Typical presentation

The pages below are excerpted from the presentation I delivered to the Sixth Annual Gila River Festival in Silver City, New Mexico on Friday, 17 September. Click on one of the seven pages to view it. With apologies for the awkward format, click again to make it large enough to read. As always, questions and comments are welcome.

When I present, I divide into bite-sized pieces the slides with considerable text. For example, the first slide below labeled “Climate chaos” is presented in six parts, with a bit of text added to each new slide; herein, I include only the final slide in the series.

I rarely use written notes, much less a transcript, so what you see is what I saw when I was delivering the presentation. I was interrupted by several ovations (some standing, but only because I begged) and abundant laughter. When I’m nervous, I go straight to spontaneous stand-up. Later, I can’t remember a single humorous line, so every presentation is unique. At this point, I couldn’t tell you what I said, but apparently some of it was funny. I’m pretty sure they were laughing with me instead of at me, but one can never be certain.

I visited with several people after the presentation. They liked it, of course, or they wouldn’t have stayed to visit. Reaction generally (very generally) varied with age. However, all age groups failed to recognize we’re already in the midst of economic collapse, that we’ve been here for at least a decade, or that the collapse would be complete soon. Similarly, all age groups failed to appreciate the moral imperative with how we live our lives. Many youngsters from the Aldo Leopold High School were present, and they invariably went to the bargaining phase: I can still have my cell phone, right? People older than me typically went to denial: I’m glad I’m old, so none of this will impact my life. People between those groups expressed appreciation for the human community in this area and disdain for politicians, local through national, for failing to deal with either side of the fossil-fuel coin.


A pdf version of the Powerpoint file is archived here, courtesy of Keith Farnish. Thanks, Keith!

Comments 31

  • Would have been a great presentation to watch. Wish we had a video recording. Regrettably the topic, message and content do not yet merit video recording – but when they do, video may well be unavailable.

    Jeff Rubin’s forecast, “October 2009: predicted $225/bbl by 2012” provokes a response of “holy ****!”: no economy is viable at that price.

    One gets the impression that Peak Oil =/= “Greatest Depression”, but rather “Definitive Devolution”

    Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter” reminds one of a Sanskrit line:

    Little truths like little waves, shine and glitter on the surface of the water; great and deep truths, like the great ocean deep, are dark and silent.

  • Great content, all but inaccessible for my own uses – teaching kids. You really need to get some advice about how to format your material. This stuff is as good as useless. Can’t even drag the graphs to the desktop. Come on, Guy. Get with the program.

  • Good stuff, as always, Guy.

    ‘all age groups failed to recognize we’re already in the midst of economic collapse’

    Says it all.

    Anyone who can see the big picture recognises we are in the early stages of a reversal of the Industrial Revolution. However, most people have little or no idea what the Industrial Revolution was, when it was, how it changed the way we live, or the fact that industrial society is unsustainable. They are therefore doomed to learn the hard way.

    Have not all major transitions been that way? For instance, even as railways were undergoing rapid growth, many people persisted in making huge investments in cansls for horse-drawn barges. It does seem the norm for the bulk of populations to get overtaken by changes in circumstances.

    Perhaps a year or so from now, when gold has broken though $2000, food has risen 30% in price, unemployment has reached 25% and more street lights are turned off a few more people will start to question politicans’ ability to lead in the right direction.

    As for expensive oil, I suspect we will not see it for quite a while. Demand destruction (and manipulation) seems likely to depress the price for a long time to come. Of course oil ought to be at least $500 a barrel to force us use it more wisely than we currently do. But the economic system will not allow that. ‘Status quo must be maintained at all costs.’ Or rather the semblance of staus quo, even as things unravel.

    Personally, I can’t wait for everything to return to normal (what we have now being a short term gross aberration in the grand scheme of things).

