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

  • 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?”

    Einstein was, like Mr. J. Christ, a Jew.

    More relevant to that tradition are the Ten Sephirot (סְפִירוֹת):

    keter כֶּתֶר crown
    chochmah חָכְמָה wisdom
    binah בִּינָה understanding
    chesed חֶסֶד loving-kindness
    gevurah גְבוּרָה might
    tiferet תִּפְאֶרֶת beauty
    netzach נֵצָח victory
    hod הוֹד acknowledgment
    yesod יְסוֹד foundation
    malchut מַלְכוּת kingdom

    The Ten Sefirot: Divine Emanations are analogous to the Vedantic Sat Chit Ananda, both being the first, subtlest or most basic manifestations of the Unmanifest in the realm of Space-Time-Causation.

  • @ulvfugl
    The conventional position you come from is what I was hoping to get past.

    “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 ?”

    Species qua species have no feelings about anything. Individual organisms have no knowledge or feelings about extinction. The more complex non-human animals, while alive, know some approximation to the human sensations of pleasure, fear and suffering.

    You know the feelings humans are capable of. You can attempt to imagine the effects of deliberately terminating industrial civilization on living human beings.

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

    That is what Guy is not doing. He is urging positive action, but without explaining how, subjectively or otherwise, the end justifies the means, or even why the end is desirable.

    I hope that helps to clarify the issue.

  • Note: I kept getting the error message and thought I had been blocked! I tried using several computers and even took a 4 hour bus trek to find another free access computer – same error message. For several days, I wandered in despair.

    Monday morning, Hello! All is well.

    Anyway, I was a privileged white guy – then I gained the knowledge that I was a fool, now I’m just a white guy – but, I know I’ll be treated the same as all the rest of the privileged white guys when SHTF.

    The situation in Gilberton, PA, will soon be echoed all over the US. In some communities, crazy right wing fundamentalists will own the power and they will use it to purge their community of anyone that does not conform to their way of thinking. In some communities, crazy left wing Kaczynski followers will own the power and they will use it to purge their community of anyone that does not conform to their way of thinking.

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with what is going on in Gilberton, PA, they are doing what EVERY Community should be doing with Collapse coming soon and NTE soon to follow.

    Believe it, you need to make sure you are 1) in fellowship with the majority in your community and 2) your ranks command the power structure. That is, of course, if you want to live past the initial phases of collapse (and we are already in the initial stages of collapse, so, call your realator).

    If you are one of the minority fringe thinkers in your community – or if you “look” different, talk different, etc – better go somewhere else!
    ;
    ;
    ;
    Fukushima:
    On a molecular level, the radiation being released into the air and water from these reactors has the ability to knock electrons off of their atoms. Ingesting just a single radio-isotope increases your risk developing certain types of cancer. Prolonged exposure can cause genetic damage, the breaking DNA chains, mutations.

    Another reason not to have children, they may look like something from “The Island of Dr. Moreau.”
    ;
    ;
    ;
    Just catching up on the comments from the evening of Aug 2 (post-crash of the NBL site):

    @ Henry:
    I could listen to you all day. Right On! But, I still feel guilty, although I’m not participating in Industrial Civilization as much, I’m still participating. The children still suffer.

    @ cmj:
    I believe I just left her “Worldwide Movement” in the Men’s Room where it will soon be loaded into “The Fan.”

    @ Sherry Ackerman:
    Yes, we will need each other, for food! Fire up the grill!

    @ WoodsDweller:
    Context is everything. If the white men had been wiped out by the yellow men or the red men or the black men – then history would still be the same (IMO), with different actors.

  • Steven Earl Salimony said, “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.”

    Maybe a lot fewer than you think are willfully doing so.

    I can only speak for myself, in saying that almost as soon as I dared piece together our three-pronged interlocking future (environmental, economic, and sociopolitical), I began speaking about it..loudly and often. To borrow the phrasing of Kurt Vonnegut, it had all the force of a banana cream pie dropped from three feet.

    I did so for more thana decade at some personal cost to me. I only say “some” because, while it seemed and seems great to me, it pales before those who have stood even more forward, dared even more, and paid ever so much more, like Manning, Snowden, and Hastings, to name three.

    And then there are people like Daniel and Kevin Moore, who have fought the good fight for DECADES. I am sure many other people who comment here could tell similar stories of futility aginst the TPTB and their multi-trillion dollar cacophonous carnival.

    “Can you outshout the White Clown (TV)?” Faber asked Montag in the book “Farenheit 451”. Well, the jury is in and has been for a long time. The answer is a resounding NO! Thanks to the great advances in sciences like advertising, mass psychology and PR, mated with saturation-style delivery systems such as the Internet and the DumbPhone, the ability of TPTB to control the minds of their charges is astounding.

    Social inhibition, normalcy bias, and the discount rate exploited and amplified by unimagined technology to unassailable proportions, the lemmings herded over whatever cliff their TV tell them to jump off.

    A few statistical outliers and weirdos like us? Easily ignored. And oh so much better than the old ways TPTB had of controlling us, which carried the added danger of spooking the herd.

    But I digress. Many who “choose not to speak out” do not do so from laziness or cowardice, but by having had it shown to us to the tenth deimal place, what humnity is…an abomination and an evolutionary dead end. Just ask the 99.8% of the 90 or so billion human beings who ever existed who’s lives were barely worth living, ruled by brutish sociopaths, forced to accept hypocrisies and perform atrocities just to feed their starving families. Both the few who obeyed knowing it was wrong, and the many who obeyed because that’s what people do, especially if they want to feed themselves and their starving children.

    I once foolishly though that people were convinced by facts, when in reality they are convinced by manipulation and salesmanship, wealth, authority and sociopathic certainty.

    I am happy to be alive now, for these riduluous ideas I had would have, in any other age, gotten me beaten, jailed, and hanged or burned at the stake.

    It’s hard to live with NTE, but the modern methods of TPTB control beats the iron maiden, oubilette, or rack. It’s tough to stand on the cliff of bottleneck and/or extinction, but at least we get to stand with our energy slaves in tow, even the poorest of us “privileged”.

    In any other age and time, WE would have been the energy slaves.

    The experience of knowing the more correct one is about the turn of events, predicting them years into the future, causes the vast vast VAST majority of people to look at one as even more lunatic and tin-foil hatted is simply astonishing in the cold light of personal experience, but entirely understandable, given human history.

    TPTB decides what is truth, and factual demonstrable truth has nothing to do with it. Whatever cracks in that reality that existed are now caulked over by mass psychology and saturation-delivery systems that amount to daily nuclear carpet-bombing of the mind. The TPTB Fantasy Bubble is seamless, and those who dare attempt to look beyond it are seen as mad by their fellows and by the TPTB as the first who must be silenced when everything becomes so obvious even the sheep are spooking.

    This is the reality we now live in and to a slightly lesser degree have always lived in. Many of us spent years or more, doing exactly what you would have us do until we discovered the reality despite how we had wished and hoped things would be/are.

    You may choose to continue to speak out until the end. That is your prerogative. But I would not blithely dismiss those who no longer speak much of it, for as always the story is more complex than it appears, and usually will not warrant a simplistic condemnation.

  • Just posted a big comment which got lost. Whne I tried to repost, wordpress software told me it had already been posted.

    No it hasn’t.

  • Ms. Kent does have a point about the “movement” being predominantly led by white men, in my opinion. “My two doomer friends are black” doesn’t really answer the critique, does it? Anyway, my hunch is that people of color have been doomers for a long time, but “doomer” wasn’t a term used to describe them. They know about the inherent violence in civilization, they know about its crumbling infrastructure, they know about its insanity, etc.

  • I’m looking at NTE as a group or movement (i.e., NBL), and NTE as an actual phenomenon that is independent of a movement. I hope it will be clear which is which. Just for now, I will also refer to the inner-core doomers as the Left, and those on my belief side of the spectrum as the Right.

    I liked Daniel’s long post yesterday for its sweep and clarity. I note with interest that he criticizes Guy from the Left, even as Stephanie does from the Right.

    While I would criticize Stephanie’s writing for the sins of academics–over-abundance of big words and insider jargon–I found her criticism of Guy mild in comparison to the bombardment she received from NBL commenters, and I find her “fuck off” statement also benign in comparison with Daniel’s disinvitation for her to hang around. I’m rather thin-skinned and conflict averse, and the implication that I’m among those keeping NBL from developing hurts me, as I imagine the like must hurt Stephanie. Guy *volunteered* to publish Stephanie’s critical letter, and figured that his calm rebuttal was sufficient response. So who’s in charge of NBL, Daniel or Guy?

    NTE is a misnomer. Extinction is already ongoing for the poorest one-quarter of humanity comprised of non-Western, non-white humans. It is also ongoing for animals and plants. It might not be an exaggeration to say extinction is ongoing within the “West” among Native Americans and African Americans, whether they are confined to reservations or prisons, and insofar as they disproportionately die from the amalgam of poor education, neglect, alcoholism, diabetes, homicide, or despair. To distinguish human extinction from that of the Holocene(uniquely suited to human survival), which is in full swing, seems misguided. So Stephanie’s point that the Left on NBL have misappropriated NTE and made it about them does not seem to be off the mark. I don’t see extinction as near-term; I see it as actual and immediate. And to view it as something in the wings for privileged Western people, 17 or so years hence, is beyond comprehension.

    I’m reposting an hour-long video that takes the collapse issues on NBL and views them through a different lens.

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

    I’m sure there are as many holes in their outlook as I perceive there to be on NBL. What I think the producers do better that NBL is examine collapse holistically rather than through the near-exclusive prism of climate change. The NBL Left simplifies the matter of extinction on the basis of objective Newtonian science and the observation that, if HS has brought us to this place, we must have been no more than a death machine all along. This POV can become a self-fulfilling prophecy too. There can be little doubt, based on their conclusions, that the extinction events they perceive will happen. The odds are on their side. The video concludes, meanwhile, that our crisis is primarily about human values, which can and must change. That has been my position all along. But Newtonian science, or time, are not on our side. I really don’t see how you make Earth livable once the Holocene is destroyed. This is where I’d like to see serious, honest investigation conducted. (We’re not all yet dead, after all).

  • 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 Sosebee

    Mike I’m not assuming anything. You don’t get to tell yourself you understand deeply. It doesn’t work that way. In the end you are white. I’m not blaming you for being white. I don’t expect you to feel guilty for the sins of our ancestors. I would hope that all you would do is continue to humbly listen (as you have) and act when appropriate (which it seems to me you have). I admire your fortitude and consider your thoughts and actions admirable. Unfortunately there’s no end game for privilege or entitlement (unless we’re counting on NTE to do it) but its nice to see engagement on these issues instead of the quick dismissal NBL can and often brings about.

    Here’s something to ponder:

    Two boys, one black and one white, were brought into the discipline office because they were fighting. In this particular school corporal punishment was in place if the parents signed a permission slip allowing the school to take such action. The white child’s parents did not sign the form but the black child’s parents did. In fact the overwhelming majority of black parents signed the form whereas none of the white families did. Why do you think that is?

  • Dear Maecenas, I loved, really loved your comment. So real.

    In considering the argument, (fabulously enacted in the skit above)
    between hope and doom, it might be wise to honor both valid positions
    and adopt and merge both. Let’s call it the Dope position and talk about
    the dopers. ;-) Anyway that fits me more closely, I find both perspectives
    working together in myself and I welcome both as useful and necessary.
    Dope logic? Dope creativity? I feel dope today. Dope you understand?
    Lol? It’s fun, and awful at the same time. Probably a little early, or late for
    this kind of thinking. DOPE might be a good acrynom up against TPTB.
    Doom or power everyone? – power dope. Hmmmm, Dope opens people’s eyes?-
    Dope, dope. Doom on power empire?- doom dope. Dream of possibilities everyone-
    Hope dope.

    We are realizing! All have a crucial role and yes Gail I know you don’t
    like my input and might wish you could BBQ me for dinner when the time comes
    but isn’t that attitude what got us all here? I can see if you have zero hope
    that you might want to magnify the problem in hopes it will crash us all ASAP. But
    here the healthy sharing is ongoing, read Guys words above, he has not
    given up all hope for all things as you seem to believe. But maybe you can
    be a little less passive at least for your scientific hopelessness crusade and just
    ask Guy to kick me out of this blogosphere. Why wait for the larger breakdown
    and in your summation the only possible breakdown when we are unleashing our hidden but
    real humanity, you can go ahead and try your best to virtually serve my head on a platter.
    Perhaps it will make you feel a little better if nothing else? Or correct me if
    I misunderstood your comment. But to quote BraveHeart, sorta, ‘you can take my
    virtual head, but you can never take my smart phone!’

