To make our mere existence an act of rebellion

by John Duffy

At dawn, the temperature inside my tent began to steadily rise. After forty-eight hours on virtually no sleep, twelve of which were spent trudging through the hundred plus degree Texas afternoon, brambles snagging at my legs while mosquitos feasted on every drop of my simmering blood, even this sweltering tent has been a welcome respite. Lumpy ground and all. Clambering out into the morning, I look down to the pond where under the cover of last night’s darkness bats swooped and glided across the murky shimmer, expertly snaring their dinner. I quickly remember the howl of the coyotes that had filled the evening. It must have been a whole pack of them, I think to myself, recalling the density of sound that had filled the darkness and surrounded me with its primacy; its mystery.

People were already gathering under the meeting tent, eating oatmeal and waiting for the morning briefing. Most are from some region of Texas, others from Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky. There is an excitement permeating the inescapable discomfort. How often are activists granted such access? The morning briefing is led by an organizer with a straw cowboy hat, and he informs us that in West Virginia, hundreds have marched on a strip mine. Ultimately, fifty crossed the boundary line, and twenty were arrested. It wouldn’t be until I returned to Austin that I learned one of the people who locked themselves to the heavy machinery is a good friend. It would be another day still until I was made aware that his bail was set at twenty-five thousand dollars. The government is escalating its war against activists, as the fossil fuel industry escalates its war against life. I wonder when activists will escalate their tactics. When will they see that they need a new playbook? As glad as I am to be in a camp of fifty or so people gearing up to halt the construction of a pipeline that will transport tar-sand derived bitumen from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, I cannot help but remember that we are losing. We have not been able to even slow the rate at which the planet is being killed, yet many want to only focus on our meager successes. Temporary battles won, stays of execution hard earned before the inevitable defeat at the hands of the machine of the dominant culture.

When will we stop asking nicely? What are we willing to sacrifice for an actual win?

Maybe it’s too late. Maybe the critical tipping points have already been reached and breached. Maybe all that methane now spewing up from beneath the Arctic really is the nail in the coffin that some proclaim it is. I guess I don’t really give a damn. It’s always easier to find a reason not to act than it is to act. If I am going to commit to this project, I have to steel myself against the inevitable criticisms that will barrel down upon us like a dust storm. I guess I’m just too damn tired of all the talk. That’s why I’m covered in a glaze of red clay, powder turned to paste as it met the layer of sweat I have worn all weekend. There is value in standing up, in fighting back against the insatiable bully. There is value in rebellion, in allowing the actions of the body to align with the nag of the conscience and the howl of the soul.

As the day draws on, I find myself standing with the property owners, sketching maps in the dirt. I drop my usual pretense and ask point blank how badly this family wants to protect their land. They are steadfast in their answers. There isn’t a hint of hesitation when I make specific suggestions as to how to fortify their boundaries. My chest tugs when I look into the eyes of the woman who made this land her home so many decades ago. I feel my agency drain from me. Choice is no longer a factor. Only duty remains. I am bound to this woman and hope she feels it when I hug her, promising my return, promising that I will do everything I can to help her win this fight.

On the drive back to Austin, the core of this conflict resonates, and all of us packed into the tiny car can feel its vibrations in our bones. The blue and red map no longer applies. It never was but a construct, propaganda disseminated as pompous fact in an effort to divide a people. This fight is about home. Not just the home of one family, bullied into submission by a foreign corporation who brandishes threats of eminent domain, but of all families. Human, bat, coyote, catfish, mosquito, sassafras, poison ivy. We have no place else. Here we were made, and here we shall remain. We aren’t asking nicely anymore.


John Duffy is an activist based out of Austin, Texas. He is currently working to blockade the construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL tar-sand pipeline. If you would like to find out more about how you can support this effort, he can be contacted at

Comments 79

  • Do you go down or do you move on?

  • Hey John – atta way!
    i often wondered why it always comes down to violence in some form or another when people are at loggerheads with the ongoing destruction of the planet. i’m all for Ghandi and Martin Luther King in non-violence and realize that the powers that be actually WANT you to be violent, because they know how to overcome it and have the resources to annihilate you and your cohorts and just need an excuse to do it. But it seems non-violence takes time to be effective and we’re all out of time. i don’t know what to tell you – it seems you’re doomed to fail either way (ie. they have “the law” on their side – rigged as it may be, and the firepower to enforce their actions – be it police to arrest and evict you and the former owner of the property they’re confiscating through eminent domain or the swat team to gun you all down in a Battle at Wounded Knee last stand). i feel your frustration – we’re going through the same here in PA with the natural gas bastards ruining watersheds and lives in their quest for profit, fighting them with community awareness and activism while they bribe our governor and state legislators with campaign contributions to get what they want “legally.”

    i know that the Occupy movement has been infiltrated by agents provacateur in order to discredit them and many of them are on FBI watch lists now – for exercising their (former) First Amendment right (“privilege” – as George Carlin puts it). It’s sickening watching our nation go down the fascism trail to protect the banksters and Wall Street, the energy and health care (as if) systems by spying on us and disregarding the Constitution. Eventually we may all have to stand together against them in a show of solidarity (where nobody goes to work or school and we shut down the whole culture), but i think the collapse will happen before that comes to pass. We’re doomed either way – financially or environmentally (and probably BOTH together will be what happens), so do what you think is right – even if it’s to go all Alamo on their ass.

    There are no easy or simple solutions.

  • The doomed Beast will use all its power desperately trying to slake its unquenchable thirst, destroying all that is the very basis of its sustenance. 

  • Thanks John for what you do.

  • It is good to read that there are some physical struggles going on against that which destroy’s us all.

    *We have no place else*

    It made me have a lump in my throat actually.

  • John, Thank you.
    Record early snow melt in the Austrian Alps
    One of the longest meteorological data records at high altitude comes from Sonnblick, Austria, on a mountaintop in the Alps with an elevation of 3106 meters (10,200 feet.) The observatory typically sees maximum snow depths of 3 – 4 meters (10 – 13 feet) during winter. According to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, the snow had never completely melted at Sonnblick until the summer of 1992. Complete snow melt did not happen again until August 12, 2003, and has happened an average of once every two years since then–but always in September. Yesterday, on July 31, the snow completely melted at Sonnblick, the earliest melting since record keeping began in 1886. It’s been an exceptionally hot summer in Austria, which experienced its 6th warmest June since record keeping began in 1767. Sonnblick Observatory recorded its all-time warmest temperature of 15.3°C (60°F) on June 30. Vienna hit 37.7°C (100°F) that day–the hottest temperature ever measured in June in Austria. Note that the two mountains in the Alps with long climate records, Saentis in Switzerland and Zugspitze in Germany, beat their records for earliest melting last year in 2011 (Saentis beat the previous record of 2003, and Zugspitze tied the record set in 2003.)

  • Amen! I’m slowly moving up the latter of rebellion. Of course not as extreme as I should be, but it’s something:

    I’ve gotten rid of much of my useless things. I’ve left myself with my computer, a bed, cloths, books, music and some sporting goods (I’d still like to play sports as long as I can). Now if I can finally find someone to buy this damn heavy metal box on wheels I was fooled into thinking I needed!

    Anyone interested? : )

  • The number of fat asses in this country should shortly start diminishing.

    New USDA numbers today:

  • Not only is the amount and quality of corn down but the mycotoxins are up. Last year they were up due to wet conditions so I thought that at least this wouldn’t be a problem this year. Not so.
    The drought of 2012 has the potential to increase mycotoxin risks, particularly aflatoxin concentration in this year’s corn crop. Conditions favorable for aflatoxin production include drought stress during corn silking stage and nighttime temperatures greater than 70 degrees F.

    I remember from last year that ethanol plants were not taking corn with high mycotoxin counts. Why would that be a problem in ethanol? Its not, but to be profitable the left overs called DDGS (Distiller’s Dried Grains with Solubles) have to be sold as animal fodder. The process actually concentrates the mycotoxins in the DDGS so they are 3 times higher than in the corn itself. However lots of ethanol plants are shutting down anyway (meaning that farmers that have been using DDGS have to change their feed). But that still leaves contaminated corn to feed to animals and humans. As I learned from my friend who knows about this one way to deal with this is to mix contaminated corn with uncontaminated corn so the whole mix is below the limits allowed. However last year the problem was finding enough uncontaminated corn to mix with the contaminated corn.

