Unto the third and fourth generations

by John Rember

Everything we write depends on an imagined future. It’s not too much to say that narratives are like icebergs: nine-tenths of the meaning of a story lies not in its words, but in the past and the future that its words evoke.

Last week I tried to demonstrate a disconnect between the past and the present, and suggested that these days, our present can’t find meaning in its past. Technology, like the Khmer Rouge, has declared a Year Zero, and we can only hope that technology’s reign will be less murderous.

Writers are left with the future as a source for meaning in their fiction and nonfiction. But the future cannot be observed, it can only be imagined.

The usual way of imagining a future is to extrapolate identifiable trends. But trends often fade away before they get to the future, and sometimes we find out that the future has been transformed by an event that isn’t part of any trend. Nonetheless, it’s possible to project ourselves ahead a few decades or even a few centuries, bearing in mind that our projections tell our readers more about ourselves and our time and place than they do about what is to come.

July 17, 2031
Sawtooth Valley, Idaho, Han Empire

Dear Great-Grandkid:

By the time you are old enough to understand this letter, you will have heard stories about my generation — the Baby Boomers — and they’re all true. Yes, our family owned its own home, and that home had several rooms. Yes, we did have a car, and that car was powered by gasoline, and we could buy gasoline without the danger of being caught and sent to the potato fields. Yes, both your great-grandmother and I both went to university and could choose our occupations. We could have become mining engineers or tax officials or even officers in the military, but we studied literature instead. Literature used to be an honorable profession. People were paid to study it and even — I’m not kidding — to produce it.

As it happened, neither your great-grandmother nor I got rich at literature, which probably saved our lives during the wealth redistribution riots of 2016, when so many of our fellow Boomers perished. True, we were educated, old, and had canned food stored in our crawl space, but we weren’t bankers, politicians, lawyers, or corporate executives who had moved jobs offshore. Our location in a rural community saved us from search and seizure and summary execution by the Hoarding Police — we had always lived modestly, and even during the great famines there were better pickings elsewhere.

It has always amazed me how long America held together after capitalism started eating itself. The three generations prior to the Boomers had worked to accumulate tremendous stores of wealth, and the salvage economy based on their efforts carried into your grandparents’ generation, allowing them to live all their lives in front of screens showing videogames. That’s what happened to your grandparents. As things got worse in the country, they retreated further toward the limitless internal horizons of virtual reality, and starved to death at their game consoles.

As was the practice in those days, your great grandmother and I took in our children’s children — your parents — and raised them. We were not able to afford to educate them, however. As soon as they were old enough to work in the fields, we rented them out to Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland, and so were able to hang on to our house for a few more years, until the Chinese foreclosed on us.

A good many of our fellow Boomers still see the Chinese foreclosure and the incorporation of North America into the Han Empire as a catastrophe. But your great-grandmother and I have fared well as naturalized citizens of China. We have enough to eat, for one thing. And even though we aren’t fluent in Chinese, we are respected because of our age and education, and we have been given an entire room in an Autumn Residence, the Chinese term for what used to be known as retirement communities. We have been able to make the occasional small sum explaining idiomatic English to Chinese historians, who study America as a cautionary example. “We do not want to end up like America,” they tell us. “Where did you go wrong?”

Of course they know where we went wrong, but it amuses them to hear our answers. “We stole from the future,” I tell them, “and then the future moved into our house.” It’s a phrase that translates well into Chinese, I’m told.

I am delivering this letter by bicycle courier to the potato farm where your parents supervise the chain gangs of black-market gasoline sellers, captured Canadian resistance fighters, and the descendants of hedge-fund managers. Considering that they started out as indentured servants, your parents have done well for themselves, and it is an indication of how well they’ve done that they were granted permission to have a child. I have congratulated them in another letter, one I paid to have translated. I’m not sure if they remember English.

Our legacy to you will be necessarily small — a few books, enough money for a year of school, and our photo album. The house in the photos is real, made out of real wood. Our smiles are genuine. You won’t believe this, but we used to get in that car and drive a hundred miles just to see a movie. We even used to fly through the air in airplanes, and once we visited the real China, if you can imagine that.

Try not to blame us for giving you a world that is much different than the one we were given. When we were born — this sounds more stupid than it seemed at the time — people didn’t realize actions had consequences. Citizens were referred to as consumers in those days, and we didn’t realize how voracious we were until we consumed everything in our world and yours. Even when it was apparent we were poisoning the atmosphere and acidifying the oceans and destroying most of the creatures that shared the planet with us, we kept on keeping on, until what little we hadn’t consumed had to be sold to pay the bills.

Your parents may be able to pay for more than a year of education. If they do, and if they don’t consider it a waste of your time and their money, you should study English. It of course won’t be of much use to you growing potatoes, but it was a language that gave rise to a beautiful body of literature, one that’s a joy to read in the original. Over the years, our books have given us constant pleasure in inconstant times, and your great-grandmother and I would be pleased if you could read them. That way, when you’re tempted to think we left you nothing of value, you can share with us at least one small part of the world we thought would last forever.

Good luck with this year’s potato crop, and I do hope that you’re reading this letter and not having it read to you.

Your great-granddad,


There. That was fun. A little fiction to work up an appetite for breakfast, inspired by a bumper sticker on a big motorhome parked at the Post Office yesterday: “We’re Spending Our Grandchildren’s Inheritance.” Well, yes. You are. They will not think kindly of you for it, either.

Another source of inspiration, from the morning news: the utter inability of our elected leaders to act in the face of a financial and political crisis that has left this country with a fifth of its workforce unemployed.

Yet another: the passivity of Americans in the face of restrictions on civil liberty, offshoring, propaganda disguised as news, an oligarchy disguised as a two-party system, theft disguised as financial deregulation, and permanent damage to the land and water by people who won’t clean up their messes.

As a writer, I’m not yet to where Cormac McCarthy was when he wrote The Road, but the trends I’m seeing these days make me think that people with children and grandchildren should be worried. The great-grandchild above bears no resemblance to anyone living or dead, as the disclaimer goes, because Julie and I decided long ago not to have children, much less grandchildren.

Perhaps that’s why I can witness what I’m witnessing. British Petroleum’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima have been events that I’ve continued to research because they weren’t supposed to happen and yet they happened and I find them as interesting as they are tragic. It’s possible we’re in an era when any decision will turn out to be the wrong one, any leader will be overwhelmed by the impossibilities of his position, any technology will turn out to be lethal, and any profit will result in someone else’s loss.

The implications for writers are profound. I can’t think of a better time to be alive and witnessing the world, but I also can’t think of a time when the pitfalls have been so deep and wide. The stage directions have become the play, and we face the problem of writing characters who can keep their eyes wide open to the huge events around them. I suppose it will help if we don’t give them children.


This essay first appeared at MFA in a Box.

Comments 150

  • A thought-provoking scenario: thank you, John.

    Although some have suggested that huge empires cannot be held together without the transportation and communication technologies based on fossil fuels, past examples based on shoe leather and sailing ships lend this some plausibility.

    Regardless of what shape the future takes, the least likely scenario is “Business as usual”, the one that deludes the herd in its stampede towards the cliff.

  • John,

    No doubt there are those in China today thinking the best strategic move for them would be foreclosure on US debts. The ensuing financial collapse might just leave China as the “last man standing” and the only one with power enough to grab the remaining natural resources for themselves; Han Empire indeed. “I can’t think of a better time to be alive and witnessing the world” is just a rephrasing of “may you live in interesting times.” It will come to be a curse on all our heads.

