Let Go, or Be Dragged

When called a quitter in somebody’s first-time comment in this space, my initial response was to serve the name-caller a big warm cup of ShutTheFuckUp. Then I gave it a bit more thought. One result is this essay.

Contrary to the respondent’s interpretation of my essay, I’m not suggesting we quit. Giving up is not giving in: Accepting our fate is not synonymous with jumping into the absurdly omnicidal main stream. Just because we’re opossums on the roadway doesn’t mean we should play possum. Resistance is fertile, after all. To employ a bit of The Boss: “In the end what you don’t surrender, well the world just strips away.”

Or, to employ a bit of Zen: Let go, or be dragged.

Or, to employ a bit of popular culture: Carpe diem.

Or, to employ a bit of Nietzsche: “Live as though the day were here.”

Climate chaos is well under way, and has become irreversible over temporal spans relevant to humans because of positive feedbacks. Such is the nature of reaching the acceleration phase of the nonlinear system that is climate catastrophe.

As a result of ongoing, accelerating climate change, I’m letting go of the notion that Homo sapiens will inhabit this planet beyond 2030. I’m letting go of the notion that Homo sapiens will inhabit this verdant little valley at the edge of American Empire after it turns to dust within a very few years. I’m letting go of the notion that, within a few short years, there will remain any habitat for humans in the interior of any large continent in the northern hemisphere. I’m letting go of the notion we’ll retain even a fraction of one percent of the species currently on Earth beyond 2050. But I’m not letting go of the notion of resistance, which is a moral imperative.

I will no longer judge people for buying into cultural conditioning. It’s far easier to live in a city, at the height of civilization’s excesses, than not. I know how easy it is to live in a city surrounded by beautiful distractions and pleasant interactions, and I fully understand the costs and consequences of dwelling there, as well as the price to be paid in the near future. I spent about half my life in various cities, and I understand the physical ease and existential pain of living at the apex of empire. Also, I know all about the small joys and great pains associated with living in the country. I spent the other half of my life in the country and in towns with fewer than 1,000 people. I understand why the country bumpkin is assigned stereotypical labels related to ignorance and, paradoxically, self-reliance.

It’s clearly too late to tear down this irredeemably corrupt system and realize any substantive benefits for humans or other organisms. And yet I strongly agree with activist Lierre Keith: “The task of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much personal integrity as possible; it is to dismantle those systems.” If it seems I’m filled with contradictions, color me hypocritical fully human in a Walt Whitman sort of way: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”

Our remaining time on this orb is too short to cast aspersions at those who live differently from ourselves, as most people in industrialized countries have done throughout their lives. Most people in the industrialized world became cultural crack babies in the womb. There is little hope to break the addiction of ingestion at this late point in the era of industry, and I’m throwing in the towel on changing the minds of typically mindless Americans. No longer will I try to convince people to give up the crack pipe based on my perception of morality reality.

I’ll continue to speak. I’ll continue to write. But these efforts will be presented with less urgency than I’ve previously employed, and they will represent personal perspectives and actions. I’ll no longer recommend to others the path I’ve taken.

Nietzsche’s comment about seizing the day, every day, brings to mind the final words of Joseph Campbell’s 1949 book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces:

It is not society that is to guide and save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse. And so every one of us shares the supreme ordeal — carries the cross of the redeemer — not in the bright moments of his tribe’s great victories, but in the silences of his personal despair.

With the preceding dire news in mind, it would be easy to forget how fortunate we are. After all, we get to die. That simple fact alone is cause for celebration because it indicates we get to live. As I wrote more than five years ago, our knowledge of DNA assures us that the odds any one of us existing are greater than the odds against being a particular grain of sand on all the world’s beaches. No, the odds are much greater than that: they exceed the odds of being a single atom plucked from the entire universe. To quote the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, “In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I that are privileged to be here, privileged with eyes to see where we are and brains to wonder why.”


This essay is permalinked at Democratic Underground, The Refreshment Center and Seemorerocks.

Comments 306

  • “It’s not until we’ve lost everything, that we’re free to do anything.”

    – Tyler Durden

    You do great work Guy. I know people all over this country who are still fighting, and most of them only really started putting their bodies on the line (in the realest sense of the word) when they started sensing how hopeless the future truly is.

    That hopelessness is a recognition that the world you were primed and prepared to receive as a young person will not exist. And thank God for that. Now we’re free to build the world we want, regardless of how ephemeral it may turn out to be.

    For fuck’s sake, let’s not go gently, let’s not whimper in the final twilight.

  • Good for you! ‘Bout time! I’m reaching the same point Guy, tired of being called judgmental. Anymore it’s about do what you want when you want to do it and have fun doing it, sickening as it is.

  • Once again, my personal experience is similar but different, maybe mostly because I live in Germany and not in the United States. While we, too, of course, are born and raised in a culture of Empire and the underlying system is the same (and the corporations are the same, of course), there are subtle and not so subtle differences. The environmental movement and the green party, while by far not as radical and decisive as it should be, is quite influential. Even the mass media, at least the publicly run television and radio channels, touch on topics like peak oil, species extinction, food security and of course climate change quite regularily. All in all I get the feeling that there is a greater awareness of these topics even with “normal” folks who would not consider themselves environmentalists or activists. I am not saying that the German people are likely to shun capitalism and become a nation of self-sufficient permaculture farmers anytime soon (which I, for lack of better solutions, would suggest as probably the best way out of our dilemma at the moment), but I really see more and more of the people I talk to – and I mean talk to in everyday situations: neighbors, colleagues, people I meet on the bus or the train, not my close circle of activist friends – becoming aware of the mess we are in and looking for solutions. Many people are growing some food in their gardens or on their balcony. And many of them will tell you it is because they don’t want to rely on the supermarkets. More and more people choose to work only part time, to have more quality time with their families. Baby steps, sure, and it might be too little too late, but I do see the potential for a mass movement there. Not a top down organized movement … Germans tend to be very suspicious of people whe want to tell them what to think. One Führer was enough. But more a grass roots kind of movement. Many individuals figuring it out on their own and then finding others with similar ideas, forming little groups which then might get together with other groups. Like a system of little creeks flowing together to form streams and then maybe a river. I don’t think we are headed for a revolution. More for a slow paradigm change, where the old system will continue to run it’s destructive, mindless course, but less and less people willing to participate as consumers or wage slaves, who opt out and start putting up small scale alternatives which then might or might not connect to each other.

    I guess what I am saying is: while I do get more and more angry with “the system” and feel my urge to bring it down get stronger everyday, I actually get more hopeful about the majority, or at least a surprisingly large minority, of the people around me, because many of them seem to share or at least starting to get into that notion. Humans are like lemmings. Only lemmings don’t mass suicide down cliffs … they mass migrate to a new habitat when the old one cannot sustain them any longer. Only this time our new habitat is not going to be a new continent, it is going to be a new society.

    In the 80s I had one of those motto pins you could put on your jacket that said: “Stell dir vor es ist Krieg und keiner geht hin” … “Imagine there is a war and no one participates”. And I think this is how this thing is going to end, at least here in Europe: Imagine there is an Empire and no one participates. People will stop to vote, people will stop to buy crap, they will stop to drive their cars around, they will stop to work regular jobs (mostly because there aren’t many of those left, anyway) and they will stop to pay taxes (because if you don’t buy anything, and you don’t earn anything, and you don’t drive, what are they going to tax?). It will take a few years, though. Roundabout two decades I would guess, and I really hope Mother Earth can hold on that long.

  • One thing you left out of your discourse is the joy to be derived from continuing to do what you know to be right in the sense of leading to a more life-affirming result if only lots more people had started doing it quite a while ago. You strive to live in harmony with nature and to tell the truth as you know it and that feels good. Nothing wrong with feeling good in our remaining days.

  • As far and as long as we care to walk, the empire is still there; it is a global economic, financial, social, cultural, and political superstructure, and eventually a kind of smart systems super-organism concentrating resources and power to the top of the evolutionary hierarchical flow structure and power relations.

    The top 25-100 US supranational corporations, including the largest banks, have revenues totaling an equivalent of 40-75% of US private GDP. The banks have assets that now total an unprecedented 130% of private GDP. The banks have a virtual 100% claim on all labor, profits, and gov’t receipts via compounding interest and collateral holdings in perpetuity. They own the US gov’t, mass media, and SCOTUS, and they are positioning to seize legally all assets public and private when the US gov’t inevitably defaults.

    The Anglo-American and European Power Elite are positioning to pull their money out of China-Asia to crash the economy and destabilize the region in order to justify escalating regional war eventually with China to contain China, Russia, Iran, and Radical Islam.

    “Fighting the empire” is an invitation to alienation, inner-conflict, disillusionment, anger, resentment, clinging to what is perceived as lost, and despair.

    Resistance really is futile. Acceptance and letting go is the only “non-choice”. That is, we have the choice not to choose to fight a war with ourselves and that which was lost long ago.

    The top 0.01% Power Elite and top 0.1% rentier oligarchs no longer need the real economy and a system of representative governance to function for the bottom 99%+. Therefore, they do not need the vast majority of us as annoying useless bread gobblers consuming scarce resources per capita.

    What would one do if one were to realize that the vast majority of the human ape species are redundant to the top 0.1-1% and to Nature’s adaptive system of evolutionary flows?

    In this context, why should the top 0.1-1% care what happens to the vast majority of the human ape population?


    Spirits in the material world

    There is no political solution
    To our troubled evolution
    Have no faith in constitution
    There is no bloody revolution

    We are spirits in the material world
    Are spirits in the material world
    Are spirits in the material world
    Are spirits in the material world

    Our so-called leaders speak
    With words they try to jail you
    The subjugate the meek
    But its the rhetoric of failure

    We are spirits in the material world
    Are spirits in the material world
    Are spirits in the material world
    Are spirits in the material world

    Where does the answer lie?
    Living from day to day
    If it’s something we can’t buy
    There must be another way

    We are spirits in the material world
    Are spirits in the material world
    Are spirits in the material world
    Are spirits in the material world

  • I think I can be OK if I am satisfied that somewhere in the Universe there is life

  • It is no we who quit industrial civilization, it is industrial civilization that quits us by becoming too toxic.

  • Guy:

    I am new to your posts, but I find your writing stimulating and insightful. I also agree with your forecasts in paragraph #4. A huge die-off if not the total extinction of homo sapiens is a highly likely event in this century. There is no real mitigation, so trying to get the most out of everyday is the only alternative. Don’t let the cornucopians bother you, it’s a natural response of the human epic which is programmed for survival and reproduction. Evidence and reason are not really most people’s forte.

