Resistance is the Only Ethical Response to Near-Term Extinction

by Jeffrey Strahl

I begin with a short biography to give readers some understanding of why I see things the way I do. I grew up in New York, where I received a degree in mechanical engineering from the City University of New York. I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in early 1970 to take a job, and I still live there, with most of my time spent living in Berkeley. I was a very conservative and conformist person when I started working for Bechtel, the giant multinational construction firm, assigned to the division designing and supervising the construction of nuclear power plants. It took me just a few months to be totally disgusted by both the nature of corporate culture and nuclear power. Simultaneously I faced a close call regarding induction into the armed forces, which were still engaged in Vietnam. These experiences, plus my increased engagement with the counterculture still prevalent in Berkeley led to a rapid personal transformation, and to my being laid off from my job as a recession deepened and Bechtel supervisors grew disenchanted with an employee whose looks and views changed right before their eyes.

I subsequently applied to law school at Berkeley and was admitted, with the notion of using my technical background and legal education to pursue environmental law. At the time I started school in autumn of 1972, I also started going to Grateful Dead shows, further exploring the alternative route, and in addition came upon anarchist politics. By the middle of my second year, I came to realize that the environmental crisis which had been manifesting itself even to the mainstream for several years could not be dealt with by new laws and regulations, or new shopping habits, but required the elimination of capitalism. I also had become conscious of the still-continuing pacification program directed at the 1960s insurgency, be it by COINTELPRO and direct police repression, or by media efforts to convince the public that “the ’60s are over” and that conformity and a “New Age” of self-indulgence were now what’s in. I dropped out of law school, but kept the job I had began on campus to support myself, tutoring students in math and statistics. I ended up sticking with that job for almost 37 years (until my retirement in 2009), becoming for all practical purposes the instructor for many students in the second-year calculus classes that form the mathematical foundation for engineering and physical sciences. In the meantime, my politics developed further, incorporating Marx’s analysis of capital, the surrealist/situationist analysis of modern mass culture, a critique of the mechanistic materialist paradigm that has dominated science for centuries, a critique informed by process philosophy (see here and here), and other ideas that have come up.

The world today faces three deadly crises. They can be analyzed separately but are interconnected and feed back and forth in major ways. I won’t go into too much detail, as a lot more can be found in the readings I will reference.

The first is the global economic crisis. I’m tackling it first because it has manifested itself the longest. It has little to do with greedy banksters and speculators, inadequate regulations and corrupt regulators, monopolies, or the restricted ability of “the masses” to consume. It is a crisis rooted in the very structure of global capitalism. It first appeared in a global form on the world stage in the early 1910s, and led to WWI. That war did not provide a long respite, and so the crisis reappeared globally by 1930, leading to WWII. The massive destruction of much of the industrial world’s fixed capital in that war, and the need to reconstruct all that, formed the foundation of what appeared to be a postwar boom, aided by a reconfiguration of the world economy under US domination and with coordinating institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, massive expansion of debt, unprecedented consumerism, vast military spending via the creation of the military-industrial complex, and the increased incorporation of the non-industrial world into the global empire, often facilitated by military force. But by 1970, the fundamental crisis had begun to reemerge. It has been staved off by even more massive exponential debt expansion, by globalization which has facilitated the driving of wages and working conditions downward all over the world, and by hi-tech innovations. However, all these countermeasures have by now turned into factors which exacerbate the crisis. The collapse of 2007-8 has not been overcome. In fact, signs of worsening arise daily, such as indications Europe is entering a new Great Depression. There is no reason whatsoever why the crisis now will not lead to another global war, and already we see the emergence of currency/trade wars, just as occurred before each of the Twentieth Century’s two global conflicts. We even see renewed discussions of “winnable” nuclear wars. For more extensive readings, I recommend this series of articles, all by Jack Straw: “The American Left Doesn’t Get Capitalism,”
“Michael Hudson and Webster Tarpley Disseminate Disinformation,”
and “Occupy Should Target and Destroy the Ruling Money Fetish.” I also recommend a very fundamental analysis of capitalism, Sander’s “A Crisis of Value.”

One short note: readers should not confuse Marx’s analysis of capitalism with the state capitalist monstrosities of the former USSR and allied states, with state ownership of capitalist enterprises, or even with workers’ ownership of such enterprises. His analysis isn’t another school of “economics,” like the Austrian or Keynesian schools. Nor is it based upon competition and other conditions specific to Nineteenth Century industrial capitalism. It uses a single global capital as its starting point. Hopefully the suggested readings will do away with such confusion.

The Ecological Crisis needs little introduction to readers of Nature Bats Last. While climate collapse is the most obvious facet, there are others, such as the destruction of habitats and ensuing, accelerating collapses of ecosystems and species extinctions, the acidification of the oceans, and the spreading of chemical poisons and pollutants of all sorts, including GMOs and nano-materials. I would like to refer readers to a couple of older articles, “The Sick Planet” by Guy Debord from 1970, and “In the Wake of the Exxon Valdez: World Capitalism and Global Ecocide” by Will Guest from 1989. These articles demonstrate how the problem has been festering and worsening while some people warned us.

Last, but far from least, the world faces an increasing shortage of resources which are vital for both human survival and, even more, the very functioning of the global advanced industrial system, in particular the energy supplied by fossil fuels. Peak Oil comes to mind readily, but we also face Peak Soil, Peak Water, and many other vital peaks. Regardless of industry/media propaganda, the shale shell games will make little if any difference. We have just started seeing the effects of what will be growing shortages. Readers who are still not sure should read sites such as Resilience and Culture Change. I recommend a couple of articles on the inability of “renewables” to power a growth-requiring capitalist global economy (or for that matter any system requiring the maintenance of modern industry), “Searching for a Miracle” by Richard Heinberg, and Ted Trainer’s “Can the World Run on Renewables, Nuclear Energy and Geo-Sequestration? The Negative Case,” which has a link to his full paper. Short pieces on this topic can be found at The Energy Skeptic site.

These three crises feed back and forth. Global warming increases pressures upon dwindling clean water sources, and requires more expenses on the part of states which are already facing severe budget constraints. The economic crisis makes investment in renewables increasingly problematic. Peak Oil means the costs of producing oil are such that gas prices have to climb to where they start choking off other spending. And so on. In addition, there are sub-crises being spun by the major ones which take on lives of their own, such as the accelerating disintegration of the fiber which holds society together due to the near-universal use of cell phones and other wireless devices, which drive people into self-absorption bubbles, detached from the physical reality around them. Clearly, there is no way out which preserves capitalism. Indeed, there is no way to preserve industrial society and the population levels it has enabled, levels which are far beyond the capacity of the planet to support. We would not be in this situation were it not for the emergence of and global conquest by capitalism and its growth imperative, but more needs to be shed than just the capitalist mode of production. Near-term extinction appears to be almost inevitable. To me, the main question right now is whether the extinction will come first from a new global war, or from runaway climate destabilization. The US government is consciously preparing for the future by reinforcing its military/police state apparatus. Part of these preparations have included the execution of false-flag terrorist attacks. This is the only way to understand 9/11 in context. See here and here.

Yet this conclusion does not mean that people should stop resisting the pressures to conform and to go along with futile steps intended to maintain what is totally unmaintainable, and increasingly so even in the short term. There are those who offer “New Age” psycho-babble to the effect that resistance is futile and that we should focus on ourselves and on coming to terms with death and go gently into the good night. In my book however, a failure to resist amounts to complicity with the accelerating destruction. It is as much an aspect of counterinsurgency as are the various repression efforts of the control apparatus. This is true even if the odds of failure are just about certain, indeed even more so.

When you see a rape and do nothing, you are guilty too. When you see genocide and do nothing, because you claim you feel powerless, you are a participant. This is what global society determined regarding how Germans behaved during WWII. A few brave ones, e.g., the White Rose Society, resisted the Nazi regime, odds be damned. The others turned their heads and pretended to not know. People within the concentration camps also counseled that “resistance is futile.” Most of those who listened to them died sooner than they otherwise would have.

It would not occur to a mouse in the mouth of a cat to stop resisting. There is after all a thing called the survival instinct. Just as they have to be taught to be killing soldiers in an organized armed force, a behavior which is far more akin to sheep being herded than to an animal fighting for its food or survival. People have to be taught to not resist. Resistance is what living things and living systems do in the face of attempts to do them in. Our resistance is not just about us as individuals, or even us as a species, but us as members of the global ecosystem, an entity which like the Tao is everything and nothing, a sum of its parts which is more than a sum. We owe it to all the other members to do what we can on behalf of the whole. See Peter Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid and Lynn Margulis’s The Symbiotic Planet for useful antidotes to the mainstream’s junk notions that the dominant motif of life is selfish competition.

Some folks counsel for us to give in, to reject making a stand, and to counter “bad vibes” with “joy.” Such notions given the present situation show to me people who are in a privileged position in global society, coasting on top of terrain anchored upon slave mines in Africa and South America, sweatshops in Bangladesh and China (and even in North America) as well as on massive ecocide. People in those situations do not engage in discussions whether resistance is appropriate. They have to resist just to survive day to day. Please spare us talk of how “we are all equally at fault,” “it’s just human nature,” and “we need to all come together and recognize our common humanity,” or false hopes that the ruling elites will somehow do the right thing. There is no one “we.” There is the vast majority of ordinary humans on one hand, and a tiny segment of ruling elites who are psychopaths and sociopaths, determined to keep their system going and their social power intact no matter what, who have made and continue to make the essential decisions which have led to the current situation of near-term extinction. The current holocaust, currently in its early stages, will affect all of humanity and the bulk of the ecosystem, putting the Nazi version to shame. Passivity is complicity. Silence is consent.

Prattling about how resistance is futile and how we’re better to retreat into passive contemplation and getting those around us to passively accept it all is exactly what the mass media do day in and day out. Let’s not pretend that it’s anything but another form of pacification. Our predicament is like that of someone who is tied up in a boat which is rapidly approaching a large waterfall. If this person could get untied and jump off, they are highly likely to be swept up by the current and go over anyway. But how many people would simply not even try? I intend to go on with my resistance, be it in public acts of defiance, conveying information through writing and talking, or helping out with my neighborhood collective native plant garden, pacification efforts be damned.

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There is a new ad at the top of the CLASSIFIEDS section, courtesy of a couple in the Pacific Northwest. View it here.

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McPherson was interviewed by Gary Null for the Progressive Commentary Hour on Tuesday, 13 May 2013. The result is embedded below, and I begin shortly after the 43-minute mark.


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Mike Sosebee’s film is available on DVD. For information about purchasing a copy, click here.

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McPherson is embarking on a speaking tour today, and will be in eastern New York and southeastern Pennsylvania for the next few days. Details are posted and will be updated often at the “Coming events” tab.

Comments 240

  • Paul: Great expose by you (linked to by Gail on her site)!

    Ulvfugl: check this out
    http://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/whistleblower-al-qaeda-chief-u-s-asset/
    (which begins)

    A whistleblower has revealed extraordinary information on the U.S. government’s support for international terrorist networks and organised crime. The government has denied the allegations yet gone to extraordinary lengths to silence her. Her critics have derided her as a fabulist and fabricator. But now comes word that some of her most serious allegations were confirmed by a major European newspaper only to be squashed at the request of the U.S. government.

    In a recent book Classified Woman, Sibel Edmonds, a former translator for the FBI, describes how the Pentagon, CIA and State Department maintained intimate ties to al-Qaeda militants as late as 2001. Her memoir, Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story, published last year, charged senior government officials with negligence, corruption and collaboration with al Qaeda in illegal arms smuggling and drugs trafficking in Central Asia.

    In interviews with this author in early March, Edmonds claimed that Ayman al-Zawahiri, current head of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s deputy at the time, had innumerable, regular meetings at the U.S. embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan, with U.S. military and intelligence officials between 1997 and 2001, as part of an operation known as ‘Gladio B’. Al-Zawahiri, she charged, as well as various members of the bin Laden family and other mujahideen, were transported on NATO planes to various parts of Central Asia and the Balkans to participate in Pentagon-backed destabilisation operations.

    Pym: keep up the good work. i hear ya on fracking and am also involved. The group i’m working with is going the same ol’ political influence route that i’ve stopped believing in, but i go along (and am quite good at it they tell me) with petitioning and spreading the word in my little location (though i “know” it isn’t going to matter).

    All: It’s so weird this spring – the large plot of ground i have in the back of the house is struggling to grow freaking grass, my garden there is only moderately successful so far, the giant trees are finally leafing out a bit more, but nowhere near in past years, and though things look lush and green from all the rain we’ve had, looking closer reveals on-going problems. i may have an enormous ant colony under the ground back there (there are little mounds and “flying ants” all over the place).

    Emergent diseases may become a much bigger problem as we travel down the collapse path, from what i’m reading. Coronavirus, the various mutations of H1N1 that keep cropping up, formerly “eradicated” diseases like whooping cough, chicken pox, measles and STDs like gonorrhea are coming back with a vengeance and are more and more resistant to anti-biotics. Bird, swine and other flu variations continue and who knows what the various militaries have done to “weaponize” them. Looks like fun times ahead, eh?

  • While volcanoes and earthquakes are ratcheting up (not to mention the giant solar flare glancing off the earth currently) everyone is being monitored:

    http://www.dailytech.com/Raytheons+RIOT+Software+Tracks+Trillions+of+Pieces+of+Your+Data+on+FaceBook/article29875.htm

    Raytheon’s “RIOT” Software Tracks Trillions of Pieces of Your Data on Facebook

    Raytheon Comp. (RTN) has created a social networking tracking program called Rapid Information Overlay Technology — or “RIOT”, for short — which is building a database of trillions of pieces of data on millions of users’ social networking profiles. The software digs into the usual suspects — Facebook, Inc.’s (FB) ubiquitous social network, popular microblogging site Twitter, and FourSquare, whose location-aware apps boast 25 million users.

