Section topics: Musing on theology- greater reality as Mind, Consciousness, and Self; Projecting subhuman features onto Ultimate Reality (monster gods); The features of humanity’s highest ideal and authority- deity- and the powerful influence on human life; Punitive, destroying deity and mass-death outcomes (a critical correlation- ‘apocalyptic millennial’ themes in Marxism, Nazism, and environmental alarmism); The alternative to punitive/destroying deity- God as no conditions Love; The true state of life on earth- evidence on the status of basic resources; Fear as manipulation (social control); Resurging tribalism; The logarithmically declining influence of CO2 on climate; Offensive justice (restorative); Today’s petty ‘eye for eye’ cycles.
End the insanity of apocalyptic hysteria, now oriented to the end-of-days coming via imminent “climate catastrophe”. A critical requirement: Bring down the punitive, destroying God at the core of apocalyptic mythology. Apocalyptic- “the most violent and destructive myth in history”- is still one of the most prominent myths of humanity, in both religious and secular versions. This site is a project to go to the root of the problem and counter the primitive “threat theology” of apocalyptic.
Preface to Christmas musing on theology:
Consciousness has made us aware there is much more to reality than what we see. Our science has shown us that we are surrounded and interpenetrated by a greater reality that is our source and sustains us in existence (See for example Jim Baggot’s “Mass” on the human endeavor across history to understand reality).
We have been made aware of multiple dimensions (10, 11, 26, etc.), multi-verses, quantum fields, and dark matter/dark energy. People advocating materialist conclusions will claim that the greater invisible realities can be defined pretty much in terms of things like energy, quantum fields, and natural laws.
But of the estimated 70-100 billion people that have lived in our line of humanity (homo sapiens), most have intuitively understood that the greater invisible reality is more of the nature of Mind, Consciousness, and Self/Personhood. Even the early quantum theorists understood that greater reality had something to do with consciousness (i.e. James Jeans, “The universe looks more and more like a great thought rather than a great machine”).
The problem with explaining greater reality to ourselves began with the ancients. Even in the prehistory era, people began to project subhuman features out to define the greater reality. Features like tribalism (gods favoring true believers), domination (gods as lords, kings, rulers), and punitive destruction (apocalypse, hell). Those dark features of early mythologies were embraced by later world religions and today by “secular” ideologies and mythologies like environmental alarmism (i.e. angry Planet/Mother Earth, vengeful Gaia, retributive Universe, payback karma).
Deity theories still embody the highest ideals (i.e. sources of inspiration) and authorities (i.e. sources of validation) for most of humanity (the 85% of humanity affiliated with a world religion and the 15% categorized as “unaffiliated”- that is most of this group claiming to be “spiritual but not religious”).
Note: The following posts may have a few repetitious comments as they were written for separate postings. Kindly ignore such. And anyway- who said that some repetition is the essence of good teaching? I dunno. Didn’t someone say that?
Its Christmas- time for some theological musing
Across history humanity has learned to distinguish good ideas from bad, to reject the bad and embrace the better. That is how we have transformed human consciousness and life. Some of this transformation takes place at the subconscious level where ancient themes are deeply embedded and influence us in ways that we are often not even aware of. We change that area of human life by carefully re-evaluating our worldview and then ‘consciously’ embracing better alternatives in a repeated manner. We can assist the reshaping of our subconscious by changing the fundamental themes of our personal worldviews or narratives.
In this regard, Rupert Sheldrake speaks of a collective memory that exists among species (“DMT Dialogues”). And he notes that we all draw on the collective that we belong to and we also contribute to our collective memory. My “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives” are my contribution to the collective memory of humanity.
I have found nothing more fundamental to tackle and change than the themes that relate to humanity’s highest ideal and authority across history- i.e. deity/God. And this includes contemporary versions of deities that are the direct offspring of past religious versions (contemporary “secular” theologies share the same core features of all past threat theology). I take a long-term view of this process of change or reformation of our highest ideals and authorities (i.e. “gradualism” across history).
Another intro note: Richard Landes and his colleagues have traced the influence of ‘apocalyptic millennial’ ideas on the mass-death movements of the Twentieth Century- i.e. Marxism, Nazism, and Environmental Alarmism. The stunner? These apocalyptic ideas come directly from Paul’s apocalyptic Christ myth that is mainly responsible for embedding the apocalyptic myth in Western consciousness. The apocalyptic Christ of Paul is the very heart of Western Christianity.
One feels immediately obligated to qualify any criticism of the Christ icon with an affirmation that, yes, there are also some very good ideals in the Christ mix but the better themes (e.g. forgiveness, hope, salvation) tend to be overwhelmed by the subhuman ideas in the mix. That is Jefferson and Tolstoy’s argument, regarding the contrast between the teaching of Jesus and Paul’s Christ, that “the diamonds of Jesus are buried in dung”. The darker themes in the Christ mix have buried the central message of Historical Jesus and have had devastatingly harmful outcomes over history. This was something that no one ever spoke about during my early-life sojourn in Evangelical Christianity.
The comment below is not advocating for a shift to some form of materialism/atheism. Those philosophical positions have never properly understood or responded to the primal human impulse for meaning. I continue to affirm the conclusion of the vast majority of humanity across history- that ultimate reality is more than just energy, quantum fields, or natural law. It has to do with Consciousness, Mind, and Self/Personhood. But then the problems begin with what the ancients have projected out to define that reality- i.e. subhuman/inhuman features such as are found in the Christ myth.
