A recent article on NewsHub offered some advice for coping with climate anxiety and despair. What is needed, however, is advice for coping with something far more dangerous than climate change: the mass hysteria around climate change. This essay gives some advice to those trying to find a way to cope with the Climate Chimpout.
The Climate Chimpout is best personified by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who is jetting around the world to warn us of the consequences of excess consumption. In a voice quavering with rage, Thunberg admonishes us adults for our part in destroying the planet. Like Blade Runner‘s Roy Batty, Thunberg sees us as stealing her life potential.
Thunberg is far from unique. The human mind, having evolved over several hundred thousand years to solve short-term survival issues of finding food, water and shelter, is not at all suited to solving long-term global issues like climate change. The very thought of world-ending catastrophe just makes us chimp out. The more the media pushes the issue of climate change, the more hysteria our monkey brains will generate.
The first thing to keep in mind is that climate hysteria cannot be prevented.
Climate change itself may or may not be preventable, but the hysteria now has its own momentum. The people who own the mainstream media have an interest in keeping the consumer class in a state of anxiety, because anxiety keeps people consuming. The owners and manipulators of the apparatus of propaganda are skillful enough that they can produce virtually any result they desire – and they desire fear.
There are a limited number of things one can do about the hysteria, and they fall into two categories: things that are unhelpful and things that are helpful.
The most unhelpful thing that one can do is go along with the crowd and panic. Yes, it may well seem that scientific data is pointing towards major lifestyle changes being enforced upon us by resource scarcity. This is not a reason to panic and to add to the hysteria. Panicking will just lead to more shitty, short-term decisions being made.
These changes forced on us, no matter how major, will take place over many years and decades. Better to focus our energies on things like mindfulness and centering practices. A person could help things by calming their own frequency down to the point where they can think more clearly. This can inspire others around them to do the same.
Another unhelpful thing one can do is to fall into anarcho-nihilism. Global problems have the tendency to make individuals feel powerless. A paralysing condition known as learned helplessness can set in, making it impossible to motivate oneself to take any action. The result has been satirised with the Doomer meme, and described with the Black Pill meme, but is really just depression.
Much like panicking, falling into despair can also become contagious. The sight of another person in despair is sometimes enough to engender it in oneself, which is why the Greta Thunberg Show could be said to be a black magic ritual performed for the sake of seizing control. A moral imperative exists, therefore, to not despair, so that one might keep morale high.
Hedonism is a third option. This isn’t necessarily a failure, because there may be nothing more to life than the imperative to entertain the gods. Living to enjoy life as much as possible, while ultimately pointless, is at least meaningful in the immediate present. Acting to pursue pleasure, or at a minimum novel experiences, is at least a gameplan.
However, hedonism fails where the other two strategies fail: it does not significantly alleviate the suffering associated with human existence. The best it can do is distraction. As mentioned above, there may be no more to life than the patterns of behaviours we perform to distract ourselves from the suffering inherent to existence. But it is for those who feel there is more this essay is written.
At its most basic, the challenge brought about by climate change is an existential one.
One a deeper level, there is one brutal truth that can neither be escaped or denied. That is the fact that we were all going to die anyway, climate or otherwise, and therefore climate change doesn’t change the basic existential equation. In fact, most people today can expect to die before climate change causes them major survival challenges.
Most of us alive today will be dead within 60 years, as the natural metabolic processes of our bodies lead to them becoming worn out. Almost certainly, everyone currently alive will be dead within 120 years, and, even if we discovered some kind of process that allowed for extreme life extension, eventually the Sun will transform into a red giant and consume the Earth in cosmic hellfire.
Climate change, no matter how bad it gets, does not alter the essential truth that our great war is a spiritual war.
No matter how bad things appear to become in the material world, the fact remains that we are spiritual beings having a limited human experience. The solution, therefore, remains the same as it ever was. Make peace with God, then make peace with your neighbour. Enjoy the company of all the people you can, good and bad ones alike, for they are all cursed to die, just as you are.
It’s apparent that we cannot take any physical wealth with us into the next world, and it’s not clear that the social connections we have on this side will mean much either. It’s far from a sure thing that if we are intelligent, wise or strong-willed in this world we will be so in the next one. All of these qualities are merely contents of consciousness, and therefore as transitory and ephemeral as the others.
What is believable is that our frequency of consciousness continues beyond the death of the physical body. It is this that determines our fate when we stand, stripped of all illusion, before God. A high-frequency consciousness of kindness and understanding will reincarnate among like-minded. A low-frequency consciousness of narcissism and brutality will also reincarnate among like-minded.
Climate hysteria cannot affect a truly spiritual person, because they will understand that climate change doesn’t really change anything. The basic facts of life are still the same, and the most important thing is still coming to terms with them.