The slippery slope of community

by Elaine Kost

Seeking community once meant that others were looking to share housing, resources, skills and fun, not because they had to but because they wanted to. Some were ingrained with the idea of “waste not, want not”, and others enjoyed the company of having an extended family close by.

The name we gave our community, “Slippery Slope” is indicative of the journey we’ve been on trying to find others to invest their time, energy and resources sharing what we have and preparing for a much different future.

In today’s world many are buddying up out of necessity to pay living expenses while sharing the workload at home in order to grow their own food, generate extra income from things made together and to lighten the load on Mother Earth, which sustains us.

Communities can be as diverse as individuals forming around those individual needs. Whether big or small, communities can offer many things for many people. Sharing our lives with those seeking the same could mean success in saving what little is left for future generations.

Our culture today is geared more towards competition than cooperation and therefore it’s hard to remember what it was like to work together rather than individually, sharing the end results. Now everyone has everything and does it all alone. This will not suffice for us in the near future as human societies return to the days of a handshake meaning something, much more than a receipt. Money will no longer be the tie that binds us.

I can still remember what it felt like working for a paycheck though it’s been almost four years since I retired from a 30-year history in the telecommunications industry. Fridays were always a welcomed respite to a five-day workweek of being told what to do and when to do it.

My husband David and I knew in 2002, well before I retired, that our goal was to pay off the property and get me out of the corporate world of waste and wants. We both knew then of peak resources, financial collapse and climate change and it became harder to communicate with those who didn’t believe we would never have control of our own lives, except perhaps to end it.

My awareness of the changes happening around me did not happen overnight but one night in May of 2005 a major change took place in the way I viewed the future. It was at the McDonald Theatre in Eugene where my husband encouraged the idea of going to see Michael Ruppert speak. He was clear, concise and confident as he gave his presentation to a packed house waiting to hear what he had to say.

I watched as he presented colorful charts and factual research that he accumulated over several years. I watched, I listened and I heard some of the information for the second time as my husband had been telling me the same message for several years before. It didn’t take long for me to see my picture of the future after connecting the dots.

In our 35 years together we’ve always managed to stay out of debt (by not getting into it) and living a simple life mostly out of the system when at all possible. We tired of babysitters who didn’t care for our children the way we did and decided I had the better of the two jobs so David became the primary parent while I worked. And work I did. I was away from our home most Sundays (as they paid time and a half), most holidays (double time), and mandatory overtime for 2+ years of 58 hours a week. This is how we managed on one income for most of our lives together, working as a team, as we explained in an essay at Culture Change.

We didn’t plan to retire this way, opening our home to a shared kitchen and giving up our privacy to people we had to get to know, not only know but also trust as much as we trusted each other.

The more we learned between 2001 and 2008 the more we were inclined to believe that people would wake up to the fact that their story book lives would soon be ending and they would need to begin writing their own story from the start again.

Work began here on the homestead shortly after moving to Oregon in 2001. We excavated the property where the main garden is today because it was so thick with weeds and blackberry brambles that we couldn’t tell there was a drop between the lawn area and the creek below. We noticed it while throwing the Frisbee to our dog when the top of her head disappeared. After the major excavation work was done we tilled and planted and for the first year we gardened without a fence and didn’t do too bad as the deer had not found us yet. The following year we installed the fence that has worked well in keeping most of the wildlife at bay.

Several years were required for my husband to obtain the knowledge that he has of our land. Today our combined space of vegetable gardens is 95’ x 125’. He has learned the good, bad and the ugly of building soil while deciphering the lay of the land including the best beds for growing the most difficult crops. Year after year his attention was focused on the seasons and where the most sun was for the months of growing. He learned sometimes the hard and only way what beds required more water as well as what beds needed more amendments, which we brought in yearly for the first few summers, this was not cheap to do. We think about the expense now if we had to start over.

It was deep in the summer of 2008 when I left the conventional world of industry and entered farmland security or working for food. Little did I know how physical the work would be considering I’d mostly had a soft life behind a computer screen. I don’t mind the hard work when I remember who it is I’m working for and what it is I’m doing.

We thought our timing was perfect as the meltdown in 2008 led some to change direction out of necessity. We had a good model that was built to last and believed that this would serve those looking. Our 30+ years together of married life showed both our stability and ability to accomplish what we had thus far, which made our resumes superb. Our organizational skills were strong and our communication impeccable. Not only where we “doers”, we were thinkers and we thought about the many options for our homestead, especially now that we owned a small piece of paradise.

A simple ad that stated what we had to offer and some skills we were looking for was posted on ic.org and we began to “seek community.” The emails came in slowly at first and we managed to reply with more info about us as well as more questions to which we needed answers.

After several years passed and names and visits became rolodexes in our minds, we refined our ad, created a blog and hoped to limit many of the simple questions that others asked of us. This worked for some and eliminated those who asked questions that they could of found answers to if they were really interested. Our sincere but generic responses seemed to work for some and we opened our home for visits and meals with those we thought we could have a dialog with.

We noticed that what many (most) said in their emails (typed words) did not back up their actions when face-to-face. Visits drained us of our energy and little help was offered to make up for lost time working and maintaining our homestead.

The years have gone by since we started this journey and our list of names that we’ve emailed, chatted on the phone with or sat down face to face and had a meal in our home with is well over 200 people. Hours and hours were spent conversing while our lives were put on hold. Whatever needed to be done on the homestead took a backseat to entertaining potential community members.

We usually began our conversations outdoors showing guests the gardens, answering questions about our methods of producing a large quantity of food, while keeping to the most sustainable methods of no till, serious crop rotations, cover cropping, composting and maintaining clover between all 50+ beds to help keep the integrity of the beds and to feed the bees.

More times than not we served meals prepared with nothing but food from the garden and were enthusiastic in our presentation. It was quite apparent this didn’t mean to others what it meant to us as there, as we were met with little interest and no questions.

Our options for infrastructure for others living on the property consist of a barn that has recently been updated with new roof, shop and upstairs, which in finishing would provide additional living space (14’ x 20’) or room to stretch out on a yoga mat, or just somewhere to find comfort listening to the creek below. Another space is an overbuilt carport with a new PVC membrane roof that we plan to use for water catchments not yet in place. This space is 1000 square feet and would comfortably fit a family of four.

Thinking of all the ways to make it happen, we even entertained the idea of us finishing the carport for our own living quarters and renting out our home. We thought this would be a great opportunity for the younger crowd who has friends that they can live with. In our journey we’ve found many of the young are ill-prepared for the future and are not capable of becoming organized enough to make something else happen.

We saw a need for those who didn’t have the land but had the energy to invest in helping us. Most are paying rent and walking away with nothing but what they came with and we felt like we were offering much more, yet many were unwilling to contribute financially. Maybe we took for granted that there were others like us looking and that we could combine our resources (as equal partners), or that we would find young couples that perhaps had jobs on the outside that could contribute by paying rent. None of us live for free.

We have worked hard to get here and we’re still willing to work more. At least this journey served as a reminder to us of who we are as a team and who we are as individuals. Being together as long as we have and without children for over 11 years, privacy was a big thing for us, yet we never blinked at having our home open between the hours of 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. for one member that stayed for six months and then left when the growing season picked up. This member asked if we ever thought about other’s belongings and where some things could fit in our home to make it more inviting for everyone sharing. Things we hadn’t pondered were welcomed as we replaced our furniture with theirs. I still remember taking down our children’s pictures to allow more space on the walls for other pictures they brought with them. Libraries were combined and a sitting room became a space for everyone, not just us. In this same room my spinning wheel sat next to their drum reflecting our different interests. It began to look like shared housing more and more and both my husband and I enjoyed the diversity.

We encouraged making meals together or for others to cook up their specialties using what we grew. We often take for granted our ability to cook with what’s available from the garden. It’s exciting to look at a table when the meal prepared came from home with all hands working to provide it. We always knew we weren’t perfect and I’m sure there are some who would call us “anal” which is more like a compliment and a skill honed through practicing over and over until the end result turns out like it’s supposed to.

We know now that we can share our home, as we have with overnight guests and community members. We followed through, asking for feedback, as we know that one learns more from their faults and mistakes than any success. We also know that our journey did not fail because of us (as arrogant as that may sound), but because of the lack of trying from others.

Most (in our region) don’t know how to share what they have with others so they can’t see the benefits. Sharing resources, including one’s own energy, can be very rewarding for all involved. Instead of two people working 40 hours a week with four people it’s 20. What an opportunity to learn new skills, get away without the fear of coming back to twice as much work. Living 25 miles from the nearest big town is a trip we’ve been making once a week for several years, now we’re trying twice a month. But think if you had others to share not only the vehicle with cost of maintenance and insurance but also the time involved. One has to be organized to check off all the stops and save as much gas as possible in doing so. There are so many reasons why we need to live this way but we learned all the reasons it won’t work.

Take, for instance, in our email communications when we asked specific questions such as, “have you ever lived in the country?” or “why are you seeking community”, we never received a response. Some we asked to call us so we could talk more as phone conversations can clear up many things quickly. We don’t have a cell phone but many times used our calling card since their phone numbers were long-distance, even though they lived nearby. In the end, we found many people did not want to communicate this way. It narrowed our search in the end when we asked upfront, “call us, so we can discuss some things.” Failure to respond shortened the list quickly.

Lacking work ethic, physical stamina, motivation and/or enthusiasm are some of the toughest problems to face but some of the easiest to understand. One only has to look around to see the overall health of our population to understand the difficulties of enforcing a program that works for all. If one can’t depend on another how can we make things happen? If one can’t have expectations, then how does the work get done?

Our journey down the slippery slope of community building taught us many things about others as well as ourselves, but more importantly is the fact we endured. Maybe we knew in our hearts that our team of two would suffer no loss because in the end we still have our homestead and the luxury of a good food source as well as the ability to work together and have fun. What more can we ask for?

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Elaine Kost lives on a small homestead near Eugene, Oregon with her husband David, shepherd Tolle, 11 chickens and a pair of Ancona ducks with four ducklings. When she isn’t visiting a hospice patient, reading, writing, knitting, crocheting or spinning fleece into yarn (which isn’t often enough), you can bet she is somewhere on the property working. She blogs at Embracing Collapse.