Keep the main project in mind
A central project on this site, from its initial posting in the late 80s, was to go after “bad religious ideas”, notably the primitive ideas of God as a tribal reality (i.e. favoring believers over unbelievers), God as an excluding reality (unbelievers rejected), God as a dominating reality (humanity relating vertically or submissively to gods as lords, kings, rulers), and God as meting out vengeful justice (i.e. punitive destruction via apocalypse and hell). These subhuman features in humanity’s God theories comprise “threat theology”. These ideas are the core of the larger complex of bad ideas that I have listed in “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives” in sections below.
The features of deity, in the above paragraph, have wreaked incalculable harm across history, inciting unnecessary fear, anxiety, guilt/shame, despair/depression- i.e. “deformation of human personality” (Zenon Lotufo). They have further affirmed violence toward others (i.e. inciting, guiding, and validating bad behaviors like vengeance toward enemies).
The foundational features in God theories were first formed in prehistory, then embraced in early mythology and eventually passed down into the world religions. Today, threat theology ideas have been embraced by the “secular” ideologies of movements like environmental alarmism (i.e. the apocalyptic gods of “vengeful Gaia”… “angry Plant/Mother Earth”… “retributive Universe”… and “payback karma”). New terms are used by new generations but the core themes describing our deities remain ever the same old. As Joseph Campbell noted, the same mythological themes repeat across all history and across all the cultures of the world.
Historians have traced the role that threat theology ideas played in the mass-death movements of history. See, for example, the Old Testament for numerous incidents of people validating the violent destruction of their enemies in the name of a retributive God. The validation of violence toward others in the name of vengeful deity continued into the AD era with councils, crusades, inquisitions, heretic hunts, and wars.
A critical correlation to note…
Historians have produced stunning evidence on the influence of the complex of “apocalyptic millennial” ideas (i.e. the threat of destruction and need for drastic action to save something under threat, along with the promise of paradise). The historians, noted just below, reveal how these ideas influenced the mass-death movements of Marxism (100 million deaths), Nazism (50-60 million), and are now influencing environmental alarmism. For more historical detail see the research of Arthur Herman (The Idea of Decline in Western History), Richard Landes (Heaven on Earth), Arthur Mendel (Vision and Violence), and David Redles (Hitler’s Millennial Reich), among others.
Example of mass-harm in environmentalism: Rachel Carson’s “apocalyptic narrative” in Silent Spring inspired the ban on DDT that led to millions of unnecessary deaths in following decades (see ‘The Excellent Powder’ by Tren and Roberts).
The ideas that we hold, notably ideas of ultimate ideals and authorities, will influence how we view life, how we feel, and how we then respond and act. One critical lesson to pull from the mass-death movements of the past century is that there has never been any such reality as the apocalyptic Destroyer God portrayed by the great world religious traditions. The features of tribalism (believer/unbeliever), domination (lord, king), exclusion of some people, ultimate punishment, and violent destruction (apocalypse, hell), such features have never been true of Ultimate Reality or deity. They are simply the pre-human projections of primitive minds.
The core of reality, the Ultimate Reality that births and sustains all else in existence has always and only been love, an inexpressibly wonderous “no conditions love”. No religion has ever communicated this wonder to humanity.
This site contributes to the project of many others across history to bring down humanity’s worst enemy and monster- inhumane theological ideas (‘Cruel God’ theories). These ideas are still prominent in the consciousness/subconscious of most people, notably, the 85% of humanity that affiliate with a world religion, with most of the remaining 15% holding secular versions of the same old theology, as noted above- i.e. vengeful Gaia, angry Plant/Mother Earth, retributive Universe, or payback karma. Becoming secular, or even materialist/atheist, does not mean that you have actually become nonreligious at the core of your thinking or beliefs. You may have just exchanged one system of beliefs for an essentially similar, though presumably “secular” system of beliefs.
A further example of how bad theologies wreak actual harm: One of the oldest theological ideas is that of punitive, destroying deity harming people through the natural world. This idea has become deeply embedded in the collective subconscious of humanity. Nancy Pelosi offered a recent example of this primitive myth (Sept. 2020) in her comment that “Mother Earth was angry” at us and expressed this anger through the California wildfires (angry at our “sin” of using fossil fuels). Pelosi, along with other contemporaries like Al Gore, have repeatedly evoked the fear of a deity punishing us through nature, whether natural disaster or disease. That fear incites the felt obligation to make some sacrifice to appease the angered deity. The proposed sacrifice to climate alarmism gods is decarbonization that would be “the suicide of industrial civilization” (atmospheric physicist Richard Lindzen).
There is no punitive deity that is angry at human imperfection. There is no God that punishes people through the natural world. The harmful outcomes of this imperfect world are simply “natural consequences”. An example: If you don’t wash your hands then you may get sick from bacteria/viruses. Such illness is not punishment from a deity. Also, forest fires are due to natural and human factors- i.e. poor management of surface fuel loads. A pissed Mother Earth has nothing to do with such things.
A position statement (another post related to the above comments)
Intro note: If Roy Varghese is right that (paraphrased from ‘The Wonder of The World’)- “theism is the logical conclusion of the human process of reasoning”, then what kind of theism is best?
I repeat a question often posed here- Why bother with speculation on metaphysical realities? Well, it has to do with the nature of ultimate ideals and authorities and their influence on people’s consciousness, emotions, and behavior (i.e. outcomes in lives/societies). Some opt to dismiss all consideration of the metaphysical as wasted time. Just get on with here-and-now life, they say. And that too is critically important, in its place.
