The Death of the Dream

by Aleigha, college student by day and radical dreamer by night

The Dream is dead now. Buried there, somewhere within the parameter of that white picket fence. They came the other day, wielding the news that our dream had grown too large and too fast. We didn’t have the funds to feed it and ourselves. It would have to be put down. We’d known the day was coming, had heard the rumbling in its gut and its hungry cries. We knew that soon, the beast that had taken over our lives would have to be put out of its misery. That doesn’t mean we’d been ready. We still wept when the men placed a gun between the eyes of our Dream and pulled the trigger on everything we had worked so hard for. The Dream was dead, but at least the men who came to kill it were kind enough to dispose of it for us. They even marked its grave for us. A red and white sign with a single word written on it. Foreclosure.

“It wasn’t supposed to happen like this,” a nation of middle-class parents say to their children, “it was supposed to be better for you. You were supposed to have it easier than we did. From the fields to the mines to the cubicles, all of it was for you. All so that one day, you might be live a life that your forefathers — and your foremothers — could only dream of. You were supposed to make it big. You were supposed to have it all. Just when it started to look like you might be able to score a home among the elite, the gas prices and the food prices and the tuition prices and the everything prices, began to outgrow us. We should have known better, but we trusted their sweet talk and we fell into their trap, and now it looks like you’ll spend your life like us.”

Now you start to get angry. They promised you that if you worked hard and did well, you could have anything you dreamed of. They promised you could have it all, just as long as you worked hard, but the day you were ready to clock in, they told you to go home. There are no jobs to be found here, no money to be made, no Dream to claim as your own. Oh yes, you’re angry. You ask them for help and they turn you away. You’re sick and you’re hungry and you haven’t got a dime to your name, and they turn you away. They say look a little harder, go a little farther, but your eyes are tired and your feet are sore. You’re angry, oh so angry. You’ve watched your neighborhood go from a kingdom of suburban glory to a graveyard of Dreams grown too large to feed. You know that there’s only one job for every five out there searching. You know the truth, and you’re angry. You end up wandering to their front porches and camping out. You curse them for what they’ve done and what they haven’t. You yell and you scream, and you make a big ol’ fuss, you get on TV for it. You start a movement and it spreads across the nation, it spreads across the world. It spreads so quickly that you start to believe that it might just change the way things are done around here, you start to think that the big guys might just listen. They say they hear you – and maybe they actually do — but there are donors to please and campaigns to fund, and they have to keep the money coming in. They can’t help you in the way you ask them to. You’re angry, but you’re tired. You go home.

You return to the graveyard that you once called home and began to count the tombstones. So many corpses, so many homes, so many families that used to welcome you as a member of their community, so many Dreams. All of them buried here, a civilization full of people whose ambitions simply outgrew their resources. The growth has stopped and you begin to wonder if it will ever begin again. You can’t take the hopelessness of it all, you can’t stand to accept that the Dreams of your nation will simply lay here in the ground, forgotten like a long dead family pet. You grab a shovel. You start digging.

You dig as long as you can and as hard as you can. Blisters grow on you palms and sweat trickles down your neck. Even now that the Dream is dead, it manages to occupy every inch of your mind. You are obsessed with the idea of resuscitating it, of bringing it back to life so that it may grow again. Maybe you can restore it to its former glory. Maybe if you work hard enough, you can even make it bigger.

You look into the hole you’ve dug and you realize something. It’s not nearly as large as the Dream your ancestors have created for you, but it’s more than large enough to bury yourself in. You ask yourself: “is it worth it to keep digging?” Maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s time to bury this Dream for good, and start looking for a new one.

Comments 279

  • The middle class lifestyle was a mirage, plain and simple. It was created when we substituted muscle energy with fossil fuels. The resulting orgy of surplus allowed us to consume, borrow, and maintain the illusion long enough for us to destroy the only home we’ll ever know.

    It’s time to pick up the shovel, and the hoe. It’s time to put aside our selfish fantasies and look into each others eyes. It is a time for humility and kindness, the likes of which are unknown to the living. Let us begin the journey together this new year.

    Thanks, Aleigha and to Guy for offering us a way forward.

  • I would like to suggest my community college students read this, but they already think I am crazy. Guess I will pass. What good might it accomplish at this late stage?

  • .
    Extinction’s an unforeseen quirk
    Making us slightly berserk;
    I’d mind a lot less
    If building this mess
    Hadn’t been so much damn work.

  • Telling your community college students won’t make a difference. Some will nod in agreement and understand the dilemma. Others will tune you out and believe that their god or latest god (technologhy) will save us all. The last few will continue to think you’re old and bitter…which is true in my case. What do we expect though? Many of us had the “college experience.” Why shouldn’t they continue to pursue it as well? After all its part of the dream that in actuality has become a nightmare for those under the boot of civilization. So scrape off your boots and get to class kiddies because the world is your oyster…until they go extinct that is.

  • K Klein Says: …they already think I am crazy….

    If folks think you’re some crazy bloke,
    Who cares, since we’re soon going to croak?
    If they won’t go away,
    You just simply say,
    “Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.”

  • I think that, instead of picking up the shovel and hoe, pick up the blacksmith’s tools.

    The path of revolution does not lead through permaculture.

  • Aleigha, sounds like the dream needs to rot in place if you can’t dig a hole big enough to bury it. It will, eventually, rot. Might be better to get blisters on your hands for different reasons.

    You have my full compassion.

  • The “American Dream” always was a nightmare even before anyone knew it would destroy the planet.

  • It’s much worse than you think Aleigha:

    Even thinking about changing anything can get you killed. We’ve become a police state and most people don’t know it yet. If you thought the last two years were bad, wait til you see what 2013 has in store for us all.

    Take pleasure where you can
    Before the shit hits the fan.
    Once it starts
    The collapse will impart
    Severe pain to both woman and man.

  • “The growth has stopped and you begin to wonder if it will ever begin again.”

    Isn’t that the problem? We can’t have never-ending growth. It is ecologically impossible. We must learn to live with a sustainable equilibrium. The pendulum swings as far back as it swings forward.

  • Yes, I understand this cri de coeur.

    I belong to the “old and bitter” group, I suppose. I have spent many years working hard, politically, to make a difference… to no avail.

    I have been growing my own food since moving to a smallish community about 10 years ago. I think that I am considered to be that wierd woman in the run down house…. at and now that it seems that the mainstream continues on its dead end path, I can only withdraw and live as Epicurus did for I still have to live my life. I don’t have any hope for the future at all. Life is still good in the garden.

  • “…but we trusted their sweet talk and we fell into their trap, and now it looks like you’ll spend your life like us.”

    Hah. Ahahahah. HAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!

    **wipes laughter-induced tear away**

    “Like us.” Oh honey, if only. Thanks for the laugh, though.

