On the Acceptance of Near-Term Extinction

by Gary Gripp

penned 11 May 2013

The world we’ve gotten used to and thought of as normal now turns out to be an aberration — a bubble world based upon the ever-accelerating depletion of non-renewable resources. Fossil energy has fueled an industrial revolution as well as an agricultural revolution, which has doubled the population in less than a human lifetime, making the world unendurably crowded with resource- and energy-hungry humans. With peak oil, mass extinctions, ecological degradation (including the depletion of topsoil and growing scarcity of potable water), along with peak everything else–future prospects have been starting to look rather unpromising lately. But it gets worse. What started off as the greenhouse effect morphed into something called global warming, and it looked like it might get a bit warm for future generations. Then we started hearing about climate change, and with this slightly altered terminology the projections for change grew more severe and were expected to arrive a little sooner than formerly believed. As more climate science came online, the modifiers took on a more ominous tone, as in “climate chaos” and “climate emergency” — which again meant it was coming sooner and was going to be more extreme than we’d thought only yesterday.

Now, in 2013, we have scientific projections from reliable data that make near-term human extinction look like a real possibility. Guy McPherson’s website, Nature Bats Last, has become a home for some of the direst of runaway climate predictions, and here the phrase near-term-extinction has become so common as to be referred to by acronym: NTE. From the comment section of this blog, it is clear there is a group of the faithful who follow the science behind near-term extinction, and who try, in this forum, to come to terms with its implications. One such follower has written a very long piece on this subject called “The Irreconcilable Acceptance of Near-Term Extinction,” which attempts to address what it means to accept that your species is doomed to fail with finality, and very probably within your own lifetime. I was a sympathetic reader of this piece to begin with, as it seemed uncommonly thoughtful, and dared to broach a vitally important but taboo subject. As I made my way through this piece I was ready to object to various points along the way, but now I feel much more inclined to cover territory that was never addressed in this exhaustive feat of introspection. If near-term extinction is as real a possibility as it now seems, then there is much that needs to be confronted around this issue, and that is what I will attempt in what follows.

First let me say that I accept near-term human extinction as a real possibility, but not as a foregone conclusion. Methane release from melting Arctic ice, along with a number of other such runaway feedback loops, show every prospect of pushing climate regimes beyond the point of no return, and whatever the exact specifications of the new normal, they would not be friendly to life, human or otherwise. The science and the modeling techniques for all these doomsday projections seem sound, so far as a non-expert can tell. But, at the same time, science, along with its models and assumptions, has been known to be wrong in the past, and sometimes wrong in a very big way. So, for me, that means giving provisional credence to NTE science, but I’m not yet ready to bet the farm on what is still just speculation. Toward the end of his very long piece, author Daniel Drumright admits that he is not quite there, either. He’s convinced intellectually, but not emotionally, so he claims he will give it another couple years before he commits all the way. And here we come to some very fine points as regards attitudes, along with the words we use to describe them.

When someone gives up before they have actually been defeated, we call it capitulation. The word surrender tends to connote that defeat is the fact, and surrender its acceptance on the part of the defeated. And that raises the question: at what point, short of the absence of all living humans on Earth, can extinction be considered a “fact?” At what point does something become so obviously inevitable as to be considered a “fact” in the making? When, in other words, does all resistance become futile? The answers to these questions can be highly subjective and personal, but for my own part, I’m not quite ready to capitulate.

Why not? Well, even apart from a certain stubborn contentiousness of character, it seems to me there are solid logical reasons not to cave in prematurely. In all the best stories, the tide turns for the good guys just when their defeat seems guaranteed. In The Lord of the Rings, the narrator reflects several times upon the unfortunate circumstance of being born into times of trouble, and how there is nothing for it but to do your very best for as long as you have life. Against all odds, a certain modest Hobbit does the best he can, and the dark powers are forced to retreat from the world — at least for a time. Likewise, in Avatar, things are looking pretty grim for the good guys when Eywa abandons her supposed neutrality and comes to their aid. In fact, something of the kind is my own best hope for planet Earth, but with a twist, at least in terms of who are the “good guys,” and who, or what, we should be rooting for.

If we think of near term extinction as some kind of battle, how do we frame the nature of the combat, and how do we characterize the opposing sides? Is it man against Nature? Is it man against himself? Or is the human just a hapless pawn in a chess game run by forces much larger than himself? I’ve seen our climate catastrophe framed in all these ways, and I find a grain of truth in each, but no whole, clear picture emerges from any of these frames. Borrowing from each of these perspectives, I would say that what we are really looking at here is: humans, under the spell of the culture of civilization, pitted against Nature, the Earth, and the Community of Life. Within this framing, it is not Homo sapiens, as a species, who is contending with Gaia, Natural Law, and all the other species, but only those humans under the influence of civilization. Globally, that may be most humans, but not all, and this is a distinction I must insist upon. It is not our species that is fatally flawed, but our culture.

It is crucial to fully comprehend this distinction when it comes to choosing sides. And I’ll say right here that if I believed we were fatally flawed at the species level I would be very much in favor of our extinction — and the sooner the better. I can say this because I am not at heart an anthropocentrist; instead, my primary identity is as an Earthling and as a member of the Community of Life. In other words, I want to see the whole show go on — the one that started 3.8 billion years ago, when Life first emerged on this planet. Anyone who has an inkling of how synergistic and interdependent the whole Gaian system is must realize that if the Earth goes down, humans go down with it. There is no way we can survive as a species without our life support system, and that system includes millions of other life forms — including the 80% of our innards that is bacterial. At this point in our dubious career, we are causing the extinction of our fellow species at the rate of at least two hundred a day. With ocean acidification and runaway climate chaos, especially after tipping points and thresholds have been breached, and irreversible regime changes have kicked in, the biotic collapse will be general. And if it comes to that, it will have been the handiwork of one particular culture within one particular species. These are my people, and this is my culture, but this is not who I am rooting for. I am not at all interested in saving civilization; civilization is the problem. It is the entire Project of Life that has my deepest loyalty.

A human die-back is inevitable; a human die-off may or may not be. We have temporarily expanded the carrying capacity of the planet by mining non-renewable resources, and especially fossil fuels. At the moment, we are almost literally “eating oil.” For now, we are able to support a very unfavorable energy return on investment (EROI), of something like ten calories of energy to produce one calorie of energy in the form of food. Without fossil energy, the whole house of cards collapses, and we’re already past peak oil. So, again, we have to ask ourselves, what does “victory” actually look like? Is our ultimate aim to keep the present system going until it falls of its own weight, and no worries about anything or anyone but ourselves — we of the privileged few? This seems to be the game we’re playing now, but it is not a good long-term strategy for human survival, because you can’t take out your life support systems and expect to thrive–and continued climate disruption promises systems collapse and mass extinctions.

We seem to be stuck in what anthropologist Ronald Wright calls a progress trap, and the damnable thing about it is, there seems no way out of this maze. Our system, our way of life, our lives themselves, all seem to depend upon doing more of the same, even while we observe that what we are doing is killing us. That is a trap indeed. For a time, my own best hope was for a permanent global power failure that would immediately shut down industrial civilization, and save us from ourselves. Then it was pointed out to me that there are globally over four hundred nuclear power plants whose spent fuel rods depend upon electrically delivered water to keep them cool, and from spreading radiation around the globe. Backup generators might buy a few days, but then what? So, I’m no longer hoping for that particular Deus ex machina to come to our aid, but I’m still very much in favor of some sort of intervention — perhaps famine and plague — that will monkeywrench the Death Machine, and give the Earth a new lease on Life.

And here I want to directly confront the contentious issue of our loyalties, and with what or whom we take sides in this life-and-death struggle that faces us. The vast majority of civilized humans believe civilization to be a good thing, and see it as something to be protected, nurtured, and preserved. I strongly disagree with this point of view. To me, that is like saying you want to save the patient and the cancer, too. The culture of civilization is, and always has been, a culture of empire, and empire is built upon theft, deception and deadly violence. Even a casual reading of our history confirms this. And consider exactly what it is that is poisoning us, our planet, and our atmosphere: it’s all that stuff we have helped ourselves to from beneath the Earth’s surface, all of it contaminated with poisons, and not least the fossil fuels. No other culture could or would condone such wanton recklessness, but our culture authorizes and validates taking all from the Earth that can be taken. Some would blame our economic system for encouraging our rush toward entropy; others would pin the blame on oil company executives; neither would be wrong. But both our economic system and our corrupt executive class are products of this culture, and it is this culture that gives them their marching orders and its blessing. For those who believe that civilization is all about libraries and air conditioning and symphony orchestras, it will come as a shock to discover that what civilization really is, is a program whose effect is to devour the Earth. It is precisely for this, and its violence against all life forms, that I hold civilization accountable for our present sorry state of affairs. So: just as you can’t save both the patient and the cancer, neither can you save civilization and the world, too. You have to choose one or the other, and the wrong choice will be fatal.

Absurdly enough, the days of civilization are numbered anyway, no matter whether it succeeds in devouring the world, or if it falls short. If it succeeds, there will be no humans left to carry out its directives, and it will die content in its accomplishment of entropic equilibrium. If enough humans somehow manage to break its spell and come to understand how they’ve been manipulated into this untenable situation of collapse by the very institution that seemed to represent their best interests, then this instigator of dark deeds might just die from disuse. And in any case, civilizations of empire inevitably fade when the booty they depend upon grows too scarce, or hard to come by, to be worth the effort–and that day will soon be upon us.

If we decide that our loyalty belongs to Life rather than to the culture of civilization, what exactly do we mean by Life? Is the human pitted against all the other species of Earth in a zero-sum game of winner take all? No, it’s not us or them, no matter all the stories we’ve heard about the fierce competition for survival. It is either us and them, or it is death all around. Our supposed separation from Nature and the Community of Life has been a fiction all along. We are not separate at all; we are One; and we only succeed as part of the larger Community.

When things fall apart, clarity will be hard to come by. Knowing, or believing, that this day is coming soon, it seems wise to work on clarity now. When the unraveling begins, and we are plunged into chaos, we won’t be in a position to know how far things might go. It could be the beginning of human extinction, or it could be the correction to our numbers made inevitable by our so drastically exceeding the carrying capacity of the planet. Cheap available energy, in the form of oil, created a bubble economy and a bubble population to match. That bubble has got to burst, and there is no way around it. Since we seem collectively incapable of downsizing our own population, Nature will be doing it for us, and it is bound to be traumatic. People we love and care about are going to die prematurely of natural causes (as may we ourselves), but natural causes born of an unnatural condition, a one-time-only aberration in biological history. It seems counter-intuitive, unnatural even, to be cheering on a human die-back, and wishing for it to arrive soon. Thinking in terms of all those who are alive today — all 7+ billion of us — such thoughts seem callous and cruel. But if we are thinking beyond our most immediate circle of significant others, and take into consideration the fate of the species, the sooner this correction comes, the better for them (and for all of Life.) Leaving them a less damaged planet, with its life support systems reasonably intact and functional, would give future humans, and all Life, much better odds of survival. Knowing this to be true, how far are we willing to go to preserve our present way of life, recognizing that it can’t last, anyway, and that the more we consume, pollute, and destroy, the less likely there will be a human future here?

What does the human family owe itself at the species level? Are continuity and longevity something to be sought for the species as a whole, and is this something for which each human generation bears responsibility? All the other animals on Earth manage to address this issue by way of instinct. They take care of their young, perform their ecosystem functions, and the species seems to take care of itself. As the oddball cultural animal, our instincts seem to have been overridden and overwritten by the memes and imperatives of our culture—a culture that has inverted the natural order of things. According to our myths, the individual is more important than the group, and one particular species is elevated above all others; indeed, that species is elevated above Nature herself. Only under such a topsy-turvy worldview could this putative Master Species claim all the world for itself, for as long as it lasts, then, with a ruined Earth, declare the game over.

Our way of life, and its supporting myths, seems to suppose that we have arrived at the pinnacle and end point toward which this 3.8 billion year experiment with Life and evolution has always been headed. That is the underlying implication. But is the deepest Meaning of life on Earth really only about us making payments on our standardized boxes in the suburbs, with both parents holding down unfulfilling jobs so that we can drive our air-conditioned SUVs to middle school soccer games, stopping along the way at our favorite fast foods franchise, finally to end our day collapsed in the blue glare of Fox News? Was it for this that we took this country away from the Indians, and turned it into freeways, parking lots, suburban malls and inner city ghettos? Are we dismantling the Earth, ecosystem by ecosystem, species by species, for no better reason than to make bankers, corporate executives, and hedge fund managers filthy rich? Are our excesses of appetite, all at the expense of a living planet, really the ultimate significance of Life on Earth? That seems to be our story — the one we are living in and doing our utmost to make real.

If the human species goes down, as in near term extinction, and we take out the Community of Life and the animate Earth along with us, it won’t be our extinction itself that would leave me inconsolable. Extinctions happen; species fail. Were I able to see with the long eye of the Life Force, what I would find irreconcilable is the incommensurability between the ongoing promise of Life’s self-renewal and the paltry, self-serving species that brought it all down.

Comments 258

  • I would like to thank mockingbird for her/his witty post. I think you are spot on about Daniel’s misrepresentation. I was thinking the same thing when I read Daniel’s rebuttal to Gary. And your characterization of the potential showdown at the age of limits conference had me laughing out loud. Thanks for that. Keep posting. It’s fresh faces like yours that make lurking here worthwhile. Some of these regulars are obnoxiously boring and don’t add anything new and entertaining to the atmosphere.

  • For me, there always needs to be hope, even if it’s a fool’s hope. Communities will organise themselves to adjust, even if they are diminished by the collapse around them. Laws need to be passed to stop the dumping of waste into the air. Bicycle lanes need to replace car lanes. Coal power stations need to have mandatory (and expensive) carbon capture to buy time. Petrol should be for industrial use only and not domestic use. Solar power should be placed on all domestic homes and paid for and managed by local councils ( much like sewerage and water infrastructure) Political leaders need to be personally and legally accountable so their policies don’t harm future generations. These measures will not fix everything but they might buy enough time to implement further solutions. Children depend on parents for support and to give hope and find a way forward.

  • @ Mockingbird

    It’s not just white people – it’s Western Civilization which is quickly becoming the Global Civilization – so, it’s everybody. I get your point though, white people certainly installed the turbo chargers on the NTE express train to hell.

    You could make your same argument for TPTB in China, or India, Africa, South America. The only innocents in this nightmare are the children and the poor. People with means, any means at all, are mostly just like the rest of the sheeple – unknowingly killing us all and TPTB are going to herd us all into the meat grinder.

    Can you blame the lab rat addicted to cocaine?

  • @ Geoff:

    Umm, it seems you have some reading to do.