But here’s the problem- bad spiritual ideas remain in place as the prominent themes that define people’s understanding of greater realities- i.e. ultimate ideals and authorities- and those ideas continue to have a powerful influence on life. Just look at the themes that still dominate the world religions and therefore the consciousness of the vast majority of humanity (see “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives” below).
Bad religious ideas have had a horrifically damaging impact across history, deforming human personality with fear, anxiety, guilt/shame, and despair/depression. See psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo’s detailed treatment of these issues in ‘Cruel God, Kind God’. Religious God theories have also been used to incite, guide, and validate unimaginable brutality/violence toward others across history (i.e. Crusades, Inquisitions, heretic hunts and torture, mass-death movements, and wars).
So rather than just dismiss the overall issue of theism, or the metaphysical, why not offer people better alternatives to what we have inherited? Remember also that, in the modern age, the core bad themes of religious traditions have been embraced by so-called “secular” ideologies. Many young secular materialists/atheists are just as religious, in regard to their core beliefs, as any fundamentalist religious person.
Further, theories of ultimate reality continue to serve as ultimate ideals and authorities for most of humanity (i.e. the 85% of humanity affiliated with a world religion, with many of the remaining 15% that are “unaffiliated” still holding some version of theology).
Now the ‘meat’… Humanizing humanity’s highest ideal and authority
This site takes the position that Ultimate Reality is something of the nature of Consciousness or Mind. What many across history have called “God” or Spirit. I try to avoid using the term “God” because it instinctively evokes religious definitions and categories. The Consciousness that is deity is more than David Chalmers’ “panpsychism” where consciousness is considered to be a “primitive” reality like gravity (similarly basic). I would argue that Ultimate Consciousness is far more than just another fundamental reality like gravity. Consciousness is the most basic of realities that creates/sustains all other reality. Ultimate Consciousness is the creating Source/Ground of all reality and maintains all other energy forms/quantum fields in existence every moment.
And any effort to define such reality must always countenance the element of the transcendent mystery of the reality itself. The creating/sustaining Consciousness is a profound Mystery always beyond full human comprehension. Transcendence has long been fundamental to theologies or God theories.
But as noted before, we cannot remain in a vacuum of complete unknowing, never speculating on metaphysical realities. Further, too much harmful speculation has already been done and continues to dominate most human consciousness with ideas that continue to cause immense harm. We do best to offer better alternatives to what exists.
Love, love, love… all we need is love.
The single most critical point in any redefining of deity is that the core nature of Ultimate Consciousness is Love. Not just love as we know it, but a stunningly transcendent “no conditions” or unconditional love. We can affirm this because no conditions love is the highest good that we humans have discovered and theodicies have long reasoned that God as Ultimate Good/Love is better than the best that we can imagine. Theodicy is generally the hope in and vindication of an ultimate Good, despite the imperfection and evil in this world.
And where Varghese (quoted above) argued that theism was the logical conclusion to the human process of reasoning, I would argue that no conditions love is the logical conclusion to the human search for ultimate meaning in Ultimate Reality. We can imagine no higher good than unconditional love.
My takeaway from reasoning to Ultimate Reality as no conditions Love is that there is no ultimate threat. This resolves humanity’s primal fears of a deity punishing human failure in this life through the natural world (natural disaster or disease) or punishing people in after-life harm (i.e. hell). And this takes the sting out of death.
Deity as “no conditions love” overturns all the religious traditions of history that have been fundamentally threatening and conditional in orientation. The religions of history have presented deities as tribal realities (favoring true believers over unbelievers), as dominating lords/kings/rulers, and as arbiters of ultimate justice that is retaliatory (i.e. rewarding good, punishing bad).
Further, religious deities have always been highly conditional, demanding the conditions of sacrifice/payment for wrong, and meting out final justice as violent punishment and destruction (i.e. apocalypse, hell). There is nothing unconditional and has never been anything unconditional in religious deity theories.
My point? No religion in human history has ever communicated to humanity the wondrous unconditional nature of Ultimate Reality/Consciousness. And as Ultimate Consciousness is a transcendent wonder, so the love of that reality is inexpressibly better than the best that we could imagine.
To shift one’s understanding of Ultimate Reality away from the long history of threat theologies and toward “No conditions Love” is the single most profound transformation of consciousness possible. There is no more fundamental change in thought/perspective than this. And it revolutionizes everything else. For example, it transforms the nature of justice from retributive to restorative.
An appeal to a historical example of the project to transform human consciousness with unconditional reality. (Qualifier: I view Historical Jesus as an iconic illustration not as an unchallengeable authority.)
I would argue that the discovery that Ultimate Consciousness as no conditions Love is the single most profound insight in the teaching of Historical Jesus. I use the title “Historical Jesus” to contrast him with the Christian “Jesus Christ” which is the oxymoronic creation of Paul that embodies his highly conditional teaching on sacrifice/salvation. See “The Great Christian Contradiction” in sections below. Paul buried the unconditional God of Jesus in his highly conditional salvation religion (i.e. his God that demanded payment, sacrifice, and punishment).
In a radical break with all past God theories, Historical Jesus had repeatedly emphasized the no conditions nature of God. For example, note his story of the Prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) who was welcomed back and treated generously by the Father with no demand for conditions to be met first, or ever. We see the unconditional feature also emphasized in the story of the vineyard owner parable (Matthew 20:1-16) where the late-comers received the same generosity as the all-day workers. The all-day guys, oriented to justice as fair payback (i.e. reward according to work done), are highly offended by the unconditional generosity of the owner. The teaching of Historical Jesus on the unconditional nature of God offended most good, moral people in his day.