  • A crisis situation has developed at a gas and condensate production platform in the Elgin field in the North Sea. Gas is leaking out of a well near a offshore platform at a rate of approximately 2 kilograms per second (12 MMCF/day if gas), and a large sheen (assumed to be condensate) has been observed on the water. All workers on Total’s Elgin PUQ (production-utilities-quarters) Platform plus those on the Rowan Viking drilling rig, which had been working next to it, have been evacuated. On Monday, workers on a platform and drilling rig at the Shell-operated Shearwater field (4 miles / 6.4 km away) were also evacuated. There is currently a two-mile vessel exclusion zone around the site and a no-fly zone. As current winds are light, the most immediate concern is the potential for explosion both at the PUQ and elsewhere. While it is possible that the leak rate will lessen over time, the Rowan Gorilla V jack-up drilling rig is being provisioned by Total for a possible relief well that could take months to drill.

    More at the link

  • Ooops the above story was one the Oil Drum was posting as a looking back story – it took the news headlines in March 2012. The leak was successfully plugged May 15, 2012, and a permanent plug was put in place in September.

    Funny I never remember hearing about it then, perhaps because of Fukushima.

  • Mr./Ms Privileged and Mr. Donkey –

    Thanks for your thoughts and advice.

    There was an old TV show called “I’ve Got A Secret” where the panelist tried to guess what it was that I knew.

    I just pretend I am one of the guests on that show and I smile a lot at what I know. Adds to the “crazy” personna, I think.

    Ha ha.


  • Now you start to get angry. They promised you that if you worked hard and did well, you could have anything you dreamed of.

    Is that when you started to get angry? Because the empire lied to you when it told you that if you were a good little believer and acquired all the right titles then you could have all the toys you wanted and you would get to remain an infant in Candy Land for the rest of your life while the empire continued to murder invisible brown people in far away places (that, as far as you were concerned, didn’t even exist) so that the “good” soldiers could secure the resources to keep Candy Land buzzing with fun.

    And when the man-babies with the sideways baseball caps (who were trying to hang on to their ludicrous adolescence by pretending that they were still frat boys) woke up one morning and learned that Matt Lauer was dragged from his Bentley by an angry mob and beaten to death and their debit cards didn’t work and the local food mart was looted and the iPhone couldn’t get a signal and the television was vomiting Orwellian pablum … they crapped their little undies, crawled up into a ball and quietly waited for the sans culottes to burst into their town homes and do what hungry, angry monkeys do.

  • Those suburbs will need to be transformed in the near future.

    My rough estimae is that one in 7 or one in 8 suburban houses will remain standing and 4 families will adapt that dwelling to serve the 7 or 8 surrounding blocks, cleared for intensive small scale market farming/gardens, and water capture and storage.

    A lot of geographic variability will lead to some areas being very suitable and some less so for the actual crops. Other areas will be used for woodlands, if trees grow at all, and to just let wildlife regenerate, and reestablish themselves if they can. Some small scale livestock and poultry agistments, that serve directly the local groups will aid in food, milk and composting recycling.
    The materials that were recycled from the torn down dwellings can be traded or used to augment the single or double remaining dwelling.

    The social fabric will change too. Nuclear family is dead by 20 years from now, if we all arn’t anyway. Street brothers and sisters will arise and 2-4 street parents will be largly responsible for family duties, as humans will not all be breeding due to intellegent and perhaps realistic understanding of what it takes to raise children, as opposed to supplying food and necessities.

    A kind of suburban communal tribal system is all that will work in a free style way. All the adults who died in the transition will leave orphans who will need care and training, to be human again.

    Guns and amo barricaded communities will last a short time but will give way to ‘smart and compassionate helping each other’ style communities, and cooperation will come back, as well as sharing and accross the board ‘work’ will be the norm.

    If we correctly remember the things that set us up to fail we will never allow anyone to be exempt from work and effort, and no elite class will ever get to be again, and as guy has put out there, in the twilight years care and human dignity will allow the elders to pass on with some human support.

    When one considers the link above from Tom, it will not come easy for those in countries with big urban and suburban populations. The transition to what comes after the fall-collapse-totalitarian-state will be the worst phase to endure. Law will be further used to oppress and set neighbour upon neighbour.

    Doing it now may be smart if you can.

    To the usual mantra of:

    ‘chop wood, carry water’ we may add…’intensivly grow vegies, husband poultry and get a big composting system going’….

    Do ‘we’ have a chance?

    Crikey! we’ve got to give it a crack.

  • so, aleigha, u’re pissed off that the so-called dream is coming to it’s inevitable disgraceful end before u had your turn at it, and that the promises u were once foolish enough to believe were lies, or at best delusions. how about being pissed off that this insane greed based ‘dream’ has been a leading global force for the destruction/desecration of nature? that it’s led the charge to the multiple disasters we now face from population overshoot, resource depletion, mass species extinction, etc. etc. and last but certainly not least, a runaway climate change which makes the prospects for human survival beyond this century not all that great?

  • The start of This American Life for me on 1973.06.29 when the Pan Am flight from Heathrow landed at JFK very shortly before noon was not accompanied by any sense of foreboding of what has since come barreling down the pike. Past Hubbert’s peak by three years for the “lower 48”, neither resource depletion nor environmental degradation was heard of. “We’ve come a long way” – in hindsight, in a short time.

    Yet an entire lifetime to those born and raised in this period, and so a most cruel hoax/delusion/dissemblance to them. For those unwitting cogs in the machine, it is easy to point the finger of blame away almost anywhere. But as is said in the eastern tradition, for one finger pointing at away, there are three fingers pointing at oneself.

  • Aleigha – and all when I was 16 I started volunteering at a county nursing home that had not so long ago been a poor house and now was a nursing home for the more indigent people of the county ( ). While there were mostly elderly living out their last years at the home, there were young too – a young man who at 17 had lost both is legs so far up that he couldn’t sit in a wheel chair – a 35 year old who had been in an accident and was paralysed from the neck down, a 50 year old rendered mute by a stroke. The world is full of people whose dreams have already been cut short and even more by about 2 billion who never dared to dream at all. Children are born and live their lives on garbage dumps in Brazil and elsewhere. Rich kids in Brazil hunt the kids on the dump with guns and no one cares.

    There are plenty of opportunities in whatever short time we have left to bring a bit of good into the lives of people who never dared dream or who already lost the dream.

    All in all, living in America I have had a good life, but my childhood was marred by a mentally ill mother. Going to the nursing home was a salvation for me, how could I mourn my crappy childhood when before me was the most cheerful man I had ever met – a man who couldn’t move anything but his head. I had it so good.

    Americans will experience collapse and death having had full stomachs up to that time. 2 billion live on $2 a day or less, mostly because we in the first world have lived well. The will die never having had a full stomach.

