The selfish surrender of privileged people

A letter by Stephanie Jo Kent, who writes at Reflexivity

Dear Guy,

When I first read your response to my last letter, I thought you sabotaged the attempt to steer people to my blog. At the very least it seemed self-defeating. The way I interpret the code of acceptable discourse at Nature Bats Last, you dismissed me as a well-intentioned but misguided person. I was disappointed but not discouraged. I recognized the common communication glitch of homolingualism — since I am not parroting the discourse of contributors to NBL, it appears as if I am with the enemy – or at least closer to ‘them’ than I am to the in-group here. You did not understand that I agree with you: industrialized civilization must come to an end.

It is true that I am not calling for action in the exact same way as you, but this does not mean I am working at counter purpose. I have been convinced of the science of climate change for years. Yes, the extremely rapid decline of the planetary boundaries maintaining a stable atmosphere is shocking and much sooner than I anticipated. However, while you took years to adjust, I have absorbed this fact in months. Not quickly enough, perhaps, but faster than you! Most of the people I love are less prepared for this transition—or seem so.

Many of my friends and chosen family are aware of their relative inaction. They are choosing not to change their lifestyles. Their attitude appears to be one of playing violins while the ship sinks—not an uncourageous behavior in the face of certain death. I suspect there is a tipping point percentage of people who fall in this range, folks who are educated enough to make a relatively conscious decision to—at this point—continue going about life in the usual ways. I believe they make this decision in the absence of viable alternatives. It is certainly not hopium, defined by you as wishful thinking. It may not be hope, either. What, if anything, could convince them to help decommission the civilization machine?

Of course I can only speak in generalities, but I am going to go out on a few limbs here. Demographics-wise, have you noticed that the Doomer movements (as far as I can tell, any variety) are almost exclusively white? My exposure includes North America, the UK, and Australia. Find me an exception and I’ll bet they prove the rule: spokespeople from historically oppressed cultural backgrounds are seeking communal solutions. They do not envision moving elsewhere to live like an isolated pioneer in a re-imagined wild west. In fact, the ‘solution’ you and everyone here at NBL proposes is realistically available only to a very small percentage of privileged people – those who have (access to) the resources to buy land or move out of the city or otherwise (attempt to) carve themselves out of industrial society.

Remember that nature loves diversity. You offer one solution, one solution only. The fact that you have the privilege to (try to) opt out, and the arrogance to believe that no other possibilities have merit, is probably less a feature of your particular character and more the result of generations of inherited heterosexual white male privilege—combined (as if that isn’t enough!) with the ubiquity of your cherished rationality. Worshipping reason is not infallible. The application of reason in the scientific reduction of complex processes to isolated phenomena is an extremely guilty player in the rise of industrial society. Lodging your solution in rationality alone is hubris.

The philosopher Henri Bergson has a relevant critique of reason. I quote from one of his commentators, F.C.T. Moore.

[T]hough it is pragmatically important, and indeed a main function of human reason, to analyse and map [processes of change], doing so can lead to false views, and false problems, especially in the mind of the philosopher. (p. 3)

False views and false problems result from atomistic applications of precision—reason reduced to myopia. “The test of precision will be not only a matter of method or style, but also a matter of adequacy to the subject-matter” (p. 16). In other words, precision requires assessing the applicability of philosophical positions to facts; facts which, in the case of climate shift, include not only the plantliness of the world (as Bergson noted, which was not yet known to be endangered in his time) but also the social constructions humans need to persist in civil society. Whether institutional (as in industrial society) or cultural (ways of being in community) the substrata of all social constructions is temporal.

Explaining the insights of Bergson’s concept of durance, Moore says, “Pragmatic reasons lead us to demarcate (in a non-arbitrary fashion) episodes or elements in the unfolding of time” (p. 64). So we note, for instance, the shift to non-linear ice melt. Because we humans must act, somehow, in some ways—to deny or avoid or confront, etc.—and, presumably, be able to understand or justify the reasons for our (in)actions, Bergson ‘s path is “to augment our time-awareness by expanding…our awareness of temporal unfolding…in terms of its various rhythms. We have complexity rather than multiplicity” (p. 64).

Periods of time are not just additive and linear to be multiplied together for a measure of some duration, they are layered and occurring at different rates. Normally most people are aware of the rate and rhythms of everyday lived experience, measured by the clock (tick tock tick tock) and punctuated by encounters with others. Perception of the future is often absent, and comprehension of all of the factors bearing upon the present is an intellectual exercise that requires effort. Your personal progress in distinguishing hope from hopium and then deciding to conflating them as one-and-the-same is the result of a durable process over time – has it been over a decade?

It may be that others will progress in similar fashion to the same hope-is-hopium conclusion, but you can’t expect them to leapfrog over the process just because you have already arrived there. Which is why, in application to our context—living in the age of omnicide—killing the prospect of hope is a false view on what may even be a false problem. Moore’s choice of durance in English for the French word, durée, is to emphasize Bergson’s wish to draw attention to “the fact or property of going through time” rather than “to refer to a measurable period of time during which something happens” (emphasis in original, p. 58). The pragmatic question then becomes, not the hyperrational, “How do we bring down industrial society” but rather, How do we live together during a time when we need to be bringing down industrial society?

What is called for is not another repetition of white flight. What is needed is everyone with knowledge—from any scientific discipline and every social perspective—working together, transdisciplinarily and interculturally, in order to salvage (or even enhance) civil society. Notice, please, that saving civil society is distinct and separate from saving industrial civilization.

Civil society is an abused concept but it is not the same as civilization. I am open to other concepts that are more suitable for dying at the scale of species self-extinction. The virtue of civil society is that it does not insist upon conformity but is based upon a foundation of respect and appreciation of difference. White people in white flight is not civil. White flight is fear-based and a source of fear-mongering. “White,” by the way, should not be understood only on the basis of pigmentation. Particular attitudes of pale-skinned people (esp in the US, UK and Australia) compose the representative model of the behaviors of whiteness, regardless of heritage. Whiteness stems from an accustomed sense of superiority and presumption of authoritative knowledge. Thinking about whiteness is to consider how race matters, not why. It is to recognize that we all participate in patterned behavior and that the patterns have historical significance.

Courageous civility in the age of extinction calls for seeking ways to give meaning to the lives we have left to live. Not merely our puny autobiographies, but extending beyond the small boundaries of families and friends to the “Others”—homo sapiens and other species, too. Splintering is easiest, of course. Everyone can take pride in their own presumed superiority and we can all (continue to) compete to see who can die last, perhaps even securing the prize of killing somebody else first, in order to outlive them for, perhaps, mere minutes or hours or possibly some days. Woohoo—I can hardly wait for that party to start.

What would it take from you, as in, how does it hurt you or the cause of ending industrial society, to support alternative efforts to save the organic planet? Whether or not you believe they will ultimately work is moot. What exactly is wrong with giving people a framework within which to behave humanely? Would you prefer wave after wave of unmediated social panic? Is justifying your rationality more important than alleviating suffering? I cannot wrap my head around any logic that rejects peoples’ self-organizing around strategies that might enhance the adaptive capacity of the planet to bounce back—however slim the chances are!

Can you not conceive of the possibility that providing a greenprint might encourage and convince people of the viability of taking the radical steps required to dismantle the existing fossil fuel industry even though there is no replacement? What do you really want, Guy? Do you just need it to happen your way, or do you actually want to clog the industrial machinery as soon as possible? The inevitable crash can only be hastened with some semblance of design.

I’d wager that regular readers of NBL have established a foundation by now in terms of enhancing your chances of survival with some relative comfort. Maybe it is now time to reach beyond the smallness of individualized, rational thinking and the cultural justifications of whiteness. If it comes up, push through any shame or guilt and throw your passion and knowledge into public, local processes. Participate in and contribute to collective pressure on the industrial systems in your neighborhood, your profession, and the corporation, university or government for which many of you still get paid for your labor. Join someone else’s initiative, or work in coalition to generate a new one.

How else can a way forward be charted for the masses who will have nowhere else to turn? Create some social options. Diversify. Perhaps it seems weak to reach out and help somebody else in ways that are meaningful to them, rather than imposing the ways that make sense for you? Whiteness alert! Allow yourself to be jarred out of this appalling privileged selfishness.

If all you can do is shoot down hope, then shut the fuck up. We have to mobilize a worldwide movement. You are not the only one trying and the uber-individualist family-based strategy (whether by blood or chosen) is not the only means. We are living evolution and will be dying for it soon enough. If you think there are answers in the old ways, don’t pick and choose in another classic round of cultural appropriation—embrace the example whole! Indigenous peoples live communally in large groups, not nuclear ones. Extant tribes today persist on a range of beliefs that encompass and exceed rationality. Make some alliances, swallow some pride: let’s get this show on the road.

Reflexively,
steph

_______________

With thanks to Ms. Kent for the dialog, I respond briefly below. Nearly all of Ms. Kent’s letter is unworthy of response because it represents a clear lack of knowledge of my work and is therefore ignorant, irrelevant, or redundant. Because I am strapped for time, I respond only to a few parts of her letter. Even these components have been the subject of past efforts, as reflected in my writing and speaking.

“However, while you took years to adjust, I have absorbed this fact in months. Not quickly enough, perhaps, but faster than you!”

As I’ve repeatedly pointed out, I reached this conclusion in 2002, in a matter of weeks. Shortly thereafter, I discovered the notion of global peak oil, and thought the attendant collapse would prevent runaway greenhouse. I re-reached my conclusion about the latter phenomenon in June 2012, about a decade after reaching the same conclusion for the first time.

“Demographics-wise, have you noticed that the Doomer movements (as far as I can tell, any variety) are almost exclusively white? My exposure includes North America, the UK, and Australia. Find me an exception and I’ll bet they prove the rule: spokespeople from historically oppressed cultural backgrounds are seeking communal solutions. They do not envision moving elsewhere to live like an isolated pioneer in a re-imagined wild west.”

Friends of mine live nearby, in the desert. An African-American couple with young children from Chicago, they are choosing to live by themselves on a small, remote property. They are echoing actions by another African-American couple with young children who lived in the nearby wilderness a few years ago. These exceptions don’t prove the rule of yours: they break it.

“In fact, the ‘solution’ you and everyone here at NBL proposes is realistically available only to a very small percentage of privileged people – those who have (access to) the resources to buy land or move out of the city or otherwise (attempt to) carve themselves out of industrial society.”

More than a dozen friends of mine live a mile up the road, sharing 19 acres. Ages range from 7 to 73. They choose to live in this area, in dire financial poverty, because they love this place. Another few friends of mine live on the land. Two live in the nearby wilderness, very primitively. They have essentially no money, and operate largely outside the monetary system.

I’ve long recognized and admitted my enormous privilege. I have a good idea what it means to be a Caucasian American man. For me, it meant earning six figures to think for a living. And I have a very good idea what it means to give up my privileged, high-pay, low-work position at the apex of American empire for ethical reasons. I suspect very few people have the slightest understanding of that experience. Are you one of them?

“You offer one solution, one solution only”

You might want to read my writing more carefully. I’ve offered many, varied “solutions.” I routinely point out that there are at least 7 billion responses to the dire nature of our straits.

“The pragmatic question then becomes, not the hyperrational, “How do we bring down industrial society” but rather, How do we live together during a time when we need to be bringing down industrial society?”

Terminating omnicide is my first calling. Doing so while living with others, as I’m doing, has additional benefits. Arguing about whether and how to bring down industrial civilization is a waste of time. I’ve been down this road, repeatedly, with the results on public display in this space.

“What would it take from you, as in, how does it hurt you or the cause of ending industrial society, to support alternative efforts to save the organic planet? Whether or not you believe they will ultimately work is moot. What exactly is wrong with giving people a framework within which to behave humanely? Would you prefer wave after wave of unmediated social panic? Is justifying your rationality more important than alleviating suffering? I cannot wrap my head around any logic that rejects peoples’ self-organizing around strategies that might enhance the adaptive capacity of the planet to bounce back—however slim the chances are!”

This passage simultaneously insults me, personally, as it echoes my abundant writing. Then, by echoing my writing, it insults me again.

“What do you really want, Guy?”

Pay attention, Ms. Kent. I want to terminate industrial civilization, by any means necessary, on the living planet’s behalf. I’ve delivered this unwavering message for more than half a decade.

“I’d wager that regular readers of NBL have established a foundation by now in terms of enhancing your chances of survival with some relative comfort.”

I can speak only for myself. I’d gladly die, in less than one second’s notice, to terminate industrial civilization. And, as I’ve pointed out, the mud hut represents a massive failure for many reasons. It is the worst mistake of my life, so far. The so-called “privilege” of mine has landed me directly into a death trap.

_____________

McPherson’s monthly essay for Transition Voice was published Monday, 29 July. It’s here.

McPherson’s work has inspired another song. It’s embedded below.

_____________

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Comments 194

  • Guy, I have to respect your willingness to expose yourself to some pretty harsh criticism publicly on your own website, and also respond to it very effectively. I really like that kind of openness.

  • Good to see you/us back, Guy. You never know you’ve got a Jones on something, until it’s taken away. (Watch out, all — some of those sites commenting upon the shutdown had Trojan payloads — part of a two-pronged attack on us? — that my Kaspersky managed to catch — I hope!)

    People who disagree with me always get a bit of extra attention, for me to see if I’m missing something, if they’re on to one of my blind spots. With things moving so fast, you never know who will be part of a new intellectual/emotional synthesis for me, and for me to pass along.

    But, after I’ve scanned through some attitude, and if they’re just repeating something I’m already past, they get my courteous adieu. “Thanks for the effort.” It’s my call, finally, on whether they’re contributing something I need to hear. Yes, time is limited. Lightening my own baggage lately, and not just to pick up another’s. Too many of my close friends reaching their own expiration dates, and dropping around me…

    If the writing confuses me, I may return for a second try. But probably not. So much more beckons…

    Oh, and people in other countries, non-white I suppose they are, are more aware of the climate changing than US Americans have allowed themselves to be. They just can’t do much about what USA and China and Europe are doing to them, e.g., moving their coffee plants up the mountainside, so they’re taking what pragmatic steps they can, unlike the oblivious inmates hereabouts.

    As agricultural societies, many of them are designating students and professors to research and develop crop planning that will offer survival opportunities, at least awhile longer. I doubt they’ve reached the cognizance of NTE, however.

    I would go so far as to say that, without at least a couple of years living outside of “Western” white Euro-settler state culture, you’re really commenting on all of this NTE prospect from within the narcissistic fishbowl. Sorry, but that’s my own experience as I’ve peeled away the tiniest few layers of cultural conditioning, and realize how far I have to go. But I’ve passed beyond guilt about it, long ago, since I am making my maximum effort.

    Just means we all have to do the best we can, as imperfect beings, but be aware that we need the Doors of Perception to open quite a bit wider, for us to understand most of what’s happening around us, to the entire human/animal community.

  • WOW! …and I thought “I” was the Anti-Christ! Bravo Guy…punk rock ain’t pretty but the alchemy flushes out the impurities!

    My opinion is that Ms. Kent is suffering from penis envy and a competitive need to play alpha dog in an effort towards gaining self promotion…just saying:)

    Believe me, if Guy resembled ANY of the profile Ms. Kent is erroneously projecting onto him, I would smell it! Leading the way in sustainable living, how is that privileged? The man generously gives back with his time in his devotion to our Planet, speaking to all who ask. Ms. Kent…don’t make this about YOU!

  • NBL online and operational. Yay!

  • Wow, she has a Masters in Education and is working on a PhD and she writes with all the sophistication of a misguided 14-year old having a temper tantrum?

    That’s saying something very depressing about the state of higher education in this country.

    The level of discourse in that sloganeering screed makes the slymepitters look erudite.

  • Denial is a defense mechanism and some people can become locked in this stage.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCbler-Ross_model

    Denial

    If you don’t think the end has begun,
    Or extinction cannot be outrun,
    Do whatever distracts,
    But by facing the facts,
    Only then will you start your Stage 1.

  • Guy, good to see you are back
    nil illegitemae carborundum!
    [don’t let the bastards wear you down!]
    best wishes from New Zealand: land of gcsb spies
    and w**ker banker sub-prime ministers.

    Martin

    be sound in your mind and all will be resolved

  • Not much to say as Guy’s responses were pitch perfect, as usual.

    I’ve loved these past years to read neo-apologist responses like stephs, peppered with the most pompous of pseudo-intellectual overtones go on and on (and on,yawn), and then at the last, boil down to some completely nonsensical, college-age trope (in steph’s case) such as:

    “We have to mobilize a worldwide movement.”

