See the excellent research of Bob Brinsmead on the anti-sacrifice stance of Historical Jesus, a position and protest that cost him his life.
From the list of Carl Jung sayings below:
“Man cannot stand a meaningless life.
“Man can endure the hardest trials if he sees meaning in them. The whole difficulty lies in creating that meaning.”
This from Anthony Watts’ site Wattsupwiththat.com, a report by P. Gosselin of NoTricksZone- “There Is No Climate Crisis”… 1600 Scientists Worldwide, Nobel Laureate Sign Declaration
“1609 signatories recently signed a declaration that states there is no climate crisis, thus casting doubt over man’s alleged role in climate change and extreme weather.”
And… Over past history an active sun has correlated with global warming periods.
Site project: Tackling the climate alarm crusade on this site is just the prelude to going after the archetypes (ideas, themes, impulses) that underly alarmism movements. Climate alarmism is just another “profoundly religious crusade” similar in terms of its core themes to all previous apocalyptic millennial movements across history.
I am more concerned about the deeply embedded themes of the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex of myths that have framed human thinking from the earliest mythmaking, through to the era of great world religions, and now continue to shape our narratives in the modern “secular/ideological/scientific” era of human belief systems.
Understanding the basic themes of the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex, and their destructive outcomes on human life and society, is critical to finding our way to the better future that we all want.
The basic formula of alarmism movements: Fear=control. And that is how freedom dies.
From Brendan O’Neill’s excellent “A Heretic’s Manifesto”
“(Oxford English Dictionary) notes that between 2018 and 2020 the use of ‘climate crisis’ increased almost 20-fold in public discussion, while the use of ‘climate emergency’ increased 76-fold… (Some cheer) the media’s embrace of the language of catastrophe… Shaping public opinion through the manipulation of language is a key and terrifying theme of our times… the aim is to force us all into the apocalyptic mindset, to coerce us into the realm of doom by making us think less about ‘climate change’ and more about ‘climate chaos, climate disaster, even climate apocalypse’… Dissent becomes all but impossible when such fanatical language is made dominant.”
“(John Milton said), ‘Only by being free to think for ourselves do we become fully human… our faith and knowledge thrives by exercise… To police and shrivel the sphere of public discussion is to frustrate the search for truth itself by hindering and cropping the discovery that might yet be further made…’
“Truth is not something to be bestowed on us from on high- it is something we endeavor to discover ourselves through free thought, free debate, and the free exchange of ideas with our fellow human beings…”
And so much more. See the Spiked article by O’Neil, posted below. That is representative of what O’Neil presents in his book.
This from Spiked by Laura Dodsworth, Aug.3, 2023- “The green agenda is fuelled by fear: Climate alarmists want to terrify us into changing our behavior”. This again illustrates the totalitarian’s useful tool and basic formula: Fear=control.
Here’s a brilliant big-picture presentation of human history as impacted by climate change: Robert Girouard, “A brief history of climate, from prehistory to the imaginary crisis of the 21st century: Climate history clearly shows that we’re living in a blessed time, and that past civilizations generally prospered during warm periods and declined during cold ones”.
Now some metaphysics: Pulling insights from across history from diverse traditions and people, and not hesitating to speculate on the metaphysical, or ultimate reality, as critical for informing our human impulse to meaning. The insights of our ancestors from across history, on metaphysical reality, help us understand the Why of creation, the purpose of human existence and experience. Wendell Krossa
Probing the nature of deity, the core nature of the metaphysical that undergirds our physical reality, is always about the fundamental meaning of life, and what “Ultimate Reality as the embodiment of ultimate human ideals” contributes to our search for meaning/purpose.
Without further beating around the bush, just a comment about theology as referred to repeatedly on this site….
My conclusions from past experience in a religious tradition, consequent abandonment of that tradition, and subsequent move to join the wider human race and be open to more diverse insights have all led me to the following: There is no sky God, no deity in some heaven above. There is no male gender God, no deity as “patriarch, Lord, King, Ruler, Judge, Savior”. I also reject most of the other features that have defined deity in human mythologies across history, primitive features that religions still present today as defining ultimate reality or deity.
There never has been any such deity as defined by the features noted above. There is no interfering God that intervenes in life to save some and punish others through natural disaster, disease, or the predatory cruelty of others. There is no God who overrules natural law to do “miraculous” things.
Further, there will be no coming divine judgment, and no apocalypse, no hell for sinners. “Threat theology” is a distortion of ultimate reality.
What we understand as God has always been the Ultimate Consciousness, Mind, Spirit, Intelligence that creates and sustains all this material reality in existence, the God that creates natural law as the governing or operating principle for reality in this material world. We all live by the consequences of natural laws.
(Insert: Yet having affirmed the above, I also embrace Jung’s views on “synchronicity” as also part of the mix that points to something mysterious and “supernatural” also going on. Reality is just too mysterious to take dogmatic positions on anything.)
Most critical to an entirely new narrative of the divine, is the insight that God is incarnated in every person as inseparable from the human spirit and human consciousness. There is no God out there somewhere. God is immediately present everywhere here in life and most especially within all humanity (the “oneness” thing that many tell us they have discovered through varied mystical experiences).
And one feature defines this everywhere present deity more than any other feature- love. Notably, inexpressible transcendent “unconditional love”. The ultimate Good that humanity has discovered.
The universally incarnated deity is best understood and expressed through human beings loving one another. Especially, most profoundly, God is seen in people loving their enemies. God is most powerfully revealed in people forgiving, tolerating diversity/difference, including all equally, not dominating others, not controlling others, but respecting and protecting the freedom, diversity, and self-determination of all others. And treating all human failure with restorative, not punitive justice.
This multi-faceted unconditional or universal love is best exhibited in the principles and practises of Classic liberalism. The best of being human that we have discovered.
So this is how we “know God”. From the best of being human that is within ourselves and similarly evident in others. The common human goodness that is everywhere present in all people and throughout all life, including in the lives of our “enemies/opponents”. Make the effort to overcome tribalism and look for it in others, just as we find it within ourselves. Its there also.
The God present everywhere as love is often felt as the gentle urge to do the right thing, the still small voice within. Non-coercive, gently persuading. This is all part of the defining of the most fundamental truth of all- “God is love”.
With our limited perceptive ability, limited by our existing within four dimensions and perceiving through 5 senses, none of us will ever really fully know the Something that has no beginning in time, and exists outside of time and space, and itself creates time and space. Something infinitely unlimited that creates the limitations of material reality and inhabits/permeates/interpenetrates all of it as some form of sustaining Energy/Power/Life. And because we understand it in terms of Mind, Intelligence, Consciousness then of course it is about Personhood or personality, but of some transcendent nature.
And despite the unknowable element of the metaphysical, we sense that the greater Something that humanity has long called “God” is ultimate Good and that means it must be most essentially “unconditional love” because that is simply the highest form of good that we know of. Hence, deity as unconditional love is simply the highest and best truth that we can imagine and therefore, logically and reasonably, it must be the nature of ultimate reality.
No religion has ever communicated this unconditional nature of God to humanity. All religion distorts and blocks human understanding of the true nature of God with endless conditions- conditions of right belief, demanded sacrifices/payments, required rituals and religious lifestyle as identity markers of any given religion, and threats of ultimate punishment for failure to become loyal to the religious tradition.
Added note: This from https://www.livescience.com/65628-theory-of-everything-millennia-away.html
“In 1925, Einstein went on a walk with a young student named Esther Salaman. As they wandered, he shared his core guiding intellectual principle: “I want to know how God created this world. I’m not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are just details.”
In response to Einstein’s curiosity to know how the “Old One” thinks, I would argue that can be understood in one singularly summarizing statement- “love your enemy”, as in no conditions love for all. That gets us to the very essence of deity as ultimate reality, as ultimate meaning, ultimate ideal, ultimate good. As one Near-Death Experiencer said- she was stunned to find that God’s very atoms, God’s very essence or substance, was unconditional love.
That makes such love the very core of all reality, the most foundational element of reality, whether understood in metaphysical or material terms. Marinate on this for a while. Nothing is more true or real of ultimate Consciousness, Mind, or Spirit, than this insight that God is stunningly inexpressible, transcendent unconditional love.
Einstein’s later-life fascination with light as some form of fundamental reality would have been well informed by the later NDE insights on “the Light”, an essential “spiritual” discovery common to the NDE movement, and related to the fundamental nature of ultimate reality or deity.
Added note: As for the apparent “coldness, even cruelty” of a world governed by natural law, books have been written with philosophical arguments as to why such things as the apparent randomness in life is essential to authentic freedom and why, despite the harsh outcomes of our natural law world, this is still “the best possible world”. This is all part of “theodicy” projects that defend the reality of ultimate goodness despite the “hell on earth” experience of many people.
And that is all I have to say on that…. For now.
Well, a bit more…
Why such advocacy here for this often misunderstood and misused adjective feature of unconditional? Wendell Krossa
Placing the feature of “unconditional” at the heart of a worldview, at the center of a narrative as fundamental to defining our ultimate ideals, changes everything… for the better. Unconditional points to the highest and best of being human. It orients our consciousness to the pinnacle of what love means.
Unconditional transforms consciousness by pushing us to challenge, rethink, and reframe entirely the deeply embedded archetypes that have long been defined and deformed by primitive myths that validate our worst inherited impulses- i.e. the base impulses to (1) tribalism (small band mentality that favors fellow insiders and excludes differing outsiders), to (2) domination of others (control and manipulation of diverse, differing others), and to (3) punitive retaliatory justice that destroys differing others, that excludes and eliminates outsiders to our group.
Most people across history have created and embraced highly conditional Gods to serve as the ultimate embodiments of their highest ideals, deities that would then often validate their worst impulses, incite bad behavior, thereby ruining lives and societies. Gods that affirmed the impulses to tribalism, domination of others, and punitive destruction of differing others.
The feature of unconditional challenges and overturns all such thinking, feeling, motivation, and response/behavior. Unconditional is critically foundational to discovering what it means to be fully human, to achieving human maturity (i.e. towering in stature as maturely human like the historically recent advocate of unconditional treatment of enemies- Nelson Mandela).
Unconditional urges us to heroically engage the righteous battle against evil by conquering humanity’s worst monster/enemy- the animal passions inside each of us (Solzhenitsyn’s point on the real battle between good and evil running down the center of every human heart). Unconditional helps us, more than any other feature, to safely maneuver the ethical conundrums of life and maintain our own humanity in the face of horrific offense and evil by guiding our responses toward restorative justice, and by helping us avoid the temptation to retaliatory responses that render us petty, that dehumanize us.
