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

  • @ BadlandsAZ

    “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

    This is a good one!

    Yes, I agree that puddles was very clear. But he needs to get his own blog.

    I’m distressed to learn of your son’s bullying. I was ceaselessly picked on all through school. I only managed to get one friend, whom I haven’t seen for 50 years and can’t locate anywhere. During that time, my only friends from HS were teachers–my art teacher (the best!) and a great Welch man recently deceased.

    I wasn’t physically bullied, for I was apt to pick up stones and throw them at offenders. And although I’m no fighter, kids seemed to sense that they could not predict what extreme thing I might do if pushed too far. I’m there in spirit with your little man. Please keep us informed on how he’s doing.

    @ Kathy C

    I greatly value where you try to connect dots and show the hip bone is connected to the thigh bone, etc. I try to insert comments that are sincerely trying to fill out the picture, and am a little disappointed when you don’t respond to them.

    Meanwhile, you continue with the woeful images of doom. No one can stop you, of course, but they are not constructive in the way that your real-life, down-to-earth dot connecting is. (In fact, I don’t think they are constructive in any way.) I may be far more aware of collapse than the average person, and if I can’t make the slightest sense of what you keep repeating (and I certainly don’t wish to hear it again!), only the fringe of a fringe will understand it. You never make the leap from your doom vision to how the average person might be able to understand the issue for themselves. You start to do that with your dot connecting (like no one else) and then you switch to doom as if you were two different people. Are you afraid that if you stick with those dots, incorporating reasonable feedback that it will show there is a way out of the rabbit hole? And what would BTD think of you then?

    @ Rob,

    I can’t argue with your “solution.” You seem to have stripped away a lot of crap to get to the bare bones of the situation. And thank goodness, you allow those of us not as crystal clear their presumed folly.

    Today’s world is for me a case of one impossibility pitted against the next. Hard to get all unhappy about it. It’s like the most incredibly intense thunder storm you ever saw. It’s a downright stupendous disaster. And what do kids like–for I’m a kid, as you too seem to be–kids LOVE disasters! It’s the sublime sacredness of it that appeals to kids, I suppose.

    I was so loving the record-setting rains here recently that I was sorry when it stopped, even if it could have done far more damage than it did to my house and elsewhere. It was as if some collective wisdom had to restrain me by taking away the great pleasure that could have threatened my and others’ lives. I guess, reluctantly, that kind of “restraining force” has its value, although it’s way short on fun.

    Being a populist, it’s foreign to me to wish death on the mass of humanity. OK, so there goes solution number one. I like life, and I imagine that nearly every living person likes life too. I’m in no hurry to give up on life, and I’m sure it’s the same for your 90%. But you would agree. The 90% won’t die willingly, and therefore you see no hope for anyone.

    But in this sea of impossibilities, I wonder at the inability of doomsters to successfully persuade by using step-by-step reason instead of dogma. They talk about TPTB. But who the fuck are TPTB? Are they the same height? Can some have rings in their noses? Is hair color a defining factor? How come Guy can attend a hacking conference and find rapport with the FBI and CIA participants? Did those escape being irreconcilably evil, or were they just not TPTB?

    I try to absorb all the realities I’m aware of. Each day’s revelation is more startling than the previous days’. But I see the whole thing as some sublime disaster–thrilling for its sheer, mind boggling immensity. I still can’t sense doom. Maybe it’s that a populist can’t see beyond the framework of what the average person sees, and average person can’t sense doom. All the parameters of normality remain intact. If the whole rest of the world can’t viscerally grasp the end of the road, it may account for why I can’t either.

    Based on a fairly long-range experience, something so profoundly serious as the end of the world would be attended by intuitive messages of its happening, but I feel no such messaging (and my intuition is among the best to be had). So if something is blinding me to reality, that would be strange. It’s not that I know something different from what doomsters know. I’s just that they don’t convince me. But, good intuition or no, I didn’t foresee the fall of the Berlin Wall or the fall of SA Apartheid…or even OWS.

  • Artleads, allow me to give you a definition of TPTB.

    First, TPTB is an acronym that stands for The Powers That Be.

    Second, The Powers That Be consists of members of every profession that have a significant amount of influence over what the average person thinks, or those with a significant amount of power to be able to set the rules the rest of us have to follow (or that will get the rest of us discredited, and permanently banned from receiving a “fair hearing”, if we don’t).

    People who work in the mass industry are great examples, for the average person gets his worldview from television, and who writes television scripts? The scriptwriters, the directors, the producers…basically everyone in the industry, but not the average you or I.

    Other examples are school superintendents, and above them, the Secretary of Education. They set the curriculum that teachers have to teach their students, and thus are also in charge of teaching students what to think while they are in school — and, the trick is, students aren’t allowed to leave school, so if schools brainwash them thanks to certain programs, the students can’t escape, at least not while they are there.

    Then we have the Chief Executive Officers of corporations, who themselves report to the Board of Directors, who then report to shareholders. Since our culture worships business and profit above all else, these particular powers that be also set the standard for how our economic life is organized. They determine how workplaces are organized, what our office life is like, and what kind of work ethic has “symbolic power” to motivate the average man to punish those who fail to live up to it.

    We also have the religious powers that be; that is, the Pope, or the rabbis, or the imams, or the Shinto priests, etc., that give the majority of mankind their marching orders for how to get closer to God, or achieve an afterlife of some kind. Typically, this is done by advising followers to practice submission of some kind (Judaism is an exception, being about a struggle with God, but typically even the Jews usually argue that what humanity wants is secondary to what Jews think God wants).

    Finally we have the government powers that be. Presidents, congressmen, prime ministers, lawmakers of all stripes, etc. We could also extend this to the police, who are tasked with enforcing the law (and the law, of course, is determined by the lawmakers).

    Does any of this answer your question, Artleads? The point is, the Powers that Be, according to us, basically consist of anyone who can tell us what to do without our input (except the government, whom IN THEORY we can influence, but in practice they only enforce the will of the unaware masses).

    I hope that helps.

  • @ Librarian

    Excellent, very clear and useful.

    However, you’re missing the top level, there’s a whole other tier above that, which controls and decides, part of which can be seen here

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2011/10/22/the-147-companies-that-control-everything/

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/09/links-91613.html#comment-1425266

  • Wildwoman
    Do we – in the species sense – deserve to feel better as we watch the natural world collapse around us?
    Answer – NO
    When I was Hospice Volunteering, I never found one other person who said to me “oh I would like to do that too”. What people said was “I couldn’t do that”. We have created memes that say love always heals, heartbreak will lead to something better, suffering teaches us good lessons, you have to have hope and optimism, and don’t ever admit that we are mortal. So when someone is dying or in a nursing home, many just don’t come. The dying person gives lie to all the happy talk. Well loved people still die, they are mortal. At some point pain has nothing left to teach, its just pain.

    Those who chose Hospice usually are ready to put away the happy memes and move on to death because living has become and chore not a joy, a pain not a pleasure.

    Love didn’t clean up the pollution at Love Canal – or heal the people who were living there. If people don’t know what Love Canal was they haven’t been paying attention. I pay attention to the harm done to the planet and still get surprised how terribly we have messed up the planet. If we all decided to make the whole planet a Super Fund site, we would have to divert all our remaining fossil fuels to the effort and we are running out of them. This can’t be fixed. There are not the time or resources to fix it. The only useful thing that has been proposed that might stop positive climate feedback is geoengineering. I understand the folks at Arctic Methane Emergency Group pushing for that, but it seems like one more intervention that well may make things worse.

    Time to get real.

    Love Canal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Canal The horror that gave us the Super Fund Act.

  • Badlands and MikeK….first, I really appreciate your level-headedness and replying to the article itself and second for your vulnerability. I am tired and will respond when rested. Just wanted to say thank you and meeting me in the difficulty of all this.

    TIAA….I did not ignore your comment; I merely missed it. Please repost here and I will be happy to reply to it. It is not fair, by the way, to make such assumptions as you do, that I “ignored it. No surprise.” Please re-post so I know which one you refer to. Sorry I i missed it. There are a lot of comments, and I have not read every one. I read the ones that actually respond to my essay or that seem interesting for other reasons to me personally.

    Kathy, I do understand your point, and you just made ti again. What you are pointing out I do know; I do understand. What you are not seeming to understand is what I meant to begin with. So, to help you perhaps understand it in your line (box) of thinking, take all the figures you mention are “not enough” and change them to figures that are enough for you, and read the essay that way. Then it will be literal and factually significant for you…even though it was not my point to be so, to be statistically accurate, but just approximative/figurative. Again, my intent was to be illustrative, suggestive, indicative, not precisely, literally, scientifically accurate. Ya? Either way, I won’t belabor this point further.

    As a last note, part of the reason I wrote this essay is that I notice so many who deny the feeling state of broken-open sadness and grief. It is the way to some significant liberation and beauty in the midst of all the shit. But it takes actually feeling it, living with it, not intellectualizing it, not letting anger and cynicism usurp your vulnerability, unless it is too much for you to be in that darkness, which DOES REDEEM ITSELF IF YOU FULLY EMBRACE IT.

    What I notice is a pervasive dearth of resting in this place; for to do so usually creates a much softer and vulnerable and humble disposition. This is not touchy-feely, feel-good stuff. Ironically, this is harder than anger, than outrage, than meanness, than cynicism. It is what allows us to love fiercely and tenderly when faced with the wall of fear and terror that we are up against. It’s letting the facts hurt and being in the rawness of this. And this requires getting out of one’s head and sinking into one’s body to feel it and embody it. It’s an invitation; it is what my essay is about….an invitation to the depths, and for the difficult, beautiful surprises there.

    Yet, I see, and I have responded to many who seem to not know the territory I describe. That’s why I wrote the essay, to invite us there, together. The essay must be felt; its text is a finger pointing to the moon of *experience.* It is like a poem…meant to be intellectually comprehensible yet deliver into a deeper, almost ineffable state, the states expressed through art….into the void of heartbreak’s horror and beauty. But you cannot think your way into it. You have to let go into it, via an emotional, body-centered release/surrender. The best way to deal with the seemingly impossible is to break…open….and therein can be revealed the possible, even if the outer circumstances remain—actually, especially if they do.

    I feel and hear all the pain and cynicism in the comments; I have it myself. Yet, it’s also important for me to return to the raw feeling of devastation, which is the hardest place to be, and paradoxically, the most beautiful. A conciliatory and unlikely redemption. I invite you here….

    Badlands and MikeK above spell it out really nicely above.

  • Excessively clinging to our anger, cynicism, intellectualizing, is one way to deny feeling pain about something.

    But we don’t get to the pain by denying or suppressing or pretending away our anger and stubbornness. We get to it by also engaging in a somatic, body-centered, emotionally-based surrender/sinking in.

  • Jellyfish taking over the oceans:

    http://energyskeptic.com/2013/jellyfish-take-over-oceans/

    Why and how Jellyfish are taking over the world

    A book review of Lisa-ann Gershwin’s “Stung! On jellyfish blooms and the future of the ocean” by Alice Friedemann

    Move aside Steven King, jellyfish are worse than any of your demons, worse than any Grade-B monster that’s graced the silver screen. Unlike The Blob, which can be stopped by freezing, you can’t kill them. Not with chemical repellents or biocides or nets or electric shocks or introducing species that eat jellyfish like the striped sea slug. If you shoot, stab, slash, or chop off part of a jellyfish, it can regenerate lost body parts within two days. Not even the past 5 major extinction events which killed up to 90% of all life on earth, killed off the jellyfish.

    Meanwhile they’re on a rampage, doing millions of dollars in damage clogging intakes of nuclear, coal, and desalination plants, killing millions of farmed fish, and destroying fishing nets with their sticky icky bodies.

    The more we overfish, pollute, acidify and warm the ocean, create vast dead zones, and trawl ocean bottoms, the better the jellyfish do.

    The oceans make the earth habitable for us. They generate most of the oxygen we breathe, stabilize temperatures, drive climate and weather, and absorb a third of the CO2 we’re emitting. Over 3 billion people depend on the oceans for their livelihoods; 2.6 billion depend on seafood as their main source of protein.

    Most alarming of all, 40% of phytoplankton has died off globally since the 1950s – they’re not only at the base of the food chain, but they generate most of the oxygen we breathe, as well as absorb half of the carbon dioxide, and their increasing death rate will make the ocean get warmer even faster.
    (read more and listen to the imbedded podcast)

  • Aaarrgh!!!! “Excessively clinging to our anger, cynicism, intellectualizing, is one way to deny feeling pain about something. But we don’t get to the pain by denying or suppressing or pretending away our anger and stubbornness. We get to it by also engaging in a somatic, body-centered, emotionally-based surrender/sinking in.”

    This is total gibberish. It says absolutely nothing. Has no value.

    The first sentence, apart from being wrong, is totally nullified by the second sentence. They cancel each other out. The third sentence is meaningless. “engaging in somatic body-centered, emotionally-based surrender/sinking in” sounds like the latest in pop culture psychobabble con artist bullshit. Other than being in English, it does not say a goddamn thing. Talk about pain! Reading this tripe is agony!

  • Whew. Like stubbing a toe, a string a curse words was required.

    But then there’s the pain of a stubbed toe and the pain of total global extinction. On the sliding scale of things to be screaming about, stubbed toes barely register, do they? Oh well. I feel better, letting it all out as opposed to sinking it all in. What do I know?

    Kathy: Not only is THEY LIVE worth considering, but several of the Tom Baker Dr Who episodes from the 1970s feature bad guys selling out their planets for thirty pieces of silver, or huge corporate mining projects that ignore everything apart from profit. The writing was on the wall forty years ago, but that wall has been knocked down and replaced with a strip mall that has since gone out of business.

    Nonetheless, coming to terms with planetary death is a lot tougher than my own short term stay here. If NTE was only directed at humans, I wouldn’t care as much. That we seem determined to pave over everything before we go creates an entirely different level of heartbreak. And that’s worth talking about. Plainly. The poem sums things up, as did Ben’s work who boiled my thoughts down nicely. Good work, guys!

    Rob: Your guilt is reflected in my own. I’m knowingly, willingly, using products that are the benefit of slave labor. I’m part of the blood-soaked American Empire and have done nothing concrete to stop a single war crime. Pointing them out is not enough, but witnessing is pretty much all I’m good for. I sit an observe the Empire’s brutality the same way I observe NTE — I’m horrified, but fascinated by it all. Decay is incredible to witness. Be it an old nurse tree, my own failing body or the planet.

  • @ Grant Schreiber

    ..“engaging in somatic body-centered, emotionally-based surrender/sinking in” sounds like the latest in pop culture psychobabble con artist bullshit.

    Or ancient wisdom that you have yet to comprehend, Grant, because you are ‘all in your head’ :-)

    http://collapseofindustrialcivilization.com/2013/09/07/building-inner-strength-in-chaotic-times/comment-page-1/#comment-9394

  • Can we eat jellyfish? Just curious.

    F. Kling and Ulf – why don’t you exchange emails and take your fight private? I don’t think any of us are interested…

    All this touchy-feely stuff does nothing for me. I’m not a hardened soul – I’m a guilty man who believes there is no redemption. For what path might there be to undo the damage I have done? None. All I can do is stop – stop paying taxes, stop paying debt, stop buying anything – but that does not “heal” the past. Oh, I forgive myself, I didn’t know any better – I was raised into it. But, that does not absolve me of my crimes. Each pair of Nike shoes I purchased meant more children suffering. Once I realized that my life was causing children to suffer, I stopped as much as I could – I have no job, pay no taxes (except small amounts of sales taxes), have no home, no mortgage, no car, no car payment. Yes, I still use a little electricity, I eat food produced by big agriculture, I use restrooms… Short of killing myself, this is the best I can do.

    If you don’t know who TPTB are, just wait until you get a letter from the IRS – then you will know. TPTB are the ones that make both resistance and compliance an unhappy response. Their presence degrades our lives – and, yet, we made them and we pay them.

    Civilization killed us. Put two people in a cave and pretty soon you will have “rules.” Don’t crap in the cave! You keep the fire going while I go out and kill a rabbit. Order, rules, organization, leaders and followers, decisions, planning, allocation, etc.

    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.

  • Over the past seven years, a stunning one-third of the U.S. honeybee population has disappeared without a trace – a mystery that’s baffling beekeepers and scientists, and raising concerns about the impact on the American food supply.

  • With thanks to Jack Adam Weber, I’ve posted anew. The latest post is here.

  • Wait, you are saying that feeling anger/rage and depression over the destruction of the natural world is a way to deny pain?

    Excuse me, but exactly how are you defining pain?

    Seems to me the ones to worry about are the people in denial…those who don’t like to see “the woeful images of doom.” What the fuck are you all doing HERE? Here, where Nature Bats Last, here where some of us do not deny what is going on in the world, here where many of us are working on dealing with near term human (and 98% or so of all other species) extinction.

    I mean, what part of extinction do you not understand?

    How does radiating love solve that? It doesn’t. It *might* make us *feel* better as we watch the ship of life go down, but so what?