    Read Mirrors by Eduardo Galeano. Then forget the dream most in South America (and the rest of the world) never had, and use whatever time is left for humans to offer comfort and solace to someone else who never had a dream. Do this for yourself. I remember Pete Seeger years ago telling a crowd of young people that if they were really down, the thing to do was to go down to Mississippi and help people down there struggling just to have a bit of equality (and sometimes paying with their lives). He promised it would lift their spirits.

    I had an activist once tell me wasting my time doing Hospice volunteering was no good – I had to do something to make the world better, not sit with someone who was dying. In fact I already knew the world was not going to be made better, so I chose Hospice volunteering precisely because I didn’t have to knock my head against the elites of this world, but just make the dying a little bit easier for one person.

  • From the man I consider the Phil Ochs of our times – David Rovic – a reminder of a hero nobody knows
    My New Year’s resolution is to write more songs. I just finished writing one this evening and it seemed appropriate to send it out. It’s about the reason we’re all alive today to experience 2013, a Russian Navy officer named Vasili Arkhipov. It was the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, his sub was under attack by the US Navy, he was under orders to retaliate if attacked and everybody knew that, yet he refused to launch the nuclear torpedoes as ordered. Instead, they capitulated, and World War 3 didn’t happen, and here we are!
    Here’s the YouTube broadside:
    per wiki Three officers on board the submarine – Savitsky, the political officer Ivan Semonovich Maslennikov, and the second-in-command Arkhipov – were authorized to launch the torpedo if agreeing unanimously in favor of doing so. An argument broke out among the three, in which only Arkhipov was against the launch Several other Russians at other times also took actions to save us from war. Saved us to die from war or climate change a bit later I guess. Anyone born after 1962 can thank this man, or if you wish blame him that you were born to die an untimely death.

  • So you’re sad that your promised life of entitlement is spoiled for you? How many people have died to support that lifestyle? Do you even have the slightest idea? So go ahead, have your little tantrum. Personally you disgust me.

  • Kathy C

    It is a shame that that activist put down the thing you were doing for others.
    Many could not go there, and look after very debilitated and dying humans, but you did and all I am pointing to is letting people contribute where they feel able is a good thing.

    Some people are messed up with world fixing they cannot see the wood for the trees, (some just see fossil fuel!!).

    This essay is just someone’s responses to realising their ‘dream’ world was a dream, and it is put here in part I suspect to indicate there is so many ways we all find out about the coming SHTF scenario, that it involves ‘us’, and to see how it ‘comes out’ as it is encountered.

    The anger Aleigha confesses is what happens for a time, but I praise her/him for seeing the ‘dream’ part of the forclosure process, and beginning the journey to waking up, amidst the ‘pain’.

    Funny how going down the economic curve, by normal reckoning, is often an awakenning time, but struggling upwrd to new economic heights is .. just what you do in a fucked uop shit for brains violent capitalist civilisation, and very few ever notice the ‘dream’ then.

  • I think that Americans have been dreaming the wrong dream for a very long time. A lot of people have been trying to tell them that, but they have not been listening. They’ve been lied to, for a century, and now they learn that living inside a lie doesn’t work, and that waking up hurts. I hope they seek retribution from the evil liars who designed and caused this mess.

  • ulvfugl: i heard it, adapted somewhat (had to stay alive), and here i am, at the end of the line. It’s a global phenomenon, however. Everyone wanted to live like us. The whole “American exceptionalism” thing was a ruse to keep the corporations growing to the point they are now – in other words, the whole American Dream was engineered probably after the Great Depression and the start of the Federal Reserve Banking System (the secret organization whose membership no one can know, though i think most are dead by now – it’s their families that keep this going). After us they exported democracy (well, they actually exported capitalism) around the globe, at the end of a gun. Now we’re all in it together. Backed by the alphabet security agencies, this will go on until it can’t.

  • superbug disease spread (norovirus):

    (from above article): “It takes fewer than 20 virus particles to infect someone. So each droplet of vomit or gram of feces from an infected person can contain enough virus to infect more than 100,000 people.”

    Preventable by correctly washing and drying ones hands.

  • Yeah, Tom. I suppose it’s human nature. I can hear those ancient Celts around here, out in the rain and the mud, going on enviously about how great it must be to be a Roman, running water inside the luxurious villa, underfloor heating, hot baths, slaves, wine, salt, silk, glass, gold coins… not understanding it was all based on military brutality, conquest, blood, murder and pillage.

    And I suppose it’s human nature for a handful of rich guys who get together to do deals, and one has a plan, ‘Hey, if we do this and this, we could rig the whole market, keep everyone else out, we’d get all the profits, funnel all the money up to us, and nobody would even know we were doing it, neat, eh ?’ So USA Inc. is just the latest and biggest iteration, and neo-liberal globalisation was the strategy to keep it going. But then it hits up against China and Russia, with their own ambitions. And none of these lunatics ever heard of ecology or carrying capacity or biodiversity or anything that really matters.

    Yes, I read about the families who owned the Fed, but it was old info, and from what I could tell, Fed is mostly owned by other banks, so its all incestuous anyway, and probably those families are still big investors in those same banks and the other mega-corporations. I read somewhere, some of that big money goes way back, pulled out of France and Spain and Italy, centuries ago, and fought over through generations since. It all stinks. Robber baron mafioso thugs who get mega-rich and buy respectability by wearing smart suits and belonging to Bilderberg and the like.

  • Kathy C Says: Never even had time to dream

    Peak Animal

    We are the ape so savant,
    We transgress, yet remain nonchalant;
    Just because we can
    (Till TSHTF),
    We do any damn thing we want.

    We’re earth evolution’s peak—
    Other animals can’t even speak!
    But still things look bleak:
    Many people will freak
    When they find out that we’re up shit creek.

  • If Guy was to give his talk to a group of energy CEO’s, they would react as if he were speaking ancient Greek. I read a story where a reporter went to talk to a CEO about environmental issues, and the CEO said it was just a fad that would go away. Like hula hoops. These are people who think a rainforest will grow back, as good as new, in a few years after they cut it down. For them, everything that exists, are merely things to be used either to generate wealth, or be dumping grounds for the aftermath of that wealth generation. If you’re not doing something to increase their wealth, you don’t exist, whether you’re a person or a planet. You see, there is no “ecosystem” no “living planet.” Only people, places, and things to be used up, and dumped on. There is no use talking to these people, they, and their government servants, are literally going to have to be physically removed from power. I doubt that even after firestorms burn their mansions to the ground, or cat 5 hurricanes blast their beach houses to rubble they would change their beliefs.

  • @depressive lucidity
    One of the all time great threads.

  • Nature Bats Last implies that nature has rules, and if broken, there will be consequences. Is there any rule we didn’t break? It’s time to pay the piper, Earth. She says ENOUGH, END IT. It’s almost like a religion.

