Radical Embrace: Breaking the Cycle of an Unfertile Demise

by Jack Adam Weber

Every once in a while we read something that stops us in our tracks. But in short time, we forget about it. Less frequently, we read something that stays with us, grows in us, and rather than disappear, it changes us so that every aspect of our very lives is tinged by the new information. I came across such a piece of writing a few months back, on overpopulation, climate change, and anticipated planetary changes. Here is an excerpt:

“Let’s look at it like this. If we discovered tomorrow that there was an asteroid on a collision course with Earth and – because physics is a fairly simple science – we were able to calculate that it was going to hit Earth on 3 June 2072, and we knew that its impact was going to wipe out 70% of all life on Earth, governments worldwide would marshal the entire planet into unprecedented action. Every scientist, engineer, university and business would be enlisted: half to find a way of stopping it, the other half to find a way for our species to survive and rebuild if the first option proved unsuccessful. We are in almost precisely that situation now, except that there isn’t a specific date and there isn’t an asteroid. The problem is us.” —Stephen Emmott

Before a storm, there is the proverbial calm, then the changes begin. Our collective calm is already fading; the changes are everywhere. Melting ice caps and permafrost, newly created methane vents spewing megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere, severe droughts, huge storms, rising tides, plastic ridden warming oceans, widespread nuclear contamination — you know the story, I hope. We are at a crossroads, barely claiming a footing on the path would be more accurate, as we witness the world as it likely will never be again. Of course this has always been the case. But this time is radically different than at all other times in recorded history. Never has a single catastrophic condition engulfed the entire globe as climate change (which sweeping changes include global warming) now does. In the words of Emmott, “I believe we can rightly call the situation we’re in right now an emergency – an unprecedented planetary emergency.”

To even be discussing going to war in Syria, banning GMO food crops and fracking, conserving habitat for wolves and whales, building the XL Pipeline, expanding the filthy, cancerous Tar Sands operation, opening millions of acres in the Ecuadorian Amazon to oil drilling, is simply insane. These should be no-brainers. We should not be wasting time on these considerations nor forcing intelligent, earnest citizens to be using their personal un-paid time to fight for these minimal, if not relatively conciliatory, securities. We have urgent work to do far beyond considering more war and pollution; to even consider moving forward with these plagues is radical denial of the big picture.

Our governments and their corporate buddies act as though there is no climate crisis and as if even without the current reality, the living populations of the Earth are heartless and utterly expendable. The business-as-usual nonsense of perversely progress-profit-driven and placating, pandering governments the world over, the menacing reality of genetic engineering wanting to reprogram everything with or without a pulse, including you and me, and spray it all down with more petroleum-based pesticides to combat the damage its own techno-scientific roots created in the first place (i.e. super-bugs and super-weeds), the ongoing acidification and collapse of the oceans, and you might agree with what Emmott sums up his article: “We’re fucked.”

Where I live on the windward side of Hawai’i Island it rains about half of what it used to 6 years ago. Each year has gotten drier. The usually lush perennial peanut groundcover in my orchard is currently crunchy brown. A natural cycle, a normal anomaly? Maybe, but doubtful, given similar anomalies the world over. With each decade, each moment really, our climate changes are soberly projected to become exponentially more severe. We, and nature as we know it, are on the chopping block. In all likelihood, we, and our children, will never know nature as it is now. This means that we must celebrate her with all our hearts, and we must continue to fight to save her, if only out of honor.

The grim realities of climate change are too much for most to deal with. People who have little experience with enduring their own pain, the dark night of their own soul, will have an even harder time embracing the dark night of the world soul. Thus the denial. Therefore the disputes and controversy over what 97% of climate scientists generally agree to be true. And, the truth is likely closer to what the minority of these scientists predict; the chance to cover up the grim forecast is taken up in most instances for any number of reasons: political pressure, outright lying, media propaganda, denial on the part of the reporter, corporate fear and greed, saving one’s job or other personal agenda, and of course, the occasional innocent human error.

Most people I know either don’t believe or don’t want to believe reality, or have no interest to apprehend the evidence. I understand. It’s devastating, and I still don’t think we can truly comprehend the reality of the near future. Yet most of the world plods along as if none of it were coming. At best, we get lip service from government officials, backed up by equivocal action. It’s hard to imagine the real storm, Emmott’s proverbial asteroid, is coming more quickly than any of us would like. And this places us humans in a very strange predicament.

The Power of Heartbreak

Didn’t you know your heart was meant to break a thousand times to make everything beautiful again?

—excerpt from Thanksgiving: An Activist’s Grace

How do we occupy ourselves now, inwardly? How do we handle this emotionally and spiritually? The choice is each of ours. I handle the bad news the way I deal with all heartbreak; I feel the pain and let my heart break. I go into the dark, I let it all work on me, keep my eyes open down there, and let myself be transformed. The result? I emerge every time with more wisdom, more love, more care. Climate change reality is not different than embracing dying (if not our own then that of our children or grandchildren and others we care about). except that it is not only our own death but likely that of the majority of complex life forms and ecosystems as we know them. In other words, our hearts face breaking open as they never have before. Each of us is alive at the most unique time in all of human history because never have we imminently faced with such certainty the impending demise of so much at once. And this is poignant, any way you look at it. Poignancy is power. And the power we can all reap now is in our hearts, a passionately compassionate spiritual power made available by breaking…open.

When we deny heartbreak, we deny what is sacred. It is precisely this lack of heartbreak, and the feminine power of compassion and wisdom that blossom as a result, that causes humans to obsess over external power. Thus is born the sociopath, the corporation with no power of vulnerability, that denies the small, metaphorical and paradoxical death of heartbreak, and thereby fosters a massive, pervasive literal death. As I wrote in another article, “avoiding paradox lands us squarely in the midst of living out the dark side of its irony.”

Indeed, renewing your love for the natural world in light of ongoing environmental collapse will break your heart, if you let it. Heartbroken, we can feel a deeper passion, born of suffering and injustice. This way we can continue to grow and act wisely from our sadness, from our outrage, our intelligence, from our passionate and dignified, poignantly beautiful love. Our chance now is to love as we never have before, by the most paradoxical of means, the way deep, grounded love has always been born.

To be heartbroken is a modern-day enlightenment—recognizing that heaven is right here, under your feet, before your eyes, in your own body, which is a little chunk of this planet. Heartbreak, sadness, and fear are not distractions and impediments to fulfillment, enlightenment, and belonging; they are the way to a fertile, just world made of sane, caring people. To deny these emotions, as well as genuine humble joy and celebration, is to sow the seeds of sociopathy. Just about anything on any day can break you open, if you let it. The way to wholeness hounds you and me every day, which we often push aside as nuisances. This collective denial is precisely what has led to our current dire straits. Now or never is the time stop running and to break open, for all we have to bid farewell and all the beauty we still can welcome.

Fall In Love Again

The consensus of scientific facts is not getting us to change, at least not enough. Our rational minds are not enough to catalyze us and our governments into firm action.

A typical response to pain and imminent decline is to shut down, embitter, and become selfish. So, what is left? Courage is left, passion is left, love is left. But again, not just a light-worshipping, feel-good sort of love, except for maybe at first, in the honeymoon phase of re-loving the world, which needs our love now more than ever before. The courageous path, then, is to love more, fiercely more, to reconcile as much of the pain of the world through service and the celebration of radical beauty as we can.

The formula is this: fall in love with the world, especially the natural world and the good nature (even if buried) of your fellow humans. Bathe in the rapture of a forest, fresh air, the ocean, wildflowers in the high meadow, the stark gorgeous geometry of dunes, the sounds and refreshment of a river, the food you just picked in your garden—these heirlooms that are enjoying their last hoorah, as we are (even without climate change!), for no moment is quite like the next. Take heart for every human being who, like you and me, is trying, is tortuously beautiful, is confused and scared, still innocent because none of us knows the big answers. Even the assholes, the villains in this story, and their cargos of pain, that would have destroyed you or me long ago. Feel their angst, their confusion. Forgive them.

Let your heart break in the face of its decimation; sit with that feeling in your body, and let your good mind register the unedited upshot. Of its own accord, in its own time, this sadness can catalyze you, as the passion of devastation. Keep channeling the passion and compassion of your sacredly broken-open heart towards more reverence of nature, one another, and yourself, while acting to protect and enjoy and care for all of it. This is radical embrace. Seek the support and comfort and nurturance of good friends and allies, and nature herself. Let your tears flow and bathe you and the precious ground. Maybe you will decide to sacrifice some of your leisure, distraction, and pleasure time because the pull of your heart trumps your indulgence in “freedom” now for the option to be free tomorrow, or a year from now. This is also why it is helpful to know what’s coming. So, pull in the laundry, close the windows, hunker down, be ready, open your heart, big-time.

We humans want to feel good, most all the time. And this, again, ironically, is our downfall. I believe, as do a number of scientists, that most of our decisions are made with the intent to feel good — now, or very soon from now — immediate gratification. In one sense, the moment is all we have. Yet we must also discern how to live in the moment so that we also respect future moments. This is wisdom, which thinks into the future, sometimes seven generations into the future. We lack living according to wisdom, which is another form of wisdom in itself. We don’t want to sacrifice now for ten years from now, or even next week, and this part of the problem. We are poisoned by living in the moment as much as we are graced by it.

Our (as in the vast majority of people) habit for instant gratification does not help us prepare for climate change. And being heartbroken doesn’t feel good, now. We postpone it in intimate relationships, even when we see it coming, as we do when we ignore the facts of what we are doing to the world around us. Because of this, we must trust in the paradox of heartbreak, or at least begin with feel-good love to give us the sustenance to also grieve. This kind of love actually gives us the power, courage, and resources to act righteously in the face of pain and strife, the stamina to feel worse so that we might do something that gives us more of a chance for feeling better, for many tomorrows than the present moment of today.

When we fall in love with nature — its beauty, power, and lessons of wisdom — it gives us the power to endure these hardships in the cauldron of our psyches. It gives us what we need to move forward with resolve and fierce compassion — because something in our blood knows what is right, knows just where we belong, and that without the deep, abundant, and untamed natural world we will have lost something that completes and comprises our very souls, even if you don’t believe in a literal soul.

Medicine as Metaphor

As a physician, when I think of our predicament, and fish for a clue for if we collectively can stave off environmental and civil collapse, I think of my patients. What do you do when weight gain, a poor diet, or a sedentary life threaten you with diabetes or a heart attack? When smoking sets you up for emphysema? Or, more commonly, when you feel run down and on the verge of coming down with a cold? If you are one who would pass up dinner out with friends, a late night at the movies, a day off of work to rest and recover, then you are in the minority. You might also be part of the minority acting wisely now, not blindly indulging the moment, on behalf of our very sick planet. Unlike you, most keep pushing, and even when ill often do little to heal before things get worse. Indeed, the palest examples of our collective sickness are our governments and global corporations, who push on at any expense for the preservation of poisoning everyone, ensuring capitalistic cancer a foothold, and unfortunately, a takeover.

We don’t stop until we absolutely have to. But the problem with climate change is a bit like digestion. We don’t feel full in our bellies until after we pass the point of feeling sated. Our stomachs do not communicate satiation to our brains until fifteen or so minutes after the fact. We are all stomachs for the Earth’s fulfillment and health. We are, as David Suzuki echoes in similar meaning, past the point of fullness. We are over-eating, we are getting fat now on tomorrow’s rations and laying waste tomorrow’s fields (speaking of which, fallow fields are also a metaphor for sanity and sustainability, one the chemical giants have all but obliterated). We can’t wait until we already feel full; it will be too late. So, if you are a person who stops eating before you are full, this might be another sign that you are part of the solution to halt the storm of climate change before it strikes more pervasively. Please share your good habit with everyone you can.

Not long ago I read a staggering article in the New York Times (“The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food”) about how junk food manufacturers engineer their products to cater your greatest weaknesses. It is not surprising that these processed food manufacturers assemble addictive ingredients in just the right carefully studied and calibrated combinations to help override your body’s natural instinct to stop eating. They do it to hook you, to make more money off your and desensitized body-mind which can then consume even more without feeling its slow demise, while these mega-corporations capitalize on your ill health. It’s a staggering article, a long one that I wish did not end.

Per my metaphor of changing our ways before crossing the threshold into illness, I’d say the processed food manufacturers amount to the antithesis of supporting all the sensitive, wise, proactive qualities each of us needs in order to stop consuming, stop denying, and to avert disaster before it arrives. The junk food companies embody disease and demise on every level and numb us to becoming part of the solution, which we urgently needed yesterday and the year before.