  • An excellent if rather chilling presentation. Thank you Guy, I looked through it mumbling to myself “we are dead, so dead”.
    Off the top of my head I have a few questions to ask if you will endulge me.
    The societe generale prediction of 2009. I remember reading about it at the time. I do not have access to it now but I though it said that global economic collapse was a possibility rather than a certainty for 2011? Now I realise that some possibilities are more possible than others. I might loose 5 stone and become a prima ballerina but it is looking less and less likely as I approach 40. What I am trying to say is, did they say it was certain or very possible or just possible.?
    With regard to oil depletion, obviously decline rates are going to be key as to how this plays out. Hirsch was saying the other day that the decline rates could be 2 to 4 % which he described as “catastrophic”. Personally that seems rather optimistic to me given the decline rates of certain existing fields but there you go. What do you think would be the implications of a 4% + decline rate?

    Jeff rubin’s forecasts are all well and good But the 2005 one was a price spike rather than a sustained increase. So I would suggest that his forecast is more luck than science given that the increase was not caused by terminal decline of fossel fuels but rather to outside factors which he could not have known about when he made the prediction. In my opinion what we have there is a lucky guess!

    Would you not also agree that 225/bbl by 2012 would be entirely unsustainable and that demand would collapse before that, therefore driving the price back down. Given that in recent figures I have seen $80-90 is considered to be an economic growth killer?

    And finally, there has been a lot of talk about the economy being tanked deliberately. I can see where they are coming from with that arguement. I mean I am bad at math, so bad that the grade I got at school would suggest that I didn’t even spell my name right at the top of the page but I don’t think even I could have made such a hash of it as this! Is it not possible that this Economic black hole we are facing has been engineered to mitigate some of the issues we are now facing?

    And Kevin, be carefull what you wish for. This isn’t going to be fun, getting back to sustainable living in this scenario is going to hard on everyone. Even if its possible, which I doubt.

    Good luck with the mitigation strategies Guy, turns out you have more faith than I have.

  • Robin Datta, thanks for sharing the Sanskrit line. It’s a keeper.

    richie goldstein, if I weren’t such a gentlemen I’d ask you to kiss my ass. I spent half a career working on this presentation and, more recently, about 40 hours. I made it available upon request and apologized in advance for the format. You want to save yourself an hour’s work behind your desk, so you insult me because the format doesn’t match your needs. With you as a model, it’s no wonder most of the kids I see happen to be hyper-indulgent twits. If you want a copy of my Powerpoint file — which you’ll undoubtedly use without attribution, thus further serving as a poor model for our youth — simply apologize in this space and then send me an apologetic email message, and I’ll send it to you. Ditto for anybody else who wants the file, with no apology needed from those who’ve yet to insult my work.

    Excellent points, Kevin Moore, and stated well. It would not surprise me if we never observe $200 oil. I suspect the ongoing economic contraction will continue all the way to $50 oil, at least, and Dow zero. At that point, oil will be priced very low and still unavailable to most of us.

    Sue Day, you ask several important questions. Kindly, no less. Some would credit your Christian nature, but I blame your lack of free will. In similar fashion, I am pleased to respond, to the best of my imperfect abilities:

    The Société Générale report is here. It’s a short article, and I recommend you draw your own conclusions. If the bank’s most dire (economically, at least) projection is correct, you need not worry about that extra weight — it’ll soon be gone, without a trip to the gym.

    So far, the decline rate has been a mild 3% annually. This really is the best-case scenario for industrial economies because it allows oil prices to remain high enough to encourage development of “alternatives” and also new oil fields while staving off complete economic collapse. But as the Pentagon’s Joint Operating Environment 2010 points out, echoing EIA projections, there’s a sharp drop-off in oil extraction coming our way by early 2012. Such a pattern matches the plateau-and-cliff (vs. gentle decline) observed recently in fields and countries: the longer the field/country maintains the rate of extraction on a plateau, the sharper the resulting drop-off in extraction. See the data for Mexico, shown in the first slide on the third page, for an example. I suspect 5% or more annual declines would result in rapid termination of the industrial economy. If the industrial economy limps along until 2012, Rubin’s forecast — the results of which almost certainly would terminate the industrial economy, as Robin Datta points out — likely would prove correct. Rubin’s “lucky guesses” have been conservative enough so far that I take them seriously.

    Rubin’s forecasts have nailed the spikes in price. He has not intended to predict whether prices would hold at those levels. But that doesn’t really matter: recessions are preceded by price spikes, not gradual run-ups and not prices that “stick” at the top.

