Or die trying

I wrote an entire book on the life of the mind, if you can imagine that. A significant portion of the book was dedicated to the importance of a liberal education, and I’ve written about that topic in this space, too:

Liberal teaching means putting everything I know, and everything I am, at risk in the classroom. And not just in general, but specifically as well. That is, I put it all on the line during every meeting of every class. I’ve been wrong often enough to know it could happen again, and I’m willing to admit my errors in the pursuit of truth.

How courageous is this approach? Remember how it turned out for Socrates.

Pursuing a liberal approach to teaching is dangerous. It requires courage, a thick skin, and recognition that the personal costs of pursuing liberalism in the classroom are far exceeded by the opportunity costs of failing to do so. Indeed, I would argue that the pursuit of a liberal approach to any of life’s important activities is dangerous.

I am often criticized for continuing my educational efforts here at Barefoot College. During the last couple years, I have hosted more than 200 people, showing how we might muddle through an ambiguous future if we work together. In return, many people question whether I should be demonstrating this doomstead to potential future marauders. Most of these people are anthropocentric, short-sighted, narcissistic cowards commenting anonymously on fora focused on economic collapse.

Image courtesy of Lesley Ash

When I point out I’m anti-civ, these and other people take issue with the language: “It’s better to be for something than against something, so your message should be pro, not anti.” I point out anti-civ means pro-life, but the latter label has been co-opted by a group with which I fundamentally disagree.

And so it goes, spiraling down into the uncomfortable abyss of talking past one another. We are so adept at finding an other with whom to part ways.

And I am not surprised many people fail to understand that we’re all in this together. Our culture has driven us apart, valuing competition over cooperation. I am not surprised many people fail to understand that, as the expression goes, divided we fall. And so we are. Our culture has promoted faux individualism instead of real collaboration. It’s all about me and my stuff, me and my success, me and my ego in this hyper-indulgent morass of American exceptionalism. It’s small wonder, then, that many people fail to understand the importance, to me, of educating others. It’s everything to me, more important than life itself.

I am profoundly committed to a life of service. For me, a life lived otherwise is not worth living.

As any real radical reformer knows, some things are worth dying for. Service to community and lifelong learning certainly fill the bill.

Mind you, I’m not acting heroically. I’ve built a lifeboat, after all, that might allow my survival for a few years beyond completion of the ongoing economic collapse. I’m not dependent on western medicine to maintain my life. In addition, absence of free will precludes an alternative route.

If you’re looking for heroes, look no further than Derrick Jensen. His level of commitment extends beyond his own life. He depends in the short term on the industrial economy, a system that is killing him in the long term. Yet he is willing to sacrifice the ability to extend his life to give the living planet a chance. Somebody who comments now and then in this space, demonstrating he is halfway along the path toward becoming an idiot savant, used Jensen’s example in a botched attempt to argue the contrary point. Jensen’s writing and speaking are heroic because he argues for termination of the industrial economy, knowing it will lead quickly to his own death.

I recognize that it’s too late to save society, and industrialized society is irredeemable, regardless. Capitalism is assumed to be the best, most efficient economic system, but I think it’s better described as a pathology than an economic system. So I’ll keep moving seemingly immovable individuals beyond their comfort points. I’ll inject empathy, therefore resistance, into a sociopathic culture largely devoid of people willing to stand in opposition to the mainstream. I’ll move individuals beyond dark thoughts and into the light of a new world. I’ll move them beyond inaction. I’ll move them beyond the oppression of civilization and into the brave new world of a life that gives as well as taking.

Or die trying.

____________

This essay is permalinked at Counter Currents.

Comments 44

  • Over the last couple of years since my dad introduced me to your blog, I have vacillated between absolutely loving it and absolutely despising it. I love it most when you bring hope into my heart about what life could be like when the whole immoral economic structure collapses and we have to rely on our own wits and neighbors to make a better life for ourselves. I hate it when you force me to realize the unlikelihood that any of my neighbors will be along for the ride and it is just going to be a huge train wreck. To tell you the truth, I mostly hate it, which of course shows you how high my faith is in human kind.

    I want to thank you for todays post. As I read it, I gained perspective on where it is you are coming from, it humanized you. It let me see into your struggle to impart a message to a world that doesn’t want to hear. It showed me how you put yourself out there not because you want to ruin our day but because you care enough to face criticism in order to get your message across and maybe save a few of us miserable mortals. Thanks for your efforts.

  • Guy,
    You continue to show us a logical, moral and compassionate
    path. I’ll do my best to follow along and help, wherever I can.

  • Guy

    Thanks for this post. A private view on what it is to be courageous. Because of folks like you, every day witnesses more people turned from the dark side and stepping out to a new way of living. Keep it up. You have chosen a path that will never win praise from the masses, but then, who needs the masses?

  • “Capitalism is assumed to be the best, most efficient economic system, but I think it’s better described as a pathology than an economic system.”

    Have you looked into Paul Hawkin’s Natural Capitalism?

    Just as Communism was a perversion of its underlying social principles, I think the hatred of Capitalism comes from what it has become, rather than what it could be.

    We just found someone willing to invest $10,000 in EcoReality Co-op so we could build a large greenhouse. There is no rate of return specified. Plus, the investor is willing to come over and help us build it, and to work in the greenhouse afterwards!

    “Capital” is formally defined as “the means of production.” It’s a mighty fine thing to have, if you want to produce anything. Want to plant a tree? A shovel would be good! Want to milk a goat? A shed and a milking stand would be helpful. Want early planting starts, and a way to grow tomatoes and other hot-night crops in a cool Mediterranean climate? A greenhouse can do the job.

