How to talk about the likely death of billions of people

by SanJoseMike

Talking about climate related deaths in the billions is not an everyday conversation. I thought I would share with you some successes I have had, and some occasions where I have no idea how to proceed. I am sure someone reading this will have some insight. Here are the three situations I face:

Teacher/student. I teach SAT biology and AP biology and AP environmental science. At the SAT level, the coverage of global warming on the test is very minimal, just how does the process work, and a brief (and very understated) list of consequences. I always go ‘beyond the book” in every class I teach, so I expand on the theme of ocean acidification, sea level rise, and droughts/floods. Several times I have gotten the question, “How bad will it get?” I use the example of carrying capacity, and explain how populations that exceed the carrying capacity always crash, and then briefly mention that we (humans) have far exceeded the carrying capacity, and human population will crash to a much smaller number. This seems to work well for high school students with some basic knowledge of ecology. I can tell by looking at the faces that most “get” it, intellectually, but not at the gut level. A few clearly think I am delusional, and maybe one or two in each class seem to begin the process of really internalizing it. I haven’t yet had any bad reactions from parents. It seems that since this is a logical extension of the “official” lesson, it doesn’t come off as trying to “indoctrinate” the students.

My daughter and 3 grand children. Here, I really feel at a loss as to where to go. My daughter is 38, the two girls are 15 and 17, the grandson is 5. My daughter knows the basics of global warming, but is at the stage of “we can come together as a species and pull through.” Part of me wants to show her the mounting evidence that society will move backwards, and rapidly, as billions die. I want to treat her as an intelligent adult who should know the facts…but I can’t. Perhaps I feel that if I lead her to a deeper knowledge, then I am responsible for the stages of Denial, Anger, Grief, and possibly Acceptance. It’s one thing to stand outside and say, this is what a mature adult should do. But, how do I tell my own daughter that her children will face a world growing more and more hostile to life every year? How does that knowledge change the way she raises her kids, my grandkids? My current thinking is, to very gradually bring up the results of scientific studies, step by small step, and see how she integrates the information. Not talking about the imminent chaos is like pretending it isn’t real, and I have always been poor at pretending. No option here seems good. I am sure some of you have been in this situation; What did you do? And, what were the results?

Adult friends with families. I have two people in particular that I am thinking about. Both are seriously religious (I am an atheist), both have made enormous personal sacrifices to help family members who had absolutely no one else to turn to. Both have so much else on their plates that keeping up with climate change studies is impossible. My thought here is, when the topic of global warming comes up, just to say something true, but not even coming close to the full depth of the problem. These good, moral people are stretched to the limit as is, and I don’t see that trying to confront the full reality of what we face is even possible for them.

There is a common thread to these situations. I have accepted, fully and deeply, the reality of my own death for many decades. I can imagine without rancor a world without me, because I always said to myself, “Life will go on. Humans will go on. When I die, it leaves a spot so someone else can live, and grow, and flourish.” In other words, one can make a meaningful life by being part of a larger whole … humankind as a species, or even life in general. Now that we know that humanity is going down (how far down is still unsure), and taking much of the natural world down as well, what do you look to in order to make life worth the effort? One reason I am reluctant to talk about the impending collapse is that people will ask me that same question: What do I do now? How do I go on? I don’t have a real answer.

You probably noticed this is my first posting here at Nature Bats Last. I’ve previously neither written an essay nor posted a comment.

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SanJoseMike is a 61-year-old, self-employed tutor/teacher of biology, chemistry, and environmental science, at the high school and early college levels (SAT, AP, and higher). He is actively involved with 350.org working against the Keystone pipeline. He has decided that, even though a major eco crash is unavoidable, he still has a moral obligation to do all he can to work against it.

Comments 157

  • This article reminds me of a conversation I had with a woman who is a semiretired professor at Princeton. She also has deep concerns for what is happening on/to our blue spaceship. So what does her daughter do? She became the polar opposite, a derivatives trader on Wall Street.

    I have almost given up trying to talk to people, especially younger ones, about all of these serious problems. Their reality is what they have experienced from day to day living. If they see little change during their lives that is what they will expect. They will view the people of this blog as a bunch of “the sky is falling” crazies. Then there are the tea party types that say it’s all a government conspiracy and that the glaciers are actually growing. The most frustrating ones are the ones who should know better but, after hearing my rant on the exploding population, say that fertility rates will be falling and not to worry.

  • (My first, of a possible maximum two posts for today:)

    @ Daniel: Thanks for your wisdom. Hope you come back soon so I can learn more from you! :)

    @ KK and Kathy: Thanks! :)
    ==

    We’re sitting here taking our ease,
    And saying whatever we please;
    Though we can’t change our fate,
    We still like to relate:
    We’re monkeys chattering in trees.

  • @patrick o’leary

    Holy Shit! Did you evacuate? One thing I’ve noticed this season is that the storms that come through just sit on top of us, growing bigger, or move along at a snail’s pace, like 5-10 mph. Last summer was drought, and the summer before was storm after storm and flooding, but those storms were always fast moving. We had a third massive, damaging hailstorm on the friday before Labor Day, and at that time I watched as the remainder of my garden was torn to shreds, promising myself that I would plant nothing next year. Hope you are staying safe and dry!

  • The Ehrlich-Simon bet

    The gambling that occurred between a scientist and an economist was idiotic. Even though the scientist has been proven to be correct in many respects, the scientist lost the bet. Perversions of science such as those by economists have served to distract, mislead and set back the science of human population dynamics and overpopulation for too long. Similarly, a widely shared and consensually validated, preter-natural demographic transition theory (DTT) promulgated by demographers served a common purpose. This theoretical perversion of science ignored, avoided and denied apparently unforeseen and admittedly unwelcome research related to the diminishing prospects for future human wellbeing and environmental health on a planet with the size, composition and ecology of a finite and frangible planet like Earth.

    On our watch many too many people listen to and act upon what the economists and demographers say because their pseudoscience is politically convenient, economically expedient, legally rationalized, socially accepted, religiously tolerated and culturally syntonic. Their fabrications and optical delusions have acquired the imprimatur of science at least in large part because too many people with scientific knowledge refuse to stand up and speak out in affirmation of the best available scientific evidence. Too many scientists will not speak truth, according to the lights and science they possess, to those with the great wealth and power.

    All that is actively and wrongheadedly being done by those who are few in number to massively extirpate global biodiversity, to recklessly dissipate finite resources, to relentlessly degrade the environment and to threaten the future of children everywhere is bad enough. The elective mutism perpetrated by so many knowledgeable people is even worse. The masters of the universe along with their sycophants and minions, all of whom act as if “greed is good” and money rules the world, are but a few; those with ‘feet of clay’ are many. Thank you to everyone here in PMC community and elsewhere with feet of clay for speaking out as if you are a million voices. By so doing we educate one another to what science discloses to all of us about the placement of the human species within the order of living things on Earth and the way the blessed world we inhabit works. Otherwise, the silence of so many and the greedmongering of so few kill the world.

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #43

    Tahoe tree report:
    in south-facing granite zones,
    whole-forest topkill.

  • Finally got power back 72 hours after wind storm, [and we are by no means remote], not a big problem for me, tho I missed my daily fix of NBL yesterday when my internet phone battery ran out. I lived beside the mountain for a good part of the years between 50 and 60 with no power, showering under a tree summer and winter, and came to no harm. And using nothing but plain soap, the grass grew as before.
    I know at least one villager who departed to an area with power,unable to cope. A bucket bath is unkown to many these days! Lots of free firewood about this summer for those with the energy to collect.
    At least spring is truely here,saw my first pair of swallows earlier in week and spur winged plovers were in the field this morning when I went to feed hens. The radio informed me yesterday, that the bar tailed godwits have arrived in Christchurch after their nonstop flight from Alaska, the longest migration in the world I believe.
    A beautiful, still, sunny day here, I hope yours is as good.

  • Patrick: thanks for sharing the real deal through the video. Hope you and yours got through that in one piece with minimal damage.

    oldgrowthforest: I have no problem with spirituality, it’s organized religion I find distasteful, dishonest, and not worth my time. I was born into Catholicism but rejected that by college, looked in B’hai, Islam, and others. Reading zen somehow “feels right” but I don’t practice anything. Though i’m aware and in-tune with our predicament I can only hope that ones’ spirituality – feeling of oneness with it all – prevails as our shells drop away and that it’s all actually for something that I, as yet, find impossible to grasp (that it’s beyond human ideation and words). Unfortunately it seems that direct perception is the only avenue open to me on that front. I guess, like all before me, i’ll “see” when this brief life/consciousness is over.

    Steven: yes I read about that. What a farce. Ehrlich is completely correct but the limited time frame of the bet, combined with the usual human financial shenanigans, made it so that for a brief moment Simon, by sheer luck, was correct. In the long run, it’s a great visual representation of reality: “I win, I win!” while the dying oceans, land desertification and species die-off rates are just getting started.

    I’m beginning to wonder if the insurance industry will even be there for people as all this disintegration really gets going.

    Woods Dweller: hang in there!

    TIAA: Yeah, well, let’s see how long it takes these brains to reach the same conclusion we have here – “too late!” Presenting even more evidence to the politicians and power people probably will have the same effect as it already has. As a matter of fact, I was going to post the article I read about how the IPCC is really going to come out with both barrels blazing this time. I don’t think it’s going to matter. We aren’t going to stop until we’re physically made to stop – ie. nothing works anymore, no energy for maintenance or repairs, systemic collapse of the environment coupled with the global destruction of the world economy, and all out war pits everyone against everyone (it’ll every person for themselves in the end, as even cooperation will be insufficient to prolong our time).

  • This could shed light on the mythos/logos discussion:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/13/brain-surgery-hyper-empathy-amygdala-remove-epilepsy_n_3920770.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl4%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D374688

    @ Patrick O’Leary

    I hope nothing precious was harmed near that video scene. Maybe you even saw it, as I did, to be a sublime natural wonder coursing through the land. Ans it was nice enough not to carry away the lawn chairs!

    @ Robin Datta

    You candidate listing for most evolved on NBL is interesting. I have done somewhat the same thing, ironically noting Kathy C for what I learn from her. Now you’ll get me to take a closer look at TVT!

    I’ll list some misgivings–as much about my own actions as anyone else’s. I thank and approve of posters and their comments, and I clearly have my favorites. But that, and telling someone what I learn from them seems a bit different from singling out a couple as “the most evolved” on NBL. I think we have some right to mention posts and people that mean a lot to US (even though we might wish to reconsider how to go about that, including how we put down others). I think that it’s grandiose to pronounce in general terms, however, that some posters are specially evolved above the rest.

