A Curious Course on Conduct and Crapulence

by Andrew Bell

I have finished the requirements for my history degree and this semester I am completing my minor requirements in classics. Because of the mechanics of the minor requirements I am afforded the chance to take some 100-level (freshman) classes. I had steered clear of these classes since returning to school a few years ago but I signed up for two of them this semester. One of them is a giant lecture class on Sparta (500 students). This class has provided me with a very disheartening yet enlightening experience. The professor is using Sparta (in particular Xenophon’s account of their constitution) for the basis of the class. So he broke everyone into groups on day one by last name. The idea is to make the class mirror the agoge (the famed Spartan military training school).

Each group must sit in the same spot every day, each group has a graduate teaching assistant (TA) who is their leader, TAs call random names for attendance from each group, every absence causes the group to lose points, the TAs and elected students patrol the isles and groups get points taken off for bad behavior of any sort, if your name gets called for attendance you must show a photo ID, there is a secret police group of students that reports directly to the professor, and on and on. The carrot dangling in front of you is, of course, your grade, of which a letter is completely at the mercy of your group. Groups can challenge another group and take away points if successful. It is a soft military dictatorship based on soft repression and competition.

The disheartening part is the vigor that all 500 plus students displayed while going along with the class rules. It is kind of like a Stanford Prison Experiment. After a few weeks I wrote the professor an email message to relate my reaction to the class structure. A portion of that message follows:

I find the class structure to be infuriating, dangerous and disheartening. I often find my mind wandering during lecture pondering ways one might “break” the structure. I often think about not giving my id if my name is called for attendance. I find myself wanting to stand up and leave at times or yell something (I have done this twice). I have thought about self exile or trying to start a self exile group, the purpose of which would be to disrupt class or other groups. I find that I do not pay any attention to the material but rather to the structure. I look up and see students patrolling the isles and I try to catch their eye. I find the condescension stemming from the TAs to be unwarranted and unwelcome. All of these things occupy my mind during lecture and it has less to do with me being a troublemaker and more to do with my deeper feelings of disappointment in my fellow students and anger at the ease in which a simple structure has seemingly claimed everyone’s desire for direct action, independent thought and empathy. I have yet to find anyone who is more concerned with how they or others are being treated than their grade. However I also feel you are making a point with the structure and I do see worth in that, but at what cost? The cost for me has been a tenuous grasp of the material in exchange for a plethora of “ponderings” on rigid structures (soft repression, soft military dictatorship, social stigma etc), how they work and how they could be broken or avoided.

The most disheartening aspect by far is to watch young people fall in line. The immediate acquiescence to a higher authority is defeating to independent thought. It provides no incentive for the individual or the group to think outside the lines. The reasons for this acquiescence can only serve to deepen the feeling of despair. One reason is people don’t seem to care … about much. Another reason is people are only concern with their individual grade and anything beyond that seems cursory. Another reason might be that people simply like structure and authority. I cannot seem to find an acceptable reason to go along obeying the class structure yet I continue to go along with it.

Needless to say, I exiled myself from my group at the cost of a letter grade in exchange for completely opting out of the structure (this might sound familiar to many doomers). I have to sit alone in the back of the class now. The whole experience has been surreal. Many people seem to desire structure and have no problem with authority. It is shocking to be in class during the short group debates and hear every group refer to Sparta as a utopia, when Sparta is clearly a society built on slavery and warfare (one account has the slave to Spartan ratio at 7 to 1). Almost every single student has expressed admiration of the Spartan way of life. In fact during a debate on “what aspects of Sparta should be implemented in today’s society” here were some of the group answers (many groups had the same answer and it should be noted that it was a thought experiment posed to the groups):

Government control on what we are allowed to eat.

Public mockery of “out of shape” individuals.

Mandatory military service.

This one is the best: every person should be allowed one free kill, that is to say everyone gets to kill one person with no punishment during their lifetime.

I do not place much importance on the answers themselves but rather the implicit authority required for each to be implemented. Every answer is already assuming a strong authority capable of controlling the masses. The last answer (one free kill) was justified as soft repression; if everyone knew they could be killed if they wronged another than no one would wrong another. In that case the authority is fear of death.

To make matters worse, or better, depending on your worldview, the professor has received much adoration for the syllabus. He is flown around the country to do small versions of this syllabus with businesses in the attempt to create better and more efficient work environments, so I am told. The professor also teaches an Athens class which is run in the same way but structured as a democracy. He has informed me that, without fail, the Sparta class gets better grades and is able to get through more material. The Athens class, so he says, is always incredibly unorganized and undirected.

The performance difference between the two structures will pose something of a problem for many. When stepping back, the Sparta structure gets better and bigger results. However, as many of the readers have probably come to understand, the problem(s) we are facing today have more to do with bigger, better results of human action than undirected or unorganized human behavior. Taking the idea a bit further there is an assumption that coordinated human effort can solve the problems brought about by coordinated human effort.

I feel the need to express that I am quite fond of the professor even if I disagree with some of his views. However the quickness and ease with which the students followed the Spartan structure is cause for alarm. The adoration the professor received for creating the class is cause for alarm. While I do appreciate a unique approach to learning, the cause for alarm has nothing to do with the class itself. The alarm that should be ringing in your head right now is indicating a few overarching human aspects that can easily be nurtured into shortcomings. The how and why, as I see them, are described below:

We have strong desires to follow.

We can easily be led by carrots of our own creation.

We reward competition and discourage co-operation.

Our institutions have many cracks that individuals can slide through gaining undeserved social identities and stigmas.

Above all, this class has added, for me, much more weight to the argument that we are FUBAR. The further you stick your head up your ass the more applause you will receive.

I share this experience with you for a variety of reasons, none of which have to do with the class itself. The class did not hold a gun to my head nor a whip at my back. It did, however, provide me the opportunity to practice situationalism.

There are different definitions of situationalism so I need to clarify how I am using the word. Situationalism, crudely, is a revolutionary thought that posits the idea that every situation has an authoritative path and a non-authoritative path. I find situationalism to be helpful when I can remember it and apply it. I applied situationalism to the Sparta class and feel comfortable with the outcome. Moreover, I have piqued interest in some students who did not even know they had the option of self exile. Thus by choosing a non-authoritative path I have illuminated an option that others did not know existed. I am not claiming to be some revolutionary but rather that anyone at any given time has the ability to walk a non-authoritative path and that non-authoritative paths have a way of sparking independence in action and thought.

