What Collapse Feels Like, Part 2 of 5: Anger: When Rage And Cynicism Aren’t Enough

By Carolyn Baker at Speaking Truth to Power


Anyone who doesn’t feel angry, make that enraged, about what is being done to the earth community by its human inhabitants and what they are doing to each other has been totally anesthetized by the soporifics of civilization. If you aren’t angry, not only are you not paying attention, as the bumper sticker adage goes, but you really need to ask yourself what you have done with your anger to cause your numbness.


Not only is anger one of the sanest responses to our predicament, but we need to find ways to express it that do not harm others. Impassioned service in the world, blogging or other forms of writing, artistic expression, or making an agreement with another trusted person to vent in their presence while they witness the expulsion of anger are all channels for externalizing anger energy and not simply, toxically holding it in the body. We should not vent at people, but certainly we can vent with them or witness their venting with us.


The more conscious we can become of our anger, the less harmful it is to ourselves or others. The less conscious of it we are, the more it is likely to become lethal to our own bodies and impede our relationships. I believe that beneath all anger about our predicament is deep grief, but that does not for one moment invalidate the feeling of anger or our need to express it. What is also true is that the relief we ultimately experience from feeling our anger and expressing it over and over again has diminishing returns. Unless our feeling and expressing anger takes us to deeper places within the psyche, we end up spinning our wheels and cycling and recycling through a redundant pathway in the nervous system that really is not unlike spinning the wheels of a vehicle in an attempt to become “un-stuck” from mud or snow.


Something in the psyche—call it soul, spirit, the deeper Self, the sacred, our core, something greater, inner wisdom, consciousness—whatever we choose to name it, wants to take us into more profound places of awareness. We share in common with other animals a nervous system that needs to discharge anger from time to time, but what do our fellow earthlings do after they discharge it? They return “home” and focus on feeding the family, nurturing their young, or just lying around in peaceful repose. Unlike humans who possess conscious self-awareness, they do not need to make sense of their anger or their predicament. They live only in the moment, and despite all exhortations by spiritual teachers to do exactly that, it is not possible for humans who live in a body to “be here now” every second of their human experience. We need, not just want or desire, to find meaning in our experience. In order to do that, sometimes we need to consider the past and future. We are inherently creatures who make meaning. Perhaps that is the fundamental difference between ourselves and robots who merely receive and report information.


And before you argue that life is meaningless, consider the brilliant men and women throughout human history who have demonstrated the opposite through their art, music, drama, poetry, prose, and storytelling. Yes, even our friend Friedrich Nietzsche, who is frequently quoted in order to reinforce the notion that life is meaningless, said that, “To live is to suffer; to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”


So why is the owning and naming of our anger not enough? And in fact, how do we prevent our anger from having a deleterious effect on ourselves, other humans, and the earth community? How do we avoid the trap of so-called “righteous” anger in a mad, homicidal and ecocidal world?


Every emotion contains its own unique set of biochemical components that impact the physiology. Anger releases adrenalin (epinephrine) and also norepinephrine, and these are experienced in the body much like an amphetamine. On the one hand, anger can feel energizing, but after a huge surge of these chemicals, one may feel depressed or lethargic.. When we consciously feel our anger or vent it, we understand the chemical rush that it evokes, and in the aftermath, we are able to take care of ourselves, rest, take a hot bath, meditate, and overall “chill” for awhile. However, when we aren’t conscious of our anger and its effects, we might feel the surge of anger, then feel depressed afterward and use a chemical stimulant or perhaps another angry outburst to elevate our mood once again. This is precisely the dynamic that occurs in PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), and it explains how some soldiers become “addicted” to war or some first responders become “addicted” to the drama of emergency scenarios.


More common is the harboring of resentment which from the Latin root simply means to feel anger over and over again. It is a state of chronic anger which we may or may not be aware of. It is very closely connected with despair in that we may feel that holding onto resentment is the last defense between ourselves and depression or giving up.


Sometimes when people read or hear my comments about holding the tension of polar opposites, they do not understand what I am saying for a number of reasons. First, very little in our culture supports this notion. Industrial civilization blatantly demands a binary perception of life. Things are either “this” or “that.” For example in terms of the collapse of industrial civilization, one may believe that “Either I have to be angry or resentful, or I’m a wus, a clueless person in denial, or a sychophantic twit who doesn’t ‘get’ how bad things really are.” So when someone like me comes along and says, “You can really acknowledge how hideously bad things are and at the same time create beauty or walk a spiritual path or recite poetry or immerse yourself in joy and play from time to time,” the chronically angry or despairing person may immediately become more angry at the suggestion (and at me) that there is something for her/him to experience besides anger and despair. Often my comments are erroneously labeled “New Age,” but if only the person making this accusation understood what New Age actually means.


The notion of holding the tension of polar opposites in one’s consciousness is anything but New Age. The philosophy of life which has come to be labeled New Age originated in the Transcendentalist movements of the late-nineteenth century. Some of the purveyors of this perspective were Mary Baker Eddy, Ernest Holmes, Emmanuel Swedenborg, Alice Bailey, and others. To their credit, all of these individuals departed dramatically from Judeo-Christian theology and the notion of a vengeful God of judgment and eternal damnation. However, they chose to embrace instead, a perspective of living only in the “light.” One of the hallmarks of a truly New Age perspective is the notion that goodness and “light” are true realities, and evil and “darkness” are illusions. Thus an authentically New Age person would deny the reality of the collapse of industrial civilization and name the concept as “error” or “negative thinking,” essentially denying its validity. Additionally, a genuinely New Age perspective assumes that anger is a “bad” emotion which one should not feel, but rather that “love and harmony” should replace feeling angry. He or she would never, ever assert that, for example, anger and joy or anger and compassion can be held together in one’s consciousness—polar opposites residing in one psyche and one body.


As my friend the mythologist Michael Meade says, the most distressing problem with the New Age is that it has disregarded ancient wisdom. Not only did it reject Judeo-Christian theology, but it overwhelmingly ignored the wisdom of indigenous, earth-based spirituality which for thousands of years has realized the necessity of acknowledging both the darkness and the light as equally real and equally present in human consciousness.


Thus, it is important to be cautious about how one uses the term, “New Age” because if a particular person or group reverences ancient wisdom and respects both darkness and light, then attribution of the term “New Age” is not accurate. Why have I chosen to elaborate on this point? Because often labels such as “New Age,” “air-fairy,” “touchy-feely,” or other terms do not arise as a result of reasoned investigation but often as a result of anger or resentment. And this is yet another reason for addressing them.


Cynicism is closely related to resentment. One definition of a cynic is: “a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view.” In other words, compassion or selflessness do not exist. Every human being is looking out for his/her own interests, period. If one truly embraces this perspective, then one must admit to one’s on narcissism, and for the most part, that makes living with oneself quite challenging and meaningful relationships with other human beings next to impossible.


In ancient times, the cynics were a members of a Greek sect who championed self-control above all other virtues and sought to free themselves as much as possible from social control and the influence of public opinion. The word cynic at its root was related to the word dog, not only because of the cynic’s sneering sarcasm, but because it was said that the cynic was like a dog gnawing on the same bone incessantly until the bone had been consumed.


When I encounter cynical, resentful, angry people, I have to wonder where they would be without their cynicism/resentment/anger. What exactly is it doing for them? The fallacy they often cherish is that these emotions will serve and protect them in the throes of collapse, and there is a grain of truth in this assumption, but unless their bone-gnawing proclivities are tempered with grief, joy, beauty, gratitude, compassion, generosity, and humor, their survival is in fact, untenable.


Not surprisingly, some people react negatively to the notion of emotional and spiritual preparation for collapse. Given the betrayal and wounding many of us have suffered from religious or spiritual groups or from mental health professionals, this response is natural. Sometimes people have experienced such overwhelming, incomprehensible levels of betrayal that their ability to trust anything that might inspire or nurture their spirit is immediately scorned and the source of these viciously attacked.


Some individuals seem to have developed a fine-tuned combative radar apparatus in anticipation of any mention of emotional or spiritual preparation for collapse and are hyper-vigilantly predisposed to attacking the entire notion as delusional. Others are so heartbroken over humanity’s behavior which has brought us to this juncture in history that they admit feeling caustic rage toward their own species. I thoroughly appreciate how one might arrive at this level of contempt for humanity. Yet once again, this perspective represents one end of a polar opposite and does not reveal the entire spectrum of humanity’s constitution.


To detest all of humanity is obviously to detest oneself, and I do not believe I am exaggerating when I state that this perspective is a suicidal one. Moreover, it is a masochistic orientation to life in which one has determined that one does not deserve one shred of joy, beauty, peace, love, or well being because one is a member of that despicable species called homo sapiens, and one should only suffer as a result. With this dynamic, no amount of mea culpas is enough, and there is probably no chain saw on earth capable of cutting through this level of rage and despair. Nevertheless, we can be certain that beneath it lie inconsolable rivers of grief.


Many individuals who minimize or overtly deplore the notion of emotional and spiritual preparation for collapse do so for a variety of reasons, and anger is but one of those. If one is committed to ending one’s life, from my perspective that is tragic, but in the larger picture, who can know with certainty what is best for that individual even though I personally would not wish for their demise? What many collapse-aware individuals who do want to live have not yet come to understand is the degree to which their survival depends on feeling the feelings that the end of life as they have known it entails. As Jack Adam Weber states in his brilliant article “Radical Embrace: Breaking The Cycle Of An Unfertile Demise”:


This is not hippie talk; it is cutting edge survival strategy.


Resilience in the face of collapse is a skill that must be developed, but it cannot be if our anger occupies such an enormous space in the psyche that the benefits of feeling, making sense of, and sharing our feelings have no space to inhabit the psyche or body. What are those benefits? Wisdom, discernment, compassion, letting go, clarity, generosity, patience, loyalty, balance, and joy—to name only a few.


Questioning, distrust, skepticism, and remaining uncertain about a particular idea is a healthy, discerning response for refugees escaping the tyranny of industrial civilization. Yet at the same time we distrust, we need to inwardly explore the origins of our distrust—and what it feels like. What emotions does the new idea evoke? What incidents in our personal or family history may have served to engender the distrust in relation to this idea? And most importantly, what is the grief, underlying our skepticism? Ultimately, what is the most useful investment of one’s time and energy: attacking an idea and the person promoting it or investigating what dynamics within one’s own psyche are operating in reaction to the idea? Ah, but this, as Jack Weber names it is “Occupying Oneself,” and that, as you may have discovered, is the most formidable space on earth.



Anger is useful only if it works for us. When it works against us by keeping our minds and hearts sealed off from other emotions, then not only is it not enough, but it becomes profoundly toxic.


So back to our friend Nietzsche again, who was way more touchy-feely than we may have thought:


And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.

Comments 223

  • Yes. Well. Thank Guy for Nature Bats Last where all sorts of anger is unleashed and isn’t blocking the inner pipes of anyone.

    My own impotent rage on NTE takes a couple of different forms. I rant and rave at a couple of other websites, have some other writings and think black thoughts from time to time. But it is impossible to keep the rage going. It burns itself out. And then the rest of the day, I’m fairly happy go lucky.

    It’s not that life is meaningless, but individual life is meaningless. And at that point, we’re all the same. Great art needs an audience to be appreciated after all. Art cannot exist in a vacuum, and neither can we. We are all interconnected in countless ways. Other people give life meaning. One can be deeply alone in the middle of a crowd and a hermit can’t exist unless there are people to hide away from.

    And there’s the source of heartbreak. We need each other.

  • Anyone who doesn’t feel angry, make that enraged, about what is being done to the earth community by its human inhabitants and what they are doing to each other has been totally anesthetized by the soporifics of civilization. If you aren’t angry, not only are you not paying attention, as the bumper sticker adage goes, but you really need to ask yourself what you have done with your anger to cause your numbness.

    You know what makes me angry, Carolyn? People telling me what to feel. People who imply they might sit in judgment of my emotions if I were to disclose them. I’ve never before felt inclined not to read past the first paragraph of one of your essays, but there’s a first time for everything I guess.

  • Thanks for this. We can’t make space for the positive emotions and forward movement until we recognize, honor, and move past the anger stage. I just read a book by Brene Brown, the shame researcher (check out her TED talk), on the Gifts of Imperfection (2010). She discusses the impact of scarcity on our culture, especially perhaps for Americans who are used to so much, and who have such a sense of emptiness that needs filling with our material culture. Brown says, “If we’re not practicing gratitude and allowing ourselves to know joy, we are missing out on the two things that will actually sustain us during the inevitable hard times” (p. 82). She goes on to differentiate joy from happiness as the “difference between a human emotion that’s connected to circumstances [happiness] and a spiritual way of engaging with the world that’s connected to practicing gratitude” [joy] (p. 78). Part of a prosperous descent will require different emotional responses to the feelings of scarcity that will inevitably heighten as times get tougher.

  • Dear Carolyn,

    Thank you for your synthesis. It helped me greatly. Especially following on the heels of Jacks essay, where I must admit, that in the end, after some brilliant commentary by those here in the trenches, the truth was revealed, and I laughed once wryly. (Hopefully Neitche’s exhortation to let a little laughter be ones compass pointing to final truth includes the wry variety)

    I expect the same might happen again here with this essay as the great party of doom continues on in earnest reluctance and we do our best to percieve meaning from evasive shadows as the curtain is slowly drawn on the patriarchal drama of modernity and the life of this epoch is finally and totally sacrificed at the alter of tragic patriarchal suffering. It is kinda funny I suppose that men, lacking the ability to create, found their ultimate power in destruction, but are fated to find, as we here know, that after destroying everything else, their destructive lifestyle will be the only thing left to serve to their Gods of civil industry. A little fine ironic laughter would surely christen this final round and leave a tiny echo of joy, (a genie in the bottleneck?) in spite of it all. My hope would be that this echo, as daughter of surviving human joy, made pure by the trauma it survived, might, through quantum hiding, escape the altar of destruction and re-emerge with the next cycle of life as it churns forth from our ashes and sets up a whole new ball game. Finally and only in this way it seems, our lost ancient humanity and it’s finely woven body of light will find honor again in a new dawn.

  • it matters not
    if flames of rage ring the earth,
    piercing the last of all,
    every rock burned black,
    all water and heat,
    lost to the void

    it matters not if the angels
    descend and consume us in flames
    of eternal joy, lifting us to
    endless forgiveness,
    endless thankfulness

    it only matters
    that neither option matters

    any dull exit,
    ringing celebration,
    or laughter
    in the wind, will carry us on

    and the next wave will break
    as the first


    I am somewhat divided about this piece, as I grew more and more troubled with Jack’s piece the more I thought about it, and the more things unfolded.