    Really, steph?…”worldwide movement”?…really? That’s where you landed after all that? I actually followed you into and through the white flight theme (you quite failed to convince). Regardless of anything else you have to opine about Guy, you completely burst your entire theme with that one silly tossed off line. Seriously disappointing.

    There is not a shred of evidence existing that ‘we’ (you don’t mention of who this ‘WE’ you speak of would consist) HAVE to (or can at this point) DO anything. Much less could anything resembling a ‘worldwide movement’ (however I imagine you define it) to unwind Empire-thinking ever come to be during the current generation nor the one following. Where is the serious evidence at this stage that mass calm, collective, action will outrun and quell mass anxiety, panic, resource scarcity, violence and a descent into eventual biological destruction?

    Ghastly and lastly, as if that wasn’t enough:

    “…let’s get this show on the road”

    Again, really? I can’t even begin to process the ridiculous glibness of such a statement. Imho, you, in one single last paragraph, completely destroyed any credibility you might have on this subject. In my experience, people who coda their writings with such inane dribble should go to the back of the line and await another turn (and it’s a long line at this point). I’m ok with a reasoned criticism of Guy, but this entire ‘selfish surrender’ theme is a complete and utter failure.

  • Gail, I don’t think that she does write that way. I think she tried to really invoke dialogue. She isn’t playing into the “party line” of the site and I rather enjoy that. She is inviting people to think beyond their particular belief systems. This is critical to freedom. All views must be entertained and heard. When anyone becomes too attached to their own viewpoint, the mutual search for Truth, which is central to freedom, is lost. It’s not productive to, in Nietzche’s words, “do philosophy with a hammer”.

    Neither do I feel, Mike K., that she is being “critical”. I think she is just trying to add her voice to the conversation. If we can’t hear that, then we are locked into our own biases as if they were Truth. It strikes me that, if we wear our biases more lightly, we invite more exchange, more interaction, more inclusion. We certainly do not want to set up a scenario of “us vs. them”. We’re all—all!—in this together and, when the ship goes down, we are all going to need one another!

  • Ok, lets take the proposition that Near Term Extinction of human and mammal and much other life is inevitable and a decade or two away. (Arctic News Blog – extinction in one human lifetime) The Permian Triassic extinction event for likely similar reasons devastated life on earth – from wiki “The Permian–Triassic (P–Tr) extinction event, informally known as the Great Dying,[2] was an extinction event that occurred 252.28 Ma(million years) ago,[3] forming the boundary between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods, as well as the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras. It is the Earth’s most severe known extinction event, with up to 96% of all marine species[4] and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species becomingextinct.[5] It is the only known mass extinction of insects.[6][7] Some 57% of all families and 83% of all genera became extinct. “

    So if that is a given, because of the positive feedbacks now in place, what should we do. That can be answered on several levels. One level is the one Guy proposes – that we should seek to make the collapse of industrial civilization occur sooner. When there was a chance some life could be saved that made sense. If very little life can be saved, then what is the point, who would benefit.

    One group that would benefit from an acceleration of collapse would be the unborn. Collapse of Industrial Society has long been deemed by peak oil groups to cause significant depopulation – some thought down to 500,000 humans. Clearly the sooner collapse happens the less new life will be brought into existence. While collapse will make birth control unavailable, the depopulation will mean less fertile females, and if accompanied with inability to get enough food, those women who survive may have less fertility. So an early collapse of civilization would matter to the unborn who would be saved from becoming part of the extinction of human life.

    So although resistance with a mind to collapsing civilization will not save the planet from mass extinction, it will save some of the unborn from becoming born. Since Ms. Kent you like to quote philosophers to make your points, I suggest the book “Better Never to have Been ;The Harm of Coming Into Existence by philosopher David Benatar. If his reasoning is right it is always better to forgo having children. Paradoxically while collapse will remove the ability to easily make that choice, it will also reduce the number of breeding pairs and also likely their fertility. Thus the case can be made that collapsing industrial civ at the earliest possible moment is a act of extreme human caring, caring for the most vulnerable, the unborn.

  • I think printing the letter and opening up a conversation serves to disprove the notion the Guy is peddling a “my way or the highway” approach. There has been a much greater diversity of opinion at NBL than Ms. Kent alleges.

    I have to say, I don’t follow the “whiteness” attack at all. Guy has admitted to having attained an enviable position of very real privilege, but came to realize it was based on an unjust system that was rotten to the very core, and thus baled out.

    Sure, Guy had enough “moola in da coola” to build a house or buy a piece of land, while many people in this and other nations do not, but Guy also spends what funds he has left bringing his message to groups all around the globe. Guy has an open offer to travel almost anywhere to meet with a group or make an on-site presentation, and he only asks for HALF of the travel expenses, a place to stay and some good local food, and NO speaking fees — he pays for the rest from his own pocket. That’s a hell of a lot less “whiteness” than most public speakers project.

    There is no doubt that the culture in America has institutionalized a lot of racism, bigotry, and injustice, both subtle and overt. However, I completely fail to see how living a low-impact life in a rural location that is independent of the electric grid, requiring very little energy for heating or cooling, growing ones own food, and building a small cooperative community that operates without an external currency and cares for its members from cradle to grave could possibly be used as evidence of some deep-rooted injustice, or as Ms. Kent calls it, “white-ness”. I really wonder how living more like the Anasazi did, or like tribal villages all over the world still do, is evidence of anything other than caring people learning to live peacefully and accept their neighbors completely, warts and all.

    I’ve always lived in rural places, except for a few years in a suburb about 5 miles away from farmland, so maybe I don’t understand how foreign and utterly different rural, agrarian living could seem to someone that is deeply rooted in an urban culture, and has no understanding of, or appreciation for, a more rural existence. Maybe in Ms. Kent’s world view that’s something only rich, white folks — and especially white men can do, But I know that’s not so, and Guy has said as much many times. This might just seem like something so far outside her experience that it does not seem real, attainable, or even desirable.

    I know of people who live in small “tribes” of like-minded ecological people, growing their own food, raising their kids, and living pretty close to the land, as Guy now does. Some people have outside jobs for enough income to buy what they need or to pay their property taxes, but they can live on very little money — often less than $5 – $10,000 per year, which is hardly rich by any American standard. They are wealthy beyond most measuring systems, but they have almost no money, and they didn’t need a big pot of gold to get started, either.

    You could argue that neither the First Peoples of the Americas nor most people living in tribal villages have solar panels and the internet, but without these things, there would be no NBL, nor would there be a Guy McPherson as we know him, since most of us would never have heard of the guy (so to speak…).

    So, we return to one of the central questions that arises when we start to dig more deeply into collapse and NTHE: do we want to know and prepare for what is coming, or go about our daily lives in blissful ignorance? And why try to shoot the messenger?!?

    Sorry you’re feeling frustrated and bitter Steph… hope you find your path and your bliss — and soon.

  • @Kathy Cassandra

    Shorter version : if you truly care about the unborn, make sure they stay that way.

    @Guy

    Happy to see the site back up. Thanks for providing it.

    RE: main post
    tl;dr. Seemed on a quick skim to be an over-the-top gradualist rant culminating in “If all you can do is shoot down hope, then shut the fuck up. We have to mobilize a worldwide movement.”

    This isn’t a situation of the form “terrible things will happen unless we take the following actions”. This is a situation of “terrible things will happen”.

    Ms. Kent, at this point hope is a fantasy. Don’t let me begrudge you your fantasies. I have my own, generally along the lines of living on a mega-yacht surrounded by super models. The difference is that my fantasy is possible with enough money, just wildly unlikely. Averting extinction is a fantasy no where near as likely as that.

    I also notice some ranting about white male privilege. There are many posts here about who is to blame, are people inherently evil, is western society inherently evil, where did we go wrong, etc.

    It really only comes down to one thing: technology advanced, death rates came down, but declines in birth rates lagged. As a result, population exploded, and even low-impact lifestyles were too great a burden (of course, high-impact lifestyles were a much greater burden). Cumulative environmental impact progressed faster than technological progress (assuming that there is a technological future that would be ecologically benign). We just ran out of time. Perhaps that’s the answer to Fermi’s Paradox. Every technological species simply runs out of time before they make it to the stars.

    Of course, technology kicked the cycle off – perhaps that was the single point of failure. I don’t see any reason we couldn’t have maintained a dark-age medieval level of technology indefinitely. Lives that were nasty, brutish, and short. Ignorance, superstition, and oppression. Products made from leather, stone, wood, and a bit of bog iron. High death rates to balance the high birth rates. It wasn’t much of a life, and not one that I would choose, but would it be better than no life at all?

    If I had a point I have certainly lost it. Peace out, y’all.

  • Two weeks ago I congratulated Carolyn Baker on her essay in this space by describing it as “elegant, graceful and beautiful”. This piece balances Carolyn’s writing perfectly, by embodying the same degree of inelegance, gracelessness and ugliness.

    It’s a textbook example of poor research (into what Guy has written, done and believes), sloppy logic, emotional reactivity, resistance and projection. I’m astonished, but not terribly surprised. It’s a very good example of the problems that these radical ideas face, even in the relatively aware segment of the activist community.

    Sorry, Ms. Kent, but I think you do yourself and the dialogue a serious disservice with this kind of writing. You have strong ideas and opinions. It would be interesting to hear you present them without setting yourself up in gratuitous, personal opposition to people who are actually on the same side.

  • In fact, the ‘solution’ you and everyone here at NBL proposes is realistically available only to a very small percentage of privileged people

    Count me out from “everyone here at NBL”: the forthcoming solution is akin to the Third Reich’s “Final Solution” but with a helluva lot more finality and on a scale that would make Der Führer quite jealous.

    Worshipping reason is not infallible.

    Applies to all forms of fanaticism.

    Periods of time are not just additive and linear to be multiplied together for a measure of some duration, they are layered and occurring at different rates.

    Time’s arrow points the way it does on account of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The sequential definition of points requires a referent in time, and that sequence of points is the referent for space.

    However, the unidimensionality of time has been pointed out as a constraint from our spacetime perspective. There is no reason why time must be limited to one dimension, just as there is no reason why space should be limited to three. And as has been noted, a positron is the equivalent of an electron travelling backward in time.

    I’ndeed:
    The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare,
    Act I, Scene III
    Shylock:
    “O Father Abram, what these Christians are”

    Kefitzat Haderech

    (קפיצת הדרך)

    Also known as the “jumping/shortening of the path”, the same phenomenon has been evident in the documentation of the travels of Chinese Masters who arrived at another monastery a couple of thousand miles away a few days after departing the first monastery on foot. While accurate dates were kept everywhere, comparisons of dates across thousands of miles was not forthcoming, and the phenomenon was not then discerned.

    “the fact or property of going through time”

    Actually we do not go through time. Time goes through us. We are always in the “now”.

    The virtue of civil society is that it does not insist upon conformity but is based upon a foundation of respect and appreciation of difference.

    Now that is a very substantial load of male bovine faecal material. Society is bound together by hierarchical vertical transactions at the gunpoint of the threat of coercive violence against non-violent non-compliers. In contrast, community coheres through horizontal voluntary non-coercive interactions, of which only a small minority are transactions. Where society and community coexist, society exerts control on community by prescribing, proscribing, and monitoring as much of community interaction as possible, and co-opting any sectors of community that threaten to become self sufficient: society is quite effective in this because it wields the twin mechanisms of regulation and taxation.

    I cannot wrap my head around any logic that rejects peoples’ self-organizing around strategies that might enhance the adaptive capacity of the planet to bounce back—however slim the chances are!

    Well, then use the towel of society as a wraparound instead: it will make a fine turban.

    cultural justifications of whiteness

    Not cultural, but biological. The low angle of the sun in northern latitudes spread out the same width of beam over a larger surface area, resulting in lower insolation and lower cutaneous synthesis of Vitamin D. Reduced pigmentation was an adaptive compensation to decreased insolation. The parts where “the sun don’t shine” such as the axillae and groins remained pigmented. (If pigmentation were for protection from the sun, the axillae and groins would have remained depigmented in the pigmented races).

    See “The Paleo-etiology of Human Skin Tone: BackinTyme” (Googleable) for a more detailed discussion.

    How else can a way forward be charted for the masses who will have nowhere else to turn?

    Remember the Twilight Zone episode “To Serve Man”? Well, that could be a good staring point.

    If all you can do is shoot down hope, then shut the fuck up.

    That’s just what happened to NBL for nearly a couple of days.

    We have to mobilize a worldwide movement.

    Rotary movement, as on a spit.

  • It seems Ms. Kent’s main concerns revolve around social panic and loss of civility. She seems willing to do anything to avoid panic. She seems to be a bit panicked about panic. Use any and all cultural nostrums that might keep the calm, for as long as possible, at any cost. Presumably to enable the emergence of a miracle that would allow our species to grow on forever, despite all we now know about our terminal condition.

    Such a ‘solution’ has a cost. By its very nature, it would dull the fear response. To subdue panic is to subdue fear. Fear is the only mechanism that might be powerful enough to break through illusion and ignorance — and halt the ecological harms we are causing. The only hope is fear, not for ourselves anymore, but for the sake of other life forms.

    Apparently no ecosystem on the planet will continue, in its present state, intact. The avalanche of mass extinction, which we have already initiated, will dismantle all current ecosystems. At some point, long after H.s.sapiens is gone, various ecosystems might reach new climax balances, and speciation might continue. If we don’t destroy even the possibility of that — by quelling fear and going back to sleep, and continuing to undermine all life on this planet for as long as we can, ultimately reducing it to the microscopic.

    We are done for. Worrying about panic and brutality as we die off may seem compassionate from an anthropocentric perspective and feel good, but it is short sighted in regard to the continuity of other complex life forms on Earth. They are the only forms of complex life which we can reasonably expect to put our future trust into. Conditions for the re-evolution of complex life from microbes will probably never occur again. Even the Earth has life stages. Its probably too old to re-evolve complex organisms, and some semblance of consciousness. We should be compassionate about the continuity of consciousness, the prerequisite of compassion. We should face our self absorbed fears over ourselves, and stop the harm. If we don’t, absolute hopelessness and utter panic is guaranteed.

  • Hands please – how many Caucasians and persons of European descent posting regularly on this site? 99.9%? How many – by world standards – high privileged, high income, first-world individuals? 98%? 99?% or more? Who would have thought? Really.

    How many folks live and work in 3rd world countries, surrounded by people who do not look, act, dress or talk exactly at all like them? Hmmm…OK…How many still claim that Indigenous Land is “theirs” and can, per Enclosure apologist Mr. John Locke, the sole author of South Caolina’s first inarguably fully racist constitution, be bought and sold (just like people) and therefore be “theirs” to live on? OK.

    How many more excuses and rationalizations for can we come up with? Obviously a heck of a lot. Yes, and I am white, and I know my share of oreo cookies, coconuts, red apples, and bananas who have bought the party line, hook and sinker. And these do not, in any shape or form, make the case for diversity, or challenge the case for being absolutely, completely over-the-top imperial white. http://www.buygranites.com/Imperial-White-Granite.html

    Quote:

    “As longterm participants in the national liberation struggle of American Indians, we have been forced into knowing the nature of colonialism very well. Along with you, we understand that the colonization we experience finds its origin in the matrix of European
    culture. But, apparently unlike you, we also understand that in order for Europe to do what it has done to us—in fact, for Europe to become ‘Europe’ at all—it first had to do the same thing to all of you. In other words, to become a colonizing culture, Europe had first to colonize itself. To the extent that this is true, I find it fair to say that if our struggle must be explicitly anticolonial in its form, content and aspirations, yours must be even more so. You have, after all, been colonized far longer than we, and therefore much more completely. In fact, your colonization has by now been consolidated to such an extent that—with certain notable exceptions, like the Irish and Basque nationalists—you no longer even see yourselves as having been colonized. The result is that you’ve become self-colonizing, conditioned to be so self-identified with your own oppression that you’ve lost your ability to see it for what it is, much less to resist it in any coherent way.

    “You seem to feel that you are either completely disconnected from your own heritage of having been conquered and colonized, or that you can and should disconnect yourselves from it as a means of destroying that which oppresses you. I believe, on the other hand, that your internalization of this self-hating outlook is exactly what your oppressors want most
    to see you do. Such a posture on your part simply perfects and completes the structure of your domination. It is inherently self-defeating because in denying yourselves the meaning of your own history and traditions, you leave yourselves with neither an established point of departure from which to launch your own struggle for liberation, nor any set of goals and objectives to guide that struggle other than abstractions. You are thereby left effectively anchorless and rudderless, adrift on a stormy sea. You have lost your maps and compass, so you have no idea where you are or where to turn for help. Worst of all, you sense that the ship on which you find yourselves trapped is rapidly sinking. I can imagine no more terrifying situation to be in, and, as relatives, we would like to throw you a life preserver.”