If we look at the situation of recycling, we can see a chance to practice situationalism. In my town we have two different-colored trash bins, one for waste and one for recycling. Every week both bins are put on the side of the road and the city comes to take the contents away. Recycling in this manner is the authoritative path, one is still handing the situation over to an authority. In order to take the non-authoritative path one would need to find a way to deal with the “trash” without using an authority. This would probably mean composting, which would probably lead to gardening. Having a garden in 2012 is not only logical and healthy but it’s downright revolutionary when viewed through the eyes of situationalism and that should also raise an alarm.
____________________

Andrew Bell is a human born prior to the advent of the internet. He has been with wealth and without wealth. He has been married and divorced. He has been in and out of school. He is quite fond of alternative historic narratives. He has always enjoyed music whether listening or playing. He aims to live in a community based on mutual aid and contractual obligation entered and exited by the free will of the individual. Above all he tries to hold a vision of his two nieces living in a better world than that of today.
____________________

With considerable help from Jennifer Hartley, McPherson will be speaking throughout Massachusetts and environs approximately 25 November 2012 through 5 December 2012. If you’d like to join the fun, send an email message to Jennifer at hartley_jennifer@yahoo.com.

With help from folks living near North Battleford, Saskatchewan (about 90 minutes’ drive northwest of Saskatoon), McPherson is planning to speak in that area in late January 2012. If you’re interested in hosting me in Saskatchewan or Alberta, please send a message to Christine at lakeannares@gmail.com.

Comments 317

  • Andrew: Amazing experience! It’s just so easy to turn ourselves into slaves via self-imposed restrictions and blind obedience to “authority.”
    Thanks for sharing this and your insights.

  • Humble suggestion: take the Athens course and compare.

  • A good reminder when we are faced with either/or situations, that there is almost always a third, less obvious choice.

  • An environment fostering spontaneous random and abundant interactions will increase the chances of adaptive responses to any situation. A prescribed suite of interactions is better adapted to a specific objective well defined in time and space, but the complexity of the real world is often too messy or fuzzy to address all the issues that may crop up within those bounds – and certainly for domains beyond them. The unknown unknowns far exceed the known knowns and the known unknowns.

    The state of knowledge has been compared to the contents of a sphere. The surface is the boundary where one recognizes the limits to knowledge and the realm of ignorance. The volume of knowledge increases by a cube of the radius while the limits to knowledge increase by the square. This leads to the perception that the ignorance is significantly decreasing and results in increasing confidence in the adequacy of knowledge.

    This is the root of the twin problems that James Howard Kunstler calls “techno-narcissism” and “techno-grandiosity”.

  • Speaking of which (techno-narcissism), Robin and Kathy C. who probably saw this already:

  • “…every situation has an authoritative path and a non-authoritative path…”

    Unfortunately, every sociopolitical typology observed above a population of Dunbar’s Number, roughly 150, is “authoritarian,” although anthropologists use the word “hierarchical” and “State.”

    Size matters.

    Small is non-authoritarian, or more academically stated, “Egalitarian” or “non-State.”

    Food-getting strategy is the main governor of group size. Agriculture requires State level planning, organization, roads, irrigation, drainage, expansion, soldiers, division of labor, etc.; thus Richard Manning states, “Agriculture creates government,” and Jared Diamond says, “”…we chose the latter [agriculture] and ended up with starvation, warfare, and tyranny.”

    Let’s review the 4 sociopolitical typologies (Service, 1975), as follows:

    BAND | Non-State/Egalitarian | ≈50 pop. | hunter-gatherer
    TRIBE | Non-State/Egalitarian | ≈150 pop. | h-g-horticultural
    ————DUNBAR’s NUMBER (Dunbar, 1992)—————-
    CHIEFDOM | Proto-State/Hierarchical | ≈500 pop. | agricultural
    CIVILIZATION | State/Hierarchical | ≈5000+ pop. | agricultural

    Thus:
    • Sociopolitical typology population below Dunbar’s Number is the “non-authoritarian path.”
    • Sociopolitical typology population above Dunbar’s Number is the “authoritarian path.”

    _________________
    Diamond, Jared. (May 1987) “The Worst Mistake In The History Of The Human Race.” Discover. pp. 64-66.

    Dunbar, R.I.M. (June 1992) “Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates”. Journal of Human Evolution 22 (6): 469–493.

    Manning, Richard. (2004) “Against the Grain”. North Point Press. p. 73

    Service, Elman. (1975) “Origins of the State and Civilization: The Process of Cultural Evolution”. New York, NY: Norton. [A brief synopsis: NON-STATE AND STATE SOCIETIES

  • The guru, when asked what is good,
    Replied, “Carry water, chop wood”;
    But when neither remain,
    He’ll be forced to abstain,
    Unable to do what he should.

  • I used to teach a college course on Utopianism, and the main focus for each student was to think about and write up a version of their own utopia (defined as “the best possible society”). I learned a great deal about how the minds of young American college students work and I didn’t find it any more reassuring than Andrew Bell. Their ideas about human nature and what parts of it need to be controlled (externally as necessary) and what can be allowed to express itself more naturally were often pretty appalling. Ironically, you come away from it wishing that humans had (and tolerated) more scope for creating their own variety of worlds (rather than fearing and destroying true diversity of thought and action at every opportunity), while at the same time hoping that these students weren’t creating the world that I was going to have to live in.

  • Andrew thanks for sharing that. Wow what a learning experience. I continue to think that since we humans evolved as hunter gatherers and have only recently had civilization, the role we work best in is the life of a hunter-gatherer, especially those who are the least sedentary.

    However it does seem that if humans are shortly to become extinct most everything about how we should live becomes irrelevant. If we don’t become extinct we will certainly be sent kicking and screaming back to the Stone Age. Civilization is a cage for domestic humans. I am not sure that you can change the shape of the cage in any way that makes things better. The cage is the problem, now how the caged animals act.

  • Civilization is a cage, indeed, Kathy C.

    Richard Manning on the Zoo Cage of Civilization

    See the animal in his cage that you built
    Are you sure what side you’re on?
    ~Nine Inch Nails, “Right Where it Belongs”

  • The imperative to exile oneself, to become the outcast, to perhaps offer oneself as the scapegoat, azazel, is born of the felt necessity, in the face of stale, ruinous conformity, to bear witness to something greater, the path of aliveness, authenticity, autonomy.

    Exile and its attendant ostracism is an act of defiance in the name of something, often inchoate, something better, inferred because the ONE that is held up to you as the final authority, the ONE and only God, say, is found wanting — there must be another god, you reason — some kind of entelechy, perhaps, that all of life is moving towards, an ecology of souls that is just, where the prize is your SELF, rather than the politically ordered cosmology that this civilisation reflects.

