Another road

by Ed’s Apprentice

Everybody thinks about his or her purpose in life. I figure going into their twenties most people think that purpose is pretty significant. However, getting out of their twenties — and I’ll be there soon — I think most people are at least beginning to accept that their purpose might have to be slightly more modest than they had hoped. With only a hint of despair, we all have to accept that we aren’t superheroes. That smirk we once wore, knowing any second would be the moment we would spring in to action and show the world how powerful we really are, is starting to fade. Everybody knows that feeling. It’s why we have anti-depressants, and religion, and booze, and the swimsuit edition, and suicides. It is why we have health-food stores and designer clothes and flat-screen televisions and all that bullshit. It is why we have self-help books.

I hate self-help books. When I was 21 I was dating a woman, although I was convinced she was a goddess. She was super hot and she seemed to have this whole Life thing figured out and it blew me away. She moved through the world with ease and I guess I figured if I latched on to her maybe I could figure out how to do the same. Predictably, because of how attached I got to her, she dumped me. When she did it, she gave me a copy of Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. Everybody is always trying to convert everybody else to their own way of thinking. She was no exception. For a couple years I was pretty hooked on his writing. Thank god I got over that phase. The Alchemist is 150 or so pages of self-empowerment and spirituality for the masses. It is also a huge stinking load of bullshit. Along with all Coehlo’s other books, which have inspired millions, it is essentially a guide on the use of magical thinking to enrich our lives and wash away that deep-seated feeling of disappointment we all felt when we realized that the world really is this shitty and next year’s iPod is not going to fix that.

Chicks especially dig Coelho’s books. Paulo undoubtedly pulls an astonishing amount of ass for a guy is age, so I’m not going to say he wasn’t well-justified in writing it, but the message is still totally off the mark. The truth is that magical thinking is why we all hate ourselves in the first place.

The magical idea that something can come from nothing is central to our culture. It is how we got here and why we are probably all going to be gone soon. It is completely unnecessary and it has us all completely disoriented. The instructions on how to be good at being human are already programmed into our DNA, but we never learned how to read them because we didn’t have to. We’re like fat stupid babies that grow old and die, never having been weaned. We are just domesticated cattle, we know it, and deep down (or not) we hate it.

To keep people from catching on, we have to be fed a continuous stream of lies forever, and Paulo Coelho came up with a really popular one. But, like all lies, it’s still a lie. I bought his lie for a while, until I came across a different author who preferred to tell the truth. His name was Edward Abbey.

Hallelujah! I cannot describe the burden lifted from my shoulders. The reason I was no good at that whole spirituality thing was because it was really just bullshit all along! The woman who amazed me all those years ago was in fact not enlightened, just overloaded with privilege. The anger I was trying so hard to get rid of, via my mountain of books on various schools of spiritual thought, was not bad karma or proof of my soul being too immature to let God’s love flow into my heart. It was a sign that I was still sane. My DNA was fighting back. Some part of me was still an honest to goodness Homo sapiens. A living breathing eating shitting fucking animal trapped in a cage and not happy about it.

Good news: Getting out won’t be too hard. The bars on our cages look like televisions and soft blankets, so all I have to do is give them to somebody who wants to stay trapped. Then I’m just going to slip away into the night and let the fun begin. Destination unknown, I’ll experience the wilds of the world in the Jeep I put together from spare parts. When we run out of gas, I’ll get along some other way.

I thought long and hard about saving the living world, but I decided otherwise. I just can’t. For starters, nobody wants to let go of the lie. It is easier for them to think they’re not at fault because a car has a hybrid engine and because a house only has high-efficiency light bulbs. It would be a lot more work for them to accept that fixing the world is not the same thing as damaging it a little bit less. I don’t think I can change somebody’s mind when they think recycling their beer cans is going to save us and the living planet.

Instead of trying to change people, I am just going to fuck with their minds. Because I can. Because I am good at it. Because I only have one life to live and it sounds like fun. I’m not taking the moral high ground here. I am not an extremist or a radical or even remotely interested in explaining my view of the world to anybody, unless the circumstances are such that it might get me laid. I am just done with the lies. Done with the cage. Done being cattle on this big rotten industrial farm. I am going to break shit and run away laughing into the night. I wish I thought I could do enough damage to kick the civilized humans out of my desert but I don’t think I have enough hands. I do think I can do enough damage to really piss them off though, which I guess is all I can ask for. We’re all going to die sometime. I am going to do it with a big shit-eating grin on my face.

I’m driving away from empire, and having fun along the way. That’s plenty of purpose for one life.

Comments 88

  • Sounds like FREEDOM to me. You go!

  • Standing ovation!
    Have a great adventure!

  • One of the most positive statements I have ever read. Tony Robbins makes me want to barf.

  • The American Dream is an infomercial.

  • This almost made me laugh out loud for the sheer joy of it! Love it… thanks!!!

  • Send us a postcard once in a while! (Just leave it there on the sidewalk – I’m sure it will find a way.)

  • Well said. We wish you all the best. If you venture into Brazil, look us up. Guy knows how to find us. You could be our son and while we were just living our lives when we were your age, we sometimes feel the need to apologize for our blind contribution to what the world has become today. Fortunately some of us continue to educate ourselves and keep our eyes, hearts and minds open. We are excited to see the young generation taking action around the world. YOU GO! Bless your journey and your future ;-)

  • Well the fact that the universe exists at all suggests that something *can* come from nothing, so you may want to rethink your first principles. If you’re looking for an intellectual mentor, I would suggest H.P. Lovecraft or Olaf Stapledon over a hillbilly Edward Abbey. You can walk, run or drive away from imaginary empires and throw wrenches into the works of industry, but you can never escape the stars and galaxies in the vast Cosmos. No matter where you go, no matter what you do, they will be staring silently down at you in eternal mockery of your absurdly puny terrestrial dramas.

  • Despite all the cudos from commentators, I have to say that I found this a bit disturbing. After noting all the problems and realizing that none of us can solve them, your solution is… “driving away?”