  • To those of you who know me by my comments, I firmly agree with Guy on all points.
    As a retiree,I needed something more to occupy my time for myself, that is fun, inexpensive, innocuous, physically and mentally demanding, and obsessive. Disc golf is my answer.

    When you cast your ballot for, “Crazy of the Day”, please remember me.

  • It’s a monumentally sad situation.

  • M.B.

    This is the best place to order discs from:
    http://www.discgolfcenter.com/ No tax, free shipping for over $20.00.

    The internet is full of good info, articles, videos, etc.

    It is a young persons game, but there are some older guys and gals. Everyone is very casual, laid back and friendly. I think it is excellent therapy. I try to play everyday for a few hours.
    I play with intensity. At 69 I have only a few fast twitch muscles left, but I play for accuracy. I play with people younger and better than me and study all of the time. I have been playing 14 months, and have made a lot of progress, such that I can now keep up with my younger friends.

    It has progressed since you where an undergrad. Take a new look at it. I would be glad to give you some tips on getting restarted, particularly what to look for in discs.

    To find a course near you:


    Curtis (I play disc golf) A. Heretic

  • Extract from Stephen Vincent Benet’s Nightmare With Angels.

    You will not be saved by General Motors or the prefabricated house.
    You will not be saved by dialectic materialism or the Lambeth Conference.
    You will not be saved by Vitamin D or the expanding universe.
    In fact, you will not be saved.

    -Stephen Vincent Benét”

  • Once one comes to terms with his own death, the death of the species is a piece of cake. Nearly all species die because of their own actions, and we are no exception. Not sure it was ever a fun ride to begin with.

  • As it seems that you are finally ready to climb that Dark Mountain, maybe you should think about getting involved with the Project.


  • RayS, appropriate. As Bob Dylan wrote, and Jimi and U2 sang:



    “Rock and roll stops the traffic. (Most everything stops the traffic in SF.)”

    Bob Dylan All Along The Watchtower

    “There must be some way out of here” said the joker to the thief
    “There’s too much confusion”, I can’t get no relief
    Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth
    None of them along the line know what any of it is worth.

    “No reason to get excited”, the thief he kindly spoke
    “There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
    But you and I we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate
    So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late”.

    All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
    While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.

    Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl
    Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.


    There’s still stunning human beauty in this world, evidenced by lovely young ladies like Katie Melua (virtually unknown in the US, regrettably) and her “If the Lights Go Out on All of Us”, “The Walls of the World”, “Piece by Piece”, and “I Cried for You”:

    Let go and enjoy . . . while we still can.

  • Hey Guy, and friends
    I stumbled upon your opinion recently in a video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOq2A_SGTYA which I thought was succinct and to the point and summed up the thoughts that I was getting from our current situation.
    I hold the belief that the end of the era of current civilisation is imminent, however I also know people who hold different beliefs.
    Now my belief is strong, it’s backed by empirical science but it is not a belief that is widely held in the world. Most people seem to think the next 10 years will be pretty much like the last 10, with ‘booms and busts’ and ‘work and play’.
    Now I hate to bring the concept of religion into a sane conversation as I am an atheist, but I think there is a lesson to be learnt here.
    Many (millions) of people profess to believe in a god. I think they are misguided and should question their belief. And they may think I am wrong not to believe as they do. So I have to question my own belief with some humility.
    Could we as a species stop the madness of self extinction if we understood what’s at stake? I like to believe we could, and we should.
    So what are the stakes?
    The extinction of ALL life in the known Universe, versus the end of a comfortable life for maybe a third of one species of life on this one planet.
    With those stakes understood I can’t surrender and I can’t quit.
    We may be wrong about the forthcoming climate chaos exterminating all humans, if there’s a chance of my species surviving I want to be a part of that.

  • We’re in a strange place, that’s for sure. Paradoxically, the people who read this blog or attend Guy’s lectures are the least prepared, psychologically, for the sudden, wrenching changes under way.

    In his latest podcast, Dmitry Orlov does another of those things he does that really messes with your mind. He says you can’t really prepare for collapse, not if you’re an educated person with the leisure time and resources that have enabled you to become collapse-aware. You can’t doanything. What is necessary is to become someone else, someone who isn’t privileged but is living hand to mouth, struggling on the margins, a hobo even. And such people know nothing about the predicament “we” face (sorry, Morocco), yet are already accustomed to hardship.

  • Max, long before climate change (the planet has been warming for centuries and for millennia since the last ice age, of course, and humans for millennia have been impacting local and regional microclimates) gets the bottom 99%+ of us, the banksters and their police-state and client gov’t war machine will destroy the existing mass-consumer division of labor and system of debt-money credits, the social welfare sate, and income and purchasing for the vast majority of us.

    The banksters literally want it all, and since ’08, and with the assistance of the debt-money printing press they own at the Fed, they’re going to get it all.

    Consequently, for the first time in human history, we have today a de facto militarist-imperialist, rentier-oligarchic corporate-state dictatorship complete with a growing surveillance and police-state apparatus from which there is no hiding nor escaping.

    Welcome to the machine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnzaykWhlXs

    We’ve been here before. We were warned. We were not allowed to know. What we don’t know won’t hurt us, you understand.



    “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.”

    – Benito Mussolini

    From George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four”

    Part 3, Chapter 3, excerpts:

    “The proletarians will never revolt, not in a thousand years or a million. They cannot. I do not have to tell you the reason: you know it already. … There is no way in which the Party can be overthrown. The rule of the Party is for ever. Make that the starting-point of your thoughts.’ He came closer to the bed. For ever! he repeated. … You understand well enough how the Party maintains itself in power. Now tell me why we cling to power. What is our motive? Why should we want power? Go on, speak, he added as Winston remained silent.

    Winston … knew in advance what O’Brien would say. That the Party … sought power because men in the mass were frail cowardly creatures who could not endure liberty or face the truth, and must be ruled over and systematically deceived by others who were stronger than themselves. … That the party was the eternal guardian of the weak, a dedicated sect doing evil that good might come…

    Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. … We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me? …

    You know the Party slogan: ‘Freedom is Slavery.’ Has it ever occurred to you that it is reversible? Slavery is freedom. … The second thing for you to realize is that power is power over human beings. Over the body but, above all, over the mind. … How does one man assert his power over another, Winston? Winston thought. By making him suffer, he said.

    Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? … A world of fear and treachery is torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress towards more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy, everything.

    Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. … There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. … If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — for ever. The espionage, the betrayals, the arrests, the tortures, the executions, the disappearances will never cease. It will be a world of terror as much as a world of triumph. … That is the world that we are preparing, Winston.”

    They’ve won. The future has arrived: a civilization based on fear and hatred; a world of terror; war without end; empire and triumphalism; no trust, no wives, no children, and no friends; boots stamping on faces; progress of increasing pain; and a Hobbesian “war of all against all”.

    And who created this world unfit for humans and non-humans alike? We did, you and I. All 7 billion of us acting upon our evolutionary programming, the force of desire and will to power, and procreative imperatives.

    We have met our creator and our destroyer, s/he who created the world in our image, and s/he is us. We are the cause of our suffering and its ending. If a person or civilization is suicidal, there is very little one can do to prevent it.

    “Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.”

    — Toynbee

  • Arthur Johnson, I know all about the Dark Mountain project, and this website is listed there. So far, they haven’t published any of my writing, but we’re coming from the same dark place.

  • Nice antidote to stuff i’ve been hearing/reading all day, Catherine Austin Fitts telling host Bonnie Faulkner on KPFA’s Guns and Butter http://www.kpfa.org/archives/ (look under today’s date, it’s at 1PM PDT) that everything in the future will be provided in people’s garages by 3D printers supplied by “composite materials,” that oil will be replaced by high intensity solar, and maybe even free energy and cars running on water, and materials will be supplied via mining the Moon, Mars,…. Or Zero Hedge featuring an article by Charles Hugh Smith which includes comments by his friend Marc likewise invoking 3D printers and home delivery via automated gas-electric trucks, and downplaying the idea of Peak Oil induced collapse. “It’s gonna be alright” intones the mighty Wurlitzer. Thanks, Guy!!

  • Hello there!

    I came across your blog about a month ago & reading here has sparked some interesting internal dialogue. I would not call myself a ‘doomer’ or a ‘prepper’, but more of a realist. Once your eyes are opened to the world around you, they cannot be shut. I can accept what is happening in our world, as I have already had my psyche and heart torn apart trying to fight it, or at least trying to feel useful in making some kind of difference. I think that is actually quite common for artist types, of which I am.

    My dilemma is I have small children. Three of them under the age of five, to be exact. A while back there was a thread where folks here were discussing how they are “preparing” for collapse and it really made me think, though above mentioned little ones keep me from joining many discussions. Anyway, I decided that there is not much I can do, except to remain resilient and adaptable to change. I figured my life has been hard enough, and if it has prepared me for anything, it is change, as it seems to have been in constant upheaval. But I worry about the little ones. There seem to be some very smart people in this community and several medical professionals, so I want to ask something kind of specific.
    My son, 4 1/2 yo, has SEVERE environmental allergies, asthma, and SEVERE food allergies/anaphylaxis. We nearly lost him last summer after exposure to food allergen, and we are in a constant battle with the allergies year round. He just started pre-school, and already caught a cold, which led to lung infection. So, I guess my question is, how do you prepare for upheaval with medically fragile children? He qualifies for medicaid, but when I see the actual cost of his meds, i.e.. epi-pens, steroid inhalers, albuterol inhalers, nebulizer treatments, various antihistamines, nasal sprays, it is simply outrageous. And scary, because we have tried letting him go without any meds for periods of time, due to severe side effects, but I’m telling you, that verdant valley turning to dust in a few years is our reality.
    We live in Rapid City, SD and with the heat/extreme drought, we live in a dust bowl that is ready to catch fire. Our grass dried up and blew away. It is very windy here, and we get all of the wildfire smoke from out west. We have frequent air quality alerts, like today, but I feel the standards are pretty low, because I often see/smell smoke in the mornings, but find no reliable info on air quality. I try to play it safe, as I also have asthma, and my 1 1/2 y/o seems to have developed a hacking cough when we go out to play. It has been the first summer I have spent indoors :( I’m from Alaska, so I know cabin fever. Far worse when it is due to heat/bad air.
    Also, the few things we are able to plant (we rent a house) really suffered, no matter how much water/fertilizer we utilized. We could not keep up with tomatoes last summer, this summer there were none, save for a few which some were the size of a pea! Zucchini we planted next to the neighbors abandoned house did fine in 1/2 day sun, though stopped producing in extreme heat. Things feel in chaos as last year was complete flood conditions all spring and summer. But we had almost no snow cover and it was 75 on January 2. I knew that grass wasn’t going to survive. So…I am at a loss as to why many people haven’t ‘woken up’. Villages in Northern Alaska have been suffering the effects of global warming, receding ice, melting permafrost, for at least 15 years, but people in the south central part of the state are glib about it because of their cold summers and record snow.
    Sad and scary times. I really want to take the rest of my savings and take my children on a road trip to see some of the national parks. Would that be selfish of me?

