I have no choice

by Peaceful Life, a humanitarian activist living in the United Kingdom

Whether it’s systematic dinosaur bureaucracy fueled by greed and ignorant arrogance or a lineage of agenda steeped in cowardly filth is not my concern. It’s broken. It doesn’t work, for me or you. For those at the top of the power pyramid, it’s all going perfectly well. For those who buy the nonsense spewed by the mainstream media and the corporations backing them, progress is proceeding according to plan.

Take a big bite of the bullshit sandwich at your own risk.

The generally narcissistic, self-absorbed, zombie-like, attitude we see among most individuals in our communities are bearing the expectedly rotten fruits of a self-devouring television culture addicted to dietary poisons, dependent on nation-states, big Pharma, and big Ag, hence denied any semblance of a real education. If that’s the point, then the system is working nicely.

And work it must, for the veil of perpetuated bullshit is so thin that the slightest winds of knowledge will tear it apart like a whale breaching the surface to exhale stagnant toxins and inhale the oxygen of truth. Yet, in “working,” the system leaves its architects totally devoid of empathy, so morally bankrupt that there is not one single metaphorical place to which I could allocate a place for their existence, other than the toy attic.

This status quo has brought us to a point at which, in order for it to be maintained, I must accept innocent people being slaughtered so I can drive my car. Entire countries must be raped of their dignity. Resources must be utterly destroyed so I can eat “inexpensive” food. Entire populations must be brutally enslaved — for me — so I can have cheap clothes and economic “goods” forced down my throat. And we buy it because from birth we are assaulted by mass marketing. The PR tyrants are no better than the bastards they “deal” with. Perhaps we’re right there with them.

Meanwhile, the laws of industrialized humans battle the laws of nature. The living planet convulses, as do the tyrants battling each other for nature’s bounty. They fight to keep delusional power over nature, not appreciating the irony of nature’s gifts: Immersed in Plato’s cave, we are governed by the false economic prophets du jour as they grasp at the shadows of fictional profit. The bright fires of reality intensify behind them.

No sane person would accept these false prophets. But the price for recognizing your own sanity is the cruel hand dealt you as the ones you care about, those you love, are so entangled in the web of denial that they simply can’t shake free. Shackled by lead boots, so brow beaten by the system’s dogmatic tricks, they have insufficient self-confidence to act against the imperial system and its masters.

Thus are we torn. The frustration becomes unbearable as our loved ones and friends fade from us. We see them trapped on the merry-go round of unwitting pain and destruction even as we stand begging, screaming, crying from the sidelines of hope, all the while knowing that they see us as crazy ideological fools. Tis cruel. Take heart, fellow freedom fighters: The system is so far out of kilter with respect to history, evolution, and sanity that our species can and must shed the diseased elitist power brokers from our gene pool.

This is cerebral evolution? Am I meant to accept that this system is simply the way it is, and should be? I think not, so I have no choice.

I have no choice but to take note that the choices we were given were never choices at all. Sitting in the school of life and eager for the answers, we sat down to exams filled with questions that could only be answered with lies that were deemed truths. And of course the main objective was to force a complete, surreal disconnect between reality and an unsustainable, unnatural system.

Indeed you did achieve this system, Dr. Kissinger and crew. But now we’re going back to nature and you can stick your Bernays mall where the sun don’t shine. The dirty tricks of politics duped us for a while, but now the people see it all and we’re coming back in style. Be careful in your fall from grace, as you are destined to join the people, to chat with them, face to face.

We must, and we will, transition to relocalization. This is not mere flippancy: The truth is, we have no choice. We demand a better world.

Am I going to fight the system that enslaves my brothers and sisters and, ultimately, me? I have no choice.

Do you?

Comments 51

  • Dear Peaceful,

    Your mainstream media will always pander to the mass.I don’t call them
    masses–like cancer,mass is singular.No matter how vile,how disgusting,decadent or depraved the mass may be,it will always br pimped
    by the media.This is because the media mouthpieces are mainly dishonest,
    hypocritical,intellectual whores who can never tell the mass what it’s really like because it would go against their economic self interest.

    So on the front page of the latest Barron’s we’re told that their panel of Wall Street strategists expects “stocks to rise 10% next year” Not if
    Jeff Rubin is correct—and his predictions have been much more accurate
    than anyone Barron’s has ever heard of.

    If you can tell us where in the UK you are,I would greatly appreciate it.I’ve travelled extensively in the Uk,and would love to know where you are located.

    Double D

  • “Indeed you did achieve this system, Dr. Kissinger and crew”

    Kissinger does not give a shit for the future of mankind. That EVIL SON OF A SYFILITIC WHORE is old and he will die in his bed, wich is a shame.

    But I see your point, my friend. It’s good to see that there is intelligent life on Planet Earth.

    Best of lucks.

  • Yes. You’re right. What’s the point?

    It’s good to keep an eye on the rear-view mirror, so you can keep track of how fast the storm is advancing, but it’s the duty of all of us to keep going toward the light, rather than away from the dark.

    If you stare into the darkness too long, you yourself become dark. It would be a shame for someone named “Peaceful Life” to get trapped there!

    Even when you’re fighting evil, you’re still fighting, you’re still using the tools of Dominator Culture. Surprise the hell out of them, and do good, instead!