Collectively, and especially in the ever-optimistic, light-bearing and trailblazing USA that carries on with business as usual (we are the only nation that did not ratify the Kyoto protocol, remember), every sign says we are going to get really sick before we stop. And it will be too late then, too late to stomach, to recover what we lost and can no longer live without, unless we undergo some strange genetic manipulation to survive a deranged future, a future without nature and a climate uninhabitable for our current genetic heritage. We’re already beyond the point that I would have turned back and lain in bed for a day or three to recover. Now I don’t have time to lie in bed; ironically, none of us do. And many believe it is already too late, even if we do all the right things now.

This is not a joke. It is not a bad movie. It is not a story of a far-off land. It is here and getting closer every day. So, whether you choose to party your brains out and indulge all you can before things get even worse, this of course, is your choice. It’s just not part of the solution; it’s a big part of what got us here. After all, it’s still totally legal to trash the planet. In fact, it’s encouraged. And I nor anyone else can stop you, perhaps not even if you actually wanted to be stopped. Consumerism, distraction, denial, and life-as-usual are as tough as cigarettes and high fructose corn syrup to kick. Personally, what comes up for me in the face of all this is deep sadness. But this sadness is quickly, somehow, converted to passion, and compassion. Compassion for every citizen on the planet that didn’t really create this mess. Compassion for every animal and tree and mountain that definitely did not create this.

“Insanity”: the New Sanity

If our president were to announce that no more children could be birthed for ten years, that you could not buy more than 300 dollars worth of gadgets a month, that pesticides and perfume and petroleum products were officially banned, that anyone could only travel in an airplane once a year, that cigarettes and nuclear power plants and the spewing guts of factories were to be shut down, that cattle raising (the largest contributor to greenhouse gases) were illegal and now banned, that the multinational corporations that really drive this insanity were to be disbanded, their leaders thrown in jail or left to feast on their own mutant creations in refugee camps, and their profits diverted to building a sustainable infrastructure that first and foremost protects the integrity of the soil, the rivers, the forests and the air we breathe, he’d be put in a mental hospital, or impeached, or worse. And when I say “sustainable” I mean a way of living that embraces the nourishment derived from decline and good old-fashioned death that fosters new life (i.e., fertile darkness), not some idyllic homeostasis of perpetual light and abundance — in other words, nature as usual.

But, this is exactly what we need. We need the sanity that is labeled “insane.” We need for the entire capitalist system to crumble. Or some other miracle, in this 11th hour. And I don’t mean the religious kind. I mean a grounded change in every one of us to live differently. We did not really create the problem, but it is our responsibility to try to fix, because no one else will. In effect, if each of us self-imposed what our governments will not impose, we could turn this thing around, to some degree. We could self-impose upon ourselves all the boycotts we are spared, which would in turn shut down the factories, the multinationals, the corporatocracy running and ruining the party for us all. Would we have to agree to do this all at once? How many of would be needed? It’s hard to get even my friends to chin up. But we have to, and we will all be forced to soon enough.

We want our goodies, to take our due reward for enduring life’s pains and injustices, another week at the grind of work we hate. Life owes us, the Earth owes us, God owes us, and we exact our entitlements, empowering the wave of environmental collapse. Indeed, the failure of humanity is one of denying and avoiding at all costs pain, difficulty, and ironically, the threat of death. We run from it, bury it, or burn it, or say it’s someone else’s, and this way perpetuate that darkness and medicate with the adornments of the American dream, and so build our nightmare. We shop, smoke, fuck, drink, eat, sleep, blame, and sunshine it away. The repressed dark night — which when embraced on a regular basis profoundly heals — and all her power and rage are upon us now. This is not negativity; this is the divine power of the Great Mother here to shut down the light-loving, sun-only worshippers of all kinds — the Industrial Revolution optimists, the neurotic meaningless-manufacturing entrepreneurs, the fundamentalists, the GMO liars, the clueless capitalists, the fracking-fools, pharma-fanatics, the worshippers of chemistry and “convenience,” the happy-obsessed, and the new-agers — who have all reigned for too long.

Fallow for Fertility

Until we collectively have a resting place — a figurative yet palpable emptiness and nurturing embrace inside our own bodies dedicated to sadness, reflection, long pauses, the decay of what does not work and has failed us, to our own greed and self-importance, to the grand satisfaction that is the simple beauty and awe of the natural world, and for all this to be more than enough — we will run the light of false optimism and hubris too hard and far into the ground and into the soft terrain of our bodies where it does not belong, where it poisons the sacred space that would save us from maniacal and perverted growth and neurotic progress at any cost.

In addition to taking sick time and ceasing to gorge ourselves before we get too full at the helm of the junk food corporations, we can extend this restorative motif to the sorts of fields of food now consuming American soils. Like lying in bed for a day to recover, or ceasing to stuff ourselves silly, we could return to the cycles of fallow fertility as the richness of emptiness we have honored in ourselves, which generations before us revered, where sadness and remorse are given room to break down and compost our dangerously overgrown ambitions. This, instead of the scorching heat of constant fake fertilizers and pesticides applied to mutant GMO crops, all of which try to replace the fecundity found only when darkness and decline are embraced and honored as essential to a sustainable, reverent, and organic means of building a decent and honorable future — from the ground up, but never too high, towards the scorching sun. This metaphor also illuminates why the simple acts of taking care of ourselves through the restorative, down-phases of life, instead of medicating them away to stay constantly up, energized, afloat and happy, or comfortably numb, are in reality the very necessary beginnings of saving the world by means of changing ourselves — our relationship to the sacred feminine principle, to darkness and to light, and therefore to our thinking, to our emotions, and a practical spirituality.

The world is getting stranger and stranger. They want to genetically modify trees to “grow” sterile forests. Genetically modified humans are not far behind. I’m against it all, not only for the poisons and sterility they inoculate into the biosphere, but because it’s unnecessary. The arguments for GMO farming to produce more food, saving “underdeveloped” nations, and using less pesticide, have been debunked by peer reviewed studies, with more on the way. Monoculture reminds me of the Holocaust. It’s also morally incorrect because monoculture, especially on a large scale, flies in the face of a respect for the biodiversity that has existed for thousands of years before us. The whole game is justified by fake heroics; in reality, it is evil upon evil. Big Business creates many of the problems then claims hero in “solving” the problems, only to create more, more toxic junk — they stuff their pockets on the way in and the way out, leaving a wake of detritus for us and the rest of life on the planet.

When we no longer can live in the cradle — the fierce yet beautiful and invigorating embrace and sane limits embrace — of the natural world as we have known it for millennia, I can’t imagine a life worth living. The genetic modification of the planet is a curse perpetuated by people who have lost their connection to an ordinary, awesomely abundant and truly fulfilling, self-renewing life. And they seem to believe their own lies that we need this nonsense. This kind of progress is both the problem and the impediment to our cure. Imagine: if all the resources poured into nuclear, pesticide and petroleum-based technology were channeled into less invasive, renewable ones. It’s a no-brainer. But greed and fear too often trump common sense, so the shows the evidence. Unfortunately, a small percentage of the people on Earth have gotten bored with ordinary beauty, with kindness, and fooled us into believing their way is best, only so they can keep playing their sick little game.

Again, the choice is yours. Each of us is still free to destroy the planet; it is still legal and encouraged, even glorified, under the red white and blue of normal. It may never become illegal to destroy what we love and what we need to survive. So, we have to make our own rules; we have to grow up, on our own, without Father and Big Brother to guide us. We need to remember, live by, and take to heart the nature-centered wisdoms from once ago. At the very least, our scientists are giving us the warning, the justification to act out of line, even insanely, in the name of urgent sanity. Each of us needs to be a little crazy nowadays, and really crazy if we want to save the party called life, as we know it now. Is it too late? Maybe. But every day is later not doing anything.

The Way Forward

It’s not enough anymore not to be doing something directly to rescue a part of the Earth. It’s not enough only to be a massage therapist and make people feel less stressed so they can return to work and get stressed out allover again, while contributing to the problem. My medical practice is no longer enough; I have to minister even more to the global biosphere and to the collective ecological sickness of humanity so that not only my patients but all of us might have the opportunity to live a normal life and contract decent, unavoidable diseases, not the perversion of environmental illness and technology-driven immune collapses and cancers, which are all on the rise despite our best efforts to conquer them with technology and more poison, rather than at their root via wisdom and restraint.

While science and technology have produced wonderful things, they also have contributed to a severe imbalance symbolically characterized by too much light, most starkly and pervasively evident in the warming of the planet. Human life expectancy has more than doubled in the last two centuries. We have vaccines and drugs and medical interventions and sewage management systems that keep people alive for longer. But are we happier, or happy enough? We cannot be.

Yet so much emphasis is placed on “being happy.” Again, the brainwashing of light-only worship. We desperately need sadness and fear and remorse for the grounded, mature love that develops from them, to save ourselves.

We have too many people on the planet and we’re projected for nine-billion by 2040 or so. It’s a sticky situation. Even with full cognizance of the problem, neither you nor I, for example, would likely choose to reject technological intervention to save a loved one’s life, or our own. Few want to sacrifice the innate drive to have children. But somehow, to do these very things makes sense for the big picture — counterintuitive, urgent sense. Yet they remain unimaginable, and also unreasonable. Unless we can miraculously reverse the trend of climate change, something has to give. We need a cure, if only to embrace of our own dignified surrender, which is not to give up, per se, but to concede what we can no longer change. What we deny and repress cannot be transformed; whatever we consciously embrace is yet potentially fertile, especially that which is dark.

None of this is easy. But it can get easier. We all still have to make a living, and we need things, but it seems the only way to make headway is to give up living luxuriously and to live with scarcely a surfeit of anything, except courage and care and some other c-words. Taking a vow of material poverty is a rich thing—not to pursue poverty as a goal, but to accept it as a consequence of breaking the hamster cycle of (arrows mean “engenders/creates”): denial of pain/fertile darkness > irrational fear/insecurity > imagined need > unfulfilling work > dirty money > more denied pain (suffering), guilt, and remorse > consuming to numb, maintain excesses, and avoid our pain and fertile darkness underneath our habits and unsustainable culture.

We need a new cycle, something to the tune of: caring enough to challenge ourselves into extreme simplicity > frees up our need to make so much money > creating more room for meaningful work that might pay little or nothing and with time to heal our inner-life complexities > time to create and live more earnestly, creatively, and essentially > time and space to sink into and be passionately reborn from the passion of heartbreak and fertile darkness > money enough to survive and to fund direct, potently sustainable endeavors > consuming to survive and thrive in outward simplicity, and to celebrate nature and one another with the deep-down good feeling that we are acting with wisdom for now and a hundred years from now. This is not hippie talk; it is cutting edge survival strategy.

In the midst of this self-imposed austerity we might just find, paradoxically and ironically, the richness, the beauty we thought was to be found through busy accumulation and filling the space inside—the space that must remain empty and fillable not with things but by the intangibles born of integrity, compassion, and common sense.

Dissention among us because of differences of religion, beliefs, nationality, race, even family issues and old grudges, need to take a back seat now. It is crucial that we forgive and embrace one another; we have a huge task at hand that we need to work on together, if only in tending to our collective grief and celebrating the brilliance of the quickly fading natural world and what still sparkles in each other.

Jack Adam Weber is a licensed acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist, author, organic farmer, celebrated poet, and an activist for Earth-centered spirituality. He is currently at work on his next collection of poems for personal and planetary transformation. His books, artwork, and provocative poems can be found at his website PoeticHealing.com. He is also on Facebook.

Comments 209

  • Sorry, but I’m not hopeful that “Love Conquers All.” I don’t think I’ll live to see the final outcome, but I’m not betting on Love.

    “This means that we must celebrate her with all our hearts, and we must continue to fight to save her, if only out of honor.”

    I’ll celebrate when the govt buildings burn and the politicians hang.

    I’ll fight when someone articulates the one clear goal for The Solution: 90% of Earth’s human population must die soon, and they must first help in the global effort to dismantle the toxic infrastructure of industrial civilization – and the chosen survivors must live in harmony with Nature: plant no crops, build no cities. …Civilization killed us.

    I am prepared, right now, to volunteer to have my body serve as a sandbag at the nearest nuclear plant – if there is a real Plan in place. The sad truth is this: It CAN be done, but it won’t be done.