    I frequently interact with people who believe this economic collapse is engineered by the financial elite, but I don’t buy it. For starters, I’m not a conspiracy theorist. These guys (mostly, anyway, although a few women have been involved) have spent their entire lives behind desks. I think they have been adept at enriching themselves from the ongoing economic collapse. As much as I’d like to see them grubbing for bugs in the woods in their wingtips and power ties, I don’t think that’s what they have in mind. But that’s where we’re headed.

    And finally, thanks for the line about faith :) It’s unclear, though, whether you mean in human beings, economic collapse, or climate change. I suspect I’m more optimistic than most people about all three.

  • ProfEmGuy,

    No RATIONAL or SANE person can insult you or your work.Those that are neither,deserve only our pity.Since they are mentally incompetent,of
    course their opinion is worthless.

    Please then would you send me the file ?

    Thank you.

    Double D

  • Thank you Guy for the comprehensive answers to my questions.

    My line about your level of Faith was refering to the things you mentioned but mainly it was a shameless attempt to provock a reaction from you- much like your gibe about my free will. : – )
    I do however think you must have enormous optimism for the future. I admire you for it although to me it is incomprehensible.

    thanks again

  • “However, all age groups failed to recognize we’re already in the midst of economic collapse”

    Predictible, my friend. You have to fight the conditioning of the unique thinking systems: TV, mass media, education… everything in their environment is telling them: “be a part of empire”.

    We can not fight that.

    Anyway, if you can convince a 1% of the people you’re trying to educate, then it would be a nice success, I think.

  • Dear Sue.

    When I wrote ‘Personally, I can’t wait for everything to return to normal’ I was thinking in terms of food being produced locally, necessary goods being produced locally, people haing a deep connection with the land base [that makes life possible], proper human relationships within communities etc. That could be something akin to the way the Britons lived before the Romans arrived. Or the way North American Indians lived before the Europenas arrived. That is not to say there were not conflicts; the numerous hill forts of Britain are testament to the need to defend what one had from those who would take it. But surely, everyone within the tribe had a sense of purpose -that seems almost completely lacking in the present culture: I see people reduced to the status of ‘robots’ going through the motions, or as reduced to ‘coal’ to be consumed by the economic system and thrown out as ash.

    I am well aware that the transition from the present way of living to a sustainable way of living will be horrendous for most people, especially those in so-called developed nations. However, the longer this system continues to function, the harder the landing will be, i.e. more misery for more people. And the less likely the planet will be habitable for those who follow us.

    I think I have it correct when I say that those who are fully aware of the predicament we are in get up each morning to another day of ‘torture’ by the dominant culture.

  • Dear Kevin, thank you very much for clarifying what you meant. I stand corrected. From that view point I would definately second your sentiments. I wonder though if there is not a temptation for us to idealise a return to a more natural way of being. I write this as a manager of a care farm which uses animals and horticulture as a theraputic tool to help people. The trouble is nature can be cruel, women die in child birth and people die of diseases that can now be easily cured. I sincerely hope that we can keep some semblance of the “progress” we have made and not lose everything. Although admittedly we could probably loose 80% of it and still be better off. The trouble is you cant warn people, they just look at you as if your nuts and you are left feeling like you are the only sane one in the asylum. Or maybe thats just us Brits, we never really noticed when our Empire collapsed. Maybe we wont notice this time untill the supermarkets shelves are empty and theres only a blank screen on the telly!

  • Dear Sue,

    I don’t know whether you have seen/read Albert Bartlett’s brillinat lecture ‘Arithmentic, Population and Energy’. If not, I strongly recommend it. He points out that all the things we regard as positives -health care, peace etc. cause the population to rise (way beyond the carrying capacity of the planet). All the things we regard as negative -war, disease, suicide, women dying in childbirth etc. keep the population in check. He also points out that unless we do something to restrain ourselves, nature will do it for us. And, as Derrick Jensen points out, we are not going to like it becasue nature’s solution will to eliminate most of us. That will be the result of fairly simple mathematics, I’m afraid.

    I don’t see much indication of self-restraint. Indeed, the current dominant culture has been behaving (and continues to behave) as though the laws of mathematics, physics and chemistry don’t apply.