Again, we have discovered nothing higher or better than unconditional for defining what it means to be truly and fully human.
Now a reposting brought up from below…
Wendell Krossa- Key points, arguments, facts, insights, speculations repeatedly presented on this site include:
(1) There is no “climate crisis”. The mild 1 degree C warming over the past century has been significantly beneficial in a world where 10 times more people still die every year from cold than die from warmth (Lancet study). The 1 degree warming has been part of the natural recovery from the 17th Century descent into the destructive cold of the Little Ice Age- the coldest period of our Holocene interglacial. The subsequent warming is a natural return to a more optimal climate for all life. Even 3-6 degrees C more warming (the average for most of the history of life over the past 500 million years when life flourished) would also be net beneficial for all life.
I present these paleoclimate averages to counter the alarmist panic-mongering over 1-2 degrees C more warming. That much warmer paleoclimate world was a “paradise… ‘the golden age of mammals’”. Donald Prothero details this Eocene history in his book “The Eocene-Oligocene Transition: Paradise Lost”.
(2) Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, storms, floods, ocean rise, tornadoes, etc. are not getting worse and in some cases are decreasing in intensity and frequency. Even the IPCC admits this.
(3) With more global warming, the already warm areas of the world- i.e. the tropics- do not “fry” because the extra heat is redistributed by convection currents to the colder areas of the world and climate then “evens out” more across the world (i.e. more tropical-like conditions spread to colder areas and that means extended habitats for the more diverse life forms of warmer areas). The tropics have remained “remarkably stable” during times when average world temperatures were from 3-10 degrees C warmer than today. This is known as the “equable climate” issue that confounds climate alarmists. It points to potent negative feedbacks that maintain climate within parameters beneficial to life.
(4) CO2 is not the main influence on climate change, because other natural factors show stronger correlations to climate change across history. Such natural factors are the main influences on climate change (i.e. “meridional transport”). See the good research on “the physics of CO2” by atmospheric physicists Richard Lindzen, William Happer, and others. Learn more about climate and thereby lessen your fear of the alarmist exaggerations and distortions on climate. See also the excellent series on natural factors driving climate change in “Sun-Climate Effect: the Winter Gatekeeper hypothesis” by Javier Vinos, available at Wattsupwiththat.com. The physics of CO2 as presented by Lindzen and Happer is the single most critical factor to understand in climate science.
(5) Fossil fuels used by humanity are not threatening our world. CO2 is not a pollutant that needs to be decreased or banned.
As the atmospheric physicists (Lindzen, Happer, others) tell us- CO2 has reached “saturation” in terms of its warming effect. Much more CO2 in our atmosphere (e.g. a doubling to 800 ppm over the next two centuries) will contribute very little to any further possible warming. Possible warming? Yes, as Vinos notes, we don’t yet know if climate will warm or cool over the next decades. But we can be certain that more CO2 will continue to fertilize plants/crops and that will be beneficial to animal and human populations. Also, a further warming of several degrees will also be net beneficial to all life. Life emerged, developed, and flourished during the Phanerozoic era when there was no ice on Earth (for over 80% of those 500 million years). There is no rational scientific reason to create fear over ice disappearing in the polar regions when that means extended habitats for more diverse life forms and extended crop production for humanity.
(6) More warming and more CO2 will continue to be net beneficial to all life just as the small rise in CO2 over the past few centuries has resulted in a massive 15% addition of green vegetation to the Earth just since 1980 (i.e. more food for animals, increased crop production for humanity). We are still in a “CO2 starvation era”. Further, over the paleoclimate past when CO2 levels were in the multiple-thousands of ppm, there was no climate crisis. Earth was a paradise for mammals.
(7) The Net Zero “decarbonization” salvation scheme of climate alarmists is destroying the energy sectors of Western nations in an irrational crusade to “save the world by destroying it”.
(The evidence above in numbers 1-7 challenges and overturns the climate alarmist narrative that pushes people to irrationally fear the basic food of all life and to fear 1-2 degrees more warming that will be net beneficial to all life.)
(8) Overall, life is not “declining” toward something worse but is “rising” toward something better- meaning, life is on a long-term trajectory toward improvement on all the main indicators (i.e. forests, land species, agricultural soils, ocean species). This is especially evident over the past few centuries and is affirmation that humanity is most essentially a compassionate and creative species and not the destroyer of the world. See “The True State of Life” further below.
(10) The climate alarmism movement is another “profoundly religious movement” influenced by the same old themes of the “lost paradise/redemption” complex (also known as “apocalyptic millennialism” mythology).
(11) And on the metaphysical or “spiritual”: There is no great threat behind life as has always been falsely presented by the ‘threat theologies’ of past mythology- i.e. the punitive, retaliatory, destroying God of religious traditions, now given “secular” expression in ideological belief systems. Point? The themes of “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption (listed further below) continue to harmfully dominate human narratives and consciousness in varied “secular or ideological” versions.
(Note: This site confronts the Christ myth of Paul because it has been the most influential myth in history, re-enforcing some of the best and worst of primitive themes in modern narratives and consciousness. Along with more humane themes (love, forgiveness, mercy), the Christ myth of Paul promotes the themes of retaliatory deity, tribal exclusion of unbelievers, ultimate domination (“Lord, King, totalitarian Ruler” as in Revelation), apocalyptic ending of life and the world, and ultimate punishment and destruction in hell- all inhumane themes that had been previously rejected by Historical Jesus. The Christ of Paul is most responsible for re-enforcing the violent and destructive theme of apocalypse in modern consciousness, narratives, and societies.)
(12) Historical Jesus was someone entirely opposite to the Christ myth of Paul that dominates the New Testament and Christianity. The original message of Jesus has been distorted and buried by the Christ myth of Paul (this was the argument of, notably, Thomas Jefferson, Leo Tolstoy, as well as Einstein, Gandhi, and others).
Einstein, “If one purges the Judaism of the Prophets and takes Christianity as Jesus taught it, purged of all subsequent additions, especially those of the priests, one is left with a teaching which is capable of curing all the social ills of humanity.”
(13) Historical Jesus, like the Old Testament prophets before him, protested against priestly sacrifice as necessary to appease God and attain forgiveness. Hist. Jesus taught that God was unconditional love and did not demand sacrifice/payment, or other conditions for forgiveness, acceptance, salvation. Note the unconditional theology illustrated by Jesus in his story of the Father in the Prodigal parable (Luke 15:11-32). This was the stunning new theological insight of Jesus that overturned all previous human understanding of deity.
(14) Conclusion from the original core message of Historical Jesus- i.e. the “Q Wisdom Sayings” gospel- There has never been any judging, punitive, destroying deity. There is only a stunningly inexpressible “no conditions Love” at the core of reality and behind life. (Note: The calf slain in the Prodigal story is for a celebratory feast, not as a sacrifice.)
(15) Paul rejected the central message of Jesus to present an entirely opposite theology of conditions- i.e. demanded sacrifice/payment, faith in his Christ myth, etc. Paul, contrary to Jesus, embraced the priestly tradition of the sacrifice industry. Paul affirmed primitive retaliatory threat theology- that God would judge, punish, exclude, and destroy those who did not believe his Christ myth.
(16) The same old complex of myths- i.e. “lost paradise/decline/apocalypse/redemption”, or “apocalyptic millennialism”- the same core myths have dominated human narratives and consciousness from the very beginning of early mythmaking. These mythical themes were eventually embedded in the belief systems of the great world religions (notably in Christianity), and they have now, in the modern world, been embraced in “secular/ideological” systems of belief, even in “scientific” systems of belief. Note, for example, the dominance today of Declinism ideology in climate alarmism (i.e. the decline of life toward something worse, toward collapse and ending- a central theme taken from Christian apocalyptic.).
Note that the lost paradise/redemption complex of ideas embraces themes that validate the worst of our inherited impulses- the impulse to tribalism (true believers versus unbelievers or outsiders to the true religion or group), the impulse to domination that is validated by a deity that dominates (God as lord/king who validates human forms of domination- kings, priesthoods), and the impulse to the violent destruction of threatening others/enemies (by a God who uses ultimate violence in apocalypse, and hell). See again the Harold Ellens and Zenon Lotufo quotes below on how violence enshrined in deity has always validated human violence. We do become just like the God that we believe in.
(17) The great threat to freedom today is coming from ever-evolving extremist “Woke Progressivism”, from the liberal or left side of society that appears to have abandoned the values and principles of Classic Liberalism or liberal democracy.
(18) Alternative themes for new narratives, more humane themes. See below: “Explaining reality and life: The worst and best ideas that we have come up with”, “Inherited bad myths and better alternatives”, or “Old Story Themes, New Alternatives”.
Further detail on the above topics, and much more, in sections below…
A repost of the “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” complex, Wendell Krossa
First, a brief summary of the main themes of this complex of primitive myths:
There was a better past (i.e. an original wilderness paradise world), but early people “sinned” (“fell” or degenerated into something worse) and ruined paradise. Life- then cursed by God- began to decline toward something worse, toward collapse and ending, even toward the ultimate catastrophe of apocalypse. The threat of collapse and ending (apocalypse) was the ultimate punishment for human sins. A sacrifice then had to be made to pay for sin, and suffering would have to be embraced as part of the “redemptive” process. Self-punitive (self-inflicted) suffering today involves 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, driven by guilt, is more common than many imagine. It has a long history as “archetypical”.
As part of the salvation/redemption schema there must also be a violent purging of some purported evil threat to life. 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. Industrial civilization has been demonized today as the “evil” that destroys the paradise wilderness world (CO2 is the identity marker of this larger evil threat of human “excess” in modern civilization, using too much energy and other resources). 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 and in some extremist versions even a world free of the “cancer/virus” of humans).
(Note in sections below that tribal dualism is commonly, and wrongly, applied to differing others in the human family when any imagined dualism should focus on the real battle against enemies/monsters/evil that ought to take place inside each of us- i.e. the dualism battle of our better self against the animal inheritance in us that is our real “evil enemy” in life. This was Solzhenitsyn’s point, and Joseph Campbell’s point on heroically conquering the “animal passions” in us.)
Solzhenitsyn: “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either- but right through every human heart- and through all human hearts.”
The above “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” ideas have shaped ancient and modern worldviews and this is not my conclusion alone. Good historians have traced these themes in more historically recent apocalyptic movements like Marxism and Nazism. These themes are also evident now in the latest apocalyptic movement of 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 historians of religious ideas.).