  • Ripley: agreed, but i feel that when things get bleak enough the masses will rise up and take over their mansions, burning them to the ground and killing anyone who emerges. We know where they live and if they have homes in multiple countries the same fate awaits. By this time what’s left of any police will look the other way (ala French Revolution). We have a long way to go until then, but it can happen rapidly (ie. when there’s no food and no electricity).

    The way it’ll play out is what interests me at this point. i’m thinkin’ the economic situation will tank eventually, but the grid may fail first (like this summer) and precipitate the collapse we’ve been expecting. It could come from a Natural occurance (earthquake in New Madrid fault zone, eg.) What do you all think is the way it’ll go?

  • It is believed now that it was a radically changing and challenging environment which led to the evolutionary ascension of man necessitating a wickedly cunning intelligence and incredible adaptation characteristics (swimming, running, climbing, dexterity, throwing, etc etc).

    It seems however, that this exigency came at the cost of man being a parasitic creature such that the entire environment is required to support his psychological and expansive needs. BUT, evolution did not code us for the proper response to the challenge of global environmental collapse itself. In prior times, when there were environmental challenges (brought on by man or otherwise), we simply moved to a new area and adapted. The problem now, is that our roots have reached the edge of the pot, have devoured every ounce of sustenance within, and are now circling helplessly around and girdling themselves.

    There seems to be no other possibility now but a post human complete reboot of life itself. Even if we were to get knocked down several notches, we do not seem to have the evolutionary programming to live in symbiosis with other life. Perhaps though, a forceful retraining from higher brain oversight might eventually bring about such an innate modification – if only there were enough time!

  • No need to be disgusted CJ…she understands the situation and she’s not necessarily always talking about herself. We’ve had long conversations about civ and I’ve never met another student who understands the dilemma better. Now that being said…moving forward is a challenge we all face, including Aleigha.

  • Tom asked:

    “What do you all think is the way it’ll go?”

    Right now, for me, the lowering of the temperature and pressure gradients effecting the Arctic and temperate jet streams, seems to be what will have the single greatest impact on most of humanity–at least in the Northern Hemisphere. While the climate is king, it’s the weather that’s the henchmen.

    Erratic weather conditions become increasingly more persistent: cold spells, heat waves, flooding, prolonged snowfall and permanent drought year in and year out, will continue to take it’s collective toll on the world’s agriculture base, eventually leading to permanent staple shortages. This will first lead to disproportionate regional famine. For example, long after the hinterland of the south/mid-west of America has become uninhabitable, the maritime climate of the Pacific Northwest will be experimenting with growing bananas–we already are. But eventually, this will result in an impossible to predict cascade of deleterious geo-poloitical fall-out unto total or near extinction. In other words, intractable famine.

  • “…ascension of man necessitating a wickedly cunning intelligence and incredible adaptation characteristics (swimming, running, climbing, dexterity, throwing, etc etc).”

    yeah…although just the other morning hideously early, I was thinking about how my cat can jump onto my bed (to torture me to feed him) from a sitting position, about 3x his height. We humans cannot do that. There are so many animals that can outrun us; we cannot fly. So, I was thinking how paltry are our physical abilities.

    I think it’s our devious, gargantuan brains that give us the advantage – and also condemn us.

  • Ever since She was a child, when they sent away the boys from her neighborhood she’d always assumed it was ‘Our way of life’ the boys, her boys were killing and dying for, when all along it had been THEIRS.

    Their ways, Their lives, Their Eminence and Their Domain.

    A life such as hers, or her husband’s, or her son’s or daughter’s or great-grand-daughter’s is but a “paltry thing,” a dirty napkin on the scale beside Their gold.

  • Forgive my lateness, everyone, but CJ, what the HELL?!

    You missed the point entirely. It’s not about the lifestyle, it’s about the fact that the author was repeatedly lied to her entire life and has only just realized this. That’s all.

    That you called her disgusting and her article a tantrum was a completely unnecessary personal attack. A little empathy and understanding on your part would be nice.

    Jeez Louise…

  • The transition from an arboreal lifestyle to a purely terrestrial one was never finished: some modern humans who live natural lifestyles in the forests of Earth still climb more or less like a chimpanzee, i.e. “walking” vertically.

  • Hey Gail! You got it – we wanted to fly so we figured out how, we wanted to be king of the animal kingdom and we figured that out. What we didn’t figure out (or ignored anyway) was that all our actions have consequences! Yeah, we can get in a machine of our design and go faster than a cheetah or fly and for a longer period of time than animals, but the by-product (unintended consequence) is that the weather then becomes unpredictable. This happens so often that it’s basically a design flaw of humanity – they (we) can’t conquer their (our) own desires! Well, nature loves to teach by giving the test first and then you learn the lesson – tough for mankind and any other species that doesn’t figure this out. So now we’re gonna wail and gnash our teeth at our coming demise – by our own hand.
    Go figure, hunh?

    Does anyone remember that film called Flowers for Algernon? i think that movie is a great “metaphor” (allegory?) for mankind’s situation regarding our minds.

    (from wikipedia)
    Short story
    The story is told through a series of journal entries written by the story’s protagonist, Charlie Gordon, a man with an IQ of 68 who works a menial job as a janitor in a factory. He is selected to undergo an experimental surgical technique to increase his intelligence. The technique had already been successfully tested on Algernon, a laboratory mouse. The surgery on Charlie is also a success and his IQ triples.

    Charlie falls in love with his former teacher, Miss Kinnian, but as his intelligence increases, he surpasses her intellectually and they become unable to relate to each other. He also realizes that his co-workers at the factory whom he thought were his friends, only liked him to be around so that they could make fun of him. His new intelligence scares his co-workers at his job; they start a petition to have him fired but when Charlie finds out about the petition, he quits. As Charlie’s intelligence peaks, Algernon suddenly declines — losing his increased intelligence and dying shortly afterward, to be buried in a cheese box in Charlie’s backyard. Charlie discovers that his intelligence increase is also only temporary. He starts to experiment to find out the cause of the flaw in the experiment, which he calls the “Algernon-Gordon Effect”. Just when he finishes his experiments, his intelligence begins to degenerate, to such an extent that he becomes equally as unintelligent as he was before the experiment. Charlie is aware of, and pained by, what is happening to him as he loses his knowledge and his ability to read and write. He tries to get his old job as a janitor back, and tries to revert back to normal but he cannot stand the pity from his co-workers, landlady, and Ms. Kinnian. Charlie states he plans to “go away” from New York and move to a new place. His last wish is that someone put flowers on Algernon’s grave.

    (the film tore me up at the time)

  • Daniel: Nice. i said a while back that i thought the weather – continued drought/flood, cold/too hot at unpredictable times and for unusually long periods – would cause us one summer (perhaps the one coming) to be so hot for so many people for so long (starting in early spring) that we overload the electrical grid and it can’t be repaired in time which leads to the food shortage becoming a national dilemma resulting in chaos and that the police and homeland security are basically powerless to do anything about it, with the end result that the complete break-down of civilization occurs both here and abroad.

