From Subsistence to Resistance

by Norris Thomlinson; an earlier draft of this essay appeared here

I cried today. Not once, not twice. Maybe I cried eight times. I’m not even sure how to separate one cry from the next, when my heart carries sadness and anger in waves from peak to ebb, ebb to peak.

The exact number doesn’t matter.

I’m not used to crying. As a male, socialized into masculinity, I learned to suppress grief and most other strong emotions at an early age. I remember the last time I cried in front of my mother, at perhaps 12 or 13 years old. I don’t remember why I cried, but I do remember (and this is why I remember) my guilt and shame around breaking down in such a way, mixed into my sadness and into the comfort I received from her. I haven’t cried much since then.

I can give an easy proximate cause for today’s release: two heart-wrenching movies. But I need to explore some background for it to really make sense.


I lived nine years in Portland, where, after an initial period of frustrating and ineffective involvement in national and local politics, my then-partner and I embarked on a path of “disconnecting from civilization.” We aimed to develop the practical skills necessary to eventually move to land, create a “tribe” of close-knit community members, and establish self-sufficient subsistence via homesteading and hunting & gathering. I learned how to integrate some of my “waste” products of humanure, greywater, and kitchen scraps into my food system. I learned enough basic construction to build simple shelters. I planted food forests and a perennial vegetable garden to learn how to feed myself efficiently while creating wildlife habitat and sequestering carbon. I learned about those other cohabitants of our landbase, and even learned to listen to them in my attempts to understand the non-civilized world. I played with “rewilding” crafts skills. I talked with three successive groups of potential tribe-mates, and learned some of the difficulties of communication, of connection, of finding shared purpose, of resolving conflict.

At the same time, I engaged with the larger community, trying to share what I was learning and inspire others to disconnect, in part or whole, from the destructive systems of industrial civilization. I offered free tours and presentations and classes, blogged more or less frequently to document my experiments and findings, and provided edible and useful plants and seeds at low cost. I was something of a “food activist”, specializing in advocacy of perennial polycultures.

And at the same time, I knew it wasn’t enough: neither my own personal withdrawal, nor sharing my skills and encouraging others to move towards true sustainability. I couldn’t escape the reality and the challenge presented most eloquently by Derrick Jensen: the culture of civilization is insane and intent on destroying everything on this planet, and it will not voluntarily stop. Withdrawal and teaching are both legitimate responses to the threats of social, economic, and environmental instability, but are inadequate without forming a serious resistance movement to halt civilization.

Although I knew at some point I would need to take part in some form of resistance, I tucked that goal away. I rationalized that I needed to focus on getting myself and a tribe into a stable position on land of our own before I could put energy into addressing the big picture, long-term struggle.


After years of preparing to jump from city to rural living, I finally moved to Hawaii last August. But not only had our third hope at pulling together a like-minded community dissolved, but I had broken up with my partner of all those years. I did have a new girlfriend, an acquaintance and then friend of several years, but we were new to each other as romantic partners.

We moved here with the idea of buying land in 6-12 months, developing a homestead, and building a community, which I assumed would keep me busy for several years. I had vague visions of sharing my knowledge and skills as in Portland, but not until I’d learned enough about this new tropical environment to have something worth sharing. I imagined us creating low-tech, truly sustainable lifestyles (or rather, recreating – Hawaiians had all this figured out before western invasion 200 years ago.) We would demonstrate to people the satisfaction, enjoyability, and practicality of living car-free, growing your own food in perennial polycultures, and paring down to perhaps one computer, one cell phone, and a solar panel without toxic batteries.

But something funny happened about five months in. I felt increasingly dissatisfied with my priority of pursuing radical simplicity as quickly as possible. We’d achieved food self sufficiency (more or less) within a month of arriving, learned most of the basics we’d need to design a functional homestead, gone car-free, lived on a fairly small solar electricity budget, done 90% of our cooking over fire for a few weeks, done laundry by hand, taken cold showers, lived without refrigeration, and all in all gotten within spitting distance of sustainability. It turns out to take a lot of time and sometimes gets downright boring!

For a couple of years I’ve had the lesson of Scott Middlekauf’s “A Word of Caution for the Permaculture Enthusiast” in the back of my mind: that after years of developing his homestead he realized that his goal in life is not to develop a homestead; rather, he’d been developing his homestead to support him in whatever he really wants to do with his life. Arriving as close as we did to self sufficiency, as quickly and relatively easily as we did, forced me to confront my own weighting of values: “lifestyle purity” vs using “good enough” as a support base to carry out my actual life goals. I now felt confident enough that we can adopt the necessary lifestyle changes down the line when we have to adapt to changing world circumstances. In the meantime, the use of compromising technologies and conveniences in the present would allow me to move ahead with my higher priority goals.

I started reading the latest projections of climate change, which terrified me; everything is spinning out of control faster than almost anyone expected. I got up to date on the actions those in power are taking to deal with the crisis, which all boil down to finding new ways to profit. I reread Deep Green Resistance by Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith, and Aric McBay, and was struck again by their well thought out and feasible plan – the only realistic response I’ve seen to stopping the destruction. They recognize that begging those in power to change their ways has never succeeded, and that far from being transformed by people “being the change they wish to see”, the dominant culture has brutally crushed every sustainable culture it’s encountered – we’re talking about cultures extant for thousands of years and waaay groovier than even the most spiritual hippie permaculture commune you can imagine.

They lay out a strategy of simultaneously dismantling industrial civilization (primarily through underground activists sabotaging and disrupting critical industrial infrastructure), while networking aboveground activists to rebuild local alternative systems to take over as the global systems collapse (which will occur, sooner or later, whether or not an underground accelerates that collapse.)  I began checking the Deep Green Resistance News Service page almost daily, reading all the linked stories and absorbing the ongoing expansion of global domination and the courageous pockets of resistance fighting back here and there.

Finally, in April, I joined Deep Green Resistance to actively engage in this struggle as a member of the aboveground, and am feeling simultaneously excited, proud, in love, scared, and uncertain. Excited and proud because I’m directing my energy to something so important. In love because even though I barely know them, I feel so much love for my fellow members in DGR, and for its allies, putting their time and energy and passion and money into this shared struggle for Beautiful Justice and thousands of new, sustainable cultures emerging from thousands of landbases (or just being left alone where they already exist). Scared because of the consequences if we fail. (Time Is Short.) And uncertain because I’m new to resistance and don’t know how best to apply myself.

In part to address that uncertainty, I’ve been educating myself – about radical feminism, about racism, about indigenous struggle, about historical and contemporary resistance. Which brings me back to my crying.

So much of what I’m reading and hearing and watching is heartbreaking. I remember crying many years ago as I read Dee Brown’s classic Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, one of the only such memories until I go all the way back to that childhood moment with my mother. I cried several times in more recent years reading Derrick Jensen’s books. I cried three months ago when I read about the Russian prisoner of war “Sasha” who helped lead a successful mass escape from the German death camp at Sobibor, only to be thrown later into a gulag by Stalin. I cried two months ago watching Escape From Sobibor, the dramatization of that breakout. I cried three weeks ago listening to a Feminist Current podcast of Jackie Lynn’s account of abusive grooming for eventual prostitution. I cried two weeks ago reading Patrizia Romito’s A Deafening Silence and its analytic yet human exposure of the denial around male violence against women. I cried yesterday hearing about the extinctions of Hawaii birds that have occurred within my short lifetime, and the likely forced death march of several more before my own life is through.


And of course, I cried today. I watched two movies: Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, and If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front. I didn’t expect either one to affect me as it did. Perhaps I primed myself to be ripped apart by Kanehsatake by reading Vine Deloria Jr’s Custer Died for Your Sins and watching American Holocaust over the past week. More likely it would have happened anyway. The film, comprised almost entirely of on-the-ground footage in the thick of the action, shows the 1990 resistance of the Mohawk people of the Kanehsatake village to a planned seizure of their traditional land, disturbance of their cemetary, and the destruction of ancient pines to build new luxury housing and expand a golf course.

With amazing clarity and starkness, the film depicts the brute application of force against an already oppressed people; outright disregard for human rights; the repression of journalistic freedom; and soldiers and commanders and mayors “only following orders” and displacing responsibility for their roles in the violent violations. But it also depicts the strong spirit of the Mohawks and their allies, a resistance culture formed from longtime bonds of family and tribe, an integration of women and warriors and chiefs and children and spiritual leaders, unbridled expressions of anger and grief and love, a sense of humor, and an ironclad will to stand up to and fight back against injustice that I’ve never experienced in my white middle class life.

If a Tree Falls felt less intense. It’s a more distanced documentary of interviews and vignettes centered around former Earth Liberation Front member Daniel McGowan as he awaits trial in 2007 for his role in multiple arsons of the property of environmentally destructive corporations (the original ecoterrorists.) I’d heard bits and pieces about his case, and those of the other defendants in the Operation Backfire roundup, but this filled in a lot of important detail, and made it all very human and real. The film drew me in and had me anxiously awaiting, with Daniel, the results of his trial. I’d already idealogically supported him and other ELFers, but I gained specific respect for this man who not only put his life on the front line, desperately trying to stop the ongoing horrors of industrial civilization after the approved political routes had failed, but stuck to his commitment not to turn state evidence against his comrades (even as most of them turned on each other and on him.) I broke down a couple more times watching his vilification and harsh sentencing.