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Comments 183

  • ulvfugl you are the one who can’t have an intelligent conversation. The heart is matter. Hormones are made out of matter. Do you not understand what matter is? I think like Damasio and many others that it is the way that matter is organized in the brain and body that comes together to form something that we call consciousness. What else is their but matter. You say your soul does not live on after you die (or at least you want say that it definitely does). If that is what you think then it is generated from your matter and disappears when your matter disintegrates. Please do explain this soul that dies when your matter made body dies, but isn’t matter. I wait with bated breath.

  • Kathy C Says: We look for mattering to avoid the abyss of ultimate mortality.

    The noble savage’s scenes
    Had no philosophic routines:
    He went through a life
    That was chock full of strife
    But he didn’t obsess what it means.

  • BtD – thank you for capturing my meaning :)

  • Kathy C

    What is this ‘Matter’ you refer to?
    And ‘where’ is it? I mean where is it, specifically?

  • Hahahaha, well, thanks for batting the ball back, Kathy C. Like I said on the previous thread, you appear to be stuck in concepts that have been obsolete for a century, a very crude 19th C. materialism.

    Do you not understand what matter is?

    Did you never hear of someone called Einstein, and E = mc2 ? And that matter can be both a particle and a wave, and so forth ?

    What else is there but matter ? Rather a lot, actually, Kathy C. Your education appears deficient. For a start, gravity, electromagnetic fields, weak interaction, strong interaction, quantum fields, and so forth…

    Before we could even begin to discuss rarefied concepts like ‘soul’ in an intelligent fashion, you’d need to update your mental models of physics and the stuff you are made of.

    How do you brain and body and heart communicate ? Via nerves and electrical impulses, no ? What are electrical impulses ? Are they ‘matter’ ? Are electrons ‘matter’ ? Are photons that travel from the Sun and reach the retina of your eye, ‘matter’ ?

    As some famous physicist said ‘Whatever matter is made of, it ain’t matter’.

    If you read that article, you will have noted that the heart’s magnetic field can be detected several feet away from the body. Is that magnetic field ‘matter’ ? It’s obviously a constituent of the human being, a vital function, but it has no ‘physical material substance’, has it. So what is it ?

    As for hormones. What are they ? Chemicals. What are chemicals ? Molecules. What are Molecules ? Collections of atoms. What are atoms ? Protons, neutrons and electron ? What are those particles made of ? Can you answer ?

    So where is this ‘matter’, of which you speak, located ? Of what is it comprised ?

    You have said elsewhere that you want to rely upon science rather than mysticism, but unfortunately your grasp of the science seems remarkably naive and simplistic.

    I think like Damasio and many others that it is the way that matter is organized in the brain and body that comes together to form something that we call consciousness.

    Yes, but it is only opinion, conjecture, it cannot be convincingly supported with evidence. There is an enormous quantity of evidence which will not fit that model. Unless a theoretical model can explain all the evidence it cannot be considered correct and complete.

    Please define that ‘something’ that we call ‘consciousness’. You cannot. Nor can anyone else.

    How does chemistry become consciousness ? Nobody knows. What is consciousness ? Nobody knows. What is the relationship between the physical brain and consciousness ? Nobody knows. There are correlations between brain function and states of consciousness, for sure, but correlation is not causation.

  • Common definition
    The DNA molecule is an example of matter under the “atoms and molecules” definition. The common definition of matter is anything that has both mass and volume (occupies space).[13][14] For example, a car would be said to be made of matter, as it occupies space, and has mass.

    Examples of matter – food in the form of fruits, vegetables, grains and muscle from animals. Ingest it and your body extracts the needed compounds to nourish your body, and the rest is shit.

    Examples of not matter – ideas, thoughts, the product of a mind in a body fed with matter.

    When the crash comes and food becomes scarce it will begin to be apparent that while non matter things used to matter to us, matter things will matter more for without food matter our body matter can’t keep functioning. When our body fails the brain fails and no more thoughts or ideas are created by that particular bit of matter called you.

    Without food nothing matters
    Our body turns into tatters
    When we turn into dust
    As eventually we must
    Our self and our body just scatters

  • Yes, Kathy, but that is ridiculous

    You, who praise science and reject mysticism, are not being scientific at all.

    What is it that has mass and occupies volume and space ?

    You can’t answer, can you.

    You challenged me Do you not understand what matter is ?

    I return the challenge. Do you understand what matter is ? Obviously not.

    You have no idea what you are talking about.

  • Speed of ocean acidification concerns scientists
    Press release issued 26 September 2012

    Speaking at the Third International Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World this week in Monterey, California, Dr Daniela Schmidt, a geologist from the University of Bristol, warned that current rates of ocean acidification are unparalleled in Earth history.

    Dr Schmidt of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences said: “Ocean acidification has happened before sometimes with large consequences for marine ecosystems. But within the last 300 million years, never has the rate of ocean acidification been comparable to the ongoing acidification.

    rest at http://www.bris.ac.uk/news/2012/8811.html

  • @ Robin Datta- I could’ve sworn you wrote the “menstruation of consciousness”, and I thought, what an interesting way to describe it, but now I can see you wrote the “mensuration of consciousness”. It got me thinking though!

    re: The children and our way of life. I think they are so young, they will never know the difference. They have so little in the way of material things, relative to other kids, but we are very fortunate. My life was very different growing up, often we had no running water or electricity, and sometimes went hungry. Chop wood, carry water, that was us. I still haven’t figured out how to tell my children that their grandparents, my parents, died when I was young, much less how to approach the subject of a dying planet. I go at their pace, answer the questions that arise naturally.
    If I slow down and interact w/ each child, even if it’s just for a moment, like the moments I described above, something profound happens.
    I swear I go through a miniature birth-life-death cycle when I look at the world with them, and part of me feels ashamed that we took such elegant beauty and life and wasted it. It doesn’t even matter any more to me who is at fault. But you can see wonder in their eyes, over the smallest of life’s pleasures, because life is unfolding for them and everything is still a mystery. They have nothing to compare their experience to, so I may feel loss, when they are obviously quite in awe.
    Part of me knows that I will become “obsolete”, and they will go on. Just like I can’t comprehend things like the vastness of the universe, I can’t comprehend what their world will be like, because my vision is blurred by my past experience and all of the failed expectations I never lived up to. But raising small children necessarily means letting all of that go. I do my best to keep them alive and happy, and I try not to do anything that will put out that “spark”.
    I just smile and show interest when little hands hold up two tiny green tomatoes from our mostly spent plants, or a single yellow leaf, cradled and treated like a small creature.

    And when I had to explain about the missing balloons at our party, I thought there would be an uproar, because they each normally get one balloon when there is a birthday, but there was no scene. Only when the youngest tried to pull down from the wall the ‘balloons’ I made from paper and ribbon.

  • I think like Damasio and many others that it is the way that matter is organized in the brain and body that comes together to form something that we call consciousness.

    That particular organisation appears to form consciousness. Without that organisation there is apparently no consciousness, as in the case of the atmosphere and the sky.

    During the Earth day, the way matter is organised into an atmosphere, with Rayleigh scattering forms something we call the sky. On the lunar surface during the lunar day, no sky is apparent, only a void, even though sunlight crosses one’s line of sight at every point of the celestial hemisphere, none of which is apparent. On Earth at night, without that light available for scattering, the same void is perceived. (Consciousness is always and everywhere available, but objectively is a void – nonexistent.)

    A sufficiently complex computer of human artifice would be conscious and could be proffered as evidence that consciousness can be created out of matter and energy.

    The confusion arises out of the lack of distinction in Western traditions between the mind and consciousness. Mind is an interaction of consciousness with the particular organisation of matter, and can appear either as an object (perceived) or subject (perceiver), resulting in almost limitless confusion. What is lumped together as the mind in Western traditions has separately named components (manas, buddhi, chitta, ahankara) in the Eastern traditions that bear some correspondence to the components described in neuroscience. The ability to discern (viveka) between consciousness and matter in the interaction called the mind, is recognised in the Eastern traditions as one of the characteristics of the enlightened, and also in the Christian tradition as in Matthew 5:8.

  • Robin :A sufficiently complex computer of human artifice would be conscious and could be proffered as evidence that consciousness can be created out of matter and energy.

    Merely speculation, which I doubt very much. Yes, possibly computers could simulate or mimic consciousness to a degree where they appear conscious to a human observer, they can almost do that now, but I think it would be a very different quality.

    I think the notion that the brain,or the body and brain/mind ‘create’ consciousness is fallacious. Just my opinion, but to propose an adequate theory of consciousness requires an explanation of all the anomalous phenomena and data that don’t fit that model.

    A sort of analogy. Does a light bulb produce light ? Yes, you’ll say, because when it breaks, no more light. Likewise, does a brain produce consciousness ? Yes, you’ll say, because broken brain, no consciousness.

    But that is absurdly simplistic. The light bulb does not ‘produce’ the light, it comes from the electricity passing through the filament, which in turn comes from cables connecting it to a power station, which, if it’s coal fired, is actually passing on fossilised sunlight… so where, in that system, precisely is ‘the light’ ? If you take out the Sun, or the coal, or the power station, or the cables, or the filament, the light bulb on it’s own is defunct, and can do nothing, even if perfectly intact.

    Imo, the most likely correct model for origination of consciousness, is something along the lines of Hameroff and Penrose’s microtubules, and some sort of quantum field, which is non-local, and entangled, therefore consciousness is a distributed function, or some aspects or levels of consciousness are distributed, pervasive everywhere, in all that exists. Think of it more like radio waves, and the brain as receiver, than the brain as an organ that extrudes consciousness like toothpaste out of a tube.

  • I could’ve sworn you wrote the “menstruation of consciousness”

    I have on occasion in my work met then-recent immigrants who stated that they were trying to learn English: they even carried relevant books. I found it both sad and amusing, because from my personal experience America is a place to unlearn English. Even more amusing were the patients or family members who had studied or were studying English in college – in America. However most Americans take calling their language American much better than most Mexicans take calling their language Mexican.

    Yet I now have more than my quota of fleas. As the saying goes, “If you lie down with the dogs, you rise up with the fleas”. Or perhaps I was subject to the curse “May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits”.

  • Likewise, does a brain produce consciousness ? Yes, you’ll say, because broken brain, no consciousness.

    Actually I’ll say no. The brain (matter) interacts with consciousness to produce the mind. The matter can be wetware or hardware. The dual origin of the mind allows it to be – from consciousness – the perceiver (subject) and – from matter – the perceived (object). But its transience and perishability comes from the latter.