One book alone overturns entirely the above complex of apocalyptic Declinism themes- i.e. Julian Simon’s “Ultimate Resource”. Varied others have subsequently offered the same evidence. Simon potently discredited apocalyptic environmentalism, just as the one central insight of Historical Jesus on non-retaliatory, unconditional deity (his anti-sacrifice message) overturned the Christian version of the “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” complex as embodied in 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 and hands, 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 (Arthur 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.
(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/apocalyptic/redemption complex to explain and validate these impulses. They tried their best to deal with the world that they lived in and the state of their consciousness at that more 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 policies that impact all of us, policies that consequently harm the most vulnerable people the most.
Decarbonization is becoming very much like all apocalyptic alarmism salvation crusades across history with the same old outcome of “saving the world by destroying the world”. Such is the irrational outcome from inciting the survival impulse in people with alarmist narratives of looming apocalypse.
Some illustration of saving the world by destroying it…
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 that is set above people- in some law, religion, political ideology, nation state, or whatever. Loyalty to the 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”. Such has always been the outcome of embracing and promoting apocalyptic millennial movements.
The narrator concludes how loyalty to some ideology incites evil in our hearts by quoting the famous statement of 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. They come to view themselves as the specially enlightened ones who have seen some great injustice or wrong in life, some great threat to life, and have a vision of how to gain salvationist utopia (“save the world”). And consequent to their unquestioning belief in the urgency of their cause (i.e. saving their world from an imagined “imminent” apocalypse and attaining utopian salvation) they will justify the need for violent crushing of any dissent or opposition to their crusade. Dissent from their vision and orthodoxy is labelled “dangerous and life threatening… criminal”.
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 pushed on humanity through the environmental movement and its attacks on industrial civilization. The outcome is the undermining of individual freedoms and rights (i.e. abandoning and overturning the principles and practises of Classic Liberalism). The ideology of climate alarmism and its salvation scheme of decarbonization has been placed above the well-being of real people, and millions of lives are being harmed as a result of this cultic devotion to another “madness of crowds” eruption.
Back to the “impulses and ideas” point of this article…
All mythological and religious movements have embraced a similar complex of ideas or themes and this is evident from the earliest human writing. Very little changes across human history as these themes were long ago 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- i.e. 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 foundational to what is wrong in our world today. And we have better alternatives now to take human consciousness and life in a more rational direction, toward a more humane future. We do not have to continue suffering under the impacts of the old mythologies that have contributed to so much misery across history by inciting unnecessary additional fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, resignation, fatalism, despair, depression, nihilism, and even violence.
We can now embrace the ultimate human liberation- freedom from mythical pathologies 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/apocalyptic/redemption” or “apocalyptic millennialism” complex set us up to believe that something is wrong, that something (commonly exaggerated to apocalyptic-scale) 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 purport 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 by restoring cosmic justice.
These complexes of bad ideas have long motivated and 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 or themes and their destructive outcomes, whether at the individual level or at larger societal scale:
The core themes (mental pathologies) that have dominated human consciousness across history in the “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” narrative, include:
(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 is perhaps the single most fundamental pathology in human consciousness and narratives. It sets the stage and orients human minds to embrace all the rest of the primitive mythological themes in the “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” narrative.
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. the myth of “fallen/sinful” humanity) arises out of this original error of a better past.
The initial mistake of early people was to blame themselves for committing an “original sin” and thereby ruining an imagined primeval paradise. But contrary to this long-affirmed “original sin” myth (humanity ruining paradise), the original human mistake was actually their wrong assumptions that the past was a paradise world and that early humans had committed a primordial sin and thereby ruined that original perfection, and consequently they deserved punishment.
That wrong initial assumption of a past paradise world ruined by people became the baseline idea for an entire 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 a sacrifice to pay for the initial sin. And further, it led to the requirement that to make things better again you had to violently purge some evil threat to life. And thus, out of the original wrong assumption, emerged all the rest of the “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” complex of bad myths.
(Insert: See below- “False original premises or assumptions, and the wasteful outcomes/responses to false original premises/assumptions”)
How to respond and correct 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 rational alternatives to the baseline bad myth of some original “golden age”.
First, there was never a 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 (see, for example, Robert Hazen’s “The Story Of Earth”). And, since that early uninhabitable world, there has emerged a long-term trajectory of life improving toward a more habitable planet, such as in 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 emergence and increasing complexity of multi-cellular life, increasing organization/complexity in ecosystems, and an overall world that has become more conducive to life. There is nothing in the overall story of life on this planet to support the idea of a mythical decline of life from original perfection toward something worse.
Even biologists like E. O. Wilson and Charles Darwin both affirmed the overall, long-term “improving” trajectory of life toward more complexity and more organization. Darwin added that life evolved toward more “perfection”.
But the progress of life and civilization toward a better future is most evident in the long-term trends of the past few centuries as detailed in the research of Julian Simon and the many others who followed and affirmed his breakthrough insights and evidence.
Again, the conclusion from such evidence? There was never an original paradise that humans ruined. Hence, reject that foundational myth that was the basis for blaming and devaluing humanity. There was no “original sin” or fault that resulted in the loss of paradise. We never “fell” or degenerated from something better to become something worse. We never, in the past, became corrupted beings. Imperfection was our original natural state in brutal animal existence.
An alternative narrative (including metaphysical or “spiritual” speculations) would speculate and 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 the “theodicy” possibilities- that, for example, an imperfect world exists as an arena for human experience, struggle, learning, and development. And that we only learn the better things in life when they are experienced in contrast 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 across history has arisen out of compassion for suffering others. Julian Simon noted that our problems bring out the best in us- i.e. creative endeavor to solve problems and find solutions that benefit ourselves and others. Imperfection, then, is essential to human learning, growth, and maturing.
The myth of a better past dominates 19th Century Declinism ideology, 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 “lost paradise/apocalyptic/millennial” mythology, that distorts entirely the true story of life, still dominates the thinking of many people today.
(Insert note: Evidence of the continuing domination of Declinism today is seen in the surveys that show the level of despair felt by the contemporary generation with 56% of young people believing that the world is becoming worse, that humanity is doomed, and the world will soon end. They consequently conclude that it is best to not have children and to give way to varied forms of fatalism, resignation, discouragement, depression, and withdrawal.)
(2) (A further aspect of number 1) The myth that the earliest humans committed an original fault or error and subsequently “fell” or become “sinful/corrupted” beings who then ruined the original paradise. A prototype version of this myth is the Sumerian myth of Enki eating the 8 forbidden plants, becoming ill, and thereby ruining the original paradise city of Dilmun.
Again, this “original sin” mythology is the primal root of all “blame humanity”, all anti-humanism. The Sumerians gave us the earliest examples of this pathology in the Sumerian Flood myth (Gilgamesh epic) with fuller versions coming later in subsequent Babylonian mythology.
(Insert note: The question needs to be posed- What impact does this primitive mythology of corrupted people ruining early paradise have on human self-image? How does it contribute to subsequent mental/emotion issues of fear, anxiety, depression, despair, nihilism, etc.? Its about long deeply embedded archetypes in human subconscious that impact thinking, emotions, motivations, and then response/behavior.)
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 by the grumpy gods of that time. That is as petty as Adam bringing the curse of “inherited sinfulness” on all humanity for just enjoying the taste of good fruit and curious to learn something new (i.e. 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 those primitive mythologies, with their ideas of pathological 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. It illustrates the obsessive moralizing pettiness of people that they then projected onto deity, reducing the reality of God (ultimate Goodness/Love) to something perversely petty like themselves.
And after considering such lists- No wonder many believe Paul’s statement that “all have sinned” and must embrace his Christ myth or be damned to eternal burning in the lake of fire (as per John’s “Revelation”).
(3) The vengeful deity of primitive imaginations, thoroughly pissed at human imperfection, then supposedly cursed the world and sent life declining toward something worse, eventually toward complete corruption, collapse, and final ending via apocalypse (as a final and ultimate punishment for human sin, followed by the even worse fate of “hell”). This apocalyptic decline myth has long incited survival fear, even terror and desperation to find some salvation.
(4) The great creating Force or 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. I state this to illustrate the primitive nature of this mythology, that the ancients projected onto deity.).
Few raise the logical question here- Why can’t a God of love (supposedly, as ultimate Goodness and Love, something much better than we are)… why can’t such a God freely forgive people just as we are expected to freely forgive imperfect others, unconditional forgiveness being a response that is fundamental to basic human decency. Are we held to a higher standard of basic human decency or love, than God? As Bob Brinsmead reasons in a related manner- If you demand full payment for wrong before forgiving (like the Christian God), well, then that is not genuine forgiveness. Love and forgiveness must be freely given or they are not authentic.
(5) In “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” mythology, the angered deity also demanded suffering in this life as further punishment- i.e. “suffering as redemptive”. Humanity has long embraced this pathology in self-flagellation, in varied forms of self-punishment to assuage guilt/shame over being identified as essentially bad. Today, one form of self-inflicted punishment involves giving up the good life for a return to the “morally superior” simple, low-consumption lifestyle (i.e. “de-development”, or the “Small is beautiful” of Schumacher).
This myth-based thinking advocates for a retreat to the primitive status of original “noble savages”- i.e. early people who were believed to have been stronger and more pure humans who lived in tune with nature, who lived 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 “human 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/apocalyptic/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 distressing and nagging obligation to find absolution for their sin. They long to be told how to make atonement, and in response, priesthoods across history have offered people the pathological solution of blood sacrifice, or other forms of sacrifice/payment/punishment to assuage the human guilt that has been exacerbated by the original sin myth.
Declinism mythology (human sinfulness as the cause of life declining toward something worse), and the threat of looming apocalyptic destruction, intensifies the primal felt need to make atonement of some kind, to engage some form of salvationism (some crusade “to save the world, to save humanity”).
Again, it is the bogus problem of “False original premises or assumptions, and the wasteful and harmful outcomes/responses to false original premises or assumptions”.
(6) The punitive Force or deity behind life also demands “the violent purging” of some great threat to life, the purging of some threatening “enemy”. The violent purging of evil was illustrated in Zoroaster’s mythology of a fallen world purged by molten metal. Violent purging is also illustrated in John’s graphic Revelation.
The purging 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 ancient myth of “cosmic dualism”- i.e. that there exists a great cosmic battle of a good Spirit against some evil Force or Spirit (see Zoroastrian mythology for detail). 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 various forms of human tribalism- i.e. tribalism based on race/ethnicity, nationality, religion, ideology, etc.