    But shovels and sheds and milking stands and greenhouses don’t grow on trees. They require an investment of some sort.

    The problem is not with the use of the root of the word, it’s with the suffix. When tagged onto a word, “ism” becomes a symbol for “worship of.”

    Too bad the three great western religions can’t seem to return to their earlier prohibitions on the paying of interest. Because it is really “financial capitalism” — the notion that little green bits of paper can somehow multiply — that has given “capital” a bad name!

  • “Too bad the three great western religions can’t seem to return to their earlier prohibitions on the paying of interest.”
    I do not know which “three” religions are being referred to, but there is one religion in which it is unequivocally prohibited: the religion advocated by Mustafa bin Abdullah, known to his followers as Muhammad. Any place where Sharia law is in force, there is no interest.

  • Guy, you’ve certainly helped to move me beyond inaction. For that, I’m eternally grateful.

  • Thanks for your comments on liberal education in this context. A great deal of what motivates me to homeschool (shouldn’t that be a different word? like, say, world-explore?) is my own sense of dedication to the idea that it is worth any cost to give my daughter a chance to learn the tools of critical thinking, be free to question, have a shot at learning some stuff that is genuinely useful as well as genuinely intellectually interesting, and to learn how to take risks. Also to learn about one’s own moral convictions rather than having them drummed into one through incessant institutional exposure. I also want her to see that I’m learning all the time too, and learning doesn’t stop.

    I’m kind of hopeful that things might fall apart enough by the time she turns 6 (in 2013) that I won’t have to submit a letter to the school system informing them of my intention to homeschool and describing our plans. I will do so if I have to, but it bugs me that I’m required to.

    Of course, the lifelong learning I dream of for my daughter (and myself) may mean learning over a radically shortened lifetime. But I want her to have the best chance at being fully conscious and free while she’s alive as I can possibly give her. I want her to know what’s real and good, and reject the lies of civilization, not because I tell her to do so, but because she will be able to reach that conclusion herself.

  • ‘It’s better to be for something than against something, so your message should be pro, not anti. I point out anti-civ means pro-life, but the latter label has been co-opted by a group with which I fundamentally disagree.’

    A good point Guy.

    As long as we are pro-truth, pro-dignity, pro-justice, pro-humanitarianism etc. that is really all that matters.

    When I was an adolescent antidisestablishmentarianaism was ‘the’ word to know. None of us knew what it meant, of course.

    Maybe now is the time to promote prodeindustrialisationism, even if it is 40 years too late.

  • “In addition, absence of free will precludes an alternative route.” Thanks for the chuckle. We have to act as if we have free well, because well we have to eh? In the end it doesn’t matter. We feel like we have free will whether we do or not. Feeling matter to humans, A LOT. It feels good for most of us to do something positive even when we feel most negative. After Haiti I no longer even felt I knew what was good. The good (extending lives) led to the bad (overpopulation). But then there was Johnny – 6 mos old the size of a 1 mo old baby – born with AIDs. But when I held Johnny close and cooed to him, it felt good to him and me. It doesn’t matter that it had no power to extend his life, that he is dead, it matters that at that moment we both felt good. Doing service is for ourselves as well as others.

    Lifeboats may sink, but at the moment someone is pulled aboard from out of the cold, it feels good for the rescued and the rescuers. That moment is what matters in the end. Besides learning to build with your own hands, however clumsy, relating to animals, plants and the land feels good for however long we can do it. So thank you for your essay Guy, and for building a lifeboat, and for telling the word to those who fear your words as well as to us who are relieved to find somewhere that we can hear and speak truth.

  • Dear Guy, Kevin, Kathy and Friends,

    How on Earth are we going to adequately feed the hungry and starving, and simultaneously not keep ‘feeding the problem’ of human overpopulation?

    http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/frostovertheworld/2011/02/2011259341259393.html

    How is it possible for so many top rank experts of great stature to be adamantly advocating for more “food production to feed a growing population” and yet be failing to mention the profound implications of skyrocketing absolute global population numbers on Earth? For such a thing to be occurring in 2011 appears preposterous. It is morally outrageous and dangerous both to future human well being and environmental health, I believe, for well established experts to be reporting ubiquitously in high-level discussions such things as are directly contradicted by unchallenged scientific research of human population dynamics and human overpopulation. Is it possible that so-called, self-proclaimed experts are not aware of peer-reviewed, published research in their area of expertise that indicates the food supply is the independent (not dependent) variable and human population numbers is the dependent (not independent) variable with regard to the relationship between human population numbers and food supply? It appears that many too many experts are collectively reporting specious theory and data regarding the human population that cannot be supported by the best available scientific evidence, I believe.

    The food supply is the independent variable not the dependent variable. Human population numbers is the dependent variable not the independent variable. The believers in demographic transition theory and in the idea that “we must increase food production to feed a growing population” are simply mistaken. The false promise of Demographic Transition Theory, that population stabilization will somehow occur benignly and automatically a mere four decades from now, as well as the upside down thinking that human population numbers is the independent variable and food supply is the dependent variable, are at least two of the crucial and deliberate misunderstandings that are being deployed to direct the human community down a patently unsustainable “primrose path” no human being with feet of clay would ever choose to go.

    The uncontested scientific finding of the relationship between food supply and human population numbers is being obscured and denied by the very experts upon whom the human community relies for guidance and direction. Conscious obsfucation and willful denial by ‘the brightest and best’ of the scientific finding regarding the relationship between food supply and human population numbers has been occurring pervasively for way too long a time. This incredible failure of nerve by ‘the smartest guys in the room’ in my not-so-great generation has got to be acknowledged, addressed and overcome.