    Ward Churchill, Acts of Rebellion, p. 217, AK Press
    (you can again go sanctimoniously wipe your expelant from the walls and keep your noses in the air)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    OK now that we’re done with that, let’s all get back to
    (1) the Calvinist Theological discussion of no salvation through actions, the “given-half-a-chance,-any-human-would-overrun-and-destroy-the-planet” cop out,
    (2) the “you-can’t-fight-genetics” expedient,
    (3)the Hobbesian “we-who-know-that-‘life’-is-red-in-tooth-and claw” alibi, the MYTH of indigenous sustainability,
    (4) the dark, sarcastic LIE of the noble savage,
    the “we-were-screwed-as-soon-as-we-invented-fire” shuck and jive,
    (5) the hands in the air “Surrender-Dorothy-nothing-is-to-be-done” whitewash…..

    Thank you for your time and consideration. I might agree that there is no hope for you…but for a host of many different reasons besides the climate holocaust.

  • “Pay attention, Ms. Kent. I want to terminate industrial civilization, by any means necessary, on the living planet’s behalf. I’ve delivered this unwavering message for more than half a decade.”

    Pay Attention Mr. McPherson and Nature Bats Last:
    Mr. McPherson was invited to provide detailed evidentiary arguments to at least 40 Generals and Admirals, in support of terminating industrial civilization. Mr. McPherson has so far refused to do so.

    ———————
    Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 12:05 AM
    To: ‘Eco: Guy McPherson’; ‘Guy McPherson’
    Subject: Guy McPherson: A Question about For sale, habitable planet, too late

    Mr. McPherson,

    I shall try and make this as brief as possible.

    Imagine there are 40 odd Generals/Admirals extremely concerned about the ecological collapse reality we face.

    Imagine they are willing to consider the possibility about implementing an ‘ecological necessity’ coup, for the purpose of implementing de-industrialization. They are not certain that it could be mitigated. Would it make a difference? Can ecological collapse be mitigated, or is that delusional?

    If you think it can be mitigated. I need the following information:

    1. I need the hard ‘ecological necessity’ facts justifying the coup.
    2. I also need the hard – To do De-Industrialization list – facts (such as decommission the world’s hundreds of nuclear power plants, etc.).

    Do you think it can be mitigated? If so, or even if not; in the context of fertile resistance; would you be interested in helping me with the ‘ecological necessity’ and ‘to do De-Industrialize’ list facts?

    Lara
    MILINT Earth Day
    —————-

  • My response to Lara:

    1. Tim Garrett’s paper in Climatic Change indicates only complete collapse prevents runaway greenhouse: http://unews.utah.edu/news_releases/is-global-warming-unstoppable/ But now it’s too late, as some of your favorite generals, admirals, and politicians surely know.

    2. Read the whole thing: http://underminers.org/

  • This bears repeating:

    Beware of agents provocateurs.

  • Sherry said, “I think she tried to really invoke dialogue.”

    How does “shut the fuck up” indicate an effort to “invoke diaogue”? I find her confrontational approach indefensible. This isn’t just some intemperate outburst like Dawkins on Twitter over Elevatorgate. That was the culmination of a long letter in which her intention is clearly to shut down information she finds uncomfortable and threatening to her complacent fantasy that 1.) it’s not too late and 2.) anybody who makes that must be evil.

    If she doesn’t think that Guy’s ideas have anything to offer her, why doesn’t she just ignore them? Why go out of her way to insult him and even make the ridiculous claim that his readers have set up a “foundation” for his benefit as though he were some sort of Jim Bakker with a flock of dupes? That only goes to indicate how far-fetched her assumptions are in general.

    “She isn’t playing into the “party line” of the site and I rather enjoy that.”

    There is no “party line” here. Witness Wester’s none-too-subtle fact-free innuedoes of: “cop-out”; “expedient”; “shuck-and-jive”; and “white-wash”. (Wester, it doesn’t matter if Darwin was a European white guy – if a theory is correct, the source is irrelevant. Try to talk about the theory and the evidence and skip the personal dispagements please).

    “She is inviting people to think beyond their particular belief systems.”

    That’s the most belligerent “invitation” I’ve ever seen.

    “All views must be entertained and heard.”

    Not if they’re stupid, ill-informed regurgitated politically correct blather.

    This looks familiar:

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/hl-50084726/kids_in_the_hall_art_studio_season_4/

  • Great way to start back up – a challenge to the “way we’re going” here on NBL.

    Whereas I hear everyone above (Wester, nice response), it may be simply that Ms. Kent doesn’t really “grok” that we’re at the point of no return now and that despite Wester’s 5 points, none of our “approaches” or “attitudes” or “reasoning” is going to give us, as a species, any more than our nebulous allotted time – especially since we refuse to learn lessons that have long been spelled out in detail that we’re going the “wrong way” (as if ANY way would be “forever”) – population overshoot, resource depletion, and pollution of all kinds has triggered Earth climate system responses which are now self-reinforcing and out of our control. Therefore, despite any and all “negative” or “doomer” thoughts, any and all “we can beat this if we just . . .” actions or complete ignorance (or pat’s non-action/observational approach) of our predicament and trajectory, we’re on our way out – it’s already begun and it’ll ramp up further each year. It doesn’t matter what we think, believe or do – geoengineering to tearing down Industrial Civilization in short order – it’s too late! Many like Ehlich, Carson, Huxley, Orwell, etc. saw this coming decades ago and their dire predictions were promptly ignored or not implemented completely (as in the case of pesticides on our environment), and now we’re past the point where it will do any good to do anything at all. In Orwell’s case – it looks like the powers that be used his writing as a training manual!

    Too Smart for Our Own Good, indeed. All we can do now is commiserate and mark the mileposts to destruction and how quickly they’re happening on every front – socially, ecologically, economically and in our own life. No plan that I’ve seen, including B9K9 and some others touting mini-nukes and personal survival pods or communities or living on a dying ocean is going to cut it in the long term. Earth is reacting to the chemical imbalance we’ve caused and shutting it all off as a result. Personally, I don’t want to be part of any “survival” strategies. My entire life has been a gigantic disappointment to me since I reached the age of reason and figured out, without knowing the words for it yet, that we, as a country and then as a species, were speeding in the “wrong” direction and that everything we do is furthering our demise.

    To sum up: despite Ms. Kent’s thinking that it’s simply our “rich white-guy” attitude, this spectacular demise we’re descending into at an ever-greater rate, is beyond all that and effects not only humanity, but all species at this point. Despite some thinking that “doomerism” is a cop-out, it’s merely a reflection of reality the way I see it. There’s nothing left to do, no one to save and it’s not “on us” any more. All we can do is watch as it unfolds, take whatever reactive steps we can to “hang on for as long as possible” (if that’s your approach), and try to go out with some dignity (not that THAT matters at all either).

    Nice to have you all back. I really missed everyone, all your diverse comments and links are greatly appreciated.

  • http://www.disaster-report.com/

    (I don’t know what happened to my first comment, maybe the new process takes longer to load them?)

  • I may have missed it, but I believe I have yet to see Guy explain why, in the event of human NTE, a subsequent “living planet” would be better than a “non-living planet”. Is a living planet just a nice future reality to contemplate in the present, or is there a moral justification for actively working toward it, at the cost of any additional human suffering that may result should we “terminate industrial civilization, by any means necessary”.
    In other words, why is deferred extinction of any or all species a “good thing”.

  • @ Wester:

    Still can’t believe anyone quotes WC, the fraud, even his “kin,” the Native American tribes, have disowned him.

  • Hi Stephanie – Thanks for taking the time to communicate your confusion. I wouldn’t address you personally as your ‘essay’ was addressed to Guy – but since things are what they are, and you have taken the opportunity to lump all NBL’ers together – figured I’d add my 2 cents.

    Yuo say “The pragmatic question then becomes, not the hyperrational, “How do we bring down industrial society” but rather, How do we live together during a time when we need to be bringing down industrial society?”

    “What is called for is not another repetition of white flight. What is needed is everyone with knowledge—from any scientific discipline and every social perspective—working together, transdisciplinarily and interculturally, in order to salvage (or even enhance) civil society.”
    **

    I’m white as rice, but can’t fly a lick and I don’t have much disciplined scientific knowledge or intertransarily type of thing going – but I know a little – maybe I can guess the rest 🙂

    Drop feminism 909 and take insults 101 – lose the attitude and put a little zing in those zingers.
    Don’t do too many things at once like walking and texting.

    Nothing personal, but I’m certainly not the first asshole to tell you you are full of shit.

    Have a great life.

    Plant your love and let it grow.

    Lynyrd Skynyrd – I Know a Little.

  • I love reading all these replies. Not just because they are brilliant but also
    BECAUSE IT MEANS NBL IS BACK!! WOO HOOO!

    Guy handled this letter quite well.

    I deeply agree with Gail’s responses, CMJ’s, Brad’s, and Logspirit’s.
    Even Sherry A. made one good point: “I think she is just trying to add her voice to the conversation. If we can’t hear that, then we are locked into our own biases as if they were Truth.” True, Ms Kent is trying, and very likely will become a loyal NBLer, when/if she gets past her knee jerk anger phase…
    Otherwise, see Gail’s later response to what Sherry said. Spot on. With all due respect to Sherry, I WISH Ms Kent were trying to start a dialogue. She wasn’t really… Not yet at least.
    But she was trying to add her voice. She’s feeling the pain of the truth Guy tells and I can understand that.

    IMHO, Ms Kent’s letter reflects the common knee jerk response most people have upon hearing this information the first time: Anger at the messenger.

    As I watched Guy’s presentation last night in the Netherlands via livestream, during the Q & A afterwards someone stated the obvious to him, that people are angry at Guy for telling them this information.
    Guy just smiled understandingly. What else can one say or do?

    There’s little to be done about that emotion and Guy is not responsible for helping people navigate their Kubler-Ross stages of grief. He’s also not responsible for the mess we’re in, neither is he responsible for saving us or our delicate sensibilities. Like he told Ms Kent, there are over 7 billion responses to this catastrophe. We have just witnessed hers.

    This letter is pretty much about killing the messenger, and as CMJ said, using “pompous of pseudo-intellectual overtones” to try to validate the anger.

    But I hope that Steph Kent will get through her anger and to the acceptance stage of grief, like many of us here at NBL have, and then I think we can actually have that dialogue.

    On another related note:
    As for how exhaustingly difficult it will ever be to get people to “get this show on the road” a highly educated and intelligent gentleman last night at the conference in the Netherlands asked Guy what we could do about our predicament and Guy said we should consider that we humans aren’t the only species that needs saving, and we should do everything in our power to save some remnant of the Natural world by trying to end the Industrialized world. The fellow was perturbed by this, “You mean not worry about saving humans?” (I paraphrase from memory)
    “Right!… Humans can’t survive without nature. We need habitat to survive.”
    The fellow shook his head in disbelief, “But the dinosaurs went extinct and we don’t need them.”
    “Exactly! We are here because they went extinct. The problem is we don’t know which species we need or don’t need. So let’s keep them all.”
    “Even the cockroaches? Do we need them?” Now he was trying to be clever.
    “We don’t know how cockroaches serve us. But why not. Let’s just keep them all.”

    I find the largest disconnect for people is the lack of understanding that we rely on Mother Earth for all our sustenance: food, oxygen, water, companionship.
    These do not come from a corporation or grocery store… You cannot get the delicate fabric of life we depend upon for every molecular moment we live from a lab or R&D think tank…. It takes hundreds of billions of years of the Natural world just doing Her thing.
    We often forget that we are star dust and part of everything around us…even the cockroaches.

    So good to have this space back. 🙂

  • I have many thoughts about this essay. Sure, I suspect most of us are privileged, certainly I am, anyway. And I’m white to boot.

    Most of us here have at least tried to wake people up to the ongoing horror that is industrial civilization and most of us are met with yawns, laughter or disbelief. Which is, I suspect, why we need this space so badly.

    And I freely admit that living in suburban hell is a nightmare from which I wish to escape, to a rural area, off the grid, where I can be in what’s left of nature and try to grow things and try to repair what industrial civ has done until I’m killed off by whatever is going to kill us. If I can help people or places on the way to extinction, I will try to do so.

    Still, Steph, I will agree that coming to someone’s living room to tell them to shut the fuck up is not…….polite. What is it exactly that you want us to do? We are fucked. That’s a fact. Pointing the facts out is what Guy does. He’s one of the few that is actually walking the talk and you’re yelling at him for being rational about our chances. How does that help? How is that NOT exactly what benefits the status quo? Divide and conquer…does that ring any bells for you, Steph?

    We need every voice against industrial civ to be heard, don’t we? It’s not like we’re exactly a majority of people in the world, right? It’s not like today is a less polluted day than yesterday. It’s not like 40 years of environmental action, political action, sit ins, tree sits, etc. etc. have not occurred, it’s not like people haven’t tried to fix the mess and just thrown in the towel.

    And it’s not like the people here are a bunch of lazy do-nothings that just sit around and complain.

    So, Steph, maybe you should take your own “shut the fuck up” medicine.

  • Landbeyond

    You wrote:

    “….why is deferred extinction of any or all species a “good thing”.”

    If you have to ask, you don’t deserve an answer.

    Nothing personal.

  • There is something to be said for the “white” argument. After all, we (whitey) started all of this mess. All the points of Guy’s comments are spot on tho. I’m just not sure how to fit it in to this discussion. Maybe human extinction will only apply to the white perpetrators of the misery of capitalism (tongue in cheek, of course).

  • Oz actually I think the question of why deferred extinction of any or all species is a good question. As far as we know all living species are self replicating. In order to replicate they need resources and therefore will inevitably use up whatever resources they can obtain. That creates competition. While competition is not painful as far as we know to creatures without a central nervous system, it is fearful and painful to creatures with a central nervous system. Thus every creature so endowed lives in fear of harm and death, some on an unconscious level and in the case of humans on a very conscious level. Thus one can make the case that extinction of any creatures with a central nervous system is a good as it eliminates fear, pain, and competition. Given that creatures with a central nervous system evolved from creatures without one, extinction of those without a central nervous system would prevent the re-evolution of those with one and could be counted a good.

    I would also ask if you feel that the only good planets are the ones with life. Of course good is a value that we humans apply and good and bad or evil I do not believe are intrinsic to anything in the universe. Are there good rocks vs. bad rocks. Are there good stars vs bad stars. If the valuation of good comes from the human mind along with the valuation of bad, then extinction of humans and higher mammals or all mammals leaves a neutral world. The impending death by sun death of life on this planet in 1 billion years is not good or evil is it? It just is.

    Of course I know you come from a different mind space, but there are those of us who don’t share that and then have the right to ask – most rhetorically that question posed by Landbeyond.

    When attempting to save babies lives in Haiti I realized that in so doing I contributed to the overpopulation of the planet. Was the good of helping children live to reproduce good or was it evil. That shook me to the core but now I can better face the question of “is life good”. I think it is a question that deserves to be asked.

  • After reading some of underminers.org

    An anti-establishment tune from way back.

    Quicksilver Messenger Service – What About Me

    Planting fall crops of beets, kale, red and green cabbage and lettuce cultivars. Still harvesting potatoes. Peaches are looking good as well as Asian pears. Cucumbers in great abundance. Gave some to the local food bank. Looks like I’ll be canning some up. Butternut squash is vigorous and productive this year. Yellow onions responding well to actively aerated compost tea. Cherry tomatoes ‘Sun Gold’ are ripening now. Early blight is present on tomatoes. Early blight can be controlled with liquid copper applications or choose blight resistant tomato cultivars when planning next season’s crop. Every bit helps. Cayenne and sweet bell peppers are looking better with a generous application of indigenous worm castings applied at the base of the plants. Honey bees love the flowers of Oxydendrum arboreum – Sourwood. One of my favorite woody plants.

  • Although I believe Steph misses a great deal of Guys previous and current actions/ideas her point about whiteness and its prevailing attitude even in the doomer world is accurate.

    “Whiteness stems from an accustomed sense of superiority and presumption of authoritative knowledge. ” (got Wetiko?) We could add the male gender to this description as well.

