This has got to be the Nadir of Materialism

by Ben Croser

Materialism and Spirituality are on a spectrum of values, a pendulum, where we find our Human Identity. We have now moved so completely into a cycle of Materialism, which began many thousands of years ago, we see great changes now in our world.

Catastrophic Climate Change, and The Great Slide Toward Inverted Totalitarianism

Inverted Totalitarianism

Inverted totalitarianism is a term coined by political philosopher Sheldon Wolin to describe the emerging form of government of the United States. Wolin believes that the United States is increasingly turning into an illiberal democracy, and he uses the term “inverted totalitarianism” to illustrate the similarities and differences between the United States governmental system and totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union.

… Inverted totalitarianism reverses things. It is all politics all of the time but a politics largely untempered by the political. Party squabbles are occasionally on public display, and there is a frantic and continuous politics among factions of the party, interest groups, competing corporate powers, and rival media concerns. And there is, of course, the culminating moment of national elections when the attention of the nation is required to make a choice of personalities rather than a choice between alternatives. What is absent is the political, the commitment to finding where the common good lies amidst the welter of well-financed, highly organized, single-minded interests rabidly seeking governmental favours and overwhelming the practices of representative government and public administration by a sea of cash.
(wiki/Inverted_totalitarianism)

Chris Hedges “Inverted Totalitarianism”

Materialism Extremis has lead to Inverted Totalitarianism, lead us to see this world as entirely Material in essence, and to see ourselves as Eating, Talking and Procreating Machines. The Spirit of previous ages, the Animistic traditions that prevailed before the rise of Science, and the Industrial Revolution, permeated the way of life of virtually all Native Peoples, and Cultures.

The world views of Cultures of the Spirit, that preceded the rise of civilisations, all included as a central component the Land, Country, and the Elements, but these were not seen as Material only. With a complex weaving, they all had stories that detailed how they came to be, how the world came to be, and what their place was in this Magnificent World.

Cycle ahead to the present, and we find ourselves living in what can only be hoped is the Nadir of Materialism. Whatever the specific formative reasons, be they Overpopulation, Social and Cultural Collisions, Resource Depletion, Abundant Fossil Fuel Energy, Habitat Destruction, Ecosystem Destruction, Ocean Plastification, and Human Exploitation and Debt Slavery, we as a Species are faced with the limits of our devastating acceptance of Materialism as a model for reality and ourselves.

With the enormous crescendo of Scientific understanding, we begin to also understand the power and fragility of the systems we need to survive on this, our planet, our only home – Earth. The rise of civilisations, and now their apex, a Monoculture atop cultures, we arrive at Materialism. There is no longer any surviving vestige of Stabilised Spiritual Culture, powerful enough to counter-vale and transform Materialist ethics and laws.

Materialism dominates our world view, our cosmological view, if not every individual, then a vast majority, and all the nodes of institutional legitimacy and power.to such a degree, Materialism dominates such that we accept the most horrendous abuses to ourselves, or the greater underclasses within cultures, and our planet, all in the name of supplying an ugly over-abundance and sheer terror of waste, resulting in a cascade of pollution, species and ecosystem loss, and the extreme dehumanisation, and dishonour of Homo sapiens.

Were we to conceive of ourselves as we once did, we may still be fewer, we may still be nomadic, we may rely far more on those close by for deep love and communal support, and we also may be a meaningful part of an awesome living planet.

But no longer.

We cannot go back. That world is no longer obtainable again – Seas so abundant in life it was obvious to everyone all life arose there; Air so clear and fresh any solitary mind could shape a winged thought so steeped in time that memory of ancestors would come calling; Land so sacred and alive no place was not part of oneself, and Fire, so precious to a sacred heart-filled merging of Spirit and Self, it become the defining tool that was respected, mastered, and known as the inspiration for all dreams, visions and foreknowledge.

All this we have lost. Our tacit connection to the very centre of our own consciousness is in doubt, as Materialism prevails, like a cloud of confusion and death covering the globe. Few today know deeply why they have the gift of life, why they have so much cultural promise of freedom, but little Spiritual Understanding that has always been the door to the riches of the Heart, and that freedom. Few today know any Real Spiritual Touchstones, once embedded in their unique Cultural heritage. Lost, almost all now have been replaced with a shallow mummery of life-business transactions, with all the joy of endless Having and Getting, but no ways to contact the Self.

The Self -the manifestation in all beings that Carl Jung described as the Transcendental reality inflected in us. In a worlds apart description, Jung would have rejected, utterly, and with passion, the modern Adam Smith dictum that at the core of our being is self interest. In a macabre word-play, we see the small self the Ego, of Smith attribution, being lauded as a meaningless material coil of flesh, and then extolled as the legitimate human seat of being, and meaning. A very far cry from what all ancient conceptions of what it is to be Human, and what Jung called the Self, the very Transcendent loci of reality.

The Self is the project of all manifestation, especially here on this Jewel of a planet. The Self is what we seek, but it is our very essence, and as the seductions and consolations of Materialism lock our gaze and capture our hearts, in so doing it empties or experience of its Crowning Bliss – the Heart Joy of Being.

Spiritualism and Spirituality were never simply a series of hokey rituals to fool the Child-Mind into giving over power to others. Spiritualism and Spirituality emerged within Hunter Gatherer life which was completely adapted, and co-evolving with the Land, Sea, Air and the Fire of a living planet. There was no attempt to ever ‘escape’ to other imaginary places, many now conceive Spiritualism and Spirituality to be. Being so completely adapted to the Real matrix of this world, all the dimensions of our being emerged and were revealed over time. All the functions of Consciousness developed and demonstrated their purposes; that being to experience the diversity of the currents of Reality, as they are. Sensation, Thinking, Feeling, and Intuition, all describe and report to the conscious host, what exists, what its features are, and are not, if we like it or not, and its ultimate place in the cycle of its own being.

Materialism only perceives, and therefore, only reports on, the Sensation and Thinking functions of consciousness. ‘Objective’ reality then becomes a cage from which the human Self and its Transcendental correlate in Reality, vanishes. Consciousness has no ‘position’, and therefore, no ‘meaning’ in a Materialist existence.

Subjective by definition, Feeling and Intuition, describe the experience Consciousness has of itself as a subject. In earlier forms of Culture, the True, Transcendental Self was a projected conception of the Divine. These capacities, in Truth are our own – Human.

This is only old Greek Hubris if we, as we now do in a Materialist way of existence, conflate Ego with Self, or in the old world we assign Ego with divine powers.

As Jung was at pains to point out to ‘Moderns’, Self is revealed by Ego Surrender, not Ego Reinforcement, and Deification. Earlier Cultures found that projection of Self in the Land, Sea, Sky, and in the Fire, and with the rise of civilisations – the cults of Pantheism, and Monotheism – of closer personifications of our own unrealised capacities.
That experience of Self and the World, with far less separation and fear than today, was not an idyllic period we can romanticise from our contemporary outpost here, now. It was full immersion and interface with the Biosphere, shielded from no force of Natural Systems, nor consequence of human action. Its legitimacy is not from the Truth of its descriptions of Reality, but in the fact that they were Child-like adaptation to the Transcendental. Greater Truths were usually embedded in the Esoteric marginal segments of the civilising Spiritual traditions, out of reach of the orthodoxy.

We no longer have that Child-like adaptation, no matter how hard the network of Global Corporations may seek to maintain for us.

We are Adolescents, in a sea of shifting haze, an indeterminate self.

Old ways have past, new ways are emerging, but the required Understanding to the vast majority, seems out of reach.

The Transcendental Heart is what we need, but conventional conceptions of what that Heart is, and all its greater functions are even less well understood.
As the Yang and the Yin of manifestation describe a unity, the Transcendental Heart is not only the Seat of all being, very much conceived like our physical heart gives to the body the vital life blood it meeds. The Transcendental heart is also a Bridge, to the new stage of being.

We are at the world cultural moment where we, like the snake, need to shed a skin to grow.

That skin is Materialism.

We need to realise we are not base replicating machines. The only purpose of replicating machines is to convey over time a living being, in a changing landscape, until it Realises itself. The diversity of forms masks the Real Essence, which is like the Promethean heat of an earlier time – the unrealised essence of our Very Self.

The heartbreaking state of the planet – the rapid Catastrophic Climatic Changes, the Long Polluted and now Dying Oceans, and the Choking Air pollutants, and Land that no longer supports Species in their normal Habitat, all culminates in this time as the Sixth Great Extinction – the delusional thinking that got us here so rapidly, is coming to an end, but not without some struggle.

That struggle is really a struggle of and for Spiritual Understanding.

It is only Understanding that reveals to us our need to grow.

Grow we must, and quickly, or we may perish.

We must make the change – shed the skin of Materialism – into a new experience of human identity, human compassion for all beings, and a new relation to the Living Planet.
Heartfelt effort is needed to reject the ways of Ego, of a Having and Getting culture, of Consumerism as a training ground for Emptiness and a harrowing, unfulfilled Hollow-Being world-view, and the Planet Devouring, Planet Killing ways of Materialism.

Come together in Co-operative, Resilient, Giving Communities.

Please – I beg you – this is a plea from a heart … breaking!

Look Long and Deep into the Eyes of A Child You Love.

There Is No Other Way Beyond Here.

This Has Got to be The Nadir of Materialism.

__________________

Ben Croser is a peace-loving 50-year-old ordinary dad. The realisation that Climate Change is the biggest and most devastating threat to all life on Earth has prodded him to do something. He has a solo Biosphere Reconciliation Walk around Australia planned for early 2014, in order to raise awareness on these issues. Ben will pull a modified Recycling Wheelie Bin, especially kitted out to address the needs of the walk. Many obstacles have already arisen in realising the plans for the walk — everything one could expect really. Follow him at walkaway2014.com.

__________________

McPherson’s latest essay for The Good Men Project was published Wednesday, 28 August 2013. It’s here.

Comments 107

  • Ben…thank you for this beautiful, poignant, and inspiring essay. It may be that our suicidal behavior and its outcomes are a wake-up call to ourselves, reinforcing our need for tempering the human ego and allowing the Self at last to come into its own—to become who we truly are. And who we truly are is not voracious consumers and sycophantic servants of industrial civilization. We are so much more. Jung also spoke profusely of the human shadow—an aspect of ourselves that must be examined and “treated”. Whatever our fate in our race to near-term extinction, all of this is work that must be done in order for any of our lives to have meaning or purpose.

  • If you have almost three hours spare, I recommend this video.

    Points of interest are

    – the suspicious events surrounding the BP oil spill

    – fracking a crime against nature, with a good explanation of the horizontal drilling process

    – a casual reference to the alleged murder of Stanley Meyer’s, inventor of the water powered car

  • Spirituality doesn’t exist among pre-conquest peoples the way we think of it. For them, the entire world is saturated with spirits and with Spirit, such that they perceive these with all the same conviction as we perceive physical objects. There is no distinction for them between spirit and material. I submit they are correct.

    An excellent book on this subject is Spell of the Sensuous by ecological philosopher David Abram. Additionally, the lengthy essay Preconquest Consciousness by eminent anthropologist E. Richard Sorenson is also an amazing and eye-opening read.

  • To each his own.

    @ Carolyn: you said: “who we truly are is not voracious consumers and sycophantic servants of industrial civilization. We are so much more.”

    Yes, we are so much more – and, we are so much less. Drop one of our privileged butts into a refugee camp and just see what you get. As Frankl said “The survivors were not the “Best of Us.”

    I don’t need any more phsychology or navel gazing or spiritual teaching. I am what I am. I need air, water and food – and, if I don’t get them, I’m going to get real mean and real nasty. I don’t need a car, I don’t need a tv, I don’t need a house and I don’t need an ipad. I don’t care about Jesus, Buddha, or The Four Winds.

    I also don’t care who killed JFK, who built the pyramids, or who shot Mr. Burns.

    I don’t want to DO anything. I don’t want to BE anything. I don’t want to KNOW anything.

    The Baby’s
    Isn’t It Time
    1977:
    I just can’t find the answers
    To the questions that keep going through my mind
    Hey babe
    Isn’t it time?

  • Gah! I am sick to death of this crap analysis that places all our problems at the feet of materialistic thinking. I’ve been reading this bullshit for more than forty years and it is just as lazy and stupid a trope as ever. No, our problems are not rooted in the view that humans or life itself are mechanisms. I am as thorough a materialist as they come and I feel the wonder and beauty of life and I hold it sacred. But not because I believe in spirits or some transcendent reality or consciousness with a capital “C”.

    People confuse mechanism with artifice, then they unjustly condemn both for squeezing the life out of the world with their rigidity and inhuman force. However, a mechanism is simply a system of cause and effect. In this sense, machines are more than metaphors for natural processes. They are natural processes. When a system of cause and effect has the right kind of complexity, it emerges as the supple and adaptive organization of matter and energy that we call a living entity. We are complex mechanisms, embedded in a network of mechanisms. Artifice is simply man made machinery. We have drawn from the raw material and patterns we see around us, to create our own section of nature.

    Artifice is too often maligned for the wrong reasons. The surface aesthetics of man-made machines are often horrid. But this is, in part, a result of designs that favor economics over sensual effect. It is also because we are primitives at design: the rest of nature has had billions of years to tinker with matter and energy. We have had much less time. The fact that our inventions are often cartoonish simulacrums of organic entities does not negate the underling sameness with the rest of nature.

    Simple, man made machines, with their inexorable logic, are no more treacherous than simple non-man made machines, with their inexorable logic. For every dangerous, complex man made machine, we can find an equally dangerous counter example from the rest of the natural realm. A rampaging elephant can crush a human as surely as an automobile. A plague can decimate a population as completely as a war. If our sun went nova, we would be blasted to a crisp faster and more thoroughly than we would under nuclear attack. I do not mean to imply that we are not using our machinery unwisely. Of course we are. I am as sick to heart of what we have done to this planet as anyone. I am saying that the fault lies not in artifice or mechanism itself, but in ourselves.

    –J

  • Crikey, so what happened to the secular zone ? 😉

    Shall I stand up for poor old Ben / Ozman, or demolish his essay ?

    Thing is, we know something about where people used to be, and where so called ‘spirituality’ can take us, don’t we, and it doesn’t necessarily turn out to be the Jungian Paradise that some New Age hippy dreamers imagine.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/magic-island/story-e6frg8h6-1225863727918

    That said, there’s some factual errors in the account, which actually has a clearer history than you have given us.

    The first factor that permits materialism is the separation of a Creator God from His Creation, which sends divinity off into some distant realm and de-sanctifies the material world.

    Once the material world is no longer sacred, then it’s easy for it to be seen as ‘stuff’, a resource.

    The second is the Cartesian paradigm, which was part of the birth of modern science, which was a quasi-political agreement, a sort of unwritten contract, between the budding science and the Catholic Church, that science could have the material realm and the Church would retain dominion over the spiritual realm, human souls.

    This wasn’t based upon reason or empiricism, it was about power and expediency.

    Just as Parmenides, the founder of logic and much else, in ancient Greece claims to have received his instruction from a goddess, Descartes, one of the founders of modern science, received his instruction from an angel. You’d have though he might have honoured that source in his subsequent scientific works, but that would have been to trespass upon the Pope’s turf.

    So science became materialist almost, as it were, by way of historical and political accident.

    Science escaped the clutches of God, but then fell into the arms of Capitalism, or Mammon.

    Capitalism and Science have been the driving force that created this materialist culture that prevails.

    But now, to argue that we need to return to spirituality ?

    I could EASILY agree. However,nobody can define what spirituality IS, everybody has their own brand and will probably be happy to kill anybody who is wearing the wrong label, and we get absolutely nowhere.

    Jung’s neo-platonic gnostic revivalist alchemical psychoanalytical gobbledygook is just as opaque and obscure as Robin Datta’s vedantic ramblings. It goes on and on forever, with fancy words and circular phrases that sound impressive and contain no meaning that anyone can actually pin on to anything at all.

    It’s great mythos, if you like oracular statements that have multiple interpretations. Like Rorschach inkblots, bring your own meaning.

    I think we’d be better devoting energy to trying to seizing back control of science, logos, from the Dark Side.

    As regular readers will know, my personal resolution of this issue, is that logos and mythos are of equal value. The material view and the spiritual view are both essential to human being. I further maintain that these two ways of knowing the world correlate with the left brain / right brain hemispheric divide.

    When that division is fully integrated, something extraordinary occurs and a higher level of mental functioning seems to arise. Intuition and reason synchronise, literal thought and poetic imagination are seamless and flow in a way which, I submit, is how a human is MEANT to be. Or maybe how we all once were, before we all went crazy ?

