Comments 302

  • dmd I suspect that the definition of energy would contain terms that also need to be defined. This may be part of the rule of infinite regression or perhaps is part of the vicious circle principle of definitions.

    But seriously why doesn’t energy need to come from somewhere? How did it come to just be? Why is that the foundational turtle? Why is there anything?

  • Most could care less of the 100’s of species going extinct daily. Well how about the olive? I bet people will care about this..
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/olive-oil-shortage_n_2819297.html

  • @dairymandave
    If we can define energy, we have the answer. That’s what everything is made of and it doesn’t need to sit on anything. I say this because I expect we can’t define energy.

    Tracing the ‘trail’ of energy to its fundamentals, it is the release of photons as electrons fall to lower energy states ‘orbitals’ within atoms. However, the genesis of energy has to do with the evolution of the universe and lighter elements transforming into heavier elements in the stellar furnaces. As the universe ages, matter is being transformed to more stable heavy elements (notably iron). When this is completed, say goodbye to energy.

  • @ Robin D.

    All laws are based on perception etc

    Except that the Laws of Thermodynamics came out of engineers messing with steam engines. They couldn’t see the heat. They couldn’t even measure the heat, at that time, with any accuracy, to find out where small amounts of heat were going in the system.

    So all your logic in your statement, re direct perception doesn’t apply. They had to arrive at their conclusions, concerning something invisible and unmeasurable, by mathematical calculations.

  • apparently you think biological “Life” is a disease.

    Is our sun “alive?”

    Is our earth “alive?”

    What is the difference between the Sun burning itself up to nothingness and the deer eating all the food on the island until they all die?

    Is the Sun stupid? Are the deer stupid?

  • Forgive me Pat, but, who is the “you” in your comment?

    The Sun is a nuclear fusion reactor. As such, it is not a living entity.

    The Earth is a self-regulating system. As such, it is not a living entity.

    The Sun is not a living entity, so it cannot be stupid. Deer are living entities, but they have not got the self-awareness to make rational decisions about what is or is not sustainable.

    Humans, on the other hand, have no such excuse. They just seem to be stupid.

  • Where Has All the Ice Gone?
    Emily E. Adams
    As the earth warms, glaciers and ice sheets are melting and seas are rising. Over the last century, the global average sea level rose by 17 centimeters (7 inches). This century, as waters warm and ice continues to melt, seas are projected to rise nearly 2 meters (6 feet), inundating coastal cities worldwide, such as New York, London, and Cairo. Melting sea ice, ice sheets, and mountain glaciers are a clear sign of our changing climate.
    http://www.earth-policy.org/indicators/C50/ice_melt_2013

  • @ Kathy C., dmd

    In positing that are you not making an argument for ignorance yourself, for if you posit a foundational Turtle you have not answered the question of what that turtle sits on or if it sits on no Turtle, or on nothing why is that?

    I think the law of infinite regression holds.

    You assume it’s true a priori, so you don’t bother to look. I looked and found a Law of laws, so to speak, a Golden Turtle.

    Of course, that’s not the end of the matter, but my question was, ‘Where are the laws hiding ?’ I made some progress ! If you don’t seek, you don’t find.

    Nobody says that you or dmd or anyone else MUST be interested, anymore than you MUST be interested in keeping goldfish or playing golf… I have even tried to move the subject to NTE, so as not to irritate people here, but it bounces back…

    ‘Why is there anything ?’ is a very good question, a zen koan, but that’s a different stack of turtles, for another day…

    @ dmd I think the physicists have a pretty good understanding of energy, E=MC2 and all that is ancient history, you say ‘energy doesn’t need to sit on anything’, but there is space-time, which, I think, is produced by the energy of the Big Bang expanding…

  • @ Martin Lack

    Forgive me Pat, but, who is the “you” in your comment?

    The Sun is a nuclear fusion reactor. As such, it is not a living entity.
    The Earth is a self-regulating system. As such, it is not a living entity.
    The Sun is not a living entity, so it cannot be stupid. Deer are living entities, but they have not got the self-awareness to make rational decisions about what is or is not sustainable.
    Humans, on the other hand, have no such excuse. They just seem to be stupid.

    And ‘we’ must accept these statements just because ‘you’ say so ?

    How can you demonstrate that the Sun is not a conscious living entity, self aware, and self-regulating ?
    I mean, I know you have been told by someone that it is not, and you believe what you have been told, but did you actually ask for any evidence to back up the claim, as I’m asking you now ?

  • Speak Softly, I couldn’t agree more. The big green organizations (aka Gangrene) have been corrupted by funding from corporate foundations – meaning they are almost (?) worse than the out-and-out delayers, deniers – and obfuscators (like Repier/Revkin) – because they give their less-informed, well-intentioned constituencies the false notion that signing petitions and engaging in publicity stunts orchestrated with the police is going to make any sort of difference at all.

    Most annoying to me is that they persist in a totally failed strategy (as you pointed out we’ve blown past the namesake 350 never to return in the lifespan of our species) of targeting obscure sources of fuel when it is absolutely critical (although too late!!) to target consumption, especially in the wealthy nations, and overpopulation. As one commenter at the post complained why are they picking on Canadian tar sands instead of going after coal mines and power plants in the US? Obviously, because the US consumer would complain if they had no electricity! Plus, the activists would’t be able to jet across the country to conferences and protests, they wouldn’t be able to produce movies like Dirty Lying Bastards, they would terribly terribly miss the cocktail parties and awards and press, not to mention their electronic toys.

    Here’s a followup on 350 funding:

    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/02/14/rockefellers-behind-scruffy-little-outfit/

  • So, if early humans had adopted sustainable lifestyles due to their being smart, then they would not have overpopulated the planet and we wouldn’t be facing NTE of not only ourselves but of all living things on the planet. Okay.

    We know that early humans were smart enough to know they needed to manage their resources, preserve food, migrate around the seasons, etc. And, it seems to me, that more recent humans were REALLY smart as they built the pyramids and the temples of Rome. But, the evidence I see is that we never stopped just consuming all the fuel we could, producing all the children we could, etc. So, I think being self-aware has made no difference – we are no different than the burning sun or the herd of deer.

    We have two cats, they both want to eat out of whichever bowl the other is eating out of – they go back and forth. I guess the idea is to eat all the food with the consequence that the other cat starves. Yet, they sleep together all cuddled up and they happily play together most of the day. However, at feeding time, all bets are off.

    I say we are no different. And, maybe our “self-awareness” is an illusion, maybe our “smartness” is an illusion. Maybe if an advance alien visited us, he would think prairie dogs had the most advanced civiliations on Earth.

    What does it all mean? It means nothing. I remember my days as a child on the beach – you had to build your sandcastle close to the water because that’s where the good sand for building sandcastles is located. I spent all morning building – never forgetting to keep one eye on the incoming tide…

  • @ Robin D.

    The First Law of Thermodynamics = En Sof = Sunyata

    Discuss ?

  • @ulvfugl. Please forgive my earlier suggestion that you had been rude. It was Paul Cherfurka’s comment I felt was somewhat unkind. However, he has apologised for and/or explained it and, in any case, it was trivial.

    As for your most recent remarks, I presume you are trying to surpass the humour attempted in my own? If not, please feel free to interpret my statements of fact as personal opinion based on observational evidence.

