Coping Skills

by Doug Fasching

Intro

I am not about to even attempt to dispute the information that is contained in the Nature Bats Last website, nor would I dare to dispute the scientifically derived conclusions. I am an armchair scientist at best and I must trust the conclusions of people that have spent a lifetime studying these things. I have done the best I can to fact check what I could and cross-reference the opinions of others in the field. I am content that Dr. McPherson has presented the facts as accurately as can be, given our current state of knowledge.

What I would like to communicate is my journey to my current state of mind. I am curious where I fit compared to the experiences of the other readers of this site and related materials.

The dream of technology and the reality

I was born in 1966 and when I was little, the most sophisticated technology visible in my environment was a 25″ black and white TV and a 10 transistor radio. My father was still going to college when I was around five and his head was filled with ideas of the modern world that he got from school tempered with the opinions of his friends outside of school who tended to be social dropouts, also known broadly as “hippies”.

At that age I spent very little time indoors and in fact hated to be inside for very long. This used to be normal and not like the experiences of the kids of the current youth generation who go by many names although I think of them as the “X-Box Kids”. Those who have never been without the Internet, had their first cellphone at the age of twelve and have been raised on a steady diet of jaded, cynical commentary mixed with a large dose of simulated violence.

Once a week without fail my father would drag me into the house, set me in front of the TV and make me watch an episode of Star Trek. At that age I barely understood any of what the show was about but I knew it was important to my dad. When my attention would drift to something more interesting outside he would fuss at me to pay attention to the TV. He would say “Pay close attention to this, this is your future”. Eventually it made an impression on me and set the course of my life.

Science Fiction became such a powerful vision of hope and wonder during the 1970’s and 1980’s. The previous generation believed in the idea of “Better Living Through Chemistry” but I would say that mine was fully immersed in the idea of “Better Living Through Technology”. With technology anything was possible. With technology we would finally tame the darker sides of our nature and reach our amazing potential.

I fell for it hook, line and sinker. I took computer programming in high school. I joined the Air Force and learned how to repair all kinds of computer equipment. I actually used to replace hard drive heads when disk drives had 15″ platters and the heads were the size of quarters. I was 18 years old, enlisted, working at NORAD and assigned to the 1st U.S. Space Command. It sounds incredible put like that, especially for a kid who was from a small lumber town in northeastern Washington State who had never been to college. In reality it was rather mundane and somewhat disappointing.

Mostly though, I thought it was cool, even though I was working on equipment that was as old as I was and I didn’t get to see much “space” from inside the cave that was Cheyenne Mountain. Even though NORAD was more cold war museum than “Command Post”. Even though it had the odd feel of a somewhat cobbled together movie set rather than a functioning technology center. You still felt that you were plugged into something big and that fantastical things were happening behind locked doors in areas you didn’t have clearance to be in but were just a corridor away from you.

I was young and naive then and Russia was still the USSR and the cold war still felt very real. Even though much of the stuff that I was surrounded by was outdated almost to the point of irrelevance it still retained much of it’s shine sense of the space age. My barracks was near the flight line in Colorado Springs and the occasional SR71 would take off and land. An awesome piece of machinery even as old as it was. You could not be in that environment and not feel the sense of awesome power and technological ability of our country. Even if all the stuff was getting a bit old.

Working where I did and in that time when personal computing was starting to be mainstream I really felt connected to a lightning bolt. The world was becoming science fiction and I was in the middle of it. I imagine that it was the closest thing to feeling like a sorcerer controlling a potentially unlimited power.

The possibility that the future as promised by technology could be anything other than brilliant was inconceivable. The Internet was still about eight years away from public use and cellphones would not become popular for ten years.

Slow learner

In 1988 I got out of the service and landed a job with a defense contractor and started working for several Navy bases in Southern California. Because I was working for the government I had access to computer technology that was rather new and exotic. A lot of stuff that only multi-billion dollar companies or research institutions had access to. I was installing routers years before most people heard the name “Cisco” and was tinkering on the Internet when it was still known as “MILNET / ARPANET” and before the first web browser was written.

It was still all very cool but I was beginning to notice however slowly that something was not quite right. Even then, technology changed so fast that we were no sooner finished installing one amazing piece of technology before a new better technology came out and we had to remove and replace it. It all changed too fast to really be much use, but boy it sure wasted taxpayer money and filled up landfills.

One place that I worked had spent 10 years and millions of dollars to build this killer mainframe computer called a Unisys 1100/90. It must have occupied a room 50′ by 150′. It had hard drives that were the size of washing machines and a bank of 12 tape drives to feed the thing data. In 1988 with all four processors running it was capable of almost 10 Million instructions per second. Around mid 1989 Intel announced the 80486 cpu chip, the size of your fingernail and capable of 11 Million instructions per second. Today the CPU that runs your smartphone runs around 515 Million instructions per second.

it was around this time that I realized that much of the work in the world of technology was just a treadmill. Just doing the same old thing but slightly different, a little faster and a little smaller. In many ways technology does little more that generate it’s own reason to exist.

Another thing that I began to notice was that the promise of technology was a little skewed. At that time the big lie was that technology reduced drudgery, freeing people up to be more creative and have more leisure time. It was even projected that most people would have to get used to a 4 day work week because of all the time freed up (Your pay would stay the same though).

As wonderful as this all sounded I couldn’t help but notice that every time I came in and installed a new computer network and PC’s in an office, within a few months people started losing their jobs. Typically one PC added to an office of four people eliminated one job. Funny though, it didn’t really seem to eliminate the amount of work, it just kind of shifted it to the remaining people.

I also couldn’t help noticing that people were working longer hours, were more frustrated and felt more incompetent because so much of their time was spent struggling with the computer rather than actually doing productive work. It was also the same time that I started noticing that I was typically working 52 hour work weeks, getting paid for 40 and working at least one weekend a month. Just to feed the beast of technology that must constantly be upgraded.

When your dream becomes a Nightmare

My career in Information Technology has now spanned 31 years. During that time I have seen computer technology go from something that cost over 12 million Dollars, would fill four average houses and employ 15 people to keep running; to something that cost less than $600.00 fits in your pocket and is at least two orders of magnitude more powerful. Also un-repairable, disposable and obsolete six months after it is purchased.

I have seen the next greatest thing become Who? So many times I have long since lost count. I have spent months digesting three inch thick books on the latest technology trend only to have it replaced with something else six months later, that I am now in the position where I have forgotten more things than I currently know. What is left in my head amounts to half-remembered trivia and skills that are about as in demand as horseshoeing.

Things now move so fast, there is no point in even buying the manual anymore. It is obsolete before it is printed. These days my only qualification for doing my job is that I am capable of “Googleing” the answer and following the instructions. There are no skills anymore; you never have time to develop them before they are rendered useless. Do you think this makes people feel better about themselves?

During my career I have seen the world become a dark and nasty place. Now everyone works long hours and is not paid for it. Now thanks to technology you are never away from the office. God help you if you don’t check your company email every 10 minutes, even on a Sunday.

Now thanks to technology your job can be done 5000 miles away for 1/6 the cost. Now thanks to technology nothing you do or say is private. Now thanks to technology no one is safe and no one is indispensable. Not even me or techies like me as it turns out. At current estimates I am making about 40% less now than I was making in 2000 for a job that is twice as hard. Unfortunately most people no matter what career you are in, seem to be in the same position.

In this world, what has value when everything is obsolete in six months or less? Technology didn’t elevate us to higher levels, it became our master and turned us into “Meat-Puppets”. I guarantee you that all too soon technology will make that obsolete as well. It’s not that far in the future that McDonalds will be almost completely automated. Then what will you do for a living? Even better, who will buy the products when you can’t gain employment anymore?

When I was young I was taught that technology was built to serve human needs. I don’t see how that is true today, if it ever was true. We serve it, or the people behind it. Technology allows a smaller number of elites to manage / control a larger group more efficiently. It is only a matter of time before that means of control either becomes ineffective or the objects of the control become unnecessary. Neither outcome paints a pretty picture.

May whatever Gods you believe in protect you from the day that Google finally turns evil. Hitler, Stalin and Mao could not dream in their wildest imaginings the power that one company is about to have over the population of the globe. If knowledge is power and Google is the gatekeeper of all knowledge and tracker of all who access it, then the potential for abuse is unprecedented.

I have been so stupid. I have fed the machine that has helped us destroy the world. All the good I thought I was doing was made evil. All my wonderful dreams turned into nightmares. Technology as a tool for liberation has become yet another mechanism of control.

