Human Population Dynamics and Demographic Transition

by Steven Earl Salmony, Ph.D., AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population

Many too many scientists with appropriate expertise as well as demographers and economists everywhere in our time apparently have been rendered apoplectic by presentations of new and evidently unforeseen scientific research of human population dynamics and the demographic transition. These experts have relied upon preternatural thought and phony science to make a seemingly incontrovertible case for the viability of the human species and its current business-as-usual overproduction, overconsumption and overpopulation activities — global overgrowth activities of a distinctly human kind that can be seen overspreading the surface of Earth and that will soon be more generally acknowledged as patently unsustainable on the finite and frangible planet we inhabit.

Absolute global human population numbers have been skyrocketing since World War II. When I was born, 2.3 billion people were alive. In a single lifetime of threescore and ten years (1945-2015) human numbers are fully expected to grow to 7.2+/- billion human beings, an increase of 5+/- billion people.This population growth has been widely believed to be sustainable, at least in large part, because of two critical misperceptions that have been widely shared, consensually validated and allowed to stand unquestioned. Ruinously, predominant ideology has been deliberately confused with and presented as science. Recent unacknowledged scientific research indicates with remarkable simplicity and clarity that human population dynamics is essentially similar to the population dynamics of other species and that the traditional demographic transition model indicating population stabilization and an end to population growth soon is pseudoscientific, fatally flawed and utterly misleading. Fundamental mistakes have been made but experts have consciously refused to perform their duties to science and humanity by making necessary corrections.

Self-proclaimed population experts certainly are not stupid, and yet they appear to act as if they are ‘playing stupid’. Perhaps they been unfortunately influenced by TPTB just the way politicians have. In their foolhardiness, arrogance and avarice and by their lust for privilege, power and the concentrated wealth from which power and privilege are derived, TPTB have claimed ownership of the mass media. Global communications have become governed by what is economically beneficial, politically convenient, socially suitable, religiously tolerable and culturally contrived. The family of humanity has been duplicitously misguided and deceitfully duped by overly-educated, absurdly enriched sycophants of rich and powerful greedmongers who have been undermining and perverting science. The shared ideology of TPTB and their many minions leads to their imperious denial of scientific research that not only presents inconvenient truth but also exposes the ruse underpinning a non-negotiable, but unsustainable way of organizing human civilization on our watch. One of many pernicious effects of this situation is the willful denial of the best available scientific research of subjects like human population dynamics and the demographic transition. Resulting misunderstandings have been decisive in paving the way for a civilization nearing its collapse. Civilizations have crashed before, but never has the demise of a civilization put at risk future human well being and the Earth as a fit place for human habitation. If this perspective is somehow on the right track, then we could be witnesses to a colossal failure of nerve as well as to a determinative loss of capacity to do the right things, according to ‘the lights’ and scientific knowledge each of us possesses.

Limited space leads me to take an unconventional step at this point. Rather than lay out for you what is novel research regarding human population dynamics and the demographic transition, I am going to refer all of you to a website where you will find the presentations: A Summary of Human Population Dynamics and A Presentation of the Demographic Transition. Credit for this research belongs to Russell Hopfenberg, Ph.D. Perhaps now here the kind of sorely-needed open discussion that has been avoided by the professional societies of science and universally denied by demographers and economists can be fostered.

Please click on the following link: On that web page please find the two new presentations to which I referred just above. For those interested in a deeper understanding of related research in population science, note that other presentations and peer-reviewed articles can be found at the website.

Comments 129

  • Dear All,

    I want to open the discussion by thanking Dr. Guy McPherson for this opportunity to talk about a matter that appears to have profound implications for future human well being and environmental health.


    Steve Salmony

  • Um, excuse me, but “…for future human well being and environmental health.” makes no sense here. NTE is what makes sense here.

    You also said: “The family of humanity has been duplicitously misguided and deceitfully duped by overly-educated, absurdly enriched sycophants of rich and powerful greedmongers who have been undermining and perverting science.”

    Yes, that we already know – and now we are all going to die, very soon. It is too late, nothing can be done. Have a beer and smoke a joint. Cancel your subscription to “Smithsonian” magazine.

  • Thank you Dr. Salmoney for sharing your research. It is unfortunate that while the statistics are staggering, it is decades too late. The reason I say this is because in the Fall of 1993, a switch was flipped and by Spring of 94, a slow, smoldering powder keg was lit to implode from the inside out. By hijacking Agenda 21, withholding nutrition and education; and implementing the full force of mind control, TPTB have succeeded in permanent distraction by dumb down! We are on the fast track to extinction, which in my opinion is due any second; to say “let’s hope for the best” is at best, naïve. It would take a critical mass awareness, focused and intent. However, when you have an endless distraction of salacious, Machiavellian theatrix produced to masturbate the carnal mind. How can science compete with this “highway to hell”?

  • Well, Kathy Cassandra has written on the topic too many times to count. Maybe by pasting her comments here, those wtih a couple of nerve cells still connected together between their ears might benefit:

    Population Arithmetic, as described by Kathy Cassandra:

    “(Eric:) Daily world deaths is now about 150,000 and births about 350,000. So lets say for 1 year we had NO births and normal deaths. We would reduce our population by 54 million. So 10 years with NO births and normal deaths would be 540 million. So say we wanted to get back to say 4 billion people – we need 3 billion deaths over and above any births. So it would take about 55 years of no births and current normal deaths to lower our population by 3 billion. By then the youngest would be 55 years old so there would be no fertile women and thus we would go extinct anyway. There is not time to reduce the population by not having kids. The reductions will come from increasing deaths…..

    BTW The population in China increased by 300 million after the 1 child per family policy was put in place. Seems strange I know, but it depends on how many are at reproductive age, how early they have children, and how long they live. The policy SLOWED growth of the population but growth continued.

    We don’t have time to reduce our population enough to save ourselves by restricting births, thus we will reduce our population because we didn’t have the foresight to save ourselves 40 years ago. The only question is how we will be culled (famine, disease, war, likely all of those) and whether a remnant will find a livable world when all is said and done. I think not.”

    Other vital issues not covered include dismantling the 400+ Fukes, the positive climate feedback loops, of which the most ominous is the possible (some say probable) impending 50 Gt. East Siberian Arctic Shelf methane clathrate burp.

    Those unable to comprehend the arithmetic should skip this arithmetic in favour of Population “Dynamics”.

  • It’s such a puzzling position to be in. Some say that doom was always in the cards, and I can follow that logic. We seem to be in such an existential bind as living creatures. To be or not to be? It almost seems more noble to opt out of this incredible mess of suffering, doomed existence.

    1993 as a turning point? Agenda 21? How uninformed I am! As Guy has proposed, turning points have existed throughout our long history. I can’t even wrap my mind around it. So how about if we just, as individuals, look at where the turning point was for us? For me, it was the late 60’s with massive and feverish urban development and the destruction of historic cities. It was the destruction of “historic” forestry to replace it with money-making timber crops. More paving, more people, more cars, less calm, more violence.

    What to do when there is wild turbulence about you that you neither caused nor comprehend? Perhaps it is to be very quiet and still, to take up as little space and presence as you can, and bide your time?

  • Orion magazine has an interview in the current issue with population researcher Alan Weisman. On the one hand Weisman clearly understands our dire and hopeless circumstances because he says at one point that 4-5 billion people are alive today only because of the Haber-Bosch process. How disappointing then to hear him express optimism that the education of women could bring about a rapid fall in birth rates and avert catastrophe. I guess what else is he going to say?

    TPTB are getting ready to cull the masses by launching WW3.

  • I don’t like the “reply” function. I like a conversation that proceeds in real time, one after another. If you are replying to someone, quote them and then reply, so I can see your thoughts pop up at the end of the comment thread. I can’t be searching the entire list of comments to see if there’s a new one squeezed in between some I have already read. I’ll miss a lot that way.

    Ozman, please come back. I miss you.

    Nuclear weapons in Canada (from the last thread)? No need. Canadians will vote for all of the provinces to become U.S. states, just as Stephen Harper wants.

    Nice try, but it will be very difficult to ban talk of spirituality, even though it’s a good idea. There should be no arguments, however, if we all remember that the systems of evidence for religion and science are incommensurate. That is, what counts as evidence in religion is not what counts as evidence in science. Claims made by religions allow evidence such as quotations from holy texts and personal revelations. Claims made by science disallow these forms of evidence. So these two systems cannot judge each other’s claims. End of story.

    Rob at the public library, I love reading your stuff, you have really clear vision on this. I’m old, I’ll just stay here and grow vegetables until someone takes it away from me, or kills me, or I catch a new flu and die, or the climate becomes so extreme that vegetables don’t grow here anymore.

  • Second and last post for today. Apropos to the last thread:

  • If we can own this, consume this, tame and befriend this, this being our problem and stop in our fear that the other is out to get us, we can show the way out of the trap we find ourselves in. Thinking some other will do it is what everyone is thinking. Let’s do it ourselves. Good science, good government, good living, good earth.

    TPTB are not conspiring to create the mechanisms to control us, they are clumsily using the mechanisms that already control us. It is normal to deny what does not fit into your mental framework that you inherited for survival. We here all inherited the same model. It is outdated and must be updated. But we have to create a new version that fits with the natural ecology of the old. Very few people are up to date on the science of the mind and most function through the out dated model. Thus frustrations as pointed out in this article ensue and catastrophe waits in the wings. To create a new model for our mind so it can open up to the time we live in is the actual challenge and nothing will change until that is done. Knowing we are safe yet and there is time yet and having a reason to fight on in spite of the odds and or because of the odds is important groundwork to accomplish. Love and reason abounds. Who can’t yet see that?

  • 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

    Guy expanded on his definition of secular. Spirituality as a connoting aspect to the above definition is never touched on here.

    I would love to have someone show me where this blog ever went non-secular per the above definition. In my proximation, it never has and by it’s own nature, never will. So everyone who is afraid that religion of the above nature will sneek in here and distract can relax, it won’t happen. Not on my watch ;)

  • @ Erin: thank you!, and, Yes, I’m not into the “reply” function. Although this blog suffers from a lack of focus as the thread gets longer and longer AND some comments are just skipped over because of the volume – it more than makes up for it in other areas – the “reply” function will make it impossible for me to try and scroll up and down trying to keep up with any replies. I just read as it goes, even though sometimes it seems difficult to maintain a cohesive conversation.

    I also like the fact that Guy is putting up something new every three days – so the threads don’t get so long and they stay more on topic.

    This blog is awesome because it is not moderated – I like it. The discussions on “the nature of man” and “Zen this and Zen that” are sometimes funny – everyone knows that “The Enlightened Ones” are really not very enlightened and to hear them go on is sometimes entertaining as long as they don’t attack others. My buddha can beat up your buddha.

    The stupidity of our civilization is unbelievable. They are spraying toxic chemicals in the air in Boulder and Longmont (Colorado) to kill mosquitos because everyone is afraid of the West Nile flu virus. But, if I say too loudly that it’s better that a dozen or so people die of West Nile than spray these chemicals in the air – I’d be labeled a monster.

    Oh the humanity!

    If I say that little old ladies in nursing homes that sit in chairs drooling all over themselves should be euthanized, again, I am a monster.

    We should have LONG AGO implemented some kind of worldwide population controls – but then we would be Monsters.

    There is no solution because it is far too late and there would have never been any solution because we are far too stupid. So, why bother with these things?, – let the silly little humans run about making fools of themselves.

  • I don’t like the reply thread either for the same reasons.

  • The potential for a human dieback/dieoff beginning by 2030 is rising dramatically as the following crises all come together:The Arctic Amplification effect of climate change is disrupting the polar jet stream and causing weather destabilization through the Northern Hemisphere. This is already disrupting agricultural output.
    Potential for methane bursts in the Arctic is rising as the region warms. This could induce runaway warming;
    Ocean acidification will have multiple ecological impacts, from loss of biodiversity to coral and phytoplankton loss;
    Ocean acidification introduces a potential for additional warming due to increased dimethylsulphide release from the oceans;
    Fresh water supplies are declining;
    Soil fertility is declining;
    The oceans are almost fished out;
    Terrestrial species are going extinct at a ferocious rate, with a rising possibility that a vital keystone species might join them;
    World oil and food prices are high and still rising;
    Some oil-exporting nations like Egypt are already destabilizing politically as their exportable oil resources run out;
    Fossil fuel use is still increasing;
    Population is still growing.IMO there is little realistic chance that the world will be able to resolve any of these problems, let alone the entire interlocking predicament their convergence represents. This is largely because of the evolutionary bequest of human risk perception, social-conformity bias, and growth orientation. All of these are a result of our evolutionary past – they have been programmed into our neural behavior circuits by natural selection over hundreds of thousands of years in response to distant past, not present, environmental and social conditions.

    The main human evolutionary advantage has been our incredible analytic intellect. It has allowed us to become the undisputed, indisputable dominant species on the planet. This is possible because our intelligence operates as a limit-removal mechanism, not a limit-acceptance mechanism.

    Whenever we run into a roadblock to continuing growth in any domain, our evolved response is to figure out a way around it. It is virtually impossible for humans to see a problem and not try to solve it. Unfortunately we are very good at seeing problems and opportunities, but very, very poor at seeing consequences. As a result most of our solutions end up creating worse problems a little later. As Sevareid’s Law states: “The chief cause of problems is solutions.”

    These human qualities (poor long-term risk perception, social-conformity bias, growth orientation, problem-solving compulsion) all have an evolutionary origin and are not easily circumvented at the species level, individual examples notwithstanding.

    As a result, I really don’t think we’re going to get out of this one. Matters have long since passed out of our ability to control them consciously, if indeed our sense of control was ever anything more than an illusion. Most of our previous problem-solving attempts have either made matters worse by enabling yet more growth, or have merely kicked the can down the road a little.

    There is no reason to expect our behavior to change in the near future. That is because much of our behavior springs from evolved brain circuits of which we have little conscious awareness and over which we have very little conscious control.

    Perhaps it’s time we showed a little humility in the face of Mother Nature, and admit that we’ve painted ourselves into an evolutionary corner. Perhaps such an admission would liberate us enough to see what else we might be doing at this suspended moment in history.

    Apropos the original post, population is a self-resolving issue at this point. It can’t be resolved by acceptable human actions in the time remaining. It might not even be addressable through unacceptable actions. Energy spent worrying about it is wasted.

    Sorry Steve. I wish I could offer you what you’re looking for, but I can’t – not if I wish to retain any intellectual self-respect.

  • Erin , where are you growin those veggies. Just wondering if you are near southern NH. I’m old too…and feel the same way.

  • I don’t care for the “reply” function either for all the same reasons Erin stated.
    But then I am tired of computer complications and complexity and over stimulation.
    Guess it happens in old age. Gets hard to keep up. Makes me want to go live in a care home.

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #31

    Grimace. Dread confirmed.
    Used to enjoy being right.
    Truth refugee blues.

  • From many conversations I have had with activists of various stripes I have found that many of them – the very people you would think would form the base of support for some sort of program to reduce population – reject overpopulation as a problem at all. It seems to elicit instant accusations of prejudice and bigotry, and specious theories erupt, such as – there is plenty of food, it’s the distribution and waste that is the problem – and/or, if everyone was a vegan it wouldn’t be a problem. They never seem to have an answer to the question – how can growth continue on a finite planet?

    In any case as we all know, this problem is going to be resolved without any intelligent plan.

  • Population overshoot is determined by food overproduction because human population dynamics is common to the population dynamics of other species. More food for human consumption equals more people; less food for human existence equals less people; and no food, no people. Former UN Secretary-General Mr. Kofi Annan noted in 1997, “The world has enough food. What it lacks is the political will to ensure that all people have access to this bounty, that all people enjoy food security.” Please examine the probability that humans are producing too much not too little food.

    Perhaps the global predicament humanity faces results in large part from the way humankind annually is systematically and continuously increasing the global food supply and, by so doing, causing absolute global human population numbers to skyrocket. It is the super-abundance of harvests that are driving population numbers of the human species to overshoot the natural limitations to endless growth that are inevitably imposed by a relatively small, evidently finite, noticeably ravaged planet with the size, composition and frangible ecology of Earth.