    Anyway, I call that state what the Taoists call it, Wu Wei.

    Imho, that is the highest achievable state.

    What this means. A perfect balance of yin and yang, of mythos and logos, of right brain and left brain, of the poetic and the literal, of the spiritual and the material, the Romantic and the Classical.

    The world is shimmering with mystical awesomeness, wonder, and life is magical and enchanted. None of that boredom and nihilism and ugliness that we read here so frequently. But with enough of the hard-headed reality testing grown up adult to recognise that there are no Fairy Godmothers, it’s a rough and jagged world and you have to know how to deal with it, or you don’t stay around very long.

    Science and logos and the amazing achievements of the Ancient Greeks, which, according to Iain McGilchrist, was the last time that there was a soceity when left and right hemispheres were balanced, got us out of that Magic Island, which I personally don’t want to go back to, it’s Lord of the Flies.

    But science and logos has also given us scientism, and the culture that has trashed everything more comprehensively than any other, and is still doing so at exponential rates.

    It gave us the ships and also the shipwrecks.

    Personally, I don’t think there is ANY way out. We get the mass extinction event. Science and technology won’t stop it, spirituality won’t stop it. What spirituality IS good for is for your own spiritual strength. Getting you through the day and night facing this prospect.

    Thanks for the essay, Ozman, and good luck with your endeavours.

  • May be you should have Googled for “nadir” and “zenith” before writing, just sayin’…

  • Dear Wolfbird,
    as usual, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Thank you for commenting so well on Ben’s article. I also wish him good luck with his endeavours.

  • Inspirational, exquisite and timely.

  • @ Sabine

    You know me of old ? 🙂 Thank you for the compliment !

    Perhaps I’ll lend Ozman some support…

    The trouble with the materialist / scientific analysis, the one that springs from logos, the left brain, that Cartesian Paradigm, is that every time that the person witnesses beauty, they’ll say, to themselves ‘Of course, it’s just my brain telling me that, it’s pleasure chemicals being triggered’ and when they fall in love they’ll say ‘It’s all hormones and oxytocin’, and when they hear about the Polar Bears dying because of loss of Arctic ice, they’ll say ‘Well, 90% of all species are extinct’ and on and on, whatever the feeling is, the rational mind will jump in with a ‘reasoned’ argument to explain it all away…

    And that’s what this culture, this destructive materialist culture has been doing for the last two centuries.

    So, having stripped ALL meaning and sentiment and romance and numinosity out of the real world, we get left with a totally bleak and meaningless world.

    All we have is shit like the Simpsons on tv, and Terminator at the movies, and casualty/victims like Rob @ the public library.

    What ?

    Ozman may have got half his story wrong, but his heart is in the right place.

    What has happened is that this materialist cultural paradigm is a lie.

    Just like when an individual begins to tell lies, then has to tell more to hide the first, until their whole life becomes a lie, that’s what Western culture has become. One massive fraud. The whole thing is rotten from top to bottom.

    We actually KNOW it’s a lie, because science can demonstrate that, because, if you ask at the cutting edge of physics, the whole materialist paradigm is a joke. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with what we have because nobody has been smart enough to come up with a respectable replacement.

    When Rob describes his desolate inner being and his desolate worldview, that has nothing at all to do with this particular blog or with NTE.
    That sort of disease is what happens when the left brain overwhelms the right brain, when logos destroys mythos.

    You see, when little children get told about the witch in the fairy tale, and their eyes are sparkling with fear and excitement, about whatever is going to happen next to the poor little orphan children…

    That’s mythos, that’s magic, that’s the thrill of being a human being, that’s right brain, you don’t get that from cold rational analytical adding up numbers to figure out how many widgets will be produced by how many workers in how many months, blahblahblah…

    Most people’s shiny little child gets killed off by the education system. That’s what it’s for. Turning wild primates into obedient compliant boring bored domesticated zeks.

    This process, in Jungian terms, destroys the soul, de-animates, and Jungian and Reichian and Adlerian and other therapeutic schools were based around the notion of helping people to adjust or re-adjust or to heal from the damage, and so forth.

    Not many of them wanted to throw out the whole ‘civilisation’ crap and return to divine innocence, so to speak.

    I actually think there’s a much simpler, smarter, quicker route, no need for all that messing. People found it millennia ago.

    Anyway, this experience of anomie and alienation has been thoroughly explored and documented and dear old Rob at the library is a perfect exemplar of all the symptoms. If you strip the Universe and your self and your existence of all meaning, yes, for sure, it WILL BE meaningless, and you will suffer, as a result.

    Nothing new. Dostoevsky and the rest wrote all about this 150 years ago, Camus and Sartre made a very big deal about it, as if they had invented it. But if anybody cares to investigate, this was all understood and resolved in the East a thousand years and more ago.

    Frankly, it is INSANE, to say that this Universe has spent 13 point something billion years and 4,500 million years doing what it’s been doing, and has produced us, and whatever consciousness is, so that we know this, and then to say that this MEANS NOTHING.

    You might not know what it means. You might not understand what it means. But to be so arrogant as to declare that it is ‘just’ this, or ‘just’ that, all merely an accident, all just empty, cold, dust, swirling about, with no purpose… that is a choice that YOU choose to make, a mental decision. It has nothing to do with any sort of balanced judgement, of head and heart…

    Yes, thanks so much, @ Mythodrome, for the Sorenson and David Abram mentions. I think they both give us a much better viewpoint as to how to see our human place in the scheme of things.

  • Gah! I am sick to death of this crap analysis that places all our problems at the feet of materialistic thinking! I’ve been reading this sort of bullshit for more than forty years and it is just as lazy and stupid a trope as ever. No, our problems are not rooted in the view that humans or life itself are mechanisms. I am as thorough a materialist as they come and I feel the wonder and beauty of life and I hold it sacred. But not because I believe in spirits or some transcendent reality or consciousness with a capital “C”.

    People confuse mechanism with artifice, then they unjustly condemn both for squeezing the life out of the world with their rigidity and inhuman force. However, a mechanism is simply a system of cause and effect. In this sense, machines are more than metaphors for natural processes. They are natural processes. When a system of cause and effect has the right kind of complexity, it emerges as the supple and adaptive organization of matter and energy that we call a living entity. We are complex mechanisms, embedded in a network of mechanisms. Artifice is simply man made machinery. We have drawn from the raw material and patterns we see around us, to create our own section of nature.

    Artifice is too often maligned for the wrong reasons. The surface aesthetics of man-made machines are often horrid. But this is, in part, a result of designs that favor economics over sensual effect. It is also because we are primitives at design: the rest of nature has had billions of years to tinker with matter and energy. We have had much less time. The fact that our inventions are cartoonish simulacrums of organic entities does not negate the underling sameness with the rest of nature.

    Simple, man-made machines, with their inexorable logic, are no more treacherous than simple non-man made machines, with their inexorable logic. For every dangerous, complex man-made machine, we can find an equally dangerous counter example from the rest of the natural realm. A rampaging elephant can crush a human as surely as an automobile. A plague can decimate a population as completely as a war. If our sun went nova, we would be blasted to a crisp faster and more thoroughly than we would under nuclear attack. I do not mean to imply that we are not using our machinery unwisely. Of course we are. I am as sick to heart of what we have done to this planet as anyone. I am saying that the fault lies not in artifice or mechanism itself, but in ourselves.

    Sorry if this comes on too strongly, I just get tired of hearing the same well-meaning, heartfelt, but unsound thinking, where thoughtful insights mixed in with intellectual smog.

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #31

    Got land, truck, wood-stove,
    solar house, garden, chickens…
    just need biosphere.

  • I think it is sad to see this denial of the none physical aspect of what makes us human. It is promoted with a rabid sense of satisfaction at times. Why such anger? As many of us here marvel at the blindness of others to the reality of Climate Change, Peak Oil, ecological destruction etc., I marvel at the blindness of many here to the reality of the human ‘soul’. Is it that we can’t be tainted with what seems to us as the whiff of religion?

    In a world collapsing around my ears I realize that it is the one thing which makes sense to explore- that inner [spiritual] part of my being which I can no longer ignore. There was a time when I too believed that what you saw was what you got. But as time went on I began to gather knowledge. ‘In the beginning was information’ and it created matter. The brain acts as transmitter/filter which mind uses to connect with the material.

    Life has found a way for nearly 4 billion years on this planet. Do we really think it will give up now? Humans may not be here in the future but I will wager that life will soldier on. Life- it’s what’s for dinner.

  • What great slide towards inverted totalitarianism? It’s been a direct march into fascism. Why must there always be code words when regular words work better and faster? Why is everything reduced to absolutes and it’s a choice between ALL of one belief/action or ALL of a another belief/action? A somewhat materialistic approach to spiritualism, isn’t it? I have plenty of rationalizations already, no need to go looking for more.

  • De finibus bonorum et malorum

  • One of the great things about this site is that even if you don’t post often, or perhaps at all, eventually someone will say exactly what you’ve been thinking.
    I wish Ben well with his walkaway, but consider such ventures somewhat pointless grand gestures. Nothing is going to change, at least not in time, and in my opinion being active in trying to get the drug laws repealled, at least regarding the herb, would be of more practical benifit, given where we shall soon find ourselves.
    I don’t feel a lot of guilt for my contribution to this situation, and I have done what I can to prepare for hard times. I have been lucky enough to spend much of my life in beautiful rural settings, and much of it away from people with just maryjane for company,and what a great companion she is!
    However there is what I might call the Badlands factor.
    I’m sure that I speak for many grumpy old men here that this woman sounds like a real gem. An intelligent,articulate and most importantly soulful woman, who has great taste in music and knows about WD40 and ductape! How much better our lives might have been had we met our own badlands all those hard years ago.

  • And further re drug reform, I have thought at times some of you might benifit from a good psychedelic, the problem being that some of you have been exposed to such and yet claim to be Atheists, which is incomprehensible to me.
    I think some of you are looking too hard for pedantic differences between how people percieve the devine.
    The fact is that this reality is a very thin soup, despite it’s concrete appearence, to the point where neutrinos fall through us at a rate of 64 billion per square cm per second. And as I pointed out in my first post, all we know about makes up but 4% of what is, and I’m not making up my mind about anything based on 4% of the evidence.
    Surely the best course of action is to remain open to all possible explanations,stay as alert and adaptable as possible to all developments, both as regards the secular/spiritual debate, AND Near Term Extinction!
    My advice, move to New Zealand if you can; a house and four acres near me for around $400,000; plus bare blocks for half that. Or just be in N.Z. when TSHTF because it’s going to be the best place to be when that happens.
    I wish you all well,whatever happens in the near term. Good luck.

  • Re imazers comment and one I made on the Climate Change Summary.

    I do not think it is legitimate to equate man-made artificial machines with natural biological ‘machines’ that are the product of the Universe.

    I think there is a fundamental distinction to be drawn between the two.

    I think imazers makes a mistake that stems back to the early scientists, part of the Cartesian Paradigm, which conceived of the Universe as a machine, Newtonian clockwork. But that’s because we have no idea what the Universe IS. So we try to find something in our world that we do understand that will stand as a metaphor or an analogy, and then apply it to the Universe. I mean, what else have we got that would fit ? Is it an animal, a huge man, like God, or a mysterious Cosmic Egg, or wtf is it ? People have to come up with whatever their imagination can stretch to.

    Nowadays quantum physics tells us it’s definitely nothing like a clockwork machine, and imazers simple ’cause and effect’ isn’t simple at all any more, when particles can be waves, and in two places at once, and entangled so that even when separated by the entire Universe one knows the condition of it’s partner instantly, etc, etc. It is all a whole lot weirder than anybody has been able to figure out so far.

    And back here on the human scale, these so-called scientists with their so called reason and empirical evidence, that some people claim to be so much superior to the fanciful dreamy romantic nonsense of the spiritually inclined… well, let’s have a look, they are actually bat shit crazy, aren’t they ?

    Check out Bill Hamilton and George Price and Dawkins himself. Are these people actually inhabiting the world as the rest of us experience it, or are they living in their own peculiar fantasies, their own reality tunnels ?

    Understand, please, I’m not knocking science, or Darwin, or reason, or logic. I’m saying that left brain on it’s own, separate from an anchorage in deeper human values, can go right off the rails, as for example, the atomic bomb test, when they were not certain whether the explosion might not ignite the whole Earth’s atmosphere and kill EVERYBODY, and they did it anyway, or when Carl Sagan and his chums were cheerfully planning to blow up the Moon with atomic bombs, just for kicks…

    This programme looked into the selfish gene theory which holds that humans are machines controlled by genes which was invented by William Hamilton. Adam Curtis also covered the source of ethnic conflict that was created by Belgian colonialism’s artificial creation of a racial divide and the ensuing slaughter that occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is a source of raw material for computers and cell phones.
    William Hamilton went to Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of the Congo while the Second Congo War was raging. He went there to collect Chimpanzee faeces to test his theory that HIV was due to a medical mistake. Unfortunately he caught malaria, for which he took aspirin, which caused a haemorrhage and he died. However his selfish gene theory lived on.
    Bill Hamilton was a solitary man, and he saw everything through the lens of Darwin’s theory of evolution. When he wanted to know why some ants and humans gave up their life for others, he went to Waterloo station and stared at humans for hours, and looked for patterns. In 1963 he realised that most of the behaviours of humans was due to genes, and looking at the humans from the genes’ point of view. Humans were machines that were only important for carrying genes, and that it made sense for a gene to sacrifice a human if it meant that another copy of the gene elsewhere would prosper.
    In 1967 American George R. Price went to London after reading Hamilton’s little known papers and discovering that he was already familiar with the equations, that they were the equations of computers. He was able to show that the equations explained murder, warfare, suicide, goodness, spite, since these behaviours could help the genes. John Von Neumann had invented self-reproducing machines, but Price was able to show that the self-reproducing machines were already in existence, that humans were the machines.
    This had a bad effect on Price, and Price began to believe that these equations had been given to him by God, even though the equations disproved the existence of God.
    In 1973, after converting to extreme Christianity, as a last chance to disprove the selfish gene theories’ gloomy conclusions Price decides to start helping poor and homeless people all his possessions in acts of pure altruism, influenced and inspired by Christian religion.
    Price’s attempt to disprove Hamilton’s theory had utterly failed, and he comes to believe he is being followed by the hound of heaven. He finally reveals, in his suicide note, that these acts of altruism brought more harm than good to the lives of homeless people.
    Richard Dawkins took the equations and popularised them and explains that humans are simply machines created by the selfish genes; and in a sense reinventing the immortal soul, but as computer code in the form of the genes.?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Watched_Over_by_Machines_of_Loving_Grace_(TV_series)#The_Monkey_In_The_Machine_and_the_Machine_in_the_Monkey

  • Great job Ben! And you too U! Buz, Carolyn, thanks. Your writings have helped elevate my consciousness and I needed that tonight. Been a rough week, am beat-up and weary. Your wise influence has set the tone for a peaceful weekend of reflection and rest.

  • Anthropologists have two specialized terms for points of view on a culture – emic and etic.

    The “emic” view is the story of a culture as told by its members. It’s an unabashedly subjective view, in which the cultural minutiae assume paramount importance. How do we, as members of this culture, perceive and categorize the world? What are our rules for behavior? What has meaning for us? How do we imagine and explain things? Cultural narratives are always emic. So too are our descriptions of morality, spirituality, social laws, of what (and who) is right and wrong and how praise and blame are assigned.

    The emic is the classic subjective viewpoint in which all that happens, has happened and will happen is assessed relative to the viewpoint itself.

    It’s a natural, self-conscious viewpoint in which emotion and experience play a much larger role than observation and analysis. This happens even though our minds seem to be constructed to disguise this fact, and convince us that our emotions are the result of analysis, and that our experiences represent objective truth. As a result our emotional responses to our experiences (like the anger of having a negative encounter with the police, or the pride we feel at having our competence acknowledged) color our assessment of how the world “really” works.

    All activist movements, whether in the environmental, population, social-justice or any other activist domain, are built on such emotional foundations. As a result they are inevitably shot through with outrage, judgement, blame and status-envy. Of course, each movement is careful to disguise this foundation behind a screen of rational, analytical, evidentiary shrubbery. Such a facade renders the emotions socially acceptable in the context of our professed post-Enlightenment cultural values.