    Otherwise, I’m just doing a lot of nothing.

    There is no honor. There is nothing sacred. There is no spirit. There is no heaven.

    The children suffer, there is no redemption.

  • Continuing on with my approach of innapropriately inserting heavy metal songs onto the forum, here is


    (Louis Armstrong What A Wonderful World Death Metal Version)

  • Thanks for the inspiring and wise article. As logspirit reminds us, personal health equals planetary health. As goes the individual, so goes the world.

    Someone on the last thread spoke about hunkering down and learning to make do with challenging privations, getting a jump start on what’s to come. I thought that very wise, and try to do it to a limited extent. (In a way, I’ve always gravitated toward scarcity-living, although I could be much better at it.)

    The big challenge for me is food. I love to have a full-belly feeling. Few things could be harder than to stop munching before I feel full. I make a little progress now and then, and lose weight thereby, only to regress. But I bet it’s better to keep trying even if, in my mind, I keep failing. After all, I’m not grossly (or even particularly noticeably) obese. Give thanks for little mercies.

    After posting this, I’ll go outside to see what minute portion of the ton of mud on the patio I can remove. I wish with all my heart I could kick back and have a worker do it for me, But no, ain’t gonna happen. The price (and possible benefit) of being impecunious.

  • This is the Alchemist cycle of death and rebirth; indeed the evolution of consciousness is a wonder and a weight as most refinement and purification is. We are at a crossroads; we are a freewill system. Jack, you are so giving to share your thoughts and feelings, as they speak for SO MANY right now. Thank you for dedicating your life’s work to organic healing. I love you my brother; we all must find our trust in each other; ground your powerful will in the intention of healing and know that we will be rid of the blithe…it’s in your second paragraph.

    Poster Rob, get out of the library and go interact with nature because while your rightful indignation with the B.S. version of theosophy pimped here is warranted, if you can see nature as the metaphor for all of that; I trust that you will also see that there IS spirit and in spirit lies hope xo

  • Cattle produce excess methane due to being fed grain. Otherwise, any hydrocarbons they emit are no more than the amount emitted by the rotting plants they did not eat. I suggest you read Lierre Keith’s book, “The Vegetarian Myth,” and look up mob grazing. For most of history, millions of cattle and bison ate grass, building the prairies and veldts without causing a huge build up of carbon in the atmosphere. All one need do is ask, “What is different between now and then?” Grain. It is that simple. The mass production of grain, which is poisonous to humans without massive energy inputs, due to the agricultural revolution some 10k years ago, is the culprit for most of our problems. It is the cause of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and numerous other diseases of “civilization.” It is the cause of the destruction of the vast oak forests of Iraq. It denuded the northern Sahara. The cedars of Lebanon are just a symbol on a flag. Plato complained of deforestation in Greece due to farming. Grain causes war. It was the need to store grain that caused sedentary populations. That resulted in bookeeping, hierarchacal and stratified societies, armies to protect the grain, and the physiological impoverishment of humans. We should ban grains, not cattle.

  • Am inspired by this article. Thank you. It is one of the more ‘complete’ analyses I’ve come across.

  • When life gives you arsenic, make lemonade. My goodness, this was a long winded, rambling essay in dire need of an editor. Not looking for easy answers, easy answers all that this offers. A stern letter to your senator should fix everything. Always look on the bright side of total destruction. Don’t count your chickens until they are organically raised by peasant farmers who love you with all their might. Frank Zappa is right: Broken hearts are for assholes.

  • Love ain’t gonna do sheeit. You really got going pretty good there for a bit in the middle, but the beginning and end are just more feel good crap. Rob at the public library has it right. It’s too late. Everything you suggested that you thought needed to be done is too little, too late. Your food analogy is good, however. We’ve eaten it all and now we’re dying of it. Rolling around in agony in our own filth and vomit. Finding love won’t help. Unless that’s just the way you personally wish to live out the rest of your time. Go for it.

    I’m beginning to see that the random activity of thermodynamics making its inevitable way forward is actually the best course, not that we have any say in this anyway:

    Slowly, slowly, an epidemic here, some flooding over here, some huge firestorms, a nuclear disaster, some crop failures, a regional war, a couple of ethinic cleansings (how I hate that phrase), wages and benefits sliding downward forever, a few revolutions, regional starvations, and the end of the oceans.

    We won’t do anything to stop it until it’s way too late. Like, now. And when we do finally do something, it will not work; it will make things worse.

    Then comes: pandemic diseases, hydrogen sulfide clouds move from over the oceans to over the land masses, open world-wide nuclear war, firestorms that cover whole continents, the end of farming due to toxic groundwater, lack of pollinators and unstable weather, hurricanes and typhoons stronger than anything we’ve ever seen, freak snow storms, coastal cities flooded, all avian species gone, insects everywhere, fish and aquatic mammals gone, and human beings won’t even be the last to die out. Ta da!

  • I can imagine no better illustration of the conundrum of being human than the juxtaposition of the two posts above, by Michael Harris and Grant Schreiber.

  • Yes Paul C. our demise is really going to be painful to watch isn’t it?

  • I would enjoy reading/participating in a discussion about whether extreme simplicity includes going without health insurance here in America, and all its ramifications.

  • The Power of Heartbreak
    Didn’t you know your heart was meant to break a thousand times to make everything beautiful again?
    —excerpt from Thanksgiving: An Activist’s Grace

    When I read such stuff I always wonder if anyone asked any impoverished person in a third world country if they would agree. Does a child in Brazil born on a garbage heap, hunted by gangs of rich kids agree. Beautiful again, when it was never beautiful from the beginning. Does a young girl sold to a brothel, heart breaking from being sold, from missing family, from being used by adult men who have a fancy for children, does this child think anything will ever be beautiful again, especially in a country where even if they get free from the brothel they will be forever tainted, not for what they did but for what was done to them.

    Before letting such stuff slip lightly off the pen, one should ask the people on the bottom if it is true. Might be true for middle class Americans. What about the man I used to visit – he had epilepsy and they operated and messed up. He was left a paraplegic who could not speak but could cry in pain when muscle seized up. He could eat and enjoyed eating, but choked once so the put in a stomach feeding tube. His wife knew he wanted to eat and asked the Dr.s to take out the tube. He indicated by moving his head he wanted to eat. They said no. The one small pleasure and they broke his heart once again to sustain his useless body and make sure he could suffer longer. He was 33 years old, two kids and a wife he will never hold again. Since his life can never be beautiful again, the heartbreak is just endless heartbreak and the only beauty left is the sweet release of death.

  • More bad news: solar activity has flatlined at the peak of the solar cycle:


    There are some very good comments here, too. Links to a couple of good scientific articles on the subject. The upshot? We don’t know WTF is happening.

  • This site is one of the stranger outposts in cyberspace. Considering that the essays are vetted by the moderator, the ensuing articulate rush to beat up anyone who dares voice the slightest, thinnest hope is starting to look like a symptomatic development of Endtimes Madness. What’s the payoff?

  • …Children guessed
    But only a few
    And as down they forgot
    Up they grew….

    In my journey of remembering, pain and joy mixed in the kaleidoscope of ‘alchemy’ as process to healing. When my journey was over, I stood at the edge of eternity, permission granted to return as I desired. But here I am instead. What can I share to help in the process of remembering and guage how far mankind has come on that journey? Only this, if a choice between remembering and forgetting is being waged, and it is, forgetting is winning hands down. This should give all in mans civilized realm great pause in considering just what heartbreak must be had to truly remember. But I am not even a man, I only wore the shroud of power he took off and placed on me. As easy as I removed mine, the earth will remove his and life will go on without this civilization to shadow it. Mans inability to remember primordial natural life is what keeps him thinking the only power he has is to destroy it as tool to finish forgetting it. I think then let this line of mankind perish thinking they took all of life with them, the last desperate hope for peace that he has. In this I hope mans misery in forgetting is over soon, as the best of men here and elsewhere bear witness that not even they will bear to truly remember, not enough anyway to stop forgetting, but just enough to make this great death, in forgetting, bearable. The job of forgetting was finished by the men who built the pyramids, a feat modern man has not been able to reproduce. Mans only hope is to remember enough to make the forgetting as the bulk of his kind perishes, just bearable. To mitigate this death of forgetful cancer. No blame and mitigation of suffering the goal.

    So thanks for this essay but it does little but to keep us all forgetting from a natural place, and because I remember, I can forgive that and say it is ok, rather than truly remember. It is, as borne in witness to choice by those in power, simply too much trauma to demand we go through when there is such luxury in programmed forgetting. Perhaps gods or hero’s could do it, but these ways were forgotten as well.

    No doubt since there is so much pain right now in the deluge of consequence no matter if we remember or forget, some will keep trying to remember while others keep on forgetting.

    So it goes, until it is gone.

  • @ izzy: I laughed so hard when I read your comment – big belly laugh – could not help it. Yes, the NBL crowd is ruthless…

    @ Kathy C. pretty much another consequence of civilization. Planting crops and building cities creates Division of Labor and therefore, makes rich and poor. The rich ignore the poor – and make up great stories of their “enlightenment.”

    @ Gail: I don’t know a lot about anything – but, seems that pre-civilization human experiences varied widely from the horrific, scary, and desperate to the serene, comforting and abundant. The point is, as Richard Davies said, once agriculture began and civilization progressed, the race was on…

    Still, the children suffer, there is no redemption.

  • I don’t agree with the premise here. If you’re talking about romantic love, well,we know thats not going to save the planet. But the very fact we breathe is an act of Love, because Love,peace,contentment,fullfilment, peace; they’re feelings,not philosophies or ideas or concepts…feelings. When that appreciation for Life happens then there is no egoic mind creating endless wanting,endless chaos,chasing the carrot and ripping everything and everyone apart to try to get to that “feeling”.The “world’ doesn’t need peace, People need Peace,not the absence of war peace which is just a truce,but real peace. Yes we have a deep problem. The egoic structures, this tinker toy land man created is falling apart and maybe man is witness to his own extinction. All is transient,all is change in an eternal sense. The Solution has been stated by so many…”What you are looking for is within you”, “Know Thy Self” etc etc,. So I go on pointing to IT,singing IT, inspiring those with a thirst to seek IT to find IT within because I have felt IT and seen IT and heard IT and tasted IT. Because thats at the root of the problem. The simplicity is astounding.

  • Another day at the NBL ranch, where the cockroaches and flesh eating bacteria stay, and never is heard an encouraging word, and the skies are full of acid rain and killer tornados all day…

    Lighten up guys, the worst is yet to come!

  • Exceptional essay, Jack – I especially appreciate your opinion from the medical perspective (as different from an academic address or a journalistic approach). People in general have no idea how toxic our environment has become. The trees and plants are telling us loud and clear but we aren’t heeding their call. No, we like it this way until we can’t do it any more then that’s that. Like people who rebuild in Hurricane Alley, some more than once – we’re just stubborn and ignorant, wasteful and greedy too. Yep, that’s humanity. Our motto should be (in Latin, of course,) ‘We don’t care about anything but ourselves, and we’re doin’ a shitty job of that!’ Our entire history is like a Monty Python piece, we’re so uncooperative, shallow and downright weird. I mean like the Catholic Church staging the Inquisition! That’s hysterical! We can’t make this stuff up, it’s so perfect. Yeah, we were a real hoot, boy. Fucked Everything up! Including ourselves with freaking television, cell phones, computers – we gotta be completely nuts to live this way. It’s stressful and radiation filled, abnormal, depraved, and that’s before we start talkin’ about diet. Oh, man – don’t even go there. It’s only the primary reason we went off the rails (thanks for the comment Richard Davies regarding grain).

    What i’m getting at is that there’s no fixing this shit, especially since we have absolutely no history of doing so. Government policy toward its own citizens (world-wide) is indicating that quite clearly.
    It’s ingrained at this point. The system captures us from cradle to grave and our so-called “free will” is constrained by peer pressure, habit, diet, geography, dna, and culture (to name a few influences). The powers that be aren’t changing their consumptive ways – and they’re who employ the few of us that still have work. Nobody knows how to just start from scratch doing it differently, so many people are going to die from all the chaos that’s just breaking out all over.
    Japan is fucked. The Gulf of Mexico is a dead zone. The Pacific has the Great Garbage Gyre (and there’s one in the Atlantic too). The climate has long since passed the tipping points and is in full scale crash mode. All the species we used to depend on are fast going extinct, so growing food is about to become very difficult on a large scale, and with unpredictable weather, growing anything anywhere is problematic.

