The insanity that is ruining our lives
As I write elsewhere, it is a sad fact about ourselves (the human species, that is) that we have some glaring problems in our ability to think clearly. One consequence of this for us today is that the world is in the power of a false religion, which is nullifying every attempt to generate peace, happiness, and even safety for life on Earth.
I need to be very clear what I am saying here. I am not saying that there is one true religion, that this or that religious group has the answers, that Satan is controlling the world, or any other such idea. I'll leave those discussions for others.
But whether I like it or not, there are certain groups of ideas that keep on re-emerging, that do untold damage, that more or less make the ones most enthralled by them incapable of rational thought or peaceful discussion, and which are secular.
By 'secular', I do not mean atheistic (although it often is). I mean that belief in a diety is not an inherent part of what makes the false religion false. Furthermore, plenty of religious people believe in the false religion, and the same ideas have religious versions; but by the phrase "The false religion", I mean a specific, relatively modern collection of beliefs. However, the ideas themselves can take many forms and they are just as dangerous wherever and however they take form.
The false religion has no formal book of scripture. It has no official priests, although certain people from time to time gain the unofficial recognition that priests obtain in a formal church. There is no membership list. What is more, all of us are in danger of accepting one or more of the false religion's doctrines without even being aware of it, because the false religion is now in charge and its doctrines are close to compulsory. "None may buy or sell without the mark of the beast." (I add that, not because I believe in the literalist religious idea that the bible is infallibly true - I do not - but because the pattern of emotional malfunctions leading to belief in the false religion is a psychological universal, and insightful souls throughout history have given us warnings about it.)
I describe the characteristics of the modern version of the false religion here. It is fairly easy to see that I am describing a cloud of beliefs centred around political correctness, although it is not exactly that nor limited specifically to it.
We must also remember that this is only one manifestation of the psychology that seems to generate damaging mass movements. Previous ages have seen their share; almost every beautiful religion has had misformations that promote intolerance, hatred, and war instead of love, peace, happiness, and understanding. Similar basic psychological mechanisms are at work, no matter the form in which the belief system crystallises: for example the tendency to tell lies in a 'good cause'. Whereas the present-day environmental movement is telling huge whoppers to persuade us that dangerous man-made global warming is underway, one religious version of the false religion has put together an entire so-called 'science', a massive edifice of lies to persuade us that the world was created six thousand years ago instead of over four billion.
The deep motivation here is not evil (although some of the ringleaders of each of these ideologies are undoubted scoundrels). The motivation is an incomplete understanding of the good (naturally, because we humans are imperfect, limited beings like any other). The good, as it is imperfectly understood, seems to powerfully justify itself by any means. Who doesn't want everyone to be 'saved'? Or who doesn't want the world to be saved from overheating that would kill millions? So if we have to tell lies or play tricks or send people to jail or even burn them at the stake, surely the end justifies the means? Or so the reasoning (often unconscious) goes.
This is a slippery slope in the mind, slowly but surely leading one onwards to accepting ever greater evil in pursuit of the 'good' as it is envisaged by the believer. (I think the Principle of Goodness has a place here as an antidote to some of this trouble. If we accept that it is simply wrong to ever harm the innocent, for whatever reason, we will be less tempted to give in to committing a wrong in a good cause.)
I use the phrase 'the false religion' to refer to the modern 'politically-correct' pseudo-liberalism in particular, but also to refer to its psychological equivalents built around other specific belief systems. The false religion and other intolerant movements, religious, secular, atheistic, political, social, or whatever, unfortunately satisfy deep needs in our psychology:
- needs to belong and have a community of like-minded friends;
- to feel worthwhile ("I am doing something about the environment.");
- to defend ourselves against the knowledge that we are not all-powerful - it is a painful thing to admit that the planet Earth has such unimaginable power that oceans can rise and cities can be flooded no matter what we do - it is so much better to imagine that we can control it with sacrifices to the rain god, or sacrifices to cap and trade 'carbon pollution' legislation;
- in Jungian terms, there is an unhealthy phenomenon of expansion of the ego: one knows the truth, knows the true ideology or religion, and one is so sure of it that anyone who disagrees must be evil (one need look no further than Hollywood for a case study in absolute certitude in every one of the current politically correct beliefs).
The result is that there is overwhelming emotional power behind the false religion (in all its variants); the true believer is so committed that any non-believer is anathema. The leftist treatment of George W. Bush is a classic case-in-point. Yes, he is a flawed man - like all of us - who had a deeply flawed program; but I predict that future generations who are free of today's biases will be utterly perplexed by the sheer viciousness and hatred to which he is subjected by the left. This kind of hatred goes way beyond any normal emotional reaction to a scoundrel. A Google search for "George W Bush evil" produces more than twice the hits for "Stalin evil" and over three times the hits for "Hitler evil"!
This level of emotion is dangerous, for it is so extreme that rational thought is not possible; arguing with a believer is actually physically dangerous, and as our societies fall increasingly under their power, we can expect ever-greater encroachments upon our freedoms, our freedom, our livelihood, and even our lives. We teeter upon the precipice of a new dark age.