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The torture of not knowing

Fri, Dec 13, 2013

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by Carolyn Baker at Speaking Truth to Power

Unknown

In the age of catastrophic climate change and two years following the horrifying meltdown of reactors at Fukushima’s nuclear power plant, we realize that both phenomena are profoundly impacting our species and the earth community. What we don’t know with certainty is the exact extent of the damage being done. In Alex Smith’s recent Radio Ecoshock interview with Robert Way of the University of Ottowa, Way explained that official figures greatly underestimate global heating. In his groundbreaking new paper, Way asserts that the EPA has low-balled methane emissions in the U.S. by half, and Way’s findings were also published by the Guardian in a November 13 article “Global Warming Since 1997 More Than Twice As Fast As Previously Estimated.”

 

More recently the Japanese government has sought to pass a state secrets law that would place severe penalties on leakers of government secrets and journalists who might attempt to dig deeper than official government reports regarding the status of Fukushima. As one who has been following updated reports on Fukushima for months, I can attest to what appears to be a dramatic decrease of coverage. Only two weeks ago Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) informed the world that it would be attempting to remove some 1500 damaged fuel rods from Reactor 4—a highly delicate and daunting task which some observers speculated could result in the breakage of rods and result in massive doses of radiation escaping. We have heard little about how the procedure is unfolding, and overall, coverage of the state of the Fukushima plant for nearly three years has been sparse, with little attention being paid to it by mainstream media.

 

As with the more specific aspects of catastrophic climate change, the most significant details of the consequences of the Fukushima disaster are not available to us unless we dig deeply for them, and even then, it seems obvious that many pieces of the puzzle are just simply missing. Thus we are confronted with two issues that are probably the most life-threatening to our planet, but we sit with more unknowns than knowns. Indeed the most torturous aspect of any life-threatening situation is not knowing.

 

Recently, my friend Mike Ruppert lost his dog Rags. During that time Mike was frantic to find his beloved companion, and all of us who love both of them were deeply pained by their separation. Where was Rags? Who knew? Mike had scoured the region where he lives but to absolutely no avail. Had Rags been devoured by coyotes, mountain lions, bears—had he been hit by a car or perhaps stolen? For me, it’s one thing to be separated from my forever canine friend, and quite another not to know where or how he is. If he becomes ill and has to be put down, at least I know. But oh the heartache of losing a pet and not knowing where or how they are! Fortunately, Mike found his dog in a few days.

No more not knowing, but the torture of not knowing is inexplicable.

 

With catastrophic climate change we do know two things: We know that it is progressing with unimaginable speed, and we know that if it continues to do so, there will be few habitable places on earth by mid-century. Yet what else are we not being told? Does the silence matter? Will it make a difference ultimately?

 

With Fukushima, however, we know so much less. How much radiation has already been released? How much is being released every day? How much radiated water is actually being dumped into the Pacific Ocean every day? What is the actual size of the radiation plumes that are moving eastward in the Pacific toward the West Coast of North America? Specifically how are these affecting sea life and human life? What is the relationship between environmental illnesses or the incidence of cancer and Fukushima?

 

And the questions exacerbate and spin and swirl in our minds.

 

The absolute bottom line with both catastrophic climate change and the consequences of Fukushima: We simply don’t know most of the information we should know about these two horrific realities.

 

Industrial civilization has socialized us to know. All of our educational systems dictate that information, particularly accumulating as much as possible, is the brass ring. You either know or you don’t know, and if you don’t know, you are dis-empowered because, we are incessantly told, “knowledge is power.” So in this culture, if you don’t know and can’t find out, then your best course of action is to ignore, deny, or pretend there’s nothing to know. Hence the dearth of reporting on either of the two life-threatening issues I’m addressing here. Most human beings on this planet cannot bear to know that the game may be over by mid-century or that she or he will develop cancer as a result of Fukushima radiation.

 

The paradigm of the scientific revolution and ultimately industrial civilization left no room for uncertainty. Twentieth-century physicists such as Einstein, Bohr, Planck, Schrodinger, and Heisenberg then pulled the rug out from under “certainty” with concepts such as “uncertainty,” “relativity,” and “wave mechanics.” These physicists plumbed the depths of ambiguity in the atomic particle and revealed to us the un-certainty with which it behaves. Nevertheless, tenacious attachment to certainty remained the mainstay of modern education.

 

From my perspective the root of modern humanity’s fundamental inner turmoil is the tension of these opposites: certainty and uncertainty. And while the study of relativity may be fun and fascinating, the mind demands answers, especially when confronted with the possibility of its own demise. When experts on nuclear radiation articulate grave concerns about the amount of radiation to which we are being exposed, we either turn a deaf ear or demand “proof.” How then is it possible to live with the uncertainty of our fate?

 

Our ancient ancestors had much more experience with navigating uncertainty than we have. From their perspective, the greater wisdom is not to flee uncertainty or deny it, but rather immerse ourselves in it. Verbalizing a piece of this wisdom, in her book Comfortable With Uncertainty, Buddhist teacher, Pema Chodron writes that “Sticking with uncertainty is how we learn to relax in the midst of chaos, how we learn to be cool when the ground beneath us suddenly disappears.” In other words, willingly enter the uncertainty and abide there, allowing the tension, fear, sorrow, and extreme vulnerabililty. “We practice dropping whatever story we are telling ourselves,” Pema Chodron says, “and lean into the emotions and the fears…We make the choice, moment by moment, to be fully here.”

 

Why do we do this? Because the uncertainty, the fear, the vulnerability, the grief, and yes, the seeming unfairness of it all have something to teach us about being human—about being part of, not separate from, this extraordinary planet. And they have something to teach us about connecting with our own and other species. The ultimate lesson is one of compassion: for ourselves, for other species and other humans. Compassion means that I see your darkness, and you see mine, and as a result, we can be more present with each other. “Compassion becomes real,” according to Chodron, “when we recognize our shared humanity.”

 

Openness to uncertainty may also allow us to explore other ways of knowing that are neither rational nor linear, yet reveal what is so. My friend Mike is a tracker and has learned to honor myriad methods of knowing. At his wits end, he called a friend who called another friend living in India who has extraordinary psychic abilities, and that friend described the area in which Mike’s dog was wandering. Mike drove there, and voila! Dear old Rags.

 

Opening to uncertainty guarantees that sooner or later, the heart will open, and when it does, we get to love and be loved—in spite of our bewildering fallibility. The playing field is leveled, no one gets to be special or exempt from the suffering inherent in the human condition. We discover that we need each other despite our inordinate obsession with independence. So much of what mattered before in our prison of certainty matters so little now. Or as Pema Chodron summarizes: “Never underestimate the power of compassionately recognizing what’s going on.”

 

In times of extreme uncertainty such as we are currently experiencing—in times of wandering through the maze of conflicting facts and theories, one of our most trusted allies may be poetry—reading it, writing it, and reciting it to others by heart. Yes, “by heart” which is another way of saying “from the heart.” Prose is linear and more aligned with certainty whereas poetry values our uncertainty and the twists and turns of our frail human condition.

 

The poet Jane Hirshfield captures our predicament in “Against Certainty”:

 

There is something out in the dark that wants to correct us.
Each time I think “this,” it answers “that.”
Answers hard, in the heart-grammar’s strictness.

If I then say “that,” it too is taken away.

Between certainty and the real, an ancient enmity.
When the cat waits in the path-hedge,
no cell of her body is not waiting.
This is how she is able so completely to disappear.

I would like to enter the silence portion as she does.

To live amid the great vanishing as a cat must live,
one shadow fully at ease inside another.

Hirshfield gives us a priceless phrase, “the great vanishing,” which succinctly captures the fundamental essence of the time in which we live. Clean air, pure water, unadulterated food, and 200 species per day—all vanishing. And we along with them. Perhaps like the cat, we are all in the process of learning how to “completely disappear.” Like the cat we are waiting, but hopefully not simply to disappear. Our disappearance must serve a purpose, and in order for that to happen, we are waiting and working, waiting and loving, waiting and making amends, waiting and making the demise of other species less agonizing.

 

In the torture of not knowing, we are “challenged to stay in touch with the heart-throbbing quality of being alive,” says Pema Chodron because “things are as bad and as good as they seem.”

__________

Going Dark is available from the publisher here, from Amazon here, from Amazon on Kindle here, from Barnes & Noble on Nook here, and as a Google e-book here. Going Dark was reviewed by Carolyn Baker at Speaking Truth to Power and by P. Schneider at Amazon. As with my other books, Going Dark will lose money even before I start giving away copies.

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96 Responses to “The torture of not knowing”

  1. mike k Says:

    Thanks for sharing, Carolyn. We need to talk to each other in the eerie silence that sometimes descends on our beach of doom. Does it matter that we do so? Of course it does; our conversation itself regardless of any other outcome makes us truly human, conscious participants in life, sharing our minds and hearts, caring about this great tragedy that is enfolding us. To go into all that is unfolding now in denial, unconscious, is not worthy of those striving to be human among others similarly striving in their various ways. Let us at least face our destiny in awareness, even if it hurts us, angers us, frightens us, saddens us…. Let us face it all with others who are daring to become conscious of the desperate truths that are being revealed, the terrible consequences that are playing out….

  2. B9K9 Says:

    On the previous thread, U sputtered “(You are) so obnoxious and loathsome as to be beyond being worth more than a passing note of disgust.”

    The cool think about U, and I guess progressives in general, is that they either don’t understand how the global economy works, or possess mere fragments of information, but cannot put all the pieces together, or are entirely disingenuous.

    Let me explain: U is an unmarried, childless, 60-something misanthrope who lives on the public dole in Wales. That means, as a ward of the state, his housing, utilities (gas, heat, electricity, telephone/TV), food & health are financed by economic surplus generated by tax donkeys who are forced to provide for the general welfare of others.

    But what particular economic activity, what segment of the global economy, does the UK enjoy such a unique advantage that it is able to generate this said ‘surplus’? That’s a laugh, since around 1900, the UK has been playing a financial ponzi after it ceded productive output to Germany. (Hence, the casus belli for WWI, but that’s another story.)

    So there isn’t any surplus; rather, there’s a massive black hole no different from the other vassal states of the USA: Canada, ANZAC & Japan, etc. In other words, the UK’s entire basis for existence is the critical linkage to US dollar hegemony. And what is a global reserve currency printed out of the pure blue sky based upon? Guns. Force. Might makes right.

    As an aside, does anyone ever wonder why the holders of $trillons upon $trillions of US paper promises, like the Chinese, Japanese, Germany and MENA countries simply don’t purchase vast tracts of productive land, or take controlling interests in companies like Lockheed Marietta, Monsanto, IBM, General Electric, JP Morgan Chase, et al? Because, dear readers, it would be considered a hostile act, so they are forced to repatriate their worthless dollars for equally worthless treasury bonds. Some deal, huh?

    Anyway, when I make statements recognizing these facts, and note that armed with bio/chem/nuke weapons, the US and its friends are never going to let go, I am criticized for exhibiting “nationalism”, rather than be recognized for simply calling a spade a spade as an objective observer.

    Now, here’s where this comment ties together: there isn’t one landowner, whether it’s a doomsteader like Guy, a permaculture farmer, an organic farmer, a commercial farmer, or just a business/homeowner, that isn’t benefiting from the ongoing Federal reserve policy of debasing & destroying the dollar’s value, thereby driving (nominal) asset values higher.

