Climate worship will doom us forever
If people think we just need to tax carbon, go electric, and pass a Green New Deal, then we have missed the entire point of this civilizational challenge.
Of course, we should all be pursuing every behavioral change that will draw us into closer alignment with the ecosystem.
But for those who can hold the nuances of higher order ultimatums while acting on lower-order objectives: we are being confronted with an existential threat that demands a transpersonal solution.
The point of climate — as the defining cosmological meta-challenge of our time — is defeated by putting all of our focus on the binary cycle of voting out ‘evil’ coal lobby-approved Republicans and voting in ‘good’ climate policy-hawking Democrats. Because it totally, and purposefully, distracts us from the very hard work that we are being asked, by our planet’s sentient biospherical intelligence, to undertake.
Now, if that hasn’t completely put you into a wringer of programmed materialist-reductionist triggers, let’s get into it.
Big ‘N’ nature
Ralph Emerson — the American poet, philosopher, and ecologist — expressed the radical concept that:
“the worshippers of nature are the destroyers of Nature.”
What, you may ask, is the difference between big ’N’ature and small ’n’ature. For Emerson, nature means the biosphere, and Nature (or Spirit) means the All — the physiosphere, the biosphere, and the noosphere and their domains.
Quoting the transpersonal philosopher Ken Wilber:
“[Emerson] maintains that nature immersion and nature worship prevent the realization of Nature, or the Spirit within and beyond, which transcends all. And so he arrives at the very true conclusion: nature worshippers are the destroyers of Nature, the destroyers of Spirit; they would, he says, never look within long enough to find the true beyond… they would never look within for Nature, they only stare without at nature, and thus, as he puts it, their minds are imbruted, they remain a selfish savage — geocentric, egocentric.”
Think of what Joaquin Phoenix said in his powerful Oscar acceptance speech:
“I think we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world and many of us, what we’re guilty of, is an egocentric worldview. The belief that we are the center of the universe.”
What better, and more pithy, a summation of Emerson’s take could be possible, and this directly applies — whether he intended it or not — to well-meaning climate warriors who continue to place the authority of humanity above that of Nature.
Returning me to the point I want to make: in this moment we are being called on to make a larger cognitive and behavioral and spiritual leap than to ‘cool’ the atmosphere.
People keep talking about the planet being endangered.
But let’s be clear: the planet is not endangered.
And that is because we have now become so estranged from the purpose of being here, on Earth, that the ecosystem is cancelling us. Removing us from the surface of this supernatural plane because we have become entranced with the external (and only fractional of the whole) reality to such an extent that we cannot bear to stop all our manic activity, silence the noise, to gaze inward and outward with the senses of an equanimous witness … and to gather the message that is coming from this world:
It is time to awaken to the cosmic consciousness.
In these times, and in my meditations, I am often brought to the ancient question:
What is the purpose of being here?
Of course we all have different answers to this question. But as a person who has focused a large part of their work in a very ‘practical’ neoanimist mission, what I have come to is:
It is to awaken to, and become the expression of, cosmic consciousness.
Now some people think that means sending rovers to Mars. Others think its about establishing contact with extra-terrestrials. Still others think it is about doing heavy psychedelics and blasting out of this limited 3D awareness.
Most hear the word cosmic and immediately perceive something binary or dissociated from Nature.
That couldn’t be further from the ‘truth’.
So let me state very simply what I believe this evolutionary consciousness is:
It is the understanding that there are dimensions of ‘reality’ that extend beyond the material plane which we perceive with our senses. And not only that, but these dimensions are where the generators and engines of the 3D ‘reality’ are located. So that if we want to actually change our (eco-suicidal) paradigm, then we need to understand the parts of ourselves, and our world, which are entangled with these dimensions and dependent on them to architect a new future.
The cosmic consciousness says: go within and beyond.
Not beyond and Beyond.
Within. And. Beyond.
That is the next frontier for global change.
Crossing the divide to a new Earth
Did you watch Interstellar? Ever see Inception? The transit to primary, non-physical dimensions and the seeding of new reality paradigms are the core messages of these films.
But even for those who get those movies, or read Alan Watts, or meditate daily, the reality is that most will grasp and admire this truth, but not viscerally feel and integrate it into their daily lives.
Because even though the most cosmic and salvational messaging is ringing imaginal phones all around us, we are incapable of capturing and receiving it through our wound-driven, mania-ridden, genetically-scarred corporeal selves.
Alas, it must be said:
We are desperately wounded, traumatized beings.
And, let us be very clear: nature has been one of our greatest adversaries.
The experience of evolving on this planet for the entirety of our conscious history has been partly — no mostly! — horrifying. Terrible things have happened. We have been hunted and eaten by lions. We have been drowned by angry, remorseless seas. Died from exposure. From hunger. From skin-eating disease.
We have watched our children be murdered. And raped. And we have raped and murdered the children of others.
And we carry the scars of those stories as epigenetically-programmed determiners of our everyday, modern lives.
But those stories are not the whole truth.
