The outpour of fury over Greta Thunberg is unbelievable. In the Renaissance she would have been burnt at the stake, now she is being hammered on social media, probably meaning that our civilization has advanced at least slightly.
The comments about Greta remind me of the centuries that the Church lost trying to rationally prove the existence of God. Indeed, lost years – for God is something you feel (if you do), God is part of the emotional system in the brain and not logic. In the end, what holds is what was already noted by Tertullian, “I believe because it is absurd.”
And now we have internet warriors, emotionally blasting at Greta but trying to mask their emotions with logical explanations: the girl has been bribed, the girl is a tool, being manipulated, mentally ill, foetal alcohol syndrome, etc. The honest response would of course be: the emotional part of my brain has gone crazy and now I am enraged! I direct my fury at Greta, even though it is absurd!”
And absurd it is: does Greta (and all youth) breathe a different air as us old people? Does a different sun shine upon them, different plants grow around them, ones that do not need clean water – perhaps they have a second planet in reserve?
Indulgence in treating the environment badly is based on God’s orders to the first man and woman, “fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:28) and in the promise that things will turn really bad just before the Lord’s return (the Apocalypse). One fifth of Americans believe that Jesus will return during their lifetime (Pew Research Center, 2006).
According to this logic we should even accelerate the ruin of everything so we will see the Creator sooner. Can you imagine the last human inhabitant of Earth, lifting their head towards the dark heavens as they lie dying, asking with surprise, “Hello, Jesus, where are you?” and the universe just lets them rot.
To such people, Greta and those likes of her are opposing God’s will.
Left wing and right wing
Even if you are a sworn rightist or leftist, this does not mean your lungs are made of steel. In fact, rightists should treat Greta with the greatest care – because when global warning reaches a few more degrees and Africa will fast start turning into a desert, hundreds of millions of people are likely to head north and then there will be no sea or fence to keep them hold them back. No point in praying to Saint Orban. Amen.
In principle leftists are in favour of protecting the environment but, well, Greta is not supported by a field of Marxist discourse theory! Hey, man, you’re my age, you’ve relied on theories all your life and never moved anything else in the world than a few (if any) pages of Das Kapital. The greatest problem of the contemporary left is that it has become frightened of the heart and has escaped into reasoning.
Technology fat cats
It has been clear for at least a decade that the richest have given up on planet Earth. That is why the owners of Google would like to transform into eternal virtual copies within computers, so basically into still life, (the necrophilous world, as Fromm would have called it; people preferring dead over living). Another section would escape to Mars where it would first send its car.
If you are on such good terms with either the former or the latter to say, hey, take me with you, then you indeed do not need to care for the environment. If you prefer to replace the spring blossoming of fields with virtual impulses or the red dust of Mars, then you really can be angry with Greta because she is spoiling your plans to desolate Earth.
Words of youth
Greta’s additional sin is her youth. Paradoxically, since we live in a civilisation that idealises youth and has even entirely ceded certain domains to young people: computers and phones – oh, I’m not that familiar with technology, you say, let my grandson or daughter sort all that out for me!
But when at last one of these youths takes the initiative and usurps some ideology – there is panic! Did you really believe that you can surrender only certain areas to the young and that they will not touch the others?
I grew up in Socialism where they would gather all the children in a stadium and make them sing to old men and wave little flags. Whereupon the old men would say, “What wonderful youth we have!” I am so happy that this period has ended, …albeit a few decades late. Young people have spoken. Surprised? Did you think they will only teach you how to uses phones and computers and passively sing praises about everything else?
Stereotypes and mind sets
Let us remember “Sweet Little Sixteen”, the classic Chuck Berry’s song; Sweet Little Sixteen is a fan, an admirer of the grown-up world, she wants to grow up to be among their heroes.
But what if she suddenly opens her mouth and tells the grownups that their world is nothing to be admired, really? That the world must change?
What a shock!
The grown-up world would react angrily, according to their national mindset. In Slovenia paranoia – there must be a conspiracy behind her, while French say that she is not sexy enough (according to 84-year-old (!) philosopher Bernard Pivot, President of the Académie Goncour).
The greedy roar
As a society we have a hangover, waking up after the orgy called Steve Jobs. The man who grabbed and grabbed, even a single disabled parking space was not enough for him, he wanted two, toppled into his grave with all his billions. And his admirers have to keep thinking up new good deeds and fake last words. Jobs is the god of extreme egoism and we see how lost and unhappy with himself he was. As believers wane and new generations grow, he will be put in the right place – he will become the worst possible example or there will be no civilization left anyway because no society can survive such an egoism, let alone celebrate it and model itself on it. (If you still have his biography on your desk it is high time you throw it into the recycling bin -you are only embarrassing yourself.)
Young people have all the right to ask themselves – is this world of greed and destruction really a place I want to live in? In extreme egotism there is no space for nature, fellow human beings, society – but merely for the ego – which is in the end empty, something Buddhists have long discovered.
But if Jobs at least grabbed with style, one of the remnants of cult egoism, President Trump, is merely a populist replica of a greedy person, bordering on the bizarre. He is 72 and clearly has a few steel genes as he still stands bold upright with his diet and life style. But today’s 16-year olds will have to live for much longer in this world created and preserved by this old man. Who else then should fight more intensively for this world than those who will live in it longest?
Unfulfilled lives create frustrations and these are emotions. That someone at the age of sixteen set out to do what we dreamed about but never attempted stirs some angry reactions. Politicians who had the chance, who did nothing and will go down in history in the ‘if this, if that’ section, now hiss poisonous tweets at Greta. You see, well, I only had one mandate! If I had had at least two or three, the country would be very different. Oh, come on!
Terrified fighters for the same thing
Yet those who are constantly on the verge if protesting, somehow never find the right way. Even now they write on Facebook that they agree in principle but that the method is not the right one. About all the things they might do but somehow do not find the right form in their protest.
After all, someone else should be solving this, they say, relying on our forgetfulness. When Al Gore spoke up they said, he’s a politician – let the scientists speak! When the scientists spoke they said that they must be bribed, let the people speak! And now that the (young) people have spoken, they once again call for scientists. Then they will turn to the politicians and so on, an endless rosary of shifting the blame onto someone else.
Just as any other system was unimaginable for slave society, the same was true during the time of feudalism. Similarly, we cannot imagine the world without wild capitalism.
It has imbued society, lives, our interior. Goliath is huge and omnipresent. Greta is David and it is clear that she has no chance. We hate her because our heart knows that we should cheer her along but rationally it is clear that she does not have a chance, so we force our own heart into a betrayal of ideals, which provokes immense rage. We rage over Greta because we are angry with ourselves. We are angry because we know all the things we should have done but didn’t.
When the ideal self meets the real self
Awaking the greatest fury in us are those who are how we think we ought to be but realize that we are not. When we recognize in the other person our own ideal self.
What good have you done today for others and for the world?
If the answer is nothing, please, go ahead, write something against Greta, the sacrificial lamb of your own shame.