I don’t know what’s happening to me, exactly. I’ve never reacted much to traditional tear-jerker emotion-manipulating films (usually about when I notice that I’m feeling something, I also notice the new musical score deliberately orchestrated to make me feel that something.) But the films I saw today are real. I guess I’ve opened myself up more and more to reality, to looking directly at the ongoing atrocities committed by the dominant culture. It’s not as bad as one might expect; the grief hasn’t led to despair, the anger hasn’t led to some all-consuming directionless and distracting rage. To effectively resist, I need to operate from a realistic assessment of the situation – how others have resisted and succeeded or failed and why, how those in power have struck back against resistance and how they have succeeded or failed and why. I can handle the grief and anger; they’re releasing and healing and authentic.

To misquote Steve Forbert: it feels good to feel again. I plan to continue.


Norris Thomlinson lived a standard oblivious American life until deciding to read and learn more about the “real world.” He quickly discovered enough disturbing information about environmental destruction, politics, the economy, peak oil, and the (anti) nature of civilization to jolt him onto a series of different life paths. Norris has spent the last 9 years immersing himself in permaculture, rewilding, and now resistance. You can read more about his journey and about his permaculture experiments at Farmer Scrub’s blog.


McPherson was interviewed by Diane G 12 July 2013. The result is embedded below.

Listen to internet radio with Diane G on BlogTalkRadio

Comments 209

  • @ BadlandsAK,

    I like your post a lot. Adoption, getting kids out of the system. Near term survival is pretty much all they need to be concerned with. That and some great classics of literature. Back to the one room schoolhouse where everybody could write a sentence correctly. Set the kids free. Yes indeed.

    The wild climate to come. Those harsh condition of SD Natives are a good prep for what’s ahead. If something else doesn’t get us first, we can learn to love and adapt to the harshness.

    And nothing is stopping us from giving and loving our neighbor like ourselves. Not mushy love. Rigorous and principled love.

    Kathy C’s view on procreation can go two ways. While she and most others here might see it as strictly a way to deal with NTE, it makes clear the power the Western woman has to end a “destructive” form of behavior that they’re supposedly programmed for. It suggests to me that people can change when they have appropriate information. But that’s a whole other subject. I won’t go there today. :-)

  • @ Kirk Hamilton: Haha good one! :D

    The word “fuck” and its various forms have a limited number of rhymes (all of which I have way overused by now) so I understand the technical difficulties involved, but let me clarify where I’m at on line 3.

    While the list of things that suck is very long, I am not of the school that thinks WE suck. Instead, we’re just animals, ethics rules are made by humans, etc., IMHO.

    Or as depressive lucidity says: The universe…is completely indifferent to human existence….Species, planets and stars just come and go.

  • BenjaminTheDonkey

    Here’s a fabulous exposition on the one of the most adaptable and malleable word in the english language.

    It’s like an Olympic gymnast!

    An entire limerick can be constructed with it. ;>)

  • @thestormcrow A picture is worth a thousand words. Thanks.

    Meanwhile… Looks like extinction awareness is coming back into the mainstream, at least at the wanna be mainstream sell out Huffington Post: “Climate Change And Species Extinction: The New Normal Is Not The Old Normal”

    Rehash, but at the bottom of the article there’s a slideshow worth having a look at: the top 100 most threatened species. Number 101 is a video from a photographer with National Geographic… good work, for what its worth. I’m sure all the folks looking for some sliver of ‘hope’ will like it. Some pretty pictures anyway. Looks like eco-porn at the end of the world… makes me want to projectile vomit. Dam, the remaining population of some of these species is under 5. Some have already joined the 200+ a day into infinite oblivion. Are WE there yet? Soon Bunky, soon. We’ve made reservations, down at the end of the road, at the Oblivion Motel. Do they have a swimming pool? Hush now Bunky, hush. We’ll be there soon.

  • @ Rob

    nobody hates you because you destroy their hope, they hate you because you are a long-winded know-it-all that is obviously suffering from deep insecurity and severe lonliness – a man desperate to have his voice heard. Nobody is interested, except your little following of moronic sycophants.

    Hahaha, This from the guy who spends his time in the public library pretending to read a book and can’t make eye contact with anyone ?

    Jeez, why don’t you talk to those homeless people ? I suppose you have no social skills and no personal power as well as no self control.

    I can talk to ANYBODY, Rob, any race, nationality, class, job, background, and at least half of them, if there is the time, in about half an hour, they’ll be telling me their whole life story, and very likely stuff they’ve never told anybody EVER before in their life…

    So why don’t you speak to anyone at that library, Rob ?

    Jeez, Denver must be the most miserable place on Earth, you and pat and melissa, or are you all the same person ? nihilism and self pity and complaining and hating and waiting to die.

    I never feel lonely, not ever, not even a twinge, for all I know this could be my last summer, every moment is exquisite, and as for the following of moronic sycophants here, who are THEY ? I haven’t noticed them, you’ll have to name names.

    I’m not desperate to get my voice heard. xray has asked me to write, kingsnorth has asked me to write, I have my own blog, I write emails to people all fucking day, the problem is not getting heard, the problem is getting perspective, because the pace of change is so fast that anything written in an essay is obsolete the next morning.

    And I don’t hate anybody, not even the ones who are ignorant idiots.

    @ OldMcDonald

    Personally, I fail to see the point…

    Obviously. You seem like somebody well worth avoiding. You didn’t notice you’ve been born yet ?

  • @ Artleads

    OK, I appreciate the pushback….etc

    This problem that you’re kicking around, people have been doing this for a long time now, including me, going back thirty years and more, how could we fix this mess, get back to sanity, get communities that worked, get proper healthy food and control over our own lives and stop the pollution and exploitation and environmental destruction, and so forth.

    Every year there’s been new books and new movements and new slogans and new insights, and the whole time everything has become worse, and worse, which is why people end up here.

    There’s some people who do the direct local action thing, like those local punks in Mexico City doing permaculture gardens trying to fix their neighbourhood, and there’s some people, like Paul Chefurka, who try to look at the biggest scale from the universal laws of physics, and see if it makes any sense from that perspective.

    And there’s all the others, in between, the Marxist analysis, Gail’s idea that we inevitably destroy our environment because of our genetic imperative, and so on and so and so on.

    As Daniel said, most people out there only care about their own immediate self interests. What effects them personally, and the few people they actually care about. That’s the reality.

    Politicians and religious leaders are always trying to influence that situation and trying to get people to care about the community or the nation or their fellow believers, or the rest of the humans or even their enemies, or millions of starving refugees that they’ll never meet in Syria or Somalia or Congo or somewhere.

    But most people do not have the time or moral values or the emotional resources to do much of that. Let alone worry about the rare birds, turtles, beetles and phytoplankton.

    Reforming the 7 billion to take a new and enlightened view of existence, whilst a worthy aim, is wholly unrealistic, given the time frame. It hasn’t worked over the last few thousand years except in rare instances, the bad propaganda selling bad stuff is much louder.

    We could gather together the very best of all that we know of and come together into communities that declare those values, rather like the Kingdom of Nri, I linked toward the end of the last thread, Charlie Eisenstein, the Amish, permaculture, etc, etc, but I think this has to be seen as a MORAL stance not as a PRACTICAL stance, or an attempt to survive, because trying to defend against violent attacks is not going to be effective against those who have superior force, and…what was it you said…

    The wild climate to come. Those harsh condition of SD Natives are a good prep for what’s ahead. If something else doesn’t get us first, we can learn to love and adapt to the harshness.

    Humans can endure freezing cold and desert heat, and have adapted to both. But they learned that, over many generations, over many centuries.

    It’s not the extreme conditions that need to be feared. It’s the fact that they will make it impossible to grow any food. And most folk will have no time to learn to adapt. How do you learn to be an Inuit for six months and then to be a San bushman for six months, when you’ve lived in a city all your life ?

    How do you grow a permaculture garden, and plant crops, expecting a season that doesn’t arrive ? You’ve got so many seeds, you prepare the ground and plant them, they sprout and grow, then a frost or a drought destroys them. That happens a few times and your seeds are all gone. Where do you get more, when the infrastructure is all gone ? What do you eat while you wait for something else to grow ?

  • Artleads Kathy C’s view on procreation can go two ways. While she and most others here might see it as strictly a way to deal with NTE, it makes clear the power the Western woman has to end a “destructive” form of behavior that they’re supposedly programmed for. It suggests to me that people can change when they have appropriate information. But that’s a whole other subject. I won’t go there today

    One would think with reproduction being the be all and end all of self replicating critters that there would be no way to stop humans from having many children. Yet they do.
    One reason is that the sex urge is stronger than the create children program in our brain. Thus with the advent of modern birth control one can fulfill the sex urge without creating children and many many people have done just that.
    But there also appear to be programs that maximize successful reproduction. 20 babies that all die because they cannot be fed does not fulfill our mandate to reproduce. Thus in times of starvation several things can happen. One the body can shut down a woman’s menses. In our modern world this is one thing that happens to anorexic women – who are self starving. Its the body’s way of saving its resources for a hopeful time when there is more food. But it has also been well documented that infanticide takes place for that (and other reasons) in hunter-gatherer tribes. Infanticide seems to contradict our mandate to reproduce, but the mandate from evolution is to SUCCESSFULLY reproduce.

    Since we already have the means to skirt around the physical urges to have sex and use birth control to prevent it from causing pregnancy, we can do the same for the mind programs that want children. We can convince ourselves (most of us here have) that this is not a time to have children as they will not survive and reproduce. Its harder for those who don’t have children yet as the mind program for procreation is still working on them. But given the number of people I have learned about who have made themselves sterile voluntarily before having children, I know it can be done.

    I have read that Drs. in Falluja are telling women to not have children. As they see the deformed kids born in their town, poisoned by Depleted Uranium, some are taking that advice. Births in Japan continue to fall. So for us where 100 nukes will go critical, a man or woman can help themselves have the motivation by looking at pictures of DU babies, or starving babies, or the babies maimed and killed by war. If anyone is having trouble making that step, force yourself to look and I believe your brain programs may take it all in and let you make the step to make birth control permanent before there is no birth control.