    Michael Irving

  • As always, an entertaining post, John – thanks. I must say, you can learn a lot about a person from the stories they tell… ;-)

    But I’m afraid we give China way too much credit. China’s economy is just as seriously impaired as the rest of the world and highly dependent upon the economic health of the rest of the world, though that might be hard to see from our threatened perspective. Americans tend to endue far more power to their perceived enemies than is deserved.

    China has serious economic problems (raging inflationary pressures, a huge bubble economy and great social unrest throughout their provinces), a rapidly deteriorating environment and a true fresh water crisis. These are not the problems that encourage Empire – indeed, they are the problems that destroy empires.

    The gorilla in the room that all nations ignore to their peril is Peak Oil. When he finally moves, all will Collapse – even China – yea, the entire globally distributed, just-in-time, mutually dependent, infinite-growth-based civilisation – leaving in its wake chaos, destruction, insanity, human misery and untold deaths.

    We will ultimately discover to our everlasting frustration, that there are simply no substitutes for fossil fuels, and certainly none for petroleum. Civilisation will undergo a severe and fatal contraction in the coming years. The Age of Empire is over. Modern technology will pass the consciousness like a dream that never was.

    So in the end you don’t have to worry near as much about China as you do about your neighbours.

  • Fascinating tales to groom more hatred towards the imaginary rising enemy, China is it?. How about some reality for a Change. Future time is purely psychological creation of thinking, the future in now, the past is your memory. As you feast in emotional auto suggestions, your new conditioning will co-create tomorrows manifested reality.

    As the mass continue to indulge in the political entertainment, I wonder if I am the only one irritated by the subliminal and NLP programming by Obama on tv.

    But what can we say, we already have government agents infiltrating this forum to to manipulate and sway public opinion on controversial issues by promoting propaganda. Social media is big influence but HBGary Federal is already light years ahead in development of artificial intelligence software which could easily dictate our so called movement. As disturbing as this “fake” people run smear campaigns against those “real” people.

    So enjoy the show, don’t forget the popcorn.

  • Watch agent Robin Datta, read all of his past posts, he is quite an entertainer.

  • This is lie and propaganda. China has currently extended foreign aid to 161 countries and more than 30 international and regional organizations. China’s growing foreign aid to developing countries is designed to bring stable and balanced development to the world. China has over 3 million aid workers in 175 countries. China does not steal resources of the world. China buys resources in friendly and fair act. China holds over 3 trillion in foreign reserve, China has developed indigenous technology in military, navy and air force surpassing US and West allies, but only for defense. China is united in spirit, China is wise and rich in heritage.

  • Do not believe these conspiring stories or hearsay, come to our wonderful country, experience China for yourself. Then you make your own decision, we say Wisdom can not be read but only seen in the eye of the beholder.

    China is loving, peaceful county, we have changed very much since Mao days. Ask yourself who created Marxism and who suffered greatly, thank you for your human instinct .

  • Watch agent Robin Datta, read all of his past posts, he is quite an entertainer.

    The correct term is shill

    One can look me up on Facebook among Dr. McPherson’s friends. 

  • Victor, do not parrot hearsay, our real estate bubble was imported by West funded speculators. We are shifting towards domestic consumption. At current fiscal, consumer consumption is under 30%, the US is 70%. We are producer, we are in very healthy state, we do not follow foreign artificial indicators, that is why we don’t not publish data open to market makers, we call them parasite manipulators. thank you.

  • xiaocai,

    john remember’s story is just that, a story. Your comment, now that’s what I call propaganda. You are to be congratulated.

  • goritsas,
    You have far more to learn goritsas, please do your own homework, we forbid tampering with unconscious thinking. Stories are stored as values, conditioning of belief. Come to China and see how people are more open thinking.

    Sorry to say but most young Western people I meet are not very educated and lack intelligence.

  • ‘I can’t think of a better time to be alive and witnessing the world,’

    I have a rather different perspective. I can’t think of a worse time to be alive and witnessing the world, since what I am seeing is stripping of the oceans, plus their acidification, clear felling of pristine jungles, tar sands ‘development’, deepwater drilling, species extermination …. a catalogue of waton destruction that makes everything that matters worse. And all of it is for no worthwhile purpose.

    ‘Chinese historians, who study America as a cautionary example. “We do not want to end up like America,” they tell us. “Where did you go wrong?”

    I’m afraid China will end up like America (and long before 2031) because it is following almost exactly the same path, turning peasants into consumers and sacrificing the environment in the process. What was semi-sustanable is being turned into grossly unsustanable at break-necj speed.

    Something is very askew. The Kiwi dollar broke 85 cents (up from 76 a few months ago) and broke 53 pence (46p a few months ago) -and the NZ economy is in a parlous state.

  • We are taught very differently, we spend 12 hours daily in studying daily. We work hard and are very intellignce, but most Westerners see us as slave. We are not, we are just as human as you are, we know our limits and live within our means. We conserve everything that we can, you should too for the sake of our future generation, not fourth of fifth generation but all that will come thereafter.

  • Kevin Moore,
    Please stop psycological labelling, waton is mis-used slang not from China but created by people like you that parrot hearsay.

    Come to China and find out, evenings is spent by families, communities talking openly about all of these things, we care and are concern. Even peasents have parents and wise elders that discuss living and morals daily.

    We have learned from Japan and everyone else, we are Great China, we have maintained our populace for aeons without taking resources of other nations.

    Please speak intelligently, seek valid fact first. How old is the US, whom were the resources belonged?.

  • We are very proficient with the Adam Smith economic model, afterall, the Kiwis were the original lab rat. We are master of currency, legalese and everything else in use by the world today.

  • agent Robin Datta, I have a robin friend amongst my 2000 FB virtual addicts, let me check coz I think some of the other profiles are there too. LOL!

    BTW, I havea fire sale on a bridge at Tripoli, best deal of the year.

    Say hi to my cyber squardon friends, you are doing useful work fightig so-called cyber terrorists, loyal tax paying US citizens.

  • Say hi to my cyber squardon friends

    Would be glad to oblige if introduced to them. 

  • xiaocai and njon,

    The main point of this post is not about china – it is about America (and the consequences of its stupidity).

    You are missing the point, and making fools of yourselves.

  • grey, the only fool here is the ignorant people that believe in these fear mongering propaganda. Your grandparents lived in constant fear of Nuclear holocaust.

    What difference is it now, Osama bin laden is dead, thank God that the country and Christians are now Islamphobic. I have seen many times innocent Muslim looking people being violated of their basic human right everywhere in the us because of their look.

    Soon any Asian looking person will be attacked thanks to these wonderful ideology stories being sucked in by our X-box mentality generation.
    Who’s the fool yelling the Earth is dying, Earth will be here for aeons after we all perish

  • I urge you all to learn about your own psyche, you all are under the illusion of being so intelligent but in actuality you are not. Fear consumes your energy, your thinking is always in continuous conflict, the psychological engineering is to elevate your attention to a total state of crisis, where your pattern of conditioning is revolutionized with new system of conditioning. This is discernment, but you are the victim of psyco-social engineering.

    You all are so occupied with the medium of money, yet you refuse to understand the basis of Adama Smith Economics.

    You are so occupied with peak oil, yet you refuse to understand the origin of oil, you say fossil fuel but it is not. There is revolutionary development of sustainable microalgae oil production, they can double their biomass overnight and produce 15 to 30 times more oil per hectare than all known sources, but we are still in primitive stage of marine oil production.

    You are occupied with the resources of earth and refuse to investigate the forces behind it’s allocation.

    So who is the wiser???
    That you may never see!!!

