Kill the economy

by John Duffy

I want to start this with the written equivalent of a sigh. Not even a sigh, but a deep expulsion of exhaustion from the very core of my being. Usually I try to write with flowery prose, attempting to adorn logic and rationale with a tinge of poetry. Not today. My feeling as I sit here is that I shouldn’t have to be sitting here. What I’m writing shouldn’t need to be written, because it’s already been written. In fact, rather than writing this, I’d like to be able to look everyone in the eye, and say, “cut the shit.”

We are going to go extinct, and we are going to probably drag a large majority of the other species on this planet into that permanent abyss of nothingness with us if we don’t stop jerking off, and take some real action now. The die off has begun. It is not theoretical. It is not this ethereal “what if” that hovers over some distant tomorrow. Right now, it is estimated that over one hundred species are going extinct every day. Every god damn day. The Arctic sea ice is melting faster than was predicted, positive feedback loops have begun kicking in as methane is released from melting permafrost, and the oceans are rising in acidity killing off the phytoplankton which provide us with the majority of the oxygen that we breathe.

But this has all been said, and still, here we are. So the saying is not enough, because no one is believing it. Even the people who say they accept that climate change is real and that it poses a grave threat, don’t really believe it. Their actions prove that. They still get up and go to work and watch TV and upgrade their cell phones. I’ve been thinking about the economy lately. People seem to love this thing called “the economy.” No one knows why they love it or why they are so interested in preserving it or encouraging it to grow. It’s a self evident truth. One of those unquestioned premises slipped by us so early on that we kind of just assume “the economy” is a naturally occurring thing which must always be protected like some runt lamb weak from an illness at birth.

I’ve been thinking about the types of things conventional wisdom claims are good for the economy. Let’s list them, shall we? Prisons. Drug prohibition. Debt. Wall Street financial wizardry such as derivatives. Bank bailouts. Corporate welfare of many stripes. The pharmaceutical industry. The insurance industry. Unaffordable housing. The college loan racket. Mind boggling wealth disparity. Greed. Materialism. An advertising industry hell bent on making people, especially young women, hate themselves so they will buy a bunch of shit to make themselves feel better very temporarily. Environmental degradation of every kind, from deforestation to toxic waste storage, nuclear power to mountain top removal for coal, tar sands extraction and deep water drilling. Oh, and don’t forget war. Economists and politicians love telling us how good war is for the economy. You know, the mass murder of entire populations? Poisoning entire landscapes with depleted uranium. Yeah, this is all just a real shot in the arm for the “economy.”

So, reigning this all back in for a moment, let’s summarize; all of the worst shit is good for the “economy.” The “economy” seems to feed on the misery of the human species, while also eradicating every other species who is deemed “inconvenient” or “unnecessary.”

When I think about myself, and ask, “What are the things I need to survive and to be happy?” the list is much different. I need clean, drinkable water. I need clean, breathable air. I need clean, healthy soil capable of supporting plant life so I can eat. I need clean, viable wild spaces where animals and birds and fish and insects can thrive. I need community. I need love and laughter and song and spirit.

Notice anything about this second list? None of these things, not one of them, requires an “economy.” In fact, the “economy” is actually quite destructive to all of the things I need to live and to be happy. Looking at it plainly, the “economy” seems to be a giant, insatiably hungry monster that seeks to destroy everything human beings require. It’s a radioactive Godzilla that smashes and devours everything that is wonderful and holy, and instead of sending out the troops to make battle against this beast, we worship it. We feed it. We continually do all of the things that help this monster gain in strength and size, no matter what wonderful and beloved beings and places must be sacrificed on its altar.

This is fucked. Straight fucked. We should be working quickly and decisively to drive a massive stake through this bloodsucking, Earth raping, leviathan’s heart!

If we want to avoid extinction, if we have gotten used to this whole being alive, and living on the planet and like, having kids and stuff thing, then we must see the “economy” for the great evil that it is. All of our attention must turn toward its immediate destruction.

Of course, there are a bunch of people who will read this and feel the need to push up their glasses from the bridge of their snotty nose and then point out to me how “Actually, the economy is just a method by which resources are distributed to the people in a fair and…bla bla bla…” Save it! All the cleverer-than-thou, professional internet assholes can just fucking save it. The “economy” is not just this invisible sum total of our efforts to equitably distribute resources and make sure our needs are met. Look around. A vast, vast minority of the human race has access to wealth beyond measure, while an overwhelming majority has next to nothing. To make matters worse, what very little the global poor do have is stolen from them by the wealthy, as the wealthy claim these poverty stricken people owe them for debts. This is naked insanity. If the “economy” is the sum total of an honest attempt at equitable resource distribution, then it has failed. Game over. It isn’t working. What it is doing is immiserating the majority of the human population while simultaneously wiping out the Earth’s ability to harbor life at all. A quick glance even here in the wealthy west betrays to me that the “economy” is the sum total of our collective misery. Millions of us going to boring, mindless, meaningless, soul crushing jobs every day so we can pay for the luxury of getting to live on the land where we were born, and to pay off further debts that we apparently also owe to the wealthiest handful of humans. Where is a guillotine when you need one?

So let’s add it up, and cut the B.S. The climate is changing even more rapidly than the majority of climate scientists estimated. The land is drought stricken, the oceanic food chain is watching it’s foundation go extinct, methane hydrates are venting from the Arctic Ocean speeding up atmospheric warming, etc. etc. long story short, the shit is hitting the fan. The only reason ever proffered for delaying any meaningful action to mitigate our ultimate demise is some made up fart in the breeze called the “economy.” This false religion, this cannibalistic Wendigo of a deity invented by high priests with fancy degrees and expensive suits subsists on our collective humiliation and death. Now that we get this, let’s stop even discussing the issue within the parameters set by those who profit from our misery. When some schnook tells you that shutting down tar sand extraction or mountain top removal coal mining would be bad for the economy, don’t try to offset his concerns. Don’t try to play to his premise by offering that “green energy” will create X amount of new jobs. Stand tall, look him in his black, soulless eyes and emphatically state, “Good! Fuck the economy!”

While we’re on the topic, so called “progressives” need to get off this green energy kick, this eco-wise fantasy about some future where our lives are exactly the same, but everything we do is accomplished just a little differently with a sustainable twist. If we want to not die, then we need to stop doing the things that are going to kill us. We don’t need to spit shine the assault on life. We don’t need a new brand of exploitation. We need deindustrialization, and we need to wring the bloody neck of capitalism, before hanging it, drawing it, quartering it, and setting the remaining bits of its corpse on fire to make sure it can’t rise from the dead like the unholy zombie that it is. But then again, maybe I’m crazy for assuming avoiding extinction is something most people could get behind.

This is all to say, I can’t fight my enemies and my allies at the same time. Liberals, lefties, environmentalists and everyone else who purports to give a damn has to give up on being capitalism apologists who somehow think we can keep this gravy train of mass consumption going and that there will be joy, abundance, and a hydrogen powered car for all. Recognize that our culture, our habits, and our way of seeing the world and interacting with it are the root cause of the converging crises we face. Recognize it, or else be just as much of an obstruction to life as the “economy” and all those who grovel at it’s blood soaked feet.

________________

John Duffy is an anti-civ writer and an activist who is currently working with the TarSands Blockade in East Texas.

Comments 304

  • @ Michael

    I’ve been asked by Guy to submit an essay for NBL, and while I’ll most likely accept, I know I will probably attempt to answer some of the very questions you just asked. Or more accurately, I will probably only re-frame the same questions we’re all asking. I sense that for many of us here, even in spite of our well trodden “doomer” paths, NTE (or just the last three years) has been analogous to a kind of intellectual whiplash. While the impact of the evidence has already hit us, it has taken a while longer for us to become aware of the damage done. We are all, now, closing in on the same immovable decisions we know we must somehow decide between. And frankly, I wouldn’t listen to anyone who thinks they “know” how to live with this reality.

    Some of us, have the luxury to let such acceptance in, unimpeded by the moral obligations to our children. Obviously, as a childless adult, I possess no wisdom, as to how young parents with even younger children are going to cope with a reality which I find impossible to accept from one moment to the next.

    One the more amazing things about this site, and how it has already changed my perspective, is how I’ve been completely taken back by the courage of some of the contributors who do have children (Jennifer Hartley, Ozman, Badlands….forgive me if I left some of you out). These people humble me, they’ve become my new heroes. Compared to them, I have it easy. All I have left to do, is contemplate all the subtleties of death, which frankly isn’t much of a stretch for me. However, the loss of the rest of life….now that’s a whole other level of grief entirely.

    It’s going to take someone far wiser than I, to be able to articulate what is or isn’t appropriate behavior, for when that moment finally arrives, when life is no longer worth living.

    For me, commiseration is now the highest form of communication, and I fear that this may be all we have left, to help alleviate an anxiety that will most likely only get worse, before we’re truly able to let go, and honestly live with the knowledge of what little time we have left.

    Thank you Michael, and everyone else, for making it a little easier to ask such impossible questions.

  • I see no point any more in trying to awaken those who are still asleep.

    Tradition has it about a certain person that when he reached enlightenment before dawn, looking at the morning star he grokked his identity with all sentient beings and said to himself “I had reached complete enlightenment when the first of the enlightened beings reached it, and my enlightenment will not be complete until the last sentient being achieves it”.

    He felt no need to emerge from his enlightenment, but a little later in the day as he saw the sun rise over a pond, he noticed that some lotuses were in full bloom, and some buds were still under water; but there were some ready to open waiting for the sunlight. He decided to shine the light upon those others that might bloom by it.

    Prior to his enlightenment he was only known as Siddharta Gautama.

  • @ Daniel

    Yes, I’ve loved them so much, since early childhood, they weren’t even trees then, more like mysterious kindred personalities.
    For a few years I gave up everything else in my life to work on their behalf

    http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~chrislees/The%20Trees%20and%20the%20Wood/trees1.html

    Yes, several annoying and silly bits in that article, I think those guys don’t get it, don’t get what the trees are telling them, but there we are, that’s what you said, the paradigm shift, it’s probably impossible, middle class guys doing their careers, used to looking at the world in a particular way all of their lives.. It’s not just the trees of course, it’s everything, the birds, the fish, the insects, etc. People don’t seem to comprehend that an artificial world of manmade structures and gadgets is not a viable self-sustaining entity, whilst the natural biological world it is destroying and replacing was.

  • pretty good rant, john duffy. however, let me add to landbeyond’s brief and devastatingly to the point critique the following angle:

    u say ‘kill the economy’, but how? don’t u mean we need to kill the incredible ignorance, stupidity, and insanity that has created this culture and this economy? how does one kill deeply ingrained and long standing ignorance, stupidity, and insanity, not only among ‘elites’, but ‘commoners’ as well?

    like i said, good rant, but that’s about it. made u feel better to write it, was good to read, but ain’t gonna change anything. only thing can, and will, is mother nature. surreality’s such a bitch!

  • Michael, you mention planning your Arkansas garden. I didn’t realize we are in the same state. That’s at least four people (or is it five?) who post here from time to time who are from Arkansas. It’s somewhat surprising to me that our little state has such a representation here on NBL.

