Justice, American style

by Sherry Ackerman

I was summoned to jury selection a few days ago. Now, you have to realize that this is about the fifth time in a year that I’ve been called to come in. I live in Siskiyou County, California — which has a human population density of 7.2 people per square mile. It’s real rural up here (that’s an understatement). So, if one meets the qualifications for jury duty, you get called upon pretty often. I don’t know, though, why they even bother to call me anymore, because it always goes just about the same. I show up, answer (under oath) their questions and, ultimately, get sent home as “unsuitable for jury service.” And, that’s precisely what happened again this time.

I arrived, summons in hand, to the County Courthouse. Yes, that is the same Siskiyou County Courthouse where $3 million dollars worth of historic gold nuggets were heisted last February. So, you can imagine what the security is like there now. After being told that having my sunglasses pushed up on my head constituted a security threat, I got the idea that the whole day might be a little rough.

There had been about 100 people called. Since Siskiyou County covers 6,278 square miles, some of these people had driven 2 or 3 hours to get there. The first order of business was to inform everyone that the County no longer offered a day stipend or mileage for jury selection. And, gasoline costs $4.47 a gallon for regular. These are not wealthy equity refugees, either. Siskiyou County people work — hard — for a per capita income of $28,447 a year. That’s $5,000 above the national poverty level. There are those here that don’t work. But, it’s not because they are financially independent. It’s because the official unemployment rate here is 18.8%.

So, with no day stipend, no mileage reimbursement and no lunch, more than 100 people settled into the task of “doing their civic duty” at their own expense. As it were, I was seated toward the back of the room and got to hear dozens of other people answer these questions before it was my turn. People swore loyalty to The Man by testifying that they would, of course, allow a police officer to stop and search them on the street for no apparent reason. I mean, after all, the police are there to protect us, right? My head was reeling. Really? I knew it wasn’t going to go well if I got asked the same question.

When it was finally my turn to be questioned, they asked me if I had ever had any bad experiences with the “system.” I thought about it for quite a while before answering (under oath) that I actually couldn’t remember any good experiences that I had ever had with the “system”. The judge didn’t look too happy about this answer and asked me to explain. Well, they asked …! So, I told them that I thought that the “system” was broken — profoundly so — and that it couldn’t, by its very design, tender anything recognizable as “justice”. You could have heard a pin drop in that old Courthouse. The bailiff’s back stiffened up and the judge looked stern. I knew that, in actuality, a whole lot of the other jury candidates agreed with me. But, they would sooner have died than admitted it. They were too busy pledging allegiance to The Man to step out on a limb.

The judge, though, wasn’t quite finished. She wanted me to detail a couple of examples of just how the “system” was broken. This was easy. The California prison system holds 143,643 prisoners in state prisons designed to hold 84,130. From 1982 to 2000, California’s prison population increased 500%. The recidivism rate, which has long been among the highest in the country, clocks in at 67.5 percent. This clearly, I responded, was not a “corrections” model, as nothing was being “corrected.” When I reminded her that California is a “three strikes” state that still has a death penalty, she shrugged her shoulders. I, on the other hand, mumbled something about barbarism.

I was just gearing up to pitch my ideas about rehabilitation and vocational training when the judge banged the gavel down and excused me from service. She announced that I might be “lenient” toward the defense and fail to uphold the letter of the law with sufficient rigor. I replied that I would certainly “see the defendant as a human being.” She wasn’t sure where to go with that comment.

I knew where to go with it: out the door. I felt a surge of relief as I left the room. I was working under a whole different operating system than all of those potential jurors who felt that “it was an honor” to serve in the “system”, or who were willing to be searched without cause, or who were OK with eating vending-machine items for lunch. Somehow, I couldn’t muster up much enthusiasm for burning 5 or 6 gallons of petro-fuel to drive to the County seat to hear a case that was already pre-determined in the “systems” mind.

On the way out, I asked the bailiff why pushing my sunglasses up on my head constituted a security threat. He scowled and told me that “hats weren’t allowed in a Courtroom.” Well, of course. And, I left feeling like I had just completed a little romp through Wonderland … because, as the Cheshire Cat so aptly pointed out, “we’re all mad here.”


Sherry Ackerman, Ph.D., author of The Good Life: How to Live a Sustainable and Fulfilling Lifestyle, is a socially engaged philosopher who believes in doing “philosophy on the streets”. For more information, visit her website at www.sherryackerman.com.


The pre-premiere of Mike Sosebee’s film, Somewhere in New Mexico Before the End of Time will be released at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, 17 November 2012 at Vegas Roots Community Garden, 715 North Tonopah Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada. A question and answer period will follow.


Since summer, this website has become an unpleasant place to provide intelligent commentary, and a few who comment here apparently do so only in an attempt to draw others into senseless arguments. In the spirit of starting anew, I am asking for a voluntary return to civility. If civility in this space cannot be achieved voluntarily, some combination of moderation and blocking will be instituted. Comments intended to insult, instead of inform, will not be posted unless they are particularly clever and intended or generated by me. I don’t care who “started it” (to quote the childish line invoked in this space to rationalize continued childish behavior). Please send all hate mail to guy.r.mcpherson@gmail.com.

To clarify, because apparently it’s necessary: Off-topic comments are perfectly fine. Bringing to this arena personal attacks is not fine.

Comments 229

  • tvt
    Agree with everything you say.
    Except, have reached the point of shrugging acknowledgement,
    has been a long journey to this:
    It is the way it is.
    And this makes me love and adore life as such even once more.

  • Yorchichan you wrote “It is more difficult to turn one’s life around in the West at the moment than it has been for a long time due to the collapsing economy. Even in the “good times” for some people change would not have been an option. I don’t know you well enough to know if you want to change or can change. I was only trying to help.”

    Not to pick on you but your assumption is that it is the one who is suicidal or depressed that needs to change, rather than the people or circumstances around them. The very words “know if you want to change” again are words that a depressed person might read as “I am a bad person or I wouldn’t be depressed”.

    I speak here now not about TVT because I don’t know him enough to speak for him, but I will speak of myself because that is the person I know, as much as any of us can really know even ourselves.

    I used to let my family use me because I wanted to be good and have everyone love me. Pent up inside where they could not see was a deep anger about being used. When with counseling I began to change and refuse being used, my family wanted the old me back even though that meant me being depressed. I have broken off relationships with the worst of the lot. But for one who let themselves be used so easily it is hard to keep fending off the new users who consciously or not recognize a usee. Sometimes standing up and fending them off triggers the old guilt feelings so much that it seems it would be better to just do or be who they want me to be, yet I know that reverting is worse. The “Nos” that others are able to say with ease, cost me. Were it not for my current husband, I would not be here.

    I remember as a teen and young adult that I loved reading so much it was hard for me to put a book down, and among the authors I enjoyed was Leon Uris. Thus I had read many books about the sad state of human existence – The Good Earth by Pearl Buck was a revelation as to some of the trials in the lives of people of China. The Grapes of Wrath the same for the US. 1984 opened up the world of torture to my young mind. Milo 18 by Uris told how the Polish gentiles would not fight with the Polish jews even to save themselves. About half way through Uris’ book on Berlin, I suddenly couldn’t take it any more. Man’s inhumanity to man overwhelmed me, I put the book down mid read and for probably 20 years never read a book, novel or non-fiction that had anything to do with the dreadful nature of humanity.