    Your comment about the glazed look of incomprehension applies throughout most of the world. I’m in NZ, and society here almost as insane as that in Britain, the US, Australia etc. Consume, consume, conmsume. That’s all they know.

  • Dear Kevin, whilst I realise your points are valid from a purely mathematical point of view, human beings are too valuable to be assessed in such a way.
    We are not bacteria to be eradicated.
    Human beings, everyone is unique and valuable in their own way.(although many hide that fact rather well)!

    I wonder if you would be so philosophical if it was yourself or your family facing death?

    What is needed is for humans to fullfill the role they were designed for. Namely to be stewards of the Earth. strict birth control I see as neccesary of course but not just consignng vast swathes of the population to suffering and death.
    There must be another way and if there isn’t then I will suffer with those who suffer and do what I can. Not just lift a shoulder and say its a positive step to rebalancing the Earth.
    Sorry if I sound like I’m critising, you sound like a nice man. You took the time and trouble to explain to me what you meant and I appreciate that. Its just that in over a years intensive research that is the coldest viewpoint I have ever heard.

  • hey DD I am impressed,
    re: your prep, perhaps you should post it here.
    I need to get a wriggle on. My wife is still a
    hard nut to crack. As I have said many times before,
    absolutely nothing has changed in Aus, low unemployment,
    house prices rising, favourable exchange rate. It is hard
    to convince her of anything other than the peachy status quo.

    Guy, I dont know how you find the time,
    my daily internet trawling leave me exhausted as it is.


  • Hi Guy, send me by return of email a copy of your presentation in html, tiff, pps, avi and m4p. I promise to say it’s all my own work :-D

    Seriously, can you email a copy of the original and I’ll html it for you, and even put it on a web site.



  • Thanks to Keith Farnish for creating a pdf file from my mess. It’s here, and I’ve updated the original post to include it.

  • At least to me there is something perverse and profane harbored within a culture that makes it ok for the most clever, self-proclaimed masters of the universe among us to “obey the laws” and still destroy so much of what is known to be sacred in the planetary home human beings with feet of clay are blessed to inhabit…and not desecrate as is are plainly occurring in our time. Sad to say, the children will be justified to look back in anger and utter disbelief at the way greedmongering leading elders dishonestly and duplicitously destructed the natural world, even as they claimed so seductively, arrogantly and self-righteously to be protecting and preserving God’s Creation.

    Thank you.

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population, established 2001
    Chapel Hill, NC

  • “Dear Kevin, whilst I realise your points are valid from a purely mathematical point of view, human beings are too valuable to be assessed in such a way.
    We are not bacteria to be eradicated.”

    I guess the implications are 1) mathematical assessments should not be applied to humans (“since they are too valuable”), 2) biological assessments do not apply to humans, and 3)attempts to apply biological assessments to humans may imply an intent to eradicate them “like bacteria”.

  • Robir

    Your interpretation of 3)is off the mark but otherwise yes I entirely agree with myself.
    Thank you for pointing it out.

  • Dear Sue,

    Although you seem to be viewing our predicament from a very moral standpoint, in practice humans have no value in the current system (other than as units of consumption and units of imaginary wealth generation for money-lenders). The fact is, something like 30,000 people die of starvation or preventable disease every day. It’s just that it isn’t happening in rich countries yet. And western nations (especially the US) have deliberately caused the deaths of at least 40 million people over the past 100 years via unnecessary wars. The current mayhem in Afghanistan, Pakistan etc. and the continuing mayhem in Iraq, which are clearly linked to resource grabs, are resulting in hundreds of deaths a week.

    Yes, I am as philosophical about my own death and my family’s death. My daughter has cancer which is almost certainly a consequence of living in the toxic empire.

    I’m sure Guy said some time ago he would gladly give up his life if doing so ensured the survival of the numerous species doomed to extinction if the present system continues to ravage the planet.

    Here’s a thought experiment for you. There are around 15,000 orang-utans left alive in Indonesia region, and around 200,000,000 people. Should we exterminate the last of the orang-utans so we can have 210,000,000 people in the region? That seems to be the ‘plan’. The latest ‘devlopment’ around here is to start feeding [imported] palm kernal to dairy cows.

