalists having ruined the previous paradise of early collectivist/communal life). Nazism promised the restoration of a lost paradise in the Third Reich after the purging of the Jewish Bolshevism that Nazis claimed was taking original strong and pure German Aryan society toward apocalyptic decline.
Today those very same ideas/themes are inciting the climate alarmism crusade and its Net Zero decarbonization policies. The climate alarm apocalyptic crusade is the offspring of the larger environmental alarmism movement that claims that sinful humanity has ruined the paradise of a previous wilderness world and human industrial civilization has been taking life toward an environmental apocalypse. Herman and others have traced the roots of such narratives to Declinism and further beyond to varied themes from religious mythology.
But if we make a great sacrifice for the sin of enjoying the good life too much (using too much energy and other resources) and, notably today, if we engage a righteous battle against the great evil of fossil fuels, and purge that evil from life, then salvation is possible in a restoration of the lost paradise. This is our righteous battle against an evil enemy, the battle where we can be heroes and vanquish a monster.
Without repeating the detailed responses posted in sections below…
Take a good look at the physics of CO2 as set forth by Richard Lindzen and other atmospheric physicists (William Happer) and that will expose the fallacy of demonizing CO2 as some threat to life, when to the contrary it has been a huge benefit to all life in adding 15% more green vegetation to the world just since 1980. Add here that we need far more warming in a world where 10 times more people die every year from cold than die from warmth.
Quit mollycoddling the alarmist narrative. Look at the primitive mythical/religious nature of its basic themes. Note the endless exaggerated claims of looming catastrophe and endless failed prophesies of the collapse and ending of life. And then stop affirming the basic unproven assumptions of the alarmist narrative. CO2 is not a threat to life. And our world is still far too cold (still 3-6 degrees C below the average of the Phanerozoic era when all life flourished). Our still abnormally cold era is the greatest threat to life.
Yes, reject the fact-distorting alarmist narrative. Celebrate the planet warming.
Quotes from “History and Human Biology Argue for Warmth, Not Cold” by Vijay Jayaraj.
“To those who have been misled to believe that a warming planet is dangerous, prepare to have a myth shattered: Data from hundreds of scientific journals across major publishing platforms and policy reports from major governments say cold is responsible for more deaths than hot weather worldwide.
“Nonetheless, many people find it hard to believe this fact because of the decades-long propaganda and hysteria surrounding global warming. Here is why we should be thankful that our world is warming.” See detail in link above.
Further feedback on Jacob Siegel’s “A Guide to Understanding the Hoax of the Century: Thirteen ways of looking at disinformation”…
What are some takeaways from this report by Jacob Siegel? Wendell Krossa
How about the stunning eruption today of primitive tribalism that demonizes differing others as dangerous enemies to be censored, silenced, and banned from public discourse. Add, the stunning arrogance of people who believe that they alone know what is right for all others and see no danger in a highly partisan censoring of information/”disinformation”, a censorship that undermines the freedom of others. These elites apparently aren’t aware that they are promoting a creeping totalitarianism in resorting to exaggerated threats and coercion to silence opponents/dissenters. They appear unaware that their anti-freedom responses (e.g. censorship of disagreeing others) are little different from the behavior of the thugs that rule totalitarian regimes.
A further note on the intensified tribalism of today- Its fine to enjoy the sense of loyalty to community such as in exhibitions of national pride, state or community pride. But don’t let such loyalties usurp our common identity as all equal members of one human family. Don’t let divisive tribal identity markers- whether national, ethnic/racial, religious, or other- override our most fundamental identity marker, the fact that we are all equal members of the same human family (the underlying oneness of humanity). This was Campbell’s point in urging us to maintain our humanity as we engage the righteous battles of life- i.e. don’t disavow your “brotherhood” with even your enemies.
“For love is exactly as strong as life. And when life produces what the intellect names evil, we may enter into righteous battle, contending ‘from loyalty of heart’: however, if the principle of love (Christ’s “Love your enemies”) is lost thereby, our humanity too will be lost. ‘Man’, in the words of the American novelist Hawthorne, ‘must not disclaim his brotherhood even with the guiltiest’” (Myths To Live By).
“Love your enemy” should be based on recognizing that anyone viewed as “enemy” is still intimate family, not “alien other”.