    Depression for people who don’t have rose colored glasses, for people who can see the world as it is, is a valid and honest state. 3 billion people live on less than $2 a day. Our country is allowing hard fought for rights slip away over an obvious lie – the official conspiracy of 911. Climate change is poised to bring most life on earth to an end. I found for 20 years I could look away, but once you have absorbed the truth about the state of the world you cannot put on the rose colored glasses. You cannot unsee these things once seen.

    per wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depressive_realism
    Depressive realism is the proposition that people with depression actually have a more accurate perception of reality, specifically that they are less affected by positive illusions of illusory superiority, the locus of control and optimism bias.

  • tvt,


    “I hate belonging to a herd of morons” is just so great.

    If I had been drinking coffee it would have come snorting out my nose!

  • Pessimist by policy, optimist by temperament — it is possible to be both. How? By never taking an unnecessary chance and by minimizing risks you can’t avoid. This permits you to play out the game happily, untroubled by the certainty of the outcome.
    ~Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

    Live each golden moment as if it were eternity — without fear, without hope, but with a sybaritic gusto.
    ~Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land


  • By “feelings of inferiority” we mean not only inferiority feelings in the strict sense but a whole spectrum of related traits; low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, depressive tendencies, defeatism, guilt, self-hatred, etc.

    ~Feelings of inferiority
    Industrial Society and Its Future

    When you put your hand on the stove and you feel pain, you reassess the wisdom of your choice and reverse course.

    When you put a collectivist ideology in your head and it makes you feel psychological pain, what do you do?

  • The private worry of US Marines in Afghanistan
    AP foreign, Wednesday September 21 2011

    Associated Press= FORWARD OPERATING BASE JACKSON, Afghanistan (AP) — It is a conversation, the military surgeon says, that every U.S. Marine has with his corpsman, the buddy who is first to treat him if he is wounded by an insurgent’s bomb.

    The Marine says, “‘If I lose my manhood, then I don’t want to live through it,'” according to Navy Lt. Richard Whitehead, surgeon for 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, which is fighting in one of the most treacherous combat areas of Afghanistan.

    “They ask us not to save them if their ‘junk’ gets blown off,” said Whitehead, using a slang term for genitals. “Usually, we laugh. We joke with them about it. At the same time, you know that you’re going to treat them anyway.”
    This is a world of fear, resolve and dark humor that is mostly hidden from accounts of the human cost of the war in Afghanistan. American troops who patrol on foot in bomb-laced areas know they might lose a leg, or two, if they step in the wrong place. But for young men in their prime, most unmarried and without children, the prospect of losing their sexual organs seems even worse.

    Whitehead said: “It’s one of the areas we can’t put a tourniquet on.”

    Clearly the will to live is tied directly to the circumstances of life. And what constitutes unlivable circumstances vary from person to person. And since each life belongs to the person living it, it is theirs to say what conditions make when their inevitable end should come.

  • Circumstances can force your hand. So think ahead!
    ~Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love


  • Kathy C

    This article raises the ridiculousness within the war industry to a new high. Soldiers more afraid of loosing their balls (and giving up their life then) than with what they are doing to a people in yet another country, bombing and killing them, whilst defending, yeah, whatever..

    But look there’s fantasy in this. The sickness industry can join in, find so ever concerned doctors to diagnose another sickness, the “fear of balls loss disease” and treat this with another outdated pharmaceutical drug so them soldiers can keep on marching without fear.

    None the less,

  • The whole soceity, the whole culture, is mentally ill, otherwise it would not be destroying the future of its own children and grand children. What could be madder than that ?

    A sane soceity, a sane culture, would be cherishing this Earth, not trashing it. The ones who are convinced of their own sanity and rationality are maddest of all, the leaders who lie and cheat and exploit everything and everyone for their own advantage, for power and for money.

    None of us asked to be born. We did not have a choice to enter this world. To insist that people must stay here, even if they find it intolerable and unbearable, is just adding additional brutality and cruelty to a brutal and insane system.

    Unfortunately it is often the nicest, most sensitive, gentlest ones that find living the hardest. The callous ignorant idiots don’t even notice most of what goes on.

    That doesn’t mean I am encouraging anyone to take their own life. I had a friend who did the Samaritans ( suicide helpline ) for several years, which meant having a phone beside the bed all night and being woken by calls from distressed people and spending hours listening to them. He said that the variety was enormous, there is no single typical individual. Teenagers worried about exams, businessmen going broke, people having illicit affairs, drug addicts and alcoholics, people with incurable diseases, rich, poor, educated and uneducated, on and on. Just a slice through the whole population.

    I’d recommend anyone who finds life unbearable to follow the Buddha’s path, because it wholly concerned with suffering and how to find a way through suffering. But, ultimately, IMO, any individual is the owner of their own life, and if they decide to end it, then that’s their own choice and right, and should be respected.

  • To insist that people must stay here

    Nobody is insisting “people must stay;” to assert such is a straw-man fallacy.

    But there are those who persist in advocating Mandatory Melancholia, and disparage those who doesn’t share in the collective “powerlessness, depressive tendencies, defeatism, guilt, self-hatred” of Leftist ideology.

    if they decide to end it, then that’s their own choice

    I concur with your individualist perspective.

  • Nobody is insisting “people must stay;” to assert such is a straw-man fallacy.

    Not a straw man in UK. Nobody here has the legal right to take their own life, and anyone assisting or advising them to do so is committing a crime. Ergo, the soceity insists the individual remains alive, regardless of their suffering or circumstances.

    It’s not as bad as it used to be, but that has only changed during my life time.

    “Self-murder” became a crime under common law in England in the mid-13th Century, but long before that it was condemned as a mortal sin in the eyes of the Church.

    For a death to be declared a “Felo de se”, Latin for “felon of himself”, an old legal term for suicide, it had to be proved the person was sane.

    If proven, they were denied a Christian burial – and instead carried to a crossroads in the dead of night and dumped in a pit, a wooden stake hammered through the body pinning it in place. There were no clergy or mourners, and no prayers were offered.

    But punishment did not end with death. The deceased’s family were stripped of their belongings and they were handed to the Crown.


  • “Self-murder”

    If you’re merely critiquing archaic United Kingdom law, then I concede you have a valid point; however, suicide is presently legal in the UK according to this article:

    Suicide is legal, helping someone to die is not. Must the law be changed?
    The Independent (UK) | Sunday 28 June 2009

  • Suicide being ‘legal’, i.e. not illegal, is not the same thing as ‘having the legal right’. If a person wants to end their life, they have to have the means to travel to Switzerland.


  • “I’d recommend anyone who finds life unbearable to follow the Buddha’s path”

    While I acknowledge the sincerity of religious proselytizers, the Path of Jesus is just as valid a practice to ease suffering, and much more accessible in Western culture.

    Access to quality suffering management practices is an issue, just as accessibility is in healthcare.

    “Religion is the opium of the people.” ~Karl Marx

    Suits me. Pass me a hit on the Jesus(or Buddha, hardly any difference anyway) pipe that isn’t physically addictive.

  • I’m not proselytizing buddhism. I’m addressing the problem of human suffering, which is something entirely different. The whole message of the Buddha, the entire reason for his teaching, is/was concerned with the problem of human suffering. It is a rigorous and thorough philosophical analysis of why humans suffer and what they can do about it.

    You may claim that there is ‘hardly any difference between Jesus and Buddha’ and that ‘Christianity is more accessible’, but I do not accept either claim.