    Isn’t it dangerous to lionize the “select,” as you do with Kathy C and TVT? Isn’t it preferable to be inclusive and bring together rather than compete and separate. Do we need hierarchy and separateness on NBL? Why not trust the rabble to pick and chose what we consider tasty bits and what we consider useless? We are all doing the best that we can, and all have something to offer.

    Maybe we could look at the merits of the discussions instead of the merits of the people who post them.

    @ Paul Chefurka

    I’ve been enjoying your recent posts. I plan to look more closely at future ones.

    @ gail

    “They (mythos and logos) are BUILT INTO THE WAY OUR BRAINS WORK. Mythos does not exist independently of our mind. WE create it.”

    And then there’s the rub: we don’t really know what the mind is. It is often said that it doesn’t coincide neatly with the brain. What we call soul and spirit are yet other vexing puzzles. I posted a link on top that addresses the incongruence (as it appears to be) between gray matter and the ability to function beyond the material sphere.

  • @ Lidia

    See, Robin has explained it all for you zeks and meat robots out there… :-)

    And, to see The One without a second is to be is to be The One without a second: without a second there is no triad of seer, seen and sight – and no other(s).

    Do you understand that, Lidia ? Does everybody else here understand that ?

    Evidence to support that, Robin ?

    Or are we required to accept it, just because you assert it is so ?

    I mean, I do sort of know what you are trying to say, sort of, but you’ll have to do a much better job of explaining it because you come across as totally incoherent, pretentious nonsense posing as oracular wisdom, imo, and your pompous superior judgements about me and other people’s ‘worthiness’ or not, make me cringe. Still, you can’t help yourself, can you.

    @ Kathy C.

    …because U so easily slips into insults when he thinks he is losing…etc

    Which sums up your problem rather well, because you see it as a fight rather than a quest for understanding, which is why it is so exasperating to try and communicate with you, along with the fact that you assumed that I was some sort of cranky Christian fundamentalist, and that your grasp of philosophy and physics is so shaky and your knowledge of other religions near zero, but worst of all is your hatred and loathing of nature, seeing it from such a perverse angle as nothing more than a horror show that you want to end as soon as possible.

    I adore nature, including the magnificent savagery, and I find your attitude inexplicable and grotesque. But there we are. You are not going to change, I accept you as you are, you make some great comments here, I’m not the slightest bit interested in persuading you to change your mind or your views, am I.

    Except that when you make blatant mis-statements, I’m not bound to overlook them either, am I. Of course the science isn’t settled about consciousness and quantum physics !

    But what’s for absolute certain is that the old 19th C materialist paradigm that you take, or took (??) for granted is a dead duck. There’s at least a dozen new ones to choose from and a great many more lesser contenders and nobody knows which is right.

    @ Gail

    Ironically, U. has crystalized exactly what I think quite nicely on the last post:
    “Mythos and Logos. We need both. Nothing we can do about it anyway, they are not going to go away, they are built into the way our brains work.”
    They are BUILT INTO THE WAY OUR BRAINS WORK. Mythos does not exist independently of our mind. WE create it.
    There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just the way our brains evolved. We wouldn’t be the marvelous, evil creatures we are without it. We never would have started painting on caves without it. We wouldn’t have complex languages, hundreds of them, without it. We wouldn’t have Monet, or Mozart, or Shakespeare!
    Thanks, U, for clarifying that !

    Hahaha, well, I suppose that’s a small advance, and perhaps that’s the most that can be hoped for, and quite an amazing achievement, seeing as most people never seem to get that far even.

    Yes, mythos, poetic truths, like Shakespeare Sonnets and the Book of Ecclesiastes, and literal truths, like Pythagoras’ theorem and the Periodic Table of Elements.

    So, what’s all the fighting about ? Mostly, because foolish or wicked people confuse the two, and confuse metaphorical stories for accounts of real events. Joseph Campbell explains all that. Iain McGilchrist gives the best account of the divided brain.

    However, for anyone who is capable of taking a further step, I was completely serious when I said, yes in reply to Gail’s

    ‘’Without people to imagine, where will the great spirit be? In the rocks and molecules and prokaryotes that remain?

    Because there is a third position, beyond logos and mythos, where that split is transcended and you connect to your own living being, that the Universe has provided you with, and you directly realise that whatever it is, whatever you call it, permeates everything.

    That is not dependent upon the mind or thought, it’s not a mental or intellectual construction. There it is, in front of your nose, all of the time.

    Einstein knew about it, so do the Taoists, so do lots of other cultures and wisdom traditions, in various forms and flavours.

    The only people EVER to have denied its existence are the peculiar Western scientific materialists in the capitalist culture, following on from Descartes, that has caused most of the damage to the biosphere over the last century or two, for whom nothing is sacred, everything is just dead stuff, in a dead machine, inhabited by ghostly meaningless meat robots.

    Not saying that any other cultures or beliefs were great, they vary from appalling to benign, at least some of them TRIED to harmonise with the natural world, and given the knowledge they had, and NO science, I reckon that’s impressive. What would the world be like if everyone had followed their example, or that of the Kogi, or the Amish, instead of Carnegie and Rockefeller and Rothschild and Koch Bros, etc, etc. Too late now.

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

  • @ TVT

    I looked at the Minchin video. He’s wrong. The physical Koran is not the point. If someone accidentally set fire to a building housing Korans, destroying them, my guess is that Moslems would not treat that someone with more rage than they would to any accidental fire setter that caused destruction of valued goods. Moslems are enraged when a Christian extremist with an anti-Moslem agenda sets fire to the Koran. For the same reason that calling someone a symbolically demeaning and humiliating name–which after all results just from vibrations from the vocal chord (sp)–can incite all manner of resentment. This is a case of mythos making a monumental difference in real lives. It isn’t a case of logos, where cardboard binding, paper and ink have no significance other than to be a tool of communication, devoid of emotional significance. This should be obvious. I guess it’s that funny thing of people wanting to be respected.

  • respect and consideration

    Noted. I should have done likewise, and would have with this post but it seems comments are closed on the “Hoorah” thread.

    death bed

    That I would spend my final hours debating with you!?!

    ‘physical’ as all things being based in ‘physics’?
    Indeed, as you seem to have realized later on.

    A non-physical reality …mental phenomena which have NO physical correlate.

    No physical *correllation* and no physical *origin* are two different things. We are probably closer to agreement than you think.

    I think movies and dreams are “real” only to the extent that images are being created or re-created with real brain cells. I don’t think of their stories as realities, but fictions we tell ourselves for comfort and for entertainment, or in the case of dreams, just as a sort of ‘taking out the trash’ from the processing that happens to order and fix long-term memories while we sleep (yeah, you might find some gold, but most of it is garbage). You want to elevate them to the status of physical reality. I would move your hyphen, you see: “non physical-realities”.

    archaeology on a garbage dump, most of what people threw away was garbage, but by chance sometimes, someone dropped a gold coin… see what I mean.

    That’s a nice analogy. There are things to be gotten from stories, but they usually only apply to our emotions and our social interactions with other humans, not to the physical world. More often, we have made models (stories) and then waited at minimum a generation for science to discover why the model is inaccurate. Why Apollo does not drag the sun across the sky via his chariot, etc. That is a process which is incomplete and always will be. But there is no comparing science with storytelling in a competition, like oldgrowthforest wants to do. They are apples and oranges, I think you will agree.

    What disturbs me is when people replace physical facts and realities with stories, although this seems natural for humans to do, and I feel I must be, as Gail said, a “mutant” in this regard. Traditional religions are particularly irritating in this, but as The Archdruid Report has been exploring, secular “non-physical realities” can take on their own religious nature (100 years of shale gas, hydrogen-powered cars, human bases on Mars, etc.). Things can seem science-based but not be reality-based. I would call that “scientISM”, and it is the “god” that (at least according to the ADR) atheists supposedly worship. I’ve quit commenting there after being poorly treated due to the general confusion on that score: with some of the now-theist majority insisting that “howling” and “enraged” atheists are all on bent knee to the God of Material Progress. I see people in thrall to the idea of human progress as coming from both religious and non-religious backgrounds, of all stripes. The majority of folks there, and probably in the larger world, can’t conceive of someone like myself who believes neither in omnipotent or magical beings nor in guaranteed human progress (obviously, or I would not frequent NBL). The Archdruid is incapable of extending his triangulation trick to these discussions: all MUST have a religion, apparently, even those who feel as though they do not.

    Do you conceive of yourself as a machine, part of a larger machine? That’s the Cartesian model. That’s something I somewhat vehemently reject.

    Only “somewhat vehemently”? A “machine” is something which is fabricated, so I would say, no, there is not what I would call a “machine”. Instead I would call it a process. I am part of an ongoing biological, material and physical process, a phenomenon. I don’t know that anything set it into motion, but I would guess the overall system to be sempiternal (the ADR is worthwhile at least for the vocabulary one picks up at times) mainly for the reason that a beginning or end would raise the question of meaning, which *I* reject—somewhat vehemently. For something to have a meaning, an intelligence has to “mean” it. I don’t believe that such an intelligence is out there, and anyway positing such an intelligence as having “created” us, one has to ask what created it, a logical dead end.

    Hoping not to tire with references to another blog, part of a recent thought experiment over at the ADR involved imagining that one’s atoms ended up in other places and organisms. This disturbed some people, but since I was trained as a biologist this was no news to me in the least; instead I found it intuitively obvious to the point of banality.

    …Cartesian model… the root cause of NTE.

    But many of us seem to agree that, for either biological or thermodynamical reasons, humans are indeed ‘programmed’ (for the lack of a better word) to be just this destructive. That it was only a matter of when, and not whether, we would be the cause of our own extinction as opposed to a deus ex machina ;-) like an asteroid or a comet. It has nothing to do with being pre- or post-Descartes, nor even pre- or post-fossil fuel exploitation, though both conditions may have assisted the process.

    “News for Budgerigars” … Don’t really understand that…

    It’s a Monty Python reference. Actually it’s supposed to be “News for Parrots”.
    http://www.montypython.net/scripts/news.php

    …you who has bought into the meaninglessness of the Cartesian Paradigm, which deliberately threw out all meanings…

    I find it fascinating that you describe this as a willful act of vandalism (in other words, you’ve made up a story around it). Perhaps the examination of facts led to a dispassionate conclusion. I’m not a committed student of philosophy, so I would have to research the man further before I say anything else about him and his paradigms. For Descartes to have been superseded scientifically or logically or even morally does not mean that Meaning has been re-crowned King, and the Modern usurper vanquished.

    It works. Nevermind.

    See, the thing is, ulvfugl, *I believe you*.