Einstein was credited as saying after the first Nuclear bomb test “If I had known what they were going to do this, I would have become a shoemaker” I now understand. I wonder how may other “techies” feel the same way.

What is all of that wonderful technology used for? Spam, Viruses, Useless Facebook and Twitter posts and lots LOTS of porn with a few LOL Cats videos thrown in. Tell me the human condition is improved by this. We have over-valued the technology and cheapened people.

There is always a way

I am an optimist at heart. I know this is a surprise to hear for most people that talk to me for a few minutes. I have been called the Anti-Tony-Robbins, the de-motivational speaker and I do not shrink from that title.

I like to explain to people that world that they live in, as I see it. I can understand that people would get depressed by this but my message and my belief has always been that humans always do the right thing in the end.

Yes the vision of the future turned from “Star Trek” to “Terminator” and Mad Max”. Yes our creation has turned against us. Yes our strengths have become weaknesses. Yes civilization will collapse. But….

In the final darkest hour
When the world does shrink and cower
Will come a glimmer from the west
What was our finest, what was our best?
And in that moment we will see, what we were once and might still be
With our last courage and our last might
Beat back the darkness and embrace the light.
If only …

Isn’t that what all the really good movies tell us? Then it’s over. You get up, dust off the popcorn crumbs and stumble down the stairs to glaring harsh light and a dull, mediocre life that would make Faust weep.

The world has become bent and mutilated. The technology that I spent a lifetime on helped make it happen. It made everything and everyone obsolete and neurotic. Then it turned on me and the people like me. What were lives, communities, societies are now like matches. Strike once and discard 5 seconds later. This was not the dream I was sold. I want my money back.

I spent the last two years reading, viewing, listening to everything I could get my hands on, looking for an answer. There has to be an answer right? That’s what 31 years of my career taught me right? It’s in one of these books, one of these diagrams. I just need to read it and understand it properly, then I can flip the right combination of switches, enter the right code and everything will be fine, right?

I learned about fractional reserve banking and fiat currency
I learned about Modern Money Theory from L. Randal Wray
I learned about Credit Default Swaps
I learned about Global Non Governmental Organizations
I learned about the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderberg Group
I learned about The Heritage Foundation and many others like them
I learned about 9/11 conspiracies, FEMA Camps and agenda 21
I learned about Capitalism from Thomas Friedman and Nial Ferguson
I learned about Socialism and Communism from Richard D. Wolff
I learned about Participatory Economics (Parecon) from Michael Albert
I learned about Anarchy from John Zerzan and Scott Nearing
I learned about libertarianism from Ludwig Von Mises
I learned about peak oil / collapse from Michael C. Rupert and Richard Heinberg
I learned about education from the RSA, Alfie Kohn and Bunker Roy
I learned about non-violence from Gene Sharp
I learned about economic hit-men from John Perkins
I learned about tecno-utopianism from Ray Kurzweil
I learned about our better nature from Steven Pinker
I learned about God from Christopher Hitchens
I learned about spirituality from Joseph Campbell
I learned about food Inc. from Robert Kenner
I learned about the esoteric agenda from Ben Stewart
I learned about sustainability from Matthew Stein and Nicole Foss
I learned about spaceship earth from Buckminster Fuller
I learned about the future by design from Jacque Fresco
I learned about Zeitgeist, RBE from Peter Joseph
I learned how to be a progressive from Gary Null
I learned about how to be a good human from Wavy Gravy

This list is less than 1/10th of all the things I read, listened to and watched. The more I was exposed to the more I understood. The more I understood the more confused I became. All these people / institutes / philosophies were very clever. Which ones were right? One? Some? None?? The more you know, the less you understand. “Through a scanner darkly”. It is unwise to dig too hard for the truth. Eventually you will discover that there is nothing that is absolutely true, leaving the tatters of your sanity lying at your feet.

Then I came across Guy McPherson and it finally started to make some sense for me. It was not the technology, philosophy or scientific method. It was not the economic theory, political viewpoint or religious upbringing. The problem is us. The problem has always been us. The great human flaw. If it is us that is the source of the problem is it the absence of us that is the final solution?

It is not the earth that is terminal it is us. Our technology and our environment has changed faster than we did. When we talk about terminating the current set of living arrangements what we really are talking about is terminating this particular human / social experiment in favor of ??? This is the fire in which we burn.

The future is certain

Like Guy McPherson I set off on a path of sustainability before I had all the facts. Where his research led him to an Agrarian Anarchist existence in a shared piece of land in the southwest my research led me to the sea.

I live in Los Angeles. The county has over 10 million people. It has a nuclear power plant on both the northern and southern boundaries. It is surrounded on three sides by desert or near desert and one side by ocean. There are roughly four major highways in and out of the metro area. Almost all food, water and electricity is trucked in from a substantial distance. There is less than a three day supply of food in the metro area. Without electricity there is almost no usable surface water to drink. In case of an emergency evacuation the only places that could manage a sizable influx of refugees would be San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Francisco which are several hours away and would likely suffer the same problems that Los Angeles would be having at the same time.

it made sense to me that if there was a problem everyone would hit the nearest road out of town causing a massive traffic jam and it would be impossible for me to escape. The escape destinations didn’t look so great either. Want to consider walking across 330 miles of the Mojave Desert with a backpack to get to Las Vegas that has no local food supply?

A sailboat made perfect sense. Doesn’t require fuel. Self contained, less than 40 miles from where I am located. In the opposite direction that everyone else would be traveling. Access to the entire world and completely mobile to avoid any emerging catastrophe.

Sounds smart right? A few problems. Cost, Ridiculous. Skill level, daunting. Not as self contained as you would think, completely at the mercy of local food / water supplies. Final problem; completely at the mercy of the most dangerous and unpredictable environment and weather system on this planet, at a time when the weather and environment goes into hyper-unpredictable mode.

I spent twelve months and $30,000.00 on my sailing-to-safety plan and I have nothing to show for it. Just slightly more expensive than the $2,500.00 I spent previously on survival gear before I realized that I can’t walk across 330 miles of desert with no water and a 65-pound backpack.

The real surprise for me was not nature or technical issues. The largest problem is people. This day and age I don’t believe you can get more than two people to commit to a course of action. Too many agendas. Too much misunderstanding. Too much ego to protect. With everyone trying to be right all the time and optimize their options you can pretty much forget mutual-benefit survival. We don’t play Win / Win anymore. The only game we know how to play is Zero Sum and the only option you have to exercise is to be winner or loser.

As I would later find out from Dr. McPherson. It didn’t matter if I was more successful or not. There is no place far enough I could sail to where I would be safe. I could buy maybe a little more time but more likely the storms would get me before I could find a safe harbor anyway.

I thought I was smart enough to escape my fate. I am afraid that my fate is larger than I am. There is nowhere for me to run and nowhere to hide from the future that I helped create. Every attempt at “Doomsday-Prepping” amounts to little more than a form of masturbation. I feel a bit foolish for being “caught in the act”, as it were.

What do you do in the meantime

So here is the problem from end to end. The world that I thought I knew never existed and has turned on us all.

Nothing I do will change my fate in the slightest yet as a living being I have a survival instinct that compels me to do something and not just wait for the inevitable.

The only reasonable thing to do is to try and enjoy what time I have left and that is the one thing I cannot do. How well do you suppose a death-row inmate sleeps the night before his execution? You and I are in the same situation, but we have years to go yet.

How do you come to terms with it all? How do you accept your fate and be happy?

When nothing really matters anymore how do you get up, go to work, raise your kids, pay your taxes?

When the world has gone insane, is trying to maintain some sense of sanity the right course of action?

What lies must you tell yourself in order to get up in the morning yet one more time?

And Yet

That is the point isn’t it? We are a species unlike any other we know of. We exist only partially in the real world. Mostly we exist in our own heads. Not what is, but how we envision it to be. We live in a world of context, symbols, reinterpretation and will.

The world doesn’t run on oil, the world runs on myth, fairy tales, little white lies and not so little white lies. This is why we are in the situation we are in now. Our myths so far have brought us to the brink of extinction and if we take away the myth we will collapse all the same.

Even though I know that it is too late, I cannot escape the “hopium”. I am still desperately searching for the new myth that will make everything ok again. It happened once with the fall of Rome and the myth of Christianity which carried us through some very dark times.