    The spectacular success of the Green Revolution over the past 60 years has “produced” an unintended and unanticipated global effect, I suppose: the rapidly increasing supply of food for human consumption has given birth to a human population bomb, which is exploding worldwide before our eyes. The most formidable threat to future human well being and environmental health appears to be caused by the unbridled overproduction of food. For a moment let us reflect upon words from the speech that Norman Bourlaug delivered in 1970 on the occasion of winning the Nobel Prize. He reported, ” Man also has acquired the means to reduce the rate of human reproduction effectively and humanely. He is using his powers for increasing the rate and amount of food production. But he is not yet using adequately his potential for decreasing the rate of human reproduction. The result is that the rate of population increase exceeds the rate of increase in food production in some areas.” Plainly, Norman Borlaug states that humanity has the means to decrease the rate of human reproduction, but is choosing not to sensibly limit human population numbers.

    According to recent research, human population numbers appear as a function of the global growth of the food supply for human consumption. This means that the food supply is the independent variable and human population numbers is the dependent variable, not the other way around. Perhaps the human species is not being threatened in our time by a lack of food.

  • For too long a time human population growth has been comfortably viewed by many too many scientists and virtually all politicians, economists and demographers as somehow outside the course of nature. Human beings are exceptional vis a vis population dynamics. The potential causes of global human population growth have seemed to them so complex, obscure, or numerous that a strategy to address the problems posed by the unbridled growth of the human species have been assumed to be unknowable. Their preternatural, insufficiently scientific grasp of human population dynamics has lead to widely varied forecasts of global population growth. Some forecasting data indicate the end to human population growth soon. Other data suggest the rapid and continuous increase of human numbers through Century XXI and beyond.

    Scientific evidence appears to indicate that the governing dynamics of human population numbers is indeed knowable, as a natural phenomenon. According to unchallenged scientific research, the population dynamics of human organisms is essentially common to, not different from, the population dynamics of other organisms.

    To suggest, as many politicians, economists and demographers have been doing, that understanding the dynamics of human population numbers does not matter, that the human population problem is not about numbers, or that human population dynamics has so dizzying an array of variables as not to be suitable for scientific investigation, seems politically convenient and economically expedient but fundamentally flawed and incorrect.

    Please consider that population growth of the human species worldwide is a rapidly cycling positive feedback loop in which food availability drives population growth and this recent, astounding growth in absolute global human numbers gives rise to the misperception or mistaken impression that food production needs to be increased even more. Data indicate that the world’s human population in the last half of the 20th century grew by approximately two percent per year. All segments of it grow by about 2%. Every year there were more people with brown eyes and more people with blue ones; more people who were tall and more short people. It also meant that there were more people growing up well fed and more people growing up hungry. The hungry segment of the global population went up just like the well-fed segment of the population.

    We may or may not be reducing hunger by increasing food production; however, we are most certainly producing more and more hungry people. The sensationally successful efforts of humankind to increase food production in the past 60 years in order to feed a growing population has resulted and continues to result in even greater human population numbers. The perceived need to increase food production to feed a growing population is a widely shared and consensually validated, colossal misperception, a denial of the physical reality and the space-time dimension. If people are starving at a given moment of time, increasing food production cannot help them. Are these starving people supposed to be waiting for sowing, growing and reaping to be completed? Are they supposed to wait for surpluses to reach them? Without food they would die. In such circumstances, increasing food production for people who are starving is like tossing parachutes to people who have already fallen out of the airplane. The produced food arrives too late; however, this does not mean human starvation is inevitable.

    Recognize that human beings, other species and even microorganisms have basically similar population dynamics. We do not find hoards of starving roaches, birds, squirrels, alligators, or chimpanzees in the absence of food as we do in many “civilized” human communities today because these non-human species are not annually increasing their food supply as humans do by means of technological advances in food production and distribution capabilities.

  • To create a new model for our mind so it can open up to the time we live in is the actual challenge and nothing will change until that is done.

    New models for the mind will not necessarily reprogram the wetware to produce desired changes in behavioural output. The models are concepts in som folks’ heads. But models can certainly provide the academics with platform from which to pontificate.

    It is the super-abundance of harvests that are driving population numbers of the human species to overshoot the natural limitations to endless growth

    The starving billion should be given this welcome information. Amongst the manifestation of “the natural limitations to endless growth” is a foreshortened life expectancy. Perhaps those affected should be taught acceptance?

    food supply is the independent variable and human population numbers is the dependent variable

    Food supply is dependent on energy availability. Peak Energy = Peak Food.

    We do not find hoards of starving roaches, birds, squirrels, alligators, or chimpanzees in the absence of food as we do in many “civilized” human communities

    Certainly not. That’s because of the First Law of Biology: Eat or be eaten. Homo calidus has developed ways to kick the “be eaten” can sufficiently far down the road that hordes of uneaten Homo calidus accumulate.

    Roaches, birds, squirrels, alligators, or chimpanzees don’t starve. For them it’s do lunch or be lunch. As becomes the case with Homo calidus in extremis.

    No need to harp on the mantra of restricting food supply. Peak per capita energy was in the 1970s. Increased efficiency may squeeze more out of every Joule, but only up to peak efficiency. Then the fun starts.

  • Robin, thanks for saving me the trouble of reminding Steve that there is no solution to the population problem that will save us in time. Extinction will of course make it irrelevant.

    War posturing re Syria may allow TPTB to effect a huge reduction in population or extinction before the planet does it for us.

    I vote against the reply function as well – if we had unlimited posts it might be a good idea – but I do not advocate a return to that. With two posts a day if you want to reply to multiple posts you could only do two using the reply function.

    However those of us who don’t want to use it don’t have to and can continue to post in the chronological manner. If Guy keeps it others can do as they wish.

    Rob at the library from the last post 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! Yes NTE is good for something. Hope you find much to enjoy until it all goes away which given the Syria thing may be sooner rather than later.

  • Thanks, everybody, for weighing in. I’ve terminated the embedded replies option.

  • Batter up!

    Being a brutally straightforward economist, in my game – eternity would bat last. So extinction is unavoidable Our time a cosmic speck. In the end, does it make any real difference if we last another hundred or a million years? Why would the number be relevant in an eternal context?

    Funny thing though, in my game it still “ain’t over ’til its over”

    So Let’s Play ball



  • “New models for the mind will not necessarily reprogram the wetware to produce desired changes in behavioural output. The models are concepts in som folks’ heads. But models can certainly provide the academics with platform from which to pontificate.”

    Aren’t the minds on NBL new mind models? Everyone here knows life would be just fine if we grew our own food and consumed as little as TPTB would permit. If we can be so different from the over-consuming, over-populating masses, why can’t everyone learn be too?

  • Tom F wrote, “TPTB are getting ready to cull the masses by launching WW3.”

    I see this sort of thing all the time, and I don’t get it.

    To the extent that TPTB benefits from the present growth-oriented system, why would they work toward an anti-growth agenda? Negative population growth necessarily means deflation, which is generally deadly to the moneyed interests. Yea, there will be lots of “dead people’s stuff” they can take, but what will it be worth? It’s all worth a lot more when there’s competition for it, no? And TPTB dominate any game based on competition, right?

    So I’ve never really seen any logic in the “cull the masses” message of the Alex Jones crowd. Enlighten me if I’m missing something important.

  • @Kathy Cassandra “I vote against the reply function as well – if we had unlimited posts it might be a good idea – but I do not advocate a return to that. With two posts a day if you want to reply to multiple posts you could only do two using the reply function.”

    Even with the reply function you could still reply to more than two posts — you’d simply post a new statement, without using the reply function, and call out the various individuals you were replying to as we’ve always done.

    Personally, I much prefer the reply function as serves as an organizer by linking related comments together, in tidy groupings. If I want to avoid a back-and-forth argument on religion, for instance, I can just skip that grouping of posts. Nonetheless, the people have spoken indicated that they don’t like the reply function. So, Guy is doing the right thing by getting rid of it. All the same, I’d like to thank him for being responsive to my suggestion and giving the response function a try.

  • Yep, any second we’re going to go extinct. Any second except the next billion or so. Same difference. Might as well exaggerate the truth, as it sure makes us feel good… about reducing population numbers, I mean going extinct, sooner, or now, or whatever. Yep, no group psychosis here.

  • @Jan Steinman Enlighten me if I’m missing something important.

    I didn’t mean they are intentionally going to start a war to reduce population. What they are doing is playing the deadly game of last man standing by going to nuclear war brinkmanship with Syria/Iran. That is going to inevitably lead to World War 3 IMO and will result in lots of dead people.

  • Agree that policy makers don’t understand resources constraints (or limits) and therefore don’t understand population realities, or growth rates, or risk to food supply systems. However, I disagree now that humanity has entered a highly unique domain that makes these risks higher, mostly because humans are showing (and have shown before) that we are K strategists. Fertility rates in the OECD were already in gentle decline starting with the stagnant beginning of the new millennium. Since 2007, OECD fertility rates have declined steeply. Meanwhile, in the Non-OECD, fertility rates are also in decline especially in China. Many of the forecasts for a hot, food scarce world around mid-century now intersect with declining population growth. In other words, humans take the signal from their environment.

    Remember all those Wolf-Sheep-Grass models and white papers on deer overpopulation and yeast analogies that were popular last decade? Those are not incorrect. They just don’t apply to humans. We’re not deer, and yes, we are smarter than yeast. (Which isn’t saying much).

    Tail risk always exists for any system. I assume major tail risk is with us right now, in the human system. The mistake many made, however, was in thinking that we live in a special time, when tail risk was uniquely high–that we are living in a unique period in human history. This idea was, and remains, very seductive. I wish it was true, it would make life more exciting and stimulating. I now see that the probability of it being true, however, is low.


  • I think peak food will happen much latter than peak energy. High prices and demand (people would rather eat than ride around) will channel energy resources into big ag. Even the military will cut back so ag can continue…until. Having said that, recall a quote from Frank Zappa:

    “The illusion of freedom [in America] will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

  • Another Feedback (if not already mentioned)

    Reduction of dimethylsulphide ocean removes cloud cover

  • The author needs to do a bit more research….this bit from the referenced papers is flat out unforgiveable:
    “The Agricultural Revolution began about 10,000 years ago and spread to all corners of the globe. On the American continent, this occurred after 1492.”
    Explain that to the potato and corn farmers in the Americas.

  • With a few posts suggesting “wars and rumours of wars” I thought a few of NBL participants who still read books might be interested in a couple of titles examining the possibility of future wars.

    I have read Climate Wars and have listened to a three hour documentary produced by him based on the book. I have followed Dyer’s work for years and his analyses always seem spot on to me. He has a blog on which he posts his weekly columns about a month after they have been published places where he can make a few bucks on them.

    Dyer is no doubt, as the blurb says, one of the great analysts and war and conflict has been the centre of his speciality throughout his career. He has a sharp mind and a very accessible writing style.

    For this book he was able to gain access to Pentagon officials as well as access to some of the contingency plans the USA has in mind to deal with these near-term crises. A big wake up for those who deny climate change or any of the other related upcoming catastrophes is the realization the Pentagon acknowledges the reality of these probabilities and is preparing accordingly. When insurance companies and War Engines respond as if all these problems are real I suspect that is some degree of confirmation that, in fact, they are.

    Dyer’s book is Highly Recommended.

    The Climate Wars
    -Gwynn Dyer

    2011 reprint edition available with new subtitle – The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats

    ”From one of the world’s great geopolitical analysts, a terrifying glimpse of the none-too-distant future, when climate change will force the world’s powers into a desperate struggle for advantage and even survival. Dwindling resources. Massive population shifts. Natural disasters. Spreading epidemics. Drought. Rising sea levels. Plummeting agricultural yields. Crashing economies. Political extremism. These are some of the expected consequences of runaway climate change in the decades ahead, and any of them could tip the world towards conflict. Prescient, unflinching, and based on exhaustive research and interviews, Climate Wars promises to be one of the most important books of the coming years.

    I have not read Tropic of Chaos but I have seen some of Parenti’s other work. My impression is he is certainly a credible source and witness. However, as you can see from the blurb below, it may contain the dash of hopium authors feel they must include in the last chapter to maintain the veneer of “optimism” which seems to be de riguer in these kinds of works. Dyer is not at all unrealistic in his analysis.


    Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence
    -Christian Parenti

    From Africa to Asia and Latin America, the era of climate wars has begun. Extreme weather is breeding banditry, humanitarian crisis, and state failure. In Tropic of Chaos , investigative journalist Christian Parenti travels along the front lines of this gathering catastrophe–the belt of economically and politically battered postcolonial nations and war zones girding the planet’s midlatitudes. Here he finds failed states amid climatic disasters. But he also reveals the unsettling presence of Western military forces and explains how they see an opportunity in the crisis to prepare for open-ended global counterinsurgency. Parenti argues that this incipient “climate fascism”–a political hardening of wealthy states– is bound to fail. The struggling states of the developing world cannot be allowed to collapse, as they will take other nations down as well. Instead, we must work to meet the challenge of climate-driven violence with a very different set of sustainable economic and development policies.

    I’m not sure there is any explicit plan by TPTB to incite a WWIII; it will likely happen all by itself as the result of a relatively predictable chain of events. I’m not sure any one is really in charge or has actual control on the levers of the future. If there were such control, I’m not sure the greed-mongers would want it all to end so badly and put a crimp in their profits and power.

    I’m sure they view the majority of the population as “useless eaters” but die-off, slaughter, environmental degradation and an uninhabitable planet doesn’t seem to make good business sense to me.

    Terrence McKenna often suggested no one is in charge and that is why things are as fucked up as they are. I doubt Fukishima was included in anyone’s business plan. My feeling is the notion of an intentional WWIII complete with nuclear weapons is bordering on the paranoid but then who knows – stranger things have happened … or have they?

  • DMD says: I think peak food will happen much latter than peak energy.

    Maybe: Peak food could happen very soon when tropospheric ozone (and all other manners of soil depletion and pollution, lack of water, etc.) will make growing anything vegetal almost impossible. The damage to trees and crops is already exponential from all sources combined.

  • When all of this makes you feel like an insignificant spec of nothingness in the universe, here is one comforting thought; We (humans) and our civilization may be the most complex development in all of the milky way galaxy. That is approx 120,000 lights years of space and 4 billion stars (with associated bodies etc).

    Now here is an even more hard to grasp thought; That may all be coming to and end in a mere few decades.

    Life is older than Earth Itself – Moore’s Law

  • As high populations in overshoot encounter conditions of heavy carrying capacity destruction death rates exceed birth rates until reduced population/capacity balances are arrived at. This assumes that massive population decline isn’t precipitated by acute causes like thermonuclear war. Of course, if carrying capacity is totally destroyed the species will go extinct.

    Catastrophic climate change presents conditions of severe carrying capacity destruction. In concert with soil erosion, fresh water scarcities, synthetic toxins, extinctions and ecosystem collapses, nutrient constraints ie: phosphorus, fossil hydrocarbon input reductions and other factors that determine total temporary human carrying capacity… we’re in for a massive population crash. A very rough ride.

    Maintaining what little humane behavior our species has will be a difficult if not impossible challenge. Assuming for a moment that H. s. sapiens could sequester all nuclear annihilation sources… and eliminate fossil fuels heading off catastrophic climate change ergo near term human extinction… (big assumptions) The best possible outcome (not a panacea) will depend on current alterations to our overall lifestyle which would include: Widespread birth control practices (acknowledging the limited benefit expressed by Kathy Cassandra); Dietary changes – reduction or elimination of all flesh and derivatives which are ecologically demanding and impact human psychologies with unconscious acceptance of violence; Agricultural changes – intensive global organic production with soil regeneration, nutrient recycling (humanure), Terra preta/compost tea; Localized water dependencies – reduced global grain transport; Health practices that emphasize physical fitness and mental/emotional equanimity; A sharing economy. Assuming survival, these and other localizations and sustainable practices would give H. s. sapiens opportunities to maintain some humanity. We do not have to compound the brutality of overshoot/carrying capacity destruction — we might still mitigate it, to some small extent anyway. Why not land as softly as we can?

