Greta Thunberg – eco-prodigy or vulnerable child?

end of world (2)It’s amazing, isn’t it, how so many of today’s children seem to be convinced that they are somehow superior to all generations who have come before them?  There is a sub-section of kids out there who are being manipulated by the media’s obsession with human-made climate change, plus their parents and some teachers, into protesting about stuff that is not easily fixed.  Many of these poor kids are utterly persuaded that there are only 11-12 years left before we reach the UN-touted tipping point beyond which the planet is off to hell in a handcart if we don’t do something.  Could this not be classed as a form of child abuse?  Is it acceptable to terrify children with warnings that the world they are to grow up in is coming to an end because ‘nobody is doing anything’?

When I was in grammar school in the 1970s, we still had a healthy regard for the wisdom of our forebears and elders.  Yes, we mocked stuff we didn’t understand; we laughed at some of the ideals of our parents and grandparents; we attempted to question why this and that had happened in years gone by because we knew we would have done so much better than those idiots in the past did.  But overall, we grasped the idea that we were in school to be educated, so that we could grow up to be the educators, professionals and leaders of the future.

Today?  Hmm.  We are now presented almost daily with TV and radio reports about our ‘inspiring’ school kids who are ‘taking action’ and ‘doing something’ to save the planet.  Because, you see, according to this super-intelligent sub-set, nobody else is doing anything. They already know it all.  And because of this pre-installed wisdom and knowledge, they feel the need to teach everyone older than them. Because their elders are making them into victims of climate change.

Repeated interviews with these small Einsteins are like listening to a tape on a loop.  Press here and the accepted orthodoxy will be trotted out in mind-numbing banalities dressed up as wisdom. It’s ironic that these ‘protests’ are actually spouting ready-made, off the shelf, take-away new orthodoxies rather than actually challenging the old ones, which was the practice of previous generations of youngsters.

Aided and abetted by Mummy and/or Daddy, or PC-approved variations thereof, a worrying proportion of these little geniuses  genies are convinced from weaning up that they are possessed of special gifts and can work miracles just be saying that they can.  ‘We can be what we want to be’. ‘If you want to, you can be anything you aim for’. ‘There are no losers, only winners’.  ‘Follow your dream and you will achieve it’.  ‘Believe in yourself’. ‘Don’t listen to those who don’t share your self-belief’. ‘Rub this magic lamp and climate change will stop’. All connived at and pushed by ‘educators’ and social meeja groups.

In days gone by this would have been condemned as dubious pseudo-spiritual self-obsession.  Now it’s all part of the socially-approved narcissistic disorder that passes for growing up amongst certain sections of the juvenile population.  Welcome to the world of the deluded generation.  Those children who choose to take a more critical and nuanced view of climate change are going to be treated like intellectual lepers if they don’t conform to the current ‘truth’.

Those of us who are older were allowed our period of fantasy as we grew up.  Then we hit the reality of work, money, politics and challenging relationships with the rest of the world.  Many of today’s children are being told that they are entitled to think of themselves as more informed, more intelligent and more responsible than the adults around them.  And we wonder why there is a mental health crisis in our universities. Has anyone considered the implications of placing the views of non-adults above those of adults who are actually out there managing life and all its complications?

 

Which brings us to Saint Greta. Ms Thunberg, bless her, is a 16 year old Swedish girl who has amazingly managed to catch the ear of the media all over Europe and beyond. This has all happened, er, spontaneously, despite the fact that the first major publicity  about her strike in Stockhom just happened to coincide with the launch of her mother’s new book on climate change.  Oh, and that first publicity came from the social media account of the PR man who was looking after the promotion of her mother’s book.  Right.  Less amazing and spontaneous than it may have appeared to be at first?

It’s thanks to Greta and the media having willingly fallen for the initial PR, that we have those wonderful Friday climate change school strikes blooming all over the place.  So effective has been Greta’s ‘management’ that she has met the Pope, spoken at the UN and the World Economic Forum, been suggested for a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize and more.  Last month she was in London where our witless political class fawned over her pure and unadulterated wisdom – for which read ‘adolescent cluelessness about the issues of real life’. Given that numerous politicians have been avidly supporting our Friday school strikers, they’ve had no option but to bow the knee at the altar of the source of it all.

Apparently Greta has Asperger’s Syndrome – high functioning autism.  I have this too, so I have an interest in seeing how Greta is treated in all of this.  So let’s think about it for a moment.  If she has Asperger’s, then that makes her a vulnerable child by any measure in today’s educationally-aware world.  What then, are the implications for her wellbeing and protection while being ‘exhibited’ around Europe?  Even though she appears to be a willing participant in this circus, where do the lines of responsibility lie?  When is a boundary crossed between child protection and child abuse?

Let’s look at some of her recent pronouncements about her Asperger’s.   Greta herself seems to think that Asperger’s is a gift:

“It makes me different, and being different is a gift, I would say. It also makes me see things from outside the box,” she said.

 

“I don’t easily fall for lies, I can see through things. If I would’ve been like everyone else, I wouldn’t have started this school strike, for instance.”

 

She sees things “very black and white. I don’t like compromising because it’s either this or that. You can’t be a little bit sustainable. Either you are sustainable or you’re not sustainable. If I had not been different I would have kept on going like everyone else and not realised there was a crisis”.

Yes, that’s all very Asperger’s.  I know some of those feelings.  But it’s a shame that along with the recognition of the benefits of her gift, Greta has not yet grasped the limitations of it.  And believe me, there are plenty.