  • Guy, is there any reason to include ocean acidification in the feedbacks? It would seem to be irreversible unless we remove CO2 from the atmosphere, and as it is killing coral reefs and phytoplankton and other calcium-based life, would ultimately affect the atmosphere and climate, no?

    Similarly, there have been many studies in the past several years demonstrating conclusively that forests globally are in decline – not just Amazon, and boreal peat, but boreal trees and other vegetation (see this study which is restricted to the eastern US – supposedly just about that last place where forests aren’t dying: http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=26250).

    I’m not sure if we’ve reached a tipping point with forests already – but I’m certain that if we continue to poison the air, we absolutely will. And trees, in addition to being a major CO2 sink, regulate climate through evapotranspiration.

    The olive oil video is interesting. Of course, they are having a drought in southern Europe, but it says that there was a bumper crop last year. That is what trees do when they are slowly dying from pollution – they put all their energy into reproduction a season or 2 or 3 before they give up completely. You can see it on many pine trees, that are covered with cones the year before they die…and nut trees as well. Even trees that make smaller seeds, like maples and ash, have been laden the past few springs.

    Kind of poetic, really.

  • @ Martin L.

    …I presume you are trying to surpass the humour attempted in my own? If not, please feel free to interpret my statements of fact as personal opinion based on observational evidence.

    No, man, I’m very serious, or rather, I’m trying to make a very serious point…

    To reiterate :

    The Sun is a nuclear fusion reactor. As such, it is not a living entity.
    The Earth is a self-regulating system. As such, it is not a living entity.
    The Sun is not a living entity, so it cannot be stupid. Deer are living entities, but they have not got the self-awareness to make rational decisions about what is or is not sustainable.
    Humans, on the other hand, have no such excuse. They just seem to be stupid.

    This is the standard orthodox paradigm, is it not. This is the belief system that is getting taught to most kids in the Western world, for the last few generations ( apart from the ones we are told are crackpots, the Creationists, religious fundamentalists, etc…. in case anybody thinks I’m arguing in their support, yes, I think they are crackpots ).

    But look, this set of ideas that you just expressed IS the root of the human stupidity that you complain about, isn’t it ? It’s not wisdom.

    When you say that ‘the Sun is not a living entity’, this is pure bullshit. You want to claim it as ‘fact’. We can’t define awareness, consciousness, we can’t locate it, we don’t know how it arises, or what its limits are, or wether these stars have it in some form or whether they are vital to the functioning of the overall ‘intelligence’ of something that is so far above our heads we can’t even begin to conceive of where it’s at…

    So you cannot claim that the Sun is ‘not a living entity’ any more than anyone else can. It’s a belief that has been handed down for years and years by scientists via text books, that nobody is allowed to question.

    Well, fuck that. Science says that EVERYTHING in science is ALWAYS up for questioning and review, nothing is ever finalised and fixed.

    If we don’t know what the Universe IS, and what it is DOING, we’ve got no business telling people, in this arrogant way, that we know for certain that such and such is such and such, when it’s simply not true.

    What you are doing, when you lay out your beliefs in the above statement, that the Sun is this way, the deer are that way, humans are stupid, etc, is overlaying your own particular belief system onto reality.

    It is this very belief system, amongst others, that allows the destruction that is going on. It’s the one that says, ‘This lump of rock that you people say is a Sacred Mountain inhabited by a Goddess, is just geology, we know this from science, so we are going to quarry it until it is flat, to get all the minerals out of it, because we need the copper for our machines, and our belief system is right, and yours is just superstition and nonsense’.

    It’s the belief system that says it’s okay to clear fell virgin forest because it’s just trees and new trees can be planted somewhere else, they are only big vegetables after all, and we can genetically engineer better ones, it’s the belief system that has contempt for everything because it’s all just stuff, and it’s all been explained by science, so we can manipulate it and exploit it…

  • Ulvfugl, your last comment is a breath of fresh air! And fresh air is desperately needed these days. Thanks for that.

  • @ DaveF

    Hahaha, well, thanks for the compliment, I have to admit an element of devil’s advocacy ;-)

    Thing is, I AM on topic, Guy says, an hour of critical thinking, well, as I understand it, that means looking at one’s own most cherished beliefs, and beating the shit out of them, and seeing what’s left, if anything… I mean, if they really ARE strong, they’ll survive..

    One of my all time favourite quotes from B. Russell’s A Theory of Knowledge

    ..at first sight it might be thought that knowledge might be defined as belief which is in agreement with the facts. The trouble is that no one knows what a belief is, no one knows what a fact is, and no one knows what sort of agreement between them would make a belief true.

  • This is one for dmd, dear friend across the waters, who milketh the cows and tilleth the soil and dreams of aliens making crop circles, bringing messages from other worlds and dimensions….

    What if the Sun and all the stars are indeed conscious entities sending us messages, but we have been too dumb to listen and notice ?

    It’s now generally accepted that dolphins are highly intelligent conscious creatures with sophisticated language and ability to think and learn. But that’s a very recent achievement on OUR part. Most of history, we were too stupid to notice. Now we are beginning to decode their language, as we are for many other birds and animals, and to actually understand what they are saying to each other.

    Here’s messages coming from the stars. Each has it’s own voice. Perhaps we are just too dumb to decode their language ?

    http://cymascope.com/cyma_research/astrophysics.html

  • Dear Doctor McPherson,

    I really appreciate your trying to get the word out, like you and a few brave others are. I’ve been pretty sure since the 60’s that we would never be able to stop the “Death Machine” that we were born into, and the evidence was certainly there at that time.

    However, in spite of the inevitability of it all, aren’t we compelled to at least try some form of junkshot approach of geo-engineering at this point?

    After all, we’re done anyway, whether we make a complete hash of it by either making things worse or being ineffective. Which, as you say, is likely.

  • If you think that even the idea of human-driven global warming is commonly accepted, let alone understood as to its gravity, see
    http://www.hubberts-arms.org/general-discussion/michael-ruppert-interview/15/ and subsequent pages of that thread. A friend of mine told me about how it took a turn towards discussing global warming, how one participant discloses a complete failure to understand Guy’s take on it, and the administrator of the site, no less, a site whose focus is Peak Oil, then comes in with a pretty much denialist take on the whole subject.
    And then check out http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/89538 Towards the latter part of the program, there’s an interview with the environmental writer for the Nation, who talks confidently about how society can lower CO2 levels below 400 ppm by planting lots of trees, and thus avoid a 2 deg C rise. That station, the Berkeley outlet for the Pacifica Network, is heavily influenced by the ideas expressed in the new book Catastrophism, by Eddie Yeun and Sasha Lilley, who contend that analyses such as put forth by Guy, do nothing but scare people into passivity and are not valid anyway. Lilley is in fact pretty high up in the KPFA hierarchy.

  • The name of that Nation writer, by the way, is Mark Hertsgaard.

  • The Cliff’s Notes version of my insight, as posted just recently to an email list:

    My view of the current clusterfuck and my pessimism about the outcome stands on the following tripod:

    1. The “Law of Maximum Entropy Production” by Rod Swenson. The emergence of order, structure and self-organization in the universe is inevitable due to the laws of thermodynamics. All ordered structures are dissipative (i.e. the “goal” of order is to degrade energy gradients as fast as possible). This applies fractally at all scales from sub-atomic particles to human culture.