    Sorry, I don’t mean to attack here, but I’m getting a bit restless with all of the happy talk.

  • Dear Jack,

    No worries, sorry for my mistaken assumption.

    You responses here have said it all.

    Thank you.

    Be well.

  • Thank you Grant. To me, THIS is poetic “…The writing was on the wall forty years ago, but that wall has been knocked down and replaced with a strip mall that has since gone out of business.”

    It is metaphorical, but visceral. In a minimum of simple words that are easily understood, you encapsulated in one sentence the vastness of NTE (that wall has been knocked down), the inevitability and irreversible nature of NTE (forty years ago), the profound banality of our stupid civilization (a strip mall) and the permanence of it (since gone out of business).

    People who like to prowl through the thesaurus and concoct elaborate word salads should take note.

  • @ librarian and ulvfugi

    Very helpful information on TPTB. Thanks.

    @ Rob

    “TPTB are the ones that make both resistance and compliance an unhappy response. Their presence degrades our lives – and, yet, we made them and we pay them.”

    I’m divided on this. I was going to go with the “we made them” part, but now it seems that the system which drives how things get done and society behaves have been steadily building on their own over centuries, if not millennia. Were they made by a system rather than by “us?”

    I still wonder whether TPTB have conflicts among themselves that are exploitable. Or whether the more enlightened among them can come to see that they can’t win. They can destroy us all, but there’s no winning for them in the end.

  • @Annie – Thanks for the breath of fresh air ( Browning’s sonnet) in a room (NBL) that gets pretty close and stuffy at times. Your sharing reminds me of what beauty still remains around us in so many ways…

    @log spirit – “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.”

    I love your crazy/wise/sad/happy/wonderful rant! Sail on into the unknown future flying your wild flag flapping in the winds of change…

    @Badlands – I was bullied in my youth. My prayers go out to you and your son, and to all who suffer this especially vicious evil created and nurtured by our evil, diseased “culture”. In fact our entire lifeway is founded in the institutions of dominance and oppression by the few of the many.

    @Jack W. – You must know, Jack, that what you share will make some folks very uncomfortable. Thanks for sharing it anyway, even in the face of inevitable misunderstandings and criticisms. Some of us need to hear what you what you are saying…

  • mike k — you can’t open a mail attachment like that. Suggest you copy and paste it into a comment instead.

  • @Grant

    True, we may not be friends in the usual sense, but the people here have certainly become characters in my ‘story’. I even like your writing so much, I tried to buy a copy of your Judas Goat Quarterly, but it must be an e-zine or something as I could find no hard copies, and since the NTE site got furloughed, I never got a chance to ask you about it.

    Anyway, I bet if you got any two of us together, we couldn’t be more different, but we are all now at the ‘Woodstock/Burning Man of Dying’ (good one, logspirit!), so we might as well lay it all out there because our NTE awareness is a pretty powerful commonality. Thanks to Gail, I now have an image of people madly perusing their thesauruses for catchy words, which I find hilarious. I can’t remember the last time I used one, though I know I must have one in some moldy box of ancient paperbacks down in the basement! I guess I could get with the program and just look online to spice up my writing…
    Hey, I saw this great Louis C.K. clip this morning, and he is basically talking about something similar to what Mr. Weber’s essay is addressing.http://gawker.com/louis-c-k-s-explanation-of-why-he-hates-smartphones-is-1354954625@johncook
    enjoy!

    Since many folks are using food and cooking metaphors, I will add my own, in light of how I approach my interaction with NBL.
    1. Eating and preparing food can be viewed simply, as eating to satisfy hunger, for nutrition.
    2. Food can be prepared with love (I never cook when I’m angry.) pleasing to the senses, colorful, tasty, good-smelling.
    3. Food can be taken as medicine, it can nourish and heal. When the little ones get tummy viruses, I give them sips of tea made from ginger root, lemon, honey.
    4. Food can be something to be shared with ourselves and others.
    5. Even if we have diets of exclusion, i.e.. vegetarian, vegan, when we are invited to share a meal in someones home, a meal that they have lovingly prepared, it can be better to accept it graciously, just a small bite or two, even if the food itself is yucky or goes against out dietary ideals.
    6. More obscure and lofty, but food can also support our ideals, i.e. no factory-farmed animals, etc.
    7. Loftier still, food choices can be made in light of keeping the mind and body pure, which is what I believe logspirit to be talking about when he discusses the importance of veganism.

    So, with all that, I look at the writings here as something Dr. Mcpherson has offered up for us, and if I am going to invest my time to read the essays, I like to be gracious and find something that I can take from it, even if I am fundamentally in opposition to the ideas presented. Silly, right? But, it keeps me from getting too offended or being too offensive. Enough rambling…take care all.

  • Hi All…some responses: your comments are in quotes below (hopefully!)

    Grant…

    “The first sentence, apart from being wrong, is totally nullified by the second sentence. They cancel each other out.”

    I don’t see it or experience it that way.

    Let me try to be clearer: When we cannot rest in feeling the pain of sadness all we have is mental anguish, and it builds upon itself. It’s all we have, and we fuel it. That is the clinging. When you can feel the sadness and devastation in heartbreak underneath it, you have something to fall down, into. Ironically, you’d likely have to experience it to know it, if it does not “make sense.” And ironically again, this is precisely what I am saying: we also (by “also” I allude not denying any of our other feelings, just giving weight to others we deny more for the time-being) have to get out of our heads to know this place.

    “The third sentence is meaningless. “engaging in somatic body-centered, emotionally-based surrender/sinking in” sounds like the latest in pop culture psychobabble con artist bullshit.”

    It does, doesn’t it? Except that pop culture psychobabble tends to rest in the feel-good realm, which is a con in ways, to keep us away from acknowledging our personal pain and what is wrong with our world. I offer the opposite. For, if we felt our pain *and* acknowledged the stupidity of rampant pesticide spraying, of oil refining and spills and their damage, of political-corporate fascism, etc. we might actually be impassioned to do something about it, and that is what the powers that be don’t want.

    So, to feel our pain is actually the roots of revolution, it’s the paradoxical empowerment. To feel angry and complain and be in our heads about it, is, ironically, a relatively disempowered state without the former. IT IS MERELY TO MEET THE FOCRES OF THE WORLD ON THEIR OWN TURF AND LET THEM DICTATE THE EXTENT OF OUR PSYCHE AND HEART. It’s the former that stirs and gives wisdom and gives us sovereignty, especially in the midst of what we cannot change. But these words I type are not the experience, the actual journey through it.

    It’s a most subtle propaganda. But this third sentence relates to he first two; I invite you merely to try it. It’s actually the most empowering thing left in our fucked up world, because it takes to a deep truth in ourselves, and merely abiding in that place is a redemption; it is the place that has not been usurped the powers that be. To merely be angry and cynical is, ironically, to experience life to the limits of what the corporations let you. To go further and find in it the hidden beauty I allude to above is to go where they cannot go and cannot touch…which place, ironically, would have likely helped save them from the destruction they cause. So, to different than the powers we hate is, surprisingly, to be the people who acknowledge and take responsibility for our own pain and aggression. It’s the deep revolution. And not that I deny or don’t want the outer one also. BOTH are needed. After all, what kind of world can we create in our communities, in our families, if we are merely the angry reactions to the fake powers out there?

    “Other than being in English, it does not say a goddamn thing. Talk about pain! Reading this tripe is agony!”

    ;) Maybe if I keep writing about it, it will cause you enough pain to break open! Just kidding. That is not my aim. Inviting us to acknowledge what is already in us is.

    You write: “That we seem determined to pave over everything before we go creates an entirely different level of heartbreak. And that’s worth talking about.”

    Yes it is. For me, it is worth resting, really resting, in that feeling too. To do that, usually we have to stop talking for a time, unless our talk is connected to and encourages our feeling states.

    **********

    TIAA: You’re welcome. Thanks for your acknowledgment and kindness, I’m totally willing to engage at any time…

    Guy…you’re welcome, thank you.

    ulvfugl….”Or ancient wisdom that you have yet to comprehend, Grant, because you are ‘all in your head’

    It’s not ancient wisdom. It’s sorely lacking modern wisdom.

    MikeK: “@Jack W. – You must know, Jack, that what you share will make some folks very uncomfortable. Thanks for sharing it anyway, even in the face of inevitable misunderstandings and criticisms. Some of us need to hear what you what you are saying…”

    Yes, I know. Your reminder and support are helpful. Thanks again, and I will respond to your post above more fully when I have time later; I’ll do that before responding to new ones. I also want to re-read your post because it was inspiring to me and had some nuggets.

    wildwoman: “Wait, you are saying that feeling anger/rage and depression over the destruction of the natural world is a way to deny pain?”

    No, I am saying the opposite. What I am saying is that remaining in an attacking, aggressive disturbance prevents the broken-open state of deeper, paradoxical redemptive feeling states. And that redemption does take time; it is a process. Feeling anger is step one. Devastation is the last step before rising from the ashes to be of service, and this service is as much being compassionate as it is doing anything more seemingly concrete.

    Does that clarify the rest of what you say in your comment?

    Thanks all. I have found that these reminders work really well for discussions like this:

    1) not to assume and go off on a tangent. ask a question first.

    2) try to find it in yourself to be kind to one another. we are all i this together; we are all human, make mistakes and are doing the best we know how, even if not the best we can do in the next moment. if angry, own it and check assumptions.

    3) read what is written and first genuinely try to understand it, rather than debunk it.

  • logspirit…(i love your name, by the way)…

    this is beautiful to me, what i quote from you below. I might simply add that we need quiet, times alone and in sacred space with friends who can join us in this. And yes, I agree, to work on our physical health also, which is not separate from emotional/spiritual.

    “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.”

  • logspirit – “I will sing with the thunder in indecipherable tongues if I feel like it, undaunted, unabashed.”

    you have equaled Whitman here.

    Jack Adam Weber – I want to take more time, when I can, to ready every word. But trying to take in as much as I can so far, I will only say – wow. everywhere my eyes fall, I only turn up one gem after another, such as “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.”

    to surrender, is ultimately to die heart-broken – unconditionally, not expecting there to be an end to the suffering. not hoping to ever find any solace – only knowing that one needs to feel it, as much as one can bear, and perhaps finding that this surrender is a surrender of something that one didn’t want to hold on to in the first place. and that what one really wanted to hold on to never needed grasping, for it was, and will always be, infinite in essence – forever beyond ones claims of knowing anything about ends or beginnings.

  • BadlandsAK: my email is cavesofchaos@hotmail.com The latest issue of Judas Goat Quarterly is almost ready…

    Ulvfugl: well, you already know my reply then: “To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood,” which is not about the current language difficulties I’m experiencing here and now. For what it is worth, “ancient Chinese secret” was the punchline to a water softener commercial in the mid 1960s. Now that I’m in my fifties, I live a lot more in my bowels instead of my head.

    Jack: well, it’s a merry-go-round and with this I’m getting down.

  • @Jack,

    Thanks for this fine piece of writing. It has prompted me to go back and revisit some important places in myself. I hear what you’re saying very clearly. It contains echoes of the distinction I make between surrender and capitulation, and the realization that resistance simply binds us to whatever we resist – but on its terms, not our own.

    I remember the terrible disempowered rage I felt in my early days of discovering what was happening, feeling the imprisoning power that the system (not just TPTB, they’re just as much products of the system as we are) has achieved over – well, over pretty much everything these days. That rage bound me to the system, and made it impossible to look beyond it in any way. In retrospect that half-awakened rage kept me in bondage to the system just as much as my previous sleep-walking acceptance.

    I was lucky. Just before the rage and cynicism completely destroyed me had a breakthrough into surrender. Suddenly I found that although the pain was still there, still as deep and wounding as ever, its quality had changed. It had lost its power over me, and I could move again. The blind fury subsided, and I could finally ask, “What is really going on here? What other options do I have, beyond simply raging impotently against the machine?” And to my enormous relief, I can now say “We’re fucked,” without feeling the least bit cynical. It’s just a statement of fact.

    So now my personal work involves knitting all this “stuff” into a coherent worldview. It involves marrying my knowledge of the probable outcome, my heartbreak, my sense of equanimity about it, and my paradoxical joy over my awareness, to a quasi-scientific “explanation” for the observed course of events. The framework is my perception of a causal thread linking thermodynamics, genetics, ecology, evolutionary psychology, anthropology and sociology. The whole enterprise is shot through with ideas drawn from Hume and Popper, along with such nuggets as Buddhist dependent origination, translated into Western jargon as causal determinism.

    This work would not have been possible without that initial surrender to the heartbreak. Last year I wrote a short essay in which I called this state the sixth of Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grief: “Finding the Gift”. Only when we have worked our way to acceptance (i.e. surrender, or sitting with the heartbreak) can we discover the precious jewel hidden in the head of this ugly, venomous toad, to paraphrase the Bard of Avon.

    Others here disagree vehemently with the idea that there is any gift to be had from all this misery and heartbreak. Others understand. Others think the gift I found is an illusion, or perhaps that I found the “wrong” one. We each have to come to terms with what’s happening in our own way, so all those reactions are fine by me.

    Thanks for an excellent, thought-provoking and empowering essay.

  • @ Rob at the Public Library

    I don’t think any of us are interested…

    What leads you to believe that any of us are interested in your comments, Rob, wallowing in misery, negativity and self pity, saying exactly the same thing 4 or 5 times on every thread ?

    You’re stuck. You do nothing, except waste your precious life in bitterness and complaining, hoping for the zombie apocalypse to begin. You’ve told us. We know. Why do you keep up the repetition ?

    Re Kling, if he was a man, let alone a gentleman, he’d apologise for his mistake, until he does, he’s branded a liar and a coward.

    This comes down to the rules of science, which are not for ME to decide.
    If I spammed this blog every day with reports from the last 50 years of lake monsters or big foots, I know what sort of response I’d get here.

    What Kling is doing is no different. I know there is SOMETHING going on re the UFO stuff, but nobody has anything other than anecdote, have they ?
    and anecdote is no good, as empirical scientific evidence, is it.

    Kling is convinced it’s Aliens, that’s his personal obsession. Fine. I don’t care, he’s entitled to it, just not entitled to insist we all have to share it.
    I’m even happy to discuss the subject, within reason, but Kling can’t do that, only boast and cast insults. That’s no good either, is it.

    @ Jack Adam Weber

    It’s not ancient wisdom. It’s sorely lacking modern wisdom.

    I’ve been sitting on the fence, giving you the benefit of the doubt, right up to your reply to Grant Schreiber, thinking maybe there was something in what you’ve been saying but, sorry, reading your answer to Grant, and others, I’m swinging right over to Grant’s side.

    Look, for any intelligent sensitive alive person, they only have to read one day’s news reports from the world out there, to break apart and spend the whole next 24 hours broken apart. What you’re saying is ridiculous. How often do you want us to keep on breaking apart to follow your therapeutic procedure, eh ?

    Because we’re all going to spend the remainder of our days in uncontrollable cathartic sobbing as we watch this horror show get worse and worse and worse, if we follow your line, and whether we are loving and compassionate and kind, or whether we are not, is not going to make any difference to what happens, it’s like fucking greenwash, dressing up grotesque obscenity to make it look prettier for the cameras. More starving babies over there please, more smiling happy coca cola people over there please, teaching the world to sing and make everything alright…

    Well, fuck that, because most of us on this site are nauseated by all that crap, we’ve heard it all and we don’t want to hear any more of it.

    The problem is how not to fall to pieces. More how to stay together. The problem is how not to give up and cut your wrists or take an overdose. The problem is how to deal with the constant shocks and trauma and despair. Do you really know anything about extreme pain and suffering and enduring extreme hardship and adversity ?

    If you do know, your replies strike me as somewhat shallow. Forgive me if I’m wrong but, Modern Wisdom, what is that ?

    I once did a most terrible practice for a few months. Training of the kind that lets you stand in battle, and when the guy immediately beside you gets cut in half, you are absolutely unperturbed and unaffected in any way. This type of total self-control is completely de-humanising. It means that the internal world and all emotional responses are isolated from any external stimuli. I think it is very interesting to explore such things, but afterwards, I thought, this means that a human can make themselves whatever they wish to be. I didn’t wish to be a mediaeval Samurai.

    Then the task became to rediscover what it is to be a complete human being.
    That’s not so easy, because nobody knows. Being totally kind and generous to others is a wonderful thing. Vincent van Gogh tried it, helping the miners after a disaster, they thought he was a weirdo, an idiot, and ridiculed him.

    To be truly kind and generous means getting your own fat ego out of the way, so you can see the other, and what they are and what they need. That’s not so easy. It means being quite strong, that’s not so easy.

    All you have, as far as I can see, is warm squishy words. A lot of people relish that, but I’m not one of them, I see it as just more New Age twaddle, more dolphins and rainbows and lets all hold hands and paint stars and moons on our faces, which is wonderful if you’re like ten years old, but kinda naive and inappropriate when it’s NTE and, well, you know the rest, I don’t have to spell it out…

    Something about PTSD

    http://www.metafilter.com/132103/the-wages-of-a-life-spent-in-crisis

    Soft Belly Meditation

    http://rufusmay.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=66&Itemid=9

    @ Grant Schreiber

    Yes.

