Critical Self-Reflection On the Road

by Karen Sliwa

When Guy asked us to write about our experiences because we chose to “chase a different carrot”, and leave our jobs to learn how to be more self-sufficient over the last 18 months, my husband Mike (who wrote an earlier essay in this space) asked me if I wanted to write this time. We spent the first three months at the Mud Hut and Guy helped give us the confidence we needed to go further.

I don’t comment or put all my thoughts out there on Facebook or Nature Bats Last very often, but I read most of what is written in those forums and I agree with much of what is posted. People ask Mike what I think a lot. I am the type to sit back, learn, and when I feel comfortable in a situation, I bloom. I usually don’t write or comment because I am comfortable with letting Mike express our experience because he is at ease putting his thoughts out there, and he is good at it. For the record, I agree with most of his beliefs and words although we differ in that I have come to a point in my life where I don’t want to argue with people. Stating my position and then putting it out there without the intentions of constantly fighting with people or trying to change how they feel is where I am at.

With that said our journey so far, for me, has been about connecting with people and opening up myself to the moment. People are people regardless of where they live. They have different cultures, life circumstances, belief systems, institutions, traits, genetics, reactions to life, etc… just like all of us. The journey is about learning about everything, understanding others, and more importantly, myself because if we don’t work on ourselves, it is difficult to help others. Let’s just say I am more focused on the emotional impact of interacting in a world where I am not constantly distracted by consumerism and civilization as most know it. A very different experience and one I am embracing wholeheartedly.

I struggle with writing because I am so critical of it. I avoid it because I get anxiety from just thinking about who will read it, what I want to write about, and how I will react to the results of my writing. This is what I perceive as the results of competitive education for consumerism, and anxiety from achieving “perfection”. It isn’t that I think I am a terrible writer, but it forces me to focus my thoughts. This is coming from someone who doesn’t participate fully in civilization, and has time to focus her thoughts; but still my thoughts are constantly scattered like a puppy sniffing here and there, chasing leaves, bugs, squirrels, and cars. Everything is interesting to me and avoiding writing is comfortable; therefore, I chose to write this essay because it forces me out of my comfort zone. At this moment I keep thinking about writing an essay that is in the correct format or grammatically sound and it is annoying. So bear with me and understand if this essay isn’t exactly how it is “supposed” to be, otherwise it would never be written. My goal is to write something that folks can understand or feel regardless of the rules and the expectation that my intelligence is directly related to my writing ability. I also like the idea of breaking the rules and just expressing myself.

I will share a few specific experiences from our life journey so far! I will keep it brief because all of them would take even more focus and I think I explained that already.

One of the experiences I had on our journey was eye opening because it forced me to look at myself and see that I still struggle with my intelligence and I am constantly questioning how academically “smart” I am. I am a former teacher, a person who understands the different intelligences we all possess. Let’s just say the light bulb went on. This example is progress I can relate to. An eye opening example of the kind of progress we all need in our lives, not progress in that I have to make 2,000,000,000 instead of one million this year or I need to grow 20 more tomatoes this year compared to last. Progress in self-realization or personal understanding is what I think we all strive for whether we see it or not. I realized that there is so much more to understand and learn about myself and what my role is in our world. I also embraced one of my intelligences as being able to deeply feel compassion and empathy which allows me to listen to people so that they can feel their feelings. This understanding brings me to the conclusion that all communities need diversity. Just because a person works harder at a physical task, doesn’t mean that another person isn’t contributing to a community if they don’t. They have something else to give to the community. We all may not be equal in specific tasks but are equal in personal contribution, whatever gift that may be. In other words in a community such as Guy foresees, a doctor may have more “education” in that field but he or she isn’t seen as better than the person who digs a 35-foot trench. They both contribute to an agrarian community, albeit in different ways. It is a hard concept to grasp and living in a community is difficult with these diversities, but setting aside the ego or perceptions of competition or hierarchy, and keeping score so to speak, may make a community stronger.

The next thing about community that I learned and gained great pleasure from experiencing is the realization that a gift economy can work. What we really need and what we desire are two different things and working with people and seeing them understand that we will work for food and shelter, two of the necessities in life, was awe inspiring. It gave me hope for a different future. A future in which progress and money may not matter.

Another experience was watching Mike grow in his realization that he can do things that are hard for him. Let me explain. Mike has lived a life of privilege and never really had to fend for himself. He has never had to do things like fix things or make things that may challenge his ability or his temperament. He has experienced some challenges on this journey and I have loved seeing him grow and understand his past reactions to difficulty. I am very proud of him and one of our jokes now is him stating, “I almost gave up”, when he starts something and figures it out on his own or with help; and seeing him enjoy the challenge and task at hand. He has developed a desire to satiate his growing curiosity and he has helped me to see that our contributions are different, but still desirable and for the benefit of the community.

As you can see, I keep talking about community. This is the last lesson or experience from our journey that I will share. Community is the key to a certain percentage of folks surviving whatever it is that life on this beautiful earth has to show us. I know Guy and many of the folks writing on his blog talk about peak oil, how we have lived on this planet, how long before economic collapse, etc… I am not diminishing the essays or work people are doing to make this world a better entity at this moment in time, and I appreciate and enjoy the education that I get from them all, but the earth will prevail. She just will. Being present in a community in which people can at least try to stop judging and working together for the future of the few who will survive the uncertainty is my goal. I work on the non-judgmental thing every single day. I have learned to step back and see myself and others in different lights and to take each moment and reflect on it so that I can learn from it. Living in the moment is the key for me because the future is uncertain. Preparation is important, but for me it will take years to be fully prepared for whatever lies ahead and I am sure we all have learned at some point in our lives that being prepared doesn’t always mean things will work out as planned, and that is ok. Geez, another realization! Letting go of control-not so easy for me, just ask Mike! Being present for your community regardless of where it or they may be at the time is a wonderful lesson learned. Mike and I have started to build our worldwide community and will continue to do so forever, I think.

I hope that what you take from this essay is the importance of reflection on your own personal journey and realization, seeing the man I love grow psychologically and spiritually, and realization of the importance of community in an uncertain world, and not how poorly this essay was purposefully written. Sometimes we allow fear to control our ability to “progress” and I understand that we all grow at our own pace, but maybe reading my words will help you reflect on your own comfort zones in life and you may have a light bulb moment for yourself. Thank you for reading, peace to you all, and we will see you on the road!


Karen Sliwa and I am part of a the team of Mike and Karen Sliwa. We quit our teaching jobs and decided to live a simple life and we are learning how to be self-sufficient and leave less of a footprint on this wonderful place called Earth. In other words, we decided to chase a different carrot. It was a personal moral decision and one we have zero regrets in so doing. This essay reflects our journey so far.


McPherson’s latest essay for Transition Voice was published today. It’s posted here.

The latest trailer from Mike Sosebee’s film is embedded below.


Next-day update: McPherson’s 8 October 2012 radio interview on American Freedom Radio with Kevin Barrett is here

Comments 187

  • Ivy Mike, you’re certainly not the first to use the word God, here or anywhere… I’m merely pointing out that if/when you argue with Kathy C. or Librarian, the exchange is futile unless the parties can agree what the word means to them…

    I said ‘obsolescent’, i.e. in the process of becoming obsolete, somewhat tongue in cheek, just as the concept ‘reality’ is becoming outmoded. DMT and ayahuasca can sort out people’s religious experience, in a way that is far more convincing and dramatic than any words, and quantum physics has shown that what people think of as ‘real’ is no such thing…

  • And if you wish to know my personal definition of God, it’s very simple, there is nothing that isn’t God.

  • Long Sheldrake lecture, if anyone is interested.

  • I agree, ulvfugi, with your pantheistic definition of “God.” Although technically, any good Abrahamic fundamentalist would agree with you. Which is why I made my original comment.

    I live in red state rural (but not as religious as southern Bible Belt where the second question for strangers is “so where do you go to church?”) and when people ask me if I believe in God, I say:

    Sure, I believe in the Gods, Elohim, plural, that created the heavens and the earth, and have studied each of them in biology class, geology, and astrophysics (or an alternate list of sciences that I think may pique their interest.) And I like quoting Jefferson’s views on God (e.g. “I am a materialist”) which I agree with, and makes “patriotic, conservatives” think twice before putting him down as a “Satanic” influence in the “culture wars.” ;)

    I’m not sure even what it is that got Librarian and Kathy C so perturbed. They both upbraid me for using the phrase “against God” as being an inaccurate (and dishonest and fallicious, good lord!) description of atheists, even though “against God” is often used by atheists to describe their own position, as I documented.

  • Science is a process. The so-called “scientific method” is little understood, and Prieur certainly fails to understand it. He also fails to understand science, which does not “make everything dead” (biology, anybody?) and does not value only the “most predictable, repeatable, quantifiable, detachedly observable” for progress.

    Many one-time phenomena contribute greatly to our understanding of this universe. This understanding is the goal of science (cf. smart phones). You think Einstein — a pretty decent scientist, by most accounts — didn’t “focus toward what’s most fun, most beautiful, most magical, most alive”?