    I. RIOT is Watching You

    The idea of RIOT is to allow government agents to in a click or two examine both your behavior history, and more interestingly (or alarmingly) predict your potential future actions.

    Today, mobile client use has finally overtaken desktop use for Facebook, the world’s largest network. But hidden in most mobile posts by Facebook’s over 1 billion users is an information is an “exif” information tag, a special string that identifies the latitude and longitude the user posted from. By mining exif data publicly available posts (or alternatively creating Facebook softbots to friend users and lure them into RIOT’s circle of friendship), RIOT is capable of tracking citizens’ daily movements.
    (read the rest)

    Have a wonderful day, everyone.

  • ulvfugl

    Am I out now ? Do I just feel belittled and stupid, or worse, not up to date or up to standard.

    There must be a reason you are in seclusion.

    Anyway, I am sorry not much I post is up to your standard. Some of us are just regular people, not looking to bite heads off.

    For the record:

    1.I have yet to be here for a complete year.
    2.I have not ever refuted the very likely prospect of NTE, merely said I will agree as it comes. Wow, is that so threatening, or a leitmotif of living in la-la-land ?

    3. And this is most important, I don’t see the world operating like you do(appear to).
    That makes us equal in my view.

    That makes both our views of what is
    going on’ in reality equally subjective.

    So I take no real regard for your notifications on my sanity, were I to, you may be correct. I rather like to put my points of difference to you, esp. where they pertain to issues of Scientific conceptions of reality, and ‘reality’ and have a dialogue. You don’t want to discuss that here on NBL, because you think it is personal, and not relevant to NTE.
    In an earlier thread, you even tried to get this issue going with me on the other ‘Ning’ site or whatever it is called – the equivalent in my book, given the context or asking me to step outside and settle this the old fashioned way.
    Ha! Of course you will deny this.

    But it is always a good sign the other arty is losing ground when they start hitting the guy(or girl) rather than addressing the issue.
    To be fair , you often do argue your points well, and meet that benchmark with honour, but then there is all the antisocial guff.

    You see ulvfugl, I have got a theory about you now. I think you have devalued the social aspects of self, because they do not serve your Zen training purposes/ideals( which I not challenging here or at all).

    That is OK. but you need those skills and social aspects of self to be social, which in a limited way is what is going on here.

    I can hear you saying something like being nice wont lower the CO2, or reverse ocean acidification, put the Methane back in the Arctic. No it wont, but that is no reason not to be nice.

    Oh, and

    5. ‘We’ don’t need to be woken up by you necessarily. That is not your function here. You just post your comments like everyone else, 2 at a time. When and how ‘we’ wake is our own responsibility.

    All

    Oh, sorry, I forgot this is NBL, run by Guy.

    For a moment I thought I was back at ‘ulvfugl college-for-the-needing to-be-put-down-constantly-by bully-headmaster’.

    Whew ! That was close. What a nightmare.

    I tell you, it is difficult when I transgress the NTE code of conduct here, there is always the sense that some feel it their righto determine a consensus on NTE.

    As anyone other than ulvfugl should be able to see, I am neither in the denial camp/stage, nor in the mechanistic determinism camp.

    I believe the common Western consensus of mechanistic dead matter(Earth) is an unproven presumption, which leads me to conclude we are in no complete position to ‘know’ what is operating in the greater context here, (Earth).

    So I just operate like the deal is not done, but acknowledge, and act now like it is coming.

    As for the report I posted earlier, would be interested in anyone’s responses.

    From down under, new record low temps.

    ‘Cold snap sets new record low temperatures’

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-12/cold-snap-hits-south-east/3768810

    A quote:

    “The weather bureau says an extreme cold front has broken a series of low temperature records for Canberra, Goulburn and the Snowy Mountains.

    The southern tablelands and Victoria’s Alpine region have also been hit by the summer chill.

    A rapidly moving cold front from Antarctica moved though Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT yesterday.

    The icy and changeable weather delivered a low of -4 degrees Celsius and a dusting of snow to the Snowy Mountains.”

  • Err… sorry folks, that last link was from the previous January, our summer. Forgot to check the date.

    La la la la la

  • U you know what you did in the past. Don’t pretend you don’t. I find the two post rule useful to allow many voices to be heard and I recognize that in the past I have been an over frequent poster. I recognize that I to have been insulting in the past and appreciate the rule as a reminder to think how to voice disagreement without casting aspersions on the person I disagree with. Your behavior has actually helped me see parts of myself I don’t like and want to improve on. If you cannot see any of that in yourself well that is your problem.

  • Mike K

    Your comment follows the exact pattern of people either stuck on the ‘denial’ phase or the ‘bargaining’ phase of grief over NTE.

    Not once did you simply address even one of the ten or so positive feedback loops kicking into truly catastrophic climate change.

    Just take the increasing portion of the Gulf Stream diverted up into the Fram Strait and into the Arctic Ocean.

    This is a very bad event.

    It was Not happening like it is now when I was born.

    It contributes to the slowing of the Gulf Stream to northern Europe and is breaking down the Thermohaline circulation pattern of the Atlantic. If it keeps up it will finish off the last of the fisheries in the Atlantic which are 90%+ depleted as it is.

    The slowing of Atlantic circulation will push the Ocean towards anoxia with widening ‘dead zones’ filled with toxic effluent and rafts of plastic garbage the size of countries.

    This one feedback loop alone is right now pumping astonishing amounts of heat into the Arctic Ocean accelerating the rapid meltdown of the ice sheet and the thawing of the unbelievably large amounts of Methane clathrates on the floor of the Arctic sea.

    The ice sheet was the last physical barrier Mike to all that methane bubbling up from the Arctic ocean bottom and going straight into the atmosphere.

    Not once did you address any of the stats on even the One feedback loop.

    What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?

    You just broad brushed it as “Many are easily persuaded by a few graphs and measurements and projections that seem to have the cachet of “Science”

    Geez Mike, put up or shut up

    Give us your facts and figures.

    Give us an intelligent rebuttal of where the Fram Strait feedback loop is exaggerated or ‘alarmist’ or ‘uncertain’.

    After you do that Mike, we’ll see how you can think on your feet with the next 9 feedback loops and then top it off with how those feed back loops in turn that are clearly leveraging and amplifying off each other aren’t really doing that cause you desperately ‘optimistically’ wish they wouldn’t.

  • Speak Softly you are SOOOOOO silly!!! Didn’t you know that the slowing of the thermohaline current is the negative feedback that is going to save us from catastrophic climate change? John Michael Greer SAYS SO and since he has teh magic (and all Guy has is, you know, scientific observation of empirical facts), he should know:

    “Along with those positive feedback loops, you might consider looking into some of the extreme negative-feedback loops that are currently showing signs of cutting in — for example, the collapse of the thermohaline circulation leading to worldwide deepwater anoxia, leading to the removal of carbon from the biosphere over a geological time frame.”

    oh, wait…

    http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/2013/05/arctic-tundra-will-turn-to-forest/

    “…results showed that scientists might have badly underestimated the effect of existing carbon dioxide levels in altering the climate over time”.

  • @ Wester says “Yeah, I am chagrined and take no little offense that very poor, very innocent people in SE Asia are in any way complicit … Truth is, as I have said before, it is the American machine specifically which is most responsible. There really isn’t any debate. The (N American) indigenous ran their culture in a sustainable way for 16,000-20,000 years or more.”

    As we ride this spinning globe awaiting our fate, regardless of how we actually came to this predicament, it does provides ample time to consider different opinions – almost like an hors d’oeuvre sampler.

    Since I’m firmly in Paul’s camp with respect to deterministic physics, I really have a hard time understanding the rationale supporting a cultural perspective. If you believe the basic imperative of **all** lifeforms is to gain energy in which to survive, grow & multiply, then hominids are really no different than yeast. (And please, don’t give me this upper neocortex stuff – the development of higher intelligence was simply an ancient arms race necessary to stay even with others.)

    Likewise, if this is the case, then any individual or group that fails to gain sufficient energy with respect to other competing life forms ultimately becomes an evolutionary ‘loser’. However, why do these ‘losers’ then gain a mantle of respectability or reverence simply because they failed to outcompete others? What makes them so holy? After all, they also were attempting to become ‘winners’, and would hold no pity for other ‘losers’.

    As for indigenous N Americans, these groups tend to provide an intellectual trap for any who attempt to defend them. First of all, was anyone else here when they arrived? Second, what happened to all the megafauna that disappeared after they arrived? Third, can anyone honestly say that they don’t believe the ‘natives’ would have done the same exact thing to Europeans if given the chance?

    Here’s a little aside: in Hawaii, there exists the legend of the menehune – small, diminutive forest dwellers. Well, it’s actually based on fact – the first settlers were from the Marquesas Is. However, the next group that came ashore were from Tahiti (which are the genetic basis of current Hawaiians), and were comprised of bigger, stronger warriors. Well, you can imagine what came next – yep, the Marquesans were basically hunted to extinction and into legend.

    If you hold this viewpoint, then it’s entirely consistent for ‘winners’ to use all means at their disposal to tilt the game in their favor. That’s why I believe as we enter the downward slope of peak oil and advanced industrial civ, the PTB are going to to really ramp up efforts to hold onto their pie.

    Since the biggest threat to their continued dominance may not necessary be climate change itself, but those pesky nukes KathyC keeps referencing, it’s hard not to conclude that that is where the next battlegrounds will be. Just my 2 cents.

  • Lets pretend the world and all it’s life forms depended on humanity gaining at least the level of intelligence to recognize that cooperation is the key to returning to a state if natural balance, now let’s pretend this forum is a blind test to see how a random sampling of humans can and will do in this regard.

    The empherical results at least in this study reveal it is unlikely the world and all it’s life forms can hope it’s survival will or can rely on human cooperation to save it, but we were just pretending, it’s not real, right?

  • The question of “are we all equally to blame” will undoubtedly generate multiple answers depending on the perspective from which it is asked.

    From a Geo-political perspective, obviously, those of us in Western post/present colonial culture bear much, if not most of the burden of “our” current ecological dilemma. However, from an anthropological perspective, those very definable lines become rather blurry. From an ideological perspective, the blame of inequality shifts towards conservatism, but from an astrophysical perspective, we find ourselves yet again, all in the same pot.

    But from a purely ecological perspective, we are forced to account for all the factors that have contributed to our overshoot, which simply spans the entire historical arc of civilization. But we can’t blame “our” history, without honestly knowing we would have somehow not ended up in the same dilemma, had that history been any different.

    But given that it is nearly impossible for any of us to completely shed a lifetime of bias, “we” will never agree as to who is and isn’t responsible for humanities omnicidal forte.

    Personally, I loathe conservatives for no other reason than their ethical midgetry, but in a post-acceptance reality of NTE, a well reasoned libertarian argument simply can’t be argued against. At one time, say the last half century of our nascent ecological awareness, attaching blame had a purpose, if only in attempting to shame those who espoused indifference to our planet’s ecological plight. But now, this is no longer applicable due to nonlinear rates of change. Continuing to place blame, is little more than the vested self-righteousness of a past morality that truly no longer has any basis, other than what it personally means to us, which is in all honestly, all it’s ever been.

    We are all now in varying degrees, both victims and witnesses to the head-on collision of anthropocentric valuation and physical reality. There’s dogmas, manifestos, moral imperatives, ethical biases, past conceit as well as contempt strewn everywhere among the wreckage.

    Those who choose to resist, are my people, but I can no longer join the choir, for I can no longer discern the difference between protest songs and biblical hymns. The physical world in which our past moral imperatives where founded, has fundamentally vanished under our feet, and continuing to deny that that imperative is utterly lost, at least for me, simply can’t override a greater imperative; rational acceptance of the truth now before us.

    What some here, who haven’t a personal history of ecological mindedness can’t quite recognize, is that they are witnessing a funeral dirge of an ethical dilemma they never had any affinity with. For those who have dedicated a significant portion of their lives to resistance, the concept of NTE, simply has an entirely different meaning and significance. It is not about the fervor of who was or wasn’t a better past anarchist, it’s just that the sense of what is being lost, resonates differently with all of us, much like an objective observer to a funeral procession, compared to those carrying the coffin.

    We’re all each others bygones now, time to let each other be…..unless you’re guilty of egregious dumbassery, then you’re just a sitting target, for us moody ideologues to shoot at while we ride the roller-coaster in this NTE theme park we’ve created for ourselves.

  • Speaking of “scientific observation of empirical facts”

    Could someone provide me the links for Guy’s list which he has referred to? I haven’t been able to find them on this website, and need them to help with my assertions.

  • Daniel says: : we ride the roller-coaster in this NTE theme park

    Most still remain unaware,
    But a few have begun to prepare
    For our last coaster ride
    Which has started its slide
    On the track that ends in midair.

    Some analyze how they got there
    But one by one all start to stare
    As soon as they’ve eyed
    The end of the glide
    Where the track simply stops in midair.

    Helplessness turns to despair:
    Apparently, life isn’t fair;
    Doom, once denied,
    Cannot be defied
    When we’re flying off into midair.

  • Kathy C says: Presumably they can at least learn to dress themselves and do their own hair so we can leave the butlers and maids out.

    Haha! And thanks! 🙂

  • Ozman.

    Mt Taranaki had a dusting of snow in February 2013 (the height of summer) something I have never seen in decades of living here. A few days later the snow was gone.

    2013 saw the worst drought ever in NZ,. There have been droughts before but never one that covered most of the North Island and regions of the South Island simultaneously.

    Currently there is almost no snow on the mountain, which is extraordinary, and yesterday I was in the garden in a short-sleeve light shirt because it was so warm.