    Consciousness cannot be perceived: it is only (and the One and only) perceiver. Any attempt to perceive it perceives nothing: hence many say, quite accurately, that there is no such thing “out there”. Others, both Jews (Kabbalists) and Buddhists (and of course the JuBus) call it the Void.

    The ability to discern the difference is one of the characteristics of the enlightened, as in Matthew 5:8.

  • For those unacquainted with the term:

    Jubu:

    A Jewish Buddhist (also Jewbu or Jubu or Buju) is a person with a Jewish background who practices forms of Buddhist meditation and spirituality. The term Jubu was first brought into wide circulation with the publication of The Jew in the Lotus (1994) by Rodger Kamenetz. In some cases, the term can refer to individuals who practice both traditions; in other cases, “Jewish” is no more than an ethnic designation where the person’s main religious practice is Buddhism. In yet other cases, a Jubu is simply a Jew with an interest in Buddhism. A large demographic of Jewish Buddhists, constituting its majority, still maintain religious practices and beliefs in Judaism coupled with Buddhist practices and perhaps beliefs.

  • I think we can approach the problem fro two very different directions, Robin.

    One is the intellectual, which would be the standard scientific approach, observation and experiment, trying to understand what actually goes on. And what do we find by that route ? That the ultimate constituent of ‘matter’ is something weird and incomprehensible called ‘quantum foam’ which appears to arise out of nothing and both be and not-be at the same time, and along with that, we have ‘matter’ as probability, the wave function that is collapsed when it it observed by consciousness.

    The second approach is experiential, the careful phenomenological observation of experience, as practiced by the traditions that you are more familiar with than most, where folks have inquired into the functioning of their own being in scrupulous fashion for many generations and recorded what they found.

    At the moment, these two approaches remain to be reconciled. The Western scientific paradigm is deeply flawed, because it retains the notion of an ‘objective reality’, that is, a reality which nobody ever has, or ever will, or ever can, experience, but which is an abstract postulate, an assumption, an article of faith, an expediency, proposed by the fathers of science long ago to facilitate their project.

    Nothing really wrong with that, I mean, science proceeds by trial and error and making assumptions that can later be refined and tested. However, the assumption about an ‘objective reality’ is long overdue for revision.

    I am personally of the view that consciousness is the fundamental substrate of all that exists, out of which ‘matter’, ‘mind’, all experience and form, arises.

  • I had never heard of JuBus. Seems like a rather indigestible mixture to me.

  • Btw, if someone wishes to call that fundamental primordial substrate that I am naming ‘consciousness’, by the name God, as an alternative term, I have no strong objection. I think that the labels are less important than the experience.

  • Robin Datta

    Crikey!!
    Downunder we have a similar saying, very possibly brought here from the very same Afghani camel wranglers who brought the first camels:

    ‘May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your balls’.

    I’m guessin that this is either a popular fraternal jibe to known parties, or an under the breath spiteful epithet uttered to retaliate for suppressed disdain.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghan_(Australia)

    “The first Afghan cameleers arrived in Melbourne in June 1860, when 8 men arrived with a shipment of 24 camels for the Burke and Wills expedition. Afghans without camels are reported to have reached Australia as early as 1838.[1] Camels were the primary means of bulk transport in the outback (where the climate was too harsh for horses and other beasts of burden) prior to the widespread adoption of motor vehicles. A large population of Australian feral camels remains from this time….
    The Afghans or Ghans were camel caravaners who worked in outback Australia from the 1860s to the 1930s. There is not much information available about them but they originated from the region between south of the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan and the Indus River in what is now the state of Pakistan. The Afghans played a major role in establishing Islam in Australia, building the country’s first mosque at Marree in South Australia.”

    Now just how many fleas might that be?

  • I am personally of the view that consciousness is the fundamental substrate of all that exists

    There is no such “thing” as consciousness “out there”. Nothing will be found when looking for “it”: there is no “it”; never “missing” and therefore never to be “found”. The One without a second.

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

    Before camels, when ah itchez ah scratchez. After camels, when ah itchez, ah scratchez.

  • I had never heard of JuBus. Seems like a rather indigestible mixture to me.

    I did not grok even the basics of Vedanta/Buddhism (or for that matter Carlos Castanēda) until reading about the Kabbalah. I found the Judaeo part of the Judaeo-Christian quite important.

    A poor old rabbi once dreamt of a bygone saint telling him that there was a buried treasure under a bridge: next day when at the bridge and trying to go under it, he was asked by sentry guarding the bridge what he was doing. Upon hearing the story, the sentry laughed, and advised the rabbi not to take such dreams seriously: the sentry related a dream he had the previous night of someone telling him of a treasure buried under a stove in a poor rabbi’s kitchen: the rabbi returned home and began digging under his stove where he found a large stash of gold coins.

    There is a lot to be learnt (and not only at an intellectual level) from Kabbalah for the Vedantist/Buddhist and vice-versa.

  • I am personally of the view that consciousness is the fundamental substrate of all that exists

    There is no such “thing” as consciousness “out there”. Nothing will be found when looking for “it”: there is no “it”; never “missing” and therefore never to be “found”. The One without a second.

    Who knows this ?

  • Many people who frequent this site fully understand what matter matters. Elaine an her husband are working their butts off to produce food and insure water. Guy and his community are producing food and creating shelter. I spend a good part of my day producing food, but less than I used to because the matter that is my body begins to fail me.

    I would suggest that anyone who does not understand that there is no self without these forms of matter – food, water, air – should try going without them for some time and see if they are still conscious. Say about 3 mins for air, 3 days for water and while they say 3 weeks without food, I think people in good health can go longer. At some point, deprived of the matter that keeps our matter together our matter turns to mush. I challenge anyone who thinks that our self is not entirely connected to the matter that makes up our body to do without air for lets say 10 mins to be sure and then make themselves known to us.

    The coming events where people will be struggling to find enough food and water will no doubt end up in some people depriving other people of the matter called blood that moves the matter called oxygen to the matter called brain and body. When the matter called blood flows out through a gunshot or knife wound, if enough flows out the matter called body stops living. If someone cuts the matter called throat with the matter called a knife so that the matter called oxygen cannot get to the matter that composes a long and on to the rest of the matter called body, arghhhhhhh its all over. Consciousness is gone. Self is gone. If anyone doesn’t think so they can try an experiment about how much blood or air matters (preferably on their self since other people understand that they have to keep their matter intact so it is unfair to experiment on them)

    Meanwhile _chop wood to maintain proper body temperature – carry water to drink and grow plants and while you are at it don’t forget to breathe – well not to worry, the matter called brain has a program called breathe which makes you do it without any conscious thought. Thank the good dog for the unconscious thought that holds us together so the conscious thought can think it is something real.

  • That is polemic, Kathy, not physics, not science.

  • Who knows this ?

    He who knows does not speak; he who speaks does not know.

    Consciousness is gone. Self is gone.

    A certain configuration of matter appears as mind and self – apparent personal awareness, a manifestation of consciousness. Disrupting that configuration disrupts mind and self; consciousness neither comes nor goes.

  • Kathy C. : What else is there but matter ?

    A lot more than you think… educate yourself.

  • ulvfugl life will educate you when the food is gone. I don’t mean there is nothing but matter, but matter is essential to our bodies and brain. Again, if you want to show that there is something to you that is not created by the matter of your body and brain, just forgo some of the matter that keeps you alive and then find some way to communicate what it is like to be you without a living body. Oh but wait, your soul doesn’t live on after you die. So matter is necessary for your soul to exist?

  • Haven’t had time to read all the comments about what matters, as time is limited when one uses it to support oneself, but I do know that we had one visitor who while eating told us his idea of this all being an illusion and the life we’re living doesn’t matter and one can go without eating.

    I wanted to take his plate away and save it for someone who hadn’t eaten in awhile but thought it might be rude.

  • Total red herring, Kathy C. You’re obviously completely out of your depth on this subject of ‘matter’, ignorant and clueless, so you try to cover your lack of knowledge with arm waving, waffle, and changing the subject. Rather embarrassing, don’t you think ?

    If you don’t mean‘there is nothing but matter’ why did you say what you did not mean ? And repeatedly ?

    I don’t need to show that there is something to me other than the matter of body and brain, SCIENCE has known that there is for a very long time. Have you not yet heard of electricity and electro-magnetic fields, for example ?

    Your egotism is amazing. Rather than admit that you don’t know, you don’t understand, you go to these absurd lengths in an attempt to defend an absurd and indefensible position. Why ? Is it so very hardfor you to accept that there might possibly be something new that you could learn ?

    That’s why it’s impossible to have an intelligent constructive conversation with you.

    And, fwiw, I have done lengthy fasts on many occasions, up to three weeks with no food, so I am well aware of the relationship between my being and nutritional ‘matter’.

    Look, you can’t have it both ways. Either you agree that science is the guiding light in these matters, or you stick with the archaic superstitious 19thC materialist nonsense that you espouse. Which is it ?

  • Elaine : “…but I do know that we had one visitor who while eating told us his idea of this all being an illusion and the life we’re living doesn’t matter and one can go without eating.

    Seems to me the world is mostly populated by idiots and lunatics. It seems clear as day to me that when ocean acidification ( not to mention all the other perturbations ! ) is increasing at a rate that has not previously occurred for millions of years, the results will be dramatic, and absolutely devastating for all life on Earth, and so we, as a species, will ( relatively ) shortly become extinct.

    We only have to look at what occurred on previous similar occasions, in the geological record. It’s all fairly well understood by people who have studied the fossil record.

    How many people understand this ? Out of the 7 billion ? Afaik, I can count them on my fingers, plus or minus a few….

    What can I do about it ?

  • ulvfugl, I never said there was nothing in the world but matter. I said that our consciousness is a product of our brain and body which are made of matter, and like we use matter to make electricity of course our body turns matter into energy and even electricity.