  • @Robin Datta re:enlightenment of Siddharta Gautama

    For some reason your examples & analogies really resonate with me. Before having children, I used to teach art and yoga. As a teacher, it was my goal to challenge students in order that they could live up to that challenge and surpass their own limitations and expectations of themselves, in this way giving them an experience. The other thing that was imperative to me was to nurture their creative spark, which is a difficult task in the university setting. People learn at different paces and in different ways, so one lesson, or even twenty, may not “click” for someone, but you never know when that spark will ignite.

    As a mother, my only goal has been to NOT ruin my kids by putting out that spark. (Well, besides keeping them alive.) So thank you. I believe a lifetime of struggle and loss and pain can be worthwhile if you can be that gift for another person, offering that moment of interaction where they recognize their own gift. We just never know what or when that will be.

    So, that brings me to what I intended to say before I read your beautiful comment.
    Which is, nothing. There are no words. I decided there are not enough swear words in the book to properly voice my anger and frustration at this world. Each day of my life is a series of contradictions and compromises, none seemingly intended. And so I came to realize I’ve been in a kind of purgatory, unable to articulate anything.
    Since I can only relate to things based on my own experiences, it is similar to an ongoing experience that framed my entire childhood. Growing up as the caretaker of the family, the oldest of 6 kids, in a home with drugs, alcohol, violence, abuse, etc…, school became my refuge. I cried if I had to miss it. Every day after school when I got off of that bus, I would make the walk down the long driveway, wondering what I would find when I opened the door. And you never knew until you walked through, who had been drinking, what the mood was. As one of those kids, though, you can read any situation instantly.

    But that feeling of dread, that long walk, has been consuming me. I guess my life has become a series of days, just trying to get to the next day, and in all of the flailing, it has lost any meaningful intention on my part. So, now I have work to do…

  • @OzMan:

    I tend to speak with one of two voices when I write on the net – provocative or didactic. Using the provocative voice is always risky because I may strip away too much of the broader meaning behind the words in order to make a nice strong point. Then, when it triggers a reaction (as I of course intended) I have to go back and clean things up, which is always less fun than stirring the shit in the first place. That post you quoted was written in the provocative voice, now here’s the cleanup post. I hope I can keep it from getting too didactic :-/

    Let me start by saying that I think you have imputed messages to my meager 50 words that are in fact not there. You may feel that those meanings are implied by the tone of the post, but keep in mind that tone of voice is just a little hard to judge on the internet.

    Awakening is a tricky business, and it’s almost always a mutual effort. Somebody wants to wake up, and someone else helps. It’s the “wants to wake up” part that I stripped out of my original post in my desire to add punch. I am helping a lot of people to wake up right now. Some of them didn’t know they wanted to do that – or even what it meant – until they talked to me or someone like me. All of them, however, have expressed that desire, either in word or deed.

    Looking back at my post now, I see it would have been more correct to have said, “I see no point in forcing those who desire to remain asleep to wake up instead.”

    Facing what is in front of us now takes an enormous amount of preparation, inner resources and support. I am in awe of those who want to wake up and face this dragon, and I’m thrilled to support their growth. But modern urban North American “civilization” gives most people precious few psychological or spiritual tools that are up to that task. Waking up to the fact that this snark is a Boojum without the necessary tools or support can be a recipe for mental disaster. I know that because it almost killed me. The despair can be so deep that suicide begins to seem eminently reasonable. I do not want to inflict that sort of distress on anyone, ever.

    When I was in the depths of my despair, during my “Peak Oil is gonna kill us all!” days back in 2005 or so, I gave a number of public lectures. I encouraged everyone I could to come and listen, and I pulled no punches at all about what I felt could (or as I said then, “would for sure”) happen within a scant handful of years. It was the same litany of calamity we talk about here – the food shortages, the social upheavals, the collapse of medical and governance systems, the dieoff. What I found was that only those few who were already awake or at least awakening could even hear me. Those who were still asleep were not particularly moved, as far as I could tell. Later on, when I calmed down, I characterized the message I was trying to spread as, “Quick everyone! Wake up and kiss your children goodbye!!!”

    I wonder today if some did perhaps wake up during my talks, with that message ringing in their ears and not the faintest clue about how to cope with it. That’s not compassionate, it’s not kind, and it’s not helpful to anyone. I was not spreading awareness so much as being a despair factory. Only as I got further down the road myself did I realize what a responsibility we take on when we deliberately shift another’s consciousness.

    So if someone shows signs of waking up I am delighted to help, but I remain cognizant of the psychological risks. I expend a lot of effort ensuring that they have some tools to deal with this awareness. Even for someone who is mentally resilient, it takes a lot of time before they begin to feel stable with such bleak knowledge. And all of us here agree that time is something we have pretty much run out of.

    What about someone who is happily sleep-working at a mainstream job, sleep-walking through a mainstream life, in love with a mainstream husband and her mainstream kids, with no desire whatsoever to wake up to a certain of extinction and all the shit that will precede it – and doesn’t have the tools, resilience or support system to cope with it if she did? I think it would be desperately, egotistically cruel to pound on her desk until she recognized her children’s looming fate and realized she couldn’t do squat to prevent it.

    Now if she were to come up to me some day and ask hesitantly, “What’s this thing about global warming? It sounds kind of bad. I heard you know something about it. What’s really going on?” At that point it’s truth time – perhaps not all of it at once right at first, but enough to suss out how much she really wants to know.

    I’m not into acting in loco parentis to anyone. What you take for hubris and judgement, I see as compassion, caution and realism. Scaring the crap out of people “for their own good” isn’t the act of a teacher; it’s the act of a sociopathic bully. As a free agent, I have the right to decide who I will work with and who I’d rather not. If I think my knowledge would be more hurtful than helpful to someone, I’ll exercise that right and take a pass. I feel a much greater obligation to Compassion than to abstract notions of Truth and Freedom.

    That’s how I see it. I still think the 50-word version was more fun, though.

  • What’s the point of continually replaying the onanistic fantasy that we’re going to resist the system and take down the economy in order to save the planet?

    I thought the folks here were into the cold, nasty facts and were tired of the Disney mind games.

    One small reason why we are not going to resist in any meaningful way and take down the economy is the U.S. military. The military’s raison d’etre is to kill anyone who fucks with the economy in any meaningful way. It also secures resources all over the planet to feed the economy’s incessant need to burn carbon.

    I suspect that the Chinese, Russian and European armed forces will also crush anyone who attempts to save the planet by trying to impede their economic machines. The Chinese military can be pretty mean, too. Just ask the Tibetans.

    When food prices kill the retail market along with Wall Street, because the sans culottes’ threadbare pockets cannot afford the latest Korean made gadgets from companies named after a fruit, then our betters will dump a fat load of police state on our heads and keep us from screwing around with what’s left of their debt based control system.

    When kicking people in the face and throwing them into gulags doesn’t work anymore and then it’s anarchy at home and chaos abroad … it will be Fukushima time and scenarios not unlike Cormac McCarthy’s The Road will ensue, but with less light heartedness.

  • Paul Chefurka

    I appreciate your reply, and longer explaination. You are obviously on a path of learning the greater engagements of being a teacher, not at all a psychopath, I warrent.

    If I may, I will respond with a ‘few’ personal anecdotes to illustrate my point that speaks to the universality of all the human capacities being there in all of us.
    If I ever did, I no longer see categories of people, just people.

    When I was in the last years of elementary school, about 11-12, I attended a new ‘radical’community school in the upper Blue Mountains. It had a mix of educational philosophical ideas, Montesouri, Steiner etc and was run by the parients. Prior to that I attended state school.

    At this community school, (which had its problems and shortcomings), I got to do things way in advance of normal schooling. Because I was strong in spacial and mechanical ability, I made a working static steam engine, with help of course. We did practical trig and theodelite work, learned about maps etc. I learned macrame, and weaving, and there was all kinds of exposure to ‘kooky’ even semi-dangerous ‘hippy types'( no perjoritive there) of adults. It was the 70’s!! Irresponsibility was noted, as well as anal retentive personalities, and easy pushover personality types too, especially the adults.

    When I was about to enter high school I became aware I didn’t know any kids at the local high school, and I had repeated a year as I was young for the school year I was in. So I went to the local elementary school for the last term before high school. This was a bit strange, but I remembered the operational processes, and desks bells, etc.

    When I got to what we call year 7 at high school, I found myself in 7f.

    I those days in mid 70’s ‘f’ meant F, the lowest academic ranking. The class was filled with kids with behavioural problems, learning difficulties, disabilities, and one semi deaf kid who otherwise seemed sociable and smart too. My mother and I took a while to figure out what had happened.

    By end of 1st term testing I was put into 7c, and by end of year into 7a. In 7c were a lot of mixed ability kids, from mainly middle class families and some roudiness in class. In 7a it was all high achievers and kids with academics for parents, and those migrant kids that made it to our region then, (very few).
    Consequently by the following year I was aquainted with kids from a wide social mix, and levels of academic and sporting ability. As it happened as we progressed, I was usually found resolving some dispute between ‘others’ in the playground, often actual fistycuffs.

    What had happened to me was that because the primary school had marks for only one term for me, they refused to give any data, and consequently the high school put me in 7f.

    Now don’t you think it may have been fairer to put me, or anyone else, into 7c and see if they track up or down, (older concepts now I acknowledge)? Now if I was a kid under stress, and just coping, I may have stayed in 7f and achieved very little, but luckily for me, I did well in core subjects except English and Geography, the two areas left off the to do list for the comminity school.

    One of the core values intended and which I did learn from the community school was that schooling, or education, is more about enabling someone to know how to learn what they want to learn, rather than bodies of codified knowledge.

    Out of all that I also learned to see all kids, and by extension people, as equals, equals of each other, and of myself, so I have always approached the social world and all people I meet as equals, no matter who they seem to be, or think they are.

    We are simply beings, here, and we are all full of so much life. I have gained so much from people simply by noticing them, and seeing to another level, beyond the contrivance and artiface of their,(our) personas. Some refuse the ‘gaze’, and others come to the moment, and to our mutual credit some unique friendships have been my great privelage to have come to.
    This is not stalking, I emphasise, but I feel it is incumbent upon oneself to sign that you wish to have an authentic life experience, and humour, sincere enquiry and emotional receptivity are all normal human functions we need to engage with if we want more from ourselves and others in any circumstance.

    I want to say it is a poor teacher who makes their students dependent on them alone. Any gift of awakenning is one that at its core is the seed that once shaken awake will never go to sleep again, and would rather live on the vapour of a dungoeon like a toad than regress to less awareness.

    The truely great teachers help you find your path, although it may mean departures. People do have what it takes to grow beyond their limitations, and I shy not from the shocking evidence of shattered lives and mental illness. I have seen extremely abberent individuals come back to sanity over time with the greatest of strength coming through their hearts, and it’s all because they have been given a gift of self understanding.