Think of the horrific outcomes of this pathological myth alone- i.e. the cosmic dualism of ultimate Good against ultimate Evil. Note the incalculable damage that has been caused across history by inciting the impulse to view differing others as “enemies”, 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 (again, the violent purging of evil). Tribalism, incited by dualism mythology, is among the most damaging of all primitive ideas. And tribalism intensifies its impulse to harm others by granting 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, harmful outcomes still erupting 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 responses. Notably, the recognition of the fundamental oneness of humanity that inspires us to view all others as family, to treat all as free and self-determining equals, and to embrace restorative justice toward the failures of others.
Remember again Joseph Campbell’s comments on conquering our “animal passions” by embracing “universal love”, by 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 mythology teaches us 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 world (see the New Testament book of Revelation for detail on this apocalyptic millennialism mythology). “Violent purging of evil” themes also validated the revolutionary purifying that was central to Marxism (purging the world of capitalism) and Nazism (purging the evil of Jewish Bolshevism). Again, see detail on this is Arthur Herman’s “The Idea of Decline In Western History”. Violent purging (“coercive purification”- Arthur Mendel) is also embraced by environmental alarmism today as in the need to purge purported threats like CO2, and industrial civilization in general.
(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 or millennial kingdom.
(Sources for historical detail on the 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 basic outline of the complex of pathological “lost paradise/redemption” myths. Note the intense anti-human orientation of these primitive myths. They advocate 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 subhuman, 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 arguments on “evolutionary biology/psychology” fully explain all the causal factors behind our ongoing improvement. While our animal past goes some way to explaining our present makeup, the human spirit and human consciousness are something uniquely new in the history of life and cannot be fully explained in terms of our animal past. I side more with neuroscientist and Nobel laureate John Eccles on such things- “The Human Mystery”, “The Wonder Of Being Human”.)
These “lost paradise/redemption” myths constitute the mythical or spiritual substrate- i.e. the archetypes- that undergird most human belief systems or narratives, whether religious or “secular or ideological” narratives, and even scientific ones. These themes are deeply embedded in human subconscious- hardwired in human minds from millennia of tight interaction with some of our most basic impulses. This is the outcome of the ancient human project to create ideas/myths to affirm and validate inherited impulses. The complex of primitive “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” themes continue to dominate human narratives today.
Further comment on “Where and how it originally went wrong”… Wendell Krossa
Early people 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 explain and validate their still very primitive lives and existence.
Those earliest myths, buttressed with the eventual human hesitancy to challenge the sacred (fear of the sacred was a priestly innovation to protect priestly authority), those primitive myths were eventually embraced by the great religious traditions and eventually became religious dogma, and then, latterly in our history, they have even infected modern-era “secular/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, for example, the lists of alternative ideas in the 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 related validation of powerholding 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/apocalyptic/redemption” narratives, such as in the climate alarmism crusade, give voice to the same themes as those listed above and these “secularized” versions of primitive myths still resonate powerfully with many people today. The core “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” themes resonate with deeply embedded archetypes, lodged even at a subconscious level. (Again, “archetype” meaning- prototype, representative, pattern, model, standard, exemplar, ideal, etc.- or early primitive ideas created to explain and validate inherited impulses that became patterns or models for all subsequent human narratives.)
An example of the primitive “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” complex of myths resonating with modern minds to devastating outcomes:
Remember that Hitler, embittered by his WW1 experience and the Versailles Treaty, was initially considered a fringe lunatic madman and largely ignored by most Germans. But eventually his rantings began to resonate more widely with the Christian worldview of the German population.
With the onset of 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. the creation of the millennial Third Reich)”- that message then began to resonate more widely with the same archetypical themes and impulses that had long 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. Again, note the good historical research of the apocalyptic millennial scholars Arthur Herman, Richard Landes, Arthur Mendel, and David Redles.
The message of “decline toward disaster” incites primal fears of some punitive spirit or force behind the natural world that is justly punishing “bad” people for ruining something originally pure and paradisal, such as nature. People then feel intuitively that they deserve such punishment coming at them through natural disaster, disease, accidents, predatory cruelty from “enemies”, and other misfortunes common to life. This myth of some retaliatory Force or Spirit behind nature has been one of the most dominant and harmful ideas to have ever entered and deformed human consciousness.
Remember the 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 the 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 was 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 (in the climate alarmism crusade it involves exaggerating natural events to apocalyptic scale) then pushes many to abandon rationality, out of their desperation to survive. Hence, many people will then accept the craziest exaggerations of the apocalyptic prophets of any given time. Note the repeated failing prophesies of Paul Ehrlich as a contemporary example, also Al Gore among others (i.e. his recent rant that “the oceans will be boiling”).
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 (see Net Zero Watch newsletters of Global Warming Policy Forum).
The contemporary climate alarmism crusade and its destructive decarbonization salvation scheme is just another repeat of 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/apocalyptic/redemption” crusades (i.e. mass starvation from forced collectivism and the horrific environmental damage from centralized planning of resource use).
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/apocalyptic/redemption” pattern play out again today- the same old themes of “better past, sinful humanity ruining paradise, world declining toward apocalypse, demand for sacrifice and suffering as redemptive, obligation to enact a violent purging of some threat as necessary to ‘save the world’ and restore the lost paradise, obligation to heroically engage a righteous battle against evil enemies, 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 pristine wilderness world. We see these primitive themes in the false claim that life is declining/worsening due to the impact of 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 and exaggeration 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.
Why do people hang on to the narratives they believe and follow? Wendell Krossa
A family member often wonders why people believe what they do. Why, for example, do people dogmatically hold ideologies that have proven harmful outcomes? We have repeated conversations about this.
Like why, for example, after repeated historical failures, do so many still embrace and engage collectivist/socialist approaches? In response to this particular issue, I recommend the book “Socialism: The failed idea that never dies”. It shows how socialists have heralded every new socialist project in the world, but after the inevitable failure that follows, similar to all past collectivist outcomes, then Western socialists begin the excuse-making that the new project was not “true socialism” and we just need to try again, and again, and….
After the fall of Communism in 1989, my obviously embarrassed and confused Marxist professors at Simon Fraser University repeatedly offered the excuse that Russian Communism was not “true socialism” anyway.
(Note: Socialists, when asked to analyze the failure of the latest socialist experiment, never explain just how they would do things differently for the next one.)
As to why people continue to hold to collectivist narratives, I would note that socialists portray the opposite approach (i.e. organizing societies according to the protection of individual rights and freedoms, the primacy of free equals), socialists have long portrayed the individual-orientation approach as being about individual selfishness and greed, while collectivism, they claim, is about greater or common good, the good of all.
So case closed, no more discussion or debate is necessary. Collectivist systems are morally superior, more humane, socialists claim. This socialist belief gets to the ‘why’ of dogmatic loyalty to collectivism, no matter how many times socialism is tried and fails, ruining societies and immiserating populations. The denial persists, based on the socialist distortion of the fundamental nature of the two systems. One, they claim, is fundamentally about greed and selfishness, while the other is about common or greater good. Concusion? Collectivism or socialism approaches are obviously “morally superior”.
But socialists don’t explain, then, why collectivism always and inevitably unleashes the totalitarian impulse. Again, they have repeatedly excused such failure as due to distortions of true socialism, blaming anomalies/aberrations like “Communism” as not being “true socialism”. Former socialist Joshua Muravchik says that socialism inevitably unleashes totalitarianism because some “enlightened elite” has to run the collective, and the centralization of power in socialist systems (“for the collective good”) always corrupts the elite powerholders. Socialists appear to not fully understand and appreciate the centralization of power issue and the inevitable outcomes of centalized control approaches.
Where, to the contrary, protecting individual rights and freedoms is about distributing power among competing individuals and among the “check and balance” institutions in society (Frederik Hayek in “Serfdom”). That decentralization of power best protects against totalitarianism. (See Muravchik’s good history of socialism in “Heaven on Earth: The Rise, Fall, and Afterlife of Socialism”).
Add Muravchik’s point that that communalism (Robert Owen), Marxism/Communism, and Socialism are all collectivism approaches at heart.
And history shows that the organization of societies by protecting individual rights and freedoms, this approach has actually done better in achieving the greater good- i.e. in lifting billions out of poverty over the past few centuries.
Also in response to the “Why” question, there is a long religious history of religious belief behind this feeling that collectivism is better, superior. See the New Testament book of Acts which presents the Christian belief that real love is only exhibited when all share everything in common.
(Acts 2:44-45: “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.”)
That, claim Christians, is authentic love, where to the contrary, private ownership is more about selfishness, sin, evil. This is deeply embedded thinking, almost subconsciously rooted.
But consider that working to achieve the best conditions for oneself, and for one’s family, is not greed and selfishness but just basic love, and the most basic responsibility to care for one’s family. And of course, greed and selfishness infect much of human endeavor but the distinction is about the fundamental nature of an approach and its overall outcomes.
Add here also, the socialist distortion of ancient hunter/gatherer and tribal societies as peaceful communal societies that should be replicated in our modern world. See Steven Le Blanc’s “Constant Battles: The myth of the peaceful, noble savage”. This myth continues to dominate academia today.
From my own 10-plus years living in tribal societies I observed the rampant inequalities of age, gender, skill sets, powerholding, and more. And sharing was often determined by the lack of technology. You caught a wild pig and shared it to enforce debt obligations and because you could not preserve it for yourself as there was no refrigeration. And yes, normal human feeling for others also permeated such “communal” societies. It was not all selfishness and greed.
Most of us are open to some balancing between the two approaches- we tolerate being taxed to contribute to greater good as in helping those not able to survive by themselves, and in contributing to shared infrastructure costs. The debate is always over the levels of taxation and regulation that we will tolerate. How much government interference and control will we tolerate as it undermines our individual freedom (See William Berstein’s “The Birth of Plenty: How the prosperity of the modern world was created” for good discussion on such issues as balancing between individual concerns and contributions to greater good- what levels/scale produce the best outcomes for societies.)
Some blurbs on Hayek’s book “Serfdom” (Amazon and other reviews):
Hayek’s Serfdom “warns of the danger of tyranny that inevitably results from government control of economic decision-making through central planning. ‘He further argues that the abandonment of individualism and classical liberalism inevitably leads to a loss of freedom, the creation of an oppressive society’”.