Am I a fool because I cannot stop from hoping one last time? Honestly, aren’t you doing the same thing?

____________

Doug Fasching is a 46-year-old computer systems integrator and networking specialist with over 30 years experience in the field. He is an entrepreneur with eight business startups under his belt (all failures due to his belief in honesty and fairness, which is not a realistic goal in a capitalist economy).

Doug has been enlisted in the U.S. Air Force working at NORAD, has been a defense contractor working at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Fallbrook Naval Weapons Station, Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station, General Dynamics Pomona, Scott Air Force Base IL, Clear Air Force Station AK, Thule Air Base Greenland and Fylingdales RAFB Whitby UK. In private industry he has worked at Scientific Atlanta / CISCO in Georgia.

Doug is an avid lifelong learner having attended six colleges over the last 27 years and is still about two years away from graduating despite having obtained about 212 unit credits with a “B” or better (thank you transfer credit restriction policies and changing majors). He also has several industry certifications including A+, CCNA and MCSE.

Privately Doug is an amateur sociologist, economist, environmentalist, futurist, survivalist and (bad) scientist. He is a dedicated believer in the writer Douglas Adams theory that the universe is just an elaborate cruel joke perpetrated by a malicious entity and that it will collapse if anyone chances to figure it out.

Doug is currently obsessed with attempting not to die prematurely due to catastrophic stupidity (either his own, or everyone else’s). His life’s motto is “Don’t Die Stupid!” (Yes, it has a double meaning). He currently resides in Los Angeles, which he lovingly refers to as “Ground Zero.” His parents live in Tucson, referred to as “Ground Negative One.”

_______________

I’ve on a few requests for your comments in this space: be kind, raise hell, and limit comments to one or two daily. Also please note that this is a secular zone. Let’s avoid the distraction of religion (cf. spirituality).

_______________

McPherson’s latest essay for the Good Men Project was posted today. It’s here.

Until recently, this site was being viewed about two thousand times daily. Two-thirds of the visits were unique (vs. repeat “customers”). Recently, however, site visits have soared, and now range from four thousand to six thousand daily visits.

Comments 158

  • @Don: Hey, thanks for your reply to “my” comment. Yes, the observant ones from way back saw all the changes we as a species were causing – especially once “engines” and other high-tech gadgetry started taking off. It’s so weird how we still celebrate the “genius” of humanity when it looks like most, if not all, of our inventions have turned on us or been misappropriated by the military and bankers to enslave us.

    Did Henry Ford think about the exhaust his engines or factories were emitting? Doubtful. Did mathematicians object when the parabola turned out to be used for artillery? Nope. The intelligent and curious brain turns out some fascinating stuff but by and large its effects aren’t noticed in the glow of pride that emanates from some scientific or other discovery and only later does it turn out to be a bane on the environment and/or humanity (usually both).

    Intelligence, it turns out, is more of a curse than a blessing. I can hear the medical people shouting “wait a minute, what about all the advances in medicine?” Yeah, so look at the population now. See, I’m starting to realize that we aren’t supposed to live to be old because then we use up more resources but don’t contribute anything (since wisdom, or Mobus’s term sapience, isn’t commodified yet and most don’t have it anyway). Since the social system we’ve so ‘wisely’ developed is based on laziness and pandering, it’s no wonder we’re on the road to perdition.

    goin’ out to walk my young Weimaraner (yesterday the sumbitch ate a plastic glue-filled mouse trap that’s been layin’ around for weeks, which may or may not have had a mouse on it, while I was outside pullin’ weeds – took hours to clean up the mess on him and all over the house)

  • I really hope that there is not some sort of loyalty oath or required catechism or censorship on NBL. One of the characteristics of a cult (in the negative sense) is that certain questions or viewpoints are forbidden. One of the virtues of real science is that all points of view and critical comments are not only welcomed, but considered crucial to the process of validation. In social interactions freedom of expression is felt to be a healthy sign, whereas secrecy and repression signal societal malaise. If we make people’s strong emotional reactions to certain sharings the standard of whether they can be heard, it is possible we may miss some input that could be useful, at least to some of us. Why not exercise tolerance for points of view that we strongly disagree with, and simply ignore them, or better, post your reasons for disagreeing?

    I think there are interesting reasons that the ‘New Atheists’ are making their concerns public at this crucial time in history. Let’s listen to them and their multiple antagonists as part of the stirring taking place in the group consciousness that is being stimulated by the dimly perceived terminal threat facing humankind. This is not the only fault line in our collective consciousness that is groaning and starting to heave under the pressure of the ongoing planetary tensions.

  • @Jan Steinman

    Cheers from the right coast. Asian pears and apples coming up next. Tomatoes are in now. I start tomatoes from seed inside the first or second week in April. Butternut squash, yellow onions, parsnips, lettuce(assorted cultivars) red and green cabbage, beets, broccoli all ripening as the weeks progress. Butternut squash lasts a long time in storage. I ate the last butternut from last year’s crop in April this year. All organically grown.

    How’s everyone’s glyphosate levels today?

    Doug Fasching. Thank you for your poignant article. Welcome to the beach. 8-)

    I guess I’m an oddball. I got it in the early seventies. Tuned into Nature at an early age when my father took me trout fishing. He never liked Star Trek and thought the acting was horrible. I’m a little older than you so it’s interesting to me how you arrived at this place. In the very least most here won’t be too surprised at the disasters that lie ahead. Peace everyone.

  • I prefer no religion, no spiritual stuff, no “my Zen is better than your Zen” and no navel gazing.

    Just the facts, Maam. – Joe Friday, Dragnet

    Yes, civilization was the beginning of the end. Yes, I buy my food at the grocery store, and when it runs out, I’ll eat my neighbor’s food and then I’ll eat my neighbor. Then, I will run amok amid the chaos until I kill myself, get killed or imprisoned. But, I will not be planting any crops or building any cities – and I won’t be joining any intentional communities or some such nonsense.

    The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT)
    The One Commandment:“Thou shalt not procreate”
    The Four Pillars: suicide, abortion, cannibalism, sodomy
    May We Live Long and Die Out.

    the Church of Euthanasia:
    Save the planet, kill yourself.

  • “One of the virtues of real science is that all points of view and critical comments are not only welcomed, but considered crucial to the process of validation”.

    Sheer nonsense. Try going to a conference of evolutionary biologists and see how receptive they are to creationism. Or attend the annual meeting of the AGU and see how much they welcome the point of view that the sun is causing climate change. I can guarantee you not one of those scientists will feel all critical comments are crucial to the process of validation.

    And please stop with the cult crap. Let’s try to stick to verifiable facts and genuine science without injecting magical solutions. No one is proposing secrecy or even the stifling of genuine emotional expression, that I know of.

  • speaking of George Mobus, his latest blogpost:

    http://questioneverything.typepad.com/question_everything/2013/08/either-profits-go-or-we-go.html

    (begins)

    Either Profits Go or We Go

    Well, Actually Too Late!

    What do you do when something you always thought was a good thing starts to look like the root cause of our demise? You start asking questions. And you start thinking about the evidence. That is what I’ve been doing for the past many years after seeing the evidence of failures of some of America’s most treasured institutions.

    I have to be blunt. Capitalism, corporatism, and profit taking are killing the planet, or large and growing swaths of it. Politics, governance, and the education system are acting as willing accomplices to assist. Of course, it is really the people who work within these institutions who are at fault, both for shaping them to their current embodiments, and for promoting them as good and worthwhile. Ultimately we humans are at fault for being just too ignorant and unwise to see what incredible damage we are doing to the Earth and even ourselves.

    I won’t recapitulate what all of the various problems are that we are causing or even entertain a conversation about them since the evidence for them is so abundant, and a little simple connecting of the dots will lead to the understanding of how they are all interconnected and will collectively exacerbate our predicament. When the planet is significantly altered beyond recognition there is a very high likelihood that the vast majority of humanity will suffer the same fate. I and many aware writers have covered this before. Only, to what avail?

    After watching this drama unfold for the last one and a half decades (and noting the accelerated pace with which it is doing so) I have drawn the conclusion that absolutely nothing can be done at this juncture to mitigate these problems. And even if it could no one with the ability to make a difference will endeavor to do so. I have given up completely on the political and business leadership in the developed world. I’ve given up on the scientific prowess of the US. I’ve given up on our education system. Put simply, there is, in my opinion, no institution or group of people who (have the power/effectiveness and) can or would make the effort to change anything that might make even a modicum of difference. There are many people who do see and do try to help, but just like me, have no influence that could conceivably reach the scale needed, at least, to lessen the pain about to be inflicted. There are many, like Bill McKibben, who have relatively high public visibility but cannot seem to move the conversation, let alone action, fast enough to have any bearing on the ultimate outcome.