    But it doesn’t just stop there. The dollar is a debt based mechanism, so credit must continually expand in order to cover interest charge accruing from previous balances. This is the core, underlying driver of why global GDP “must” constantly expand: it has to cover the interest nut.

    So, let’s summarize: U is wholly dependent on UK public welfare; the UK economy (and thus, welfare system) is entirely dependent on the US dollar reserve system; a debt based US dollar can survive ONLY as long as economic activity increases each and every second around the world. Ergo, U’s entire being is 100% dependent on daily destruction of the planet.

    Get it? Laying out the dirty, cold facts of life doesn’t make one a supporter, it just demonstrates knowledge. But criticizing the truth, while hiding behind the very comforts it provides, is the acme of hypocrisy.

  3. mike k Says:

    As to not knowing – it is strange how often a blessing may lie hidden within a curse. If there is any hope left for humankind, it lies in the uncertainty of our fate. Black swans may unexpectedly fly forth from the depths of the darkness of unknowing. An ancient text bids us to cast our prayers into that mystery…

  4. Joan M. Says:

    (I sent this through earlier but am not seeing it on the feed.)

    pat’s interesting quote:

    However, the 15% of the population that consumes 80% of the resources will realize that the time for honoring themselves will soon be at an end. The only question is “when?”

    —————

    Someone who believes that humanity will resolve all problems sent me this today (I’m surrounded by the “winners” of society):

    5 Reasons blah blah blah

  5. marlowe Says:

    this is beautiful, guy. thank you.

  6. marlowe Says:

    oops, hadn’t realized it was carolyn! thank you, carolyn (and guy for posting this)

  7. Tom Says:

    Carolyn: thanks again for another essay dealing with reality and our place in it. On Fukushima, Hatrick Penry (aka Tony Muga) has put out a video based on his reading of pertinent FOIA documents regarding it and says that the #4 fuel pool emptying process is a dog-and-pony show designed to keep our attention off of # 1 – 3 reactors that have completely melted down. According to his take, everything at Fukushima blew up into the atmosphere when the tsunami and earthquake hit and that we’ve been doused by radiation in the atmosphere (raining out and soaking into the ground, effecting all food crops and animal feed) since then – and it’s only getting worse, since they decided to just go ahead and dump all the radioactive water flowing under the area into the Pacific because they can’t stop it.

    The Pacific Ocean, as we’ve seen with the many species die-offs of late (manatees, starfish, birds and more), is dying and experiencing “weirdness” and all that radiation is coming to the west coast of north America in the next few months. Expect cancer rates and genetic mutation on a very large scale within the next few years and going forward, both here and in Japan. The rest of the world is also being effected by this.

    There’s no “safe” dose of radiation. Things are becoming terrible, ugly and unbearable. I’m having a very hard time dealing with this knowledge because my youngest and most successful son is living right on the coast (walking distance to the Pacific) in California (moved there for a great job 2 years back).

    Some more news:

    http://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/scientists-find-east-antarctica-is-sliding-sideways/

    Scientists find East Antarctica is sliding sideways

    (read the short post, which ends with)

    This finding is significant, Konfal said, because we use these crustal motions to understand ice loss. “We’re witnessing expected movements being reversed, so we know we really need computer models that can take lateral changes in mantle properties into account.” Wilson said that such extreme differences in mantle properties are not seen elsewhere on the planet where glacial rebound is occurring. “We figured Antarctica would be different,” she said. “We just didn’t know how different.” –Space Daily

  8. Tom Says:

    Blocking the Keystone pipeline turns out to be no big deal to the powers that be – they just figure out another way to wreak havoc and get their way.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/12/13/3061561/trains-north-dakota-oil-keystone/

    Trains From North Dakota Will Now Carry More Crude Oil Than Keystone XL Would

    (begins)

    A top official at North Dakota’s Mineral Resources Department said Thursday that as much as 90 percent of the state’s crude will move by freight rail in 2014, just one day before announcing record oil production of almost 1 million barrels per day — or approximately 5 percent of total U.S. oil consumption.

    A million barrels a day is more than the capacity of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport 830,000 barrels per day. The fact, according to Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), has led some in the oil industry to believe that heavy crude oil derived from Canada’s tar sands will find a way to refineries regardless of whether Transcanada’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline is approved.

    “Even if President Obama rejects the pipeline, it might not matter much,” CRG said, noting that the recent crude-by-rail boom is good news for tar sands advocates. “Tar sands advocates are happy to promote the idea that continued development of the tar sands is inevitable because it implies that opposition to Keystone XL is futile and that Americans should therefore cash in on its jobs and construction expenditures before somebody else does.”

  9. Tom Grizzle Says:

    It is possible to become comfortable with uncertainty, not knowing, I am a self employed consultant for 11 years and when from a corporate job of a certain paycheck to it all being on me. At first the uncertainty was not so great, but now it makes me feel more alive, putting me on edge a bit. Discomfort is a natural state, just like comfort, and how we process it between our ears is so important. I am not an advocate of being delusional, just that it is possible to become comfortable with uncertainty.

    Also, I once went a year without news and it was great. I’m back into reading news again and it sucks, but I am drawn to it anyway. I am thinking about checking out again. I’m thinking, whether or not little ol’ insignificant me knows what is going on “out there” does not make a hill of beans, so why not check out, for sanity’s sake, at least for blocks of time here and there, or maybe even never to return. Whatever happens will happen, whether we anticipate it or not.

    Cheers! (so to speak)

  10. Robin D. Says:

    the mind demands answers, especially when confronted with the possibility of its own demise.

    First question: Who is the knower?

    In other words, willingly enter the uncertainty and abide there,

    Before that, find out FOR CERTAIN, who is the knower is.

    Compassion means that I see your darkness, and you see mine, and as a result, we can be more present with each other.

    The light may appear faint as it comes through a tiny chink, but there is only light. The clear window works both ways: to let the Divine Light into the world, and to let the Divine Light reflected off the world into the mind. Not even the tiniest goes unrecognised as a portal (NOT a source!) for the Divine Light. The sun, however, does not have windows.

    An apprentice to a sage sought to understand darkness: he took a lamp and ventured out on a very dark night, but everywhere darkness recoiled from him.

    The playing field is leveled, no one gets to be special or exempt from the suffering inherent in the human condition.

    Again, exactly WHO is suffering?

    We discover that we need each other

    There is no “other” when it is recognised that there is no “I”.

    Prose is linear and more aligned with certainty

    “Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.” -Robert Frost

    process of learning how to “completely disappear.”

    Neither the mirage not the “water” it produces has to disappear. One only has to recognise it for what it is. Likewise, neither the “I” nor the perception of it has to disappear. One has to recognise it for what it is.

    Our disappearance must serve a purpose

    Both appearance and disappearance have as their only purpose, roles in the Divine Play. It is up to each individual to play to the best of one’s ability, one’s assigned role, while recognising that none other than the Self masquerading as all selves is the Divine Playwright.

  11. Robin Datta Says:

    Eaten by NBL twice already:

    the mind demands answers, especially when confronted with the possibility of its own demise.

    First question: Who is the knower?

    In other words, willingly enter the uncertainty and abide there,

    Before that, find out FOR CERTAIN, who is the knower is.

    Compassion means that I see your darkness, and you see mine, and as a result, we can be more present with each other.

    The light may appear faint as it comes through a tiny chink, but there is only light. The clear window works both ways: to let the Divine Light into the world, and to let the Divine Light reflected off the world into the mind. Not even the tiniest goes unrecognised as a portal (NOT a source!) for the Divine Light. The sun, however, does not have windows.

    An apprentice to a sage sought to understand darkness: he took a lamp and ventured out on a very dark night, but everywhere darkness recoiled from him.

    The playing field is leveled, no one gets to be special or exempt from the suffering inherent in the human condition.

    Again, exactly WHO is suffering?

    We discover that we need each other

    There is no “other” when it is recognised that there is no “I”.

    process of learning how to “completely disappear.”

    Neither the mirage not the “water” it produces has to disappear. One only has to recognise it for what it is. Likewise, neither the “I” nor the perception of it has to disappear. One has to recognise it for what it is.

    Our disappearance must serve a purpose

    Both appearance and disappearance have as their only purpose, roles in the Divine Play. It is up to each individual to play to the best of one’s ability, one’s assigned role, while recognising that none other than the Self masquerading as all selves is the Divine Playwright.

  12. Ram Samudrala Says:

    I don’t think there’s a torture about not knowing. The truly knowlegeable person knows that the more they know, the more there is to not know. I use the analogy of making a clearing in middle of the forest (where we are). As we expand the clearing, say circularly, the edge of the forest increases in proportion to the circumference of the circle being cleared. So in this situation the more we start to know (the clearing) there is an even more greater amount we see that we don’t know (the edge of the clearing). Knowledge is like that. The more we shine light on things, the more things there are to shine light on.

    And I agree it’s important to be comfortable with the lack of not knowing. I think the issue in your essay is deeper than just knowledge. Knowing alone won’t help: so what if you knew that massive amounts of radiation are being leaked into the Pacific? So what if you knew that the movement of the rods could create an environmental disaster? It’s the lack of control over the process that’s truly bothersome to people. But again, as with knowledge, our ability to control events is an illusion.

    Which is why I named one of my daughter’s Maya (which means illusion in Sanskrit). Her name expands to Mayashanti, which means illusion of peace. That is the world we live in.

  13. Wren Says:

    @ Ram
    The bigger you build the bonfire, the more darkness is revealed.”
    - Terence McKenna

    @b9k9

    Whether Ulvfg is being supported by public funds doesn’t bother me. The minute you take a job and salary you are invested in the destructive process of this world economy.
    I can’t think of any way to avoid it, at least in the US.
    Even if you are an artist, your clients are plugged in to the system, and they must either like your work or see it as a good investment before they will consider buying, and this includes museums.

    Supporting our artists and philosophers and independent thinkers seems a good use of tax dollars to me – all the less they have to spend on roads and clear-cutting. When this all crumbles and the us dollar world economy is toast, Ulvgf’s life will change in interesting ways, but by then we’ll all be in the soup together!

    K9, normally I enjoy reading your take on things, and this post is interesting too, with your knowledge of the economy, I just happen to disagree on that one point. I also refuse to buy stock in Mon$anto even if it would make me wealthy.

  14. Dc Says:

    Not too far off topic, here is an essay that argues that NTE is probably the good scenario (courtesy of Ran Prieur):

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2013/12/09/249728994/what-happened-on-easter-island-a-new-even-scarier-scenario

  15. Mister BelleIslander Says:

    @b9k9 – I wish to inform you that with just his little finger ‘ulvfugl’ undoubtedly contributes more to the greater good of this world than a sleaze like you might be able to do in even a dozen of your selfishly miserable life-times. Haven’t you yet caught on that you and your thinking tend to consistently get rated as being even lower than whale crap on this site? I don’t believe that anyone anymore wants to hear about your supposedly superior airs or nonsense. Especially that nonsense that you are going to be one of the last persons left standing after the inevitable staging of WW III once that global climate-change crisis should really start hitting the fan. Sure, a person like you who in their present day real life appears to be nothing but a ignorant paid troll, is in the end going to be amongst the very last persons standing because your supposedly shrewd investments are somehow going to save you? You’re a fool!

  16. ulvfugl Says:

    @ B9K9

    Seems I touched a nerve, eh, B9K9, and provoked you to reveal your accountant’s worldview in all its mean and sordid nastiness. Nonetheless, I’m glad you are here to represent that position which you always do with clarity and strength.

    I’ll address a couple of points. I would not call myself ‘a progressive’.