    Condemn me if you wish, I’m for saving the orang-utans. I believe it is extremely arrogant to place one ape species above another. That said, I know that when things start to turn really nasty people will eat anything. Just look at what happened in the Netherlands in the latter stages of WW2, when the Germans stopped the food arriving: there ws not a dog, or cat or bird to be seen, let alone anything larger. Or China during the great famine of the 1960s.

    Robir: Thanks for posting the Bartlett link

  • this is my second post on this blog to date, my first being a few weeks back. in what seems my eternal quixotic quest for a spiritual home of sorts, perhaps i’ll hang out here a while, or maybe not. we’ll see.

    it’s tough living in a world of overwhelming (for me, at any rate) absurdity. tough to discern any reason or purpose for existence, which is to say, tough to make an argument for the existence of ‘god’, tough to find a reason or will to live, when life gets tough. it’s where i’m at, presently.

    i’m on board, just to make it clear, with the whole idea and rationale behind the main thesis of this blog, that being we have the misfortune (or fortune, perhaps) to find ourselves at a key historical crossroads, where the reality of physical limits collides violently with immense cultural delusions of cornucopian abundance and the possibility of perpetual ‘growth’, like a cancer that can expand forever without killing it’s host.

    assuming meaning and purpose exist in our lives, i certainly approve of this blog’s mission to educate/help prepare some people as much as possible for the shocking notion that civilizations/communities/individuals whose existences are based in utter ignorance and delusion are bound to crash with many resultant casualties. certainly in the relative near term of the immediate years and decades to come, it’s advantageous to know now that this is bound to happen, that prolonged and severe economic contraction is in the cards, to be accompanied by social collapse, upheaval, chaos, etc. etc., and that local self sufficient economies will be key to future survival.

    unfortunately, as i view it, our problems only begin there, for they don’t begin to fully grasp or attempt to analyze exactly what sort of species/culture/civilization can be so perverse/stupid/crazy as to have created such a predicament.

    i second kevin’s commendation to robin for posting the bartlett links. great stuff in terms of pointing out not only our physical predicament (it’s ‘one minute’ to midnight/termination of industrial civilization), but how absolutely full of shit are ‘our’ most prominent corporate media information sources (like time and forbes magazines) when it comes to reporting on this issue (or just about any issue of real importance, i believe). this, i think is the great absurd white elephant in the room that few even acknowledge, perhaps because none of us have a clue about what can be done about it. that is, what can be done about a culture where the most widely respected ‘experts’, media outlets, political ‘leaders’, and what appears to be a vast majority of people in general are utterly and hopelessly full of shit? delusional. dogmatically ignorant. uneducable.

    professor bartlett points out admirably well the absolute absurdity of certain common assumptions re. ‘sustainable growth’, assumptions which are both commonly made by ‘experts’ with access to corporate media, and commonly accepted by people with little inclination or ability to investigate matters for themselves. i wish to now point one out myself, just made by sue, re. our species purpose (supposedly to act as wise stewards of our planet).

    i suspect sue got this idea from the bible or family/cultural teaching which assumes, as the book of genesis claims, that divine providence, in it’s infinite wisdom, made the decision to appoint our species to this lofty perch/honor. of course like all of the other baseless (or rather, ‘faith based’) claims to be found in this book of dubious credibility, this can’t be definitively disproven, but it can be regarded critically and rationally from a darwiniest/scientific view of life without a god directing things or appointing particular pet species of ‘his’ to positions of divine Authority!

    i’m neither young nor particularly old, but i’m already exhausted by what seem like eternally fruitless attempts to point out to others like sue the absurdity of some of their most cherished and basic assumptions. it is this propensity for dogma over reason which i fear is our most basic and insurmountable problem. that it’s showing up here on this blog of intellectually elite, exceptionally well informed and reasonable individuals from literally around the world, the ‘cream of the crop’, so to speak, points to the magnitude of this overwhelming problem without a solution. and, i might add, it’s just such arrogant anthropocentric beliefs in our exceptionalism as human beings in the eyes of god, as kevin also points out somewhat i think, that’s among the most egregious delusions we need to overcome. this lack of humility re. our actual prominence/importance in the grand scheme of things, which allows to view ourselves as superior to the rest of nature, and to our actual competence to be wise ‘stewards’ (owners?) of it.