    The wild swings in the temperature of the air above Britain, Canada, the US etc., have been accounted for by disruption of the jet stream. The thermal gradient is being degraded [by overheating of the Arctic Sea], leading to less intense and ‘wobbly’ jet stream flow. I am, as yet, unaware of an explanation for increasing instability in the Southern Hemisphere but a similar explanation is likely: my research tells me the deep water around Antarctica is warming as never seen before.

    Of course, those who wish to deny global warming focus on increased snowfall, failing to realise that increased snowfall is indicative of warmer oceans.

  • “Where the track simply stops in midair” Nice one BtD.

    Here’s a little song for everyone…..none of us were magnificent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWcyIpul8OE

  • @ Wester

    Will not, can not, refuse under all circumstances to accept the proposition that on some or any level:
    “We are all to blame.”

    Fantastic, powerful comment. Thanks so much ! I’ve copied it to my ‘Best of NBL’ file.

    @ Tom

    Thanks, Tom, I read the S. Edmonds stuff already. Some suggest she’s still working some devious agenda. Very hard to tell.

    https://www.facebook.com/BrasscheckTV

    @ Ozman

    You are a man, in you 50’s, you said ? So why project the persona of a pathetic half-wit fumbling child ?

    I rather like to put my points of difference to you, esp. where they pertain to issues of Scientific conceptions of reality, and ‘reality’ and have a dialogue. You don’t want to discuss that here on NBL, because you think it is personal, and not relevant to NTE.

    No, not because it is personal, nor because it is not relevant, but because it clogs up the blog with stuff that annoys everyone else, because THEY have no interest in it. I’ll talk to anybody about any subject, but you showed already you’re not equipped to discuss the issues, you want to pick a fight with me, but you’re no good at fighting either, you’re not even on a learning curve re Guy’s talks, are you, let alone your boast about ‘debunking science’ and your foolish bombastic ‘demand for an apology’ from me. Perhaps you’d like to apologize for that ? eh ? Big hat , no effing cattle. Hahahaha.

    You HAD your opportunity, to discuss as much as you wanted, on NTE, and you were too craven to take it. Just as you’ve shown yourself to be a coward re DGR. You’re ALREADY shitting yourself, terrified someone might suggest you’re ‘a terrorist’ ooooh, and you havn’t even DONE anything. Well, Ozman, you can be absolutely certain, that anyone, including yourself, who comments here, will already be on multiple lists in multiple jurisdictions, as ‘a suspected dangerous subversive and potential terrorist’, so you can expect a visit from those men in black any day now, eh. So, what you gonna say ? “It wasn’t me, honest, I didn’t mean what I said, it was that Guy McPherson and that nasty ulvfugl, they made me think those things.” Bet you’d be the first to rat on everyone to try and save your own skin, eh ?

    Rest of your comment is a waste of space, and my precious time.

    @ Kathy C.

    U you know what you did in the past. Don’t pretend you don’t…etc.

    No idea how you’ve formed the impression that I am pretending anything but glad that I appear to proved so very helpful to you, even if inadvertently so. Pull the goddam sledge, please stop irritating me. 🙂

  • @Gail @May 16th, 2013 at 6:59 am

    ” Wouldn’t any survivors, sooner or later, simply continue the same destructive behavior?”

    You might be interested in the evolutionary-bottleneck ideas on

    questioneverything.typepad.com

    those that survive exhibit behaviours and intelligence that surpasses past maladaptive patterns, aka eusapience, homo eusapiens

  • Back of envelope figure from a few years back that to share the current wealth of the world equally we would each get to live on $8 a day. Fourfold increase for 2 billion, 8 fold increase for another 1 billion. However humans now use about 1.5 earths so we would have to drop that by a third say to $5 a day for everyone. Since people live and reproduce on less than $5 a day it is possible.

    I found years ago that not only were the environmentalists I knew unwilling to live that way, but that I was unwilling to live that way. I never felt I could call people to live more simply (poorly) than I was willing to live and no one else I met in the green movement was willing to live that simply so I figured it was a lost cause. So those who want to resist, please first tell me that you are willing and in fact are not using more than your 1 earth footprint. Otherwise, I find it fine to propose some form of resistance if that is what you want to do, but I reject that there is any grounds for discussion of ethics.

    Ethics would call for living first in your own footprint. Haitians live in .68 world ecological footprint. But many of them live eh? http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/trends/haiti/

    I failed my own ethical test. So I don’t demand that anyone live like me, act like me. We sit at the end of the run of our species and many others. What the hell place is there for talking about ethics now. As I keep saying, far as I can figure, don’t bring anyone else into this end of the future world, be there for those who depend on you, and do what you think is right for you to do. Lets leave off telling each other what is right to do. We are too late for right…..right action was at least 40 years ago when Limits of Growth came out if not back when the first human made a fire.

  • Just in case others have missed it:

    http://collapseofindustrialcivilization.com/

  • @ Kathy C Says:
    May 18th, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    I think you have a “bad envelope!” 🙂 Check this link…

    http://databank.worldbank.org/data/download/GDP.pdf

    (or… http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/GDP-ranking-table if you prefer to download a .xls file)

    then recalculate to about $27/day/person at 1.5 Earths-equivalent. Of course, that “only” takes into consideration current global GDP and neglects the accumulated wealth of individuals, corporations, countries and the Vatican. (No need to consider the fiction that is the derivatives market.)

    Regardless, I’m curious about something and I apologize in advance if this has already been discussed elsewhere as I don’t keep up with this site as often as I did 3+ years ago. I’m sure most, if not all, of you are aware that the Arctic sea-ice is going to become nonexistent more than 100 yrs ahead of the “best” forecasts of just a few years ago. I’m sure you’re also aware of the “weird” weather, globally, to which this rapid loss is contributing. However, I wonder what makes any of you “believe” that the “Great Drying” of the plains and western states (as well as Spain, Portugal, France, etc.) is not also proceeding at the same accelerated rate?

    Additionally, I’ve noticed that some (many?) of you are “concerned” about the nuclear-fueled power-generation facilities when water/electricity becomes “problematic.” Concern, appropriate as it is, in this regard notwithstanding, have any of you considered the veritable cornucopia of refineries and chemical, pharmaceutical and bio-hazard(/weapons) containment and research facilities which also require “continuous” electricity supplies for their “safety” systems? Have any of you taken thousands of Bhopal-type “accidents” (and worse) into your cogitations of the future?

  • We continuously cooperate with our microbes. The help in digestion, manufacture of vitamins, and keep bad ones under control. The most important cooperation between two cells in our lineage started before aggregates of cells formed multicellular organisms: mitochondria entering inside eukaryotic (having a “proper nucleus”) cells permitted the eukaryotic cells to use oxygen. The interdependence is now complete: cyanide is toxic because it poisons the mitochondria. Likewise cooperation is necessary at individual, and all group levels.

    The indigenous peoples of Australia traded flint (for arrowheads) from quarries several hundred kilometres inland through tribe to tribe all the way to the coast, and sting ray barbs (for spearpoints) from the coast through tribe to tribe all the way inland.

    Resistance and competition differ in degree: the former is lopsided compared to the latter. Since the making of sharpened tools and weapons, humans have had no real competition. The problem now is the cooperation – from agricultural plants.

    Resistance to some entity depends on how much one identifies with it. Condoning or condemning is the next fork in the road. Then there is the matter of degree. Without prospect of success, the resistance may mollify one’s feelings and mitigate suffering, both others’ and one’s own. Otherwise, I would prefer the company of Kathy C., TRDH, the virgin terry or some such in ‘mericuh.

  • I am so tired of U’s baloney – he acts like he is The Leader and he dishes out praise and punishment like he is The Great One.

    U is the problem. It doesn’t matter what all he’s done and suffered and read, he is the problem.

    It is people like him that made the world what it is today – a disaster.

    People like him, with real means and real power, have stomped on all the good people, “the best of us” for EVER.

  • Thanks for the gorgeous Bon Iver video, Daniel. My two year old woke up from her nap and watched it with me, and when it was finished, said, “Again”. This planet was simply the most perfect work of art, and it hurts beyond any words to see it defaced and defiled.

    @Tom
    I can sooo relate to the ant problem. Well, I don’t generally think of ants as a problem, but what we have going on in our backyard, and the front yard, too, but it’s not as bad, would rival anything you might see on National Geographic. This will be our third summer here, and the ant situation was quite noticeable to begin with, but last summer when all the grass died in the drought, the ant population exploded. All types, too. The poor baby was swarmed by fire ants last year, and is now terrified of them, which made this ‘winter’ interesting once they moved into the house. One day, Mr. Badlands took his fillet knife, which resides in a kitchen cupboard, out of the sheath to clean a fish, and hundreds (he says thousands) of fire ants just erupted from it! Those weird flying ants are a little scary, as well. Ants only send out 10% of the population to forage, so I’m guessing we must have millions.

  • Perfect:

    Badlands AK says: “This planet was simply the most perfect work of art, and it hurts beyond any words to see it defaced and defiled.”

  • KathyC said

    “right action was at least 40 years ago when Limits of Growth came out

    if not back when the first human made a fire.”

    Guy’s entire case for NTE and the end of all life on Earth is made based on evidence of CO2 rise which is now at 400 ppm.. But CO2 was essentially flat at around 280 ppm during the entire span of human history until around 1750-1800 when industrial activity began. This means that humans could not have caused the catastrophic climate change that will destroy all life without the burning of fossil fuels that began with industrialism. So, people making fire, which even Homo Erectus did for hundreds of thousands of years, could not have caused the predicament we are in, which is completely the result of industrial activity.

    CO2 was essentially flat at around 280 ppm during the entire span of human history until around 1750-1800 when industrial activity began.

  • pat Says:

    May 17th, 2013 at 6:41 am

    Ummm, I agree with Carol. We’re done. And, I feel bad to have been a part of it. I’m not going to party or celebrate. I am not going to bitch and complain either. I will just quietly ride the train over the cliff.

    I agree with others here that there is way too much psycho-babble and navel-gazing going on – it’s just a distraction.

    Be glad you are not a child sewing shirts in India for $1 a day.

    Be glad you are not a child in Brazil eating garbage.

    Be glad you are not a child in Haiti eating mud.

    Be glad you are not a child in Somalia breathing your last breath.

    Well put pat. I have my own list that cheers me up.

    Be glad for Bill Gates he has $72.7 billion.

    Be glad for Carlos Slim Net worth: $72.1 billion.

    Be glad for Warren Buffett Net worth: $59.7 billion.

    Be glad for Amancio Ortega Net worth: $56 billion.

    I was going to list all the billionaires, but it is now over 1000, and that’s just too much joy for one person to handle. And please, whatever you do, don’t think about the fact that only a small percentage of that wealth could be preventing your list of horrors. It could ruin your whole day.

  • @ melissa

    It is people like him that made the world what it is today – a disaster.

    People like him, with real means and real power, have stomped on all the good people, “the best of us” for EVER.

    You needing some attention, dear ? A comment just for you.

    Sorry to spoil your fantasy, melissa, but what ‘real means’, what ‘real power’ do you believe that I have, or have ever possessed ?

    You must be confusing me with Rothschild, or the Queen of England who owns stuff like Canada and Australia, or maybe Exxon, Monsanto, Warren Buffet, Soros, Putin, who CAN stomp on people, whereas all I control is 25 acres of scruffy Welsh mountainside where I attempt to conserve the wildlife.

    Doesn’t give me any power or any influence in the world to stomp on anyone. I live in poverty, I don’t have any money, or servants, or nukes, guns, soldiers, lawyers or control over what happens.

    People like him..

    And which particular stereotype ARE you projecting onto me ? I’m quite curious about that. I don’t really know of any ‘people like me’.

    You appear to put yourself in a group called ‘the good, the best’. Perhaps you’d care to expand on THAT, and explain what qualities or characteristics you feel you have, which count as the good or the best ?

    What qualities do you think that you possess, which I lack, that would benefit me ?

  • Again “We” is a relative term. Please use it judiciously.

    My friends in Cambodia and Laos have almost nothing to lose if all y’all nice pampered, alienated, hyper-privileged, Westernized Gringos over there are “done”.

    My personal idea is not at all “be glad you are not a poor child in India or Haiti or upcountry Laos.”

    But my admonition to that kid in upcountry Pakse is :

    Be glad and thankful that you are not a cyborg Westerner, utterly incapable of extracting yourself from the death machine, utterly unable to conceive of or articulate any escape, unable to lift a finger, unable to figure out how to oppose or actually do anything, completely trapped in a homicidal, ecocidal nightmarish illusion and full of vast oceans of generalizations, excuses and denial that make this horror somehow palatable. Yeah, kid. Be glad you ain’t them.

    “The earth is not dying, it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.” – Utah Phillips

    Summarizing what Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University says:
    It is really, really hard for Americans to get their head around climate change because this time “we are the bad guys.”

    http://radio4all.net/index.php/program/68304

  • Ripley.

    You completely miss the point (as is usually the case).

    Cathy was pointing out that learning to control fire put the human species on the inevitable path to self-destruction because it enabled people to extract metals from ores and shape them into weapons and tools…… eventually making heat engines that facilitated the extraction of greater quantities of coal to feed the heat engines…. and from there to chainsaws and logging trucks that facilitated the rapid destruction of forests, and ships with internal combustion engine that facilitated globalisation and stripping the oceans of large life forms, thereby upsetting practically every natural system that was previously in relative balance.

    Long ago on NBL I pointed out that we (and most of the species on this planet) were ‘doomed’ the moment a distant ancestor worked out how to tie a knot.

  • Wester said:

    Will not, can not, refuse under all circumstances to accept the proposition that on some or any level:
    “We are all to blame.”

    Perhaps I’m mis-remembering, but I don’t recall anyone putting it exactly so that the implication of “we” is each one of us individually. By oversimplifying the case, you are not really contending with the more essential notion which is that “we”, as a species, are collectively to blame since it is our behavior, as a species, that is ravaging the balance of life on this earth.