    You can start here

  • For those who think getting rid of humans is going to be quick and easy, consider this. About 70 million more humans are being added to the planet every year, and WWII killed about 70 million over six years, so we need a WWII a year just to break even. How likely is that? And when is nature even going to come close to our own record of slaughter? So far, I’m not impressed, her efforts look pitiful. Maybe we should go back to pinning our hopes on nuke war. Too bad the Cold War ended, back then we almost blew ourselves up. Sorry to be a hopium buster.

  • @ Ripley — Consider a ‘flu’ transmitted like a common cold — or inserted into a food item that killed 75% of folks who came in contact.

    Perhaps, TPTB could do the job with just a two week vacation on their favorite island — and a pill that protects them (just in case)instead of a daily WW2 like you suggest.

    Just sayin’

  • Bob S. Says:
    July 25th, 2013 at 4:12 am
    @ Ripley — Consider a ‘flu’ transmitted like a common cold — or inserted into a food item that killed 75% of folks who came in contact.
    Perhaps, TPTB could do the job with just a two week vacation on their favorite island — and a pill that protects them (just in case)instead of a daily WW2 like you suggest.
    Just sayin

    I wish you were right. The problem is that the entire public health apparatus and all the drs would have to be in on it, because anything that fatal would be quickly quarantined. Plagues only work well if there is no public health system, like in the 1300’s. If you get rid of industrial civ (sanitation, clean water, public health), plagues could work, but not while it’s still there. Sorry Bob, good try though.

  • Ripley says: “Bob, good try though.”

    I get a do over though — my copy paste combined with a loud brain fart caused me to leave an important few words from my description.

    Consider a ‘flu’ transmitted like a common cold — or inserted into a food item that killed 75% of folks who came in contact with it within 72 hours.

    OFC, that would be the boring book version.

    In the movie version, they would make it a 72 hour incubation followed by 96 hours until death. Giving seal team 527 time to blowdart those pesky CDC doctors as they reached for their roldex’ to save us.

  • U, your second comment/rant about caring needs >>> Time, more than Humans have left, again saved me the keystrokes, thanks, my fingers are old and stiff!

    I’ve lost track of the major climate feedback loops, are we up to 15 or 16? Seems new ones are cropping up everyday. The particulates in the massive fires that are beginning to be a constant around the globe are my bet for the latest underplayed climate feedback loop.

    At first I thought that their major feature was settling on white snow/ice and lowering the albedo in addition to melting the snow/ice but it turns out that the fire by-product particles are actually heating the air masses they are in as they float along, acting as heat lens to turn up the temperature of the atmosphere itself. Pretty diabolical.

    The hotter air in turn facilitates more and faster drying and more fires of higher intensity. My hunch is that this feedback will prove to be one of the major accelerators in climate change and it’s not even included in most ‘climate models’. All the major ‘climate models’ are beginning to look not just Lame and Shabby and Incompetent, but more like propaganda tools. Extend and Pretend

    Which leads me to conclude that one of the main overlooked positive feed back loops not talked about as a feedback per se, the most lethal really, is the media propaganda feedback loop.

    As examples of climate change manifest, the Ministries of Propaganda around the global will just keep making up bigger lies that It’s All Normal and the Sheeple will lap up rather than react to the obvious climate shift happening in front of their naked monkey eyes.

    Which in turn will then emboldens the Ministries of Propaganda to make up even bigger whoppers to explain things like tornados made of fire with even more urgency to suppress any doomer POV’s, which then allows the other climate feedback loops to go unchecked longer or even reacted to in even the most basic emergency survival coping mode, such as providing basic water and food and shelter.

    Climate feedback loops aren’t all physical systems, some are mental dysfunction feedback loops (MDFL) like the Edifice of Media Whores which the vast majority of humans have allowed through omission or commission, to shield them from the Truth.

  • Oh, I think a really good pandemic could make a dent. Just consider how all of the public health departments all over the world have been decimated by budget cuts. Or, even with a partially funded one, we had/have the HIV/AIDS virus, which has only killed 30 million so far (not nearly enough) but it was a good start.

    On another topic, would like some practical advice about talking about tubal ligations. I have 2 fertile nieces….one 26 and fairly aware and a 14 year old cosseted princess…..obviously, I will need two different approaches. Neither are NTE aware, although their fathers are (but are in denial, chalking it up to me being me). Any and all thoughts would be appreciated. The 26 year old is on Facebook, of course, so I can always put links there for her to see.

  • Speak Softly

    How about this for a MDFL?

    Own and drive a car for the 55 yeas of an extended privileged life,
    and live like the planet can afford it.

    We have all these dead life forms from a previous geological epoch pulling our personal chariots around, and they never got a say in killing their progeny in our time.

    Pharaohs and Roman generals had personal chariots. How far we have all come with our own self importance.

    Bipedal itinerant peripatetism is probably the only form of survivable human existence left to us.

    Moccasins everyone !!

  • Wildwoman: I would suggest that you keep out of it. They are not your kids. There are some things we each need to discover on our own. As you are already made out to be the family lunatic, just let it go. You will not change anyone’s thinking.

  • @ Rob

    don’t poke the sleeping bear, let the two post rule be your best friend, and I agree, there are factions, but they come and go as people leave and new ones arrive, and somedays it seems some people jump from one camp to the other… not worth keeping track of… One day, Ripley and Daniel will become best friends…

    @ Ogardener

    Yes, I read about the 80 year old nun getting past multiple levels of security at a nuclear facility – made me smile. And, you ask why “we” are not “doing” anything ourselves to shut down the nuclear installations? Well, for me, I used to write letters to the govt officials – and cc’ed my local congressmen and senator, my state senators, the white house, the govenor, and even lesser officials all the way down to the superintendnt of public schools! I was crazy trying. I voted in every election. Over time, I just felt like nobody was listening.

    Here’s the deal, and this has been spoken about at much length here at NBL:

    Does anybody really want nuclear power plants – I mean REALLY? Hell no. But there they are.

    Does anybody really want to be in ridiculous no-win wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and eventually Iran and Syria? No. But there they are.

    Does anybody really want GMO foods? No. But there they are.

    It’s obvious that “we” are powerless in the face of TPTB. And, really, as I’ve said before, I stopped caring about pretty much anything when I realized what a sap I was for most of my life. I can’t and won’t defend my actions or inactions, I’m simply an observer now with no goals and no purpose and no meaning and no hope for anything more or less.

    Humans got smart, then proceeded to kill themselves and every living thing on the planet. What does that say about being smart?

    The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT)
    The One Commandment:“Thou shalt not procreate”

    the Church of Euthanasia
    save the planet, kill yourself

    Jesse’s Church of Euthanasia
    save the planet, kill yourself, and take some poor slob with you.

  • wildwoman

    I like where you are going.
    Here is one to experiment with and hone your skills as a species killer:

    ‘Pandemic II’

    You can play while lurking at NBL

    As for the nieces, your task is the reverse of saying to them like a 19th century aunt might have told them it is time to breed and find a man.
    You might try telling them to it is time to join an archery club and have a tubal ligation. Put on your best Maggie Smith face and gravitas!

    The archery is for skills needed for the NT future.

    Best of luck.

  • Re Pandemic – too complicated. It’s much easier to go after food & water. Simply turn off the pumps – humans can last around 3 days w/o water. For greater efficacy, turn off the sewage pumps as well.

    Food imports, as well as refugee control, can be managed easily by cutting off a few key choke points on the interstates. In SoCal, all you’d have to do is take out the 405/10 interchange to wreak havoc.

    All could be done under color of authority ie national emergency aka state of war. Blame it on saboteurs/terrorists a la 9/11.

  • Almost a quarter of the northern hemisphere is covered by permafrost. Entombed in this frozen ground is an awful lot of primordial organic material, mostly roots and leaves, which contains up to 1,700 gigatons of carbon—almost twice the quantity that’s currently in the atmosphere.

    “If we let out this methane, our best efforts won’t work,” said scientist Jason Box. “It’ll be beyond our control. This is the trajectory we’re headed on. It’s only a matter of time.”


    Arctic sea ice, which melts and refreezes each year, is eroding at an unheard of rate—about twice as fast as the rest of the globe. In 2012 alone, it was only 40 percent of the size it was in the 1970s.

    “Because the ice is also losing its thickness, some scientists expect the Arctic ocean to be largely free of summer ice by 2020,” reports The Guardian.

    I predict that there will soon be an avalanche of public awareness that this is all very real and the riots will begin…

  • @Bob S.

    You folks must be psychic.

    Antibiotic resistance: The last resort

    “Health officials are watching in horror as bacteria become resistant to powerful carbapenem antibiotics — one of the last drugs on the shelf.”

    I wish to thank Norris Thomlinson for his article. While I rarely get emotional to the point of crying I can empathize with you about the content of your writing. I particularly like the references to Native American brothers and sisters and their struggles for justice.
    American Holocaust indeed.

    Perth County Conspiracy – Hezakaiah

  • Yes, B9K9, when the truth is finally realized by the masses, TPTB will push the button to basically exterminate us.

    When? very soon.

    How? too many options to even list, and many we don’t even know about.

    I simply hope that I get the chance to eat a govt official – I don’t care if it’s the parking ticket guy, I just want to eat someone that has any connection to TPTB, no matter how small.

  • Classic Limerick / remake 2050

    Man once lived from Laos to Nantucket
    If they could suck dry a resource,they’d suck it
    Nature felt some chagrin
    But when they shit up to her chin
    She had enough and said “FUCK IT!”

  • for Kathy C.

    ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan has pulled a condom commercial off the air following more than 1,000 complaints that its broadcast was immoral during the fasting month of Ramadan.