    @Capella nice post. Are you familiar with the artist Joseph Beuys? Post WWII, I believe he dealt with many issues we are facing now, and as a whole, post war/post holocaust Germany did as well. I think that is why at least part of your country is more mature when facing the current state of the planet. No offense to the great usa, of course! haha…

  • Morocco, it was a reference to your earlier protestation about using the groupthink “we.” :)

  • http://www.zazzle.com/soylent_green_dark_long_sleeve_tee-235385141137774734


    Bama, et al., there is one resource on the planet that is in abundance, and on which the human species could rely for quite some time. It might take a creative marketing and advertising campaign to sell the resource, however. But it is a democratic resource, as it is of, by, and for the people.

    The best thing is that it’s PETA approved! For people who love people.


    I can see it now, a new political party for the people.

    For the sake of my fellow worthless gobblers, I’d be happy to sell my aging carcass for my fellow human and non-human creatures. I can’t promise that I taste like chicken, buy one must make sacrifices in these cases.

  • Bama, fascism is much further evolved than in Il Duce’s or Herr Hitler’s day. There is no need for a charismatic dictator, although it helps to sell the system to the masses. Obummer is a good example, of course.

    The dictatorship is of the owners of the militarist-imperialist, hierarchical, command-and-control corporate-state, and it has a friendly face, unless you’re an Iraqi, Afghan, enemy combatant against empire, etc.

    Eventually the top 25-100 US corporations will be “the economy”, if not already, leaving the rest of us outside the fortified ramparts of the impenetrable corporate-state fortress.

  • Human extinction by 2030? But that’s when my Social Security payments begin! ;)

  • As Slavoj Zizek sez: “Resistance Is Surrender”


    The first time I read this my mouth fell open. Zizek “out-Foucaults Foucault” with regard to power and resistance.

    He’s a weird guy, a Catholic Marxist, and an outlandish thinker.

    Now, about Rapid City South Dakota. Lived there, done that. One of the more conservative places in the U.S. Remember the folks in Montana that held off the BTF for a while, claiming their own country? I was surprised that didn’t happen in RC. Tell me, is Bill Napoli still a state senator?

    I have some nursing professor colleagues still there. I keep in touch only irregularly. I know that one would like to come up here, but she tells me that her parents on the farm in SD couldn’t go on without her. I should email her and see if the farm has blown away. I remember in 2003 the temperature in the center of the state somewhere a bit north of Pierre (pronounced “peer”) reached 123 degrees and all the crops and hay died, plus most of the livestock.

    My advice: Go back to Alaska. It might even be better for your son with his allergies. I just prepared a lecture for Friday for my students that uses asthma as the example of a disease that will skyrocket with climate change.

    Allergies are a disease of civilization. Treatments will soon be unavailable. Hell, even health care will soon be unavailable. Better to leave civilization.

    Don’t resist. Just don’t play.

    No, maybe go to Whitehorse Yukon. One of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

  • That’s “ATF” not “BTF” It’s the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The people in Montana called themselves the “Freemen”

  • Martin Knight

    Regarding your comments about Dimity Orlov…

    Did you really need him to spell it out for you? Obviously it is what is left after all the superficial coating is removed as the theorised ‘Collapse’,(its here now), occurs that counts.

    What kind of relations do you and your family, or close cohabitors, have? Where do you get water, and how do you obtain food? What energy sources do you regularly use, and what back ups do you have as alternatives?

    Most people will rapidly go to wood burning as a backup. What signals do you give to strangers about your threat level? Are you a successful scrounger/scavenger for materials and yes food? Do you know common places to scavenge from? Do you know local and regional sites to have backups for scavenging materials and foods? If you have dependents, can they be managed and are they prepared?
    The list goes on and on and on….

    I have been progressing on this adaptation for about three years now, and my family and kids are now putting signs up in the front yard, disguised as being from local residents, criticising me for hoarding out of fear.I’m not afraid, just gatering stuff I’m using now.

    Orlov is essentially correct about the difference between experience and theory. Those living without the extras, or mainstays of Empire will naturally be far better adapted than those who merely are mentally prepared. No argument IMO.
    But it is all about what you think is a priority for today! I am not waiting for anyone to rescue me/us. DIY, and some colaboration may come.

    Some people, no a majority of people, will not understand, YET, what is going on with the scavenging thing nearby me, but who cares? I am endeavouring not to offend people, serve local support networks, and that means actualising the human scale gift community, and get some physical exercise by walking everywhere. There are times of doubts, yes, but that is par for any course a human embarks on somewhat outside the orbit of most neighbours life expectations.High functioning for me is activating sound intuition on how to proceed in situations that have potential for new links to people and activities that will be a long term support to me and my family and the rest of sentient life, not necessarily in that order of priority of importance.

    Some advice on scavenging. If in doubt IMO it is usually better to ask if something is owned, and if it is still needed. Also shaving, for men, helps with congenial discourse, but altogether unnecessary if you are a good discourser.

    A comment on adaptation and Empire:

    An aquaintence once expressed loathing of the person who invented the funnel, used for decanting liquids, and in the aquaintence’s case mostly engine oil. I was a bit puzzled so asked him to clarify. He said that because the inventor had solved that problem, of not spilling the valuable fluid, he no longer had the task of finding a solution to the problem. If we look as culture as in part, the handing on of solutions such as this example, to problems, then eventually the younger generations do not have to think for themselves because all of the major problems have beeen simply handed to them.

    I took his point, and in some ways this may explain why it is given out now that Hunter Gatherers in prehistoric times had bigger brains, measurably so, because they had to figure things out, often quicky, if it was friend or foe stuff.

    Soon our brains will be selected for the old survival skills, if we get to surviving very far.
    Live for taday, with an eye on tomorrow. See if that works….

  • I appreciate this so much, Guy. Right there with you.

  • “It’s alright, ma…it’s life and life only.” – Bob Dylan

    Now is all we have. Carpe diem. :)

  • @BadlandsAK

    Have a look at this site: Gaps.me

    It takes some reading and understanding, and then – acting, lots of acting.
    What we have experienced over here the past 2 months – this has incredible power to heal. And its “only” food we are using, true food this is, but.

    In case you want more information, I think Guy can provide my email for ya.

  • Guy “After all, we get to die. That simple fact alone is cause for celebration because it indicates we get to live.”
    There is no life without death so for all that find life worth living the fact that they die is the price they pay for that life. As you note it can well be considered a price worth paying. It also means they can’t keep anyone in Gitmo forever.

    Thought came to mind after reading your essay “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” For us in the first world it has been a time of comfort, a time we can pursue the joys of learning how the world works, a time when a world of knowledge and interactions opened up to us over the web, a time when some progress has been made on accepting people different from us. And of course a time when we have to witness our own self destruction. For many it is just plain “the worst of times”, for the 1 billion born into poverty of less than $1 a day, for the people who live their whole lives on garbage dumps, for children sold into slavery, the child soldiers of Uganda, and no “best of times” in their future. For them death means “we get to stop living”

    So sad the wise ape, the intelligent ape, could not do better. Ah well it was always the case that life on earth and the planet itself would end. The demise comes a little earlier than expected, unnecessarily earlier, but perhaps as Dilworth proposes we were always “Too smart for our own good, and too dumb to do anything about it” so the end may quite necessarily be now.

  • OzMan,

    Once again I regret my limited participation on this blog. To avoid further misunderstanding, let me make my position plain. I am making no preparations for collapse at all. Nothing.

  • You have good insight, MB, and I say that as one who is not a flatterer. Indeed, I try to show my respect for people by not flattering them. You would be amazed how often this turns out to be a bad idea.

    Since I am placing things on record, I would also like it to be known that I own several funnels, all of them quality items, some of them specialist tools for laboratory procedures or filtering kerosene into stoves. I like to think ownership of them confers a measure of self-reliance rather than shrinks my brain. The artefacts of industrial civilisation all embody a conundrum: like alcohol they are both the cause of, and solution to, life’s problems.

  • Occasionally……. one will receive an email that stuns. This was one of them, from Dr Graham Turner.

    Dear Chris, Len, and all,

    In the 10 years since the CSIRO work you mention (Future Dilemmas), that modelling has been enlarged and extended – by a diminishing number of colleagues including myself. In particular, it was clearly important to search for solutions using our `stocks and flows’ simulation applied to the problems identified in the Future Dilemmas.

    What follows is a summary of my personal reflections; they should not be interpreted as representing the views of CSIRO.

    In brief, this recent work strongly confirms Chris’ observations. And I think it has implications for the system design (as opposed to system modelling) perspective in Richard Mochelle’s reply.

    In the latest modelling, while I didn’t specify a steady-state economy (SSE) as an outcome, this is what effectively resulted from my attempts to lower GHG emissions, ease oil constraints and other environmental pressures, while keeping the economy functioning. But there are immense challenges, as outlined below, which I believe make the SSE outcome extremely unlikely.

    For a reference:

    Turner, G. M. (2011) Consumption and the Environment: Impacts from a System Perspective. In Landscapes of Urban Consumption (Ed, Newton, P. W.), pp.51-70, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.

    and have some PPT presentations that summarise it. (Several of my other projects and publications find similar outcomes, even though they focus on different topics and details.)

    On a side note relevant to the 1st of Chris’ points below, this work was an off-shoot of simpler work in 2010 for the Immigration Department looking (again) at the environmental and resource implications of different immigration (and population) levels. The Department eventually released that report, after months had passed, and after the Population Issues Paper. It was released on the 23rd December 2010. Not surprisingly it received little attention. There were other interesting aspects to the handling of this work; Mark O’Connor has generally documented these well in a piece for The Drum website.

    But back to content…

    While the modelling showed that it is technically feasible to achieve the SSE or to approach sustainability, there are important caveats. Even with my background as a technologist (applied physics) many of the technological assumptions I made were rather heroic; and of particular note, a reliance on imported oil was not eliminated.

    But (putting these caveats aside for a moment) what was striking was the immensity and rapidity of change required. Population had to be stabilised (zero net immigration & 1.6 births/female); multiple substantial technological/engineering schemes had to be implemented simultaneously; consumption rates had to be substantially reduced; and most importantly, the working week had to diminish to 3-days by 2050.

    I would judge that nothing short of a true social and political revolution (i.e., probably a “painful” process) would be required all these necessary changes. Feasible in principle? Yes. Likely? No.

    And this is just for Australia. We can’t ignore the global context, and particularly the issue of oil constraints.

