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

  • IM: the phrase “just animals” or the word “soul
    RD: The “hardly anybudy” does not include non-theists

    Wrong.

    One of the most vociferous complainants to my recently purchased Frans de Waal’s title Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals was a rather militant atheist.

    He banged on how humans are “more than just animals” and humans were somehow “transcendent” above animals “in mind” and “conscience” and “moral values” and “rationality.” I pointed out that transcendent is a religious word, which just made him more furious. In the end, he denounced me for being immoral, supporting “animal rights” and hating freedom, the free market, Western Civilization and humans. So there ya have it, I’m depraved! Possibly going to heck! LOL!

    I’m not the only one to observe that Christian cultural values runs deep——even within non-theists.

    Lynn White, Jr. addresses this phenomenon, as follows:

    “It has become fashionable today to say that, for better or worse, we live in “the post-Christian age.” Certainly the forms of our thinking and language have largely ceased to be Christian, but to my eye the substance often remains amazingly akin to that of the past…It
    is rooted in, and is indefensible apart from, Judeo-Christian teleology…We continue today to live, as we have lived for about 1700 years, very largely in a context of Christian axioms.”

    Lynn Townsend White, Jr, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis”, Science, Vol 155 (Number 3767), March 10, 1967, pp 1203–1207.

  • ulvfugl wrote: “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 thought it was Jesus Christ, or Moses, or Abraham “who decided that animals have no souls and can be treated as machines.”

    Ivy Mike wrote: “Jesus is Buddah.”

    Not exactly. The Buddha taught Reincarnation and Ahimsa (incuding non-violence toward animals).

    ulvfugl wrote: “up until fairly recently ( forget the date ) suicide was a capital offence in Britain, punishable by the death penalty…”

    And now the US/NATO Vampires are murdering Afghani women to save them from the burqua.

    Tom wrote: “Oh look everyone – someone took geoengineering into their own hand (without permission from anyone and against many national and international regulations):” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/oct/15/pacific-iron-fertilisation-geoengineering

    Whoa there, Cowboy. Feeding additional minerals to the oceanic plankton could cause major algal blooms which could upset the balance and injure the ecosystem.

    “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. During the long heatwave no forests grew in the tropics, only shrubs and ferns, and shellfish were the only marine creatures in the oceans.”
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2219761/Earth-hot-life-mass-extinction-250-million-years-ago.html

    The article includes a very interesting map which shows the distribution of continental land masses and oceans at the time of the Permian-Triassic Extinction, which is thought to have created a Dead Zone in the belt of the Tropics between 30North and 30South.

    It’s noteworthy that “shellfish were the only marine creatures in the oceans,” because current CO2-caused Global Warming theory maintains that when atmospheric CO2 is high it acidifies the oceans, and the shellfish are supposed to be among the first to go extinct.

  • Wrong.

    One of the most vociferous complainants to my recently purchased Frans de Waal’s title Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals was a rather militant atheist.

    Among theists, atheists, and non-theists, the first two are similarly disabled. The last two do not use crutches. The first and the last ambulate.

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

    All non-theists agree with this.

  • All non-theists agree with this.

    As I’ve encountered non-theists who disagrees with your characterization of “all” non-theists, I find it more accurate, instead of saying “all,” to say “some, but not all.” It’s regrettable that the English language hasn’t adopted “sombunall,” a term coined by Robert Anton Wilson.

    And even some-but-not-all theists agree that other animals can “attain enlightenment” (or whatever equivalent religious terms they may use.) Why else did Saint Francis of Assisi preach a sermon to the birds?

  • Why else did Saint Francis of Assisi preach a sermon to the birds?

    Saint Francis of Assisi was a theist. Some theists agree with

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

    All non-theists agree with it. Atheists are not non-theists.

  • Kathy C. –I would like the links about the chlosterol. I have too many friends who are taking drugs–perhaps not needed. On the basis on one borderline blood test result my doc wanted me to take a drug to lower it. What b.s.

  • Both non-theists and atheists will agree with this, but the athetsis may take exception to the part about “own selfhood” and about Buddhas:

    The Diamond Sutra – A New Translation by Alex Johnson, Chapter 14:

    Such a person will be able to awaken pure faith because they have ceased to cherish any arbitrary notions of their own selfhood, other selves, living beings, or a universal self. Why? Because if they continue to hold onto arbitrary conceptions as to their own selfhood, they will be holding onto something that is non-existent. It is the same with all arbitrary conceptions of other selves, living beings, or a universal self. These are all expressions of non-existent things. Buddhas are Buddhas because they have been able to discard all arbitrary conceptions of form and phenomena, they have transcended all perceptions, and have penetrated the illusion of all forms.”

  • I would like the links about the chlosterol.

    Here is one:

    The Weston A. Price Foundation:

    Myths & Truths About Cholesterol

  • Morocco Bama, why do you pollute this blog with your infantile stupidity ?

  • Kathy C.: My #5 comment was a dumb movie reference
    (Short Circuit, 1986) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091949/

    Didn’t mean to confuse you or belittle what’s happening in Fukushima.
    Isn’t it strange (and unbelievable) that we think we can always invent
    a(nother) solution (usually more complex) to solve all our self-imposed environmental problems? How can humanity be so non-sapient? What have we done to ourselves? (It’s a rhetorical question to which we here intuitively know the answer).

    Be back later. Enjoy your day, everyone.

  • So. Morocco Bama, you obviously spend most of your day on the internet, every day, and you are monitoring and commenting on several other blogs, kultur critic, ianwelsh, whowhatwhy, jillian york, etc, etc, and the pattern seems the same, make a few fairly reasonable comments, get accepted and then cause mayhem, like getting banned, and then sometimes smear those blogs on other blogs…

    I mean, wtf Some Israelis need to take some balance to the following blog. I believe this German fella is working for the Iranians.
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/

    I don’t think you are genuine at all. I think you are a stooge. Either paid, or someone perverse with several loose screws rattling around in their skull.

  • The prefixes a- and non- mean exactly the same thing: not, without, lacking. But it’s singularly fascinating meeting a nonbeliever as dogmatic as a Bob Jones University zealot who purports to speak for all Fundamentalist Christians.

  • As I understand it, most people would say that buddhism is a non-theistic religion, because it does not teach its followers to worship a god or gods.

    However, if I remember rightly, when questioned about the existence of a god or supreme being, gods, whatever, the buddha gave no direct reply, he stated that his teaching is only concerned with suffering, ( i.e. a rigorous philosophical analysis ) and so he takes no position at all regarding deities.

    He did make a statement that ‘There is an Unconditioned’, and I think there are different interpretations of exactly what that means

    Later, as buddhism spread through various different cultures, it absorbed local beliefs which did include deities. In Japan, for example, Fudo, who I think is a great fellow, for whom I have a lot of affection ;-)

    This is slightly similar to the spread of catholicism which also absorbed many local beliefs, e.g. in S. America, that are hardly compatible with basic biblical teachings.