    Her last few paragraphs provide details about what I spoke about last month in my guest essay (The Doomer of All Doomers). Listening to what others outside the dominant culture of whiteness have to offer is unfortunately the initial step most stumble over and therefore never arrive to a place of understanding as Ms. Kent suggests.

    Besides…if its all over then this seems like the perfect opportunity to move in a direction that may expand our human experience. Humans being after all, not dead…yet. Listening is not hopium but rather humility.

  • “If all you can do is shoot down hope then shut the fuck up.” I’m struggling not to be derisive and shoot down this hope-ful essay so for the time being I’m going to shut the fuck up at least about the essay.

    A few months ago my father watched my film about Guy McPherson and near term human extinction. He’s an old privileged white guy and he said: “Thanks Mike. Now I get to go to my grave knowing that life on earth is going away and it’s my fault.”

    But my father was reacting from a zone of privilege. His entire life was about him and with this grim message he saw it as a personal assault.

    You see I think the message of the film is quite hopeful. I’m hoping that human societies will realize that our species is not long for the planet and that maybe we’d be classy enough to turn out the lights on the way out. But if we were classy we wouldn’t be in this fix. (there goes that negativity again. note to self: life just keep getting better and better and better……)

    Kumbaya!

  • Ms Kent’s incoherent rant spared me from ever having to visit her blog. Thank you Ms. Kent for being your own worst promoter.

  • Thank you, Mike Sosebee! You hit the nail quite squarely on the head–at least for me. It’s about “turning out the lights on the way out”. It’s about being what you called “classy” — which includes Compassion. Whether one agrees with Steph or not, we can be classy. We can give her the courtesy of listening. She is grieving. This is something that we all share together, even if some of our thought-processes are existentially different. Pauline so correctly pointed to the Kubler-Ross stages of death. Denial and anger are principal among them. It is unfair to take that part of the process away from any person. It is better expressed than repressed, as Freud discovered. Every step of the walk into the unknown is necessary.

    My work, as you know Mike S., is very much about “turning out the lights on our way out”. I have no delusions about the fact that collapse is inevitable. But, I feel very strongly that we can try, with all of our might, to do that one thing, as we go out, that we never learned during the rise of Empire–we can learn to be compassionate human beings who care about the sanctity of ALL life.

  • Of course, there is no hope. But if there were, NBLers would have to make a coalition with folks like Ms. Kent to even have an infinitesimal chance of getting a better future. Boy, politics is hard…and hard on the Earth.

  • “In fact, the ‘solution’ you and everyone here at NBL proposes is realistically available only to a very small percentage of privileged people – those who have (access to) the resources to buy land or move out of the city or otherwise (attempt to) carve themselves out of industrial society.”

    i take issue with this assumption. yes, i am white… but i have been a minority (hippie) all my life… living outside the box and thinking for myself. i am by no means wealthy, but i have chosen to see what is unfolding for the last 30 years and do what i could, funds permitting, slowly but surely over that time, to do what i can to mitigate what is unfolding.

    while my “privileged friends” were buying toys or flying to this or that exotic location for entertainment… i was working… digging ditches, installing water and power infrastructure, 6.3 kW of pv now (my first panel was bought 23 years ago!), solar hot water (using repaired, used panels) planting fruit and nut trees, improving the garden soil… and bolstering the ability of this property to somewhat independently support life.

    most of my friends STILL choose to not see what is happening… and so it appears clear that the necessary changes (for most) will unpleasantly come by force.

    if i do have any advantage over others… that is that i have a mind which can realistically see WHAT IS (even if it is frightening). this allows me to make different choices in my life… based on what is sustainable, resilient and local.

    the real question for me is why are some people able/willing to look at reality and the suicidal direction of our species are and make different choices? where did that ability come from? maybe i was born with it, or perhaps it was the consciousness expanding entheogens i have used to facilitate that?

    anyway… i wanted to make it clear that where i am and what i am doing with my life, has far less to do with my skin color or some sense of privilege/entitlement and far more with how my mind works and the choices i have made from that foundation.

    todd

  • My comment of a few hours ago hasn’t appeared. I wonder why.

  • Stephanie,

    Welcome to NBL. As has been stated here by others your approach leaves much to be desired. However, I do respect the fact that you feel passionately and care enough to participate. That is certainly a commendable virtue that needs to be adopted by everyone. Hang around here some more and you may find that it suits you more than you think. There is a great group of humans hanging out here to learn from. Most appear to be very intelligent and well spoken, from various backgrounds (perhaps the majority could be labeled white and privileged, but not necessarily male). You can hardly blame someone for how they arrived where they are, the important thing is we are a hyper conscious and conscientious bunch and are really quite accepting (they accepted me). Just don’t treat us as adversaries. You get more bees with honey… (unfortunately they seem to be advancing toward extinction as I type). I’ve spent a lot of time researching the subjects discussed here and haven’t found a group that I feel more connected to, even if I don’t agree with everything spoken here. I invite you to be open to sticking around. You may just find that you like it if you try. With some reflection on the comments to your post and a redirection of you hostility you may see that we’re all in this predicament together, like it or not. After all it is better to be part of a (enlightened) community than any of the alternatives I’m aware of. Thank you for inspiring such a thoughtful dialog. To some extent its good to stir things up and keep it fresh and real. As always thank you Guy. I’ll end with a little levity which is something that is good for the soul. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9qYF9DZPdw. See you around?

  • @ Tom, thanks! 🙂
    ==

    Kathy Cassandra says: “is life good”

    I wonder how many people in the world are happy.
    ==

    pauline says: …NBL IS BACK!! WOO HOOO!

    We’re lost when NBL shuts,
    Like, with our thumbs up our butts;
    But perhaps I project:
    When we couldn’t connect,
    I just about went fucking nuts.
    ==

    wildwoman says: Most of us here have at least tried to wake people up…and most of us are met with yawns, laughter or disbelief. Which is, I suspect, why we need this space so badly.

    Speaking of Things to Accept

    We might be like sister or brother,
    But when things go bad, here’s another:
    I know this sounds gruff,
    But when things get tough,
    We won’t be there for each other.
    ==

    ogardener says: Quicksilver Messenger Service – What About Me

    The word’s being passed aroun’:
    What’s coming is bad (stuff that’s brown);
    Fight for what you believe,
    But don’t be naive—
    Be prepared to be shot down.
    ==

    NBL Hacking

    Am I for destruction and such?
    Well, actually, not very much:
    Once doom is seen plain,
    It just causes more pain,
    And keeps us from being in touch.
    ==

    Mike Sosebee says: You see I think the message of the film is quite hopeful. I’m hoping that human societies will realize that our species is not long for the planet and that maybe we’d be classy enough to turn out the lights on the way out.

    “It’s about the only choice we do have now.”
    — “Fail-Safe”

    Extinction is now beyond doubt,
    So what’s to be puzzled about?
    Our only choice left
    Is painful or deft,
    The way that we choose to go out.
    ==

    In the previous thread Speak Softly says: methane

    Methane Gun

    Playing Russian roulette in the gloom,
    The gun at our head’s armed with doom:
    The sound goes “click…click,”
    Like a clock: “tick…tick…tick,”
    And one of these days—“BOOM!”

  • “When attempting to save babies lives in Haiti I realized that in so doing I contributed to the overpopulation of the planet. Was the good of helping children live to reproduce good or was it evil. That shook me to the core but now I can better face the question of “is life good”. I think it is a question that deserves to be asked.”

    Lars Von Trier answered that question pretty succinctly in his movie “Melancholia”:

    “Life on Earth is evil and life is only on Earth…and not for long.”

    With that ominous line Justine (Kirsten Dunst) announces to the audience that it’s curtains for everyone. The audience only goes along with that premise as long as they’re able to suspend disbelief. It’s only a movie after all. Like fish in water we exist in a world shaped and maintained by collective delusions.

    All of the “good people” in America (their bumper stickers proclaim their love of God and support for our troops) put their children in Child-seats, don’t drive drunk, seldom curse, recycle their plastic bottles and use cloth diapers. Shouldn’t all of that “good karma” count for something? That’s the thinking of the vast majority of people I meet and greet. I have no commonality to even start a conversation. Talk truth to good people and you can see their invisible index-fingers circle their temples. Any reality of Near term human extinction is a joke to them. They’re emotionally and intellectually unable to imagine their own deaths so how can they intellectually conceive that all of “this” might go away?

    The term “Anthropocene” is in line to replace the “Halocene” epoch. There is such a deep well of infantile self-regard that we even had to name the extinction event to end all extinction events after ourselves. Don’t simply color me a privileged white guy but rather an acute-misanthrope. Through those less-than-rose-colored-glasses I find a great many answers to my queries but few solutions to the conundrum of “saving human civilization” or “Why would we want to do that?”.

    Can we acknowledge that our species is at climax and we’re going to decline catastrophically or gracefully? The real challenge isn’t arriving at agreeable “solutions” but rather as Guy has asked “Can we decline gracefully?”

    Can we approach the wisdom necessary to repair the Earth so that after we’re gone we don’t remove the possibility of conscious life evolving on this planet again? That would require a level of selflessness on the level of saints. Where would we start? Sensitivity is a good beginning and that includes Steph and her anger about what’s happening. We’ve all been there. I still get angry. I’m struggle daily with acceptance.

    BTW I agree with Lars Von Trier: human beings going away won’t be such a bad thing.

    As a reminder please try and make the film event in Mt. Shasta August 18th (see poster above) with Sherry Ackerman, Guy McPherson, Jamey Hecht, Gail Zawacki and Richard Adrian Reese. It’ll be hoot!

    Doomer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzUMEC1r18E&feature=player_detailpage

  • Since I often opine that we are in our present situation due to a lack of love, a friend asked me what I mean by love. I thought I would share my response with my friends who are living along with me in the drying desert of the modern world….

    The meaning of Love is a lifelong meditation and experiential learning. Any verbal hints are just that, not rigid definitions. Our dependence on words to deliver meaning and reality tends to forget that they are only pointers, symbols, for things and qualities and processes that exist in themselves beyond any ways we have for referring to them. That said, to love is to cherish, value, and try to help people, things, beings, values, beauties that are beyond ourselves. Engaging this relational dynamic with the ‘other’ can engender in them and us feelings and deep connections which can be joyful, painful, fulfilling, frustrating, angering, forgiving, exalting…the list goes on and cannot be exhausted. We discover that there are depths and dimensions of Love that keep unfolding as we open ourselves more deeply to its embrace.

    As you spend meditative time in nature, there may come times when you feel a oneness with all that is there. You may also come to feel that there is a loving Presence enfolding yourself and all around you. You may even intuit that you are one with all beings around you in being equally with them a child of the Universe, an offspring of the great flowering that began this Universe and its epic story. Einstein said: The most important question one can ask is this: Is the Universe friendly? In moments of epiphany you may feel that the answer is a deep Yes. Eastern mystics assure us that everything is an expression of sat-chit-ananda….an Ocean of Being-Consciousness-Bliss that is all of existence and at the same time is transcendent beyond our Universe. These special moments of spiritual intuition are glimpses into the mysteries that both constitute our world and lie far above it. So Love is the very nature of our life, and yet we must open ourselves to its Presence to fully enjoy it and be transformed by it. This very moment we are in Paradise, but forgetful and unaware of it. The Sufi Path that I have walked for a little way is called the Path of Love, the Path of Remembrance….

  • This is the issue that concerns me, not starting a world wide movement.

    Rise in violence linked with climate change
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23538771

  • Terrible knowledge
    calls values into question.
    Certainty comforts.

    Yes, I’m grieving. I am also acting, observing, learning, communicating.

    To clarify: I “got it” in seconds, Guy, repeatedly during the course of however many minutes it took for you to give the talk (of yours) that I interpreted. It’s been only months for me wading through depression while in your book you said it was two years or thereabouts, wasn’t it? I’m not angry – the situation is what it is. I’m not through all the emotional stuff, for sure. I am indeed still seeking bliss and a place to plant my love – and yes, it feels good to have that ache recognized. Thanks.

    But planting just for me, or- should I get very lucky at this late stage, even one or a few others . . . that’s what I can’t wrap my head around. Perhaps that reveals a character flaw – not the ones so many of you have named, though. Maybe I have all of those, too 🙂

    I will stick around, thanks – although I can’t spend as much time here as many of you are able to do, at least not yet. I’m following other conversations too, seeking moments to be provocative in ways that can be heard by more people whose intelligence and creativity could contribute to generating enough social will to “turn the lights out as we go.” Someone asked if there is any evidence of human grace overwhelming fear and panic. Of course there isn’t – yet.

  • Hi everyone,

    I just got done gorging on figs ripe off the tree in my back yard. Oh my god I have never had that experience before, I’m in love. Oh my god what a miracle nature is! I can’t even think properly, the figs are doing funny things to my head and I feel all earthy and fresh and duh with vital life. What the hell do I usually eat???

    Anyways I thought I got kicked off the site for being bad breaking the two post rule one too many times, was kinda heart broken. 😉 That forbidden message was creepy fun. Yay! I guess not.

    I thought the article was fascinating except the bitch slap at Guy which did not make any sense at all to me and got me wondering if Guy was really this jerk in disguise. Glad you replied Guy so my cognitive anxiety over who to believe was relieved.

    Well, here’s to worshipping nature more and industry less.

  • “As you spend meditative time in nature, there may come times when you feel a oneness with all that is there. You may also come to feel that there is a loving Presence enfolding yourself and all around you. The Sufi Path that I have walked for a little way is called the Path of Love, the Path of Remembrance”

    There’s no lack of love, if you include the love of money that your society in built upon. As a capitalist, it’s my job to convert that “nature” you love into a Walmart parking lot or whatever else might be profitable. But don’t fret, I’ll make it up to you by opening up a chain of meditation centers with plastic plants and fake waterfalls you can contemplate, for a reasonable fee, of course. I feel the presence of the love of money enfolding all around me from mt tops blown off by coal companies to the ocean floors scraped clean of life by trawler nets. This is called the Capitalist Path of Love of Money, of Forgetting the Destruction and Remembering the Profits. It is the blind path of continual and endless accumulation, where anything and anyone that stands in its way, such as nature, is eventually destroyed. I call it the sober reality of our world, or simply, reality. If we focus on this reality we may become awakened to the world as it is, and then, there is the possibility for change. But as long as the focus remains elsewhere, the path of destruction will continue.

  • Dear Ms. Kent,

    On first reading of your letter, it comes across as highly offensive, if not confusing. But I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you have simply over-intellectualized a topic that stirs deeply primal fears. Our thoughts and emotions often don’t operate within the same spheres, and when they clash, well, fireworks can ensue.

    First, there is no “code of acceptable discourse” at NBL besides avoiding personal attacks, thus no discourse to parrot. Have you not read some of the comment threads?

    You state, “In fact, the ‘solution’ you and everyone here at NBL proposes is realistically available only to a very small percentage of privileged people – those who have (access to) the resources to buy land or move out of the city or otherwise (attempt to) carve themselves out of industrial society.”
    To be fair, I often find myself objecting to the idea that anyone can just pick up and leave, build a cabin in the woods, or a permaculture homestead, but it is not the case that ‘everyone here’ proposes this solution, and in fact, many who have proposed this in the past, have said that it is too late to start now anyway. And to be even more fair, Guy has called his mud hut experiment a failure. Why? I’m guessing because the SW USA is in decades long drought, and water wars are heating up. No water, no food.

    I have only been reading NBL less than a year, but I will share with you why I keep reading. Guy is a rare person who lives in rigorous honesty and is able to freely admit when he is wrong. He speaks and writes in a direct, no-frills manner. He allows all non-harmful discourse and ideas on a site which he is accountable for. He has done his homework, and allows room for his views to evolve with the ever-changing, and ever more dire evidence that NTE is the only plausible outcome. He gave up his privilege and comfort and selflessly shares his knowledge with others.
    BUT, he is only one person, and doesn’t have all the answers, or possible solutions. Once you go around sharing your message of doom, it is out of your hands. People are going to react how they will, and if they demand a variety of solutions on a silver platter which to choose from in order not to revert back to non-action, what can you do?

    I thought Guy’s response to you on hope vs. hopium was very generous and eloquent, and I’m one of those who thinks hope is poison. It allows one to disengage from action, to enter the realms of hopelessness and despair which inaction leads to.
    If you are looking to collaborate on ideas for solutions to our predicament or gracious living on the way out, please share some ideas, rather than harsh critiques. It will go over waaaay better as a means to gaining allies.