Thoughts on personal experience and movement founders, Wendell Krossa
Just an aside before moving along- Did you know that all the great belief systems and social institutions of past history were based on the personal experiences of the founders? Judaism was founded and built on Moses’ mountaintop experiences with deity. Buddhism was founded on the Buddha’s “sitting-under-the-tree” experience. Christianity was founded and built on Paul’s heavenly visions of the Christ. Islam was founded on Muhammad’s cave experiences and revelations. All great religious/philosophical movements, with accumulated billions of followers/believers over history, are movements based on personal experiences. Just sayin.
Point to ponder? I guess… Don’t discount personal experience. After all, our personal experience of consciousness is the only real thing that we know in this world and it may be the most real thing in the entire cosmos- i.e. consciousness as the fundamental reality that creates and sustains all else. Einstein could not accept this element in the development of quantum mechanics (see, for example, his debates with Niels Bohr in Manjit Kumar’s “Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, And The Great Debate About The Nature Of Reality”).
“I can’t believe the moon is not there when I am not looking at it”, Albert Einstein. He did not understand, or could not accept, the inseparable relationship of conscious observer to observed reality.
This is not to affirm all that has come out of people’s personal experiences. Each of us brings our own set of criteria to evaluate what others claim to have experienced. My criteria have to do with what is inhumane or humane, as per our common understanding and sensitivities toward such things today- notably our understanding of humaneness in good national constitutions and human rights codes that are widely affirmed by the human family (e.g. the humane treatment of prisoners of war).
I would argue that a humane feature like the insight that “no conditions love” defines the core of reality/deity (i.e. the personal experiences of the Near-Death Experience movement), that insight on unconditional love as the fundamental reality behind all else is self-validating as good, right, and true.
The latest “spiritual” movement in history (the Near-Death Experience movement, NDE) appears to be making the most advanced progress in human understanding ever, taking human consciousness to new heights of humane insight.
The NDE movement affirms the “stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory deity”, an insight that was central to the teaching of Historical Jesus. That central insight of Jesus was eventually buried by Paul’s Christ myth and Gentile Christian movement that became the dominant religion of the Western world over subsequent millennia.
Unconditional deity should have been made the ultimate ideal to shape human consciousness and narratives but it was buried in another highly conditional religion. Subsequently, no religion has presented the true nature of deity to humanity. Religious traditions have continued to deform human consciousness with unnecessary fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, despair and depression with conditions of correct belief, demanded sacrifice/payment, required rituals and religious lifestyle, and threat of retaliatory punishment for non-conformity or unbelief, for being a free and independent spirit.
Added notes: I would affirm consciousness as the fundamental creating and sustaining reality that gives existence to all else. Mind creating matter.
Related: There has never been a shred of credible evidence that the meat in our heads produces human consciousness or the wonder of the human self. Yes, there is an intense interaction between our minds and our material brains (similar to John Eccles’ “dualist interaction”) but that is not evidence of meat creating mind.
Did you really leave your religion? Wendell Krossa
Something interesting has happened over past centuries with the general abandonment of religious mythology for a more widespread acceptance of materialist views of reality and life (i.e. the modern-era scientific revolution). The apparent widespread abandonment of irrational religious mythology has not always resulted in the actual replacing of the core themes of old worldviews with better alternatives.
This is especially noteworthy with varied versions of so-called “dogmatic atheism”. And granted, some forms of “atheism” are healthy and necessary- notably the ‘atheism’ that abandons the animal-like gods that we inherited from a primitive past for more humane alternatives.
(Insert: My references to “deity” assume that the gods that humanity has believed in across history are the creations of primitive people, the products of, notably, early humans who projected their features onto their proto-type gods- i.e. anthropomorphizing the metaphysical, a natural thing that people have always done with mysterious or metaphysical realities. While recognizing the human role in creating god theories, I do not then, in over-reaction, affirm atheism as the only credible alternative response to irrational religious mythology. We can do better and opt for alternatives such as the alternative of fully humanizing our views of deity.)
Most people will not endure the vacuum of meaninglessness that too often characterizes the more dogmatic or hardcore forms of materialist philosophy (i.e. Stephen Weinberg’s meaningless cosmos- “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless”). Extremist forms of materialism embrace their own irrationality in denying purpose in reality and life, denying free will, and assuming, with not a shred of credible evidence, that the wonder of consciousness (the human self) is the product of the meat in our heads, etc.
