The Sea Gypsy Tribe

by Ray Jason, who has lived aboard his beautiful sailboat for over 20 years. He wanders the Wide Waters, keeping his life simple so that he has the time to ponder the big questions.

A fine sunset is beginning to pastel the sky. I am seated on AVENTURA’S cabin top watching a great blue heron standing motionless in the twilight shadows, patiently awaiting its dinner. The melancholy is heavy on me tonight. These pristine, quiet, un-peopled places do that to me.

My sweet, strong sailboat and I have been together for over a quarter of a century. While aimlessly meandering amidst some fond memories of our decades together, I am suddenly jolted by an unpleasant realization. It is all so profoundly different now. When we first sailed together, she was just a sea-going magic carpet, transporting me to far-away lands, plush with exotic creatures and cultures. But now she has also become a survival pod, protecting me from the possibility of societal collapse.

Admittedly, when I first disconnected from life on the land, the world was already extremely dysfunctional. That was part of the enchantment of the sea gypsy life – that I could voluntarily exile myself from much of the violence, injustice, ugliness and shallowness of modern techno-industrial society.

But in only 25 years, global conditions have gone from deeply disturbing to cataclysmic. We certainly knew back then that our human activities were damaging Mother Earth, but we didn’t realize that our conduct could actually unravel the critical bio-geo-physical systems that sustain all life on our luxuriant, garden planet. Who would have believed that we could actually annihilate our support system?

I might not have believed it back then, but I certainly do now. That’s because sailing the wide waters imposes a heightened sense of reality on a person – far more so than shore-side life. Out on the vast ocean, where one has to fend for oneself without any nearby assistance, delusions can kill you. So, my many years at sea have trained me to see things as they are rather than as I wish them to be. And what this sea gypsy beholds just beyond the horizon is grave and frightening.

Fortunately, others far wiser than me also see the troubles ahead, and they are attempting to raise the alarm about the impending catastrophes. But tragically, they are almost completely ignored. This neglect is so significant that I have created a term to describe these well-intentioned messengers who carry such unwelcome news. I call them the Cassandra Choir, because they suffer the same ignoble fate that befell the mythological character Cassandra. She could accurately foretell the future and she used this gift to warn her people about the woes that awaited them. But they either ignored or scorned her.

The truth-tellers of our modern Cassandra Choir are relentlessly marginalized and ridiculed by what I call the TMA – The Malignant Authorities. These political, corporate, religious and media gatekeepers are so obscenely engorged with wealth and power under the existing system, that they will fight ruthlessly to defend the status quo. They desire a population of The Asleep. They fear a population of The Awake.

So they label those in the Choir “screwball doomers” and claim that the risks that they are exposing are greatly exaggerated. The TMA do their utmost to insure that the message of the Cassandra Choir is suppressed, because when looked at objectively, it is supremely convincing. (At the end of this essay I will provide a footnote listing many of these insightful and courageous thinkers. A few weeks spent reading them, will probably convince you that our current path will most likely lead to a devastating societal collapse.)


The phrase that I use to describe the possible catastrophes confronting us is the Big Bad “E”s, which stand for Energy, Economy and Ecology. One of these alone could destabilize the world so profoundly that the life that we currently take for granted would be shattered. But because they are so intertwined, an emergency in one will probably impact the others, thus compounding and accelerating the problem.

Let’s look at Energy first. Any clear thinker can discern that Petroleum has virtually enslaved us. Its black hand is smeared across every aspect of our daily routines. Without abundant, affordable liquid fuels the food trucks stop delivering to the grocery stores, the tractors aren’t plowing the fields, the airplanes don’t fly, and the container ships can’t transport low-priced consumer goods from East to West. And even more disastrously a large portion of the power grid goes down. Without electricity, the air conditioners don’t cool and all of the electronic gadgetry that mesmerizes the citizenry into a docile stupor suddenly disappears. The swiftness with which the fabric of civil society can be shredded will be astonishing.

As for Economics, because of the interconnected nature of our globalized world, a crisis in one area will impact billions on the other side of the planet. Should China decide to renounce the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency and install its own gold-backed yuan, this will have profound repercussions in every nation and in every market, whether it is stocks, bonds or commodities.

The Ecological future looks even more terrifying each passing month. Melting ice caps, further destruction of the Amazonian rainforest, bubbling tundra, and a relatively new environmental horror — climate change denial — add up to a grim path forward … and most likely downward.

These are just a few “scribbled on a napkin” examples of possible disasters headed our way that easily came to mind because of my years of researching the likelihood of Collapse. Anyone, who thoroughly investigates the existing data, is likely to reach a similar conclusion – that we are probably doomed. Almost the entire Cassandra Choir agrees in this regard. A huge die-off of billions of people and a reset to an almost unrecognizable, low-tech style of living seems to be the consensus.

And the most radical sector of the Choir is so pessimistic that they have coined the term NTHE, which stands for Near Term Human Extinction. They believe that Homo sapiens will either go completely extinct or only a few pockets of a remnant population will survive. I ardently hope that this is not the case, and my research up to this point has not totally convinced me that this is the case. But there is a wise old sailors’ adage that goes like this: “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst!”

It is in this profoundly empowering spirit that I have written the rest of this essay. Up to this point it has just been an introduction or a setting of the scene. The rest of this meditation is my core message and my heartfelt truth. I hope it proves to be a helpful addition to the growing conversation on how we can most wisely confront the agony that lies ahead.


Many members of the Cassandra Choir paint a sobering and convincing portrait of the horrors that are headed our way. The unsettling images in their books and blogs are so disturbing that they often feel obligated to conclude their message on a more cheerful and optimistic note. So they usually extol the value of “resilient communities” that can protect their members from the ravages that most people will experience.

I greatly admire the basic concepts behind this Transition Town – perma-culture – low-tech model. But sadly, I believe that this response to an imploding world is as doomed as the “stay in the city and see what happens” approach. The reason for my concern can be stated in one word – MARAUDERS! As a friend of mine tragically describes it, “The Amish are toast.” When people are cornered into choosing between starving and marauding, it is fairly easy to predict their decision. This is a recurring blind spot in the otherwise brilliant and well-grounded thinking of the Cassandra Choir. How can they not foresee that their vegetable gardens and root cellars and chicken coops will be stormed and ravaged by heavily-armed, hungry people?

But the solution that I am proposing to any worst-case Collapse scenario deals with the problem of marauders effortlessly — you simply sail away from the violence and mayhem that is overwhelming both the cities and the countryside. I call my alternative approach THE SEA GYPSY TRIBE.

Name any apocalyptic scenario, and I will argue that being at sea in a sailing vessel is the best way to deal with it. Pandemic? The contagion danger comes from large groups of humans jammed closely together. Grid Down? Sailboats are self-contained survival pods with wind and solar power systems, water-makers and long-distance radios. Thermo-nuclear? There is not a single ICBM on the planet aimed towards the middle of the ocean. And the fallout danger is more easily handled in a boat with ¾ of its surface area underwater. Famine? It is easy to have a year’s worth of provisions stashed onboard, and the sea provides, fish, shellfish and seaweed. Submerged Coastal Cities? Not an issue in a floating survival module.

But more than just being a survival concept, I also envision the Sea Gypsy Tribe as a “seeding” option. Here is my basic premise:

I believe that if there is a near extinction catastrophe, a Sea Gypsy Tribe has the best chance of both surviving and replenishing the human population in the wisest manner.

Those last four words are exceedingly important – “in the wisest manner.” There is already a fairly large group of people who have been paying attention to the global unraveling, and who have responded by preparing for the worst. These folks are usually referred to as “preppers.” I applaud their foresight and dedication. But I have grave doubts about their ability to reboot the post-Collapse emergent world “in the wisest manner.”

That’s because most of the preppers are very religious and patriotic. And there is overwhelming evidence that more blood has been shed in human history in the name of god and country than for any other cause. And besides that, the hierarchal nature of religions and nations invariably attracts the most ambitious, ruthless sociopaths who ascend to the highest positions of power. They would soon be repeating the same mistakes that plague us today.


What I propose is a far bolder vision of a post-Collapse future. I call it Humanity 3.0. Our hunter/gatherer ancestors were Humanity 1.0 and our civilized forebears comprised Humanity 2.0. For about 2 million years the Paleolithic tribes lived peaceably with each other and in balance with Nature. They perceived the world as a web and themselves as but one strand amongst millions of others. They lived a life of harmony rather than hegemony.

But then about 10,000 years ago at the onset of what I term “conquest agriculture,” humanity drastically changed its philosophy. These Neolithic villagers started viewing all of Life as a pyramid with Homo Sapiens at the pinnacle. And they perceived this position as a justification for ruling over all of the other life forms on the planet. This marked the beginning of what we term Civilization. It also marked the arrival of States and Churches and Rulers and Priests. As this worldview expanded and accelerated, it has unleashed dire consequences for all life-forms. And now it even jeopardizes our future existence as a species. I discuss the disastrous, unintended consequences of Civilization in much greater detail in my essay entitled “The Vast Picture.” _________________

I believe that the Sea Gypsy Tribe can function like the monks of the Dark Ages who preserved the best of the Greek and Roman cultures, which then led to the Enlightenment and to the Renaissance. Our mission would be to conserve the best of Humanity 2.0, and also to sound the alarm about its worst elements. I have a catch-phrase to describe this — “Mozart without the mushroom cloud.”


Perhaps the best aspect of my Sea Gypsy Tribal concept is that it is achievable. It does not require a global paradigm shift. It just needs about 1,000 kindred spirits. I use that arbitrary number because many anthropologists believe that after the last great human extinction event, which was the Toba volcanic eruption approximately 17,000 years ago, there were only about 1,000 survivors, and yet they successfully managed to repopulate the planet.

Right now there are already tens of thousands of people scattered around our wet, lush planet living a full-time sailing life. The vast majority of them do not possess what I would consider essential Sea Gypsy Tribal values, but there is probably a tiny minority that is ripe and anxious for my message. We just need to find each other, discover our common philosophical beliefs and exchange contact info. Then, if things start deteriorating, the various seagoing tribes can come together in their particular neighborhood of Mother Ocean.

A simple means of identification is the Earth Flag. I have been flying mine for decades. It symbolizes my desire for a world without borders. Anyone displaying the Earth Flag is probably an excellent candidate for the Sea Gypsy Tribe.


So, what sort of paradigm shift in values would I wish to see in this new, water-borne community? I’ll gladly provide some examples, but I emphasize that I am vehemently against “imposing” a philosophy on anyone. My goal is to inspire. I believe in “suggestions” and I despise “commandments!” If I was a Sea Gypsy Tribal Elder here are some of the things that I would recommend to my clan. They could then choose whether or not to embrace them.

HUMANITY’S PLACE IN THE SCHEME OF THINGS. We have tried to elevate ourselves above the other creatures on our planet by claiming that we are human “beings.” But we are actually just human animals. We have further deceived ourselves, by claiming that the geometry of life is a pyramid, and we humans are at the apex. So this entitles us to dominate and control everything else — including the creatures, the land, the water and the air. We must return to the geometry that our Humanity 1.0 hunter/gatherer ancestors so clearly understood — that life is a web and damaging one strand damages the whole.
THE LIMITS OF GROWTH. Only a buffoon believes that there can be infinite growth, which requires infinite resource extraction, on a finite planet. But beyond the absurdity of the equation, there is also the atrocity of its perspective. The few dozen indigenous tribes still surviving on our blighted, techno-industrial planet view the rivers, forests and mountains as their living neighbors. They don’t see them as commodities — as hydro-electric power, as board feet or as open-pit mines. Gaia should be enjoyed, cherished and protected — not strip-mined!
A WORLD OF TOO MUCH TECHNOLOGY CANNOT BE REPAIRED WITH MORE TECHNOLOGY. The Luddites in England and the last Samurai in Japan were correct — the seductive benefits of techno-industrial Civilization would be short-lived. But the horrors that they spawned would be forever. The 443 nuclear reactors in the USA are a testament to this. It takes about 10 years to decommission each one. What will happen if the power grid goes down swiftly and all those cooling ponds dry up? We should abandon our addiction to “the latest gadget” and embrace low or appropriate technology. A basic, any-ocean sailboat is a great example of this. It is a bridge across to the Old Ways. Or as I like to say, “The path to the Future leads to the Past!”
IMMERSION IN NATURE IS A NECESSITY AND NOT A LUXURY. None of the 80-90 indigenous tribes still living in their native habitats, suffer from mental illness, or require psychiatrists or need psycho-tropic drugs. Our Paleolithic operating system is designed for living in “the Wild” and not in “human-built environments.” I get to spend long periods alone with the creatures of the sea and the sky. To me this is not a vacation, it is a vital psychic centering. We must come home to the wild.
HIERARCHAL SOCIETIES BECOME HORRIBLE SOCIETIES. Tribal societies are small bands where everyone knows each other and they work together for the good of the clan. There are no rulers and ruled, no rich and poor, no inequality between the sexes and no chiefs living in splendor, while the rest live in squalor. But hierarchal societies suffer from all of those injustices. And despite the false propaganda, those who rise to power in hierarchies are not usually the “best and the brightest.” Instead they are the most ambitious, ruthless and despicable, thus leading to “dominator” cultures that spew death and destruction across the planet. Hierarchies should be as unwelcome as the bubonic plague.
CAPITALISM MUST CAPSIZE. It should be obvious that any system that places profit ahead of both people and the planet will end up being a disaster for both. Any economic model that worships greed, cannot possibly serve the common interest or the greater good. The tribal model has provided fulfilling lives without jeopardizing the environment for 2 million years. Shouldn’t we dismantle the Capitalist system which only enriches a tiny elite, and in just a few centuries is destroying the ecosystem which we depend on for our very survival?
CHURCHES AND STATES MUST STAY BURIED IN THE ASHES. The most obscene atrocities in human history have usually been committed in the name of the love of god or the love of country. There is nothing wrong with striving for spiritual joy, but organized religions that demonize other groups and command their annihilation, should never re-emerge from the Collapse. As for States, humanity existed contentedly for 2 million years without them. And in only 10,000 years since their arrival, we have massacred hundreds of millions of people and now are on the verge of decimating our planetary support system. Churches and States should be buried for eternity in the world’s most polluted toxic waste sites.