    Thanks, Ginomerino, but I have read the blog you refer to and my impression has been that the author entertains a lot of glass-half-full theoretical projections which don’t convince me have any basis in actual behavior.

    Various actual bottlenecks in the past seem to have produced WORSE sociopaths if anything. Last night I rented “A Royal Affair” which I quite liked because it’s a classic, romantic, historical costume drama with the usual redemptive love theme. But it was also kind of interesting because it chronicles the Danish monarchy, specifically mad King Christian VII, his rebellious English Queen, and her affair with the King’s most trusted confident, his personal physician from Germany, the radical Dr. Struensee. Set during the Enlightenment, The Dr. and the Queen conspire to push the King to enact laws more in line with the rest of Europe, and they make some progress until the conservative Danish court reveals the disgraceful affair.

    It does not end at all well for the lovers, and the country reverts back to imposing serfdom, torture and censorship. Eventually though, the Queen’s children – one by the King and one by the Dr. – grow up and, inspired by the fate of their parents, pass more liberal laws. Fade into the glorious future of equalite and liberte a la Rousseau.

    As we all know though, despite that progress, since then it’s all gone to shit, it’s just most people are so hypnotized by the teevee they have no idea.

    Two things interest me lately, one is the proposition recently put forth that we’re better off with NTE because otherwise we’re going to enter a horrific dystopia of fascist state surveillance and slave camps. The other thing is more evidence that the notion of the noble savage of peaceful hunter-gatherers is being undermined by scholarship.

    I don’t want to overload this thread with citations or go into interminable moderation with excessive links. Suffice it to say that the evidence is there and if anyone really wants to know, I would be happy to supply it, just write to witsendnj at yahoo. (otherwise, stop with the indigenous, hunter gatherer superiority and imperviousness to overshoot fantasy). Or, considerable information can be gleaned just by reading the sections available on the sneak preview from Amazon at this book:

    https://www.amazon.com/Ethics-Anthropology-Amerindian-Research-Environmental/dp/1461410649

  • Yowsa. Shows where Greer’s mind is at: “I expect NTE to become an industry as big and lucrative as the 2012 business was…”
    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-pleasures-of-extinction.html?showComment=1368746443104#c7429538273248244389

    I responded:
    =====
    JM, you said “It seems to me that the whole point of NTE is justifying inaction — why bother to change your life when we’re all just going to die anyway?”

    Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse? McPherson went the sustainability route a good while until he saw that the scientific evidence had become overwhelming that there’d be no chance of sustaining human civilization, nor would there be much of what remains of the rest of the biosphere as we currently know it.

    Your objection seems to be teleological in that you reject the science because you don’t like the story that it tells, preferring your own story. Furthermore, your comment seems to imply that it’s appropriate for scientific information to have a political or sociological “point”.

    I simply find that bizarre.

    Humans will, or will not, survive a minimum 4-to-6-degree-C rise in overall temperature within the current century and the concomitant acidification of the oceans, increase in ozone and methane, and so forth. I think they will not. The fact that there were forests in the Artic and Antarctic at one point in the past does not mean that these ecosystems will have the chance to develop given the extremely short artificial shifts in temperature that we have perpetrated. The BBC wrote, ridiculously, about how—if carbon constraints could be implemented—plants and animals would gain “four more decades” in which to “adapt” (i.e, evolve). A bacterium can undergo meaningful evolution in four decades. A tree or a mammal, not so much…

    Sea level rise (singled out by several commenters here) is really the least of our worries, except for the many nuclear power plants which will Fukushimize in short order.

    None of this negates catabolic collapse, mind you.
    More than one process can express itself at a given time.

    In closing, I don’t like the story that NTE tells either. I’ve been following your blog for many years, I respect your grasp of history and your attempts to explicate this crisis. I certainly prefer your story. However, as a trained scientist, I know that my druthers don’t count and that I have to follow the evidence where it leads, despite more appealing social narratives, especially those where humans remain the protagonists.
    ==========

    Let’s see if he publishes it.

  • Dear Brother D: Not all indigenous groups, or all human individuals are or have been corruptible whores with a price. Some die on their feet. Some chop off their own legs below the knee and claim everyone does it or needs to do it too. Speak for yourself my friend.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I managed to find the grotesquely over-priced academic tome by Chacon and Mendoza, linked to at the notorious union-busting, monopolostic users of neo-nazi security at their facilities in Germany.

    I have to say that with a short reading of the “Ethics” material that the idea that instances of misuse of land in the Peruvian Amazon, or the hunting to extinction of animals by South Pacific Maori, or the Incan warfare practices, or Shuar head-shrinking, or questionable resource management by modern North American Indigenous who are living in state sanctioned concentration camps and who have been operating with the US government’s boot on their neck 24/7 for generations (glaring and obvious facts which seems not to trouble or concern the authors of that particular chapter) -> that any of these can or should have anything at all ~at all~ to do with philosophically based sustainable existence and stewardship and as expressed by certain now nearly extinct North American cultures.

    And it is an mighty thin reed to extrapolate that this kind of jumbled and often uncorrelated information broadly lets European expansionist culture off the hook, implicates all of humanity in its own destruction, or absolves North Americans from the mountain of bones from which they make their decisive declarations, or the river of blood in which they are swimming with which it looks like they are ready to drown the whole world.

    I will give the authors one prop though. They nail Vine Deloria with his misuse of a generalization. Deloria says that in order to survive, the whole world must become Indian. Uh, No. It is not “Indian” – that term is too broad and all inclusive a term as the authors correctly point out.

    In order to survive, the whole world will have to adopt the philosophies and practices of Sante Sioux, or Ojibwe, or Kwakwaka’wakw. And each group and culture and philosophy and practice must be evaluated on its own terms and by its own examples and not lumped into too-convenient, too-laughable generalizations like hunter-gatherer or noble savage.

    All you have to do to make an American passport holder go wild is to bring up indigenous issues. This is the diamond upon which their bedrock is broken. The national-theological-patriotic disposition to misperceive and misrepresent original North American people is the foundational bedrock upon which the entire country and culture of the USA stands, starting with The Declaration of Independence and Master Jefferson’s “Merciless Indian Savages”.

    Real telling also that the editors of “Ethics” also chose to support and defend the depictions in Apocalypto, produced by a great, first world, openly fascist misogynist sensationalist like Mr. Gibson. The idea that any of that can or should provide cover or excuses for anything done by modern North American culture says a lot for why some people choose to remain in the settler academies and others do not.

    Lastly, as pointed out helpfully by Ward Churchill {devious laughter}, Nixon’s own Attorney General did an accounting of Indian lands and treaties in the territorial united states back in the 1970s. They found that approximately 1/3 of the claimed-to-be United States was never ceded. Never sold. Never released. *Including the nice areas of Colorado and California.* The implications are quite staggering.

    If the humans have any chance, it would do the USA and its committed apologists to quit propping a failed experiment and restore these lands to their rightful and legal owners along with whatever stewardship practices they might bring to them.

    But we know beyond any doubt that anything like that will, can and must never happen. Just ask any friendly American settler.

    Thank You and Good Day.

  • @ Lidia

    Checkmate!

  • kevin moore Says:

    May 18th, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Ripley.

    You completely miss the point (as is usually the case).

    Cathy was pointing out that learning to control fire put the human species on the inevitable path to self-destruction

    Long ago on NBL I pointed out that we (and most of the species on this planet) were ‘doomed’ the moment a distant ancestor worked out how to tie a knot.

    ————————————–

    kevin-

    So, you deny the scientific CO2 record that shows we were NOT on the path to self-destruction until 1750-1800 when industrialism began. Up to that time we had a stable CO2 rate of 280 ppm. We had been making fires and tying knots for 100,000 years, and so were other human species for much, much longer. So, the “inevitable path” was fine until it took a wrenching turn towards a cliff because of the industrial revolution that began in one culture out of many thousands. Countless cultures have resisted our attempts to impose industrialism on them, and many still do, right up to this day. Hardly sounds inevitable if you’re willing to look at real data and real history. You’re projecting the modern idea of “endless growth” back into the past, and presuming that every human culture had it, they didn’t, the idea didn’t exist as an economic system until capitalism. I’m not denying they didn’t do any harmful things, just that what they were doing would not have killed the planet. So we took this wrong turn, that even Kathy C admits could have been stopped, it happened because of the actions of one culture, OURS, not because someone tied a knot 300,000 years ago. The destruction continues, and is being ordered by real live people who profit from it enormously, and who also promote ignorance so people won’t try to stop them.

    From the Guardian article I posted in the Utah thread that you didn’t read:

    Though a majority of Americans accept the climate is changing, just 42% believed human activity was the main driver.

    The study blamed strenuous lobbying efforts by industry to undermine the science behind climate change for the gap in perception. The resulting confusion has blocked efforts to act on climate change.

    The study blamed strenuous lobbying efforts by industry

    to undermine the science

    The study…blamed…industry…

    So here is industry still using resistance, they’re resisting all efforts to stop them. Why don’t some the same bloggers who tell everyone here to cease all efforts, go to Exxon’s website and tell them to do the same. Tell them to stop drilling, and sit in a circle with NBL bloggers commiserating. Get back to us with the results, they should be hilarious.

  • @Daniel, you wish!

  • Ripley.

    I suggest you read the essays written by me that have been posted on this site before you start blathering about me denying scientific evidence!

    You could also try reading some of the many books I have written linking the scientific evidence to our present predicament.

  • Lidia, great post. Hope he has the guts to post it. If he does of course he will trash it. I wrote one last night telling him to STOP making money by selling books like The Art and Practice of Geomancy which per Amazon Have you ever lost an important object? Are you taking on a new job? Looking for buried treasure? The Art and Practice of Geomancy teaches readers how to divine the answers to life’s everyday questions about health, luck, new jobs, and love, as well as those less mundane tasks such as finding buried treasure, predicting the weather, being released from prison, and identifying secret enemies. Greer delivers to readers an ancient system of divination in an easy-to-use form requiring little more than a pen and a piece of paper. Using a system of counting odd and even numbers–from a deck of cards, a roll of the dice, or even by hitting sand or dirt with a stick to generate patterns–readers learn how to cast their own geomantic chart. And for those who wish to delve further, he offers exercises for geomantic meditation and ritual magic. The Art and Practice of Geomancy will appeal to pagans, followers of the Western Mystery tradition, scholars of folk magic and divination, and anyone who wants to take their past, present, and future into their own hands. https://www.amazon.com/Art-Practice-Geomancy-Divination-Renaissance/dp/1578634318
    I have mentioned this book here and other places and taken some flack for criticizing it, but what might this book do in the hands of a paranoid person who uses it to find out his friend or neighbor is really his secret enemy? Greer has no conscience when it comes to making money. But at any rate since he is the guru of geomancy surely he can just tell us our future based on the roll of dice while the guys at AMEG have to go out into the Arctic and find that plumes of methane once a meter wide are now 1 km wide.

    He is selling hope not reality and hope sells better.

  • You know when you’re doing something that doesn’t require a lot of concentration, like, oh, pulling winter weeds, twigs and leaves out of flower beds for example, your mind may go into “dial-tone” mode? A thought floated into mind-view: what if the jet stream stopped because the Arctic (and or Antarctic, Greenland, others) ice became non-existent and there was no wind? None. Just dead quiet, no breeze, no whisper of motion. Scared the shit out of myself.

    Meanwhile:
    – great comments & links everyone and BtD’s current limerick (he’s the Hank Aaron of the genre to me)! Badlands: Every now and then i think they’ll just pour into the house en masse one day and grab me to take away for food.

    This one’s for Jason, way up the thread near the top, and for Colin, who adds to the radiation all the other toxic crap our civilization produces which will come back to poison us all as the grid goes down.
    i hear that Colin – just the bioweapons our single country has could do it!

    http://enenews.com/study-concentrated-fukushima-radioactive-plume-staying-along-narrow-path-moving-surface-water-along-40-same-latitude-northern-california-map

    The Pacific is so polluted now, between the giant, country-sized gyres of plastic detritus and the continuing radiation from Fukushima that i’m sure more destruction is on the way in the not-too-distant future. i’m surprised anything can live in that toxic soup.

  • This, for anyone thinking, commenting about the sorry state of education:

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dear-class-of-13-youve-been-scammed-2013-05-17?link=MW_popular

    (This is only about tuition and doesn’t even mention content, the corporate influence on collegiate research, the distraction of sports, the business model supplanting the education model of higher ed, the slave labor of adjuncts, etc.)

    Dear Class of ’13: You’ve been scammed
    Commentary: How the College-Industrial Complex drove tuition so high

    Class of 2013,

    No one else is going to tell you this, so I might as well.

    You sit here today, $30,000 or $40,000 in debt, as the latest victims of what may well be the biggest conspiracy in U.S. history. It is a conspiracy so big and powerful that Dan Brown won’t even touch it. It’s a conspiracy so insidious that you will rarely hear its name.

    Move over, Illuminati. Stand down, Wall Street. Area 51? Pah. It’s nothing.

    The biggest conspiracy of all? The College-Industrial Complex.

    (good read)

  • Good morning, all

    Two things: Just saw an AP story about how toxic the water is at Camp Lejune. Marine Corps base has basically been poisoning it’s own since 1950 and didn’t do shit about it. This is why TPTB might have a little problem with corralling folks….they treat their own as trifling gnats.

    Second is a clarification….when I advocate resistance, I am in no way passing judgement on anyone who disagrees, especially in this space. I am simply being an advocate for a point of view. It’s probably more of a personality thing at this point in the game anyway, because NTE is NTE.

    Benjamin, loved the latest!

  • Divide and conquer is always in the tool kit of The Owners. The ‘peak everything’ awareness community is a tiny percentage of the general population in the West.