    This has hit home even more strongly for me when I recently updated my comparison of the original 1970’s Limits to Growth scenario modelling with almost 40 years of data (from 1970 to 2010). This is published in:

    Turner, G. M. (2012). On the cusp of global collapse? Updated comparison of the Limits to Growth with historical data. GAiA, 21(2), 116-124.


    Essentially, we are still tracking on the `business-as-usual’ scenario, which sees a collapse occur through resource constraint. What is alarming, is that the key mechanism for the collapse, and the timing, appear to be playing out. It is not that resources (particularly, oil) run out at all, but that they become increasingly difficult to extract. This has the effect that the industrial system, services and agriculture are not adequately supported and output begins to collapse, followed by population.

    In the model – and contrary to common understanding – this doesn’t happen some decades away, but at about 2015. Overall, the BAU scenario has rather startling alignment with contemporary events.

    While we can never be certain, I don’t think that we can simply dismiss this as coincidence; too many of the ducks line up. There is a real prospect a collapse has effectively begun (but will it pan out as modelled, especially the timing?).

    This does not mean that we should lose hope, become despondent and chuck it all in. On this point, I agree with Richard Mochelle: “do what we think OUGHT to be done, what MUST be done”. Unfortunately, surely certain wealthy miners agree with this approach but with much different aims?

    Based on the research, I believe it’s time to create as many “lifeboats” as possible, in order to leap into these if necessary. In many on-the-ground ways this probably has much in common with a greenleap into a sustainable future. But the difference is likely to be that lifeboats depend more on bottom-up decentralised local initiatives. A focus on local food, water, energy, and social systems, right down to the household level. This is where I remain hopeful.

    Best wishes,


  • Heading to downtown Philly to protest the fracking industry conference there (trying to convince our legislators that “all is well, it’ll be cheap, safe and plentiful.” Where have we heard that canard before?
    Oh, right nuclear energy. Welcome to the new Fukushima of PA unless we stop this industry from ruining our only source of potable water. As with the nuke industry, where they dispose of the waste (which in this case can’t be processed to get the toxic chemicals out so it can be used as drinking water once again)? Are they dumping it into streams, lakes and rivers? Are they storing it in vast containers which will erode in time? This must stop!

  • Morocco,

    Why do you think the Dark Mountain Project is a farce. Have you taken the time to read the Manifesto, and Paul Kingsnorth’s piece “Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist”?

  • MB you wrote “have to laugh at The Dark Mountain Project thing. Right up to the very end, this compulsion to engender exclusivity and elitism in all things….even The End. ”

    That makes three things we now agree on :) or is it 4

  • Somehow I am reminded of the great cartoon – Turf war on 49th Street

    Two people are standing at a corner holding signs – one says “The End of the World is near for Religious Reasons” and the other “The End of the World is near for Ecological Reasons”

    But if the end of the world is near and the end cannot be stopped, who cares.

  • But even more than that I am reminded of this cartoon.

    Business man talking to colleagues – So while the end of the world will be rife with unimaginable horrors, the pre-end period will be filled with unprecedented opportunities for profit

    I note that “The full text of the manifesto is below. You can also buy an elegantly designed, numbered and hand-stitched physical copy, made by our friends at Bracketpress in Lancashire.” Why in dog’s name would anyone want a numbered hand-stitched pamphlet when in 18 per Guy or 38 per Arctic News the human race will be extinct.

    Time to take the extinction of the human race a bit more seriously than joining Dark Mountain at say level 4 “LEVEL FOUR: £100 or more a year. As well as the book, the newsletter and the event invitation, we will list your name in the next Dark Mountain book and/or on our website. (If you prefer to be anonymous, though, just let us know.)” Clearly they are not taking the future facing humans seriously at all. EXTINCTION means that it – no more humans to collect things, buy things, make money, take pleasure at seeing their name in a book, donate, read things, value things, enjoy things, suffer. Done, finished, over – well unless there are aliens who come and examine the stuff we leave after the radiation from 400 Fukushimas settles down.

  • Morocco Bama

    I’m told authors greatly desire to have their books purchased for public libraries because there is a royalty paid for every borrowing of them, and it means the book that is in a library has not only paid its way by being purchased, but also keeps on giving withevery reader/borrower. So you may well be getting them richer. Not sure if this applies entirly throughout the world, but North America may have other rules.

  • Martin Knight: Indeed, I try to show my respect for people by not flattering them. You would be amazed how often this turns out to be a bad idea.

    Thanks for the laugh out loud moment this morning! :-)

  • Kathy C, enjoyed the cartoon you shared. Here’s a classic Peanuts from yesterday’s paper that is more inline with my own personal philosophy of late:


  • Dr. House – thanks. Good philosophy for sure.!

  • Martin Knight

    Multiple funnel ownership noted.

    I think my point generally with that anecdote was that if as an individual, and aperhaps a cohort of young people, you have never really had to solve critical, or at least advantage providing problems, as a general rule, you are less adapted to doing so, and in a time where adaptation is needed, as well as using less of everything, the individual or group that has little experience is less able to self provide.
    Another good example is how the internet has changed academic scholarship. It has had many consequences, I’ll grant, but this particular one is the now widespread process of ‘copy and paste’, instead of study, think, and having learnt, research and think and write. I’m not suggesting that all in academia and its processes were always sacrosanct and pure and perfect, however, in the past you had to pay a lot of money to cheat essays, and lecturerers and prof’s were pretty in your face and knew the capacities of students they had had for a while.
    Now the PROBLEMS to be solved are how to copy and paste, and seamlessly segue, and not get detected, which itself might be easier now too, it depends on faculty, etc.
    Problems that impact on survival were where the brain size issue really came up. So I suppose I conflated the idea of advantage, in a financial sense, (inventions can bring wealth), and survival.

    Why are you making no changes whatsoever about collapse? There is no right thing to do, even if collapse is immanent IMO. So do you have a reason you can share as to your stated non-other-activities re collapse? I’m always interested to hear others views, they all help IMO.

  • Kathy C

    “Done, finished, over – well unless there are aliens who come and examine the stuff we leave after the radiation from 400 Fukushimas settles down.”

    Now you’re talking!

  • Regarding DM.

    I thought the manifesto was brilliant. Nobody else had brought attention to the emphasis on story, as a cultural, psychological, personal vector.

    So, I wanted to assist in any way I could, so I wrote something, emailed it, and they published it in DM 2.

    Since then, I discovered that ‘things’ did not develop in the way I had hoped and anticipated. ( instead of climbing Mount Kailash so to speak, it went downhill, hahahaha ) Someone recently mentioned the Light Valley. An alternative vision.

    You need to remember the time factor. DM originated from nothing, several years ago. I’ve been on the internet since the mid 90s. At that time I only found about six people who had a clue. Zerzan was one, Prieur another. I shan’t mention the other names. There’s been a long, slow, build up of awareness. Sure, it’s elitist and I could hack it to pieces on many other grounds, and feel entitled and tempted to do so. But it is what it is, just one vehicle to which a certain section of soceity can respond. Relative to the whole spectrum out there, most are worse.

    But then you folks here should be sorry about that, instead of preening your moral superiority, because the reason it became what it now is, is because they don’t know what to do. Or, what else to do.

    Does anyone here know what to do ?

  • The way I see you, MB. The guy with the beard.

  • Kathy C, the Arctic Methane Emergency Group predics extinction of all life on Earth, not merely humans, by 2047.

    My name appears on ten books. I receive small royalty checks, but none of those royalties are related to library loans. Rather, they all result from direct sales.

  • In the United States, libraries do not pay a royalty each time a book is checked out. The royalty is included in the initial, one-time cost of the book (the same as when an individual purchases a book). It appears that the practice varies depending on the country (for example, from my brief non-thorough research just now, UK libraries seem to pay a royalty each time a book is checked out).

    I found a useful overview on how authors make money here:
    (note that this is a different Jennifer, not me.)

  • Violence ? What violence ? There’s no violence in the video !
    You must be hallucinating, or is it your usual paranoia ?
    It’s not a bar, it’s a martial arts club.
    I laugh all the time. I find you most amusing. Thanks for being such a clown.

  • Is this “off topic”?
    I think it illuminates a specific avenue of resistance to the forces which make life into abominations.
    Humor me, please, I’m just a biological life-form…

    Monsanto’s Smoke Screen

    Misinformed by “Science”,

    There are a lot of pictures of deformed albino Sprague-Dawley lab rats popping up over the past 2-3 days. Those kinds of pictures are easy to come by.
    What is really going on?
    Monsanto had to fund scientific studies to “prove” that it’s GM corn/maize varieties were “safe” for human and animal consumption in OECD member countries.
    So firstly, the intent of these studies is clear. The intent of these studies is to find no fault, no metabolic danger to living organisms.
    Monsanto has done this dance before, and knows how to do it. It is general knowledge, anyway. It is a very common dance. Industry funds most of this research, and funds the researchers who provide the desired results most reliably. I’m not jaded. I’ve been involved in physiologic research studies on lab rats for years in college and med school. I’ve had long discussions with researchers, often about other researchers, and methodologies used, tossing out a couple of bad data points to get where you need to be, things like that. My critical reading of medical and physiological research has generally led me to conclude that 80-90% of published, peer-reviewed research is totally-biased-crap, meant to prove dome predetermined “fact”.
    In order to justify conclusions, researchers are supposed to reveal all raw data and all statistical methods of analysis. This is Greek to most readers.
    Let’s look at how Monsanto stacked this data in their own favor.
    Yes, this is ALL Monsanto data we are discussing, and it is 12 years old, and it has been kept secret, pried out by Greenpeace lawsuits and such.
    We only have Monsanto data to talk about here, but now, after more than a decade, the raw data and methods are available for review.

    Toxic effects show up more over longer times, with more animals to look at, with higher doses of the toxins, and with more tests, to look at more specific types of acute and chronic change in physiology.

    As Monsanto I want studies with shorter time frames, fewer animals fed my corn, animals fed lower doses of my corn (maybe give some of my corn to the control group, by not genetically analyzing their feed, so they are secretly more similar to the test groups), and I don’t want to do very many liver or kidney or sex hormone tests, and I don’t want to do them very often, and I want to end the whole study well before cancer has a chance to start, or “long-term-toxicity” can kick in.

