Right Livelihood

by Jean Schanen

I am convinced that the world is past the peak of oil production, and that the planet is inexorably growing hotter and hotter and more and more unstable in terms of rain and water availability. We might survive the loss of cheap oil if the population quickly began to reorganize, relocalize, reskill, and generally find ways to provide the necessities of life without access to the vast energy supply we’ve counted upon all our lives up to now, but the climate challenges are, I believe, irreversible and, I believe, humans and most other living beings are unlikely to survive in the relatively near term. This is true, I believe, even without considering the grinding economic pressures which are making the vast majority of humans less and less able to survive.

I started to become aware of these threats to human existence a couple of decades ago, and undertook then to “save the world” by dedicating myself to conserving energy and learning to produce food for local consumption. My husband and I partnered in these tasks, concentrating our efforts in a non-profit we called Start Now. Our story is summarized on our website, http://www.startnow.org. We didn’t suppose that we would do all the saving ourselves, but hoped that we would serve as an example for others. Now we have given up that hope.

We’re old, but we’re not dead yet, so we have to decide what to do with ourselves in our remaining days. As it happens, we really like what we’ve been doing for the last 30 years as a backdrop for world saving — agriculture — and liking what we do is priority one, so it’s an easy decision: keep on doing it.

Not that it’s the same old agriculture we started out with. We’ve evolved from very large scale and conventional (our farm in Belize was 8000 acres) to very small and highly specialized. Now we are urban farmers, studying and incorporating in every way we can the principles of permaculture. We farm three residential properties in a working class neighborhood in a small city near Seattle, 170 feet of street frontage, 100 feet deep running back to the alley, less the square footage of 3 houses, 2 garages and a carport, but supplemented by gardens on the roof of the garage, carport and back room of our house. Not much in terms of acreage, but it produces quite a lot of food – dozens of vegetables, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, goji berries, plums, cherries and apricots, bees and laying hens. There’s something to harvest here every day of the year.

We’re trying to make the farm as self-sustaining as possible. We have eight large water storage tanks to capture rainwater, and we raise several crops for compost and flowers for our bees. We plan to try an aquaponics project, and raise food for the fish on the farm. We generate enough solar power to run the pumps and heat the water.

Urban farming is quite the thing these days wherever there are cities. Seattle declared 2012 as Urban Farming Year and urban farm news from all over fills the online pages of City Farmer News but, sadly, we have the only urban farm in our town of Bremerton, Washington. Many passers-by stop to look and talk about it, but they haven’t taken the hint so far. Maybe that will change. Permaculture pioneer David Holmgren wrote in the forward to The Permaculture Handbook by Peter Bane (New Society Publishers 2012) that “gardening should be recognized as a serious and important form of agriculture that functions as an incubator for new farmers and farming methods” and indeed, so it has been for us.

It’s ironic, isn’t it, that as the permanence of life on earth becomes increasingly doubtful, the term “Permaculture” becomes the theme of our lives. Any quick definition of permaculture is inadequate, and as a recent student, I’m hardly qualified to provide an authoritative definition anyway, but what it means to me is an approach to gardening that is most harmonious with the ways that nature “gardens” in wild places, where the plants find the light and nutrients they need to flourish, where the full cycle of growth and decomposition to feed new growth is fostered, not merely sustainable but self sustaining. Life of all sorts flourishes in a permaculture garden, above, on and deep below the surface. We farm for the soil bacteria and fungi, worms and birds as well as for ourselves and our customers.

Gardening, or “garden farming” as Peter Bane calls it, is a bit like manufacturing in the sense that it’s organized effort aimed at producing products, but while manufacturing requires factories, machines, raw materials, purchased energy and human effort to actually put things together to produce a car, for example, garden farming requires only some effort to get the seeds in the right place at the right time. The rain will fall, the sun will shine, and the marvelous processes of nature will cause the seeds to sprout and grow, the roots to reach out and join with fungus filaments beneath the soil to choose exactly the right nutrients and bring them into the plant, the ingenious process of photosynthesis will convert sunshine to substance and build the products we’re after. Obviously, this is a great over-simplification, and we are greatly enriched personally and better able to perform our tasks when we understand the processes involved, but look at the vast forests and wild prairies, and know that growth happens, even (especially?) with no human participation. The best gardeners approach their work with humility, and we try to emulate them.

So there are three obvious reasons why we do what we do: (1) We like doing it; (2) It largely does itself through the wonders of natural processes, and (3) It connects us with our community when we sell at farmers market and to customers at home. But the fourth reason is most important and gives me the title of this piece. Running this garden farm is, I deeply believe, the right thing to do in these end times. It’s right (in my opinion) because it’s life affirming. It makes the world a better place (less carbon dioxide, more oxygen, more available water, less toxicity, better habitat, more healthy food, and so on) every day, and though the difference is infinitesimal, it’s still better than if we weren’t doing it. It’s the hail-Mary pass of survival and it feels better than not doing it.

Actually, there’s also another reason. We eat the absolute best food available anywhere. Organic food is widely available ( “Organic” from giant commercial farms is dubious, in my opinion), but really fresh (picked same day) food isn’t available in any store, and freshness is the crowning glory.

We run our urban farm as a business not because at our age we’re looking for another career, but because we want to show that it’s an option for others that works in our city.

Gardening as a commercial venture provides us with many opportunities to hone our reasoning abilities and learn new things. We have limited growing space and want to produce as much income as possible and so we think about things like which vegetables produce a crop faster, thus freeing space for another crop (lettuce), which are more in demand at the market (early tomatoes) or which are best to extend the market season (all of the brassicas such as kale and cabbage). We’ve adopted permaculture as a quality and ethical standard, and there are now a goodly number of books available enabling a surge of new learning for us.

Abundance of produce has encouraged me to experiment with preservation techniques. Fermentation in particular has caught my fancy. My sauerkraut rocks. Kim chee and pickled radish will be next. Drying is another easy option for some produce.

While we still have the internet, we can find out pretty much anything in microseconds. Just today I looked up beehive winter insulation, optimum storage temperatures for potatoes and onions and how to save tomato seeds. We haven’t watched television for more than 20 years and never miss it! If you want to establish a great collection of books on the subject of urban farming, my list of favorites is here.

The ultimate purpose of our urban farm is to serve as an example and learning opportunity for others. We’re seeing a big increase in food prices right now, and we know that there is more hardship to come. We know that ninety cents of every food dollar spent now goes for petroleum products, including fertilizers, pesticides, tractor fuel, refrigeration, transportation, packaging and on and on, and so we know that the end of our industrial food system is fast approaching. People will raise food at home or go hungry. We plan to offer gardening classes and assemble teams of interns who will go out into the community, try to engage interest in building home gardens, and help people get started. Frankly, we know a lot, and hope to pass it along before we croak.

When there are a dozen or so substantial food gardens established in the neighborhood, we might approach one of the nearby convenience stores and ask the proprietor if we could set up a local farmers market once a week to offer local food to non-gardening neighbors. We already know that a farmers market is a wonderful way to meet people and form community bonds that could extend to other shared interests and local events. We could build a much friendlier, safer and more resilient place to live. I can’t think of any better way to accomplish these things. It’s hard to stop dreaming about a rosier future. Maybe it’s not important to do that.

There’s an undercurrent of love and respect, for nature and each other, that is the soul of urban farming. I don’t subscribe to any defined religion, but I believe in infinity, and so I believe that somewhere in some universe there is a living planet that is healthy and thriving, which very much helps me to bear the imminent loss of life on earth. I’m thankful for this belief. It enables me to feel confident and serene in taking up the tasks of the day. Here we have love and respect, confidence, serenity and gratitude. Does it get any better than this?


Jean Schanen was born in Cincinnati in 1938 and received a BA from Southern Illinois University in 1966 and a law degree from Washington University (St. Louis) in 1978. She practiced law in Alaska through the eighties, where she met her husband Glenn Huff. Together they established a large citrus plantation, Parrot Hill Farm, in Belize in 1980. Traveling between Wasilla, Alaska and Belize about six times a year became too stressful, so Glenn and Jean moved to Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1990 to shorten the commute. It was still too far, so they sold Parrot Hill in 1993 and started an organic vegetable farm on 50 acres near Eau Claire while also operating a farm-to-table restaurant called Beautiful Soup in Eau Claire. In 2003, thinking they were retiring, Glenn and Jean moved to the Seattle area to be near their two adult children (and also because the love the Pacific Northwest). Seattle turned out to be too expensive and so they relocated in Bremerton, just a ferry ride across Elliot Bay. The food garden they established their first year there just kept growing (pun), reaching urban farm status by 2005. Jean and Glenn have partnered in all of their growing ventures. Glenn was born in Arkansas in 1930, and is a civil engineer with a long career doing road design, water systems, and so on in Alaska. Jean’s daughter went to high school with Sarah Palin and Jean was Wasilla’s city attorney before Palin arrived there.

Comments 291

  • Wise words Jean “We’re old, but we’re not dead yet, so we have to decide what to do with ourselves in our remaining days. As it happens, we really like what we’ve been doing for the last 30 years as a backdrop for world saving — agriculture — and liking what we do is priority one, so it’s an easy decision: keep on doing it.” Just what we are doing, not as ambitious, but what we are able to do and enjoy doing.