Firstly, ‘seeing things outside the box’. Yes, I’m right there with you, Greta.  Asperger’s does help you see outside the box.  But part of that is being aware that you don’t know what you don’t know.  And that other people may actually know more than you.  Being able to see outside the box, plus a lot of personal life experience, has made me an effective worker in my field.  I’m not a success because I have Asperger’s.  I became successful through hard work and life experience.  Had I been able to access the sort of help that is now being offered to young Aspies I may well have done even better.  Whatever.

Secondly, having Asperger’s does not make you immune to lies and liars.  It can make you obsessive and it can make you good at detail.  That’s not the same as being someone who can immediately cut to the chase – which takes years or decades of growth and experience.

Thirdly, there’s her many statements about others ‘doing nothing’.  It’s easy, when you have Asperger’s, to become obsessed with an idea and your own thoughts about it.  Greta spoke last month at the Extinction Rebellion protests in London:

At Marble Arch she said “For way too long, the politicians and the people in power have gotten away with not doing anything to fight the climate crisis and the ecological crisis….We will make sure that they do not get away with it any longer.”

Leaving aside the elements of megalomania of the last sentence, many of her pronouncements are simply not true.  Even if she believes that they are.  Why is she not challenged on this sort of statement?

Really, Greta? ‘Done nothing about it?’  Where have you been the last few years?  What about all the windfarms and the move from coal-fired to sustainable-resource-powered electricity generation stations?  Green taxes imposed on all working adults? Insulation schemes? Unleaded petrol? Bans on single-use plastic carrier bags? And so on. Why is Greta not challenged about this?  Could it be that presenters don’t want to ‘bully’ a 16 year old girl, even if she is talking through her hat, or at least being selectively blind to stuff that gets in the way of her own pronouncements?

If she is to be protected from tough questions because she is a child, why are her pronouncements treated as if she were a modern-day prophet?  Is she a child or not?  But then, we’re not supposed to ask that in case it wakes us up to the fact that our leaders and media are in thrall to the twitter of a 16 year old girl who thinks she knows better than everyone else.

Has anyone stopped to consider Greta’s mental wellbeing?  While Asperger’s is a developmental disorder, not a mental health disorder, it is still important to safeguard the mental welfare of vulnerable children (and adults).  I have seen several comments from Greta that make me worry for her.

I first heard about climate change and became worried when I was eight or nine years old. I just became concerned and very sad about what was going on, and why nothing was being done to prevent it. And then I became depressed at the age of 11.” …..She stopped eating, lost 10kg, dropped out of school, and was almost admitted to hospital. “Then I came out of that depression by saying I can do so much with my life and I am going to try to make a difference.’

To me, this is not healthy behavior. Becoming so worried at age 8 that you become depressed over something as high-level as climate change, is surely a cause for concern?  And a serious eating disorder?  She has also been apparently diagnosed with selective mutism   – which the NHS classes as a ‘severe anxiety disorder’.  Why is nobody asking questions about her wellbeing in all this hoop-la?

“During the last six months I have travelled around Europe for hundreds of hours in trains, electric cars and buses repeating these life-changing words over and over again, but no one seems to be talking about it and nothing has changed. In fact, the emissions are still rising.”

Isn’t it somewhat unreasonable to expect emissions to have stopped rising in six months just because she has been speaking about climate change?  Isn’t this a worrying thing to express if you really believe it?

“I hope I won’t be doing the same thing in five years’ time,” she says, “because if I continue it would mean that nothing had happened, and of course I want things to change and for us to take action on this. But we probably won’t, so I’ll probably keep doing this.”

And what will happen to Greta’s mental wellbeing when she realizes at some point in the future that all her talk and travel has not achieved what she expected it to achieve?  Has anyone thought about that?  She seems to be completely bought in to changing the world – what happens when it does not change as she wants it to do?  Am I the only one looking at this vulnerable teen and starting to wonder where and how she will end up?

 

5 thoughts on “Greta Thunberg – eco-prodigy or vulnerable child?

  1. Good. The discussion of child abuse here is very important. She is being manipulated by people who should know better and I would be surprised if she does not have a mental breakdown.

    What she reminds me of is the young girls in the middle ages and onwards who had a “vision” of the Virgin Mary that apparently no-one else could see. Shrines were set up in the places these visionaries decreed and they basked in the fame for the rest of their lives. Reading contemporary accounts of these events it is difficult not to accept that all these girls (for they are nearly always young girls) had a form of mental disorder. Of course the “intelligentsia” don’t believe in God any more so they must worship at another sort of shrine.

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  2. It seems every generation thinks they know more than the adults, but you’re right in the sense that when I was growing up, I still had a healthy respect for adults. I might not agree with all my teachers, perhaps even “hating” some, but we never dared address them in class, and our parents would support the teachers and our need to get our work done. But it’s time taking. Parents are the one’s who need to teach their kids. But if the parents grew up with values altered from a healthy regard, that is what will be passed on to their children. This is how complex things can happen. All too many people allow themselves not to think for themselves. They think for themselves, but not with their own experiences and self-discovery. Time away from the media, from youtube and such, running around outdoors, doing chores, going camping, and such are necessary for the “quiet” time to realize things for themselves, along with some serious home discussions.

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    1. Couldn’t agree more. Obviously it is not all families today who are like this, but as you say, parental values and ideals get passed on to their children – negative ones as well as positive ones. You’re right about people no longer being prepared to think for themselves. It seems that so many are now simply happy to pick-and-mix pre-prepared views that others present to them – usually wrapped up as ‘caring’, ‘enlightened’, open-minded’ and so on. Unfortunately, many of these pre-packed ideals are the exact opposite.

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  3. We don’t know what the future holds. No one does. And perhaps, through great difficulties, people will start seeking real answers and get back to the business of living. The direction we are headed now, have been for a long time, will lead to even more difficulties, but for some reason, it’s only when things get really, really, difficult do people start looking for real answers. And of course, they do.

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