Greta Thunberg is one of climatism’s leading saints, empowered to bring enlightenment to the world through her special insight and moral intelligence that puts her above ordinary mortals.
The saintly iconography being used is quite remarkable and deserving of its own article, but this article will approach another angle of the Greta phenomenon, and that is the connection between her parents and the New Age cult of Indigo Children.
We all know the story of Greta. Born with Asperger’s syndrome and sensory processing disorder, and with an alarming history of selective mutism, obsessive compulsive disorder, and eating disorders linked to her religious neuroticism (which also has parallels in medieval female saints), Greta is not like other children. The book Scener ur hjärtat, written by her mother, takes great pains to go over all the psychiatric struggles that the young girl and her sister face and all the ways in which they are not like other children–more sublime, more sensitive, more intelligent.
Many children on the autistic spectrum are extremely sensitive to doom-and-gloom scenarios. It is a major obstacle in raising them to become functional adults. If anything disrupts their routines, panic is their automatic reaction. If there is a car accident ahead, they will cry, “We will never get home!” If their favorite pencil is lost, they will insist that it is absolutely physically impossible for them to do their homework. To them, the world is an incredibly sinister and dangerous place because it seems so arbitrary and unpredictable. Especially as children, they are not able to react to even challenges in a reasonable way, and anything they cannot predict or control becomes an issue of intense distress. Most children on the spectrum, with support and encouragement, are able to redirect their instinct from panic to intense dislike, and they can become high-functioning, if rigid, adults.
But those who believe in Indigo Children see the peculiarities of children like Greta not as disabilities or even as overreactions but as reflecting some special and otherworldly power. Indigo Children is a term invented by self-described “synesthete” and “psychic” Nancy Ann Tappe in the 1970s. Unlike other people, Indigo Children have “auras” not of the normal colors of the spectrum of an entirely new aura-color, indigo, representing a new and more advanced stage in human development.
A number of New Age gurus have developed the doctrine of the Indigo Child. In addition to being incredibly intelligent, Indigo children are empathetic, curious, strong-willed. They’re often perceived as being strange. They possess a clear sense of self-definition and purpose and show a strong sense of entitlement in it. They show a strong innate subconscious spirituality from early childhood. They are intensely intuitive and strongly resist authority. Despite their intelligence, they will often perform poorly in a conventional school because of its rigidity and its inability to deal with their special spiritual maturity. Some in this movement have now declared that there is now another generation of even more advanced “crystal children” whose traits like empathy even reaching the level of telepathy or other extrasensory powers. Their very tendency toward selective mutism is supposed to be evidence of their empathic and psi powers.
Indigo Children are closely linked to the transhumanist movement. This kind of uber-child has been deeply imbedded in our popular culture for well over a century. What started as tabula rasa nonsense was soon picked up by classic Gnosticism, theosophy and other occultist movements, and philosophical eugenics. Almost identical to this under another word is the “starseed” children, who are like Indigo Children except with an explicitly Gnostic extraterrestrial origin.
These children permeate science fiction. They are the incredible geniuses of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series and similar futuristic superhumans, from Nietzsche’s literal Superman to the psychic geniuses of James H. Schmitz’s work, from Hubert’s Mentats and Bene Gesserit to Card’s Ender. Gene Roddenberry was a utopian transhumanist communist, and he wanted Wesley Crusher to be the main character of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The alien hybrid children of the X-Files gives this a sinister spin. Even Roald Dahl’s Matilda played with the theme.
But Indigo Children are not just a figure of popular culture and the usual sort of New Age woo, like healing crystals or visualization. Belief in the Indigo Children rises to the level of an actual religion. While humanity is impossibly brutal and primitive, from us will arise this new race of superhuman beings that will be like gods to us. Jesus was supposed to be an Indigo Child. So were Buddha and Krishna. Because of their connections to higher planes of existence, they are able to bring about the kind of utopia that the savage race never can. And when we allow the Indigo Children to lead us, they will usher in an age of complete and perfect harmony.