If I was a Tribal Elder at a Council of Deciding, these are the far-reaching changes that I would recommend to my people. They may seem radical, but I perceive them as “radically sensible.” Also, it should be remembered, that these proposals are designed for a future scenario where there has been a cataclysmic societal collapse and the survivors are attempting to rebuild a civilization far more enlightened than our current version.


But let’s hope that we are never in that position. A huge majority of my personal friends regard my views on the possibility of impending collapse as semi-lunatic. They agree that the world is enormously screwed up, but they believe that humanity will continue to muddle along with things steadily deteriorating, and then some miracle will come along and save us. I would be delighted if they are right and I am wrong. But if they ARE correct, I still encourage people to consider adopting the Sea Gypsy Tribal Path as perhaps the healthiest way of living on a very diseased planet. These are some of its many rewards that I know so well from my decades of Sea Gypsy living:
• You are a World Citizen and thus in no way supporting the imperialistic perversions of any government.
• You live in the Yellow Light rather Than the Blue Light. Your illumination comes from Mother Sun and not from electronic addiction devices.
• You can escape the steady defilement of daily life as world governments keep morphing into police-surveillance states.
• You can reconnect with and embrace anew your wild, animal self.
• You can live slowly and simply – immersed in Nature – and exiled from the meaningless frenzy of the so-called real world.
• You can discover anew a sense of connectedness as you mesh with your new tribe of kindred spirits.


I hope that my words and my vision will inspire some of you out there to consider the Sea Gypsy Tribe as a viable alternative to a possible disastrous future. My desire with this article was to introduce an entirely new and potentially successful approach to worst case scenario survival strategy. But to state it more poetically, my heart of hearts hope is … that this little essay will launch a fleet of a Thousand Thoreaus. You can follow all my writing at

AUTHOR’S NOTE: As promised here are some members of the Cassandra Choir. The topics that they emphasize in their thinking and writing include: Collapse, Peak Everything, Downside of Civilization, Economic Lunacy, Eco-Disaster and How the World Really Works. This is by no means an all-inclusive list, but it will give anyone with a sincere interest in re-evaluating the Future, a lot of wise resource material.
Dmitry Orlov, James Howard Kunstler, Richard Heinberg, Chellis Glendinning, Guy McPherson, Carolyn Baker, Derrick Jensen, Daniel Quinn, Morris Berman, John Zerzan, Jerry Mander, Jared Diamond, Howard Zinn, Albert Bates, Naomi Klein, Jan Lundberg, Paul Craig Roberts, Chris Hedges, Michael Ruppert, George Mobus, Dave Pollard, David Korten, Bill McKibben, William Catton, Thomas Berry, Tyler Durden, Matt Simmons, Stacy Herbert, Max Keiser, Gail Tvalberg, Gerald Celente, Joseph Tainter, Ronald Wright, William Banzai and many more fine and courageous thinkers.


I’ll be traveling for a while and therefore poorly moderating this space. Please limit comments to two daily, and restrict your attacks to ideas, not people. Both notions apply to the person posing as Thor, Rob, pat, Zumba, Boris, Ginny, GranolaGirl, OldMcDonald, Skank, Bill P., der kommissar, A Human, Agrarian, NewMan, and dozen or so other monikers.

Comments 201

  • I love sailing but it’s not a realistic survival strategy. The web of life in the ocean is collapsing from overfishing, pollution, acidification, and warming. Maybe you can stock up enough food for a year, but then what?

    Not to mention pirates.

    Jeremy Jackson on Ocean Apocalypse:

  • Waterworld ;-)

  • “If I was a Sea Gypsy Tribal Elder…”

    Ray – looks like you are not only ‘a’ Sea Gypsy Elder – – you may be The Sea Gypsy Elder.

    Sail on brother. And God’s speed.

  • Ray, good luck with your adventure. You’ll be able to hang on to your free spirit for as long as possible and that’s good. With luck,you’ll also be able to avoid the marauding phase of our downfall. But, the numbers don’t lie. Without some kind of miracle your hopes for human survival are just a happy sailors pipe dream.

  • “Near Term Human Extinction…when looked at objectively, it is supremely convincing.”
    I have no idea where that term originated but I believe that NBL turned it into an acronym – NTHE. In my less than humble opinion (If it was humble why would I offer it?) the reason that term is so dangerous (National Security) is for precisely the same reason that Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection is so powerful. Give me an afternoon with even a born again evangelist and I can demonstrate how it works and they’ll have a lightbulb go off. It’s easy to understand. That makes NTHE supremely dangerous to the state. What if this term became popular? Would the population be more difficult to control? You bet.

    Thanks for the essay; it was an enjoyable read. I can appreciate the idea of a monastic cult but to elevate that purpose beyond personal survival is ___________. Perhaps through some miracle there will be survivors that will live on a Dune-like-planet with a completely alien biosphere. It’s also comforting to think that the future humans will have learned their lesson and won’t plant crops or build cities but I’m not buying it. It appears to be more wishful thinking but that’s part of our wiring as well. Happy sailing!

  • Ray, I agree with your conclusions, but the idea of not being connected to a land base gives me the shivers. Sail on, avoid those garbage gyres, fish as long as you are able, but there is no place safe.

    None at all.

  • Great article – as inspiring to me as was ‘New Age of Sail’ by Dmitri Orlov.

    I’ve often thought that the trick to immediate survival will be to avoid the marauders while you outlive them. After a year on open water, it will probably be safe enough to return to land – marauding populations mostly died out by then. My fear is that seafarers will be at great risk openly exposed to severe storms of record intensity and duration. A 40 foot length of floating ‘TupperWare’ is no match for hurricane conditions and too slow to escape or avoid them. Weather forecasts will not be available. Maybe your radar could be of help for early warning. Whichever way, there are no guarantees. What sort of food rations are you loading aboard?

  • Excuse my dark mood but all I can say to this is he has sailed so far but is still so deep in the shit he only thinks he is out of the shit. As if the shit of humanity can be shed because you sailed away in a physical boat. Still in deep shit.

    Good luck with that when you throw it at the proverbial fan.

    Sorry this is what I see.

  • Thanks for the read Ray and the fair list. Maybe I should take sailing lessons since I enjoy the nomadic lifestyle here on land? Of course Ill need some Dramamine at first:)

  • I don’t understand why some people, when confronted with crisis, tend to embrace radical ideas completely disconnected from prior experience. The key is incremental change based on core leverage – that is, re-do something with perhaps a tweak to a critical component. In management consulting parlance, what you want to avoid is the nefarious “matrix of unmanageable proportions”.

    There has never been any single human society that has lived completely on the open seas. Not one; however, there are have been untold numbers throughout vast millenia that have lived in coastal/lake/river environments. This affords both protection (fortified cities can have one side protected by water), access to fresh water/food/resources, and of course open avenues of transit/trade. IOW, all the great civilizations are/have been built around water sources.

    So, where are the future potential sites that fit this criteria – especially as global warming continues apace? Well, off the top of my head, I can name four:

    – coastal BC all the way up to Alaska
    – coastal Chile all the way down to the Magellan strait
    – coastal Norway up towards the Arctic circle
    – coastal Siberia

    Perhaps one could add the maritime provinces, but they seem to have been already denuded. So, there you go – yet another advantage to being a US citizen if you favor AK.

  • I have tried unsuccessfully to find your essay, “The Vast Picture.” Could you send a link to it if possible?

  • @B9K9

    It seems obvious to me why we’re seeing extreme proposals now. those of us who are aware of what’s happening also know that the crisis is so huge that tweaks aren’t going to cut it. They are utterly incommensurate with the scale of our predicament, and so easily co-opted and neutered by the mainstream that there is little point in expending effort on them.

    A crisis of this magnitude seems to prompt one of two polar responses in those who have fully accepted it. One is the exploration of brand-new ideas that have never been tried before, the other is surrender. This proposal is one of the former. The author presumably knows that we’ve tried a whole lot of things in the past, and we still wound up here. Why revisit a failed past, with or without variations? Why not “boldly go where no one has gone before”?

    I’m in the second camp, of course, and make no apologies for it. But though I don’t share it, I sure understand the drive to survive, where a slim chance seems better than none at all.

  • 443 nuclear reactors in the USA? Wouldn’t that be the world? There are about 100 running in the USA and some that have been shut down.

  • The Last Fish – Our Exhausted Seas

    42 minute documentary

    Also, if you have a subscription you can read “Emptying the World’s Aquarium
    The dismal future of the global fishery” in the August issue of Harper’s and if not, you can listen to an interview with the author on the Leonard Lopate show of July 24.

  • For at least half a century I’ve entertained dreams of building my own floating island out in the Pacific (or possibly even on the Great Lakes) and creating my own independent country (or possibly just remaining below the radar of all the other countries of the world.)

    It started with wanting a sail boat back in the 1950’s, morphed into a floating community of boaters tethered to a giant floating marina out in international waters, and eventually became a whole self-sufficient agricultural community on a floating island hidden by the vastness of the sea.

    Consider some examples, natural and artificial such as the 9,000 square mile pumice raft off New Zealand: or various other floating islands natural and artificial: (Note the Uros people and their floating villages. The Uros originally created their islands to prevent attacks by their more aggressive neighbors, the Incas and Collas.)

    Another example is Spiral Island:

    It could be done, provided that any location remains meteorologically hospitable to human and food crop survival. That’s a big if, of course, but if civilization collapses rapidly enough the climate system might remain in the survivable range. And if the alternative is complete extinction then there’s certainly no harm at all in preparing for the possibility. And it might be a lot of fun. And there’s never any harm in doing something enjoyable, even on the way to the gallows.

  • My first thought of Sea Gypsies was an aquatic version of The Road.

    Viking raiders were Hell in a Half Shell.

    This is in a world before industrial civilization and motors. They were everywhere and they burned and looted and plundered wherever they went which was large swaths of Europe.

    Viking raiders with long boats, using inland water ways went from Scandinavia to Constantinople, twice in the 9th century, sometimes dragging their long boats over hundreds of miles of dry land to reach the next waterway. (They were bribed by the residents of Constantinople not to burn the city to the ground)

    The Danish Vikings went up the Thames in 851 and burned London to the ground.

    Viking raiders with long boats rowed all the way up the Seine in the 10th and burn Paris to the ground.

    You can do a lot with a sailboat,

    and some swords and some matches.

  • Here is some good news
    The [nuclear] industry’s role in electricity production is continuing to decline, according to this year’s World Nuclear Industry Status Report, a compendium of analysis and data by the activist and expert Mycle Schneider. The number of reactors peaked in 2002 at 444, compared with 427 today. The share of electricity they produce is down 12% from its 2006 peak, largely because of post-Fukushima shutdowns in Japan. As a proportion of all electricity generated, nuclear peaked in 1993 at 17% and has now fallen to 10%. The average age of operating plants is increasing, with the number over 40 years old (currently 31 plants) set to grow quite rapidly.