    I get the ideas. These ideas have been around awhile now. But I suppose it is starting to all feel too neat to me. And Paul C’s point, yes, saying one *must* feel anger, rage, etc well… not really. It is always a choice. When, if, how, where. It is all contingent on hyper-complex incredibly un-neat circumstances.

    I don’t see much ultimate usefulness in this. maybe I have seen it too much already, practiced it too much, to know that reaching for help with an analysis like this, when one is in the grip, about about to tip over into true rage – well, good luck.

    it can work to a degree, but if there is something that needs to either heal, or protect, by expressing true rage or violence, than “harm” is inevitable. part of the agreement of earth life, I think. part of finding out that all “harm” is ultimately part of the illusion.

    Mary Logan – “difference between a human emotion that’s connected to circumstances [happiness] and a spiritual way of engaging with the world that’s connected to practicing gratitude”

    I like this, because it captures the idea that feelings themselves are connected to circumstances, whether it is the circumstance of having a wounded ego or the circumstance of feeling under attack and feeling the need to defend what is under attack – these things really are passing moments. true gratitude for a challenge straight from the depths of hell! yes, now gratitude for that is something else entirely.

    it is not just that animals can fight and rage and attack/defend, and then go back to calm – it is that they can fight like HELL.

    they can fight like nothing else matters in that moment than the fight, with every part of themselves committed, and THEN they can walk away and go right back to calm. maybe licking their wounds, but true calm, even peace. that is something remarkable.

    I have never yet heard a grizzly complain about somebody being mean. sure we have our tender human natures, but alas, this might also be so much social conditioning. I don’t know how well that conditioning, in the form we have learned it now, will help us in the coming events. I think I am more interested in knowing more about grizzlies right now than five step processes.

    Emanuel Swedenborg is an interesting reference in regards to New Age. He knew of Heaven and Hell from direct experience, apparently. Both were simply self-chosen, never given or forced by any outside power. really interesting stuff.


  • I used to be angry almost all the time, but found that alienated me from peers, girls, and my parents weren’t about to hear it after working all day. So I channeled it into reading a bunch to discover what it was that I was continually so pissed about. Turned out it was just about everything concerning “civilization” as it’s currently evolved – the “white guy” attitude of superiority and it’s attachments of privilege and advantage, male dominated law, religion, psychology, and economics (all of which are complete bullshit), not to mention education (on both sides of the desk), the whole paper-chase life-style we’re all saddled with (if it isn’t about degrees then it’s about money), society, television, advertising, insurance, corporations, voting, police, the military, authority of any kind, bills, work, relationships (and how they’re constrained by all of the above), and of course humanity’s complete recklessness with the environment. I was heard saying “I can’t wait til I get off this rock” a lot while growing up, which, through aging, has morphed into
    “Why does everything have to be so goddamned HARD all the time.”

    I’m simply dumbfounded that we’re so fucking stupid (and arrogant, and uncooperative, and on and on), yet we think so highly of our species (well most people do, i’m in the other camp). I saw our idolizing of “great men of genius” like Edison, Henry Ford, and Andrew Carnegie – as complete fools for getting us into this mess. None of them gave a second thought to the waste, the pollution or the destructiveness of their ideas, so whatever pedestal they think they’re on – they can kiss my ass, ’cause I think they SUCK! All those industrialists, bankers, the freaking economists and even some philosophers just astound me with their complete lack of “getting it.”

    i’m really beginning to think that all of our endeavors have been a complete waste of time because they never took into consideration the effects they’d have. This includes math and science, agriculture, mining, literature, medicine, the whole system we’ve fabricated has been wrong-headed from the start! We thought we were going in the right direction, making life easier and living longer, saving people from terrible debilitating diseases. Maybe we weren’t supposed to meddle with whatever happened, maybe we weren’t supposed to “evolve” in the way we have – increasing our numbers until we overran the carrying capacity of the little ball floating in space, polluting and killing everything as we grew, without any regard for balance, stewardship, care. I don’t know – i’m so depressed I can’t even think straight. I just don’t see the point to any of it and i’ll be glad when it’s over.

  • Oops! Catching up:

    @ wildwoman: Thanks. For me, that was one of the harder ones to take, juxtaposing doom with the South Pacific clip. But yeah, your post was a kick! 😀

    @ KK: Thank you. What you said was so nice I just had to write something for you. 🙂

    @ islandraider: I used to be not able to stand listening to Dylan, and now I don’t listen to anybody else singing his songs. For me, he’s the real deal.

    @ Tom: I’ve been wanting to do “Everybody Knows” for awhile, and you gave me the perfect stimulus! Thanks!

    When There Are No Police

    How quickly, some people say,
    Will adherence to rules fall away?
    We might get a clue
    From those people who
    Write more than two posts a day.

  • Dear Mo flo, I greatly appreciate your willingness to honor the search for the needle of truth hidden in the haystack of doom and the wonder of it all. Following what you are grappling with I find it striking that we can, without pause and in the blink of an eye, decide to agree with our ingrained training to call what a grizzly bear feels ‘anger’ as if animals feel as we do. Perhaps they, in defense of their life feel heightened joy and or extreme gratitude, or love, I mean if we are going to anthropomorphize them, then let’s play the full range of emotion out to determine the logics of what is driving them and let’s be honest about ‘what’ the anger of the patriarchal human is all about. Not much natural to be found in that curve ball. But our unnatural human burden all the same eh? So yes we might be feeling anger, but I question strongly the assumption that this is how to feel to get back to our natural selves.. so blinded by destructive anger and unwilling for far too long to nurture joy. Anger is there in all it’s seductive obvious and not so obvious forms and can’t be denied but neither should it be embraced at this point as the final gateway to finding the best way through the deluge.

  • TIAA – !

    (I could stop right there, I should stop right there! – but I don’t want there to be any doubt about just how far I agree with you on that.)

    i am certain that animals fight in ways we do not, with feelings that are possibly very much like you describe – for the fierce joy of life, extreme gratitude to the point of unhesitatingly putting it all on the line, love without apology! yes, the rage of angels. or in this case, the animal angels, and whatever they are.

    (i have never yet heard my cat apologize for one of those looks he gives me sometimes – no way is he anthro-anything.)

    “‘what’ the anger of the patriarchal human is all about. Not much natural to be found in that curve ball. But our unnatural human burden all the same eh? So yes we might be feeling anger, but I question strongly the assumption that this is how to feel to get back to our natural selves.. so blinded by destructive anger and unwilling for far too long to nurture joy.”

    not the destructive anger anymore. the protective anger perhaps. or maybe the protective joy – knowing or finding out what this could actually be.

  • Wow, Tom! There sure was a lot of feeling in your last post. I’m proud to say that I feel the same way you do about the so called, “Great Men” and their shabby contributions. I too, with all my heart stand with you to proclaim from the highest mountain top that, “YES! those guys really do SUCK!” I’m sorry to learn that you are suffering. I hope something comes along soon to lift your spirits. Most people say that when you come out of a depression that you’re a wiser and stronger person. That’s been my experience.

    I got to say, we’re lucky to have this place, good old NBL, to pour forth our sorrows, grief and grit and have them displayed before the entire world and whatever gods there may be. It may be the only form of resistance most of us will find. And it’s good to have Carolyn and others like her ministering to us. God knows, we need all the help we can get. 🙂

    U, your idea of using Google Chrome worked like a charm, thanks. 🙂

  • @ infanttyrone: Hmm…reminds me of an old one (from elsewhere):

    We’re over the cliff, we know;
    Will the fall be fast or slow?
    We might fly through the breeze
    Like Thelma and Louise,
    Or, Homer-like, bounce: D’oh! D’oh! D’oh!

    It’s Only a Stage (4)

    Once doom is fairly dissected,
    You’ll find yourself getting dejected:
    When dots are connected
    From facts you’ve collected,
    Depression is not unexpected.

  • I felt the anger after Copenhagen 2009.
    I am learning to channel it….. 🙂
    Walking has helped.

    I still have quite a lot of walking to do, so I will be in a better position to move on to another ‘stage’ when that is done.

    I’ll check in then.

    On another matter….

    We are heating up here in Afradia.

    ‘September heat records aplenty across South-Eastern Australia'(Afraidia)


    “Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide are all likely to set new records for September heat.

    The monthly averages of five out of eight capital cities are likely to set new records. Sydney and Adelaide will smash the previous record by around a whole degree.

    The country enjoyed its warmest winter on record, but now the heat is building quicker than ever recorded. Clear skies over the nation’s interior are heating up the airmass, filtering to most of the state’s capitals.

    Sydney has set record after record so far this year, and is finishing off its hottest September in over 150 years of records. It could be said that Sydney is two months ahead of itself, as the average maximum of over 24 degrees would sit nicely as November’s average….”

    Cicadas are emerging here, in the upper Blue Mts, 100km West of Sydney NSW, ….they look OK, but seem to be too beat to do much flying, nor the usual chorus of chirping. We had 7-8 weeks of no rain but one or two days of drizzle for 2 hours or so.
    Just sayin

  • There are three gates to hell: desire, anger and greed (kaama, krodha, lobha). Anger comes from attachment (attraction and aversion). They in turn come from desire, desire to secure objectives beyond needs.

    One of the hallmarks of a truly New Age perspective is the notion that goodness and “light” are true realities, and evil and “darkness” are illusions.

    In the universe of space-time-causation, what’s good and what’s evil all have equal reality/illusiveness: hence the undifferentiated personal god Ishwara has three aspects: manifesting (Brahma), sustaining (Vishnu) and de-manifesting (Siva).

    A deity that is exclusively good is inadequate when addressing the issue of evil. Hence Kali, the consort of Siva (a dark woman dominating a light man: matriarchy in times of devolution).

    the darkness and the light as equally real and equally present in human consciousness.

    In human awareness. Awareness + “of” = consciousness with an object of consciousness. Sans object, sans “of” the awareness is consciousness: the Void (Sunyata), Limitless Nothingness (Ain Sof). The ability to discern the difference between consciousness and the objects of consciousness cannot be realised by mere intellection nor even by lifetimes of meditative or other practices. As one who dwelt there beyond time-space-causation is reported to have said: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”.

  • Found this comment over on Dave’s blog (through the comments section of xraymike’s):

    (responding to a very well written post, Oliver says:)

    Two aspects really hit home with me:

    …bad future outcomes are written in stone and can not be changed by the actions of the relatively few humans who understand how dire the situation is…

    …for the relatively few humans who want to live a conscious life on this planet to the extent to which that is possible, meaning the people who want to know what the situation is, Bad News or not, looking at the science is an indispensable part of understanding and coming to terms with Reality.

    This raises a conundrum, best explained as a flow from unconsciousness to consciousness:

    – Human attitude / Reason
    – I don’t care about Reality / I am stupid, or living in denial
    – I want to understand what’s going on / I am curious
    – I’m now worried that the biosphere is endangered / I am thoughtful
    – I care a lot about what’s happening / I am inspired
    – I want to help protect the biosphere / I am motivated
    – WTF, people must be deaf and blind! / I am frustrated
    – I think humans won’t change enough / I am doubtful
    – I give up, we’re fucked / I am depressed
    – I’ll keep observing but the outcome is certain / I am aware and calm

    The conundrum? The “I’ll keep observing” attitude (having come to terms with Reality) is almost back to square one, verging on “I don’t care”, in the sense of having no impetus to do anything about ‘it’. I guess this lies at the core of determinism. Not so much “don’t care” as “caring is not relevant”.


    Posted by: Oliver | 09/26/2013 at 07:19 AM

    I think this is the same Oliver who posts at Mobus’s site Question Everything, but i’m not sure. i’ll ask the next time I visit.

    This process will unfold for a lot of humanity as things go from bad to worse and i’m expecting the social reaction to be complete chaos as the powers that be begin to lose control, supply lines become disrupted, etc.

    BtD, thanks. You have a real talent for conveying in a few rhyming words what takes me a long time to describe. It’s amazing and I really appreciate your posts.

    Kirk: yeah, just a brief overwhelming of the bad – a good night’s sleep helped. i’m making a couple barrels of wine this weekend (well, crushing the grapes, anyway) so the depression is lifting and will disappear among the laughter and camaraderie of family and friends, good food and drinking some of what we made in years gone by. cheers!

  • Running through the comments this one hit me a plug for the book “Gifts of Imperfection (2010)”

    No insult meant to the poster, but such words are inappropriate for what comes soon.

    Once again folks, when industrial civ falls, not only do chaos and famine reign, rape and murder become the norm, but all the nuclear plants in the world, all 427 of the ones still operating, go critical. We are complacent because we aren’t all dead from Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. But in those three meltdowns massive intervention was done. For Chernobyl we now know that over 1/2 million people were involved in the clean up. We now know what the Soviet Union and the nuclear industry did not want us to know. Even with a massive intervention, the effects were horrific

    This is the face of imperfection and I doubt that one child or one parent thinks it is a gift. http://www.google.com/search?q=chernobyl+babies&rlz=1C1LENP_enUS545US545&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=q1VFUuPxBMKs2wX9hIGgCQ&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1440&bih=767&dpr=1

    Fallujah babies where we bombed that city with Depleted Uranium look much the same.

    When all the nuke plants go in the world with no one able to do a damn thing we will see the face of imperfection in the children born after. It will be a horror not a gift.

    For anyone new, the electric grid goes down when industrial civ goes down. Without electricity the cooling of the cores and spent fuel pools ends and the cores reach criticality and explode and the fuel pools burn.

    So if you are fertile get your tubes tied now, man or women, gay men excepted. The imperfection you might conceive will not be a gift.

    Other than that, like Paul C says You know what makes me angry, Carolyn? People telling me what to feel. What if you have been angry so long that you are numb. Will that make any difference in the outcome. What if you have seen how much good anger has done and found it failing, so you have become fatalistic. Will that make any difference. NOTHING makes any difference anymore except not bringing any more children into the horrors that follow. Or perhaps having an exit plan to use before someone rapes you with a broken bottle as women are being raped in Africa.

    Nothing that happens to us here in the US of A will be different from what is already happening in other countries. Poor little Americans, we have to suffer too…… Our wilderness is getting raped while we sit here using our computers and phones brought to us by the rape of the environment of other countries.