    The most popular of the Myoo (“great kings”) and the god of fire and wisdom. He is the fifth of the guardians of the heavens and the patron of astrology. He is called upon at the start of difficult undertakings, as well as in times of war, epidemics and disasters. Fudo protects against calamities, great dangers and fire and theft. He resides in a temple on the summit of Mount Okiyama surrounded by fire. No one was allowed to see him seated in his sanctuary on pain of blindness. His priest Yenoki lived on, after his death, in a tree, watching over the moral conduct of the country people.
    Fudo is represented as an ugly old man surrounded by flames with a sword in his right hand and a rope, to tie demons with, in his left hand. Legend has it that at the waterfall near Fudo’s shrine at Ohara in the province of Awa, a young girl, called O Ai San, prayed there hoping for the cure of her blind father. She stood naked under the waterfall, praying, for a hundred days, and when she returned home after that time she found her father cured.

  • Constance, when I went to find my bookmarks to cholesterol I could only find a few – no doubt they are hidden in sub folders that made sense when I made them :)

    OK first – here is the results of the WHO Monica study
    “The Monica study, which assessed 21 countries over 10 years, found the incidence of heart disease dropping across Europe, Australia and North America. But scientists could find no statistical connection between the reduction and changes in obesity, smoking, blood pressure or cholesterol levels.”
    http://www.forces.org/evidence/files/cardio.htm
    You can search further on that on the web

    This vid shows a graph that shows that Australian Aboriginals have the highest rate of death from heart disease and the lowest cholesterol while Switzerland has the highest cholesterol and the lowest rate of death from heart disease.

    This Oped from the New York Times shows that while statins seem to reduce death from heart disease they do not do so by lowering cholesterol. It suggests “There are numerous other ways in which statins might be effective. They reduce inflammation, which is now considered a risk factor for heart disease.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/opinion/27taubes.html?_r=0

    So why not take statins – well it turns out that Cholesterol is vital for the functioning of the human body and statins have numerous side effects such as sending men back to their doctor for viagra, kidney damage and now diabetes and memory loss http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/28/us-fda-statins-idUSTRE81R1O220120228

    This vid by a chiropractor is a bit more chatty than I like but covers pretty well some of the issues http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qdguEurm_U&feature=related

    It is possible that a real risk factor is sugar, especially in the large quantities and refined nature in which modern humans consume it. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/106/4/523.long

    Hope that helps and gives you some starting point for further research.

  • Constance I posted a number of links on cholesterol. Any more than one link in a comment and the comment goes to the moderator (Guy) for approval. So it won’t appear until he sees it and approves it. Just wanted to let you know it is coming.

  • For Robin, Dr HOUSE, any migraine, CH, sufferers who may find it useful to know. Sodium valporate is working for me, which is kinda wonderful. My Dr. prescribed 200mg twice daily, but this paper says 600-2000 is okay.

    http://jdc.jefferson.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1031&context=neurologyfp

  • Ambedkar and quite a few other Buddhist authorities have claimed that Buddhism is a Atheistic. However, there is a problem with that claim.
    For the Buddhist Doctrine of Reincarnation to work, there must be something or someone that reincarnates. Also, there must be something or someone that experiences both Samsara (suffering) and Nirvana (Enlightenment). That something or someone might be called Consciousness or the Universal Consciousness. The Hindu philosophy of Advaita recognizes this, which is why I prefer Advaita over Buddhism.

    Regarding: http://www.moonofalabama.org/

    Al Qaeda is CIA; as have been all of the major (false-flag) terrorist bombings of recent decades, the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, the “Sectarian” bombings in Iraq (a pair of British SAS men were caught with bomb-making supplies and Arab costumes), and the US/NATO-supported mercenary insurgencies in Libya and Syria.

  • But USA-Evil, buddhism covers a vast area, with numerous sub-sects, all with variations on the main theme, and then it blends into hinduism, of which the same can be said, only even more so, and the multitude of Tibetan, Thai, Sri Lankan, Burmese, etc, schools, and it blends into taoism, another vast area with many sub-sects, so I don’t think it is possible to make very meaningful generalised statements, because there are always so many exceptions.

    I chose Soto zen, really rather arbitrarily, because I stumbled across it at an early age, and it worked for me. What I liked, and still like, about it, is that it strips away everything that is non-essential, minimalist, all you need is a cushion and a wall and your own resolution. Even the blank white wall can be dispensed with ;-)

    That said, I met a hindu doctor a few years ago, who recommended meditation to cope with my suffering ( CH ) and we had a conversation about details, etc, and whilst he would insist that it was a hindu practice, not buddhist, there were really no significant differences between what he prescribed, dhyana, or jhana, and zazen, other than the languages used for terminology.

    I think moon of alabama is pretty good on Syria. I only mentioned it because MB got banned, and then goes to another forum and tells Israelis that they ought to go to that website, because it’s pro-Iranian, whatever. It’s the MB pattern…

    I agree about all the false flags.

  • For the Buddhist Doctrine of Reincarnation to work, there must be something or someone that reincarnates. Also, there must be something or someone that experiences both Samsara (suffering) and Nirvana (Enlightenment). That something or someone might be called Consciousness or the Universal Consciousness.

    There are very numerous views on all of that, USA-Evil. I don’t myself accept the idea that a person dies and the reincarnates as another person ( or as another creature ). I see it as the Buddha being a Hindu, and that belief being prevalent at the time, and it’s a good way to behave in a moral fashion, to tell them that they’ll get a better or worse rebirth next time, if they morally upright, Bit like the Christians idea that you’ll go to heaven/hell if you’re good/bad.

    Many of the Soto zen people believe that it is not a complete individual that reincarnates, but that ‘parts’ of a person that have to rematerialise to clear their karma, join with ‘parts’ of other individuals, in some Otherworld, or Astral Plane, some dimension which we don’t understand, and then choose parents from those who are copulating, to be conceived into a family that will allow them to live the life that they need to follow to clear their karma.

    I’m not sure about any of that. I have not given it much thought because I really don’t care. I’ll die some day and find out. I more or less expect my death experience to correspond to that described in Tibetan Book of the Dead. Again, I’ll find out at the time and deal with it as it happens.

    Regarding the ‘something or someone’, well, that’s very interesting, isn’t it. Recalling the trouble I’ve had here trying to explain what I mean by ‘soul’, ot’s a can of worms ;-)

    There’s isn’t any ‘someone’ who experiences nirvana. Nirvana occurs when the self that you think you are ceases, is absent, and a deeper revelation manifests, that you become unified with the entirety of everything. I would say that this is first found via meditation, as the 8th jhana, and by diligent practice, it then extends to all of one’s life 24/7. In other words, it is first encountered as a temporary experience, then becomes permanent. At which point samsara and nirvana are one and the same. Just the Universe doing its thing. The exact same development is described in Taoism, just using different terminology. In zen this sequence is illustrated by The Ten Bulls.