    Yes, I know, I’m just dreaming again. But what else should I be doing at the Eve of Destruction? Let an old man dream. But, rather than do these rational dreamy things, it is likely that humanity will accelerate into a one way dead end wall, eyes shut or blinded by phosphorescent screens, ears plugged with noisy earbuds, touch cut off by social fears, minds filled with hate and locked tight. I wish these ideas were more available and more comprehensible to the confused and distracted masses. I wish that children’s dreams of happy futures could still come true. But I guess I’m wishing upon an exploding star.

  • If a Vegetarian eats mostly vegetables
    What, then, does a Humanitarian eat?

    I suspect in the future, for a time at least, Humanitarianism will be a solution to both overpopulation and food shortages.

    In the future there will be two kinds of people:
    1) those you assimilate into your affinity group and
    2) food … which, I suppose, is assimilated in a slightly different manner …

    Goodnight, kids.

  • Aren’t the minds on NBL new mind models?

    The basic wiring has not changed in millennia.

    Models for the functioning of the mind have advanced a lot in recent years.

    Dr. Jaak Panksepp’s work has clarified the nature of the non-intellectual, non-rational, intuitive aspects of the mind and its anatomic correlates with the periaqueductal gray matter and the limbic system. The latter is important in the formation of the several types of memory, each of which have varying a anatomical correlates.

    Other work has indicated the importance of the prefrontal cortex in both hemispheres and particularly Brodmann’s area 10 in each of hemispheres with rational, intellectual, executive functions.

    Embodied cognition is increasingly being shown to be a reliable basis for understanding the processes of cognition at their most basic levels.

    Everyone here knows life would be just fine if we grew our own food and consumed as little as TPTB would permit.

    Yeah, but that ain’t a mind model. They are memes and arrays of memes – paradigms, etc.

    Muffle: Cloaking one’s angst by painting it’s source with the brush of “group psychosis” may be a temporary remedy. But not a very effective one. There have been others who tried to deal with it by great efforts to”convert” NBL to a more comfortable message, or failing that, to disrupt it.

    However, NTE is either real, or a substantial load of male bovine faecal material. Sarcastic comments will not change it either way. Let’s hope that it proves to be the substantial load, in which case the angst will prove totally unneeded.

    The mistake many made, however, was in thinking that we live in a special time, when tail risk was uniquely high–that we are living in a unique period in human history.

    Unique period? Depends on the time scale one chooses.

    When the options to do lunch become sufficiently constrained, those who can’t do lunch will promptly be lunch; their humaneness will be their tenderiser.

    War is waged with an end in view. Territorial gains provide political/military advantage and/or resources. Sadly, throughout the world, resources are depleting, and with it the potential ERoEI of war. But if folks can open-pit-mine tar sands, frack-baby-frack, deep ocean drill, and remove mountaintops, they may also find it worthwhile to wage war. The problem is asymmetric warfare. One side has a war machine maintained by empire/hierarchy/society, while the other side has a war contraption maintained by community/anarchy.

    Asymmetric warfare has been around for a long time. From Rudyard Kipling’s “Arithmetic at the Frontier”, about the British in Afghanistan around the time of the British Raj:

    A scrimmage in a Border Station-
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail.
    The Crammer’s boast, the Squadron’s pride,
    Shot like a rabbit in a ride!

    (The traditional rupee was one “tola” of silver; 10 rupees was 117 grams = 4 ounces of silver. A pound sterling once bought a pound of sterling silver, but around that time bought about eight ounces of silver. A jezail was a handcrafted rifle.)

    Culling the human livestock herd might not be an indiscriminate process. Livestock, even human livestock, can have some value.

    Goats and sheep can convert vegetation on marginal lands into edible meat. Vegans will miss out on these.

  • Guy,
    Thank you for taking away the ‘reply’ and returning to simplicity.
    The NBL community is awesome!

  • Steve you wrote “According to recent research, human population numbers appear as a function of the global growth of the food supply for human consumption. This means that the food supply is the independent variable and human population numbers is the dependent variable, not the other way around. Perhaps the human species is not being threatened in our time by a lack of food.”

    That assumes that agriculture can continue on as is. It cannot. Already climate change is interfering with the production of food. This will continue. Grain yields decrease with rising temps. Ground water is being used up and wells around the world have to be dug deeper and deeper so the ability to irrigate is decreasing at the same time crops need more water due to the temps. Glaciers are melting and when they are gone the usual annual summer melt will no longer fill rivers needed for irrigation. We are probably at peak phosphate. We are certainly at peak oil, so the use of machines will end.

    Organic Farming, even without the problems of climate change, cannot feed the world at current levels

    But irrelevant – when the grid fails for any of a number of reasons, but from lack of fossil fuels if none of the other reasons take it out, 427 nuclear plants around the world melt down with no remediation. And when industrial civ ends, the global dimming from the factories in China etc ends and the temps begin to soar. And well an attack on Syria might save us the trouble of waiting for that event as it may set of WWIII.

    Population control has become irrelevant as it cannot save humanity. OTOH anyone who is fertile should get their tubes tied now so that when birth control ceases to be available they won’t bring another human into the hell that awaits us. Have pity on the unborn, let them stay unborn. Gay men are exempted, but even gay women should get tubes tied as rape will be rampant in a world upturned.

  • Interesting things happening all over the place:

    Attack on Syria by US and allies could happen as early as tomorrow, according to at least one source.

    Record flooding in China, Russia and out west (right after massive forest fires denuded mountainsides of vegetation, resulting in huge mudslides).

    and this (the Apocalyptic horse of disease following the war horse around)

    August 28, 2013 – KYRGYZSTAN – Health officials fear an outbreak of bubonic plague in central Asia after a teenage boy died from the disease and three more were admitted to hospital in Kyrgyzstan. Temirbek Isakunov, a 15-year-old from a mountain village near the border with Kazakhstan, reportedly died from the disease last week after eating an infected barbecued marmot. Kyrgyzstan’s emergency ministry said a young woman and two children from a different village who came into contact with Isakunov were hospitalized on Tuesday with the high fever and swelling around the neck and armpits characteristic of bubonic plague, local news outlets reported. A total of 131 people, including 33 medical personnel, have been quarantined, although none of them have yet exhibited symptoms of the disease, the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda in Kyrgyzstan reported. The health ministry continues to find and quarantine people who came into contact with the teenager, according to its director. Kazakhstan has stepped up its border control with Kyrgyzstan and is operating quarantine points in light of the possible outbreak, the news agency Tengrinews reported. The Kazakh health ministry is searching out people who might have come into contact with the dead teenager, and is also determining where animal carriers of the disease might be moving between the two countries, according to a ministry official. The bacteria that cause bubonic plague are typically transmitted from rodents to humans via flea bites but can also be contracted through direct contact with infected tissue. Some local authorities in Russia have also grown wary over the incident, since citizens of Kyrgyzstan do not need a visa to enter the country and, according to the newspaper Izvestiya, more than 500,000 Kyrgyz work in Russia. According to TV news report in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth largest city, checkpoints in the airport there are inspecting all those arriving from countries with a high bubonic plague risk. A Russian public health official said cases of bubonic plague were registered in Kazakhstan every year, and the disease existed naturally in parts of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Russia, Izvestiya reported. –Guardian

  • @Jan Steinman

    It doesn’t make sense to you, because you probably aren’t an aristocratic sociopath with an insatiable need for MORE and a contempt for non-aristocratic, non-sociopathic humanity as being useless eaters and/or dumb animals.

    If they weren’t dumb animals, they’d be rich and powerful, right?

    There are many reasons why war is a profitable joy to Our Masters, not the least of which is, roughly since the Civil War, they no longer have to risk even the smallest number of themselves in the fight.

    Just to name a few reasons:

    1) War is by far the best way to relieve the lower classes of their wealth and concentrate it up the ladder, into, as Bush the Smarter once said “higher, tighter and righter hands.”

    2) War distracts the lower classes, and most importantly misdirects their own rage at being viewed as dumb animals (and treated accordingly) onto other dumb animals instead of, to put it mildly, the hands that are jamming that red-hot poker up their asses.

    3) War provides cover for all manner of evil that would not be allowed without the distraction of war. Hitler and his Nazis may have been plotting the extermination of the Jews earlier, but did not feel confident enough to begin the rogram en masses until…you guessed it..the fog of war allowed it (see “The Wansee Protocol”)

    If it was good enough for Hitler and his Nazis, you can be damned sure it’s good enough for the American Elite and their Corpzis.

    There’s more, but this is a long post and you get the idea.

    Not only that, all of these reasons have become orders of magnitude more powerful in tandem with the expansion of cheap energy and the explosion of technology, the same way TPTB are able to manipulate the economy in a way which we are long past the level of malicious mismanagement which caused massive depresssion in the past.

    Or like the concept that, in the pre-industrial past, a common remark among Our Masters was, “I can always hire one-half of the poor to kill the other half,” now technology has altered that universal equation to, “I can always hire one-tenth of the poor to kill the other nine-tenths.”

    Remember, one of the keys to understanding history is to undestand that 99.9% of all human societies, at least since the beginning of agriculture and probably before, are ruled by the most vicious sociopaths who’s success STEMS from the dispassionate way they view their fellow humans as dumb animals which gives them an evolutionary advantage (I am not condoning it, merely pointing reality out) to those burdened with conscience or a sense of morality.

    Once you begin to understand that eminently unpleasant reality, then both the past history and coming horrors become easier to understand and predict.

    For example, you think human slavery ended (or came close to ending) because people evolved morally? No, it ended because our sociopathic Masters found energy slaves to substitute, and it will be coming back when those same energy slaves dwindle because Fauntleroy, Buffy and their kids won’t be going without, and certainly not to give some dumb peasant animals a little more food or heat in the winter.

    Make book on it.

    @Thantos Sunbum

    I have pretty much completely agreed with your take on things, and applauded almost every word of your every post thus far. Until this:

    “My feeling is the notion of an intentional WWIII complete with nuclear weapons is bordering on the paranoid but then who knows – stranger things have happened … or have they.”

    In a logical world, or even a world NOT run by the most vicious (and charming) sociopaths humanity has to offer, the scientific principle of Occam’s Razor would prevail in all situations and such a sentiment would be both logical and supported by the facts.

    However, it is my observation that Occam’s Razor not only breaks down in the presence of sociopathy (1000X so for authoritarian aristocratic sociopathy) but is turned on it’s head.

    Consider the various society-changing and war-initiating events discussed here and how often it is Occam’s Razor turned on it’s head, where the “serious people” are all wholly wrong (or in on it willfully or through normalcy bias or just the good old Upton Sinclair line, “It is difficult to get a man to understand a thing when his paycheck depends on him not understanding it.”) and the “conspiracy theorists” (itself a psychologically designed term disseminated to quell obvious questions about the JFK assassinantion that simply did not exist before 1964) have been exactly right.

    From “Remember the Maine” to “The Gulf of Tonkin” to WMDs and “Saddam Gassed His Own People”, and so much in between including 1953 Iran, Occam’s Razor is turned upside down and the complex conspiracy is more likely true.

    Those are just event which now we are 100% certain of. Add 9/11 and the Reichstag Fire (pretty much the same event), and so much else up to and including the Boston Intel Op and Lockdown (sure a coupla teenaged patsies did it, sure they did, and never you mind the many photos of Craft International Mercs and their disappearing backpacks standing calm as you like in the maelstrom of the aftermath) now the framing of Syria for our own chemical weapons strike, and it becomes very close to obvious that, yes, once again aristocratic sociopathy, for all the reasons I mentioned above, has once again turned Occam’s Razor upside-down.

    And will continue to do so, right up until the coming 9/11 #2 and WWIII (2017 or 2019, no later than 2025, though I will simply be amazed if it holds off that long given how fast things have moved up to this point and how fast the environoment and economy are unravelling).

    Our Sociopathic Rulers view us as cattle or insects, and thus are justified to themselves in their roles as “the only REAL humans” to slaughter us in the millions or billions to protect themselves and their families, no different than you’d feel if you called in the exterminators to terminate millions or billions of termites if they threatened to chew your farmhouse into bits and bring it down around your ears.

    When dealing with sociopaths, it’s just that simple.

    But don’t take my word for it, 9/11 #2 is coming soon enough, maybe in a mere 3.5 years, and WWIII will follow, though Amerikan Corpzi Media surely won’t call it that (bad PR, you see, spooks the cattle).

    At this point, the Event Horizon is so damned close and right on target, my reply to pretty much everyone is “you’ll see”.

    And you will. 99% certainty.

    Keep on with your tremendous, insightful posts, Thanatos!

  • Ready for the electrical grid to start failing?

    Lolo Creek Complex threatens power supply for millions


    LOLO, Mont. –
    Fire bosses at the Lolo Creek Complex say growth on the north flank could soon threaten a large power line that supplies millions of homes in the northwest with electricity.

    Officials tell us the 500 KVA Bonneville Power Authority (BPA) power line feeds electricity to homes and business in multiple states and that it is critical that crews protect the line.

    Dave Schmitt, public information officer with the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team, tells us there are no homes in the path of danger, but officials are keeping an eye on the weather because more thunderstorms are expected to hit the area tomorrow, bringing gusty winds with them.

    “Power lines, as they are, are very susceptible to smoke and if it gets between the power lines it causes arching,” Schmitt tells us. “If the fires is intense it can damage the lines themselves, physically damage the line, so that is a very strong concern because it is several miles north of the fire.”

    Highway 12 remains open, since officials made the call to let traffic through on Saturday, and extra highway patrol troopers are on highway 12 making sure people do not exceed 45 mph.

    Fire bosses tell us the blaze remains just under 11,000 acres and containment’s is up from 40 to 47 percent but fire officials tell us the remainder of the fire is burning in rugged, steep terrain laden with heavy fuels.

    Officials want to remind the public to be cautious driving on highway 12 because crews are still using the highway to move large pieces of equipment.

    What all the “it’ll be alright” folks fail to realize is how easily it all falls apart and how much work it takes to keep it the way it is. Supply lines, ability to grow crops, access to potable water, air and water pollution, toxic gases, access to medical and dental care, pest-borne diseases, population contol, sea level rise, flooding, heat, ecosystem collapse, species extinction, and much more is all fast slipping out of human control. The collapse may come in fits and starts but the downhill slide in quality of life for humanity (as it already is for much of the environment) will be precipitous none-the-less.

  • @Paul Chefurka:

    You summarize in a few words the many ongoing / potential crises which risk reducing drastically the number of people that can live at the same time on this Earth, at the same time as degrading abysmally their living comforts.

    My issue is that I still have failed to grasp why exactly many on this blog jump from the all too obvious sharp and unpleasant population reduction that can be expected as a result to a full extinction of our species.

    Taking together the totality of certain + probable + possible ecological crises and their consequences, we could get an extinction of species as bad as Permian + drastic reduction in ocean life and fertile lands + warming as high as in the hottest geological period (+8°C if I’m not mistaken)

    How this, together with predictable consequences on human societies, could cause reduction in global human population by 1 order of magnitude (10% of survivors) is rather clear. Partly through War and Pestilence, mostly through Famine.

    But then, what could cause reduction by 9 orders of magnitude, approximately what would be necessary to cause extinction because of too few survivors? What would guarantee the jump from 1 order (division by 10) to 9 orders (division by 1,000,000,000) I have failed to understand.

    Asking the same question differently: if warming + reduction in biological diversity + reduction in fertile soil leads to zone where humans can live and grow food being reducted to even half or third of what it presently is, what could prevent humans from living there using permaculture of surviving crop species, and with population densities much reduced compared to what is presently possible?

    There is a very large distance, from few hundreds of millions, downto zero.

    The only human extinction circumstance I can think of is if Earth warming was really runaway, up to some Venus circumstances. I don’t know if this is possible given Earth position in the solar system, but even if it is, what could our species do which would put the planet far enough outside of the range of parameters as they have varied in the last few hundreds millions years? There has been some quite impressive changes in temperature, carbon dioxide and methane in the Earth past, and the planet remained able to carry complex organisms nonetheless.

  • Thanks for the article and the link. I will watch some of the videos with great interest. Glad people like you are offering us the true story, as otherwise the official media would continue to dupe us into nothingness.