And we have the unconditional nature of God stated directly in the central statement of the “Q Wisdom Sayings gospel” (the core message of Jesus) where he says that God unconditionally gives the good gifts of life- i.e. sun and rain for crops- to both good and bad people without discrimination or distinction (Luke 6:27-36, and Matthew 5:38-48).
Today, the Near-Death Experience (NDE) movement affirms the discovery that Ultimate Consciousness is unconditional love. This is the single most prominent discovery of NDErs- i.e. that the Light, or God, is a stunningly inexpressible unconditional love. As a former Christian lady said on returning from her NDE, “My religion (Christianity) is all wrong. There is no judgment, no demand for sacrifice, no punishment, no threat, and no hell. There is only unconditional Love.”
What about the minority of negative or “hellish” experiences in the NDE movement? Rupert Sheldrake, for one, offers some helpful response to such experiences in his presentation in “DMT Dialogues”. The majority of metaphysical or “spiritual” experiences are of overwhelming love and bliss. And many of the negative experiences eventually resolve into positive ones (see, for example, Eben Alexander’s book ‘Proof of Heaven’). As Sheldrake and the NDE researchers note, bad experiences can also be explained in terms of the beliefs that are held by a person, and how a person then interprets their experiences.
Another note: When you remove the highest validation that people across history have appealed to- i.e. deity- you leave people facing personal responsibility for their bad behavior. When they no longer have a vengeful, punitive deity to back them up, then people intent on causing harm cannot appeal to an outside source to justify their inhumanity. Removing the God element may not stop evil entirely but it removes what has been the primary source of validation for many people across history. That forces people to take personal responsibility for their bad behavior.
Another: Ultimate Consciousness is a reality that is infinitely transcendent to the consciousness that we know and experience daily. As some have said, the experience of that Consciousness involves an inexpressibly more profound lucidity just as waking consciousness is superior to dreaming consciousness, a contrast that we experience daily.
Others note that we are actually a greater consciousness (our real self) that is one with the Ultimate Consciousness but our greater consciousness is limited by the mediating organ that is our material brain. Our brain restricts our awareness to five senses in three/four dimensions.
Baggot has bagged it…
Note: Here are some summary quotes from Jim Baggot’s “Mass” (a history of the human endeavor to understand the physical realm) on where our understanding of physical matter is at present, “We’ve been convinced that it is matter that has energy. And, although matter may be reducible to microscopic constituents, for a long time we believed that there would still be recognized as matter- they would still possess the primary quality of mass…
“Modern physics teaches us something rather different, and deeply counter-intuitive. As we worked our way ever inwards- atoms, sub-atomic particles, quantum fields and forces- we lost sight of matter completely. Matter lost its tangibility. It lost its primacy as mass became a secondary quality, the result of interactions between intangible quantum fields. What we recognize as mass is a behavior of these quantum fields, it is not a property that belongs or is inherently intrinsic to them…
“Despite the fact that our physical world is filled with hard and heavy things, it is instead the energy of quantum fields that reigns supreme. Mass becomes simply a physical manifestation of that energy, rather than the other way around. This is conceptually quite shocking but at the same time extraordinarily appealing. The great unifying feature of the universe is the energy of quantum fields, not hard, impenetrable atoms…Never in the entire history of science has the rug of understanding been pulled so firmly from beneath our feet… Israeli physicist and philosopher Max Jammer concluded: ‘in spite of all the strenuous efforts of physicists and philosophers the notion of mass, although fundamental in physics, is… shrouded in mystery’” (p. 252-5, Mass).
“Modern science has revealed the extraordinarily rich structure of our empirical reality, a reality consisting of things-as-they-appear and things-as-they-are-measured. But it would be naïve to think that this extraordinary success has drawn us ever closer to comprehending a reality of things-in-themselves. If anything, the richness we have discovered would seem to have dragged us further away. To paraphrase the philosopher Bernard d’Espagnat, ‘our understanding of the basic structure of physical reality is an ideal from which we remain distant. Indeed, a comparison with conditions that ruled in the past suggests that we are a great deal more distant from it than our predecessors thought they were a century ago’” (p.261-2).
The true state of life on this planet (i.e. the main features and long-term trends of life) show ongoing improvement. There has never been a better time to live on Earth. See, for example, “Humanprogress.org”.
“Apocalyptic climate claims have had a major impact. In September 2019, a survey of 30,000 people around the world found that 48 percent believed climate change would make humanity extinct. In January of this year, a survey found that one in five British children were having nightmares about climate change” (Michael Shellenberger).
Depression is the world’s number one illness estimated to affect some 322 million people. Add to this that the narrative of apocalyptic decline/environmental alarmism has become “the single most dominant and influential theme in culture and politics” (my paraphrase of Arthur Herman’s statement in The Idea of Decline in Western History). Add further the YouGov polling results showing that a majority of the world’s population believes the world is getting worse. Children now suffer record rates of “eco-anxiety” and fear.
My point? Irresponsible climate alarmism has devastating consequences for human consciousness and life.
The fundamental assumptions of the climate alarmism movement are wrong.