  • ‘As a last note, part of the reason I wrote this essay is that I notice so many who deny the feeling state of broken-open sadness and grief.’ -j.a. weber earlier today

    perhaps it isn’t denial so much as it is indifference. perhaps what is being lost is sacred, perhaps not, but what should be obvious is that it was never meant to last forever, and that as sacred things go, biological life on earth is a very mixed blessing, arguably a curse, considering the pain and suffering inherent in a man eats dog eats dog world of mere mortals. as many here including myself have pointed out, humanity is fatally flawed as well, for if we were not, we wouldn’t be hastening our own demise as well as the demise of a vast majority of other species. we wouldn’t be the cause of what will probably be (imo) the greatest mass extinction event to date on ‘gaia’.

    anything sacred that can so easily self destruct, indeed probably fated to do so, that is also rife with suffering and inherently flawed… i’m not so sure ought to be mourned for it’s passing.

    ‘raw feeling of devastation, which is the hardest place to be, and paradoxically, the most beautiful’

    sorry, jack, i’ve not found beauty in devastation, ever. the best possible outcome is learning well a hard lesson so as not to repeat past mistakes, but in this case it seems there will be no second chances. and if per chance there are, it seems extremely unlikely our species (idiot-savants) will make the most of them.

    i feel devastated sometimes, thinking of all that’s being lost. i try not to dwell there. i don’t see any point in it.

  • Instead of pining away, I encourage people to get creative and establish some form of water security for when times get bad. Research well digging in your area, locate a stream or lake and BE PREPARED to filter and purify the water. You can go without food for quite a while, but how will you preserve your dignity without water?
    Well, you can just lay down and die, but that’s about it.

  • Here’s another idea for ensuring water security.

  • @ kirk Hamilton

    I agree that water is perhaps the most important thing to secure for survival. And if you have the means to dig a well, it’s going to help you and those you can share with (in and of itself). But IMO, what is even more urgently needed is a higher, more universal way of thinking. And that would mean that everyone should have water, not just the individuals who are rich, lucky or knowledgeable enough to build wells. It is that kind of removed, individualistic thinking that got us where we are. (Yes, help yourself, but not too much, and not as some sort of big “solution.”)

    I especially like what you say about learning to purify water. I guess that would be distillation, a method, if a low tech, sustainable means could be found, that should be taught to all.

    My idea that either you save everybody or nobody strikes me as consistent with the major thinking on NBL. As a practical matter, the people who don’t have water (or any of the necessities of reasonable existence) will not have been supported to think in communitarian ways. They will most likely simply be dragged along with the paradigm of every person for themself.

    Another aspect of NTE that NBL has alerted me to is nuclear meltdown, since anticipated economic and social collapse will preclude the energy source to cool melting nuclear facilities, of which there are hundreds–maybe thousands if you count weapons, etc.

    Thinking in terms of pictures (“images”) helps me to simplify complex issues in a way I can process. So, although I’m the most optimistic person you’re likely to come across, my image of the world is that it will unavoidably become a toxic wasteland, perhaps with very sparse vegetation (if any), and with toxic soil and water everywhere. No agriculture will be possible, dustbowls will proliferate, and the outside world will be hostile to complex life forms.

    All the money is on people going batshit crazy and doing very wicked and ultimately futile things before the world becomes universally unlivable for anyone. But that is a choice. I’m not in the least bit advocating or promoting the kind of choice I think people should, could or would be likely or able to make. I’m merely trying to be as logical and reasonable as I can be. What I say is just calling it the way I see it.

  • Thanks, Grant, I should’ve enquired sooner! I will be in touch sometime soon.

    @Artleads & mike k Thank you for your concern about my son. I was bullied viciously all throughout my childhood as well, but I never told anyone. I’m glad that he can be open with me, but it is hard on him. He is really outgoing and friendly to everyone he meets, so doesn’t understand the meanness. He has it pretty good at home, but at the same time he has had it very rough dealing with all of his allergies and asthma. He’s already singled out because of that, and until I happened upon some articles recently, I never thought to worry about another kind of bullying that goes on with kids. Things like threatening food allergy kids with the foods they are allergic to, in one case a seven year old girl died because a kid fed her a peanut on the playground, in another case, a boy had kids wiping foods he was allergic to on his hair, taunting him. I’m just going to give school a chance, because he loves it, he loves people, but if he is put into unnecessary danger, I will have to reconsider. Thanks again, I appreciate it.

    @Mr. Weber
    Your essay has had very heated and diverse response from the readers here, and when I saw wildwoman’s mention of feel good, happy talk, I swear, I had to read it again, because I had the exact opposite reaction to your writings. Sometimes I agree with the cliche that ‘the mind is a terrible thing to waste’, but other times, I just think ‘the mind is a terrible thing’, for the places it takes us that we don’t wish to visit.

    My original reply was mainly a lot of questions, but I really do understand what you are trying to convey, and I agree with the concept of meeting the pain head-on, to really feel it, to let it go in order to live, or as mike k says, face that pain or be destroyed.. But as a healer, you must know that you are on dangerous ground here.

    You say, What we deny and repress cannot be transformed; whatever we consciously embrace is yet potentially fertile, especially that which is dark. I would tend to agree with that on the surface, but I agree more with TIAA, that some traumas cannot be transfigured.
    I have dealt with a lot of trauma and abuse and long term PTSD, but there are still things I carry around, the unforgivable, things that truly ruined my life. I have done a lot of healing work, so I know the benefits, but I know the dangers as well, going around, digging in the dark. You may want to warn people that some of that digging should really be done under the care of a trusted therapist or counselor, because even then there are surprises, but someone to help work through that stuff is a bit safer than going it alone, which in my experience has never ended well, or with real healing.

    For some people, the coming horror show, which is already in play depending on where you are, will just be another walk in the park, just at a little faster pace. For others, their lives are so bad, they won’t know the difference. Sometimes it is good to remember that this is not just going to happen to others, those who are unaware; we are them, they are us. We are simply trying to meet this with clear head and eyes. Thank you again for the thought provoking essay.

    Each soul must meet the morning sun, the new, sweet earth, and the great silence alone. –Ohiyesa

  • though I took the time to read all of Jack’s essay (which is great, but perhaps too long) and wanted to reply accordingly, the more I read through the comments, the more I thought Grant’s pleas for clarity felt more meaningful, and more interesting.

    I completely agree with Grant that clear communication should be the ultimate goal here. though humor and poetry have their place, our urgent situation is enough for me to agree with Grant whole-heartedly – screw all that, let’s get down to business.

    “talk plainly face to face, as it were, on the subject of global as well as personal death.”

    globally, we are past the point of no return. I agree with most of the the (not so) extreme views here – there are far too many converging disasters to think there is much more than the thinnest chance of survival for humans. NTHE? an excellent chance, but not yet a done deal.

    there are almost infinite unknowns – vast numbers of variables, and in some ways this leaves all certainty, for me, completely in doubt. how we can deal with that fact plainly, with clear communication, that is my personal request. don’t sell out what you can’t see, and NO I am not talking about invisible spirits or god or anything like that. just the innate survival instinct in our genetic programming, and the yet unplumbed distances that future generations will go to, to avoid the end.

    personal death – well, to get this out of the way, i am more than aquatinted with the anguish surrounding this subject, and I can and do understand how to relate, in many ways, to this realm of fear.

    NOW – I will be repeating myself, but the goal is clarity, and repetition is key.

    personal death is 100% an illusion. is that clear enough? total illusion. i know this *only* from enough direct experience that it would probably be clocked up to years of total time by now.

    my complete lack of fear of death (not the process, mind you, but the end result) is grounded not in any fleeing from reality, or desperate delusion (I hope I have made that clear in multiple ways, I sure have tried) but is simply an everyday part of my existence, like breathing.

    I can see past the horizon of my physical existence as easily as an eagle can spot a rabbit in the middle of a short grassy field. more clarity? Well, I can give anyone an earful, I could tell stories and relate fascinating examples and experiences until the cows come home, but it is all just assertion. There really is no point.

    The rabbit world is not my world and that is just the way it is.

    (I am sure some would be impressed and entranced with the stories I could tell, but the novelty of that wears off in about one minute, and the doubters just carry on doubting. so I have spent all of about two hours of my life relating these stories, and the rest of my time just living it. the mind-boggling nature of living it is simply where it is at for me.)

    “Let us look each other in the eye and say exactly what we mean without frills.”

    the atheist physicalists are wonderful people – Carl Sagan and many others were practically my god parents – but it pains me no end that with NTE right on their heals, they seem so damn stubbornly married to their certainty. I was THERE, right with them, in so many ways! they walked me right up to the wonders of the universe, and then they just totally crapped out with what amounts to: “Hey, that sure is neat, but let’s see if we can get the mass of the proton pinned down to another decimal point for the next 100 years. Oh, is there something infinitely weird about quantum mechanics? well, leave that for the philosophers, i have work to do.”

    I heard a story of a physicist who had an immensely promising career, and then something went wrong, and he wasn’t ever heard from much again. one scientist was asked by another “what happened to Dr. X? he had such amazing promise.” the first scientist answered, “I heard he wanted to try and figure out what quantum mechanics actually meant.” true story!

    “The goal is understanding. To achieve understanding we need to put down the fanciful and pick up the real. Time is short.”

    yep, time has us by the short hairs! but time for more clarity here: who cares if *you* think you are out of time? I don’t care. you are not out of time. you can change your entire universe in radical ways, starting right now, and that’s actually putting it mildly.

    I just think people waste time clinging to certainty, when they could be finding freedom.

    hey physicalists! I hope you are enjoying your walls of mental stone because you are so attached to them, there must be *some* really good reason you worship them so.

    more clarity still? OK, with all to tools at your disposal to learn of both science and the inner world, the ones who choose to stop with the first part are just plain scared rabbits.

    to me, the pure physicalists are as misguided as the ones who think the world was made 6000 years ago. this much is required: some grasp of the true nature of science PLUS some grasp of the true nature of your inner reality, and, yes, how these two things relate to each other, because they sure as hell do.

    we have known we can hold “infinity in the palm of our hands” for quite a long while now. no one really cares to look, though, do they?

    “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.”

    I am not dying, and I am so sorry you think you are.

    “But this dying is unnatural, being forced upon us by greed, stupidity and carelessness. Let’s address that, without flourish, but openly and honestly.”

    i am not convinced that NTHE is unnatural. nature, the One Universe in its Real Totality, gave me awareness, and it created so much more. much more life and violence and death and all kinds of craziness – it never ceases to amaze me. what about our end in NTE is unnatural? can you prove it?

  • @ annie Thanks… apologies for not saying so sooner.

    @ BadlandsAK Looks like we booked passage on the simpatico boat. Hang in there kid. And for your son, if he’s in school, he’s probably old enough to learn self defense… perhaps there is an Aikido teacher who can teach children near you. Usually they’d have to have a few kids approximately the same size to make it ‘go’. Actually almost any martial art would be a good starting point for a child. Most people enter Aikido a bit later on. My energy is with you, and yours. And I think you got it with the food ladder, I encourage you to climb to the highest rung! Health feels good.

    @ Jack Adam Weber Thank you for the recognition. We’re all flowing down the same river. Some are already around the bend, others haven’t seen it yet. Coming to terms with our internal abhorrence of suffering is essential to dealing with it… and perhaps changing the way we create so much of it. Thanks for the essay and stick around. Including these perspectives into other forays would illuminate them further.

    @ mo flow Thanks for the compliment. Whitman! Beauty is certainly in the eyes of the beholder. (Got to make sure I can still put my hat on.) I value your opinion. Thanks.

    ~~~

    Some will go into the darkness carrying heavy darkness. Some will carry a light that shines from within, that weighs nothing. Fire it up, the dusk is falling. Travel light.

  • ulvfugl…I read your response. I have addressed most of your points. What you credit me with portraying is not accurate and I have already addressed it, as clearly as I can. You mention getting one’s big fat ego out of the way; maybe that is in order to actually hear what is being conveyed to you and actually entertain it? I am happy to respond to you, but I do not want to waste my energy if you are not genuinely interested in entertaining what is being conveyed. Again, and in sum, my essay is an invitation. To argue about it, I denigrate the message and warmth of my message. So, maybe it’s just for you. But, if you notice many others seem to get it, have experience with what I convey (and it is not dolphins and rainbows, so that you keep alluding to this nonsense shows me that you really don’t even get what is being conveyed). And yes, I have suffered a lot…I already addressed that to above, and watched patients suffer greatly. Cheers…

  • EDITED from above:

    Sorry, sent that before proofing; here is corrected version:

    ulvfugl…I read your response. I have addressed most of your points. What you credit me with portraying is not accurate, and I have already addressed it, as clearly as I can. You mention getting one’s big fat ego out of the way; maybe that is in order to actually hear what is being conveyed to you and actually entertain it? I am happy to respond to you, but I do not want to waste my energy if you are not genuinely interested in considering what is being conveyed. Again, and in sum, my essay is an invitation. To argue about it, I denigrate the message and warmth of my message. So, maybe it’s just not for you. But, if you notice, many others seem to get it, have experience with what I convey (and it is not dolphins and rainbows, and that you keep alluding to this nonsense shows me that you really don’t get what is being conveyed). Perhaps it is simply too far away for you to bridge to…from intellect to experience. And yes, I have suffered a lot…I already addressed that too above, and watched patients suffer greatly. Cheers…

  • logspirit: You’re welcome and will-do. Simply being understood is healing and a beneficence in itself, no?

    This is frickin’ gorgeous and right on:

    “Some will go into the darkness carrying heavy darkness. Some will carry a light that shines from within, that weighs nothing. Fire it up, the dusk is falling. Travel light.”

    Did you pen that? I’d like to copy it in my notes and quote you because I imagine I’ll want to use it one day. Let me know please.

  • @ mo flow

    what about our end in NTE is unnatural? can you prove it?

    This depends upon your definition of the words, natural, un-natural, which are very complex terms, mean very different things to different people. I’d say NTE is unnatural because it is manmade, we will have caused it, brought it upon ourselves.

    I think it can be established, via the evidence, that we are now in the Anthropocene Era, an artificial and unnatural phase of Earth’s history.

    Whether people will agree or disagree with your analysis or mine or what attitude they take will depend upon their personal world view. I have just written about this subject, for xraymike

    You see, people can be very roughly divided into two groups. Those who primarily hold a religious, or spiritual, or romantic, or mythical world view. And those who primarily hold a scientific, or materialist, or rationalist world view.

    http://collapseofindustrialcivilization.com/2013/09/20/a-crumbling-cultural-story-in-a-period-of-near-term-extinction/

  • BAdlands…I re-read your first response to this essay, and I want to respond. Your comment is deeply moving and thought-provoking, thanks for it.

    “that my son is being bullied at school. (ALREADY! He just started kindergarten, for gods’ sake!)”

    Wow. He must have something the others want. ☺ Good luck with this.

    “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.”

    Precisely. I invite you to a talk I gave last month. It is here, and it addresses this point and many others in the context of the metaphors of Chinese medicine:

    “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.

    Yes. I hear you. And not only this, but grief, the fallow, failing side of life are all denigrated and stigmatized. In the talk above I try to explain how this very phenomenon is what prevents us collectively from deep pauses, reflection, and the remorse and grief and shame that would save us. The meme is built into our economy, our Big Ag, Big Pharma, Big Energy, Big Biz…all progress, and happiness, and new shiny stuff….no dark broken hurting crumbling things…and this begets the waste culture, the lack of soul, the lack of compassion, etc.

    “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.”

    This is huge, difficult, but in a nutshell, and at risk of oversimplifying:

    Simplify. Eat well. Live close to nature, make the time, sacrifice what is not essential for the sacred time.

    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?

    Ouch. Tough question. Clean up the toxins, seek help from a holistic doc I treat asthma all the time, often goes hand-in-hand with food allergies), don;t eat GMO…clean up life, simplify, don’t use fragrances in anything you buy: laundry detergent, perfume, shampoo….all of it, go unscented. Clean up mold; move to a healthy place. Thee are all good ideas anyway, given the changes coming.

    “I am ok with not having all the answers, a few answers would seem a miracle at this point.”

    Honestly, your challenges seem workable. If you want, I invite you to call me sometime, and I’ll try to help you through some of these things if you want. Sorry for the simplification, not time to go into greater depth here.

    Warmly, Jack

  • mike k

    it’s an honor to know you and thanks for illuminating my message.

    “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.”

    Nail on the head. Yes, when we deny the dark, we create an unfertile, intolerable darkness, one with no redemption. This has been happening in the world for a long time now. Our work as healers is to be affected by it, and to gift back the compassion and light we transform from being broken by the pain of it all.

