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What is Your Calligraphy?

Sat, Jan 18, 2014

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by Jonathan DeJong

I wrote this essay for a collapsitarian group I belong to on Facebook. I was struck by the myriad little kingdoms even we climate-aware folks have compartmentalized ourselves into. I was somewhat despondent at the lack of civil discourse and this came from that pondering. Many on Facebook have already seen this but I thought it might get some more mileage if Guy decided to use it here rather than let it languish on my hard drive. My last NBL essay (Life is Different) was a visceral rant regarding my view of society. This one is the more compassionate side. I hope the comments that follow here, if any, can help us to find our meaning. The heat waves in the south, the storms in Europe and the “polar vortex” in the US seem still to not be a large enough call to make us unite or make the deniers wake up: Hence, this essay. I wish us all peace. I wish us all meaning … find your calligraphy. Give yourself permission to find peace, especially in times like these that will test the true metal of humanity.

***

I am more of an observer and I have kind of made my peace with so much of what we talk about here. I will always be reading and watching in the background because the articles and information are most often fact based and not available through too many other venues. That being said, I’d like to offer an alternative to the anger and futility that we collectively seem to be throwing around so often (and perhaps some reasons why). It is just my two cent as an observer. Nothing I say matters. As you will see … I don’t think much of what we collectively say matters either. I hope that some will understand that I see this as a positive.

Human beings love to be voyeurs. We love to see an “other” that has done something bad or horrible. We rubber neck at traffic accidents, we gasp at the corrupt behavior of politicians and religious leaders. We, in almost self-righteous indignation, thump our chests and exclaim, “oh my how awful” or “oh my what horrible people, group, or event, that is.” We love to be offended. We seem to need an objectified “other” to make us feel as though we are superior. In short, our egos need to be fueled constantly and we spend an immense amount of time and energy trying to portray ourselves in certain ways to the outside world. We need an object for our fear. We need it … to make us feel as though we are somehow, special.

The movie, HERO, with Jett Li, contains one of the most awesome archery attacks of all time. The conquering army stands at the ready. Archers by the hundreds are drawn and await the order to loose their arrows. Standing in between the armies is a Buddhist Temple who’s Zen practice is the art of Calligraphy. They do calligraphy in the spirit that Buddhist monks create sand Mandalas. The art, itself, is a meditation. When the art is complete, it is then disposed of as a mindfulness practice reminding the practitioner that nothing is permanent.

The master and the students know that they are about to be wiped out in the impending arrow attack and there is no way to escape. Many of the students begin to panic, showing that many are still on the path and have not yet become completely detached.

Physical suffering and pain and death still terrifies them as it does us, especially in the west (we think that we are somehow MORE special). After all, we think there is so much to live for — that we must somehow accomplish things (like any of it really matters). Many of the students want to try to run away (there being nowhere to run that could actually save them). There is no escape from the reach of the arrows. Death is certain. The master calms his students and says something to the effect: We will stay here and do our Calligraphy. We may die, but in the end they will see how well we did our Calligraphy (completely my words but the intent of the speech is there).

The arrows are loosed. The CGI creates this cloud of arrows in the sky, which is a truly amazing sight (I’m an archery coach so please forgive my bias). The next scene shows the arrows crashing through the paper walls of the temple — students are struck and are dying while they continue to do their calligraphy. In the end, all die, including the master.

I am going to argue here that we doomers and collapsitarians are dealing with as much egoic self as the traffic rubber-neckers. If we take as a premise of what we know about this world, that there is not much time left on this planet, then all we are talking about is irrelevant. We have the Fukushima event that could make our demise a very near-term event. Or, the triggered positive reinforcing feedback loops in the environment could make it a very near term but maybe a bit longer-term, near-term event. In any “event” our fate is sealed.

Why then do we continue on the way we do? I think, to some extent, we are as voyeuristic as those reading the tabloids (and please, all of you looking for reasons to get pissed — I am including myself here! Looking in a mirror is an uncomfortable proposition that’s why we always want to look out a window instead).

One group contends that everything is doomed and there is nothing we can do. Another says, “Well, we may be doomed but if we smoke this hopium pipe that has never worked in the past, then all of these great things will happen.” Hyper-spiritualists say, “There is a great awakening happening and it is going to save us” (not sounding all that dissimilar to the 2nd coming, but they’d never admit it).

The People’s Front of Judea (Monty Python) thinks they are the morally superior purists in their doomer prophecies but the Judean People’s Front yells HERECTIC, HERETIC!

“Alternatives are the answer!” “NAY”, say the permaculturists, “growing stuff in a holier than thou way is the answer.” “NO NO NO! We must mob graze.” “No, NO!” says the other. “We will STONE you if you spread dung on fields using beasts.” Meanwhile, the millions of cars are still on the road. The factories are spewing poison into the air and other developing countries want to emulate the insanity that the United States has morphed into since its birth, thus sealing our fate: A true glimpse of greed trumping reason and responsibility.

Again, we love to grab our hair in shock and say, “Oh how awful”. We rend our garments in rage and say, “Someone MUST PAY!” “It is men’s fault, its industrial civilization’s fault, it’s sin, it’s pestilence, it’s the Fall, it’s …” pick your blame game. Yes it’s The soldiers gassed in WWI may have not dealt with the end of the world but for everyone who died then, their world indeed ended on that field of slaughter. Pick your horror du jour. Anyone who dies from horrors, the end of the world was then and there. In fact, I imagine that if it ended their suffering, the mantra was, “good riddance.” Ever seen someone suffer and die from lingering cancer? Their world sucked completely and then they died. Many of them had to suffer and die alone. Now its our turn. Our population is in overshoot and we have suddenly had to confront our egoic selves and admit that we weren’t the smartest folks on the planet after all.

Death is coming like it comes for everyone. So here is where I ask the main question in this essay: What is your Calligraphy?

We all die. It is simply a matter of when and how. Knowing that, how will you live out the rest of your time? Will you live the remainder of your time in freak-out mode? Does watching in horror fulfill your life’s dreams? Knowing that fate is sealed, will you now look into the mirror, look at yourself, and realize that happiness has always come from within?

What do you have in your life that will allow you to let go of the horrors? What do you have in your life and in your singular self that can give you inner peace knowing that no matter what happens in this world, you can go out in peace and still feel tranquil? If there is not that in your life, then I assert that nothing we are doing is any more productive and helpful for humanity than the mass riots we see time and time again on the news forever being put down by militarized police. All attempts to save the world external to one’s self have met with failure. Perhaps this massive change of climate on our world is the “great awakening” that so many of the world have hoped for. Perhaps making the external world no longer an option, the inner world –- the so called spiritual world — is finally revealed as being the only thing that has ever been important.

Have you developed an inner centering that could allow you to simply let the world fall apart around you? Could you sit at your calligraphy knowing that your death is imminent and be at peace with it? In light of our world and all that may befall us, developing that sounds like the only noble goal, the only way to live. Never has it been different than thus. Only our delusion has made it so.

So what is your Calligraphy? I’d love to know.