    At least that is what I think will be the case until it is so obvious that we are taking a leap from the high dive into an empty pool. Then, I imagine, everyone will start doing something, in panic, of course. Lots of finger pointing and rending of loin cloths, but it will be too late. Most unfortunate. This is pessimism at its worst, I admit, as well as cynicism. But I come by these attitudes honestly by having opened my eyes to what is happening and seeing what is not happening that should. And it always comes back to the same baseline. Homo sapiens should be called Homo calidus, “man the clever” and definitely not “man the wise.”

    (read the rest if interested)

  • @ TIAA and others

    Please stop being disingenuous. Guy was very explicit!

    Secular: “Denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis”.

    Based solely on Guy’s essays and a majority of the following comments, it should be clear that NBL is a site dedicated to the discussion of empirical evidence associated with NTE. We also share with each other how we should, could and/or will respond to this unprecedented physical reality. If you can not participate in this secular discussion without relying on overt ‘spiritual’ language/practices, then you should think about sharing your ideas in a space that will appreciate them. This is primarily a science blog and a place where those who value science can come and express/react/share their opinions.

    In other words, we don’t value spiritual hopium.

    In other-other words, if you have to question the meaning/value of secular-ism, then Guy’s comment was directed towards you.

  • H.Sapiens, (or H.calidus)-what’s (y)our doom? Simplistically, one of these four(?):

    Suicide: H.Sapiens kills off H.Sapiens. …..H.Sapiens gone, _________________________________________Biosphere survives.
    Filicide: Biosphere kills off H.Sapiens……H.Sapiens gone, _________________________________________Biosphere survives.
    Biocide: H.Sapiens kills off Biosphere…….H.Sapiens gone, _____________________________________________Biosphere gone.
    Biosuicide: Biosphere kills off Biosphere… H.Sapiens gone, _____________________________________________Biosphere gone.

  • @ Daniel

    With respect, I don’t think that holds up.

    I’ve been reading this blog for a very long time, pretty much since it started, it’s never been purely about science.

    How are you going to separate out science from opinion and philosophy and people’s passions, which soon shade into their so-called ‘spiritual’ beliefs ?

    We’ve just had an epic exchange amongst climate scientists over the place, if any, of advocacy in science. Many/most mainstream scientists will view Guy’s position as being extreme and alarmist, and unbalanced, and appealing to people’s fear and emotion.

    I understand your personal position, as an atheist. The near civil war in USA, between batshit crazy creationists who insist the world was made 6000 years ago, and evolutionary science, is incomprehensible from this side of the Atlantic. But I think it needs to be acknowledged that not ALL religion is that wacky.

    I’d also argue, why is it okay for pat to promote HIS religion, when he complains here everyday ? Nihilism is a belief system just as much as Christianity is a belief system. Nihilism is ‘anti-hopium’, if you like. It’s got nothing to do with NBL or NTE, it’s been recognised for 150 years or more. Pat is a classic example, someone who sees no meaning or purpose, wishes they were dead and hates everyone, gets drunk to escape themselves, etc, etc.

    I think it is you who are being disingenous when you say We also share with each other how we should, could and/or will respond to this unprecedented physical reality. because, the natural response, to facing a future that is impossible, especially if you have children, or are a young person, is likely to be despair and depression.

    So, how does a person deal with that ? Don’t tell me it’s by gathering empirical verifiable data, because I’ll tell you to eff off.

    People weep, they lay awake all night, they go for long walks, they get drunk, they take overdoses, they have all kinds of inner turmoil, grief, sadness, and unhappiness, and being told about ‘scientific facts’ is totally irrelevant. It’s your own individual feelings that matter, and that IS spirituality.

    I don’t object to Guy’s ruling. I object to your rather crude and overly simple understanding of what it means. If you want to follow through, ban the poetry, ban the music links, ban everything that cannot be given a cite to a reference in scholarly journal.

    I’ll give you a hell of a run for your money, because I can provide the links to the scientific literature showing the brain scans of the monks who are said to be enlightened, with the details of their spiritual practices, so it is all backed by empirical evidence. Then what ?

  • Here is a great interview with the documentary film maker of ‘The Power Principle” a little something for all. Enjoy

    http://soldiersforthecause.org/2012/05/23/the-power-principle-an-interview-with-filmmaker-scott-noble/

  • I’ve noticed that the comments section of Jim Kunstler’s blog are formatted so that responses to a particular comment appear indented,
    directly under that comment. I find it’s much easier to follow (or skip) the various arguments when the responses they generate appear directly bellow.

    Is there any chance Guy could similarly organize the comments section in NBL? Other than that, so long as folks adhere to the two post rule and show common courtesy towards others, everything’s jake.

  • Effective immediately, I’ve implemented your suggestion. I welcome input from everybody regarding how well it works for you.

  • From Guy: “…please note that this is a secular zone. Let’s avoid the distraction of religion (cf. spirituality).

    From Ulvfugl: I object to your rather crude and overly simple understanding of what it means.

    How is it possible to overly simplify something that is as incredibly direct and simple as “please note that this is a secular zone. Let’s avoid the distraction of religion (cf. spirituality).

    Your beef is not with me, as mine is not with you. If everyone possessed as balanced a logos/mythos perspective as you do, then I personally would see no cause for Guy’s warning. Unfortunately, as you well know, you are a rare explorer who has a strong grasp of both.

    So again, it doesn’t get any more simple than “Let’s avoid the distraction of religion/spirituality. His blog, his rules. Be good, or begone.

  • Let’s try to stick to verifiable facts and genuine science without injecting magical solutions.

    A noble resolve. Few are up to it, however. It is not a verifiable fact that body-mind complexes other than oneself have awareness. Not even hard-core scientists are hard-core enough to always hew to verifiable facts.

    Secular: “Denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis”

    The secular attitude is to consider all body-mind complexes other than oneself to be meat-robots. As a matter of fact, one’s own body-mind complex is not excluded from that designation.

    This bit of hewing to the verifiable facts, although not found in science, is described in the

    Parable of the Two Birds

  • Gravity: it’s not just a good idea, it’s the law!

    Natural Laws

    Even gods without any flaws
    Can’t overcome natural laws;
    If you ask why why why
    Such rules should apply,
    The answer’s because, just because.

    IOW:

    Cheerful fantasy
    Provides pleasant distraction
    From horror of doom
    ==

    Kathy Cassandra says: Perhaps that is a way we can look at NTE – inevitable and given the condition of the patient, a blessing.

    Suffering and the End of Suffering

    Suffering I shall show thee—
    Simply look all around, and see;
    And as you descend,
    I’ll show suffering’s end:
    Collapse into NTE.

  • @ Thanatos Sunbum

    “There may be some small communities or groups who have a few artifacts laying around they may be able to renovate and utilize. If I scoured around here I might be able to find some equipment, an old buggy, some tools, a forge (no coal, though); there might even be an old guy to show me how to run some of it. Almost everyone still has a wood stove tucked away somewhere but few of us use them much– cord wood is more expensive than natural gas per thermal unit. Which is worse – burn more fossil fuel or cut more trees. I don’t know. The carbon footprint and the time and personal energy required for that search for antique technology would be substantial. I might be able to steal one of the hobby farmers’ horses to pull my buggy … if they haven’t been eaten by that point. In any case, this would be a short term stop-gap before extinction is complete. And I have Fukishima on my mind.”

    Yes, I was thinking stop-gap. Everything in stages. Thinking it through. More long term considerations below. And, btw, I see this as play, and only indulge because you seem to be thinking along complementary lines. But all the very serious people will find my suggestions quite ridiculous.

    I don’t think as large scale as you. I’m into miniaturization and personalization of everything. SMALL pods of people can grow their own food by recycling body waste and the bodies of dead plants and animals. They’d have to live in large terraria, where oxygen is created from plants. As an ex art conservator, I’m pretty confident that Zen-like micro-cleaning can help maintain tough materials for a few thousand years. It’s all about ritual work and human energy. You seem to think somewhat industrially; I don’t. Phone books in landfill from 50 years ago can still be read. Stored paper trash can be burned for fuel. Indoor plants will yield wood for various purposes as well.