Another on Hayek’s book: “(It presents a) passionate warning against the dangers of state control over the means of production. For F. A. Hayek, the collectivist idea of empowering government with increasing economic control would lead not to a utopia but to the horrors of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy (also the Marxist Soviet Union and Maoist China).”
Also helpful on the longer history of organizing human societies according to either the collectivist or individual orientations, see Arthur Herman’s “The Cave and the Light: Plato versus Aristotle, and the struggle for the soul of Western civilization”.
As for the claimed successes of social democracy or democratic socialism systems, I would argue that the success is due to the democratic element in such systems (protected freedom and rights of equal individuals), not to the socialist/collectivist elements. Research has shown this to be true of places like Sweden.
Also, note the potent manner in which protected rights and freedoms of equal individuals unleashes the creative impulse in people and respects human motivation to improve life (reward for hard work invested).
Note that socialism subordinates individuals to some collective, and eliminates private property rights for the embrace of “the means of production” being owned by all, though- carefully note this- such “democratic ownership by the working class” is administered by the enlightened elites.
Resurging collectivism? Am I “conspiracy theory-like” seeing collectivist ghosts everywhere? Behind every bush? Well, there are those surveys…
Campbell on human story as the Hero’s Journey (links recommended to a discussion group)
Here the narrator outlines Campbell on the Hero’s Journey- presenting 3 overall stages with varied other sub-stages, for about 12 stages in all. This is good on all of us going out, confronting problems/monsters, having courage to face change and engage new ventures, learning from our experiences, and then bringing back some boon or blessing for others. This is about the essential framework of our life stories. Good one… not too long.
This below is another very good one by Gurwinder Bhogal- “Does woke ideology make people sick: A victimhood mentality results in anxiety and depression”, Aug. 1, 2023…
Bhogal’s comments are similar to the work of Jon Haidt- “Why the mental health of liberal girls sank first and fastest: Reverse CBT hypothesis”…
Carl Jung on anxiety, conquering our fears, going out into life to develop our own personality, our own story, taking charge of our own story and development, not letting others develop it for us. Accepting our faults and weakness but not letting those sideline us from life…
Probing further the intensified “demonization of difference” today: Wendell Krossa
What today is driving the impulse to demonize differing others, especially with the intensity with which this is now expressed in our public discourse? Could part of the problem be the contemporary elevation of “feeling uncomfortable” as a dominant criterion, superseding most other criteria, for evaluating things? For evaluating not just actions that may be harmful but also evaluating words that just make people feel uncomfortable?
Many now feel that if they are made uncomfortable by other’s words on some issue, then that is to be demonized as a new “evil” that must be fought and crushed. Such speech is endlessly portrayed as dangerous to some “greater or common good”. (Ask yourself- Who defines the “greater good”? Which ideology is behind any claim to be working for “common good”?)
Hence, we hear such exaggerated claims as “Your speech is violence… it offends me… makes me feel uncomfortable… makes me feel threatened” (also throw in the all-too-common smears of differing speech as “racist… fascist… Nazi-like…). The exaggeration of threat from words, even from obvious jokes, leads many to insist that their purported offenders must be censored, silence, banned, punished, even criminalized.
While admittedly there is actual “hate speech that incites to immediate violence”, the criteria of “hate speech” has been overly extended to include much differing speech that is clearly not such a threat or danger. It is speech that just makes people feel uncomfortable with the other’s expression of difference, disagreement.
And as Ira Glasser, former ACLU director, says, “Who gets to define hate speech?” Who can be trusted to define such a category and not be ideologically biased and misuse such categorization to silence critics or dissenters to some preferred dominant ideology? That is anti-democratic and the real danger to freedom.
As for feeling “uncomfortable”… well, we all need to just “grow the fuck up” and learn to tolerate difference, diversity, dissent as critical to a healthy “liberal democracy” society.
Authentic maturity will not just tolerate, but will even celebrate difference, understanding its critical role in human freedom and progress (i.e. providing more diverse options for solutions and advance).
Also, does the demand that others conform to one’s own worldview/ideology have something to do with the pathological obsession to control others, to meddle in other’s lives, to dismiss the freedom and self-determination of others, and to be a busy body moralist who cannot tolerate difference? This obsessive impulse to override other’s freedom to differ is a mental/emotional pathology that ruins relationships and societies.
Advice from the ancients: “My critics are my best friends”. As long as they avoid “ad hominem” attack and just stick to the content of issues and push us to rethink faulty, sloppy positions on things, then critics, more than “yes men” friends, are actually our best friends.
Trashing religion? Wendell Krossa
You might get the sense from comment here that I am anti-religion. No, not at all. I applaud whatever helps people to live as fully human and get through life. I just think there is much in religious traditions that distorts human consciousness and hence distorts feeling, motivation, and response/behavior. Dehumanizing stuff as in hindering/blocking the development of people as fully tolerant, inclusive, forgiving persons. Psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo, among others, notes this “personality-deforming” influence of “cruel God” theologies (“Cruel God, Kind God”).
And I feel that religious reformism, though critically important as an intermediate stage, is not the most thoroughly comprehensive response as the problem with much religion has to do with the core ideas of the religious belief systems. For example, much religious reformism tinkers around the periphery of religious systems and avoids confronting core bad ideas/myths that distort reality and life.
Notably, few in religious traditions are willing to confront the “monster Gods” that are the cohering center of their belief systems, infecting all else in the system with dehumanizing distortion. Note the prominent features honored in most traditional theology of (1) tribal exclusionism (deity favoring true believers, damning unbelievers/outsiders), (2) domination (humans subservient to authorities/powerholders, domination/submission relationships that are modeled on similar relating of people to gods), and (3) the punitive destruction of differing others (punitive justice systems, and ultimate justice as destruction in apocalypse, hell).
These are core ideas long embedded as core defining themes in religious deities that have long served as ultimate ideals and authorities for humanity- inciting impulses in people, guiding ethics/responses, and validating behavior. We become just like the God that we believe in, whether it is a religious or “secular” deity.
It is said that Einstein could not accept the feature of indeterminacy in quantum mechanics and expressed his view on this in his famous statement that “God does not play dice with the universe”. I used to think that this arose from the fact that Einstein held a traditional view of deity as controlling, intervening, and micro-managing creation. Whatever his actual position on this, I have come round to agree more with his overall perspective on randomness.
More to my point, I cannot accept meaningless randomness as some sort of governing principle in our material reality. Yes, there is some element of indeterminacy in the cosmos and life (at least at the quantum level) and this appears to be fundamental to authentic freedom- i.e. natural law functioning with an element of chaotic freedom that appears random.
But I do not accept any of it as “meaninglessly” random. I see it as part of something greater with the element of something like Jung’s “synchronicity” permeating it all. And apparently Jung discussed this issue of synchronicity with Einstein.
We all have personal experience of synchronicity in our lives, in what appear as strange “coincidences”.
“We often dream about people from whom we receive a letter by the next post. I have ascertained on several occasions that at the moment when the dream occurred the letter was already lying in the post-office of the addressee.”
― C.G. Jung, Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle
“Jung believed that this principle was at work in cases of coincidence, where two or more events are linked in a way that cannot be explained by chance. He gave the example of a patient who dreamt about a scarab beetle, only to find one on his desk the next day.”
This from Willis Eschenbach July 30, 2023- “The IPCC Says No Climate Crisis”
Contradicting the current UN boss’s wildly exaggerated claim (Secretary-General Antonio Guterres) that “the era of global boiling has arrived” the UN’s authoritative body on climate, the IPCC, states there is no “climate crisis”, no matter which of the indicators you look at, whether…
• Air Pollution Weather (temperature inversions)
• Avalanche (snow)
• Average rain
• Average Wind Speed
• Coastal Flood
• Drought Affecting Crops (agricultural drought)
• Drought From Lack Of Rain (hydrological drought)
• Erosion of Coastlines
• Fire Weather (hot and windy)
• Flooding From Heavy Rain (pluvial floods)
• Heavy Rain
• Heavy Snowfall and Ice Storms
• Marine Heatwaves
• Ocean Alkalinity
• Radiation at the Earth’s Surface
• River/Lake Floods
• Sand and Dust Storms
• Sea Level
• Severe Wind Storms
• Snow, Glacier, and Ice Sheets
• Tropical Cyclones
“What these phenomena have in common is that the IPCC says that there is no significant evidence that these phenomena have changed (either increased or decreased) in the “historical period”. In other words, there’s no evidence that “global warming” has changed the strength or frequency of those weather phenomena.”…
“Of course, they go on to use the most alarmist, most useless future scenario, the scenario called either “RCP8.5” or “SSP5-8.5”, to make all kinds of claims based on Tinkertoy™ climate models about how bad things will be in 2050 and 2100 … but we’ve seen how totally wrong all such climate projections have proven to be over the last 40 years. So there’s no reason to believe these projections…
“(This data) is just another part of the mountain of evidence as to why, despite all of the posturing, the IPCC doesn’t think there’s any significant evidence of any “climate emergency” or “climate crisis”.
“However, don’t expect things to change soon. We now have what might be called the “Climate/Industrial Complex”, complete with lots of people making lots of money off the imaginary “climate crisis”, and as Upton Sinclair remarked,
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
The courage to embrace worldview transformation, Wendell Krossa
Just when you think the climate alarmism movement has reached the pinnacle of hysterical lunacy with its grotesquely exaggerated apocalyptic scenarios (i.e. again, the UN boss stating the “era of global boiling has arrived”), the alarmists surprise us by reaching for new heights of eco-nuttiness. There has to be an apocalypse somewhere, somehow, sometime… After all, the apocalyptic prophets have long told us that its coming. Such is the irrational commitment to pathological mythology.
And if you have dogmatically based your identity and career on a belief system that is then exposed as erroneous, it then becomes too threatening to one’s self-image to later back away from the belief system, admitting that one has been in error. It takes a unique spirit of honesty, integrity, and courage to rethink the falsehoods in one’s belief system and to then embrace fact/truth.
But its never too late as the father of modern environmentalism James Lovelock showed us when, late in his life, he abandoned his earlier alarmism over climate change, admitting that climate was just doing what climate has always naturally done and we don’t really know where its going in the future. His fellow alarmists, feeling betrayed by Lovelock’s exposure of their alarmist eco-zealotry and dogmatism, trashed his honesty with ad hominem smears that he had gone “senile”.