    Peace. Out.

  • This is as long as a movie. I was intrigued at how many shreds it would end up in once exposed to NBL. I hope somebody has the time to read and comment. It pretty much runs along the lines I imagined had banned me from NBL. Luckily, the lull wasn’t about me! 🙂

    http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/12820

    Wester, Brilliant post indeed. The eradication of European roots seem to have produced not just the monstrosity of “whiteness,” but its monstrous offshoot of “blackness” too. The unrecognized ramification thereof would probably be enough, by themselves alone, to doom us all.

    I just learned today that the little round balls of tree-lets that I thought were pinon are actually cedar, and that the pinons are dying off with great rapidity in this part of NM. And before the pinon era, there were mixed forests. I mentioned Guy’s assessment that NM might not have a lot more than four or so years to go, and no one disagreed with that. Meanwhile, the developers are busy.

  • All “good” and all “bad” is judged with reference to one yardstick or another. Different people have different yardsticks. Neglecting this fact leads to much misunderstanding and talking past each other. And again, each person’s identity is formed in no small part by which yardsticks they display and deploy.

    Each yardstick is formed in a particular milieu. Looking ahead for a day, a week, a month, etc. will yield criteria that make no sense in reference to the heat death of the universe.

    No biological species can be “saved”. Whether or not it is “good” to extend their survival depends on the yardstick one uses. And that yardstick also defines the person using it.

    Shouldn’t all of that “good karma” count for something?

    Good and bad karma are both binding: pleasure and suffering are the binding consequences, and each has to be experienced separately – they do not cancel out each other.

    how can they intellectually conceive that all of “this” might go away?

    Actually (as Kathy Cassandra has – repeatedly – pointed out) it goes away for each person on a regular basis at the time of dreamless/deep sleep. Such insights do not require a study of scriptures or meditative techniques. Right Action from the Noble Eightfold path of Buddhism, otherwise known as Karma Yoga in the Vedantic tradition is one of many ways that are sufficient. All the other ways will also come naturally with sincerity, just as many bees are attracted when the flower blossoms.

    Can we approach the wisdom necessary to repair the Earth so that after we’re gone we don’t remove the possibility of conscious life evolving on this planet again?

    Sorry folks, a day late and a dollar short.

    The most important question one can ask is this: Is the Universe friendly?

    The question only exists as long as the delusion of the “I” exists. Sans “I” there’s no “not-I”. Without that dichotomy there is no basis for friendliness or unfriendliness.

    everything is an expression of sat-chit-ananda….an Ocean of Being-Consciousness-Bliss

    Good point. To be noted is that it does not list Prema, Love. Once the river enters the ocean, neither the river can love the ocean nor can the ocean love the river.

    Anyways I thought I got kicked off the site

    In such cases using VPN with StartPage or Tor will conceal one’s IP address and allow access. I even used different IOS browsers: Opera Mini, Chrome and Dolphin, and also incognito browsing on Chrome on the iPhone, all to no effect, before concluding that it had to be a server-side problem.

    Tor could possibly be configured for the iPhone, but in that regard I am a primitive hunter-gatherer. If anyone knows how, let me know.

    There’s no lack of love, if you include the love of money that your society in built upon.

    Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Part 2, Chapter 4, Verse 5:

    This is the longest of the Upanishads. In one section, it contains the teachings of Yagnavalka to Maitreyi. Tradition has it that Yagnavalka was a wealthy person and an enlightened sage with two wives, and he decided to renounce everything and pursue a hermit’s life: he offered to divide his wealth between his wives. The first agreed, but the second wife stated that if he was giving up his wealth, it had to be because he was seeking something of greater value. So she asked for that greater value.

    “ Then Yajnavalkya said: “Verily, not for the sake of the husband, my dear, is the husband loved, but he is loved for the sake of the self which, in its true nature, is one with the Supreme Self.
    “Verily, not for the sake of the wife, my dear, is the wife loved, but she is loved for the sake of the self.
    “Verily, not for the sake of the sons, my dear, are the sons loved, hut they are loved for the sake of the self.
    “Verily, not for the sake of wealth, my dear, is wealth loved, but it is loved for the sake of the self.
    “Verily, not for the sake of the brahmin, my dear, is the brahmin loved, but he is loved for the sake of the self.
    “Verily, not for the sake of the kshatriya, my dear, is the kshatriya loved, but he is loved for the sake of the self.
    “Verily, not for the sake of the worlds, my dear, are the worlds loved, but they are loved for the sake of the self.
    “Verily, not for the sake of the gods, my dear, are the gods loved, but they are loved for the sake of the self.
    “Verily, not for the sake of the beings, my dear, are the beings loved, but they are loved for the sake of the self.
    “Verily, not for the sake of the All, my dear, is the All loved, but it is loved for the sake of the self.
    “Verily, my dear Maitreyi, it is the Self that should be realized—should be heard of, reflected on, and meditated upon. By the realization of the Self, my dear—through hearing, reflection, and meditation—all this is known.”

    In another tradition it is said that the deity Viswakarman, the Cosmic Engineer (the equivalent of the Greek Vulcan) when fashioning the bodies of living beings, poked the holes for their senses from inside to out. So while the Divine Existence-Consciousness-Bliss is as close as their own selves, they keep seeking it outside.

    Bliss does not fall anywhere in the spectrum that includes elation and dejection. These latter are sought and shunned as it seem to fill an apparent need for what appears to be missing.

    convert that “nature” you love into a Walmart parking lot or whatever else might be profitable

    The money that denominates the profits represents a claim on resources and products/services. What folks don’t realise is that with depletion of the resources, there will be no products or services, and the claims will become null and void.

  • All “good” and all “bad” is judged with reference to one yardstick or another. Different people have different yardsticks. Neglecting this fact leads to much misunderstanding and talking past each other. And again, each person’s identity is formed in no small part by which yardsticks they display and deploy.

    Each yardstick is formed in a particular milieu. Looking ahead for a day, a week, a month, etc. will yield criteria that make no sense in reference to the heat death of the universe.

    No biological species can be “saved”. Whether or not it is “good” to extend their survival depends on the yardstick one uses. And that yardstick also defines the person using it.

    Shouldn’t all of that “good karma” count for something?

    Good and bad karma are both binding: pleasure and suffering are the binding consequences, and each has to be experienced separately – they do not cancel out each other.

    how can they intellectually conceive that all of “this” might go away?

    Actually (as Kathy Cassandra has – repeatedly – pointed out) it goes away for each person on a regular basis at the time of dreamless/deep sleep. Such insights do not require a study of scriptures or meditative techniques. Right Action from the Noble Eightfold path of Buddhism, otherwise known as Karma Yoga in the Vedantic tradition is one of many ways that are sufficient. All the other ways will also come naturally with sincerity, just as many bees are attracted when the flower blossoms.

    Can we approach the wisdom necessary to repair the Earth so that after we’re gone we don’t remove the possibility of conscious life evolving on this planet again?

    Sorry folks, a day late and a dollar short.

    The most important question one can ask is this: Is the Universe friendly?

    The question only exists as long as the delusion of the “I” exists. Sans “I” there’s no “not-I”. Without that dichotomy there is no basis for friendliness or unfriendliness.

    everything is an expression of sat-chit-ananda….an Ocean of Being-Consciousness-Bliss

    Good point. To be noted is that it does not list Prema, Love. Once the river enters the ocean, neither the river can love the ocean nor can the ocean love the river.

    Anyways I thought I got kicked off the site

    In such cases using VPN with StartPage or Tor will conceal one’s IP address and allow access. I even used different IOS browsers: Opera Mini, Chrome and Dolphin, and also incognito browsing on Chrome on the iPhone, all to no effect, before concluding that it had to be a server-side problem.

    Tor could possibly be configured for the iPhone, but in that regard I am a primitive hunter-gatherer. If anyone knows how, let me know.

    There’s no lack of love, if you include the love of money that your society in built upon.

    Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Part 2, Chapter 4, Verse 5:

    This is the longest of the Upanishads. In one section, it contains the teachings of Yagnavalka to Maitreyi. Tradition has it that Yagnavalka was a wealthy person and an enlightened sage with two wives, and he decided to renounce everything and pursue a hermit’s life: he offered to divide his wealth between his wives. The first agreed, but the second wife stated that if he was giving up his wealth, it had to be because he was seeking something of greater value. So she asked for that greater value.

    “ Then Yajnavalkya said: “Verily, not for the sake of the husband, my dear, is the husband loved, but he is loved for the sake of the self which, in its true nature, is one with the Supreme Self.
    “Verily, not for the sake of the wife, my dear, is the wife loved, but she is loved for the sake of the self.
    “Verily, not for the sake of the sons, my dear, are the sons loved, hut they are loved for the sake of the self.
    “Verily, not for the sake of wealth, my dear, is wealth loved, but it is loved for the sake of the self.
    “Verily, not for the sake of the brahmin, my dear, is the brahmin loved, but he is loved for the sake of the self.
    “Verily, not for the sake of the kshatriya, my dear, is the kshatriya loved, but he is loved for the sake of the self.
    “Verily, not for the sake of the worlds, my dear, are the worlds loved, but they are loved for the sake of the self.
    “Verily, not for the sake of the gods, my dear, are the gods loved, but they are loved for the sake of the self.
    “Verily, not for the sake of the beings, my dear, are the beings loved, but they are loved for the sake of the self.
    “Verily, not for the sake of the All, my dear, is the All loved, but it is loved for the sake of the self.
    “Verily, my dear Maitreyi, it is the Self that should be realized—should be heard of, reflected on, and meditated upon. By the realization of the Self, my dear—through hearing, reflection, and meditation—all this is known.”

    In another tradition it is said that the deity Viswakarman, the Cosmic Engineer (the equivalent of the Greek Vulcan) when fashioning the bodies of living beings, poked the holes for their senses from inside to out. So while the Divine Existence-Consciousness-Bliss is as close as their own selves, they keep seeking it outside.

    Bliss does not fall anywhere in the spectrum that includes elation and dejection. These latter are sought and shunned as it seem to fill an apparent need for what appears to be missing.

    convert that “nature” you love into a Walmart parking lot or whatever else might be profitable

    The money that denominates the profits represents a claim on resources and products/services. What folks don’t realise is that with depletion of the resources, there will be no products or services, and the claims become null and void.

  • It seems that the spam filter is trapping comments.

  • For those raised in socioeconomic circumstances where socio-political powerlessness is quite ordinary… observable reactions to this state of affairs from any quarter -including their own- are extraordinary. A person who has become habituated to powerlessness, does not use ‘public’ speaking as a sane, efficacious method. To those raised in oppressed subcultures, that methodology simply isn’t useful. It doesn’t work for them. A big waste of precious energy. You’d be considered crazy to try.

    Poor people are not stupid people. They are well aware that powerful, extensively influential speech requires the power of money. The poor, ‘even’ the poor, know that politics is a game of money vs. money, a world of secret decisions and corrupt backwater deals. Power mongering, enforced, as necessary, with callous violence. The voices of members of the masses are too impoverished, a whisper too weak to gain consideration in the cash driven cacophony of the political bazaar. A sane reaction to reality is to acknowledge it, not necessarily accept it, acknowledge it. Powerless people expect to be ignored, so apathy sets in, naturally. This does not mean that the powerless are satisfied, or lacking in anger boiling just under the surface, or that they don’t want to be heard.

    The currently still connected and fortunate, imagine and portray the socially powerless as simply too stupid, or too uninterested to care about their state of powerlessness. As though ‘those people’ accept it willingly, perhaps even with appreciation, for being ‘relieved’ of the ‘burden’ of social responsibility, and participation. This, certainly, is the preferred depiction of the powerless by the media voices of the wealthy and powerful on the reactionary end of the political spectrum. Of course, the rich and powerful thoroughly enjoy their privilege and leverage it to gain more.

    Historically, traditionally, slaves are silenced and disregarded… treated ‘like children’. Of course, even children and doctoral students continue to struggle for respect, until most reach the institutionally imposed stage of compliant despondency. One might even think that the drive to gain actual social and self respect is driven by a survival instinct. But honestly respectable, responsible, action must be repressed in our society… if one wishes to survive through established, acceptable means — that don’t offend and arouse vehement opposition from the rich and powerful. Maddening. Oppressive. Some continue to rattle their shackles, softly. Some eventually break their chains, trading away conventional channels of power and influence for a morsel of honor.

    Initially a different reaction occurs when the previously powerful, due to accelerating eco-economic collapse, suddenly find their fortunate position undermined and encounter novel powerlessness for the first time in their lives. The outlashing is as loud, as outrageous, as untargeted as a toddlers temper tantrum. These people are accustomed to being heard, and continue, for a while, to act as though their words still have an effect on the greater cultural reality, and appear insane.

    As civilization collapses and the dark craggy shape of human extinction emerges ahead, somewhere in the close foggy future, channels of power that were once taken for granted will collapse, and leave people who became hooked on wielding some socially reinforced control over their own lives – and the lives of others, thoroughly incapacitated. Powerfreak panic. Headless horsemen stampeding. Forget civility, forget controlled normalized hierarchical distribution and application of power.

    Powerlessness, wherever a person is coming from, is especially poignant as human extinction approaches. A bit like experiencing in real time -not reassuring retrospective narration- Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum”, with clear realization that rescue is excised from the terrifying plot. Strapped down, clock blade swinging, sharply hissing on every swing, ever lower, ever closer, day by day. Approaching to slice our pounding hearts. Powerless.

  • @pauline Thanks, forgot to acknowledge your acknowledgement. Got a bit lost in my own rant. Thanks.

  • I have thought a lot about the idea of what it means to be privileged
    in relation to the extinction of most life on Earth and my conclusion is that we will all finally be completely equal in having the privilege of going extinct.

    If a white,American male has the most privilege and being a man at all makes you privileged,is a white,American woman more or less privileged than an African American man?
    Does a Hispanic/Asian Woman born into a wealthy family in Brazil have less privilege than a really white guy born in a trailer in Alabama? Does the Korean hedgefund manager have less privilege than the American woman working at Kentucky Fried Chicken to support her three kids?

    I feel that,with what the living world is facing,sparring over who has the most privilege has becoming irrelevant.
    The definition of privilege is -A special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste – and I would say that the human species is the one with privilege over all other living things.
    Of coarse that pesky little detail of having immunity doesn’t look like it’s going to hold up for us.

    I think Stephanie was unnecessarily rude and with this line she made herself ridiculous -“If all you can do is shoot down hope, then shut the fuck up” considering that the first definition of hope is ” to desire with expectation of obtainment’.

  • Here’s an initiative that Stephanie might approve of:

    http://www.vnews.com/news/townbytown/strafford/7883631-95/climate-forum-comes-to-strafford

    In my neck of the woods, but they only want attendees “of faith”. Mr McKibben will be the main course, naturally. They are going to furrow their brows over climate change and social justice (!!!).

    What are the odds that any attendee addresses overpopulation? Much less the need to stop industrial civilization in its tracks…

  • Dear Steph,

    I think your pragmatic question might be more realisically stated as follows;

    When we need to bring ourselves together but industrial society is in a state of early collapse which causes those leaders who drive it to tighten the chains that keep us apart, how do we overcome how those chains bind us apart and to them so we may converge back together with self, each other and nature?

    Love is the key. Love for all aspects of life breaks the chains of inner resistance that cause us to be trapped in a deadly miasma of inaction to that which scares us most. In loving all, we lose fear of all, and nature is batting inside us to dredge up our greatest fears for reevaluation and release of great new creative and intellectual powers.

  • Guess it’s time for my 2 cents($100,000,000,000)worth.
    Paul Mooney said something like: Keep it real,don’t get it twisted.
    I do enjoy everyone’s belief systems.If they agree with something, it’s Right,if they disagree,it’s Wrong. Facts!We don’t need no stinkin’ facts.NTHE will probably be a debate until there is only one human left & that one might argue with it’s self.

    People could adjust to reality,PNTE.What’s that? Personal Near Term Extinction.We are approaching the end from our birth.There isn’t any need to be emotional. Each one of us is already gone.
    So many can’t see the “Tree”for the forest.

    I do have a very scientific question.lol Does hope,optimism,desire & love eliminate possible NTHE?

    Here’s a video to remind everyone how important man is to the universe.