  • Artleads: I enjoyed the link and felt that way when I was a college student. Now that i’m in my 60’s and none of this vision or worldview has come to pass (ie. the ideas have been with us for at least 30 years, but where’s the action, where’s the change? Remember before you answer “You, Tom, have to be the change you want the world to become” which is true, it’s also true that, as was stated in the video, one can’t do this alone) I don’t see humanity (esp. TPTB) adapting rapidly enough to counteract how damaged it’s become in all those (cited) critical interdependent spheres (ecology, economy, culture and the stated others) that WE’VE caused via our ignorance, in time to save it for posterity. I certainly am willing to try anything, including giving up what little I have, to usher in a world of cooperation, love of life and joy of stewardship to it. Many here have already started, others are looking, but the critical mass isn’t there and it gets worse by the day anymore.

    It just seems that no one else (or not enough) wants to give up their “hard earned” positions of privilege – especially the top, but all the way down to the very bottom of the middle (class) people comprising the critical mass mentioned in the video. The will isn’t there and “the system” continues to reinforce the wrong way we’re going. I genuinely hope this vision can come to fruition, but am afraid there may not be much (or enough) to work with. It isn’t going to be easy either – EVERYTHING has to change: from worldview to education, to population control and some kind of agreement about sustainability (if that’s even possible), to spiritual change (there’d only be one religion – worship the planet and take care of each other) while having to control ourselves as far as reproduction, consumption, etc. – a very tall order, in that we haven’t done it yet in the 10,000 yr recent history of our species.

    In short, it sounds great and i’m all for it (have been my whole life), but how do we dismantle the machine that’s killing us all while we’re trapped inside it to start another paradigm ?

  • Privileged says:
    Here’s something to ponder:

    Two boys, one black and one white, were brought into the discipline office because they were fighting. In this particular school corporal punishment was in place if the parents signed a permission slip allowing the school to take such action. The white child’s parents did not sign the form but the black child’s parents did. In fact the overwhelming majority of black parents signed the form whereas none of the white families did. Why do you think that is?

    Because the white parents never got a ‘permission’ slip.

    Here’s something to ponder:

    I was once a young white girl. In my family there was a lot of love, but we got our share of whippings and beatings. One small-town Alaskan school I attended still used corporal punishment, no permission slip required. All white kids. My white ‘privilege’ assured that I was bullied, hit, choked, beaten up, made fun of by other kids. This was repeated at the many different schools I attended. Living in poverty basically SUCKS. Living with no running water or electricity SUCKS. Being hungry SUCKS. Having to put on all of your clothes at bedtime to try and stay warm sounds silly, but being cold SUCKS. Worse than these things and the harsh judgements/treatment they bring, is that the only reason I ever got to test out my ‘whiteness’ in society was because my parents died early deaths at the hands of drugs and alcohol. Earlier in this thread, thestormcrow pondered privilege:

    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 think your assertions regarding white privilege are valid, but increasingly obsolete as the empire caves in on itself. The almost comical disparity in the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina compared to the S. California wildfire later that season was a blatant display of privilege afforded to whites, in the urgency of saving all those elaborate homes and helping those poor, poor upper-class white people. But those are the very people that are going to increasingly feel the pain. The rest of us are used to it.

  • The debate is moot.

    We cannot save ourselves, we are doomed. Why do we have to keep arguing the point?

    I say that Daniel is right, it’s Groundhog day everyday as we go over the same ground over and over.

    If you are not convinced, then do more research and tell us what NEW thing you come up with – but to keep rehashing the same things over and over is just wasting precious time. Although, one might argue, it’s curious that those here that ARE convinced are here at all, wasting precious moments on a blog that, by-and-large, repeats every 24 hours.

    I do it because I have nothing better to do, I have nothing, I do nothing, I am nothing.

    @ Logspirit:

    I wrestle with the dilemma everyday. Once I became aware, I realized all the suffering I was responsible for, all the shoes “made in China” that I had purchased – and, really, did I need a pair of shoes “made in China?,” ever at all? NO! I certainly could have lived my entire life wearing homemade sandals or something other than a product that served only to make many children suffer…

    All the smog I delivered to the atmosphere – all the taxes I paid that then became tanks, fighter jets, bombs and drones.

    I regret it all. And, I still believe, today, right now, that there is no redemption.

    And all I can do today is as much NOTHING as possible.

    I am a refugee of Industrial Civilization.

    I do not aspire.

    I hope that the collapse begins in earnest before Winter so that I can see the govt buildings burned, the politicians hanged, and the social order turned upside down before I crumple face-down in the snow and take my last breath.

  • Qoute from Howard Zinn, 2008 interview;

    “I think we may well see, if the united states keeps
    heading in the same direction, a new popular
    movement. That is the only hope for the united states.”

    Later in the interview;
    “I have gone through, in my life, a number of
    social movements and I have seen how at the
    very beginning of these social movements or
    just before these social movements develop,
    there didn’t seem to be any hope.

    I lived in the (us) south for seven years, in the
    years of the civil rights movements, and it didn’t seem
    that there was any hope, but there was hope under
    the surface.

    And when people organized, and when people
    began to act, when people began to work
    together, people began taking risks, people began
    to oppose the establishment, people began to
    commit civil disobedience.

    Well, then that hope became manifest….it
    actually turned into change.”

  • I would like to weigh in on this. Admittedly, this may be a duplication of efforts, as I only read part way through the comments section,which was voluminous!
    I decided to look up the phrase at the end of the letter.
    MILINT Earth Day

    Here is what I found:

    website:
    http://tygae.weebly.com/milint-earth-day.html
    http://navyjag-humint.co.nr/

    these two sites are linked. This is what they present:

    MILINT Earth Day advocates that:
    Our Planet’s and Nation’s Natural Capital – not Constitutions (until they constitutionally via legal personhood rights to nature, mandate the protection of their nations natural capital) – are the source of all physical, social, economic and cultural life and consequently humanity’s existential security.

    The inalienable right to breed and consume with total disregard for carrying capacity limits, and Socialized Corporate Externality Costs: Trillion Dollar Thefts from Global Natural Capital Commons have resulted in ecological overshoot of between 700 to 400,000 percent; manifested in the crossing of Urgent Planetary Boundary Tipping Points:– (i) Loss of Biodiversity and Species Extinctions; (ii) Climate Change; (iii) Nitrogen Cycle; (iv) Ocean Acidification; (v) Changes in Land Use; (vi) Global Freshwater Use; (vii) State Shift in the Earth’s Biosphere; (viii) Peak Non-Renewable Natural Resources: Scarcity are currently destroying our Planet’s Natural Capital, with devastating current and impending ‘scarcity-conflict’ consequences.

    To heal, restore and protect our national and planetary Natural Capital, and massively mitigate the impending scarcity-conflict death spiral; by putting our nations and planet on a trend towards sustainable security; we must ‘wake up’ all citizens, corporations, politicians from all nations, who must learn to:

    >>> ‘Walk our Talk’ to support our (i) Nation’s Police Force’s to reduce crime, and (ii) Nation’s Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, etc) to reduce scarcity induced resource wars; by (a) lowering our consumption to below carrying capacity (a consumption footprint of less than 10 global hectares); and (b) reducing all procreation activities to below carrying capacity (one or less than one child, per family).

    In the absence of citizens willingness to Walk their Talk to Support their Police and Armed Forces to reduce scarcity induced conflict; World Military Forces are petition on the legal grounds of Military Necessity, to conduct worldwide simultaneous temporary Coup d’état; to enact Sustainable Security Constitutions by implementing a ‘Sustainable Security Licence to Vote’ policy; which shall only grant the ‘licence to vote’ to ‘Sustainable Leaver’ citizens.

    ———————————————————————-

    I am interested if anyone would like to weigh in further now that I have identifed the source? (Before posting this I did a search on this page and see that no one else mentioned the “word” MILINT.)

  • I forgot to add the old adage, “consider the source”!

  • @ Landbeyond

    I think mo flow gave you a superb reply. A +

    You seem unable to comprehend it.

    Do you even understand your own question, I wonder ?

    You can attempt to imagine the effects of deliberately terminating industrial civilization on living human beings.

    I attempt to be as realistic in my assessments of the world as we find it to be, as I can possibly be.

    As I see it, the global economic machine, industrial civilisation, with it’s military and financial and scientific and bureaucratic subdivisions, and it’s millions of zeks, and it’s geo-political blocs, will grind onwards for as long as it can, consuming, destroying and polluting.

    I can imagine the effects of that. I can do something more than imagine, I can argue a strong case, based on a great deal of empirical evidence, that the only possible outcome is a mass extinction event of the kind that we can see in the geological record.

    Daniel would argue, and does so above, that there is no point even in trying to save species. I disagree. If there is something you love, like a child, or a horse, or a dog, or some piece of the living environment, then so long as you are alive, you care for it and cherish it, even though you have the knowledge that it will eventually die and cease to exist. Your own end may come first, in which case, who knows what will become of it ? But that’s all that I can do.

  • @ Privilege

    You state:

    “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.”

    Color me a prickly empiricist, but as to this mythical “other carrot” you’re still chasing, is there any chance that NBL (read the study of NTE) might be a bit of a clusterfuck to your past/current vested interests? Because you clearly have some kind of agenda that runs contrary to the very blog you’re choosing to regularly comment on, and it’s equally obvious that you are publically masking your own denial through irrelevant bathos, not unlike Ms. Kent.

    I don’t think it’s possible for Guy to be any more explicit as what this site is about, given the entire thrust of his own writing, as well as, speaking engagements focus directly and indirectly on the science contributing to NTE.

    It’s obvious by the language you use that you are far from accepting the dire implications NTE naturally entails, and not unlike everyone else, who for whatever reason just can’t allow themselves to emotionally “go there”, you’re attempting to find some way to undermine the acceptance of those of us who have (all thirty of us +/-). So, since you can’t argue against the science, you choose to use typical ad hominem to go after “our” whiteness, because you somehow imagine IT being the historical root of “our” misguided perspectives, and if the color of our pale skin isn’t enough, you also take issue with “our” sex.

    But what you strangely fail to comprehend, is that most everyone here agrees with you. You aren’t elucidating anything that probably many here haven’t been painfully aware of for a very, very, very long time. And if your comments about race and sex were being presented in any other context, other than to the extreme minority of adherents to NTE, your views would most likely be met with applause, instead of crickets and kudos from the Pollyanna peanut gallery.

    But you are being very disingenuous, because your fixation with race and sex is rooted in a past paradigm that is no longer applicable in context to NTE. But again, you can’t understand this, because you are refusing to accept the staggering implication of nonlinear rates of climatic change (read the basis of NTE, ego NBL). So again, not unlike everyone else who comes here with all their vested interests subconsciously in tow, you hypocritically mask your own bias, by attempting to falsely expose ours. But your denial is fast running out of straw men to blame as the methane mounts.

    I know we are all scattered along the spectrum of coming to terms with such unbelievable unprecedence, where on many days we find ourselves almost frantically jumping back and forth between the familiarity of a past social/ecological justice paradigm and an incomprehensible brutal and inequitable future. But if you can’t accept the locus of the blog you’re commenting on, could you please take your inoperative patronizing agenda somewhere else, where it might be a little more apropos, instead of continuing to add to what is becoming a steady stream of subjective nonsense.

    But, such is the curse of an open forum.

    @ Artleads

    Here’s a recipe on how NOT to make friends and influence people: Pen an essay directed towards a group of concerned citizens from all different walks of life, who are attempting to intellectually and emotionally reconcile the gravest threat the human race has ever had to confront, and title it “The Selfish Surrender of Privileged People”.

    Again, she like so many others deserves the contempt she invites.

  • BadlandsAK……your post was right on. The last line was sort of a blog topic, only I was using Mayflower Arkansas and others as the best indication that the middle class is officially fungible.

    It’s going to be interesting to see what, if anything, happens once middle America really wakes up. (And, would anyone notice?)

    Place your bets here.

  • @BadlandsAK

    You said, “Because the white parents never got the “permission”slip.