    I believe I understand how the world economy works just as well as you do.

    As for me being a ‘ward of the state’ as you term it. The deal was, after WW2, that we, the people, contributed part of our earnings into a National Insurance scheme, so that anyone who needed it would receive health care and be provided for. The Welfare State, so called.

    This was because the ordinary working folk thought that, as a decent and civilised nation, it was not seemly to be stepping over sick starving homeless people in the streets. The right wing conservative capitalist elite, who think as you do, were against this, but it went through. I have paid my full dues into that scheme so I am fully entitled, legally and morally, to what I receive out of it.

    I believe I’m correct in saying that the income I receive puts me in the poorest 10% in UK terms and in the richest 10% in global terms.

    As for your analysis of Britain’s financial relationships with Germany, USA, Japan, the Fed, JP Morgan, Monsanto, blahblah, well, I’m not responsible for any of THAT am I.

    We are all forced to compromise, to some degree. Just to exist creates an ecological footprint. What I attempt to do, have attempted to do for many decades, is to minimise my footprint, and to maximise my resistance to everything that I consider to be wrong.

    That’s the big difference between our positions, isn’t it ? You are quite happy to go along for the ride enjoying whatever you can get. I consider that to be fundamentally immoral.

    I read this on the internet, assume it’s correct :

    ..take the case of George Soros, who, when questioned about his role as a Nazi collaborator in 1944 Budapest, where he helped to strip condemned Jews of their possessions, stated that he felt no guilt about this whatsoever:

    “But there was no sense that I shouldn’t be there, because that was–well, actually, in a funny way, it’s just like in markets–that if I weren’t there–of course, I wasn’t doing it, but somebody else would–would–would be taking it away anyhow. And it was the–whether I was there or not, I was only a spectator, the property was being taken away. So the–I had no role in taking away that property. So I had no sense of guilt.”

    From an interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes, December 20, 1998

    I find that quite incomprehensible. That anyone could be like that. Not taking any responsibility for their actions.

    I think that, I am sufficiently self aware of all my actions and activities, that I cannot do anything that harms the biosphere without feeling very troubled. I mean that with the greatest seriousness.

    If I tread on a snail by mistake, I feel a bit sick, I’m sorry, I regret what I have done. It was living its life, doing me no harm. I’ve been clumsy and inconsiderate, I gain nothing by ending it’s existence.
    Even worse if it’s some more advanced – if that’s the right word – life form.

    I don’t give a fuck about your ‘nominal asset values’, I don’t give a fuck about your imperial ponzi scheme. What I care about is this living layer in the surface or the rock on this mountainside, and what’s happening out there in the oceans. If the government would get out of the way it would be quite straightforward for the local people to organise a system that provided for their needs here, that would have no connection to nuclear weapons or the Fed or any of that crap.

  17. Robin D. Says:

    The truly knowlegeable person knows that the more they know, the more there is to not know.

    Close. The surface of a sphere of the known is the zone of its interaction with the unknown, the area of the “known unknowns” (h/t Donald Rumsfeld). That is the region of the awareness of our ignorance. Beyond that lies the infinitude of the unknown unknowns, which is beyond our ken, outside awareness of ignorance. The volume of the sphere increases by the cube of the radius, while the surface increases by the square of the radius. The decrease in the surface area in relation to the volume leads to a correct perception that knowledge is increasing relative to ignorance. But just as another dimension is beyond the ken of Flatlanders, so too, what is beyond the area of ignorance remains beyond our ken, intellectually and experientially. (But not existentially, but that is a whole ‘nuther realm of enquiry).

    Maya has been illustrated many times by the rope-snake metaphor: that which makes one perceive a dimly lit rope as a snake. It requires some awareness of an object, the rope. The two components come into action, the first being obscuration of the nature of the rope, and the second being projection of the snake.

    In the case of the individual person, called (“avidya” ≈ “ignorance”). When the avidya is dispelled by knowledge (in the case of this metaphor, by additional light) the snake disappears, and the rope is seen by the author of the snake.

    In case of the universal, it is known as maya, the creative principle of the universe, which also operates through the powers of obscuration and projection to create all appearances in the universe. When one is not the author of the appearance, as in the appearance of water in a mirage, that appearance persists in spite of knowledge of the mirage, but the reaction to that appearance is quite different.

  18. Carrie Says:

    Certainty vs Uncertainty.

    Once upon a time in my life I had to “wait and see” if my son would live or die. I lived uncertainty to a degree I wish never to live again. At least I thought I had. But the truth is we are all stuck in “wait and see”. None of us know when we will die, if there is a God, whether all of this is one great cosmic joke.

    No the problem isn’t that we lived with certainty for so long. The problem is we lived with uncertainty since..well ever… and to be given ANY guarantee now rings false. I mean, even the most recognized teachings in the world are still referred to as theory.

    Yes we’ve been taught to seek the truth, but not one of us has been taught to recognize it and accept it, if anything we’ve been taught to question it. And even as the animals die, and we choke on the bitter decay of this world, a great many of us will still wonder what comes next… because certainly something, right?

  19. dairymandave Says:

    The oil companies frack and drill and ship by pipe or train because you enjoy using the oil. How else do you expect them to do it? Farmers use GMO and Roundup because you folks like to eat. How else do you expect them to do it? There is a lot of work out there but no one wants to do it…even with motors.

    The big ship hit the ice quite a while ago and now we scramble about trying to avoid the cold water approaching. We are in chaos, panic. The elite are busy chasing the blue diamond as if that matters. Only a few will choose to keep playing their violins. We are all on the boat.

    This blame game is a waste of time. No one is holier than thou. Get over it. The essays here on NBL are aiming to help us move on.

  20. Tom Says:

    https://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/arctic-methane-monster-shortens-tail-shakova-semiletov-study-shows-esas-emitting-methane-at-twice-expected-rate/

    Arctic Methane Monster Shortens Tail: Shakova, Semiletov Study Shows ESAS Emitting Methane at Twice Expected Rate

    Arctic Methane emissions have been a touchy subject ever since sporadic reports began trickling in during the mid-2000s that volumes of the gas coming from local sources were on the rise. Two of the scientists producing these reports, Igor Semiletov and Natalia Shakova have been observing a key region of the Arctic called the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) since the mid 1990s. At that time, Semiletov and Shakova found no major emissions sources coming from this vast sea whose bottom is composed primarily of carbon-rich submerged tundra.

    That all changed in 2010 when an expedition led by Semiletov and Shakova discovered bubbling structures tens of meters across on the shallow and vulnerable ESAS sea bed. Returning in 2011, the pair were surprised and terrified by methane bubbling up from structures as large as 1 kilometer across. During this time Semiletov noted:

    “Earlier we found torch-like structures like this but they were only tens of metres in diameter. This is the first time that we’ve found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures, more than 1,000 metres in diameter. It’s amazing. I was most impressed by the sheer scale and high density of the plumes. Over a relatively small area we found more than 100, but over a wider area there should be thousands of them.”

    In the period of 2010 to 2013, other regions of the Arctic were also found to be emitting high volumes of both methane and CO2. These regions included but were not limited to Yedoma in Russia, other portions of the Siberian continental shelf, regions off of Svalbard, regions off of Greenland, and regions over Arctic Alaska and Canada (see NASA’s CARVE mission). Though the reports were sporadic and isolated, a picture began to emerge that the vast stores of Arctic carbon — totaling around 5,000 gigatons or a little less than ten times that already emitted via human fossil fuel burning — were beginning to contribute to the world’s atmospheric greenhouse gas stores.

    Concern, especially over methane which creates between 25-75 times more warming than an equal volume of CO2, was on the rise. ESAS again fell into focus because about 1,500 gigatons of carbon in the form of methane is thought to be sealed under a now perforated and rapidly melting layer of permafrost. And by winter of 2013, satellite measures were showing an increasing overburden of methane in the atmosphere above the Arctic. (there’s more)

  21. Grant Schreiber Says:

    “The absolute bottom line with both catastrophic climate change and the consequences of Fukushima: We simply don’t know most of the information we should know about these two horrific realities.”

    The “we” here is a small, almost invisible subset of the human race. Not only don’t most people know, many that have heard about it don’t care. There’s a larger number of people out there hoping climate change will mean a mild winter than the people out there freaking out over methane release from the arctic. Ignorance is Bliss. Despite nearly 40 years of warnings on climate change, when things are so obvious even those that listen to Rush Limbaugh religiously can’t deny them, most of the world will be caught completely by surprise. It’s ain’t going to be pretty.

    But this does once again bring to mind the t-shirt sporting I TOLD YOU SO on it.

  22. Andres Jimenez Says:

    George Monbiot? Are you serious? Next you’ll be posting something from Greenwald who is yet another establishmentarian in sheep’s clothing (and sometimes drag). Sibel Edmonds ripped gay Greenwald a new one. He and Monbiot are cut from the very same Intelligence cloth. Controlled opposition and U amplifies it for free.

    http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2013/12/08/checkbook-journalism-leaking-to-the-highest-bidders/

    Apparently nothing’s free; not even NTE. Even in prison, you have to work hard for your cigarettes.

    Oh, by the way, Sibel Edmonds is hot so if she’s controlled opposition I tip my hat to the selection of such a fine offering. She’s a feast for the eyes and she keeps my heart rate up so if she’s twisting the truth it doesn’t matter because she makes up for it with her beauty, and besides, there is no truth anyway; it’s all subjective.

  23. Tom Says:

    dairymandave: c’mon man “how else do you expect them to do it?” – when did you become a Monsanto spokesperson? I thought you were all organic, no pesticides, no herbicides, no BGH. Yeah, of course we like to eat, but we don’t like eating fucking poison! Geez Louise, do I have to explain it to you? This Roundup crap harms people and animals who eat crops sprayed with it and is linked to many diseases:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/25/roundup-herbicide-health-issues-disease_n_3156575.html

    Roundup, An Herbicide, Could Be Linked To Parkinson’s, Cancer And Other Health Issues, Study Shows

    (begins)

    Heavy use of the world’s most popular herbicide, Roundup, could be linked to a range of health problems and diseases, including Parkinson’s, infertility and cancers, according to a new study.

    The peer-reviewed report, published last week in the scientific journal Entropy, said evidence indicates that residues of “glyphosate,” the chief ingredient in Roundup weed killer, which is sprayed over millions of acres of crops, has been found in food.

    Those residues enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease, according to the report, authored by Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Anthony Samsel, a retired science consultant from Arthur D. Little, Inc. Samsel is a former private environmental government contractor as well as a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

    “Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body,” the study says.

    We “have hit upon something very important that needs to be taken seriously and further investigated,” Seneff said.

    Environmentalists, consumer groups and plant scientists from several countries have warned that heavy use of glyphosate is causing problems for plants, people and animals.

    B9K9: you’re going after the messenger in the same way you claim you are being unfairly judged by pointing out details of ulvfugl’s economic life. I’ve been reading your message of positioning oneself in the best possible position for the long collapse, but can’t take it to heart. You go for it, I’d rather just die-off quickly when the time comes than be alive to suffer longer in a severely degraded environment.

  24. mike k Says:

    @Ulvfugl – A widespread illusion among those somehow attracted to “spiritual” matters is that at some point one can “get it, and be enlightened”. In their imagination, after this point there is no more to be learned in this area, and one can just sit back and enjoy one’s enlightened status, while treating others still toiling in the fields of spiritual practice with condescension and mild pity at their cluelessness.