    The children’s future is being stolen by thieves of the highest order. And what is the communal response? A code of silence! Are people going to choose yet again to be bystanders at a moment when bold action, intellectual honesty and moral courage are required? Willful blindness, hysterical deafness, elective mutism and utter passivity cannot continue. The children will soon enough express their anger and disbelief at what the elders in my not-so-great generation have either failed to do or else done poorly “on our watch”, while wealthy and powerful crooks in high places robbed those among us who are still young of a good enough future.

    How on Earth are we going to adequately feed the hungry and starving, and simultaneously not keep ‘feeding the problem’ of human overpopulation? This is the question no one is asking, the one that needs to be asked.

    Sincerely,

    Steve

  • Terry to answer your comment on the last post, I well know that the future of Egypt is dicey since that have too many people, not enough food and are about out of oil exports. But for the Moment….

    From a blog I visit from time to time that was started at the time of the H5N1 situation

    [The public-health implications of 2/11/11
    http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/h5n1/2011/02/the-public-health-implications-of-21111.html
    Thanks to Wael Ghonim for tweeting the link to this new Egyptian anthem: Sout Al Horeya. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faZrN9O7ysw He says he feels sorry for people who don’t understand Arabic, but the joy comes through in any language. (note I found a link with the lyrics in English subtitles)

    Eighty million people buzzed on a successful and mostly peaceful revolution will probably not present any serious public-health problems. Apart from major sleep deprivation and tired vocal chords, Egyptians will enjoy the good health of people drenched with endorphins.]

  • Kathy,

    Wonderful song. So much for the idea that it was all about food. There are things in this world more important than food, security and stability. It is my hope that the elite of the world will discover this the same way the Egyptian elite have. I know their war for freedom is far from over and certainly far from won, but isn’t progress great!

    Steven

    When it comes to population management, reason seems to take a back exit.

    Kevin

    40 years and 5 billion people too late.

  • Victor you are right it is about freedom. However to risk your life for freedom you often have to have nothing left to loose, and lack of food or privatization of even the water off your roof (Boliva) is the spark. If you are going to die or be run into abject poverty then why not risk your life for freedom. The far less publicized Bolivian revolution was perhaps even more impressive as it was not educated young people but peasants who won freedom. http://liz-lake.blogspot.com/2010/06/ten-year-anniversary-of-water-wars-in.html

  • This song captures the joy of the Moment after revolution – in this case Venzuela

  • As a one-time behind-the-scenes author and infrequent commenter at NBL, I feel compelled to say that an awful lot expressed here in posts and comments resonates strongly with me. But I really can’t keep up with the volume (or verbosity), just as I can’t bear to look at the future too intently. It all just destroys me. Call me a coward if you want.

    Paeans to liberal education and reading by Guy and Librarian (in comments to the previous post) speak to me most personally. If I lack the commitment and/or network to go the doomstead route, my response has been, at the very least, to struggle to understand (however provisionally) what is happening and to embody in some measure a commitment to service of others. For me, it manifests differently from Guy’s truth-telling and generous use of his blog for guest posts and comments, which together are an amazing clearinghouse of information, opinion, and philosophy.

    A last word about dissent: labeling someone a troll or idiot savant and hounding him out of the forum disappoint me. Most who read and contribute here are by now long-established members of the doomer choir, but it’s worthwhile when someone who expresses himself cogently and is engaged in the issues raises questions and offers unique ideas. I disagree with dreams of space colonization and perpetuation of technology, but I can certainly dismiss the ideas without resorting to ugly personal attacks.

    Another last word about hope: one of the themes that keeps popping up is the purported need to stay positive, often expressed purely in terms of utility (attracting converts with honey …). Well, I can’t sing the forced tune when I recognize so much of the world going to shit. Truthfulness and acceptance mean more to me than futile hope. And besides, negative motivation is at least as strong as positive motivation, though it usually occurs later at later stages.

  • To Steven Earl Salmony and other deranged depopulationists: the mass of the Earth is 1/500 of our solar system’s mass (not including the sun); the power output of the sun is 20 trillion times our current global power usage. From these two facts alone it is not difficult to see that our solar system can easily support *trillions* of human beings. In fact, some estimates put the number as high as 10 quadrillion (10^16). On planet Earth alone, 100 billion people can be supported without difficulty. So please, let’s not be absurd with these claims that we are reaching some arbitrary limit on human population, and that we therefore need to start exterminating people. Ideas like that come from very dark misanthropic ideologies, not from any objective analysis. I know this, because I have been in that dark place before; fortunately I escaped before I turned into a gibbering genocidal depopulationist like Mr. Salmony!

  • @ Brutus: Well said; thank you for your comments.

    Regarding Egypt, I think many of us remember our 7th grade social studies lessons on Egyptian history. The seasonal flooding of the Nile depositing nutrients in the soil and how the culture thrived along it’s banks. This symbiotic relationship created a vibrant and technologically advanced culture that lasted over 5 thousand years.

    Perhaps it would have lasted another 5 thousand years had it not been for the discovery of oil in Egypt almost 150 years ago. It seems the deadliest curse in Egypt did not come from a tomb, but from a well. The Egyptians, like the rest of us, will either re-learn our connection to the natural environment, now unstable due to climate change, or ‘die trying.’

    Can we do this on a scale to support current and projected human population? I completely agree with Steve’s comments above. Obviously this isn’t going to happen in Egypt which depends on imports of food. In a way I feel sorry for the Egyptians in their moment of triumph because they are about to realize the truth of their (our) predicament. With declining oil exports around the world, I think we’ll see declining food exports as well.