    Any one else? Nobody thinks a natural disaster situation (like an EMP from the sun or the Yellowstone supervolcano erupting) will cause the precipitous decline in population and the complete dismantlement of humanity’s “dominion” over nature before the above scenario (which, admittedly, is also a natural phenomenon)?

    Any other ideas? (not to highjack the thread, i’m just curious what we all think is the coming procession of events leading to permanent “lights out,” and all that it entails)

  • Tom how about this “Sun-Grazing Comets As Triggers For Electromagnetic Armageddon Large sun-grazing comets could bring on the sort of global electronics meltdown usually associated with electromagnetic pulse weapons or a full-scale nuclear exchange.” rest at

    And what did they just discover –

  • “Calculations show that the celestial visitor could be dazzlingly bright in November 2013 and be easily visible in broad daylight as it rounds the Sun. Comet ISON is so named because it was first spotted on photos taken by Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok from Russia using the International Scientific Optical Network telescope.
    It is currently very faint because it is out in the depths of space near Jupiter’s orbit. But it will steadily brighten over the coming months until it passes less than two million km from the Sun on November 28.
    That makes it a type of comet called a sungrazer, and there is a risk that the comet – essentially a giant ball of rock and ice, will break up when it makes that close approach.”
    Maybe the Mayan calendar was off by 11 months.

  • Tom, I read Flowers for Algernon way back when. Watched the movie recently. (5 stars) Yes a very good representation of what we have done to ourselves….

  • We kept going with help from our hope:
    It’s the way we evolved to best cope;
    But with doom now exposed,
    We conclude we’ve been hosed,
    And we feel like a bit of a dope.

  • The dream makers are getting ready for when the anesthesia wears off and the ignoranti start clamoring for their strip malls and electronic gadgets. Maybe when Aleigha goes out to occupy something or other and is struck hard on the head by a police baton he will realize that there are better things to do than write whining essays about having missed out on the planetary gang rape also known as the US economy.

    The corporate state knows that the steady deterioration of the economy and the increasingly savage effects of climate change will create widespread social instability. It knows that rage will mount as the elites squander diminishing resources while the poor, as well as the working and middle classes, are driven into destitution. It wants to have the legal measures to keep us cowed, afraid and under control. It does not, I suspect, trust the police to maintain order. And this is why, contravening two centuries of domestic law, it has seized for itself the authority to place the military on city streets and citizens in military detention centers, where they cannot find redress in the courts. The shredding of our liberties is being done in the name of national security and the fight against terrorism. But the NDAA is not about protecting us. It is about protecting the state from us. That is why no one in the executive or legislative branch is going to restore our rights. The new version of the NDAA, like the old ones, provides our masters with the legal shackles to make our resistance impossible. And that is their intention.

    Chris Hedges,

  • @depressive lucidity, nice post – C Hedges truly does rock.

    I apologize for not responding to your reply on a previous post, but I did want to follow up, and the references Hedges makes to the corporate state provide an excellent segue.

    Basically, what I question is the position where you appear to believe you command some kind of moral authority with your rejection of the pursuit of dominance.

    Now, how do you imagine you came to hold these views? Were they created out of whole cloth, solely by your own education, experiences, observations & thoughts? Or, are you merely a (by) product of forceful evolution imposed by previous generations of rapacious states?

    Did not these states, who applied the most cruel & terrifying punishments against those who would question their authority, in effect enforce certain traits that emerged as key selection criteria? If this is the case, are those who advocate compassion & understanding not really acting through their own free will, but are merely descendants of those who did **not** get drawn & quartered?

    As such, are they really merely current expressions of the kinds of submissive traits that allowed previous generations to survive? My theory is that the sheep have been bred; indeed, it explains the huge chasm between those who govern and those who are governed. The elite certainly know the score – it’s only the sheep who are going to be surprised.

    What I don’t understand about Hedges, et al is that they really seem to truly believe that the US was some kind of special place of individual liberty. IMO, it was just a more sophisticated means of control since the plebes had guns, so they used a very artful redirect in order to once more guide the fools.

    The coming reversion to the mean ie back to the kind of forceful tyranny that has governed mankind ever since the first proto-human realized he could get more tail, eat better & sleep more if he simply scared the sh!t out of everyone else shouldn’t be a surprise.

    What I suggest, however, is that you question your assumptions. Why do you think the way you do? Are they in fact significant competitive disadvantages in the coming storm or are they favorable traits that might help ensure your continuity?

  • Nature Bats Last implies that nature has rules, and if broken, there will be consequences.

    Actually Nature Bats first, middle and last. From Big Bang through expansion to The Heat Death of the Universe. From spore to culture to sporulation. In another tradition, Brahma, Vishnu & Shiva. The species Homo sapiens, all its actions and interactions are part of the Cosmic (± Divine) Play or Cosmic (± Divine) Dream, depending on one’s reverence and much reality id ascribed to it. (But to most people neither dream nor play would be an adequate perception of reality).

    Fermi paradox

    Explaining the paradox theoretically:

    It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself

    See also: Doomsday argument
    This is the argument that technological civilizations may usually or invariably destroy themselves before or shortly after developing radio or space flight technology. Possible means of annihilation include nuclear war, biological warfare or accidental contamination, climate change, nanotechnological catastrophe, ill-advised physics experiments, a badly programmed super-intelligence, or a Malthusian catastrophe after the deterioration of a planet’s ecosphere. This general theme is explored both in fiction and in mainstream scientific theorizing. Indeed, there are probabilistic arguments which suggest that human extinction may occur sooner rather than later. In 1966 Sagan and Shklovskii suggested that technological civilizations will either tend to destroy themselves within a century of developing interstellar communicative capability or master their self-destructive tendencies and survive for billion-year timescales. Self-annihilation may also be viewed in terms of thermodynamics: insofar as life is an ordered system that can sustain itself against the tendency to disorder, the “external transmission” or interstellar communicative phase may be the point at which the system becomes unstable and self-destructs.
    From a Darwinian perspective, self-destruction would be an ironic outcome of evolutionary success. The evolutionary psychology that developed during the competition for scarce resources over the course of human evolution has left the species subject to aggressive, instinctual drives. These compel humanity to consume resources, extend longevity, and to reproduce—in part, the very motives that led to the development of technological society. It seems likely that intelligent extraterrestrial life would evolve in a similar fashion and thus face the same possibility of self-destruction. And yet, to provide a good answer to Fermi’s Question, self-destruction by technological species would have to be a near universal occurrence.
    This argument does not require the civilization to entirely self-destruct, only to become once again non-technological. In other ways it could persist and even thrive according to evolutionary standards, which postulate producing offspring as the sole goal of life—not “progress”, be it in terms of technology or even intelligence.