    The real path to spiritual growth is of course endless and full of difficulties. Shortcuts are illusory devices for wish fulfillment and ego gratification. Many are called but few are (self) chosen. Cheap substitutes for the real work abound and constitute obstacles to true paths. Fake gurus proclaim their own enlightenment, and promise an easy path to those who flock to them. Those still deep in the thralls of their own egos read of the facility and ease of Taoist Masters, and eagerly imagine that by somehow grasping with their mind what is written about all this, they can make a leap and suddenly stand on the same footing as their heroes.

    The truth is that the path is hard and the gate narrow that leads to spiritual growth, and few are they who find it and are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to progress beyond themselves.

  25. Bob S. Says:

    @Tom

    Perhaps you miss the point of dairymandave when he says “how else do you expect them to do it?” Perhaps that’s why you decided not to answer his question but instead decided to jump on the well worn Montsano is Evil soap box.

    OFC Roundup is a poison, GMO’s make us sick – most folks who bother to seek truth these days knows this, as every Facebook activist on the net is on a Montsano cut and paste attack :)

    The air we breathe is poison – the water we drink – we’ve mortally wounded our own Mother – But in my humble opinion, if we outlaw food – a whole lotta folks are gonna go hungry real quick.

    Folks like dairymandave have fed this world for generations – they now face a terrifying dilemma – so how else do you expect them to do it? Should an 80+ yo destroy his livelihood and that of all those who depend on it? Should he slaughter all his cows – rip down his barns and sell fucking dream catchers at a roadside stand?

    Please stop your cut and paste campaign against everyone you disagree with.

    Can’t we all just get along?]

    Just the fact that we are here together sharing our trials and tribulations is testament to who we are – join me in trying to respect that.

  26. Bob S. Says:

    mike k Says:

    “The truth is that the path is hard and the gate narrow that leads to spiritual growth, and few are they who find it and are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to progress beyond themselves.”

    Pretty well said. Prefix the above with “Perhaps” and I’ll consider raising your grade from B- to A. [if per chance you value the random judgements of a psudo-anonymous asshole on the internet] :)

  27. ulvfugl Says:

    @ mike k

    I replied to you on the previous thread but it has not appeared, it may do later, I hope.

    What you say may well be true. I’m not making any claim to ‘being enlightened’ or whatever. But I know what I know, and it’s really very simple, like these guys know what they know, they don’t need anyone else to tell them whether they can do it or not.

    You are eighty years old and seems to me you are still grinding away at this totally pointless ‘quest’ of yours, which is a comfortable habit, at the same time you wonder why everyone in the world doesn’t raise their level of consciousness, which, in your view is our only hope.

    Well, just think, if you’re speaking to someone of twenty, and they have to spend the next sixty years on this so-called ‘path’ that you speak of, and STILL be were you are, when we can expect that by 2080 this planet is very likely no longer habitable if the 6 deg C forecast comes about… Perhaps you are missing the point ?

    Perhaps the personal self-indulgence of achieving enlightenment via your route is not the highest priority ?

    And in any case, that is not my major criticism, but as I’ve already said it in the previous thread I’ll not repeat it.

  28. dairymandave Says:

    Tom: What else do expect us to do? I am aware of the health problems. Is there another chemical that you would recommend? It isn’t easy “feeding the world”. Yesterday I started at 3:00 AM and finished at 11:30…PM. And this is off season. Yet, at 70 I still won’t quit. Sitting around all day typing on my computer while someone else spoonfeeds me doesn’t appeal to me. I’m a work-olholic.

    Industrial civilization is full of poisons. Forget about clean foods. Dick Cheney was just being honest when he said “Our way of life is non-negotiable”.

    I could produce cleaner food but most likely would not be able to sell any of it. There wouldn’t be much. How much does Guy sell?

    If they take away the internet, we won’t know much. If they take away agriculture, we won’t eat much.

  29. mike k Says:

    @Ulvfugl – Monbiot is an idiot in love with nuclear power, and without a clue as to NTE. His rewilding is a fantasy with no chance of becoming reality.

    @dairyman Dave – I can sense your despair. Sorry it has come to that.

  30. Robin D. Says:

    A widespread illusion

    one can “get it, and be enlightened”

    Not just widespread, but virtually universal. As long as there reality attributed to the “one” who “gets it”, that one remains in the conditional world – and hasn’t “got it”. Recognising this, is a first step.

    The real path to spiritual growth is of course endless and full of difficulties.

    Full of difficulties, almost always. Almost but not quite endless. Much depends on the preparation and qualifications of the seeker.

    If the seeker is sufficiently ready, holding up a flower in silence by a Siddhartha Gautama can transmit the teaching in its fullness to Mahakashyapa, as in the Flower sermon. In another case it may require the teacher such as Tilopa to beat the student such as Naropa on the head with the student’s shoe. In yet other cases it may require the student, such as the Zen Second Patriarch to cut off one’s right arm and present it to the teacher such as Bodhidharma (the Zen First Patriarch).

    Indeed, if the student is sufficiently qualified as in the case of Dattatreya (also known as Avadhuta) the teacher can have six or eight legs, as in the cases of the mosquito and the spider. As is said “Your Mileage May Vary”. There is no cookie-cutter solution.

    Fake gurus proclaim their own enlightenment

    Anyone who thinks or says “”I” am enlightened” hasn’t dispelled the delusion of an “I”.

  31. Robin D. Says:

    Flower Sermon

  32. Martin Says:

    @ mike k

    Difficult balancing act you’re performing in that last comment, mike k, especially by using the phrase “true path.” Everyone’s life is a path of sorts. You are putting yourself in danger of being accused of the very spiritual materialism you abhor.

    There is no shortage of ways we in the West measure each other, and try to bring each other down: the car you drive, the house you own, the job title. Then someone from the East leans in and proclaims, “You are all sanpaku!”

  33. dairymandave Says:

    @mike k – Back in the good old days of Peak Oil, I had plans to do some sort of transition when things went down. My thinking was that folks would be more willing to work when they had to. I gave all that up. Yes, that’s despair. We have lots of land, water and woods. Could have been a whole community arrangement.

  34. Tom Says:

    dairymandave: what did farmers do before Monsanto? This new/modern way is awful. I agree that our way of life is polluted, but that doesn’t mean we have to keep doing it this unhealthy way. Maybe chemicals and genetically engineering the crops (that then in turn negatively influences the consumer) isn’t the answer. I’m sorry that you’re a work-o-holic and wish you relaxation where you can get it. You could be a consultant to many people trying out gardening but having no idea of the intricacies only learned through long experience, a resource, if you ever want to slow down. For example, I have about 3/4 acre of land I could plant on, there are four fruit trees and some tall trees (oaks, hickory and poplar). I’d appreciate looking at it from your perspective and your advise as to expanding my 8′ x 80′ garden to maximize what to and how to plant it, how to go about it without heavy machinery (except maybe initially if need be), crop rotation, off-season planting to replenish the soil, etc. In other words instead of you feeding the world, teaching, advising others to do it themselves. Just a thought.

    That, and Dick Cheney and “honest” don’t belong in the same sentence, imho. [the NSA will be at my door by morning, I'm sure]

  35. Gerald Spezio Says:

    Carolyn, your cavalier statements about certainty/uncertainty in science are both false & downright dangerous.

    “The paradigm of the scientific revolution and ultimately industrial civilization left no room for uncertainty. Twentieth-century physicists such as Einstein, Bohr, Planck, Schrodinger, and Heisenberg then pulled the rug out from under “certainty” with concepts such as “uncertainty,” “relativity,” and “wave mechanics.” These physicists plumbed the depths of ambiguity in the atomic particle and revealed to us the un-certainty with which it behaves. Nevertheless, tenacious attachment to certainty remained the mainstay of modern education.”

    Just one pertinent example, the Theory of Relativity.

    Einstein’s contemporary, mathematician Felix Klein, posited that the “theory of relativity” was both a pernicious misnomer & a dangerous distortion, most especially when stated out of context.

    Such literary distortions about the meaning of scientific relativity are rampant.

    Klein said the it should have been named – “THE THEORY OF INVARIANCE.”

    Einstein completely agreed with Klein.

    Relativity concerns the “invariance” of the speed of light – a constant in understanding the way the world works.

    Before you wax so cavalierly & poetic about science, you might consider learning some basic science.

    With the increasing probability that the humans species may go extinct in two or three decades; we are confronting the ultimate test of scientific prediction based on evidence & probabilities.

    On the same tack the Second Law of Thermodynamics is as certain as anything that humankind has discovered so far.

    You are a writer, right?

  36. Gerald Spezio Says:

    mike k has posted a succinct “Rosetta Stone” above.

    Ignore it at your peril.

  37. Gerald Spezio Says:

    mike k, Monbiot has reversed his position about nukes.
    He does NOT endorse nuclear power.
    I am ashamed to admit it, but I made the same egregious error just a few years ago.
    As far as I know, Lovelock has not reversed his support of nukes to keep the lights on.

  38. dairymandave Says:

    @Tom – We farmers aren’t just farmers. We must play the capitalist game like all other businesses and make a profit. It’s that race to the bottom thing. The only reason we grow food here in the US at all is because this is where the land and water are. Can’t move that to China. Anyone doing the “backyard” thing isn’t doing business. It’s a personal endeavor and doesn’t feed the other 99%. We use what they give us. The chemists, the engineers, the corporations. Tell them to give us something different!! We could move back to the era before the green revolution. Half the world would die.

  39. mike k Says:

    @Ulvfugl – I am not seeking “enlightenment” as commonly understood. I am seeking to become a better human being who understands better why I am here, and what I should do. When I say true spiritual path, I mean any one of many methods and lifeways that lead towards authentic human personhood including a deeper understanding of our hidden potentialities for good and sharing with all beings. I am not identified with any particular path or philosophy, but have learned from many. My feeling is that we are here to be better people and contribute to a peaceful and happy world. That is the meaning of spirituality to me. My understanding is that I will never reach the endpoint of this ever expanding quest, as there may very well be none. I believe on the basis of inner experiences and intuitions that there are levels of intelligence and compassion existing in and beyond the Cosmos that are far more advanced and profound than what we have realized yet here on earth. This belief helps keep me humble, and at the same time spurs me to seek those higher levels, in the hope to have something of that to share with others in this world of collapsing values.

    I understand from long experience the difficulty of sharing with others about ultimate questions of value and meaning, and have learned to be reasonably tolerant of the misunderstandings of others and of myself in this area. That’s the price of admission to what I consider never the less to be an essential step in our growing together into our higher possibilities.

    “Many of the Holy Ones

    Have we named

    Since our life has

    Been a conversation

    And we have been able

    To hear from one another…

    Holderlin

    @Robin Datta – “Almost but not quite endless” -On the highest throne sits the Supreme Buddha of All Existence – but perhaps even He does not know… Spiritual teachers/teachings that presume to know everything do not ring true to me. There is such a thing as spiritual hubris. No one on this young planet has final absolute knowledge about anything…

    @Martin – You are right to question my use of the singular in “true path”. Of course there are many, and as you say everyone is following there own path(s) of a sort.

    @Gerald S. – Thanks for the Monbiot update. I will upgrade him to only a half idiot. Was it Fuku that turned him around?