Here is mine:

I love star-gazing with my telescope. I love gazing up millions of light-years away knowing that the galaxies I am seeing probably harbor life. I love contemplating the true meaning of infinity.

I love target archery. It clears my mind and makes me achieve singular focus (and yes I have read and re-read, Zen in the Art of Archery).

I love working in my gardens and on my homestead. Being among my animals and plants connects me with the energy that is reality. Nature is the only conscious being on earth. We are nature … we are consciousness.

I love to cook.

I love to do all of the above alone. I love to do all of the above with my family. Both are beautiful.

If the earth is going to reclaim its health by getting rid of us because we were stupid, then I think I can do one or all of those things listed above while the brimstone of our ignorance comes crashing down like a cloud of arrows. If the earth folds up, if the universe reclaims this space in the cosmos for better purposes, then I for one will do what I think the small voice inside of me is calling me to do: Practice my calligraphy, conquer my fear, and be at peace.

Thanks for letting me indulge with this. I hope it creates a useful avenue for dialogue. I will be here reading, but I am going to go create my Mandala. Peace.

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Jonathan DeJong is a chartered financial consultant by profession. He is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Iliff School of Theology and the University of Denver. He is an avid homesteader who began urban farming with his mother in suburban Detroit back in the early 1970s. Out of college, knowing that the urban/suburban monstrosity was a ruse, he left Michigan to follow his “go west young man” voice calling him back to nature. He worked with ranchers in the Rockies, is a certified archery coach, and amateur astronomer. He and his wife are now building a 40-acre homestead farm on the high plains of Colorado east of Denver. They live there with their dog, 2 cats, and 31 chickens. DeJong writes at JAZ farm.

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66 Responses to “What is Your Calligraphy?”

  1. pat Says:

    As long as you have a job, pay taxes, drive a car, etc, you are killing millions of lives – human lives as well as non-human lives. If you live in America and pay taxes, you are funding the machine that is killing us all.

    The only appropriate response to this knowledge is to:
    1) strip naked and wander into the woods (to quickly die of exposure, starvation, or animal mauling).
    2) achieve a catatonic state.

    Just sitting on this runaway train, staring out the window.

    The Voluntary Extinction Movement
    Thou shalt not procreate.

    The Church of Euthanasia
    Save the planet, kill yourself.

  2. mt Says:

    My calligraphy is mostly just watching wood burn, orange, glowing coals….and reading.
    Nice essay, Jon.

  3. Richard Davies Says:

    Great essay, Jon. Ultimately, we are all dead, whether that is from NTE or the Express bus flattening you like a rug. Everyone can achieve peace of mind through mindfulness.

    I tell my students the “were all dead thing” before I launch into a semester of information about peak everything and NTE. I let them know that death is coming for each of them whether today, tomorrow of twenty years from now. It is coming. They don’t care. How could they? In our society, death is about as real as the latest horror movie or maybe a funeral where they see a dolled up corpse. It is inconceivable to them. I did not come to fully internalize my coming death until I was forty-two.

    They will not spring up and save anyone, nor will they attempt to find the stillness that is the universe.

    It will be a complicated, heartbreaking time of chaos, destruction, mass migrations, and last stands.

    But, I look at this moment only when actually living. What other moment is there to look at?

  4. Lidia Says:

    My current calligraphy is knitting, which I took up in October. It’s addictive to the point that I find myself getting irritated if I don’t get in some knitting time. It’s useful, low-tech and uses biodegradable materials for the most part.

    Nothing like making a mistake and ripping out thousands of stitches and starting over to keep one humble.

    I loved to cook, too. but many ingredients of interest are not local or sustainable. My wall of cookbooks mock me, especially Mark Bittman’s “FISH” and the Legal Seafoods cookbook. I did make some excellent capocollo (dried pork shoulder/neck muscle) in the fall. I even made some dried sausages with NO SALTPETER and lived to tell about it.

    I think Zen archery would be very cool!

    Good post (“metal” => “mettle”, though).

  5. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    My Calligraphy

    The world around is careening,
    So letters you now see convening
    Into these words right here
    Will soon disappear
    And might not give life too much meaning.

    But when hitting a terror-filled patch
    From which there is no escape hatch,
    Elective focus
    On writing as locus
    Can help as a way to detach.

    Success in finding your bliss
    Might not work with a method like this,
    But a focus on writing
    Is much more inviting
    Than falling into the abyss.

    Writing is helpful for many,
    And if not, keep out your antennae
    For some new form of Zen
    For doom, but till then,
    It’s as good a solution as any.

  6. Shizel Says:

    i love the flowery prose of two bottles of wine and a big doobie. I have just finished fashioning my home made still.

  7. Shizel Says:

    Fancy booze labels would be nice

  8. paul marcotte Says:

    Thanks Jonathan for a wonderful essay. I certainly agree with your statement that happiness always comes from within, at least that’s how I see it.
    And you state, “death is coming like it is coming for everyone.” Still, people struggle with this fact, and I tend to think that the ones who struggle the most are the ones who have worked so hard to amass their pile of “stuff” whatever that may be, and the thought of having laboured so hard to achieve what they have achieved, only to think that one day it will all be gone, is a tough pill for them to swallow. Living simply, helps the pill go down.
    Having had the good fortune, yes I call it good fortune, not bad, to have experienced some very close brushes with death over the years, in spite of the fact that each time it happened was quite traumatic, in the long run, it has allowed me to be at peace with death, sooner or later. It has allowed me to get more out of each day that I am alive as I consider every day a bonus at this point.
    As far as my calligraphy goes, I, like you, enjoy spending time in nature and with animals, and I always try to make a point each night that is cloudless, to spend a few moments gazing into the sky, thankful that I can do so, and also to allow me to understand how utterly insignificant I am in the universe.
    Perhaps in the end, Thoreau had it figured out when he stated,
    “Be it life or death, we crave only reality. If we are really dying, let us hear the rattle in our throats and feel cold in the extremities; if we are alive, let us go about our business.”

  9. ulvfugl Says:

    Thanks Jonathan.

    I’ve read Herrigel, although it was a very long time ago, and I seem to recall some people have questioned the veracity of his experience. Don’t know about that.

    http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/59975.Eugen_Herrigel

    Anyway, I’d be interested in the technicalities. Little children automatically and naturally hold their breath when they focus attention, as in making a calligraphy mark, as in threading a needle.

    I was taught to do this, when young, firing a rifle, hold the breath, you get one instant of steadiness to pull, as the crosswires are on the target, before the wobbling starts again.

    So, now, I have this down to a fine art in all kinds of ways, to hold attention in various places. Do you do this with your archery ?

    I mean, I have not seen the film. I can imagine the scene, waiting for the arrows, or being absorbed, not waiting for the arrows… :-)

    Hahahaha, you see, I like to think I have a mastery of this stuff. Like e.g. the Vietnamese buddhist monk who immolated himself and sat impassive. I can do that. But how often do I need to do it ? :-)

    Then I have to quickly have a life. Then another immolation :-)

  10. James Says:

    My calligraphy was studying and admiring the diversity of nature’s biological forms and their interactions. Now it’s all being destroyed by an egotistical ape cancer. Still interesting though. Will avoid the arrows long enough to see my children to a peaceful place to live out their lives.

