We’re not going to debate climate change, the existence of it. The Earth is getting hotter. And human activity is a major cause, period. We’re not going to give time to the climate deniers. The science is settled, even if political opinion is not. Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, December 31, 2018
“One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence, but we’re not necessarily such believers,” President Donald Trump’s reaction to the 1,600 page National Climate Assessment (issued by his administration).
The President isn’t thinking straight. First, I do not experience him as a person who has a very high level of intelligence. He more than overestimates his own skills and abilities as people with fewer talents often do, and he underestimates the talents of others. More competent people underestimate their skills and overestimate the skills of others (Dunning-Kruger effect).
Second, climate change is established science.
Denying climate change is like denying gravity or that cigarettes cause cancer. Or, could Trump and others really believe that climate change is real but deny it publically and fails to take action for other sinister motives? His failure to take strong action to save our planet is a presidential failure of the highest magnitude. He is not crazy; he is bad. The political system must stop him.
The experts and pseudo-experts can argue about when the worst of climate change will happen, how bad will the most horrible impacts be, and can civilization recover but the time for arguing about whether climate change is real or “fake news,” is over.
A delusion is: “…a fixed, false belief that is firmly believed and resists correction by overwhelming evidence and rational argument.” The delusions of Trump followers, inflamed by him, brought Trump the presidency. Those same delusions may kill us.
From Allan Frances, MD in Twilight of American Sanity:
Common delusions in people: Delusions of persecution that lead to blaming others for one’s failures; Delusions of grandiosity (I am highly intelligent); erotomanic delusions: the conviction that a person is loved by all when, in reality, they are ignored or hated.
Society has delusions too:
We don’t have to worry about global warming or environmental pollution because God or technology will save us;
World population can keep growing without causing drastic resource depletion, irreversible global warming, incessant wars, mass migrations; frequent pandemics, and recurring famines;
We don’t have to worry about running out of things because there is always a high-tech fix to get whatever more stuff we will eventually need;
If the rich get richer, the benefits will trickle down to everyone else and the world will be a better place;
The United States has the best health-care system in the world;
The United States can bully other countries into doing whatever we want;
Our country can only be great again if we build walls around it;
Since mankind has been given domination over the earth, our needs are paramount, the survival of other species need not concern us;
It is worth giving away almost all of our privacy in order to gain security, convenience, and valuable research data;
The more guns the better. Guns don’t kill people, people do. An armed population is a safe populace;
The technological revolution can do no wrong.
(Dr. Frances wrote about each delusion and provided evidence of how each is not true)
“Ignorance is not Bliss.” Millions of Americans have a delusional belief system (Thanks in large part to Fox News and conservative talk radio) that does not portray America or the world as it is. Charles Darwin wrote: “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” Trump and his followers want to transform America but try to take us backward and deeper into the world of delusions. That is destruction, not transformation. Believing in the these and other delusions are not sustainable and delusional thinking won’t solve the legitimate issues of Trump followers.
We must undo the societal delusions that made Trump our President. The first step to healthy change is to see ourselves and our country and our world as it is. Allan Frances: “Rational mind must reassert itself over irrational impulse and wish-fulfilling fantasy.”
We need a spiritual awakening–a moment of metanoia–a shift of mind. Scientist Rupert Sheldrake said, “It is like waking up from a dream. It brings with it a spirit of repentance, seeing in a new way, a change of heart. This conversion is intensified by the sense that the end of an age is at hand.”
And we need to wake up fast. We are already late in attacking climate change and we will suffer from the damage already done. It seems like no one cares until they lose their homes or businesses or lives of loved ones. We need to be visionary and proactive.
We live in daunting times. People who see things clearly feel anger, sorrow, fear, and anxiety. Delusions lead us down the wrong paths. We live under real stress, the maturity of many regresses to earlier times. We fear the genuine transformative change that is required. But, just try to imagine how you will feel when the worst of climate change knocks on your door.
God will not rescue us. Nor will a hero or heroine save us—certainly not our President. We are responsible for our collective fate. The great threats of climate change, population growth, species extinction, resource depletion, and global poverty have called for change for a long time.
Are we ready to make real change? If we are ready, we will get behind a new vision for the renewal first of the United States and then of the world and we will do what is necessary to have a sustainable planet. We don’t need to make America great again; we need to make America good.
Whatever we do, something spectacular is going to happen soon. We will experience an evolutionary bounce or an evolutionary crash.
Our smallest moves may trigger small or vast changes in the world we make and remake together. Trilobites have come and gone; Tyrannosaurus has come and gone. Each tried; each strode uphill; each did its evolutionary best.
Consider that 99.9 percent of all species have come and gone. Be careful. Your own best footstep may unleash the very cascade that carries you away, and neither you nor anyone else can predict which grain will unleash the tiny or the cataclysmic alteration.
Be careful, but keep on walking; you have no choice. Be as wise as you can, yet have the wisdom to admit your global ignorance. We all do the best we can, only to bring forth the conditions of our ultimate extinction, making way for new forms of life and ways to be. If we must eventually fail, what an adventure to be players at all. Stuart Kauffman
7 thoughts on “OUR DENIAL AND DELUSIONS MAY KILL US”
Thank you, Tom, for another well-worded essay. I always enjoy your writing and learn about other writers from whom you quote. Happy New Year!
It is so frustrating watching Trump followers blindly believing everything he says. I just don’t understand the psychology that drives them. Their ignorance is beyond understanding. I agree that we need to make America good again, working towards the greater good of the world. I just don’t see it happening until Washington makes a united effort to aggressively move forward with necessary actions to save our country.
Very well said, Tom. This president has not shown a single sign that he grasps the basic concept of a long-term strategy. He seems singularly focused on whatever he perceives makes him look good in any one moment. It’s almost as if future moments don’t matter. For at least another two years, it is apparently up to the rest of the world (and California) to show meaningful leadership on climate change.
Thanks, Bruce. His manipulations don’t seem to be working very well recently. He’s totally ego-driven and that ego is now digging a deeper and deeper hole. The first rule of holes is to stop digging!
Hope your weather is great!
I haven’t been responding on-line much this past year, needing to conserve my energy and time as I shift into another cycle of my life… but I continue to read and respond vibrationally as you and others of my actually intelligent friends are doing your/their best to bring this ship back around… Don’t give up the ship!! In loving spirit, Eleanor
Thank you, Eleanor. It is so nice to hear from you. I send love and other good vibes your way!