  • Terry the virgin was curious about the author of the above piece. Here is the one sentence version:
    Gary Gripp lives, hikes, and writes in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, where he also served for many years as a wilderness ranger—the dream job he worked up to after serving a five year apprenticeship teaching university English.
    The wilderness gig was a seasonal job; in the winters I collected unemployment and used the time to read and write, in an effort to try to figure out why everything in our society seemed so wrong to me. Now, at the age of 71, I feel that I am finally making some headway in that department, and at the same time I believe I am getting ever closer to a comprehensive and coherent worldview—one that makes sense of it all.
    Back in February, the day before my birthday, I wrote the following piece, in an attempt to explain how I managed to grow up in this society and somehow evade the dominant imprinting, and especially that of anthropocentrism.
    The Meaning of Life
    Many a human being has pondered the meaning of life, and the results represent a range from no meaning at all (the nihilistic perspective), to some institutional (religious) perspectives, to the highly personal. My own take on the meaning of life is nowhere on this particular spectrum, because I represent a perspective that is not necessarily human-centered, even though I am a human, and the product of a human-centered culture. Within that culture, and the society it informs, I am a near anomaly, and as such, within an extremely marginalized minority. And yet, amid all the babble about meaning and meaninglessness I hold to a position that I regard as rock-solid…well, really, more solid, more dependable, more enduring, than any rock ever was or will be. Before I share with you the Secret of Life, I want to briefly explore how it was I got to be this way—what might be called bio-centric or eco-centric, but which has no good word to describe it in our language.
    When I was eight, nine, and ten, I lived on a remote lake in northern California. It was far enough out in the sticks that I had to walk or be driven three miles on dirt road to the school bus turn-around, which was itself fifteen miles out of the six-hundred person town where the school was. This whole area, even today, is remote and unsettled enough to have no franchise fast food outlets whatsoever. But it was not the school or the town that had such a big effect on me; it was the lake itself, and the fact that the lake was on the Pacific Flyway, which then supported six million migratory waterfowl, as these birds cycled south and north and south again with the changing seasons. Our lake was in sight of Mt. Shasta, except at those times when the ducks and geese were on the fly and so filled the sky with their wing beats and raucous cries that they made the mountain disappear. There were lesser and greater Canadian honkers, and it was a delight to see them fold back their wings and stretch out their webbed feet as a squadron of them cruised in for a landing in the lake that was our front yard. The ducks would poke around in the tules and cattails, feeding on whatever they could find there. Grebes would also fly in with the ducks and geese, and for some reason we called them hell divers. There were also black-bodied white-billed coots that we called mudhens, and unlike the ducks and geese, who could rise off the water with graceful alacrity, these mudhens had to flap and flap and kind of run along the lake’s surface for a good long ways before they finally achieved flight. I had the use of the family rowboat then, and had developed a slow, gentle stroke that would take me out among all these birds feeding, or squabbling, or sunning themselves on the odd protruding log, or just paddling easily along, sometimes in formation and sometimes in broken ranks.
    My young mind and sensibility took all this in with an excited delight. The part of me that was trying to be a hunter wanted to exploit all of this bounty with my new .22 rifle. At least there was a voice in my ear telling me that I should be thinking in these terms. But mainly I just enjoyed being in the middle of so much Life, embodied in so many life-forms. The geese would gather in the fields across the lake and feed by the hundreds and thousands. One day when I was watching them feed and take off and land and feed some more, something happened to make all of them take off at once and fill the sky as a mass, and then break off into their own flocks and form their characteristic lopsided Vs as they headed to their next destination. When I looked back to where they had been feeding I noticed some movement. It was a goose trying to fly but unable to get off the ground. I told my mom I was going to go get that goose and bring it home, and she assented. I rowed across the lake as quickly as I could, jumped out of the boat, and ran down that goose, after much drama and noisy complaint. I stuffed it in a gunny sack, tied it off, and deposited the goose in the stern. By the time I got to our side of the lake, it had settled down a bit, and I got it to the house with only a bit of struggle. When I opened the sack in our living room, Mom looked the goose over and determined that it had been shot in the shoulder and broken its wing bone. “What should we do with it?” I asked. “What do you want to do with it?” She asked in return. I thought about how it would be good for at least a couple dinners, and how this would be my first goose, and how much the family would appreciate me for bringing fresh goose to table. Sitting in our small living room, so composed, the bird seemed very large, and not just large, but stately, its eyes alert but not alarmed. What would I do with it? Shoot it in the head with my .22? Take an axe to its neck? Looking at it without the excitement of the chase I began to realize that this goose was its own being, just like I was my own being, and I just didn’t have it in me take this being’s life. Mom helped me get it back in the bag, and I rowed it back to where I had found it, and turned it loose. It occurred to me that a coyote might end up having goose dinner that night, but that was out of my control. I had gone to a bit of trouble to catch that goose and bring it home and bring it back again, but I now knew something I hadn’t known before. In just the same way that all dogs are the same, and yet each is an individual; and just as all people are the same, and yet each is an individual; so, too, are geese creatures that are all the same, and yet each has its own essence and will to live and even its own sense of dignity. I saw that in the living room of our house when I was nine when a wild creature had been brought into an alien enclosure and showed me something of itself.
    As fall turned into winter only a few ducks and geese stayed on at our lake. Then in the spring they came back by the tens of thousands, on their way north. Next fall they came back again, and I then began to see that there was a pattern here, a cycle, and that this was part of something much bigger than me or my family, and bigger even than all human beings. This was Nature, and Nature was the source of all this abundant life around me, as well as my own life, and that of my family, and all of humanity. Nature was the source of all Life, and Life was good, and Nature was good because Life itself was good, and Nature was the source of Life.
    The Korean War was going on back then—1950, ’51 and ’52—and this last little bit of the last frontier was a rarity in the world even then. The experience I had then is now available to almost no one. In the year nineteen hundred, the Pacific Flyway supported 12 million migratory waterfowl. In 1950 it was six million. Today it is just about a million. There is a pattern and trajectory here. In 1950 there were about 150 million people in the good old US of A. Now we have more than doubled that number. There is a pattern and trajectory here, too.
    I got a taste for life in all its abundance when there was still a little abundance left. It was a remnant then, and now only a remnant of a remnant remains. Before my European ancestors arrived on this continent half a millennium ago, North America was the very picture of natural abundance. Life was thriving here; ecosystems were intact; there was integrity, stability, and beauty within the biotic community. Nature was whole. From my perspective, this is what it is all about. The meaning of Life is Life fully expressed. It is Life in dynamic balance, in all its complexity, diversity, and abundance. If you were to ask me for my best vision of the future, it would be a continuation of this 3.8 billion years of geo-biological evolution—with or without the human being.
    Being still a partisan for my own species, I would prefer a human presence within the Community of Life on a thriving planet. Right now that isn’t looking very likely, as we continue to extinct two hundred species a day while devouring the planet to feed our addictions and our growing numbers. Something in this equation has got to change. I would like for that change to occur within the single species that is taking the rest of the world down with it, but failing that, my deepest loyalty goes to Life itself, to the Community of Life and to a living planet. If the only way for the Great Experiment of Life to go forward is for this one species to die out, then I say: the sooner the better, because the meaning of Life is more Life, and not what we are seeing now.

  • @ Gary

    I’m not sure that “the meaning of life is more life” makes any sense – isn’t that the problem?

    And, if a species can go extinct but LIFE still continues is okay with you, then it’s a question of this or that? And, you would prefer LIFE continue even if it means humans are extinct?

    Seems to me that LIFE exists – and if LIFE exists on Earth, then the elements of life came together on Earth from elements contained in the Universe – so, LIFE will exist long after the Earth is gone and, therefore, you have nothing to fear. LIFE will continue.

    NTE is primarily about human extinction, IMO. Yes, the consequences of Industrial Civilization that will bring about NTE will also kill the rest of the living organisms on Earth, but not necessarily LIFE.

    LIFE will most likely emerge again somewhere. We have proof positive that it is possible with the elements that exist already.

    Personally, I see no difference in you eating the goose or a coyote eating the goose.

  • What it might be like when the collapse is a bit further along:

    “The Year of the Flood” by Margaret Atwood

    (and we are not talking about a water flood)

  • @Geoff

    What we need or want, what we thing “should” or “shouldn’t” happen, have very little little to do with what we actually get, or what actually happens.

    Victor Frankl reminds us that a man without hope can thrive so long as he can find meaning in his world. As hope is gradually eroded by events beyond our control, what remains is for each of us to decide what our meaning will be. That is about the only thing that no one can take from you.

  • @Patrick asks “Exactly how do “we” wrest the process from them?”

    Simple – stop trying to convince people about the threat posed by NTE. Rather, treat the concept as already broadly accepted, so that the issue then becomes one of control. This is a key emotional trigger. I don’t care how compassionate, ethical, moral (or what other buzzword is used to connote a “good”, caring, sympathetic) a person is. They are still a product of evolution like everyone else, so at some level from which no one is immune, they will respond to certain stimuli.

    Perhaps the most effective motive is the fear of missing out aka envy (ie in the sense of coveting what another person has). Communication is therefore reduced from attempting to convince someone of something by moving directly to: will you get your share? Let’s use the Calif gold rush as an example. Was the focus on selling the very idea that there was actually gold in them thar hills, or was it directed towards getting in ‘on the ground floor’ while the getting was good?

    If the context of Guy’s message was just slightly altered to incorporate a little PO, some of Paul’s and others calculations regarding planetary carrying capacity vis-a-vis energy/calories, a quick bit on the small matter regarding nuke waste storage, and then capped off with a summary of Hedge’s observations & conclusions regarding various legal maneuvers, the subject of NTE could be reduced from a debated, contentious issue to one were it becomes glaringly obvious that movements are already afoot to control the process.

    So the next question becomes: do you want to get in on the ground floor (ie attempt to control the process in some kind of democratic order), or do you want to be frog marched with a gun to your head so that others (that is, the very ones holding the guns) might possibly survive instead? Envy – the great motivator.

  • I guess we will now get into a lengthy discussion of “The Nature of Life” or some such nonsense.

    I’m not sure if there is a difference between life and biology. Is the galaxy “alive?”

  • There once was a Donkey named Ben,
    Who’d post something brief now and then.

    While penning his rhymes
    In these darkest of times,

    He got most of us smiling again.

    (Just couldn’t resist; it’s that 2nd cup at breakfast that sets the brain a-churning; you’re quite excellent yourself, Denise!)

  • I’d largely agree with B9K9. It seems pretty obvious to me as well. Once the mindset he advocates is adopted, a lot becomes pretty clear, especially a better sense for the timeline of probable future events. . .as interventions must operate on a schedule based on physical reality.

    Nuclear winter? Put us back on a control-able path missing a few billion folks? Just wondering.

  • B9K9,
    Yes that’s the way i’ve been approaching folks with my message as of late….when I do discuss it…which is rare. Framing it as a time of “opportunity”….that there is something to be seized before others do so. It’s the only way they’re even interested in hearing me.

    Unfortunately the discussions fade from peoples memory quickly as they go back to their gadgets. It seems an Iphone is more alluring to many than an opportunity to take the fate by the horns. I do not underestimate the depth of our delusions here in Amerika.

  • @ JayW
    @ B9K9

    I’m not sure how you get people interested in “getting their share” of NTE.

    I’m not sure how you treat NTE as already broadly accepted.

    Since you are the only one formulating an actual plan that might work, please provide more details!

  • I don’ want to lay claim to nor steal B9K9’s thunder here. . .but I think I can contribute a bit– I’m a pretty practical sort of idealist and a problems solver by nature– it’s worth attempting to take a bit of a survey and share some experiences. It will be a bit of a ramble, as I’m largely getting my thoughts together on the whole issue.

    For me, I’ve worked in ecological advocacy for a couple of decades now, and like many that have taken the cause on as an ethical imperative rather than a fashion statement stand pretty battle weary now– facing a complete rout.
    It’s a tough place to be, as I’m sure many can share– after years of personal sacrifice and lost opportunities, years of ridicule for my views, getting labeled and marginalized as an extremist, having been completely abandoned by my peers which whom I thought I shared mutual values with– well, here I am, suffering not only that loss but the ultimate loss of the cause too. . .but the thing that probably gouges me the most is to discover those views I held and caught such hell for as being the “doomsdayer” or “pessimist” or “living in fear” or all that other stuff–that I guess I called “courage”– it’s a real bugger to discover I was wrong, basically completely. I was far, far, far too optimistic, naively so. I had confidence basically in the power of information and that people, if informed, could make rational decisions in their’s and their children’s interests. Wrong! I’m sure a few here relate.

    I do have to recognize that the error stems largely from my own egocentricity– assuming that other minds operate according to a rule set that somehow approximates mine. Not at all, and I should have known better. I’ve no right to assume that others have the ability to elect against short term selfish gain for a longer term interest, any more than I expect my dog to. Ethical behavior in general is a pretty high order function, probably a more difficult task than understanding any of the current climate research– so how can one expect to get any traction there? What passes for ethical behavior is largely fulfillment based on magical thinking anyway– people are unconcerned with the real merit of their behavior as long as it generates the desired feeling state– and evidence based ethics has a tendency to screw up feeling states, at least in the short term. In short, I’ve become very jaded with the whole issue– it seems near impossible to even have a critical conversation about these issues even on a local– let alone global scale. Community? A code word for “come borrow Jay’s tools,” yah know? LOL. Man, I could use some proper enemies rather than that. . .

    The flip-side is this:

    The schism between myself and the wish-fulfillment people is now so vast that it actually creates an enormous strategic advantage, one is always far ahead of the crowd– and can easily remains so, which opens up tremendous opportunities, both psychologically and financially. A wish-fulfillment mindset precludes effective cooperative behavior– sure, it’s tough to find people of like mind if you’re based in reality, but if you’re based in fantasy it’s impossible. . .to be frank it smells like evolution to me– not so much a change in morphology but in perceptual set–I do believe that if peers capable of holding the same perceptual set can be found, their unique abilities may be prove to be disproportionately effective–

    Just a thought or two. Thanks for the opportunity.

  • by strategic advantage, do you mean the fact that you are no longer buying the next new big screen tv or fancy new car because you know NTE is real and you can buy gold instead or just save the money?

    ??

  • Thanks for sharing your experience JW. I have gone through some of what you have, in my own unique way of course. But if a forum like this only served to remind us that we are not alone in some of our inner trials, it would be well worth it. I think our discussion can serve many other valuable purposes, but will not elaborate now, but share something I started to print just before reading your comments (maybe it will get a rise out of someone, who knows…)

    Proudly wearing the badge of the 100% True Believer, it is all too easy to hold in an easy contempt those not yet fully converted to the One True Truth. How difficult it is then to take off the Badge, and carefully examine it, and begin to question its bold certainty of superior wisdom. How much harder to then, after soul searching self examination, to put it away in a drawer with other significant but outgrown objects. Wouldn’t it be easier to just continue wearing it and ignore anything that might put it in doubt? Many resting in the supposed finality and security of a fixed certainty about questions central to understanding and conducting their lives have had to encounter troubling disconnects between their beliefs and new information or events that threaten to put in question what was thought to be permanently decided and disposed of. The psychology and choices of such persons is of interest in an Age when first Faith, and now Reason are increasingly being undermined as a basis for living our lives in a civilization that is coming apart and collapsing, not only physically, but in its very Soul.

  • @jaywfitz

    I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself – lots of us have faced that burnout and sinking realization that we were more wrong than we ever could have imagined. I think I figured it out in 2008 or so, but the failure of COP 15 in Copenhagen convinced me that it wasn’t even possible to turn the rudder. This sense of defeat was probably behind Paul Kingsnorth’s decision to walk away as well.