Note also that even atheists continue to satiate their “primal meaning impulse” (Victor Frankl) by creating what are essentially new religious-like belief systems/traditions. They create new gods (god-like entities) to meet the primal felt needs that the old religious gods responded to. Richard Dawkins does this with his statement (all capitals) that “Natural Selection Is The Source Of All Enlightenment” (The God Delusion). Others attribute god-like properties to Natural Law, or to the “Self-Organizing Principle”, in order to explain the mysterious existence, organization, and progressive development of the material cosmos and world.
The problem that occurs in this process deifying natural or material realities, is that many people now self-identifying as materialist/atheist do not actually go to the root levels of their consciousness/subconscious to purge the core themes of the old religious/mythical systems of belief. They simply replace those primitive archetypical themes with newer ones, albeit “secular” materialist versions. But close examination of the core themes in materialist narratives will often reveal the presence of the same old, same old themes of all past “lost paradise/redemption” or “apocalyptic millennialism” narratives. Terms will be changed but the core themes remain the same.
Hence, Joseph Campbell nailed the issue in stating that people have always embraced the same mythical themes all across history and across all the cultures of the world. This has to do with our most fundamental inherited impulses and the ideas that we have long embraced to understand and explain these impulses (again, the “archetypes” of our narratives or worldviews).
The result is that most people who claim to have left their religion have simply engaged peripheral tinkering around the edges of their worldviews/narratives, abandoning the outer forms of religion, just as I did. Hence, many today exhibit this cognitive dissonant result of self-identifying as “materialist/atheist” but still mouthing the very same core themes as the most irrational religious extremists.
A personal illustration of what happens when deceiving oneself about leaving religion….
Around the late 1970s, I started to consciously, formally leave my religion, to abandon my former Evangelical Christian family heritage. By the early 1980s I believed that I had left my religion entirely. I was then attending a Masters program at the University of British Columbia in the School of Community and Regional Planning under the directorship of Bill Rees (“Father” of the ‘Ecological Footprint’ model).
But what had really happened- I had just replaced my Evangelical apocalyptic views with a newer “secular” version of the very same mythology- the environmental apocalyptic of the Bill Rees’ variety (Note: Years later I told Rees that his ideas were very “apocalyptic”. He responded, “Well, apocalyptic is true, isn’t it?” And he self-identifies as a ‘scientist’. Sheesh, eh.).
During the early 1990s, a friend (Bod Brinsmead) suggested that I read Julian Simon’s “Ultimate Resource”. Well, the lights went on… and they turned on really, really bright. My read of Simon sparked a complete re-evaluation of my worldview and that fully exposed my actual core belief system. I realized that I still held the very same core mythological themes from my religious past. I had just exchanged a religious version of apocalyptic millennialism (or “lost paradise/redemption”) for a “secular, ideological” version of the very same themes. No wonder that sitting under Bill Rees’ teaching had felt eerily similar to previous sitting under Evangelical preachers of the same apocalyptic Declinism. I realized that I had left the outer forms of my religion (tinkering around the periphery) but still held the core ideas/mythical themes, or archetypes.
(Again, archetype as “model, ideal, original, pilot, prototype, pattern, standard, classic exemplar, classic, representative, forerunner, epitome, prime example, etc.”)
I then set about to thoroughly and properly overhaul the very core themes of my worldview. I went to the foundational ideas to effect an intentional and thorough change of those themes at the level of the deeply embedded archetypes. The result was an entirely new worldview rebuilt from the foundations. An entirely new narrative. The result is posted repeatedly on this site- “Explaining reality and life: The worst and best ideas that we have come up with” (also titled- “Inherited bad myths and better alternatives”, or “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives”).
And consequent to my overhaul of my worldview, my impulse to hope was soundly re-affirmed. I recognized that apocalyptic was a pathology that profoundly deforms human narratives and consciousness. It distorts and buries the true state of life.
In my re-evaluation and overhaul, I did what Julian Simon had done with his early-life worldview. He stated in his autobiography (and other books) that he had embraced the environmental alarmism narrative and was consequently a “clinically depressed” man. Then he decided to check the evidence for himself on all the main indicators of the true state of life (i.e. forests, soils, land species, ocean species, etc.). From his research he discovered that while there are still problems everywhere in the world, humanity had done well in solving problems and consequently life was not declining toward something worse (a core theme in apocalyptic mythology). To the contrary, life was improving toward a better future. He said that on discovering the true state of life and that “we (humanity) are more creators than destroyers” his depression left him and never returned.
