Note the reposting below of revised articles on “Patterns in alarmism movements” and the destructive outcomes. This is to encourage- “learn more, fear less”. And to counter the totalitarian’s formula- Fear=control.
Some intro notes re the reposted articles below…
Below in the repost of revised comment on “Patterns in alarmism movement” I noted that we have had the alternatives to liberate us from the endless cycles of crowd madness and violence that are incited by the bad ideas that we have inherited, ideas that validate our worst impulses. We have known about the better alternatives for millennia. So there is no excuse for enduring these endless cycles of hellish barbarity that keep erupting in the modern era. Unfortunately though, the better alternatives have been buried in our religious traditions and are now also buried by our ideological belief systems that have embraced the same old inhumane themes of our primitive past.
And while the influence and destructive outcomes of bad religious ideas are most graphically expressed in eruptions of violence such as the Oct.7 attack on Israel, do not dismiss the far worse influence and outcomes (more widespread) of the same basic complex of bad ideas- i.e. the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” set of ideas. The influence and outcomes of this complex create far more harm through the “secular/ideological” versions like climate alarmism.
Just one example of outcomes- Note the death totals worldwide from cold mortality (Lancet study) as related to things like fuel poverty, as related to the anti-fossil fuels crusade that inflates energy costs and impacts the poorest people the most. Where are media on such issues? Where is that virtue-signalling proclamation of concern for human suffering? (Source: Past issues of “Net Zero Watch” newsletter of the Global Warming Policy Forum, among other sources.)
Part of the Declinism ideology that dominates narratives today is the belief of declinists that the modern embrace of rational science has resulted in the loss of a mythical way of viewing nature and life, and that has been a mistake that must be corrected by reviving and re-embracing the mythical view of reality. The restoration of a mythical way of viewing life is considered to be vital to reconnecting with nature and reviving our “noble savage past”, when people were believed to have been more pure, strong, and authentically in tune with nature. This longing for a restoration of mythical thought helps to understand the “post-truth” element of modern thinking. (Detail in Arthur Herman’s “The Idea of Decline in Western History”, among other sources.)
Ah Michael, Bjorn… What are you guys doing??? Get the new narrative right, or what’s the point? Wendell Krossa
I appreciate Michael Shellenberger and his colleagues along with others like Bjorn Lomborg, muchly so, for their exposure of the “Censorship Industrial Complex”, anti-alarmism, and robust defense of free speech. They are engaging and fulfilling the hero’s quest on these issues. Hence, I regularly post articles by them on this site. Go Michael, go. Go Bjorn, go.
But I have a quibble with Shellenberger and Lomborg over an issue that is critical to public meta-narratives. While they try to calm public nerves that there is no looming apocalypse, they then pivot to affirm the core of the climate alarmism narrative that CO2 is a threat that has to be confronted and dealt with somehow. They, and many others doing the same, are plain wrong on this affirmation that action must be taken against CO2.
They need to heed atmospheric physicists like Richard Lindzen and William Happer on the physics of CO2 and the fact that the warming influence of CO2 is now “saturated” (a physics term) and that more CO2 in the atmosphere will contribute very little to any further possible warming (now after an ongoing 20-year “pause in warming” we are still uncertain if climate will warm or cool over the next decades, see Javier Vinos reports at Wattsupwiththat.com).
Conclusion from the best evidence so far- There is no “climate emergency” and we do not need to “do something to stop climate change”. Most important, there is no good scientific reason to tax carbon or decarbonize our societies, a crusade that is ruining Western societies with state-created obstructions to fossil fuel energy development that inflates energy prices and consequently inflates all the basic products (fossil fuel derivatives) essential to our societies. Add the excess burden from the subsidies for unworkable renewables.
On a related note….
Jennifer Marohasy attended the recent “Alliance for Responsible Citizenship” (ARC) conference in London and posted several reports on the conference, noting that climate experts like Richard Lindzen were not permitted to speak.
Bob Brinsmead said that the conference leaders “suppressed the voices of ‘sceptics’ such as William Happer, Richard Lindzen, and Patrick Moore who are the ones who hold the key to a clear counter climate narrative – namely, that CO2 is not a harmful pollutant but of enormous benefit to support a healthy and more prosperous environment”.
Jordan Peterson, a lead conference organizer, needs to heed Marohasy’s complaints if he really wants to create a new narrative for humanity that properly and actually frees us from the current apocalypticism of climate alarmism and the destructive outcomes of its salvationism (“save the world”). You go, Jennifer.
Personal post from Bob Brinsmead:
“According to Jennifer Marohasy, PhD., and board member of the conservative think tank of Australia, the IPA, Shellenberger is like Lomborg who agrees with the IPCC that CO2 emissions are a problem although not an emergency (yet), and that nuclear or other breakthrough solutions will be the solution to lowering emissions over a longer time frame. You know the rest. These two men apparently formed an axis which dominated, maybe even controlled the ARC conference in London, and according to Marohasy, they suppressed the voices of “sceptics” such as William Happer, Richard Lindzen, and Patrick Moore who are the ones who hold the key to a clear counter climate narrative – namely, that CO2 is not a harmful pollutant but of enormous benefit to support a healthy and more prosperous environment.
“Success in opposing the false narrative depends on this simple, straightforward narrative, but it seems that the leaders at this ARC conference set themselves to oppose the only narrative that can lead the world out of the wilderness of this mad CO2 climate delusion. Shellenberger-Lomborg think that the way forward is to have one foot firmly set in the anti-CO2 camp of the Alarmists. In Australia we have come to call this stance “Labor lite”- which means to have a more moderate version of the same narrative being pushed by the Left of politics rather than opposing the narrative which pushes the big lie about CO2 emissions being harmful.
“No one has the correct climate narrative unless that narrative unambiguously affirms that CO2 is pure and natural and of enormous benefit. And here is the true test of the true narrative: One needs to be able to declare that we need more CO2 emissions rather than less. That is when the opposition will yell blue murder. It is like Elijah saying, “How long will you halt between two opinions?”
“The two narratives are sharply opposite like this: CO2 is a pollutant versus something pure, harmful versus beneficial, we need less CO2 versus we need more CO2. We need to spell out these stark differences as clear as that. There is one additional affirmation implied in either narrative: One is misanthropic and the other is pro-human. Ordinary people can understand and appreciate a clear narrative. And this is what converts them to the one worldview or the other. But they cannot, and do not follow all the arguments which claim to be scientific evidence. So- “It’s the narrative, Stupid!” (End of Brinsmead post).
My added comment…
Rising levels of CO2 do not pose a threat to life because CO2 is only a minor influence on climate change among other natural factors that show stronger correlations to the climate changes that we have seen over past decades and centuries. And more critical to the big picture background, we are still in an “ice-age era” with abnormally low average temperatures and sub-optimally low levels of CO2, a “CO2 starvation era”. Much more CO2 will be immensely beneficial to all life, just as CO2 levels, when in the multiple thousands of ppm over paleoclimate history, with average temperatures ranging from 3-10 degrees C warmer than today, resulted in all life flourishing with no “climate crisis”. (Add here- In our abnormally cold world 10 times more people die every year from cold than die from warming- Lancet study. And despite the mild 1 degree C of warming over the past century, we are still in the coldest part of our Holocene interglacial.)
Point– Stop affirming the core of the climate alarmism narrative and its destructive salvationist crusade of decarbonization that is ruining our societies and harming the most vulnerable people the most.
If you are serious about a new liberating narrative for humanity, then get the basic outline and themes of that narrative right, or what’s the point?
Added note: As I previously commented, Jordan Peterson wants a new narrative for humanity and appears to believe that Christianity should play a role in that narrative. But he does not go to the root of the problem with Paul’s Christ myth which is the root problem with Christianity- its highly conditional and retaliatory deity/Christ that has distorted and buried the core message and unconditional theme of Historical Jesus.
Point- Jordan, read Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy’s statements on this contradiction at the heart of the Christian New Testament (“Diamonds buried in… ah…er… cowpies?”). There is no greater contradiction in religious history and it exhibits a cognitive dissonance that dominates the Christian religion and that surely should cause some innocent but aware child to blurt out- “Mommy, the emperor has no clothes”.
The critical issue here is that Paul’s apocalyptic Christ myth (Thessalonian letters) is mainly responsible for embedding and energizing the pathology of apocalyptic in Western narratives and consciousness. Paul’s Christ embodies and gives the highest validity, by reason of deifying, to “the most violent and destructive idea in history” (Arthur Mendel in Vision and Violence). The Christ propagates apocalyptic to continue working its damage via an endless series of offspring apocalyptic movements, like the more historically recent “secular/ideological” crusade of climate apocalyptic that is currently ruining Western societies.
A reposting from below: This from co2coalition.org newsletter of Nov.20, 2023- “CO2 Coalition Director and Nobel Laureate (Physics) John Clauser traveled to Baltimore this past week to speak at a press conference on climate. He began his presentation with the exclamation: “Great news! There is no climate crisis!… Much as it may upset many people, my message is the planet is not in peril.”
More on “Stop affirming the narrative of the climate alarmism crusade”, a “profoundly religious crusade”, Wendell Krossa
If you go after the policies of decarbonization, with the common complaint that they are too rushed (the approach of too many skeptical politicians), but you do not confront the disproven “science” of climate alarmism, then you have ultimately lost the battle with climate alarmism and its destructive “salvation” scheme of decarbonization.
Here below is a reposting of an article that exposes the problem with the approach of Shellenberger and Lomborg to the climate crusade. And yes, we ought to explore renewables, nuclear, and other energy sources, but on private dime, not burdening the public with unnecessary and massive subsidy costs.
However, we should not be motivated to embrace alternative sources by the wrong assertion that rising CO2 is a threat to life and our use of fossil fuels must be ended to “save the world”.
Science does not support the alarmist’s claims of imminent catastrophe and the outcomes of decarbonization have been horrifically destructive in trillions of wasted dollars that could have gone to resolve more critical problems in our societies. Add to the destructiveness of the climate alarmism crusade that the blocking of fossil fuels development creates a false shortage with rising energy costs that have inflated many other things (the 6000 fossil fuel derivatives that are basic to our lives).
A summary of the climate issue by Marc Morano and Edward Ring of Climate Depot, Nov.13, 2023, “Climate Data Refutes Crisis Narrative: ‘If you concede the science and only challenge the policies… you’re going to lose’”.
My added point- Stop kowtowing to the alarmist narrative that “we must do something” to combat the climate crisis. Understand the physics of CO2 and recognize that there is no climate emergency, and hence, no scientific basis for taxing carbon or decarbonizing our societies. We do not need “to do something” to counter a problem that does not exist, a purported problem that has been exaggerated all out of proportion to actual observed reality. A supposed problem (natural and mild climate change) that has been incessantly and irrationally propagandized with apocalyptic-scale hysteria.
The authors noted the lawsuits by climate activists against fossil fuel companies, companies that are choosing to settle with the alarmists and not challenge the alarmist’s abuse of climate science. The authors argue that this response is a mistake.
Quotes from link:
“By sidestepping the question of whether CO2 is indeed a dangerous pollutant, and instead leaving that decision up to a politicized EPA, the U.S. Supreme Court in the Massachusetts v. EPA case issued a deeply flawed ruling. Without CO2, life on earth as we know it would not exist. CO2 is plant food, and without it, plants die. There is evidence that more atmospheric CO2 would have a primarily beneficial impact on planetary ecosystem health. If oil and gas companies defended themselves on this basis, they might take a case all the way to the Supreme Court and force a reversal of Massachusetts v. EPA.