    Since then I’ve devoted myself to asking why we can’t do anything to change our course. My provisional answer is that the reason we can’t is because we don’t understand what’s really going on. And the stuff we don’t get is far deeper than just power politics, greed or short-term thinking. Those are merely symptoms – like CO2.

    I don’t think that anything can actually be done to “fix things” – or that it’s even possible to transition deliberately to some new and better paradigm. While working toward those goals may have profoundly beneficial effects for the person doing the work and perhaps some others, the goals themselves are, in my opinion, a chimera. As some of my current and former activist friends can attest, this position has caused me no end of difficulty with the ideas of various activists – especially population activists, but also renewable energy advocates, political reformers, and both Bright and Deep Greens.

    While I think activists’ hearts are in the right place, and their motives beyond reproach, I also think that most suffer from a failure of insight regarding the nature of the problem space. That failure is shared with most of the rest of civilization, however, so no blame attaches to it. The issue as I see it is that everybody believes that human behaviour is largely governed by conscious human decisions. For a variety of reasons, I don’t think that’s true. As a result, I think anyone who predicates their actions on that belief is pissing into the wind.

    There is a reason why all our problems seem so inexplicable, intractable and ever-increasing. It is that we believe we are pulling the levers of reality, but we’re not. Or at least, the levers we are frantically pulling are connected only to the accelerator rather than to both the accelerator and the brake.

    We have failed to notice this crucial disconnect because in typical human fashion we believe that all processes are reversible if only we understood them well enough. As the Second Law of Thermodynamics makes abundantly clear, that is not the case. Most open-system processes tend to move in one direction only (whether that direction is toward growth or decay) unless they are acted on by outside forces. Human civilization is a classic example of a purely growth-driven system, as evidenced by the continuous growth of every term in I=PAT.

    I have come to think that there is a principle of physics, a growth-mandating consequence of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, behind this conundrum. As a result, I don’t think that our crisis is manageable in any way, shape or form. Or that it was ever avoidable.

    So while I hate the actions of TPTB, I also hold them blameless. And I don’t ever expect the system to change from the inside. It ain’t built to do that.

  • Hey guys, thanks for the feedback. I’m out of posts I guess, not sure how it all works. . .

    For Billy– yes and no. I think an objective observer of reality would recognize that possession of “money” in most of its forms, whether gold or cash, is increasingly a liability. So no, I’d do neither, but if I was cash ahead look to unload it in exchange for income generating assets in whatever form I could find, hopefully those that require a higher than average skill-set to utilize so that the outright institutionalized theft of those is unlikely. I’ve made some of those purchases lately and it’s worked out nicely.

    For Mike– um, I’m an observer, not a believer. There’s a big difference. I don’t hold anyone in contempt, especially my disabled peers– but there’s no point in trying to explain things to them they can’t understand. What I’ve had to learn is that it isn’t my responsibility to teach them, either, or save them, nor support them. That’s been harder to learn. Compassion my motivator, not contempt. I’m neither interested in wisdom except at it produces results. And of course if one is interested in results– you’ll pitch your “badge” in the trash the second it fails you.

    Yeah so I’ll sign out here. What I would do? Well, first what I’ve done– I used to be heavily involved in minimalist sailing, wrote some crappy books about that but learned a great deal. Sold my last boat to become more proactive in demonstrating climate sensitive lifestyles. Failed, basically, but I’ve got 12 acres of mixed timber/food forest on the Big Island of Hawaii. It’s nice, lots of bananas and coffee. I’ve taught and managed organic farming projects here– have seen that for what it is– for the last few years. What I’d suggest to do? It will be my Mennonite heritage talking, probably, but be shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves. I’d start a cooperative behind a serious business corporate veil, you could call it a commune if you’d like, but rather than fiddle around growing organic strawberries for a dollar a pound I’d be into serious R@D and manufacturing, design, fabrication– of all sorts of stuff. Hopefully the profitability of such a venture in the short term could get a leg up on some quality of life over the next dozen or so years. . .

    cheers!

  • JayW — The last part of my post was not directed at you, or anyone in particular. Your post revealed an entirely different viewpoint with which I am in sympathy. I just think it might be useful to look into the psychology of despair. Hmm.. sounds like a book title. whether a research like that would prove useful, who knows.

  • @ JayW

    Just looking to get “a leg up on some quality of life?”

    Interesting.

    NTE is bringing the end of the world and you’re looking for a comfortable chair?

  • “Russia has ordered an “urgent” evacuation of it’s drifting ice station known as North Pole-40 that sits on top Arctic sea ice, because of disintegrating sea ice that is posing dangerous conditions to reseachers. This is one more indication that the thickness of the ice is now getting very thin at places it was not before, a metric not fully captured in the extent and area data.”

    http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2013/05/russia-abandoning-ice-station.html

  • Robin Datta, that advice wasn’t very clever the first time you gave it, and it’s even less so the fifteenth. You lecture a lot about consciousness, mental conditioning, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc., which are things I’m quite familiar with. What I see here, as a dark Zen practitioner, are people whose minds have been shattered by the realization that Gaia is a murderous bitch, that the world is a dark, dark place that forever shatters dreams and realizes our worst fears. Remember that dystopia means “bad place”, but utopia means “no place.” There is no escape from this bad place while we still breathe, and no amount of meditation can change that fact.

    But instead of doing the sane thing, which is to seek whatever power we can in the face of this lethal universe, most of you apparently would have us further disarm, deindustrialize and retreat into what Lovecraft called “the peace and safety of a new dark age.” But there is no peace or safety in a new dark age, and you would only seal your fate, as you helplessly await the inevitable cosmic extinction event from your stone age milieu.

    Fortunately, none of that is likely, because if history proves one thing, it is that life always evolves toward greater power. So you can howl at the evils of human power from here until doomsday if it makes you feel better, but it won’t change the trajectory of humanity one iota. I’ve been to India, China and other parts of the “developing world”, seen how they are rapidly industrializing on a vast scale, seen the vitality, ambition and hope that exists outside the world-weary West, and it is very refreshing. So it really doesn’t matter if Western civilization decides to commit Green suicide because of memetically infected people like these. Power will simply shift to other places, the story of civilization will continue, and none of you will have any power to affect it.

    But I do agree with Robin and John Michael Greer that people here need meditation and deconditioning, to become more aware of the lethal memetic infection that has gripped their minds. Doomerism is not a collection of facts so much as an infectious memeplex and a psychic condition. There is a cure, but it takes inner struggle, to awaken yourself from your dreams of paradise and apocalypse and take a fresh look at the world around you with unconditioned eyes.

  • Darth…I’m memetically infected — yikes!

    I thought I was just noticing the arctic was melting kind of fast lately…

  • Wow, I guess there’s more than one way to live!

    The fact that so many people believe so many different things can really screw up a community!

    Some want to live in the stone age. Some want to overthrow TPTB and take over. Some want to just be left alone to live out the rest of their days. Some want to comfort others. Some want to take advantage and gain more power, get a leg up.

    Community? Ha! Just read the classified ads on this blog – then you’ll see the 21st century idea of community.

    There is no chance for community – we are too far gone. It’s every man for himself. Kill or be killed.

  • Rob, please enlighten me. Am I too optimistic?

  • Ripley: “Guy said that he expects that all of the interior parts of the continents of the Northern Hemisphere to be uninhabitable within 4.5 years. This means that the first few most vulnerable cities should be only a year or two away from abandonment. With undeniable effects so near, what difference does it make if someone doesn’t fully accept now?”

    When that doesn’t occur (and it won’t), what will Guy’s next prediction be?

  • Garrett Says:

    May 23rd, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Ripley: “Guy said that he expects that all of the interior parts of the continents of the Northern Hemisphere to be uninhabitable within 4.5 years. This means that the first few most vulnerable cities should be only a year or two away from abandonment.

    When that doesn’t occur (and it won’t), what will Guy’s next prediction be?

    —————————————————————————————————

    Garrett- I don’t know.

    I think it is important to note that for NTE (meaning no life in the N.Hem. by 2030) to occur, Guy’s prediction of the uninhabitability of the interiors of N. Hem. continents in less than 5 years must occur. Why? Because the E in NTE means, no life, and to have a habitat across an entire hemisphere incapable of supporting life by 2030, conditions must begin to deteriorate dramatically and quickly, within 1 or 2 years at the latest. What magnitude of droughts do you imagine it will take to make places like Moscow, New Delhi, and Nashville all uninhabitable within 5 years? The same kind it will take to make more vulnerable places like Phoenix or Islamabad uninhabitable within 2 years. I must admit that after the massive spring rains in the upper Midwest and much of the south, the US has been spared the kind NTE type drought that is needed to start this process.

  • The History that Divides Us
    We live in a divided nation, and daily experience a divided society, because our culture is at war with itself. Those who frequent this blog should all be allies, but we are not. Why is this? Why the dissention? I believe the deepest answers can be found in our history. Richard Tarnas, who has made a lifelong study of our intellectual history, traces these divisions to a “cultural polarity and tension in our history between Romanticism and the Enlightenment.” He continues:
    “On the one side of this divide, our interior selves hold precious our spiritual intuitions, our moral and aesthetic sensibilities, our devotion to love and beauty, the power of the creative imagination, our music and poetry, our metaphysical reflections and religious experiences, our visionary journeys, our glimpses of an ensouled nature, our inward conviction that the deepest truth can be found within….
    On the other side of that schism, that soul has dwelled within a universe whose essential nature was fully determined and defined by the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment. In effect, the objective world has been ruled by the Enlightenment, the subjective world by Romanticism. Together these have constituted the modern world view and the complex modern sensibility. One could say that the modern soul’s sustaining allegiance has been to Romanticism, whereas the modern mind’s deeper loyalty has been to the Enlightenment. Both live within us, fully yet antithetically. An impossible tension of opposites resides deep within the modern sensibility. Hence the underlying pathos of the modern situation. The biography of the modern soul has taken place completely within a disenchanted Enlightenment cosmos, thereby contextualizing and rendering the entire life and striving of the modern soul as ‘merely subjective.’ Our spiritual being, our psychology, is contradicted by our cosmology. Our Romanticism is contradicted by our Enlightenment, our inner by our outer.” (Cosmos and Psyche, p. 30)
    Is it any wonder we’re just a little messed up? Or, in Tarnas’ terms:” In such circumstances, an integrated world view, the natural aspiration of every psyche, is unattainable.” (p.31)
    Those who have been most deeply schooled in the sciences, tend to align themselves with Enlightenment perspectives and values. Those most deeply schooled in the humanities tend to cultivate the Romantic sensibility. And no doubt there is a right-brain, left-brain component to this division, too. I bring all this up in an effort to put into context the disagreements expressed or just under the surface in exchanges on this blog, and in all sorts of other venues, as well. Indeed, I have some issues with some of the commentary I’ve seen here, and I believe airing these publicly might serve a useful common purpose. I know, for instance, that Paul, and Gail, and Robin stand on the Enlightenment side of the divide, and I’m way, way to the left of that on the Romantic side. Probably both temperament and training figure in to the discord, but, as I say, I think hashing things out (civilly, of course) might achieve some kind of meaningful synthesis, or at least catharsis. I just want to make clear that there is nothing personal or vindictive in this, but some things have been said that need to be addressed and countered.
    Early in the conversation, Gail took issue with my statement that what we are dealing with here is a flawed culture, not a flawed species. In this context, she made the following statement, apparently intending no irony: “But why should pesky facts get in the way of the narrative we prefer?” Why, indeed, Gail? The following rebuttal to her post was written by a friend who prefers to remain anonymous, but I fully endorse every point and fact.

    Answer to Gail and/or to any others who damn the human species rather than Western civilization: Not all human societies have failed! Some have, but there have been many long-lived, sustainable human cultures: the Inuit of the Arctic, the Kogi of Columbia, the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) of North America, the Pygmies of the African rainforest, the Bushmen of the Kalahari desert, the Penan of Borneo, and the Aborigines of Australia – to name just a few that have exhibited nobility and wisdom as well as sustainable ethics. Anthropologist Wade Davis estimated that the Penan in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, had been living sustainably and beautifully in their beloved rainforest for 40,000 years. Now they’ve been reduced to disease and depression in enforced housing while their rainforest is destroyed by Japanese logging companies to feed the global hunger for tropical hardwoods.

    To say that humans are flawed and hopeless, to give up on humans in general, suggests that you have no historical perspective, and no real knowledge of indigenous cultures. What do you get out of taking such a stance? Are you thereby absolved from taking responsibility for the future of the species and the planet? Do you enjoy wallowing self-righteously in negative attitudes and emotions? Sorry, but that seems cowardly. Maybe the problem is not inherent in our species, but in our culture’s avoidance of doing psycho-spiritual work on ourselves.

    For now, I rest my case, except to point out that where you come down on this issue has potentially far-reaching consequences. If you are trying to save civilization, and the world, too, you are going to find it can’t be done. Civilization is at the heart of all that’s wrong with the world, and the only way the world survives (as anything like the world we know), is if civilization dies first.

  • @ Henry, thanks, and welcome to the Limerick Brigade! :D
    ==

    Henry says: He got most of us smiling again.

    Growth is a basic life rule:
    One should move up from Donkey (or mule);
    So becoming a Clown
    Turning frowns upside down—
    I think that would really be cool.

    Or teaching in some doomer school
    About energy loss (joule by joule);
    And, once versed to pester
    As royal court Jester,
    Advance to the status of Fool.

  • Gary G. you are a madman.

  • build no cities, plant no crops

  • Ripley: “I think it is important to note that for NTE (meaning no life in the N.Hem. by 2030) to occur, Guy’s prediction of the uninhabitability of the interiors of N. Hem. continents in less than 5 years must occur.”

    It won’t. So, at what point does Guy or anyone of a like mind lose credibility? Will predictions keep getting adjusted infinitum, or will there come a time when the NTE crowd acknowledges that NTE predictions were misguided (to put it nicely)?

  • Gary G

    You are cherry picking examples of ‘successful human cultures”

    The ones you sighted are a tiny, tiny fraction of all human cultures that have existed in modern times. By modern I mean 10,000 years to the present.

    I could list thousands of utterly failed attempts at ‘successful balanced human cultures’ in the last 10k years to your dozens of ‘successes’.

    Most of your ‘successes’ were protected by the fluke of geographic barriers from being crushed under foot by the nearest empire wannabes.

    Gail gave you examples of the ‘noble Eastern North American tribes’. I was going to mention some western tribes like the Comanche who were horrendous terrors to all the surrounding tribes of the southern plains and who were only held in check from expanding northward by the equally ferocious Sioux. By the way, Sioux is how all the surrounding tribes referred to them, which means ‘the Enemy’, Lakota, which is how they refer to themselves, means ‘the People’.

    Love your ‘culture’, kill everyone not in your Gang.

    That’s the Vast Majority of human history, not a few specks of widely spaced successfully balanced human behavior here and there over thousands of years.

    Every place humans show up, all the large mammals disappear.

    Strange and ironic that the power of the Sioux and the Comanche came from horses introduced by Europeans which were original indigenous to North America before the first ‘noble’ H sapien cultures arrived in the western hemisphere and hunted them to extinction along with many other large mammals.