  • “How on Earth are we going to adequately feed the hungry and starving, and simultaneously not keep ‘feeding the problem’ of human overpopulation?”
    We are not: the program that drives humanity in this direction has been built in to nucleic acid chemistry by a billion years of selective pressure that eliminated from the gene pools any contrary tendencies. The effects are manifest at a remove several levels of emergence from their source, as noted in the cultural identification of children, parenthood, reduction of child mortality, etc. all quite virtoous – and the hamstringing of any suggestion of politically imposed solutions. One has only to recollect how the Third Reich’s eugenics programs have been retrospectively characterized, or for that matter, China’s “one child” policy.

  • Guy, your commitment is inspirational. Thank you! Saw your FB post pointing to your NBL post “What works: community” which led to your NBL post “Whack” both very helpful.

    Carrie wrote about vacillating between hope and despair. This is very familiar terrain for me. Hope comes to me when I visualize a life lived closer to the land. Despair comes when I move through my days noticing what I would need to let go of in order to accomplish this.

    John, “I never meant to say I or we should give up. I will not do that.” I didn’t hear you saying that at all … I could relate to the life examination you were describing and appreciated you sharing

  • Brutus – You wrote “A last word about dissent: labeling someone a troll or idiot savant and hounding him out of the forum disappoint me.”

    Guy has clearly stated his position. Many of us echo his beliefs. Occasionally someone comes on and starts hollering “doomist”. I for one on other sites have had that thrown at me over and over as I try to argue a point with facts. Sometimes I get tired of it. The Cosmist for one has come on this site under several different names which in and of itself seems a bit dishonest. I don’t mind being reminded to follow my better nature and try to be pleasant to everyone. But wouldn’t it be good to advise people coming on this site to respect the point of view presented (ie. that nature is at the bat now, not us) and refrain from labeling Guy and those of us who believe he is right DOOMERS. This seems to me at least to be an ugly and personal attack. Good for the goose is good for the gander. I hope you will have a word of advice for posters who use the label “doomers” as if it somehow wins the argument. I am human and when attacked sometimes I attack back.

    We are not doomers – we are hopeful that the end of civilization will mean that humans don’t go extinct and multitudes of other species with them. We dread the future for sure, but believe that at the point only the swift collapse of industrial civilization will prevent catastrophic climate change. This hope may be futile but what else is there to hope for with the knowledge of the state of the planet.

    As far as being positive – when I encourage positivity it is in relation to enjoying each moment, since being mortal we do not know which moment is our last. I can see that Egypt is in big trouble due to no longer having oil to export, but I can enjoy the joy felt by Egyptians today. I can glory in the sun shining here after a few cold rainy days. I can see the mockingbird that is taking up residence and be glad to have one around as there were none here for a few years. This has nothing to do with the future and everything to do with this day.

  • (I got this off the internet, so of course I’m assuming it is right!)

    57,000,000 square miles of land mass on Earth(including deserts, mountains, and land under ice cover, lakes and rivers)

    640 acres/square mile

    36,480,000,000 total acres of land mass

    100,000,000,000 people who could theoretically be supported

    0.3648 acres per person

    To the Cosmist: Being an ex-farmer from America, I think in terms of acres. If I did the math right, you are saying that 100 billion people could be supported on this planet, “without difficulty”, on less than a third of an acre per person. (I’m estimating that folks could not live on mountain tops, in deserts or under several hundred feet of ice). By what method of food production would this be possible? Using what energy source? And using what form of fertilization? What about fresh drinking water? Transportation?

    Now, I understand this is theoretical. It would indeed require “many surprises, black swans, scientific and technological breakthroughs, cultural changes, etc. in the near future that will make most of the fears of today’s doomers irrelevant”. But aren’t you forgetting a few things?

    Ten thousand years of human history, psychology, ecology and the concept of finite resources.

    “People have always projected current trends into the future and panicked, but future innovations have a way of making their concerns look silly”.

    True. But I think I could find many examples where people thought everything was going to be fine, right before getting smacked across the back of the head by a two by four (metaphorically speaking, and otherwise–reread my poem).

    I too believe we are in for a number of surprises in the future, but not likely to be what you have in mind. Once again, you appear to selectively pick out positive attributes of man and the theoretically possible acts he may be capable of achieving, while leaving out all the baggage. Picture a world class runner, capable of running a mile in under 4 minutes. Yes, it’s true. He can do it. But strap him down with a couple of hundred pounds of chain and cement blocks, and he can’t. That’s how I see our situation. You seem to think he can easily throw off that weight, by virtue of positive thinking. I don’t see how that is possible. Sorry, but I believe your argument is flawed. And if you are going to continue to comment here, it would be nice if you could refrain from personal attacks. We are all contributing, in our own way, according to how we perceive the world. I suspect we shall see, all too soon, whose views are correct. I wish mine were wrong.

  • Unlike Kathy, I don’t regard the term doomer as an epithet. Civilization as we know it is doomed and with it a sizable percentage of the human population, perhaps even all of it. No matter what happens afterward, that’s a regrettable outcome for us. Indications are that nonhuman life is also bound to suffer substantial losses. Being honest in saying so makes me (and many others) a doomer. This is about as big as it gets, and hiding behind some sort of euphemism strikes me as trivial.

  • John Stassek, you’re forgetting our biggest resource: the oceans. Remember the robot in Logan’s Run? “Fish, and plankton. And sea greens, and protein from the sea. It’s all here, ready. Fresh as harvest day.”