    No…they got it. It was explained by a black mother that the reason the slips were signed by the black parents was because they wanted their children (particularly their young men) to know that white authority was not something to be challenged. They wanted their children to respect/fear white authority so they wouldn’t be killed when pulled over or followed in a store for example.

    To answer your questions concerning rank of privileges I think I’ll just look at the status quo. Do class, poverty, gender, sexual preference, nationality and other factors play significant roles…yes. I’m not disregarding anyones experiences. When we look at who has history, the worlds most powerful militaries, police forces, governments, businesses…multi national corporations, educational institutions, scientific institutions or any other systemic force on their side, the obvious conclusion is white men rule the roost. How do white people who aren’t in these positions of power benefit? They benefit because their lives are being recognized, reinforced, validated, and supported by a white power structure. Our history tells us we were right and special. Every other institution is an outlet to get our views of the world into the public forum. We have serious representation and the power structures to back our views up. It doesnt matter if you want the privilege or agree with the decisions of these institutions. What matters is those who fall outside of its power have been and continue to be devoured by them. To believe privilege is increasing obsolete is ignoring whats happening in our prison systems daily and how our foreign and domestic policy is being implemented….just to name a few items. Speak truth to power.

    Privilege crosses many areas and I’m just pointing out what seems obvious here as we discuss NTE and collapse. White men are dominating the dialog and other voices are being cast aside, scoffed at, made fun of, and considered not worthy of response. How is this any different than what’s going on in the dominant culture outside of NBL?

  • Guy, it may be helpful for your readers to understand that Kubler-Ross’ original paper was called: “The five stages of reaction upon hearing catastrophic news”. It was not billed as a linear response but as a process that will, like grief, morph and recycle as experience shifts.

    In my two+ decades of experience with environment and energy, most of the people in the sustainability movement tend to cycle back to bargaining. The emerging truth seems to be closer to NTE than anything else. At the very least, Chris Martenson’s recent prediction (If you think the next twenty years will be anything like the last you should think again”.) is operating here. There is simply too much uncertainty. Chris’ Crash Course is a reasonable attempt to jettison much of the bullshit and offer a clearer view on our situation.

    Nature, in my experience, is fecund and tries as many possibilities as it can. Your solution to the human predicament is a reasonable response, as are many others. As we learn to dance with uncertainty we may adjust our responses as new data informs.

    A holarchic response is not “doomerism”, but doomerism seems to be reductionistic. Doom or not-doom. It is reasonably certain that at this turning point that certain historic ways of being human are doomed. And as James Hansen postulated, humanity no longer has the opportunity to avoid some catastrophic results of anthropogenic climate change. David Orr claims that in the Anthropocene humanity is evicting itself from the only Eden we have ever known.

    Bottom line is that many alternatives to Business As Usual are better than surrender. Gaviotas seems to be an excellent response, as are many of the communal responses like The Farm. If we can dance with uncertainty and adjust our response as the music changes, we may have a chance to rebuild civilization in a more humane way. We are beyond the point where mere adjustment will do the trick.

    What I know for sure is that the house of cards that is the current approach is no way to design nor evolve a heart-centered way of living in harmony with nature. For most of humanity almost anything is preferable to the status quo. If anyone ever offered the current reality as something to strive for they might well be labeled as insane. So, why play along?

    Bill Catton’s “Overshoot” and “Bottleneck” are realistic and point the way to what will happen soon. If the carrying capacity of homo colossus on this planet is < 2B, roughly 5B will have to die (prematurely). And, Catton makes it pretty clear that if we realized this at the turn of the last century we likely would have failed to prevent the current predicament.

    I don't think we're obligated to continue as we were any more than a person on the Titanic was obligated to jump into a lifeboat, into the water, or to play "Near my God to thee." The will to life probably dictates that most will try some response. If we do it well, or are lucky, we'll survive. That we can contemplate our response speaks well for survival. The outcome is so uncertain that to guess whether or not we'll survive misleads.

    I applaud and honor the fact that you've rolled up your sleeves and got down to work… and are willing to share your experiences as long as possible. Keep the conversation going and don't forget to pray.

  • Kathy Cassandra says: Btd then their is hope….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.

    While there’s life, there’s hope—pretty near, anyway. Kubler-Ross has hope continuing throughout the five stages (including acceptance), disappearing only just before death. Cf., e.g., “On Death and Dying” p. 265.

    However, based on personal research:

    Doom poses a real threat,
    But senility helps you forget:
    Lurch around in a daze
    With a distant gaze,
    But never get very upset.

    There’s no way of stopping our rush
    Into doom’s inescapable crush;
    No cerebral cortex
    Will alter doom’s vortex:
    Your brain might as well be mush.

  • To Gail – Thanks for the kind words. You would be most welcome at any Doom fire we have!

    To Kathy- BtD’s limerick which is really your limerick is a good one. Worth having as a reminder on the fridge.

    To Mike Sosebee – You ended one of your comments with Kumbaya. At our Doomy get together we usually end up singing “Doombaya”.
    The part that usually goes “someone’s praying Lord, Doombaya” we get to fill in whatever else we think they might be doing in an imagined Doomy future. The song can get pretty long.

    To Landbeyond- you said “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”.

    When you first posted your comment and OZman answered I felt in complete agreement with him. But I allowed myself to think about it for a while and decided that there was something to your question and so I have been considering it and probably will be for a while yet.
    The idea that deferring extinction of a species might be a “good thing” means that we,humans,are the “Decider” {like G.W.Bush} about weather any particular species, or life for that matter, is good or bad,valuable or expendable.
    I don’t believe that we have the wisdom to know and so,if given a choice, I would want to leave other living things intact to sort out their own meanings and extinctions.

    As for the question of “the cost of additional human suffering”,it
    would have to cause more suffering for humans if collapse is deferred because there will be alot more people added to the Earth to suffer.

    Thanks for the question. I will continue to ponder.

    Something that occurred to me about 2 of Guy’s statistics.
    200,000 humans added to the planet each day
    200 species go extinct per day
    So 1000 humans individuals = 1 entire non-human species

    earth to suffer

  • I’d like to think we are simply headed into ‘uncharted territory’

    As the old charts said “Here be the dragons”.

    Because there is so much to be done, we have no time to waste.

    Both the verbs should be in the past tense.

    the distinctly human-driven global challenges before “the collective of the human species” cannot be overcome.

    No one said the Second Law of Thermodynamics would be lenient.

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

    But that’s the same ol’ 2LoT at work remorselessly.

    people who do see what is happening and yet consciously and deliberately refuse to speak out about what is occurring on our watch.

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” – Upton Sinclair

  • @ Tom

    ” I genuinely hope this vision can come to fruition, but am afraid there may not be much (or enough) to work with. It isn’t going to be easy either – EVERYTHING has to change: from worldview to education, to population control and some kind of agreement about sustainability (if that’s even possible), to spiritual change (there’d only be one religion – worship the planet and take care of each other) while having to control ourselves as far as reproduction, consumption, etc. – a very tall order, in that we haven’t done it yet in the 10,000 yr recent history of our species.”

    First, let me thank you for taking the time to see the video. I agree with much that you say above. But I wouldn’t call this change any more difficult and painful than the caterpillar’s metamorphosis. The condition of the caterpillar that had reached growth limit was portrayed as panic-worthy and the butterfly’s emergence as liberating. But, yes, everything has to change. And it couldn’t possibly change unless it had gotten so bad. Without NTE, there could be no change. And the non-reproducing advocacy of Kathy C is spot on whether we go down or not. For the sake of argument only, were we to hang around in some remarkable way, the taking care of others that you mention would require massive amounts of adoption while not adding to the population pressures on the planet. Consumption is merely an aberration, and doesn’t make anybody happy. As the video enlightens, you get nothing up to 10%, and then, presto, everyone changes (even TPTB, to some extent) once you get past that. We haven’t done anything like this in 10,000 years of civilization. We’ve mostly gone out on a limb. But neither have we ever been faced with the specter of complete extinction. So we’ll just have to see. To be worried or concerned is not helpful. I would prefer life to be effortless and happy, no matter what. I give food to the bear who believes we can change.

  • Terrible knowledge
    calls values into question
    Certainty comforts

    Suicide is the final gesture
    Of our quest for certainty

    Humility opens the door
    That hubris closed

    Acknowledged ignorance
    Preserves possibilities

    The empty set beckons
    Towards the beyond

    What we don’t know
    Releases us from
    Chains of false certainty
    Into an openness yet
    To be savored

  • @ logspirit

    You wrote:

    “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.”

    Again, very impressive. Direct, cogent and poetically beautiful. While the concept of hospice care has been touched on by several people here, your take on it hits it home. Thanks for this.

    @ Ulvfugl

    You state:

    “Daniel would argue, and does so above, that there is no point even in trying to save species. I disagree. If there is something you love, like a child, or a horse, or a dog, or some piece of the living environment, then so long as you are alive, you care for it and cherish it, even though you have the knowledge that it will eventually die and cease to exist. Your own end may come first, in which case, who knows what will become of it ? But that’s all that I can do.”

    There is no disagreement between us here. In fact, I couldn’t agree with you more. My point is this, while the endgame has obviously changed, the act in itself remains the same.

  • @Paul C,
    “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.”

    Paul, I am curious if you are personally into the goal of facilitating the universe’s maximum and swiftest decimation of energy and resources – and if not, why are you not doing all you possibly can to help in this regard?

  • @Daniel

    “Color me a prickly empiricist, but as to this mythical “other carrot” you’re still chasing, is there any chance that NBL (read the study of NTE) might be a bit of a clusterfuck to your past/current vested interests? Because you clearly have some kind of agenda that runs contrary to the very blog you’re choosing to regularly comment on, and it’s equally obvious that you are publically masking your own denial through irrelevant bathos, not unlike Ms. Kent.”

    *Yeah my living in a yurt with no running water or electricity plan has been totally flushed by NTE. My “agenda” is clear…shut up and listen… kinda like the Dixie Chicks documentary…but different. I’m a true believer in NTE so punch my membership card and try and follow the argument. This will require paying attention instead of just trolling for your name in a post…bait taken.
    God if I had a dime for every time some white guy said they had it all figured out I would need Slim Pickens to yell like in Blazing Saddles, “Some go back and get a shitload of dimes.”

    “I don’t think it’s possible for Guy to be any more explicit as what this site is about, given the entire thrust of his own writing, as well as, speaking engagements focus directly and indirectly on the science contributing to NTE.”

    *Simply compartmentalizing the discussion/issue (how very Eurocentric of you) and reinforcing your own (not Guys) rigid framework creates an atmosphere for dialog that would kill this blog in a month. Guy seems to ok with allowing for discussion and giving voice to other ideas that are not science based…hmmm…like the last few essays in fact. Go through the archives genius.

    “It’s obvious by the language you use that you are far from accepting the dire implications NTE naturally entails, and not unlike everyone else, who for whatever reason just can’t allow themselves to emotionally “go there”, you’re attempting to find some way to undermine the acceptance of those of us who have (all thirty of us +/-). So, since you can’t argue against the science, you choose to use typical ad hominem to go after “our” whiteness, because you somehow imagine IT being the historical root of “our” misguided perspectives, and if the color of our pale skin isn’t enough, you also take issue with “our” sex.”

    *Guy actually may be laughing his ass off at this one. I’ve presented with Guy about these topics. I was in a movie with Guy about these topics. I lived with Guy for three months and discussed these topics daily. I’m on board bud…so chill.

    “But what you strangely fail to comprehend, is that most everyone here agrees with you. You aren’t elucidating anything that probably many here haven’t been painfully aware of for a very, very, very long time. And if your comments about race and sex were being presented in any other context, other than to the extreme minority of adherents to NTE, your views would most likely be met with applause, instead of crickets and kudos from the Pollyanna peanut gallery.”

    *I’m not looking for agreement….I’m looking for humility from the dominant culture and a discussion that compliments the science, that challenges the science, that challenges our own perceptions, that brings more ideas to the table. I’m looking for the cocksure attitude to take a step back and be open to something other than the storyline. Women who have been guest authors seemed to be denied the benefit of doubt that male guest authors receive. People of color seem to be absent from the discussion and guest essay opportunities. I’m not blaming Guy or anyone here…I’m just pointing out what our discussions lack. I don’t have any resolutions or solutions other than being open to other points of view before shutting people down because not everything they say isn’t a NBL talking point. This place is starting to feel like FOX…no listening.