    Historically, this impulse is bound up with the Gnostic response to life. The Gnostic response to life is a “no.” It is a refusal. Strangely, when I have refused, and then been made to stand in the corner and be pointed at, a feeling of calm has come over me, a feeling that I am protected, and that the future is bright.

  • Andrew, I’m inspired by your defiance and your strength of character. I wish many more people were like you.

    Thus by choosing a non-authoritative path I have illuminated an option that others did not know existed.

    I applaud you.

  • I don’t know how many of us on NBL are on the storm’s path and in direct way of one of the 19? nuclear power plants that are at risk.

    Looking at the stormtrack, it will do something here. I will take 2 sleeping pills. I have hundreds.

    is pre traumatic stress about to become post traumatic stress?

  • Andrew Bell

    Great example of the role of the one independently acting in the group.

    I attended uni as a mature age student and constantly came up against things of this sort. Not as extreme as your Sparta experiment, but unsettling nevertheless, a bit surprising. I believe there is a few differences in education at secondary and tertiary level in North America compared to Australia, but with new planned funding cuts to high school education here to the tune of $10 billion over 4 years in NSW alone, I can bet we will be edging very close to the models used in NA.
    The Situationalism model you offer is very useful, however, it is in essence the choosing to opt out of Authoritarian structures and processes, and has been perhaps the underlying process, albeit unnamed, of objectors to war, non-violent protestors and civil dissenters for a long time in history. Socrates chose Hemlock rather than recant, which would be a capitulation and agreement with Authoritarian terms, as did Galeleo, by remaining under house arrest.
    As a Picean sun sign I am all too aware of the power of the group to define options and manufacture consent to authority.(Fish swim in schools).
    Interestingly, there was some fish research done by (?) someone in aquatic studies that demonstrated how fish shepherd each other in small groups past predatory danger zones, and these lead fish are not intrinsic. That is, the fish are simply the first ones to cross successfully the danger zone and they return to assist others along. In a new situation it could be a previous sheapard fish is now assisted by another.
    This is inspiring because it means that each small ‘situationalism’ moment that brings others attention to a ‘problem’, or an hitherto unseen option, will be held in memory by those affected, and may inspire them to similar actions in other instances. The framing of the action is all too important in this modern context, such that if the public hears first of a particular group or individual as say, ‘ a radical group of Empire extinctionists promoting the collapse of industrial civilisation to save the planet’ it is tantamount to pidgeon holing that action as a threat, not a moment to reflect and s=ask probing questions about questionable ways of life.

    Great essay and thanks. I would be interested in knowing a bit more about the development of Situationalism.

    Also, I hope you get granted your degrees.

  • Wow! The most stunning thing about this story is that 500 people signed up to take this class! It’s an elective, so nobody had to, and since the prof is famous for it I have to assume that they knew what they were getting into, actually sought out the experience.

  • Hope the storm is overhyped
    Dr. Jeff Masters on his Wunderground blog wrote this AM “In a poignant, powerful Public Information Statement this afternoon, the National Weather Service in New Jersey is begging that people heed warnings, and evacuate if they are asked to. They write, “If you are reluctant [to evacuate], think about your loved ones, think about the emergency responders who will be unable to reach you when you make the panicked phone call to be rescued, think about the rescue/recovery teams who will rescue you if you are injured or recover your remains if you do not survive.”
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/article.html

    I’m off to see my Dad in Atlanta and will be experiencing computer withdrawal symptons and only be able to follow this on the TV NEWS (gag choke)

    Michele we may need more than sleeping pills, we may need iodine pills. Hope not. What a mess we have solved ourselves into….

  • Remember when we were talking about geo-engineering? Check this out:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/dutchsinse

  • The Gowanus Canal.
    Some heartwarming news from Adam Pasick at New York Magazine…
    If Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge is as big as projected, the fetid Gowanus canal may overflow and flood low-lying areas of Brooklyn with a foul-smelling and poisonous mixture of chemicals and crap:
    If Sandy hits with sufficient force, a flood of the human waste quaintly known as combined sewer overflow (CSO) is almost a certainty. What is less certain is how much of the heavier, more dangerous contaminants will be churned up by the storm surge and heavy winds and deposited by the flood waters. There is a worrying precedent in Hurricane Katrina, which inundated several Superfund sites such as the Agriculture Street Landfill. Like the Gowanus Canal, the landfill had accumulated decades worth of various pollutants, and after Katrina the area around the landfill showed “disturbingly high” levels of cancer-causing chemicals from soot and petroleum-based products. Those are known as polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and EPA testing has confirmed high levels of them in the Gowanus Canal, the result of oil and coal refinery runoff a hundred years

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/hurricane-storm-surge-may-flood-new-york-with-toxic-poo-2012-10#ixzz2AgqA1a1M

  • Kathy C: “…heartwarming news…combined sewer overflow…”

    Hopefully you jest, just like hopefully the Psalmist was jesting:

    “Happy shall he be, that takes and dashes your little ones against the stones.” ~Psalm 137:9

    Otherwise, you both sound just a tad psychopathic.

    Turn your corrected copy into the news editor by noon, ok?

  • I must confess, watching Frankenstorm has been fun. While I hope for a direct hit on NYC, my partner is hoping for DC to be ground zero. Maybe then, TPTB will get the climate change message. Are we being naive?

    Kathy C., I finished Everything Matters!. Several plot holes, but enjoyed it anyway.

    And on topic, what is it about professors and their lovely little experiments? Andrew, have you tried organizing any of your classmates to disrupt this jackbooted fascist? And, have you read Jensen’s Walking on Water? Your essay prompted me to get the book.

  • The storm even put Lady Liberty on hold.

    The Statue of Liberty was scheduled to reopen Sunday to the public (was she?) after a renovation project, but the monument will be closed Monday and Tuesday as Sandy passes through the area.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/weather/2012/10/29/millions-across-east-coast-brace-for-uperstorm-sandy/#ixzz2AhCWgqRI

    Statue of Liberty, Sandy, all hags.

  • “I hope for a direct hit”

    Schadenfreude runs deep.
    Into your life it will creep.

    Hell, malice and spite are the only reason Republicans continue to vote Republican, even if it against their own personal interests, as argued by Mark Ames in We, The Spiteful when he writes the following:

    “…[M]alice and spite are as American as baseball and apple pie…the awful truth is that they [American voters] are mean, spiteful jerks…”

    But apparently sociopathy isn’t just a Wall Street/Republican problem. Whodathunkit?

  • Oh no, Ivy Mike, not you as well. “Hopefully” doesn’t mean what people think it means. It is no substitute for “I hope” or “it is to be hoped.” It means what it looks like: full of hope. Now read that sentence again: “Full of hope you jest, just like full of hope the Psalmist was jesting.”