“An aggressive defense against Bonta’s lawsuit by Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips,, BP, and the American Petroleum Institute would attack the core premise of the plaintiffs, the alleged evidence of global warming and extreme weather. Because what is being presented as “evidence” supporting a climate “crisis” is consistently misleading and often outright fraudulent….”
Then- “Atmospheric scientist John Cristy recently presented charts to an audience showing that, contrary to hysterical media alarmism, California is not suffering a climate crisis…
“A native of California, John Christy assured the audience that he has been giving that state special attention his entire life. He then presented a series of slides that unequivocally contradict what we hear every day. California, to say nothing of the rest of the world, is not experiencing rapid warming, nor is it experiencing unusually violent weather.
“Christy’s message might be summarized as follows: There may be some warming occurring over the past century in California, but it is not extreme, nor is it accompanied by unusually severe anything: droughts, extreme wildfires, heavy rainfall, diminished snowpacks, reduced river volumes, or drier air. Readers are encouraged to scroll through Christy’s charts, which are reposted (with permission) following this text.
“The data that Dr. Christy used in his presentation did not come from hypothetical climate models, but were compiled from actual climate and weather observations gathered by weather stations and satellites and extracted from databases maintained by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and other internationally recognized official sources.
“If you haven’t heard of John R. Christy despite him being one of the preeminent climate scientists in the world, that’s no accident. Along with Dr. Richard Lindzen, Dr. Judith Curry, and hundreds of others, his work is marginalized and his press and online coverage is either nonexistent or negative. Back in 2019, back when President Trump’s regulatory reforms had the climate industrial complex fearing for its life, Dr. Curry published an expose of what she dubbed “consensus enforcement.” In it, she described how the world’s most prestigious climate journals were yielding to pressure – mostly supported by their own editorial management – to refuse to publish anything by climate “contrarians.”
“As we know, suppression of unwanted facts and analysis regardless of credibility or intent is not restricted to climate contrarians. In March 2023, Michael Shellenberger – once honored in 2008 as a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment,” testified before the U.S. Congress“ on what many have joined him in calling the “Censorship Industrial Complex,” a coalition of corporate special interests, government agencies, and major online platforms that smothers honest dialog on topics of urgent national importance.
“Attempting to compile information on climate that doesn’t support a crisis narrative is demonstrably challenging, as anyone attempting to use a mainstream search engine will quickly attest. For every analysis or declaration that may exist, claiming there is not a climate crisis, search engines will offer a page full of reports debunking the analysis and discrediting the source. Often it is almost impossible to even find a link to the analysis or the declaration itself. The World Climate Declaration, a petition signed (so far) by more than 1,800 experts who assert there is no climate emergency, is an example of a suppressed and unfairly stigmatized document….
“One of the saddest examples of suppression is the reluctance of conservative editors to challenge the scientific arguments used to support the climate crisis narrative….”
Then the authors state that notable climate alarmists are not hesitant to panic-monger publicly about climate change.
“But none of these people have any reluctance to hector us with their opinions, often not even derived from those climate scientists who are part of the “consensus,” but lifted from other pundits who got their material directly from press releases that featured cherry picked “impactful” nuggets taken from abstracts and summaries which in turn were exaggerations and misrepresentations of studies that even in their totality were paid for, inherently biased exercises….
“It isn’t hard to see an agenda at work, when every time the climate so much as hiccoughs, every mainstream news source in the world is regurgitating precisely the same terrifying soundbites and images, and repeating the same phrases and admonitions over and over and over again. Confronting such obvious and coordinated propaganda should raise skepticism in anyone with common sense and a sense of history.
“If you concede the science, and only challenge the policies that a biased and politicized scientific narrative is being used to justify, you’re already playing defense in your own red zone. You’re going to lose the game.”
The charts presented by Dr. Christy on October 13 at a conference in Southern California are available at the link above.
Added note: Almost 32,000 scientists signed the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine “Protest Petition” that stated…
“We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.
“There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”
This good report from Brendan O’Neill of Spiked, Nov.21,2023, “Woke western media keen to believe Hamas lies about Al-Shifa”
Quote: “It’s the sickness of ‘post-truth thinking’ where nothing as trifling as evidence can ever be allowed to interfere with one’s ideological bias.”
And this from Spiked on “Post-truth thinking” by Frank Furedi, Nov.15, 2023- “The battle for the truth about the 7 October pogrom: Why are so many people in denial about Hamas’ atrocities?”
“The principal objective of this thesis is to shift the focus away from an atrocity and toward whatever supposed injustices drove the terrorists to inflict pain on their victims….
“Dabashi has adopted the same apologetic approach to 7 October. ‘Before 7 October, there was 6 October, and before that was a succession of dates and facts in a murderous colonial project of domination and dispossession’, he wrote in Middle East Eye. Dabashi goes on to say that ‘while the Israeli government and its Zionist propagandists wish to fetishise 7 October, we are here to de-fetishise and historicise it’. This is a clear attempt to divest the attack of any significance and meaning. It serves to further dehumanise the victims of this massacre.
“How can we combat this denialist narrative? There is little doubt that it has gained traction in the West, particularly among the young. Some supporters of Israel urge the Israeli government to release the footage of the horrible crimes committed on 7 October. They believe that the only way to discredit Hamas’s lies is to expose these gruesome videos.
“Harrison Faulkner, a journalist who was invited by the Israeli consulate in Toronto to a private screening of the footage, has argued that this film must be shown to the public. ‘Releasing the footage in its entirety is what Israel must do if they are to have any success in winning the long fight against Hamas and Islamic fundamentalism’, he said.
“No doubt Faulkner has a point. However, seeing images and footage of the events may not be enough. How people respond to what they see on screen is mediated through their pre-existing sensibilities, views and ideals…
“Today, far too many people have responded to 7 October in a similar way. Our first priority to counter this apathy is to ensure that a truthful account of 7 October gains commanding influence. The stories of those who fell victim to the pogrom of 7 October – no matter how distressing and painful – must be told.
“This alone will not be enough to discredit the cynical lies perpetuated by those wishing to deny or downplay the 7 October massacre. But it is an important place to start.”
More to come on going to the root of a problem to solve properly and thoroughly for the long-term future…
Keep in mind the larger context of the arguments on this site- That a complex of themes emerged in human narratives from the earliest days of people responding to their impulse for meaning, people trying to understand and explain their world and lives, especially understand and explain the bad things that were happening to them. Their conclusion were expressed in mythical themes that became fixed in human minds and subconscious as archetypes…“model, ideal, original, pilot, prototype, pattern, standard, classic exemplar, classic, representative, forerunner, epitome, prime example, etc.”, Wendell Krossa
This site notes the great sweep of history from primitive mythology to later formal religions and then to the more widespread secular scientific narratives of the modern era. This site recognizes that across this panorama of history the same basic themes have repeatedly shaped people’s narratives and outlooks. You can detect those themes across all this time and across all the cultures of the world, in both religious and secular/ideological versions, the same old core themes. Summarized on this site as the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex of themes.
More on what is really wrong and how to resolve a problem thoroughly and properly for the long-term future… Wendell Krossa
While scientific fact and detail is critical to get the true state of life right, it can sometimes overwhelm ordinary citizens with “science- or academic-speak” and the glazed-eye inducing outcome from reading the many densely detailed formulas and graphs common to scientific reports. And yes, such reports from scientists to colleagues in their disciplines are important. I am referring more to the general presentation of science to the public.
My point- We should not dismiss the critical point that all people live most fundamentally by story, by a narrative. People believe the basic features of their narratives for some good reason, often for deeply rooted emotional reasons. They are “committed” to their stories and out of such commitment flows “confirmation bias” (accepting only evidence that confirms one’s beliefs and dismissing contrary evidence) and cognitive dissonance (holding a story that contradicts actual reality).
This commitment to belief goes back millennia and can be understood in terms of the “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” complex. Early humans, with their emerging and developing consciousness, created this complex of myths, perhaps beginning back at the end of the previous interglacial around 115,000 years ago, the Eemian. That interglacial may have quite abruptly descended into the cold of the subsequent glaciation. Those people would have remembered the past paradisal world of warmth and bounty, and wondered why they were then suffering in a more dangerous and life-threatening world.
Their conclusions? Paradise had been lost. Why? They blamed themselves. They must have angered the gods that provided all the good things in life- food, sun and warmth, safety, and survival. Life was obviously worse in their then colder world and that had to mean that the gods were angry and punishing them for their sins. Their practise of sacrifice revealed such conclusions- they were trying to appease their angry gods. Sacrifice has always been about more than just food provided to the gods, humans fulfilling their purpose of having been “created to serve the gods, feed the gods” (according to early primitive mythological thinking). Sacrifice has always involved the element of atonement, also.
And those ideas/beliefs were constantly beaten into early humans till those myths became deeply embedded in their subconscious as archetypes. Constants that people referred back to in order to explain life. And consequently, embracing such themes, people created complex systems of beliefs or narratives, stories to explain and express what they felt and believed.
And desperately wanting to survive, to live, they had to find solutions like sacrifice to appease the angry, punishing gods so evident in the threats to life from natural disasters, disease, and accident or predatory cruelty (animal and human). Because the ancients believed that gods were behind all the elements of the world (gods of animals, trees, storms, sun and moon, drought, rocks, and all else), it was just logical to conclude that the bad things happening were expressions of divine anger, expressions of divine punishment for human sin. The great early question that always had to be answered was- Who pissed off the gods and how do we placate them?
Millennia later when people had finally invented writing (about 5000 years ago), then we began to see more clearly what they believed. And as prehistorians tell us, what we find in the earliest writing (Sumerian) we can assume represents what was believed in the prehistory era.
The basic themes of the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex of myths are scattered throughout those earliest writings- whether Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, or Egyptian. Stories of original paradise lost, corrupt early people ruining paradise by sinning (Enki in Dilmun, Adam in Eden). And life being cursed by angry gods, life then declining toward apocalyptic ending- i.e. the waterworks god Enlil promising a Flood to destroy humanity, Egyptian Destruction of Mankind and Return to Chaos, Hindu cycles of rise and then decline to destruction, Zoroastrian and Christian apocalypse, and so on.
Then, keeping hope alive, the ancestors came up with the idea of a promised redemption if a sacrifice/payment was made and the corrupting threat to life was purged, the promise of restored paradise or a new millennial utopia. Ah, such a relief to the mind that had been alarmed by the threatening gods- a way of escape, to live, to survive.
And over many millennia these beliefs have become deeply embedded in human narratives and consciousness/subconscious. Archetypal. Hence, it all just feels right to most people when they are presented with some new version of this same old, same old… like climate alarmism.
When an apocalyptic prophet arises today and claims, endlessly again, that the end is nigh, that things were better in the past but bad people have ruined that paradise and now life is declining toward some great collapse and catastrophic ending, well, those deeply embedded archetypes resonate with that “profoundly religious message”. It all just feels right, truthful, and any evidence to the contrary be damned.
Then with populations suitably alarmed over a purported imminent end to life, people are easily manipulated to embrace the most irrational of salvation schemes like decarbonization, even if it means destroying their world to “save the world”. Scared people are not thinking rationally.