    “But you are being very disingenuous, because your fixation with race and sex is rooted in a past paradigm that is no longer applicable in context to NTE. But again, you can’t understand this, because you are refusing to accept the staggering implication of nonlinear rates of climatic change (read the basis of NTE, ego NBL). So again, not unlike everyone else who comes here with all their vested interests subconsciously in tow, you hypocritically mask your own bias, by attempting to falsely expose ours. But your denial is fast running out of straw men to blame as the methane mounts.”

    *Is it a fixation to point out the lack of ideas at the table? Incredibly privileged individuals who are not suffering presently and only looking towards a future(Eurocentric again) they cannot control would make such an arrogant statement about past paradigms. Understanding nonlinear rates and their future implications means very little to someone who currently has the boot of this culture upon their throats. But why we have climate change has everything to do with our past and CURRENT perception of who has value in our societies. You seem to reinforce these perceptions. You’re correct, I blame narrow minded cocksure individuals who think they’re different from the dominant paradigm until that is, you look closely at their prevailing attitudes. All topics are up for discussion about NTE. You seem to be unprepared for this type of discussion.

    “I know we are all scattered along the spectrum of coming to terms with such unbelievable unprecedence, where on many days we find ourselves almost frantically jumping back and forth between the familiarity of a past social/ecological justice paradigm and an incomprehensible brutal and inequitable future. But if you can’t accept the locus of the blog you’re commenting on, could you please take your inoperative patronizing agenda somewhere else, where it might be a little more apropos, instead of continuing to add to what is becoming a steady stream of subjective nonsense.”

    *Take your own advice. I’ll say it again…listen Daniel instead of thinking about your response. The focus of the blog is all encompassing because NTE is all encompassing.

    “But, such is the curse of an open forum.”

    *Duh.

  • @ Daniel Your praise is appreciated, and more so because it comes from such an intelligent source. Thanks. Sometimes I soar, sometimes I bore, and sometimes I’m a joke.

    @ Rob@thepubliclibrary Thanks for reading my posts. I’m not really sure what, if anything, you’re asking me? You seem to do more than nothing… if you are willing to make the effort of spending 4 hours on a bus to attend this discussion. That’s OK. Perhaps that is only as much personal energy as you can muster these days. If I spent 4 hours as a passenger on a typical city bus I’d probably need at least 4 days to recover. My compassion for those who (apparently?) suffer from depression (hey – a normal response to our conundrum) is only limited by my personal energy. I’d do just about anything I can for them, but, please, just don’t ask me to spend 4 hours sloshing around on a bus, even with free barf bags. I get depressed about our situation too… But, I’m not a masochist, I don’t enjoy intensifying depression with an influx of nausea.

    What I was asking for in my last post, is a reexamination of the common political knee jerk reaction to pleas for compassion. To reach for what I consider to be a more worldly, more mature perspective than “I’ve got (or… I’ll get) mine… everybody knows those with the most toys win.”… Which is, unfortunately, the prevailing acceptable opinion in the global empire today in a majority of both the rich and the poor who worship their television as the hallowed messenger of their Lord. The fair and balanced fox has done an extraordinary job of tilting the playing field — their impact is disturbingly, awesomely, gut wrenchingly sickening. Religiously firm supporters of devolution, they are. Their ilk has managed to turn a global society… that, at least for a few years after the Vietnam fiasco, was trending away from the horrors of war and violence and greed… into a selfish, bloodthirsty mob. I think I can make an educated guess about their uber deity.

    Obviously you and I agree that there is no escape from the impending extinction of our species. I only ask to approach it with as much concern for the sufferings of others as our personal, and communal, energy allows. Please, let’s try to look beyond our own tiny self absorbed bubble, and care a little more about each other than we have before. There is benefit in reaching out, even when we run into disturbing responses… people present various stages of awareness. Act with as much compassion as you can muster. Don’t be discouraged, practice improves the skill. No guarantees, but it might even help you feel a little better. That, and eschewing 4 hour bus rides.

  • @wildwoman Thanks! Can you remind me what the name of your blog is? It’s been a while since I checked it out. You know, you mentioned Mayflower Arkansas, and I had to really think to recall what happened there, I’ve been so worried about being ‘FUKED’.

    @Privileged I knew I gave the wrong answer to your question, but I was curious, so gave it a go. To my assertion of the increasing obsolescence of white privilege, you reply:

    To believe privilege is increasing obsolete is ignoring whats happening in our prison systems daily and how our foreign and domestic policy is being implemented….just to name a few items. Speak truth to power.

    Well, you could name a lot more items, none of which I ignore. I stand by what I said, because soon it will not matter. White hierarchal power is in it’s death throes, along with all of it’s institutions. Look at the ridiculous grasping by our ‘representatives’ in government at any slim chance to legislate dominance of anybody or anything, particularly women’s bodies and people of color, ie. abortion and voting rights. It’s nothing less than bizarre, trying to turn back the clock, such a joke not many see the seriousness of what is happening. I did say increasingly obsolete, because these power structures are not dead yet, and there is still the chance that they will take us all down with them. But my bets are on mother nature.
    Aided by us, of course.
    For example: It’s been almost seventy years since the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, probably the most vile act possible by privileged white americans, in order to end the war on their terms, when there were many other options. But the bomb was created, always with the assumption that it would be used, Oppenheimer insisting that it was necessary to follow through to discover the realities of nature.
    Well, those realities are unfolding now, and privileged whiteness isn’t going to protect anybody.
    My example was just to show that there are so many variables regarding privilege, it’s not safe to assume anything about anybody. And it may be that all those with no voice, no say in the matter, all those who slip through the cracks, are more powerful than given credit for, just not by the measure you or I might apply. Heavy-handed white privilege may just become a burden, with all of it’s expectations and assumptions, given enough time.

    Anyway, I agree with you that more voices need to be heard, but maybe more is going on than what we here have the ability to see. You might like this poignant explanation of the stereotypical ‘drunken indian’ that John Trudell gives. Just as an example of looking at things from a different angle, a viewpoint afforded only by experience. https://youtu.be/vazCBv6xuew

    Thank you for your reply. Peace!

  • I keep hearing this rant about “self-fulfilling prophecy”, that somehow if we “believe” in NTE or NTHE that it will surely come to pass. That instead we should keep a positive outlook to avert the catastrophe of NTE/NTHE. That if NTE/NTHE DOES happen, it would because we, a handful of curmudgeons (seriously) had the temerity to “believe” what Guy says, and therefore created a “self-fulfilling prophecy” that ended the world. Or at best, propelled it off the cliff…

    Can I just say what a bunch of horse shit that is?
    Is that okay here at NBL? What are the rules exactly? I’m still new, but I know what horse shit smells like. It’s very similar to bull shit, and I’d like to point that stench out as well…

    For perspective’s damn sake: the past 30+ years of hippie freakdom, environmentalist activism, touchy feely new ageism, woo woo Hindu and Buddhist meditation, self love, EST, group sex, touchy feely (wait I said that already), off the grid, hay bale construction, alternative lifestyle and all the other thousands of ways of enacting a “self-fulfilling prophecy” of SAVING THE DAMN PLANET, has had the effect of what Kurt Vonnegut might call A BANANA CREAM PIE! (how he described the effect of millions globally marching against the war in Iraq). Instead, we are going off the cliff DESPITE all this good “self-fulfilling prophecy” activity.

    If SOME people are going to lay the blame of NTE’s “self-fulfilling prophecy” on a minority of erudite and loquacious folks seeking others just as horrified at the science and observable evidence around us, I recommend THOSE people take a long look at the list of white collar criminals that have murdered us. Then come back here and try talk about “self-fulfilling prophecies”.

  • Don’t blame Steph for her ignorance. She is a product of her degree in education. Our higher educational system mandates diversity to the point where if you’re white (whiteness, which is completely subjective)you can’t get a job because it’s assumed you’re automatically privileged.

    I’ve been denied several positions despite being the number one pick from the department hiring because administrators feel I’m not diverse enough. The sad thing is typically the people of color they hire come from more privileged backgrounds then my own. The irony!

  • Self-flagellation and defensive posturing are both egotistical responses – to a paucity of dermal melanin. The paucity is in no way essential to dominant paradigm. Play by its rules and your’e in, even if you happen to be a Colin Powell, a Condoleezza Rice or a Barack Hussein Obama.

    The most serious problem with that paradigm is its overweening snootiness. I first recognised it in the mid 1970s as an commissioned officer in the Army stationed in Korea, part of the “in” crowd: an American “cultural” bubble in a foreign country. I knew there was something wrong, but I couldn’t quite finger it. Being then “young, dumb and full of ***, I got with the program and was even snootier than most.

    I’ve changed since then, and now have no urge to kick the s**t out of those who challenge the dominant paradigm. I know for sure that a paucity of melanin is not such a bar, but I also recognise that the subtle undercurrent may become its undoing.

  • Pay attention, Ms. Kent. I want to terminate industrial civilization, by any means necessary, on the living planet’s behalf.

    Capitalism gives priority to continual and endless accumulation (infinite growth on a finite planet). When we say “gives priority” we mean that all alternative ways of existence are eventually steamrollered out of existence. Capitalism has shown that it will destroy any cultures, any people, any ideas, and any species or ecosystems that get in it’s way. It will not permit the idea that it can be “terminated”, it would not even permit the idea that it can be limited, slowed down, or stopped. We can see this when we look at the reaction to the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth idea of 40 years ago. The reaction was: “we will limit nothing, we won’t even consider slowing down. Can’t you see why we can’t do that, can’t you see that if we did do that we would no longer be capitalism? Capitalism is growth, growth is capitalism. You’re asking us to stop being what we are!” This was the environmental movement’s blind spot, they never realized what they were asking capitalism to do. Though capitalists did, and they realized they had to drive their steamroller right over this movement, and so they did.

  • @Bailey,
    you ask,

    “Paul, I am curious if you are personally into the goal of facilitating the universe’s maximum and swiftest decimation of
    energy and resources – and if not, why are you not doing all you possibly can to help in this regard?”

    What a great question! It’s a bit along the lines of asking Al Gore about square footage, but only a bit – it’s a real question. ;-)

    In our civilization, money is a multidimensional proxy for energy. To put it more completely, money acts as a cybernetic control/feedback/allocation/valuation mechanism within the extended human network.

    Money controls the actions of subordinate ranks in the hierarchy (i.e. do what you’re expected or you won’t get paid).

    It provides feedback (your actions are useful, I will pay you for them);

    It’s a resource allocation mechanism that directs resources, products, exergy and labor to be allocated to the places where they are most needed (for system needs that is, which are frequently not optimal for the humans involved.)

    It’s a valuation mechanism that seems to be tied to the degree of structure in the system: the higher the level of structure, the more it is “worth”. Since system structure always appears as a response to local energy flows, the valuation of any resulting structure is assumed to apply to (or
    represent) the embedded exergy that created it. You can deconstruct financial derivatives from this point of view with very interesting results…

    For now, let’s stick to last two functions: allocation and valuation.

    Exergy is the part of energy that can do useful work, and it’s the part that people and civilizations care very deeply about. Money is basically a claim on exergy. Every dollar I earn or spend speeds some small amount of energy on its way, in or out through the node of civilization labelled “Paul Chefurka”. Some of it stays behind, embodied as purchased goods, but most of it just heads back into economic cyberspace to keep on flowing.

    By using the movement of money as a proxy for the use of energy we acquire a very rough, very convenient and socially endorsed way of measuring someone’s level of energy dissipation. Just look at their money flow – income, expenditures and bank account.

    So measuring how close I am to dissipating all the energy I possibly can given my circumstances can be re-framed as: “How close am I to not having any savings, how close am I to simply recirculating all of my income?”

    By this measure I’m doing my bit very well indeed. The only thing I could do to improve my dissipation situation is to get another job. I used the last of my free will to decide not to do that ;-) Instead, I use my entropic education to do research and compose entropic posts on the internet, the very thermodynamic pinnacle of achievement for our species.

  • Ripley

    You put a persuasive case.
    Bravo.
    However, capitalism is not human identity distilled, it is at the end of the tunnel of fiat currency.

    No doubt you are aware, but for others, read or view :

    Bernard Lietaer

    on cooperative currencies.

    Too late to do anything?

    Moot, untill we are dust, but probably so.

    Can’t see from this side of the prism.

