Greta Thunberg Theologian

Greta as a "religious" synthesis of an increasingly dogmatic and indisputable thought such as the apocalyptic one of the imminent end of the world due to climate change.

Greta Thunberg, the former Swedish girl - now twenty -, "icon", as they say today, of environmentalism, will receive in June an honorary doctorate in theology from the University of Helsinki. She is dolled up by the greats of the earth and, dare I say, brandished as a catalyst of sense of a global capitalist development that makes relativism and of the same senselessness its winning superstructural dimension.

 There have been protests, of course. It has been said, for example, that "Greta's only great merit was that she regularly skipped school", that her scientific preparation raises several doubts.

They seem to me objections that have their validity, but that miss the mark.

In Greta's case, it is not a question of certifying her general and specific cultural skills in environmental sciences, which, ictu oculi, do not seem particularly in-depth. Rather, it is a question of reinforcing the image (icon, in fact) of Greta as a "religious" synthesis of an increasingly dogmatic and indisputable thought such as the apocalyptic one of the imminent end of the world due to climate change.

The cause can be traced in the "wickedness" of men, who are devastating the Mother Earth. Like any dogmatic thought, it admits no discussions. Consequently, environmentalism, made religion, has - consistently - its doctors. Pope Francis, moreover, is a convinced environmentalist.

What about “secular” thought? Is it still possible to reason in complex terms even on these apparently so simple and clear topics? (“The truth is before everyone's eyes”, “science says it”, we often hear it said, thus making science a catechism).Of course, the answer is yes and it is extremely urgent to continue to put other hypotheses on the table, examine other answers, and “doubt" every pre-established truth. It would seem trivial. Yet it is not.

Every means of mass communication - with rare exceptions, among which I point out the site - is invaded and hegemonized by the single environmentalist thought, even in italian Parliament, where a poor curate of the new religion has physically brought stones to "prove ” (?) that we are in a period of drought for which all the reasons are already known and which only the blindness of men prevents from remedying.

The cult of Nature, always understood as a benign entity, raped by technique and "science" (the bad one, of course), where is proposed an ideal of life made of homemade cheeses, grandmother's cakes (grandmothers, another sacralized entity, especially if poor and peasant) and so on is widespread above all in the - minority - part of the world with the highest income, the so-called Global North, which we often confuse with the world tout court - after all, I would struggle to see a Rousseauan cult of the goodness and authenticity of agro-pastoral life penetrate, say, in the Sahel.

Once upon a time, there would have been talk of "alienation", of "false consciousness", which prevent us from understanding how the longed-for return to the authenticity of Nature is a luxury, which presupposes a primitive accumulation that has taken place, such as to allow the "rediscovery of the simple life of village". I am reminded of the Hameau de la Reine, built by Marie Antoinette (the one of the brioches), in Versailles.

Alienation and false consciousness that fail to grasp the contradiction between a hyper-technological and computerized existence in which we are immersed every day and the feeling of distrust, which is also instilled in the minds, especially of young people, towards progress and modernity.

Who benefits from all this? Clearly, to the very few who hold the reins of the global economy in their hands, to turbo-capitalism, to anarcho-liberalism, which sees in the green-economy religion a further way to consolidate its planetary hegemony.

The growing feeling of dissatisfaction and even violent rebellion that pervades large sections of the population in the face of the frightening growth of inequalities and which no longer finds answers in politics can however "annoy" those in government. What better remedy then than to convey that sentiment towards a new cult, which promises salvation in a fabled and providentially distant Nature, capable of mending the atomization of our societies by providing them with meaning in an "elsewhere" in which, as in all fairy tales, Good and Evil face each other quite distinct from each other?

Therefore, we are not indignant. “Tout se tient”. It is with good reason that Greta became a doctor of theology.

Claudio Salone

Professor of ancient literatures, Rome -