    Of course, as all scientists learn early in their education, emotional investment is the kiss of death for clarity. It opens the door to confirmation bias and pushes us down blind alleys. It prevents us from recognizing significant facts because they might undermine our predetermined conclusions about what’s going on.

    Unfortunately, when the situation we are examining involves the entire global culture, taking an outside observer’s position becomes somewhat problematic. Archimedes famously said, “Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, and I can move the world.” If we are to become objective observers of our culture, where are we to stand? More importantly, even if we can imagine such a vantage point, how are we to get there? Is it possible to shed enough of our emotional attachments to move up and out, to gain a 3-dimensional picture of this Flatland we live in?

    I think it is, and I also think there a small handful of observers on this list and elsewhere who have started on that process. You can tell them by how little blame they assign to various human features in the cultural landscape. Of course NTE by its very nature is an emotionally fraught topic. When that quality is combined with our near-total psychic immersion in our culture, it becomes extremely difficult for most of us to be objective about the subject – especially about its impact on people and institutions we care about.

    It’s always been my contention that we can’t respond effectively to any problem unless we understand it. Acquiring a clear understanding of our situation, of how and why it arose and what that process of arising implies for how it may unfold (acquiring what the anthropologists call the “etic” viewpoint) is essential if we are to make accurate assessments of what we can and can’t do in response.

    Whether in our own lives (for example deciding whether to move to the country or stay in the city, or if we should reinvent ourselves professionally) or in a wider social context like activism and politics, we need to understand what the situation is and how it got to be that way. We need to know how the world really works. For this we need the clarity that can only be conferred by adopting the viewpoint of a Martian anthropologist. We need to stop fearing what our observations may reveal. If they reveal that we seem to be meat robots whose behavior is shaped by physical laws, we need to have set aside our attachment to notions of voluntary agency and free will. If they reveal that hunger is shortly going to sweep away the poorest of the poor, we can perhaps respond more effectively if we have set aside our attachment to the idea that the human universe is or should be intrinsically fair and just.

    This doesn’t mean we must stop caring, stop being involved, or become computer-like analytical engines. It’s enough if for a little while we simply stop believing all the stories we tell ourselves about the what, who and why of the world. It’s enough to recognize that the emotions we take such pride in – the love, the outrage, the sense of honor, the joy of being alive, even the pride itself – are the sizzle, but not the steak. If we set those emotions aside for a moment in the interests of gaining a clearer picture of the world, that act does not make us less human. To the contrary, It allows us to step more fully into whatever potential we have as members of this remarkable species. The emotions will always come back, trust me…

  • I enjoyed your comments ULV. Now if I can just get past this abstract ‘pill to swallow’ that Paul C reminds us of. To wit, that we are basically driven by physical forces relating to thermodynamics which results in much of our ‘energy and resource’ vampiric behavior. Wu wei!

  • Have you entered into the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war. Job 38:22-23

    Since spirituality is okay in this thread, I don’t believe this is the nadir at all. We are just beginning what the Bible calls the “birth pangs,” which will increase in frequency and intensity as we go along. I’m no fundamentalist, but I didn’t trash thousands of years of human understanding and mysticism by throwing the world’s religions away with all the human stupidity that has misused it and everything else. I know the difference between religion and what humans do with religion, the same way I know the difference between science or technology and what humans do with science or technology. And, if nothing else, I just love the language and the concepts about something beyond the contentious and limited apes who believe they are God.

    Oh, that’s the first truth in the creation myth – human hubris. How about that? The first one. But what did those people know about anything, right? They were just ignorant and superstitious. They didn’t have science! I’m far more impressed with trashing the earth to build rocket ships to study Venus and all the other excuses we have for our tragic emptiness that we justify with infinite lies than I am with religious folly and cruelty, like the Crusades. It’s much smarter. I just need a little more . . . more knowledge, more time, more technology, more money . . . just a little more; if I only had a little more I’m sure I could figure it all out.

    Oops. We ran out of time and money, and knowledge isn’t quite working out. Wonder why that is.

  • Mythos & Logos

    All while channeling Peter Falk’s Lt. Columbo,
    and Professor Irwin Corey’s Professor Irwin Corey

    And just for the hungry philosophers in the crowd…

    http://www.youtube(dot)com/watch?v=X8aWBcPVPMo&list=FLbXK5JLR1fZL-WIzoKtGYFQ&index=97

    The above will probably look like a link,
    but you need to change the (dot) to a period.
    Trying to slip under the moderation radar.

  • Science v. Art

    Maybe TPTB are terraforming for absentee owners.
    Welcome to the FEMA camp.
    Paper or neuroplastic?
    Make up your mind!

    http://www.youtube(dot)com/watch?v=N7tL4Ep6dqQ

  • “This doesn’t mean we must stop caring, stop being involved, or become computer-like analytical engines. It’s enough if for a little while we simply stop believing all the stories we tell ourselves about the what, who and why of the world. It’s enough to recognize that the emotions we take such pride in – the love, the outrage, the sense of honor, the joy of being alive, even the pride itself – are the sizzle, but not the steak. If we set those emotions aside for a moment in the interests of gaining a clearer picture of the world, that act does not make us less human. To the contrary, It allows us to step more fully into whatever potential we have as members of this remarkable species. The emotions will always come back, trust me…”

    If some privileged white guy figured this out in his calm, clear way, I wouldn’t trust him any farther than I could throw him. (Which, in my rather shabby state, is zero.)

  • Integration with and purpose within nature is the basis of human significance and context. It is only in proper context and purpose that human beings obtain the nourishing satisfaction of an emotive sacred connection to their material living surroundings.

    Many people feel an unsettling alienation – dukkha or suffering/discomfort/dissatisfaction/anxiety. Living in boxes, traveling in boxes, working in boxes, in artificial environments… much of humanity is devoid of integration with the reality of nature, with the source and destination and purpose of life. Many people living in ‘civilized’ surroundings don’t have a clue -or connection with- where their water or food or energy comes from. Pouring from artificial pipes, wrapped in artificial packages, or out of dark mysterious slits in the wall, it is all out of context and doesn’t satisfy the instinctive need for feeling connected to the whole of Life. It is artificial, disconnected, fragmented. As a result of this baneful experience of separation, many human beings do not feel a respectful sacred relationship with nature. They do not have the sense of security of feeling that they exist properly in space. Separation from natural reality causes suffering.

    Water stagnant in a bottle is very different from water in a brook. Human purpose in nature is obscure and forgotten – mystifying… we feel stilted, artificial, like aliens here. Now denizens of contrived constrained environments and time spans… now natural flows, receiving and letting go, have become bewildering. Human beings have forgotten their purpose… forgotten how to be the brook. So, we are dying.

    The sacred living connection is paramount – we die without it. Humans can allow nature to regenerate natural environments. Humans can allow themselves to satisfy their deep natural yearnings to connect with the sacred… with living nature. Healing ourselves and the natural world could happen – IF humanity quit struggling, quit striving for worthless baubles… and let it happen.

    I know, big, ugly, unlikely: IF. Two choices: try… or consider a bleak alternative as so skillfully explained in… a little B.C. comic art.

  • Thank you, Mr. Croser for your thoughts.

    Materialism and Spirituality are on a spectrum of values,

    Yes. Within the same domain. The best spirits come in bottles.

    see this world as entirely Material in essence, and to see ourselves as Eating, Talking and Procreating Machines.

    That would be the “enlightened” being: recognising one’s body-mind complex and all others as meat-robots:

    BG 5.8-9: A person in the divine consciousness, although engaged in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving about, sleeping and breathing, always knows within himself that he actually does nothing at all. Because while speaking, evacuating, receiving, or opening or closing his eyes, he always knows that only the material senses are engaged with their objects and that he is aloof from them.

    Mere intellection in this regard does not count. The awareness has to be grokked at the deepest levels of one’s being.

    the modern Adam Smith dictum that at the core of our being is self interest.

    There are four objectives to every sentient being’s existence and self-interest: principled living, acquisition of wherewithal, fulfilment of (principled) desires, and ultimate freedom (only possible with freedom from “I”.

    The Self is what we seek, but it is our very essence

    Indeed. As in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad where the sage Yagnavalkya talks to his wife Maitreyi about the nature of reality:

    “ It is not for the sake of the husband, my beloved, that the husband is dear, but for the sake of the Self.

    It is not for the sake of the wife, my beloved, that the wife is dear, but for the sake of the Self.

    It is not for the sake of the children, my beloved, that the children are dear, but for the sake of the Self.

    It is not for the sake of wealth, my beloved, that wealth is dear, but for the sake of the Self.

    It is not for the sake of the Brahmins, my beloved, that the Brahmins are held in reverence, but for the sake of the Self.

    It is not for the sake of the Kshatriyas, my beloved, that the Kshatriyas are held in honor, but for the sake of the Self.

    It is not for the sake of the higher worlds, my beloved, that the higher worlds are desired, but for the sake of the Self.

    It is not for the sake of the gods, my beloved, that the gods are worshiped, but for the sake of the Self.

    It is not for the sake of the creatures, my beloved, that the creatures are prized, but for the sake of the Self.

    It is not for the sake of itself, my beloved, that anything whatever is esteemed, but for the sake of the Self.

    The Self, Maitreyi, is to be known. Hear about it, reflect upon it, meditate upon it. By knowing the Self, my beloved, through hearing, reflection, and meditation, one comes to know all things ”

    (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2.4.5)

    Sadly, little of this is taught in churches.

    All the functions of Consciousness developed and demonstrated their purposes; that being to experience the diversity of the currents of Reality, as they are.

    The Consciousness has no functions. It is bereft of descriptors and characteristics. The Sanskrit descriptor used to indicate it is “anirvichanya” which could be translated as “indescribable”, “inexpressible” “ineffable” (not the slang connotation, although that too would apply), etc. However, each of these translated descriptors implies an object/”thing” to which they point, in contrast to the Sanskrit word. Consciousness is no such object/”thing”: it is the one and only subject, the One without a second. There is no “thing” “out” “there” called consciousness, since it is not subject to space, time and causation. Any attempts to fabricate some facsimile thereof will fall short of adequacy.

    When consciousness illuminates its content, there is awareness of the content. When the distinction between content and consciousness is not discerned, awareness seems to be perception, as in “I am hearing” “I am seeing” etc. It is like the myriad objects seen in broad daylight. Although it is sunlight that is entering the eyes, no person (that I know of) if asked “What is that?” about a tree, a bird, a flower, etc. in broad daylight, would say “Sunlight”. Likewise, although it is consciousness illuminating its content, only the content is perceived.

    There is no short cut (or long cut) to the needed discernment. Purification of the mind is a sine qua non. “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God”. Decades or even a lifetime of practices that do not address this issue of purity are likely to fall short.

    Materialism only perceives, and therefore, only reports on, the Sensation and Thinking functions of consciousness.

    Consciousness has no functions, neither Sensation nor Thinking. Those are functions of the brain, aspects of the mind, all without awareness or perception. Illumination of content by consciousness is awareness. Absence of discernment between consciousness and content is perception.

    Objective’ reality then becomes a cage from which the human Self and its Transcendental correlate in Reality, vanishes

    There are three forms of reality. Implied reality, as in dreams, hallucinations, etc. Pragmatic reality, as adopted because of its usefulness in the waking world. Substantive reality, which is the awareness and perception in the other realities, is present when consciousness illuminates content. It is substantive reality that is needed for the other two realities – but consciousness needs no content: without content other than “itself” it is the Void (Buddhism) and Limitless Nothingness (Judaism/Kabbalah).

    “Reality is the delusions we hold in common with others” refers to the pragmatic reality. When not held in common with others, they are downgraded by us (as dreams, imagination, etc.) or categorised by others as hallucinations, delusions, and mental disorder.

    Consciousness has no ‘position’, and therefore, no ‘meaning’ in a Materialist existence.

    It is not subject to space – time – causation. Au contraire, space – time – causation owe their existence to it.

    to the new stage of being.

    Being can be “new” only within space-time-causation. Outside those limitations, there is nothing nascent, nothing ancient.

  • This is our problem, the same problem faced by all self replicators: evolution can only provide programs and traits for events that self replicators experience with some regularity, it cannot provide programs for rare events much less for never before seen events. Scarcity of resources is rather predictable given that replicators are all competing for limited resources. Thus programs and traits are provided for normal times and for times of shortages. Winning the lottery is a rare event. Actually winning the lottery for humans usually turns out badly for the winner. Winning an unexpected energy source for replicators turns out badly as well. Bacteria on a petri dish get a plate full of agar agar with no predators and multiply like crazy until they use up all the food and starve – they have no program for restraint. The reindeer introduced on St. Matthew’s Island did the same – no predators so they reproduced and ate themselves to death http://www.resilience.org/stories/2003-11-22/st-matthew-island-overshoot-collapse
    It should be clear that despite our big brains, our extended consciousness, our self awareness, our scientific studies etc. we are no different than bacteria or reindeer. We are self replicator that won the energy lottery, more than once, but we won the big one with oil. Not being programmed by evolution for such abundance we are “eating” our way to extinction. Nothing more.

    Calls for us to be different haven’t worked, and won’t work. We are mortal animals running our programs.

  • Thanks to Ben for the fine essay.

    Bailey Says:
    I enjoyed your comments ULV. Now if I can just get past this abstract ‘pill to swallow’ that Paul C reminds us of. To wit, that we are basically driven by physical forces relating to thermodynamics which results in much of our ‘energy and resource’ vampiric behavior. Wu wei!

    It would be refreshingly honest and would definitely end the confusion if all 7.2 billion meat robot humans were required to wear the BP corporate logo and all times. I’ve tried it myself, and I assure you it brings clarity about the human universe and an end to outrage, judgement, blame and status-envy. I can’t say that it has purified my mind or heart, but I do feel closer to God. I haven’t seen him clearly yet, just opaque colors, greens and yellows.

  • Paul Chefurka said

    We need to know how the world really works. For this we need the clarity that can only be conferred by adopting the viewpoint of a Martian anthropologist. We need to stop fearing what our observations may reveal. If they reveal that we seem to be meat robots whose behavior is shaped by physical laws, we need to have set aside our attachment to notions of voluntary agency and free will. If they reveal that hunger is shortly going to sweep away the poorest of the poor, we can perhaps respond more effectively if we have set aside our attachment to the idea that the human universe is or should be intrinsically fair and just.

    I believe this is a fundamental mistake. You don’t understand what it means to be human by discarding your humanity and becoming a Martian.

    I understand the requirement for distance and objectivity, and this can be extremely demanding. An extreme example might be the forensic archaeologists who have to investigate mass burials after war crimes, and sort through the decaying corpses, trying to identify individuals and causes of death. The training and discipline and professionalism required for such a task means becoming detached from ‘normal’ emotional responses.

    This was discussed before by Erin, as Prof of Nursing. Some people are fascinated by the internal organs and all that stuff, other people get queasy just thinking about it. Takes all sorts, and we have immense variety of folks. Possibly the most difficult job I’ve ever heard described, was a medical ethicist I heard talking on the radio, who doctors and surgeons turned to for advice regarding hard cases they were dealing with. I simply could not perform that job. I would crack after a week, because every case would break my heart. Being a warrior, a soldier, killing the enemy, is very easy and simple, by comparison.

    No, I don’t think we need to understand how to be more objective and see from the Martian perspective, we need to understand what it is to be truly human. I think that’s what Guy is struggling towards, with his essays on the The Good Man site. We don’t know, but we seek. I think that’s what Ozman is doing, also.

    You see, way back in the days of Francis Bacon and Leibniz, it seemed obvious that there was a serious problem, in Europe of that day, when progress in new knowledge and discovery, ( things like glass lenses that made it possible to see detail of the Moon and microscope creatures in pond water, etc,) was clashing with the dominant power of the Church. And later, with Diderot and Rousseau and Tom Paine, it seemed obvious that to make any progress, in bettering the human condition, this damned ‘God thing’ had to be shifted, because it was a corrupt tyranny, so it had to go, one way or another.

    Well, we did it. I celebrate that great victory. I’m with Voltaire. I want freedom of thought and speech for everyone, however disgusting and loathsome your views may be, I believe you are entitled to express them. Better out, than in, hiding in the shadows. Perhaps that should be the Jungian Shadows.

    But after two centuries, what has all that bequeathed us ? NTE, and a post-modern pluralist mess of hopelessly confused people, who believe in Nibiru and aliens and Sumerian-reptilian-human hybrids and crystal healing and ley lines and all kinds of froth that is kinda embarrassing to a serious intelligent educated mind… that’s one end of the spectrum… and at the other end, the so called educated scientific priesthood who are so utterly detached from the reality of everyday human existence that they may as well all be effing Martians.