    The commercial features a couple wondering how their neighbor managed to land a glamorous wife, only to have the beaming husband reveal his secret – a packet of “Josh” condoms. “Josh” translates as “excitement” in Urdu.

  • ogardener,

    You can’t fool me – the Perth County Conspiracy “does not exist”. I know this for a fact, because my first wife was a PCC groupie in 1970. Truth and Fantasy, man!

  • ‘DGR News Service has a calendar of underground actions reported in the press.’

    how can something be ‘underground’ if it’s reported ‘aboveground’?!

    ‘Kathy C’s stance on getting your tubes tied and not bringing any more babies into the world is the most radical proposed here so far, because it is an act of resistance against your very nature.’

    i think if one fully grasps the dire nature of our predicament, an instinct for compassion just might overrule the instinct to reproduce. i should hope so. also, let’s not forget that we’re not talking about thwarting sex; merely ensuring it does not lead to conception. and, of course, anyone dead set on being a parent can adopt.

  • Norris — your essay was long overdue on this site, at least during my few months of being here, long awaited by me.

    I remember in Lierre’s video her mention that the French Resistance did not get much momentum until the Nazis were headed for defeat. Such are human beings — a human opponent can be defeated, Nature cannot. (“Bats Last” — actually not, Guy, if she already has a 16-run lead!)

    She mentioned the successes of the IRA hunger strikers, and recently we have the Gitmo detainees, many of whom were turned in for bounties by people who just didn’t like them. America the Idiot just can’t find “a place to send them”. (How about the Innocent Victims Protection Program, with a $10 million settlement payment? Each.)

    I am “against” suicide, in general, for several reasons, without tripping up Daniel’s eloquent suggestions. I’m not into being the “crack suicide squad” of the Judaean People’s Liberation Front.

    But… and this I swear, as I have never had aural hallucinations… I was sitting in the Phoenix airport a few years back, and writing a few pages on my Peace Movement experiences of decades past, plus a “What Is To Be Done” for today (angered by Iraq, Fallujah, depleted uranium, etc etc) and the female announcement voice came on “Paging Norman Morrison. Paging Norman Morrison.”

    If you’ve seen the movie “Fog of War”, you can actually hear McNamara acknowledging an effect that this poor man’s 1965 (?) self-immolation, inspired by the Buddhist monks, under Mac’s window, had on him. Belatedly, unfortunately, for a few million Vietnamese and Cambodians, did it reach his conscience, nor enough for the immediate resignation it would have dictated.

    Cynical Americans (not Walter Cronkite, mind you) used to joke. “Another Buddhist barbecue”, as if they knew anything about the who or the why of it, or the distant people they were fixing to destroy. What a barbaric nation, in the worst sense of that word.


    Coffee’s ready; you can probably write the rest of this yourself.


    “What, Sasha?”

    “What’s that man — what are those people doing out there, outside the fence, beyond the south lawn?”


    I mean, if you could just recruit all the unhappy people who are going to… don’t go there.

    This is why I don’t think this way for myself, Daniel, and why I assume I must have some other work of value to do in this life. I also assume, and believe, this about others, that they still have value in their living, commensurate with their abilities, wisdom and love.

    Because, if I didn’t assume that, the logic might be inescapable… and I just have trouble dismissing ideas until I have worked them through.

    Thank you, Norris.

  • So, go on being an angry nihilist.

    If you were wise, you’d quickly realize that this shit was cemented firmly in place long before your dad even got a look @ your mom. You were born in captivity, and unless something really unexpected occurs, you will die in captivity.

  • Okay, consider this for a concluding scenario:

    Natural events like earthquakes, volcanoes, drought and flooding put a huge damper on food production (with chaotic weather ruining the rest), combined with overpopulation, a global economic breakdown, rising sea level, unchecked pandemics, wars for remaining resources everywhere (including neighborhoods, states, countries), global tree and vegetation death, and the electrical grid going down due to external (like falling trees) and internal (fried dynamos, etc) leading to the nuke scenario within a month.

    i’m sure it’s going to take us all by surprise how it just creeps up on us like a boa constrictor slowly (while we’re ignoring it) and clamps us down to the point where we can’t fight back or last very long.

  • Here is a great quote from Wade Davis:

    “These other cultures are not failed attempts to be us; they are unique manifestations of the spirit—other options, other visions of life itself.”

  • As I walk toward the front door, a lizard comes out from nowhere ahead of me. It moves forward, waddling from side to side, making a quick dart to the left. Is it feinting to mislead me? Maybe not, for it’s soon back on track, gobbling up two ants with lightning-quick strikes. Will it go along the open space between those two flagstones? Pretty much. It’s just a case of waddling forward, and then to seclusion under a board.

    The universe is indifferent to our existence? How so? If we are part of the universe and not at all indifferent to it? Or did we become separated from the universe when I wasn’t looking?


    “i think if one fully grasps the dire nature of our predicament, an instinct for compassion just might overrule the instinct to reproduce. i should hope so. also, let’s not forget that we’re not talking about thwarting sex; merely ensuring it does not lead to conception. and, of course, anyone dead set on being a parent can adopt.”

    Agreed. The conundrum (or catch-22) is that such changes to human behavior could only occur due to the unprecedented direness of NTE. No NTE, no change in human behavior (or the human brain).


    A case for intuition. I’ve always felt strongly that no technology should ever be sidelined (to the point where it couldn’t be readily brought to service). Movable type, cannons, the bow and arrow. And now, decades later, here comes NTE to confirm the need for such technology. Isn’t intuition a blast?????

    “Bipedal itinerant peripatetism is probably the only form of survivable human existence left to us.”

    It’s all part of back to the future.


    Putting the info on Facebook so it is *indirectly* available to you niece *and not following up to check* ought to work. If she sees it, and the sense of it, she’ll share it with her sister. If she sees it, but not the point thereof, it will sit in her mind for a year or two till maybe the dawning of an epiphany. Such happens all the time. IMO, there’s more mystery than certainty in the world. You do the smart thing (NOT EXPECTING ANYTHING TO COME OF IT) and the world takes care of the rest, to our liking or not. As Haile Salassie has said, “Man proposes, and God disposes.”

    Kathy C.

    Thanks for explaining the how and wherefore of non-reproduction. I’d also suggest that adoption offers a *biological* means of reproducing genes as well. The brain of an adoptee will take on the (genetic) changes which derive from the adopting parents’ brains. (I’m guessing.) I so, brain genetic characteristics get handed down genetically through adoptees?

    As to the question of infanticide. I wonder if the individual drive to reproduce successfully among hunter-gatherers might have been supplanted by the need for the tribe to reproduce successfully. I doubt that they were as individualistic as we are. And every culture has a distinctive brain mapping. Just a thought. Infanticide would have been a way for the tribe to have the resources and the mobility it required.

  • Oh man, just keep adding to “the troubles”

    As we’ve written before, the mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.

    Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once.

    When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae. The parasite has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder though scientists took pains to point out that their findings do not directly link the pesticides to CCD. The pollen was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and fungicides though scientists discovered 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample. Scientists identified eight ag chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by the parasite.

    Most disturbing, bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they’re designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples.

    “There’s growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own and I think what it highlights is a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals,” Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study’s lead author, told Quartz.

    Labels on pesticides warn farmers not to spray when pollinating bees are in the vicinity but such precautions have not applied to fungicides.

    Bee populations are so low in the US that it now takes 60% of the country’s surviving colonies just to pollinate one California crop, almonds. And that’s not just a west coast problem—California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds, a market worth $4 billion.

    In recent years, a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids has been linked to bee deaths and in April regulators banned the use of the pesticide for two years in Europe where bee populations have also plummeted. But vanEngelsdorp, an assistant research scientist at the University of Maryland, says the new study shows that the interaction of multiple pesticides is affecting bee health.

    “The pesticide issue in itself is much more complex than we have led to be believe,” he says. “It’s a lot more complicated than just one product, which means of course the solution does not lie in just banning one class of product.”

    The study found another complication in efforts to save the bees: US honey bees, which are descendants of European bees, do not bring home pollen from native North American crops but collect bee chow from nearby weeds and wildflowers. That pollen, however, was also contaminated with pesticides even though those plants were not the target of spraying.

    “It’s not clear whether the pesticides are drifting over to those plants but we need take a new look at agricultural spraying practices,” says vanEngelsdorp.

  • @ Henry

    I am moved by your posts – over and over again. Norman Morrison was truly a hero for all humans.

    I know the NBL crowd likes to go back and forth on the issues of 1) “spreading the word,” 2) resistance, 3) suicide, 4) live, love & laugh while you still can, 5) etc. etc. etc.

    I know I’m taking the position of extreme apathy and I know that I could/should “do something” instead of just waiting around for the apocolyptic events to begin. And, interestingly enough, Norman Morrison’s example is probably the best example in that it was complete self sacrifice. Although I also see merit in Jesse’s stance that we should try to take a member of TPTB with us when we do it or even a lot of members of TPTB if possible – but most would feel VERY differently about Norman Morrison had he grabbed a senator and burned the two of them together. There is no more powerful statement than just saying what needs to be said as loudly as possible and giving up everything to do so.

    We know 22 veterans commit suicide each day. Now, as you alluded to, if those 22 veterans were to line themselves up each day in front of the white house and light themselves on fire, then I think more people might get the message and we might see some changes.

    However, NTE makes it all moot.

    I’m not religious, I have no soul, no spirit to guard (if I’m wrong, boy am I in trouble!) and no Eternity to fear. And, I don’t have any particular affinity for my fellow human beings, although I also wish them no harm. So, I really have no message to give. I walk around with a catatonic stare on my face – maybe I am a witness to those who would notice and realize I am another casualty of industrial civilization – but the message is unnecessary to those so intuitive.