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

  • From wiki :

    Nirvāṇa….is an ancient Sanskrit term used in Indian religions to describe the profound peace of mind that is acquired with moksha (liberation). In shramanic thought, it is the state of being free from suffering. In Hindu philosophy, it is union with the Brahman (Supreme Being).
    The word literally means “blown out” (as in a candle) and refers, in the Buddhist context, to the imperturbable stillness of mind after the fires of desire, aversion, and delusion have been finally extinguished

    Imo, all arguments about this are really arguments about terminology, because whether Hindu, Buddhist, or Christian, ( ‘union with God through prayer’ ) or Jewish, or Moslem, or whatever – all traditions have this knowledge, just that they have arrived at it independently and use different words – it really does not matter, because any formulation of words is a futile attempt to describe the indescribable. It’s something that is experienced, by the living person, a state of consciousness, that transcends the individual and illuminates a deeper reality.

  • Some people will sneer at the various beliefs that involve reincarnation, trans-migration of souls, spiritualism, Otherworld, etc, etc, and cling to hard line scientific rationality… but look at what some of the physicists are saying which is far more crazy, imo, than anything the mystics and yogis and bodhisattvas have suggested…

    Within the “Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Physics” (and the more recent “Many Minds”) physicists such as Professor Max Tegmark of MIT and Professor David Deutsch of Oxford University suggest that within the “Multiverse” there are trillions and trillions of versions of every human being that has lived and will live, and that between them they will have lived every possible permutation that that life could have followed. What is more, these alternative lives all exist concurrently in a timeless universe.

    http://www.mysterious-america.net/peakeinterview.html

  • The Fuckit Slump

    Oil’s running low at the pump,
    Not due to some interim hump;
    We’re ready to quit
    ‘Cause we don’t give a shit,
    And we enter the Fuckit Slump.

    Starvation hits, nobody’s plump,
    Global warming beats on our rump;
    When it doesn’t mean squat
    That it’s getting too hot,
    We’re into the Fuckit Slump.

    Air wafts by a nuclear dump,
    We inhale a plutonium lump;
    Fresh air provides
    Radionuclides
    To go with the Fuckit Slump.

    It’s all of us, you’re not a chump,
    The boiling frog still doesn’t jump;
    Let’s be succinct:
    We’re going extinct,
    So we’re doing the Fuckit Slump.

    H/T: comrade simba

  • Benjamin, can we set that to music?

  • Constance, when I went to find my bookmarks to cholesterol I could only find a few – no doubt they are hidden in sub folders that made sense when I made them

    OK first – here is the results of the WHO Monica study
    “The Monica study, which assessed 21 countries over 10 years, found the incidence of heart disease dropping across Europe, Australia and North America. But scientists could find no statistical connection between the reduction and changes in obesity, smoking, blood pressure or cholesterol levels.”
    http://www.forces.org/evidence/files/cardio.htm
    You can search further on that on the web

  • This vid shows a graph that shows that Australian Aboriginals have the highest rate of death from heart disease and the lowest cholesterol while Switzerland has the highest cholesterol and the lowest rate of death from heart disease.

  • This Oped from the New York Times shows that while statins seem to reduce death from heart disease they do not do so by lowering cholesterol. It suggests “There are numerous other ways in which statins might be effective. They reduce inflammation, which is now considered a risk factor for heart disease.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/opinion/27taubes.html?_r=0

  • So why not take statins – well it turns out that Cholesterol is vital for the functioning of the human body and statins have numerous side effects such as sending men back to their doctor for viagra, kidney damage and now diabetes and memory loss http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/28/us-fda-statins-idUSTRE81R1O220120228

  • This vid by a chiropractor is a bit more chatty than I like but covers pretty well some of the issues http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qdguEurm_U&feature=related

  • It is possible that a real risk factor is sugar, especially in the large quantities and refined nature in which modern humans consume it. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/106/4/523.long

    Hope that helps and gives you some starting point for further research.

  • A humble fable for my imaginary friend (who knows far more than his keyboard will type), ulvfugl.

    The chicken has come full circle. The human chicken oppressors and murderers are now themselves the discarded, useless foul of planetary devolution.

    “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” Cried the crucified bird.

    Birds don’t get the privilege of resurrection, however. They inherit nothing except the ignorant cruelty of the more powerful bipedal species with whom they suffered the great misfortune of having shared the same slice of space-time.

    “Life among indifferent gods is perilous and often ends in perdition.” said the owl to the grey alien. “What, by the way, are your plans for the hairless apes?”

    “That’s still up in the air,” the alien replied. “No one wants to take them off our hands.”

  • Kathy, I’ve never had any luck setting the limerick form to music. I suppose the laziest way in this case would be to drop the third and fourth lines of each verse and call it the blues.

  • Or better, combine the third and fourth lines to make sixteen bars.

  • The prefixes a- and non- mean exactly the same thing: not, without, lacking.

    The most significant difference between non-theism and atheism is the primacy of consciousness in non-theism. Everything, can only be perceived, – and is – content of consciousness, but consciousness itself cannot be perceived in a like manner: it is bereft of identifying objective content, as it is the subject, never the object. Hence it is called the Void.

    Even manifestations of consciousness as perceived in other beings are objects, and the consciousness per se in each of those manifestations is not perceived. The phrase “I feel your pain” is actually “I feel a pain which I think corresponds to what I imagine to be your pain, based on your reporting or other evidence”.

    There is no god for the non-theists because any putative god’s consciousness would also be part of the same consciousness: there is not a multiplicity of consciousnesses.

    The ability to grok the difference between consciousness and the content of consciousness in any and every instance of perception is described as one of the characteristics of the enlightened.

    The corollary of such an ability is the grokking that there is no “I”. Peeling away all the identifying labels of the “I” also leaves that Void.

    Reincarnation involves the tendencies (“samskara”) reinforced or inhibited by action, and consequences (“karma”) of joy or sorrow resulting from action. It does not include the body and mind. Nor does it involve consciousness: it is the same consciousness in all sentient beings. Yet that consciousness is necessary to experience both the tendencies and the consequences.

    As noted in comments to a post many moons ago, it is like a dust devil. The sand or dust or other debris, and with it the appearance, will change as the whirlwind (tendencies + consequences) moves from place to place. The air, necessary for it all, is everywhere.

  • Corrigendum:
    Everything, can only be perceived as, – and is – content of consciousness, but consciousness itself cannot be perceived in a like manner: it is bereft of identifying objective content, as it is the subject, never the object.

  • depressive l“No one wants to take them off our hands.”

    :-)

    V. Gupta told me that people think that he does his humanitarian work, hexayurt, etc, for the sake of humans. They do not realise that he is actually working on behalf of the gods, who are just not equipped to deal with processing 7 billion souls all at once… ;-)

    http://Sea-of-Ice.deviantart.com/gallery/

  • Hence it is called the Void.

    8th jhana. there is nothing that is known, and nobody who knows it…. yes ?