    I suppose that what I’m attempting to say, if you dig and dig, there actually is something precious underneath all the manure, which can be called true spirituality, and it has almost nothing to do with any organised institutionalised religion, and it’s very difficult to convey in words at all.

    There shouldn’t really be any clash with science over this. As in the big haggle I had with Lidia ( Hi, Lidia, hope you are fine ? ) science can only deal with what can be observed and measured and what can be verified by repetition.

    Science ITSELF has always acknowledged, from the start, that it is limited in this way. We all know that there is sorrow. We cannot measure it on a scale, because we don’t know how to access sorrow.
    That doesn’t mean that sorrow doesn’t exist.

    Materialism, physicalism, is the view that nothing exists except matter, the solid material substance. Well, sorrow is not solid material substance, is it, it can’t be weighed, it can’t even be located. It comes and goes. Where is it, when you are not feeling it ?

    Where are all the things that you know you can remember, but are not remembering at this moment ?

    Modern psychology will give you one answer. But prior to Freud, there were very different answers, and going back to the times that Ozman is thinking of, and the Pre-conquest consciousness of Sorenson, the whole structure was conceived of very differently.

    Bit like ogf’s storehouses for the snow and hail 🙂

    This is the domain of spirituality,imo,the inner invisible world. Daniel and Kathy C. and others here will hate all this, I’m sure, because, in USA, there is the civil war with the tele-evangelist loons and the Creationists and the people who think that dinosaurs and Adam and Eve all ran around in the Garden 6000 years ago, blahblahblah, but I’m trying to get at some real kind of spirituality that gets people through the day and night… maybe 🙂

  • Good luck on your journey, Oz!!

    44 south Wow, what a nice compliment! I’m sure I don’t deserve it, but I really had to laugh about the duct tape. You would understand if you knew more Alaskans!

  • I would disagree that materialism and spirituality are on a spectrum of values. Human awareness and values are on a spectrum. Materialism and spirituality are different realities that are in basic conflict within the human consciousness. The other animals don’t have this problem or awareness.

    I recently watched a very interesting video of an experiment with chimpanzees and human children. I didn’t save the link and cannot name the researcher or the experiment, but the process was to reward chimpanzees with food when they stood L-shaped objects as though the “L” were upside down, like a “T” but with only half its top. The items were created to be able to be balanced that way. Then, they took the L-shaped items and modified them slightly so they could not balance on that smaller surface, but always fell over. They gave these items to older chimps and children about seven years old.

    The chimps could not solve the problem, but the children could. The researcher’s conclusion was one of the more interesting I’ve ever encountered: the human looks for what is not seen, for what is not obvious within their material experience; they look for what is, at least at that moment, invisible. Too interesting.

    Spirituality, when tolerated outside of religious perspectives, is usually interpreted in a psychological sense. That’s kind of like interpreting water in a psychological sense. Yeah, you can do it, since I have feelings about water and what it does for me, but that hardly says much about what water is in its larger, truer dimensions.

    Spirituality is about realities that are spiritual, not material. They are different, have different natures, and mostly different rules, but not all.

    Dreams are the best parallel for describing the difference. Just as our consciousness leaves our waking life and moves into dream realms, our consciousness also moves from spiritual into material realms. We can no more establish proof of it than we can bring proof of our waking lives into our dreams. What can I measure in a dream that proves I am actually in bed asleep? While I am asleep I cannot remember my name, or my home, my age, or my closest relationships, unless they, too, are represented in the dream. Nonetheless, I am still my self. I am consciousness with a pure identity of “I.” How is that possible when everything else has been lost? “I am that I am.” That’s how consciousness works.

    However, sometimes we remember who we really are in dreams. We become lucid, and at that point memory is greater than measurability. Real spirituality is very much like lucid dreaming. That’s what goes on with the greatest mystics who have given us that crazy message about love. It’s why “Buddha” does not mean “enlightened,” it means “awakened,” because the analogy, in fact the parallel, is so very apt. Like a lucid dreamer who sees the dream but remembers his waking life, spiritually lucid people see the material world but remember that the spiritual world is, in fact, more real.

    There is another parallel. While in dreams, no matter how crazy, for us the dreams “make sense.” Or, rather, we don’t have a problem when our dreams do things that can’t happen in our waking lives. The word I like for this more than “reality” is congruency. Our dreams are not congruent as the material world appears, but while we are in them we don’t find that lack of congruency to be problematic. The dream is reality.

    This world is the same. It appears “congruent,” and it “makes sense” to us. Until you really, really think about it all. When you start to genuinely and deeply consider all that life is, and I mean beyond measuring it, but truly seeing all the beauty, all the power of our emotions and our ideals, all the intelligence and mystery, this world is not as sensible as it appears or as we are taught. It has its lack of congruency, just like dreams, and just like our dreams we don’t remember that it doesn’t really make sense. There are terrible and great gaps that don’t make sense at all, and that cannot be made to make sense.

    It’s why humans can never let go of hopes and dreams and ideals, no matter what. No matter that we never achieve them, no matter that they never exist here, no matter that in trying to achieve them we destroy life itself, which is insane beyond that which any words can articulate. It’s why we are born wanting and searching for love, among other things, generation after generation after generation. It’s why we can see our own insanity. Because we remember truth from before our birth, and it is our spiritual nature, and it takes a long time before we figure out it isn’t going to happen here like it does in our minds (memories). All our ideals of perfection – perfect joy, perfect peace, perfect world – are memories that we keep trying to recreate, but cannot. The reason we cannot create it is because we were never supposed to fix the “dream,” which is what we keep trying to do.

    We were always supposed to wake up.

  • Thanks to all, for the comments so far. I knew my writing would get sorted out here. Between ulvfugl and Robin Datta, and others, it’s good to know bs detectors are scrubbed, cleaned and fully functioning at NBL.

    Robin Datta

    I think you are correct, in that to be more precise, I should have written ‘four functions of the human body-mind’ instead of consciousness. Thanks for the distinction.

    ulvfugl
    I agree with your brief analysis of the power struggle that waged between early science proponents and the Churches. My reading went so far as to propose that if they resigned their power, the churches were faced with a return, so to speak, to a lot on animist ‘cults’ that still persisted, and it was politic to broker the deal you outline with the scientists back then. The old enemy of my enemy is my friend trick.

    Regarding Jung – many of your criticisms I agree with, and his shortcomings are very much consistent with an Intuitive Type struggling to express, and ‘prove’ a visionary or psychic reality of life through a scientific authentication institutional context, IMO. I believe he knew this too, and describes his no 1 and no 2 personalities accordingly. But he has contributed to his chosen field with some useful therapeutic touchstones, all of which have their limitations, like Shadow and Archetype. Thanks for somehow holding back the whip hand, I think. Good to know you have that almighty power to destroy my POV!

    Carolyn Baker

    You mention Jung’s ideas of the Shadow. We all can see the rapidly expanding surveillance state, which is now international, and WMDs, but there has always been the simple village scale shadow projection of not liking one’s neighbour, or work colleague etc. The Shadow is directly related to the unconscious functional devaluing in one’s own identity. Jung put the inferior function, the one least conscious for an individual and a culture, as the most significant, because it is equally how we define ourselves – by not only what we accept as us, and our values, but what we reject that is less conscious.
    I use the old Star Trek show as a good descriptor of the Four Functions in action. The polarities are dynamic:

    Spock – Logical, Thinking
    McCoy – Compassion, Feeling
    Scotty – Practical, Sensation
    Kirk – Maverik, Intuition.

    I can’t resist, here is classic Spock:

    ‘Mr. Spock the Logic Man’

    Trans-personal psychologist and analytical astrologer Liz Green has written a lot about the Shadow. Her earlier books, ‘Saturn, a new look at an old devil’ and ‘The Astrology of Fate’ are great places to start exploring such ideas for folk so wishing to. Green’s take on Western Imperialist Shadow machinations from say Jimmy Carter onward is quite revealing. To paraphrase, she points to the spectre of tribalism, and fundamentalism as being the projected Shadow, onto Iranians and People of Middle Eastern Appearance, for example. In industrial democracies there is a pervasive moral high ground in the mainstream that posits a value system that rejects tribaism, say, but when I look around my neck of the woods, and scratch the surface as I have done recently, what I find is a whole lot of fearful tribalism, inflected through social cliques and pathways avoiding ‘real community’ – accent on ….unity.

    What Jung spoke of as Integration, comes from the re-evaluation of the inferior function(s) in oneself, and he stressed it was the inferior function that is really needed to balance and progress to maturity. I sense ulvfugl’s ideas about the understanding of Logos and Mythos is essentially the same process. I liken it to how we play adversarial games like chess, Cudo, and Pickup Sticks, all modelled on how we develop.
    Pickup Sticks comes from the I-ching, in much the same way the deck of 52 playing cards we all know, is the Minor Arcana deck in the Tarot! But the game of Pickup Sticks illustrates well Jung’s ideas and concepts of integration and Shadow and the four ‘Functions’ of the human body-mind, Sensation, Thinking (perhaps the Logos) Feeling and Intuition( Mythos?).

    For those who dare:

    ‘A Tutorial on how to Play Pick-Up Sticks!’

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5yp5gs4yW4

    The popular version I played when a child was structured as follows:

    5 types of stick by colour. 1 Black, (shadow)10 each of Yellow, Red, Blue and Green, (four functions) The value system is such that the Black is worth 25, Yellow 2, Green 3, Red 4, and Blue 5. It is somewhat arbitrary on which colours are worth more or less but the key is there is a bias, one is ‘worth’ more, or ‘valued’ more than another! The rules are you can attempt to pick up any colour excepting the Black, and if you succeed, you keep the stick, and get the points. If you wish to get the Black, you may only do so after picking up all four colours in sequence, starting with the lowest to highest value. If you succeed, you may attempt the Black. If you succeed in picking up the Black, you not only get a whopping score addition of 25, you can use the Black to great advantage picking off more sticks!
    How this is a clear metaphor for Jungian integration should be obvious, but I will explain anyhow. The lowest valued colour represents the Inferior function, and it is the first one must master to go for the Black. If one succeeds, then on to the other colours, ‘functions’, correctly ‘seeing’ their connections and relations to the other whole bunch. The dexterity and concentration and ‘seeing’ are analogous to self understanding of how the functions are relating, or not, in oneself. The Black is like slaying the Dragon in Mythology, and if you ever play the game much, some cycles never even have the possibility of getting at the Black – like some lifetimes to me. The drop is like a life, and the tangled sticks represent the experiences we meet that ‘touch’ our functions. The remarkable thing when one plays the game is how ‘entangled’ the functions are, and in some sense, forms of self-analysis are well described by the ‘mess’.
    Lots of other games have colour and value assignations, like Cludo, but my favourites are Pick up sticks, Snooker(from the collision of British and Indian world views Kundalini, Chakras etc.), and of course Chess, the ultimate differentiation of the Four functions writ into ritualised warfare!

    Anyhow, the Shadow integration is so tricky for us individually, and collectively, because it requires at least in some considerable part, a reflective, even meditative disposition, and this is not a capacity well taught at the coalface of society presently.

    I am not in favour of either Materialism nor Spiritualism, but like a lot of troublemakers find it difficult to tolerate a culture with a toxic dogma that excludes or prejudices one or the other.

    I use the term ‘Nadir’ in the title with irony, expressing a value judgement on what the Zenith of Materialism has meant to the present world.

  • One for the road, Oz https://youtu.be/bYXz1hE_bWc

    Speaking of neutrinos, 44 south, South Dakota has it’s very own dark matter lab in the belly of an old mine in the Black Hills. Hubris?
    Well, we are off to the now horseless pastures for the weekend. Be good! Or not…

  • Lord Hill Norton, Chief of Defense Staff, Ministry of Defense, United Kingdom, 1973; Chairman, Military Committee of NATO, 1974-77;

    “We have accumulated incontrovertible evidence that extraterrestrial vehicles and their crews are visiting this planet. These unidentified machines travel silently at post mach speeds, and their aerodynamic maneuvers generate G-forces that would kill any human pilot. It is incumbent upon the Imperial General Staff to establish with all urgency a top level, coordinated program to scientifically collect and analyze data from all over the earth concerning any type of encounter, and to determine how best to interface with these visitors…. For many years I have lived with a secret- a secrecy imposed on all specialists and astronauts. I can now reveal that every day, in the UK and USA, our radar instruments capture objects of form and composition unknown to us. And there are thousands of witness reports, and a quantity of documents to prove this, but officials at the highest levels continue to squash the publication of this information to the public at large.”

  • For your pleasure, I think this awesome video fits perfectly right here. Happy Weekend! It’s Saturday!

  • Dear Kathy C,

    You continually mention non-reproduction as a compassionate response in a time of NTE. Compassion would also mean supporting Social Security and Medicare, Headstart, Civil Rights, especially the latter, since that stands outside of bureaucratic paradigms that COULD be replaced, though not soon enough, with something even more humane (or human).

    The fact that you focus on non reproduction to such an extent indicates that you are adamantly not a self replicator yourself, just as increasing numbers of Western women are not either.

    That non-replicating propensity among a people that WERE exclusively self replicating not so long ago suggests that people can change, and change fast. This change is the result of neuroplasticity:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity

    You also propose that doom is mandated by the exclusive self-replicating nature of our genes. But I’ve already shown how this behavior can change and is changing. I don’t propose that this will greatly reduce overpopulation in the next decade or two, but it surely could reduce it significantly, given the dissemination of the conditions that lead Western women not to reproduce.

    I also think it’s necessary to separate the NTE issue into two parts:

    1) Nobody in her right mind could look at the unfolding environmental/climate collapse and claim to know how to fix it. Nobody, likewise, can be certain how NTE will play out, since there are many unpredictable change factors, primarily neuroplastic adaptation to an UNPRECEDENTED, scientifically understood threat of extinction. You can’t claim to have science on your side to predict how humans will behave in an unprecedented situation, or even be absolutely scientifically correct in ruling out other unknowns. A logical take on NTE could be, “It don’t look good, I’m preparing for the worst, but ya never know.”

    2) Much of the world, especially the West, is temporarily safeguarded against immediate, large-scale extinction (although it’s more grim for animals and the disadvantaged). There is time to do something, such as acting to decrease suffering as you often propose, although not broadly enough. .

  • this is the sort of essay that makes my mind and eyes glaze over quite quickly. i related much better to a different essay from the author’s website with the word ‘afraidia’ in the title. i’m afraid because i know i live amongst a species of ignorant delusional apes whose minds simply aren’t up to the task of rational perception/behavior. the result is what we here on this blog see in our world. to hold out hope for some kind of ‘spiritual’ awakening and miraculous about-face of culture, stopping on a dime at the cliff’s precipice rather than racing past… simply more hopium. more refusal to face surreality. which is ok, since it doesn’t surreally matter anymore what anyone thinks or does about this predicament; whether one is full of despair and does nothing, or full of hopium. in fact, the latter may be better at least in the short run; better for one’s health, considering the mind-body connection.

    as usual, i agree with chefurka’s take on surreality, as expressed here: https://guymcpherson.com/2013/08/this-has-got-to-be-the-nadir-of-materialism/#comment-92889

    ‘Many people feel an unsettling alienation – dukkha or suffering/discomfort/dissatisfaction/anxiety. Living in boxes, traveling in boxes, working in boxes’ -logspirit

    it isn’t the physical boxes as much as the psychological ones that i feel imprisoned by. all the dogmatic expectations and laws concerning ‘morality’ and propriety.

    ‘By knowing the Self, my beloved, through hearing, reflection, and meditation, one comes to know all things ”

    (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2.4.5)

    Sadly, little of this is taught in churches.’

    or elsewhere. of course, this is by design, as i think u know well, r.d.. we’re raised to be sheeple, not people, with ease of our exploitation, not our self fulfillment, in the mind of those in charge of the curriculum.

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #32

    Prepper paradise:
    the good Earthship Lollipop.
    New doomer deathtrap.

  • ulvfugl,
    Thank-you. From one who has also spent time on the cushion, facing the wall, I send you a virtual bow. At times, you truly are a crazy wisdom master… other times, not so much. :~)

    Crazy wisdom as defined by one of the greats…

    Tom Robbins: The quick and easy answer is that crazy wisdom is the deliberate opposite of conventional wisdom. Like most quick and easy answers, however, that one isn’t really satisfying.