    Self-immolating Tibetan monks.

    Kamikaze pilots.

    Palestinian suicide bombers.

    The soldier that dives onto a live handgrenade.

    The ultimate sacrifice.

    Jan. 25, 2012
    DHARMSALA, India (RNS) At least three Tibetan Buddhist monks drank gasoline and set themselves ablaze in January, bringing the count of self-immolations to 15 since March 2011.

  • What we need is to ‘transist’ (my word)

    Mo flow and ulvglf and oldgrowthforest a link

    This is what we are groking imo

  • How does one drink gasoline?

    Not that I really need to know… but, just in case.

    @ Henry: You made some comments some time ago about how to improve the structure of a blog – and I think Brad Phillips also had some suggestions. and then, someone created the ning page for NTE and that was almost completely dominated by a few super-bloggers’ incessant spewing such that it was no longer a conversation but the endless tirades of a few highly dysfunctional, socially alienated, insomniacs.

    Does anyone else here notice that this blog is really just one long blog with all the possible NTE topics mashed together in a never ending stream broken up occasionally by the latest posted article? I will say that the 2 post rule was a welcomed improvement.

    I’m not saying it’s bad or good, just that maybe it could be different.

    Oh, and by the way, I’m all for self-immolation. But, I can’t help but wonder if Mrs. Morrison ever thought that maybe it wasn’t necessary since no war lasts forever. Also, with NTE fast approaching, I’d rather drink a martini and light up a stogie.

  • @TIAA — Thanks for the shot of Campbell. Made my day. Too much gloomdooming obscures the Beauty…

  • @ Speak Softly

    Which leads me to conclude that one of the main overlooked positive feed back loops not talked about as a feedback per se, the most lethal really, is the media propaganda feedback loop.

    Yeah, that’s a really interesting point I never thought of.

    I suppose Guy touched on it, in the list of feedbacks, by mentioning the Obama arctic drilling policy. But really we need to open this up much more broadly, because it’s part of the general insanity of keeping everything in separate compartments.

    Like for the meteorologists, the CO2 that goes into the ocean just vanishes from the model, doesn’t exist anymore. Pretending that human systems are not part of the system makes no sense.

    The feedback loops that control our decision making processes are just as much a part of what happens as are the fires and the melting ice.

    And that was also interesting, I put a link to that fire research in the climate summary comments, when I first saw it, it was pure accident that the fire happened to be where those scientists happened to be… which makes one wonder how many other unknown feedbacks are already going on that nobody has noticed ?

    @ TIAA

    This is what we are groking imo

    Yes !

    A ++++ :-)

    Charles Tart 1 – 10

  • Cheers Mike K, glad we can see it together, beauty between us huh?

    Yay Ulvfugl! I will go to da link, :-), will get back to you on it.

  • Rob

    If you are still breathing then you are not a casualty of civilisation…yet.

    You feel that way, but I rather liked the comment some thread back that said the best thing is to have used the body up completely by the moment of death, not to keep it pristine, get you moneys worth, so to speak because it is such a rugged design, and the chassis is designed to deliver you to the destination, rag it and make it have exhausted its considerable potential by its used by date.

    You can still put yourself to good use, while breathing. Perhaps finding what is relevant, optimal, and of use in the light of NTE is the rub.
    To each their own.

    Peace brother.

  • ‘mental dysfunction feedback loops (MDFL)’ -ss (speak softly)

    mdfl. i like it. a $5 concept for a couple of 5 cent traits: stupidity and craziness. in epidemic proportions, they seem to be self reinforcing.

    ‘On another topic, would like some practical advice about talking about tubal ligations. I have 2 fertile nieces… Any and all thoughts would be appreciated.’ -ww (wildwoman)

    sigh. imo, in my experience, most sheeple can’t get it. chalk it up to mdfl (see above). good luck tryin’, i think u should, and no doubt there will be some good suggestions and links provided by others to help. keep in mind the risk of alienation if reason fails and in exasperation u push too hard. difficult times, difficult choices.

    ‘Humans got smart, then proceeded to kill themselves and every living thing on the planet. What does that say about being smart?’ -pat

    depends on how one defines ‘smart’. i think clever’s a better word. and i’d say this cleverness is combined with a lot of stupidity, craziness, and mdfl. not good. not good at all.

  • Bill P. says: I predict that there will soon be an avalanche of public awareness that this is all very real and the riots will begin…

    What’s Next

    The word’s getting out about doom,
    Making it safe to assume
    Less denial mystique
    When folks finally freak
    In history’s biggest ka-boom.

  • @Paul Chefurka

    Funny that. I’m still grinnin’.

    Excellent thread.

  • This seems to fit here.

    “The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. “Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does.” They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.” -ALDOUS HUXLEY

  • Given that doom is a hoot
    And the hopium is moot
    Despite the Archdruid
    I’m in a most lucid
    Mental Dysfunction Feedback Loop

  • Just Say NO To Cannibalism!

    That would make a great bumper sticker! But, when you think about it, haven’t we been cannibals all along?

    I can imagine a time, say 10-15,000 years ago, farmers gone wild, bumper crops to gather in, population booming, then WHAM! a bad harvest. Then what, starve to death? No, set up a hierarchy. Call it a priesthood. Give them the authority to come up with rationalizations for throwing your neighbor on the Barbie.

    Later, when crop production is stable again, establish the first military. Specialized fighters as a hedge against having to eat people you know, or being eaten yourself, when crops fail again. The priests send the soldiers out to gather tasty strangers for the communal pot. (After taking the prime cuts for themselves, of course.)

    No! Eating people has to be the lowest and most disastrous form of materialism of all time.

    Just Say NO To Cannibalism!

  • When your choice is to feed your neighbor or eat him, I’m pretty sure you’ll eat him.

  • Nihilism works best if people lack connection to those who are suffering extinction of one or another form right now. If nothing matters, we can go back to Jim Crow, as we seem set to do. We can flatten Detroit and make it ripe for developers. Any number of Realpolitik atrocities around the world killing millions–meaningless. Nihilism works best when you can walk down the street and nobody stalks you, when all your toys are intact. For every moment spent being nihilistic a species goes extinct and a thousand people die needlessly.

    Good video (reposted from above)

  • “Josh” translates as “excitement” in Urdu.

    Actually closer to “zeal”.

    Did someone say Another Buddhist barbecue? Well, could someone bring Worcestershire sauce?

  • “Specifically, the scientists discovered that a temperature increase of just 1 degree Celsius in near-surface air temperatures in the tropics results in an average annual growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide that is equivalent to one-third of the annual global emissions caused by the combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation combined…..”

  • Great video Ulvfugl, here is a humorous one for all that sums up the roots of a lack of ‘subtle’ intelligence leading man to bury mother nature literally in his greed for more. So it goes.

    Would like to here Bens limerick on that note. :-)

  • Here is Dr. Jennifer Frances discussing Arctic amplification fueling extreme weather in mid-latitudes. It’s somewhat old news but still a must watch. If you haven’t the time to watch the whole 16 mins, cut to the 14 min mark for here concise summery. Her research has been a game changer in how we both comprehend and conceptualize the big picture.

  • Saturated with grief, I’m numb. Inner miseries matched by outer parallel miseries, watching the world die. I want to write an epitaph, yes, and one for our species too, but without a recipient, I cannot assemble words. Deathwatch is draining. The last few remaining years… months… hours… on that big unwindable clock of life… feel so short. As though there is still much left to do, before we go. But no appropriate tasks come to mind. Nothing to mend. No reason to bother to arrange affairs, there are no heirs. No reason to bother with explanation, nothing will understand. A deeper wave of vacuous numbness sets in stiffly. Skylight so late, so surreal. One of her needles, one of the ones she used, not deftly but lovingly, to sew my misfit clothes, drops off the table, oddly loudly. Too numb to startle, but I take notice, and adore her ghost again with another small teardrop. All around, noise of naive party and lovers rejoicing in an old memory, mission and immediacy of wailing sirens and casualties of war, mosquitoes buzzing… while the big clock unwinds to halt.

  • An excellent blog, sadly about to go defunct, by Dave Cohen has this post which partly explains the mess we’re in:

    There are plenty of links to other excellent posts there.

    My takeaway is that Cohen is probably right. Humans are just animals acting out their nature, within the environment (with a small “e”) that they find themselves. That environment includes, and has included, abundant sources of cheap energy. Where we’ve ended up is inevitable. Some members of our species act in ways that might seem “good” and other act in ways that might seem “bad” but, as a species, we’re just acting out our nature. And this is why no effective action will be taken on the predicament that a few people recognise. I haven’t expected any such actions for many years and I don’t expect that to change. Maybe some gigantic catastrophe might jolt enough people into a different mode but by then any actions would be even less effective.

    It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better, if it ever does.

  • Our future fantasy scenarios show that we’re all forgetting that TPTB don’t think like us. We care about the future, they don’t. All ind civ infrastructure is designed to funnel wealth to them, so they’re not going to cut this flow, they’re not going to let anyone else do it either, and they’re not going to let accidents to go unfixed. If the door knob on Bill Gates mansion breaks, it doesn’t stay broken for very long, does it?

    Also, the assumption that they think excess population is a problem is incredibly naive. This is because we’ve forgotten that the vital ruling concept of our civ is “flow of wealth”, as in FOW to TPTB. Maintaining and increasing this FOW to TPTB is the prime directive of our civ. If you put yourself in the shoes of a Coca Cola executive, everything becomes clear. There are now 7 billion people on the planet, so which future planet do you want to live on if all you care about is selling more cans of Coke, the one with only 1 billion people or the one with 14 billion people? Population growth is their best friend. I’m sure that hefty checks and thank you notes are sent to the Vatican and to other anti-birth control advocates on a regular basis. It is absurd to think that TPTB would want to kill off their valuable herd of sheeple, the human veal that are the source of all their wealth.