  • You may claim that there is ‘hardly any difference between Jesus and Buddha’ and that ‘Christianity is more accessible’, but I do not accept either claim.

    1. It’s not my personal claim that there is hardly any difference between Jesus and Buddha; I reference scholarly material, as summarized here:


    Fundamentalist adherents to either tend to discount the many parallels, while they accentuate the differences. That’s fine; it is difficult to be inclusive.


    2. Count the Christian churches (or practicing Christians) in Wales. Count the Buddhist temples (or practicing Buddhists.) If my guess is correct, Christianity offers much better accessibility.


  • A person can be a Buddhist and a Christian, and a Buddhist and a Marxist. The Buddha’s teaching is not incompatible with other beliefs, because what the Buddha was primarily concerned with is human suffering, not with setting up some sort of exclusive club for members only.

    Wales is a post-religious soceity, as is the UK generally. If someone wishes to learn about buddhist teaching, there are hundreds of buddhist centres, it’s all easily available to anyone, just as much as Christianity and many other belief systems. Anyway, all that’s needed is an internet connection.

  • I watched the video on suicide. there is one thing with which i do not agree. it is when they are in the park and he says that he will die but the rest (nature around him at that moment) will continue to live. I know it is not true. the first unmistakably remarquable change in my environment that i personnaly noticed was the presence of strange clouds veiling the sun in the sky from air traffic almost permanently from 2007. then, there was the first huge outbreak of sickness (fungus) in trees in 2008 that got worse every year since. this to say that in the video, because i am trained to recognize the very symptoms of mass destruction of trees by tropospheric ozone caused by burning fossil fuels (that is fast happening all over the world), I saw those symptoms every time there was vegetation filmed in the video. tropospheric ozone acts by weakening the immune systems of the plants to the point where they become vulnerable to all forms of insects and deseases (because insect’s job is to dispose of sick and dead trees).

    now, i see the signs of decay in every image filmed anywhere in the world and it is progressing very very fast at this point. the million trees of all kinds and ages that fell from Sandy did not fall from the wind (that was far from strong enough to do the massive damage it did to the trees), but from combined winds and rot (it is absolutely clear in the thousands pictures taken from the storm, the trees are down on their sides with no roots attached and often empty and rotten inside).

    the damage is done, the roots ARE going or GONE, and the trees are condemned. short term. short short term. Gail from wit’s end (new jersey) sent me pictures of leaves taken a few days ago and no way those trees are going to produce leaves next spring. can we humans continue to live with no trees?

  • the Buddha was primarily concerned with is human suffering

    It is the same with Jesus, who is not significantly different from Buddha.


    Which is why The Buddhist symbol of the eight-spoked wheel is also found in Saint Peter’s Plaza in Vatican.

    The various religions founded after civilization became established to alleviate the suffering of civilization all have the same root, and are about as different as the several breeds of dogs: Collies and German Shepards may think they’re different, and they are slightly different, but not by much.

    Which is why Daniel Quinn (author of Ishmael and The Story of B) writes:

    “To you, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism look very different, but to me they look the same. Many of you would say that something like Buddhism doesn’t even belong on the list, since it doesn’t link salvation to divine worship, but to me this is just a quibble. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism all perceive human beings as flawed, wounded creatures in need of salvation, and all rely fundamentally on revelations that spell out how salvation is to be attained, either by departing from this life or rising above it.”

  • “all that’s needed is an internet connection”

    Should one’s spiritual path to reducing suffering be dependent on oil?

    “It’s just not sustainable…”

    Power, Pollution and the Internet

  • Gail from wit’s end

    She’s quite perceptive.

    continue to live with no trees

    About as well as the survivors where the great cedar forests of Lebanon and Syria once stood, what was once a Fertile Crescent.

  • FRANKFURT — Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2011 rose 2.5% to 34 billion tonnes, a new record, Germany’s renewable energy institute said on Tuesday.

    The IWR, which advises German ministries, cited recovered industrial activity after the end of the global economic crisis of recent years.

    “If the current trend is sustained, worldwide CO2 emissions will go up by another 20 percent to over 40 billion tonnes by 2020,” IWR director Norbert Allnoch said.


    Say, Ozman, how’s the weather down under right now? Hot? Are the wheat growing regions of Oz getting enough rain?

  • Buddhism was founded 2,500 years ago, upon a Hindu base that was several thousand years older. To talk about it as a ‘response to The System’ show a complete lack of understanding of historical context. The human suffering that buddhism addresses is the perennial human suffering that people have endured ever since they evolved.

    …the adherents are of course going to claim that their faith alleviated their suffering.

    ‘Faith’ does not have any place in buddhism. Buddhism is empirical and pragmatic. The final teaching of the Buddha was, to the effect that, ‘Try and and if it doesn’t work, reject it. Don’t accept anything just because I said it’.

    What’s more, there is solid indisputable scientific support for buddhist claims that has been demonstrated for decades, so anyone dismissing buddhism is simultaneously dismissing science.

    Anyway, I am not the least bit interested in trying to change the minds of Morocco Bama or Ivy Mike. They are both welcome to suffer as much as they want. My recommendation regarding buddhism was directed towards anyone who contemplated suicide as a result of intolerable suffering.

  • Paul Beckwith’s latest blog post:


  • “perennial human suffering”

    That is a Hobbesian viewpoint popular within agricultural civilization; however, it is contradicted by anthropology and history.

    They suffer, although perhaps only fractionally… ~Marshall Sahlins, The Original Affluent Society

    “The life of an Indian is a continual holiday…” ~Thomas Paine

    There was a great increase in human suffering upon man’s descent into agricultural civilization, which is why salvationist religions—Hinduism Buddhism, Judaism, and derivatives—were all invented about the same time.

    I like Daniel Quinn’s take on the history of religious evolution within civilization:

    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.

    by Daniel Quinn
    Excerpt from the book, “The Story of B”

  • Bernhard you wrote “This article raises the ridiculousness within the war industry to a new high. Soldiers more afraid of loosing their balls (and giving up their life then) than with what they are doing to a people in yet another country, bombing and killing them, whilst defending, yeah, whatever..”

    But in fact some of those soldiers are concerned about what they are doing to people in another country. But unlike Vietnam, once in the service they can be deployed multiple times – and many are in only because they could not get jobs elsewhere. There are options for getting out of duty that some take, but the military doesn’t make it easy.

    Suicide Is Now the Leading Cause of Death Amongst Active-Duty Soldiers http://gawker.com/5937258/suicide-is-now-the-leading-cause-of-death-amongst-active+duty-soldiers In other words among the deployed more die at their own hand than from the “enemy”. And the rate for vets is now about 18 a day. Some number of these are because of what they did while in Iraq or Afganistan.

    I am in no way defending our military, I am just saying that the soldiers are often people caught up in a machine they don’t know how to exit. Not dissimilar to all of us caught up in a civilization we don’t know how to exit.

  • “Ivy Mike…welcome to suffer as much as they want.”

    Who perennially complains of suffering more, you or me?

  • The System is Civilization….and it’s been with us Humans for 10,000 to 12,000 years now.

    And how long have humans been suffering ? From illness and disease, from bereavement and loss, from hunger and fear, from dissatisfaction, loneliness, envy, jealousy, etc, etc ?

    Maybe a million years, depending how ‘human’ is to be defined and how ‘consciousness’ is to be defined.

    Civilisation may have begun with the first cities, in Mesopotamia, 8 or 10 thousand years ago. It didn’t spread to the rest of the Earth for a long, long time, and the system, The Matrix, as now exists, the nexus of globalised industrialism, capitalism, science, imperialism, population overshoot, etc, is much more recent still.