While Simon’s data needs updating (he published in 1986) the principles, patterns, and long-term trends that he set forth are still up to date and critical for understanding the true state of life on Earth. His “Ultimate Resource” is still the single best book that you will ever read in terms of presenting a comprehensive overview of the actual state of life on Earth. He shows how to get to the true state of life or true state of anything- i.e. by including all the evidence on the complete big picture related the thing you are looking at, and including the longest-term trends associated with the thing you are looking at.
Others have subsequently followed Simon’s approach with updated evidence on the main indicators of the state of life- i.e. Greg Easterbrook (A Moment on the Earth), Bjorn Lomborg (Skeptical Environmentalist), Matt Ridley (Rational Optimist), Ronald Bailey (The End of Doom), Indur Goklany (The Improving State of the World), Desrochers and Szurmak (Population Bombed), Tupy and Bailey (Ten Global Trends, also their site- Humanprogress.org), and others.
Again, I have offered a toolkit in the sections below on this site to help re-evaluate the core themes of narratives/worldviews. See- “Explaining reality and life: The worst and best ideas that we have come up with” (“Inherited bad myths and better alternatives”).
The most dangerous people in society– those who believe that they know what is best for all others.
Any of us can fall prey to the self-delusion and dangerous arrogance of dogmatic rightness. Over our lifetime we may find ourselves susceptible to the belief that we are more right than all others, and that we are the defenders/proponents of some supremely righteous cause. This feeling becomes especially dangerous when the righteous cause is contrasted with some intolerable evil that it seeks to combat. With our “evil enemies” demonized, and exaggerated to apocalyptic scale, then we may even believe that we have become vital to a crusade to “save the world” from some purported imminent catastrophe. We then fall prey to becoming the most dangerous people in society, crossing lines of common decency to coercively censor, silence, ban, and even criminalize our opponents that we have overly-demonized in our imaginations as dangerous threats. We are then nothing more than the cutting edge of just another eruption of totalitarianism, just as Jacob Siegel noted in his report on the “disinformation” crusade now taking place in the US (i.e. “A Guide to Understanding the Hoax of the Century: Thirteen ways of looking at disinformation”).
Our liberalism has morphed to become “highly illiberal”.
C. S. Lewis’s warning in relation to the moralizing busybodies who believe that they alone know what is right and best for all others and will seek to coerce and control others:
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to heaven yet at the same time make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals”.
The personal safeguard to the self-delusion of being solely right… Hold fast to Classic Liberal principles re the protection of individual rights and freedoms, as against the ever-creeping totalitarianism of collectivist approaches that subject individuals to some claimed “greater good or common good” that has to be managed by “enlightened elites” who believe that they alone know what is best for all other and will use coercion to control others.
Note on “live and let live” (a fundamental principle of “libertarian” or “classic liberal” approaches) Wendell Krossa
The Woke and disinformation specialists on the liberal side today have fallen for the very same pathology that drove Jerry Falwell’s oppressive right-wing religiosity- the fear that if you just stand by and allow some people to “sin” in a society, then you are subjecting all members of that society to the destroying wrath of your deity, including the religious believers. Hence, Falwell and his fellow true believers felt that they had to prevent gays from living their lives, in order to save the entire nation from the punishing wrath of God. Conservative Christians believed that they too would suffer divine wrath if they did not engage activism to stop others from “sinning” (as they defined it in terms of their religious beliefs).
Today, a great switcheroo has occurred. Liberals/leftists have taken up the Falwell-like crusade to stop sinners from sinning in order to save the greater society. Liberals today have become the new “puritans” who moralize endlessly over other’s lives and then do the busybody thing in endlessly intervening to correct sinning others (Woke Progressive activism).
The new “sinners” of today are now the conservatives and their ideas/policies. Today’s Woke Progressive Democrats believe that the other side is threatening the entire nation’s survival (Example: Note the endless claims of Woke Progressives that conservatives pose a dire “threat to democracy”, they are “fascists… racists… dangerous terrorists…” and more). At core, it’s the same old mental pathology. But it has now switched sides to incite the same old moralizing busybody impulse in those who believe that they alone are right and responsible to coerce and control the other side, to subject them to “truth and righteousness” and thereby save the world. There is nothing new under the sun, eh.