  • @ Ripley

    IMO, you are right, but only to a certain extent. The CEO of coca-cola is not going to need anyone to be drinking coca-cola when SHTF – cities on fire, widespread riots, food shortages, pestilence, worldwide economic meltdown, wars and more wars raging on every continent, nuclear plants spewing radiation far and wide…

    As I’ve said before, the best thing for TPTB is a slow, gradual, decline so that they can “manage” us through martial law, slave camps, extermination, however, the FEMA camp will not be dispensing coca-cola.

    If we accept Guy’s analysis, then it’s just a matter of what the timeline looks like, but the runaway feedback loops are already in play and we are already seeing consequences such that we can expect that there will soon come a day that there will be no stores and there will be no cokes and the CEO of coca-cola will either be hunkered down in a bunker deep in an abandoned mineshaft or face down in the street with a “I am the 99%” sign post stuck in his back.

    @ logspirit

    “The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares.”

    @ OzMan

    That sounds like Hunter S. Thompson:
    An American journalist and author. He was also known for his lifelong use of alcohol and illegal drugs; his love of firearms, and his iconoclastic contempt for authoritarianism, and remarked that, “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.” While suffering a bout of health problems, Thompson committed suicide at the age of 67. As per his wishes, his ashes were fired out of a cannon.

    And, though I’m willing to concede there’s “more to be done” and I can easily create a long list of “things to do” that I actually could do and that any one of them would be better than doing nothing, I’ve decided to not do anything at all. I could beg for money and mail it to some family in Haiti, I could help an elderly homeless man get into a shelter, I could pick up trash along the streets… But, no, I’m not doing anything – I’m not helping anyone or hurting anyone, I’m not buying anything, I’m not selling anything, and I don’t know how long I will be able to hold out, but I know that Winter is coming and I will have to move South eventually, that is all I know.

    My hope is for some catastrophic event that catches everyone off-guard such that chaos reins and TPTB cannot control anything. For me, I’m already a refugee of industrial civilization so I’ve got nothing to lose.

  • If you are in the US when SHTF, you want to be in an area as homogeneous as possible – and, of course, you want to be a member of the homogeneous group!

    Race will be the main factor in determining factions.

    If you are too far South, you better be brown haired, brown eyed, and brown skinned and speak Spanish.

    Also, you don’t want to be some big fat white guy strolling around Jackson, MS.

    Sad but true.

    In general, you don’t want to be anywhere near a city or East of a nuclear power plant. Also, best to be near the headwaters of any river.

    I’m thinking I might have a go at Northern Minnesota, being that I am a big fat white guy.

  • A plague-infected squirrel has closed a California campground for at least a week, according to Los Angeles County health officials.

    The squirrel, trapped July 16 in the Table Mountain Campgrounds of Angeles National Forest, tested positive for the infection Tuesday, prompting a health advisory and the closing of the campground while investigators tested other squirrels and dusted the area for plague-infected fleas.

    “Plague is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas, which is why we close affected campgrounds and recreational areas as a precaution while preventive measures are taken to control the flea population,” L.A. County health officer Dr. Jonathan Fielding said in a statement.

  • One moment you’re bright and lively,
    The next you’re crawling with worms.
    Fate is a terrible villain
    And you, my friend, its poor victim.

  • Comment from A-team on Neven’s blog today:

    “That South Kara Sea methane full text was an easy and informative read that complemented related studies in the East Siberian and US and Canadian Beaufort Seas.

    It provided significant new data and better understanding of events beginning in the last marine transgression at 19 kyr, notably the longer exposures of deeper methane deposits and sediment sources to a radically warmer and thermally more conductive regime.

    Meanwhile, the Nature article did not lift a scientific finger towards assessing the methane factual situation.

    I didn’t add a comment at the time Steve first brought it up. Waste of resources — I know a great deal on the scientific side of methane and am willing to explain it — but for the time involved, the background level of participant misunderstandings, the rapidity with which comments get buried, maybe 2-3 others following the commentary, and peak melt season hard upon us — it couldn’t be justified.

    Climate science mostly dodders along on its 2100 timeline — folks still hiding their latest little papers on 1979-2006 ice pack behind paywalled journals, profe$$ional $ociety barriers and minimalist, rarely updated research group web sites — whereas the mainstream publicaly funded sciences abandoned those practises years ago.

    Methane is never going to get a fair shake from scientists deeply — and mistakenly — invested in the carbon dioxide modeling culture and the self-imposed holy grail of land temperature sensitivity to its doubling, outdated, irrelevent and mis-placed agendas at this point (400 ppm). Yet that is almost entirely what the public hears about.

    What to do? — we are in a situation here where maybe 1 person here in 20 has full-text access and perhaps 7-8 more have the stomach for them. However under fair use, those with access could quote enough that others would have an unimpeded view (which rarely would add up to a half dozen paragraphs and 1-2 figures).

    Sea ice is a done deal — if not this year, then the next 1-2. So come October slackwater, maybe get serious on developing a methane resource with quality like that of the sea ice.

    Posted by: A-Team | July 26, 2013 at 04:19 “

  • I pity the man who wants a coat so cheap that the man
    or woman who produces the cloth will starve in the process.
    – Benjamin Harrison

  • The Good Life

    Perhaps there’s a place of good cheer
    In a noble savage career,
    Or a heavenly tier
    Which might someday appear,
    But it sure the fuck isn’t here.

  • @ TIAA: Sorry, I got nothing on that one.

  • Dave @ DOTE is really just getting up to speed. It seems like he’s finally reached the depression stage before he begins the process of reconciling true acceptance. Acceptance is recognizing, as he has states, the truth about human nature, but without any attendant grief and/or complaints.

    Once you reach true acceptance, then you’re able to take advantage of this unique knowledge in order to maximize the things you enjoy. Do you like to fish? Garden? Hike? Protest? It doesn’t matter what it is, armed with the truth, you should be able to, almost effortlessly, capitalize on your insight & knowledge.

    For instance, we know for absolute certainty at that a host of things will occur: (a) fossil fuel extraction & transportation (fracking & pipelines) will continue apace; (b) existing nuke waste will be transported to deep mines; (c) atmospheric engineering will be undertaken (if it hasn’t already); (d) food production will fail to meet ever increasing demands of global population growth; (e) increased restriction on civil liberties will be introduced; (f) wage/price controls & rationing will be implemented; and the list goes on.

    Now, knowing the above is lock-certain-guaranteed, how difficult is it to position oneself in order to personally benefit, and as a result, be enabled to pursue those things that really interest them?

    This ain’t rocket science, kids, this is straight forward fundamental analysis. All you have to do is drop the emotion, and deal with reality.

  • No surprise, Andy Revkin posted outdated models to counter the methane threat as articulated by the recent paper by Wadhams.

    What I love is that Gavin uses TWITTER to rebut the most recent empirical evidence. It’s like they are in a sandbox throwing sand.

  • Dear Benjamin, no worries.

    Nothing is something…..on the beach of Doom…so it will come…

    I hope.

  • BtD, that whole “once you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it” thing is really a bitch! I’m getting gloomier and gloomier by the hour. You made me laugh. Thanks, buddy.

    B9K9, is your name in real life Tony Robbins by any chance? Seeing opportunity in total planetary collapse is a real talent. Yep, that pesky emotion crap needs to get gone, ASAP.

  • @ Gail

    Thank you for that NYT link, Gail.

    How amazing to see all the familiar names respond in such an automatic and predictable manner. I’ve always considered Revkin a cheap shill. I still had some remaining respect for Gavin Schmidt, but what he said there was pathetic, a disgrace.

    Wadhams has to be very measured and careful and responsible in what he says, but I don’t, I can speak freely as I see it, and I think being responsible means being as honest as possible, and I think we are all set up for the classic 10 – 12 deg C over a decade global temperature increase, ON TOP of everything else, from a methane spike, similar to the one that happened in the past.

    What’s to stop it ? Nothing.

    There’s now 50 metres of warming water over 50 metres of warming frozen silt, over gigatonnes of methane clathrates, all ready to come into the atmosphere, and no conceivable way of preventing that from happening.

    As Dr. Shakhova said, there’s so much of it, that even 1% or so doubles atmospheric carbon, if I remember correctly.

    The comments keep saying methane is 20 x CO2 warming potential when THAT IS WRONG, they should say 100 X

    Idiots keep saying that the climate was warmer before, and that that methane didn’t come out, BUT that’s because it wasn’t under the sea, it was land before, and stayed frozen by deep permafrost, and then later, when flooded, the sea was covered by Arctic ice. So NOW is different to any previous time.

    Perhaps it will take twenty or thirty years for a really massive release to produce the sharp spike that wipes life off the planet. I don’t know the exact time frame of the previous 10 deg spike, I think it was about that long.

    But if one weighs the seriousness of the data and the evidence and the obvious consequences against the commentary and the reaction, all I can do is shake my head in utter disbelief. Oh well, we’ve known this for years and we still keep being shocked…

    I think they will just pretend it isn’t happening and then they will block the news right out so that nobody even knows it is happening. We now have internet censorship in the UK.

    Quite astonishing to recall how just a little while ago we were being told about evil countries like China and Iran and North Korea which censored the internet and prevented freedom of speech, and now Britain joins the club, courtesy of David Cameron, who has given the task to China’s Huawei corporation.