    Many scientists agree that what we think is us is nothing but an illusion created by our brain and body – Wegner in The Illusion of Conscious Will shows is one. Ramachandran and others show how each part of what we call our “self” can be destroyed selectively by damage to a specific part of the brain. per wiki “I Am a Strange Loop is a 2007 book by Douglas Hofstadter, examining in depth the concept of a strange loop originally developed in his 1979 book Gödel, Escher, Bach.
    “In the end, we are self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages that are little miracles of self-reference. ”
    — Douglas Hofstadter, I Am a Strange Loop p.363

    There are people who think and even claim that they can exist on mere sunlight which is similar to what Elaine wrote. Woman starves to death in spiritual quest to live on sunlight alone By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
    A woman starved to death after embarking on a spiritual journey which involved giving up food and water and attempting to exist on nothing but sunlight.
    The Swiss woman, who was in her fifties, apparently got the idea after watching the documentary film ‘In the Beginning, There Was Light’ which features an Indian guru who claims to not have eaten anything in 70 years.
    The Zurich newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported Wednesday that the unnamed woman decided to follow the radical fast in 2010. The prosecutors’ office in the Swiss canton of Aargau confirmed Wednesday that the woman died in January 2011 in the town of Wolfhalden in eastern Switzerland.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2135324/Woman-starves-death-spiritual-journey-trying-live-sunlight-alone.html#ixzz27mF4tUsA

    Language is always a problem in these discussions. I know there are other uses of the word matter but when I use it I mean this definition from wiki “Matter is generally considered to be anything that has mass and volume. The volume is determined by the space in three dimensions that it occupies. The mass is determined by its rest mass (or invariant mass), which is measured by the acceleration a body has when a force is applied. The greater the mass, the slower the acceleration for the same force. Matter is thus a general term for the substance of which all observable physical objects consist” I am quite aware there are other definitions and theories but it is this accepted definition that I am using.

    But as Elaine says what matters day to day is putting food in our mouths, maintaining shelter, obtaining water. Be careful on your out of body trips. Emanuel Swedenborg says that if the silver cord that connects your soul to your body is severed, that’s it for your body. So keep a good watch on that cord when you go traveling.

    That said, I think I will go make lunch. Lunch matters.

  • Kathy C,

    I think you see what you want to see.

    As do all of us, including you, assuming our current understanding of human psychology is on the mark, which it is.

    Guy and the folks at arctic News, arctic methane emergency group, and other scientists see what the ice free arctic means – Guy wrote about it in Feb 2011 https://guymcpherson.com/2011/02/extinction-event/

    Yes, I know. I’ve read Malcolm Light’s paper thoroughly. The issue of frozen methane chlathrates on the Arctic sea bed near Siberia (where the Arctic Ocean depth is no more than about 150 feet) melting as the Arctic becomes ice-free in summer should be taken very seriously. Still, Malcolm Light’s (non-peer-reviewed) paper is mostly a description of a climate model proceeding from certain assumptions about at most three methane spikes appearing in different Arctic locations in 2010; it’s not an analysis of empirical climate data, whether contemporary or paleo.

    By far the best analyses of our current climate predicament are still those of James Hansen, because they’re primarily based on empirical data, with models only used in a secondary capacity. I refer you to his truly outstanding book “Storms of My Grandchildren”, wherein he’s put all the pieces together for an educated lay audience. All the numbers are there, right down to the last gigaton of carbon emission necessary to initiate the Venus Syndrome on Earth.

    Bottom line, Malcolm Light has not convincingly shown that the Arctic methane chlathrate melting is now irreversible, though as I’ve said before, it may very well be ten years from now. In the meantime, the most critical concern at present still is the need to dramatically reduce carbon dioxide forcing due to burning of fossil fuels, as even Malcolm Light himself concedes in his paper. IOW, Bill McKibben’s and James Hansen’s building of a global mass movement, through 350.org, to do just that is still a worthwhile endeavor, and not a waste of time.

    There is still time, brother.

  • Bill McKibben and 350.org are a couple of disingenuous bad jokes. As every legitimate climate scientist has known for nearly four years, we will not observe 350 ppm carbon dioxide in the atmosphere on this planet a very long time. But McKibben will keep pushing business as usual as a solution to business as usual until he dies as a result of business as usual.

  • each part of what we call our “self” can be destroyed selectively by damage to a specific part of the brain

    Exactly. Two and a half millennia ago the individual “self” was described as an illusion.

    I said that our consciousness is a product of our brain and body which are made of matter

    Yes, it can seem so and will do so to many people. The confusion is between consciousness and mind. The mind is the interaction of a particular configuration of wetware (in principle it could also be hardware) with consciousness. As the configuration changes, the mind also changes. All awareness of objects, whether physical or abstract concepts in the mind, is in consciousness. In the Vedantic tradition it is called the “Witness”. It does not do anything, but every volitional action is done in its light. One may read the scriptures while another may forge a document by the light of the same candle. But light in itself is imperceptible unless gazed at directly. Consciousness in itself is also imperceptible, but cannot be “gazed at”, since it is not an object. There is no consciousness anywhere “out there”, and the many people who agree with this are actually quite correct. The sense of “I” is an illusion as well, and while many people intellectually agree with it, few grok it.

  • Kathy C. : “The heart is matter. Hormones are made out of matter. Do you not understand what matter is? I think like Damasio and many others that it is the way that matter is organized in the brain and body that comes together to form something that we call consciousness. What else is their but matter.”

    Kathy C. : “I never said there was nothing in the world but matter. I said that our consciousness is a product of our brain and body which are made of matter, and like we use matter to make electricity of course our body turns matter into energy and even electricity.

    It is not easy to argue with such, to put it politely, confused statements.

    That’s mere opinion, not science. E=mc2. Matter IS energy. If you don’t feel any need to be scientific, why not just use the word ‘meat’ or ‘stuff’ ?

    You are, it appears, unfamiliar with the famous double slit experiments, where matter ‘decides’ whether to be particle or wave, depending upon whether it is observed or not.

  • And another example of how consciousness can change what you call ‘matter’.

  • Robin and Kathy…each part of what we call our “self” can be destroyed selectively by damage to a specific part of the brain

    Exactly. Two and a half millennia ago the individual “self” was described as an illusion.

    Correlation is not causation. Damaging a radio does nothing to the radio waves. The model you two propose, that the material brain somehow manufactures consciousness only works if you ignore the enormous quantities of evidence/data that does not fit that model, for example, Robin, siddhis, another for example, this that I posted before:

    “Here, we have a patient who is missing all the areas in the brain that are typically thought to be needed for self-awareness yet he remains self-aware,”

    Read more at: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-08-self-awareness-humans-complex-diffuse-previously.html

    In my understanding the ‘self described as an illusion’ is no different to all the other discrete items, which are equally illusory, we exist in a continuum of raw reality, it’s the naming of separate isolated forms that creates the illusion.

    Also, IMO, your ‘in principle could be hardware’ is techno-hubris.

  • Rachel Carson’s Way?

    Locating “a road less traveled by”…. a path Rachel Carson would likely have recommended to one and all. At least we have one example on the planet where “the superhighway” was at least momentarily abandoned. Does anyone know of other similarly organized communities with economic constraints and population caps?

    http://www.okotoks.ca/default.aspx?cid=46

    Sustainable Okotoks – The Legacy

    “Not far from my hometown of Calgary, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, there is a beautiful little town called Okotoks. About 10 years ago, the folks there decided they were going to live within their local environmental means. Today Okotoks can fairly call itself the greenest community in Canada”…..Prime Minister Stephen Harper
    In 1998, Okotoks made a decision about its future, becoming one of the first municipalities in the world to establish growth targets linked to infrastructure development and environmental carrying capacity when it adopted a Municipal Development Plan – ‘The Legacy Plan’. In 1998, the town faced an intersection in its evolution. Dependant on the Sheep River for its water and its ability to treat and dispose of effluent, Okotoks could choose to continually “grow without limits” and align with regional development and access to regional infrastructure, or take the “road less traveled” and intentionally choose to live within the carrying capacity of the local environment.
    Informed by extensive public consultation, the high cost (a regional pipeline) of exceeding carrying capacity, and a preservation of a small town atmosphere value system expressed in a community survey, a community driven vision was created that chose to respond to rather than manipulate the environment to sustain our standard of living. A population cap at the licensed limits of the Sheep River aquifer (approx. 30,000) became a key feature of Okotoks’ development path. A build-out municipal boundary for 30,000 people was established. Sustainable Okotoks rests on four pillars that guide and shape a comprehensive and holistic approach to sustainable development:
    1. Environmental Stewardship
    2. Economic Opportunity
    3. Social Conscience
    4. Fiscal Responsibility
    The pillars work together to nurture what Okotokians have expressed desire for – a town that is safe and secure, maintains small town atmosphere, preserves and protects a pristine river valley, provides housing choices, employment opportunities and quality schooling, and caters to all ages and cultures.
    A comprehensive set of targets and initiatives were defined to ensure that our build-out population would be reached in an environmentally, economically, socially, and fiscally responsible way. Since 1998, more than 100 sustainability initiatives have been undertaken.
    The road Okotoks chose to travel was pragmatic, unique, and daring – and about much more than just a population cap. Today, whether it’s a more balanced tax base, broader housing choice, a composting sewage treatment plant, a reduction in water use, or the Drake Landing Solar Community, we can all be proud of our collective accomplishment: becoming ‘better’ not just ‘bigger’. Along the way, be it through several awards, acknowledgment by the Prime Minister, or the featuring of our community on CBC National, the sustainability torch we have carried with ambition and purpose has become a guidepost for others to follow.

  • Guy McPherson,

    Bill McKibben and 350.org are a couple of disingenuous bad jokes. As every legitimate climate scientist has known for nearly four years, we will not observe 350 ppm carbon dioxide in the atmosphere on this planet for at least a thousand years.

    Bill McKibben says as much in “Eaath”. Something about how we’ve already fundamentally changed the climate with the current level of carbon forcing, and we have to accept that for many generations. His point is that we don’t have to respond to that by accelerated burning of all extractable fossil fuels, especially tar sands, tar shale, and the extra heavy Orinoco oil of Venezuela. All that can still be kept in the ground. That’s what 350.org is about. Keeping all that carbon in the ground.

    But McKibben will keep pushing business as usual as a solution to business as usual until he dies as a result of business as usual.

    Business as usual here means “engaging in political and legal activity”. The interesting thing about McKibben is that he’s the only environmentalist I know of, indeed the only politically active person I know of, who younger people–meaning people younger than 35–respond to positively, and as a result of that response, become motivated to take some kind of action. Why that is I don’t know exactly, but it certainly can’t be a consequence of his dashing good looks. It’s truly remarkable.

    But given that you are, at this point, fully committed, emotionally and psychologically, to the imminent extinction of all life, I can understand why you would hold such a man in utter contempt.

  • Almost everybody loves a liar who promises something for nothing. Far fewer people appreciate the unvarnished truth. I bought the lies from neither Obama nor McKibben. But a lot of people are lapping them up from both of them, facts notwithstanding.