  • Another version of Sheldrake’s talk, better sound quality.

  • As long as an “I” exists, any “god” is limited, being restricted to the “not I”and is thereby is incomplete. Thus the Hebrew injunction “though shalt not make any incomplete representations”, usually mistranslated as “thou shalt not make any graven image”.

    There is no need for “atheism” once it is grokked that the “I” is an apparition, with which the idea of a deity is also becomes quixotic.

  • Guy, okay, science is a process, a collaborative effort, ( involving more scientists alive now than have ever lived in history ) following certain rules.

    As I see it, the fundamental principle is beautifully simple. Someone has an idea, a hypothesis, then they go and collect measurable data, to test that hypothesis, which than tells us something about the nature of what exists.

    So, if someone thinks ‘Hey, I wonder if increasing CO2 and warming atmosphere would melt the permafrost and release more CO2 and methane ?’, you can either argue about it, or you can do science, and doing science means somebody travelling all the way to northern Siberia, with a load of equipment, and making measurements of what they find and what’s actually happening.

    The answer might be that the hypothesis is wrong, global warming is having zero effect on permafrost. Or the data may show the hypothesis is probably right, there’s methane and CO2 bubbling up all over the place.

    So far, so good. Simple empirical science. I have no problem with that.

    But science is done by people, who live in soceities, and has to be seen in that larger context. And that’s when it all starts to get a lot more complicated. Both the USSR and USA have, historically, tried to base ‘social progress’ upon ‘scientific principles’, and I’d argue, in both cases that has been disastrous.

    So, I think it is important to grasp the distinction between ‘pure’ science, and ‘applied’ science, which is something very different.

  • A hypothesis is a candidate explanation. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s not a prediction.

    I tend to agree with Louis Pasteur: “There are no such things as applied sciences, only applications of science.”

  • “Science makes everything dead.”

    Mr. Prieur is describing reductionism, the prevalent view of science, from which we get scientific drawings of duck innards as dead industrial machine gears and mechanical apparatus, drawn by Descartes in 1662. To ignore the foundational influence of Descartes’ Discourse on the scientific method is to, in short, fail to understand science.

    Of course, biologists and ecologists are challenging simplistic reductionism with complex systems theory, and Ran’s essay would be more balanced to mention such; however, complex systems theory is a relatively new approach to science.

  • Robin Datta Says: As long as an “I” exists, any “god” is limited, being restricted to the “not I” and is thereby is incomplete.

    That is great! There goes the “omni, omni!”

    Unless…Thou Art God.

  • ivy mike, that’s the second time i’ve seen the existential cat video. it must get funnier the more one watches it. maybe i oughta make it a ritual to watch that video every evening, until i get sick of it. i was convulsed in laughter

    ‘some atheists might show that the way religions portray god is a being who really isn’t very nice. They aren’t attacking god, they are attacking beliefs about god.’

    kathy, why not be blunter? old testament sky daddy is a crazy and cruel blood thirsty patriarchal monster. and the jesus story, besides being plagiarized mythology, is crazy and cruel in it’s assertion that humans are sinners worthy of divine condemnation and eternal punishment. ‘salvation’ is supposedly found in faith, in indoctrination. in becoming a faithful, obedient dogma addict. in serving ‘authority’, of which ‘god’ is the ultimate example.

    i’m not against ‘god’ per se. i’m certainly against cruel and crazy dogmas claimed to be divinely inspired and unassailable. i’m against dogmas. just say no to dogmas! unfortunately, powerful religions like christianity, are often dogmatic, crazy, and cruel, as many of it’s faithful tend to be. give me a ‘god’ who isn’t crazy, cruel, dogmatic, or ridiculous, if any such exist. give me an existence that isn’t absurd, tragic, painful, and pointless. then maybe i’ll believe.

    ‘go ahead, you straighten-out a large portion of the atheist community that is living in heresy!’

    is living in heresy like living in sin? personally, i tend to like heretics, being one myself.

  • Guy :A hypothesis is a candidate explanation. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s not a prediction.

    I tend to agree with Louis Pasteur: “There are no such things as applied sciences, only applications of science.”

    This is very much about the precise meanings of words and how they are defined.

    What is ‘prediction’ ? ‘Speaking before’…

    So, the candidate explanation declares some possible ‘speaking before’, which is then to be tested. If the results confirm the hypothesis, and it’s considered sufficiently fundamental and important, it can become a theory, and be integrated into the meta-narrative of science.

    Once, in earlier 19thC science, such theories were considered as ‘established proven truths’. Since then science has become slightly less hubristic and recognised that ‘truth’ is too grand a claim, so now we have percentages of probability, and the recognition that any scientific theory is open to revision and replacement if a new, better theory arrives.

    I see three completely distinct aspects of what is popularly called ‘science’.

    There’s pure science, where somebody studies some aspect of existence to gain insight. For example, how do we explain why water that freezes becomes solid and lighter, so that it floats ?

    Then there’s applied science, which would be making use of knowledge gained from pure science, in some practical application in the world. Like Einstein’s insights into physics lead to nuclear power stations and nuclear bombs, or Monsanto’s genetic modification of plants

    And closely linked to applied science, is technology, which is what happens when these applications interact with soceity and the world… e.g. what we get when everybody is hooked up by mobile phones and monitored by the NSA, or everyone drinks water containing fluoride. A technology-based soceity is not the same as the earlier tool-based soceities, with simple technology like hoes and shovels and flint axes, etc.which merely extended basic human physical functionality.

    Modern technologies are not servants, they are masters, they define the scope of ‘being human’, and have ideological assumptions and values built into them, e.g. the motor car or the drone.

  • Robin might find this interesting perhaps ?

    The Sefirotic Nature of the Soul.

  • Nature Bats Last…
    Guy did not call this site
    God Bats Last.
    He did this presumably for a reason.
    Nature – the vastly complex interactions in our biosphere.
    God – All.
    Why all this argument about God?
    Noy saying it’s wrong, just futile, …my dog, your dog, dogfish, doghouse, dogsbody, so many versions of dog,
    So far, Only One Biosphere.
    Not a bad alternate title for this site: Only One Biosphere.

  • More digestible for the goyim:

    The Midrash states that the soul has five names: Nefesh (soul of vitality), Ruach (spirit), Neshamah (breath of life), Chaya (living one), and Yechidah (singular one). Kabbalah explains that these five names of the soul correspond to the level of soul in each of the worlds. Nefesh corresponds to the soul in the realm of Assiyah, Ruach in Yetzirah, Neshamah in Beriah, and Chaya in Atzilut, while Yechidah represents the quintessential point of the soul (Etzem HaNeshamah) which is rooted in the Or Ein Sof. Hassidism teaches that the Nefesh resides in the blood, Ruach in the heart, Neshamah in the brain. Chayah and Yechidah are transcendent of the body, not enclothing themselves in any particular limb. The Kabbalists explain that through successive incarnations, all levels of the soul are elevated.

    The Yechidah is indistinguishable from Or Ein Sof.

    Or Ein Sof could be construed to correspond to Vedantic Maya, which would suggest Ein Sof as Brahman.

  • Sheldrake’s talk….
    He knows what he doesn’t know, and what others don’t know they don’t know,
    if you know what I mean.

  • Eh ? ‘Digestible for the goyim’, Robin ? I found the page about the soul interesting, and I agree re Ein Sof corresponds to Brahman ( but Maya ? I think that is something very different, the ‘Veil of illusion’) as for the rest… I see it as mediaeval mysticism, similar to other strange old stuff, like alchemy…

    I take an anthropological stance. Those things are all belief systems. There are tens of thousands of them, probably many more than that. Most people only know of a few major ones.

    The thing is, ask yourself, what is your belief system ? Everybody has one, it’s culturally conditioned, taken on board as you grow up, as a worldview, a cosmology, the ideas that you have as to what the world is, what it means, and what your own place in it is, and so forth.

    You can reject all the traditional ancient beliefs, as, say, Sartre did, and then your belief system will be something like Existentialism.

    (Kathy C. is an excellent example of someone who once held one belief system, and then rejected it in favour of another – hope you don’t object to the mention Kathy, but you explained it very well in previous threads.)

    Or you can take up one of the more recent ( supposedly science based ) belief systems, like say, Jung’s, for example, as mentioned on previous thread…

    I suppose that many people will find this an obscure and boring subject, but I believe it is tremendously important. The reason we have trashed the planet, is because of the belief systems which people adhere to. Culture is composed of the belief systems of the people. Some big cultures ( with all their sub-cultures ) like that dominant in USA today, hold that killing and conquest and perpetual warfare, and exploitation of resources to destruction, and waste and pollution, and worship of technology, etc, are ‘normal’.

    There are, and have been, many other cultures, with other belief systems, which hold completely different views, where ‘the world’ is considered as sacred, something to be cherished, revered, protected and respected…

    So maybe you can see, a different dominant belief system could have made for a totally different world and a totally different future for the human species…

    I think it is too late to change the major destructive cultures now, but it is still interesting to unravel how we got into this mess… no ?