    All

    Here is a podcast of a recent lecture to the press(mostly) here in Australia:

    “Is the ‘female brain’ better equipped for the complex challenges of the new world? Writer, commentator and journalist George Megalogenis delivers the inaugural Griffith Review lecture. He posits our economy, media, and body politic are hard-wired to the false certainty of the male brain and it’s up to women to be prepared to change the model. Joining in the discussion are Griffith Review editor Julianne Schultz and Aboriginal writer Melissa Lucashenko.”

    [audio src="http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2013/07/bia_20130729_2005.mp3" /]

    Not sure if it comes off in other countries, have a go.

    I think George Megalogenis, who I have some respect for, is speaking about women who are taking the lead role in some industries and areas of wage earning, will fall into line with the thousands of years old patriarchal system. He argues we cant afford that to happen, from many points of view.

    it all may be just quibbling to some, but the waking up to what is being done is just as important as living what is left.

    Here is another recent u-tube from Captain Charles Moore, who is in Mike Sosebee film:

    ‘Pirate Television: Captain Charles Moore – Saving Our Oceans from Plastic’

    I would recommend watching to the end, because he moves on to details of how besphenyl compounds in plastics disrupt endocrine and hormone health, in ocean life and ours. The Captain is a cracking hero!

    Crying again a lot lately.

  • Don’t know if many are interested in the nuts and bolts, but this is pretty impressive to know:

    ‘Pirate Television: Jeff Clements – Corporations are Not Persons’

    This also fits too, stuff I had no idea existed, but somehow knew was the dirty trail to an unchecked loss of citizen’s power:

    ‘The Powell Memo (also known as the Powell Manifesto)’

    http://reclaimdemocracy.org/powell_memo_lewis/

    ” The Powell Memo was first published August 23, 1971
    ….In 1971, Lewis Powell, then a corporate lawyer and member of the boards of 11 corporations, wrote a memo to his friend Eugene Sydnor, Jr., the Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The memorandum was dated August 23, 1971, two months prior to Powell’s nomination by President Nixon to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The Powell Memo did not become available to the public until long after his confirmation to the Court. It was leaked to Jack Anderson, a liberal syndicated columnist, who stirred interest in the document when he cited it as reason to doubt Powell’s legal objectivity. Anderson cautioned that Powell “might use his position on the Supreme Court to put his ideas into practice…in behalf of business interests.”

    Though Powell’s memo was not the sole influence, the Chamber and corporate activists took his advice to heart and began building a powerful array of institutions designed to shift public attitudes and beliefs over the course of years and decades. The memo influenced or inspired the creation of the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Cato Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Accuracy in Academe, and other powerful organizations. Their long-term focus began paying off handsomely in the 1980s, in coordination with the Reagan Administration’s “hands-off business” philosophy.”

    Its the keystrokes of empire still lying in the ashes just starting to settle on Umerika, and all it’s vassal states, including Ustraya.

    Crying more now.

  • http://robinwestenra.blogspot.co.nz/2013/08/sheer-madness.html

    Drought-Stricken New Mexico Farmers Drain Aquifer To Sell Water For Fracking

    (the middle to end of the article)

    You may wonder why farmers would sell water to frackers when some 95% of the state has been under severe drought conditions for the entire year. The short answer is it pays the bills. Here’s the longer answer:

    In recent months, more legal notices have been appearing in the Current-Argus informing the public that a water-right holder with a supplemental well has submitted an application to the state engineer’s office seeking to change the purpose of use from agriculture to commercial, or transferring the right from one location to another.

    “A lot of folks are doing that,” said New Mexico Interstate Stream Commissioner Jim Wilcox, an Otis resident and president of the Otis Mutual Domestic Water Association. “I can’t blame them. The Carlsbad Irrigation District doesn’t have the water the farmers need, and our farmers have to have some income coming in.”

    Wilcox said farmers in the Carlsbad Irrigation District can’t sell their primary water source they receive via the irrigation system because the CID is a government project. However, if they have a supplemental well, they can apply for a change of use permit that gives them the right to sell their well water for commercial use.

    Yes, the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commissioner can’t blame farmers for an ultimately self-destructive practice that can’t possibly be sustained. Perhaps he should read Thomas Jefferson’s “brilliant statement of intergenerational equity principles.”

    Wilcox fully understands what it means to pump an unreplenishing aquifer during a drought:

    “Farmers right now are having to pump their supplemental wells, and we understand that. It’s their livelihood,” he said. “But the supplemental wells are drawing from the same water table we provide potable water to our customers (from).”

    “The oil and gas industry is requiring a lot of water and our concern is the effect it’s having on our aquifer,” he added. “We are concerned about losing water that can’t be recovered. Hopefully, we will get through this drought and everyone will be intact.”

    While this drought will likely end at some point, climate change means droughts in the southwest are going to get longer, drier, and hotter. If we don’t reverse emissions trends very soon, the entire region is headed towards permanent Dust Bowl conditions.

    The oil and gas industry apparently doesn’t care whether it helps destroy the entire water supply of New Mexico — as long as the groundwater supply lasts until they finish fracking the state. You’d think state officials would see the value for farmers and residents in sustainable water consumption given where the climate is headed.

    Tragically, fracked water can be worse than unrecoverable. It can poison groundwater when reinjection wells fail, which they are prone to do as Propublica explained in their exposé in Scientific American, “Are Fracking Wastewater Wells Poisoning the Ground beneath Our Feet?” As that article pointed out:

    “In 10 to 100 years we are going to find out that most of our groundwater is polluted,” said Mario Salazar, an engineer who worked for 25 years as a technical expert with the EPA’s underground injection program in Washington. “A lot of people are going to get sick, and a lot of people may die.”

    The Albuquerque Journal quotes one local man, Jim Davis:

    “In some areas, we are over-appropriating. We are in a drought and the water table has dropped drastically and there is no recharge,” he said. “There are some people who have legal water rights and they are over-pumping. The public doesn’t know about it. As private individuals, we have to raise Cain about it.

    … “Black River is at its lowest level ever. It’s lower than it was in the 1950s when we had a long drought. I make my living from selling water, but at the same time, I think it is important to protect our precious water supply.”

    Davis has been “selling water commercially from his wells in Black River for about seven years”! But now things have gone too far even for him.

    After Cain murdered Abel, God asked him where his brother was. Cain famously replied, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” As Answers.com puts it, “Cain’s words have come to symbolize people’s unwillingness to accept responsibility for the welfare of their fellows — their ‘brothers’ in the extended sense of the term. The tradition of Judaism and Christianity is that people do have this responsibility.” Seriously.

  • BadlandsAK, nice link to John Trudell! Brings up others and that’ll keep me busy for awhile.

    For all of the moaning and groaning amongst the white men about too much white male perspective, they sure do like to hear themselves talk, don’t they? The word count alone is amazing.

    Robin is right about color or gender making no difference….it all rests now on allegiance to the official story. The demographics alone make this a necessity.

    Anyway, you asked, so shameless plug:

    http://www.igotsomethin.wordpress.com

  • ‘Pirate Television: Jeff Clements – Corporations are Not Persons’

    ‘Powell Memorandum: Attack On American Free Enterprise System’

    http://law.wlu.edu/powellarchives/page.asp?pageid=1251

    What a mess is Umeriku.

    And its vassal states too, like here in Ustrayu, are hitting the wall. selling all public ‘assets’ off to any and all who want it.

    I’m done folks.

    I’m waling away…

    walkaway2014.com

    See you all on the other side. It’s been a privilege ladies and gentlemen, and bots.

  • Yakety Yack
    Blah Blah Blah

    I agree with Paul C.
    If you want to go further, rack up as much unsecured debt as you can.

    @ Pauline: “For perspective’s damn sake: the past 30+ years of hippie freakdom, environmentalist activism, touchy feely new ageism, woo woo Hindu and Buddhist meditation, self love, EST, group sex, touchy feely (wait I said that already), off the grid, hay bale construction, alternative lifestyle… ”

    Yes, I totally agree – but, I’ll take it a step further:

    The Second Law of Thermodynamics does not care about any of that stuff. The path to equilibrium in the Universe marches on and our existence (and the existence of all Life on Earth) is meaningless in the bigger picture of our solar system eventually burning out and the Milky Way eventually burning out and etc., etc., etc. All of the subatomic particles that make up every living thing will soon enough be widely scattered across the cold, dark, emptiness of space.

    So, if none of it matters, then none of it matters, so do whatever you want. The fact that I have basically given up on a life participating in industrial civilization is simply because I finally realized that I was hurting other people, innocent children, all over the world, and I just choose not to participate anymore – just like I choose not to throw rocks at children in the playground. So, I guess I have values and I guess I have a conscience and I guess that means I have some “spiritual” something or other, I just don’t know any more than that, although I have an opinion about it. I do know, by observing others, that the spiritual mumbo-jumbo can get pretty thick and downright silly. Yes, life is a Mystery to me, as is my own existence, and it will be such as long as I live, nothing more.

    As I wander around in my amoeba-like pursuits, I do very little more than breathe. I think very little. Only here, in the mornings, do I engage in a thoughtful endeavor, this futile discourse on the plight of Life on Earth.

  • It appears to me that understanding evolution is usually a prerequisite to understanding and accepting NTE. When one understands the total, utter cruelty of the process of survival of the fittest, it isn’t too hard to accept other “hard” concepts. Life is hard for all species except the privileged sector of intelligent humans. Our intelligence allows us to see this and it also allows us to hide from knowing it. If intelligence were an advantage, there would be more species with it.

    We are baling hay today. Bye.

  • Guy and those of you that are trying to walk away from empire. Don’t you find using high energy consuming technologies (such as internet) or taking planes to fly New Zealand somehow contradictory with your predicament?

    @dairymandave

    Survival of the fittest was long time ago abandoned by evolutionists. The current theories are more in the line of survival of the luckiest.

  • Angel, I’ve addressed your question a few times in this space, notably in a 7 July 2012 radio interview on Radio New Zealand with Kim Hill: “Agrarian anarchy” is embedded below and is further described here (by New Zealand’s New Economics Party)

  • @BadlandsAK

    Great clip and another voice added to the conversation. Thank you….and peace.

    @wildwoman

    Half the “word count” is a copy and paste of dialog from the all inclusive one who shall remain unnamed:) Unfortunately compartmentalizing the discussion doesn’t eliminate the role of race and gender…it ignores it because it feels bothersome and takes time to investigate. For some thats inconveient. Blindly lead on.

  • Laws of nature are not subject to human whim or will. If we understand them right, the laws of Thermodynamics don’t leave us wiggle room. Scientists believe that the sun will die in about 4 billion years but in about 1 billion years it will make the planet lifeless no matter what we humans do. The laws don’t care about our feelings, morals, wishes etc. We humans may have speeded up natural extinction, but from the very beginning of life on this planet every living thing was destined to become extinct. In fact nature has wiped the slate pretty clean several times, most severely I think in the End Permian extinction.

    Then as the dairyman says “When one understands the total, utter cruelty of the process of survival of the fittest, it isn’t too hard to accept other “hard” concepts.”

    Any species that gets to a new environ where its population is no longer controlled by other species will expand to fill the environ and either something will begin to limit it or it will destroy the environs that supports it. One of the first to do this was the blue-green algae known as cyanobacteria whose waste product was Oxygen. They created enough to poison the atmosphere for themselves (and enrich it for others) and lost their dominance http://www.damninteresting.com/how-bacteria-nearly-destroyed-all-life/

    We humans are not unique. Other species poison their own nest. Other species are cruel. What could be more cruel than a male lion defeating another and then killing all his babies. Yet the females then mate with the new male and have his babies. What would we think of a human male who did that? We have feelings we call morals. They come from the fact that we are a social animal that has to have rules for cooperation. And like all cooperating creatures we cooperate to compete with other species and others of our species.

    But most of us have a sense of morals embedded in us (not the psycho or socio paths of cours) and have had those refined by our culture. If we want to go gentle into the night of extinction, we need to find what moral actions will let us exit with a clean conscience. Not because it fulfills any sort of capital letter mandate – RIGHT, GOOD, MORAL, DECENT, but because for each of us living by our own moral programs will feel better. Its a version I suppose of hedonism.

    But as Dairyman Dave says – the world is not a nice place. For self replicating creatures it in the end is cruel, for we strive to live when we have to die among other reasons. The world is not an evil place either. It just is, and the laws that run it just are, and there ain’t a damn thing we can do about that. But we can live each day in a way that when we go to bed at night we feel OK or even good.