    Yes, of course I have read [the Old Testament]. …

    Well, that part of my comment was not meant for you but for oldgrowthforest, who was adamant in championing the religious beliefs a particular Jewish doctor that she knows of. I didn’t really get into how her comments along these lines are inadequate appeals to authority. Many scientists believe foolish things. That doesn’t mean that, ipso facto, foolish things are true and/or life has meaning. I lived in a dorm on a floor where the Campus Crusade for Christ was very active (probably because it was the all-women’s dorm and most women were there because of traditional families who wouldn’t allow them to stay in a desegregated facility). They believed that “God/Jesus told them the answers” in response to specific prayers during their mechanical engineering exams, not that the answers came spontaneously as a result of study and long preparation (although—comically I found—they did prepare way more than I did, which is why they are building bombs at Hughes Aircraft now, to kill the muzzies, while I dropped out). This was at MIT. The fact that some people who can score highly on intelligence tests are insane is not any news to me.

    …why is that representative of ‘religion’?

    Oh, that’s right… you don’t live in the US!! ;-) The religious nuttery I talked about is not a red herring; society here is permeated with it. I frequented various non-apparently-religious cancer forums and they are chock-full of the prayerful: one woman said she was “grateful” for her mother’s cancer, because her mother has had a deathbed conversion to Jesus and so, either way, “She is HIS!!!” Another woman “praised the Lord” because she got a test quickly while other women had to wait weeks for the same test. I found this highly offensive and I asked her whether she realized that her comment implied that God *intended* for those other women to receive inferior care, or whether instead wouldn’t she agree that this was rather a result of greed, luck, insurance, politics, etc.? Likewise, would she share with the forum members with poor prognoses that that’s “what God intended” for them? My comment was quickly deleted by the moderator of the (ostensibly secular) forum. The religious always have carte blanche to offend, while atheists end up pecked at like bugs in a chicken coop, I have found here in the US.

    …the one that I adhere to, zen, is a sort of anti-belief system, a belief system the goal of which is liberation from all belief systems, including its own.

    Well, see there you go! Now stop adhering to zen and you’ll have progressed to where I’m at! ;-) (Just kidding. I do respect your diligence in expanding your perceptions. I’m just not sure that this pursuit is materially important or different, on a certain level, from many other hobbies one could indulge in.)

    The Unconscious is vast, has its own deep wisdom, its what grew our bodies, it has all the evolutionary background knowledge which allowed us to survive.

    But the flaw in this reasoning is that “the Unconscious” as you call it, is asleep at the wheel. It has no “deep wisdom”. It has not “allowed us to survive”, as is testified to by the fact that we are all here contemplating our near-term extinction as a rather short-lived species, as species go, apparently!!! I’m rather somewhat vehement about the fact that we are objectively a failure by any reckoning other than that of Paul C.

    The conscious thinking ego is a tiny fragile thing that …struggles against many much more powerful forces.

    This is your storytelling again, which satisfies the individual need you have to believe that mythic scenario. It’s cute, but there is no reason to think our egos are “fragile”: they are gargantuan: they have will have devoured the bulk of an entire planet in the space of some few hundreds of years.

    I think Robin Datta is trying to get at this, with his muddled metaphors about chauffeurs and lizards.

    I understand his lizard-chauffeur thing pretty well. Where I go off the deep end with him is his two-card monte shenanigans between “consciousness” and “awareness”. As Librarian re-emphasized, definitions are sorely lacking.

    Anyway, the Unconscious… speaks in …ancient symbolic forms and impressions… drop it a bait on a hook …and you’ll get an answer.

    OUR unconscious cannot speak in a language that we do not already know. So, yes, there are common interpretations sometimes, of snakes, or cigars. There is no THE Unconscious, otherwise it would be far easier to interpret various ancient hieroglyphs, wouldn’t you think? We’d feel far closer to “natural” acts like human sacrifice to appease gods.

    Sometimes that answer will be very hard, even impossible to decipher, perhaps it’ll be years later that you understand what it meant. Sometimes it’ll be so staggeringly brilliant it’ll take your breath away. Sometimes it’ll just say ‘You’re an idiot, isn’t it obvious’.

    What you are describing is about what I’d expect from such exercises. Nothing that you describe requires an outside intelligence or a linked universal consciousness, however. In my youth I subscribed to the Scientific American book-of-the-month club and received “Aha!”, which IIRC, was all about that sort of thing. Amazon commenter: “The difficulty of aha! insights is the lack of technique in coming to such an insight. It’s a spontaneous reaction, something sudden and unexpected when you discover a simple solution. These problems do not teach you how to have these insights, but allows for practice in order that they may become more frequent.” (bold emphasis mine).

    There’s scientific data …detect mind to mind transmission of intended attack before any move is made. …meditation changes the brain, both form and function, in all kinds of ways that are of benefit to the individual. You can change who you are, and how you are, by your own volition. Is that religion, or is that science?

    Again, *I believe you* in this! I only find this practice used, in the terms you describe, however, in the non-religion you call Zen, so that’s a bit of a endless loop, there. Other religions with which I am superficially familiar have Stories to tell and different concrete Goals they wish to reach, apparently, within far more elaborate and Meaning-bearing theologies. I’m not interested in those sorts of religions, which represent the bulk of religious practice among humans.

  • Gotta run because it is late and I am planning to go to the Tunbridge World’s Fair tomorrow, early in order to catch the Swine Clinic.

    Lots of great stuff but I only have time for a short second comment to Tom: “I’m beginning to wonder if the insurance industry will even be there for people as all this disintegration really gets going.”

    Answer: No. (They have already started pulling out.)

    B9K9 sez: “short insurers FTW!” ;-)

    Althoooouuugh… they could survive for a while and be profitable if they have actuaries (like Gail the Actuary!) with clear vision. They’ll just concentrate on events with lower risk, or concentrate more on rent-seeking (they already have lots of government help with required insurance for this and that; Obamacare is only the largest and most recent expression of this). Want to have a stand at the farmer’s market? Ya gotta pay a few hundred bucks/year for liability insurance.

  • To Jeff S,
    Thank you for explaining the low pressure situation regarding these floods in Colorado and thanks for linking the website. I heard this morning that Colorado gets an average of 11 inches of rain per year but got 11 inches in the last two days. I thought perhaps forrest fires had denuded that area.

    Patrick o’leary,
    The video of the flood fron your bedroom window has fine clarity. Very scary.

    Paul Cherfurka,
    Your posting Sept 11 @ 9:50 is brilliant and I am giving it deep thought. I thank you for this contribution

    R~.

  • Just because we prefer the bigger, cuter, Disney friendly forms of life like whales, polar bears, and trees, doesn’t mean evolution prefers them too. Crows are thriving, woodpeckers love dead trees, so do insects of all kinds. Insects, worms, and molds will thrive on our entropic waste, we are helping them, and we should feel good about that. For them, the more life we kill, the better. So what if species diversity goes down? After we’re gone, whatever is left will eventually diversify. Life came through the Permian extinction with flying colors, didn’t it, so why worry about future life? Let us enjoy the great spectacle that we are privileged to be a part of, and it’s not necessary to come up with some grand scientific theory to do so. We’ve all been invited to a great circus, and in the center ring, the grand finale that is rushing to completion is to watch how big a pile of wealth our global plutocracy can accumulate before they kill us all. It grows even faster than the number of leaky radioactive water tanks grows at Fukushima. If we’re lucky, we’ll all get to see the exciting conclusion.

  • @ Lidia

    death bed
    That I would spend my final hours debating with you!?!

    Well, obviously I’d step aside when they tried to resuscitate you, give the last rites, etc, maybe shout from outside in the corridor…

    ‘physical’ as all things being based in ‘physics’?
    Indeed, as you seem to have realized later on.

    But this is madness, Lidia. You are over-riding your phenomenological human sensual experience, what Einstein calls ‘naive realism’, with a theoretical abstract intellectual model drawn from text books. Ok.

    That’s (also following Einstein) giving you a more accurate picture of what’s really going on, based in ( your version ) of physics.

    But you’re ignoring that YOU are NOT ‘physics’, YOU are living BIOLOGY, a human animal, and the appropriate centre of perception is your OWN conscious being not a theoretical intellectual abstraction.

    A non-physical reality …mental phenomena which have NO physical correlate.
    No physical *correllation* and no physical *origin* are two different things. We are probably closer to agreement than you think.

    Indeed. This apparent disagreement is because of two fairly subtle, closely related but distinct definitions of the term physical.

    I think movies and dreams are “real” only to the extent that images are being created or re-created with real brain cells. I don’t think of their stories as realities, but fictions we tell ourselves for comfort and for entertainment, or in the case of dreams, just as a sort of ‘taking out the trash’ from the processing that happens to order and fix long-term memories while we sleep (yeah, you might find some gold, but most of it is garbage). You want to elevate them to the status of physical reality. I would move your hyphen, you see: “non physical-realities”.

    I think your view is increasingly obsolete, there appear to be dimensions which have no solid physical reality but which can be explored.

    archaeology on a garbage dump, most of what people threw away was garbage, but by chance sometimes, someone dropped a gold coin… see what I mean.
    That’s a nice analogy. There are things to be gotten from stories, but they usually only apply to our emotions and our social interactions with other humans, not to the physical world. More often, we have made models (stories) and then waited at minimum a generation for science to discover why the model is inaccurate. Why Apollo does not drag the sun across the sky via his chariot, etc. That is a process which is incomplete and always will be. But there is no comparing science with storytelling in a competition, like oldgrowthforest wants to do. They are apples and oranges, I think you will agree.

    No, sorry, I completely and strongly disagree. You don’t understand what I mean by ‘stories’, which I am using as shorthand for a massive philosophical and sociological body of work of which you seem completely unaware, and which I’m sure you reject and and dismiss with horror because you won’t understand it and won’t want to understand it.

    Look, 1 + 1 = 2 is a STORY !

    You are thinking of stories as myths and fairy tales. That’s not how I am using the word.

    Mythos and Logos are both all composed only of stories.

    What disturbs me is when people replace physical facts and realities with stories, although this seems natural for humans to do, and I feel I must be, as Gail said, a “mutant” in this regard. Traditional religions are particularly irritating in this, but as The Archdruid Report has been exploring, secular “non-physical realities” can take on their own religious nature (100 years of shale gas, hydrogen-powered cars, human bases on Mars, etc.). Things can seem science-based but not be reality-based. I would call that “scientISM”, and it is the “god” that (at least according to the ADR) atheists supposedly worship. I’ve quit commenting there after being poorly treated due to the general confusion on that score: with some of the now-theist majority insisting that “howling” and “enraged” atheists are all on bent knee to the God of Material Progress. I see people in thrall to the idea of human progress as coming from both religious and non-religious backgrounds, of all stripes. The majority of folks there, and probably in the larger world, can’t conceive of someone like myself who believes neither in omnipotent or magical beings nor in guaranteed human progress (obviously, or I would not frequent NBL). The Archdruid is incapable of extending his triangulation trick to these discussions: all MUST have a religion, apparently, even those who feel as though they do not.