    What I proposed was a way of existing that I have only come to under some pressure to find a creative way forward, IF IT IS AT ALL POSSIBLE, and given I have 5 kids and no home ownwership.
    I simply had to let go of the underlying idea I could either do it all, or find a way myself. I realised that the community, of which I contribute to, is the only ‘common’ agency open to most of humanity that is strong enough to accomodate and provide for all our simple basic needs.
    That said, it will of course go pear shaped, but whenever the local town meetings begin to happen, I will be already doing that walk we were referring to some threads back.
    None of that is to be in a superior, teacher role. It is because every cell in this body knows the only way to survive is to ‘give’, and give it all, for it is only in giving that we realise the interconectedness of all beings.
    Since that recent realisation I have had many silent and powerful signs from the natural world telling me that this is the right path.

    I can only applaud your efforts to help others now and into the future.
    We are all going to need to give, and receive, all we have if any are going to survive, in some local circumstance.
    Best wishes with your work.

  • Sometimes we need to think of what people do in extreme situations to get a better handle on things (not that NTE is not extreme, but the extreme parts of us haven’t hit in the first world yet)

    One of the best movies I have seen to explore morality in extreme times is The Grey Zone.
    The film tells the story of the Jewish Sonderkommando XII in the Auschwitz concentration camp in October 1944. These prisoners were made to assist the camp’s guards in shepherding their victims to the gas chambers and then disposing of their bodies in the ovens. The film opens in October 1944, in the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. A small group of Sonderkommandos are plotting an insurrection that, they hope, will destroy at least one of the camp’s four crematoria and gas chambers. (per wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grey_Zone )
    The Sonderkommando get about 4 months of extra life plus more food for assiting the camp’s guards. So the first moral decision you see is that of what would you do to extend just 4 months? But many further moral decisions follow. One is to fight the system they have in part just joined, and to die in a different way if necessary. They cannot really know that the war is close to an end but perhaps they have had hints. At any rate the seemingly futile plan to blow up a few incincerators, does succeed and because the Germans are near the end they are not rebuilt, and the liquidation process therefore slows. It is based on the book Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account written by Dr. Miklós Nyiszli. The Doctor has also made choices which are compromised or not depending on whether it is moral to put your family first in such a situation.

    When I first watched the movie I was afraid I would be terribly depressed, but instead I got totally immersed in the issue of what is moral in such immoral a situation. The question is asked over and over in different aspects of what choices people are confronted with.

    I recommend it as a very thoughtful, thought provoking, even in a way beautiful movie. None of us know how the collapse will come and what choices we will face, but perhaps thinking about the various choices others have made can prepare us….

  • Kathy C.: i didn’t list the New Madrid fault, the San Andreas or Yellowstone supervolcano (there are many others) separately, i just put them all in the natural disaster probability bucket and listed them as natural phenomena. Thanks for the link in your reply – i’ve been keeping up with this too.

    Carol: In answer to your last question above, i have grandchildren too and friends of ours just celebrated “being pregnant”! i don’t share my dark thoughts with anyone other than strangers who start conversations with me, but rather spend my remaining time with my kin enjoying what we’re doing (even though it’s pointless). i try to encourage their wonder and growth instead of filling them with doom and gloom (my wife’s comment about my “attitude” – she doesn’t want to hear it either). As i mentioned above, i’m still very active in the fight to stop fracking and mountaintop removal mining, among other interests. i’m not giving up, i’m resigned to the fact that we’re on our way out and just want to continue to do what’s right for the environment before it’s over. Of course it won’t matter either way, but it’s what i feel compelled to do. This may (and probably will) change in the coming years.

    depressive lucidity: i hear ya regarding the military. One thing to remember is that when it gets to the point where there’s nothing to eat, the military will be in the same situation as the rest of us and many will choose using the ammunition and weapons on themselves and compatriots rather than comply with their insane orders (see Afghanistan and suicide rate of the military).

    Paul C.: Great follow-up post – my feelings about interaction with others regarding our fate rings true with your words. i can’t help feeling that many who are still blithely living their wonderful lives will be completely shattered when it dawns on them that “somethings not right” and the situation gets increasingly worse over time.

    Daniel: You’ll do a great job with your essay if you continue to write from your heart. i look forward to reading it.

    Ryan: Just work on your own development and don’t worry about your brothers, sisters and others. It’s the only work that matters in the end and they’ll come around when the proper stimulus instigates their realization of what we’re facing. Then, you’ll be in a position of experience – having already gone through all the psychic and mental awakening that this “secret” (in plain sight) engenders. In other words, you may be able to help them along when the time comes.

    Michael: Thanks for your observations above. i read your comments and some others here and find it hard to distinguish any difference between what i read and how i feel. The words resonate and i feel them as my own thoughts. Hang in there and we’ll walk this road together, making observations as we go.

    Everyone: Thanks for sharing your thoughts and links. This site is such a haven when kindred spirits interact.

  • To return to my simplistic way, on this board we have plenty of brainy people and deep general awareness of what is coming although it is not too precise, and there is no precision to be had. We have evoked this belief system and that, we have harvested wisdom and shared them in a respectful way. I think much of the acceptance ground is covered and well.

    Here is my concern. I don’t see action. Just as the dominant cultures see technology as energy, we intellectuals tend to see awareness as action. This is all understandable, but my nature requires me to do something beyond thinking, and quickly move to action.

    I think action is the antidote to the dysphoria we have articulated in so many ways. There are times when it makes sense quit worrying about the final nuance of awareness and dig into the dirt. After all, we all recognize how hard it will be when the SHTF.

    I am not being pious, when we push our view of our demise, it is absolutely essential that we also push strategies to make the best of what is coming. As one writer put it, the standard lifestyle is passive and in front of screens, TV, phone or whatever pretty much filling their heads with intellectual sawdust (or worse). I see them as in a trance, and really challenged. How do we awaken them and tell them nothing can be done? It won’t work.

    Last night was a pretty good example for me. A very religious guy I know and I were kicking around global warming. I told him about methane venting, and the reinforcing feedback loops that point to early human extinction. While he is certain god will ease his demise, our conversation quickly turned to the what to do. In my opinion, that makes the line of awareness peddling constructive, and credible. I don’t bother telling him I am an atheist, he does not peddle Jesus to me, but together we are working on some new garden concepts. I think this is the path.

    It is clear to me nothing ultimately works, but the newly de-tranced must be furnished with a few paths they can venture down. For example if they garden and learn to can, they are off the food grid in some measure, and as things unhinge they will understand some of the pathways to more self-reliance. Will this ultimately work? Not enough I think, but perhaps fewer will go the zombie route.

    Our conversations must quickly from awareness to action. We smart folks tend to create our own internal TVs and focus on putting a fine point on our awareness as though it matters. Awareness does not matter except in the broadest way as a motivator to action.

    I would like to see Guy’s work, and the conversations on this board move to an action thread and be a bit less intellectual. It matters what you think, it matters more what you do. We must get busy. We must not forget that the considerable gifts we have from an accident of birth are not widely shared. People who are more regular need the “what to do”, they are not so into awareness. Let’s get busy on the ground and compare notes.

    I do plenty of things that will not ultimately work. But they might just work for 2 years longer than if I did nothing. That is enough. I am certain that the folks around me busy on these deferred failures are happier for feeling like they are doing something. In my mind this is fundamental to our mental health and sense of well-being. If we are working out a plan of action here, I am certain this has to be in the content.

    Michael

  • I think any action that assists other species is good, you know, help some obscure newt, salamander, lizard through the bottleneck, who knows where that might lead ? Give yourself some good cosmic karma, eh :-)
    The ravens are only here because all those previous forms made it through much adversity.

  • I’ll admit to having a somewhat jaundiced view of the concept of “action” – after all, action is what got us into this mess. I prefer the First Rule of Holes: When you’re in over your head, stop digging.”

    Or my personal favorite: “Don’t just do something, sit there!”

    We are an outward-looking, results-driven species. I think a little quiet introspection would go a long way right about now.

  • Michael, Paul, maybe sometimes act, sometimes not act ? As appropriate ? Know the difference ? What is the opposite if being ?

    Someone asked an extremely ancient and withered buddhist monk what was the meaning of enlightenment ?

    The reply came ‘Sometimes I raise Shakyamuni’s eyebrow. Sometimes I do not.’ ;-)

  • What is the opposite OF being ? Can you show it to me ? ;-)

  • Paul Chefurka Says:
    December 7th, 2012 at 7:05 am

    I’ll admit to having a somewhat jaundiced view of the concept of “action” – after all, action is what got us into this mess. I prefer the First Rule of Holes: When you’re in over your head, stop digging.”

    I agree with the above statement although I find myself taking action all of the time anyway. It seems that all of are “doings and makings” will be our undoing.

    We create tools to ease our days
    Often with the best intentions
    Only to find the road to hell
    Is paved with good inventions

  • …maybe sometimes act, sometimes not act? As appropriate? Know the difference?

    Knowing the difference is the key it seems to me. Or as someone else has said:

    Grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    The courage to change the things I can;
    and the wisdom to know the difference.

    That’s why I teach awakening and not environmentalism.

  • @thestormcrow

    Humans can no more keep from acting than we can keep our own hearts from beating. The inevitability of action is what makes wisdom and discernment so vitally important.

    We tend to define action as “Going somewhere and hammering on something.”

    However, even sitting still is an “action”, as is developing one’s awareness. Perhaps we could broaden the definition a bit.

  • I guess we have discovered our fundamental point of departure.

    Our imperative must be to pursue “proper action” not to just sit around thinking. Permaculture is one fundamentally sound body of actions, a way of being. There are others.

    How about “being (and becoming) through action”? How about “thought informed by action”?

    If our best thinkers do not act, nothing will hit the ground. However elaborate and nuanced, any line of thinking that leads to nothing hitting the ground from my perspective is a sort of intellectual pornography, titillation without engagement.

    I believe our “game” is not only acceptance, it includes a moral imperative to action. Thought leading to action is not inferior, it is informed by a dialectic with the dirt. To equate (conflate) local action with the actions of our species at large scale is intellectual nonsense. I believe a “radical localism” (permaculture) is our path and it has little to do with global industrial sins except to cope with them.

    I do think we (and Guy) need to provide avenues for involvement and action or the message will not be received. We need to promote the nuts and bolts of doing better.

    The waking up of entranced screen zombies without offering them an action path is just awful, and it is pointless. I think it makes us look pretty silly honestly.

    Michael

  • Michael, is thought not action? If not, at what point does thought become action? Is speech driven by thought action? Is refraining from action in it itself an action?

    I disagree quite fundamentally about the imperative of action in the terms I believe you are proposing, and would urge you to widen your scope.

  • The first step towards “killing the economy” would be killing people’s admiration of it. Like I say in the piece, take joy in it’s demise. See it for what it is, and celebrate it’s foundering. Let this attitude be sturdy, sure, public, and loud. Stand in solidarity with protesters, monkeywrenchers, bank robbers and rioters.

    Cease respecting the property of the wealthy. Cease desiring to have what they have. Become unruly.

  • John – now THAT is a sentiment I can get behind all the way. Every change of direction begins with an act of refusal. No mas…

  • Sir Bob Watson, Chief Scientific Adviser to DEFRA ( UK GVT agency )

    now says that 2degC is unachievable, blah, blah. Remember, that was supposed to be the ‘safe limit’ which must not be crossed… or so they told us…

    http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2012/events/union-frontiers-of-geophysics-lecture-professor-sir-bob-watson-cmg-frs-chief-scientific-adviser-to-defra/

    But for twenty years people just like him in position just like his have been telling us what have proven to be blatant lies, so why now should his words be taken as suddenly credible and plausible… just because it would be nice if they were ? And people’s futures depend upon reducing emissions ? Ha !

