Collective Insanity (George Monbiot)

[A series of articles reviewing blogs and websites on my blog-roll.]

In Buddhist circles it is common enough to see references to collective delusions (and not doubt in other religions) but it is extremely rare to see it in secular writing. George Monbiot has an article up on his blog, Majesty, We have Gone Mad (also published in the Guardian and on Comment is Free where you can join the bun fight). This is vintage Monbiot and beautifully researched as you would expect.

What I know and you may not is that the high price of oil is currently the only factor implementing British government policy. The government claims that it is seeking to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, by encouraging people to use less fossil fuel. Now, for the first time in years, its wish has come true: people are driving and flying less. The AA reports that about a fifth of drivers are now buying less fuel(8). A new study by the Worldwide Fund for Nature shows that businesses are encouraging their executives to use video conferences instead of flying(9). One of the most fuel-intensive industries of all, business-only air travel, has collapsed altogether(10).

Monbiot has a new book out, Bring on the Appocalypse, that reputedly tears into Religious conservatives which looks interesting. The title suggests that it will be attacking highly-delusional types with lurid interpretations of Revelations, which shouldn’t be confused with conservatives, but it is refreshing to see it aimed at bad religion.

Nevertheless it strikes me that religion fundamentally discourages predicating happiness on materialistic goals, makes a study of the delusions that spring up from such exclusively worldly pursuits, and if there is one thing that is wrecking the biosphere it is this. I asked in an earlier article why (good) religion shouldn’t be coopted to the cause but if GB spent his time answering every crack-pot suggestion he would never have time for researching and writing his excellent articles.


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