    Last count I knew was 439, so now we are down to 427. Remember seeing pics of the plume from Fukushima going all over the Pacific to the west coast of the US? And now Tepco says they are going to have to dump contaminated water into the Pacific (as if they haven’t already) and that they will clean it first (yeah right). That is a nuclear disaster WITH strong (not strong enough) attempts to contain it. Chernobyl used 500,000 people or more to contain (sort of – the next phase is still not done and the present sarcophagus is leaking). So the oceans and ocean are will be not only acidified, polluted, but also irradiated – after all since the nukes require cooling they are almost all on rivers or lakes or the ocean shores.

    Anyone new to NBL can read to understand WHY all the nukes will go critical and their fuel pools burn once the electric grid goes down (solar flares, EMP attacks, infrastructure problems, and in the end lack of fuel). Nuclear power plants are not built to run off grid, they cannot power the cooling pumps from their own power. So a functioning grid is necessary to keep them cool.

  • Hello Ray,

    A very enjoyable read. Im personally intending to move to an area called the Sunshine Coast on BC. A part of that move was to also acquire a good sized sale boat. The prices are starting to plummet for second hand ones due to a lack of desire to own them following the massive property bubble which gave many the funds to buy them.

    How big is your boat?

    A year’s provisions must mean things like dried foods to go along with the crab you catch. To ultimately go the sea gypsy life, presumably most people would need to travel in groups of four… else become a sea hermit… not that theres anything wrong with that.

  • Would be nice to see some photos.

    I’ve made fairly serious attempts to enter the life at sea three times over the course of my life, but never quite made it, so now I am resigned to living on the solid ground that I know and understand.

    Here’s a neighbour of mine a couple of miles away who may inspire others unable to venture onto the waves.

  • Ray, thanks for your story. I like your list of basic principles. Living with the rhythms of nature is a blessing. May you prosper long.

  • @ Ray

    If only we could turn back the clock. But we obvious can’t. And not unlike the previous essay, I can’t ignore that your assessment of our global catastrophe is still being largely framed in a “collapse preparedness” paradigm that simply no longer exists, where the knock-on effects of climate change were once considered a distant third in the “Big three” contributing factors of collapse.

    Well, all that pretty much came to an end starting around 2007. It took another three years for the evidence and dire implications to finally set in, and roughly another two years for “our” own cognitive dissonance to see what was now clearly staring us in the face. Culminating in the discovery about this time last year, that quite literally all of our gravest fears are exponentially coming true, and that all hope of human agency is now but a past fantasy. Which is why NBL, is now enmeshed in attempting to reconcile the most devastating awareness/consciousness the human race has ever had to confront.

    And given that humanity has never experienced anything in the order of the catastrophic magnitudes of amplifying climatic positive feedbacks–sum 14-15 no less–it stands to reason that the vast majority of us, would be having a hard time finding perspective. My head has been on fire for decades, and I can still barely see through the flames.

    Never would I have thought that I would look back over the last dozen years, with a kind of fond nostalgia for just the notion of a collapsed civilization. The theories of how best to outlive the marauding hordes has been a cornerstone of “collapse preparedness” from the beginning. But as many here have already written this into the ground, and as Ulvfugl has repeatedly stated, “all of our stories are broken”, including all the trite preparedness schemes of the last decade, as with your book list.

    I am going to assume that you wrote this essay for NBL. I will also assume that you fully well know that NBL is literally the pumping heart of the acceptance of near term extinction. So I will also assume that you suspected that your concept of life on the high seas would be shredded from pretty much every direction.

    The list of just logistical reasons why your approach won’t work–especially your repopulating the planet belief–is so long, I’m not going to even attempt a critique. But, given that all of our plans are now equally circling the drain, at least your strategy involves low impact sailing, so why not continue to go for it. Sounds like a wonderful way to spend what time we have left.

    So from one river rat to another sea dog, may the wind always be at your back. Keep that earth flag flying. And if you’re looking for a tribe, I would make for the Puget Sound.

  • wildwoman says: 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.

    Increasing heat and less power,
    With fights for what’s left to devour:
    Doom, once hard to swallow,
    Is where you now wallow,
    Getting gloomier by the hour.

    With apologies to our guest (@ Ray, I’m afraid I agree with Daniel, but it “Sounds like a wonderful way to spend what time we have left.”) and to John Masefield:

    Sea Fever

    Going down to the seas—that’s my wish:
    A tall ship with my stuff’s where I’ll squish;
    Use antacid lotion
    For low pH ocean,
    And eat radioactive fish.

  • You want to end it on the high seas, great. Best of luck mate. Do carry the fiddle :)
    May fair winds fill your sails…

  • @BTD You are the best. I wish I had your sense of humor.

  • Btd, yep gloomier by the hour. But they haven’t GMO’d popcorn yet So there is a show to be watched.
    Wildwoman, remember doom was always our fate mortal by mortal, species by species and sun by sun. So the time frame has changed. When you get down just be glad you didn’t live during the Inquisition, be glad you weren’t a young virgin when they were considered great sacrificial items or worth, be glad you never found yourself on a slave ship. So many possible fates we missed.

    I posted a long post that seemed not to take, but now it is up there awaiting moderation because I put two links in it. So I am going to post it again with one link

    Here is some good news
    The [nuclear] industry’s role in electricity production is continuing to decline, according to this year’s World Nuclear Industry Status Report, a compendium of analysis and data by the activist and expert Mycle Schneider. The number of reactors peaked in 2002 at 444, compared with 427 today. The share of electricity they produce is down 12% from its 2006 peak, largely because of post-Fukushima shutdowns in Japan. As a proportion of all electricity generated, nuclear peaked in 1993 at 17% and has now fallen to 10%. The average age of operating plants is increasing, with the number over 40 years old (currently 31 plants) set to grow quite rapidly.

    Last count I knew was 439, so now we are down to 427. Remember seeing pics of the plume from Fukushima going all over the Pacific to the west coast of the US? And now Tepco says they are going to have to dump contaminated water into the Pacific (as if they haven’t already) and that they will clean it first (yeah right). That is a nuclear disaster WITH strong (not strong enough) attempts to contain it. Chernobyl used 500,000 people or more to contain (sort of – the next phase is still not done and the present sarcophagus is leaking). So the oceans and ocean are will be not only acidified, polluted, but also irradiated – after all since the nukes require cooling they are almost all on rivers or lakes or the ocean shores.

    Anyone new to NBL can google “400 Chernobyls Matthew Stein” to understand WHY all the nukes will go critical and their fuel pools burn once the electric grid goes down (solar flares, EMP attacks, infrastructure problems, and in the end lack of fuel). Nuclear power plants are not built to run off grid, they cannot power the cooling pumps from their own power. So a functioning grid is necessary to keep them cool.

  • Ulv

    TOTALLY LOVED this! Such a reversal of the usual priorities. No concern whatever with appearances, while having a massive stake in the land, the animals and the organization of life. What labor to maintain those animals in such high form. I know what it means to tote water in buckets. One might not be feeling peppy. It might be cold or wet. I think I’m being stoic when I do it, but this lady puts me to shame.

    To find a parcel of land with a running stream! I suppose the mud walls make the abode fire proof. I’d love to cook on an open fire, but that wouldn’t do inside a wooden house.

  • Many mammalian species can live without ingestion of vitamin C: humans are not among that group. Indeed, without regular provision of vitamin C humans become very sick, and eventually die.

    I recently watched a documentary about the Spanish Armada. Following the assault by English cannons and the ‘fire ships’, the Armada got caught by unfavourable winds and driven toward shallows.

    There was no way that the scattered and damaged Armada could sail westwards back down the somewhat narrow English Channel, so the decision was made to attempt to return to Spain via the route north of Scotland and west of Ireland. Most of those on board the ships died of dehydration and starvation.

    Interestingly, the English PTB of the time kept the ‘heroes of the battle’ holed up in port for many months, during which time half of them died, as a means of reducing the payment for service.

    Life at sea prior to the application of steam (HMS Warrior, 1860) was so hard the British Navy was permanently undermanned, and about half the crews were press-ganged into service.

    A life at sea is all very well when one can regularly call into ports to restock or carry out maintenance, but what happens when ‘pirates’ make that too risky?

  • Ray – a systems thinker named George Mobus would probably like to hear from you (over at Question Everything). He’s been postulating that humanity, though headed for a severe bottleneck event relatively soon, is resilient enough (always has been, but that’s what they said about investing in real estate) to survive, no matter what, that the survivors will need to be eusapient beings because that’s what the next step is for us, evolutionarily speaking.

    My current view is that the world is becoming humanity’s gas chamber in short order. The methane bomb is no joke and I follow another blog where the hypothesis is that both methane and hydrogen sulfide are CURRENTLY accounting for many marine-kills, people dropping dead all over the place from no apparent cause, explosions of barns, occupied and vacant buildings of all kinds, trash heaps, junk yards, factories, high rise office buildings, electrical fires, spontaneous combustion and the like and causing not only fires but all manner of accidents from brake failures, tires catching fire and quickly engulfing the rest of the vehicle and spreading to nearby structures, and much more. (Check it out at the Jumping Jack Flash Hypothesis blog.) He posits that one day, great clouds of this toxic mess will begin to waft in off the ocean and choke out maybe a whole town, as it sweeps inland, causing a ridiculously huge amount of traffic accidents [and finally “make the news”].

    In other words we’re gassing ourselves (and the rest of Earth’s diverse species from aquatic to ground based to birds and pollinators) to the point that Earth will be a dead marble floating around the sun for eons to come once the climate systems adjust to all the CO2 and other gasses we continue to belch into the atmosphere, causing the chemistry to go off the rails like that Spanish train the other day – that it’ll just happen that fast.
    He has a point, and I think Kathy C stated it first – no place will be safe.

    Good luck though, and I really appreciated the whole sea-farer approach you described. It isn’t for me, but go for it! Do it til ya can’t!

  • Some of the ideas in the essay are grand. Some however are a little nieve.
    For starters, if I was a pirate I would first get a copy of your fraternal flag and fly it and raid you. Not me of course.
    Trusting in people’s essential good nature needs to be tempered with a healthy respect for what others can do, should they be so disposed to ‘take and burn’ methods.
    Also the Oceans are not clean. But since Ray is a sailor, I think he should know the state of the water better than me. Can you safely eat fish and crustaceans etc. still from the oceans?
    One strong factor that is sound is the itinerant nature of any future existence for humans. Moving on to better conditions, perhaps away from human troubles is a strategy that may work for some.
    Coastal fringes may be where humans play out their last existence, as sea=foods are perhaps the sources that require no farming, just skill to catch, nets etc.
    Minus the radiation and plastic of course.

    Great sailing to you Ray.
    Fly the flag with caution IMHO.

  • Geometry of Life: in terms of ecology, a web. In terms of evolution seemingly a tree, but with enough lateral transfers to suggest a web. However, most of the identified transfers are one-way.

    You can reconnect with and embrace anew your wild, animal self.

    That self is the meat-robot, including all of “mythos & logos” and everything else. The result of identifying with it is the sense of “I”, known to Eastern traditions as the “Ahamkara”. The consequence of this identity is samsara – occasionally referred to as “some sorrow” in keeping with the four noble truths, starting with the first one: The Truth of Suffering.

    however, there are have been untold numbers throughout vast millenia that have lived in coastal/lake/river environments.

    Indeed. Hence:

    London on Thames
    Frankfurt an der Oder
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    Carmel by the Sea
    Stratford on Avon
    Frankfurt am Main
    Amsterdam (Amstelredamme – dam on the Amstel)
    Brighton by the Sea

    I have tried unsuccessfully to find your essay, “The Vast Picture.”

    Three or four clicks on the iPhone (Google, author’s blog, search for the title).
    The Vast Picture

    Incidentally, using a foreign based VPN (Virtual Private Network – these use encrypted PPTP, point-to-point tunnelling protocol instead of PPP, point-to-point protocol) will hide one’s IP address and give desired access apparently originating from the foreign site. This effectively bypasses local censorship. Many such sites offer a free version of their service; there are also freeware iPhone apps at the Apps store for those interested.

    With PPTP the body of each packet is encrypted. The header says where it is coming from, where it is going, and which place it has in the sequence for which file. With VPN the nature and target of the user’s query and the source and content of data returning to the user are masked.

    My head has been on fire for decades, and I can still barely see through the flames.

    Both the flames and the seeing are awareness, consciousness with content. The content itself has no awareness; consciousness is self-effulgent even without content. The full effulgence is manifest only in the absence of content.

    Extinction, near term or otherwise, breaks only those stories mired in a paradigm of linearity. The Eastern traditions of cyclicality in manifesting, continuity and then de-manifesting (shristi, sthiti and laya) describe each complete cycle as a kalpa.

    Wikipedia, Kalpa:
    “A great kalpa is 4 medium kalpas, or around 1.28 trillion years.”

    Wikipedia, Hindu units of time:
    “Each cycle starts with the birth and expansion (lifetime) of the universe equaling 311.04 trillion years, followed by its complete annihilation (which also prevails for the same duration)”.