    We all must die? What is procreation for? So we won’t die, right? Maybe those that value their lives most dearly will pull the plug on those that are content to go quietly into the night. It could happen any day and eliminate 90% of the earth’s human population in a short period of time and cut greenhouse emissions by 99%.

  11. ulvfugl Says:

    You can read Sekida’s book Zen Training, online.

    He says a lot about the zen of calligraphy.

    or if you just want some quotes and opinions

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1623392.Zen_Training

  12. OzMan Says:

    Jonathan,
    you ask:

    “Knowing that, (that you will die),how will you live out the rest of your time?”

    This is the first consideration when becoming a Buddhist, traditionally when taking vows. How friggin’ smart are they? After deeply considering one’s mortality, even going through the stages of reactivity, denial, and maybe acceptance, one would expect a very different way of living afterwards.
    Great question !!

    Pat
    From the previous thread…

    “leave all this;just walk-away”

    I’ve heard that idea some place, just can’t place it….

    Just to be particular,
    it is walking away from the ‘identification’ with Industrial Civ, and our unnecessarily gross dependency on ‘it’ and its systems, that is the key idea, not in itself walking away from everything characterising Industrial Civ.
    This Jesus character I think also is supposed to have said:

    “give up your possessions, and follow me”.

    Jesus may have been indeed a 4th Stage realiser, and if so he is pointing to the process of de-identifying with all the ‘possessions’- and I enjoy the ambiguity of the word in modern English, (not his mother-tongue it would seem-Aramaic?) around ‘that which possesses us’ and our ‘belongings’- cars, boats, bank accounts and Tribal Privilege.
    Identification, and its concomitant dependency is to me the key here.
    Just sayin…

    All

    Guy went to the Mud Hut as an intentional,(no going back type of) experiment to live by a realisation he came to about the idea of real Sustainability and living with honour, as opposed to the hopium all around him many live by – Q.V. the cactus garden example.

    I have had a go at ‘walking away’(in a smaller way), and like Guy see the difficulties in getting off the drugs of security, (an illusory concept for any stage of human development beyond childhood), mortality, and the human recognition/rejection cycle when you step out of the mainstream.

    Many tried their version of this, it used to be called ‘Dropping Out’ in the 60′s and 70′s in developed Anex-1 nations. I bet an inventory of all those who dropped out then as to how much debt and sugar and cancer they have on them now would be revealing. Not judging, just pointing to how the herd has its pull, or it’s ‘possession’ on us.

    I just want to say a little about the Australian Indigenous concept of ‘walking away’ which I used to inform my use of it on my website and my activities.

    When tribal groups met, usually a cultural even attended by ceremony, and exchanges, elders would sit down and discuss their views about the issues. Sometimes a messenger would arrive, and in this case they were/are sent by distant elders,(it still goes on!) to represent their tribal group, perhaps because the elders cannot move with such speed anymore, but also because sometimes there is ‘risk’.

    If the messenger puts a proposal, or a view that is agreeable, then there is acceptance, and formal agreements are entered into. Messages are brought back. Quite often this was authenticated by a message stick, which communicated certain details.

    If the proposal(s) are not worthy, or even insulting to the recipients, their traditional response is to get up and walk away. No agreement is met with. In more severe situations the messenger is speared and maybe killed. This sort of event is when lands, or reparations for transgressions are contested, and the issues are not easily resolved.
    We can easily see how and why a messenger is preferred by elders.
    That takes guts to do that. So when your messenger doesn’t return, there is your answer.

    This is a similar way that Guy describes in his book, familiar to regulars, “Walking Away From Empire”, when walking away from an oppressive king or ruler in Medieval Europe was a last option, and was done to withdraw cooperation. This was a loss of power, because it was often the political controllers of the second tier, the earls and barons, and their military sidekicks that did the walking, and their tribal support base went with them.
    In Australia, it served as a simple statement, of non consent.
    So Walking away in this contemporary context can mean just simply committing to finding another, honourable, saner way to live, and co-exist with the living planet.

    Will it stop the violence, exploitation, suffering and slide to the abyss of ecosystem collapse and screwing the planet?

    That is the question, but also, ask yourself this:

    If you were on the Titanic, and the recognition dawns you are going under, (and we ‘are’ going under), who would you rather be in your last hours? Would you want to be remembered as the scrambling maniac trying to push others aside to the lifeboat; the stoic denier who needs the icy water up to your waist to shift your mindset; the helpless individual, (excluding children) unprepared to activate survival life-skills paralysed by degraded situational awareness and cognitive dissonance; a cunning manipulator who bribes and fiddles the register to get into the lifeboat, or perhaps someone who helps others get to some safety, calmly being a human in a dire moment?

    Having read Guys book mentioned above, and a good deal of his presentations here and elsewhere, this is what to me makes him a voice in the wilderness, because he is calling us to be honourable, and rise to the occasion.

    Honour is a concept very rarely talked about and we all know why: the lawyer-tricksters have broken the language in what Orwell described as a travesty of the people’s ability to co-operatively discuss the way they wish to live.
    So when Guy enumerates the 5 things we need to survive, and uses the term: ‘Decent Human Community’ he is pointing to the key human bit, the honourable politics of living together, in some real relationship to the land and sky, oceans and wild things.

    I’m for that!

    Walking away can be one path to staying on one’s path, not losing one’s way, as the ship goes down, off the coast of the Beach of Doom.
    There are of course others, some are from traditions, others are new, but finding our own, that helps us bring life to this world is honourable in my view.

    Here’s one way TPTB could make a small difference, and be honourable:

    ‘Warning $674bn ‘carbon bubble’ will blow 2C climate target’

    http://www.rtcc.org/2013/04/19/governments-warned-6tr-carbon-bubble-will-blow-2c-climate-target/

    “Annual investments of $674bn in the search for oil and gas could create a ‘carbon bubble’ of stranded assets if countries remain committed to meeting UN climate targets.

    Scientists have already recommended that two thirds of the world’s proven oil and gas reserves must stay in the ground if the world is to keep within the 2°C limit of safe warming agreed under the 2010 Cancun Accord.

    Despite this, new research by the Carbon Tracker Initiative and the Grantham Research Institute suggests the financial sector is either unaware of this target or does not believe it is realistic, given the $674bn invested every year looking for new sources of fossil fuels.

    The report warns that there is a risk that ploughing this money into fossil fuels could create stranded assets worth $6trn in a decade.

    It calls for governments, regulators and the investment community to give more weight to so called carbon budgets when appraising energy investments.”

    From 22 April 2013, but still waiting for the market to wake up….Duh!

    ulvfugl

    Who’s pushing their religion now?

  13. Robin Datta Says:

    What is your Calligraphy?

    ברוך אתה יהוה אלהינו מלר העולם
    אשר נתן לשיכוי בינה להבחין בין יום ובין לילה

    - “Praise to the Divine, our Master of the Universe, for bestowing Consciousness upon us”. Not quite accurate, though, because Consciousness is not “bestowed”. It remains non-dual, no matter how many apparent manifestations are perceived.