    many others have stated it better than i can, but i’ll try now: humanity’s view of itself as separate from or transcendentally removed from natural, physical reality in favor of faith based worship of an imaginary supernatural being who through divine revelation communicates with ‘his’ special species ‘made in his image’, or whatever…. this kind of lunacy must end. the ability to reason, or what we call ‘intelligence’, is our greatest asset. when it’s lacking or improperly used, as is now universally common, our fitness for survival is gone. which is why we’re now staring extinction in the face.

  • “richie goldstein, if I weren’t such a gentlemen I’d ask you to kiss my ass.”

    “How to Subtlety Tell Someone to Kiss Your Ass”, a book by Guy McPherson.

  • As noted, it is “tough to make an argument for the existence of ‘god’”:

    The non-theistic religions include Buddhism, Jainism and non-dualist Hinduism. In each of these, no supreme deity is recognized:

    The Buddhist Attitude to God

    The “sutras” are tracts that are purported to be the sayings of the Buddha, in discussions with the various disciples during his lifetime. These were inttially passed down from teacher to student in an oral tradition, and only committed to writing many generations (and in some cases many centuries) after the passing of the Buddha. In recognition of the possible loss of exactness in each passage, a disclaimer is included with regard to the authenticity of the written documents: each sutra begins with a statement by the person who first committed it to writing “Thus have I heard” – only vouching for the accuracy of reproduction in writing of what that individual had actually heard.

    Incidetnally also, the word “sutra” in Sanskrit (and its derivatives in modern Indian languages) means “thread” and is cognate through Aryan roots with the English word (from Latin) “suture”. But in this context it is closer to the word “thread” as used in on-line discussion forums.

    The Diamond Sutra, Chapter 14:

    Such a person will be able to awaken pure faith because they have ceased to cherish any arbitrary notions of their own selfhood, other selves, living beings, or a universal self. Why? Because if they continue to hold onto arbitrary conceptions as to their own selfhood, they will be holding onto something that is non-existent. It is the same with all arbitrary conceptions of other selves, living beings, or a universal self. These are all expressions of non-existent things.

    The reference:

    The Diamand Sutra

    Chapter 14

    Also as noted “humans have no value in the current system (other than as units of consumption and units of imaginary wealth generation for money-lenders)”:

    Freedomain Radio
    The Story of Your Enslavement

  • I was very sorry to hear about your daughters cancer Kevin. Theres nothing I can say that will help but I feel for you I really do.

    And no I wouldnt increase the number of people to kill off the orangutangs but I wouldnt kill off the people either. Like I said we need strict birth control to gradually get the number of humans down to a managable level. My issue was with the idea of death on a grand scale of human beings being viewed as a positive thing. I totally agreed with you that a rebalancing of ratio’s needed to occur.

    As for the virgin terry (great name by the way).
    wow! that was quite a reaction to the term steward! I would suggest you go look up the term steward. Whether you believe we are God ordained stewards or not we certainly are the most dominant species on the planet.We couldnt have raped and pillaged it the way we have if we werent. Therefore we are stewards because of that. I can’t believe anyone here would argue with that. I’m not going to go down the whole God route with you because I dont think you would give me a fair hearing and you are entitled to your Views even though you dont seem to think I am entitled to mine.
    You seem so without hope it saddens me. I hope this blog can give you that back. It has got a wealth of knowledge in the essays which I an “old God botherer” have found invaluable.

    peace out!

  • Dear Sue, there are a few points that need clarification.

    1) Humans are already in gross overshoot (and have been for a long time). I think most informed people would agree with Catton’s assessment that we went into overshoot some time around the year 1860, when the population of the world was around 1 billion (though purists would say overshooot commenced 10,000 years ago, when agriculture commenced). The increase in population since the mid-nineteeth century has been largely a consequence of use of machinery and chemicals for food production. Nobody knows how many perole this planet can sustainably support, but most reasoned assessments put the figure in the range 500 million to 2 billion: therefore we will witness a reduction in population of around 5 billion over the coming years, as the industrial agricultural system goes into failure mode. That is inevitable. Sorry to mention this, but the time for widepread application of birth control was the 1960s at the very latest. Even teh Chinese, who have adopted the most rigorous policies anywhere on this planet are are deep trouble populationwise.

