Collapse and the Changing Face of Suicide

by Gary Stamper

We have a winner: According to the American Journal of Public Health, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death by injury between 2008 and 2009. However, that dubious distinction has been replaced by a disturbing new cause: Today, the form of death by injury that takes more American lives than any other is suicide.

The indicated change in death by injury is the culmination of a decade-long trend, and it appears that the primary reason may be the economic downturn in the U.S. and around the world. In the U.S., the rate of death by suicide increased by 15 percent over the past ten years. In Greece, the suicide rate for men rose by 24 percent between 2007 and 2009, according to The New York Times, and by another 40 percent in 2012. Suicides motivated by economic crisis grew by 52 percent in Italy in 2010, the most recent year for which statistics were available. What we do know is that researchers say the trend is intensifying at alarming rates wherever austerity measures have taken place and as the economic downturn continues to worsen.

According to the Huffington Post, there are plenty of anecdotal examples of “economic suicide” in the U.S.. A Tennessee man lit himself on fire earlier this year after finding out he wouldn’t be getting financial help from a private organization. And in May, a California man shot and killed himself in the midst of a legal battle with Wells Fargo, while he faced the prospect of foreclosure.

But that’s only part of the story, especially for the elderly. We’ll get to the new statistics about them a bit later in this article, but let’s take a look at some other alarming statistics about suicide.

In my 2012 book, Awakening the New Masculine: The Path of the Integral Warrior, I point out some other frightening statistics about suicide, especially men. According to the National Institute of Mental Health:

“The levels of depression, suicides, drug abuse, alcoholism, and violence among men are all rising exponentially to the point of being staggering and frightening. Ninety-four percent of all inmates are male. Men live an average of seven years fewer than women, suffer far more from ulcers and stress-related disease than women, and are more likely than women to die from the fifteen leading causes of death.”

“Over 80 percent of all suicides are committed by men. In the twenty-to-twenty-four age bracket, males commit suicide six times as much as females, and over the age of eighty-five, men are fourteen times as likely to commit suicide as women.”

As horrible as these statistics are, it’s getting worse – especially among baby boomers – and it’s not just men who are being affected. Even in their youth, boomers have had higher rates of suicide than earlier generations. While the elderly have always had higher suicide rates than the overall population, The Washington Post reported in June that “numbers released in May by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show a dramatic spike in suicides among middle-aged people, with the highest increases among men in their 50s, whose rate went up by nearly 50 percent to 30 per 100,000; and women in their early 60s, whose suicide rate rose by nearly 60 percent (though it is still relatively low compared with men, at 7 in 100,000). The highest rates were among white and Native American and Alaskan men. We also know that suicides are “vastly underreported,” said Julie Phillips, an associate professor of sociology at Rutgers University who has researched this grim trend. “We know we’re not counting all suicides.”

John Draper, Director of the national Suicide Prevention Hotline recently stated:

In light of about 38,000 suicides a year, other data showing that more than eight million adults think seriously about suicide and more than a million attempt suicide in the United States clearly suggest that most suicides are prevented. We know that making it easy to get help is critical, whether through mental health care, crisis hot lines (the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255), clergy or other professional assistance. But hey … let’s defund those!

We know that reducing access to firearms, poisons and other lethal methods is vital in saving lives. We also know that staying connected to family and friends in meaningful ways can also keep people alive in moments of grave despair.
These are things we can all do to reduce suicide in our homes and in our communities. Sometimes it is as simple as picking up a phone and asking for help, or saying to a loved one, “I care about you, and we are not alone; let’s go find someone who can help you.”

We’re a nation that has found meaning in individualism, unrealistic expectations, and financial standing. As James Carville pointed out, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Certainly, as the economy continues to unwind in what author Paul Gilding calls “The Great Disruption,” more and more baby boomers will find a growing number of stressors, including financial battles, taking care of aging parents, many with dementia, and providing economic and emotional support to our adult children, who are also having difficulty launching their own independent lives.

But it’s not only economical. As we move around the country, we’ve become more and more separated, more fractured, and without family or community. A “mobile” nation has found itself without the “family glue” that our ancestors knew was so important.

We’re largely a generation of idealists who are now beginning to realize that our idealism that longed to make the world a better place has failed. Even in a world of online social networks, we have become more disconnected, alone, lost, frustrated. In U.S. News & World Report, one reader cast things in a slightly different light.

“Baby Boomers grew up in an America that had traditional values and decency that today are just buzzwords used by the advertising industry to part us with our hard earned cash. We were idealists, we wanted to make the world a better place. The world we live in now is monopolized by greed, legal fraud and moral decay. We spend our lives working long hours only to find no satisfaction, peace or reward at the end of the day. The cost of everything from housing to medical to food has exploded in the last 20 years, yet our earnings are stagnant, and that’s the lucky ones who haven’t been hustled into bad home loans, or lost their jobs, or had a loved one become seriously ill. We, the working class, find little reason to have hope for a happy calm retirement. Why do so many give up? It’s pretty obvious.”

Many of us want things to change, and for healing to begin. “Suicide is a tragedy that is far too common,” CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a news release. “This report highlights the need to expand our knowledge of risk factors so we can build on prevention programs that prevent suicide.” Specifically, we need to identify new risks for boomers and help their loved ones learn to recognize the warning signs — and equip them with the tools to support them or intervene if necessary.

But in a world of Detroits going bankrupt and becoming the new “steal-the-pensions” model for cities-on-the-brink of bankruptcy all over the U.S., including NYC, LA, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, Baltimore, and Miami among others, we can expect to see more and more pensions raided and perhaps millions with no way to support themselves into their elderhood, knowing that no Wall Street crooks will go to jail, at least not in a meaningful way, no CEO’s will have their multi-million dollar paychecks taken from them, and no high-ranking politicians will have their pensions taken, and so what if they did? The perks of being rich are becoming more and more obvious, and it is only the working man who will foot the bill and pay whatever taxes are left to be paid after crony capitalism destroys what’s left.

And, it’s not just the U.S. where suicides are rising as the economic crisis’ deepen. Suicide rates are skyrocketing in Greece, Greenland (the suicide capitol of the world), China (with more women committing suicide than men at a 3:1 ratio, with working conditions as a primary factor), India, Italy, Spain, the UK, and others. The evidence of austerity, massive job cuts, slashed pensions (think Detroit) and soaring taxes all contribute overwhelmingly to the deadly side-effects of economic collapse. No wonder people are beginning to feel so hopeless.

But forget about the above, rising prices, the emerged police state, and energy depletion, all catastrophic to everyone but the elite (at least that’s what they apparently think in their sociopathic worldviews)…

The nail in the coffin – probably not the best way to phrase it – in all of this is the environment, and in the growing awareness of the idea that no matter what we do now, we have very likely passed the point of being able to prevent changes that will make the planet uninhabitable for humanity. No matter what we do, even if we were to completely shut down the entirety of polluting industrial civilization, more and more scientists are beginning to say we have passed the point of being able to stop the changes that are already taking place and that are multiplying exponentially due to positive feedback loops.

A very brief way of describing this is that if planetary temperatures were to hit or exceed 4˚C above the norms, we could not survive. Large scale assessments of climate change and recent new science indicates we could hit an increase of 4˚C as soon as 2030, give or take a decade. However, none of these assessments take any major self-reinforcing feedback loops into account.

In his lengthy essay, The irreconcilable acceptance of near-term extinction, Daniel A. Drumright states:

“As of right now, the entire concept of [Near Term Extinction] NTE is still the most profound abstract concept the human race has ever been confronted with. Even though the signs are everywhere one decides to look, the totality of its cumulative impact is still enough off in the distance for entrenched self-preservation to render it an abstraction in our daily lives. So again, the following is written from the viewpoint as to when this is no longer true, when NTE breaks through abstraction, and detonates in full acceptance of the most profoundly devastating reality we’ve ever had to both live with and through.”

He goes on to say, “What else is NTE other than the final acceptance of the consequences of our species’ fundamental inability to live in balance with our environment?”

But rather than get into a discussion about whether or not we are bound for the 6th Great Extinction, let’s assume for the sake of this essay on suicide that it is true. You can go back to whatever belief you need to hold later. The purpose of bringing up the possibility of NTE is to take a look at if there might be scenarios where taking one’s life actually is the best choice.

Assuming these non-linear climate changes – regardless of their cause – actually make the planet uninhabitable for humanity, the downward spiral of the ensuing collapse would obviously be catastrophic. As more and more people come to awareness of the physical meaning of NTE , the chaos of climate collapse would likely result in death by one of three possibilities: predation, starvation, or suicide.

Drumright rightly points out that choosing the third option, suicide, would no longer carry the “stigma of cowardice,” or be looked upon as a failure of character, but, rather, when the time finally arrives, and all physical hope fades, and any hope of “peaceful tranquility” finally eludes us, deciding when we’ll depart this realm – and how – our chosen death will altruistically be the “last ethical act left us.”

Those of us who believe in “something greater” than ourselves may die more gracefully than those who don’t carry some sort of metaphysical awareness. Perhaps more importantly, it will be easier for us to find meaning in what time we have left largely because we tend to believe that there is purpose to the universe that is not only larger than we are, but that we are – even in our dying – part of that purpose. The spiritually inclined tend to believe that their consciousness – separate from their physical selves – will continue, where atheists and agnostics will likely have a deeper sense of loss.

A moral and ethical act: Somehow I don’t think God would object.

Stamper for NBL

To read more about this subject, please see my 4-part essay The Great Transition: Humanity at the Tipping Point.

Gary Stamper is the author of Awakening the New Masculine: The Path of the Integral Warrior, and is working on a new book, tentatively titled Collapsing into Consciousness: Birthing A New Human For A New Earth. He has founded and manages Collapsing into Consciousness, a massive website and forum that is the first-of-its-kind community of like-minded visionaries, problem solvers and early adapters, focused on real world solutions around The Great Turning.


McPherson’s latest essay for Transition Voice was published 19 August 2013. It’s here. In addition, McPherson’s work is featured at Vice.

Comments 162

  • @ Mo Flow

    That IS good news, I will order another helping of Alaskan King Crab!

    I certainly am no scientist, so I don’t know anything conclusive about any of this nuclear fallout stuff. The bad news is that when we see fish with 3 eyes and horns, it will be too late.

    The children suffer, there is no redemption.

    The Resistance is alive and well in Las Vegas:

    Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) — The couple accused of plotting to kidnap and murder Las Vegas police appeared in a Las Vegas court this morning.

    Police say that the pair are members of the Sovereign Citizens Movement and met with undercover police officers on numerous occasions to discuss their plans to kidnap, try and execute Las Vegas police officers.