    To compare present day with India 2,500 years ago, is patently absurd and has no bearing upon the teachings of the Buddha in any case.

    Take away civilisation and billions of people will be dead in short order. The only thing worse than that, in terms of suffering, is to keep it going, until the biosphere collapses and humans and most other life forms become extinct.

    It’s not a good v. bad, or a right v. wrong, it’s either the one catastrophe or the other.

  • Bernhard: This is a wonderful description, echoed by Jared Diamond re: New Guinea highlanders. The only question I have is how they kept their population numbers from getting too high for their environment to support. In New Guinea, they did it by infanticide. Do you have any idea about this?

  • Who perennially complains of suffering more, you or me?

    What do you think ?

    My main complaint here – which has not been ‘perennial’, you obviously don’t know what the word means – has been directed towards trolls and idiots who cannot conduct an intelligent adult conversation, but who post self-indulgent infantile nonsense and inflammatory jibes to deliberately wreck this blog.

  • Bernhard, thanks, yes, I have read it before.

    So, how does a person find that sort of pleasurable carefree existence, in modern oppressive social circumstances that lead people to become depressed and even suicidal ?

    That is the problem that I was speaking to, by suggesting the buddhist path.

    Those people have it naturally as part of their cultural heritage. Nobody I have ever encountered in this country, and in Europe, has that as their legacy. So, to find their way to bliss and serenity is much more difficult.

  • ulvfugl “trolls and idiots…self-indulgent infantile nonsense and inflammatory jibes”

    Thanks for once again proving who cannot courteously debate a subject that they bring up, and who stoops to insults.

    Even Guy finally figured you out, and removed one of your worst posts last thread.

    But I wasn’t talking about that sort of contrived “suffering” that you normally complain about nearly every day I’ve been posting in the comments.

    If you think that you can postulate claims about your religion in public without being critiqued in public, perhaps it is you “who cannot conduct an intelligent adult conversation.”

  • BC Nurse Prof, re Jared Diamond, Annie on my own blog, recently posted several pieces where Diamond is accused of many distortions and errors, to the extent, I believe, that legal action has been taken against him. For example :


  • Thanks for once again proving who cannot courteously debate a subject that they bring up, and who stoops to insults.

    Even Guy finally figured you out, and removed one of your worst posts last thread.

    But I wasn’t talking about that sort of contrived “suffering” that you normally complain about nearly every day I’ve been posting in the comments.

    If you think that you can postulate claims about your religion in public without being critiqued in public, perhaps it is you “who cannot conduct an intelligent adult conversation.”

    I have, as yet, said nothing discourteous, not have I insulted anyone.

    Nor have I said anything about ‘my religion’. I have recommended, to anyone who suffers, that they study what the Buddha taught. People are completely at liberty to accept or reject that suggestion.

  • Nice article, Sherry. The way you handled your summons to jury duty was revolutionary.

  • To claim, as Morocco Bama did, that buddhism is a ‘faith’ response to ‘Civilisation’, or as Ivy Mike did, that it’s ‘almost the same as Christianity’, is obviously untrue and incorrect.

    As I have already stated, and there’s masses of easily accessible documentation and videos to confirm, the claims of the Buddha are supported and substantiated by modern neuroscience, so any rejection is a rejection of the scientific evidence.

    Neither Morocco Bama nor Ivy Mike are being required or obliged to accept anything that I say, nobody is compelling anyone to ‘become a buddhist’.

    Both individuals, as all other people, are free to suffer as much as they choose. For those who are weary of pain and find life too hard, the Buddha provided a map, a way, a path. Here is a very brief synopsis.

    “I teach suffering, its origin, cessation and path. That’s all I teach”, declared the Buddha 2500 years ago.

    The Four Noble Truths contain the essence of the Buddha’s teachings. It was these four principles that the Buddha came to understand during his meditation under the bodhi tree.

    The truth of suffering (Dukkha)
    The truth of the origin of suffering (Samudāya)
    The truth of the cessation of suffering (Nirodha)
    The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering (Magga)

    The Buddha is often compared to a physician. In the first two Noble Truths he diagnosed the problem (suffering) and identified its cause. The third Noble Truth is the realisation that there is a cure.

    The fourth Noble Truth, in which the Buddha set out the Eightfold Path, is the prescription, the way to achieve a release from suffering.


  • Teh Interwebs discusses religion:


  • BC Nurse Prof, thanks for the smile. I maintain that ‘religion’ is a spurious category. It was invented by eurocentric academics, in 18th and 19th centuries, as they peered out at the rest of the world and tried to make sense of, to them, the rather strange and bizarre behaviours they observed amongst other cultures.

    For Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, the term ‘religion’ makes no sense. There is only Dharma, or its equivalent, which is the totality of the flow of life.

    I think it is much better to think in terms of belief systems, or similar more or less synonymous, terms, worldviews, cosmologies, mind sets, meta-narratives, etc.

  • Religion is like a penis. It’s fine to have one and it’s fine to be proud of it, but please don’t whip it out in public and start waving it around.

    But if you do whip it out in public, please don’t tell me that’s not what it is.

    ulvfugl one minute: “Nor have I said anything about ‘my religion’”.
    ulvfugl the next minute: “bbc.co.uk/RELIGION/RELIGIONS/BUDDHISM/beliefs/fournobletruths_1.shtml”

    Oh well, par for the course:

    ulvfugl 12:01 pm: “…trolls and idiots..self-indulgent infantile” nonsense…”
    ulvfugl 12:21 pm: “…nor have I insulted anyone.”

  • I think it will be clear to everyone who reads this blog, that you, Ivy Mike, are intent upon baiting me, rather than engage in constructive dialogue.

    Anyone who reads this thread can see that what I have said here, is a recommendation to people who are disheartened, discouraged, despairing, even tempted to give up and kill themselves, that there is an option available which is to take a look at the Buddha’s teaching. That is because I feel an obligation of compassion towards those who in distress.

    I have not said anything about ‘my religion’, because that is the truth. I have said NOTHING whatsoever about ‘my religion’.

    I have been pointing people towards classical buddhism. That is not ‘my religion’. If someone happened to ask me about my personal belief system, I would not refer them to the BBC definition of buddhism. That is NOT ‘my religion’.

    I have shown you the respect of replying to your comments. As you are not willing to reciprocate in good faith, I shall return to my previous position and ignore your replies henceforth.

  • you, Ivy Mike, are intent upon baiting me

    You need to take personal responsibility for your own public conduct.

    ulvfugl 12:01 pm: “…trolls and idiots..self-indulgent infantile” nonsense…”
    ulvfugl 12:21 pm: “…nor have I insulted anyone.”

    Ah, you’re going to ignore me. What is this, your Public Proclamation XVI by now? Can you stick to it this time?

  • I thought that the Lehman’s thing, as outlined there, was fairly well understood, as common knowledge ?

    Commentators have been predicting a financial implosion for a few years now, yet somehow the system staggers on and on.

    As I understand it, that’s because it is basically a Ponzi scheme, like pyramid selling, of the kind that Amway do. Money, in one of its guises, is just tokens, and the people at the apex of the pyramid can create as many as they want, out of nothing.

    So, they keep on sending more tokens down the pyramid, which only finally collapses when people finally see them as worthless…

    So long as someone, somewhere, still wants dollars, or yen, or euros, etc, they still retain some value….