    I posted on the previous topic David Wasdell – Scientific Voice and the IPCC
    Video presentation by Director of the Apollo-Gaia Project, David Wasdell:

    http://aglmedia.co.uk/index.php/wasdell-ipcc 8 min worth the listen

    He has a great description of what many are facing PTSD – PRE Traumatic Stress Disorder. I think growing your own food, or doing whatever healthy positive thing you find worth doing is the best antidote to Pre-traumatic stress

  • “People will raise food at home or go hungry.”

    there is a third (unpleasant) option to consider… people will raise food at home, go hungry… or steal from others.

  • MB, the dope on Thrive is here.

  • Off topic, but as it’s been mentioned,

    Proctor and Gamble have done some of the most ruthless, devious, unethical marketing that the world has ever seen. So, maybe the film maker knows a bit about it…

    I see Thrive as pure propaganda, Bernays style.

    If say, 20% of the population no longer believe the mainstream narrative that TPTB want them to believe, well, hey, they do something about it..

    They do research, with focus groups and surveys, and find out what these 20% are troubled about and why they have drifted away from the main market.

    They find all the main points, say, GMOs, nuclear, war, economic crash, etc. What they like, what they fear, etc. Then they find all the names that the 20% trust.

    And then they make a slick movie, sending out just the sort of stuff that will grab the 20%.

    Except, a very subtle and sneaky subtext is woven throughout, that will undermine the viewers convictions and insert new memes that sell the message the film makers really want to convey. It’s all dirty tricks.

    To understand how it works, imagine they had a clip by G. MacPherson in there. That’d get everyone here on side. They’d take Guy’s message, and a little later, when viewers are off guard, and there’s some nice fluffy animals scampering about, they’d put in some counter messages, ‘things are really not that bad, we’ve got this amazing magic technofix that’ll provide everyone with a free pony’.

    Years ago, I was on a forum that was centred upon Dawkins concept of memes. There were some great people there, but also some real disgusting ones, who were only interested in the ideas, because they could use them for viral marketing campaigns and make a lot of money. Which they proceeded to do in the following months and years. I wouldn’t trust any of those people within a mile of me. They’d steal everything you had and smile in triumph. The techniques for getting memes into peoples heads are highly sophisticated and very hard to resist.

    Typical MB to post that shite. Is that who is paying you MB ? it does fits so well with his profile as sketched by Ozman on the pervious thread…

  • somebody wrote this to me in precedent post and I think it is still relevant in this one:
    m/m, i too was impressed by the rawness of your writing inspired by your unusually acute awareness and grief. i take it u live in the big city of montreal, quebec? i hope u can find a nice place far from cities that doesn’t always remind u of industrial civ. it might do u a world of good.

    I cannot move from where I am. I am a prisoner here (at many levels that would be too long to explain). It is really the greatest myth of these times to think and talk as if people can move freely, and they just have to change their circumstances when they want, and go to the country/nature or to another pristine place (which does not exist anymore anyway and that would not need me even if it did). Almost everybody speaks like that: “You don’t like it? You just have to move.” What an illusion. But illusion is part of it. It is almost impossible to maintain “doom spirit” 24/7. We are and will be humans.

    And who do I think I am to impose the burden of supporting an old woman to any community for that matter? So I will stay until I die where I was born, this is not a choice. Oil really brought the world the illusion of freedom under the guise of mobility and we will bie before that illusion does, because it is so appealing. It hides under the name of “freedom”. You only need money and you can move fast around the world. It is so incredible that (as a “society”), we are drunk and fascinated. And will be until the end.

    p.s. have to say that time constraints force me to stop reading long posts by some commenters. Hope NBL will not succomb under the weight of overposters.

  • There is a crackpot theory in wide circulation that Peak Oil is a falsehood created by Big Oil to help keep their profits high, that Abiotic Oil exists in a huge quantity throughout the world, and that the Abiotic Oil will continually replenish itself.

    One evidence that the Abiotic Oil theory is false is the wars of aggression that the USA/NATO/Israeli allies have been conducting against the nations which hold the largest known sweet oil fields — Iraq, Iran, and Libya. If Abiotic oil were real, there would be no reason for those Western wars of aggresssion. The greed for oil explains the wars of aggresssion.

    Growing all of our own fruits and vegetables is a big accomplishment, but we’re not really growing all of our own food until we are growing all of our own starches and proteins.

    Martin Knight posted an sfreporter article which criticizes the “Thrive” film. Here’s a quote from the sfreporter article: “But where the filmmakers should go political, they play the conspiracy card. And not just any conspiracy, but the granddaddy of them all: that a handful of families control the world and plan to enslave humanity.” http://www.sfreporter.com/santafe/article-6675-new-age-of-paranoia.html

    It’s not a conspiracy theory that “a handful of families control the world and plan to enslave humanity.” It’s not only a fact, it’s an accomplished fact — a handful of families already do control the world and they already have enslaved humanity. Those wealthy and powerful families come from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds; many are white European, but an ever-increasing percentage are South Asian and East Asian.

    Because of mechanization, automation, and computerization, the majority of humanity are no longer needed as workers — and if you don’t have a job, you’re not going to be a consumer unless you’re a Welfare recipient. So an ever-increasing percentage of humanity are becoming “useless eaters” from a Capitalist point of view.

  • Kathy C – thanks for reposting that link to David Wasdell’s video. If you hadn’t done it, I would have. It’s a must-see. I’m going to show it to my students tomorrow – to hell with my prepared lecture! Then we have a great guest speaker on sustainable beef. I had him come and speak last year and the students were over the moon about it.

    He comes with quite a story. He holds an endowed chair here in sustainable beef and he tells of his intellectual journey. He was travelling the province speaking to cattle producers telling them we can’t afford to use diesel to drive weaned calves to feed lots and use more diesel to drive grain to them. He says to leave them on grass for two years and then drive them to the abbatoir. Needless to say, he’s not a popular speaker among cattle producers.

    He told the students what happens to a calf after he comes off pasture with his mom in the fall. He said, “You’re a bull calf. You’ve spent your life drinking milk, eating grass and playing with your friends. They drive you into a pen with all your playmates. Then you go into a chute and they cut off your balls, they put five estrogen implants into each ear (even the females get this) and they put you on a truck to “feed lot alley” near Calgary. The fish downstream from “feed lot alley” are all female, by the way. There you stand knee deep in shit and get fed grain, feathers, cotton seed meal and parts of other animals like pigs and chickens (who have been fed parts of cattle like brains and spinal cords that carry mad cow disease). This is unnatural and you start going into metabolic acidosis because you evolved to eat grass, not grain. A few months later, they butcher you just before you would have died from this diet. Yum!”

    He was telling ranchers that they should switch to longer finishing beef breeds like Scottish highland cattle and keep them on grass (and hay) for two years. At one meeting a fellow stood up and said, “Dr. ______ with all due respect, that’s bullshit.” He went on to invite him to his ranch to see what he does. So he went there.

    In essence, you take the biggest dual-purpose (meat and milk) European cattle you can find (he uses Simmental). These are big cows and they have big calves, and they milk all summer, not drying up in August like Angus and Hereford cows do. You breed them to calve in early spring. You send them to the high pastures (he has 100 square miles of extreme elevation pasture with a high forbe content)(yes, he loses one or two pairs to wolves every year). You send the cows and calves up there as early as you can and bring them down in October and send the calves straight to the butcher. Those calves will weigh 1800 pounds and still be getting down on their knees to suck milk. The beef is mild and delicious. No feed lots, less gas and diesel. He moves his cattle with horses ridden by family members and volunteers. Dr. So-and-so was so impressed he changed his tune and advocates the same thing now all over the province. Turns out this is done in Austria and Switzerland and the beef is marketed under a specific name (I can’t seem to find it in any search this morning, for some reason.)

    Well, our intrepid researcher decided to do some tests on this beef since our university has just obtained a mass spectrometer. He found that the beef from these high pasture animals was very high in Omega-3’s and CLA. Not quite as high as wild salmon, but up there. It’s the same as deer, elk and moose. By the way, he shows us that farmed salmon is very bad this way because they get the same diet as feed lot beef. It’s just Purina Salmon Chow, made of GMO corn and soybeans.

    His father is a veterinarian in Alberta and complains that grass-fed beef is “gamey”. So Intrepid Researcher bought some store beef and re-wrapped it with the same paper as the grass-fed, put them in dry ice and sent the two cuts of beef to his dad. Which is which, Dad? (By this time the students are on the edges of their seats.) The result: Dad chose the WRONG ONE. Gasps from the students.

    Well, I became a vegetarian many years ago when they told me my cholesterol was too high. It worked, of course. Last year, after this lecture, I went the few miles up the road to this ranch and bought some of this beef. I have never tasted anything so delicious. We bought some and ate it for a year. Last week, I got the results back from my blood tests and my doctor and I compared them to my blood work from two years ago.

    It was the same.

    I have placed another order for a side of beef this fall.

  • Hey Jean, thanks for the pleasant read.

    USA/NATO: Another really important point about Peak Oil is that fossil fuel use is most definitely CAUSING the runaway climate change we’re experiencing and that our continued use of it is GUARANTEED to kill us.

    At this point, as Guy points out (and anyone else can do their own research and come to the same conclusion if they are honest) we’ve already crossed too many “tipping points” to correct for our mistakes. This current essay, i believe, gives one a good perspective and a “right livelihood” with which to ride off into the blistering sunset.
    i concur with your assessment of the so-called “conspiracy theory.”

    Kathy: great link, thanks.