    Nature is the only conscious being on earth. We are nature … we are consciousness.

    Nature, unlike consciousness, is limited by time-space-causation. The consciousness that “we”/”I” are/am is usually misidentified with the meat-robot. The consciousness illuminates the mind, giving it awareness, thinking and experiencing; these are properties of the illuminated mind, but do not affect consciousness, just as varied reflections of sunlight do not affect the sunshine.

    The realised person, having this realisation, is free of any sense of doership/agency (“I am doing such & such”) and sense of experiencing (“I am enjoying/suffering from such & such”). Any sense of “I” or “me” includes everything, and any sense of doing/experiencing is clearly seen as the functionality of the meat-robot.

    Perhaps making the external world no longer an option, the inner world –- the so called spiritual world — is finally revealed as being the only thing that has ever been important.

    The spiritual stuff comes in bottles. Consciousness is not subject to the limitations of time-space-causation (although the objects it illuminates are), and so consciousness has neither “internal” nor “external”.

  14. Tom Says:

    Btd: Excellent commentary!

    Jon: good thoughts, love the zen story. I have the Blue Cliff Record somewhere around here that I read and reread a few times. One of my favorites involves a guy who goes to the master sitting at the temple and asks him a question like what is the meaning of life (or why did Buddha come to the west). The master rises, walks to the man, slaps him and pushes him away. A monk walking by at that moment says to the stunned questioner “Why do you not bow?”

  15. Grant Schreiber Says:

    Pointing out the obvious via prose or poetry is a fine calling. It is important to realize how shockingly dim average intelligence really is and living in a society based upon greed isn’t necessarily 100% evil, so finding things to enjoy in the material world can help reaching whatever spiritual world one thinks one needs.

    To live without ambition is in itself an ambition, and there’s only so much navel gazing I can do before I start wondering about other crap. I like watching movies. I enjoy all kinds of movies, including ones of dubious merit. Currently working my way through a series of movies with Christopher Lee as Dr Fu Manchu. They are uniformly terrible, like so many movies were in the 1960s. Having a fine time.

    If I can sit through “The Brides of Fu Manchu,” I can sit through anything, including the end of the world. The end of the world being a favorite movie subject as well. The unreality of our reality lends itself well to observation. Of course, I get mad — frequently — when the various actors stutter their lines about “economic growth” and “job security” and “energy needs” but I also laugh a lot because this all-consuming tragedy is pretty funny too.

    When the arrows come raining down, will I be able to continue enjoying the movie? I think that’s immaterial. NTE has made death meaningless. Global extinction renders how we die a shrug. The only thing that matters now is how we live. I have to continue playing the game of this sick society because civilization hasn’t collapsed yet. But I now try to greet each day as something valuable. Time enjoyed is never time wasted, and while I can, I might as well enjoy myself. There are tons of movies yet to see, books yet to read, music yet to hear. There are dishes I have not tasted and meals I have not cooked. Along the way there are also tears not yet shed. It’s all good. I welcome it all.

  16. ulvfugl Says:

    @ Gbant Sceribner

    Yeah, but some of it is REAL and some if it is illusion, and the point is to be able to distinguish the difference, isn’t it ?

    I mean, I don’t have any time spare for watching any movies of dubious merit, I’d rather watch real birds that have taken millions of years to evolve.

  17. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    Thanks, Tom! :)
    Tom says: monk
    ==

    The Monk and the Hot Dog Vendor

    A monk decided to bring
    An end to his suffering;
    And so, in surrender,
    He said to a vendor,
    “Please make me one with everything.”

    H/T: Ancient jokesters

  18. Grant Schreiber Says:

    Ulvfulg says “Yeah, but some of it is REAL and some if it is illusion, and the point is to be able to distinguish the difference, isn’t it ?”

    Unless there is no point. Seeing a bird is a wonder in and of itself, seeing paper mache mountain catch on fire is something else entirely. Be True to Oneself. And if that truth incorporates Brits with really bad make up to look Oriental, what the hell. It also took millions of years of evolution to create shitty movie directors. The Wonder of it All!

  19. Nathanial Says:

    The bizarro weather in the USA last week, is it expected that this will become a regular occurrence in the future now that the jet stream has been altered? I mean, such weather could perhaps affect the whole of the UK and mainland Europe this year or next. Seems to me that it’s just a matter of time before Europe gets hit.

  20. Artleads Says:

    Thanks for another fine article, Jonathan!

    Grant,

    Sometimes you do exceed yourself. Lovely posts. Watching the complexity of society offers room for more entertainment than we can handle. I was looking at “At Berkeley” on PBS TV last night. The camera would go from one department or activity to another–a leaf blower in helmet and shit, looking like a bumblebee, a robot picking up and putting down a fabric, a man learning to use artificial legs, discussion on poverty in one classroom, discussion on the nature of time in another… Most telling was the administrator charged to make the institution work and stay “great” despite drastic budgetary cuts by the state. They had to corporatize and streamline everything, and the departments didn’t like that. The complexity of one university alone was such that the mind shut down and could go no further.

    from Rumi’s Little Book of Life

    The Garden of the Soul, the Heart, and the Spirit

    translated by Maryam Mafi and Azima Melita Kolin

    introduction by Narguess Farzad

    The Beloved holds my heart as a pen

    writing whatever He fancies.

    He trims the pen each day for a task

    sometimes He smothers it in ink

    sometimes He flips it upside down

    sometimes He splits the tip for his purpose.

    Like a doctor, He knows what is best for the patient.

    With one line He wipes clean the entire world

    with another He protects it from disaster.

    The heart is both aware and unconscious

    it has no judgment so it surrenders

    to the Beloved’s hand that holds it.

    Praise the heart that has become aware!

    I may call my heart a pen but nothing can explain

    this form without form, restrained

    yet with free will, a union of paradox.

  21. ulvfugl Says:

    @ Grant

    Well, that’s all very convincing if you find yourself convinced, Grant, but I can’t help feeling in my bones that one day you’ll regret all these hours you’ve spent watching “The Brides of Fu Manchu” over and over again, and you’ll be thinking to yourself, ‘why did I fritter away my precious moments, when I could have been making chu-ko-nu’, because when the zombies are in the stairwell, that’s what you’re going to need, isn’t it, Grant, it’ll be no good throwing dvd’s at them, will it, Grant, face it, they’ll not be deterred for a moment… I know you will not listen to me, Grant, but we’ve had this sort of thing before in Wales, we’ll be well-prepared, there’ll be pits, with sharp sticks and there’ll be other nasty surprises that I’m keeping secret and not going to mention in public…but I’m certain the zombies will hear rumours and will steer well clear. But you, Grant ? Sitting duck, if ever there was one, mate. I bet you’ve got your back to the door when you’re watching that dubious material, havn’t you ! See, you don’t even take any precautions. Sheer carelessness. Anybody’d think you wanted to be eaten.

    http://www.arco-iris.com/George/chu-ko-nu.htm

  22. Deb Says:

    Thought I posted this here but it only showed up at the forum:

    Excellent piece, Jonathan!
    I’m with Guy: do what you love. But I would add, if you can’t do what you love, learn to love what you do. I found myself, while cleaning a toilet the other day, being very fond of that toilet and feeling like I was giving a beloved pet a bath. Each of these little heart openings feels important to me.