  • Responding to mo flow:

    Based on the article you reference, it would seem the solution to pollution is dilution. I can see the bumper stickers now.

  • Analytics may show a blip from outside of St. Louis since late 2009. That makes me an old school lurker I guess. I’ve never commented and it turns out, there’s not much left to say anymore except hello. I came from advertising as a profession and after a brief time working on a few pieces of agriculture business found my way to NBL a few years later. Needless to say it’s isolating. I’ve appreciated most everyone here who’s contributed over the years. These have been the only conversations that have mattered. Thank you.

  • I’ve been away from the internet for a few days, but I wanted to comment on the recent get together in Mt. Shasta. I journeyed for two days to spend 3 precious hours with a group of NBL followers.
    After watching the movie and listening to the q and a that followed it seemed to me that there are still many people who have not come to accept the idea of near term human extinction. I came across NBL back in 2010, however I had been studying the topics of climate change and fossil fuel depletion for 5 years prior. So when I finally arrived here, it all made perfect sense to me. It would be like a person getting the word that they had terminal cancer, but not getting the diagnosis from the doctor until 5 years later. By then you have accepted the outcome.
    ACCEPTANCE is the key here. Once an individual arrives at that place, it makes the path forward clear and uncluttered imho. All the day to day things that are going on that may seem to be important, all of a sudden lose their impact. Personally I find this a positive thing, as it makes me want to savor every moment that I have left, however long that may be. It also has the effect of making me want to travel for two days to spend 3 hours with a group of like minded individuals. At this moment in time, it felt like an important thing to do.
    As time passes, I guess more and more people will arrive at ACCEPTANCE and they too may find that it is a very liberating place to be. Life just gets more and more precious as each day passes.
    NTHE blows apart all those pre conceived ideas that we might have had of a fairy tale existence, until the end, whether that end comes from Fukushima fallout, climate change or as Daniel has stated, predation, starvation or suicide.
    Guy has continued to lay out the facts for anyone who wants to read them, but of course it’s up to each individual as to whether or not they want to come to a point of ACCEPTANCE.

  • @mo flow

    Thanks for the info re:fuku. This further helps put the situation into a context that the common folk can more easily comprehend.

    I also think this should be thought about when we consider the ~400 or so nuclear rigs which would go into meltdown if the lights went out. Before this happened, if it absolutely must, the authorities would dump as much of this stuff into the ocean. It wouldn’t be too difficult for reactors on the coasts, but elsewhere this would be a challenge, though is still feasible. We already transport the spent fuel around the US.

    Anyhoo, fluidity, not rigidity. The lights going out isn’t in an instant. There is step-downs, and/or transitions which must be had as the years continue on.

    Let’s put something into perspective. In 5 years time, smartphones have reached penetration globally. That means it’s reached 30% global adoption! Faster than anything in our tech history. If we can design, manufacture, & distribute from multiple points on the globe, switching hands a few times over, before reaching customers all over the world, who then use these devices to transfer information to and from each other, and other “smart” devices… all while in the face of “peak oil”, then we can tackle some of these problems when the going gets rough.

    The climate is going “non-linear” while the mindsets of people who are “non-linear” are being given the opportunity to funnel out their visions and creative juices. This isn’t “techno-utopia”, it’s techno-survivia. Even if homo sapiens don’t make it out of this in the end, we will spawn a more fit organism, by whatever means necessary.

  • The below, thanks to OzMan, provides unusual insight into current economic goings ons…although I still can’t see how something (the economic system) this big and complicated could ever work.

    “Another must-see Max Keiser Report….

    ‘[KR487] Keiser Report: NSA-spread Digital AIDS’

    First half, Max at his zany best.
    Last half is a revealing interview with Catherine Austin Fitts, very articulate and knows where the money is going…Watch till the end.”

    Very insightful comment from U.

    “The American Constitution was largely concerned with Jefferson’s attempt to separate religions from State. That solution meant that the lethal combination of capitalism and science filled the gap, without any attachment to any spiritual or ethical control, which is part of the reason we have NTE.”

    @ Kathy C,

    Although your “physicalist” (U’s novel-to-me phrase above) don’t fit with my experience of reality (and I see no practicality in its fostering, since the large majority of people will not come over to you in “the time left,” if ever), it sometimes seems that I’ve learned more from you than anyone else.

    The reason, ironically, is the sober practicality in what you often say. And that can change me most, since that kind of sobriety is not my strength and therefore is quickly seen as something from “outside” that I lack but need.

    Whether the following concepts were intended or not here’s how I interpreted them:

    – The greatest physical threat to HS today might well be Fukushima.
    – Next in line are a thousand or so nuclear facilities of varying sorts, which are likely to melt down from heat, flood, grid collapse, terrorism, etc.
    – The likely future methane spike to GHG emissions is beyond what anybody appears to grasp.
    – Women tying off tubes now while it is still possible is a way to prevent untold suffering.
    – So, IMO, is widespread adoption by women who have the current means, and desire, to rear children.
    – No effective (or nearly effective) resistance can be waged without the support–based on self interest and/or conversion–of a critical number of TPTB.
    – Since the sudden collapse of IC would lead to a chain reaction of horrors that maximize the potential for panic, cruelty, desperation, and thoughtless thrashing about, a slower decline of IC (implying considerable buy-in of TPTB) could lead, if necessary, to better exit strategies for HS.

    I understand that you have not advocated all this; it’s just what I make of what you and others advocate (that I wouldn’t have concluded otherwise).

  • BtD, how did I miss your rendition of the Rubaiyat? Thanks for pointing me there, I sometimes can’t come here every day. Well done, I knew you could do it. I hope you’re keeping these gems somewhere.

    Dear Max, what a goof, but right on, as usual.

    So. Thousands more visitors to NBL recently? Welcome everyone! Pay attention, do your homework. Read the “Climate Change Summary and Update” link in the upper right. Immerse yourself in the stories of people here who have slowly and painfully come to the very basic understanding that we have totally and irreversibly fucked the entire planet. Then start thinking about what you intend to do with the time you have left.

    I have read that lemmings do not actually run en masse off cliffs, but are there any other animals who commit suicide?

  • About the only thing that would prompt me to commit suicide would be my my partner predeceasing me. Otherwise I’m still having too much fun watching things come apart at the seams and trying to figure how why.

    Gods? Well, my recent reading is evolutionary psychology has convinced me that religion arose from evolved social-cohesion circuits in the human brain. And I guess if you’re going to have a strong cohesion-behavior it has to have some focal point – like a god.

    Regarding the whole consciousness/non-dualism thing I have little to say beyond the fact that I’ve found some useful meaning and no small peace of mind during the exploration.

    I don’t tell anyone that their beliefs are right or wrong any more. No one else’s beliefs affect mine very much, and none of us has much control over what we believe or don’t believe anyway. Beliefs aren’t really based on the evidence we believe we choose to justify them. There’s little chance of altering someone’s belief by attacking their “evidence”. The evidence is generally chosen after the fact for its explanatory social power.

    And if you don’t believe that, it’s perfectly OK with me.

  • There have been suicides in my family, first one hurt, the others surprisingly didn’t. I don’t see any reason for restriction on it, or condemnation of it, but I also don’t see any honor, nobility, or goodness to it either. Kinda like scratching your butt, you’re tired, done, hopeless, whatever, but the heart keeps stupidly ticking along; I suppose its fine to check out a bit early. That someone would check out over a mortgage and a silly pile of wood and bricks seems odd to me, but its their life to expend as they wish.

    However, from where I see things, especially if one is embracing NTE, it seems such a monumental thing to be “here at the end of all things.” Hang around, enjoy the show, pitch in with prayerbook or rifle, sword or paintbrush. I can’t imagine not wanting to embrace the experience and live it as it comes.

    There always was going to be a last human, and there was always going to be people who would have known the last human. Is it really so terrible to be the ones to turn off the lights and hand over the keys?

  • In the Life is Precious & Thoughts on Suicide category…
    a winner has emerged…

  • @Tom Thank you for your concern. I know what you mean by functioning depressive, and I think that’s where I was for a long time. I reached my threshold of the burdens I could carry, and things never really changed until I faced my demons head-on. I was treated for PTSD at the age of thirty, for childhood traumas and abuses, did many years of therapy, even more years of various anti-depressants, which work for some people, but cause even worse suicidal tendencies in others, like myself. It is hard, painful work to tackle those things, but really worth it.

    The way I see it is that the hits keep on coming, so I needed to ditch my ghosts. I don’t live in or visit those dark places any more. It’s functional in that I now allow myself to get ‘the blues’ and roll with the punches, and if they are insistent on visiting, I allow my ghosts a place at the table, maybe even a place to stay for the night, but they are always short visits. If they are really insistent, I might do something more, a small ritual or something, visit a sacred place, something that shows that I respect those people/parts of my life, but have to let them go so I can live today.

    Which brings me to infanttyrone!! You are very kind as well, sir. I so appreciate your concern for the children. I was feeling the weight because I took my son to his kindergarten open-house yesterday, and being surrounded by all those little worried faces was more than I could handle. I was very proud of my son when he told me he was ‘feeling a little nervous’, but I totally lost it when I saw another boy in tears. I have to agree with Thanatos Sunbum that people know our dire situation on some level, speaking a different language than those here, and for some reason, I am not able to insulate myself from all of that underlying panic and energy.

    I meant to offer my condolences yesterday on the loss of your wife. You had mentioned you hadn’t yet found the right time to visit “Terry’s Kids” (haha!), and I wanted to suggest that you might make it a special occasion, maybe bring her with you on your adventure. I’ve had a lot of people up and die, and one way I come to be at peace is to do what I said above, create a small ritual with personal meaning. Maybe bury a precious memento in a special place, making it sacred, or write a letter to them and burn it, anything really, as we give meaning and importance to things in our lives. Just an idea.

    @Denise That is a lovely haiku. Welcome back from wherever you disappeared to!

    @ All Please take good care of yourselves. And hug a tree or something, let ’em know you care.

  • @ Badlands

    …looking at [ GOD ] as the Generating, Organizing, and Destroying force of the universe.

    That’ll do for me, as a rough and ready working definition.

    Then ‘it’ evolves us, with a consciousness to be conscious of ‘it’, although most of us never seem to notice.