    The eighth absorption (jhana) or union (yoga) with God is such that he or she cannot distinguish between either this nor that, neither self nor other, neither self nor god. This idea of such self-effacement that one cannot tell between self and other was described by Moses as “I am That, that I am.” In Advaita Vedanta almost the exact same concept is revealed in “Tat Twam Assi,” which is often translated as “I am That.” In Islamic Sufism the concept of complete self-effacement is expressed in the Arabic term “fana,” which is often translated as “annihilation.”

    In Buddhism there is still another level of absorption beyond utter self-effacement. It is not typically called a jhana. Instead the 9th stage of absorption is called Nibbana (S. Nirvana). Nibbana is typically translated as cessation. In Hinduism this is called Nirvikalpa Samadhi, or union (yoga) with a God in which there is no sensible dimension. The experience is one of utter blackness, where there is no sensible object of any kind, in any sense. One is simply awareness in a dimensionless domain.

    http://www.greatwesternvehicle.org/recognizingabsorption.htm

  • no doubt they are hidden in sub folders that made sense when I made them

    This small program could be useful:

    Agent Ransack – Free File Searching Utility

  • robin, thanks.

  • My son has the ability to be a multi-millionaire, hell, maybe even billionaire, and that is the direction I will encourage him to take, because I’ve seen the ugly face of this non-materialist side, and it’s the same ugly face as the other, without the benefits.

    I think I understand, Morocco, because I’ve paid heavily for trying to live an honest life, as you have, while watching as my inferiors in every respect, including, or especially, morally, win the prizes. Don’t let ulvfugl get to you. He calls you a whore, yet he claims to have never worked for a corporation, and yet owns several acres of land. Inherited, maybe? If so, he’s not telling.

    You’re right about people jockeying for status. It’s the same here as anywhere. Why, I do believe that any moment now the combined efforts of ulvfugl and Robin will produce a perfect, glistening pearl of wisdom.

    May I ask you to do one thing? From now on use your real name. Handles are so Web 1.0, don’t you think?

  • Uganda, first Ebola, now Marburg
    Via allAfrica.com, a report in The New Vision: Uganda: Marburg Outbreak
    Confirmed in Kabale. Excerpt:
    Health experts have confirmed an outbreak of the deadly Marburg virus in the western district of Kabale after samples from two relatives taken to the Uganda Virus Institute tested positive.
    Police Thursday stopped the burial of Boaz Turyahikayo a lecturer at Uganda Christian University and his sister Mildrid Asasira after it emerged that their family had lost four people from a mysterious disease in just a month.
    The other two are Lillian Banegura their mother and an elder brother Bernard Rutaro who passed away early this month.
    Dr. Patrick Tusiime the Kabale district health officer said a team from the Ministry of Health and World Health Organization is on its way to oversee the burial of the two victims.
    The Marburg virus was last reported in Uganda in 2008.
    http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/h5n1/2012/10/uganda-first-ebola-now-marburg.html

  • NRC Whistleblowers: Risk of Nuclear Melt-Down In U.S. Is Even HIGHER Than It Was at Fukushima
    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/10/nrc-whistleblowers-higher-risk-of-nuclear-melt-down-in-u-s-than-fukushima.html

  • Paul Chefurka has an insightful article on Carolyn Baker’s site:

    http://carolynbaker.net/2012/10/20/climbing-the-ladder-of-awareness-by-paul-chefurka/

    Paul posts here every so often I believe.

  • A person could go directly to Paul’s blog as well:

    http://www.paulchefurka.ca/

  • Morocco, not the response I was expecting, I must say. Paranoia is the wisdom of the outlaw, but I like to think “from orthonoia through paranoia to metanoia.” You mentioned mushrooms the other day. I grew a few using the tried and trusted PF Tek method a few months back. I have to say I’m no longer young enough for whatever they still have to teach me, though I certainly learned a lot the first time I took them in Vancouver in 1997. I walked into the public library, saw a book with an intense black and red cover lying on the table, cracked open the pages, and read this:

    My agony and aloneness, my sense of total incapacity, my wish to purify myself with suicide — it’s a thirst for renewal, a shedding of these pieces of my old body. A desperate measure, and I get stuck in the destruction over and over, ruining all my projects and relations because no seed can grow because I have never been good enough, there is no ground I can trust.”

    As William Irwin Thompson observed in Darkness and Scattered Light, “A university can provide you with a library, but what makes the book you are not looking for fall off the shelf into your hands to give you the material you need is not understood by any university.”

  • ulvfugl wrote: “There’s isn’t any ‘someone’ who experiences nirvana.”

    Actually there is; otherwise there would be no Nirvana. Something or someone has to experience everything — otherwise there is Nothing. I wrote ‘something or someone’ for a reason — the individual may not exist, but Consciousness exists, or nothing would be experiencing anything. I am aware, therefore I am.

    I still stand by everything that wrote in my previous comment. I have studied Buddhism and Hinduism a great deal, and I am aware of their similarities and the wide variety of sects or schools. The fact is that many Buddhists (Ambedkar being one of the most historically famous) have claimed that there is no Soul and no God in Buddhism.

    To say that there is no Soul and no God is the same as saying that there is no Consciousness. But without a Consciousness or Experiencer, there is no experience — Nothing.

    Advaita teaches that the individual Soul is a conditioned Consciousness and the Realized Soul becomes part of the Supreme or Universal Consciousness. So actually the Soul is impermanent, and therefore unreal; if that is what a Buddhist means by saying there is no Soul, I agree with that. Only the Universal Consciousness is real.

    ulvfugl wrote: “I see it as the Buddha being a Hindu, and that belief being prevalent at the time, and it’s a good way to behave in a moral fashion, to tell them that they’ll get a better or worse rebirth next time, if they morally upright, Bit like the Christians idea that you’ll go to heaven/hell if you’re good/bad.”

    Certainly Buddhism emerged from Hinduism, and I know of at least one scholar who thinks he can identify the specific scriptural antecedents of Buddhism in Hinduism. Reincarnation was a part of Buddhist teaching from the very beginning.

    I agree with the explanation that Robin Datta gave above — which agrees with essential Buddhism, with Advaita, and with some other philosophical traditions. Robin Datta explained it very well.

  • MK : …because I’ve paid heavily for trying to live an honest life, as you have, while watching as my inferiors in every respect, including, or especially, morally…

    and this is how you illustrate your morality and honesty ?…

    He calls you a whore, yet he claims to have never worked for a corporation, and yet owns several acres of land. Inherited, maybe? If so, he’s not telling.

    what a slimy, passive-aggressive smear that is.

    I don’t ‘claim’, I make a statement of fact.

    You’ve gone through all my comments of several years on Prieur’s forum, looking for ammunition to assassinate my character, and all you could find was that I posted a lot.