And when even the so-called “world’s most intelligent, bright scientific minds” (e.g. even Stephen Hawking) believe this primitive mythology, then you know that scientific fact, as critical as that is, will not change many minds. As Bob Brinsmead reminds us- “It’s the story, stupid” (a play on Bill Clinton’s- “It’s the economy, stupid”).
So yes, it is about going to root themes, archetypes, and that is about confronting the inherited religious ideas/themes in our narratives that need to be challenged, re-evaluated, and radically changed. These “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” themes are right there endlessly flashing their presence even in our so-termed “secular, materialist” narratives. And we have had the better alternatives for millennia. Some of them have even been buried in our great religious traditions.
Intro to “Go to roots” comment below:
A “can’t-be-repeated-too-often” point in the following comment- The real battle of good against evil, the authentic hero’s quest to conquer and defeat a monster/enemy takes place inside each of us. It is not against other people that we wrongly view as “enemies”. Our success in fighting the real inner battle will determine how we also succeed, or not, in the outer, physical battles of life.
Go to the root features of your deity theory (the archetypal stuff buried in human subconscious), Wendell Krossa
The Hamas attack (along with the Ukrainian mess and similar eruptions of violence) has re-intensified our focus, once again, on- Why does such horror endlessly erupt across human history to destroy lives and societies, and traumatize the many others observing such episodes of madness?
(“War is insanity”, General Norman Schwarzkopf)
Eruptions of violence wrench us back again toward the issues that most powerfully impact all of us. They focus us right back on intensely personal things that all of us have to wrestle with if we are to properly fulfill our own life journeys and quests. I refer to the real battle against evil that takes place inside each of us, where the real monster and enemy resides, a monster that has to be conquered/defeated if we are to achieve our naturally-desired life goal to “tower in stature as maturely human” (Joseph Campbell).
The successful “hero’s quest” involves conquering this inner monster or enemy, engaging the real battle of good against evil- i.e. fighting the enemy that consists prominently of the “evil triad” of (1) tribalism (the denial of human oneness to separate from and exclude differing others), (2) domination of differing others- (the refusal to embrace and protect the freedom and equality of all- busybody meddling with and trying to control others, in other words- the denial of Classic Liberalism), and (3) punitive destruction of differing others (refusal to embrace cautious defensive campaigns and the follow-up of restorative justice).
I insert again Joseph Campbell’s good advice on how we maintain our own humanity in the face of evil:
“For love is exactly as strong as life. And when life produces what the intellect names evil, we may enter into righteous battle, contending ‘from loyalty of heart’: however, if the principle of love (Christ’s “Love your enemies”) is lost thereby, our humanity too will be lost. ‘Man’, in the words of the American novelist Hawthorne, ‘must not disclaim his brotherhood even with the guiltiest’” (Myths To Live By).
“Love your enemy” takes the meaning of love to its ultimate height and offers the potent ethical guide to defeat the monstrous forms of inhumanity that reside just below the surface in all of us. “Love your enemy” tells us how to attain heroic status in our own battles against evil.
It is the bedrock human responsibility- We are all obligated to maintain our own humanity in the face of whatever horror life throws at us. Love, as the defining feature of our humanity, means that we are always obligated to respond as human. There is never a justifiable excuse to give way to inhumanity and brutality toward our fellow humans. Never. No matter how horribly they fail to live as human. (This is the fundamental oneness thing that even Campbell noted.)
And of course- “never a justifiable excuse”- as this site has repeatedly qualified, there is also in the mix the need to make the careful distinction regarding the primary obligation of love to restrain violent people and protect the innocent, meaning the maintaining of competent and sufficient police forces and militaries. Using force to restrain violence is not against love. It may not feel loving to do so, but then authentic love is not always about feelings/emotions. It is often about intention to do the right thing, the humane thing, even when feelings sweep in the opposite direction.
Maintaining our humanity while using force requires that we maintain the constraints that guide the use of defensive force, the constraints of open, public debate over “just wars” (remember the silencing of dissent and lying that got us into Iraq). Add also the constraint of debate over how to humanely conduct such battles as “defensive actions” that will inevitably entail collateral damage. And then the follow-up obligation to engage restorative treatment of offenders and prisoners of war.
Defense against violent assault is so much more than just reacting with retaliatory cycles of “eye for eye” vengeance that never resolve the problem of violence for the long-term. But such retaliatory vengeance is the definition of “justice” that many people still abide by. A question for them- How is it working for you?
There are lines in the sand that protect our humanity, lines that we should never cross, that are often blurred in the eruptions of mental fog-inducing adrenaline and outraged emotion that is the natural human response to savagery. All of us have to find and embrace guideline features to include in our personal narratives that will help us respond carefully should we ever face savagery. Guiding ideas/principles that will ensure that we maintain our humanity, especially if we are obligated to use defensive force in order to halt violent insanity from others. Guidelines that help us look beyond the natural eruptions of our own tribal impulse.
Further to the point here- Until you confront and change the fundamental ideas in human narratives that fuel the endless historical eruptions of violence, notably the more destructive themes of inherited religious narratives, you will not fully and thoroughly solve the problem of endless cycles of violence between opposing groups of people. And isn’t this the point? To find more permanent long-term solutions? Or what the fuck are we doing, then?
Religious narratives? Yes, and most critically “deity theories” that form the cohering center of religious narratives, because deity has always functioned as humanity’s highest embodiment of ideals and highest validating authority and does so still today. Yes, even in so-termed “secular/ideological” versions, with their many and varied alternative names/terms for deity- i.e. Gaia, Planet or Mother Earth, Universe, karma, Self-Organizing Principle, or Richard Dawkins’ “Natural Selection Is The Source Of All Enlightenment”, and so on. Meaning- God never dies, no matter how hard materialist nihilists try to kill deity.
More fundamentally, you cannot snuff out the primal impulse for meaning in humans, no matter how much self-denial and self-delusion over this issue that you embrace. Add here Jordan Peterson’s point that whatever is your highest ideal, that is your God.
More on the God stuff, Wendell Krossa
Our primary impulse for meaning keeps us probing metaphysical insights (the “spiritual”) to help us understand the most basic questions- Why were this cosmos and world created? And What does it mean to be human? What is the purpose of our life stories? How are we to live as conscious persons?
The meta-question then becomes- What features or ideals should guide our lives to ensure that we fulfill the purpose for which we exist? What ideals will help us to “tower in stature as maturely human”, and enable us to fulfill the hero’s quest to conquer a monster/enemy, to learn the insights that we should, and bring a boon to our communities? Again, this applies to the highest embodiment of human ideals, the highest human authority- deity.
And yes, in the mix I acknowledge that a small sector of the population do find ways to live humanely aside from any inclusion/consideration of apparently “religious” themes. My comments are more for the vast majority that still hold to religious belief systems, the 85% of humanity that affiliate with a major world religion, including most of the remaining 15% “unaffiliated” who also hold to “spiritual but not religious” positions such as belief in karma, Gaia, Universe, Planet of Mother Earth, and so on.
Here again, below, are the supporting arguments from Ellens and Lotufo to my repeated point here that it is critical to understand the stunning difference between Historical Jesus and Paul’s Christ myth. The contradiction between Jesus and Paul illustrates the larger issue of the residual bad religious ideas that still shape human narratives, contrasted with more humane alternatives for new and better narratives.
Paul’s Christ myth has been mainly responsible for keeping the destructive lie of apocalypse prominently alive in Western narratives and consciousness. The Christ myth embodies and idealizes, along with some good features, some of the worst features that have long incited humanity’s worst impulses to (1) tribalism (discrimination that favors true believers and rejects unbelievers), (2) domination (deity as lord, king, ruler thus validating relationships of domination/submission- i.e. the divine authority of kings, political rulers, priesthoods), and (3) punitive, retaliatory destruction of others (shaping justice systems as punitive, not restorative justice).
These base features were projected onto early deities and have remained ensconced ever since as core defining features of God, and hence, have long been considered essential features of what is otherwise presented as a “God that is love”. Note below how Christian psychologist and theologian, Harold Ellens, punctures the fallacy of punitive violence as a core element of divine grace. He says, “(The Christian atonement), a hugely violent act of infanticide or child sacrifice, has been disguised by Christian conservative theologians as a ‘remarkable act of grace’”. He continues, exposing that pathology (see just below).
I focus repeatedly on these two revered religious icons- Jesus and Paul- because of their dominant influence, not just in Western narratives and consciousness but also worldwide as religious historian James Tabor notes in “Paul and Jesus”.
The point here is that we do not solve the problem of hate and consequent violence, and other forms of inhumanity, until we go to the ultimate root of the problem- the thinking that idealizes features that incite, guide, motivate, and validate inhumanity toward others. Again, this is most importantly about the highest embodiment of human ideals in deity theories, in the gods that humans have created. People have always projected their own characteristics onto deity and that reality then functions as most people’s highest authority to inspire, guide, motivate, and validate human behavior- i.e. the “behavior based on similar authoritative belief” relationship.
And as often noted on this site, this is also about the most fundamental meaning of authentic love- i.e. the contrast between unconditional and conditional love. Something Historical Jesus tried to introduce and promote but Paul later rejected and then, entirely contrary to Jesus’ insight, Paul re-established the highly conditional theology of his Christ myth to affirm highly conditional love in his Christian religion (“Christ-ianity” as something entirely opposite to original “Jesus-ianity” that was more faithfully represented by Jesus’ brother James and the Jewish Jesus movement- https://bobbrinsmead.com/the-historical-jesus-what-the-scholars-are-saying/ ).
Understanding this contradiction requires doing what Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy advocated- distinguishing between the “diamonds” of Historical Jesus and the “dung” of Paul that buried the Jesus insights on theology. I know- Ouch. Such bluntly ‘blasphemous’ terms they used.
By way of insert– Here is another illustration to show the fundamental contradiction between Jesus and Christ. First note the feature of domination that is projected onto the Christ as a basic characteristic. Then look at what Jesus had said about domination in Matthew 20 and compare that to what is stated about the Christ in Revelation 19 and tell me that these two entirely contrary things describe the same person.
Matthew 20:25-28 “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve”. True greatness as service, not dominating others.
Then compare this with Revelation 19:15, “He (the Christ) will strike down the nations and rule them with a rod of iron and vent the fury of the wrath of God.” Ultimate, eternal domination.
A reposting of the summary of Jesus’ core message. It is the singularly most profound statement ever made on how we end cycles of retaliatory violence, how we achieve peace in societies for the long-term. Imagine if this was written into the constitutions of nations, Wendell Krossa
Jesus’ summary of wisdom sayings:
“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you? Everyone finds it easy to love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Everyone can do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Most will lend to others, expecting to be repaid in full.
“But do something more heroic, more humane. (Live on a higher plane of human experience). Do not retaliate against your offenders/enemies with ‘eye for eye’ justice. Instead, love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then you will be just like God because God does not retaliate against God’s enemies. God does not mete out eye for eye justice. Instead, God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Be unconditionally loving, just as your God is unconditionally loving”. (My paraphrase of Luke 6:32-36 or Matthew 5:38-48.)
The above statements can be summarized in this single precept: “Love your enemy because God does”.
A notable example of non-retaliatory, unconditional love: The Prodigal Father story in Luke 15:11-31. The Father (representing God) did not demand a sacrifice, restitution, payment, apology, or anything else before forgiving, fully accepting, and loving the wasteful son. This short story illustrates Divine love as unconditional.