    It seems lately that these ‘fellow travelers’ in the Peak Limits to Growth posse are coming to an impasse about how for the collapse goes, not that the industrial Hologram won’t collapse.

    Dmitry Orlov recently posted about climate change making the oceans go higher and thus submerging vast swaths of industrial infrastructure, thus helping to put the Death Cap on homo industrialus.

    But Dmitry seems to stop short of NTE. It will be bad, but plucky humans will always prevail with the right luck and knowledge.

    Dmitry trained as an engineer, like Kevin Anderson, and should recognize just how massive the positive feedback loops in climate can be. At least he is acknowledging the oceans will go way up.

    I’ve followed Kevin Anderson for several years. He seems to be getting more stressed out as time goes ‘a wastin’ and Humanity loafs around with it’s collective finger up it’s collective butt.

    Kevin strikes me as a realist who knows in his gut how bad this will become but still holds out hope of a ‘save’ in the form of coherent, rational public policy discussion and action plan.

    This is how engineers think when confronts with mounting evidence. They don’t tend to consider how irrational humans can be in dire straits.

    If I locked the folks (and their extended families) who don’t believe in NTE in a large building with an indoor swimming pool whose bottom contained several feet of methane clathrate (CH4•5.75H2O) and told them I was starting to pump hot water into the swimming pool, do you really think there would be a big long drawn out intellectual/philosophical discussion on what that was going to mean for their personal near term future?

    And if I also informed the same group that there was yet another swimming pool in the same building they and their loved ones were trapped (intentional locked) into and it was full of spent nuclear fuel rods and I was letting the water out of the pool, again do you think this people would have a long drawn out argument on the implications for their personal survival.

    As the bumper sticker I just saw again said:

    It’s too bad Stupidity isn’t painful

    .

  • As has been pointed out before here by other commenters, trying to place blame is really not a useful exercise at this point. The reality is that the conveniences and comforts provided to us by the industrial economy are incredibly alluring. That’s really the reason that the industrial economy has been so successful and continues to persist. If we didn’t like what it was giving us, we would walk away easily. The reality is that we don’t walk away because we like it. In fact, many can’t walk away without giving up their lives.

    Even if it could be argued that one group on the planet is somehow less culpable for the disaster we’re all going to experience it is simply a matter of birth. If those in SE Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa had been born into industrial society such as those of us in America, Europe, etc., they would be living just the same as we. Witness the transition in China as a clear example of this.

    Recently I saw a documentary of an African tribe. I don’t remember what the documentary was about but I do remember that every person was wearing manufactured clothing and shoes. Most of the boys, who lived in mud huts and had bugs as a large part of their diet, were wearing Nike tennis shoes. When they had to travel long distances, they would walk to the nearby highway and hope someone in a car would pick them up.

    True, that’s indicative of the pervasiveness of industrialization, but it also demonstrates my point: it’s alluring. Nobody was forcing those people to wear that clothing or ride in those cars. They were doing it because they liked it better than the alternative.

  • @The REAL Dr. House Says:
    May 19th, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I dare say, that’s the most [surprisingly] astute comment I’ve ever seen from you (or most anyone else for that matter) on these pages (or anywhere else). Now, I implore you and anyone who “cares” to keep probing the depth of that particular rabbit hole. Sometime ago I “coined” a maxim that I’ve rarely uttered but will share with all of you now.

    The greatest “sin” (for lack of a “better” term) any person can make is to stop asking “Why?”!

    Of course, one could, perhaps should, add “How?” – “Who?” – “Where?” and “What?”… but mostly, fundamentally, it’s the “Why?” that will get ya’. As further “incentive,” following are the 2 best, most relevant movie quotes of all time (at least within the constraints of my experience)…

    from “Jurassic Park”:
    Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.

    from “The Hunt for Red October”:
    Andrei Bonovia: You arrogant ass. You’ve killed *us*!

  • @Colin,

    I couldn’t agree more, obviously. There’s a good reason that parents fear the childish question, “But whyyyyy????” It’s the radical, recursive truth-engine of the world, one that doesn’t lose it’s steam until it gets to the root of it All.

    This question is what landed me in squarely in the lap of the Second Law. Down there among the roots, “stochastic determinism” fights it out with free will, rolling around in the quantum foam, locked in a fight to the heat-death. Down there, Truth-seeking is the greatest spectator sport there is.

  • in the face of NTE, the single most ethical action is to NOT HAVE CHILDREN. It is simply unconscionable to bring another person into existence given the approaching shit-storm. Beyond that, it is incumbent upon us to inform as many people as possible of NTE so that they can make an informed choice as to having children. Some folks won’t want to know, but some will, and every child not born is one less person who will face horrendous suffering.

    To this end, I recently contacted the local public radio station and asked them to interview Guy about consequences of climate change (in light of hitting 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere). I plan to continue to seek ways to spread the message, which I think the media will pick up on. Remember how they went crazy a couple of years ago over that kooky pastor who assigned a date to Armageddon? They love to write about doomsday predictions.

  • Colin, yes TRDH has written a very astute comment. As for why, I personally think that “Too Smart for our Own Good” by Craig Dilworth nails it on the level of species. But as for seeking “why” extinction as a foregone conclusion makes that irrelevant, interesting but irrelevant.

    Wildwoman, a clarification on my part too, I have written strongly against resistance as the only ethic because that is it topic at hand. I think people who want to resist should follow their heart but were I to take that route I would only do non-violent resistance. I think people who want an early exit should prepare. I hope as everyone knows by now that people who are fertile will change that status, and that people who have dependents will try to be there for them as long as they can. As a friend says “be well, die well”. But what that means is up to the individual.

    As for my post on JMG I forgot to say that I wrote that comment to his site but did not post it to his site. It borders on insult which I have just complained about. Even though JMG doesn’t post here I wish I had written it a bit more carefully to address issues and not the person raising the issue..

  • Daniel, Tom, and wildwoman, thanks! 🙂 (Tom, I think the wind has something to do with the earth turning or something, so we’re probably O.K. on that one.)
    ==

    The REAL Dr. House says: The reality is that the conveniences and comforts provided to us by the industrial economy are incredibly alluring. That’s really the reason that the industrial economy has been so successful and continues to persist. If we didn’t like what it was giving us, we would walk away easily. The reality is that we don’t walk away because we like it.

    We Knew What We Wanted

    We are the crown of creation—
    Humans’ hopes and dreams culmination;
    We’re the champions, my friend,
    And we’ll fight till the end
    Of peak human consummation.

  • @Kathy C Says:
    May 19th, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Sorry, I haven’t read Dilworth’s book nor do I intend to as I find a great deal of offense in the title, which is an expression I’ve heard from many people, many times over the years. People, I might add, who presumed to cheat me in one manner or another, i.e. con-men. So let me ask, “How can anyone be ‘too smart for their own good’?” Or perhaps, “How can anyone ‘know’ when they’re being scammed, e.g. sold snake oil?” Do you not believe that one must be smarter than the conman to avoid being conned? So the statement becomes “I am too smart for their ‘own good.'” Have you ever “caught” someone in the act of selling you a “bill-of-goods”? Have you ever noticed how offended and defensive liars get when caught in mid-lie? What it boils down to is just another inane and pithy aphorism to keep others somnolent so the thieves can keep on thieving. Welcome to the Matrix.

    Lastly, for today I guess (#2), I wasn’t merely referencing NTE with the “Why?” “Why?” is beaten out of most of us, both physically and verbally, by parents, “peers” and, more importantly, by the very people we are directed to for the answer to that question, i.e. our “teachers.” It is all part of “the construct” to keep us passive, compliant consumers. Welcome to the Matrix.

    Asking the questions (and getting verifiable answers) is the only way one can achieve “knowledge” and “understanding”, otherwise all one is left with is “belief.” At this stage of my life, I can only offer the following advice to “believers”… “Go fuck yourself, I don’t have time for that kind of ignorance.” BTW, I’m not saying that I perceive you as a “believer” and the epithet was not directed at you. Peace & love from an aging (and proud) hippie!

  • melissa:

    They have to be recognised for what they are, and why. They have admirable powers acquired through strenuous but misapplied effort. The few others who see through their mask may find them so repulsive that the whole package is rejected, both the good and the bad. By doing so, not only is the good not availed of, but the most valuable take-away, the lessons in the consequences of misapplied effort may also be missed.

    TRDH: Even if it could be argued that one group on the planet is somehow less culpable for the disaster we’re all going to experience it is simply a matter of birth.

    And migration. Just circumstances that some are “blessed” with abilities and opportunities that enable them to move, such as in my case, from Bangladesh to ‘mericuh.

    Blamers blaming some, the penance of confessing “sins”; blamers blaming all, the solution by dilution. Non-blamers blaming none: refusing to play the game. All part of the Suchness, the Thusness: it is what it is. Why? Because it is what it is: such it is, thus it is.

    NTE CAN’T be proved to the ones going extinct. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, or in this case in the dieoff. So they won’t be around when the proof is in. Short a proof, they don’t need to believe it or accept it. A helluva lot easier.

  • JIM Hansen’s latest attempt to partially derail the monster:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/may/19/tar-sands-exploitation-climate-scientist

    Not a main headline, but hidden halfway down the Internet page. After all, not having planet to live on is far less important than business and gay marriage.

  • So let me ask, “How can anyone be ‘too smart for their own good’?”

    This is one way.

    What it boils down to is just another inane and pithy aphorism to keep others somnolent so the thieves can keep on thieving.

    Au contraire, it is a caveat and not a ploy. Sadly though, those warned are ipso facto more often than not unable to heed the warning.

    Asking the questions (and getting verifiable answers) is the only way one can achieve “knowledge” and “understanding”, otherwise all one is left with is “belief.”

    There is a state where the question itself fades away. The primal delusion leads to an affirmative answer to the question “Do “I” exist?” Even the apparent verification is delusory.

  • @ Wester

    Yup.

    @ Robin D.

    They have to be recognised for what they are, and why. They have admirable powers acquired through strenuous but misapplied effort. The few others who see through their mask may find them so repulsive that the whole package is rejected, both the good and the bad. By doing so, not only is the good not availed of, but the most valuable take-away, the lessons in the consequences of misapplied effort may also be missed.

    Usual passive-aggressive twaddle. Why are you afraid to address me directly ? Who are these ‘they’ ?
    I wear no masks. The difference between us, Robin, is that I know, and you do not. All you have is second-hand, stolen from others, old stories, now useless and broken by NTE, and your own egotistical conceit still persists in passing judgement in areas where YOU have NO competence or understanding or insights.

  • If you read Craig Dilworth’s book the statement “Too Smart for Our Own Good” makes perfect sense. Although perhaps “clever” would be a better word than “smart”, as smart may imply a degree of wisdom or long-term analytical thinking. Basically, what Dilworth is getting at it’s that our cleverness in manipulating things, i.e., technology, that’s allowed us to (temporarily) exceed the planet’s carrying capacity and destroy everything in the process. As the saying goes: “a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous thing”.

  • Cuntagious, I admire you for trying to share Guy’s message, and I agree that people considering procreating should be aware they are bringing a child onto a planet that is on the verge of being rendered uninhabitable within one generation if not sooner.

    I suspect though the media only likes to write about doomsday predictions when they are patently ridiculous. When there is an element of truth – like bees and other species going extinct, trees dying from ozone, or amplifying feedback loops in climate – they steer clear. It doesn’t help that governments are defunding research and muzzling scientists.

    The good news is, it appears that JMG, by impugning the primary thesis here of NTE, has done a great service to NBL because discussions have boomeranged around the intertubes as far as I can see, from blog to blog. It’s very interesting to read the many comments especially from many, many people who say this controversy is the FIRST time they have heard anything about NTE, having heard of climate change but having no inkling of how rapid and serious it is unfolding.

    A common reaction I have noticed is the familiar – “why tell people even if it’s true, because if it’s all over what’s to stop people from partying like there’s no tomorrow”.

    This reflects the incredulity and horror that are very natural reactions. And I think another natural (human) reaction, after people examine the trends – information which this community is immersed in, but which is utterly new and alien to many – and admitting that NTE is at the very least a strong possibility if not a certainty, is to ask (as mentioned above) WHY??

    Part of that inevitably raises other issues such as – could this have been prevented? If it could have, who is to blame? If it was unavoidable, what does that mean for the values and beliefs that have stitched our culture together?

    To think, wonder and question, is quintessentially human. And how else to determine how to respond personally, and in relation to others who are still sleep-walking?

    Why would anyone want that to stop? Among many far more nefarious activities, thinking creatively and communicating with each other is one of the better things that humans do.

    Last thought – I generally try not to engage U but his last assault on Robin is egregiously foul. Especially now with what I assume are many neophytes coming to this blog to learn about NTE, perhaps even to find some guidance, reassurance, and comaraderie, I have to ask – HOW MUCH WORSE DOES HE HAVE TO GET okay sorry caps off I couldn’t help it – How much worse does he have get before the “no insults or you’re banned” is enforced?

    It’s embarrassing.

  • The only type of resistance that would be meaningful at this point would be wholesale violent opposition of the ruling elite and corporations that are destroying the world. Anything less is just feel-good bullshit.

    Maybe some of those folks who are contemplating suicide will take it on. If you’re going to die anyway, at least go down fighting.

  • Yes, Gail. I agree. IMO U has no value here. Anyone who wants to listen to his bull can go to his blog – if anyone does go there that will make two of them!

    I can handle the newbies and I can handle the nonbelievers, but what I cannot handle, given NTE, is someone who simply exists to make others miserable.

  • @ Gail

    Please get off your high horse, Gail. You’ve insulted me often enough, and melissa, Robin, Ozman, have all addressed ad hom remarks directly to me. The rule is civility. There’s nothing uncivil in my replies. I’ve refrained from responding to what I consider your own gross distortions of the evidence from history, to fit your personal ideological crusade, which I find offensive and embarrassing.