  40. ulvfugl Says:

    @ Gerald Spezio

    When did Monbiot reverse his position on nuclear power ? A few weeks ago he was still in favour, just complaining that the UK Gvt was choosing the wrong technology and playing down Fukushima as a tiny amount of radiation. Other scientists agree with him.

    http://deepseanews.com/2013/11/true-facts-about-ocean-radiation-and-the-fukushima-disaster/

    I don’t agree with him. But he’s certainly not an idiot. But this is about UK politics and what is possible in that context and his introduction of the idea of rewilding to a wider public is very welcome.

    Before you wax so cavalierly & poetic about science, you might consider learning some basic science.

    I think you are full of bullshit and scientism.

    mike k has posted a succinct “Rosetta Stone” above.

    Ignore it at your peril.

    Peril of WHAT ? may I ask, precisely what undefined danger are you talking about ?

    @ darymandave

    Earlier you were instructing not to blame others, then you put the blame of wanting oil and food onto the consumers, then suddenly, the farmers are poor helpless pawns who have to do whatever the corporations tell them..
    Odd how Europe seems to manage to feed 800 million Europeans without any Monsanto or glyphosate or GMOs.

  41. mike k Says:

    @Ulvfugl – OK I was wrong to call Monbiot an idiot. He’s an intelligent fool. You are correct U; in the second paragraph of his recent article he says, “I still support nuclear power.” QED: Smart but foolish. I share your love of wild nature U, but M’s scheme will never happen. He pooh poohs the Dark Mountain Gang, and is blind to the disaster that will soon hit us. His vision of rewilding may come in a rather unpleasant package! His ideas are nothing more than elaborate green-washing. http://www.monbiot.com/2013/10/21/fiscal-meltdown/

  42. dairymandave Says:

    @Ulv – I wasn’t trying to start an argument.

  43. 2postpete Says:

    I like this blog. I lurk here every day as I’m sure many more do. I think the two post a day rule is what helps maintain balance. Sure keeps me coming back. Arguments can’t intensify, frequent posters are prevented from dominating the thread, and the lesser informed posters can’t be bullied too badly.

    Plus the trolls hate it.

    Happy Holidays – stay safe.

  44. Edward Kerr Says:

    Greetings Carolyn,
    Not knowing is truly torturous. Knowing is even MORE TORTUOUS (assuming one gives a hoot)
    Best regards my friend,
    Edward

  45. logspirit Says:

    (I posted this earlier to the wrong thread. Please excuse the redundancy.)

    @ Badlands
    If you wish to communicate privately with me about your family diet/health issues or anything else, please go ahead and ask Guy for my email address, he has enabled others to contact me. As you know, although I suffer from homelessness at the moment, I know something about this and have helped many achieve better health, even on low budgets.

    ~~~

    To get one step ahead of the end of holidays ‘white’ sales… I offer this bit of hopefully humorous fare… I know, it isn’t politically correct to laugh at our dire straights… oh well, I never liked politics much anyway. In the course of adversity, the things that provoke dark humor are like the rocks in a shallow stream that rip open your canoe. If you don’t notice them before they get you then you’re up the creek without a paddle, or er, canoe. You might still have the paddle, which can be useful for other things. Looks like we hit a few rocks.

    Hurry, hurry, hurry! Global concession going out of business. There’s a huge CLEARANCE SALE going on. Our life lease has expired. We’re getting rid of all of this stuff, hmmm, well, we’re chucking it out all over the landscape. And oceans. Everything’s gonna go! Somewhere. Last chance to get your ivory, your ebony, your wild ginseng, your wild. Clear cut rate prices. All proceeds and products will go to the shortsighted. Nothing far off to see, anyway, anymore. Well, there’s some false hope on the table over here, and some faith based healing over there, and there’s even some off color remnants of positive thinking way off in the back somewhere. Follow the greasy old smiley face signs. Now the food isle seems to be most popular judging by the evident weight of the customers, with dead livestock dripping fresh on the meat-hook in great demand …and all the emaciated folks with bloated babies waiting on the standby line for what must really feel like forever. The drug isle is just as full, with all sorts of genuine ersatz curatives for every mood and dis-ease imaginable, and many even have actual side effects, like death. Stylish comfortable XXL coffins over there, reserve yours now. Dusty wind for the rest. The automobile kiosk is always open late for your shopping convenience, simply drop in your plastic card or bitcoin and select your color. Bankrupt need not apply. Drone or Stork delivery optional (beta – not recommended unless you happen to have a very large tarmac parking lot in your front yard). This sale definitely won’t last! Once everything is gone, its GONE… all our doors will be closed, forever. Buy now. Pay later.

    ~~~

    OK, not my best, but I’ve been going through a lot of weird #*&! Just wanted to be in the conversation. Lots of great posts and links lately, thanks everyone. I’m managing to get by with a little help from some generous and compassionate friends on this site. Many of you cannot afford to help, understood. I wish all of you many blessings and peace as we approach this special and sentimental time of year. Don’t let crass commercial Blue Meanie interests box it. Dredge up some love and make it human again.

  46. Artleads Says:

    Magic. And so we see that magic is doable.
    —————————-

    I went to Kentucky Fried Chicken today. It wasn’t my choice, but I’m not inclined to condemn the place any more than I condemn my car, and so raised no objection.

    The four or so workers were Hispanic young men and one woman. They were probably paid minimum wage, and their educational levels were perhaps limited. The afternoon sun was very bright though the windows, and I had to search for the single spot where it wouldn’t burn us as we sat. Incongruously, all the lights were on. The shielded (spot) lights overhanging the tables were especially unnecessary. I spoke to the young woman, thinking she might be a tad more understanding than the men, and suggested that she turn off at least some of the lights. Much to my surprise, she didn’t laugh at me, and even tried turning off ALL the lights, which made the place too dark. Eventually, she turned off all the spot lights, as well as half the ceiling lights. No one acted as if they thought me strange. The fellows were extremely nice while passing me our tray. I was impressed, and touched.

  47. Artleads Says:

    As to rewilding the world… Agree with me or not, I have and continue to advocate for covering the surface of the planet with the vegetation that makes sense in any particular place. I particularly envisage urban areas being covered with green (except where solar panels can peep through), and finding some way to coexist with the wild creatures which flock there. It’s largely a question of innovative design. It’s up to planners and local “leaders” to do or not do this. I have spared no pains encouraging them to do even less radical things. Enough. Basta. They’ve got to fish or cut bait all by themselves.

  48. Robin Datta Says:

    I am not seeking “enlightenment” as commonly understood.

    Not to be “sought”, not to be “attained”: the Self is in no need of enlightenment. The self is the Self.

    “What is samsara?”
    “The desire for Nirvana.”
    “What is Nirvana?”
    “The end of Samsara.”

    but perhaps even He does not know…

    Knowing and experience are in the intellectual and experiential domains, are subject to (among other things) delimitation by time, space & causation, and are perhaps necessary but not sufficient. The existential domain, in the realm of direct awareness not dependent on inputs from the senses or memory, awareness with no “of”s) is the only source of all reality.

    there are levels of intelligence and compassion existing in and beyond the Cosmos

    There are expanses of the Ocean beyond the wavelet.

    There is such a thing as spiritual hubris.

    That pertains to what’s in bottles.

    “Those who discriminate between the sacred and the mundane only experience the mundane, but for those who experience the sacred, there is no mundane.” (- and no “sacred”, either!)

    No one on this young planet has final absolute knowledge about anything…

    Exactly. That is why as long as that “one”, the “I”, is cognised as existing, there is no way past the bounds of space, time and causation. That is why the solution is described as Nirvana, “extinguishment” of the delusion that an “I” exists.

    And once again, that knowing pertains to the domain of intellect; neither intellection nor experience can substitute for existence.

  49. Tom Says:

    logspirit: that was great! It instantly made this song come to mind

    http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=AvtauOsJT9D78tiJrUYFfoGbvZx4?fr=yfp-t-900-1-s&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&p=tom%20waits%20step%20right%20up

    TOM WAITS
    “Step Right Up”

    Step right up, step right up, step right up,
    Everyone’s a winner, bargains galore
    That’s right, you too can be the proud owner
    Of the quality goes in before the name goes on
    One-tenth of a dollar, one-tenth of a dollar, we got service after sales
    You need perfume? we got perfume, how ’bout an engagement ring?
    Something for the little lady, something for the little lady,
    Something for the little lady, hmm
    Three for a dollar
    We got a year-end clearance, we got a white sale
    And a smoke-damaged furniture, you can drive it away today
    Act now, act now, and receive as our gift, our gift to you
    They come in all colors, one size fits all
    No muss, no fuss, no spills, you’re tired of kitchen drudgery
    Everything must go, going out of business, going out of business
    Going out of business sale
    Fifty percent off original retail price, skip the middle man
    Don’t settle for less
    How do we do it? how do we do it? volume, volume, turn up the volume
    Now you’ve heard it advertised, don’t hesitate
    Don’t be caught with your drawers down,
    Don’t be caught with your drawers down
    You can step right up, step right up

    That’s right, it filets, it chops, it dices, slices,
    Never stops, lasts a lifetime, mows your lawn
    And it mows your lawn and it picks up the kids from school
    It gets rid of unwanted facial hair, it gets rid of embarrassing age spots,
    It delivers a pizza, and it lengthens, and it strengthens
    And it finds that slipper that’s been at large
    under the chaise lounge for several weeks
    And it plays a mean Rhythm Master,
    It makes excuses for unwanted lipstick on your collar
    And it’s only a dollar, step right up, it’s only a dollar, step right up

    ‘Cause it forges your signature
    If not completely satisfied, mail back unused portion of product
    For complete refund of price of purchase
    Step right up
    Please allow thirty days for delivery, don’t be fooled by cheap imitations
    You can live in it, live in it, laugh in it, love in it
    Swim in it, sleep in it,
    Live in it, swim in it, laugh in it, love in it
    Removes embarrassing stains from contour sheets, that’s right
    And it entertains visiting relatives, it turns a sandwich into a banquet
    Tired of being the life of the party?
    Change your shorts, change your life, change your life
    Change into a nine-year-old Hindu boy, get rid of your wife,
    And it walks your dog, and it doubles on sax
    Doubles on sax, you can jump back Jack, see you later alligator
    See you later alligator
    And it steals your car
    It gets rid of your gambling debts, it quits smoking
    It’s a friend, and it’s a companion,
    And it’s the only product you will ever need
    Follow these easy assembly instructions it never needs ironing
    Well it takes weights off hips, bust, thighs, chin, midriff,
    Gives you dandruff, and it finds you a job, it is a job
    And it strips the phone company free take ten for five exchange,
    And it gives you denture breath
    And you know it’s a friend, and it’s a companion
    And it gets rid of your traveler’s checks
    It’s new, it’s improved, it’s old-fashioned
    Well it takes care of business, never needs winding,
    Never needs winding, never needs winding
    Gets rid of blackheads, the heartbreak of psoriasis,
    Christ, you don’t know the meaning of heartbreak, buddy,
    C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon
    ‘Cause it’s effective, it’s defective, it creates household odors,
    It disinfects, it sanitizes for your protection
    It gives you an erection, it wins the election
    Why put up with painful corns any longer?
    It’s a redeemable coupon, no obligation, no salesman will visit your home
    We got a jackpot, jackpot, jackpot, prizes, prizes, prizes, all work guaranteed
    How do we do it, how do we do it, how do we do it, how do we do it
    We need your business, we’re going out of business
    We’ll give you the business
    Get on the business end of our going-out-of-business sale
    Receive our free brochure, free brochure
    Read the easy-to-follow assembly instructions, batteries not included
    Send before midnight tomorrow, terms available,
    Step right up, step right up, step right up
    You got it buddy: the large print giveth, and the small print taketh away
    Step right up, you can step right up, you can step right up
    C’mon step right up
    (Get away from me kid, you bother me…)
    Step right up, step right up, step right up, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon
    Step right up, you can step right up, c’mon and step right up,
    C’mon and step right up

  50. mt Says:

    What not knowing does for me, it keeps me curious enough to keep looking, as if I might find something that no one has fond in millions on years on this planet. It keeps me alive. If I ever think that I do know—I’m done. That seems to have been handled. It is quite clear that I will not achieve my self-appointed task. Anyway, I never would have.
    Thank you for the essay, Carolyn.