    Look, even the crap we STOPPED is coming back to haunt us:


    Ear wax from whales records ocean contaminants –

    ‘It’s been 30-plus years since we’ve stopped using DDT, but to still see it showing up at such high concentrations is surprising’

    By Rhitu Chatterjee
    16 September 2013

    (NPR) – How often do whales clean their ears? Well, never. And so, year after year, their ear wax builds up, layer upon layer. According to a study published Monday, these columns of ear wax contain a record of chemical pollution in the oceans.

    The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used the ear wax extracted from the carcass of a blue whale that washed ashore on a California beach back in 2007. Scientists at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History collected the wax from inside the skull of the dead whale and preserved it. The column of wax was almost a foot long.

    “It’s kind of got that icky look to it,” says Sascha Usenko, an environmental scientist at Baylor University who was involved in the study. “It looks kind of like a candle that’s been roughed up a bit. It looks waxy and has got fibers. But it’s pretty rigid — a lot stronger and a lot more stable than one would think.”

    There are light and dark layers within the column, each layer corresponding to six months of the whale’s life, Usenko says. Historically the rings have been used to estimate the age of the whale, he says, “very similar to counting tree rings.”

    But age is not what Usenko was after. He studies how chemical pollutants like DDT and flame retardants are affecting whales. These pollutants get deposited in fatty tissues, such as whale blubber. And scientists often analyze blubber to see what whales are eating.

    But analyzing blubber has a limitation, Usenko says.

    “I would only know that organism — that [particular] animal was exposed to those contaminants,” he says. “I wouldn’t know when.”

    And so he thought, why not look at ear wax, which is also a fatty material that accumulates toxic chemicals.

    Because each layer of wax corresponds to six months of a whale’s life, by working through a plug of wax, Usenko could figure out when the animal was exposed to a particular chemical.

    In this case, Usenko and his colleagues found that the whale had been exposed to worrisome pollutants throughout its lifetime.

    He says the high levels of DDT surprised him.

    “It’s been 30-plus years since we’ve stopped using this compound,” he says, “but to still see it showing up at such high concentrations — one of the dominant chemicals we see — was surprising.”

    Usenko and his team also determined that “a significant percentage of the exposure occurred in the first, early stages of the animal’s life,” when it was still nursing, and perhaps especially vulnerable. At that point, the pollutants came from the mother, through her milk, the scientist says.
    [there’s more and a link to the abstract through the NPR article]

  • Tom that adds an enormous dimension to my fascination with whales and whaling (that crucial step into large scale industry so often overlooked) – which started last year https://witsendnj.blogspot.ca/2012/10/the-final-puff.html and went on and on https://witsendnj.blogspot.ca/2012/10/torches-of-freedom.html even to the brilliant movie Life of Pi, which draws so deeply from the shipwreck of The Essex.

    Thanks so much!

  • Rob@ the library: I hear your pain. Perhaps you misunderstood some points in the article; the love I speak of is replete with all the devastation you seem to feel. I honor your way to go out as you see fit.

    Kathy, to feel the “the only beauty left is the sweet release of death” one’s heart must be open. Perhaps better to let it break before the final moment?

    I myself have suffered greatly, as we all have, perhaps not many as much as some of the examples you describe, or in quite the same way. And I have lived with and shared story with the destitute in the streets, and many of them I found seemed less pained than those you might consider more privileged.

    My patients suffer greatly, and when they break open emotionally, they experience what they cannot reap by physical means. There is tremendous beauty to experience at any given moment, and I simply invite one to consider breaking open. For when we do, and we begin the upswing (largely regardless of external circumstances) we are suddenly not so cynical; this is my experience anyway. When there is little or no hope for physical survival, what can be experienced from this devastation is often meaning and beauty enough, and sweet redemption for accepting the givens of life. It is one’s choice how to deal with it.

    I find it helpful to remember, too, that any of us could die today or tomorrow. If we are so fixated on 2030 or whatever, we might overlook that even without climate change, death is always with us, moment to moment. In a way, impending collapse makes me REALLY take to heart the constant reality of death moment to moment, and therefore, paradoxically, life and gratitude (amid the shit) moment to moment.

    Let us not forget, here we are now, alive. Let us responsibly celebrate what we can, no?

    Artleads: You are welcome. Bon apetit. :)

    Wendi: You’re welcome. Thanks and I think you get it.

    Michael, you’re welcome. I’m happy to hear that.

    Erin: The “Love” I am discussing does do something; I am not discussing airy-fairy love. It’s not feel-good crap, if you read what is said, what I hoped to communicate. In fact, I say the opposite. You say, “Everything you suggested that you thought needed to be done is too little, too late.” You seem fixated on doing something externally; the article is mostly about inner work. Even if it’s too late externally, what I am saying is that there is reconciliation yet to be done, that can be done, beauty to be harvested from “feel-bad goodness” (to offer a polar to your “feel-good crap), unless you want to simply retreat in apathy and total neglect. In other words, feel all the shit and let your heart break and therein are surprises. Most do not embrace sadness and great grief; those who have know the hidden beauty of it. This article is an invitation to do so. This is a process of pain into an ineffable “love” and compassion. Once this tornado really accelerates and we don’t have such peace, the grace of even some time as we have now, will be gone.

    Michael: Good point about health insurance.

    Izzy, agreed. Perhaps there is not much hope ultimately, but there is quality of life and nature and integrity in ourselves we can preserve day to day.

    Tom, thanks and the whale info is fascinating, and of course, sad. I recently debated someone on a GMO site who was trying to tell me that DDT is harmless to humans and indeed many humans die from malaria because of bans on DDT. The article you reposted here quotes the scientist saying that we no longer use DDT, but it is actually still used in places around the globe where malaria is prevalent and there are not ready alternatives.

  • It is not correct that cattle raising is the largest contributor to greenhouse gases. That honour goes to burning fossil fuels.The Stephen Emmot quote was from his book’Ten Billion’,and I recommend it.A good antidote to the lunacy of the recent NYtimes article.The author of that article is in the same wonderland of delusion inhabited by the late Julian Simon.It is also interesting that the person he credits for leading him down the rabbit hole is an economist.The damage wrought by mainstream economics is incalculable.

  • “This is not a joke. It is not a bad movie. It is not a story of a far-off land. It is here and getting closer every day.”

    You’re preaching to the quire here. But yeah, we’re in a nightmare from which we can’t awake.

  • @Jack Adam Weber

    Your essay is superb!
    Thank you.

  • The Leonard Lopate Show:
    The Future with 10 Billion People

    Just over 200 years ago, there were one billion humans on Earth; now there are seven billion, and, sometime this century, the world population is expected to reach ten billion. Stephen Emmott, head of Computational Science at Microsoft Research, explains what this steadily growing human population means for the earth: deforestation, desertification, species extinction, growing threats to food and water. His book Ten Billion analyzes the issues our growing population will bring about.
    GUESTS: Stephen Emmott

  • We are doomed
    Doomed I tell you

  • The newest National Geographic magazine has a lovely free map with their latest edition. What an ice free world will look like. No worries, it’s all mapped out now. Whew!

  • To all, especially Guy, apologies for not commenting on our professor’s last post… which was so good that I really didn’t have anything to add. I’ve also been very busy, and only had time to answer direct invocations of my name, attempting to help in some healing.

    @ Artleads
    Thank you for mentioning my prior input.

    I think everyone knows deep inside what they really need to do now… we all need healing. So much noise and angst. As Jack Adam Weber implores us, we are overdue for simplification. We may not make it through the mass collapse, the great extinction we have started… but now, no matter what happens we are going to pass through the fire, one way or another. If we get ourselves as healthy as we can, heal the Earth as best as we can… maybe some of us will make it through with only bad scars. At least if we heal we can face the end with clearer, saner minds, and that will make things a little easier. Fear is essential now. Not crazy fear, but clear fear. Crazy fear will blind us, and we will get lost in the flames. Without clear fear we will ignore the danger, and have no chance at all. Let’s open our hearts and run through the blaze. May it purify all.


    I heard them there. Standing on the twilight edge clutching lead coated with thin yellow paint that the thieves paid them, shouting: “Gimme more. I want more.” The hollow spot the lead came from is six feet deep and cut for coffins, waiting open to the side. Cut flowers, dead, all ready. Automatic sobbing underway, from a tinny recording. Wind blowing from some old movie. They have been graciously invited to step in and lie down on the bedding inside the boxes by their long elegant shadows. Darkening sky, broken glass ground cutting their bare feet open. Coffins open, waiting. Hole waiting. They are waiting.

    Waiting. Just waiting.

    Impatience getting worse. Rain drops. Coffin beds getting wet. Wetting the beds. What a mess. When?

    They keep waiting. Occasionally shouting out for more gold colored lead.

    Anticipating a loud sound. Maybe a sonic boom from a war jet. Or something bigger. Just silence. More silence. Not dead yet. Silence broken by intermittent restless shouting for more yellow stuff. Stomping on the broken glass. Bloody red footprints on broken blue glass, white sand. Impatient. Not dead yet. Darnit.

    For some reason I can faintly fathom they turn to me and ask for my advice… maybe my old long gray beard had something to do with it. Elder, they say, “What shall we do?” I say from between mustache and beard: “Wash your wounds and plant seeds my dear children. It is raining. When the thieves come round again, put them to work. Oh, and toss that dam lead back in the hole, and dig another one for me up on the hill. Remember, when the rains come, plant seeds.”

  • “Remember, when the rains come, plant seeds” strikes me as particularly funny considering the flooding going on in Colorado, New Mexico and elsewhere. And on top of being funny, it is also cruel. But I have a sick sense of humor.

    Nonetheless, the various levels of “lighten up” and “there’s time enough to win” set my teeth on edge. In an effort to come to terms with NTE, I realize this is unfair. Solutions are right around the corner.

    1) End Human Greed. Once people realize that amassing wealth for the sake of amassing wealth is a foolish, and often destructive practice, they will stop. Greed is Bad signs would remind people that living and working for money is wrong, so they should be put up everywhere and greed will end.

    2) Spread existing wealth evenly. Now that greed has ended, we can take all that money and make sure everyone gets what they NEED, not what they WANT. Many of the rich would still be rich, but all of the poor would be better off and that’s a good thing.

    3) Make sure everyone has clean water and food. With the new found wealth of many poor people, getting clean water and food will now be easy. Everyone will win and be happy.

    4) End war. Since everyone is happy, there will be no more wars. People will then realize that since clouds and sunshine do not recognize borders, neither should they. A new world government based upon peace, love and sharing will quickly come into being.

    5) Go solar. Now that greed, poverty, hunger, and war have ended, we should be able to switch over to a solar power energy grid almost over night. We would all work together to make Earth Green. Everyone will be happy and get laid whenever they feel like it.

    So there it is. Five easy steps to world peace and avoiding NTE. There’s nothing to stop us!!

  • Jack you wrote If our president were to announce that no more children could be birthed for ten years Daily deaths worldwide currently stand at 153,000. If we stopped all births for 10 years and had no increase of the death rate that would reduce the world population by about ½ billion people. Not enough to bring the human population down to a sustainable number. In the US daily deaths are 6,760. If we stopped all births in the US for 10 years and had no increase of the death rate we would reduce the population by 24.5 million bringing us from 314 million to 289.5 million.

    that you could not buy more than 300 dollars worth of gadgets a month
    Since 1 billion humans have $30 a month or less as their whole budget and another 1.5 billion for $60 a month as their whole budget, $300 a month for gadgets seems excessive for a budget to save the planet. I wouldn’t know how to spend $300 a month on gadgets.

    , that anyone could only travel in an airplane once a year,

    Yet “More than 85 percent of the public flies infrequently if at all: More than seven in 10 can be described as infrequent fliers, flying once or twice a year or less; and 14 percent have never flown. Another 14 percent fly at least once every few months.”

    I am afraid that some of your suggestions for what the president could do to solve the problem, show you to be unaware of how the other half live and how huge the problem is.

    The way I see it is we need to stop putting carbon in the air, but that means shutting down those dirty coal plants in China and when we do that dimming ends and we find out just how much hotter we are going to get without dimming. And when that hotter takes hold the methane will REALLY melt and continue the out of control feedback loops we are already in.