    “You couldn’t help it” ?

  • Here is yet another “look, we can fix this!” It ain’t so bad.

    A new analysis took temperature rise in the most recent decades, and worked out what this means for the coming ones. It suggests that Earth will warm more slowly over this century than we thought it would, buying us a little more time to cut our greenhouse gas emissions and prevent dangerous climate change.

    A second chance to save the climate

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23565-a-second-chance-to-save-the-climate.html

  • @ melissa

    So, you, who claim to be one of ‘the good, the best’, don’t have the courage, or the courtesy, to reply to me ? and now insult me a second time, saying i have ‘no value here’.

    Well, melissa, I wonder what value you bring, because your comments, as far as i recall are usually statements, that you hate me, or you hate Daniel, or you hate Wade Churchill, etc, etc.

    What else do you ever contribute, other than spite and hatred and complaints ?

    Anything ?

  • off topic, but Dmitri Khalezov explains that 9-11 was the result of three underground nuclear explosions of 150 kilotons and the rest was smoke and mirrors:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Z7V5iOZ6kOo#!

  • Another perspective– though I relate, empathize, a great deal with the author– though I’m of another generation and somehow never really got invested in “empire” so much, mostly dumb luck there, or lack of. I’ve been forced to recognize after years of self-sacrifice– costly, in fact– that the gem of the evolutionary process, the most precious pearl of great price ever produced on this planet isn’t some rare flower, or polar bears, or even ecosystems– but rather the unique ability of some few humans to care and to do so in a constructive manner. These, in my opinion are what need to be preserved at this late date. . .a tremendous terrible cost of untold eons of suffering and death was in fact required to create those kinds of minds, they must survive– as the valuation of the rest is dependent their existence.

    If you’re one of those, don’t throw yourself under the bus for something of less, more passing, and more trivial value.

    A slippery slope, no doubt– and everyone considers themselves something special. Bear with me. Chew on it for a moment. . .

  • @Tom

    Don’t worry Tom. It’s just another reichstag fire.

  • Yeah, and point two. Having read this site for a while on and off–it would be worthwhile I think for some to practice some self-censorship. . .as well, it’s easy, if you see silly sophistry that might irritate you… have the discipline to “scroll down.” A little aloha advice out here from the big island. . .don’t screw up a good website with a lot of rules.

    Thanks!

  • @ Wester

    Somewhat in the vein of what the TRDH just stated, but slightly longer.

    The dilemma:

    All of Western culture has an enormous amount of blood on its hands, and no one more than we fetid Americans; it’s not as if the rest of the world just voluntarily handed over a quarter of the planet’s resources to only 4% of the planet’s inhabitants. From Hawaii to Iraq, America’s exploitation is hopelessly morally indefensible, especially concerning its historical efforts to eradicate indigenous nations.

    But NBL isn’t a political science blog, it’s nexus is that of ecological collapse, which is a terribly macro subject, which naturally begets the macro query of when and where did that genocide begin? Norse Winland, Columbus, Jamestown……or does the same pattern of deliberate/accidental genocide/war stretch further back?

    Well of course it does, it stretches all the way back, until the first migration of tribal hominids were the first to settle a territory where there weren’t any previous inhabitants. Maybe those early migrations were the only hominids in the history of our species, not guilty of competing for verdant hunting grounds, thus, not guilty of all the atrocities that naturally ensue from such primal competition. And no, not all atrocities are equal, but the “noble savage”, was anything but noble, all that separates western culture is a slew of comparative geological/geographic advantages and time.

    Let us imagine we could go back in time, and magically redistribute the climate, large pack animals, mineral deposits, natural resources and historical mass migrations; pretty much randomly alter the whole history of anthropology, where instead of the sun never setting on the British empire, Cambodia was either the fortuitous or unfortunate birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, and where the people of the British Isles now live on $2 a day.

    Do you imagine the world would be all that different? Let’s say Vietnam had colonized “The New World”, do you think their communicable diseases wouldn’t have wiped out most the indigenous population, and their hierarchical ruling elite wouldn’t have sought to exploit virgin natural resources?

    Which society of peoples, if given the same advantages that randomly feel upon the western world, wouldn’t have ultimately behaved roughly the same way if given the same amount of time to exploit those advantages? Early European exploration is rife with stories of indigenous cultures trading their most precious possessions for just a rusty metal nail they could turn into a fishhook. And believe me, a part of my soul dies every time I think of that, not unlike every time I see an Inuit on a snowmobile.

    I completely agree with you that “we” are clearly not all equally to blame, there are horrendously immoral people in this world, but what’s terribly depressing, and almost impossible for human rights activists to accept, is that tyrants and their sycophants can be found everywhere you want to look.

    Throughout most of the “undeveloped world” , you’ll find the same underlying social stratification, avarice, pettiness, corruption and immorality as you will anywhere else, and if “they” were somehow born into developed world standards, the end result would most likely only be slightly different. You can no more blame “western culture” for the immorality of industrial civilization, than you can blame the Neolithic from smelting copper during the Bronze Age. If the fertile crescent would have manifested around the Great Lakes, then we would most likely be lamenting the genocide of indigenous Europeans by the Iroquois.

    This is why this issue is a dilemma, and not a soluble problem. Anyone who takes more than they need, is guilty. Those who take even more, are even more guilty. But you would have to be insane to consider industrial civilization as the primary force driving people to take more then they need, simply because it has afforded some of us the opportunity to take far more than our share.

    You can’t equate inescapable poverty with saintliness. No one refuses opportunity. Ethically comparing animist indigenous cultures to monotheistic industrial civilization has been a canard for centuries. They are fundamentally incomparable as any justification of where “we” go from here. It is wholly theoretical, and is principally based on the absurd notion of tabula-rasa, as if the last ten thousand years can somehow just be magically erased.

    Does this mean that I don’t believe we Americans have much to atone for, absolutely not! Trust me, I’m the last American who will defend the gluttony of my fellow countrymen, but we are way, way, way past this debate……..at this point in time. Regardless of our blameworthiness, it won’t do a damn thing to reverse the damage long done well before any of us were ever born. I have personally spent my entire adult life resisting industrial civilization from the position of moral culpability, but there are now, forces at play that have never been before, and now NTE, has regrettably become its own ethical tabula-rasa, for no other reason than we’re all now equally fucked, some of us just slightly earlier than others.

    Continuing to project our moral indignation for all of our and others past crimes, now that the Holocene has effectively ended, is but a fool’s errand–albeit a passionate one–but it will in no way turn back the clock. Claiming that the industrial world somehow needs to emulate indigenous culture hundreds of years after the fact, is the rational equivalent of wishing sapiens somehow evolved to produce chlorophyll in our bodies, where we receive all our warmth and nourishment from the sun.

    From a universal perspective, the human race has no more significance than termites, it’s just a matter of perspective, and our utter insignificance doesn’t change whether viewed from a position of privilege or poverty, although it is awfully easy for us activists to conflate our moral fury with physical agency.

    I hear your outrage, I have felt your outrage most of my life, but to continue to cherry-pick certain indigenous attributes, against the historical backdrop of our species inability to live harmoniously with the natural world, or to equate such discord wholly as a bi-product of industrial civilization, is not only just dead wrong, but simply gives far too much credit to humanities cooperative inclination.

    It is solely an article of faith to believe otherwise at this point. And if that is something you chose to believe to the bitter end, then by all means, keep it lit my friend.

  • What JayFitz said…

    Those who understand that they are one of that group will probably have to be content with influencing others by behaviour rather than genetics, though. I suspect that most of them saw what was happening and didn’t reproduce this time around.

    Fortunately, caring is something that can be taught through modeling, especially if the receiver is still young or plastic enough that their mirror neurons are still developing.

  • There is no more profound or lasting impact, if one’s concerned about it, than through the advocacy of ideas, and ideals. No one gives a damn about Shakespeare kids. . .

    Nah, I don’t have any either. It’s a badge of honor, frankly, and I’ve a hard time trusting peers that haven’t earned it.

  • ‘the gem of the evolutionary process, the most precious pearl of great price ever produced on this planet isn’t some rare flower, or polar bears, or even ecosystems– but rather the unique ability of some few humans to care and to do so in a constructive manner. These, in my opinion are what need to be preserved at this late date. . .a tremendous terrible cost of untold eons of suffering and death was in fact required to create those kinds of minds, they must survive– as the valuation of the rest is dependent their existence.’

    anthropocentric ‘exceptional humans’ bs. this thinking is part of the problem.

    ‘tyrants and their sycophants can be found everywhere you want to look.’

    http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

  • Find me an animal that can project into the future well enough to reject a short term gain for a long term prospect and I’ll concede. That’s easy. Imagine an animal that can willingly and eagerly reject a personal good for a societal one. . .in anticipation of a reward, of course, but rejecting the immediacy of that for the future. Few educated humans can, but there’s a few,they exist too. This is rare, and precious, and exists.

    I’m of the belief this can’t be taught. It’s innate.

  • “As soon as people discovered fire we were doomed.”

    This is another one of those convenient simplifications and ridiculous generalizations that implicates everyone. And it is just not true.

    As soon as the English Enclosure movement started we were doomed.
    As soon as the Bank of England was chartered we were doomed.
    As soon as the first coal mine was opened in Scotland, we were doomed.
    As soon as Edwin Drake struck oil in Titusville, we were doomed.
    As soon as capitalist industrial development started me were doomed.

    All of these could have been mitigated with different governing structures and some saner, more rational stewardship practices.

    However, in none of those cases were any of the adults in the room consulted, heard or respected. History now vindicates all the empathetic, community minded people, the grandmas, the poets, the lovely, precious soft spoken sympathetic humans that were systematically and witheringly demonized, denounced if not outright attacked. Yeh – the nancy boys, the girly men, the wusses, the sharers, the commies, the dirty hippies, the cheese eating surrender monkeys – they were right. All of them. And each and every one of what our idiotic history calls “The Great Men” and their apologist and whores were dead wrong.

    Going back to the discovery of fire or claiming it was tying knots is such a gross, un-nuanced reduction that it is difficult not to laugh. Is every Western first worlder on some level a fascist in complete denial? Sometimes I wonder.

  • The proposition that given half a chance that any and every human community would have pursued world conquest and ecocidal industrial build out is just tripe.

    Would the matriarchal clans of Musuo in China or the west Indian coast of Kerala? Would the Haudenosaunee with their imperative responsibility to the 7th generation? Would the Oglala Lakotah who thought the very ground to be alive and sacred and refused to remove anything whatsoever from it? I kind of doubt it.

    Why didn’t the Miqmaq of Canada or the Kalahari Kung or the Australian Aborigines or the Indians of California form marching divisions and attack every last corner of the earth? It’s not because they would have if Saint Reagan magically descended from the heavens and gave everybody a Panzer division. It is because they were happy where they were. It is because they didn’t need that and didn’t want it.

    The Egyptians had a fantastic sustained empire that lasted for thousands of years and their armies never went farther than a few hundred miles outside the Nile Basin. Not because they couldn’t, but because they thought it a stupid, useless waste of time, energy and resources.

    The reasons that these things happen are because of specific social formations,cultural practices and ideas.

    Follow this reasoning: the Romans, the Persians, the Mongols, the Japanese, the Europeans and the Americans had expansionary empires.

    Therefore ~ALL~ humans and ~ALL~ human societies and cultures throughout world history would have done the same. Rubbish. Uncle Socrates would spank you hard over that one.

    Putting thoughts of world domination in the head of Vietnamese who never went any farther than the Mekong Delta is completely ridiculous.

    All the non-violent, non-expansionary, non-predatory formations were each the victims of the demented hyperviolent nutjobs who foreclosed all options for the entire world.

    Simplifying and making generalizations just makes certain wildly complicit individuals and societies feel better about their positions and serves to de-motivate and obscure options for those who are not interested in quitting, or laying down to die. It is refusing children and young people who I know personally, and who are looking for any possible solutions, any mitigation or any way out. It is just one more instance of the super violent kicking anything and everything – even their progeny – directly in the face.

    Refusal to apply justice, rule of law or accountability to people who are responsible for massive, monstrous crimes is a hallmark of modern industrial society and most especially and glaring on display in the current USA. This is perpetrated with exquisite precision by people who dam well should know better but can’t seem to see the noses in front of their faces or get their collective heads out of their anti-social, property-obsessed, domination fetish behinds.

    Wretched, ridiculous generalizations ~like unsustainable mound building in the south amazon discredits -all- indigenous stewardship are absurd, contemptible and a foundational problem.

    Even if there was in fact any solution at all to NTE, however alien, apostate, miraculous or far fetched, it can and must, by theological decree of the faulty generalization, never be discovered, never be revealed, never discussed, and certainly never implemented. We’re all going down and no one is to blame and nothing is to be done. Total Hogwash and Absolute Rubbish.

  • Jay once upon a time Guy had no rules on this site. Then some people took advantage of that and almost ruined the site. Thus the no insult rule and then the 2 posts a day rule. It has saved the site IMO. If you don’t like the rules you or anyone can e-mail Guy (check up at the top, under contact)

    Wester, Dilworth’s book Too Smart for our Own Good, outlines the vicious circle principle. A summary here http://candobetter.net/node/2755 the summary is too short and the book overlong. However, yes any species that finds itself with a changed or new environment with new resources or less predators, or any humans that find itself with new tools to exploit such resources and eliminate such predators will overrun their environment. You can google “reindeer on St. Matthew’s island”. You can google “zebra mussels in great lakes” to see several examples. You can read “The Future Eaters” by Tim Flannery to see how the Aborigines did this – luckily for them for 60,000 years they depleted the environs without killing themselves and then learned to live with the limits they had created…until the second round of future eaters came with tools to extract resources the Aborigines had not tapped.