  • Will Philippines negotiator’s tears change our course on climate change?
    At the COP18 climate talks, the Filipino delegate broke down as he appealed to the world: ‘no more delays, no more excuses’

  • Are we talking about collective action, or individual action?

    If you want to screw with the Masters of the Matrix, only collective action is relevant. Of course, the Matrix loves it when a band of eco-terrorists tries to take collective action because they can then justify rounding up the fools and crushing them in some sterile federal court … or perhaps worse.

    If we’re talking about individual action on a dying planet, then it’s just a case of culturally induced onanism in the face of cosmically imposed Nihilism (IMHO).

    It’s so Amerikan to think that we always have “to DO something.” That’s because we invented the “can DO” spirit. Here, in gringo-landia, everyone is expected to follow his/her dreams until they win a singing competition and become stars, or maybe even superstars.

    Why is doing something better than doing nothing when the real world is about to annihilate us? Isn’t doing nothing at least a recognition that NTE is now inevitable? At this point, action is just a perpetuation of our attachment to a plane of existence that we turned into our private toilet.

    What would the average man do with a full consciousness of absurdity? He has fashioned his character for the precise purpose of putting it between himself and the facts of life; it is his special tour-de-force that allows him to ignore incongruities, to nourish himself on impossibilities, to thrive on blindness.

    Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death (1973)

  • Well, thought might be imagined as action, but not endless thought.

    Good luck to you all.

    MD

  • The unfairness of who bows to whom
    Is not the unfairness of doom.

  • Depressive, I agree with your comments. Hubris makes us think it is up to us to “do something”, and as you note gringo land has a double dose of hubris. We don’t expect cows to do anything – thankfully they don’t or we might see cows with guns.

    But one thing we humans can do is laugh, laugh at ourselves, laugh in the face of danger and sorrow, laugh at our own sense of importance.

  • “…Stand in solidarity with protesters, monkeywrenchers, bank robbers and rioters.

    Cease respecting the property of the wealthy. Cease desiring to have what they have. Become unruly…”

    Not that anyone who reads NBL would need it, but a terrific antidote to complacency and respect for the property of the wealthy – if anyone is looking for an hysterically funny movie, which I downloaded last night from itunes – is The Queen of Versailles.

    It’s actually a documentary, hard to believe this family would allow a camera to follow them everywhere for three years. The pater familias is now suing the filmmaker, quite likely because of shady business practices revealed in the rejected clip shown at the top here:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/the-queen-of-versailles-d_n_2121325.html

    Anyway if you’ve got $3.99 to spare and want a “Born Rich” meets “The Osmonds” real-life parody of American excess, hubris, frailty, and absurdity, get out the popcorn.

    Sometimes all there is left is to laugh in astonishment.

  • I think part of the weirdness and the abhorrence of the ‘Amerikan Way’, is how the post-modern capitalist culture kinda cannibalizes itself, you know, there’s the horror on tv of some gruesome mass murder, and a few weeks later, there’s a movie made about it, and some guy gets rich and famous exploiting tragedy, and the zombies feast on the spectacle, it’s sordid and depraved and decadent, but there doesn’t seem anywhere else for the culture to go….

    (Links below in seperate comments)

    I kinda agree with both points of view, if you want to sit like a stone doing zazen, become unified with the all. It’s said that 36,000,000 died in the An Lushan rebellion in about 760AD. Considering the world population at the time, that’s an astonishing mortality. Must have seemed like the End Times. The taoist hermits in the remote mountains have watched stuff like that come and go, it’s a tried and tested route for five thousand years and more.

    But there’s no obligation, is there. If a person’s character and calling says they need to act, then seek an opportunity and collaborators. Vinay Gupta whom I like very much works flat out all the time trying to change the world. I mean, he’s a mad tantric anarchist kapalika Bond villain genius, amongst other identities, who has infiltrated NASA, the Rocky Mt Institute, the US DOD, the bureacracy of the European Union, etc, anywhere where he can cause mischief and mayhem by opening people’s minds to new visions of reality, sort of… aaahahaha… you get the idea ? ;-) That’s a ‘way of action’ personified, IMHO

    http://docs.google.com/document/d/1GA8Nsjh_4YivgkdydTzgxrW9qIdeijmCyZ8ACuT-ZHk/edit?disco=AAAAAEZY-FQ&pli=1

  • Another

    You know, the ‘Land of Opportunity’, grab your chance, even if it’s the end of the world, there’s still a chance to make a buck exploiting your neighbour…

  • I do love this thread.

    I agree that we need to become more unruly. At this very moment, there is a handmade sign hanging off a bridge in our downtown with the message:

    Burn the rich. Not fossil fuels.

    Also this morning, I see where drones are flying all over the United States airspace.

    The stated goal of the US Military is “full spectrum dominance.”

    Deep Green Resistance (the book and the movement) tells us to defy and resist but no one tells you how to join up because they are an “above ground” movement and there needs to be a strict separation between above ground actions and sabotage. Ok, I get that. Doesn’t help with the dilemma though.

    I do not want to be in a concentrated human feeding operation (aka prison) when the crash comes.

    Want to hear something sad? Last time I flew, the only act of resistance I could come up with was to give the finger (both hands) to whomever was looking at my image in the fucking scanner.

    The murdering motherfuckers that run our country(and the globe) have won. We can resist on small stuff (a pipeline here, a proposed mined operation there) but time has run out on us.

  • Apologies, I messed up the Zombie Example link, it was meant to be this, it’s as if they are expecting it…

    http://spaceandpolitics.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/world-revolution-z.html

  • wildwoman, one of my favorite unrulies is the anonymous freeway blogger (who, I believe, coined or at least disseminated the evocative term ecopocalypse) who has had quite an operation for a while, producing signs in a garage that are placed for however long they last on overpasses and fences: http://www.freewayblogger.com/

    Long live the Freewayblogger!

  • Oh dear, another apologia, re Vinay, that should be NSA, as in National Security Agency, not NASA as in the Nationa Space thingee… anyway, I think everyone can agree he does a good act…

  • Calling sustainability journalists and advocates everywhere to investigate the ‘no man’s land’ of human population dynamics. A cascade of ecological events with unforeseen consequences is occurring around us in our planetary home. There are multiple causes. But human overpopulation of Earth is the prime factor.

    http://www.panearth.org/

    Climate scientists are speaking out. Where are the population scientists? Why are they not more vocal?

    The deliberate silence among population scientists with unfulfilled responsibilities to assume and duties to perform with regard to their skillful examination and careful reporting of extant research on “human population dynamics” cannot be excused by the recognition that such woefully inadequate behavior “exists in all professions”. There is much too much at stake. Scientists have to stand up and consciously speak out about what is true to them, according the ‘lights’ and scientific knowledge they possess.

    Solzhenitsyn reported, “One word of truth overcomes the world.” Could it be that for the lack of one word, one word by people in possession of truth, as their lights and science indicate ‘what is’, the world and life as we know it is being destroyed before our eyes? As the sages of old said, perhaps it is time, finally, now and here to “speak the truth as if you are a million voices, for your silence is killing the world.”

  • Some more are beginning to notice:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/12/07/big-trees-dying.html

    Steven: It’s my understanding that after Paul Ehrlich’s complete rejection by the public and of course the Catholic Church (go forth and multiply until you overrun the place and use up all the resources), the climate scientists are just going to sit by and watch, since nobody seems to be listening to them or any of the mainstream scientists.

    There has been so much denial, ruining of careers, and dismissal from academia by the 1%ers and their corporations who fund or own everything that these scientists aren’t going to further jeopardize their livelihoods by being overly vocal. The Union of Concerned Scientists routinely issue dire warnings and every day the same crap happens – nobody is changing anything anywhere so why bother? They should just take out a front page spread in the NY Times with the heading:
    “You lazy ignorant slobs wanna kill off the whole planet? Just keep doing the usual – but don’t start yelling ‘help, help’ when the real calamities start in earnest in the coming years.”

    Katrina, Sandy and Bopha are just tastes of what lies ahead. In fact before the devastated areas can be rebuilt they’ll be smashed again before long, so don’t be surprised. It’s not just overpopulation, it’s capitalism too (the subject of the current essay here) and who’s going to change that immediately when we’re all immersed in it up to our eyeballs?

  • Near Term Extinction should take care of the population problem quite nicely.

  • Methinks the prophet doth profess too much.

    Y’all do realize that theories about NTE and TSC (The Second Coming) are analogous, don’t you? Enjoy life, and stop with this useless, self-important nonsense about saving our planet. It’ll either be fine or it won’t, but you’ve got little say in the matter. Bike, grow crops, recycle, love one another, etc., but try to be a little less preachy while doing so.

  • The heat is on again in the U.S. After recording its first cooler-than-average month in sixteen months during October, the U.S. heated up considerably in November, notching its 20th warmest November since 1895, said NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in their latest State of the Climate report. The warm November virtually assures that 2012 will be the warmest year on record in the U.S. The year-to-date period of January – November has been by far the warmest such period on record for the contiguous U.S.–a remarkable 1.0°F above the previous record.
    More on the data and scary charts at http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2306

  • Goodness “but try to be a little less preachy while doing so” sounds like a bit of preaching to me.

  • Climate scientists are speaking out. Where are the population scientists? Why are they not more vocal?

    The only thing that the population scientists can say is that several billion people need to disappear ASAP. And even if they disappeared tomorrow, it’s not a guarantee that we survive to 2100 anyway. Making that statement publicly would only get them lynched and nothing would come of it.

    We are beyond the point of making statements and spreading the gospel. That ship has sailed. The methane feedback monster has been triggered and there is no going back. Some of the elites already know this and probably have a bunch of crazy survival plans a’la Dr. Strangelove (they’ll live in underground facilities, move to Antartica, who knows?)

    The simple reason nothing of any consequence will be done is because the solution would require the system that sustains billions of people to self-deconstruct. This is like telling a parent that in order to save their family they have to kill 2 of their 3 children and then one of them has to commit suicide. It’s unimaginable.

  • “This is like telling a parent that in order to save their family they have to kill 2 of their 3 children and then one of them has to commit suicide. It’s unimaginable.”

    Maybe it’s more like telling the parents that one of them and the 4 grandparents have to kill themselves off.

    That would be more fair.

  • My partner and I have three children, ages 5, 3, and 1 1/2. We have no community/support system, he works 10 hours a day in the trades, I was laid off from work shortly after having my first baby, so am now a “stay at home mom”. We both have many practical skills, as well as our own tools. We get by, and feel lucky to do so. He is a gifted hunter/fisherman, and when I say that, I mean, it is uncanny. He does not seem able to miss a shot. If the limit is three pheasants, he puts three shells in his pocket. If the limit is five fish, he will have to throw several back. He put three deer in the freezer this season, so we are eating well.
    Anyway, this was a conversation we had recently. In short, he was sending off an order for contacts and is in the process of having his glasses fixed. I have been urging him to get a second pair. He said, If the bottom falls out and I can’t get my glasses, I’m fucked. I said, no, If the bottom falls out and you can’t get your glasses, we’re all fucked. (meaning our small family) Without his glasses, he probably can’t see a foot in front of his face. How will I be able to step in and provide food for my family? I haven’t shot a gun since I was about 18. To me, it is well worth the $300 for extra glasses.