(Insert: As always, see the qualifiers to this Jesus message- i.e. the obligation of love to restrain violence and protect the innocent, the responsibility to incarcerate those unable or unwilling to control their worst impulses to harm others, the responsibility of offenders to make restitution, and the overall responsibility of criminal justice to treat offenders humanely with restorative justice and thereby maintain the humanity of all involved.)
Some 20 years after Jesus, Paul shamefully retreated to the theology of a retaliatory deity and retaliatory ethics. His entire book of Romans, his most formal statement of his gospel and theology, re-establishes the ultimate condition of a violent and bloody human sacrifice as necessary to appease the wrath of a judging, destroying God.
Paul’s affirmation of retaliatory deity (Romans in 12:17-29): “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will retaliate,” says the Lord.
And the ethic:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
That is- Your response of holding your lust for vengeance in abeyance is to ensure your enemy’s harsh judgment by a wrathful, retaliatory God, just as Paul had detailed in earlier chapters of Romans.
So even Paul’s apparently non-retaliatory ethic is actually retaliatory in intent. He urges fellow believers to exhibit non-retaliation in order to ensure that their enemies are ultimately punished by God (i.e. don’t retaliate in order to “heap coals of fire on their heads”). Note also in his comments that Paul acknowledges that retaliation is “evil” and yet he claims that God will do the evil deed. Hmmm?
See also in 1 Corinthians 13 the contrast between what fallible humanity is expected to do as good and right, and what God is permitted to do that contradicts commonly understood good and right. There Paul states that authentic love does not keep a record of wrongs committed by others. But then the New Testament claims that God (who is supposedly even more authentically “love” than we are) keeps a record of all wrongs to be judged and punished in the future (Revelation 20:12). Why is the God of religion held to a lower standard of behavior than we fallible humans are held to??
The subhuman, inhuman character of the religious God was also Charles Templeton’s complaint in his book “Farewell to God”. He noted that someone demanding to be the center of attention and demanding constant praise of their greatness, on pain of death, is severely pathological, like the dictator Idi Amin. The God of the bible is portrayed in just that manner.
These comments help to expose the pathologies that have been projected onto deity over the millennia. They remain there still as core defining features of God.
Add here Alex Garcia’s points in “Alpha God” regarding the animal-like nature of religious deity theories.
These all back my arguments to fully humanize our deity theories as fundamental to the project to clean up our narratives, especially the deity part, in order that our stories may function properly as the truly humane stories that inspire, guide, and validate our thinking, emotions, motivations, and responses/behavior.
These interesting comments from Roman philosopher Musonius Rufus, first century AD, Wendell Krossa
Rufus makes an interesting presentation of the “evil” of retaliation, the dehumanizing of the retaliator. I am not affirming all that Rufus urges as response to offense, but just noting his point that retaliation is animal, not human.
“Withstanding abuse from others:
“I could name many other men who were targets of abuse, some verbally attacked and others injured by physical attacks. They appear neither to have defended themselves against their attackers nor to have sought revenge. Instead, they very calmly bore the wrong committed by their attackers. Indeed, plotting how to bite back someone who bites and to return evil against the one who first did evil is characteristic of a beast, not a (human). (Another version of this statement: “To bite back the biter is animal, not human”.)
“A beast is not able to comprehend that many of the wrongs done to people are done out of ignorance and a lack of understanding. A person who gains this comprehension immediately stops doing wrong.
“What do we do when others try to abuse us, either verbally or physically? The wise sages from the past didn’t even try to defend themselves, nor to seek revenge. They rather “calmly bore the wrong” — because they knew they were stronger than their attackers. Only someone who is stronger than you can harm you.
“Trying to seek revenge and biting back is more characteristic of a beast or an animal, not a rational (person). This is because a lot of others try to harm us, because they are ignorant. Once you realize that others are just like untamed dogs, you will no longer feel anger towards them.
“Don’t defend yourself, simply bear the wrongs. Do you get angry at a dog for barking at you? Similarly, you shouldn’t be angry at ignorant people who also “bark” at you.” (End of Rufus statement)
Giving way to the impulse to retaliation renders us petty, subhuman, and animal-like, entirely unlike the great human spirits that we should be, towering in stature as maturely human like a Mandela or Jesus.
Another fundamental element in the validation of divine retaliation: Wendell Krossa
For millennia people have unquestioningly accepted the deity theories handed down from previous generations, and no feature of deity has been held in higher esteem by religious people than “the holiness of God”. Divine holiness takes precedence over love in religions like Christianity and Islam.
The religious argument for a God that is holy, reasons that God, as the ultimate Judge, must restore and uphold justice. God must make all wrongs right again (rebalance justice in the cosmos). But this thinking is on the same dehumanizing spectrum as “honor killing” logic which argues that if a man has been offended in some manner, then he must take action to punish the offense as necessary to fulfill and restore justice or honor. Offended honor is an unacceptable situation that must be corrected by restoring the offended honor through punishment of the offender.
This holiness feature in deity has long validated human systems of punitive or retributive justice as “true justice”.
The holiness argument for restoring offended honor has nothing to do with authentic love. Authentic unconditional love just forgives and loves without demanding any prerequisite condition be fulfilled first. Look at the father of the Prodigal that supposedly illustrates what “God is love” actually means. He exhibited unconditional love toward the offending son.
The father made no demand to restore his offended honor first. He just responded with no conditions love, inclusion, forgiveness, acceptance, and celebration. Why wouldn’t God exhibit the same unconditional love that we are urged to show?
Additionally, some have stated that if love is not unconditional then it is not authentic love.
A reposting of affirmation for my argument to go to the root issue of pathological deity ideas– from Ellens/Lotufo:
Psychologist Harold Ellens and psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo did some important work on the influence of bad religious ideas on human personality and society. Again, my point here is that the fundamental themes of primitive mythologies have not faded from human narratives and consciousness today but continue in the great world religions and have also been given new embodiment in so-called “secular/ideological” versions as in the climate alarmism crusade. The old themes still impact our consciousness, lives, and societies.
Here are the comments from psychotherapist/theologian Zenon Lotufo (quoting psychologist/theologian Harold Ellens) on how images/beliefs, notably images of ultimate reality and ideals, like deity, how such images influence human consciousness, emotion, motivation, and response/behavior in daily life. Both men affiliated with the Christian tradition. Ellens was a US Army chaplain. Their work is not about throwing stones from without.
Quotes from Lotufo’s book “Cruel God, Kind God”
The Introduction states that, among others, “(Lotufo) explores the interface of psychology, religion, and spirituality at the operational level of daily human experience… (this is of the) highest urgency today when religious motivation seems to be playing an increasing role, constructively and destructively, in the arena of social ethics, national politics, and world affairs…”
My insert: The destructive outcomes of “religious motivation” are notable also in terms of the “profoundly religious” climate alarmism crusade and its destructive “salvation” scheme of Net Zero decarbonization (“save the world”), as evident in the spreading harm, from Net Zero and renewables zealotry, in societies like Germany, Britain, and California. Climate alarmism exhibits the same old themes and destructive outcomes of all past apocalyptic crusades.
Lotufo then notes “the pathological nature of mainstream orthodox theology and popular religious ideation”.
He says, “One type of religiosity is entirely built around the assumption or basic belief, and correspondent fear, that God is cruel or even sadistic… The associated metaphors to this image are ‘monarch’ and ‘judge’. Its distinctive doctrine is ‘penal satisfaction’. I call it ‘Cruel God Christianity’… Its consequences are fear, guilt, shame, and impoverished personalities. All these things are fully coherent with and dependent on a cruel and vengeful God image…
“(This image results) in the inhibition of the full development of personality… The doctrine of penal satisfaction implies an image of God as wrathful and vengeful, resulting in exposing God’s followers to guilt, shame, and resentment… These ideas permeate Western culture and inevitably influence those who live in this culture…
“Beliefs do exert much more influence over our lives than simple ideas… ideas can also, in the psychological sphere, generate ‘dynamis’, or mobilize energy… (they) may result, for instance, in fanaticism and violence, or… may also produce anxiety and inhibitions that hinder the full manifestation of the capacities of a person…
“The image of God can be seen as a basic belief or scheme, and as such it is never questioned…
“Basic cultural beliefs are so important, especially in a dominant widespread culture, because they have the same properties as individual basic beliefs, that is, they are not perceived as questionable. The reader may object that “God”, considered a basic belief in our culture, is rejected or questioned by a large number of people today. Yet the fact is that the idea of God that those people reject is almost never questioned. In other words, their critique assumes there is no alternative way of conceiving God except the one that they perceive through the lens of their culture. So, taking into account the kind of image of God that prevails in Western culture- a ‘monster God’… such rejection is understandable…
“There is in Western culture a psychological archetype, a metaphor that has to do with the image of a violent and wrathful God. Crystallized in Anselm’s juridical atonement theory, this image represents God sufficiently disturbed by the sinfulness of humanity that God had only two options: destroy us or substitute a sacrifice to pay for our sins. He did the latter. He killed Christ.
“Ellens goes on by stating that the crucifixion, a hugely violent act of infanticide or child sacrifice, has been disguised by Christian conservative theologians as a ‘remarkable act of grace’. Such a metaphor of an angry God, who cannot forgive unless appeased by a bloody sacrifice, has been ‘right at the center of the Master Story of the Western world for the last 2,000 years. And the unavoidable consequence for the human mind is a strong tendency to use violence’.
“’With that kind of metaphor at our center, and associated with the essential behavior of God, how could we possibly hold, in the deep structure of our unconscious motivations, any other notion of ultimate solutions to ultimate questions or crises than violence- human solutions that are equivalent to God’s kind of violence’…
“Hence, in our culture we have a powerful element that impels us to violence, a Cruel God Image… that also contributes to guilt, shame, and the impoverishment of personality…”.
As Harold Ellens says, “If your God uses force, then so may you, to get your way against your ‘enemies’”.
(End of Ellens, Lotufo’ quotes.)
Bob Brinsmead adds: “We become just like the God that we believe in”. This “behavior based on beliefs” relationship applies to all religious traditions. The primal human impulse to base behavior on related beliefs helps to understand how Hamas terrorists can “gleefully” rape, torture, burn, and murder innocent victims, including babies, while screaming “Allahu Akbar” and then phone their parents to excitedly proclaim, “Daddy, Mommy, I killed 10 Jews with my own hands. 10. 10. Are you proud and happy for me?” He was deliriously joyful over the savagery that he had just committed.
So also the Christian Crusaders of past millennia sang hymns and praised God that they were “privileged to slaughter God’s enemies”. On their way across Europe, they detoured to murder entire communities of Jews, and then proceeded to Jerusalem where they slaughtered Muslims, dismembering bodies of men, women, and children till the blood ran as high as their ankles.
And yes, historian of religious ideas, Mircea Eliade, noted that even the early Buddhist communities (yes, self-proclaimed “peace-loving Buddhists”) slaughtered one another over arguments about who most correctly represented the true system of the Master.
No religion has been immune from the outcomes of bad religious ideas inciting the worst of human impulses. (Note the movie “Anger Management”, starring Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler. It has a great scene where they visit a Los Angeles Buddhist retreat and Sandler’s character incites rage in the retreat members, notably the character played by actor Arnie Shankman. The same impulses lie just below the surface of us all, and just a little poking will evoke similar eruptions and explosions.)