    Humans who live in environs that are temporarily flush with resources by immigration or new tools expand their populations until they can’t just like yeast in a petri dish

    I was wrong tho, we humans didn’t make the first mistake, the first self replicating cells did. Self replication means that at some point resources needed will become scarce. The first self extinction we know of was the Cyanobactera

    per wiki “The ability of cyanobacteria to perform oxygenic photosynthesis is thought to have converted the early reducing atmosphere into an oxidizing one, which dramatically changed the composition of life forms on Earth by stimulating biodiversity and leading to the near-extinction of oxygen-intolerant organisms.”

    Some of the anaerobic bacteria then were forced away from the oxygen poisoned surface and went underground, hopefully waiting for someone to step on a nail in the ground and get a chance to multiply in our bodies giving us tetanus, or waiting to get into an improperly canned jar of beans to take us out with botulism. No more for them the good life on the surface.

    The cardinal sin was replication involving greater and greater uses of resources until a limit is hit and a big brain just let humans hit that limit far faster than any other self replicating being has ever done.

    As for why the White Man got the major role in the coming extinction, it is not because we were more evil, but by chance we had the opportunity. See Jared Diamond’s Guns Germs and Steel. It was latitude and luck (of what domesticable animals and plants were in any area of the world) that gave us our role in expansion more than any other factor. Per wiki “The book attempts to explain why Eurasian civilizations (in which he includes North Africa) have survived and conquered others, while arguing against the idea that Eurasian hegemony is due to any form of Eurasian intellectual, moral or inherent genetic superiority.” He makes a good case IMHO. We are neither superior, nor more evil – just lucky. And luck of that magnitude is never a good thing. We have no program for winning the lottery. Nor can we have such a program for genetic programs are evolved for things that happen often, not for things that happen seldom. Winning the lottery is a curse not a blessing.

  • @ Wester

    Rubbish. Uncle Socrates would spank you hard over that one.

    Thank you, sir. Made my day already ! 🙂

    @ tvt

    anthropocentric ‘exceptional humans’ bs. this thinking is part of the problem.

    Yes. Thanks.

    The magpies and crows here, have not made nests this year.

    In my whole life I don’t think this has happened before. I can’t be 100% certain. I was too young at the start, to notice, and sometimes too busy with indoor jobs, or driving around the country, some years. But I’ve always lived deep in the countryside and always spent much time in the fields and woods, and I know these birds. I’ve raised them from chicks and had them as pets, as a boy. I see them, hear them, every day. I don’t think it has happened before, in fifty years or so, anyway. The ecology unravels.

  • Wester Says:
    Imagine an animal that can willingly and eagerly reject a personal good for a societal one. . .in anticipation of a reward, of course, but rejecting the immediacy of that for the future.

    A societal good strengthens the hierarchy that forms the framework of that society: a system of vertical transactions legitimised by the threat of coercive violence. It is a system that tries to monitor, prescribe and proscribe horizontal interactions and is threatened by lack of control over them.

    Community coheres through voluntary, non-coercive horizontal interactions and weakens society. Building community is dismantling society. Community is spontaneous and natural, society is dictated from above. Those who work for societal good are agents of the mischief of its hierarchy. Working for communal good comes naturally.

    Rewards are not just anticipated, they are also expected. Anticipation is a rational estimation based on cause and effect, but does not necessarily include expectation. Very few are those who can act out of anticipation but without expectation.

    Sans expectation, there is neither elation nor disappointment. It also includes an absence of hope: described in some traditions as a hopelessness, but which is not in the realm of despair. It is an essential step in the progress towards Equanimity.

    If someone is unlikely to benefit from my comments, there is no point in addressing comments to them.

  • ogardener: Yes, i agree and was only pointing out the “best explanation” i’ve ever heard for the Towers going down (ie. not the planes, or nano-thermite, or controlled demolition using dynamite). It doesn’t matter anymore.

    Wester and others: This topic is very close to the one Mobus makes at Question Everything regarding sapience. He contends (in a nutshell) that sapience is/was supposed to evolve somehow into eusapience over the course of humanitys stay on the planet. In fact now he sees it as the next step after this bottleneck/collapse. i disagree, but kind of hope he’d be correct. We aren’t wired that way, unfortunately. As Wester points out, SOME humans are well on the way with their relationship to their environments while the vast majority are not. It’s like the Jesuses, Ghandis, Buddhas and others – why isn’t everyone like this? Mobus contends we aren’t evolved enough (or that a small fraction are but most humans just don’t have it – and it isn’t teachable apparently). At this point, it seems merely pedantic speculation while the more immediate problem of NTE looms.

    http://ecocosmology.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2013-01-01T00:00:00-06:00&updated-max=2014-01-01T00:00:00-06:00&max-results=1

  • “War today and in the last century seems unprecedented in intensity, ferocity, and the numbers of lives claimed. With this ominous cloud handgun over our heads, it’s easy to believe that humans have somehow abandoned the benign behavior that characterized our earliest history. What happened to those ‘noble savage’ of old who were content to live in peace and harmony and were not out to colonize and exploit the undeveloped world? The ecological catastrophes occurring all around us present another modern maelstrom – and no ecosystem is immune, from the oceans to the tropical rain forest, from the pristine Arctic to the ozone layer. Humankind today seems to have abandoned a reverence for nature and lost long-held abilities to live in ecological balance. Has ‘progress’ – that escalation g desire to be gibber, better, faster, stronger – totally extinguished our ancestral instincts to grow everything we consume and hunt only what we need to sustain us? Many view the march of civilization not as a blessing but as a curse, bringing with it escalating warfare and spiraling environmental destruction unlike anything in our human past”

    “Contrary to exceedingly popular opinion, and as bad as our problems may be today, none of this is true. The common notion of humankind’s blissful past, populated with noble savages living in a pristine and peaceful world, is held by those who do not understand our past and who have failed o see the course of human history for what it is.”

    “…Since the beginning of time, humans have been unable to live in ecological balance. No matter where we happen to live on Earth, we eventually outstrip the environment. This has always led to competition as a means of survival, and warfare has been the inevitable consequence of our ecological-demographic propensities. The question that remains is whether humans are genetically programmed to be this way. Or do we have the ability to chug the fundamental human-environmental relationship that not only has bee with us for millions of years but in many ways has made us who we are today? I hope to show that though our history has been far less peaceful and pleasant than most of us are comfortable hearing about, our past does not doom our future.”

    Steven A. LeBlanc
    Archaeologist, Harvard University
    August 2002
    Introduction to “Constant Battles…Why We Fight”

    This book is one of many that uses prehistoric archaeological sites from around the world – skeletal remains, mass graves, ancient fortifications, artistic depictions, weapons and myriad other factual evidence – to prove that all societies throughout human history have been warlike as ecological constraints are surpassed by population. Alternative theories that the human species is innately peaceful and in harmony with a natural balance are supported by myth, desire, and revisionist narratives. War as a result of resource depletion, according to studies across time and geography, has been not merely frequent but inevitable.

    As the author summarizes, the distinction is crucial – not to satisfy idle curiosity, but because without understanding the genetic underpinnings of domination, exploitation, and violence, we will never be able to enlist higher reasoning to defeat their triumph over our fate and that of many other species with which we share this planet.

    This is a notion that should be embraced and not scorned, dismissed or resented by anyone who wants to move the human experiment to a better place. In light of NTE it’s almost certaintly too late anyway – but for anyone who thinks there may be a reprieve for even a tiny portion of life, it simply won’t be possible with acknowledging the biological imperatives of our dominant innate urges.

  • @ Gail

    “revisionist narratives” ??!!

    Yes. People begin with subjective prejudiced ideological preferences, of the kind and flavour that you and B9K9 have expressed here, and then go through the past looking for examples to justify and reinforce their position, completely ignoring all counter evidence.

    It’s a natural human failing, I suppose. However, it would be better to go through all the evidence first, and then arrive at a conclusion afterwards. That would be true scholarship and scientific integrity.

    The theory was that all early cities were fortified, because, as you claim, they were a result of our natural inclination towards domination, exploitation and violence. So whoever lived in the city would need soldiers to defend against the neighbours whose stuff they were stealing, etc. because we are all naturally like that.

    But turned out the theory was wrong, and I think this is since 2002 ? and I forget the name of the site, but the big early city in South America, for more than a thousand years, no signs of violence, of soldiers, of fortification, of exploitation. It was built upon trade. People like doing deals.

  • Dear Jeffrey,

    Your clarity and insight lives up to the German meaning of your name: Stahl = beam (of light, cutting through the crap). I’ve been on this path since the 70s too, and there’s nothing I could add.

  • @ cuntagious Says:
    May 19th, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Outstanding comment! It is indeed “cleverness” that has led our species past the brink of extinction. Moreover, “clever” most certainly is not equivalent to “smart.” As you allude, to be “smart” does require more knowledge and understanding than merely being “clever.” I’ve met/read many people who were clever, abysmally few who were smart.

    Furthermore, I could not agree more that “a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous thing.” That is why it is so very important to strive to know more (as opposed to possessing more trinkets). Alas, far too many people are unable to discern the distinction between clever and smart, just as they conflate belief and thought/understanding. So I’ll close with…

    Sapere aude.

  • A friend sent this video to me this morning – a humorous take on overpopulation https://vimeo.com/62718080# Well would be if it weren’t so true.

    The way I see it is that humans are a social animal and we in hunter-gatherer times thrived by inter-tribal cooperation. However that among other things made us so successful that we had conflict with other tribes when resources became scarce. When our tribes settled down and started staying in one place resources ran out sooner and we expanded or moved to get more resources. When we were more successful in breeding than in feeding we used infanticide and other methods to keep our population in line. When we settled new areas where the game was unafraid of us and plentiful we mindlessly expanded until we ran out of large game. Infanticide wasn’t enough then so wars, even within tribes took place. In some cases we began eating even other humans although this takes a toll on cooperation and fosters distrust and fear.

    Our success at cooperation and at competition has been a curse and not a blessing, although in the good years when their were new lands and resources to be found, new technologies to be developed they looked like a blessing and not a curse.

    Given certain circumstances trade and cooperation will prosper – when resources dry up war will dominate. I think both U and Gail are right. Humans are capable of cooperation. Humans are capable of war and even cannibalism. I believe that the core of which we choose is not in our nature but in the availability of resources we need (or have come to believe we need).

  • Yes, it’s easy to be nice when you are fat and happy.

    But how do we account for the fact that children in Haiti are starving while we in the U.S. throw tons of food in the garbage?

    I guess we have the right to be selfish and watch others starve. I think it’s crazy. Damnation is too good for us.

    Yes, Tom, the “Question Everything” website indeed has the Solution:

    http://questioneverything.typepad.com/question_everything/2011/04/overpopulation-here-is-the-solution.html

  • kevin moore

    Thanks for your info from NZ.

    I have been to NZ in my we youth. Got to Lake Taupo, but not close to Mt taranaki – what a glorious part of the world.

    I have been watching very closely the synoptic charts for Australia (which includes NZ) over this last month and that Jetstream is mighty wobbly and diffuse and breaking up.

    I have a few things we could discuss, if it is ok could Guy send me an email address for you?

    Just for the record what research are you engaged in , and is it via an institution. Just asking.

    If you have ready access, can put up a recent photo/weblink or two here of Mt Taranaki snowless and it’s date?

    Cheers Meet

  • @Pat,
    But how do we account for the fact that children in Haiti are starving while we in the U.S. throw tons of food in the garbage?

    I guess we have the right to be selfish and watch others starve. I think it’s crazy. Damnation is too good for us.


    Well, we can thank 2Lot of which Paul has enlightened us on for that. The principles of 2Lot make it so that the powerful, energy consuming, wasteful float right to the top of society. The meek and humble shall inherit the earth? Pfft, just exactly the opposite!

    It seems I will never ‘warm up’ to the principles which govern life.

  • ulvfugl

    Points taken ulvfugl, I’ll have to grow up.

    So you have a chance of understanding my perspective, I’ll just say, we all resist in our own way, and I guess I am supposed to be upset by you naming me as a coward.

    I should not have challenged this Science concept with you here, as it is too difficult to present a clear case when you feel it is not relevant, but I do. So I will leave the topic there, and ask for your forgiveness for the offence my position has caused you. That is no admission I withdraw my views on science, I just see your point about clogging this space and agree to do better, OK?

    I would rather concentrate on what we share than any conflicts about those matters.

    As for DGR, and your feeling that I wrote out of fear, or childish belief in authority structures(?), I would just hope you can accept I am engaged in activities and actions that may have consequences for my family, and given your challenge of cowardice, I posted those comments so our back suited friends know where I officially stand.

    Can’t say much more ulvfugl, but hope one day soon you will see we are resisting in our own ways for the same or similar reasons.

    No hopium here, by far.

    My hand… can we bury this hatchet ?

    I offer it now.

    BadlandsAK:

    “This planet was simply the most perfect work of art, and it hurts beyond any words to see it defaced and defiled.”

    Kind of like a master painter who just went too far with her/his greatest painting and lost it all in the last 5 minutes…?

    Are we in that last 4 minutes yet ?

    Can’t get it back once it’s gone.

  • Well my take on it all, at least on the morning of May 20, 2013 is that the problem is a lack of love. When we love something we are connected to it and cherish it – we want to protect it.
    But what caused the lack of connection to occur?

    Maybe consciousness had to become separate in humankind so that it had the ability to act upon it or to change it (a good step), and similar to the process of how a child develops independence. But the separation swung too far in the other direction, as is often the case in change, to the point where much of human consciousness doesn’t even see the rest of the world as part of themselves – they lost the connection..the love.
    Maybe if we’d had more time the pendulum would have swung back in balance. Maybe whatever life remains will do better.

  • Chris Hedges has a new column, “Rise Up Or Die”, with lots of commentary relevant to this discussion. What form resistance? Where to place blame?