    Why people increasingly prefer the wet and dripping “hopefully” to the muscular and confident “I hope” is an interesting question in itself.

    It’s too late for hopefully, but it is to be hoped that some may desist from using it. I hope.

  • Martin, I shall improve my awful copy in the above post to “I hope you jest, just like I hope the…” Hopefully this correction meets your approval. 😉

  • Hopefully it does. With thanks.

  • “Wedded be thou to the hags of hell.” ~William Shakespeare (Henry VI Part 2, 4.1)

    And let’s not drag the français Statue of Liberty into your spiteful coterie.

  • MB: “…attainment…”

    “Silken-coated slaves.” ~William Shakespeare (Henry VI Part 2, 4.2)

    But even gang members join the military to get superb training, so perhaps something can still be salvaged from a university.

  • I noticed someone remarking on the similarity of two posters’ phrasing. Here is an article that all who post here should read:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2012-10-28/cointelpro-techniques-dilution-misdirection-and-control-internet-forum

    I now return you to our regularly scheduled carping.

  • Can the world be powered at today’s levels of consumption by renewable energy?

    http://theautomaticearth.com/Energy/renewable-energy-the-vision-and-a-dose-of-reality.html

    No.

  • Paranoia, self-destroya, BC. But hey, at least with silly paranoia you can avoid issues you wish to avoid. Like this issue:

    “I hope for a direct hit.”

    Do you consider the above statement part of even a modicum of “logical debate“?

    Well, neither do I.

    What riles you, BC, is my identifying the abject ugliness expressed here, as loathsome as anything Rush Limbaugh might spew.

    P.S. If you have any logical debate up there in your head, bring it.

  • Amerika is a very religious nation. We’ve all heard this said many times. But the Amerikan religion is not Christianity, it is Being-Middle-Class (BMC). The BMC god is triune: Corporatism, Militarism, and Capitalism. In the Apocalypse of John, BMC is referred to as Babylon, the mother of harlots. She is represented by structures such as Wall Street, WalMart, Goldman Sachs … she is a great destroyer and a great seductress. She has ruined this planet and consumed many souls.

    “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters…” (Rev. 17:1).

    I say unto thee, my blogging brethren, that Frankenstorm is only the beginning of God’s wrath!

  • Thomas Jefferson thought of Revelations much as I do.

    “It is between fifty and sixty years since I read it [the Apocalypse], and I then considered it merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams.” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to General Alexander Smyth, Jan. 17, 1825

    But I always have appreciated the comparison of industrial civilization, with the US as the capital “city-on-a-hill” Babylonian whore, the center of empire that so many draw from Revelation.

    Today, I think Jefferson would appreciate your comment, now that we’re completely CITI-LYZED.

    “When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.” ~Thomas Jefferson, to James Madison, Dec. 20, 1787

    Maybe you should take a scissors to Revelations like Jefferson did to the Synoptic Gospels and give us just the “diamonds,” dl. With your exegesis on the modern CMC Trinity, your homily is compelling. Preach it, brother! Fukin’A-mun.

  • Dear Dr. House:

    I have been asked to write a piece for a publication on the role of nurses in a post-carbon world. The editor is not quite on board with the ecological extinction data. I can help him out with that. I have written a first draft of what health care might look like. I would like you to review it and give me some feedback. If you agree to this, I give my permission to Guy to forward you my email address.

    Thanks for considering this.

  • Is BC Prof COINTELPRO?

    Alex Jones Caught Using COINTELPRO Tactics!

    Anybody who posts his FUD just has to be! And if you disagree with me, well, you’re interrupting logical debate here, by golly.

    *sigh*

  • BC, just don’t pull a Todd Akin and conflate a woman’s choice over her reproductive function with child abuse — “the unborn…no choice…get dragged…forced” — like Kathy C does, ok?

  • Interesting link BC Nurse.
    However, I think this site is more suffering from your lonesome garden variety trolling, considering the deep caldron of mixed emotions we’re all grappling with. And given the severity of the phenomena, I think we are all “acting out”, in our own private way, as we gradually process such overwhelming evidence. Especially, those with young children, they simply have more anxiety on their plate which to agonize over in finding some kind of reconciliation.
    Non sequitur diatribes, are to be expected given the controversial nature of the subject matter. But over time, as certain acrimonious gate keepers continue to demean their own intent, as well as others, they will eventually just be ignored, by those who are truly looking to engage in the heartfelt commiserative exchange I believe NBL is attempting to discern.

  • certain acrimonious gate

    Like you, Daniel?

    You falsely accused me—with zero evidence—of trying to deny climate change, which makes you a liar.

    You falsely accused me—with zero evidence—of denying evolution, which makes you a liar.

    Apparently, you’re just projecting your own “acting out” onto others.

    Or are you going to man-up and apologize for getting it so wrong? I’d appreciate it, but a troll wouldn’t even consider it.

  • Conflating a woman’s choice over her reproductive function with child abuse — “…the unborn…no choice…get dragged…forced…” — is the turd in the punchbowl here.

    I keep pointing to the turd in the punch bowl. The church deacons say I’m trying to disrupt a heartfelt commiserative exchange. The congregation is silent.

    The turd in the punchbowl is still floating, and it stinks like Todd Akin’s and Randall Terry’s turds; the anti-choice zealots also conflate a woman’s choice over her reproductive function with child abuse, assault, even “murder.”

    This sort of fallacy in the mind is how tyranny takes hold of society.

    Does everybody want to go ahead and drink the Kool-Aid and ignore the turd?

  • “…the unborn…no choice…get dragged…forced…”

    (Given as reference for those wanting to fact-check the Kathy C quote, which I just checked myself again, and it’s uglier than I thought…sterilization is for anybody committing the mind-crime of thinking of having a baby)

  • I have not been following the intricacies of the argument, Ivy Mike, but my impression is that Kathy C. and Morocco Bama take diametrically opposed positions, so perhaps they should sort it out between themselves.

    If, that is, there is anything to argue about ? Perhaps, I’ve misunderstood your points, but it seems to me extremely unlikely that any woman having sex or thinking of getting pregnant is going to change her mind because ‘Hey, Kathy C. on NBL says definitively not to….’, even if it seems a rational position, given over-population and a grim future… 7 billion and counting ?

    Anyway, it’s not really my thing. My first wife miscarried, second wife had various fertility problems, after that I appraised the situation, decided that nappies and babies didn’t really appeal that much, and now I’m very grateful not to have to worry about kids.