  51. dairymandave Says:

    What’s going on?

    I was watching a movie on my computer monitor when 2 ants came walking across the screen. One ant says to the other ant “Why do you think those spots under our feed keep changing colors?” The second ant replies “I don’t know but tomorrow we will dig one up and figure out what is going on”.

  52. Gerald Spezio Says:

    A few days ago at the AGU conference in San Francisco James Hansen took this position.

    Ending use of coal-fired power over the next three decades might hold warming to about that 1 degree, said Hansen. But only if the world does not burn unconventional fossil fuels like tar sands, as well.

    With just two percent of the world’s power generated by non-hydropower renewables like solar and wind, said Hansen, only a rapid expansion of nuclear power can realistically slash use of coal and other fossil fuels within the next 30 years. But the public’s emotional, “quasi-religious” rejection of nuclear power is holding back much-needed research and development that would bring advanced nuclear technologies into the energy mix, he said—designs that he believes would largely solve environmental and safety problems that have spooked the public.

    http://www.popsci.com/article/science/climatologist-nuclear-power-only-way-curb-climate-disruption?src=related&con=outbrain&obref=obinsite

  53. ilinda Says:

    @Dairymandave
    @Tom – We farmers aren’t just farmers. We must play the capitalist game like all other businesses and make a profit. It’s that race to the bottom thing. The only reason we grow food here in the US at all is because this is where the land and water are. Can’t move that to China. Anyone doing the “backyard” thing isn’t doing business. It’s a personal endeavor and doesn’t feed the other 99%. We use what they give us. The chemists, the engineers, the corporations. Tell them to give us something different!! We could move back to the era before the green revolution. Half the world would die.

    There ARE people doing the “backyard”thing, but not many, for sure. All one has to do is read ACRES, U.S.A. to immerse oneself in the world of organic and/or biodynamic agriculture to see what a different world it is, compared to conventional. Better yet, survey some farmers’ markets and one will discover farmers and gardeners doing the “backyard” thing quite well. One organic farmer friend of mine who grows for market, plus restaurants, does exactly what big ag says cannot be done. She sold over 1,800 # of squash last summer to one outlet alone. But she did say at age 70-something she’s not sure how much longer she wants to do this. She is the only one I know who grows two consecutive crops of butternut squash per season. But she also grows dozens of other veggies, and this is all done in the state of Missouri.
    In all fairness, I’ll mention her use of fossil fuels: tractor occasionally, plus tiller several times a season.

    Further, the term “feeding the world” is overused and inaccurate –just look at the ingredient list of processed foods and you’ll notice that much of that stuff isn’t even food and isn’t grown on any farm, as it comes from a laboratory.

  54. Gerald Spezio Says:

    Knowing that we are finished, blotto, is more than enough consciousness raising for me.

  55. Tom Says:

    Space.com,

    11 December, 2013

    The sun’s current space-weather cycle is the most anemic in 100 years, scientists say.

    Our star is now at “solar maximum,” the peak phase of its 11-year activity cycle. But this solar max is weak, and the overall current cycle, known as Solar Cycle 24, conjures up comparisons to the famously feeble Solar Cycle 14 in the early 1900s, researchers said.

    “None of us alive have ever seen such a weak cycle. So we will learn something,” Leif Svalgaard of Stanford University told reporters here today (Dec. 11) at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

    The learning has already begun. For example, scientists think they know why the solar storms that have erupted during Solar Cycle 24 have caused relatively few problems here on Earth. The sun often blasts huge clouds of superheated particles into space, in explosions known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs).

    Powerful CMEs that hit Earth squarely can trigger geomagnetic storms, which in turn can disrupt radio communications, GPS signals and power grids.

    But such effects have rarely been seen during Solar Cycle 24, even though the total number of CMEs hasn’t dropped off much, if at all.

    The explanation, researchers said, lies in the reduced pressure currently present in the heliosphere, the enormous bubble of charged particles and magnetic fields that the sun puffs out around itself.

    This lower pressure has allowed CMEs to expand greatly as they cruise through space, said Nat Gopalswamy of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

    Indeed, Solar Cycle 24 CMEs are, on average, 38 percent bigger than those measured during the last cycle — a difference with real consequences for folks here on Earth.

    “When the CMEs expand more, the magnetic field inside the CMEs has lower strength,” Gopalswamy said. “So when you have lower-strength magnetic fields, then they cause milder geomagnetic storms.”

  56. Gerald Spezio Says:

    I put some of dairymandave’s cream in my coffee this AM.

    I put 15 gallons of gasoline into my tank two days ago.

    I drove to the grocery store yesterday – food everywhere.

    I will drive about 5 miles to N Mountain Park to mountain bike today.

    Spaghetti, meatballs, & beer tonight.

    As I live, breathe, consume, & pollute …

    I dunit, & I’m still doin it.

    Infrastructural determinism made me doit, but I ain’t innocent.

    Bless me fathah for I have sinned …

  57. Gerald Spezio Says:

    Robin, may I suggest in simple English that we have probabilistic knowledge about our highly probable extinction in the near term.

    I dunno if it will come in waves, wavelets, a partridge in a pear tree, or just black timeless night.

  58. mike k Says:

    We are cursed with leaders and power elites who are the most addicted and insane among us. Power has totally corrupted them, and they are rapidly driving all of us towards extinction. The masses are wallowing in their own addictive pursuits, and trance of denial. The rare individuals who comprehend our impending doom are powerless to prevent it. This is where we stand today. Unless some totally unforeseen and almost miraculous factors appear to alter the grim reality of our unfolding equations of death, we are finished: humankind including every woman, man, and child will be dead in the near future.

    Are we the bad dreams of an imperfect Creator God? Even though that God has within Her much that is transcendently beautiful, true, and loving, has Her manifestation here on Earth gone terribly awry, and left Her unable to correct it? Are we not only left with the task of healing our own limited selves, but also burdened with healing our Creator? Or maybe we need a mutual therapy that requires cooperation between the higher and lower agencies of our unitary reality?

    In any case, turning towards what is good and true will be necessary for any hope of an ongoing life on Earth for humanity. To continue pursuing the most selfish, materialistic, violent, unloving goals has abundantly proved itself to be nonviable. The inner revolution needed for our salvation (from ourselves) may seem to be a path too long and uncertain to be possible. But what do we have to propose that is not some version of the deeply flawed purposes and behaviors that have brought us to this fatal impasse?

    We are facing the ultimate koan: to live or to die? What is required of us is to do the impossible. Ordinary methods are completely useless. We are confronted by the need to make an extraordinary leap beyond the limits of our conditioned thinking and behavior. Failure to make this transcendent gesture will ensure our collective death. Oh do not ask, “What is it?” let us go and make our visit. Stay with this impossible koan as if your life depends on it. It does.

    To turn away from this ultimate question that hangs over us, and seek consolation in half-hearted “solutions”, or forgetfulness would only serve to finally seal our doom. Keep asking, seeking, demanding, dreaming – make this question of our way forward your constant concern, a vibrant background to all that you do. We desperately need a breakthrough into a livable future…

  59. 18000days Says:

    @Logspirit/Tom:

    If the activists are doin’ a festive season hijack of the mall PA and cranking up the volume, can I get this one on the playlist please?

    Tom- Thanks for acknowledging my little contribution last thread.

    Logspirit- I often get synchronicities when reading your posts- not just yours either. I once misread your name as being ‘Longspirit’, which probably says more about me than about you, but I Just thought I’d share that with you in case it has any significance for you..

    @B9K9:

    You know, B9K9, I cannot fault your analysis, I appreciate your posts, but sometimes they have the air of coming from someone who inhabits the top layer of a cesspool. I imagine you thinking to yourself: “WTF? This is supposed to be the top, the absolute pinnacle of the greatest cesspool ever, so how is it that it seems to be populated by nothing but rapacious dullards?” I can only imagine what strange humanesque hybrids of leech and raptor you are associating with up there, I certainly don’t blame you for descending to a lower stratum of the cesspool now and again in search of more congenial companionship, but when you get there, saying to it’s denizens: “If you would just accept and apply this knowledge I am laying on you, you too could inhabit the top layer of the cesspool, with me, and a crew of rapacious dullards, until doomsday”, and then affecting bemusement at the stubborn refusal of those denizens to consider your magnanimous offer?

    Just my shot in the dark.. delivered without animosity, unlike the ones delivered at the behest of those top-stratum-dwellers, to anyone who ever threatened to de-stratify the cesspool, or walk away from it completely, or never wanted anything to do with it in the first place..

  60. izzy Says:

    ‘True Path’

    “Truth is a pathless land” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

    ‘Can’t move that to China’

    http://wealthydebates.com/obama-admin-allowing-china-to-suck-water-out-of-the-great-lakes/

    It appears that nothing is certain, though probabilities may remain high.

  61. Martin Says:

    @18000 days

    Why would someone as mercenary as B9K9 invite guilt-ridden doomers, who would almost certainly be a liability rather than an asset, on to his Mad Max bus?

    Perhaps not a genuine invitation, then, but misdirection, which, like a great deal of (publicly displayed rather than private) morality, according to one cynical school of thought, is intended to eliminate competitors by sending them on a fool’s errand, saddling them with a heavy burden, or deceiving them that black = white.

    But that’s not what I think. It really isn’t! 8)

  62. OzMan Says:

    Living with uncertainty can grow back that 10 % of your brain lost in civilisation?

    I’m workin on it.

  63. Bob S. Says:

    James Taylor “Fire and Rain”

    Enjoy.

  64. Artleads Says:

    “Living with uncertainty can grow back that 10 % of your brain lost in civilisation?”

    And that recovered 10% could clue the other 90% into doing a far better job of dealing with reality.

  65. Godofredo Aravena Says:

    Carolyn, welcome essay. It covers a situation that most people are afraid to face, that today unlike until the recent past, is becoming an issue to all humans.
    But, I am a bit confused, the upper part of your essay, points in one direction, and the bottom half in another, rather opposite.
    I see things very much in the line of the second half.