  • yes, we are but a speck. a blip in time. Intelligent life? Ha! We will be long forgotten well before our Sun, our solar system and our galaxy, are no more.

    A long, long, time ago in a galaxy far, far, away some idiotic self-aware beings lived and died. Ho Hum.

    Still, here we are, watching the idiots juggling chainsaws on a tightrope. People paying to see people hurting each other for sport. Worldwide govt incompetence, fraud, waste, abuse and corruption. “Advanced” societies fraught with obesity, addiction, and violence. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    Want to get away?, or would you rather have a front row seat?, or, better yet, would you like to be a player?

  • Erin wrote:

    “That is, what counts as evidence in religion is not what counts as evidence in science. Claims made by religions allow evidence such as quotations from holy texts and personal revelations. Claims made by science disallow these forms of evidence. So these two systems cannot judge each other’s claims. End of story.”

    I understand what you have written, but it appears to me that you are relying on a logical fallacy to make your point here, namely the fallacy of equivocation. In the context of your remark, this means that we must accept two definitions of the word “evidence” to make the comments true.

    You point to the existence of a distinction between what a religious person would call “evidence” and what a scientist would call “evidence,” but allowing one party to use the term according to his own interpretation rather than obliging him to use it in the manner a majority have agreed we will use it makes possible the construction of arguments that are structurally ambiguous and inherently factually weak.

    Perhaps you would agree.

  • @Maecenas
    “… breaks down in the presence of sociopathy (1000X so for authoritarian aristocratic sociopathy) but is turned on it’s head.

    Points all well and lucidly taken. No argument from me. Don’t know what got into me. Perhaps it was the beautiful warm evening and brilliant sunset, the Jim Beam particularly delicious after a sumptuous evening repast, the conversations with my dogs expressing more witty repartee than usual, the dark messenger Raven gurgling “all is well” (around here, for a moment, anyway), the sweet evening breeze …

    “At this point, the Event Horizon is so damned close and right on target, my reply to pretty much everyone is “you’ll see”.”

    Oh, yes we will (that’s also what I usually retort); it unfolds before our eyes as we speak … why else the build-ups; why else is China assembling a modern war-machine; why else can India now buy fissionable materials on the open market et cetera – the indicators are many and clear, no doubt.

    No argument here.

  • Culture presents us with much that is real and also less that is illusory. From a psychological standpoint, because humans are shaped early and pervasively by cultural transmissions in our perception of reality, it is an evolutionary challenge for humankind to see the world as it is. When a psychologist thinks a patient is suffering from a mental illness, that is an evidence-based clinical judgment. However, general standards of normalcy are not clinical judgments, but matters of socio-cultural norms and conventions that are full of correctly perceived aspects of reality as well as some misperceptions of reality. Deeply disturbed mental patients distort reality drastically. “Normal” people pay no attention to them. Or if attention is paid to them, it is usually just long enough to put them away. After all, they are crazy; they cannot distinguish what is fantasy from what is real.

    By way of contrast, organizations like nation-states, as well as cultures, appear not to misperceive reality so sharply, yet distortions of what large aggregates of people perceive do remain. A term of art in psychology is useful here, “folie a deux.” The term means that two people share an identical distortion of reality. This understanding leads to other terms, “folie a deux cent million” for a social order or “folie a deux billion” for a culture. These terms refer to a misperception of reality commonly held by many people of an organization or culture. One way to define the highest standard of what is “normal” for the individual and for human aggregates could be looked at in terms of what is free of illusion, what is real, according to ‘the lights’ and best available science we possess.

    Even experts confuse ideology with science, contrived logic with reason, self-interested thinking with common sense….and fantasy with reality. Science regarding activities of the human population appears to be denied when ignorance of the world as it is serves to support greed-mongering, social order, religious dogma and culture. Self-interested thought leads to distortions of what could be real and to cultural bias in science. In such instances, fantasy is embraced everywhere; knowledge of what could be real is eschewed.

    Humanity is now confronted with formidable, human-driven global challenges. Some of them are already visible on the far horizon. We can also recognize how the blinding power of certain adamantly maintained and widely shared culturally transmitted fantasies regarding global consumption, production and propagation activities of the human species could have mesmerized many experts into thinking that the humankind is somehow not an integral part of the natural world we inhabit. They mistake the fantasy of human exceptionalism regarding population dynamics for reality. It is the fantasy of human exceptionalism that has been broadcast ubiquitously during my lifetime as if it was real.

    What is aiding the perpetuation of fantasy and the denial of reality? Why the stony silence among top-ranked experts regarding the soon to become, patently unsustainable growth of the human population worldwide, while the false hope of population stabilization and an end to population growth soon has been broadcast everywhere as if such an attractive idea had the support of sound science?

    Extant science indicates with remarkable simplicity and clarity that Demographic Transition Theory, for example, is a misleading, incomplete, ideologically-driven, logical contrivance that just so happens to be politically convenient, economically expedient, religiously tolerable, socially agreeable and culturally prescribed. Demographic Transition Theory is not adequately supported, indeed it is directly contradicted, by heretofore unchallenged scientific research referred to in this presentation.

    How did this collective, willful denial of what could be real occur on our watch? Rather than ‘what could be real’, we have been bombarded with broadcasts of false hopes and promises regarding a benign and somehow magically automatic end to human population growth soon. Bought-and-paid-for experts have been acting as gatekeepers of the status quo and censors of science. Powerful people inside and outside science have been colluding to deny scientific research of human population dynamics and the demographic transition.

    A new kind of leader and follower from within the family of humanity can do better, and I trust we will soon enough by awakening collectively to the need for behavior change rather than continue down the primrose path that Rachel Carson called a superhighway. The adamant advocacy and relentless pursuit by TPTB of a fantasy-driven, morally disengaged and patently unsustainable (superhigh)way of life — one of endless population growth and economic expansion — has to acknowledged, addressed and overcome.

  • Ron says “Buried in debt, destined for a miserable and wasted life. NTE saved me from many years of slavery! Why toil away at some meaningless labor?”

    The denizens of this fine outpost might be surprised that a number of people have come to this exact same conclusion and are out there busily enjoying each day as it comes.

    Kathy says “Terror Management Theory.”

    I became interested in peak oil long before the term became popular. I still remember reading through back issues of Oil & Gas journal at the Bancroft library, designing in my head how to compete in a world governed by scarcity.

    A key component was to discard/disregard all propaganda extolling the virtues of of equality, fairness, morality and other artificial constructs of control.

    The Summers memo shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone – finance has always had the ability to overwhelm the ‘living’ economy that supports it. So why unchain it from regulations & oversight? Could it be that the TBP well understood resource scarcity, which in fact drove Nixon’s decision to abandon gold repatriation back in ’73?

    That is, they knew better than anyone that the vaunted US economy was nothing more than a mirage enabled by domestic supplies, and once that advantage was gone, we wouldn’t be able to compete on a value basis? So, we needed to expand the dominance of US dollar hegemony by securing foreign supplies through out military capabilities. Is any of this ringing any bells?

    So here we are, all pretense to constitutional processes thrown to the wind. The 3 great spheres (US/EU, Russia & China) are all in the final stages of the beginning steps to secure what remaining resources & transport lines will dictate future activity.

    Ultimately, it’s great to be an American, because we are gonna be the last men (and women) standing. Sure, NDAA will be in full effect, but it’s a small price to pay for gas still running under $4/gallon. At that price, people can still drive anywhere they want, eat/drinking till they are full, watch 100+ TV channels, and basically lose themselves in this living fantasy.

    The alternative is real toil, gas over $15-20/gallon, scarcity, want & strife. How many ‘citizens’ will pick that option over controlled slavery? Go hit the road and answer the question for yourselves.

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #32

    Carp huddle, too warm
    to move in the river turned
    shrinking desert pond.

  • Are we not witnesses to something odd, pathological, unfortunate and terrible: an astonishing loss of nerve, moral courage and intellectual honesty that is reflected both in the absence of a sense of urgency on the part of many too many leaders and in the utter lack of a sustained expression of outrage by leaders and followers alike regarding ‘The Human-Induced Global Predicament’ which we can see looming ominously before us on the horizon? Perhaps we are now able to apprehend the Pyrrhic victory of malignantly narcissistic, arrogant, foolhardy, hollow people, The Powers That Be.

  • James A: No, I have not committed the fallacy of equivocation, which means that the same word is being used in an argument in two of its senses. As in this:

    A plane is a carpenter’s tool, and the Boeing 737 is a plane, hence the Boeing 737 is a carpenter’s tool.

    I am discussing the use of evidence in support of claims by separate social institutions. Different logical systems admit different types of evidence to support claims made in that system. In legal claims of guilt, it is not considered evidence to for the prosecuting attorney to say:

    “Damn straight he’s guilty! My grandfather showed me how to spot them shifty eyes, and that fucker’s got ’em!”

    In an argument between two men in a bar, however, this evidence might be taken as support for the claim of guilt.

    Scientific claims rely on a very restrictive set of criteria for evidence, which evolved since the Enlightenment in the 1740’s. Some have argued that the set is too restrictive, and that the assumptions of the Logical Positivists were false, but this is not the place to recount this discussion. I was once very involved in this as an academic pursuit, but none of it is relevant anymore as we slide into extinction. It is now clear to me that we are too smart for our own good and the good of the planet. I will not respond to any more charges of logical fallacy. Thank you for playing.

    Maybe we should all live as old order Mennonites, right?

    I heard an interview with the filmmaker who documented this story on CBC. She commented that it’s still happening, but the women cannot leave, and have no one to turn to for help. When people see that they can get away with something, they will do it, no matter how horrific, no matter what their professed moral system. Everyone in every human society would like to be a little less civilized than the society permits.

    About slavery and how it ended. Um, well, actually it didn’t end. You don’t have slaves in your backyard anymore. They have been moved to where you don’t have to see them. How cool is that? The developed nations have enslaved entire countries, and hired some of the slaves to be slave masters. They will beat, starve, kill, rape, burn, and torture their own people because that exempts them from the same treatment. The indigenous slave masters get to live a better life than those they torture, so that you can have food, clothes, shelter, drugs, and toys.

    Oh yes, and medical treatment:

    Rich people go to China and stay in a nice hotel to wait a few days for a political prisoner to be executed for his or her organs. The rich person then goes to a nice hospital and gets a new heart or kidney or liver or heart/lung. Viola.

  • @ Robin Datta

    There has been some discussion on NBL on how a “new mind” could come about. “Neuroplasticians” are demonstrating that the gap between what is considered mind and what brain is significantly vanishing. (I’m sure that shamans have never been limited by any perceived gap between the two, which helps explain shamans’ effectiveness.)

    My cursory take on the new mind was anticipated by logspirit above. To put it in my own simple terms, I’d provisionally suggest it goes something like this:

    – Mind over matter is based on reality. A grandmother lifts a car off her grandchild; this has actually been reported.

    – In a time of NTE, a new mind must address its root causes and change behavior so as to deal with NTE expeditiously.

    – A new mind is therefore practical and action oriented. In the face of NTE, there would be no place for academic pontification. It’s a matter of sink or swim. Or sink as gracefully as possible.

    – A new mind bases itself in the totality of the world, seeing the planet as a homeostatic system where all parts cooperate as do those of the human body. Conflict, and competition for scarce resources results from the current (old) mind, not the new.

    – Whatever you think is what you perpetuate.

    OK, this could go on, or it could be better shortened. It certainly could be modified, but one has to begin somewhere.

    @ B9K9

    I agree with you up to a very limited point. Since we are now a primarily domesticized species, I can’t imagine us (or the majority of us deeply enmeshed in IC) surviving any appreciable length of time outside of civilization. To survive accordingly to the draconian circumstances we face would seem to require a considerable turn toward altruism by TPTB. Primarily as a means of its own survival, but maybe necessarily going beyond that. Can that canine be benign!? Hmmmmm.

  • every day brings something that I did not know yesterday. today, I learn that there is a huge salt mine under lake Erie where they get the salt to melt the ice on the winter roads. and that the mine is now geologically unstable (moving) in a geologically unstable region. it made my day.

    Steven Earl S. says «Humanity is now confronted with formidable, human-driven global challenges. Some of them are already visible on the far horizon.»
    it depends on what you call “far”. they seem pretty close to me. actually the trees are just about to fall all over the city. and it will happen worldwide. it is already started.

  • A Lesson from the Romans who fiddled…….

    “The Romans did in these instances what all prudent princes ought to do, who have to regard not only present troubles, but also future ones, for which they must prepare with every energy, because, when foreseen, it is easy to remedy them; but if you wait until they approach, the medicine is no longer in time because the malady has become incurable; for it happens in this, as the physicians say it happens in hectic fever, that in the beginning of the malady it is easy to cure but difficult to detect, but in the course of time, not having been either detected or treated in the beginning, it becomes easy to detect but difficult to cure. Thus it happens in affairs of state, for when the evils that arise have been foreseen (which it is only given to a wise man to see), they can be quickly redressed, but when, through not having been foreseen, they have been permitted to grow in a way that every one can see them, there is no longer a remedy.”

    —Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, Chapter Three

    How do we reasonably tell or realistically know when it is absolutely too late to take the measure of what ails us much and then to strive sensibly for a solution to the predicament?

  • re: Erin and
    “Maybe we should all live as old order Mennonites, right?”

    Yep, that good old tyme religion. And it doesn’t just happen away in the middle of Bolivia. In Manitoba, a province in Canada, up to 40 children from babes in arms to 17 years were removed from an old order group of psychotics and initially 3 adults were charged with assault, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon after it was found they were strapping children to a board and beating them with leather straps and electrocuting them with cattle prods. Several of the children have declared they do not want to return to the cult colony. The investigation continues and more charges against more adults may be made.

    Oh, and of course the apologists remind us mennonism is pacifist and a religion of peace. WTF does that mean? Peacefully acquiesce as we torture and rape you???

    In my mind this just cancels and invalidates any claims of any kind that belief in the boogie man in the sky or the gooble-gobble within or any other related gibberish is of any value at all. The apologists claim these are isolated instances but they simply are not! This shit happens all the time everywhere – hindu ashrams, buddhist temples, christian monasteries/nunneries (which in Shakespeare’s time were know to be brothels for the priests – “get thee to a nunnery”), downtown yoga classes, catholic sunday schools, psychiatrists offices, public schools, newage sewage intentional communities … wherever. Look into the history of ashrams in the USA and most of those immigrant “enlightened” gurus were not only fucking their adult female followers but their children too under the guise of giving blessings or some such. How is it these women were complicit in giving their children over? The psychosis knows no limits, I guess.

    It kind of cancels and invalidates the notion humans can live in respectful communities at all if any “normal” constraints are removed.

    Plus, Erin again:
    “About slavery and how it ended. Um, well, actually it didn’t end.”

    No kidding Erin. Not only what you said but count in the explicit trafficking of women and children specifically for the sex trade. What I have read is, proportionate to the amount of slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries, today’s slave trade is several orders of magnitude greater. There was an article I saw recently about First Nations women being sold onto freighters at the dock at some Canadian St.Laurence River harbours.

    These are but a few examples of thousands of what despicable vermin H. sapiens can be, has always been and will be until we are extinguished. This is one reason I’m sticking around here to watch the backs of a few valued healers. There will be none of this on my watch.

    I’m pretty much with KathyCassandra regarding her points suggesting certain preparations to take pre-collapse while you can as well as her notion that extinction puts an end to all suffering. Being born to suffer long and die horribly has always been a bit of a puzzle to me.

    And remember the Humanitarian option – you may be hunted as prey. According to Jared Diamond in Collapse during their catastrophic declines the Anasazi and other groups hunted their own members for food.

    Oh what a beautiful morning
    Oh what a beautiful day
    I’m out hunting my nieghbour
    Suddenly I see him as prey

    Thank you for the Haiku. Always one of my favourite art forms – how so much obscurity can be packed into so few words has always intrigued me. Keep it up.

    And to you many thanks for your ongoing development of the limerick to new heights as an art form now rivaling the Sonnet I’d say.

    Happy humanitarianism, everyone.