    So, while I see the folly of our industrialized civilization, and the evils of the economy, it’s downfall/deconstruction is going to be more than a rude awakening, even for those of us who have our eyes wide open. The loss of pharmaceuticals necessarily means the death of my son. Even with the medicines, I have literally watched him go from normal, to deathly ill from asthma, in a matter of hours. Or a matter of minutes with anaphylaxis/food allergies. So, sure maybe when things are bare-boned, It’s just tough luck to the weaklings, you know, culling the heard. That’s just not something I’m ready to embrace.
    As for myself, I’ve been close to death more than once, and I find it to be no big deal. Quite comforting, really. But I don’t have that luxury anymore. When you have children, your life is no longer your own consideration. So, I guess it just adds to the pain of living in daily contradiction. I want to protect them, but what do I do? Action? No action? What does the action look like? I’ve already had my day of despair about the state of the planet, mourned the slaughter of innocent gorillas, elephants, forests, a list too long to name, but I let my guard down and started over and started a family. And while I was looking away, the world decided to go into a nose-dive.
    I know there is no sound, practical advice. We decided to stop wasting time and resources with yet another move, so here we are in South Dakota, a landscape that even without the prospect of NTE evokes death. Just look at the buffalo & Lakota Sioux. A good friend from Standing Rock, whose family adopted my partner into the tribe, used to do extensive work in suicide prevention on the reservations, only to recently hang himself. Now there is a contradiction that is not easily, if ever, reconciled.

  • ulvfugl

    That link to the Fillipino delegate, and his breakdown would be a gamechanger for a lot of middleclass-semi-anxious-climate-change-fence-sitters-untill-shit-hits-their-neck-of-the-woods-kinda-folk, were they to view and read it, IMO.

    Please everyone read it:

    I post it here for convenience again:

    ‘Will Philippines negotiator’s tears change our course on climate change?’

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2012/dec/06/philippines-delegator-tears-climate-change

    It is quite poetic and ironic the delegate is talking about the difference between talking and acting, exactly as the discussion on this thread has been running.

    For what it’s woth I wish to have a say about action and talking, and doing nothing too.

    I worked for about 28 years making little scale ‘boxes’ for architects developers and even rich real estate mob types,(unknowingly at the time it seems), and I explored the implications of the term ‘Modelmaker’ in abstraction, as an occupation in many long hours of toil, and yes while taking the 20 pieces of silver, too. Actually it only became the 20 pieces much later in those years as I woke to the devastation ‘new’ developments were having on the environment.

    Anyway, the term ‘modelmaker’ is a good beginning to understand how ordinary folk relate to reality.

    We construct models of reality, moment to moment, and these models are how we concieve of ourselves and our purposes, and our place in the world. Our visual cortex cycles at about 40 hertz, or 40 cycles of refress per second. That is enought to kill a dear with a spear, and a fush, but sometimes not enough to see the car hitting you in the side on an intersection. All our other sensory systems do something analogus. So too our whole body-mind refreshes and reconstructs our perceptions of the world and the self in it as models, or approximations of reality.

    But these models also justify and account for what we are doing at any particular time with any action. Say a moral action to help the poor. It is structured in our personal model of why and what we are doing.

    We may be doing something completely counter to it by someone else’s model, or society’s model, hence endless bar fights and marriage problems, and a lot more.
    Er you all must get this by now, ok

    But to me the issue is how often, if at all, is one’s own model updated to anywhere near ‘reality’.
    I believe, that word again, without experiencing reality, the model(s) we use are ineffective and based on illusion/hubris.

    It has been my intention, as a spiritual endeavour, to know what is ‘real’, IN ORDER TO ACT IN THE WORLD EFFECTIVELY, and not to go off half cocked and waste my time and energy.

    So IMO the contact with ‘reality’ is key to the inner motivation to act directly in accordance with the needs of the moment. If one’s model of reality is way out of date, then the action is our of time.
    Perhaps this is simply obvious to many, but the world I was born into, has been so full of lies, and FUBARed concerns, acting is all I ever wanted to do, but to know how to ‘effectivly’ act has been the rub.

    That was my rabbit hole, from which I can say I emerge every time I wake now.

    Acting in this world is slightly easier, and I look for the signs I am on the path. The signs would be different for each individual I expect.

    Great post ulvfugl!!!

  • Goodness : “…about saving our planet.”

    Don’t recall anyone on this blog ever having mentioned that phrase ‘saving our planet’.

    We’ve recognised the parallel with eschatological movements long ago, but the distinction is very clear. People here are informed by contemporary science, not biblical or any other mythology.

    “It’ll either be fine or it won’t,.. What nonsense that is. Perhaps you’d care to define what condition would constitute ‘fine’, or it’s opposite, and judged from what perspective, and at what point in time ?

    Your comment sounds rather patronising, condescending, to me. ‘Go back to sleep children, there’s nothing you can do about anything anyway’. In a word, ‘preachy’.

  • People here are informed by contemporary science, not biblical or any other mythology.

    Actually, I need to amend that. People here are informed by just about everything known to humans from the whole of human history and prehistory, and anything and everything imaginable…. however, the distinction between NTE and other ‘End Times’ tropes, is that NTE is solidly supported by empirical scientific evidence.

    One person, alone, is powerless, unless you happen to be a Ghandhi or a MLK or a Mandela, who can inspire millions to act, but obviously, if enough people acted, the course of history would be changed.

    The topic was the economy, and I agree with the analysis. But the economy could be changed. Instead of a monstrous machine that destroys nature, enslaves humans, funnels all wealth up to an elite who already have more money than they know what to do with, or could possibly spend in hundreds of lifetimes, a different economy could be designed that served the real needs of people. See, for example, Graeber’s book. There’s lots of different ways it could be done.

    http://gemmabone.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/david-graeber-debt-the-first-5000-years/

    It is possible, in theory. Of course, if it’s mentioned, in Amerika, people have heart attacks and get hysterical, screaming about communism and socialism… even the so called Christians… wasn’t there something in the Bible about to be a follower of Jesus meant giving away everything that you possessed ? Funny how that’s been so conveniently forgotten…

  • Badlands, wow I admire you for laying it all out. I feel for you having young children at this time. This is of course why I have often urged folks to get sterile before birthcontrol is no long available. I’m not quite sure I could be as put together as you are with the kids and especially the asthma problem. My grands are far enough away that unless we have a slow motion collapse, I will be unable to help them in any way at all, so most days I just don’t think about their future.

    Getting the extra pair of glasses is good advice as well. I took care of that some years back by keeping old lenses in frame and buying a new frame for the new lenses. I know someone on another blog who didn’t want to have toothaches post collapse so asked a dentist to remove all his teeth – the dentist refused.

    So like you I am not in the ideal place to be come collapse but we can’t bear the thought of moving so here we will stay until we can’t….

  • The glittering, icy landscape of Greenland is being marred by soot that falls from the smoke plumes of Arctic wildfires, new satellite-based research shows. That soot darkens the surface of the ice and makes it absorb more sunlight, hastening its melt.

    Researchers caught what they say are the first direct images of wildfire smoke drifting over Greenland this past summer with NASA’s Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) satellite, which they presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
    rest at http://www.ouramazingplanet.com/3857-greenland-ice-soot-melt.html

  • A bit of light relief. Me, I’m on the side of the equine quadruped, every time ;-)

    http://i.imgur.com/yY55O.gif

  • There have been five mass extinctions in the history of Earth. All of those were caused by some sort of natural event (unless an advanced civilization lived then but all traces have been wiped out over the eons).

    If we imagine for a moment that humans had not totally screwed up the planet leading to the sixth mass extinction, but instead some natural process was at work leading to the same conclusion, then would we feel the same urge to “do something”?

    Probably. But it would be just as futile as our efforts now are. The forces we’ve unleashed and the processes we’ve set into motion are so much bigger than us and completely out of our control.

    Someone mentioned above that just because extinction is around the corner doesn’t mean we should kick a puppy. I agree 100%. If we are “doing” anything, it should be putting our energy into the things over which we can exert some measure of influence. We should work to minimize the suffering of those we love, now and in the coming catastrophe. We won’t prevent their suffering, but we might just make life in the few years we have remaining a little more tolerable. At least we will be doing something that will make a difference in a few lives.

  • ulvfugl People here are informed by just about everything known to humans from the whole of human history and prehistory, and anything and everything imaginable….

    The world is coming to an end. Isn’t that Biblical? Isn’t that the reality of particles and energy merging with eschatological mythology?

    It was the Enlightenment’s reduction of the world of mystery, which was beyond our dominion, to a world of dead stuff with no greater purpose than to serve the desires of spiritually dead people that killed the biosphere.

    So why must we understand what is occurring solely through the darkened glass of the technocrats and the vivisectors?

    It’s time to let the world go. Saving the world is now just another game of materialistic attachment. Even if the world could be saved, it would require more violence, more dominance, more injustice … and a world saved on those terms is Hell. We are not enlightened enough to save the world.

  • Many interesting thoughts here. It seems that there is no solution to our predicament, if by ‘solution’ we mean a voluntary and painless way to get from where we are to a sustainable global human civilisation… even if we had the will to try such a thing. It’s probably still worth saving the whales, growing a forest garden etc., even if those things eventually become impossible, because for now they give us pleasure and make life worth living. It’s definitely worth spending a lot of time enjoying what is left of our natural world, even if it’s in decline (or *especially* if it is). None of us know for sure what the future holds so it’s still worth making the most of life while we can.

  • TRDH : … completely out of our control.

    Not sure I see it quite like that. Yes, out of my personal control, as an individual. But not so much out of human control altogether. Bush, Cheney, et al, chose to start the Iraq War. That was a conscious decision. They could have made a different choice and the world now would be different.

    China and USA, etc, could choose to cut emissions drastically. That would make a big difference, to what happens in the future. Theoretically, they have the power, it’s not out of their control entirely, in the sense of an asteroid strike or the Yellowstone supervolcano. It’s human policy decisions.

    What seems to be happening is that this present generation in power is choosing the option of sacrificing future generations ( and most other living things ).

  • ulvfugl

    I agree that the path we are on was not predetermined by history, it was collectively chosen. Over the last 500 years we built an imperialistic killing machine and exported that model to the entire planet. The machine knows how to kill for oil, strip mine for coal, amass nukes, rip the souls out of people through digital propaganda to keep them supporting the slaughter with a Coke and a smile. This thanatological cyborg is not designed to save biospheres; it doesn’t see the beauty of forests, it sees collections of timber for future suburbs and strip malls. The machine is now bigger than any of our so called leaders. We serve the machine because we are biologically and psychologically plugged into it. Without the machine most of us die. At this stage of the game, the end result is virtually fatalistic because the changes that would have to be made to derail the machine are beyond our reach.

  • depressive lucidity : The world is coming to an end. Isn’t that Biblical? Isn’t that the reality of particles and energy merging with eschatological mythology?

