Collapse Awareness and the Tragic Consciousness

by Jamey Hecht, Ph.D.

Infinite growth on a finite planet is suicide. Industrialization is destroying the world. Resource depletion, pollution, and climate change will make industrial civilization impossible much sooner than is generally admitted.

It is traumatic to realize this, and the process involves an intense need to discuss the issue. But the predicament of everyone, the squirrels, the trees, the elephants, all of humankind, the acid oceans caked with plastic — how to discuss all that with oneself or anyone else? Daily there are more people consciously concerned with it, yet most of the discussion happens online, not face to face; in person, with a few exceptions, one simply does not discuss it. To do so reminds people of the terrible danger in which they are already living their everyday lives; it also delivers them over to difficult feelings of helplessness (they cannot stop climate change), humiliation (the “legal person” called Exxon-Mobil is more powerful than mortals can imagine), and anomie (what matters on a doomed world?). Activating those difficult feelings is, at the very least, rude — even if the values of both parties to the conversation are largely in accord. So it costs something to go ahead and disrupt the game and hold forth about the state of our world, so people generally don’t do it.

The phenomenon of collapse is so frightening that the trauma of realizing it has to be mastered in a way that derives meaning, or deposits meaning, or configures meaning, or some basket of verbs that will comprise the spectrum of how this stuff called meaning comes to be, in and through the pain of awareness. Meaning is the redeemer which leads people to hope — and when hope is shattered, it is meaning that sweeps up the fragments and sculpts them into monuments and tombstones. Success of body is survival; success of soul is making sense of loss in a mortal world. Sometimes both of these successes are available, sometimes one or the other, or at the worst, neither.

I believe a real physical metamorphosis of civilization into a harm-reducing culture was still possible until just a few years ago. Most people continue to believe it possible still; they haven’t changed their minds about that yet. Possible or not, it is vanishingly improbable — not as a lottery win or a bet at a roulette wheel is unlikely, where the problem-space happens to include a large number of equally unlikely outcomes, but as victory is unlikely in a war between equal armies after one side is decimated while the other is unscathed. Maybe the last ten green-shirted soldiers will somehow slaughter their remaining thousand black-shirted opponents — it is philosophically “possible” — but everything speaks against its occurrence.

The infinite growth paradigm is held in place by huge structural forces and institutions that militate with overwhelming effectiveness against any change to the omnicidal practice of industrial civilization. As Wittgenstein observed, only a philosopher could doubt that the Sun will rise in the morning. When the facts have driven from the field all other kinds of doubt, philosophical doubt remains, an exotic hothouse flower with no application in the real world. So it is with hope, after material conditions have so deteriorated that more data can only darken the prospects. One’s hope for the world contracts, shifting from a region of defensible truth-claims to a region of adaptive illusion, an illusion which keeps on shrinking as the data win through the defenses erected against them.

One strategy for preserving hope in the face of this process is to recalibrate one’s hopes, scaling them down so that the smallest of victories will count as a great “yes” from the universe. Even if only a few thousand people survive on some high ground in the Arctic temperate zone, goes this notion, that will be a seed from which culture can one day rise again. “Maybe 200 million people will migrate close to the Arctic and survive this,” writes James Lovelock in The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2007). This meme may be true (I tend to believe it, myself); but true or not, it is a useful one if it can supply enough meaning to help people through the task of living out the decades of the crisis (say, until the bottleneck is over, the 6.8 billion are dead, and the survivors are busy nibbling acorns in Siberia). But there are negations of it, including both a contrary and a contradiction. The contrary is that there may be no saving remnant; the contradiction is a rejection of the implicit premise that survival in such a world is a good thing.

This mental struggle demands repeated recourse to the evidence, with its hierarchical structure ascending from vast domains of raw data, up through peer reviewed articles, then to science journalism, then to popular journalism, and finally to the mainstream media of mass culture. People generally begin at this apex, where it’s all belief and no knowledge. Some then work their way down toward the stark facts (the “desert of the real”), losing their illusions as they go, and stopping at the limits of their tolerance. As the available uncertainty shrinks, it affords less and less skepticism about the severity of our predicament. The more time you spend at the lower levels of the pyramid, the less company you have. Your ugly knowledge eclipses their beautiful beliefs.

These beliefs (which form one composite belief, the normal outlook) are mostly fossils from the 18th Century, including an omnipotent Patriarch in the sky who governs by reward and punishment; an invisible hand tuning a free market in which the necessary non-market institutions (e.g., rule of law) arise spontaneously; and most importantly, infinite economic growth on a finite planet.

A few steps down from that popular Cloud-Cuckooland are the more recent notions of “sustainable growth”; substitution of unspecified new resources for old depleted ones; and the mitigation of endemic pollution by the natural “services” of heroic trees, microbes, and Time that heals all wounds.

Deeper down than this, in turn, is the realization that growth itself is the problem. But every day, the excellent proposals for managed economic contraction, or “powerdown” (Heinberg, 2004), and steady state economics (e.g., Daly, 1991, and Czech, 2013) go unused, while civilization grinds the biosphere to nothing. The necessary actions which these proposals require (things like depaving, or a moratorium on the petrochemical industry, or the Rimini Protocol, which calls for fair distribution of the world’s remaining oil) are unthinkable by public officials and corporate executives. Petrodollar hegemony as U.S. fiat money “buying” free oil is actively defended by the mightiest military, financial, and political forces in the world, backed by the inertia of a billion “first-world” people like us, who apparently cannot stop destroying the Earth unless we somehow acquire a great raft of missing skills and opportunities. That level of awareness is already somewhat traumatic. It can foreclose one’s idea of a human future, if it comes to include enough of the many stressors available to the curious. Climate change, peak oil, potable water scarcity, and the eventual failure of several hundred nuclear reactors (in a world without reliable electricity to cool spent fuel rods) comprise a quartet that will likely devastate all the systems on which our lives depend, most especially agriculture.

Faced with such a mental foreclosure, one has perhaps only three choices: one can go back down into the ever-expanding galaxy of data and search some more — either for hope, or for that dark certainty which makes despair into a solid resting place amid the nauseous vertigo of conflicting arguments and hypotheses, models and calculations. Or one can use one’s remaining uncertainty to trigger a switch in one’s head that will act like the “restore” function in an electronic device, deleting all the painful knowledge and restoring the comfortable illusions to which our minds have been accustomed for so long — this time, haunted by a repressed penumbra of awareness. The remaining alternative is to rest one’s case within the limits of human knowledge. Nobody knows the exact date when the last fish in the ocean will die, the hour when Shakespeare will be forgotten, the moment when the thermohaline current fails, or the instant when methane (CH4) overtakes carbon dioxide (CO2) as the chief driver of global warming. Nobody knows the date of his own death, either, yet we all know we must die someday.

It is well to point out (Greer, 2009) that apocalyptic claims have always proven erroneous in the past, and they may do so again. But the human past never included environmental stressors that were planet-wide, beyond which there can be no appeal. Fossil aquifers and fossil fuels cannot renew, except on a geological timescale irrelevant to human affairs. Radioactive elements (like nuclear waste, nuclear plant leakages, or the depleted uranium the U.S. shot all over Iraq,) have half-lives in the thousands and even millions of years. Four hundred ppm of CO2 makes for a hell of a greenhouse effect, complete with positive feedback loops; the most dangerous of these is the methane cascade problem. There is no remaining “New World” by which to repeat the surprise of 1492 — the frontier is closed, and the world is round.

Drop a baseball from the top of the Empire State Building, and there will be many opportunities to point out that it is going down and must hit the ground. Each presents a corresponding opportunity to reply that yes, it may be going down, but it hasn’t hit — and that you pessimists have repeatedly claimed that it’s going to hit the ground, yet it still hasn’t, so maybe it never will. So it is with claims of apocalypse.

Impressed by the magnitude of the converging crises, we become convinced that there is no future for the cultural lifeworld that produced and shaped our minds. Whatever will be in place after our natural lives are over, it will not be an industrialized civilization using fossil fuels to produce goods, send information and tricycles around the world, and sustain seven billion people.

But we, who are writing or reading this now, will our natural lives be cut short by the crises? The biblical lifespan of “threescore and ten” still holds in some places, whereas the average life expectancy of Switzerland and Japan is 83 years, and in Sierra Leone, it’s 47 (World Health Organization, 2011). We wonder how many of us will live to be killed “directly” by climate change, or energy scarcity — but the questions don’t make sense, since millions have already been killed in climate-related natural disasters, including agricultural failures. Deforestation is as old as civilization (Gilgamesh and Enkidu kill the forest spirit Humbaba, long before writing is invented). But the real danger is the mechanized version, hooked into an economy of endless debt chasing endless growth through endless extraction and endless consumption. Carbon pollution is as old as Homo erectus burning wood, but it is coal, oil, mine tailings and nuclear radiation that make for a world of toxic filth.

While we urge each other to wear colored ribbons and “search for the cure” for the cancers that killed 7.6 million people worldwide in 2008, we all should know that a high cancer rate is simply the price we pay for living in industrial society — not a personal lifestyle mistake, nor a discrete pathogen that some people happen to catch. As Helen Caldecott famously said, “When you get your cancer, it doesn’t come with a label on it that says, I was made by some Strontium-90 from Three Mile Island in a piece of cheese that you ate ten years ago.” The presence of all this pollution feels like a horrible violation from without, until we remember our own role in the pollution, the depletion, the collapse.

Reading of toxic waste dumping and spills and the evasive, illegal, violent conduct of the corporations responsible, we feel bitter resentment. We also yearn for the impossible return to the pre-pollution Earth; to undo what was done and so restore the world: impossible engineering problem, to “clean up” fourteen decades of industrial poisoning of the entire planet. It’s still happening, every day, with the folks at Monsanto using petroleum byproducts to make toxins for killing plants and animals considered undesirable. The toxins pervade the whole biosphere including the bodies of people, where they do all manner of cytological mischief that tends to cut life short in one way or another. What to do with the rage, the helplessness, the bitterness that this arouses? Try to deflate it with the thought that these are simply the conditions in which we find ourselves, the matter will have to be accepted?

Our cardiovascular system requires both exercise and clean air, and driving to work diminishes both. Why don’t we walk to work? Because the office is 25 miles from any half-pleasant residential area; the company won’t relocate, and jobs are scarce — so while there are jobs to drive to, we drive to them, again and again and again, until the cost of gasoline is more than the job can pay. That’s when we stay home for a desperate and protracted garage sale.

The oxygen added to the atmosphere each year comes from two main sources, half from the Amazon Rainforest, and half from plankton and algae in the oceans. Those living systems are rapidly failing. One need not know the precise rate of oxygen depletion to see that there is a serious problem here. But what exactly am I to do that might slow the destruction of these two biomes? I can stop buying Amazonian hardwood, but I have never bought Amazonian hardwood. Product boycotts against the logging industry can have little influence on the cattlemen and the enslaved (or semi-enslaved) campesinos whose slash-and-burn clear-cutting of the forest continues apace.

A vegetarian diet might help limit the U.S. market for the cattle that graze on lands stolen from the rainforest, and it appears meat consumption in this country is at last beginning to decreasei — though world meat consumption is still rising.ii A recent Brazilian government crackdown on illegal logging and ranching has been remarkably effective; though deforestation keeps on going, it has slowed considerably, dropping roughly 80% since its most recent peak in 2004.iii Even under the crackdown, abuse continues; now in 2013, Brazil is considering fines for 26 meat companies that illegally bought Amazon-reared cattle.iv The corporations responsible include giants like Cargill, who grow soy for McDonald’s to feed to chickens and cattle. Many of the stages in the deforestation process are illegal; even Cargill’s physical plant in Santarem was built illegally.v So the problem would seem to be a failure of the rule of law, under neoliberal finance and trade arrangements that identify the well-being of nations with the profit levels of their corporate overlords. Says the Woods Hole Research Center, “Simply implementing existing laws and proposed protected areas would spare the Amazon one million square kilometers of deforestation (one fifth of the entire forest area), avoiding 17 billion tonnes of carbon emissions to the atmosphere, the elimination of several forest formations, and the degradation of several major watersheds.”vi A massive boycott of McDonald’s might help, but the main reason people eat highly processed industrialized food is because subsidies and economies of scale make it far cheaper than eating real food. Legislation is unlikely to change that, because the power of the agribusiness lobby is so formidable. So the oxygen from the Amazon is getting scarce.

What about the oxygen from the oceans? As of 2010, plankton had declined by 40% since 1899, with most of the loss occurring over the past sixty years.vii Let me quote from a flyer from National Geographic called “10 Things You Can Do to Save the Ocean.” Here is item three:

Use Fewer Plastic Products

Plastics that end up as ocean debris contribute to habitat destruction and entangle and kill tens of thousands of marine animals each year. To limit your impact, carry a reusable water bottle, store food in nondisposable containers, bring your own cloth tote or other reusable bag when shopping, and recycle whenever possible.

Use fewer plastic products, in the hope that this will lower demand and cause industry to produce less plastic. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says: “In the United States, plastics are made from liquid petroleum gases (LPG), natural gas liquids (NGL), and natural gas. LPG are by-products of petroleum refining, and NGL are removed from natural gas before it enters transmission pipelines.”viii The petroleum gets refined to make liquid fuels, mainly gasoline. The plastics are made from by-products of that refining process, so as long as there is gasoline production there will be the production of liquid petroleum gases (LPG) and the temptation to cook them into plastics for cheap products and applications, destined for the oceans.

The process of realizing the awful state of our world has been likened to the famous “five stages of grief” of Elizabeth Kubler Ross, who was describing the changing mentality of a dying person — rather than the transformation of a witness to a dying world (or a species entering a bottleneck, decimation, or even extinction). That model has its merits, and people who find out that their world is ending certainly do deny, get angry, bargain, get depressed, and sometimes (though I have seen very little of this) they accept it. But the model only goes so far, and it says little about how these movements from stage to stage are to be achieved. If not by these fives stages, how else are we to think about the state of things in the world at large?

“The tragic consciousness” is a slippery thing, and I’m not fully sure what it means, nor even where I first heard it. I associate it with Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy, but he doesn’t seem to use it in that text. It’s a phrase literary scholars and critics have invented to describe the paradoxical effect of the tragic drama, where the observer experiences a strangely elevated mood after watching a sympathetic figure get destroyed by the gods, by society, by the entailments of his or her own mistakes. The material is miserable, and yet it elates us. The effect has something to do with what Aristotle called catharsis, where the story purges us of pity (which we feel for the figure on the stage, since he is doomed where we are safe) and terror (which we feel for ourselves, since we identify with him on the basis of a shared humanity and a shared (i.e., mortal) predicament. But catharsis is only a part of it.