  • Exactly. We have no choice. Resist or die. Rewild or die.

    I live in Western Scotland. Are you far away?

  • What can I say – you eloquently put what I feel to be true. I have felt for many years now that something was horribly wrong with the way we are living. I “woke up” some years ago but alas, my family think I am a nut job. I intend to do what I can and prepare for what is inevitably heading our way. The UK is heading for horrendous problems and I can not see any way out that does not require hardship the like of which we have never seen in our lifetimes.

  • @Jan.
    We must, and we will, transition to relocalization. This is not mere flippancy: The truth is, we have no choice. We demand a better world.

    Am I going to fight the system that enslaves my brothers and sisters and, ultimately, me? I have no choice.

    Do you?……..the light.

    However,I will aknowledge how we arrived here.


  • Very nice use of language.

    ‘Sitting in the school of life and eager for the answers, we sat down to exams filled with questions that could only be answered with lies that were deemed truths.’

    ‘for the veil of perpetuated bullshit is so thin that the slightest winds of knowledge will tear it apart like a whale breaching the surface to exhale stagnant toxins and inhale the oxygen of truth.’

    I wish that were so. In pracice a hurricane of truth has been blowing for a very long time, and is increasing in intensity: the response of the 99% who are trapped in the web of deceit is not to ‘tear it apart like a whale breaching the surface to exhale stagnant toxins and inhale the oxygen of truth’ but to turn away from the truth, or actively defend the lies.

    The truth (that it is too late for pansocietal ‘solutions’ and we are headed for mayhem on an overheated, overpopulated, resource-depleted planet) is too horrific for everyone, but at least most of the contributors to this site do acknowledge the truth and can see the empire for what it is.

    I received this today from someone heavily involved in promotion of culture change, in rely to comments I had made in reponse to his Christmas message:

    ‘Thank you Kevin for one of the only worthwhile and intelligent response I received from 300 receipeints

    one person told me I was a grinch for not letting people get on with forgetting for a short while and enjoying themselves without having to worry about the big stuff – i thought they have had several decades we couldnt afford of doing just that’

    We always seem to come back to ‘the 12’, ‘the 12 per 10,000′, or ’12 per 1,000’ (I really don’t think it can be a much higher proportion than that) who really get it.

  • https://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_176272352391897&notif_t=group_activity

    This is a link to a massive site (200acres) which had £111,000,000(I know one hundred and eleven million) spent on it to become one of the major educational centres for environmental and social transformation/realisation…the project was dogged by beurocratic economically minded tossers so became delapidated and the involved community fell away and bits and piece of the installation were sold off…the land has stayed and some of the major buildings etc…This was built to massive spec from a large amount of recycled/reclaimed and modern renewable energy/saving materials…WE NEED PEOPLE…9th January, follow the link and COME on the 9th January…It’s in DONCASTER and will be an amazing place for ANYONE with a HEART…you can come and LEARN and SHARE and LIVE…the ppl I have spoken to so far are amazing, friendly, open, NOT economically motivated and above all have 200 Acres of Land with amazingness built already!!!
    Come join the revolution and leave all the hooks (family friends who don’t believe and those bills!) all behind you…THE TIME IS NOW

  • “The bright fires of reality intensify behind them.”

    Wonderful imagry; thank you. Every once in a while I find a new hole in the veil before us and it is exhilarating! Sometimes I chastise myself for this secret pleasure because I know that difficult decisions and suffering lie ahead.

    Peace and Lo Saturnalia!

  • EKO
    Your land might be able to support ? what 50 people?
    You better play down your promotion, you may find yourself overpopulated on the 10th, good luck.

  • Actually I think this writer, along with Guy and most of the people who post here, are confusing “the evil powers that be”, “the system”, etc. with “the nature of life on planet Earth”. I used to get highly moralistic about all the evils that men do too, until I started paying closer attention to the machinery of nature all around me. When I saw the Schopenhauerian horror at the heart of Gaia – deadly viruses, parasites, pests, creature eating creature and consuming whatever they need to survive without pity, I realized that we are just the most successful manifestation of this universal process.

    This world never was a Garden of Eden; it is a kind of Hell, that rewards outrageous cruelty and greed, so it’s not surprising that the Satanic acolytes of the Left Hand Path always seem to rule here. What I hear this writer longing for is an impossibility, a fantasy, something not of this world. Perhaps his best option is to do what people have done throughout the ages in the face of this horrific reality: seek solace in religion and hope there really is a better place awaiting him on the other side.

  • Sean, an excellent book that will argue the exact opposite of what you say here, rather convincingly I think, is “The Lost Language of Plants” by Stephen Harrod Buhner. He tells about the intricate ways in which plants communicate with each other, and with animals too, and indeed cooperate to form the strongest possible community of life in a certain place.

    It is certainly true that life in the “natural world” is very tough, but the cooperation that happens daily far outweighs the competetition and killing. We’re only taught not to recognise that.

  • Sean. I tend to agree.

    The only aspect that sets us apart from all other species and all our ancestors is that currently living humans are the only known example of a species that actively destroys its own proheny’s prospects of survival -some weird kind of anti-Darwinianism, anti-survival of genes syndrome. You could call that ‘Satan ruling the world’.