  • one more thing that made me reboot my laptop:
    to the person who talked to me about spiritual practices: NOTHING I have done before or that I am doing now in this life prepares me for what is going on. Nobody that I know, on this thread or elsewhere, is prepared (or can be for that matter) to what is happening. Nobody, nowhere is prepared (or so very few that it does not count). It is completely beyond human imagination. When the grids will go down, the nightmare/chaos will be of (I do not have an adjective) proportions.

  • Tom:

    If CO2-caused Global Warming is a fact, the good news is that we have already passed the point of Peak Oil, and at the current rate of consumption the world’s oil reserves should run out within the next fifty years. However, many Warmistas are predicting a Sixth Extinction within the next 20 years. If the Sixth Extinction doesn’t come on time as expected, when the oil and natural gas run out, Big Industry could just switch to coal-fired power plants until the coal runs out, and expand the use of nuclear energy until there’s no place left that’s not lethally radioactive. Along the way, governments will insist that they need rigid State Control to micro-manage energy production and consumption at all levels. The standard greeting may become “Excuse me for breathing.”

  • MB,

    Sorry, after I posted the link I felt bad that I could have spoiled your enjoyment of the movie. I agree, we are being toyed with. A large dose of Robert Anton Wilson might be in order at this juncture. “Numerous paradigms seem equally useful at explaining our sense date.” The problem with conspiracism, as RAW showed, is that too often it is about defining the other as being in control. Why not you?

    Your point about the comments of the article I linked to acting as a counterweight is a good one. What’s wrong with the JBS? You take your inside information where you find it. In the pre-internet days, the JBS made books like Antony C. Sutton’s “Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler” available to rubes like me. I had to order the things by post from California.

  • The proverbial poop is headed for the fan because of population overreach, regardless of CO2 and fossil fuels. Even if everyone on earth lived as subsistance farmers, or within a high-tech agro-industrial beehive, unrestricted human population growth will eventually cause the human population to reach a growth ceiling, where, in the absence of the Sixth Extinction or a major Plague, the human population could continue to bob against its growth ceiling for centuries, like a maxed-out credit card. Then every excess purchase (birth) will be paid immediately with death, and nearly everyone will live their lives on the brink of starvation.

  • This is good. He captures almost all of what Guy has been saying. He’s only a step short, but it might be something to forward widely before showing Guy’s presentations. We have to get more people educated about this, even if it means social chaos. Perhaps *because* it means social chaos.

  • MB,

    If I’m reading you right, you are saying that monolithic explanations are so encultured, that the authorities will cynically inject plausible conspiracy theories in order to distract and, at the same time, make available to the controlled media a hook (the conspiracy theory is the bait) that can be used to sow ridicule.

  • Thanks for the link, BC Nurse Prof. It’s a fine introduction, but it’s way too conservative. We’ve triggered at least six positive feedbacks, any one of which causes near-term human extinction. Climate change has already taken on a life of its own, and we’re headed for 16 C increase by 2100, according to NCAR’s too-conservative analysis in January 2011. Roberts is worried about civilization — like most civilized people — when he and others should be worried about life on Earth.

  • Yes, Guy, he’s too conservative, I know. I played this for someone today and asked what would happen if I played it to my class. He said, “You’d have to do a critical incident debriefing and watch for suicidal ideation.”

    I’m trying to ease into it, here! You got a better way to do that?

  • BC Nurse Prof, at least we’d make a dent in the overshoot problem :)

    At this late date, there’s nothing to be done beyond telling the dire truth. Roberts is a fine start, as is the National Geographic film, Six Degrees Could Change the World. It’s available, full-length, online. Either one is ease-ier than showing them my latest webinar.

  • BC Nurse – thanks for your post. Your students are very very lucky to have you as a professor. In the same vein is this video in defense of cows.


    BTW my husband was told he had high cholesterol – I did a page for the Dr on what we eat – he didn’t recommend any changes. We eat a lot of deer and wild hog from the man who hunts on the property. And we eat our own chicken (6 mos to slaughter instead of the 8 weeks the commercial monsters take to get to slaughter size). He did put my husband on a cholesterol lowering diet. When we got home my husband said that the Dr. had said the medicine would only give him 2% better chance of avoiding heart disease over the next 10 years. I had missed that and didn’t think it could be correct, but found an on-line calculator where you put in age, gender and the cholesterol readings. Came out 2%. So after two weeks of having the medicine make him lethargic and a report coming out about the drugs affecting memory he stopped taking the meds and I started researching on the web. Cholesterol does not correlate well with heart disease…. If anyone is interested I will post some of the links. And someone here posted a CDC longevity table and he’s only predicted to have 10 more years anyway :)

  • MB,

    May I, as an outsider, make an observation? You Americans seem to fuck things up so predictably that the predictability is itself an object of wonder, such that, should any world-historical event take place within your borders, as it sometimes does, it will predictably soon be hedged about with conspiracy theories both banal and tediously labyrinthine.

  • As a general category, conspiracy theories have been given an undeserved bad reputation by Institutions that wish to promote their own conspiracy theories. The idea of a threat from “international Islamic terrorism” is a conspiracy theory that was invented by the Western Establishment (US/NATO/Israel) to provide an excuse for US/NATO aggression against the resource-rich and strategic nations of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Afghanistan, and others.

    The blanket rejection of conspiracy theories is an effort by the Establishment to to preserve and promote their own conspiracy theories, such as (the bogus) Kuwaiti incubator murders, the (false-flag) 9/11 attack, Iraqi WMDs, (the CIA-created) Al Qaeda, and an evil Gaddafi. The Establishment’s discouragement of conspiracy theories works against the process of critical thinking.

  • Guy, yes, I agree it would dent to overshoot problem and I expect a lot of that in the next few years. I also agree that cutting to the chase might be the most humane in the long run. My best wish would be for you to come to my class and do your webinar here, in front of their very eyes. But we don’t have time to go through the university process of applying for funding to get you here before the end of the semester. Sigh.

  • Kathy C

    I’ve looked at this correlation, as well. The “lipid hypothesis” is discredited, but it still retains power to cause physicians to prescribe Lipitor. But that stuff will kill you! My father took it and he started getting kidney pain and stopped. Now his cardiologist yells at him during each visit, but he still won’t go back on it. He’s 90 and still goes dancing every night with his 80 year old girlfriend. Just don’t worry about your cholesterol if you eat home grown food!

  • To Martin Knight:

    All Americans are raised to believe that we are the Greatest People in the World, as ordained by God, or by Nature, or by both. Every other nation in the world is trying to steal the resources that rightfully belong to us Americans. We Americans are the Takers, and don’t anyone forget it. The British controlled much of the world during the 19th Century, but the British Empire faded, and now it is the New American Century.

    Britain is helping the US to conquer the Middle East, which was controlled by Britain until the end of World War Two, and the US will reward Britain with a share of the spoils.

  • michele you are right, none of us have a clue what life after the crash will be like and if history is any predictor it will be awful. As far as spiritual practices helping you to cope, the people I know who meditate, pray, etc. seem unlikely to be able to cope as they are in total denial about the possibility that they might have to cope. Some rather unlikely heroes have appeared in times of crisis. I don’t think you can predict who will be able to deal with the hardships and horror and who will not. However the people of the third world are already coping with unimaginable hardship and no doubt will just keep on coping until they die.

    If anyone wants to prime themselves for collapse I would recommend these movies
    Turtles can Fly (about orphans who survive -or not – by defusing land mines)
    Savior 1998
    The Secret Life of Words
    The Grey Zone (moral choices in a Nazi prison camp)
    No Man’s Land 2008
    Triage (unlike any triage done in the US)
    The Road
    12(12 Razgnevannyh Muzhchin)

  • MB,

    It’s not incompetence. It’s something else. I think it’s because the United States is a lie. It has been a lie from the very first. But, although the United States has pretended to be something it is not, i.e., egalitarian, when in fact it is elitist, it isn’t quite that. It’s something else, some constellation of happenstance, that has conspired to put an average American, naive and well-meaning, flushed and clean-shaven and desperate to be believed, at the center of every national fiasco, in front of the microphone, or behind the video camera, burbling, explaining, flashing his teeth, while the gargoyles atop the Chrysler building glint in the light …

  • USA/NATO/Israel Axis of Evil, have you seen this?

  • Turns out this is done in Austria and Switzerland and the beef is marketed under a specific name (I can’t seem to find it in any search this morning, for some reason.

    Bio Weide-Beef®

  • The American hologram. I suppose it’s impossible you don’t know Joe Bageant. Well, good for those Liberians. Strictly speaking, they are Americans even when fresh off the boat.

  • If CO2-caused Global Warming is a fact, the good news is that we have already passed the point of Peak Oil, and at the current rate of consumption the world’s oil reserves should run out within the next fifty years.

    Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math

  • United States not egalitarian?

    What other nation proffers such a broad Egalitarian Clause, i.e., The 2nd Amendment of the Bill of Rights, in its Constitution (or similar document)?

    Egalitarian dispersal of State power is the intended purpose behind the “right to bear arms.” It has nothing to do about “personal protection” or anything else except the “security of a free (egalitarian/power-sharing) State.”

    The Americans’ egalitarian bent expressed in the Second Amendment issues directly from close contact with the egalitarian/power-sharing Non-State eastern woodlands tribes, as documented in Jack Weatherford’s Native Roots: How the Indians Enriched America (1992) and Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World (1988).