  • Enjoy yourself, Ray.

  • The sea maybe be a good option for those wishing to survive a little longer, and it sounds like fun. A few of our billionaires plan to sail the seas of outer space as a way to escape the planet they destroyed. I guess the mode of escape all depends on the size of your budget.

    Of the three collapse themes energy, economy, and ecology, the first two have no chance of ending our system. Energy substitutions will be made and propaganda will be used to tell the people to accept their lot, and they will, just as they have done in the past, and just as they do now. There will be no revolution that ends this system. Oh sure, there will be more anger and violence, but just like today, stupid Americans will direct it towards each other, not towards the system or its leaders.

    This leaves us with ecology as the only hope for ending the system that we are too lazy, too cowardly, too greedy, or too stupid to end ourselves. Since I include myself on that list, I have embraced NTE and there I have placed all my hope (or is it hopium?) Ecology must do the job for us, Nature must bat because we didn’t. I wish I could personally be the one who lobs the ball over the plate for Her to hit out of the park. Too bad we still have to wait 16 years rather than 16 months, weeks, or days. Gaia, we beseech thee, come out of the dugout, grab that bat, do it now!


    Thanks so much for taking the time to read my essay and thanks also for the many comments.

    Let me begin with a little house-keeping. There was a typo concerning the date of the Toba Eruption which was approximately 77,000 years ago and not 17,000 years ago. And the number of nuclear reactors that I cited should have been globally and not just in the U.S.

    Also, Guy said he would post my own website address, but apparently that got lost in the shuffle.

    Here is is: The essay entitled The Vast Picture can be found there along with more of my work. And there is a companion essay to this posted right now at to this piece. This one is a “why to” and that one is a “how to.” I hope you check it out.

    Now, on to some of the points that you raised in the comments section. I have been studying these issues for a good ten years and I do realize that particularly the eco issues and the positive feedback loops may very well prove unsurvivable. But why not at least attempt to foster a way for some wise ones to emerge out the other side. And if it does get too intolerable one can simply opt for the “black pill.” But in the interlude, sea gypsyin’ is a damned fine way to live as I tried to convincing emphasize in my last few paragraphs.

    Piracy – amazing how often this comes up! In our modern 24/7 news cycle where the most sensational events get such prominence, can you point to any recent stories on Viking raiders? They are as current and threatening as Hannibal’s Elephant Corps. The piracy that exists today is RANSOM piracy directed at large ships with big insurance policies. There is almost ZERO small boat piracy and when it does occur the marine radio nets report it in hours. Any dangerous areas are simply avoided. As for pirates spotting my Earth Flag and targeting me, vessels will seem like slim pickins. The land based targets will be far more alluring. Piracy will actually decline, because it is largely fuel dependent. Give me a day’s head start and you will have a mighty tough time locating me. I am currently a 100 ton Captain and was Navy Vietnam Vet. I have been involved with searches at sea where we had an approximate position and it was still VERY difficult finding them…sometimes we did not!

    Eco-ocean issues. Yes, acidification will get worse, but it is likely that the dieoff will begin to mitigate that. Storms will get more intense. But probably the hurricanes will not veer too significantly from their normal tracks. Without the Weather Channel or any assistance I can discern an approaching hurricane the same way the clipper ship captains did it…with a barometer and my eyes observing the wave conditions. Radioactivity…certainly an issue. But which would you perceive as safer? Two miles off Fukushima or two THOUSAND miles away in mid-ocean.

    Long term survival…here is my baseline vision. When the shit starts to hit the fan, myself and a few companion vessels head out to sea with all of our tanks and supplies topped off. I would be willing to bet my boat against your yurt that starting from this very minute I could survive for six full months. After that I carry long life garden seeds and have made arrangements with friends with isolated seaside properties to allow me to grow my food on their land in exchange for a share of it. Combining this with fishing and shoreline foraging, and I like my chances.

    Anyway, it has been fun chatting with you in this manner. It feels like a question and answer period after one of my talks. Great good wishes to all of you with whatever preparations you are making or not making. Please share this with others should you be so inclined.

    And finally, to Bob S, whomever you may be, “Thank you.” In the 60 or so comments here and at Dmitry’s site, you were the only one who unconditionally embraced my vision and wished me well.

  • As if doom physics is not as toxic as the next thing (bracing for the it’s pure science dontcha know?’) spanking. Can’t damn science as by-product of patriarchal perversion cause it is the only thing good that came from everything bad. That is science and logic? As if my being settles for that at this point of being washed in the soul piercing blast of nature batting last.

    Nope, you can protect yourself from that fast ball until it is peeling your flesh from your bones and if that is what it will take, so be it. I suggest letting your senses return and feeling the wind up that is slowly twisting the great spring of nature to her limits in the being of your bones while living. We half blind mantic seers prophecy that one last straw will eventually unleash it and wait, as if that is seeing? Because we do have time for a lot of clarity for action that will matter if that excruciatingly slow wind up of energy is willingly sensed into, in, in, in. It will not so gently clear the psychological debris of ‘toxic everything from your outlook’ Then and only then let’s talk science. Otherwise no science can or will help and let’s spend our time in the honesty of the fact we were not willing to do everything in the end. We were not. That will give us plenty of valid doom fodder to satiate our need for cause and will in guilt.

    But who wants that not so gentle clarity when you can obstinately await a flesh peeling flash of insight before ‘poof’, nothing. So much more appropriate to our most cherished feedback loops, subjective devouring mother of all; guilt, damnation, annihilation.


  • Our awareness of our awareness, the Gift that keeps on giving, something most animals probably don’t share in common with us, should have been used to bare witness to the Beauty of Nature on planet Earth.

    We as a species really have nothing else to offer the Earth or any of it’s creatures.

    Like a cheesy ‘reality tv game show’, if all the species of the world could vote on whether or not to boot h s sapian rapian off the planet, the only species that would vote for us to stay would be our parasites, those species that directly have a stake in our existence. Not really much of a vote of confidence in our ‘innate goodness’.

    Every other species on Earth would vote us off the planet.

    Remember Ed Bass and Biosphere, trying a closed loop self sustaining Eco-pod?

    It was probably a secret dry run for the uber wealthy to ‘jump ship’ from the Earth they helped to destroy so they could live in orbit or on Mars.

    Matt Damon has just produced a film ELYSIUM

    The Earth is Toast, the TMA – The Malignant Authorities, have set up shop in orbit in an artificial Biospheric Elysian Fields.

    They knew decades ago this was coming, they knew about Hubbard’s Curve and Ponzi Global Finance and pollution, they detonated hundreds of nuclear bombs in the open air for decades.

    They all eat organic food grown by virgins.

    They’re insane but they never give up.

  • Best of luck staying afloat for as long as possible. I have decided to go down with the ship, primarily because I don’t know what else to do. My personal survival in the face of near term extinction is clearly not important. With everyone facing death, death becomes somewhat boring. Life takes on new vigor and while I can’t say I’ve been living a meaningful life, I’m certainly trying to have a good time in the few years remaining to us. I keep coming back to “Dance band on the Titanic” by Harry Chapin, and while bouncing through the lyrics this one sticks in my head the most right now:

    Jesus Christ can walk on the water
    But a music man will drown
    They say that Nero fiddled while Rome burned up
    Well, I was strummin’ as the ship went down

  • For many years I had planned for and worked towards some years at sea, seeing the world, smelling the sea, living the independent self-sufficient life.

    But the the extent of the climate disaster became apparent, and have 5 kids (yeah I know ai was part of the problem- overpopulation). And I realized I needed to be part of the solution, and dedicate the rest of my days to dealIng with climate change. Then, as it became clearly at it was too late to prevent catastrophe, resilience / self sufficiency / prepping became a secondary focus, and now pretty much the Primary one. So we are learning farmIng on our 48 acres, and buildIng resilience, connecting with our communities, and trying to survive in a collapsing economy.
    We’re going to ride out the storms, figuratively and literally, here, for better or for worse. We hope to survive for many years. But life is short in any case, and if we get killed by armed mauraders, so be it. We have done, and will do, our best. And we’ll give people food who need it, who come by, because to do otherwise is to lose one’s humanity. As long as we are healthy, we’ll grow more. To the degree the new climate allows it. There are no guarantees in life. Not now, not ever. All we can do is remain true to ourselves, our values, and love one another, while living in the most rational way we can. For in the end, I choose to believe that reason, and good will among people, will prevail.

  • Ripley and TIAA! Your last posts are sorrowful and strong and just what I need to hear at his time. The product of pure hearts, they read as manna to those who can hear, who can see.

    Be strong, don’t let the pain overwhelm you. But, revel in it! It proves you’re ALIVE! We who suffer this knowledge are the lucky ones.
    We’ll somehow come out the other side. Into what? I don’t know. But I have faith that there is something good because I have seen so much good here, on this side.

    I think we have failed to end the system because we have each had a relative hand in all the horrible things our Western societies have done to others. And in order to see a need to change the system we would first have to admit our individual parts in all the evil actions taken in our name. Most people, the vast majority, are far too cowardly to admit that they were ever wrong about supporting their country or society or way of life, no matter how many people were slaughtered or tortured or starved or poisoned. They are, unless they ‘repent’, forever trapped in yet another feedback loop, that of the perpetual justification for countless not just immoral acts, but acts of the most debauched sense of depravity towards countless thousands of this planets weakest and poorest people. People in general just don’t have what it takes to walk through the fires of self awareness and be purified.

    I spend time every day meditating on the violence done by the strong to the weak. If there is any justice, the hammer will fall soon.

  • Hmmm… Sailboats! The last time I checked, sailboats weren’t organically floating up, for free, from seaweed beds, fitted out with solar panels and water makers and radios… or I’d have one, or two. A quick search reveals that prices for a livable ocean sailboat range from 75 to many 100’s of thousands of dollars, denominated in systemic currency, not pretty pebbles and seashells. How does a human animal afford such a boat and such a lifestyle for 25 years? Surely dock fees and regular maintenance expenses must be coughed up from time to time, as well as a little petty cash for those annual supplies. Of course, that most informative of all aspects -how a human being could afford such a long strange dreamy trip- remains a closely kept secret of such select participants, oh so typical of that exclusive class of 1%.

    Unfortunately this article comes across as the boastful mooing’s -or mooring’s- of a sacred pampered cow or an eagle’s annoying screech about their elite perch, as the rest of the dirty masses of the despised world burn. Sure, all we need are 7.2 billion life boats and 7.2 billion inherited multimillion dollar endowments to float everyone to tropical paradise… No wait… That’s right, this ‘plan’ is just for a select few. A thousand or so. Only the best born blue bloods need apply. And right after the Apocalypse they will make a better world.

    Young E. Allison of Louisville in 1891 extended Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 verse: (please excuse the length, I hope some will appreciate it, considering the context)

    The mate was fixed by the bosun’s pike
    bosun brained with a marlinspike
    And cookey’s throat was marked belike
    It had been gripped by fingers ten;
    And there they lay, all good dead men
    Like break o’day in a boozing ken
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

    Fifteen men of the whole ship’s list
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
    Dead and be damned and the rest gone whist!
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
    The skipper lay with his nob in gore
    Where the scullion’s axe his cheek had shore
    And the scullion he was stabbed times four
    And there they lay, and the soggy skies
    Dripped down in up-staring eyes
    In murk sunset and foul sunrise
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

    Fifteen men of ’em stiff and stark
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
    Ten of the crew had the murder mark!
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
    Twas a cutlass swipe or an ounce of lead
    Or a yawing hole in a battered head
    And the scuppers’ glut with a rotting red
    And there they lay, aye, damn my eyes
    Looking up at paradise
    All souls bound just contrawise
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.
    Fifteen men of ’em good and true
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
    Ev’ry man jack could ha’ sailed with Old Pew,
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
    There was chest on chest of Spanish gold
    With a ton of plate in the middle hold
    And the cabins riot of stuff untold,
    And they lay there that took the plum
    With sightless glare and their lips struck dumb
    While we shared all by the rule of thumb,
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

    More was seen through a sternlight screen…
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum
    Chartings undoubt where a woman had been
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.
    ‘Twas a flimsy shift on a bunker cot
    With a dirk slit sheer through the bosom spot
    And the lace stiff dry in a purplish blot
    Oh was she wench or some shudderin’ maid
    That dared the knife and took the blade
    By God! she had stuff for a plucky jade
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

    Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum
    Drink and the devil had done for the rest
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.
    We wrapped ’em all in a mains’l tight
    With twice ten turns of a hawser’s bight
    And we heaved ’em over and out of sight,
    With a Yo-Heave-Ho! and a fare-you-well
    And a sudden plunge in the sullen swell
    Ten fathoms deep on the road to hell,
    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

  • Moken People

    Their knowledge of the sea enables them to live off its fauna and flora by using simple tools such as nets and spears to forage for food. What is not consumed is dried atop their boats, then used to barter for other necessities at local markets. During the monsoon season, they build additional boats while occupying temporary huts. Because of the amount of time they spend diving for food, Moken children are able to see better underwater due to accommodation of their visual focus.[5][6]
    Some of the Burmese Moken are still nomadic people who roam the sea most of their lives in small hand-crafted wooden boats called kabang, which serve not just as transportation, but also as kitchen, bedroom, and living area. However, much of their traditional life, which is built on the premise of life as outsiders, is under threat and appears to be diminishing.