    As you can see I am angry. Environmentalists want us to use windmills to save the planet and turn a blind eye to the horrible mines in China and elsewhere needed to get the rare earth minerals in those windmills. ETC ETC ETC. Well no matter, anger will turn to fear, hunger will turn people ugly, and all our talk about emotions will not matter. We get to experience what our life style has brought to others before we die. When us women get raped, let us remember the nuns raped and murdered in Salvador for the sake of US corporations bringing us our lifestyle. When our houses are broken in and our men taken, let us remember the people of Iraq who faced that for years. When we get thrown in FEMA camps let us remember the detainees in Gitmo. And if you are stupid enough not to get your tubes tied, and give birth to a child that looks like a monster, remember those pictures from Chernobyl and turn your anger inward.

    And Hope, yes Hope, that extinction comes mercifully fast.

  • Kathy, is this white-hot rage what everyone else should feel too? This utter anhedonia, this loss of all sense of value in the face of grievous damage to others?

    I reject your apparent admonition just as strongly as I do Carolyn’s call to anger. Your experiences are not mine, your emotions are not mine, your values are not mine. Nor are they necessarily anyone else’s but your own. You are welcome to them by all means, but isn’t it a touch arrogant to think you have a lock on some absolute emotional truth, and that those who don’t share share your views are wrong?

    Or am I misreading you?

  • For those who want a guide to anger from the Bible, there is Mr. Job (quite a contrast to Mr. Steve Jobs!). For those who would prefer the New Testament instead, there is Mr. J. Christ himself: ”Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do”. How’s that for a Christian way of dealing with anger? Although in fairness it must be pointed out that Mr. J. Christ, like Mr. Job, was Jewish. 😀

    Innate emotive responses including innate anger and fear are selected for over the evolutionary history of the species, and are mediated through (among other centres) the dorsal periaqueductal gray (matter). While they mimic emotion, they are not experienced in the same manner as learned emotions, which are mediated through such limbic structures as the amygdala and the ventral periaqueductal gray (matter). The innate responses are switchable on and off in an instant, unlike the conditioned/learned responses.

  • Dear Kathy Cassandra,
    I usually don’t post but only read mainly because you and some of the others always say it for me.
    You are so right! Yet I feel that even when I overflow with anger from gathering knowledge, staring reality in the face and living with most people’s “business as usual” attitude – like you – I still don’t feel what would be classed as clinically depressed.Why do so many people assume that anger and depression are soul mates? They are not! It’s just letting go before being dragged.

    And having mentioned that, thanks Guy, for providing this forum.

  • Everything else being equal, NTE firmly established and all, I’m sure glad that in MY world the split second the power grid goes down my neighbors won’t turn into murderers and rapists and go out a mad spree. The people I know aren’t so unbalanced that the only thing holding them back from raping and murdering now is fear of the law and once it is clear that the phones are down and the police are busy raping and murdering on their own, they will pounce like feral cats upon anything that moves, (women, children, men, it hardly matters) the repressed urge to rape and murder blessedly released at last.

    And in this shattered vision, there will still be patrols of gibbering lunatics waiting to cart us off to prison camps for more rape and murder.

    I suppose if I lived in such a shadowy, frightening place, I would get a gun or two right now. One to defend myself and one to end myself as the case may be. Certainly wouldn’t wait around for the coming collapse to wish I had a gun.

    Back over where I live, I figure people will be confused and frightened and not sure what to do. Many will get into their cars and drive off to wherever they feel “home” might really be — their parent’s house, or some other romanticized place of safety. There will be rapes and murders, but those are happening now anyway, there will not be a huge uptick in people figuring they can finally do whatever they please because daily survival will be staring them directly in the face for the first time ever. The largest emotion will be one of self-pity, helplessness, despair. And bewilderment. People won’t be able to believe that this has happened. And some people might emerge as leaders to help form food and water parties as opposed to rape and murder gangs.

    So despite the end of the world, I still can fashion the belief that people will struggle together as best they can, as they always have, instead devolving into savage barbarism. As mentioned in the other thread, a lot more ON THE BEACH and a lot less ROAD WARRIOR.

  • Those who feel anger or any other kind of debilitating emotion have already lost.

    Paul used a nice turn of phrase to describe our collective energy imperative, shared by all living beings, something akin to “we have one foot in the big bang & the other in the future” ie destroying everything in our search for energy.

    Gail also nicely summarized the futility of blaming others, such as ‘evil’ corporations, for the predicament we find ourselves sharing together on the beach of doom. No one, and I mean no one, walks away from a free meal. If there’s an easier way of travel, a more comfortable means of living in ones home, a more efficient way of accessing food & water, then even the most ascetic will gravitate towards those opportunities.

    Private & public sector entities (corporations and governments) simply respond to those demands by offering various means of acquisition, and in the process, gain a greater degree of control over their own individual lives and circumstances. In the end, this circular reference ties back to Paul’s allusion of an endless cycle of search & consumption.

    So, to state that we must cry out against these immutable processes is to suggest the zebras should petition the lions for respite. Nice concept, actually it’s perfect for the the ether zone inhabited by the net, but not too practical in the real world of tooth & claw.

    My basic goal here is to help people walk through the process of coming to grips of the world they were born in to. No one asked to be here, but once you’re here, all those chemicals start churning & burning in one way or another. You can choose to be depressed, to complain, bitch & whine, or you can gain insight regarding the futility of the entire experience.

    In other words, the whole thing is one gigantic cosmic joke. You can either get up to speed and figure out it out, and thereby have a pretty good time, or you can continue to wallow in whatever emotional grave you feel like digging and crawl right in.

    Can you dig it?

  • Grant,

    Thank you, man. That 5:45 post could have been written about MY neighborhood too.

    We had a portend of emergencies to come with unprecedentedly heavy rainfall here recently. My immediate neighbor risked his safety to try and help friends, one of whom had to bunk down at his place. Hurricane Sandy and other grid-crashing disasters brought out some exemplary behavior–like OWS donating food, clothing and other basic necessities for survival. This kind of altruism appears to be at least as common in crisis as is the opposite one of plunder.

    And, of course, no one is stopping us from proactively thinking through, long-term or permanent privation. But I presume we’re talking relatively near-term survival here and not disturbing a hornet’s nest by going much beyond that.

    @ Tom

    I love how you are processing things, and empathize strongly with your reasoning.

    Let me risk going out on a limb here. These musings deprived me of some sleep last night, so I’m hopeful they’ll have some relevance…

    It strikes me that civilization obviates living in the now. Why? Because we mediate living in the now for living in the future through formal structures like agriculture and cities, etc., where you can store food, police, rule, store knowledge…that sort of thing.

    Then came writing, printing and now computers. A Texan country musician named Stinky termed computers the work of the Devil. And was it Bill Joy (?) a Silicon Valley innovator who opines that the computer will take over from and control humans? As I mused last night, the computer, where all your privacy is lost FOREVER and TPTB suck up and aggregate everything about you (owns you!), seemed to be the very essence of doom. So it seems that we should be less concerned about physical doom 17 years hence and examine the contemplate the extant “doom” staring us in the face.

    Hunter gatherer society may have survived as long as it has due to innate practicalities of the oral tradition and the lack of “permanence.” You could continually refresh, regenerate, regroup. (There was privacy in the existential sense.) While civilization, in essence, is doom…

    But can doom be relative? Can it be arrested before reaching its final conclusion? Australian aborigines elaborately designed a way of life that kept things the same exact way for 40,000 years. At any time up to, say, Guy’s 2008 cut-off point we might have simply stopped in our tracks (quite impossible, notwithstanding) and saved ourselves. Had we stopped in our tracks in 1960, we’d have a clear future.

    So, IMO, the best we can do is stop cold where we are. There’s nothing like individuals doing (or maybe just THINKING) the right thing, even if that equates to a drop of water in the ocean.

  • Wildwoman mentioned in the last thread that Chagnon’s work was “demolished” in an article without linking, so I’m guessing it was this one, which I happened upon a few days ago(?):


    I didn’t think it was so much demolished as smeared, and not very skillfully either, in my opinion. For one thing, although his studies of the Yanomamö have become a lightening rod for people whose ideology is offended by the results, they hardly constitute, as the article alleges, the major foundation for evidence of evolutionary psychology, not by a long shot. There is an enormous – and constantly growing through neurological research – body of literature that supports those simple biological tenets, the implications of which are what many find so offensive.

    That article starts off with criticism that is so petty, that it loses all credibility right in the beginning. After trying to make Chagnon sound bad because he requires equipment and assistance to live in the rainforest (wtf?) it gets even sillier with this excerpt…which made me laugh because I recognized in it the same accusations I read of myself, after my post about the Four Quarters conference, because I admitted – as in, self-depricating humor! – I didn’t bring enough warm clothing therefore I must be incompetent (nobody did…It was freezing…Global Weirding!):

    “Another surprise is that for someone who has long promoted himself as an Indiana Jones figure, he often appears out of his depth, even floundering. He’s candid about this: he fails to keep insects out of his peanut butter and fungus out of his loin cloth, gets mad when the Indians play tricks on him, and upsets just about everyone.”

    Shock! Shock! insects in peanut butter and fungus! From there the critique gets sloppier still.

    Some informal but far more interesting discussion with Chagnon is here:


    More generally, I recommend “The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture” edited by Barkow, Cosmides, & Tooby – from the abstract:

    “The central premise of “The Adapted Mind” is that there is a universal human nature, but that this universality exists primarily at the level of evolved psychological mechanisms, not of expressed cultural behaviors. . . . A second premise is that these evolved psychological mechanisms are adaptations, constructed by natural selection over evolutionary time. A third assumption made by most of the contributors is that the evolved structure of the human mind is adapted to the way of life of Pleistocene hunter-gatherers, and not necessarily to our modern circumstances.”

    or a short explanation on line:


  • Paul I was not admonishing you. I sort of thought I was agreeing with you. But Carolyn was not admonishing you either. If you want to take everything personally that is up to you. I really don’t give a rats ass what emotions you have and I will express what I feel if and when I want to. Others can do what they want with that.

    I do get angry that here at the end of humanity, we are still doing the mental masturbation of our poor little souls and psyches. But machs nicht http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3W7-ngmO_p8 Whoopee we are all gonna die. So if people want to spend time figuring out what they should feel, fine. But when the ache starts in the belly, and the fear lurks on the streets, that will pass. So it goes.

    Sabine – thank you.

  • Kathy C — women being raped by broken bottles in Africa? Are you making that up? Who would get their jollies by doing something like that?

    I watched Oliver Stone’s film The Doors on Netflix last night. A memorable quote from the film: “Life is what hurts. When you die the pain is over.” Jim Morrison’s pain ended at age 27 in a drunken, drug-addicted stupor. Lucky him.

  • IPCC Response: What, Me Worry?

    The way the weather’s transforming,
    With typhoons and tornados swarming,
    It’s too cold or hot
    Plus more stuff I forgot—
    At least there’s no global warming.

    Making Good Progress

    If you buy the Kubler-Ross jive,
    Five stages are going to arrive;
    And after depression,
    The last in succession,
    Acceptance, comes in as Stage 5.

  • In the Edge link posted earlier, one of the authors consulted is Richard Dawkins, who commenced with these two paragraphs:

    “Napoleon Chagnon is a Living World Treasure. Arguably our greatest anthropologist, he is brave on two fronts. As a field worker in the Amazon forest he has lived, intimately and under conditions of great privation, with The Fierce People at considerable physical danger to himself. But the wooden clubs and poison-tipped arrows of the Yanomamö were matched by the verbal clubs and toxic barbs of his anthropologist colleagues in the journal pages and conference halls of the United States. And it is not hard to guess which armamentarium was the more disagreeable to him.”

    “Chagnon committed the unforgivable sin, cardinal heresy in the eyes of a certain kind of social scientist: he took Darwin seriously. Along with a few friends and colleagues, Chagnon studied the up-to-date literature on natural selection theory, and with brilliant success he applied the ideas of Fisher, Hamilton, Trivers and other heirs of Darwin to a human tribe which probably ran as close to the cutting edge of natural selection as any in the world. It is sobering to reflect on how unconventional a step this was: science bursting into the quasi-literary world of the anthropology in which the young Chagnon was trained. Still today, in many American departments of social science, for a young researcher to announce a serious interest in Darwin’s dangerous idea—even an inclination towards scientific thinking at all—can come close to career suicide.”

    The reason it’s so delightful to notice what he wrote of Chagnon there, is because what I really wanted to share is this terrific interview, in three parts, of Jon Stewart’s fascinating interview with the erudite, charming and affable Dawkins this week. Get popcorn!


  • B9K9 “Can you dig it?”

    yes I can!

    Tom – really digging your posts.

    Grant – very glad to say our neighbors here would be just like yours. “I still can fashion the belief that people will struggle together as best they can, as they always have, instead devolving into savage barbarism.” agreed.

    Tom F – it happens in Africa, it happens in America. certain people have gotten their jollies from this and other things equally bad, everywhere.

  • @ Gail

    Erudite, charming, and WRONG ! 🙂

    How come HE’s the only one who is ‘scientific’ and those who disagree are not ? Because he says so ? Pathetic argument.

    Holding Dawkins Accountable

    Curiously, while the many have spoken against Wilson’s outdated views about kin selection, they remain largely silent on Dawkins’ outdated views about group selection. I will therefore list points made by Dawkins in his review (in italics) that have been rejected by the many long ago. Dawkins can argue on their behalf if he likes, but he cannot invoke the argument from authority.


  • I know this is 3. I will do only 1 tomorrow

    Tom – yep broken bottles http://www.solidarity-us.org/site/node/1389

    In this climate, over the past decade “hundreds of thousands have been raped, many of them gang-raped…In some villages as many as 90 percent of the women have been raped,” according to the same report.

    Anneka Von Woudenburg, senior Congo researcher for Human Rights Watch, stated that rape is a method of terror: “This is not rape because soldiers have got bored and have nothing to do. It is a way to ensure that communities accept the power and authority of that particular armed group. This is about terror. This is about using it as a weapon of war.”…Dr. Denis Mukwege, director of Panzi Hospital in Eastern Congo, performs five surgeries a day for women who have suffered not only rape but mutilation by broken bottles or bayonets inserted in their vaginas. Many are shunned because of fears they have contracted HIV, or are incontinent because of the violence of the rapes

    Even in normal times in normal places rape is more about power or anger than pleasure.

  • Kathy, my feeling about TEOTWAWKI (or even TEOTW) these days is one of intense fascination, curiosity and humour. I’ve updated the phrase that B9K9 attributed to me above to this: “Humanity has one foot in the Big Bang and the other on a banana peel.”