  • John, years and years ago on the original Star Trek there was a show about a strange woman who had trapped Kirk alone on a ship. She was trying to seduce him. It turned out that she came from a planet that had conquered disease but held life sacred and therefore would not use birth control. They had also solved the problem of food apparently tho I don’t remember about that. The planet was belly button to belly button people. They had sent this woman to try to sleep with Kirk so she could catch some diseases from them and reintroduce them back into the planet. Well fanciful of course but the author of the program was making several points, one pointed point at the Catholic position on birth control and another on the problem of room. Hey – I found the episode description by a google search – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mark_of_Gideon you can even follow the links and watch it 🙂

    Your .36 acres has to have rooms for houses, roads, hospitals, industry, shopping places etc subtracted from it. One of the problems China is having besides a really bad drought is more and more arable land being taken up by roads, houses and buildings.

    As we know exponential growth becomes more problematic with each doubling. So if you had a 35 year doubling, the next iteration of 100 billion would be 200 billion and .18 acres per person.

    I hope ya’ll don’t mind me linking to another David Rovics song, but he really gets it all the way, Peak Oil, Environment etc.
    So here is the song – Beyond the Mall

    Glad there are still places beyond the mall not covered by people, buildings, roads, – I know they’re are out there somewhere beyond the mall

  • cosmist.

    ive read your ideas with amusement and 100 billion is way beyond even the usual made up figure plucked from the deepest fairy tale recesses of imagination of the cornucopean. your worldview is so wrong i’d suggest starting again – from birth.

    this is my first comment here, but ive had ‘discussions’ with others like you on youtube- who think the human carrying capacity of the earth is only limited by imagination. after going into the subject at some scientific length i eventually figured out one of them just wanted extra souls for the biblical endtimes war thing between the devil and jebus! rock solid scientific reasoning then. im not saying you’re the same but one has to ponder exactly why anyone would actually want 100 billion people on earth, ….and be happy destroying the web of life doing it. you must be some party animal.

    even so, why not spread them out a bit more thinly over time. whats the hurry to cram em all on at once?

    i suppose if your fairy tale scenario was time limited, you would be concerned

  • Sarah,

    Thank you. Oh, by the way, my wife and I got a chuckle from that question you asked Librarian! She agrees with him, and wishes she
    had sent such a well thought out series of comments. Hope you didn’t feel uncomfortable about it. This forum could use a few more laughs!

    Kathy,

    I remember that episode well, as I do just about all 69 episodes.
    I have been, and shall always be, a trekie!

    I think I’m going to give up on T.C. Looks like nothing I say will
    reach him. He’s just playing games. Took me long enough to find out.

    I liked your song, and the scenery was beautiful. Thank you!

  • [The Cosmist]“Fish, and plankton. And sea greens, and protein from the sea. It’s all here, ready. Fresh as harvest day.”

    It’s all here. All ready. Fish – you mean the supply of ocean fish which require now 17 times the effort to catch as they did in 1900 because of overfishing due to the fact that there now exists 6 times less fish in the oceans than in 1900? You mean the 90% depleted supply of large predatory fish like cod and tuna?

    Plankton. You mean the 60% remaining population of plankton since 1950? The same plankton that is currently further threatened by warming seas, the same seas that are also becoming more acidic?

    Perhaps you mean those on another planet?

  • I keep in my mind trying to think of an example of when history has taught us anything to help us from making the same mistakes going forward. There must be some but I can’t think of any. All I can think of is the warnings of history ignored.

    In the rush to make forged arms the Greeks cut down more and more trees. •• Greek philosopher Plato (427 – 347 BC) compared hills and mountains of Greece to the bones of a wasted body: “All the richer and softer parts have fallen away and the mere skelton of the land remains.” http://www.radford.edu/wkovarik/envhist/1ancient.html

    Yet we are doing the same thing all over the world and surprised when we start getting massive mudslides that often bury people.

    When I went to college I was put in a special group because of my high grades in high school. We were given enriched courses – we didn’t read history text books, rather we had a full plate of history commentaries and even historical fiction. The first class the professor asked how many had had world history before. I thought it a stupid question until I saw that only my hand and one other was raised….and we were the special group. It was required in NYS, I assumed it was required everywhere.

    So first we cannot learn from history if we let the books gather dust.

    In high school I picked up a book by Gore Vidal (thanks to Nelson Rockefeller our education was a bit more liberal). The book featured a George Washington not depicted in our texts – I was delighted, I always suspected the father of our nation had feet of clay. It was later as an adult that I finally learned the truth about Columbus, who did more than sail the ocean blue.

    We cannot learn from history if the accepted history is filled with lies.

    I very recently learned from Michael Parenti that the Buddists in Tibet were running a feudal regime full of torture, and buggering of little boys. http://www.michaelparenti.org/Tibet.html

    How can we learn from history if people substitute the truths they want to hear for the unpalatable truth?

    History tells us that every civilization before us has collapsed. While there are competing theories, the fact remains that civilizations get born, live a while and die.

    How can we learn from history if we constantly assume that this time things will be different?

  • Actually I found one example of learning or being inspired by history

    “Adolf Hitler”, John Toland, Publisher: Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York 1976. “Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the wild West; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America’s extermination-by starvation and uneven combat-of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity.” Pg 702 http://www.swans.com/library/art8/pgreen04.html#13

    And lest we think we have a better society here in the US have wiped out such abuses as slavery – I listened to a news section last night about sex slavery in the US, some of it right down on K street. The rest of our slaves are overseas, out of sight out of mind.