    And you came up with that garbage that I want to be ‘a guru with followers’, when the opposite is true. Perhaps you need to consider, If your judgement is so inaccurate in that instance, maybe it’s just as erroneous on all others ? I recall you claimed a sense of humour, but that soon evaporated, eh…

    Sure I own some land. In some of the most beautiful countryside in UK. A very desirable place to live. Also one of the poorest areas in Europe. For people who waste their lives being envious of others, there’s probably plenty that are envious, and many, like you, MK, full of poison and searching for fault in others rather than attending to their own faults, will try and find something they can attack. Well, fuck you.

    Every day for three years, I woke with the thought, ‘what can I do today to get this place ?’. Several times I lost it, because it was sold. But the housing market was at its lowest ever, nobody could borrow money, the sellers were desperate to get rid of it, and after three years, I was successful. By one day. And if I had failed, I’d have been totally ruined. So stuff that up your pipe and smoke it, little creep.

  • MB : I suppose if the intelligence community wanted to know who I am, they already know who I am.

    Hahahaha, effing hilarious. So the bold loud-mouthed brat trembles in fear, because the men in black are after him… if they’re looking for ‘intelligence’ they’re not going to find much in your skull are they. You could always appeal to your ‘israelis’ to come over and help you, no ?

  • I became a Advaitist when I was a teenager, and for all of my adult life the word Soul meant “impermanent, illusory individual self” and the word God meant “Universal Consciousness.”

    I have an Atheist friend who always got annoyed whenever I used the word God, until I explained to him that to me, the word God means “Universal Consciousness.” Then he said “I wish you’d told me that earlier. Even as an Atheist, I might believe in a Univeral Consciousness.”

    I’ve read books and articles about Buddhism which said that Buddhism is a form of Atheism, and that Buddhists do not believe in a Soul or a God. That always struck me as ridiculous, because I don’t see how experience can happen without Consciousness. Without an Experiencer, there is no experience.

    But perhaps the disagreement between myself and the Buddhists who call themselves Atheists is semantic, like the misunderstanding between me and my Atheist friend about the meaning of the word God. When Buddhists say there is no Soul and no God, I have assumed that they meant there is no such thing as Consciousness — which I regard as a preposterous notion.

    Thank you, Robin Datta, for showing me that my disagreement with the Buddhists who call themselves Atheists might be semantic, rather than philosophical.

  • USA-EVIL : ulvfugl wrote: “There’s isn’t any ‘someone’ who experiences nirvana.”

    Actually there is; otherwise there would be no Nirvana. Something or someone has to experience everything — otherwise there is Nothing. I wrote ‘something or someone’ for a reason — the individual may not exist, but Consciousness exists, or nothing would be experiencing anything. I am aware, therefore I am.

    Not so. Look, it’s moksha, ‘blown-out candle flame’, void, nothingness. When you insist that something or someone must experience or know it, that’s just an artefact of language. For all other experiences there is a knower and a known. For nirvana there is no knower and no known. When experienced, in deep meditation, as nirvikalpa samadhi, there is no knower and no known until one re-merges and a knower re-appears. I have spent long periods on that threshold, days, weeks, in out, in out, because it is one of the most interesting of all things to study. The experience seems to instantly evaporate, like a dream, and be unavailable to memory. So I thought, if I train my memory, and somehow keep it operative, perhaps I can go further, discover more..

    ‘I am aware, therefore I am’, yeah, that’s good. So, the aware student enters the meditation, goes through the exercises to focus and concentrate single-minded-ness, like concentrating light with a magnifying glass, going deeper and deeper, no sense of body, of weight, of surroundings, breath almost ceases, until nirvikalpa samadhi is found. Then there is no longer any meditator doing meditation. There is no awareness. There is nothing.

    Then one emerges, purified, changed at a deep level, even if only slightly. And if a person persists with this practice, over years, it begins to blend into all aspects of their daily life, their being. As in The Ten Bulls.

    I still stand by everything that wrote in my previous comment. I have studied Buddhism and Hinduism a great deal, and I am aware of their similarities and the wide variety of sects or schools. The fact is that many Buddhists (Ambedkar being one of the most historically famous) have claimed that there is no Soul and no God in Buddhism.

    I am glad you are knowledgeable. It all depends upon what a speaker means by ‘soul’ – that can of worms again – and by ‘God’, another can of worms, and by Consciousness… which evades definition…

    How can these terms be usefully defined, so that they can be discussed ? That’s not easy.

    To say that there is no Soul and no God is the same as saying that there is no Consciousness. But without a Consciousness or Experiencer, there is no experience — Nothing.

    I don’t think so. This is a problem of semantics, how these words are distinguished and defined. People use them in very different ways, talking about very different things.

    Advaita teaches that the individual Soul is a conditioned Consciousness and the Realized Soul becomes part of the Supreme or Universal Consciousness. So actually the Soul is impermanent, and therefore unreal; if that is what a Buddhist means by saying there is no Soul, I agree with that. Only the Universal Consciousness is real.

    Yeah, well, if I’m understanding you, conditioned consciousness, the ‘me’, the sense of self, the person who is seeking God, or Enlightenment, or The Grail, or whatever, the Atman.

    And the Universal Consciousness, which is Brahman, which is everywhere in everything. And in Nirvana, the two are unified, no longer any perceptible distinction or separation. Yeah ?

    So actually the Soul is impermanent, and therefore unreal

    Well, it’s real enough whilst you’re still alive and kicking. If you are still aware that you have one. Most people seem to lose them. Heck, most people don’t even know they have a body, just watch the way they move about. But, yes, it is transitory, ephemeral, it comes to an end, so in that sense it is not permanent.

    But, like the depth psychologists, the various schools have analysed soul exhaustively and meticulously, mind, memory, etc, etc, everything that they could find, to discover the characteristics of all the constituents. There are many differing views, probably many thousands, and some emphasise one aspect, some another.

  • USA-Evil, look, these kinds of arguments will never ever be resolved by left brain analytical reasoning and discourse. It’s like discussing whether water is wet or not, and trying to describe the sensation of wetness with words. You just do it, jump in, splash about. There’s no need to try and prove or disprove with ‘little mouth noises’ or marks on a computer screen.

    The Buddha’s final teaching was to not believe anything he said unless you tested it and found it to be true for yourself. Then you know, and all the opinions in the world no longer matter.

  • I’m certain you are right, USA-Evil, the differences are semantic, there is enormous confusion, the Tower of Babel, everyone saying more or less the same thing in different tongues…

    I don’t know much about Advaita, or I’d use it’s specific terminology, but what I described above as nirvana, or the union of atman and brahman, is also described in taoism, where the two opposites, yin and yang, in this case, the knower and the known, are transcended and unified, thus self and universal consciousness become one, called tai chi or wu chi, or whatever, I think there are various equivalent terms, but they all amount to much the same thing, translated something like Supreme Ultimate. Because that’s as far as anybody can go.

    It means that there is no longer any individual self, one’s consciousness has changed, the mind is still, anything that happens is the whole universe happening… but this is a practical thing, not a theoretical thing. I mean, it can be a theoretical thing too, for academics to write books about, but all rather pointless unless one actually dies it.

  • ‘dies it’ ? hahahaha, happy accident, just as true as intended ‘does it’.