    Some farmers last year thought that the newer GM corns were more susceptible to mycotoxins but of course the seed companies say they are less vulnerable.

    Google mycotoxin if you want to learn more. Of course the FDA monitors mycotoxins in our food so nothing for us humans to worry about. Of concern for the hog industry is one called DON or vomitoxin. Guess what it does – reduction of feed and vomiting.

  • Morocco Bama:

    No, the plan should be to treat all of the cranial rectal inversions.

  • Sounds like a call to some monkey-wrenching, John Duffy. Good luck.

    Morocco Bama, I always liked that version, too, and I’ve been a Tears for Fears fan since Back in the Day. :-)

    Curtis H., thank you for that link. I haven’t visited Countercurrents much lately (or NBL, for that matter). But the article only echoes what other, more “mainstream” sources have been saying about the drought and crop prices.

    I took a job a couple months ago as assistant manager at the new Tractor Supply store in our town. It’s been quite a learning experience. This week we had a lot of price changes, mainly on feed. All the deer corn, which locals use to establish feeding patterns for the whitetail deer population in advance of hunting season, have gone up around fifty cents per fifty-pound bag in the past week. So, too, has chicken feed, including the Purina Layena pellets so popular with local backyard flock owners.

    I’ve been astonished at the number of locals who own horses, and even more astonished at the number of horse owners trying to give their horses away. I have one guy who has a little less than a dozen miniature horses, and has been trying to give me one since he found out I have an acre of land. People can’t afford to feed them, or just generally care for them, any more.

    I’ve also noticed subtle changes in dog food, although dog food companies take a different approach than the livestock feed producers. Price per bag doesn’t change, but bag sizes are shrinking. This week, our bags of Purina Puppy Chow went from 36 pounds to 32 pounds, with no price change.

    I don’t know how much longer this charade called Industrial Civilization can continue. The miracle, I think, is that it hasn’t completely imploded yet.

  • Weather is short-term. Climate is long-term. Climate tends to be coordinated globally – warm climates, cold climates, etc. How about coordinated global weather? Hotter everywhere “this year” – just “this year”?

  • I’ve been astonished at the number of locals who own horses, and even more astonished at the number of horse owners trying to give their horses away.

    Those are hosses fer entertainment and as petz. When “happy motoring” (à la Herr James Howard Kunstler) approaches its conclusion the hosses will have to work fer a livin’ and could command a premium on the market. And in an alternative future, they could also command a premium as steaks and burgers.

    In the coming contraction, as the bumper sticker from a bygone era said “Gas, grass or ass: nobody rides for free”.

  • “Here we were made, and here we shall remain.” Let’s modify that to, “Here we were made, and here our remains shall remain.” Stick a fork in us, we are done.

    Derrick Jensen, years ago, asked (in paraphrase) “If you come home to find a rapist/murderer attacking your family, what do you do? If you come home and find a rapist/murdered killing your planet, what do you do?”

    This rebellion is already lost, folks, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be fought. And not with petitions and sit ins.

  • 1st Fridays are now global FREE DAYS for escalating protests, teach-ins, sit-ins, canvassing door to door to spread the Resistance Movement, boycotts, pickets, pranks, street theater, sing-outs, public revolutionary art creating, and work slow-downs (or incognito frack-ups) for those who can’t afford to strike against any for-profit corporation that works against the interest for over $5 million per year.
    That’s how to end corporate rule before it ends us all. Demands?
    For some, an end to fracking, tar sands and the Keystone pipeline. For others, no nukes, or GMO’s, or stupid smeters. For many, stop foreclosures, forgive student loans, extend jobless benefits, universal healthcare. Civil rights-yes! No police state! For all, SURVIVAL, which means we keep it up even when some demands are met, in solidarity for survival of our and other species, until it’s every Friday, and growing, and we bring the 1% to their knees.

  • I’m not unaware of the problems with the Tar Sands process,however, is there a separate problem with the pipeline, apart from it being a pipeline?

  • Morrocco Bama

    Brilliant sleuthing, and a la Robbin Datta fantastic cuopy and paste.
    I especially like the word,’diremption’. A ripping apart, a forceful surrender. I will definitly add that one to my personal lexicon.

    Regarding the cocoon you quoted, TPTB want to start eavesdropping with much more impunity now that the heat is on.

    ‘Australia wants to increase internet surveillance’;

    and,from 2 years ago…
    ‘Govt wants ISPs to record browsing history’;

    “Companies who provide customers with a connection to the internet could soon see themselves having to retain subscriber’s private web browsing history for law enforcement to examine when requested, a move which has been widely criticised by industry insiders.”

    “Another industry source said Australians should “be very f***ing afraid”.

    They said the regime being considered by the Australian Government could see data held for much longer than EU Directive time of 24 months — it would be more like five or ten years.

    “They seem quite intent [on implementing the regime] and they keep throwing up the words ‘terrorism’ and ‘paedophiles’,” the source said. “We’re talking browsing history and emails, way beyond what I would consider to be normal SMS, retaining full browsing history and everything.””

    The squeeze is on…

  • Guy
    If you get yourself labelled a Terrorist we are all in some trouble.

  • Morocco Bama

    A worthy quote from your last link from ‘Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered’, by E. F. Schumacher, from 1973:

    ‘The fundamental principle of agriculture is that it deals with life, that is to say, with living substance. Its products are the results of processes of life and its means of production is the living soil. A cubic centimeter of fertile soil contains billions of living organisms, the full exploration of which is far beyond the capacities of man. The fundamental principle of modern industry, on the other hand, is that it deals with man-devised processes which work reliably only when applied to man-devised non-living materials. The ideal of industry is the elimination of living substances. Man-made materials are preferable to natural materials because we can make them to measure and apply perfect quality control. The ideal of industry is to eliminate the living factor, even including the human factor, and to turn productive forces over to machines. In other words, there can be no doubt that the fundamental principle of agriculture and of industry, far from being compatible with each other, are in opposition.’ p?

    …and from the book itself, so clear, even from 39 years ago:

    “Above anything else there is need for a proper philosophy of work which
    understands work not as that which it has indeed become, an inhuman chore as soon as possible to be abolished by automation, but as something ‘decreed by Providence for the good of man’s body and soul’. Next to the family, it is work and the relationships established by work that are the true foundations of society. If the foundations are unsound, how could society be sound? And if society is sick, how could it fail to be a danger to peace?
    ‘War is a judgment,’ said Dorothy I,. Sayers, ‘that overtakes societies when they have been living upon ideas that conflict too violently with the laws governing the universe., Never think that wars are irrational catastrophes: they happen when wrong ways of thinking and living bring about intolerable situations. ‘Economically, our wrong living consists primarily in systematically cultivating greed and envy and thus building up a vast array of totally unwarrantable wants. It is the sin of greed that has delivered us over into the power of the machine. If greed were not the master of modern man – ably assisted by envy – how could it be that the frenzy of economism does not abate as higher ‘standards of living’ are attained, and that it is precisely the richest societies which pursue their economic advantage with the greatest ruthlessness? How could we explain the almost universal refusal on the part of the rulers of the rich societies – whether organised along private enterprise or collectivist enterprise lines – to work towards the humanisation of work? It is only necessary to assert that something would reduce the ‘standard of living’, and every debate is instantly closed. That soul-destroying, meaningless, mechanical, monotonous, moronic work is an insult to human nature which must necessarily and inevitably produce either escapism or aggression, and that no amount of ‘bread and circuses’ can compensate for the damage done – these are facts which are neither denied nor acknowledged but are met with an unbreakable conspiracy of silence – because to deny them would be too obviously absurd and to acknowledge them would condemn the central preoccupation of modern society as a crime against humanity. The neglect, indeed the rejection, of wisdom has gone so far that most of our intellectuals have not even the faintest idea what the term could mean.” p21

    Notwithstanding some linguistic older world views bleeding through … Amen brother.