  • VT you wrote “kathy, why not be blunter? old testament sky daddy is a crazy and cruel blood thirsty patriarchal monster. and the jesus story, besides being plagiarized mythology, is crazy and cruel in it’s assertion that humans are sinners worthy of divine condemnation and eternal punishment. ‘salvation’ is supposedly found in faith, in indoctrination. in becoming a faithful, obedient dogma addict. in serving ‘authority’, of which ‘god’ is the ultimate example.”

    Yes all true, but I was just trying to get at the point that atheists by definition cannot be against god, but certainly can be against beliefs that a god exists. One of the ways they use is to point out the fact that Jehovah is portrayed as a bastard. My point was never understood it would seem.

    I was thinking about this yesterday. We cannot understand why our fellow countrymen are so deceived by their country, so unable to use critical thinking about politics. Well from our youth we are fed lies, lies about the easter bunny, santa claus and god. We are expected to believe the last one for the rest of our life. Failure to do so can result in social ostracism at best. If we spend our whole lives believing in something invisible, how can we be expected to think sanely about anything else??? Thus how can we see through the false flags, the patriotic bullshit or anything else.

    At any rate the reason many atheists have come out of the closet and are making their case is 1. they no longer fear be burned at the stake 2. they are mad at being lied to 3. they perceive that religion is bad for humans.

    Re Everything Matters, a very interesting ending. No plot spoilers here. I recommend you read it VT – it would it seems propose that the approaching end by asteroid is not the thing that matters and everything before that matters a whole lot. The message I took away is forget about the approaching end and just live.

  • The Enemy of Humanity…

  • Although I like much of what Ran Prieur presents, his view of science is as wrongheaded as any I have seen recently. I find it difficult to understand how he be so right about so much but get science all wrong. Science is a gift, our best guide to ‘what is’. Whatsoever is is, is it not?

    As for experts needing paychecks, that pretty much says it all. In a world where Mammon and greed rule, exemplars of intellectual honesty and moral courage are like diamonds in the rough.

  • Steven : “Whatsoever is is, is it not?

    Crikey, SES, that’s a can of worms if ever I saw one… have you not read any philosophy, ontology, epistemology ?

    How do we know ? How do we know we know ?

    Sure, there’s ‘stuff’ and the ‘stuff’ does things… and we have got science, as a rigorous methodology, to record and investigate and gather dat and hypothesize… so far, so good…

    But then what happened ? In the 1920s it all went weird, with quantum physics… and now we KNOW, via the BEST SCIENCE, that ‘stuff’ ain’t ‘stuff’ at all….

    Quantum mechanics is the most successful theory that science has ever come up with… it allows us to build mobile phones and computers… and what does it have to say about ‘whatsoever is ?’

    Well, it say’s it ‘isn’t’. There’s mostly nothing there, just weirdness, entangled photons that know instantly what state the partner is in, even when separated by the distance of the entire effing Universe, and which only decide what state they are in when someone observes them… mind and matter are not independent.

    I mean, that, or something like that, is the ‘whatsoever is’ that science has given us as ‘reality’….

    Try and make sense of it if you can. Nobody can. Not the best minds alive…

    Claims about ‘whatsoever is’ are only claims, stories we tell ourselves…

    And it keeps getting weirder…

  • TvT this one is for you – enjoy – Ivy Mike wouldn’t get it

    Uploaded by DarkMatter2525 on Nov 14, 2011
    What if we solved all our problems this way? Late paying the rent? Just tell your landlord that you paid him with supermoney, which is better than money, but he just can’t see it right now.

    The paradox and the supernatural are symbiotic. “Beyond” space and time, omniscience, omnibenevolence, omnipotence, omnipresence, freewill, a grand plan, divine intervention, heaven, hell, souls, miracles, and life after death are completely invented concepts that have severe logical problems that are explained away by the word “supernatural”, which is also completely made up.

    Lightning and rainbows were once obviously supernatural. Those claims failed when they became testable, as will any claim attributed to the supernatural – no matter how obvious they seem to you.

  • All well and good, Kathy C., except for one thing, all peoples at all times, from prehistory up to present have had extra-ordinary, non-ordinary experiences, which they have tried to explain… the only people who have denied such experiences are those who ascribe to to materialism and scientism, which is a non-scientific, and irrational dogma.. and quite nasty too, because you are insisting that people must deny what they have personally directly experienced…

    I mean, if someone insists that they met an angel and had a conversation, what right does your claim that they are mad, deluded, hallucinating, whatever, to over-ride their own personal sense-data ? Anymore than their right to deny your scepticism ?

    Ffs, science has demonstrated, irrefutably, that mind and matter are inextricably intertwined, your 19thC secular materialism is obsolete ! a dead parrot ;-)

    ‘Supernatural’ doesn’t come into it, try some entheogenic substance, the results are predictable… just as going to see a movie in a cinema is predictable… are you going to deny that movies are ‘real’ or can have significant ‘meaning’ for people ?

    It doesn’t have to be entheogens, holotropic breathing and many other routes lead to the same experiences…

  • Kathy C.,

    Thanks for the link. Certainly lost on 85% of the population.

  • Candidate explanation = reason why. Prediction does not necessarily invoke explanation.

    A theory is our best understanding of the way something works. It’s not a compilation of predictions or hypotheses.

  • “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” ~J. Robert Oppenheimer

    I do believe Ran Prieur when he writes that his Science the Destroyer is the most hated essay on this page.

    But why?

    “Their primary goal never is to serve the community ahead of everything else. Their primary goal is to serve, through reason, the goal of truth. That was what he meant by the Church of Reason.” ~Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

  • his apparent scapegoating of women in the evolutionary process

    LOL! Your obvious disdain of science is showing, M.B.

  • Well, that’s a refreshing change, Morocco Bama, well done, I like that analysis, it’s good, imo, apart from some minor niggles, like e.g.‘…Quantum in their own right.’ ‘Quantum’ has a specific scientific meaning, and no meaning in other contexts…

    Best way to understand and reconcile the apparently irreconcilable worldviews of science and religion, is the logos/mythos analysis, which goes back to the ancient Greeks, logical reasoned knowledge and poetic intuitive knowledge, Classical and Romantic, the head and the heart… which corresponds with the left brain/right brain division which exists in all of us… we need both, we cannot help having both…

    And even better that that is zen buddhism which is a belief system which destroys all belief systems, including it’s own…

  • Wiki on Cotard’s Syndrome
    The Cotard delusion, Cotard’s syndrome, or Walking Corpse Syndrome[1] is a rare mental disorder in which people hold a delusional belief that they are dead (either figuratively or literally), do not exist, are putrefying, or have lost their blood or internal organs. In rare instances, it can include delusions of immortality.[2]

    You could assert that this extraordinary perception is real and that in fact since they believe they do not exist or our putrefying that they in fact do not exist. Perhaps those with Cotard’s Syndrome are right and we are all illusions.


    you could do research and find

    again per wiki

    The underlying psychopathology and neurophysiology of Cotard’s Syndrome may be related to other problems involving delusional misidentification. Neurologically, Cotard’s is thought to be related to the Capgras delusion, and both are thought to result from a disconnect between the brain areas that recognize faces (fusiform face areas[9]) and the areas that associate emotions with that recognition (the amygdala and other limbic structures). This disconnection creates a sense that the observed face is not the person’s it purports to be, and therefore lacks the familiarity that should be associated with it. The disconnect results in a feeling of derealization. If it is the face of a person known to the sufferer, it is experienced as an impostor’s (Capgras); if the sufferer sees their own face they may feel no association between it and their sense of self, resulting in a sense that they do not exist. Literature shows that Cotard’s is associated with lesions in the parietal lobe. Patients with Cotard’s generally have more brain atrophy than control groups and more median frontal lobe atrophy in particular.[10]

    Several brain chemicals can cause Near Death Experiences that mimic the NDE’s people actually dying have. DMT is one. Ketamine is another Ketamine has also produced Out of Body Experiences. Obviously as time goes by more and more unexplainable things are being explained. Thank the good dog we don’t live when epilepsy was a sure sign of being possessed by the devil because no one had an explanation for it.

    I have posted some of this before but it gets ignored. No one has tried to counter my postings of Ketamine causing NDE’s or brain damage causing Cotard’s syndrome, amnesia, etc. You true believers just continue to assert that even though science has discovered physical or natural causes for many things YOUR experiences are different and can never possibly be explained by science. Go back to the Dark Age why don’t you. That is why I gave up responding to this stuff and wonder just what is wrong with my brain that I am trying once again.

    We will soon all be dead. Thank the good dog. Good brains are wasted on 85% (thanks Curtis for the percent)

  • Guy : A theory is our best understanding of the way something works. It’s not a compilation of predictions or hypotheses.

    I think that the social aspect of science has to be taken into consideration. As MB mentioned, the ‘scientific community’. It becomes a theory if it gains acceptance amongst a significant number or a majority.

    For example, Lovelock’s Gaia began as a hypothesis, which made certain testable predictions, and postulated a geo-physiology regulated by feedback mechanisms.