  • Now that we have the example of Hurricane Sandy, let us all turn up our heat and run our cars 24/7. POTUS will reimburse us the extra cost. We will show the world what a nation of determined assholes can really do.

  • If she only framed her position as advice, I would have no problem.

    However, like the right-wing anti-choice crowd, she zealously accuses anybody who chooses to reproduce as they wish with committing a crime of “no choice” [non-consensual, like rape], an assault, child abuse, “force.”

    Kathy C is calling reproductive choice a violent crime, echoing the Todd Akin/Randall Terry crowd who also conflate a woman’s choice with assault.

    Furthermore, with her parroting the Vatican with “…stick to abstinence…the only moral question left…give up your biological imperative…,” one has to wonder, what is significantly different from her tenor that that of the Pope’s?

    P.S. Thanks for the David Abram video, ulvfugl. I’ve got a couple of his books.

  • If she only framed her position as advice, I would have no problem.

    Oh, that old problem again. Yes, I tend to see it as a power thing. I mean, if you’re obsessed with power, you don’t just want other inferior people to know you’re powerful, you want them to really feel it, and where are they going to feel it most ? When you intrude into their private personal lives, particularly their sex life. I don’t recall Jesus having much to say about sex at all but so many Christian dominations seem obsessed by it, particularly other people’s. Not to pick on them, the British State, and the Moslems and Jews and others are probably all just as bad.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if people would just mind their own business and fix their own failings and weaknesses… and then if they were successful, other people could come and ask advice ‘Hey, how did you manage that ?’

  • Andrew, in the Sparta course, are any of the students African-American, Hispanic American, Asian-American, or Jewish-American? Or are is this basically an all-white phenomenon?

  • The college experience is a vibe that feels so over and so wrong in today’s world – that they still teach you how to think – such a dumb advertisement. They have nice ivy buildings, trees, gardens, flowers but the scene is about conformity to the profit state as we know. It’s a cruel system that rewards those deferential to authority and left brained thinking as Chris Hedges, Kunstler and others have aptly pointed out – though not all bad comes out of them.

    I get repulsed when everyone is rolled into the smiling propaganda schizophrenia of the diploma mills. Point out the realities of debt servitude and coercement to staff and the conversation is over. And I don’t think they do a good job teaching science – making it engineering based like teaching math without proofs or enough derived reasons behind the formulas – having had to navigate that stuff. Everything is fast paced form over substance pomp and circumstance. And I’m not trying to undermine the great accomplishments somehow begotten from these cruel places.

    Had I crossed the path of a reality grounded professor like Guy not hiding behind authority – I might actually have been inspired that humans could evolve culture for the better.

  • sand castles, our lives are, here today, gone tomorrow with nary a trace left behind ‘cept for fading memories soon extinguished.

    maybe sheeple like me think too much as a substitute for surreal living (which of course is condemned, criminalized). i can relate to the plight of soon to be (ill?)conceived children, likely to die ‘prematurely’ and at some point probably rue their own conception. the life we’re given seems perverse, driven by fear and instinct, often at odds with one another due to puritanical dogmas/laws, creating great frustration, anger, despair. it seems a rather pointless existence, aside from it’s fleeting nature. much suffering elsewhere, much cruel insanity from fellow sheeple, including, of course, ‘elites’. it’s horrifying. the cherry on top is catastrophic collapse, likely near term extinction, amidst mass ignorance of any such problems. indeed, amidst what appears to be mass delusions, dogma addictions, bread and circuses. peak bread and circuses for the sheeple of ‘wealthy’ societies about to collapse with deadly swiftness. peak surreality.

  • @Arthur Johnson: Many different races and walks of life are in the class.

  • Andrew,

    But what are the relative proportions? The exact count, I mean.

  • Ivy Mike,

    “We the Spiteful” is a great read. Interestingly, and perhaps relevant to the discussion, is Mark Ames’ claim that the source of the spitefulness is the extremely dreary, even non-existenct sex life of most white American men. Can it really be true? Can it really be that simple (or at least, the source of 80% of the spite)?

  • @Arthur: I cannot say with any certainty. Its a large class with lots of different people.

  • Andrew,

    I find it very hard to believe that more than a handful of non-whites would be attracted to taking such a course as an elective. Whites wanting to take such a course, however, I have no problem believing at all.

  • ‘He has informed me that, without fail, the Sparta class gets better grades and is able to get through more material. The Athens class, so he says, is always incredibly unorganized and undirected.’

    ‘successful’ sheeple are high achievers, but obviously often not deep thinkers. clueless dogma addicts.

    ‘I am not claiming to be some revolutionary but rather that anyone at any given time has the ability to walk a non-authoritative path and that non-authoritative paths have a way of sparking independence in action and thought.’

    must disagree with the first part. ‘free will’ is likely a hoax, but assuming it applies in some situations, it obviously doesn’t apply in all. the 2nd part i completely agree with. nothing like getting off the beaten path of authoritarian dogmas to expand consciousness.

    thanks for the very fine essay, andrew. i’ve yet to read most of the comments, so this may be repetitive, but it bears repeating imo: your essay reminded me of this noteworthy work:

    http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

  • BC Nurse Prof, I will be happy to read over your piece. Guy, would you be so kind as to share my email address?

    Thanks

  • …successful sheeple…not deep thinkers…

    All humans—including you and I—are domesticated “sheeple” to some extent; the human race has domesticated itself,[1] just like dogs are domesticated from wolves. Most people are poodles, a few are almost wolf-like german shepards or huskies, but all humans show definite, measurable signs of domestication (such as cranium size), which can be defined rather simply as culling the wildness out of a specie and selecting for docility and stupidity.[2]

    The least domesticated are the Neanderthal-types, like myself. Large cranium (can’t usually find a cowboy hat the even begins to fit at Tractor Supply,) somewhat adhd-autistic-male-systems oriented (I accused Guy of this a few posts back and nobody acknowledged the veiled compliment), often reddish hair, and up to 20% Neanderthal genes.[3]

    Even a few of the snipping domesticates around here recognize my innate superiority, ganged up and yipped up a storm, and mewled about me being akin to “Neanderthal,” (troglodyte? LOL) so thank you, it’s like a pissant poodle calling a wolf a wolf. What next, will they call me a “savage?”[4] Well, yeah, I am a man of the silva (woods) from which “savage” originates.

    And as one primitivst anthropologist implores: “Break the bonds domestication has laid on us…stop being dogs, and become wolves again.” [5]

    The docile poodles are still trying to kill off us wolves completely. [6] Problem is, When you select against aggression, you get some surprising traits. You see it all around you every day, even here amongst Idiocracy poodles aware enough to know their short-lived domestication success is soon doomed.