  • I can’t help but put up this last one from the same book;

    “Fossil fuels are merely a part of the ‘natural capital’ which we steadfastly insist on treating as expendable, as if it were income, and by no means the most’ important part. If we squander our fossil fuels, we threaten civilisation; but if we squander the capital represented by living nature around us, we threaten life itself.” p5

  • Cold Evil indeed

  • Dear Guy, Perhaps you would kindly devote one blog, just one, to sensibly “tracking” the extant scientific research on human population dynamics. A great deal of preternatural theory (eg, Demographic Transition Theory), politically convenient ideology (eg, Liberalism and Conservatism) and economically expedient theology (eg, Neoclassical Economics) falsely claim to have the sufficient support of science. Let us set aside these widely shared and generally accepted pseudoscientific branches of thought for a moment so that the best available scientific research of human population dynamics can be rigorously examined and meaningfully discussed. Thank you, Steve

  • sensibly “tracking” the extant scientific research on human population dynamics.

    How tight is the link between oil, food and population?

    The linkage is this tight!

  • For those unacquainted with the NBL community/choir (“sandbox”, if one so prefers) a quick and dirty primer on “human population dynamics” (an euphemism for “why are there are so damn too many of us?) is on Bodhi Paul Cherfurka’s site:

    Population: The Elephant in the Room

    A rather detailed discussion abundantly illuminated by simple, clear graphs leads to the question:

    “Given the assumptions about birth and death rates listed above, how will human population numbers evolve to get from our current population of 6.6 billion to a sustainable population of 1 billion in 75 years?”

    After more discussion, en route to the conclusions, we are informed:

    Based on this model we would experience an average excess death rate of 100 million per year every year for the next 75 years to achieve our target population of one billion by 2082. The peak excess death rate would happen in about 20 years, and would be about 200 million that year. To put this in perspective, WWII caused an excess death rate of only 10 million per year for only six years.

    Bodhi Paul Cherfurka gives a final population (after the dieback) of one billion. Others postulate a population of 40 million – less than a half of one percent of the one billion figure. 

    For those unacquainted with NBL, let it be noted that many of us, including our host, have seriously considered a figure of ZERO for earth’s human population within one human generation

    A forum like this, that posits an approaching era of an earth populated exclusively by extremophiles, will be a tough slog for someone preaching more benign “human population dynamics”. 

  • John Duffy, I admire your willingness to get out there and risk your freedom for the cause, but I’m not convinced it really makes any difference. Based on your essay, I’m not sure you think it helps a lot either. But, as you say, “I guess I’m just too damn tired of all the talk”.

    Josh and I just came back from eating a bite of lunch at a fast food joint. It’s only a few miles away from the office but it took a long time to get there as we passed through several construction projects on the freeway, adding more lanes, etc. Across from the restaurant, they were busy building a new office complex. Everywhere you turn in our little city, they are building new buildings, opening new stores, pushing down more trees, paving over more pastures, all so people like Josh and me can go grab a burger at lunch – quickly.

    Our action – or inaction – doesn’t really matter. The system is unsustainable. It’s not obvious on the surface, at least not here in our neck of the woods, but collapse is already underway. The current drought may be the black swan that many have predicted. Or maybe it will be the “fiscal cliff” the talking heads are all crying about. Perhaps the Eurozone will be our undoing. We’ll see about those, I guess, but there can be no doubt that climate change is going to finish us off – apparently sooner, rather than later.

  • If our host’s fears come true, the Global Warming/Climate Change movement will go extinct – along with Homo sapiens.

  • Bargaining helps when you’re stressed:
    It’s creative, and keeps you obsessed;
    It won’t change where we’re at,
    But other that that,
    It diverts you from feeling depressed.

  • “Derrick Jensen, years ago, asked (in paraphrase) “If you come home to find a rapist/murderer attacking your family, what do you do? If you come home and find a rapist/murdered killing your planet, what do you do?”

    Every day rapists are buying and using sex slaves. Why doesn’t that analogy apply to stopping sex slavery, particularly of children. If you wouldn’t let a rapist take your family as sex slaves shouldn’t you stop this action around the world – join

    There are endless things that can be done to relieve the pain of people and other living creatures on the planet. There is nothing that can be done by the few aware people to stop global warming, nor is moralizing and casting blame on others for not taking action going to add more than a few to those who want to do something. If anyone feels like taking a direct action because that makes them feel better I think they should. But others are better staying out of trouble and being there for others as we spiral down into our future.

    Dr. House for instance is a valuable asset to his community even after he can no longer get antibiotics etc. He can still set a broken leg, stitch a wound, deliver a baby. Should he get arrested and have to close his practice to show he cares about the planet.

    We all know that regardless of who wins that pipeline is going to be approved. (Barring the fortuitous collapse of the industrial civilization) Getting arrested protesting it might feel noble and make one feel like the have put a monkey wrench in the works, but the planets fate is set.

    However there will be plenty of opportunities for moral actions as this civilization winds down. One can share stored food even if it means running out sooner, put your body between that of a rapist and a child he wants to rape (when civil order breaks down this will be a frequent opportunity for heroism), take a bullet for a friend.

  • A truly insightful post by Kurt Cobb to his blog Resource Insights:

    Our current infrastructure was built for a different planet

  • My first planting of green beans did not adapt. The yield was zero. My tomatoes are struggling. Broccoli never flowered.
    At least the assholes will starve also.

  • Curtis – I have better luck gardening by planting most things earlier and later than generally recommended. But last fall I obsessed over carrots, kale, etc I planted in August, only to have everything plowed up nightly by a family of armadillos.

  • “In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, while thousands fled New Orleans, the city’s prisoners were trapped. Fresh eye-witness accounts reveal what really happened to those left behind, and how crucial forensic evidence was simply washed away. In September 2005, long after most people had fled a devastated city, inmates of Orleans Parish Prison – many of them shackled – were still waiting to be rescued from the blazing heat and the stinking floods.
    “They basically abandoned the prison,” says Vincent Norman, a chef arrested for an unpaid fine who found himself locked in a cell for days. Norman should have been there no more than a week. Instead, abandoned without food, drink or sanitation as the waters rose, he was in prison for 103 days.
    In the days before the hurricane, when other citizens of New Orleans were ordered to leave, city leaders were asked: “What about the prisoners in the jail?” “The prisoners will stay where they belong,” replied Marlin Gusman, the criminal sheriff in charge of the city jail. But it was a gamble he would regret.”

    Anyone in prison or jail when the grid finally fails for good will stay there and starve or be shot by the guards as they abandon their posts to go home. They will die a lonely death not being able to provide assistance or comfort to loved ones. Nor will they be able to say goodbye.

  • For over 20 years people I know have gone to Columbus GA to protest the School of the Americas, a good cause for the school taught the men sent by dictators to go home and torture and terrorize their people. Many of the demonstrators have done actions that landed them in jail.

    What has been achieved by this persistent and ever growing annual demonstration? Activists have made new friends and enjoyed seeing them again each year. They have felt virtuous about their actions, especially those serving jail time. Columbus GA has come to welcome the annual influx as it brings business to their restaurants and hotels. The School of the Americas has changed its name to The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation but there is no indication that it has ever stopped its mission of training terrorists and to whatever degree it may have stopped it has no doubt transferred that to other bases.

    Yet somehow we are supposed to stop industrial civilization in its tracks when the majority of the people on the planet WANT the goods and services that industrial civilization provides?

  • Kathy C

    You write:

    ‘Yet somehow we are supposed to stop industrial civilization in its tracks when the majority of the people on the planet WANT the goods and services that industrial civilization provides?’