  • That’s the reason that few people achieve/discover/find Supreme Ultimate. They are afraid. To enter the final stages of nirvikalpa samadhi means that the ego dies, vanishes, and people are scared to let go. You have to let go of absolutely everything, for no reason at all. Dogen calls it jumping off the hundred foot pole. It’s much the same reason why some people have bad trips on entheogens, which tend to produce experiences of ego-death, and people resist that and try to cling on, thus and freak themselves out.
    Zazen is much gentler than acid and mushrooms and so forth. You first learn to reach extreme bliss and serenity, which cushions the process, and as you do it over months, the meditation changes your whole brain and how it functions, as proven by the science via scans.

  • That always struck me as ridiculous, because I don’t see how experience can happen without Consciousness. Without an Experiencer, there is no experience.

    For the triad of experiencer, experiencing and experience there has to be some distinction among the three. Even the word “consciousness” is an object of thought, a pointer to some”thing”. With regard to what the word attempts to grasp, there is no other; no other than “It””Self” – again a descriptive shortcoming, resorting to concepts of “it” (contrasting with “not-it” and “self” (contrasting with “not-self”).

    Where there are no identifying descriptors, resort to terms such as “Nothingness”, “Void” and even “Non-existence” are sometimes used. The significance of each such term as understood can differ by as much as night and day.

  • The literal meaning of the word “Nirvana” (Nibbana in the extinct Pali and the extant Bengali) is “extinguishing” or “putting out”. It seems equivalent to oblivion to a world of identifiers, conditions, relationships, characteristics and descriptors. A world that is the only world to all too many.

  • .

    The most elegant statement of void would be a blank comment, but wordpress does not permit that, language does not permit that, but in painting we could have the background, the Universe, as pure white, and the sitter, the portrait of the soul, also depicted as nothing but pure white, or maybe 4’33” for piano…

  • The difference between nibbana and what most people would probably think of as oblivion, someone who is unconscious, anaesthetized, is that the meditator has gone through and intense and disciplined procedure, focussing all attention and awareness into one brilliant spark, and it is that spark which is carried into nirvikalpa samadhi, where it is finally extinguished. By intense training you can remember that you have been there, but you cannot take memory itself there. Memory is switched off before entry. In fact, everything is switched off before entry, hahahaha, nothing can be carried with you, not even self…

    The Cloud of Unknowing is perhaps the best exposition of this in the Christian tradition, but its fairly crude when compared with buddhist and hindu texts.

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

  • The last bit is something like a parachutist jumping out of a plane into freefall, but you have no parachute, you just let go, and…

    If there is any intention, or trying to achieve something, or a reason for doing it, it won’t work, because that means there’s still a trace of ‘me’, of self… you have to be absolutely in the now, not behind or in front, breathing almost ceases, but very naturally, like falling asleep.

    I’ve done so much of this. I was obsessed with it. I’m not recommending to anyone, but mixed with drink and/or drugs is interesting, because the final bit starts to spin, a vortex, a whirlpool, a galactic spiral, kinda thing… no idea what that’s about but it is interesting.

    It’s so close to death, to non-being, to dissolving into whatever it is that is the source of all that exists, but it’s a return ticket, you come out of it, and there you are, sitting on your cushion in front of the wall. In eternity, hahaha…

    And when you can do this, any time, any place, at will, then you leave it all behind. It’s no big deal. Nirvana is Samsara.

  • The Roberts talk, linked by BC Nurse Prof, is a good start. Here’s a longer stab at the science of climate change impacts, by Joe Romm. It looks like he’s intent on keeping it current, with yearly updates.

    https://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/10/14/1009121/science-of-global-warming-impacts-guide/

    I don’t think it’s as dire as Guy paints the situation but it’s pretty damned terrifying anyway. And, as Guy often points out, the science doesn’t yet incorporate feedback loops, as not enough is known about how to incorporate them but, overall, they are likely to accentuate the problem (I know, understatement).

  • As with the “Prosperity Gospel” so with “Pollution Prosperity”:

    http://earthjustice.org/blog/2012-october/on-40th-anniversary-clean-water-act-faces-toxic-times

    On 40th Anniversary, Clean Water Act Faces Toxic Times
    Congress abandons citizen interests for ‘pollution prosperity’

    “Forty years ago today, against a backdrop of flaming rivers, dying lakes and sewage-choked beaches, our politicians reached across the aisle to pass the Clean Water Act—a law aptly described by the New York Times’ Robert Semple as “a critical turning point” in rescuing the nation’s waterways from “centuries of industrial, municipal and agricultural pollution.” The primary goals of the law were simple and bold: to stop using our nation’s waters as open sewers and end the discharge of water pollution.

    This wonderful, landmark law flourished under three decades of bipartisan support, reining in torrents of industrial and municipal discharges, and restoring health to waters great and small across the land.

    But some 10 years ago, the clean water tide slowed as polluters gained traction in Congress; and two years ago, with political collaboration at an end, the tide turned. As a result, loopholes and lax enforcement led to the fouling of beaches and rivers with toxic slime, the filling thousands of miles of Appalachian streams with the rubble of mountaintop removal mining; and have allowed dozens of toxic coal ash ponds to exist unregulated among our communities.

    The current Congress seems especially eager to prove that pollution means prosperity. Many representatives are joined in an effort to weaken and even wreck the Clean Water Act, particularly by attacking the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to enforce it.”
    (there’s more)

    Where do they expect to find clean drinking water if they ruin it all? Is this the continuation of the ecocide we’ve been living for the past century?

    Tony Weddle: Joe Romm has a great site (climate progress) and i read it daily to keep up with all that’s going on environmentally. Between financial collapse, climate change (and effects), resource depletion, spreading diseases (as Kathy C. points out), and all the pollution we’re foisting on the planet, we can’t expect this “civilization” to continue for much longer than about a decade or so (at most, in my opinion). Sad, isn’t it? Humanity doesn’t even care enough to keep itself alive!

  • Extraordinary story, MB. It reads like something in Camus’s The Outsider.

  • Tony you wrote “I don’t think it’s as dire as Guy paints the situation”

    If humans won’t or can’t do anything to stop positive feedbacks in the climate I think we should HOPE it is as dire as Guy or the folks at Arctic News paint it. About 120 million humans are born each year, 350,000 per day. Every day that extinction is put off (or die off to a sustainable number if you don’t except extinction as possible) means that many more people will come into being in a world that is becoming increasingly difficult for humans to live in. Those 350,000 new humans will face hunger, starvation, nuclear plants going Fukushima, more war, social disruption, unconstrained epidemics etc. The sooner either massive dieoff or total extinction happens the less people will have to suffer and die an early death.

    So I am optimistic that the 2031 early date for extinction by Arctic News is accurate and vs say 2051 date would save about 2 billion people from being born only to die young in a world in chaos. https://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/p/global-extinction-within-one-human.html

    Meanwhile folks I continue to urge anyone who is fertile to get a vasectomy or tubal. It would be a great unkindness to bring a child into the world we have made. Birth control will disappear with collapse. Rape will increase.