  • Tom thanks for that story on the lolo creek fire. The interactions between peak oil, climate change, nuclear power, peak food, etc etc will start to become more frequent and many will be unexpected

    Of interest – Vermont Yankee to be shut down in 2014. Sounds good but it goes into Safestor (see wiki) which is not safe although safer than an active power plant. When they move the last fuel from the reactor, they HAVE to keep it cooled in a pool for 5 years before they can dry cask it.

    Arnie Gunderesen talks about that and Fukushima at the link

    Thantos – great comment. Oh my dog – not the Mennonites. I presume you have read of the Amish puppy mills. Google “Amish puppy mills A side of the Amish you never knew” Love the take on Beautiful Morning.

    So looks like we bomb Syria in a day or two. Iran warns that a strike on Syria will result in an attack on Iran. Folks if we all blow up soon, been nice knowing you.

  • What were you thinking oh ye self aggrandized humanitarian/environmental/political activists when you brought children into the world? That they were going to make it a better place? Or that it seemed like a good idea at the time? I can only imagine what happens when mom and dad sit the kids down and tell them not to have children of their own and of the pending disasters of peak oil, nuclear power installations gone awry, peak water, global climate change, global thermonuclear war, global famine, NTE ad infinitum and of the dire straits Homo sapiens var. sapiens have gotten themselves into. Rage on. Of course it’s all in the human record isn’t it?. Except for maybe the un-contacted tribes residing in New Guinea and Brazil. Mans inhumanity to man. It seems to me the ones railing against humanity the most often at this place have contributed in the least more than one child to a burgeoning human overpopulation problem which is by no means new knowledge. What next? The breeders club quoting Erlich? Robatthelibrary is correct. There is no redemption.

  • Sorry for being over the limit today, but I thought this was pretty far out.

    August 27, 2013

    Researcher controls colleague’s motions in 1st human brain-to-brain interface

    University of Washington researchers have performed what they believe is the first noninvasive human-to-human brain interface, with one researcher able to send a brain signal via the Internet to control the hand motions of a fellow researcher.

    Using electrical brain recordings and a form of magnetic stimulation, Rajesh Rao sent a brain signal to Andrea Stocco on the other side of the UW campus, causing Stocco’s finger to move on a keyboard.

    While researchers at Duke University have demonstrated brain-to-brain communication between two rats, and Harvard researchers have demonstrated it between a human and a rat, Rao and Stocco believe this is the first demonstration of human-to-human brain interfacing.

    “The Internet was a way to connect computers, and now it can be a way to connect brains,” Stocco said. “We want to take the knowledge of a brain and transmit it directly from brain to brain.”
    (there’s a video of it, and more to read if interested)

  • Erin,
    I’m just going through one thingy they call a muddled divorce; locals have sent threatening letters if I go walking; I’m living in a tent next to a tennis court; and I’m still lurking, but otherwise still chipper.
    Having raised 5 kids, and spawned only one of them, I can’t in all conscience contribute to this discussion, even though it is sorta based on science, but then look at all the quibbling about science too.

    Seems humans, like is said by the T1000 Terminator in ‘Terminator’, “…it is in your nature to destroy yourselves.”

    I personally think it is all to do with human maturity, and this is the Adolescent bottleneck, we can’t quite get through. To become psychological adults the adolescent must die, as in all hunter gatherer situations, where abrupt, sometimes shocking out of childhood thinking occurs, and adult responsibilities are taken on, and sometimes the body is altered through scarification, to denote a permanent change.
    I think this is what we are as yet not capable of- by whatever internal refusal, or machinations, we have lost the understanding of this role in maturity. High energy yielding fuels, like wood, coal,whale oil, crude oil and gas, as well as the Fuked up Uranium poison, have resulted in the lack of criticality in maturing as material needs can be ‘easily’ and ‘cheaply’ afforded, no one but a select few need actually grow up.In fact as a market dynamic, adolescents are the easiest to get to part with their money, for very foreseeable reasons, so the world has slowly conformed to the market desired demographic, (Baby Boomers- the Western Adolescent raging demographic bulge! )

    That means the world may be floating around populated with a majority of children and adolescents. Where does that deep need for the adolescent mind to die,and continue growth, and be transformed go? As Jung showed, into the well of the unconscious, and if enough of us are there, it becomes a collective urge. Not talking ‘Forbidden Planet’, just simple but complex psychology 101. The reason we have big stories and a long narrative in western fiction of the machine destroying us is because this is how the unconscious works, very mechanically, but also very immediately too, like Intuition does(ha).
    The ‘Terminator’, ‘War of the Worlds’ et. and all the high tech aliens coming and ‘just attacking us’ is this need to die wish. I can’t recommend enough the 1982 film ‘Blade Runner’ for its treatment of sentient beings, believing they ore machines, made and controlled by the corporations.That kind of materialist self-perception, of believing oneself as a machine with no transcendental centre,(centerless centre as it were) is well described by the academic David Tacey, Associate Professor of English at La Trobe University, Melbourne – Author of ‘Edge of the Sacred’, as per the link below, (I have put on earlier threads). A radio interview that ranges widely.

    ‘Spiritual Sickness’
    A transcript is available there too.

    Tacey is a kind of spiritualist, I warn, but a sort of secular kind,(Ha Ha).

    So the population issue like so many others hangs there as we do not, as cultures, as groups of humans, get down and do some real work.
    Some would say the model is broke, but I prefer the one that says the model is broke, so now it can be transformed and rebuilt to suit the real situation.
    Do still we have time for that?

    Ill be lurking, Erin.

  • regarding ogardeners comments,it brings to mind some other examples,such as Sting having
    5 children and suddenly becoming environmentally aware and lecturing us on our global responsibilities,or Gus Speth being one of the head honchos(I think he was president) of ZPG,then
    having 3 children , then going back to writing books about the dire situation we have got our selves into,one of the contributing reasons being,surprise surprise,the population explosion.
    At least Ehrlich and Guy have walked the talk,Paul and Anne had one,Guy and his wife 0.( for the
    record,I am 58 ,been aware of the problems for 40 years,have had no children and had a vasectomy as soon as I could) I live in far north Queensland,Australia,and the two largest cyclones to hit the Queensland coast have been in the last 7 years,Larry in2006,andYasi in 2011.
    We were within the maximum wind strength zone of both,Larry to the north of us,Yasi to the
    south.The damage and disruption caused was great,though not as great as Katrina.I certainly regard the cyclone season with trepidation now,and it surely won’t be getting any better,with more frequent and stronger ones in the pipeline.

  • “Of course, from the very beginning of the modern scientific enterprise, there have been scientists and philosophers who have been so impressed with the ability of the natural sciences to advance knowledge that they have asserted that these sciences are the only valid way of seeking knowledge in any field. A forthright expression of this viewpoint has been made by the chemist Peter Atkins, who in his 1995 essay “Science as Truth” asserts the “universal competence” of science. This position has been called scientism — a term that was originally intended to be pejorative but has been claimed as a badge of honor by some of its most vocal proponents. ” – Austin L. Hughes (scientist)

    More available here:

    Topic: science is not equal to ethics, nor is it capable of answering ethical or political questions. it provides input, that’s it.

    I am wondering if we are beyond the realm of “what science can tell us” here at the beach of doom. What difference does it make what science can teach us at this point? Can we run extinction experiments in biodomes to corroborate Guy’s hypothesis? I think I partly enjoy the discussions here as an intellectual diversion: science can still offer that to us.

    Now, I was pondering the possible outcome of accepting the science outlined in this article and using it to guide a political “solution” … Could we kill off enough people by starving them to death, fast enough to “save the living planet,” maybe our species?Nope. i actually think it’s too late even for the most drastic plans…

    But, what *if* the “absolute scientific truth” of this theory had been accepted in time to make a difference? Who would have decided who was to be denied food? Who the heck would want to?! What kind of species would emerge from such a collective exercise…having killed off 90% of us through starvation, what would the remaining 10% be like?

    Sometimes I think a species that can contemplate, even in a disconnected rational debate, such obscene measures — even for admittedly noble purposes — is so depraved, I want it (us, me, my loved ones) to be wiped out.

    Then I realise that the vast majority of humankind would be appalled by such cool calculations.

    And I am glad no one is ever going to imbue me with the power to decide who to starve and who to feed. FYI: The entire advertising industry would be the first against the wall…I agree with Douglas Adams on that.

    Could any other human or group of humans be trusted to make such choices? Even if we *all* voted? Would it be “more humane” to let the emergent, capitalist industrial food system decide who lives and who dies — oh wait, that’s what we do now anyway. So, no. Nothing good could come of this “science,” whether it’s “true” or not. Even *if* we had enough time to save “our species” or “the living world.”

    I’d much rather die now than live in a world where someone actually managed to act on some “rational” science-based plan to deliberately starve billions. This isn’t some misplaced “political correctness” on my part: this “cure” would be immeasurably worse than the die-off we will all face. Think Nazi’s. Think banality of evil. Think ethics.

    How could anyone but a sociopath (or someone in abject misanthropic despair) ever think enacting deliberate mass starvation was a good idea? I am baffled. Is this what is being proposed here? Am I missing something? is there some other point to this discussion?

  • Please accept my acknowledgment that my long-suffering spouse and I have been married 41 years and have three grown children. Of the three, two are married with a total of three children, my grandchildren. While I do not intend to make any sort of excuse for my choices, know that I came to this struggle relatively late in life. When we were having children, I saw not a glimmer of the darkness emitted from the global predicament we are discussing now. How could I not have seen something so colossal and forbidding? At the moment a sensible response to the question escapes me. I simply did not see what was in front of me for fifty years. During those years, I did what I did and have no regrets. Only now, here, ‘through a glass darkly’ do I begin to discern our all-too-visible and distinctly human-induced predicament.

  • Thank you for the website Steven. Far too many have ignored the massive die off about to whack us hard. Whenever I show people the graph of exponential human population growth they ask “what’s next?”. There can only be one answer and that’s straight down once we run out of the resources that propelled us up the curve in the first place. Not unlike fireworks. Set them alight and they shoot straight up burning all their propellant. Once the propellant is all used up…well, we know how that trajectory ends. Ditto for human population growth.

  • My issue is that I still have failed to grasp why exactly many on this blog jump from the all too obvious sharp and unpleasant population reduction that can be expected as a result to a full extinction of our species.

    The Permian extinction took out entire genera and families.

    (Wikipedia) It is the Earth’s most severe known extinction event, with up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species becoming extinct. It is the only known mass extinction of insects. Some 57% of all families and 83% of all genera became extinct.

    In a mass extinction event, those species specialised for specific econiches will become extinct when their econiches disappear. An econiche may include another species on which it is dependent in a predator-prey or host-parasite relationship, and any of a variety of other environmental conditions. Even the supporting species have their dependencies in complex networks.

    Complexity can contribute to fragility and robustness. Robustness is from resiliency which is from redundancy (more than is used – quantity, and more options to choose from – variety & networking). Efficiency prunes away resiliency and redundancy and contributes to fragility: crop monocultures, single currencies, just-in-time deliveries with no backup inventories, etc. Biological systems and ecosystems adjust their efficiency and resiliency in an optimum balance for survival and propagation.

    Homo calidus has a remarkable econiche fashioned by it, starting with sticks & stones and progressing to hierarchical techno-industrial civilisation. The obsessive quest for alpha mandates efficiency and extirpates redundancy. It has spread its tentacles so far and wide that even the most primitive of remaining indigenous people tend to possess some of its artefacts.

    The econiches of the ancestral Homo calidus have all but disappeared and new ones will have to be fashioned upon the dissolution of techno-industrial civilisation. Can the biota upramp to a pace of evolutionary change sufficient to permit the construction of new econiches in time? The pace now demanded resulted in extinction of the species in bygone times. Even in the punctuation phase of punctuated equilibria.

    What would guarantee the jump from 1 order (division by 10) to 9 orders (division by 1,000,000,000) I have failed to understand.

    What would guarantee the extinction of the most abundant class (class that is, whole goddamned class, not order, family, genus) of arthropods, the trilobites? What would guarantee the end of a single abundant variety of monocultured potato in the Irish potato famine? There is strength in numbers, but there is also weakness in numbers without diversity.

    There has been some quite impressive changes in temperature, carbon dioxide and methane in the Earth past, and the planet remained able to carry complex organisms nonetheless.

    Complex organisms: yes. All of them?

    distinction between what a religious person would call “evidence” and what a scientist would call “evidence,”

    The first piece of evidence, from which all others follow, is the “I”. It is the one and only that is self-evident. All others are constructs from the raw inputs of the senses and stored memories of prior inputs and prior constructs. All are surmises. Evidence that comes from the five senses is not religion: it is science. Bad science and good science.

    The evidence that is self-evident and neither needs nor accommodates anything more or less, is religion. All of religion is ultimately to find out what that “I” is. Any awareness that is not directly experienced is not awareness at all, it is only a concept of awareness, another brick in the “construct”. Nothing short of the direct experience of another’s awareness would be proof of another’s awareness.

    it is an evolutionary challenge for humankind to see the world as it is.

    The world “as it is” is different to a honeybee, a bat, a cetacean, and a bloodhound.

    When one takes the dog for a walk, it is constantly sniffing around. It is reading its newspaper. Little Johnny walked here an hour and a half ago eating a corn dog. Mr. X walked in that direction and was wearing his hiking shoes. Ms. Y walked by three hours ago, and had on a new perfume.

    Pollinating daytime insects see in ultraviolet, and as a consequence their world and flowers are different. Large shelled molluscs have fifteen visual colour receptor types in each of their multiple eyes and will see colour differently from what we perceive.

    There is a mutant of one of the primary three human visual colour receptors that has a somewhat different sensitivity. Since the colour receptor genes are on the X chromosome, and females have two of these, it is possible for a woman to have both alleles. Women are mosaics with regard to the X chromosome, with one of the chromosomes randomly shut down in half the cells, and the other in the other half. A woman was found who had both alleles (only one individual, as far as I know – exceedingly rare), and on testing was found to be able to distinguish as two separate colours what appeared to everyone else to be one shade of yellow.

    Humanity is now confronted with formidable, human-driven global challenges.

    It’s a challenge if one can do something about it. The challenge now is to mitigate the suffering on the inevitable way down.

    They mistake the fantasy of human exceptionalism regarding population dynamics for reality.

    Closer to reality is population arithmetic. Population dynamics is full of delusion.

    “Reality is the delusions we hold in common with others”. But it has to be preceded by the delusion of “the others”.

    Extant science indicates with remarkable simplicity and clarity that Demographic Transition Theory, for example, is a misleading, incomplete, ideologically-driven, logical contrivance that just so happens to be politically convenient, economically expedient, religiously tolerable, socially agreeable and culturally prescribed.

    Yeah, but the “kiss yer ass goodbye” theory is what we’re dealin’ with in NTE & NBL.

    Rather than ‘what could be real’, we have been bombarded with broadcasts of false hopes and promises regarding a benign and somehow magically automatic end to human population growth soon.

    Read Jay Hanson’s dieoff dot com. Then one will understand the difference between “end to human population growth” and “end to human population”. We’re dealing with the latter on NBL.

    The adamant advocacy and relentless pursuit by TPTB of a fantasy-driven, morally disengaged and patently unsustainable (superhigh)way of life — one of endless population growth and economic expansion — has to acknowledged, addressed and overcome.

    If it is meant “— has to (be) acknowledged, addressed and overcome”, nothing of the sort has to be done. Remember, we’re dealin’ with “kiss yer ass goodbye” here!

    I still remember reading through back issues of Oil & Gas journal

    Reading dead trees that come out periodically is a big mistake. Can’t trust those emmeffs.

    How many ‘citizens’ will pick that option over controlled slavery?

    Yeah man! I’d rather be a dog in the White House than a white in the doghouse.

    Are we not witnesses to something odd, pathological, unfortunate and terrible: an astonishing loss of nerve, moral courage and intellectual honesty that is reflected both in the absence of a sense of urgency on the part of many too many leaders and in the utter lack of a sustained expression of outrage by leaders and followers alike regarding ‘The Human-Induced Global Predicament’ which we can see looming ominously before us on the horizon?

    Yup. All of that. An’ the pesky ol’ Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    “Neuroplasticians” are demonstrating that the gap between what is considered mind and what brain is significantly vanishing. (I’m sure that shamans have never been limited by any perceived gap between the two, which helps explain shamans’ effectiveness.)