    Lucky enough horses crossed over to northern Asia before they were all eaten by the northern American primitives, other wise the Mongols and other human expansionary cultures couldn’t have used them for conquest, long, long before capitalism and industrial cultures used them in War.

    Cortez and his posse would have had to walk like the Indians at 2 or 3 miles an hour with all their Empire tool kits without the horse. They might have ‘lost’, Gasp!

    The pattern Gary is that the few ‘successful’ human cultures often had previously ruined their respective nests thousand or hundreds of years earlier and the survivors finally got their acts together in ‘balanced’ cultures, often by dumb luck and by the hair of their chinny chin chins. It was not Noble, it was usually a Mea Culpa for Past Sins.

    Humans behave relatively well in small groups. Loving, caring.

    Once they go beyond their Dunbar Number however, they start acting like a lynch mob.

    Anyone not in ‘the Clan’ is ‘not the People’.

    In small groups, it’s much easier to spot the Lizard Brains among them and cull that dangerous phenomenon from the Pack. Throw the Lizard Brain babies out with the bath water, by all means!

    Large groups of humans always end up with Lizard Brains running the Show. Look around you Gary.

    Lizard Brains do not use their frontal lobes for much of anything but Deception, so as to appear to others to be ‘normal’ caring, empathetic, loving, balanced human beings, which they are not.

    This inability of the majority of humans and their respective ‘cultures’ throughout recorded history to allow sociopath/psychopaths to continuously rise to ultimate power is how we got to the rim of the Peak Everything Climate Abyss.

    Your point of view that the species is not flawed is not backed up by anything but crumbs from the loaf human history.

    H. neanderthalensis, which does not seem to have had the capacity to organize it’s big browed big boned sub species into higher organizational levels, died out miserably in the far southwest corner of Spain, probably starving in damp caves, backs to the deep blue sea, pushed to extinction by H sapian sapian (Hominid OS version 6.66), whom they just couldn’t compete with in The Market Place.

    H. neanderthalensis was the Noble hominid and probably could never have managed to master industrialism, even with their big Opposable Thumbs.

    They could have gone on happily living in relative harmony with the Earth a long ,long time, however….

    “…Alas, poor Yorick! ….a fellow(sub-species) of Infinite jest, of most excellent Fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is…..where be your gibes now? Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? (Hamlet, V.i)

    .

  • Ripley says:

    “Guy said that he expects that all of the interior parts of the continents of the Northern Hemisphere to be uninhabitable within five years.” He said this at least six months ago, so make that 4.5 years.

    Would you point me toward this conversation/interview/essay?

    Thank you.

  • Ripley says:

    “Guy said that he expects that all of the interior parts of the continents of the Northern Hemisphere to be uninhabitable within five years.”

    Would you point me toward this conversation/interview/essay?

    Thank you.

  • @ Gary

    I’m going to assume you are fully aware of what an intolerable bigoted piece of shit Billy Graham is, no?

    So when you say:

    “Probably both temperament and training figure in to the discord, but, as I say, I think hashing things out (civilly, of course) might achieve some kind of meaningful synthesis, or at least catharsis.”

    But you say this after saying this:

    “Gail, for instance, has made what for me is a huge leap of faith when she says that we have already passed all the multiple tipping points, and that we are already in irreversible free-fall. She may be right; I don’t deny the possibility. Billy Graham may be right, too. But in my book, neither Gail nor Billy Graham knows what they claim to know with absolute certainty.”

    And you expect “civility” from us, after equating Gail and indirectly my position to that of Billy Graham?

    If you’re interested in civility, that’s an example of how NOT to achieve it.

    You as well deserve the contempt you invite, but you’re clearly not worth the time. I will now add your name to the growing list of useless and banal commentary on display here, of those who just have an opposing idiosyncratic ax to grind in context to overwhelming empirical evidence to the contrary.

  • Nice post Speak Softly, you have some good insights. The lizard brained ‘paths have most definitely taken over; like Terminators or Replicants, we look like you but we don’t think like you at all; privately we despise you and find your mammalian values laughable and weak. As for Neanderthals, well, transhumans will probably displace humans in a similar way beginning in this century.

    The problem with modern man, it seems to me, is that he has learned enough to get a clear scientific picture of the horror of life on this planet, but he hasn’t developed values which are consistent with it. Only the mutant ‘paths, who have left ancestral thinking far behind and can think on a larger scale, are well-suited to creating higher levels of order, organization and power going forward.

  • Garrett Says:

    May 23rd, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Ripley: “I think it is important to note that for NTE (meaning no life in the N.Hem. by 2030) to occur, Guy’s prediction of the uninhabitability of the interiors of N. Hem. continents in less than 5 years must occur.”

    It won’t. So, at what point does Guy or anyone of a like mind lose credibility? Will predictions keep getting adjusted infinitum, or will there come a time when the NTE crowd acknowledges that NTE predictions were misguided (to put it nicely)?

    I don’t make predictions, so I can’t answer those questions. But those are legitimate questions. So maybe a discussion could begin on that topic. Guy seems to enjoy a diversity of opinions, and many regulars and visitors here express doubts about NTE by 2030. I’m one of them.

    I don’t know what kind of drought it takes to make a modern city uninhabitable, or to turn a major grain growing region of the N Hem. into a permanent desert. That kind of drought would have to be many times worse than the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s when neither of those things happened. When something like that happens we’ll probably know that it is the beginning of the end for large populations of humans. At 4 C warming it is inconceivable that such events would not occur. It looks impossible for the world not to warm by 4 C by 2050 as many are now predicting.

    Erika Says:Ripley says:

    “Guy said that he expects that all of the interior parts of the continents of the Northern Hemisphere to be uninhabitable within five years.”

    Would you point me toward this conversation/interview/essay?

    Thank you.

    Erika, I’m sorry I don’t remember exactly. I remember hearing him say it, so it’s either an audio interview or in a video. Maybe some one can help us out. I think it might be in one of these video’s.

    The twin sides of the fossil-fuel coin: presenting in Massachusetts
    Mon, Dec 10, 2012

    Speaking in Louisville, and a couple essays
    Fri, Nov 23, 2012

  • Daniel Wrote:

    “And you expect “civility” from us, after equating Gail and indirectly my position to that of Billy Graham?

    If you’re interested in civility, that’s an example of how NOT to achieve it.

    You as well deserve the contempt you invite, but you’re clearly not worth the time. I will now add your name to the growing list of useless and banal commentary on display here, of those who just have an opposing idiosyncratic ax to grind in context to overwhelming empirical evidence to the contrary.”

    I would burn a post to suggest, Daniel, that you have once again misread the writing. Then in turn resorted to incivility.

  • Yes, Daniel is like the spoiled Mama’s boy that gets everything he wants at home and then gets beat up everyday at school because he expects everyone to think he’s special.

    This blog is completely incoherent.

  • My friend Dave Pollard just posted this penetrating insight on his blog http://howtosavetheworld.ca/2013/05/23/a-world-with-no-one-in-control/

    “One of the key attributes of complex systems is that, unlike merely complicated ones, because of the huge number of variables and moving parts and interactions and effects between and among them, we can never hope to understand what’s really going on in them, or predict or significantly influence what happens in them. They become larger and larger black boxes, ever more mysterious, until suddenly they produce great depressions, peak oil and runaway climate change, and no one knows how, or why, or how to mitigate or change them. [I]n complex systems nobody knows anything. And no one is in control.”

    This is in such precise alignment with my own current take on the situation that it led me to make this comment:

    So the next question is, if we’re not driving the bus, what is?

    The broad direction of human civilization towards growth, specifically in the use of ever more energy, has been apparent for the last 10,000 years and more (it’s the whole point of developing language, technology, agriculture, money, and control hierarchies). In the process we have inevitably been creating ever more entropy in the environment surrounding the open complex system of civilization. The implication is that we seem to be simply the Universe’s latest, greatest emergent mechanism for destroying energy gradients. All the rest of it that we hold so dear is just stories we tell ourselves to make that job more interesting, more effective, and more psychologically acceptable.

    I, for one, welcome our new/old Thermodynamic overlords…

  • Paul: thanks for making it so clear, and enlightening me on ‘entropy’ behavior somewhere. New Scientist mag had an issue a while back which (cover article) equated the long-sought ‘theory of everything’ with the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (and its implications)- ie. ‘it’s been here all along!’ I was floored. Your multi-blog explanations help those of us inclined toward reality representation symbolically in the logic of it – how it’s chaotically and fractally interconnected and all.

  • B9K9 and Speak Softly seem to agree that TPTB will be able to militarize the planet and turn us all into slaves working to our deaths making the world a better, less crowded, place for them – the Elites.
    I have to agree. How does a small group of madmen in North Korea keep millions of people starving under their rule? Why don’t the peasants revolt and just storm the walls? They just do nothing and starve to death. It’s crazy – but we will do the same when it’s our turn.
    @ Patrick: you say: “I’m not sure how this is accomplished by a ragtag group of INTP intellectual overgrowth, Zerohedge apostates, and dejected left wing radicals.
    Exactly – interesting isn’t it? There are obviously some very smart people posting on these blogs, yet all will be swept away when the firestorms begin. Oh there will be pockets of resistance, sure, but the machine will be in control of the big picture. The only real hope the various Resistance factions have is to join together into one giant Resistance movement that could really do some damage to the current power structures. Not going to happen.
    Victor Frankl’s story will be our story, and, sadly, the survivors will NOT be “The Best of Us.” Think of what your choice will be when the armored personnel carriers come to your neighborhood with the FEMA transports close behind.
    Will you hide? Run away? Then, you will be living like an animal.
    Will you surrender? Then, you will be living like a slave.
    It seems we have some people posting here that believe it’s better to get ahead of the curve – so, I guess we should all apply for positions with FEMA or the TSA or the DHS so we can be on the inside when the terror begins. What’s laughable is those who think there will be room for them in the circle of The Elites when all has played out. However, given that, I agree that the only rational decision in the face of all this information is to GET while the GETTING is GOOD.

  • 1. I know our MO is to abandon the thread when a new article is posted – but, the Jeff Stahl article thread is still going strong (235 comments and growiing). In particular, Henry has posted an awesome piece of work that I think is being missed since it is at the bottom and was posted after this Gary Grip piece was posted. I think Guy should post it as an article to begin a new thread.

    Henry also makes some great points about the management of a blog that I think make a lot of sense.

  • It seems we have some people posting here that believe it’s better to get ahead of the curve…

    I see. So that’s B9K9’s plan that you’re all enthusing about.

    There’s going to be a heck of a lot if human fat and human skin available on the market, so, logically, start learning how to make soap and lamp shades NOW, so you’ll be well-positioned to cash in when the time comes. Yessirreee, the American Way !

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #2

    The Meaning of Life?!
    The meaning of life is life
    unmanageable.

    Think of Ben, Henry and me as the 3 Stooges of (NTE) Grief

  • Good one, ulvfugl!
    U Stooge 4?

  • 2nd and last post for today:

    @ Paul, on complex systems: “we can never hope to understand what’s really going on in them, or predict or significantly influence what happens in them.”

    Yes, that’s true, it’s like the weather forecast! But, they can still give you a fair guess that’s better than nothing.

    I think the point is that even if this is all just thermodynamics, we self-aware humans still have choices to make each day. We can get SOME plausible understanding of what’s going on and we can maybe have SOME influence on what happens in a limited sense. There are many topics on this blog, this is just one of them: “Whatcha’ gonna do with the time you have left?” And the funny thing about it is the answer for each of us depends on our understanding of what’s going on. And, very obviously, everyone on this blog has a somewhat different take on the information presented by Guy and his many contributors.

    I, for one, feel more liberated than ever. I have come to know that I can do no harm and I can do no good. I have no legacy and no obligations to perform. There is nothing left to do or not do.

  • No Denise, but I’m fond of Haiku.

    Between birth and death,
    One breath at a time.

  • @Dave Pollard say “They become larger and larger black boxes, ever more mysterious, until suddenly they produce great depressions, peak oil”

    I’m sorry Paul, but what your friend wrote is completely and utter bullshit. Why is it that intelligent people, who perhaps don’t understand certain components of the governing legal & financial system(s), conclude that it’s all so complex as to render it a mysterious black box?

    On the contrary, the reality is so mundane & banal that over the ages practitioners of the ancient arts become so bored that they turn to all kinds of perverse entertainment, including their favorite: war & conquest.

    I’m going to keep this short & simple, but this is how it works:

    1. Capital is surplus wealth aka **property** (think harvesting 10 bushels, consuming 9 and storing 1 for future use). Debt is a promise to repay at a future date; however, both act as ‘money’ ie a unit of account & store of value.

    2. Debt is secured by property – perhaps a bushel, maybe a house, in many cases a person. A key element is the enforceability of legal contracts eg a promissory note. The coup de grace is compounding interest that follows the rules of exponents.

    3. Capital is constrained by actual production, whereas debt is simply paper that can manipulated. If the total aggregate stock of capital+debt inflates beyond any underlying growth in the economy, we experience price increases. Deflation is the exact opposite & results in price declines.

    4. Acting in concert, money changers throughout the ages (and this goes back to Babylon & Egypt) have simply controlled & manipulated the issuance of debt & exploited the resulting price increases/decreases.

    5. Government, wise to these tricks, has two choices: kick out the money changers or co-opt them to serve the sovereigns’ bidding. Almost exclusively, the sovereign chooses the latter option – at least in the short-term. Besides, with the money-changers under their ‘protection’, they in turn can tax, requisition, etc funds to their disposal to finance castles, wars, mistresses, etc. A win-win for each side.

    When the inevitable implosion results from the inability of the general population to ‘pay the nut’ (due to the law of exponents), foreclosure proceedings secures all the remaining property to the lenders. At this point, the sovereign typically kicks out the money-lenders, seizes & returns their “property”, and attempts to restore some balance. That is, until the memories fade and the next round of wide-scale rape & abuse is once again initiated. Sound familiar?

    And please, no accusations of ‘racism’. All & every group who ever figures out the game engages in the same behavior. Do the names Rockefeller, Morgan, Bush et al ring a bell?

    OK, so now we have a base-line mechanism for control. But what is the driver? Well, that’s what Paul & others have formulated as a core, internal constant, with which I fully agree: 2LOT.

    Quick summary – we have an intrinsic, embedded drive towards thermal balance. Since we’re voracious energy consumers ourselves, our needs to find, process & consume energy is never-ending. Since this is a hard-wired, built-in function, demand always exists; think about that – assured market demand that never lapses.

    Combining guaranteed demand with a simple control mechanism is fool-proof way to manage & govern large populations of people. It is the very essence of our modern (written) history – there has been 0, yes ZERO, variation in this scheme over 6-7 thousand years regardless of time, place & circumstances.

    But now the clock is running out. The entire construct depends, no DEMANDS, growth. Without the ability to utilize tricks, the PTB are going to have to resort to sheer brute power. That is what Hedges is observing, and others are just beginning to wake up & notice. But to dismiss what’s going on as some deep mystery, well, that’s just ignorance.

  • @B9K9

    “This is how it works”, eh? For absolute certain? Not even a minor qualifier? That might be how it looks like it works, or how you believe it works, or how it probably works, or how some of it works, but I gave up that kind of dead-pan certainty for Samhain, I’m afraid.