    2. The “Maximum Power Principle” of H.T. Odum : “During self-organization, system designs develop and prevail that maximize power intake, energy transformation, and those uses that reinforce production and efficiency.” This is essentially a re-statement of Swenson, and is similarly applicable to all systems from thunderstorms to human institutions like economics. It clarifies the reasons for the observed growth in all human activities from energy use and general consumption to population. It also explains the succession of empires, why the USA and Russia won WWII, and why the USA defeated the Soviet Union in the Cold War.

    3. The principle of “Infrastructural Determinism” by Marvin Harris. In the tripartite framework of human culture (i.e. the “infrastructure” of resource-manipulation technologies, the “structure” of human social institutions, and the “superstructure” of values and beliefs). Cultural influences flow probabilistically up from the infrastructure. This means that all our social institutions values and beliefs exist to support and explain our resource-directed activities rather than to control or constrain them.

    It should be noted that the work of Harris and Odum preceded that of Swenson. Their work did not have a nomological foundation until Swenson came along. It is also worth noting that Swenson’s work shows that Darwinian evolution is probably a special case of LMEP.

    The upshot is that the whole of human culture is oriented towards executing, supporting and justifying the thermodynamic imperative of degrading energy sources as fast as possible. Population growth and material consumption are intrinsic parts of this process. We don’t recognize that most of our values and beliefs are responses to this invisible, universal pressure. As a result our behavior is remarkably sensitive to education directed towards enhancing this activity, and remarkably insensitive to any education directed at counteracting it. In fact our culture as a whole acts defensively towards such threats. What Mother Nature wants, she ends up getting.

  • The word “energy” is a portmanteau word and means, approximately, something that can be used to produce heat. Since heat, in turn can be used to produce motion and electricity they too can be measures of “energy.” Energy must be measured in the units of one of its forms. There is not and cannot be a unit of energy in general. There is no comprehensive unit of both mass in motion and electricity except insofar as both can be transformed into heat.

    “Consciousness” is what you regain when you wake up either after being knocked unconscious or having been asleep. It is a word of very little other usefulness in day to day life. The idea of it as some kind of inner spark that suddenly appears in complex life is mythology. “Consciousness” is a remnant of “the soul” something that we believe might allow us to live after death. But the soul has much more reality. (You can be ashamed of yourself without being ashamed of your body.)

  • @Michael
    I’m partial to “joules”. My partner is partial to “jewels”. I’m conscious of it taking a lot of the first to acquire any of the second. But I’m not ashamed of trying.

  • Michael, I think you would enjoy Peter Watts scifi novel that explores what consciousness is and what it is good for. Watts has made it available on the web through the creative commons. http://www.rifters.com/real/Blindsight.htm

  • Consciousness has become a very popular and equally ambiguous term. Without reference to sentience, what does it really mean? To my understanding, there must be an I-thou, subject object relationship for an abstraction like consciousness to make any sense. However, I do not believe there is any such ‘thing’ as ‘nothing’, but beyond an a-temporal state, there may be “no-thing-ness” (as in no particulars).

  • Wonder what the asteroids are trying to tell us????

    Here we go again: Big asteroid set to buzz Earth
    By Mike Wall
    Space.com
    A newly discovered asteroid the size of a football field will cruise through Earth’s neighborhood this weekend, just days after another space rock made an even closer approach to our planet.
    The 330-foot-wide (100 meters) asteroid 2013 ET will miss Earth by 600,000 miles (960,000 kilometers) when it zips by on Saturday. The space rock flyby will come just days after the 33-foot (10 m) asteroid 2013 EC approached within 230,000 miles (370,000 km) of us early Monday.
    When asteroid 2013 ET passes Earth, it will be at a range equivalent to 2.5 times the distance between the planet and the moon, making it too faint and far away for most stargazers to spot in the night sky. But the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, run by astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, will webcast a live telescope view of the space rock’s flyby on Friday, beginning at 2 p.m. EST. You can access the free broadcast here.
    There is no danger that 2013 ET will hit Earth, researchers say, just as 2013 EC posed no threat. But their flybys are slightly unsettling nonetheless, since both asteroids were discovered mere days ago.
    Indeed, many space rocks are hurtling undetected through Earth’s neck of the cosmic woods. Astronomers estimate that the number of near-Earth asteroids tops 1 million, but just 9,700 have been discovered to date.
    Undetected objects can strike Earth without warning, as the surprise meteor explosion over Russia last month illustrated. The 55-foot (17 m) asteroid that caused the Feb. 15 Russian fireball detonated in the atmosphere before astronomers even knew it existed.

    http://science.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/06/17210723-here-we-go-again-big-asteroid-set-to-buzz-earth?lite

  • @ Michael Dollner

    “Consciousness” is what you regain when you wake up either after being knocked unconscious or having been asleep. It is a word of very little other usefulness in day to day life.

    Yes, that’s the kindergarten version. Until the person eats some mushrooms, or does some intensive meditation, or has some other experience of ‘non-ordinary reality’ that shakes things up and then ‘Wow, who would have guessed…’

    As in Huxley’s Doors of Perception, the brain is like a valve, with a tendency to only let through what a person needs to perceive for day to day survival, but the tap can be opened, which makes existence hell of a lot more interesting…

  • @ Michael Dollner

    “Consciousness” is what you regain when you wake up either after being knocked unconscious or having been asleep. It is a word of very little other usefulness in day to day life.

    You are exactly right, that is exactly what consciousness is.

    Just because drug users THINK they have some special view of the world doesn’t make it so. People with Cotard’s syndrome think they don’t exist https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotard_delusion but they do. People with other syndrome’s think one of their legs or arms doesn’t belong to them (and try to get surgeon’s to remove them), or think their parents are impostors who look just like their parents, etc. Mess with the brain through brain damage, introduced chemicals, or self induced visions and people think they have some special view of the world.

  • Re: Sun and Consciousness and nuclear fusion therein:

    I was of the view that the Sun was a nuclear reactor too, from my early schooling in Science, until I found a group of scientists and ‘researchers’ who are posing a different mechanism at work inside stars and between stars – and electromagnetic one – ‘Electric Universe Theory’.

    Their work was revealed to me in a series of y-tube vids:

    Link below:

    ‘Thunderbolts of the Gods | Official Movie’

    I have heard the term ‘The Transcendental Sun’ around the traps over the years, and have inferred from this that some people(s) believe that the Sun has some consciousness, but I can’t confirm or deny that assertion yet. It is a great idea though, worth exploring IMO, but how you do it with scientific processes I’m not certain.

    There may be other ways, more ‘spiritual’, that require some preperation and understanding, but that is another topic I guess.

    Why discount something when it may be so?

    I am interested in this Electric Model of celestial formations, and even though there is some fuzzy confluence of ancient myths and modern astrophysics in the Thunderbolts video presentation, I am willing to look further there.

    So much energy coming through the Sun portal or locus and from where…?

    To be honest I was never really convinced that nuclear fusion was at the heart of the Sun. Can’t say why though, just a ‘hunch’.

  • Why discount something when it may be so?

    Why not believe in the Easter bunny and Santa? It may be so – it’s not provable that they don’t exist.