    As such mechanisms have since been discovered and shown to exist, confirming the predictions of the hypothesis, some people reckon Gaia hypothesis is sufficiently robust as to regarded as a established theory, but there are plenty of reductionist scientists, like Dawkins, who don’t accept Gaia theory.

    In most areas of science there are competing theories, I don’t think there is any hard and fast rule regarding when a set of ideas becomes accepted as theory, for example, Plate Tectonics, Continental Drift, took 70 years to be accepted…it just takes time for a consensus to grow… Some eminent scientists are very influential, with a lot of power, and if they declare something is junk, many colleagues will defer, similarly, if they say it must be correct… there’s political aspect… science is done by people, who exhibit all the standard faults and virtues of people…

    Like Kuhn said, paradigms only shift when the old professors die…

  • Dearie me, Kathy C. what a disgraceful misrepresentation ‘You true believers just continue to assert that even though science has discovered physical or natural causes for many things YOUR experiences are different and can never possibly be explained by science. Go back to the Dark Age why don’t you.’

    YOU are the one stuck in the Dark Age of 19th C science. Modern up-to-date science has moved on ! You’re 100 years behind the times !

    Nowhere have I ever said that there are no physical or natural causes for spiritual experiences ! Science is great, it can illuminate the underlying mechanisms, just like it can explain how flickering light can be projected onto a screen and display the illusion of reality in a movie theatre. Photons, photon receptors, etc.

    But it cannot explain the meaning of the movie.

  • What’s more, Kathy C. where you not the one who objected to pathologising Guy’s experience as Asperger’s or autism or something ? I certainly share that objection…

    And yet NOW you are proclaiming that EVERYONE everywhere, and throughout the entire history of the human species, who does not share your extremely narrow personal viewpoint, they must all be brain-damaged, deluded, or self-deceivers… and only YOU have the true light of understanding !?

    What an appalling arrogant position to hold, and what’s more, totally hypocritical, because you ignore the findings of the science which you claim supports you…

    Schroedinger’s Cat ! Double Slit Experiment ! Quantum non-locality ! Quantum entanglement !

    ‘Reality’ is not what you think it is…

    Your secular rationalist materialism is not supported by SCIENCE, Kathy C.

  • It seems to me that Kathy C.’s position denies the validity of all and any subjective personal experience. We are, in her view, only permitted to see ourselves through the lens of 19th C reductionist ‘science’ which has long been superceded and discredited.

    This is really quite dreadful. It’s Orwellian, thought-police. Nothing you think or feel or experienceyourself is ever to be trusted, because it’s just your brain playing tricks and leading you astray from the True Orthodoxy, the Official Approved Reality. Any deviation from the Party Line must be a symptom of illness, of pathology.

    Thank God for dreams and visions and spiritual experiences that can help us find our way back to our true nature ;-)

    “Dreams are impartial, spontaneous products of the unconscious psyche, outside the control of the will. They are pure nature; they show us the unvarnished, natural truth, and are therefore fitted, as nothing else is, to give us back an attitude that accords with our basic human nature when our consciousness has strayed too far from its foundations and run into an impasse.” – Carl G. Jung

  • The kind of materialist reductionism that most so called debunkers of spirituality (the paranormal, the supernatural, call it what you will) subscribe to is no longer supported by modern physics which has found that traditional assumptions about the particulate nature of matter are highly problematic. In fact, the very existence of particulate entities is being challenged by certain interpretations of quantum physics.

    “If one focuses on abstract individual entities the result is an utter mystery, we cannot account for the seemingly impossible behavior of the atoms. It’s not that the experimenter changes a past that had already been present or that atoms fall in line with a new future simply by erasing information. The point is that the past was never simply there to begin with and the future is not simply what will unfold; the “past” and the “future” are iteratively reworked and enfolded through the iterative practices of space-time-mattering — including the which-slit detection and the subsequent erasure of which-slit information — all are one phenomenon. There is no spooky-action-at-a-distance coordination between individual particles separated in space or individual events separated in time. Space and time are phenomenal, that is, they are intra-actively produced in the making of phenomena; neither space nor time exist as determinate givens outside of phenomena (Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway, p. 315)”.

    Additionally, we now know that a mysterious substance called dark matter accounts for 23.3 percent of the cosmos, and dark energy fills in 72.1 percent. Together, these phenomena, the nature of which is unknown, make up 95.4 percent of the universe.

    I think that materialist reductionism (MR) is a neurotic effort to draw safe boundaries around reality. It’s more comforting to believe that the world consists only of particles and energy, all of which human beings can exercise some control over, than to admit that our physical scientific edifice is predicated on universal postulates (e.g. that the laws of physics apply everywhere, not just in our neck of the cosmic woods) that are not provable and probably wrong. MR suppresses any paranormal phenomena that don’t fit neatly into their reality box, despite their alleged commitment to empiricism.

    The multiverse (the plurality of worlds) is seemingly far stranger than anything we can imagine. The bovine philosopher in the feed-lot who comes to the recognition that she is a cow and that her cognitive reach is very limited may also come to the disturbing realization that she is not in control of her fate, that there is a bizarre and sinister thing (the agricultural industrial complex) that invisibly controls her life for reasons that she cannot discern, but she knows in her heart of hearts that it ain’t good.

  • ulvfugl I hope you never get Cotard’s syndrome. If you claim that you don’t exist and your subjective view is accepted rather than the objective view of people who see you are in fact existing, well there will be no need to provide you with any care, food, anything. In fact they can just kill you since if you had they syndrome you would assert that you don’t exist. And we know your subjective assertions to reflect reality

    As I noted before a surgeon made a good living cutting off the limbs of people who believed their leg or arm was not theirs. Another false subjective belief that was so strong they were glad to loose and arm and a leg.

    People with amputated limbs often have phantom pains. These are subjective because they limb does not exists. Dr. Ramachandran a fine scientist and a caring human found a way to trick the brain out of its false belief. Its called the mirror box. By objectively observing that the limb was not there he could search for a way to change the subjective view of the patients brain to match reality and grant relief. While the exact way this fools the brain out of believing there is pain where there is not is not nailed down yet, it is clearly an example of getting rid of the subjective false pain. It has been used to help Iraq war veterans.

  • Kathy C I hope you never get Cotard’s syndrome. If you claim that you don’t exist and your subjective view is accepted rather than the objective view of people who see you are in fact existing, well there will be no need to provide you with any care, food, anything. In fact they can just kill you since if you had they syndrome you would assert that you don’t exist. And we know your subjective assertions to reflect reality

    That does not follow from anything I have stated on this forum. There is no such thing as ‘an objective view’, that’s an abstraction, ( albeit sometimes useful ) there are only subjective views held or encountered by real people. What you say there is just nonsense, with a spiteful tinge.

    As I noted before a surgeon made a good living cutting off the limbs of people who believed their leg or arm was not theirs. Another false subjective belief that was so strong they were glad to loose and arm and a leg.
    People with amputated limbs often have phantom pains. These are subjective because they limb does not exists. Dr. Ramachandran a fine scientist and a caring human found a way to trick the brain out of its false belief. Its called the mirror box. By objectively observing that the limb was not there he could search for a way to change the subjective view of the patients brain to match reality and grant relief. While the exact way this fools the brain out of believing there is pain where there is not is not nailed down yet, it is clearly an example of getting rid of the subjective false pain. It has been used to help Iraq war veterans.

    Yes, I know all that. I don’t deny that there are awful people who do awful things to others, or that there are bizarre medical conditions.

    However, think of the logic of what you are saying.

    Someone has an amazing experience ( e.g. a vision, they meet an angel in a field ) and they come to see you, glowing with astonishment and awe, in a state of grace and epiphany, and what happens ?

    You tell them it’s a crap, a delusion, it never really happened it’s just some sort of mental malfunction explained by brain damage, disease or derangement, and they should pull themselves together and forget about it, and join the ranks of the sane, healthy, ‘normal’ people like yourself, who never have any ‘unusual’ experiences, and live in the grey boring reality where everything is predictable, dreary and dull.

    Compare with, someone has an amazing experience ( they fall in love for the first time, perhaps the most intense experience any of us ever have ) and they come to see you, and, again, you tell them to deny it all, it’s just hormones, brain chemistry, it’s just the genes wanting to reproduce themselves, forget it, you’ll soon get over it and be back to ‘normal’….

    I mean, it’s an appalling position to hold, telling people to deny their own nature, their own perceptions, their own humanity, their own innermost meaningful impression, just to fit them into your horrid little mental box of what is ‘acceptable’, to conform with your personal ideology and prejudice…

    You might as well tell someone who laughs that they are sick, because it’s just a reflex, a trick their brain is playing…

  • Yes, depressive lucidity, well said, I agree with all of that…

  • There is a big difference between science, by which we can best be guided to knowledge of ourselves and the world we inhabit, and ideology that underpins the preternatural disciplines of politics, economics and demography.

    Let us accept Guy’s definition of theory. What, then, is Demographic Transition Theory? The best what? Is the theory scientific?