    @ Grant Schreiber
    ‘Time enjoyed is never time wasted’ is what I always say to people who think they are ‘wasting time’ doing something unproductive but fun. Regarding your ‘unless there is no point,’ I’d say either there is no point or that the point is different for each of us. I completely ‘get’ your enjoyment of bad movies, especially as ‘real’ life begins to resemble them more and more.

    For what it’s worth, here’s one of my favorite songs:

    http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/d/don_henley/my_thanksgiving.html

    The whole song is great, but my favorite line is ‘Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge.’ If we have burned the bridge to a sustainable life on this planet, we might use the light from that to find out what we love, and enjoy it while we can.

  23. the virgin terry Says:

    ‘call to make us unite or make the deniers wake up’

    we’re united in our awareness and impotence. impotence is the killer. what good is it to ‘unite’ when even unity changes nothing?

    as for deniers, i think a more apt term is fools. homo stupidiens. dogma abusers/addicts/pushers. sheeple who can think neither far nor straight. lack of rationality/intellect resulting in dogged dogmatic ignorance. crazy-stupid.

    i think sheeple who think they have a surrealistic chance of ‘waking up’ the denier/idiotlunatics, the hardcore 99% (or whatever, point is it’s an overwhelming majority who don’t get it), are in denial themselves as to the intractability of human flaws/limits.

    Jonathan DeJong. i haven’t been commenting often on this blog very often for a while now, but i’ve been reading and appreciating the writings of others, including u. we are united to a relatively large extent in awareness/perception. it’s pleasing, isn’t it?

    ‘greed trumping reason and responsibility’

    again, one man’s greed is another one’s foolishness. all just a matter of semantics, i suppose.

    ‘What do you have in your life that will allow you to let go of the horrors?’

    we all probably need escape from despair. no doubt we all indulge in favorite pleasing pastimes. (of course, these are limited by our status as sheeple living under dogmatic violent ‘authorities’) escapism per se probably isn’t what u meant or sought when u asked this question, but that’s how i see it. temporary respite from the gloom that is doom’s siamese twin.

    i like to live vicariously (armchair adventure) and learn/acquire fascinating knowledge/perceptions. i read a lot. like all sorts of nonfiction. currently reading book titled INTO THIN AIR and related wikipedia articles that go into much detail about the difficulties and dangers associated with living in the ‘death zone’, trying to climb the world’s highest mountains. there’s some excellent video documentary material also:

    only temporary escape tho. once one knows our existence is temporal, meaningless, and hopelessly fucked up, one can’t go back to ignorance/delusion/hopium, afaik.

  24. Reverend O'Brien Says:

    Why does Guy claim knowledge of such a complicated system as the Earth’s ecosystem when he can’t even get comments to work properly on his far less complicated blog software?

    Or is this something to do with Jevon’s paradox and the zoom zoom baba boom postulate?

  25. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    The Monk and the Hot Dog Vendor, con’t.

    Getting no change from a fin,
    The monk told him, “Stealing’s a sin,”
    But, playing the guide,
    The vendor replied,
    “Change must come from within.”

  26. logspirit Says:

    New Study Renews Roundup ‘Weedkiller’ Toxicity Concern

    A new study published in the January issue of International Journal of Toxicology titled, “Glyphosate Commercial Formulation Causes Cytotoxicity, Oxidative Effects, and Apoptosis on Human Cells: Differences With its Active Ingredient,” raises renewed concern that formulations of the world’s most popular herbicide glyphosate (e.g. Roundup), used primarily in the production of GM food, represent a serious human health threat.

    Researchers studied the effects of a glyphosate-based formulation on human cells, at dilutions far below agricultural applications. The researchers discovered that while glyphosate and its amino acid metabolite, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), showed little to no observable toxic effects in isolation, a glyphosate-based formulation containing adjuvants produced a variety of adverse effects…

    The glyphosate formulation studied also triggered two ‘death proteins’ in human cells known as caspase 3/7, inducing pathways that activate programmed cell death (apoptosis), a clear sign of significant toxicity.

    …Roundup is toxic to human DNA in dilutions 450-fold lower than used in agricultural applications.

    …recent findings that glyphosate in isolation has extreme carcinogenic potential, having been shown to disrupt and/or mimic estrogen at concentrations as low as the parts-per-trillion range.

    ###

    For the complete article with additional links, go to the source url in the title. It should also be noted that heavy widespread use of glyphosate formulations occurs in the landscaping industry, residential and commercial. Concentrations are commonly ‘accidentally’ tens of times higher than in agriculture – since even one weed mars that ideal sterilized totally controlled landscape (Criky! no worries, soon we’ll get a perfect Mars landscape), and the chemicals are extremely cheap compared to the high cost of (and to) exploited, exposed, low wage, low class, disposable, labor. Point site regulation? Absent with leave – nobody’s watching. No limit on how much of the stuff these business owners can buy, so they spray as much as their selfish heart desires ‘to get results’, anything to pile up those bucks – the almighty will sort it all out. I personally observed these practices while working in the landscaping industry (as an organic consultant ‘alternative’ in the same company – OK kiddies, can we all say ‘greenwash’?). One more severely toxic aspect of suburban life to add to the long sad list. Your neighbor’s ‘perfect’ green lawn may be making your children sick and shortening your life too, even those picturesque ‘landscapes’ miles away. Anyone who holds on to the belief that these now omnipresent synthetic toxins are benign, are fooling themselves.

    Of course, with NTHE right around the corner… Oh well, might as well know what’s happening with eyes wide open… and share the light. Perhaps the exercise will reduce some suffering. That’s my calligraphy. Death the Inevitable keeps getting closer… So… Might as well, might as well.

    Might As Well
    Lyrics By: Robert Hunter
    Music By: Jerry Garcia

    Great North Special, were you on board?
    You can’t find a ride like that no more
    Night the chariot swung down low
    Ninety nine children had a chance to go

    One long party from front to end
    Tune to the whistle going round the bend
    No big hurry, what do you say
    Might as well travel the elegant way

    Might as well, might as well
    (Might as well, might as well)
    Might as well, might as well
    (Might as well, might as well)
    Might as well, might as well
    (Might as well, might as well)
    Might as well, might as well
    (Might as well, might as well)

    Ragtime solid for twenty five miles
    Then slip over to the Cajun style
    Bar car loaded with rhythm and blues
    Rock and roll wailing in the old caboose

    Long train running from coast to coast
    Bringing ‘long the party where they need it the most
    Whup on the box car, beat on the bell
    Nothing else shaking so you might just as well

    Never had such a good time
    In my life before
    I’d like to have it one time more
    One good ride from start to end
    I’d like to take that ride again

    Run out of track and I caught the plane
    Back in the county with the blues again
    Great North Special been on my mind
    Might like to ride it just one more time

  27. 44 south Says:

    So why didn’t the previous attempts, doing exactly what I just did not work?? A million curses on the prick who wrote the first line of malicious code that makes captcha codes neccessary. Thank god for seemorerocks!