    The default will be

    ☑ pornography
    ☑ violent material
    ☑ extremist and terrorist related content
    ☑ anorexia and eating disorder websites
    ☑ suicide related websites
    ☑ alcohol
    ☑ smoking
    ☑ web forums
    ☑ esoteric material
    ☑ web blocking circumvention tools

    I think NBL will be blocked

  • Im cool as long as you are blocked too.

  • And in the Antarctic, much the same although will probably to longer to be released…

    Thousands of feet down in the sediment, geothermal heat keeps things warm enough for the microbes to keep producing methane. As the gas diffuses upward, however, it enters a zone where it feels not only the pressure but also the cold of the overlying ice sheet. The combination transforms it into methane hydrate: a solid, ice-like substance in which each methane molecule is trapped in a cage of water.
    Hydrate is strange, fragile stuff. If the pressure drops or the temperature rises enough to take it out of its comfort zone—for instance, because the ice above it melts—it falls apart. The methane escapes to the atmosphere. That’s the worry for the future. Climate scientists have long been concerned about the positive feedback that would result if global warming were to destabilize huge reservoirs of methane hydrate in the Arctic.
    Now they have the Antarctic to think about too. Wadham and her colleagues calculate there could be anywhere from 70 to 390 billion tons of carbon in hydrates under the East Antarctic ice sheet, and a few tens of billions of tons under West Antarctica. (The methane there may have been made by geothermal heating of sediments rather than microbes.) That’s less than estimates for the Arctic but in the same ballpark.

  • @ logspirit

    “…Skylight so late, so surreal. One of her needles, one of the ones she used, not deftly but lovingly, to sew my misfit clothes, drops off the table, oddly loudly. Too numb to startle, but I take notice, and adore her ghost again with another small teardrop….”

    I have very much appreciated your postings here as of late. This is an exceptional piece of writing. Thank you!

  • I’m sure I saw this video when I was a kid and it has stuck with me all this time.

    Almost all working petroleum engineers, scientists and executives have
    lived their ENTIRE CAREERS within the scope of this knowledge, with rock solid empirical data available to them at any time. When I think of what true dumb-asses they have been, efficiently destroying EVERYTHING I get so disgusted and pissed that I could just…WHATEVER! These guys make me sick. I wish there was some way they could all be publicly shamed as dimwits.

  • @ Ulvfugl

    As a staunch atheist, I couldn’t agree more with “your” Mythos/Logos duality.

    Your ability to see either side, as well as unbiasedly stay true to both is not only exceptionally rare, but your writing in this regard might come as close to “the truth” as we might ever get.

    Keep at it, we’ll eventually catch up.

    For those who may have missed the following post from the end of the last essay, Ulvfugl has hit it out of the park………yet again!

    Can We Really Walk Away from Empire?

  • Yes, Daniel, I appreciated logspirt’s heartfelt expression too. It haunted me all day. Yes, thanks logspirit.

  • @Rob, @Daniel, @Kirk Hamilton Thanks. Feelings outflank all that is undeniably inevitable. They ridicule calculation and humiliate conceit. They are our last best weapon to defend our humanity. Let us go down as heroes who never forgot how to feel and cry. Not as machines.

    Now please bear with me as I downshift to a more mundane melody:

    It seems there was one factor that determined the quality of human life more than any other. Without it we fell to the lowest level, a level that undermined the survival of human groups, and which ultimately destroyed humanity. It should now be apparent that we actually needed to care about each other, and our impacts, to survive. We needed compassion.

    First in hunting cultures, progressively with agriculture, then, as ravaging industrialized economies intensified for the sake of concentration of profit, compassion was observed as an unwelcome friction by royalty. Dehumanizing stoic influences raged in every means of communication these sociopaths controlled. Voiced in subliminal emotional undertones, coldness of character was touted as a desirable trait.

    No trick too low, macho sexual attractiveness was increasingly associated with an emotionless homicidal demeanor. Passion was blended and confused with murder. Even female sexuality was perverted and portrayed with sleek spies in form fitting shiny black latex, pointing guns with extended silencers at enemies of the state. No bang, not even a whimper to bother with. Cool silent killers. This still incites sexual arousal for many, even here at the end of it all. Love and nurture? Boring.

    Indoctrinated in the art of achieving an indifferent cold blooded attitude, only insignificant archaic twitches of compassion persisted. Ultimately, we succeeded in committing patricide on self respect… then proceeded with matricide, killing the earth while sipping a martini. Shaken, not stirred.

    Love is more ancient than hate. We were drafted by the devils and duped into our own demise.

  • Daniel or anyone

    Was the Bee Colony Collapse Disorder recently commented on indicated to be a world wide change, or predominantly located in North America? Any other places?

  • With thanks to Norris Thomlinson, I’ve posted a new guest essay. It’s here.

  • As per Daniels ulvfugl reference:

    “But we really need to sort this out. We want to get the good parts of mythos, the poetry, the intuition, the imagination, the inspiration, the sense of the sacred, without letting it drown us and drag us back into paranoia and superstition and total nonsense.”

    Well well. I wonder why you put my whole NBL contributions in the:

    “…drag us back into paranoia and superstition and total nonsense”


    That is obviously your choice, but it is disingenuous to frame my contributions for others in such a maligned way.

    You have a prejudice!

    If you asses that Mythos arena of human experience by looking at written and on line content, you will miss the real import of Mythos, as you state above:

    “…the poetry, the intuition, the imagination, the inspiration, the sense of the sacred”

    In the end you have to use your own judgement when these events and influences come to you. To say it is all delusions and such, just because you weren’t the one to encounter them, sounds like sour grapes and a competitive character.

    You would do well to reserve such concerted and vehement denouncing of something you don’t apparently understand. It is not important if you think you have figured it all out, you just can’t know what is worthy, and what is the ‘superstition’ without carrying the fire of the experiences in your self, from your actual experiences.

    As I have explained elsewhere on this site, Intuition and Feeling are poorly suited for wide communal debate, and better suited to sensitive private disclosures. That still doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to work it, but sensitivity is the key. Respect too.

    Thinking and Sensation are open to communal discourse and debate. These functions report on objective events and the Feeling and Intuitive functions are subjective by nature, and inform on aspects of reality that the subjective nature of conscious experience is open to.

    So let us do what you ask….. “and sort this out”.

    How it can be done is not a snap solution, but a good first step is to keep an open mind, and reject premature judgements about other peoples’ Feelings and Intuitions, as described.

    Try accepting and reserving critical comments, and seeing what can be deduced or ‘created’ and understood, by reflecting on the unfathomable power we have in our hearts, in our Sun, and can be felt in the swoon of great love.

    As I think logspirit is pointing to with her recent posts, human compassion is a core aspect of our being, both individually and communally. That is a deep ‘heart function’, and to me it is the continuum that connects the here and now, and all the past and all the futures.

    Can’t prove it, don’t need to for my own purposes, best let it be, and keep an open mind.

  • @Ozman
    Colony Collapse Disorder — and declining pollinator populations more generally — have been identified as a dire problem in N.America (incl. Mexico), Europe and, I believe, Asia. That said, due to the current global nature of the food system, this effects most everyone. Also, the pesticides, herbicides and fungicides causing the problem are used virtually everywhere now. Approximately 1/3 of current human food supply is pollinated — the most nutrient/vitamin dense 1/3.
    If S.America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand are not having this problem, it may be they’ll be asked to provide new bee stocks to the rest of the world.

  • Tangential thought of the day….the ammo is flowing again. It’s being rationed at the range, but manufacturers are ramping up production and the bullet drought appears to be over. Using a mental picture of Rex Tillerson in my head, I hit the target far more than I didn’t….he’s such a good motivator.

  • @ Logspirit

    “It seems there was one factor that determined the quality of human life more than any other. Without it we fell to the lowest level, a level that undermined the survival of human groups, and which ultimately destroyed humanity. It should now be apparent that we actually needed to care about each other, and our impacts, to survive. We needed compassion.”

    My plan in clicking on NBL this morning was to say something like this. So it’s too strange to see it here already, only said better than I could have hoped to say it.

    As to your point that we should go down as our best selves… Someone on another blog put it as well as I’ve seen it:

    “The insertion of profit into any equation of human activity makes it go destructively rogue.”

    Not having assertively followed my lifelong disinterest in money to the above conclusion, thinking that I was just “different,” I have been muted by the prevailing narratives you describe. What is a little droll, if horribly sad as well, is that I’ve always gotten things clear at the last minute, when it can no longer help. And here it is now; the prospect for humanity to get it right at the last minute, when it can no longer “help”. My personal dysfunction (figuring it out only at the end), that I wouldn’t have wished upon a foe, is now the fate of the precious Earth. It leaves me strangely numb.

  • I’m not sure if all of you realize this, but if our civilization collapses, at least one of its problems will actually be made much worse.

    And that problem is war. Think of what happened when the Roman Empire finally collapsed. Did that solve the problem of war? No, the whole of Europe erupted into conflicts over future empires. So instead of Romans killing everyone else, it was Europeans killing each other, and because they all got split into local groups, the “number of wars” actually increased.

    And in turn, all the European countries stuck to themselves and never left, so they kept thinking of all the other countries as “the other”. Hence the colonialism, murdering of natives, etc.

    Here’s some food for thought: if American civilization collapses, instead of murdering people in Iraq, you might end up murdering people in Idaho or Connecticut instead, depending on where you live.

    And if you spend all your time in a local community, distrusting all outsiders, then just as the Roman Empire was replaced with the empire of “previously local countries” like England or America, the American Empire might be replaced with, I dunno, the Michigan Empire or something. And the colonialism will start up again, because the very thing that collapsed the previous empire will prevent us from understanding “the outside”.

    In other words, the collapse of civilization won’t necessarily mean the collapse of war; in fact, it might make the problem of war WORSE.