    Unfortunately your advice to ‘seek solace in religion’ does not offer much solace for me (and I suspect many others): religion has more or less become become synonymous with manipulation and deceit, if not outright abuse these days. We are truly lost, probably as never before in our entire history.

  • @Frank
    The MSM is set up not to pander but to the publics perception of truth,for most..IT IS truth and has been desinged this way from cradle to grave.
    The several tier education/knowledge system isn’t by fluke either & as the majority only have access to the lower levels of it then isn’t it fitting for the same demographic to be pumped the BS provided by MSM.
    Open source education/knowledge could of easily been offered to all across all spectrums,it isn’t.

  • Sean Strange

    I would take issue with your implication that there is nothing we can or should do to promote a moral basis for positive change in this world. Man is the only creature imbued with an innate sense of morality, and though we each have within us the fires of instinctual survival, yet we are uniquely capable of all creatures to bring a high degree of moral direction to our actions.

    The turn to religion which you point to as an effort to gain hope for a future afterlife is also a turn to a moral imperative to improve upon this life as well, for most all religions will not just focus on an afterlife, but deal very specifically with how we should lead this life as well.

    Though the Left Hand Path might indeed rule, perhaps, it is morally incumbent upon us who follow another way to resist and to work for a society based upon orderly harmony with the natural world.

    If we, as morally-capable beings can not rise to this challenge, then we, above all other creatures, do not deserve to live on this earth, nor take pleasure from the afterlife you hope for. Indeed, I would suggest that if we refuse the challenge put before us, we might well have damned ourselves to extinction.

  • @Sean.
    I think in your post you inadvertently point to the paradox of the status quo.
    If the general ethos of those that assume power was to promote and encourage the study and appreciation of the micro intraccies,and symbiotic relationships that intertwine the workings of the earth,then perhaps we wouldn’t be flung head long into the abyss of perpetual war and politick of control.

    Nature is brutal(at least to our perceptions),I recognise and respect this,I also recognise that human beings,on the whole,do not want war,we want peace,moreover….we are cerebral beings,and are easily psychologically manipulated in our fragility.
    Of course this is known,and has been studied for thousands of years,and those that study?….well they tend to be the ones left to do all the interesting things such as study the planet in peace,ohh…they tend not to do the fighting in the wars either.

    I may well be confused,but I won’t be yearning for the mind shackling embrace of religious apathy in my quest for clarity.


  • EKO: Do you have a link for those of us that refuse to do facebook?

    Guy: Off Topic, but do you have more info already written up on your earth sheltered greenhouse? Just finished up Mike Oehler’s book which helped a little, but we have other ideas on where we are going with this structure like rocket stove heating and icf back wall. Any tricks you have picked up would be helpful.


  • Ed, I will post an image-filled essay within a month, if all goes well. Here’s a teaser about the partially subterranean straw-bale greenhouse. Image is below.

    Barn is comprised of a series of awnings attached to a cargo container. Open awnings on the left and right are used to store straw and hay, respectively. Center awning has been enclosed, topped with a skylight, and insulated heavily: It serves as a partially subterranean straw-bale greenhouse (i.e., citrus house). Structure in foreground is an enclosed, subterranean high-humidity root cellar.

    We dug a hole, about 5 feet deep, a poured a rectangular concrete foundation 10 feet by 20 feet. The foundation has 1/2″ rebar sticking up about 3 feet, spaced every 18 inches along the foundation. These rebar stakes serve as support for the first course or two of straw bales.

    Straw bales were turned on their sides and stacked in offset courses, like brickwork. We took them all the way from the foundation to the ceiling, and inserted two, 3-foot lengths of rebar into each bale to tie it to the bales below. Thus, we have R-45 or so insulation for the west, north, and east walls.

    Then, we constructed a 2×4″ frame wall on the interior of these walls. We applied bathboard to all interior walls (old-fashioned, inexpensive, waterproof material). Thus, we can spray the citrus daily without soaking the construction lumber or straw bales behind the bathboard.

    The south wall uses conventional 2×6″ construction with R-17 fiberglass insulation. It has an additional 2-1/2″ later of rigid foam insulation on the inside. This wall sits on a pressure-treated sill, and the top half is dominated by windows, as you can see in the photo.

    The ceiling uses 2×10″ construction lumber and R-30 fiberglass insulation. I added a skylight in the center. It’s covered in plywood, tar paper, and tin.

    The goals: plenty of light, use the heating and cooling of the earth, and keep the trees damp. I welcome further questions, because I doubt this description is particularly clear.