  28. Wren Says:

    Good article Jonathan, thank you.

    My ‘calligraphy’ is a list of things to quiet the incessant monkey chatter of my infernal internal dialogue. It’s a piece of work to get the damn thing to be quiet sometimes!
    So for me it’s meditation, star gazing while lying outside on a nice quilt, yoga, and most recently juggling – a real brain twister, and a good thing to get lost in. I also figure it’s a good skill to have if ever I’m reduced to begging on the streets. My plan is to juggle realistic looking baby dolls with some stuffing in my clothes to make me look pregnant. Street theatre.

  29. Artleads Says:

    deb

    I liked those lyrics. Especially the burning bridge metaphor.

    tvt

    But isn’t pursuing unity fun? Assuming it makes no difference one way or t’other, what’s wrong with doing it if one finds it amusing? While empires may have, early on, worked to unite much of the world for its own ends, there seems to have been no effort to do so since the 60s. (That’s according to writer Sam Gindin anyway.) According to Julian Assange, social media allows for a high level of unity and self-organizing (which is as yet absent). You can see what he says on the Hacker’s article three or four articles back.

    BTD

    So nice to have you back.

    wren

    Your calligraphy, especially the pregnancy outfit and the flying baby dolls, will get you lots of attention. Not sure about food though. :-)

  30. Makati1 Says:

    I am retired and 69 years of age. I have 4 kids and a dozen grands and am single. I now live in the Philippines after a lifetime in the US.
    I have lived 3 lives.

    1. Youth: ~30 years.
    2. Marriage: ~30 years.
    3. Independence: ? years.

    I have resolved in my retirement to enjoy life, observe the chaos around me via the internet and to go peacefully when my time comes. Death is not something to be feared. I have no structured religious belief so I neither look forward to a life after nor fear a hell. Neither exist in my world. When my time comes, odds are, I will only know that last experience for a few minutes. I will not know anything after. Only those I leave behind will know.

    When you have come to a peace with death, you can enjoy life so much better. Live each minute as if it could be your last. Yes, you have to think about a future as you do not know the time and place of that last experience. I do not know if I have 30+ seconds or 30+ years and must consider that in my plans. I enjoy nature, reading good books, listening to good music, eating my favorite foods, following the current events of this psychotic world and time spent with my friends and family. What more could I ask for?

  31. Lidia Says:

    Cool scarf. I haven’t accumulated the twenty god-damn different colors of yarn you’d need to make it yet. Fingering weight is tiny => small stitches => a lot of time for little progress. I have in the works a cardigan (2 sleeves and the back are done), a hat for my husband (just a few rows left), and a bohemian-looking scarf with weird Turkish yarn (got a third of the way through and realized I messed up and had to rip most of it out). Plus a couple of smaller projects like fingerless mitts (need sewing up) and cotton dishcloths (so I don’t need to buy sponges anymore, which are getting crappier at the same time they are more expensive to buy). Practical things. I have to have more than one project going or else I get bored. When you’re frustrated with one you can pick up another one that’s more satisfying.

    One thing I notice from the perspective of the Beach of Doom is that it’s hard to find woolen sweaters in thrift stores anymore. People are buying them up in order to re-purpose the yarn, especially if it’s a well-made sweater (a machine-seamed one will only yield a lot of short lengths, practically useless). I’m kicking myself for not snapping up the man’s cashmere coat, because I could have worked that up into something warm and nice. It’s fun to go trolling for discarded things that can be re-used.


    “Death is coming like it comes for everyone”, says Jonathan DeJong.

    But that’s not really the case. For all the deaths previous to those of our generation and the few to come, the dying person knew that the world went on—maybe different or a little worse or a little better—but there was a continuity.

    What we have to face now is not just death. That’s the easy part.

    What we have to face now is the utter lack of continuity. Even Guy, who writes off human continuity, roots for animal continuity, plant continuity, amoebic continuity… whatever he can get, whatever he can fight for or negotiate for. Why? is an interesting question.

    There aren’t going to be any more human civilizations after ours.
    There aren’t going to be any more “business cycles”.
    There aren’t going to be any more “turnings”.
    There isn’t going to be any resurrection or reincarnation, because what is there to reincarnate TO? on a lifeless planet? (I guess we are left with F. Kling’s aliens.)

    So that is much more of a 2×4 upside the head than just our personal, individual, demise.

    I’m kind of interested to know from Jonathan… aside from all of the beautiful cooking and archery and so on, what does he counsel his financial clients, given that we are facing the end of human life on earth? How is it that he even maintains this as a profession?

  32. Lidia Says:

    @PMB, did you get my message on the forum about meetups?

  33. 18000days Says:

    “Give yourself permission to find peace”

    I can’t see anything particularly wrong with just being terrified. Give yourself the perhaps long overdue permission for that. I’d like to believe there’s some “true mettle of humanity” to be found outside of a sordid territorial squabble, Hollywood screenplay or mainstream media story, but I doubt it. I’m pretty sure I won’t be going to death exhibiting the sang-froid of an action hero or the detachment of a zen master, much less a Hollywood one. There was probably never much merit in any version of ‘dying with one’s boots on’- that’s just propaganda from the system that profits from coercing you into the boots in the first place. In this case, there will be no posterity to remember my devotion to calligraphy, or to castigate me for honestly and justifiably shitting myself instead.

    ..So, what’s my calligraphy? I suspect it’s constructing, or planning to construct some white elephant out of recycled wood, or other flotsam of industrial civilisation. I expect to have denied having anything to do with it three times before the cock crows, and betrayed it for thirty pieces of silver, or a mess of pottage, or something..

  34. Lindsay Says:

    What a great essay! Thank you.

  35. Gerald Spezio Says:

    Calligraphy – you say?

    Steven Spielberg knows HIS Zionist Israeli calligraphy.

    “Special powers” by yuppie coppers with clairvoyance.

    Spielberg is a film & Israeli propaganda GENIUS, right?

    Stop pestilence & sin before it starts.

    Is watching calligraphy, or no?

    If you want to get a sense of where they expect this to head think of the 2002 Spielberg movie Minority Report. Tom Cruise plays a cop who relies on the special powers of a government agency to see into the future, to predict the behaviour of citizens.

    The official justification is that these powers – to read citizens’ minds – are being used for the common good, so that Cruise and his “pre-crime” team can stop criminals before they strike.

    See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2014-01-20/big-brother-meets-brave-new-world/#sthash.gnrvLAyN.dpuf

  36. PMB Says:

    @Lidia,

    I see your post here. I’ve been checking the Forum, but didn’t see any topic about meetups. I’ve been following your thread about Acceptance and Christy’s about Patriarchy. Was your post there? I may have missed it.

    Was the Meetup thread posted under Batter Up?