  • As such, are they really merely current expressions of the kinds of submissive traits that allowed previous generations to survive?

    Submission is submission only when the submissive sanctions moral exemptions to the principle of non-initiation of force. If the other party – solitary robber, gang, state, empire, etc. – initiates force, one does not have to manufacture justifications to cloak their act in morality.

    The corollary, non-violence is such only if it holds in thought, word and deed. Even unexpressed anger violates it. The cattle licks speak of sin in “thought, word and deed” for good reason.

  • That is why no one in the executive or legislative branch is going to restore our rights.

    Rights to the crumbs from the master’s table. The constitution assured rights to the landed male gentry of european origin. As the feast got bigger, more servants were needed and accommodated. The feast is shrinking now.

    Norwalk virus – winter vomiting disease, now known as norovirus has been around the block for a long time. Vomiting infants and small children in winter and early spring. Hydration does the trick and often can be done orally.

    Full ankle dorsiflexion is innate to humans but since unused, is lost early. Part of the neonatal physical exam is to check that the entire top of each foot can contact the front of its leg. If it cannot, the neonate has to be referred to orthopaedics for evaluation and correction of clubfoot, much easier and more effective when identified early.

    Another feature of our primate ancestry is abduction at the shoulder in the coronal plane (lifting the arm away from the body to the side). Most mammals have flexion-extension (as in lifting the arm forward). Brachiators (that swing from overhead tree branches) have abduction, an identifying characteristic in primates (monkeys, including apes and humans).

  • My theory is that the sheep have been bred; indeed, it explains the huge chasm between those who govern and those who are governed. The elite certainly know the score – it’s only the sheep who are going to be surprised.

    I agree.

    What I suggest, however, is that you question your assumptions. Why do you think the way you do? Are they in fact significant competitive disadvantages in the coming storm or are they favorable traits that might help ensure your continuity?

    Believe me, I question my assumptions all the time and I do not pretend to know any of the answers. One of the assumptions I have questioned on this blog is the neoDarwinist social narrative which makes physical survival the only imperative and relegates morality to some kind of superstition. We have epistemological access to non-physical systems of objects (e.g. mathematics). I think that moral principles can be rationally and objectively justified. Just because moral principles are not made out of stuff does not make them any less real.

    As for the materialists, they seem to be functioning in a Newtonian universe which has been bypassed by physics and computer science. A number of theoretical physicists are now starting to find that phenomena which were thought to be analog in nature are actually digital. They are starting to see that this “physical” universe is looking more and more like a virtual reality simulation. Dr. James Gates at the Univ. of Maryland and his colleagues have recently discovered computer codes deep in the equations of string theory … the same type of codes that are used in search engines … In fact, they are now questioning whether space-time is even fundamental.

    So much for strict materialism, huh?

  • They are starting to see that this “physical” universe is looking more and more like a virtual reality simulation.

    Indeed. And if a “simulation”, reality is entirely a phenomenon of consciousness, not the other way around. This has the implication that there is nothing “out there”. However, the “simulation” should be s addressed scientifically, not through pseudoscience or for that matter, superstition, the stowaway onboard religion.

  • Competitive advantages: truth is what works. Look at grasses. Some are tasty and nutritious and are desirable to be eaten. Others are tough, prickly, thorney, and are not desireable to be eaten. Each method has an advantage towards getting energy. Reproduction is just the means to change features to get energy better. Variation and selection. Evolution. There are many ways that work. Some are “moral” and most are not. Real life is tough. Humans didn’t like it that way and figured out ways to beat the system. It won’t work.

  • Anyone read ‘Topsoil and Civilisation’? It seems that mankind can build pyramids and create nano technology but cannot grow plants that hold the soil together, and hasnt grasped that mushrooms create humus, which rebuilds the soil.

    The thing i notice is, Hemp has not been mass cultivated in human history, yet is the one plant that will serve the soil and mankind, If we are serious about staying still or progressing as a species, then we need to rebuild the soil fast or it will be a wipeout.

    Grow hemp>Use the leaves to grow oyster mushrooms>repeat until you are food self sufficient.

  • Personally, I’m a long way from being convinced by the ‘virtual reality simulation’ and ‘string theory’ theories. Afaik, it’s all conjecture, no actual evidence in support, is there, or prediction that can be tested ?

    Anyway, Robin said This has the implication that there is nothing “out there”.

    How do you work that out ? What was ‘out there’ before was Shannon-Weaver information, wasn’t it ? That’s still what’s ‘out there’

    However, the “simulation” should be s addressed scientifically, not through pseudoscience or for that matter, superstition, the stowaway onboard religion.

    Strikes me that String Theory is pretty close to pseudoscience and superstition. I’d like to know how you define the boundary. Personally I’d say that science has to begin with gathering the observable evidence and then trying to build hypotheses to explain it. I don’t think M Theory ( String Theory ) does that, it starts from the numbers and tries to fit them to the evidence as an afterthought.

    It may be internally consistent, but that’s the kind of ‘proof’ that Gödel ‘disproved’.

  • One of many discussions of the nature of consciousness and its relationship to reality, this one being quite recent – the original text being only a little over 600 years old:

    By Sri Vidyaranya Swami
    Translated by Swami Swahananda

  • Btd “We kept going with help from our hope:”

    String theory – string enough words together and voila! there is something to us that is not material thus we don’t really die.

  • Personally I’d say that science has to begin with gathering the observable evidence and then trying to build hypotheses to explain it.

    All current hypotheses have to be consistent with all observed evidence to date or they will be laughed out of academia. And the Large Hadron Collider is an attempt to test falsifiable aspects of the hypotheses.

    Even conviction is inadequate. There is no substitute for actual experiece. Consciousness is always an individual experience, it cannot be tested in the Large Hadron Collider.

    Nothing terribly new in the article, but great cartoons :)

  • Kathy C. ..there is something to us that is not material..

    Therein lies your problem, Kathy. The physicists have not found anything to us that is actually ‘material’… you’re still living in the 19thC.

  • String theory – string enough words together and voila! there is something to us that is not material thus we don’t really die.

    Yes, science may try to explain consciousness, but consciousness lies outside science. Acceptance of death is a part of many traditions.

    Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta: The Shorter Instructions to Malunkya

  • @ Robin

    All current hypotheses have to be consistent with all observed evidence to date or they will be laughed out of academia.

    It’s been said that quantum mechanics is the most successful theory in the entire history of science, which is rather an impressive claim. But M theory is something different, and I gather that a lot of folk do find it laughable.

    If, as Tom Campbell maintains, two individuals in separate isolated sensory deprivation tanks, experience the same experiences on – what shall we call them, their astral travels ? – then it would appear that consciousness is a distributed, shared, function, at some level, and can indeed be studied scientifically by such means.