  • I had not heard of her before, dl, so thanks for that, very interesting…

  • Kathy C.,

    I used 85% based upon an estimated 15% atheists. Probably a good number of nuts among them also.

  • Steven E S There is a big difference between science, by which we can best be guided to knowledge of ourselves and the world we inhabit…

    I don’t entirely agree with that. Science is great ( especially at its best, ignoring all the corruption and junk science ) but it cannot tell us anything about what’s ethical, or what we should do…

    I mean, is it okay to use science in the service of evil ? To build weapons to commit genocide, for example ? Like maybe a bioweapon that only kills people of a certain ethnicity ? The scientists will say that their work and their discoveries are neutral… but can that really be acceptable ? Nobody has got a handle on this, the whole thing is completely out of control. Kids in garage biolabs doing genetic engineering for fun…. not funny, to my mind.

    We end up in a nightmare, that science has made for us…

    The balancing factor has to come from elsewhere…

    Yes, I agree with you, re the ideologies. They need exposure. They need debunking. I do admire your efforts to get to grips with population problem, I’ve always shied away from it, it just seems so intractable…

  • Dr. Wladimir Wertelecki on birth defects caused by Chernobyl and how nuclear power devastates human health

  • More of what science has bequeathed to us… nobody thinks much of it these days, but USA and Russia are still tooled up with enough nuclear warheads to obliterate most of life on Earth… they very nearly did it once, already… not to mention the Israelis, the Pakistanis, the Chinese, the N. Koreans, the Indians, the British, the French… how long before someone threatens to use a nuclear weapon ? and then uses it….

    Contrary to popular belief, the Cuban missile crisis did not end with the agreement between the US and Soviet Union in October, 1962. Unknown to the US at the time, there were 100 other nuclear weapons also in the hands of Cuba, sparking a frantic – and ingenious – Russian mission to recover them.

  • You are out in the desert, looking for water, someone sees a big lake ahead and says lets rush that direction, I am sure it is water. Should you tell them it is a mirage or just follow them on a fools errand that might cost both your lives.

    “Following the reports that Our Lady of Lourdes had appeared to Bernadette Soubirous on a total of seventeen occasions, Lourdes has developed into a major place of Roman Catholic pilgrimage and of miraculous healings.” I wonder how much money people have wasted on that vision?

    I had a vision once of a very special friend right after his death. He looked happy and was whole again. It was a very nice little movie my brain made for me to help me feel better about his death. But what made me feel even better was the times I visited him in the hospital. One time what his wife felt was needed was for his young daughter to get out of the hospital so I took her out for a much needed break. My vision of him whole was nice but he no longer existed. My memory of that time I spent with his daughter is far more meaningful to me than my little brain movie as it was real. My doing something for him and his family was much more important to them and me.

    Back when I was a Christian my ex and I worked at Habitat for Humanity. One year at Lent they asked for people to take a name of a volunteer overseas each week and pray for them. Even then I was more practical and didn’t think my prayers would help much so I wrote as well. I began a practice then of writing to each overseas volunteer every month which I did for years. The rewards were tangible for both me and them.

    One time while there my son got a high fever. Since he had had several seizures from high temps before I went into my usual routine of treating the fever aggressively. At Devotions my husband asked people to pray, and afterwards some came and layed hands on him. Later I mentioned using asprin and tylenol to one of them. She was appalled and angry – after all they had healed him with their laying on of hands. Another volunteer offered to stay with him to give me a break. While I was gone she read to him. Years later he remembered her as the woman who read to him when he was sick. He never remembered those who laid hands on him.

    It is my experience that the doers of the world do far more good in the world than those who get all wrapped up in various visions, existenial experiences, out of body experiences, speaking in tongues, ETC ETC ETC. I am not saying that folks who get visions aren’t doers, I am just saying that for me what they do matters, what they see in their own private brain I could care less about.

  • MB : as a layperson I get confused with the concepts of Quantum Physics, but I don’t think it’s entirely my fault…

    Nothing to be ashamed of at all, NOBODY understands it, not even the quantum physicists themselves, who all have their different angles and interpretations… the main consensus is probably still the Copenhagen interpretation, but as I understand it, there’s about a dozen other rival possible interpretations… it is all so strange and bizarre and unlike anything anyone ever expected to discover… I don’t claim to understand it, I just enjoy boggling my brain, imagining I’m a photon ;-)

  • Thanks for that, Kathy C. I think I see what you’re saying, but I think your present position is a bit of an over-reaction. I can see why you rejected that brand of ‘christianity’. I was first schooled by Roman Catholic nuns who only spoke french, and sprinkled me with holy water and told me I would burn in hell for eternity if I was naughty… kinda weird when you are only 6 ;-)

    Then came Quakers who had a completely different take on the Bible, and despite their claimed non-violence and pacifism, regularly beat the bottoms of us little boys until we were red, black, blue, yellow, and couldn’t sit down for a week because of the pain, it seemed like a sort of recreation for them, any excuse to thrash a child… and as for that hideous psychopathic monster called God in the Old Testament… well, what can i say ?

    If you read the prehistoric myths of the Welsh and Irish, they also had all sorts of similar crazy stories, but somehow they grew up and got over it, and left them behind and they became poetic and grew into the Arthurian Cycle, which nobody takes literally or seriously in the way Evangelicals treat the Bible…

    I am just saying that for me what they do matters, what they see in their own private brain I could care less about.

    But it’s not an either/or, is it. People can do good practical stuff in the world and still pursue inner spiritual stuff. I find my inner world absolutely fascinating, it’s just as important to me as the apparent solid external world… I explore all the time…

    I mean, re your vision, you explain it to yourself in a particular way, that makes it fit into your general worldview. I actually think visions like that come from something much larger, and much more interesting. There is scientific evidence to support my position, like, for example, Tom Campbell’s account of two people in separate sensory deprivation tanks, who ‘leave their bodies’, so to speak, and convey their experiences over independent radio transmissions to tape recorders, and describe the same experiences. Your model cannot explain such things. We need a new paradigm for ‘reality’.

    I think there is another dimension, ‘the Otherworld’, which science is just beginning to explore. Every culture, every ethnic group, has already explored it over the millennia, and they all have their differing takes on what it is and what it means.

    You, of course, don’t need to be interested at all, in any of it, that’s your right and your privilege.


  • @Morocco Bama RE: support for science

    Well good for you, I’ve got 2 science degrees my own damn self. I think that is rather enough “support” to suit even Bartles and Jaymes, thank you very much.

    And I can still tolerate Ran Prieur’s critique of science, particularly his poignant depiction of Cartesian reductionism—“Science makes everything dead”—without slipping into conniptions.

    Meanwhile, I’m restoring my acreage from the ravages of several decades of agricultural science that turned the soil into a quite dead root-stabilization and chemical-application medium, as most soil is abused around me in this scientific necropoculture hell called the Midwest Breadbasket.

    @Kathy C RE: Years later he remembered her as the woman who read to him when he was sick.

    Great story! Thanks for sharing it.

  • And to stir up a bit more mischief, another log on the fire… Jesus was a Shaman ;-) and, of course, that old tale of John Allegro’s, proving that Jesus was a mushroom…

    “Next up in what is quickly becoming a series on heterodox Christologies: Jesus was really a shaman. This claim was found in Norwegian media last week – more precisely in the Sami branch of the state channel NRK’s online news site. The (neo)shamanic healer Eirik Myrhaug went on record saying that he saw Jesus as “a great shaman”: “after all he was 40 days and 40 nights in the desert, and that’s a typical shamanic seance”.”

  • @ulvfugl RE: John Allegro

    Yes, I’ve got his book, which is good, and a few others on astrotheology. One of my favorites that I’ve read twice is historian Diana Agorio’s SEX RITES: The Origins of Christianity (The Ritual Use of Sex, Drugs, and Human Sacrifice).

    @MB RE: ZAMM

    I just got a hard cover copy of ZAMM, after wearing out a paperback. I haven’t got a Nook, Kindle, cell phone, smart? phone, or Twitbook account, so my fetish remains real paper. Except for my slave-labor Mac here. LOL

  • All of “reality” is the concatenation from arrays created from inputs from something “out there” and projected in a manner that makes it seem “out there”. This concatenation constitutes the content of awareness. Awareness is consciousness within a limited frame of reference. These concatenations as discrete entities are concepts in awareness. The grander among such concepts include spacetime, matter-energy, causality, etc. “Reality” is the grand concatenation of everything. Observation, empirical data, hypothesising, and further observation to confirm, modify or refute hypotheses are not only the scientific method, but also how each sentient being apprehends reality.

    Attempts to fill the gaps have in many instances been organised (and often institutionalised) as “religion”. Absent the application of the standard method (the “scientific” method) the superstition and other detritus entrained is now the bulk of most religion. Hence references to “spirituality” in an attempt to distance oneself from the dross.

    Through physics, even modern science has conceded that bringing data to awareness alters the “reality” defined by the data.

