In recent days London has been targeted by the group Extinction Rebellion (XR). They are a group who believe that all life on earth is likely to be wiped out soon thanks to mankind’s pollution of the planet. As a result last week they attempted to hose Her Majesty’s Treasury in gallons of fake blood (a plan only wrecked by the group’s inability to operate a firehose). This week they are planning to shut down the capital, restricting the movements of Londoners and hoping to paralyze the city. Similar protests are planned in Australia.
There is much to say about this. But one of the most remarkable aspects of their actions is that they are perhaps inadvertently demonstrating one of the truisms of our time. G. K. Chesterton’s famous quote about people who stop believing in God believing in anything is very well known. But perhaps more apposite on this occasion is a point Deepak Lal once made to me: which is that, after the age of monotheism, we appear in the West at least to be entering an age of polytheism.
One of those polytheisms is of course the worship of Gaia. But these new polytheistic religions can be remarkably adaptive and absorbent. Consider the following footage from XR’s “opening ceremony” in London last night. At around the half hour mark one of the lead-loons calls for “eleven men and eleven women to step forward.” Pseudo-ancient though this demand might be, there must also be acts of propitiation to the new gods. And so a call goes out also for some “non-binary” people as well. Clearly there are some volunteers from this crowd, because after some interminable guff about “spiraling” and the closing of the gap between the masculine and the feminine, our eco-chieftain invites the “beautiful men and women and our non-gender specific beautiful human and non-binary human” to light thirteen “beacons of truth.” The aim being to “bring us into our wholeness, into our togetherness, into our one-ness.” There is then a pagan procession.
Whether or not XR succeed in shutting down London or any other Western cities this week, I would advocate watching this footage from around 30 mins to 34 minutes. Although it is baffling for most of us to make much sense of today, future historians will find such footage enormously helpful.