    Mission Accomplished!
    Monsanto bought study protocols that really only had 10 rats in each group fed specific GM corn products. With 10 rats per group, you just can’t find anything but high frequency effects. They only fed a maximum of 33% GM corn to any group, and the lower dose was 11%. There were very large groups of hundreds of rats used as various sorts of controls, so the study looks better with hundreds of rats, but they were not the ones in the test-groups, so it is fluff. The lack of rigor in defining the diets of some “control group” rats left open the possibility to mix some of the study maize into their feed, while nobody was looking, and that was all the time. Nobody looked. there was no genetic analysis of the feed given to the most general control group.
    This information never formally existed, but if I were a crooked researcher, I would have spiked the feed of the control groups at night with the same GM corn that I was giving the experimental groups. Monsanto knows how to get what they pay for, right?
    The small groups of test-group rats at low feeding concentrations only got to participate for a maximum of 3 months, then Game Over. Long term toxic effects were specifically excluded from the short term study, but the conclusion was that the GM corn was safe in long term use for billions of humans and animals. “Science”.
    Evidence of cancer was excluded by the very short term and by not looking for any cancer or tumor markers. Check!
    Evidence of teratogenicity was excluded by strictly avoiding pregnancy and not even looking at any reproductive hormone levels.
    The final firewall was the statistical techniques used.
    How can you justify a safety conclusion on such a small dose, small cohort, short time study group, which you checked so few things on?
    You just say it’s so, and hide all your records.
    That worked until Monsanto lost the court cases. Monsanto just lied about the statistics.
    If your design gives a 70% chance that you will fail to find major toxicity, and you don’t find it, then you just say you did a careful study, and it wasn’t there and the data is proprietary. Check!

    What can the very limited raw data reveal about the few rats fed low concentrations of 3 GM corn varieties for 3 months, and tested as little as possible?
    The 3 GM corn varieties are prefaced by NK, which is “Roundup Ready” and therefore contains traces of “roundup”, as well as 2 MO (Monsanto) prefaced varieties, containing the Bt toxin and a never-seen-before-in-the-living-world “novel Bt” toxin. These are pesticide toxins derived from Bacillis Thuringiensis, which makes them as part of it’s daily chores in the world.
    The novel Bt is really something to look at closely, but not for Monsanto… Cows abort when eating Bt feed, we now know, but this study stays completely away from that whole realm. A lot of the suspicion rests on these inseparable pesticide contents of these GM corn varieties, but not all of the suspicion, because these are not necessarily the only “improvements”, just the obvious ones.

    I will not give a blow-by-blow breakdown for each feed group, but there were sex differences and dose differences and time differences in pretty much all groups, despite efforts to ignore them by study design. There were liver and kidney effects all around, sometimes more for males, sometimes females. There were suggestions of reduced cardiac muscle mass, possibly overall muscle decrease (not looked at) in the Roundup Ready group, which could be due to eating a little Roundup. Some of the Bt rats showed some liver changes associated with diabetes, and gained weight, but liver enzyme studies which might show signs of liver inflammation were strictly avoided. there were kidney effects which raised the possibility of renal toxicity, and showed different grouped levels of toxins excreted by the kidneys. These feeds really seemed to have different effects on the kidneys, and on male and female kidneys, but tests for early kidney damage, such as protein leakage into the urine, were avoided.
    Some of these groups definitely gained more weigh than others.
    Sorry, beyond the scope of the study. Who cares?
    Obviously, a proper statistical analysis of the expertly-constrained data reveals nothing reassuring about even short term effects of these GM corn varieties. It points to differences in metabolic effect from each variety, even with just a few rats to look at for a short time, and totally avoids looking at birth defects, intergenerational issues, different species, and even cancer and long-term toxicity.
    Monsanto got what they paid for, even if they had to slide some extra loot under the table.
    It is not enough to justify their GM corn existing in the world at all, let alone being fed to any other organism.
    In America, you can’t legally find out if it is in your Fritos, tortillas or popcorn.
    It’s illegal to tell you that.
    It’s probably pretty hard for companies to even know that about the lots they buy.
    Don’t ask, don’t tell…

    Who is going to do the studies that need to be done, which would take over a decade to really do properly?
    Will this stuff be taken off the market pending the proper studies, as actually required by regulators, but never done?

    Here is the reanalysis of Monsanto’s raw data and techniques. It’s dense, but it isn’t bullshit.
    It’s French…


  • Over the last six months or so I’ve been trying to wrap my psyche around the inevitability of human extinction in the next hundred years (if not sooner) and smashing my head against a brick wall of nihilism. The Slovenian philosopher Zizek maintains that genuine atheists must first pass through Christianity, because in Christianity the paternal sky god falls into his creation as a miserable human being only to get himself tortured and whacked by his beloved creatures. Thus Christianity, according to Zizek, is the true death-of-god religion. Now we have come full circle, from the death of divinity to the death of humanity, along with most of the other organisms on this planet. For those who embraced either a religious or secular theology of hope and believed that eventually we would build a better world, that we would rid ourselves of the psychopaths in power, that we would morally evolve and enter into a more empathic relationship with all life forms, the apocalyptic failure of this vision leaves us in a very dark existential void. How do we ascribe meaning to our omnicide? How can there be a moral imperative to resist, if there are no moral imperatives? Assuming moral postures against the homicidal system which has sustained us, at this point, seems like a psychological tactic to avoid the full realization of what we have done. So, the answer to the question about what we should do is that it doesn’t matter because now, whether one knows it or not, we are all condemned to nothingness.

  • Close, but no cigar, MB. Mine is more noble, dreadlocked and pale blue. I kid you not.

  • “So, the answer to the question about what we should do is that it doesn’t matter because now, whether one knows it or not, we are all condemned to nothingness.

    Wonderful insightful comment, depressive lucidity.

    I wonder, if there is a difference between people who do nothing, knowing the situation, and people who do nothing, not knowing the situation ?

    Bit like Zizek’s ‘Coffee without milk is not the same as coffee without cream’.

  • Does anyone here know what to do ?

    What the cartoon posted by Dr. House says, that’s what you do. But what you don’t do is elegant denial. Something like the elegant way Romney meant to say that 1/2 of all Americans are freeloaders

    So obey your funny bone and click on Colbert http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/419186/september-18-2012/mitt-romney-s-secret-video?xrs=eml_col

  • Finding balance in a tilted world…

    To blame the poor for subsisting on welfare has no justice unless we are also willing to judge every rich member of society by how productive he or she is. Taken individual by individual, it is likely that there’s more idleness and abuse of government favors among the economically privileged than among the ranks of the disadvantaged. -Norman Mailer, author (1923-2007)

  • Mike Stasse: That email is an absolute jaw-dropping stunner, alright. Mind if I spread it around? It represents an another academic seeing the conclusions from the data and not denying it. A true scientist. I’m humbled.

    I stopped publishing my philosophical papers because I realized it was useless. We’re down to biology now – species and DNA survival level. Here we are, lucky to be here at the end of all life on earth (except the extremeophiles, my heroes).

    But look, this brings us back to philosophy! Thanks for your input, depressive lucidity. The philosophical question we’re running smack dab into right now is:

    How are you going to live your personal life in the face of what we now know is going to happen soon?

    As people have posted, individuals and groups have made different decisions on this question. Some decided to make money on it. Some decided to quit civilization and live apart until the end. Some want to keep fighting the System in a myriad of ways. As it becomes more clear, some will descend into the worst kind of hedonism. Some think they can stop it; think they have a moral duty to stop it.

    Wasn’t there a Far Side cartoon where two guys in a boat, fishing, see a huge mushroom cloud on the horizon? One guy says to the other: “I’ll tell you what this means, Bob. It means no license and screw the limit!” or something like that.

    Everyone will respond differently. Me? Knowing it’s almost over? Knowing there’s nothing I can possibly do to change that? If life came from somewhere else, some time in the future, would they know we were here and we screwed up badly? Some of Jack McDevitt’s novels deal with this situation.

    Rocks will still be here, right? How do we know of ancient civilizations here on earth? By rocks. Could we leave a message? I don’t know, but I’m beginning to wonder.

    The bad news of my day is that last night a bear broke into my orchard (the only one WITHOUT a wildlife exclusion fence) and DESTROYED one of my pear trees. Broke off all the branches and stomped on them. Mutilated the other pear tree. Ate all the apples off one tree. Then left, scraping off some hair on the barbed wire. So I’m calling the fence guy and spending another few K on more fence. Damn.

  • I read a sci-fi book quite a few years ago – I believe by Greg Bear – in which a physicist discovered that some xenophobic alien life form had dropped a singularity into the core of Earth. The originally minuscule singularity was growing in size exponentially and would soon devour the planet. The scientists were able to predict when the black hole would eventually lead to literal collapse of the earth’s crust, thereby ending all life.

    While I wasn’t terribly impressed with the author’s idea of how various segments of humanity dealt with their ultimate demise, there was the usual “what can we do” and “we must do something” discussions – very similar to those found here, actually.

    But, in the case of this book, people realized rather quickly that there was no time left to do anything other than kiss their loved ones goodbye.

    It seems to be human nature to “have to do something” in the face of imminent demise. In fact, more than one commenter here has stated that morality demands that we “do something”. Others have implied that not “doing something”, even with the full knowledge that it won’t help, is a flaw of character (as evidenced by the “quitter” comment Guy referenced). And yet, with all that posturing, no one – not a single person – has come up with a credible plan of action that will lead to any substantive change in the outcome – for any life form, human or otherwise.

    I will admit that the possibility exists that the interpretation of the data could be wrong and that climate change is not going to be as catastrophic as predicted. I will also admit that the data might be wrong and the earth really can sustain 10 or 12 billion people. I’m willing to concede that we might be underestimating the ability of the oceans to adapt to lower pH. I’ll also acknowledge that all the data concerning oil production and EROEI might be flawed and we’ll go on increasing production for centuries to come. I might admit that somehow we can survive 400+ nuclear reactor meltdowns. I might even admit that the infinite credit economy we’ve created, all the pollution we’re producing, and all the other resources we’re stripping away might somehow be mitigated by some as yet unforeseen technological miracle. . . .

    Wait a minute. No I won’t. It’s over. It just a matter of when.

    So, as I and others have said many times: Want to do something? Live each day as if it were your last, love those around you, live life to the fullest.

  • Some decided to quit civilization and live apart until the end. Some want to keep fighting the System in a myriad of ways.

    That’s me, fwiw. Not a lot. Just means I can lay on my deathbed with some self-respect.
    I figured out the right and wrong as a kid. I have made mistakes, but never compromised, never been part of ‘the System’.

  • I will admit that the possibility exists that the interpretation of the data could be wrong and that climate change is not going to be as catastrophic as predicted. I will also admit that the data might be wrong and the earth really can sustain 10 or 12 billion people. I’m willing to concede that we might be underestimating the ability of the oceans to adapt to lower pH. I’ll also acknowledge that all the data concerning oil production and EROEI might be flawed and we’ll go on increasing production for centuries to come. I might admit that somehow we can survive 400+ nuclear reactor meltdowns. I might even admit that the infinite credit economy we’ve created, all the pollution we’re producing, and all the other resources we’re stripping away might somehow be mitigated by some as yet unforeseen technological miracle. . . .