    That curiosity and sense of being the punch line in a cosmic joke even extends to the misery and malfeasance you so eloquently describe. I don’t feel anger and outrage over them any more because I’ve accepted that it’s just what human beings do. Being outraged over our actions makes as much sense to me as if a cheetah were to suddenly realize, “OMG! We eat the guts out of antelopes while they’re still alive??? What kind of monsters are we??” Or expecting a male lion to feel shame over killing the cubs of a new pride he’s just taken over. The things you describe are just what we do. We always have, and as far as I can tell we always will.

    One might say in response that we’re better than that. After all, we’re conscious. My riposte would be, “What on earth does our consciousness have to do with our evolved behavior?”

    As a result of my thermodynamic ruminations, I’m coming to the opinion that human consciousness is something like the world’s greatest, coolest, shiniest, most incredible toy. It’s a ton of fun to play with, to the point that we start to feel it’s the reason for living. Kind of like falling in love with a Ferrari.

    From an evolutionary point of view consciousness appears to be a complete accident. I spent a long time wondering what the place of consciousness is in the grander scheme of things, and I’ve ended up thinking that it doesn’t actually have one. But it’s just so cool and mysterious that we naturally assume that it somehow must define our role here.

    Taken on its own merits, consciousness is a remarkable thing to explore – like tinkering with the engine of a Ferrari F12. But, like its sidekicks morality and spirituality, I think it’s mostly a distraction if one is interested in uncovering our place in the universe. That place isn’t isn’t nearly as exalted as our shiny, amazing consciousness would like us to believe.

    Ants build hills, termites build mounds, bees build hives, humans build cities. When you step back a pace and squint, there’s really not much to distinguish our conscious behavior from the unconscious behavior of those social insects. The results are very similar.

    IMO human consciousness exists in on entirely different dimension from our behavior. Morality and its familiars outrage and shame are simply clubs that we developed to beat ourselves with whenever we notice that our evolved behavior doesn’t match our conscious expectations very well. When one realizes that behavior and belief are mediated almost entirely by evolutionary forces, and that our consciousness has precious little input into the process, it’s no surprise that morality, outrage and shame are such ineffective tools.

    Of course I’m speaking here about humans in the collective, social sense – that broad peak in the center of the bell curve where the bulk of human beliefs and behaviors lie. Individuals may gravitate out to the tails of the distribution (with Genghis Khan on one end and Gandhi on the other) but the majority of us partake of much more common urges, and we are easily entrained by whatever most people around us deem to be appropriate, which tends toward an evolutionary mean.

    So, in the end I’m not really angry with either you or Carolyn – I’m just stating rather forcefully that I decline to be entrained by your worldviews. In return, I don’t expect that either of you will be convinced by mine either.

    So it goes.

  • Paul Chefurka, this is a great commentary, thanks. I tend to agree with much of what you say. It’s as though because we developed self-reflective consciousness, we have had to come up with clever ways to either justify or correct its mechanisms and creations. Though, I am confused at your initial anger expressed towards Carolyn in your first post and then finally saying you are not really angry about it. Can you explain that? Maybe you are both? I mean, you said you were angry at first, then you say you are not, and only “stating forcefully.”

  • But, given that we are conscious, we might as well use consciousness to try to humbly undo some of its conundrums, or to constructively examine what we “simply do.” I draw the line in changing “what we simply do” when it leads to our own demise and to that of whole other species, without adaptive advantage, and in fact, as acts of disadvantage.

  • Dear Paul Cherfuka,

    Thank you for your erudite and ironically humorous take on this sticky sap of human emotion. It seems that with enough further inner rumination and a little more climate chaos to goad us on we may yet see that tar baby transform, compliments fossilized anguish, and gain a golden amber like quality. A bit of purified emotional gilding to cloak in protection that little bit of hiding quantum joy, this I can only hope for.

    Dear Mo flo, at the risk of causing rotten fruit to be thrown at me I’ll quietly whisper; I think it might be pure spirit in a bear suit). Time to see if we can find such spirit and put our bear suits on? That way we won’t have men and women needing to create power struggles, we’ll be pure power. 😉 Also takes care of the worries us women will be enslaved like the good old days, nope them abiding communities will have to make use of us as dancing bears. 🙂

  • Two Ways To Create A Culture And A Person

    Human culture is following a path that is not primarily based on love. This path is leading us towards self-extinction. In the process, we are creating an awful machine of suffering and all kinds of evils for each other, including all sentient beings on Earth.

    In order to understand and deeply feel this, I propose to you this meditation. Relax in a place free of disturbances, where you arrange to have adequate time for this experiment. Let your mind relax into an imaginative state and create a daydream of a world where love is the primary aim, purpose, and consideration governing everything that people do. Do not let any concern for how this could come to be enter your thoughts, but just enjoy completely your freedom in imagination to create such a vision…. What would everything be like there? Would war and poverty be happening? Would people share freely and work to enhance each other’s lives? When you feel you are ready to return to reality as it is, make a few notes of anything you may have realized in your creative journey. Then take a little time to compare what our human world is actually like; reflecting on the differences from your imaginary world where love was the meaning and the practice in everything. Which world would you rather live in?

    To those born into a world operating primarily on principles other than love, it may seem impossible to even seriously consider love as an answer to our very real problems. Their first thought about such an idea might be that it was unrealistic, unworkable, and irrelevant. After all, what is love but a lot of foolishness and nonsense. Another word used to banish the immaterial vapor of love is to brand it as idealistic, and hence totally impractical, being no more than wishful fantasy. Thus do we defend ourselves from the very thought of that which is in fact the indispensable key to our deliverance from the nightmare we are enacting. We are in denial regarding the transformative force essential to our recovery from the insanity that is destroying us. Do you have some idea after your meditation of how important the force of love might be for our very planetary survival? What might we do to activate this human potential?

    If you do this meditation, please let us know how it went for you?

  • Jack,

    What can I say? I calmed down after a bit.

    One of my remaining pieces of reactivity is triggered by people telling me what (or what not) to be, do, think or feel. If I can sit with it, it passes. Sometimes it gets the better of me, as it did here. I guess what made the reaction harder to resist in this case was reading something like that from Carolyn, a woman I greatly admire.

  • Yes, women are raped with broken glass, and much worse, even here in North America. When I was studying nursing, long ago and far away, I was in the library and I found a book on forensic medicine. I saw the chapter on evidence of rape. I saw the pictures. I was so horrified then and I still am. The pictures will never leave my head for the rest of my life and I know I have been affected by them. Deeply, terribly, and irreversibly scarred.

    When civilization ends, and the nuclear plants go Fuku, there will be no more drugs. No more antibiotics for your infected sliver. No more cancer meds. No more viagra. No more anti-fungals. No hormones, no birth control pills.


    This hit me yesterday, all at once. Do you know how many people in the world are dependent on AIDS medications to keep the virus at bay? Do you know how many people have undiagnosed AIDS right now? Do you know what will happen when the drugs run out? Have you ever taken care of an AIDS patient in their last days, before there were any treatments? I have.

    Rape will result in more than unwanted monster pregnancies. There are drug resistant forms of syphillis and gonnorhea right now.

    When all the rules become unenforceable, who will be able to survive by being nice, when everyone else is not nice? What will happen to a group of nice people when a group of not-nice people come to call? Can we save any part of culture in such a breakdown? Even in pockets here and there?

    Diversity of species allows life to shuffle in and out of environmental niches and take advantage of all conditions. Wade Davis talks about cultural diversity and how important it is to have many different human cultures that serve the same function as species. However, we’re systematically exterminating cultures as quickly as we are exterminating species. As a result, we will have no diversity to call upon at the end of industrial civilization. Too few will be left. Furthermore, we’re destroying so much of the natural world, that only a few extremophiles will remain. I wish them the best of luck, and may they re-populate the new world with more wisdom than has heretofore been demonstrated by this iteration of life.

    So sit back and enjoy what time you have left. I have found that I am actually able to laugh sometimes. Yesterday I was having a very bad day. I was standing in the garden being depressed, when my husband came home and walked out to the garden to look for me. As he walked toward me I raised my hand and said, “Pax vobiscum” which is Latin for “Peace with you.” My husband kept walking toward me, raised his hand in greeting and said, “Pepto-Bismol.” Well that did it. I started laughing and couldn’t stop. I’m still chuckling as I write this, a day later. Priceless.

  • Paul C – a wonderful post! multiple chills, thank you so much, my friend.

    TIAA – you are a pure joy to me, everything I ever read. endless thanks.

    mike k – going to do your meditation tonight. no promises on just what I will share later, but who knows.

    Bear suit, check. Ferrari F12, check. this should be fun.

  • And it has started:

    “Savage cuts to the Greek health service have seen the country’s HIV and tuberculosis rates soar – sparking fears it is becoming a third world nation. Aid agencies said the cutting of hospital budgets by an astonishing 40 per cent had also led to a sharp rise in the number of citizens being diagnosed with malaria. In the south, they said, it is reaching near endemic levels not seen since 1970s. The scrapping of needle exchange services has seen the number of HIV and AIDS sufferers in central Athens rise by 1,250 per cent in 2011 alone.”


  • Chagnon’s analysis is garbage. But what he says rings true for lots of people who were to believe in it before they ever heard of him.
    And Dawkins is more garbage. His “selfish gene” notion has been thoroughly debunked by evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis.

  • Paul, you consistently capture the essence of our collective experience. I, for one, would be happy to be a supportive acolyte if you chose to form a 2LT movement.

    However, I must note that you may wish to reconsider the vaunted Gandhi as a reference point. Saul Alinsky, in his seminal work, “Rules for Radicals”, spends some time discussing ‘means and ends’, which is culminated in rule #10: “…the determination of means to be employed for particular ends is what means are available”. (pg 36)

    He then references Gandhi as a supposed bastion of patience & virtue, yet goes on to destroy that notion by describing his actions before & after independence. While passive resistance was key before, it was because it was the **ONLY** means they had. After Gandhi’s government controlled the guns and a trained army to use them, they used the most expedient means to suppress insurrection, which of course is exactly what the British had done before.

    Simply put, there are no saints; there are only hagiographies and propaganda. I highly recommend Alinsky for those who haven’t had a chance to read him. He was the most forthright, honest person who didn’t have a problem saying he wanted what he wanted. If you had it, then he wanted to take it from you. He had no illusions about power structures, government, religion and other associations.

    He would be perfect for NBL if he had been born 50 years later.

  • Paul,

    “What can I say? I calmed down after a bit.”

    Of course. I was understanding you to have said that you were not angry, but it seems what you meant is that you were and then got through it and were not after sitting with it. For me, I don;t like that dynamic either, when people act as if they know what I am thinking or feeling, and what is best for me to. But, I am careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and I try to hear what criticism or suggestions come my way, especially when from someone i respect and it is presented kindly.

    One of my remaining pieces of reactivity is triggered by people telling me what (or what not) to be, do, think or feel. If I can sit with it, it passes. Sometimes it gets the better of me, as it did here. I guess what made the reaction harder to resist in this case was reading something like that from Carolyn, a woman I greatly admire.

    Gotcha. Hear that…thanks for clarifying, and I dig your insights. 🙂

  • Erin says: “When all the rules become unenforceable, who will be able to survive by being nice, when everyone else is not nice?”

    I know these are dark times, but again I doubt that people are just a hair-trigger from become ruthless monsters. Will everyone else become “not-nice”? I suppose that might eventually happen, but we’ll be far down the road by then with all the food gone and water hard to come by for anyone not near a lake or stream. This also seems to indicate that the “not nice” are somehow better adapted to hardship than people who are able to cooperate and help each other, and that just ain’t so.

    Erin also wonders: “What will happen to a group of nice people when a group of not-nice people come to call?”

    Which I take to mean that nice people are somehow unable to defend themselves and that not-nice people will automatically be in superior numbers and better armed as well. It is a needlessly pessimistic view of human nature. For all of mankind’s flaws, the assholes and creeps are a slim minority, which is why encounters with them stand out. Chance are the not-nice will fall prey to our selfish desires before they get a chance to form roving armies to prey upon others.

    With that in mind, it is certainly easy to imagine a suddenly unemployed military force trying to carve out an empire in the dirt, but those too will isolate spots and not the norm.

    Cheer up. Your chances of death by starvation without being molested are very high.

  • In a world beset by such profound uncertainties it is no wonder folks seek some rock bottom unquestionable certainty to weather the howling winds of change upon us now. It is ironic that some of us seek refuge in the supposedly sure fire knowledge that in the near future we will all be toast, game over. In their minds, at least that is one thing you can count on! And a certain selection of scientific data can be projected with a few assumptions to seal the deal with the imprimatur of Science with a big S.

    Some of those who gather on the Beach of Doom become pretty wroth if anyone questions the iron clad certainty that they have found after painful journeys of inquiry. This is understandable, but I wonder if some of them are expecting the same kind of perfect knowledge of future events that once was the province of religious authorities? After all some of our friends who are innocent of scientific understandings such as evolution, still are absolutely convinced of the truth of the Rapture taking them away in the near future. This tells me that intense feeling and beliefs about things do not constitute reliable evidence of their correctness. The real history of science is more like a vertiginous trip into a maelstrom of increasing mystery and uncertainty than a triumphant march towards “knowing the mind of God” as Steve Hawking characterized it.

    To come to a summary conclusion about the most complex affair we are aware of, on the basis of the preliminary findings of vast arrays of supercomputers programmed with math on the edge of speculation, which is then interpreted by teams of scientists who are in glorious disagreement as to what it all means, seems to me a bridge too far to hold my weight. There must be potent psychological reasons behind any person’s decision to base their life philosophy on such an equivocal basis.

    Not wanting to poke holes in anyone’s lifeboat. I know some on this blog are very passionate about their beliefs, and I respect that. Please just give me room to say my piece, which you certainly are invited to ignore, refute, or just mull… I have been through the full gamut of anguished feelings since 1960, when I became seriously concerned about our planet and its insane handlers. I take the sharing that goes on here as a very serious process that needs to be engaged by more and more people as our crisis deepens.

  • It seems to me that some of you are ‘glass-half-empty’ and some of you are ‘glass-half-full’ people. What a maudlin group… of course, I include myself in that group.

    Just because we should be expected to be angry at the monumental mess that humans have made of their opportunity to shine doesn’t mean that we spend our lives being angry.

    I think that we have become so accustomed to piling on whoever is expressing an opinion that we just do it. I haven’t always agreed with everything that Carolyn says, but you must admit she is one of us.