    Awareness without content is inconceivable for most, and from an objective perspective is nothingness. But awareness is no longer awareness when addressed from an objective perspective: it is then yet another concept, an object in (subjective) awareness. Also, in the absence of content, awareness, not limited by frame of reference, is consciousness – the same consciousness which is addressed separately through each of the innumerable frames of reference.

  • ‘Why all this argument about God?’

    because ‘god’ is all too often an evil dogma-dealer, getting children addicted, discouraging rational freethought. discouraging thought, period. discouraging sanity, encouraging insanity, often cruel. sanity matters. there’s no salvation from our own foolishness without it. also because the evil dogmas ‘god'(z) push on sheeple promote ‘authority’ and gross inequalities both in the afterlife (there’s no imaginable greater inequality than the chasm between heaven and hell, the 2 ultimate destinations for human ‘souls’ according to my renounced vulgar christianity) and here on gaia. dogmas and authoritarianism go together like birds of a feather. crazy and cruel

  • Off topic but…

    Coral reefs?

    ‘Caribbean coral reefs face collapse’

    “Caribbean coral reefs – which make up one of the world’s most colourful, vivid and productive ecosystems – are on the verge of collapse, with less than 10% of the reef area showing live coral cover…

    Last year, scientists estimated that 75% of the Caribbean’s coral reefs were in danger, along with 95% of those in south-east Asia. That research, from the World Resources Institute, predicted that by 2050 virtually all of the world’s coral reefs would be in danger….

    This decline is likely to have severe impacts on coastal villages, particularly in developing countries, where many people depend on the reefs for fishing and tourism. Globally, about 275 million people live within 19 miles of a reef.”

    That damn Anthropocentric view keeps cropping up.

  • 15th of July this year a mob of neo-Pentecostals invaded a terreiro of Candomblé in Olinda, Pernambuco, Brazil screaming for casting out Satan and threatening to kill the people in the terreiro if their evil ways where continued. This is not a unique incident – but one of the more grave ones so far as the aftermath revealed, torture, persecution and violence. These Pentecostal formations seem to be the more fresh branch on the tree of Inquisition and intolerance, continuing a putrid legacy of self righteous wardens of ‘divine law’.

    The Fetish of Inquisition

  • I think that the sort of mass hysteria, if that’s the right term, that this guy stirs up, is the same or similar thing as some rock bands, and Hitler’s rallies harness, also in those crazy auctions when people pay huge sums for worthless junk just because everyone else is bidding… I see it as some strange biological heritage, like when monkey troupes all get excited. People lose their individual minds and judgement. I think that’s what scared Jung when he participated in the wild African dance. I think the Pentecostalists exploit this.

  • Ozman, did you not see the Jeremy Jackson video I posted upthread ? All the world’s coral reefs are going, all the oceans are dying…

  • So, the nails in the coffin for the human species… the oceans become acidic toxic dead zones.. we’re getting there, quickly… 1 kilogram of solid permafrosted peat, warms up and melts, and releases enough methane and C02 to create enough atmospheric warming to melt more than 1 kilogram of permafrost peat… the permafrost goes deep, but it’ll keep melting all the way down… and we have runaway feedback that nothing can prevent, and the global temperature keeps rising for many centuries… meaning we get a classic global mass-extinction event…. it’s begun…

    As the north warms, new vegetation spreads northward, darkening the land surface, changing the albedo, absorbing more heat from the sun, hastening the warming… another feedback we can do nothing to prevent…

    The great conifer forests which have been carbon sinks, die and burn, releasing soot and CO2 to add to the warming, and are no longer there to soak up CO2…

    There are more, the Fukes, the methane, etc, but that’s enough already to send us all into eternal oblivion…

    All you idiots out there… who think I’m a doomer and a zealot…. a pessimist… an Apocalyptic ranter, well, welcome to your ‘sub-optimal’ future…. based on science and established factual data and well-understood processes…

    Sure I’m angry about this, it’s MY world too, and YOUR ignorance and stupidity are destroying it for everyone and most of life on Earth, which, for all we know, may be the only life in the entire effing Universe… and some vain stupid fucked up conceited monkeys with no self-control or wisdom trash the whole thing… for what ?

    Lust for power and domination, for pleasure, for entertainment, satisfying their momentary urges… fascination with toys, lack of education regarding stuff that was well understood long ago… a culture that despises the world and treats it all with contempt, as ‘stuff’ to be exploited in any way we choose, belief systems that advocate entitlement to do anything we want to do, because we are the pinnacle of evolution, the ones who brought ‘progress’ to the world, and discovered how to change things ‘for the better’, especially if it makes a profit… forcing ever more of the destitute and desperate into ever more destructive activity as they struggle to live a little longer… blowing up coral reefs with dynamite to catch a few tiny fish, or using mercury to extract a little gold, or selling their children into slavery or prostitution, or joining the rebels who provide a daily meal, or kidnapping a fat tourist for ransome… or, whatever…

    And so we will vanish, and this wondrous sublime planet where we found ourselves will be a toxic junk yard for millennia, and leave a layer of synthetic chemicals, plastic particles and metallic fragments in the geological record…

    And the response today of the UK Gvt politicians ? Kill badgers, against all the scientific advice, because that’ll please the industrial farming lobby from the dairy industry, and build more roads, so their friends in construction can get richer….

  • Robin : All of “reality” is the concatenation from arrays created from inputs from something “out there” and projected in a manner that makes it seem “out there”. This concatenation constitutes the content of awareness. Awareness is consciousness within a limited frame of reference…etcetera…

    Whilst I don’t dispute what you say there, in fact I think it is remarkably insightful, I like it, it’s kinda left brain telling itself logical, analytical, stories to try and ‘make sense’…

    But if you take an entheogen, like Huxley’s mescaline in the Doors of Perception, or enter advanced stages of meditative experience, all that stuff just evaporates away and becomes meaningless… there’s just fathomless, and rather scary, mystery, vibrating, trembling, shimmering, moments without time, that defy all words and description and analysis… no ? Again, we are at ‘He who knows…’ and Wittgenstein’s ‘Of that which we cannot speak, we must remain silent..’

    Quite an interesting page on Ganesh and Tantra

  • Zen mind, original mind, compassionate mind, loving mind, awake mind, Soul mind…. these are descriptions of full-bodied states of awareness that become the goal of a spiritual practice or intentional living. These are states of pervasive and open-minded perception that practitioners seek to experience and groom. The goal is to encounter the world with open-eyed wakefulness. It’s not realistic to expect to be in such a state all the time and in every circumstance. We come into flow with other aspects of our skills and circumstance that require concentration. We sometimes lose ourselves in the details of a day. The ideal would be to return to mindful states without fanfare or will-grinding effort. The ideal would be to see mindful states as both a backdrop to everyday activity and the natural home of the mind. The ideal would be to make these states the ongoing goal of our consciousness.

    I think it is realistic to be in such a state at all times. Every-minute-zen.

  • “You may argue that pop culture has always drawn heavily on nostalgia, and you’d be right, but things have changed. What was once a dim memory, a wobbly VHS tape, a slice of warped vinyl, or a bootleg DVD or CD trading hands amongst enthusiasts has become a towering digital midden so huge that it threatens to impede our view of the future. The growth of online media channels means that the near-entirety of our cultures’ pasts have been excavated and placed on display for anyone to watch, hear, or read in an instant. Hence, hauntology.”

  • This is Guy’s blog and I suppose in a way, we are all looking up to Guy for leadership, for him for something…

    I’m trying to recall when I first read Guy’s writing…not sure, sometime well before Dark Mountain appeared, anyway, when I was always searching for any voices with integrity…

    But this must be a horrible position to be in, where people are expecting something, wanting something… Guy’s lectures are first class, fluent, bitter jokes, sardonic, sad, all the numbers and data and references…

    But there’s nowhere to go, is there ? How can someone lead, when there’s nowhere to go ? We just have to sit and watch this mess happening, and try and cope with our feelings about it all… but at least we can be authentic and genuine and honest…

    I want to reach out to you all… my suffering is terrible, my headache medicines are useless, and the people here who have mentioned their suffering, migraines, Badlands distress, everyone thinking the same about the future… I just want to share, my power and my pain… the sun is rising, I live in such beauty…

    The world is full of people who are frauds and demons, we’ve just had Jimmy Savile, knighted and famous for his work with children and the disadvantaged, who turns out to have been a paedophile and child molester, a depraved cruel disgusting liar..

    And Lance Armstrong, the heroic battler against cancer, who turns out to have been a mendacious drug dealer and fraud…

    And now I read about Tristan Jones, who told wonderful tales of sailing alone, and someone has written a book saying it was untrue… and someone has commented :

    We all need our dreams more than we need reality.

    I don’t know about that… I don’t think I have dreams, ( of that sort, as opposed to sleeping dreams ) anymore… I just gaze into the Abyss… The Maelstrom…

  • “Critical self-reflection…”

    A person’s life… stories…

    His imagined past…

    …and with that his incredible spirit began to die too, although he returned briefly to sea.