    Of course most children grow out of those fantasies but alas, adults replace them with others cloaked in science.

    http://www.declineoftheempire.com/2013/03/humans-are-clueless-about-themselves.html

  • Michael, a qualification, some neuroscientists distinguish from ordinary consciousness (being awake) what they call extended consciousness – which is sort of a feed back loop that says creates the illusion of I and of conscious will. This human characteristic does seem to have some usefulness. I think of it as an additional sense organ – the eyes look for visual clues, the nose for smells etc. The conscious brain searches for meanings and processes what it finds more thoroughly than in other animals. It seeks out social meanings as well. All this information along with the information from the other sense organs gets fed to the unconscious brain, the decider, and the decision is made. The self that the brain creates gets to take credit for the decision made before it knew a decision was made. My take on the work of Daniel M. Wegner as described in The Illusion of Conscious Will
    The feedback loop is proposed by Antonio Damasio – The Feeling of What Happens, and I Am a Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter

  • @ulvfugl
    “Yes, that’s the kindergarten version. Until the person eats some mushrooms, or does some intensive meditation, or has some other experience of ‘non-ordinary reality’ that shakes things up and then ‘Wow, who would have guessed…’

    One can be conscious of more or less. Drugs or meditation can open you to higher consciousness. Two people at the same place at the same time can experience, be conscious of, different things. But these are all words that have meaning in a common language. If we want to talk about what has and what doesn’t have consciousness we are talking about what is awake and what isn’t. What would we be talking about if we said the sun has consciousness? You cannot define your terms, as many think you can, for you always import ideas that are not in your definition that way. If you want to define a term make up a new word. Then you will see just how little such a definition gives you.

  • @ Kathy C.

    Just because drug users THINK they have some special view of the world doesn’t make it so.

    And just because YOUR view of the world, produced by drugs that your body produces, is what you consider to be ‘normal’ and the only official standard approved reality, does not make it so.

  • @ Michael Dollner

    One can be conscious of more or less. Drugs or meditation can open you to higher consciousness.

    But then you need to define your own terms and your own language, because what you are talking about is awareness, one can be aware of more or less, which is not the same thing as consciousness, and what do you mean by ‘higher consciousness’ ? You are implying gradations ? A scale ? How are you measuring that scale ? Who is measuring ? Where can I look to read the citation ?

  • To my mind neuroscientists are poor misguided souls hopelessly locked into the mind-body dichotomy that has doomed the west from at least the time of Descartes. They toil away in the hopeless task of trying to find body correlates for mental activities. They never twig to “mind” and “body” having independent vocabularies and being logically independent.We could not study the body to determine that I had such and such an intention, for intention is ruled out in physical science. That does not mean we can’t find, for example, portions of the brain that show activity while I am say, suffering pain. But the correspondence can only be temporal, never logical. And since what we call pain can range from a knife stab to the anguish over something you remember doing as a child, and often depends upon a particular language, it would be quite surprising to find such a correlation over the whole range of the word’s meaning.
    So If I know how to get to New York, even if their is road work on my usual route, the neurophysiologist would search for some physiochemical condition that would correspond to this knowledge. They can’t imagine that knowing something in this way might not reflect any physical condition in particular. Theirs is just an assumption they make because of their rigid picture of reality as a building block kind of thing that forces them to deny what is in front of their faces. They are, to be ironic, not conscious. People do things for purposes–science declares this essentially impossible.

  • @ulfull But then you need to define your own terms and your own language, because what you are talking about is awareness, one can be aware of more or less, which is not the same thing as consciousness, and what do you mean by ‘higher consciousness’ ? You are implying gradations ? A scale ? How are you measuring that scale ? Who is measuring ? Where can I look to read the citation ?

    I don’t care whether it is higher consciousness or not. I merely recount what people say about their own experience. They use “consciousness,” the word, in this way. I agree that such talk comes to nothing. I thought it was you who thought mushrooms and the like had something to do with the case. I ask how the word is used. If someone is knocked unconscious his friends might lean over him and ask, “is he conscious yet, or should I call an ambulance?” That would be using language to some purpose, the kindergarten version as you put it. But would I watch someone meditating and ask, “has he achieved higher consciousness yet?” What would the question mean? You might take the person’s word for it but then what? What can his answer mean to me? It falls afoul of Wittgenstein’s private language arguments.

  • @ Michael Dollner

    I’d tend to agree with that, but you can’t lump them all together, they enjoy their own vigorous disputes over every facet of the subject.
    But all of that is a slightly different topic, from where you began, isn’t it ?

  • @ Michael Dollner

    Sorry, cross-posted, previous comment was in response to To my mind neuro scientists…

  • @ Michael Dollner

    I don’t care whether it is higher consciousness or not. I merely recount what people say about their own experience. They use “consciousness,” the word, in this way. I agree that such talk comes to nothing. I thought it was you who thought mushrooms and the like had something to do with the case. I ask how the word is used. If someone is knocked unconscious his friends might lean over him and ask, “is he conscious yet, or should I call an ambulance?” That would be using language to some purpose, the kindergarten version as you put it. But would I watch someone meditating and ask, “has he achieved higher consciousness yet?” What would the question mean? You might take the person’s word for it but then what? What can his answer mean to me? It falls afoul of Wittgenstein’s private language arguments.

    Okay. Well, I can use the word consciousness in the kindergarten sense, or tmore advanced and sophisticated philosophical senses. Which ever you prefer.

  • Philosophy is when language goes on holiday. There’s a lot of fun but it’s time out from life.

  • @ Michael Dollner

    Philosophy is thinking. It is very hard work.

    It means asking a question. It means asking whether the question is being posed in a way that makes any sort of sense. That, in itself, is a big challenge.

    Then, it means considering possible ways to answer the question.

    You touched upon Wittgenstein. Yes, all that too. Before even starting to think about philosophy, and questions, what about language and words and meaning and communication ?

    If we are to give up on those things, then this blog and these comments might as well be closed, because all we have are words and text, and all we can do is attempt to communicate ideas, despite the obvious difficulties.

  • @ dairymandave: Thanks for posting the link to the video of David Wasdell on the IPCC! It led me to the paper he presented in July 2012 at the 4th Global Conference on Global Warming in Istanbul: “Feedback Dynamics, Sensitivity, and Runaway Conditions in the Global Climate System.” http://www.apollo-gaia.org/Climate_Sensitivity.htm

    Quoted from David Wasdell’s Web site:

    For over three decades, the search for a definitive and accurate value of Climate Sensitivity has been the “Grail Quest” of climate science. The assessment of climate risk and the development of a strategic international response to global warming depend on answering two fundamental questions:

    “The first question concerns the amount by which the feedback processes of the global climate system amplify the effects of the anthropogenic contribution to climate change”

    “The second question addresses the dilemma of the possible existence of a critical threshold, or tipping point, in the global climate system beyond which climate change might be precipitated into a period of self-amplification, or runaway behaviour.

    The current ensemble of climate models has great difficulty dealing with the complexity of the feedback processes involved. Their outputs are known to be too conservative and have a high degree of uncertainty. In contrast this paper presents a definitive value of climate sensitivity with much lower levels of uncertainty. The multi-disciplinary approach is independent of global climate models and is grounded in empirical data concerning the dynamics of the whole earth system. The derived value of climate sensitivity is significantly higher than current estimates which it should now replace. It will require a radical revision of the strategic approach to the mitigation of climate change. It lays the foundation for a new assessment of non-linearity and the relationship between feedback dynamics and sensitivity. It also enables exploration of the critical threshold between equilibrating and runaway behaviour in the global climate system.