    That’s a really good synopsis. Of course, a lot more could be added.

    But it strikes me, there’s another big factor. That is, that MOST people alive don’t know that stuff, don’t know it matters either way, and that even when they DO know it, what then ? They shrug, or if they are shocked into caring, by thinking about their children, whatever, isolated individuals are rather powerless, and trying to organise cooperative mass action…. well, we see it all the time, from the French Revolution all the way to OWS….

    I mean, in a science fiction sort of way, it’s be possible to think up numerous imaginative strategies for changing the course of events. But how to put them into effect ?

  • Thanks for your comments BC Nurse Prof. Doing philosophy in the face of the inevitable helps me cope with the day-to-day task of fitting into the crowd. My personal challenge has been to maintain my composure in the midst of people who are totally programmed by the system and who vigorously resist anything that challenges their indoctrination (i.e. their false sense of emotional security).

    After everything is said and done, the terminal and irreversible nature of our situation will force some people to finally disconnect from the Matrix Candy Land of Capitalist Delusions and face the mystery of why we are here. Why were we born into a generation that will see, at least the beginning, of the end of the human phenomenon? How/Why we became so destructive and blind? I’m not suggesting that answers to such questions exist, only that we have the extremely rare opportunity to confront them in a raw and imminent way. For those who are not married to reductive materialism, there may be great spiritual value to just stand in the shadow of these Questions without resorting to our usual tricks of evasion and distraction.

    Or, we can go shopping at Target secure in the expectation that Godot is on his way with a bag of cosmic panaceas to save us from ourselves.

  • “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution!”

  • Aaaah :-) Godot ! My all-time favourite…. So glad you mentioned that, dl.
    I’d just love to walk into that set in real life and spend time with those guys….
    I’ve spent long periods in Welsh public houses where the conversation was remarkably similar, but who was the playwright ? God ? Nature ? Culture ? Beer ?


  • VLADIMIR: Was I sleeping, while the others suffered? Am I sleeping now? Tomorrow, when I wake, or think I do, what shall I say of today? That with Estragon my friend, at this place, until the fall of night, I waited for Godot? That Pozzo passed, with his carrier, and that he spoke to us? Probably. But in all that what truth will there be? He’ll know nothing. He’ll tell me about the blows he received and I’ll give him a carrot. Astride of a grave and a difficult birth. Down in the hole, lingeringly, the grave digger puts on the forceps. We have time to grow old. The air is full of our cries. But habit is a great deadener. At me too someone is looking, of me too someone is saying, He is sleeping, he knows nothing, let him sleep on. I can’t go on! What have I said?


    VLADIMIR: You have a message from Mr. Godot.

    BOY: Yes Sir.

    VLADIMIR: He won’t come this evening.

    BOY: No Sir.

    VLADIMIR: But he’ll come tomorrow.

    BOY: Yes Sir.

    VLADIMIR: Without fail.

    BOY: Yes Sir.

  • Samuel Beckett walking with a friend on a gorgeous day. The friend says,
    ‘It is a great day’. Beckett response; he agrees. The friend says, ‘A great day to be alive’. Beckett: ‘I wouldn’t go that far’.


  • In a new report entitled Gold: Adjusting For Zero, Deutsche Bank analysts Daniel Brebner and Xiao Fu paint an incredibly dark picture of the bind the global economy is in right now.

    Brebner and Xiao are pretty frank about how levered up the financial system is at the moment, and they warn that the next shock will be totally involuntary and unexpected.

    Read more at Business Insider.

  • It was always the case that each of us was going to become extinct. Its just that we always thought we wouldn’t be the last ones to go extinct.

    Perhaps WWIII is an easier future than burning up with climate change. So here is a bit of nuclear humor from a time when we were wisely more afraid of nuclear extinction. Tim Lehrer – we’ll all go together when we go.

  • Despite all the hardships they knew,
    People still try to pull through;
    Guess it’s some evolved drive
    To keep staying alive,
    Just something that animals do.

  • @BC Nurse Prof
    You noticed how conservative Rapid City is/was?! It is paradise compared to the place we moved from in the middle of the state! Funny that you mentioned moving back to Alaska as a way to help my son’s allergies/asthma, because when I moved from there about 7 yrs ago to attend grad school, I thought I was going to die from uncontrollable asthma/allergies, which I developed as an adult. Moving to South Dakota did away with those issues almost immediately. They are still present, though easily managed.
    Whitehorse is beautiful, and Alaska is always a possibility, though an expensive move. Oh, and you might be surprised how conservative it is there, too! They have their own militia types, but also a vibrant arts community to balance that out. You might guess who my ‘crowd’ is!
    We figure every place has its own set of issues. Here we can fill our freezer with trout from a lake right down the street. In Alaska, salmon runs are a disaster, and any fishing spot on the road system will get you nothing. It is expensive to hunt/fish there. Here, Mr. Badlands is getting ready to go deer hunting, and the forecast is still for 80 degrees, plus they have found disease in the populations where he hunts. So, we’ll see what happens. We love it here, but the difference one season makes…even though we have plenty of water running from the taps, the psychological burden of heat and no rain starts to create an underlying worry, which combined with all the other factors starts to feel like barely contained panic. But no time to panic when one has to tend to needs of others. For now we are going to ride it out, but have decided against buying a house here.

    Thank you for that info. I took a quick peek at the GAPS site, and will have to investigate further. It occurred to me that there was a vast difference in my 3 pregnancies, because I often wonder how my son got so unlucky with his health issues. I mean, my 1 1/2 yo daughter just had her first cold, and my 3 yo has only had a couple mild colds. All were breastfed for over a year. During my pregnancy with him, and for the following 6 months, I was on multiple rounds of antibiotics for recurrent infections, which turned out to be MRSA. Oh, and I was a vegetarian during his pregnancy. There could be many influencing factors. As I learned in art school, nothing is benign, and nothing is created in a void. So, I will read further and yes, I would definitely like to get in touch to hear your situation. Again, thank you so much.

  • Morocco Bama on September 19th, 2012 at 11:43 am sez: All the kids … were more interested in i-everything then they were in something as archaic and strenuous as Frisbee. I felt sad. My Dad never played anything with me, especially not something as unconventional as Frisbee, and here my children won’t play it with me either.

    Once connected, children are incompetent at being kids; don’t even know how to be happy and have fun; too scared they might miss some irrelevant piece of info transmitted through the air.

  • Morocco Bama, the so-called Great Recession wasn’t caused by banks, although they benefited financially. As with each economic recession since 1972, it was triggered by a spike in the price of oil (in this case, to $147.27/barrel).

    Arctic death spiral under way: Climate scientists and ice experts are now using phrases like “unprecedented”, “amazing”, “extreme”, “hard to exaggerate”, “incredibly fast”, “death spiral” and “heading for oblivion”.

    Those mainstream scientists wouldn’t be surprised if they spent a bit more time reading what I write. This is groupthink in action.

  • Guy, Morocco Bama,

    With the help of people like Bill Gates the next move in group-think by the scientific community could well be in support of geo-engineering. And why not? If they see species (ours) extinction in the cards they will grasp any straw available. Isn’t it possible that straw could be using technology to fix the ills that technology has brought us? The bastards!

    Michael Irving

  • Michael Irving, if the technological straw is created by Bill Gates, I would imagine it to be as perfect as his Windows operating system, no?

  • thanks for the intro to the beautiful katie melua, bc. i liked this soothing video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHQG6-DojVw&feature=relmfu

  • Thanks to Yorchichan…

    I have a calculation for the probability of assessing each card in a 52 card deck correctly for red or black in one consecutive sitting.

    1 / 495,918,532,948,104.
    A 1 in 495,918,532,948,104 chance of getting all 52 cards correct.

    As I mentioned to Yorchichan in our emails, I do not feel that this was a truely ‘predictive’ situation.

    My reasons for stating that are that as I sat and assessed each card I made that assessment and it was a real event in real time. Also the outcome of the deck being in sequence was predetermined, although entirely random, and each card was already either red or black, only no one was aware before the card was turned over in piles at the end. (..no one else but me, by virtue of my assessment) So to me nothing was predictive, it only seems that way from a mathematical probability calculation viewpoint.

    So no one be confused, I have no predictive ability. Scientifically, I was the one in 495,918,532,948,104 situation enactor. Truely, there should be no problem for a true scientist/mathematician to accept that.

    Now were I to attempt it again 22 years later, and having never done it since then, and do it again, with 52 out of 52 correct, then there would be something to write home about to the mothership…
    As I posted before, I’m not going to blow my average by trying.
    Probably not in optimal health righ now either, perhaps after I finnish walking around Australia I’ll chance it, I should be of optimal health by then… who knows?

  • Morocco,

    Since I don’t know the content of what Guy submitted, I can’t say why DMP didn’t publish it. But the eighth principle of Uncivilization may be relevant:

    “The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop. Together, we will find the hope beyond hope, the paths which lead to the unknown world ahead of us.”

    Guy’s claim that extinction of humans by 2030, and all life by 2050, is an absolutely certainty is a very clear expression that we’re facing, not TEOTWAWKI, but “the end of the world full stop”. This is fundamentally incompatible with principle eight. So that’s one possibility for DMP not publishing him (incompatible visions).

    Another possibility is that Guy’s writing is not “Uncivilized writing”. What does that mean? Well, I think that only becomes fully clear through careful consideration of the entire Manifesto. But try this:

    “Uncivilised writing offers not a non-human perspective — we remain human and, even now, are not quite ashamed — but a perspective which sees us as one strand of a web rather than as the first palanquin in a glorious procession…It sets out to paint a picture of homo sapiens which a being from another world or, better, a being from our own — a blue whale, an albatross, a mountain hare — might recognise as something approaching a truth…The shifting of emphasis from man to notman: this is the aim of Uncivilised writing. To ‘unhumanise our views a little, and become confident / As the rock and ocean that we were made from.’ This is not a rejection of our humanity — it is an affirmation of the wonder of what it means to be truly human. It is to accept the world for what it is and to make our home here, rather than dreaming of relocating to the stars, or existing in a Man-forged bubble and pretending to ourselves that there is nothing outside it to which we have any connection at all.”

    Whether that “Man-forged bubble” is located in a large, unsustainable city like Tucson, AZ or a mud hut in an isolated verdant valley in rural NM, I might add. Guy’s writing is passionate, ardent, scientifically well-informed…but Uncivilized? Er, perhaps not so much. Still very, very human and very, very civilized, in its own way. This doesn’t mean his writing can’t become Uncivilized; all the raw material to do so is there in his life experience. But he’s not there yet, as least not for DMP purposes. For the DMP is not about The End of the Last Story full stop. Rather, it is about

    “new paths and new stories, ones that can lead us through the end of the world as we know it and out the other side.”