We are not experiencing warmth that is “the hottest on record”. The record that media repeatedly refer to is only the more formal recording of the past century and a half. Our current interglacial has previously experienced climate warming periods (e.g. the Holocene Maximum or Optimum) up to 5 degrees Centigrade hotter that today’s warm period.
And more CO2 is not going to warm the climate much more. See the reports by climate physicists Lindzen and Happer/Wijgaarden, just below. CO2 has already reached “saturation” levels in terms of its “warming influence/effect” (i.e. “ability to absorb and re-emit infrared energy”). More CO2 in the atmosphere will not cause much more warming.
Takeaway? Our use of fossil fuels is not causing a “climate emergency”. CO2 levels and temperature averages are still far below paleo-climate optimal levels. Life flourished in the past when CO2 and temperatures were much higher than today. Even with our mild warming and slight increase in CO2, Earth has become much greener than just a few decades ago (i.e. a 14% increase in green vegetation just since 1980).
Beware the fallacy of “presentism” (James Payne, History of Force)
Presentism is the belief that the events of our time are the worst ever because we are experiencing them personally, intensely, and firsthand. But presentism does not enable us to see the overall big picture and ongoing trends that are continually improving (see for example- Ten Global Trends by Bailey and Tupy). Julian Simon and many others have done the same- i.e. showing that the main features of life and the long-term trends of life are improving over the long-term.
We are living in the best of times and the future will be even better. For example, the planet is not burning. We had a slight (one degree C) warming in a cold era. Remember, for over 90% of the past 500 million years the Earth has been entirely ice-free. That is a more normal, optimal world and life flourished during such eras.
The true state of the main world resources
While problems exist everywhere, they are solvable and humanity has done well in caring for and preserving world resources. See, for example, Julian Simon’s ‘Ultimate Resource’ or ‘Population Bombed’ by Szurmak and Desrochers. Below are the main resources of our world and therefore the main indicators of the state of life on our planet.
(1) World forest cover in the 1950s was 3.8 billion hectares (FAO stats). World forest cover today is 4.1-plus billion hectares, despite the world population tripling from 2.4 billion people in the early 1950s to almost 8 billion today. Deforestation rates continue to decline and reforestation/afforestation projects continue to succeed.
(2) Proven species extinctions- about 1.5 per year, the same rate as over the past 500 years (others argue the rate may be somewhat higher but not much). While nature has destroyed over 95% of all species over the span of life on this planet, compassionate humanity is now protecting species as never before. See Julian Simon’s chapter on the IUCN report on species loss (in Ultimate Resource and other books) and the discredited assumption/correlation between habitat loss and species extinctions.
(3) Climate change (the atmosphere as a main resource): There has been a mild one degree Centigrade of warming over the past century and a half. That slightly warmed our still abnormally cold world (average surface temperatures of 14.5 degrees Centigrade today) that is still 5 degrees Centigrade below the optimal average surface temperatures of the past 500 million years (19.5 degrees Centigrade). And contrary to the falsified climate models, there is no settled evidence of much more warming occurring in the future. There is no “climate crisis” looming.
(4) Ocean fisheries are not collapsing and aquaculture is meeting the growing human demand for fish. See Ray Hilborn reports and FAO summaries on fisheries.
(5) The overall agricultural soils land-base is not severely degrading. Also, any soil erosion must be understood in net terms, as related to new soil regeneration rates. Further, over the past century and more, we have returned hundreds of millions of hectares of agricultural soil back to nature as hi-yield GM crops enable farmers to produce more crop on the same or less land. We have probably already passed “peak-agricultural land” use. Humanity now produces 25% more food than we need. Hydroponics will also meet much of future food demands.
And a note to all of our children: Do not fear the future on our planet. With continued wealth creation we will continue to solve the remaining world resource problems and life will continue to get ever better than before. Your personal contribution to making life better will add to humanity’s overall success.
Fear leads to manipulation (social control)
The use of threat theology (i.e. threats of deities punishing us through the natural world) incites fear in populations. Where previously religious traditions held the monopoly on terrorizing people with divine threat, today “secular” movements have taken up the crusade to terrorize populations with divine threats. “Mother Earth is angry” claimed Nancy Pelosi in Sept. 2020. The varied deities of the environmental alarmism movement include “vengeful Gaia, angry Planet/Mother Earth, payback karma, and retributive Universe”.
Once terrorized by exaggerated threats, populations are then rendered susceptible to the irrational salvation schemes of the fear-mongers. People today are told that “we must save the world… it is on fire”, and we must make a sacrifice to appease the threat. The sacrifice now being proposed and implemented is total decarbonization of our societies within a few decades. Madness.
The salvation schemes of alarmists have caused immense damage to people and societies. Consider, for example, the millions of unnecessary deaths in the wake of Rachel Carson’s apocalyptic narrative in Silent Spring. Note also the outcomes of the push to decarbonize California- e.g. increase in rolling blackouts- with similar outcomes looming in Britain and other places.
The contemporary Left/Right (Liberal/Conservative) divisions in our societies illustrate the problems of tribal polarization. Some people take more extreme stances in these divides and rigidly hold their ideological position as a dominant marker of identity- i.e. “I am Conservative/Liberal”. But it appears that most people take more moderate positions on either side, more toward the middle.
And this quote from another poll: “A strong majority of both liberals and conservatives describe themselves as closer to the center than to the extremes.”
Unfortunately, crisis-obsessed media tend to give inordinate attention to the extremes, giving the impression they represent normal situations, and that lack of context distorts things. That adds to the public sense of division and strife.