    Yup. Eric Kandel got his Nobel Prize for demonstrating neuroplasticity. The brain is the mind: multitudinous hierarchical arrays of algorithms. It is all content, no awareness. Awareness is consciousness illuminating the content.

    – In a time of NTE, a new mind must address its root causes and change behavior so as to deal with NTE expeditiously.

    – A new mind is therefore practical and action oriented. In the face of NTE, there would be no place for academic pontification. It’s a matter of sink or swim. Or sink as gracefully as possible.

    – A new mind bases itself in the totality of the world, seeing the planet as a homeostatic system where all parts cooperate as do those of the human body. Conflict, and competition for scarce resources results from the current (old) mind, not the new.

    Yup, yup, yup. A new mind is the old hardware and software with new modifications of the basic hardware through that neuroplasticity. The story of how the physical and functional modifications are effected is a model. A model the “new mind” ain’t: it’s a functional entity.

    How do we reasonably tell or realistically know when it is absolutely too late to take the measure of what ails us much and then to strive sensibly for a solution to the predicament?

    We don’t. ‘Tain’t over till it’s over. And that ain’t till the stiff starts stinkin’. But heck, the stiff can’t tell!

    how so much obscurity can be packed into so few words has always intrigued me.

    And then of course there’s the famous six-word essay:

    For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.
    – Ernest Hemingway

    An epitaph for Homo calidus, perhaps?

  • @ Lorraine:

    Just skimmed the link, and this popped out. It strikes me often that we only need a few truths–not all–to deal with the present. Less is more in that regard.

    “The notion that our minds and senses are adapted to find knowledge does have some intuitive appeal; as Aristotle observed long before Darwin, “all men, by nature, desire to know.” But from an evolutionary perspective, it is by no means obvious that there is always a fitness advantage to knowing the truth. One might grant that it may be very beneficial to my fitness to know certain facts in certain contexts: For instance, if a saber-toothed tiger is about to attack me, it is likely to be to my advantage to be aware of that fact. Accurate perception in general is likely to be advantageous. And simple mathematics, such as counting, might be advantageous to fitness in many contexts — for example, in keeping track of my numerous offspring when saber-toothed cats are about. Plausibly, even the human propensity for gathering genealogical information, and with it an intuitive sense of degrees of relatedness among social group members, might have been advantageous because it served to increase the propensity of an organism to protect members of the species with genotypes similar to its own. But the general epistemological argument offered by these authors goes far beyond any such elementary needs. While it may be plausible to imagine a fitness advantage to simple skills of classification and counting, it is very hard to see such an advantage to DNA sequence analysis or quantum theory.”

    @ logspirit and OzMan

    So sorry to hear of your crises. One possible silver lining is that your prevailing under such pressures will give many of us here one heck of a charge.

    Please write more, Erin.

  • Artleads
    Your sentiments received, and thanks. However, the planet is doing far worse than I. I could blame fiat currency, and its embedded unconscious contract of competition, but in truth it is all OK,relations change, and getting updated is the best thing.
    Living the dream!

  • @ Artleads Thanks. You clarified and added optimism to my initial suggestions. Although things look pretty dim for us, why not at least try to improve the situation? Have we all fallen so deeply into the trance of the Death Culture that we are totally paralyzed and helpless? No, not all of us. It only takes a single spark to set a whole field on fire. Yes, human populations must fall. Yes, there will be great suffering. Yes, we may not make it at all — but, we might as well try.

    On Brutality and Barbarism:

    Brutality isn’t something to brag about. Its actually a symptom of weakness and fear. It is immature and embarrassing. It stinks like a fat ugly insecure bully. It is a panic mode reaction, seated in primitive levels of the brain… the ‘reptile’ brain. Acting with brutality reduces a human being to a low state of existence that is capable neither of happiness, appreciation, or compassion. Brutality deeply harms the brutal as well as their victims. Only psychopaths are capable of committing acts of brutality without remorse. Only psychopaths and their bootlicking deluded admirers glorify barbarism. Whole nations have fallen into that trap with tragic consequences – for everyone.

    Treatment for war trauma is as necessary for perpetrators as it is for victims. Long term unresolved PTSD is often more frequent in those who kill and maim than in family members of the dead and among the wounded.

    Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido, realized and taught that a protector’s true strength is bushido (love or selfless dedication) and that conflict can only be settled through the strength of harmony, not through the weakness of brutality. The ‘ai’ in aikido means ‘harmony’. Masters of harmony are undefeatable.

    As a species we have been taking a brutal approach to life and our environment. It isn’t working. We are facing suffering in our own lives and extinction. The only possible path of survival is to take a new route — Harmony with Life.

    Meat is the fruit of brutality. It sickens us and shortens our lives. A great deal of scientific evidence is readily available regarding the negative health impacts of a flesh based diet. I have previously posted a link to as a research starting point. I again remind people to consider how their life is a microcosm of the greater world. That which is harmful to one is harmful to the other. Demand for meat is causing severe environmental destruction.

    To those who practice a scientific open minded approach to knowledge, and are willing to perhaps have their traditional belief systems challenged… I offer a video. It is not a vegan video. Not mentioned at all. It simply shows how the most ravaged landscapes on the planet can be restored — by fencing out artificial populations of livestock, including goats, sheep, etc. and applying the principals of organic permaculture. It includes a discussion of the human population problem and its intersection with environmental devastation. It is relevant to this article, and in particular to some of the comments above. VIDEO: Green Gold – Documentary by John D. Liu

    Brutality is not a path to survival. Its a trip to extinction.

  • Oh, dear lord, I can taste the contempt from here, but as I never seem able to pass up an opportunity to embarrass myself, well…
    For starters, yes, I have KIDS, (pardon my french) but you knew that. I was thinking along the lines of Oz Man, that I would quietly bow out of this particular conversation, but I feel no need to apologize, and I think that the people who have actually procreated and raised children can provide some insights that are missing from the dialogue, whatever they may be worth.

    For instance, ogardener said, What were you thinking oh ye self aggrandized humanitarian/environmental/political activists when you brought children into the world? That they were going to make it a better place? Or that it seemed like a good idea at the time?
    From this statement, I assume he/she has not had children, and so would leave out the number one reason people have kids: because shit happens. Well, fucking life happens. Well, fucking happens, thus life. Would you honestly begrudge someone like Naomi Klein having a baby, who will have the good fortune to be raised by someone intelligent, passionate, involved and active in global concerns, or do you just want the Octomoms of the world popping out one welfare kid after the next, all innocent?

    I am making no judgements here, just being real. People are not going to stop having babies. And for all those self aggrandized humanitarian/environmental/political activists that chose not to have kids, well, you just abstained yourself, and the chance to instill your higher values/morals in a younger generation, right out of the gene pool. Though it is a noble gesture to not add to the population, and a great personal choice, it is to little or no effect on the grand scale, sadly. You were just undermined by the Duggars, or whoever has the 19 kids and counting show. Now that’s gotta lead to some prime exponential population growth!

    @Steven Earl Salmony
    Forgive me, but I read your essay a couple times, and the research at the Pan Earth website, as well as watched some of the slide presentation, and I guess I’m wondering who your intended audience is, or more accurately, what you’re hoping to accomplish with the research, essay, and ensuing dialogue? (I say forgive me, because I may have missed something, you know, with my mushy-mommy brain and all.)

    It seems the research is very solid, even being pretty common knowledge among a group like followers of NBL. It could become very interesting and powerful, to take the conversation a step further to explore some of the more gory social aspects, if you will. I have not had a chance to think it through extensively, but allow me to give a brief, westernized, procreating, woman’s point of view. Just one person, but I bet others here have some good stories on the topic. Here goes some ‘boots on the ground’:

    -In our relative comfort, there has arisen a sort of neurosis around having babies. There is a huge stigma placed on the childless woman, and, as you can see from the tone of some comments here, a stigma on having children, as well. Some examples of the insanity I have witnessed and the lengths some people will go to, just to have a baby

    *I discovered I was pregnant right before I married at the age of 22. As soon as my friend found out, she said she wished she was pregnant too, because then her man would never leave her. I think that’s called the baby trap. I ended up losing my baby, and she eventually stopped taking her birth-control pills, resulting in her having the baby she wanted, but her man left her anyway.

    *A friend and his ex-wife lost a baby, and then four more, after failed in-vitro fertilization treatments. He then discovered she had previously had five abortions, unbeknownst to him. Many people have babies to save marriages. Or try to.

    *OK, I think I’ll stop there because it only gets worse, with examples of abuse, exploitation, and neglect. But it’s safe to say people who would throw a newborn baby into a dumpster, did not want to be pregnant in the first place. And the people spending tens of thousands of dollars for fertility and medical procedures really do want babies, maybe even for the wrong reasons. What could make this different?

    -We all know that educating women, giving them access to family planning and birth control makes a big dent in number of pregnancies and children. But it seems that in general, all of the burden is placed on the women. This causes resentment. One really begins to experience and understand the staggering double standards that women live by in this society by becoming a mother. All attempts to control population growth were bound to fail without a male birth-control pill. But since males have basically been the ones in charge, the controlling of women seems to take precedence, as in trying to undo any advances in birth-control/abortion rights that were achieved.

    -Not only does the burden of responsible birth-control fall on the woman, but the dangers as well. Not knowing that I had a genetic blood-clotting disorder until it was discovered by a neonatologist when I was pregnant with my son, I unwittingly consumed vast quantities of hormonal birth-control in previous years that could’ve killed me by stroke or pulmonary embolism. Thus, the scrambling for safe methods, mistakes, and accidents that led to further unplanned pregnancies. So, life happens.

    -It appears we are left awaiting the cliff. I have not had the children sterilized yet, but I have been. I have urged my partner to get himself sterilized, as well, you know, in case we were to have a miracle. And we have had the conversation of what to do in case that miracle were to happen (It’s rare, but it does happen).

    Anyway, thanks for the great topic, Steven.

  • American right wing corporate owned radio hosts have always preached hatred for the poor and the homeless, and hatred towards anyone who seriously cares about the environment, ever since they were put on the air more than twenty years ago. Today, the local community radio (which is far to the left of NPR) had a show on the homeless, and later, a show about how to reduce the amount of garbage you have to throw out. The conclusion you got from the first show, was that the poor and homeless were being deliberately criminalized, and essentially tortured and treated as nothing more than human refuse. People, as things to be used up and thrown away, like garbage, though they didn’t state it in those exact terms.

    The show about recycling, after a long time, finally got around to mentioning that the amount of plastic and other unnecessary garbage has to be stopped or reduced at its source, the corporations. They mentioned that Germany had a law (Green Dot) that did this. This being America, it was understood that this would never happen here, American capitalism would never allow restrictions on the amount of garbage they produce, just as they won’t allow anyone to tell them they can’t treat humans like garbage. If humans can be treated as garbage, of course so can all species, and so can the planet as a whole be used as a garbage dump. It’s inevitable under a system that gives priority to continual and endless accumulation of wealth, now rapidly accelerating into the hands of a few at the top. I continue to notice that even the far left quite often loses sight of this obvious fact. In America the brainwashing is deep, it’s like Fight Club, the first rule of America is that nobody talks about capitalism. It has been this way for decades, lots of pretending that half measures and trivial reforms will work, and a cowardly unwillingness to face the truth that you must go to the source, that to kill the snake you must strike at the head.

  • Badlands you wrote to Steven I’m wondering who your intended audience is, or more accurately, what you’re hoping to accomplish with the research, essay, and ensuing dialogue?

    Not your mushy mommy brain at all. Steven never answers that question on the blog. You get 3 stars for reading all his stuff – I have never bothered because he can’t or won’t answer the simple questions I pose so I suspected as much.

    david higham – record,I am 58 ,been aware of the problems for 40 years,have had no children and had a vasectomy as soon as I could) I live in far north your reward will be that when collapse comes you will not have to watch a child you created die. Fertile people, if not for the planet, if not for the unborn, do it for yourself. How will you feel if after collapse you conceive only to know that you have brought life into hell and untimely death.

  • @ Ripley

    ..It’s inevitable under a system that gives priority to continual and endless accumulation of wealth..etc

    The richest 1% on the earth have accumulated some 43% of the world’s wealth, while the bottom 80% of the planet’s inhabitants have just 6%.

  • BadlandsAK, Anne Lamott claimed that women lose an IQ point or two in the birth process. She said this after having her one kid.

    There was a recent article locally about a couple having their 12th boy and not ruling out more. I posted it on FB as a perfect example of overshoot.

    I’m childless not by choice but by a malfunctioning uterus. I could have gone the surrogate route, but chose to abide by the limits my body set for me. In the whole fertility quest, I was willing to remove obstacles but not to go the extra mile. Just didn’t feel right. But those fertility doctors, man, act just like God with a capital G. Really.

    Looking back at those years, and the women I knew who were desperately trying to get pregnant, who were having themselves shot up, cut up, having sex on a schedule, and the money…..oh my dog, the money that got spent so they could feel “normal”….

    Course, we live in a cancer cluster. No one ever talks about that.

    Today, though, aren’t I the smart one? I don’t have to watch my kid suffer. I just get to watch the whole world suffer.

  • The stupidity will end when we are no more.

    I’m 51, never married, no kids.

    @ Lorraine:

    Seriously, no matter what happens, a lot of people are going to die. It’s still unknown exactly how, but there are many good guesses. There are many, many, ideas as to the timeline of events posted all over the internet…

    It could be a pandemic that either happens naturally or is set in motion by TPTB.

    It could be World War III with nuclear weapons included.

    Or it could be worldwide starvation due to lack of food due to a combination of environmental collapse and economic collapse.

    Either way, I believe it is coming. I’ve said all along that The Solution is: 90% of the Earth’s population dies – but first they must help us dismantle the toxic infrastrucure of industrial civilization and then the survivors must live in harmony with nature: plant no crops, build no cities. Milk no goats, pick no cucumbers.

    The Solution is terrible, yes, I know. But, The Solution is the only chance we have – the Only Chance that Every Living Thing on Earth has. Sad, but the truth probably is that even if The Solution could be implemented Right Now and successfully completed in 10 years or so, it still would be Too Late – as Guy has pointed out, it’s too late, we’re done, it’s over.

    Sad, but The Solution is actually possible. It has been possible for a long time, and it could have been implemented “In Time” if it had been done, say, 50 years ago. But, The Solution could probably ONLY be implemented with TPTB in charge – which, many think, is not a better outcome than the extinction of Every Living Thing On Earth. I disagree.

    Would you “vote” for The Solution if you knew it meant that you yourself and all your friends and family would die – and that you would have to toil away your last years dismantling nuclear power plants, oil refineries, and all machines? Would you?

    If the only chance the innocent biosphere had was to allow TPTB to be the survivors, would you “vote” for that?

    Sad, but really, what other choice do we have? I personally would be willing to “vote” for that – but, truly, I believe what is REALLY going to happen is much worse with no order and no Master Plan. No recognition of The Problem and no implementation of The Solution. TPTB will do everything they can to keep Life As We Know It going as long as they can and Every Living Thing on Earth is going to die and humans are going to go down hard in the most horrible ways – unimaginable suffering.

    So, today, I do a whole lot of nothing.

    I don’t KNOW anything, but I believe in two things:

    1) We are nothing, the current collection of subatomic particles that comprise our “selves” will one day be widely scattered throughout the cold, dark, expanse of space. There will be no meaning. There will be nothing remembered and nothing remembering.

    2) For 50 years I lived the American Consumer life. I drove a lot of miles, burnt a lot of gas, spewed a lot of fumes. Many, many, people suffered because I had to have 16 pairs of shoes, a nice house full of stuff, and lots and lots of fast food. I paid a lot of taxes – and financed the killing of lots and lots of people. I am guilty. The children suffer, there is no redemption.