    The last couple of paragraphs:

    “It is time to build radical mass movements that defy all formal centers of power and make concessions to none. It is time to employ the harsh language of open rebellion and class warfare. It is time to march to the beat of our own drum. The law historically has been a very imperfect tool for justice, as African-Americans know, but now it is exclusively the handmaiden of our corporate oppressors; now it is a mechanism of injustice. It was our corporate overlords who launched this war. Not us. Revolt will see us branded as criminals. Revolt will push us into the shadows. And yet, if we do not revolt we can no longer use the word “hope.”

    Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” grasps the dark soul of global capitalism. We are all aboard the doomed ship Pequod, a name connected to an Indian tribe eradicated by genocide, and Ahab is in charge. “All my means are sane,” Ahab says, “my motive and my object mad.” We are sailing on a maniacal voyage of self-destruction, and no one in a position of authority, even if he or she sees what lies ahead, is willing or able to stop it. Those on the Pequod who had a conscience, including Starbuck, did not have the courage to defy Ahab. The ship and its crew were doomed by habit, cowardice and hubris. Melville’s warning must become ours. Rise up or die.”

    And this sentence: “To remain safe, to remain “innocent” in the eyes of the law in this moment in history is to be complicit in a monstrous evil.”

    I don’t think Chris is on board with NTE, yet, but he knows that what is coming is going to be very, very, very bad in many, many, many ways.

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/rise_up_or_die_20130519/

  • .
    Clinical Case Example: Stage One

    Everything seemed to be fine:
    They were watching a quiet decline,
    But with NTE,
    People didn’t agree,
    And all hell broke out online.

    One viewpoint from which to opine:
    It’s a Kubler-Ross anger stage sign;
    Look now, and foresee:
    Widespread, it will be
    Nowhere near as benign.

  • The notion that every society would have pursued world conquest if given the chance flies in the face of historical evidence. Only one particular social form which arose in one very small area of late-medieval England has ever had an imperative of expansion built into its very structure, and that’s capitalism. This notion is Euro-centrism at its worst.
    http://www.solidarity-us.org/node/993

  • OWS was the best chance we had to start a revolution. Why didn’t more people join in, why didn’t the very poor people that Chris Hedges interviewed? It seems there are plenty of people with very little to lose – and growing everyday.

    My guess is the Resistance lacks organization and logistical leadership – we all dislike bureaucracy, but at some point you have to be able to “feed the troops.” And, for that you need money.

    But, you also need an ideology that people can believe in. One of the problems with OWS was getting a focused message out to the audience. People were actually listening, but all they could hear was loud shouting and incoherent screaming. Plus, the average Joe couldn’t identify with the crowd that looked mostly like a bunch of slackers, hippies, and drug addicts.

    So, if we can’t even get the regular visitors to NBL to get focused and work towards something tangible, how are you going to motivate a city, a nation, a world?

    The sad tragedy is that even if you COULD get an overwhelming groundswell of support, the truth of NTE makes it all moot.

    Say we have an “Arab Spring” in America, and the OWS crowd overruns Washington DC and takes control. What’s the first order of business? Ok, let’s shut down the nukes, and dismantle the toxic infrastructure of industrial civilization. And, oops, by the way, a bunch of you people gotta’ die.

    See, the OWS movement seems to want equality, they want Warren Buffet to live on $50,000 a year and distribute his billions “to the people.” That won’t do a damn thing to help us with NTE.

    I think it is totally plausible to have a revolution in America and win control of the levers of govt, I really do – but then what? That’s the problem.

  • OWS had two big problems (among others of course), both of which have broken every radical movement since I was a kid, including the environmental movement.

    One, the state crushed us. In a coordinated effort with the federal government, local police behaved like paramilitary and arrested everyone in sight. In a very deliberate strategy, they offered people who had been arrested the opportunity to take an ACD – Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal – to walk away with no penalty and no record, BUT, if they were arrested again for within, they would have to go to trial for the orignal charge. (Several of us refused to take it, went to trial and were convicted of disorderly conduct). For young people without money, or a home, or needing to think about job applications in the future, this tactic really inhibited them from continuing to participate in Occupy – one occupier, Molly Crabapple, referred to it as “aversion therapy”:

    “While I was alone before my release, pacing back and forth, it was almost impossible not to suspect that I was stupid, that my actions were futile. Which is the point of an arrest. Getting arrested for a social protest is like being put through aversion therapy, a punishment in and of itself. A relative of mine, an Occupy supporter, said that after my arrest, she’d never protest again. And that’s the point.
    Me? I’d be back.
    Occupy Wall Street taught many middle-class white people what poor people and people of color had already known. The law is often a hostile and arbitrary thing. Speak too loudly, stand in the wrong place, and you’re on the wrong side of it. My experience was infinitely easier than most. Many people arrested came out to a lost job, or they have to deal with nerve-damaged hands from being in cuffs for too long, or they face a society that believes they asked for it.
    While we were in the cell, after we banged too long and chanted too hard, an officer stared at us. “Look at you people,” she said. “What do you hope to accomplish? You brought this on yourselves.”

    A more insidious dismantling was the coopting of the protest by the democrat/progressive/liberal mainstream, especially the Obama reelection campaign. Coincidentally, yesterday a friend sent me a gift view of the movie Occupy Love. Since it is about this topic, below is what I wrote him back (and if anyone decides to watch it at NBL I am very interested in other peoples’ opinions).

    Thank you for sending me the movie Occupy Love. I don’t want you to think I’m ungrateful, because I really appreciate your thinking of me – and the premise of the movie is a nice sentiment (I did watch it last night).

    I’m sure you have already noticed that I am of the pessimistic/cynical persuasion so maybe it won’t surprise you to hear that I had a very negative reaction to the movie. I would be curious to know if you think there is any validity to the following observations:

    1. That movie was sooooo slick. It looked like a very professional production that required the cooperation of some major groups such as MoveOn, 350 and the like. I looked at the funding and didn’t find anything to indicate financial supports from large NGO’s or foundations but all the same, my antennae went up. It’s not just the Madison Avenue feel to it – overall, it simply couldn’t have played the preferred message of 350 any better if it had been produced by 350, while presenting itself as a gritty, low-budget, personal journey.

    2. Although it comes across as a feel-good, harmless notion – love makes the world go round or some such – in my opinion the interviews are full of dangerous and false platitudes such as one speaker’s assertion – there’s plenty of food and resources to go around to the 7 billion, it’s the inequitable distribution that is the problem. How that is reconciled with overshoot I can’t imagine. Even if there WERE enough (there’s not!) what does exist is being produced via the very extractive processes – such as the tar sands – that the movie decries. Without that, how would the industrial agriculture that is (barely) sustaining the 7 billion continue?

    3. The movie is really slanted and distorts what Occupy actually was. It presents the movement as far more environmental, anti-fossil fuel than the reality. I WISHED it were more ecologically oriented, and there certainly were people who were part of it, like me, mainly because of environmental/climate concerns, and we tried mightily to work such issues into the messaging. But we were in a tiny minority. By far the overwhelming number of participants were there for purely economic reasons. It was Occupy WALL STREET for a reason and not very many put together in a very explicit way corporate control of the economy with destruction of the biosphere. The fact that environmental and even more climate themes dominated Occupy Love is indicative of the agenda of the producers, which is less to be a documentary and more a polemic in support of 350’s agenda – and a revisionist big NGO takeover of the Occupy meme and momentum (such as it exists anymore, but you never know, it could start to rumble again).

    4. I have only had time to look around a little bit but here is one, rather poorly written but raw expression of outrage: http://www.genuinewitty.com/2012/10/10/occupy-love-the-old-left-hijacks-occupys-history-feat-judy-rebick-naomi-klein-michael-moore/

    5. Here is Cory Morningstar’s latest on 350: [note – you will have to google keywords so I can avoid link moderation…also there is a shout-out to Guy in the article!]

    wrongkindofgreen May 17 McKibbens divestment tour brought to you by wall street

    Hope no offense is taken!!!

    Your friend across the pond,

    Gail

  • Why hasn’t there been a revolution? Because there is still food. There is hunger in America, always has been, but for the most part people eat and have the expectation of continuing to eat, or hope that they will be able to eat again after the first of the month.
    Revolution is something that young, unmarried, unemployed men do when they are hungry but not starving – when they have no hope and nothing to lose.
    Europe has shockingly high unemployment rates for young people. We are entering what looks to be the third year of drought – this may not yet mean food shortages, but will mean higher prices.
    While perhaps not yet in America, I expect to see some growing street riot activity around the world this summer. If we have a fourth year of drought, it may even start here. Don’t think the growing security state is being implemented for no reason.
    Didn’t Guy’s summary have a chart of a food price index versus street violence? I don’t see it now, maybe it got edited out, or maybe it was another article.
    Unfortunately a hunger-driven revolution is unlikely to deliver anything more than food. It certainly won’t usher in the Age of Aquarius.

  • “It would not occur to a mouse in the mouth of a cat to stop resisting.”

    Actually, it would. Lots of prey animals go limp when caught by a predator – this often seems to interrupt the predator’s instinctive killing action, and gives the prey an opportunity to suddenly escape.

    Whether this is relevant to our own situation vis-a-vis TPTB, I actually don’t know, but it’s an interesting line of thinking to start down…

  • Possibly the largest or second largest tornado in recorded history today. Devastation in Oklahoma.

  • The F-5 formed in about an hour and roared through town – they had little to no warning. Tornado season is far from over, and dutchsinse shows how this one, like others, is the result of HAARP activity 24 – 48 hrs before it hit (in this case it was 36 hrs). He presents the evidence here

    http://sincedutch.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/5202013-oklahoma-city-massive-tornado-damage-radar-pulse-haarp-ring-scalar-square-confirmation/

  • The Banker:

    People really need to connect the dots. . . really.

  • I found this interesting comment which I think ties in to Paul Chefurka’s theories. (I do not buy the OP’s larger “sapience” ideas, btw, which I think come from a special autistic place where only engineers and computer scientists live.)

    I was once involved in a cancer project. I would process eighty or so cancerous samples with normal nearby control tissue in a single day. I can tell you that when looked at dispassionately without the context of the human they were from, the cancerous tissue was always more beautiful. I can remember this dark blue one with red coral shaped streaks through it. And one of the findings of the study was that cancerous cells have more DNA and hence carry and made more information. It is amazing what can be created when you over utilize energy from your environment. Use the elephant’s tusk so Mozart can make music. On ivory keys. Capitalism is just the form humans took to use available energy. When it is gone we will switch modes. We saw how fast humans can switch modes in the 70s. And I would wager that cancers try to switch modes when energy in the tissues they are stuck get low, just like we see Ebola get less virulent through time. There is even some evidence that a majority of cancers resolve themselves. We have just begun to see the full power of our sapience, but we want to see it all right now and it to be a completely happy story.
    http://questioneverything.typepad.com/question_everything/2013/05/you-wouldnt-even-be-here-if.html?cid=6a00e54f9ea2e58834017eeaf177ec970d#comment-6a00e54f9ea2e58834017eeaf177ec970d

  • @steelweaverq, I was waiting for someone to say that! “Resistance” can also mean withdrawing from life according to the terms of TPTB. I’m only maybe a quarter of the way to where I would like to be on that score… They can only “make money” if we buy their products (viz. Obamacare).

  • Lidia Says:
    May 20th, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    @steelweaverq, I was waiting for someone to say that! “Resistance” can also mean withdrawing from life according to the terms of TPTB. I’m only maybe a quarter of the way to where I would like to be on that score… They can only “make money” if we buy their products (viz. Obamacare).”

    Yup. Resistance need not be violent. It could be said that violent resistance plays into their hands. Debt in all its forms is their lifeblood.

  • @ Wester

    Curious on how you’re separating “local Empires” from “expansionist Empires”, given that at one time all kingdoms must have expanded to become an Empire in the first place.

    Wiki list at least 178 historical empires and almost twice as many kingdoms that were localized empires in their own right. Even your list of what you consider to be expansionist empires is missing quite a few rather nasty candidates around the world.

    But as to who old Socrates–a product of yet another expansionist empire–would consider a greater affront to his dialog; your argument is terribly weak on reason, but is clearly spilling over the brim with passionate contempt based on little more than conjecture.

    I’m sure there are many indigenous tribes around the world, who would more than fit your ideal pacifist, non-expansionist model, thousands in fact, but please, the Oglala Lakota (Lakota Sioux) surely aren’t one of them. In fact, the Lakota precisely proves the point I’m making, given that they were a fierce warring nation that effortlessly took to horses and guns, which they used on their fellow indigenous neighbors, well before they sought to defend themselves against the latest settlers from the east. They’re associated with being plains Indians though they were originally northern farmers, who took to the nomadic life after the introduction of European horses.

    All of nature is but an arms race, from T-Rex to Drone strikes. Nature abhors a vacuum for no more reason, than when your neighboring tribe develops new weaponry, if you don’t match them, you will most likely become their servant. Lest we forget that many indigenous tribes took slaves.

    But your either avoiding or missing the point: Indigenous Europeans were smelting metals literally thousands of years before the entire Sioux nation even existed. The point is comparative advantage, and Indo-Europeans had it in spades, compared to the rest of the world. It is not by accidental that industrial civilization rose out of Europe. If it had risen in the plains, I’m sure the Lakota’s would have been more than willing to massacre their mortal enemies the Chippewa, and for probably no better reason than why we’re bombing the shit out of the Middle East.

    Humans are but animals driven by a biological imperative, which makes us just as competitive as every other animal. We cooperate to our advantage with our in-groups, and we usually attempt to kill everyone else. 11,000 years and seven billion people later, and viola, NTE.

    Again, this is not a blog that dwells all that much on political science, you are attempting to highlight only one small facet in a global pandemic of epic proportion.

    You can continue to respond, I’ll give you the last word, but there is no point in continuing to prove the meaninglessness of either ancient or recent history.