Note: No one “denies” climate change. No one denies the fact that CO2 has a warming effect. The skeptical science challenge is to the exaggeration of climate change as a “climate emergency or crisis” and the exaggeration of the influence of CO2 on climate (i.e. claims that CO2 is the “control knob” of climate change, the “main influence” on climate change).
Confront and conquer the monster
This site contributes to the project to bring down humanity’s greatest ever monster, our worst enemy- the monster deity that has dominated human narratives across history and still dominates in human subconscious today whether through religious or “secular” versions of threat theology (deeply embedded archetypes).
More on validating the censorship of differing others as US Democrats/liberals most prominently do today– i.e. demonizing all members of their opponent’s group in terms of the few extremists. That provides them self-justifying reason to validate their censorship of all on the other side, all opinion and speech that dissents from their ideology/narrative. Its an irresponsibly sloppy mischaracterizing of disagreeing other’s views and positions. Wendell Krossa
US liberals/Democrats (conservatives engage the same behavior) have resorted, especially and dominantly over the past few years, to intentionally portraying their opponents (i.e. conservatives, moderates, centrists, even moderate liberals/leftists) in terms of the positions of the minority extremists on their opponent’s side. This now widespread practise of distorting the positions of others as an indistinguishable whole has become a form of extremism itself. News media daily propagandize such distortion to demonize and discredit ideological opponents.
This childishly irresponsible practise distorts the complexity of viewpoints and positions that people hold and the fact that the majority on both sides are moderates, not extremists.
Demonizing majorities with minority extremism positions is a collectivism-type approach- i.e. the framing and stereotyping of all differing others in terms of the worst features on the other side. The demonizer extrapolates out to a collective whole, the views and statements of the fringe few on the opponent’s side, thereby characterizing all on the other side in terms of the views of the extremist few.
Hence liberals/Democrats reacted to the Supreme Court decision to overturn Affirmative Action, claiming that it was about “racism” and “anti-diversity”- the extremist positions of only a minority few on the fringe. They have also portrayed the parents who questioned the excessive and often bullying trans-indoctrination of young children as being “anti-trans” or “anti-gay” and even smearing those parents as “terrorists” for dissenting from such indoctrination.
It has been, notably, US liberals/Democrats doing this obsessively over past years- framing issues in the distorting terms of the worst minority extremes on the other side. Like Michael Moore stating that all who voted for Trump were “racists”, or Nazis. Justin “always virtue-signalling” Trudeau did this with the trucker’s protest, characterizing the entire movement against vaccine mandates, a position supported by 70% of Canadians, as being about “white extremism” due to one person showing up with a US Confederate flag. Media ignored the fact that person was quickly ushered out of the protest by the truckers.
We see this endlessly where liberals demonize all who disagree with extremist Woke Progressivism, even fellow liberals, as “right-wingers… racists… white supremacists…anti-vaxxers…”, and more. Even dissenting Blacks are demonized as the “face of White supremacy, or Uncle Toms”. The generalization of all dissent in terms of the worst extremes of the dissenting side.
The distorting generalization of all in terms of extremist positions then promotes fear of all differing others as a great threat. You stereotype all disagreeing others in collectivist terms, demonize them in terms of the worst of extremist positions on their side, and then you claim that all who differ with you are dangerous nutcases who are threatening the entire society.
Such generalization then validates your claim that you need to censor all disagreeing others in order to “protect the public from harm, to prevent violence, to save democracy”, and so on. You delude yourself with the belief that you are fighting for the “greater or common good” (“greater or common good” as defined in terms of your views and your side, your ideology and your tribe).
This practice of distorting all difference or dissent as dangerous extremism then locks people on both sides into a tribal polarity where people are unwilling to even countenance the fact that there are many issues that both sides can agree on and work together on. The areas of common agreement are far more prominent than the extremist differences.
Add here, the complicating factor of the ideologically-reenforced stubbornness that refuses to understand the other’s viewpoints, that refuses to see good intentions in differing others, that refuses to grant the benefit of the doubt re motivations and misspoken comments, to give second, third, and more chances to imperfect others. Add the spirit of harsh intolerance, tantamount to hatred of differing others, and you have a dangerous descent into irreconcilable tribal polarization.
The polarizing and extreme demonization of differing others, validates the bubble-encased delusion of today’s liberals that they are fighting a righteous war against intolerable evil, against enemies that must be destroyed, opponents that have no rights to free speech to push their “dangerously life-threatening disinformation/misinformation”. They are a threat too great to even tolerate. They must be vanquished entirely in order to “save democracy… or save the world”.
The eruption of this intense tribalism, fear, and hatred of what is purported to be a life-threatening “enemy”, and refusal to return to ‘liberal democracy’ sanity, is the real threat to democracy today.
Hope for a return to common decency and cooperation is located with the moderate majority of people speaking out against such extremism on both sides. Moderates who are not cowed into silence, not self-censoring out of fear of cancelling. We need more of the spirit of the children who innocently shout in the midst of crowd madness- “Mommy, the emperor has no clothes” and break the spell of crowd-insanity. Kids who refuse to join social contagions and will stand free for common sense, common decency.
Glen Greenwald, among others, regularly points to this demonizing of all opponents with collectivist characterizations, in his podcasts and articles. As he notes, this practise is mainly coming today from Democrats.
And this illustration of demonizing differing others: https://nationalpost.com/opinion/principals-death-is-a-stain-on-the-conscience-of-this-nation
Affirmation/advocacy/defense of unconditional as the core reality, central to all meaning
“Where there is no authentic freedom there is no real love. Love and freedom are two inseparable sides of one coin,” Bob Brinsmead.
“If love is not unconditional then it is not authentic love,” Bob Brinsmead.
“No conditions” (unconditional) gets us to the best of being truly human, Wendell Krossa
Essential to finding our way to a more human future, we need to recognize what holds us back, where we become dead-ended, sidetracked, blocked, or detoured from our quest to become more human. I see a major hindrance in the ideas that we embrace to structure our narratives, to shape our worldviews that then powerfully shape our life stories.
The ideas that we hold incite and validate how we think, how we feel, how we are motivated, and how we respond or behave. We behave as we do, significantly influenced by what we believe. Our beliefs either incite our worst impulses or inspire our better nature.
I have repeatedly outlined the notably pathological element in the mix of human ideas as the “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” complex of myths that currently dominate our narratives. And I offer a set of alternatives that provide inspiration and ethical guidance to point us toward a more humane future. This is about orienting human understanding toward truly human ideas/ideals that then inspire our better impulses (i.e. fully “humanizing” the beliefs that shape our thinking, emotions, motivations, and responses/behavior).
I would center alternative ideas around the single most important idea/ideal of all, the highest of human ideals- love, the singular encompassing feature that, more than any other, defines us as truly human beings. And by love, I would point to something more than just the general view of love in popular culture, i.e. romantic, friendship, or familial forms of love. I would focus on something more specific about love- the feature of “unconditional”- that takes us to the height of what it means to be human. And as noted across this site, I use this term in an absolute sense when referring to ultimate reality, but qualified when referring to human response and behavior in this imperfect world.
I wish there were a better term than unconditional because its common usage automatically orients many to mushy, fuzzy, pacifist-type understandings of love (i.e. the impracticality of “turn the other cheek” ethics in a too-often violent world). Much like the use of the term “God” that automatically orients people’s minds to religious versions of deity which then distorts entirely the unconditional nature of deity with too many primitive conditional elements (i.e. demanded sacrifice/payment, required belief/faith, adherence to rituals and lifestyle as markers of membership in a religious tradition, etc.).
Contrary to dogmatic pacifist understanding of unconditional, any common sense understanding of love will recognize that proper human development, growth, and maturing involves every individual taking full responsibility for their behavior (i.e. natural and social consequences). Any practical understanding of love will affirm the necessity for restraint of bad behavior (i.e. criminal justice systems imprisoning and rehabilitating repeatedly violent people and where restoration is not possible, as in cases of psychopathy, then permanently removing such offenders from the public in order to prioritize the protection of innocent citizens.).
Despite misunderstanding and misuse, the adjective “unconditional” provides a contrast and raises questions about our justice systems. It helps us to appreciate that areas like justice can not continue with retaliatory, punitive approaches that do not aid both offenders or the criminal justice people to recover and maintain their full humanity. Recidivism is the crucial factor with regard to protecting the public, and punitive justice approaches do not reduce recidivism rates as effectively as restorative justice approaches.
Unconditional orients us to restorative justice approaches as in the Danish model. Unconditional also urges us to embrace common human rights codes that advocate the humane treatment of prisoners of war. Overall, and most critical, unconditional orients us to how we best maintain our own humanity in the face of evil. This is what Joseph Campbell was trying to say in his comment on universal love:
“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).
Add here that the love I am defining has more to do with intention and action despite feelings to the contrary (as in the “agape” love of religious traditions). Agape-type love acknowledges and validates the legitimate outrage at human cruelty toward innocent people. But then it orients us to determination to treat offenders humanely (“love your enemy” as in restorative justice) despite healthy rage at offenses committed, and in doing so, it enables us to maintain our own humanity in the face of intolerable evil.
(Insert: One person defined agape as “the steady intention of the will to another’s highest good”. https://kenboa.org/living-out-your-faith/five-loves-greatest-agape/)
Unconditional offers some of its best expression in the principles of Classic liberalism that affirm universal, unconditional love in the inclusion of all equally, in the protection of the rights and freedoms of all people equally, with institutions like representative parliament, common law, etc. Classic liberalism elevates free and equal individuals as the ultimate authority in society, where government institutions exist not to dominate citizens but to “serve” them. Authentic love exists only where there is authentic freedom as in honoring the self-determination of all individuals equally (protecting personal choice and control against top-down coercion and control by powerholding elites).
The orientation to the primacy of individuals involves distributing power among competing individuals and institutions as the best preventative against the totalitarian impulse that is always trying to resurge in our societies through collectivist approaches that subject individuals to some collective that then has to be run by the “enlightened elites”, people who believe that they know what is best for all others (“the little people who pay taxes”).
But more than just embracing the principles, practises, and institutions of Classic liberalism as the best means for promoting the love that defines truly human societies, I focus here on the underlying themes that shape our narratives, that influence our thinking, emotions, motivations, and responses/behavior for good or bad, the critical ideas that either incite our worst impulses or inspire the better angels of our nature- our more human impulses. Our ideas/beliefs undergird the principles and practises that we employ to relate to one another and to our societies at large.