    Yes, I agree with you re ADR, I think they have all lost the plot, they are lost in escapist fantasies, but sorry, but you and Gail are going to keep on being disturbed, because there is no escape from this critique, my critique ;-)

    What you have just written is a story, what I’m writing is a story, the Theory of Relativity is a story.

    What you WISH is that there would be something called ‘physical facts and realities’ that you can rely upon, quite distinct from all this mushy stuff that you dislike so much.

    However, unfortunately for you, and indeed for me, because I have also fought this battle from your perspective, you have lost the war.

    Look, there is absolutely NO statement that can be made that is NOT a story.

    When you tell me that ‘There is an OBJECTIVE REALITY that can be measured scientifically’ THAT ITSELF is a fucking STORY. :-)

    The only difference between science stories and all the other stories, is that science stories must be attached to EVIDENCE. Something that can be measured.

    The precise nature of this attachment is absolutely fascinating, philosophically, because nobody seems to be able to state with exactitude what it should be, although there is general agreement that it is a fundamental requirement. Correspondence Theory is one attempt, that is, the correspondence between a written statement and a measurable fact.

    I’m snipping out the Cartesian Model stuff, etc, because it’d take too long to get to grips with all that, I can already hear the groans as folk scroll past all this… :-)

    The Unconscious is vast, has its own deep wisdom, its what grew our bodies, it has all the evolutionary background knowledge which allowed us to survive.
    But the flaw in this reasoning is that “the Unconscious” as you call it, is asleep at the wheel. It has no “deep wisdom”. It has not “allowed us to survive”, as is testified to by the fact that we are all here contemplating our near-term extinction as a rather short-lived species, as species go, apparently!!! I’m rather somewhat vehement about the fact that we are objectively a failure by any reckoning other than that of Paul C.

    Nonsense. You don’t get it. It’s not the conscious thinking ego that grows you in your mother’s womb, it’s not the conscious thinking ego that digests the food, or heals you back to health.

    The conscious thinking ego is a tiny fragile thing that …struggles against many much more powerful forces.
    This is your storytelling again, which satisfies the individual need you have to believe that mythic scenario. It’s cute, but there is no reason to think our egos are “fragile”: they are gargantuan: they have will have devoured the bulk of an entire planet in the space of some few hundreds of years.

    You don’t seem to have any idea what I’m talking about, any introspective insight, Lidia.

    The EGO, the part of your inner being that thinks it is ‘ME’, that is the executive function.
    It’s obvious it is fragile, because it soon becomes exhausted and breaks down. You don’t accept that ? Ask anyone trained in torture and interrogation techniques. Ask anyone who has done zen meditation how long they can sustain concentration before their mind drifts away onto something unintended.

    Anyway, the Unconscious… speaks in …ancient symbolic forms and impressions… drop it a bait on a hook …and you’ll get an answer.
    OUR unconscious cannot speak in a language that we do not already know. So, yes, there are common interpretations sometimes, of snakes, or cigars. There is no THE Unconscious, otherwise it would be far easier to interpret various ancient hieroglyphs, wouldn’t you think? We’d feel far closer to “natural” acts like human sacrifice to appease gods.

    Hahaha. More nonsense. You seem to think that ‘we’ are somehow separate and apart from our unconscious. Again, this is the Cartesian Paradigm from your science, the mind and body split. It’s junk. You are not understanding what I am saying. I’m talking about your own individual personal unconscious mind, which is most of it. It’s the thing that sends you a pain signal when something is damaged, the thing that sends you a hunger signal when the body needs food. All that stuff.

    What I meant was that it has great wisdom, and that it will do everything it possibly can to guide the conscious little ego. But there is a problem. Somehow, information has to be transmitted from the level of the mitochondria, the gut microflora, the blood cells, the hormones, the cells that grow your toe nails, the cell that has suddenly gone crazy and become cancerous, – that level, which dates back billions of years – up through the chain of command, so to speak, to the ego in the brain, in a form of signal that the ego in the brain can actually understand.

    I’m not talking about Freudian snakes and cigars. I’m saying that the body will try to communicate via the unconscious mind in whatever form it can, to convey information to the conscious ego, but it can’t speak english. You have to listen closely, or more likely watch closely because, although it seems to vary from person to person, this is mostly about visual imagery, semiotics. One’s personal dreams, if you learn how to attune to them, will give you constant feedback on everything to do with you health and life.

    But if you learn mushin, you can switch off ego most of the time and just listen to the intuition. What seems to happen, it’s actually something much more extensive. I don’t go with Jung’s Collective Unconscious. Nevermind, this is already too long. :-)

    That’s how I think divination works, I Ching, Tarot, Astrology, etc, are ways to tickle that system, to give it something to work with.

    Anyway, thanks for the stimulation, Lidia, and it’s a great pleasure to find you back here in such good form.

    Music !

  • Can I just add, that Consciousness IS. Consciousness is inflected through unconscious mediation, as all those surrealist symbols, imagery and fluid forms, most of the time. But sometimes it is pretty direct, and tells it like it IS. This concept of an ‘Unconscious’ is not a real entity, but an inflected lens through which Consciousness permeates, much like the ancient ideas of Sun and Moon and the light dynamics of that system.
    (Not wanting to get into an argument, just my two bits worth.)

    Just Sayin

  • Paul C. great summation. Yep
    Robin – thank you so very much
    Btd. Yep a bunch of monkey’s chattering. Won’t keep us from dying but will keep us from thinking about it.
    How to talk about the likely death of billions of people – don’t, change the subject.
    How to deal with knowing when loved ones won’t listen. Rum???
    How to deal with it when you have dependent children to care for? I haven’t a clue, and when I think of my own grandkids, I start to get emotional and turn to stupid arguments about things that shortly won’t matter.

    Meanwhile, I used to just watch the departure from normal map at weather dot com and so often those area in strong departure from normal looked suspciously like Dr. Jennifer Francis’ clip on the Rossby Waves, the change in the waviness of the jet stream caused by warming in the arctic.
    Now I have begun to check 24 hour temp change map as well https://weather.com/maps/maptype/currentweatherusnational/us24hourtemperaturechange_large.html?clip=undefined&region=undefined&collection=localwxforecast&presname=undefined especially this morning when I woke up to temps 10 degrees cooler than yesterday morning. Thankful as it makes garden chores easier to face. But after a summer of sometimes daily rain we are now over a month without rain.
    Locally farmers got a great cutting of hay, more bales per field than I have ever seen, but when I mentioned that at the feed store I was told it will be low nutrition because it was ready to be cut months ago but it wasn’t dry enough to cut until recently. When it stands like that it loses nutrition.
    Asked what they will do with it. They said feed it and supplement. “Better (to feed the poor hay) than throwing rocks at the cows all winter” I was told. Reminds me how the Ik tribe in Africa was reported to swallow small round stones to fill up the stomach to ward of hunger pains and when they came out in the feces, to use them again. Which reminds me of reading when I was a teen of children in India picking out undigested grain to eat from the feces of cows. Well soon it may be our turn, but at least that hasn’t been our whole lives. So when we despair of the future, remember that is the NOW for billions on the planet.

  • “So when we despair of the future, remember that is the NOW for billions on the planet.”
    Kathy C., your reality checks are always welcome.

    @OzMan, have you begun your walk?

    @u, I’ve lost your plot now, I admit. I suppose I just don’t have the level of psychic investment in the situation that you do.

  • Unbelievable scenes from Boulder this morning (there’s a 13 min. video from a helicopter over at seemorerocks). The “new normal” isn’t going to sustain humanity.

    http://robinwestenra.blogspot.co.nz/2013/09/the-fukushima-catastrophe.html

    Saturday, 14 September 2013

    Endless Fukushima catastrophe: Many generations’ health at stake

    Helen Caldicott

    14 September, 2013

    Bio-accumulation of radioactive elements around Fukushima will devastate many future Japanese generations, while the Pacific Ocean is also being contaminated by leaking radioactive water. Yet there is still no good solution from the Japanese government.

    As I watched the tsunami power into the reactor complex at Fukushima on March 11, 2011, I realized the world would never be the same again. No nuclear reactor can withstand being drowned in a massive wave of water without catastrophic consequences.

    There were three nuclear reactors undergoing fission at the time while one, unit four, had just been emptied of its radioactive core, which was now situated in an unprotected cooling pool on the roof of the building, 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground. As the power supply to the reactors was disrupted during the earthquake, and the auxiliary diesel generators in the basements of the reactors failed because they were flooded, the pumps which supplied up to 1 million gallons of cooling water to each reactor failed.

    Within hours the intensely hot radioactive cores in units one, two and three started to melt. As they melted, the zirconium metal cladding on the uranium fuel rods reacted with water to produce hydrogen which exploded with overwhelming intensity in the buildings of units one, two, three and four releasing huge amounts of radioactive elements into the air.

    On March 15 alone, it is estimated that 100 quadrillion Becquerels of cesium, 400 quadrillion of iodine plus 400 quadrillion of inert noble gases (xenon, krypton and argon) escaped. Over a period of time two-and-a-half to three times more noble gases were released into the air than at Chernobyl.

    Noble gases are very high energy gamma emitters similar to x-rays, which penetrate human bodies externally and, when inhaled, are absorbed from the lungs and stored in fatty tissue exposing nearby organs, including the gonads, to gamma radiation. Cesium and iodine 131 are also gamma and beta emitters which enter the body by inhalation and ingestion. But over 100 other radioactive elements were also released during the weeks and months of the accident and thousands of people were exposed to clouds of radiation. The damaged reactors continue to emit radioactive airborne releases to this day.

    Luckily the wind was blowing east across the Pacific in the first several days, taking 80 percent of the fallout with it – much of which was deposited in the Pacific Ocean. But around March 15 the wind changed, blowing to the northwest and large areas of Japan, including parts of Tokyo became severely contaminated. Approximately 2 million people are still living in highly contaminated areas in the Fukushima Prefecture and elsewhere, areas so radioactive that similarly-populated areas were quickly evacuated by the Soviets after the Chernobyl accident.

    At the time of the Fukushima accident an unprecedented quantity of highly radioactive water was also released into the Pacific Ocean. But it hasn’t stopped. TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) now admits that 300 tons of this water has been leaking into the Pacific every day since the accident 30 months ago and so far 270,000 tons of water has been released.

    It is becoming apparent that the three molten cores, each weighing 120 to 130 tons have not only melted their way through 6 inches of steel in the reactor vessels, but they now either sit on concrete floors of the severely cracked containment buildings or they have melted their way into the earth itself – this, in nuclear parlance, is called ‘A Melt Through to China Syndrome’.

    Because the reactor complex was built upon an ancient river bed located at the base of a mountain range, huge quantities of water flowing down from the mountains (1,000 tons daily) are circulating around these highly radioactive cores absorbing large concentrations of radioactive elements.