    With respectI disagree.
    I think this WANT as you put it of the materials of existance is only in the front of peoples minds generally. Given enough of a stimulus to the consciousness, and not shock tactics to instill fear, but son sensible arguments and facts, many people will let go of the adolescent illusions of neverending having and getting. It may not be so for some of the die hards of comfort consumerism and self centredness. I agree that many will resist the change very heartily, but many are sick and tired of the dead cat that is now beginning to stink.What actually convinces people to ditch consumerism, along with the said sensible argumnts and faacts, is meeting people who know the realities and have been living ,dare I say, sustainably in some fashion for a while. Testamony works, as I blogged walking the walk works.

  • Morocco Bama

    You write:

    ‘I half-jokingly told my children that if there were an involuntary population reduction plan that ultimately goes into effect that is created and implemented by Humans, then people like that should be high up on the list of those who should go.’

    I think this is a bit harsh.
    Have you ever heard of the old world saying:

    “There but for the grace of God go a I”

    Obese people in SUV’s are just as much a test of our compassion as starving beggars in a slum. Neither is properly nourished.
    I agree it is difficult to feel compassion for ‘arogance’ when it is there very plainly, but to me that is the test.
    How far will one go to imagine one in another person’s shoes, so to speak?

    A great many people are simply uncritically adapted to the social and economic signifies of their time and location. Without casting decrees of compulsory responsibility, our modern societies have encouraged, co-ersed , and bribed people to go along with self interest, and many respond because there is little to disuade them untill it is much very close to too late, and much harder to change. I say ‘much harder’, because there is always something people can do to change if they change inside.
    I don’t sneer at these people, just hope they grow.
    I do take your point that obese people very often have self enabling stratergies that keep them from losing accumulated calories.
    I have a morbidly obese relative who is a chain smoker and lots of complications. She piles on 5mm thick butter on digestive biscuits.
    But knowing her story, and the history of abuse and neglect, I know why she craves comfort food, and struggles with the lethargy, etc.
    The ‘Bomb in the Brain’ link on a previous post pretty well shows how this disfunction operates, with devastating consequences.
    It is difficult to witness gross contradictions like that, but at the core of everyone is a being that desires to grow and be happy. Truely happy.
    The path to that lasting happiness is not in the world, it is in the heart, and in a case like my female relative, and perhaps the obese SUV woman, the relationship they have with their heart is deeply traumatised, and in some sense feels compromised. There may be little prospect of true transformative love in their present life, and faced with a lifetime of this kind of confusion and lack of real help, individuals resort to the addictions we see killing them in their millions. Yes, as we know the multifascnals enable and exploit this process cradle to grave.
    I think more compassion is required to help unravel the mess of Empire. Challenging though these individuals may be, the limitations are in us as well if we cannot understand that everyone wants release from the suffering of their cage.
    Some just look better and conform to well promoted idealised Phenotypes, but under the skin we are all the same.
    The visable disfunction of an obese person should not lure us into thinking that others are not suffering the raveges of Empire too. Clothes, fashion, lifestyle affluence signalling and wealth display, are often an attempt to signal a person’s relative conformity to the ‘illusion of happiness’.
    One may only really know if someone is unhappy if one goes for a walk with them, and talk for a bit, ask, and answer some real questions.

  • OZ man “I think this WANT as you put it of the materials of existance is only in the front of peoples minds generally. Given enough of a stimulus to the consciousness, and not shock tactics to instill fear, but son sensible arguments and facts, many people will let go of the adolescent illusions of neverending having and getting.”

    Oh my are you in the dreaming state. After the Vietnam war all the idealist protesters who didn’t want an imperial US killing people in Vietnam went right back to consuming and not caring one whit about what the US did as long as they could get an education and make money. The factor was not a change backwards in consciousness but rather the end of the draft. My husband, a professor, saw the change in his students in just one year. The great idealism of the 60’s died when the personal threat of the draft ended. A few went on to protest other things in all these intervening years but were never able to raise the numbers of people who cared that the draft had done. And by and large they continued to protest from the comfort of a middle class lifestyle.

    At any rate it doesn’t matter. Either we are at the edge of the point where climate change is inevitable or past the point. We don’t have time to to put the problem gently to people’s consciousness. And given the overpopulation of the planet we not only need to have people want and consume less, we need about 90% of them to die soon. Any volunteers?

  • Kathy C

    I agree with your points about the USA draft and the war in Vietnam. I would only point out that you are using a large scale popularist movement of protest and civil disobedience as an example. I was refering to the lived dilemnas and experience of individuals. Large scale advertising works with well defined returns, on caged populations, and the inducements of relaxed credit and armchair experiences of life on Earth were hypnotic for the vast majority in that protest movement.
    In the case of individuals, the sociological conformity factors need to be overcome for an individual, living in say, modern urban environments and suburbs. Counterculture movements do embolden some, but individuals may change because they begin to see themselves able to differentiate beyond the group, or herd mind.
    I was postulating that it is meetings with remarkable women and men, who have done alternative and sometimes ‘radical’ things that impress individuals. I am a bit uneasy to include people on lecture tours selling something in this, but I don’t wish to be excluding that type of encounter. I have run into some pretty amazing individuals in periods of my life, and without exception I have taken something with me from their experience and wizdom. In one’s early years this can be very influential in one’s expectations of life. I happen to feel that everyone is remarkable, and has much to offer, and like Joseph Campbell proposed, I look to my own limitations if I cannot find some common ground with those I meet. I do not wish to indicate I think some people are not irrisponsible and almost universally unlikable. Some are.
    Suffice to say I also take your point that there may be no one here very soon.
    I am open to that possibility, but there is far more at stake here than our mortalty, there is our humanity for one, and as we know the other life forms.
    For the record, we are all in the dreaming state. We none of us are in a position to know all the POV on reality. And I do have the time to put it gently to peoples consciousness. I have found a way. Watch this space.

  • Kathy C
    I would feel a bit easier if you had used ‘us’ in palce of ‘them’ in your last sentence. There is only us, but that’s my Aquarius ascendant coming to the fore.

  • OzMan, perhaps the culture is different “down under”, or perhaps your view of the nature of humans is less dark than mine, but based on my personal experience, the average American is NOT willing to give up the conveniences and pleasures afforded by industrial society. It’s a more powerful addiction than crack cocaine!

    Actually, our dependence on the industrial society is more than an addiction – for many it’s essential for life. Without modern medicine, a good 50% of the American population would be dead in a year (my guesstimate). Hypertension, diabetes, COPD, heart disease, HIV . . . on and on goes the list of diseases which are fatal or severely debilitating without adequate treatment but which, with treatment, a person can live an otherwise normal life.

    If we’re going to rid ourselves of industrial civilization in order to save the planet from runaway warming, we don’t get to make an exception for medications or modern healthcare. Or anything else for that matter. It ALL has to go.

    Maybe you know people who are willing to rid themselves of any form of mechanized transport, any type of electrical food storage (refrigeration) or food preparation (stoves), all air conditioning (in the midst of a warming world), every manufactured medication and pain reliever, the internet, telephones, police protection, hospitals, stores, etc., but I know less than two people like this.

    Perhaps I’m wrong, but every workday, all day long, I encounter people who are looking for modern solutions to their problems. 99% are unwilling to even consider a healthy approach to weight loss, diabetes control, high blood pressure treatment, depression, etc. They just want a pill. And they want it to be cheap. And don’t make them give up their cigarettes. And don’t expect them to exercise.

    Okay, I realize I’m waxing really negative about my patients – they aren’t ALL that bad – but the point is that the overwhelming majority of people living in today’s industrial society are unwilling to even consider giving it up. Some may claim that they are, but if they were genuine, they’d actually do it and be done with it.

  • Some may claim that they are, but if they were genuine, they’d actually do it and be done with it.

    To be clear, I include myself in that statement.

  • This week I met quite an inspiring person: a retired Natural Doctor originally from California who was having a vacation from his off the grid sustainable residence in Hawaii. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone so outgoing and happy. He even brought out his whistle to play along with some blind musicians we saw in the street. I invited him home so that my kids could meet him and that’s quite out of character for me. He thought that more love and music would heal the world. OzMan, with a nod to Kathy, he was wrong and so are you!