    Select entheogenic compounds have the effect of expanding one’s consciousness in such a way that previously abstract and ineffable notions of deity and spirit become at once tangible and concrete to the extent that there can be no question of the reality of the spiritual plane or planes. The experiences reported by those who have experimented with such compounds consistently involve motifs of astral travel, near death experiences, perception of the unity of all creation and the immanence of God, contact with angelic or divine beings, etc. In the Eastern-tinged words of our esteemed Brother Swami Vivekananda,

    “[m]atter is represented by the ether; when the action of Prana is most suble, this very ether, in the finer state of vibration, will represent the mind, and there it will be still one unbroken mass. If you can simply get into that subtle vibration, you will see and feel that the whole universe is composed of subtle vibrations. Sometimes certain drugs have the power to take us, while as yet in the senses, to that condition.”[8] [emphasis added]

    Just as at Eleusis, what one was once required to accept on faith, he has now been given direct knowledge of the reality or unreality of those same particulars.

    The life force, the difference between a dead thing and a living thing, is that strange, poorly understood, kundalini energy, which is prana, which is called chi / qi / ki which constitutes the subtle body which is the soul.

    Nobody knows exactly what this energy is, but it appears to extend beyond the physical body as some sort of field and behave in ways which don’t conform to standard known laws of physics and biology as understood by the Western medical and scientific paradigms.

    Before my critics shriek BS, there’s already masses of empirical scientific data and research on this, if anyone cares enough to read up on the subject. Personally I’m not interested in waiting for the scientists and materialists to get over their prejudices, I know it works, from direct personal experience, as do hundreds of thousands of others, who have been using it for millennia, in the martial arts and for healing, and for attuning themselves with the Universe.

    The conclusion is that the Universe is in some sense ‘alive’, although that word, in this context, makes no adequate sense, but we have no sufficient word, as yet, and no sufficient acceptable paradigm, to cover this area, that is acceptable to Western minds.

    @ scott michael

    Hi, and welcome to the Beach, fwiw :-)

    @ Artleads


    ..the lethal combination of capitalism and science filled the gap, without any attachment to any spiritual or ethical control..

    The scientists were frightened and in a hurry, to escape from religion and subjectivity and the tyranny of the Catholic and Protestant Churches. The early science was full of astrology and alchemy and the occult, the Royal Soceity was mostly Freemasons. They set out to try and understand God’s Will, so to speak, and they’ve ended up in bed with the Devil, so to speak, in that science is now the slave of the military, who employ it to create ever more horrible and effective ways for killing and destruction, and the slave of the bankers and corporations, who don’t care what it does so long as it makes a big quarterly profit. Science escaped from religion, instead it serves Power, not the interests of planet or people.

    The fraction of science that is devoted to actually trying to understand ‘God’s Will’, in the sense of ‘What does the Universe mean’ or ‘How can we best exist on this planet’, ‘How do the parts all work together’, is very, very small, a fringe.

  • BadlandsAK – you are an amazing individual. (among many) – thanks for that post.

    Have to rush – but – seems NBL has a fan at a blog called Vice – his name is Nathan Curry. He wrote an article [Some Credible Scientists Believe Humanity Is Irreparably Close to Destruction] on Aug. 20th which has already generated 6 trackbacks to the update page.

  • u said, “The fraction of science that is devoted to actually trying to understand ‘God’s Will’, in the sense of ‘What does the Universe mean’ or ‘How can we best exist on this planet’, ‘How do the parts all work together’, is very, very small, a fringe.”

    I’m guessing that there was little money available to fund such studies. Where we are today, NTE, reflects our cultural values and the values of our universities and related and private research facilities. And though science has made fantastic strides, I don’t see much real intelligence associated with the process or outcomes. The fundamental failure to foresee the implications of their actions can only be categorized as stupid!

    Most scientists, it appears, were simply taught to manipulate their environment and not to use their minds responsibly. Corporate driven and profit motivated they were only shadows of possibility, ignorant of the effects their actions would have on the greater good. According to U, and I agree, without the spiritual or moral guidance to underlay their actions they proceeded to rip the world apart.

    In my opinion we’ve simply been manipulated and intentionally dumbed down so as to never question the PTB that put us all in this hot water. We just weren’t taught how to think or encouraged to think for ourselves. The lucky ones, we few, are aware. I feel Blessed or Graced, whatever, not to be walking through life unconsciously, intent on satisfying conditioned desires, limping along in the dark.

    My grandson started 7th grade this week. I found out that the school system is STILL teaching kids that Christopher Columbus was a great hero. I guess it’s time to dig out my old copy of Howard Zinn’s, A People’s History of the United States, and read that boy a story.

  • Yes, Howard Zinn is good, but this is better. Much better:

    Charles C. Mann, 1491

    He wrote this book because of what he saw was being taught to his own young son. Give it a look.

    Then Mann wrote 1493, and it’s stunning. Everyone needs to know these things.

  • @ Tom and Erin, thanks. Erin, clicking on my name will take you to my blog, where I post something every third day.


    If you can keep on the run,
    And if you are not undone
    By fallout and heat,
    And you don’t need to eat,
    You’ll be a man my son!

  • Isn’t it grand! The ebullience of extinction. What a spectacle. Oh joy, soon we’ll get to see TPTB’s karma shunt them into hell played out on a world stage. What fine entertainment! For all to see and celebrate. Safely. From the sidelines. Unaffected, at least until that drama is over. Then, and only then, satisfied, we’ll have our own glorious curtain call and fade out into extinction.


    Logic dictates that those who control assess to resources to the bitter end, the most prepared, the most protected, the most powerful, will be the last to fall. After they shove as many disenfranchised as they can off the sacrificial cliff for their own benefit.

    This is not how I want it to be. I rebel against it. I want justice. But, like it or not -and I don’t- this horrible scenario is the way I see things going. It multiplies my grief. It upsets my childish vision of a balanced universe. It sickens me. To be forced by logic to predict that the powerless will suffer the most -are suffering the most- while the most egregious perpetrators go on in comfort and enjoyment, isn’t fair. Sure, the wealthy will also die… eventually. Hitler is dead. But that does not address the outrageous injustice. I care that these freaks laugh at the bones of their victims. I care that the echo of their sadistic laughter taints the universe forever.

    Bullies bother me. I also fantasize a just, ebullient extinction, given that we must go extinct. But, that ‘happier’ path just isn’t in the cards. I wonder if they’re cheating… Dammit, its in the rules of the game… by their own definition TPTB are always holding a Royal Flush.

  • @Guy McPherson

    I guess some folks are setting aside their “devices” and taking notice. Maybe not most….

  • Hello all I also went to the Mt. Shasta showing of Mike Sosebee’s movie and have had limited access to the internet, so I’m just now catching up on all the comments.

    Gary said of “believers” and “non-believers” that

    “…they both hold voraciously onto a belief that appears cannot be proven by either.”

    Gary that’s just wrong as is implied by your own description. As an atheist, I don’t “believe” in anything. I “don’t believe” – I am as you said a “non-believer”.

    The discussion you label a “massive waste of time” is no more a waste of time than, I don’t know, playing croquet or bocce ball. It’s entertaining if nothing else. (And by the way, I’m not “desperate” to prove I’m right.)

    It’s an interesting debate because it speaks to several fundamental questions which (if we weren’t already well and finally screwed) might matter towards our survival as a species (and a few others as well).

    Questions like – who are we? When were the seeds of our own destruction sown, and how and why? Was there any way to avoid it? Was it a forgone conclusion?

    Those questions matter because the answers inform our response to NTE (or moderately NTE depending on an unknowable timeframe).

    As far as I can determine, our species developed a need to create myths as an integral element of our evolution. Our brains grew as we learned to use tools and increase our nutrient intake, our understanding grew, and fear of death required us to deny it in rather creative ways. Our particular cleverness in establishing status to pass on genes – in other words, to survive in competition with neighboring tribes – was enhanced by our ability to lie to ourselves and each other, to ignore the tragedy of the commons and exploit the natural resources of nature without any hesitation or restraint.

    That’s just our history, it has been the pattern as our species migrated from our continent of origin across the world. Grow, overshoot, spread, conquer, overshoot, collapse, spread.

    For me the issue has clarified the more I learn about anthropology and archeology. The facts, thanks to many hard-working, meticulous scientists – are there for anyone who troubles to read them.

    It seems most people would rather believe in UFOs or consciousness or deities, so be it. For the most part, that describes us perfectly, and it’s the same magical thinking that has led past civilizations to disaster and is dragging the entire biosphere towards it now. You really can’t lay the blame at the feet of science. People were fucking up places like Easter Island and exterminating megafauna and enslaving one another and chopping down forests long before they understood the least bit of science.

  • @Stamper
    ““…they both hold voraciously onto a belief that appears cannot be proven by either.”

    I just want to point out here that agnostics and atheists and apatheists are NOT making claims (I guess atheists make a claim but I think they are on pretty solid ground – it is a pretty safe bet to deny the existence of something which has NEVER been shown to exist). I know nothing, I claim nothing; I just ask that if you, or anyone, is going to make outlandish claims of uber-minds or “metaphysical whatchamacallits,” – these extraordinary claims – you must provide the extraordinary evidence.

    You cannot brush this off with limp and fallacious arguments just referring tautologically back to your BS and expect me, at least, to take you at all seriously. You are making the claims there is a metaphysical something-or-other, not me. So you are the one who had better show us the money. I’m waiting …

    And I’ll continue to wait … just as I have been waiting for decades for these living-in-a-bottle,child-fucking, parasitic, delusionals to honour my request for something more than non-referential drivel.

    I want to make it clear that as an apatheist I do not care about the existence of god any more than I care about the flying spaghetti monster or unicorns or Big Foots or UFOs – these are all non-questions in my mind, not worth pondering (until, of course, I see some evidence). As I alluded to in a previous post, I gave that Fortean stuff up after middle school – seems I grew up and matured and was able to employ critical thinking.

    Some of you may have created for yourselves the impression I care about god but only because that delusional fallacy is firmly tied to religion.

    I am interested in religion though: the influence it has had through history; how it has soaked the world in blood by endless slaughter; how it has twisted humans into shapes they do not fit; how it suppressed science in the west for a thousand years; how it interferes with politics and rationality; how it has meddled in cultures world-wide with slaughter and torture to convince people of a compassionate god (compassionate god, ha! – makes me laugh); how it keeps people stupid, cowed and ignorant; and how thousands of child-fucking priests are still fucking children around the world.

    Religion is like a penis
    It is fine to have one
    It is fine to be proud of it
    But it is disturbing, disgusting and perverted
    when you wave it around in public
    And if you try to shove it down my throat,
    I’ll cut it off with a rusty castrating knife
    (can’t remember who said that and I have probably paraphrased a bit)

    This is why I will feed religionists to my pigs when the time of chaos is fully upon us. The reason I don’t do it now, of course, is because I am constrained not only by law but by my desire to retain my little bit of freedom in an un-free world.