    “I’m not sure I would want to make that kind of effort anyway. I find, at my age, life has gotten a bit ‘thin.’ That is the best word I can find. When we were younger there was texture, depth, vivid colours, exciting things to discover and explore, people to meet (and have sex with), places to go and things to do. I don’t even have much of a bucket list…”

    I’m an old geezer too. I could kick off at any time. I’m not in this for my personal survival. My energy and quest for challenge have waned. So I do as little as I can. But I enjoy all the microscopic details around me. Small and constrained is just as cool as anything else. I plan to stay put. I make no effort. If people want to help the situation, they need to each and every one get out and push. Although not much of anything can happen without the military taking charge. They’re not stupid or even always evil. I only make suggestions and do my own small personal thing. If no one wants to listen, then fuck ’em. It will hurt them more than it hurts me. Besides, I’m pretty nonchalant about life. Whatever happens happens sort of thing.

    “The kicker is the environment: water shortages, desertification, whiplash weather…And Fukishima.”

    It’s like a jigsaw puzzle. Looked at broadly, water, the most urgent requirement, is virtually gone–polluted, depleted, wasted. So how would you ensure water supply for a couple thousand years for perhaps billions of people? The best I can come up with–with no claim to understand the feasibility issue–is distillation of sea water. Plastic equipment procured now might well last that long. Everyone would have to live near the sea, perhaps even on the sea in large, sealed, radiation-proof, storm-proof floating islands.

    “By the way, sea level doesn’t have to rise to some dramatic pre-historic levels to cause major disruption.”

    Yep. With free floating radiation, I don’t see living on land; only in sealed, artificial environments that are storm and flood proof. If TPTB can send people to the moon, they can figure it out…if they want to.

  • Well, hell, that was easy.

    While I’m here, the other thing about us humans: for some reason, we just never know when to say ‘enough’. Either we (as a whole, but of course there are exceptions) have lost the ability to recognize when something is enough, or maybe it’s simply the vast inequality that is the problem. You got yours, so I want mine. This world has turned into a massive swirl of head-games. Enough. Effective immediately…

  • My apologies for my omissions.

    I am also a fan of Emma Goldman, Mary Harris Jones, Naomi Klein, Martha Nussbaum, Barbara Ehrenreich, Nicole Foss and Jane Goodall to name a few.

  • Leaving the people in a place that just began to feel familiar is always somewhat heartbreaking. Even when the people are not particularly well informed and think a dumb doomer is just a drag to deal with. They seem cozy with their beers and TV’s and stroke inducing barbecued flesh dinners. They salute NASCAR and believe FOX ‘news’. They even seem to care a bit about other people, except of course they don’t care to know how their lifestyles impact other lives. They don’t think it does. They drive like it is an entitlement, an entertainment, a necessity without alternative (maybe so), and curse the price of gas — and blame it on those dam a-habs, nuke ’em all. They collect guns and knives and shoot and sharpen, ready for the night they’ll use weapons to defend their little homesteads against the dark forces. They kill and hang and gut their kills on proud display in the front yard on tall vertical rusty iron I-beams and cross beams… that look like clones of the gates of Dachau. They’re not church goers, but they hang crosses on rear view mirrors, and hang them on their necks when they remember on a rainy road that the brake pads need replacement but they don’t have the bucks to get it done. They leave their pick-up truck doors unlocked just in case the paramedics have to get in after a crash, not understanding the physics of door locks and crashes and being flung from vehicles. Their kids and dogs ride on the open bed of the truck, projectiles in waiting. Seatbelts are a government intrusion. They like to tease death — and call it freedom. Radios are for blasting away cares with the same old sickly sweet tunes and to play commercials to feel like they’re part of the capitalistic ‘community’. Someday they’ll be the boss, someday. The richer folks leave their porch lights on all night and all day, just to prove to themselves that the world is abundant… to deny any toehold to fear of scarcity.

    They are the salt of the Earth, they are the consumers, the commoners, they are the unintentional unknowing perpetrators of extinction. They are second degree murderers/extincters, they don’t premeditate or plan in advance, they are the programmed proxies of TPTB. They are victims of circumstance who object to being called victims. They’d rather be called bad to the bone. Gives ’em a sense of control in an out of control big bad world beyond their grasp.

    Leaving them is somewhat heartbreaking. They never got me to like their TV shows but even criminals develop some affection for each other. I never got them to listen to doomer talk. I’m off to unknown pastures in a few days, as September and Autumn begin and red and golden leaves drift in the cooling breeze. Don’t know where I’ll be by Winter wind. I’ll try to internet y’all and keep out of tangles in tumbleweeds. Homelessness is an involuntary adventure. No room for the warmth of a fireplace in a tiny old truck. Unromantic. Always leaving. Losing familiars, lapsing into strangers. Goodbye good river, goodbye green dragonflies, goodbye you grumbling airboats. Goodbye to the place where I lost the one who loved me, never to return. goodbye

  • I do agree, but at least they are trying to start / have a conversation about efficient and fair use of resources.

    You have to start somewhere?

  • Any idea what caused the problems with
    Biosphere 2
    and
    BIOS-3?

  • Funny and interesting.
    At this point there is no wrong way to behave, all roads lead to the same destination.
    All these do sound like taking the easy route though. I have never been one to do what is easy.

  • First, the reply function in neat but I think there will be a lot of scrolling back up to see who has replied to what or not. I think a lot of good comments will be missed that way. That seems a bit inconvenient to me. I am fine with the way it is as long as quotes give sufficient context. One can also copy and paste the link to the post being referred to so people can just click and go back to the relevant post rather than missing replies added since the last time they scrolled by a certain comment.

    @ fugu
    I accidentally read a few sentences of one of your posts – I was scrolling upwards so … my mistake.

    re:“I’ll give you a hell of a run for your money, because I can provide the links to the scientific literature showing the brain scans of the monks who are said to be enlightened, with the details of their spiritual practices, so it is all backed by empirical evidence. Then what?”

    Then I can show you scientific literature showing the same brain scans can be reproduced in ordinary people with specifically applied stimulation to certain brain areas. That’s what. It’s all in the brain-mind complex – mental activity with a cute story made up to explain minor psychotic perturbations. (but I’m not going to provide the references because I’m not getting sucked in)

    It seems to me mind is just what brain does. Some kind of epiphenomena. Speaking of brains, there is no place the “I” resides, no homunculus communing with gad or rasta or the flying spaghetti monster. Thus there is no “I” which can be enlightened (whatever the hell that is? more non-referent convenient undefined labels) I figure anyone who makes claims of enlightenment has lots and lots of ego left.

    “…said to be enlightened” Who says and by what authority? The pope’s? The Dalai Llama? Fugu? George W. Bush talks to gord – him?? Popular consensus of compatible delusionals is who.

    (You know, the one where the frog has his tongue stuck to gad’s butt; thinks it’s a fly. … said to be enlightened. So funny; silly frog)

    And brain produces many, many perturbations. That’s why these things are called delusions; it just some delusions are socially acceptable or contagious (meme theory) and some people buy the delusion hook, line and sinker. And what the heck is enlightenment, anyway? Another non-referent handy but meaningless label.

    And here we go again … but I am going to do my best to be sucked no further into the black, bottomless pit of … whatever it is – secular vs non-secular; lions vs christians (the score is Lions 10 – Christians 0 in the first quarter); islams vs everyone else; fugu vs everyone else; my zen vs your zen.

    Oops! My karma ran over your dogma.

    Myanmar Mosque, Muslim Orphanage Burned After Alleged Immolation Of Buddhist Woman
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/29/myanmar-buddhists-burn-mosque_n_3352044.html

    Both religions of that elusive “peace” thingy.

    The conflict in Sri Lanka was between Sinalese buddhists (ahimsa) and Tamil hindus (ahimsa). Ahimsa means peace.

    I remember reading back around ’99 or ’00 about pitched battles in Korea between two buddhist cults over control of a certain temple or shrine or something. Dozens injured, a few killed. The looneys themselves can’t even get along amongst themselves. Not to mention the centuries (?) old tit-for-tat between the sunni and shia. Then there is the protestant and catholic. The crystal gazers vs the Tarot readers. The I Ching enthusiasts vs users of the Magic Eight Ball. The vegans vs everyone else. The raw food vegans vs the run-of-the-mill vegans. And on and on. How can any of this stuff be taken seriously at all?