The tragic consciousness seems to require that we become witness to the whole story. It is this narrative completeness that grounds a story’s moral complexity, making it a good story for grownups. Children can only tolerate so much moral complexity, so the characters in children’s literature tend to be split-off aspects of the author, all good or all bad. In Shakespeare, by contrast, even the most despicable villains have a back-story that secures some of our sympathy. The horror film and the melodrama do not provide such a back-story; the drama must do so, because it requires conflict, and all parties to the conflict must have at least a modicum of our sympathy or the story will fail us. The worse the character’s behavior (e.g., Macbeth, Richard III, Claudius), the more we require a frame-story that will answer the question of how a reasonable person could possibly come to this.

Interestingly, that is the same question psychotherapists are asked to consider when they get a client who challenges their sense of decency, perhaps a client whose humanity is hard to find (Orange, 2006). Learn the back-story behind the personality (or behind the pathology, or the crime) — usually a traumatic ordeal, acute or chronic or both — and the person appears in a very different light because now the ugliness has a meaning. The branch of psychoanalysis called attachment theory is an ethics in its own right, but not in the sense of providing a prescriptive morality with which to respond to the world. Confronted with destructive traits in a person or persons, attachment theory derives the presenting antisocial behaviors from early experiences of neglect or rejection or abuse. Again and again this recourse to etiology is the prelude to therapeutic connection, and to meaning. How did you become this? Why are you as you are? What happened to you?

In the practice of nonviolence, similarly, we are asked to consider how our opponents got to where they are — how they acquired their racism, or greed, or cruelty, etc. — in order to love the human beings beneath the history. Without knowing what that history is, we have to invent it, because there simply must be some mitigating, explanatory factors which do not excuse, but do make sense of, what we confront across the table or the barricades.

The discipline of history, if it is to be more than a catalogue of facts, requires a streak of ethical reflection (I don’t mean moral judgment, but a search for empathic understanding). When that streak becomes the heart of the project, the result can be called psychohistory; when it fails to appear, the result is propaganda. An account of the past is satisfying only when it includes the past of the past. Within limits, the task is to provide enough moral complexity for the various actors to appear fully human. Nothing can ever begin to excuse the horrific, soul-destroying cruelty of the Nazis. But coping with an awareness of it does seem to require some reflection on its roots in the national German humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles and its aftermath, and more importantly, the disastrous childrearing culture of much of the German speaking world in the relevant period. For them, no excuse; for us, an explanation.

Regard what happened on this planet as a tragic drama played out before the eyes of eternity. A dangerous species got hold of vast amounts of energy, and all hell broke loose — four degrees centigrade average global surface temperature rise. The large scale use of fossil fuels can be seen, with the foreshortening of time, to have been a kind of explosion. It is a slower explosion than the meteor impact that ended the Cretaceous, but it’s still a liberation of fiery energy.

We can only stare at the tragic stupidity of it, the iron necessity that the yeast will eat all the sugar in the vat, then die off; so the reindeer and the lichen; so the humans and the world.

human population and energy use

Population tracks energy use. That’s another aspect of the explosive nature of the discovery of fossil fuels. Explosive like the fuels themselves, their advent causes population to skyrocket, till it overshoots the available resource base, and begins a crash. Everyone knows this. What may be slightly less familiar is the way meaning can be recovered in the contemplation of that process, perhaps even while it is going on.

Danger activates our anxiety, because the threat has not yet attacked and there is still time to escape or overcome it with vigilance and action. But the Holocene is over, and now we are staring at a near future of catastrophic warming, no matter what we do. Anxiety still has its place in such a predicament, unless we are indifferent to the welfare of ourselves and those we love — a position only the stoics and sociopaths can fully share. But like depression or self-hate, anxiety is an affliction that can (with sufficient effort and neurological luck) be bounded; it can be managed, delimited, corralled, if we come to realize that, in some domains, anxiety has no benefits, only costs. The fate of the world is such a domain. It might make sense to worry how we and our people will get through it, how we will survive to the age of seventy or eighty years which many of us grew up anticipating, or how we will avoid death as long as we can in a hot, stormy world of droughts, flood, fires, pollution, and failing agriculture. But it will not make much sense — not mean much — to think of the whole story with anxiety. No, the whole story is something weirdly graced with an aesthetic and narrative completeness that we borrow from the future to make sense of the past and present.

In our individual lives we sometimes extrapolate into the imaginary future in order to see the journey from birth to death as a sculpted thing, carved out by the many hands of chance and choice, but ultimately complete and unified. On my deathbed, one says to oneself, I shall say something like this: I was born, I did the following things, I was this sort of person, I strove to behave in these ways when I could, these events then befell me, and ultimately, in circumstances of this kind, I perished. We seek for ourselves (if only for a moment on occasion) the encapsulated meaningfulness of an obituary or a clinical vignette. That is, I suggest, what we find ourselves doing when we contemplate our species’ emergence, rise, and crashing decline.

Unlike those amazingly stable organisms, the shark and the turtle and the clam, that stayed the same for hundreds of millions of years, ours is a young species that changed very quickly. There are several inflection points in the story, like the rise of the late Paleolithic toolkit, or the origin of agriculture in the Neolithic period, that introduce nonlinear explosive change, and the advent of fossil fuels is the biggest of these. One can perhaps imagine a timeline in which fossil fuels are never discovered, or never developed in commercial quantities, but that is not what happened. With the counterfactual in mind, we say it could have been different and so we experience the disaster as a waste, a stupid mistake, a crime. It is all of those things, but when we push the counterfactual away and focus on what did happen, the picture changes. It becomes tragic.

Choose a tragic hero, and you will find that his or her hubris was avoidable — but only in a different world, or with a different inner character. For the protagonist, his past actions were inevitable, and we can tell because the story includes them and not the alternatives. Only from a pragmatist-utilitarian standpoint is the lesson of, say, Moby-Dick that one ought not to pursue revenge at all costs, or that of Oedipus that one ought to avoid fighting older men and coupling with older women. Those are prudent lessons, but they are not the point of the tragedy. When it is too late for prudence or virtue, wisdom loses its ethical character and becomes a mostly aesthetic phenomenon. Young people watch the tragic drama and seize on the pragmatist lessons to be found in it, which they generally find disappointing: don’t act like Creon in Antigone, who insisted he was right. Don’t be like Shylock, whose lack of mercy ultimately destroyed him. Don’t do as Agamemnon did, sacrificing family for ambition. Youth has to be concerned with prudence because it has its whole life ahead of it. The older the audience at the tragic drama, the more they appreciate the heartbreaking symphony of free will, divine command, arbitrary fate, and personal character that comprises the whole story. Tragic heroes do what they do for manifold reasons, the heart of which is human nature: we are the animal that does this. So it is with our destruction of the planet we loved.

All animals in an isolated environment (like a vat, an island, or the Earth) do as we did, when they consume the available resources in a finite system until they overshoot the system’s carrying capacity and begin to die off. If we are unusual in that we became aware of what we were doing (because of our distinctly human intelligence, much of which we turn out to share with several other species, after all), we are also unusual (though again, not alone) in our tendency to ignore warnings when our identity is involved. We did not lower our energy consumption because it would have been a return to weakness, femininity, childhood, helplessness, all the things industrial civilization fears and hates the most. Just as in Greek drama or Shakespearean tragedy, this fear-of-the-wrong-thing determines our fate and defines us in the universe.

For me, these days, and perhaps for you, coping is a two-handed job: one hand holds the despair which must somehow be held (contained, regulated, bounded); the other holds the tools with which we must make our attempts to adapt.
_____________________

ihttp://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/06/27/155527365/visualizing-a-nation-of-meat-eaters

iihttp://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/04/daily-chart-17

iiiAmazon deforestation rate lowest ever recorded. December 5, 2011. http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/amazon-deforestation-rate-lowest-point-1988.html

ivBrazil may fine beef producers buying Amazon cattle. April 15, 2013. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/15/brazil-beef-fines-idUSL2N0D22F920130415

vGreenpeace factsheet, 2006, citing interview with Felecio Pontes Jr., Federal Prosecutor, Belem, Pará State, ‘In the name of Progress’. Greenpeace 2005

viThe Amazon in 2050: Implementing the law could save a million square kilometres of rainforest. Woods Hole Research Center, 22 March 2006

viiThe dead sea: global warming blamed for 40% decline in the oceans’ phytoplankton. Steve Connor, The Independent, July 20, 2010.

viiihttp://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=34&t=6

Comments 216

  • Nothing changes the fact that, eventually, all will be cold and dark.

    Cold. Dark. Without purpose, without meaning, without possibility.

    Cold. Dark.

    The only self-actualization is to become one with a cold, widely scattered, bunch of subatomic particles.

    Nothing.

  • The problem with saying that ecological people are “crying wolf” is the fact that in the story of the little boy who cried wolf, there really was a wolf, and it really did come and eat all the sheep. Ignore the part about the little boy and read the end of the story.

  • To Rob;

    You say nothing matters but you look through the prism of a limited awareness through which nothing matters and your normal ego limits say you have the truth. As if we can arrive here where we are and any one of us feel sure we are aware enough yet to securely determine any truth. Truths are not yet truths because they are proven limited. The whole truth can only be seen through a mind that continued on it’s creative way and opened doors long closed by limited minds. Who among us is so certain based on what we know and who thinks what we know up to this point is anywhere close to full knowing. That surety is what drives NTE because that surety of self when no self has emerged yet is the final nail we drive home with standard run away hubris.

    Ulvfugl; I really appreciate the open and searching heart dance that shimmers in your writing. We need to breath life to that part of us striving to be born from the ashes of a mental system going extinct. That mental emergence is little recognized under the ash heaps of vanity, hubris and needs to be right or see the truth through a dying mentality. Who will consider the seed hidden and waiting for us, you, you, you, we, to breath life to it and let the old worn out mantle of vision expire before it takes all with it’s extinction?

  • Re: “perfection”

    No free will, at first, makes folks nonplussed,
    But remember, we’re only stardust,
    And atomic pieces
    Express no caprices:
    The particles move as they must.

    So it’s simple, no need to get vexed
    By some modern or ancient text:
    This moment was cast
    By conditions just passed,
    And, in turn, it determines the next.

  • @Speak Softly, “I vote for verb.”

    Buckminster Fuller wrote a book called “I Seem to Be a Verb”.
    (“…an integral of the universe..”)

  • Rob said:

    “..but extinction of everything is inevitable given a long enough time-line, therefore, our existance has always been meaningless.”

    Refreshingly true – but, most people don’t agree that the extinction of everything is inevitable, because it’s antithetical to their belief that that they possess an eternal soul…or if not that precisely, that some sort of unifying cosmic spirit exists beyond the material world.

    That is why NTE is so challenging, because it makes it pretty clear that humans invented consciousness for various evolutionarily beneficial purposes – along with pixies and the tooth fairy and unicorns.

    So for those people who are educated enough to understand that indeed, extinction is inevitable for us “special” humans, and quite possibly looming in the near term, there appears to be an endless variety of contortions engaged in to reconcile the two – the existence of some kind of “spirituality” or “consciousness” and the pending lack of any more people to speculate on such anthropogenic notions.

    Concurrently there is a powerful urge to blame some external influence for this tragic and ignoble end, because apparently, admitting that we are all complicit also makes it difficult to pretend that humans are special and deserving of something better than the unspeakable maurauding that will surely ensue when the grid goes down and the grocery store shelves are empty.

    So Mike K can say:

    “Now it may be objected that here and there tribes did develop small localized cultures capable of relatively long term sustainability. This may have transpired, although the truth of those ancient days is largely obscured by the passage of time.”

    “Largely obscured” is no doubt true in the sense that far more of the past has been obliterated than has been preserved. However, a remarkable amount has been preserved, and it’s really quite enough for the experts who study it to determine that humans have been “unsustainable” all throughout our history, not merely since the advent of agriculture or capitalism. In fact, recent research has revealed that agriculture emerged independently in several different places in the world, at around the same time. So it’s not some aberrant trait humans could have skipped. It is US, it is who we evolved to be.

    Chris Hedges is a great writer and a courageous reporter who a greatly admire, but I would not be the first to observe that he is in the sway of magic too (why else would he be proclaiming a dystopian future on an uninhabitable planet and continue to have children?), which is why Rob’s sentence fits so perfectly with the link:

    “The deep healing required to recover from this madness is contained in various spiritual paths…”

    It’s absurd (and I mean that in a very affectionate way). The very ability of humans to indulge in fantasy – a genetic ability to lie to ourselves and each other in order to obtain that which makes us fat and happy – is what has led us down the path to perdition. Invoking spirituality to save us from what believing in spirituality has led to is not going to produce the desired results – any more than relying on technology to save us from what technology has produced, which is faster rates of extraction and pollution.

    Even the most scientifically illuminated are spell-bound by dream solutions. It’s embargoed till tomorrow watch for the Climate News Network to release their analysis of two studies, which begins with the utterly ludicrous assertion:

    “Two separate groups of researchers say there are grounds for hope that the world can escape the prospect of a possibly uncontrollable and very damaging level of climate change. But they agree that world governments will have to meet rigorous conditions to make this happen.”

    When I read such nonsense I feel like either I am going insane, or the world is insane; or both. Daniel you raised some provocative questions and that is my answer.

  • Gail says:
    “Two separate groups of researchers say there are grounds for hope that the world can escape the prospect of a possibly uncontrollable and very damaging level of climate change. But they agree that world governments will have to meet rigorous conditions to make this happen.”
    When I read such nonsense I feel like either I am going insane, or the world is insane; or both.

    An Example of Stage 3

    Doom is a hard thing to face,
    And people learn at their own pace,
    In Kubler-Ross jargon,
    They’re trying to bargain—
    A typical clinical case.

  • @Gail…

    There is a depth to the Universe that transcends the human mind, yet athiests use the human mind to insist that nothing beyond the physical exists. There is extreme hubris in the Religion of athiesm. However I will agree that the concepts humans devise to categorize the Universe can be quite limited and silly, from my point of view anyway, including the one that says all that exists is the physical.
    I have no proof of course, and yes it’s my human mind deducing this. I base it on the fact that the Universe is so vast and mysterious that there’s no way I could know for sure that there is nothing beyond what my little mind can conceive.

  • Thanks for sharing Gail. You seem to have a very rich and informed worldview. Much of what you say is familiar to me from previous positions I have held. And much you say I still agree with. With regard to my use of the word ‘spiritual’, I know that people have a vast range of understandings and feelings about that area, and it is hard in brief comments to more closely define one’s own take on it, which may have evolved over many years and diverse experiences. In brief, my understanding of spiritual is that it includes truth, love, giving, beauty, awe, and much more. I suspect you share some positive feeling for these rather immaterial but very real things?

    Gail, I long ago ceased trying to ‘convert’ anyone to my point of view about anything. I take part in this and other online forums and face to face groups concerned with the plight of our world and how we might respond to it. I have come to respect and learn from the many diverse viewpoints people generate relative to our planetary crisis. Thanks for sharing. I find you to be a very intelligent and well informed and sincere participant in our quest.