  • Guy, I’m not sure if you meant to show a photo link. There isn’t one. We’re going about it in about the same way, with a few slight differences. Probably will use ICF’s where you use straw bales. Same R-value. We want to attach it to the house as part of a walkway to the root cellar. Our inspector is lax, but an attached strawbale structure might be too much. Using white tin on the back wall. It’s cheap here at 71 cents per sq. ft. Definate for a PIP floor. We have one in our 4,000 sq. ft. GH and it makes a huge differnce.
    Will start our glass at ground level. We have snow pretty much from Thanksgiving on, and we get really good reflection from it. Right now we are getting sunlight 12.5 ft into our new house through an 18″ knee wall and 5 feet of glass. We are at 42N. Will proabably go with a twinwall roof, so we can hang plants on the back wall and have the sun get to it. The house is similar in design to this new gh and yesterday it was 34 degrees when the outside temp was 8 at 7 in the morning, and we aren’t done plugging holes and insulating.
    Oehler raves about a cold sink. He still gets tomatoes in Northern Idaho in the middle of December. We may find a way to work that into the final design.
    Keeping things moist is a challenge. Most GH you need to worry about rot. Concrete floors keep things incredible dry. We’re moving towards propagating all of our perennials from existing stock, and having that perfect micro-climate is key.

    Looking forward to the full essay!


  • Sorry about that, Ed … image is included now. Thanks for your description. I hope others can work from these two models to find something suitable for specific locations.

  • Ed,

    With all due respect, straw bales and ICFs do not have the same R value. Unless you are in a very dry climate, you are better off using ICFs. Strawbale in humid climates is highly subject to rot which is why I don’t design with them here in VA. ICF is a much tighter (air infiltration) system and has the added benefit of thermal mass to moderate temperature. There’s a short video on my website of guys installing ICFs if you are interested.

    A few suggestions that might help you: A simple shed truss roof would give you optimal hanging flexibility. Keeping the floor plate narrow (less than 16’wide) should give you plenty of interior daylight. Be sure to check your eave overhangs on the south side for controlling summer sun / prevent overheating. Windows high on the north wall will provide natural ventilation and ambient light.

    Sorry for the off topic post.

  • Guy, that all looks too bloody organized. The root cellar looks interesting as well. I guess we will hear more about both.
    Jb, Guy had the straw bales at R-45. I have no idea what their rating is, but I was figuring he was berming the north, east and west walls as well. Please provide a link to your website. I would like to look at it. Our house we are building uses ICF’s.
    Looking at the picture explains alot. We won’t see a blue sky like that until May. We need all the light we can get, which is why we will probably go with tri-wall polycarb on the roof. Been reading alot about how a CO2 source can make up for lack of sunlight. Had heard this before, but now there are some Harvard studies that quantify it. Northeast commercial growers are constantly trying to find ways to move additional covering in and out. I think they are all inspired by Coleman sayinng that he gets a zone with each covering. The transparent roof will get more light in and light to the back wall where we can get another 200 square feet of growing space hanging or guttering plants. Kind of resigned to put supplemental heating in, as a sauna or hot tub.
    I’m with Jb, I hate to go off topic, but sometimes I just have an itch that needs to be scratched. Normally don’t post much, but love reading the stuff from the regulars.

    Best Hopes,

  • Ed,

    I posted a link to my website over at luckydogfarm in your recent post comment section.

    The R value of strawbale is much debated. I’ll leave it at that! :-)

  • i write a submission to this blog almost every evening. rarely submit. too much rambling, not enough making points. almost everything in surreality disappoints, including my own (dis)abilities.

    i hope all the ‘regulars’ keep on participating through the year ahead. in spite of the depressing nature of our main topic, i think participating in this discussion and reading the many fine, informative, provocative comments of others is good for our mental health.

    merry solstice. hopefully 2011 will be better than 2010. the concept of emergence (to my understanding, that everything evolves over time in unexpected ways) provides a little hope for the future.

  • Thanks, terry. I have had nothing to contribute lately… been in a kind of plodding stupor through this whole collective denial of our society. My heart is sick and weary of the dreadful tediousness of it all.

    I clench my fists, angry at the majority of my fellow human beings, who are little better than Collaborators: in league with The System that is destroying our world. I want to take more direct action to bring down this hideous System that consumes our minds, our bodies, our souls. “What would I give up to accomplish this?” I ask myself. “Convenience? My job? My friends? My family? My life as I have known it?” I fear I may have to give up much, if I am not to lose my soul, and be simply another Collaborator. I fear we all will have to give up much… and we may still lose much of ourselves, in the process.

    I garden. I raise chickens. I hoard silver. I watch the price of oil daily. I pay down debt. I try to raise awareness of Collapse, and of the institutions complicit in resisting it. Most times it all feels like a gigantic exercise in futility. But I don’t know what else to do.

    Would that I could go back, and take the other pill. You know — the one that would allow me to continue believing the illusion. Was I happier then? I don’t know. But I certainly had greater optimism. I miss that, sometimes; I don’t know if I like who I am becoming.

    Whoever I am, and whoever I will be, I plan to continue to participate in this Great Discussion. Thanks to Guy for giving us all here the chance.

  • Terry.

    Thanks for the contribution. I had rather run out of things to say (other than that I have sorted some sticks and a length of flax to find out whether I can make fire), but now you’ve given me the opportunity to seek clarification of your desire: ‘hopefully 2011 will be better than 2010’.

    By ‘better’, do you mean a faster worldwide economic collapse? :)

    Greater climate instability? :)

    A drop in birth rate and/or a rise in death rate? :)

    As pointed out by Emeritus Professor Albert Bartlett in the A.P.E. lecture, all the factors we regard as ‘good’ make our predicament worse, and all the factors that we regard as ‘bad’ help aleviate matters to some extent.