    Not knowing about tomorrow is as natural as nature. None of the creatures in nature know if they will be alive the next day. We pretend to be different just because we are intelligent. I guess we are wrong, what nature shows is a much more stable and durable proposal, based in the results. We have to use intelligence to understand this reality right in front of our eyes, and find a sense in living with those rules. Just like our ancestors did.
    After being a government employee for 15 years, left that job, and became an independent, with a total lack of knowledge about tomorrow, next week, next year. Everything became something to be seen. A 180º change in my life. But after 10 years of that life, I enjoy this uncertainty. I have managed to live within limits, with some highs and lows. Nothing terrible. Exciting up to some point.
    Not knowing is not really a torture, unless we want to. Things are the color we want to see.
    I can live with this not knowing “for sure”. It is not a torture. Although I am informed, I cannot be totally sure about what I see, and read. So I have to use my judgment to decide what to do, and many times improvise. Every day I plan for the next, and so on. I have long term plans, but they are something to be seen if possible. If not, well I can probably live with it. There are so many things I would like to do, see or have. But I can be sure, that if none of my wishes become real, life will still be an attractive challenge, that worth to be lived. At the same time, nature offers so many wonderful things for our delight that I cannot end of being amazed day by day.
    Before 50, most of us choose to have responsibility with the continuity of our species (as it was understood decades ago). But, everyday alive after 50 is a gift. Time that should be used to do what is within our reach, to make this world a better world (or less a bad one). Mostly giving back our learning and experience, our discoveries about what really matters in life, as a way to give back what we received, sometimes something so simple as a chance, sometimes much more. But if the world does not value my (our) efforts, I(we) still can be in peace, because I(we) did my(our) best.
    As I said once here, If I am told that I will die tomorrow, I would be in peace.
    More resources will be available to others.
    Will I be remembered?, who cares.
    Always things could have been done in a better way. There is much to learn, I tried.
    Always there will be things unfinished or to be done. We have limits.
    Could I have saved the world?, probably not, but I did as much as possible, and probably somebody else will continue what I have been doing.

    While alive, I will keep on doing what I believe is the best to be done, to make this world a little bit less bad. Enough reason to happy get up everyday, because there is so much to do. A cent everyday.
    Demise ahead? I´ll face the problem when it comes, because for the moment is totally out of my control, even If I would be a citizen of USA, China, Japan, Brazil, or Europe. It is out of control there too.
    It is hard for me to understand this need to know and be in control of our personal future. Up to the point that not knowing our future becomes a torture.

  66. logspirit Says:

    @ Tom
    Thanks, glad you actually liked it. I usually attempt to go deeper but this time I took a mental break and surfed. Although I like Tom Waits, I had not heard that song before. I guess those who have noticed the consumer diversion fog have a lot of converging perspectives. That, of course, is despised by those who make their profits by pulling the wool over our eyes… or is it acrylic?

    @ 18000days
    Synchronicity seems to flare up more frequently when we’re ready and willing to notice it. I often feel such phenomena as Déjà vu, like a vague dream resurrected. Anyway, reflecting off my comment to Tom… we’re on a path of converging perspectives as our predicament becomes ever more apparent and undeniable. ‘longspirit’ doesn’t ring any intended bells at the moment, but it does reboot the imagination and the memory train… What a Long Strange Trip its Been. ‘logspirit’ is this entity in organic momentous regeneration. Never underestimate the importance of elegant decay. On the other hand, its impossible to overestimate the impact of the rapid radioactive variety.

    Meanwhile, most of us here on the beach can play this one in our heads:

    “Long May You Run” ~ Neil Young

    We’ve been through
    some things together
    With trunks of memories
    still to come
    We found things to do
    in stormy weather
    Long may you run.

    Long may you run.
    Long may you run.
    Although these changes
    have come
    With your chrome heart shining
    in the sun
    Long may you run.

    Well, it was
    back in Blind River in 1962
    When I last saw you alive
    But we missed that shift
    on the long decline
    Long may you run.

    Long may you run.
    Long may you run.
    Although these changes
    have come
    With your chrome heart shining
    in the sun
    Long may you run.

    Maybe The Beach Boys
    have got you now
    With those waves
    singing “Caroline No”
    Rollin’ down
    that empty ocean road
    Gettin’ to the surf on time.

    Long may you run.
    Long may you run.
    Although these changes
    have come
    With your chrome heart shining
    in the sun
    Long may you run.

  67. OzMan Says:

    Artleads

    “And that recovered 10% could clue the other 90% into doing a far better job of dealing with reality”
    Yup.

    When ones perception of reality and real events is not clouded by cosmological model bias, self interest and stage of life bias, the 90% has a chance of making a difference, I agree. The 10%, a argue, allows for much faster understanding of what one is actually looking at, so to speak.
    I was under the impression accepting uncertainty was a critical ‘door’ to experiencing reality.

    How are you doing? Well I hope.

  68. infanttyrone Says:

    An Italian priest, a Jehovah’s Witness, and a doomer walk into a bar.

    The bartender asks, “What can I get for you, Padre ?”
    The priest says, “I’m-a waiting for the end of the world.”

    Turning to the Witness, “How about you, my sober looking friend ?”
    “Likewise”, says the Witness.

    And finally, “And you, Gloomy Gus, what’ll it be ?”
    Dr. Doom sez, “Well if these two mopes really wanna listen to Elvis Costello on the jukebox, you’d better get me a pint of Guinness…
    and hey, keep ‘em coming…if you can.”

  69. FriedrichKling Says:

    Sabine McNeal or MacNeal?????

  70. Dean of Oilberta Says:

    I wish one of those Russian scientists or maybe anyone else on the
    ship had a friggin ‘ camera! I’ve looked for video far and wide of the
    giant methane plumes but found only little holes in the ice over swamps
    being lit on fire! Anyone have links to pics or video of these?
    Thanks!

  71. infanttyrone Says:

    Uncertainty is something modern ?
    A-a-and it’s Schrodinger”s fault ?
    Geez Louise, talk about pussying out !
    Industrial civilization started certainty ?
    Well, if IC began with the plow, then maybe.

    Hey, certainty of a sort might have been extant in hunting populations.
    If someone had had the idea of testing to see if a dull spear point could
    penetrate the skin of a prey, then they could have come to the conclusion
    that sharpening was necessary, if not sufficient, to bring home the meat.
    An adage could have arisen to the effect that all play and no sharpening
    make Og a hungry man, which could have evolved over time into our saying
    “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.” Or maybe that didn’t happen.

    Even the ancient astronomers, who were or became mathematicians,
    some of whom became priests…those dudes who could predict eclipses.
    Even they only predicted the Nile flooding within some margin of error.

    Pretty sure we only got some level of certainty after a critical mass
    of people started believing in the omnipotent & omniscient gods that
    those priests sold them along with eclipses and such. Eclipses were the
    Shock & Awe of the time, tales of gods and regulations brought surety.

    Once the ancient priests got folks buying into that, cultural conditioning
    made certainty neuro-circuits a non-trivial reality. Once evolved, they
    tend to hang around, so to speak. There is a Filipino named Ruben Enage who has been crucified voluntarily 24 times since 1986.

    Like the Dire Straits “Telegraph Road” lays out:
    Then came the churches, then came the schools
    Then came the lawyers, then came the rules.

    As the Philosopher Carlin observed later:
    There is an invisible man up in the sky, who watches everything you do, every minute of every day, and the invisible man has a special list of
    things that he does not want you to do, and if you do any of these things
    he has a special place full of fire & smoke & burning & torture & anguish
    where he will send you to live & suffer & burn & choke & scream & cry
    forever and ever ’til the end of time…but he loves you…he loves you…
    and he needs money…

    Most of us here are pretty sure the priests are full of $hit.
    Many of us try to live ethically in case any of the priests are not so.
    Some of us try to live ethically because we think we are certain that our
    ethics are correctly derived from things we believe to be true.

    So, when does it end ?
    As the priest in the Beyond the Fringe sketch told the congregation who
    were disappointed the world had not ended that day as had been foretold,
    “Well, lads, same time tomorrow…must have a winner some day.”

    I reckon one of these days, one of these priests will not be Dead wrong.

    The wheel is turning and you can’t slow it down
    You can’t let go and you can’t hold on
    You can’t turn back and you can’t stand still
    If the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will.

    If you attended enough Dead concerts, you *might* recall that some of the
    noise you heard as between-songs noodling and tuning-up often let you
    predict what song they were going to play next.
    Often enough to make you pay attention, but not every time.
    Hearing the first 5-10 seconds of the clip below, many fans would expect
    that the song a-coming would be “Uncle John’s Band”. To add to the mild
    frustration, at the end of the clip you might double-down on them seguing
    into “Uncle John’s Band”. But they didn’t, and but for the one-link limit
    here, I could post the next song, which was “All Along the Watchtower”.

    I hope you didn’t bet on a Jehovah’s Witness joke following that title.

    Some of us speculated that the mis-predictions were a result of the band
    putting out intentional disinformation. But realizing that they could also
    be a result of the fact that there are only so many notes on a guitar neck
    or on a keyboard and only so many keys in which to play a song, and also
    realizing that without getting a direct answer to our burning issue from a
    member of the band (and further realizing that there was no way we could
    trust the veracity of an answer from one of these musical high priests),
    what we usually did was light up another type of burning issue, take in
    the mystery, and decide to let the undecidable proposition have a rest.
    Hey, it wasn’t like the world was going to end if we couldn’t find out.

    (Above was eaten upon submission the first time…the Jehovah’s Witness
    joke was meant to follow this one.)

  72. Robin Datta Says:

    I often feel such phenomena as Déjà vu

    With some NBL comments there the regulars sometimes have dėjà moo.

  73. 18000days Says:

    @Logspirit:
    “back in Blind River in 1962″

    Another river. I guess if anything on the natural Earth is/has/needs a ‘long spirit’, relative to it’s breadth, anyway, it’s a river..

    Thanks..

  74. Artleads Says:

    @ godolfedo

    I appreciated your post.

    “Not knowing is not really a torture, unless we want to. Things are the color we want to see.
    I can live with this not knowing “for sure”. It is not a torture. Although I am informed, I cannot be totally sure about what I see, and read. So I have to use my judgment to decide what to do, and many times improvise.”

    @ ozman

    Doing well, thanks. I have my burdens, but they are very light compared to many. Keep “working on it.” :-)

  75. Artleads Says:

    @ ilinda

    I’ve worked closely with the founder of biodynamic ag. Or of a very important branch of it, at least. I’ve seen it demonstrated that 100 sq ft of land can feed a family in CA. I don’t know about places where months of freeze is an issue.

    I don’t follow the method myself. What little I know of permaculture interests me more. It seems more beautiful, and broader in scope. I also don’t like digging up the earth. I try to build up new soil over the old one, and keep applying or maintaining moisture. It’s extremely easy. I’m always making soil, whatever the season. Of course, I could do a much better job of producing food, given “my” method, but that goes with the territory.

  76. Gerald Spezio Says:

    Elvis Costello is married to beautiful Diana Krall – heaven-on-earth.

  77. Guy McPherson Says:

    With thanks to Carolyn Baker for her contribution, I’ve posted a guest essay. By Jonathan DeJong, it’s first essay in this space, and it’s here.

  78. ulvfugl Says:

    51 Sailors from USS Ronald Reagan Suffering Thyroid Cancer, Leukemia, Brain Tumors After Participating in Fukushima Nuclear Rescue Efforts
    – Crew members in their mid-20′s from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan are coming down with all sorts of radiation-related illnesses after being deployed less than 3 years ago to assist with earthquake rescue operations off the coast of Japan in 2011. It looks as though the onboard desalinization systems that take salt out of seawater to make it drinkable, were taking-in radioactive water from the ocean for the crew to drink, cook with and bath-in, before anyone realized there was a massive radiation spill into the ocean.
    Charles Bonner, attorney representing sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan said “the crew members were not only going to the rescue by jumping into the water and rescuing people out of the water, but they were drinking desalinated sea water, bathing in it, until finally the captain of the USS Ronald Reagan alarmed people that they were encountering high levels of radiation.”
    Bonner says that as a result of this exposure, the 51 sailors have come down with a host of medical problems, “They have testicular cancer, they have thyroid cancers, they have leukemias, they have rectal and gynecological bleeding, a host of problems that they did not have before … people are going blind, pilots who had perfect eyesight but now have tumors on the brain. And it’s only been 3 years since they went in.” Bonner pointed out that these service men and women are young people, ages 21, 22, 23 years old and no one in their family had ever suffered any of these kinds of illnesses before.