  • U wrote:

    “It is this very belief system, amongst others, that allows the destruction that is going on. It’s the one that says, ‘This lump of rock that you people say is a Sacred Mountain inhabited by a Goddess, is just geology, we know this from science, so we are going to quarry it until it is flat, to get all the minerals out of it, because we need the copper for our machines, and our belief system is right, and yours is just superstition and nonsense’.

    It’s the belief system that says it’s okay to clear fell virgin forest because it’s just trees and new trees can be planted somewhere else, they are only big vegetables after all, and we can genetically engineer better ones, it’s the belief system that has contempt for everything because it’s all just stuff, and it’s all been explained by science, so we can manipulate it and exploit it…”

    Harks back to Daniel Quinn’s “Great Forgetting”. Our culture is not humanity. I find the correlation between reduction in human brain volume in the last 20,000 and the rise and domination of our culture interesting to ponder. Some researchers think our brains have become more efficient and so decreased in volume. I go with the line of thought that like all domesticated animals we lost brain volume and became less intelligent along the way. The ways in which we might have become less intelligent remain mystifying to me. But I’m thinking spiritual ability and the associated ability to understand species other than our own might be in the mix. As our scocial constructs and language developed to support abstract thought it overshadowed other perceptive abilities and we lost them. Maybe.

    Regarding the comments on consciousness; it is a trap to believe that our current level of knowledge and understanding gives us certainty, which while comfortable is generally not the truth of the matter.

    While supervising some students conducting investigations and making up tests yesterday I had a fun little thought:

    Anthony’s Exponential Law: By the time exponential change is noticeable programs will have no influence on the outcome.

    Hahahahaha!

  • @ Anthony

    Yes, seems born into captivity, domestication, likely explanation…

    Domestication of other species has lead to reduced intelligence.

    The ‘less civilised’ peoples don’t have any problem re the spiritual stuff that seems to cause some people here so much difficulty.

    Yes, add Anthony’s Law to the nomological basis of NTE ;-)

  • Re what Anthony said

    For example :

  • And

    Doesn’t need mushrooms or meditation, every culture has known how to find it, as what might be loosely called ‘cosmic consciousness’, except for modern Western materialist rationialist ‘civilised’ culture.

  • Anthony, your exponential law (By the time exponential change is noticeable, programs will have no influence on the outcome) reminds me of what David Wasdell said in 2007 in this video on “Feedback Mechanisms & Catastrophic Climate Change”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_aMbM20mbg (from 18:46 to 22:56)

  • Kicking back.

    Just having a drink or two (or three) down at the roadhouse a little off Highway 61

  • @ Speak Softly

    Wow, fantastic version, never heard that before, thanks !

    Similar voice ?

  • @ulvfugl

    Love Robbie Robertson. I think it was in the documentary on Dylan called ‘No Direction Home’ by Martin Scorsese, that he had a hilarious description about playing backup to Dylan in various dives along the tour, right around the time Dylan switched from folk to electric, and how the audience hated them so thoroughly they would literally throw anything at the band they could get their hands on, from food to shoes to bottles, you name it.

    I remember being at Newport Folk in 66′ when they booed Dylan off the stage for his electric guitar.

    Here is Dylan afterwards. ( that’s Robertson in this opening clip )

    I thought ‘Highway 61’ was such a brillant trip first time I heard it, I never looked back.

  • Sometimes you just have to play the hand that’s dealt you .

  • Speak Softly says: Highway 61

    Ballad of a Thin Man

    You don’t understand the unknowns
    When you first enter doom twilight zones;
    Something’s happening, yo,
    But you don’t know
    What it is, do you, Mister Jones?

  • Aw, man, I lived through that, I was a deeply serious player of acoustic guitar in folk clubs, and amongst all my friends the consensus was that this electric technology was evil, we wanted the genuine old trad revival, the working class songs, the gypsy ballads, and I hated pop music, that shallow capitalist consumer shit… and then Dylan sold out and betrayed us all… and then I hear THIS and I knew in my heart it couldn’t be evil, this man was sent from HEAVEN, pure genius… like Robert Johnson, Blind Willie Johnson, Charlie Parker, Django Reinhardt, it was in him and it was coming straight out, no pretension….

    https://youtu.be/z_L4RtU1iRg

  • Gail

    You mean that the Easter Bunny and Santa are not real…?

    It was my understanding they both got some authenticity from their relation to pre-Christial agricultural rites and festivals of fertility(Easter Bunny) and gift exchange in northern tribes (Santa-Saint Nicholas) both in thear own ways being subsumed into Christianity and thence Industrial Capoitalism. Two big earners now for Retail.

    As cultural customs, personified in our newer manifestations, do you really have to use these two as counter-examples to my statement in relation to celestial dynamics?

    My question: ‘Why discount something when it may be so?’

    granted may be a bit vaguely termed but it was meant to be founded on the idea that if there is no conclucive evidence to discount a possibility, why ditchit in favour of a belief that may be largly uninspected?

    So much we normally do not perceive may be occurring in this domain and at long distances from ‘here'(relative term), and we just don’t know about it. I just like to keep an open mind on these issues, not a easilly fooled, nor a psychophantic mind either.

    I mean the presents were there every Christmas morning, without fail, and white powdery boot prints were tracked to the chimney.

    ( Now that I think back, that white powdery stuff tasted alwfully sweet, like icing sugar, if I wasn’t mistaken. )

  • ulvfugl says: https://youtu.be/z_L4RtU1iRg

    Don’t get excited, just wait:
    You and I know what’s our fate,
    Which we don’t disavow;
    Let’s not talk falsely now—
    The hour is getting late.

  • @ B the D

    Yes, indeedee… Fingers on the buttons…

    https://rt.com/news/north-korea-cuts-hotline-981/

  • @Anthony
    The ways in which we might have become less intelligent remain mystifying to me. But I’m thinking spiritual ability and the associated ability to understand species other than our own might be in the mix. As our scocial constructs and language developed to support abstract thought it overshadowed other perceptive abilities and we lost them. Maybe.

    I recently watched Werner Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”, documenting the Chauvet cave drawings which were done about 30,000 years ago in S. France, some sets of drawings done 5,000 years apart. It caused me to, once and for all, do away with any assumption that biological/cultural evolution has resulted in a more advanced human species. We are so distracted by increasingly intricate forms of “entertainment”, that our connections with nature have suffered, not just in the obvious ways of subsisting, surviving, etc…but feeling at home in the world and trusting the universe. As an artist, I can imagine making those drawings, I can feel the charcoal on my hands, I know the time it takes. But I can’t imagine walking into the recesses of some cavern by the ocean, also used by other animals such as bears, with only a flickering torch and creating these images from memory and experience. I think I used to mistakenly assume that surviving as a “cave man” would consume most waking hours, but when I see those drawings, I realize that’s probably not true. Maybe farming, yes. But nomadic hunting/gathering, especially amid ice ages, there must have been a lot of time for the mind to really do it’s thing in a far more free and creative manner than now, depending on your circumstances and how entrenched you are in society, of course. I think many have simply lost their ability to imagine…

  • http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/mar/21/lead-poisoning-ignored-scandal/

    Long before the Baltimore toddler study was even conceived, millions of children had their growth and intelligence stunted by lead-contaminated consumer products—and some five million preschool children are still at risk today. One expert even estimated that America’s failure to address the lead paint problem early on may well have cost the American population, on average, five IQ points—enough to double the number of retarded children and halve the number of gifted children in the country. Not only would our nation have been more intelligent had its leaders banned lead paint early on, it might have been safer too, since lead is known to cause impulsivity and aggression. Blood lead levels in adolescent criminals tend to be several times higher than those of noncriminal adolescents, and there is a strong geographical correlation between crime rates and lead exposure in US cities.