    Out alone, on his own boat, on the ocean, with no legs, and I think, only one eye… the other, I think, if it was true, got injured, and he removed it himself, whilst his boat was stuck in Arctic ice… he asserted himself, disappeared…

    What is this world of ours? A complex entity subject to sudden changes which all indicate a tendency to destruction; a swift succession of beings which follow one another, assert themselves and disappear; a fleeting symmetry; a momentary order. – Denis Diderot

  • As long as the triad (triputi) of experiencer-experiencing-experience exists, one can rest assured that one is still short of objectless awareness. Objects of experience manufactured in the brain through the agency of psychoactive chemicals are objects nevertheless, no matter how subtle, or how pleasant, as long as there is perceiver and a perceiving.

    Pramāṇa forms one part of a tripuţi (trio) concerning pramā (the correct knowledge of any object arrived at by thorough reasoning, Sanskrit), namely,

    Pramātā (< pramātŗ), the subject, the knower
    Pramāņa, the means of obtaining the knowledge
    Prameya, the object, the knowable

    Modern Buddhist schools do not use these three distinct terms particularly, but instead employ the 'three spheres' (Sanskrit: trimaṇḍala; Tibetan: 'khor gsum):

    object, and

  • With thanks to ulvfugl…

    Ideologies need to be named and debunked. As things stand now, there is much confusion about what is and what is not science. Ideologues in politics, economics and demography are consciously and deliberately misrepresenting themselves as scientists. If demography is not a science; if Demographic Transition Theory is not scientfic, how can demographers gather themselves in an International Union of the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP). If economics is not a science; if neoclassical economic theory is not scientific, how can the Nobel Prize (presumably an award for outstanding achievement in science) be given annually in Economics. At least the Nobel Peace Prize, often awarded to politicians for exceptional achievements, is not confused with the awards to scientists. Such willful misrepresentations of science need to be exposed for the ideologies they are.

  • Hi Steven, I think that there’s a spectrum across the so-called sciences, which then merges into what are called ( in UK anyway, maybe different elsewhere ) arts and humanities, and at the science end it begins with physics, ( as ‘hard’ science, because it can be pinned down mathematically in ways that mere words cannot achieve, and attached to measurable phenomena ) which then explains chemistry, which then explains biology, getting ‘softer’ as it moves into anthropology and social sciences, and then ever softer as it moves towards it’s opposite pole, music, painting, poetry…

    It’s also a kind of left brain/logos to right brain/mythos gradation… Anything can be art, ( Duchamp’s inverted urinal ), because the artist declares it to be so. But ‘anything’ is no good for physics, it needs the numbers and the calculus to add up, so that if you dispatch a rocket to Jupiter it actually arrives at Jupiter…

    Neoclassical economics is junk pseudo-science, a rip off con trick, perpetrated by the bankers, propagandists and politicians to conceal their strategies, the fundamental premises are garbage, I’d compare it to astrology and alchemy, but that would be to insult those schools… the Nobel prize for economics is another PR fraud, rejected by the Noble family as such…

    Don’t know much at all about demography, but believe it relies heavily upon statistics, and statistics are only ever as good as the integrity of the statistician, so….

  • ulvfugl

    Missed it earlier.
    What a way to go…

  • Robin, thanks for that, it sent me off on a pleasant excursion through various schools of Asian epistemological theory, which I need another lifetime to study, if anyone has one spare…

    I think I take the view ( Bodhidharma ) that all that is required is the sitter and the wall.

    I wonder if you agree. I seem to recall you mentioned that that was the earliest Indian school to reach China, and thus later schools have faded from view, was that right ?

    Ah, ‘..the cause of the pain ‘ :-)

    I am nothing, I know nothing, I seek nothing, I desire nothing, not even the absence of the pain, although that would be nice, I have to admit ;-)

    I had two hours non-stop CH attack, an hour to recover, and then it began again… I decided to phone the emergency helpline, but the doctor could do nothing, could suggest nothing… so all it amounted to was someone to talk to, performing a bureaucratic function… I mean, they are willing to send an ambulance to take me to hospital, but the doctors then will not know what to do anyway, and I cannot leave this place and my dog, anyway… so it is pointless…. tomorrow I must try again with the local doctors… prednisolone has not worked…

  • Politicians versus Scientists…

    “Britain’s top animal disease scientists have launched a devastating attack on the government’s “mindless” badger cull, accusing ministers of failing to tell the truth and demanding the immediate abandonment of the killings.”

  • Ozman, indeed, what a way…

    I said the oceans are dying. I should have said they are being killed, murdered, a foul and terrible deed, out of the public’s view… for money… a cure would be to take control of money away from bankers and politicians… something like bitcoin, to provide a medium of exchange… everyone alive receives their basic need, so that they are not forced to destroy their resources or forced to collaborate with the bankers economic machine.

  • Take your points, MB, and re leadership, I’m not keen on it myself, not leading nor following, but in practise, what I’ve seen, especially young people, they’ve never had to make autonomous independent decisions, they’ve been trained to be helpless, they stand there looking lost, waiting for someone to tell them what to do… not all, of course. It’s an unfair generalisation. But I wonder why the younger generations are so passive and accept having their futures destroyed and stolen. I think the leadership thing is kinda natural, a relaxed assessment, whoever knows what to do does it, I cannot give lectures like Guy does, I admire that skill… people follow someone who seems to know what they are doing and where they want to go…

  • With big thanks to Karen, I’ve posted a short essay. It’s here.

  • Global thermonuclear war remains the only Salvation for the pale blue dot, a form of radiation therapy for the cancerous growth of agricultural city-Statism (civilization) infecting Gaia’s biosphere.

    May as well adapt to reality, it’s inevitable anyway.

    • “…nuclear war virtually inevitable.” ~Dr. Martin E. Hellman, Stanford University
    • “…world nuclear war remains inevitable…” ~Carol Moore
    • “…nuclear war becomes a mathematical certainty…” ~Helen Caldicott
    “Most in the civilized world are blissfully unaware that we are marching ineluctably towards an increasingly likely pre-emptive nuclear war.” ~F. William Engdahl
    • “War is one of the constants of history and has not diminished with civilization or democracy. In the last 3,411 years of recorded history only 268 have seen no war.” ~Will and Ariel Durant
    • “…we should not hesitate in launching nuclear war because there is no solution except this.” ~Nawa-e Waqt

    Even so, come Lord Shiva.

  • Sam Harris on the ‘Heaven’ nonsense..

    “As many of you know, I am interested in “spiritual” experiences of the sort Alexander reports. Unlike many atheists, I don’t doubt the subjective phenomena themselves—that is, I don’t believe that everyone who claims to have seen an angel, or left his body in a trance, or become one with the universe, is lying or mentally ill. Indeed, I have had similar experiences myself in meditation, in lucid dreams (even while meditating in a lucid dream), and through the use of various psychedelics (in times gone by). I know that astonishing changes in the contents of consciousness are possible and can be psychologically transformative.

    And, unlike many neuroscientists and philosophers, I remain agnostic on the question of how consciousness is related to the physical world. There are, of course, very good reasons to believe that it is an emergent property of brain activity, just as the rest of the human mind obviously is. But we know nothing about how such a miracle of emergence might occur. And if consciousness were, in fact, irreducible—or even separable from the brain in a way that would give comfort to Saint Augustine—my worldview would not be overturned. I know that we do not understand consciousness, and nothing that I think I know about the cosmos, or about the patent falsity of most religious beliefs, requires that I deny this. So, although I am an atheist who can be expected to be unforgiving of religious dogma, I am not reflexively hostile to claims of the sort Alexander has made. In principle, my mind is open. (It really is.)”

  • More gifts from the ‘scientists’.

    New GMO wheat may ‘silence’ vital human genes

    Read more:

  • ‘Re Everything Matters, a very interesting ending. No plot spoilers here. I recommend you read it VT’

    i’m tempted. just read about 1/2 of what’s posted at the amazon site for free. i’ll read the rest later and decide. i’m not a fan of fiction anymore. prefer good nonfiction. occasionally make an exception. in my youth i read a lot of fiction, including vonnegut, who author currie is oft compared to. i obviously liked vonnegut or i wouldn’t have read so many of his works, but they’re depressing.

    ulvfugl, what’s a welshman like u doing using an aussie term like ‘crikey’? maybe a fan of the late steve irwin?

  • Crikey ? I’m an internationalist, tvt. If I cursed and swore in Welsh, nobody would understand ;-) It’s a commonly used term in UK, quite mild and neutral and inoffensive slang…

  • “As a teenager thinking about the form and structure of what would comprise my forthcoming adulthood, I had a series of what I would call negative epiphanies, or sudden realizations that paradigms that I was being trained into and information which I was studying were dead-ends, otherwise known as bullshit. These negative epiphanies were useful for they left a void in my mind that wanted to be filled. These moments provided and continue to provide an opportunity to replace what I consider false information and concepts with knowledge that I consider more workable.”

  • ulvfugl
    You wrote:

    “… people follow someone who seems to know what they are doing and where they want to go…”

    That would be how we got here…Emphasis on the word ‘seems’.