  • Latest Financial Sense Newshour podcast:

    Getting Used to Life Without Food

  • njon,

    I guess “Dharma” told you to tell us “You are so occupied with peak oil, yet you refuse to understand the origin of oil, you say fossil fuel but it is not.” And you, being as you are, are behind these sentiments 100%.

    So, just let me get this straight, john remember’s fictional tale is going to lead to all manner of evil, right? At least for brown people trying to board aircraft in the U.S.A. But, OTOH, the tale of oil being a fossil fuel is not fiction, despite geology to the contrary, and it’s the rest of us that are raving lunatics? Hmmm… I’m not really sure, on the balance of probabilities, where I should place my bets… Dharma. Geology. Dharma. Gelogy. Ping! I know, I’ll plump with geology. After all, geology’s been around a while, unlike Dharma. Not to mention geology has a track record. Unlike Dharma. Pn the other hand, Dharma’s got a pretty cool name. Hope he doesn’t try to board a plane in the U.S.A.

  • Sean & njon would make a great team.

  • goritsas: geology is rock-solid.

  • Robin Datta,

    That’s kinda racist. You can’t leave xiaocai out. This should be a global proposition. And I can’t imagine anyone more deserving of a position with these linchpins of knowledge and understanding than xiaocai. I wonder if Sean & njon will be able to master Mandarin? Maybe they’re more just a good Szechwan stir fry.

  • Bravo! Wonderful writing, John.

    One short comment: The ‘gorilla in the room’ (Victor’s comment) is not just Peak Oil. That is only the current costume and mask the gorilla wears. The real nemesis is the gorilla: the way we think, the change in our value systems (from human and nature-based to consumption and privatization, consumer-driven market based) and our consequent behavior. That is what really needs to change.

    Deal with the gorilla, or he will only continue to change costumes and masks. “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” – Pogo

  • ziaocai

    Thank you. You are rightly proud of your country and its ancient people. And I understand quite clearly that China is a producer country today, and not a consumer country – yet – but the current trend is unmistakable. Your country has indeed made incredible and significant economic progress over the last 40 years. But, and I do not mean this to offend, your country has essentially adopted the Western economic model to attain that progress through advantageous labour costs, thus offering the West cheaper goods produced and allowing for substantial growth of the Chinese economy. However, you must agree that the adoption of the Western model has brought to the Chinese people enormous problems of its own – heavy industrial pollution of air and Chinese rivers, much corruption between local governments and industry, increased inflation, and dependence upon the global infrastructure for vital non-renewable energy.

    The Housing bubble you refer to as being imported from the West is still a housing bubble – China’s housing bubble. And whilst China might have allowed Western speculators to engineer that bubble, yet it is still China’s bubble, and no one else’s. It is not the fault of the West that your country allowed this to happen, but of your government. Indeed, you have built entire cities full of beautifully architected buildings and excellent roads, but unfortunately almost totally devoid of people. This is a serious issue.

    The growing disparity between the newly rich and the ever more impoverished poor is identical to the problem being faced by the West as well.

    The people on this site are not, however, concerned with economic rankings of the countries of the world. We tend to look at the overall impact of human civilisation (all countries) upon the environment, and most of us would agree, I think, that the model of capitalism being implemented for the last couple hundred years (and adopted by virtually every country in the world, including China) is literally destroying the world and is setting the stage for the complete collapse of modern civilisation.

    It is this negative human impact upon the environment that forms the basis of the reason this site exists and the reason it is named as it is – Nature Bats last – meaning that in the end, it will be Nature that makes the final move and decides the outcome of the human experiment.

    By the way, the word “waton” you referred to in your exchange with Kevin must be a Chinese word by the reaction you had to it. But I am almost certain that it was a typing error on Kevin’s part – he meant to type “wanton” which is an English word.

    Thanks for your contribution. It is good to have new opinions and perspectives. It makes discussion more….interesting.

  • Goritsas,
    Please write intelligently with actual facts, Shell Oil has partnered with HR Biopetroleum, calling the joint venture Cellana conducting field development of sustainable microalgae oil production at Otec marine lab in Hawaii.

    Tell me honestly, what is energy, it is sustainable in resonance defying all systemic conformed knowledge. Dharma is a state that is not self-entered, all knowledge observed is through this state of being.

  • Energy is self sustainable in resonance.

    But the only perpertual energy allowed on human conscious is an artificial intermediary medium of energy, the perpertual debt called money.

  • njon,

    “Please write intelligently with actual facts”. Ok. Tell you what, I’ll start when you start. Heck, I’ll even concede the facts part. When you start writing intelligently, I’ll start writing intelligently.

    Can we consider this a deal? (Virtual hand offered for virtual handshake)

  • njon,

    Oh yeah, and will you *please* stop capitalising my moniker? It’s ‘goritsas’ not ‘Goritsas’. Just like yours is ‘njon’ and not ‘Njon’. It can’t be that difficult, can it?

  • Macrobe

    You are correct from one perspective. The real problem we face is our own behaviour. That is what got us where we are. My perspective is, however, that our behaviour is not likely to change – never has yet – and there is no longer time enough left to us even if we were to have a global Road to Damascus revelation today.

    So given human behaviour will not change, and we will not do as you most reasonably suggest, then what is the resultant greatest risk to human civilisation today? Peak oil. And what is the greatest risk to the world environment – the business as usual consumption of fossil fuels. Which will get us in the end? I think both.

  • As a scientist and history student, I don’t agree that human behavior cannot change. It has in history, and we can change. Behavior is more plastic than many give credit for, and there is both historical and scientific evidence for that. Therefore, I do not consider that a constant ‘given’. Instead, it is a variable upon which the present and future can be modeled upon.

    Given the right motivation (including experiential consequences), people can and must change. Many have, and many will. Not all, but hopefully enough to alter our current path of self-destruction and the destruction of our planet.

  • xiaocal,

    Sean? Is that you?

    Michael Irving

  • Kathy, Resa, TVT,

    I invite you to read my remarks at the end of the last post.

    Michael Irving

  • Macrobe, you are right, we must change as it is the only way. It starts with each one of us individually. All of the sages throughout our history have all talked about this Change. From Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Allah and all of the Saints had all begged us to change.

    This change can only begin from within each human being. We have this romantic idea of Ying and Yang but it is only our own self elements of Male and Female. The Alchemist had talked about this mystic vessel and womb but it is very simple.

    Thinking must be non-centered, no longer in duality. The analyzer is the analyzed, the observer is the observed. When this realization comes about, time ceases. Time is born from thinking. When there is no movement of thought in the brain, the heart is also empty and pure. This state of emptiness is the womb or the still mind. It is ready to receive the infinite energy that instantly mutates the brain, the mind.

    Out of that experience, Dharma is born, infinite intelligence and energy, liberation of all suffering.

  • We have all suffered as human beings, our higher conscious is shared by all of our specie, the misery, agony and suffering.

    We must change now, there is an attainment of higher energy that radiates outwardly freely, perpertul infinte energy that all human beings can feel. This energy brings about calmness and humility, more will follow suit and allows domino effect amongst all human beings.

    It’s up to you and I to start this chain reaction. No knowledge is needed, as there awaits ascended beings and other specie of entities to guid us in liberation.

    May all beings be happy.

  • Macrobe/njon

    I beg to differ. First, the word I used was not “can’t”, but instead “won’t” (more precisely, “is not likely to change – never has”). There is vast difference between “can’t” and “won’t”. We as a society are not likely ever to change these basic behaviours that have led to where we are today. If you are indeed a historian, you of all people should understand such a proposition. Our tools might be more sophisticated today, but our behaviour as a species is quite the same as it has always been.