    At present, 51 sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan are named as Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and Bonner says he anticipates adding twenty additional Sailors soon, bringing the total to 70 to 75 because “The Japanese government is in a major conspiracy with Tepco to hide and conceal the true facts.”

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2013/12/open-thread-2013-27.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef019b031e0673970d

  79. ulvfugl Says:

    Just too effing bizarre…

    A leading American expert on climate change and the Environmental Protection Agency’s highest-paid employee, deserves to spend 30 months behind bars for lying to his bosses about being a CIA spy to avoid doing his real job, US federal prosecutors say.

    http://rt.com/usa/beale-cia-pretended-agent-357/

  80. Badlands Says:

    Coming soon, to a NBL comment thread near you, a post that may or may not stick. When? No one knows…Where? Your guess is as good as mine…

    @18000days, mike k, and others

    Sorry, I did not abandon the conversation, just had some disappearing posts and had to deal with one of those killer migraines that haunt my life. But yes, mike k, I came across the succinct and to the point, “impulse is not imperative” excerpt, after I struggled to reinvent the wheel in my mind trying to articulate this simple concept.
    And yes, there is a definite river theme running through my life, even outside of this interaction- very nice you picked up on it, 18000days. I call it serendipity, and my life is running on it right now, things are being dredged up and I am forced to deal, whether or not I feel ready to do so. So, I just tune in and follow the breadcrumbs…

    “Ask Me”

    Some time when the river is ice ask me
    mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
    what I have done is my life. Others
    have come in their slow way into
    my thought, and some have tried to help
    or to hurt: ask me what difference
    their strongest love or hate has made.

    I will listen to what you say.
    You and I can turn and look
    at the silent river and wait. We know
    the current is there, hidden; and there
    are comings and goings from miles away
    that hold the stillness exactly before us.
    What the river says, that is what I say.

    ~William Stafford

    I would think after the flooding, 18000days, that the ‘river’ is now your life theme. http://youtu.be/XEub8DeD7wg

    @ulvfugl Speaking of migraines, I found a very used, but intact, copy of ‘Migraine’, by Oliver Sacks. He revised it in 1990, right when sumatriptan was hitting the markets, so it is quite interesting to see the history and case studies on ‘migraineurs’ and treatments before these drugs were available. Let me know if you would be interested. I have another copy, but just happened upon another one at the thrift store.

    @infanttyorone Hello! And where were you when Lou Reed could’ve used a little eulogizing here?! Laurie Anderson did a wonderful job in the RS article. I hope to be surrounded by such love when it is my time…

  81. ulvfugl Says:

    @ Badlands

    Thanks for thinking of me, and sorry about yours.. I read somewhere it is very cold now where you are ?

    Yes, I remember the appearance of sumatriptan very well, it was the first treatment in my lifetime that actually had a noticeable effect. It was insanely expensive at that time, like £80 for 2 nasal sprays, which was almost a low paid worker’s week’s wage, and I could need 2 a day easily, and the Dr wouldn’t let me have that many, and after a year they stopped working, and then zolmitriptan appeared which was much better, but has also stopped working sometimes, builds up until it actually makes the condition worse. Thanks very much for the kind offer, but no need to trouble, I’m fine at the moment, taking topimarates and zolmitriptans, keeps the thing tolerable.

    You might find this interesting

    https://www.academia.edu/222738/Hindu_Ubermenschen_Cosmology_and_Ideology_of_Tantric_Self-Deification

  82. mike k Says:

    @Badlands – Thanks for the Stafford poem. He makes you think….more deeply….

  83. Badlands Says:

    @ulvfugl No, no, if you haven’t read this book, you MUST. It is no problem at all to post it to you, while we can still do such things!

    http://www.oliversacks.com/books/migraine/

    I have read a couple other of his books, and saw an excellent program called ‘Musical Minds’. And of course he was the neurologist behind ‘Awakenings’ and the L-DOPA treatments for sleeping sickness. I have had severe and often chronic migraines my entire life, but I only learned about cluster headaches from his book, which later came in handy, because during my pregnancies I had all manner of unusual headaches, along with the typical and classic migraines. For a period of time I was getting something much different, and turns out they were likely clusters. I’ve only had those while pregnant, though. Not an enviable condition you suffer, to say the least.

    Crazy that I also went through something similar with the triptans. The first dose of Imitrex was given in the emergency room under supervision, and though I could sometimes get to a doctor for a prescription, what 20 year old could afford $80 for two injections? Even when they came out with the pills, they were $30 each! But it sure was a miracle. Until it wasn’t. It lost effectiveness over the years, then I tried the newer ones, the zolmitriptan a new wonder. Until it slowly lost it’s power as well, and even worse, the side effects were like every nerve ending coming to life and on fire. So now I use the sumatriptan if I have to, but try to avoid a second dose if possible. The headaches last a minimum of 24 hours, up to several days, so there are times when I feel I am poisoning myself trying to get some relief from pain and nausea/vomiting.

    The Oliver Sack’s book does a great job of describing how these headaches and all of the varying symptoms become a self-reinforcing cycle, and if one symptom can be relieved, the cycle can be broken. Also interesting, not all migraines manifest the actual ‘headache’ part of it, but can remain in the gut. I’m not sure if there have been any recent advances
    in the understanding of migraines, but he asserts that they are not useless, and likely serve some function in regards to homeostasis or balancing something in the physical body. Anyway, it is fascinating, and his presentation of case studies in this book, and others, addressing neurologic conditions such as Tourrette’s and Asperger’s is highly approachable, giving one the understanding of the fact that there is no ‘normal’, and what we might consider a disability of the mind might simply be a different ability.

    So, I could go on, but I better stop before I end up on Amazon purchasing his newest book, “Hallucinations”! Oh, and thank you for the link- I am going to check it out soon as it looks very interesting. I have only done White Tantric and am not familiar with the other Tantric practices, so I look forward to reading up on this- oh, I see it talks about sacrifice as a ‘creative death’, now my curiosity has been piqued. Thanks again, ulvfugl. p.s. yes, we had a big cold snap, sub-zero temps with wind chills -20 to -35 F, but it has been in the 50s F this week. I’m just surfing the wave here, wondering when someone is going to notice the loss of true seasons…

    @mike k Yes, Stafford. About thirteen years ago, I bought his book, “The Way It Is”, and I do believe that reading his work over these years has helped me grieve my own death.

    @logspirit I am working on getting another e-mail out to you and much appreciate your generosity and offers to share your knowledge.

  84. Liz Says:

    The Great Vanishing is not the vanishing of the physical world and resources, but eludes to our vanishing ego and identifying with it. It is the surrender into the void, where we have super senses. This is what Tom Brown teaches at the Tracker School, or as I like to call it, Zombie Apocalypse School. Make no mistake, there is no cliche. It really is all mind training. So that no matter what physical circumstances we are faced with in the external world, we find the place of freedom, sovereignty, information, healing and the realm of infinite possibility there in the moment, like the cat in the shadow who is surrendered completely, dying to her nature and living fully.

  85. Deb Says:

    For those who suffer from not knowing, I can recommend the book Comfortable with Uncertainty, by Pema Chodron. It helped me a great deal when I’d had cancer and had to wait for many years to know whether it had been cured. Also, for the migraineurs out there, I had them for many years and was able to lower their frequency a lot by following this advice from my neurologist: go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Then, a few years ago, I stopped eating sugar and grains (filling in the calories with healthy fats,) and nearly stopped getting migraines at all. I think it’s been over a year since I had to take a pill. I hope this is helpful!

  86. ilinda Says:

    @Mike K
    Loved your story/ies of the dragonflies. Also had to laugh at the interchange between you and detractor.

    You might enjoy (if you haven’t already) Stephen H. Buhner’s book, THE SECRET TEACHINGS OF PLANTS not to be confused with THE SECRET LIFE OF PLANTS. Buhner divides his book into two parts, one for the left-brained and one for the right-brained thinkers and readers, but both sections are great.

    In his book he gives some clues on how we can learn to communicate with plants. It is not for everyone, especially the rigid thinkers wearing blinders. I engaged, one time by accident, in the process he describes and was blown away by what I “saw”. No, I was not using any substance.

    In closing, take heart! Pun intennded.

  87. 18000days Says:

    @Badlands:
    Sounds like I have it easy compared to some, but I too suffer from episodes of migraines, usually brought on by the glare from oncoming traffic at night, probably in combination with some chemical trigger. Plenty of household products make me nauseous, but I look to be stuck with people who would interpret any complaint from me as me being ‘difficult’, while they smear biocidal concoctions on every surface with a clear conscience. Reminds me of some grafitti I think I saw at a demo some years back: “Civilisation smells bad”.

    Henry found another river song next thread. Mustn’t forget this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sftEYVYEoew Olfactory exposure to that product in the advert at the start would probably induce nausea for me, too..

  88. ulvfugl Says:

    Hey, Badlands, I wrote a much better reply, seems to have got lost.
    Ask Guy for my email :-)

    http://www.monsangelorum.net/?topic=mindfulness&paged=7#post-10079

  89. mike k Says:

    Years ago I had headaches all the time. Since I started taking magnesium I have not had one for many years now. Try 400 mg. twice a day. You can find science to back this up on the web. Cheap, natural and with many other benefits including cardiovascular. Primo against irregular heartbeats.

  90. Badlands Says:

    @ulvfugl Ah, random comments disappearing into the ethers! Yes, will do on the e-mail. Talk to you soon.

    @18000days O/T Per my earlier comment, I was thinking you were in Colorado. Have I misremembered? So, you’re ‘difficult’, too?! Chemical smells trigger headaches for me, as well, especially perfumes, though most headaches can’t always be sourced to a direct cause. At home I use only vinegar, baking soda, soap, lemon, and the occasional borax for cleaning. No control with what goes on ‘out there’, except by avoidance. Put me in a room with an overhead fan disturbing the light and someone overdoing it on the cologne, and I won’t last ten minutes. Hey nice song!

    @mike k Not to make light of your experience with headaches, but I don’t think any of the natural treatments make a difference for Classic Migraine or Clusters. To the long list of things I’ve tried you can add: Magnesium, Feverfew, CoQ10, Ergotamine, caffeine, anti-inflammatories, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, cranial-sacrial adjustment, yoga, meditation, demerol, phenergan, stadol, anti-depressants, triptans, and even a technique taught to me over the phone by a Rolfer, of adjusting a certain bone in the roof of the mouth, which I can’t describe in detail, because the technique was in the trial stages of research. The only thing that ever gave more than temporary pain relief was Imitrex or Zomig- the triptan drugs. But thank you for the advice. Oh, and still envisioning those dragonflies of yours…

  91. mike k Says:

    @Ulvfugl & Badlands – Sorry the Mg didn’t work for you. With rare conditions one has to try a bunch of possibilities. I have had painful interstitial cystitis off and on for years. I finally have found some stuff that seems to be working, at least for the last couple of years. And Badlands, I have had chemical and food allergies/sensitivities for years also. My supplement program has that under moderate control, and I have just learned to live with it. Don’t get me started on arthritis pains… After a while you just become inured to carrying a certain burden of daily pain, and learn that you can mostly ignore it and go on with your life. But if you start to obsess over it…. I try to put my mind elsewhere and not give it more attention than it absolutely demands.


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