  • ulvfugl: I agree with everything that you wrote, except this: “Not so. Look, it’s moksha, ‘blown-out candle flame’, void, nothingness. When you insist that something or someone must experience or know it, that’s just an artefact of language. For all other experiences there is a knower and a known.”

    To say that moksha is nothingness is a contradiction. If nothingness is the Reality, then none of this is happening, and neither Life nor Being exist — there can be no process, no discussion, and no state of Samsara or Nirvana.

    While it’s true that the Reality is beyond language and even thought, that does not mean that the Reality is without Reality.

  • If moksha is nothingness, then everyone has it, whether they know it or not, and there is nothing we can do to achieve it. Nor is anything lost, or gained, or changed, by achieving it. In short, if nothing exists, there is nothing to do and nothing to be gained by any effort, incuding the effort to attain moksha.

  • USA-EVIL : To say that moksha is nothingness is a contradiction. If nothingness is the Reality, then none of this is happening, and neither Life nor Being exist — there can be no process, no discussion, and no state of Samsara or Nirvana.

    While it’s true that the Reality is beyond language and even thought, that does not mean that the Reality is without Reality.

    No, it’s not a contradiction. Who said anything about ‘Reality’ ? Why do you drag that concept into what is already a difficult area ?

    Think of moksha as being the ground of being, the background to all that exists, in so far as it was possible to explore by means of one’s own body and mind ( as opposed to modern science and physics.)

    I don’t know why you’d say that Reality is beyond language and thought. Perhaps you’d define how you are using the word.

  • USA-EVIL : If moksha is nothingness, then everyone has it, whether they know it or not, and there is nothing we can do to achieve it. Nor is anything lost, or gained, or changed, by achieving it. In short, if nothing exists, there is nothing to do and nothing to be gained by any effort, incuding the effort to attain moksha.

    Precisely. And thus one discovers that Samsara is Nirvana, and Nirvana is Samsara. But still it is necessary to learn that for oneself. Everyone and everything has buddha nature, as I think Robin said above somewhere. Nothing is found, or achieved, or gained, nothing is lost. But self and all, are unified, and something is changed. Like some zen guy said, water that has been boiled looks just the same as water that has never been boiled.

    Did you watch the video I posted before, of brain scans of meditators ? In only a few months the brain is changed. What is gained by moksha is the Great Liberation, the Buddha’s Enlightenment, and only one who has done it can know what that means.

  • Anti-austerity riots in U.K. now – how soon before it hits here? (My bet is right after the election the shtf and ALL of next year is horrible).

  • Family orchard ransacked by hungry mobs after owners generously offer undersized peach crop free to public

    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/037612_orchard_hungry_mobs_free_food.html#ixzz29x7vLP5v

  • MB : ..look for the code words that have been repeated here by ulvfugl, then tell me it’s coincidence.

    Morocco Obama, you appear to be becoming increasingly unstable, you can’t smear me one way, so you try to smear me another. You’re obviously a mess, you’ve illustrated that here several times with your inflammatory accusations and spiteful remarks toward almost everyone.

    ‘Code words’ ? Go fuck yourself, I have absolutely no connection with you, or anything to do with you, in any way, whatsoever. So get a grip and stop indulging yourself in madness.

    Whether your story is true, or some self-aggrandizing narcissistic fantasy, I have no way of telling, but remember yesterday ? You were going to advise your son to go into the corporate world and become a billionaire ? How do you reconcile that with this paranoid shit you are telling us ? And anyway, why do we need to know about your dirty laundry ? Wouldn’t you be better off seeking therapy somewhere ? Or going for a ride on your bicycle.

  • Riots in UK ? Where are you getting that from ?

  • Kathy C

    I have a friend who purchased a peach farm in S Carolina who believes that he will be able to escape the violent chaos of collapse by hiding out on a farm not 30 miles from urban centers. I’ve told him that once food scarcity hits, no one is safe.

    See Colin Turnbull, The Mountain People

    “There is no better or more heartbreaking example of the alienation of the human capacity to love than the story of the Ik tribe of Uganda. Colin Turnbull in his book Mountain People documents how Milton Obote nationalized traditional hunting lands as national park for European tourists, and prevented the Ik from hunting in their traditional hunting grounds. After a couple of generations of starvation conditions, the Ik, originally a cooperative, child loving tribe, became a group of selfish cruel people who don’t trust or help anybody. They would desert children at an early age and one story Turnbull tells is how after abandoning a baby to be eaten by wild animals the animals were hunted an [sic] eaten.”

    https://www.amazon.com/Mountain-People-Colin-M-Turnbull/dp/0671640984/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350842149&sr=1-1&keywords=the+mountain+people

  • Erm, depressive lucidity, I think that that story has been rather thoroughly debunked. Turnbull had an agenda, and misrepresented the situation. I and others investigated the story, there’s an awful lot of stuff to wade through, but I’m fairly certain that Turnbull’s version is completely unreliable, that was my own conclusion anyway.

    Not to say that your general point is wrong. If there’s no food available, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if people start eating each other in a matter of days… ho hum…

  • By Reality I mean Existence. Existence is Self-evident. Existence is not Nothingness.

    ulvfugl wrote: “Did you watch the video I posted before, of brain scans of meditators ? In only a few months the brain is changed. What is gained by moksha is the Great Liberation, the Buddha’s Enlightenment, and only one who has done it can know what that means.”

    Your above statement is an affirmation that Existence exists and is not Nothingness. If Existence were Nothingness your above statement — and everything else that we experience — would be meaningless and also non-Existent.

    Speaking of specious word-play, the idea that Existence is Nothingness is contradictory nonsense.

  • Peach orchard family offers free peaches; 90% of pickers are polite and respectful, 10% are disrespectful vandals. Result: Peach orchard family vows to never give charity again. It sounds like the Peach orchard family didn’t take reasonable precautions when they invited the public into their orchard. They’ve created an excuse for themselves to never be generous again. Not very bright or very charitable.

  • USA-EVIL : By Reality I mean Existence. Existence is Self-evident. Existence is not Nothingness.

    ulvfugl wrote: “Did you watch the video I posted before, of brain scans of meditators ? In only a few months the brain is changed. What is gained by moksha is the Great Liberation, the Buddha’s Enlightenment, and only one who has done it can know what that means.”

    Your above statement is an affirmation that Existence exists and is not Nothingness. If Existence were Nothingness your above statement — and everything else that we experience — would be meaningless and also non-Existent.

    Speaking of specious word-play, the idea that Existence is Nothingness is contradictory nonsense.

    I already explained to you that arguing about moksha, enlightenment, etc, using left brain analytical reasoning is a complete waste of time. It’s not some sort of cerabral mathematical logic, it’s an experience, like swimming.

    I don’t know much about advaita, or I’d talk to you in it’s terms, but in buddhism, the whole thing comes as a package, the Noble Eightfold Path, as I’m sure you know.