    I have no problem with exploring the world while you’re still young and there’s still energy. I did it at your age. Just please spare me the part about it being noble or good. When you get it out of your system, find something really good to do with your life.

    I also think you misunderstand magic — as do most “self help” authors. Magic is all about what happens within. Or as Zig Ziglar put it, “Your attitude determines your attitude.” And your attitude seems to be, well, young. That’s okay. But on the verge of 30, you don’t sound much different from those in their early 20’s that you decry. That’s okay, too — just don’t kid yourself that it’s noble or good.

    What is the difference between “changing people” and “fucking with their minds?” It’s still you influencing others. You can’t change people — you can’t even “fuck with their minds” without their acquiescence — you can only change yourself. And that’s the magic, my friend.

    It seems like you are changing yourself. That’s okay — good, even. But you haven’t “arrived.” Don’t give up a Prius in exchange for “getting laid” and expect to progress. There are things beyond getting laid that don’t involve taking on saving the entire world. Narcissism is no solution. Keep seeking something real to contribute, without the need for it to be significant. You can’t save the world, but you can save yourself, and perhaps a bit of the world around you.

  • Thanks Guy!

    EA you go for it boy!

    Young folk who are awake within “civilisation” are starting to get restless and know The Great Unraveling/Great Turning is here. They are going to lead rebellion, resistance, anything to get out of BAU/CAU (business-as-usual/culture-as-usual).

    As many of us who post here are old enough to be their parents or even grandparents, IMO our task is to support them and give them our wisdom so they can work smart rather than hard…

    “Exciting times” !!

    Kia kaha!

  • I love this! I had no idea ranting like that could get people going so much. Thanks all for your feedback!

    To the cosmist – Our cosmic origins are WAY above my pay rate and a bit outside the scope of what I’m getting at here. What’s the use of getting out of bed in the morning when the sun could blow up any minute anyway?

    To Jan Steinman – I don’t disagree on any particular point, except I wasn’t claiming to be noble or good. That’s the point! This whole thing is basically an essay about how I like to fool around with girls and break shit, and how I have come to rationalize these things into the foundation of my life’s plan. I was never any good at trying to progress or improve myself. On the other hand, I do really like what you said about seeking something real to contribute and I will absolutely keep that in mind. Doing so would make this whole thing seem less hollow.

  • Just a word of warning EA. ‘I’m driving away from empire’.

    The empire is everywhere (other than a few pockets of unexplored jungle). You can only drive from one part of the empire to another part of the empire.

    When I left Britain to come to NZ I had notions of escaping from the empire. But I found the empire had beaten me to NZ by 150 years.

  • The way I interpret ‘I’m driving away form empire’ is that it is unrelated to the distance we are from civilization. What I feel it should mean, at the least, is the proximity of one’s LIFESTYLE to that of industrial civilization’s (in this case, the farther you “drive away” from the empire, the less you need it).

    Whether I live just 15 miles from the suburbs or not does not make more a part of civilization, it just means I am physically closer. Shit, I could be a self-reliant farmer for all I know. The point is it is not the distance from civilization, it is the distance from the WAYS of civilization.

    The point is that we don’t have to try to get as far as we can from the millions of combustion engines and factories (admittedly the air quality sucks the closer you are to those things), the point is to get far away from depending on it all.

  • Always good to see the Matrix losing another battery.

  • Yeah, what Kevin said. I’d already be gone if there were anything to go. And as for breaking shit, well.. Most of what I have broken only resulted in an equal number of broken ribs. Only way to kill the beast is to stop feeding it.

  • Yordano Jimenez:

    I agree. The distance in mind and spirit, is a prerequisite for physical distance. I have spent my life escaping as much and as often as possible. Working the minimum in the system and camping the maximum. I have been derided for being a minimalist. I have gotten along better without a lot of crap to hold me down. That includes walking away from a lot of toxic people.
    Socrates had something to say about this.

  • Could someone please tell me what “break shit” is?

  • “When the situation is desperate, it is too late to be serious. Be playful.” Edward Abbey

  • Break Shit- When one takes items and then proceeds to reduce them to pieces.

  • Thanks, Privileged. Interesting expression.

  • I have brought this up recently about hydrofracking in the States. Here is a pretty good article summarising the problems they are facing with this technology – everything from requirements for huge amounts of fresh water in the process, to releasing radiative elements into the rivers and water supplies of cities, to incomplete waste water treatment because the treatment plants were not designed for this kind of waste, to the pollution of groundwater aquifers, and even the air they breathe.

    We are committing suicide to keep feeding our addiction to fossil fuels.

    For those of you in the States, this is serious business and a nationwide problem as gas fracking is being implemented in many states. It will be a problem in the UK as well, as they are in process of starting this method.

  • Ed’s Apprentice – great essay. You are absolutely correct about the lies. I believe underlining all the reasons for the lies is the fear of death. Given that that is the end for all of us I am heartily in favor of people doing what they want to do in life. You may not be able to literally drive away from empire because empire is everywhere, but you can drive away in your mind. Have a great time.

    I am reminded of the great German song Die Gedaken Sind Frei.
    Thoughts are free, who can guess them?
    They flee by like nocturnal shadows.
    No man can know them, no hunter can shoot them,
    and so it will always be: Thoughts are free!

    I think what I want, and what delights me,
    still always reticent, and as it is suitable.
    My wish and desire, no one can deny me
    and so it will always be: Thoughts are free!

    And if I am thrown into the darkest dungeon,
    all this would be futile work,
    because my thoughts tear all gates
    and walls apart: Thoughts are free!

    So I will renounce my sorrows forever,
    and never again will torture myself with some fancy ideas.
    In one’s heart, one can always laugh and joke
    and think at the same time: Thoughts are free!

    I love wine, and my girl even more,
    Only I like her best of all.
    I’m not alone with my glass of wine,
    my girl is with me: Thoughts are free!