  • ulvfugl I did say “What else is their but matter.” but in the context of talking about the human body and brain – not everything in the universe.

    Destroy the radio and you do not destroy the radio waves true, but destroy the transmitter of those waves and no more are sent. Destroy the brain and no more thoughts are thought, no more acts are ordered, no more self is imagined. If you are destroyed and I am not, your ability to read my words and think about them is gone, but my ability to write them is not. If I am destroyed you won’t have to read any more posts from me. Try a better analogy although proof by analogy is suspect.

    Proof by analogy is fraud.” – BjarneStroustrup http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?ArgumentByAnalogy

  • PS ulvfugl – since correlation is not causation I presume you won’t mind if I take a hammer to some select part of your brain since it is not proven that your brain creates your sense of self. The reason evolution gave us a thick skull is to protect the all important brain, and ribs to protect the all important heart and lungs. Some people have a thicker skull than others.

    When a person has a head injury and gets amnesia, they loose past memories. They sometimes no longer know who they are. The memories are part of who we are and they can be lost with brain injuries. How could you loose the sense of who you are by a brain injury if the sense of who you are is not located in the brain? In most cases the blow affects the connections not the memories and they are regained over time because they are still there. Perhaps the memories are not encoded in the brain and just floating around there, forced to relocate to another part of the universe by the blow????

    I worked in a home for the mentally retarded years ago. We had a woman who had had a head injury that caused a different type of amnesia – anterograde amnesia – it was new memories she could’t hold. Every day everything had to start over. She was stuck at the moment in her life of the injury – not really retarded or whatever word they use now – but no longer able to function as she could form no new memories. The movie Memento is a wonderful mystery about a man who has had such an injury. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memento_(film) (plot spoilers in the wiki description) He is trying to solve the murder of his wife but each new piece of information gets lost after 15 mins so he does various coping mechanisms to figure things out. What is great is that the movie is made so that you the viewer are thrown into a similar state in the viewing. One of Christopher Nolan’s masterpieces.

  • BadlandsAK – Many things, including fish, can be canned or dried instead of freezing, though freezing is faster. I tend to live by the Rule of Threes. Have three ways to do everything. Heat, cook, store food, whatever, three different ways.

  • “I did say “What else is their but matter.” but in the context of talking about the human body and brain – not everything in the universe.

    If you understood more, then you’d understand that all matter, whether in your brain, body, or anywhere in the Universe, has the same basic constituents, protons, neutrons, electrons, etc, etc, so that argument is nonsense.

    “Destroy the radio and you do not destroy the radio waves true, but destroy the transmitter of those waves and no more are sent. Destroy the brain and no more thoughts are thought, no more acts are ordered, no more self is imagined. If you are destroyed and I am not, your ability to read my words and think about them is gone, but my ability to write them is not. If I am destroyed you won’t have to read any more posts from me. Try a better analogy although proof by analogy is suspect.”

    Another nonsense argument. You are talking about the difference between a living organism and a dead organism. I was talking about consciousness.

    And who was talking about ‘proof’ anywhere ? All I’m saying is that the model you pose is obsolete and wrong. What the correct model may be may never be established. The best minds have yet to solve this matter, and given the prospects for the planet, probably never will.

  • “since correlation is not causation I presume you won’t mind if I take a hammer to some select part of your brain since it is not proven that your brain creates your sense of self. The reason evolution gave us a thick skull is to protect the all important brain, and ribs to protect the all important heart and lungs. Some people have a thicker skull than others.”

    Now you’re just being facetious and silly. What has that got to do with anything relevant ?

    When a person has a head injury and gets amnesia, they loose past memories. They sometimes no longer know who they are. The memories are part of who we are and they can be lost with brain injuries. How could you loose the sense of who you are by a brain injury if the sense of who you are is not located in the brain? In most cases the blow affects the connections not the memories and they are regained over time because they are still there. Perhaps the memories are not encoded in the brain and just floating around there, forced to relocate to another part of the universe by the blow????

    More nonsense. If you break parts of a radio, the music stops coming out, that doesn’t mean the radio ‘produces’ the music.
    You obviously don’t understand the difference between correlation and causation. We were talking about CONSCIOUSNESS, which is not the same thing as memory. But I’m rapidly losing interest in pursuing this, as you are obviously not a serious thinker on any level Kathy, let alone science.

    I worked in a home for the mentally retarded years ago. We had a woman who had had a head injury that caused a different type of amnesia – anterograde amnesia – it was new memories she could’t hold. Every day everything had to start over. She was stuck at the moment in her life of the injury – not really retarded or whatever word they use now – but no longer able to function as she could form no new memories. The movie Memento is a wonderful mystery about a man who has had such an injury. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memento_(film) (plot spoilers in the wiki description) He is trying to solve the murder of his wife but each new piece of information gets lost after 15 mins so he does various coping mechanisms to figure things out. What is great is that the movie is made so that you the viewer are thrown into a similar state in the viewing. One of Christopher Nolan’s masterpieces.

    So what ? None of that has anything to do with the question you were supposed to be addressing, as to what consciousness is and what matter is.

    How does your conception explain what happens in the double slit experiment, or Schroedinger’s Cat, and the collapse of the quantum wave function ? It cannot, let alone all the other anomalies that show it’s inadequacy.

    Your naive and crude conceptions of consciousness and matter are not part of the modern scientific consensus, smarter people than you left that 19thC. materialist paradigm behind many decades ago. You’re obviously not interested in catching up, and it’s not my job to educate you, that’s your own responsibility.

  • “A major objection to physicalism is that it cannot explain the existence of consciousness. Since consciousness indisputably exists (as shown by the fact that you are now conscious of reading this) physicalists can only assert that somehow consciousness “emerges” in “sufficiently complex” physical systems from the atoms, subatomic particles and electromagnetic radiation which is all that a physicalist allows to be real. In the words of Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), “Human thoughts and emotions emerge from exceedingly complex interconnections of physical entities within the brain.” (Italics in the original.) Physicalists thus label consciousness as an “emergent property” of complex physical systems (they have to italicize “emergent” so as to slip this past one’s critical faculties). But to label it in this way is not to explain how this “emergence” could possibly occur.”

    http://www.serendipity.li/dmt/physicalism.htm

  • The bit about the broken radio and music reminds me of the TV in RD Laing’s essay, What is the Matter with Mind?

    “We are mental matter, material minds. To say, on the other hand, that matter is mind, is like saying a television set is the programme it is showing. A lot of so-called organic or biological psychiatry is a theory and practice based on the same sort of epistemological error implied by calling in a TV technician to tinker with a TV set because one does not like the programme. Without the hardware there would be no programme. Without the programme there would be no point in the hardware.”

    Laing goes on to perform a truly astonishing bit of mental gymnastics to get across the the relationship between matter and mind by directly asking his mind to state where it feels “at home”.

    His mind replies: “Whenever I find information in matter of the spirit’s information of matter I feel … at home.”

    Laing’s essay may be found in the compendium The Schumacher Lectures (1980).

  • Hahaha, I find it most amusing that you cite that Argument by Analogy page, which completely destroys your ownposition ! Had that escaped your notice ? I suppose it must have done. Oh well, i have more interesting matters to attend to.

  • Yes, I like that Martin, although it is a very different line of argument, from the one involving interaction between consciousness and atomic particles. But yes, I want to maintain human sanctity and dignity, and resist reductionism.

  • Guy McPherson,

    Almost everybody loves a liar who promises something for nothing. Far fewer people appreciate the unvarnished truth. I bought the lies from neither Obama nor McKibben. But a lot of people are lapping them up from both of them, facts notwithstanding.

    McKibben a liar. Strong words, as “lying” means knowingly telling falsehoods (you know the truth but deliberately spread falsehoods)–as opposed to being mistaken about what is true.

    Is Hansen a legitimate climate scientist, or no?

  • If McKibben is a climate scientist, as he claims, then he knows we’ve locked in the temperature rise associated with 394 ppm carbon dioxide for at least 1,000 years. That makes him disingenuous, unlike James Hansen.

  • His point is that we don’t have to respond to that by accelerated burning of all extractable fossil fuels, especially tar sands, tar shale, and the extra heavy Orinoco oil of Venezuela. All that can still be kept in the ground.

    At its face value, the premise is quite valid. The presumption is that Homo sapiens is sufficiently sapient to effect a major change in the usual biological course to overshoot and its sequels that accompany a surfeit of resources. Smarter than the average yeast.

    It is now well recognised that the ancient non-verbal, non-rational parts of the brain are associated with emotions, morals and values are the captain of ship: they steer the rational and verbal intellect to rationalise and verbalise their agenda, and to act upon it.

  • Damaging a radio does nothing to the radio waves.

    The perceiving mind is an interaction of the physical universe and consciousness, unlike radio waves carrying content/message, consciousness is content-free and without characteristics – the Void. Also unlike radio waves, it is the perceiver – the Witness. Time & space, matter & energy are within it.

    The ability to discern the components of the interaction is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the enlightened.

    Also, IMO, your ‘in principle could be hardware’ is techno-hubris.

    all matter, whether in your brain, body, or anywhere in the Universe, has the same basic constituents, protons, neutrons, electrons, etc,

    OK.

    ‘self described as an illusion’ is no different to all the other discrete items, which are equally illusory,

    – Also described then & there.

    If you break parts of a radio, the music stops coming out,

    In the case of the physical mind and its interaction with consciousness producing awareness, nothing need come out. Only when something does, in the form of words and actions, they can be taken as evidence for sentience; the words can also be subjected to the Turing test, where the presumption of sentience is based on other’s opinions.

  • You are now entering the nonlinearity zone…
    By Paul Beckwith

    Adapted from a September 28, 2012, post at the Sierra Club Canada blog

    Push something and it moves a little. Push it a little more and it moves a little more. This is called a “linearity” response. But sometimes a little push can lead to something totally unexpected! This is called “nonlinearity” and, contrary to what one might think, nonlinearities are inherent in most systems – like our atmosphere, for example. In fact, abrupt and unexpected change happens at some point in most systems – we even have a saying for such unexpected outcomes: a tipping point.