So who’s your religious extremist now? To paraphrase Jim Carrey on his Hollywood liberal friends- “We are no longer the cool kids” (his statement after the Will Smith slap when Hollywood stood to mindlessly applaud Smith for his Oscar win).
The true state of life on Earth (a revised reposting) Wendell Krossa
While problems exist everywhere, they are solvable and humanity has done well in caring for and preserving world resources. For detailed research on the true status of world resources see Julian Simon’s ‘Ultimate Resource’, Bjorn Lomborg’s ‘Skeptical Environmentalist’, or ‘Population Bombed’ by Szurmak and Desrochers, among many similar studies. Below are some basic facts on the main resources of our world. They are the main indicators of “the true state of life on our planet”. They all show that life is not declining toward something worse. There is no looming environmental apocalypse.
Leading indicators for evaluating the true state of life:
(1) World forest cover in the 1950s was about 3.8 billion hectares (FAO stats). World forest cover today is 4.1-plus billion hectares, despite the world population tripling from 2.4 billion people in the early 1950s to almost 8 billion today. Deforestation rates continue to decline and reforestation/afforestation projects continue to succeed. We are not destroying the world’s forests. http://www.fao.org/forestry/fra/52045/en/
(Added note: Yes, humanity has deforested varied parts of the world from pre-civilization levels. But that is a valid use of nature, as we belong on this planet and have the right to properly feed ourselves.)
(2) Proven species extinctions. While any species extinction is unacceptable, we have dramatically improved our care of nature in this regard. Species extinctions are on a notably declining trend line and have decreased from about 5 per year in 1870 to about 0.5 per year today (see the IUCN Red List All Extinct Species by Decade on p.101 of Patrick Moore’s new book “Fake Invisible Catastrophes And Threats of Doom”). While nature has destroyed over 95% of all species over the span of life on this planet, compassionate humanity is now protecting species as never before.
See also Julian Simon’s chapter on the IUCN report on species loss (in Ultimate Resource and other books) and note the discredited assumption/correlation between habitat loss and species extinctions. The wrong assumption was that with habitat loss of 90% some 50% of species would go extinct. Both the Northeastern US and Northeastern Brazil study areas have disproved that assumption. The assumption did not understand the resiliency, adaptability, and durability of life. There is no species holocaust occurring. Nature is not “fragile”.
(3) Climate change (the atmosphere as a main resource): There has been a mild 1 degree Centigrade of warming over the past century and a half. That has slightly warmed our still abnormally cold world. We are still in an “ice-age era”. Average surface temperatures today are around 15 degrees Centigrade. That is 5-10 degrees Centigrade below the more optimal average surface temperatures of the past 500 million years when all life flourished in a much warmer world. For over 90% of the past 500 million years there was no ice at the poles. That is a more normal and optimal world. And contrary to the falsified climate models, there is no settled evidence of much more warming occurring in the future. There is no “climate crisis” looming.
Also, most of our Holocene inter-glacial, that began around 11,000 years ago, has been warmer than today. The Holocene Climatic Optimum (roughly 10-5,000 years ago) was more than 1 degree C. warmer. The Roman Warm Period (250 BCE to 400 CE) and the Medieval Warm Period (950- 1,250 CE) were also warmer than today. Life overall, and human civilization, flourished during such warming periods. From about 6,000 years ago our interglacial began a long-term cooling trend (the “Neoglacial” period). Our current Modern Warm period is the coolest of the four warm periods of our Holocene interglacial.
We are also still in a “CO2 starvation era” where CO2 has declined to its lowest levels compared to most of past history. 20,000 years ago CO2 levels declined to 185 ppm, barely above the level at which all plant life dies (150 ppm). We have experienced a mild increase in atmospheric CO2 levels to 400-plus ppm today, but this is still far below long-term historical averages (multiple-thousands of ppm) when life flourished with much more of its basic plant food.
