Bill Gates writes in his latest blog post [1] that it is not enough to switch to renewable energy sources in order to stabilize the climate change process.

Mr. Gates claims that we should achieve a breakthrough in five key areas (electricity production, agriculture, transport, processing industry, buildings) simultaneously to succeed in the reduction of carbon dioxide emission. In order to develop emission-free technologies in each of these areas, according to him it is indispensable that research and development is supported.

In my opinion, however, there will be no breakthrough in R & D or environmental regulation, even though Bill Gates or other environmentally responsible people (whether laymen or scientists) make benevolent urgings. And why? According to Ralph Metzner, an eco-psychologist, this is so, because our human society is in an abnormal state currently, it is like an addict [2]. It behaves as someone addicted to convenience and to sophisticated or less sophisticated enjoyment. Just as an alcoholic or drug addict, our current society cannot give up its addiction to the pleasure-giving product, even if it is going to lead to its self-destruction.

Corresponding to one of the basic concepts of Jung’s analytical psychology the reason for such an addiction, mental illness, is because we have lost our relationship with the transcendence, and because of that life has become meaningless. In other words, we forgot who we really are and where we belong. Most members of our society think that they are ephemeral biological machines whose solitary existence is due to the result of random sequences, and its sole purpose is seeking pleasure.

If we want to recover from our illness, we should become open-minded to get acquainted with our original transcendental nature and that deep inner need to restore our relationship with the Supreme. In other words, not R & D, neither environmental regulation, nor anything other than the eternal knowledge and experience of our inner reality can give us sufficient spiritual strength and inner joy to get rid of our addiction to pleasure. Indeed, the only society that is sustainable, and is able to respect ecological limits is that one which does not aim at endless hedonism, but at true self-knowledge and service to the Supreme.

Author: Dr. Orsolya Bányai, PhD – environmental lawyer, senior lecturer

Translated by György Kirs

Photo: Anikó Endes

[1] Bill Gates: Climate change and The 75% problem. 2018. 10. 17.

[2] Metzner, Ralph: The Split Between Spirit and Nature in European Consciousness. Trumpeter, 1993/1.

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