    Can’t find the Pete Seeger version on youtube but this guy does the German Version followed by Pete’s translation in English

    Of course the torturers of the empire have the means to even destroy thoughts… but short of that we can think free if we flee empire’s lies in our mind. Enjoy!

  • Population control?

    Just two weeks before the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) fully deregulated Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa, a senior soil scientist alerted the department about a newly discovered, microscopic pathogen found in high concentrations of Roundup Ready corn and soy that researchers believe could be causing infertility in livestock and diseases in crops that could threaten the entire domestic food supply.

    Dr. Don Huber, a plant pathologist and retired Purdue University professor, wrote in a letter to the USDA that the pathogen is new to science and appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals and probably humans.
    full article at

    He also talks about how Roundup affects minerals in the soil at

  • Hi, EA & all,

    Although I agree with a lot of what you wrote, especially

    “The magical idea that something can come from nothing is central to our culture. It is how we got here and why we are probably all going to be gone soon. It is completely unnecessary and it has us all completely disoriented.”
    and “The bars on our cages look like televisions and soft blankets, so all I have to do is give them to somebody who wants to stay trapped.”

    I think we have a responsibility to other species sharing this world with us and to our own future generations (I DO think some humans will survive collapse long term, although probably not many) to TRY to fix the mess we’ve made. The “big” issues we see (or, more often DON’T see) in the news are probably beyond hope — as X sang, “This is the game that moves as you play” — but family, friends and neighbors matter and only SHOWING them something different is likely to change anything.

    It’s hard, no doubt. I write for a local paper and try to raise peak oil, climate and related issues whenever I can, but I never know how effective I am, b/c the responses are usually from people I already know to be awake.

    The Coehlo types are clueless, largely b/c their “spirituality” is, like much in this society, ultra-self-centered. Our culture’s idea of what that means has ALWAYS been selfish — how else can you describe the idea of a “universal creator” who pays attention to individual prayers & sins from schmucks on a tiny planet? By emphasizing “transcendence” and escaping our connections to other Earthlings, all of the major religions have creating the problems we face while at the same time denying their part of the responsibility. But spirituality in itself isn’t a problem; Earth herself and the other species here are willing to communicate if we’re willing to listen — that’s where any “magic” exists, in the energy that makes life possible.

    Our culture vampirizes that energy b/c it fails to complete the loop that would return the energy to Earth once we’ve used it, just as we embalm our bodies or cremate them, thus making their nutrients unavailable for the soil. It’s really the same, on a philosophical level, as our culture’s addiction to “cheap” energy — it’s only cheap because we aren’t accounting for the massive debt load we’ve accumulated by using it. Either we make an effort to complete the loops we’ve left open or nature will do it for us, in the most final way possible. We evolved intelligence to solve such problems, not just to do selfish things and create them, and I’m not willing to give up yet.

  • Some “chicks” do not dig Paulo Coehlo’s books. I read and met Ed Abbey, perhaps before your birth, but had great difficulty getting through one of Coehlo’s books to see if there was any valid message.

    I went through a phase of working to damage the corporate empire and its accessory government. There were some fun moments, but there don’t seem to be enough of us to non-violently take over the system. Why is the brohaha in Wisconsin not spreading much?

  • The Cosmist,

    Funny, I thought you would go with something modern rather than the old, musty H.P. Lovecraft. It’s so backward, or is it retro, of you to be using writers from early-to mid-twentieth century as a mentor to guide your understanding the future. I would have thought a more appropriate choice would be George Lucas or Neill Blomkamp. The choice of a mentor can be a tricky business. Not only does the mentor have to have something valid to say but he/she also has to resonate with the disciple.

    As for your rejection of the “hillbilly” that’s understandable, he was after all rooted in the dirt of planet earth.

    Michael Irving

  • Dear Constance,

    There is no pleasure in watching the wailing and gnashing of teeth here in wisconsin. It is sad when you cannot tell the children from the adults.

    I read the news today, oh-boy! The protests in Madison rivaled those of the vietnam era, except it was more like a party atmosphere. The children are having fun now just like their mommies and daddies did in the 60s.

    They yell at the Machine, but forget they are the Machine. I wish they would just stay home and yell at themselves in the mirror.

  • Re Wisconsin protests – this sentence from an article Guy posted on the last round fits just about any current situation – just change one noun

    “This is one argument for activists in Arab lands to remember there is no liberation or equality on a dead planet.”

    Or re-worded

    “This is one argument for activists in Wisconsin to remember there is no liberation or equality on a dead planet.”

    Etc from

    Some events of late are nice to see – the US middle class waking up, the oppressed in Africa getting some power, etc. but likely too late. The only causes that matter any more are fossil fuel use and population. If those aren’t contained yesterday nothing else may matter.

  • Actually Michael Irving, H.P. Lovecraft was one of the most futuristic thinkers of the 20th century, and perhaps the ultimate doomer. He was one of the first people to really get the philosophical implications of the alien universe revealed by modern science and to fully jettison the Christian baggage of western civilization. Unfortunately, most of the folks in this crowd haven’t yet done this and keep appealing to some mythical Gaian morality, which isn’t too different from appealing to an all-powerful bearded guy in the clouds. It’s just another form of peasant thinking!

    I’ve lived in primitive conditions in the wilderness, and what I experienced was not particularly beautiful or moral; it was a struggle against an entropic, indifferent biosphere that wanted to grind me into dust! To put this “natural” biosphere on some high moral plain a la Abbey or Jensen is an absurd romantic fallacy. Human intelligence has been trying to escape this state of nature from day one, and we’re just getting started. The world of a thousand years from now is unlikely to have many “wild” areas left, this planet is likely to be something qualitatively different than it is today. Sorry, but a few Luddite hillbillies are unlikely to change the historic trajectory of human civilization!

  • In other words Cosmist you are scared shitless of having to live without any of the comforts of civilization.