  • Dear Kathy Cassandra,

    Since the AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population began in 2001, it has been seeking an audience. Over the years I have repeatedly introduced the new research as it emerged regarding the ecological science of human population dynamics. Over and over again in many places, blogs and mass emails. (But more on those efforts a bit later). During the intervening years between 2001 and now people would ask me, as you have, “what is your audience?”. I did not have an answer to the question in 2001 and I cannot answer the query in 2013. I can tell you that everywhere I have gone, including the Earth Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, S.A. in 2002; 5 Earth Summits on the Human Population from 2002-2006) in Chapel Hill, NC; the Foundation for the Future’s “This Tiny Planet” workshop in Bellevue, WA in 2004, the Annual Meeting of the Club of Rome in 2005 in VA; The State of the Planet Conference, NYC in 2006 among other events, everywhere I went I was told, “This is not the right place for THIS SCIENCE”. To this day, even on this blog, there is in your willful refusal to even examine the scientific research to which I direct attention a passively aggressive determination that suggests to all that NBL is not the right place for this discussion. That said, let me ask you a question, but first you are going to need to read what is presented here. Where would you suggest I go to present this apparently unforeseen and admittedly unwelcome science?



  • Badlands,

    Thanks for sharing your story. You bring up the tragic subjugation, occurring at all levels, of the female. I was born out of wedlock at a time and in a “class” where such a thing was never done–at least, not if you wanted a shred of respectability afterwards. Not only did my mother suffer scorn and rebuke from family and associates, I suffered the same thing, and even gross physical extensions thereof.
    One shrink said that, at 36-37, not married, my mom was feeling the dictates of the biological clock. That was life in those days.

    I have been thinking about the plasticity of the brain and what that might imply for passing along genes through adoption rather than physical procreation.

    I do my best not to add the slightest pressure to childless women. It is perfectly glorious not to have children, I say. But once the child is here, it is a being with equal rights, not a symptom of overpopulation. Somehow for me the moral imperative to honor the life gets interspersed in there before I get to the abstract quantification as to what burden the new being places on global resources…

  • @logspirit
    re: August 28th, 2013 at 9:52 pm
    ”On Brutality and Barbarism:
    Brutality isn’t something to brag about.”

    Who was bragging?
    ”Only psychopaths are capable of committing acts of brutality without remorse.”
    This is true; true, violent, murderous psychopaths make up a tiny percentage of the population although some researchers believe “baby” psychopaths gravitate toward positions of power and, if you include the narcissistic, borderline and schizotypal (sort of similar) spectrum they could make up as much as 25% of the population.

    ”Long term unresolved PTSD is often more frequent in those who kill and maim than in family members of the dead and among the wounded.”

    This is true but there seem to be contradictions in this paragraph. It could be read to mean only psychopaths are brutal and have no remorse and that brutal people also suffer PTSD. I am confused. You must remember that, as far as infantry goes, men must be TRAINED to be brutal. In many wars including the Viet Nam war one of the problems facing officers was many (up to 90% or so) infantry would not shoot to kill. In Viet Nam they tended to shoot high in order to avoid killing the Viet Cong trying to kill them. So even in situations of battle in which self-defence became priority, many young draftees would not shoot to kill and defend themselves or their comrades. This behaviour resulted in military training becoming much more dehumanizing.

    In addition you must make yourself aware of the fact that anywhere from 65% to 85% of normal, middle-class, well-educated people can be made into torturers just by being told to do so by an authority figure. You need to look up the research of Stanley Milgram and the many cross-time and cross-cultural replications of this research before you start making blanket statements about brutality.

    There is a recent book (can’t remember the title) about the “monsters” of the Japanese occupation of China in which these men describe how they were trained to be brutal murderers and rapists. The first time they bayoneted someone they might vomit … and be ridiculed and punished for being weak. Of course through time and experience in military campaign it got easier and easier. Remember, too, the Japanese were a nation of rice and sushi eaters, very little meat, so a blanket statement like “meat causes brutality” is simply false. I think brutality causes brutality. And TBTB who reap profit, land, resources and power from sending brainwashed dupes to do their dirty work.

    ”Its actually a symptom of weakness and fear.”

    It is actually the result of training and brainwashing. Walk down any city street, anywhere in the world and ordinary people are not normally engaging in brutality as they go about their day-to-day business. I have met plenty of angry, emotionally violent vegetebalians in my life.

    ”Meat is the fruit of brutality. It sickens us and shortens our lives. A great deal of scientific evidence is readily available regarding the negative health impacts of flesh based diet.”

    Well, the sickest I have ever been in my life were my few misguided forays into vegetarianism. Constipated ALL the time, body odour like I was wearing dead gophers, weak – could hardly work, very poor sleeping, constantly getting bronchitis, influenza, colds my immune system was so weakened. Every time I switched back to meat within a week or two all the maladies mentioned above disappeared. In addition, there are no veg-heads in construction or on the farm – hard physical labour cannot be performed on rice cakes and toxic tofu. If it shortens my life I have no problem with that. I would rather have a short life in good health and full of vitality than a long life munching rice cakes and being ill all the time.

    To this day I eat very few vegetables, very little fruit (again the constipation, digestive difficulties, weakened immune system and general energy less malaise). I’m almost never sick and I can still do a day’s work which puts most twenty year olds to shame – whether they are veg-heads or not.

    ”Demand for meat is causing severe environmental destruction.”

    Only as a result of over-population and directly proportional demand. I’m pretty sure elk and deer and caribou herds are not causing much environmental destruction. Instead, I’m pretty sure they are an integral part of their eco-systems participating in the natural web and circle of life.

    ”To those who practice a scientific open minded approach to knowledge, and are willing to perhaps have their traditional belief systems challenged… “

    I, too, offer scientific evidence. I’m going to suggest most support for vegetabalianism is based on the fallacious “lipid hypothesis” and the distortions and revisions of the original source of North American vegetebalianism. Read, if you dare, Lierre Keith’s excellent and very well documented The Vegetarian Myth if you can stand to have your belief systems challenged. In addition examine thoroughly the materials provided by the Weston A. Price foundation and read Sally Fallon’s excellent Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.

    I am not going to deny industrial livestock production has devastated landscapes but that is not the fault of the livestock – they are just dumb animals. It is the fault of the verminous H. Sapiens which has overpopulated the planet and devastated every ecosystem, every planetary landscape.

    If you think livestock production is devastating, take a look at the industrial agriculture which provides your beloved veggie diet – the destruction of huge grassland ecosystems turning them into dust bowls. Your hypocrisy knows no bounds. In my mind, veganism and vegetarianism is just another religion, another dogma, based on irrational acceptance of poor thinking and leaving no room for individual differences (that’s what pisses me off the most). Just recently a post on this page provided a link showing permaculture vegetebalianism cannot feed 7.2 billion people.

    Vegatebalianism in North America is, I think, based on the importation by the Madam Blavatsky and the Theosophists of Hindu Ayurvedic practices in the 19th century (Robin Datta can probably straighten me up on this if I am wrong) leading to the “Hygiene Movement” which gave us Kellog’s Cornflakes and the notion you should chew your food 100 times. (read up on that for a laugh a minute) After more than a century of distortion and revision Ayurvedic principles have resulted in dogmatic, unthinking nonsense. Ayurveda allows meat eating for four groups: the ill in convalescence (yes, meat helps sick people get well!), people doing hard labour, warriors in active combat and those who need it for their individual metabolisms … like me.

    We evolved for 2.5 million years as pack hunting carnivorous apes willing to eat any animal protein we could get in our mouths. Agriculture was only invented 8000 or so years ago and we do not have the same digestive system as sheep or cattle, actual, and true gramnivores. We cannot break down the cellulose and in my case, that made me sick all the time.

    Vegetebalianism is just another religion, based on unexamined dogma and fervently held baseless beliefs and no room for individual differences.. I’ve experimented with vegetebalianism and it failed for me as it has failed for most of the others I know who have tried it.. I have read all about it. Now I dare you to investigate the sources mentioned above and open your mind.

    Everyone around here eats meat; we all work hard. Sure there are some arseholes in the community but there is no “brutality.” People are not walking down the street in the local town brutalizing each other. Are they in your town? Maybe they are starving, malnourished vegetebalians.

  • @wildwoman

    You are definitely smart for not going the extra mile to have kids. I understand the turmoil that journey entails, though, and feel for you. I’m sure I sound a little facetious with my examples, but really, I was just trying to illustrate that there is a big, ugly, baby-making mess out there, and it often has little to do with people making sound, reasonable decisions to start a family under stable conditions. I was with my ex for thirteen years, and in over ten years of marriage people never stopped asking when we were going to have a baby. Thank god we didn’t.

    I have had three kids since then, but my mom had seven kids, so that’s some improvement. I know she didn’t want all of those babies, because as we discovered long after her death, about a decade ago, she had given up her fourth child for adoption, but ended up having three more afterwards. There seems to be a vicious cycle where people living in poverty, without stability and reliable birth control, find themselves with many unwanted and unplanned pregnancies. And it has nothing to do with creating extra farm hands or built-in labor, though as the oldest sibling, I was cooking, cleaning, and taking care of younger siblings from about eight years old on. Without that set-up, there would either be less kids, or even more neglect and abuse of children, because nobody can actually care for that many kids without help.

    But hey, maybe it’s just a distribution problem! If only those unwanted babies could find the arms of those desperately trying to conceive. Oh, wait, there are also the hang-ups about having your very own flesh and blood to love. Like I said, it’s just a big mess, a problem so complicated there are likely no easy answers, just like everything else we discuss here.
    Now, please excuse me while I hang my head in shame and take my brood to the park before we hit triple-digits again…stay cool, people!

  • @Kathy C and Badlands, re: “Badlands you wrote to Steven I’m wondering who your intended audience is, or more accurately, what you’re hoping to accomplish with the research, essay, and ensuing dialogue?” Yes, ladies, exactly. Thanks for the intel, Kathy, so far his answers have followed the same direction here: avoidance.

    On that note:

    @ Steve. You wrote: …”to strive sensibly for a solution to the predicament?”

    All together now in a chorus: What “solution” do you see to this predicament, based on the science you’ve presented?

    Is it Robatthelibrary’s “The Solution” (I appreciate that the language is so similar to that deployed mid-20thC : “The Final Solution”.)

    Actually @Robatthelibrary, I really appreciate your honesty and your ability to look your conclusions square in the face. I of course agree with you that it is too late for solutions and the children will suffer. I just prefer the suffering via other humans were minimized. I won’t commit it myself. I won’t advocate its commission by others. That’s my version of redemption now, even if we all end up as particles in space – inanimate and unaware. This end does not depress me, nor does it empty my life of meaning. It actually sounds peaceful and beautiful to me. Comforting.

    What @logspirit said re: brutality. Humans who commit violence against other humans are usually traumatised — as are their victims who survive. I vote for less of this, not more, no matter what the outcome, which of course, is beyond our control. (Also, was it you who challenged Alex Smith so effectively on his blog? and do you wonder if he’s crawled off to come to terms with NTHE in privacy?)

    Humans can’t comprehend or control complex emergent systems. Our brains aren’t big enough. Not even close. Sadly, this has not stopped us from trying, since we became “civilized.”

    It occurred to me that my revulsion at your “The Solution” is partly predicated on my repugnance for people setting themselves up in positions of authority and trying to take control of everything. Guy’s “obedience at home, oppression abroad” comes to mind. My deep and unshakeable prejudice is that never bodes well for anyone.

    My understanding of what got us into this fix includes the idea that patriarchy is largely responsible. Patriarchy, which arose with “civilisation,” is predicated on the delusion that men could and should take control of things for “the good of all” or because it was “God’s will.”

    Since we exist in emergent systems that no one could ever fully control — largely we’ve been deluded into thinking that either a “Good Father” (think Plato) — the one who plays by fair rules –or a “Bad Father” (like Rob’s “The Solution”) — the one who does whatever distasteful task must be done for the good of all — can save the day.

    These are, in the entire history of political theory, the only two solutions any man ever came up with. I believe we can and should let go of these delusions here and now at the end of civilization, on the beach of doom.

    Just to be clear, saying we can’t control the systems is not intended to let any of us off the hook. We’ve had plenty of clues that things we do are dangerous and destructive, and most of us have ignored the clues and the warnings.

    RE: Having kids – I’ve born 3 – with two different men who’ve not had any other kids. Our family’s doing the replacement rate thing. If I had known then what I do now, I would *not* have had kids, I’d have had abortions. I have informed my daughter (the only one likely in the near future to procreate) of the mess and asked her to please consider adopting instead of birthing. I told her there will be plenty of orphans to love and care for soon enough.

    PS: My revulsion for authority probably stems from childhood trauma and all of the above may be a rationalisation of my deeper brain instincts to avoid putting myself in others’ control and to dislike those who try to get control. Don’t mean it’s illogical just ’cause it’s irrationally motivated. So maybe Rob, you had really good parents? You are probably correct that my rage should the “bad guys” get to live probably figures in, as well. One of my consolations is that they don’t survive this either.

    @Denise: I am really grooving on your Haiku’s these days.

    @Artleads: Interesting. I agree.

    @Ripley: yes. thanks for the insight. we have become the species that makes garbage of ourselves.

    @U – nice reminder “The richest 1% on the earth have accumulated some 43% of the world’s wealth, while the bottom 80% of the planet’s inhabitants have just 6%.”

  • “Crowded Planet” an interview with the author Alan Weisman, who just wrote “Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?”

    It’s on topic, which is the only thing it has to recommend it. Based on how delusionally optimistic he is, I’m glad I never got around to reading “The World Without Us.”

  • @ Robin Datta

    Yes. The world is what each sentient being experiencing it perceives it to be. These beings I term “receptors.” Without receptors, nothing exists. So much for “reality.” It would seem to be about sentient beings, what they perceive, their “stories,” and nothing else.

    What is awareness other than what sentient beings perceive? (I’m asking, not assuming to have a clue about. And you seem to know.)

    @ logspirit

    One Heart, my friend. A shade difference here maybe. I don’t try to do anything. But since I can’t see where the person is separate from anything else–“we are the world,” to quote Michael Jackson–our awareness is the world’s awareness, I suppose. So to go with Oscar Hammerstein, “doing what comes naturally,” will, depending on our sincerity, effort, and luck while doing it, make a difference that is more or less desired. I’m talking pure nonsense, but there is no non-nonsense out there that makes better sense to me.

    I’m doing what comes naturally. And anything we could consider a Death Culture neither comes naturally nor makes any sense.

    People are commemorating the King March on Washington, protesting the move to ME war, protecting the environment, supporting the feminine, all as if there were a tomorrow. All these efforts seem highly recommended to me, and I’m sure they would all succeed better if they could be tied together in an understandably simple and systemic way. (And no one would be better able to do that than MLK). But none of them, separately or combined, have a chance within a Death Culture.

    The Death Culture requires proof that life could prevail, but there is no proof, and there will never be any. There is only life doing what it does to prevail. The Death Culture, standing somewhat apart, in its absolute self-righteousness, would pull the floor out from life trying to be life. It knows best. Thou shalt not live, it has proclaimed. It has not learned that what you think is what you get.

  • “The only question is how we will be culled (famine, disease, war, likely all of those) and whether a remnant will find a livable world when all is said and done. I think not.”

    There are positive feedback loops involved with famine and disease, I’m not sure about war though. Wars have never killed that many people, also they require energy to kill people. Diseases on the other hand use people for energy to spread which is terribly efficient.

    I’m also wondering about the nature of wars in decline situations vs empire building situations. I would expect the fault lines of strive and aggression to go right through society during decline, whereas during growth phases majorities are not pitted against majorities, i.e. nowadays we have Egypt and its emerging civil war where approx. equal sized factions seem to be fighting against each other, whereas during 3rd Reich (I do live in Germany) times minorities where marginalized as an aid to achieve integration.

    If I go to the pub nowadays, I can hear still talk about too many middle eastern immigrants but I can also hear that unemployed people should hang from the lamp posts. (I was living on unemployment insurance at the time so I suggested I could use my steak knife to defend myself).

    The latter form of aggression is more of an instrument of population reduction since it can go on until society “can be at peace again” – it is kind of adaptive.

  • Has Guy discussed why he considers the mud hut project to be a mistake? If so, where?

  • So which of the four horsemen will do us in? All of them, taking turns, just like a gang rape. It’s biology again, folks. Any population that saturates its eco-niche and consumes all the resources will hit multiple limits at once and the population will fall precipitously. This biological principle, however, applies to populations on a living planet. HSS has taken over the whole planet and eaten it all. The limits aren’t just local, they are planet-wide, and we’ve passed too many tipping points to be able to stop it. NTE here we come.