    Again, I think it’s crucial to realize that to not break to remain only bitter an angry and resentful is to be owned by the forces that created this evil. And, it is to simply be the same force/expression as the corporations and governmental dictators, just in disguise, as the apparently polar opposite. But it’s not really opposite because it’s the same Yang, external, progressive, non-self-reflective, fertile dark-denying, tightness. the antidote is the wisdom and action to break open and harvest something golden from the dross and feel that triumph, and give it back to the world in compassion and fierce love. This to me is MDOERN WISDOM.

    “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.”

    Yup. I have entire essays and poems devoted to feeling the pain. OUR COLLECTIVE DENIAL OF PAIN AND DARKNESS ARE THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE WORLD’S COLLAPSE.

    I go into this at length in the video I just linked above:

    “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.”

    All this is right on target. ulvfugl…THIS TOO IS MODERM WISDOM.

  • Badlands…again, and now your recent message to me…

    @Mr. Weber
    “Your essay has had very heated and diverse response from the readers here, and when I saw wildwoman’s mention of feel good, happy talk, I swear, I had to read it again, because I had the exact opposite reaction to your writings.”

    I am glad you caught that. I responded to wildwoman above, wondering how she interpreted what she did from my essay. It is similar to what uvlfugl commented, that my essay and comments are like rainbow and dolphin happy talk…..truly bizarre. I imagine they might have preconceived notions they cannot shake, or simply misunderstood, although the entire context of my essay is about facing the horror.

    “Sometimes I agree with the cliche that ‘the mind is a terrible thing to waste’, but other times, I just think ‘the mind is a terrible thing’, for the places it takes us that we don’t wish to visit.”

    Perhaps. My memory is not what it used to be, both a curse and a blessing. ;)

    “My original reply was mainly a lot of questions, but I really do understand what you are trying to convey, and I agree with the concept of meeting the pain head-on, to really feel it, to let it go in order to live, or as mike k says, face that pain or be destroyed.. But as a healer, you must know that you are on dangerous ground here.

    You say, What we deny and repress cannot be transformed; whatever we consciously embrace is yet potentially fertile, especially that which is dark. I would tend to agree with that on the surface, but I agree more with TIAA, that some traumas cannot be transfigured.”

    This is black and white talk, no? For, I never said that trauma leaves no scar, no mark, no ongoing twists that haunt us. It’s a spectrum…the more dedicate ourselves to the dark, the less it rules us and acts its hurt out on the world. Here’s an old poem I share that reminds me of this phenom:

    AND THE SOUL SPOKE

    Never injured to begin with
    I have no interest in being healed.

    Just had to be cracked open
    In this beautifully painful way.

    Not getting over things
    Allows them to move us into broader speaces,

    Leaving just a trace
    In the wings they opened.

    “I have dealt with a lot of trauma and abuse and long term PTSD, but there are still things I carry around, the unforgivable, things that truly ruined my life. I have done a lot of healing work, so I know the benefits, but I know the dangers as well, going around, digging in the dark. You may want to warn people that some of that digging should really be done under the care of a trusted therapist or counselor, because even then there are surprises, but someone to help work through that stuff is a bit safer than going it alone, which in my experience has never ended well, or with real healing.”

    Sorry for your pain from abuse. And, point taken. I usually do recommend this, and I agree with you completely. In fact, a lot of this work cannot be done on one’s own, until one is grounded and cleared a certain amount of historical trauma. In essays like this where I do not talk explicitly about going into past trauma, per se, sometimes I don’t include it. But, it might be a good idea to always mention it, so THANK YOU, and for bringing this up here for other readers.

    “For some people, the coming horror show, which is already in play depending on where you are, will just be another walk in the park, just at a little faster pace. For others, their lives are so bad, they won’t know the difference. Sometimes it is good to remember that this is not just going to happen to others, those who are unaware; we are them, they are us. We are simply trying to meet this with clear head and eyes. Thank you again for the thought provoking essay.”

    Agreed. You’re welcome. And you know, I was thinking about this today: we don;t know really what is going to happen. There is already horrible shit going on in wars around the world, in the middle east, in syria, in Afghanistan; that is apocalyptic horror. We tend to project all this stuff into the future, and in doing we waste the present moment. There is a certain amount of realism i doing so, to project, to prepare, to worry and fear, but i think we need to be careful the degree to which we do this…for now, life is not so bad, and it’s important to harvest the goodness and gratitude and goodness of the day.

    I mean, what if none of NTE comes to pass, or what if it turns out to be not so bad? Or a cure is found? Not likely, but what if? We will have wasted so much energy and precious life on unnecessary misery. I am not speaking delusion, just proposing the possibility. THIS IS PRECISELY WHY I GRIEVE WHEN IT COMES UP; I don;t force it. I expose myself to the world and what I feel is what I feel. I don’t go out of my way to manufacture pain, especially I wary of doing so by projecting into an unknown future. And even if NTE does come to pass significantly as Guy projects, would it be right to lose all of ourselves to that and obscure all joy and appreciation for the beauty of life that we still have today? Not in my book. And I don’t think in guy’s either.

    Thx Badlands.

  • Paul Chefurka…could you please email me, or give me your email please (Guy has it)? Or contact me at Facebook on the link in my bio above? I’d like to keep in touch. I agree and relate to everything you said above and feel an ally in you. Thanks for your response.

  • I want to thank everyone for your responses and ENGAGING. I write a lot of articles and never had I had such an engaging bunch. No matter how cynical or even nasty your comments, at least you engage. And I was thinking today, none of you would be here if you did not care. So, even the pessimists and mean toads who comment here, I see your care, or else you would not give a shit enough to comment. So, if you try to tell me you don;t care, I invite you get in touch with reality: the reality of your actions.

    Thanks Guy McPherson for attracting such a motley crew of passionate, shipwrecked, deep, thoughtful, compassionate, intelligent, heartbroken contributors.

    Thanks to all who read with care and genuine intent to understand and reflect and especially to those who paraphrase and embellish the message and make it clearer and richer with your stories and insights. I think I have found a place aboard this Noah’s Ark of fellow eccentrics.

  • @ Jack Adam Weber

    Breaking the rule, but you’ve sent a load of comments, and a video talk which need a response.

    You’re nice guy, mean well, doing your best, heart in the right place.
    I watched your video, listened to the talk.

    Look, there is profound, incredible, important, wonderful wisdom at the heart of Taoism, possibly the best thing I’ve come across in my whole life. But that stuff you are talking about. That is NOT IT.

    Sorry, but trying to fit all qualities into a binary yin yang thing, that’s bollocks, that’s some simple uneducated mediaeval Chinese peasant trying to make sense of things, and you’re calling that Modern Wisdom ?

    It’s like the ancient Greek earth, air, fire, and water analysis, which later became alchemy and then modern chemistry, or the European medical theory of Humours. Nobody thinks its a good idea to go back to thinking in terms of just four elements, because it’s not going to be helpful, it would be retrograde, a return to an inferior understanding, and that’s what you are doing with that yin yang analysis, which you don’t seem to understand properly at all.

    Anybody could get what you are saying from reading one popular intro book, there are dozens of them, and most of them are crap.

    Did you say you are qualified to go near people with acupuncture needles ? Not sure if you said that and I couldn’t be bothered to go back and check. You’ll think I’m ‘being mean’, but some of this stuff is my home turf, something I know something about, and I really do not like it when someone is messing it up.

    You slipped in at the start ‘We are the cause of the problem, therefore we must be the cure for the problem’ or some such. That’s really flakey logic. ‘We’ ? We don’t have any power. And it’s a numbers game. 7 billion and rising, and the Fukes, etc. Nothing in your talk or your essay has any practical relevance.

    I mean, what if none of NTE comes to pass, or what if it turns out to be not so bad? Or a cure is found? Not likely, but what if? We will have wasted so much energy and precious life on unnecessary misery. I am not speaking delusion, just proposing the possibility. THIS IS PRECISELY WHY I GRIEVE WHEN IT COMES UP; I don;t force it. I expose myself to the world and what I feel is what I feel. I don’t go out of my way to manufacture pain, especially I wary of doing so by projecting into an unknown future. And even if NTE does come to pass significantly as Guy projects, would it be right to lose all of ourselves to that and obscure all joy and appreciation for the beauty of life that we still have today? Not in my book. And I don’t think in guy’s either.

    So that’s where you’re really at.

    That’s what I meant earlier. It’s really quite a shallow and superficial place to be.

  • @ annie Thanks… apologies for not saying so sooner.

    Hi Annie. Just adding my ditto to what logspirit wrote. :-)

  • @Jack Adam Weber

    Thanks again for your astute essay. We have much in common. When I read some of the posts relating to your essay I see people giving up. Well if that notion floats their boat so be it. What I can’t understand is why even though they have resigned themselves that there is nothing to be done seems to be defeatist at best yet they’re still here predominately doing what they did in their daily lives before becoming aware. Old habits die hard I reckon.

    How does your garden grow Jack? I would love to learn more about that from someone who can grow food year-round. Here in the land of steady habits was an amazing year for fruit production. Vegetables were not too shabby either. Harvesting yellow onions, bell peppers, cayenne peppers, tomatoes and butternut squash now.
    I brought another load of Asian pears to the local food bank a few days ago. I was up at the crack of dawn picking pears in 38° F. temperatures. My fingers got cold. The whitetail deer are doing a wonderful job of eating the dropped fruit and helping to maintain orchard hygiene and putting weight on too I might add. Love to have them around along with all the other wildlife. I became engrossed for a time observing a ruby throated humming bird yesterday on a mass planting of Zinnia elegans. Just amazing. I probably should stop now before I get carried away.

    Eating excellent organically grown food does wonders for the mind and body and showing a little restraint like the metaphor you used in letting a field lie fallow is so right on.

    My best to all the posters who contributed to Jack’s essay.

  • Thank you kindly for the thorough replies. Have a nice day, all.

    I knew the moment had arrived
    For killing the past and coming back to life

    https://youtu.be/BdTOjZQlR-8

  • Ulvfugl…

    First, off, you have not responded to any of my previous comments to you directly, including the one I asked if you are genuinely interested in hearing me. I think by example you answer my question; you seem to not even be able to hear and respond to a question about responding to my questions! Therefore, I imagine this will be last message to you. I have corrected you and clarified for you numerous times but there is no acknowledgment of any of this. To me, this is one-sided discussion which is fruitless. Therefore, this is my last response to you, and I encourage you to read the comments already made because it appears you do not listen or hear or comprehend what is shared with you, and this I mentioned in my last comment as well.

    “@ Jack Adam Weber
Breaking the rule, but you’ve sent a load of comments, and a video talk which need a response.
You’re nice guy, mean well, doing your best, heart in the right place.”

    Thanks for noticing. :)

    
”I watched your video, listened to the talk.
Look, there is profound, incredible, important, wonderful wisdom at the heart of Taoism, possibly the best thing I’ve come across in my whole life. But that stuff you are talking about. That is NOT IT.”

    I am not discussing Taoism, per se. I have a 5-year graduate degree in Chinese medicine, graduated Valedictorian of my class, and have studied intensely for 25 years and been professionally trained in Chinese medicine, whose roots are Taoism. The talk uses the metaphors and perennial wisdom (turning of the cycles, the cycle of life, death and rebirth, emotional correspondences, correlative diagnosis, etc. as described in the talk) of Chinese medicine to interpret our modern day predicament.

    “
Sorry, but trying to fit all qualities into a binary yin yang thing, that’s bollocks, that’s some simple uneducated mediaeval Chinese peasant trying to make sense of things, and you’re calling that Modern Wisdom ?”

    Then you don’t understand Yin-Yang theory, my friend. In your blog, which I visited, where you recommend simple Qi Gong and an Alan Watts video to cope with changes (I’ll refrain from further comment), you admit you are no expert. Well, perhaps I am not a master, per se, but I am an expert in Chinese medicine; it is my profession, and I have taken it upon myself to study and meditate on the Five Elements for decades. In the same way that the message of my essay above is lost on you, so is my talk, apparently so be it. But it is not bullocks because you simply don’t understand it. Do you know what a metaphor is? Well, metaphors can be used to describe other things, and sometimes it is mere symbolism, other times there is accurate, real reference that is actually objectively true. What I present is real-life reality vis-à-vis the model of the Five elements so that people can understand current issues in terms of a holistic model, so that they see how we have strayed from holism and sustainability into dysfunction, just as Chinese medicine uses the same model to diagnose and prognosticate disease in humans. All this is described and explained in the video, just as I describe all you seem to miss in my essay.

    “
It’s like the ancient Greek earth, air, fire, and water analysis, which later became alchemy and then modern chemistry,”

    And how far has chemistry gotten us, sir? Indeed it has provided the means for our downfall. Did Yin-yang and Five Elements theory ever do that? No. So, you debunk your own logic of “going back” being retrograde. Even Guy is retrograde…pointing out how civilization itself was our down fall, how we thrived as nomads. Besides, your point is off-base anyway because chemistry and Yin-Yang are not mutually exclusive, as also described in the video, at the beginning. Chemistry can be described within the Yin-Yang model generally, and that is all I do and claim as accurate. But you do not seem to understand metaphor as an embrace of all phenomena.

    “or the European medical theory of Humours. Nobody thinks its a good idea to go back to thinking in terms of just four elements, because it’s not going to be helpful, it would be retrograde, a return to an inferior understanding, and that’s what you are doing with that yin yang analysis, which you don’t seem to understand properly at all.
”

    No, you don’t understand it. I just described it. When you have a doctorate degree in a field I am discussing, and actually understand it, and actually hear what is being conveyed to you, then I welcome your criticism. What you don’t get is that it is a metaphorical system; that is Yin-Yang 101. You are speaking in literal terms. The Five Elements are tremendously helpful and actually are a model for a cure and for living sanely on the planet. Did you actually listen to the lecture? I run into this repeatedly with you: it does not seem as though you absorb or can hear information presented to you. I mean, you reference my essay in the context of rainbows and dolphins and happy-talk and another reader also commented that he/she is astonished at how one can come to such a conclusion, because this perspective is is nowhere in the essay. I must imagine that you read it with preconceived notions and little *experience* into where the essay actually points one to. It’s like I ask you, “Do you want to go to the park?” And you respond, “I’d like to have spaghetti for lunch.” This is how discordant your responses are to what is conveyed to you.

    “Anybody could get what you are saying from reading one popular intro book, there are dozens of them, and most of them are crap.”

    Please show me one book that comes close to describing and interpolating modern culture and planetary illness into the model of the Five elements. It’s a novel synthesis; you will hear it nowhere else in such detail, and I believe, accuracy. Your arrogance is a turn-off.

    “
Did you say you are qualified to go near people with acupuncture needles ? Not sure if you said that and I couldn’t be bothered to go back and check. You’ll think I’m ‘being mean’,”

    It is mean. More than that it is ignorant.

    but some of this stuff is my home turf, something I know something about, and I really do not like it when someone is messing it up.

    Your home turf? So you know “something about” it? Ever heard the expression a “a little knowledge is dangerous? You admit in your own blog you are no expert in these matters. I actually am, by standard definition anyway, as one who has been professionally and comprehensively trained in the subject.

    For example, even though i have a strong background in the sciences, I am not a climate scientist. Yet, I do challenge Guy sometimes on his syntheses. But I do not challenge him on what I do not understand scientifically, and on which I am not an expert. I ask questions. And I certainly don’t call his domain of expertise, about which I know relaively little, crap. This is just respectful and reasonable. I invite you to consider this in light of our discussion.

    
”You slipped in at the start ‘We are the cause of the problem, therefore we must be the cure for the problem’ or some such. That’s really flakey logic. ‘We’ ? We don’t have any power. And it’s a numbers game. 7 billion and rising,”

    Yes, this stat qualifies as “we,” does it not? Where is your logic, sir? WE alone have and had the possibility to reduce our numbers. And Mother Nature does too, and likely will. I did not slip (tho am not afraid to embrace when I do); you slip in your interpretation and accusation.

    “and the Fukes, etc. Nothing in your talk or your essay has any practical relevance.”

    Sorry. You are simply wrong. The Fukes….huh? It is all completely relevant and practical for our inner and outer lives; I don’t waste my time with impracticalities. Ironically, what is impractical is your reasoning; even when explained to you, you still don’t hear or comprehend. And I repeat myself. And you do not respond to specific previous comments and points I try to clarify for you.

    ” 
I mean, what if none of NTE comes to pass, or what if it turns out to be not so bad? Or a cure is found? Not likely, but what if? We will have wasted so much energy and precious life on unnecessary misery. I am not speaking delusion, just proposing the possibility. THIS IS PRECISELY WHY I GRIEVE WHEN IT COMES UP; I don;t force it. I expose myself to the world and what I feel is what I feel. I don’t go out of my way to manufacture pain, especially I wary of doing so by projecting into an unknown future. And even if NTE does come to pass significantly as Guy projects, would it be right to lose all of ourselves to that and obscure all joy and appreciation for the beauty of life that we still have today? Not in my book. And I don’t think in guy’s either.
So that’s where you’re really at.
That’s what I meant earlier. It’s really quite a shallow and superficial place to be.”