    So before that happens we need to decommission the nuclear power plants, but even the quickest decommissioning takes about 5 years before the fuel can come out of the spent fuel pools and into dry cask storage – per wiki “The 2008 NRC guideline calls for fuels to have spent at least five years in a storage pool before being moved to dry casks” Well shutting them down uses energy and and removes energy from the mix and well its hard to see that happen. When the grid finally goes because of peak oil, or EMP, or solar flares we will have remaining nuclear power plants going critical shortly after their 1 week of diesel backup fuel is used. There are currently 427 active nuclear power plants.

    And then with peak oil we won’t be able to fight forest fires and they will burn unhindered, running over such places as the Hanford nuclear storage or the Los Alamos one they almost ran over a year or two ago.

    I could go on. What we needed to do needed to be done already. Your suggestions for what a president could ordain for the US are not only politically impossible, but no where near enough and reflect what an upper middle class American thinks is sacrifice.

    If we had time, we would need to quickly dismantle industrial civ but do it somehow in a way in which the world’s nuclear plants could be shut down at the same time. We would also have to put in place geo-engineering to replace the dimming lost when we shut down the coal burning plants in China. How exactly we are going to keep up putting particulate in the atmosphere when we are shutting down the grid I can’t quite fathom. We would need to drop the population of the planet by billions in a very short period of time…but do it without more war. Some think that powers in the world are planning that, but they need a vast population of poor to keep themselves way up in the stratosphere, so I think we can’t count on them for population reduction. But not to worry, shutting down industrial civ will do that. There will be no more gadgets to buy, no planes will fly, and we can all try and figure out how ½ the planet lived on $720 a year or less. Since we haven’t had practice, we probably won’t make it. It will shut down, but it is too late for it to matter.

    The fact is that while solutions might have worked 40 years ago we are out of time. Regular bloggers here have been dealing with that heartbreak for some time. Nothing will be beautiful again. As Rob says, the children suffer. There is no redemption. Well some, when humans are gone, no child will ever be sold away from her family to be a slave. No 8 year old will be killed by her 40 year old husband on her wedding night because his passions caused him to tear her uterus as just happened in Yemen. I am sure her heart broke just before her uterus broke and since she died so did any opportunity for beauty in her life. No more Depleted Uranium babies will be born. That is a heart break that doesn’t go away. No more doctors in Fallujah will have to tell the women there, don’t have more babies. google “du babies images” if you want to see real heartbreak.

  • izzy

    You wrote:
    “What’s the payoff?”

    You get to die, but with full foreknowledge and full awareness of what you did not get round to doing this time around. Additionally, as a perk, you have the now moment to do what you want with your attention, consciousness, time and life energy – it’s up to you. You are the director of your own one-day-this-will-die-perambulatory-vehicle-body-mind-thingy.
    That’s the payoff, you get to die!

    Just sayin.

  • “Poignancy is power. And the power we can all reap now is in our hearts, a passionately compassionate spiritual power made available by breaking…open.”

    I had to stop reading at this point.

    Hasn’t the desire for Power been our biggest problem and nemesis?

    You and Carolyn, desperate to control an uncontrollable process…


    Power Down, dudes.

  • @Tom, thanks for the fascinating earwax story!
    In other entropic news, NPR to fire 10% of its staff.

  • Excellent. Thought provoking. I am with you Jack.. I hear you, and your truth, tempered with love….

    Thank you…

  • Thanks Jack, it was a beautiful essay. I wish I lived on a planet where people made a priority of doing those lovely things you describe. Unfortunately I don’t.

  • Most fears have to be learned. An infant knows no fears as it does not know how to anticipate consequences. Once consequences are learnt, rationally appropriate anticipations can follow: these are not based on fear. The associated fear comes from the expectations of loss and/or pain.

    All fears are rooted in attachments:

    “31. In enjoyment, there is the fear of disease; in social position, the fear of falling-off; in wealth, the fear of (hostile) kings; in honour, the fear of humiliation; in power, the fear of enemies; in beauty, the fear of old age; in scriptural erudition, the fear of opponents; in virtue, the fear of traducers; in body, the fear of death. All the things of this world pertaining to man are attended with fear; renunciation alone stands for fearlessness.”

    The Hundred Verses on Renunciation

  • This may interest Kathy C., B9K9, and others who adhere to the social darwinist and neo-darwinian, Ayn Randian, nature red in tooth and claw, all fighting against all schools of thought.

    A radical new holistic view of health based on cooperation and disease based on competition

  • NTHE! Keep it real,don’t get it twisted,live what you’ve got left &
    “ROLL WITH IT” baby.


    “You’ll leave bad times way behind
    Nothing but good times on your mind
    You can do it, roll with it, baby”

    “Then you’ll see life will be so nice
    It’s just a step up to paradise”

  • i’m sure you need no reminders, but here’s how this month started around the globe weatherwise:


    Signs Of Change The Past Week Or So Sept. 2013 Part 1

    So much has happen since my last post that it’s impossible to show it all in a 15 minute youtube upload, but the year of the 100 year flood continues. This time, it strikes America.

  • I can’t let this one pass.

    ‘Cheer me up, Scotty’


    “Project Hieroglyph is an initiative that aims to break science fiction writers’ addiction to the negative. Ed Finn, Director of the Centre for Science and Imagination at Arizona State University, explains why positive science fiction stories are important for our future….

    We went from the grand infrastructure projects of the ’50s and ’60s and designing intercontinental commercial transit aeroplanes, to using almost the same machines to get around that we did then, and using the very same infrastructure that is now decaying and falling apart that we built 50 years ago.

    So Stephenson was saying: why aren’t we thinking big anymore, why aren’t we doing ambitious new stuff? And the president of Arizona State University’s response to that was, well, maybe this is all your fault. Maybe it’s the science-fiction writers who are letting us down who need to be coming up with more creative and ambitious dreams for the future.

    That was the spark that launched both Project Hieroglyph and the Center for Science and the Imagination.

    The mission of our centre is very simply to get people thinking more creatively and ambitiously about the future, and I’d say that’s at the core of Project Hieroglyph as well…..”

    There is a Tarot card reading position called ‘Hopes and fears’, and this seems to fit.

    There is another Tarot card reading position called ‘Likely outcome/future’ and NBL is always locked into that position for me.

    However, I in this moment, invent a Tarot card reading position called ‘Radical Improbability, Still Possible, Frigging Spiritual Man’….. I’m always shooting for that camel’s arse passing through that eye of the needle. Is this classified as hopium, or maybe even dopium?

    Can’t let Sci-Fi get too close to the emerging present.


    Our new Prime Minister has decided to do away with the Science Minister portfolio, as well as Indigenous Affairs Minister portfolio, AND declare he will cancel the Carbon Tax, (an election promise)
    AND trash 3 peak climate change monitoring and policy bodies begun under the previous government, while at the same time creating a Sport Minister portfolio and a Business Minister portfolio.

    Says it all.

    Here we go!!!!

  • Twenty Concepts I Wasn’t Taught in Business School, by Nate Hagens:


  • Japan
    Sept. 17, 2013

    Looking purely at the numbers, Japan’s medium-term fundamentals are among the bleakest in the world.

    Total government debt amounts to over 200% of the country’s entire GDP– a figure so large that the Japanese government spends 51.5% of the 43 trillion yen ($430 billion) they collect in tax revenue just to pay interest!

    Perhaps even more astounding is that ‘primary balance expenses,’ i.e. normal government expenditures, totaled 70.3 trillion yen, or 163% of tax revenue.

    The only way they have managed to stay afloat is by issuing more debt, which makes the problem even worse. In fact, 46% of the 2013 budget is being financed by debt.

    These guys are running out of rope. And fast.

  • @ dairymandave

    great link – spent an hour reading through it – and it’s interesting how different the tone of the comments are – very calm, very reasonable.

    Everyday I wonder how it can be that the general population has not jumped on the bandwagon to stop this madness – but I do know why: we can’t VOTE the madness away, we can’t stop consuming long enough to stop the madness, we can’t give in to the guilt that we ARE the madness…

    The children suffer.

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #46

    Slow-motion rainbow
    touches down broken fences…
    rain ends reverie.

  • Dear Ozman,

    Loved your new card! Now that is breaking through fear after breaking open your heart! Proofs in the puddin’ kind of stuff! Love it! Whew! Black swan event take me away!

  • @Jack Adam Weber

    Lots of good stuff. Difficult to practice, though. To each his own and best of luck.


    Nate writes very well he helped mi understand the human condition aspect of the whole situation. Over the years, some of my personal favorite articles on theoildrum.com have been authored by him. I just dont do the rounds of the Internet as obsessively as I used to, thank you for the link.

    @Rob at the public library

    “The sad truth is this: It CAN be done, but it won’t be done.”

    THAT, that right there is where my heart is broken, no not broken, more like ground to a fine dust and blown away in the wind. Blown away in the wind to give company to all the answers, to all the answers and all the farts (let out in no particular direction).

    The comments section at theoildrum.com has some really fine people. Some of them would be commenting over here too, I would imagine.


    “We won’t do anything to stop it until it’s way too late. Like, now. And when we do finally do something, it will not work; it will make things worse.”

    I am similarly convinced that, IF, we actually try to take a corrective course of action, it is not going to go very well. Given our fantastic 100% success rate of making matters worse at every juncture so far, we will succeed yet again and make matters worse.

    “It’s official: Facts do not matter”

    Nice one.

    Solar Flaring, etc.

    There is this guy on youtube goes by the nic Suspicious0bservers he does a 3min (approx) thing everyday on weather and solar activity. He is very diligent, in the sense that he does it everyday without fail. He has been trying to figure out a relationship between solar activity and earthquakes and he seems to be onto something, that part of his videos I liked. But he does not agree with the idea that climate change is anthropogenic, that I don’t agree with. Consequently, I stopped watching his videos some time back. If you already are not watching his videos and if you are interested about the solar activity subject you could give it a shot.


    We are doomed
    Doomed I tell you

    Nice one, not quite like the ones Denise does, but hey, its the end of the world and you capture the mood… quite literally :D

    @The Dean Of Reading

    Awesome, looking forward to moar :D

    And on that screech err… note…
    Onward we march…

    To the fiddle :D

  • On Saturday, November 26, 1977, at 5:10PM viewers of United Kingdom’s prime time news were startled when a mysterious voice interrupted the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) live broadcast to transmit a 6 minute statement to warn of an impending global calamity should humanity continue on its present destructive course. No less than five transmitters were hijacked simultaneously, spread over great distances. The IBA were not aware that the message was overriding their signal as the transmitters would have been switched off immediately. Despite lengthy investigations by the BBC and Scotland Yard to determine the source of this illegal broadcast, the origin remains a mystery to this day.

    Click on this You Tube link to watch and listen the actual broadcast for yourself:

  • @ F.Kling


    I still don’t have a total fix on what you are all about, but I do feel like you “fit in” here for the most part, however, I really don’t think this is the site for UFO discussion unless it is particularly germane to the topic in some way.

    Look, we all know the general public thinks we are all loony – NBL, NTE, UFOs, Illuminati, Heaven’s Gate, JFK, ancient aliens, Peak Oil, 911, Birthers, AGW, etc. And I’m definitely NOT saying that it’s us crazy folks all together against the sheeple nonbelievers, I’m just saying that each of these topics has it’s place.


  • datta says: “An infant knows no fears as it does not know how to anticipate consequences.”

    Where does that shit come from?
    But it is too late, I don’t really want to know.

  • Michele, I wondered about that too. Having had 3 of my own and nursed since birth a few others as a professional nanny, I think they are born with not just fear, but stark raving terror (of not being fed, not being held)…

    Anyway, as to the monkey brain!

  • @ grant Schreiber

    Excellent prescription, but you forget the need to change oneself. :-) That’s what Jack is talking about. Breaking the sterile mold that comes out with cold, alien prescriptions, in order to unearth the fertile mess inside. Sort of like how compost is made. The egg cannot nourish if it isn’t broken.

    And solar is a fine step in a transition. However, its manufacturing is unsustainable. Logspirit is, I believe, talking about something far more extreme than solar panels.

    Anyone making it through the bottleneck, which I believe can be delayed, will never have solar again, might never be able ever again to emerge from below… It’s just that there is a choice–a fierce, beautiful, fecund darkness, or a bestial demise. Your choice.