None of us “good” people are immune to the impulses of the evil triad and need to examine our own narratives for residual bad ideas that incite and validate such impulses, even if we are only incited to express the “milder forms of inhumanity” that we all indulge at times, the ‘eye for eye’ retaliatory behaviors that render us all petty, subhuman, inhuman.
Is the liberal distinction between Hamas and the Palestinians really valid??
This young survivor of the Hamas attack shares her story and ends stating that this is not about the Israel versus Palestinian conflict. This is about both Israelis and Palestinians against a common enemy- Hamas terrorists.
And this on causes of widespread anxiety and depression today, Wendell Krossa
No, its not mainly natural disasters and climate change that are causing the widespread anxiety, depression, and other related maladies so common today. The cause is more the hysterical alarmism, the daily media exaggeration of the myriad natural shifts, changes, and extremes of weather patterns, the exaggeration of such things to apocalyptic scale- that is what harms people mentally and emotionally. The harm and trauma to people is caused by the daily incessant panic-mongering by media and other apocalyptic prophets constantly screaming that the end is nigh, over every ‘natural’ twitch in nature. That lunacy is the root of the problem.
Add to this depressing mix, the anti-humanism that blames humanity for everything bad, much like the primitive myth from the ancients that deity is behind all the harm produced by nature and is punishing us for being bad, and that we deserve it. Many still believe this nonsense today. Remember Nancy Pelosi in 2020 claiming that an angry Mother Earth was punishing people via the wildfires in California. Sheesh- Nothing new under the sun, eh. Moderns still thinking just as primitively as the Sumerians of 5000 years ago.
Some intro notes re the reposted articles below…
Below in the repost of revised comment on “Patterns in alarmism movement” I noted that we have had the alternatives to liberate us from the endless cycles of crowd madness and violence that are incited by the ideas that validate our worst impulses. We have possessed the alternatives for millennia, so there is no excuse for enduring these endless cycles of hellish barbarity. Unfortunately though, the alternatives have been buried in our religious traditions and are now also buried by our ideological belief systems that have embraced the same old themes of our primitive past.
Part of the Declinism ideology that dominates narratives today is the belief of declinists that the modern embrace of rational science has led to the loss of a mythical way of viewing nature and life, and that has been a mistake that must be corrected by re-embracing the mythical view of reality. This is considered to be vital to reconnecting with nature and reviving our “noble savage past”, when people were believed to have been more pure, strong, and authentically in tune with nature. This longing for a restoration of mythical thought helps to understand the “post-truth” element of modern thinking.
The following reposts probe how ideas shape behavior and societies. This is about the primal human practise of basing behavior on beliefs. “As I think, so I do” (a paraphrased take on Descarte’s “I think therefore I am”).
Today, we are suffering through one of history’s worst outbreaks of apocalyptic madness with climate alarmism and an associated Woke Progressivism that is very much the latest eruption of collectivist insanity that has always destroyed freedom. Point? The same old apocalypticism drives this madness.
The same old inherited religious themes are still shaping today’s meta-narratives. Many varied strains of contemporary ideologies contribute to this latest apocalyptic crusade (i.e. Critical Race Theory, DEI, ESG, etc.). The following comments note the patterns in these apocalyptic movements- how inherited primitive ideas continue to incite inherited primitive impulses, once again as always before.
My advice- Know more and fear less. Be aware of the totalitarian’s formula- Fear=control.
This very appropriate (for today’s world) comment in David Redles’ history, Hitler’s Millennial Reich, of how apocalyptic millennial themes shaped Nazism. Wendell Krossa
Redles points to the irrational commitment of apocalyptics to their cause, despite evidence of the destructiveness of their salvation crusades (i.e. purportedly to “save the world”). Note this point in relation to the climate alarmist’s commitment to their salvation scheme of decarbonization that is destroying modern energy sectors, destabilizing electrical grids, and causing immense suffering with inflated energy costs that cause inflation throughout societies, with the consequent potential for general derailing of progress.
Redles’ comment: “For some millenarians, the signs of imminent apocalypse, and the promise of a coming, transformed, better world, is their signal to induce that apocalypse. Believing themselves chosen not only to witness the End-time, but also to help bring it to fruition, some true believers consciously or unconsciously induce the apocalypse, “forcing the end”, as the ancient Hebrews terms the actions of impatient messianic movements. These millenarians assume that, since the signs of the time tell them that now is the time and since they have been chosen for a special mission, then the apocalyptic event must occur in their lifetimes. The apocalyptic event is induced because the possibility that the prophesied apocalyptic event will fail to occur, means that the believer’s sense of being chosen, of having a special mission, of being immortal, indeed the whole new post-conversion identity, is illusory. This cannot be tolerated….”.
There are true believers who actually express joy at the thought of the end times. And they are willing to do whatever to bring it on. This delight and zealotry for a death cult (the apocalypse is the total annihilation of one’s enemies) motivated many young men to join ISIS years ago, just as it motivates Evangelicals who view the worsening Israeli situation as portending the soon return of Jesus to whisk them off to paradise.
Re ISIS- Was it really longing for the return of the Madhi and the Caliphate, or perhaps something more basely oriented, like lust for those promised virgins?
Also from Redles…
“The messiah/prophet (of apocalyptic millennialism) knows all truth, knows exactly what must be done to achieve salvation. He often is a warrior figure who will lead the righteous into battle against the minions of evil…” (David Redles in “Hitler’s Millennial Reich: Apocalyptic belief and the Search for Salvation”, p.6,5).
A contemporary example of a warrior figure leading true believers into righteous battle against evil enemies…
UN Secretary General says, “Battle against climate change calls for ‘war footing’”.
Another reposting- Patterns in apocalyptic movements: Destructive outcomes from alarmism crusades, Wendell Krossa
Apocalyptic millennial scholar Arthur Mendel (“Vision and Violence”) stated that apocalyptic was the most violent and destructive idea in history. Today we are living through a real-life eruption of “human-induced apocalypse” (Redles’ point above) in the destructiveness unleashed by history’s latest apocalyptic movement- the climate alarmism movement and its “human-induced” crusade to overturn the success of Western societies (too much abundance, too much resource use) by destroying their energy sectors (i.e. decarbonization, Net Zero- all in service to the larger crusade of intentional “De-development”, a return to primitivism). Is climate alarmism exhibiting the pathology of “unconsciously inducing the apocalypse” through its “salvation” scheme of decarbonization? Well, nihilism is the inevitable consequence of apocalyptic thinking.
(Note: “Net Zero Watch” newsletters of the Global Warming Policy Forum daily update the devastation from decarbonization policies in European countries like Germany and Britain. Add the mess that is California to this list.).
It needs to be probed: Is the destruction of Western societies perhaps more just an “unintended consequence” of the alarmist’s irrational, though otherwise ‘nobly-intentioned’ salvation scheme? That is quite likely. I would grant that possibility in the mix of motivations. As Redles said above- “true believers (will) consciously or unconsciously induce the apocalypse”. So yes, “unintended” may be the more logical explanation in the mix. True believers in some righteous crusade are often well-intentioned people, convinced by their narrative that they are heroically saving something, saving their world. I see that in Rachel Carson’s anti-chemical crusade, notably against DDT, and her sincere belief that she was saving life from her imagined and exaggerated chemical apocalypse. She probably did not imagine, nor intend, the mass-death that resulted from her influence over subsequent decades (For detail, see “The Excellent Powder: DDT’s Political and Scientific History”, Richard Tren and Donald Roberts). See also…
There is a well-known historical pattern that operates with apocalyptic millennial narratives and crusades, and if we had learned anything from history we would not be ignorantly and irresponsibly repeating this destructive pattern once again today. So yes, while “unintended” may be partly behind the alarmist’s motivation, I would be careful to not fall back on that for an excuse as the destructiveness of apocalyptic millennialism once again unfolds. We ought to know better, what with the historical examples that have occurred even over our lifetimes (i.e. the apocalyptic millennial movements of Marxism, Nazism, and general environmental alarmism).
I mean, look at what happened recently with the destruction of Sri Lankan agriculture and the similar proposals for shutting down Dutch farming, culling Irish cattle, and “always virtue-signalling” Justin Trudeau jumping the bandwagon to implement the same plan for decarbonizing Canadian agriculture. “Saving the world by destroying it”. You have to understand apocalyptic and its impact on people to make any sense of such irrationality and crowd madness.
(Reposting of previous comment- revised) Here is the pattern: Wendell Krossa
First, you abandon your own sanity and rationality by credulously and unquestioningly embracing primitive “lost paradise, decline toward apocalyptic, redemption, and promised millennial utopia” themes. These themes are still everywhere prominent in the major world religions and are now also embraced by varied “secular/ideological” versions like Declinism and its direct historical offspring- climate alarmism, or overall environmental alarmism. Contemporary story-telling (movies) endlessly promotes apocalyptic as unquestionable truth.
With apocalyptic millennialism (or “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption”) themes ensconced in your worldview, you then view life and its ever-present nasty elements through that apocalyptic millennial lens (i.e. natural disaster, extreme weather events, disease, predatory cruelty). You also then, aflush with a sense of special awareness, begin to view yourself as some sort of enlightened insider who has seen the truth (converted true believer) and you then start to feel responsible to go forth and heroically save yourself, your people, and your world. You begin to believe that you have found a righteous cause, a “righteous battle against evil enemies/threats” that must be eliminated in order to “save the world” from imminent catastrophe. Your impulse to the hero’s quest fuels your spirit to go forth and convert the unenlightened ones all around you.
So you begin terrorizing others with your apocalyptic narrative and its exaggerated threat scenarios… for their good, of course (the poor, ignorant peasants). Today’s apocalyptic prophets have been zealously propagandizing a crusade of panic-mongering over a very mild period of natural climate change (1 degree C warming over the past century, after life descended three centuries ago into the coldest period of our Holocene interglacial).
This hysterical panic-mongering exhibits the anti-science irrationality of apocalyptic alarmism crusades. Climate change has been very mild and beneficial in a still too cold world where 10 times more people die every year from cold than die from warmth. But such facts be damned in our “post-truth” world. They get in the way of the apocalyptic narrative and its need to exaggerate every twitch in nature as something portending the imminent end of days.
Irresponsibly inciting fear among the wider public then results in the further spread of the abandonment of rationality and a willingness of many to believe the most exaggerated and distorted scenarios of threat. Again, note the widespread practise of now portraying all extreme weather events (common all across past paleoclimate history) as ongoing affirmation of a hysterically exaggerated and irrational narrative. A narrative that is shaped by pathologically distorting mythical themes from the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” or “apocalyptic millennialism” complex of myths.
“Pathologically distorting themes”? Yes, apocalyptic themes distort entirely the true state of life and the actual trajectory of life across history. I repeatedly urge visitors to read the amassed evidence in studies like Julian Simon’s “Ultimate Resource”, and numerous similar follow-up studies. See also the good research of climate physicists Richard Lindzen, William Happer, and others listed below. “The True State of the Earth” is also reposted further below.
(A further insert note on the apocalyptic prophet’s exaggeration of contemporary mild climate change: See paleogeologist Ian Plimer’s graph (p. 33 of “Heaven and Earth”) of the past 55,000 years of climate change and note how massive the swings in climate change were from roughly 55,000 to 20,000 years ago during the tail end of the Wisconsin glaciation (i.e. swings between cooling and warming periods of up to 25 degrees C). Then note how that previous severity of climate changes moderated significantly and became the much milder swings between warming and cooling with the beginning of our Holocene interglacial some 20,000 years ago. Subsequently, over our interglacial we have had swings between cooling and warming periods of only a few degrees. Nothing anywhere near any “climate crisis” scale of climate change. Point? To understand the “true state” of anything, place that thing in its fullest long-term context- the complete big picture.)