    Life is a competition for resources, both between species and between members of the same species. Humans have such an advantage in this competition that other living things don’t stand a chance. We were well on our way to destroying the natural world even before the large scale use of fossil fuels; they only accelerated the process. Even if Guy got his wish and industrial civilization was terminated today we wouldn’t stop destroying the living world until we’d turned the whole of it into Easter Island.

    Maybe runaway global warming leading to the extinction of humans is the best thing that could happen for life on earth as a whole. Perhaps all that extra carbon dioxide we’re putting into the atmosphere will prove to be a boon for life in the long run too (Climate and the Carboniferous Period).

    It’s hard not to admire someone like John Duffy who is prepared to put his freedom on the line to save the planet. However, the George Carlin view on saving the planet is one I would have more sympathy with.

  • Sorry, first link should have been Climate and the Carboniferous Period.

  • The press should get Senator Imhofe’s opinion.

  • It’s disappointing, though unsurprising, to learn that the typical Sixties protester drifted away from the counterculture once the draft had been repealed. It shows that their social conscience flowed from their immediate self-interest and went no deeper. To think that during the early years, say 1965, representatives of companies like Raytheon or Honeywell, desperate for recruits, went onto campuses to attract prospective employees and were rebuffed, yet, only a few years later, your average long-hair, in the memorable phrase, “grabbed whatever corporate life-raft happened to be drifting by.”

    But, of course not everyone cut off their freak-flag, donned a suit, and became an overnight materialist. Pretty much everyone knows the biographies of Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin and the instructive contrast between them.

  • After years of denying global warming, physicist Richard Muller now says “global warming is real and humans are almost entirely the cause.”
    Amy Goodman interviews him on Democracy Now

    Have a puke bag ready. This begins to seem more of a limited hang out than a real admission (preplanned – nah that would involve a conspiracy theory). Or perhaps he honestly couldn’t deny the truth and went back to his funders and said “what do I say now”.

    A quote from the interview
    “So, I believe we need to act, but we need to act in a way that recognizes the problem isn’t with us, the problem is with the world, particularly with the extensive coal that is used around the world, in the developing countries. If we don’t address that, then we’re just playing games. We’re going to say, oh hey we — I have a Prius, hey I’m not to blame, I did my part. No that’s bologna. We need to address the real problem, which is the extensive coal burning, and we have to bite the bullet and recognize that natural gas is the only thing that can get us there over the next 20 years, that and energy conservation. Energy conservation is win-win. I believe the Chinese will adopt that. We should help them adopt that, because that is something where they can earn money at a great return, better than Bernie Madoff, but it’s legitimate. Again, my new book discusses in detail the many places where you can get a profit of 20%, 30% per year just by investing in energy conservation. So that combination of energy conservation on one hand and then the switch to the natural gas economy, by a clean fracking on the other hand, I think it can get us through to the era when the China and India can afford solar and the upcoming technologies that will finally get us away from fossil fuels.”

    Did he forget that China is loaning us money???? Clean fracking??? I suppose he never heard of the concept of energy per capita which makes us the worse offenders.

  • Oz man ” would feel a bit easier if you had used ‘us’ in palce of ‘them’ in your last sentence. There is only us, but that’s my Aquarius ascendant coming to the fore.”

    Yes us would have been better.

  • Moroccobama – I think musician/activist ran into the same sort of thing

    I don’t drive a car
    ’cause they run on gas
    but if I did
    it’d run on biomass
    I ride a bike
    or sometimes a skateboard
    so fuck off all you drivers
    and your yuppie hordes
    sitting all day
    in the traffic queues
    I’m a better anarchist than you

    I don’t eat meat
    Ii just live on moldy chives
    or the donuts that I found
    in last week’s dumpster dives
    look at you people in that restaurant
    I think you are so sad
    when you coulda been eating bagels
    like the ones that i just had
    I think it is a shame
    all the bourgeois things you do
    I’m a better anarchist than you

    I don’t wear leather
    and I like my clothes in black
    and I made a really cool hammock
    from a moldy coffee sack
    I like to hop on freight trains
    I think that is so cool
    it’s so much funner doing this
    than being stuck in school
    I can’t believe you’re wearing
    those brand new shiny shoes
    I’m a better anarchist than you

    I don’t have sex
    and there will be no sequel
    because heterosexual relationships
    are inherently unequal
    I’ll just keep moshing
    to rancid and the clash
    until there are no differences
    in gender, race or class
    all you brainwashed breeders
    you just haven’t got a clue
    I’m a better anarchist than you

    I am not a pacifist
    I like throwing bricks
    and when the cops have caught me
    and i’ve taken a few licks
    I always feel lucky
    if I get a bloody nose
    because I feel so militant
    and everybody knows
    by the time
    the riot is all through
    I’m a better anarchist than you

    I don’t believe in leaders
    I think consensus is the key
    I don’t believe is stupid notions
    like representative democracy
    whether or not it works
    I know it is the case
    that only direct action
    can save the human race
    so when I see you in your voting booths
    then I know it’s true
    I’m a better anarchist than you

  • As the collapse ramps up (by year’s end the way it’s lookin’) people the world over are going to see that the neglect of our biosphere has profound and deadly consequences. Between the typhoons and ridiculous flooding (in China and many far east nations) ruining crops, infrastructure and lives, and all the other activity including earthquakes, volcanic action (has anyone else noticed the steam plumes coming out of previously dormant volcanoes? Even in the Saudi desert!
    check this out:

    and other damaging “natural” phenomena (like wildfires, drought, haboobs, etc), our food producing regions are becoming dead zones.

    Add to that the fact that the oceans are being overfished and large beaching events are happening all over the place – and it won’t be long until this food shortage catches up with humanity.

    If, in addition (and very likely) the financial sectors of the world implode, we’re looking at a rapid leg down in the collapse cycle. Additionally if (or when) the electrical grid begins to fall apart (or a large solar EMP takes it out here or elsewhere, like in India recently) chaos will reign as all the usual trappings of civilization melt away. People will turn on each other and the police will be overwhelmed (especially since they’ll be in the same sinking boat as the rest of us).

    Don’t expect cooperation and community to overcome the primal fears and inbred intolerances that humanity has developed throughout its long and demented history. Especially in a nation awash in guns – people will most likely use them on each other or themselves as things get desperate.

    The nuclear scenario that Guy brings up will be the ironic icing on the toxic cake we’ve created for ourselves and will then be forced to consume, as the methane and possibly even hydrogen sulfide pollution increases exponentially in the coming years, destroying what little will be left of any life at all.

  • People will turn on each other

    What happened in India during the blackout, Tom? Did people turn on each other, or did they just adapt to their straightened circumstances? Whichever it was, it’s moot, anyway, because the grid came back on, just as it will do anywhere else, probably many times, before it is lost for good, and by then most people will have adapted in place.

    It is simply not credible to suppose that the US grid will go down all at once, out of the blue, and not come back on, except in the most outlandish circumstances, such as a giant semiconductor-roasting solar flare or continent-wide EMP surprise attack combined with some additional factor that prevents any recovery (plague of Cheez Whiz-eating rats?).

    Childish nonsense, IMO. Your argument is weak for two reasons, Tom. If TPTB are hell-bent on maintaining the status quo (which they are), they are not going to throw their hands up in defeat over an electricity outage, no matter how widespread. Yes, the mule-heads who run things are asking for trouble by neglecting to install ground paths for transformers that would obviate possible damage by a solar flare, but there is nothing unusual about entrenched interests flirting with disaster in order to save a buck. You also invoke self-interest as some kind of bogeyman but it is self-interest that will ensure cooperation and a transition to a saner world. Only in Mad Max movies do people gain permanent advantage by piling up the bodies of their slain victims.