  • In case anyone wants to follow the latest on the rift from the 4 Quarters conference where Guy presented, here is Part II, which has a link to Part I within:


  • Tom Says: So much has happened since my last post that it’s impossible to show it all in a 15 minute youtube upload, but the year of the 100 year flood continues. This time, it strikes America

    Yes, when you strip away all the crap, NBL is in essence a weather blog. The thesis here is that climate change caused by humans putting CO2 into the atmosphere is going to bring about NTE. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and 100 year floods in the CO mts are interesting, but none of these can ever cause NTE. What is necessary to cause NTE is for unprecedented climatic events to persist in the fertile food growing areas of the planet. Those areas either need to be burned to ashes by drought or put underwater by flood, all of them, or most of them, every year, reducing food production dramatically. Without that, no NTE. And so far, the NTE weather channel is a blank screen. Food production must be ended everywhere, and at once, by the climate for NTE to happen.

    Theoretically, NTE is possible by other means that have nothing to do with climate. But there must be a reason why this blog is not called UFO’s Bat Last, or Plague Bats Last, or Meteor Impact Bats Last, or even Nuclear War Bats Last. Though I’m sure there are plenty of blogs about those things. Of course, speculation is always fun, this is why sf books are so popular. How about this: Mass Suicide Bats Last. Everyone on Earth agrees to end the species by a certain date, say, new years eve. That gives time for the authorities to train people, and produce the appropriate drugs to make it easier. Not bad huh?

  • Kathy…thanks for your time to respond and the stats. Regarding your comment:

    “I am afraid that some of your suggestions for what the president could do to solve the problem, show you to be unaware of how the other half live and how huge the problem is.”

    These examples are illustrative; they are not scientific figures. They illustrate a point, not offer a prescriptive cure. If you read the paragraph in context it is clear I think that the point of the illustration is to show that sane political decisions would be viewed as insane, and not the good kind of insane. You seem to have taken it literally when it is not meant literally, but figuratively. Cheers…

  • Artleads writes: “Breaking the sterile mold that comes out with cold, alien prescriptions, in order to unearth the fertile mess inside. Sort of like how compost is made. The egg cannot nourish if it isn’t broken.”

    And there’s so many different things going on here, I can only scratch my head. Broken eggs don’t become chickens, and you really shouldn’t compost whole eggs, though working egg shell into the soil is good for tomato plants. And everything else being equal, I would rather not grow tomatoes in my insides, unless I’m turning into compost. If we’re talking in scrambled metaphors, then we’re not communicating and that’s a huge problem for me.

    There needs to be more understanding and less mumbo jumbo. All in favor of tossing reason and sanity aside since reason and sanity have brought us to the brink of destruction, but there’s got to be clarity. Talk of tossing out personal yolks and fertile soils and alien molds is worthless because it is deliberately unclear. I get tried of gibberish being passed off as wisdom.

    We’re being murdered. All of us. We are being murdered by a handful of men who believe money is more important than life itself. And now the atmospheric system is moving on its own accord. Despite knowing the dangers, there is no honest effort to stop it. And this is not something that can be stopped by pure thoughts and happy vibes. I have had my fill of good vibrations on the path to the slaughter house.

    I have absolutely no illusion that we’ll be rescued. And I see no value in finding my inner happy spot as the planet dies. Facing death is a worthy subject. Why must it be candy colored and smell like cherry fizz?

  • I tend only to see new posts (they only emerge) early in the morning or late at night. Rarely during the day. I get confused and can’t recall how many comments I have posted. I apologize if I am now over the limit.

    @ Kathy C

    I appreciate your analysis from yesterday. But since it takes 30 years or so (?) for the currently emitted carbon to result in in related temperature rise (and 30 years is way over the time we think we have) why not continue burning coal?

    And if they could stop NEW fracking and oil drilling, that would be revolutionary, even if draining all the existing wells dry plus what carbon is already in the works from the past would be enough to put us six feet under… In our desperately messed up situation, any unburnt oil (a pipe dream of mammoth proportion!) would be needed for future mitigation.

    So, a wild guess. The first thing to stop is capitalism. I’m not seeing how that could be done without a military takeover. Burning coal and existing oil would keep the grid going for the imaginable (short) future of life somewhat as we know it. Job number one would be decommissioning nuclear facilities (and see today’s or yesterday’s Democtacy Now).

    I see three major threats to getting any life through the bottleneck: capitalism, nuclear fallout and water scarcity. If these three could somehow be eliminated (while continuing to use coal and existing oil and gas plus renewables and conservation) it seems that the other horrors can be sufficiently mitigated to something past the bottleneck? (I guess it would take seawater somehow carted and stored to deal with fires.)

  • @ Rtleads
    U r a dreamer
    Find anothr blog to post your silly thoughts
    U r not welcome here

  • blah blah blah
    when I think of all the wasted lives pursuing nothing

  • @ Grant Schreiber
    Of course I never intended my comments to be cruel. I’m sorry that you found them particularly ironic. While to some extent my exhortation to ‘plant seeds’ was literal, I mainly meant it in a symbolic manner, as seeding new ways of thinking and behaving. And, I guess if we can’t literally plant seeds when the rains come, then human extinction is breathing down our bloody necks. Yes, I suppose that is a cruel joke we’ve played upon ourselves, but I’m not the only comedian, and well may have done less harm than others. I’m pretty sure you have had at least as much of a hand in producing the horror as I. And some have done far worse. But we are not here to lay blame or toot our own horns, or fight, or joke. We are here to help each other as much as we can now. Pain a plenty already, and much more coming our way real soon. Yes, sir, real, real, soon. So lick your wounds and carry on as best as you can, and help others. Despondency and self pity isn’t much of an asset no matter how intense it feels. Pick yourself up man. The sun hasn’t set yet. More marching to do.

    @ Artleads
    Yes, you understand me well. Indeed, “something far more extreme than solar panels” – Health, via a complete lifestyle change. Not that I object to solar panels (which I wish I could afford). Yes, something far more extreme. I actively promote… a fresh radical health consciousness in the way we treat ourselves: with kindness, in the way we treat each other: with kindness, and of course, in the way we treat the living Earth, especially the sentient: with kindness.

    We all want to feel good – unless we are insane. The only way to feel good is to be healthy. To be healthy we need clean air, clean water, clean food, enough rest and relief from stress and anxiety, enough exercise, enough sunshine, enough love and laughter and sense of purpose and connection and creativity, and enough unsuppressed compassion to let it all happen. Failure to try guarantees failure. We of this forum comprehend the danger humans and all sentient life forms on this planet are facing. We are humans. We are not deer frozen in headlights. We still make choices. Good choices and bad choices. Move! Change! Stop harming! Stop being harmed. Disinter your heart from its untimely burial, and let it beat out loud. Be healthy and heal the world, heal the world and be healthy. Is it too late? Only time will tell. Might as well try.

    Meanwhile, I wouldn’t call eggs nourishing or healthy. They are better left unbroken. Please, for your own good, see my previous link on this issue, I’ve already posted it twice. Or go to nutritionfacts.org and research it. For your own good, dude. Really.

  • NoMo, conversations on this site center around the topic of near term human extinction. IF-IF-IF you have paid attention to my postings from the onset, like, as an example, the article I referenced from NASA’s Planetary Sciences Group warning that ET forces may deem it necessary to exterminate the human race to prevent mankind’s destruction of Earth’s life support system, than you will appreciate that a Black Swan event is just as likely if not more so than the prosaic musings so frequently referenced here. Look, I scored in the 99th percentile on the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal, a measure of critical reasoning abilities. The process of critical thinking involves the acquisition and interpretation of information, and the subsequent application of that information to reach a well-justified conclusion. Consequently, I feel that I am well qualified to offer an alternative plausible explanation for the future that is before us. Since this is Guy’s site and I am a good German who knows how to follow orders, I will continue to post unless instructed otherwise by Guy. While you may not see the relevancy of the subject matter, I have received numerous emails from viewers of this blog who are as intrigued as am I. Nevertheless, thank you for questioning me in a polite manner. Hopefully, I have answered your question, although you are probably not satisfied with the response.

  • ‘Let’s dance to the song
    they’re playin’ on the radio

    Let’s sway
    while color lights up your face
    Let’s sway
    sway through the crowd to an empty space

    If you say run, I’ll run with you
    If you say hide, we’ll hide
    Because my love for you
    Would break my heart in two
    If you should fall
    Into my arms
    And tremble like a flower

    Let’s dance for fear
    your grace should fall
    Let’s dance for fear tonight is all

    Let’s sway you could look into my eyes
    Let’s sway under the moonlight,
    this serious moonlight’

    -thanks to david bowie, cannabis, and tonight’s full moon.

    ‘we’re just stubborn and ignorant, wasteful and greedy too. Yep, that’s humanity. Our motto should be (in Latin, of course,) ‘We don’t care about anything but ourselves, and we’re doin’ a shitty job of that!’ Our entire history is like a Monty Python piece, we’re so uncooperative, shallow and downright weird. I mean like the Catholic Church staging the Inquisition! That’s hysterical! We can’t make this stuff up, it’s so perfect. Yeah, we were a real hoot, boy.’ -tom

    i think this is great. surreality is surreally surreal, sir tom. u express it so eloquently, describe us/nature so well.

    ‘Our democracy, in case you hadn’t noticed, is a corrupted sham.’ from gail’s wit’s end blog entry ‘merely players’ link from her earlier post. as a matter of fact, i have noticed, but thanks for sharing your own recent experience of playing the ‘man’s’/fool’s exasperating games.

    gail, the wiki article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropospheric_ozone has nothing about the damage to trees u document so well/painstakingly on your great blog. perhaps u can correct this? unfortunately, a lot more sheeple looking for info. on tropospheric ozone will go to wikipedia than wit’s end. that said, u’re awesome.

    ‘economic stimulus’ -stealing from the future in an utterly foolish/vain attempt to maintain an unsustainable present.

  • they are born with not just fear, but stark raving terror (of not being fed, not being held)

    That too is learnt, the first time they experience their needs not being met.

    good German who knows how to follow orders

    The good Germans followed der Führer’s final order: and there is no time limit on becoming good.

  • ‘I myself have suffered greatly, as we all have, perhaps not many as much as some of the examples you describe, or in quite the same way. And I have lived with and shared story with the destitute in the streets, and many of them I found seemed less pained than those you might consider more privileged.’ -jack adam weber

    this very poignant 10 minute video documenting one’s personal anguish i posted late on the last thread, in case anyone missed it then:

  • FriedrichKling Says:
    ET forces may deem it necessary to exterminate the human race to prevent mankind’s destruction of Earth’s life support system… Look, I scored in the 99th percentile on the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal…

    ET forces may deem it necessary? May? You mean they haven’t decided yet?! What are they waiting for? Obviously these ETs lack CT, since they haven’t made up their minds despite the overwhelming evidence. Kling, I’m afraid you’ve pinned your hopes on some lame-ass ETs. Frankly, I’d rather be exterminated by capitalists, since at least they know why they’re doing it. Nevertheless, your CT scores are impressive enough for me to join with you and petition Guy to turn the blog over to you.

  • @ michele

    datta says: “An infant knows no fears as it does not know how to anticipate consequences.”

    Where does that shit come from?
    But it is too late, I don’t really want to know.

    Hahahaha, he just makes it up, he’s full of it :-)

    @ Robin Datta

    they are born with not just fear, but stark raving terror (of not being fed, not being held)

    That too is learnt, the first time they experience their needs not being met.

    Citation needed. How exactly do you learn ‘stark raving terror’ ? Practice ? Getting better and better at it ?

    Of course, you will not provide one. You never do, just as you never answer questions, just make assertions that everyone is has to accept because you are The Wise Guru Who Knows All.

    I don’t know anything about human babies, but I do know that you don’t know what you are talking about, and that your crude mechanistic model of animal behaviour (and humans) is completely obsolete.

    Young animals and birds do experience fear. Not because they have not learned. They experience fear of the UNKNOWN. It’s built in and instinctive, NOT LEARNED, it keeps them alive.

    Robin Datta, the fact that you don’t know this very simple elementary stuff and make such absurd statements on this blog tells me maybe you need take a check on how you see yourself, no ?

    @ Gail

    Great de Waal video, thanks for it, amazing.

  • @ Ripley

    Yeah, I like the way you’re thinking, buddy… that F.K. sure is one smart fella, Watson-Glaser, eh, no wonder I can’t tell a good German from a bad German or an indifferent mediocre average sorta German…

    u mean they haven’t decided yet?! What are they waiting for?

    Seem to recall the theory that some of them ETs have infiltrated and are indistinguishable from fellow humans and are this very moment walking amongst us, have even been interbreeding for generations, probably reading this blog, even writing comments (@ puddles ??) – no doubt F.K. is fully informed and up to date on the situation – but so what ?