    TEPCO constructed a type of concrete dam near the sea front to prevent this radioactive water from entering the sea. But the continuous flow of water built up behind the dam and overflowed into the Pacific Ocean. Each reactor core contains as much radiation as that released by 1,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs and contains more than 200 different radioactive elements, which variously last seconds to millions of years.

    Medical implications

    Water in the bay beside Fukushima is highly contaminated with tritium, which is constantly increasing in concentration and now measures 4,700 Becquerels per liter – the highest level ever recorded in seawater. Furthermore a total of 20 to 40 trillion Becquerels of tritium have now been discharged into the Pacific Ocean –a Becquerel is one disintegration of radiation per second. Tritium is radioactive hydrogen, H3. It combines with oxygen to form tritiated water HTO, which is very dangerous. It emits an electron, or beta particle which, if lodged in the body, is very energetic.

    Tritium combines within the DNA molecule inducing mutations. In numerous animal experiments tritium causes birth defects, cancers of various organs including brain and ovaries, and it induces testicular atrophy and mental retardation at surprisingly low doses. Tritium is organically taken up in food and is concentrated in fish, vegetables, and other food groups, and it remains radioactive for over 120 years. Ingestion of contaminated food causes 10 percent to combine in the human body where it can remain for many years continuously irradiating cells.

    One of the main elements is cesium, a potassium mimicker, which concentrates in the heart, endocrine organs and muscles where it can induce cardiac irregularities, heart attacks, diabetes, hypothyroidism or thyroid cancer and a very malignant muscle cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. Cesium remains radioactive for 300 years and concentrates in the food chain. (there’s more)

    So much for an industry spokesperson who posts here saying it’s nothing to worry about and that all the reactors in the world could ‘go Fuk’ on us and it would have minimal effect.

  • Also, there’s a tropical storm scheduled to reach typhoon stage working it’s way toward Tokyo (and the rest of the island of) by Sunday, just to add to the suspense.

    On another note, the collapse of the economy specifically, Occupy Wall Street is still out there working on solutions:

    http://occupyamerica.crooksandliars.com/diane-sweet/s17-our-one-demand-end-capitalism#sthash.nrwnqEBC.dpbs

    Our One Demand Is To End Capitalism

    Via OccupyWallSt.org

    On September 17, 2013, the second anniversary of the beginning of the Occupy Movement, tens of thousands will come together across the country and the world to honor the most important and influential social movement in generations. As we exchange stories about the past and ideas for the future, we will be opposing a number of the 1%’s toxic attempts to siphon even more of our money and power away from us. The Trans Pacific Partnership “free trade” agreement, the undue influence of money in politics, and the lack of accountability in the global financial sector will be just a few of our targets. But, as we attack these symptoms it is necessary that we remember the disease: capitalism.

    Without capitalism, there could be no undue influence of money in politics. Without capitalism, trade would be truly free. Without capitalism, the financial sector would be an embarassing relic of the past, a warning to future generations. Without capitalism, there can be no neoliberalism.

    Anticapitalism is the true big tent. Whether or not you think the reforms proposed by various Occupy-related groups (like StrikeDebt and the Occupy Card) will fix the systemic problems of capitalism, they are campaigns worth supporting. They provide temporary relief to people who need the most and allow us to experiment with alternatives. This is a good thing. But we can’t let a good treatment distract us from a cure. Without addressing the underlying cause of capitalism, these problems will only get worse.

    Globalization will continue to send jobs overseas. Technology will continue to automate human labor and obsolete the professions of millions of workers who will have no choice but to adapt. But for those who can’t adapt to the new economy, the sentence under capitalism is death. This is because capitalism denies the necessities for human survival (like food, housing, and health care) to those unable to sell themselves to corporations. Even in times of plenty when you’d think we’d have to work less and less.

    The end of capitalism means the beginning of your new life – a life where your home cannot be taken from you by force to maintain the bottom-line of a multi-billion dollar company that pays less in taxes than you; a life where you own your future; a life where politics represents you. The end of capitalism means the life you’ve always wanted but never thought you could have. The end of capitalism means freedom.

    The 1% owned the mainstream American political system long before the Supreme Court upheld Citizens United. The 1% oppressed the global 99% long before “free trade” agreements became the norm. The 1% used the financial sector to swindle the people long before Dodd-Frank was repealed, long before the Federal Reserve.

    As we come together on #S17 it is important that as we oppose the institutions that capitalism has created to oppress us, that we oppose capitalism as well. If we allow ourselves to be held hostage by the symptoms of our disease we will never find our way to the cure. The cure, as we knew and demonstrated two years ago, is revolution.

    Two years after Occupy Wall Street was founded we are still here, and so are our problems. On September 17th, and every day – take the street, take your jobs, take back your money, take back your power. Organize.

  • @ BadlandsAZ

    I was honored to get the poem and be thought of as one sympathetic and responsive to Adrianne Rich, which I surely am. I can ride on her letter better than on her poetry, however.

    I have a great comprehension block with poetry. I can’t say it is sad, or even tragic, for I don’t quite understand what the block signifies or denies me. It comes from growing up among “alliterate” people, from monumental gaps in my education, and so on.

    But what an amazing fellow your son. I know you hear this all the time, that you are a visionary parent, the likes of which are very few. It probably embarrasses you to hear it yet again, but never mind. Somehow, this kind of faith in the child brings me to tears as nothing else does. Like when I see pictures of little kids trying to educate themselves by living close to nature in backyard tents. Such advancement, understanding, purity, pathos, facing such tragic odds. Yes, I cry unashamedly over that.
    —————————————

    On Mythos/Logos

    It’s good to finally get a better handle on how and why the two must work together. Ulvfugi mentioned a third, related entity, something to do with how we “live on” in the rocks. Is this understanding the same as animism, I wonder?

    Louise Hay (Heal Your Body), the great wisdom teacher, has taught me the INCREDIBLE importance of thought. All the hard, big physical things come from soft little thoughts. While one is able to experience it, any reality is altered depending on how we think about it. To a small, subtle but powerful extent, that rock into which you project thought might well be physically changed thereby. In the meantime, however, based on my and many others’ experience, it is clear that thought you project into the rock makes a difference–physical and emotional–to YOU.

  • “There is nothing of me that is alone and absolute except my mind, and we shall find that the mind has no existence by itself, it is only the glitter of the sun on the surface of the waters.”

    ― D.H. Lawrence

  • Lidia, I am somewhat vehemently grateful to U. for having inspired your tour de force response, which I vehemently enjoyed, thank you!

    Here is an interesting meditation on the two parts of our brains and how they determine our judgments and behavior:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/09/the-science-of-snobbery-how-were-duped-into-thinking-fancy-things-are-better/279571/

    It has a rather silly economic slant, but cites some interesting studies:

    “Cases like this represent the canon behind the idea of the “adaptive unconscious,” a concept made famous by journalist Malcolm Gladwell in his book Blink. The basic idea is that we constantly, quickly, and unconsciously do the equivalent of judging a book by its cover. After all, a cover provides a lot of relevant information in a world in which we don’t have time to read every page.

    Gladwell describes the adaptive unconscious as “a kind of giant computer that quickly and quietly processes a lot of the data we need in order to keep functioning as human beings.” He quotes psychologist Timothy D. Wilson:

    “The mind operates most efficiently by relegating a good deal of high-level, sophisticated thinking to the unconscious, just as a modern jetliner is able to fly on automatic pilot with little or no input from the human, ‘conscious’ pilot. The adaptive unconscious does an excellent job of sizing up the world, warning people of danger, setting goals, and initiating action in a sophisticated and efficient manner.”

    Our internal computers are powerful but unknowable. They can size up someone’s personality or skill at an occupation in seconds, but we can rarely articulate the basis of our judgments. The desired characteristics in a partner listed by speed daters, for example, rarely match the personalities of the person they connect with.

    But this unknowability also makes it easy to be led astray when our intuition makes a mistake. We may often be able to count on the price tag or packaging of food and wine for accurate information about quality. But as we believe that we’re judging based on just the product, we fail to recognize when presentation manipulates our snap judgments.

    …Outside of these more eccentric examples, it’s our reliance on quick judgments, and ignorance of their workings, that cause people to act on ugly, unconscious biases…”

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

  • Dreams are just taking out the trash, huh? That, itself, is just a “story.” Obviously from someone who knows zero about dreams, but does believe that we can just make it up as we go. I can write a good sentence, like, it just taking out the trash. Clearly you’ve never read a single book on dreams. Brain chemicals and brain regions that correlate to memory are shut down during dreaming, and that makes the symbols and dream messages incongruent to the conscious mind of those who take dreams at face value. But that doesn’t mean everything else is trash.

    There is far too much research into sleep and dreams, and far too many PhDs who have written books on dream theory. In fact, it is, as someone once wrote about spirituality, rather stomach-turning, the depth, the width, the breadth and the height of the combined ignorance and arrogance.

    We don’t learn if we don’t dream. Several studies have shown it. Dream disruption prevents learning. Sleep disruption does not, but dream disruption does. That is true of “procedural” learning as well as retention learning.

    Like I wrote above, for all the shouting about and claiming to know science, I’ve begun to wonder how much real science is actually known and grasped by the faithful materialists-atheists on this site.

    Like bible thumpers everywhere, when one genuinely knows the subject matter, your knowledge falls way short, and your integrity is as minimal as your knowledge.

  • In fact, I want to thank a number of people here. When I first read the site, I was so impressed. You see, I am a naturalist of the old school, living in Alaska, watching the birds, years on the edge of the wilderness watching all of it through the seasons. But I don’t have a formal education in biology.

    My education is in psychology. And while not an advanced degree, I do know about things like dreams, and sleep studies, and consciousness. Those things were the subject for my own senior research project. And I’ve spent my lifetime learning on my own. I quit watching tv at the age of 16, and I have spent years and years learning and learning, and then learning some more. About anything I wanted to study. An uncle of mine with a PhD in entomology who was professor once came to visit for a couple of weeks and he and my aunt and I drove all over the state seeing Alaska. He later told my aunt that I was so knowledgeable that my knowledge and understanding of natural world exceeded that of his students with bachelor’s degrees in biology. They always said I was a really smart kid in school.

    So, when I first read this site, I was terribly impressed with both Guy and a number of the posters here. I was also terrified.

    I’m still terrified, but not nearly as much as before. I’ve read enough now that a few subjects in which I do have expertise have been discussed. And it’s clear to me that the arrogance and the ignorance regarding “reality” are absolutely staggering here. Freud is so 19th Century, don’t you think? I mean, there have been a lot of studies on dreams in the ensuing hundred years or so. Try Delaney, Fontana, Garfield, Lukeman; there’s dozens there, too, all PhDs. But Ann Faraday is the best, if you want to just get to the good stuff.