    Of course people “can” change. It happens everyday. In fact modern mass marketing methods and government psyops tactics are obvious witnesses to that. But the wholeness of human behaviour remains the same.

    As for the supposition that people “must” change to save ourselves, you might be right. But my supposition is that they won’t. And even if they now did, there remains no longer the time for such changes to propagate themselves throughout society before Collapse.

    I do not hold much stock, on my own part, in phrases like “if only”, or “we should” or “we could”. When assessing risk, I believe it is imperative to recognise what “is” happening, not what “should” happen “if”. I save those suppositions for the philosophers – of which we have no lack…. ;-)

  • xiaocal,

    Sean? Is that you?

    Michael, do you really think? I was thinking more like njon…perhaps both!…LOL

  • Stories are fiction. Money is fiction. Even thought and belief are full of fiction, considering the lies we tell ourselves to soothe our fears. But we can learn from fiction, sometimes, so long as the lessons remain human in scale.

    I regret that China was raised as yet another specter in a long line of conjured enemies, especially when we know that we’ve really done ourselves in, and even more importantly, that we’re all ultimately in deep shit together thanks to globalization. But I guess we need our enemies, our Goldbergs, so that we don’t suffer self-inflicted condemnation too acutely.

    When the house of cards falls, paper and pixel money will be about as meaningless as the paper walls of the house. If China tries to foreclose, it will need to back up its repossession with force, which will undoubtedly be met with sovereign resistance. Bombs and militaries are not made of the fictional stuff of ownership.

  • Listen to xiaocai

    I’ve traveled extensively in China.Americans are not going to like what I’m going to tell you.

    A friend just came back from Shanghai.He said “Shanghai makes New York City look like a cow town”,to which I replied “of course,anybody who has been to Shanghai recently can see that”.In Shanghai the Maglev train
    travels at 280 mph,without ever touching the ground.The entire length of
    Nanjing Road (about a mile) is tiled. But what really blew my mind were
    the two young Chinese bartenders in a bar on the Bund,who spoke to me in perfect,unaccented,American English.This is typical.

    I could go on and on,and you won’t believe me unless you see it for yourself.Take xiaocai’s advice,and go see it for yourself.

    Are the Chinese the smartest people in the world.As The Lamb of God told
    St. John the Divine in the book of Revelation “come and see”.

    Double D

  • Here’s my two cents:

    I don’t think China is a monster. I also don’t think it’s a saint.

    I think China, like every other country, has both really good and really bad points.

    Its good points are its respect for intelligence and history, its ability to plan for several generations and centuries ahead, its work ethic, etc.

    Its bad points are its reliance on propaganda, its distaste for personal and civil liberties, and its lack of humanitarian tradition (except for giving foreign aid through money, which it pats itself on the back about just like America).

  • It is ready to receive the infinite energy that instantly mutates the brain, the mind.

    There is nothing to be “received”: there is no sense of receiving. The change is an awareness which always was and always will be, beyond all time, immutable. 

    Thinking must be non-centered,

    It is an awareness that precedes thinking: from it proceed emotions (the Sanskrit term is vasanas, with subtler connotations) and from emotions proceed cognition and thought. 

    We must change now, there is an attainment

    There is no attainment: if one has any sense of “attainment” it is makyo

  • John, Thanks for the exciting piece of fiction. I enjoyed it.

  • John, Please do not stop writing these little fictions, and please consider getting a book of short stories like this out to the public ASAP.

    “Daydreaming” is an extremely powerful, innate mental tool sharpened and honed by evolution (for better or worse). Your writing (especially your’s John R.) can literally alter our gene pool (see epigenetics – please do not mistake epigenetics as an intellectual buzzword/fad, it is downright scary to see now hints of what we missed/overlooked for the past 800 years of alleged “enlightenment”).

    I wish I had more time right now. This site and all the contributions in comments are like gold to a gold-bug. Invaluable.

    P.S. John I think you would really enjoy Paolo Bacigalupi’s books (including -, maybe especially? – his newer work directed at young adults (Paulo feels the majority of adults are no longer reachable and therefore it honestly is simply no longer worth the keystrokes/breathe/effort).

    Again, thanks to all who post their thoughts here.

  • Agent Robin,
    Pure heart is non greed, you can not set out seeking liberation as that action itself is thinking. We all are aware of the so called Sanskrit jargons, but dharma is individually liberation. Authority is psychological security, there is no such thing.

    How many gurus are there peddling this nonsense with no actual growth in energy. Ignorant people think they can buy dharma with money, they buy expensive mantra only to practice rituals of self hypnosis.

  • Navid, are all human beings that arrogant?.

    Who would one waste their precious time with dream stories of self proclaimed spiritual leaders.

    Which deity granted them superiority?.

  • The point is that these stories are fear mongering intended.

    China, the imaginary enemy, then here’s the coming Alien invasion perpetrated upon the lunatic fringed. What is next?

  • Has any of you even make the slightest effort to investigate the so called China foreclosure. But then that will take energy to study economics. Are you aware of remuneration of corporate profit, the the multinationals artificial economic entities that transacts these currency swapping. If you exercise your God given brains, inquire to the matter, then you will understand these so called Treasury contracts.

  • @ Victor: You raise good points, and are correct that ‘can’ and ‘will’ are often juxtaposed. And I agree with you to a point. However, as behavior studies in animals (including humans)demonstrate, behavioral changes are mostly motivated by consequences. (Humans are an exception in that we have ‘morals’ and ‘values’ which can sometimes override even consequences of self-preservation and/or survival.)

    Given the short-term attention in our modern developed societies, where individualism and privatization make up the core of our values, market systems, and institutions (including government), the prime motivator for behavioral change is instant gratification and rewards, of which money and material wealth, aka power, are prime components. Therefore, the instrument of change is cost. And one way to motivate change is to increase the cost of certain behaviors.

    On the other hand, I see an exponential rise today in individuals voluntarily changing their behaviors -recycling, volunteer work, adopting permaculture and primitive skills, incorporating alternative energies, and reducing material possessions, even downsizing their family numbers and houses. More importantly, people are moving locally, nationally and internationally towards a more community-minded and based societal structure (with like-wise economy, too, I hope). This behavioral change is accompanied by changes in thinking, value systems and lifestyles.

    You are right; many people will not change their behavior unless and/or until they are forced. Many will resist, even violently. So be it. We will prepare for that, too. :)

  • @ njon: The concept of yin and yang is not exactly duality. It is instead plurality; the constant and cyclical change and flux between two opposites. Granted that the lay and romantic conception of the yin and yang is as you describe, but even chemists and physicists know that nothing is static, nothing is stable; life and non-life are dynamic. (see ‘Tao of Physics’ by Fritjof Capra and the laws of thermodynamics) Duality in Western thinking and philosophy is rooted centuries ago and we are now realizing the ultimate results and damage of that, hastened along by Christianity (which is founded upon duality). Exemplified by GW Bush: “Yer either fer us, or against us.”
    Hogwash. ;)

  • This website has been hijacked by a bunch of ‘cranks’!

  • Not hijacked. The issues discussed here create amazingly powerful reactions of all kinds in people. Although I’m pretty sure njon is software. Some of what they write is positively condescending and presumptuous.

    John’s piece is a reflection of but one of the myriad paths to our future. It even says it’s fiction. Why y’all buggin’? Bunch of fingers pointing at the moon, if you ask me.

  • Robin said: “There is no attainment: if one has any sense of “attainment” it is makyo.”

    How do you know?