    Until recently, our atmosphere and oceans behaved like linear systems: incremental dumping of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere caused incremental changes, like rising temperatures and predictable rates of ice melt. But things are now changing unexpectedly fast – nonlinearity is kicking in! We only have to look at the rapidly vanishing arctic icecap for astonishing evidence.

    rest at https://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/2012/09/you-are-now-entering-the-nonlinearity-zone.html

  • Throw out the models that project disturbing climate effects in 2100. They’re happening now! Already we’re seeing rising sea levels from the massive and accelerating Greenland ice melt. The rapid warming of southern oceans is melting and destabilizing Antarctic ice from below, causing enormous chunks to break off (we’ve all seen them on TV). And big increases in Arctic temperatures mean terrestrial permafrost is melting and the now-warmer continental shelf sea floor is releasing increasing amounts of methane gas, a potent climate change gas.

    Full article at https://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/2012/09/vanishing-arctic-sea-ice-is-rapidly-changing-global-climate.html

  • Interesting story, Elaine. I’m astounded that you’ve not managed to find anyone with whom you can build community there. However, perhaps I shouldn’t be astounded; there is a new intentional community in New Zealand that I went to see with my wife (she’s not fully on board yet but does sometimes seem to be and is always at least partially supportive) and the founders are aware of many of the pitfalls of such groups and so are trying to put in place ownership structures (community land trust) and processes that try to pre-empt those problems. However, building the community beyond a few early families seems to be difficult, though it is slowly growing.

    Regarding the comments about McKibben, I was fairly impressed with Eaarth, despite some flirtations with the truth, but am not impressed with many of his public utterances, where he seems not to understand our predicament even though the book suggested he did. The latest I saw was about electric cars – he’s a supporter. Perhaps he is two people in one body.

  • What people should do when deciding who to believe about climate change is to note what a surprise the low level of arctic ice has been this summer. It pokes out at some point in every article I have read. Other aspects of climate change also are surprising scientists. Climate change is consistently getting worse faster than projected. Bill McKibben might have meant well, but he 1. believes projecting hope is the only way to get people on board his wagon 2. cannot allow himself to believe that it is time to throw in the towel.

    While I am not in favor of geoengineering I at least respect that the folks at Arctic New and AMEG refuse to lie about how dire things have become.

    Hard as it is for people to face their mortal nature, we must now face the mortal nature of our species and all others. What is left to do is meddle further with nature, or make the best of whatever time we have left.

    Since we don’t know what all will happen if we attempt to geo engineer our way out, one can I suppose have hope. As Guy notes, no hope of seeing 350 PPM, but I guess once you have an advertising meme for your cause you have to stick with it. Causes have a way of taking on a life of their own, and the leaders of such causes get trapped in their own rhetoric. I remember when my ex and I were volunteers working at Habitat for Humanity – Millard Fuller expressed frequently that they were going to build a decent home for every person in need in the world (which meant every person who could afford to pay the principal over time). Besides the impossibility of that the decent home for a person in Bolivia built by Habitat cost less than $2000 dollars at the time and for a person in the US cost $40,000. No one in the US would have considered the “decent” home built in Bolivia to be decent for someone in the US. But once the rhetoric gets going reason gets lost. For that and many reasons I lost all respect of Millard, but I know he started out with the best of intentions. Pride, fame, grandiosity lies in wait for those who build big movements. Few can resist. And the cause then takes second place to the ego of the founder

    For various reasons I stopped working at Habitat and took a job with Millard’s law partner. One of the things I did was help process the foreclosures on Habitat houses that the owner stopped paying the mortgage payments on – while small because they were profit and interest free they were still too much for some. Needless to say that part of what Habitat does is never mentioned in public. McKibben may know that 350 is impossible in 1000 years but you can be sure he will never admit it. We are toast isn’t a way to get volunteers and donations.

  • Tony, that problem of ownership can loom big. I had friends who were members of the Koinonia (christian, non-denominational) community in Plains GA (yes the home of Jimmy Carter) People followed the New Testament example of putting all their goods and money into the community coffer. The founder Clarence Jordan, didn’t believe land should be owned, but that is pretty hard to do in our civilization, both in terms of laws and people’s expectations. However they did put in place a buy out – where members who left would be set up on the outside. I don’t remember the details but when one friend left they were able to buy a house – perhaps the community provided the down payment, maybe more. I also remember my friend saying that she would never live in community again with her husband. Knowing him I understood. Not everyone who wants to live in community is right for it at least in our messed up civilization. But if people are going to buy in they are certainly going to be skeptical of joining a community if the provisions for buying out are not agreed on.

    Koinonia by the way became strong during the civil rights era when they were attacked by the Klan. They are not what I would call a community any more and most the people I knew there are not there any more. Danger or necessity can hold a community together in ways that ideals seldom do.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koinonia_Partners

    according to the entry they have moved back to being more of a community – I hadn’t heard that. Clarence Jordan had a wonderful idealistic idea – unfortunately when charismatic leaders die all to often what they have started dies with them. Despite my having become more cynical I still wish that idealism worked – so it goes.

    In 1993, Koinonia abandoned its “common purse” and experimented with a corporate non-profit structure. During this period the organization was known as Koinonia Partners, Inc. A board of directors and staff and volunteer positions were established to govern and operate the community, in place of the former community-based structure. This corporate structure was not suitable financially for the community, so in 2005, Koinonia again reorganized, ending the distinction between staff and volunteers and committing once more to the intentional Christian community model. The common purse has not been readopted; rather, each member receives an allowance based upon his or her needs, family and responsibilities.

  • Kathy C

    Are you really up at 2:42 am? Or are you somewhere else like me, far out of time zone than Guy’s server?

  • Guy McPherson,

    If McKibben is a climate scientist, as he claims, then he knows Earth will not have an atmosphere with less than 394 ppm carbon dioxide for at least 1,000 years. That makes him disingenuous, unlike James Hansen.

    And yet James Hansen urges everyone to become part of 350.org, and he and his daughter chain themselves to the entrances of coal mines to protest mountaintop removal in Appalachia, and lie down on railroad tracks to disrupt the movement of coal trains in the U.S. Huh. Imagine that.

    Also, in “Eaarth”, McKibben does indeed state that the planet’s atmosphere will take on the order of 1,000 years to return to 350 ppm CO2. That fact is why we now live on “Eaarth”, and not “Earth”. 350.org is very much a “long-run” organization.

    Political activism may not be your cup of coffee, Guy, since engaging in such does mean working with empire on some level, but McKibben does understand the science behind climate change, and does not hide inconvenient facts about it, neither in his writings nor in his public speaking.

  • With respect to Bill McKibben and any other person/organization who proposes a plan to fix our way out of this mess, if the plan doesn’t include a way to eliminate 6.5 billion people, then it’s not credible. I am probably starting to sound like a broken record on this topic, but the human species is in overshoot. That is the source of ALL the problems we face. Period.

  • To my knowledge, the most successful intentional communities have been religious orders such as monasteries and convents. There is order and structure but everything is done with a “higher” purpose in mind. Ownership is usually by the larger parent group so there is no sense that all the work being done is ultimately benefitting one of the members who owns the property. The members don’t feel like permanent guests there but rather that they are at home with their god. Some such religious communities have been in existence for hundreds of years.

    Here’s one that’s been around for more than 1,500 years.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monastery_of_Saint_Anthony

  • Oz man as has been stated on this site before, the blog posts the time at Guy’s location, not mine. I am up at 5:30 AM to do morning stretching and coffee before the chickens get up – up a bit before the chickens. I enjoy a bit of web surfing with coffee before getting into the serious business of keeping this old body flexible.

  • Dr House, exactly. Of course tribes are communities but in the midst of civilization some other force is needed to hold communities together. Tribes have kinship and necessity. Here is one that has made it since the 30’s when they fled from Germany. They are fine people – I have met a number of their young people who used to leave the community for a period of service and to be sure they wanted to join. Wonderful young people they were. Once they decide to join they are baptized. If they leave before then their family can still interact with them. If they leave after joining, they are excommunicated and even their own families cannot communicate with them ever again. After a few weeks of giving birth the children go to day care and the mothers return to working. Very little time is allowed for nuclear families to spend together – perhaps an hour or two a day. If someone is perceived as getting proud of their work they are moved to other work even if they were the best at what they were doing. If the leaders choose you can be moved from the group you are in to another Bruderhof community. But they are fine peace loving people who have persisted and grown as community for 80 years. Some of the growth has come from outsiders who choose to join.
    http://www.bruderhof.com/

    For those who want community, necessity is just around the corner as an impetus and binding force….

  • Kathy C

    Just read your last two links to Paul Beckwith re. Arctic Sea Ice and tipping points.
    Crikey, he is predicting Greenland ice sheet melt anytime soon, it seems. Time to learn some boating.
    But seriously he is putting forward far greater weather disruption than otherwise we are thinking of. He seems to also advise that all previous knowledge about growing plants will be useless.

    Seems we can do nothing. What a mess. See how it turns out I suppose huh?

  • The REAL Dr. House

    You wrote:

    “Ownership is usually by the larger parent group so there is no sense that all the work being done is ultimately benefitting one of the members who owns the property.”

    Would that community happen to be ‘ the church’? Didn’t the ouritans revolt against the wealth of the church way back when? We have a suburb in inner Sydney named Glebe. The Glege is the area surrounding a significant church, and that church owned a whole crikey! suburb, I mean how can you write that above and not see the immense wealth in the church(es)? And so much self interest, look at how righteous and self protective they are in lawyering up so fiercly, just to protect that wealth, rather than admitting enabling Poedophilia to order within.

  • Oh well, I shouldn’t be too hard on the poor old Church, I mean how would they know what to do, Oh… That’s right, soething about being in touch with a ‘Big Man’, or some old tosh. Pack of well meaning arsholes, who don’t realise they are arseholes. Hey I’ve got this groovy book. It tells you how to live with love, and compassion and has lots of stories about this cool guy who actually did this very transformative stuff and it says you can tap into this way cool energy of divine love, just come to our big house and read it.
    What it doesn’t sy is that within 100 years that group of hopefulls will turn it into a killing machine. “But its all OK, God loves you”
    Well OK god loves everyone, but God is just going to let it all hang out this summer and let it all just fade away. That is some motherfucker of a Dog.