    Yes, there can be some more collapses of major banks, and a great many people can be ruined, but the rich and powerful want to keep it going, so they’ll keep patching it together, whatever it takes… until they can’t… no ?

  • I concur, ulvfugl. The cruise ship struck the iceberg, and the band will keep playing until the ship is completely submerged.

  • The whole financial system is a game of claims like musical chairs. There are 100 chairs, and 100 people with about 1,000 paper claims on those chairs.

    Still, the 100 chairs remain. There are plenty for everybody to sit down and rest. Problem is when 10 players claim 90 of the chairs. Then the riots start and the chairs get broken.

    But who needs chairs anyway?

  • I concur, ulvfugl. The cruise ship struck the iceberg, and the band will keep playing until the ship is completely submerged.

    Ah, so to extend the metaphor, floating further off topic, the ‘superior person’ ( of the I Ching ) would see the situation with perfect clarity, and resort to a more appropriate craft, such as, one of the most sublime, exquisite, efficient and elegant of all human technologies ever, the kayak…


  • kayak = fallout shelter on a rural homestead

    Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, cautioned over NATO’s expansion…”risen sharply…conflicts may develop into a full-scale war involving nuclear weapons.”

    Great metaphor, ulvfugl; 36″ of good earth between you and ionizing radiation is sublime indeed.

    “It is 5 minutes to midnight.” ~Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

  • This is also off topic. The essay is excellent, but speaks for itself, so there is not much to say about it.

    Anyway, here is a link to a clip of a U.S. Senator talking about on the possibility of the climate warming by 8 degrees:


    This is the most or really the only left-wing member of the US Senate, so he is a bit of an outlier, and its rare to see his views on a major network.

    However, I have to admit that he talks as if the consequences of an 8 degree rise was “more hurricanes”. I was pretty sure it meant the extinction of the more complex forms of life on the planet!

  • BC Nurse Prof,


    They are serviceberries here. Same thing. Some people call them Sarvis berries. We pick them every year and use them for pies, jam, frozen on our cereal, and popped into our mouths right off the bushes. We had an especially good crop this year (all wild of course). I had not heard that anyone would be selling domesticated cultivars. It seems at first blush like someone from this area buying buying a Douglas fir to plant in the yard when the forest is filled with them. Of course, on second thought, all of our fruits came from the wild originally. I remember reading how the locals of Maine reacted when the Nearings planted hybrid blueberries for a cash crop, i.e., “What would you do that for when blueberries grow wild everywhere?” Your “Northline” variety sounds great. Our serviceberries sure aren’t sweeter than blueberries, nor as juicy. My wife would say they aren’t anywhere near as good tasting either, although I really like them. Just because the are the same size and same color as blueberries there is no reason to think they should taste same, but people always make that comparison–same with huckleberries.

    Michael Irving

  • the virgin terry,

    As you know, without predators herbivores likely would breed until they had over populated their habitat and would all starve. Also, by culling the weak and sick the predator strengthens the genetic makeup of the herbivore population. Extending the term from a biological to a social context changes it. Equating the nature of predators, such as lions (who kill to eat and are part of the natural functioning of an ecosystem) to the rapaciousness of humans (who are smart enough to know better) is not an exact fit. A member of the 1% that you might describe as being a predator behaves more like a weasel in a hen house, killing every one of the hens–not to eat, just for the sake of killing. That kind of killing, by the weasel, is outside the norm for nature’s predators. The behavior of the predatory 1% should be considered outside the bounds of morality for humans and they should be shunned. Instead we give them the reins and allow them to control our destiny, likely ending in our extinction.

    Speaking of which, did you note that Obama is crowing about the 17 % reduction in emissions below 2005 levels we will achieve in the US by 2020 (suspending the idea that none of us will make it to 2020). That is a whopping 3% reduction from 1990 levels. How is it that the UK is already 18% below 1990 levels and expects to be 34% below by 2020 (again suspending the idea of an extinction event). Obama also noted that nothing he does will negatively effect the economy, i.e., if it starts to sting a little we’ll back off our commitment.

    Whoopee! we’re all gonna die. (Country Joe and The Fish)

    Michael Irving

  • @Michael Irving:

    “did you note that Obama is crowing about the 17 % reduction in emissions below 2005 levels we will achieve in the US by 2020”

    He knows it will be because consumption will be, and has already been, drastically reduced by economic distress. But he’ll want to take the credit for the reduction in emissions while still blaming the distress on the Republicans. Huh??

    To BC NP and MI: I had a serviceberry pop up in my back yard during the initial makeover into a permaculture system. I concur with your wife, Michael, that what is on my bush is not something I would ordinarily seek out. However, famine can rapidly change my perspective. Also, I discovered that there are several chokecherry trees growing on the north side of my property, as well as raspberry canes I did not plant. The birds are busy.

  • This study considers the relationship between a global systemic banking, monetary and solvency
    crisis and its implications for the real-time flow of goods and services in the globalised economy. It
    outlines how contagion in the financial system could set off semi-autonomous contagion in supply-
    chains globally, even where buyers and sellers are linked by solvency, sound money and bank
    intermediation. The cross-contagion between the financial system and trade/production networks
    is mutually reinforcing.

    It is argued that in order to understand systemic risk in the globalised economy, account must be
    taken of how growing complexity (interconnectedness, interdependence and the speed of
    processes), the de-localisation of production and concentration within key pillars of the globalised
    economy have magnified global vulnerability and opened up the possibility of a rapid and large-
    scale collapse. ‘Collapse’ in this sense means the irreversible loss of socio-economic complexity
    which fundamentally transforms the nature of the economy. These crucial issues have not been
    recognised by policy-makers nor are they reflected in economic thinking or modelling.


  • In my opinion, one of the greatest books written about suicide, is Camus’s “The Myth of Sisyphus”. For those who haven’t read it, the summation is simple: Life is nothing more than an endless series of suffering, hence Sisyphus. Camus concludes that the only way out of this suffering, is to relish in whatever boulder one decides to indefinitely push uphill.

    The obvious difference between today, and the early 1940’s when the book was published, are the factors contributing to “the absurd”. Something tells me, that if Camus were still among the living, where the contributing factors to our current absurdity, now include an additional five billion people, non-linear rates of change, triggered feedbacks, ocean acidification, nuclear proliferation, a collapsing Arctic……….etc, basically, every contributing factor to planetary collapse being in near exponential ascension, leading to the possibility of near term extinction (forgive the acronym NTE), he might have an entirely different perspective.

    So, if the locus of this blog, is that of NTE–and honestly, how can it be anything else at this point–regardless of whether or not we agree, the topic of suicide, is going to be a permanent recurring theme. And rightly so. So we had all better get use to wrapping our minds around one of humanities greatest stigmas.

    Suicide, as with literally everything in existence, is going to be utterly redefined very soon. I don’t think anyone here is advocating killing ourselves at this point, but if one does “accept” that our fate is truly sealed–and the degree of that acceptance is sine qua none for this debate–then our near term existence, will eventually constitute one of three options: Predation, starvation or suicide. And of those three, the latter, in almost in every regard, the most humane option. My personal motto: Kill yourself before you’re directly responsible for killing someone else.

    What I am almost desperate to see, is a conversation about what signs others are looking for, in determining whether they accept NTE or not.

    Guy dropped a series of mind bombs, and I believe many of us are still shell shocked, given we’ve been forced to concluded a similar scenario over the last couple of years ourselves.