  • “they are not going to throw their hands up in defeat over an electricity outage, no matter how widespread. “. Hmm lets see if a country wide collapse of the grid occurs, no more gasoline can be pumped so sending out repair trucks or fuel airplanes, drones, police cars, tanks etc will be impossible. If the grid is taken out by a Carrington Event type flare or multiple EMPs, all or most of the large transformers will be toast. They are not made in the US and there is already a 1 year backlog on ordering them. There are about 300 in the US. Worrying about this, a panel was commissioned by Congress to look at grid vulnerability. They had what they thought was a solution to the transformer problem, a grounding system. The cost to do this and the other parts of their grid fix was $150 million, quite a bit less than any of the bank bailouts. What has congress done. Nothing.
    What can be done to reduce our vulnerability?
    According to a January 2009 press release from Metatech, Inc., the installation of supplemental transformer neutral ground resistors to reduce GIC flows is relatively inexpensive, has low engineering trade-offs, and can produce 60-70% reductions of GIC levels for storms of all sizes. A Congressionally mandated “EMP Commission” has estimated the cost of this hardening in the existing U.S. power grid infrastructure to be on the order of $150 million. It would also be helpful to replace the ailing ACE satellite, which monitors solar storms and can provide advance warning of when a major geomagnetic storm is imminent. In any case, the future expansion of the electrical grid throughout the world needs to be designed with geomagnetic storms in mind. If large solar and wind power generation plants are developed, they will likely require an extensive new network of 765 kV transmission lines to deliver this energy. The higher voltage transformers needed for this expansion are the most vulnerable type of transformers to geomagnetic storms, and the new power system should be carefully designed to reduce this vulnerability.

    Put your mind to work, while they are waiting for the replacement of even a few of the transformers what wouldn’t work? Could we make new gasoline. Could we frack or pump oil? Would grocery stores be able to operate? Don’t forget the cooling systems on nuclear power plants. While not the best written book in the world and a bit to optimistic in my opinion you might want to read “One Second After” by WILLIAM R. FORSTCHEN to get a handle on just what might happen. Just so you don’t have to agonize about it I will issue a plot spoiler – in the end they do eat the dog.

    The people in India are more inured to hardship so it might take weeks before things got ugly. In the first world it is calculated that we are 9 meals away from anarchy. (if I put a second link in this post it will require Guy to approve it so just google “9 meals to anarchy”)

    Probably it will just be cascading infrastructure collapse as the grid tries to keep up with warmer summers, stronger storms and an aging work force (average age of linemen in about 48) not to mention cost cutting efficiencies of the electric companies that have been privatized. If not that it will be a little later when the fuel starts to run out.

  • Tom and Martin Knight, it’s interesting that you are discussing grid failure . . . as I was driving across the state today to visit family, I, too, was thinking about various scenarios for grid failure. As to the failure this week in India, the people were largely well-behaved; I think for two reasons: 1) the outages were relatively short lived – less than 48 hours combined, and 2) India is still a developing nation. Their infrastructure has been unreliable since it was introduced and they are accustomed to it. By the same token, there have been riots recently in Pakistan over persistent power failures.

    As to the U.S., short of an EMP blast, I don’t envision a sudden failure of our grid. But, there could be several widespread, long lasting ones that overwhelm the government’s ability to deal with it effectively.

    Here’s one scenario that could happen at any time: let’s say that next week the entire Los Angeles basin suffers a complete power outage which persists for 2-3 weeks caused by some scenario similar to the one that hit San Diego not long ago.

    Then, at the same time, a powerful hurricane hits the east coast and damages infrastructure for 500 miles or more knocking out power to D.C., NYC, Boston, Philly, etc. Because the infrastructure itself is damaged, the power could be out for many weeks conceivably. This is similar to what happened recently on the east coast.

    Then, before the power can be restored to those regions, imagine that a massive fire hits a major SWEPCO facility knocking out power to most of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, etc. Note that those areas are crucial to oil refining and gasoline distribution including some of the busiest sea ports in the world for oil and gas. That hasn’t happened to my knowledge, but warnings have been put out by the various power agencies in the area stating that the heat is reaching dangerous levels for the electrical grid. We’ve had multiple wildfires all over Arkansas and surrounding states due to drought. Compounding all that, the drought is making many power generating facilities unable to operate as water is required for cooling (nuclear) or for generating power itself (hydroelectric).

    So, even with a relatively small area of the country being affected geographically, the number of people being impacted would be close to 100 million. Imagine the federal government trying to get food and water into those areas while also trying to cope with gasoline shortages due to the refineries and distribution systems being affected. Getting those grids back up and running would be complicated by the fuel shortages, the continuing fires and droughts, persistent heat, damaged infrastructure, and disrupted communication systems (cell phone towers would stop working after about 5 days as their generators ran out of fuel).

    In the absence of adequate food and water, with oppressive heat, it wouldn’t take the urban areas long at all to begin to boil over. When people get hungry and thirsty and they don’t see any help on the way, they are going to take matters into their own hands. Remember what New Orleans looked like after hurricane Katrina? Multiply that by about 20.

    Of course, that still leaves 2/3 of the country unaffected. Or does it? What about the fuel disruptions. The price of oil and gas would skyrocket. All the resources being diverted to the areas without power would be a significant drain on the other areas. Conceivably, as the grid managers tried to restore power by diverting it from areas with “excess power generation”, some of those areas might suffer outages as well. In December 1989, South Florida had widespread power outages when a cold snap hit and everyone began turning on their heat. The area had plenty of power capacity, but, unfortunately, it was being sold to points north.

    So, it may be “childish nonsense” and will almost certainly not occur that way, but stranger things have happened.

  • I’d like to offer a realistic scenario that could cause the U.S. grid to fail. With financial collapse comes inability for companies to pay employees. Even if they have the funds, failure of a majority of the banks — as nearly occurred in September 2008, according to Ben Bernanke — translates to inability to issue a paycheck, much less cash a check. Who’ll work for nothing? I suspect few or no people will work for no pay, including employees of power companies. Voila, there goes the grid, within a period of days or weeks. David Korowicz fills in the details here.

  • Morocco Bama

    From my link:

    If humans are in fact altering Earth’s climate with our cars, electrical powerplants, and factories these changes must be larger than the natural climate variability in order to be measurable. So far the signal of a discernible human contribution to global climate change has not emerged from this natural variability or background noise.

    A controversial statement and one that the article would be better off without. But the article wasn’t about whether or not humans are the cause of climate change and my point in linking it was to show how life thrived in the (early) carboniferous period despite the atmospheric level of CO2 being many times what it is today. (If you read the wikipedia article on historical CO2 levels it suggests even higher levels at that time.) Presumably the even more acidic oceans supported oxygen creating phytoplankton even in those days too.

    I don’t agree with everything that George Carlin says in his routine either. For instance the fact the majority of species that have ever lived have gone extinct without any help from us doesn’t excuse us from driving species to extinction in the present. I do agree though with what he said about the motives of those in the environmental movement being primarily selfish (nothing wrong with that) and that it is arrogant to think we can “save the planet”.

    I’ve read many times that the problems caused by technology will not be solved by (more) technology. I couldn’t agree more. Equally I believe that the problems caused by humans will not be solved by humans.

  • It may just be that “THEY” have feelings of invincibility along with all their other psychoses. Even when they lose they come back – see Karl Rove. They have not however yet ever faced the full wrath of mother nature.

    Or maybe they have some aliens who are going to (or promise to) take them off planet as soon as they accumulate the gold needed by the Planet Niburu.

    Sometimes when nothing makes sense you either have to go with insanity (most likely) or an insane theory (who knows)

    Time to dust off your copy of Dr. Strangelove and rethink the idea of powerful and smart but totally insane people running our governments.

  • Morocco, I think Ozymandius should be posted at least once a week!