    That book can be used for a few useful purposes in the coming months and perhaps years after the FUBARed present, it acn be used to:
    1. Wipe an arse with it
    2. Blow a nose with it
    3. Burn it with kindling to start a fire to keep warm
    4. Decoupage fine jewelry boxes with
    5. Roll some whacky backy and forget the coming SHTF, both ecologically and socially
    6. Saute with Garlic and Butter,(while it lasts) and scare the hell out of your long despised in-laws by serving it with a good white wine for some normal celebration
    7. Soak several pages overnight, or mor if for many individuals, and mix into a bolus with some fine clay or at worst plasticine and sifted dirt, and allow to dry somewhat. When maliable, like bread dough, shove it up the arse before hybernation, so as beetles and critters do not get into your gastrointestinal track when in stasis for the journey to the future, in a cave somwhere, like same bears do
    8. Hide a crutial piece of film in a cut out inside it, that explains why the computer should not be used for outside communication, and only for entering the numerical code to disarm the hugely powerful electromagnetic anomoly that occurs naturally on the island, as in the TV series LOST, (accompanied by a softly popping sound)
    9. Teach the Aliens about this cool God guy, and laugh inside because you know that they will go back somewhere and fuck thier place uo just ike we have. (‘Laughing’ because they deserve it after harvesting us on December 21 2012. Under no circumstances give the Aliens this book if they have come in peace, but also in that case, do not learn about their Dog by reading Xzerfokisdiut language from their book.)
    10. Read it to your children at bedtime. but change every damn thing in the stories, and see if that rings true.

    Only 10.
    Clearly I’m not coping very well with the human and biosphere catastrophy unfolding. What good were all my precognative dreams if it will happen anyway?

    I mean how many John Conners are there out there?

    http://terminator.wikia.com/wiki/Voiceover

    “In the desert at Enrique Salceda’s place.

    Sarah Connor:

    Watching John with the machine, it was suddenly so clear. The Terminator would never stop, it would never leave him… it would always be there. And it would never hurt him, never shout at him or get drunk and hit him, or say it couldn’t spend time with him because it was too busy. And it would die to protect him. Of all the would-be fathers who came and went over the years, this thing, this machine, was the only one who measured up. In an insane world, it was the sanest choice.”

    Clearly a big criticism concerning parenthood there by James Cameron.
    but then there is Miles Dyson…

    “At Miles Dyson’s place.

    Sarah Connor:

    Dyson listened while the Terminator laid it all down. Skynet. Judgment Day… the history of things to come. It’s not every day you find out you’re responsible for 3 billion deaths. He took it pretty well, considering… ”

    and also the ‘now’ of the situation..

    “On their way to Cyberdyne headquarters.

    Sarah Connor:

    The future, always so clear to me, has become like a black highway at night. We were in uncharted territory now… making up history as we went along.”

    And my all time fave ending…

    Sarah Connor:

    “Because if a machine can learn the value of human life… maybe we can too.”

    It don’t look like we can Sarah, not in this future that is…

  • 2 typhoons are going to pass eastern Japan
    Posted by Mochizuki on September 28th, 2012 ·
    From 9/30/2012 to 10/1/2012, typhoon 17 (Jelawat, 930hPa) and typhoon 18 (Ewiniar, 985hPa) are going to pass eastern Japan.

    Japan meteorological agency forecasts Typhoon 17 is going to pass near Fukushima about 3AM of 10/1/2012 (JST).

    On 9/22/2012, Tepco dropped 7m of the steal beam to SFP of reactor3. The SFP3 is exposed to outside. Rainwater flows into the pool.

    http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/09/2-typhoons-are-going-to-pass-eastern-japan/

    If the poem fire and ice were written today many more options would have to be dealt with although the fact that desire and hate are at the base of most of our problems remains the same.
    Fire and Ice

    Some say the world will end in fire,
    Some say in ice.
    From what I’ve tasted of desire
    I hold with those who favor fire.
    But if it had to perish twice,
    I think I know enough of hate
    To say that for destruction ice
    Is also great
    And would suffice.
    Robert Frost

  • Um… Re the Aliens. Perhaps if they do come in peace, well… we might actually want to know about their Dog. I mean… if they got all this way here and wanted to just hang out, go surfing, visit waterworld, or even skip a few stones on a lake, (it would be a bit difficult with those flipper arm things, but hey ,it could work), well they must have something going for them, right?

    What are we going to do about this biosphere collapse? I mean really chaps and ladies, what are we going to do?
    (The most absurd question possible!)

    The Mayans must have had some plan still laying in some cave or mound undecyphered about just this period of world history.

    Now if we all lived close we could at least have a party.

    Hey, that’s not a bad idea. We are only the internet away…
    We could all decide on a day, and a time slot, and all be on line and have a ripping party at our own locations. I bet it would be fun. Now for that I would drink some alcahol.

    When is Guy’s birthday, maybe if it is soon we can organise it without him knowing, kinda like a surprise party.

    It might be the icebreaker we all seem to need, (pardon the pun). I mean we could finally have it out about which came first , the chicken
    ( conscoiusness) or the Egg (matter). My guess is there would be a lot of typos, and it would be hard to keep up, but we might insist on a 10 line limit, so everyone gets a go.
    But what are we going to celebrate?
    How about…

    Unprepared for the unprepaireable!

    Oh well, if no one else wants to I might have go ahead and do it myself.
    Any takers?

  • ozman says:
    Pack of well meaning arsholes, who don’t realise they are arseholes.
    Huh!! just always had immense respect for that part of my body when I imagine life without it. Prefer the expression “full of shit” that my aunts used in the 50s in the kitchen to name the men they were despising. Actually know someone who is going to loose his arshole to cancer this week and have a “bag”.

    also, about COMMUNITY. Unless very strong, very intelligent, very good at heart and a lot lot more qualities, we can but live our human lives the way we learned to live during childhood, when our parents and entourage ingrained in ourselves / our unconscious the values that were going to rule our lives. Any change to those values takes tremendous work, courage, pain, will,time and more to bring light and consciousness in the dark corners. One has to change all that has been learned and stored in the soul. And the “new” values that one espouses are not evidently “better”. Tremendous journey. It is far from sufficient, indeed impossible, to wake up one morning, get away from the television, and start a community.
    All this to say that IMO, we are so deeply programmed towards suicide as a society, because the collective mind has been prepared to that end for centuries (in all the values the agricultural leap developed from the middle east onwards), that there is no escape.
    I always hesitate to “submit” a comment that would have to be so much more elaborated…oh well, let’s go!
    love,
    michele

  • Robin Datta,

    At its face value, the [McKibben/350.org] premise is quite valid. The presumption is that Homo sapiens is sufficiently sapient to effect a major change in the usual biological course to overshoot and its sequels that accompany a surfeit of resources. Smarter than the average yeast.

    Indeed, not only McKibben, but Hansen also, forcefully argue this point as well. Both concede, though, that at this point, “climate disaster” is unavoidable, so the best that can be hoped for is prevention of “climate catastophe” (which, for both men, means preventing the initiation of the Venus Syndroms).

    IMO, McKibben and Hansen (and myself, I suppose) are a lot like those Japanese civilian and military officials in charge of Japaan at the end of WWII. The two options available to them, continuation of the war or unconditional surrender, literally meant complete extinction of Japanese civilization and culture. Those men were lodged between the impossible (finding a viable third option for action) and the unthinkable (extinction of the Japanese people). In the end, they found a third option–conditional surrender–which prevented extinction (those they could not be sure of that at the time), but at the price of a fundamental transformation of their culture and civlization. And so an entire way of life passed into history, but they survived as a people.

    By contrast, both of the alternatives to 350.org, continued extraction and burning of all types of fossil fuels (“continuation of the war”) and acceptance of the inevitablility of imminent extinction of all life (“unconditional surrender”) guarantee extinction of all life, as both guarantee initiation of the Venus Syndrome.

    It is now well recognised that the ancient non-verbal, non-rational parts of the brain are associated with emotions, morals and values are the captain of ship: they steer the rational and verbal intellect to rationalise and verbalise their agenda, and to act upon it.

    Indeed, this is a very serious problem, a problem that, unfortunately, democratic societies inadvertently intensify, as democratic systems have a built-in tendency to foster excessive consumption in their citizens, and rationalization thereof. McKibben recently made the point that 350.org may not achieve its aims because of this. The fossil fuel industry has all the money, and thus ample resources for triggering these non-verbal/non-rational areas of the human brain to elicit the desired response, and moreover this industry operates within a democratic system structurally incapable of providing any kind of check on this.

    Still, our current knowledge of the ways in which sustained meditation practice, over time, alters human behavior means that it doesn’t have to be this way. Whether this can be achieved within the required time frame is, of course, another matter.

  • OzMan, by definition, the word “monastery” implies religious faith. However, not all monasteries are owned by “the church”. There are many monasteries that are not Catholic and not even Christian but rather Buddhist or some other flavor of religion.

    Ownership, too, takes many forms. Some monasteries are owned by the group who lives there, by an outside non-profit organization, or an order of that particular faith.

    My inclusion of monasteries in this discussion should by no means be seen as an endorsement of them or those who own them. Frankly, I don’t really give a whit about them either way, but thought that I would point out that there are some intentional communities which have fared well over the centuries.

  • Sarah

    You think you’re safe from what’s ahead,
    But I know it happens instead:
    Already dead, through,
    Everybody, him, you…
    Everybody…you’re all fucking dead!

  • With thanks to Elaine Kost for her evocative essay, I’ve posted a new guest essay. It’s here, with thanks to author Dane Wigington.

  • Kathy C,

    Climate change is consistently getting worse faster than projected. Bill McKibben might have meant well, but he 1. believes projecting hope is the only way to get people on board his wagon 2. cannot allow himself to believe that it is time to throw in the towel.

    McKibben does project “hope” of s sort, I suppose, but it’s the kind of “hope” that most people find very difficult to deal with. Advocating a return to a way of life dominated by hard, physical labor isn’t what most people envision by “hope”. But I do agree that neither McKibben nor Hansen believe that it is time to throw in the towel.

    While I am not in favor of geoengineering I at least respect that the folks at Arctic New and AMEG refuse to lie about how dire things have become.

    AMEG’s idea of geo-engineering, though, oscillates between the ridiculous (using HAARP radio receivers to turn atmospheric methane into nanodiamonds) and the truly insane (large-scale installation of drilling platforms in the ice-free Arctic Ocean to drill into the Arctic seabed to elicit a “controlled release and capture” of methane for use as an alternative fossil fuel to power industrial civilization). If that’s the best the AMEG can come up with, I’ll take sulfuric acid aerosol chemtrails any day. And sign up to work as an agricultural laborer on a McKibben/Hansen fully-intercropped, 40-acres-and-a-mule organic farmstead to boot. Sheesh!

    Hard as it is for people to face their mortal nature, we must now face the mortal nature of our species and all others. What is left to do is meddle further with nature, or make the best of whatever time we have left.