  • DMD

    One more drenching before it’s all over.

    North of here into Penn Yan 30% planted so far. It’s a disaster.

  • mike k says: The behavior that Chris describes animating Ahab is typical of those in the grip of addictive obsession. It characterizes modern society as a whole. The deep healing required to recover from this madness is contained in various spiritual paths, of which AA is a recent effective version. Awakening to our dangerous obsessive addiction to power and comfort at the expense of all higher meanings and purposes of life is the first step to developing within ourselves the latent capacities capable of saving ourselves from the seemingly fatal and inevitable course we are presently embarked upon.

    Gail responds: The very ability of humans to indulge in fantasy – a genetic ability to lie to ourselves and each other in order to obtain that which makes us fat and happy – is what has led us down the path to perdition. Invoking spirituality to save us from what believing in spirituality has led to is not going to produce the desired results

    My interpretation is that you are both saying the same thing in so many words- mike calls the madness ‘addictive obsession’, Gail calls it ‘a genetic ability to lie to ourselves in order to obtain that which makes us fat and happy’.
    A spiritual path does not necessarily mean indulging in fantasies, but finding that which is sacred to you and honoring it. For the addict, the object of their obsession becomes sacred, whether it is drugs, alcohol, food, material possessions, gambling, conquest, power, etc…The path of the addict requires lying in order to indulge the ‘need’ for excess. Honesty and abstinence from destructive behaviors are usually embraced on a spiritual journey, as well giving up the illusion of control. It doesn’t have to mean that some savior is going to rescue the poor, innocent souls, but is a way to live with respect and dignity.
    In my experience, very few people are able to live in complete honesty, and the lengths some will go to in order to justify insane behavior determines the level of their sanity, or lack thereof. A spiritual path can teach one a way to live and heal amongst the madness, to recognize ones own flaws and strengths, building from there. It can lead one out of living in fear, letting go of shame and guilt, which can be a large part of the ‘spiritual sickness’ that is required to join the madness of society.
    Myself, I knew something was deeply wrong with the larger system when I started learning in school about Columbus and the ‘Indians’, and it was all presented so rationally. How do you just move along to other subject matter after genocide? I can just imagine my young mind going ‘WTF?!’ Maybe someday I will indulge the insanity and go through the day’s news, counting the number of times someone says, “I’VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT BEFORE!”

  • Japanese Mobsters print their own Motivational Magazine

    “Japan’s biggest yakuza organized crime group has published a magazine for its members that includes a poetry page and senior gangsters’ fishing diaries, reports said Wednesday. The eight-page publication has been distributed among the Yamaguchi-gumi, a sprawling syndicate believed to have about 27,700 [gang] members [thugs], in a bid to strengthen unity in the group, the daily Sankei Shimbun reported.”

    Mobsters with magazines, what will these clever humans come up with next!

    There’s hope after all!

    Humans are just so damn adaptable.

    I wonder if the Yakuza will have a section in the new Mag on NTE.

    No, not the kind we discuss here, the kind that befalls you when you miss your loan shark payment!

    I also got my ‘word for the day’ from a movie poster:

    Robosapian

    Yes kids, we have a successor to h s sapian

    High Five!

    It can withstand extreme climate degradation, high winds, drought, dust bowls, radical temperature differentials, toxic spew, you name it.

    Talk about Perfect!

    I knew We could Do It, just what the doctor ordered!

    A legacy as last.

    I can rest assured that all is Right in the World.

  • Arctic Sea Ice blog on current methane trends

    http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/

  • In the great scheme of things, it might be easier to see what was done wrong than what was done right. If such be true, could it make more sense to focus on what not to do as opposed to the opposite? The not doing would outweigh the doing.

  • once an atheist, once a cornucopian, too.

    now I know: the world is the smallest sliver of the real, and NTE is solid gold.

    I seek no escape in delusion. I know the true horror in store.

    wonderful science, bringer of truth. fallible scientists, minds caged.

    terrible awakening, the abyss is coming. certain death, rushing onwards.

  • O/T I just watched a brown bear devour a salmon in about 20 seconds! (With the magic of the internet, of course!) Just thought I would share…
    http://explore.org/live-cams/player/brown-bear-salmon-cam-brooks-falls?popoff=true

  • Thanks for the essay Jamey. Your thoughts and feelings are shared by many who are familiar with NTE. Fascinating how we humans can normalize the non-normal so quickly. Pearson Int’l airport has more rain in less than 24 hours (126 mm) than ever recorded in history including deadly Hurricane Hazel back in 1954 and nobody says boo about the underlying causes of it. Ditto our Calgary floods. Not sure how Shakespeare would treat this odd behaviour.

  • B9K9 Says:
    …there is a relatively small minority who also understand very well the coming train wreck, and are preparing a means for them to survive.

    Yes, I agree, and following our intrepid rulers efforts to survive could provide the primary source of entertainment for the rest of us. This assumes its not all conducted in total secrecy and that there are means of communications that will allow us to follow the progress, both of which are doubtful. NTE is a process not an event, it will have its early stages, those first frighteningly unprecedented droughts that double or triple food prices, where we will be able to see the reactions and the priorities of TPTB. The length of their survivability will depend on how much time they have to prepare. I’ve moved the NTE date back by one year to 2032 because this year we didn’t have the kind of food supply eliminating droughts we need to get the ball rolling. Even the drought stricken areas around the mud hut are now getting above normal rains.

    Gaia set us on our mission five million years ago, so what’s a few more decades or even a century to her? Maybe her math is slightly different than ours, her sense of time certainly is. To add to George Carlin’s observation, maybe she wants more plastic out of us, or is waiting for to unleash more radioactive isotopes into the soils and tissues of animals. This is from a pro-nuke article:

    Worldwide, at least 30 countries rely on nuclear energy to supply at least one-quarter of their total electricity, and many others — including Turkey, Colombia, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates — plan to build their first reactors. Seventy-one reactors are under construction and more than 450 are planned or proposed, in addition to the 437 nuclear plants now in operation.

  • Lament for ulvfugl

    there’s no work to be done, and there’s no one to do it.
    convenient for me, if you would hop to it.

    while dreaming of cages, I woke to the lash,
    my keeper was me, I thought it quite brash,

    that I’d built this cage, brick by lead brick,
    then walked right through the wall –
    it was thin and quite quick!

    mind was the prisoner, ego held the key.
    did he ask for it back?
    of course, that’s just me.

  • @ TIAA

    Ulvfugl; I really appreciate the open and searching heart dance that shimmers in your writing. We need to breath life to that part of us striving to be born from the ashes of a mental system going extinct. That mental emergence is little recognized under the ash heaps of vanity, hubris and needs to be right or see the truth through a dying mentality. Who will consider the seed hidden and waiting for us, you, you, you, we, to breath life to it and let the old worn out mantle of vision expire before it takes all with it’s extinction?

    Thank you for your touching words. I don’t think I have anything for anybody, do I ?

    NTE breaks all the stories. Everyone here gives their variation on the theme, like playing instruments in an orchestra. Sometimes I hear someone out of tune and I frown, some instruments I find it hard to like, some instruments always sound sweet, everyone has their own individual taste…

    My analysis is bleaker than most people’s. I think the scientists grossly underestimate the rate of the oncoming collapse. I don’t think there is any effective action that can or will be taken. The worst possible thing that could happen is happening. The future is impossible.

    So, then what ?

    I have been a student of zen, amongst other things, for more than forty years. That used to make sense of my world and my existence. NTE broke the story. That was good. I had been holding onto zen.

    What now ? It is still the best thing I have. More wonderful than ever. But I would say that, wouldn’t I, because I am my instrument, like Pablo Casals playing the cello, the two are one. Others here don’t like the sound I make so much ;-)

    “I gained nothing at all from Supreme Enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called Supreme Enlightenment.” Gautama Buddha.

    Here is a nice blog I just found about a young woman who found herself and her path through taoism and martial arts.

    http://thevalleyspirit.wordpress.com/

    @ Softly

    Amazing Yakuza mag. I wonder if it’ll be getting a fashion page and a woman’s section and an ecology supplement… do we have any Japanese writers here, we could offer to do them translations of these essays ;-)

    @ Badlands

    Thanks for very cool bear cam :-)

  • The only self-actualization is to become one with a cold, widely scattered, bunch of subatomic particles.

    The invalidity of nihilism is manifest in awareness. Awareness is consciousness with an apparent content, a content that apparently limits it to time-space-causation. The content, and only the content, amounts to nothingness. Also “consciousness” and “awareness” as spoken of or written about are concepts, another brick or two in the apparent construct called “reality” – which is yet another concept, another brick in that illusory edifice.

    It is a presumption that there is awareness in others. One has no way to experience other’s awareness: it is an equally valid presumption that all others are meat robots. But that does not by one whit reduce the validity of one’s awareness.

  • Once I knew the way home. A coziness twinkled through the window, always there, inviting me back through the unpredictable winds. I returned from many journeys along this path, so easy to walk, marked by so many footsteps of the past. But it was the sweet aroma of her love that always drew me home. Now every frustrating attempt to find home, again, and again, ends at cliff edges and slippery slopes. The window got cracked and the light blew out. The house is empty, broken, and abandoned. The announcement came from a great distance: Even her blood and bones were burned. Nothing remains, nothing to hold onto. Without that precious guiding love-light, home will never be found again. The last pull in my heart weakened away. My love, Oh Life, she has died around me, died before me. A mere ghost now am I, lost and wandering in overshoot, suspended in dying limbo, waiting so impatiently to finish joining her, soon. Very soon. Now only a sad darkness points to the inferno.

  • From the Jumping Jack Flash blog

    “Uh oh, this sounds like yet another self-reinforcing feedback loop. More wildfires make for more warming, which makes for more wildfires, which makes for more warming, and so on…”

    http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1112894368/climate-change-effects-seen-in-wildfire-emissions-071013/

    Wildfire Emissions Plays Greater Role In Climate Change Than Previously Believed

    Emissions produced as a result of wildfires could be playing a greater role in global warming than experts had previously believed, according to new research published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

    Climate scientists had long known that wildfires produce a mixture of carbon-containing particles. However, measurements taken by researchers from the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Michigan Technological University during the massive 2011 Las Conchas fire in New Mexico revealed that those carbonaceous aerosols are actually quite different from those features in current computer simulations.

    As a result, the results of those computer climate models could be inaccurate. Based on their findings, the researchers believe that scientists need to establish a framework to include a realistic representation of these carbon-containing particles in climate models. Furthermore, they suggest that wildfire emissions could contribute far more to global warming trends than current estimates suggest.

    “We’ve found that substances resembling tar balls dominate, and even the soot is coated by organics that focus sunlight. Both components can potentially increase climate warming by increased light absorption,” LANL senior laboratory scientist Manvendra Dubey said in a statement.

    “The fact that we are experiencing more fires and that climate change may increase fire frequency underscores the need to include these specialized particles in the computer models, and our results show how this can be done,” added Dubey, who worked on the study along with Allison Aiken and Kyle Gorkowski of LANL and Claudio Mazzoleni and Swarup China of Michigan Tech.

    Scientists currently believe that fire-driven particles contain soot or black carbon that absorbs sunlight and warms the climate, and organic carbon or smoke that reflects sunlight to cool the climate. However, after analyzing the morphology and composition of specific aerosols emitted by the Las Conchas fire, Dubey and his colleagues discovered that those two opposing components aren’t present in equal quantities.

    The LANL/Michigan Tech team established a comprehensive aerosol sampling system to monitor the smoke from the fire for a period of more than 10 days. They used field-emission scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy to analyze the aerosol samples, and found that the spherical carbonaceous particles known as tar balls were actually 10 times more abundant than soot particles.

    “Furthermore, the bare soot particles, which are composite porous fractal structures made of tiny spherical carbon, are modified significantly by the organics emitted by the fire,” officials from the laboratory said. “About 96 percent of the soot from the fire is coated by other organics substances, with 50 percent being totally coated. ”

    In addition, the US Department of Energy Office of Science-funded study found that the complexity of the soot could be categorized into four different morphological structures: embedded, partly coated, with inclusions, and bare. Those discoveries could be extremely important for climate, according to Dubey.

    “Most climate assessment models treat fire emissions as a mixture of pure soot and organic carbon aerosols that offset the respective warming and cooling effects of one another on climate,” he explained. “However Las Conchas results show that tar balls exceed soot by a factor of 10 and the soot gets coated by organics in fire emissions, each resulting in more of a warming effect than is currently assumed.”

    “Tar balls can absorb sunlight at shorter blue and ultraviolet wavelengths (also called brown carbon due to the color) and can cause substantial warming,” the LANL researcher added. “Furthermore, organic coatings on soot act like lenses that focus sunlight, amplifying the absorption and warming by soot by a factor of 2 or more. This has a huge impact on how they should be treated in computer models.”

    [so what are we up to now 13 or 14 positive feedback loops?]

  • In addition to the latest oil well leak in the Gulf of Mexico we have this discovery:

    http://enenews.com/record-levels-of-radioactive-material-detected-at-fukushima-600000-bqliter-in-groundwater-official-may-be-seeping-from-reactors-into-ocean

    Record levels of radioactive material detected at Fukushima — 600,000 Bq/liter in groundwater — Official: May be seeping from reactors into ocean

    Is it any wonder that marine life is rapidly dying off?

  • WOW – talk about hopium.

    I read this article and my chin was on my chest – only thing I can figure — it’s probably another intentional misdirection ?!??

    I’ve included the last few lines with the link. I live on the southern edge of the anthracite coal field in PA. We have no gas under our feet, but the county north of us is where Marcellus shale gas starts. Already they want ‘our’ water. I’ve read a little and experienced a little of what ‘fracking’ has to offer — poison, disease, death and destruction come first to mind.

    Perhaps they’ve been eatin the shrooms from the cowflops?

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/climate_chaos_neednt_happen_if_20130711/

    “For example, shale gas has tremendously positive environmental implications, so long as you regard it as a bridge, not a destination.

    Professor Prins says: “It is simply not acceptable to pursue policies that will leave the bottom billion of humanity without the energy services they require for wellbeing and dignity.

    “This paper attempts to form a common foundation which will enable us to provide large quantities of energy at low cost, and with low environmental impact.

  • Bob S. – yes that’s the same release I was referring to embargoed yesterday that struck me as total insanity – haven’t they heard of Jevon’s paradox? The world is drifting into such delusion and cognitive dissonance, it would be vastly amusing if only I didn’t care. To be perfectly honest, if I didn’t have children I likely wouldn’t care, or at least not nearly so much. It’s getting harder to laugh when every day there are more disasters – floods and landslides and wildfires – and riots in the streets are getting closer as the agricultural failure looms.