    But IMO that is personal and since nothing we do not changes the coming end game, can’t we stop telling each other what to do?

    Of course as usual, the one thing I will tell people to do, is not drag any unborn into what is coming.

  • Well Paul, when those who have been polluting, pillaging, wasting, spending, dominating, warring, etc., come to the realization that their actions have been selfish,…what another ‘about face’ to then learn they have been serving the true God all along. I think I will go barf.

  • Re: Guy’s radio interview:

    Very lively and engrossing interview. Good interviewer too.

    Like most economically challenged persons, I am very into survival amidst powerful and indifferent forces. I don’t have a large body of national and international supporters to stand up for me, or my advocacy in my absence. I would not gladly give my life for the immediate cessation of industrial society. For reasons I’m less than crystal clear about, poor people would not do that, even if they would be perfectly happy to adapt to its demise providing their basic needs were met.

    Guy’s combination of commitment, sophistication, knowledge, community support, and relatively some economic resources might more easily allow him to make those choices than those in more needy circumstances. I really can’t say.

    I believe it was Kathy C who connected the dots between sudden breakdown of ind civ and all manner PTB unpleasantness. Since then, I’ve been partial to a gradual transition from ind civ to the extent that it’s possible. That includes not-for-profit industrial activity to the extent commensurate with environmental and social responsibility. While aggressively flying in planes and using up oil might do what Guy predicts it will, it sounds a little violent from an individual-decision perspective. I’d rather leave spiking oil use to people who don’t know better, and allow the system to collapse under its own weight. People who know better, it strikes me, need to be working their butts off to see that the edifice of ind civ doesn’t collapse onto innocent and precious people, creatures and things. And, like Guy, they should be heavily invested in setting up examples of agrarian anarchy for use after the fall.

  • “Hopefully, we will get through this drought and everyone will be intact.”

    Get through in as little as 20,000+ years. And yes, everyone will indeed be intact, but regrettably not quite for that long.

    Yes, life is a Mystery to me, as is my own existence, and it will be such as long as I live, nothing more.

    As I wander around in my amoeba-like pursuits, I do very little more than breathe.

    A mystery if one is mired in spirituality: such folks think all the meat-robots have awareness, although although none of those folks have experienced the slightest inkling of the others’ awareness directly.

    Pursuits… meat-robot like. Shedding the “I” delusion, all that’s left in place of the former “I” is a meat robot. And in so doing, nothing whatsoever is attained, as was pointed out by the Buddha, and before then in the Vedic traditions.

    When one understands the total, utter cruelty of the process of survival of the fittest, it isn’t too hard to accept other “hard” concepts.

    And of course, the “fittest” may be an enzyme in a metabolic pathway in the biochemical machinery of a unicellular microbe that confers an advantage on that cell, or the “fittest” could be certain interactions amongst various species in an ecosystem that confer an advantage on that ecosystem such that it persists and/or spreads.

    Likewise the fittest may be a particular organism, a family, tribe, nation, empire etc. Ultimately fitness boils down to net energy flows: how much and for how long.

    the world is not a nice place.

    The world is not an evil place either. It just is,

    The restatement of two basic observations. Noted many millennia ago in Vedic traditions but also codified more recently two and a half millennia ago. The first of the Four Noble Truths, The Truth of Suffering. And the teaching of “Suchness” or “Thusness”: everything is perfect. Not the perfect of the value-judgement sense, but prefect in the sense of the natural outcome of preceding conditions in the vast interconnected web of existence.

  • @pauline

    That if NTE/NTHE DOES happen, it would because we, a handful of curmudgeons (seriously) had the temerity to “believe” what Guy says, and therefore created a “self-fulfilling prophecy” that ended the world.

    Hang around any doomer forum long enough and somebody will post something to that effect. “You’re a terrible person for predicting terrible things, you must want those terrible things to happen. That’s terrible!”

    I think it goes to the crux of magical thinking – your beliefs/thoughts/desires directly (not simply via your actions) determine reality.

    This is why people worry about the beliefs of others, rather than simply their actions. This is why a little church in the middle of nowhere will send a missionary halfway around the world to a place none of them can find on the map to convert the heathens rather than using that money to help themselves or people in their community. Because if you reduce the number of believers in THE OTHER THING and convert them into believers in OUR THING, our magic is stronger than theirs and our beliefs will determine reality and WE WIN.

    Jim Inholfe was promoting his book on Rachel Maddow and said in as many words “I used to believe in Global Warming, then I found out what addressing it would cost, so I chose not to believe it.”

    You see, if you just REFUSE TO BELIEVE then it all goes away.

    If you name Satan, you’re inviting him in. Or is that vampires? Or is that just in D&D 3.5 rules?

  • And here is yet another positive feedback….I’m beginning to loose track!

    Arctic ice grows darker and less reflective just from melting.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23994-arctic-ice-grows-darker-and-less-reflective.html

  • Relevance of Spiritual Paths to Our World Crisis

    No one can prove or guarantee that any particular avenue of work or investigation will help us resolve the complex cascade of problems that are driving humanity towards extinction. By the same token it would be foolish to set aside as useless or irrelevant paths that have been recommended by some of the deepest thinkers, explorers, and knowers that have lived among us. These sources of ancient wisdom may be seen by many, dazzled by the accomplishments of science and technology, as quaint antiques from ages lacking our superior vision. To modern folks it must seem beyond unlikely that things they associate with myth, superstition, charlatanism, and falsehood could contain anything of real value to us, in the deepening disaster we are enacting. Surely any true answer must lie ahead of us through better scientific discoveries, more sophisticated reasoning, greater sources of energy, etc.

    What if the things we hope to deliver us turn out to be some of the prime causes of our unraveling? Where can we turn for help then? What if we ourselves are the unconscious authors of our own dilemmas? The truth is that unless we change ourselves in the directions ancient spiritual teachings — and their more modern versions — indicate, no amount of technological know how can do anything but put in our hands more means to harm ourselves and our precious Earth.

    All valid spiritual paths begin with methods to clear our minds of their unexamined and often pernicious conditioning. This kenosis or purification is a necessary step in order to access our unconditioned mental space, which is the needed foundation for a new mind. Those who are skeptical that such a new mind can be engendered tend to be ignorant of the successes experienced by those who have employed the recommended processes, including but not limited to meditation, by means of which this radical transformation can be effected. That spiritual paths can accomplish these benign results is known as a fact among those who have utilized them. How to package and present this knowledge so that more — far more — people can experience these benefits is a problem not yet fully solved. This does not mean that progress in this direction has not been made — it has. And if I had more ink to devote to this brief message, I could talk about that, since a large portion of my life has been spent in investigating this problem and associated questions… But enough for this ‘message in a bottle’. I sometimes feel that like Kierkegaard, I should dedicate my offerings ‘to my unknown friend…’ Except I do know that you are my friend Gary, and also that all who are concerned about humanity are also friends, known and unknown….

  • “Warming oceans are causing marine species to change their breeding times and shift their habitats toward the poles much faster than land-based species, finds new research by scientists at 17 institutions across the world.”

    http://ens-newswire.com/2013/08/05/global-scientists-shocked-by-true-scale-of-ocean-warming/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ens-newswire%2FJZdj+%28ENS%29

    This one is for Privilege

    From Grist

    Rich people’s bodies are polluted with different, more expensive toxins.

    “Oh sure, the modern world guarantees that our bodies are little more than Tupperwares filled with poison. But you don’t really expect the rich to have the same toxins as you and me, do you? Plebeian toxins? Perish the thought. No, rich people harbor a higher class of contaminants, ones they pick up from eating seafood and lounging on the beach…..According to researchers at the University of Exeter, relying on data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, poor people are more likely to have high levels of cadmium, lead, and BPA — stuff they picked up from smoking and eating canned food. The rich, meanwhile, were full of mercury, arsenic, cesium, and thallium from their fancy fish and shellfish, and oxybenzone from the sunscreen they slather on for golf games, visits to the private beach, and cocktails on the yacht…..In short: Even in the arena of being horribly poisoned to death, rich people still have it better. Hooray, the system works!”

  • Sorry for the third post, but I just wanted to wish Ozman all the best on his journey.

  • pauline says: I keep hearing this rant about “self-fulfilling prophecy

    Magical Thinking

    It’s easy to misconstrue
    That the world is your point of view,
    But don’t be too chary
    Of thinking thoughts scary:
    It won’t really make them come true.
    ==

    pauline says: I keep hearing this rant about “self-fulfilling prophecy

    Happy Face

    There’s no point in trying to brace
    For the end of the whole human race:
    Expect MZBs
    To do what they please,
    And put on a happy face.

  • @OzMan,
    Finding out about the Powell Memo half a dozen years ago felt like discovering the Rosetta Stone of modern American culture. It’s a key piece of knowledge for those who are still tugging on overt corporate/political threads to try and unravel the mystery of America.

    @Bailey,
    “They” will not come to that realization any more than “we” will. We vastly underestimate the rationalizing power of the human mind.

  • Adobe flash is incompatible with the iPhone.
    iPhone compatible link:

    7 July 2012 radio interview on Radio New Zealand with Kim Hill

  • Since I am sharing some on this site, maybe I should try to make it clear where I stand on NTE. I believe that the near term extinction of the human species on Earth is a real possibility. I do not believe that it is a certainty. My own lengthy study of the history of science, its different branches, modern frontiers, common methods and standards of proof, successes and failures — leads me to conclude that NTE has not been scientifically proven to be a certain outcome of the incredibly complex processes at work on our planet. One of the components of the scientific method is the need for confirmation of theories by open enquiry and testing from the community of qualified scientific investigators. NTE does not meet that standard in my opinion. That does not of course mean that NTE may not nevertheless be a reality, only that it is currently not considered to be proved by the majority of climate scientists or those in other relevant fields. It is in fact a decidedly minority opinion. I reiterate that it is nevertheless a very real possibility. We are playing with fire for sure — have been for a long time. But now we have the real possibility of frying much of the life on Earth, thanks to all of those who have put powerful energies in the hands of moral and spiritual infants — us.

    In short, I feel that belief in NTE is similar to many other beliefs such as UFO’s, extraterrestial agents causing crop circles, children riding dinosaurs, etc. However belief in NTE has better scientific evidence to support it compared to those fanciful ideas. And also it could possibly awaken more people to the very insane gamble we are indulging in with unlimited population growth and energy use, nuclear and other planetary poisoning, resource destruction, mass destruction of fellow species…and the list goes on as all of you on this site are aware.

    The above is just my present opinion in part, and I welcome those who might wish to critique it, since I am still eager to learn more about this whole tragic situation we are living in. I am not interested in converting anyone to anything. Although I have shared a small portion of the spiritual aspect of my explorations, I do not identify myself with any belief system, nor do I seek to take away or disrespect anyone’s belief or affiliations. I am here to share and learn, period.

  • How Global Warming Is Spreading Toxic Dust

    Source: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-global-warming-is-spreading-toxic-dust

    Excerpt:

    [Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona] is one of several locations in the western United States that scientists say could become a major source of airborne arsenic poisoning due to global warming and breakneck human expansion.

    As global warming means rain becomes less frequent in some areas, and soil and rocks dry up, scientists think much of the arsenic that should be leaching into the groundwater will instead be blown into the air.

    If inhaled particles were small enough, they’d be able to slip through the lining of the lungs and enter the bloodstream.

    The health effects from inhaling arsenic are still largely unknown. EPA has classified inorganic, or man-made, arsenic as a human carcinogen. Exposure to arsenic has been strongly linked to problems such as heart disease, hypertension, and bladder and lung cancer.

    A [recent] study by scientists at Texas Tech University also found that safe levels of arsenic and estrogen, when combined, can double the risk of prostate cancer, raising the possibility that even “safe” levels of arsenic could become harmful when combined with other toxins in the environment.

    …As opposed to contaminants like arsenic in groundwater, which is easy to find, detect and contain, airborne particulates can travel thousands of miles, across state and international borders.