    After the collapse, charismatic psychopaths, as religionists, could be one of the most dangerous local problems survivors will have to face. Not only will they be rampaging the countryside raping your children (as, in fact, they are this very day), they, in their psychosis, will be looking for people to blame and those usually blamed are those who are always blamed – the different: people of colour, intellectuals, homosexuals, immigrants, the odd, the mentally ill, the free-thinker, the unaffiliated, the indigent and pretty much anyone they don’t like. Just as it always has been, the weak will be cast in the role of the “other” and have the fear and terror of these psychotic and psychopathic religionists heaped upon them.

    I suggest this is one of the central themes of human history.

    When I first read your essay I went to your website and bookmarked it for future reference but now seeing fully your smug arrogance in making your claims and being unwilling to back them up with anything, I will not be examining any of your other work.

  • paul marcotte Says:
    It seemed to me that there are still many people who have not come to accept the idea of near term human extinction. As time passes, I guess more and more people will arrive at ACCEPTANCE.

    I wonder if many of these people are like me. I’ve been waiting most of my life to see if capitalism would finally achieve its goal of planetary self-destruction. Lately it has been my fervent hope, but now that it’s finally here, it just sounds too good to be true. I find myself to be like Thomas, laden with doubts until I can actually touch the Savior’s wounds. For me that would be to hear a report of the first billionaire to die due to climate change, only then I will know for sure that real extinction is happening.

  • U said: If we did accept the living Earth as our god/goddess, then we should be treating it with the greatest respect…

    Under capitalism there can only be one god/goddess and that is money or capital, and its continual and endless accumulation. Anyone or anything that tries to interfere with this process will be condemned as a heretic and put to death. This process is sacred and nothing else can be allowed to be treated with greater respect (or even any respect), and everything outside of it is corrupt and sinful, and can be destroyed or sacrificed to the one true god/goddess. This applies especially to “the living Earth.”

  • Artleads you wrote “@ Kathy C,
    Although your “physicalist” (U’s novel-to-me phrase above) don’t fit with my experience of reality (and I see no practicality in its fostering, since the large majority of people will not come over to you in “the time left,” if ever), it sometimes seems that I’ve learned more from you than anyone else.”

    Wow that is quite a compliment. I don’t have any delusion of bringing anyone over to my way of thinking as I know it won’t happen and it doesn’t matter – except perhaps to those who suffer from religion and spiritual beliefs. In fact religion causes a great deal of suffering for some people, usually those who take it most seriously. For some it really works to keep the fear of death at bay whether by “I’m going to heaven” or “I get to be reincarnated” or “my death will accomplish some great good” or “my consciousness will not die”.

    Youtuber Theramin Trees writes “Of all the escapes from the pain of living, from food to sex to drugs, religion stands alone. Only with religion is everyone else required to shoot up in order to sustain the high.” There seems to be a very strong need for everyone to believe the fairy tales in order to keep them going. Heck people are even criticized if they dare tell kids there is no Santa. Only recently have atheists started to speak out since the fear of death has waned in many countries. They speak out because they feel the harm done by religions needs to be exposed. Certainly certain religious beliefs have helped continue the denial of AGW.

    At any rate Theramin Trees series on death are well done – Part 1 here

  • Helen Caldicott and the truth about Fukushima
    Even if you think Helen is wrong about nuclear matters, this is a great watch, as Helen is so refreshingly outspoken. She never waffles in her presentation, If you think Fukushima is not as bad as Chernobyl Helen may change your mind.

    Meanwhile the forest fire near Yosemite is threatening power for the city of San Francisco – another sort of positive feedback. Climate change increases the number and severity of forest fires which may help end the grid which will cause nuclear power plants to loose their cooling and unleash the power of the atom to destroy human life. Several times in the last few years forest fires have threatened power plants (Russia), nuclear dumps (Los Alamos) and currently a smouldering dump fire in St. Louis threatens the nuclear waste nearby (Bridgeton Landfill fire)

    From USA today FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A giant wildfire raging out of control grew to nearly 200 square miles and spread into Yosemite National Park on Friday, as California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for the city of San Francisco 150 miles away because of the threat to the city’s utilities.

    The fire hit the park at the height of summer season, as officials geared up for a busy Labor Day weekend. It has closed some backcountry hiking but was not threatening the Yosemite Valley region, one of California’s most popular tourist destinations that features such iconic sights as the Half Dome and El Capitan rock formations and Bridalveil and Yosemite falls.

    The blaze did, however, pose a threat to the lines and stations that pipe power to the city of San Francisco, so Brown, who had declared an emergency for the fire area earlier in the week, made the unusual move of extending the emergency declaration to the city across the state.

    San Francisco gets 85% of its water from the Yosemite-area Hetch Hetchy reservoir that is about 4 miles from the fire, though that had yet to be affected. But it was forced to shut down two of its three hydroelectric power stations in the area.

    The city has so far been able to buy power on the open market and use existing supplies, but further disruptions or damage could have an effect, according to city power officials and the governor’s statement.

  • @logspirit, “this horrible scenario is the way I see things going” is the way things have been going for 4,500 million years. It’s the evolutionary process and it isn’t nice. Seems that those crying for justice are the ones about to be eaten. The winners seem to like it just the way it is.

    I’m just trying to tell it like it is.

  • Worth reading…

    The research summarized here shows that between 50 and 100 ppm CO2 is excluded from current climate models based on permafrost feedbacks alone, and that a further 35 ppm or more is excluded based on nutrient limitation feedbacks. These two issues alone go a long way to prohibiting a climate outcome much below the RCP6.0 scenario. RCP6.0 is the second most severe scenario being evaluated by most scientists and government agencies.

    Furthermore, including all the known issues of large magnitude leads to a profoundly unsettling conclusion that even the RCP8.5 or the previously used A1FI scenarios are far too conservative, and that atmospheric concentrations by 2100 could reach as high 1,300 ppm CO2 before even considering the possibility of a catastrophic methane release. 1,300 ppm CO2 by 2100 would [or will?] probably equate to between 6 and 7°C (10.8 to 12.6°F) of global warming relative to pre-industrial values by 2100 (based on extrapolating from simulation summaries presented in Meinshausen et al., 2010).

    From this perspective, it may be easy to justify inaction, as the reasoning would be that “we’re already screwed, what difference does it make how screwed we are?” In response to this thought, I suggest that the consequences of the more severe scenario of 1,300 ppm by 2100 could very well be an underestimate and the consequences have only barely begun to be examined. If the most severe scenario unfolds, there are likely to be many nasty surprises. Indeed many climate scientists have questioned the human ability to even survive a scenario along the lines of this.

  • What happens when you die??

    Nightmare scenario number one- Eternal life: You wake up, one day older, in an alternative reality indistinguishable in every detail from the one you’ve just left behind. (Meanwhile, in the reality you’ve just left behind, people say; “phew! their suffering is over..” and set about disposing of your mortal remains). Repeat ad-nauseum. In the end, you WILL understand everything… then willfully forget it and start again.

    Nightmare scenario number two- Reincarnation: Males: You wake up in the womb of your maternal grandmother- you are about to be reborn as your own mother, and live her life.. Females: You wake up in the womb of your paternal grandmother- you are about to be reborn as your own father, and live his life. Repeat ad-nauseum. In the end, you WILL understand everything… then willfully forget it and start again.

    If ‘sufferings are lessons’, either of those would make for a great classroom…

    In the process of composing this post, I fortuitously discovered that I had three-fifths of a limerick, so this is in homage to Benjamin TheDonkey, especially for his sterling work on ‘The Ancient Mariner’…

    Scarce matters which way you slant it-
    It shall re-occur endlessly, shan’t it?
    As a terrified nihilist-atheist would say:
    “Give me ignorant oblivion, any day,
    And may God have the mercy to grant it”.

  • as Robin points out, it can bury a forum.

    Take a look at what happened to the NING site. What a pity.

    Can happen for various reasons including:

    1. A disdain for narrative, an attempt to arouse disgust in readers to make them abandon narrative and with it the blogs and websites that carry it.

    2. A fetish for narrative.

    3. A realistic or balanced approach to narrative. Perhaps an attempt to demonstrate the limits of narrative by a deluge of narrative, thus enlightening the reader to abandon blog or forum.

    We, following mans attempted prison break, have been feebly trying to escape that greater Guantanamo for millennia.

    Inescapable, because there is nothing to escape.

    The Diamond Sutra, A New Translation by Alex Johnson, Chapter 9:

    “ “Tell me, Subhuti. Does a Buddha say to himself, ‘I have obtained Perfect Enlightenment.’?”

    “No, lord. There is no such thing as Perfect Enlightenment to obtain. If a Perfectly Enlightened Buddha were to say to himself, ‘I am enlightened’ he would be admitting there is an individual person, a separate self and personality, and would therefore not be a Perfectly Enlightened Buddha.” ”

    The delusion that projects an “I” also associates the apparition called the “I” with the the body-mind meat-robot. Or in the parable of the two birds, the identity moves to the enjoyer/sufferer bird from the witness bird.

    The difference between consciousness and its content would seem very basic, yet it also seems that very few people experience it. Without that basis, no philosophising or academic achievement has even left the station. Awareness is consciousness with content (other than it?”Self”). For such people, sans content there is nothing, or nothingness. Kneading the concept called “consciousness” in the mind leads nowhere. Consciousness has to be turned on itself, with no words or even the faintest of thoughts.

    A common theistic error is to maintain a distinction between the self and the Self of all selves. Another is ascribe only a select portion of reality to the Divine.

    Even J. Robert Oppenheimer (Wikipedia) later recalled that, while witnessing the explosion, he thought of a verse from the Hindu holy book, the Bhagavad Gita (XI,12):

    “ If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one …

    Years later he would explain that another verse had also entered his head at that time: namely, the famous verse (XI,32): “kālo’smi lokakṣayakṛtpravṛddho lokānsamāhartumiha pravṛttaḥ” which he translated as “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” ”

    The destroyer/evil aspect is found in other deities as well: Siva, whose dance symbolises the dissolution of the universe; his consort Kali with a garland of skulls, holding severed heads and a sword, representing the ongoing process of destruction.

    Failure to emphasise that the negative aspects of reality are also intrinsic to the Divine can and does result in a turning away from the the Divine/Self of all selves as soon as one encounters the other side of the coin, the “Dark Side of the Force”.

    BtD: poet laureate of NBL.

    Badlands – carrying such a burden – the draft animal of NBL: (BtD, although asinine in title, is too feral to merit this designation of draft animal).

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #28

    Smoke hangs among pines.
    Red sunset, grim summer thirst.
    Blue jay succumbs, falls.