As little attention as the mainstream media gives to Indigo Children, the idea has become very dominant in neo-pagan circles. It has also infiltrated the “spiritual” people in high-IQ communities. And the transatlantic B-list celebrity culture is simply saturated with it. Every minor celebrity was convinced she was carrying a starseed in the 1990s. Today, it is no better. Many of the New Age and neo-pagan threads have joined with the new Gaia climatist doomsday neo-paganism. And Indigo Children have a special role to play in the Gnostic strand of the movement.
Greta’s parents are exactly the type of people who are most often linked to the movement. Her father Svente Thunberg is an actor was named after a great national scientist relative–a D-list celebrity with pretentions to intellectualism, who never achieved the prestige of his actor-director father. Her mother Malena Ernmann is a nationally famous opera singer not above pornographic performances that would make a rapper blush who competed in Eurovision to try to achieve pop success (and failed). She’s also the daughter of the retired CFO of Sandvik, a company that began in the coal industry, pivoted to uranium mining equipment. The parents consider themselves to be connected with social justice causes, spiritually sensitive, and environmentally “woke,” and they are active supports of the violent Antifa communist group. Far from Malena being uninterested in the environment, she was chosen as the World Wildlife Foundation Person of the Year in 2017, a year before Greta’s public activism began. Both parents are deeply immersed in the lower circles of generational Swedish celebrity, and they tried to get their children into acting at a young age, but with little success. Few children have what it takes to be child stars. Greta’s sister has achieved some success as a social media singer, despite psychiatric issues similar to Greta’s, but little Greta achieved nothing of note. Instead of being a star, she had to go to a special school for children with learning disabilities and psychiatric complications.
And so we have a perfect storm of a psychologically fragile child and parents neck-deep in a stew of Gaia New Age communist woo. And the results were exactly what one would expect.
Greta’s school showed her a cheap climate doomsday propaganda flick that featured starving polar bears–probably David Attenborough’s BBC disaster. Polar bears, of course, are not starving. Their numbers are booming since they have been placed on the US endangered list and hunting has been restricted. Not only are their numbers up, but their average health is much better, too, because the seals they prey on have been thriving. These facts have been established by those who have dedicated their lives to studying polar animal populations. That did not stop some agitators from deliberately crafting a false narrative of polar bears dying of hunger because global warming has reduced to ice to the point that they are unable to hunt. It’s quite possible to find dying polar bears no matter what the state of the population–polar bears, like all over creatures, get sick and die. With the proper voiceover, they quite literally fit any narrative that one pleases to craft, which is exactly what Attenborough did. When the preeminent polar bear researcher spoke out against the fraud, political agitators got her fired. But that does not change the mountains of evidence that the polar bears are doing just fine. This would not be the only time the BBC committed fraud in the name of the narrative–walrus-gate was another such scandal.
So at Greta’s special school, the psychiatrically fragile school children were subjected to a carefully crafted, emotionally wrenching, and fact-free docu-propaganda. And Greta was shattered by it, as any child with her conditions would be. Even if they didn’t have any particular knowledge of the falsity of the movie, most parents would have been outraged at the school. There is no reason to terrorize fragile children unable to deal with exaggeration or to contextualize opinion with the most extreme visions of doom and gloom.
But this is not what happened with Greta. The parents of starseed Indigo Children believe that their duty is to follow the superior empathic wisdom of their children to allow them to self-actualize into their true forms. So instead of coming down on the school with all the fury of seven hells for terrorizing their child, they fed Greta’s terror, supplying her with a steady stream of similarly wrenching, catastrophized, and emotional doomsday infotainment. Their Indigo Child had found her cause, and it was the greatest cause of the era. She was the starseed prophet to lead humanity through the doom of climate change and into a new utopia of ecological harmony. They humbled themselves before her preternatural sophistication while carefully smoothing the way to make sure that her destiny was fulfilled, that she was the prophet-saint that she was, after all, meant to be.