  • A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

  • Excuses for my English.
    I am writing this from Concepción, Chile.
    First thing to say, I am not white, but rather a genetic mixture of some european gens (probably from Spain) and native gens from the original inhabitants of the land that today is my country.
    Who knows?, it doesn´t matter.
    I am not rich.
    After a five years journey, I have become convinced that we have no future. NTE is something that seems to me, truly possible.
    So I read with interest the opinions given in NBL. They make me think more than already done on my own.
    After useless efforts to convince others about all this unfolding situation, I am truly convinced that to become part of the NBL group, and by that I mean, somebody conscious about the complex situation we are facing and living, the mind change has to be the result of an internal process, triggered by some also internal question, about something going wrong. With internet, whatever you need to know, you will find it. It is a matter of will and curiosity. Like my case. I live far away from the rich north, but I finally ended just like all the rest here, being part of this blog, convinced that nothing good for our planet is ahead. Finally ending in NBL (and Guy McPherson) is the result of this internal process of seeking for answers about this “something going wrong” issue.
    For whatever reason, just a few people have this capacity of “smelling” the underlying and hidden dark facts of the enormous damage that we have done to our planet and life support.
    If you miss this hidden (by the media) reality that something never seen, and experienced, is going on, it is just because you don´t want to know about it.
    There is no grief process, because, you don´t even get into the point of having a problem. Is like a pre-denial stage. To deny, you have to be conscious about an issue that will change your life. If you do not know that you have cancer, and will die soon, there is no space for denial. You may suspect, but don´t even go to the doctor to find out (and keep doing business as usual). That is how I see the way most people face this issue.
    My conclusion, there is nothing to do about the unfolding process itself, because most people all around the world, don´t even want to know about it. That is why NTE seems to me so possible.
    I am happy about my life today, I do not fear the reaper. I guess I did my “job”, according to 30 years ago standard, had two daughters (no population explosion), gave them good values, to have a durable society.
    What I value more than ever, is the possibility of enjoying simple things of life and nature. I am not running anymore for success, and money.
    Now I have time.

  • Been traveling from Costa Rica to Texas for my Dad’s 92nd birthday.
    Yes, by airplane…I’ll swim back to balance things out, OK ?

    This clip is for the discussion in the previous thread about well-rounded artists & scientists.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhV3nDGGQ5M

    Next clip will be for the sea-faring gypsy tribe(s).

  • For Ray Jason & crew
    You can’t make ’em eat your dust
    But you can let ’em kiss your ass
    Savor each extra sunset your craft & guile allow…

  • With thanks to Stephanie Jo Kent for her contribution, I’ve posted a new guest essay. It’s here.

  • Oh joy of joys…

    Fukushima Radioactive Water May Overflow Into Sea
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/06/fukushima-radioactive-water-overflow-japan_n_3712282.html

    Officials acknowledged last month for the first time that the plant has been leaking radioactive water into the ocean for some time. After a major leak a month after the meltdowns, TEPCO said it had contained the problem and denied further underground leaks into the ocean were occurring, although many experts suspected they were.

    While the extent of sea contamination remains unknown, TEPCO has estimated that up to 40 trillion becquerels of radioactive tritium, a water soluble element that can affect DNA but is believed to be less dangerous than cesium or strontium, might have leaked into the sea over the past two years.

  • Daniel.

    Thanks a bunch.

    Will post here when time and range permits.

    Cheers.

  • @ulvfugl
    mo flow’s reply was easily comprehended, rather silly and did not respond to my comment, but you are entitled to your opinion.
    “Do you even understand your own question, I wonder ?”
    Since I composed the question, yes, I do.
    “As I see it, the global economic machine, industrial civilisation, with it’s military and financial and scientific and bureaucratic subdivisions, and it’s millions of zeks, and it’s geo-political blocs, will grind onwards for as long as it can, consuming, destroying and polluting.
    I can imagine the effects of that. I can do something more than imagine, I can argue a strong case, based on a great deal of empirical evidence, that the only possible outcome is a mass extinction event of the kind that we can see in the geological record.”
    You are stating the obvious.
    “If there is something you love, like a child, or a horse, or a dog, or some piece of the living environment, then so long as you are alive, you care for it and cherish it, even though you have the knowledge that it will eventually die and cease to exist.”
    You did not understand the question.

  • @ thestormcrow
    You wrote, regarding my question on Guy’s stance on bringing down industrial civilization:
    “The idea that deferring extinction of a species might be a “good thing” means that we,humans,are the “Decider” {like G.W.Bush} about weather any particular species, or life for that matter, is good or bad,valuable or expendable.
    I don’t believe that we have the wisdom to know and so,if given a choice, I would want to leave other living things intact to sort out their own meanings and extinctions.
    As for the question of “the cost of additional human suffering”,it would have to cause more suffering for humans if collapse is deferred because there will be alot more people added to the Earth to suffer.
    Thanks for the question. I will continue to ponder.””

    Leaving other species “intact to sort out their own meanings and extinctions” is a reasonable approach as far as it goes.
    Wishing to “terminate industrial civilization, by any means necessary” as a means of leaving other species intact is, I suggest, an attitude that a public figure like Guy should justify, and not repeat constantly with the assumption that all agree a post-human “living planet” is a positive thing worth enormous sacrifice.
    I get the point (also made by Kathy Cassandra) about “more suffering for humans if collapse is deferred because there will be alot more people added to the Earth to suffer”, although I’m not entirely convinced. 7 billion people can do a lot of suffering, birth rates can be reduced, and we don’t know for sure the path down which industrial civilization is currently taking us, except that it’s not a good one.
    I hope Guy has thought through what he is saying, but to be honest I see no sign that he has. I hope he is not avoiding the question.
    Pauline, on 3 Aug at 6:32, reports that on the previous day, “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.”
    I believe Guy owes everyone who hears him the answer to the follow-up question: Why?

  • Landbeyond, I’ve given considerable thought to what I’ve written. I believe civilized humans have no moral authority to terminate the existence of non-human species. We are one species among millions, yet we act as gods. To what end? As nearly as I can distinguish, civilization works hard to terminate other species. In my mind, and perhaps only there, believing we have no moral authority to commit genocide means we must terminate the process that is causing the genocide.

  • @wildwoman Thanks for your blog link. Very bittersweet essay on Lake Michigan.
    (sad face here.) Most things are these days.

    @infanttyrone Please don’t forget to wear your life vest on your swim back. And your hazmat swimsuit.

    @Godofredo If you miss this hidden (by the media) reality that something never seen, and experienced, is going on, it is just because you don´t want to know about it.
    There is no grief process, because, you don´t even get into the point of having a problem. Is like a pre-denial stage.

    I agree. The blindness is self-induced for many. Also, your post reminded me of Benjamin the Donkey’s pre-doomer limerick a while back.
    (Maybe he could post it again?)

  • If industrial civilization were to end tomorrow, pandemonium would break out on the scene. Conversely, I’m not convinced that delaying civilization’s end would not enable the building of better coping mechanisms than now available to deal with this event. Public awareness of collapse has, after all, been growing apace. Among the many coping devices imaginable are increase in agrarian anarchy endeavors, population stabilizing/reduction and adoption, etc.

    If industrial civilization were to end tomorrow, and pandemonium break out on the scene, a likely outcome would be widespread nuclear holocaust that would engulf animals as well as people. Even at this moment, we have the prospect of widespread nuclear fallout by the mere fact of climate disruption combined with corrupt, inept government and corporation oversight.

    From this vantage point, NTE is not something solely based on what climate scientists can predict, and to be anticipated 17 years hence; it is something more immediate and dire. The intractability, subtlety, depth, fluidity, interconnectedness of the mess is far beyond the ability of scientists alone to deal with. It is more of a human problem than a scientific one, whose solution, if there were any, would require changing the value system–the mind–of HS itself(which many attest with certainty can never be done).

    NTE is a dynamic process of the moment, and everything is in play. Putting all the eggs in the end-ind-civ-now basket might not be the best way to deal with it.

  • @Artleads
    I have had an opportunity to observe and be a part of a local industrial; collapse scenario in New Orleans shortly after Katrina. I know I keep going back to this a lot because it’s an experience that looms large in my life.

    Any pandemonium that actually occurred, thinking mostly of the Super-dome, was a result of authoritarian stupidity, compressing traumatized people into a small space. Their were also some white supremacists running around Algiers threatening the black community there. This was successfully countered by Malich Rahim, an old Black Panther and some white allies defensively arming themselves. The white supremacists were put in their place.

    Unfortunately attempts to cross the Mississippi river bridge into Algiers instead of being crowded into the Super-dome was thwarted by the Jefferson Parish sheriffs shooting at anyone attempting to escape the city. Problem was, the bridge lands just barely beyond Algiers into Jefferson Parish (home of David Duke, the KKK Gubernatorial candidate)

    I did not get there until about 10 days after the storm so those two events were over, but I spoke directly to those involved and was working with them for the next 6 months.

    My observation is that, apart from the pandemonium initially produced by heavy handed racist authorities, the people did quite well self organizing in the face of disaster. Quickly creating home grown and well organized relief efforts such as Common Ground, Mama D’s, and Peoples Hurricane Relief. Forget about the Red Cross, they did not get inside the city for two months, they were, and generally are, useless.

    Anarchy, in the best sense of the world, broke out. Communities self organized and instinctively practised the Anarchist principle of mutual aid. Anarchists, such as myself and the Anarchists who started the Common Ground clinic (originally called Mutual Aid of New Orleans) Poured in from around the country, a group from Philly road the rails in.

    Hartford food not bombs showed up with a van. A combination of local and outside people, generally anti authoritarian, including even the rainbow hippies set up everything from distribution centres, Feeding centres, clinics and recovery teams. Cleaning the streets, houses, and tarping over roofs. We all lived and worked, off grid, in the center of a city. for months.

    I was never in fear of anyone in that city except for cops, feds, and mercenaries hired by both government and business. NOPD, NYPD an other out of town cops, Sheriffs, US Marshals, Blackwater and other Mercs. The military was ubiquitous with their assault weapons they were not allowed to let go of. Believe me, none of this was needed, there were no bad guys among the people, they were too traumatized.

    The people themselves, left to themselves, self organize into a beautiful anarchy. Organization, without hierarchy, for mutual aid.

    I know this is not what has gotten into the official and most well known histories of that event as reported by the media. But I would hope that people on this list understand and know not to trust those false histories.

    This is the way people react to disaster. This is the way they will react to collapse. Our immediate survival will depend largely on how much authority is left and how effectively we can counter that authority.

  • When I was very young I had the mistaken belief that the military was there to help other countries when disasters struck. The had all the equipment, had a chain of command structure, protocols, supply chains, mobility and personnel. It was such a disappointment to learn that it wasn’t that way very often, if at all (without ulterior motives).

    I would like to see the militaries (including all types of police) of all countries awaken to their positive potential to help and protect the people from the evil banksters and their minions, organize communities to be more self-sustaining and efficient while setting an example of resourcefulness, non-violence, and consistent aid – the armies would behave as if they were our adult children, protecting and taking care of their family and Earth.

    pipe dream

  • Dear Ozman, many thanks for posting the link to the George Megalogenis lecture. That was an awesomely informing talk. Though I would beg to differ with the summation that men are hard-wired in any permanent way. Indeed our times are ushering in the necessary learning and pressures to free men from their position of being ‘captive’ to their own creation, to being released, yes women will and must help but men would get no free passes from my perspective.

    Dear Guy,

    It may appear as though civilization works hard to specifically terminate other species and in many cases does and Intentionally so, just that. But if we want to end damaging industrial behavior that exterminates, as by-product of what ‘civilized’ people with men given special consideration, all life, we must know the real driver to end or really change that force.

    In other words civilized industry is not the process, though part of it’s by-product. We must address the real process causing this all and then we will be in the best possible position to bat for nature.

    Dear Mike k, I believe it is fear of disempowerment we are dealing with.

    Dear Ulvfugl, thanks for the info on this Christian Dominionist group, that factor and other sects caught up in mythological beliefs cannot be understated as a concern we need to be aware of. A huge aspect of addiction to fear of powerlessness.

    Dear Artleads,

    Great comment Aug 7, @ 10:51 am

    There is a way to address the urgent need to change our values back to an earth/nature centered drive. It has everything to do with how people think, their conditioning, colonization or what have you. This change of mind can be accomplished once we know what we are dealing with. Difficult perhaps, and needs to be done ASAP so we can address our loss of adaptability to nature but easier more prudent and humane than the calls to destroy industry. Same end result btw, industry as we know it will cease to exist.