    What? This is one point I made, one of many, so yes, I am here. This is rationally smart and intelligent to me. If you want to believe or posture yourself in a different fashion, so be it. But I stand by this posture you just quoted, until I have a change of heart or mind. Ironically, your entire dialogue and criticism of what I present is shallow, for you seem lost on it all and make illogical remarks. You seem unable to dip beneath the surface of cynicism, literalism, anger, and fear. I wonder if you are so critical (and off-base) because you are actually threatened by what I present? Most people, sadly enough, are attached to their cynicism and anger and fight away what could bring relief. I don’t; need an answer to this…it’s my last invitation and gesture of help towards you.

    And to quickly respond to one of your last comments about the heartbreak prescription of 24/7. You speak as if you are not heartbroken, as if we are all not heartbroken. We already are; what I offer is a way to embrace it, to work with it, to sink into it, down into it (notice, this is the opposite direction of superficiality). So yes, I support us all being heartbroken 24/7, to a degree…whatever degree one finds oneself so. And yes, it is important to be resiiient. But, paradoxically, this brokenness creates tremendous resiliency….much more, and on a radically different level, than what Qi Gong can do and Allan Watts’ “mystical” (talk about impractical? and how you refer to Qi as “mysterious”…ironically, it is not mysterious at all and has been described in bio-medical terms, but indeed it feels mysterious…and you accuse me of being impractical and reverting to impractical ancient wisdom? I take what is practical and reasonable from the old models and appropriately discuss int eh context of modern life, yet you ignore modern research and describe Qi as mysterious) renderings of Taoism—thus the title of my essay. Oh, and by the way, I studied and practiced Qi gong and Tai Chi and yoga all throughout my medical training and for 15 years prior, and I have taught all of the above for years and work with thee modalities with my patients. I have a decent sense of its reach for help. Both are a boon, but by no means even close to the territory I describe in my essay and talk.

    Lastly, I hope that none of this argument shrouds the gentle invitation of my essay. And, I shall not argue with you further ulvfugl; it is not productive and actually feels sabotaging my well-being and the message of the essay. I return to the sensitivity and reason, to the radical embrace of our predicament, and to care for myself and those who want to be helped. I will try to refrain from responding to anymore of your comments and respond to those who are open to compassion and being helped. I wish you well, or whatever you wish for yourself….cheers.

  • ulvfugl…I leave you and others who cannot relate to my message with this summation (which I posted above), just recopied and sent to me by a friend, which I came in a timely way, as it returns and honors the tender-fierce invitation of the essay. I hope you will at least put it on the back burner, as I will your comments; it might make sense one day.

    “As a last note, part of the reason I wrote this essay is that I notice so many who deny the feeling state of broken-open sadness and grief. It is the way to some significant liberation and beauty in the midst of all the shit. But it takes actually feeling it, living with it, not intellectualizing it, not letting anger and cynicism usurp your vulnerability, unless it is too much for you to be in that darkness, which DOES REDEEM ITSELF IF YOU FULLY EMBRACE IT.”

  • ulvfugl – “This depends upon your definition of the words, natural, un-natural, which are very complex terms, mean very different things to different people. I’d say NTE is unnatural because it is manmade, we will have caused it, brought it upon ourselves.”

    got it. of course, if we divide it one way, we get “manmade” and if we divide it One way, as in Monism, we get “natural” because there is only One thing – nature, and everything it creates, including hedge funds, peak oil and addictive programs that serve to distract us and destroy us in exactly the way mike k so beautifully illustrates above. the yeasty beasties do the Anthropocene boogie on the petrie dish any time we want to see it.

    (loved your essay of course, as mentioned in previous post.)

    I won’t try to argue against anything you are saying to Jack re this essay, as I know where you are coming from, and even though you do jump right over much of the real value in what he is saying, the deeper things that are being left out are where we need to get to right now, lickity-split – if we want any real hope of changing anything *that matters*

    “Look, there is profound, incredible, important, wonderful wisdom at the heart of Taoism, possibly the best thing I’ve come across in my whole life. But that stuff you are talking about. That is NOT IT.”

    Jack’s essay illustrates some of the deeper first steps. sadly, at this point, that is all they are. healing and suffering through the evil dark side has, unfortunately, been left undone for so long, that we have accumulated an unimaginably vast “healing debt” or whatever it could be called.

    the measures that are called for to really heal at this point are not to be found in an essay, a book, or a hundred books.

    my only hope, as I have said before, is knowing who is pitching when nature bats last.

    it is not god. god really has much better things to do than save our sorry, ignorant greedy asses.

    it is not aliens. (if you can already dance across the billions of planets and suns in this galaxy, or jaunt in and out of other dimensions at the twiggle of an eyebrow, you really don’t have much riding on whether a bunch of yeast with iPhones manage to screw the pooch here on earth)

    it is you. it is us. it is the hidden secret of the golden flower.

    the sweet nectar of the gods that never existed in anything other than our pure creative imaginations – the exact same imagination that is the imagination of the One.

    oops! slipping into un-clarity, metaphor and all that crap.

    plainly and clearly, then.

    do you care, fellow traveler? do you live and love, and do you want to stay true to the power that gave you life and love? you want to save the world, I know you do! then take a deep breath, take another, and say hello.

    then be prepared to fight like the fate of the universe depends on the outcome, because it damn sure does.

  • ogardener….thanks for the post! i’ll get back….soon.

  • @ Jack Adam Weber

    So you expect me to take that seriously ?

    You stand there in your lecture, talking about yin and yang, and having to read what you wrote on your pad to get the properties of yin and yang right and still you get muddled.

    And you think that Chinese medicine makes sense completely divorced from the rest of taoism, and that stuff you say in your lecture makes sense ?

    That itself is completely absurd. I have no idea who taught you or what sort of junk is being taught, but for anyone to be speaking about yin and yang without reference to taoism is rather ludicrous.

    When I say there are people who know much more than I do, I am thinking of some great masters. You, sir, seem to me to be full of bullshit.

    If what you say, you’ve studied tai chi, qi gong, yoga and Both are a boon, but by no means even close to the territory I describe in my essay and talk. then I am flabbergasted, because that talk and your essay, are amateurish – I’m being generous – so if that’s your estimation, your knowledge of qi and yoga must be non-existent.

    Honestly !

    Look, ANYONE a little bit smart could read a simple intro to taoism and yin and yang and do a talk like that after a WEEK. Who are you trying to kid, Jack Adam Weber.

    You are insulting us here. You are insulting my intelligence.

    I am not threatened by what you present. I think you are either a rather dim fellow, who greatly over-estimates your status and ability, or you are a charlatan who has discovered that you can get away with bamboozling people with complete rubbish, if you have sufficient effrontery.

    Do you charge people money for whatever it is that you do to them ?

  • mo flow…

    “Jack’s essay illustrates some of the deeper first steps. sadly, at this point, that is all they are.”

    I have found them to be enduring postures and approaches for all time, with or without climate change, and i can only imagine, for harder times to come . Additionally, and to be clear, this essay is not a comprehensive cure or address to all of our problems. I deal with the inner domain of experience (thus the title of the essay); the outer domain is well-spoken for by other more knowledgable than myself and abundantly available in the tons of literature on the subject—i.e., what we need to concretely do. Notice, even with all the scientific facts and knowledge, we don’t act with near the urgency, personally and collectively. Something else is needed; that is what I speak to.

    I write on the subject I do as a piece of the puzzle….what I see is that lots of folks complain and talk and otherwise feel disempowered and don’t know how to generate passion in the midst of chaos and collapse. I try to address the motivation and inspiration to not only do something about the situation but also to embrace the difficulty of it, in real, no BS terms. This is all spelled out in great detail in this presentation:

    Cheers….

  • ulvfugl

    I am done with you. What you say is wrong. Cheers.

  • @ mo flow

    My definition of ‘natural’ would be from biology, so as in an island, never visited by humans, where fauna, flora, and geology were in pristine condition unaffected by any interference. So, that kind of nature is now already dead, because every part of the planet is effected by human activity and pollution.

    Others dispute that definition and want to see humans as part of nature, including their products such as nuclear power stations. They don’t necessarily arrive at that definition via it all being One, though.

    But if you go the all being One route, then, yes, you have to blame the One for the horror and the starving babies, hence the difficulty with any concept of a caring Universe or a loving God.

    People have been struggling with these dreadful problems for the last several thousand years. One of the weirdest things about this moment in history, and this blog, is that whilst we contemplate our imminent extinction, and peak everything, we also have peak information, for the first time ever, I can click and read stuff that has never been available before, or only to a few scholars in privileged position who knew how to access the right libraries and archives.

    What is truth ? ‘The set of lies most free from contradictions’said Nietzsche…

    Every day I discover interesting thinkers…

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

  • @ Weber

    What is ‘wrong’ about it ? You don’t say.

    But your position is indefensible, if I’m right.

    What COULD you say ?

    @ mo flow

    All religious traditions acknowledge that the world is imperfect. Where they differ is in the explanations which they offer to account for this imperfection and in what they suggest might be done about it. Gnostics have their own — perhaps quite startling — view of these matters: they hold that the world is flawed because it was created in a flawed manner.

    http://gnosis.org/gnintro.htm

  • @Paul C. – Thanks for what you shared above in writing to Jack. It makes me feel less alone hearing of your pain and rage, and the emotional/intellectual spiritual journey that has unfolded for you through all of this. It makes me reflect on my own wild ride (my self chosen nickname is Toad) that continues on into the unknown creative future both in and out of the body…

    And thanks everybody for making this a particularly rich and rewarding thread of sutras and commentaries on the edge of the unknowable….

  • @ Kirk Hamilton

    Just trying to clarify my last post:

    “Another aspect of NTE that NBL has alerted me to is nuclear meltdown, since anticipated economic and social collapse will preclude the energy source to cool melting nuclear facilities, of which there are hundreds–maybe thousands if you count weapons, etc.”

    I said at the end of my post that all this mayhem is a choice, without addressing when/how/where the choice would apply. I could say choice could be applied at any time from now on. If significant choice is made to deal with nuclear facilities instead of ignore their threat, these facilities could be decommissioned right now. But then I also question this assumption. The fact that they won’t be decommissioned starting tomorrow could do with ignorance or politics or money, etc., all of which would constrain choice.

    It might take the military establishment to act boldly and immediately enough to decommission nuclear plants in time. But the military could be hampered by the above constraints, plus the constraint of custom–concepts of normalcy, which, if violated suddenly, could lead to extreme, unmanageable crisis of different kinds.

    “Thinking in terms of pictures (‘images’) helps me to simplify complex issues in a way I can process…my image of the world is that it will unavoidably become a toxic wasteland, perhaps with very sparse vegetation (if any), and with toxic soil and water everywhere. No agriculture will be possible, dustbowls will proliferate, and the outside world will be hostile to complex life forms.”

    If nuclear plants were decommissioned, with perhaps resulting power scarcity resulting, some of the above forecasts could be forestalled or lessened. But feedback loops already in the works will no doubt bring on a scenario not too different from the above, no matter what. Toxicity of soil and water requires the immediate end of industrial chemically based agriculture, fracking, chemical waste disposal, etc. But the above listed constraints to change apply here strongly.

    “All the money is on people going batshit crazy and doing very wicked and ultimately futile things before the world becomes universally unlivable for anyone. But that is a choice.”

    Choice could apply here more strongly and with fewer constraints than elsewhere? Again, it could require daunting systemic change to teach the young about social, economic and ecological collapse. It would probably require a military takeover of public schools, but that is somewhat in the works already. And in the case of poor schools that are out of sight, out of mind for the majority of citizens, opposition to a takeover might not be off the scales. Teaching the young how to fend for themselves to the max could help prevent extremely dysfunctional behavior as collapse ensues.

    “I’m not in the least bit advocating or promoting the kind of choice I think people should, could or would be likely or able to make. I’m merely trying to be as logical and reasonable as I can be. What I say is just calling it the way I see it.”

    This still holds true.

  • Hey, Artleads, yes! I agree with you. I’ve always been interested in what you have to say. The pressures bearing on our ‘choices’ are monumental (I should know, I’m a Libra :) ). This occurs up and down the scale, whether it’s a middle school kid deciding which group of peers to identify with or a military commander deciding to fire bomb Dresden, we all make choices. I hope all or most of my choices benefit others, that’s important to me. In any event, it’s obvious that people have unknowingly made a lot of bad decisions, including me.

    In you second to last post, you said, “I agree that water is perhaps the most important thing to secure for survival.” I think that I need to explain that, if society breaks down, I do not see any chance of survival, for me. I would only want a sure supply of water to survive more comfortably in the near term and to, as you said, share it. Food, too. I plan to share it all. In fact, when it looks like there will be no more food deliveries, I plan to simply stop eating and spend the rest of my life caring for and comforting others.

    In your last post you talked some about young people. My heart breaks for them. I remember my younger days, coming of age back in the 60s and early 70s, what contempt we, me and my crowd, had for adults! We knew they had messed up, messed up like crazy and what a big joke we thought they were and what they stood for was. Well, sometimes I ponder what the kids of today are going to think of my generation when they figure out what big, cowardly, lying losers we are! Actually, I’ll enjoy it because I’ll know we deserve it.

    Anyways, good talking at you, pal. Keep speaking from your heart.

  • @ mike k Sorry, I read your post originally and meant to thank you, then lost it in the busyness of things, since you spelled my handle a bit off. Anyway, a belated thanks for the appreciation.

    ~~~

    I’m surprised that no one commented on the following phrase from this essay: “cattle raising (the largest contributor to greenhouse gases)” … could this phrase be the subliminal cause of so much of the antagonism? Was it the guilt in the closet? Anyway, I refrained from mentioning it, and I’m only doing it now as a postscript, an epitaph style reminder of the deep impact of flesh eating, and the power in everyone’s dietary decisions. I hope everyone will start eating more vegan meals (especially sprouts), perhaps go vegan for a day each week (Paul McCartney promotes meatless Mondays)… or go all the way to complete health for yourselves and families, and for the health of all extant life on our little planet (disregarding politics, former President Bill Clinton has become a dedicated vegan). The shame of us turning the fantastic Earth, after all of our ostensible achievements in the arts and sciences, into nothing but a bowl of jellyfish and slime molds… is awful. There is a lot of power to heal readily available. It may not head off our extinction, probably won’t, but why not try? Has the habitual poison entered too deeply to make the change and end flesh consumption, and maybe save our asinine donkeys? Many of you have already answered on this issue… some are making fresh starts… I hope everyone will continue to think about it.

  • ogardener…

    your comments, my responses:

    Thanks again for your astute essay. We have much in common. When I read some of the posts relating to your essay I see people giving up. Well if that notion floats their boat so be it. What I can’t understand is why even though they have resigned themselves that there is nothing to be done seems to be defeatist at best yet they’re still here predominately doing what they did in their daily lives before becoming aware. Old habits die hard I reckon.

    Thanks, I agree. And I also keep trying to highlight the difference between inner and outer work. There is lots of both to be done.

    How does your garden grow Jack? I would love to learn more about that from someone who can grow food year-round.

    We have regular rain, though it has been surprisingly dry and hotter in the last few years, especially this summer. The rains are just now returning, and I can hear the orchard breathing!

    Here in the land of steady habits was an amazing year for fruit production. Vegetables were not too shabby either. Harvesting yellow onions, bell peppers, cayenne peppers, tomatoes and butternut squash now.

    Beautiful! There is nothing like the feeling of growing one’s own food….an ineffable experience.

    I brought another load of Asian pears to the local food bank a few days ago. I was up at the crack of dawn picking pears in 38° F. temperatures. My fingers got cold. The whitetail deer are doing a wonderful job of eating the dropped fruit and helping to maintain orchard hygiene and putting weight on too I might add. Love to have them around along with all the other wildlife. I became engrossed for a time observing a ruby throated humming bird yesterday on a mass planting of Zinnia elegans. Just amazing. I probably should stop now before I get carried away.

    Hah…you are a nature-lover, like me. Though I am glad not to be in that cold.

    Eating excellent organically grown food does wonders for the mind and body and showing a little restraint like the metaphor you used in letting a field lie fallow is so right on.

    The inner and outer fields….good to slow down some in autumn and winter, esp. the latter. Agreed on the organic food….and for the soul, and all the lessons and subtle enrichment we receive i the process….thanks for your kind words and beautiful sharings of nature. Treasures. J*

  • logspirit, I feel that even if we don’t have a real chance at saving ourselves, there is merit and honor in living with integrity and care. it’s not all about outcome, and ultimate results, which is progress-oriented cultural programming. Plus, we truly do not know just what the future holds. We do know that each of us will die with or without collapse, and we could die at any moment long before full collapse. So, good not to let the mind runaway and fixate on a certain impending doom, when it could be tomorrow for any of us, and anything.

  • logspirit…

    “cattle raising (the largest contributor to greenhouse gases)”

    is this true anymore? methane has taken over as the largest, no?

