Since the early days’ of our hunter/gatherer ancestors, human societies have developed belief systems. These systems evolved around different myths through which our relationship with nature has been shaped. Floods, wildfires, famines, droughts, epidemics, and other disasters were attributed to gods’ deception. In order to appease them, sacrifices had to be made. This became a universal practice in the evolution of all our civilization. In time, it became institutionalized into guilt management, which shaped the dogmas of our religions and cultural norms.
Since the beginning of our civilization, the feeling of guilt was craftily exploited by spiritual and other leaders. The feeling of having done something wrong leads to an internal conflict that often requires external guidance. The prescription of sacrifice has long been the best medicine available. Nothing mends the cracks in the ego as a remorseful action of giving up something of value.
From religion to philanthropy, the mechanics are the same. Through remorseful action, the guilt mechanics rebuild the broken bridges between ego and superego. A sacrifice is made, and a sense of guilt is relieved. What we lack today is a universal moral authority to prescribe the sacrifices that need to be done to prevent climate change. We need a new belief system built around the myths of new materiality—a modern tale of human life filled with meaning and purpose within the Earth’s carrying capacity.
After centuries of taming and shaping nature to our needs, we no longer fear the same gods as our ancestors did. Led by hubris, we have enslaved them and turned them into resources.
Now that floods, wildfires, famines, droughts, epidemics, and other disasters are more frequent and devastating than ever, we became aware that gods have become scarce.
The choice we have left is between:
- Sacrificing the generations to come.
- Sacrificing the comforts of consumerism.
This is where the morality of new materiality is needed. A new myth through which our relationship with nature will be reshaped. We need new guilt management based on mindful consumption, effective production, and active hope to fight climate change.