    But, then, this kind of dialog is good. It serves exactly the function which Carolyn would see as healthy. [Even though after reading through all of the comments leave me feeling a bit sea-sick]

  • @ mike k

    To come to a summary conclusion about the most complex affair we are aware of, on the basis of the preliminary findings of vast arrays of supercomputers programmed with math on the edge of speculation, which is then interpreted by teams of scientists who are in glorious disagreement as to what it all means, seems to me a bridge too far to hold my weight. There must be potent psychological reasons behind any person’s decision to base their life philosophy on such an equivocal basis.

    Forgive my saying so, but from your comments here, your grasp of the science does not seem to me to be all that good, and what you’ve just stated there, is classic denialist propaganda which has been circulated by the Exxon and Koch sponsored PR machine ever since they realised there was a threat to there profits, which was to sow doubt about the science.

    Exactly what disagreement are you talking about ? Perhaps you’d care to point to something specific ?

    The case for NTE does not rest upon ‘vast arrays of supercomputers with math on the edge of speculation’, that’s total nonsense. It’s drawn from a wide range of sources from many scientific disciplines, the evidence being the empirical data collected and observed out there in the real world.

    If you look at the graphs here for C02, Methane and temperature, over the last 400,000 years, they are now all going vertically skyward.

    This sort of event, in geological terms, is kinda significant. It means something extremely dramatic is occurring. Nevermind the reasons or the causes, we needn’t even discuss that. It shows that this planet is about to undergo a tremendous change, which will make it unrecognisable in a couple of decades.


  • I’m a natural night owl. But I can’t always sleep and wake according to my own whims, my own biological clock… Sometimes I have to get up and do some work so I can have a place to sleep, eat some food, etc. I don’t like to get up before I’m ready, but I do. Actually, if on a given day… say, I have to get up at 7… sometimes I’ll get up at 6:30 and lay in wait, cursing the clock. It doesn’t do me any good, and the clock doesn’t give a hoot what sort of evil deeds I imagine doing to it. (Of course, good ki practice entails simply getting out of bed and stretching, enjoying the sunrise. But back to my point…)

    I think many of us are doing something similar to this regarding near term human extinction. We know the alarm is going to ring at 7, our death… but instead of enjoying as much life as we can, we’re angry and disturbed at 6:30 and complaining and screeching that the end is near and how terrible things are.

    Please don’t conflate my metaphor and misunderstand. I’m not saying that we should sleep walk into the apocalypse or be happy idiots. I’m saying that we should sincerely cherish every moment we have left, regardless of emotional state, instead of gnawing at the worry bone of death. There are miseries a plenty, really intense sufferings and losses and far worse to come. So why destroy or neglect whatever joy or fascination there is? Why intensify suffering with inefficacious rage and regret? Is that an admirable way to get old? We’re dying. Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy.

    Most people who get to know me, eventually say I’m a *?!#ing ‘doomer’, a dam friggin pessimist, a downer, since I contend that human extinction is self imposed and immanent. It upsets them. Scares them. Challenges their religion. Causes them to reconsider my sanity, and our relationship. Some abandoned relationship with me… they couldn’t stand the revealing stuff I told them, and sent them. The message from me that they most frequently missed… is: enjoy life anyway.

    Once someone very dear to me asked if I thought there was any life beyond this Earth, any place of peace and happiness. My reply was: “the universe is a flourishing garden.” While, of course I have no proof of it, my conclusion is based on a basic understanding: its all made out of the same elemental stuff. No… relax, I’m not talking about UFO’s… and of course, I know that quasars are not the same as asteroids, and gas giants like Jupiter aren’t the same as rocky planets like Mars. But there are doubtless a myriad of planets out there with the elements for life… exactly the same carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, etc… What I’m getting at is this: that life on Earth, and particularly human life, is peculiarly dear to us. We’re extremely self absorbed over it. It has become a distressing attachment – that we can’t figure out how to let go of. Meanwhile, our extinction is looming. The combination of hopelessness and attachment elicits anger and grief, which destroys joy. Such a big universe, and we’re stuck in a tiny introverted grid locked world of desolation and sadness. How sad.

    Go out on a starry night, look up. Your universe. Look out there, see what’s going on here. We are made of the universe. What a hoot. Especially for a night owl walking barefoot in the sunshine. Don’t think for a moment that reality has nothing to do with you.

  • ulvfugl Says:
    September 27th, 2013 at 5:39 pm
    “”‘@ mike k

    To come to a summary conclusion about the most complex affair we are aware of, on the basis of the preliminary findings of vast arrays of supercomputers programmed with math on the edge of speculation, which is then interpreted by teams of scientists who are in glorious disagreement as to what it all means, seems to me a bridge too far to hold my weight. There must be potent psychological reasons behind any person’s decision to base their life philosophy on such an equivocal basis.”

    Forgive my saying so, but from your comments here, your grasp of the science does not seem to me to be all that good, and what you’ve just stated there, is classic denialist propaganda which has been circulated by the Exxon and Koch sponsored PR machine ever since they realised there was a threat to there profits, which was to sow doubt about the science.

    Exactly what disagreement are you talking about ? Perhaps you’d care to point to something specific ?”

    Dude, time to get it. Lots of people WANNA believe the denialist propaganda, often desperately wanna believe. This is a culture which grew up on “fun, fun, fun.” So no surprise that their voices are becoming dominant, even in this forum.

  • Great stuff here…probably foolish of me to pipe up in the presence of the erudite but I’ll blame it on the brandy in the morning. Anyhow, isn’t anger a time-honored behavior that has survival value but doesn’t serve much purpose in the face of the overwhelming? Self-reinforcing global phenomena won’t be diverted just ‘cause you’re pissed!

    How are things gonna turn out; will H. sapiens survive? Selection happens (argue as you will about kin selection, group selection, selfish genes, whatever) and the evidence suggests that most species are quite gone.

    I saw a spider guarding her egg sac today in a tiny space by the back door. Some species just carry on and don’t think or care about owning the place.

  • Erin

    You wrote:

    “When I was studying nursing, long ago and far away, I was in the library and I found a book on forensic medicine. I saw the chapter on evidence of rape. I saw the pictures. I was so horrified then and I still am. The pictures will never leave my head for the rest of my life and I know I have been affected by them. Deeply, terribly, and irreversibly scarred.

    When civilization ends….”

    Two things come to mind.

    I worked in a library, one of the former great research libraries of Western Civilisation actually, Fischer Library,at Sydney Uni back in the day, and I too came across many books.
    One such book was a forensic journal on Suicide. The pictures will never leave me too. Pictures of people who got to the end of hope, in shower caps and dressing gown with sniffing glue congealed to their face, the horror of such isolation and personal suffering, in a particularly Western individualist way too – isolated in a domestic middle class home, depressed, hopeless, dead,
    A version of horror for those involved.

    I cant express how such knowledge helped me see how life can turn out for some. Kathy’s post of the collective terror and rapes in the Congo,bring back the sheer shock and brutality, connecting the dots for me about the older Joseph Conrad book Heart of Darkness.

    You have to be utterly convinced of the deep and abiding moral bankruptcy of Empire and IC, on any scale and rubric one cares to use, to begin to see the total madness walking down the suburban and metropolitan streets anywhere in the world almost.

    Brain lock !!!
    Best that can be done IMHO is reflect the best to others you want to be, and you want the world to be, and never stop loving everyone and everything…..
    Piece of cake eh?

    Peace and love.

    “Deep in our hearts we are one”

    I can only add….

    Bring it out NOW, or forever withhold your heart. We need all hands on deck, maybe not to save the ship, but to be fully conscious as she goes down.
    Don;t know what comes ahead, just know it is no use being ‘small’ and isolated.
    Where is that map, the one to the Beach of Doom? I’m sure I put ti somewhere……?

  • Let your mind relax into an imaginative state and create a daydream of a world where love is the primary aim, purpose, and consideration governing everything that people do.

    That’s like damming up the river to keep it from reaching the sea. When the river reaches the sea, there is no sea for the river to love and no river for the sea to love.

    What would everything be like there?

    Absolutely hellish. Has anyone seen today’s Colorado river delta?

    The purpose of the stream (if it can be thus framed) is to enter the ocean. Entering the stream leads to the ocean, where there is no “other”: none to love, none not to love.

  • The denialist propaganda abounds even here among those who claim to “get it.” Mo Flow is a prime example. He is so damn certain of the reality he thinks he knows that anything falling outside of the prescribed dogma can’t exist. Mo flow jabbers on incessantly about the nonexistence of ET, yet he has never bothered to investigate the evidence. The possibility that a reality exists outside what he has been trained to understand is deeply unsettling and therefore impossible to contemplate. The old adage that there’s no fool like an old fool applies her and than some. I am reminded of how livestock are carefully cultivated by the farmer right up until the moment their throat is cut. Consider these words of George W. Bush, spoken in Rome, in 2001
    “I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe — I believe what I believe is right.” As in the case of Mo Flow and Bush, people often use such claims that they have a “feeling of certainty” as bootstraps to convince themselves that they are even more certain than they actually are, thereby completely dispensing for the need for meticulous fact-finding and careful methodology.

  • Jeff S…correct on Chagnon and Dick Dorkens

  • Question:
    A bunch of nice people are on a boat that sinks. The lifeboats cannot hold everyone. When they are all full such that one more person will sink the boat and a drowning person tries to get on the lifeboat, being nice do they take that person on and all sink and drown. Or do they bash him with the oars until he lets go.

    There are problems that have no nice solutions.

    Do you think Peak Oilers and Climate Doomers are the only people who know something wicked this way comes? Have you not read stories of ammo and gun shortages? Do you think there are no people out their stockpiling weapons for the coming chaos? Do you think those people are doing it to protect “nice” people. Are “nice” people able to defend themselves against better armed totally self interested people? Do you think the Klan is not itching to ride again? In person I just listen to people talk. Where I live I hope someone puts a bullet in my head early on because I don’t want to know whether I will be nice when I am starving. If you have enough food for 1 year for 3 people and your family is 4 people, do you all opt to die sooner, or do you pull straws to see who doesn’t get to eat. If you have enough food for your family to last until spring when you can grow more and a starving woman with a baby comes knocking, do you take her in and all go hungry together? And the next starving refugee do you take them in too? Do you take in all who come knocking until you have but one day of food left?

    I suspect those who indulge in beliefs about the niceness of people, and those who worry about what emotions we are feeling now, will be unable to handle the very real ethical questions that are coming. By refusing to see what is really coming, they have no mental preparation. If no one gives me a pass by shooting me early in collapse, I hope I will not eat the food that others younger than me might eat. I hope I will exit myself soon enough so that others who have some desire to live through hell can get their wish. OTOH perhaps that is not very nice.

    And the Fema camps, will you betray others to stay out? Like so many nice people have done before. Will you turn your face when they come to get your neighbor? Watch the movie Butterfly Butterfly (1999)
    “La lengua de las mariposas” (original title) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0188030/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2 watch a town turn their faces when a good and kind man is hauled off
    For Moncho, it’s an idyllic year: he starts school, he has a wonderful teacher, he makes a friend in Roque, he begins to figure out some of the mysteries of Eros, and, with his older brother, a budding saxophone player, he makes a trip with the band from their town in Galicia. But it’s also the year that the Spanish Republic comes under fire from Fascist rebels. Moncho’s father is a Republican as is the aging teacher, Don Gregorio. As sides are drawn and power falls clearly to one side, the forces of fear, violence, and betrayal alter profoundly what should be the pleasure of coming of age
    The first time I watched it I sobbed at the end.
    If you want to be nice when collapse comes, think about all the not nice things that might happen and prepare yourself mentally for what you will do. Don’t hide from the truth. Its all out there to see if you want to look. The broken bottle rapes. The children sold or stolen into slavery. The kids forced into becoming soldiers. The tortures. Arms hacked off. Prisoners put in boiling vats of oil. What a nice little nicey nice fantasy we can still have while the rest of the world suffers. Go read Upside Down, A primer for the Looking Glass World by Eduardo Galeano or any of his other books. Think about what it would be like to be born on a garbage heap and then stalked, hunted and killed by rich kids sons for sport. If you think you will follow some moral standards, watch The Grey Zone and see how you can be left with moral dilemmas where every choice brings harm.

    GET REAL – the fantasy world is about to collapse

  • see how you can be left with moral dilemmas where every choice brings harm.

    To see so clearly requires taking of a whole lot of grime off from ones’ eyes – which at the same time lets through more of the Universal inner Light (for others to see) from the window pane / meat-robot analogy. (The window pane lets through sunlight but has no light of its own; the meat-robot seems to have awareness, but has no awareness of its own).

    A lot of SINCERE & HUMBLE practice is reflected this level of awareness/understanding. Traditions (all the traditions that invoke Karma) have it that not an iota of such practice is ever wasted.

  • good morning


    Steven Starr is the Director of the Clinical Laboratory Science Program at the University of Missouri and is an Associate member of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and has been published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. His writings appear on the websites of PSR, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies, Scientists for Global Responsibility, and the International Network of Scientists Against Proliferation. Since 2007, he has worked with the governments of Switzerland, Chile, and New Zealand, in support of their efforts at the United Nations to eliminate thousands of high-alert, launch-ready nuclear weapons.

    Mr. Starr is also an expert on the environmental consequences of nuclear war, and in 2011, he made an address to the U.N. General Assembly describing the dangers that nuclear weapons and nuclear war poses to all nations and peoples. He has made presentations to Ministry Officials, Parliamentarians, Universities, citizens and students from around the world, and specializes in making technical scientific information understandable to all audiences.

  • We are blogging on a site where the blog owner openly advocates resistance with the intent of bringing down industrial civ.

    Now that Snowden has releaseed his documentation of the spying that we already knew or should have known was in fact happening. You do all know our discussions are being recorded and more words of interest are typed on this site than on a blog dedicated to discussing receipes?

    I knew when I started blogging here that so doing might well move me up higher on the lists of the first to be hauled off to FEMA camps even though I was never in favor of resistance and felt industrial civ would collapse on its own possibly soon enough to save the planet. It seems I was wrong about that last part. It has held together longer than I thought it would and most life on the planet is doomed.

    I started blogging here with eyes wide open to the fact that my comments would be read and recorded and remembered. I figured my Peak Oil blogging had already put me on the list. It appears that many here have been blogging with eyes wide shut. What we should be talking about is how to behave when the FEMA cops pick us up. Do we resist, do we go along. If they offer a little bit longer to live like they did the Sonderkomandos https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonderkommando do we take it. If they torture us so rat on others, do well tell or make up stuff so the torture stops? Do we try to forgive them so we aren’t angry, or do we spit in their faces regardless of the consequences.