    Luna – atheism is not a religion. By any metric you choose to define religion, atheism isn’t. That is sort of like what climate deniers say to environmentalists – if you really wanted clean energy you’d be in favor of nuclear power. A little humor on the subject!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ix_cWWVuG1o (and lest anyone feel Bill Maher is offensive, he recently produced a really terrific “climate change for dummies” on HBO Vice called “The World Is Sinking” that is perfect for your Republican brother-in-law, it’s on youtube.)

    Like you, I find the universe a vast and mysterious place, so vast and mysterious that I feel no need to imbue it with any more vastly mysterious and wondrous properties than it already physically possesses. If people find they need more than that to get them through the day, or excuse our frequently horrible behavior, it’s certainly a popular choice. But it isn’t based on reality (which I define as testable, empirical scientific facts).

    Mike K., I do find many aspects of humanity inspiring and delightful, because I’m human – but “truth, love, giving, beauty, awe” and so forth are not “immaterial” things. Neuroscientists may not know yet precisely how all those human feelings are produced by chemicals or synapses or whatever, but to a growing extent they are finding that they are quantifiable and measurable. People with certain kinds of brain damage or congental defects, for instance, don’t have the same emotional affects depending on which part of the brain is impaired. So there is a source for that, and it is material, not ethereal.

    When the last person dies, will there be any more love or awe? Of course not. It will die with the last person, just like Thor died with the last Viking…and so will “spirituality” evaporate, however you prefer to define it for the purposes of living now.

  • Gail, you are absolutely on fire. Out of all the great commenters hanging out in this space, you’re the one who’s artfully linking all the pieces together. Perhaps it’s just my analytical background, but I really appreciate an ability to pull together disparate threads of history/facts in order to build a picture of a cohesive whole.

    In fact, your recent run of comments appears to have enough substance to run a blog along similar lines as your ‘friend’ Orlov. You’ve got the perspective on all the key inputs to put out fresh material every 3-4 days. If I make one suggestion, just dump the weepy shit about dying trees & leaves falling and move into top level NTE geo-politics that is already in play.

    If you can just make the last leap to embrace the notion that there’s a lot of other people who understand perfectly well what is occurring, and have been busy little beavers setting up the infrastructure to support a legal state in which to preserve control during the coming dark ages, I dare say you’d be a major hit.

    The beauty of linking the past with the present (and future) is that it gives you ample topical material in which to publish fresh commentary/observations on the ever increasing & obvious movements afoot.

  • The fish will have to grow two heads before they admit anything:

    TEPCO has said it has detected “no significant impact” on the environment. It says cesium tends to be absorbed in the soil, and denies water contaminated with that element reached the sea.

    But the Nuclear Regulation Authority said Wednesday that samples from both the pit water and coastal seawater indicated that contaminated underground water likely had reached the sea.

    TPTB have no choice but to kill most of us, one way or another.

  • “…following our intrepid rulers efforts to survive could provide the primary source of entertainment for the rest of us.This assumes its not all conducted in total secrecy and that there are means of communications that will allow us to follow the progress, both of which are doubtful.”

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s also a worthy intellectual exercise to consider how they will or won’t go about this in such a complex planet, gripped with such social variation and complexity.

    “NTE is a process not an event, it will have its early stages, those first frighteningly unprecedented droughts that double or triple food prices, where we will be able to see the reactions and the priorities of TPTB.”

    If you look at Africa in particular–the DRC, where around six million people have perished (largely due to peak minerals) in the last decade, or the more severe and frequent East African droughts, and resulting starvation, migration and misery–NTE is already well underway.

    “I think the scientists grossly underestimate the rate of the oncoming collapse. I don’t think there is any effective action that can or will be taken.”

    I find it useful to distinguish between the can and the will in that last sentence. I rate the will as far more determinative than the can.

  • @Ripley says “Following our intrepid rulers efforts to survive could provide the primary source of entertainment for the rest of us.”

    Exactly – that’s my point – the intellectual enjoyment is watching the game unfold as expected/predicted. In many ways, it’s like that famous line from the movie Patton: “Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!”

    Of better yet, watching a grand master tournament that is complemented by informed observations & commentary. That way, ‘normal’ people can gain insight as to how games unfold with anticipated moves in the context of countless possible permutations, but all based on historical precedent.

    The stuff Snowden has revealed, while not a surprise to anyone paying attention, is merely confirmation that the PTB are even further ahead on the curve than most expected. And like any strategic game, misinformation as a defensive maneuver is just as critical as a positive offense.

    The positive offense, is of course all the machinations being put into play in order to maintain control. The defensive game, however, is more subtle, and depends on misdirection in order to confuse possible leads. That is why people like Guy are marginalized and consigned to weirdo conferences complete with tatooed freaks who have conveniently self-labeled themselves.

    Even at this late date, Guy could still come in from the cold and play a role for the regime. Either way, the shit is starting to get real – I can almost feel the curtain call being readied as zero hour approaches.

  • In My Opinion:

    Intelligence does not mean you have a spirit. To be self-aware does not mean you have a soul.

    If you want to believe in Eternity, you can, because the subatomic particles that presently comprise your body will still be here long after you are gone and forgotten.

    …and the children suffer.

  • U,,

    Thanks for the video. I had once thought of myself as either the last man or the first woman. But with NTE…

    Looking at the video, the tears welled up (they’re almost flowing now) at the old woman grinding the large piece of metal into a needle…

  • @ulvfugl

    Your welcome! A friend posted that, and I instantly became mesmerized by the bears. It seems all is right with the world for some. Then I thought about what Jamey said in the article, we are the animal that does this.And I thought, bears are the animal that do this (!) If I had some more time I could have a lot of fun illustrating/contrasting our ridiculousness with the nonchalance of animals.

  • @ Luna
    There is a depth to the Universe that transcends the human mind… etc
    @ mike k
    my understanding of spiritual is that it includes truth, love, giving, beauty, awe, and much more….etc

    It is a complete waste of time trying to communicate anything to do with ‘spiritual matters’ to people who are pre-dominately left brain because for them, such matters simply do not exist. It’s like trying to talk about magnificent scenery to a congenitally blind person, or glorious music to a deaf person.

    Some people live in a world that consist only of verbal intellectual material constructs, and have been culturally conditioned to follow an ideology which denies any possibility outside a very restricted range, general described as ‘the rational’ although when asked to define what that is, it turns out to be just as vague and absurd and meaningless a label as ‘the spiritual’.

    On the other hand, it’s usually equally a waste of time trying to communicate with the self-proclaimed ‘spiritual’ folks, in my experience, because, whatever label they stand under, they usually just repeat doctrinal notions that they have been taught as dogma, and have no direct experience or insights of their own. Quoting someone else’s spiritual revelation secondhand, is somewhat akin to eating someone else’s food second hand, imho.

    So all these words, soul, spirit, mind, consciousness, enlightenment, have been so abused and misused that they are vague and confusing. Useless.
    Western religion, science and psychology, soceity in general, for all its hubris and vainglory, is absolutely lost and hopeless regarding ‘spirituality’.

    When I talk about these matters, i am speaking about something very precise and specific. By ‘soul’ I mean the Subtle Body, as mapped out in many traditions, but I think the Chinese is possibly the most detailed, and anyway it’s the one I know best. And by ‘spirit’, I mean qi, chi, or ki.

    For example, every night I take my dog for walk down the lane, about three hundred yards and back. I rise from zazen, and nirvikalpa samadhi.
    I put on my physical body, like clothes. When my dog has finished eating, we walk. My physical form has no weight. I float. All my chi is concentrated in my left hand. My physical form consists only of bliss.

    This kind of thing is described here

    http://neigong.net/2011/06/06/how-to-successfully-lower-qi-to-dantian/

    @ B9K9

    Do you not prefer a clean, warm & comfortable bed? What about getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom? (It’s true, indoor plumbing stands as one of mankind’s greatest achievements.) Now, wake up and make breakfast & brew some coffee. Where did the energy come from to refrigerate & heat? What about taking a hot shower, putting on some clean clothes and sitting in a nice comfortable car on the way to work? Preferably a nice office job with AC, steady hours & benefits. Now, who in their right mind would willingly walk away from this?

    You obviously have no experience of the exquisite pleasure of laying on the hard ground beside an open fire under the sublime stars, eating baked potatoes with black charcoal finger marks….a dog, a horse. Fuck your office and car…

    Even at this late date, Guy could still come in from the cold and play a role for the regime….

    You sound just like the Devil tempting Christ in the desert, or Mara tempting Buddha under the Bodhi tree.

    ‘Come on over to the Dark Side with me and Dick Cheney, the money’s real good, counting those fools into the FEMA camps, easy, just like counting beans…’.

    Still, I suppose we need someone here to represent the Satanic. Just so we don’t forget.

    @ Artleads

    There’s something wrong about that teacher talking to her under the electric light that goes out, where he says that he thought it might take so many years, and then he thinks so many more years.

    Obviously, the teaching has gone astray somewhere. The physical part, swordsmanship, is incredible, but that might be because it was sponsored by the Chinese Gvt. at some point during the last century.
    I don’t think the Gvt was interested in the spiritual part, which pretty much died out. Could be wrong. I shouldn’t speak for them. Taoism, like Hinduism and Buddhism, is vast. Impossible for one scholar to learn everything about them in one lifetime.

    The zen school I follow took a sort of minimalist approach. Strip away everything that isn’t essential. What’s left ?

    From my perspective, trying to find enlightenment is an obstacle. That very idea was why it was taking the poor guy so long. If he’d only stop trying to do ANYTHING…. :-)

    Just sit still. It does it by itself. No effort required. Perfectly natural. Watch every thought, every breath. If you can’t do it for ten minutes, do it for five. If you can’t do it for five, do it for two minutes.

    if you can’t do it for two, just watch THIS breath, THIS thought. As if it was your very LAST.

    @ Badlands

    Yes. Mesmerized. :-)

  • Gail, thanks for your response. For those who believe the doctrines of scientific materialism to be unassailable fact, it is usually not possible to realize that their belief structure is only one of numerous philosophical worldviews, each of which has its relevance and field of usefulness. The temptation is to consider this one perspective to be all inclusive, and if fully developed all explanatory of the vast mystery we find ourselves within. I used to hold this view in spades. I no longer do so. I am like the reluctant Cardinal who finally agreed to look through Galileo’s telescope. However the instrument I was persuaded to look through was my own mind, perhaps the most complex and powerful modality in existence, the flower of the Universe’s long labor to birth higher levels of intelligence. That inward gaze is often referred to as meditation.

    One result of my willingness to experiment in this manner has been that I experienced something like the paradigm shift that Thomas Kuhn writes of in his Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Turns out there are more things in heaven and earth than were dreamed of in my philosophy. Quite a shock! But it opened a whole new range of experience and possibility to my enquiring mind.

    As I indicated in my previous post, I have no intention of teaching, converting, or disproving anyone or anything. My intent is to simply share my ideas and experiences and perspectives in the hope of enriching our quest for better solutions to our pressing problems. In the same spirit I offer this link: I strongly endorse the following article which might help some of us keep from being swallowed into the Black Hole of Scientism: http://howtosavetheworld.ca/2013/06/13/the-dangers-of-scientism-and-the-fear-of-the-unknowable/

  • @ mo flow

    Apologies for this, my copy paste left out…

    Lament for ulvfugl

    Not quite sure what to make of that, think you need to write another :-)

  • @U says “You obviously have no experience of the exquisite pleasure of laying on the hard ground beside an open fire under the sublime stars, eating baked potatoes with black charcoal finger marks….a dog, a horse. Fuck your office and car…”

    U, you little pansy wastrel, I just got back from walking 40 miles in 2 night/3 days at elevations exceeding 14k. I designed and made all my equipment, with the exception of a few articles of clothing. I sleep on a torso length (shoulder-hips) 1/4″ CCF pad that, which, rather than providing cushion, serves primarily as insulation against sub-zero temperatures over pure granite ground.

    Food is a custom mix of nuts, berries & dried veggies. Any true hiker doesn’t waste time & energy taking cooking gear, much less preparing something as ridiculous as a baked potato on the trail. LOL

    But, no matter how hard-core one may be, the thought of a hot shower, a juicy, fat laden cooked meal, and the sheer joy of getting into a car and not having to hike any more is something one literally dreams of during those last few hours sleep-walking on the descent back to civilization.

    You’re nothing other than a petulant punk, locked up in some state sponsored hovel in left-over land. You don’t live in the world, you don’t understand the dreams & desires of ‘ordinary’ people, you haven’t experienced first-hand the biological imperative that drives species to its own demise, and you apparently can’t conceive that players who do understand all this & more pathologically lead the masses to ruin.

  • Lament, take 2

    no gurus, no gods,
    no copies to paste,

    no answers are given
    no questions are waste.

    there are truly no teachings,
    not already known,

    if that’s not yet clear,
    my mind is just blown.

    an enlightenment scam?
    the buddha ate ham

  • one last,
    one at last.
    it matters to the diamond,
    because it matters to me.

  • B9k9, sounds kind of sadomasochistic. “…having to” hike.. Who says you have to?
    The thing about the nice clean bed is that we can certainly have that without the office and the car. The majority of modern jobs are utterly superfluous to the basic needs of food/shelter/clothing. They’re just tacked on for the extra waste factor.

    One of the first books I read on my ten-year journey out of the darkness of conventional economic assumptions was “Your Money or Your Life” (catchphrase: “are you making a living or making a dying?”).

  • ulvfugl Says:
    July 10th, 2013 at 9:28 pm
    @ TIAA

    Ulvfugl; I really appreciate the open and searching heart dance that shimmers in your writing. We need to breath life to that part of us striving to be born from the ashes of a mental system going extinct. That mental emergence is little recognized under the ash heaps of vanity, hubris and needs to be right or see the truth through a dying mentality. Who will consider the seed hidden and waiting for us, you, you, you, we, to breath life to it and let the old worn out mantle of vision expire before it takes all with it’s extinction?

    Thank you for your touching words. I don’t think I have anything for anybody, do I ?

    NTE breaks all the stories. Everyone here gives their variation on the theme, like playing instruments in an orchestra. Sometimes I hear someone out of tune and I frown, some instruments I find it hard to like, some instruments always sound sweet, everyone has their own individual taste…

    My analysis is bleaker than most people’s. I think the scientists grossly underestimate the rate of the oncoming collapse. I don’t think there is any effective action that can or will be taken. The worst possible thing that could happen is happening. The future is impossible.

    So, then what ?

    I have been a student of zen, amongst other things, for more than forty years. That used to make sense of my world and my existence. NTE broke the story. That was good. I had been holding onto zen.

    What now ? It is still the best thing I have. More wonderful than ever. But I would say that, wouldn’t I, because I am my instrument, like Pablo Casals playing the cello, the two are one. Others here don’t like the sound I make so much

    “I gained nothing at all from Supreme Enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called Supreme Enlightenment.” Gautama Buddha.