  • Brutus,

    Re: “conjured enemies”

    Is this a PC thing? Is it wrong to suggest that some other folks in the world might be pissed at us for what we’ve done because, “… we’re all ultimately in deep shit together thanks to globalization.” Globalization is us, right? And “we know that we’ve really done ourselves in” and are taking everyone else with us, don’t we? But suggesting “others” might be unhappy with that knowledge is “conjuring enemies” in order to pawn off our guilt? Please help me to understand the line we need to walk here.

    Michael Irving

  • Hey DD, what’s even more amazing about Shanghai’s transformation is how quickly it happened. I usually was in Shanghai once a month in the mid 80’s. The Cathay flite got in at night, and you didn’t see a light (except for cars) almost all the way into the city. We were working on JV hotel projects, and the local architects had to cut their scales into 3 pieces because they couldn’t afford a whole one. Now look at them. They will roll over us, when they decide the time is right. They aren’t in a hurry.

    I’m too lazy (being an American) to pull out my putonghua books to find out what little cai’s second name means, but I’m sure he/she will let us know. Actually a goal I had when I moved back to the states was to develop an industry to kick China’s butt. When I got back, and saw what there was to work with, I gave up on the idea.

    1 shangong ren

  • Michael, I’m not sure what your question is amidst the quoting of my phrasing. To me, a conjured enemy is someone or some people who become the focus of our hatred not because he, she, or they necessarily done anything (or enough) to deserve it but because our own leaders, or TPTB to use this handy acronym, find it useful to redirect our focus away from ourselves. The character Goldberg in Orwell’s 1984 is the quintessential example, with folks interrupting their day periodically for a 5-minute hate to hurl vitriol at the emblematic visage. In American culture, the focus has shifted from the Communists to the Russians to the Islamofascists. In John Rember’s fiction above, it’s the Chinese.

    But if you step back and consider who’s really responsible for the technological innovations and abandonment of self (a true crisis of consciousness few talk about) that has us over the barrel today, it’s us, the Americans. We chased irresponsible dreams of prosperity and oversatiety and exported those values globally, extinguishing more balanced consideration of how to structure society more humanely.

    I don’t know that this provides a line to walk, but does it at least answer your question or clarify my terms?

  • pickle, you’re one funny guy!!!

    so I’m artificial intelligence huh???

    Can you discern a “software” persona from a human being?

    I guess that’s what you get from working your butt off in the school of unlearning. May be I should get indoctrinated somewhat to be considered a human being.

  • Ed, it’s only a little after 2 decades of China’s modernization. And look at where they are already!. But nothing to lose any sleep over, they’re just like the same friendly bunch at the local Chinatown.
    We still can produce competitively, we need full automation like the Germans, heck maybe we can all just buy complete turnkey production lines from the South Koreans or the Japs. At least we will save tons on logistics.

    It’s all about profit for the multinationals mega corps. Globalization does not have geographical boundry, silly Westerners still thinking of nationalism.

  • Radiation unto the third and fourth generations
    Fukushima update by Arnie Gundersen – not looking good in Japan

  • Macrobe, the dynamic eternal reality can not be described.

    Let’s forget the hogwash and really findout for ourselves first hand.

  • Plenty of preposterous statements have been made in the past 12 hours, most of which don’t justify a response.

    ‘China’s growing foreign aid to developing countries is designed to bring stable and balanced development to the world.’

    Therein lies the problem. Development. There is no such thing as stable and balanced development. As long as people think there is, everything that actually matters will get worse. In particular, the manufacture of ANYTHING in an industrialised society inceases the carbon imbalance which is on track to render the Earth largely uninhabitable, probably by the middle of this century.

    Since global corporations and banking cartels wield more power than most governments, the destruction of the habitability of the Earth will continue until resource constraints and environmental degradation bring the global system to a standstill. And then individuals are likely to continue the destruction, burning whatever they can lay their hands on to keep warm, cook food etc.

  • Kathy, Must we continue mourning over our own condemnation and inflict more sorrows, what goodness is going to come of it?

    Craig Moodie, I think your view of insanity is due to your inability to perceive the whole problem of all humanity. We say China is heading down the same rabbit hole, EU is already in chaos.

    How did we end up in such mess?.

    What is the actual cause?

  • Kevin Moore , yes you are quite right. I have seen armies of good willed Chinese aid workers building all types of infrastructures all over the Africa and the Pacific.

    We have gained enough technological know-how to completely liberate humanity of his laborious duties like food production and energy needs. These tasks can all be fully automated with production robotics to sustain all 7 billion human beings indefinitely.

    The core of our problem is the huge inequality of wealth distribution, more so in the West.

    How can we approach this problem?.

    We all know that the psyche is far too cunning and clever to be contained, We’ve seen the outcome of experiments in the former USSR. External change does not work.

    Will the super rich be willing to sacrifice their Family Firms for the sake of human equality?.

    Will the poor and working class be satisfied with such division?.

    We all know that these actions is very unlikely to happen.

    Is there a better way?

  • Brutus,

    So the line is ‘we can’t project how a person might react after we punch them in the nose.’ Thanks for clearing that up.

    Michael Irving

  • njon my comment was meant somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Please continue unlearning. I am on that train too.

  • Emeritus professor Albert Bartlett postulated that one of hunmanity’s great failings is the inability to understand the mathematics of growth.

    I postulate that another of humanitiy’s great failings is the inability to understand energy, particularly usable energy.

    Declining EROEI is bringing down industrial civilisation now. And it very much looks as though enthalpy and entropy will finish the job.

    When the oceans expand a little more and some more Greenland/Antarctic ice melt, much of Shanghai will be under water, along with dozens of other major cities. That does not seem to be sufficient incentive to stop the madness.

  • We all are aware of the so called Sanskrit jargons, but dharma is individually liberation.

    The word “dharma” is also from the Sanskrit but does c not carry a connotation of liberation in the Sanskritic languages.  Among its connotations would be law of nature and societies, norms of action or behaviour and the appropriate attitude to one’s lot in life. 

    Those who borrow the term to imply liberation, ” energy” etc. are using jargon

    Robin said: “There is no attainment: if one has any sense of “attainment” it is makyo.”

    One knows through intellection that has a beginning and an end. Attainment is an event, a beginning and / or an end and is valid within those parameters.  The reference was in the sense of what the term was pointing to, beginningless and endless. 

  • njon said: “We have gained enough technological know-how to completely liberate humanity of his laborious duties like food production and energy needs. These tasks can all be fully automated with production robotics to sustain all 7 billion human beings indefinitely.”

    You have got to be kidding me. This statement is total poppycock. I don’t think we’re even having the same conversation. Is this a joke?

    Your technological robo-farming utopia must be powered by unicorn rainbow-farts and fairy wishes, because this is one of the most naive things I have read in a long time.

  • We have gained enough technological know-how to completely liberate humanity of his laborious duties like food production and energy needs. These tasks can all be fully automated with production robotics to sustain all 7 billion human beings indefinitely.

    This is a poorly informed statement that I have seen proffered by the Zeitgeist crowd. It is neither technically true, nor is it within the bounds of likelihood based upon historical human behavioural patterns as we know them. Neither the computer nor the technical infrastructure to support such an idea is within our grasp today, contrary to this statement, and secondly such a technical structure would require far more energy input than we have available today. Further, it would require a degree of centralised global control of assets and resources that would be both highly unlikely given current political and economic conditions, and technically infeasible as we neither have a true understanding of the availability of many of our natural resources nor do we seem to appreciate the part non-renewable and slow-renewable resources contribute to our ability to keep 7 billion people alive.

    Zeitgeist is fantasy, pure and simple – the ultimate in technical hubris – and the kind of fanciful thinking that represents a serious distraction from dealing with our real problems.