    @BadlandsAK: Thanks for the shout-out. It’s good to be back!

  • With thanks to Gary Stamper, I’ve posted a new guest essay, along with one of my own. It’s here.

  • I wonder what those who are so preoccupied with the abjuration of religion would say to this comment by Ripley? What’s their idea of religion anyway?

    “Under capitalism there can only be one god/goddess and that is money or capital, and its continual and endless accumulation. Anyone or anything that tries to interfere with this process will be condemned as a heretic and put to death. This process is sacred and nothing else can be allowed to be treated with greater respect (or even any respect), and everything outside of it is corrupt and sinful, and can be destroyed or sacrificed to the one true god/goddess. This applies especially to ‘the living Earth.”

    It saddens (infuriates?, disgusts?) me to see the conflating of spiritual beliefs with the destruction of the planet. The Jains walk backwards so as not to crush ants. Wiccans howl at the moon. A tribe in Columbia bring up the sun with each morning’s ritual, having done so for millennia. Say what you will, they are connected to the earth.

    But none of this will make one iota of difference to “physicalist/materialists, anti-spiritualists”. They somehow have gotten to a place of objective clarity about everything. Fukuoka’s caution that you can’t understand the thing in which you are embedded would be dismissed as would the ravings of a lunatic. The hubris of it all!

    So we have a problem. NTE. There is a whole lot to do in order to best deal with it. But castigating anybody’s spiritual belief, or lack of it, doesn’t fall within the category of useful things to do. I presume we’re here on NBL for some reason other than to practice typing skills.

  • @Robin Datta Did you just call me a horse?!
    Badlands – carrying such a burden – the draft animal of NBL
    Well, sir, I will take that as the highest compliment, though I’m not sure it was meant as such! I do my best to carry no burden, even with the responsibility of the children. We here talk mostly in the abstract about NTE, but when I walk into a room full of kindergarteners, the reality of what is coming is HEAVY. Taking these ideas out of the conceptual realm hurts, and I think that’s pretty normal.

    I know I have shared this before, but if you get a chance to see this film, it is exceptional. I actually felt proud to be a human being, to be in the company of this man, and the handful of others like him, who seem born ready to take on the responsibility of really caring for the earth and our fellow travelers.

    p.s. GAH! Nobody ruined the ning site! Some people actually used it, and it was open for anyone to start discussions, post videos and links. Just because some folks had long running discussions doesn’t mean any person couldn’t have started their own. But now it doesn’t matter, because those that did use it are probably on ‘the list’ now.

    Another beautiful poem, Denise. Would you mind if I write that one down?
    Good day to all the fine people here!

  • I can’t believe I’m going to contribute to the conversation of atheist vs spiritualist. Its like a broken, vinyl record constantly repeating in the digital chatter since the birth of bbs’s carried by 1200 bps modems…

    @Kathy[i](atheists)..They speak out because they feel the harm done by religions needs to be exposed. Certainly certain religious beliefs have helped continue the denial of AGW.[/i]

    Harm is done by people. You assert without evidence that those people would do less harm if they were not practicing a religion. I would assert that their religious association places a limiter upon the amount of harm they are willing to do to further their own pleasure.

    My take on it is that religious people commit the harm they choose but they come up short, either through a fear of tainted karma, unforgivable sin, incurable attachment, whatever; or simply as an acknowledgement of a shared ethical standard with a practicing community who knows them, and whom they know.

    The real quest that would serve your stated objective, would be strong, rigorous, parent involved ethical training of children all the way through college; not haphazard tack-ons, not “i’m ok, your ok”; but the hard stuff, “we are bloodthirsty, violent predators, and this is how to behave so x-odd billion of us can live together in reasonable comfort.” Completely dissociated with an approval or disapproval or religion.

    I took this seriously enough myself that I spent, over the last few years what other professionals spent on a nice house and new cars, to send my one child through 10 years of pre, elementary, and jun high, private schooling with a strong focus on math, science, and ethics. Ethics, every day, no exceptions, not tack ons, not ad hoc. Its important. (my preference was Catholic/pro-religious, but either way, it can not be optional or considered less important than spelling or grammar, history or music.)

    As a result, I got a daughter, strongly grounded in math and science, who is both modest and compassionate, and will call you to the mat in a heart beat if you act in a way that harms others, and is always conscious of how her own behavior impacts the comfort of those around her. It was worth every penny.

  • @ Erin, thanks, was going to the library anyway. 1493 looks like a good read.

    @ BtD said:
    Kirk Hamilton says: And hey, when things really heat up and everybody knows, I’ll bet a hundred bucks that not one of them will say, Kirk you were right.

    They won’t say that you knew your snuff,
    But they’ll show what they think soon enough:
    You’ll experience firsthand
    That they do understand
    When they’re coming to take all your stuff.

    Take all my stuff? Why, Mr. Donkey, these are almost all devout conservative Roman Catholics. They have listened to the teachings of Jesus over and over for year after year after year. There is no way that they would drive me from my home and take all my resources for themselves, leaving me destitute. In prayer groups, Bible studies, retreats, self study and weekly Mass they have heard the words of peace, justice, care for the poor and lovingkindness to all. The very thought that they could betray a lifetime of sound religious training at the drop of a hat is unfounded by any evidence whatsoever.

    Like Hell! My last Mass was a little over 10 years ago. My son was in Kuwait with the Marines. It was the last Sunday before we attacked Iraq, to take their oil. My son had told me, “Dad, I joined the Defense Department, I didn’t know I’d be in the “Offence Department”. Any way, it was the last Mass before the attack, we knew it was coming, the folk group choir launched into, The Battle Hymn of the Republic! And the congregation, which usually gave only a limp effort to sing, almost brought the house down with their enthusiastic efforts. At that time I walked out and never went back except for weddings and funerals.

    My son went on to do three tours, he’s fine. During this time I was talking to someone I knew from the church and asked him how as a devout Catholic he can reconcile the teachings of Jesus with support for Bush and the war. His response was immediate and sharp, “I support the troops. I’m glad your son is in Iraq.” I could have kicked his ass, but I was working at being a good Buddhist.

  • Our current thinking is like a car. It’s not how you drive it but that you drive it that is the problem. We can all get out at any moment and walk again. But we don’t.

    I have a Buddha car.
    I have an atheist car.
    I have a science car.
    I have a NTE car.

    And so on.

    From what?

    What we are dealing with is a crime we are all trying to solve. The evidence is before us but we cannot see it.


    The house was awakened by a barking dog.
    Alexander and Cleopatra were found dead on the floor.
    A broken bowl and a puddle of water next to their bodies.

    What killed Alexander and Cleopatra?

    It seems the answer is too easy.


    Awesome post above about science and God. Don’t stop there.

  • This has likely been posted on NBL before but IMO, no discussion of religion is complete without it. It’s fun and very stimulating to the intellect. Enjoy:

  • @ Robin: Haha, thanks. :)

    18000days Says:

    Scarce matters which way you slant it-
    It shall re-occur endlessly, shan’t it?
    As a terrified nihilist-atheist would say:
    “Give me ignorant oblivion, any day,
    And may God have the mercy to grant it”.

    See, this is about as clever as limericks get. Good one, 18000days (and thanks)! :D

    Gail says: Questions like – who are we? When were the seeds of our own destruction sown, and how and why? Was there any way to avoid it? Was it a forgone conclusion?

    Old wine:

    With Earth’s first Clay They did the Last Man knead,
    And there of the Last Harvest sow’d the Seed:
    And the first Morning of Creation wrote
    What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.

    New bottle:

    With the Big Bang’s first clay they decreed
    How things from then on would proceed:
    What flew when and where
    Fixed fate then and there,
    Like your take on these words you now read.

  • nice poem, kirk.

    ‘This is a very strange place…not just the comments part of Guy’s website, but the whole planet’

    i like to call it surreal(ity), gary stamper. could it possibly be more absurd/improbable/mysterious/horrible/awesome?

    “how rigidly do I want to hold my unprovable beliefs?”

    good comeback, gary. no god can be disproven (but all gods can be made fun of).

    ‘God is the One Thing. The Uni-Verse.’ -u

    so now u’re a pantheist? me too, when i’m not an atheist. i surreally can’t stand dogmatic deities or their followers. not a fan of ‘new age’ either.

    ‘look at the Forbes list of the richest people in America’ -ripley (believe it or not)

    so the top 400 have as much ‘wealth’ as the bottom 160 million? i read somewhere that globally, the richest 300 individuals have as much as the poorest 3 billion (this was maybe a decade ago). (sigh) per capita the super wealthy had 10 million times more wealth than the poor. what a sick culture going down the drain. too bad it’s taking so much along with it.

  • Artleads Says:
    So we have a problem. NTE. There is a whole lot to do in order to best deal with it. But castigating anybody’s spiritual belief, or lack of it, doesn’t fall within the category of useful things to do. I presume we’re here on NBL for some reason other than to practice typing skills.

    So, if you don’t feel like talking about the Jains, you don’t belong at NBL, WTF? Hey, if you can find some Jains that can put all that CO2 back in the ground, or go to Fukushima and magically absorb all that radioactivity, then, heck yeah, I’ll talk about them. But until that happens I will continue to talk about the activities of the people who are rapidly propelling us towards NTE, and those people are the capitalists.
    Nowhere in my posts did I castigate anyone’s spiritual believes. I fact I showed great respect and admiration for the spiritual beliefs of our dominant capitalist religion. Their beliefs are so strong that they feel that the destruction of the entire planet is worth it, I find it hard not to respect that level of devotion and fanaticism The religions you are talking about are more like hobbies that people practice for an hour on a Sunday, but to me religion means the dominant practices of one’s everyday life. In America that is capitalism, it dominates all others, even the fundamentalist Christians worship it. The shopping malls are our churches. People like Steve Jobs are our saints, when they die people cry and hold vigils. To me the beliefs and practices that dominate a society ARE its religion, and capitalist beliefs and practices dominate our society to a degree that dwarfs any other spiritual practices. If I lived among Jains I might feel differently, I don’t, I live among capitalists, and so do you. But I don’t begrudge you for continuing to pretend, like most people, that you don’t.

  • @ btd

    “With the Big Bang’s first clay they decreed
    How things from then on would proceed:
    What flew when and where
    Fixed fate then and there,
    Like your take on these words you now read.”

    This brings back faint memories of a program I saw on TV. Everything has happened already from the start. I’m not too sure, however, that we already know what that everything is, or even precisely how that everything is fashioned.