    Think about that when Kathy C wants to sterilize you.

    __________________________
    [1] Peter J. Wilson (1991) “The Domestication of the Human Species.” Yale University Press.

    [2] McAuliffe, Kathleen (September 2010) “If Modern Humans Are So Smart, Why Are Our Brains Shrinking?” Discover. discovermagazine.com/2010/sep/25-modern-humans-smart-why-brain-shrinking/

    [3] Ekblad, Leif (2007) Neanderthal Theory http://www.rdos.net/eng/asperger.htm

    [4] Goody, Jack (1977) The Domestication of the Savage Mind. Cambridge University Press.

    [5] Godesky, Jason (2006) Wolves & Dogs rewild.info/anthropik/2006/11/wolves-dogs/

    [6] “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son…all the men of his city shall stone him with stones…” Deuteronomy 21:18-21

  • teaching math without proofs or enough derived reasons behind the formulas

    That is like teaching swimming without water.

    Whites wanting to take such a course, however, I have no problem believing at all.

    In comparison to their numbers in the wider population, blacks had a disproportionately large representation in the military in the later decades of the twentieth century. Some have castigated it as an inexpensive source of cannon fodder. But the impression I got from service members was that the military offered structure and direction to their lives, something frequently missing for them in society at large.

    The joy of raising children is very important to many. Particularly when they do not grasp the gravity of the prospects for those children. And in any case, sans insight, nucleotide chemistry will run the show.

    In the post-collapse era, the paradigm would shift towards simplification. In medicine, one may expect to see fewer “sub-sub” specialists, and more dependence on simpler methods. There was a quota of ten CBCs per day for a ward of thirty+ parients by the lab where I went to medical school: one quickly becomes proficient at estimating haemoglobin levels by eyeballing the conjunctiva, oral mucosa and the nails. The skills of history and physical exam will become critical again.

    The charade (at least in the uS) of “nursing diagnosis” will have to be abandoned together with the paradigm that diagnosis is exclusively the province of physicians.

    In Emergency Medicine, nurses are the eyes and ears of physicians: the physician cannot be present everywhere all the time. The nurses perforce take all roles from janitor to physician when and as the situation demands. Many a time have they fished my ass out of agua muy caliente. Their experience and skill will be recognised in its own right and used to full effect. Nursing graduates of more recent years have had a profusion of book-knowledge, which, while excellent, needs seasoning by experience.

    Golden standards of care will have to be abandoned without Herr Rumpelstiltskin.

    “Hags” 😉 who still remember how to run anaesthesia including the number of layers of gauze in the mask and how to adjust the frequency of drops of ether to the level of anaesthesia are becoming (or are) extinct. Or how to adjust the lidocaine drip in a heart attack to the number of PVCs. (And count PVCs, once the last of the monitors have given up the ghost after semiconductor technology fades away). Or how to sharpen needles, both hypodermic and surgical. And how to sharpen scalpels – well those ARE extinct.

  • “…exclusively the province of physicians…”

    “We shall probably always have individuals lurking among us who yearn to play tyrant…will benefit from historical crises that automatically drop increased power into a leader’s lap.” ~The Authoritarians, by Bob Altemeyer, Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba

  • Kathy C

    Some are out for your blood it seems.
    Never mind, from me, this little number is just a pep for your spirits…

    The Seekers – I’ll never find another you (1968)

    Keep your head up old geil…

  • Try to rouse her again, OzMan, because the only bone I have to pick with her is that she conflates a woman’s choice of her reproductive function with criminal child abuse“…the unborn…no choice…get dragged…forced…” — exactly like the other right-wing anti-choice zealots like Todd Akin and Randall Terry.

    But since it’s her final solution, forced sterilization for reproductive criminals, that’s a bloody surgery, perhaps it’s time you consider Kathy C is “out for blood.”

  • Ivy Mike

    Why so uptight?
    Sounds like an attempt at incitment trolling as per the link on internet forum disruption strategies earlier.

    Return to topic:

    ‘Letting go’ is the essay – lets let go of hate, ‘Luke’, and fossik for the force, we are going to need it, if not now, very soon.

  • Conflating a woman’s choice of her reproductive function with criminal child abuse“…the unborn…no choice…get dragged…forced…” — exactly like the other right-wing anti-choice zealots like Todd Akin and Randall Terry.

    Can you address that issue, Ozman, or are you ok with hateful anti-choice zealots?

  • Ivy Mike

    I have no idea who these guys are:

    “right-wing anti-choice zealots like Todd Akin and Randall Terry”,

    and why should I waste my valuable time and download on searching them because you want to ‘slide’ the discussion somewhere away from the topic or the greater concerns of NBL?
    Kathy C was talking about population, and you have semi-successfully moved the discussion to nitpick a view most were happy to let pass because it is not applied by her as having to be a public program, and all should conform like some said ‘zealots’ demand.

    I’m not biting M/B..er .. I mean …Ivy Mike.

    Count me out from now on on you need for an adversary. Anything else to discuss related to NBL issues?

  • Morocco Bama

    Talking again are we?

    OK

    As for:

    “letting go means you don’t read or post anymore. It means none of us read this blog, any blog, and instead, cut the umbilical cord once and for all”..

    Ha Ha.
    So silly and illogical.

    You have issued this edict before and obviously cannot comply yourself. You are still reading NBL.

    Now how much is H-l-b-r-t-n paying you.

    Very weak attempt M/B

    But the tide is in your favour because if you just keep posting, it will clog the comments section and… and….and… and you will ultimately say nothing of value.

    What area of corporate did you work in previously?

  • Oh, thaaat leting go.

    I was referring to your letting go statement:

    “OzMan, letting go means you don’t read or post anymore.”…
    and your obvious referral to it.

    Now you are earning your money.

  • OZman: “Kathy C was talking about population…”

    Try to convince her of that.

    Kathy C: Oct. 26, 9:21 “Thus it seems to me to be useless to discuss the population issue.”

    Kathy C: Oct 27, 3:01 am “…you are acting as if I am saying all this to reduce the numbers of humans on the planet. I am not.

  • Morocco Bama,

    Your sunny optimism in the face of extinction is SO annoying.

    Would you please, please, please stop trying to stick a smiley face on everything?

    🙂

  • I find it interesting that both Ivy Mike and Morocco Bama posted comments at the same time:

    “Morocco Bama Says:
    October 29th, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Is going back to University for another degree just for the hell of it… ”

    “Ivy Mike Says:
    October 29th, 2012 at 7:09 am
    “I hope for a direct hit”

    Schadenfreude runs deep.
    Into your life it will creep….”