    And what are those problems? Excellent question.

    There are essentially five significant ones:

    1. Overpopulation – 7 billion people to feed, water, clothe, shelter – 7 billion people who consume vast quantities of natural resources and produce unmanageable quantities of waste. The natural carrying capacity of the earth is estimated at around 1.5 billion or so. And that carrying capacity decreases each year as the habitat is destroyed by human action in keeping those 7 billion people alive.

    2. Resource depletion – Our world is a finite world any way you slice it. It has only so much arable land, so much fresh water, so much critical non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels, and so much slow-renewable resources such as forests and some aquifers. There exist no replacement for these resources. When they are gone, they are gone. And those 7 billion people depend upon them and are consuming them in large quantities. As an example, without fossil fuels at least 6 billion people would not exist.

    3. Waste – The consumption of huge amounts of natural resources by 7 billion people results in enormous amounts of waste products – CO2, methane, plastics, chemicals, aerosols, particulate matter, organic and inorganic waste products piled up in mountains of landfills. These waste products are responsible for global warming, climate change, acidifying our oceans, depleting our arable topsoil, polluting and poisoning our water and air and destroying the biodiversity through habitat destruction, biodiversity we all depend upon. The bottom line here is that the natural carrying capacity for all plant and animal species, including humans, decreases daily through the impact of our waste and destructive methods.

    4. Those 7 billion people have committed themselves to an economic model based upon infinite growth, mass production of resources and mass consumption of goods produced. Growth requires energy. And much of the energy driving growth is provided by by non-renewable resources which are rapidly depleting as in 2 above. And without sufficient energy growth is limited or prevented. Without growth everything falls apart and masses of people suffer and die and infrastructure suffers – this is already beginning to happen – it can only accelerate over time.

    5. Time – We have run out of it. CO2 and methane concentrations already released into the pipeline are not yet peaked, but will prove to unleash several major positive feedback mechanisms in the coming years, accelerating global warming and causing considerable climate chaos. Resource depletion by 7 billion people is reaching a critical point with several minerals, metals and fossil fuels, denying us sufficient energy to maintain even our current levels of living standards, much less evolve to new solutions which require more time than is available under BAU. Economic growth is being limited by lack of cheap and available energy, and by a severely over-leveraged world where credit is drying up, thus restricting our ability to finance our way to the implementation of new ways of living in a timely manner.

    As these five problems collude with each other, they can have only one result – a severely restricted and damaged living environment for all species within the next 50-80 years, perhaps even an uninhabitable planet. This is the end of the line that Kevin refers to. This is the set of problems we refuse as a species to face, instead concentrating upon distractions we conjure up to keep our eyes off the fate that awaits us – the darkness that is enveloping the world as we have known it.

    And as Professor Bartlett indicates, to solve these problems (if we could) would require actions that we have always considered taboo and morally repulsive.

    Our only hope of survival is to prepare – to find ways now to survive without modern technology and to discover and develop old tools and skills. Perhaps some can then find ways to navigate the bottleneck to come.

  • njon said: “The core of our problem is the huge inequality of wealth distribution, more so in the West.”

    The core of our problem is that we have no soil left. No clean water. No clean air. That our infrastructure, biological and industrial, is in a horrendous state of disrepair. The economy is a subset of the natural world, not the other way around. Unequal distribution of wealth is a symptom, not the root cause of our predicament. Unequal wealth distribution is a product of the destruction of our environment. People make unbelievable amounts of money precisely BY destroying the environment. Even if you were to distribute the wealth gained from the exploitation of “resources” equally to all of society; if that society sees itself as fundamentally separate from the natural world, you’ll still have the same problem, i.e ecocide. The natural world is not merely resources for us to consume. When will you get it? Without habitat we cannot live. Full stop.

  • Damn Victor, I just wanted to say that statement was crap. Nicely done Sir.

  • Victor and pickle,
    To understand these issues, your awareness must be non-center , non-bias, free of all emotions and prejudice.

    There is a state of being which I wish to call dharma, this is an awareness that is discernment and choiceless attention that is wholesomely correct in all senses, heart and mind of each human being. This state, if we may call it an attainment is self-learned, not through static knowledge (past recorded knowledge) but this understanding is a dynamic experience that is felt through all of the senses, hearing, vision, touch, smell, mind, heart etc.

    We have a problem which is our habit, our conditioning, our behavior, our psyche. The problem is that our acions is always incomplete, we are never satisfied, we are never fulfilled, so we will always seek fulfillment by feeding our senses with artificial and materialistic things to bring pleasure and meaning to our presence. This we do by eating, drinking, entertainment, our hobbies, etc. But it is never enough, we are quickly bored and always need to upgrade and the whole process of resource consumption.

    This is a war actually, our own conflict that is common amongst all human beings. If you dissolve all of our skin differences, tribalism, nationalism and all of that, we are all have the same psyche, we are all human beings.

    But to win this War, we must be precisely clear on who is the Enemy, who are the Master Minds behind all of these conflicts. Your great grandparents were not addicted to consumerism, the folks that suffered the great depression feared capitalism, these l habits that we now have are not natural, they were enforced upon us.
    And by Whom is the question that you need to ask.

  • njon

    You are not reading what I am saying, or you do not comprehend properly. Even if what you say were to be entirely true (and certainly some of it is), what I am saying is that we ARE where we ARE. That is the reality of our situation. It is not a matter of “If we only did this….” or “We should do that….”, or “We could do this….”. Perhaps it was at one point in our history. But no more. We are where we are, and where we are is at the end of the our ability as a global society to effect positive change – in behaviour or anything else.

    If you do not recognise the five problems I listed, then you can have little understanding of the predicament we are in as a global civilisation. Your solutions are not solutions, but philosophical ramblings that relatively few in this world today will adopt, and even fewer will actually implement. Who is to blame? All of us. Yes, there are a powerful few who are acting in their own interests to affect our behaviour by playing to our natural tendencies. But we as a global society, on the other hand, are willingly, even enthusiastically, accepting their guidance and influence.

    You are right. This is war. But it is not the war you think it is. It is a human war against Nature. And we will lose.

  • pickle

    Apologies for that…. ;-) But you further re-enforced what I had to say, and for that I thank you… :-)

  • I am not promoting Zeitgeist or any other fancy illusory ideas that is already being promoted. What I am promoting is an understanding that is Individuality. A different type of intelligence that does not enforcement, it is pure unadulterated divine clean morals and virtue that can be lived by all human beings. It is self-regulated, it is a new type of thinking that is always complete. It is an awareness that is always attentive to the action to be taken and the outcome reaction.

    To even be able to attain this state of being, our own human bodies must be cleansed of impurities. We must have complete natural sensitivity. The modern human being has lost this perception sensory. It is the intelligence of the body, the complete awareness of it’s biological senses.
    And this can be only be achieved by living harmony with nature. We have to always maintain complete non violence attention, non meat diet, alcohol, smoking, synthetic foods, genetic modified foods etc. Our habit must be wholesome holistic in all sense.

    Are we over populated?.
    We have over 7 billion human beings, some countries are making great efforts and sacrifices to curb and contain our population growth, where as some other countries, the physical suffering , materialistic poor countries are threated of extinction and continues to breed at a higher (so called uncivilized) manner. There have been many efforts to control population growth, some as brutal as genocide, famine, mass outbreak of diseases but our population is still growing.
    Do we have enough land mass to sustain every human being?.
    Yes there is!. Divide all of the habitable land mass of earth equally amongst 7 billions and tell me how many acres each man is entitled to?.