    It was the Enlightenment’s reduction of the world of mystery, which was beyond our dominion, to a world of dead stuff with no greater purpose than to serve the desires of spiritually dead people that killed the biosphere.

    So why must we understand what is occurring solely through the darkened glass of the technocrats and the vivisectors?

    It’s time to let the world go. Saving the world is now just another game of materialistic attachment. Even if the world could be saved, it would require more violence, more dominance, more injustice … and a world saved on those terms is Hell. We are not enlightened enough to save the world.

    You’re covering a lot of ground there ;-) Not sure I’m up to an adequate response… I’ll give it a go ;-)

    It’s Biblical in the sense that there have been people talking of the Apocalypse in Biblical terms pretty much annually for the last two thousand years. But they were probably doing it long before, Hindu Kali Yuga predates the Bible and Buddhism, not sure how much,perhaps Robin knows, depends how old the ancient Hindu scriptures are, not sure there is certainty.

    What is ‘the world’ ? Some construct in your head ? A cosmology ? a model of something called reality ? You could say that it is ALL mythology, in the sense that everything is stories we tell ourselves, neurological electrochemical activity in our brains, the whole thread is stories we are telling ourselves and each other.

    However, the vital bit is the science. Scientific stories are not like other stories. They have to be linked to evidence, and it has to be evidence that can be measured and checked and confirmed independently by others. That’s what makes the NTE eschatology distinct. Scientist can go to the polar regions and observe the Arctic foxes and count them and see that they are retreating and they are being replaced by Red foxes, because the temperatures are rising. Stuff like that. Putting all the pieces of evidence together, everything that can be found, builds up a picture, which tells us that NTE is the likely outcome.

    That’s my interpretation. Not everyone agrees. Obviously, most do not agree. But when you read or hear the reasons why they don’t agree, it’s basically beacue they don’t understand, or cannot understand, or refuse to look at the evidence, or whatever. As we here know all too well.

    I’ve never been into the ‘save the world’ thing. I don’t really understand it. I want ‘save the biosphere’, that thin skin, which is mostly from a few feet down into the soil, up to the tree tops. Yes, it goes way up to the stratosphere and down to the ocean trenches. We need that too. I want it full of all the stuff that wants to be living in it, as complex and vibrant as possible, because seems to me, that’s how it’s meant to be. maximum biodiversity means maximum resilience against perturbations. Natural catastrophes have always occurred. Mudslides, floods, volcanoes, fires, tsunamis, etc, have always been part of the system. They are good. They are opportunities for pioneer species. Not so sure about the great mass extinctions. That’s somewhere between Lovelock and Peter Ward and what we are doing right now….

    Seems to me, so much is just historical accident. This whole fuck up, is not some romantic drama, Sturm und Drang, it’s just pathetic pitiful stupidity, the karma left over from a dimwit third rate actor called Regan getting to be President, random shit like that. the economy is historical accident, it’s what we got because it serves the interests of a tiny minority if very rich people who got rich centuries ago, like Jardine and Mathiessen, selling opium to the Chinese, still selling gold,
    the culture you got in America was random, because Quakers and Mennonites got persecuted in Europe. the philosophy, the morals, the technology, it all has the random element and it’s all lead to a terminal mess… it could easily have been different, the Taoists or the Kogi or the Bishnoi and you might have had something resembling Zanskar or Bhutan…

    I mean, what was that insanity from the 1950s or 60’s in USA, a plan to blow up the Moon with nuclear weapons ?
    They thought it would impress everyone else ? Hey, Mom, look what I can do ! Fucking weird… I mean, from the outside, it doesn’t look like ‘Wow, those guys, they are so smart and powerful’, it just looks like ‘Those guys ? They’re psychotic. What the hell is the matter with them ?’ Everyone else has been seeing the Moon as sublime, as a goddess, since forever….

    And now, that psychosis, that lust for power, destruction and domination, greed and violence, whatever the fuck it is that is wrong with the culture, means that we all go extinct… even the gentle harmless ones, living innocent lives, even the horses, even the albatross and the whales and the penguins… the whole lot, because of some sicko lunatics with power and no wisdom…

    We don’t need to be enlightened to ‘save the world’. We only needed to live in harmony with everything around us. It was possible. People did do it.

    http://www.bishnoism.com/thefirst.php

  • depressive lucidity : Over the last 500 years we built an imperialistic killing machine and exported that model to the entire planet. The machine…

    It’s roots go way back, Fredy Perlman sussed it out beautifully, and described it in some very fine writing…

    http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/fredy-perlman-against-his-story-against-leviathan

  • I think it’s too easy to blame the culture of capitalism. I blame Prometheus. Probably the reason their have always been doomers – Cassandra and Malthus and so on – is because self-destruction is the only logical conclusion for our species. It’s only ever been a matter of time. There are no external limits on our expansion, and, collectively, we are incapable of exercising internal restraint.

    Wish I had been able to be at the AGU and seen this presentation!

    http://io9.com/5966689/after-extensive-mathematical-modeling-scientist-declares-earth-is-fucked

  • When I see statements like “it’s probably still worth saving the whales”, or when Guy mentions the 200 species a day that are being killed, I like to try to imagine what one of those species would think about the chances of being saved by humans, especially Americans. I picture myself as a polar bear taking a tour of America, with its several wars, massive prisons, and tens of millions of children living in poverty and hunger. Seeing that in our society it is completely acceptable to, starve, cast aside, use up, or destroy individuals, tribes, and even entire countries, children and all. After seeing how we treat our own kind, I think the polar bear would see her place on the hierarchy, right down at the bottom of a long list of other expendables, with the 99.9% of the ancient forests, with the bison, with the passenger pigeon, and with the Taínos indians of Hispaniola that Columbus met in 1492, and exterminated a few years later

  • ulvfugl

    I agree with your analysis. I agree that we live in and through narratives and that it’s narratives all the way down. I agree that science touches on reality at a certain level. I’ve never subscribed to the postmodernist view that science is just another metanarrative.

    Seems to me, so much is just historical accident. This whole fuck up, is not some romantic drama, Sturm und Drang, it’s just pathetic pitiful stupidity, the karma left over from a dimwit third rate actor called Regan getting to be President, random shit like that. the economy is historical accident, it’s what we got because it serves the interests of a tiny minority if very rich people who got rich centuries ago, like Jardine and Mathiessen, selling opium to the Chinese, still selling gold…

    Yes! Although it is tempting to believe that some demonic puppet master is to blame, the truth is much more mundane and pathetic … human greed and stupidity brought us to this place.

    I’ve noticed in your posts that you mention karma, the yugas … so perhaps there is something beyond the 6% of detectable matter (the 94% being dark matter/energy, of which we know nothing)?

    My basic point is that there is a tendency to over-privilege science as the only epistemological access to the Real. If there are many other worlds/dimensions/multiverses (and I believe there are), and if those other Reals interact with our own univerese (and I believe they do), there is no guarantee that they function according to the rules of our own little space-time complex. In fact, there are indications that they function very differently than our own space-time complex.

    I think that you would agree with me that there is a large body of evidence concerning paranormal phenomena (reincarnation, NDEs, UFOs, precognition, …) that undermine the materialist paradigm. IMHO it is too simplistic to write off religious perspectives as mere delusions. While there is much about religion that can be explained in anthropological, sociological and economic terms, I think there is a kernel of metaphysical, supernatural truth at the core of the great religions. My personal tendency is to try and incorporate a kind of gnostic theological perspective when thinking about NTE. E.g., what happens to the untold number of sentient beings who have been incarnating on this planet for thousands of years when the earth becomes uninhabitable? What is our karmic condition having participated in the Great Mother’s destruction? Are there higher intelligences who are unfriendly to our evolution who may benefit from NTE?

    Derrik Jensen has recently started to ask similar questions in his new book, Dreams.

  • And now, that psychosis, that lust for power, destruction and domination, greed and violence, whatever the fuck it is that is wrong with the culture, means that we all go extinct… even the gentle harmless ones, living innocent lives, even the horses, even the albatross and the whales and the penguins… the whole lot, because of some sicko lunatics with power and no wisdom…

    Beautifully stated!

    And perhaps it is only folly on my part, but I am always compelled to look for an answer. Why do these psychopaths get to destroy the innocent? Why are the children of darkness allowed to enslave the children of light?

  • Seems to me, so much is just historical accident.

    Although it is tempting to believe that some demonic puppet master is to blame, the truth is much more mundane and pathetic … human greed and stupidity brought us to this place.

    ulvfugl / depressive lucidity

    Maybe looking at some examples might help. For instance, the pre-Columbian natives of the Americas appear to have been living here for as long as 40,000 years. In the W. US, in all those years they managed to leave the massive forests completely intact, and there were millions of salmon in the rivers. We wiped all that out in less than 200 years. So, how did they manage to avoid our calamitous historical accident for that long? And being human, they must have had some greed and stupidity, so why didn’t it bring them to the same place it brought us?

  • One answer to why the Native Peoples (or simply, The People) thrived and everything around them thrived, is that they lived in small enough communities to identify and isolate the sociopaths/psychopaths among them early enough to keep them from doing harm. They gave them tasks and some protection but did not allow them to procreate or handle any kind of power.
    Have you read “Political Ponerology’ about such sociopathy at play in large societies? In political strata? Or “Mask of Sanity” by H. Cleckley or “Without Conscience” by Robert Hare? All pretty thorough and scary accounts of the lives of psychopaths and the damage they do… many world leaders are obviously these kinds of people. They tend to ‘convert’ (in one way or another) many people to their side of the equation – money talks. So even people that are not born this way, will emulate the behavior. This underlying condition seems to be the thing that so many despotic leaders have in common (communist leaders as well as arch-enemy Hitler, pick-an-African dictator, some of our presidents) as well as many run-of-the mill-people.

  • ‘Only as I got further down the road myself did I realize what a responsibility we take on when we deliberately shift another’s consciousness.’ -paul chefurka

    paul made an excellent point. anyone who succeeds at radically changing others’ convictions, particularly if it’s a sherson or sheeple with strong social ties that are largely based on the old views, is going to radically disrupt lives, marriages, families, careers, etc., creating potentially harmful blowback. so besides being incredibly difficult and frustrating, such endeavor is fraught with potential harms to others as well as to oneself.

    damned if u do, and damned if u don’t. just plain damned, we are.

  • carol from Sirius

    Thanks for that, I heard something like that in a Derrick Jensen interview. When a sociopath/psychopath came along they didn’t stand by and do nothing, or try to emulate them, or give in to that type of behavior and just say that it can’t be helped because it’s human nature. They had a culture that was able to stop them before they turned their culture into one like ours, one that lets sociopaths/psychopaths rule. What’s truly remarkable, is that in most places, they were able to maintain this cultural attitude against letting those type individuals destroy their habitat, for tens of thousands of years.

    To paraphrase what you said:

    –They identified and isolated the sociopaths/psychopaths among them early enough to keep them from doing harm. They did not allow them to handle any kind of power.–

    Another difference I can think of offhand, is that they didn’t have the Judeo-Christian god to emulate. This god’s behavior has been described as sociopathic/psychopathic. But, no doubt, there are many other factors.