(4) Ocean fisheries are not collapsing and aquaculture is meeting the growing human demand for fish. See Ray Hilborn reports and FAO summaries on fisheries. The world fisheries are not being decimated, though various species are over-fished and need further protection/better management. Wild fish consumption has peaked over past decades and aquaculture has been growing rapidly to meet the growing demand of humanity for fish. https://www.washington.edu/news/2020/01/13/fisheries-management-is-actually-working-global-analysis-shows/
(5) The overall agricultural land-base is not “severely degrading”. Also, any soil erosion must be understood in net terms, as related to new soil regeneration rates. Further, over the past century and more, we have returned several hundred million acres of agricultural land back to nature as hi-yield GM crops enable farmers to produce more crop on the same or less land. We have probably already passed “peak-agricultural land” use.
Thanks also to increasing levels of basic plant food in the atmosphere (i.e. CO2) there has been a 30% increase in green vegetation across the Earth over the past century. This aerial CO2 fertilization also contributes to remarkable increases in crop production (see reports at CO2science.org). Humanity now produces 25% more food than we need. Hydroponics will also meet much of future food demands.
These, and other indicators, show that the overall long-term trajectory of life is improving, not worsening.
A note to our children: Do not fear the future of life on our planet. With continued wealth creation we will continue to solve the remaining world resource problems and life will continue to get ever better than before. Your personal contribution to making life better will add to humanity’s overall success. Do not let false alarmism narratives undermine your hope in a better future.
Other indicators of the state of life
These are some of the most important things in life and they tell us where life is heading. This is not to deny that serious problems remain in many areas of the world, but to re-assure with hope that people are working to find solutions and our track record affirms that we have done well in solving problems and vastly improving life for most people. The best is yet to come.
Infant mortality rates
In 1800 one third of children (33%) died before reaching 5 years of age. The global rate today is 4.5% and much lower (well below 1%) in most of the more developed countries.
Human life span
In the pre-industrial era the average life expectancy was about 30 years. Today the world average is over 70 years and higher in many countries. See sources like Ourworldindata.org.
Over the past century major diseases have been conquered, others turned into long-term maladies. The current pandemic appears to have been caused by human action against better advice (i.e. continuing “gain of function” research despite a ban, and substandard lab safety measures). Hopefully, this outbreak will result in more pro-active vaccine research and other preventative measures that will lessen the chance of future similar outbreaks.
Decline in poverty
Poverty has declined rapidly over past decades and much of the world’s population is entering middle-class status. There is no reason that this trend will not continue.
Human comfort and well-being
Ongoing technological advances have made human existence much less punishing with breakthroughs in transportation, communication, and general human comfort. Workplace safety has increased significantly. Deaths from natural/climate disasters have declined by 96% over the past century.
Once more- Plant and animal life
With more basic plant food in the atmosphere (i.e. CO2) plant life has flourished with a 30% increase in green vegetation on Earth over the past century. Animals have benefitted with more food and humanity has benefitted with increased crop production from aerial fertilization. Also, GM crop breakthroughs have resulted in crop records being broken annually with more breakthroughs to come. We now produce significantly more food than humanity needs. And a warming climate (in an abnormally cold world) will further benefit animal and plant life with extended habitats.
Further, extinctions are at all time lows.
Committed pessimists ignore the many improvements to life and focus obsessively on remaining problems without locating them within the larger overall context of improving life. Alarmist types further tend to exaggerate problems out to apocalyptic scale thereby distorting the overall big picture and long-term trajectory of life. The world is not declining to something worse but, to the contrary, life is improving toward something better.
Best books on the improving state of life on Earth:
Julian Simon’s “Ultimate Resource”. Simon set the standard for understanding the “true state of life on Earth” by looking at the complete big picture (all the data on any issue) and longest-term trends (not just focusing on short-term aberrations or downturns in long trends).
Many subsequent studies affirmed Simon’s basic research on the big picture and long-term trends of life-
Greg Easterbrook’s “A Moment On the Earth”,
Bjorn Lomborg’s “Skeptical Environmentalist”,
Ronald Bailey’s “The End of Doom”,
Desrocher and Szurmak’s “Population Bombed”,
Indur Goklany’s “The Improving State of the World”,
Matt Ridley’s “Rational Optimist”,
Tupy and Bailey’s “Ten Global Trends”, also “Superabundance”
Hans Roslings “Factfulness”, and others.