    If governments stabilise debt bubbles, if oil extractors manage to extract more oil and cause the price to drop, if we have a non-violent year climatically, if grain harvests recover (or dare I say increase), we simply exacerbate every problem we have.

    On the other hand, if the weather is absolutely atrocious around most of the globe, if planes can’t fly and people can’t go shopping, that improves our longer term prosects slightly.

    (By the way, the local drought broke recently and we have been inundated over the past week -good for me personally, but bad in terms of bringing down the system. Dairy production, which had been down by 1/3 will be back up again and farmers will be celebrating by buying new vehicles or taking extra overseas holidays.)

    ‘i think participating in this discussion and reading the many fine, informative, provocative comments of others is good for our mental health.’



    ‘My heart is sick and weary of the dreadful tediousness of it all.’ Yes. Our inability to make any impact on the system which is destroying the habitability of the planet is exceedingly depressing.

    Perhaps, if we can hope for anything next year it migt be an early collapse of the global financial Ponzi scheme.

  • Terry/Christopher

    Thanks for the comments. I share your hopes for 2011, though as Kevin has, in his usual perceptive manner, posed – just what is it that we hope for? Personally, I have huge and conflicting differences of opinion within myself over this. Part of me wants badly to work towards whatever means possible to take down the system as quickly as possible, even through activist means. That part of me knows that the sooner this happens, the better chance we have as a species.

    The other part of me just hopes I can get by for another year without too much sacrifice. I want my wife to keep her job. I want my children to keep theirs so that my grandchildren can prosper. I don’t want war, or economic disaster, or climate instability to adversely affect my life, or those of my family, or my friends. Quite selfishly, this part of me wants very much that my personal life will continue as is.

    So I am continually at war with myself in some ways, though my reason tells me that things will continue to deteriorate in 2011, good news for part of me, bad news for the other half of me… ;-)

    I simply can’t see how things will not hit the proverbial brick wall after 2011, in the 2012-2015 period. After that it’s a matter of holding your breath before you go under, and hoping you bob back up before you run short of air.

    I, too, hope the regulars continue posting next year. And I hope Guy doesn’t throw his hands up in despair over our depressive behaviour… ;-)


    I don’t see you EVER running out of things to say…. ;-)

    Best to All,

  • BTW, speaking of climate instability, George Monbiot had a interesting post recently – http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2010/12/20/cold-burn/

    I followed one of the links he provided to help explain some of the foul winter weather we have been having here in the UK and Europe for the second year. It was pretty much as I had reasoned on my own – that warming has disrupted the normally bottled up Arctic air flows over the polar regions, allowing more northerly flows of harsh winter weather to form across the UK and northern Europe (at least that is my interpretation). See this link for a really good explanation of this strange behaviour of global warming.


    Too early to tell if this indicates a semi-permanent change in climate over this region, but I suspect we are in for longer and more harsh winters for the foreseeable future.

  • Christopher, I understand how you feel, the knowledge is a heavy burden. For me learning of Peak Oil was more an “oh its now” moment than anything. Still being now is a big difference than being sometime in the future.

    Kevin, hope your fire starting goes well. 9 years ago I bought a flint for fire starting and have stockpiled matches (and salt). Some things are small and easily stored but have immense value. Still a skill like fire starting has the added value of being attached to your body. It cannot be stolen in the same way as matches. In other words you have to be alive for anyone to make use of it. Perhaps one of these days I will make an attempt at it myself :)

    “As pointed out by Emeritus Professor Albert Bartlett in the A.P.E. lecture, all the factors we regard as ‘good’ make our predicament worse, and all the factors that we regard as ‘bad’ help aleviate matters to some extent.” Aye there’s the rub. We have reached the point where solutions seem quite bad even though failing those solutions things are worse.

    Victor, yes, the end seems more nigh. Wiki leaks is going to out Bank of America apparently. Perhaps that might destabilize the financial sector and allow the collapse to proceed, which is both a thing to welcome and to fear.

    Nice weather here – cutting firewood while the sun shines. Three roosters will be confronted with their mortality today and chicken liver, biscuits and pan gravy will be the menu for tonight.

  • Kathy

    What is that old gem of wisdom? Something like:

    “Breakfast – “A daily chore for the chicken: A life commitment for the pig” … :)

  • Victor,
    In this case a life commitment for some roosters as well.

    And a reminder that some people slaughter and clean chickens (and pigs and cows) in factories every week just to get enough to survive. Doing three at a time is about all I can handle.

    The future we dread is the present for far too many of the 6+ billion humans alive on planet earth. :(

  • victor, i recently re-read that line u refer to. don’t remember it exactly. it’s in reference to a breakfast meal of ham and eggs, and goes something like: the chicken was involved, but the pig was committed.

    kevin, the improvement i hope for is for people in general to become more intelligent and better informed, so that voluntary changes in behavior now will ease the necessity of involuntary disaster later. if we surreally wish to go overboard with such hopes, let’s extend them especially to ‘elites’ in position of power who can bring about the most positive change. like, say, having 3 ghosts of christmas visit obama showing him the past and present sins of empire, and the future ramifications of going on with bau. i can dream, can’t i?