Our ideas/beliefs work together with our impulses, and related societal institutions, to produce outcomes that are either human or inhuman. And we should know by now, from past centuries and millennia of experience, the striking difference between the outcomes of liberal democracy contrasted with collectivist approaches. See, for example, Arthur Herman’s history “The Cave and the Light” for a good history of collectivism approaches to organizing human societies, as contrasted with the approaches that organize societies with a focus on the primacy of individual rights and freedoms.
Note my list of alternative ideas/themes to shape narratives, posted repeatedly below- “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives”. We all live primarily by story. My list of alternatives offers more humane themes to shape a new story to guide and validate life.
In my list of alternatives, I repeatedly affirm the supremacy of unconditional for shaping narratives and guiding ethics because it takes us to the absolute height of goodness, the height of humaneness or love. We know of nothing higher or better. We have discovered nothing more humane, more central to being fully and truly human. And hence, unconditional best defines the ultimate Good or ultimate Love that people call God.
However, note this distinction, when applying unconditional to deity. Unconditional projected onto deity means love in a transcendent sense- something infinitely better than the best that we can imagine. What Joseph Campbell meant when he said the term “God” was a penultimate term that pointed to “the God infinitely beyond”. This is proper “theodicy”, as in the defense or advocacy for the existence of some ultimate Good. And because transcendent unconditional is the best form of good that we can imagine, then it would be the ultimate truth. God is not just love, God is inexpressibly wondrous unconditional love. Like nothing we can conceive of here in our material realm.
Campbell has also stated that we tower in stature as maturely human when we orient our lives to universal love. I would use the broader term- unconditional- as the marker of fully mature human being. Unconditional most potently counters our darkest animal passions to tribalism, domination of others, and destruction of differing others (the “animal passions” in Campbell’s work). Unconditional is the weapon to slay the monster in our hero’s quest- the real monster and enemy that exists inside each of us, our animal inheritance of dark impulses that orient our thinking to small band thinking, and to alpha domination, to destroy competing others.
Nothing more effectively liberates us to be authentically human than unconditional love, love of even enemies. Unconditional liberates us, for example, from the base and petty urge to retaliate against the failures of others, to exclude, punish, and destroy differing others.
There is no better ideal to function as the cohering center of any narrative. The feature of unconditional orients us to the highest and best speculation on the nature of the creating Source of all, the nature of the ultimate Mind, Consciousness, or Intelligence at the core of all reality. Unconditional then offers the absolute highest ethical ideal for striving toward a more humane future and world. Nothing compares to unconditional for inspiring the best of human impulses to respond humanely, to guide human motivation and behavior, to help us maintain our humanity throughout our journey through life’s often intolerable horror, offenses, and evil.
Unconditional also functions as the best criterion that we have discovered for evaluating all else as humane or not.
Unconditional evokes a common resonance with ordinary people in their daily interactions with family, friends, and neighbors. If provides the singularly best feature to improve and maintain successful relating and interacting with all others. Unconditional orients us to forgive imperfect others, to tolerate difference, to affirm the uniqueness of all others, to respect the freedom and self-determination of all others (even if resulting in things repugnant to us). Unconditional orients us to grant second and third and more chances to failing others to recover from their common failures to live as human, something we all experience.
Unconditional, as a critical defining ideal shaping thought, emotions, motivations, and responses, offers so much that makes life more tolerable for all.
Do you think Historical Jesus is the same person as Christian Jesus Christ? Take a look at the good research of Bob Brinsmead…
Points from Brinsmead research: The man who died protesting the sacrifice industry (Historical Jesus) was turned into the ultimate sacrifice (Paul’s Christ).
Historical Jesus’ core message of unconditional love was turned into the ultimate condition of demanded sacrifice/payment for sin. Jesus’ theology of non-retaliatory deity was rejected by Paul who then re-instated the feature of ultimate retaliation to define the Christian God (Matthew 5:38-48 compared with Romans 12:17-20).
“A show of clowns”- putting shows of elevated status and exhibitions of authority in their proper place. Wendell Krossa
Another note: I saw the Pope a while back, shrouded in his usual garments signifying/manifesting his status of religious authority. He was making some pronouncement about God, professing once again to speak authoritatively for God. In response I thought- Ah, such fraud, you don’t know anything more about metaphysical reality than the average person on the street. In fact, most ordinary people know far more about ultimate reality than you do because they can appreciate deity as an unconditional reality while your religion locks you into the mythology and pathology of conditional, retaliatory deity- the most primitive and consciousness-deforming thinking ever foisted onto humanity. That pathology began with the earliest mythology and was then embraced by all the great world religions. Threat theology continues today as a dominant feature of human understanding of metaphysical reality.
Campbell quoted some person who referred to popes and kings dressed in long robes and wearing elaborate head gear and sitting on elevated chairs (thrones) above others, as “a show of clowns”. He nailed it. Think of that next time you see some gathering of political leaders, celebrities, religious leaders, or other self-identifying “important elites” all exuding great authority and higher status above ordinary folks. Its just a “A show of clowns”. Then fearlessly voice along with the guileless child, “Mommy, the emperor has no clothes”.
Note: I would not suggest the Pope is intentionally being fraudulent. He is obviously sincerely committed to his religious belief system. But is he fully aware of the harmful outcomes of his system, both at personal and social levels? How much does ‘confirmation bias’ prevent him from acknowledging such outcomes?
Politicians: Stop the kowtowing to alarmism hysteria, Wendell Krossa
There is endless public chatter from politicians over delaying or slowing down Net Zero targets for shutting down fossil fuels (bans on gas-fueled cars, shutting down carbon emitting power plants, etc.). Notably in places like Britain. But why is there no public discussion and debate about the most basic and central issue in this climate crisis crusade? I mean the physics of CO2- the actual role of CO2 in climate warming (its warming influence or effect) and whether warming will become catastrophic or not.
We have a growing and amassed body of evidence from the best climate scientists (co2coalition.org, Wattsupwiththat.com, etc.) that CO2 has reached “saturation” (in physics terms- its ability to absorb and re-emit infrared radiation) and even if CO2 levels double to 800 ppm over the next two centuries it will contribute very little to any possible further warming.
This evidence should be considered within the larger background picture that we are still in a too-cold world where 10 times more people die from cold every year than die from warmth. We need several more degrees of warming and such warming would not result in life-ending catastrophe but would be net beneficial to all life. Over the Phanerozoic era of life, average temperatures were 3-6 degrees C warmer than today (up to 10 degrees C warmer) and there was no “climate crisis”. All life thrived during such “golden age paradise for mammals” conditions.
The best evidence on climate continues to affirm that there is no need to tax carbon and no need to decarbonize our societies. There is no “climate crisis”. Why is this critical evidence not included in debate over Net Zero responses and policies? Why the endless kowtowing to the alarmist distortion, denial of fact, and irrational crusade to end fossil fuel use?
And a note on “heatwave hysteria”…
Re Sarah Wildman article, May 19, 2023, New York Times
My post to a discussion group in response to Wildman’s article: Wendell Krossa
This quote just below is from the mother (Sarah Wildman) who is Jewish. She is commenting on the “Protest theology” of her religion, referring to her other younger daughter (Hana) who was angry at losing her older sister to illness:
“In the early days, (Hana’s) hurt was so raw we could just barely keep hold of her in its tumult. Hana worried that she was so angry with God that God would be angry with her. We explained to her that we come from a tradition of questioning and of confronting God (Jewish “Protest theology”- a strain of theology that emerged among Jews after the Holocaust). We reassured her: We are all angry”.
Others argue that Jewish Protest theology has origins further back in Hebrew history. It refers to the tradition of questioning and challenging the apparent injustice of God not intervening to save good people and punish bad people. Why does God appear to not care for proper justice in terms of common human perceptions of justice? Jews then argue that God should be held accountable in judgment for such apparent failure of concern for common justice.
I would respond that Jewish protest theology is really a protest against a mythical distortion of deity- against a straw God that has never existed, against a deity that is no more than an imaginary human creation, and a pathological imagination at that- i.e. the myth of a God who intervenes to overrule natural law, to save God’s chosen people, to punish and destroy the bad guys.
David and Job (Old Testament) were puzzled when such a deity did not express himself in their situations to save them from their opponents/enemies. They asked regarding their expectations- “Why do the righteous suffer and the evil prosper?” They imagined a God like themselves- a deity who would affirm punitive, retaliatory justice as in reward for the good, for likeminded fellow believers, and punishment for the bad guys/”sinners” who did not adhere to Jewish beliefs, law, and customs.
Centuries later, Jesus sorted out their confusion in stating that no such deity existed. The God that existed, he argued, included and treated all the same. The affirming evidence of such deity? God sent sun and rain on all alike- equally, inclusively, unconditionally.
Meaning: There was no sky God who would come down to intervene in life by overruling natural law with discriminatory intention to save some chosen, righteous people, and to punish unbelievers. That had always been just bad mythology, untrue, not existing in any reality. A myth.
Further on the apparent absence of God that sparked the protest theology of Jews: I would suggest that because God is incarnated in all of us (i.e. inseparably related to the “human” spirit) we “save” one another and the world by “gradualism”, by gradually and democratically working to solve problems and make life better, not by coercively intervening and overruling life situations with, for example, the violent purging advocated in the biblical mythology of Revelation (the “coercive purification” Mendel noted in “Vision and Violence”).
Further note to discussion group in response to another asking- “Wouldn’t there be massive consequences if an omnipotent, omniscient, etc. deity was present on our planet? Life would be meaningless?”
Well, what about the option that deity is already present incarnated in us, equally in all of us, inseparable from what we call the “human spirit”, or better- humane spirit. What people have long referred to as “conscience”, etc. That still, quiet persuasive inner impulse or voice. The “gentle urging” thing. What if all human raging against evil, suffering, and injustice is just us expressing the voice of the invisible God? God acting through our actions or our activism. God “saving” the world through our efforts to solve problems and make life better. God present in the Holocaust in those amazing stories of people maintaining their humanity in the face of horrific evil. And so on…
There has never been an intervening sky god that overrules the laws of nature and natural consequences to save people. That “saving” responsibility and work has been left up to us because it appears that God has incarnated in all of us. Everyone of us is always as close to God as any person across history has been. We all have the same unmediated access to God as anyone else. In the ordinary situations of our daily, mundane lives.
There is no such thing as God especially and uniquely incarnated in some people, (special “holy” people, popes, priests, gurus), giving special access to a chosen few, God closer to such people than to most others. All such mythology originates from early shaman who claimed special status in their tribes due to having access to secrets about the spiritual realm. They thereby claimed superior status over their fellow tribespeople, and began occupying positions of authority, power, and control over others. Such early religious practice was part of the origin of inequality among people.