    A good example of that dispersed—egalitarian—power being used against an entrenched, elite hierarchy, is The Battle of Athens (sometimes called the McMinn County War) in August 1946.

    And it coincides with how Christopher Boehm describes egalitarianism in his Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior (Harvard University Press, 1999) as a “reverse dominance hierarchy,” that depends on the less powerful to band together “to deliberately dominate their potential master if they wish to remain equal.”

  • Ice Age Polarity Reversal Was Global Event: Extremely Brief Reversal of Geomagnetic Field, Climate Variability, and Super Volcano

    ScienceDaily (Oct. 16, 2012) Some 41,000 years ago, a complete and rapid reversal of the geomagnetic field occured. Magnetic studies of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences on sediment cores from the Black Sea show that during this period, during the last ice age, a compass at the Black Sea would have pointed to the south instead of north.

  • Wow, Ivy Mike, I am ever so humbled by your erudite knowledge of the last egalitarian proposition nation to fall. Here is the résumé of the first prime minister of the first proposition nation to fall. The difference between you and that land is time. That is all.

  • What would pre-traumatic stress symptoms look like, I wonder.

  • wildwoman “What would pre-traumatic stress symptoms look like, I wonder”

    Complete denial that anything is wrong. That could apply to the climate, the state of our nuclear plants, the economy and the relentless push to start WWIII. I see it whenever I talk to people who I have talked to previously about the precariousness of our species – its a sort of glazing over, I’m not listening to you, change the subject response.

  • wildwoman “What would pre-traumatic stress symptoms look like, I wonder”

    Complete denial that anything is wrong

    Cpmpleat De Nile

  • michele/m : to the person who talked to me about spiritual practices: NOTHING I have done before or that I am doing now in this life prepares me for what is going on. Nobody that I know, on this thread or elsewhere, is prepared (or can be for that matter) to what is happening. Nobody, nowhere is prepared (or so very few that it does not count). It is completely beyond human imagination. When the grids will go down, the nightmare/chaos will be of (I do not have an adjective) proportions.

    Was that me ? You don’t say. I was touched by your comment about crying and courage, and replied to that one.

    I don’t see spiritual practices as some sort of ‘disaster emergency preparation’.

  • I see denial more as a coping mechanism to AVOID pre traumatic stress. The ones with pre traumatic stress are the few willing to face the facts, I think.

    Some symptoms I see are mood swings between rage and despair, inappropriate lashing out, or the complete converse, sort of a mental catatonia. I’m sure you’ve all experienced these emotions at one time or another during the journey we seem to be on. There may be others. This is not meant as a complete list, but just what I’ve observed.

    Jean, I must say, your essay has prompted some deep soul searching in this household. Thank you for writing it.

  • Re m/m’s point, re spiritual practices, and the points re pre-traumatic stress…

    It’s true that none of the major religious traditions have any sort of teaching that deals with an event such as mass extinction, destruction of the biosphere, etc.

    There are a great many ‘visions of the apocalypse’, and they have often been used by unscrupulous power seekers to frighten their followers and whip them into line, control their behaviour, attend to their morals, etc. It’s a trick that’s been used for thousands of years.

    If it was not for the science, this website would be just another End Times scenario discussion group, of which there are many thousands on the internet. ‘God is going to destroy us all because of our sinful ways, so repent’. That kind of thing. I’m not the slightest bit interested in those schools of thought. But I’ve been watching the science closely for many years, and the prospects for the living things of the planet and the human species look absolutely terrible to me, global ecological meltdown.

    Someone posted an article on my blog describing an argument between two groups of conservationists, the ones who want to keep people out of nature reserves altogether, and the ones who want to integrate nature with human activity. Both sides have their scientists supporting their cause, but, from my perspective, both sides are deluded and not up to speed, because climate change over-rides both strategies, whatever the relative pros and cons may be. In other words, neither side ‘gets it’. Yet.

    It’s not just in nature conservation that this pattern is seen. Everywhere people are arguing whether one kind of technology is greener than another, blablabla, or one kind of resource depletion is better than another, etc, etc, and almost nobody looks at the big picture, and says ‘hey, where does this thing look like it’s going ?’

    It’s a train going over a cliff, and we are all passengers. All living things on Earth.

    Ivy Mike commented on last thread ‘Farming is here to stay’. Except that it is not. Global ecological meltdown means nothing much is here to stay.

    I think the lunatic mainstream will keep BAU going as long as they can, until they are forced to stop by collapse, and the various processes we have set in motion, like ocean acidification, are unstoppable and will run their course long into the future.

    So we are standing here watching our wonderful beloved beautiful old house burn down in front of our eyes and there is nothing we can do to stop it. That’s how I feel.

    Now ‘the spiritual bit’. Kathy C, said that people who meditate and pray are no better equipped for all this than others, and m/m said there’s no way to prepare, etc. I’m only speaking for my own practice, not any other.

    You do not do what I do for any ‘reason’. Except that it works. If there is a ‘someone’, an ego, who is doing it to gain something, then it is self-defeating. The whole point of it is to get past the selfish ‘me’ that wants to preserve itself at all costs, and prove to itself how wonderful it is. The only person here I’ve read who seems to understand this, so far, is Robin. ( Sorry if I missed anybody, and maybe some lurkers understand.)

    In this practice, it makes no difference whether it is the last day of Earth because of an asteroid strikes, or whether you happen to be in Auschwitz. Time and circumstances have no bearing upon it. You don’t do it to gain something, or to make things easier, or to improve your survival prospects. Because there is ‘nobody’ who does this. Self and All are unified. So it is a merger with all that exists, the only ‘thing’ that is doing the practice is ‘everything’, the whole effing Universe. There is no pre-traumatic stress, because there is ‘nobody’ to be stressed.

    Between an in breath and an out breath, Infinite Bliss. Between an out breath and an in breath, Union with Eternity. Even if I am stepping over dead bodies.

    That does not mean that I do not weep for the albatrosses on Midway.

  • I seem to recall having said on previous thread ‘the landscape out there is a mindscape’, which, for fans of ontology and epistemology and quantum physics, is an entry point to matters philosophical, neurobiological, and so forth…

    And now I find this new angle that someone is developing, which is very interesting, I think..


    “The political landscape is the realm of roads and sidewalks and crosswalks and monuments and historical markers. The vernacular landscape is the playground of worn grass paths, dérive, parkour and shortcuts. The imaginal landscape is the interaction the landscape has with us, territory with an agency of its own and place that is in relationship with us and our lives; places populated by a genius loci; offering liminality, twilight and borderlands. Certainly and likely these together could be the very model of a modern proper Popper fan.”


    Discovering the Occult Landscape

  • It is interesting to consider, while we are all waiting for Godot, Doom, Apocalypse, Collapse, The End, how people with their eye in the ball, who understand the dynamics and have a broad over-view, have got their forecasts right or wrong. I very much enjoyed Dmitry Orlov’s recent lectures of Kropotkin, and the comments. Here he is from six years ago…

    In spite of all this, I believe that in every age and circumstance, people can sometimes find not just a means and a reason to survive, but enlightenment, fulfillment, and freedom. If we can find them even after the economy collapses, then why not start looking for them now?


  • Attention American citizens! Have you visited a porn website recently? Do you have any gay friends? Is your home in foreclosure? Do you drink Michelob or Samuel Adams?

    None of my business, you say? Probably not – but Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have made it their business to know these and other intimate details of your personal life. Moreover, they may have already shared them with a host of your friends and colleagues, who in turn may have shared them with their friends and colleagues. What’s worse, you may be getting a phone call soon from one of them, armed with these and other facts about you, and intent at “shaming” you on Facebook and other social media sites for not voting in the past and to persuade you, through an adroit mix of social encouragement and opprobrium, into going to the ballot box next month.

    Sadly but predictably, the very same data-mining techniques now being employed by large corporations to pry into your privacy have emerged as powerful weapons on both sides of the battle for the American presidency. As the New York Times recently reported , “consultants to both campaigns said they had bought demographic data from companies that study details like voters’ shopping histories, gambling tendencies, interest in get-rich-quick schemes, dating preferences and financial problems.”

    Of course, officials with both campaigns are admittedly doing their best to keep their sleazy practices secret and off the record. “You don’t want your analytical efforts to be obvious because voters get creeped out,” one unnamed Romney campaign official confessed to a Times reporter. “A lot of what we’re doing is behind the scenes.”