    To most of us, down here at ground level, it can look like a lot of things – like a black box, like a freight train rolling toward us in the night, like a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside a four-wheel Enigma. It has looked like all those things to me from time to time.

    I don’t think the details of the cultural embroidery you describe really matter all that much. They have been very different from place to place, time to time, but we still wound up here. That is why I’ve chosen to look at drivers, not details. What drives us to make the choices we do? The ones that always, without fail, favour maximizing energy flow within the constraints of time and place, damn the torpoedoes, devil take the hindmost, and just dump the sewage overboard?

    The same goes for my friend’s perplexity in the face of forces he cannot control and is quite sure he doesn’t fully understand. He has a strong hint that complexity is an important issue, the next question I’ve invited him to ask is “So where does all this complexity come from?

    All in all, it doesn’t seem like such a disreputable jumping-off point. Sure beats Nascar…

  • OK, so it takes two strong suggestions for me to bite, but I went back and read Henry’s comment in the “Resistance is the only ethical blah blah” post. Wow. He says he deliberately put it there so it wouldn’t be in a prominent place. Too bad, that. I’d like it up in a post of its own so we could respond. So much there to comment on! He has thought a lot about all of this and writes in such an engaging manner. If there are other such thoughtful lurkers out there dealing with these issues and willing to share, I’d sure like to hear from them. Makes me think about what I write here, “Jeez, people actually read this shit.”

    Got weather? Think you know a thing or two about how weather happens? Read this:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/jetstream-guide.html

  • Why there will never be a political solution to climate change:

    https://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/05/23/2050301/why-champions-of-climate-legislation-must-also-be-champions-of-job-creation/

    because who would willingly vote for people who do this? No, it will have to be H7N9 or the corona virus, or a Carrington event or a world wide nuclear war. Nature is, indeed, standing in the on deck circle. Whoever is at bat right now should deliberately strike out and let Nature step up, or be shot by someone from the stands and let chaos take over even sooner.

    We know how far past population overshoot we have gone, and we know how we got there. We now know the consequences of what we have done. We know how to fix it. But because of the nature of our genetic endowment we can’t do what needs to be done to save any of the life on the planet from total annihilation.

    We’re now clever enough to see that we are but microscopic manic players in the inevitable process of entropy creation. Talk, talk, talk. We figured out how to talk and that ramped up entropy quite quickly, feeding on technologies of the self to increase the speed even more. In a quiet backwater, our talk also wondered why this was so, but only because that is the nature of talk. But the quiet backwater has nothing to do with the speed of the raging river. Do not observe what we say, observe the overall process of the flood. No amount of handwaving now is going to change anything at all at this point.

    Now don’t go extending my analogies any further about baseball or the dynamics of floods, rivers and backwaters, as you did with the mouse in the throat of the cat. It’s just an analogy and all are misleading if you stretch them too far. Come up with your own analogy, if it pleases you.

  • Robert Firth says:
    1. Like you, my allegiance is to Life. I’m a Pantheist, and so, yes, I do believe the Cosmos has an underlying purpose; call it entelechy, call it the anima mundi, what you will, but all living things are caught up in that purpose.
    It follows, then, that I want the sixth mass extinction to stop, or be stopped, dead in its tracks. If the only way that can happen is through the extirpation of the human species, then I unequivocally affirm that this would be good. If it can be achieved by means less drastic, such as the collapse of civilisation (and hence of only about 90% of us), then that would allow me to be just a little more selfish, for myself and my children.
    But what I also believe is that our predicament is beyond our ability to either understand or navigate through. We must trust in Nature to find the answer
    Out of a hundred and fifty plus blog posts, I find one kindred spirit, and maybe a couple more attaboys. Not being a member in good standing of the anthropocentrist’s club makes me an outsider even among outsiders. I am used to this, but I am also a little disappointed not to find more friends among you. Daniel suggests that I haven’t been civil in my discourse, pretty much on trumped up charges, and Melissa calls me a madman, though she offers no rebuttal to anything I’ve said. Speak Softly, who thoroughly disagrees with my stance that we are not necessarily flawed at the species level, earns my respect with his thoughtful, knowledgeable rebuttal. This is the level of discourse I was hoping for. In another venue, Paul and I have mud-wrestled through a number of weighty issues around the subject of civilization and the second law of thermodynamics. I didn’t manage to win him over to my point of view, nor did he win me over to his; but it was a fair contest of equals conducted with appropriate civility as well as intellectual rigor. I don’t agree with Paul on some very basic issues, but I respect the kind of person he is and the sincerity of his quest–and I hope he feels the same way about me. As I was typing out the words of Richard Tarnas regarding the split in our collective and individual psyches, I thought of Paul, because I have seen him wrestle with that split within himself. When Tarnas says, “an integrated worldview, the natural aspiration of every psyche, is unattainable,” he is addressing a cultural malaise which wounds us all. I think it is important to be aware of the context and background out of which we all operate, and see ourselves and our situation in perspective.
    It is this perspective that I have tried to share with this ragtag collection of doomers. What I have to offer is a minority report: a view of the world as seen from someone who miraculously escaped many of the deepest imprintings of cultural conditioning. Robert Firth calls himself a Pantheist; I call myself an animist. I believe that animism is the default human condition, the way we all come into the world. One of the central programs of civilization is to coax, intimidate, or beat this worldview out of anyone who holds it. Our parents, our teachers, all the various authorities in our lives, do everything in their power to discourage and discredit the felt knowledge that the Earth is sentient and inhabited by spirits. When I looked that goose in the eye in our living room and saw the individuality, the personhood, of that creature, that was my animistic soul responding to a being very much like me. I recognized in that instant what most indigenous people throughout history and pre-history have recognized: we are all related. Every living being on this Earth is related to, and in relationship with, every other living being, in a vast network of interdependent reciprocity. I sensed that in the moment; only decades later would I understand it intellectually.
    Most human beings who have ever lived, have lived in the Gift. They have made a life for themselves out of Nature’s bounty, that is, off the interest of Nature’s economy. They have lived within the Earth’s annual solar budget. The people of our culture live in the Theft: we live off not just the interest of Nature’s economy, we live off the principle. Our culture of civilization is a culture of empire, and it is based upon theft, deception, and deadly violence. We take from the Earth what is not ours to take. Our whole way of life is based upon stealing from other people, other places, and other species. Tell me this isn’t true, and back it up with facts, if you can. I know it’s true, and this is exactly we are in this hospice program now, mourning our destruction of a beautiful, life-giving planet.
    To me, this is so obvious and incontrovertible as to be taken as self-evident. The reason it isn’t self-evident to everyone is the day-by-day year-by-year cultural conditioning we have all undergone. De-colonizing ourselves, unlearning and rewilding, is not the project of a day. It takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of inner work. I wish I knew some way of speeding that process up, speeding it up and spreading it around the world—but I don’t. I’d hold out some hope for us if I did. Or more accurately, I’d hold out some hope for we humans coming to our senses before it’s too late. But I agree with Paul on this, and also Robert Firth. It is too late for human agency (probably) to get us out of our predicament. But I think we can count on Nature to sort things out, one way or another, and maybe some humans will be around afterwards, or maybe not.

  • I said you were a madman because you project your positions onto others and shame them for not embracing your positions.

    Your statement says it all: Those who frequent this blog should all be allies, but we are not. Why is this? Why the dissention?

    Your position of “animist” is not going to resonate with everyone, can’t you see that? In fact, to some it may even seem silly.

    Personally, I think it’s a cool position, but it is “over the top” and could be “mad.”

    Humans are not geese. I’m not saying humans are better than geese, I’m just saying humans are not geese.

  • Thank you, Daniel, Badlands, 44 south, Artleads, Pat, Benjamin, Erin, and a “nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!” to you, too, Denise. It’s nice to be appreciated for efforts made, the Vitamin “A” that everyone needs every day.

    Indeed, intelligent discourse may be the only thing that can stay ahead of Entropy, these days. Anyway, we try.

    I would hope for a chance to edit, and leave some of those duplicative or out-of-sequence remarks behind in the comment section, before anything gets promoted to front page. My thinking changes daily, as I dwell obsessively on these discussions. The kaleidoscope is often foggy, and, when clear, very trippy. I could state things better than I have.

    Daniel reached some “turns of phrase” that transcended his topic and deserve mention on their own (under his essay, some day “real soon” now) — I should have been taking notes, but they kept hitting like waves. He dealt with a depressing topic, in an inspiring way. Go figure! Those words that “write themselves” or rattle around in your head until you set them down. Writers live for these moments of magic, and he has obviously spent much of his life steeped in the written word and developing his writer’s voice.

    F. Tnioli anticipates some of my thoughts.

    To insert here, as good as anywhere else, it was Poggio Bracciolini’s 1417 discovery in a German abbey of Lucretius’ incredibly modern “De Rerum Natura” that kicked off the Renaissance, as some of humanity, at least, was tired of Medieval superstition and ready to move on. Such moments do occur. Documented in Stephen Greenblatt’s “The Swerve”, of which the audiobook is a delight to spend days being inspired with.

    Whether or not the Science of Methane will accommodate us, we humans may have another Renaissance as our parting shot, and it would be our ONLY chance at a 2nd chance, something “big” enough to inspire abandonment of Industrial “Civilization”, wouldn’t it take? Do it on Faith? We’ve done pieces of it before, we’ve got fragments of it in us, but never the whole enchilada, whatever that may be. It was never the majority, but a few, who carried the rest forward, and set the framework.

    (And similarly after did the Scientists, with the Enlightenment, the finest of whom came to wish they could undo their discoveries, the leverage of their influence being, finally, to the negative for an unready humanity. Doesn’t it go something like, after Germ Theory, knowledge of sepsis and use of soap, Science hasn’t given us anything really more useful?)

    BtD, as you well know, the Court Jester gets to tell the king needed things that others would lose their heads for saying. (Of course, in this time, “saying” may not lead soon enough to “doing”.) Sometimes it works out for the Jester; Jon Stewart, George Carlin. Sometimes it doesn’t; Lenny Bruce. “Man is the only animal that laughs — or needs to.” — wasn’t that Mark Twain (“The Lowest Animal”)? (I twisted it for the title of my Anthro final paper, anyway.)

    In the Search for Intelligent Life on Earth, humor is a pretty good indicator you have stumbled upon something. Guy’s use of humor demonstrates someone who has been handed an idiotic situation to deal with, in whatever intelligent way he can muster. (And expected to “act like a Scientist”, meaning, “keep it zipped, buddy, if you value your career.”)

    Indeed, humor is one of the “secret languages” by which intelligent people communicate with one another, behind the backs of the Stasi, the capos, and hopefully, O’Brien. Conversely, stupidity is rarely funny, only sad.

    If it be humor that may save us, then joke away. If not, then at least we go down laughing. (“I started a joke….” — BeeGees) On another scale, here we have the Internet where we may overcome both Time and Space in sharing our thoughts — instantaneously, and around the world. And yet, and yet… the public space seems filled with more idiocy than ever. Or is it just me feeling frustrated?

    “We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate…” (Now just who might have penned that one???).

    Anyway, if there were ever a chance to “turn the herd” by sheer availability of better thoughts, this would be it. Unfortunately, and call me an age-ist here, the 20% of my generation that was receptive to cultural/political change action has dwindled to 10% or less now. Internet can’t fix that. (And what did we have? Underground newspapers? Blurry, smudgy RAGS! Please prove me wrong! Is it unfair that you’re not getting a completely non-linear Beatlemania wake-up call to a generation? Or is the cookie just crumbling a different way this time?)

    An aside. All you moody young “loners” out there who can feel this crazy world making you crazy — don’t off yourselves just yet, please! — listen to us probing depressing questions hereabouts, and know that light shed might dispel enough of it for you. Good stuff does happen, lots of it, you can find your footing in this world, and have a hell of a time making a difference in it! Plus we DO need you, you especially, with your gifts. Each decade additional that you spend in it enriches everything that you did before, and none of it goes to waste, I can testify.

    In fact — and just to close a few windows and drop my Doomer creds on you all — it amazes me still, all that has gone before, and that we can revisit it now — here is the link to my first Doomer memory, an article in Popular Science in February, 1957. Search for “strontium”, p. 166. I had just turned 7, and was a science junkie (astronomy, space travel, Mars, backyard rockets, saw Edison’s lab and sat in Albert’s chair in Princeton, met the 1st astronaut, etc etc) and read everything I could find about them.

    So it was quite a reversal when all my science acumen allowed me to read about the effects of ionizing radiation from nuclear weapons.

    http://www.popsci.com/archive-viewer?id=XyEDAAAAMBAJ&pg=166&query=strontium

    So basically I was being told that with every drink of milk I took (vegetables, too), I was putting alpha particles from atmospheric nuclear testing into my growing bones. I can still bring back the queasy feeling that fact poked into my frame that I couldn’t just shake off.

    (It’s also fun looking back into the innocence/naivete of those old 1950s print ads and articles — you can feel how our parents, fresh out of their WWII victory, were the babies in a new world they could not understand! — and not much inclined to question things, and so they didn’t try, and left us clear-seeing or curious ones scared and alone.)

    So when someone blames YOU for “being a Doomer,” (talk about blaming the victim!) you can probably harken back to some moment when YOU, still totally INNOCENT, were handed such a load, unsought, by others on their particular rampages, and you were left with your head spinning in shock and bewilderment: “Is THIS the world I’m supposed to live in???”

    Sorry, I went off; meant to address Gary’s topic first (demonstrating good blog etiquette of actually acknowledging the original topic, before indulging in further blahvulation) — but I do get a 2nd, and sometimes reading others’ life stories helps me reflect on where I am now, so only fair to serve up a piece of mine. Take it for whatever.

    The idea here of OT — off topic — would be an interesting one, no? because we are caught in a gyration between considering science and possible actions and/or effects, vs psychology and the states of mind we are likely to find ourselves in, today, tomorrow or a few years out.

    That’s why I try to take in everything that anyone offers the group here, because it represents some part of that spectrum ahead, distill it into something useful, and try to move the thought process forward. This is very fertile ground for creativity, and I’ll keep going as long as it keeps going.

    “No army can stop an idea whose time has come.” (Victor Hugo, paraphrase)

  • BenjaminTheDonkey

    The doulblet that ends with this…

    ‘Advance to the status of Fool’

    is not only one of your best IMO,

    but it is a secret ambition I have..

    Cheers

  • OzMan, yes, that was a happy accident. Wish the beginning of that verse came out as good, we’d really have something there! :D Actually, my original retirement plan was to follow my old Beatlemania and try to be the Fool on the Hill, but somehow I got waylaid by doom.

    Denise says: Think of Ben, Henry and me as the 3 Stooges of (NTE) Grief
    Henry says: “nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!”

    For knuckleheads running amok:
    A wise guy, eh? WTF?
    The doom we obsoives,
    It gets on my noives;
    Woo-woo-woo-woo! Nyuk nyuk nyuk.

  • I have some questions for anyone fully convinced of NTE:

    1. What do you seek to achieve by sharing your conviction with others?

    2. Do you think it is important to wake people up to NTE? Why?

    3. Do you offer people any consolation or hope or plan of action when you share your belief in NTE with them?

    4. How absolutely sure are you of the certainty of NTE? What is the basis of your certainty?

    I am really curious about how folks on Guy’s site would answer these queries. This is not an inquisition or expression of some judgment negative or positive on my part. It is more like a part of my search to understand my world. Two more:

    5, If a large number of people worldwide bought into the certainty of near term extinction, what would that be like? Better, worse, or the same?