  • Game theory and climate change negotiations http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=game-theorist-predicts-failure-at-climate-talks
    Summary we are literally toast unless collapse of industrial civilization comes very very soon.
    One memorable quote “The NYU professor agrees that mankind can eventually solve the problem, just not along the lines governments are currently attempting to.” Just how much time do they think we have???????

  • So much is happening so quickly, that you can almost hold your breath. The AGW argument will soon die with the debate particpants. Anyone who thinks we are capable of solving any world wide problem has a screw loose.

  • Just look around. Haiti, and Pakistan have been written off. The MSM has little to say about them. If the UK economically implodes, or worse has killer winters either due to disruption of the Icelandic low and the Arzores high, or the Gulf Stream flow, we may see them thrown overboard. This how we solve problems – throw them out of the boat.

  • Kathy.

    ‘Just how much time do they think we have???????’

    Well, if the NZ government is anything to go by, they think we have several decades to come up with solutions based on financial scams and strategies that have already been demonstrated to be flawed from the outset(carbon trading, biofuels etc.).

    Until very recently the official response of the NZ government to peak oil was that it would not occur until around 2067, so no action was needed. Now that peak oil is history the official response of the government seems to be that it is in the past, so we can forget about it and get on with important things, like developing the tourism and retail sectors.

    In other words we are governed by imbeciles when it comes to anything scientific. However, they are not imbeciles when it comes to lying to the public, looting the till or covering their own arses, of course.

    It follows that interpreting ‘a better 2011’ to mean some shift in the consciousness of our so-called leaders will lead to further disappointement. Scientific imbeciles do not suddenly grow brains.

    Nor do I see any evidence that ordinary folk are any closer to ‘getting it’ than they were three years ago. Indeed, they seem to have become bored by it all.

    We have been saying it for quite a while: ‘the lunatics are running the asylum.’ And ordinary folk are not even aware. Presumably, come the next US election they will be herded into voting for Sarah Palin or some other puppet the controllers want installed.

    The lunatics will only leave when they have completely wrecked everything. They will undoubedly be working on strategies to do that over the Christmas break.

    As an alternative, we could take the ‘conspiracy theory’ line, that TPTB know perfectly well that everything is past the point of no return, and that they are simply keeping the proles distracted and amused to prevent an early onset of mayhem. Some point will be reached when TPTB decide the game is up and let it all collapse, causing a massive die-off and leaving them the opportunity to consolidate their power.

    We have no way of knowing.

  • Have just read: Game theory and climate change negotiations http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=game-theorist-predicts-failure-at-climate-talks

    Thanks Kathy. I see what you mean. ‘The modeling he led his students through last year, using the same methodology that has made his New York firm, Mesquita & Roundell LLC, a success, predicts that over the next 30 to 40 years, developed nations will gradually adopt emissions standards more stringent than those called for under Kyoto, in fits and starts.’

    It adds to the surreality of it all, since it was Scientific American that alerted the world to ‘The End of Cheap Oil’ over a decade ago, was it not?

  • Kevin said: “As an alternative, we could take the ‘conspiracy theory’ line, that TPTB know perfectly well that everything is…”

    This describes my take on things. When Obama went on tv during the GoM spill and talked about the governments inability to get us off foreign oil, it erased any lingering doubts I had. They know, the military knows. Assuming we’re decades too late to make a switch to renewables, what choice do they have?

  • humans are idiot savants. an example of flawed evolution. we developed genius, but flawed, incomplete genius accompanied by perverse tendency for creating/embracing dogma. the day our ancestors equated closed mindedness with virtue was a sad and perhaps fateful day. it’s terrifying to me how dogmatism in all conceivable forms appears to have a hold of us, restricting freedom of thought and action.

    but what’s it matter if rotten geniuses bring about their own demise…

    hold it right there!

    i’m accustomed to anthrocentric sentiments that go unchallenged. i guess i have to do it myself.

    rotten humans have been treating non-humans like ‘animals’ for who knows how long? of course, an ‘animal’s’ life isn’t nearly as valuable as a human’s according to prevalent cultural dogma, and it’s ok to abuse animals while training them to become our slaves.

    surreally, anthrocentrism has to go. we must reconnect with nature, and as ‘moral’ sentient beings extend to ‘animals’ some of the same respect and value that human life holds for most of us. which provides a perfect segue to a response i have to make to part of leigh’s closing comment of the previous thread:

    ‘Some soldiers talk of the “you’re-already-dead” mentality as the ingredient to successful combat performance’

    recently i’ve been informed of a study of combat troops under 6 continual months of mortally dangerous duty which found 98% were psychologically traumatized to varying degrees. the other 2 percent were determined to be insane to begin with. i can’t vouch for the accuracy of this assertion, but it strikes a chord of ‘(un)common sense’ i think, that sane people are traumatized by war.

    war trauma, ecocidal economic growth, ponzi finance,,,,,, there are many aspects of current culture which bode ill for our future, now that the limits to growth are being realized.

    extrapolating from leigh’s quote, an ‘already dead mentality’ in war means the unleashing of all previous inhibitions against violence/killing/torture. in service of elites, the worst in our nature is encouraged/rewarded.