  • No it’s more an issue of not seeing much upside to living without the comforts of civilization. Once you get over your delusions of moral superiority, you find that you are living with less knowledge, less power and probably a shorter life than you were before. It’s not about being macho and brave, it’s about making a rational calculation that civilization just offers a much better deal. People choose even horrible civilizations over primitive lifestyles almost every time, which should tell you how futile anti-civilization movements are.

  • Aha! A nuclear war could reverse Global Warming (for a while)! Of course it would be followed by droughts, famine and disease, but what the hell?

  • Cosmist actually those of us who till the earth and live closer to nature are not morally superior, just happier. But civilization is coming down whether you like it or not. You can sit on your arse and complain but it won’t do any good. We can all be converted to your view and it won’t stop the collapse.

    Any rate per Jospeh Tainter in Collapse of Complex Societies when the Roman Empire started taxing everyone out the gazoo citizens in the far reaches of empire joined the invading Goths. And in case you didn’t know most Native Americans had to be forced out of their lifestyle. The ones most resisting civilization were killed of course.

    People who have been civilized have so little knowledge of the natural world that they actually fear it, even though they are mammals and part of the natural world. Once civilized they are so bereft of knowledge that they fear the natural world and lack the skills to live in that world. But the uncivilized generally resist civilization.

    BTW Jared Diamond believed that the hunter-gatherers he lived with in Papua New Guinea were smarter than civilized humans.

    Its coming down and there is nothing you can do about it.

  • i found this surreally funny:

    ‘I read the news today, oh-boy! The protests in Madison rivaled those of the vietnam era, except it was more like a party atmosphere. The children are having fun now just like their mommies and daddies did in the 60s.

    They yell at the Machine, but forget they are the Machine. I wish they would just stay home and yell at themselves in the mirror.’ -navid

    dark humor beats no humor. unfortunately, yelling at themselves in the mirror would probably be as effective as the yelling at the ‘machine’ does now. i think this contributes to the idea’s hilarity. insanity may be ghastly deadly, but at least it’s good for a laugh now and then. thanks to navid, the (un?)intentional? jester.

    victor says ‘Aha! A nuclear war could reverse Global Warming (for a while)! Of course it would be followed by droughts, famine and disease, but what the hell?’

    victor, u must be aware of rampant speculation and research into how agw may be countered by various methods. it’s called ‘geo-engineering’, i think. i’ve read at least one book on it and seen others. it’s quite likely i think that at some point some method will be tried in a desperate attempt to address this aspect of our predicament. perhaps more than one method will be tried and ultimately fail. the old saying ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ was never more applicable. too bad clueless elites and most sheeple don’t get it.

    kathy, keep on rocking in the surreal world!

  • That NatGeo article isn’t the first on the idea; Alan Robock & his colleagues laid the idea out in more technical detail a couple years ago (speculating specifically on an India-Pakistan war):

    Chances are, a regional nuke war wouldn’t be the first one; it’d create so much desperation and such a climatic/radiological/humanitarian nightmare that I’d imagine someone else would push the button later, aiming at a different target….

    Kathy, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find hunter-gatherers smarter than city folk: They actually have to adapt, track wildlife, identify subtle differences between poisonous and edible plants, understand long-range patterns they have little or no control over, etc. Civilized folks have most things handed to them, react entirely to a manufactured environment where much of the motion isn’t real (as on TV) or is moving FAR faster than we’ve ever adapted for (highways) and are exposed to a wide range of toxic chemicals. We’ve domesticated ourselves just like we’ve domesticated our cats, and there’s evidence to show house cats are dumber than their feral kin, too.(Mine are definitely not brain surgeons!) Worse, the mismatch between how our brains naturally react and what civilization requires is driving us crazy.

  • Civilization is coming down and there’s nothing I can do about it? According to whom? Sky-daddy or Earth-mama? No matter how many times I hear end-timers say things like this, I just can’t over the comical arrogance of thinking that civilization is ending after thousands of years and it just happens to coincide with your life!

    As far as the ignorance of civilized people of the natural world goes, this is utterly preposterous! Who is more ignorant, those who know the germ theory of disease, Newtonian mechanics, Darwinian evolution and the true scale of the Cosmos, or noble savages who believe in evil spirits, divine intervention and primitive cosmologies of turtle’s backs, stars dragged by sky-beasts and a six thousand year old world?

    This is where primitivism will always fail miserably among the curious and the intelligent, which I hope many reading this still are. We will never go back to that state of darkness willingly, and there is a hell of lot we can do about it, because we understand that the stars don’t control our destinies and there’s no Great Spirit telling us what to do!

  • Maybe both Terry.

    I do see the protesters as being a part of the Machine. And I agree their yelling at themselves in the mirror does as much good as yelling at the politicians. But the latter would be funnier, and would save the rest of us having to listen to the noisy distractions. They know not their own role in painting themselves into the corner (while consuming everythiing around them as fast as possible because the commercials told them it was good for the economy ; )

    But I also know these are just the beginnings of labor and there is real pain ahead. Too bad so many people are distracted and divided – mostly along the lines of “how much do I git and how much I gotta give up compared to the next guy?”

    The real trials and tribulations have not even started – the looters lining up on all sides within the idustrial empire are still pretty plump.

  • Guy McPherson, you are such a dumb fuck, and when the aliens land I hope you are the first one they pick up and put on the examination table.

  • The magical idea that something can come from nothing is central to our culture.

    It is also central to physics. The Big Bang.

    The anger I was trying so hard to get rid of, It was a sign that I was still sane.

    There are said to be three gates to hell (and four gates to heaven) in the Hindu tradition. The gates to hell are anger, desire and greed.

    My DNA was fighting back.
    The idea that DNA is a parts list rather than a blueprint may be more appropriate;
    TEDTalks : Danny Hillis: Understanding cancer through proteomics (2010)

    The bars on our cages look like televisions and soft blankets …… the Jeep I put together from spare parts.

    It would be a lot more work for them to accept that fixing the world is not the same thing as damaging it a little bit less.

    Dependent origination implies that nothing ever goes waste.