  • @ Robin Datta

    NTHE = No people = No stories = Finis

  • I offer the following as a soundtrack for the ocean going doomers among us: Mark Knopfler’s Privateering

  • Kirk Hamilton

    You wrote:

    “People in general just don’t have what it takes to walk through the fires of self awareness and be purified.

    I spend time every day meditating on the violence done by the strong to the weak. If there is any justice, the hammer will fall soon.”

    I am sympathetic to your reservations about human altruism, and I have no illusions about what you describe as the strong abusing the weak. It is entirely possible that the well described, well imagined demonic zombie apocalypse of marauders and ‘wolves’, will only be a minor eventuality. Maybe many people will come to the party, and realise the best survival strategy, if survival is possible, is to come together and work for the first time perhaps in equals in kind, notwithstanding the knowledge and ability differentials that are there, and have some real decent human community. If the roof is falling down, the many who are there can mend it, and tell stories and be human. It isn’t really that hard if one is willing to step that first step – we are all the same form.
    It is largely a context thing, and yes many will criticise my view as nieve, (heard it all before), but when people finally do see what is happening there is every chance greater selves will come forward, rather than the infantile and selfish behaviour types. There will obviously be a huge range of individual and communal behaviours, but we may just find some great humans out there, more than we feel is warranted.

    Everyone is going to die, we know, so where is the ‘justice’ in loading a premature death as worth it.

    As an aside, I prefer a reformed asshole, even a very nasty person, and by reformed I mean someone who mended themselves by desire, rather than communal force, or false adaptation, because they are better at seeing how it could still be if they were in the old ways. So they are usually more compassionate.
    If capital punishment takes out the bad people, when they reincarnate,(negotiable) they come back with the same or worse tendencies. Better to help them reform, and when they die of natural causes, they come back with better prospects of some love and human cooperation.

    Just sayin.

  • Reply to Log Spirit…

    Normally I would just ignore a comment like yours, but it spews such poison and is so completely incorrect that I will respond.

    I live on a TINY Social Security pension. The reason it is so small is because I was a San Francisco street performer for decades. This meant I GAVE my talent away to whomever happened to walk by. It also meant I would have a very tiny income stream when I got to my current age. Getting a small sailboat to live in was my best and only affordable option.

    I am the anti-thesis of the 1% and what my message attempts to do is insure that the 1% do not again gain power if there is a significant catastrophic event. In the companion essay that appears currently at Club Orlov, I even freely share my knowledge of how everyday people can try to adopt this approach should they wish to do so.

    It is sad that some choose to hide behind the cloak of anonymity and hurt people’s feelings so deeply.

  • It’s a nice idea, but I could never do it. I get too seasick, big and small boats…and carsick, trainsick, airsick, sick, sick, sick.
    I just saw a program with the Sea Gypsies, or Bajau, of Malaysia the other day, just like the Moken mentioned above. Their boats were nothing like sailboats, more like floating huts, with a covered sleeping area in the back, and an open living area in front, where they cooked their daily catch over an open fire. Here is a photo:

    I still don’t think there is anywhere to run to, even the open sea.

  • @ Ray & @ logspirit

    I go back & forth on the appropriate response to my guilt as to being a privileged white guy – I could have bought a boat, I couldv’e bought a cabin in the woods… but, no, since becoming aware of NTE, I pretty much threw all that away and now just sit around like a drone, going to work, paying bills, saving Nothing, doing Nothing.

    People who are determined to live through the initial stages of collapse, and have the means to do so, are no different than a deer running away from a forest fire – they don’t have any obligation to the other animals that maybe cannot run so fast…

    Each of us has our own circumstances to deal with – and our own emotional baggage – some of us are into the “every man for himself” mentality and will shoot (and eat) their neighbors and will look down on those who are not as well prepared – and some will lay down and die rather than abuse any one of their fellow men – and some will open their hearts and share all the can, help all the can, to ease the suffering of any one they can.

    I don’t expect there will be any attempts to rescue anybody when SHTF – it’s going to be widespread chaos everywhere – and, eventually, everyone will die…

    In fact, I think it best to die earlier – it’s just going to get progressively worse and worse – some say that anyone that survives will wish they hadn’t – boat or no boat, bunker or no bunker. You can’t escape radiation – and when your skin melts off your bones from radiation poisoning, it won’t matter if you collapse into the sea or onto the dirt.

    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.

  • Oz man I sent your request to Guy but it appears he may be having trouble with your e-mail. Send your e-address to him and he can forward it to me.

  • Kathy Cassandra

    Have done, roger, wilco!

    I have seen two different small birds in my window, neither have I ever seen before. An omen, perhaps, of sky-creature ‘moral’ support, or just displaced aves, moved on to further territory?

    I sincerely hope the latter.

  • This is a good essay that articulates the human predicament well, and makes pretty good mincemeat of “clean energy” – but offers no solution although it has the usual “dismantle industrial civilization” advice:

    so my question (in moderation) was:

    Here’s a problem – without industrial civilization, we won’t have modern birth control. Without birth control, the population will expand exponentially, well past the ability to feed itself. How would that be sustainable?

    I’d be really interested to know thoughts on that.

    Ray, I think LogSpirit was harsh and obviously made some inaccurate assumptions about you personally and I was sorry (but not surprised of course) to see that you found it hurtful. But there still is a grain of accuracy in the criticism, which is that clearly your plan is only workable for a very few people.

    And the other thing is, it’s not workable for anyone, anyway, because as I already pointed out, the chain of life in the ocean is in extreme free-fall collapse. The world is going to continue to warm and the water will continue to acidify even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases today (which we certainly won’t). The coral reefs are in die off. There won’t be any seafood. Having friends near the coast to stop off for provisions is going to be useless because of sea level rise which is also inevitable and irreversible. The coasts are going to be disaster areas. Also I wasn’t saying there are pirates now, rather that there will be, just as holing up on land isn’t going to be practical because marauding gangs will appear to raid the permaculture garden and almost certainly much worse. They aren’t roaming the countryside now but when the food stops being delivered to the cities they will be, and there will be ruthless people on boats too.

    I wholly support your choice to live on a boat and to encourage other people to do so and I wish all of you well. It’s just a guess, but perhaps logspirit was expressing the same frustration I feel – that your journey on your boat is being presented as a survival strategy when, for scientific reasons, it isn’t viable.

  • ….eeerrr, I meant to write the former, sorry.

  • @SS re Vikings. Ah yes, two by sea, one by land.

    I assume everyone knows Norseman ie Normandy, were vikings, which makes British royalty (descended from the bastard), a combination of German-Scandinavian. Likewise the ancient line of white Russians, including the czars (aka kaiser aka caesar), are descendents of vikings traders/raiders.

    On the other hand, something like 16 million people can trace their DNA back to the great Khan. Which indicates that regardless of pathways, sea or land, the name of the game is conquest.

    Which is why I simply cannot understand why some people insist on clinging to the romantic notion of the noble savage. The history of all species, including the hairless ape, is one of struggling for survival in environments of scarcity.

    I can sense the women folk are gonna go crazy, but all these notions of equality, with legal structures artificially imposed to suppress natural order, are mere luxuries of our wonderful world of energy slaves. Take away the props, and it all falls down.

    To forecast the future is to understand the past. On a large scale, ‘civilization’ itself will resemble the Hubbert curve, with perhaps a significant drop off after the peak. We could even call it ‘peak civilization’.

  • Gail, without industrial civilization, people won’t live as long, women will die in childbirth more often, babies won’t live, and so on. The absence of birth control is real, of course, which is why Kathy C urges tubal ligation NOW for fertile women, but it certainly isn’t the sole factor in population growth.

    I agree with everything else you said.

    Since this is my second and last post of the day, I wish you well Ray, but I think you’re smokin’ the hopium. Other than heat loving bacteria, I don’t think much survives the random brush with homo sapiens.

  • @ Pat/General

    Were I the deer exiting the forest fire, I’m not sure I’d return to help save the slower critters. It would depend on what the moment suggested. What I WOULD do, however, is proactively (being human now) advocate for forests to be thinned, for evacuation plans to be made, and for water storage and emergency generators to be in place nearby.

    My recommendations would be of the non-heroic sort, favoring pragmatism and commonsense above all else.

    I see the sudden collapse of civilization as what would bring on apocalypse zombie-ism, that to be eschewed above all else. Thus the catch-22: Civilization will keep ensuring and deepening collapse, even as it helps stave off the worst early human reactions therefrom. It presents a balancing act (theoretically, that is): Make civilization less destructive, including having non-profits take over the industrial functions they can, and run them for the common good (implying less of needless and profit-motivated-only environmental destruction. Simultaneously, wage global PR and educational campaigns to promote simplicity and birth control.

    Please, please, spare me. I’m only putting this forward because someone above questioned the wherewithal of dealing with civilizational collapse. Definitely not saying these suggestions have any chance of being followed.

  • pat sez:

    … I think it best to die earlier — it’s just going to get progressively worse and worse — some say that anyone that survives will wish they hadn’t — boat or no boat, bunker or no bunker. You can’t escape radiation … it won’t matter if you collapse into the sea or onto the dirt.

    This comment reflects my own thinking. It’s impossible to predict accurately just how and when things will go plotz, but it’s pretty easy to predict (with broad accuracy) that desperation will produce plenty of things worse than death. All the true believers who have found the path to salvation as things unravel kinda make me sad, and their hurt feelings when others object only reinforces their desperation.

    The subject post recommends adoption of a way of life aimed partially at post-collapse, but I think that the sea gypsy life — if one can make it happen — is actually for here and now, while things retain some coherence. Indeed, in the twilight of civilization, I’m more concerned with what I do in life right now than surviving to gasp a few more breaths.

    This part made me laugh:

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

    In a certain respect, we’re all poor slobs in this story.

  • Life at sea has attracted many a person for millennia. I love to sail myself; however, living in Arkansas now, I almost never get a chance to do it.

    Thinking that a sail boat will be able to serve as a lifeboat for the devastation that’s coming seems to be more wishful thinking. Here’s my rationale for that assessment (repeating much of what others have posted already):

    – The oceans are dying – and it’s happening rapidly. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the oceans die first, in fact. Excellent summary on the precipitous decline of tuna as just one example:
    – Even though you have a quarter century of sailing experience, I doubt you could have outrun or survived a super storm like Sandy that hit the US East coast last year. Those types of storms are going to be more and more frequent. In the absence of weather radar, how would you avoid those? Even if you went into port – assuming it was safe to do so – hurricanes can and often do destroy vessels many miles inland.
    – Over the last 25 years, how many repairs have you had to make? To the hull, the deck, the sails, the rigging, the keel, the rudder, etc.
    – Despite what you write about avoiding nuclear fallout, how will you be able to avoid the fallout from 400+ meltdowns happening with a few years of one another? Perhaps you could sail to the Arctic or Antarctic, depending on the season, the aforementioned storms, and avoiding fallout on the way. Those are pretty big obstacles.
    – Even if you stored provisions for a year, what then? Back to the land? As a seafarer, would you know how to get what you needed when you couldn’t buy it or trade with someone? Seems highly unlikely. That’s assuming that needed supplies are even available – a huge assumption.
    – Pirates, both professional and newly minted based on necessity, are going to be a reality. They already are. A well outfitted sailboat with lots of provisions will be mighty attractive to a starving crew. Who will assist and protect you?
    – Assuming all the above could be overcome – impossible – but let’s suspend disbelief for a moment, how many like-minded people can afford the type of sailboat required for what you describe? That’s not a cheap proposition. And unless that person already has many years of sailing experience, then they won’t be able to just start living at sea without years of training. So, they will have to pay for a berth, dock fees, fuel, food, etc., while they’re learning to sail and live off the sea.
    – Knowing the costs of sailing and the type of people who typically earn that type of income, are you sure you want those people to be the ones who repopulate humanity? Because we’re talking about an overwhelming number of white upper middle class people who are almost all from developed, industrialized countries.