  • John wrote:

    “For Christ’s sake, do you really want to be at work when the end comes?”

    Worth a second read, on a couple of levels.

  • depressive lucidity : I agree with your analysis. I agree that we live in and through narratives and that it’s narratives all the way down. I agree that science touches on reality at a certain level. I’ve never subscribed to the postmodernist view that science is just another metanarrative.

    My starting point would be that it’s all stories that we tell ourselves and share with others, which are essentially brain cells twittering. We build imaginary mental models about things we call reality and the past and the future and the world and the Universe and life and death and soceity and so forth, and we juggle them around, and try to make some sense of it all.

    That’s sort of where we live. Immersed in our stories. But then, if you analyse the stories, they are not all of the same quality. Gail mentioned Prometheus. Well, we can trace that story. We don’t know the author, but it has a clear genealogy, originating with the ancient Greeks, and carries a message, a warning. We can put into a category, rather like Linnaeus categorising the natural world, and go through all our other stories like that, and notice this fascinating division, that I call mythos and logos, because the ancient Greeks noticed it too and called it that, which appears to correspond to right brain hemisphere and left brain hemisphere, each of which has a very different way of looking at experience, beautifully explained by Iain McGilchrist

    http://www.iainmcgilchrist.com/brief_description.asp

    But it is important to understand, it’s not that one view is correct and the other wrong, it’s not an either/or dualism, we can’t help having both right and left hemispheres and we NEED both, but we need to understand that they are, to an extent, conflicted, and for some bizarre reason, incompatible. So we’re not all that happy in our heads. It’s just the way we are made. Nobody knows why. Left brain insists on hard logic and reason, right brain likes poetic imagery and fantasy. As individuals, we tend to be weighted one way, or the other, scientists left brain, musicians right brain, kinda thing.

    I admit that there is a certain circularity in some of this, because if we didn’t have science I couldn’t be beginning from brain circuitry, but I can’t write a book here, I’m just trying to answer your comment. I do actually think that science is a metanarrative, but like law, science must be distinguished from other narratives, by that crucial linkage to testable evidence.

    For all other stories, anything goes, Ygdrassil, the Ice Queen, Prometheus, Lilith, Superman, The Simpsons, nobody cares whether they are ‘real’, they have meaning, in terms of mythos. But science is logos. Unless the evidence is there, and can be measured, and a strong reasoned case can be made to support a position, it’s not science. Same in a court of law. The prosecution and defence, are supposed to tell stories that are supported by real evidence, not just make up any old crap that they imagine might have happened.

    I’ve noticed in your posts that you mention karma, the yugas … so perhaps there is something beyond the 6% of detectable matter (the 94% being dark matter/energy, of which we know nothing)?

    I only mentioned kali yuga because that’s another ancient apocalyptic vision, from another cultural tradition. I see it as mythos. If it appeals to you, go for it ;-) I don’t think it helps to muddle logos and mythos together, it causes confusion. That said, there’s a proviso, science is supposed to be strictly logos, at the margins, String Theory, etc, it gets very close to mythos, IMO. Quantum weirdness is so weird that it pretty much defies comprehension entirely. The way I understand karma is pretty much like cause and effect. Both in the physical world and in the psychological and emotional and spiritual domains.

    My basic point is that there is a tendency to over-privilege science as the only epistemological access to the Real. If there are many other worlds/dimensions/multiverses (and I believe there are), and if those other Reals interact with our own univerese (and I believe they do), there is no guarantee that they function according to the rules of our own little space-time complex. In fact, there are indications that they function very differently than our own space-time complex.

    That may well be the truth. But then, being pragmatic, concerning this little planet and it’s biosphere and ecology… we do actually know enough already to have a good understanding of what we’ve done wrong… like, if you’re very ill, the doctor may not know everything, but do you refuse the advice he gives on those grounds ?

    I think that you would agree with me that there is a large body of evidence concerning paranormal phenomena (reincarnation, NDEs, UFOs, precognition, …) that undermine the materialist paradigm. IMHO it is too simplistic to write off religious perspectives as mere delusions. While there is much about religion that can be explained in anthropological, sociological and economic terms, I think there is a kernel of metaphysical, supernatural truth at the core of the great religions. My personal tendency is to try and incorporate a kind of gnostic theological perspective when thinking about NTE. E.g., what happens to the untold number of sentient beings who have been incarnating on this planet for thousands of years when the earth becomes uninhabitable? What is our karmic condition having participated in the Great Mother’s destruction? Are there higher intelligences who are unfriendly to our evolution who may benefit from NTE?

    I do agree with all of that, except the last two lines…. I really don’t have an answer to that. I know where you’re at, in the sense of the ancient war between the good and evil forces battling away in the invisible realm, which has been a popular conception, possibly beginning with Zarathustra ? But my personal spiritual thing, derived from buddhism/taoism via zen, is so simple, it just sort of rises up a level, doesn’t need to be involved with that ‘noise’ so to speak…. so i can’t really answer your question adequately…

    Derrik Jensen has recently started to ask similar questions in his new book, Dreams.

    That’s very interesting, I’d like to know what he thinks.

  • depressive lucidity : And perhaps it is only folly on my part, but I am always compelled to look for an answer. Why do these psychopaths get to destroy the innocent? Why are the children of darkness allowed to enslave the children of light?

    Which is a question that has been asked surely since humans first evolved the ability to pose a question…. you know, ‘Why has my baby died ?’ I have seen grief and loss expressed by many animals… when the lambs and calves are taken to market, all night the mothers call out their anguish…

    Perhaps one answer is ‘Because we let them’, as in Goodness’s comment, ‘There’s nothing you can do, so just accept the situation’. But then if you put me on the spot, and ask how we stop them, you know, do we throw our bodies onto the railway track until the pile is so big that it forces the train to stop, like ants, or like the zombies in the War Z clip… well, I don’t even know where the damn railway line is…

    Kathy C.’s mention of the film ( which I didn’t not watch, I really can’t cope with heavy stuff like that ) about the concentration camp guys helping to put their fellows into gas ovens, so they can live a little longer… well, fuck that. I know we have a strong inherent will to survive, but there’s something about the quality of existence, and the degree to which one collaborates with one’s enemy.

    In this cold climate, clothing is essential, so just by wearing clothes one collaborates, because unless you make them yourself, or get them from someone who makes them by hand from natural fibres from crops they grow or animals they raise, anything synthetic or imported is a product of the megamachine. Just wearing clothes is collaboration. I try to minimise my collaboration, on ethical grounds, not because it makes any difference. The megamachine doesn’t notice. It doesn’t even notice Occupy, does it. It absorbs everything.

    Remember when the two Steve’s were rebellious hippies working from a garage to change the world, and the Apple tv ad to smash the Big Brother tyranny of IBM ? and now Apple is the Big Brother tyranny of IBM, only more so… just ask the guys at Foxconn, they can’t even express their rage by jumping off the roof to commit suicide, because the nets will catch them, just like a prison, it is a prison really, and they have to pay for their accommodation.

  • Everyday Romm and Climate Progress get a little closer to being right where we are now:

    https://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/12/07/1299681/what-are-the-near-term-climate-pearl-harbors-what-will-take-us-from-procrastination-to-action/#comment-602701

    They’re at the “what’ll we do” and “when” stages, and looking at the comments (i left a couple near the end, crossposting the math model/earth is fucked link there), many think as we do that it’s too late, while others (not quite there yet) debate which metaphor is better to illustrate our predicament and inaction.

    ulvfugl: Hell, even flush toilets are a “collaboration” problem! We’re so immersed that Guy’s phrase of “born into captivity” rings loud and clear here. There is no “getting out” at this point.

  • Ulvfugl,

    I agree that as a species we’ve made awful choices that have led us to this point and place in time. In that respect we’ve certainly had control over the situation.

    What I was referring to was from this point on. It seems clear from all the evidence from climate scientists that there is nothing we can do to change the outcome now. We’ve passed the tipping points and the opportunity we had to fix our damaging ways (if we ever had such a chance) has now past.

  • Terry says we are damned if we do
    That puts us in quite a stew
    Caused we’re damned if we don’t
    So clearly we won’t
    Fix it, we don’t have a clue.

    But leave it to the guys at AMEG to try to figure out how to fix the climate
    AMEG Strategic Plan

    This strategic plan was prepared by the independent policy group, AMEG (the Arctic Methane Emergency Group), comprising a multidisciplinary team of leading scientific experts, system engineers, communicators and concerned citizens.
    rest at https://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/2012/12/ameg-strategic-plan.html

    At least they know how dire the problem is.

  • Ulvfugl,

    Just wearing clothes is collaboration.

    Yes.

    We can’t pick and choose if we want the tertiary economy to collapse (thank you Robin for explaining the differences so well).

    Any participation in anything other than living entirely off the land is a vote of confidence in the current system. (I realize my own hypocrisy in this.)

  • Tom, I believe it was you who asked for thoughts on the possible timeline of coming events.

    I’m horrible at prognostication, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my own theories. :-) Unfortunately, the system is so complex that I doubt anyone can pull in all the various inputs to come up with a reasonable estimate of how all this will unfold. Perhaps one day we’ll find out the answer is simply: 42.

    So, here I go:
    I’m pretty sure that this next year we will see lots of unrest with respect to food shortages. Some of those will be felt even here in the U.S., at least insofar as the price of food continues to rise.

    The globally dispersed drought will intensify, worsening food production and water scarcity.

    I think we’ve entered the “hockey stick” phase of global temperatures. It’s going to get very hot, very quickly.

    War and social unrest will be the rule for the next few years.

    I can’t see how the financial system holds up for much longer. I won’t be at all surprised if it comes tumbling down in 2013 but certainly by 2015. Most likely due to a collapse in the quadrillion dollar derivatives Ponzi scheme.

    Once the financial system collapses and lines of credit and other instruments of the global market evaporate, then all hell breaks loose on the local level. When food and other supplies stop flowing in the industrialized world, that’s when things get real ugly.

    With the collapse of the financial world, the real world systems won’t be far behind. Motor fuel will stop first. Even if someone had cash or property to use for trade, with credit gone, the distributors won’t be able to buy it to distribute it.

    Electricity will follow shortly after. With no credit, suppliers won’t be able to operate for long. With electricity off, all the conveniences of modern life will disappear like so much smoke in the air.

    Once the power goes out, civic water supplies dry up. Then, it’s only a matter of days for almost anyone living in a city.

    With no power and no fuel, nuclear reactors begin to melt down.

    The timing for all this is predicated on the timing and extent of the financial system collapse. I think that’s why TPTB are scared shitless to let the banks fail.

    So many variables and so many other things that I didn’t even mention. But, that’s one way this could all unfold.

  • A self-diagnostic clue
    To doom and what’s inside of you:
    If it looks like you aim
    To find someone to blame
    You might be in anger Stage 2.

  • Exxon hates your chidren

  • Why are we going to die?
    It’s because of some other guy!
    He’d rather be rich
    (That son of a bitch),
    Than poor (though in truth, so would I).

  • Ulvfugl “Kathy C.’s mention of the film ( which I didn’t not watch, I really can’t cope with heavy stuff like that ) about the concentration camp guys helping to put their fellows into gas ovens, so they can live a little longer… well, fuck that. I know we have a strong inherent will to survive, but there’s something about the quality of existence, and the degree to which one collaborates with one’s enemy.”