    anyhow, it should be challenged when someone leads off a discussion of human ecocide from the angle: isn’t it so tragic how we’re screwing up our own future prospects so completely, when in fact for a long time we’ve been thoughtlessly destroying and in some cases cruelly enslaving other species, that in fact we’ve cavalierly ravaged ecosystems globally in pursuit of expanding personal wealth/numbers. a severe case of anthrocentricism has gotten us into this mess. and it’s really no worse than what we’ve already done in destroying so much of gaian life.

    at this point i frequently quit and erase my ramblings from the realm of the surreal, but not tonight. but i won’t go much further.

    u see, it’s at this point i must confront personal liability/culpability/responsibility. lack of faith/courage. lack of commitment. i’m not committed like the pig was to being eaten. at best, i’m only involved like the hen whose eggs become someone’s breakfast.

    there’s only so much an uncommitted person can say…and there’s only so much a mortal being should say.

  • Terry.

    Perhaps the sad and fateful days commenced when a human figured out how to tie a knot in a piece of leather thong, maybe 80,000 years ago (or whenever it was). Sticks and stones are one thing, but nooses, bindings and attachments are a different matter altogether. It can easily be argued that most life on this planet was doomed from the moment on.

    Speaking of the military, don’t forget Catch 22.

    ‘There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.’

  • [Kathy]: “Some point will be reached when TPTB decide the game is up and let it all collapse, causing a massive die-off and leaving them the opportunity to consolidate their power. ”

    Might be, but if so, they are to be sorely disappointed in my opinion. I maintain that there exists a direct relationship between population level and supportable technology. They will be sawing off the limb that supports them.

  • I have been toying with another cheerful thought lately. And likely some of you will pin me to the wall by the thumbs for this one. If so, please do it knowing that I am a fragile being… :)

    I am coming to the realisation that like so many other “distractions” that humans use to seal and protect themselves from a reality that they cannot face without serious damage to their psyches, the whole idea of “sustainable living”, “localisation”, and “transition towns”, and the groundswell movement behind it all, is in reality a self-induced escape mechanism.

    Someone challenged me the other day on another site (damn, I feel like an adulterer admitting this here!) with a cutsy little saying – “If you have a pulse, you have a purpose”. He went on to challenge me to become involved in permaculture, transition towns movement, localisation projects, etc., as a way to work towards a sustainable future. Lots of positive thinking, cute phrases, and happy thoughts that we are re-joining nature by doing so, and that together we can survive the coming collapse through such efforts. It’ll be tough to make the transition, but in the end, we will be successful, and those few of us surviving will lead happier, nature-connected lives, like we were meant to in the first place.

    At about the same time, EKO, Guy, Ed and Jb were in s deep discussion above about Guy’s subterranean straw-bale greenhouse, which again tickled a few uncomfortable thoughts. As I looked over the descriptions of what Guy did to accomplish his very remarkable structure, I realised that if I listed the components of that structure and the tools utilised to build it, nearly all depended heavily upon fossil fuels and modern technology. The same line of thought is given to green technologies as well.

    When you expand this across the whole movement in its many forms, I began to see what people are doing will, in the end, likely act to remove from themselves the ability to continue that lifestyle – Not they themselves, necessarily, but perhaps their children, and most certainly any generations that might follow.

    I felt profoundly guilty at first, knowing that I really wasn’t a part of all that effuse positivity, but what it actually caused me to do for the first time was to give deeper thought to this whole “alternative lifestyle” thing. Is this really a road to survival? Or are we in fact enmeshed in simply another form of escape from having to face the REAL future of mankind? It’s not an accusation. It is an honest question.

    Nearly all that is accomplished in this “movement”, if I may be so bold as to call it a movement, makes perfect sense in many ways, but I am left wondering if it is indeed pointing us to a sustainable way of living, or something that just makes us feel better and less guilty than the rest of humankind for the pickle we have got ourselves into.

    What do you think?

  • Victor, humans are always, have always and will always be in a pickle (until we become extinct). The pickle is that they are fully self aware – to the point of being aware that they will eventually die, but cannot stand to face that truth. I have been on more Peak Oil discussion sites than I care to remember (starting with Jay Hansen’s Dieoff). Survival is all too often the goal and yet a totally unobtainable goal – It ranges from I am stronger so I will survive, to it won’t be that bad so some semblance of civilization will survive (along with self), to solar/wind/other technology will save us (and self) to as you note localization, simplification etc will save us (and self). If anyone survives it will probably surprise us who does. BUT those who pursue localization, simplification will have gained much in the years (in better life) before collapse and may be able to further simplify. So, you are right, that even straw bale houses are currently dependent on the fossil fuel society, as is my (lifetime) supply of bow saw blades :) To return to hunter-gatherer (which IMO is the only sustainable way of human life) is impossible as it requires land that you don’t have to pay taxes on that you can freely roam.

    You quote someone from another site saying “If you have a pulse, you have a purpose”. I think that actually gets to the heart of it. Deep in our minds we know we can’t survive, that each of us must die. So in place of immortality we want to pass on our genes and we want MEANING. We want somehow for our brief existence to MEAN something, to have some PURPOSE. What if it doesn’t? If humans are gone will anything on the planet care about meaning? Are the other creatures on the planet capable of caring whether we are here or not or do they just adapt to us and will adapt again if and when we are gone.