    Done with the cage.
    I wish I thought I could do enough damage to kick the civilized humans out of my desert

    I’m driving away from empire, and having fun along the way.

    One cannot drive away from oneself.

    Bhagavad Gita 2:59

    Swami Prabahavananda & Christopher Isherwood’s translation:
    “The abstinent run away from what they desire but carry their desires with them: when a man enters Reality, he leaves his desires behind him.”
    – The same could be said for aversions.

    What’s the use of getting out of bed in the morning when the sun could blow up any minute anyway?

    Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

    seeking something real to contribute and I will absolutely keep that in mind. Doing so would make this whole thing seem less hollow.

    Bhagavad Gita 2:46
    People go to a well to draw water; the enlightened man sits in a flood.

    For those of you in the States, this is serious business and a nationwide problem as gas fracking is being implemented in many states.

    As long as it will help some human cattle to be more productive, it will proceed, even at the expense of the less productive cattle.

    Thoughts are free!

    About as free as the milieu in which they originate. Just as we are free to breathe air only because the ancestral Dipnoi (lungfish) ventured out onto land.

    how else can you describe the idea of a “universal creator”

    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.

    People choose even horrible civilizations over primitive lifestyles almost every time,

    Because the technology of slavery sustains the paradigm of a choice only between the farm for human livestock (promoted as “civilization”) and a primitive lifestyle. There is really no need for the farm.

  • navid, these people are protesting because their lives might get worse if the unions are destroyed. Condemning them won’t do them any good.

  • VT

    As regards geo-engineering, I agree that we are likely to see some action here (if we aren’t already and just aren’t aware of it!). But such methods are tampering with systems we don’t know enough about yet, and will likely cause unintended consequences.

  • I really can’t see condemning folks for trying to save their livelihoods. They are scared, and frustrated at a system that has essentially emptied their pockets, failed to follow through on promises given, has let off the bankers who caused much of the current problems, and has shown itself to be thoroughly corrupt. Can’t blame them at all. Indeed, I stand with them.

  • The Wisconsin protesters are protesting the re-arrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic.

  • One positive part about the Wisconsin protests is that the divide and conquer part did not work. The Governor exempted firefighter and police but they are supporting the rest of the unions anyway. I have heard that they are willing to accept the financial considerations but not the loss of the ability to strike.


    Guy has stated the argument over and over along with supporting evidence in his many links. I couldn’t begin to state it as well as he does. Since you think we are all deluded, why don’t you leave us in our delusions and work harder at either getting someone to read your many blogs, or getting that education and physical training to make sure you aren’t left behind when the supposed space ships leave the planet.

  • Robin

    They are our deck chairs, however. We can arrange them anyway we like…. ;-)

  • Librarian and Victor, I understand their reaction and motives, but I agree with Robin Data – they are just fighting over the rearrangment of the chairs. Also, it is mostly a distraction from the many deeper problems we have to face together and work through.

    I don’t condemn them, I just wish they would see how they contribute to the demise of their own system.

    Kathy, I too got a good laugh from the exemption of firefighters and state police, etc. We can’t cut the pay of the enforcers at a time like this.

  • navid

    Perhaps those blind to what is happening need a distraction…we might think it a lost cause, but from a purely primal perspective, doesn’t standing tough against an abusive system appeal at all to that animal inside you?

  • @Cosmist

    I believe you’re associating “being clever” with intelligence. Intelligent beings preserve their environment. Clever beings destroy it for the sake of convenience.

    Fish don’t spill oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

  • You’re trying very hard to be an easy rider, Ed’s Apprentice, but it does seem kind of obvious that you had a hard time getting your heart broken by that girl you thought was the end-all-be-all. That happened to me in my early-twenties, and it took a while to get over, and made me kind of scared of anything more than ‘breaking shit and fooling around with girls’.

    It’s in our DNA, too, to want to experience and offer nurturing love, I’m pretty sure, though it gets a little maudlin, I agree, when people think that’s all we are. It’s also in our DNA to dream up religions and such (see Reg Morrison about this.)

    What I object to most about this site, in general, is not the facts (which, unfortunately, are indisputable) but when people get on their high horse about civilization this and culture that, and suggest that we’re being done to death because of people who refuse to give up their SUVs and iPods, and their biophobic ways of life, when, in actuality, what a lot of what people don’t want to give up is the gentleness and easy friendship that are a very pleasant side-effect of a resource-glutted society.

    And Guy, I tend to interpret your ability to leave all of this behind as less a sign of Herculean righteousness, and more a product of a quirk, or a few quirks, of your personality.

    Anyhow, I do admire you, Guy, for the cleanness you must feel when your day to day life contributes to little to the toxic death belch, and wish I could feel that way a little more myself.

    And, Ed’s A, I do hope you have a good time.

  • Fish don’t spill oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
    Indeed, milt is a lot more biodegradable.

  • Ben, gentleness and easy friendship exist in many less affluent cultures. In fact many less well to do countries rate much higher on various happiness indexes than the US. (there are a variety of indexes – for example this one rates the US below Venezuela and the Philippines ) How would you explain the high drug use in this culture? How do you explain the high number of kids glued to their video games (a somewhat solitary pursuit) instead of playing sandlot baseball?

    Meanwhile it would seem that the few remaining hunter-gatherer tribes have lots of gentleness and easy friendship.

    I think in fact people don’t want to give up their comforts or their goodies – my sister once told me she would rather be dead than not have a hot shower. I think she was quite serious. More than that there is, I think, in our culture a deep realization that we don’t know how to care for ourselves. We have become incredibly dependent on the “system” working as it always had and I think there is a deep unspoken fear that lays dormant until people start talking about that system collapsing. Which is why they often get mad rather than seek to learn more about why some of us think collapse is coming soon.