    I’m all about people doing what gives them happiness as we all go down together, so I applaud you for following your heart. Clearly it gives you lots of happiness. But, if you’re waiting for a community of folks to join you so you can rebuild after the fall, I’m afraid you’re going to be very disappointed.

  • Oops. I should have read all the comments first, Ray, as I see you already addressed some of the issues I raised.

  • Where to begin? I love the people who comment here. To be here, you are facing or thinking of facing the worst and simultaneously the best in yourself.

    Who am I is the big question for all and fire will purify. We are attempting the impossible, to return to the home team. As much as I sometimes feel frustrated by the what are obvious lacks to the scientific community, it is obvious to me Guy McPherson walked away because he started listening to that inner voice. It no doubt echoed up through the fissures that objective reality cracked open in the center of his being. Correct me if I am missing something here Guy. Mostly educated guesses made from my own deep wells of being.

    Anyways, I question it all, believe it some and wait for more to be revealed. I know who I am from what I know so far. Definitely part of the 1%. Not because I have ever been wealthy. No the best level of membership in the club I attained was the wealth to buy all organic food and what not. It kept me very poor, poor white trash cousin just barely a member of the club. But I am as sure as the sun rises that in spite of how hard I worked to return to balance, I remained in the club. Innocence in ignorance, my excuse. Nature does not care, because now I know what I did not then. In some ways it is admirable to claim one’s guilt here in the desert of doom. But really that is not my refuge.

    My refuge is to stay open. Open and connected to love and life and truth. Also my sentence because nature is already batting last in my being and hell and heaven mix in crazy gyres of confusion through the process. I submit to the process and that is that.

    I find myself here. Or glimmers of the self I am becoming. My true power as a human slowly unfolding and I know for each if us that does enter that fire, we exponentially increase the hope for this nature that shelters us to prevail and not perish.

    So what to say to people who sail away instead on gentle breezes?
    It is clear in his testament today of the rejection of the pain he feels as nature tries to take down his toxic defenses, I must say if you can do not resist. Lay still in your soul and if you are here, realize your gypsy tribe on the ocean of the soul is lighting candles all around you to help guide you on your way home. We all are a candle for each other.

  • A sign of the times.

    Coming to a neighborhood near you soon.

    I have a friend who works in a natural food store that sells herbal supplements.

    An elderly lady came in the other day looking for a product that boosts immune system functions. Her niece told her what to ask for (echinacea) but she got confused and asked my friend if she could get some ‘euthanasia’.

    My friend told her they were out of that today but that they had plenty of echinacea to go around. ;>)

    On the living on a boat, ya, it’s a great short term solution to unplugging from the industrial matrix. I grew up on the coast and I’m very familiar with life on the water. It’s not for everyone however.

    And not only can you be prey to the new virulent strains of nouveaux pirates, your vessel can be mistaken for being a pirate vessel and attacked accordingly.

    Flying false colors is the first lesson in Pirates 101 and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Pirates.


  • Here is a map of the world’s nuclear plants. Clearly the southern half of the hemisphere is a safer bet and Arctic News Blogspots Extinction in one Human lifetime gives it a longer timeline than the northern hemisphere regarding climate change.

    The absolute mean extinction time for the northern hemisphere is 2031.8 and for the southern hemisphere 2047.6 with a final mean extinction time for 3/4 of the earth’s surface of 2039.6 which is similar to the extinction time suggested previously from correlations between planetary orbital mechanics and the frequency increase of Great and Normal earthquake activity on Earth (Light, 2011). Extinction in the southern hemisphere lags the northern hemisphere by 9 to 29 years.

    If you google “plume from Fukushima” you can get an idea of how much ocean the radiation from 3 meltdowns that are partially contained can cover. Likewise google “plume from Chernobyl” again partially contained and you can see how far a radioactive plume can go. When the nukes go with no containment or remediation the whole Northern Hemisphere is basically toast.

    On youtube look up “battle for chernobyl” – somewhere midway they talk about how close they were to having the core hit ground water and they said that would be it for most of Europe – something on that order. Watch that and then imagine over 400 Chernobyls with no response at all.

    However when things get rough, everyone who is not an insider is an outsider – the more different you are (language, accent, color) the more you are an outsider. When the protection of the US or whatever country you are from is no longer assured, I think you can be assured that outsiders will be unwelcome.

    So if you are on a boat head to the Southern Hemisphere, but be careful if you dock. If from the US probably Australia and New Zealand would be better than South America. I expect that Yankee go home will be the kindest thing that could happen for any US citizen trying to make a life in South America. If they don’t have to put up with us because when we no longer have Uncle Sam at our backs, why would they?

  • @ KK: Thanks! (It’s a sickness, I tells ya! :D )

    Variations of Stage 3: Doing a Geographic

    The end of the world’s greatest ape
    Is now taking terminal shape;
    Sail off in the sunset?
    A plan still not done yet
    For bargaining how to escape.

  • Were I the deer exiting the forest fire, I’m not sure I’d return to help save the slower critters.

    Two friends decided to go bear-hunting on a weekend: one shows up wearing hunting boots and the other wearing running shoes. “Why are you wearing those running shoes?” “So I can run if the bear chases us”. “You can’t outrun a bear!” “I only have to outrun you.”

    An oceangoing existence aboard a hulled vessel is at best a temporary measure, with full genetic intent to return to a terrestrial existence.

    An initiation of a true transition to an aquatic existence by our hominin (hominids after our split from chimps) forebears is promoted by the Aquatic ape hypothesiswhich points to features such as hairlessness, subcutaneous fat, voluntary control of breathing, and several other characteristics prominent in aquatic-adapted terrestrial mammals; however the theory has never gained acceptance by mainstream science.

    Be that as it may, we have a whale of an example of mammals adapting to a full aquatic existence: the Cetaceans (whales, dolphins & porpoises). Their lineage diverged from the Artiodactyla, the even-toed/cloven-hoofed ungulates (hoofed mammals). The earliest identified member in the cetacean lineage is a terrestrial mammal that probably did some swimming and derived some of its food in that manner: living about 50 mya (million years ago) in Pakistan, hence called Pakicetus. The lineage took until 35 mya to produce the first baleen whales. And 15 mya later the first dolphins & porpoises showed up.

    Even with all their adaptations, and even though in embryonic development mammals have clearly identifiable gill rudiments, the cetaceans cannot revert to the aquatic respiration of our lungfish ancestors: if caught in tuna nets, they drown.

    We don’t have the time – or the environment – for such a transition. :-(

  • What do you call a person who is believes in the coming environmental apocalypse but also believes things will work out just fine?

    An Apocaloptimist

  • Crypto-Gram Security Podcast:

    Crypto-Gram 15 Jun 2013

  • My thanks to everyone who mentioned me recently: Gail, pat, and Ray Jason.

    I apologize to Ray Jason and to the group for my lack of sensitivity. Ray, you seem like a very nice guy, a person I would seek as a friend. Nerves are raw these days for everyone who isn’t sleep walking during our great collapse and extinction. As many in this group know, while not excusing myself, I have been going through a lot of personal loss and hardship lately, perhaps it inflames my words.

    I’m not here to dredge up and sling ad hominem mud about who has it the worst, or best… However, to explain my position on these serious matters that affect all of us, the following details are pertinent:

    In the US today, Mitt Romney’s famous irrelevant 47 percent are living below or on the border of the poverty line. That’s nearly half of all Americans. Around the world, in most places, the percentage is even higher. I am a person who does not have the benefit of a connection with empire that provides Social Security or any other dependable income whatsoever… (even after paying into it for many years). So, for me, and an overwhelming majority of humanity, buying anything that costs 60 thousand dollars is like reaching for the moon. The math that gets a street performer into a 60 thousand dollar treasure chest is beyond my ability to calculate. I live inside a 16 foot ‘land yacht’, a rusty 1982 Dodge Van, with a cabin height of 4’2″, and I’m taller than that, so I can’t even stand up in it. I know what it is to live ‘tiny’, to be homeless and destitute… to live under the arrogant mercy of those hanging by the pseudo-deniable puppet strings of empire. As a member of this global majority I reluctantly represent a great swath of the human population who are rarely heard in forums of this sort. It has enabled me to comprehend the following perspective:

    Exceptionalism has become solidly embedded into the American philosophy and way of life. A pillar in the framework of national identity, inalienable… for the moment. It permeates society and invisibly penetrates into the psyches of individuals, often going unrecognized. Confused with strength of character, exceptionalism frequently leads to unjustified disdain towards those who have been disenfranchised from enjoying the surplus of global empire. Disenfranchised by that empire from any claims to the Earth. (brace yourself…) In this article exceptionalism appears as a fantasy of the lone survivor, or crew of survivors, flying a possessive Earth Flag, while the rest of humanity withers and dies. A fantastical lifeboat philosophy of ultimate conquest.

    (Note: That’s just how I read it, and feel it, and express it. I do not intend to be personally offensive or harmful! I am speaking to the argument.)

    My objections revolve around the impossibility of survival, individually or as an exclusive crew, recognizing conditions of irreversible ecological catastrophe culminating in human extinction… and the immorality of personalized exceptionalism as the rest of the world sinks.

    Again, I apologize for my insensitivity. I do not mean to offend. I am merely attempting to elucidate my objections to this strategy. My goal is not to hurt anyone’s feelings. I have plenty of my own psychic pains to suffer. I am not uncompassionate. But I will not silence my perspective for fear of upsetting a public figure. If one wants the pleasure (and potential profits) of a public by line, they are advised to develop a tough skin. I write anonymously and forgo such unnourishing pleasurable gains, while, given my point of view, certainly not imagining profits… My words would be the same either way. A rose by any other name…

  • The “Last Person Standing” motive has been with all of biology since the time of the first complex molecules. Not always the last “person” per se: sometimes the last bacterium, the last yeast, the last colony, bush, tree, forest, family, tribe, nation or empire. Our very identities are shaped by it: linguistic, political, religious, ethnic, national, or whatever; all our predecessors whose identities did not survive into us either changed/adapted or faded away. Including the couple of dozen hominin lineages, some of them our direct ancestors.

    Once those identities fade away completely, the survivors do not bemoan their passing: the Hittites were an Aryan people of the Middle East, now extinct. (The most notable of them was Uriah, an officer in the Israeli Army whom King David sent to death in a military mission, and then married his wife who became the mother of King Solomon). We do not bemoan the passing of the Neanderthals.

    Even on an small level, the last person standing meme remains operative, however subtly. Because there is strength in numbers, there are efforts to expand community, whether through Transition Towns or Earth Flags. It is the same biological imperative to survival manifest in these myriad ways – ways so diverse in a single species because never before (on this planet, as far as we know) has there been comparable socio-cultural complexity.

    The exact course of the future being unknown, this greater diversity makes for the last person standing to be standing maybe a bit later, though perhaps still a pyrrhic victory.

  • Those Nylon Sails DO eventually wear out. Good luck replacing them long term.

    However, certainly a better survival strategy short term than hanging out in the Big Shities.

    BTW Guy Fans of Uber Doom, Guy remains Top of the Heap with over 800 listens on his Podcast. :)


  • BTW Guy Fans of Uber Doom, Guy remains Top of the Heap with over 800 listens on his Podcast

    It’s the E word, it works like a charm. BTW are their any good links on the extinction events of the past? Just from checking wiki I’ve noticed some facts that don’t get much mention here:
    1. Everything doesn’t die (usually 70-90% do)
    2. They involved either massive volcanic activity or catastrophic cosmic body impact, neither of which will occur in our coming event. Which leads to the assumption (perhaps false) that our coming event won’t be as bad.

    Any thoughts?

  • Ripley: None of those events had us. This is unique.

  • Ripley.

    ‘Any thoughts?’

    Industrial civilisation is changing the composition of the atmosphere and oceans at something between ten times the rate and 100 times the rate that occurred in previous chemically-induced extinction events.

    There has been an interesting discussion on CoIC about the undervaluation of methane’s warming potential in the short term. Methane is usually assigned a relative warming potential of around 23 times that of CO2 over a century. But over 20 years it is around 72 times as potent. And over ten years perhaps 200 times as potent. Over five years perhaps 500 times as potent. ( A reminder that methane is oxidised to CO2, so even when it ‘vanishes’ it hasn’t really gone away.)

    Awaiting updates of the plumes of methane erupting from the sea bed off Siberia. It’s going to be an interesting September-October, methinks.

  • Bad news for privileged white guys:

    Nationwide, the count of America’s poor remains stuck at a record number: 46.2 million, or 15 percent of the population, due in part to lingering high unemployment following the recession. While poverty rates for blacks and Hispanics are nearly three times higher, by absolute numbers the predominant face of the poor is white.

    More than 19 million whites fall below the poverty line of $23,021 for a family of four, accounting for more than 41 percent of the nation’s destitute, nearly double the number of poor blacks.