    For want of a precise definition, we might consider that crazy wisdom is a philosophical worldview that recommends swimming against the tide, cheerfully seizing the short end of the stick, embracing insecurity, honoring paradox, courting the unexpected, celebrating the unfamiliar, shunning each and every orthodoxy, volunteering for those tasks nobody else wants or dares to do, and perhaps above all else, breaking taboos in order to destroy their power. It’s the wisdom of those who turn the tables on despair by lampooning it, and who neither seek authority nor submit to it.

    What’s the point of all this? To enlarge the soul, light up the brain, and liberate the spirit. Crazy wisdom is both transformative and transcendent.

    Works for me.

  • Ben (OzMan),
    Thanks for the essay, I really appreciate how you walk your talk. There is a lot of crazy wisdom in you too.

    Namaste on your journey…

  • http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2013/08/30/why-fukushima-is-worse-than-you-think/?hpt=hp_c2

    A good article on the Fukushima follies. Here are the juicier parts:

    The fact is that the Fukushima Daiichi site represents challenges of unprecedented complexity. Maintaining the cooling of three molten reactor cores and five spent fuel pools in a disaster zone is a job of titanic proportions.

    While the amount of radioactivity released into the environment in March 2011 has been estimated as between 10 percent and 50 percent of the fallout from the Chernobyl accident, the 400,000 tons of contaminated water stored on the Fukushima site contain more than 2.5 times the amount of radioactive cesium dispersed during the 1986 catastrophe in Ukraine

    The tank leak is just the latest in a long list of signs that things are going fundamentally wrong at the site of what could still turn out to be the most serious radiological event in history. And the situation could still get a lot worse. A massive spent fuel fire would likely dwarf the current dimensions of the catastrophe and could exceed the radioactivity releases of Chernobyl dozens of times. First, the pool walls could leak beyond the capacity to deliver cooling water or a reactor building could collapse following one of the hundreds of aftershocks. Then, the fuel cladding could ignite spontaneously releasing its entire radioactive inventory

    …so far, the main stumbling block appears to be the “pattern of denial” in Japan, a problem that has affected not only TEPCO, but apparently the Japanese government and the safety authorities as well.

    The question is whether members of the international community can muster the will to put their own interests aside, and help Japan conquer the denial that is risking catastrophe.

    —————

    Maybe F Kling’s space aliens can fix this for us, since interstellar travel must mean that their technology is many times more advanced than ours. Then again, many years of deep space travel may have made them immune to or even allowed them to thrive in a highly radioactive environment. That’s more ominous, since it means they could be hoping it gets worse for us, but leaves them with the highly radioactive environment they crave. Hey, that implies that space aliens may be behind the entire nuclear industry! Also, does the complete lack of action from global elites indicate that they may also have been infiltrated?

  • It doesn’t qualify as haiku, and it isn’t on topic, but I saw this road sign today and it struck me as poetic:

    Fort Custer
    National Cemetery
    Industrial Park

    Something to meditate upon as I pull weeds or swish toilets.

  • Another difference between Chernobyl and Fukushima is that Ukraine & Russia are nowhere near as densely populated as Japan. What happens if enough radiation is leaked as to make Tokyo uninhabitable? Then what?

    I’d hope America and Canada would step up and absorb a good portion of the refugees, but still…

  • My apologies for having dual posted yesterday. I thought the first was lost to the internet either, so I re-edited and resent. But to continue:

    Over the years, I found that much of the common dialog on the issues at play in this thread will juxtapose a warm, vibrant, natural spirituality against a cold, dead, unnatural rationality. This is straw image versus straw image. I think the truth is orthogonal to these polar extremes.

    The buddhist philosopher Alan Watts used to say that Americans were far from being materialists, since a materialist would love matter so much she would surround with herself sensual wonders. Instead, he opined, Americans were abstractionists, blind to the sensual and turning their natural world into tacky trash as fast as possible. I remember the Monsanto House exhibit at Disneyland back in ’64. My parents thought I would love its “modern” look, given how much I loved science as a kid. I hated the house. Imagine walls and tables that feel like the insides of your refrigerator. It was some benighted, simple-minded engineer’s notion of a house, an abstraction made manifest with minimal aesthetic understanding using the most malleable of new products, plastic. Give me wood, stone, iron, cloth, plaster or adobe!

    Nobody in this group knows me, so here are my cards on the table: I am a monist materialist (of the philosophical stripe, not the colloquially defined sort that bludgeons others with selfish greed) and I find that there is no good reason to believe there are ghosts in the machinery. I get a bit testy about these topics in part because over my sixty-one years I have been drawn into several totalistic belief systems that turned out to be some variety of BS. Starting with having been reared a Southern Baptist, escaping to the world view of Ayn Rand, then on to primal therapy, followed by Stan Groff’s Holotropic Breathwork with its eclectic background ideology, I dedicated my heart and mind to each of these in turn, only to find flaws so profound that I became a skeptic out of self defense. Along the way I have done a great deal of emotional work and had transpersonal experiences, but the crises of faith coming out of each belief system was quite shattering. I learned a bit about being deluded and the pain of being mislead. And I became dedicated to searching for better explanations for what happened to me, which lead to questions about how the world actually works and our place in it. Though I don’t set myself up as the guy to put the world straight, I do get angry about the misinformation, crappy reasoning and failures of imagination that can lead others into similarly painful delusions.

    I live in a redwood forest. Hiking beneath these giants — as in the other forest biomes I have had the great privilege to traverse — I feel marvelously at home. I feel a sense of communion with the trees, and I can understand why the native peoples of this land consider the plants and animals as brothers and sisters. At another time and place, during an episode of intense personal trauma and grief, I have lain down on a soft grassy hillside and heard the Oaks lovingly whisper to me that things will be ok. Being in the wilderness has changed my life. But unlike my close Wiccan friends, I do not believe the trees are spirits or have the sort of awareness humans are blessed/cursed with. They are aware after a fashion, and are — indeed — part of a complex web of living creatures that communicate. In other words, I have transcendent experiences of vivid connectedness with the natural world, while recognizing that I project an extra layer of intentionality upon my environment. It is a matter of degree, how much to personify other non-human living beings. But stripping away some parts of the folk-psychological and folk-biological concepts has not removed the magic for me. Nor has is turned me into an enemy of nature. If anyone wishes to live a life that does not take that second step, that’s fine. But to argue that the source of our misdeeds in the world is having taken that step is going too far.

    To answer some related observations I’ve read from some in this group:

    Clockwork Universe always was a hyper simplistic, even insulting vision of the natural world, understandable in a culture that had become increasingly removed from the wild while being entranced by human invention after the dark ages. But that vision was soon superseded by relativity and quantum mechanics. Far from exploding the perspective of nature as mechanism, these newcomers elaborated upon the complexity of that story, showing us some of the bounds of our knowledge and further challenging the capacities of common sense folk-physics. What quantum mechanics did not do is provide the foundations for transpersonal realms or god-like powers when looking at experimental set-ups in the lab, despite bookshelves groaning with volumes that claim the contrary. For more than fifteen years I have been in regular communication with physicists, astrophysicists and mathematicians on one of my list groups, and I can say that the materialist paradigm — at least as I know it and they portray it — is not a joke. I run my ruminations by them and get no complaints. It is disingenuous to at once attempt to cite scientific findings and slam the ontological and epistemological precepts those finding are based on (albeit crudely mischaracterized by some folks here).

    Oh, and as much as I find Adam Curtis’s documentaries enthralling, he is somewhat misleading on the history and present import of game theory, especially in its significance to current neo-Darwinist thinking. But that’s another kettle of fish.

    Anyway, thanks to anyone willing to put up with my meager scribing…

  • @ pat o’leary

    From one who has also spent time on the cushion, facing the wall, I send you a virtual bow. At times, you truly are a crazy wisdom master… other times, not so much. :~)

    Good. Thank you for that very fine compliment. When there is no discernible difference between your self and the wall, then you, or the wall, will know that it is time to stop. I myself am not a crazy wisdom master. Not today. I am ulvfugl, a far more interesting and demanding path to tread. Many of wisdom masters, only one of me.

    I read an account of a greatly revered crazy wisdom master who lived in a very remote cave, deep in the Himalayas. People would trek for months through very difficult conditions to try and receive his teaching. When they got close, he would roll huge boulders down the mountainside to force them to go away and leave him in peace. Excellent teaching, imo.

    Seriously, I submit that the zen path is the best, because that’s the one I chose, so I would say that wouldn’t I, and I followed Dogen’s instructions, although now I think that Bankei’s are even better.

    You know, I don’t care what other people do. It’s none of my business what other people do. I do zen sitting. Not very much, just when I feel like it. I used to do it in very disciplined and intensive ways. That’s good too.

    Just sitting for no reason, no purpose, not to do anything, or find anything, or achieve anything, or to become anything, or to change anything. This sounds sort of simple or sort of pointless. But consider carefully what it is. This is the Universe being the Universe. Or to use the earlier, old fashioned terminology, God being God. Pure Existence, or Pure Being. Just sitting. Like a cat on a window sill gazing aimlessly at distant nothing. Beyond all words and names.

    Then all this stuff about -isms, materialism, spiritualism, buddhism, taoism, anything-ism, it’s all so much nonsense and irrelevance. Someone is born, they have experiences, then they die. They put their experiences into categories which are provided for them, mostly, by the culture they happen to be born into.
    Some things are said to be bad, or good, or this, or that. Who has all these experiences ?

    Some fictitious entity, created when your parents named you ? Some entity that doesn’t exist because Robin Datta says the Buddha said so ? Some Jungian Self ?

    I have spent more of my life investigating this matter than I can expect to have left to live.
    I am not going to give you my answer, because each one must find their own answer, it’s what Jung called Individuation. You tell your self a story of who you are, who you were, what the world is, what life is, what the Universe is, what death is. You share your stories with others and they share their stories with you.

    Bodhidharma spent nine years facing the wall, and he was probably a very gifted master. Nobody has time to do that any more, have they ? People here get irritated if they have to read more than three paragraphs in a row, their attention spans are so stunted. I think all the traditional spiritual routes have failed and they are all broken. If the ‘world’ was going to be ‘saved’ by preaching virtue and wisdom and recommending prayer and meditation, it would have happened by now, because that’s been going on for more than two thousand years and it has not worked. Individuals sometimes find what they seek, but mass movements are mostly useless.

    Here we are, facing what I myself perceive to be the greatest crisis that the human species has ever encountered, and where are the great spiritual leaders ? Where are the leaders of the Catholics, the Protestants, the Eastern Orthodox, Copts, Hindus, the Moslems, the Jews, the Buddhists, the Jains, the Parsis, etc, etc, etc, ??? Why aren’t those fuckers on the world stage LEADING ? I mean, they have the power and the back up and the access to the media and yet they do nothing, we hear nothing, all they do is have meetings every few years, declare some meaningless platitudes, motherhood and apple pie, and back to BAU. Totally useless.

    @ Friedrich K.

    Afaik, over the last half century, everything is anecdotal. There is no evidence. As Gail and others have mentioned, re the secular zone thing, the distinguishing factor is verifiability. You know, anecdote and youtube videos, however intriguing, don’t count as scientific empirical evidence, do they.
    The only serious intelligent scientific approach ongoing I know of – I admit, I’m not very interested in the subject – is the Norwegian Hessdalen Project. Pasting accounts here isn’t convincing, imo.

    @ Ozman / Ben

    I appreciate you appear to be having something of a crisis in your personal life, and I do not want to give you a harder time. You’ve stuck your neck out with a lot of what you’ve said, and it would be easy to chop your head off, over details, but I’m not doing it. Broadly, I see what you’re saying, and I’m sympathetic.

    The way I see Jung, whom I studied quite intensively for a few years, is kind of as the least-bad of the Western psycho schools. I suppose, it’s almost a matter of triage. When so many people are messed up, what can be done ? I’ve seen people go to ‘therapists’ who I know to be frauds and charlatans, who I would never go to, but they come away happy and smiling, so if it works for them, who am I to say it’s wrong ?

    If anyone is interested, Iain McGilchrist, The Divided Brain, Making of the Western World

    @ imazer

    Thanks for your interesting contribution.

    …the materialist paradigm — at least as I know it and they portray it — is not a joke. I run my ruminations by them and get no complaints. It is disingenuous to at once attempt to cite scientific findings and slam the ontological and epistemological precepts those finding are based on (albeit crudely mischaracterized by some folks here).

    Hahaha, I suspect that, considering you have partaken of Stan Groff’s Holotropic breath stuff and much else, your conception of the materialist paradigm is not likely to be anything at all resembling what I’m calling the materialist paradigm, as held by the general public mind. For a start, you must have actually THOUGHT about this stuff. For most people, these things are held unconsciously, they are part of the cultural attitude, nobody analyses or notices that they have them.

    When I said it’s a joke, what I meant is that, the epistemology and ontology as typically conceived by all the sciences except physics, and as conceived by the lay public, still operates according to 19th C physics. It works well enough to get by. But obviously, something needs fixing. So what do we do ? There was recently a conference of the world’s premier quantum physicists about 30 of them, and there were 24 different theoretical models to choose from, and no agreement. That’s the problem, the joke, as I see it.

  • @ the virgin terry Yes, that too. Physical boxes become models for psychological boxes – and vice versa. Time to think outside the box… began long ago.

    ~~~

    I have been on hikes beyond the point of no return. The only way to make it through the night was to keep hiking, no matter how tired, to finally get to a place of rest. Being beyond the point of no return, it isn’t so much the scenery that changes, but in how it is seen.

    When action feels futile, continue to the place of rest. The entire journey lays in rest. Rest. Done resting, act with all your will. Day after day.

    Too hot, too complex. Cool, simplify. Relax. Regain strength, get up and go on. Never stop until you arrive.

    The first inhalation – Birth is beyond the point of no return. Along the way find peace… before the last exhalation. Then rest in peace.

    Each day is a lifetime, each lifetime simply a day.

    Love you all. Rage against the machine… plant a seed and dance for rain. The stars in your eyes are never beyond reach, they touch your mind.

  • Wildly off topic, but seeing as it came up a couple of times recently, a subject which I didn’t, and don’t, understand at all, the issues of trannies and DGR…

    Seems, if I’m getting it, that there is one strand of radical feminists who want to abolish gender altogether. If I follow the gist, they see this as a revolutionary act to undermine patriarchy, which they’d see as the root of much evil.

    So, for that group, the so called trannies are a threat, because the trannie position wants to keep gender. Without gender, how can you switch gender ?

    So there’s a clash, a battle.

    I hope I’ve got that correct. I could easily be making a big fool of myself here.

    Why that battle should impinge upon the DGR agenda is not clear to me, unless it’s that either or both groups try to leverage DGR to try and amplify their cause.

    How could this ever be resolved ? Some cultures are very big on strict gender differences. Not clear to me why that should be, I’ve never bothered to research it, I’m sure it has been researched. Black, white, no grey. I doubt that corresponds with sexual physiology, which is probably a shaded spectrum. Again, not something I know much about.

    Why can’t we just let people be however they want to be ? I suppose the answer to that I’d hear, would be, that patriarchy won’t permit it, therefore patriarchy must go, therefore gender must go… eh ? but some people like having two genders, hahaha, ffs, you know, I can understand the two gender thing, it’s what I grew up with all my life, all this other stuff is weirdness for my old head…

    I’d like to know what a matriarchy would look like, is it just like a patriarchy, with females in all the dominant positions ? Or are there a range of alternatives on offer ?

    Anyway, here’s the link, fwiw

    http://bugbrennan.com/2012/08/03/the-trouble-with-transgender-presentation-at-radfem-reboot/

  • OzMan & tvt:
    Non-dualism:
    Seeing Through the Illusion

  • Carolyn baker said:”And who we truly are is not voracious consumers and sycophantic servants of industrial civilization. We are so much more.”

    Yes,we are so much more. Unfortunately it does not change the fact that we are also voracious consumers and sycophant servants of IC. It may be that it is only a certain percentage of people who are responsible for the destruction of life on the planet,but it seems you don’t need consensus to destroy a biosphere.

    Paul Chefurka said: “It’s always been my contention that we can’t respond effectively to any problem unless we understand it.”