  • Gazan farmers know how to chop wood, carry water. Well in their case keep on farming no matter what the Zionists do to them even if it means abandoning fields and growing on rooftops

  • Shell Alaska says a drifting drill ship that broke loose from tow vessels during a severe storm has run aground on the southeast side of Sitkalidak Island.

  • Despite answers “wise” and quite snappy
    Its all a bunch of bullcrappy
    We are mortal you see
    We shit and we pee
    And for that I am really quite happy

  • And for that I am really quite happy

    Me too. I think one can rest in pure being, just as our ancestors did, tens of thousands of years ago, and accept that all is awesome mystery. But isn’t that what the myth of the Fall is about ? We left the Garden, and ate the Fruit of Knowledge, we opened Pandora’s Box, took out the toys…

    Once we know E=MC2 how can we unknow it ? Even Fukuoka with his notion of natural farming, saying forget all about science, just sow vegetable seeds in clay balls, but the vegetables are not natural, they are the result of centuries of careful selection and breeding and interference with nature…

    We’re all using these computers and the internet, which are the products of quantum physics. That’s your ‘bunch of bullcrappy’, Kathy.

  • then it would appear that consciousness is a distributed, shared, function, at some level,

    It is not distributed. It is not within spacetime, the appearance of spacetime is dependent on it, but it has no within and no without. It is not shared, there is nothing besides it – the One without a second. It is not a function, it is the Sunyata, the Ein Sof – the Void. It has no levels. It is the Witness to all mind states everywhere, the awareness. Phenomena in spacetime do not demonstrate it. The “concept” of someone else’s consciousness is a concept comprehended by the mind: it is the awareness of one’s own comprehension of the concept.

  • @ Robin

    But you said Consciousness is always an individual experience

    And I pointed to a scientific investigation, experimental evidence, where two individual minds that are isolated, experience the same phenomena. So, I ask you, how can this consciousness, in this instance, be regarded as always an individual experience when, apparently, it is a shared experience ?

  • When a person’s brain is progressively destroyed by Alzheimers where does their extended consciousness go? Why did it leave if the body is still alive and functioning if the self aware consciousness isn’t manufactured by the cells of the brains and their connections?

    This is what matters – real people losing themselves. It might happen to you….It doesn’t matter whether it is “matter” or something else, when the arrangement and connections of the neurons gets upended, the self goes. It either disappears or goes somewhere else. If you think it persists you are talking about a soul no matter how you try to pretend you are not. If it disappears then matter or not, our self is part of what at least appears to be matter and can be taken apart.

  • I think that is completely missing the point, Kathy. Nobody is denying a correlation between brain and consciousness. If the brain is damaged, that has effects. That’s not what we are talking about though, is it.

  • “Maybe when Aleigha goes out to occupy something or other and is struck hard on the head by a police baton he will realize that there are better things to do than write whining essays about having missed out on the planetary gang rape also known as the US economy.”

    He is a she and the whining clearly seems to be mutual.

  • The problem with matter is it matters
    Without it our world view’s in tatters
    If it doesn’t exist
    Why does it persist
    At least until nature it batters

  • Consciousness to the experiencer is the experiencer’s own experience. A scientific investigator experiences comprehension of the concept of another’s consciousness or comprehension of the concept of similarity in the reports of other’s experiences. One individual may experience comprehension of the concept of thr similarity of the report of another’s reported experience to one’s own. No one experiences another’s experience.

    The ability to discriminate between the real and the apparent is known as atma-anatma viveka.

  • When a person’s brain is progressively destroyed by Alzheimers where does their extended consciousness go?

    Consciousness neither comes nor goes. When a rain puddle that reflects the sun dries up, the sun does nor either come or go.

  • Kathy C Says: …voila! there is something to us that is not material thus we don’t really die.

    Matter v. consciousness: why?
    Re doom—how does it apply?
    An avoidance run
    Back to Stage 1
    To deny that we’ll really die.

  • @ Robin

    Consciousness… etc.

    Imo, that is unnecessary mystification. There’s one guy in one room, completely isolated in a sensory deprivation flotation chamber, a second guy, likewise. No possible connection. Both have a radio link to a third guy who is recording their descriptions of their experiences. If one says, I feel I am falling, I feel I have landed, I see strange white figures on a beach… and the other guy gives an identical account… well, what is that telling us ? Something about consciousness ? Or not ?

    Regarding what you said before …the One without a second. It is not a function, it is the Sunyata, the Ein Sof – the Void… I’m right with you on that, and grateful to have met someone who understands that. However, that knowledge is, in my understanding, the result of mythos, subjective, the fruit of meditation and intense introspection over many centuries, it’s phenomenological observation, prior to modern science. I don’t see any reason why consciousness should not be studied by modern sciences, logos, now that we have MRI and PET scanners and the like and knowledge of neurochemistry and so much else. I mean, it might prove impossible and get nowhere, as you suggest, but I don’t see why.

  • well, what is that telling us ? Something about consciousness ?

    Consciousness is awareness, the awareness of the mind’s comprehension of a consept of “a thing”. Anything description referring to consciousness is a concept, to be comprehended by the mind. The awareness of that comprehension is a reflection of consciousness. Experiments can at best tell us that there are meat robots acting in an observed way. One may surmise that they are experiencing something and therefore the concept arises and is comprehended by the mind that they are like us. The awareness of this comprehension is a reflection of consciousness. But the only experiencing that one is aware of is one’s own. All the rest are concepts from surmises.

  • Kathy C. The problem with matter is it matters
    Without it our world view’s in tatters

    Not ‘our’, but ‘your’. It’s been in tatters since the 1920’s and the Copenhagen Interpretation, and yet you still cling to an obsolete 19thC materialism, just as Christian Fundamentalists cling to Genesis 150 years after Darwin.

    I’ve been through this with you all before, several times. When it suits your cause you demand that science is the arbiter, and quote books by scientific authorities that you have read. And yet, when I point you toward what is the best established, most widely accepted of all theories, in all of science, as of today you just don’t get it. I mean, the only reason we have these computers is because of what the physicists learned about quantum physics over the last 70 or 80 years.

    It turns the earlier worldview of Newtonian physics upside down and inside out. It says that ‘matter’, ‘particles’, can be in two places at the same time.

    Last time I tried to explain this to you, I linked to the TED talk where this was demonstrated for everyone to see. It didn’t seem to make any difference to your ‘worldview’ though, did it ? You still think everything is ‘solid stuff’, and that’s all there is to it.

  • @ Robin

    Sorry, Robin, you’ve lost me there, I don’t understand that….

    One may surmise that they are experiencing something and therefore the concept arises and is comprehended by the mind that they are like us.

    This can’t be right. You don’t need to ‘surmise’. The other person shouts out ‘Hey, I’ve reached the end of the tunnel, I can see daylight !’. You don’t need to surmise anything, you know exactly what they mean. A few moments later you reach the same place, have the same experience. Not theirs, of course. Yours. But close enough to be useful. Compare notes.