    @ Ripley

    If you are a cockroach, you have a chance…

    @ logspirit

    Circumstances are always personal – there are kids eating dirt in Haiti, millions of children worldwide with no running water, no sanitation, etc. Believe me, I’m not saying “look on the bright side” or “count your blessings,” that’s crap – but whatever your circumstances, things can always be better or worse.

    Man’s inhumanity to man is unbelievable – and I am totally guilty. I live in a house, have a car, a job. I eat three meals a day. And, children are eating dirt in Haiti. How does one reconcile that? The old excuses that feeding the poor just makes more poor are valid, but still, the crime is no less. The smart, privileged, folks of the world could not implement worldwide birth control even if they wanted to – and they didn’t want to, they wanted cheap labor. And, now, overpopulation is the key driver of NTE. More people, more oil, more manufacturing, more cars, more everything.

  • kevin m

    ulvfugl touched on data/web censorship on the last post and the pitiful state of methane scolarship honesty and competence.

    I think getting accurate methane data reporting will be more and more of a problem as time goes on.

    Partly because accurate data in not being gathered from lack of funding (however black budget funding is undoubtedly there through the military) and partly because of censorship issues.

    Even the Russians don’t want to freak out their populations about methane pouring out of their vast permafrost tracts.

    Methane will become a ‘national security’ issue, don’t tell the Sheeple anymore than is necessary.

    Look at the accounting fraud in the financial sector and the manipulated Libor rates, and manipulated stocks and bonds and inflation indexes etc…

    All methane data will fall under the Ministry of Propaganda as a ‘security risk’. At this point the morons in media don’t ever have the slightest clue how bad the potential is for methane. Even most government thumbuptheirass bureaucrats are feckless.

    The few academics in the methane field that know the gravity of the situation are tight lipped for worry of losing their livelihoods.

    All in all not a great state of affairs for getting an accurate picture of where we are in the Methane Death Spiral (MDS), not that it really matters, it’s all morbid curiosity from here on out.

    Governments Goons (GGs) monitoring every conceivable data metric from personal to financial except weather data, I think not.

    We will need to rely on the weather version of an ‘Ed Snowden’ source for accurate climate data in the near future.

    Dangerous Data is the watch word for the day.

  • Anyone know the answer to this please ?

    And THIS, please confirm or correct, max density of water, is actually 4 deg C, so under the arctic freezing conditions, the warm water actually sinks to the sea bed ?
    Is that right, or nonsense ????

  • The density of salt water is different than fresh

    Here’s a chart for the salt water

    and the page it came from:

  • I just accidentally put two links and it went to moderation, sorry

    Salt water density is different, here’s the chart for salt

  • water reaches a density peak at 3.98 °C

  • Sorry for the multiple post.

    With the ice sheet gone and the sun beating down on deep dark blue water, evaporation will increase the salinity of the Arctic Ocean and thus the density of the water.

    Whether it get diluted from water entering it the Bering Strait and the Fram Strait I don’t know.

  • Thanks so much, Mike S. and Softly, I’ve been digging and getting nowhere.

    I don’t know if the ocean currents from the Pacific and the Atlantic have any relevance. They might be impacting ESAS ?

    The particular area of interest is the East Siberian Arctic Sea, which has a vast shallow continental shelf, where the riskiest clathrates seem to be, and into that shallow sea flow the huge rivers from Siberia, which used to be very cold, but are now warming…

    So, I’m wondering what happens, when the now relatively warm fresh water enters. And of course, usually, warm rises, cold sinks, so I was imagining that.

    But maybe not so, if it’s the Arctic, and the peculiarity of water, maybe the heat gets transferred down to the frozen silt by that mechanism too ?
    The salinity makes it complicated. I’m not sufficiently familiar with the subject to understand what happens… maybe all the forces involved make for a good old mixing mechanism. The whole area has been frozen fairly static for a long time, so nobody really knows what happens next.
    With the jetstream weather blocking, there could be regular long hot spells.

    From that link..
    For oceans, the salinity is usually 35 psu. For this level of salinity, the temperature of maximum density is below the freezing point which means as water cools on the surface, it will convect and mix with the water below. There are a few places in the world where salinity is below the critical 24.7 psu. For example, in the Siberian Sea there is water from rivers lowering the salinity and ice forms much sooner there than in other places.

  • “…For example, in the Siberian Sea there is water from rivers lowering the salinity and ice forms much sooner there than in other places….”

    Maybe the sun evaporating the open Arctic ocean without the ice sheet and raising salinity counter acts the fresh water from Siberian rivers?

    But the Siberian river water is also a lo water than it use to be.

    This looks to be a very complex dynamic with amplifying and canceling effects everywhere.

    Sure could use some honest data.

    I have no idea if the Russians are on this like white on rice.

    I sure would if I lived there.

    Even if the Russians ‘share’ it doesn’t mean the data will be public in western academic circles.

    Who knows

  • correction

    “But the Siberian river water is also a lot hotter water than it use to be.”

  • Couple of points —

    1) The East Siberian Arctic Shelf is in shallow water – it was exposed during the last Ice Age – and is typically something like 50 meters deep. Open water there will enable wave action which will do a decent job of mixing the water, applying warmer water to the sea bed.

    2) If I am correctly understanding what I’m reading about the deposits there, it isn’t just hydrates, it’s also permafrost acting as a fragile cap over actual methane migrating from shales. Some seem to be speculating that the plumes that have been observed may be cracks in this permafrost cap rather than degredation of hydrates. I doubt anyone really knows, and I certainly don’t.

    3) Methane in the atmosphere oxidizes via hydroxl radicals (which are consumed in the process), which are themselves formed by sunlight acting on water vapor in the upper atmosphere. AFAIK the production rate of hydroxl radicals is fairly constant. If you were to dump a lot of methane into the atmosphere it would deplete the hydroxl radicals and the half-life of that methane would be greatly increased. The net effect would be to shift the effective warming value of methane from the 20 range closer to the 100 range (the actual value for the gas before you account for its decay).

  • Ray,

    Speaking as a retired USCG small boat captain with my own S&S custom 42′ yawl, and as a liveaboard for many years I have seriously considered the options of going back to sea. My experience suggests that becoming a Sea Gypsy is problematical.

    I have encountered occasional hostile forces in my years of nautical bliss and an gleaned an intimate understanding of the natural challenges that living on the water brings. I believe that any degree of social collapse which will likely precede NTHE will encourage a revival, no expansion, of the yang of piracy. This would likely occur because of the same addiction to life at sea. I have met and knew people who would salivate over the opportunity to prey on THE SEA GYPSY TRIBE.

    Yes, there are possibly a few strategies that would allow for using simple, easily repairable crafts like Nassau Dinks but I wonder if a solitary survival vessel will find any advantage over larger, faster, better organized, well armed survivalists who will see pseudo-Darwinian competition for survival as a moral issue.

    I believe that the only moral option is to marshal a confederation of communities (like transition towns or Post Carbon outposts, who first seek survival of the greater group, after working like hell to forestall collapse.

  • Pat, you wrote “Man’s inhumanity to man is unbelievable – and I am totally guilty. I live in a house, have a car, a job. I eat three meals a day. And, children are eating dirt in Haiti. How does one reconcile that? The old excuses that feeding the poor just makes more poor are valid, but still, the crime is no less”

    I always appreciate your self honesty. I don’t know if things have improved in Haiti recently or whether the news about mud cakes ran its course and no one is interested anymore. Traditionally these mud cakes (mud a bit of salt and oil) were used by pregnant women for mineral supplements, but now they are used to push down the hunger pains. While they may provide minerals they do not provide energy. (I wonder how much of our minerals we used to get from dirt before we got so clean?). I have read that the impoverished Ik people in Africa would swallow round smooth stones to dampen the pain of empty stomachs and then retrieve the stones from their poop to be used again.

    When I was in Haiti for 3 mos. Volunteering at Mother Theresa’s Children’s home, I was on a journey to see if there was any way a powerful god could be good. The answer – NO. End of my Christian era. But I was hit with something much more depressing. I found that good could be evil – saving lives in an overpopulated country was a good that produced more evil. I was pretty shattered by that.

    But I don’t think that negated the small good that I did for the bigger issues of good and evil don’t matter to a baby dying of aids. Being cuddled matters.

    We have to take the capital letters off of our values. MATTERING, MEANING, GOOD, etc need to become momentary values not ultimate values. Hugging someone, petting your dog, smiling, saying a kind word, all those matter at the moment, the mean what they mean, they feel good to the doer and the receiver.

    We aren’t the big important species we thought we were. Just self replicating mammals following our programs faithfully to our doom. But we can still feed the dog and scratch behind its ears and feel good, and be rewarded by a big doggy kiss. We can still remember to tell those we love that we love and appreciate them. We can ride this terrible roller coaster to extinction with as much compassion as we can muster.

  • @ Ulvfugl

    While I’m not a scientist, you’re basically talking about the interaction of three clines: Thermocline (heat), Halocline (salinity) and Pycnocline (density). But sense temperature diffuses at a higher rate than salinity, I don’t believe the factor of water density can override basic convection. At least further off shore of the ESAS.

  • @ Larry M

    “I believe that the only moral option is to marshal a confederation of communities….”

    Yes, but in a post-collapse reality the viability of that confederation is wholly determined by proximity to each other. And given our pre-collapse reality is utterly dictated by capitalism, property value and availability makes such close-nit communities impossible, which is why there currently are none other than a smattering of religious sects. But when land use laws, zoning restrictions as well as property rights are no longer being enforced……well, it’s way too late to start “preparing”.

    Transition Town is just the latest drop in the ocean by the last generation of well-wishers.

  • Animal Nature

    Animals hang on and strive,
    Attempting to stay alive,
    Due to some basic yen,
    Which works even when
    There’s no way that they’ll survive.


    Some think we’re not up to par
    With our nastiness repertoire,
    But the end would occur
    The same if we were
    As nice as we think we are.

  • Excellent Wikipedia article:

    Properties of water

    Physics and chemistry

    Water, ice and vapor

    Density of water and ice

    The density of water is approximately one gram per cubic centimeter. It is dependent on its temperature, but the relation is not linear and is unimodal rather than monotonic (see table at left). When cooled from room temperature liquid water becomes increasingly dense, as with other substances, but at approximately 4 °C (39 °F), pure water reaches its maximum density. As it is cooled further, it expands to become less dense. This unusual negative thermal expansion is attributed to strong, orientation-dependent, intermolecular interactions and is also observed in molten silica.[22]

    The solid form of most substances is denser than the liquid phase; thus, a block of most solids will sink in the liquid. However, a block of ice floats in liquid water because ice is less dense. Upon freezing, the density of water decreases by about 9%.[23] This is due to the ‘cooling’ of intermolecular vibrations allowing the molecules to form steady hydrogen bonds with their neighbors and thereby gradually locking into positions reminiscent of the hexagonal packing achieved upon freezing to ice Ih. Whereas the hydrogen bonds are shorter in the crystal than in the liquid, this locking effect reduces the average coordination number of molecules as the liquid approaches nucleation. Other substances that expand on freezing are silicon, gallium, germanium, antimony, bismuth, plutonium and also chemical compounds that form spacious crystal lattices with tetrahedral coordination.

    Only ordinary hexagonal ice is less dense than the liquid. Under increasing pressure, ice undergoes a number of transitions to other allotropic forms with higher density than liquid water, such as ice II, ice III, high-density amorphous ice (HDA), and very-high-density amorphous ice (VHDA).

    Density of saltwater and ice

    The density of water is dependent on the dissolved salt content as well as the temperature of the water. Ice still floats in the oceans, otherwise they would freeze from the bottom up. However, the salt content of oceans lowers the freezing point by about 2 °C (see here for explanation) and lowers the temperature of the density maximum of water to the freezing point. This is why, in ocean water, the downward convection of colder water is not blocked by an expansion of water as it becomes colder near the freezing point. The oceans’ cold water near the freezing point continues to sink. For this reason, any creature attempting to survive at the bottom of such cold water as the Arctic Ocean generally lives in water that is 4 °C colder than the temperature at the bottom of frozen-over fresh water lakes and rivers in the winter.