    Have You Visited a Porn Site Recently? Do You Drink Michelob or Samuel Adams? Romney and Obama Want to Know

  • I’m wondering who there is to speak truth to anymore. Haven’t Cassandra’s lonely siren calls only ever been chamber music for the archetypical choirs of their day? Aren’t we all writing and reading this blog, because we really don’t know what else to do, given the reality that most of “us” have probably alienated pretty much everyone we know who doesn’t “get it” at this point?
    I’ve been considered a pariah among literally everyone I know, at least a decade before we discovered the rate of methane release. And as I attempt to relay the latest information to those who still give me the time of day, I know that I am now but a shell of my former conviction, and where having spent over half of my life haranguing those I loved, in the name of “preparedness”, I’m forced to admit, I’ve sadly become the impossible person everyone always thought I was.
    Whatever intent there has been in commiserating the facts, for the sake of possibly stirring our collective apathy to action, those righteous intentions have obviously left many of us. It was our moral imperative, that I suspect kept many of us warm at night. Without it, without the greater love we have for what once was, what are we honestly left with, but cold sterile reason which only further cements what we already know to be inescapable?
    I suspect these blog essays and subsequent threads will soon run their emotionally finite course, given that deep down, we all know there really isn’t much left to say, contrary to selective opinion.
    None of us are on this site because we don’t comprehend how utterly insignificant we are. I suspect we’ll continue to plumb the depths of our collective consciousness for whatever wisdom we hope to glean from each other, but we all know we’re fishing in a draining pool. Most of us are probably logical, rational empiricist who haven’t much time or need for others subjective conjecture as to what the meaning of life now may be, in light of such incomprehensible unprecedence. These acts of commiseration, will soon become repetitive as we succumb to the ennui we are all desperately trying to hopelessly manage.
    Whatever peace or serenity we discover throughout the horror, will most likely be impossible to share with others. I suspect suicide will eventually be what most of us choose. As time rolls by, it will become increasingly difficult to argue against it, compared to having to convince ourselves there’s much point to bearing witness to our planet’s death spiral. Grief, love, anger, betrayal, acceptance, the fear of death etc……..will all eventually give way to calm and quite resignation that our time has simply come. And the joy that we were fortunate enough to live to see the end, will not be enough to keep us alive to see it. And when the time does come for each of us, it need not be tragic, sad, or depressing. The choice to take our lives into our hands will be a testament to the very truth we hold above all else. In fact, one could argue it might become something we rejoice. But that time is not yet here, not yet, there is still enough room for doubt, for us to pretend otherwise.
    So thank you all, for being so painfully aware. I know the sacrifices most you have probably had to make in your lives, to see what’s now standing before us in such a stark light. I know that the only thing that is more disquieting than our dying planet, is the fact that most everyone doesn’t either notice or care. I suppose we have to distance ourselves this far, so we can finally find each other. For now, it’s enough. Take care my friends, Daniel.

  • So why, in the face of all the propagandizing efforts to the contrary, have Americans become so obsessed with the end of the world? Could it be that many people sense deep down in their bones that we are teetering on the precipice of an epic civilization ending disaster even if they won’t consciously admit it? Perhaps so. You would have to have the emotional intelligence quotient of a slab of granite not to feel that SOMETHING has certainly gone wrong with our decadent and depraved society.


  • Impressive and eloquent statement, Daniel.

    These acts of commiseration, will soon become repetitive as we succumb to the ennui we are all desperately trying to hopelessly manage.
    Whatever peace or serenity we discover throughout the horror, will most likely be impossible to share with others. I suspect suicide will eventually be what most of us choose. As time rolls by, it will become increasingly difficult to argue against it, compared to having to convince ourselves there’s much point to bearing witness to our planet’s death spiral. Grief, love, anger, betrayal, acceptance, the fear of death etc……..will all eventually give way to calm and quite resignation that our time has simply come.

    Yes, I think the few here who are early arrivers, will soon become a multitude.

    Suicide ? No chance !

    I am ulvfugl, I refuse to be pushed out of my physical form by pain. I suffer from Suicide Headache, which is completely out of control. Three of the medications I am taking have ‘thoughts of suicide’ listed in the side effects. My doctor is very worried I might do it, and he’ll be blamed. He kinda mentioned it several times today, skirting around the subject, not wanting to be explicit. But I don’t mind being explicit. Get the damn thing out of the shadows. I’m not afraid of anything.

    Every breath that I take is a precious, miraculous, unique gift. Fuck suicide. I fight until the last breath.

  • A little light relief…

  • In the non-theistic traditions, everything that has a beginning has an ending. Including the Universe.

  • Yes, I knew about that vaguely, Robin, ever since Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, where he mentioned it. Pretty amazing. But it’s a bit different from humans destroying their own biosphere, when they didn’t need to, isn’t it ?


  • Ah, the return of depressive lucidity and Arthur J.’s awesome visionary chicken…

    I think there are more chickens on Earth than any other comparable creature, and everywhere they are horrifically abused, their only crime being that they produce lots of eggs, so multiply rapidly, and humans like to eat them. Because they multiply easily, the market place decides that they are cheap and expendable.

    If they only laid one egg every other year, they’d be treated as the delightful, intelligent, sensitive creatures that they are, and be valued like rare parrots and kept by rich people as household pets.

    Rupert Sheldrake says that the whole factory farming business can be traced directly back to Descartes, who decided that animals have no souls and can be treated as machines.

    I recall reading about one of the the big American industrial food companies ‘disposing of’ many thousands of unwanted chickens by throwing them alive into an industrial wood-chipping machine.

    But, far, far, away, in another time and place, people were not always so ignorant and depraved…

    The old stories speak of a pact between the hens and the people of the land, the Mapuche. The hens would give the people blue eggs and the people of the land would care for them and honor them in ceremonies of thanks and prayer. The bodies of the colloncas and ketros [chicken varieties] remember the pact and pass on the message of the blue eggs when the pact is respected.

    You see, we need our stories to be attached to the world, because our stories decide how we see the world.

    They have to be the right stories. Descartes story produced incalculable suffering and horror. The Mapuche’s story respected the world.

    Our heads can make up the stories, because our heads are full of stories, we are ourselves stories. But we have to ask out hearts whether the stories are good or not. Left brain/logos/Classical knowing plus right brain/mythos/Romantic knowing.


  • Infinite Bliss. Between an out breath and an in breath, Union with Eternity. Even if I am stepping over dead bodies.

    That sentiment reminds me of the following passage from Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values:

    ¶ …Phædrus never got involved in meditation because it made no sense to him. In his entire time in India “sense” was always logical consistency and he couldn’t find any honest way to abandon this belief. That, I think, was creditable on his part.
    ¶ But one day in the classroom the professor of philosophy was blithely expounding on the illusory nature of the world for what seemed the fiftieth time and Phædrus raised his hand and asked coldly if it was believed that the atomic bombs that had dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were illusory. The professor smiled and said yes. That was the end of the exchange.
    ¶ Within the traditions of Indian philosophy that answer may have been correct, but for Phædrus and for anyone else who reads newspapers regularly and is concerned with such things as mass destruction of human beings that answer was hopelessly inadequate. He left the classroom, left India and gave up.

  • For a more proactive aproach to securing our climate please read my post at http://www.envisionation.co.uk/index.php/blogs/16-the-plan

    The Plan
    Facing up to climate change, repairing the system and looking forward to a bright future

    This draws a lot from a number of discussions I have had recently with David Wasdell. You may also be interested in some of the interviews we have on the site.

  • Good stuff, Ivy Mike, thanks for it.

    Yeah, I read it when it came out. Puzzled my way through it all. Yes, that professor’s reply was idiotic. I don’t think the answer is in any way correct within Indian philosophy, although there are many strange and bizarre offshoots, and I can only speak for myself, not for Indian philosophy.

    As I understand it, this thing called ‘illusion’ or ‘the illusion of existence’ or the ‘illusion of the world’, etc, the Veil of Maya, is not so very hard to understand. What it means, is, that your thoughts are not ‘the world’. That the ideas that pass through your head, with which you model the world, are the illusory part. They cover the reality of the world with a veil.

  • “…animals have no souls…”

    A book title that I have—and often leave on the coffee table—that infuriates both religious and secular, is Frans de Waal’s Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals (Harvard University Press, 1996).

    Hardly anybody can tolerate thinking of humans as animals without using the phrase “just animals” or the word “soul.”

  • Worth a try, Bru Pearce. Would have been good 30 years ago. If it wasn’t done then or since, I wonder what your chances are ?

    Also have a problem with ‘managing’. It smacks of ‘stewardship’, and the arrogance of humans, that they can control incredibly complex and poorly understood earth systems, and not get us into an even worse mess… the whole system worked just fine without us, maybe it knows what it is doing, better than we do. Just a thought.

    And the Fusion technology, which is always going to be ready 25 years into the future, for the last how many years ? and the thorium reactors, which will take many billions to build, and still require enormous quantities of fossil fuels to construct and maintain… and other minor points…

    But a nice clear presentation. Good luck with it. I guess we’ll find out if you succeeded by mid-century ?

  • Think Frans de Waal is great, IM, although don’t have that book. He’s on TED.


  • Daniel you wrote “I suspect these blog essays and subsequent threads will soon run their emotionally finite course, given that deep down, we all know there really isn’t much left to say, contrary to selective opinion.”

    Yes, I think that is so. Perhaps our blogging the inevitable is our own form of denial. Knowing what is coming, we argue about anything we can find to argue about because as long as we are still arguing we are still alive. I argue therefore I am?

  • Is death by lead worse than death by climate? No.

    by Paul Beckwith

    Is death by lead worse than death by climate? That depends on your perspective. If you are the person dying then death by climate most likely means death by starvation. Or by dehydration. Or by painful vomiting and diarrhea from drinking contaminated water. It seems to me that this slow, painful death by climate would be much worse than catching a lead projectile from afar most likely with little or no warning.

    Rest at https://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/2012/10/is-death-by-lead-worse-than-death-by-climate-no.html

  • To clarify, re the illusion thing. People live in their heads, in their ‘world of ideas’, and mistake that for ‘reality’.

    For example, they’ll talk about trees, a tree. But that’s not ‘reality’. It’s an abstraction. It does not exist anywhere, except in someone’s head. It’s something we cooked up in our brains, like the number 3, or the year 2012. ‘Out there’ there is no ‘tree’. There are only the solid woody things, covered in bark and moss, that we can go and hug. And every one is different…

    So, it’s the confusion between the real, and the idea, that causes the illusion.