    Here is a nice blog I just found about a young woman who found herself and her path through taoism and martial arts.

    http://thevalleyspirit.wordpress.com/

    Dear Ulvfugl , yes you are giving, of free will and great determination. Our original nature will not be denied because NTE is breaking all the stories, what else would? What else could? The price of new life is always bloor and all the drilling, fracking and denying won’t change it. I think our hang up to breathing life to the seed reality waiting to be born is not that NTE is upon us and we really grasp it but the opposite, even here we don’t know it fully so it is not fully breaking the story that needs broken, but in you it has cracked open a fissure or widened one already created through your cultivation through which light, however small is streaming. We need that light for the seed to grow. The more NTE gets real for us the bigger the fissure in the darkness will grow. Is it a race against time? Can NTE get any more real? Yes it has a long way to go before it truly breaks our story of extinction and reveals the seeds of a new civilization. We need each other to make it through this process of emergence, like seeds that sprout need the sun to grow. So yes, sorry to glorify you, if however humbly considering NTE, but you a or any of us may be separately and together what is needed most.

  • B9K9 – thanks! I put a response to you of sorts on my blog – preliminary, I will still think about it. But writing for a blog, whether about trees or other forms of catastrophic collapse, is hard on any regular basis. I note with sadness that Dave proclaimed on his 7/8 post that DOTE will be retired, more or less, later this month.

    I can say that, as he describes, he is a very nice to meet in person. In addition to his wonderful writing, he said something to me that still gives me great comfort, when I mentioned that I am wracked with guilt for having brought children into this world. “Don’t feel guilty”, he said, “Never feel guilty” – and recounted a conversation he had long ago with a woman, who he was trying to persuade that we should all wake up and mend our ways for the sake of the future. “But,” she said simply, “That’s not us.”

    We are who we are.

    So when TIAA says something like this:

    “The more NTE gets real for us the bigger the fissure in the darkness will grow. Is it a race against time? Can NTE get any more real? Yes it has a long way to go before it truly breaks our story of extinction and reveals the seeds of a new civilization. We need each other to make it through this process of emergence, like seeds that sprout need the sun to grow.”

    I guess it will do no good, even here at NTE, to point out that EXTINCTION means THERE WILL BE NO NEW CIVILIZATION. The “seeds” will not be viable!

  • George Carlin’s planetary perspective:

    (Obsessive as I am, I don’t feel justified in posting commentary unless I’ve kept up with the discussions, and not just darted in and out of reading over the several days, so I’ll just sweep the synapses with — what an eloquent essay, by a fine writer and thinker!… And, BtD, has he ever missed a line, a word, a syllable incorrectly? I’m contemplating a “Best of BtD” compendium post, but it would really only be to copy his entire body of work, and then postscript: “I’ll have what he’s having.” Another Carlin, inspired in a different form? Lucky we are to have.)

  • Gail, you cannot know for sure time is up for a new civilization to emerge, that is illogical and unscientific to say the least. I cannot know for certain time is beginning for a new civilization, I know you feel you are absolutely right and you think that is your raft of sanity. I suggest the possibility you put that raft aside and keep it handy for when the waters arrive at your door. In the mean time what more harm can be done to yourself or this world by simply taking one moment aside to cinsider there is more to this than is at first apparent? And further if you are so sure all is lost , then what loss can be furthered by putting some faith in those who see more and trying with your incalculably amazing mind to look again and see what you might be missing, what is lost and and what if something is yet to be found? It becomes a win/win and lose/ lose.

    Do you have something better to do in the meantime but wait to be right or wrong?

  • Gail says: I guess it will do no good, even here at NTE, to point out that EXTINCTION means THERE WILL BE NO NEW CIVILIZATION.

    NTE

    Once we have settled our doubt,
    NTE is what we’re all about;
    So when others forget,
    We don’t get upset,
    We simply keep pointing it out.
    ==

    Henry, thanks so much.

    The way I started my writing limerick writing at LATOC was write, post, edit. Can’t do that here, and I cringe immediately after posting most of the time. The ones I add to my blog (click on my name to get there) often show changes. For example, today I copied over my comment from yesterday here on “perfection,” but changed “vexed” to “perplexed.”

    There’s not enough time for perfecting these jingles—the conversation goes too fast. And besides, it’s not like anybody’s ever going to read this stuff in the nonexistent future; hell, newcomers don’t even go back to read it here now! :D
    ==

    Whatever

    If you don’t accept NTE,
    That’s perfectly fine with me;
    It’s all good, don’t worry:
    There’s no need to hurry
    The panic we’re going to see.

  • BenjaminTheDonkey says: The way I started my writing limerick writing at LATOC was write, post, edit. Can’t do that here, and I cringe immediately after posting most of the time.

    Perfect fucking example.

  • But it isn’t based on reality (which I define as testable, empirical scientific facts).

    Indeed. Testable, empirical scientific facts are the only sane way to address the construct that masquerades as reality. On that basis everyone other than oneself is a meat robot. Or not? There is no way to prove of disprove either perspective.

    “truth, love, giving, beauty, awe” and so forth are not “immaterial” things.

    They are a part of the “material” universe, a part of the same construct. They appear in a part of the construct that the Vedic tradition refers to as the “subtle body”. An appropriate configuration of matter+energy as in an electromagnet generates a magnetic field. So too, appropriate configurations of matter+energy such as brain structures generate apparent awareness and feelings that constitute the “subtle body”.

    For those who believe the doctrines of scientific materialism to be unassailable fact

    Within the construct that masquerades as reality, scientific materialism is unassailable. But to be true to it, all (except oneself) are meat robots: one cannot experience others’ awareness.

    the vast mystery we find ourselves within.

    The “we”, or more specifically the “I” is the only mystery.

    the instrument I was persuaded to look through was my own mind,

    That is shortchanging oneself. It’s not the mind, but the “I” that’s doing the looking that needs attention.

    B9K9: nothing other than a petulant punk

    Better to give petulancy a wide berth: powerful practices lead to great power, but not necessarily to its direction and control. Hence petulancy.

  • @ B9K9

    I see straight through your bullshit. You think it takes cooking gear to bake a potato ? Hahahaha. Fucking clueless amateur holiday weekend hiker you are.
    Look, you steal the potatoes from a farmer’s potato field, you don’t carry them. Or from someone’s back garden if you’re hungry enough.
    You dig a hole and light the fire on top. If you know how, you can do it in the pouring rain with wet wood. The top halves bake. When you’ve eaten them, you put the other halves back in the hole and cover them with embers. You need to know how to make a fire that doesn’t make much smoke, find a place where people won’t see smoke. I know how to snare a rabbit, tickle a trout, and cook with such a fire. I’ve lived off the land. I got very hungry. It’s not easy. Now I am old, you’re right, I like having a refrigerator. You are wrong, i know how everyone out there thinks. Including you.

    But, no matter how hard-core one may be, the thought of….

    That’s not ‘hard core’. That’s some sort of macho mental derangement, isn’t it ? Not one thing or the other. Back to ‘civilsation’ ?
    You never left, you did some sort ‘feat’, like running a marathon to prove something. Then back to mummy’s nipple. Car ? Shower ? Dear, oh dear. Shame on you.

    @ mo flow

    Thanks.
    Many zen forums are full of riddles and rhymes
    that make no sense at all and hide all sorts of silliness.
    I think it’s unfair to ordinary folk to pretend to have wisdom
    and seem make life into an obscure opaque esoteric joke.
    So I try to speak plainly.

    @ TIAA

    …and reveals the seeds of a new civilization. We need each other to make it through this process of emergence, like seeds that sprout need the sun to grow. So yes, sorry to glorify you,..

    I’m not very good at being glorified, flattering though it be, because I know own my limitations better than anyone. If I could fix this mess I’d gladly give my life, if that’s what it took, but it’s not that simple.

    A couple of years ago, in Paul Kingsnorth’s Dark Mountain Two anthology I wrote a piece where I talked about what it might be like when we emerged from the bottleneck, because, at that time I still believed that there would be a huge crisis, a collapse of civilisation, and then, as you put it, some new form of civilisation would emerge.

    I advised people, rather as the Archdruid does on his Green Wizards Forum, to learn useful skills, like weaving and spinning and knitting, so that when there would be no more factory made mass produced garments made from synthetic fibres and imported from faraway countries, people might know how to clothe themselves. That sort of thing.

    But, alas, since then, in my eyes, everything looks far more grim. I was expecting dramatic action to cut CO2 emissions.
    Nothing happened. Turned out that most of what we were told re keeping to 2 deg C by scientists and politicians was lies. Too late now.
    I cannot see any bottleneck from which anything emerges. All I see is a mass extinction event, that draws ever closer.

    This is probably the only place on the whole internet where there are people who agree with me about that, and there are not very many of them. That does not mean we are wrong.
    There is always a possibility that we are wrong, but I cannot see how. But there is no consensus here. What there is is a lot of people with strong personalities and strong views, each of whom has some overlap with some others, but also some disagreement, so we constantly argue, and over time, sometimes modify our opinions, as we learn. That’s how I see it, anyway.

    If I have anything to offer at all, maybe it is that this zen thing is a teaching about being fully present to life in each moment. So, whether NTE happens sooner or later, or whether anyone survives a bottleneck into some future, is not something to be overly dwelt upon, if it means missing the fact that you are alive NOW.

    There is not nothing. There is something. We are it.

    This is it. This is it, this very moment.

    Now it is gone. Forever. Did you miss it ?

    That does not mean that i don’t think about NTE, because, obviously, I do. It does not mean that I retreat into mysticism to evade reality, or that I disregard empirical science and the lessons of history.

    I strive to explain to people what I believe is going on, as best I can, as truthfully as I can. I would love to be able to say ‘Hey, everybody, this is the way forward…’ Wouldn’t that be wonderful ?

    But I can’t. I don’t see any way forward at all. There’s mega rich psychopaths, the 0.1% at the top, there’s the ignorant rabble who comprise the masses, who’ll believe anything, and are hopeless, there’s layers in the middle, who’ll be willing to do anything if they see some advantage for themselves, etc, etc. the whole mess that Jamey Hecht describes above, and no way of fixing it.

    I am quite old. I have had a fantastic life. The terrible part of this is for the younger generation who have had their future stolen and destroyed. The equivalent of two more China’s worth of people due to arrive over the next couple of decades. Exponential arithmetic is remorseless. The future is impossible.

    ————–

    Brad ? Grant ? Anyone know what’s happened to NTE website ?

  • TIAA says: ‘Gail, you cannot know for sure time is up for a new civilization to emerge, that is illogical and unscientific to say the least.

    ??????????

    The industrial civilisation is in the process of stripping the Earth of every usable resource, and will continue to do so until the energy required to strip the resource exceeds the value of the resource (or some factor terminates industrial civilisation). In the process, industrial civilisation is contaminating every portion of the biosphere with toxins (many of them very long-lived), and is destroying the chemical balances and physical systems that make life as we know it possible.

    There is no political will anywhere (other than within a tiny sector of society who ARE INFORMED) to do anything other than maintain current rates of destroying and polluting, or increase them.

    It defies all logic and all known science to think of the present system as anything other than terminal. However, as has been discussed over and over again on NBL and in other places, the bulk of humanity does not think logically and is scientifically illiterate.

  • Dear Kevin

    Are you so sure we have arrived at scientific literacy? Einstein himself denied that arrival, need I quote him. We are at the beginnIng of science an emerging tool, not a finished tool. Logic is a mental process as currently used that fails to describe the whole truth. But as fine minds like yours wage a winning battle on the natural mind emerging mind, obscuring it further and driving it’s extinction in concord with all other forms we are sealing, what chance does an emergence have if there are no minds that concieve of it under our current logic and science? NTE is the only chance and hope left against that mind you glorify in the minority who own it’s power and when it breaks the hubris we are chained to lock, stock and barrel, the question of will we wake up in time as it breaks it to have the sanity and wisdom to birth it, it is a toss up. A mystery egg. The hubris will be broken though, everyone can agree to that and either something will remain that a better humanity can sustain its self on or not. Why fret over NTE? Why despair? It is the only hope we have against the very mind that drives it.

  • Ulvfugl, I am not speaking of something that emerges after a collapse to you, but something that emerges any time, before, during or after the process of material collapse. I am of the opinion that the collapse has already started and we are in it. So no need for me to wait, but that is the surprise to me, that most people do not acknowledge it or predict it as yet to arrive. I know it can get worse as we blithely defend status quo, on one hand claiming we cannot act because we will lose and bemoaning on the other we must act or we will lose. The mental perceptions are so out of wack that it is curious. A new mind, one of wholeness and harmony has been in the making for thousands of years, we knew we had to change our mental outlook long ago. So the great philosophies and spiritual practices have always proclaimed. That need and awareness is old, industrial catastrophe may or may not be linked. I say let’s keep working on that mental emergence, why not? With it’s birth and emergence every possibility of ingenuity on unimaginable scale may be waiting to unfurl on it’s wings. There is more work to be done to turn a lump of metal into a needle for repairing what is torn. What else do we have to do and if it makes the time more beautiful in spite of what others choose, what is there to lose?

  • Robin — Your attempts to refute everything I post are unworthy of a serious answer. Those who use their shallow knowledge of scraps of Vedic, Buddhist, or other profound philosophies to merely score some sort of cheap shot victories over others who are trying to communicate on the ordinary plane of human understanding betray their lack of any real understanding of the terminology, ideas, and realities they carelessly throw around. Truth, love, beauty are realities that do not gain from foolish quibbles. You really do not show the respect these things deserve, or my simple intention to share and communicate about them. My best policy in future is to simply ignore the contentious nitpicking jibes that you make under guise of some supposed esoteric wisdom. No hard feelings, but I am afraid you and I just don’t connect.

  • ‘Population tracks energy use. That’s another aspect of the explosive nature of the discovery of fossil fuels. Explosive like the fuels themselves, their advent causes population to skyrocket, till it overshoots the available resource base, and begins a crash. Everyone knows this.’

    maybe everyone who regularly reads nbl and rather similar blogs knows this. unfortunately that comprises much less than 1% of sheeple. the majority of the rest i think are so scientifically ignorant that they don’t know this. worse still, i suspect a large majority of this majority aren’t intelligent or sane enough to learn it.

    ‘now we are staring at a near future of catastrophic warming, no matter what we do. Anxiety still has its place in such a predicament, unless we are indifferent to the welfare of ourselves and those we love — a position only the stoics and sociopaths can fully share’

    i suspect there’s much unhappiness behind much apparently senseless self destructive behavior, re. both individuals and our species as a whole. sort of a death wish that’s mostly subconscious and unacknowledged. perhaps it’s even a blessing, reducing the anxiety of facing death/extinction, making acceptance easier.
    _______________________________________________________

    i’ve been away from the internet for several days. just read jamey’s essay. imo outstanding, one of the very best to be published on this blog over the past 3 years i’ve been a regular reader. very high praise. thanks much. i haven’t begun reading the comment section. looking forward to that. good essays inspire good comments.