Shellenberger is “angry and afraid”.
(Comment to discussion group): Some of you are having a hard time recognizing what Shellenberger is so intensely worried about and exposing- the corruption of the liberal side of our societies, the shift of Democrats toward Woke Progressive extremism and as he terms it- “totalitarianism”. All I can urge is wake up and pay attention to this “greatest threat that we face today” (Glen Greenwald’s comment).
“Western civilization is being rapidly taken over by a psychopathological religion, and that we must resist it by exposing it for what it is, and re-grounding our institutions in love of humanity, civilization, and freedom… Behind the war on free speech is the same totalitarianism we have been watching sweep over the Western world for several years. It is relentless and uncompromising. It is driven by bullying people full of dogma and hatred of dissident views… We are going toe-to-toe with an opponent that would put us in prison for wrongthink. We must stand up to their bullying, and break their hyponotic trance over the population. That is how we will escape from the woke matrix.”
This from Matt Taibbi, June 23, 2023- “The Elite War on Free Thought: Address at Free Speech Event in London, with Russell Brand and Michael Shellenberger”.
Taibbi says that as he was invited to become involved in the Twitter Files expose, he was stunned by the censorship of dissenting opinion and speech by US intelligence agencies (i.e. pressure from FBI, CIA, other government agencies), censorship mainly directed at conservative speech.
Taibbi was overwhelmed by the extent of the censorship and made this summarizing comment:
“But after looking at thousands of emails and Slack chats, I first started to get a headache, then became confused. I realized the old-school Enlightenment-era protections I grew up revering were designed to counter authoritarianism as people understood the concepts hundreds of years ago, back in the days of tri-cornered hats and streets lined with horse manure.
“What Michael and I were looking at was something new, an Internet-age approach to political control that uses brute digital force to alter reality itself. We certainly saw plenty of examples of censorship and de-platforming and government collaboration in those efforts. However, it’s clear that the idea behind the sweeping system of digital surveillance combined with thousands or even millions of subtle rewards and punishments built into the online experience, is to condition people to censor themselves.”
He is illustrating George Orwell’s statement that the worst form of censorship is “self-censorship”. It doesn’t require the presence of the central dictator but just all-pervading fear of censorship, banning, cancelling, loss of job, public demonization and scorn, and even criminalization, all prevalent today across our societies.
This is a new form of enslavement or imprisonment and worse than any physical imprisonment because it is a prison of the mind. As Taibbi and colleagues state- It is not about storm troopers coming to your door to take you away to some prison. They don’t need to if you have already submitted, out of fear, to the authoritarians controlling the society with their elite narrative and orthodoxy. The threat is not about the previous century burning of heretics at the stake. The threat today is the “burning of a life” in terms of being fired, publicly vilified, censored, banned, fully cancelled.
Another on true liberalism, Wendell Krossa
Classic liberalism is the best that we (humanity) have come up with to organize human societies in the safest manner, as in preventing totalitarianism and its destructive outcomes. Classic Liberalism urges us to respect and protect the freedom and rights of all individuals equally, to be inclusive of all diverse human life stories (straight, gay, whatever), to protect individual self-determination from powerholder interventions (from state, government overruling individual rights and freedoms through excessive regulation, taxation), to embrace common law and governing institutions that protect all individuals/citizens and not privileging elites over ordinary folk, to affirm restorative justice approaches as the best way to practise “love your enemy”, etc.
In response to those who argue for giving primacy to “greater or common good” by organizing societies with communalism/socialism approaches, I would note that organizing societies around free individuals has historically worked best in also achieving the best of “common or greater good” (billions lifted out of poverty over past few centuries).
Whereas systems of organizing that put individuals in subjection to collectives have ruined both individual and greater good, repeatedly (“Socialism: The failed idea that never dies”, Kristian Niemietz). Collectivism centralizes power in governing elites that claim to know what is best for all and that inevitably unleashes the totalitarian impulse in powerholders. Whereas to the contrary, the orientation to giving primacy to individual rights and freedoms decentralizes/disperses power among citizens and citizen-protecting institutions. The organizing of societies, according to the primacy and protection of individual freedoms and rights, best protects from the totalitarianism that has been the inevitable outcome of socialist systems.
This good comment from Brendan O’Neil, July 31, 2023, “Global boiling? Don’t be ridiculous: Its time to stand up to the eco-fearmongering of our medieval elites”.
“And just like that we’ve entered a new epoch. ‘The era of global warming has ended, the era of global boiling has arrived’, decreed UN chief António Guterres last week. It’s hard to know what’s worse: the hubris and arrogance of this globalist official who imagines he has the right to declare the start of an entire new age, or the servile compliance of the media elites who lapped up his deranged edict about the coming heat death of Earth. ‘Era of global boiling has arrived and it is terrifying’, said the front page of the Guardian, as if Guterres’s word was gospel, his every utterance a divine truth. We urgently need to throw the waters of reason on this delirious talk of a ‘boiling’ planet.
“Guterres issued his neo-papal bull about the boiling of our world in response to the heatwaves that have hit some countries over the past two weeks. ‘Climate change is here [and] it is terrifying’, he said. We see ‘families running from the flames [and] workers collapsing in scorching heat’ and ‘it is just the beginning’, he said, doing his best impersonation of a 1st-century millenarian crackpot. In fact, forget ‘climate change’, he said. Forget ‘global warming’, too. What we’re witnessing is a boiling. It all brings to mind the Book of Job which warned that the serpent Leviathan would cause the seas to ‘boil like a cauldron’. Leviathan’s back, only we call him climate change now.
“The obsequious speed with which the media turned Guterres’s commandment into frontpage news was extraordinary. They behaved less like reporters than like the slavish scribes of this secular god and his delusional visions. ‘World entering “era of global boiling”’, cried the Independent, and we ‘know who is responsible’. No prizes for guessing who that is. It’s you, me and the rest of our pesky species. It always is. ‘Planet is boiling’, one headline breezily declared, confirming that Guterres’s fearful phrase, his propagandistic line no doubt drawn up with the aid of spin doctors in some UN backroom, is already being christened as fact.
“Almost instantly, media outlets started lecturing readers on how they might help to put a halt to the coming evaporation of our planet. SBS in Australia advised us to ‘Reduce meat intake’, ‘Stop driving cars’ and ‘Cut down on flights’. In short, stop all the fun stuff; make sacrifices to appease nature’s angry gods. Even self-styled radicals made themselves mouthpieces of the UN’s medieval sermonising. Novara Media instantly embraced ‘global boiling’ as an apt metaphor for the arsonist impact humanity has had on Earth. Scratch a Marxist these days, find a Malthusian.
“Can’t we have just a little critical thinking on the idea of ‘global boiling’? The first thing a rational mind ought to note is that boiling is when liquid turns into vapour. Sorry to be pedantic, but I think the meaning of words is important. Does anyone really believe our planet is now so fantastically hot that lakes and rivers and seas will shortly start to evaporate? If you don’t – and you shouldn’t, because it’s baloney – then you should not use a phrase like ‘global boiling’. Indeed, one professor of climate physics rebuked Guterres, mildly, of course, for starting to ‘depart from the underlying scientific evidence’. Indeed. Earth is not boiling, and we shouldn’t say that it is.
“There are other reasons to be sceptical of the boiling hysteria. Yes, the weather is hot in parts of Europe, but there have been heatwaves throughout history, long before the dawn of industry. What’s more, the Greek government says that most of the 667 fires it has experienced over the sweaty past fortnight were started ‘by human hand’. So those ferocious flames gleefully described by our green elites as Mother Nature’s punishment of mankind were mainly the handiwork of arsonists. Then there’s the fact that cold weather kills far more people than hot weather. Will the chilly winter months, in which numerous old people will perish, be described by Guterres and his apostles as a global freezing, a New Ice Age? Of course not. There are no propaganda points, no opportunities for modernity-bashing, in fearmongering over cold weather.
“Let’s be clear: ‘global boiling’ is not a factual or scientific phrase. Rather, it represents yet another ramping up of the green politics of fear. It’s the latest addition to the already fat dictionary of eco-dread. Economic inflation isn’t the only problem we face today – there’s threat inflation, too. The catastrophism of climate change in particular is puffed up on pretty much a weekly basis.
“This is why we’ve gone from climate change to climate crisis to climate emergency. And it’s why we’re now going from global warming to global boiling. Language is used to terrorise the masses, to snap us out of our supposed apathetic coolness on the issue of climate change and force us to agree with the cranky elites that the end really is nigh, and it’s our fault.
“As the Washington Post said in its coverage of the ‘global boiling’ edict, apocalyptic superlatives can be ‘useful in underlining the importance of [this] issue’. This is a familiar tactic of eco-propagandists. A few years ago, Extinction Rebellion protested outside the offices of the New York Times to put pressure on it to dump the passive phrase ‘climate change’ in preference for the panic-inducing ‘climate emergency’.
“‘Linguistic experts’ have cheered the media’s embrace of catastrophic language because apparently fretful terminology can help to ‘convey to the public an increasingly urgent threat’. They’re trying to manipulate us. They are using the grammar of Armageddon to cajole us into compliance with the green narrative and its demands for sacrifice in everyday life. As I argue in my new book, A Heretic’s Manifesto, they want to ‘coerce us into the realm of doom by making us think less about “climate change” and more about climate chaos, climate disaster, even climate apocalypse’.
It is imperative that we resist this linguistic authoritarianism. ‘Global boiling’ isn’t only a ridiculous phrase – it is also an insult to truth, reason and us. That such a fact-lite, post-scientific, hysterical phrase has been used by the UN, the activist set and the media elites is a reminder that they see the rest of us, the little people, as malleable creatures to be marched this way and that by scary words and warnings of a hellish future. It’s boiling anger we should feel, for this arrogant crusade of emotional manipulation.”
Carl Jung sayings:
“Man can endure the hardest trials if he sees meaning in them. The whole difficulty lies in creating that meaning.
“Where love rules there is no ‘will to power’. Where power predominates, love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.
“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness and the word “happy” would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.
“Man needs difficulties, they are necessary for health.
“Man cannot stand a meaningless life.
“Every human life contains a potential. If that potential is not fulfilled, then that life is wasted.
“Depression is like a woman in black. If she turns up don’t shoo her away. Invite her in, offer her a seat, treat her like a guest and listen to what she wants to say.”