    One of many associative dilemmas with NTE, is attempting to remain productive, while having to contemplate the near end of everything. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m having a terrible time focusing on………………..well, anything else in my life!

    I personally don’t even know if Guy subscribes to NTE in less than twenty years. I know there are some who believe this to be true, but put it at a later date (2050). Some see it as inevitable but refrain from assigning an exact date. Some see it as possible, but see no need to contemplate such a dire scenario without more definite proof. Like all things, the spectrum is wide, with limitless righteous cause to criticize others opinions. And given the severity of the subject, this is probably a good thing.

    If ever we were going to seriously debate an issue, I can’t think of another event of more import than the reality of NTE.

    So, all I can say at this point, is I am more than willing to accept any and all evidence proving NTE to not be an increasing reality, as well as, all evidence that NTE is going to occur within the next twenty years or so. Because I am in complete agreement with TVT, as things now stand, this interim reality is becoming impossible.

  • ….this interim reality is becoming impossible.

    More impossible for some than for others….

    Zionists bombing civilians with jet fighters, filling the hospitals with dead, injured and traumatised men women children, all over again… no electricity, tanks invading across the border, Israelis phoning people to get their GPS coordinates so they can be zapped with drones…

    Indy live stream from inside Gaza, somewhat sporadic due to difficulties with internet connection and explosions all around…


  • How long till we say goodbye?
    Till we give up and no longer try?
    How much more pain
    Will our lives contain
    Before we all finally die?

  • Predation, Starvation, or Suicide

    Our lives depend on predation:
    Refraining, we end in starvation;
    If those don’t look good,
    The other choice would
    Be to end it with self-termination.

  • Well said…….Benjamin D.

  • Meanwhile in other places babies are being bombed again – we have been insulated from such carnage, but the possibility of war on our land again is real.

    “Journalist’s 11-month-old Son Killed in Gaza Strikes”

    per washingtons blog this am
    Petitions from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas residents have accrued at least 25,000 signatures

  • “Kill yourself before you’re directly responsible for killing someone else.”

    Do you think you can weasel out of being directly responsible for the CO2 coming out your tailpipe the CO2 from the coal plant to run your computer right now, that killed all those people in Haiti with Superstorm Sandy?

    “Every person on the planet is implicated in this wicked situation.” ~Steven Earl Salmony (November 3rd, 2012 at 9:54 am)

    • im·pli·cat·ed (n.) shown to be involved in a crime
    • You won’t quit filling up at the gas station.
    • You won’t quit demanding electricity.

    “Be to end it with self-termination.” ~BenjaminTheDonkey (November 15th, 2012 at 10:21 pm)

    “Well said,” say you? What’s stopping you? Really, can you name what’s stopping you? Do you not have the courage of your own convictions?

  • Daniel “My personal motto: Kill yourself before you’re directly responsible for killing someone else.”

    Good motto

    How to remain productive if you believe in NTE? Plant annuals and skip planting trees? In fact all through our lives we should be balancing the now with the long term as the length of our individual lives is always uncertain even though the fact of our eventual death is certain.

    I find my life is very little changed since finding out extinction may well be nearer and more certain than I thought. I plant less each year, not because I have given up due to NTE but because my body complains more and the well is in danger of drying up if I water too much.

    Make the most of your moments – NTE or not, its a good plan, for our lives are far more fragile than we think –

    A suicidal woman who jumped from an eighth floor window crushed a passer-by to death in an horrific accident.
    The woman hurled herself from the balcony in Viladecans, near Barcelona, and landed on top of a 50-year-old pedestrian who was walking below.
    The jumper died instantly, and the man, from the Ukraine, died in hospital shortly afterwards from his injuries.


    As for NTE from climate change, I think by next summer we will see what taking the carbon sequestered in the ground and putting it in the air is going to do.

  • Story this morning on Google illustrates again how unexpected the Grim Reaper can be

    MIDLAND, TEXAS A freight train slammed into a parade float carrying wounded veterans on Thursday, killing four people and injuring 17 others as the float tried to get through a West Texas railroad crossing on its way to an honorary banquet, authorities said.

    Survive the immoral wars only to get killed in a parade…..

  • /barcelona-man-dies-crushed-by-a-suicidal-woman/

    ♫ Eye on the TV
    ’cause tragedy thrills me
    Whatever flavor it happens to be

    Part vampire, part warrior
    Carnivore and voyeur
    Stare at the transmittal
    Sing to the death rattle

    La, la, la, la, la, la, la-lie

    I need to watch things die
    From a good safe distance

    Vicariously I, live
    while the whole world dies
    Much better you than I ♪

    TOOL – “Vicarious”

    So why the interest in Near Term Extinction?

    Because NTE is the best THRILL yet for the vicarious tragedy seekers.

  • Arctic Methane: Why The Sea Ice Matters

    Featuring: James Hansen, Natalia Shakhova, Peter Wadhams & David Wasdell

    In this twenty minute documentary, four of the worlds leading authorities on climate change science explain what is going on in the Arctic and why losing the summer sea ice poses such a risk to humanity:


  • thrill /THril/ (n.) A sudden feeling of excitement and pleasure: “the thrill of contemplating Near Term Extinction”. (v.) To have a sudden feeling of excitement and pleasure: “the train wreck thrilled her.”

    People talk of getting their “DOPAMINE RUSH” from chocolate, music, the stock market, the BlackBerry buzz on the thigh, tragedy — anything that imparts a small, pleasurable thrill.

    Like Guy says, “it’s all been said.” But they just can’t stop saying it, because the daily reiteration of Near Term Extinction is a daily dopamine rush.

    A daily feeding on tragedy.

    ‘Cause I need to watch things die.
    Vicariously, I.
    We all feed on tragedy
    It’s like blood to a vampire.

  • • BDSM Porn: a sadistic thrill from others’ suffering.

    • War Porn: even better thrill, especially cheap Palestinian babies.

    • Extinction Porn: the nearer term, the more thrilling; the most intense dopamine hit of all!

  • @ Daniel: Your Three Choices was the inspiration, and I thank you! :)

  • Daniel’s Three False Choices aren’t “inspiration,” unless you’re quite literally thrilled <to death.

    If you desire a more palatable choice, read the following:

    Most commonly, people starve to death surrounded by edible matter — just no food. There is the essential issue, because “food” is not just edible matter, it’s the culturally constructed subset of edible matter. That mismatch has garnered a small fortune for the producers of “Fear Factor.” Bull’s penis is entirely edible — it’s even a high-priced delicacy consumed by China’s elites to bestow sexual potency — but it isn’t “food.” At least not in our culture.

    One of the examples of this mismatch are simply astounding. The single most famous example of cannibalism in American history is that of the Donner party — a group of 31 settlers bound for California who became trapped in the Sierra Nevadas in the winter of 1947. Though fed with pine nuts by Paiute Indians earlier in their travels, they still resorted to cannibalism and ultimately starved to death — in the middle of a large pine grove. They used the pine trees for fuel and even cut many of them down, but they never used them for food. It simply never occured to them: pine nuts and pine bark simply were not “food.” Pine had long been a “starvation food” for Native Americans in these areas; when all else failed, you could always eat the pine. It was rarely the first choice, but in desperate circumstances, it would suffice. The Donner party was desperate, and ate every “food” they could think of — even rawhide, bones and leather. But they didn’t eat things that weren’t “food” — and pine simply wasn’t “food,” even though they had been fed a meal of pine nuts a short time before.