    Also, continued use of fossil fuels for any purpose over the coming decade (but especially for maintaining the current overshoot) is almost certain to reduce the number of people the planet will ultimately support (as a consequence of greater climate instability).

    2) In my experience, most people who call themselves Chrisitans (especially in western nations) are actually worshippers of Mammon: they concern themselves with getting ahead financially, building bigger better churches, expect to take overseas holidays (thereby destroying their own proigeney’s futures), and have homes full of gadgets. They feel no remorse that their standard of living is predicated on the looting of resources from places like the Niger Delta, where people struggle to survive at all as a consequence of the activities of companies such as Shell. The idea of being good custodians or living simply (as suggested by Christ) is completely alien to them. And, of course, much of the false teaching comes directly from mainstream churches. The whole idead of ‘blessing’, which comes up all the time, is frequently distorted to mean worldly enrichment, rather than attainment of true sprituality.

    3) Derrick Jensen pointed out quite some time ago that hope is the problem. People frequently hope instead of taking action -hope the government will do something, hope that scientists are working on some miracle ‘solution’ to our predicament that will somehow overcome the laws of mathematics, physics ans chemsitry we discussed previously, hope that God will intervene……

    Forget hope. I’m all for immediate [appropriate] action.

  • the virgin terry,

    The issue of the increasing threat from dogma, is well handled by Sam Harris, in “The End of Faith”, and his followup, “A Letter to a Christian Nation”.

    I would add, your own happiness is reason enough for your existence. Do not look for other worldly nonsense.

  • Dear Kevin

    thank you for your last post i got a lot from it. It may suprise you but I agree with everything you said. I also agree that Birth control is too little to late at this stage. But what else is there?
    This is why I said in an earlier comment to guy that his optimist view point is incomprehensible to me.

    I always enjoy your posts, you don’t rant and even when someone has a different opinion to you you answer with clarity and dignity.

    Thank you for taking the time out to process this through with me.

  • i like your dry sense of humor, cj.

    robin, i couldn’t quite follow the main point u tried to make re. buddhism. if i’m getting the gyst of it right, u’re suggesting that (sur)reality is an illusion, so just chill out? (i shouldn’t assume my american colloquialisms will be universally appreciated: ‘chill out’ loosely translates to stop caring so much). anyway, i’m looking forward to checking out THE STORY OF (OUR) ENSLAVEMENT, based on how much i enjoyed listening to professor bartlett (i’m sure i’d seen part of that lecture of his previously, but not the whole thing. it was well worth it.) voices like his are too rare.

    sue, i disagree with the idea/assertion that humans have any ordained purpose. i’m an existentialist who can’t find or believe in any such purpose. as biological beings with survival instinct, we seem to be naturally endowed with searching for/trying to create purpose and meaning to make sense of our passion for life.

    i’m also inclined to think that it’s hubris/foolishness on out part to assume we possess the ability/wisdom to be competent stewards/managers of the natural world. don’t we have enough problems trying to be competent stewards/managers of ourselves?

    i agree that we’ve become a dominant species, and i think or hope u’d agree with me we’ve become too powerful. we may disagree however in our response, in that i’m saying we can’t competently manage/control earth’s environment/ecosystems. i’m suggesting we should be much more humble.

    full disclosure: i’m an american with a particularly jaundiced view of religion in general, christianity in particular, due to what we refer to as religious or social conservatives, who are quite prominent here, and largely responsible, in my view, for a rather virulent strain of intolerant dogmatic puritanism in our laws and culture, resulting in such abominations as our infamous ‘war on drugs’ and possessing the dishonor of having the world’s highest rate of incarceration.