    And I feel a lot better. About everything. There is more than good reason to question the credibility of the knowledge at this site, and especially the ability of a number of people to put the knowledge together meaningfully. I should have known with the initial prohibition about “secularism,” that couldn’t see hardcore fundamentalism when it wasn’t framed in religious terms.

  • Kathy; I was surprised to hear you mention the hay crop in your area. I thought the East got most of the rain. Here in New York we had probably the poorest quality hay crop harvest of my lifetime. I started doing this at age 7 on the home farm. Being 3 days late is not good but 3 weeks late is a crime. Some hay got cut 3 months late. Feeding more grain will help a little but not much and will just cost more. Milk production will be down. You can’t fool a cow (or nature). You get back in proportion only to what you give.

  • ‘Some of Britain’s finest minds are drawing up a “doomsday list” of catastrophic events that could devastate the world, pose a threat to civilisation and might even lead to the extinction of the human species.’ -from guardian article posted by tom

    the list included runaway climate change, but nothing about resource depletion, pop. overshoot, ocean acidification, or eco-collapse. if these are among our finest minds supposedly, no wonder we’re in trouble! this raises a very perplexing question: why is it that so few intellectually gifted sheeple are well informed about the breadth and depth of the problems civilization has created? it’s rhetorical since there is no satisfactory answer, it seems. other than perhaps humanity’s vaunted intellect is way over-rated. idiot-savants.

  • Whew – just when I was starting to get worried. Seems everything will be fine it’s been a false alarm – and in 70 years my great-grandkids will be growing orange trees in my PA backyard.

    Dialing Back the Alarm on Climate Change
    A forthcoming report points lowers estimates on global warming

    The new report will say that this change is “likely” to be 1 to 2.5 degrees Celsius and “extremely unlikely” to be greater than 3 degrees. This again is lower than when last estimated in 2007 (“very likely” warming of 1 to 3 degrees Celsius, based on models, or 1 to 3.5 degrees, based on observational studies).

    Most experts believe that warming of less than 2 degrees Celsius from preindustrial levels will result in no net economic and ecological damage. Therefore, the new report is effectively saying (based on the middle of the range of the IPCC’s emissions scenarios) that there is a better than 50-50 chance that by 2083, the benefits of climate change will still outweigh the harm.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324549004579067532485712464.html

  • @oldgrowthforest, I do HAVE dreams so I can certainly speak as a “user”. I am also able to guide my dreams to a certain extent without having intentionally explored the practice of lucid dreaming, of which I have heard. I just do it because I like to do it—I’m always eager to see what happens next so I push further into my dreams when I can (which is not always). I find messages in dreams, but I can only recognize them as messages from me to myself. Dreams are only partially “incongruent” to me. I find them, sometimes, to be expressions of situations that preoccupy me, which play themselves out in intriguing ways. I always dream in color. I have not found dreams to be messages from another plane of existence, is all that I have to say on that score.

    It’s true that I’ve never read a book primarily about dreams, but I have read a lot of Oliver Sacks (but don’t take what I wrote earlier to be any kind of representation of his work—I was just commenting off-the-cuff). I don’t have anything to say one way or the other about Freud and was just using “cigar” as an accessible example of what some people might think of a symbolism in dreams.

    Having said that, I still don’t understand why you keep talking about “shouting”. I feel perfectly calm when I comment here—as though I am using my “indoor voice”. Your comment on my integrity is gratuitous and, I would think, falls under the category of a personal attack, which I am sad to experience.

    It appears that credentials are important to you. I never claimed to be an expert on anything—I’m just another person with opinions they sometimes like to air on the internet. Peace out.

  • To all, been very busy lately, had to play hooky last night…

    @ TIAA So glad to see you are going in the right direction for your health. Best news I’ve seen all day. Sometimes even one little joy makes the rest bearable. Thank You for letting me know! Even I need some encouragement sometimes, seeing some positive action does it for me.

    @ ulvfugl Thanks for always keeping an open mind. Great example for all of us. Indeed, as you say, there are aspects of the ‘subtle’ energies that can be verified.

    @ Lidia “It’s difficult and expensive to eat nutrient-dense organic food.” Its even more difficult and expensive to be sick from standard ‘food’. Actually most of a plant based diet doesn’t have to be expensive at all, especially when compared to the price of flesh. Most people can join a food co-op or a community supported farm — or find places to grow their own. Nearly everyone can grow sprouts. As far as Modified Citrus Pectin… eat, juice plenty of whole fresh ripe fruits, include the skin and seeds of citrus – lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, add papaya and mango. I never recommend fish oil. Use flax or borage oil. Actually I would encourage you to mainly emphasize green juicing – kale, cabbage, broccoli, collards, parsley, celery, etc… sweeten with some apple, add whole lemon juice from the blender, drink all day long… replace most of your liquid intake with green juices, 12 cups a day or more. You can make it all on one day and freeze it for a week if you add whole lemon juice, about a tablespoon per quart. Green juices will cleanse and nourish like nothing else can and reduce inflammation. Also grow and make your own wheat grass juice, 4 to 6 ounces per day – but build up to that rate over 14 days or so, starting with an ounce. Also sprouts are key. Especially broccoli sprouts. Include fermented foods like miso and (real unpasteurized) sauerkraut and pickles – 70% of your immune system is in your intestines, these fermented foods supply probiotics that restore intestinal function. Also eat plenty of garlic, onions, scallions, leeks etc. Bake whole garlic bulbs and have at it. Please see my link below to the nutritionfacts .org website and investigate further. If you want personal advice ask Guy for my email address (permission granted).

    @ Kathy Cassandra You want to fight, maybe pushed by caffeine or other irritants, or general physiological imbalances associated with an acid condition caused by flesh consumption. Sorry, I won’t accommodate you. “you don’t understand … You don’t understand” True. I don’t know how to reach someone who is so completely convinced, so filled up with their own beliefs that they have blocked out everything else, who simply refuse to consider any new perspectives… Who hold with a death grip beliefs and practices that are deleterious to their health in all aspects, and the health of the planet. It is like attempting to convince someone to stop their tobacco or alcohol or cocaine addiction who refuses to acknowledge it – or who has never even heard that such practices are harmful. Or introducing a climate change denier to the concept of scientific evidence. All I can do is put some information on the table. Take it or leave it. Since you mention eggs:

    http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/eggs/

    And perhaps you will also look into the following report where the author estimates “that at least 51% of human – induced GHGs are attributable to livestock”: http://www.chompingclimatechange.org/uploads/8/0/6/9/8069267/happiermeals.pdf

    I know this is vanguard stuff. Not mainstream. To benefit from it requires a willingness to go beyond the approved set of knowledge we are gently force fed by profiteering interests. Like other previously un-encountered ideas, it is ‘normal’ to regard such knowledge as ‘suspicious’ at first.

    I can only ask you to investigate the links I’ve included. But, sadly, my long experience causes me to doubt that you will. I have encountered many, many people who have taken similar ossified positions during the 40 years I’ve been vegan. Unfortunately, many of them have already died from obstinance. Now they are even more ossified.

  • “The layman always means, when he says “reality” that he is speaking of something self-evidently known; whereas to me it seems the most important and exceedingly difficult task of our time is to work on the construction of a new idea of reality.” (Wolfgang Pauli, Austrian Physicist, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics 1945)

    I don’t profess to know anything about Quantum Physics (I’m just starting to get my head around the famous double slit experiment, voted the most beautiful experiment by scientists as recently as 2002)
    It’s also still considered to be one of the most successful theories in science and many scientists believe that it underlies ALL known natural phenomena.

    However, amazingly, more than 80 years after it’s discovery, a complete understanding of the theory and its implications re reality have yet to be explained. I have to ask myself, why is that? Is it because it’s all just woo woo? Is it because we’re not evolved enough to fully comprehend what it means? Or is it because it doesn’t get the funding from government and corporations whose main priority, re research and development, is to propagate and condone the ‘consensus reality’ of mad Muslims and evil Commies?

    Unsurprisingly, the US spends more than any country on military research and development than any other country in the world. And you don’t need to be a rocket scientist, or even a Marxist, to understand how scientific and technological research has evolved to be completely systemised – corporations NEED to keep us in this crazy reality to enable them to survive and profit…

    I sometimes ‘wonder’ what kind of world we would be living in today if all the funding that went into the War Machine had been invested in Quantum Physics? What would we NOW be telling our children? Or, more importantly, in the non consensus reality, what would they be telling us? Silly, I know, but I like to ‘wonder’ :-)

  • Oooh MSM :-/

    When Einstein published his Theory of General Relativity, the New York Times sent their golfing correspondent to interview him.

    Well, I suppose, they at least sent someone!

  • Comparing one of the nation’s finest perinatologists who is also a Hebrew scholar with “campus crusades,” is exactly what I meant by not being able to put information together in any meaningful way.

    There is no comparison possible. Fact-free does it again.

    Fundamentalism has many forms. It is like malice and ill will. Malice doesn’t always come out and shout that it wants to hurt others. In fact, the worst malice always says it is a friend and it cares.

    Fundamentalism is always religious, but it does not only come framed in religious terms. It is simply rigid adherence to belief regarding things we may or may not be able to know. It rejects some knowledge that is measurable, while claiming other knowledge that cannot be measured.

    This site has always promoted fundamentalism – atheistic, materialistic fundamentalism that rejects plenty of evidence if the evidence doesn’t fit the preconceived framework for reality.

    It’s why you see those little fish on cars all over the place – the ones that represent Christianity and the ones that represent Darwin. They are the two sides of the same coin. Both equally unpalatable and unsupportable to anyone but the true believers and the church faithful. They are both religion, but only one group knows it. It’s not the atheists, either. On that score, at least the Christians are more honest and aware.

  • Research and inquiry is a slow process, which invokes as much personal change as it does changes in the wider cultural perception of reality. To be stuck in belief or disbelief, especially in the realms of human potential, is never to know, and it is only through actively engaging knowledge that wisdom can grow. In our darkened, confused time, when commercial forces of technology, conspiracy and terror wreak havoc with our global culture, we need a few more open minded individuals to carry us into the light.

    In order to achieve an age of reason, we need to act reasonably, and to continue to allow the illusory critiques offered up by sub-cultures, skeptics, paranormalists, marketers, corporations and commercial entities to stand in for personal engagement with the grand adventure of being human will only continue to put us in the hands of those too weak to explore their own existence, and too willing to substitute their own ego fulfillment for the treasure of enlivening our vast potential as a global society. Before you dismiss humanity’s long history of seeing the unlimited power of the mind to work in the material world, do yourself a favor and apply yourself to a serious education in psychical research, what you find may surprise you.