    Back when I was younger, away from the farm, I met a woman who had been a member of a local cult of 300 or so but due to a conflict over the interpretation of one line in the clear and true King James version of their cult manual 75 of them split off. So a split off of a split off of a split off of a split off (ad nauseum) leaving only those 75 “christians” the holders of the true message of gord. Right.

    I met a woman who communicated with people in the ether through the dictionary she carried around with her at all times. She claimed to be married to one just like nuns are married to jayzuz and the dictionary was her “holy” book. Schizophrenic, yes; enlightened, no.

    Civility and secularity – too much to ask. Here it is again in microcosm the millenia old conflict between delusionals and people who just want to be left the fuck alone to chat about something with actual meaning and substance to them.

    The point is there is no resolving this stuff so let’s set it aside and stick to, yes, the science and our feelings, our experiences, our pain, loss, fear, hopelessness, fruitless attempts to make meaning of any of it and commiserate.

    It is odd to me how religion or spirituality or whatever this shit is supposed to be always creates more rifts and wounds than it ever facilitates connection and healing.

    I think the suggestion of secular content is valid insofar as it sets aside these time-wasting, pointless, ideological dick-measuring contests and allows a bit more sharing and a bit less … well, dick measuring. I’m going to take a flier here and bet the majority of this … okay, dick measuring is coming from well, … the dicks.

    Pig Farmer Haiku #1

    Deluded dicks doggedly persist
    Reason and good taste
    Notwithstanding

    I am going to try very, very hard to never again get sucked into this “controversy.” I’ve had my say a couple of times and I’ll do my best to leave it at that.

    I apologize for adding fuel to the fire but I just couldn’t help myself. The Devil made me do it!!

    Let The Mystery Be Iris Dement

    Everybody’s wonderin’ what and where
    They all came from
    Everybody’s worryin’ ’bout where they’re gonna go
    When the whole thing’s done
    But no one knows for certain and so it’s all the same to me
    I think I’ll just let the mystery be

    Some say once gone you’re gone forever
    And some say you’re gonna come back
    Some say you rest in the arms of the Savior
    If in sinful ways you lack
    Some say that they’re comin’ back in a garden
    Bunch of carrots and little sweet peas
    I think I’ll just let the mystery be

    Everybody is wondering what and where
    They all came from
    Everybody is worryin’ ’bout where they’re gonna go
    When the whole thing’s done
    But no one knows for certain and so it’s all the same to me
    I think I’ll just let the mystery be

    Some say they’re goin’ to a place called Glory
    And I ain’t saying it ain’t a fact
    But I’ve heard that I’m on the road to Purgatory
    And I don’t like the sound of that
    I believe in love and I live my life accordingly
    But I choose to let the mystery be

    Everybody is wondering what and where
    They all came from
    Everybody is worryin’ ’bout where they’re gonna go
    When the whole thing’s done
    But no one knows for certain and so it’s all the same to me
    I think I’ll just let the mystery be
    I think I’ll just let the mystery be

    I would prefer to just let the mystery be and get on with the business of being driven extinct by our own hand through our own folly. (I know; too much to ask … silly pig farmer)

  • @ Robin Datta

    It is not a verifiable fact that body-mind complexes other than oneself have awareness.

    Erm, so my dog does not have awareness. I see.

    That was the position of the Behaviourists, the school of thought that was conclusively demolished by Noam Chomsky in the 1950s, which is why he became famous and the most cited scientist in the history of science.

    @ Thanatos Sunbum

    I accidentally read a few sentences of one of your posts – I was scrolling upwards so … my mistake.

    Big mistake. Nobody should ever read my comments. Please don’t do it again.

    Then I can show you scientific literature showing the same brain scans can be reproduced in ordinary people…etc

    Thanks, but that will not be necessary. You’re obviously not familiar with the literature and research that I’m talking about.

    My point was directed specifically to Daniel, re the difficulty of keeping the blog comments secular and based upon empirical evidence and you have here illustrated that point by wandering off topic into a whole lot of contentious anecdotal religious nonsense, etc.

  • depressive lucidity Says:

    One of the reasons NTE is now inevitable is because a die-down from a human population of 7.2 billion will inexorably lead to apocalyptic warfare among the most dominant nation states. No one is going to quietly allow their population to starve and all of the military resources available to each state will be implemented against others in the coming world of pan-scarcity.

    Dear Canada:

    You would be wise to immediately undertake a crash program to develop nuclear weapons.

    Signed,
    An American

  • Exactly, but of course those who have magical beliefs think they are not magical beliefs. Listen to them a while and you realize that they have no tolerance for those who don’t have magical beliefs, but also no tolerance for those who have different magical beliefs. What is more they need for others to affirm their magical beliefs. The reason is because magical beliefs are one of the ways we humans avoid facing the reality of death.

    Again I quote the youtuber Theramin Trees
    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.

    I expect the protests against this being a secular zone will continue. Those who want to have a non=secular discussion can create their own blog to do so.

  • In the early stages of scientific study is a Theory called Terror Management Theory – per wiki “Terror management theory, in social psychology, proposes a basic psychological conflict that results from having a desire to live but realizing that death is inevitable. This conflict produces terror, and is believed to be unique to humans.”

    It seems clear that TPTB are using this death terror to control the population, so understanding all the ways our brains use to fend off the fear is important to overcoming the ability of TPTB to use it to control it.

    Coming to grips with non-existence and overcoming the fear of no longer existing seems to me to be the best way to counter TPTB – of course it remains safe to fear most ways of dying, for dying is usually painful. As far as I can tell non-existence is not, for I spent billions of years non-existing before I was born and don’t have a single bad memory about it – obviously. Even if you believe in reincarnation I find it hard to see how one existed before the big bang, therefore everyone has not existed for most of eternity. Anyone have any bad memories of their non-existence before the big bang.

    Since the coming times are likely to have novel ways to die painfully, and opportunities to act morally to ones fellow humans and critters before morals die with humanity, I think that putting away the fear of non-existence will help and leave you with only the fear of how you will die. One less fear if you face it an conquer it, but I think perhaps the biggest one that most humans have.

    Any rate back to the science – one example of the kind of studies being done on Terror Management
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fear-death-and-politics

    Our first experiment was conducted with 22 municipal court judges in Tucson, Ariz. We told the judges we were studying the relation between personality traits, attitudes and bond decisions. A bond is a sum of money a defendant pays prior to trial to be released from prison in the interim. The judges completed a set of questionnaires consisting of some standard personality assessment instruments. Embedded in the personality assessments were two questions designed to trigger mortality salience: “Please briefly describe the emotions that the thought of your own death arouses in you” and “Jot down, as specifically as you can, what you think will happen to you as you physically die and once you are physically dead.” Only half of the judges were randomly given these questions to answer.
    The judges were then given a legal case brief virtually identical to one they would typically see before a trial. The brief stated the arresting charge, which was prostitution, and the defendant’s address, employment record and length of residency. A copy of the citation issued to the defendant when she was arrested was also included. Finally, the judges were given a form to set bond for the defendant. We chose judges for the study because they are rigorously trained to make rational and uniform decisions based solely on evidence relative to existing laws. And we had them pass judgment on an alleged prostitute because prostitution offends the moral sensibilities of the average American. To the extent that cultural worldviews serve to mitigate mortal terror, we hypothesized that judges who thought about death would set higher bonds than those in the control condition. The results were striking. Judges in the control condition set an average bond of $50, which was typical for this charge in actual cases at the time. However, judges who thought about their death set an average bond of $455.

    Since then, more than 300 studies by independent researchers in approximately 20 countries have found support for hypotheses derived from TMT. And it’s not just direct questions about death: mortality salience has also been induced by interviewing people in front of a funeral home or subliminal exposure to the word “dead” or “death.”

    google Terror Management to learn more – reminding us of death has consequences and you can be sure The Powers are well aware of that and are using it as they seek to involve us in ever more wars in their foolish little game of Last Man Standing…foolish because the Last Man Standing dies too. In fact they have their own death terrors and seek to avoid it by being the biggest power on the planet. Hitler is dead, Ghandi is dead, Reagan is dead, Nixon is dead, MLK is dead, and all you folks at NSA reading this blog will also die. Sorry folks, we are mortals. Just the way it is

  • @ Daniel

    Oh dear, I was so hoping you were going to pick a fight with me about this, Daniel, we could have provided some entertainment for the readers here, those whose lives are so spiritually desolate, empty, tedious, meaningless and boring…. ;-)

    …according to the Norwegian philosopher Lars Svendsen, author of A Philosophy of Boredom, boredom comes to take on a particular and possibly darker inflection with modernity. Having been bored witless writing his PhD about Kant, Svendsen came to see a connection between his subject and his state of mind.
    With Kant, God is replaced by the self as the ultimate source of meaning. As traditional structures of meaning are wiped away, boredom comes to be regarded as a very personal sort of failing. And in order to avoid it, various distractions are entertained: travel, drink, drugs, the Xbox, sex, transgressive behaviour – all strategies of avoidance, all hinting at a desperate desire to hold off the acknowledgment of meaninglessness. It is, says Svendsen, a problem characteristic of modernity. Whereas boredom has once bragged about as a mark of nobility, now it is the ultimate in personal failing. Those who are bored are losers.