    That must have been fun for them each to hit their enter key on adjacent terminals and hi five in the spooky building where you need a top clearence and photo ID to just take a piss.

    Both just reacting to other’s comments, not really making any points of their own about the essay directly.

    Troll a loll a loll……

  • Just got a copy of ‘The Snow Leopard”, been looking for it for a while.

    ulvfugl

    You must have read it? Any comments?

  • Guy, have you read it?

  • Morocco Bama

    One can only be a liar if one is fully accountable face to face, in a community.

    Here those perameters are too onerous to persue.
    of course you establish a comment first about the essay, then you troll.
    Silly Billy.

  • Morocco Bama,

    The man from Nazareth had a lot of personal psychological issues going on. He rarely smiled.

    As the effects of climate change continue to bite, reforming the U.S. educational system to conform with that of the Spartan agoge is but one of many schemes that will be tried in desperation.

    Try sticking a smiley face on that one, why dontcha?

    🙂

  • there is no such thing as “choice” but for the super-priviledged ones (priviledged materially, spitirually, physically, etc.)

    there is luck (or whatever you want to call it), but not “choice”. There is an abundance of absence of choice.

    choice being reserved for the very priviledged,they certainly do not understand the dire situation of the vast vast majority who never have no choice. And they do not care. I heard it all my fuking life: it is your choice. It most evidently was and still is a lie.

    I had children for myself (as most women that I met and meet, and this is a topic that I discuss very frequently). I did not have children for themselves. I wanted something completely fresh to renew MY life. Wish I had known better than to create more suffering. Plus, I am still supporting 2 27-28 white males who cannot sustain themselves! But that is how intelligent we are, is it not?

    And by the way, sex is sooo overrated…and sooo passé. now is time for porn. it is everywhere, all over, all the time, unbearable. Who in their right mind would want to have a daughter in these times? Frenesy before the end?

    pensée du jour: Baghdad, the city where a woman tried to avoid being murdered by not sleeping for 1001 nights. such a sweet story.

  • Morocco Bama

    Your losing your grip.
    This blog is not about you.
    Change the focus if you like, everyone is entitled to do so, you included, but your stratergy from the handbook is to wedge on emotive personilised tiny bits and inflame etc.

    I suppose you are not employable in any other capacity.

    Its a shame all that intellegence just going to the highest bidder.

    ‘The Snow Leopard’ is a classic tale of chasing an elusive exotic animal that represents another existance to the chaser.

    You and Ivy Mike seem to over do the full-o-hate biscuits.

  • Morocco Bama,

    You and Ivy Mike’s fetish for consumption of mass quantities of pizxa cooked with a COAL-FIRED oven (instead of a solar oven) is one reason we’re now in the mess we’re in. Don’t you understand that if the coal isn’t kept in the ground, it’s Game Over for the Climate?

    Now, Mr. Andrew Bell claims that the planting and tending of a garden in today’s world is a truly REVOLUTIONARY act from a Situationalist viewpoint. Care to comment?

  • OMG! United States are not the only ones in the world?
    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-10/30/c_131939787.htm
    Who would beleive it?

  • Hi Ozman, Just got a copy of ‘The Snow Leopard”, been looking for it for a while.

    ulvfugl, You must have read it? Any comments?

    Yes, I read it must be at least 35 years ago. My memories are…

    So the guy goes to the Himalayas to come to terms with the death of his wife. So, my take was that he is over-privileged, because I’ve known plenty of people who encountered similar tragedy, and just had to go to work because it was Monday morning, and they need to eat and pay the rent… and cope in any way they can.

    So he’s fortunate, sort of. And very self-indulgent. And he didn’t need to go to Himalayas to find those insights, because they are spiritual, psychological, not geographical.

    But he seemed like a nice, intelligent, sensitive, kind of guy, and I read somewhere he worked on behalf of native americans… so I thought he was one of ‘the good guys’, until fairly recently, I read he worked for The Paris Review, which I think is this thing https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Paris_Review which I read was founded and funded by CIA as a covert propaganda outlet…. all of which is gossip, which I have no means of substantiating other than internet sources, so I hope I don’t smear the guy’s reputation unjustly…

  • Morocco Bama,

    I see. Does that mean that planting a garden is a revolutionary act, or not?

    You are correct that the youth are our only chance. In that regard, the fact that the majority of American youth are now Black, Hispanic, Asian or Jewish should be a cause for celebration…but “Fear of a Black Planet” keeps the country from breaking out the funny party hats, noisemakers and sparkling beverages. And if the predictions of Guy, Malcolm Light and the AMEG are correct, this positive development will be quickly cut down at the root before it can fully flower. So, by accident or design, Near-term Extinctionists (“failure is the ONLY option”) and African-, Hispanic-, Asian- and Jewish-Americans (“failure is NOT an option”) are on opposite sides of the barricades.

  • Morocco Bama

    Your time here has got to be numbered now with this:

    “This is a nifty little technique you’ve developed to obscure and distance yourself from the other characters/puppets you play here. I think you may possess at least five in your repertoire… ”

    Ever played ‘D and D’? A despairate saving throw that is.
    But everyone can clearly see how you’re operating now we all know your a System stooge, an apologist for the need to control all dissent of tyrany and real human freedom.

    Your ‘framing’ is weak here!
    Your supervisor should note that on your log….

    “Morocco Bama – poor framing, and losing control of discussion pages at NBL. Second time in two months, recommend service review, perhaps reassignment and downgrading to kids game site comments pages and pay cut if no improvement soon.”

    To accuse me of the thing I claim you are, and is plain to see, is too openly a spychophants ranted response when called for what you are, paid-for-disrupting-comments.

    What was it, political speech writing, or some legal corporate post you were in? I bet you were a true believer in making your own way, and then to be shafted by that awful ‘system’, well that’s gotta make you bitter enough to say, “To hell with ethics, I’ll just take the money.”

    I bet you have never really though it through. You are expendable, like I suppose you feel we all are.

    But you could come clean here, on NBL, and we all would probably accept you were misguided, and help you over the depression and the self doubt. We care about you Morocco Bama…

    C’mon, just let it all out, that’s the way, we all make mistakes.
    You will get by without the extra 200k next year.

  • ulvfugl

    Interesting about The Paris Review.
    The CIA waw practically keeping the publishing and entertainment industries afloat during the cold war, it seems.

  • there is no such thing as “choice”

    Ah, just like one of the conservative Christian anti-choice zealots about to tell me how there’s no choice because “it’s God’s choice,” except in more vague terms.