Most of us see things on both sides that we can agree with. As someone long ago predicted, most people in the future would embrace a mixed approach and be socially Liberal but economically Conservative. That would mean affirming individual liberty in the social realm and economic realms. And that would make Libertarians happy.
In relation to tribalism, I would urge carefulness in how we embrace and hold human identity markers. Louis Zurcher (The Mutable Self) long ago warned of the problem of placing one’s identity in fixed, rigid objects like occupation, national/racial identity, religion, ideology, or other. He argued that we should remain selves in open processes- open to ongoing change, development, and growth- and not locate our identity in fixed objects like nationality/race, occupation, religion, etc.
An overly-rigid embrace of identity markers that separate us from others can promote tribal division.
Similarly, David Boaz (Libertarianism: A Primer), urges both sides in the US situation to embrace more freedom. He said that Republicans need to embrace more freedom in the social arena and Democrats need to embrace more freedom in the economic realm.
While all the above identity markers may serve some helpful purpose at times, the central feature of our humanity has to do with our oneness with the entire human family. All of us share the same human spirit and consciousness and these are the primary markers of being human. Even quantum theory affirms a fundamental oneness behind all reality and some apply that to humanity’s oneness.
Others note that the dualisms we give so much meaning to, are temporary to this material realm (Joseph Campbell, Natalie Sudman, and others). Engaging the dualisms of this world, says Joseph Campbell, is about fulfilling our differing roles as “actors on God’s stage”.
Beware the tribal impulse. We all want to live the hero’s adventure and engage some righteous battle against evil and against some enemy. The danger in taking on a righteous cause is that we tend to forget our oneness with our enemy. We forget to “love our enemy” and we can thereby lose our humanity. The marker of mature humanity is universal, unconditional love.
Submitting to the tribal impulse is to revert to our animal past (small band thinking). We should all aspire to be world citizens, that is, equal members of the one united human family.
Climate alarmism hysteria continues…
There is no “climate emergency”. CO2 is not a threat to life. It is the basic food of all life.
The world has only warmed 1 degree C over the past century. We are still in an ice-age era with subnormal cold temperatures and suboptimal low levels of CO2 compared to past eras. Life flourished during the past that had much higher average temperatures (average 5 degrees C warmer than today) and much higher levels of atmospheric CO2 (not hundreds but thousands of ppm).
The slight rebound to more optimal temperatures and healthier levels of CO2 over the past few centuries has benefitted life immensely. The world is 30% greener today than a century ago (increased plant productivity and added green vegetation). Life is beginning to flourish again with more basic food (CO2) and more warmth. Where are the news media on this good news?
Added note: We understand the true state of anything by looking at the complete big picture (evidence from all sides) and by placing the thing we are observing within the long-term trends that are associated with it. For example, with climate warming we hear the endless mantra “hottest on record”. But the record referred to is only the last 150 years or so of formal climate recording. The big picture and longer-term trends show, for example, that the previous three warming periods of our inter-glacial- i.e. the Holocene Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period, and the Medieval Warming Period- were all warmer than today’s warming period. Over the entirety of our inter-glacial we are on a long-term cooling trend with these warming periods. Our current warming is the coolest of the four.
Paleo-climate history shows even far warmer epochs than today. Average temperatures over the past 500 million years were in the 19.5 degree Centigrade range, versus the 14.5 C average of today’s world. And life flourished during such times. It did not wilt and die.
“Slight, beneficial warming from more carbon dioxide!
“Exhaustive study finds more CO2 and water molecules will not cause dangerous warming, David Wojick, Ph.D.
“Precision research by physicists William Happer and Willem van Wijngaarden has determined that the current levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and water vapor are “saturated.” In radiation physics that means adding more CO2 or water molecules will bring modest warming that will benefit plant growth, and thus all life on Earth. More CO2 and H2O will not cause dangerous warming.
“From this point forward, emissions from burning fossil fuels will bring little additional global warming, and what does occur will improve forests, grasslands and agriculture. There is no climate emergency.
“This finding is astounding, paradigm shattering, contrary to what alarmist scientists have told us for decades. Scientifically, it resolves a huge uncertainty that has plagued climate science for over a century: How should saturation be measured, and what is its extent regarding the primary greenhouse gases?
“Just as “the greenhouse effect” is nothing akin to how greenhouses work, in radiation physics “saturation” is nothing like the simple, everyday concept of saturation. Your paper towel is saturated when it won’t pick up any more spilled milk. Greenhouse gases are saturated when adding more water, methane or carbon dioxide molecules has no significant further effects on planetary warming and climate…
“Humanity’s use of fossil fuels and addition of CO2 to the atmosphere are not causing a climate crisis…”
See full report at:
Purge the old, embrace the new– transforming human consciousness/subconscious
A central project on this site is going after bad ideas that have long “deformed human personality” (Zenon Lotufo) with unnecessary guilt, shame, fear/anxiety, and despair/depression. These ideas are still prominent in contemporary worldviews and belief systems, both religious and “secular”. The project here is to offer alternative themes to shape worldviews/narratives.
(Insert note: Many have predicted that with the rise of secularism/science we would see the demise of religion. That has not happened and even with the ongoing spread of secularism we find the same fundamental themes/ideas are embraced by those claiming to have left religion. In reality, they have only left the outer accoutrements of religion but have held onto the same core themes, only now expressed in “secular” versions.)