Rather, they are that truth which the conscious ego and its master, the autonomic nervous system — which is delivered in each new human with factory settings locked on Sympathetic Response (stressed, ego-centered, fearful) — has determined as the impetus to create the climate-catastrophic society.
And so the trauma at the deepest part of us… which may be driving all of our most self-destructive impulses and patterns… is the belief that we do not belong in this world.
That we are strangers in a strange and dangerous land, instead of children who live in a supernatural garden.
Because that is the other part of the story.
One which is not horrifying but entirely magical and deeply optimistic, and which has been as much a part of our civilizational history as the earth-as-dangerous-frontier narrative that was first championed by the harbingers of the sky god religions that placed ‘heaven’ beyond the supernatural plane of the earth, and made access dependent on the requisite of suffering and the judgment of some alien, non-biologically inseminated creature who was placed here to die for us and then ascend with his body to ‘the afterlife’.
[Which story sounds more outrageous?]
I’m not going to go too deep into the impact that 2000 years of monotheistic programming — and its bastard child in deep ecological denialism, the Scientific Revolution — has had on the human consciousness. It barely needs to be said that the Earth-as-supernatural-plane narrative is equally as threatening to both the sky-god and scientific ‘reductionist’ narratives. This is the one thing that they share at a foundational level.
Which is why they will cancel any perceived ‘pagans’ and wage unholy war on any ‘deviant’ system which dares to present the case for a parallel or complementary cosmic world view.
I wish atheists and ‘rationalists’ would hold that in mind when they look over at evangelists with gleeful scorn. Because we all swim in the same water. And if reductionism continues to be the voice of paradigmatic authority, we will all drown in the same boiling cauldron.
Can we say this together: “we belong, here.”
And, if can say that, then: we should undertake the practice of actively living as if we believe that. Even if, and especially if, that requires inducting ourselves in a process of self-examination that may lead to very challenging and paradigm-busting conclusions.
Because then we may come to understand what Alan Watts meant when he wrote:
“we are not born into this world, we are born out of it“.
Or, more critically, what our greatest poets and mystics meant when they taught that the Earth is a spiritual plane that has the potential not only to heal our deepest wounds, but also to materialize a threshold which, if we are courageous enough to cross, worthily (as the late poet John O’Donahue urged), will deliver us to a new territory, one where the world and our being are inextricably interconnected.
That, I believe, is the deeper meaning that lies within the challenge of this moment.
It’s time to finally graduate beyond the story of humankind that has been forced on us over the past 3000 years — in which we labor under the hallucination that we are distinct from, and threatened by, nature. Which leaves us with the very false perception that in order to survive we must take and master the material plane.
Because, we have been taught, there is no salvational force except our human systems to transport us beyond the suffering of this dangerous realm.
Which brings us back to the beginning.
We must do better than incrementalism
By that I mean this idea that all we need to do is count carbon and become climate-resilient and vote for the right people we’ll be saved.
Which yah, we do… but that is not the point.
It’s a half-measure and a cop out. That’s why I’d rather have climate-denying corporatists running the planet than climate-affirming progressives who deny the spiritual dimension of nature. I know that is a very contentious statement, but truth be told: I haven’t seen the level of authentic, activated ecological concern generated by the Trumpists since… George W. Bush. And how many ‘outraged’ liberals have just gone back to sleep now that they have their guy back in the White House?
I truly and emphatically believe that a shift/return to a new/ancient nature-based spirituality is the only way we are going to move into the next phase of our evolution.
Because the worshippers of nature are the destroyers of Nature.
Emerson foresaw the existential danger of a species on the edge of extinction that continued to play a game of inches that ultimately only distracts them from the true transmutational power of our cosmic consciousness and its imaginal realm.
Corralled and herded into the stockade of lesser evils by a class of political agents who have zero comprehension of, or belief in, the earth as anything other than a place to do our business.
Do we actually need a full system collapse before people of creative minds and warrior courage start actually envisioning something beyond … this?
As Thomas Stanley writes for Black Quantum Futurism:
We live in a social world that venerates a mythic path that affirms contemporary politics and value, reinforces a stale present. The future is reduced to a marketing gimmick connecting us into some kind of progressive gradualism, but only by means of the technocratic success of Western neoliberalism.
American and European climate activists can afford to keep the reductionist illusion alive while focusing on policy battles that require very little in the way of personal paradigm shifts. Because they’re not on the front line of ecological disaster. Its the non-white, non-mobile, agrarian and urban-serf classes who will be de-territorialized and cast adrift and vaporized.
You know, the former pagans.
But I’m long past the capture of the lie now. To the point that I hunger for, and will only be satisfied with, a bringing of it the fuck on. So that the elite eco-classes wake up out of their somnambulistic trances and change the way they live their lives and who and what they work for… and accelerate the (r)evolution.
Because life either happens to you, or you happen to it.
And in this category of evolutionary change, we definitely want to be the agents of our collective destiny.
(Just so you know I am not just blowing smoke: Our family has a 1:1 footprint and I am a substantial investor in, and board chair at, a climate change startup which helps cities accelerate their shift to climate resiliency).