Continuing with “human-induced” destructive outcomes of alarmism crusades… Wendell Krossa
Populations of normally rational people, now alarmed by the apocalyptic-scale exaggerations of the climate prophets, and with their survival impulse incited, are then rendered desperate to embrace the most irrational of salvation schemes to save themselves, to save their world. Even if those salvation schemes entail the “unintended” destruction of their way of life, the destruction of their well-being and societies.
The promised hope of salvation offered by apocalyptic millennial narratives- i.e. the promise of a renewed paradise or utopian future- also helps keep alarmed populations receptive, subservient, and committed to apocalyptic millennial salvation schemes.
So yes, the apocalyptic millennial themes outlined above distort entirely the true state of life, of the world. But with exaggerated apocalyptic scenarios (manufactured monsters) they frighten people into embracing salvation schemes that “save the world” by destroying it. We know apocalyptic millennialism in its secular version today- “Declinism” (i.e. life declining toward something worse, toward collapse and ending). The direct ideological offspring of Declinism is climate alarmism. Again, see detail of how primitive apocalyptic mythology was transformed into “secular apocalyptic ideology” for the modern world in Arthur Herman’s “The Idea of Decline in Western History”.
The entirely false narrative of apocalyptic millennialism, in its contemporary Declinism incarnation, states that human industrial civilization has destroyed the former paradise of a wilderness world and we are now heading toward environmental collapse and even ending. This narrative of despair has deformed public consciousness and prevented people from recognizing the amazing capability of humanity to correct mistakes of the past, to learn from such mistakes, to engage new measures to protect the natural world, and the result has been the ongoing improvement of life. We are now living in the best of all times, historically.
Some authentically progressive facts (“progressive” in the sense of life progressing toward improvement over the long-term): The human lifespan has more than doubled over the past century. Deaths from climate-related disasters are down 95% over the past century. Major diseases have been eradicated. Species are protected and flourishing. There is more forest cover on Earth today than 70 years ago (with three times the population). Poverty has been undergoing a stunning decline across the world… and much more improvement of both the human condition and the natural world (see Humanprogress.org, Ultimate Resource, etc.).
“Enlightened elites” have always believed that they have been called to heroically engage righteous battles against evil, and that they know what is best for all others. And consequent to their unquestioning belief in the urgency of their cause (i.e. saving their world from an imagined “imminent” apocalypse) they justify the need for violent crushing of any dissent or opposition to their crusades. Dissent from their orthodoxy is labelled “dangerous and life threatening… a threat to democracy” etc. 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 (e.g. Cambodia.). The same outcomes are becoming distressingly evident again today with the resurgence of the coercive collectivism that is being pushed through the environmental movement and its attacks on industrial civilization- the undermining and abandonment of individual freedoms and rights (i.e. overturning the basic principles and practises of Classic Liberalism).
Repost on today’s eruption of tribalism- How some validate the censorship of differing others– i.e. demonizing all members of their opponent’s group in terms of the few extremists on the other side. That demonization provides a reason to validate the censorship of all on the other side, all dissenting opinion and speech to a dominating ideology/narrative. Its an undemocratic and maliciously intentional mischaracterizing of disagreeing other’s views and positions. Wendell Krossa
US liberals/Democrats (conservatives also exhibit 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 disagreeing others as an indistinguishable whole has become a form of destructive 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 ignores the fact that the majority on both sides prefer moderation, not extremism.
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 the views and statements of an extremist fringe few out to characterize the other side as a collective whole.
Illustration: 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 right fringe. They have also portrayed the parents who questioned the excessive and often bullying trans-indoctrination of young children as being “anti-trans bigots” or “anti-gay”, and even smearing those parents as “terrorists” for dissenting from such indoctrination. Again, that intentionally distorts the positions of a majority of Conservatives.
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, mischaracterizing the entire movement- a protest 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 repeatedly where liberals demonize and smear all who disagree with extremist Woke Progressivism positions, 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 differing and dissenting side.
The generalization of all others 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 the other side, and then you claim that all who differ with you are dangerous nutcases who are threatening the entire society, “threatening democracy”.
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 the views of 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 contributing factor of ideologically- or tribally-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 regarding motivations and misspoken comments, refuses 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/mal-information”. They are a threat too great to even tolerate. They must be vanquished entirely in order to “save democracy… to save the world”.
The intensifying of this rabid tribalism, fear, and hatred of what is purported to be a life-threatening “enemy”, and the 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 coalescing to speak 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 as in Classic Liberal principles, institutions, and practises.
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 erupting today from the liberal/Democratic side of US society. US liberals have become highly illiberal.
This illustration of demonizing differing others: https://nationalpost.com/opinion/principals-death-is-a-stain-on-the-conscience-of-this-nation
Another reposting- Narratives of fear/despair, Wendell Krossa
(Prelude insert: We counter environmental “apocalyptic narratives of despair” by understanding the “true state of the world”, by carefully considering the best evidence on the lead indicators of life, the main resources of our planet- notably forests, soils, land species, ocean species, and atmosphere. Julian Simon set the baseline standard on how to do this in his “Ultimate Resource”, the single best book ever written.)
3 historically recent and notable examples of the totalitarian use of fear to manipulate populations to embrace irrational and destructive salvation schemes:
Marxists, over the past century, used the themes of apocalyptic millennial narratives to motivate their crusade (see research of historians Arthur Herman, Richard Landes, Arthur Mendel, and David Redles below). Marxists successfully roused fear of “capitalism destroying formerly paradisal communal societies” to alarm populations and then propagandize them to embrace the salvation scheme of restored communalism/communism- the restoration of the “lost paradise” of Marxist mythology.
So also, last century, the Nazis used fear of “Jewish Bolshevism dominating industrial civilization and corrupting German culture” to manipulate Germans to embrace a mass-death movement that would clear the way to the promised utopia of a new millennial Reich- the restoration of the lost paradise of pure and strong German spirit and culture.
And since the 1960s, environmental alarmists have been using fear of “industrial society destroying nature” to manipulate populations to embrace destructive salvation schemes like Net Zero decarbonization as the prelude to restoring their “lost paradise” world, a return to the more “wilderness” past world with fewer humans, and preferably to some- “entirely without humans”.
Nothing much has changed today as alarmist crusaders keep erupting with ever-new varieties of apocalyptic millennialism. This is because we don’t deal thoroughly with the root ideas in our religious and “secular ideological” narratives that fuel such episodes of madness- the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex of myths.
And if the threat is exaggerated enough (i.e. causing the “end of democracy… the end of life and the world”) then any measures to stop the threat, whether using censorship to silence dissenters to your narrative, or banning and even criminalizing your opponents, even the use of violence and war- all such extreme measures are justified by your exaggerated apocalyptic narrative.
Watch how the totalitarian mind works through apocalyptic-scale exaggeration- how an alarmist thinks, reasons, and justifies coercion as necessary for salvation. The totalitarian argues that if the threat is so ominously great then we must do all that we can to save the world, now. “Imminence” is always an essential element to apocalyptic narratives, with end-of-days dates set just up ahead a few years or decades. The end-times dates must be endlessly set and reset due to the historical 100% failure rate of apocalyptic prophecies. (Examples of contemporary apocalyptic prophets repeatedly setting and resetting their dates for the “end of days”- James Hansen, Al Gore, King Charles, Stephen Hawking, among others.)
Promoting the feature of the “imminence” of the apocalypse, validates the rejection of democratic processes for authoritarian approaches because, as the alarmist mind reasons, there is no more time for debate, dissent, or delay. Slow and messy democratic processes are dismissed as “dangerous”, and even “criminal”. Freedom itself becomes a threatening thing to grant dissenting others (e.g. Robert Reich on the “danger” of granting freedom to his opponents to express their differing views.) Wendell Krossa
With an apocalyptic narrative you can convince yourself that your crusade to save life is even a “heroic quest and righteous battle against evil”. Further, if you demonize your opponents thoroughly enough, you then justify the employment of extreme measures to dismiss, discredit, and destroy them (the totalitarian tools of censorship, silencing opponents, banning dissent, cancelling opponents outright).
We have good evidence-based alternatives to the core themes of alarmist narratives. Example: This site offers 18 themes to apocalyptic narratives- ideas to counter the overall “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex of themes. See “Inherited bad myths, and better alternatives”, or “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives” in sections below (both short and long versions). I would add that we have had the alternatives for millennia as in the central theological insight of Historical Jesus. But that insight was buried by Paul in his Christ myth.
See also “The true state of life on Earth” further below on the main indicators of the state of the world- i.e. forests, soils, land species, ocean fisheries, atmosphere, etc. We counter apocalyptic panic-mongering with evidence-based hope in the progress of life toward a better future. That is the Julian Simon approach in “Ultimate Resource”.
And again, a main project of this site is to probe and tackle the mythical/religious ideas and themes that are the originating root myths of common themes in human narratives, including the themes of so-called “secular” narratives like climate alarmism, rightly identified by someone as “a profoundly religious movement”. As always- learn more, fear less.
Add here, regarding the totalitarian’s use of fear to control others, C. S. Lewis’s warning in relation to the moralizing busybodies who believe that they alone know what is right and best for all others and will self-righteously seek to coerce and control others:
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to heaven yet at the same time make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals”. (End of quote)
(Added note: The personal safeguard to the self-delusion of being solely right… Hold fast to Classic Liberal principles re the protection of individual rights and freedoms, and social institutions that distribute power equally among citizens, as against the ever-creeping totalitarianism of collectivist approaches that subject individuals to some claimed “greater good or common good” that has to be managed by central powerholding “enlightened elites” who believe that they alone know what is best for all others and will unapologetically use fear and coercion to control others.)
The patterns that unfold in apocalyptic movements: Wendell Krossa
First, alarmists incite fear in populations with an apocalyptic narrative and related end-of-world scenarios. That irresponsible panic-mongering arouses the survival impulse in people. Then the end-times prophets present their salvation scheme with the promise that it will save the frightened people and their world from the looming catastrophe that the prophets always claim is “imminent” (The actual date of the apocalypse is usually set 5 or more years out in the future as a protective measure to allow the apocalyptic prophet time to reset the date again and again when it fails to materialize as happens 100% of the time. It also provides time for people to forget who makes such irrationally absurd claims.).
The salvation scheme involves making some sacrifice/payment for sin, and also demands the violent purging of the thing that purportedly threatens the world. Today CO2 has been isolated and lasered in on as the lead indicator of the great apocalyptic threat to life- i.e. the indicator of the destructiveness of industrial capitalist civilization and human greed in over-consumption, excessive use of resources.
The salvation scheme also involves inciting the tribal dualism that involves engaging a righteous battle against demonized “evil” enemies. This plays on the primal and natural impulse of people to embrace the hero’s quest to conquer an enemy, a monster. And then once the enemy is vanquished, the monster conquered, then there is the promise of hope for salvation in the restoration of the lost paradise, or installation of a new exclusionary utopia for true believers.