A complex of primitive themes/ideas were embraced by early humanity and those themes still dominate human consciousness today. They have been passed down to us through the world religions and are common to all the cultures of the world. Today, they are still widely embraced by humanity in religious traditions and also in secular/ideological and even scientific versions.
This site affirms that there are also good ideas in the mix of religious traditions and urges the separation of the “diamonds from the dung” (the concern of Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy).
The most prominent of the “bad ideas”:
The past was better (original perfection). Corrupt, fallen people have ruined the original paradise and life is now declining toward something worse, toward some great apocalyptic ending. Hence, under divine threat, humanity is terrorized into embracing some salvation scheme, to make a sacrifice or payment for sins. God is portrayed as a tribal reality that includes true believers but excludes unbelievers who refuse to submit to the salvation plan. The gods/God threaten to purge the imperfection/evil of this world (and the unbelievers) in a great violent punishment and destruction (i.e. apocalypse). After purging this world, the lost paradise/perfection will be restored, for true believers.
The single most critical idea driving this complex of primitive themes is that of a deity that is angry at human imperfection will ultimately judge, exclude the bad, mete out final punishment, and then violently destroy the bad people via apocalypse and hell.
How many of these themes inform/shape your own worldview, perhaps with one of the secular versions? We have the alternatives to transform and liberate human consciousness/subconscious.
Alternatives for a new narrative:
There is no punitive, destroying deity. There never has been any such reality. There is only love, no conditions love, at the core of reality. This is also the central discovery of the Near-Death Experience movement. This stunningly inexpressible love defines the Ultimate Consciousness/Mind that humanity has long understood in terms of gods/deities.
There was no original perfection because the world was created intentionally as an arena for human experience and struggle, in order to bring forth human creativity through the endless struggle to make life better. Suffering and struggle are essential to human learning, development, and growth. As Julian Simon said, struggle with our problems pushes us to find solutions and our solutions can benefit others. Joseph Campbell said the same, that through our struggles we gain insights and learn lessons that we can pass on to others. Most critical is our struggle against evil where we learn what authentic love is- i.e. “love for the enemy”. And if we fail on that lesson, says Campbell, then we lose our humanity.
Further in the complex of alternative ideas/themes- We are not corrupted, fallen beings. Our essential human spirit is one with the Ultimate Love. Love defines us at our core. Love is the essential nature of the human self.
Life is not declining toward something worse but with creative human input and hard work, life continues to improve toward a better future. We do not need to embrace a salvation scheme. We do not need to make a sacrifice or payment to appease an upset deity. The only “salvation” scheme we should engage is the project of making life better here and now.
Life improves, not by the violent purging of instantaneous transformation movements but by gradualism through messy democracy. (See Arthur Mendel’s ‘Vision and Violence’ for a treatment of “instantaneous transformation” versus “gradualism” movements.)
Ultimately, all are safe as there is no ultimate judgment, no exclusion of anyone, and no punitive destruction. Those themes are all contrary to the ‘no conditions Love’ at the core of reality. The dualisms of this material realm (i.e. good versus evil) are not eternal dualisms. They exist as part of the “learning arena” that is this material realm which is only a small splice of all reality. Even quantum/cosmological theories affirm that, with our limiting brains/bodies, we experience only a small part of greater reality. Death is not an ending or a passage to some lesser shadow form of life. It is a return to our real full consciousness and ongoing life in timeless creative progress.
Full detail in the section below “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives”.
I have just read some articles on DMT (DMT Dialogues) and one of the authors was presenting his views on what life means (i.e. answering the questions: Where are we from? Why are we here?). He speculated that we come to this material realm to learn something and if we screw up then we have to repeat another life-cycle but if we learn our lessons we get to move on to higher stages, states, and realms. His views appeared to be basic re-incarnation stuff with advances based on good performance. It was a traditional argument from historical views of justice as payback- reward the good, punish the bad. And it satisfies most people’s sense of things, notably the sense of “fair” justice.
I would offer that author some offensive material from the almost buried message of Hist. Jesus (buried in New Testament payback justice). Historical Jesus had argued that it matters not how you learn, succeed, or don’t succeed in this life. Everyone gets the same outcome in the end. Look at his Prodigal parable. The wasteful, screw-up son gets a celebration with no demand for repayment, reparation, or restitution. The father treats him just as he would treat the loyal, hard-working, good son.
Then consider the vineyard owner parable. The all-day, faithful guys are pissed that the late-comers who do hardly anything get the same reward that they do. And then note Matt.5:38-48. God gives the same gifts to all, to both the good and the bad. There is complete disregard for the norms of conventional justice in these stories.
This is offensive stuff to minds that are oriented to traditional views of justice as reward the good and punish the bad according to strict measures of fairness and carefully measured consequence for deeds. The no conditions justice of Historical Jesus blows that all aside and argues for giving everyone the same in the end. That is “no conditions love”, the highest and most humane form of love. It is scandalous and offensive to conventional justice. Even the worst among us will get the best in the end.
This is not to deny that there are, and should be, consequences in this life. Consequences for behavior are part of healthy development here. But ultimately the justice of this realm does not apply to other realms. The dualisms of this material realm (i.e. good vs evil) are limited to this realm for whatever reason. Dualism is not eternal. Kinda blows all the re-incarnation teaching out of the water, eh.
If what H. Jesus said is true in some manner, then how should that unconditional ultimate reality influence how we treat one another, how we deal with the failures and screwups of our fellow humans? We all return to the same Oneness in the end. The ultimate no conditions love.