  • ulvfgul:
    “Doesn’t need mushrooms or meditation, every culture has known how to find it, as what might be loosely called ‘cosmic consciousness’, except for modern Western materialist rationialist ‘civilised’ culture.”

    The vast majority of cultures on this planet have utilized psychoactive plants/fungi. Western industrial desert-monotheism-practicing society is one of the very few which not only doesn’t, but in fact represses such practices. It’s very interesting that tribes living in the north of Alaska retain many of the stories associated with mushroom use in Siberia, from where their ancestors came, and that tribes which pushed further south after coming across renewed these practices once they came upon suitable plants/fungi.

  • Any comments?

  • Here in New York state, we had an orange fungus growing on our lawn last summer as well as on all 250 acres of grass hay. After mowing with our 12 foot mower, the mower was covered with orange powder.

  • @ Ozman, Jeff S.

    Yes, Santa and his reindeer and sledge, seems to come from shamanic winter solstice mushroom festival, the ‘chimney’ looks up to the axial pole star, or whatever was at the center of the heavens, where the smoke left their house, not sure what it would have been called, but the roof represented levels that the human spirit rose through on its journeys, as a sort of mind map toward death or eternity or the shamans journey to bring back wisdom messages from the gods or whatever, so as the people lay in bed, they’d have that as an aid for memory to look up to… from N. Scandinavia, Lapland all across Siberia.

    I didn’t know about the Alaska connection, Jeff, thanks for that, the ice moved south and retreated several times, so the culture might go back deep into the palaeolithic, 30,000 years or so, wolf may have been domesticated to dog on several separate occasions, right back to mammoth hunters.

    All of that subverted by Christianity into a different story about Father Christmas and Jesus’ Birthday, and then subverted again by capitalist consumerism.

    McKenna

  • The ancient shamanic beliefs, all across the northern hemisphere

    http://www.stavacademy.co.uk/mimir/naturesiberian.htm

  • dmd: i just finished watching that video and was about to post it here!

    i think that pretty much sums it up – we’ve gone into hyper-crazy and the masses by and large are clueless. Yes, the effects are felt, but no one is questioning (in the msm) why? As Gail has been pointing out – it’ll soon become apparent that most of the vegetation is dying due to all the toxic crap being spewed into the air, being absorbed into the ground via rain (it too containing radiation and other toxic particulates) and that food production is almost over (on the massive industrial scale) while at the same time the oceans are not only being depleted of fish stocks but also the very base of the food chain and major source of our oxygen is being decimated by the acidification we’re causing.

    And here i thought we had about 20 years. We may not even GET TO the 2020’s!

  • Late winter storm hits weather-weary N.J., causing wind damage and flooding

    Shore residents duel with state over FEMA’s new house elevation requirements

    Yeah. That’s the ticket!!! Raise the elevation of your seaside home.

    Bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahaha!

  • @dairymandave

    the Vid: reminds me of Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut and the notorious ‘ice-nine’.

    Ice-nine: A crystalline form of water so stable that in practical terms it would never melt (melt point 114.4° F degrees)

    Ice-nine from Cat’s Cradle: ,“Dr. Felix Hoenikker, an original thinker, found the “outside-the-box” answer; a single crystal of Ice-Nine would crystallize every bit of water it touched……on planet Earth……”

    “…In fact, there really is a form of ice called Ice-IX. Ice-IX was discovered in 1968. It exists only under high pressure and does not have the properties of Vonnegut’s ice-nine…”

    Kurt Vonnegut’s brother held a PhD in physical chemistry from MIT; he was one of the first to publish papers on silver iodide and ice formation (cloud seeding). So that’s one possible source for the [book] idea.

    Look, the largest consumer of weather data, local, regional and global, both raw and formulated in the last 100 years has been the U.S. military.

    Do you really think the MIC are unaware of the implications of global climate change during the last several decades?

    Do you really think the MIC have not been ‘geo-engineering’ for decades?

    Do you really think the MIC would tell the Sheeple People anything about it, even if the WWM (well washed masses) could comprehend the science of it?

    I’ve seen attention span studies were the ‘average citizen’ in 1960 had an attention span ‘window’ of approx 50 seconds in order for them to ‘engage’ in a subject and follow it with comprehension.

    By the late 1990’s it was about 7 seconds.

    That is about the same as a small rodent.

    Could that help explain why Guy’s message has fallen on deaf ears. More like deaf, dumb and blind minds.

    With a 7 second ‘engagement’ attention span you can only dangle sparkling shiny objects before The Public to catch their eye.

    The Owners undoubtedly ordered ‘geo-enginneering’ from the MIC lackey running dogs decades ago, primarily to extend the Rape of the Planet awhile longer and preserve their perverse ‘status’ as Masters of the Universe.

  • I don’t personally care if people want to use mushrooms or whatever to get visions. I think the idea of meditation, especially if used to look inward for self examination to be a good idea. But it has been proposed that this is also a good way to better get to know the universe. I think that is a big problem.

    Here is an illustration: If you want to buy a used car, what is the best way to determine if it is worth buying. Do you want to trust your own or someone else’s vision while doing mushrooms? If I tell you I had a dream that says BUY AT THAT PRICE, do you want to believe me and my interpretation of my dream. Or might you just want to take it to a mechanic and have the mechanic tell you what he thinks. In fact might you want to take it to two mechanics. If they have the same assessment and better yet they can show you the parts that are not in good shape won’t you trust them when they say this is a clunker, rather than my reporting of my dream.

    The problem with dreams and visions is that they are experienced by one person within the confines of their own head. Science has its flaws but it attempts to use shared experiences to tease out information about our world. If I say a particular leaf is green like the grass and you say it is green like the grass, we may not share the internal sense of green, but we share the matching of the light waves being reflected. A machine to do that might detect more subtle differences but would put them in the same area of the spectrum. A mushroom trip might see many other things, colors exploding, who knows, but if the tripper asks other tripper what they see the results could be all over the place and not consistent. All they have learned is what appeared in their own brain, not some information that can be agreed on, across all boundaries. Who doesn’t agree that if you stand up straight under a table that is not as tall as you are that you will bump your head? Only children who have not made that experiment and trippers who think that they can, penetrate wood. Unfortunately some trippers think they can fly and try. This only works in a Doug Adams novel http://www.extremelysmart.com/humor/howtofly.php

    It is perhaps of note that most scientists over time reach an agreement on well researched phenomena, while religious and spiritual views are all over the place. Yet people seem to have this love of visions, respect for their prophet’s visions no matter how inconsistent they are with someone else’s prophet’s visions or how inaccurate they may turn out to be.