  • John, glad to provide humor 🙂 my detective work didn’t pan out this time

  • Kathy

    Don’t overlook the slaves who work for corporations today. Today, fear of job loss can turn a person into a mindless slave for senior management – longer and longer hours for less and less money and benefits, and abject humiliation thrown in for good measure. Americans don’t really need to worry so much about a fascist state (which they have) near so much as corporate totalitarianism. Fear is an extremely effective motivator.

  • Dear Cosmic,

    Perhaps I have not made my point of view well enough.

    The hungry among us in the human community must, absolutely must be fed now here because we can do so and we are bound to care for them. But how do we begin to move toward the achievement of this goal? If we hold steadfastly to the necessity of assuring “a sustainable population in a sustainable world” for the children, how do we feed those who are hungry and starving, and simultaneously not keep ‘feeding the problem’ posed to the family of humanity by the human overpopulation of Earth?

    If the outrageous per-capita overconsumption and individual hoarding, the reckless, large-scale corporate overproduction of unnecessary stuff and resulting pollution, and the unbridled overpopulation of Earth are occurring synergistically, you are in some sort of fantasy land. Somehow the human-induced global predicament, however colossal, that all are observing and some are discussing has got to acknowledged as well as addressed and overcome as a whole. Think of the global predicament as a rope made from three colossal strands. Because overpopulation, overproduction and overconsumption activities by the human species are occurring synergistically and on such a gigantic and soon to become patently unsustainable scale, taking hold of one of the strands will not change the course of events. All three strands will have to be simultaneously grasped carefully, skillfully and humanely somehow. What appears before us is a superordinate challenge, unlike anything seen in the course of human history, I suppose.

    Sincerely,

    Steve

  • Victor, I agree we have wage slavery here and that it is dehumanizing. However it does not compare to child being forced to work in dirty unsafe places, much less childhood sexual slavery. It just doesn’t compare. Being figuratively screwed is not like being raped (sometimes before reaching puberty), over and over again. Or like the terrible agony of being sold into that slavery by your own parents.

    http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/National_News_2/article_6628.shtml

    “The tragic case of five-year-old Shaniya Davis, whose funeral was paid for by pro basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, brought focus to the problems of sexual selling and children.
    Her mother, Antionette Davis, is charged with human trafficking and child abuse involving prostitution. Mario McNeill is charged with murder, rape and kidnapping. The mother, who has a history of drug abuse, allegedly sold the little girl for a sexual encounter. Some 2,000 people attended the Nov. 22 funeral and the young victim’s body was found in early November beside a rural road in North Carolina.”

  • Jan & Terry, in case neither of you notice the question back at the Extinction Event essay, I wanted to ask it here too.
    So is it that, Terry you referenced a comment at Martenson’s site not realizing that it was Jan’s?

  • Kathy, hell on earth … just gives me a sick feeling

  • sarah, yes, my reference to jan’s comment was made not knowing whose it was.

    one of the best ‘gifts’ i’ve acquired from reading and participating in this blog is a much sharper awareness of the relationship between ‘elites’ and their myopic greed and the rest of us ‘sheeple’, as has been pointed out so well by robin datta and his link to a video on ‘human livestock’. it pretty well explains a great deal regarding why there are laws prohibiting things such as consensual sex and the use of certain ‘drugs’, as well as why public schools indoctrinate rather than foster critical, independent thought. to ‘elites’ and their proxy governmental institutions, we’re property. we’re to be exploited, just like any other ‘natural resource’, and anything which might interfere with this goal is ruthlessly suppressed.

    along this vein, i have a few bitter observations re. some of our happier, socially well adjusted contributors, specifically ed and dr. house. in a way i’m envious, but otoh, contemptuous. what do u find wonderful and ‘playful’ in sheeple, dr. house? to me, we’re indoctrinated from birth to be anything but ‘playful’, for play interferes with work/production, can interfere with elites’ goal of manipulating our every thought and action? to the extent we may be allowed ‘play’, it’s only for the purpose of a little spiritual renewal so we may be even more ‘productive’ when work resumes. and ed, u say poor people are mostly good? how can sheeple who are so easily manipulated/deceived into supporting insane ecocidal elite agendas be considered good? sheeple are indoctrinated to love their own enslavement, and to hate/attack those who dare step out of line and criticize the status quo.

    then there’s the matter of what i view as a couple of ‘red herring’ issues that some otherwise extremely well informed and rational contributors appear to have an attachment to, such as kathy’s repeated references to ‘sexual slavery’, as if this is a huge/very common phenomenon. i’ve been around a bit, paid my share of prostitutes when able and willing to do so, and i’ve never once encountered any ‘sex worker’ who was being coerced (beyond the surreality that all workers are in a sense ‘coerced’ to work for financial gain). imo, the much greater problem deals with elites’ fondness for promoting puritanical repression and thereby making sex very difficult to obtain or even pursue. if not for this pervasive repression, perhaps the red herring/ much exaggerated problem of ‘sexual slavery’ would be moot, for who needs or wants a slave, when one could have a willing partner in a free society?

    finally (for now), there’s victor’s red herring of ‘eugenics’ when the subject of the need for some type of effective birth/population control is breached. what may appear to be ‘eugenics’ may actually simply address the surreality that it’s overwhelmingly the poor and uneducated who breed the most (which serves elite’s agenda for having an ample supply of cheap labor for industry, and cannon fodder for war). since poverty and ignorance/illiteracy tend to be concentrated in certain classes/’races’, this inflammatory charge of birth control being about eugenics has been made for as long as the subject has existed, much to the chagrin and detriment of advocates of rational population control. isn’t it time to put this fish to sleep?