    Whether it’s our own home grown lunatics or the Aliens or God or whoever is in charge, the unremitting Almighty Fuck Up shows no sign of any change of direction does it ? Not as far as I can see…

    These pathetic people are the political leaders of the United States. I implore you to remember that these damaged, terrified individuals possess the power to destroy you, me, and millions of other people — and I remind you that they have, in fact, murdered a great many people, and mostly entirely innocent people, over the last decade. It is almost impossible to grasp that people who have powers we once attributed to gods reveal themselves to be arrested adolescents, devoid of a genuine sense of independence and worth, who derive their world view and their operating political philosophy from science fiction movies and cool gadgets. And seriously, what the fuck? Alexander hired a Hollywood set designer — paid for with your tax dollars — so that when he went to work, he’d go onto the set of one of his favorite movies? The doors even make a “whoosh” sound?!?!? And all the VIPs love this shit and are “wowed” by it??? WHAT THE FUCK.


  • Artleads…

    It’s a deep pleasure when someone actually gets it; thanks for the inadvertent consolation…

    “That’s what Jack is talking about. Breaking the sterile mold that comes out with cold, alien prescriptions, in order to unearth the fertile mess inside. Sort of like how compost is made. The egg cannot nourish if it isn’t broken.

    Anyone making it through the bottleneck, which I believe can be delayed, will never have solar again, might never be able ever again to emerge from below… It’s just that there is a choice–a fierce, beautiful, fecund darkness, or a bestial demise. Your choice.”

    “…fecund darkness, or a bestial demise…” Correct.
    “Your choice”…so we hope.

  • Jack you wrote If you read the paragraph in context it is clear I think that the point of the illustration is to show that sane political decisions would be viewed as insane, and not the good kind of insane. You seem to have taken it literally when it is not meant literally, but figuratively.

    You miss my point. You say that yo said that as an illustration of how insane such proposals would be politically. I am pointing out that from the point of accomplishing anything, they are insane as they are too little too late. Extend my figures to find out how many years it would take to get to what some think is sustainable world population of 1 billion. Since we are at 7 billion we need to reduce by 6 billion. At 1/2 billion natural deaths each decade in 60 years we would have reduced the population by 3 billion, at which point there would be no fertile women left, problem solved.

    My point is that even proposals that seem insane, extreme, are not enough to solve the problem.

    Were the $300 on gadgets and 1 plane ride a year also figurative of what would seem insane. From the view of a US president passing that in congress sure it seems insane. From the viewpoint of how many in the US (and the percent is increasing) it wouldn’t seem insane because that is how they are already living.

    Poetry isn’t going to save us, fine essays aren’t going to save us. Our end is predictable as a civilization (Jospeh Tainter, Collapse of Complex society) and as a species (Too Smart for Our Own Good, Craig Dilworth) so the only poetry that Might some good is that which makes us laugh on the way to the gallows. Benjamin the Donkey and his Limericks of Doom do that for me. To each their own. What I get from your essay is denial sugar coated. I gave up sugar (literally) 30 years ago. Food began to taste better within months of eliminating sugar. I like facts, I like facing reality.

    Dairyman – thanks for the link – The author was interviewed on Democracy Now yesterday
    Thirty-three years ago to the day, the United States narrowly missed a nuclear holocaust on its soil. The so-called “Damascus Accident” involved a Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile mishap at a launch complex outside Damascus, Arkansas. During a routine maintenance procedure, a young worker accidentally dropped a nine-pound tool in the silo, piercing the missile’s skin and causing a major leak of flammable rocket fuel. Sitting on top of that Titan 2 was the most powerful thermonuclear warhead ever deployed on an American missile. The weapon was about 600 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. For the next nine hours, a group of airmen put themselves at grave risk to save the missile and prevent a massive explosion that would’ve caused incalculable damage. The story is detailed in Eric Schlosser’s new book, “Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety,” which explores how often the United States has come within a hair’s breadth of a domestic nuclear detonation or an accidental war. Drawing on thousands of pages of recently declassified government documents and interviews with scores of military personnel and nuclear scientists, Schlosser shows that America’s nuclear weapons pose a grave risk to humankind
    rest at the link

  • Gail, thanks for the link!

    That’s very troubling.

    What I don’t know, however, is what we’re going to do about it. Orlov and Kunstler are very popular; they have a much bigger audience than you or Guy.

    And unfortunately things like this sometimes become self-fulfilling prophecies: if people start insisting that something “must” happen, and they shoot down or block any attempts to stop it from happening, than it WILL happen.

    That is, Orlov and Kunstler may actually be right about women losing gains…only it will be Orlov and Kunstler’s doing, for insisting so loudly that women are drowned out.

    So what do we DO about it, Gail, is what I’m asking? We can protest all we want, but unless we have teeth, as Orlov and Kunstler do, it amounts to nothing but “sound and fury”, to borrow a metaphor from William Faulkner.

    I’m not a woman, so it’s no skin off my nose, but I work with powerful women all the time at my workplace and I’d hate to think your gains were smashed because men believing themselves to be gods “willed it so”.

  • logspirit: On planting seeds in the rain and breaking eggs. This again goes back to the need for clarity. I knew the whole planting seeds in the rain was to be taken as a metaphor, but chose to take it literally. And in lieu of the floods going on, went on to make a joke. Artleads is trying to say “you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs,” but not wanting to use a cliche has come up with a less obvious way of saying that. Thus confusion is created instead of communication.

    Let us put aside our metaphors. Lets stop looking for the catchy turn of phrase that shows off our superior education and solid middle class values and talk plainly face to face, as it were, on the subject of global as well as personal death. Let us look each other in the eye and say exactly what we mean without frills. The goal is understanding. To achieve understanding we need to put down the fanciful and pick up the real. Time is short. Let’s not waste it trying to outwit each other by using words in a kaleidoscope of meanings. We are dying, and so is everything else. But this dying is unnatural, being forced upon us by greed, stupidity and carelessness. Let’s address that, without flourish, but openly and honestly.

  • Thanks TVT – I’ll add fixing wiki to the list!

    Ripley, I think there is more to the thesis of NTE than extreme weather causing crop failure. Personally I think we’re in for (somewhat) NTE from starvation because the ecosystem is collapsing from pollution.

    But if I follow Guy’s reasoning, the proximate cause here at NBL is that the earth will become uninhabitable because temperatures will exceed the level at which plants can grow and people can live. It’s really no different than what Hansen says

    (see https://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/09/17/1892241/hansen-climate-sensitivity-uninhabitable/)

    other than the time scale and Hansen’s belief that we will 1. stop emitting CO2 and 2. draw the level down (by planting trees, ha).

    Guy is relying on the speed of irreversible amplifying feedbacks that have already begun, whereas almost all climate scientists (at least in public) don’t factor them into predictions or model calculations because they simply don’t know how they will proceed.

    If you look at the paleoclimatic record however, the last time there was this much CO2 in the atmosphere (and we continually add to it!) the world was not a place where humans could survive.

  • stupid humans:

    confusion over “sell by,” “best if used by,” and “expiration” dates:

    In 2012, an NRDC study found as much as 40 percent of the country’s food supply goes uneaten. The cost of that wasted food? Roughly $165 billion, including $900 million in “expired” food. A family of four, the study found, spends an average of $455 a year on food it doesn’t eat.

  • LOVE can do plenty Erin, I’m sorry you don’t understand that; I was there once but I learned to process information with ALL of my senses not just the 5 we were trained to. Giving up is not the answer; resolving to be a victim will only add more weight to that which weighs against us. Love allows appreciation for the moment and reverence for the path forged. I prepare myself for the next phase: sharing my collection of mid century Americana with those who will have never seen it. A wind up music box from the 1800’s(no electricity needed:) I’ve collected most of my life in preparation for this future and even in the end, I, who at the age of 13 attempted suicide for the first time because the horrors were already palpable; have stayed, learned to love and accept this HuMan process of death and rebirth and wish nothing more than to inspire others to find the seed, plant it and grow a tree! xo P.S. If anyone feels they need help, feel free to reach out to me, I am easy to find:)

  • @ Wendi Morrison-Merritt

    Thanks for your fine comment, good sense, and generous heart.

    @ grant Schreiber

    Mixed metaphors and all–and even if criticizing my writing skills were a priority in these perilous times–did you somewhat grasp what I was trying to say?

    FWIW, I don’t just scramble mataphors; I’ve also been trying to follow Kathy C’s logic and see if I can contribute anything reasonable within the chain of her reasoning. You do say we are dying. Who here doesn’t know that? The question then becomes, what, if anything, can be done about it? (Acceptance is fine, but gives us nothing to discuss.) We owe it to our great minds and creative abilities to think seriously about it. I would be more than grateful if you’d check out what Cathy C has been saying re the parameters of (im)possible survival and see what, if anything, you can contribute to the discussion that is clear, calm and logical.

    @ puddles

    Where is YOUR blog? Tell me, and I’ll keep away from it. Meanwhile, this is not your blog, so you’re in no position to dismiss any poster here.

  • Dear Mr. Weber, I really wanted to NOT like this essay, just because of the touchy-feely aspect/tone, but it has provoked enough thought that I must appreciate it for stirring strong emotion. I am pretty bitter and angry about many things these days, and I happened to read this after learning that my son is being bullied at school. (ALREADY! He just started kindergarten, for gods’ sake!)

    Really, thank you for writing this. It highlights some of the darker and more damaging traits of our western society, namely, falsely taking death and grief out of the natural cycle of human experience, forcing people to put on a happy face and get on with it, when they most need time and understanding. Even the public tragedies, where grief is on display, a patriotic act, it only lasts a news cycle or so. Maybe it causes us to be ashamed of our grief, to hide it away and bury it. Those hurting and most in need of compassion and human touch, are usually denied those things that can help heal, i.e. the elderly, those suffering illness, those in grief. And many of these people are hidden away themselves, in nursing homes, mental facilities, orphanages. I have felt that shame, have watched people ignore me or give me a wide berth, when what I most needed was a hug and a shoulder to cry on in times of grief.

    Also, the gift of time, which you implore us to give ourselves to facilitate healing, well, it is the most valuable of commodities, one which is denied us in this society, and one I have come to fiercely guard for it’s preciousness. How do we create these healing spaces, when time is on us, breathing down our necks? Even when we recognize that our time is being eaten up, just trying to make ends meet, pay the rent, it seems every waking moment is taken up, any semblance of peaceful sleep and rest are compromised for all the worry, we feel cornered and at a loss for how to make necessary changes.

    Someone mentioned reconciling a life of simplicity with living without health insurance in the U.S., and I can tell you it is like living a high wire act. I have been in medical debt my entire adult life because of it, and at the moment, my partner works a job where he has to compromise some pretty big things, in order to have health insurance for himself. I have no coverage, and we barely qualify to have the children covered under the state program. This situation is not ideal, but at least it allows coverage of the most vulnerable, our five year old with asthma and life-threatening food allergies to be covered, keeping us out of destitution for the breathtaking cost of his medications and doctor visits. How do we make big changes within a very sick and damaged society? My life has turned into one big question mark, I am drowning in questions and though I am ok with not having all the answers, a few answers would seem a miracle at this point.

    So, I come here for commiseration, but often find none, just bitterness and division, especially in the face of very gracious writings like your own. But that’s ok, too, I understand. I even had to laugh that poor Artleads seems to have gained some enemies! The creative types forever being dismissed for speaking a different language! At the same time, I agree with Grant, that this dying is unnatural, being forced upon us by greed, stupidity and carelessness. Let’s address that, without flourish, but openly and honestly. So, how to do that without stepping on each others’ toes? More questions…

  • @ulvfugl

    Thank you for the link to the article, “A radical new holistic view of health based on cooperation and disease based on competition” from yesterday. Fascinating stuff! Even this from the commenter tedhowardnz,
    Good to see others prepared to speak up on the role on cooperation in complexity.
    Every new level of life is characterised by new levels of cooperation.
    It seems clear to me, that the next level of complexity in human social development will be characterised by cooperation at the level of sentient awareness (including all of humanity).

    …would fit right in with the ongoing discussions being had here.
    What I find striking when I read more scientific based writings, is that many people cannot keep up with the rate of change we are seeing in the world in all areas. They don’t understand exactly what is happening, and so must create new tools of measurement in order to do so. Neven’s Arctic Sea Ice Blog is a good example, when they were trying to measure sea ice extent in the face of persistent arctic cyclones adding new dimensions to what was happening up north this past spring. Very interesting to watch as an outsider.