Read this as if your life depended on it, because it does. This is where governing elites are taking countries- back to dangerous primitivism (“de-development”). They are doing this without public debate, not permitting democratic choice. Politicians and other elites (scientific, entertainment), now possessed with hysteria over a narrative of looming apocalypse, have dismissed the democratic process to coercively enforce their vision of Green salvation on all others. Net Zero decarbonization has all the features of just another historical eruption of a “madness of crowds” episode.
Consequently, the only real decline in life is the decline in standards of living from Net Zero decarbonization madness.
From Tilak Doshi, “Luxury Beliefs And Energy Policy: The Fatal Conceit”, Forbes, April 16, 2023
“In a remarkable interview on Wednesday with anchor Laura Ingraham of Fox News, Norman Fenton, Professor Emeritus of Risk at Queen Mary University of London, spelt out just what the “net zero” economy really means. Net zero, to remind ourselves, is the rallying policy battle cry of all major governments in the West and intergovernmental agencies such as the International Energy Agency, the World Bank and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In the UK context, Prof. Fenton points out that all airports except Heathrow, Belfast & Glasgow will close by 2030. No one will be flying at all by 2050. There will be no new gasoline or diesel cars by 2030 and by 2050 road use will be restricted to 60% of today’s level. Food, heating and energy will be restricted to 60% of today’s levels by 2050. Beef and lamb will be off the menu by 2050…
“These consequences of net zero for the UK — and by extension, the rest of the collective West — are not mere conjectures by him. They are derived from a detailed document issued by UK FIRES, a research program funded by the government. The program informs the government’s policy strategy to achieve the “net zero by 2050” goals of the 2019 Climate Change Act amendment. The Act was enthusiastically supported by every political party without public consultation and astonishingly without a debate over the costs and benefits of the legislation….
“Matt Ridley put it to his peers in the House of Lords as follows: “I am genuinely shocked by the casual way in which ‘the other place’ [presumably the House of Commons] nodded through this statutory instrument [the 2019 Climate Change Act amendment] on Monday committing future generations to vast expenditure to achieve a goal that we’ve no idea how to reach technologically without ruining the British economy and the British landscape.”
“How did a leading economy like Great Britain come to have governments (from both sides of the aisle) that promise their people penury and a future without the basic freedoms Westerners have taken for granted for over two centuries? This, it should be noted, is in the land that boasts the 1215 Magna Carta, the first document to put into writing the principle that the king and his government were not above the law. How does the scare of an alleged “climate emergency” impel a ruling elite of whatever ideological persuasion to impose draconian energy policies that promise their people a return to pre-industrial standards of living?...
“Predicated on unfalsifiable climate models and a hockey-stick global warming chart of suspect provenance, Western policy makers assure us that “the end is nigh.” We are told that this is the “scientific consensus”, an established truth which the BBC, for example, holds such that it sees no need to allow contrarian views on any of its programs….
“Children of the upper bourgeoisie — steeped in learning the tenets of the new left- are unsurprisingly the moral shock troops of the climate alarmism. Convinced of their cause, they throw tomato soup onto art masterpieces and glue themselves to block traffic and inconvenience the general population from going about their daily lives of work and paying the bills. They do this without the slightest compunction, even “gleefully” blocking ambulances from ferrying the injured or sick to hospital. The larger cause of “saving the planet” overrides all, including the needs of the general populace for heat, mobility and affordable food (dependent on cheap fertilizers). Indeed, the net zero economy threatens the very basis of modern civilization….
“On the other side of the Atlantic, the Verge reports of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to announce tough new emission standards to force the phase out gasoline-powered cars while boosting the sale of electric vehicles to fulfil the Biden Administration’s climate policy goals. “Up to two thirds” of cars sold are mandated to be EV by 2032….
“The University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute in collaboration with AP-NORC conducts an annual survey on climate attitudes. This year’s survey finds less, not more, urgency around climate change. The share of those who attribute climate change to humans, as opposed to natural changes in the environment, has fallen from 60 percent in 2018 to 49 percent. And where it matters most, putting one’s money where the mouth is, “the share of respondents who would be willing to spend their own money on tackling climate threats has also nosedived according to the survey results. It would shock today’s privileged luxury believers that just 38 percent of Americans would support a carbon fee of just $1 on their energy bills each month. And that is 14 percentage points less than when they were asked the same question two years ago.”
See full report at link above.