Greta, meanwhile, had such a severe reaction to all of this that she developed an eating disorder, afraid that every bite she took was destroying the planet, to the point that she completely stopped eating for two months and still only eats an extremely restricted vegan diet. Even now, she appears to be permanently stunted, with delayed pubertal development. After this trauma, she also stopped speaking to anyone outside her immediate family for years. It took a long time for her psychiatric state to recover from the implosion (or, as her mother called it, the “landslide”) that this propaganda naturally caused for her so that she was ready for celebrity. Since her special school does not actually require attendance, she did not, at least, fall behind. And when she recovered, and when the gentle nudging and shaping of her parents finally had its effect, Greta’s parents were ready–more than ready, since her mother had already finished a memoir about her daughters, which was just about to hit the shelves.
On Greta’s one-day “school strike for climate justice” in August 2018–from the school that does not actually have mandatory attendance–Greta sat outside the Parliament House at Mynttorget. Within an hour, a PR guru and CEO of an environmental-activist social media company named Ingmar Rentzhog deviated from the natural route between dropping off his children at school and his work to “discover” Greta sitting there and make a post on social media (with an image shot by the professional freelance photographer whose presence is still not explained) that would launch her international, star-studded career, with fundraising by Rentzhog gaining his own organization one million pounds. (Rentzhog would later brag to investors that Greta’s work would be “very profitable” for the company–his social media company was merely doing the groundwork for his family’s billionaire-backed “sustainable development” company Global Utmaning that was looking for international government contracts.) Once Renzhog had launched her to fame after enrolling her as an unpaid “youth advisor,” her father cut ties, took over her fundraising, and created a corporation for managing the money that came in from celebrities and billionaires from around the world.
Greta’s mother also wrote a hagiography of her daughter called Scenes from the Heart, “a family in crisis and a planet in crisis.” We must keep in mind that this book was published days after her one-day climate strike.
In the book, Malena never uses the words “Indigo Child” or “starseed,” but she doesn’t have to. Every bit of it is taken straight from the typology of the Indigo Child cult. The book is her mother’s proof of the superhuman nature of her children–I call it a hagiography quite deliberately, because that is exactly what it is. It makes a great deal of all of Greta’s traits of fragility and “empathy” that prove how special she is. Every bit of the girls’ suffering, the family in crisis, is not because selfish parents terrorized, pressured, and exploited their children. No, it is because these children are so in tune to the world that they must internalize the suffering of Mother Earth herself. Their issues are not disabilities but are literally “superpowers”–Malena has so engrained this word into her daughters that Greta herself uses it.
Greta’s issues are more famous, but Greta’s sister Beata has similar difficulties:
Greta is not alone in her mental suffering, according to the book. Her sister Beata, who was 12 when the book was written, lives with ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome, and OCD. She is prone to sudden outbursts of anger, during which she screams obscenities at her mother. What would normally be a 10-minute walk to dance class takes almost an hour because Beata insists on walking with her left foot in front, refuses to step on certain parts of the sidewalk, and demands that her mother walk the same way. She also insists that her mother wait outside during class—she isn’t allowed to move, even to go to the bathroom. The child still ends up weeping in her mother’s arms.Quillette
All of this, according to the book, is because the “unsustainable Western lifestyle” is killing the two girls. Literally. This is the belief of an Indigo Child cultist and no one else. And of course the two girls can’t recover because, after all, all of their trauma and suffering is a manifestation of their “superpower.”
Greta, her mother claims, has a “photographic memory” and provides the proof that she knows “all the world’s capitals” (a pretty funny “special ability” for a high schooler who has had geography) and can rattle off all the names of the chemicals on the periodic table in a minute (I like Tom Lehrer’s The Elements, too). She is “different” from other children, “special.” Every psychiatric abnormality is just proof of what an extraordinarily sensitive child she is. Forgetting for a moment that she was not going to be explicit about her “starseed” beliefs, Greta’s mother let this passage slip into the book:
Because she saw what the rest of us didn’t want to see.