  • We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. — Kurt Vonnegut

    25% of our DNA is the same as a banana, get over yourself.

  • @ Kathy C.

    It’s obvious you have no understanding of meditation and no understanding of psychedelics.

    Your example assumes what you imagine to be the effects. It’s just nonsense.

    Francis Crick was on LSD when he got the insight that got him his Nobel prize for discovering the structure of DNA.

    http://www.hallucinogens.com/lsd/francis-crick.html

  • I don’t think it matters if any of us have any understanding of meditation or psychedelics. Why can’t you just ignore the comments?

  • what does any of that have to do with anything anyway?

  • @ Kathy C.

    It is perhaps of note that most scientists over time reach an agreement on well researched phenomena, while religious and spiritual views are all over the place. Yet people seem to have this love of visions, respect for their prophet’s visions no matter how inconsistent they are with someone else’s prophet’s visions or how inaccurate they may turn out to be.

    You’ve never grasped the mythos / logos thing have you. The requirements of mythos are not the same as the requirements of logos. The truths are poetic, symbolic, they don’t need to be accurate or consistent or logical. You’re judging by a totally inappropriate measure. The fault lies with you, not with humanity. You’re criticising the human culture, which is what it is, for having features which don’t fit your own personal preferences. But why the heck should they ? They are just YOUR personal prejudices, which confuses poetry with prose, and complains when poetry isn’t logical.

    And anyway, re your point re inconsistency there is considerable consistency, if you care to look for it.

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

  • Speak Softly – I’m afraid you’re right. Kill it, whatever, everything and then mount it on a plaque. Then you will have the admiration that you deserve. You can look in the mirror and say “I did it”. I beat nature and nature thought she bats last. “I bat last.”

    I read somewhere that the goal of the ego is death.

  • I don’t like it when this blog turns into people telling other people what they got wrong.

    Most of what is so contentious is of no consequence.

    None of it will matter when America is burning from coast to coast with riots and the cannibals rule the cities…

  • we can all individually decide to “bat last” via forfeit.

  • James Watson & Francis Crick, PLAGIARIZED THE WORK OF Rosalind Franklin, a female biophysicist, was the one who actually performed the crystallography and took the photographs that Watson and Crick interpreted to obtain their data.

    Kathy mad a good point, and IMHO, the value of psykodelliks is not in their visionary power, but rather, in how they open the mind to the absurdity of modern culture. It won’t help you find a good car, but you just might say fuck it and walk instead. If we could give enough people just one dose each, tuning up their heads, then afterward industrial culture would become impossible.

    ===

    “Francis Crick was on LSD when he got the insight that got him his Nobel prize for discovering the structure of DNA”

  • This is the end times myth of the Zoroastrians :

    Zoroastrianism was one of the first belief systems to include a vision of the end of the world. It would be signaled by the appearance of three saviors, sons of Zoroaster. Upon the arrival of Hushedar, the first savior, the sun would stand still for 10 days, and people would stop eating meat. When Hushedar-mar, the second savior, appeared, the sun would halt for 20 days, and people would stop drinking milk. Just as the world neared a state of purity, however, the evil demon Azhi Dahaka would break free from his mountain prison. Only after he had been killed would Soshyant, the third savior, arrive. People would stop eating plants and live only on water, and each soldier of good would fight and defeat a particular evil enemy.

    Then the world would be enveloped in fire and molten metal for three days. Everyone who has ever lived would return to life to cross the fire, but only the wicked would suffer from the heat. This final judgment would purge sin and evil from the world, leaving an innocent human race in a cleansed world to worship Ahura Mazda.

    It’s very, very ancient, predates the Book of Revelations by a lot, and probably got somewhat garbled along the way. There are still followers of that belief, no disrespect intended towards them.

    pat, what presses my button, is when Kathy C. denigrates other people’s belief systems as ignorance, and wants to replace them with what ? Modern Western scientific materialism ? Replace their ignorance with our superior ignorance ?

    It’s not the Siberian peoples with their shamanic cultures or the Zoroastrians who got us into this mess, its the people who believe what Kathy C. believes, they are the ones who sold us ‘progress’ and capitalism and the industrial revolution nuclear power stations and industrial agriculture and Big Pharma and the military industrial complex and all the rest of the nightmare…

    And ‘our’ own end times myth, the one based on logos, on science, the one we worked out using the Laws of Thermodynamics, Heat Death of the Universe…

    So we send our scientific missionaries across the water, wherever, to seek out the misguided Zoroastrians, and tell them ‘Hey, look, you guys, you got the story wrong, it’s not like that, it’s like this…’

    Are they going to be so pleased to hear the new version, the truth as revealed by science, the GOOD NEWS….

  • I remember an interview with George Harrison years ago regarding psychoactives and he said something like,”It transforms your mind. You only need to take it once to see the whole world differently.”

  • @ Hamlet Jones

    Fair point, and Crick might have done a lot better a lot sooner if he had not been so stoned and tripped out of his skull all the time.
    LSD isn’t a panacea, I wish it was, otherwise the ’60s wouldn’t have produced all the idiots there are today. A few wake up. Some just get more confused. Some just get into self-indulgence. It’s not the chemical, it’s the person.

  • Joe Romm continues to be amazed at the rapidity of climate change. If he’d check in here, he’d be kept abreast of the latest data and models.

  • @dmd
    Any comments?

    Well, personally I see no need to concoct conspiracies around supposedly 60 years of geo-engineering in order to account for climate change, extinctions, environmental toxins, yada yada. I don’t get it. I find it incredulous that people were spraying chemtrails 60 years ago (unknowingly at that). This is the kind of stuff which make me doubt almost everything I now hear.

  • This discussion has come up a lot over the years. These powerful entheogens are dangerous drugs, you know, like guns and knives and cars, like cyanide, sulphuric acid, heroin, all kinds of things can cause damage, hurt, maim, kill.
    So, what do you do ? Teach people about the risks ? Protect them from themselves ?
    Ran Prieur thinks legalise everything, so people are forced to take responsibility for themselves.
    I really don’t know. There’s ideal solutions, in theory, but we are never going to have an ideal world in practice. Corporations are poisoning people legally, committing violence that it is hard to avoid in all sorts of ways. Unscrupulous criminals exploit anybody who is naive and gullible. Vulnerable children get kidnapped and sold to paedophiles, there’s date rape drugs, all kinds of nasty stuff, the police are often corrupt, the law is often ineffective.
    Vinay Gupta talked about tribal communities, who policed themselves, culturally by strict rules. There were no police, no courts. Everybody knew, that if a woman got raped, the offender got killed. They learned that as children. So rape never happened.
    I suppose that works up to a point, until communities get too big and too anonymous.

  • Etheogens are now being studied in major universities in use for recalcitrant states of depression/anxiety, people dying of cancer etc. In the rights hands and training (experienced clinicians, shamans etc) they can yield experiences of peace, transcendence, connectedness etc. One can argue all day long whether these states are ‘real’ or not – but they certainly have beneficial effects for many which are real.,

  • Bailey:

    I would like a lifetime supply please.