    I have thought this for a long time. When working with other people over the years to try and work towards any kind of “solution” to the problems we face, I have tried to encourage people to try and gain some understanding of what makes people tick. And I don’t mean Industrial people, I mean a Humans.I believe that if we look at the world and say “What a mess! What caused these problems?” and we answer “People caused these problems” than we need to explore the reasons people cause these problems. How can we possibly expect people to change their/our behavior if we don’t first attempt to understand the causes of the behavior.
    For the most part,the people I have known that were willing to attempt to understand human behavior at all, have only been willing to delve into the reasons for the insane behavior of industrial humans.
    Try to get people to look at human behavior in general and there is a outcry that the behaviors that landed us in this place don’t apply at all to non-industrial,native,indigenous,nomadic,earth based,non-white(take your pick/add your own)people.
    My contention is that understanding why humans do what they do and want what the want,is a valuable tool in any attempt to alter our course. If we were to somehow succeed, wouldn’t it be helpful to understand the things that are inate in all of us, so we could recognize it and deal with it before it leads us down the slippery slope again?

    Of course, I am of the opinion that it it way to late for all that, but a thinking person has got to do something with their brain in the meantime and there is nothing wrong with trying.

    Ben Croser, a salute to you for still trying!! I have always enjoyed your posts and hope to keep hearing how it is going for you.

  • Dear Kathy C,

    You continually mention non-reproduction as a compassionate way to deal with NTE. Compassion would also mean supporting Social Security and Medicare, Headstart, Civil Rights (especially the latter, since that stands more outside of bureaucratic paradigms that COULD be replaced, though not soon enough, with something even more humane (or human).

    The fact that you focus on non reproduction to such an extent indicates that you are adamantly not a self replicator yourself, just like increasing numbers of Western women.

    That non-replicating propensity among a people that WERE exclusively self replicating not so long ago suggests that people can change, and change fast. This change is the result of neuroplasticity:

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

    You also propose that doom is mandated by the exclusive self-replicating nature of our genes. But I’ve already shown how this behavior can change and is changing. I don’t propose that this will greatly reduce overpopulation in the next decade or two, but it surely could reduce it significantly, given the dissemination of the conditions that lead Western women not to reproduce. (This would not be a solution to NTE, since there is none that anyone knows of.)

    I also think it’s necessary to separate the NTE issue into two parts:

    1) There is no known or currently likely solution to environmental/climate collapse. Nobody, likewise, can be certain how NTE will play out, since there are many unpredictable change factors, primarily neuroplastic adaptation to an UNPRECEDENTED threat of extinction. You can’t claim to have science on your side to predict how humans will behave in an unprecedented situation, or even be absolutely scientifically correct in ruling out other unknowns. A logical take on NTE could be, “It don’t look good, I’m preparing for the worst, but ya never know.”

    2) Much of the world, especially the West, is temporarily safeguarded against immediate, large-scale extinction (although it’s more grim for animals and the disadvantaged). There is time to do something, such as acting to decrease suffering as you often propose, although not broadly enough.

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #35

    Last catch of the day:
    blue lobster lands on the Cape-
    nadir spirit guide.

  • @ulvfugl — You wrote: “I suppose that what I’m attempting to say, if you dig and dig, there actually is something precious underneath all the manure, which can be called true spirituality, and it has almost nothing to do with any organised institutionalised religion, and it’s very difficult to convey in words at all.”

    I would add that spiritual love, which I mentioned as a key element in any real and lasting and worthwhile solution to the human dilemma is resonant with your insightful comment. Given the pollution and distortion language has endured, and the low level of comprehension among the majority that is married to that, it is hard to convey what a deep reality love properly understood constitutes. I am also in concordance with your remarks about left/right brain origins of our present difficult passage of initiation. Ancient Indic insights about the need for intimate fusion/coordination of the heart and crown chakras foreshadowed the more recent neuroanatomical analyses.

    Over the long years of my quest, I have become convinced that a hyper intellectual or deeply mystical and esoteric approach is not terribly useful in our present global predicament. The simplicity of “love one another” taken in its widest sense, it seems to me would take us a long way towards where we need to go. From the simplest act of kindness to the deep satori that this entire realm is arising within and as the consciousness of a Being of perfect love. There is a place to start from and a worthy journey and wondrous final destination for all who would take up the path of love. I think we can trust in Augustine’s admonition, “Love and do as you will.”

    When we unknowingly abandoned the path of love in favor of the path of power, we unleashed all the evils that now threaten to destroy us….

  • Seems like spirituality is religion without structure. Naive curiosity at best. I find great pleasure with being in awe of the cosmos and it’s many manifestations. Have attempted to adapt different beliefs regarding spirituality, but reason always kept them from sticking.

    I find purpose is ultimately a fleeting choice. It’s ultimately a self delusion needed for beings as curious as we all are. My purpose is very simple these days. To look after my best friend (meth whore) and family. Nothing else much matters to me.

    To each their own.

  • lol… it really is hard to separate the End of All Things, from spiritual metaphor.

    In any event, I think you’re hitting the issue of our political system pretty square, but still using its preferred slang to describe it. Underlying it all, we no longer make space for our adversaries. We no longer accept that we should be able to live peacefully, civilly with the opposing side. Instead, we’re constantly in a “go for the throat” fight of trying to wreck as much of what our opponent loves as we can.

    This makes every fight, an existential fight for each side. A fight they can not afford to lose, or compromise on. To make matters worse, the notion of “compromise” has been corrupted, its no longer about finding a solution that is tolerable for both sides, but rather, how to use the appearance of “splitting the difference” to gut fundamental, core principles of the other; with the winner being who can do it most cunningly.

    I suspect that this is at the core of our failure to act on climate change. It is not enough for an AGW+ politician to find an approach tolerable to all sides, rather, as a member of a particular party, it is absolutely necessary to use the issue to annihilate other, unrelated core principles of their opposition. Compromise is framed not in terms of how to economically discourage carbon emission, but rather, how to reduce its emission in a way that means political death for the adversary, but just a bit slower.

    This practice could actually work, if 70% of the population were voting for one party. Reality is that we decide elections in this 300+ million person Democracy with functional margins in the few thousand range.

    With those fine margins, you can not split the difference and claim compromise. The slim majority actors must find the solution that the large minority can be pleased with. Those solutions existed, and could have been enacted. But were not.

    Fortunately for all involved, there will be no historians left to record our folly.

  • Dear Ben,

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Our hearts will break and must break back open. Just let go, we will land back in safety, or not. Nothing to lose, all to gain. We fight at all cost not to feel, brainwashed that feeling is wrong or deadly. Feeling again and yes even a heart breaking feel is going to cleanse us all. We will see then all we need to see. How does the mind see when it feels what it sees? Safe.

    Blessings on your walk Ben, we will all be walking soon after and will be glad to see your print here and there.

  • Artleads you really don’t get it. Those who are already born, have to die and death is seldom easy. Those who are unborn and stay that way never have to die, never suffer any pain. Imagine a tour guide saying “Here is a wonderful trip you could take. It will bring you much pleasure and enjoyment but also probably some pain. At the end of the trip you will be killed”. How many would take that trip that promises pleasure and pain and certain death. That is what life is – pleasure, pain, and certain death.

    I am no longer capable of reproducing being 65. I had two kids before I thought all this through. I have two grandkids to my sorrow for they will die untimely deaths.

    Self replication with selective death before reproduction is what drives evolution. What species are now alive are those which evolved from billions of years of self replication. We and all current life are the ones whose ancestors didn’t die before replication. We are and endless line back to the first self replicators. Since we are not immortal if we as a species don’t continue to self replicate for whatever reason we go extinct. That fundamental program of all life to replicate is what got us here.

    BTW I don’t necessary view SS, and Medicare etc as being humane. Obviously you have not visited nursing homes. Our ability to extend lives in most cases extends suffering. Bored, lonely and often in pain we extend and extend their lives because we cannot admit that humans are mortal, born to die. I spent many years volunteering in nursing homes, then switched to Hospice Volunteering, as it seemed better to help someone go out without all the senseless intervention than to try bring a ray of sunshine into the places where we hide our aged and infirm.

    I have begun to believe that even people living in the best of circumstances, with the most hope for their prospective child, are still engaging in the ultimate of hubris – creating another human who will have to die. If we think death is bad we should never have children, for being born is the one and only thing that causes death – the manner of death is up for grabs, but once born we must die and the unborn never die.

    “While man is growing, life is in decrease;
    And cradles rock us nearer to the tomb.
    Our birth is nothing but our death begun.”
    Edward Young

    Since as far as we know we are the only species who know we will die, we suffer beyond physical suffering. Extinction will end the exquisite suffering of being self aware and knowing you can’t continue.

    Check out this bit of sarcastic humor that The Onion is so good at http://www.theonion.com/video/scientists-successfully-teach-gorilla-it-will-die,17165/ The humor comes from the fact that we as humans are desperate to avoid thinking about death – how absurd would it be to teach another species that they also have to die. So I ask wouldn’t the world be a less painful place if it went back to having only mortal species that didn’t know they were mortal. In fact would it not be a better place if nothing with central nervous systems lived? No perceived pain, that would be good yes? What I am saying is that more and more extinction seems like a pretty good idea.

  • @ mike k

    Fwiw, I learned about the zen teaching from this tradition

    http://www.shastaabbey.org/pdf/bookRoar1.pdf

  • Kathy C,

    Glad you warned me the link was sarcastic humor, for it seemed all too realistic to me.

    As I’ve told you before, I’ve leaned a lot from you (mostly on the practical side), but you lose me with the philosophy.

    I didn’t say that SS and Medicare were wholly and inevitably humane (I implied to the contrary). But as one considerably older than you, I can only affirm that I’ve never experienced a program more beneficial than SS. Medicare would be better if it were free, but I’m very favored, as are the great majority of old folks, to at least have that.

    It is wildly hubristic to decide for all living creatures that they’d be better off dead.

    Oldgrowthforest,

    Despite all the other wonderful posts, yours is the one I must single out if, in my haste, I can only single out one.

  • ulvfugl,

    I think your analysis of DGR and trans* conflicts is mostly correct. It comes down to a disagreement over gender. The core of the conflict comes from DGR defending the right of biological women to self-organize as an oppressed class without the presence of males. Some transwomen (born as males but identifying as women) don’t believe females have a right to define female-only spaces, and insist that anyone who decides to identify as a woman has the right to access any such spaces.

    DGR doesn’t have any interest in telling people (trans* or not) how to conduct their lives – it doesn’t care how people identify themselves or how they dress or act or modify their bodies. DGR does not go out of its way to engage in conflict with those transwomen and their allies who want males to have access to female spaces. But DGR does allow the women within DGR to establish their own spaces for discussion, sleeping at events, and so on. Trans* activists have responded by attacking DGR and its members online and physically in person, destroying DGR property, and lobbying to cancel DGR tour events (these events discussed the lessons we can learn from historical examples of resistance – nothing to do with transgender issues).

    I think you’re right that trans* activists are “leverag[ing] DGR to try and amplify their cause.”

    I wrote more about this in an old comment:

    Protester Motivations

    Norris

  • AgentR Says:

    “I suspect that this is at the core of our failure to act on climate change. It is not enough for an AGW+ politician to find an approach tolerable to all sides, rather, as a member of a particular party, it is absolutely necessary to use the issue to annihilate other, unrelated core principles of their opposition.”

    Limits to growth/action on AGW, are impossible under the reign of industrial capitalism. These ideas represent an attempt to annihilate the core principle of industrial capitalism. They ARE an existential threat to industrial capitalism. Only the oblivious can think they are possible, because they are blind to the fact that industrial capitalism’s core principle is growth, continual and endless accumulation. This is the reason why there has been never been any action to stop AGW, and why there won’t ever be any.

    mike k Says:

    When we unknowingly abandoned the path of love in favor of the path of power, we unleashed all the evils that now threaten to destroy us….

    Nicely put. The path of endless accumulation destroys all other paths. It leaves no time and no place for love.

  • ‘Though I don’t set myself up as the guy to put the world straight, I do get angry about the misinformation, crappy reasoning and failures of imagination that can lead others into similarly painful delusions.’ -imazer

    i relate totally except i’d say it’s failure/lack of intelligence/sanity, and an excess of ‘imagination’ (delusion) that’s a big part of the problem.

    ‘during an episode of intense personal trauma and grief, I have lain down on a soft grassy hillside and heard the Oaks lovingly whisper to me that things will be ok.’

    i’ve had a vaguely similar experience. when all sheeple can do is let u down, there’s no where else to turn than to mother nature for comfort. she may not be the warm and cuddly type, but she is beautiful, awesome, and mysterious. we take what we can from that.

    ‘Clockwork Universe always was a hyper simplistic, even insulting vision of the natural world’

    huh? who knows how nature works, what governs her? how can u state dogmatically that it isn’t mechanistic, godless, pointless, like the operation of a clock in an empty room? just as no god can be disproven, neither can this view be, seems to me.

    ‘thanks to anyone willing to put up with my meager scribing…’

    poor self esteem. i relate to that too.
    ____________________________________________________________

    ‘look at the world and say “What a mess! What caused these problems?” and we answer “People caused these problems” than we need to explore the reasons people cause these problems’ -thestormcrow

    exploring the roots of human folly i think is ultimately an exercise in futility, like seeking any radical knowledge/comprehension. either it doesn’t exist or it’s divine mystery. i see a clockwork universe, one with fatally flawed mortal meat robots. not a satisfying explanation to be sure, but the best i can do.

    ‘Artleads you really don’t get it.’

    a lot of sheeple don’t get ‘it’, however ‘it’ may be defined. how can they/we, being limited, flawed, mortal meat robots?

  • @ulvfugl — I practiced zen with Robert Aitken when I was studying eastern philosophy at the U. of Hawaii in the 60’s. But my major satori happened later while doing intensive Sufi work. Of course meditative practice still is part of my life. Once you get a taste, you want more. There can never be enough on any authentic path. Maybe that’s why some call it the infinite way…

  • i’m happy nbl still functions, despite recent delays/problems with posts. next week i’m probably going to be unable to log on and keep up with this blog. if so, i’m going to miss it, and look forward very much to getting back online, for the informative/provocative/horrifying/exasperating/inspiring discussion/commiseration.

  • Geo engineering as a limited nuclear war ‘winter option’ instituted by TPTB.

    Nuclear War: the Climate Impact

    Because the TPTB are insane inbreds, I think they will latch on to nuclear war as a win-win-win scenario.

    It produces a global cooling effect. Very cool for a decade or so. Check

    It decreases population and mouths to feed with the added bonus of disease and pandemics. Check

    It hides the gross incompetence and criminal negligence of not safely dealing with the global spent nuclear fuel rod problem. When the nuclear plants start leaking radiation from spent nuclear fuel rod cooling pools, who’s to say it wasn’t from the fallout from the ‘limited nuclear exchange’ during global resource wars. Check

    It institutionalizes global fascism with a capital ‘F’. All vestiges of ‘human rights’ can be subordinated to ‘defending the Fatherland’ where ever and the glorious crusade of pillaging the last scraps of resource for ___you fill in the blank. Double check.

    The vast majority of nuclear targets are in the northern hemisphere.

    The majority of ‘bug-out/spider holes’ for TPTB are in the southern hemisphere.

    What’s not to like.

    Nuclear Winter as the quicker fixer-upper geo-engineering ‘final solution’.

    I can’t say if it would work as predicted, but I can say it will be fast, very fast.

    Perfect for a species of losers running out of time.

  • I’m in the restroom of the San Felipe Hollywood Casino. Although the restroom is brand new, the grout between the sink and the wall is a little jagged, and cracked lengthwise. Unless one were looking for such things, he wouldn’t see it. Where is grout ever perfect? I didn’t notice such things then, but I bet that grout in public restrooms was close to perfect when I was a kid, a long time ago.

    The paper-towel dispenser is a puzzle. Touch it in the front and nothing happens. Check out the round gadget to the side, no go. There is no winding mechanism, and touch is futile. A janitor enters and shows how the darned thing works. Just place your hand underneath, and pesto, a paper towel descends. I’m not amused. How would anyone using the device for the first time know that? “They’re too smart for their own bloody good,” I tell the janitor. To myself, I later note that the sinks require you to nudge the faucet handles manually, and that is where germs matter most, not in operating the paper-towel dispenser, touched only when hands have been washed. So the sanitation measures are inverted.