  • Kathy C,

    Indeed, you can buy an elegantly designed, numbered and hand-stitched physical copy, made by the DMP’s friends at Bracketpress in Lancashire. Why, indeed, in dog’s name would anyone want a numbered hand-stitched pamphlet when in 18 per Guy or 38 per Arctic News the human race will be extinct.

    For beauty’s sake, I suppose. Per the Manifesto:

    “Its [the DMP’s] first incarnation, launched alongside this manifesto, is a website, which points the way to the ranges. It will contains thoughts, scribblings, jottings, ideas; it will work up the project of Uncivilisation, and invite all comers to join the discussion.

    Then it will become a physical object, because virtual reality is, ultimately, no reality at all. It will become a journal, of paper, card, paint and print; of ideas, thoughts, observations, mumblings; new stories which will help to define the project — the school, the movement — of Uncivilised writing. It will collect the words and the images of those who consider themselves Uncivilised and have something to say about it; who want to help us attack the citadels. It will be a thing of beauty for the eye and for the heart and for the mind, for we are unfashionable enough to believe that beauty — like truth — not only exists, but still matters.

    Tell me, is it so wrong to believe that beauty not only exists, but still matters? Are the Dark Mountaineers right or wrong to claim that virtual reality, whether it be their own website or this one, is ultimately no reality at all?

  • ulvfugl,

    What “things” about DM did not develop in the way you had hoped and anticipated?

  • Michael Irving,

    Stewart Brand advocates exactly that (geo-engineering) to try and save the planet from excessive carbon emissions and positive feedbacks. He’s even got a catchy name for it: eco-pragmatism.

  • Although this is some years old now and many have seen it, it is still a very good general educator to the unititiated about the consequences of endless economic growth and peak oil, peak energy on human population and the planet.

    ‘Economic Growth and Peak Energy Animated’


    No getting around our core problems, human overshoot and continual growth.

    In passing, it is interesting to note how one definition of CANCER is a cell mutation that has swithched on the cell division part of its life cycle and can’t turn it off.

    Endless growth = tumour = immanent mortality.

  • Thanks Doc!

    I’ve always liked being alive. Consider the alternative :-)


  • I read this comment on another blog just now and had to LOL.

    “Patrick Flandreau • 2 days ago

    If it’s hot, it’s global warming
    If it’s cold, it’s global warning
    If it’s raining, it’s global warming
    If the bus is late, it’s global warming
    If there are Middle Eastern protests, it’s global warming

    This global warming is terrible.”

    Actually, it would not seem to be ‘Global’ Warming at all, more correct it could be termed:

    “Comprehensive worldwide sea and atmospheric temperature rise”.

    I can’t imagine that either the interior temperature of the Earth, nor the land surface temperature below a meter is significantly elevated above local averages. If anyone knows otherwise Please Inform All Here ,PIAH.

  • AJ : “What “things” about DM did not develop in the way you had hoped and anticipated?”

    That’s a good question, puts me in a slightly uncomfortable situation, wishing I hadn’t mentioned the matter…

    Firstly, it means I have to cast my mind back 2,3,4… years. A LOT has changed since then. No Occupy, or 99%, then, for example.

    A lot comes down to old-fashioned petty politics, which occurs in any human assembly. People have a spectrum of views, and even if there’s much in common, they each wish to emphasise particular aspects, and get frustrated if some other view prevails. Green politics typically splits into idealists and pragmatists, anthropocentrism and ecocentrism, etc. but the same pattern of splits and cliques happens everywhere, whether its a family gathering at Christmas, schools of thought in a University, or the International Communist Party. There’s always quarrels, fights, discord, factions, passionate stances, etc, because that’s how humans are.

    Where an individual stands on a particular issue must depend upon their personal worldview. Stuff like what they think ‘nature’ is, what they think ‘technology’ is, what they think ‘a story’ is, and so forth. I had hoped that DM would be a didactic tool where these concepts could be thoroughly explored and bring new radical insights. Instead it was mostly going round and round in circles, getting nowhere, on a rather dismal intellectual level.

    I see DM as very much a right brain/mythos thing, coming from the arts, rather than the sciences, and then it attracted a rag bag of odd people, most of whom didn’t really understand where Kingsnorth and Hine were at, i.e. talking about the power of narrative, literature, stories, myth, poetry, song, dance, etc. and how INDIVIDUALS come to terms with defeat, the failure to ‘save the planet’, etc. It was never intended to be what some of the people wanted, activism, protest, revolution, social reform, whatever…

    My hope was that people would coalesce and get educated and move British culture in a whole new direction. That didn’t happen, hasn’t happened, and because of the time factor – we’re in a movie, not a photo album – it’s too late now ( too slow for me, anyway ).

    I know some people here were lurking at the Unciv Forum, and so will have observed events and formed their own conclusions.
    There’s another weird aspect which will be IMPOSSIBLE for foreigners to comprehend, and that’s the English class aspect which is pervasive throughout English soceity. I do mean English, not British.

    I suppose PK and DH did the best they could, as young men trying to herd cats, but IMO, they made big errors of judgement. Either the thing is an uncensored anarchist venture, where the ‘mob’ sorts things out amongst themselves, or it’s got leaders who insist upon respect for their authority and LEAD. It turned out to be neither, just a hypocritical mess in the middle.

    I was first banned temporarily from Unciv. Then censored. Then banned permanently. Then censored on the DM blog site. Then, after a big quarrel with PK, in private, over an issue which turned out to be a misunderstanding on both sides, I was invited to write anything I wanted, as rude and contentious and outrageous and disrespectful as I wanted to be, on any issue, and it would be published without any editing or censorship…. but by then I was sick of the whole effing venture and had set up my own blog, so i have not taken up the offer. I assume it still stands, but I’m sure they’ll manage fine without me ;-) Good luck to them anyway, and I mean that sincerely.

    My political position is basically green anarchy, anarcho-primitivism, not so much as a practical choice – I can see why people like modern medicine and technology, for sure – but as an ETHICAL choice, because to cause ANY non-essential harm to the biosphere, is, in my worldview, morally, totally unacceptable. A crime, a sin, sacrilege. Worse, but there’s no word for it…

    This view springs from a spiritual insight, comparable with that say, of St, Francis, or the Amish, or Deep Ecology, and then hooks into the public and political domain, in e.g., the way that Ghandi’s religion was the base for his politics.

  • Some of you will be interested in the two links:


    The first is an interesting perspective from Reg Morrison

    The second is David Wasdell regarding the role of the IPCC:



  • And if you can’t do that, how about some of this…

  • re Probability of correctly “predicting” colour of all 52 cards

    This turned out to be an easy calculation. It is simply one over the number of arrangements of 26 non-distinct objects in 52 places i.e.


    Interestingly, this is only about 9 times greater than the 1/(2^52) calculation. To put this in perspective, a ticket is 7 million times more likely to win the Euromillions jackpot. If you believe OzMan, and I do, it is incontrovertible evidence that the human mind has powers that cannot be explained by current science.

  • “Indeed, you can buy an elegantly designed, numbered and hand-stitched physical copy, made by the DMP’s friends at Bracketpress in Lancashire. Why, indeed, in dog’s name would anyone want a numbered hand-stitched pamphlet when in 18 per Guy or 38 per Arctic News the human race will be extinct.”

    Isn’t it obvious ?

    To spread the work around, to give money and hope to good people whom you like and respect, people dedicated to creating beauty, rather than to some anonymous corporation where nobody cares and they just churn out whatever satisfies the lowest common denominator and maximises profit margins

    It’s about QUALITY. Quality in everything you do, ( as an expression of soul ! )
    I mean, do you take care to give your children the best food you can, prepared with love and care, or just throw them some off-the-shelf commercial slop, because we are going to be extinct someday ?

    We cannot say, with any precision, when we will die, as individuals, or when the entire planet will become uninhabitable, or when civilisation will collapse. We can foresee that it WILL happen, inevitably, some time. But there are too may variables to be able to make a precise accurate prediction.

    A Yellowstone type super-volcano eruption, or a large asteroid impact, could happen any time. So could World War 3 using nuclear and biological weapons. Or the world banking and financial system could collapse. Or there could be a global pandemic of some lethal disease. Or the methane releases could be even worse than some people think. Or some astonishing new technological discovery could completely change the parameters.

    The list goes on and on, but all these events have to have error bars, uncertainty, so we cannot be sure whether the graph will drop off a cliff, go down like a staircase, or be a long arc.

    I grew up with this uncertainty. There was always the chance that the USA and Russia would destroy everything, with nuclear weapons, deliberately or even unintentionally by a mistake. It didn’t happen, but it very nearly happened.

    So, while we witness this thing roll out, what do we do ? It would be nice to change the course of history and bring everyone back to sanity. But that doesn’t seem to be possible. So then what do we do ? Keep trying ? Give up ? Or accept powerlessness and enjoy each moment being as happy as we can manage to be ?

    Personally, I try to minimise my contribution to the bad and maximise my contribution to the good, but I am very limited in what I can do.

    I think the idea of ‘quality’ has a lot to contribute. Each step, each breath, each word, each push of the trowel into the earth, each kiss on the cheek, every expression of what we are, has immense potential, it can be fabulously empowering and enriching or it can be deadening and demeaning.

  • Perhaps a near future coming at us all…?

    “Off the Grid: People Who Have Left Technology Behind”


    An excerpt:

    “For various reasons — from seeing the effects of modern society on the natural world, to the way people are increasingly connected to electronic devices, or the way the rat race of consumerism envelops the fabric of our communities — a number of people are choosing to live a more ‘down to earth’ existence, getting them in touch with the land in older, now forgotten ways.
    French photographer Eric Valli spent a number of years with 4 groups of these interesting people, collecting intimate images of their daily lives in the American wilderness that they now call home. The images we have here are from 3 of those groups, each with a varying level of societal connection.

    The first, a lone huntsman living in the southern bayou, looks to be somewhat connected to modern technology. He has small battery-powered lighting, a modern canoe and has a bottle of ketchup on his table. The second, a family who dresses in almost Amish fashion, steps further from modernity, living by lamplight, using horses and growing their food themselves. The third group however, takes living in the wilds to a whole different level. These young wilderness seekers have donned leather clothes of their own making, bows and arrows, and look like they could have walked off the set of Dances With Wolves. While the picture of this less than cleanly crew inside a modern grocery store certainly raises some questions about how much they actually live in the wilds, it could be simply to emphasize the contrasts of their life against the modern world.”