  • Bailey, I’ve had so many discussions with many, many people who are convinced that there is a chemtrail conspiracy. There are others – not quite so many – who think that trees are dying because of Fukushima, or Deep Water Horizon, or the Second Coming. They can see the visible damage on leaves and make these assumptions that its either the New World Order or the most recent environmental disaster, ignoring it when I show them evidence that the exact same thing is occurring in places where there is hardly any air travel, and also, that widespread visible damage began several years before Fukushima or the Gulf oil spill.

    I take it as just another form of denial that we are all doing this to ourselves. We are spewing so much poison every day into the environment that no secret cabal has to do it for us, but most people don’t want to admit that they themselves are part of the problem, mainly because they don’t want to make any personal sacrifices.

    U, I’m sorry but you are indulging in another form of denial to blame “modern” society, or the capitalist system. Humans have been driving species to extinction since pre-history, and destroying forests, turning them into deserts, long before the invention of chain saws. Sure, advanced technology has accelerated the process exponentially. But the problem of overshoot is part of our species, not part of any particular culture. There is no mystical place back in time when it was ever any different.

  • @ Gail

    I think you are completely missing the point.

    Paul Chefurka and I have been thrashing through the entropy stuff for days, that seems to show that, not just human culture, but biological evolution itself, and not just evolution, but the whole development of the Universe since the Big Bang, leads inevitably to where we find ourselves.

    Nonetheless, there are belief systems which have a deep respect for the cosmos and the sanctity all living things, where they only take what is essential for their needs.

    And there are belief systems, such as the one which you and Kathy C. share, which deny any spiritual aspect to existence, and, although you, as individuals, choose to a degree, to depart from the worst excesses, it is that mainstream dominant paradigm that is the major cause of the catastrophe.

    Sure, we’d have reached the inevitable end, as Kathy C. keeps reminding us, when the Sun finally frazzles the Earth, or long before then…. but this insane rush to get there as fast as possible, in two hundred years, ( indeed less than that, it’s now become decades ), compared with the tens of thousands of years that other cultures managed to exist, is ENTIRELY due to the insanity inherent in one particular bundle of beliefs.

  • Hamlet Jones says: If we could give enough people just one dose each, tuning up their heads, then afterward industrial culture would become impossible.

    The ineffable’s hard to discuss:
    Widespread enlightened nonplus
    Peaked in ’67
    But failed to spread heaven;
    Since then, it’s been downhill for us.

    (IMH experience, of course.)

  • @ Bailey, pat

    All the states can be achieved without taking any chemicals, if people learn the techniques. It just takes time and effort that most people are not willing to devote.
    DMT is produced naturally by the body.

  • Dennis McKenna’s take

  • The ineffable’s hard to discuss:
    It’s overwhelming, and thus
    It causes a fuss
    When we try to suss
    Out what all it might mean for us.

  • “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” („Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.“)
    —Wittgenstein (Wikipedia)

    Yes, it’s the place that we seek,
    But we might as well be talking Greek:
    Even for nerds,
    It’s a place beyond words,
    And thus, whereof one cannot speak.

  • I’m still re-configuring my head. Yesterday I read that they have put thousands and thousands of LED lights on one of the bridges near San Francisco. Looks beautiful, but why? The comments included one that said something about people being unable to resist tinkering with a new technology that ostensibly is supposed to reduce energy use. But human beings somehow figure out how to use so much of it that it results in even more energy use than the technology it is supposed to replace. Ding!

    Don’t you see the same thing in Christmas lights? Since LEDs are cheaper and use less electricity, people just buy multiple times the numbers of lights they would have bought if they were incandescent. Ding!

    We can’t help it. Our very matter is programmed this way. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is. We actually try to reverse the inclination some times, but it only lasts a short time and we’re back at it. Resistance is fertile. What a game! Makes me think that worldwide nuclear annihilation is what we’re headed for. Wouldn’t that be what thermo-goddammics would like best? No matter how many people think this would be a bad idea. No matter the horror.

    This is determinism of the worst sort and I hate it, but it’s so deep, so elemental, that the beauty of the play between the inevitability and the temporary flashes of rebellious backwardation are stunning. You can resist the flow for a while, in fact that might be what being human means, but inevitability always wins. That’s why all human beings have a sense that life is both horrifying and phantasmagorical.

    Consciousness is a late development in the complexity game, and it’s very effective at increasing complexity wherever it goes, in order to ratchet up the production of entropy. The spring is getting tighter and tighter. But now we’ve even figured out how this works and we STILL can’t stop doing it. Altered states of consciousness, however obtained, are still part of the inevitability. Fun, instructive, deceitful, enlightening, terrifying, rejuvenating, yes, all of those things and more. But none of them can take you out of this dance of decay.

    I hate to see suffering, or even hear about it, even though I’ve seen a lot of it as a nurse, and I’ve alleviated some of it in my career. I now see that we could do much better at reducing suffering without interfering in the inevitable production of entropy. But overall, we won’t. That won’t stop me from trying, however. It’s just that now I know what I’m doing. And not doing.

    Canada: Many are cold, but few are frozen.

  • And ‘our’ own end times myth, the one based on logos, on science, the one we worked out using the Laws of Thermodynamics, Heat Death of the Universe…

    So we send our scientific missionaries across the water, wherever, to seek out the misguided Zoroastrians, and tell them ‘Hey, look, you guys, you got the story wrong, it’s not like that, it’s like this…’

    Are they going to be so pleased to hear the new version, the truth as revealed by science, the GOOD NEWS

    This is deliciously ironic, well said. So there may yet be authentic good news, not found in the delusions of science (the reductionist materialist version) or in dualistic religion (salvation of the fittest).

  • “…but this insane rush to get there as fast as possible, in two hundred years, ( indeed less than that, it’s now become decades ), compared with the tens of thousands of years that other cultures managed to exist, is ENTIRELY due to the insanity inherent in one particular bundle of beliefs.”

    No, U. It is ENTIRELY due to technological advances enabling overpopulation, exacerbated by more technological advances, and a blindness to habitat destruction and pollution.

    It’s no different in KIND, only in SCALE.

  • .
    All Along the Watchtower 2

    No reason to get excited,
    The doomer kindly invited;
    It’s all over—relax,
    Until doom attacks,
    And folks become less than delighted.

  • ulvfugl:
    “Fair point, and Crick might have done a lot better a lot sooner if he had not been so stoned and tripped out of his skull all the time.”
    Crick was NOT tripped out of his skull all the time and hobbled by that. He and Watson did something creative in that situation, they still put together the data into a model. Why the reluctance to admit that? Crick by the way formed a group of people who did a bunch of stuff preparing for what they saw as a time of increasing shortages, including those of fossil fuels, and yes, that group used psychedelics as part of preparation.

    And FWIW, people who have had ayahuasca, regardless of cultural background, have reported extremely similar visions, in particular regarding jaguars. This even involved people who had never seen a jaguar.

  • @Pat
    Bailey:

    I would like a lifetime supply please.

    Yeah me too. When I have tried various meditation techniques in the past (and be assured I have), all I get is bored and restless.

  • A group influenced by Crick in fact engaged in some interesting activity.
    http://www.serendipity.li/dmt/crick_lsd.htm
    “”They have a philosophy,” Harker told me at the time. “They believe industrial society will collapse when the oil runs out and that the answer is to change people’s mindsets using acid. They believe LSD can help people to see that a return to a natural society based on self-sufficiency is the only way to save themselves.”