  • .
    Consciousness Is Like A Tape Recorder

    Encoded in neurons or tape,
    Moving current makes patterns take shape:
    Tape moves past read head,
    Sound info gets read,
    Et voila! You’ve got conscious ape.

  • One may know what concepts words convey, even if they are coming from a meat robot. Awareness of one’s comprehension of the concept conveyed by the words is not the experiencing of what the other experiences.

  • But that’s a different matter, to the matter of consciousness, Robin.

    Everyone agrees that consciousness isbut nobody can agree upon what it is, or where it is, or even how to define, in words, a description of it….

    I’m fairly sympathetic towards Robin’s view, in some respects. I don’t think it is ‘like’ anything, and I don’t think it is ‘produced’ by the brain.

  • Hi ulvfugl! I agree with Daniel Wegner:

    but the tape recorder analogy is my own AFAIK.

  • If you have not seen it, this Marcus du Sautoy clip is the spookiest thing, re free will

  • ulvfugl, Libet redux:

    But how is this helping us deal with doom?

  • A few moments later you reach the same place, have the same experience.

    – have sensory inputs, construct them into a concept comprehended by the mind, compared to another concept, forming a new concept that the two concepts are alike. The new concept is comprehended by the mind. The awareness of the new concept is a reflection of consciousness. Comparing notes also produces a concept that is comprehended by the mind. The awareness of that comprehension is a reflection of the mind.

    The difference between a meat machine and a person is a presumption of awareness in the latter, the presumption itself being a surmise derived from other concepts. Awareness is a matter of one’s experience. So too is the awareness of comprehension of a concept of awareness in others. Understanding the difference intellectually can be difficult.

    Directly discerning the difference between the awareness of mental comprehension and mental comprehension does not come easy. Tradition has it that it can take 84,000,000 lifetimes. Even the intellectual understanding of the concept can be difficult.

    In the Sufi tradition it is said that the difference between a realised man and a scholar who has read and understood many books, leading his donkey laden with those books is many times greater than that between the scholar carrying the books in his head and the donkey carrying those books on his back.

    If neither intellectual understanding nor direct discernment seem forthcoming, other areas have to be addressed. When the person is ready, the discernment will be there. When the clouds blow away the sun does not have to be revealed.

  • Ulvfugl, you quote your scientists to make your case, I quote mine. In case you haven’t noticed, not all scientists agree. You just give the ones that prove your case greater merit, and I give the ones that prove my case greater merit. That doesn’t mean that either one of us rejects science.

    you say “And yet, when I point you toward what is the best established, most widely accepted of all theories, in all of science, as of today you just don’t get it. I mean, the only reason we have these computers is because of what the physicists learned about quantum physics over the last 70 or 80 years.”

    But I say “I point you to the best most widely accepted theories of neuroscientists who actually work with humans and their brains and you just don’t get it.” Quantum physics doesn’t explain Capgras syndrome, Cotard’s syndrome or all the other brain syndromes that cause people to have strongly held beliefs that the rest of us without brain damage feel are in error. Neuroscientists with brain surgery, brain imaging, and post mortems find out what is damaged that causes these syndromes. By investigating what goes wrong they begin to get an idea of how the brain creates consciousness and self awareness. The reason that Ramachandran has been able to help patients with phantom leg or hand pain is because he has made exceptional progress in understanding how our brain works.

    I know about quantum physics, I know about the slit experiment, and I know dead is dead.

    A few theoretical physicists have argued that classical physics is intrinsically incapable of explaining the holistic aspects of consciousness, but that quantum theory provides the missing aspects. However, some physicists and philosophers consider the arguments for an important role of quantum phenomena to be unconvincing.[1] Physicist Victor Stenger characterized quantum consciousness as a “myth” having “no scientific basis” that “should take its place along with gods, unicorns and dragons.” [2]

    The main argument against the quantum mind proposition is that quantum states in the brain would decohere before they reached a spatial or temporal scale at which they could be useful for neural processing. This argument was elaborated by the physicist, Max Tegmark. Based on his calculations, Tegmark concluded that quantum systems in the brain decohere quickly and cannot control brain function.[3][4]

    The philosopher David Chalmers has also argued against quantum consciousness. He speculated on a number of ways in which quantum mechanics might relate to consciousness.[5] However, Chalmers is also skeptical about the ability of any kind of New Physics to resolve the Hard Problem of Consciousness: [6] [7]

  • Yes, I know it is Libet redux. How does anything help us deal with doom ?

    I think once you’ve got through the heartache and sorrow and despair and anger and all the other stuff that comes along, you just laugh at the f****r, and do whatever your daily life requires, to keep the show on the road. The pain is still there, but it doesn’t break you, because you’re not dead yet…

  • Sorry, Robin, you’ve list me again, none of that makes sense to me.

  • Kathy C. we’re talking about two quite separate things. One is quantum physics. I don’t think that any reputable scientist in any scientific field disputes quantum physics. That’s what destroys your 19thC materialism.

    The second part, the linkage between quantum stuff and consciousness is a separate issue. There is no consensus amongst neuroscientists or amongst philosophers, concerning consciousness. There’s an enormous range of views. Again there’s two separate things to consider, one is actual quantum effects occurring in the brain, as proposed by Hameroff and Penrose in the microtubules theory, which I like, but apparently has not found support, which seems to be what your Stenger reference points to ( I think he’s an idiot, he says the same about chi, which is demonstrated and used all around the world every day, so for him to deny it is as silly as to say that swimming is impossible just because he can’t. )

    The other thing is quite separate again, which is the collapse of the wave function. I think the majority view is that it is proven that it is an interaction between ‘mind and matter’, i.e. it is the conscious observer which cause it to happen. I know there are other views, but I think the burden is upon them to come up with a better alternative explanation, which I don’t think they have so far.

    None of this stuff about consciousness has any bearing upon the fact that physics has not found any of the ‘matter’ which you require to maintain your materialist worldview.

  • 50 Doomiest Stories of 2012:

    Some I haven’t seen before.

  • A very simple but very difficult solution to the problem of consciousness, two millennia old: Matthew 5:8

  • I may have linked to this before, but it is rather wonderful, The Scale of the Universe.

    Gives an idea as to what we are a part of and where we are situated, in relationship to all else.

    This apparently solid material reality which surrounds us, turns out to be nothing of the kind. It’s vibrating energy, fields, quarks, neutrinos, quantum entanglement, all kinds of weird stuff, all the way down to quantum foam, which comes out of nothing, returns to nothing, is and isn’t at the same time…

    That’s what science has found out, for better or worse. We opened Pandora’s box.

  • New feedback loop to consider:

    Arctic ocean water under first year ice absorbs more solar energy from the sun than water under multi-year ice.