Greta belonged to the small few who could see our carbon dioxide with the naked eye. She saw the greenhouse gases flowing out of our chimneys, hovering upwards with the winds, and turning the atmosphere into a gigantic invisible dump.
She was the child, we were the emperor.
And we were all naked.Scenes from the Heart, translated
Her mother insists that this is merely a metaphor taken out of context, but it very clearly is not–“the naked eye” emphasizes that this is a completely literal image. The emperor was a metaphor, but Greta’s seeing was not. Greta’s purported psi abilities mean that her neurotic imaginings are giving very serious weight by her parents, down to such nonsensical ideas as these. Greta knows no science at all. She doesn’t see carbon dioxide in people’s breaths or being taken in by plants. She only sees it coming from chimneys, and she believes that it is toxic, turning the sky (at 400 parts per million!) into a gigantic dump. She’s driven by New Age occultism and fear. She thinks the world is warming because of Western capitalism, overpopulation, and the oppression of the third world–these are one and the same in her mind, and what she wants is no less than a carbon-free “equitable” communist utopian New World Order, which she believes is required to save her life and save the world.
Even though she was fifteen when she began her protest (and has just turned seventeen as I write this), she is dressed not as a teenager coming into womanhood but as a much younger child, with the pigtails of a child or eight. But this is all a part of the same thing. With her stunted growth and her Pippi Longstockings braids, she still projects the image of a child. Indigo Children are portrayed as eternally childlike, unsullied by the common world.
With the help of the international celebrity and billionaire machine, Greta’s image has been used to organize events in the US, Canada, and Europe, and Greta has given speeches at all the usual kinds of events where such a figure would be expected to be invited to give a speech. Social media accounts in her name have been kept very active, but a recent bug revealed that every post made in her name on her Facebook page had actually been made from her father’s account. She has taken a few interviews with pre-screened questions, but she had been unable to answer a single spontaneous, unscripted question from any reporter in the world. During her public appearances, she is always surrounded by bodyguards to keep the press away–teenagers filling the role in the context where the optics of adults standing around her would not been conducive to her image.
I believe that Greta is, in fact, a true believer of her cause. She really does think that she has superpowers. She really thinks that all of her psychiatric suffering is being caused by the climate, and she believes that she is being killed by people who simply do not care. I believe that her parents, too, believe these things, and they excuse all their subterfuge and dissimilation as being merely a support to allow Greta to fulfill the great destiny that they have implanted into her damaged mind. Greta’s UN Climate Summit speech makes sense of all of this, which is really quite inexplicable otherwise:
This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!
Here we have all the nuttiness in one crunchy bar. Greta really does believe that she is being forced to speak because otherwise she will die. She really does believe that she is the Indigo Child climate messiah to whom everyone really is coming as the last hope of the world. She really does believe that her childhood was stolen (well, that much is true, but she thinks carbon dioxide did it) and that she really is forced from school and into her mission, for which she suffers so acutely. She believes that people all around are really dying because of carbon dioxide when in reality, the world has reached a new peak of prosperity and deaths from anything that could possibly be blamed on climate, whether hunger, famine, or disease, have fallen dramatically over the past ten years as market access has opened up around the world and people and goods can move more freely than ever. (Of course, the emerging coronavirus will have an impact on that, but the coronavirus is liked to CCP policies, high population density, high public transportation usage, and wet market hygiene coming together in one glorious disaster.) She really does believe that “entire ecosystems” are collapsing, not because of bad policies like the vegan- and “natural”-driven growth in palm oil production but because of actual global warming. She really does think that a mass extinction is taking place because of global warming. And she really does think that an intersectional communist eco-utopia with no fossil fuels and lots of brown people is going to change all this.
None of this, of course, is true.