    David Metcalfe

    http://www.anomalist.com/

  • @oldgrowthforest I just wanted to say hello! I left a comment for you about a week ago, I think on Carolyn Baker’s article re:resignation/surrender, I believe. I can’t seem to keep up these days, with anything! Hope you are well, old growth!

    @Artleads Thank you for the high praise! However, I am no visionary when it comes to parenting, in fact my vision does not go beyond keeping everyone alive until bed time! It is chaos, and in my heart, I just hope to avoid doing any damage, as well, avoid putting out the spark that each child carries. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but to hold all of my worries at one time, just the responsibility for other lives, can be a crushing burden. So, we take each day as it comes.
    Interesting, what you said about your poetry ‘block’. I find William Stafford’s poetry to be very accessible. He wrote something like five poems a day, which speaks of an incredible work ethic, a balance in approaching the creative realms which I could never find. My creativity seems to have always been tied to my darker nature. I would love to see some of your works some day, maybe we could trade e-mail addresses sometime.

  • “Our friend Dirac, too, has a religion, and its guiding principle is “God does not exist and Dirac is His prophet.”

    Another Wolfgang quote. Wise, wise human being :-)

  • Oh, and in case the ‘2 post a day police’ are prowling, it’s after witching hour in the UK ;-)

  • The term for the fundamentalism of this site’s flavor is “scientism.” Big difference between actual science and a religious-level of belief about science. There is also a big difference between “facts” or evidence, and conclusions. Scientism regularly confuses the two. Even Hobson, whose work I drew upon in my research, states that based on the evidence his conclusion is that consciousness is biologically based. He never states that the facts or science prove that consciousness is biologically based, because science has not proved it. But smaller minds certainly will make that leap.

    So, to address other people as putting forth “crap” because they draw upon difference evidence or just draw different conclusions from the same evidence, something that happens all the time, is the morally dishonest portion of scientism that so much resembles its formally religious counterparts, the ones that have the “true God.” It is to diminish and devalue other people using as a tool what are at their core religious beliefs about science, and not actual science. However, the true believers do think it is true science they understand.

    It couldn’t hurt to give old Freud some credit for his now thoroughly discredited “dustbin” theory on dreams. It wasn’t one of his better insights, at all.

  • @logspirit, thanks for your generous counsel. I have indeed already undertaken a pretty radical change in diet. I could notice a change right away and I think the biggest improvement was in getting rid of refined flours and eating *much* smaller amounts of a variety of whole grains. Hard to give up a plate of DeCecco pasta, I’ll tell ya’.

    My comment was meant more generally and I still stand by it. Just a couple of examples from among your suggestions, pretty much all of which I do agree would contribute to healthfulness:

    -Juicing. Requires juicer and electricity. The better juicers (ones to process wheatgrass at low temps) are multi-hundreds of dollars. I’m conflicted about going down this road, as I have been trying to wean myself off of electric kitchen appliances.

    -Lemon juice. Lemons don’t naturally grow in Vermont. This is an issue with a lot of fresh vegetables, though I am planning to get a greenhouse up at some point.

    -Greens in general. It’s true that people can do sprouting even at home. But practically speaking you are not going to be able to supply an urban population with many cups of fresh greens every day per capita via sprouting. Eating large quantities of perishable foods year-round takes industrial inputs, if you want to include everybody.

    See what I’m sayin’? Of course you are correct that we eat poorly at the cost of our health. But there will be an ever-fewer number of people able to claim that sort of health, I believe. :-(

    I mean, there’s a reason that food started getting cooked and put into metal cans (and now freezers), why flour got its germ removed, why oils are chemically-treated: to preserve food longer so that more people can eat.

  • @ oldgrowthforest

    “This site has always promoted fundamentalism – atheistic, materialistic fundamentalism that rejects plenty of evidence if the evidence doesn’t fit the preconceived framework for reality.”

    It is disconcerting when people reach dogmatic conclusions in one sphere while clearly demonstrating enormous fallacies and unreason in related spheres. Maybe those dogmatic conclusions, even if they have considerable factual weight behind them, can’t be entirely trusted either.

    I know what you mean when speaking of the very high-level sophistication in research that we see so often disregarded and trampled underfoot like trash in favor of those firm dogmas instead. It’s like having a 300 pound bully sit on you till you can no longer breathe, or your vital innards get crushed.

    @ BadlandsAZ

    If you check out my comment on the latest thread (Portrait of the Artist as a Perfect Mess), it might be clear why I won’t have a web site or a coherent set of images to show. But I can get something to you for sure, even if it’s in a messed up way. :-) I would certainly like to see your work. How does one go about sharing email with a specific person? Is it within protocol to post email addresses on NBL? Is there some other way?

    I’ll go looking up William Stafford right now. Thanks!

  • @ oldgrowthforest

    Dave Pollard did a blog post on scientism a couple of months back

    http://howtosavetheworld.ca/2013/06/13/the-dangers-of-scientism-and-the-fear-of-the-unknowable/

    The term for the fundamentalism of this site’s flavor..

    I don’t think this site has any flavour except doooom.

    There’s a huge range of views, which is why it is such a stimulating place to be, and it’s all because of Guy’s tolerance.

    Seems clear to me, that his personal view, as a trained scientist, is that this should be a secular zone, free from religion, and he seemed to extend that to include spirituality.

    However, he’s one of the few really great teachers of the world, who seems to understand that the best way to teach is to let the pupils LEARN.

    And how do we LEARN ? Not by being told by the Professor what we should think. We learn by beating the shit out of the ideas, here, in this playpen, and deciding which ones are worth keeping and which ones are worthless.

    The people HERE are the BEST, the ones who woke up FIRST. And they are not going to be told what they can or can’t think about, because if that happens they’ll burn down the fucking classroom and go somewhere else. :-)

  • Dave Pollard is correct. Fear of the unknown, and even thinking that things cannot be known, is at the base of scientism and all religious fundamentalism. It is religious fervor with the faithful’s special and inaccurate version of science at the altar. The parallels between it and other religious fundamentalist perspectives are pretty indistinguishable from a behavioral perspective. The faithful are the same the world over, as are decency and destruction. It looks the same everywhere you go.

    Too bad some plain, old fashioned civility doesn’t go along with the wide range of views. Like I wrote, I didn’t come here to discuss religion or spirituality, not mine, not anyone else’s lack of. It’s a two-way street.

    Real secularism would prohibit the anti-religious views, as well. Thomas Jefferson’s separation of church and state is truly secular. The prohibition in the first amendment states that congress will issue NO law regarding religion. And it stops there. That is secular! “No law” means no prohibition as well as no institution, no denigration, no discussion at all. Zero. None.

    Secular would require that religion can’t be discussed at all – not pro nor con. Bashing religion would be as verboten as promoting it. If this site were actually secular, when people discuss consciousness, including possibilities that it is not based in materiality, they wouldn’t hear anti-religious biases. Because consciousness and studies on it and its related topics are legitimate fields of study in psychology, and in biology.

    The people here are the best? That’s a personal opinion that is none of my business. But I’m pleased for you that you feel that way.

  • If it were truly a secular site the statements about religious people being ignorant or obedient or fact-free would be as prohibited as statements promoting religion. That’s what secular means.

    And many people who are enormously decent and quite intelligent go every which way. There are giants among humanity who are religious, and others who are agnostic, and others who are atheistic. And they also change from one perspective to another, like Kubler-Ross did.

    So, it is a huge turn-off on both intellectual and social levels when the denigrating sniping at religion or anyone who is religious is allowed without comment, but religion/spirituality is forbidden.

    That isn’t the definition of secular. The site needs to say it is a scientism site if it is going to allow the one without the other.

    But since the prohibition seems to be lifted, which is both more fair and more honest, I’ve now put my own paltry opinion out there about how lacking in mental wattage I think scientism and all the comments about the ignorant religious/spiritual people are. They are down there with all the other fundies of the world. Not real bright.

  • Dear oldgrowthforest,

    There seem to be a few things zat you are having zee misunderstandings about…

    Guy has his position, and its his blog, and he’s the final arbiter.

    But he’s a busy man. He does not want to have to read every damn comment on this blog and adjudicate whether it conforms within rules, does he, he’s got better ways to spend his time writing essays and giving lectures and going for walks and whatever else he wants to do with the rest of his life.

    So we, the commentariat, have to moderate ourselves.

    Me, I’d prefer Fight Club, no rules at all. But there’s problem with that, because all the shy timid ones never get heard, and so I thought about it and concluded that if I was going to stay, I’d have to compromise, which I have attempted to do. Maybe nobody noticed, but I did.

    I think everyone else has to do the same, to some degree, for the common good and respect for the blog and for Guy.

    Look, here, where I live, and in the country where I grew up, we’re ALL ruffians and idiots. It’s the tradition. On the beach here, they invented the game called Cnapan, where hundreds of youths would fight to get a ball, and lads would get critically injured.

    Why would they do that ? I mean, they are insane. No rules just kick and gouge and bite and punch anybody in the way, and the beach would be littered with casualties… all just for fun. But that was a slight advance on what they did before, which was chopping each other to bits with axes and swords.

    The next step was to have teams and rules and a referee, and medics standing by, and it became rugby. And now, even though every now and then someone breaks their neck and ends up paraplegic in a wheel chair for the rest of their life, it’s quite gentle and civilised, compared with how it used to be.

    Players hate the rules, because they want to run with the ball, and kill the other guy who has got the ball, and they have to stop when the referee blows the whistle, but they accept the rules,’for the good of the game’ is the phrase they use.

    I think everybody agrees, if the rules become too restrictive, the game does not work anymore, and nobody will want to play or watch.

    Most people here, from what they say, my impression, are activists, misfits, anarchists, weird geniuses, visionaries, not part of mainstream domesticated soceity, and I don’t think they do conform to the stereotype of scientism that you seem to be seeing.

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

    It was very sensible of Jefferson to try and separate Church and State, because Europe had seen centuries of constant unremitting warfare over that issue. But let’s not forget all those guys were Freemasons, which somehow slipped through the official net of ‘religion’,so they kept their own secret religion, just kept out everybody else’s.

    And it was a disaster, which Jefferson could not have foreseen, because Capitalism plus science stepped in to fill the gap.

    About the sniping.

    Look, Guy has asked for there to be only two comments per person per day, and he has asked for kindness and civility. That’s all.

    You can’t force people to be kind at gun point. They have to want to be kind out of the goodness they feel. Personally, I much prefer up front aggressive insults than passive-aggressive slimy attempts at character assassination.

    The way I see it, working class people call someone they don’t like a ****, but educated academic middle class people are much too civilised and polite to do that, aren’t they,(sarcasm) so they call someone they don’t like ‘sociopathic’, as a euphemism for ****. It’s not kind or civil, is it, but it doesn’t quite infringe the middle class rules of this blog.

    Personally, I fight for science, and against scientism, and with Voltaire, for free speech. Everyone has the right to be heard, even when what they say offends me.