    In cold countries, when the temperature of fresh water reaches 4 °C, the layers of water near the top in contact with cold air continue to lose heat energy and their temperature falls below 4 °C. On cooling below 4 °C, these layers do not sink but may rise up as fresh water has a maximum density at 4 °C. (Refer: Polarity and hydrogen bonding) Due to this, the layer of water at 4 °C remains at the bottom and above this layers of water 3 °C, 2 °C, 1 °C and 0 °C are formed. Because ice is a poor conductor of heat, it does not absorb heat energy from the water beneath the layer of ice which prevents the water freezing. Thus, aquatic creatures survive in such places.[citation needed]

    As the surface of salt water begins to freeze (at −1.9 °C for normal salinity seawater, 3.5%) the ice that forms is essentially salt free with a density approximately equal to that of freshwater ice. This ice floats on the surface and the salt that is “frozen out” adds to the salinity and density of the seawater just below it, in a process known as brine rejection. This denser saltwater sinks by convection and the replacing seawater is subject to the same process. This provides essentially freshwater ice at −1.9 °C on the surface. The increased density of the seawater beneath the forming ice causes it to sink towards the bottom. On a large scale, the process of brine rejection and sinking cold salty water results in ocean currents forming to transport such water away from the Poles, leading to a global system of currents called the thermohaline circulation. One potential consequence of global warming is that the loss of Arctic and Antarctic ice could result in the loss of these currents as well, which could have unforeseeable consequences on near and distant climates.[speculation?]

  • Paul — I just want to make clear that I agree with you that our chances to avoid the ongoing collapse of civilization are just about nil. Where I disagree is in your contention that thermodynamic law is the prime cause of our collapse. I feel that if our psychological, social, and spiritual development had been able to control the powers that our increasing intelligence put in our hands, we would be able to create a sustainable culture on Earth. That interior development did not happen however, and we are living in the resultant disaster. To posit that no intelligence evolving anywhere in our Universe would be able to succeed where we have failed, due to thermodynamic laws, is I think to give those laws more determinative power than they hold in all situations. The very existence of life in the Universe has been in a way a triumph over those same thanotosic laws. All life dances for a time in the face of death. Moreover, Life and Intelligence has not played it’s last card in this chess game with death. As Aristotle said, let us not prematurely write the obituary of one not yet expired….

  • mike k, we may think when we rise above the earth in a plane or a hot air balloon that we have defeated gravity, but should one of the mechanisms that we use to defeat gravity fail (engine stop, hole in balloon) we find that our defeat of the law of gravity was an illusion.

    Besides thermodynamics, the fact that we are self replicating creatures at our very base dooms us. We have skirted around restrictions of our expansion to the edges of the petri dish but the edges still hold. This planet it a ball and is limited in size, surface and materials. I suggest you read “Too Smart for our Own Good” by Craig Dilworth where is excruciating detail he shows how it could not have ended otherwise than how it is now ending. the short of it explained here

    We are not gods, we are mortal self replicating mammals.

    Oh by the way Aristotle is dead, expired, gone. Happens to saints and sinners, philosophers, kings, TPTB, the poor all of us. Happens to species as well, dinosaurs and teradactyls and passenger pigeons.

    And then 1 billion years from now as the sun dies, the water and atmosphere of the planet go and earth is no longer mother, just another stone in the sky….

  • Just in case people are not aware, CoIC

  • Kathy C – “Isn’t it contrast that makes things so good. A cool bath after a hot day, is good. A cool bath on a cool day – no. Doesn’t a meal taste better if you are really hungry. Aren’t treats treats because they are rare.” (previous thread)

    “we find that our defeat the law of gravity was an illusion.”

    the law of gravity is an illusion created to be real, by a consciousness that desires the experience of contrast. mud pies, war – the same. mozart, the same. giraffes and humans and rose bushes – all the same.

    to your question: “I was on a journey to see if there was any way a powerful god could be good.” and your answer: “NO”

    you are correct from the pov of the question. there is no good, none, in the world where a child, a mother, anyone, has to eat a mud pie. god knows, countless mud pies, just to push hunger away. that is sickness. we are collectively responsible for that sickness. we try to do good, save lives, and then, as you say “saving lives in an overpopulated country was a good that produced more evil. I was pretty shattered by that.” – you are so correct, we are only pushing evil into the world further, more lives that will suffer and starve. there is no escape, how can there be?

    it is shattering.

    that’s what happens when you run headlong into the dead end of an illusion – you are shattered. I feel this every day when I try to wrap my pea brain around what we are doing to ourselves – and then I turn around and try to live a happy life! I know I am doing this in the midst of mind boggling suffering, yet I won’t stop trying to be happy.

    both ends of the pole here, my happiness and a haitian child’s suffering, are both illusions. along with gravity, they are all inescapable illusions.

    there is only one permanent way to drop the illusion.

    drop the illusion.

    the illusion is real, yes. gravity and all. but it is not The Real.

    the best and by far most accurate description of what I am talking about, that I have seen so far, is at this wiki link:

    I will copy it below, because it really is that good. Adi Shankara is a key philosopher in the Advaita Vedanta teaching, perhaps the biggest. I don’t really know, as I only came across this quote on wikipedia a couple of days ago. but it is a completely, one hundred percent accurate analysis. I can testify from my own experience of Brahman, he knows what he is talking about, and he is doing it in the most precise, clear way our language is probably ever capable of achieving.

    just keep in mind he always is saying unreal = false, real = true, and he is speaking about these things with exquisite and extremely important nuance:

    The World is Unreal and Real

    The world is both unreal and real. But something can’t be both true and false at the same time; hence Adi Shankara has classified the world as indescribable.

    Adi Shankara says that the world is not real (true), it is an illusion. Adi Shankara gives the following reasoning:

    – Whatever thing remains eternal is true, and whatever is non-eternal is untrue. Since the world is created and destroyed, it is not real (true).
    – Truth is the thing which is unchanging. Since the world is changing, it is not real (false).
    – Whatever is independent of space and time is real (true), and whatever has space and time in itself is not real (false).
    – Just as one sees dreams in sleep, he sees a kind of super-dream when he is waking. The world is compared to this conscious dream.
    – The world is believed to be a superimposition of the Brahman. Superimposition cannot be real (true).

    Adi Shankara also claims that the world is not absolutely unreal (false). It appears unreal (false) only when compared to Brahman. At the empirical or pragmatic level, the world is completely real:

    – If the world were unreal (false), then with the liberation of the first living being, the world would have been annihilated. However, the world continues to exist even if a living being attains liberation. But, it is possible that no living being attained the ultimate knowledge (liberation) till now.
    – Adi Shankara believes in karma, or good actions. This is a feature of this world. So the world cannot be unreal (false).
    – The Supreme Reality Brahman is the basis of this world. The world is like its reflection. Hence the world cannot be totally unreal (false).
    – False is something which is ascribed to nonexistent things, like Sky-lotus. The world is a logical thing, a fact which is perceived by our senses and exists but is not the truth.

    The world being both unreal and real is explained by the following. A pen is placed in front of a mirror. One can see its reflection. To one’s eyes, the image of the pen is perceived. Now, what should the image be called? It cannot be true, because it is an image. The truth is the pen. It cannot be false, because it is seen by our eyes.”

    “We are not gods, we are mortal self replicating mammals.”

    you are correct. we are not gods. you, however, are Brahman, having the ultimate experience of being not-god. quite the contrast, no?

  • @thestormcrow

    An APOCALOPTIMIST! Har! Har! That’s a hoot!

    Here’s one for you, what do you call two lovers dying of the plague, sharing a last kiss?

    An A-pox-a-lips!

    I can’t help myself. What do you call a radio announcer with a speech impediment announcing the end of shrivelization?

    An Apocolisp!

  • @logspirit You’re cool with me man. I’m glad you’re taller than 4’2″ and I know about exceptionalism, it usually carries an automatic rifle and about 300 rounds of ammo.

    I hope Ray and his clan decide to go unarmed when they land to scavenge or trade for food. Chances are any survivors , by then, will be well acquainted with advanced combat training. If he’s armed he’ll be nuked from orbit, just to be sure. Wouldn’t want to chance something happening to Hobbit Lady, she’s worth her weight in gold!

  • mike k – you are welcome to start the causal chain of collapse as close or as far from human motives as you wish – in the end it’s up to your comfort level, and of course in the end “why” doesn’t matter a whit.

    – Most people would put it down to human greed and lies;
    – Some like opt for us having made a mistake, like agriculture or corporations;
    – Dan Quinn thinks it’s the product of bad stories we’re telling about ourselves;
    – Craig Dilworth sees the issue springing from the feedback loop of our problem-solving nature;
    – Joanna Macy and Charles Eisenstein see our sense of separation from the fabric of the universe as the root;
    – Kathy Cassandra thinks that the fact that we’re replicative organisms is enough.

    I’ve been down each of those roads, and seen the value in them all.

    But eventually I asked myself whether there might be something deeper, something that would produce each of these conclusions depending on what perspective the observer adopted? Is there perhaps something that underlies them all – the greed, the mistakes, the bad stories, the feedback loops, the sense of separation, the fact that we’re replicative?

    So I went looking, and I found self-organizing dissipative structures. These structures feed on exergy (aka energy gradients) and increase and maintain their own organization in the process. As a class they appear to obey a core physical law: “Increase entropy in the universe as fast as possible by using local exergy for your own construction and maintenance, and exporting the resulting entropy to your environment.”

    Dissipative structures encompass everything from whirlpools, Bénard cells and hurricanes, to the tiniest of living organisms, plants, animals and man. What I realized as I dug into it was that if an organism follows that principle, its behavior must be oriented to follow it as well. It’s simple survival logic: bacteria swim up glucose gradients; plants are heliotropic; wolves hunt in packs; humans grow crops, dig oil wells and invent computers to make it all go faster. And the end result of our self-organizing dissipative behavior is this global, cybernetic techno-industrial civilization.

    From this perspective, it seems unavoidable that any living organism that possesses problem-solving intelligence and lives in an environment rich in concentrated, stored energy will indeed come to a similar end as we’re facing. From a human point of view that’s indeed an unpleasant thought, but I can see no way around it short of invoking some kind of magical thinking.

    As an explanation I think it enfolds all the others, while Occam’s Razor slices away the objections. I know you don’t like it, but while I’ve seen ideas that I too would also prefer, I’ve seen nothing more complete – so far.

  • Dear Mike k,

    Yay! :-). Count me in.

  • Dear Kirk Hamilton,

    Thank you and blessings. We are all a candle in this darkness and you to me as I to you.

  • With reference to the Wikipedia entry on Advaita Vedanta:

    There is no shortcut to full realisation/understanding. Until one clears all of one’s befouling detritus, one will remain short of it. “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God”.

    The world manifest through the five senses (gnyanindriyas) is a construct assembled from their raw inputs and memory within the constraints of neurobiology. All of it is constrained within space-time-causation (akasha-kala-nimitya).

    Knowledge acquired within these constraints is conventional knowledge (parokshagnyana). Knowledge from outside these constraints (aparokshagnyana) cannot be acquired through intellect or the five senses.

    The real has three criteria as seen from the world of space-time-causation: immutability (achalam), absence of characteristics (nirguna) and self-awareness (tat-tvam-asya-dhee). Outside the constraints of space-time-causation it is the supreme value (paramarthika). In mundane existence it is the pragmatic value (vyavaharika), and is sometimes manifest as illusions or delusions (pratibhasika) such as a rope mistaken for a snake, or the water in a mirage.

    The latter two forms of reality derive their reality from the former, as a snake perceived in a rope derives its reality from the rope.

    Karma is action (the deed), but often refers to the fruits of action (karmaphala). It requires a doer (karta) who has a sense of doership (kartitva) and the doing (kriya). The fruits of the action are positive or negative experiences of the experiencer (bhokta). This does not correlate with quantification in the phenomenal world: a billionaire who acquires another million will not have the same experience as a poor person acquiring a million.

    There are not a multiplicity of enlightened beings, as there are not a multiplicity of rivers after they enter the ocean. Tradition has it that upon first awareness of realisation, the Buddha looked at the morning star and said that his realisation was complete with that of the first Buddha, and could not be complete until that of the last sentient being.

    Discerning the Seer from the Seen (Drik-Drisya Viveka)

  • Paul – the more you outline your ideas on “self-organizing dissipative structures” the more I am convinced you are on to something. quite something.

    Robin – I think everything you are outlining more about Advaita Vedanta is completely: yes.

    Except possibly for this: ““Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God”

    maybe you mean something differently when you are talking about seeing God, but it sounds to me like “seeing God” implies separation – God and seer, the one seeing, the one being seen.

    seeing God/Vishnu/Buddha in all kinds of ways is one thing – one very wonderful thing.

    but “full realisation/understanding” in not possible in any state of separation.

    once “full realisation/understanding” is accomplished, then anything else is, in a very real sense, totally irrelevant – especially things like “pure” or “not pure” – whatever.

    lots of fun still, and more fun than ever before, in so many uncountable ways, mostly because of just what you said here: “There are not a multiplicity of enlightened beings, as there are not a multiplicity of rivers after they enter the ocean.”

    it really is about everything, every river, everybody, every last sentient being star! and I never want it to end.

  • This from my partner:

    What do you call the kind of music to make sure you have a festive end of the world?