    I’ve been sitting in the bleachers for hours waiting for the Wailers and Steel Pulse to perform. The smooth, cypress-dotted hills in the distance are scored with an absolutely non-stop line of north/south traffic. Eventually, the sun behind me slides behind the hill, and the distant hills in front are shadowed on one side. The sun descends further, and now the shadows are gone while the clouds have silver linings. But that line of traffic never stops. I start to imagine it might be some trick, as in the Jim Carey movie, Truman. A limited number of vehicles are placed on a loop that is repeated day and night. The clouds grow dark until there is no distinction between clouds and sky. The vehicles have long had their lights on as they go north and south. After seven hours observing, there is not a moment when the quarter mile stretch of visible freeway is free of traffic. We leave at 10:30, and now we are part of that line of traffic. Our CRV swooshes along with velvety smoothness. There is a nicely spaced line of vehicles behind and in front of us all the way till we get off I-25…

  • ULVFUGI says, “Afaik, over the last half century, everything is anecdotal. There is no evidence.”

    Obviously, you and your armchair colleagues have never considered the evidence. I have noticed through your writing that you are so damn certain of what you do know that your mind is closed to new concepts/ideas.

    I have and will continue to provide the evidence, which I have carefully researched for the past 37 years. Furthermore, and the most convincing evidence of all, was a personal sighting in Cali, Colombia. Fortunately, there were multiple witnesses, photographic evidence, and we watched the craft for 15 to 20 minutes. So, you may accuse 23 unrelated people from all walks of life fabricators, mentally ill, confused, etc., but you would only appear thoroughly foolish. Finally, do I rely on the testimony of Lord Norton Hill, as quoted above, two US presidents, astronauts, military officials, world renown university researchers like Dr. John Mack of Harvard University or Dr. David Jacobs of Temple University, and millions of others or your opinion?

  • ULVFUGI says there is no evidence, but he obviously does not consider the evidence, such as the following report by Belgian Major General and Royal Air Force Deputy Chief Wilfred De Brower’s statement:

    “My name is Wilfried De Brouwer. I am a retired Major General of the Belgian Air Force and I was Chief Operations in the Air Staff when an exceptional UFO wave took place over Belgium. Indeed, during the evening of 29 November 1989, in Eastern Belgium, 140 UFO sightings were reported. Hundreds of people saw a majestic triangular craft with a span of approximately 120 feet, powerful beaming spot lights, moving very slowly without making any significant noise but, in several cases, accelerating to very high speeds.

    The following days and months, many more sightings would follow. The UFO wave would last more than one year during which a Belgian UFO organization conducted more than 650 investigations and recorded more than 400 hours of audio witness reports. On one occasion, a photograph revealed the triangular shape and four light beams of the object.

    In my function of Chief Operations, I was confronted with numerous questions about the origin and nature of these craft. In the first instance, and in consultation with other NATO partners, 1 could confirm that no flights of stealth aircraft or any other experimental aircraft look place in the airspace of Belgium. In addition, the Civil Aviation Authorities confirmed that no flight plans had been introduced and the object(s) committed infractions against the existing aviation rules.

    The Belgian Air Force tried to identify the alleged intruder(s) and, on three occasions, launched F 16 aircraft. On one occasion, two F 16 registered rapid changes in speed and altitude which were well outside of the performance envelope of existing aircraft. In short, the Belgian UFO wave was exceptional and the Air Force could not identify the nature, origin and intentions of the phenomena.”

  • @ Tom and Thanatos Sunbum, thank you so very much! 🙂
    ==

    Galileo

    Even if faith disapproves,
    Nature moves on through its grooves;
    It’s more fun to pretend
    That this isn’t the end:
    Whatever—and yet it moves.

  • Sarlo’s Guru Rating Service

    http://www3.telus.net/public/sarlo/Ratings.htm

    @ Friedrich K.

    It’s anecdote, film clips, photos, statements, about ‘something’. That’s all you have.

    @ the virgin terry

    Clockwork universe was Newton’s conception of cosmology, shown to be incorrect by Einstein.

  • I practiced zen with Robert Aitken

    One of the great ones, without haughtiness vaunting the ability to behead. Forever in gassho to him as a teacher although I only met him through “The Mind of Clover”. But then the ready student needs very little: a lotus blossom held up, a strike on the head with the teacher’s shoe, the sound of a pebble striking a bamboo while sweeping the courtyard. Nor is the eminence of the teacher the exclusive criterion for successful teaching. Avadhuta (Dattatreya) had 24 teachers, including such beings as a wasp, a mosquito, a spider and a moth.

    Now if only we could all meet through and in “The Mind of Clover”.

    happened later while doing intensive Sufi work.

    Yes, there are many trails up the mountain, some a bit easier but long, others more direct, but short and even dangerous.

    ‘defending the Fatherland’
    ארץ ממזרים
    (Copy and paste into Google Translate, if you wish).

  • @ Robin Datta

    You think there’s a mountain ?

    I suppose that explains why you post so much endless nonsense here.

    It doesn’t require haughtiness to cut off your head. Just honesty.

  • Artleads It is wildly hubristic to decide for all living creatures that they’d be better off dead.

    I never said that all those living would be better off dead. They will of course be dead in time tho. I said that those not born would be better off not born. Most think that some unborn should never be born because we don’t procreate at every possible opportunity. If we thought every possible birth was good then women should marry and start having children at the time of their first menses. In the words of monthy python “every sperm is sacred” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUspLVStPbk and every opportunity to make sure that the maximum number have an opportunity to create a child.

    But we don’t think that every possible unborn should be brought into the world do we? Yet the minute an unborn is conceived it is sentenced to death. If death of living things is bad the only way we can prevent that is to prevent birth.

    I like getting SS, and will get to try out Medicare this month. But in fact the extending of life of the elderly, can have big problems, especially if you attempt to reduce births. China only slowed population growth with its one child program. At the same time they increased wellbeing. Now they have more old people to support than young people to support them. They are considering loosening their 1 child policy as a result.

    We all have to die. Most people in this country now fill out a living will. As much as we avoid thinking of death, most people don’t want to be kept alive indefinitely. They don’t want to be kept alive in a vegetative state. They choose Hospice in increasing numbers to have a more painless and peaceful death as opposed to using every means possible for a few more painful months or years.

    So when collapse comes and food is short, who should get it, the elderly or the young? If there aren’t enough resources to go around and you think extinction is a bad idea, I hope you will have the grace to give your food to the young and make your exit, which is inevitable. Death is not about IF its about WHEN and HOW.

  • ogardener

    No, not yet, but by the looks of it there is a lot of by crikey reading material there!!
    Cheers.

  • Friedrich Kling Says: and says – and says –

    “but he obviously does not consider the evidence,”

    There are 2 million websites where the question “do ufos exist” is discussed – they consider the evidence from around the world and throughout history – 24/7 ufo stuff.

    NBL is one of a handful of sites where NTE is openly and freely discussed – yet you come to complain we don’t consider the evidence for ufos.

    Well chazam, you win a cupie doll. We don’t consider evidence for lots of stuff because topic here is NTE.

    You have 2 million on topic sites to discuss the ufo evidence you so desire to discuss. And then you won’t have to get your knickers all in a bunch and sew discord in NBL’s special place.

    Thanks.

  • @ulvfugl writes:

    You think there’s a mountain ?

    First there is a mountain. Then there is no mountain, then there is. 😎

    @OzMan

    Have a nice walk OzMan.

  • Extinction will take care of this, too.

  • Hey Bob S., do you ever consider NTE in terms of a black swan event? No, because you are narrowly focused on a pre-defined set of parameters. Try an exercise in critical thinking sometime. You think you know how it’s all going to end without considering all the options. So until Guy tells me to bugger off I will continue to present the evidence.

    Also, allow me to point out that you do not speak for this community. I have received numerous emails from readers of this blog intrigued by this phenomena. And if you think I will allow you or ULFUGI to bully me into silence, I have come across much more formidable opponents during my professional career in the insurance industry.

  • ULVFUGI: Thantos said it the best of all:

    Thanatos Sunbum Says:
    August 19th, 2013 at 5:16 pm
    Note to ulfgvl.

    Don’t waste your time typing at me: I don’t read your posts and I don’t read the posts of people who reply to you. As far as I can see you are a nut-less, dick-less intelligent bully. I’m no diagnostician but I bet you have a severe psychiatric disorder. For someone who yaps endlessly about cosmic consciousness or love or whatever that drivel is, you are a mean, nasty, violent pile of stinking rubbish. I’m pretty sure you are an angry little man (perhaps in a corpulent body) living a lonely life shrieking in lonely anger at your lonely emptiness. You can’t deal with the empty horror of your own pitiful existence and you take your anger out on the people here … at least that is how I read your vitriol and viciousness. Don’t bother replying to this little note – I won’t read it. You will probably blubber something about “you must have read my posts or how else, yap, yap, yap.” Well, yes, I happen to glimpse the first few sentences sometimes as I scroll by but that doesn’t mean I’m reading you and it doesn’t mean I acknowledge you; it just means you are an intermittent annoyance I have to avoid from time to time, much like the dog turd on the trail.

  • With thanks to Ben Croser, I’ve posted anew. The essay was contributed by Michael Thomas, and it’s here.

  • I think that Paul’s point in being like a Martian, was to convey was that you have to take a birds eye view of the physical laws and forces which are driving complexity, evolution, and even many of our own behaviors. I am personally of the conclusion that there is a deeper level of reality than the strictly materialist would acknowledge. But it is ineffable and unknowable via empiricism. And if it is somehow ‘fundamental’, then does it not follow that physical law (and even all this ‘mess’) are a derivative of that fundamental? Can a fountain be different than its source?

  • @ ogardener

    http://zenpundit.com/?p=7845

    @ Friedrich K.

    You are forgetting your manners, Herr Kling, I am surprised at you.

    Look, you can rant and rave and insult me as much as you like, it makes no difference at all, until you can provide some EVIDENCE, you have nothing.

    By EVIDENCE, I mean proper evidence that counts as scientific evidence, empirical stuff that can be measured and analysed and studied and verified. All you have is anecdote, no different to stories about Sasquatches and the Loch Ness Monster, of which there are also ‘eyewitness accounts’ and youtube videos and photos of ‘something’.

    But that’s no good is it. You don’t seem to understand what the problem is. Pasting assertions by people that they saw such and such does not count as EVIDENCE, it is anecdote. We’ve had 50 years of anecdotes, and so far nothing much more. I’m happy to concede that something interesting is going on, proper scientific research at Hessdalen shows that, but what it is, nobody knows. Your claims for aliens, etc, are, afaik, groundless.

    Come back with some indisputable verifiable empirical evidence and I’ll take you seriously. Until then, you’re wasting my time and clogging up the thread with off-topic junk.

  • My post intended for Kathy C went somewhere unintended. I hope it posted. If so, it was incomplete.

    John Glover:

    Interesting link. It almost seemed like a joke though. The nuclear solution.

  • ulvfugl

    Thanks for your kind words.
    I am characterising what I am going through as just some major changes, and a bit of discomfort.
    As a recent new friend said last week to me: “If you choose the radical path, be prepared to have all walk away from you.”

    Forks in the road every day now, but what away to go.

    The recent radical path I have chosen is to accept all manner of collapse is highly likely, and to adapt to that now. Some of that is by way of reusing stuff, both found and gifted, and some is by mentally encountering the world from that POV. Even still, the biggest difficulties are the Humans, guess it may have always been so. But, my experience is it is easier to reason with a human than some of the other parameters.

    BTW we are 7 days away from a federal election here …One for the campaign trail…..

    ‘Promises – Baby Its You’

    Personal regret-hopium in a bottle!

  • @ Bailey

    I think that Paul’s point in being like a Martian, was to convey was that you have to take a birds eye view of the physical laws and forces which are driving complexity, evolution, and even many of our own behaviors. I am personally of the conclusion that there is a deeper level of reality than the strictly materialist would acknowledge. But it is ineffable and unknowable via empiricism. And if it is somehow ‘fundamental’, then does it not follow that physical law (and even all this ‘mess’) are a derivative of that fundamental? Can a fountain be different than its source?

    I think there are two different things getting confused here.

    The spiritual aspect, the subject of this thread, concerns ‘What does it mean to be a complete human being ?’That’s a very big question, and includes the history of our species and pretty much everything we have ever thought about ourselves, and it would be ridiculous and trite to attempt any answer in a comment box, but I see it as essentially of a philosophical nature.

    The ‘Looking at stuff from a Martian perspective’ I’d see as a perfectly valid attempt to get distance and objectivity, but it’s something quite different. It’s a means to build mental models regarding aspects of our condition. It’s reductionist and it’s looking through a telescope, so to speak. The previous, bigger question is, ‘Who is looking through the telescope ?’ and we don’t get the answer from the outside, Martian viewpoint, we get it from the inside, from the human viewpoint. We begin with, who we are, where we are.

    Regarding Robin Datta and his mountain.

    It’s a common metaphor that there is a spiritual mountain to be climbed, and that all the great faiths or religions are roadways up this mountain, and the lesser teachings are possibly more difficult but more direct routes toward the same final destination, where everyone meets up at the same glorious peak.

    No doubt this is a comforting and useful analogy that serves its purpose in certain circles.

    Robin, and Paul Chefurka and indeed Jung himself and many other teachers and therapists, most religions, all take the approach that there is a sort of Pilgrim’s Progress to be performed, where an individual must overcome obstacles and purify themselves and devote themselves to prayers and meditation and all sorts of practices which bear fruit in some form or other, and eventually some sort of spiritual reward will arrive, when the work has been done…

    I myself regard this view as totally misconceived and wrong-headed and non-sensical.

    There is no mountain, there is nobody who needs to do any climbing. You are already at the place you want to be, there is nowhere to get to. All the religious teachings amount to nothing more than a kitten chasing its tail. They provide lots of work for priests, for some lovely architecture, and lots of money for psychoanalysts and book publishers.

    As soon as you get seduced by any of these doctrines you are instantly trapped, because there is one part of you that is judge, and the other part that is judged, and then the game commences, and there is no relief, until you die. Who benefits from this ? It’s a self-perpetuating scam.

    If you want to find spiritual insight all you need is your own mind and body and breath, and some simple instructions. It’s roughly as basic as learning how to ride a bicycle or to swim in water. It’s not such a big deal.

    All that crap about duality and non-duality, and the world being an illusion. This simply will not do. We need better zen masters. I have an oak table in front of me. If I bang my head against it hard, ouch !, is this an illusion ? Don’t tell me lies, Mr. Zen Master.

    There is a profound and exquisite truth in the Buddha dharma, and imho, the zen teaching is the most refined and important teaching on the planet, but it needs to be explained in language that ordinary people can understand. Saying that this world is an illusion is BS. This world is where we live, it’s what we eat, it’s effing reality.

    We have a problem. The scientists are pathetic at explaining stuff like CO2, to the public. They can’t see it, and they can’t make the connections to why it might cause the Arctic ice to melt, and why that might be a disaster.

    And the mystics, are even more pathetic, they can’t explain how to find spiritual experience, which also can’t be seen, so the public says it must be all nonsense and lies.

    Well, imo, one of the first obstacles that we could well dispense with, is this idea of the mountain, that there is some sort of target, some sort of achievement, some sort of destiny. What the heck do people expect to find there on the mountain top ? Effing God, aka Zeus, in white robes with a massive beard, throwing a big non-stop party ? Hallelujah, nice to see yah, glad you could come, how was the journey ? grab a bottle and a spliff…

    It’s nonsense. Be Here Now. It’s all here, in this very moment. Nothing to be attained. No work to be done. Completely effortless.

  • Friedrich Kling Says:
    September 2nd, 2013 at 5:16 am

    “Hey Bob S., do you ever consider NTE in terms of a black swan event? No, because you are narrowly focused on a pre-defined set of parameters.”

    You asked me a question. Then you answered your question to me – claiming to know not only my answer, but my motivation for my non-answer. Now, either you are a mind readed of extraordinary talent, a very lucky guesser, or you are confused.

    I consider NTE in terms of the evidence presented. I understand a black swan event and would welcome one. However, as I understand, black swan events are unprecedented and unpredictable – so I see the black swan as a small possibility.

    “You think you know how it’s all going to end without considering all the options.”

    There you go again with the mind reading. Guess some might say – you’re putting words in my mouth. I suggest you count your cards.

    “So until Guy tells me to bugger off I will continue to present the evidence.”

    I hope you will have the courtesy to take it to one of the 2 million sites dedicated to your theory where they can enjoy your cut and paste anecdotes.

    “Also, allow me to point out that you do not speak for this community.”

    OFC I don’t speak for this community – my apologies if I ever pretended or inferred that my opinion is shared by all – or even shared by any.

    “I have received numerous emails from readers of this blog intrigued by this phenomena.”

    Perhaps you may want to prepare a list of links to distribute to those thus intrigued by this phenomena so they may explore their curiosity to the fullest.