  • @Artleads “U,,Thanks for the video. I had once thought of myself as either the last man or the first woman. But with NTE…”

    Somehow I missed U’s video. Would someone repost please. Thanks.

  • Aperdat… Says: Somehow I missed U’s video. Would someone repost please.

    At this comment.

  • @Robbin Datta
    “At this comment.”

    Thanks for the link. Cosmic! That I felt strongly that I needed to view it. I’m deeply into my forth book of Gerda Lerner’s who asked herself the same questions that Lindsey Wei did at the beginning of her journey to her authentic female self. Enlightenment aside. Maybe they are the same. Thanks again, and thanks to U.

  • @ TIAA

    Are you so sure we have arrived at scientific literacy?…. etc

    Your critique of science is very weak, and kevin and others, myself included, are capable of chopping all of your arguments up until they are sawdust.

    There’s an awful lot wrong with science. It can be attacked from many angles. I find the ideology of scientism, – as something quite distinct form science itself – thoroughly obnoxious. Mike k posted a good link to that critique on Dave Pollard’s site, ( weird that it has the same title as Rupert Sheldrake’s book and no reference to it ? )

    That said, what we all need to understand is that science must be defended at all costs. Because it is a minority view in the world and It is under constant attack from ignorant barbarians, the greedy rich corporations, and the religious fundamentalists, the illiterate hordes, etc.

    Without science, we truly are in very deep shit. So for all it’s flaws, please defend science. We need to know what’s happening with methane and radio activity and soils and coral reefs, etc, and the only people who can tell us are the scientists.

    The arguments for criticising science are subtle and sophisticated. Monsanto claims to do ‘science’. Craig Venter claims to do ‘science’. Some doctors in Nazi concentration camps claimed they were doing ‘science’.

    Let’s leave it there.

    Your next comment, by contrast, I find quite magnificent and inspired.

    Ulvfugl, I am not speaking of something that emerges after a collapse to you…I am of the opinion that the collapse has already started and we are in it.

    Yes, I completely agree. People argue about when it began, but it is a classic hockey stick graph, going exponentially northward through the roof towards the sky… 90% of the large fish have gone from the oceans, etc., every indicator is flashing red.

    A new mind, one of wholeness and harmony has been in the making for thousands of years, we knew we had to change our mental outlook long ago. So the great philosophies and spiritual practices have always proclaimed.

    Yes, but there’s the problem. If spiritual enlightenment was going to be ‘the answer’, don’t you think it would have worked by now ? After two or three thousand years of holymen and a few women, trying to get humans to behave decently ?

    It’s been an abject failure. All that’s happened is a division into competing belief systems determined to annihilate their rivals.

    Gail insists that atheism is not a religion. Who cares ? The hatred, bigotry and intolerance exhibited by the neo-atheists, like Dawkins, is the exact mirror image of his evangelical so-called Christian fundamentalist opponents.

    For centuries, the Christian Catholics have been trying to destroy the Christian Protestants and vice versa. They both hate the Moslems, and they both hate the atheists. The Moslems hate the atheists and the Christians. Everybody hates the Jews.
    Further east, the Shia and the Sunni hate each other and the Hindus hate the Moslems, and the Buddhists hate the Hindus, and the Maoists and the Moslems… and so it goes, all around the world…

    Evil people stir up this hatred for political and military and economic advantage all the time.

    The way of people like me, in the past, has always been to say, leave the idiots to get on with it, go off into the remote mountains somewhere, faraway, to find peace. That’s what I have done. But it’s not a solution, is it, when the crisis is global, when the climate is wrecked.

    And we’ve seen what happens if you try to start a movement, like Ghandi or MLK or John Lennon, that threatens TPTB. They kill you and the fucking CIA subverts and corrupts everything that’s worthwhile, because maniacs like Rothschilds and Rockefellers and Brezinski and the British and the Israelis and the Saudis, etc, want to control and rule the whole planet. Maniacs who think that their money and power matters more than life itself.

    I say let’s keep working on that mental emergence, why not? With it’s birth and emergence every possibility of ingenuity on unimaginable scale may be waiting to unfurl on it’s wings. There is more work to be done to turn a lump of metal into a needle for repairing what is torn. What else do we have to do and if it makes the time more beautiful in spite of what others choose, what is there to lose?

    Well, it’s a lovely vision. But you’ll have to tell me what it means, because I’ve given up.

    I’ve been living on this holy mountain for twenty five years. I can’t do any more than I have done. The Spring came two months late. That has never happened before in my whole life. The honey bees died.

    @ Aperdat

    Glad you liked that video. If anyone is interested here’s another long one.

    An unforgettable journey into the hidden lives of China’s forgotten Zen hermit tradition. “Amongst White Clouds” is a special look at the lives of zealot students, gaunt ascetics and wise masters living in isolated hermitages dotting the peaks and valleys of China’s Zhongnan Mountain range.

    http://documentaryheaven.com/amongst-white-clouds/

  • Those who use their shallow knowledge of scraps of Vedic, Buddhist, or other profound philosophies to merely score some sort of cheap shot victories over others who are trying to communicate on the ordinary plane of human understanding betray their lack of any real understanding of the terminology, ideas, and realities they carelessly throw around.

    Indeed. That is why there is even guidance on How to Study the Scriptures.

  • @TIAA I am in complete agreement with your thoughts.
    @ulvfugl Your comments re: defending science are much needed. Ironically, one way of defending Her is to vigorously deconstruct scientism.

    In a desperate situation such as we all are in, where the majority are acting with extreme irrationality, some of us need to maintain a commitment to strive for something higher and more beautiful in spite of not knowing if our efforts will matter to the larger results of life’s drama on planet Earth. Karma yoga is the path of doing the right thing regardless of seeming outcomes. Above all earthly affairs are eternal values that are fed by our service.

  • @ulvfugl

    “There is always a possibility that we are wrong, but I cannot see how. But there is no consensus here. What there is is a lot of people with strong personalities and strong views, each of whom has some overlap with some others, but also some disagreement, so we constantly argue, and over time, sometimes modify our opinions, as we learn. That’s how I see it, anyway.”

    Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Tears For Fears W/Lyrics

    @Jamey Hecht, Ph.D.

    Thank you for your astute and well researched article. Amongst this group it’s like preaching to the choir yes?

    Intense infestation of Japanese beetles and mosquitoes this summer in my neck of the woods. Lost the albino bluebird nest to a predator with a beak as there was a pecked hole in one of the eggs and the nest subsequently abandoned. Perhaps a bluejay. The nesting box was cleaned immediately after abandonment and a new pair of bluebirds have moved in. The last time the nesting box was checked several days ago there was a clutch of three eggs in it. Looking forward to high pressure and blue skies soon. Have to thin the fruit on Asian pear trees today along with other outside chores. After a while crocodiles.

  • This blog is getting more and more fractured. What happened to the good old days when it was just honest NTE talk without all the BS?

    Ulf is a bore – and it used to be most here would resist him or ignore him – now he seems to have a following. He is so jacked-up in his delusions one might only feel pity for him if not for the fact he is so irritating.

    B9K9 is exactly what is wrong with the world.

    I don’t believe in any of the spiritual mumbo-jumbo. I don’t pay any attention to the navel-gazers. I’m here to listen to the discourse on NTE: Industrial Civilization’s destructive progress, population overshoot, peak this and that, govt response, resistance efforts, escape efforts, etc. I’m not here to listen to morons spout off about walking their dog in blissful harmony as if a prize earned in a contest.

    This is the best blog on the subject and I know Guy is committed to a free and open forum, and I also know what a monumental task it is to moderate a blog with a lot of traffic, so here we are in the unmoderated world of “anything goes.”

    Continued thanks to Guy, Kathy C., Lidia, Gail, Speaks Softly, Depressive Lucidity, dairymandave, TRDH, Mike S., BtD, pat, Rob, Erin, Cuntagious, Jeff S., Tony, wildwoman, Kirk H., OzMan, Henry, the virgin terry, Privileged, Cathy, Gardengate, Susan C., Carol B., WoodsDweller, Paul M., Ted H., Lori C., Denise, Red Eft, ogardener, John S., Jan S., etc. It’s too bad the good voices are being drowned out in the noise.

  • Skipper, I agree. I now read little and post less. All has been said, and now we get too many gas bags. I just look for info links.

  • Mike K,

    For what it’s worth, I find myself nodding in agreement with you and TIAA too. Thanks for the scientism link and the Karma yoga reference.

    Skipper,

    With great respect for your clear mind and clean expression…
    None of us relish being the skunk at the garden party. Maybe some of us who seem to be all over the place came here due to NTE as well.

    It may seem like mumbo jumbo to say that NTE “understanding” is the only means by which humanity could possibly evolve, and saying that, were it not for this site, we who fancy that notion would be much farther behind in our pursuits. Perhaps we’d never progress in our thinking were it not for NBL. But those who don’t see any good in thinking beyond what they are convinced has already been resolved will be infuriated by us. Fortunately for us, Guy has not expelled us, which says a lot for Guy.

    Frankly, I don’t know what the solution is. A possible solution is to jump off a cliff and end discussion, since that cleans everything up nicely. As Gail would remind us, everything humans do appears to lead to destruction. So ending it all is a compelling notion.

    Maybe the newcomers are scrambling around, making a mess, knocking over things, upsetting people, clueless like everybody else, but looking for an alternative.

    NBL has attracted very caring and brilliant people. If anybody can see that we’re on the road to nowhere, it is this group. So shouldn’t this be a group that can “suspend the program” (that leads to nowhere) and be able to discuss differences? It would be much harder work than simply stating what we believe, take it or leave it.

    Again, old timers and newcomers alike are here due to concern about NTE, although we are at loggerheads on how to not dismiss each other over it. If this group can’t communicate meaningfully, then we should never have expected that anyone else on the planet could either.

  • @Gail says “Writing for a blog, whether about trees or other forms of catastrophic collapse, is hard on any regular basis.”

    That’s why someone who can write far better than I should focus on the linkage between NTE and global shadow government. As trends continue to accelerate, long-term covert preparations are slowly being revealed as the false backdrop is raised to expose the truth.

    The reason Dave, Emmot, et al seem frustrated is because they are apparently indoctrinated with liberal concepts of self-governance. That is, they associate “The People” with some kind of representative consensus – perhaps corrupted – but still ‘guided’ by (fickle) politicians. This notion of liberté, égalité, & fraternité, while quite pleasant to those sublimely naive, is, in short, a big fucking joke.

    Snowden has revealed, once & for all, just how extensive the shadow government really is. Who, before his confirmation, could have imaged a secret court, with secret legal opinions, interpretations, decrees & directives, armed with their own secret enforcement, working wholly independent and without oversight?

    And yet this is fact. So, why waste time dealing with the top level illusion? Why not drill directly into what is obviously occurring and the preparations being made to ensure the continuity of a legal state that allows the chosen to remain in control?

  • @Skipper et al:
    Those gathered around the CRT campfire to discuss civilization’s collapse hold diverse ideas about how it is going and what to do about it. I find this a natural and healthy state of affairs. From participating in several groups exploring these global concerns, I have observed that some participants would prefer that everyone sharing would do so in the context of certain consensual understandings supposedly agreed to by all. These folks are disturbed by what they consider disruptions or deviations from things that they think everyone should accept as unquestionable fact. Unfortunately this kind of conformist and limited dialog may screen out the very out of the box thinking that could help us navigate the very troubled waters we are seeking to learn to swim in. In my opinion any creative search requires us to tolerate a lot of dead ends, obscuring static, dumb ideas, personal rants, emotional explosions, etc. — all for the purpose of finding those grains of pure gold that in spite of everything may reveal themselves through all the smoke and false trails.

  • @ B9K9

    “So, why waste time dealing with the top level illusion? Why not drill directly into what is obviously occurring and the preparations being made to ensure the continuity of a legal state that allows the chosen to remain in control?”

    And there’s the absurdity of fighting one excruciatingly difficult, nightmarish battle at a time. We are all wrapped up in the tentacles of a global monster, and addressing one little suction cup on one tentacle at a time is a tragic misunderstanding of the depth of our subjection. Thanks for pointing this out.

    What is puzzling is why such a well financed and “able” global order wasn’t able to stave off or moderate the global cataclysm that it should have seen coming. They have been quietly building the global prison for a century, but obviously couldn’t foresee much (beyond the “Darwinist” 19th century understanding of “human nature”) of what has come to pass with climate, finance and environment.

  • With thanks to Jamey Hecht, I’ve posted a new essay. It’s by Mike Sliwa, and it’s here.

  • @U
    For centuries, the Christian Catholics have been trying to destroy the Christian Protestants and vice versa. They both hate the Moslems, and they both hate the atheists. The Moslems hate the atheists and the Christians. Everybody hates the Jews.

    Professor Leher covered this in a evening seminar some time ago:

  • Mike K, it is heartening to know you too see the possibility I am striving to understand. Ulvfugl says he and others can grind my views to nothIng with their knowledge, and isn’t that the point, natural things striving for balance to be ground to nothing or something abberant?

    Ulvfugl, not that I take great offense to your statement, I get the prudence of protecting the emergence of science, it is part of, a cornerstone of the mind and being we might emerge into.

    Many will read how I see things as clueless and I would not be surprised, my experience of life never has aligned up with modernity so to say. For instance, the most exciting and rich thing I experienced recently was finding a sand scorpion ( or I think that is what you call them) in my cooler at the lake. These precious little creatures look like teeny tiny scorpions, they are so amazing and to see one, to ever to cross paths as a human with one, as small as they are, is a kind of a miracle. So that is what I can claim is in my bank account, stuck as I am with the wonderment of nature that stubbornly refused to leave me for any reason. Not that I don’t like fridges, I love them, and am amazed by what we learned at the dawn of knowledge as we are in. Will that dawn progress to a day before we commit some irretrievably broken actions? Have we already? I don’t know but I find myself at peace with either path being the one I am truly on, even as I sense I am yet with a path still giving of time and possibility. That dream will end as things continue to fall as they most likely will in my lifecand my personal reality is death in what ever degree. Until then my stubborn dignity and wonderment in what is yet right will not let me or anything go as lost until that final moment and even then, as I return, I am open for what may be beyond.

  • @U & B9K9

    Heard on the jukebox at the Last Chance Saloon on the Beach of Doom, where the cute umbrellas in the drinks look a lot like mushrooms

    Well, if 90% of us don’t wheeze out in a global pandemic like the one prophesied by Alice Sheldon, there’s always the nukes, stationary and missile-based. Plus, this one touches on the hot potato question y’all have been bandying about. Interesting how the Professor’s satire seems fresh even after half a century…maybe nitrates in the lyrics ?