    Thesis #28: Humanity will almost certainly survive.
    The Thirty Theses | Jason Godesky

  • Ivy Mike, the reason people who anticipate that when things get bad they might commit suicide is the same reason that people who fill out a living will don’t commit suicide. One can contemplate in what circumstances one would want to cut short their life and not do it until those circumstances occur. Living wills are popular because people are well aware of what suffering others go through because they or more often their families want them around for a while longer or go into denial about the coming death. I know people who have made living wills yet have not yet made wills for distributing their property. Despite the big death denial in this country, underneath most people know that end of life living can be nothing short of torture. Likewise climate/peak oil people are aware of how horrible life on this planet may become and thus want to talk about the possibility of skipping to worst of it. When it becomes intolerable, and what condition makes it intolerable varies person to person.

  • Normal people who make out a living will don’t repetitively go over and over and over all the grisly possibilities by which they might need their living will each and every day in a public forum.

    So anyway, what do the following Vicarious Tragedy Porn you posted have to do with living wills?


    I think you rather enjoy it; especially with your sermonizing:

    “Survive the immoral wars only to get killed in a parade…”

    So the veterans got their comeuppance, eh?

    Again, what does gloating about just deserts have to do with living wills?

    Got Schadenfreude (pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others)?

  • Mike “Again, what does gloating about just deserts have to do with living wills?”

    No I did not say “just deserts”. I meant it was ironic to have survived the war and then die in a vetrans parade. As you well know my point in both was that death can come at any unexpected time, sometimes in ways you cannot possibly expect.

    More twisting. You have toned down the obvious insults, but you insult by misconstruing what people say.

    Last reply to you, last comment by you I read.

  • @ Daniel

    What I am almost desperate to see, is a conversation about what signs others are looking for, in determining whether they accept NTE or not.

    The problem, as I see it, is defining the ‘near’ in near term. There’s a big stretch of views on that. The vast majority are all still in lalaland, following the MSM and politicians lies, ignoring the evidence.

    Of the serious ones who actually pay attention, even among the doomers, there’s quite a broad range of views. E.g., Greer, Foss, Orlov, Prieur, etc, some think it’ll drag on for decades, even centuries, seeing historical parallels with the Romans, Mayas, etc. and Diamond’s and Tainter’s ideas about the collapse of civilisations.

    There’s an important element of uncertainty, but this is how I see it :

    Economic collapse.

    We could get global financial collapse. That means the whole economic machine implodes, because of cascading bank crashes, the $600 trillion derivatives black hole, whatever.

    That would mean something like we’ve often seen before, in say Argentina, where, even if you can actually get your money out of the banking system, it becomes worthless, global trade grinds to halt. Most urban folk everywhere depend upon money to survive. Once that breaks, there’s riots, chaos, and a lot of people die, because no food, no medicine, lots of violence, etc.

    Russia recovered from that sort of collapse of the Soviet Empire, because elsewhere on the planet the system remained intact. If it were to be a truly global collapse, where all the major industrial economies imploded, it’s possible there’d never be a recovery. The complex systems for, say, building oil platforms, aircraft, computers, maintaining nuclear power stations, might be impossible to restore, because there’s likely be other disruptive disasters running in parallel.

    Or, there might be partial recoveries, a stepped collapse. It could happen, this year, next, the year after. The global money markets are basically a casino, everybody is gambling, bluffing, cheating, conning everybody else. Everybody knows that most of the chips are dodgy, but they try to make a buck and pass the crap on to the next guy, before they get caught. The big players, Wall St. and the Fed, the City of London, China, Japan, Russia, etc, all know what the game is, and know it can melt down in a cascade of unforeseen and uncontrollable events. But while the circus is still running, they play.

    Total global economic collapse, a wild guess, perhaps a billion die. So it’s not extinction. Still 6 billion to go. People out in the backwoods living on veg and chickens in some obscure mountain range, or ponies ans sheep in Mongolia, probably scarcely notice. People living from investments suddenly have no income, and nobody else can or will help them.

    Next up, revolutions and war. That gets overlain with economic collapse. Millions of hungry, angry, people with no money overthrow governments and blame other countries, and call on allies, and the whole mess gets out of control. There’s so many tension points around the geopolitical scene that some ignition is inevitable, say, India and Pakistan, or revolution in Saudi Arabia or China. Nuclear is perhaps the most dramatic, but we now have bioweapons that any kid with a PhD can cook up in a garage, that can, potentially, wipe out a few billion more.

    If/when we have the economic collapse, and the wars, then Mother Nature joins the fun, with her own collection of pandemics. But still doesn’t get us to total extinction yet. A few billion left.

    But then we put the lid on the pot, which is collapse of the biosphere. Global warming runs away with itself, meaning we get well beyond any of the very cautious and optimistic estimates that are floating around in the mainstream. The droughts, famines, floods and extreme events, getting more severe every year, are just the new ‘normal’, and then much of the planet becomes uninhabitable. Perhaps a few wandering small clans here and there amongst the crap left over form ‘civilisation’. By that time, you may as well call it ‘extinction’. Not that anybody will care either way, by then.

    The dates are the hard part. If the human population crashes soon enough, hard enough, then that slows down the climate change. But once the methane release really ramps up, that’s going to be going for centuries, and there’s no way back. Dead oceans, noxious toxic gases instead of oxygen. Very little survives.

    Whether it’s five, ten, fifteen, twenty…. whatever, years, the tough part is still facing it. Nobody wants to do it….

    I’m sure I’ve overlooked plenty of stuff that could be added, but as a rough sketch of such an appalling scenario, the detail hardly matters.

    The worst thing that could possibly happen, IS happening….

  • Kathy C. “More twisting. You have toned down the obvious insults, but you insult by misconstruing what people say. Last reply to you, last comment by you I read.”

    My sentiments exactly. All that rubbish about people here enjoying doom as porn is crass, ridiculous, and grotesque. I think everyone here is deeply effected and aware of the horror and tragedy, and I find Ivy Mike’s flippancy and distortion highly offensive.

  • Kathy C, if you were actually worried about insults, you’d nail the real insulter around here, ulvfugl. But you didn’t. That is because you’re not really worried about insults; you’re just pissed because I caught you in the following fabrication:

    You conjured the pretext of “living wills” to justify your posting Tragedy Porn that obviously has absolutely nothing to do with “living wills.”

    Go ahead, spin more excuses for the daily dopamine rush you get by posting tragedy porn.

  • ulvfugl, what does a train wreck killing veterans have to do with climate change? hmmm?

    Isn’t posting such Vicarious Tragedy Porn what is truly “crass, ridiculous, and grotesque?”

  • Couple of thoughts:

    When there is an elephant in the living room, honest folks will talk about it, thrill or no thrill.

    Running down people is just like running up stairs; it’s bad for your heart.

    Having been a farmer for 60 years, I’ve survived hell and high water. We take responsibility for our welfare and solve all problems. There are no excuses. No one else even cares. With that mentality, I can’t stop myself from looking for a way to fix this problem (predicament) or a reason why it may self correct. There must be a hole in it somewhere. So far I haven’t found it. That’s a reason some of us keep talking about it. Is there a secret door that we didn’t find yet?

    David Mc.

  • Hi David Mc,

    Is there a secret door that we didn’t find yet?

    Some people think they found one. Insulate the planet from incoming solar energy with nanoparticles in the atmosphere, and simultaneously reduce the population by poisoning them with crap that falls on them from the sky that they can’t even see.