  • @ Landbeyond

    The fact that the profundity contained within mo flow’s response entirely escaped your comprehension, and the fact that, instead of considering the deep philosophical issues raised by your own question, you use it as a barb to hurl at Guy, tell me all I need to know about your level of insight.

    I tailored my earlier reply to yours. Having read your replies to others, whether you think you understand your own question or not, your thinking is on such a shallow and superficial level it’s really not worth any further attention.

    Your question might have been worth asking if you had actually given it some serious prior thought yourself. It’s obvious you have not.

  • big meany.

  • BadlandsAK says: Also, your post reminded me of Benjamin the Donkey’s pre-doomer limerick a while back.
    (Maybe he could post it again?)

    Thanks so much for asking! :) There’s a bunch; you can find them collected at the depository for selected old limericks:

    http://benjaminthedonkey-limericksofdoom.blogspot.com/2013/04/pre-doomers.html

    http://benjaminthedonkey-limericksofdoom.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-pre-doomers-guide_3.html

    http://benjaminthedonkey-limericksofdoom.blogspot.com/2013/04/more-pre-doomers_3.html

  • @Guy
    “civilization works hard to terminate other species”
    That is, at least, the effect of it. You argue that it will terminate us too. In the meantime we all rely on industrial civilization.
    Do civilized humans have the moral authority to terminate the existence of other humans? Ending the industrialized world “prematurely” would do just that. You claim willingness to die so that other species can continue to live, procreate and die (to what end?) but have you the right to urge action that would take others with you?
    There are innumerable interdependent species, including homo sapiens, but consider a species in isolation, the hammerhead shark say. You might agree that it is wrong to remove the fins from an individual hammerhead and return it, living, to the ocean, where it will probably suffer before it dies. But if the species disappears, no suffering will ensue to any hammerhead; so why, precisely, does its disappearance matter?
    The non-existent hammerheads will not care. Is it worth the painful early death of a single person, let alone many, in order that there be hammerheads in existence?
    Almost all species that have existed are extinct – they do not care. Those existing today will follow them – they will not care. Following the NTHE that you expect, if many or all species become extinct because industrial civilization continued longer than you consider it should, who or what will care? What relevance does your caring today have, except to you?
    “In my mind, and perhaps only there, believing we have no moral authority to commit genocide means we must terminate the process that is causing the genocide.”
    Yet you urge action that would cause literally incalculable suffering and mayhem among your own species.
    Industrial civilization is unsustainable. It needs to be brought to its inevitable end in as humane a way as is still possible. Should the aim not be to cause as little suffering as possible to humans, living and as yet unborn? That inflicting gratuitous suffering on sentient beings is morally wrong should be a given, at any time.
    Your comment restates your position. To my mind you need to give more thought to its consequences for living, breathing humans, and perhaps consider modifying it.

  • @ulvfugl
    You start out by saying “It would be a far better thing if Landbeyond had never existed”. You continue by asking “Do you even understand your own question, I wonder ?” Now you say “your thinking is on such a shallow and superficial level it’s really not worth any further attention.”
    Perhaps I’ve struck a nerve. Frustration at awareness of your lack of comprehension expressed as affected intellectual superiority. It is noted that you have avoided responding to the several others here who also question Guy’s current outlook in a fashion somewhat similar to mine. That’s okay, I wasn’t addressing you anyway: you can return to your customary thought patterns. Sorry to have rippled your pond.

  • Landbeyond writes: “we all rely on industrial civilization.” This is a perfect statement for this essay, although you fail to recognize the irony. Only privileged people rely on industrial civilization, Landbeyond. Many people have never heard of it, and would run from it — as I’m trying to do — if it appears on the horizon.

    “Do civilized humans have the moral authority to terminate the existence of other humans?” This, in fact, is one of the premier goals of civilization, largely unrecognized or ignored by the civilized. Civilization kills lesser people to enrich those with privilege.

    “Yet you urge action that would cause literally incalculable suffering and mayhem among your own species.” You write as if literally incalculable suffering and mayhem is not occurring now as a result of industrial civilization. It seems you apply no thought before you type.

  • @ Landbeyond

    mo flow began from the posited position of nothing, zero, existing.

    That’s profound.

    Where do you begin ?

    Some trite anthropocentric moralising designed to try and score an ego point against Guy. Totally trivial.

    I suppose you could be even shallower and more pathetic, and see life on Earth like these people

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1361145/Earth-worth-3-000-trillion-according-scientists-new-planet-valuing-formula.html

    ‘Struck a nerve’ ? Hahahaha. You have not SAID anything yet. All you’ve done is to say that Guy should answer the question ‘why ?’ but on the same level as a child does to a mother who says it should get out of bed in the morning.

    It is noted that you have avoided responding to the several others here who also question Guy’s current outlook in a fashion somewhat similar to mine.

    Perhaps you’d care to point them out.

    @ Rob

    You’re the guy who spent 4 hours on a bus because you couldn’t read this damn NBL ?

    That’s so fucking bizarre, it’s staggering. I have not been on a bus for 10 years of more, I don’t think I’ve even seen a bus for at least five, I don’t even remember when i last saw one. I’ve only been in a car two or three time in that time for brief journeys that were critical. Your life is so bleak and vacuous and desolate, and you squander it and do nothing. Except complain and whine. Why is that ?

  • @ Landbeyond

    You ask:

    “Is it worth the painful early death of a single person, let alone many, in order that there be hammerheads in existence?”

    Is it worth the painful early death of a single hammerhead, let alone the entire ocean, in order that there be humans in existence?

  • @ TIAA

    Thanks for your comment. My comment about riding a tiger meant to equate the tiger to the kind of world we live in–industrial civilization, whatever. Getting suddenly off it I would assume to be very dangerous to the vulnerable! I appreciate your emphasis that it might not so much be ind civ as the players who dominate it that we have to watch for.

    Jess makes something like a contradictory assertion in the latest thread, and I want to consider and reply to it if I can.

    Best to you.

  • @ Jesse,

    Thanks for the points, as well as for your great service to people in need.

    Tentative response:

    People self organize in emergencies, but industrial society mandates the deployment of the ugly, counterproductive forces you cite. Maybe with a collapsed economy they would go away. I don’t know. But I could see the supremacist types becoming more numerous and vicious. Maybe that could be countered too. I don’t know.

    As I have been learning here, the greatest likely danger of civilization breakdown will be widespread nuclear radiation. Ordinary people can’t deal with that, and even the mighty industrial powers seem unlikely to deal with it either. Which is why I’m leery of immediate collapse as a solution.

    I believe that, despite the horrible mismanaging of New Orleans, government belatedly served some useful role in getting SOME people back to their places. It looks as if top down has to coexist with bottom up anarchy. That is like mixing oil and water. Somehow, the top has got to be forced to mind its own business, to leave the people alone, and to do the things for which it is uniquely capable. Maybe if they can be kept busy safeguarding nuclear sites, they won’t have time to muck around with the folks.

  • @guy
    “Only privileged people rely on industrial civilization, Landbeyond.”
    Do you really believe that? A century ago it might have been largely true. With a globalized economy, most people living in cities, and very few communities growing and making all they eat or use, the tentacles of industrial civilization unfortunately reach almost everywhere, and if it suddenly withers away many in the “developing world” will feel the impact just as much as the “privileged”.
    ‘“Do civilized humans have the moral authority to terminate the existence of other humans?” This, in fact, is one of the premier goals of civilization, largely unrecognized or ignored by the civilized. Civilization kills lesser people to enrich those with privilege.’
    Leaving aside whether it is a “goal”, of course “lesser people” are robbed and often die to enrich the privileged. That is the status quo. What you are not addressing is your desire to make the plight of the “lesser people” even worse by trashing the economic infrastructure on which they now depend, for the sake of the “living planet”. Incalculable suffering and mayhem is flexible; it can always be expanded with a little effort.
    You are also still avoiding spelling out why hope for a “living planet”, post NTHE, is more important than, for instance, the life of someone close to me who, without the medication industrial civilization provides, would likely die before long, though perhaps not before going blind.
    “It seems you apply no thought before you type.”
    Thank you.

    @ulvfugl
    You become shriller with each comment. It’s as though you take any questioning of Guy’s current position as a personal affront to which you must reply with aggression but no substance. This is not YouTube.
    There are a number of people writing here who believe we should try to make one another’s lives as bearable as possible during collapse and/or prior to NTE, or at least not do anything to make them worse. Some of them address my comments in a rational and civil fashion, whether they fully agree with me or not. You should be able to find them with a little effort, if you really wish to.
    I see you have enough bile left over for another commenter, and are unable to resist turning that attack into self-praise. That is rather sad.

    @Daniel
    “Is it worth the painful early death of a single hammerhead, let alone the entire ocean, in order that there be humans in existence?”
    No, it is not.
    Are you going to answer my question?

  • Landbeyond, you have no clue what you’re writing about. By definition, uncivilized people do not occupy cities. Only the civilized live in cities.

  • Guy,

    Hailing from a poor third world country where, indeed, the large majority of people once lived on the land, walked barefoot, and grew their own food, I’ve lived to see everyone wearing shoes, using cel phones, and shopping at supermarkets. I do believe (and from what I’ve heard or read) a similar demographic trend is true for many near-urban people in Africa and other parts third world. But if you mean that, despite those trends, a good two billion people still grow a lot of their own food and depend relatively little on civilization, I agree. However, the inexorable march of “civilization” is a heartbreaking concern when one compares the ecological past of these places to the present. Then there is the social empowerment away from colonialist domination even as neocolonialism takes hold. Very complicated.

  • @ Landbeyond

    I’m not the slightest bit concerned with Guy’s position, nor with your your opinion of me, Landbeyond. I’m not here to match your expectations.

    I am paying close attention to your question, which, as I have already said, you have not understood, yourself. I suggest that you reflect upon it for a week or so and then come back and pose it again, perhaps from a more deeply considered perspective.

  • @Landbeyond

    Just so I have this straight, you are arguing/questioning that even though the goals of industrial civilization are clearly an omnicidal threat to all of life on earth–including humans– but since “we’re” all currently dependent on IC in some way or another, it is better to sustain IC for as long as possible, so as to avoid short term human suffering, regardless of the growing probability of most of life being extinct in possibly even a shorter term?

  • @Guy
    “Landbeyond, you have no clue what you’re writing about. By definition, uncivilized people do not occupy cities. Only the civilized live in cities.”
    I confess I did not expect my simple question to reduce you to childish rudeness and petty semantics.
    I believe you have effectively confirmed that you cannot justify what you have been advocating.

    @ulvfugl
    Oh good, you have calmed down.
    “I am paying close attention to your question”
    Don’t trouble yourself.

    @Daniel
    Only partly. Climate change is a threat to all of life on earth, including humans. It is caused, and being worsened by industrial civilization, on which we are all dependent in one way or another. IC is in any case unsustainable, and it is better to terminate it in such a way as to minimise human suffering during the process (rather than “as long as possible”). At the same time, population should be brought down, as humanely as we can, as part of said minimising. (It seems the effect on climate change of terminating IC over the required number of years is likely no longer an issue, given what is already “baked in” in terms of GHG emissions.) There’s also the tricky business of the nukes that need to have a lid kept on them in order for life to be tolerable during this “end game”.
    The part most people have trouble with: If most or all of life becomes extinct (including us, obviously) it doesn’t matter. It seems we instinctively want our species to survive, and want the “living planet” to continue even if we cannot. I have yet to see a rational basis for either desire. Extinction, which many here expect, will end human suffering and death. The same is true for other sentient species. For other species, once we are not around, there appears to be no advantage or otherwise in existing or not.
    But given that one considers a “living planet” to be a positive concept, trying to guarantee that it continues by setting out to “terminate industrial civilization, by any means necessary” means abandoning the aforementioned attempt to terminate it in such a way as to minimise human suffering. It appears to mean a callous disregard for human beings currently alive, as well as those who will inevitably be born up until further births are no longer possible.
    Of course, the likelihood that we will suddenly start being realistic about our situation is as near zero as makes no difference.

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  • @ Landbeyond

    Don’t trouble yourself.

    I assure you, it’s no trouble whatsoever, I observe with wry amusement as you dig yourself further into your chosen hole.

    Are you really so conceited and vain and egocentric that you think you are the very first ever to have considered the question ?

    The part most people have trouble with…

    Gosh. Have you done a survey ?

    So. That’s were you’ve got to, is it ? The best you have to offer us.