    Off topic – Should Obama and the Congress be arrested under the NDAA act

  • We don’t know what we are doing but we keep doing it faster and faster…

    The potential failure of an inactive and plugged Texas Brine Co. LLC mining cavern in a massive salt dome has prompted Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to declare an emergency in Assumption Parish.
    Authorities said a 200 foot by 200 foot “slurry” area of collapsed land was discovered in Assumption Parish south of LA 70 in the swamp area between Grand Bayou and Bayou Corne Friday morning.
    All of the trees in the 200 square foot area were consumed by the slurry sinkhole with only the tops of some trees visible under the mud, KPLC reported.
    Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials, in consultation with scientists, determined the potential failure of the closed mining cavern may be the cause, according to the Advocate.
    The potentially failed cavern may also be the source of natural gas that has bubbled up on nearby bayous and from an abandoned water well, emergency preparedness officials said.
    Federal, state and parish officials had been unable to pin down the source of the natural gas releases, despite months of varies tests of the oil, gas and brine production infrastructure in the area.
    Sheriff Mike Waguespack says the sinkhole is several hundred feet away from several pipelines and a propane well and because of this they have ordered the evacuation of 150 homes in the Bayou Corne area.
    Texas Brine has mined the salt dome since 1973, using water to wash out salt deep in the dome and selling the resulting brine mix, company and DNR officials have said.
    Salt dome operators also used salt-dome cavities left behind from mining operations to store hydrocarbons such as natural gas for companies that lease the well.

  • Morocco Bama

    To clarify I have never explicitly advocated that Buddhist approaches work. They are in my opinion flawed by the fact that they fail to acknowledge two things about existence. In theory Buddhism does not acknowledge any special relationship between a siritual master and a student aspirant. They reject the Guru desciple relationship. I am unaware of vust why that is so historically but perhaps others do know and can advise. In practice Buddhists rely heavily on the deep relationship with an experienced Lama that is necessary to progress in the renunciate transcendental path.

    The second aspect is that Buddhism advocates a total withdrawl from the ‘world’ of samsara. That withdrawl is and attempt to diminish the being from suffering by progressively releasing ‘association’ with the body/mind. That stops the ensuing formulations of differentiation of separate identity, and desire based existance. That stratergy eventuates in an overall objective of not living in the world, which is not a complete realisation of a human vehicle, but only a partial one. I acknowledge Buddhism has much of the key insights and practices that clear a path to enlightenment, such as nonviolence toward all beings and others. So it has many great strengths, like the development of the feeling function by emphasis on compassion, and intuition in their acceptance of inner visions and dreams as related to the state of ones context in life.
    However, if I were to characterise my views on authentic Enlightenment issues it would be to point anyone to the unique revelation and teaching work of Adi Da Samraj, or to investigate his group of devotees through the website:

    I will say no more on that because it will seem like preaching, but there you have it. If you have any questions you will find plenty of challenging material there.
    As with many spiritual matters they can be misunderstood by others and are only self-authenticating. I have discovered that personal stories of remarkable events of an inner nature are best communicated one to one, because even though written language is a brilliant medium, some things like feelings and non verbal behaviour communicate deeper realities.
    The criticisma of Buddhism I briefly outlined do come from what I understand to be Adi Da’s critique of Buddhism in general. I have not, however, bleated it here, I have considdered it and other aspects of spiritual traditions and reflected on them in the contect of my own inner life, and those reports of the inner lives of others I have been fortumate enough to come accross.
    I reject the common assumption that spiritual practice and therefore orientation is in essence an attempt to insulate oneself from any reality no matter how far from the epidermus. I know you probably were not being personal, but I do agree that many people use spiritualism for that purpose. What better plac to hide than in a spiritual tradition if you want to kid yourself you are evolved.
    To me this is as absurd as Deepak Chopyournuts telling audiences you can be your own Guru. What a monkeyfucker he is.
    We have a world in such a mess today because people are there own gurus. That is what the age of the Ego is.
    I think your comments are in some ways complimetay to me, and I thank you for that, but I do not advocate ‘going inward’ to find peace, or at least to retain some sanity. Not at all. Properly, being involved in the inner journey, for me is an attempt to purify oneself. Not in a self flagelating manner, nor in a strategic retreat, but is an attempt to realise the radical, or root of the Self. That requires more than a strategic retreat to negate suffering, it requires walking into the fire and staying there untill all the ego is completely burnt to ash. I can’t attempt to describe the process because I am less than a beginner. I think there are times whem retreat in spiritual practice is essential, but the modern cleche of swamis on caves living on air with only a loin cloth is only a small bit of the picture. Most of the way is about aligning oneself to all kinds of counteregoic tendancies. Much of the ravegaes of Empire come from the fear of death, and the Western success in martialling the gifts of the Thinking and Sensation functions brought to bare on the material aspects of the cosmic domain, have fooled some into believing that material wealth and power shields one from suffering and death. Hence a youth culture. The ‘sucesses’ have come at a huge cost not only to the natural world, or Biosphere, but to our inner lives, which still house the totality of ourselves. The contemplative way affirms the interconnectedness of all beings because those two functions, Feeling and Intuition are subjective and connect us to collective paths of perception and knowledge.
    On a personal note, I took the path less travelled in my youth, because I believe that if you are essentially unenlightened it is folly to try to help others, with core problems anyway, and thus begins a search to find the core reasons for suffering. Untill understanding of a radical and enlightening type arises, we have little hope. Only then does the authority to help others with core problems become real. Much good work can be done, however, along the way, and people can help others on some segment of the journey because others have been that way before you. But only the real deal can do the heavy lifting, like absorb and destroy karma. That is only possible with true ego surrender, standing in the fire. BTW, the image of standing in the fire is set out like how the ego experiences the threat of death, but with ego surrender it is an ecstacy, and the bliss of no suffering and purification. Many aspirands dance around the fire just getting warm, but it is of no use unless you take the heat.
    As Guy points out in defferent terminology, even an egodectomy, or Empiredectomy will not reverse the course set now for our Biosphere.

    A person who is on the path does communicate that to others in many nonverbal ways, and not as some trick or such, but simply by being sensitive to those around them. And lets face it it is less likely to happen when one is self absorbed with the social ramifications of your phenotype, or glued to your technology, or starving for love or food. So it is that context that I am putting the idea out there that individuals can make a difference. I’ve written enough on this, probably burnt my bridge here now with posting Adi Da. That’s the price one pays?, so be it.
    I better go wash my bowl and spoon.

  • Morocco Bama

    perhaps too harsh, but I suppose I can’t tollerate smooth talking spiritual nutjobs, who con millions who actually need some real help. But they will have to climb the same mountain as eveyone else, so we are all in it together.
    Yes Tony Robins has ‘the secret’. BTW ‘the secret’ is true. The secret about ‘the secret’, however, is that it only serves your path to enlightenment, and those that believe it supports the ego, don’t know that real secret about ‘the secret’.
    You might be interested in a zany Australian comedy series called ‘Angry Boys’. It is pretty edgy on the issues of adolescent boys. A rare gem… nothing to do with NBL issues though.

  • In comments about Iran attack, Israeli ex-officials may be sounding the alarm
    In the past 72 hours, three former top guns of Israeli intelligence have discussed, with unnerving candor, a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Do they know something that remains opaque to the public?

  • “The period before the US elections is the best for an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities”, asserts one of Israel’s leading analysts, Efraim Inbar, head of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and one of the informal advisors to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an interview for Arutz Sheva.

  • Russia Sends Warships to Syria
    Anonymous Russian defense officials told news agencies on Friday that three warships carrying 360 marines are en route to the Syrian port of Tartus and will arrive within several days. The deployment of ships comes on the heels of Kofi Annan’s resignation as the U.N.’s envoy to Syria and the Arab League, with Russia’s Foreign Ministry calling for an immediate replacement. The statement said Russia tried to support Annan’s cease-fire plan but that opposition forces had refused to negotiate, bolstered by “our Western partners, and certain regional states.” Meanwhile, Britain has pledged non-military support for Syrian rebels and the United Nations General Assembly will vote Friday on a resolution condemning its Security Council for failing to end violence in the country.

  • Thanks Morocco –

    Mammograms cause breast cancer (and other cancer facts you probably never knew)

    Learn more:

  • Or
    A Major Medical Mistake?
    by Sherrill Sellman
    “It is widely believed that today’s drugs are tomorrow’s poisons. In the case of tamoxifen, tomorrow has already arrived.”

  • Paul Craig Roberts writes ““Your” government lies to you, because “your” government has an agenda that it most certainly will not tell you about, because if you knew what it is, you would revolt. Putting down the revolt would divert the government from its agenda. It would also alert the rest of the world to the fact that the US government has an undeclared agenda of world domination, despite the costs to the American people and every other people. World War III looms.