    I think it is completely impossible to ‘ban’ spirituality, because its intrinsic to every human being – depending of course, how precisely you define the word, which is a very slippery concept – but say we all try to stick to ‘science only’, it’ll only last a few hours before someone brings up their emotional responses, and issues about death and compassion and poems and so forth, and we’re out of the secular zone and back into affairs of the heart, with Kathy C. quoting from The Sermon on the Mount and Robin Datta from the Gita or whatever, and so it goes…

  • “-Greens in general. It’s true that people can do sprouting even at home. But practically speaking you are not going to be able to supply an urban population with many cups of fresh greens every day per capita via sprouting. Eating large quantities of perishable foods year-round takes industrial inputs, if you want to include everybody.”

    I don’t see why we have to “include everybody.” That’s too big of a job for the individual person, isn’t it? We’d be doing well to improve our own practice, while hoping out great ideas can influence our circle of potential fellow-travelers. Meanwhile, isn’t saying a word or two in widely read media enough for the wider world? Those who have ears to hear will hear. So if a person can live on sprouts–and thanks for the suggestion, btw–what’s wrong with that? Many conclude that nothing can be done for the wider world anyway (even though I, personally, believe the wider world will figure something out for itself when/if it’s ready). If you’re of that opinion, I don’t see the need to place a contingency on what the individual does to live a healthier and more sustainable life.

  • @ Artleads

    Thanks for joining in to answer Lidia’s needs. Ann Wigmore pioneered the modern sprouting movement and founded the root of the Hippocrates health institute. While it may be possible to survive on a very wide variety of sprouts, she recommended the addition of preferably wild greens which are readily available almost everywhere. Or cultivated greens. Kale is harvestable right through a northern winter. While it may be possible to survive on a strictly raw food diet, I personally also eat cooked foods, and include a wide variety of herbs, sprouts, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, mushrooms, yeasts and algae. I have not starved on this diet in more than 40 years, I can outwork those 40 years my junior, and I rarely get sick. I used to hear old people say, and now I know it for myself: “If you have your health, you have it all.” I also add: “Your health is how you feel. Duh.”

    ~~~

    My main desire in this topic is to remind people that eating flesh is unhealthy for themselves and for the Earth. There are better alternatives…

    Eating Outside Our Kingdom

    A higher rate of cancer deaths among those that handle and process meat is attributed to infection with viruses and chronic exposure to animal proteins.
    http://nutritionfacts.org/video/eating-outside-our-kingdom/

    ~~~

    @ Lidia

    You don’t need an electric appliance to make wheat grass juice. Manual, hand cranked types are readily available. Used ones can be found for $50 or less on Craig’s List in most areas of the U.S. and new ones cost about $100. Hand cranked blenders are also available, check out camping supply outlets. Manual ridged dome citrus juicers have been around a long time – I prefer the glass ones. For juicer-extractors, I seem to recall that a bicycle mechanic managed to rig one up to run on pedal power. I don’t know how Luddite you want to go… are you still using a refrigerator? I’ve lived without one for the last five years, in Florida and Georgia. Much easier without dairy and flesh. As far as lemons and other citrus fruits being local or not… you mentioned Modified Citrus Pectin… and yes, greenhouses are possibilities, even designed to operate entirely on solar power for temperature maintenance in a Vermont winter… to grow greens like lettuce, kale, collards and broccoli. Also… compost heated hot beds are an old tradition. BTW, if you can afford to build a greenhouse, I don’t see why you can’t afford some seeds for sprouting & microgreens…? Low impact transportation such as the sail network has been re-emerging, which may enable trade to continue… for a while. While it is good to eat in season, locally as much as possible… It isn’t the distance that really matters so much, its the carbon… and stored food isn’t in ‘season’, is it? I don’t get hung up on petty rules… as long as my food comes from the same planet I’m living on and it never had eyes or a heart or wings, I’m usually OK with it… while, naturally, I prefer the lowest possible carbon emissions and fresh water use and soil abuse. Which is another reason I don’t eat meat. Seeds are probably the lowest cost, highest value ‘thing’ on this planet, and they are replicating. Seeds can be stored for long periods. People can easily grow their own fresh sprouts, anywhere, year round, without industrial or electrical inputs… assuming they have seeds, liquid water and some sort of tray or jar. Some people can afford to pay others to do it for them. Some things are better done ourselves. If a person/family can’t afford to grow sprouts then they can’t afford to eat, period. My heart breaks for them, and I’m homeless.

    ~~~

    If humanity opted for a plant based diet and practiced disciplined birth control… well, we still couldn’t avoid a major population crash, but it might be a bit softer… if we manage to avoid total extinction. And the only way we might be able to do that is to CHANGE. Including, especially, the way we eat. Diet is usually a choice, a very powerful choice. No need for government permission or corporate cooperation. Please choose your food wisely, not habitually, for yourself and for the Earth.

  • ‘I have encountered many, many people who have taken similar ossified positions during the 40 years I’ve been vegan. Unfortunately, many of them have already died from obstinance. Now they are even more ossified.’ -logspirit

    i’ve been curious about and sympathetic towards veganism/vegetarianism for a long time, wishing i had someone like u to take my hand and lead me down the path, providing very wise and experienced guidance. alas, i’m very much a loner, and insufficiently motivated to try going solo. i’m quite fond of flesh, milk, cheese, mayo, and other animal foods. i’ve cut back considerably on meat for a variety of considerations, the main one perhaps wishing to support less suffering of factory farm animals. i’m weak willed, and it’s easy to rationalize something one has always done, that is very popular, and conforms to nature in this man eats dog eats dog world, so i haven’t gone abstinent, yet. humans are hardly the only animal that hunts (or farms) other animals, kills and consumes.

    perhaps i’ve earned/deserve your contempt with my cavalier/ossified approach to diet. but i’m skeptical of your zeal in this matter. according to lierre keith and some others, veganism isn’t right for everyone. i suspect that in moderation (unlike an average amerikkkan diet!) animal foods are healthful, part of a well balanced diet for many. apparently there are many others who thrive as long term vegans. so although i’m curious and would like to try it sometime, i’m leary of your evangelical passion in favor of veganism, opposed to animal foods. it is u, not kathy, who strikes me as the more dogmatic one here.
    ______________________________________________________________

    ‘I didn’t come here to discuss religion or spirituality, not mine, not anyone else’s lack of. It’s a two-way street.’ -oldgrowthforest

    from what i’ve seen, all your recent posts have been assaults on what u perceive as ‘scientism’ rampant on nbl. perhaps u should write more on the topics which did bring u here, or have u forgotten them?

    ‘Real secularism would prohibit the anti-religious views’

    i try to always make clear that i object to dogmatism, not religion per se. however, it does seem that dogmatism is the backbone of most if not all religions, dogmatic assertions which must be taken on faith to be true, and dogmatic ‘morality’ that leaves no room for reason/compassion. therefore i’m against most religion, as i’m against all dogmas, ignorance, stupidity, insanity. seems to me that prohibiting criticism of religion is giving carte blanche to dogmatism to flourish. just say no to dogmas/’faith’!

    in case u missed this when i posted it a few days ago, i’ll repeat this quote: ‘‘science adjusts it’s views based on what’s observed. faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved.’ i fail to see how being open minded, while insisting on evidence/reason as the basis for all convictions/’beliefs’, qualifies one as being dogmatic.
    ____________________________________________________________

    ‘The people HERE are the BEST, the ones who woke up FIRST. And they are not going to be told what they can or can’t think about, because if that happens they’ll burn down the fucking classroom and go somewhere else. :-)’

    good one, u.

  • anyone that talks about how “enlightened” they are should be shot – they are the problem, they are the product of civilization’s worst

    the simple, uneducated man, with the full-time job of SURVIVAL is the best of us

    leave your home, strip off your clothes, and wander into the wilderness

    Civilization killed us.

    The children suffer, there is no redemption.

  • I’ve posted a new guest essay. It’s here.

  • @ Rob

    You are funny.

    For the record, I have never said I was enlightened in my entire lifetime, and there’s a good technical reason for that.

    However, fwiw, I believe the Buddhist term, re Buddha’s Enlightenment, means to be awake, someone who has awoken, to some truth, some insight.

    In his case, I assume Ultimate Truth of the nature of reality, re suffering etc, which had been his previous quest.

    Re, your simple uneducated man, and survival.

    Seems to me, this is just silly. Educated, uneducated, we all die without food, enlightened or not, we die if irradiated or poisoned.

    To survive requires as much knowledge re survival skills as possible, and some WILL to actually want to survive.

    Civilisation has not killed us, not all of us, anyway, YET. So, some people are still hoping to survive, although what motivates them, I do not know.

    You take a nihilistic position, I take a taoist position, but I think we both agree, on doing nothing :-)

    Do you think it makes any difference whether Death plays with the black or the white chess pieces ?

  • @the virgin terry

    What is sheeple? Surely the only sheeple that has ever existed is you? You must be on of the descendents of the animals that ouspensky describes. If I ever had to make a post like yours I’d probably have to vomit for a month afterwards.

  • @ the virgin terry

    Do your own -thorough- research, make your own choices. Look into the environmental impacts. The health impacts. The moral impacts. The social impacts. The psychological impacts. Yes, how a person chooses to eat affects how they view the world – drink blood and, well… it all looks like a bloody world, doesn’t it? How do you think you would see the world if you only ate plants? Can you begin to see the difference? If you actually get into the science, unbiased by taste buds trained in youth and locked into habit, uninfluenced by flesh vendor propaganda, unstuck from hypnotic fascination with violence, and dominance and control including that done to you to get you to submit, you may be able to break free and make the right choices. If you want to. Strength to make your own decisions from your own consciousness is built up, motivated by evidence.

    On “evangelical passion” and “zeal” and “dogmatism” — doesn’t it strike you as a bit weird that those who pay others to kill sentient beings for them and to commit the most egregious acts of cruelty, or who do it themselves – readily accuse the peaceful of their own shadows??? Ask yourself which is the more painful path, and which is the kinder one… then see if you can honestly call me the zealot. Do you really think that the way I live, that I’m the aggressive one? Really??? There is an intentional blindness going on for which the only explanation I can see is hard core addiction. Hard core. Callous. It is so easy to rationalize loopholes and procrastinations to support bad habits. Anything that threatens to block an addict from getting their ‘fix’ is a target. Anything that threatens to awaken suppressed feelings of compassion… is a target. Anything, anyone. Go ballistic. That will shut them up. Kill ’em. That’s the training.

    You say you want less suffering, can you see how much suffering is caused by willfully ignorant dietary choices? Can you? Drop the excuses, do the research. Don’t listen to me, do your own research, come to your own conclusions. Stop blaming me for your guilt. I am not the cause. I’m only the witness.