    Perhaps this is why the entertainment industry is more important to us that we are often prepared to admit. It comes to perform the role previously reserved for religion, where the weight of creating meaning is not shouldered by the individual alone. Entertainment keeps meaninglessness at bay.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2013/aug/23/trying-to-avoid-boredom

  • Thanks again BtD, for yet another batch of succinct verse revealing the heart of the matter. You are one talented dude.

  • Dear Gail.

    Wonderfully well-put. Surely a lot of cult(ure)-crap and denial is broadcast ubiquitously when new science contradicts traditional scientific understandings, and especially when the traditional science happens to conform with what is ideologically correct, politically convenient, economically expedient, socially desirable, religiously tolerable and culturally syntonic. Everyone likes science that props up the global political economy, for example. Few scientists will speak out when novel scientific research contradicts the established scientific understandings, when such so-called science supports the self-serving interests of ‘the powers that be’ (TPTB). One day soon I hope we can focus on the ecological science of human population dynamics, on apparently unforeseen and unexpected scientific research that the population dynamics of the human species is essentially similar to the population dynamics of other species and that the massive, continuous increase in food production is the root cause of skyrocketing absolute global human population numbers.

    Sincerely,

    Steve

  • Thank you for replying to my question. There is no safe place, that is for sure.

    I admit that the wet bulb hypothesis is not one that I totally understand.

    Lived in Michigan since I was four, and the humidity levels do seem to be rising a bit, but it is still more comfortable here in summer time than it is in the southern states. It’s the winters I dread…..

  • agreed, and we better build a much bigger fence to our South!

  • Erin, yes. Any ideas on why we feel compelled to scream despite knowing it’s useless? The remnants of the survival urge? Or what?

  • Oh, so now U is the Divine Leader. Excuse me while I barf.
    Even U’s little sycophants are objecting!

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

  • I replied to Ripley’s comment just to see how this new thing works, I’ll wait to see if it shows up. Does a “Reply” count as a post?

    Here Here Kathy C.! We will be nothing more than widely scattered subatomic particles in the cold, dark, expanse of space. No one will be remembered, no one will be remembering.

    Throw off your burdens and charge wildly into the night!

    @ Doug: “There is no wrong way to behave.” Yes, this is my feeling exactly. I simply move about – and I respond to my surroundings as I see fit from moment to moment. This moment, I need not challenge anyone or anything, but, there may be a moment soon when I might just jump in front of a train or throw a rock through a window. I might squash a bug or I might drop it a potato chip.

    I like the Titanic comparison, but it’s not like the passengers were goading the captain to “go faster!, damn the icebergs!” So, the passengers were innocent. Their deaths were, therefore, Tragic.

    Me, I AM guilty, as a consumer of Industrial Civilization – and for many years – and an outspoken proponent no less! I was all for it, I encouraged it, and I wanted MORE of it. My death, therefore, is Justice.

    But, until I was aware, I was just a passenger, but once I was aware, the game changed and I could no longer participate, so I jumped off the boat. No job, no mortgage, no house, no car payment, no car, no insurance, no taxes. I was living a stupid dead-end game. Buried in debt, destined for a miserable and wasted life. NTE saved me from many years of slavery!

    So, once you wake up and realize the Titanic IS sinking AND there is nothing you can do about it, then it’s time to have that last dance, that last martini, that last song. Why toil away at some meaningless labor?

    Why toil away your last days?

  • No, RD. Good question. I’ll look into it.

  • Someone above gave the definition of Jain-ism in the past two days. Basically, do no harm physically or psychologically to anything or anyone. Tall order, but I won’t argue. If one goes with that broad premise, one will not be indifferent to prejudice, bigotry, discrimination of any kind. In that sense, the only moral way to behave is to be on the side of justice. To be moral, therefore, is independent of whether or not life will survive as a result.

  • In what scenario/way does the biosphere survive when there are no animals to provide it oxygen and all the plants are gone?

  • The myth of the dominant culture says tribalism doesn’t work in the modern world and its predicaments. The myth uses pronouns like “we” and “us” to describe the change in “our” species. It implies “we’re” all practicing the same methods of insanity. The myth ignores those who still practice tribalism. It ignores that they never changed. It ignores they even exist. It ignores the success of their diverse past. It ignores their voice. This ignorance is why they are endangered and the reason “we” are oblivious and fucked. Thanks for a voice of reason Guy.

  • Dear Ulvfugl,

    I think it is amusing that Daniel is so sure he knows what Guy means by secular as if it fits his (Daniel’s) special prejudice. Guy gave his expanded definition;

    Guy McPherson Says:
    August 26th, 2013 at 9:48 am
    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

    From what I can determine all comments here remain secular per that definition and Guy, being Guy cares about what he cares about. Daniel, perhaps can practice what he preaches, get into the here and now and out of his superstitions he bears about this site being some kind of haven for NTE doomers because I read no where that it is. I don’t think he knows Guy half as well as he thinks he does and a word that describes Guy extremely well from my observations is forbearing. Daniel should look it up. Guy seems to expect us to self govern but I can’t read minds and this whole blog is very radical and so a learning experience. If I ask a question it is sincere.

    Anything we try to replace the function of God or spirit with will fail in providing psychic wholeness unless it is a genuine conscious experience. That is the irony of the legitimate attempts to do so. It is very important we start to grasp this because the worst kind of doom will drive and is driving us neurotic otherwise. Boredom is the benign end of that possession.

  • And Hello to everything else, right?

    Hugs!

    I send a little of my grace with you. Take care of it as it cares for you.

    Be well.

  • Over my dead body will I let the mystery and NTE be. The world and all life a child and I, a mother and I a child to all of life, a mother. Mans time of sacrilege to both mother and child, in his fear of the mystery, is up. His castles against fear coming down, down, down. To the level of nature. I am not afraid of what he fears nor of the mystery. I am the mystery. Love is the mystery and survival of life is the mystery.

  • @ piddles

    As the only identifiable sycophant I have here, from time to time you appear to direct complimentary remarks towards my name, which are so incoherent as to convey no intelligible information.

    Perhaps you could ask your Mum or or your psychotherapist or some other kind adult for assistance with the skill and art of framing coherent grammatical sentences ?

    You know, those things that people use to communicate with and convey information clearly so that others know what they mean ?

    Then I’ll be able to reject or accept your attempts at adoration with appropriate contempt or affection, as I see fit. I know you want to lick my toes, but you’ve also expressed the desire to burn me alive.

    You’re obviously a damaged and a perverted individual that even God Himself would probably reject you. If there were such a personified imaginary being, which we here are generally of the view, that there is not.

    I however, have endless resources of magnanimity, so much so that I really do not care whether you like me, loathe me, or want to see me burning alive, so much so that you are willing to pay money to witness the spectacle. If that’s what turns you on, well, who am I to spoil you pitiful sordid nightmares by portraying my resplendent visions ?

    I tell, stand beside me on the edge of the 10,000 foot cliff, and we can talk. But you are too cowardly. So you grovel and squirm and hate. Life is very short, precious, I have no spare time for that crap.

    Love,

    Ulvfugl.

  • Sorry. I meant to say no plants to provide oxygen. And no plants to absorb CO2. I don’t know what that would mean for the biosphere.

  • Biosphere 2

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosphere_2

    It brings up what we seem to often wrestle with here: the nexus of physical science, psychology and philosophy. The project has not called on cultural customs outside of the western secular world. Like Native American subterranean habitat, Eskimo habitat, etc. And what horrendous land use entanglements around the site! But great work was done, which it would be fantastic to continue and improve upon.

  • Thanks Muffle.