    Underlying such subterfuge is the agenda of controlling other womens’ uteruses, and justifying such will-to-power by conflating a woman’s choice over her reproductive function with child abuse.

  • • Arthur Johnson says: Ivy Mike, “We the Spiteful” is a great read. Interestingly, and perhaps relevant to the discussion, is Mark Ames’ claim that the source of the spitefulness is the extremely dreary, even non-existenct sex life of most white American men.

    Just white American males? LOL!

    • michele/montreal says: sex is sooo overrated…and sooo passé

    Ah yes, now we know why you’re just as fucking spiteful as “We the Spiteful” Teabaggers and Conservitards.

    “Welcome to the party, pal.” ~John McClane

  • Ivy Mike,

    Any such agenda and justification will never get any traction in the African-, Hispanic-, Asian-, and Jewish-American communities. It may get some traction among white Americans, though, with its major effect being the acceleration of the on-going demographic shift towards a non-white majority in the U.S.

  • “traction among white Americans”

    See the problem is I speak to suburban kids,
    who otherwise would of never knew these words exist
    whose mom’s probably would of never gave two squirts of piss
    ’till I created so much motherfuckin’ turbulence

    ~Eminem – White America 😉

  • I would love to read more comments on gardening as a revolutionary act.

  • Jennifer Hartley, David Graeber’s ‘Debt : The First 5000 Years’ explains how money has been used to enslave and control people ever since Sumer. It’s a brilliant tool, because the people born into the system don’t even notice it. They just assume it is somehow natural and inevitable, and cannot imagine anything else.

    So, if you want to get free from ‘The System’, ‘the Matrix’, or whatever you want to call it, means getting free from ‘money’, and the first hurdle you encounter is hunger, because The System is designed so that ‘no money means no food’.

    But, if you know how to gather wild food, or how to grow vegetables, you’ve found a hole in the fence… of course, money is still needed for many other things, but food is the urgent daily requirement. So a vegetable garden is a basic guerilla tactic. Next comes building a network, so when you have a surplus, you supply someone else, and vice versa. And things like cows, pigs, goats, bees, work much better as a community project than for one person or a couple alone.

    There’s another sense that gardening can be revolutionary, and that is by helping the rest of the biota, which are being extinguished by agri-business and corporations.

  • Guy,

    It’s interesting to watch the folks who’ve taken the Grover Norquist pledge (Gov. Chris Cristie comes to mind) scramble to attach themselves to “the public teat” in the wake of Sandy. If they actually believed what they profess they would be saying, “Tough luck, sucker. Live with it (and get a job)!”

    Michael Irving

  • Jennifer Hartley: “gardening as a revolutionary act”

    The best description I’ve ever seen of gardening as revolutionary is as follows:

    ” Voluntary simplicity, or, living well on very little money, kicks evil people in the nuts and gouges out their eyes. (Pacifists may think of this as sending the enemy Joy and Happiness if they desire.) Doing this in the U.S. has a force multiplier effect because the U.S. is the largest source of the funds that keep the global ponzi scheme running. When people in wealthy countries opt out, the action causes major economic damage to the machine.
    […]
    “Living simply on very little money kills the system slowly.”

    ~Kevin Flaherty, cryptogon.com/?p=1286

    Kevin and Becky’s smallholding/gardening website is here:
    farmlet.co.nz Life on our small farm in New Zealand

  • Michael Irving,

    Chris Christie is the very definition of “opportunist”. You’re right. If he took the Grover Norquist pledge, he should be telling all those New Jerseians flooded out by Sandy to “take responsibility for choosing to live in a flood zone. I hope you purchased hurricane and flood insurance”, and respectfully decline all offers of aid from the Federal government.

    AFAIK, Bloomberg did not sign the pledge.

  • 4 Jennifer:

    “Voluntary simplicity is as frightening to many people as armed insurgency.”

    ~Kevin Flaherty | Nov. 13, 2006 | Resistance on the Brink of Oblivion
    http:// cryptogon.com/2006_11_12_blogarchive.html

  • Jennifer,

    Gardening, on an individual or voluntary basis, is a hobby, not a revolutionary act. It buttresses the claim of Imperial authorities that the Empire is a place where everyone is free to conduct their personal affairs as they see fit. Hobby gardening, voluntary simplicity, etc. are fundamentally REACTIONARY politically.

    Gardening CAN be a revolutionary act, but only as part of a mass movement dedicated to fundamental, transformational political, social and cultural change within the Empire. The abject failure of the Baby Boom Generation to recognize this is a major reason why the modern permaculture ideology has turned out to be a dead-end politically.

  • Art, ask Guy or Kevin Flaherty at farmlet.co.nz if their gardening is a mere “hobby.”

    Whether or not you think their horticultural efforts are revolutionary, don’t commit the intellectual fraud of describing their efforts as a measly “hobby.”

  • The One-Straw Revolution
    ~Masanobu Fukuoka (1913-2008)

  • Ivy Mike,

    Eminem brings inspiration to all of us who are part of the Hip Hop Nation.

    And, for the record, Eminem is not just playin’ with America…

    😉

  • BC nurse prof,

    RE:

    “I now return you to our regularly scheduled carping.”

    My sentiments exactly. As I’ve noted, it has become more and more difficult to follow NBL as the majority of the comments have little to do with anything other than oneupmanship. The article you linked to explains what is happening, whether or not it is intended. It made for interesting reading. It may explain how it is possible for some to consistently respond 30-40 times a day/every day. Most of those responses seem to carry on almost 24/7 so it seems likely that responding to NBL is a “job” for some folks, rather than an interactive conversation between amateurs. COINTELPRO? I don’t know about that. However, if the effect on the forum is the same, it makes no difference if it is intentional or just inadvertent. In any case the general direction is toward more and more comments from fewer and fewer individuals ranging farther and farther from what I think is Guy’s original intent.

    By the way, did I comment on your grass fed beef comments? If not, thanks for that. It’s just a confirmation for me, however, you comment on the blood work at the end of your 1 year test was very interesting.

    Michael Irving

  • Morocco Bama,

    The abject failure of the Baby Boom Generation is its inability to pull itself away from the mirror. Its self-admiration oozes from every orifice of its quickly decaying, Walking Dead corpse.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    That’s funny! 🙂

  • MI: Guy’s original intent

    Do you think guy’s original intent was to conflate a woman’s reproductive choice with child abuse and assault like other right-wing anti-choice zealot websites?

    Keep studiously ignoring that turd in the punchbowl here, weasel. How’s that Koolaid taste?

    “Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It’s what separates us from the animals! Except the weasel.” ~Homer Simpson