We have good alternatives to these narratives of despair/nihilism. Alternatives that affirm evidence-based hope. See, for example, in sections below- “Inherited bad myths, and better alternatives” for a list of suggested alternatives to the basic themes of “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” mythology. We have more humane alternatives to the themes of the primitive narratives that we have inherited, better ideas (cognitive behavioral therapy) to overturn the mental pathologies that have long deformed human consciousness/mind, personality, emotions, motivations, and behavior/societies.
Don’t subject yourself to being swayed by today’s so-called “secular” versions of apocalyptic that have been masking as “science”. In terms of the core themes, contemporary apocalyptic is still primitive mythology at its worst. It is ancient mythology that was transformed into the “secular/ideological” version known as 19th Century Declinism (Arthur Herman) that has subsequently birthed offspring apocalyptic crusades like climate alarmism. Pay attention to the core themes and the patterns of these apocalyptic movements as they emerge and develop before our eyes. It is always the same old, same old irresponsible madness.
Again, learn more, and then fear less.
The core themes of lost paradise/redemption mythology that dominate world religions and also dominate contemporary “secular/ideological” systems of belief like Declinism (the most dominant and influential theme today). These core themes now shape offspring movements like climate alarmism. Wendell Krossa
A ‘quickie’ summary for visitors on the run.
The core themes of the “lost paradise/redemption” complex of myths are evident in the earliest human writing (i.e. scattered in the Sumerian mythologies, later more formalized in Zoroastrian theology). These themes have subsequently dominated human narratives across history in varied religious traditions and are now found in the modern world in “secular/ideological” versions.
The core themes of human narratives vary little across history. We repeatedly get the “same old, same old”, world without end. Young moderns self-identifying as “materialist”, even atheist, also mouth these very same themes, notably in “profoundly religious” movements like climate alarmism. The lost paradise/redemption complex of ideas are the basic themes of apocalyptic Declinism, the “most influential and dominant theme in the modern world” (i.e. life declining toward something worse, toward collapse and ending). Note: Try to find a contemporary public story (i.e. Hollywood movie) that does not affirm some form of apocalypse as true and inevitable.
Get this point that in contemporary versions, primitive myths have been given new “secular/ideological” expression for the modern era. The terms may change but the core ideas/themes remain the same. Joseph Campbell nailed it in stating that “all people have believed the same primitive mythical themes all across history and across all the culture of the world”. This speaks to the issue of deeply embedded “archetypes”, subconscious things that keep re-emerging in meta-narratives generation after generation. It helps understand why people keep falling for the same old scams again and again, despite the horrifically destructive outcomes.
Many people simply respond to narratives like climate alarmism at an intuitive, emotional level as unquestioningly “true”. Apocalyptic declinism narratives just “feel right and true”. That is how subconscious archetypes work on human minds, emotions, motivations, and responses. This also explains the widespread tendency to “confirmation bias”- the tendency to select data that affirms our personal beliefs and to ignore or discredit contrary data. We have a hard time letting go of beliefs that meet deeply felt needs. Such is the “post-truth” era that we live in with its re-embrace of mythical thinking.
(Insert: As Herman notes in Declinism (The Idea of Decline), as the modern era emerged and developed, many people resisted the emergence of modern rational science as causing the contemporary human disconnect from primitive tribal thinking and society (noble savage myth) that they believed was more connected to nature. Many still long for a return to that primitive mythical way of viewing nature and life- a return to nature worship, Mother Earth mythology.)
(Archetype- “model, ideal, original, pilot, prototype, pattern, standard, classic exemplar, classic, representative, forerunner, epitome, prime example, etc.”)
Insert re comment above: “The deeply felt needs” are the inherited animal impulses of our brains. Our ancestors created ideas/myths to validate these impulses, thereby forming the archetypes of our subconscious. But the whole mess can be changed, and humanity has been changing this inheritance of archetypes and impulses over past millennia. Evidence? Note how we have become less violent as the centuries progress. And we have become less tribal and dominating as we create societies that inclusively value and protect the rights of all individuals, and equally so. So also we are experimenting more with restorative justice to counter our impulses to punitive destruction of differing others and offenders.
Re-evaluate your personal worldview to see if it is really as “secular or ideological” as you may have assumed. Perhaps your worldview contains more primitive mythological themes than you might like to admit. The “lost paradise/redemption” or “apocalyptic millennial” complexes provide a baseline of comparative ideas against which to evaluate your own views.
Also worthwhile is the project to try to understand why we hold certain themes in our personal narratives. What “emotional” needs do our beliefs meet? What fears are we responding to, and what incites those fears? What sense of guilt are we trying to assuage, and what is that guilt actually based on? Much contemporary human shame/guilt is based on the long-ago embedded fallacies of (1) a human fall from original purity into sinfulness/corruption, (2) human guilt for ruining an original paradise and sending life into decline toward worse, and (3) consequent human responsibility to make some sacrifice, to endure some form of suffering as redemptive, in order to “save the world” and restore an imagined lost paradise. The myths that have long incited such deeply embedded guilt are entirely false.
Here is more of the “lost paradise/redemption” complex that is further detailed below. This is about cognitive therapy at the deepest levels of human consciousness/subconscious.
Main themes of the complex:
There was a better past (i.e. original wilderness paradise world), but early people “sinned” (“fell” or degenerated into something worse) and ruined paradise. Life- subsequently cursed by God- then began to decline toward something worse, toward collapse and ending, even toward the ultimate catastrophe of apocalypse. That threat of collapse and ending is the ultimate punishment for human sins. A sacrifice then had to be made to pay for sin, and suffering had to be embraced as part of the “redemptive” process. Self-punitive suffering today will involve giving up the good life for a return to the “morally superior” simple life, a return to primitivism (“de-development”). This general felt need to embrace self-punishment as payment for personal failure is more common than many imagine.
There must also be a violent purging of some purported evil threat to life (i.e. CO2 has been demonized as a “pollutant/poison” that threatens life today). Further, affirming the myth of cosmic dualism, people must heroically engage a righteous battle against some evil threat or enemy. Overall, industrial civilization has been demonized as the “evil” that destroys the paradise wilderness world (CO2 is the identity marker of this larger evil threat). With atonement and purging accomplished, people are then offered the hope of salvation in the restoration of the lost paradise, or the installation of a new utopia/millennium (i.e. a “fossil fuel-free” world).
The above points are not my thinking and research alone. Good historians have traced these themes in past apocalyptic movements like Marxism and Nazism, and these themes are also evident now in environmental alarmism (see, for example, Arthur Herman’s “The Idea of Decline in Western History”, Richard Landes’ “Heaven On Earth”, Arthur Mendel’s “Vision and Violence”, and David Redles’ “Hitler’s Millennial Reich”, among others).
One book alone overturns entirely the above complex of apocalyptic declinism themes- i.e. Julian Simon’s “Ultimate Resource”. Many others now offer the same evidence. Add also the one central insight of Historical Jesus on non-retaliatory, unconditional deity (anti-sacrifice) that potently overturns the Christian version of the above “lost paradise/redemption” complex (i.e. the Jesus insights overturn Paul’s Christ myth).
We know today that there was no original paradise and life is not declining toward something worse. To the contrary, due to the creative input from human minds, life has been rising toward something ever better than before. So also, no sacrifice is necessary to appease some imagined metaphysical threat. And no violent purging is required to save life, but rather, our “salvation” is to be found in contributing to the long-term “gradualism” of improving life (Arthur Mendel on gradualism 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.
(Once again… Useful definitions of Archetype: model, ideal, original, pilot, prototype, pattern, standard, classic exemplar, classic, representative, forerunner, epitome, prime example, etc. I would suggest that archetype has to do with our inherited animal impulses and the ideas/myths that our ancestors created to explain and validate these primitive impulses, notably the impulses to tribalism, to domination of others, and to predatory destruction of others. The ancients created the lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption complex to explain and validate some of our worst impulses. They tried their best to deal with the world that they lived in and the state of their consciousness at that primitive time. But it is inexcusable for us to continue to still embrace such primitive and irrational mythology. We know better now. We have more humane and rational alternatives.)
A prominent example to illustrate where I am going with this…
Climate alarmism is a “profoundly religious movement” with a consequent salvation crusade that is proving highly destructive of Western societies (i.e. Net Zero decarbonization). The “save the world” crusade of climate alarmism is being dogmatically and zealously pushed by elites (politicians, scientists, celebrities, others)- the people who control public narratives and consequently use state coercion to push policy applications that impact all of us, policies that consequently harm the most vulnerable people the most. And that is the cognitive dissonance feature of alarmist narratives. Alarmists self-identify as righteously concerned for oppressed people but then embrace policies that harm the most vulnerable people the most. Go figure, eh.
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, for a supposed greater good. Their ideology placed the goals of a regime above the lives of actual human beings.
Bob Brinsmead has often spoken of how dangerous people become when they place their loyalty in something above people- in some law, religion, political ideology, nation state, “righteous salvation crusade”, or whatever. Loyalty to that thing that is placed above or before real people, then results in the neglect or harm of real people.
As the Tubi narrator says, “Government enchanted by its own vision of what the future should look like turned the present into an unimaginable hell for countless victims”.
The narrator concludes how loyalty to some ideology incites evil in our hearts by quoting Solzhenitsyn, “The line between good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties, but right through every human heart and through all human hearts”.
“Enlightened elites” have always believed that they have been called to heroically engage righteous battles against evil, and that they know what is best for all others. And consequent to their unquestioning belief in the urgency of their cause (i.e. saving their world from an imagined “imminent” apocalypse) they will justify the need for violent crushing of any dissent or opposition to their crusades. Dissent from their orthodoxy is labelled “dangerous and life threatening”.
The outcomes of such arrogant self-righteousness (today’s “virtue signalling”) have cost hundreds of millions of people their lives. Remember the 100 million who died last century due to the forced collectivization of societies under the enlightened guidance of Socialist elites in China and Russia, and elsewhere (Cambodia, etc.). The same outcomes are becoming distressingly evident again today with the resurgence of the coercive collectivism that is being exhibited through the environmental movement and its attacks on industrial civilization, and the undermining of individual freedoms and rights (i.e. abandoning and overturning the principles and practises of Classic Liberalism).
Back to the “impulses and ideas” theme of this article…
All mythological/religious movements have embraced a similar complex of ideas/themes and this is evident in the earliest human writing. Very little changes across human history as these themes have become hardwired in human subconscious as “archetypes”. And today, the most primitive of past ideas have now been given expression, not just in the world religions, but also in the dominant secular/ideological systems of our world, notably in Declinism and its offspring- environmental alarmism/climate alarmism. (Source: Arthur Herman- “The Idea of Decline in Western History”)
The line of historical descent of ideas runs from primitive mythology to world religions to ideological belief systems, and even to the “scientific” belief systems of the modern world. Its always the same old, same old. As Joseph Campbell stated, the same primitive myths have been embraced all across history and across all the cultures of the world.
I repeatedly post lists of these themes on this site because they are most fundamental to what is wrong in our world today. And we have good alternatives now to take human consciousness and life in a better direction, toward a more rational and humane future. We do not have to continue suffering under the old mythologies that have caused/contributed to so much misery across history in unnecessary additional fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, resignation, fatalism, despair, depression, nihilism, and violence. We now have the opportunity to embrace the ultimate human liberation- freedom from ideas that have long distorted reality and life and that have long incited our worst impulses. We have alternatives to inspire the better angels of our nature, alternatives that inspire our better impulses to live as authentically human.