    Very glad to learn of your daughter’s experience, and appreciate especially what you say here:

    “My take on it is that religious people commit the harm they choose but they come up short, either through a fear of tainted karma, unforgivable sin, incurable attachment, whatever; or simply as an acknowledgement of a shared ethical standard with a practicing community who knows them, and whom they know.”

    During her last years, bedridden and entirely dependent, my mother blessedly had the service of a relatively gentle, kind and considerate caregiver. Mom told me that (in contrast to the greedy, callous, opportunistic alternate caregiver one of my relatives was instead promoting) this caregiver, who was a devout Christian, was restrained from what could easily have been abusive behavior (like the alternate’s) due to her Christian conscience determining her behavior. We must count our blessing, wherever we can find them.

  • @ TIAA


    Awesome post above about science and God. Don’t stop there.

    Thank you for the compliment, TIAA.

    I see that our esteemed host, the good Dr., has declared that this is a secular zone, whilst sending the slightly unfortunately worded mixed message, encouraging us to raise ‘hell’, which I take to be an invitation to invoke my demons, of which I have multitudes always on hand… ;-)

    Seriously, this thread is about suicide. Nobody ever got into or out of suicide because of empirical data or rational argument. It’s all about emotion and depression and despair and all the spiritual stuff. So, perhaps I have some latitude.

    Where do people find the strength to cope, and to get through the various hells that we encounter ?

    I know I’m not the only one here who has had a rough life, and there’s some here who are having a rough life right now, and millions who are not here, who are having a very rough life right now.

    A lot of people I’ve known, some whom I’ve really loved, are not around, because they killed themselves, some deliberately, some accidentally, some slowly by booze and drugs. All a bit sad. I know a bit about the suicide thing and I know a bit about the God thing.

    I think people have the right to take their own life, their body, their life, there should be an easy painless route available for people who make that choice. There’s too many of us anyway, and too much misery and suffering. It’s a pity that probably the nicest, most sensitive ones find life the most painful. The one’s who really ought to die… well…

    A lot of people find the strength to keep going, by turning to God, or their particular conception of God.

    To attack them for that, or to undermine that, is not just a matter of being unpleasant and unkind, it’s absolutely and totally unacceptable, a disgusting thing to do.

    I understand Daniel’s point, that in the USA, the bitter hostility between ‘believers’ and ‘non-believers’ is akin to a civil war.
    From my view point, it’s stupid versus stupid.

    Anybody who is really serious and sincere about their personal spiritual life is not going to be involved in that sort of insane mass propaganda and manipulation by TPTB to get one lot of people to hate another lot of people whom they stereotype.

    Einstein tried really hard to explain to people how they could reconcile religion and science, and how they could move from a primitive tribal conception of God to a larger cosmic conception of God. That was more than half a century ago. I don’t think it made much impact. Most people don’t want to hear about solutions to the conflicts, they want to stir up the conflict, it makes them feel good to feel hate and anger towards some other group that they can blame.

    I don’t personally like Einstein’s answers very much. I think the whole problem arises firstly, from the notion of rigid exclusive monotheism.

    That means, the Abrahamic religions. I think that it’s better to see that God as like white light, which splits, as in a rainbow, into a multitude of deities, the pleroma, according to whatever a person can comprehend or perceive at any particular time and place, in some form or other. Why not ? The Gnostics saw it that way. That doesn’t DENY the unity of the origin. But Jews, Christians and Moslems will want to kill me for that blasphemy.

    Secondly, the tragic separation of a Creator and a Creation. For Taoists, this world, the mountains and rivers, IS the God, the Tao. Nature is IT. The Creation is IT. But for other religions, God is off, faraway, in some distant domain, which means we can trash this world and do whatever we want…

    These problems and differences are never going to be resolved, are they ? The Dominionists, in particular, see it as their religious duty to rule the whole planet and to eliminate all other beliefs, or so I am given to understand from what they say. Some other schools of thought would also hold to that ambition.

    Jefferson tried to keep this kind of dispute out of USA politics, by way of the Constitution. But then Capitalism and secular values fill the void. That means no ethical or spiritual restraints. Atheism or secularism is just as much a belief system as is any religion.

    Somebody has to propose some sort of moral and ethical guide for a soceity, that is generally agreed by the population. This cannot come from science, or from capitalism. It has to come from philosophy or what people call religion. But in USA, judging from discussion on NBL and elsewhere, the understanding of what religion IS, is to say the least, very primitive.

    When I say it can’t come from science, that’s because all questions of meaning were stripped out of science. If you go right back to the start, when science and philosophy were still joined, in ancient Greece, it was not so. As in the Carolyn Baker thread, re Peter Kingsley, the idea was that the Universe WAS/IS God, the task of science was to study God, so as to understand how we, as humans, could live holy lives in tune with God’s purpose and Will. That was before Christianity came along with a completely different notion.

    It’s not really religion or belief systems or science that’s the problem. It’s people.

    Jesus said ‘Thou shalt not kill’. He said that’s the number one, most important thing. So why have his followers been killing for Jesus, ever since, for the last two thousand years ?

    He said, if you want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, give everything you have to the poor. Somewhere along the line, that got changed to, ‘If you’re making a lot of money it must mean that God loves you’.

    I think there should probably be a fundamental law. No religion is allowed to have more than 12 members. You know, the leader and the disciples. That’s it. And they are not allowed to advertise.

    I know, I know, it wouldn’t work… too late anyway. The whole thing is FUBAR.

    Right, back to secularism from now on… :-)

  • BtD says:
    “See, this is about as clever as limericks get. Good one, 18000days (and thanks)!”

    BtD you are being diplomatic. You know I mangled the meter! I suspect Limericks are both addictive and contagious… ‘Just one more’, by way of atonement, hopefully demonstrating that I’m still capable of learning from my failures… :)

    Your critique? Sound advice, barely heeded-
    “Honour form, cut to chase, where that’s needed”,*
    So my meter was missed,
    As I got to the twist,
    Three and four, double-length/double-speeded.

    *No slur intended towards long posts! :)

    FWIW- 20th August 2013- Fukushima finally resurfaced as a newsworthy story on mainstream (UK) media, quite a way down the billing on BBC television and radio evening news, and has no doubt fallen off the radar again after that. The story included leaking contaminated water-tank, interview clips of local fishermen, etc. IIRC no mention of the proposed containment-pool manoeuvres. (Thanks to all here who keep duffers like me informed/updated).

  • Here’s some more for you, fwiw, TIAA

    Some people will insist that God, gods, goddesses, devils, demons, angels, fairies, ghosts, incubi, succubi, and a host of other related entities ‘do not exist’.

    There is a problem with that position. If such entities do not exist, then why have humans named them ?

    Why has every single human culture recorded the existence of these entities ?

    The only exception, is the Western scientific tradition, which began with Francis Bacon, Leibniz, Newton, et al, and Descartes, who got his inspiration from an ANGEL.

    It was a POLITICAL decision, to divide up reality, into what was material, and could be measured, the tangible stuff, and what was immaterial and elusive, the spiritual stuff. The Church wouldn’t permit science to intrude into it’s power over human souls, and the non-physical realm of God and His angels and Heaven and Hell and the cosmology as it was conceived of at that time, ( which was NOTHING LIKE the cosmology we conceive of today.)

    So the embryonic project of science had no choice, if it wanted to progress, but to look outward, and to ignore the subjective inner domain, the non-physical mental or spiritual realm.

    But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, does it. Everybody KNOWS it DOES, because every single one of us experiences it, all through our lives, in all manner of ways, as internal sensations and feelings and imagery in the mind’s eye, and in dreams, and impressions of all sorts.

    And just as there are individuals who become very accomplished in the external world, people who can do back flips in the air on skate boards or jump out of aircraft and freefall for thousands of feet or walk on tight ropes between sky scrapers, there are also specialists of the inner world, of non-physical reality, shamans and mystics, who have discovered techniques to explore those realms which science has, as yet, not begun to comprehend.

    If these mysterious entities, gods and the like, had no existence whatsoever, then the human mind would not even conceive of them and portray them. They are important to us, symbolically. They have meaning, they represent significance and convey aspects of what we are.

    To dismiss or deny all of that, as some people insist on doing, is just as absurd, as it is to dismiss any other basic feature of human being.


    But we must be grateful for the clarity of understanding and insight that this division of realms has brought us. The logical empirical methodology of science is a marvellous advance and I’m more than willing to fight for that cause to the last breath.

    In an earlier time, pre-science, there was not this division between the inner and the outer domains. The whole was one thing, and the whole was conceived of as God. God created us.

    Of course, there are a great many differing notions as to the detail of that conception of God, and that’s what you’d expect, there isn’t one uniform human culture. There’s also a lot of commonality.

    If we update that to our modern scientific concept, then the whole is the Cosmos. The Cosmos created us. What’s the difference ? There isn’t really any, as far as I can see, it’s just substituting words, paraphrasing.

    The sad part, the ridiculous part, is that these are all stories, and that people are willing to kill other people over stories. People HATE other people, if the story they tell is slightly different from what they think the story OUGHT to be.

    What zen teaches is that the best way to approach the divine is to have a silent empty mind, no stories… they get in the way… I practice mushin, then those wrathful deities cannot see me, however hard they try, because I am transparent…

  • Personally, I’m in favour of the argument put forward by Daniel and others, and Guy himself, that this be a secular blog, because otherwise there’s always the tendency towards endless rounds of disputation over ‘my religion is better than yours’ and ‘atheism trumps all religions’, etc.

    But that’s only the same issue that Jefferson and the rest faced when founding the American Constitution. I mean, Europe had had constant religious wars, for centuries, and for millennia, if people were not killing over territory, it was because they hated the Other for their different beliefs. So many people went to the New World in the hope of escaping from all of that crap.

    But then, those founders were Free Masons, and that’s a belief system that slipped through the net and we have Albert Pike and his connection to the KKK and his somewhat sinister and troubling :

    The Third World War must be fomented by taking advantage of the differences caused by the “agentur” of the “Illuminati” between the political Zionists and the leaders of Islamic World. The war must be conducted in such a way that Islam (the Moslem Arabic World) and political Zionism (the State of Israel) mutually destroy each other. Meanwhile the other nations, once more divided on this issue will be constrained to fight to the point of complete physical, moral, spiritual and economical exhaustion…We shall unleash the Nihilists and the atheists, and we shall provoke a formidable social cataclysm which in all its horror will show clearly to the nations the effect of absolute atheism, origin of savagery and of the most bloody turmoil. Then everywhere, the citizens, obliged to defend themselves against the world minority of revolutionaries, will exterminate those destroyers of civilization, and the multitude, disillusioned with Christianity, whose deistic spirits will from that moment be without compass or direction, anxious for an ideal, but without knowing where to render its adoration, will receive the true light through the universal manifestation of the pure doctrine of Lucifer, brought finally out in the public view. This manifestation will result from the general reactionary movement which will follow the destruction of Christianity and atheism, both conquered and exterminated at the same time.