  • Ozman, thanks for that. I pondered the phrase for a while. I think it possibly derives from Vinay Gupta, who was urging folk to try to change things, and said ‘Get behind someone who seems to know what they are doing and push’, which, I suppose is a image possibly drawn from rugby ? The ‘seems’ stuck.

    The whole leadership thing is a zen koan in itself. You see some people doing something which you know will not work. Do you intervene, or do you leave them to learn from their mistake ? What if it’s a matter which life depends on, like say feeding a baby unsuitable food, or building a bridge that will fall down when people are on it ?
    Do you still let them carry on and learn from their mistake ?

    The way I see it, we stop CO2 emissions NOW, or we go extinct, along with most life on Earth.

    The Global Warming feedbacks are kicking in, and much faster than anyone expected.

    How do we stop emissions now ? By crashing the industrial economy and bringing it to an abrupt end.

    How do we do that ? By any means possible, by refusing all collaboration, at all levels.

    What will be the result ? Terrible hardship, suffering and many early deaths, because most people rely upon the industrial economy and are not equipped to survive without being dependent upon it.

    Will it happen ? I doubt it. Most people simply don’t understand the predicament.

    If we don’t stop emissions know, we still get the terrible hardship, suffering and death, but a little later, and with total finality. No more people.

    What can I do ? Very little. I try to explain, that’s about all I can do

  • It’s EVERYONE’S future.

    Listen to Nobel Physicist and US Energy Secretary Steven Chu describes the potential global warming feedback from melting permafrost and methane.

    Notice what he says ? ‘We can’t go there’. The tipping points… they have arrived.

    WE HAVE FUCKING GONE THERE ! We can’t go back, we can’t stop the permafrost and the Arctic ice from melting. That means, the planet keeps heating for centuries.

    That means, no people, anymore.

  • What seems to me like a very short while ago, campaigners and politicians and business leaders were talking about keeping global temperature below 2 deg C, maybe 400 ppm, that being the ‘safe’ limit. I thought that was bullshit, and 2 deg C was already a catastrophe.

    But now, I know it was bullshit. We are already going to go sailing straight past 2 deg C and there’s nothing much we can do about that. So the feedbacks kick in.

    Some scientists were pretty scared about 400 or 500 ppm, and what that would mean.

    USA – Evil, earlier, suggested that 1000 or 2000 ppm might be okay, because life has survived such levels on the past. I disagreed. It’s not the final level and temperatures that matter, it’s the speed of the change. Life needs time to adapt. There is no time, it’ll happen too fast, just a few years.

    But actually the picture appears now to be much WORSE than that.

    Everything that we are getting from the MSM and the scientific community is bullshit.

    There’s enough CO2 and Methane ready to come into the system, from the Arctic ocean and from the melting permafrosted tundra to add many, many ppm to the atmosphere. It has started…

    That means temperatures go through the roof, way, way above anything suggested or imagined in the general public discourse of the last few years.

  • Bit of an antidote to all the heavy doom stuff…

    I mentioned somewhere earlier, the Welsh and Irish equivalents of the Old Testament.

    As I see it, all those prehistoric tribal peoples of the Bronze and Iron Age, must have had their mythologies, equivalent to those of the Hebrew pastoralist shepherds and goat herders recorded in the Old Testament, but most have been lost.

    The Indian end is well recorded, they have a massive heritage. This end, the Atlantic coastal fringe, must have had a similar massive mythology, but it survived only in fragments, was partially christianised, and ended up as the Arthurian legends.

    Here is a very beautiful example.

  • Gregory F. Fegel’s interpretation of
    Preiddeu Annwn: “The Spoils of Annwn”
    attributed to the Welsh poet Taliesen,
    and composed sometime between the 9th and 12th Centuries BCE.

    See the full text of the poem “The Spoils of Annwn”
    Here is a different translation of “The Spoils of Annwn”:

    The “Fortress of Four-Peaks” (verses 3., 10., 12.) refers to the Fortress of the Sky, which is quartered by the Four Cardinal Directions (like the Egyptian Pyramids at Giza.)

    Verse 12. “in the Four-Peaked Fortress, four its revolutions.” Verse 12. refers to the four revolutions of the Sky, delineated by the two Solstices and the two Equinoxes, which divide the four Seasons.

    The “Mound Fortress” (3.) or the “Fortress of the Mound” (10.),
    the “Fortress of Four-Peaks” (12., 24.), the Fortress of Mead-Drunkenness” (22.), the “Fortress of Hardness” (28.), the “Glass Fortress” (30.), the Fortress of Guts” (34.), the “Fortress of Enclosedness” (48.), and “God’s Peak” (42.) are all names for the Fortress of the Sky, which is known by many names.

    22. “except seven none rose up from the Fortress of Mead-Drunkenness.”
    These seven are the Seven Planets of ancient astronomy: the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn. The Fortress of Mead-
    Drunkenness produces the Mead of Spirit and Light.

    The following four verses all refer to the Seven Planets and the Fortress of the Sky:
    22. “except seven none rose up from the Fortress of Mead-Drunkenness.”
    28. “Except seven none rose up from the Fortress of Hardness.”
    34. “Except seven none rose up from the Fortress of Guts (Hindrance?).”
    42. “except seven none rose up from the fortress of God’s Peak.”
    48. “except seven none rose up from the Fortress of Enclosedness.”

    The “cauldron of the chief of Annwfyn [Annwn].” (13., 15.) is yet another name for the Fortress of the Sky, which is known by many names.

    The “cauldron of the chief of Annwfyn” has “A dark ridge around its border and pearls” (16.). These pearls are the Stars of the night Sky.

    20. “And before the door of hell lamps burned.” These lamps at the door of Hell are the Stars of the night Sky.

    31. “Six thousand men stood upon the wall.” These six thousand men are the stars of the night Sky.

    32. “It was difficult to speak with their sentinel.” Their sentinel is the Welsh God of the Dead, named Annwfyn [Annwn].

    25. “Flowing water and jet are mingled.” Throughout the ancient world, the Sky was described as a dark Ocean that encircled the Earth — such as the Greek Poet Homer’s “Wine Dark Sea.”

    The “cauldron” (13.) and also the “cauldron of the chief of Annwfyn” (15.) is the Cauldron of the Sky, wherein is brewed the Mead of Spirit and Light. The Mead of Spirit and Light was likewise brewed in the Cauldron of the Sky by the Norse Gods. The sun god Jesus Christ transformed water into the Wine of Spirit and Light for the wedding guests at Cana. In the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, the barmaid Siduri, a manifestation of Ishtar, dwells at the edge of the Cosmic Sea, beyond which is the Land of Life, where Utnapishtim, who survived the Deluge in a sea-going chest (a ship or an Ark), now lives.

    26. “Sparkling wine their liquor before their retinue.” This refers to the Mead of Spirit and Light, which is brewed in the Cauldron of the Sky.

    14. “From the breath of nine maidens it [the cauldron of the chief of Annwfyn] was kindled.” These nine maidens are the Nine Spheres of the ancient Cosmos, whose breath (the Cosmic wind) supports the Earth, the Seven Planets, and the outermost Firmament of the Stars.

    18. “The flashing sword of Lleawch has been lifted to it.” Lleawch might be a namesake of Llew Llaw Gyffes (“bright one of the skillful hand”), also known as Llugh, the Welsh Sun God and God of Light. The annual Harvest Festival of Lughnasa is held in mid-August.

    In the Welsh “Mabinogion,” the giant/God Llassar Llaes Gifnywid (a namesake of Llew Llaw Gyffes) owned a magic Cauldron that had the power to regenerate slain warriors.

    19. “And in the hand of Lleminawc it was left.” Lleminawc bore the flaming sword of Lleawch as he led the Sun God Arthur through the Underworld.

    The Celtic King Arthur is the Sun God, as is the Christian Jesus Christ and the Hindu Yeshe Krishna.

    43. “I do not merit little men, slack their will.”
    44. “They do not know which day the chief was created,”
    45. “what hour of the midday the owner was born,”
    46. “what animal they keep, silver its head.”
    29. “I merit not the Lord’s little men of letters.”
    53. “Monks pack together like young wolves”
    54. “from an encounter with lords who know.”

    The “Lord’s little men of letters,” the Christian Monks, are ignorant drones who copy the sacred texts without understanding the texts’ esoteric Cosmological meaning, which is understood by the “lords who know” the ancient, astronomical, PreChristian Cosmic religion.


    3. “Equipped was the prison of Gweir in the Mound Fortress” Gweir might be the Gyre of the night Sky, the revolving celestial Dome.

    — Gregory F. Fegel

  • WMDs, nuclear energy, DU munitions, GMO foods, undustrial pollutants, crackpot geoengineering schemes — all developed by scientists. Half of the science in the USA is funded by the Department of Defense, the CIA, and their lackeys, such as NASA and JASON. If scientists develop a bad reputation as eager servants of the crimnal elitist Mafias who rule the modern nations, it will be because they have earned that bad reputation.

    Ask me to show you a good scientist, and I will show you an unemployed scientist.