The ideas in the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption”, or “apocalyptic millennialism” complex, set us up to believe that something is wrong, that something is threatening our very existence. That naturally incites our primal survival impulse. The gatekeepers of these mythical complexes then claim to know who is to blame, what actions must be taken to correct what they imagine is wrong, how we should counter their imagined threat to life, how to save ourselves, save our world, and how to make things all right again.
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 enemies who had to be stopped even if with coercive violence.
Consider these most basic ideas and their outcomes, whether at the individual level or at larger societal scale:
The core themes (mental pathologies) that have dominated human consciousness across history… the “lost paradise/redemption” narrative: Wendell Krossa
(1) The myth that a perfection-obsessed deity created a better past or original paradise (i.e. Sumerian Dilmun or Jewish Eden). This is the baseline bad myth. It sets the stage for all the rest. If the past was better, and the present is so obviously worse (imperfect), then logically- What went wrong? The history-long obsession with blaming humanity (i.e. the anti-humanism of “fallen/sinful” humanity) arises out of this original error of a better past.
(2) The initial mistake of early people was to blame themselves for committing some original sin and thereby ruining an imagined primeval paradise. Contrary to this long-affirmed “original sin” myth (humanity ruining paradise), the original human mistake was actually their wrong assumption that the past was a paradise world and that early humans had committed a primordial sin and thereby ruined that original perfection.
That wrong initial assumption cemented the baseline idea for a complex of related pathological ideas, notably, myths that have subsequently blamed humanity for all that was wrong in life. That original bad myth then “logically” (logical to myth-oriented minds) led to the demand for punishment and sacrifice to pay for the initial sin, and further, the requirement that to make things better again you had to violently purge some evil threat to life. And thus emerged all the rest of the lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption complex of bad myths.
Response to the original pathology? We need a complete re-orientation of consciousness to fundamentally different themes in a new narrative of reality and life.
Start with the alternatives to the baseline bad myth.
There was never any better past or original paradise, and the overall trajectory of life has never declined from a previous “golden age” toward a worsening future. Any history of our world will show the horrifically brutal conditions of early Earth. And, since that early uninhabitable world, there has been a long-term trajectory of improvement toward a more habitable planet for life- e.g. the emergence and development of an atmosphere suitable for life, along with many other factors. The history of our world shows long-term improvement in features like the increasing complexity of multi-cellular life, increasing organization/complexity in ecosystems, and an overall world more conducive to life, not the decline of life toward something worse.
Biologists like E. O. Wilson and Charles Darwin both affirmed the overall, long-term “improving” trajectory of life toward more complexity, more organization, toward more “perfection”, according to Darwin.
Conclusion from such evidence? There was never an original paradise that humans ruined. Hence, reject that foundational myth that was the basis for blaming humanity. There was no “original sin” or fault. We never “fell” or degenerated from something better to become something worse. We did not become corrupted.
An alternative narrative (including metaphysical or “spiritual” speculations) would suggest that deity created the cosmos and world as originally “imperfect” and there is some good reason for that. So, with other philosophers and theologians, explore this “theodicy” possibility- that, for example, an imperfect world exists as in an arena for human experience, struggle, learning, and development. And that we only learn the better things in life when they are contrasted with the worst elements of life. Also, that problems, and consequent suffering, inspire our struggle to make life better, and bring out the best in people. For example, through suffering we learn compassion with suffering others (i.e. empathy as fundamental to being human). Much human creativity has also arisen out of compassion for suffering others. Julian Simon added that our problems bring out the best in us- i.e. creative endeavor to solve problems and find solutions that benefit ourselves and others.
The myth of a better past dominates the Declinism ideology of today as in the environmental Declinism that states the past wilderness world was paradise but humanity in civilization, notably in industrial capitalist society, has ruined that paradise and life is now heading toward collapse and catastrophe. CO2 has been demonized as the latest primary indicator of the evil of too many people consuming too much of Earth’s “limited” resources and thereby destroying the world. This primitive apocalyptic millennial nonsense, that distorts entirely the true story of life, still dominates the thinking of many people today.
(2) (Related to number 1) The myth that the earliest humans committed an original fault/error and subsequently “fell” or become “sinful/corrupted” beings who then ruined the original paradise. Again, this “original sin” myth is the primal root of all “blame humanity”, all anti-humanism. The Sumerians gave us the first examples of this pathology in the Sumerian Flood myth (Gilgamesh epic) with fuller versions coming later in subsequent Babylonian mythology. In the Sumerian Flood myth, Enlil, the waterworks god, was pissed that too many humans were making too much noise- the original human “sin” of that era and place. Imagine: People just being sociable and having fun was considered an original sin. That is as petty as Adam bringing the curse of “inherited sinfulness” on all humanity for just enjoying a taste of good fruit and curious to learn something new (wanting to access the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil’). Sheesh, eh.
To get some sense of the petty nature of these primitive mythologies, with their ideas of pathetic deities that are obsessed with human imperfection and mistakes, note the Biblical lists of sins that incite God’s wrath and consequent intention to torture people in an eternal lake of fire. The lists include “sins” like “boasting, gossiping, coveting, sensuality, impurity, fits of anger, rivalry, dissension, drunkenness, greed, gluttony, slander, lying, pride, foolishness, loving money, disobedient to parents, loving oneself, loving pleasure (watch out you wankers), ungrateful, and reckless (i.e. adrenaline junkies in extreme sports), etc, etc.” Talk about punishment not fitting the crime, eh. Ah, it illustrates the obsessive moralizing pettiness of people that they then projected onto deity, reducing the reality of God to something perversely petty.
(3) The vengeful deity of primitive imaginations, thoroughly pissed at human imperfection, then cursed the world and life began declining toward something worse, eventually toward complete corruption, collapse, and final ending via apocalypse. This apocalyptic decline myth has long incited survival fear/terror and desperation to find some salvation/survival.
(4) The great creating Force/Spirit behind life, still obsessed with lost perfection, and obsessed with punishing imperfection, then demanded a sacrifice to pay for the sins of corrupted humanity, to restore his offended honor and rebalance justice in the cosmos. (Note: Offended holiness in Judea-Christian theology is on the same spectrum as Islamic “honor killing” to restore the offended male sense of righteousness/purity).
(5) The upset deity also demanded suffering as further punishment- “suffering as redemptive”. Humanity has long embraced this pathology in self-flagellation or varied forms of self-punishment to assuage guilt/shame over being bad. Today, one form of self-inflicted punishment involves giving up the good life for a return to the “morally superior” simple life (i.e. “de-development”). This is a retreat to the primitive status of original “noble savages”- i.e. early people who were believed to have been stronger and purer humans more in tune with nature, living low-consumption lifestyles (i.e. hunter gatherers) before the “fall of humanity in civilization…the degeneration of humanity in the abundance of industrial civilization”. Such is the “degeneration” theory of Declinism ideology (humanity degenerating in civilization) as set forth by Arthur Herman in “The Idea of Decline in Western History”.
The “lost paradise/redemption” narrative has been beaten into humanity for multiple-millennia now and the outcome is a deeply-rooted guilt and shame over being imperfectly human. Most people across history have subsequently felt the desperate need for absolution from their sin. They long to be told how to make atonement, and in response, priesthoods across history have offered people the solution of blood sacrifice, or other forms of sacrifice/payment/punishment to assuage the guilt that has been exacerbated by the original sin, Declinism, and apocalyptic destruction mythologies.
(6) The punitive Force/Spirit behind life also demands “the violent purging” of some great threat to life, some threatening “enemy”. This involves the embrace of the hero’s quest, to heroically engage “a righteous battle against evil”, to engage the quest to conquer an enemy, to slay a monster. These ideas are validated by the myth of cosmic dualism- i.e. that there exists a great cosmic battle of a good Spirit against some evil Force or Spirit. That “cosmic-level” dualism (as ultimate ideal and authority) has been endlessly replicated in “this-world” dualisms among people. Cosmic dualism myths have long validated human tribalisms (tribalism based on race/ethnicity, nationality, religion, ideology, etc.).
Think of the historical outcomes of this myth alone- i.e. cosmic dualism (ultimate Good against ultimate Evil). Note how much horrific damage has been caused across history by inciting the impulse to view the differing other as an “enemy”, accompanied by the felt need to engage a righteous battle against such enemies, to conquer and destroy them as threats to one’s own tribe. Tribalism based on dualism is among the most damaging of all primitive ideas. And tribalism intensifies its impulse to harm by giving true believers the sense that God is on their side, that God approves their righteous battles against intolerably evil enemies who must be destroyed.
It is critical to understand these primitive archetypes and how they continue to influence human consciousness, emotion, motivation, and response/behavior. We need to recognize the dangerous outcomes of these ideas over history, outcomes still occurring repetitively today. And we ought to recognize that we have much better alternatives today that work to counter our baser impulses and to inspire our better human impulses. Notably, the recognition of the fundamental oneness of humanity that inspires us to view others as family and to embrace restorative justice toward human failure.
Note again in this regard Campbell’s comments on embracing “universal love” and viewing enemies as family and thereby maintaining our humanity:
“For love is exactly as strong as life. And when life produces what the intellect names evil, we may enter into righteous battle, contending ‘from loyalty of heart’: however, if the principle of love (Christ’s “Love your enemies”) is lost thereby, our humanity too will be lost. ‘Man’, in the words of the American novelist Hawthorne, ‘must not disclaim his brotherhood even with the guiltiest’” (Myths To Live By).
Further, religious mythologies teach that the ultimate violent purging takes place in the apocalyptic punishment and destruction of the present “corrupted world”, a necessary destruction in order to make way for the new world (see the New Testament book of Revelation for detail on such myth). “Violent purging of evil” myths also validated the revolutionary purging that was central to Marxism and Nazism (Again, Arthur Herman in “The Idea of Decline In Western History”).
(7) With atonement and purging accomplished, the threatening deity then promises salvation for true believers, salvation in the restoration of the lost paradise, or salvation in the installation of a new exclusive utopia/millennial kingdom for the saved true believers.
(Sources for above myths: Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Zoroastrian mythologies. Also, Jewish-Christian history and belief systems. Add further, similar mythical themes in Eastern religious belief systems, such as Hinduism.)
Such is the complex of pathological “lost paradise/redemption” myths. Note the intense anti-human orientation of these primitive myths. They emphasize the fallacy that humanity has “fallen” or degenerated from an imagined original perfection. That distortion buries the entirely opposite truth that the real story of humanity is how amazingly we have improved over history, compared to our original barbaric animal-like existence.
Other sources: James Payne in “History of Force” and Stephen Pinker in “The Better Angels of Our Nature” both detail the long-term historical trajectory of improving humanity, though I don’t think Pinker’s “evolutionary biology/psychology” fully explains all the causal factors behind the ongoing improvement. While our animal past goes some way to explaining our present makeup, the human spirit and human consciousness are something uniquely human and cannot be fully explained in terms of the animal. I side more with neuroscientist John Eccles on such things.
These “lost paradise/redemption” myths constitute the “mythical/spiritual” substrate- the archetypes- that undergird most human belief systems or narratives, whether religious or “secular/ideological” narratives, and even scientific ones. These themes are deeply embedded in human consciousness/subconscious- hardwired in human minds from millennia of tight interaction with some of our most basic impulses (ideas/myths created to affirm and validate inherited impulses). This complex of primitive themes continues to dominate human narratives today.
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?