    Heck in the McCarthy trials, people who hadn’t done anything were coerced into implicating other people who hadn’t done anything with nothing more than the threat of jail or blacklisting. People were under suspicion for just once or twice visiting a Communist party event years back.

  • Kathy reminds us to “GET REAL the fantasy world is about to collapse.”

    She mentions people with personal arsenals and FEMA camps and NSA spies and torture chambers and African cultural violence and I keep countering that that’s the fantasy world.

    Listen, if you have a stockpile of guns and ammo, you can’t carry it with you. You are tied to that location. Even if you have a big van and unlimited gas. Chances are you already belong to a gun club or survivalist group and people you have to worry about are the other club members who might now want your stuff because that’s the way you think in the first place. The gun nuts will be shooting each other down. They’re all paranoid to begin with and can’t trust one another when the chips are down.

    And if there’s a collapse, what FEMA camps are going to be around? So the whole of government goes belly up but not the prison system? Somehow or other, NSA computers are still working just dandy and agents are going to coming to your door because they have always desired a chance to torture an environmentally concerned blogger on an obscure website? Police are just itching to find someone “green” to beat to death with tire irons once the lights go out?

    I guess. And I thought I was a misanthropic old crank. Jeepers. I’m sure glad in my end of the world scenarios I get killed in a food riot or manage to live long enough to commit suicide and don’t have to worry about the rise of super-Nazis out to torture me for the sheer joy of torturing. I suppose if I was worried about a ruthless uber-government of post-collapse America, I would take steps to make sure I could end my life the split second there was a sign of trouble.

    My cheerful fantasy world of starvation and ruin just doesn’t have room for an army of rape-happy, gun toting lunatics who are more concerned with inflicting maximum amounts of pain on total strangers instead of finding food.

  • “Go out on a starry night, look up. Your universe. Look out there, see what’s going on here. We are made of the universe. What a hoot. Especially for a night owl walking barefoot in the sunshine. Don’t think for a moment that reality has nothing to do with you.”

    Thank you, @logspirit. And like the song, the ancients AND the astronauts say, we are, after all, just ‘stardust’ 😉

    ‘Spaceship Earth’ – Some Strange Things Are Happening To Astronauts Returning To Earth


  • This “enjoy what is left” admonition is very tiring, to say the least. Here, the air is already hardly breathable on any given day, the sky is always covered with at least a milky haze of condensation trails (or more) on every given day, the night sky has been devoided of stars since many years because of the lights of the city, the police is everywhere, the trees are in a state I cannot even start to describe (ALL of them already rotten inside), all the animals (racoons, squirrels, birds, etc.) have disappeared since at least 2 years, the insects are absent too, the parks are full of homeless degraded humans, and the winter is coming. Do not tell me what to do or feel.

    The humans do not see the state of the trees who are heralding their already accomplished demise because the trees are so elegant in their death. Beautiful to the end, still making some leaves, no stench, no mammalian style disturing decomposition. In the cities, where the level of stimulation by things constructed by humans is so high, the trees and all the vegetation has always existed only as a periphereal phenomenon. If it looks “green” in the corners of your eyes: it must be ok. Here at least, there will be almost no trees standing in 5 years, maybe before. If nothing else, this will be the signal of the end, even for the blind.

  • Thank you Carolyn for your essay.I appreciate mulling over the things you have to say.

    I’d like to comment on the following that you wrote:

    “And before you argue that life is meaningless, consider the brilliant men and women throughout human history who have demonstrated the opposite through their art, music, drama, poetry, prose, and storytelling.”

    This is a common sentiment that I have heard many times in my travel towards the “Beach of Doom”. When talking about overpopulation issues over the years with other people, I have been told countless times that “The next million people might contain
    a new Michelangelo” or “If the population keeps growing, the person might be born that will solve all of our problems”.

    When talking about the destruction humans have brought down on all Life, people say “Yes,but look at all of the art, the music,the beauty we create.”

    All around us, without any imputs from us, there is music,beauty and stories being told and it is there for all of Life.

    Our Art,our Music,etc. we create for ourselves. We praise ourselves for our creativeness and ingenuity.Oh the Beauty and Wonder of US!

    We praise our own singing voices and at the same time we,without any regard what so every,usher songbirds into extinction.

    We admire our ability to build monumental architecture,while leveling amazing mountain tops.

    We paint pictures of majestic landscapes while sitting in sheetrocked studios in cities where majestic landscapes use to be.

    What song sung by a person can be measured against the dusky seaside sparrow?

    What sculpture is more amazing than a rhinoceros?

    What painting is more beautiful that the diminishing rainforest?

    It is hard for me personally see any balance between the beauty that humanity creates and the beauty we destroy.

    Does Life’s heart soar when it hears Mozart being played on a piano built of rainforest wood and the tusk of elephants in a concert hall built where a prairie once stood.

  • logspirit

    You are a child of the universe …..

    On another issue

    Is it just me?

    But these past few days, every time I see TV, or a bit of screen based media, I just see hand puppets.

    What I notice too is that all the fresh faces, be it prime commercial NEWS, or any lifestyle shows, adds of course, sport, all of it, its just hand puppets, with voices.

    Do I need to adjust my set, or is this when the static is about to roll over us !!!

    I must be growing up, finally.

  • Jack Adam Weber Says:
    September 28th, 2013 at 2:30 am
    Jeff S…correct on Chagnon and Dick Dorkens [ who called their work “garbage”, and claimed it was “demolished” by Lynn Margulis, who, RIP, went off the rails in her dotage and claimed HIV does not cause AIDS]

    Thanks, Jack Adam Weber and Jeff S., for demonstrating a typical childishly ineffectual critique of Richard Dawkins. Dick Dorkens? Can’t you do better than throw sand in a sandbox? Really, the sophomoric understanding of science in comments at NBL (supposedly a science-based blog?) is very disappointing. At least U. put a link, even if it was to an article in the Huffington Post by David Sloan Wilson, who simply isn’t taken seriously.


    A post by Jerry A. Coyne, Ph.D, Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago

    (“…one of the world’s leading evolutionary biologists…” and “…one of the world’s most skillful defenders of evolutionary science in the face of religious obscurantism…”)

    “David Sloan Wilson loses it again”

    “For years, biologist David Sloan Wilson of the State University of New York at Binghamton has conducted a futile one-man crusade to convince the world of two things.  First, that group selection (or “trait-group” selection, to use his term) has been hugely important in evolution, especially in the evolution of altruism—and of human religion.  Wilson is also convinced that evolutionary biologists unfairly dismiss the tremendous importance of group selection. His second hobby-horse is his insistence that we can fix society only by incorporating evolutionary principles into social reform, especially (of course) Wilson’s own views on group selection (see my review in the New York Times of his new and bizarre book, The Neighborhood Project, which is about his use of evolution and group selection to fix his own dysfunctional city).”

    “I’ve wavered between the view that Wilson is slightly off-kilter and self-promoting about this, and the view that he’s simply such an ardent believer in his own theories that he’s forcefully trying to argue for a neglected position.  After reading and reviewing his book, I decided that he’s a bit off balance, for in reality there’s simply not much biological evidence for group selection, and none for the evolution of altruism or human religiosity—which I doubt is even coded in our genes—via that process.  Still, Wilson persists.”

    “His latest diatribe, “When Richard Dawkins is not an evolutionist,” has convinced me that Wilson is totally over the waterfall. It’s an attack on Richard Dawkins that appears on the website for which Wilson is the biology editor: “Evolution: This View of Life.”  It’s a strong piece, but also a piece infused with silliness.”

    There’s lots more at the link, including this priceless line:

    “This is sheer madness—an almost incoherent rant that completely misrepresents Dawkins’s views.”

  • HIV/AIDS is interesting. I don’t claim to know what’s going on, but Peter Duesberg has made some interesting observations from his work.

  • Friedrich – “Mo flow jabbers on incessantly about the nonexistence of ET, yet he has never bothered to investigate the evidence.”

    I honestly don’t mind any of the other stuff you have directed my way – better me to work this out on than someone else where it may actually do some harm – but what the heck are you talking about?

    i suppose you might be making this confrontation even more “out there” in order to get my response, so here it is, because I am strongly for clarity here.

    i think i know what particular remark of mine set you off, but that remark said nothing to the effect that i argue for the nonexistence of ETs. i said that if they have the powers that they would indeed have, pretty much by definition, then they probably don’t have much riding on the outcome of humans on earth.

    this comment implies, if you stop and think for a second, that I might actually be inclined to think they exist. it also implies that I am trying to think through the actual implications of their possible existence with regards to our dilemma, and what I perceive to be our personal responsibility in sorting this out – not hoping for outside salvation of any kind.

    i have had no direct experience of them, whatever they are or might be, or at least my direct experience so far of what *might* be them is still too vague to pin down in any real way for me to integrate into my story in any deep way.

    the anecdotal evidence, though, and direct experiential evidence from people who I would probably trust with my life, tells me they do exist.

    what exactly this means, what they are interested in here possibly, and how deeply they are interested, i honestly have no idea. things will unfold here more… possibly. I don’t know how much I would push this here, though, if I were you, but i wouldn’t go as far as to say it isn’t relevant here.

    things can change very quickly on all fronts. there is “high strangeness” out there on all fronts. my feeling is that whatever ET is/might be, and whatever it might be doing, it is both amazingly careful and incredibly diverse.

    i do not feel threatened in any way by whatever it could be – and some of the messages coming from those realms align exactly with what I hold most dear.

  • It is not at all clear to me how NTE will happen nor will I assume the worst. Humans and nature have demonstrated an ability to creatively resuscitate and rejuvenate. Let us not rigidly adhere to the “stages of grief” as though our projections of collapse are inevitable. That will only inspire anger among others who have no inkling of the dangers that lie ahead. We certainly need to sound the alarm, but as part of a growing movement, I think it’s better for us to keep an open mind and to prepare for transformation toward an ideal that we can envision. No matter how events unfold our calling will be to lead, not with fear and fatalism, but with hope and helpful ideas. Back to the caves, possibly, but with a new beginning for civilization to develop our nurturing empathic sensibility at least as much as our acquisitive, competitive side.

  • ^rolls eyes^

    from extra terrestrials to Duesberg!

    the wiki page on him:

    In response to the inclusion of AIDS denialists on Mbeki’s panel, the Durban Declaration was drafted and signed by over 5,000 scientists and physicians, describing the evidence that HIV causes AIDS as “clear-cut, exhaustive and unambiguous.”[43]

    Two independent studies have concluded that the public health policies of Thabo Mbeki’s government, shaped in part by Duesberg’s writings and advice, were responsible for over 330,000 excess AIDS deaths and many preventable infections, including those of infants.[12][13]

    A 2008 Discover Magazine feature on Duesberg addresses Duesberg’s role in anti-HIV drug-preventable deaths in South Africa. Jeanne Linzer interviews prominent HIV/AIDS expert Max Essex, who suggests that,

    …history will judge Duesberg as either “a nut who is just a tease to the scientific community” or an “enabler to mass murder” for the deaths of many AIDS patients in Africa.[3]

    Scientists can become cranks, which is what happened to Margulis and Duesberg:


  • Dear Thestormcrow,

    thank you for your comment regarding the patriarchal bs logic of justifying the horrors of the industry of suffering via great music or art, or even healing blah blah blah. In the end, when all is tallied up, there is nothing that has been accomplished in the past few thousand years that mark this short sucker branch of homo patriarchus as anything but a sickly abnegation to the ancient tree of what for millenia was a natural robust human experience. What those who hastly award the accomplishment of ‘consciousness’ to this sucker branch do not seem to put together is the fact that the prize accomplishments amassed through the progenies of various human ‘genius’ is produced directly through a perpetual and expanding feedback of destruction toward that which mothers it. Simply a short cut deviation thanks to man that has led us all to the middle of nowhere and to top it all off we are expected to give thanks as we head toward the cliff of extinction because the exhausting back road journey was accompanied with Mozart blaring in the background.

    Anyone can get out of the car as it crawls laboriously forward on its trip of self proscribed extinction, but why should we when such lovely genius keeps us drowsing in denial in between bouts of bickering about which side of the back seat is ours? Live to the sound of nature or die drowning out her fury? We are held captive to this civilized genre of consciousness, and freedom from it has too high a price, so we’ll most likely keep defending it, red tooth and claw to the gory end, dig it?

    Dear Friedrich Kling,

    How you equate Mo flow as a valid target of your indignation for disbelief of alien life escapes me a bit. But regarding your insistence of offering alien evidence into the discussion here, I am not sure how we can fit aliens into this subject matter exactly as it seems likely from all I have heard that aliens, if they exist, are hostile toward life on earth. The limited experience of encounter I have had is when one of my grandfathers calves was found sliced in half and hushed discussions of an alien nature were known to be going on behind closed doors. Eventually the fervor passed and life went on. No one knew that I, a child that was to have been kept safe from potential alien realities, had on my own stumbled across the half of calf. It was laying in the orchard under a tree and when I saw it I knew immediately that it had not been killed by an animal, in fact it was not killed. Just halved and left in a bizarre, disinterested way. The impression I was left with was truly out of this world. So, I can comisserate a little with believers of alien life potentialities, but I cannot seem to see it matters. Like all elites they are probably on the whole disinterested of our earthly concerns of saving our paradise or at least that is what I feel to be most believable if I entertain fantasies about this notion. So until one communicates directly to me, I cannot otherwise see how the idea is of direct value and you, who seems to champion their meaningful existence, seem to spend a lot of time angry at others here because they simply do not get it up against what we are facing in our mundane existence. Perhaps as time goes by if you stick to what you are sure of rather than what others are not, perhaps you have direct experience? I will be further enlightened?

  • “It is not at all clear to me how NTE will happen nor will I assume the worst.”

    NTE means Near Term Extinction.

    Near Term means soon. Just around the corner. Likely. “Is that the Grim Reaper in your pocket or are you just glad to see me” suddenness. Sadly, no exact date. Plan accordingly.

    Extinction means all of a species is wiped out. No more breeding pairs. Not sure how that can be worst, certainly perhaps relieved a bit if everyone decides to take a drug that quickly and painlessly kills them. It’s not going to be ride full of laughter and good times at any rate.