People who share this communist eco-utopian vision find Greta useful, cult craziness aside, and she has become just the right kind of celebrity to hang around because all the right people like her. Children like to look up to other children, as well, so she is a brilliant propaganda tool to get the next generation to accept the climatism belief system. Children also make convenient shields for authoritarians of all stripes–meat shields, because who can criticize a child? But why do billionaires fund her? Of course, there is no private ownership in communism, but in the bureaucratic NWO the elites imagine, management is close enough to ownership as to make no difference. And in communism, of course, some pigs are always more equal than others. Greta would never think such dirty thoughts. She is the true believer. But those who sashay around her know exactly where they plan to be when the utopia comes, and it’s not with the proles. Where there is capitalism, there is always the possibility of bankruptcy, but when government and mega-business are united, one funnels resources to the other unhindered.
I have a child nearly exactly her age. He’s in college–he started part-time at twelve, became the youngest full-time student in the history of his college at thirteen, and then took a year off completely to get some real-world experience and figure out his degree plan. He also works as a fast-food restaurant manager and owns a car that he paid for. He does his own laundry, can cook for himself (not well), plays a lot of video games with friends, and has recently achieved acceptable hygiene standards without being regularly ordered into the shower. He even cleans up his dishes from his bedroom every couple of days without being told. A lot of his friends are adults (many of them whom have told me that they only wished they had their heads screwed on so well at the same age), but even though he finished Calc II in high school and is mature for his age, he still does incredibly boneheaded teenager things on a regular basis. Regardless of how smart he is, he’s limited by his experiences and his knowledge, which he still simply hasn’t had enough years to get a whole lot of. Yet he is also very much a young man. Not a little child. He shaves. He’s taller than his father. His voice booms. He has teenager funk when his hygiene slides.
He’s also not famous. He probably never will be. (I certainly hope not, at least!) He has no social media “presence.” None of my kids do. They talk to their friends and their grandparents on social media, of course, but that’s it. And that’s deliberate. So I’m not “jealous” of Greta’s parents. I also don’t bash all parents who have famous kids. Some of them have turned out great. It’s not something I’d personally chose to risk, but that doesn’t make them all wrong. My issues with Greta’s parents are not that she’s famous but that they have desperately damaged their child and are now using the damage that they’ve caused of evidence of her superhuman nature.
My point is that when people say that “seventeen” (or sixteen or fifteen) is “not that young,” “especially for an intelligent child,” they’re right. But not in the way that these people are claiming. Greta does not possess, due to her youth and purported intelligence (of which there has been no actual evidence), some special connection with the universe. She has no special spiritual insight. Her trauma does not make her a “wise child.” She should not be standing there dressed like a little girl of eight to make foolish girls of eleven look up to her. And for such a “special” person, she is remarkably stunted in more than physical development. Even if she had no special ability or intelligence at all, she should certainly be capable at that age to speak for herself off script, though not necessarily with the fluency of a more mature person.
Suffering is also not an automatic consequence of high intelligence and high empathy. (And by this I mean human empathy, not something supernatural.) There are countless smart and happy people in the world. And while high intelligence and a high-strung nature do often show up together, they are no indication of supernatural powers or “starseed” children. These things simply don’t exist. The entire Indigo Child religion is the exploitation of children, and those parents are no better than the primitive pagan sects in the third world who revere children as avatars of certain gods and then throw them away when they reach puberty.
When an imaginative child is scared of monsters under the bed, or that her parents will soon die, or that the world will end, good parents reassure her because it’s either completely untrue or incredibly unlikely. Good parents don’t choose to believe that she has access to hidden knowledge that ordinary people are unable to perceive and then encourage her fear. Because she doesn’t. She’s just a kid. Maybe a smart kid. Maybe a disabled kid. Maybe both. But I can say with confidence that Greta is no different in kind from any other entirely human child out there, and the damage has been done to her because of her parents’ cult is something she may never recover from.