    Well there is much more to the story than that (plot spoilers follow) In an early scene a man (one of the sonderkommandos) has taken drugs to commit suicide. Some of the others get the Dr. who administers something to counteract the drug and “save” the old man. Another objects saying he has the right to die and then takes a pillow and smothers him. No one stops him. Whose actions were moral? We later learn that that day when putting corposes into the oven he had to put his own now deceased wife in.

    A little later, after gassing a room of people, the sonderkommandos pull the bodies out. Under the pile they find a girl, about 12 years old who has still lived. Some say let her die and others feel they have to somehow “save” her. This however puts their plot at risk and there is much controversy on what is the right thing to do. For the moment her life is extended and the prisoners have to work hard to hide her. What is moral, sacrificing one life to hopefully save others by destroying the crematorium (killing lots of people wasn’t so hard, disposing the bodies was the big problem for the Nazis)

    The women in the factory that is at Auschwicz are smuggling gunpowder to the men. The Nazi’s get wind of it. They torture the woman they think is the ringleader. No one tells. So they line all the women up and tell her they are going to start shooting them until she tells. After several women are shot, this one tears herself away from the guard and throws herself against the fence which is electric and kills her.

    It is a complex story and those are just some of the highlights. Given what we are likely to face I think facing first on a movie screen might better prepare us than avoiding how evil people can act in this world. Most of us if we live long enough will have to cope with really heavy stuff, like this or similar.

    The sonderkommandos all know they only buy a few months by serving the Nazis, but this group decides with those few months attempt to use the months they have bought to give others more time.

  • Okay, Kathy, I can see it’s very complicated and demanding. I still don’t think I want to watch it though. I can’t see how I’d be able to collaborate and assist people who are doing that, willingly, under any circumstances. But, of course, how can I possibly decide, in the comfort and security of my living room. :-)

    Here’s one for you in return, re your own entrenched views…

    The upshot of this conference was that a paradigm shift seems to be occurring in how people view reality, including medical professionals and psychologists. New, expanded models of reality have followed in the wake of discoveries in quantum physics, genetics, and phenomenology that suggest the world may be quite different from how our senses perceive it (Richards 2012). As a human being embedded in a vividly real physical world, I found many of the ideas presented at this conference challenging, even preposterous at times… but by the second day of the conference, I’d realized something: that’s exactly the point. The presenters were trying to shake up the audience, to get us to rethink our comfortable — or at least well-worn — assumptions about reality and our place within it, to get us to reconsider the possibility that reality may be more than matter, and consciousness more than just the physical brain. And that’s an idea that could change everything.

    http://entheology.com/news-articles/a-new-perspective-on-death-and-life-an-overview-of-the-2012-bioethics-conference-final-passages-near-death-and-the-experience-of-dying/

  • “Geologist Gary Hecox: Nobody in the world has ever faced a situation like this […] We have a large area of gas accumulation […] It’s very difficult right now to determine the gas production horizons that are feeding the gas problem we’ve got. In addition based on the geology it may not be just the Big Hum, there may be deeper horizons that are contributing gas.”
    snippet above is from the clip at
    http://enenews.com/geologist-deeper-oil-and-gas-deposits-may-be-surfacing-from-below-big-hum-reservoir-nobody-in-the-world-has-ever-faced-a-situation-like-this-video

  • Isn’t all the agonizing over what culture or trait or economic system to blame just a human conceit? …As though we are different from animals and can deny our genetic heritage, which is that of a voracious and ruthless top predator. Does anyone blame the tiger for ripping the baby goat to shreds and consuming it? For walking away without looking back?

    In the movie of the Life of Pi, the little boy tries to hand the tiger some raw meat. His terrified father rescues him in the nick of time. Pi says, I do not think the tiger would harm me. I looked into his eyes and saw his soul.

    His father screams at him furiously, The tiger has no soul! That was the reflection of your own emotions you saw in his eyes!

    In the end of course it turns out the Pi is the tiger, and the tiger is Pi.

    I think we are seeing the reflections of our own emotions. We have no souls. We don’t want to accept that, because we still like to think we are superior to animals. But now that a few of us know we are causing the destruction of most if not all life on the earth – even though the evidence should be obvious to all – reality has caught up with our dreams, so shouldn’t we stop pretending that we are exceptional or special or spiritual or immortal…only very clever?

  • Ulvfugl, at that conference did they deal with climate change and the coming destruction of life on earth? Did they deal with the problem of sexual slavery of young children. Did they deal with starvation, torture, nuclear war? Sounds like escapism to me. What people needed to be shaken up about is the loss of Habeaus Corpus, the NDAA, the wars in Iraq and Guantanamo, Gitmo, over population, climate disaster. Too late so I guess they might as well “reconsider the possibility that reality may be more than matter, and consciousness more than just the physical brain.” But they think “that’s an idea that could change everything.” Everything? That idea will prevent the extinction of all or almost all life on earth????
    However you want to cloak it, it is a belief that some part of us is immortal and I guess if that is so the fate of the planet doesn’t matter.

  • Now this is interesting. Re Tom’s link to how to fight the corporations ( most of which I already know and do as do many people I know, and it doesn’t really bother them, fleas to elephants, kinda thing ) it mentions using small local banks ( which don’t really exist in UK ) and Credit Unions ( which do ) to get free from the tyranny of the megabanks, and as I’ve mentioned before, there is bitcoin, which is a virtual currency, not controlled by any nation or central bank, and which has just got a license that puts it in the same league as Paypal, which is a huge step forward.

    What this means is that you can trade with anyone, anywhere, cutting out the banking system altogether.

    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/12/08/0931247/bitcoins-join-global-bank-network

  • At the moment, it is the bankers who have all the power, more than governments, more than corporations. One line of attack is via bitcoin. They can’t control that. I’m not saying it’s the answer, or that they won’t find a defence, but it does scare the shit out of them, a report was leaked that said so. If a lot of people adopt it, it could change a lot of things, for everybody. Who needs the almighty imperial dollar, or the pound sterling ? They only have value if someone values them, or if they don’t have any choice but to use them. LETS for the local economy, and Bitcoin for the international economy, and the people get some freedom…

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-11-29/dollar-less-iranians-discover-virtual-currency#r=shared

  • Crikey, Kathy C. It was a conference about ‘Near Death and the Experience of Dying’…
    why the heck would they be discussing climate change and all the other things you mentioned ? Perhaps they did, in the breaks, I wasn’t there, I don’t know…

  • Regarding action to bring down the economy… it would be nice if there could be action to bring down just one piece of it, successfully. Just doesn’t seem to happen. If ever there was a corporation that deserved to vanish off the face of the Earth, it’s got to be Monsanto. From it’s beginnings in the slave trade, to Agent Orange in Viet Nam, up to it’s present appalling conduct, it’s shown itself to be utterly evil, but despite all the protests, it’s still around, still got Bill Gates investing in it, still ruining the lives of farmers. If we can’t even get rid of that one, how we gonna kill the rest ?

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/12/201212575935285501.html


  • Gail Says: …As though we are different from animals and can deny our genetic heritage, which is that of a voracious and ruthless top predator….
    ==

    For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
    — Psalm 8:5

    Little lower than angels or junkie:
    Defining us tends to get funky;
    But if understood
    Without bad or good,
    We’re just one more myopic monkey.

  • Crickey Ulvfugl, how much CO2 was added to the atmosphere to go to a conference on near death experiences when they could go to any nearby church, synagog or mosque and be told not only that they persist after death but also how to be sure they persist in a good place not a bad place. Seems to me if you want a continued existence you would want to make sure it is a good one. Seems like just a bunch of mental contortions to deny mortality. Never works very well, people still cling to life and don’t act at all like they are assured that they continue on.

    Back in my religious days I read several of Raymond Moodys books about NDE’s. I never really wanted an afterlife, and certainly didn’t believe in a hell, but I found his books of interest until I read his book Elvis After Life: Unusual psychic experiences surrounding the death of a superstar That was fun, but made me question all his other stuff. Since then I have learned of other explanations of these experiences and they are good enough for me.
    Hope you get whatever continuation you want. Hope I go into nothingness.

  • There really is no life after death – for the so-called “enlightened”. And as all sentient beings are destined (doomed?) to “enlightenment”, there is, in effect, no afterlife.

  • So anybody here had a Near Death Experience? An Out of Body experience? There is most definitely something after this physical existence. I don’t claim to describe it but after experiencing it, I can’t deny it. Electricity is forever.

  • WWF statement on COP 18

    Basically, a total waste of everyone’s time. USA and Canada being chiefly responsible for that.

  • Yes, Carol from S., both. Don’t know about the electricity bit though ;-)

  • More innocent ones who will get dragged into oblivion, truly wonderful, the nomadic Nenets of Northern Siberia

  • Slavery to the growthist economic system is the most obvious, most ubiquitous and yet the most unvocalized form of modern slavery. We can never be certain that human species will become extinct with the way things are going in the forseeable future, we can only attempt to improve the chances that it will be able to navigate though the crises it created with less physical and mental pain by simply doing things that make common sense [which isn’t that common unfortunately]. The chances are better if a clear goal is set to transition to a steady state economic system (which would require an initial period of sustained recession in consumption and population) and a transition plan laid out and implemented globally. Most debates and arguments currently are ultimately traceable to the current unsustainable fake economic system and so most of these debates (e.g jobs vs environment) are unnecessary artifacts of the fake system.

  • Plyush : We can never be certain that human species will become extinct with the way things are going in the forseeable future..

    I’d say it’s a safe bet now.

    …transition to a steady state economic system (which would require an initial period of sustained recession in consumption and population) and a transition plan laid out and implemented globally..

    And what are the odds of that happening ? You’ve got to dismantle capitalism, because the accounting system that companies are built upon requires that they MUST grow. Any business or corporation that stands still is not competitive, receives no investment, because it offers no lucrative returns. You’d have to abolish usury and fractional reserve banking. I know people like Herman Daly and others have been working on steady state economics for years and years, but its never really got anywhere. You’d have to change the whole international financial and business systems completely, in a period of about five years, which is what is required to decarbonise and avoid extinction. There’s no incentive for any powerful industrialised country to do it. What’s in it for them ? They’d lose power and competitive advantage. It’s like asking the very wealthy, Gates and Koch Bros and Rockefeller and Rothschilds etc to give all their money to the poor. Nice idea. Nasty people. If they weren’t they’d have done it already. The present economic system has taken centuries to evolve. It’s immensely complex. Yeah, if it implodes, great. There’d be a chance to build something sane, maybe. But we saw what happened in 2008, when it nearly imploded. They’ll sacrifice just about anything to keep it going. Like the European bankers have sacrificed the Greeks. We’ve just seen what’s happened at Doha. The fuckers who benefit from the status quo are not going to change it just because it makes sense, or because people ask nicely, or for the sake or jobs, or the environment, or the future, or anything like that. Goldman Sachs rules the world. There is no time left. All the talk about transition is illusion, IMO. What are you going to transition to ? A world that’s 4, 5, 6 deg C. hotter and mostly uninhabitable.