    How seriously that should be taken, I do not know. Anyway, the void left by keeping religion away from political power was filled by the bankers and the generals, the moguls of capitalism, who became the corporations and the military-industrial complex and the heart of the Empire. Science became their tool, their servant, to further their aims. Best example is Monsanto, the biggest slave dealers, who ended up as a chemical company doing junk ‘science’ selling Agent Orange and now GMOs. Same fucking ethics as when they started, just change the product.

    People can criticise the religions, and with very good reason, but on the scale of damage done to this living Earth, nothing can compare to industrial capitalism, driven by the money lenders and the materialists and the secular atheist soceity that sees the world as de-sanctified ‘stuff’to be exploited for profit.

    Science and technology, detached from ANY ethical or spiritual values, driven by market forces, aided by military force, have consumed and destroyed the Earth’s resources in short order. I’m over simplifying for brevity, but you can’t blame this on God, of Jesus or Buddha or Krishna or Mohammed or even on religion. It’s got a very clear history, starting with bankers in Italy, with venture capitalists in England, with the East India Company, and all that stuff.

    Secularism sounds like a nice idea. Get the mystical woolly right brain stuff out, and let’s have nice clear rational logical thinking here, please. Hahaha.

    But it doesn’t work, does it because, we’re humans. I just read this very nice quote on NC, from the moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt, whom I don’t particularly like, but it’s a good bit of writing :

    In philosophy classes, I often came across the idea that the world is an illusion. I never really knew what that meant, although it sounded deep. But after two decades studying moral psychology, I think I finally get it. The anthropologist Clifford Geertz wrote that “man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun.” That is, the world we live in is not really one made of rocks, trees, and physical objects; it is a world of insults, opportunities, status symbols, betrayals, saints and sinners. All of these are human creations which, though real in their own way, are not real in the way that rocks and trees are real. These human creations are like fairies in J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan: They exist only if you believe in them. They are like the Matrix (from the movie of that name): they are a consensual hallucination.

    The inner lawyer, the rose-colored mirror, naive realism, and the myth of pure evil — these mechanisms all conspire to weave for us a web of significance upon which angels and demons fight it out. Our ever-judging minds then give us constant flashes of approval and disapproval, along with the certainty that we are on the side of the angels. From this vantage point it all seems so silly, all this moralism, righteousness, and hypocrisy. It’s beyond silly: it’s tragic, for it suggests that human beings will never achieve a state of lasting peace and harmony. So what can be done about it?


    He goes on to suggest that the answer is meditation, etc, which you can read at the link, but my point would be, that if we are here REALLY reasoning secular and non-spiritual beings, then we would be living in the world of rocks, trees, and physical objects. Which is what I myself mostly DO DO. I call it raw reality. It is sublime. It is beyond awesome. Yes, it does contain the element of suffering that Kathy C. finds unendurable, as one life form kills and eats another. But that’s also awesome in its way. Don’t ask me why, I didn’t design the Cosmos.

    The idea is, to get liberated from all that illusion, all that crap, the cultural conditioning that we learn and inherit, that overlays the raw reality, that deceives us into thinking that all that superficial unreal stuff matters. It just doesn’t. It’s lies and nonsense. Froth.

    The way I see it, that’s the real religion, that’s the ultimate insight. It doesn’t belong to any tradition. Anybody can have it for themselves, for free. It tends to be found in the marginal teachers, Krishnamurti, Gurdjieff, the Sufis, various other small groups and esoteric schools, because as soon as something gets popularised and instutionalised and bureaucratised, it gets corrupted by power and money and ambition and all the usual human failings.

    But none of that is necessary. If the Universe made you, then it is your Father and your Mother and everything else, and it owes YOU an answer to your personal enquiry. Here you are, immersed in it, all around you, in every direction, inside you, outside you, above, below, there is nowhere where it isn’t.

    That’s it. That’s what used to be thought of as God, by some people. And you’re right here/there, at the centre, being God. That’s how some people saw it. The centre was everywhere. The Temple where God abided, was your skull, that’s why they are called temples, by anatomists,on either side of your eyes. The God chakra at the top of your skull.

    People used to live WITH God, in their daily lives, as a constant presence, their thoughts were God’s thoughts. This was a close relationship, a way of being in harmony with everything, in a state of grace.

    All that stuff has been lost. Long ago. Everybody is sick and ill and angry and pissed off and full of envy and spite and hate and afraid and depressed and confused and suicidal and everything else.

    It’s no good saying, find your way back to ‘God’, is it, because the very word stinks, it’s become rotten from all the corruption.

    But the experience doesn’t care what it’s called, does it, it doesn’t have a name, nor does it need a name. Funny thing is, it’s effortless. It was what you always had. That’s why the zen masters say ‘Show me your original face, before you were born’.

  • Ulvfugl stated: “A lot of people find the strength to keep going, by turning to God, or their particular conception of God.

    To attack them for that, or to undermine that, is not just a matter of being unpleasant and unkind, it’s absolutely and totally unacceptable, a disgusting thing to do.”

    And, yet, when Pat called transgendered people freaks (“If DGR is transphobic, who cares, they are freaks and make up a ridiculously small percentage of the population – who cares?”), there was no outcry from you or anyone else who posts here; I think THAT was absolutely and totally unacceptable, and a disgusting thing to do.

    I’ve been reading NBL for close to a year and thought that this community was mentally healthier than than the non-response to Pat’s comment shows; I, obviously, need to pay better attention.

    FTR: My 22 yr old son transitioned two years ago. It wasn’t a whim. He didn’t just decide that he’d try on a different gender for shits and giggles, that he’d go through pain of surgeries, and live looking over his shoulder for the lunatics who will do him emotional or physical harm because hating trans people is the last refuge for those who feel better when they can hate someone other than themselves for a bit.

    @moflow, TIAA, and others: Love you say? Uber love? I call bullshit on that.

    Now this for Lydia:

    @lydia It’s been about 4 1/2 years since I did chemo — cisplatin & etopocide — for stage 1 large cell neuroendocrine lung cancer. At that time the science was scant for that sub-group of tumor, so oncologist often treated it in the same manner as small cell lung cancer which is very aggressive (even though the indications were that it didn’t make a difference in the survival rate: 7-9% at five years even for stage 1.

    The most profound effect of chemo was/is memory loss, both short term and long term; word retrieval is also a problem –oh, and my ability to concentrate which abated somewhat last December, allowing me to read and retain information, but to a lesser degree than pre-chemo. More: tinnitus, fatigue and weight loss. Depression. I think, though, that my reaction to chemo was one of the more extreme reactions.

    Here’s my takeaway from my experience: I’m still in remission. I can’t know if the chemo helped with that or not, but if I had said No to chemotherapy then sprouted a new tumor, I would always wonder if the chemo might have prevented it.

    Rest when you can, Lydia.

  • @ Debra

    …there was no outcry from you…

    Hahahaha, so you are criticising me for not criticising someone else ?

    Well, I can do that too. Why didn’t YOU raise an outcry, if it’s something you feel strongly about ?

    Look, Debra, probably more than half the comments here contain something I think is incorrect or objectionable. There was a time when I DID make my voice heard every time. The trouble is, that escalates exponentially, and although I enjoy it myself, everybody else freaked out, hence we have the 2 comments per day rule, for which I carry the karmic weight.

    Fwiw, I don’t bother to respond to pat, because he spends his comments saying he hates me, saying how miserable he is, and never says anything interesting, so I took his silly remark on the level of typical troll to get attention.

    Secondly, I know absolutely nothing about transgender people. It’s all as strange to me as… well, I don’t know what… but anything I might say would likely cause offence to someone and make me look very foolish. It’s not my fight. Fwiw, I did raise the subject

    Protester Motivations

    and subsequent comments. I am broadly sympathetic to your point. I don’t think people should be persecuted or suffer abuse.

    Personally, I started out as an extremely sensitive individual, so shy I could barely speak to anyone. I discovered I had a gift for communicating with animals, wild and domestic. I also discovered that most humans treat animals in most vicious and callous ways. So I had to learn how to be tough on their behalf.

    I learned that, according to legend anyway, when Bodhidharma went to China, he taught people how to be saintly buddhas via meditation. But these gentle people kept getting beaten,robbed, and murdered by bandits and brigands. So, he invented the martial arts, so that they could defend themselves.

    So I learned some of that. The best, imho, are aikido and tai chi and qi gong, because you can defeat an opponent without crippling or killing them. This is love in violent action. Nobody can defeat a master. If they try to rise above, the master already towers over them, if they try to push him down, the master is already lower than the ground.

    I think mo flow and TIAA do understand something about this. Love is not the soppy romantic sentimental chocolate box nonsense that many people assume it is.

    Uber love is an interesting term. It’s the definition of a Bodhisattva, an individual who has achieved Supreme Enlightenment, i.e. release from all suffering, but who forsakes it, as a individual benefit, out of compassion for all beings who suffer, and who enters the realm of hell to rescue others, thereby re-encountering suffering.

    One can see Jesus and many other martyrs and Saints in that light, as individuals who have made a sacrifice of themselves for the greater good, and been tortured and died violently as a consequence. Some see that as the pinnacle of human spiritual accomplishment.

    Personally, I think a man or woman needs to exercise discretion. If you know the evil ignorant morons are intent on lynching you, then don’t let the bastards catch you.
    What use to us are those people, Ghandi, MLK, and the rest, when they are dead ? I’d rather they stayed around a bit longer, Sub Commandante Marcos style.

  • Ripley,

    “So, if you don’t feel like talking about the Jains, you don’t belong at NBL, WTF? Hey, if you can find some Jains that can put all that CO2 back in the ground, or go to Fukushima and magically absorb all that radioactivity, then, heck yeah, I’ll talk about them. But until that happens I will continue to talk about the activities of the people who are rapidly propelling us towards NTE, and those people are the capitalists.”

    I was only trying to address some other person’s comment (definitely not yours) that seemed to equate “spiritual belief” (what is widely identified to be so, not what is actually so) to some sort of predisposition to fuck up the world. Instead, the writer(s) would likely not acknowledge that the spiritual belief that was in fact fucking up the world was industrial capitalism. They wouldn’t see that as a spiritual belief in the first place. And I agree that you, I and that writer(s) are all in the thrall of the religion of industrial capitalism. It annoys me no end when people don’t see that, and instead dump on the philosophies/beliefs that pale to infinitesimal insignificance compared to the destructiveness of the religion of industrial capitalism.