    Do we have enough resources to sustain humane living condition for all human beings?.
    Yes there is, more than enough already harvested resources from earth. This is a purely psychological answer, how much comfort, luxuries, commodities will one consume to be satisfied and fulfilled?.

    Any sane conscious awareness person will think twice before indulging in all of our fast and convenient fixes like beverages, processed foods, habits of luxury goods and services etc.

    The only reason Waste exist is because of our limited sight of reaction. If we are completely consciously aware of our action, then all reaction will be eliminated.
    We have romantic psychological ideas of sanitation. But can you see the falsity of the whole system. You eat, dispose body waste, and most people with limited thinking are done, incomplete action, that is it.

    The convenience of a modern toilet is alien to most traditions. To me, the field disposal of body waste is the most natural mean, there is no reaction, your action is complete ass waste is composed quickly
    and recycled naturally. Outhouse wells cultivates pathogen and sewer brings about more complications with consumption of more resources and energy, toxins and other pollutants.

    But the acceptable means of living is never wholesomely correct according to the different beliefs. Confined city living and high rise dwelling is un-natural in all logical senses, but it is a modern
    convenience that is romantically appealing to all artificial senses.
    So if we really want to see the entire process of modern living, we have to piece together all of the fragments, not just what you see but everything that is happening. The beginning of modern dwelling, which is quite young at 200+ years.

    One would see the plaque of Europe, then the development of modern infrastructures, the expansion into the new world, the extermination of the New World natives and their own way of living, the enslavement
    of countless millions. The millions of innocent lives that were slaughtered from the Americas and across the whole Pacific to Australia. And also the current development of China, India, middle East and the rest of the undeveloped areas such as Nepal. We are already consuming the newly defrosted Antarctic.

    Equalization of wealth
    Wealth is not just mediums like money, Wealth is everything that is considered valuable. Developed knowledge, technologies, morals, living, those are all value. It must be shared equally among all human beings.

    Our food supply can be sustained easily by our developed technologies. There are already many methods of applications in efficient crop production, from permaculture to electro-culture, ultrasonic aeroponic and. Complete sustainability is already achieve with many methods of fertilization with air ionization, waste and manure, ocean derived chlorides etc.

    Ultra-eco-friendly dwelling are already perfected and still evolving. Energy consumption is reduced to zero in ideal climates and some designs are already net energy generators.

    But these issues are small little things, our Big issue at hand is our own self, our psyche and the Master Minds that controls the conditioning of it. We human beings are destined to achieve greatness beyond our physical world.

    So may it be.

  • Fukushima update by Arnie Gundersen – not looking good in Japan


    Truly not good news.

  • Fukushima radiation does not look good, Libya conflicts does not look good, Greece economic chaos does not look good, Somali famine does not look good, US debt does not look good.

    SO WHAT! what can you possibly do that will make any change. Nothing, absolutely nothing. Sure you can buy some freedom with your money, create some psychological pleasure in donatin to some organization, but your own action has just created a whole train of suffering reactions.

    You can continue with the same issue, the same sorrow and misery, the same fear and agony day in and day out.

    And nothing will ever change.

  • our Big issue at hand is our own self, our psyche and the Master Minds that controls the conditioning of it.

    This statement seems to be near the centre of your philosophy. Your entire philosophy depends upon the ability of 7 billion people to change how they think and live, rise up against the Masters by refusing to cooperate further, and implementing a new enlightened world using technology as the great enabler to a sustainable society.

    Remove yourself for a moment from this context and see where we are today as a global society with all the problems both you and I have expounded upon. What do you think the probability is that the whole of humanity would adopt your view? If you are honest and objective with yourself, you will be forced to the conclusion that it is highly unlikely that people will come around to your way of thinking in the near to intermediate future – they have had thousands of years to do so, yet haven’t. Indeed, we as a society wander further and further from that, especially in the last 200+ years as you indicate. And do you think TPTB would co-operate with such a proposal? I think not.

    What you fail to recognise is that we are short-term creatures. We really as a species do not look beyond our immediate needs and desires. It is a genetic thing built in over many years. And that is a really bad problem when it comes to dealing with long-term dangers like CO2 poisoning or non-renewable resource consumption which takes many many years to come to a head. By the time we wake up to it, and perhaps even prepared to make the necessary changes, we find that it is way past the time when corrections are possible. This is among the issues we face today. And yet you almost casually propose that we change this creature characteristic of ours almost over-night (relative to thousands of years).

    What do you think will happen if humanity does not adopt your view? As you are entirely relying upon a huge “IF, then” clause in your solution set, you must consider this possibility, must you not? What is our destiny if we refuse to adopt your philosophy?

  • SO WHAT! what can you possibly do that will make any change. Nothing,

    At last we agree upon something. But the above statement is much more in line with my reasoning than yours, especially as you insist we must change inwardly to affect change outwardly. And yet you say we can not possibly do anything that will make any change. You have an interesting philosophy indeed.

  • BTW, speaking of China, an interesting article by Business Insider recently:

    The TRUTH About Who Really Owns All Of America’s Debt

    So we would go bust if China foreclosed on the US? Not likely, according to the article.

    China’s percent of Total US Debt: 8%, about $1.1 trillion
    Total non-US share of US debt: 31.5%, $4.514 trillion
    Total US debt: $14,342,909,569,328.74

    Most of US debt is held by US domestic organisations and individuals.

  • Another interesting Business Insider article today:

    Citi’s Top Economist Says The Water Market Will Soon Eclipse Oil


  • At the end of the above article (you have to follow the links through all the water maps provided) the attention is turned to peak oil with a presentation made by Robert Hirsch at a recent ASPO-USA conference:


    Quote from the presentation:

    We believe that world oil production will likely stay on its current plateau & enter decline in 2-5 years

    His warning? Get ready NOW! In even the best mitigation scenario, it will take a decade to overcome the loss of production with alternatives. This depends upon a lot of factors and a decline rate of only 4% per year. The decline rate is likely to be greater than this (8-12%) within a few years of it kicking in.

    I believe that Hirsch is trying to put a good face on a very bad situation. Transport and agriculture will be heavily hit.

  • Victfor – problem list & pickle – wealth redistribution analysis: excellent!

  • This has been a lively discussion, indeed!

    Victor, of your 5 causes/problems, I find that the one of which almost all are in denial is overpopulation. It is also the root of all our problems. We would have none of the other problems without that one.

    But the frustrating bit is that overpopulation is the one issue that almost no one is willing to acknowledge and do anything about personally. I find people are more willing to accept peak oil than they are the idea that overpopulation is a problem and the only solution is to stop having children – particularly when it comes to them not having their own children. In an earlier essay in which suicide was discussed, very few indicated that they were willing to “take one for the team” and off themselves so as to relieve the planet a little bit (I know I’m not). I’m not suggesting that as a course of action, but rather as an indication as to why this is such a major issue. Our will to survive and procreate is so strong that it outweighs almost all other reasoning and ultimately will lead to our undoing.

    As to John Rember’s essay above, entertaining, but before anyone – China or otherwise – attempted to “foreclose” on the U.S., I feel certain that nuclear weapons would fly. That’s a sleeping giant that I dread to see awakened, but yet, I feel that surely it will be. I can see how the powers that be could rationalize their use with flawed reasoning that it kills multiple birds with one stone, so to speak. Overpopulation and all it’s resulting problems is addressed, the effect of peak resources is lessened, there is more food, etc. All we need are a few more radicals elected to office and we might find out first hand how all that would play out.

  • njon,

    “Navid (sic), are all human beings that arrogant?.”

    Honestly njon, “Arrogance” has nothing to do with this any more than arrogance has anything to do with gravity, or the speed of light.