    Anybody can test this out for themselves, if they meditate. It’s why they have zen gardens in Japan, with mossy rocks and raked gravel, to gaze at for hours. It’s because those strange gardens don’t quite correspond to any model in our heads, so they create a sort of disorientation that collapses the inner model… and then one sees ‘what exists’ afresh.

    That’s my understanding of The Veil of Maya.

  • Kathy C. “I argue therefore I am? Beautiful ;-)

  • Re Pirsig’s Indian professor, I suspect he was just unfortunate, and India has its idiots too. Maybe he was following a literalist interpretation of ‘illusion’, in the same way as some Christians follow a literalist interpretation of the Virgin Birth, kinda thing.

  • “strange and bizarre offshoots”

    Sure, both Eastern hindu/buddhism and Western judaism/christianity are strange offshoots of agricultural civilization, man attempting somehow to find salvation from the strange hole he’s dug himself into.

    Oh yes, Eastern religions are salvationist too, as Daniel Quinn chronicles in his essay The Boiling Frog, as follows:

    Signs of distress: 1400-0 B.C.E.
    ¶ …For the first time in history, people began listening to religious teachers who promised them salvation.
    ¶ It’s impossible to overstate the novelty of this idea of salvation. Religion had been around in our culture for thousands of years, of course, but it had never been about salvation as we understand it or as the people of this period began to understand it. Earlier gods had been talismanic gods of kitchen and crop, mining and mist, house painting and herding, stroked at need like lucky charms, and earlier religions had been state religions, part of the apparatus of sovereignty and governance (as is apparent from their temples, built for royal ceremonies, not for popular public devotions).
    ¶ Judaism, Brahmanism, Hinduism, Shintoism, and Buddhism all came into being during this period and had no existence before it. Quite suddenly, after six thousand years of totalitarian agriculture and civilization building, the people of our culture — East and West, twins of a single birth — were beginning to wonder if their lives made sense, were beginning to perceive a void in themselves that economic success and civil esteem could not fill, were beginning to imagine that something was profoundly, even innately, wrong with them.
    Signs of distress: 0-1200 C.E.
    ¶…Adherents tend to concentrate on the differences between these religions, but I concentrate on their agreements, which are as follows: The human condition is what it is, and no amount of effort on your part will change that; it’s not within your power to save your people, your friends, your parents, your children, or your spouse, but there is one person (and only one) you can save, and that’s you. Nobody can save you but you, and there’s nobody you can save but yourself. You can carry the word to others and they can carry the word to you, but it never comes down to anything but this,
    whether it’s Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, or Islam: Nobody can save you but you, and there’s nobody you can save but yourself.

    I might add, that if you think you’re setting yourself apart from Christianity with the Eastern prattle, well, not so much. Jesus is Buddah. http://www.jesusisbuddha.com/

  • From wiki

    in Indian religions, has multiple meanings, usually quoted as “illusion”, centered on the fact that we do not experience the environment itself but rather a projection of it, created by us. Māyā is the principal deity that manifests, perpetuates and governs the illusion and dream of duality in the phenomenal Universe. For some mystics, this manifestation is real.[1] Each person, each physical object, from the perspective of eternity, is like a brief, disturbed drop of water from an unbounded ocean. The goal of enlightenment is to understand this—more precisely, to experience this: to see intuitively that the distinction between the self and the Universe is a false dichotomy. The distinction between consciousness and physical matter, between mind and body (refer bodymind), is the result of an unenlightened perspective.

  • Corporate fascist capitalism captures and co-opts science and environmentalism so it can neutralise opposition to its destruction of the biosphere


  • This type of thing is where we are headed, in my estimation.

    Could it be, can it be, avoided ?

    Yes, end industrial civilisation NOW, stop all violence against the biosphere NOW…

    The Permian extinction killed off some 90 percent of species.

  • We’re all going to die and no-one’s talking about it – Thom Hartman

  • MB : My admonition to my son, especially after what I’ve witnessed at this blog in the comments section, is to make as much money as he possibly can…

    Sums you up really well, MB, you were a whore and sold your self-respect for money, and now you’re going to tell your son to do the same thing… abuse runs in families, eh.

    Totally irresponsible bullshit. Doesn’t matter how the money is made, what ecosystems get destroyed, how many people’s lives get wrecked, just so long as some creep gets rich. Yuck. The stench of excrement again.

  • Oh look everyone – someone took geoengineering into their own hand (without permission from anyone and against many national and international regulations):


    USA/NATO: Then i guess i’m in the “warming” camp in that i believe we’ll be unable to grow food within a decade, at the rate we’re influencing climate change with our actions (and inaction). Of course a pole shift could “off” civilization sooner, or a megaquake in the New Madrid fault zone, or the electrical grid going down and staying that way for an extended period, or a plague or flu outbreak we’re not ready for, or the oceans dying of acidification and pollution, or . . . .

    Barring any of those, we’ll be wiped out by the exponential increases in warming and all the dire knock-on effects of climate change before we run out of fossil fuels, in my opinion. Within a decade (if not long before) we won’t be able to grow food.

    And yet it all looks so peaceful out here right now. The flowers are still growing, the trees just beginning to shed their lovely colored leaves . . . Remember that Rachel Carson book Silent Spring? Well, the chemical companies paid no heed to that and with chemtrails becoming a daily experience, sprinkling death to the forests, ground water (and us), in someone’s ignorant attempt at masking climate change, i can easily envision a spring in the not-too-distant future being one in which the trees fail to bloom (and maybe the grass doesn’t grow, along with any plants). That would surely get our attention.

    BC Nurse: great stories and links, thanks! People have no idea what they’re consuming anymore. It reminds me of that scene in Waterworld where some dude is hawking what looks like a quart of fresh clean water. Costner’s character takes out his pocket geiger counter to reveal that it’s highly radioactive! What’s going on in factory farm world is beyond belief in that they’re actually POISONING us for profit!
    The same can be said for the pharmaceutical industry and their “cures.”
    It’s appalling.

    To those who mentioned that suicide will become the norm before long, the rates are up already but we seldom hear about it in the main stream propaganda where all is well and there’s a sale at Penneys!

    Enjoy your day, everyone. i really enjoy all your comments, information and links. i gotta get a few things done around here or my wife won’t feed me (i’m kidding – it just makes her happy when i accomplish something, though she well knows that i feel like EVERYTHING is a giant waste of time anymore).

  • MB : I know I am.

    No, you’re here to be provocative, throw tantrums, disrupt everyones conversations, to wreck the blog.

  • Hi Tom,

    ..though she well knows that i feel like EVERYTHING is a giant waste of time anymore

    No, I don’t agree with that. nothing needs to be waste of time, if it’s done with great attention, love, high quality, intense awareness, be-ing in everything you do, it’s enriching, empowering..

    Even going for a crap… grace, noticing all the micro-details… ;-)

    It’s only when one is already half dead to the world, lost interest, life drained away, it’s all too depressing… then that’s a downward spiral… turn it around, spin up in the other direction, the End of the World can be FUN ! hahahahaha, I mean that ;-)

  • Ah, the 9 year old attention seeking brat, always whining and complaining… that he’s treated like shit… maybe it’s because of the stench ?

  • In case anyone hits you with the latest bit of denialism, potholer54 has done the legwork for counteracting it

    Global warming has stopped??
    potholer54 debunks the latest lies

    No, sadly the Mail on Sunday has got it wrong… yet again. Here’s what’s behind
    the sensational news that global warming ended in 1997, and how it comes from
    misreporting, misquotes and omissions.

  • The iron-limited Southern Ocean plays an important role in regulating atmospheric CO2 levels. Marine mammal respiration has been proposed to decrease the efficiency of the Southern Ocean biological pump by returning photosynthetically fixed carbon to the atmosphere. Here, we show that by consuming prey at depth and defecating iron-rich liquid faeces into the photic zone, sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) instead stimulate new primary production and carbon export to the deep ocean. We estimate that Southern Ocean sperm whales defecate 50 tonnes of iron into the photic zone each year. Molar ratios of Cexport ∶Feadded determined during natural ocean fertilization events are used to estimate the amount of carbon exported to the deep ocean in response to the iron defecated by sperm whales. We find that Southern Ocean sperm whales stimulate the export of 4 × 105 tonnes of carbon per year to the deep ocean and respire only 2 × 105 tonnes of carbon per year. By enhancing new primary production, the populations of 12 000 sperm whales in the Southern Ocean act as a carbon sink, removing 2 × 105 tonnes more carbon from the atmosphere than they add during respiration. The ability of the Southern Ocean to act as a carbon sink may have been diminished by large-scale removal of sperm whales during industrial whaling.


  • Here is a compendium on suicide methods

    How about this one

    Suicide by volcano involves jumping into molten lava in an active volcanic crater, fissure vent, lava flow or lava lake. The actual cause of death may be as a result of the fall (see jumping from height), contact burns, radiant heat or asphyxiation from volcanic gases. Suicides have taken place in numerous volcanoes but the most famous is Mount Mihara in Japan. In 1933, Kiyoko Matsumoto committed suicide by jumping into the Mihara crater. A trend of copycat suicides followed, as 944 people jumped into the same crater over the following year.[61] Over 1200 people attempted suicide in two years before a barrier was erected.[62] The original barrier was replaced with a higher fence topped with barbed wire after another 619 people jumped in 1936.[63][64]

    The number of military veterans committing suicide each day is about 18 with 1 a day among active duty troops. Interesting that when the threat of death by active service ends, suicides go up.