  • Whoa — the virgin terry tells us his name is a lie: “i’ve been around a bit, paid my share of prostitutes” … oh, never mind, he was probably paying for conversation 🙂

  • Terry, that seems to me a wild coincidence … following a blog and posting comments is new for me, maybe this kind of synchronicity is somewhat common.

  • Terry – numbers for trafficking range from 500,000 to 4 million worldwide

    http://www.unescobkk.org/fileadmin/user_upload/culture/Trafficking/project/Graph_Worldwide_Sept_2004.pdf

    Human trafficking is the illegal trade in human beings for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor, a modern-day form of slavery. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking

    I am not talking about prostitution. After the mess which we help create in Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe there was an increase in trafficking from that area. For some women, they may have chosen prostitution but for others they were lured by offers of jobs and then entrapped in forced prostitution. In Mexico children are nabbed off the streets and sold in the US – boys and girls.

    “Moldova
    In poverty-stricken Moldova, where the unemployment rate for women ranges as high as 68% and one-third of the workforce live and work abroad, experts estimate that since the dissolution of the Soviet Union between 200,000 and 400,000 women have been sold into prostitution abroad—perhaps up to 10% of the female population.[103][104]” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking#Moldova

    “In Mexico, human trafficking is a $15 billion to $20 billion a year endeavor, second only to drug trafficking. Thousands of immigrants from Central and South America, crossing the country to arrive in the U.S., are robbed, beaten, and killed in Mexico.[53] Women and children are also captured, forced into prostitution, and killed. According to US State Department estimates, more than 20,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year—mainly destined for the sex trade.[54] In the impoverished southern state of Chiapas, children are sold for as little as 100 to 200 dollars, according to human rights groups. That area is considered one of the worst places in the world in terms of child prostitution.[55]
    Young female migrants recounted being robbed, beaten, and raped by members of criminal gangs and then forced to work in table dance bars or as prostitutes under threat of further harm to them or their families.[56]”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking#Mexico

    A few prostitutes chose their life. That is their business and the business of their clients. Many others have no other way of making money and choose this as adults. That is reprehensible that anyone should have to choose this. But for even a single child to be sold or kidnapped into sex slavery is evil. I don’t mind anyone paying for the services of an adult who choses freely to be a prostitute. But paying for the services of 10 year old boys and girls was a whole different matter entirely.

    This is not a red herring. This is a reality of our world and civilization seems to promote rather than curb such abuses of the defenseless.

  • of course it was for conversation, guy! would the virgin terry ever lie or break a sacred covenant of the establishment???!!!

    i’m quite new to blogging too, sarah, but this ‘coincidence’ isn’t such a big deal, i think. there aren’t, sad to say, many blogs of this quality around. participants here, with few exceptions, share much in knowledge and perception. naturally our paths will cross occasionally on the relatively few other blogs which share much of the same spirit/awareness found here.

    kathy, i’ll email u.

  • changed my mind. here’s a reply for ‘all’ to see.

    i must admit i glanced rather briefly at the pdf download link u supplied in support of this assertion:

    ‘numbers for trafficking range from 500,000 to 4 million worldwide’

    first, this pdf was extremely short on information. from the graph presnted, it’s plain to see that the sources of these figures are all from elite establishment institutions. i find it surreal that even u apparently are susceptible to occasionally being fooled by their diabolical propaganda games. if this is the best support u can come up with in support of your numerical assertion above, i’m astonished by it. i don’t believe it.

    if even one child is sold into sexual slavery, it’s too many, and i don’t doubt such a practice exists. but i suspect these numbers are way exaggerated, part of established practice of making human sexuality appear to be inherently and commonly depraved/ugly by exaggerating and emphasizing all the most sensationally egregious behavior and repressing everything about it that’s appealing. i think this is an essential part of elite control/manipulation. something as powerful as eros cannot be allowed to flourish. it must be continually poisoned by propaganda/deceit designed to disgust, offend, and foster paranoia. even more than ‘drugs’, sex is demonized and vigorously prohibited outside of artificially restrictive dogmatic parameters.

    ‘That is reprehensible that anyone should have to choose this (prostitution)’ -k

    i guess it depends on one’s point of view. your point of view assumes that exchanging sex for anything other than what, romantic love?!, is inherently degrading and disgusting. it also seems to ignore the surreality that heterosexual women are attracted to male resources/wealth, and that this is often a deciding factor in mate selection. well, at least it’s a critical factor. in my experience heterosexual women, whether ‘pros’ or ‘amateurs’, expect to gain more than pleasure from sex partners. one way or another, they expect to be paid/honored/rewarded. so it seems to me your objection is based in puritanical intolerance of prostitution.

    ‘I am not talking about prostitution.’ -k

    u are talking about forced prostitution. it’s prostitution. u’re not talking about sweatshop child labor exploitation. i suspect this is a much bigger problem in terms of numbers.

    no doubt sexual slavery traumatizes for life, but i suspect (again, in terms of numbers) that something like it’s opposite, slavery to puritanical neurosis/inhibition (and the very surreal fear of official punishment and unofficial stigmatization for sexual liberation) is the source of much more lifelong trauma. i’ve read that there’s an inverse relationship between sexual freedom and sexual abuse. if u wish to minimize abuse, try promoting freedom.

  • Bullshit Terry, pure bullshit. You think this is somehow about sexual liberation. It is about poverty on the one hand and power on the other.

    Sexual freedom means the freedom to decide who you will have sex with, without being forced or compelled by poverty. Trafficking allows no sexual freedom. TPTB love their power more than anything and forcing a child is a thrill for them. Thus I would expect that in the halls of the powerful a strong push is put on those compiling the numbers to keep them smaller rather than larger.