    I did send you an email via the Forum. Did that get through to you. It may have wound up in your Spam folder.

    Thanks

    Re Current Post

    This was an interesting post. One I’ve been sitting with for days.

    I find that the words of Lidia (in previous post) and 18000 days (above) are saying things similar to what’s in my mind.

    I find that much talk of death is in the abstract and not from experience. Similar to people who serve in the military. Those who haven’t seen combat have an entirely different experience from those whose duties keep them ‘safe’. Those who have seen people die come back very different.

  37. ulvfugl Says:

    @ Lidia

    I haven’t accumulated the twenty god-damn different colors of yarn you’d need to make it yet.

    Lidia ! Seems you have a half-hearted approach, I’d expected you to be much more thorough, you have to start with the right meadow

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=traditional+haymeadow+flowers&rlz=1CASMAD_enGB545GB546&espv=210&es_sm=93&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=Tj7dUuSqG6-M7Aa_sYHgBQ&ved=0CEIQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=665

    then, the right sheeps

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=jacob's+sheep&rlz=1CASMAD_enGB545GB546&espv=210&es_sm=93&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=jD7dUtjOAqTW7QbqnYCACQ&ved=0CDwQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=665

    then you use the plants from the meadows, woods and hedgerows to make the dyes for the wools. Remember, you need to know what time of day to pluck some of the ingredients, they give different colours, depending if gathered in morning or afternoon. This is true ! Are you paying attention ? ;-)

    http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-make-vegetable-dye-140050

    Then, after you have shawn your sheep… oh, I forgot, you have to breed them, raise the lambs, make shepherd’s crooks, hurdles, grow hazels… nevermind.. then comes spinning the wool… yarn…

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=spindle+spinning&rlz=1CASMAD_enGB545GB546&espv=210&es_sm=93&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=eUTdUu6XJ-vQ7Aba2YGIAQ&ved=0CE8QsAQ&biw=1280&bih=665

    THEN comes knitting… seems to me, you’re expecting other people to do all the heavy lifting for you, and then you come along and do the easy bit at the end and claim all the credit ! ;-)

  38. Kirk Hamilton Says:

    Wren, I used to go to peace marches in a business suit, wearing a Bush mask and waving to everyone with a hand drenched in fake blood. To top it off I’d hold aloft a headless, bloody baby doll with a pacifier pined by a ribbon to her tattered onesie. More street theater. But nobody threw money, just dirty looks.

    Good article, BTW. I suppose any calligraphy is OK with me as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody or bore me to death. I imagine those monks from the dark ages. All they had to do to find food and shelter was copy books. I bet the line was a mile long.

    Gerald, it’s amazing that no matter how eloquent the calligraphy, when the character for hate shows up, it’s the only thing that good people remember.

  39. pat Says:

    @ BtD: Me too, I’ll take one with everything, Please.

    With a stack of old tires and a can of gas
    on the capitol steps and matches in his hands
    he presented a sign
    that the end was nigh
    then up in smoke went all of his best laid plans

    The Voluntary Extinction Movement
    Thou shalt not procreate.

    The Church of Euthanasia
    Save the planet, kill yourself.

    ps: I stood on my head to enter the CAPTCHA Code.

  40. Lidia Says:

    @PMB, check your messages on the forum, because I did write back to you. I will send you another PM with my e-mail in it.

  41. Grant Schreiber Says:

    Ulvfulg: “Sitting Duck” strikes me as something that needs much greater use. We’re now on the Planet of the Sitting Ducks. When the CO2 shotgun goes off, there’s only going to be scorched feathers to show where we were. This again reinforces my notion that while we slide down the razor’s edge to our end there’s a lot of laughs still to be had. Fukushima is a slapstick sitcom for one thing. The Comedy isn’t Divine, but when you’re in the act of global suicide, it is impossible not to clown around.

    Deb: Thanks for the song lyrics. “Enjoy it while you can” of course works no matter what. That we have a society devoted to making money and unable to look beyond the next fiscal quarter sucks enjoyment right out of everything. NTE certainly puts a new spin on that. The daily grind isn’t so bad since you get another day to grind…

    Artleads: For good or ill, I lived my life as the grasshopper in Aesop’s fable. I hop and jump and make merry while the ants toil on, waiting for the time they get to retire and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Getting older makes it all a bit scarier, but age does that no matter what. I can’t be a cautious grasshopper because that doesn’t make sense, but I can embrace being a sitting duck. There’s pond scum and gnats all around. But there are plenty of other sitting ducks about to keep me company and that’s good enough.

  42. Eddie Says:

    My calligraphy? I guess I’m figuring that out as I go. Yesterday it was working on the deck out at the cabin, and fixing a couple of busted pipes.

    Come April I’ll be having guests…the first gathering of RE’s SUNsteaders. We’re going to camp and eat and drink and….and then four of us are going to spend most of a week learning how to build domes.

    With barely 3 months until then, I’m busy working…on making sure the ‘stead is safe for children and has functional toilets and showers.

    Long term, calligraphy for me is building the monastery. A retreat. A food forest. An organic farm with a bunch of swales. A house that’s passively cooled and collects the rain. An aquaponics greenhouse.

    Don’t know if it will make much difference. But if some alien race touches down on my place in a few years, or a few million years, they can see that a few of us finally were beginning to get it.

  43. Artleads Says:

    Lidia

    “What we have to face now is the utter lack of continuity. Even Guy, who writes off human continuity, roots for animal continuity, plant continuity, amoebic continuity… whatever he can get, whatever he can fight for or negotiate for. Why? is an interesting question.”

    Why? Everything we can possibly think results from all that has transpired and lived. There is no one to ask why. We ARE this “continuity.” And this continuity is us. There is no legitimate way to stand apart and decide whether it should continue or not. Wouldn’t that be like separating ourselves from ourselves?

  44. Lidia Says:

    @Artleads, I’m not talking about “deciding”. There is no deciding; the die is cast.

    We’re the continuity, until we’re not.

  45. Kirk Hamilton Says:

    “I’m kind of interested to know from Jonathan… aside from all of the beautiful cooking and archery and so on, what does he counsel his financial clients, given that we are facing the end of human life on earth? How is it that he even maintains this as a profession?”

    Excellent question, Linda. Even before NTE came lurching out of the dark abandoned cul de sac of the future, I wondered about a system that creates great wealth for people who never have to lift a finger to accumulate it. Are THEY the reason corporations are bound by law to produce profit at all costs? Are THEY the reason working people are made to suffer? Anything to fill the coffers of the lazy, shiftless scum! Cannibals, in my opinion, furthering themselves at the suffering of others because they can, they have the power, the police and the armies! Another case of the worst passing themselves off as the best, the most deserving.

    I’ve wanted to make a collage with cutouts of starving children in the center surrounded by the rich, all with straws from their mouths ending in the bodies of the shriveled children. I bet Artleads would dig that.

    When will we ever find a clear channel? Never, the only continuity to be found on this planet is the pall of suffering that infiltrates everything here. And whether or not there is a heaven, the rich will still have as much of a chance of entering it as a camel does passing through the eye of a needle.