    For whatever reason Eric Valli’s site below seems to run slow, perhaps because a lot is high res images and video, I’m not sure, but there are some spectacular images, but perhaps to some it looks too consumerable visualy. To each their own I suppose.


    My comment is that from these three types of situations it would appear the nomadic full adventure Hunter/Gatherer (and probably scavenger too but can’t tell yet…) is only for the quite young and fit (looking). That is just an impression. I’m still attempting to view the short teaser of Valli’s film called “Linx” of these groups.

    One issue is, not many can do this at once because the carrying capacity of each region is pretty small, when contrasted with current world population at 7 Billion.

  • Again, re the quality of the book. Is there any point in publishing and printing books at all anymore ? Most information is now digital and virtual, and if you want a paper version, why not do the cheapest photocopy on the cheapest paper ?

    But then we could apply this to everything. Plastic spoon, antique silver spoon, hand-carved wooden spoon, chopsticks… which is the most satisfying and aesthetically pleasing ? A lot of the stuff in my home I have made myself, and a lot more has been made by someone with similar love and care, and attention to design and detail. I really don’t like mass-produced factory junk much. It offends me. But I have to compromise, if I want to survive, because just like everyone else, I’m trapped inside the culture, the mega-machine.

    There was a time in my life when I felt so strongly about Big Pharma, that I wanted no part of modern medicine. I’d seen people destroyed by doctor’s mistakes and pharmaceuticals. But I caught pneumonia and was hospitalised. The doctor said ‘Take these antibiotics’. I gave him my anti-drug spiel. He said, ‘Okay, but then you must decide whether you wish to die or whether you wish to live’, and I had a forest to care for and needed to live for that reason, so, a handful of pills and I was cured, after a few days, instead of being buried.

  • Again, re Ozmans cards, and apparently ‘miraculous’ non-ordinary events…

    I had spent years in seclusion and zen meditation. I had ‘purified’ myself. There was nothing in me that was not God, so to speak. All ‘defilements and obstacles’ had been conquered and cleansed.

    Then my life completely changed, and I had a forest to look after. So I worked flat out, non-stop on that project, asking the tao to show me what to do, what was good to do.

    So, I’m driving along some little lane on an errand, far from anywhere, and my vehicle breaks down. It’s at least a ten mile walk to the nearest house or phone, and unlikely any other vehicle will appear, perhaps for hours, even days.

    I’m thinking it’s probably the points in the distributor that need adjusting, or something like that, but I have no tools. so, after trying the ignition a few times, looking at the engine, sitting down and having a think, and so forth, I’m getting more and more distressed and frustrated and desperate…

    So, I finally lose my temper, and start talking to this God, this Tao, this Universe, in no uncertain terms…

    ‘Look, you m*****f*****g b*****d, I’ve given up everything to serve all sentient beings, I’m a good person, I’m doing my best, WHY aren’t YOU doing YOUR bit and HELPING, you useless load of s**t !’ and so on…

    So, I’m walking up and down this lane, thirty yards or so, storming away in my rage and close to tears too, and then back to the van, and then back up the lane… wondering whether to set off and walk to the nearest wherever, which will be hours and it will be dark, and who am I going to get to rescue me, when I don’t know any locals or have any money…

    And guess what ? I look down, and in the little strip if grass in the centre of the road, there’s a brand new shiny yellow handled screw driver ! Exactly the right size for adjusting the points… and I fall on my knees… and hold it it my hands… and then, no time to waste, sort out the motor, and off I go…

    And thereafter, whenever I had a problem and was stuck, I did much the same, with the same result. This CAN happen… there’s a sort of knack to it. But first you have to be ‘nothing’, so to speak, and judging from my experience arguing on the internet, it’s almost impossible to explain to anybody… :-)

  • ulvfugl

    Your story about getting Pneumonia and the choice of living and dying is going to be how people interpret their own choices very soon when, and now, as ‘they’ get squeezed by the downward spiral into ‘collapse-world.’

    ‘They’ are going to be helped into percieving the situation so it serves the competative junkies and PTB, and in their own minds choose what looks like a clear survival choice, when local community meetings, and yes, some compromise, but largly communal, group effort will be of far more unifying, peaceful and of energetically optimal effect.

    We see the pressure building here in Australia already, on issues like immigration, especially concerning those, described 2 decades ago as refugees, but not que jumpers and asylum seekers.

    Instead of talking rationally about all that is discussed here on NBL, and some of the unhappy, tragic and horrific consequences looming, the populace are media and politico massarged, into reacting to the economic and psychological ‘pressure’ people are feeling, into inflaming racial and xenophobic fears, which can be more easilly remassaged and managed by elites in high places.

    IMO the key here is, that as others have noted, people are getting more uncertain about the eternal rosy future, with holidays and icecream and eternally young sexy resort living dreams. ‘They’ are less certain it is a morally legit process, and have to self discipline much harder to stop the deep thinking that helps quickly unzip, and then totally unravel their dreamy personal weave of ‘easy futureworld inc’.

    That leaves a lot more people uneasy, for say a demonstration of what can now be deployed at will; ergo – the obviously stage managed recent publication of anti Islamic slurs on the Prophet Mo—–d, and the highly predictable retaliatory riots and demonstrations by Islamic sympathisers in a veritable Schadenfreude play, dialed up to demonstrate the need for state power and control of ‘threats’ to reasoned and rational law and order,(…that BTW, as NBL’s are aware, also destroys the living planet).

    It will come down to pushing the right buttons by TPTB and people will react in survival mode, and prefer to accept the relinquishment of percieved ‘others’ rights, all the while walking themselves, and thie children, and grandchildren, into ‘caves’, and d’ungeons’ and anti terror enclosures..er..I mean free democratic societies…


    The preperation for wholesale Schadenfreude has been the growth of voyeristic TV programs like Survivor, and The weakest link and all the Fatty competitive elimination shows, or permutations of. Even a show like ‘Dallas’, preconditions viewers from the economocally lower ‘classes’ to think of their own situation as unempowered and undesirable, and rearrange their mental deckchairs to reprogram them to bleat the aspirations of not just middle class North Americans, but filthy rich Texan back stabbing so and so’s.
    An engineered class warfare opens up. People begin by degrees to be comfortable with a widespread acceptance of getting pleasure from witnessing at first other people’s discomfort and tribulations, and then other people’s failures and disappointments, and then thier distress and suffering, and then their dismal life predicament and future. When contrasted with the largly illusory life ease ot the viewers, the temptation is to not want to know or encounter someone in the dispised category, for fear of ‘catching’ the class disease they have been identified as having/representing. Its no surprise that the show Survivor, is called ‘Survivor’- once pitched as an ordeal of coping in the primative tribal situation, and needing to have tradable skills and abilities, it quickly morphed into social pairing of ridiculable mismatches, and the expliotation of developng countries, all not for survival, but a Million bucks.
    And…( don’t get me started on what we had her..”The biggest Loser”)

    from those sufficiently interested you can read about how pathetic humans can become if managed/herded correctly here:


    An excerpt, ‘I can’t resist’…

    “The Biggest Loser is a reality television show which first started in the U.S. in 2004. The show centers on overweight contestants attempting to lose the most weight to fight for a cash prize. There are different variations of The Biggest Loser around the world. Each country has made its own adaptation to the show; however, the contestants always have the same goal: to lose the highest percentage of weight (or most weight) to become the Biggest Loser.”

    ulvfugl, again,

    Your comments”

    “Personally, I try to minimise my contribution to the bad and maximise my contribution to the good, but I am very limited in what I can do.

    I think the idea of ‘quality’ has a lot to contribute. Each step, each breath, each word, each push of the trowel into the earth, each kiss on the cheek, every expression of what we are, has immense potential, it can be fabulously empowering and enriching or it can be deadening and demeaning.”

    I find this simply inspiring, and a great reminder of what potential lies in every living moment, in every breath we take, and how we interact with others and the living planet. Cheers for that.

  • ulvfugl

    The screwdriver tale made me LOL. I’ve had many small situations like that, but I must admit, I don’t seem to require an angry meltdown, like you describe, just a equinimous state, from either surveying the relevent options, and/or engaging intuition, but mostly they happen alone.

    I have found these things happen to me more in terms of signs, but sometimes as practically as absurd as the screwdriver episode too.

    How could one have that experience, of the screwdriver, and not be transformed, or at the very least confounded, and deeply troubled as to how the universe actually IS functioning?

    I can recommend the movie by Akira Kurosawa , ‘Dursa Usala’, concerning living with intuition in contrast with the Empire mind going full tilt.

    What was the forrest you became responsible for? Is the story of it somewhere I can read maybe online?

    Now how about if you found a ball point pen or something you definitely couldn’t use, that would have been like being mocked, but to actually find the needed tool, in that moment, what are the odds hey?… maybe about as much chance as getting 52 cards correct in a deck as to red or black? But somehow I think your event is far less likely, such that it will never be able to happen again. Slim odds eh…?
    Great story…NBL Story of the week IMO.

  • ulvfugl

    Oh, it just came to me… the fact that it was a brand new screwdriver was the mocking, hilarious bit, like you ordered it, and it was a new one supplied. An old one just wouldn’t do now would it? If you are going to be a part of syncronistic experiences, may as well have them bloody showy ones to boot, eh?

    “But first you have to be ‘nothing’, so to speak…”
    ‘Leave the Ego at the door’…That is so, IMO.

  • Thanks, Ozman.

    It was 25 years ago, or something like. That forest is possibly one of the most special places in the whole British Isles. By some fluke chance, I came upon it, and was given a role to care for it. It appeared to me that nobody else involved really grasped its importance. It’s only small, maybe 85 acres left from the original wildwood that once covered the whole country after the glaciers retreated, and maybe 100 acres of less original woodland, but it’s always had tree cover for maybe 7000+ years, and there’s nowhere else left like that, so the species diversity is fantastic, all sorts of very rare plants and insects and fungi, etc. It’s a wonderful glimpse of what has been lost. And nobody was looking after it properly, which was insane.

    So I worked out a management plan to the highest standards, and put it into effect. Whilst that was going on, the United Nations and the WWF and others set up the Forestry Stewardship Council, to try and preserve the world’s forests. So I submitted ‘my’ forest, for their scheme, and it was the first forest on the planet to be approved. I did this on my own, living on social security and despite my illness. Kinda like climbing Everest alone without oxygen, hahahaha, or being the first to circum-navigate the globe in a kayak, or whatever. It was hard.

    Then all hell broke loose, because vested interests from every dark slimy festering stinking corner of Mordor erupted in rage and fury because it threatened their plans and profits :-)

    No, the whole story is nowhere recorded, all I’ve said so far is on my blog post. i don’t know if it’s a good idea to tell more or not. Probably not.


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