    Wisdom
    Right view
    Right intention
    Ethical conduct
    Right speech
    Right action
    Right livelihood
    Samādhi
    Right effort
    Right mindfulness
    Right concentration
    Acquired factors
    Right knowledge
    Right liberation

    I’ve been talking about Samadhi, particularly nirvikalpa samadhi and nirvana.

    Of course existence exists. When have I ever denied that ? It would be absurd to deny it. But existence changes, like when you are asleep, its not the same as when you are awake. And if you meditate you go through different levels of consciousness, until you reach ‘nothingness’, a domain without time or space or knower or known.

    That’s not denying the existence of existence !

  • I’m afraid I have to agree with uvula on this one, MB. I’m sceptical that he can have a hand in any conspiracy against you for the simple reason that the man is unemployable.

  • ulvfugl wrote: “Of course existence exists. When have I ever denied that ? It would be absurd to deny it. But existence changes, like when you are asleep, its not the same as when you are awake. And if you meditate you go through different levels of consciousness, until you reach ‘nothingness’, a domain without time or space or knower or known.
    That’s not denying the existence of existence!”

    If it’s a “levels of consciousness,” the Buddhists shouldn’t call it “nothingness,” because where there is Consciousness, there cannot be Nothingness. Show me a domain without a Knower, and I’ll show you a domain that does not exist — because if it did exist, no one would ever know it.

  • Beingness is Knowingness, and both are Self-evident. Non-existence or Nothingness is a contradiction, because it takes a Being or a Knower to even imagine it.

  • kathyc: I read the article you posted about the peach orchard. I wish I could dematerialize my self at will (like Antonia in the movie Antonia’s Line)when the moment comes for the last comment.

  • USA-EVIL : If it’s a “levels of consciousness,” the Buddhists shouldn’t call it “nothingness,” because where there is Consciousness, there cannot be Nothingness. Show me a domain without a Knower, and I’ll show you a domain that does not exist — because if it did exist, no one would ever know it.

    The buddhists don’t call it ‘levels of consciousness’, I’m calling it that, so that it is accessible to Western english speakers.

    I can’t ‘show you a domain’ anymore that I can hand you Enlightenment. It’s something that one has to experience for one’s self.

  • USA-EVIL : …because it takes a Being or a Knower to even imagine it.

    Nobody needs to imagine it, nobody needs to discuss it, both are a total waste of time. It’s an experience.

  • MK, it seems that you have opted to become another source of infantile stupidity on this blog, no shame, no self-respect, no dignity, snide remarks that I’d expect from an adolescent… pitiful really. When are you going to grow up ?

  • MB, you are a pathetic mess, go sort yourself out, ffs.

  • .
    Ghost Story—Just in Time for Halloween!

    ‘Twas a dark and stormy night,
    The kind that makes you feel fright,
    When the earthquake hit
    Where a fault plane was split
    And began everybody’s plight.

    Some rods, by the quake thus goaded,
    Fell from where they’d been loaded:
    They rumbled and tumbled
    And crumbled all jumbled—
    Then the whole thing exploded.

    For those nearby, when it struck,
    The whole event didn’t suck:
    No one felt sick—
    Vaporization works quick—
    The rest of world had less luck.

    So back where this story began:
    Getting scared was part of the plan;
    But don’t worry your ass,
    This won’t come to pass—
    Unless there’s a quake in Japan.

  • Amy Wagner, Abrupt Climate Change

  • “Nobody needs to imagine it, nobody needs to discuss it, both are a total waste of time. It’s an experience.”

    Okay, fine. So burn all the Sutras; they’re bullshit. And whenever the Buddha, the Scholar, or the Teacher speaks — tell them to STFU, because they’re a bunch of prattling idiots. Every word ever written or spoken on the subject is bullshit; it cannot ever be anything but bullshit.

  • Please don’t address me, ulfugl. I am not at all taken in by you and your lofty claims to enlightenment and have no desire to communicate with you. Your unemployability is evident from your own statements. I think we’ve both read Michael Bywater’s Big Babies: Or, Why Can’t We All Grow Up? but I’m not the one still engaged in an extended adolescence on the Dharma trail with no career to speak of and no woman in the house.

  • I do find it odd that people who claim that words and language are useless spend so much of their time consuming and producing words and language.

  • MK : Please don’t address me, ulfugl.

    Don’t tell me what to do, little creep. You don’t have the courage to address me directly, you show your sneaky passive-aggressive character by snarky remarks behind my back.
    I’m not the slightest bit interest in your opinion of me, you’ve shown yourself to be just another idiot, whose judgement is not worth taking seriously. Shame on you.

  • USA-EVIL : Okay, fine. So burn all the Sutras; they’re bullshit. And whenever the Buddha, the Scholar, or the Teacher speaks — tell them to STFU, because they’re a bunch of prattling idiots. Every word ever written or spoken on the subject is bullshit; it cannot ever be anything but bullshit.

    How do you work that out ?

  • USA-EVIL : I do find it odd that people who claim that words and language are useless spend so much of their time consuming and producing words and language.

    Words and language are wonderful. How else can we communicate over the internet ?

    But there are limits. You describe to me, in words, what it feels like to be cold, or to feel wet…

  • What were you saying the other day, MB, about uvula’s propensity for violence?

  • More infantile stupidity.

  • Michele, ah Antonia’s Line. Great movie eh? Well short of de-materializing, perhaps we could wish for a nice quick brain aneurysm? But thanks to the unprotected sex our parents indulged in we are here eh? We can be glad that reincarnation is just a foolish idea for those who cannot see death as the great deliverer but instead fear it :) What is to be feared is not death, but dying (which is rarely easy) and living through horrific times before dying.

  • Poaching has become a major part of organised global crime and so well organised that it threatens to wipe out some of the world’s five remaining species of rhinos. Two of them, the Javan and the Sumatran, have been reduced to populations of only a few dozen each. Populations of the other three – black, white and one-horned rhinos – are also threatened.
    “The illegal trade in wildlife is now the third largest criminal industry in the world and rhino poaching plays a key role”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/oct/20/vietnam-illegal-trade-rhino-horn

  • Not at all. Robin linked the other day to an excellent series of videos by a fellow called Marshall Rosenberg, on non-violent communication, and I recognise you as the jackal you are, wolfbird, or screech-owl or whatever the hell you call yourself. I ought to be doing something more edifying with my newly acquired knowledge of jackal-talk than to point a finger at you, but I’m not the whirling dervish affecting to be enlightened, am I?

  • MK : …but I’m not the whirling dervish affecting to be enlightened, am I?

    No, you’re just one more so-called adult stuck in suspended adolescence, and proud to be an idiot.

  • I’m sure you’ll extricate yourself, MB, though never entirely, per Jung’s counsel that we are all Christians, whether we like it or not. In the meantime, have a good laugh at uvula, now reduced to hurling back the barbs thrown at him in confusion and frustration.