    Furthermore, the limits are interrelated. Consider potential epidemic diseases. Read “The Coming Plague” by Laurie Garrett. See what’s happening here:

    I hear people saying: “We can deal with epidemics! Our health care system is the best in the world! We’ll find a vaccine, a treatment, something!”

    Not if there’s no money to do it. How about fires? The BLM has already run out of money to fight the Rim fire in California and they’re stealing from somewhere else. Soon there will be no place to steal that money, and printing more is about to end.

    “We’ll just move north, take over Canada and grow more food there! It’s a distribution problem, not a supply problem!”

    Bzzzzt. Wrong. Fossil fuels are kaput. It’s taking all your water to frack your way to the grocery store. Soon that store will be empty. In the town closest to me, people tell of the bad winter storm a few years back. Lasted a week. Closed all three highways into the valley plus the airport. They say that after three days, there was no food left. Some people learned from that – others chose to forget those difficult days.

    The oceans are dying, the very basis of life on earth. Air pollution, an entirely fucked up jet stream…..

    Etc. Etc.

    It’s over. Do what you can to stay flexible in your options, depending on which horseman rides into town first. That is, if you want to continue to watch the show. Do like the miners Kathy C. has described for us. Keep a supply of something that can do you in when you’ve had enough. There’s no shame there. None at all.

    Hardest hit will be the young people because they will continue to think there is a future, even past the time when it’s clear there is none. They will think there is a future because we told them there is one and we were wrong. We taught them to hope against hope and we have failed them. In the end, they will continue to hope, after they have eaten the dog, their shoes, and us. They’ll continue to screw each other and girls will continue to get pregnant, miscarry, give birth, die in childbirth, be given away as slaves, get beaten and killed – just like always. It’s what we do.

    Dear Mr. Sunbum:

    There is something to what you say, but you’re entirely too proud of it. I experienced what you describe. I was a vegetarian and a vegan, for years. It sure fixed my problem cholesterol levels, by dog. But I got sicker and sicker. Then a couple of things happened. One, I read Carol Deppe, “The Resilient Gardner” in which she summarizes the research on short- and long-chain fatty acids. Apparently, there are SOME PEOPLE who can eat the short-chains and create the long ones that are essential to our health. Eat flax – produce the good stuff. Then there are OTHER PEOPLE who cannot do so. She found out she was one of those. She fixed that by eating duck eggs from her own flock that runs around on grass and eats bugs.

    The second thing that happened was a guest speaker I invited to my class. He told us all about what happens to the poor young animals sent off to feed lots. I’ve described this before. His research compared the levels of omega-3 fatty acids, CLA, and vitamins E & C among wild animals, wild salmon, grass fed beef, feed lot beef, industrial chicken, elk and deer, and farmed salmon. Guess what? The grass fed beef was as good as the wild animals. Industrial chicken is the worst. Wild salmon is best, but we’re losing those populations very quickly. {I even see pet food made with “real wild salmon!” and it makes me cry.}

    The third thing was a student who came to me saying, “My boyfriend is Inuit and he can’t go for more than three days without wild meat. His muscles start to atrophy right away. Is this possible?” She was genuinely confused. I couldn’t find any literature on it, but I told her that if that’s what works, do it. The two of them snare rabbits, hunt elk and cariboo, moose and deer and bear. They stock the freezer and eat some every day.

    So being the observant person that I am ;-) you don’t have to hit me more than three times before I pay attention. I said, “I’m going to try grass fed meat.” Fortunately, I have access to really good grass fed beef and lamb and pastured piggy meat. I have described this before, in this space, as well. Well, lo and behold. After a year of that, my health is back, and my cholesterol is fine, dagnabbit. I guess I’m one of THOSE PEOPLE.

    I’m guessing it’s just one of those genetic thingies. I know vegetarians and vegans who are fine with that, they work hard, really hard, they’re healthy, and that’s fine by me. But I’ll just step over here and cut a slice of last night’s leg-o’-lamb and make a sandwich if you don’t mind.

    Whew! That’s enough for today. Hey, I’ve got things to do here, you know. Tomato sauce with Black Krim tomatoes. To die for. Umm, well, you know, in a manner of speaking.

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #28

    Lights, lights, and more lights…
    modern folks afraid of night,
    live a waking dream.

    @Lorrainne: Thank you and groove on!

  • @Brad:

    Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #30

    Desert-bound prepper
    going down with the Earthship.
    Agua es vida.

    Count me and mine among those who have made this classic prepper blunder!

  • The following chart of birth rates throughout the world shows the opposite of the lynx/hare cause and effect mechanism on population growth as applied to Homo sapiens. IOW the higher the caloric intake per capita, the lower the birth rate. More importantly, the lower the caloric intake per capita, the higher the birth rate.

    It is true that we were following the lynx/hare (more caloric intake = more population) for 10,000 years.

    But the modern data (the above is a CIA map from 2007) indicates that a self aware species can decide (just as it decided to build ranches and farms long ago – i.e. we aren’t slaves to instinct) to limit births while still having a high caloric intake.

    The damage to the biosphere caused by a high human population endangers our species survival so those who have been made aware of it (developed countries with a highly educated, not just well fed, population) are acting accordingly.

    I believe increased education and decreased inequality can solve this seemingly intractable problem.

    That is, if it’s not already too late to solve it…

  • 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.

  • Dear Badlands, Lorraine and Kathy Cassandra,

    There really is a lot to say. This is only a first step. Please understand that the suggestions for behavior change presented now will be followed by other ideas for behavior change later.

    In order to sidestep the emerging threats to life as we know it and Earth’s ecology, and to avoid NTE, perhaps the human family could choose to do four things simultaneously:

    1) sharing more fairly and equitably the world’s super-abundant food harvests, considering that the world food supply that currently exists could meet the primary needs of all those who alive today;

    2) instituting incentives to support a voluntary “one child per family” policy, insisting on a global family planning/health education-based program of action consonant with universally shared humane values;

    3) placing a limit on the conspicuous per capita over
    consumption of finite resources; and

    4) beginning carefully and skillfully to regulate INCREASES ONLY in the historically unchecked growth of the human food supply, as the means for moving the family of humanity from a “primrose path,” marked by soon to become patently unsustainable global human consumption, production and propagation activities toward a more reality-oriented path and a sustainable future, having accepted human biological limits and adapted to the physical limitations of our planetary home?

    Your thoughts and those from others are sure to be valued.



  • Erin wrote, “So which of the four horsemen will do us in? All of them, taking turns, just like a gang rape.”

    Now there’s a straightforward piece of literature. I don’t think Hemmingway could have said it better.

  • More proposals for behavior change……

    suggesting several things to us:

    1. Free, immediate and universal access to safe contraception.

    2. The time for the economic and social empowerment of women is now.

    3. The many human beings who are suffering the unhealthy effects of obesity will share their over-abundant resources with many too many people who are starving.

    4. Every effort to conserve energy and scarce material resources will be implemented.

    5. Substanitial economic incentives are necessary for the development of energy resources as alternatives to fossil fuels.

    6. Overhaul national tax systems so that conspicuous per human over- consumption of limited resources is meaningfully put at a disadvantage.

    7. Humanity needs a new economic system, one that is subordinated to democratic principles and more adequately meets the basic needs of a majority of humanity who could choose to live better, more healthful lives with lesser amounts of energy and natural resources.

    8. A fair, more equitable and evolutionarily sustainable distribution of the world’s tangible (e.g., food) and intangible (e.g., education) resources.

  • Then came the churches,
    then came the schools
    Then came the lawyers,
    then came the rules…

    Telegraph Road (by Dire Straits…like who else, huh?)

    A long time ago came a man on a track
    Walking thirty miles with a pack on his back
    And he put down his load where he thought it was the best
    Made a home in the wilderness
    He built a cabin and a winter store
    And he ploughed up the ground by the cold lake shore
    And the other travellers came riding down the track
    And they never went further, no, they never went back
    Then came the churches then came the schools
    Then came the lawyers then came the rules
    Then came the trains and the trucks with their loads
    And the dirty old track was the telegraph road
    Then came the mines – then came the ore
    Then there was the hard times then there was a war
    Telegraph sang a song about the world outside
    Telegraph road got so deep and so wide
    Like a rolling river. . .
    And my radio says tonight it’s gonna freeze
    People driving home from the factories
    There’s six lanes of traffic
    Three lanes moving slow. . .
    I used to like to go to work but they shut it down
    I got a right to go to work but there’s no work here to be found
    Yes and they say we’re gonna have to pay what’s owed
    We’re gonna have to reap from some seed that’s been sowed
    And the birds up on the wires and the telegraph poles
    They can always fly away from this rain and this cold
    You can hear them singing out their telegraph code
    All the way down the telegraph road
    You know I’d sooner forget but I remember those nights
    When life was just a bet on a race between the lights
    You had your head on my shoulder you had your hand in my hair
    Now you act a little colder like you don’t seem to care
    But believe in me baby and I’ll take you away
    From out of this darkness and into the day
    From these rivers of headlights these rivers of rain
    From the anger that lives on the streets with these names
    ‘cos I’ve run every red light on memory lane
    I’ve seen desperation explode into flames
    And I don’t want to see it again. . .
    From all of these signs saying sorry but we’re closed
    All the way down the telegraph road

  • @Steven Earl Salmony says “More proposals for behavior change……”

    I thought we had finally dispensed with hopium and eradicated the last vestiges of wishful thinking. Guess I was wrong.

    Paul, Gail, Erin, Kathy and a host of others have posted endless mini-treatises on why HSS will conform to the 99+% species extinction rate. Perhaps the most obvious is the law of exponents and growth paradigm; no one gets off this ride until it crashes.

    Rob @ the library is apparently one of the few – on this board at least – who has grasped the essential truth. And that is, there isn’t any truth: there is only belief. Perhaps Robin is saying the same thing another way, in that the only reason anything appears to be real is due to a mix of chemicals that give one awareness. But does it really even exist (ie is “true) if the process of interpretation is a necessary condition?

    Anyway, my guiding principle has always been: “He who complains has already lost.” There’s a huge market segment of complainers that are targeted by savvy marketers looking to scoop up some additional coin. What will happen to them as more people reach enlightenment and come to realize there is only action, even if the “action” is limited to focusing on what floats your boat right here, right now.

    To that creed, maybe we could add this old proverb parable: “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” IOW, can we please cease with the magic and focus on the game as it’s currently constructed? It makes for much more interesting reading. Thanx.

  • If the overriding cause and effect mechanism for population growth in Homo sapiens is caloric intake, why is it that the areas of the globe with the least caloric intake per capita have the highest birth rates?

    As postulated in the lynx and hare population studies, the above is counterintuitive. Furthermore, the lynx/hare discussion mentioned what would happen if the lynx, like Homo sapiens, was sufficiently self aware to build hare meat ranches. Of course, as it has been seen with mankind, the population would boom.

    But what happens to a self aware being that suddenly realizes (because of his self awareness, not in spite of it) that metaphorically building all those hare farms is undermining the viability of the biosphere said species depends on? Isn’t the same mechanism of thought that reasoned out building ranches and farms to increase caloric input also capable of controlling the birth rate?

    From the statistics of today’s overpopulated world with a thoroughly unequal distribution of per capita caloric input, this is apparently the case.

    Just Google world birth rates and you will see that the populations with the lowest per capita caloric intake have the highest birthrate and vice versa. Lack of education and inequality caused by rampant greed is our greatest problem. These failings in our willfully and wrongly predatory society will destroy us long before our diminished caloric intake does.

  • B9K9, your words are the reason WHY the game is constructed as it is.

    Because lots of people, such as yourself, threw up your hands and not only said that the way things are are the way things must be…but you shut down anyone with different ideas of how to do things, by browbeating them into not complaining.

    God forbid anyone other than you should get to speak and have an impact.

    Your words are a self-fulfilling prophecy. By claiming that anyone who complains must be wrong, you actively ENSURE that complaints will never be heard or taken seriously, because you encourage your audiences to think badly of them “in advance”, without actually analyzing or assessing the matter.

  • Robin, you constantly blow my mind. Fortunately that leaves both my brain and my consciousness intact…

  • @ Artleads Good, good. Yes the natural thing. For healthy humans in body and mind the natural thing is to make every effort to sustain themselves and maintain species – in healthy balance and harmony. Those who are sick and depressed by a multitude of distresses, give up. That is a natural outcome too. But it is possible to become healthy in body and mind and renew the effort… I think it feels better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all.

    @ Lorraine Yes, and yes. Brutality is bad for everyone and accelerates our end. Yes, I am the same logspirit who wrote on Alex Smith’s blog. While I have had some personal correspondence with him, I cannot say how he is feeling or where his thinking will trend. I think he mainly maintains optimism for the sake of his beloved family. J. M. Greer is just too oblivious to catastrophic climate change to be taken seriously. The popularity and usefulness of Alex’s show depends on placating his listeners to some degree and not scaring them too much. If he were to publicly take the position that near term human extinction is inevitable his mission would implode. Might as well try. How can we look into their beautiful sad young eyes and tell them all is lost? Might as well try.

    @ Thanatos Sunbum Thank you for opening your mind on this topic (vegan lifestyle) as much as you are able to at this point in your life. We each bring different gifts to the conversation. I hope what I’ve offered will be of value to you someday. I hope it is of immediate value to others.

    Psychopaths carry out brutality without remorse. Others do it with remorse, then bury and hide the remorse and suffer from cognitive dissonance… while some participate in the brutality in a state of total ignorance of what they are doing.

    At this time, your current condition appears to me as totally adamant, hyper sensitive, and aggressively defensive about your current unhealthy eating habits. You even put a lot of energy into attacking someone who is practicing a peaceful greener healthier path. Given all that, I don’t think you are open to being helped right now. Therefor I won’t bother to go into detail on how a lack of dietary enzymes causes digestive discomfort. You can look it up for yourself, if you’re interested.

    Follow the money. The multi-billion dollar flesh vending industry puts plenty of propaganda out there, ready to dupe anyone who is looking for their profit oriented approval. Books, videos, TV shows. The fossil fuel industry does the same thing. And the pharmaceutical industry, which is responsible for more than 100,000 deaths a year in the U.S. The chemical agriculture industry. The tobacco industry did it too. The nuclear industry. Many others. They all put out lots of BS PR – naked lies.

    To get to new perspectives, outside of the mainstream corporate mass media propaganda, requires a little digging and a willingness to examine old habits, presuppositions and denials (and thinking with brain cells, not taste buds)… To eventually reach the empirical evidence. Sometimes it takes a willingness to stand alone despite pressures from duped peers and conventional conformist society to submit, dammit, and just buy the crap… Courage to stand and oppose outrageous ignorance… like the tiny minority who boldly comprehend collapse and NTE. A strong person who has scientific evidence doesn’t drop it and seek approval in the maddening crowd.

    Everyone with agency and knowledge can choose a healthy diet. It is a powerful choice that does not require the permission and support of corporations or government to accomplish something positive. How people choose to eat has profound impacts on the environment and on their own and their family’s health. It is the most powerful decision most of us will ever have the opportunity to make. From an environmental standpoint, reducing meat consumption is equivalent to reducing human population. There is typically 20 times as much land required to feed a meat eater… simply consider the trophic level losses.

    Once again: health is how you feel… which includes how you feel emotionally. There isn’t a sharp black and white division on the gradient of health. Past experiences linger and affect how people react to things many years later – even for strict vegans. I have met many perfectionists (and they were all nut cases), but I have never met even one perfect person.

    And to some others here who seem to believe in the urban myth (follow the money) nonsense that ‘sometimes’ meat is necessary (wedge politics, just seed doubt and BAU)… Anyway, for those who have an inquisitive, open mind… I offer a fairly comprehensive introductory lecture on the conclusively negative health impacts of meat consumption, that was given by a physician. Since probably only a handful of fortunate and intelligent people will ever watch and apply this ‘secret info’, I have no fear of it enabling a population jump via longevity:

    VIDEO/Lecture: The top 15 killers in the United States