    It seems that many people think that the simple life, doing many things for yourself such as growing food must be an unpleasant life. While I haven’t abandoned the system entirely, I can tell you that for me steps in that direction feel good. Watching my woodpile for next winter grow daily as I saw my wood with a hand saw makes me feel good about myself. Further I get to smell pine, cedar and various other woods as I saw them. I can tell you that does much more for my happiness than smelling those god awful bathroom scent machines. When I put a meal on the table that has nothing in it but food I have grown myself I feel immense satisfaction. People are missing out on so much.

    I admit I am a bit addicted to internet blogging, but the fact that internet blogging, Facebook etc have become so popular seems a sign that our society does not have easy friendship face to face.

    Priviledged – yes Cosmist mistakes being clever for intelligence. He also mistakes knowledge for intelligence. Hunter-gatherers have a storehouse of knowledge that is very useful, what mushrooms to eat, how to track deer, make baskets, find water etc. Industrial civilization has other knowledge, how to poison people with DU, how to operate drones etc. Intelligence however is the “capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity” not the specific knowledge. TC’s ignorance of what wild plants are safe to eat may result in a shorter lifespan. He does however seem to have knowledge of comic book characters per his Comic Cosmos blog but that knowledge is pretty useless in this civilization or a hunter-gather one.

    Diamond’s reasoning about the intelligence of the hunter-gatherers is that their population continues to have selection for those who are intelligent, which is no longer the case in western civilization ie a non-intelligent hunter-gatherer is likely to be a dead hunter-gatherer. I have no basis to know for sure (how do you give an IQ test to a H-G?)but his reasoning makes sense. (Our population also no longer selects for disease resistance which may come in handy if any of TPTB want to de-populate via smallpox.)

  • Victor,

    The primal side of me would love to give a good poke in the eye with a sharp stick to the Wall Street branch of our corrupt pigstye, and their minions in the treasury, congress, the fed, SEC, FDIC, etc. ; )

    At the same time he went after the unions, Gov. Walker should have had the state AG go after the financial fraudsters in the mortgage markets (MERS and Banks) and state and municipal pensions scams. It is clear the Feds have no intention of policing these criminals, it is up to the states and counties themselves to claw back what was stolen – if possible.

    I doubt it matters though really. Far too little, far too late. I think it best to just stay out of crowded, noisy places and continue to de-industrialize myself.

  • ‘I think it best to just stay out of crowded, noisy places and continue to de-industrialize myself.’

    For you and me, this is best…. ;-)

    Things get so messy when you strive against the inevitable tide….

  • navid.

    ‘I too got a good laugh from the exemption of firefighters and state police, etc. We can’t cut the pay of the enforcers at a time like this.’

    The irony is, the enforcers are working so hard to bring about their own demise: a perfect slave is one that fights for the master’s right to own and exploit slaves.

  • Thanks, Kathy. I understand what you’re saying. Comfort is a powerful motivator…

    I do, though, know the bliss of a good day of wood-cutting.

  • Victor, I am reading right now about the philosopher’s stone and alchemy in:
    Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Scottish journalist Charles Mackay, first published in 1841. The book chronicles its subjects in three parts: “National Delusions”, “Peculiar Follies”, and “Philosophical Delusions”.

    The subjects of Mackay’s debunking include economic bubbles, alchemy, crusades, witch-hunts, prophecies, fortune-telling, magnetisers (influence of imagination in curing disease), shape of hair and beard (influence of politics and religion on), murder through poisoning, haunted houses, popular follies of great cities, popular admiration of great thieves, duels, and relics. Present day writers on economics, such as Andrew Tobias and Michael Lewis, laud the three chapters on economic bubbles.[1]

    I think we have another delusion like the oil from turkey guts.

  • Kathy

    Or perhaps cold-water fusion?

  • ‘shape of hair and beard (influence of politics and religion on)’


  • Happy Birthday, Guy!

    Hope you got the chance to do something enjoyable, and out of the ordinary, to celebrate today. If not, you still have time!
    Take care.

    John and Deb

  • kathy
    Watching my woodpile for next winter grow daily as I saw my wood with a hand saw makes me feel good about myself. Further I get to smell pine, cedar and various other woods as I saw them.’

    what kind of saws…older buck saw… or thick bladed handsaw; or thin ‘modern’ thin blade[can’t be sharpen many times i’d guess?] bowsaw.

    i’ve bought a few of the older type in antique shops, but have yet to use them; i’ve had a hard time finding the thin blades locally; i need to try the net.

    i cut most of my wood by hand one winter. thin bladed camping folding bowsaw…. took a good bit of time… the sycamore sure smelled good -slightly sweet- when burning it.

  • Hi Ed’s Apprentice, it has rained here all day, dark and stormy with rumbling thunder. The rain stopped as dusk was coming on … sat with the light as it bowed, coloring the trees and mountains with grey.
    You wrote about the wisdom of DNA and about maturing to the realization of human limitation. We are an intricate part of this astounding manifestation. No need to run. Stand very still, feel the bewildering complexity … may be the deeper we look at the unfolding the more we are expressing our humanness.

  • kathy said: ‘How would you explain the high drug use in this culture? How do you explain the high number of kids glued to their video games (a somewhat solitary pursuit) instead of playing sandlot baseball? ‘

    first i empathize with where u’re coming from, kathy. there’s much self medicating going on, sometimes with destructive personal and social consequences. drug abuse is a surreal and serious problem, especially among those lowest socio-economically and especially those who suffer from all the isms which serve to attack self esteem and thus create immense psychic pain. i know all about low esteem and psychological pain. it’s responsible for long term depression and probably much destructive behavior directed inward, the reason for mood depression.

    otoh, i think more drug usage, at least regarding some currently illegal ones such as cannabis would be a good thing. i’m a big fan of maryjane. free the weed! according to what i’ve read and heard and experienced and believe, cannabis is probably the most versatile and useful therapeutic herb there is. i also think it’s a mild hallucinogen or consciousness expander, a powerful spiritual herb, mental stimulant, and natural antidote to mood depression. i’m even inclined to the grandiose notion that cannabis and some other ‘hallucinogens could play a crucial role in bringing about the spiritual revolution i think steve and most other nbl-ers are hoping for, a black swanish enlightenment and radical transformation of civilization, resulting in a planned dignified death (of civilization) rather than the painful humiliating tragic unplanned demise it now seems destined for. i do believe cannabis and some other ‘drugs’ could facilitate this, if given the chance.