    6. If you heard someone had committed suicide as a result of your sharing your convictions with them, what would you feel?

  • @ Mike K.

    You know, all your questions have been gone over time and time again here – I would point you to the articles that Guy posts, click on “home” at the top left of the page and look through them all. I would especially recommend the May 16th, 2013 post from Jeffrey Strahl – and especially Henry’s comments almost at the bottom of the comments.

    In short, there is no consensus here on any of your questions – so, you will have to wade through the conversations and then come to your own conclusion.

    Even if there is no NTE, even if there is no collapse, I find that Industrial Civilization is a bad thing and will lead to worse things. That being said, I don’t want to be a part of it.

    I’m not telling anybody about it, I’m just doing my own thing and living like a hobo. I feel guilty about being a part of it for so long and my penance is to Not Aspire. I wait for the end however it may come.

  • For those who haven’t much patience for commentary that can be considered acrimonious, you might want to scroll past the following.

    @ Gary and others

    What a ridiculous parade of subjective claptrap on display on a blog otherwise dedicated to discussing the unprecedented meaning of newly discovered nonlinear rates of climate change.

    This blog is about objective observable empirical phenomena leading to NTE, not what Gary endorses: “…….our culture’s avoidance of doing psycho-spiritual work on ourselves.”

    The fact that Gary would stoop to make the comparison of our views to one of American’s most repugnant fundamentalist (Billy Graham) was obviously intended to offend, how could it not? But Gary doesn’t stop there, he goes on to call us cowards for accepting what he doesn’t. Otherwise, implying that others acceptance of NTE, has little to do with the actual science, and has everything to do with our private interpretation of the evidence, which is a position I wholly disagree with, for no other reason than it’s antithetical to the validity and basis of scientific observation.

    I was initially far more respectful of my disagreement with Gary, but he simply wasn’t, where he engages in the standard MO of using backhanded ad hom slander to buttress his position, because he hasn’t the emotional fortitude to internalize what he can’t accept.

    But for the growing list of those who are clearly having difficulty sorting things out, it’s actually not all that complicated, as long as you have somewhat of a rational understanding of climate science and aren’t overwhelmed by fictive personal biases as to how you wish the world to be:

    Here is NBL is a nutshell for all you petty demagogues:

    You either accept climate change is a reality, or you don’t.

    You either accept we’ve crossed a multitude of climate tipping points, or you don’t.

    You either accept that having crossed a multitude of climate tipping points, has now ushered in an era of nonlinear rates of climate change, or you don’t.

    You either accept nonlinear rates of climate change, is the end of the earth’s stable Holocene epoch, or you don’t.

    You either accept the ending of the Holocene is catastrophic to most, if not all of life on earth, or you don’t.

    You either accept this catastrophe equates to NTE, or you don’t.

    You either accept the near term timing of NTE to be measured in decades, or you don’t.

    Those of you who don’t agree with any of the above, will obviously continue to endlessly state your personal reasons for why you disagree, but none of this has anything to do with observable nonlinear rates of climate change.

    Your trivial obfuscation and disagreement with the principles upon which the blog you’re posting on is primarily based, IMO renders your commentary meaningless to the relevance and significance of this unprecedented evidence. Whereby, your continued disagreement only seeks to trivialize the profound sadness acceptance of NTE actually entails.

    But let’s get back to Gary.

    It is absurd for Gary to expect civility when none is given. Attaboys? Referring others to be faithful dogs?

    Then continuing to make ridiculous false and derogatory statements like: ” I have no interest in trying to unconvert the faithful. If you have accepted NTE as the one thing you truly believe in, then you have found something personally meaningful to hold onto.”

    As if the extinction of most of life on earth was something “……personally meaningful to hold onto”? What emotionally immature garbage, if not the projections of somehow who is themselves desperate to find some magical wand to hold onto.

    Then there is this statement of his which clearly illustrates he doesn’t understand either science or nonlinear rates of climate change and its consequences: “But I am going to stand on my own ground of uncertainty. I damn well don’t know what is going to happen in five years, or twenty, or fifty years from now.”

    Which again, reveals he is completely missing the point: ALL of science is based on uncertainty, it’s not about knowing what certainly “is” going to happen, but accepting what clearly “isn’t” already happening–the continuation of a stable climate–and subsequently, the probable and logical deleterious fallout from earth’s destabilized climate.

    I have no idea what Gary or others imagine they’re commiserating with, other than some facsimile of what they’re imagining others are actually mourning.

    He then goes on to state: ” Our culture of civilization is a culture of empire, and it is based upon theft, deception, and deadly violence. We take from the Earth what is not ours to take. Our whole way of life is based upon stealing from other people, other places, and other species. Tell me this isn’t true, and back it up with facts, if you can. I know it’s true, and this is exactly we are in this hospice program now, mourning our destruction of a beautiful, life-giving planet.”

    “Tell me this isn’t true, and back it up with facts, if you can.” ????? What straw-man do you image you’re writing to? Do you think there is anyone who regularly posts here, who doesn’t completely agree with that assessment? What’s the point of even writing it?

    You see, this is the BS of ill placed agnosticism, because Gary, you then say “I know it’s true”. That’s not very agnostic of you, makes me wonder what other things you “know” to be “true” and consider to be “false”. You’re just another example in a long list of people who wants to have it both ways, especially where it matter most……..and you call us cowards?

    While you imagine you’re attempting to strike some spiritual and pseudo science limbo, all you’re actually doing is dumbing down an otherwise empirical assessment of phenomenal evidence, by those of us who are willing to accept what we can see with our own eyes, and then attempt figure out where we go from here……

    I couldn’t agree with Roger more “this blog has become completely incoherent”.

  • Well, I never thought Daniel and I would agree.

    Daniel, I don’t know why you have to be a boor. Gary seems more a friend than a foe IMO, no reason to bloody his nose.

    This blog definitely needs some structure. Henry’s comments on the last thread specifically addressed this issue.

  • Daniel said:
    ___
    “@ Gary and others

    What a ridiculous parade of subjective claptrap on display on a blog otherwise dedicated to discussing the unprecedented meaning of newly discovered nonlinear rates of climate change.

    This blog is about objective observable empirical phenomena leading to NTE, not what Gary endorses: “…….our culture’s avoidance of doing psycho-spiritual work on ourselves.”
    ___

    Apparently Guy thinks otherwise as he posted Gary’s article here. Perhaps he thinks his blog is a place to explore NTE, and not a place for you, Daniel, to dominate?

    I mean why is Guy out there explaining? Maybe he is warning others who don’t have such certainty yet? They should be feel to come here and explore their feelings, not be trampled on by Daniel dictating what we can and can’t talk about here.

  • some ENE news:

    http://enenews.com/japan-times-discharges-of-nuclear-material-into-the-pacific-from-fukushima-have-effectively-contaminated-the-sea-melted-reactor-cores-will-burn-again-if-water-not-perpetually-poured-in-t

    Japan Times: Discharges of Fukushima nuclear material into Pacific “have effectively contaminated the sea” — Melted reactor cores will burn again if water not perpetually poured in — “Tepco proposing some of it be dumped into ocean”

    What could go wrong!? Thanks Tepco, for solving THAT problem . . .

  • Years ago at an anti-war rally against the Vietnam war, Kurt Vonnegut was speaking and in the q&a afterwards, someone asked him if he was young again, would he have gone to Vietnam if drafted.

    He said sure, which as I remember, stunned the pacifist crowd to silence.

    Someone then asked why?

    He said ,”…out of a sense of morbid curiosity…”

    Why would anyone want to stick around and experience NTE?

    Morbid Curiosity

    Remember that Mike, it could be your seventh self-evident question.

    It’s not often that Evolution breeds a plethora of Planet Destroying Human Beings (PDHB)

    I will break out the Special Popcorn.

    Pop the corn in olive oil, be careful of too much heat, then dust with garlic salt and a pinch of smoked paprika and Habanero pixie powder.

  • With a salute to the master: There once was a site full of doomers, grim facts and terrible rumours, but with big odds to beat,there’s still food to eat, and women in such sexy bloomers. Yet it all seems quite mad, and makes me so sad, that our kids must reap as we sowed it, but somewhere out there, too far for a stare, it’s life Jim, but not as we know it. Thanks Ben for the smiles amongst the anger. Thanks Tom for the welcome. @ Daniel…I admire your passion and writing,your essay I read two and a half times on a tiny 3g phone screen,but man save your anger for those who deserve it,Fox news and the rest.This is the human condition writ large. Misunderstanding, mis communication, and for me just profound disapointment. This is the most stressfull thing anyone could go through, and on this site we all have that at least in common. Excuse the crap keyboard skills.

  • Thanks for your answer Softly. With gourmet popcorn like that, who wouldn’t want to stick around?

  • I ran across this, something I had not heard of before. Sounds awfully familiar.

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

    The normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

  • Don’t feed the Troll, they say, and it is good advice. I hope to give Daniel’s neuroses as little nutrition as possible by reading his poison pen missive no further than the first paragraph. I can see he is trying to piss me off, and I am not going to let his words enter my consciousness or poison my body with frustrated anger. So there, Daniel, chew on that.
    I know that Daniel does not speak for the regulars on this blog. I don’t think anyone does. But let me anyway address the bogus issues he raises. I brought up Billy Graham because I thought him a person whose public belief system was known to just about everybody. I could have substituted Pat Robertson, or the pope, or some other such character in our pantheon of conventional thinkers. I actually know very little about Billy Graham, including whether he is even still alive. But Daniel has fabricated a case which implies that I meant disrespect to someone, or maybe everyone, in this group, because Graham is a known (according to Daniel) hypocrite. I was using Graham’s belief system as a foil to Gail’s, saying that either one might be right (though I doubted it), and that each ultimately made a leap of faith to arrive at their particular opinion. That was it. No subterranean disrespect intended to anyone, and I am pretty sure that no one took offense, other than Daniel, who evidently was spoiling for a fight.
    In the piece I quoted from my friend, who goes after Gail for conveniently overlooking a rather substantial number of successful cultures that lasted for tens of thousands of years. In the last twenty five years I have read about three hundred books in the area of anthropology, and while that doesn’t make me an expert on the subject, it does give substantial backing to my belief that there have been many such cultures, and that they weren’t anomalies at all. The author of this piece gave me permission to excise anything in it that I wanted to. In retrospect, I should have excised the entire sentence in which the word cowardly appears. That assertion is inflammatory and unnecessary, and in fact does not accord with my own views on this matter. I believe the flawed species hypothesis is erroneous, but I think it can be arrived at quite honestly, and maintained with intellectual integrity.
    It was this same friend who challenged me to read Daniel’s essay and write a response to it. After reading the first page or two my response was that this was a groundbreaking piece, quite thoughtful, but also rather self-indulgent. By the time I was through reading it, I had amended that assessment to not just self-indulgent but self-absorbed to the point of narcissism—and I said so in the first draft of my piece. I think that is a fair and honest judgment. I told this friend that what this was was a rough draft, that writing as discovery is a valid enterprise, and even writing as therapy can sometimes be worthwhile, if it is properly edited; and that this writer had missed the discovery that comes with careful and disciplined editing. If this piece had come to me in one of my composition classes, I would have told the writer to bring it back to me with exactly half as many words, and see what we had then. That is a tough process, I know, but it makes the difference between endless vague ramblings and a finished, high-quality piece of work.
    What prompted me to write was the fact that after wading through all this self-absorbed verbiage many of the most important issues around near-term extinction hadn’t even been broached. The ostensible topic of this piece was near-term extinction, but its actual subject was Daniel himself. I wanted to see something out there that confronted the long-term implications, as in how we got into this mess, and what might be the future prospects–for humans, yes, but also for other species and for the Earth itself. I believe there is a lot more that needs to written on this subject, with a lot more angles considered than have been brought into consciousness yet—since this does seem to be the overwhelming issue of our age. I give Daniel credit for opening this discussion: it was something someone needed to do.
    My interest now is in working on paradigm change, and specifically on what a new paradigm might look like. Those of you who have fully accepted near-term human extinction may see this as a fool’s errand—and maybe it is. But it is the best thing I can think to do in the time that is left to me. I hope we are in pretty much unanimous agreement that the present paradigm could use a little work. Anyhow, I have gone a ways down that road already and the journey has been exciting and fully engaging. It is a hugely ambitious undertaking, and no doubt far beyond my powers to do more than just chip away at it, but that is my focus.
    I came to this blog hoping to find people with some big ideas, and someone to engage at the level of big idea. I mean no disrespect when I say that what I find here is something closer to group therapy. If group therapy works for you—and it seems to—more power to you. I’ve just never been the group therapy type. When I quit my problem drinking 28 years ago, I didn’t go to AA; I did it on my own. I guess it is the introverted loner in me, but I just wasn’t keen to involve others with my own internal adjustments. So, I am probably not going to be a regular among you, and that is the reason; no trolls can take satisfaction in believing they have driven me away.

  • Some of the posts in this thread have expressed doubt regarding Guy’s time frame for human extinction. And I admit that it is difficult to imagine things unfolding that soon. But things can change rapidly and, as Guy has pointed out, nonlinear change will occur as reinforcing feedback loops kick in and send the process into overdrive. Even now, the rapid die off of amphibians, and the recent mass death of manatee hint at how toxic the environment has become, and how out of harmony the natural world is. 20-30 years until extinction is not unrealistic given the circumstances.

  • Very good, 44 south! The Limerick Brigade expands.
    ==

    44 south says: it’s life Jim, but not as we know it

    NTE: the final frontier:
    A strange new world’s drawing near;
    Our bold mission: explore
    Where we’ve not gone before
    And from where we will all disappear.

  • “Human civilization is corrupt, ultra-violent and unsalvageable. Humans are utterly debauched and born just waiting for any chance to impersonate Mssrs. Dahmer, Mussolini and Manson.
    Nothing can be done. We’re doomed, doomed I say.”

    Sounds to me suspiciously like Calvinist theology:
    All human babies are born sinful and depraved.
    All Human efforts are corrupt.
    No amount of good works can save you.
    Abandon all hope.

    ~~~~~~~~~

    And the problem ain’t genetic (almost every gene is triggered by the environment). My well-medicated, depressive family members love that gene-out exculpation. It keeps them from having to yank their tormenter’s hair out by the roots. And it is another evasive strategy against demanding accountability, holding one’s self and others responsible and charging into the fire to do what needs to be done.

    ~~~~~~~~

    “Ere from the abyss I tear myself away”
    – Dante, Inferno, Canto 34

  • Don’t forget Gary, you also backhandedly called some of us dogs. I was very kind and respectful to you, until YOU chose to repeatedly denigrate those of us who disagree with YOU, not in your essay, but your following comments. If you haven’t noticed, those who don’t accept NTE, can barely restrain themselves from demeaning those of us who do, you’re just being slightly more passive about it.

    I’ll keep this short. The point I’ve made, the point I’m making and will continue to make, is if someone doesn’t accept the empirical evidence contributing to NTE, they’re not discussing NTE!!!