  • @ Weber

    You appear to be under-educated, not just re taoism, yin and yang, and chemistry, but about greenhouse gases. Perhaps you need to research these subjects elsewhere, or read some of the earlier threads here and Guy’s lectures, because you’re years behind, and you’re likely to have a rough time if you’re going to keep asking such naive dumb questions here.

    You see, despite your protestations, I was right, wasn’t I. I wouldn’t let you with your acupuncture needles within a mile of me or anyone else. Basically, you have no idea what you’re talking about, and you cover yourself by saying ‘Well, it’s all poetic and metaphor’. Yeah, sure. aka bullshit.

    Thing is, the real taoist thing isn’t poetic and metaphor, it’s for real. I can see you don’t know, just by one glance at how you stand and how you pick up your fucking lap top from the floor. Don’t you dare try and bullshit me. Kid. Ok ?

  • @ Jack Adam Weber
    I sent you a private correspondence. Please check your “jackadamweber@poetichealing.com” account.

    As far as greenhouse gasses… it is my understanding… that while the methane portion of the total impact is rapidly accelerating, and in a self reinforcing feedback loop that is likely to mushroom and outpace CO2, carbon dioxide is currently still the major factor. Methane is initially about 100 times more potent than CO2, and averages out to a bit more than 20 times stronger over 100 years. It is shorter lived in the atmosphere. Other gasses are even more powerful greenhouse containers than methane, but are released in smaller quantities.

    On which processes contribute the most: Estimates vary depending on who you ask. The UN says that livestock raising and consumption accounts for about 18% of total anthropogenic warming, others have recently indicated up to 51%, such as Jeff Anhang and Robert Goodland, World Bank Environmental Advisor, Diet: The Only Hope to Stop Global Warming http://www.chompingclimatechange.org/uploads/8/0/6/9/8069267/happiermeals.pdf

    Whatever the proportions, diet is, for the most part, a matter of individual choice. It offers an opportunity for immediate change (with time lag effects) that doesn’t require corporate retooling of global transportation or brick making (Carbon-Free, Biologically-Grown Bricks Win Green Business Competition https://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/09/17/2631221/biobricks/). People don’t need approval or permission to change their diets from flesh to plants. Besides the environmental impacts and unhealthy climate changes, there are many human health issues that have been revealed through scientific inquiry… and, of course, the health and agonies of the animals.

    Yes, I concur, “there is merit and honor in living with integrity and care”

    …even though we have already triggered irreversible tipping points that make near term human extinction a practical inevitability. This is certainly the trajectory. I personally think, given all I know about humans and the way we do things, our habits and inertia’s, our unwillingness to examine beliefs and learn new things, the nearly total control of information by the mass media and manipulated feelings of powerlessness amplified by internal fears, and the state of those trigger points which Guy elucidates — that Homo sapiens sapiens will not endure much longer. I still hope I’m wrong, that somehow there have been multiple major exaggerations and miscalculations, poorly calibrated instruments, whatever… that we will simply wake up and discover it was all a bad weird dream. That we’ll just click our heels three times and say: “There’s no place like home.” But it looks like the wicked witch of the west never did actually melt away… and the real Wizard of Oz never appeared from backstage, revealed… those were insidious illusions that kept us trapped in the fatal nightmare. We are the luxuriant masses, the witches and wizard’s apprentice’s catalyzing damage to the extreme.

    But, again, as always, I say: ‘might as well try, the effort brings its own benefits’.

  • I had to fly to the West Coast of the U.S. last week from Minneapolis. Believe me, I only fly these days only if I must. Anyhow, I was shocked and dismayed to see hundreds of square miles of dead forests over the Central Rockies. It was hard to tell at 30000 feet, but most of it looked to be the result of beetle kill. The effects of Climate Change are far and wide on ecosystems. And to think this is the beginning and will only accelerate out of control….

  • Mo flow says, “You want to save the world, I know you do! Then take a deep breath, take another, and say hello.”

    Wow are you utterly filled with BS. Your advice has no real world application, nor is it designed to make the world a better place. Instead, do something tangible. Raise money to buy and protect rainforest or volunteer your time with a nature conservancy organization, but stop the incessant bumping of your gums. You are all talk and no do, which is the worst kind of bullshit that exists.

  • I’ve been reading and mulling over this thread since the start…

    Anger? If you’re not feeling angry these days, you’re not paying attention to what’s going on.” anonymous

    Cynicism? “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.” Lily Tomlin

    Grief? Sadness? I’m not sure I need to sit with or sink deeper into grief and sadness – both are constant companions, with me every waking hour of every day. I inhabit sadness, it lives in me without cease or respite AND I wouldn’t have it any other ways.

    Sadness is proof that I love and care about this wondrous, so so beautiful, diverse, fecund Earth, that is being systematically slaughtered and dismembered every passing day by the culture that I participate in – in many ways unwillingly and (goddess-help-me) minimally.

    In my experience, people I know actively turn (run?) away from deep sadness because in their minds they equate it with – or see it as a precursor to – a stultifying, deadening depression; and because they are either more at home with the comparatively livelier emotions of anger and cynicism, both feelings that seem to (and probably do) have more energy and power than depression; or because they are hooked on a shallow fun-time version of happiness.

    For most of my adult life (40 years and counting) I’ve lived (with a partner)in the same rural place on the same piece of land, carefully tending a one-acre organic garden of food, flowers, herbs, shrubs, trees. We grow a year-round supply of veggies, and are in the process these fall days of gradually bringing in the harvest – potatoes, carrots, cabbages (lots), leeks, rutabagas, garlic, squash, apples, celery root, onions, beets (I feel a minestrone soup coming on)- into the cold cellar for winter storage. With lots of grains/rice/beans etc. on hand, and friends and neighbours who ‘grow’ eggs and poultry, or hunt deer or trap the occasional ground-hog, I do not fret about food security – nor do I feel particularly secure if/when/shit/fan, nor do I care much about security.

    We’re within walking distance of Georgian Bay’s clear cold water and there are several working hand-pumps in near-by. I am NOT a survivalist or prepper. I love to garden and eat good organic food, and enjoy the squirrel-like challenge of getting nicely stocked up for the winter.

    Stories from the front-lines of climate chaos and collapse – one after another, and even then an under-telling – hit very hard, BUT what I see and feel most acutely close to home is the decline, portending demise, of the forests all around.

    Fall USED to be a season of such splendour – all the leaves of maple, birch, ash, basswood and beech turning, after the first sting of frost, from deep green to vivid scarlet, orange, yellow, copper and gold…such a beautiful sight, a chemical reaction, sure, but such a lovely gift, all the sweeter since we knew it was fleeting, that one day soon the glorious color all around would be whipped away, gone with a blustery wind. And then the cold grey months set in – a time which I once (literally) fled (for a warmer, sunnier place) but now (to use one of Jack’s favorite words) embrace and savour and enjoy.

    There has not be a fall like that for 5, 6, 8(?) years. As I write, the leaves of all deciduous trees are rusting and shrivelling – sun-burned half to death – turning dry and crinkly, falling prematurely – no glory, no vivid color. This makes me sadder than anything these days – such a loss, such a stark sign of what’s to come.

    Jack Adam Weber, I appreciate your sincerity, the thought and effort you put into your essay. And maybe I should leave it there…

    They say, “We teach what we need to learn.”

    Jack, allow me to be cynical and poke a little fun for a moment (I promise I won’t stay there). I imagine you, a romantic spirit, ‘in love’ with nature, living in a altering faltering paradise, five organic acres in Hawai’i. I picture a vista, down misty hills to distant shimmering ocean waters… Doom with a view.

    Ah, but maybe an organic pineapple a day will keep the horror away. I can only stand so much reality, too.

    One flight a year? To visit family/friends State-side? I used to fly all around, every winter, to get away from the ‘depressing’ cold and dark. Then, made a vow to myself and the Earth that I would never get on a plane again – an uneasy promise that compelled me to root more deeply where I live. I use my 12 year old vehicle to transport my self and friends to local music gigs, and also to the farmers’ market, where I sell surplus veg to mostly rich, over-fed folks who drive their SUVs to market and carry their cloth bags and drink fair-trade coffee and tell themselves they are being green and earth-friendly during their summer stay at the ‘cottage’, before flying or driving down to Florida for the winter, cuz the poor snow-birds couldn’t bear the harsh cold depressing reality of winter ‘up north’.

    Now I’ll sound holier-than-thou (and there’s a lot of that going on these days), but I never drive farther than a 2 1/2 hour round trip to the nearest large town for supplies once in a while. And the next long road trip I’ll make will probably be to attend my aging mother’s funeral, when ever…

    Jack you said: “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.”

    And then later you say: “it has been surprisingly dry and hotter in the last few years, especially this summer…” Why “surprisingly”? You mean, “depressingly”, “predictably”?

    I admit that, for all my protestation of simplicity, I am a privileged first world white guy, an often out-of-control consumer, scooping up imported olive oil, and, yes, those organic pineapples and fair trade organic tea in compostable cardboard boxes.

    Of all the posters, here, Rob at the Public Library, I somehow feel you the strongest, and esp. when you say you are willing to lay your body down as a sand-bag around a nuke plant. Except I DO plant crops, and DO recognize a holding cohesive spirit breathing in and through the world of Nature that human civilization is working feverishly and successfully to tear to shreds. I wish with all my heart that it were not so.

    I’m with Jack on this: Lately, my grief and sadness at the (near term) demise of so much, of most of the beauty and diversity and life-giving abilities of this precious Planet – a grief and sadness that have deepened and been re-enforced and shared since stumbling on NBL site (by way of Common Dreams) a few months ago…lately, my grief and sadness have been giving me pause, when I see a toad or butterfly or bird or spider or blossom or head of cabbage or friend or stranger or plunge into the lake, pause to wonder and appreciate and take in and ’embrace’ and become less distance from and more grateful for, and silently wish well, and sometimes pause to cry and shudder in anticipation of so much loss.

    Right now, I don’t know what else to do, or how else to be.

    Time for a walk through the dying woods, time to make soup and music.

    One last thing: Guy wrote somewhere recently something to the effect that “the mud hut was one of the biggest mistakes of my life”. I’m sure he elaborated on that, but I missed the ‘why’ of it – any link?

  • Hi Lark…yes, many teach what they need to learn. We are all learning, all the time, hopefully, even what we have “already learned.” There is no end to it for me. For practical purposes tho, what I communicate in my essay I have passed through personally, many times. I am a mild “expert” at it, though I don;t like to claim such. I rarely speak what I have not experienced first-hand, if ever.

    As for this:

    “I imagine you, a romantic spirit, ‘in love’ with nature, living in a altering faltering paradise, five organic acres in Hawai’i. I picture a vista, down misty hills to distant shimmering ocean waters… Doom with a view.

    I am glad your imagination is in tact! Don’t mistake it for reality. :)

    “And then later you say: “it has been surprisingly dry and hotter in the last few years, especially this summer…” Why “surprisingly”? You mean, “depressingly”, “predictably”?”

    Surpring is how I have felt about it, though surprisingly the rains have just returned, as they should at this time of year. But we are still far under our average rainfalls. I cannot say “predicably” because there are no predictions for dry weather where I live, that I know of. Also, half of my 5 acres is jungle.

  • logspirit….

    I checked and I have nothing at the email you describe. Please try jack@poetichealing.com

    Something is off with the other you used; sorry for that.

    uvlfugl…I am not reading or responding to your comments further; please do not address me further. Thank you, kindly.

  • @ Weber

    You don’t even realise, do you, shabby little person, what HARM you do, reducing something so vast and magnificent, down to fit into your squalid mean kitschy commodity, so you can exploit it, ‘in real cherry wood frames’. Creepy. Go fuck your self. Thank you kindly indeed. Yuk !
    Yours has got to be the least sincere, most disingenous and dishonest post I’ve seen on this blog.

  • Please, everyone, put in your vote to have Ulf banned from this site. He can read comments, but he CANNOT post comments – unless he finds another computer with a different IP address…

    Ban Ulf!

    Ignore him, block him, we don’t need his mean-spirited, mentally ill, socially isolated, narcissistic personalty disorder here…

  • Do you know what it reminds me of, those people with a piece of waste land who want to make some money and set up a pet’s cemetery and leech of people’s pain and grief with sentimental poems on cards and over priced plastic flowers. Nothing genuine.’complete with cherry wood frame’.

  • @lark, I resonate with your comments much more than with those of the poster, Mr. Jack Adam Weber.

    All I have to add at the moment is that, number one, right off the bat, there’s a whole Grief Industry” that repels me, has done since its full-scale ramping up after 9/11. Now every commonplace tragedy (some kid in your high-school gets in a car crash) means the whole community needs professional “grief counseling”. Enough with the fetishization, and the idea that we need middle-men to process things for us, whether it be food or emotions. My Italian husband would say “Vai a zappare la terra!” (iow, do something useful).

    I also distrust people who use “we” too lavishly and loosely. It’s the USA-Today-ifiance of communication. A non-communication.

    With you in spirit, lark, watching the brown leaves crumble from the trees, in Vermont. I’m sure the tourist buses will keep coming from somewhere until there’s no more gasoline; maybe the tourists will come just to see trees remaining, period, of any color… I ‘needed’ a wall calendar, and I noticed the emphasis in tourist tschotkes has backed off of *FOLIAGE!!*, unless that is a trick my mind is playing on me. We’ll see how the season plays out.. I remember all my life growing up in New England and back-to-school time meant walking ankle-deep in fresh and fragrant multi-colored leaves, the nicest of which we would keep as long as we could, sealed between sheets of wax paper.

    Lark, this is valuable to me: “We teach what we need to learn.” I find myself going through that these days, when I can find those who will listen.

    I found another valuable piece of information to combine with that, which I am working on a bit. I’m very frustrated not to find the link at the moment, but the gist was that psychologists studied the potential of convincing someone with facts. Either insisting on 100% certainty (which the facts showed), or intentionally claiming only a 90% certainty despite the facts showing 100%. They were able to convince more easily IF they claimed less certainty than the facts warranted. I bet someone here has seen this link, because I saw it either here or on Jay Hanson’s Yahoo! list, I believe.

  • @Lark, in case Guy doesn’t respond, I don’t think he wrote about this explicitly but made reference in some of the videos to the mud hut being a failure—IIRC because it didn’t make a material difference… didn’t convince very many people to change their ways and at any rate wouldn’t be an effective bulwark against climate change even if it were to be undertaken on a global scale. Thus (from an objective, scientific, pov, I assume is the way he means it…) it was a failure in that it didn’t achieve the ends aimed for. He discusses its positive aspects while maintaining that judgment.

    I think the interview shot after the Four Corners conference has him talking about it somewhat, and I know there’s at least one other… sorry I can’t be more specific.

  • @ Rob

    Ban yourself.

    Some of the people here are too soft hearted and inexperienced to understand what’s going on here.

    Capitalism, the American Way, doesn’t matter what it is there’s a way to cash in and exploit it, so ‘break down’, get all vulnerable and sentimental and soft hearted and weepy, and off guard, and then comes the sales pitch, and then you can buy the book and the cute little poems framed in ‘genuine cherry wood’ and get some healing from the ‘Chinese’ healer.. who is ‘fully certified’ with all those fancy letters after his name..all dressed up in a load of meaningless nonsense.

    So, there’s a whole new market to exploit, of people who are broken by NTE, who have nobody to turn to..

    And with minimum investment this guy has cracked it.

    And it’s ALL bullshit, because he doesn’t even know the difference between his fucking yin and his fucking yang, he has to read it off a fucking note sheet.

    And it’s as deceitful as Arbeit Macht Frei, and I object.

    If everyone else on this site wants to fall for it, that’s your privilege, but I’ve studied with genuine taoist and zen buddhist teachers and I don’t accept this for one moment. It’s marketing a product, selling a service, and pretending to be what it’s not, and that disgusts me.

  • Greetings everyone, this is my first post here. I was following the trail of truth, and ended up seeing a lecture by Guy on youtube, then he sent me his book, then I started reading all of his articles, Derrick Jensen, and about two weeks later I am here. I, like many, thought we had more time, thought we still had room to turn the ship around. I had my head buried more deeply in the sand than I realized. I have been in grief, shock, bargaining… all of which I assume many or all of you have been experiencing for some time now in your own ways. Even if it is clear, the writing on the wall, the death bells already rolling over the planet… NTE is really hard to believe, hard to digest, hard to accept.

    There is also shame. Shame that we (humanity, I) let this happen, even thought we could see it coming. Shame that we (humanity, I)) were so distracted, so lost, have been so hopelessly enslaved to the money system, so helpless, that we/I can’t really walk away from empire now if we/I want to. Most of us, as our response, are still putting on solar panels and driving our cars and eating food from the store. Most of us are using the tools of industrial production to dig our gardens and to filter and pump our water. For many years I have sought to minimize my impact, but I always see that almost every move I make is tainted with that dependence on the system that harms life.