  • Dear Ulvfugl, let me leave this comment string with this. You ask why enlightenment has not emerged yet after all this time and yet here you are, here I am. If not for us or any of us then what was the truth for? Who behind us finding it to be the golden string drawing them ever forward through the dark did not believe it served? You can lose faith in the future but how about now, or then?

  • @TIAA, I have a hard time understanding you when you ask “what is/was the truth FOR?” Truth only IS; it does not “serve” anything. If ever there were a time to let go of
    anthropocentric concepts, it is now.

  • Dear Lidia, the service part is with us, not the truth we are speaking of. Us in context to that we are part of. But yes, we are not the center and the truth is not in service to us, but us it. Or we could be. Or could have been. But for the reaper….. right?

  • @ mike k

    Those who use their shallow knowledge of scraps of Vedic, Buddhist, or other profound philosophies to merely score some sort of cheap shot victories over others who are trying to communicate on the ordinary plane of human understanding betray their lack of any real understanding of the terminology, ideas, and realities they carelessly throw around. Truth, love, beauty are realities that do not gain from foolish quibbles.

    and your comment

    Ulvfugl Your comments re: defending science are much needed. Ironically, one way of defending Her is to vigorously deconstruct scientism.
    In a desperate situation such as we all are in, where the majority are acting with extreme irrationality, some of us need to maintain a commitment to strive for something higher and more beautiful in spite of not knowing if our efforts will matter to the larger results of life’s drama on planet Earth. Karma yoga is the path of doing the right thing regardless of seeming outcomes. Above all earthly affairs are eternal values that are fed by our service.

    Yes. I think that the scientists need to understand what scientism is, more than anyone. Brief course on the philosophy of science for undergraduates could work wonders. Most don’t seem to understand that there is any underlying philosophy at all.

    And yes. Karma Yoga. I’ve been thinking about it. It’s really a code of conduct on ‘How to behave as you do the long walk towards the gallows’, isn’t it, Life and Death with honour and integrity. ;-)

    We need a new class of warrior monks and nuns dedicated to wildlife and defence of nature. I suppose Jensen already proposed that.

    There’s a problem, that everyone on this blog will have some sort of view on almost everything, that conflicts with someone else’s view. There’s sincere and passionate people who have done a lot of digging and study and come to the conclusion that the root of all evil is X. It’s obvious they are not going to be very sympathetic to someone else who comes along and says that they are wrong, and the root of all evil is Y.

    Hence we get a lot of haggling. I think it’s great that people like, e.g. Kathy C., have not just accepted the belief they were indoctrinated with by their culture, but have thought stuff through and revised their position. Scientists need to do that all the time, as new data and theories continually change the picture. It’s happening so fast these days it’s impossible to keep up, except in a specialised area.

    When it comes to the ancient traditions, it’s different. They don’t change. As a student of Zen I have a particular axe to grind, and some people get very pissed off that I go on about it. But I think it is important, because it’s a unique viewpoint. it does not fit any of the categories.

    When someone says, as Ozman did the the other day, something like ‘The great wisdom traditions of the world, including Zen, attempt to…blahblahblah’, then I have to speak up, because Zen does nothing of the kind.

    And when Robin tries to co-opt Zen into the Vedic tradition, then I have to speak up.

    Hinduism and Vedanta are not Zen, Buddhism is not Zen, Taoism is not Zen.

    I’m not knocking any of those traditions, or claiming any superiority or denigrating anyone else’s beliefs. What I’m saying is that Zen is a different ‘animal’, which should not be muddled up or confused with other ‘animals’.

    Ffs, ZEN is not Zen. If you think that Zen is this, or that Zen is that, then you are mistaken, and have not understood anything about what Zen has to say to the world.

    @ Skipper

    You seem to be an excellent example of someone who is incapable of hearing let alone respecting any signal above the noise of your own ignorance. If you don’t like what I say, then don’t fucking read it.

    BUT if you do spend time reading it, then please apply sufficient brain capacity,if you have it, to actually comprehend what you are reading, rather than completely missing the point.

    If you just want to wallow in Doom Porn there’s much better sites than this to visit to get your fix on the new horror that’s happening every single day.

    Whilst I disagree with B9K9 on a great many things, most things, I hear him, listen to him, believe he’s correct about the money lenders and on some other parts of his analysis, and when you dismiss him as ‘Everything that’s wrong with the world’ I can apply that phrase equally to people like you, Skipper, whoever you are. I happen to value B9K9’s voice as a point of reference. At least he is consistent and speaks up despite all the opposition to his views.

    We each get our two comments a day. I don’t appreciate people who have nothing to say except to whine and complain about others and stir up quarrels.

    When did YOU ever contribute anything worthwhile or interesting, Skipper ? Tell us all what you think of Jamey’s essay. Come on, speak up !
    Tell us all about yourself, your beliefs, lifestyle, how you see the future. Don’t be shy. Or are you the same familiar troll wearing yet another pseudonym ?

    Same goes for you, Curtis Heretic. How about contributing some info links, instead expecting others to provide them for you to take ? Are you lazy, or what ?
    ————————————————

    There’s no rule that says anybody has to read my comments, but for those who might have difficulty making the connection, what some of us were trying to discuss was,
    given collapse, and NTE, then, as human beings, ‘how should we be’ , how about people who live simply outside the Machine ? Taoism is a tradition that has ALWAYS done that, for the last two or three thousand years. The basic idea is to follow deep principles inherent in Nature, not to cater to civil or urban soceity.

    Jamey Hecht said We did not lower our energy consumption because it would have been a return to weakness, femininity, childhood, helplessness, all the things industrial civilization fears and hates the most. Just as in Greek drama or Shakespearean tragedy, this fear-of-the-wrong-thing determines our fate and defines us in the universe.

    Those qualities are what Taoism calls the Yin qualities. Afaik, it is the only philosophy on Earth which has identified, named and respected those qualities.
    In fact, it has gone much further, showing how those Yin qualities can prevail over the aggressive masculine Yang qualities.

    Which kinda connects to the next blog post….

  • TIAA – in a thread full of wisdom, I feel you are the closest and most intuitive observer of what is really going on. The complexity of The Real – just keep swimming! – the water is never dangerous.

    U – sorry to hear you read zen forums.

  • @ TIAA

    Many will read how I see things as clueless and I would not be surprised…. etc

    Re science, etc. What I mean is that you don’t have a deep understanding of what science is, and of the history of science, and why we expect NTE, so you’re not equipped to argue.
    Nothing personal, not meant to hurt your feelings, or cause offence, or be unkind.

    But if you want to critique science, then educate yourself so that you know more than your opposition. Same goes for any other subject. Doesn’t matter that your heart is in the right place, you’ll still lose, because the weapons are words, it’s rhetoric, like lawyers arguing in a court room or boxers fighting in a ring. You can’t win against kevin because he’s been studying this stuff for years and years and has written several books about it and he’s right up to date on everything and fights battles every week. He’s a master, you’re a novice. All you can hope to do is to make a point and retire with grace and dignity intact. Which I think you have done, haven’t you ? :-)

    Dear Ulvfugl, let me leave this comment string with this. You ask why enlightenment has not emerged yet after all this time and yet here you are, here I am. If not for us or any of us then what was the truth for? Who behind us finding it to be the golden string drawing them ever forward through the dark did not believe it served? You can lose faith in the future but how about now, or then?

    That’s not quite how I meant it. Good people have achieved great insights and shown others how to live, many times, and yet we still ended up in this mess.
    So obviously, just hoping that somehow humans will become enlightened has not worked, and there is no time left now. The great masses are not even interested
    in anything to do with spiritual stuff at all, are they. Viz some who comment here.

    At any other time in history I’m sure someone like me would have been overjoyed to find someone like you who was full of enthusiasm, because the older generation
    always hopes the younger generation will take the world forward in some good direction. But this, as mentioned in Jamey’s essay, is the terrible tragedy.

    What happens when the future is not there ?

    What can be said to the children and young people who want to make their contribution ? You force me to look more deeply into this, for which I am most grateful to you.

    In a sense, it does not matter what happens tomorrow, because any one of us can be dead in the night. That has always been the true human condition. Most of us have such safe and easy lives we have forgotten it.

    There is something some people call the Eternal Now. So, you train yourself to be able to maintain concentration, and keep a continuum of attention, and then you can get control of inner being, with a mind that is still. It takes some determination to achieve, probably about six months minimum. Same sort of demand as learning to play basic guitar. Then you can have great clarity and peace and self-control. Is that any help ?

    You can learn that from zazen.

    This zen thing is very natural. Hunters have to sit perfectly still, often for a very long time. Animals are very alert. Palaeolithic hunters a 100,000 years ago must have known what it waslike to be motionless for hours, to notice each breath and each thought, to keep attention strongly focussed. One minute of attention lost in a fantasy, and the chance to shoot the bow would have been lost, and then nothing to eat…. more hours of waiting, stiff and cold and hungry and bitten by mosquitos and having to remain motionless and intensely aware…

    People used to go into zen monasteries because they wanted to find Enlightenment. Sometimes they’d spend twenty years or more. I don’t think there’s time for that. I think, learn zazen then learn aikido, or bagua, or tai chi, or qi gong, the softer martial arts. So you know how to move and keep yourself healthy. They are fantastic for healing the body. And how to avoid fighting. Getting into physical fights is very stupid. I’ve been in a lot. The art is to avoid fighting. That means not being afraid.

    Even amongst great masters there is disagreement about Enlightenment, what it is, and how to think of it. I say forget all about it. Train very hard, cultivate every-minute-zen.
    The most astonishing and extraordinary and unexpected things manifest themselves. Don’t take any notice, just keep on training. Like the old woman grinding the needle, hahaha :-)

    ———-

    @ Lidia

    Nice to see you around, I hope you are doing well.

  • @ mo flow

    I don’t :-) But I did, a long time ago, which was how I learned that they are useless :-)

    My third comment, you’ll get me into trouble :-)

    http://www.lifeartsmedia.com/opening-dao-taoism-martial-arts-documentary

  • U, you can spare yourself some trouble by remembering that the universe is always defining zen infinitely better than you ever could, every moment, for every soul on this planet. No exceptions. That’s exactly why the masters have asked you, repeatedly, to stop. Just a friendly reminder. :) Carry on…

  • Ulvfugl- you say;

    “Re science, etc. What I mean is that you don’t have a deep understanding of what science is, and of the history of science, and why we expect NTE, so you’re not equipped to argue.
    Nothing personal, not meant to hurt your feelings, or cause offence, or be unkind.”

    I am not sure how you arrived at this conclusion, I may have more understanding on this than I lead others to believe. I certainly do not focus on proving I do have understanding and will not look for a formal seal of approval by jumping through coal miners hoops.

    I know you are not trying to hurt my feelings but thanks for saying it.

    Back to enlightenment, I find it surprising you think it, a new mind should have come sooner rather than too late. But too late is for what needs to die anyway and brings what needs to be born forth, so then it would be arriving now at just the right time. Natures time. Perhaps we don’t like being born in a blizzard but as all must do, it’s get to your feet and struggle to live till the storm passes. How many were born in storms past, disasterous and broken times like we are careening tiward and found a way to survive and is that survival of the fittest? Natures way, we never did respect her way yet. That old mind, set against nature is fighting to the last and it is so very tenacious, against all reason and science as we have yet divulged.. It goes on. As it should and must. But we can be prepared for the turning point when timely death arrives and timely birth follows. Perhaps now, or now. Perhaps never, we must accept the hand nature serves us.

    Really good to be talking with all here, grinding and grinding and grinding what each feels must be ground.

  • Dear Mo flow, thank you, and thank yourself because then it is us together that are closer and that is where the meaning is born and gets breath, in sharing.

  • @TIAA, again.. What “needs” to be born/die? According to whom, to whose plan? Any eay the cookie crumbles, for some it will be too early and for others too late. The wooly adelgid is having a swinging time!

    @u, I am doing as well as can be expected, although the latest pathology report says my cancer is clear-cell rather than mucinous. Not a good thing, it means they will want me to undergo chemotherapy. Will discuss that with the gyn.onc. on the 22nd. Just came back from the naturopath who gave me some specific vitamins and supplements to aid in healing from the surgery. She also gave me a homeopathic remedy (i.e., sugar pill). I didn’t object; in fact I felt it was worth taking it in order to make *her* feel better! ;-)

    About the “yin”.. In the video clip with the female Daoist, she said that underneath the yin was yang. What’s *that* all about?

  • Lidia – what needed to be born 13.77 billion years ago? Beats me.

  • Lidia, it is all human “need” and perhaps natural need or force if you will, when what we need is back in line with nature. Some say we are too far out of line to avoid an awful end. A need to avoid that end can be argued for sure. Many great thinkers realized long before I that our mind was the real limit and so too the the actions it birthed.

    Birth and death, for some one is the other and before fear of one both just were, a cycle not to be feared, but honored.

    I am way past my two posts a day in my grind, so far under the radar. I am beside you with cancer as my 17 year old was diagnosed and treated, successfully or so we are told, late last year through early this. Was natures way of steeling me for NTE no doubt. More cow bell. Steeled, I was, forged anew in the dark forge of those who are left to figure it out, love the fire burning you onward, no help, compliments the machine. May your time of treatment and healing be with grace as I send mine your way.

  • Gail Says: haven’t they heard of Jevons paradox?

    The article you referred to was foolish, but not because it ignored Jevons Paradox. Jevons Paradox made sense when it was formulated in the laissez-faire economy of the mid-19thc, but it is meaningless if governments decide to increase energy taxes to keep pace with efficiency, which they have generally do in Europe, but not in the US. See:

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

    ‘fuel use declines if increased efficiency is coupled with a green tax or other conservation policies that keep the cost of use the same (or higher).[3] As the Jevons paradox applies only to technological improvements that increase fuel efficiency, policies that impose conservation standards and increase costs do not display the paradox.

    environmental economists have pointed out that fuel use will unambiguously decrease if increased efficiency is coupled with an intervention (e.g. a green tax) that keeps the cost of fuel use the same or higher.’

  • @ Lidia

    Speaking of possible naturopathic remedies, have you looked into Turkey tail mushrooms? Might be worth checking out. Google Paul Stamets and Turkey tail for starters. Best of luck Lidia

  • Great essay Jamey, thanks for contributing!

  • @ TIAA

    I am not sure how you arrived at this conclusion, I may have more understanding on this than I lead others to believe. I certainly do not focus on proving I do have understanding and will not look for a formal seal of approval by jumping through coal miners hoops.

    Because for more than fifteen years in the internet, and decades before, writing letters and in face to face argument, I have been debating with people the case for global warming, and for science. Almost every day, in fact. So I’m familiar with the territory. And so when I see you say something like ‘Einstein said…’ I know you have already lost the argument.