    This is why the word “acceptance” is so crucial in this debate, both in regards to the evidence as well as the implications. Those who don’t accept the evidence might like to pretend they’re talking about what the rest of us are, but they’re actually STILL speaking from a place that affords them the ability to believe whatever their heart desires, in spite of the evidence. Therefore, they’re having an entirely different conversation.

  • Re what Daniel said :


    You either accept climate change is a reality, or you don’t.

    You either accept we’ve crossed a multitude of climate tipping points, or you don’t.

    You either accept that having crossed a multitude of climate tipping points, has now ushered in an era of nonlinear rates of climate change, or you don’t.

    You either accept nonlinear rates of climate change, is the end of the earth’s stable Holocene epoch, or you don’t.

    You either accept the ending of the Holocene is catastrophic to most, if not all of life on earth, or you don’t.

    You either accept this catastrophe equates to NTE, or you don’t.

    You either accept the near term timing of NTE to be measured in decades, or you don’t.

    On all of those points, I believe that I am in agreement with Dr. McPherson, with Daniel, with many others who comment here. All based on a close observation, over years, of the science, the data as it has come in, keeps coming, revealing an ever more dire situation, and ever more grim future.

    Then comes the contentious part. What next ? How to spend the time ?

    First, looking back. Some of us want to discuss how we got into this mess, and various analyses of what the true causes are and what humans are really like, etc, etc. So there’s no end of potential material there for people to haggle over for years.

    Then comes looking forward. Coming to terms, resistance, acceptance, etc, etc. We split and splinter into every possible school of thought that’s ever been known, and whose to say which is right and wrong on such an individual issue ?

    Humans have never had to confront a horror of this magnitude before, compounded by the fact that most of humanity is still oblivious and will probably never become aware of what they are doing, not to mention the ones that will keep on making it worse and worse.

    How we each deal with this, at an individual level, spiritually, psychologically, emotionally, has nothing to do with science or consensus, or reason. We each have to find our own way forward, through the distress, grief, anguish. It’s messy.

    In this last area, some of the views expressed, sometimes, I find deeply offensive and repugnant, some views I find wonderfully enriching. It’s to be expected, isn’t it ? A reflection of the diversity of human attitudes. So it’s inevitable that all kinds of – let’s say, less than rational, hahaha, – stuff, appears in the commentary. We’re humans. We’re not meat robots. We have feelings and opinions and stories to tell.

  • Hello Gary Gripp,

    Re what you said :

    I believe the deepest answers can be found in our history. Richard Tarnas, who has made a lifelong study of our intellectual history, traces these divisions to a “cultural polarity and tension in our history between Romanticism and the Enlightenment.” He continues:
    “On the one side of this divide, our interior selves hold precious our spiritual intuitions, our moral and aesthetic sensibilities, our devotion to love and beauty, the power of the creative imagination, our music and poetry, our metaphysical reflections and religious experiences, our visionary journeys, our glimpses of an ensouled nature, our inward conviction that the deepest truth can be found within….

    I’m in broad agreement with that, and would extend it. The same polarity has been identified many times, and been given different names, by different authors. I’d say it correlates with with the Left and Right hemisphere brain division, of which the best account comes from Iain McGilchrist.

    It can be traced all the way back to the ancient Greeks who identified it as two distinct ways of knowing the world, Mythos and Logos, which are my preferred terms, being the earliest known instance.

    McGilchrist gives a wonderful and panoramic survey of the split, through the development of civilisation, and how it has influenced our present circumstances, but, like everyone else, is at a loss when it comes to suggesting any explanation as to WHY our brains seem to be divided into two apparently incompatible lobes with very different manners of knowing the world.

    The only plausible hypothesis offered afaik comes from Tony Wright. What he says is that the division comes about in during development of the embryo in the womb because the chemical environment is not as it was when our brain originally evolved. It’s a very deprived and depleted environment, compared with that provided by the jungle fruits that were the diet when our brains became what they are.

    Basically, we are all brain damaged. Rather like the children born to alcoholic mothers, we survive and can function, to a degree, but with disabilities. Wright’s thesis is long and complicated and I can’t do it justice in a comment here, but some of the spin off ideas would be an explanation as to why people find the extraordinary sense of ‘difference’ when they encounter psychedelic chemicals and some meditation states. What they are doing is restoring some of that lost brain functioning.

    Also, re your thesis that some ethnic or tribal groups, e.g. the Kogi, live or lived in harmony, and were not destructive, versus the counter-argument put forward by Speak Softly and others, that most or all human are always destructive, etc. Following Wright’s thesis, I’d suggest that this too might have a dietary explanation. Depending on the region, Omega 3 / 6, iodine, etc, other important chemicals, may or may not be available. It seems that the very complex chemicals that our brains received when they originally evolved, and which Wright suggests they require for proper development in the womb, and for later growth in adolescence, to produce a brain that is optimally balanced, are only available from tropical fruits.

    https://youtu.be/GlKLrmnfDEM

  • Gary G Says:
    May 24th, 2013 at 11:18 am

    “Out of a hundred and fifty plus blog posts, I find one kindred spirit”

    Gary, I would suggest that there are more kindred spirits here than the posts incicate.

    @ Daniel:

    Your reading comprehension skills are lacking.

    Two examples:

    Gary’s “attaboy” was not calling others ‘dogs” but analogous to receiving “kudos” from the readers.

    Gary saying he is an agonostic regarding spiritual matters was as far as it went. However you, using a convenient logical fallacy, extend that to paint him as agnostic about everything, then attempt to point out that he should not therefore hold truths about anything.

    Gary, please correct me if I am in error here.

    Daniel, stop now before you do yourself more damage.

  • Both live within us, fully yet antithetically

    None live within “us”. Each one of the “I”s that collectively form “us” is an apparition. There is no “us”.

    In such circumstances, an integrated world view, the natural aspiration of every psyche, is unattainable.

    A view implies also a viewer and a viewing: a triad. Reality is The One without a second.

    In effect, the objective world has been ruled by the Enlightenment,
    ………
    that Paul, and Gail, and Robin stand on the Enlightenment side of the divide,

    In an “objective world” there is an object, a subject, and an interrelationship. Anyone who thinks that any part of any of these contribute to Reality wallows in the universal delusion.

    hashing things out (civilly, of course) might achieve some kind of meaningful synthesis,

    Any synthesis is yet another apparition. The Reality is without attributes (including the “without attributes” attribute) and without content (including the “without content” content). It is the Void (Vecantic), Sunyata (Buddhistic), Ein Sof (Kabbalistic): Form is Emptiness and Emptiness is Form.

    Every place humans show up, all the large mammals disappear.

    The notable exception is Africa. There, of course, humans arose embedded in an ecosystem which sustained them in conjunction with the rest of the megafauna. Humans were an invasive species everywhere else.

    Every living being on this Earth is related to, and in relationship with, every other living being, in a vast network of interdependent reciprocity.

    Actually that holds for all entities, living or not, in and on Earth or not. And it has been known since Vedic times.

    1. What do you seek to achieve by sharing your conviction with others?

    Not one damn thing.

    2. Do you think it is important to wake people up to NTE? Why?

    Hell, no. No need to poke a sleeping bear.

    3. Do you offer people any consolation or hope or plan of action when you share your belief in NTE with them?

    Consolation: From an Aryan root meaning “of good mood”. If improving the mood requires pulling punches, forget it.

    Hope: Associated with expectation. Both must be discarded.

    Plan of action: Only the broadest generality. As the virgin terry had pointed out many moons ago, actions should be directed towards minimising suffering. That is, palliative care, â la hospice (or as I heard it said, horsepiss) care.

    4. How absolutely sure are you of the certainty of NTE? What is the basis of your certainty?

    Who gives an effing damn? Not gonna be the last person standing, so it’s a non-issue. The basis of my certainty is that the body+mind are disposable, and there ain’t any soul.

    5, If a large number of people worldwide bought into the certainty of near term extinction, what would that be like? Better, worse, or the same?

    DILLIGAS. (Does it look like I give a s**t?). Better, worse, same – who gives a damn?

    6. If you heard someone had committed suicide as a result of your sharing your convictions with them, what would you feel?

    The ‘nads, maybe?

    I thought him a person whose public belief system was known to just about everybody.

    Well, then I’m just about a nobody.

    I came to this blog hoping to find people with some big ideas, and someone to engage at the level of big idea.

    Big mistake. NTE ain’t a big idea. It’s just plain ol’ big, or it aint. Take it of leave it.

    So, I am probably not going to be a regular among you,

    Aws**t, only “probably”?

    I’ll keep this short. The point I’ve made, the point I’m making and will continue to make, is if someone doesn’t accept the empirical evidence contributing to NTE, they’re not discussing NTE!!!

    AMEN, brutha!

    And are trying to make their non-acceptance of their own non-acceptance less uncomfortable by painting others with the same brush.

  • BtD: Thought I’d roll this one out, if still awkwardly misshaped, before Denise steals the punchline; I can feel her imagination seething, reaching for it, attempting to follow your latest…

    Considered by most to be naughty,
    The NTE topic is hot; we
    cannot be so sure
    if our vision is pure,
    So we’ll just yell out “Beam me up, Scotty.”

  • The List of Questions:

    1. What do you seek to achieve by sharing your conviction with others?

    Education, raised levels of awareness and consciousness, motivation towards constructive action, commiseration.

    2. Do you think it is important to wake people up to NTE? Why?

    Yes. Beyond Question. If a person is asleep in a burning building, should you wake them. Without question.

    3. Do you offer people any consolation or hope or plan of action when you share your belief in NTE with them?

    Sure. Stop what you are doing. Stop it. All of it. Go live like a villager in upcountry Cambodia or Laos. For the rest of your life. Or go live like a herdsman in Mongolia or Botswana. You gotta problem with that? Move to another planet, jackass.

    Here was my 2013 resolution:
    Solutions? : scrap the cars – all of them, ditto the planes, trucks and motorbikes – all of them. Factory farmed meat – finished, kaput, nada, nunca. Go 100% veg or go to hell. A/C – forget it, move to Russia if you’re hot. No more gas mowers, generators or machinery at all. Coal fired power – out, finito. Oil burning ships, boats, ocean liners, cargo – sunk and good riddance. Oil based fertilizers, finished. Oil rigs – gone. Tree planting and re-wilding, off the charts, doing nothing but this until carbon goes negativo. There will be no more fun motoring, happy fiesta traveling culture to be had anywhere except by horseback or sailing ship. American privilege and exceptionalism – dead as a doornail. Disney world, gone. Pentagon, gone. All US military bases, closed. Anything less will not fly. Starting to enjoy the SOLUTIONS yet, my friend???

    For this I will be immediately lynched, disemboweled and burned
    alive. I have no illusions. There is plenty of hope in that list. It is just that most people of privilege want TV, beer, Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja or Rail Jump games right now before they want anything wild and insane like reality or hope.

    4. How absolutely sure are you of the certainty of NTE? What is the basis of your certainty?

    Pretty certain. But I am no longer of the pure NTE crowd.
    I am now of the NTMD – Near Term Mass Dieoff, and NTTD – Near Term Total Destruction crowd. Not that I want or support anything remotely like NTMD or NTTD. It is just that both are in the next poker hand that is going to be dealt at table.

    NT Extinction for me is the same old fixed-in-stone, 100% sure thing that makes everyone’s nervous mammalian brain feel calmer. But, I have been around enough betting parlors and horse tracks to know that no Equus caballus ever goes off at 100%. There is always a joker, a spike in the road, a comedian of fate out there somewhere to trip everything up.

    And I have met a lot of very intelligent, very resilient, very determined, super hard-working, ballbusting, altruistic people in my messed up life. Too many to flush them all down the NTE toilet. (Unfortunately almost none of those folks are American or First World.) I keep hearing “but look at the data!” yada ya. OK. When you look at my personally accrued lifetime data, you might beg to differ on the certainty of Les Hominidae packing it all in with a big “E” of extinction.

    But as for my people, the Gringos, I would say that if you are not Indigenous, that Turtle Island will prove the worst imaginable and least desirable place to be anywhere on the planet Earth.

    5. If a large number of people worldwide bought into the certainty of near term extinction, what would that be like? Better, worse, or the same?

    Joy. Elation. Transcendence?? Or all out war? The next step in planetary evolution and cognition?? Gourmet Cannibalism? Your guess is as good as mine.

    6. If you heard someone had committed suicide as a result of your sharing your convictions with them, what would you feel?

    I would probably kill myself too. Or feel Envy. As Normal Finkelstein said: “As a devout atheist, I thank the all-powerful creator for making us mortal so that we don’t have to endure this through eternity.”

    But the point is not to encourage or foster depression and hopelessness, but to raise awareness and consciousness; motivate people towards action and autonomy, support and encourage knowledge and confidence and dignity.

    The task is at hand my friend. Shall we proceed?

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #3
    (Do-it-yourself haiku)
    A NBL collaboration- Thanks, U

    Between birth and death,
    (insert seven syllables)
    one breath at a time.

  • Henry says: Thought I’d roll this one out, if still awkwardly misshaped…
    “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
    — Leonardo da Vinci
    ==

    “Nature Bats Last” is nice
    For getting your doomer advice;
    What’s more, you can say
    Your thoughts every day,
    Except you can only talk twice.

  • To the One who speaks in the voice of a Nihilistic Oracle, I say: you buy your certainty of meaningless sterility by cooking the books. Behind your cryptic oracular pronouncements I see a boy with a smirk on his face pulling snakes out of his pockets and depositing them on the teacher’s desk, for the sensation it creates. Mature adults find more constructive, responsible ways to use their high intelligence.
    To U I say: this is precisely the level of discourse I was looking for. Your post on mythos and logos, and feeding the brain, furthers my own thinking in this mater. Thank you for such a knowledgeable and thoughtful response. Thanks, too for the link. I will be looking into Tony Wright and his work on diet and brain change.
    To the person who claimed to be ignorant of Billy Graham’s public moral stance, I guess you get failing marks in cultural literacy on this one.
    To Anthony I say: Thank you for suggesting that there might be more kindred spirits lurking around this site than is indicated by the posts. And of course you are right to recognize what I meant by “attaboys.” Someone was kind enough to suggest that my piece was the most comprehensive they have seen on the subject. I took that as positive feedback, though as I have already suggested, I believe there is much, much more to be said on this subject. For those with twisted minds, who twist other people’s words to mean what they themselves want them to mean, so as to create a straw man whipping boy, let me explain: Attaboy is colloquial for “that a boy,” and often comes with a pat on the back. Praise, in other words, Daniel. I’m sorry you have so much trouble with the language.
    To Wester I say: I like all of you answers to Mike K’s sensible questions, and especially your answer to number three. I resonate with every detail of your scenario for sanity and survival, though I don’t have a lot of faith in our collective will to make all these smart moves. I think Nature will produce more reliable results with famine and plague. It is going to be harsh in the short term when this seven billion person bubble bursts, as it inevitably must; but the sooner it bursts the better it is going to be for long term prospects. I, too, am of the opinion that there is a chance for human survivors after our karmic debt has been paid. My life experience tells me that not even the least reductionist of human thinking can begin to comprehend the complexity of non-linear system, especially when many such systems interact in synergistic or otherwise unpredictable ways. The uncertainty principle prevails, and (probably) will continue to prevail. Even about this I am not altogether certain, because, at its heart, the Universe is Mystery.