    The missing element in that picture, is giving an antidote to the crap, to the people who you want to survive.

    Of course, if this is what is occurring, nobody is likely to admit it in public, and so it remains in the realm of paranoia and speculation, until some indisputable evidence comes out.

    Due to the severity of the situation it is mandatory to maintain public calm for as long as possible. The Earth is dying. Humanity is on the road to extinction – without the Shield mankind will die off with in 20 to 50 years. Most people alive today could live to see this extinction take place. This means that an announcement of the situation we face boils down to telling every man, woman and child on earth that they have no future, they are going to be killed. People would panic. There would be economic collapse, the production and movement of goods would collapse. Millions would die in all cities on earth, riots and violence would reduce civilian centers to rubble within days. Half of the population in dense metropolitan areas would try to leave the cities seeking ‘safety’ in the rural areas thinking that they would be safe. Those left behind in the cities would be at war with their neighbors, fighting for the remaining supplies. We would be telling the world that the world is coming to an end, and even with the Shield the chances of survival are small…..

    …..All of these factors combined have produced a scenario that in shorts boils down to the end of the world in 50 to 75 years. Even if we were to stop all emissions of pollution today, the inertia of past decades is enough to carry us over the brink in 100 years. However we cannot stop the production of pollution, to do so would mean shutting down every factory, every auto, every train, truck, ship and every household on the planet. Electricity is used to heat many homes in the Western World. The production of electricity produces fewer pollutants than heating all homes with wood or coal. Cutting our power generation abilities down to hydroelectric and fission reactors would leave a good chunk of the world in the dark. It is an impossible situation, our civilization is geared to the use of energy, take away our energy and civilization will collapse.


  • looking for a way to fix this problem (predicament) or a reason why it may self correct

    Me too—we ol’ country boys don’t just cower and mewl about suicide every day—but your attitude of bootstrap tenacity is not a popular sentiment here.

    Dave, if you want to be popular, get on the “OMG we’re all gonna die, and here’s the reason why” bandwagon.

    Unless it’s nuclear war; apparently that’s a verboten subject, since the Swedes and Swiss and Russians are way ahead of us on shelters, and have plenty of coats packed for a nuclear winter.

  • Global warming (a real threat) is like nuclear war (a real threat.)

    • With nuclear war, the right got to scare everybody, and the left poo-poo’ed the threat.

    • With global warming, the left gets to scare everybody, and the right poo-poo’s the threat.

    Round and round it goes! And that’s how two serious threats are handled in America.

  • Dave, it has been the constant of civilizations to keep solving themselves into ever larger problems until the problem is so large that it cannot be solved and the civilization collapses.

    The folks at Arctic News believe that it is too late to just reduce emissions, they propose geo-engineering including aerosols in the sky and using HAARP to break up the methane. https://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/search/label/HAARP If as some have suggested the chemtrails are an attempt to reduce or hold back global warming, then when peak oil prevents the planes from flying climate change goes into overdrive. If they aren’t augmenting the emissions from jets, we still have a problem as pollution creates on its own creates dimming which holds back temps, but particulates don’t last long in the atmosphere. On the three days after 911 when US jets were grounded a significant temp increase was documented. And I personally don’t want anyone doing one more thing with HAARP.

    You can google BBC Global Dimming to get more info on the whole issue of dimming as well as the 911 effects.

    Joseph Tainter in Collapse of Complex Societies shows how solving problems ultimately gets a civilization into trouble, and Craig Dilworth in Too Smart for Our Own Good shows in another way how solving problems gets our species in deep trouble.

  • This image, released by Nasa, was created by a supercomputer designed to model aerosols in the Earth’s atmosphere. It shows how dust, sea salt, smoke and sulphates travel.

  • constant of civilizations to keep solving themselves

    Why think of solving problems in a hierarchical/collectivist way that is the pattern of civilization?

    How about an “economizing process”?

    As Joseph Tainter writes in his The Collapse of Complex Societies: “…a return to the normal human condition of lower complexity…collapse is due to declining marginal returns on investment in complexity, it is an economizing process.

  • michele/montreal:

    Yes, the Silent Spring scenario isn’t fiction and it’s tragic. Here’s more info


    talks about the barium, aluminum and other toxic elements (and their adverse effects on humans if nothing else) used in cloudseeding by our government (and the US is not alone in this) to experiment in weather modification – a military backed and funded WEAPON.


    Why can’t I talk to those fellows in Alaska on 40 meter with my amateur radio rig when they do a moonbeam bounce?

    My gawd! People talking on HF frequencies! Radio is a conspiracy!

    HAARP QSL Card
    Well I got a QSL from the 40 meter moonbounce experiment back in January.

    I’ll wear a scarlet letter A for amateur radio operator if Kathy C insists.

  • “…911 when US jets were grounded a significant temp increase was documented…”

    Debunked here:

    We’re done

  • Judy,

    Yes, birds are busy all the time, like rust never sleeps. I get surprises all the time that must be the result of carefully fertilized packages left by the birds.

    Michael Irving

  • So is it all life goes extinct or is it most life? Life has been around 3 billion years, I hear. How many extinctions is that? My ancestors go back 3 billion years, and so do yours, who ever you are. Or did life get started several times? Is this going to be the BIG ONE?

    Let me add that having farmed 60 years I did learn that you may cheat your neighbor but you can’t cheat a cow or a plant. Nature bats last; we know that. Had to shoot a cow the other day. She collapsed due to a lack of just one mineral. It was our fault and we paid. (she did too) A reminder that a cow contains a kind of mini biosphere inside her, quite complex, and it must be respected, every detail.


  • Off-topic here, but very relevant to a preceding post at NBL:

    Clay Shirky’s take on online education, at his blog:
    Napster, Udacity, and the Academy

  • When there is an elephant in the living room, honest folks will talk about it, thrill or no thrill.

    I agree, Dave. I’m grateful that there are living rooms, virtual or otherwise, to talk in.

    Regarding talking about near-term extinction as a form of dopamine-rush thrill-seeking similar to porn: I’m sure that’s probably true for some, at least. Anything can become an addiction. I don’t think that it’s true for all. And I think it’s hard to discern what’s really going on for any one individual, in terms of their motivations and beliefs, especially in a digital environment.

    When I think about near-term extinction, or about how sudden death can be regardless of the big picture, am I getting a charge from it? The idea seems repugnant, on the surface. But if there’s a charge, this is what I experience: consciousness of mortality can lead to a deeper appreciation of the life that remains, an expansion of love and compassion, a desire to Be Here Now.

  • a desire to Be Here Now


  • Be Here Now ?

    So Morocco Bama and Ivy Mike were closet Hindus all along ! Who would of guessed ?

  • I’m just a closet Hindu,
    I hug my cows like Dave,
    They like to cud chew,
    Here grass is all the rave.

    I think we’re gonna set that magnificent verse to music and get rich in Nashville. Dave, can you pick?

  • With respect to all here, a little light relief and satire may be of use.

    Also this one is specifically dedicated to the special ‘love ‘ relation formed here over the months between Morocco Bama and ulvfugl:

    “Global Warming,” by Hannah & the Gentlemen


    An alternative title to this song:

    ‘Making Global warming Sexy’


  • No, Ivy, I did trombone a long time ago. I don’t chew or do grass and I’m not Hindu. I’m a dictator/serf, owner/debt-slave, manager/laborer, jack of all trades farmer. Never been to Nashville, either.