    In my work I help people with trauma. Jack has some good points. When we feel our feelings, all of them to their cores, they take us to new places of freedom – which is really our innate freedom rediscovered – and we are more able to experience lives of connection, integrity, depth, creativity, self expression and even joy in the midst of loss and despair- because our heats are open, and because we love. It is pathetic and ironic, to finally become inwardly free when you see it’s all going to end soon. – Insert your favorite curse word here.-

    But Jack, your delivery was hard for me to keep my attention on. (Btw, I know Jack, we live in the same community in Hawaii.) Please receive a bit of constructive feedback from someone who knows you a little bit and loves you… consider your audience and your context more carefully before you present your piece of writing (or speaking for that matter). And, if you want to make a point, try to do it as succinctly as possible. In my view, your piece was perhaps not offering total respect to the audience here at NBL with its length, content and tone.

    You might be sad, disappointed, horrified, or resistant to even consider that you might not be fully respectful, for I am sure that your intentions are coming from the heart. However, as I learned form Arnold and Amy Mindel, creators of Process Oriented Psychology, one who has cultural privilege and power in the system is often unaware of how they might not be respectful to others. There can be a kind of insensitivity and arrogance as we elegantly tromp around with our caring ideas and thoughtful solutions to everyone’s problems. Others pick up on our lack of awareness, our incongruity, the result of our lifelong privilege (which we are also unaware of), and then may take that very personally because it is that kind of unconscious arrogance that unwittingly creates various kinds of abuse, which then also goes unacknowledged or denied.

    For example, somewhere in these posts, probably in your “defense”, you said (and forgive me, I paraphrase to save the time of looking for it) “we should enjoy life while we can because things aren’t so bad yet.” Well jack, for some people, animals, and plants on this planet, things are already really, really, really bad, and have been for a long time. And, in your frustrated responses to ulvfugl you said you were trying to “help” him, and, elsewhere you said that some people “get” what you are saying and some people don’t. I know this could be taken a lot of ways, but consider that ulvfgul may not want or need your “help,” but may want YOU to understand HIM, “GET” HIM.

    The purpose of saying this is not to make you wrong, bad or to shame you. On the contrary, we all have parts of ourselves which we disown, parts which we don’t identify with, or see as outside of ourselves, and then try to protest or slander or destroy or ignore or project. So when these kinds of conflicts emerge, it is a place of opportunity, if we can stop defending our fixed positions. Especially the people with the most privilege.

    Folks, instead of banning ulvfugl, or just shutting him out, can we (those who can relate to Jack’s message) also really attempt to own those parts of ourselves that he is trying to make us aware of? Can we actually stop defending Jack’s position and fully find out what he wants us to hear and just listen? How about starting with the premise that we are not attempting to be right, here on this forum, but to connect and to understand one another more?

    (I am sorry, I realize that I am assuming ulvfugl is a “he”, and I have no idea if that is true. )

    When someone who is upset doesn’t really feel heard, they yell louder, then they scream obscenities, they get “mean,” then they get isolated by others, then they may hurt themselves or others in utter frustration and hopelessness because they don’t believe that anyone actually cares about their experience.

    Jack, my impression is that your responses to ulvfugl’s and other’s posts are sometimes patronizing. Maybe we/you/I need to listen more carefully and respond with a deeper dose of humility to what he and Kling and whoever is disagreeable towards you are really trying to say. “You/We” do not fully know the depth of what “they” wish to convey, otherwise I don’t think there would be this ongoing and exacerbated division happening, this marking of territory and defending of the borders. There is truth and value in the anger and the mistrust being expressed. It is real and based on something real. It probably isn’t ALL about YOU, but you are somehow representing that which is inspiring these responses. Please don’t continue to disregard and go along your sad and merry way being “right.” Try to find out what you are representing and own it.

    Often there is what the Mindell’s call a “ghost in the field.” Here is what Arnie writes in his book Sitting in the Fire, in a chapter called “Embracing the Terrorist”:

    Everyone is afraid of ghosts. A ghost role in a group is something we feel but cannot see. Repressed vengeance leads to terrorism, and the terrorist makes everyone anxious. This role is filled by most of us at one time or another because just about everyone wants revenge for past abuses. The terrorist fights for freedom and justice against another role, the role of social power and collective domination… Thus the terrorist is a potential role in any group, anywhere, at any time.
    Like governments, organizations try to repress terrorists. Robert’s Rules of Order, organizational development techniques, and rewards for those who say yes to management are methods for keeping the terrorist down…
    Terrorism is a spirit of the times when there is need of cultural change but it is blocked….Terrorism is a social process that ranges from small scale to international; it is engaged by disempowered individuals or groups taking revenge for past or current use of rank, intentionally or unconsciously, and hoping to establish equality…By diagnosing terroristic behavior as inappropriate, deviant, sociopathic or psychopathic, psychology and psychiatry lull the mainstream into deeper complacency. They imply that there is nothing wrong with the political or social status quo; the problems are internal to the trouble makers… As a worldworker, you must not abuse your power by asking others to change to make your job easier. People are needed by the world just as they are. You can change your attitude by articulating their views as spirits in the field.”

    I would guess that everyone who takes the time to read and write on this forum is a person who thinks very independently from the mainstream or status quo as we usually think about it. But we then form our own microcosm of society here, and reestablish roles that we have learned. So let us not get STUCK in those roles. Let us become aware of the roles we play, and of the many layers of defenses and shadows those roles may carry with them.

    I hope this was useful for this discussion, and not too long! Obviously the question of How do we respond to NTE? is an important topic. Perhaps some of the people who dislike Jack’s suggestions have perspectives that are different (not more right) that they would like to share. I would sincerely like to hear everyone’s particular flavor of wisdom. I like Derrick Jenson’s suggestions, such as to “Dismantle Globally, Renew Locally.” We need them ALL right now.

  • To clarify and be specific, I would like humanity to dismantle the nukes, because whatever life makes it through this will obviously be better off if we manage to do this.

    Also D. Jensen, whose writing and talks I have only just begun to study, has advocated tearing the shit down, the dams, the cell phone towers, etc., to protect he earth, the wildlife. Anyway, if we as a species, as life, are going to “go down,” each one of us has to sort out how we want to do that. We can give each other inspiration, ideas, encouragement, but each one ultimately musters our own courage and sorts this out for herself or himself.

  • Lidia

    This probably isn’t what you were referring to, but it’s related in a way and probably even scarier…

    http://www.alternet.org/media/most-depressing-discovery-about-brain-ever

  • Christy, thanks, but did you read the thread where I responded to ulvfugl above?

    Please read them if not. Did you read his comments and how speaks to me? Did you see that I asked him not to respond further and he continues to? I reasoned with him at firs,t but I find him unreasonable and simply arrogant and insulting…maybe counsel him some on how to speak decently to other people? I have no interest in it.

    Also, you make several assumptions. One, I don’t “know” the audience here at NTE. I am new here. Next, I presented my essay to Guy and he published it; I did not. If he thought it should be different I imagine he’d have told me. Plus, what is “the audience” here? There are all kinds of people here, so even knowing the folks as I do now, I still would not write any differently. Besides, I write what is true, and true to my experience; I can try to work on succinctness, though this has not been a popular complaint. I did “get” ulvfugl…I heard him. I simply disagreed, and he is factually wrong. 2 + 2 do not equal five and telling me what I think and feel and know when he doesn’t is not reasonable either.

    And, I know things are bad…whatever you are referring to, I meant it relatively…things are not in total chaos as they might be during total collapse…that’s all….maybe try to “get” what the spirit of my message is: that we enjoy and celebrate what is here and left, which is still a lot each day, each hour? This is what I meant, and sorry if I did not communicate it as such, but I don;t even know what reference to my writing you are making, as you said I was paraphrasing.

    And, I’ll stick to my borders, thank you, in the face assault and attack and blatant rudeness and not being heard (he/she responds to barely I word I say and clarifications I make) and being repeatedly insulted and name-called; I have not much time of desire for that, and I don’t think you do either.

  • Christy: regarding:

    “You/We” do not fully know the depth of what “they” wish to convey, otherwise I don’t think there would be this ongoing and exacerbated division happening, this marking of territory and defending of the borders. There is truth and value in the anger and the mistrust being expressed. It is real and based on something real. It probably isn’t ALL about YOU, but you are somehow representing that which is inspiring these responses. Please don’t continue to disregard and go along your sad and merry way being “right.” Try to find out what you are representing and own it.”

    You are discussing listening and hearing and I would add not to make assumptions. I did not do “go on my sad and merry way being right”. I just don’t want to be attacked and verbally assaulted, make sense? When someone is on an attacking and insulting rant it’s a little hard to “get” them, you know what I mean? And when someone is telling me that I know little about Yin and Yang and Five elements and Taoism when this is what I have studied for 25 years and offers no clarification for what would be right, and which I correct factually, this is reasonable to me. I also know what I represent and i did own it, if you read what is written above. I am simply saying I won’t be in a conversation where I am assaulted, period. The division is because of rudeness/assault and my intolerance of it. I have no issues with anger, but i do with attack and meanness and being in on a convo when my comments are not being addressed reasonably, yet am hearing and responding to each item my discussee is mentioning yet does not offer similar hearing back, but just rants. Anyway, enough of this..thanks for your suggestions, but what you say does not resonate or even seem accurate.

  • Lidia, you don’t have to grieve if you don’t want to. I just invite people to feel it, if they want to. And using “we” this way is a common figure of speech, the way writers use “you.” It’s figurative and not literal, per se. It refers to what the writer sees or suggests as collectively helpful. Notice above, for example, Christy says. “I would like humanity to dismantle…” This is like saying “we” since humanity is “we.”

    To word it literally/politically correct is cumbersome. If you have a suggestion for avoiding saying “we” and is not awkward, I’d like to hear it…I am open to bettering my writing and delivery when i hear something that makes sense. And, again, this essay and what I share is not a comprehensive answer. Your Italian husband will be happy to hear that I do lots of stuff; I don;t just sit around in grief al the time. I do it all, round the clock. What do you do to help?

  • Christy…

    Also, if I needed to be “right” I’d still be debating with ulvfugl. Because i walk away does not make me right, or worng. I walked away because of the abuse. Make sense?

  • I am truly astonished at the amount of nitpicking and tit for tat bullshit arguments in this forum. if you actually believe NTE is upon us, how in the world do you proceed from any place but compassion? When you believe that all is lost, isn’t that the appropriate time to be generous of spirit? Would you relentlessly rag on someone in hospice? Dude, we are dying! Be kind.

    Originally, I came here to be with others who were experiencing the horror of realizing that we have destroyed this beautiful creation; drenched in grief, the words of others were of comfort. Now its turning into an intellectual cage match rapidly approaching the ugliness on Kunstler’s hideous blog. I hate that for Guy because he deserves better.

    Nobody should feel ashamed or guilty for trying to appreciate and savor the beauties still available to us. So many good writers here -but the general tone has changed into a smaller version of the shit-storm civilization that is bringing us down, which, I suppose, it how it naturally would devolve. So I guess this is good-bye. Vaya con Dios.

  • Jack, you did not get my point. I figured you would probably respond like that.
    Please don’t send me separate messages on my facebook or email in response to things we are discussing here. I don’t want to hear that you are “disappointed with” me. That is patronizing, Jack. I am offering something to try to help reconciliation here where I still see it as possible. I am not saying I thought the negative comments made were actually all just roses. I am just trying to put another perspective on things so that we/you don’t have to stay stuck in opposition. And you are digging your heels in. So be it. I still love you, anyway.
    And yes, Guy posted your essay, and Guy also did not ban anyone’s posts. He is allowing different perspectives to be expressed, and not controlling the conversation. This is not about Guy.

  • Oh, for sure, I’m a dreadful man. Everybody knows it.

    And when someone is telling me that I know little about Yin and Yang and Five elements and Taoism when this is what I have studied for 25 years and offers no clarification for what would be right, and which I correct factually, this is reasonable to me.

    This someone has been studying zen and tao for longer than you have been on this Earth, Weber, and this someone is offended to see people’s grief and pain being exploited, when you do not understand what you are doing, Weber.

    That is what this is about.

    And ‘genuine cherry wood frames’.

  • @ red eft

    Sorry you are offended. Compassion doesn’t necessarily mean being soft, weak, sentimental, naive. Sometimes one has to kill to be compassionate, which is a tremendously difficult and hard choice to make.

    @ Christy Ceraso

    Welcome to NBL.

    I thought your first post was rather good and insightful attempt at conciliation.

  • for all your Zen teachings, you really are a mean-spirited jerk.

  • @Ulvfugl: not offended – disappointed. Not by you, by the repetitive argument loops and pointless identical postings and absurdly long comments. saying, essentially the same things over and over and over and over….

    I will always thank you for the image of the calf suckling the rope in desperation once they dying cow kicked it away for the last time. It changed me: I’m the calf. We’re the calf. that’s it.

  • @ Rob

    How nice of you to say so.

  • @ Red Eft

    But this is what we find, no point in complaining about it… I would prefer to be sitting beneath fruit trees listening to Socrates :-)

    Yes. I remember the calf.

    I remember you said you rarely see the foxes. I see them very often, most days.

    Do you know how to call them ? I can call them to come to me. You have to have the wind blowing from them to you. If you make any sort of squeaky sound that resembles a rabbit that’s caught, or even small rodent distress call, by pursing your lips and sucking, or sucking on the back of your hand, they’ll come to investigate.
    It doesn’t have to be accurate, just close enough to get their curiosity. Trouble is it’s hard to keep doing it, because the muscles get tired, but you can use a piece of styrofoam rubbed on wood. If they can’t scent you and you stay concealed and still, the foxes here will come very close, especially young ones. Don’t know about American foxes, I think you have some of the same red ones, Vulpes vulpes.

  • @ Christy,

    “…so distracted, so lost, have been so hopelessly enslaved to the money system, so helpless, that we/I can’t really walk away from empire now if we/I want to. Most of us, as our response, are still putting on solar panels and driving our cars and eating food from the store. Most of us are using the tools of industrial production to dig our gardens and to filter and pump our water. For many years I have sought to minimize my impact, but I always see that almost every move I make is tainted with that dependence on the system that harms life.”

    Thank you so much for the kind and thoughtful posts. The issues to be discussed and worked through are too numerous to list. But I’ll try to touch on something that Jack and I might need to learn. And that is what you said about understanding who we’re addressing and respecting where they’re coming from.

    First, before I forget, the quote I copied above is the very center of my current concerns. NTE is happening with staggering speed from Earth’s perspective, but at a snail’s pace from the perspective of human society. I want the dams to go, but extremely carefully. (Not being any great shakes at action, I’ll stay on the sidelines on such matters.) I’m still trying to sort through Kathy C’s dot-connecting that would caution against rapid change of any sort, for everything is so interconnected that…you make a sudden change here or there and cannibals start roaming the land and FEMA camps fill up. All the strands of IC are so intricately tangled…

    Beyond that, I seek your advice. I’m hopeful to find a way to not hurt and annoy people on NBL. I suspect, however, that some know better than to read my posts in the first place.

    I’ve been mourning and grieving loss, all alone, before many here were born…and I’m pretty much done mourning and grieving now. People might not see the legitimacy of this position and might conflate it with denial of what is happening. I don’t like to argue, so let people think what they may.

    So what is my objective on NBL? It is not to commiserate or plan for doom. There are certain kinds of mental leaps that I cannot make. I can’t make the leap from two million years of the world being a livable place to it, all of a sudden, without fanfare, observed only by a select handful on NBL, being at an end. At least, I can’t come to this conclusion by looking at data and figures. It wasn’t data and numbers that launched my lifelong work for preservation and conservation; it was what I could see, touch, feel and smell, that was happening around me.

    I can see today that trees are dying, that bees are absent, that climate is transformed. Most of all, I see a cruel, punishing economic order. I know people who have lost unemployment insurance while being too grievously disable to find new work. These real things happening in real time is where I’m stuck.

    On NBL, there could be a flood of arguments about the meaninglessness or inevitability or whatever for all of this. That’s a whole ‘nother discussion that would be wisely avoided here.

    So then again, why be on NBL? In my way of thinking–unable to think abstractly about NTE–one simply immerses oneself among the mass culture, conducting oneself as one of its members who tries to make it more aware through small and subtle means. But there are countless influences upon the masses that are positive as well as negative. I am incapable of abstractly thinking why all of this is futile. Especially since there is STILL so much that is good in the world.

    At last weekend’s women’s conference on climate change–a historic event–I was mostly struck by what Jane Goodall had to say. While she was deeply aware of the massive breakdown of sustainability and sanity–she elucidated the doomer position on all of this–she was by no means hopeless that the world could be saved (and few people in the world have done more for this cause). I didn’t need Jane Goodall to make me believe that the world can be saved, but it was very affirming to hear her say so.

    Still, why, when that is a no go on NBL, should I persist? I persist because, through a huge irony (and GOD knows I not up to the arguments, arrows and slings around this) Guy, by virtue of his work, that NTE is happening, makes the appropriate human change to save the planet mandatory. I have said before and I’ll say it again: the world cannot be saved unless it can see clearly the supposedly irrevocable march of NTE. No Guy means no impetus for that kind of change. I therefore take the elements in Guy’s work that fuel survival, while not focusing on the elements that favor acceptance of doom. So, Cristy, with respect to your counseling skills and abilities toward conciliation, I hope to hear from you on how better I might conduct myself so as to be as considerate as possible of others’ contrary views. Thank you in advance.