  46. Catherine Campion Says:

    I tend to focus on the *inner* revolution (love is all that remains), but those among us also interested in finally resisting: “An Open Letter to the 3.5% ~ Reform Is Dead” https://waveofaction.org/an-open-letter-to-the-3-5-reform-is-dead-www from https://waveofaction.org

  47. Queenie (Marian Veverka) Says:

    “Heavy lifting” in knitting? No way! When I was in 3 & 4 grade, our classes knitted squares for the Red Cross which older women put together to make afghans for refugees. Must have knitted 100/s We could do it in class & the boys knitted, too.

    Knitted mittens for all my kids. When they lost one, I could knit another one to match it. My daughters knit sweaters – then they never wore them . They would keep it for a while then give it to someone who admired it. I used to admire them,, but they said I could knit my own. We knitted & we sewed. Most of the girls in our class made our
    prom dresses. As well as the dresses wore to school.

    What frustrated me the most was trying to
    knit & read at the same time.

  48. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    Lidia says: What we have to face now is the utter lack of continuity.
    ==

    Doomosphere

    We’ve reached a new kind of frontier—
    It’s one where we all disappear,
    And then soon our whole race
    Will leave hardly a trace,
    As if we never were here.

  49. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    @ Jonathan DeJong: Nice essay! :)

  50. Wren Says:

    You wake up, it’s dark, the half moon is at it’s highest point in its ecliptic. What time is it?
    Or….. there is a quarter moon rising. What time is it?

    This is my calligraphy lying in bed at night with insomnia to avoid thinking about NTE.
    You don’t have to look this stuff up, it’s something you can figure out in your own mind by visualizing the sun, the moon, the earth, and your self on the rotating planet.
    The times might not be exact by local standards, but they are true in the planetary sense.

  51. toktomi Says:

    Nice essay, JDeJ.

    If a personal calligraphy is supposed to somehow numb one to the potential and apparently highly probable imminent horrors facing humanity, then I must admit that I have nothing.

    I am so absolutely freaked out by the possibility of a premature death – and have been for many years now – that it is literally killing me.

    In the face of overwhelming evidence, my primitive little brain cannot relinquish its irrational insistence on living forever. I am a generally faithless freak who cannot imagine anything except staying alive. Perhaps, it’s genetic.

    I anesthetize on sleep a lot, however.

    ~toktomi~

  52. ulvfugl Says:

    @ Gant Srechibin

    I think you’ve misconstrued my metaphor re the incubating anatadid, which comes from English sporting terminology, it being considered somewhat ungentlemanly to blast a target that’s not moving, because it takes no skill. I had in mind you and the ravenous zombies. I personally intend to equip myself with a dual purpose device, one that permits leisurely and relaxed internet browsing, so that I can contribute comments, whilst I remain entirely invisible, thanks to the magic of modern metamaterials.

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2014-01-14/science/46184552_1_metamaterials-invisibility-cloak-nader-engheta

    @ Queenie

    Oh, Queenie, by ‘heavy lifting’ I meant that Lidia had left out all the hard work that goes on before the knitter can do the knitting, like looking after the land where the animals live, which are usually, but not always, sheep, and then, looking after the animals, and then spinning, dyeing, etc… the actual knitting is the tip of the ice berg, so to speak :-) But thanks for your interesting memories

    @ Lidia

    I didn’t even like that scarf very much, perhaps you didn’t scroll down to see other things ?

    Oh, and by the way…

    Mimosa pudica – an exotic herb native to South America and Central America – can learn and remember just as well as it would be expected of animals.

    http://www.sci-news.com/biology/science-mimosa-plants-memory-01695.html

    Next, we’ll discover they can remember their past lives, and believe in aliens… sorry, I’m being disrespectful of… ;-)

  53. Henry Says:

    Benjamin — my best news of the week = your RETURN!

    Gerald — sorry to pick just one post out of many, but you keep using the word “Yuppie”. That was the term Time Magazine picked up around 1980 in its attempt to discredit the counterculture of the 60s, implying that they had all gone “Wall Street”, like Jerry Rubin (of “Yippie” fame) did for awhile.
    \
    Unfortunately, most of us old hippies never did find where that pot of supposed gold was hidden, though the discrediting apparently was successful. We’ve gone from the momentum of the early conservationist era of Rachel Carson, through Earth Day, to people now apologizing for being “tree huggers”, and thenceforth proceeds the eco-disaster we discuss here daily.

    I’ll just propose that those few who “switched” from a cultural change ethos to a greed-based surrender are no longer even “young” and possibly no longer even live in Urbanity, so to whom do YOU refer?

    (We’ll deal with your ignorant barbs at various types of “New Agers”, for which you expect to receive a similar nodding acceptance, at another time. A bully is a bully is a bully. Sharpen your game, man.)

    Or are you (among your many poignant posts, holding others to a high standard) just here to stir the pot and carry on the defamation that the elite put forth through its media when it felt threatened by the prospect of a societal revolution, the one which was our last half-chance for survival 35 years ago?

    I’m still looking for that post about the definition of the “concern troll.” Sorting out intentions vs. outputs with you is a challenge, indeed.

  54. TR Says:

    While we waiting on what the future might bring,I imagine some will …

    http://www.elyrics.net/read/j/jonathan-edwards-lyrics/shanty-lyrics.html

  55. Guy McPherson Says:

    With thanks to Jonathan DeJong, I’ve posted a new essay by Carolyn Baker. It’s here.

  56. Grant Schreiber Says:

    Ulvfugl: We’re set for “ungentlemanly” times — and have been in them since at least 1914. Sitting Ducks be Us. Unaware. Unthinking. The shotgun blast ready to go off at any second.

  57. ulvfugl Says:

    @ Grant

    Indeed, sir, but the true gentleman welcomes testing times to try his gentlemanliness and test his mettle, and I for one shall not be indulging in cannibalism, nor will I be so unsporting as to shoot the sitting duck, because, upon my honour, I will carry myself with unblemished pride, come thick or thin, or excluded middle, but no doubt, the Undertakers will prosper and flourish, and grow rich, for a while, as they undertake their undertaking.. But then who will bury the burier, when it comes to the last one ? And who will spend the accumulated fortune ?

    At ye lower Corner of Fleet Lane at ye Signe of ye Naked Boy & Coffin you may be Accommodated wth all things for a Funeral as well ye meanest as those of greater Ability upon Reasonable Terms more particularly Coffins Shrouds Palls Cloaks Sconces Stans Hangings for Rooms Heraldry Hearse & Coaches Gloves wth all other things not here mentioned by Wm.Grinly Coffin Maker

    http://morbidanatomy.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/undertakers-trade-card-1745.html

  58. Artleads Says:

    Catherine C

    I enjoyed the video. Thanks.

  59. Lidia Says:

    test
    [img]http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-l0bah1KCbhc/TawqNJexu6I/AAAAAAAAAoc/566x_Q7x0Ak/s1600/Keep%2BCalm%2Band%2BCarry%2BYarn.jpg[/img]


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