    It has nothing to do with a formal seal of approval from me or anyone else. It’s the art of rhetoric which is quite fascinating. Goes back to ancient Greece. Two people fight, verbally, in front of an audience. The audience is swayed, by what they say, toward favouring one or the other. It’s really quite mysterious.

    It’s only partly to do with the logic of what they say. The person with the best arguments isn’t necessarily the winner. The audience might take the side of the underdog, or the argument that fits their prejudices, or be unable to decide who had the best arguments. But mostly, if an argument can be shown to be wrong, mistaken, incorrect, untrue, illogical, by a short effective reply, it’s demolished.

    Regarding scientific rhetoric, it has to be backed up by references, which usually means peer reviewed studies in reputable journals. But we can’t rely on that any more.
    It’s a bit like having a murderer enter your house. You don’t want to wait to read the pathology lab report a year later to find out what happened. The science is running way behind on what is happening with regard to climate change, it’s happening too fast for researchers to keep up.

    We have been arguing on this blog for many months, years, concerning the future and the probability that civilisation will collapse and humans, and most life, will become extinct, and when that will happen. So people are very well informed in that area. Anything you say, re the science, has likely been raised already, and shot to pieces from all directions.

    We’re generally agreed on what Guy says on his Climate Change Summary at the top.

    Back to enlightenment, I find it surprising you think it, a new mind should have come sooner rather than too late. But too late is for what needs to die anyway and brings what needs to be born forth, so then it would be arriving now at just the right time. Natures time.

    It’s not that. This is how I see it. We’re on this lump of rock hurtling through Space, circling the Sun. That rock is covered with a thin layer of life, the oceans and air and forests and all living things. We are wrecking that. That means an extinction event.

    Mass extinction events have occurred at least five times before. After a few million years, biodiversity returns, life recovers. Perhaps that’s what happens this time, but humans will not be around any more.

    We have caused this mass extinction event, because we found coal and oil, and multiplied, and destroyed our natural environment. What can we do ? Enlightened now or not, we can’t go back.

    Most humans are not even aware of this great crisis, and most who have power will keep on exploiting nature and grabbing resources as fast as they can, until everything collapses and forces them to stop. There’s nothing we can do about that, is there. We are locked in to this situation. State and Gvt power is in turmoil, corporations and banks are out of control, some corporations are taking on private armies, we always seem to be teetering on the brink of financial collapse and international war….

    More and more people will understand, and will come here and to other similar forums, but it is already too late. There’s a time lag. The increased CO2 emissions take about thirty years before the effect shows up in the heating and the weather. Guy lists a dozen feedbacks that have started that we cannot stop. That means they just keep on going, whatever we do. Our stable climate has gone. It does not come back. Not for thousands of years. That means all around the world, the ecology unravels….

    We can try to analyse and understand why this is all happening. We can try to understand the science, and we can try to understand why we appear to be powerless to alter our fate, and so forth.
    We can discuss how we respond, whether we face it with serenity and equanimity, or whether we despair, or whether we fight, or whatever.

    What do we do ? Become enlightened buddhas ? Nobody knows what to do…

    That is what we do here, argue and haggle, isn’t it ? :-)

  • @ Lidia

    She also gave me a homeopathic remedy (i.e., sugar pill). I didn’t object; in fact I felt it was worth taking it in order to make *her* feel better!

    :-)

    I recall once, a ‘homeopath’ who was a lovely sweet hippy girl, whom I enjoyed talking to for an hour at a festival, gave me one HUGE pill, which was a Cure All remedy. It cured all known human ailments, which I swallowed with good grace. How could I possibly question such a delightful idea. ;-)

    About the “yin”.. In the video clip with the female Daoist, she said that underneath the yin was yang. What’s *that* all about?

    I don’t really know. I’m a man. How can i be expected to know such things ?! ;-)

    Seriously, I know a lot about zen meditation. As much as anybody. I have studied tai chi with two really good tai chi teachers, who had studied with several great teachers, and I have studied some aikido. I have read scores of books and I was moderator on a forum for taoism in the early days of the internet, with participants from all around the world. But I don’t really understand that taoist theory stuff she’s talking about there very well. She’s looking at it from her ‘American young woman perspective’, I suppose.

    My first wife was in a biker gang before I met her. She’d fought with other girls with knives, and had a scar in her bum from a stab wound, of which she was quite proud. She had plenty of yang. She had calmed down a bit when I met her, and the yang went into horse riding. I quite like submissive yin women so I don’t have to be fighting and fending off being beaten up ;-)

    What I know is that taoism is so vast that nobody will ever be able to get a handle on it all. There’s huge quantities of texts that nobody has read for centuries, let alone translated. Two or three thousand years of complicated mingling of traditions and influences and sects and schools. There’s philosophical taoism and religious taoism, etc, etc.

    Talking to some taoists is like talking to modern crappy astrologers, it’s superficial bullshit. Much talk of chi comes from people who have no idea what they are talking about. Any idiot can talk about yin and yang and chi and tao. But in martial arts you can’t bullshit. Either you can do it, or you can’t.

    I had major abdominal surgery twice about ten years ago. My physical body now is stronger now than in my whole life, from doing these internal chi exercises, which are totally astonishing. I don’t have stamina though. But I certainly recommend them to you, although it took me a long time to learn, and the hardest part is remembering to do them. I think they have the potential to heal and restore any physical injury. Western medicine hasn’t got a clue about it.

    mo flow Says:
    July 12th, 2013 at 3:24 pm
    Lidia – what needed to be born 13.77 billion years ago? Beats me.

    mo flow. This.

  • From Doris Lessing’s, SHIKASTA

    “SATAN’S ODE TO EARTH

    How deep and fine the service of Earth to Satan, Servant of Hell!
    From end to end, these disgraceful little animals squirm and writhe under our all-seeingness.
    In every land these degraded beasts fight and kill and suffer, the aromas of pain and of blood rising like red smoke above every part of Earth, deliciously rise to the nostrils of the deserving Satan.
    How strong the nurturing flow from Earth to Satan, stronger every day the flow that feeds Satan, ever stronger the millennial link that provides power which is the right and due from Earth to Satan, earned by our tutelage, our Overlordship, our Superiority in the Scales of the Galaxy!
    Oh Earth, bleeding little animal, how we praise you in your willing squalidness, how we applaud you in your subservience, how we succor you, our other self, our sac of blood, our source of strength.
    Day and night, and from moment to moment, roll in your Tributes, oh Earth, our slavish one, the Vibrations of hatred and dissension, stupidity and violence feed us, sustain us, make us exalt, Satan, the All-Powerful!
    Everywhere move our magnificent ones, ever aware, ever watching, ever guarding our own!
    We observe the pitiful heavings of your attempts at revolt, we note and we CRUSH!
    We Satan, confirm the Flow is stronger, the Flow is ever and eternal, the Flow is for all time, the sustenance of Us, Lords of the Galaxy, Lords of the Worlds!

    Canopus in Argos-archives”

  • post at will, nobody is watching!

  • pat – that’s just what the NSA wants you to think.

  • LOL! I don’t think the NSA is going to turn off the internet or even this blog, right away. But just in case, I plan to copy all of it and a few other good ones. I want to have some proof that I can show people and to remind myself, later, that there were at least a few sharp knives in the drawer.

    Sometimes I wonder what the lackeys down at NSA are thinking as they read these posts. Does any of it get through to them? I doubt it! Most likely they think they’re doing something great. But HEY, NSA GUY!: All the most horrible things that people have ever done to one another were done by fruits like YOU, that were righteous and sure that they were moral and serving the good. But in truth, all you really care about is your friggin pay check. Just like the cops that beat our kids over the head, all you ever care about is your evil job and your bennies.

    That felt GOOD!:)

  • I had some thoughts re chi etc that I put HERE

    The guys at the NSA would benefit, fer sure, but there’s nothing about BOMBS, nothing about SHOOTING THE PRESIDENT, nothing at all about ANTHRAX, or BLOWING UP PLANES, not even a mention of RICIN, so I expect they’ll find it all very disappointing, boring and dull… sorry.

  • The esteemed blogger Dave Cohen has decided to give up.

    http://www.declineoftheempire.com/2013/07/is-humanity-doomed.html

    I agree with what he says. About John Gray, who is a long way behind. And I agree with him about other matters. He writes very well and he’s smart.

    But honestly, did he SERIOUSLY think he was EVER going to make a difference ?

    Or be invited to write a book ?

    The world is already full of books that nobody reads and authors who make no money.

    Or to benefit in any way whatsoever ?

    I’ve been trying to fight for wildlife and nature almost all of my life. What I’ve learned is that you have to get used to doing it because it’s what you believe ABSOLUTELY is the only right and honourable thing to do. Fighting for newts and beetles and sticklebacks and polecats, that have no vote, no commercial value, nobody would care if they did not exist. That’s all.

    Because you’ll get used to being thought mad, being spat on, and people trying to kick you, in the balls if they can, and nasty policemen, and nasty letters, and well-meaning idiots who should support you but make things worse, and EVERYTHING getting worse all the time…

    I mean, you keep trying, like Sisyphus and the Rock.

    That’s all.

    So it’s only when you’ve completely given up, because you’re completely beaten, and you realise the whole thing is completely pointless, that you actually START to face the real issues, the existential crisis called NTE.

    And end up at NBL…

    And then what ?

    The cutting edge, the bleeding edge, the gaze into the Abyss….

    To expect ANY reward or pleasure or result from it is ludicrous… Most people wonder why we don’t all commit suicide. I wonder that too. I think it’s a cop out. Although I reserve the right.

    Each moment is unique and exquisite, precious beyond measure, filled with infinite potential…

    I can do this. Or I can do that. Or I can do nothing. 100% nothing is very interesting :-)

  • I feel the most poignant of sentences is the very last. I would like to hold the tools for coping with this massive paradox. I refuse to accept my only choices are a blowjob from a loaded 38 or to turn an hedonistic blind eye. I think it’s time to get over ourselves. After all, who laments the passing of Homo Erectus? If Lady Gaia can be considered a living creature perhaps she is on the verge of gaining sentience. Perhaps our being, and passing, are essential to that. A cause for jubilance not despair? I offer a Taoist koan: I am being eaten by the tiger. Naturally, this infers that one is becoming the tiger. Perhaps a better page can be taken from a group who has had great success over milennia at bringing people to their fold. Evangelicals often leave a sermon or debate with a “hook” to worm its way into a fertile psyche. Allow me: I often encourage those youth about me to leave mainstream aspirations. I say, the future belongs to the creatively courageous. Now who among you cannot take heart from that?

  • Thanks ulvfugl (I think folks call you, U?), for all the Zen, it helps balance what we have to deal with here. Don’t stop! It’s a prescription for sanity.

    Tom in WNC says, “I say, the future belongs to the creatively courageous. Now who among you cannot take heart from that?” That’s brilliant! Maybe that’s what it’s always been about, creative courage. We can still use that to make this world a better place, right up to the very end!

  • Thank you so much, Tom in WNC and Kirk Hamilton.

    Yes, U is fine, I adore ulvfugl but even I forget how to spell it myself sometimes…;-)

    It kinda goes like this…

    TIAA challenged my understanding…

    Which had been that Zen is a special belief system because it is a sort of antidote to all belief systems. It’s a means of getting free from all cultural conditioning. Hopefully without going insane. Because you do it fairly gradually, and usually in a supportive context.

    But as anybody who has had a major nervous breakdown or taken heavy duty psychedelics knows, if your ‘normal’ mental landscape collapses or dissolves and you’re faced with raw reality, it’s about the scariest thing possible. Well, that’s ‘normal’ for zen. That’s why it’s interesting. It’s got a long tradition and a methodology to cope with the demands of what that involves. So there’s a ladder to climb up that has been built by others and is clearly described, and then you look over the wall, throw away the ladder and you’re on your own… Infinite Vastness, as they say… The Void.

    So I know all that stuff, because I’ve been into it for a long time. And it made sense because I was part of a story. But NTE breaks that story. And responding to TIAA I realised, although Zen had liberated me from so much, it had not liberated me from Zen.

    So, TIAA and NTE have blessed me… :-)

    I can sum up everything in three words. Be The Void.

    And yes, Creative Courage is brilliant. :-)

    In the Buddhist analysis, there’s the Wheel of Samsara, of birth and life and death, which turns, and at the very centre, the axial point, is perfect stillness where nothing moves. And for the Enlightened, Nirvana and Samsara are identical.

    The Taoist symbolism is a bit different, there’s the Supreme Ultimate, I think it’s called Wu Chi, from which the opposites Yin and Yang emanate, and then everything else results.

    But in both images, there’s the central point of ‘beyond-ness’, where there is total stillness.

    So that’s a very ‘zen’ sort of notion. You sit in that place. But that does not mean you are half dead, or insulated from the suffering and pain, in the way some here have suggested. If action is required, you act instantly, ‘with skillful means’ and then return to stillness.

    You know, this is nothing new. These discussions have all been hammered out centuries ago. There’s masses of literature available.

    Tom mentioned being eaten by the tiger. In the Buddhist scriptures, there’s a story supposedly attributed to the Buddha that in a previous incarnation, of which he had many, he had met a starving tigress whose cubs would die because she had no milk, so he allowed himself to be killed and eaten.

    I don’t think I grieve for Homo erectus, I never actually thought about it, or for, say, Sabre-tooth Tigers or Direwolves, but I grieve for Dodos and Great Auks and Tasmanian Tigers, for sure.

    And I think we, as a species, are committing the greatest crime it is possible to commit. So we should be aware and understand and appreciate what is happening.

    But I don’t accept the ‘all equally to blame’ thing either. Or that we are totally helpless.
    We have some power. Just not nearly enough to make any difference in the time available.

    I’m very serious about ‘Do nothing’. It’s not easy. We are pretty much a bundle of impulses to do… Even to ‘not do’ is an impulse…

    I don’t think there is going to be any future. So I have to think what does it mean to be alive, for the first time in human history and prehistory, when that has been the case.

    I’m not talking about The Archdruid’s End Times Apocalypse narrative idea. I’m talking about the gigatonnes of methane hydrate off the north coat of Siberia.

    I don’t need to check the numbers, they are terrifying. I think hundreds of times the amount of carbon already in the atmosphere, and only held down by fifty metres of frozen silt, which will probably thaw out in the foreseeable future…in an area that’s seismically active… I think that’s correct, but who cares, if I’m out be a few numbers, it’s still megadoom…along with all the rest… for someone down The Road, or in Mad Max Land…

    So, meanwhile, how to be ? How do we handle, ‘Not Doing’ as an option ?

    http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-PHIL/loy3.htm

  • Dear Ulvfugl,

    If I put before you the choice between rhetorical debate and healing nature, which would you choose?

  • Dear Ulvfugl,

    Never mind, you answered my question beautifully in the above post. :-) what more can be said, here we are complete and completely void, a blessing indeed.