    “Principles for the Development of a Complete Mind: Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses- especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”
    ― Leonardo da Vinci

  • Badlands: certainly hope I’m no one’s enemy, and my continued complaint about this overlong essay and Artleads is to speak clearly. We don’t really have time for word play and slow dancing around meanings. Get to the point is all that I ask. Writing, be it creative or instructional, should communicate. And while not being anyone’s enemy, I have no desire to amass a collection of online friends either. Nature Bats Last is up as long as it is up. I’m not making the mistake anyone here is my friend. I take words seriously, and in the US the two most abused words are “hero” and “friend.”

    The point of agreement is NTE. I still think there’s tons of stuff to write and think about. NTE certainly makes one focus on what life is all about, doesn’t it? While I understand some people are far more spiritual than I ever will be, I don’t think it is asking too much for anyone to speak in plain terms and not try to dazzle us with their brilliance because it always ends up sounding like bullshit.

    I think there is ample time for laughter and jokes. I think there is always time for song and dance. It is possible to be playful without being incomprehensible. It is possible to be compassionate without being syrupy. I have just grown so weary of the mental masturbation taking place, and I’m letting my thoughts known. I’d love to have a discussion on the meaning of life and death, but there’s no point in having it if the goal is to get the top score with prizes for the most names dropped and ribbons for the most confounding sentences.

    Artleads: we’re getting closer to actual communication. Speak, that I may see thee.

    Why did Albert Camus throw away his pencil? There was no point to it.

  • @Jack Adam Weber @Wendi Morrison-Merrit @BadlandsAK @Artleads @oldlogspirit… (and even @effingULVFUGL, even though he gets right up my nose and pisses me off NO end!)

    Thank you for being here. I’ll NEVER lay down my banner, but sometimes I get so weary… and it’s people like you and the Prof that remind me that I never should.

  • Thanks Jack W. for your insightful sharing. You have dared to look directly into the darkness that has triggered all our addictive escapes from the real, true pain, facing which could release us from the self-created nightmare of our lives. One of my AA friends often says with heart-felt sincerity, “Thank God for the pain!” Those hearing this for the first time are perplexed, and wonder if he has completely lost it. But on deeper reflection they may realize that what he means is that he is thankful that the overwhelming intensity of the pain his life had come to be could no longer be covered up by all the alcohol and drugs he used to flee from it, leaving no alternative but to face that pain or be destroyed. That incredible pain was the doorway to a release far more real and fulfilling than anything drugs had ever afforded. Just as in ancient alchemical texts, that primal darkness had hidden in it the seed of a new life in the light.

    It is obvious now that our whole culture of civilization is shot through with the delusions of addictive psychology. We are afraid to face the withdrawal of all the things that help numb us to the empty and unhappy lives we are living. We fear the pain and despair that looking at the truth of ourselves would occasion. There is a reason that all the true spiritual paths around the world and throughout history have required a period of fasting from all that serves to insulate us from the naked truth of our reality. This stage of purification is necessary to dethrone the ego and all its lies and illusions and defenses. We find a million reasons to avoid facing the music of our failed and unfruitful lives. There is a price for exiting the cave of our avoidances, it is the courage to face the darkness and the pain that we have denied and tried desperately to escape.
    Thanks again Jack for pointing us in the true direction of our deliverance from the poisonous illusions of civilization that threaten to make impossible our discovery of our authentic selves.

  • @ Grant

    Yes we are being murdered – but, I was part of the murdering machine for over 45 years, I am guilty.

    @ Artleads

    The consensus here is that nothing can be done. You can do whatever you want, but there is no stopping the runaway feedback loops. Yes, there is a solution, but even if it could be implemented right away (within 5 years) we would still be toast. The Solution is the only chance Every Living Thing on Earth has and it is for 90% of the Earth’s human population to die, but first they must help dismantle the toxic infrastructure of Industrial Civilization, and the surviving humans must live in balance with Nature – plant no crops, build no cities.

    @ Badlands

    Yes, the crowd here is ruthless – no interest in entertaining those who stray from the central premise. Gloom and Doom.

    I’m just waiting for the chaos – and I’m getting impatient because the weather is beginning to turn…

  • I noticed Jack ignored my post. No surprise. If anyone wants to start to grasp what I mean by pointing out why in the end Jack’s essay (though I know his heart is good) amounts to what Dear sister Gail might like to term ‘vacuous crap’ VC for short, watch Martin Scorsese’s ‘Shutter Island’ in the final scene, Leonardo’s character asks the timely question “is it better to live knowing you are a monster or die believing you were a good man?” some traumas cannot be transfigured, and this looming eco-matricide, minus a black swan event, is one of them. Jacks essay is proof that will comfort ourselves with a false reality, that we feel is real, compliments mans greatest achievement, denial, the great collective lobotomy.

  • Grant Schreiber says: I get tried of gibberish being passed off as wisdom.

    Bravo! Thank you very much (for speaking for me)!

    Artleads says: (Acceptance is fine, but gives us nothing to discuss.)

    Studying nature explains
    The uselessness of our campaigns;
    When no fix is left,
    We’re completely bereft,
    And only acceptance remains.

  • @Grant

    Ahh, miscommunication strikes again! I was not naming you as enemy of Artleads, as you are obviously trying for clear communication, which is why I agreed with and quoted you directly, it was this:
    U r a dreamer
    Find anothr blog to post your silly thoughts
    U r not welcome here

    Come on, puddles, that’s a little harsh! Very clear communicating, though…
    Strike three, I’m out.

  • I gotta go with Grant and Ripley on this one.

    Is anyone else here just a little repelled by the essays which seem to try to make us feel better? Do we – in the species sense – deserve to feel better as we watch the natural world collapse around us?

    If meditation practices or voodoo or dancing naked around a campfire would make all of the bad things go away….wouldn’t they be gone already?

    The world is being killed. We are watching it happen. Does no else think we deserve, we *ought* to be juuuussst a little depressed about this?

    I dunno, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but near term human and maybe 98% of all other species doesn’t really make me want to sing “don’t worry, be happy” or radiate love in all directions.

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #48

    Impermanence props
    open “Clockwork Orange” eyes
    to enlightenment.

  • Sonnet 43 (the ‘amplitude’ of my love for our planet ;-))

    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
    I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
    My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
    For the ends of being and ideal grace.
    I love thee to the level of every day’s
    Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
    I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
    I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
    I love thee with the passion put to use
    In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
    I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
    With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
    Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if the Universe choose,
    I shall but love thee better after death. (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

  • @librarian – you wrote:

    And unfortunately things like this sometimes become self-fulfilling prophecies: if people start insisting that something “must” happen, and they shoot down or block any attempts to stop it from happening, than it WILL happen.

    That is, Orlov and Kunstler may actually be right about women losing gains…only it will be Orlov and Kunstler’s doing, for insisting so loudly that women are drowned out.

    That is exactly why i took the time to write those posts. B/c without push back, they could become self-fulfilling prophecies. I hope more people will push back.


  • Wrong “Ripley”. I quoted scientists from NASA’s Planetary Sciences Group. You need English grammar remedial training in the usage of proper nouns and pronouns, although I understand your attempt at a cheap smear through misrepresentation. Why not start your own blog like ULV-PHONY/FUGU, which I promise not to visit?

  • Grant Schreiber says: Facing death is a worthy subject….Let us…talk plainly face to face, as it were, on the subject of global as well as personal death. Let us look each other in the eye and say exactly what we mean without frills….To achieve understanding we need to put down the fanciful and pick up the real. Time is short….Let’s address that, without flourish, but openly and honestly.

    Facing Death Is A Worthy Subject

    When you’ve got something to say,
    Time is short, so do not delay;
    While you’re working things through,
    The best thing to do
    Is try not to get in the way.

  • Grant “Let us put aside our metaphors. Lets stop looking for the catchy turn of phrase that shows off our superior education and solid middle class values and talk plainly face to face, as it were, on the subject of global as well as personal death. Let us look each other in the eye and say exactly what we mean without frills”

    Yes metaphors (mixed or not) will not save us. Sugar coated denial will not save us. We are mortals. Species die out. The planet delivers regular extinctions. We just brought it on us sooner. If TPTB are a subspecies we can blame them. However I think they still manage to mate and have children with the rest of the population, and people move from the bottom up, so I think they are no different, and were they all wiped out tomorrow the next tier would move up and nothing would change. OTOH they may be shape changing reptilians…..in which case damn them….. FK any thoughts on that. Check out the movie They Live for possible documentation of this theory. But on the whole I think given how evolution works and considering entropy, this is just all to be expected and lucky us we get to see it.

    So without frills

    Here is the conundrum my friends
    As we look through evolution’s lens
    Programmed to survive
    This goal we’re deprived
    For life inevitably ends

    I know I sound hard to many, but I spent my whole life trying to make a better world one person at a time. I wheeled old folks in wheelchairs as a teen and gave them backrubs. I held aids babies in Haiti and snuggled them close. I did Hospice volunteering for years, worked at homeless shelters, worked for Habitat for Humanity, helped poor in Appalachia. I have no deficit of caring. In fact my caring almost led me to self destruct because saving babies in Haiti means more babies to overpopulate that country. True but devastating to realize it is true. But after being devastated you get up and move on. I’ve cared, loved, and yet never tried to sugar coat reality. And well its over folks. We had our run a species and we succeeded too well. I fail to see how fancy talk, and hopium helps but since so many do it I guess it helps them. But it doesn’t help the situation, the situation is beyond hope.

  • @ Friedrich Kling

    I quoted…

    Yes, you repeatedly quote various anecdotes which you seem to believe confirm your belief in Aliens or Extra Terrestrials or whatever.

    WHY ?

    WHY are you posting those quotes here ?

    They have no connection to Jack Adam Weber’s essay.

    They are not evidence, only anecdote, they have no scientific credibility, and there are thousands of other websites dedicated that the subject for anybody who is interested in the topic.

    I already explained to you what my position is, regarding the evidence, and you didn’t have the courtesy or courage to reply.

    You owe me an apology already for telling lies here. I let you off lightly. You want to take this further ?

    You want to pick a fight with me over this ?

    Go ahead, but you’re going to have to justify your position, one way or another, and behaving like a child and calling me silly names and boasting about your scores in critical thinking tests is not going to work, Mr Insurance Salesman.

  • Full moon

    Shine on, shine on harvest moon…. up in the sky

  • “And that’s all she wrote.” Carl Spackler


    Thursday, September 19, 2013

    Is the North Pole now ice-free?

    Is the North Pole now ice-free? It could well be that, by the time you read this, there will be no ice left at all at the North Pole. The image below, created by Sam Carana from a nowcast from the Naval Research Laboratory, run on September 17, 2013 and valid for September 18, 2013, shows open water extending all the way to a spot very close to the North Pole.


    As the color indicates, sea ice thickness in this area is virtually zero (i.e. ice-free).

  • This dying stuff is really intense. Sure everyone always died before… but now, somehow, we’ve managed to arrange the Woodstock/Burning Man of dying. A big dying party complete with mud slides and bad acid and stupid politicians on squealing amplifiers. The Great Extinction Festival. They tell me everyone’s invited but attendance is mandatory. What strange critters we are.

    On precise, concise, specific, detailed, exact, contrite, crisp, terse and pithy… stuff… well… I like a bit of creativity and a pinch of imagination, a slice of mystery and a smidgen of magic… along with just the facts, ma’am. (How much creativity? A teaspoon or a tablespoon? you may not like my fuzzy math, too bad, that’s how I cook, don’t eat it if you don’t like it) What boredom it is to have everything in dull gray rigid bureaucratization. Tell the dam engineers in their square suits to go jump in the lake, they’re all wet anyway. I reject drab parades and suffocating rules. Give me a sweet sunset and a lazy melody. A puff of incense. A soft harmonica by the campfire. A stroke of lightning to, even briefly, illuminate the night! Too much concrete, cementing minds, cementing the Earth. No time for dull moroseness. Dot your own i’s cross your own t’s if you want to, but leave my mess alone. I will watch my last sunsets as though they were actually beautiful. I will make up my own colors and taste them too, if I want to. I will sing with the howling wolves. I will sing with the thunder in indecipherable tongues if I feel like it, undaunted, unabashed. I will dream whatever I want to dam well dream, don’t try to tell me how to dream. Don’t tell me my dreams or my tales are unacceptable or useless. I won’t dance to your tin soldier drummer. And if that’s not OK with you, go grind your teeth.