Projecting domination onto deity
Across history people have attributed domination to deity with myths of gods as ultimate authorities- i.e. kings, rulers, judges. But authentic love- whether human or divine- does not dominate or control. Real love relates horizontally to all as equals. It respects the freedom of the equal other. Domination, lording over others, controlling and coercing others, are all subhuman/inhuman behaviors. Point? If deity is ultimate goodness and love then deity does not dominate but will respect the freedom of others.
As some have said, where there is no freedom there is no love. And if “unconditional” love is the highest and best form of love that a human can aspire to and experience, then ultimate Good/Love must be something infinitely better. Reason your conclusions from the foundational idea of unconditional love. It is all.
Note: Historical Jesus argued the same (i.e. that love does not dominate others) in stating that true greatness does not dominate others but serves- “Whoever wants to be great should serve”. Hence, the true greatness of deity will not be domination but loving service.
Conclusion: The fact that God is not a dominating reality (i.e. overruling the freedom of others) helps to understand that God not will intervene in this world to save from disaster, disease, or human cruelty. God cannot be other than love that respects the freedom of all. God cannot act inhumanely by dominating, controlling, or coercing others. Saving one another is all up to us as the incarnations of God in this world.
The two most foundational insights to deal with primal human fear and guilt/shame. These two insights will do more to liberate and transform consciousness than volumes of theological “yack attack”.
1.The Ultimate Reality people have long called God is a stunning “no conditions Love”. That means no ultimate judgment, no demand for sacrifice/payment, no exclusion, and no punishment or destruction. That deals with the primal human fear of after-life harm. There is no ultimate threat.
2.We are also that same love in our core being. This insight speaks to the fundamental oneness that we share with Ultimate Reality (something even quantum theory affirms). This is to say that we are all incarnations of ultimate Love. The no conditions love that is our Source, is the very nature of our human spirit and consciousness.
Point? We are not the corrupt, fallen beings of religious mythology, though we continue to struggle with an inherited animal brain and base animal impulses (tribal division, domination of weaker, exclusion and punitive destruction of differing others).
Eye for eye cycles
We’ve just endured a 4-year cringe-binge of eye for eye behavior (getting even, payback) between the Left and Right that has left most of us quite disgusted. But a caution before getting too self-righteous in our commenting on other’s failings with regard to the human retaliation response. We all hold some level of expertise in this childish behavior but most of us have learned to express our vengeance lust in more subtle ways. A friend offers this example: When one person in a relationship does not show enough affection, the other spouse will then quietly withdraw affection also, as a form of aggressive-passive payback. Subtle, smooth, but just as sick/infantile as any other form of direct hurt for hurt.
Others unembarrassedly affirm retaliation as a good thing (e.g. they claim that it is “counter-punching”) and go at it with unrestrained passion.
Retaliation makes us all look petty, childish, and subhuman. Like little kids in a sandbox throwing sand back and forth (“Well, he/she started it”). And neither side in our great public divides (i.e. Left/Right) can claim that the retaliation from its side is a “righteous battle against evil”- i.e. the ‘evil’ that is the disagreeing other side. That claim to be on the good side is tribal, partisan self-delusion and is a denial of the most basic self-awareness of one’s own biases and faults.
Particularly disgusting over the past four years has been the retaliation coming from the late-night talk/comedy shows. Expressing retaliation via humor is no longer funny, except to the fan-base that it panders to. It comes across for what it really is- hatred of the other side that is exhibited in humorless vilification and effort to humiliate. To the contrary, good humor pokes fun but in a way that even the person being made fun of can also enjoy the joke and not feel humiliated (note Rob Schneider’s comments on the Alex Baldwin SNL skits).
Ah, we all need to “grow the fuck up”. And learn what love is- meaning “love your enemy” as great human spirits like Mandela exhibited for us. Let’s stop this petty retaliating in kind- the childish mocking, belittling, humiliating, and returning hurt to others for imagined hurts caused. Imagined? Yes, a lot is imagined in the over-wrought and highly charged sensitivity to slights/offenses that typify today’s insane outrage culture.
I have been particularly unsettled by the retaliatory response from the side of society that I tend to affiliate most with- the liberal side. I affiliate with this side on most social issues that are oriented to the protected rights of free individuals. Though I give credit to the conservative side for doing better in protecting the rights of free individuals in the economic realm that many argue is the basis of all other freedoms. Overall, I prefer the stance of a fiercely ‘Independent liberalism’ of the Classic Liberal kind. Sort of Libertarianish. See Daniel Hannan’s ‘Inventing Freedom’ for the history of true Liberalism.
The past four-year liberal eruption of hysteria (“getting-the-vapors”) over the faults of others, the exaggeration of evil on the other side (e.g. the lunacy of childish name-calling- “Hitleresque… Nazi, destroyer of democracy, Racist, etc.”), and the cancel-culture response, all point to an intolerant spirit and “creeping totalitarianism” that has nothing to do with Classic Liberalism. Today’s liberalism/progressivism is often highly illiberal.
When you portray the other side with the negative generalizations that Michelle Obama, Michael Moore, and many others have voiced (i.e. “all who voted Republican are racists”) then that negative generalization of an entire group appears to be the very essence, the very spirit of what today’s liberals call “racism”. How are they offering something better with their responses?
But not to be outdone, the conservative side engages its own form of hysterical exaggeration of the ‘evils’ of the liberal side, punching back with equally petty name-calling and belittling of equally shameful scale (“Socialist/Communist”… “Far-left”).