    Thank you Muffle-luv-u-lous. I’d frame the current situation this way.

    People have unenlightened selective consciousness due to sociopaths (the inter-species predator) breeding the most historically. Winning and breeding is not usually about quality of thought particularly now. That’s why Chomsky as Morris Berman points out misses the point that pulling wool away from eyes made of wool and primal emotions and drives through informing them about reality – assumes that people are well meaning, rational and competent – capable of nuance of thought. Those who care the most because they understand and appreciate the most suffer deepest.

    Dying empires are totalitarian, image based distraction, distract from nuance of thought, substance over form as Hedges points out. All cultures use and abuse people – Mckenna – and this one is increasingly drifted into the cultural image of a sociopath which can be seen in celebrity scandals.

    Sociopaths have a distinct advantage. They manipulate and are willing to cheat and be ruthless to win like a Starbucks but compromise life and biodiversity in the process. Sociopaths are not good at seeing into the future. The gentrified baby boom in my neighborhood is just more unethical distraction a retreat into spectacle by sociopathic unenlightened females which are a rarely discussed bad biological feedback loop into intellectual vacuity and the destruction they cause.

  • it may also be said that there’s no ‘safe’ level of exposure to any toxin/pollutant. the question remains, how large a threat is the exposure? is it large enough to warrant whipping up a hysteria over? partially thanks to the inordinate amount of attention (imo) that’s been given to fuku by certain regular nbl posters, some regular readers now seem to think that fuku, and fuku alone, poses a larger threat than even agw! this is making a mountain out of a molehill imo. yes, the prospect of 400+ nuclear disasters similar to or greater than is a huge threat globally, but one alone isn’t. to sheeple thousands of miles away, the danger may be about as significant as having one or two full body xray exposures, and no more. maybe not ‘safe’, but not a big deal.

    (full disclosure: a long time ago (over 30 years), i went through training provided by the u.s. navy to work around nuclear reactors, including a 6 month long school whose curriculum, of course, included the threat posed by low level radiation exposure, how radiation affects the body, etc. i then spent over 4 years assigned to a nuclear powered ship, working amidst the machinery powered by a nuclear reactor, required to wear a dosimeter to measure exposure that was very marginal, thanks to the extensive amount of shielding placed around the reactor. so, depending on your viewpoint, u might say i’ve been brainwashed to minimize the danger of low level radiation, or u might say i’m better educated than most regarding it.)

  • I don’t know either. Nothing we’ll be witnessing, anyway…

    My ‘four dooms’ table is kind of broad-brush…. The layout may be less than clear- ‘Biosphere survives’ is part of the first two and ‘Biosphere gone’ is part of the second two.

    I just tried every combination of ‘H.Sapiens’ and ‘Biosphere’ with ‘kills off’ in between to see how it played out. Such a procedure might be beneath contempt, or vulgar, to the informed, articulate, sharp-minded commenters here .. so, you know, someone has to do stuff like that just in case it was overlooked.. :)

    It’s just one way of conceptualising the collective doom of H.Sapiens in relation to the biosphere, the other ‘actor’. (I did say it was simplistic!) If you believe the Biosphere is indeed on it’s way out, then ‘suicide’ and ‘filicide’ are no longer, if you like, ‘doom options’ for H.Sapiens, although they would have been options in the past. Even now, someone witnessing human die-off but uninformed/in denial about ‘peak everything’ and ‘the climate’ might conceptualise it as ‘we are killing ourselves off’ (suicide) or ‘the planet (or God) is killing us off’ (filicide).

    I guess most here would conceptualise the approaching doom in the third ‘biocide’ category.. I’m not proselytising… just gently pointing out that the procedure I followed yields a fourth option, which in turn yields a different attitude. Not a ‘better’ or ‘worse’ one.

  • “Divine Leader” of what?

  • @ Privileged

    One of the strongest points ever made on this blog, imo, Privileged.

    We have here a small handful of people on this blog who use the term ‘we’ and speak as if they represent the entire human species, from when Homo first evolved, right up until the 7 billion who now exist, and presume to say ‘we’ did this, ‘we’ are this, ‘we’ etc, etc, etc.

    This is so horrendously and appallingly arrogant that it defies belief when you think about it. This handful of people are members of the very group which has fucked everything up. None of the people that they claim to be speaking for did it.

    Most of the destruction of the environment has happened since WW2, in just one lifetime. Ours, yours, mine.

    For example, in UK, more ancient woodland ( technically, that which was existing on maps prior to 1600 ) was destroyed in the 1950s than in the previous thousand years, and globally environmental destruction has accelerated ever since.

    Yet, to avoid any guilt or responsibility, ‘we’ blame this onto the species, the Other, all the people, whom, for all their faults, which no doubt they had, actually DIDN’T do it.

    ‘They’ were not the ones who trashed the entire planet and destroyed the future. That was US, and ‘we’ did it mostly in just ONE lifetime. And, ‘we’ had a choice.

  • @ Robin Datta

    I think he/she/it is very confused and has mistaken me for someone else… :-)

  • Hi Doug, great post. I enjoyed reading it and can relate to a lot of what you said.

    Don, I can also relate to what you said. I am about your age. My partner is also deep in denial about climate change and it is a taboo subject with family and others. My partner is currently renovating a sailboat with the dream of us sailing away indefinitely however it is taking years to complete. I have told him he needs to get a move on otherwise he will never fulfill his dream because we will be hit by catastrophic climate change and collapse. He gets very defensive when I say that. He is younger than me and thinks he has plenty of time but it will be interesting to see what happens in the next 5 to 10 years.

  • @ TIAA Thanks, I really appreciate your support. I will carry it with me in the safest place I have — somewhere in my bodily chest. And yes… Hello World! (a bit of a programmers joke, in tune with this article… As you may know, “Hello World” was typically the first output assignment for programmers in training)

    And, of course, I loved her too, and loved many… but she was the one who loved me. Weird as I am, that was a feat.

    Homelessness is scary. Unnerving. Running out of money, running out of people/places to go, running a bit out of my mind I think. I guess my personal collapse is well underway. The stress is exhausting. But, as I have advised others, I will make every effort to maintain an active appreciation for Life, and offer my help and knowledge to others who prefer to Live as well as they can.

    If I learn anything worth sharing, I will. I’ll make every effort to have an internet connection while it still exists. Possibly the best invention ‘we’ ever came up with. Might as well celebrate it while we can.

    And to someone who does not refer to me but regularly attacks what I say, someone who claims to have ‘scientific’ viewpoints: For the benefit of your own vitality and those you influence, I hope you will investigate the actual science of the vegan diet and human health before burying it in a pile of habitual neglect and obfuscation. Ignorance is dangerous. I recommend starting with a website authored by a physician: nutritionfacts.org

    HELLO WORLD! Thanks again TIAA!

  • @ logspirit, TIAA,

    To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
    We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
    We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
    To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica
    Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
    And to-day we have naming of parts.

    http://www.solearabiantree.net/namingofparts/namingofparts.html

  • “I have spent months digesting three inch thick books on the latest technology trend only to have it replaced with something else six months later”

    Perhaps you could prove that statement by naming the books

  • @ ulvfugl TIAA too… Yes. And for my part, I would have none of this hair pulling and would halves and could bees. Let the Hare run and the Lynx have fun, let the wood grow full and round unsplit unpiled unfired, let the bees have honey so they don’t freeze on cold dead flowers. Our double lives are split lives which do not hold the integrity of true aspect… to the one who writes my meal ticket I must cower and say: ‘Boss’, to my open day I play a rushed incomplete tune. Sun will set on final dust and the night wind will puff it away. As for the other part of that dust – that animated my life? Of that my cannon speaks no more.

  • I finally finished my read on this and loved every thought process. I have just a couple comments: 1) yes, I’ve discovered that ‘truth’ doesn’t exist REALLY except in this reality, and the only trUth that IS paramount is your own; we all have a ‘trUth’ we live by. 2) I used to live in such anxiety about this devastation we’ve created but now I see it as an ultimate cleansing. It’s almost laughable/silly what we’re creating here and Mother Nature WILL have the last word. 3) There’s a concept/theory that as Spirit, we chose our journey/path before coming here. If that’s true then all is in Divine order whether my Ego-mind understands it or not. On some level, this brings me peace. 4) There’s a blogger, Madame X, who I don’t follow BUT I did see one of her quotes one day that made me smile: “All must perish to ensure peace.” I do believe she is correct. Blessings to all <3