    In defense of the right to suicide, we do not get to choose to be born, when to be born, which parents we will have, and what conditions we will live in. Yet the church, society and government want to also take away our right to say I don’t want to live anymore. Even death row prisoners have to be protected from suicide so the state can take the life, not them. The only ones that have any claim on your life are those you have tied your life to and who depend on you, especially dependent children.

  • This relates to Bru Pearce’s strategy, above.

    For his strategy to work, many of the richest, most powerful people on the planet ( not to mention USA-Evil’s ‘families’ ) who have enormous investments in said industries, have to be willing to lose all that money…. is it realistic to expect they will accept that ?

    Unless they get hanged from lamp posts ?

    And for that to happen, you going to gotta ketch ’em first…

    Peak oil is many things, but this isn’t about peak oil, so I don’t have to try to enumerate them. But do recall just one version of the peaker story – peak oil as a repository of hope. This is the take in which, despairing of other avenues to rapid, large-scale change, we look to peak oil to at least save us from the more extreme forms of climate disaster.
    The idea here is that, as we burn our way through the peak, fossil fuels will get more expensive and this will tip the competitive balance to low-carbon energy sources. So that despite the obvious reality of the day – let’s just say “governance failure” for the moment, and leave it at that – in which it’s all but impossible to price carbon at anything like its true social cost, its price will nevertheless rise, maybe even fast enough to save our bacon.
    Does anyone still believe this? They won’t after reading the Carbon Bubble report, which was just released by the impeccably capitalist Carbon Tracker Initiative, which describes itself as “the first project of Investor Watch, a non-profit company established by its directors to align the capital markets with efforts to tackle climate change.” This report, which is unfortunately based on current science (unfortunately because current science is pretty terrifying) begins by noting that we have a mere 565 Gigatonnes of CO2 left in our shared planetary 2000 to 2050 carbon budget, if we intend to maintain a high probability (80%) of holding the warming below 2C. Which we should absolutely do, for lots of reasons — think “managing the unavoidable, and avoiding the unmanageable.” It then goes on to demonstrate, by simple arithmetic, that “only 20% of the total reserves can be burned unabated, leaving up to 80% of assets technically unburnable.”
    Which is to say that peak oil can’t save us, because if we get anywhere near it we’re toast. Instead, the only transition scenarios that might hold water are those in which we manage to leave fossil fuels behind while we still have plenty to spare. A future not of peak oil but rather of unburnable carbon.
    There’s a lot to say about all this, but the bottom line is that – surprise! – the financial markets are failing yet again! This time they’re radically overvaluing the value of coal and oil companies, by failing to put a reasonable price of the risk associated with climate mobilization. Which is to say, the risk that we will actually decide to not commit civilizational suicide. Because if we do so decide, we’ll have to contrive, one way or another, to not burn most of the proven fossil reserves on the planet. Which in turn means that the current astronomic valuations of the companies that own those reserves will have to be, ahem, adjusted.


  • Ah, sweet suicide… Yes, up until fairly recently ( forget the date ) suicide was a capital offence in Britain, punishable by the death penalty… hahahahaha… no, no, please, don’t laugh, ulvfugl, this is serious gruesome stuff.. ;-)

    So around 1812, some guy tried unsuccessfully to kill himself, by cutting his throat. So, he was arrested, tried, and condemned to death. By hanging. But because his throat was cut, they hanged him and he stayed alive… so they took him down, sewed up his throat, and hanged him again, but the stitches opened… I believe they tried it a few times before the poor bastard finally expired…

    Such is the stupidity of Church and State.

  • “…this message getting out to a larger audience….the message that we’re all Dead Men Walking…”

    What is the importance of getting out such a message? If ignorance or denial is bliss in the face of an insurmountable problem for which there is no solution, why try to rub everybody’s nose in the problem?

    Hell, why not join a mega church and worship hay-zeus and shag all the pretty girls, join the military and shoot foreigners of veteran wars, or hire a Gulfstream G650 and burn a 8 tons of Jet-A on a 5000 mile trip to drink Dom during an eclipse? That’s what lots of other people are doing.

    Do you suppose yourself more moral than they, living a “right livelihood?”

    If morals and ethics are based on the well-being of life, and human life is guaranteed extinct-“we’re all dead men walking”-how can there be any moral decisions between right and wrong livelihood?

  • Leopard seal, mouth twice as big as a Grizzly Bear’s…

  • talk about warming! i pay the electricity company 140$/month since 8 years. just received note that I now have to pay only 100$/month and they owe me 500$ (because I almost do not need heating any more). when your bills go down so drastically, what can it be but the end of the world!!!

    yesterday in the street, I met a neighbourg. “how are you?” said he.
    “did you see the dramatic change in the trees?” said I.
    I then started peeling large strips of bark from an old maple tree in front of his eyes exposing rot, decay and insects (in his own yard): “do you think this is normal? they are ALL like this.”

    and he gave me the answer 99% give me:
    “oh you know, me, I am not familiar with the trees”

    I am frankly depressed by most humans. Beurk! and finding my only consolation in the fact that none of them are going to survive me.

    kathyc: thanks for the compendium. I would choose drowning. do you know that roman emperors used to get rid of their unwanted wives or mistresses by starving them to death because they did not consider “doing nothing” like murder.

  • @Morocco Bama, RE: “Grease the skids…trust in God”

    I agree. The word for today is Syncretism. Christianity is nothing but a syncretism of Greco-Buddhist cynicism, pagan sun-god astro-theology, and Judaic underdogism.

    So let’s outdo Paul, and add this “theology” that is syncretic with “science:”

    1. Jesus, the stars, died for us, making iron in their nuclear furnace for our blood. “We’re made of star stuff.” ~Carl Sagan
    2. The Holy Spirit dwells within us. “We are all connected; to each other, biologically, to the earth, chemically, to the rest of the universe atomically.” ~Neil deGrasse Tyson
    3. The kingdom of heaven dwells within you. “All life is related.” ~David Attenborough

    We might come up with something close to Jason Godesky’s Christmas Eve 2050, as follows:

    ¶ The sun had been born again; Christ had risen; the world was saved.
    ¶ Thomas was smiling as he sat at the feet of his mother. “Mother,” he asked.
    ¶ “Yes, my fine, young hunter?” she answered, full of pride.
    ¶ “Is it all a game?” Thomas asked. “I’ve never seen the sun not come back. Does the sacrifice do anything at all?”
    ¶ His mother smiled. “Once, I might have told you this was all superstition. But I know better now. I think we all do. That’s the way the townfolk think. I could tell you the science I learned when I was a little girl, but that’s a fairly trivial thing. What you have here, I think … this is much more real.”

    “A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.” ~Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot

    So there’s your Great Commission, straight from St. Sagan. Say Amun-Ra! ;)

  • Jean & Glen,

    I have to say, your essay caused a little sentimentality on my part. My family moved to Alaska in the late 70’s when I was a small child, and both my Grandfather and dad were civil engineers up there. They are both long since deceased, as well as my mother, but I remember those early days. My parents split on the long trip north, and our first place of residence was in Delta Junction, where my mom lived in a small tent with my sister and I, until the first winter when she upgraded to a tiny cabin in the woods. Alaska was not for the faint of heart, and I try to retain some of that spirit of adventure that they embodied in my own life.
    Your journey sounds like quite the adventure, too! I have lived in Seattle, and I can totally imagine your urban farm in my minds eye. I now live in Rapid City, SD, and though I love Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, we are going to stay put. We have talked about moving, but have decided that each place will carry it’s own challenges, as far as environmental, social, making a living, etc. We are living in exceptional drought here, but in Alaska, they have been experiencing severe storms/wind/flooding, on a level that they haven’t seen, as far as the violent fluctuations in extremes, and Alaska is nothing if not extreme. A few of them might be surprised that even a lifetime there isn’t quite preparation enough for a place like South Dakota.
    Each place also carries it’s own power. In Alaska, Denali exerts a magnetic force, and in those who are not grounded, that presence can cause a lot of instability within the individual. Here we have the Black Hills and the Badlands, which are sacred spaces within the Lakota Sioux culture. If you are open to it, you can feel that power when you visit those places. It is a very peaceful feeling, and it is a big part of why I want to stay here.
    My partner has family in the central part of this state, and my family is in Alaska, but moving with three small children is a massive undertaking, so we decided to stay.

    I doubt we will ever be able to grow enough food to feed our own small family, but hunting and fishing locally keeps our freezer full of fish and venison, for which I am in constant gratitude. My brothers in Alaska spent two weeks fishing with nothing to show, due to low or no salmon runs. There is a fine edge to life now, and I feel like I have to keep the balance so that I can be a guide for the little ones. I can’t spend more of my precious energy making another big move. Time to dig in somewhere.

  • Michele, I had a friend who almost drowned. After the first bit of water in the lungs she said it just felt like drifting away. Then they saved her and THAT she said was the painful part.