  • When my ex and I were working at a project in the mountains of Appalachia, we of white privilege were trying to help whites of no privilege with housing and other needs (back in my Christian days). The reason we weren’t helping any blacks or Hispanics of non privilege was that their were none in the county. They had made sure of that. Lacking any blacks to string up they had in the pst burned the small catholic church. My ex brought in workgroups from outside churches to help repair homes. His board told him to not bring in blacks, he said he couldn’t do that. After several workgroups came with black members, we had the project van torched on our front lawn with a sign telling us to get the hell out of the county. A few nights later we had gun shots outside our house. The police would not investigate and his board fired him. I had my own 2 children and 3 local foster children at the time. We finally left and established the foster children back with the better parent.

    I live in the rural deep south now, and have black friends in the near by city who know some of what is coming. One was talking about moving to the country to start farming. I had to tell her that if she did she would be best to move to what is called the black belt. Although this county is not all white like the one in Appalachia, I can tell from local talk that racism still runs just below the surface. When things get rough it is going to blow. I expect it will blow in similar ways in most parts of this country. The Klan is not visibile but it is NOT gone

    To talk about how we should behave in good times is just theory. We have plenty of history to show us how humans behave in bad times.

    As related by Boccaccio: THE DECAMERON of the time of the Plague http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/decameronintro.asp
    One citizen avoided another, everybody neglected their neighbors and rarely or never visited their parents and relatives unless from a distance; the ordeal had so withered the hearts of men and women that brother abandoned brother, and the uncle abandoned his nephew and the sister her brother and many times, wives abandoned their husbands, and, what is even more incredible and cruel, mothers and fathers abandoned their children and would refuse to visit them.

    We also know that Jews were blamed for the plague and in at least one instance herded into a synagog and burned alive.

    Now we can try to work on our communities to be different, and a small community might manage it internally, but what about all the hungry people outside. If you have managed to prepare, you will be victim to looting. If you are not, you will only extend survival by keeping others out.

    A few years into Peak Oil I decided that I did not want to survive while others died = so I ceased my preparations. Anyone who wants long term survival might want to watch Hotel Rawanda – the scene that got me was when they were driving at night and kept hitting bumps – when they got out they found the bumps were dead people. I would rather be the dead person than the one who sees the death growing around me.

    It WILL get nasty regardless of what any of us do. Preaching civility will not prevent it. Here is some helpful viewing of how things got in the Yugoslavia conflict. Based on stories told by women caught in the conflict, it tells the story of a woman who was captured and raped viciously by soldiers – soldiers of her own “side”.

    Stephanie, you have no idea what the real world is like.

  • I agree, I don’t want to live much past the point when SHTF, no thank you.

  • Dear Guy,

    Glad to see you have recovered your NBL website. Keep going.

    Always,

    Steve

  • To Kathy Cassandra:

    In his recent book ‘Snake Oil’, author Richard Heinberg suggests we may have a 5 to 7 year reprieve from Peak Oil due to increased domestic oil production from fracking and tar sand oil. After that, the flash in the energy pan will die back and oil production will resume it’s decline. The book is a great read!

    I too have given up plans for a continued existence beyond the collapse. I may provision my sailboat for a month or so, but not with any intention of long term survival, rather out of curiosity. I suppose if I were a dinosaur, I’d would have liked to have been among those that saw the meteor coming. Maybe I get some comfort from knowing that I won’t be missing out on anything after I’m gone.

  • The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
    It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
    Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
    It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
    The Merchant Of Venice Act 4, scene 1, 180–187

    Hi Robin: “The most important question one can ask is this: Is the Universe friendly?
    The question only exists as long as the delusion of the “I” exists. Sans “I” there’s no “not-I”. Without that dichotomy there is no basis for friendliness or unfriendliness.”

    I thought I heard Einstein roll over in his grave muttering “What the #*+! is he talking about?” He was probably thinking, “There goes friendliness, he says it was only a delusion without any basis! What the hell are we going to do without it in this difficult world? The next thing he will deny any basis for Love. He probably thinks Ananda is just some sort of cosmic drug trip without any real foundation or meaning… Maybe he is one of those extreme Hinayana Buddhists who think the whole manifested Universe is a big mistake, and only seeks to get the hell out of it?”

    I must apologize for Einstein (or was that just my imagination of him?) he doesn’t seem to have consulted the relevant scriptural authorities on this. But after all, if he had enjoyed any respect for the authorities in physics, he probably wouldn’t have taken that crazy ride on a beam of light…. And if he hadn’t done that we would still be safely nestled in Newton’s safe, reasonable, predictable framework of reality, instead of launched into the mysterious world of relativity, uncertainty, quantum strangeness and worse that we are being swept away in by dark energies and our own deepening ignorance……

  • “Stephanie, you have no idea what the real world is like.”

    When I read this I was impressed by KathyC’s prescient observation, because it delves into the heart of the twisted logic of Stephanie’s “critique” of NBL in general and Guy personally. Blaming others is a comforting but spurious construct which underlies the perennially popular premise that some external influence – modern civilization or capitalism or agriculture or European white guys or all of the above – is responsible for our looming ecological bottleneck.

    The truly blind privileged are those who complain about privilege. They are so privileged that they cannot even see that the entire construct of social justice is a recent invention of modern European civilization (in the Enlightenment), only made possible by the insane wealth that we have so greatly benefited from and enjoyed, courtesy of fossil fuels and industrial civilization. The brutal way humans treat each other (and other species) continues unabated, but it is hidden from view to the extent possible. As KathyC pointed out, take away the trappings of modern civilization, and some of the amenities like food surpluses, and the behavior that results is the antithesis of love and empathy. Thus the privileged who complain about privilege have been able to fantasize that peace and equality are the norm – or should be the norm, if only it weren’t for some evil oligarchs.

    Our behavior throughout time (like our closest genetic relatives, the chimpanzees) is quite clearly at variance from the myth of cooperation – which is a part of our evolutionary heritage within first, families, and second, tribes. The history of humanity, including hunter-gatherers, is of violence between tribes. People who don’t acknowledge this have not done the work of reading about it, probably because they don’t want to know. They want to subscribe to the Bambi School of Biology, which isn’t going to help us rise above our predispositions, but just allows them to indulge in pointing fingers away from our species as a whole.

    It’s unfortunate, because adherence to a false notion of our overwhelming impulses has only served to ensure we do not recognize them in ourselves, and enables each of us to continue in the same fatal direction.

    I would like to think that as civilization falls apart my children will be safe, too. I would like to think that they will not be at risk of rape, torture, cannibalism, or murder. But I know it’s hogwash.

    VISIONS OF EQUILIBRIA DANCED THROUGH THEIR HEADS
    Jay Hanson, 7/31/2012

    The central “truth” of [the social sciences] is that nature, especially that of humankind, is nice and that people are designed to do things that, all in all, favor the survival of their species. Hence people could never be equipped by nature with instincts to kill other people. This idea comes from the Bambi school of biology, a Disneyesque vision of nature as a collection of moralistic and altruistic creatures. It admires nature for its harmony and beauty of form and for its apparent “balance” or even cooperativeness. It admires the deer for its beauty and fleetness, and it grudgingly admires the lion for its power and nobility of form. If anything is really wrong with us, it explains, it is a sociocultural problem that we can fix by resocializing people. It is not a biological problem.
    —Michael P. Ghiglieri, 1999

    http://www.dieoff.org/VISIONS_OF_EQUILIBRIA_DANCED_THROUGH_THEIR_HEADS.html

  • Love is the answer

    Check out this video on YouTube:

  • @Todd Cory

    “i take issue with this assumption. yes, i am white… but i have been a minority (hippie) all my life… living outside the box and thinking for myself. i am by no means wealthy, but i have chosen to see what is unfolding for the last 30 years and do what i could, funds permitting, slowly but surely over that time, to do what i can to mitigate what is unfolding.”

    I have no doubt that you have run into resistance for your life choices or even your appearance (hippie). I have run into some resistance myself. However being a hippie and living outside the box is not on any level comparable to say, being a black man in white America. My words, but I felt that you trying to point out that you are also a minority was a bit of a comparison when in fact there is no comparison.

    “if i do have any advantage over others… that is that i have a mind which can realistically see WHAT IS (even if it is frightening). this allows me to make different choices in my life… based on what is sustainable, resilient and local.”

    I agree that your choices and insight are spot on and commendable. This however does not change the fact that you are a white man in America. Whiteness carries historical and institutional privilege and the whole point behind it is those who have it never think it plays a role. Even if it never played a role (doubtful) the fact that it could is more than those who will never have access to that kind of privilege. I have no doubt you worked hard, made tough choices, and continue to use critical thinking skills. You are white and a man. Hippie or not the perception of you by white America and the white power structure is advantageous in comparison to those who may look like Travon Martin, Kimani Gray, Kendrec McDade, Timothy Russell, or the countless numbers who have been killed by police or wannabe police officers.

    “the real question for me is why are some people able/willing to look at reality and the suicidal direction of our species are and make different choices? where did that ability come from? maybe i was born with it, or perhaps it was the consciousness expanding entheogens i have used to facilitate that?

    anyway… i wanted to make it clear that where i am and what i am doing with my life, has far less to do with my skin color or some sense of privilege/entitlement and far more with how my mind works and the choices i have made from that foundation.”

    For your privileged friends this lack of vision is understandable. Many believe that tap water is something they deserve because the simply pay for it. For those who live outside of whiteness other factors…like surviving in a white power structure may take precedence. I agree skin color is only part of the equation but I think it plays a larger role than most white people believe. The reason I believe this is because I believe what people of color have been saying for the past 500 hundred years.

  • Gail, the answer to the conundrum you have is the use if the conundrum to nullify the conundrum.

    Those of us who believe that nature is based on a format tha humans can aspire to goodness within might not agree that resocialization but instead referalization (my word);

    Returning to the original wild beast in us and facing what we fear, our self created extinction. That same threat of extinction of us all and all we love is driving, dragging us, many kicking and screaming perhaps the whole way, unwillingly toward this education. This many ruefully admit here time and again.

    You say we will become the worst as humans under this strain because that is our nature, forgetting it was poorly orchestrated socialization of the wild beast and not the original wild beast in us that caused the worst humans have ever been. It was the caging of the wild beast, the dismissal, the disparaging, the demonizing, the dementing, the damning, the defiling, it was this that brought us to the apex, and the collapse.

    I bat for a return to nature bringing us forward or killing us all off, because our futile attempts to overcome the worst prevailed only in breaking the goal through industrialized society in spite of what greatness was developed in concert with that construct. In either case; an end of humanity that snuffs it’s self out because the worst prevailed, or a humanity that uses the break to emerge from grueling dynamics into a renewal, it is right and necessary for our time. That is love.

  • HOPE AND DOOM

    Every year I get together with some of my more doomy friends and we have a fire and make up skits (mostly of a doomy nature but not a prerequisite) This post and comments reminded me of one I did and I thought I would share it. It is from 2009 so it is missing alot of the more current doom but, not surprisingly, the hope stuff is all the same.

    It is meant as a skit with 2 people speaking at a table and a waiter/narrator

    HOPE AND DOOM

    Hope and Doom went on a date
    Doom was early
    Hope was late

    Hope nibbled on cheese
    And said with a smile
    “I believe that there’s time
    That we still have a while”

    Doom ordered a drink
    A martini with lime
    And said “We’ve squandered our chances
    We’re all out of time”

    Hope,with arms opened wide said
    “What do you mean?
    Why look all around you
    The world’s going green!
    We’re changing our lightbulbs
    We’re all driving less
    With more actions like these
    We’ll get out of this mess!”

    Doom slapped a hand on the table
    Almost breaking a plate
    And said “Time has run out
    We’re decades too late!
    And most people won’t change
    They won’t even try
    The world as we know it
    You can kiss it goodbye
    there’s more people each day
    And each person wants more
    As far as Nature’s concerned
    We’ve started a war”

    Hope sighed “But we are PART of Nature
    And Yes,we’ve done some things wrong
    But we are resilient
    And Mother Nature is strong
    We need education to make people aware
    Of the threats to out planet
    Because people do care
    With the right tools and knowledge
    There’s not a thing we can’t do
    I HAVE to have faith
    I NEED to believe that it’s true”

    Doom growled “So, YOUR needs are met
    How nice for YOU that must be
    But if things are improving
    Someone hid it from me
    We make more products,more programs
    To improve our condition
    While putting the Earth in a dire position
    There’s more problems each day
    And they’re all getting worse
    In the Planets thesaurus
    Human means “Curse”

    And All through the meal
    They battled away
    Through the Caesar
    The Swordfish
    A fine Creme Brulee”

    “We need positive people
    To help find a solution”

    “We need to end the destruction
    The rape,the pollution”

    “We’ll have meetings,hold prayer groups
    There’ll be movements galore”

    “There’ll be be Tar sands,more Fracking
    More paved roads,more stores”

    “We’ll use optimism
    To fuel our Transitions’

    “We should stop using fuel
    and end our emissions”

    “We’ll grow our own food
    We’ll move back to the land”

    “We’ve depleted the soil
    It’s now dry clay and sand”

    “We’ll build windfarms and solar
    To make everything run”

    “It’s magic to think
    We’ll be saved by the sun’

    ‘The climate won’t change
    Because,we just won’t let it’

    “The way of life that we know
    It’s time to forget it’

    ‘Things yet to be dreamed of
    There the things that will save us’

    ‘The nightmares to come
    Will unhinge and deprave us’

    They sparred and they sparred
    ‘Till there was no more to say
    The waiter brought the check
    And cleared the dishes away

    The Hope asked-

    “Are you saying we’re DOOMED
    And our civilization is through?’

    And Doom said-

    “God, I can only HOPE that’s true!”

    p.s. Judging from the meal, I would say the are both in the privileged camp!!

  • People really do not understand how deep the perception goes regarding race, gender, everything.

    I had a job once in the engineering field, dominated by the oil industry and white guys. I am not a white guy. I am a light woman.

    There was a secretary there with whom I was friendly and one day I was at her desk for something when her boss walked up to talk to her about a project she was working on. She was putting together a manual using a desktop publishing software and she had done an absolutely beautiful job. Everything in this manual was perfect – punctuation, grammar, spelling, sentence structure, formatting, pagination, footnotes, just EVERYTHING was beautiful.

    The guy walks up to her desk and looks at her work and then looks at her and say, “Isn’t that software great?”

    If a white man had done the same, however, which I also observed frequently in this field, it was not the tool that got the credit, it was the man. If a man could maneuver a bulldozer around and get the grade he wanted by eye without whipping out his level or the surveying equipment, it was because he was “skilled.”

    If a woman did it, it was the tool.

    Then they call it “reason.”

    There really is not much point in talking to most people for that reason. They are just kind of petty mean, and cannot be genuinely honest about much, that I can see. Everything is a weapon for them, even ideas.

  • Okay, the argument presented here falls apart rather early on with this offensive statement: “Find me an exception and I’ll bet they prove the rule: spokespeople from historically oppressed cultural backgrounds are seeking communal solutions.”

    Well, I guess I am an ‘socalled’ exception. I am native american and back in 1998 when I was an environmental science grad student I pretty much had put 2 and 2 together. This was not the shocking part, though. Actually, it was learning soon thereafter that EVERYONE around me, from my fellow grad students, post docs and major professors had already come to a similar conclusion.

    Kent’s statement is not a insight. Just how many environmental scientists do you find who are of color? I was the ONLY nonwhite student in my department at UW Madison. Her statement is nothing but rather a crude misinterpretation of the impact of systemic racism and oppression has on the dissemination of knowledge and access to education by this culture.

    I tried to read the rest, but there is a limit to my tolerance for verbosity. To quote Chief Joseph: it does not require many words to speak the truth.

  • Privileged said:

    “Whiteness carries historical and institutional privilege and the whole point behind it is those who have it never think it plays a role.”

    Why do you even say that? Certainly the world is overflowing with people who have no clue that they are, out of dumb luck, luckier than others…people who like to believe they deserve their excessively proportionate allocation of wealth. (That’s human nature by the way! – to believe we deserve what we have especially if it’s more than anyone else has.)

    But here? Somehow I think the process of learning and accepting the inevitability of collapse leads most people in that process to question many things, including injustice. Plenty of people, certainly Guy, are fully cognizant that their perspective from privilege plays a role in shaping their entire lives and attitudes. To say “those who have it never thinks it plays a role” is just specious. Does coming from privilege invalidate their thoughts or feelings or conclusions? Does that change the laws of physics? Does that change NTE? What about Asians who had slaves, or Africans, or Egyptians, or indigenous Americans – before they ever had any contact with white people? Are they, because of their history, also incapable of understanding the role of privilege within their current societies?