  • All comments closed except this one?

    Even the new essay….

    What is going on?

  • @logspirit — Thanks for your last comment. If we go extinct it will be due to our failure to love. As Guy has said, only love remains. How ironic to finally find it at the bottom of the barrel. Will we be able to revive it, bring it to the surface, use it to guide us to a better life? Stay tuned and awake. Keep seeking and sharing…

  • Paul — The denatured, logical world you see is a wasteland to me, devoid of the one thing that could save us from extinction: love. How quixotic my attitude must seem to one under the spell of dry equations of themodynamic doom. I lived a large part of my early life looking through those “scientific” glasses, and the landscape they revealed was barren of meaning or human values. Everything was reduced to accidental facts devoid of value. There was some solace of a kind in that; it avoided the pain that accompanies a more human perspective. Reducing life to equations was a good anodyne for a while, but in the end it left an emptiness devoid of any reason to continue living. I had become immune to life, but I was deeply lonely in my bubble. A safely denatured life turned out to be of no more value than a living death.

  • @ Ozman

    Here is the latest research on bees, it looks like common Fungicides used both in the US and EU have overall lowered bees immune systems, exposing colonies to a host of other parasites and pathogens.Prior to this, insecticides such as those containing Neonicotinoid were considered to be the culprit and have subsequently been banned in the EU, but the latest research now shows that previously assumed benign fungicides have reduced their immunity more than anything else.

    The next question is to discover where these fungicides have been used and see if there has been similar reactions. I don’t believe this research yet exists. But most of CCD has taken place in the North Hemisphere in the US, EU and parts of Asia.

  • @ Daniel

    Hey, thank you for that extravagant compliment ! :-)

    I don’t know if anyone understands, or if it makes any difference, but I feel obligated to try.

    Here’s Iain McGilchrist, The Divided Brain and Making of the Western World

    A great deal of this stuff raises far more questions than it answers. I mean, why did this division evolve, and why has this division been becoming more pronounced, and so forth, but if it was simple it would all have been sorted long ago, and everyone else seems to have given up in despair, because it is all so complicated and baffling… worse than quantum physics ;-)

  • Thank you all for helping me feel less alone. I can’t discuss these issues with my friends. They don’t want to hear it. And special thanks to pat and Bob S. I am EXACTLY where you are. And besides. Your comments are a hoot!

  • Paul — Like yourself I have no intention to teach anyone or convert them to some viewpoint or agenda. I only share my ideas in a forum of my peers (which includes everybody) in hopes that we can understand better how we got here and what our options are for a better world.

    That being said, I question the impact of anyone who firmly embraces the certainty of our near term extinction, and publicly shares that conviction with people far and wide, without carefully considering the impact on unknown recipients of these dire tidings. In our world today depression, often of suicidal depth, is all too common. When I notice on Guy’s site a writer giving advice how to painlessly end one’s life by walking into the burning desert, removing one’s clothing and inviting a supposedly quick end through dehydration, I wonder how that writer would feel about receiving news that some persons had taken his advice? This is not the only commenter on Nature Bats Last that has recommended suicide as a good response to the supposed reality of our near term extinction as a species. Even without such a specific suggestion, I believe it would be prudent and loving to not put out ideas that those who are prone to self destruction might use to justify such an act.

    One of the primary reasons we are in the fix we are facing now is the underdeveloped conscience of those who have had the knowledge and power to put forth ideas that are harmful to life. The atomic bombs are a classic example, but there are others too numerous to mention. Our modern day sorcerers of science continue to put information in our hands that is inherently dangerous with no thought of how it may be used by those so inclined. If these intellectual master minds would only ask themselves a simple question before broadcasting their knowledge it would be a great blessing. That question is: What would love do?

  • @mike k, @Artleads, @OzMan, Thanks.

    For the record, I’m: A highly educated straight white male, old, homeless, sick, alone, and barely surviving in the USA. If I display sensitivity, it is due to the way I’ve chosen to react to experiencing, up close and personally, truly horrific situations. The collapse of civilization has already happened for me. But I just happen to be in the vanguard. Soon every human being will suffer similar circumstances. Optimistically, it will be a great mellowing and we’ll all enter extinction gracefully. However, we don’t all react to severe hardship the same way… some lash out with fierce violence.

  • @ Ozman

    Well well. I wonder why you put my whole NBL contributions in the:

    “…drag us back into paranoia and superstition and total nonsense”


    I don’t. I say you are a fantasist, and confused, because you said you had a plan to remove Co2 from the atmosphere, and then showed that you did not understand the Co2 cycle, and proceeded to talk about forty days and forty nights of warm rain.

    That’s exactly they problem I’m trying to sort out. People who cannot distinguish magical thinking from scientific thinking, and confuse the two. You are one of those people.

    There’s nothing inherently bad or wrong about right brain / mythos, intuitive mystical poetic dreaming, plenty to be said in it’s favour, but it’s completely useless when it comes to the empirical knowledge and precision that we need regarding chemistry and climate science.

  • To take a quick pass at the right/left brain, spiritual/scientific discussion (all superficial and hypothetical):

    The left brain–scientific, precise, measurable, comprehensible–addresses the large forces of the world. If seven billion people pray strenuously for there to be two suns instead of just one, there will not be two suns in next day’s skies. Neither will gravity cease to exist or day turn to night. These forces are too big to be responsive to human thought.

    The right brain–spiritual, imaginative, creative–can affect reality at a smaller scale. It can affect others’ behavior to some degree. It can affect much else that is harder to define. If seven billion people pray and work strenuously for life to be spared, there will be no direct, traceable effect on the sparing of life (owing to life’s susceptibility to larger forces). But since moral thought and effort (if commensurate with scale-related limitations) “go” somewhere, something unpredictable will happen that leans toward sparing life. It might not result in saving life universally, but instead save life (human or not) in some unexpected and unexplainable way.

    I just picked up a free used book at the town store. It smells of cigarette smoke and is copyrighted in 1992. Old stuff. It’s called “The Mind of God; the scientific basis for a rational world” by Paul Davies. But it’s too old to address this subject, I’m sure.

  • @ Artleads

    Right brain / mythos can be used for good or for bad, depending on motives, for example MLK or Ghandi’s speeches are mythos, and depending on your politics were used for good, or bad, to get the British out of India, say, with the Salt March. But then there was the Children’s Crusade in the Middle Ages, a similar mass movement, that collected tens of thousand of children to liberate Jerusalem, and they all ended up dead or sold into slavery, and countless charlatans have used Revelations and similar tracts to bamboozle the gullible. All this has been known since ancient times.

    The great advance was to discover that, out of all that mush, could be extracted by logic and reason, something that was somewhat more reliable and which actually made an orderly and comprehensible understanding of reality possible.

    Instead of living in a constant acid trip surrounded by ghosts and random events, subjected to spells cast upon us by nasty neighbours and deaths for displeasing obscure gods, we found actual physical and biological causes and effects.

    The French Revolution got the corrupted tyranny of God, as instutionalised religion had made it, out of people’s lives.

    I think that is probably the greatest accomplishment that humans ever made. But, just like mythos, logos can be abused and has been, depending on motives.

    Nowadays most science is funded by military and Big Pharma and Big Ag, nuclear, etc and is corrupted and has nothing to do with gaining knowledge for the sake of understanding, it’s all about power and money, so not surprising many people are anti-science.

    But that has nothing to do with the basic principles that I have been trying to distil here, as to why some people see existence as essentially a spiritual matter and some people as essentially devoid of any spiritual aspects.

    I have read some Paul Davies and there’s loads on the internet. I don’t really go with his theories.

  • Thanks, Ulv. Very helpful points. A dose of commonsense and the golden rule might help to moderate either of these two brain systems. Not sure.

  • @ Artleads

    Much over-simplified, but for shorthand think of it as the heart = right brain = mythos, and the head = left brain = logos.

    So then, what stirs up passions and speaks to feelings, poetry and music and art, i.e. heart stuff, is fairly easy to recognise and distinguish from logical, rather dry and factual information, like scientific data and academic papers that tell us how much the pH of soil varies as temperature and humidity change or whatever, i.e. head stuff.

    You see, I’d have the greatest respect for someone who was both a really skilled and knowledgeable astrologer, who understood what astrology IS, and also a properly trained and qualified astronomer and an astrophysicist.

    For me, that would be a person who knew how to use mythos and logos and clearly understood the difference. They’d know that to confuse the two fields would be ridiculous.

    But even better, and even rarer, would be the person who had transcended that duality, and achieved wu wei, or wu chi, in the taoist terminology, which would be a higher level of consciousness again.

    Quite what this state is nobody really knows in terms of Western science, because it hasn’t been studied or researched enough to tell us anything useful, but it might be that the whole brain operates as a unified whole in a way that never happens for the standard split brain individual, so instead of left trying to suppress right, or vice versa, as McGilchrist describes, the two hemispheres are not just integrated, but collaborate in perfect unity and some sort of emergent quality of consciousness arises.

  • My mythos spirit seems to operate through “pictures.” I tend to believe something if I can picture it. So, with Theo Jensen’s creatures, I have a compelling vision of doom. They create a convincing and believable image of doom. Creatures, impervious to rot or radiation, wondering close to the water forever on an awesomely beautiful, lifeless planet. Odd that they should come along just as NTE looms.

    A more optimistic vision of equal beauty is the sod house of your neighbor, with the open fire burning inside, with the clear stream, the lovely animals, the resourcefulness, the potatoes, the trees. That is close to my image of how human life would look if it were allowed to be.

    Aesthetics is a way of knowing, and it works very well in tandem with science.

    BTW, I dug up my first potatoes today, making sure to eat some immediately as was suggested. Nothing could compare with the taste.