  • @ Anthony

    You’re absolutely correct, my reading comprehension was lacking. I reread what Gary wrote, and I was mistaken not only on one account but two. I obviously need to be more careful and less haughty. Thank you.

    @ Gary

    I owe you an apology, I foolishly made a mistake in confusing Billy Graham with Pat Roberts. So many Evangelical hate mongers in America, I can at times get them confused, but Graham by comparison isn’t so bad. Roberts however, is one of the most vile despicable human beings this country has ever produced, and that error of presumed offense clouded my overall reaction, allowing me to perceive other offensive where none was clearly given in regards to the attaboy reference. Anthony is totally correct, my reading comprehension was embarrassingly lacking.

    So between your not intending to offend and my confusing the names, I was wrong to blow that out of proportion. I bit too hard, too fast. You did not deserve such a hostile trollish reaction. Please accept my sincere apology. NBL is a much more welcoming and commiserative place than the impression my persnickety comments may have left.

  • Cash For Trash Glendon Toews May 24th, 2013

    Cash for trash and digital cookies
    trash for cash and castles for rookies
    iPlunder, iThunder I wear my felt hat in the rain when it thunders
    I friend on my face less book
    I err when I read the book
    I mistake metaphor for met you before
    and like for well you know like
    like it just happened that way
    and I got to say
    I am the trash for cash
    and I burned through my stash
    to be merry then blue
    to a digital hue

    try uploading your gain or your pain
    and you’ll see that it’s not for not
    that the time you forgot
    was your own
    to stand still or move back
    to an era when the lost tribes didn’t claim what was not theirs
    and the garden was untouched with the love of it’s maker
    before the fallen 3 o clock rain
    brought a new sort of pain
    a jungle of desire
    the urban jungle of desire
    of desire for gain

  • LOL this blog is always good for a laugh. Some people think I’m crazy, but you people are truly insane. There are so many fallacies here I could demolish, but the root of the matter seems to be that many of you HATE LIFE ITSELF. How else does one logically justify the belief that what humans have has all been stolen from nature, when if you project that back far enough you must conclude that ALL LIFE IS THEFT. Since those first microbes started desecrating the pristine rock of Earth several billion years ago, life has just been stealing from and corrupting Nature. This chain of theft and corruption has led somehow to industrial civilization and doomer blogs, but the buck must stop here.

    If you don’t believe this, then you must arbitrarily draw a line between humanity and the rest of the animal kingdom, despite the fact that ALL LIFE BY ITS NATURE DESECRATES AND SEEKS TO DOMINATE NATURE. The essence of life is EXPLOITATION AND WILL TO POWER, and without them you are dead. Going back to the stone age solves nothing, it just slows down the process and allows other species to take over. Living like a hobo and not aspiring isn’t nearly enough Rob; the only way to minimize your impact on Gaia (who wants you dead anyway, because she’s a Satanic, genocidal bitch) is to KILL YOURSELF NOW. The same goes for every other human defiler of the planet. PUT THEM ALL IN THE ECO-OVENS FOR THE GOOD OF GAIA!

    This is the logic of the idiot eco-fanatics, the Derrick Jensens who play video games and call for destruction of industrial civilization, and who I can only conclude have only the most superficial and romantic understanding of nature.

  • @WoodsDweller Says:
    May 24th, 2013 at 7:02 pm
    I live in the woods, and sometimes write poems:
    If you don’t hurt
    You may be
    Sicker than you think

    If you can’t cry
    Your heart
    May be frozen

    If you haven’t screamed
    Then your sanity
    Has become a disease

    —————————–

    @ulvfugl Says:
    May 25th, 2013 at 12:16 am

    “In this last area, some of the views expressed, sometimes, I find deeply offensive and repugnant, some views I find wonderfully enriching. It’s to be expected, isn’t it ? A reflection of the diversity of human attitudes. So it’s inevitable that all kinds of – let’s say, less than rational, hahaha, – stuff, appears in the commentary. We’re humans. We’re not meat robots. We have feelings and opinions and stories to tell.” Ulfugl, it’s worth the price of admission and more to hear that! I only wish that all the blogs I visit could have those words emblazoned over the beginning of every thread.

    I often recall Rodney King’s plaintive question, “Can’t we just get along?” Then I always respond inwardly, “ No Rodney we can’t, that is what’s destroying us and our world.” Folks sometimes reminisce nostalgically about ancient tribal groups sitting around the fire at night sharing their lives, customs, dreams, celebrations. We desperately need small communities something like that now. One thing necessary for that sharing is that we resist kicking over the table when someone disagrees with us, or god forbid openly criticizes our ideas. On the other hand, when upsets to our process occur and some of us are drawn into name calling, etc. we have to develop the capacity to calm down and restore as much of an orderly process as possible, especially under the unique format of distant communication. In a face to face group many adjustments take place that are more difficult to bring off online. Maybe if we think of ourselves as pioneers of this digital frontier we can remind ourselves that the wild west still needed some kind of order…

    I really respect Daniel for apologizing to Gary. That shows a rare capacity for transcending ego that I really hope to nurture in myself. Thanks for the lesson Daniel.

  • Cuntagious and the others expressing doubt that NTE could happen so quickly . . .

    I agree that a few years seems awfully damn soon. After all, everything seems so normal now (see the link to normalcy bias someone posted above). But, then when you read articles like the one following, you start to see just how close to the edge we are living right now.

    Excerpt:
    Today, Lake Mead supplies approximately 85 percent of the water that Las Vegas uses, and since 1998 the water level in Lake Mead has dropped by about 5.6 trillion gallons.

    So what happens if Lake Mead continues to dry up?

    Well, the truth is that it would be a major disaster…

    Way before people run out of drinking water, something else happens: When Lake Mead falls below 1,050 feet, the Hoover Dam’s turbines shut down – less than four years from now, if the current trend holds – and in Vegas the lights start going out.

    Ominously, these water woes are not confined to Las Vegas. Under contracts signed by President Obama in December 2011, Nevada gets only 23.37% of the electricity generated by the Hoover Dam. The other top recipients: Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (28.53%); state of Arizona (18.95%); city of Los Angeles (15.42%); and Southern California Edison (5.54%).

    You can always build more power plants, but you can’t build more rivers, and the mighty Colorado carries the lifeblood of the Southwest. It services the water needs of an area the size of France, in which live 40 million people. In its natural state, the river poured 15.7 million acre-feet of water into the Gulf of California each year. Today, twelve years of drought have reduced the flow to about 12 million acre-feet, and human demand siphons off every bit of it; at its mouth, the riverbed is nothing but dust.

    Nor is the decline in the water supply important only to the citizens of Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. It’s critical to the whole country. The Colorado is the sole source of water for southeastern California’s Imperial Valley, which has been made into one of the most productive agricultural areas in the US despite receiving an average of three inches of rain per year.

    The entire article is a good read and perhaps after you’ve read it you won’t find your doubts so strong.
    http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-colorado-river-the-high-plains-aquifer-and-the-entire-western-half-of-the-u-s-are-rapidly-drying-up

  • If a person is asleep in a burning building, should you wake them. Without question

    Excellent. If falling at terminal velocity while asleep, best to let them continue to sleep.

    Go live like a villager in upcountry Cambodia or Laos. For the rest of your life. Or go live like a herdsman in Mongolia or Botswana. You gotta problem with that? Move to another planet, jackass.

    My great-great-grandfather was a villager in
    Bengal, a part that has since morphed into the Islamic Republic of Bangladesh. Getting the hell out of that place was a sane choice. Coming to ‘mericuh was a choice based on the erroneous assumption that it is an English-speaking country.

    failing marks in cultural literacy

    A non-existent culture and a non-existent literature – in ‘mericuh. The language spoken (and wtitten) in ‘mericuh would keep one from advancing to the next grade in English-medium schools in the post British Raj places. All there is here is a mishmash that has not yet been puréed. Hence the emphasis on a constitution and the dominance of lawyers. Society instead of community.
    Moreover:
    לא יהיה לך אלהים אחרים עלפניי
    “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”.

    Attaboy is colloquial for “that a boy,”

    Not quite kosher in some instances. Such as adult male African-Americans.

    human survivors after our karmic debt has been paid.

    The consequences of karma are of the nature of cause and effect rather than debt. The effects may be at a remove in spacetime from the cause, possibly in altogether different dimensions and/or universes. And there is no wholesale cause-and-effect: it is an individual phenomenon.

    Universe is Mystery.

    It is an apparition, entirely within consciousness, and will cease to mystify when the “I” delusion, and with it the “I”-“not-I” dichotomy ceases.

    @Darth Imperius:
    It is Dmitry Orlov’s advice to you that I suggest you follow. Not my advice. Though perhaps for the umpteenth + 1 time.

  • Re: Darth Imperius Says:
    May 25th, 2013 at 10:30 am

    My advice is put him on ignore and do not feed a troll.

    @ Daniel: You are very welcome, perhaps you can return the favor some day. Thanks for your essay, it was very thought provoking.

  • mike k’s questions

    1. What do you seek to achieve by sharing your conviction with others?

    2. Do you think it is important to wake people up to NTE? Why?

    3. Do you offer people any consolation or hope or plan of action when you share your belief in NTE with them?

    4. How absolutely sure are you of the certainty of NTE? What is the basis of your certainty?

    5. If a large number of people worldwide bought into the certainty of near term extinction, what would that be like? Better, worse, or the same?

    6. If you heard someone had committed suicide as a result of your sharing your convictions with them, what would you feel?

    ———–

    This focus on an individual’s beliefs, emotional reactions, and personal lifestyle choices indicates how deeply enmeshed we are in the consumer capitalist mentality where all problems are solved by making individual choices. Most of these questions are meaningless, because we are dealing with a global phenomenon called the industrial economy that can’t be stopped by individual lifestyle choices. If the govt gave everyone a check and said you can only use it to build a mud hut and live like a Laotian villager (assuming there’s enough land), how many would choose to do this if the IE still existed? It obviously wouldn’t result in the end of the IE, and shutting down the IE is the only serious plan of action that has been proposed on NBL. But the IE is global, owned by corporations, and protected by governments. So, the only way to shut it down is to convince governments and corporations to shut it down. Saying you want the IE shut down immediately, if you’re being truly honest and serious, means saying you want govts to impose martial law and to begin to immediately do things like shutting factories, cutting electrical power, etc.. I’ve never heard Guy or any NLB blogger go into any the details or produce a plan of action that they would like the governments to follow, but it would be an honest thing to do, considering it is the only plan of action that we have ever offered.

    Gary, thanks for your excellent article. Newcomers to NBL eventually learn that it is fruitless to argue about human nature with certain individuals here, it’s probably why we don’t see many new regular contributors to the daily blog. I’m sorry you had to go through that.

  • Daniel–

    Thank you for your gracious apology; I accept it in the same good faith it was offered.

    Gary

  • ‘Why would anyone want to stick around and experience NTE?

    Morbid Curiosity’ -speak softly (and carry a big stick!?)

    i sometimes think that if suicide was legal and compassionately supported (as it would be in any sane culture), i’d seriously consider it sooner rather than later. (my personal life is very bleak, unhappy, as it has been most of my days, is certainly a factor). but life is addictive, death and dying not easily embraced for one of many fears, inhibitions, and regrets, as long as physical suffering is minimal and comfort maximal. simple pleasures, reinforced daily, they are very addictive. as long as life is such, why suicide?

    it’s a very personal choice, very subjective, is suicide. personally, i think it will be a good choice for many when suffering is nearly universal, inescapable, while comfort, security, and pleasure becomes more and more scarce. morbid curiosity is only appealing from a distance, when it doesn’t involve great personal suffering and sacrifice.

    ‘If you heard someone had committed suicide as a result of your sharing your convictions with them, what would you feel?’ -mike k

    i’m not convinced of nte. i’d say it’s highly probable. catastrophic collapse of industrial civ. and massive human dieback, otoh, i think these are nearly as likely as tomorrow’s sunrise. but i don’t agree with guy and others on a timetable of near immediate complete collapse and extinction by 2031 or whatever. i think we have a lot more time left than that, decades, probably (of course each individual has a different date with death).

    perhaps the wise and certainly the expected answer to your question is i’d feel guilty, but i don’t think i would. it would depend on specific circumstances, i suppose. however, fear of having to own guilt for someone else’s suicide pales in comparison to the overwhelming resistance and blowback against one who attempts to spread awareness. i think that’s why guy commands such respect from those of us who agree with the essence of his message. it takes more talent and determination than most, maybe any of us possess.

  • Why would anyone want to stick around and experience NTE?

    Why would anyone want to stick around and see the end of a movie? To see how it turns out, of course. This world is amazing, and every part of it, even the ugly parts, fills me with wonder. The world is awesome, and I am in awe.

    None of us here, regardless of the timeline this plays out on, will end up being the last one standing. Nor would I want to be. The early stages of this thing will be hard enough. I’m too old to push my garden cart (need to get new tires for that thing…) to the Arctic and get a job as a slave laborer on a pineapple plantation. I’ll fall by the wayside at some point during the early to mid stages, I imagine. Judging by my ancestry I’ve got another 30-40 years in me, but the times to come will belong to the young, not much room for crazy old men, not much food to waste on them either.

    One of the better decisions I made in life was to not have children. That provides me a detachment that parents surrender. When I look at little children I wonder which of them will struggle heroically against cataclysm. Calling it adventure trivializes the difficulty, but it will be an adventure nonetheless. If any of them survive, they will be the legendary heroes of the future. If Guy is right, those survivors, if indeed they will be, have already been born.

    I’ve spent most of my days as a doomer of one degree or another – I read Limits to Growth sometime in the early 80s, and was concerned about nuclear winter before that. One risk factor lead to another. When it became obvious that the “pollution” line on the simulation was going to be climate change rather than Burger King wrappers at the side of the road I lost my drive for prepping/homesteading, and instead I just live in the woods and listen to the Earth breathe.

    The data presented by Guy seems to be scientists doing science. I imagine that in time, if there is enough time remaining, it will become the mainstream scientific consensus. The timeline seems to be the last question worth answering.

    So why stick around? This is going to be the main event, the biggest thing ever to happen to humanity. I would hate to head to the parking lot before the last reel.

  • @ u

    “It seems that the very complex chemicals that our brains received when they originally evolved, and which Wright suggests they require for proper development in the womb, and for later growth in adolescence, to produce a brain that is optimally balanced, are only available from tropical fruits.”

    Like an ape mon. 8-)

  • “Human ingenuity always seems to find a way.”

    What worries me is that humans may somehow be able to survive a world with 90% fewer species, and they will certainly try, using things like mini-nuke plants and fusion power, provided they have enough time to develop them. This is why massive droughts in all the major food growing areas of the Northern Hemisphere must begin immediately if NTE is to become a reality. Without a wiping out of human food supplies relatively soon, human ingenuity will be put into action so that people can survive a 4 or 6 C world, if they have several decades to adjust. After that it’s anyone’s guess, a planet accelerating past 8C by 2100–is probably headed towards Venus, and no life.

    http://www.azpbs.org/arizonahorizon/detailvid.php?id=14350