    Todd’s question:

    “the real question for me is why are some people able/willing to look at reality and the suicidal direction of our species are and make different choices? where did that ability come from? maybe i was born with it, or perhaps it was the consciousness expanding entheogens i have used to facilitate that?”

    …is actually quite more interesting because it is a question that applies across class and culture, across race and nation. There are only a small number of people no matter what group you look at that actually see reality, and why that should be is, if nothing else, a curiosity. I tend to thing it’s a combination of mutant genes and some sort of extreme life experience – could be drugs, trauma, or being an outsider for one reason or another.

    oldgrowthforest:

    “People really do not understand how deep the perception goes regarding race, gender, everything.”

    What people? My impression is most people here are saturated with awareness of prejudice and its pernicious influence.

    Pauline, thanks for that balanced and healing comment!

    thestormcrow:

    What a brilliant and clever synopsis, worthy of Camus or Ionesco or Beckett.

    I am in awe. If you ever open up your campfire to interlopers please invite me! (Hmmm, I’m assuming it’s a campfire, you didn’t specify.)

  • Gail, I did not define “people” beyond the general population, and certainly not in terms of the “people” at this site. So, I’m not going to argue a point I never made, and not one that concludes with how much smarter the people here are.

    Nor will I argue that you are ‘saturated’ with awareness at this site.

  • I wrote “people,” not “people here,” so I’m not going to argue your point, which is different from the point I stated. I wasn’t limiting my meaning to the “people” at this site.

    Neither will I argue that the people here are better informed nor that they are “saturated with awareness.”

  • I keep coming up against the notion that fairly soon the vast majority of people on the planet will get to “choose” between suicide and starvation. There’s not a lot of happy thoughts concerning the future. If, by some lucky break, I’m not killed in a riot as the system breaks down and I don’t die in a nuclear meltdown event, I’m still left with suicide or starvation as my privileged life comes to an end. I sure hope that my privileged status gets me a good spot in the mass grave that was once planet earth. Don’t you?

  • @ oldgrowthforest

    I’ve liked everything you’ve ever said. I think you’re smart and sophisticated enough to see that Everything is a weapon for them, even ideas. is itself a superbly crafted weaponised idea.

    @ Steph Jo Kent

    Hope your PhD thing went well for you. You say you ‘got it’. Seems to me there’s still a lot you didn’t ‘get’ yet.

    Music

  • Stormcrow – excellent
    Btd as always – particularly

    Extinction is now beyond doubt,
    So what’s to be puzzled about?
    Our only choice left
    Is painful or deft,
    The way that we choose to go out.

    If I may I would like to post again one of Benjamin’s gems – a refrigerator limerick if you will (that’s where my copy of it lives)

    Our species won’t last forever
    Which impacts what we might endeavor
    Not time to delay
    For another day
    If you don’t do it now you may never

    If extinction is now something we cannot avoid and it is not far off, it would seem to me that instead of telling other people what we should do in the days until the end, we should each do what seems a good way to live until we die. What is the point of telling people how they should live out the remainder of their lives. I think people on this site are people who have a level of caring. Some might want to resist, not because it will change the end but because that is what they feel is right. Some may want to spend quality time with loved ones. Some may want to live simply, not because it will give them and edge for longer survival but because living simply feels right. Some may want to rescue waterfowl that have gotten oiled, even though waterfowl will still go extinct.

    As I have said before the only thing I can think of to preach to others is for any fertile person other than gay men to get sterilized now so as to not create new life when Birth Control is no longer available. That matters as we head to extinction because any human not conceived is a human who doesn’t have to face an untimely and likely unpleasant death.

    Other than that can’t we just stop preaching to others and live the best way we can personally find to live until the methane bomb and the exploding nukes extinct us all?

  • Welcome back everyone!……of course to another round of Ground Hog Day between those who accept NTE and those who aren’t quite there.

    Kent’s essay is so silly it doesn’t deserve a response, other than it is yet another example of how NBL is being permanently kept at a nascent state of development as every accusatory Jane-come-lately has to spew their internal hypocrisy for our collective consumption.

    Is it rude to ask others “to shut the fuck up” about that which they know little about? Therefore, I would like to personally disinvite Ms. Kent from hanging around, because this site already has more than its share of people who barely grasp the science they’re attempting to comment on.

    However, I find this idea of “turn the lights out as we go” to be somewhat new and interesting.

    I must admit, there is something alluring about that idea, almost as if it’s romantically feasible. That is, until you think about it and realize that “turn the lights out as we go” is yet another–albeit far more refined–palliative for the bargaining stage.

    It is nothing more than a less hopeful form of denial, where if “we” (that ever intangible concept) were even remotely capable of this, then whoever “we” are, would as well, collectively possess the rational capacity that would have prevented us from having to turn the lights off in the first place. So for the same reason we can’t prevent ourselves from keeping the lights on, is exactly why we won’t be “choosing” to turn them off on the way out.

    There is this common meme that seems to be on the ascent. This “I know things are totally fucked, but…….” argument. And sadly, this “turn the lights off” is no different. Just think about who “we” would have to be/become, and what would have to be/been done for it to even be possible and it rather quickly dissolves in the sea of wishful thinking along with everything else.

    Even fighting–as Guy suggests we do–to “help” all the rest of non-human life somehow survive for slightly longer, is unfortunately just another tool in the bargaining shed. For if it were even possible, then the concept of NTE would logically be moot. “We” can’t believe we can save anything, if we believe NTE is in effect, which is why the concept of “resistance” is little more than just a healthier moral dose of cognitive dissonance “on the way out”.

    And for all those here who just can’t seem to get their other foot out of the past bargaining stage because the subsequent depression is rather gruelingly suffocating, here is NTE in a nutshell: Every single idea ANYONE has, whether it be deliberating on our whiteness, our privilege, our sex, our love, our country of origin, our political affinity, our agency, or for that matter every single human concept under the stars is squarely entrenched in bargaining for what has long been lost, and/or what has never been, or will ever be.

    Our acceptance of NTE is the acceptance that there is absolutely NOTHING to be done. That window of time, if it ever existed in the first place, has long been closed. Again, for those who might take issue with this, you seriously need to question yourself as to why you are commenting on a blog that’s dedicated to NTE. I know zero agency is hard to fathom, but then again, so is human consciousness.

  • Welcome back everyone!……to another round of Ground Hog Day between those who accept NTE and those who aren’t quite there.

    Kent’s essay is so silly it doesn’t deserve a response, other than it is yet another example of how NBL is being permanently kept at a nascent state of development as every accusatory Jane-come-lately has to spew their internal hypocrisy for our collective consumption.

    Is it rude to ask others “to shut the fuck up” about that which they know little about? Therefore, I would like to personally disinvite Ms. Kent from hanging around, because this site already has more than its share of people who barely grasp the science they’re attempting to comment on.

    However, I find this idea of “turn the lights out as we go” to be somewhat new and interesting.

    I must admit, there is something alluring about that idea, almost as if it’s romantically feasible. That is, until you think about it and realize that “turn the lights out as we go” is yet another–albeit far more refined–palliative for the bargaining stage.

    It is nothing more than a less hopeful form of denial, where if “we” (that ever intangible concept) were even remotely capable of this, then whoever “we” are, would as well, collectively possess the rational capacity that would have prevented us from having to turn the lights off in the first place. So for the same reason we can’t prevent ourselves from keeping the lights on, is exactly why we won’t be “choosing” to turn them off on the way out.

    There is this common meme, that seems to be on the ascent. This “I know things are totally fucked, but…….” argument. And sadly, this “turn the lights off” is no different. Just think about who “we” would have to be/become, and what would have to be/been done for it to even be possible and it rather quickly dissolves in the sea of wishful thinking along with everything else.

    Even fighting–as Guy suggests we do–to “help” all the rest of non-human life somehow survive for slightly longer, is unfortunately just another tool in the bargaining shed. For if it were even possible, then the concept of NTE would logically be moot. “We” can’t believe we can save anything, if we believe NTE is in effect, which is why the concept of “resistance” is little more than just a healthier moral dose of cognitive dissonance “on the way out”.

    And for all those here who just can’t seem to get their other foot out of the past bargaining stage because the subsequent depression can be rather suffocating, here is NTE in a nutshell: Every single idea ANYONE has, whether it be deliberating on our whiteness, our privilege, our sex, our love, our country of origin, our political affinity, our agency, or for that matter, every single human concept under the stars is squarely entrenched in bargaining for what has long been lost, and/or what has never been, or will ever be.

    “Our” acceptance of NTE is the acceptance that there is absolutely NOTHING to be done. That window of time, if it ever existed in the first place, has long been closed. Again, for those who might take issue with this, you seriously need to question yourself as to why you are commenting on a blog that’s dedicated to NTE. I know zero agency is hard to fathom, but then again, so is human consciousness.

  • Ozman
    You wrote:
    ‘“….why is deferred extinction of any or all species a “good thing”.”
    If you have to ask, you don’t deserve an answer.’

    You took the trouble to excerpt a few words from my comment in order to not answer a question that I believe goes to the heart of what Guy and many others here take for granted, some, I suspect, solely because they were told that was how they should think.
    Whether I “deserve” an answer is not important. Have you even really considered the question posed in the first paragraph of my comment?
    Perhaps the question is outside your comfort zone.
    Nothing personal.

  • Life is a journey, not a destination. We still have up to decades to do something all day, every day. This may be the best day of the rest of your life. Not too much different than it always was. Think about this.

  • “On August 2, 2013, methane was recorded as high as 2303 ppb. On that day, the world’s mean methane level suddenly increased with at least 10 ppb compared to mean levels over the past few months.”

    https://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/2013/08/methane-as-high-as-2303-ppb.html

  • @Gail

    “Whiteness stems from an accustomed sense of superiority and presumption of authoritative knowledge. ”-Stephanie Jo Kent

    I say it because of the assumption that somehow folks who “get it” are exempt from any kind of blind spot. The dialog here at NBL is soaked in an arrogance of, “Oh I know I have privilege but hey so does everyone on some level…besides it doesn’t change NTE.” Specious…please. What’s misleading is the echo chamber that is whiteness. White folks telling other white folks that they recognize their privilege and its impact is the height of privilege. We are not fully cognizant of our perspectives being shaped by privilege just because we say we are. Do you get that impression from all the white folks with radical points of view who say deep and meaningful things here at NBL? Our privilege and supremacy run so deep it would take a lifetime of self exploration to come to terms with its depth. The proof is in the pudding as they say and NBL is a microcosm of the dominant culture…white folks (particularly men) telling everyone else how it is. I know…this time we should listen…just ask Daniel.
    Todd’s question is interesting but in my estimation we are glossing over the role of supremacy because we simply believe we’ve addressed it and therefore it can and should be checked off the list.

  • Kathy Cassandra
    Thank you for addressing my comment. You make a very pertinent observation:
    “One group that would benefit from an acceleration of collapse would be the unborn.”
    I’ve taken to expressing it as, “If you love children, don’t have babies”.
    As the “guiding light” for those who read his work, it is surely reasonable to ask Guy to elaborate on his giving priority to the “living planet” over human beings who are currently dependent on industrial civilization. He appears to be a humane person, but seems unwilling or unable to defend more clearly his advocacy of destroying industrial civilization sooner than it will “naturally” disintegrate/wind down if the only aim is for life, including sentient creatures, to continue to be born, procreate, and die, with suffering to one degree or another along the way.
    Of course, people will continue merrily reproducing, even in the face of likely early death for their offspring. Early collapse, as you argue, would limit that behavior. Still, the easy assumption that we should “terminate industrial civilization, by any means necessary” requires proper justification.

  • Welcome to America, where men with loaded guns call unarmed citizens “tyrants” and men with Swastika tattoos claim the “other people” are the Nazis

    http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/08/03/armed-militia-holding-pennsylvania-town-hostage/

  • Landbeyond – “I may have missed it, but I believe I have yet to see Guy explain why, in the event of human NTE, a subsequent “living planet” would be better than a “non-living planet””

    This can be answered with logic, in this case, using an exact analogy to mathematical induction.

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

    0) Let’s start with a possible proposition 0. This would be the case that we have, in fact, nothing. There is actually *nothing here* – there never has been and never will be, and thus there can obviously be no basis for deciding on “better” or “not-better” – because there is exactly nothing here to grade. Call it what you will, pure illusion, a dreamworld, whatever you wish, proposition 0 states that: whatever it is here, it is, in fact, pure nothing.

    Let’s call proposition 0, since I am using an inductive argument, the anti “base case” – call it the “basement case” if you will. We have to move completely out of the basement to even ask the question of “better.”

    1) Moving beyond proposition 0, as we need to assume there is in fact “something” here besides nothing, we can now have a scale of “worse, better, best.” Our first true proposition in our argument, proposition 1, must be that we do in fact have “something” to grade.

    This will be our true “base case” – the element we have to prove first. But just asking your question of “better” requires this first element “something” to exist, as I established, so our base case is proven.

    2) Given proposition 1, let’s see if we can keep our system really simple, and use only one proposition! We do in fact have something. Let’s not take a single step beyond this first proposition, and just call it “something.”

    If we want, we can go a bit further, and call this something “reality” – no harm in that. But – we only want to assume the simplest possible propositions, so our first proposition, the “proposition of something” must be that this “something” is the most diffuse, non-organized something there can possibly be. As close to nothing as something could possibly get.

    3) Now that we have established that there is “something,” (as opposed to proposition 0) let’s make the call on “better” or “not-better.” What is the smallest, most defensible step, in deciding “something” within this larger “reality of something” is “better” than something else?

    This smallest possible next step is the second step in our inductive argument, the actual inductive step itself.

    The only conceivable thing, and the simplest possible step, that could fit this idea of “better” would be taking the smallest possible step away from a perfectly diffuse and completely non-organized “something” into one little step of organization – one infinitesimal step towards complexity, however small.

    4) Now we have established that this smallest step is the only way we can make the call on “better” – because it is, in fact, the only possible way we will have anything to grade within the larger reality of “something.” But why stop there?

    This is where the power of induction kicks in. We have both proven our first proposition: we have to start with the simplest possible “something.” And we have proven the inductive step: taking a step towards complexity, however tiny, is the only way we can have anything to grade on the scale of “worse, better, best.”

    So, we follow through and seal the inductive deal.

    5) If an infinitesimal step is now “better” – how about another step? Another tiny step, just the smallest possible step more complex than we took before. And another, and another. Simply because that is “better.”

    6) Ergo, we have now – “something” and: “worse, better, best.”

    Now today we are making another call on what is “better” – but we have firmly established how and why this is possible in the first place.

    Within the logic of the inductive argument I make, I hope it is clear why “living planet” is “better” than “non-living.”

  • Because our species, and many others, are going extinct… we are in a species-wide and Gaia-wide hospice situation. The goal of a hospice is to help the dying live out their last moments as comfortably as possible.

    Therefor: Humanity should focus on the least comfortable among us, the people and species who are suffering the most… with the least creature comforts. Those without sufficient heat during the last cold winters… Those suffering unbearable heat and humidity through the last sweltering summers… Those without enough money to buy medicine for some relief of their discomfort and pain… Those who watch their children starve, then watch themselves starve to death — In a world where abundant biological ‘waste’ is flush and forget transmuted into toxic sewer sludge… In a world where the privileged exploit near chattel slavery for their palates… In a world where, after extirpating vast natural ecosystems for agriculture, most of the biomass from that agricultural production goes into feeding sentient beings (animals) who suffer horrible lives to be killed for human ‘food’ (which causes expensive human illness, compounding the suffering). In a world where people are imprisoned in for-profit-corporate prisons for seeking surcease of their miseries through the use of ‘illegal’ plants. In this world warped by human intention, the tally of discomfort and suffering is incalculable… A consequence of blithe, apathetic, powerless acceptance of inequality and injustice and ignorance and uncompassionate action. (I would have used “discompassionate” or “anticompassionate” but neither word exists in our lexicon – although such attitudes are heavily promoted and are commonplace.)

    This mass extinction, which we caused, which will include us… is accelerating. It behooves those of us who comprehend what is going on, to at least try to break through the frustratingly elastic ignorance wherever we can and generate consciousness of our unprecedented global hospice challenge.

    This is the last chance for Humans, in our deathbed throes, to finally show some humanity, some humility… to act humanely and apply the principles of hospice, not just for ourselves, but for all life on Earth. This is the last chance for Humans to, at our conclusion, act mercifully… At last rise to our highest spiritual calling, and in the final moment, reconcile our existence in the universe.

    But, if past lends credence to prediction, we’ll probably just procrastinate in this terminal hell.