    Very simply, for better or worse, it turns out Lamarck was at least partially correct – our environment, including and especially our ‘culture’- alters our genetics (without changing our genetic code). I am not placing a value judgment on this fact – it just simply is “the truth” as best we can tell, using science (i.e. sticking to the observable and measureable universe).

    “Who would one waste their precious time with dream stories of self proclaimed spiritual leaders.”

    “Dream stories” impact our future dramatically – again, for better or worse. “Day-dreaming” appears to have evolved because it helped the organism anticipate (predict)the future. It is a involuntary as breathing. Do you like breathing – is breathing good or bad?????

    Personally, I am glad I am aware of breathing, even if it just gives me one more thing to worry about (one more thing to take responsibility for ; ).

    I have no idea what you are talking about when you say “spiritual leaders”… you lost me there.

    “Which deity granted them superiority?.”

    I don’t understand this question, I personally have no relationship what-so-ever with anything resembling a “deity.” Also, I have no idea what you mean by “superiority” here.

    timesup for the day for me. back to the grind.

  • Dr. House – yes population is the unspeakable. Richard Heinberg identified this early on – the “P” word that must not be mentioned. And you are correct that our biological urges to survive and reproduce are very active here. I would also add that we have divorced ourselves from the natural world and thus our thoughts and emotions are skewed. I’ve wondered if postpartum depression might be rooted in a biological program that would make infanticide easier for hunter-gatherers if they are in a time of short food. I understand that a mother rabbit will eat young babies in similar situations. Also as one ages one feels time weighing heavy on the body and the connect to life begins to wane. I have seen that in others, I have noted it in myself. This might help the elderly to willingly go into the wild to help the tribe when they begin to be a drain rather than a help.

    Whatever it seems we are making a world so devoid of amenable climate, rich soil, wild food stocks and full of pollution. Thus we are making a world that, should humans survive, will keep us in check. At some point after a large dieoff the “enemy” will again be nature and we will be so busy eking out our daily food that we will be “de-clawed”

    But as you note and as I immediately thought when reading John’s essay, it is hard to imagine a future in which the nukes don’t fly. Would TPTB in the US ever let China take us over – I think “last man standing” is the game that will be played and the likely result is “no man standing”.

  • Getting Closer

    To August 2 that is.

    So E.J.Dionne Jr.,writes in todays Washington Post,”Republicans need to decide whether they want to be responsible conservatives or whether they will let the Tea Party destroy the House That Lincoln Built in a
    glorious explosion”.

    Actually there is a simple short term fix.The US government can emulate
    the State of California,and issue vouchers in lieu of US Dollars,to all it’s contractors,suppliers,employees,armed forces,ect.These vouchers are government i.o.u.’s.A vigorous market will appear to discount this paper,and then we’ll soon know what the US Government’s promises to pay
    are worth.

    All the charlatans and crooks,who regularly rip off the government to
    the tune of billions of dollars per year will have to take a hair cut
    on this deal.You can’t imagine what fun we’ll have.

    Double D

  • Pickle,

    “… unicorn rainbow-farts and fairy wishes…”


    Michael Irving

  • This is not a philosophy, it is a living reality that no one can describe. It is an awareness of our own action and the reactions that comes thereafter. It is complete understanding of the subtle influence that shapes our own thinking.

    When you come upon this understanding, the real threat ceases to continue it’s destruction. The real threat is the influence over your own life, thinking and living. You do not need to fight or act aggressive and violent towards anyone or anything.

    The population is not an issue, it’s growth is the result of suffering human beings seeking biological security from extinction. We have gone to poor countries and educate its inhabitants, their reproduction drops dramatically and they seek security just like us in consumption. The result is always an environmental catastrophe as the resources of nature is the food to satisfy their endless appetite.

    When each individual human is fully cleansed of self-pollution, completely aware of their own action, we will no longer consume the goods and services that empowers TPTB. Those TPTB will naturally lose their own war, they will be only playing with themselves, a video game type reality.

    All of these issues that you re all so occupied with are false illusory psychological warfare waged to induce fear amongst human beings. All of the News and worldly affairs are designed protocols to influence and control our own living and thinking. So there is nothing that anyone can do to make a change.

    But if you are aware of your own crisis, you will reach discernment. A choiceless understanding with complete awareness and attention to everything that is happening. And out of that realization, you can make the REAL change, the life of living dynamic truth that is self learned and self lived.

  • Fictions and dream stories are for emotional hungry children.

    Some different food for thinking, a different perspective.
    Pay as you eat psychological refreshment.

    And lastly, bring some excitement into your perspective, perhaps some international thinking cuisine
    Presstv.com – Real life action, violence and killing in the middle east.
    Rt.com – Keiser report is quite delicious.
    english.cntv.cn – Refreshing news wihout the hypnotic voice.

  • http://presstv.com/
    Mass media free news reporting.

    Look for the clip with Guy Mcpherson

    Finally, fresh clean TV reporting without the nauseate inducing hypnosis.

  • re methane releasing

    Micha Ruhl and researchers from the Nordic Center for Earth Evolution at the University
    of Copenhagen in Denmark have found that the mass extinction
    of half of Earth’s marine life over 200 million years ago was likely the result of a giant release of carbon methane in the atmosphere.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/07/21/mass-extinction-caused-by-earths-burp/#ixzz1SnNDDDor

  • And lastly, bring some excitement into your perspective, perhaps some international thinking cuisine.

    And lastly, bring some excrement into your perspective, perhaps some international stinking cuisine. 

  • Why do Americans always think someone is trying to invade them? I would be shocked to say the least to find out that China, as an example, had invasion plans. If you really think about this, someone would be insane to invade America. Indeed, the worry should be the other way around – what other country has 700-1000 military installations spread over the earth in virtually every country of the world – and growing almost daily? Who else threatens invasion at the drop of a hat in the name of “spreading democracy and freedom” and “protecting civilians” and “removing ‘evil’ leaders of those countries”? Who else so readily employs acts of war such as an economic blockade against their perceived enemies (and there are SO many of them!)?

    America is the most tirelessly aggressive country the world has ever known, and yet its government fills its people from birth with fears of invasion.

  • Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion

    A counterweihht to xiaocal & Professor Know.

  • Victor.
    “America is the most tirelessly aggressive country the world has ever known, and yet its government fills its people from birth with fears of invasion.”
    I truly love this.
    Besides, it is not America, it is the US and its puppets, most of the puppets here in the EU with imbecile leaders like Sarkozy and Cameron.

    I’ve been writing, ringing governments, embassies and so forth, to let them know, it is not in everybody’s name that they are waging the next “just” war, this time on Libya. You know who didn’t answer? The US embassy, I’m going to ring them today again. Ridiculous action? At the moment my only means to act, so that’s what I do.

    Found this article on Al Jazeera, the next lamewash media, but this piece I found telling. I remember, especially when trying to get people off medication, they fight for their “meds” as if it was religious something.

    Now the comments at the top, Gary and SmokeyWest show the correlation between those two? issues.

    And a piece for laughter,clearly showing that also brilliance exists within the US population (besides the participants and master here, of course, lol) -the explanation as to why, hell must be exothermic and cannot freeze:

    Have fun,
    Love & Peace on earth.

  • Professor Know said: “Fictions and dream stories are for emotional hungry children.”

    Emotional hungry children. Feed them first and then read them fairy tales right before bed.

    Count me in. I’m emotionally hungry. For dream stories and community and justice and health and happiness.

    I can’t tell if you’re saying this with a negative connotation or not.

  • The subtle fear factory and life long condition of the American.

  • USA Waging war upon its own citizens