    Please be good enough to let me know whether I’ve addressed your concerns. There is no thinking that is not a belief system–even “secularism.”

  • @ ulvfugl Always enjoy your stuff. I also have no logical reason to chirp in about everything I disagree with. I also feel compassion for anyone who is oppressed or dealing with illness. And I also refrain from imposing myself. Greetings from Florida… may the sunny Ki be with you!

    OK, here I go… imposing myself {blinded by compassion}:

    @lydia Gary Null has guided people to reverse stage 4 cancer. He helps such people for free, often through nutritionists on his payroll. He is readily found on the web. All my blessings.

    Also the following and related articles on the same site:

    An Alkaline Approach Can Successfully Treat Cancer

  • Dear Ulvfugl, thank you greatly for sticking around and giving more of your insight into the God question. Much appreciated. I never heard of Über love where did you learn about that? I like being the face I was before I was born. We cannot talk enough about it from a place of gentle equanimity IMO. I had typed up a fabulous reply to you this morning about being invisible and the early rains here in Oregon we are having, nature getting elusive in it’s patterns, yadda, yadda, then my smart phone randomly turned off, making my comment disappear. Ah life! You see, my phone went swimming with me on a hike yesterday and I guess it did not like getting water in it’s ear. Gave the little sucker a mind of it’s own too, on off, Siri asking every two seconds what she could help me with, it was kinda funny actually and I figured the extra water in nature is going to screw with us just the same. We will become something new or something gone for good. Patience and the hair dryer eventually paid off. So here I am. Debra says bullshit to love but what does she mean? Mufflepug on the next page includes love in the realm of God talk. What does he/she mean?

    Well, see ya next door. I asked Guy what he means by secularism. Just we know, to me it is all very curious.

  • I’ll admit I get a little frustrated at all the religion talk. Mostly because religion/spiritual practices failed to stop the capitalist way of death, but then neither did anything else, so I guess I’m being a bit unfair. Plus there’s something phony though about doing a spiritual or religious practice on a part-time basis, and then go off to work in the capitalist system of mass destruction. To me this indicates that these beliefs are not deeply held, otherwise they would lead to a complete and total way of life, and not be a minor part, or a mere adjunct. But that seem to be the case for 99.99% of Americans. For example, there are a lot business books that try to bring in religion or spiritual practices so as to help you become a more effective capitalist. There’s even one called “Jesus, CEO”.

    It’s no doubt true that various religious or spiritual practices have helped some individuals cope with effects of the mass destruction caused by the capitalist system’s process of continual and endless accumulation. But these practices failed to lead to any effective challenge to dominant capitalist belief system. So for me the question is: what good are practices or beliefs that only cause people to stand by and watch while their entire planet being destroyed?

  • Ripley Says: So for me the question is: what good are practices or beliefs that only cause people to stand by and watch while their entire planet being destroyed?

    Ahh…grasshopper – we not destroy planet – just thin film of organic life on surface. Planet be fine. Not to worry. :)

  • Typical christian writing, i am sick and tired of you gullible and superstitious people longing for the end of the world.
    The world would be a better place without christianity.

  • @ Mike

    Hahaha, are there any Christians here ? I think you’ll have to do better than that, Mike.
    Perhaps you’d like to name name’s and point to who you identify as gullible and superstitious ? Or are you just a drive by troll with nothing to contribute ?

    @ logspirit

    Florida ? alligator-ki. Or maybe python-ki ? :-)

    @ Ripley

    Good points, I agree with all that, in fact Protestantism and the work ethic, etc, is on of the key constituents of capitalism as it developed. Yes, I’d say 75% of institutionalised religion is hypocrisy and bullshit and hopelessly corrupt, they don’t even have any idea where their ideas have come from or what the heck they are talking about, it’s tribal rituals, bit like team sports, a social thing. Seems to be much worse in America than in Europe.

    You have to do an awful lot of digging to find the roots, and anything like genuine effective authentic spiritual stuff, I think it is a rarity.

    So for me the question is: what good are practices or beliefs that only cause people to stand by and watch while their entire planet being destroyed?

    And a very good question it is. And I’d say, no good at all. Most of them are absolutely useless.

    There’s been various meet ups of the so-called spiritual leaders of the great Faiths, with a view to ‘Saving the Planet’, and it’s all been the usual pious bullshit and marketing spiel that we hear from corporate greenwashing.

    Just like the scientists, they all have a vested interest in the status quo, no imagination, no radical ideas, by the time they get to the top of the heap and gain power, they are the usual boring old men who have assured everybody that they are a safe pair of hands who will not rock the boat.

    Buddhist and Hindu teaching is basically passive acceptance, suffer and you’ll maybe have a better deal next time around. Christian, Jewish and Moslem teachings are all about some ridiculous imaginary otherworld, where you go after you’ve had a miserable time suffering and trashing this one. Taoism is rather better, because this world is where it’s at, and nature is the Tao. But their ideal, living in the mountains as a hermit or a few monks in a monastery doesn’t solve anything, and China decided to follow Confucius, not Taoism, and recently Mao and then capitalism.

    So what’s left ? All kinds of minorities, some with very interesting ideas, but nothing that’s going to effect your main point re capitalism. Eventually it will collapse, but by then there will be nothing much left. That’s how I see it.

    I really don’t like the organised religions. They are just like Google, or HSBC Bank or the Mafia, or the CIA or any other great bloc that tramples around wielding power and influence to sustain an agenda that’s in its own interest.

    The only part I see that’s relevant is spiritual techniques that help individual people get through their day and night. I don’t think science is any good for that, is it ? I mean, if you’re out of money and feeling ill and anxious about the future and so forth, and you’ve got low self-esteem and no idea what to do with your life, and feeling suicidal, what do you do ? Read up on scholarly papers in scientific journals ?

    These things are of the heart, not of the head, so to speak. Great spiritual strength can overcome great adversity. This I know from personal experience. I have had a hard life. Not the hardest, you know, many people have much harder than mine. But I have drawn stuff from many different sources and tried many different teachings and practices and found what works well for me, so I offer it to others in they hope it may help them too. That’s all, really.

    My own practices and beliefs didn’t cause me to stand by and watch the biosphere being destroyed, they helped me fight most of my life to try and prevent it, and they’ve kept me going since I realised that I had failed… I did try, though. For the last thirty years and more, I’ve been doing very little else… pity more people didn’t help when it still mattered.

    @ TIAA

    I never heard of Über love..

    Nor me, got it from Debra, above.

  • Bob S comments: “Ahh…grasshopper – we not destroy planet – just thin film of organic life on surface. Planet be fine. Not to worry.” :)

    That one made me smile. I can’t help but think of George Carlin’s funny routine on saving the planet: “The planet isn’t going anywhere. WE ARE!”

    Regarding morality and religion, nobody says it better than Sam Harris:

    “If you think that it would be impossible to improve upon the Ten Commandments as a statement of morality, you really owe it to yourself to read some other scriptures. Once again, we need look no further than the Jains: Mahavira, the Jain patriarch, surpassed the morality of the Bible with a single sentence: “Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being.” Imagine how different our world might be if the Bible contained this as its central precept. Christians have abused, oppressed, enslaved, insulted, tormented, tortured, and killed people in the name of God for centuries, on the basis of a theologically defensible reading of the Bible.”
    ― Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation

    Good day, all.

  • @ Ripley

    Ulv’s comments come closest to describing my take on the religion/capitalist dynamics. I’m not into organized religion (which were hijacked or concocted to serve civilizations in any event). Anything where a lot of folks do the same thing and codify behaviors, etc. Not for me. I’ve pursued just enough philosophy to feel fine about simply trusting my own conscience and intuition. And for the past 45 years, I’ve done little except try to stave off capitalist mayhem.

    A materialist/physicalist take on the world does nothing for me. It’s just, like, blah. I want to get fired up and inspired, like when you listen to great music or see great art. Yes, the brain can just be gray matter–and soldiers see too much of it on the ground, where it is utterly revolting. But the brain can be something quite different from that as well. Ulv speaks about its machinations, and the variability (and inconclusiveness) of signification arout it, better far than I ever could.

    It’s convenient that NTE is a foregone conclusion, and so whatever people believe or don’t believe matters not a bit. But if it did matter, we would have to conclude that atheistic secularism–something mostly confined to the white, privileged, west–would be very limited in appealing to behaviors among the spiritually oriented majority of the world. And it would have to be noted that the spiritually oriented rest of the world is not the PROXIMATE cause of NTE, while the west, the hub of secularism, IS.

    So we press on. The beach of doom must be a secular zone. The prevailing meme is that HS was ill-conceived, doubling its numbers predictably like fungi (forget about past bottlenecks where only a few of us pulled through) till we vanish in a flash. We were programed to be mean, competitive and suicidal. So what’s the worry about social injustice or any other evil on the scene? Par for the course. And so we press on on the beach of doom. Nothing can be done. Quite right.

  • In defining secular, Merriam-Webster works for me:

    1a : of or relating to the worldly or temporal
    1b : not overtly or specifically religious
    1c : not ecclesiastical or clerical

    2: not bound by monastic vows or rules; specifically : of, relating to, or forming clergy not belonging to a religious order or congregation

  • Bob S. Says:
    August 25th, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    Ripley Says: So for me the question is: what good are practices or beliefs that only cause people to stand by and watch while their entire planet is being destroyed?

    Ahh…grasshopper – we not destroy planet – just thin film of organic life on surface. Planet be fine. Not to worry.

    Thanks for the correction Bob. You’re right I got a bit carried away there, I should be more careful, otherwise, people might get overly concerned, or even alarmed, and that’s something none of us wants to see.

  • At what point does it begin to bother you? 100 paragraphs to 1? 1,000 paragraphs to 1? If we were at a social gathering and one guy in the room was doing all the talking, most people would disperse to other rooms so they could have a conversation without the boorish know-it-all. And, left all alone, the socially inept blabber mouth would then start going room-to-room desperately trying to find some people to listen. And, usually, there would be some room where the less capable would be gathered and they would allow him to dominate them. This is not that room.

  • To quote Mr. Pryor quoting, sans citation, a white dude:
    “Yer, fuckin-A right, buddy !”

    YT clip is here if you change (dot) to a dot

    But maybe I’m being unfair using the dead that way.
    Maybe better to use The Dead instead.
    “Please don’t dominate the rap, Jack
    If you’ve got nothing new to say…”

  • “It” is not bothering me one bit, and my posts average less than 20 words.

    Still, I think the “Reply” feature should be 86’ed. Love the “Feed.”