    “And if you think I will allow you or ULFUGI to bully me into silence, I have come across much more formidable opponents during my professional career in the insurance industry.”

    I’m no bully (or liar) – I’m just an ordinary member.

    Oh – you’ve had a professional career in the insurance industry. Now I understand.

  • Not seeing my long “second” post, I’ll try again, very briefly.

    @ Kathy C,

    I agree that not being born is to lose or gain nothing. And that this is no time to willfully bring new babes into the world.

    It seems strange in hindsight that people procreated as they did. But that was how the world worked, and very few people, including me, thought to buck the system. (Not quite true. I have three children, and I always knew that was beyond replacement level. It haunted me a bit. As with other “shortcomings,” I seek to compensate for this–to cover my “sins,” as it were.)

    Never thinking abstractly about sentient beings, I figure (somewhat hypocritically) that we all have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (to the extent we find feasible). I cannot force people not to procreate, but I can advocate for abortion rights and women’s rights. It’s not much, but every thought, word and deed counts in some unknown way.

    I don’t think about death much. Among other occasional thoughts, death strikes me merely as the absence of life, of absolutely no importance to the living. If life is unbearable, death is welcomed. If life is at least not horrible, it is a wonderland that I would not, or expect anyone else to, forego. It doesn’t take a split second to switch from living to not living. In the eternal meantime, why would I be spending my very favored existence thinking, we’re all going to die, we’re all going to die? WTF is that about? Isn’t there some better way to apply one’s thoughts?

    Better than anyone, you point to the real, on the ground realities of living in this crazy time. To be connected to the world in this real way is a gift, is a joy. Why, on the other hand, the dreariness?

  • @ulvfugl

    We’ve had 50 years of anecdotes, and so far nothing much more.

    Depending on what sort of “non-evidence” you care to consider, we’ve had anywhere from nearly 70 years to hundreds or even thousands of years of anecdotes, and while I am neither a diligent researcher nor a wild-eyed believer, my impression is that, in contrast to your claim of “so far nothing much more”, what we have is *much more* anecdotes.

    I don’t have stats on how many more anecdotes, but it wouldn’t surprise me if a graph of the number of people reporting UFOs between WWII and now looks something like our familiar hockey stick.

    I can’t recall if you are among the subset of folks here who decry “scientism”, but if and to whatever extent you do that or identify with those who do…seems like it would make sense for you to lighten up on the calls for EVIDENCE related to what are generally accepted as short-duration phenomena.

    I couldn’t decide on a tune by P3@ch3s & H3rb to dedicate to Mr. Kling, so here’s a stone groove thing by Herr Zappa. Not sure if he’ll get the reference, but I hope you both enjoy the composition.

  • ulvfugl

    Your last contribution is music. The bit you wrote about:
    “….All the religious teachings amount to nothing more than a kitten chasing its tail. They provide lots of work for priests, for some lovely architecture, and lots of money for psychoanalysts and book publishers.

    As soon as you get seduced by any of these doctrines you are instantly trapped, because there is one part of you that is judge, and the other part that is judged, and then the game commences, and there is no relief, until you die. Who benefits from this ? It’s a self-perpetuating scam.”

    Dare I say this is what I have been writing here about for a while that I call the ‘Child Mind’. Jung wrote that some problems cannot be solved, they can only be outgrown. I feel this is one such category of ‘problems’ needing to be outgrown. Staying as the child is just more school-yard ‘games’.

    In passing, the video link that patrick o’leary put up on the next essay,’Collapse: Exposing the Truth’, by Michael Thomas, with the lady in the car….
    Well, she is apparently not a child and expresses the educated and intelligent frustration of living in a socio-political system still treating citizens like children. The massive powers of the surveillance, and rapidly expanding drone execution state-corp, is the lengths TPTB need to go to to keep the children in fear – no longer existential (soul in hell for eternity) for many, but now still mortal all the same. The pendulum having swung so far has now begun to move back IMO.
    I think your description of how simple the real work is, at least by comparison to the earlier ‘scamming’, is well put. Do you feel it is always a solitary thing, or can that be just that portion that requires that separate work? I ask this because it is only now that I have begun to contact others to ‘do stuff’ that the flow has converged, just at the right time too !!(I include this forum as part of that to be honest, in my own tea cup). Any thoughts? Anyone else too?
    Cheers Mate.

  • @ infantyrone

    That’s one of my all time favourite pieces of music, so thanks for reminding me of it. 🙂

    Surely, a hockey stick would be expected, with the massive increase in population, more eyes, and the massive increase in media, which have a vested interest in hyping these reports, and the development of all kinds of secret technologies which we know have been covered over by CIA and others, by faked UFO reports.

    The only point I’m making really is re the evidence. Afaik, all there is, verbal and written accounts of observations of ‘something’, and photos, film, radar traces, of ‘something’.

    Okay ? So there IS ‘something’. But all we have is anecdote. Same as for Sasquatch and Loch Ness Monster. By EVIDENCE I mean proper scientific empirical evidence, stuff, something somebody can MEASURE.

    I may be wrong about this, because I don’t keep up with the subject, and I’m not well informed, but afaik, nobody has ever come up with anything other than anecdote, have they ?

    You know, blurry photos, youtube videos, and statements by high ranking officials may be intriguing, but, personally, that’s not sufficient to count as SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE. There has to be something more substantial. Perhaps you or F. Kling know of something that I don’t ?

    @ Ozman

    Dare I say this is what I have been writing here about for a while that I call the ‘Child Mind’. Jung wrote that some problems cannot be solved, they can only be outgrown. I feel this is one such category of ‘problems’ needing to be outgrown. Staying as the child is just more school-yard ‘games’.

    Dear Ben, I doubt that. If it was, then there would have been more agreement between us previously. However, by overtly attacking the useless zen masters that we have, I have challenged myself to do a better job, havn’t I, and I’m not a zen master or a guru or anybody’s teacher, I’m just someone who tries to untangle all the strands, because ULVFUGL wants to understand wtf is going on… 🙂

    I can’t resolve this problem for anyone else, can I, only for me. But I can try to explain, fwiw, as clearly as possible, how I see it, and maybe that’s useful to someone else. Just like telling someone where to find a particular book on a particular shelf in a library. I can’t read it for them, but I know where it is located, and I tell them, for free.

    My point was that all the organised systems inevitably get a vested interest in promoting and maintaining themselves. The spiritual part becomes secondary, they become just like any other commercial or bureaucratic entity that wants to grow and extend its power and influence. They can’t help it.

    If you become well known, you get lots of letters, so you have to get a secretary, that means you have to have an office, then you have to have a cleaner, then… and the next thing, just like Jesus and his 12 disciples, suddenly, instead of being a radical revolutionary healer amongst the poorest people, Christianity becomes official religion of the most powerful Empire on the planet at the time, which is constantly waging war and conducting the most horrific bloodbaths as entertainment… etc, etc. What happened ?

    What I’m saying is, avoid all that. All you need is your own body, skin and bones. Don’t ‘join up’ with anything larger than a witch’s coven, if you need company, because this spiritual growth thing isn’t about belonging to a particular religion or following a particular road up a mountain. When people tell you that it is, it’s probably because they want to recruit you, because they want their particular army to grow bigger and they want your cash.

    You know, it’s all very confusing and bewildering these days, there’s your guy, Adi Da, there’s Eckhart Tolle, there’s Ken Wilber, there’s Osho, there’s Krishnamurti, there’s Indigo Children, there’s thousands and thousands and thousands of these differing groups and leaders and teachers and gurus to choose from, Aleister Crowley to Hare Krishna, a smorgasbord of post-modern cut-and-paste cultural pick-and-mix, whatever anybody fancies….

    Most people are quite shallow and frivolous, they don’t really want the very serious and demanding stuff, they want some light hearted feel good factor. Sorry, but that’s not where I’m at. I’m at the ‘ultimate truth or die’ end of the spectrum. I’ve seen some really, really, terrible things in my life. I can’t just shrug and laugh that off.

    I think what I’d say is, that there is something inside us, that’s been there since we were conceived, maybe long before that, anyway, since we were born, that is perfect and pure. It’s always there. So, you go inside yourself and find that. It’s not easy to do, because it’s covered over with layers and layers of all the stuff you’ve accumulated in your life. But anybody can do this, if they really want to. It’s nobody else’s business, is it.

    It doesn’t matter whether you are a Christian or a Buddhist or a Jew or a Hindu or an Atheist. This ‘thing’ I’m talking about doesn’t care about those labels, it has NOTHING to do with religion or words or beliefs or culture AT ALL.

    So, you find this thing inside yourself and you cherish it and cultivate it and take good care of it, each moment that you are alive…

    You could make this very complicated, like Jung, write many volumes of books, like Krishnamurti, go around the world giving talks, or, you can just get on with it, on your own, in your own body, all the time, being what you are, being true to what you are… then it seems to me, it is quite simple…

    No ?

  • If Zen teachings lead you to be like U, I’ll pass.

    There’s no getting around the fact that anyone that posts the volume he posts – not just here but a bunch of other sites – is mentally ill. He posts over and over and over the same stuff – he even replies to his own posts. However, even without regard to content, the VOLUME is absurd.

    I know I’m not a psychologist – but I’m just making the observation that this man is sick.

  • For your information,,,

    …roughly half (48%) of Christians in the U.S. say they believe that Christ will definitely (27%) or probably (20%) return to earth in the next 40 years. Somewhat fewer (38%) say this definitely will not happen (10%) or probably will not happen (28%).

    http://www.pewforum.org/2013/03/26/us-christians-views-on-the-return-of-christ/

    Me, I’m not a Christian, and I’m not in the US, but I’m of the opinion he’s already here, sneaking around in disguise, shape-shifting in the shadows, lurking on blogs and web forums…

    I assume that we’ll be returning to the secular zone hence forth ?

    Robin Datta thinks that people are meat robots. Well, parrots aren’t that’s for sure, according to the scientists, and so neither are ulvfuglen, wolfbirds, ravens…

    http://fcmconference.org/img/CambridgeDeclarationOnConsciousness.pdf

  • @ Rob at the library

    Hahaha, sure, I’m sick, I suffer from an incurable illness, chronic Migraine and chronic Cluster Headache, most painful condition it’s possible to have, so the doctors say…

    So, what’s the difference between us, Rob ?

    You comment here, all you ever say is the same thing, which is to complain, about your bleak and miserable life, and your bleak and desolate view of existence, you sit and pretend to read a book, you never speak to anyone, you don’t make eye contact with anyone…

    Did you ever post anything interesting, or link to stimulating website, or join in a heated argument or take a stand on an issue ?

    My life is rich, wondrous, fantastic, I’m really, really HAPPY, from when I wake, every minute of the day, I’m buzzing, I have a fabulous existence, until I am weary and I fall into wonderful sleep and have amazing dreams and do it all over again… and I zoom around the internet, reading stuff, distributing stuff… I wouldn’t swap MY sublime life with anyone I know of, not for anything, Rob.

    If I was in your situation, utter nihilism, what to do ? It’s discussed in some of the great Russian novels. Maybe read some of those books, instead of pretending ? 🙂

    I wish you good health ! :=)

    Goin’ Down Slow…

  • ulvfugl

    Maybe even…..Spiritual?

  • @ Rob at the public library

    Would you say this is your position ? I think it’s the position of some people here, anyway.

    What does nihilism have to offer beyond a mere avocation of destruction? The nihilist position does not allow for the comforts of this world. Not only is God dead to a nihilist, but also everything that has taken God’s place; idealism, consciousness, reason, progress, the masses, culture, etc. Without the comforts of this metaphysical ‘place’ a strategic nihilist is free to drift unfettered by the consequences of her actions. “A nihilist is a person who does not bow down to any authority, who does not accept any principle on faith, however much that principle may be revered”[6] Philosophically much has resulted from the nihilist ideas on value, aesthetics and practice. Most notably in Adorno’s conception of Negative Dialectics, a principle which refuses any kind of affirmation or positivity, a principle of thorough-going negativity. The nihilist tradition includes Adorno, Nietzsche, Bakunin, much of classic Russian literature, Dada, punk rock, Heidegger, existentialist, post-structuralist and post-modern thinkers, and much of anarchism.

    What does this really mean on the modern stage? Strategic nihilism allows for the possibility that there is no future. The possibility of radical social transformation then becomes unhinged from the utopian aspirations of its proponents. Their ‘hope’ can clearly be shown to be disconnected from the social and material reality of both the society as-it-is and the potential society that-could-be. If the destruction of the current order must be achieved, for our own potential to be realized, for its own sake, for the children, it may be better to do it with open eyes than purposely blinded ones. A strategic nihilist understands that an ethical revolution does not create an ethical society. An ethical anarchist is not one concerned with non-utopian social transformation, only an idealized one. A strategic nihilist understands that the infrastructure of the modern world embeds its own logic and inhabitants and the nihilist is willing to toss it asunder anyway.

    I myself have sympathy with that view, being politically, a (green) anarchist.

    However, the strands of thought which have lead to this view are all from the European heritage, the legacy of 2 millennia of struggles, the Judaeo-Christian and Graeco-Roman and Islamic worlds, with all kinds of minor influences… we can trace the story, we can track the concepts, nihilism and anarchism, etc, right back from Nietzsche to the Pre-Socratics, because the ancient Greeks knew all this stuff, it’s not new.

    For example, what happens, if you take scepticism to it’s logical conclusion, and doubt everything ? I mean, at the extreme, you have a total nervous break down, because you have to doubt your own existence, you have to doubt that the world exists, you have to doubt your own doubt, you have to question your own question, you implode, you melt down… that was where Descartes was forced to stop and say ‘I think, therefore I am’, which was really a rather pathetic cop out.

    But the Greeks had been there, long before him, so had the Chinese.

    A certain painter, Apelles, was trying to represent foam on the mouth of the horse he was painting. But each time he applied the paint he failed to get the desired effect. Growing frustrated, he flung the sponge, on which he had been wiping off the paint, at the picture, inadvertently producing the effect he had been struggling to achieve . The analogous point in the case of seeking the truth is that the desired tranquility only comes indirectly, not by giving up the pursuit of truth, but rather by giving up the expectation that we must acquire truth to get tranquility. It is a strikingly Zen-like point: one cannot intentionally acquire a peaceful, tranquil state but must let it happen as a result of giving up the struggle. But again, giving up the struggle for the skeptic does not mean giving up the pursuit of truth. The skeptic continues to investigate in order to protect himself against the deceptions and seductions of reason that lead to our holding definite views.

    The problem with the nihilist stance is the spiritual sterility, there’s nothing there to sustain a person through hardship and adversity in daily life. I’m coming at this from a completely different place, nothing to do with the Western European traditions. Taoism and anarchism have much common ground, there’s plenty of literature and discussion of this on the internet, and taoism has met the problems of nihilism millennia ago.

    That is, no God, no hope, no purpose, etc, what do you live for ? Kill yourself ? Get drunk ? Go around feeling miserable, depressed, complaining, full of self-pity, getting on everyone’s nerves ?

    You see, the Chinese have had 5000 years or so of unbroken civilisation, with more horror than anybody can imagine, famines, wars, plagues, and catastrophes, that wiped millions and millions of people off the map, over and over again, and yet somehow they kept on going.

    They learned lessons the hard way, and they did not forget them.
    There is nothing in the European traditions equivalent to the taoist teachings or the zen teachings. They go well beyond intellectual thought and analytical logic. That sponge story is a lesson that the taoists learned two or three thousand years ago, and have been teaching ever since, and it’s part of the zen buddhist understanding of how the world works. logspirit touched on this when he mentioned aikido and being in harmony with things.

    So, what I’m saying, if anyone is interested, we are facing NTE, and there’s ways to get through the days and nights, so you don’t get broken, if you don’t want to get broken.

    Perhaps this isn’t important. Perhaps it is. Two people going to be guillotined in the morning. One breaks down into a sobbing, whimpering, mess and pleads and screams all night. The other, doesn’t. She conducts herself with dignity and style, smiles at the jailer, shows contempt for the machine, and goes to her end with pride, serenity, composure and panache…

    Every moment is precious and never returns.

    http://pistolsdrawn.org/nihilism-as-strategy/

    http://www.iep.utm.edu/skepanci/

    @ Ben /Ozman

    Spiritual Eh ? Relating to what ? I don’t see what you’re connecting to.

  • “…or, you can just get on with it, on your own, in your own body, all the time, being what you are, being true to what you are… then it seems to me, it is quite simple…”

    Maybe even spiritual?
    I’m not pulling your chain, just sayin, no?

    Cheers.