    some way must be found to open the minds of sheeple, to elevate reason and flexibility above rigid dogma, and if necessary and possible supply many with formidable reasoning ability which now appears deficient. perhaps i suffer from ‘reefer madness’, for i think cannabis use has expanded my reasoning ability and consciousness. i suspect without it, i would not be among such esteemed internet company. nbl rocks.

    kathy also said: ‘I admit I am a bit addicted to internet blogging, but the fact that internet blogging, Facebook etc have become so popular seems a sign that our society does not have easy friendship face to face.’

    i agree with the sentiment that ‘face to face’ encounters as domesticated sheeple trained to be artificial and superficial social beings tends to be strongly frustrating and unfulfilling. however, i wish to point out that international internet blogging enables highly unusual sheeple like us to connect. ‘addiction’ in our culture has much stigma attached, but some dependencies are therapeutic?! i think so.

  • Sam, a bow saw. I found this really good blade – Bahco – I’m sure it can’t be sharpened but with care they stay sharp for white a while. Just search Bahco bow saw blades on line. They fit standard bow saws but I like the quality of their bow saws too. I use mostly the 23″ saw and the 21″ camp saw with the raker blade for green wood. We cut fairly small wood because our fire box is small, not unusually more than 4 or 5 inches in diameter.

    I smear some vaseline on the blade after each day or two or use and that really helps prevent rust. Also if I have cut pine it dissolves the sap by the next day.

    I have put in a life supply of bow saw blades and vaseline!!! However I get about 2 years or more out of each blade and would get more if my arm wasn’t a bit wimpy.

    If you want I will be glad to look back and find what on-line store I bought my most recent cache from, just not right now cause the coffee is made and before long the chickens will be wanting out.

    Our stove is a Sheepherder (small size) and I figure that when my blades or my saw arm gives out (arm is the most likely candidate) we can at least get a bit of warmth in the house just by burning kindling we pick up outside and not freeze :)

    OK then COFFEE time …………

  • ‘I have put in a life supply of bow saw blades and vaseline!!!’

    I think it would be a fascinating read to view an inventory list of what you have stored up, Kathy…. :-)

  • thanks kathy
    i found these blades quickly.
    i like the 30in. i think from my limited use of the older thick blades they require a lot more work…friction; but they could be sharpen many many times.

    i’ve used the thin type enough to order a supply of the thin. thanks much as i was on a hunt re this for some time. is this a good price; Our price: $13.27 each
    for green or dry …never seen this distinction [what do u use, if dry wood?] but cut enough to know it & would want some of both. your info is helpful & appreciated! gotta let the chickens out & feed.

  • Victor, along with bow saws and vaseline, matches. Note that at 62 a lifetime supply is not as long as say for a 30 year old. Also a stash of whiskey and rum (currently I do not imbibe but that could easily change :) ) Garden gloves. One or 2 year supply of candles.

    The rest of my stash is several months worth of salmon and tuna fish, and other canned goods – the several months becomes days of course when neighbors come calling.

    Then there is the most precious asset – a drilled well with a hand pump. And of course fertile soil and seeds. One neighborhood chicken stew party of chickens when we can’t feed them anymore :)

    I wonder what the list of things we have cached tells us about ourselves?

  • Sam, $5.50 at Tools Plus where I got my last order.

    Raker blades are for green wood

    Peg blades are for dry wood

    On the smaller wood I cut it doesn’t seem to make a lot of difference so I mostly just use the raker blade. On larger wood it might matter.

    They don’t carry the 30″ bow saw just the blades. Amazon has the 30″ saw for about $15 but if you already have a saw you just need the blades. I have several extra saws stashed with the blades.

    I use the little 21″ camp saw a lot because we use privet alot (it grows big here in Alabama but makes good wood). Privet grows in clumps and can be hard to get to so the little pointy saw can be useful for getting into small places. I have a 30″ one and if we have a big log my husband and I can use that as a two person saw. I built a saw buck for cutting up wood – my own design based on other designs on the web. Its a tad amateurish in construction but despite that works quite well and saves my back. If anyone wants to see it maybe I can take a picture and have Guy post it.

  • ‘I wonder what the list of things we have cached tells us about ourselves?’

    Excellent question. Yours is a very practical mind, I suspect. Sounds like the very kind of things my wife would stash. Only she would add stuff like rice and grains…

  • And I would add beans or other legumes since they can be easily stored for lengths of time, and are healthy

  • We are also growing easily reproduced crops like onions, garlic, potatoes, Jerusalem Artichokes, perennial herbs and the like….

  • Victor, best of the legumes to store is lentils as they take much less cooking time than other dried beans. I have them and rice stored too but the rice gets buggy after a while, even in ziplock bags and after about 1 month in the freezer. Eggs must be in the rice. Of course bugs are good protein.
    I have a variety of onion called a potato onion – which looks promising and far more elephant garlic than I can use, but it doesn’t take up much room and the pollinators love it. Come the crash we may be eating far more garlic than we do now. And yes Jerusalem artichokes although their nutrition is not high they are easy to grow.

    per wiki
    “The potato onion is a variety of multiplier onion, similar to the shallot, although producing larger bulbs. It is remarkably easy to grow, keeps better than almost any other variety of onion, and is ideal for the home gardener with restricted space. It was very popular in the past, but like many old varieties, it has been passed over in favor of types more suitable for mechanical harvesting and mass marketing.

    It is generally planted from bulbs, not from seed. Most sources say it should be planted in the fall, but this probably applies only to areas with moderate climates. It can be planted in the spring as early as the ground can be worked and produces well when so planted, up to at least the most northern limits of planting zone 5.