    @ Jeff,

    I skimmed through the entire article you linked to, and was extremely impressed. If there’s stuff in there that I disagree with, I wasn’t able to pick up on it. I guess the concerns of the proletariat are what I’m trying to address here.

  • 1948-1954 – Those were thee great years of Science fiction. Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, all of them sang of futures in spaceships, friendly aliens, not-so-friendly aliens, and always we, us, the invincible planet earth would visit the stars. And their satellites. And the worlds upon worlds, all the suns, many moons and universes circling around unquenchable stars, all filled with life, life, life.

    It was good to be young in the 1950’s. Not so bad for my children, either, the hippies, peace freaks, beack to the land (and I visited the land with them, tho we were already rural, wood burning stove, orchard
    giant gardens, quarry pond swimming hole, lucky, blessed us.

    So why should there be surprise that I can’t believee it is all going
    to disappear? Maybe not all at once, like the magician’s hat trick.
    but a going, going, gone where you notice small things at first, and then someone wrote here about the Fall foliage. Around here, it’s great. You can tell how hard the winter is going to be by how long the oak leaves stay on the trees… Our woods are full of skeletons. The Ash borers really did a number on our state. dry weather interrupted by storms that sent the warning sirens howling & the old trees are giving up. The very young trees are not able to keep up. I cut out nest of those web catepilars & burn them, & wonder if the caterpillars don’t have a “right to life” along with the rest of us.

    Nature “red in tooth and claw” It takes a while for bad news to digest. Remember Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief? How sometimes you get stuck in a stage or go bounce back to another? And some days/hours you get it and others you don’t?

    Whether I believe we are DOOMED, Captain Marvel, DOOMED!!! is not going to change anything. My grandchildren are having babies. Maybe a lot of souls will try to join this last effort, this last opportunity.
    I believe in “Nice” in being helpful, we are all facing the same thing, some take things different than we do, but we should be kind, gentle,let our earth be sacred as so many of the original tribes of humans once believed…

  • @ulvfgul:

    You are not a dreadful man. I think you are really pissed off. Sometimes, a lot of times, so am I.

    @Queenie:

    Yes, I have been reviewing the “5 stages of grief” lately. Denial/Isolation, Sadness/Depression/Regret, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. Very helpful to have this understanding, thank you EKR. Your paragraph on this, Queenie, describes my experience well. The 5 stages of grief are not necessarily linear, nor mutually exclusive.

    @ Artleads:

    I have not read all past communications here, but…seems to me you are being honest, not judging others, not projecting, and you are working with yourself knowing that you know yourself better than anyone else. Are here you trying to convince everyone that there is still hope? I am guessing, no. I am guessing that you are expressing yourself authentically, sharing from your perspective, from your own orientation to life.

    If, however, we come across like we know best how everyone else ought to be handling this incomprehensible mess, than we might be perceived as disrespectful. It is a common mistake that people with privilege (economic/racial/gender/class/educational/age) make. We have to take into consideration that other people might have wisdom/experience that we can learn from, even if at first we are certain we disagree and they are “wrong.” If someone is angry, it is worth trying to understand why and truly empathizing, rather than trying to correct their perspective and experience. Usually we realize that we actually share the same feelings, at the root.

    We get stuck when we don’t get to fully experience through expression, or are not fully heard. Ultimately we have to do this for ourselves, but it really helps if someone else can hear and at least make an earnest attempt to understand and accept us. ESPECIALLY if we are “acting out” in a way that seems extreme. Then we are REALLY trying to communicate something.

    We are not in any way superior to anyone else, no matter what they may say or do. The problem is that those with privilege have had it all their life, and are unaware of the subtle ways it can abuse others who have a different perspective, or way of orienting themselves. We almost all do it in some way, we almost all have invisible or visible rank over someone. Now is not the time to continue to defend ourselves about these things, but to strip away the walls and find our common ground.

    Since you mentioned Guy as your inspiration to be here, take that a bit further… if he were worried about offending people, he would never have opened his mouth. Just because we sometimes offend each other doesn’t mean we don’t love each other.

    I am guessing there are as many different reasons for being here as there are people here. The important and beautiful thing is that YOU ARE HERE, expressing your love for life by being here with all of us. Thank you for reaching out to me and helping to create this community.

  • Artleads,

    Thank you for reaching out. I don’t know about the past communications you’ve experienced here, but in your post to me you seem to be coming from your own experience, your own orientation to the incomprehensible mess on earth, expressing your own perspective. If you are not trying to convince others to “have hope” you can still express your own. If other people are offended by that expression, you can empathize with them, but it isn’t “your fault” that they feel that way.

    You said you are inspired to be here by what Guy is sharing… take that further and remember if Guy was worried about offending people he would probably almost never open his mouth. Just because we offend each other sometimes doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t love each other.

    I think there are as many different reasons for being here on NBL as there are people here. The important thing is that we are here, and that we are creating a community of people who are expressing their experience and their love for life by participating in their own way. We are probably all looking for common ground, because we need the basic support of some companions on this terrifying journey. (I can’t even talk to my own partner of 11 years, who I am raising children with, about climate change, let alone NTE! Too negative for him! ARGH!)

    And, we are all coming from different places. The work I was mentioning, about privilege and unconscious use of rank leading to disrespect/abuse, is about looking at conflict to see what can be transformed through greater awareness of the roles we play and ultimately about mutual understanding. But it is not easy work. We have to own the all the parts, we are all of it. We all just assume different roles. All the roles are valued equally. Jack’s role, ulv’s role, my role, your role, Guy’s role, everyone is equally important in this conversation, no one is “right” or “wrong.” So we start with that understanding, and that we can all learn from one another.

    And if someone seems to be “spoiling all the fun” or “being mean” or “attacking” or “going against the current” or whatever, that person’s view needs to be validated because they are actually representing that role on behalf of us all. It goes both ways; the attacker is also being represented by the role played by the one/group they are attacking. Basically, you can take sides if you want, but know that on the “other side” are people who are the part of you who are representing the other side! So, like I said, it helps not to get stuck in identifying with any particular role/s.

    This gets really hard to apply when people say and do things we really don’t like. And it doesn’t mean that we don’t stand for our position/perspective/opinion/feelings when we believe that it is integrity to do that. It just means we get more flexible and compassionate and erase the lines in the sand and listen more carefully and see if we can find our common ground and just maybe even let go of a conflict which is destructive to everyone’s life.

    Usually the people with more rank/privilege need to do more listening, less talking, and those people are also usually the most stubborn about changing the status quo because they are afraid to give up their privileged position. We almost all have rank over someone, and we have almost all abused and been abused because of the hierarchical power system, even if inadvertently or indirectly, at some time. Gender, race, age, class, caste, disparate access to economical and educational resources, etc.,… all these are a part of the production and abuse of rank and privilege.

    These experiences leave residues that accumulate and come out in what seem like “inappropriate” ways. We can all feel these various power plays all around us, but they are so ingrained in us that it is hard to put our fingers on what we feel. So things heat up, and sometimes blow up, or things get frozen, patterns get established, and then, we STILL have the choice to decide how we want to live together. And also die together.

    We are all going to die, one way or another, NTE or not. But this possibility of NTE makes it more urgent for me to be totally real, and to try sort things out with myself and others, at least not be too scared to try. Because if you think NTE is even possibly true, what do you have to lose?

    Queenie, yes, 5 stages of grief. All over the place. Thank you E.K.Ross!

  • “newly created methane vents spewing megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere”

    and I’m supposed to take this gibberish spouting jackass seriously?

  • @ Christy Ceraso

    You are not a dreadful man.

    Hahaha, perhaps you ought to reserve judgement on that until you know me a little better.

    Why do you think the shabby cowardly creeping things here, that lurk and skulk in the shadows, call me a narcissist and a psychopath amongst other vicious taunts, and want to burn me alive and ban me from this forum ? There’s a reason for that :-)

    I’m not just your average dreadful man, nor your average narcissist and psychopath. Anybody who has ventured far in the world knows its full of lunatics and nutters of every variety, I’m a connoisseur, I’ve met tens of thousands of them, so I know where I stand in the ranks, I’m top draw, up there with Lord Byron, Aleister Crowley, William Blake, The Sub Commandante and his beetle…

    That’s pretty dreadful. I know. I live with it every day.

    I think you are really pissed off.

    I am blissfully happy, most of the time. My wrath is a terrible thing to behold, and is rarely aroused. That’s not the same thing as being angry or pissed off.

    I think that many people have a line that they do not let others cross.

    I think in American and British soceity, most people don’t know where that line is any more. But in other cultures, they do. Things like ‘You do not insult my mother’ or ‘You do not insult my God’, or whatever it is that they hold to be precious and sacred, and if you cross that line, then it is a matter that can only be resolved by a duel to the death or some such thing, because a person’s whole honour and integrity is at stake, and without it, they are degraded and no longer fully human.

    I’m Welsh, but I don’t feel particularly strongly about that. But amongst soldiers, amongst the Welsh Guards, you do NOT say ANYTHING, that denigrates Wales. If you DO, they will force you to apologise, or you will DIE. Simple. They don’t care if they spend the rest of their life in prison, that’s a secondary matter, a small thing. The honour of their country, my country, is a fiercesome frightening emotive force that defies any reason.

    I think the story of Jesus and the money lenders at the temple in Jerusalem, speaks of that kind of passion.

    I wonder why we don’t have that kind of passion for this Earth, for nature ? I feel that way about nature and wildlife.

    I also have that kind of passion for the Taoist teachings, that’s why I was angry with Mr. Weber and his responses here. I think he will probably be considering what has happened and will take it to heart. I’m sure he will be. So long as he thinks deeply about it, then that’s the end of it, as far as I’m concerned.

    @ Queenie

    Hi Queenie, welcome to this blog, your name sounds familiar from somewhere..

    Postcards from the End of America

    http://linhdinhphotos.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Thanks to all who left thoughtful comments here. It’s a joy to dialogue in sincerity and respect with one another. I am inspired by your many stories and insights, thank you. Forever making lemonade from lemons, the harshest and most abusive comments here also inspired me and gave me insight into what some people suffer. I have begun a new essay from this inspiration, so while I bowed out of verbal abuse, I do say thank you for showing me how much pain and cynicism exist in some.

    In my short tenure here, I have come to know some readers and at least one other essayist who will not come onto the comments section because of the violence, irrationality, and childish disrespect that here. It’s one thing to be pissed off, and another to abusively take it out on others. It’s one thing to disagree and attack ideas (I love fair, reasonable debate) and another to attack a person’s character, especially out of ignorance. I encountered all of this here.

    I find it sad and tragic that some of the most thoughtful and reasonable, respectful and emotionally integrated, become ostracized at the expense of the angry and cynical. Indeed this is the story of oppression on a global scale. I think this behavior also dulls and diminishes the credibility of Guy’s work, which is even more tragic. He becomes a sort of cult leader for the mean and cynical, when he should be supported in becoming more palatable to the conservative masses. One pass through the comments and I imagine many reasonable people turn away quickly, and lump Guy’s message in with the dross. I hope I am wrong, but I have already heard and experienced as much. You might want to think about this next time you feel entitled to attack and violate, if indeed you are one who does. It’s wrong on so many levels, not the least of which is that you become defined by the very destructive “powers that be” that you claim to detest. Shadow work usually reveals this, and I imagine this is why the most stuck in cynicism are the very ones who rail against invitations to the dark work. The result is they become infertilely dark, pesticides to good life, precisely of the same ilk as those who have destroyed the planet. Think about it, feel into it.

    Enduring heartbreak through the dark night of the soul is the paradoxical ticket out of having your life controlled by the angry aggressive, dark-denying forces corporate-government conglomerate) that (you say) made you so upset. You may think you are different, but your psyche is too similar. It’s actually arrogant and selfish to think you are entitled to be violent towards good life because you re in pain. Everyone is in pain, and the winners are those who find a way to generate empathy and compassion and reverie in spite of the pain, not those who get stuck only in outrage and attack any gestures of help and wisdom that fly in the face of their derision.

    When you can generate compassion from the passion of suffering and anger, then you have won some of your life back. But to be stuck in destruction, meanness, and assault on life (which is yourself, any other reader or person or life form in your life) is to live like a corporate bully or a deranged politician. Your life and psyche become defined by their actions, consumed in reactive anger, which anger is justified on one level, but not enough to reclaim some real gold from the lead of collapse.

    This that I just wrote is an intro to the next essay, titled The Roots of Collapse: Unchecked Anger & Denial of the Dark. I am not sure I’ll publish future work here, so if you want to be advised of future writings, best to join my Facebook page or get on the newsletter at my website listed after my article above.

    Thanks much to Guy for the opportunity to be here.

    Jack

  • Addendum: marked below by ** **

    Enduring heartbreak through the dark night of the soul is the paradoxical ticket out of having your life controlled by the angry aggressive, dark-denying forces corporate-government conglomerate) that (you say) made you so upset. You may think you are different, but your psyche is too similar. **If you find this to be true for you, I hope that it makes you angry enough to change your violent, life-bashing ways, since you scorn gentler invitations.**

  • @ Weber

    Everyone is in pain, and the winners are those who find a way to generate empathy and compassion and reverie in spite of the pain, not those who get stuck only in outrage and attack any gestures of help and wisdom that fly in the face of their derision.

    But there are NO ‘winners’.

    What do you think this life is, a race, a competition, a contest ?

    We die. We are facing NTE.

    The fact that you think in this way, that there is something to be gained at all, shows you know nothing of taoism.

    I mean, do you really think that YOU, Jack Adam Weber, are a WINNER ??

    I don’t think that YOU do generate ’empathy and compassion’. All that I perceive is patronising self-interest.

    Passive aggressive creepiness.

    You do not HAVE any empathy.

    Look what you said to Lidia Your Italian husband will be happy to hear that I do lots of stuff; I don;t just sit around in grief al the time. I do it all, round the clock. What do you do to help?

    Lidia has just had major surgery a couple of weeks ago. She’s having chemotherapy. She’s nursing her ancient mother who needs constant care to be kept alive and her husband who also needs constant care.

    I myself certainly never asked you for any HELP. How can you possibly HELP me ? You have nothing I want or need. And wisdom ? What wisdom have you actually got ?

    I mean, I think you are conceited and vain, for sure. But that’s not ‘wisdom’. All this self-righteous self justification is not wisdom, either.

    You think that your slick use of language and cunning sneaky words can conceal what you really are. But there are cracks.

    This wall of obscurantist New Age gobbledegook is utterly meaningless.
    It clarifies nothing, it explains nothing, it does no good for anybody, all it does it make Jack Adam Weber sound superficially intellectual and ever so superior.

    This has nothing to do with Taoism ! It’s the tradition of the Freudian psychoanalysts who got rich over the last century, by pandering to clients on couches, telling them to come back next week and part with another $100. A nice little earner.

    Hahaha, ‘Generate reverie’ ! What’s that supposed to MEAN, Weber ?

    You see, I have been practicing zazen, that is proper formal zen meditation as done by zen monks in monasteries, for more than forty years. And I have also suffered from chronic Cluster Headache all that time, which is the most painful condition its possible for a human to have ( check it out on wiki ) and chronic migraine.

    I also know something about taoism via martial arts and related practices.

    So, if there’s one area of life where I have some personal experience it is in ‘reverie’ and ‘pain’, and when some clueless twit, i.e. you, Weber, who doesn’t know the difference between yin and yang, comes along and reduces and diminishes the great teachings of the tao, to advance their own personal self-interest, and comes up with the ludicrous clap trap that you’ve just posted in your comment, I’m quite tempted to be angry, because it is so grossly insulting toward things that I hold dear.

    Look, you ************** person, I don’t need to ‘win my life back’.
    I have more control of my life than anyone I have ever met in my life. I, personally, am not oppressed by anything or anyone whatsoever.

    You are using and ABUSING and exploiting people. You are pretending you have something which you do not. I can’t stop you, and if it wasn’t you, it would be someone else, and I expect before long, there will be a whole fucking industry emerging of NTE counsellors, parasitic upon the grief and pain, all with their ridiculous meaningless verbiage about ‘being open to the darkness and paradox, blah, blah’.

    I can’t stop it, but I can express my disgust, both for you personally, and the lack of integrity, and for adding to the shabbiness and deceit and dishonour.

    Hahaha, I mean, look at this garbage

    Shadow work usually reveals this, and I imagine this is why the most stuck in cynicism are the very ones who rail against invitations to the dark work. The result is they become infertilely dark, pesticides to good life, precisely of the same ilk as those who have destroyed the planet. Think about it, feel into it.

    If you want to do some real ‘shadow work’, learn how to invoke real demons, none of this ‘poetic metaphoric’ bullshit. See how you get on. I’m sure Rob at the library will enjoy this too.

    http://heavenswithinearth.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/sea-of-dead.html