    This is the end. As opposed to that rotten time in the 21st century when all those people died of starvation, war and pestilence, but we plucky few managed to hold off in the Rockies and now, by jingo, it is up us to repopulate the world and get it done right this time. We’ve agreed to eliminate war, religious persecution, bigotry, greed, and sexism but have maintained the practice of hating the left-handed and anyone with a visible birth mark because there simply has to be something out there to hate. And from now on, all of North America will be called Freelandia, after the greatest of all humans, Morgan Freeman.

  • Carolyn Baker writes: “And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.” I realize this is a Friedrich Nietzsche quote but it closes your essay so well.

    Thank you Carolyn.

    While we’re on the subject of bears, I was visiting with my dear friend ‘Bear’ in the north country of Live Free Or Die over the past several days and here is an image of Bear’s garden also known as “Plan B”. During my visit with Bear we milled some fifteen year old perfectly seasoned and dry No. 2 grade rough-sawn white pine (Pinus strobus) lumber into finished boards and used a dado on a table saw to further process the boards into a wood siding material called ship lap to be used as interior wall finish in Bear’s shelter. Doo-dah! Doo-dah! Carpenters have a weird sense of humor. I had sawdust coming out of my ears before I became a woodies person. There’s nothing like waking up to the smell of white pine in the morning whilst the deciduous New England forest is changing colors right before your very eyes. Nice colors on the leaves 😀 Bear’s garden was a mere few feet away from where we were working so when we became hungry we went in there and ate food. Oh man! It doesn’t get any better than that. Needless to say we laughed and danced quite a few times during the past few days in the bush. Love the bush man.

    Also met a dude named Charlie, totally off grid, two hundred fifty six acres of land, into it. We talked. People are aware of what’s going on. We discussed things like climate change and why FEMA is buying such large quantities of ammunition, Syria, O’Bummer, Zoning Nazis and how the Po-leece were able to close down the entire city of Boston in a few short hours after the marathonbombing. Scary shit man. And we talked about bears too since all three of us have encountered them up close and personal. We deduced that wild bears deserve the utmost respect, should be left alone and thankful we’re still here to talk about the experience.

    I see where one of RoNin¿ Datta’s enlightened acolytes got a scolding. LOL

  • In the previous thread, Kathy Cassandra says: 2 months or less until they start pulling the fuel rods out of SP4 –
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/09/20/the-crisis-at-fukushima-4/ Given Tepco’s record I think we can expect it won’t go well, and there is some potential for it to go very badly indeed.

    Prepping for SPF4

    I hope you’ve found time to explore
    The inconvenient chore
    Of trying to think through
    Just what you will do
    Prepping for SPF4.

    Fukushima’s had missteps galore
    By clowns unexposed heretofore
    For not being prepped
    And for being inept
    With problems they tried to ignore.

    One day, there’ll be a big roar
    Which starts from some melting core
    Or from spent fuel rods,
    And there’s pretty good odds
    That stuff will being flowing offshore.

    To whom will you turn and implore
    For help from the poisonous ore?
    With whom will you cry
    When you say goodbye
    In calls to those you adore?

    Enough horror; let’s underscore:
    It’s good if you have in store,
    A plan of compassion
    In what future fashion
    You won’t be around anymore.

    The Ballad of SFP4

    Ghost Story—Just in Time for Halloween!

  • Dear Mike K,

    I did the meditation you suggested.

    I realized nothing we are doing today in industrial civilization is motivated by love.


    Freedom, as the last vestiges of denial sift like sand through my fingers?

    Anyone need to find me on the beach of doom, I’ll be the one staring comatose at the horizon trying to adapt to this idea.

    Thanks, for that. I think.

  • TIAA – “half a calf” left in a disinterested way, discarded as if used for some purpose that was now over?

    whenever I try to put together some possible meaning from these accounts it quickly becomes quantum. all the human observers of, and participants in, the events always seem, to me, to be very key.

    i was very indirectly witness to an animal mutilation wave in one of the previous places I lived. this one involved cats, and took place almost in the heart of a metro area of about 2 million – everything took place within about a 10 block radius in the inner burbs.

    the wave unfolded in the usual way, first a single report, that then connected to another incident that happened about a week or so later, then a cluster of about a half dozen that took place over a week. it became very big news, and was covered by the major local press – the two biggest newspapers that still existed then both had multiple stories of coverage.

    the accounts were graphic – the utterly casual, brutal, bizarre, and just like you say totally “out of this world” features were all involved. some of the cat owners were completely freaked and stunned into almost shock. they described cat parts and entrails that had been cut as if with lasers, and distributed in ways that were like bizarre messages. one cat owner felt she was being watched at the time of her discovery, just to gauge her reaction, and she said it felt utterly un-human, whatever was watching in that moment – but like something childish and somehow malevolent.

    some of the events took place within backyards where any human or animal intruder would have been detected by both dogs and alarms.

    the whole thing unfolded as something right out of The X-Files. the usual suspects – coyotes, foxes, pranks, were trotted out. the usual witnesses said: no freaking way.

    about two weeks after the whole thing calmed down, I went back to save some of the multiple articles that the local press had posted online. there were at least half a dozen lead stories at the time.

    every single article was gone. completely scrubbed without a word of editorial explanation. from every appearance, at least with these two major local websites, it was as if the entire series of events had never even happened.

    that last part is the main reason I am posting this account here. it was an ASTOUNDING shock to see just how instantly something like this could be “vanished.” that is the only word I could think of to capture just how totally it was gone, and what lengths it was made to be totally gone.

    the levels of strangeness “out there” as to just who is controlling things – that same control could always be behind just how much anyone is ever informed of NTE, or anything else connected to it, such as peak oil or financial collapse, through the media. but of course this is not news to most here. just some food for additional thought, maybe.

    Grant – both total clarity there, and some good laughs. thanks. how indeed could FEMA camps and NSA computers just be chugging right along while everything else is totally kaput?

    I think the biggest unknowns, though, as to how it is going to go down are in both the speed, and when and where such methods of extreme control may be exerted. the scenario where mass starvation prevents much pillage/violence/rape is connected to the fast collapse.

    the slow collapse, where exceedingly strange and brutal levels of control could possibly be exerted, maybe in some half-alive, half-dead version of zombie-techno-death-world, that is under this spell for maybe a few decades… maybe.

    I do think the fast collapse scenario would be my preference, and more likely.

    U – the vertical lines skyward are such simple things. simple and enough.

    mike k – working on your mediation. the problems are manifold. as TIAA mentions, nothing in IC is motivated by love. maybe it is more like IC allows for *all* the “love with a little L” – where it is so walled in by vulnerability and fear that it is just part of the disconnect that Paul C mentions where consciousness (with a little “C” – Robin) has no real bearing on our physical/biological predicament in the petri dish.

    if anything about Love is meant to break through into a larger reality, then this has to be done at the same time that vulnerability and fear are healed, or better understood.

    vulnerability and fear are connected to something fundamental – at least in the way i understand the story right now – our agreement that absolutely mandates spiritual amnesia. this gets right to the heart of my advocacy of the inner path as essential. it can only be a process, though, and I will only say: there is a doorway.

  • I want to suggest a negative feedback. If the jet stream is slower, due to less temperature differential, less cold air will be moved southward from the Arctic. Here in New York we were very much aware of this new trend. So more of the cold air stays up there in the Arctic and the ice melts less. The warming heat must have gone somewhere else. This idea doesn’t stop warming. Did the oceans warm more?

  • @ dmd

    Why is there less temperature differential ?

    Because the Arctic is warming much faster than anywhere else.

  • Please add this oldie to“Prepping for SPF4,” five posts up (sorry, it got delayed in moderation because I included three links—won’t be making THAT mistake again, at least for awhile):
    “Coming Soon: The Big One in Fuku”

    Tokyo 2020

    It’s not too much risk to proclaim
    Japan hosts the Olympic flame:
    This ain’t no joke, yo,
    If there’s no more Tokyo,
    There’ll be no Olympic game.

  • Gail,

    Because the Wiki page says Duesberg is a nut, doesn’t mean he’s a nut. But you’re not interested in the subject, so why comment?

  • I am am Taoist, and see the flow of nature even in human nature. The patterns, the repetition, the coming and going of ages. There are many reasons to be sad or happy, and to be angry, but not at the patterns of nature or the species that come and go, the ages that pass to be replaced by new ages, new worlds, new universes, ever changing. Humans are a selfish species but are capable of enormous selflessness and in those times we see beyond ourselves, and that is something beautiful we can appreciate in the moment.

  • Just finished reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I think it’s worth a read to those who care to consider post everything futures. Nice prose too:

    “The frailty of everything revealed at last. Old and troubling issues resolved into nothingness and night. The last instance of a thing takes the class with it. Turns out the light and is gone. Look around you. Ever is a long time…” – Cormac McCarthy

    There’s a 2009 movie but I haven’t seen it:


  • @ annie
    Nice video. Yes, we are stardust… which has manifested… love. Amazing. The most delicious and intense parts of my life always emerged as feelings. Thank you.

    @ OzMan
    Thanks. We all start out that way, then go through various phases, and eventually reach some sort of balance with it all… hopefully. I personally make every effort to temper a hard scientific stance with a more direct sensational perception that uses more of my inherent assets than just my limited linear brain. We have many ways of taking in the action all around us, and all too frequently our intellectual process is just too slow to keep up with the changes. Sometimes the only way to get ‘it’ is to feel the velocity. All sorts of stuff going on below the mental radar. Sometimes if we wait for the mind to intrepret and react, its too late. Like the flash of the edge of a sword. Like the flash of human existence, then extinction.

    @ michele
    While you didn’t mention me specifically… I realize that you didn’t ask… but, please allow me to attempt to address some of your suffering. Toss it away if you think it is worthless.

    There is nothing that can disturb your innermost being. It is always perfectly pristine and pure. It is deeper than any feeling or thought. It is surrounded by dirt and brutality and hopelessness… but nothing can affect it. Nothing can dirty it. Nothing can alter it. At your very core you are invulnerable to all that is bad and sorrowful, although that terrible putrid swamp may have you completly submerged. Go deep into your core, your inner spark, your heart, live from there, and you will begin to become immune to your outer layers of suffering. Yes, the world is dying. Yes, we are going extinct. Yes, you are going to die. Your body will endure hardship and eventually return to common dust. Everything that you ever aquired, your cell phone, your keys, your face, and your life… will be lost. Your surroundings may not be kind to you, or easy. But while you are alive, your heart is free to soar.

    You (and others) may think this is worthless garbage. Please, at least hear this: I am another human being who has just given you some of his precious, finite, nonrecoverable, life-time. That is more valuable than any gem. If you meditate on and nurture this seed, it will bring you some immediate relief, keep practicing and it wil help you more and more. When you are strong enough, share it. Let someone know that you care about them.

  • Ken, according to the “about” tab, this blog focusses on “the natural world, with a particular emphasis on the twin sides of our fossil-fuel addiction: (1) global climate change and (2) energy decline. Because these phenomena impact every aspect of life on Earth, specific topics range widely, and include philosophy, evolution, economics, humanity, politics, current events, and many aspects of the human condition.”

    I see no mention of promoting idiocy, pseudoscience or the ramblings of dogmatic charlatans. So why comment?

  • Mike K, I left a comment for you on the last thread.

    @ frogcounter

    Interesting comments on nature vs. culture. I thought Carolyn’s article shed light on how to deal with such contradictions: we hold both sides of the equation in our minds simultaneously.

    Mozart could be played on an old violin, or even on a new violin made from discarded materials. I’m a visual artist who works only with “repurposed” materials. Human culture does not have to be shared at the expense of nature, even if it has largely done so up till now. In fact, human culture can provide the means for us to examine what we have done, and what we can further do to address our misdeeds.

  • DMD – yes the excess heat has been taken up by the ocean, the ocean is warming more. This research on ocean heat content comes at a critical moment in the discussion of global warming. A leading climate scientist, Dr. Kevin Trenberth, recently wrote in a blog post for The Conversation that we may be vastly under-estimating just how much global warming is hiding in the world’s oceans – and that we may need to re-define the way we think about global warming.
    The jet stream is slower AND more wavy. This causes stuck weather patterns. On place gets stuck on warm and another on cold. One place gets stuck on rain and another on dry. see this by Dr. Jennifer Francis http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nzwJg4Ebzo Published on Feb 26, 2013
    A short review of how the jetstream and Rossby waves work, and some emerging indications that the dynamics may be changing in a warming world.

    Grant, before there is collapse, there is pre collapse. Do you think the government isn’t going to try to stay in control any way they can for as long as they can? Clearly they are already in that mode as they increase surveillance, crack down ever harder on whistle blowers, take away habeas corpus, put cities in lockdown, militarize local police, make plans for using the army in country, etc etc. How long we stay in any one stage on the way to extinction is uncertain, depends on what the trigger is I suppose. Blocking the Straits of Hormuz might trigger WWIII, financial meltdown might mean we move into the seizure of people’s assets such as in Cyprus, and the beginning of major protests. WWIII might be over in days, domestic unrest might simmer for some years. I imagine 1 day of torture might feel like a year.

  • @ulv; Right, less differential, less jet stream action, less movement of the cold air to regions below and thus less melting of ice. But ice still melting and Arctic temp. still rising. Negative feedback is something that slows down ice melting but not necessarily global warming overall. If the cold air didn’t come down here as much as it did in the past, where did it go? Did it stay right there or did it go down the other side somewhere? Think it through.

  • Kathy: And we’re deep in pre-collapse now. An openly corrupt government, the rapid third-world status of the US by the poisoning of the air, land and water, an utterly worthless news media, and a culture fascinated by disaster and apocalypse fantasies even while it denies the one it is in. Depending on your frame of reference, we have been in a state of collapse since 1980 with the election of Ronnie Reagan, since 1972 when it was clear the US lost in Vietnam, or since 1914 when Europe blundered its way into a incredibly stupid and self-destructive war.

    No doubt about it, no matter what historic time makes the most sense to you, we are in a dark age.

    And while our government is ruthless, it is not ruthlessly effective.
    Wars are fought to make money, “victory” is clearly not the objective because if it is, then we can’t beat third world countries that can’t shoot back. Most of, if not all of, the electric components the US uses for the military are all made in China. It is suspected that China has deliberately sent defective parts more than once, but Lockheed Martin keeps on ordering them since they don’t really care. It’s all about money and not actually about “defense” to them.

    NSA agents were recently discovered to be cyber stalking women. The desire to collect every bit of information makes the system useless. The whole of the NSA apparatus is now to suddenly produce information on what a vile person you are AT YOUR TRAIL and not actually help catch anyone doing anything. While it remains illegal, invasive and ripe for abuse, it is also swollen, sluggish and worthless.

