Of course, the argument could be made that humanism was an essential step in the evolution of consciousness, that dispelling Church dogma and recognizing some of the corruption inherent in organized Christianity was an important step forward in the spiritual evolution of Man. This is all well and good, but if one examines our contemporary milieu, one would be hard pressed to point out any meaningful examples of any type of spiritual evolution occurring at all.
True, we are no longer obedient, brainwashed little children accepting everything churches and priests tell us, but we certainly have not evolved into responsible, mature, spiritual adults interested in picking up where organized religions left off. On the contrary, we have devolved into distracted and rebellious teenagers who find meaning only in vulgar hedonism and crass materialism. In addition, the vast majority of us are committed to senseless self-destruction, both individually and collectively.
If humanism was indeed a necessary evolutionary step, it was a step away from something rather than a step toward something. Humanism managed to loosen the constrictive bonds of traditional religion, grant a certain degree of freedom, individuality, and independence, and recognize the dignity of humanity, but rather than empower Man spiritually, humanism ultimately crippled Man by leaving him to fend for himself in a world stripped of any semblance of the divine. In essence, humanism lured Man away from whatever was left of the divine in organized religion and utterly alienated Man from his own divine self and God. Humanity became the center of everything, and was thus enslaved in the material world.
Humanism destroyed the supernatural and left only the natural. Man ceased being a true subject and became an object. Worse, though Man was touted as the center of the universe, he was actually reduced to being just another objects among objects. Humanism scoffs at the afterlife, at other possible worlds; as a result, it insists Man's happiness and fulfillment can only be found in one brief lifetime and only in the material world. Positivism, naturalism, reductionism all ensued and Man was left with no meaning and with no higher calling other than to satiate his passions and desires. Simply put, humanism is anti-human for the simple reason that it never acknowledged or addressed the full human being.
Our contemporary Western civilization is now post-peak humanism. There is no ascent left in the humanistic thrust. Even notions of philanthropy and kindness have been distorted and corrupted beyond all recognition. Humanism has created societies based on nothing more than rabid consumption. This rabid consumption has created some environmental problems. The extent of these are arguable. Nevertheless, these environmental problems will now be exploited to knock Man from the pedestal upon which humanism perched him many centuries ago.
Humanism degraded man by refusing to acknowledge his innate divinity. Nevertheless, in its purely anthropological outlook, it did strive to empower humanity, but the power it granted Man was terribly one-sided. Since humanism denied Man was created in God's image, it sought its own ideals of perfection. This often required the eradication of all within humanity that was considered imperfect. This gave rise to all sorts of horrors including Marxism, Fascism, and predatory Capitalism.
Humanism, which claimed to liberate individuals, was only too happy to enslave and destroy countless individuals in the name of something "higher." As horrible as these ideological systems were, their central goals were still theoretically rooted in humanistic ideals - justice, prosperity, happiness, equality, and all the rest of it. In theory at least, these totalitarian movements still touted that there was something worthwhile in Man, something that justified sacrifice, hardship, even murder.
At its core, contemporary environmentalism does not recognize anything worthwhile in Man. Environmentalism values Nature above all else. For the hardcore environmentalist, Nature is God. Man is Nature's fallen angel - a rebellious, harmful fool who seeks to destroy Nature. For the environmentalist, Nature is the only possible Good. Humanity is a cancer upon Nature. A plague. A disease that must be eradicated. Some environmentalists argue Nature would be better off if Man ceased to exist altogether.
Will this extreme form of environmentalism ever take hold of Western society? Probably not. But you can be sure of one thing, the Establishment will continue to wield environmentalism as a weapon of mass enslavement and control. Humanism succeeded weakening Man's relationship to God. Rather than strengthen Man's relationship to Nature, environmentalism will succeed in weakening it. Rather than regard himself as an intrinsic part of something good, or as part of God's loving creation, Man will begin to think of himself as an ungrateful, worthless parasite whose very existence is an offence against the cosmos. At least, this is what the Establishment seems to be pushing for.
The Establishment will use environmentalism to convince those living in the West that the party humanism started a few centuries ago is now over. The Establishment has already and will continue to tax, curtail, legislate, monitor, penalize, restrict, ration, punish, and ultimately control and enslave Man all in the name of saving the planet. Brainwashed into believing he is a blight upon Nature, Man will willingly comply in a guilt-laden effort to save the thing that knocked him from his pedestal - Nature.
Think I am exaggerating? Consider some recently levied taxes and recently passed laws. Examine some of the recent discourse at the highest levels of international and globalist governance. Still not convinced? Look a little lower. For example, I recently overheard a conversation in which one individual declared taking vacations could no longer be considered ethical because carbon-footprint, or whatever, and that the government should step in and ban all vacations for everyone in the West. Oh yeah, and cars and factories and air-conditioning and medical waste, too.
Humanism stripped us of our divinity. I have a feeling environmentalism will be used to strip us of what's left of our corrupted and degraded humanity. The Establishment is working hard to convince us that we are all environmental sinners, and it will demand penance and atonement for these sins, minus all the messy religious stuff, of course.
Naturally, you could argue this could be another step in our spiritual journey, in the evolution of our consciousness, in the same manner humanism was. Then again, Man was still an inherently spiritual being when Humanism kicked in. Could the same be said of Man today?