    Final Exit by Derek Humphrey offers some assistance – his goal is to help the terminally ill have a dignified death. http://www.finalexit.org/

    Amazing the justifications people can come up with – those Roman Emperors thinking they were not murdering their wives!!! But now women kill themselves with anorexia and bulimia. I shared housing with two men from a small village in Bolivia and some middle class Venezuelans once. One night at dinner my young son was crying because he didn’t want to eat his vegetables. The chubby little Venezuelan kids were crying because their overweight parents wanted them to eat more. The one Bolivian noted without rancor “in my country the children cry because there is not enough to eat, in your country the cry because they don’t want to eat”. It hits me in the gut the same way every time I relate that story.

  • There’s that standard frequent pattern, certainly in American and British cultures, not sure it’s universal, where before destroying something, the Other, it is necessary to denigrate and degrade the idea of whatever it is… like Hitler did for the Jews, perhaps the most prominent example… but it is embedded in these cultures, in our attitude towards nature, depicted as dangerous and untrustworthy, full of savage beasts and vicious pests, that must be tamed, trapped, poisoned, eliminated, suppressed, so ‘civilisation’ can happen..

    It’s all propaganda and bullshit, and it’s part of the culture that is killing us all…

    So the guy goes down to Antarctica, and meets with one of the fiercest predators on the planet… and what happens ? She tries to communicate, she tries to teach him how to survive ( in her terms ) she tries to teach him how to catch and eat penguins.. such generosity of spirit… the main thing, if he were a seal, ( and how could she think of him in any other terms ? same sort of size and shape) that he’d need to know, if he wanted to stay alive…

    Reminds me of when the Welsh colonised Patagonia, and were hostile to the indigenous indians, who reciprocated, but the Indian children were generous and played with the Welsh children, and showed them how to hunt and catch rheas with bolasses, and if it had not been for that knowledge, the Welsh colonisers would have starved and died in their first winter.

  • And, of course, if conventional means don’t appeal you could always turn to quantum suicide…

    A man sits down before a gun, which is pointed at his head. This is no ordinary gun; i­t’s rigged to a machine that measures the spin of a quantum particle. Each time the trigger is pulled, the spin of the quantum particle — or quark — is measured. Depending on the measurement, the gun will either fire, or it won’t. If the quantum particle is measured as spinning in a clockwise motion, the gun will fire. If the quark is spinning counterclockwise, the gun won’t go off. There’ll only be a click.


  • “Natura” beef is the name of the same thing in Switzerland.


    Grass + milk

  • recommend you listen once with image and a second time without the image
    (lot of internet today, it is raining)

  • Dust bowl conditions return to Oklahoma. With video.


  • RE: Planet of the Apes

    LOL! I guess there’s nothing new under the sun. Praise the golden MIRV’ed LGM-30!

    RE: I’m not an animal.

    What people mean is that they are not lower on the hierarchical totem pole, that has varied little from the sentiments of Genesis 1:26, and goes something like this:

    • LORD(S) [or GOD, King, Country, The Market, Dictatorship of the Proletariat]
    • HUSBAND [submits to God, etal.]
    • WOMAN [domesticated to House-Bondage (Hus-band)]
    • ANIMALS [domesticated to House-Bondagery (Hus-bandry)]
    • WILD/NATURE [valuable only when serving the above hierarchy]

    Oh yes, the hus-bondage-men have domesticated–to make docile and stupid–themselves too. Here’s how the breeding for docility and stupidity (culling) goes: “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son…Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death.” ~Deuteronomy 21:18-21 Also see: Peter J. Wilson’s “The Domestication of the Human Species.” (Yale University Press, 1991)

  • Vinay Gupta, Plausible Utopias.

  • As the big band director says: “One more time!”


    “For five million years after the worst mass extinction in Earth history, much of the planet was simply too hot for anything to survive, scientists have learned.

    Experts have long been puzzled by the ‘broken world’ scenario that followed the Permian-Triassic mass extinction 250 million years ago.
    Up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of land-dwelling vertebrates were wiped out by the event, thought to have been caused by a combination of climate change and volcanic activity.”

    Only this time it may be permanent.

  • MB, I’m just asking a question to which I have no answer. But it is my observation that if the doom is strong and sure, it changes the moral balance, perhaps even taking it away, as morality/ethics is the realm of choice.

    There are all sorts of moral scenarios where morals change from normal morals, e.g., triage in a disaster, lifeboat rules, etc. Short-term extinction of the species is another we’ve never faced.

    And if extinction is depicted as certain, what impetus is there to change behavior? Why shouldn’t people party like it’s 1999?

    P.S. I’m not wishing the bomb to fall; I merely consider it inevitable, and the only realistic scenario that stops global warming from spiraling out of control.

  • Tom, I am not sure what you mean by number 5 being temporarily alive. At the link I only see 4 pictures.

  • to BadlandsAK

    Thanks so much for writing. I wonder if your dad knew Glenn. Wouldn’t be surprised.

    We thought about moving too, and also decided against it. There is really nowhere to go to be sure of being safe, unradiated, temperate in climate, among people unlikely to shoot, connected to all necessities of life within walking distance, warm enough, cool enough….. We have a good set of human connections here and ultimately that’s the one thing I don’t ever want to be without.

  • Jean,
    You’re not alone…We do what ever we can.
    We live in downtown Tacoma and we are the yard like yours that people drive by and gawk, but we are not the only ones. On our same street a few blocks down they are growing veggies on their parking strips too. And 3 of us on our block have chickens, as well. Half our back yard is a hoop house and between our houses we are growing food too:)
    We just had on Oct 5-7 the Pacific Northwest Permaculture Convergence 2012 near Port Townsend. Check out Road-trip to Permaculture Convergence:

    Camp Wisdom:

    Veteran’s and Permaculture Interview with Tom Allen:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hCgdxxodWs just had the annual

    Last weekend we participated in an annual Disaster Preparedness event in our area expanding permaculture information into more traditionally mainstream support services.

    Maybe we can’t stop the global warming, but growing food following permaculture methods certainly won’t add any insult to injury.
    Eventually I am expecting the masses will not start growing food until there isn’t any at the grocery store…it mighty dawn on them, “if my neighbors are growing food in their front yard, then I can too”.

    Other than that, tomorrow is not promised, so I just live and love as if it isn’t.

  • I thought we were all here for Robin’s daily Benedictions. I know I am.

    As requested; hope this satisfies the knower (and the knower’s manager):

    Hypocrisy considering an object as a convenience is the prerequisite to its misconstruing “convenience” referring to action of convenience as “convenience” referring to object of convenience.

    Hardly anybody can tolerate thinking of humans as animals without using the phrase “just animals” or the word “soul.”

    The “hardly anybudy” does not include non-theists

    “…..all sentient beings, including those in the animal realm, possess Buddha nature and therefore can attain enlightenment”

    Additionally, there is the third if the Three Features of Existence: “All composite things lack an abstractable entity” (“lack a soul”).

    we all know there really isn’t much left to say

    “He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know”. – Lao Tzu

    For a more proactive aproach to securing our climate

    – we need to make a time machine and go back fifty years.

    Nobody can save you but you, and there’s nobody you can save but yourself.

    The Holy Spirit dwells within us.

    Nothing holy. Holy means lumpy: a lump here and a lump there of holiness. Anything postulated as Divine cannot be lumpy, but instead homogeneous and isotropic. And not indwelling either. To dwell somewhere requires not dwelling elsewhere.

    “in my country the children cry because there is not enough to eat, in your country the cry because they don’t want to eat”

    When I first came to this country, I was working at a hospital in the then-wealthiest county in America. Every nursing station was replete with boxes of chocolates, cakes, sandwiches and other delicacies – presents from the patients and their families. Ate myself sick at the beginning. And all the morphine and other narcotics were locked up. It seemed quite ridiculous. Where I came from, all the medications including morphine and other narcotics were left in the open, and if one perchanch had any food, locking it up was essential to keep it from disappearing.

  • HTML tag corrected:
    I thought we were all here for Robin’s daily Benedictions. I know I am.

    As requested; hope this satisfies the knower (and the knower’s manager):

    Hypocrisy considering an object as a convenience is the prerequisite to its misconstruing “convenience” referring to action of convenience as “convenience” referring to object of convenience.

    Hardly anybody can tolerate thinking of humans as animals without using the phrase “just animals” or the word “soul.”

    The “hardly anybudy” does not include non-theists

    “…..all sentient beings, including those in the animal realm, possess Buddha nature and therefore can attain enlightenment”

    Additionally, there is the third of the Three Features of Existence: “All composite things lack an abstractable entity” (“lack a soul”).

    we all know there really isn’t much left to say

    “He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know”. – Lao Tzu

    For a more proactive aproach to securing our climate

    – we need to make a time machine and go back fifty years.

    Nobody can save you but you, and there’s nobody you can save but yourself.

    The Holy Spirit dwells within us.

    Nothing holy. Holy means lumpy: a lump here and a lump there of holiness. Anything postulated as Divine cannot be lumpy, but instead homogeneous and isotropic. And not indwelling either. To dwell somewhere requires not dwelling elsewhere.

    “in my country the children cry because there is not enough to eat, in your country the cry because they don’t want to eat”

    When I first came to this country, I was working at a hospital in the then-wealthiest county in America. Every nursing station was replete with boxes of chocolates, cakes, sandwiches and other delicacies – presents from the patients and their families. Ate myself sick at the beginning. And all the morphine and other narcotics were locked up. It seemed quite ridiculous. Where I came from, all the medications including morphine and other narcotics were left in the open, and if one perchance had any food, locking it up was essential to keep it from disappearing.