    That the police are becoming increasingly militarized is fairly terrifying and that’s a direct link to the fact that no one has any jobs worth keeping anymore, if they have a job at all. Nonetheless, the police force is not composed entirely of orphans with a sworn loyalty to the Empire upon pain of death. If they have family members who are part of the coming food riots, will they open fire on them? That remains to be seen. Things will become a lot tougher for everyone, especially if you’re poor and black.

    We’ve seen cases of excessive use of pepper sprays on peaceful protests and we’ve seen people killed by tasers and beaten up and shot dead by mistake. We have yet to see what happens in an actual riot in the US. We know the police frequently go out of control, but not when the crowd is also out of control. When riots become more common in the US and when various government officials and business fat cats require around the clock bodyguards because of the assassinations and threats, then we’ll see what the government is really capable of doing. Because it is clearly something they are planning for. And I suspect they’ll be taken by surprise. They sure can’t seem to see what’s in front of them. If this results in torture chambers and mass public executions in school yards and the like, now is the time to make sure you have an escape plan. Self-destruction tools are readily available.

  • @ dmd

    Where did the cold air go ?

    It didn’t go anywhere, my friend, it warmed. That’s why there is less differential. Because the whole Arctic region warms up. That’s why the gradient has changed.

    What Kathy said, re warming ocean, has nothing much to do with that, it relates to why there seems to have been a flat period for the last 15 years for overall warming. Where did that heat go ? Into the oceans.

  • Is it me or is this forum becoming increasingly polarized?

    A middling like me is feeling quite compressed.

    Is it possible for homo sapiens to be BOTH total shits and capable of great things? I think there is ample evidence of both.

    The fact remains, the physical planet is primary. Without air to breathe, clean water to drink, and healthy food to eat (all of which is under assault), we are all going to die and take most everything else with us.

    During that collapse, I’m quite certain we will see a range of behaviors. Put any animal under stress and outcomes become unpredictable. Governments are the strangest animals of all.

  • Oh Grant, they have only just begun….so much more they can do and will do. Be very afraid…..We haven’t begun to see what depravity can be done to one’s own people. But history certainly tells us that we ain’t see nothing yet. And just being on this blog certainly makes all of us persons of interest. I know that and accept that but how about Ms. Baker. Does she know she is now a person of interest for posting on a blog that has called openly for resistance. How about all the other Pollyannas. Do they understand what just posting here could mean for them?

    Quite a few people have quit the blog for that reason, especially after some posts that strongly called for resistance. Some sounded frightened out of their minds that they had ever posted at all here. Others I am sure just left quietly.

    I used to pussy foot around this issue, but what the hell, I am so tired of happy talk I am about to quit this blog. Where you blog associates you with the blog owner and other blog posters. They are storing all this data for a reason. They intend to use the data, and how far down they reach only depends on how long the grid holds up. And when the grid goes and to government collapses you can begin to worry about all the ex soldiers and police men running around.

    Just watched Army of Crime about the Armenians who worked with the French resistance. Following the true story of Manuchian https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missak_Manouchian
    they were betrayed by the lover of one, and then by one of the leaders. All the rest stood up to horrific torture without betrayal and then were executed. This is the type of world so many others have faced, this is the world we are heading into yet without the hope that bravery and dedication to a cause can make and difference – we get extinction no matter what.

    Oh well, I made my choice to continue to blog here when others were jumping ship. Seems I can face that danger. But hopium. Nope that is too much for me.

    I’m out of here.

  • Speaking of anger… Not much fazes me anymore. I seem to have become either numbed or enured to all of the bad news falling out of the sky these days. But there is one thing that presses my buttons which I can’t seem to shake. It is the global warming deniers who are convinced that we are heading into a new glaciation and that human caused global warming is a fraud/lie perpetrated by TPTB for some reason (probably control or getting rich off of carbon credits.)

    I have been following the “news” over on SOTT [Signs of the Times].
    Much of the stuff is quite good and interesting but I am ready to throw in the towel over their obstinate insistence that global warming is a hoax. They trot out article after article written about ‘scientific findings’ which have been debunked long since. I can’t help myself. I always react and am shouted down every time. Yet I do it again. Do I have some kind of sickness or am I masochistic?

    I rarely post anything anymore on any site. (It’s mostly been said before.) I wish that I could let it go. Peak Oil (meh), collapse of industrial civilization (pfft), ecological disaster (eh), but those pesky global warming deniers, Damn, they get under my skin. Is there some kind of treatment for my disorder?

    Now… breathe in, breathe out

  • Greetings, all!

    Fall is underway here. Elk bugling at night. The neighbor had the DoW trap a couple of bears that had torn through the fence and been gorging on fruit (the DoW guy said bears will eat 40,000 calories per day this time of year if they can get it). Heavy rain without erosion or flooding, so the reservoir may fill up a bit. We got together to harvest their vineyard yesterday. I’m a wreck today.

    I observe that our Glorious Leaders have been “kicking the can down the road” more furiously lately. It looks like the Continuing Resolution to keep the government functioning in lieu of an actual budget (which now looks like a fever dream of an idyllic past age of competence). We’re now seriously considering whether they can pass a 7-day CR to keep the metaphorical lights on while they try to get a “long-term” 45 day CR.

    I think they’ve officially run out of road to kick the can down.


    No, a strong jet stream does not carry cold air south, it keeps it bottled up in the north. A weakened jet stream allows it to escape south – it’s another positive feedback. Last year the polar air was able to make it south, we had a hard cold snap here and in Siberia.

    If you are looking for a negative feedback, think about clouds. We didn’t set a record low for Arctic ice due to constant storms and cloud cover. Perhaps more open water in the Arctic will allow more water vapor that results in more cloud cover that shades the remaining ice. It’s not much, but perhaps could buy us another three or four years.

    I’m appalled at the irresponsibility of the corporate media (I guess you could say that I’m easily appalled) in not using the Boulder flooding as a segway into serious discussions of climate change.

    I’m hoping to see some informed discussion of the new IPCC report in this space. I got as far as downloading the executive summary. Downloading, the new “sleep with the book under your pillow to absorb the knowledge”.

  • My comments, (important as they are) seem to die somewhere in the aether.

  • @ ulvfugi

    You should be spending your time getting the average citizen to “get it.” That would make more sense than trying to educate me and Jane Goodall, who have been on our paths longer than you. I suppose we’re incurably dense.

    If it really matters to you that much that there is conformity of views as to where we stand, why not convert the average stiffs out there. That, apparently, couldn’t be harder than converting Jane or me.

    I applaud Guy for keeping away overwhelming toxicity from his blog, but when stalwarts like Kathy C are about ready to quit, there seems to be trouble ahead for NBL. Forcing people to conform to your views, when they don’t agree with them, is as misguided as anything you could warn me about.

    Anyway, I have an art show coming up next weekend for which I’m woefully unprepared. I’ll be doing my best to limit my presence here during the next week or two, if not longer.

  • @ buz painter

    Regarding your aetherial comments, I just verified that deleting the “guymcpherson.com” cookies will let comments be immediately visible in Firefox (otherwise it is the next morning before you can see them, probably midnight Greenwich). Ulvfugl mentioned a couple of weeks ago that using an anonymous viewing feature in Chrome will do the same thing.

  • Kathy: It strikes me that the threat of torture from the crumbling Empire has already beaten you. It’s not that I’m made of sterner stuff, but I don’t think I’m important enough to torture. Sure, the whole point of torture is torture, but there’s some thin objective somewhere in that brutality. I would be a lot more worried if sites like this suddenly vanished. Or if new special ID cards were required or if the news was 100% cheerful and positive all the time. But it’s not.

    Winston Smith, hero/victim of Orwell’s 1984 fell was closely watched because he was already a party official. Smith is taken to Room 101 to renew his total devotion to Big Brother before his execution. The proles were left alone. Someone has to take out the garbage, work the fields, wait on tables. Not everyone is required to go to the Weekly Hate Meetings because not everyone can afford to take the time off from work. 1984 is all about control within the party. The working class people were free to get drunk, gamble and have sex, only the “important” people were forbidden from such things.

    And we are such a long way away from anything remotely as smooth working as Orwell’s 1984. I live in Chicago and would be more worried about getting hit by a stray bullet from the police than I am by being arrested, whisked away to a strange location and brutalized until I confessed to killing JFK — which would take me roughly 45 seconds.

    This is hardly the only site I suggest revolution, monkey wrenching, voice opposition to the tyranny of the US Empire and I do it all under my own name because I stand by what I say. I don’t except to suffer one bit because of it. I’m such a minor figure, it’s too expensive to torture me. I don’t know about you. But again, you speak like someone who is already defeated. I’m completely doomed, but I’m not dead yet.

  • @ Artleads

    Are you being deliberately perverse ?

    You should be spending your time getting the average citizen to “get it.” That would make more sense than trying to educate me and Jane Goodall, who have been on our paths longer than you. I suppose we’re incurably dense.

    I’ve devoted the greater part of my life to trying to conserve nature, in much the same spirit as Goodall.

    I’m not trying to educate her, she’s not here.

    You asked me a fucking question. Remember ?

    If you bothered to try and understand what I’m telling you, then
    what the hell would I be telling ‘the average citizen’ ?

    That they are going to die prematurely ? How would they receive that news, what good would it do ?

    Yes, you do appear to be incurably dense.

    I have answered you, in good faith, repeatedly, and what has happened ?

    Forcing people to conform to your views, when they don’t agree with them, is as misguided as anything you could warn me about.

    How can I FORCE anyone to conform to my views, Artleads ?

    It doesn’t matter a damn to me whether or not there are conformity of views, because it makes not the slightest difference.

    If you can’t understand what a graph is and what the data mean I can’t help you.

    If you can’t understand that science has a grip on the real world and can inform us as to what we can expect, I can’t help you.

    That seems to be your problem, Artleads. You think that fantasy and wishful thinking trump science. I think the reverse is true.

    @ WoodsDweller and others

    Yes, NBL WordPress sends out something nasty with the cookies that jams up the updating of comments. Anybody able to clarify this problem ?

  • “…something nasty with cookies…”

    I use CCleaner several times a day and never have problems as described here and elsewhere. (Chrome is my default browser)

  • If you wish to read Lynn Margulis directly, instead of Gail’s self-referenced and self-promoting ravings, and specifically Margulis on “selfish gene” rather than her writings on other issues which Gail tries to get us to focus on, see http://www.science20.com/gadfly/lynn_margulis_neodarwinism_and_kin_selection

    After all, she’s been damned as well for embracing 9/11 truth by making the simple observations regarding 2 jetliners supposedly taking out three steel frame hi-rises, and leaving behind evidence of molten iron spheres and molybdenum, which requires temperatures FAR higher than anything remotely achievable via hydrocarbon fires. Just simply science.

  • Gail – “I see no mention of promoting idiocy, pseudoscience or the ramblings of dogmatic charlatans.” please feel free to include me in this spectrum, probably anywhere you wish. 🙂

    seriously, I came here because, again, this was the only place the seemed to want to grapple with the science and reality of NTE on every level, and Guy’s approach really resonated with me – as well as the amazing diversity of voices here, all seeming to be more or less on the same page. NTE IS REAL. Love is real, but I can’t argue with the vertical lines – I wish I could, but I passed that point a while ago. I have known a long time what any earth event that has that quality of vertical lines behind it will do for the big picture – take your pick, something on the low end of about 70% extinction of all species, something on the high end, around 90% – 96%.

    it isn’t a massive comet impact, just something a few nanoseconds longer in geological time – the human impact event. the end result will be the same, somewhere in the range above.

    wildwoman – “Is it me or is this forum becoming increasingly polarized?” i hope not. I don’t see any reason to ever back down from this blog’s central premise, but I see every reason for the voices here helping to come to terms with NTE. always in the back of my mind I know I don’t know all the variables – the fast/slow timeline, the determination of any humans to survive maybe a hundred or two hundred more years, the level of depravity or acceptance. it seems to be a central premise to really live, possibly resist, until it is over.

    Kathy C – I guess I am just not as afraid of our Government’s ability to arrange mass torture as you are. there could be a lot of reasons behind this assumption, but I think Grant has is most clearly stated when he says war is about making money. there is no money in total collapse, by definition. what good are armies of ag slaves when the weather is so completely out of control any agriculture is impossible? I just don’t see it. if you really are so afraid the NSA goons are coming, it is way too late to run now.

    (wait, what is that whistling sound coming down from the sky…?)

    WoodsDweller – “I’m hoping to see some informed discussion of the new IPCC report in this space.” that would be great. I am still trying to get around all the head exploding aspects of the media reports.

    more banana peel!

  • Hello all,
    I am new to commenting on sites such as this one. In the past year and a half I have finally accepted what I have known since childhood about the industrial/extraction way of life. It is a dead end for the biosphere. This acceptance seems to be a relief in that I have had an extended period of rest from the decades of fighting against my deepest knowing. The rest and recovery period lingered for many months. Six months or so ago the process of living into the knowledge began in earnest, by allowing myself to be pulled through another damn knot-hole that strips away more of my vestigial concepts, expectations, programing, etc. And finding that I get to step into an ongoing fire that will continue to smelt me for what time I have left, sucks and is deeply welcome.

    I am blessed to have almost a handful of friends who are in similar straits, because being completely isolated could mean that I couldn’t face continuing to witness and participate in this circus at the end of empire.

    Now, I am attempting to bring more folks into physical contact here in the Twin Cities. Folks who are living similar walks into this awareness. I want to be able to have a regular meeting time to find respite from the barrage of contradictory cultural noise. Simply, to take joy and comfort through holding each other tenderly. Folks who fiercely defend such a container for owning our distress’ without fear of being fixed or yes-butted back into our psychic fortresses. So, that we may return to the responses that we choose to apply our energies toward in the barrage of the unraveling.

    I want a tribe who knows why I weep, rage, giggle, want to isolate, and love it all as best as I can. And while this type of online outlet is helpful (I weep as I write this) it feels insufficient to my need. I want to breath the air they have breathed, swap photons and particles, look others in the eye and nod permission; to do what we need to do this week, to come more alive to the wonder of this, being a human being at this moment. I have organized a Meetup for this purpose, it is very new. Results are fledgling, and conflicted.

    My questions to this online community: Does anyone here have similar needs? Have you found ways to connect in such a manner, and if so, how has it worked for you?

    And of course, this may not meet the intention of this comment section, but I will watch and look for replies, etc.

    I am willing to communicate off-line with folks.

    Thank you for doing this here and where ever you are.