15 April 2012

The Power of Belief and Mythology - A Guest Post by Dr. Peter Carter

It is hardly surprising that the honourable few of us in the world who are telling the truth about climate change are seemingly not able to save the world. However, recent publications about the "opposition" have led me to realize that there is one factor we lack.

The other side is coming from, and presenting, a belief, a world view … all mythology. We on the side of the good reject any idea that the global climate change planetary emergency has anything to do with belief. What I have learned about belief systems actually tells me that we are wrong in this.

Joseph Campbell's brilliant realization was that people and cultures operate from belief, not from their intelligence or logic. In fact, people use their intelligence to rationalize their belief.

We have to do this. We have to identify the established belief system – one with a history – that we can then use as the platform for our activism. When we do this, we few will have the people power of thousands to millions of global citizens in terms of the human psychology behind us.

Some elements of the mythology are fairly obvious. But the essential one is many thousands of years old and very simple. It is the mythology of "Star Wars" that was borrowed from Joseph Campbell. This is the mythology of Good and Evil. The belief is that there is a constant war between the forces of good and the forces of evil. Clearly the other side in the global climate change struggle is the greatest evil that has ever existed and that could ever be imagined. Yet no one on our side is saying this!

This makes those who are on the side of good and who oppose this evil the greatest force of the good that has ever existed.

May a greater force be with us.

Thank you, Peter!

Dr. Carter's writings can be found at Climate Change Emergency Medical Response, Climate Emergency Institute, and Climate Change Food Security. His educational videos on climate change can be found on Youtube.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?