  • Privileged I may not be typical of a NBL poster but I don’t think typical white privilege is what the people here are necessarily about. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe we should take a census. I’m poor white and I attended a Catholic School for 8 years in a neighborhood that was poor and black. My best friend Charlie was black but I never saw that blackness until the 4th grade when he came over to spend the night and my parents noticed and so did the neighbors. I had to sit at the curb with Charlie waiting for his dad to pick him up. I lived in the Philippines outside of Clark AFB in 66-67 as a dependent. I watched my mother playing bridge at the O club and I could hear the jet-jockeys get roaring drunk after strafing peasants in Rice Paddies that morning. Real American Heroes. We had a maid and a yard-boy. They were our wage-slaves. My father, to his credit, insisted on paying twice the going rate. I had no-one to talk to but the slaves so I learned who they were and they opened their hearts and their homes to me. But as kind as they were to me I knew that they wished that all of the Yanks would go away including me.

    Those experiences have colored my entire life. As a result I have stood up to petty tyrannies again and again in my life some at great personal cost and more than a few beatings. So I understand deeply the “Heart Of Darkness”. To assume I don’t assumes too much.

    Mike

  • Let’s propose, just for the sake of argument without naming any particular person, that somebody who has a sort of bent towards evangelicalism decided to reform all us doomers – who believe in science and congregate here, at the kind and benevolent shelter offered by our professorial host – to basically disrupt conversations and turn them towards argumentative trends. How would they do that?

  • Thank you, Guy, for hosting this contribution. A man of integrity is never afraid of criticism.

    By the way, I grew up in Africa, and my father – who worked for the health ministry – was one of the privileged heterosexual white males who helped to cut the country’s death rate by 70%. I feel no obligation to apologise for that.

  • Kathy Cassandra says:
    Our species won’t last forever
    Which impacts what we might endeavor
    Not time to delay
    For another day
    If you don’t do it now you may never

    @ Kathy: Talk about group mind! Credit for this one goes to you—you wrote this! 😀 Gail posted it for you because you had already used your two posts for the day, and I commented later using capital letters because it was so good:

    Preparing For Near-Term Extinction

    Yep, Do It Now. Unless, of course, you want to do something bad.
    ==

    Daniel says: “Our” acceptance of NTE is the acceptance that there is absolutely NOTHING to be done.

    Irreversible doom has begun,
    So now’s your last chance to have fun;
    There’s no more “perhaps”
    For stopping collapse—
    There’s nothing more to be done.

  • NTE: the ultimate white people problem

  • Guy,

    “I want to terminate industrial civilization, by any means necessary, on the living planet’s behalf.”

    Can you unpack the term “living planet” in this sentence for me? what constitutes living planet? Are we a part of it? If so, is the whole human megillah a part of it? Or are there some parts of our humanity that are more “living” than others? what about the medicine that Robert Firth is so proud of, that created and artificial oasis of extended life for some living humans, at the expense of the rest of the living planet? Are we a virus?

    My proposition is that we are not viruses. We are simply living organisms doing what living organisms do, just in a more complex and comprehensive way than any organisms that have gone before us – thanks to the brains that let us come up with things like medicine and dynamite.

    If saving the living planet is your goal, you must define how you see our relationship with it.

    @mo flow – The “better” part for me comes with a thermodynamic interpretation (of course). Living organisms are metastable, dissipative structures. As a result they generate more entropy than non-living structures. They dissipate energy/generate entropy in order to fulfill the mandate bequeathed to them by the Second Law. The more energy an organism dissipates, the more help it gives to the underlying principles of the universe. That’s as clear a definition of “better” as I need – and that makes humans the best organisms that have ever decimated an energy gradient.

    @Robert Firth, you might read Kathy C’s account of her time in Haiti, and how conflicted she felt over saving lives as an aid worker. What would happen if you applied this perspective to the admirable life extension your father performed?

    I think Norman Borlaug could legitimately be tried for crimes against life – both human and non-human alike.

  • Rick, I *am* Weird Al Yankovich. Hysterically terrifying watching that video.
    I am a white female nerd version of Weird Al. Star Wars nerd, D&D, and I even gave a power strip to my son for christmas last year…
    Scary stuff.

    On the topic of privilege and race (or gender & culture) :

    Yesterday (Sunday) I was in Beacon New York welcoming Two Row Wampum kayakers and the Lakota/Dakota Unity Riders as they celebrate the 400 year old peace treaty agreement with the Dutch of New York city. My good friend, Cameron Kelly, has been kayaking with the Two Row people down the Hudson River and sending me updates to post to her Facebook page. She has my utmost respect! For a gorgeous, petite gal, she’s quite the Amazon! They started out in Troy! (ironic a bit) The trip culminates in NYC at the UN headquarters. See the link below for details.

    The festival in Beacon, held on the banks of the Hudson River, was lovely and diverse in races, cultures and genders. The movers and shakers of social justice activism were present, including Connie Hogarth. http://conniehogarth.blogspot.com/
    She is very white and privileged. And a wonderful human being.
    As was Hellen Keller, by the way. Had it not been for Hellen Keller’s privilege, she would not have had the kind of care that led to her ability to crystalize the thought and realization that there is grave injustice when only the privileged can afford to receive care. So she went on the create the ACLU, and she was the first white member of the NAACP.
    I will repeat what Gail said paraphrasing: it matters not what your color or privilege are, it matters what you do with it.

    Several of us were there to film and document our own versions of this historic event, and I did take note that a majority of the documentarians were women. I was excited to be one!

    When the Lakota chiefs and young braves rode in on their ponies there was the most exquisite sense of euphoria in the crowd. Whites, blacks, asians, browns and reds raised their voices in joy to welcome these riders who had ridden 2000 miles for this particular journey. I had a hard time keeping my eyes dry as emotions welled up in me. A white woman lit sage next to me and the sweet sacred smell of the smoke put me right into sacred space. She then took the lit sage and smudged the riders who happily lifted the smoke to their faces, purifying and chasing away any negative energy, and blessing their horses with the blue smoke. Another of the women filmmakers, also white like me, had the sage woman smudge her camera, blessing it and purifying it. Then the four directions were called in and welcomed. I watched (and filmed) enthralled through all of this, recalling my own personal spiritual journey employing Native American beliefs and customs. This was the first time I’d seen it done so instinctively, so naturally, so beautifully. These were people of zero privilege, not even considered US citizens, who were the first to notice the polar ice caps were melting, without the help of climate scientists. The Inuit and Eskimo live at Climate Change ground zero. They were the first to sound the alarm decades ago. Hardly anyone listened. Here they were again, sounding the alarm about environmental devastation.

    The first Lakota chief to speak gave a moving speech, but the line of his that sticks is this:
    There is nowhere to run. Nowhere to escape to.

    And that, my friends, is the raw and unvarnished truth. Even if we take to the hills or the desert or wherever to try to extend this sweet life, it will end. Today, tomorrow, ten years from now. No one knows their time, but something, if not NTE, will send us back to the universe.
    You can have Guy say it his way with numbers and facts, or a Lakota Chief say it his way with personal experience and songs, but it’s the same message.
    We’re toast. So let’s love each other on the way out. And maybe play a little and laugh too.

    Local and national media and news were visibly absent from the Two Row festival. As they have been for the entire journey. Disgraceful. Outrageous. Disgusting.
    Remember: It’s what one does with their privilege.

    Here are the links to the Two Row Historical Event and a documentary about the Unity Riders and how they got started. Amazing film.
    http://honorthetworow.org/
    http://beacontworow.org/

    38+2 Ride

  • http://news.stanford.edu/news/2013/august/climate-change-speed-080113.html

    Some of the strongest evidence for how the global climate system responds to high levels of carbon dioxide comes from paleoclimate studies. Fifty-five million years ago, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was elevated to a level comparable to today. The Arctic Ocean did not have ice in the summer, and nearby land was warm enough to support alligators and palm trees.
    … the researchers note that, with continued emissions of greenhouse gases at the high end of the scenarios, annual temperatures over North America, Europe and East Asia will increase 2-4 degrees C by 2046-2065. With that amount of warming, the hottest summer of the last 20 years is expected to occur every other year, or even more frequently.

    I can’t believe our Republican congress hasn’t cut the funding of these communists at the well known far-left bastion of Stanford U. I guess they’re waiting till after they win the 2014 elections. I probably won’t be around to witness the 2046 Nome Alaska Alligator Roundup, but I do expect to be nibbling on soylent green algae and jellyfish wafers into the 2030’s. I think I need to do something to wreck my health before then, like eat every meal at McDonald’s for a year. The high in Dallas today was 100F, so add at least 5F. But it’s no problem, we got nuke plants and oil, so just turn up the AC! And yes, more Idiots are still moving to Texas every year to vote for politicians who think that people once rode dinosaurs.

  • I suspect that about 0.01% of the populace of western nations understands that methane is oxidised in the atmosphere to carbon dioxide. The life of methane molecules in the atmosphere is reported as about 12 years.

    The IPCC allocated methane a relative warming factor of 23. It was only fairly recently that I became fully aware that the IPCC relative warming factor was calculated over 100 year, a kind of average of the rapidly declining methane activity in the early portion and the longer-lasting carbon dioxide activity over the latter portion.

    What is particularly disconcerting is that the relative warming factor of methane (compared to CO2) over a decade is 72. Yes, over a decade methane is 72 as active in causing warming as CO2.

    I have not been able to find a value for a shorter time frame. However, bearing in mind the decay of methane over a decade, my guess is that over a very short time frame (1 or 2 years) atmospheric methane has a relative warming of well over 100.

    In the mid-2000s the atmospheric methane concentration appeared to be levelling out. However, in recent years it has risen significantly.

    Some of us know that most ‘official’ warming models are based on slow release of methane and its conversion to carbon dioxide.

    The rapid warming of the Artic region, due primarily to CO2, may well cause disruption to methane clathrates on the sea bed and result in a massive ‘methane burp’.

    I discussed all of this with the local government climate change officer today.

    He had never heard of methane-ice clathrates, and was unaware that warming of Arctic could cause the release of ‘the methane bomb’.

    He still believes that a slow transition to ‘renewables’ is the way to a ‘better, brighter future’.

    I pointed out (yet again) that government policy (central and local) was geared to complete destruction of the future, since economic growth is the imperative.

    The climate change officer does not understand the connection between economic growth and increased use of fossil fuels, although I pointed out that economic activity = conversion of fossil fuels into CO2 and that you cannot make concrete without generating massive CO2 emissions. We could not continue his education because he had to go to a promoting-wrecking-the-planet meeting.

    I’d like to think we are simply headed into ‘uncharted territory’, and that NTE is still more than a few decades away. Unfortunately all the evidence indicates that such optimistic thinking is ill-founded.

  • Btd then their is hope. Since I forgot that I wrote that limerick my incipient alzheimers must be more cipient than I thought. Which means that with luck my brain will be mush in a few years and I will be wandering around in a fog, not caring about much when collapse comes.

    Well as I continue to advocate for no children look what China might do
    http://www.cnbc.com/id/100938297
    Beijing may relax the country’s one-child policy by the end of 2013, say China watchers, following local media reports in the recent days that the government is mulling changes to its highly unpopular restriction that has been in place for three and a half decades.

    Mo flow, all that logic. But it doesn’t address the fact that life never asks the unborn if they want to be born, whether bacteria, or bunny or human. If the unborn have no choice and their life has the possibility of incredible suffering then is it right to create their lives without the permission they cannot give? Given self replication some baby bunnies must be eaten by foxes, some chickens will be eaten alive by hawks (I have seen this), and everything that is born will die. Death is seldom easy and can be quite horrible. If the cost of life is the suffering that no creature gave consent to, can life be justified. If every unborn got a choice and could see that they would live a short period only to be eaten by another creature, would they choose to be born.

    IMO you have to ask the question from the perspective of an unborn weighing the possibilities of their own happiness and suffering. Its a hard perspective to manage. I recall a show onetime dealing with all the ways the planet could be destroyed including an asteroid. A young woman was asked what she would do if she knew an asteroid would destroy the planet in 10 years. She said she would have a child so she could experience being a mother. In stark terms she shows the thinking we humans usually do about procreation – we think about what we want, not what the unborn would want. How would that child feel at age 9 knowing her parent could have prevented her suffering death by asteroid. Our programs whether bacteria or rabbit or humans to procreate are very strong. We have offspring because our programs dictate it, not because life is good enough to make up for suffering and inevitable death.

  • The human predicament may well be one for which humankind collectively bears responsibility, but each one of us has to engage in an intellectually honest and morally courageous way in the global conversation offered here. The work at hand for “the collective” has got to be done by individuals speaking out, but also by people working within organizations and institutions so that instrumentalities of governance adopt sustainable practices. Because there is so much to be done, we have no time to waste. Ideas are good but actions are what matter now. We need action not only at the individual level, but also at the local, state, national and international level. This necessary work is impeded because many too many responsible people have chosen willful blindness and elective mutism regarding “the human predicament” confronting all of us rather than electing to speak out about what could somehow be true, according to the lights and scientific knowledge they possess. What is happening, and more importantly “Why it is happening?” now here, is not being sensibly acknowledged and reasonably addressed by virtually all organizations, including the predominant environmental organizations. The limits of the natural world and the necessity for human behavioral changes toward sustainable lifestyles and right-sized corporate enterprises are everywhere passively ignored and actively denied. Business-as-usual activities that are marked by seemingly endless economic and population growth…at all levels… are extolled as virtuous. Consequently, human institutions cannot be changed and the distinctly human-driven global challenges before “the collective of the human species” cannot be overcome.

    Are we not participants in and witnesses to a collective intellectual, moral and strategic failure of colossal proportions?

    Individuals in large numbers must begin to speak out regarding what they see. Most are not doing so. I have become scared of people who cannot see what is obvious as well as frightened of people who do see what is happening and yet consciously and deliberately refuse to speak out about what is occurring on our watch. Many too many smart and well-education people are playing stupid by acting as if they do not know what is happening and why.

  • @ mo flow

    Thank you for your reply to Landbeyond. Most elegant and sublime.

    It would be a far better thing if Landbeyond had never existed, then she/he would not have been troubled by this question, and would not have troubled us with it.

    But, for better or worse, now we are infected by it.

    It seems that the infernal inductive logic derives from Parmenides, who used it to prove that everything is One, (according to Peter Kingsley, anyway), in which case it is not really Landbeyond who asks, but the Universe itself, the One Thing, that asks, represented by a constituent human atom of reflective consciousness that IT has evolved for that very purpose…

    All very metaphysical…

    I do struggle with the ‘worse,better,best’, as I do with Kathy C.’s Good / Bad, because these, to my mind, are value judgements that are socially and culturally conditioned.

    That is, we did not have them in the womb, or when we were born. Someone taught us that ‘This is good, that is bad’.

    That is, our views are not the Pure Universe, they are adulterated, clouded, muddied by all sorts of ideas that have accumulated and which lead us to see things in the ways that we do.

    What we see as better or worse differs, temporally, geographically, historically, is relative not absolute.

    Why can’t we take a non-judgemental position and accept ‘what is’ as it is ?

    The row of dominoes is aesthetically pleasing. It has the mysterious quality, that when the first falls, the ripple runs along the line, performing that exquisite wave. Why does that have to be good or bad ?

    It only becomes worse, better, in relationship to someone,or something, else.

    I really don’t think we’ll get a significant answer from a fat dumb human teenager eating a burger in a city whilst playing a video game.

    How about asking other species out there how they feel about the mass extinction event, whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing ?

    In other words, less privileging of humans, less speciesism, less anthropocentrism.

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/01/adorable-sandpiper-chicks

  • …we should each do what seems a good way to live…if you don’t do it now you may never…so now’s your last chance to have fun…

    Who da thunk that all our knowledge of NTE has led us back to the wisdom of a 1967 song by The Grass Roots. Ah, if only Americans had listened, just think of all the fun they missed while they were all so foolishly concerned about the future.

    When I think of all the worries people seem to find
    And how they’re in a hurry to complicate their mind
    By chasing after money and dreams that can’t come true
    I’m glad that we are different, we’ve better things to do
    May others plan their future, I’m busy lovin’ you (1-2-3-4)
    Sha-la-la-la-la-la, live for today
    And don’t worry ’bout tomorrow, hey, hey, hey…

  • mo flow
    ‘Within the logic of the inductive argument I make, I hope it is clear why “living planet” is “better” than “non-living.”’
    No, I see no relevance whatsoever.