    I prefer to take my meaning in small doses. When I do something for someone else and it pleases them that is what it means. When I enjoy hearing the chickadees the meaning is the pleasure of the moment. Making the world a better place is IMHO too big of a MEANING – I have been around people with big purposes – they usually end up trampling on the small purposes.

    Someone who was trying to evangelize me once said that the world was such a mess because God had granted us free will. I told him God could have my free will back. He replied, would you rather live as a cow or a human. I told him being a cow would be better. Chewing one’s cud out in the meadow without much thought at all seems pretty damn good some days. At one time I valued my thoughts so much that I would never want to be a thoughtless cow, but somewhere along the line all this thinking becomes quite a burden :)

    Thanks for your thoughtful post Victor.

  • @Arthur Sevestre…
    Email me peaceful_life@hotmail.co.uk


  • Victor, I have had the same concerns about “transition towns” etc. Some of those efforts seem to appeal to the “do something, do anything!” impulse we might feel in our fight-flight-freeze response.

    As for “sustainability” – I am starting to hate that word as much as “green.” I watch the pretending going on at our little school – the “sustainable development” focused on profit and imaginary markets that won’t exist in the future, and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) directing native youth into the Military-Industrial Complex (“Home Land Security seemed to have the biggest presence at the last annual AISES – the irony seemed lost on my native students whose ancestors were the original homeland security in north america).

    I am interested in Tillers International, but notice they use internal combustion engines on some of their horse-drawn equipment. Likewise, I see more and more local Amish slowly getting sucked into this industrial way of life. I am not judging them – they have families to feed and taxes to pay too – I am just very disappointed to see things turning out this way.

    The Industrial Way is sort of like the stock market: it keeps going until it sucks in every possible rube – then it collapses.

    I wonder, when Rome started to fall, did some of the people recognize what was happening and then try to re-learn old skills like pottery making, etc…

  • Hi Navid. I believe that Rome’s infrastructure was built upon an already ancient one. Thus, though the Empire fell apart, the people and commerce continued. Indeed the so-called Dark Ages that came after were quite active in the improvement of the old infrastructure – perhaps not so much invention of new technology as in the Renaissance, but certainly in improving what was already there.

    In our case, however, the whole of modern technology, and thus our entire infrastructure is fashioned from fossil fuels, a limited resource. How stupid we were to destroy the old infrastructure with its ancient knowledge, skills and tools, and replace it with one wholly dependant upon a resource that will ultimately run dry. It was a great ride that took us to lofty heights, but Mother Earth will in the end have her way, and we have in turn a very long way down.

  • Kathy,

    Thanks for your thoughts. I, too, wouldn’t mind a bit of living life without having to be concerned about thinking. That has something of an attractive air about it to me…. :)

  • Just watched an interesting film about money. Budget yourself an hour and 50 minutes though!

  • Not sure how to tie this in to the main topic but too stunning not to mention. A study was done on irritable bowel syndrome where one group got no treatment at all and the other group got a placebo and were told it was a placebo. Over 3 weeks 39% of the control group got better while 59% of the placebo group got better even though they knew they were only getting a placebo. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/212427.php
    in an article in the Guardian they conclude “Nevertheless,” said Kaptchuk, “these findings suggest that rather than mere positive thinking, there may be significant benefit to the very performance of medical ritual. I’m excited about studying this further. Placebo may work even if patients know it is a placebo.”

    I am unlikely to be one of the lucky people who can get such help – many medicines don’t have much effect on me. But perhaps this is something to be remembered when we loose all our health care – just act like you know what you are doing and perhaps you can help someone get better.

  • Hi Victor: I need to settle in a little (travelling most of the day) but your post is a good one and your questions are similar to some that I’ve had. I’ll try and explain in the next day or two.

    Guy, here’s some more on strawbale construction and how to deal with moisture. http://sunnyjohn.com/

    Best to all of you. Please take care of yourselves.


  • Hi Victor
    “Nearly all that is accomplished in this “movement”, if I may be so bold as to call it a movement, makes perfect sense in many ways, but I am left wondering if it is indeed pointing us to a sustainable way of living, or something that just makes us feel better and less guilty than the rest of humankind for the pickle we have got ourselves into.

    What do you think?”

    I founded local peal oil study group, national ASPO-NZ (Kevin Moore is on the advisory board), then local Transition Town group.

    I concur with your thoughts.

    The Nelson TT group is pretty much asleep, waiting for the next tipping point. The real underlying issue of the insane dominant culture we “civilised” humans find ourselves in, is just a bit much for most of them to look at. Facing up to and embracing collapse is a challenging saell right now….wait a while until there’s a bit more pain and a way less amount of hubris, and there may be progress?

    “Frankly, I don’t have much hope. But I think that’s a good thing. Hope is what keeps us chained to the system, the conglomerate of people and ideas and ideals that is causing the destruction of the Earth.”
    ~Derrick Jensen~

    TT movement is still too much embedded in the hopium (dopeless hope addicts?!) that we will go through a smooth seamless transition into a sane and sustainable future.

    When TT groups start to either become part of resistance and rebellions, or at least support them, maybe TT has a real place in the Great Unraveling already well underway.

    Nelson, NZ