    personal experience with catholic sunday school and church was very negative, with it’s emphasis on fear/sin/shame/guilt/remorse. it gradually dawned on me that the religion i’d been taught was about manipulation and control. i became an atheist or at least an extreme sceptic, delved into literature which shredded the credibility of practically everything i’d been taught, including the idea that jesus actually existed. i think a segment in the movie ZEITGEIST (available online free) regarding christianity and it’s possible/likely origins as personified myth based on many more ancient, similar myths of man-gods, all based ultimately on pagan worship of sun and stars, provides a very plausible explanation of how christianity came to be. i’m also very inclined to agree with the view that ever since christianity became a state sponsored religion in the time of the roman emperor constantine, it’s been used by governments and other powers that be to control us. i take great offense to this. plus i get so exasperated by how pervasive not just certain interpretations of religion, but dogmatism in general has become, resulting in excellent teachers like prof. bartlett and guy mcpherson being obscure and/or slandered for having the audacity to point out how certain important, commonly held, essentially dogmatic beliefs about our world are utterly wrong. i’m firmly against dogma of any sort, because it seems to me that dogmatism is addictive, and when it becomes prominent in one area, it tends to spread to others, until reason and factual knowledge of all sorts is obscured.

    i’m sorry if i come across as excessively harsh, sue.

  • the virgin terry,

    Well said! I read Bertrand Russell’s, “Why I am not a Christian”, over 45 years ago. That pretty well clinched it for me.

  • Hey Terry,
    thanks for the msg it gave me a lot to think about.

    I thought it was really generous of you to share some of your experiences about how you came to feel the way you do about Christianity.

    If they were my experiences I would feel exactly the same.
    I think its really hard for people, when they have been brought up in the way that you describe to seperate the dogma from the faith itself.
    There are always people out there who will use whatever tool they can,whether it be a religion or political ideology to push their own agenda. It makes me sick to my stomach when I hear stories like yours where the “good news” of the gospel has been so corrupted. When it has been used to make people feel ashamed and degraded. I know it doesn’t mean much but as a christian and Church leader I want to humbly appologise to you for the treatment you have received. It goes against the very heart of what the gospel is all about.

    I share your frustrations over the strangle hold the lame stream media has over the world as a whole. I am English and it is just the same here. News is carefully packaged and the desired spin put on it for whatever effect is required by the powers that be. Disinformation is everywhere and comes from a myriad different sources.Including Government and religious agencies. Matt Savinar says that we need to deal with reality or reality will deal with us. I think this is very true.But how can we deal with reality when we are never allowed to make up our minds what truth is?Perhaps this is at the heart of your discontent, you want the fundamental human right to determine what truth is and you felt it was taken away from you.You have every right to be angry. I worked as a aid worker in Romania just after the revolution.It was grim work there I can tell you,people didn’t have enough to eat let alone other basic neccesities. I worked with shaven headed orphans who rocked for comfort and delivered medical supplies to derelict hospitals. But the thing I heard all the time was that the people wanted to be free to think for themselves and believe what they wanted to believe. They missed that more than food and drink. I once started a riot in cluj which had to be broken up by soldiers with machine guns because I admitted to a woman that we had bibles on board our van. The woman started screaming “Biblia,Biblia” at the top of her voice and suddenly I was surrounded by such a press of people I couldnt move. They only dispersed reluctantly when the machine guns turned up. They wanted the chance to choose, and the government had taken it away from them. In the western world we see the opposite side of the coin but it is still the same need, to be free.

    I didnt take what you said to me personally terry, I knew that for an articulate man such as yourself to feel the way you did there had to be a lot of pain there. I’m glad you felt you could approach me again on the subject.
    I am on this blog everyday, although I don’t always comment. Guy,bless him puts up with me and is very patient. If you ever want to talk again just write something on the current Essay and I will answer it. If not then I wish you well for the future and thank you for the opportunity of learning from you.

  • That silence regarding the science of human population dynamics has been willfully perpetrated by the mass media is to be expected. But for blogmeisters with environmental credentials and top rank scientists to collude in silence with the same people they openly object to when it is politically convenient and economically expedient to do so, that is sad…and sad to say. Small groups of people who are providing a reality-oriented basis for necessary change need a bit of support from people in public positions of power…..from thoughtful leaders and opinion makers capable of speaking truth as they see it and not effectively killing what could somehow be true with their duplicitous and pernicious silence.