    I get it. Unconditional surrender. Once a person becomes absolutely committed, emotionally and psychologically, to the inevitability of imminent extinction of all life, unconditional surrender IS the only rational response. And then you make the best of whatever time you have left, until the day the Allied soldier comes to your door and puts a bullet through your head (so to speak). In the meantime, you go through the process of saying good-bye to all the manifestions of life (“smile, dance, and hug someone you love”). In addition, I might add, you could also help transcribe a physical record of what happened that led to this point. For the benefit of any space-faring Aliens that manage to get here.

    we don’t know what all will happen if we attempt to geo engineer our way out, one can I suppose have hope. As Guy notes, no hope of seeing 350 PPM, but I guess once you have an advertising meme for your cause you have to stick with it. Causes have a way of taking on a life of their own, and the leaders of such causes get trapped in their own rhetoric.

    No hope of seeing 350 ppm IN OUR LIFETIME (or even 10 lifetimes). A subtle, but non-trivial, point. One has to take the long view. Walk like an Egyptian, IOW.

    Do you know how McKibben came up with “350”? He actually didn’t. He got it from Hansen. The two men are like Romeo and Mercutio. They “consort” together, as Tybalt would say.

    McKibben may know that 350 is impossible in 1000 years but you can be sure he will never admit it. We are toast isn’t a way to get volunteers and donations.

    Since he has publicly admitted it, so much for that then.

  • Or, if you can’t walk like an Egyptian, at least try to walk like ulvfugl. :-)

  • OzMan Says: we might insist on a 10 line limit

    Suggestion: no writing down anything in advance.
    FWIW: At LATOC there was a regular Friday night pub, but time zones were a problem.

  • ‘the human species is in overshoot. That is the source of ALL the problems we face. Period.’ -tsdh

    i think robin datta has a more radical (which is to say, getting to the root) interpretion of the problem, including why our so-called intelligent, sapient species has fucked up so badly:

    ‘The presumption is that Homo sapiens is sufficiently sapient to effect a major change in the usual biological course to overshoot and its sequels that accompany a surfeit of resources. Smarter than the average yeast.’

    given the opportunity to become gluttons and increase our population without the usual natural checks, we behave just like mindless microorganisms. just like them, most of us have no idea of the scientific big picture and concepts like ‘overshoot’. the same applies to our so-called leaders. no smarter than yeast.

    i tried posting a comment similar to this at that arctic news blog that kathy and guy have posted several links to recently, but i can’t figure out how to register. oh well. i was just trying to point out to paul beckwith, author of the 2 essays kathy posted links to just above, that there is no hope for precisely this reason. for some reason even very smart aware sheeple usually are blind to how hopelessly dogmatically ignorant, how dumbed down, our species has become. they seem to think that if they plead long and loud enough, they’ll get through to the pols and public. they think there’s hope of instilling knowledge in sheeple who have hitherto have resisted all attempts to enlighten them. as if no one has ever tried before.

    kathy, your ‘fire and ice’ poem by robert frost reminds me of this ‘poem’; the lyrics to this misanthropic doomer tune by the band ‘tool’:

    i forgot to say the tune’s title is ‘aenema’

    Some say the end is near.
    Some say we’ll see armageddon soon.
    I certainly hope we will.
    I sure could use a vacation from this
    bull-shit three ring cirrrrcus siiiideshow of
    Freaks here in this, hopeless fucking, hole we call LA.
    The only way to fix it is to flush it all away.
    Any fucking time.
    Any fucking day.
    Learn to swim, I’ll see you down in Arizona bay.

    Fret for your figure and
    Fret for your latte and
    Fret for your lawsuit and
    Fret for your hairpiece and
    Fret for your prozac and
    Fret for your pilot and
    Fret for your contract and
    Fret for your car.
    It’s a bull-shit three ring cirrrrrcuus siiideshow of
    freaks here in this hopeless fucking hole we call LA.
    The only way to fix it is to flush it all away.
    Any fucking time.
    Any fucking day.
    Learn to swim, I’ll see you down in Arizona bay.

    Some say a comet will fall from the sky.
    Followed by meteor showers and tidal waves.
    Followed by faultlines that cannot sit still.
    Followed by millions of dumbfounded dipshits.
    Some say the end is near.
    Some say we’ll see armageddon soon.
    I certainly hope we will
    I sure could use a vacation from this
    stupid shit, silly shit, stupid shit…
    One great big festering neon distraction,
    I’ve a suggestion to keep you all occupied.
    (Learn to swim. 3x)
    Mom’s gonna fix it all soon.
    Mom’s comin’ round to put it back the way it ought to beeeeeeeee.

    there’s actually more to the lyrics, but u get the gist. here’s the actual music. it’s been a hit song with much radio play for over a decade:

  • We collapsophiles inhabit a small world indeed.
    Reading Elaine’s essay it dawned on me, that she and I had communicated online in the past in regards to the very subject of her essay. I was one of many who obviously chose not to talk to them personally in the beginning, especially given that they were the ones who first contacting me. Whereby I chose to engage at least for a little while, through email exchanges, because contrary to what some believe, I have through my own experience, learned that talk is equally as cheap as writing, if not cheaper. And where writing forces a certain degree of clarity that simply can’t be achieved in often uncomfortable situations of meeting people for the first time. And this is definitely true given the gravity of the circumstances and what’s at stake for all involved.
    But what strikes me as being peculiar, is the near absence of self-reflection at least on Elaine’s part, other than her comment about being “anal”. A discerning reader might glean this to be the truer reason as to why some 200 people have come and gone, yet they are still alone, and still blaming others for this. Is it possible there might be other reasons for why they haven’t found who they are looking for?
    Could it be, that those 200 people may have come to the same conclusion that I did? That here are two people who obviously had the opportunity to buy land, and develop it into a semi-sustainable piece of property. But aside for all the talk about the need for a post-collapse community, they’re true interest are far more about the present, as to who is able to pay them for what they are offering. Even though their physical location, which is well outside any urban commerce, virtually makes it nearly impossible for others to afford any kind of work that would allow them to pay their expenses.
    Has David and Elaine crunched the age demographics as to the probability of finding who they are actually looking for? Because other than finding a group of youngsters (young family) who just happen to be independently wealthy, at least enough to be able to pay their living expenses, while not holding down an outside job. Yet be expected to commit to working on their land without any shared entitlement of being land owners. As well as having to endure the insecurity of their future being completely determine by Elaine’s opinion of them, might better explain why they haven’t found anyone. Because charging people to live at your place, while expecting them to work for free, in a location that doesn’t offer any opportunity to make money, is probably a little closer to the truth, than just accusing others of being unmotivated, undisciplined and penniless.
    For those who just thought that all anyone needed to do to survive collapse, was just buy some land outside urban areas, grow your own food and wait for Babylon to come crashing down, are…..well, now finding themselves in a near insoluble logistical nightmare on any number of fronts, during the interim period between now and the collapse of our economic system, which easily could be much longer than any of us think.

  • Daniel makes some interesting points, but there are a few I disagree with. My name is Robert, and I lived with David and Elaine for six months.

    First, let me say that after my “experiment” at living in community with David and Elaine, I am left with nothing but respect for them. They have as much integrity and willingness to work towards their goals – on every level, from the tangible to the emotional – as anyone I’ve ever met. They are authentic, honest, and very open and willing to discuss their flaws, their battles, and their weaknesses.

    A single article (or even a series of emails, or reading their blog) will not adequately describe who they are as complete people. Even having lived on their property for six months, I am sure there is a lot more I would have learned about them, had I stayed longer.

    To address some specific points:

    “But what strikes me as being peculiar, is the near absence of self-reflection… A discerning reader might glean this to be the truer reason as to why some 200 people have come and gone…”

    David and Elaine have had years to figure out, as best they can, what they believe would make living in community work. Through brutal honesty with themselves and then others, they are willing to share what they have learned, in order not to waste anyone’s time. What they are looking for is rather specific, and no one is more aware than them, that they may never find it. I’m not sure how you can imagine that they are unwilling to self-reflect, that statement is so far from the people I know, that I’m not really sure how to respond to it.

    When we really open our hearts and minds and examine what the elements of healthy community are, the list is quite long. Overlay that with the inherent imperfections of any piece of land – its location, its logistical limitations – and you create a series of filters. They could interview 2000 or 20,000 people, and not find one or two that would work. It may almost be a fault that they know themselves too well, because were they younger or less self-aware, they might have fumbled their way into living situations that were doomed, as so many have.

    “…they’re true interest are far more about the present, as to who is able to pay them for what they are offering.”

    Amongst David and Elaine’s strengths, are their groundedness and clarity, and their ability to study the minutia while not losing sight of the big picture. We are in a transitional time, although most can’t muster the perspective to even see the transition unfolding. No one knows how long it will take to get from where we “were” to where we’re going (as you mentioned), but in the mean time the rules of the “old world” still apply — and could dominate our personal economics for some time to come.

    Which is to say, there are economic realities that we will need to deal with… indefinitely. David and Elaine, with their life-long foresight and discipline, have invested decades of their lives to attain what they have. They are not asking (in my humble opinion) for anything unreasonable: they are willing to share the fruits of all of their years of labor, all they ask in return is that someone joining in this late in the game, bring something to the table.

    Its not as though they are saying “cough up $20 grand, and we’ll let you in our club” — they are saying: we have invested hugely, and if you invest something also, we can take this to a whole other level together. This is a very important point to understand, because as groups come together under various circumstances there will always be a melding of skills, assets, and resources. We each need to come to terms with what we have to offer, and not every situation will be right for us. And its a bitter pill to swallow, for some of us to realize that we are not prepared, and in real and practical terms, we have little to offer.

    Their (somewhat) peculiar property does have some challenges in terms of making a living while living there, but I believe that anyone with the right amount of creativity, flexibility, and self-motivation would be able to figure it out. So I agree that there probably is a very narrow window for an individual, preferably a couple (or as you say, a young family) to succeed in that environment — but I don’t think that is a negative reflection on David and Elaine — I don’t think they’ve done anything purposefully or inadvertently to exclude people, or put an unreasonable burden on new comers. It’s just the way it is.

    “Yet be expected to commit to working on their land without any shared entitlement of being land owners.”

    If you had spoken to them on the phone or in person, I’m sure you would have found out that they are open to joint ownership opportunities.

    Hopefully we can all continue to learn from each other. I know I learned a lot in the short time I lived on Slippery Slope, and I hope there is more learning and sharing in the future.