    Sources differ about planting depth, some saying shallow planting is appropriate and others calling for deeper planting. This onion does tend to grow very close to the surface and a planting hole perhaps an inch deeper than the diameter of the bulb seems to work well. The onions vary in size from half an inch to three inches in diameter (1 – 8cm).”

  • Sam I have a post awaiting moderation – maybe because it has links to a company that sells stuff. The short of it until Guy approves it is that Tools Plus has the blades for 1/2 the price and raker is for green, peg for dry.

  • thanks much again kathy…order made!

    btw re matches…i have gotten such, but as an avid outdoors person i always worried about getting those or cig lighters wet/damp; & have…useless usually,
    so i got some of these…for family too; & they are sparky enough to light shredded newspaper…

    + it’s got armageddon in the ad/name so maybe that will jinx such from ever happening,or us needing the tool…but maybe my grandkids though; oh it will work wet/damp. the cheaper smaller [ranger]version works fine if nimble hands.

  • Same

    That is so cool – I ordered an Armageddon as well.

  • Ed’s Apprentice:

    Thanks for your refreshing manifesto. I am put in mind of Christopher McCandless AKA Alexander SuperTramp (“Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer- the book does the best job of telling his story, but the movie is well done, too.) I do think that heading out is most naturally and best done in a tribal way, in other words, with a group that is really committed to the entire group’s welfare. Relearning the ancient ways is a major challenge for us today who wish to do so. I suggest Robert Wolff’s “Original Wisdom” as an interesting eye-opener to the wisdom of indigenous tribal peoples. Robert prefers his original edition, “What It Means To Be Human” but that can be a bit tricky to locate. You might try’s used section. All the best to you.

  • Ooops! The title is Hope lies in our ability to bring back into awareness: What It Is To Be Human

  • Sam, thanks for the link on the sparker – I actually remembered that back in 2001 I bought one – not as nice as that one. Time to see if I can find where I put it :)

    Another tool I got was a log splitter driver – it works like a post driver. Doesn’t work well on hard to split wood such as pecan but works well on oak. Saves my old lady arms and wrists. I can’t find the exact match, but this is close –

  • Heinberg on the future in 2011 – I would say he agrees with Guy even though he might not come right out and say it….

    These times just get more and more interesting.

  • kathy
    thanks for the splitter info; i’ve seen that one online, but not had it recommended.
    i got one similar to this

    as i have a very bad back re any kind of jarring motion. It works fair with different size jacks to adjust speed & power to the wood, but it is slow.

    i ended up getting a gas one on sale too & intend to sell it as i get younger hands & backs that we are teaming up with.
    can u’r type be used w/o hard slinging motion; or i might weld added weights on one…i am already in a lot colder environment than ala.; & intend to move to the Upper Peninsula of MI. as more family gets willing….we are too near a million folks….so wood tools are a Must!

    good link on heinberg too…reading it now.

  • kathy
    one more thing…u’r washing clothes machine/procedure u have mentioned…hopefully it is in u’r upcoming post, an older post/comment, or please at some point present it as this & some radio/communications are the few things i’d crank up a generator for w/o electricity.

    i’ve done them by hand enough, especially grubby work clothes, to respect any leverage to help.

  • Sam you can use it without much jarring if you lift it up and then just let it drop with your hands lightly on it. I try to do that but when I get a difficult one I add some arm power to the down stroke. A weight welded on seems like it would help – I saw on comments about the splitter that someone had done that. My neighbor has one of the slow hydraulic kinds a bit different from that at your link. I used it for some pecan which is a real bear to split. Usually I don’t have much to split as I cut smaller wood that doesn’t need splitting. But we have hired someone to clear out the overgrown woods below the garden so I can get more sun on the garden, so I have some bigger stuff this year. My back is not terrific either and I have had elbow and wrist problems. But my husband’s back and arm is worse than mine so I do most of the wood gathering.

    Yeah Michigan is going to require a lot more wood than here in AL. Think about 4 poster beds – there was a reason for them for sleeping in the Middle ages. Or maybe a tent in the house. I saw onetime a researcher who had gone up to see some native herders in Siberia. They had for sleeping, a tent within a tent and 1 small candle. The guy was surprised at how warm it kept his sleeping area.


    big drop..i’m suprise this didn’t kick in breakers to halt trading.

  • Johnny Ball, UK Children’s TV Presenter – People like this are getting huge amounts of coverage:

    Why, when everything about our lives is getting better by miles, are we giving our kids the impression that the world is becoming unravelled and may not be able to support life?

    What is happening? What is this devastating threat to us all?

    We’ve been told the temperature of the Earth has increased in the last century. In the 1960s, there was a dip, and now scientists are talking about a new ice age.

    We are told that in the last 50 years, since that dip, it has increased by 0.7C.

    We know that every day the temperature changes by much more than that – up and down.

    So why are we scaring our kids to death? Our modern technology is quite amazing.

    Take communications for example. Everything, from mobile phones to iPads, gets better and better and cheaper.

  • victor… incredible video ; re twisting the science…politicians as scapegoat… go nukes, & down w/ windmills. having worked near big pharma i think at least he is being ‘helped’ along to get the word out. it can be very subtle;& of course & at times direct.

    a grain of truth is that kids get the truth , & this socially tolerated, more than adults. in the adult world the consequences are quicker, & more consequential.

    i wouldn’t doubt a climate equivalent of china’s 50 cent army

  • As usual, I’m already quite late to this comments thread. If the subject post was meant to read as a brief guide to misanthropy, it succeeds only at the personal level of the author. Nods to history and root causes are fatuous. It resembles the inchoate ramblings of the Tea Party, which has as its primary aim (hidden from its own members) the wanton destruction of the very things on which its members rely. Wanting to fuck things up is simple, petty vandalism in most contexts; within the context of the ongoing collapse of biosphere, that desire may take on a heroic dimension. But I don’t get that tone from the author or the chorus of good-for-you commentators.