    Force is the operative word. I don’t care if it is forced sex, forced work, forced bowing or scraping, if a person cannot be free to choose their own work, who to give their body to and cannot stand tall and look any other person in the eye they are not free.

    I have also mentioned from time to time torture, dismemberment, forced soldiering, famine, starving babies in Haiti etc. The fact that you take issue with this one issue I raise out of many I raise about the state of humanity in this world we live in says more about you than me.

  • enchantment and the puritanical police state

    something very striking (and in retrospect obvious… have i never surreally thought of it before?) occurred to me last evening as i was taking a stroll outside after imbibing some taboo sacrament (cannabis). near peak high, on a moonlit road glistening in places from moisture/ice, i was overcome by the beauty and mystery of this vision. something about the subtlety of it greatly intrigued me. this happens basically every time i get high in this manner. ‘ordinary’ phenomenon suddenly are perceived in a different light, beauty and mystery are revealed, and the ‘ordinary’ becomes extraordinary. it’s surreally quite remarkable, which is why i just remarked upon it.

    i don’t know why or how this happens. it’s like a divine gift, so i consider it sacramental, or sacred. i’ve been taking one or 2 ‘hits’ just about every evening (and almost always only that one time throughout the day) for over a decade, since i discovered how well cannabis helps me get a good night’s sleep (otherwise, i suffer from frequent insomnia, and it’s debilitating effects). i find it quite remarkable once again that this special plant has the ability to work so consistently well over the long haul. it never gets ‘old’, loses it’s magic, it’s ability to awaken wonder and beauty. it’s simply enchanting in how it delivers enchantment without fail, daily.

    when i become thus enchanted, i wish to experience the world more fully and freely, and am inclined to try. that’s problematic. in my/our civilized culture, enchantment is only for young children, at least in public places. try being an adult and going for a walk along a public street/road (virtually the only place one can go for a walk in most places with private property and laws against ‘trespassing’) and stopping someplace along the way to momentarily and sometimes at length perceive the wonder and beauty of nature, to become immersed in it, allow the fullest effect of enchantment possible. it’s not easy to do. sheeple go by in cars and wonder what the hell u’re up to. they think your disturbingly odd, perhaps. i’ve had someone stop and ask my name and business being there. many sheeple it seems are trained to view just about any unusual behavior with suspicion and hostility. sheeple don’t like it when one stops exhibiting sheeple-like behavior, ‘normal’ behavior, the behavior of empire, where adults are expected to be too busy or ‘mature’ to make time in the day for enchantment. or maybe it’s just the public aspect of it that bothers them. whatever.

    there’s perhaps one other thing which compares in my experience, and that’s sexual/erotic engagement with a very attractive and willing partner. visually and sensually enchanting. very remarkable. very therapeutic too, like cannabis.

    i’ve always found it difficult to the point of impossible to find/obtain suitable willing erotic partners. i’m not surreally sure why this is, and to try to delve into that question is well beyond the scope of this post. suffice to say i’m very socially awkward and now very alienated, and probably (obviously) not very attractive, so virtually all my efforts to connect in this way are d.o.a. (dead on arrival). it’s extremely frustrating.

    many years ago, i discovered one way that did work reliably, and that was soliciting prostitution provided i was in a place and circumstance where such a thing was possible. given prostitution’s global prohibition and global social stigma, which greatly restricts it’s availability and affordability, that hasn’t been near as often as i’d like.

    prostitution exists in many forms, and of course prostitutes are all unique. depending on the circumstance, it can be totally unappealing, or the opposite. the worst, unappealing type i’ve experienced has been with streetwalkers in large american cities. the best was across the border in mexico, in some little bars in nuevo laredo, both inside and outside the officially tolerated ‘red light’ district. the best was probably a young mother i met in a downtown bar outside the zone. very wholesome and petite, very at ease with me from the start, very relaxed, compliant, and responsive in private. very much a ‘girlfriend experience’, as it’s called when the experience becomes surreally intimate, from the paying male customer’s perspective.

    this young mother had much native blood from her looks. very down to earth and relaxed about sex. i found mexican women/prostitutes in general to have a much better disposition towards ‘casual’ sex. i suspect it’s from their third world mexican cultural background. i think america, with it’s powerful puritanical streak, makes casual sex and prostitution too stigmatized for most american women to not be very uptight.

    anyway, this mexican mother many times accompanied me from the bar she frequented to a nearby room i’d rented for the night, where she would give me an enchanting and therapeutic experience. i gladly paid her an amount she would have to work nearly a week in a factory to make, for one quality hour of her time. i was happy, she was happy. if she hated anything we did, i never detected it, and i think i would have detected it if she had. i made it a point to practice good hygeine and to be considerate and gentle with her. i surreally believe she felt safe with me, and was able to relax and feel pleasure too. in no way, shape, or form do i believe anyone was being exploited or disrespected in this relationship. quite the contrary.

    it’s surreally too bad that so many people-sheeple only see prostitution in negative terms, and that establishments around the world uniformly condemn and prohibit it, punishing and humiliating prostitute and customer alike. same with ‘drugs’. surreally, it seems like the whole civilized world’s a puritanical police state at war with anything associated with adult enchantment, or at least the things which create enchantment for this adult.

    so go ahead and tell me i’m full of shit, kathy. i only seek enchantment, understanding, compassion, and tolerance. given that all these are so often denied/withheld, i don’t mind so much the prospects of civilization’s demise and human extinction.