    Nuclear annihilation is the necessary outcome of the neoconservatives’ drive for US world hegemony. Syria can fall, and Iran can fall, but Russia and China are unlikely to accept their reduction to puppet state status. As both are nuclear armed and as the crazed criminals in charge of the US government are wallowing in hubris, nuclear war seems inevitable.”

    full article at

  • The second aspect is that Buddhism advocates a total withdrawl from the ‘world’ of samsara.

    “What is samsara? The desire for nirvana. What is nirvana? The end of samsara.”

    “Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.”

    In theory Buddhism does not acknowledge any special relationship between a siritual master and a student aspirant.

    276. You yourselves must strive; the Buddhas only point the way.

    There is no “special relationship” between a wavelet and a tsunami: they are part of the ocean, and by the yardstick of time and space will subside into it. But unlike the metrics of time and space, in this case the entire ocean is contained in every wave. Neither “enlightenment” nor “attainment” are applicable.

    Every sentient being is a chink thorough which a part of the of the Divine Light shines. It is the Light that shines, not the chink.

  • 66 years later, Japan dropped more than 168 Hiroshima atomic bombs on itself (Cs-137 base)

    Last week it was Knight, today it is the Spanish stock market. Following a halt for a “technical glitch” just after 4 am Eastern time, Spain’s stock exchange, the IBEX, is still not trading as of this posting. So how will Spain and the ECB declare victory if they are unable to demonstrate the daily ramp in Spanish stocks (where shorting financials is once again forbidden…. because Europe continues to be “fixed”).
    From MarketWatch:

    The Spanish stock exchange was halted Monday morning due to a technical glitch, according to a spokesman for operator Bolsas y Mercados Espanoles SA . The spokesman did not give a time for the resumption of trade nor specify the nature of the glitch. The market has been halted since 10 a.m. Central European Time. The Spanish IBEX 35 index was trading up 0.25% just ahead of the halt

  • Robin Datta

    I accept that your knowledge of Buddhism is greater than mine. The wordplay about Samsara and Nirvana are nothing to do with me. I do not go out of my way to advocate Buddhism, but people can do a lot worse. As I acknowledged, Buddhism has many very clear virtues, and I am not attempting to cut it down.
    Your very poetic bit:
    ‘There is no “special relationship” between a wavelet and a tsunami: they are part of the ocean, and by the yardstick of time and space will subside into it. But unlike the metrics of time and space, in this case the entire ocean is contained in every wave.’

    is serious, because you allude to the oneness of all beings in all phases of their being. This is true. But your metaphore is misconstructed. The enlightened being is the ocean and the tsumai and wavelet both arise in it.

    A significant difference is you are speaking about potential and essence, not the actual realisation of the practitioners of said Buddhism. The fully realised spiritual master knows the devotee as an ego-bound aspect of the self, and has the functional ability to read the Karmic state and entire lifecycle of tendencies in the devotee. That mutual devotional relationship, which I argued is modelled on Hinduism, is a loving relationship, where the esoteric understandings of the master are brought to bare on the devotee so that they realise the true self.
    Without such instruction and intimacy, the devotee will rely on doctrine and formulaic worship. The unique spiritual powers of the realised being function to accelerating the devotees growth and understanding, and are delivered when the appropriate moments and crisis eventuate. I will not go so far as to say it is not possible to do without this relation, but being in the company of a realised being induces the same transformation in those within proximity.

    I came to the conclusion long ago that the very great individuals who emerged and brougt wizdom did so from existing traditions. It was precicely because they actually practiced what they were brought up with, to an exhaustive level, that they came to a point of departure through a thorough assessment of the limitations of the mother religion.

    Most people are not equipped for that level of practice, especially Westerners, and it takes a great deal of self discipline and self surrender to practice. (everyone is rapidly becoming Westerners)
    If I were to be harsh, I would say that the poetic forms you offer, perhaps they are quotes, or yours, I can’t tell, are fine as they stand, but in the down there and dirty coalface of spiritual life and practice, I don’t think it cuts it.

    As I wrote before the challenges are there for anyone to be offended by in Adi Da’s unique and compassionate stance. It is one of the functions of the enlightened beings to offend the ego. If you really think about it, how far do you think you would get if the guru, or spiritual master consoled your ego. Back to Deepback Chumpstart and be your own guru crap.
    Sorry, the issue is how much are we willing to surrender?

    I once corresponded with a well known journalist whom I actually was aquainted with some years earlier, about Adi Da. She had a Phd in psychology and specialised in sects and emerging cults. I wrote to her because I never heard her do a program in about a 6 year period, (in the 1990’s), on Adi Da, and it worried me that there was a lot of programs on fairly mainstream stuff. She finally wrote back and griped that his writings were not as poetic and enjoyable to read as the Vedas and other sacred texts.
    I never bothered to argue the point that it is a different time and place and the tasks of a world teacher are far more arduous these days, so the value of nice flowing text is not the issue. The texts she refered to were produced AFTER the great masters were alive. The actual master is the message, and the texts need to gloss it up for the following generations down the track to attract the devotees. While alive the spiritual master does the attracting, but then also the offending.

    There are a very many great poetic texts by Adi Da but they would undoubtedly be found by those who were attracted by the very recent agency of his realisation in the world. I mentioned the text and poetry angle because the primary function of the living enlightened being is to facilitate the realisation of all beaings, specifically those who are alive in the time of the emergence. Adi Da had the altogether revolutionary task of initiating a completly new and authentic way to self realisation, (which he named ‘The Way of the Heart’) in a time when all the traditions are corrupt.
    There is a very old tradition in Buddhism that states the Enlightened being never states the fact to the world, and those that do are not truely enlightened. This was put to Adi Da once, (maybe more than once), because his teachings clearly announce this. His response was, in the modern world you have to be louder.
    It may sound a bit strange to others here, but I see Adi Da’s arrival and life work as arising from the same extreme situation the planet is in that NBL regulars are so aware of.
    I think anyone who reads his works and listens to his videos will hear the heart plea for the same transformation, with a knowledge of the same loss. (He once emerged from a swim in the ocean onto some rocks and soon came crying to his devotees nearby that the small crabs came swarming at him and he could not help but tread on some, which killed them.)
    There was a time in the 1990’s that Adi Da criticised his gathering of long time devotees for only providing access to him, and his sanctuaries to the wealthy North Americans and their similar demographic types around the world. He would say:

    “What about the other 6 Billion?”.

    Without attempting any kind of proof of the authenticity of Adi Da, because as I posted these matters are self authenticating, I don’t hear any of the rakes out there saying that.
    Achieve prosperity,(through BAU), be your own guru? Yeah, that’ll work.
    Chopping wood now. Apologies if this appears as a rant…

  • Morocco Bama

    Your dreams were real. Now they are everyones nightmare. Sorry to hear that this was effectively a trauma, as one could expect. This explains a little bit why you appear to care so much, and perhaps hate TPTB. I’m sorry if my ealier prodings appeared sort of chiding. Although I have my own wounds, I suppose they are not very extreme compared to some. Therefore I do not blame those in power, for being caught up in the cushy part of the machine. But perhaps I should.

    I did see a video segment that was about the chaplain on board the Enola Gay. The crew were all Catholics and they were determined to destroy a small fraternity of heritics expat Catholics in central Hiroshima. Very wierd. Years later the Chaplin went through a very significant catharsis and remorse. He was speechless at his extreme lack of humanity and I believe he stated he would carry the blemish on his soul for eternity. It was very moving to go with him on that journey as a viewer.

  • With thanks to John Duffy and Michael Thomas, I’ve posted a new guest essay. It’s here.

  • Morocco Bama

    You gotta start wondering how the Catholic church ever sanctioned war and killing. I mean.. Thou sholt not kill, was a biggy of Jesus.

  • Of course, an argument can be made that the Beatitudes are a way of helping people accept their bondage by perpetually deferring their reward until the next life, thus ensuring a docile and compliant servant class.

    The US anarchist Emma Goldman argued just that in The Failure of Christianity.