A review of Collapsing Consciously, Carolyn Baker’s latest book

Collapsing Consciously: Transformative Truths for Turbulent Times was written by Carolyn Baker and published by North Atlantic Books a few weeks ago. Baker’s seventh book is a reasoned, reasonable follow-up to Sacred Demise and Navigating the Coming Chaos.

Collapsing Consciously delivers its message in a compact, tightly edited 175 pages. The book is pleasantly devoid of distracting grammatical or editorial errors. Actually, the book’s message is delivered within the initial 109 pages, which are followed by 52 weekly meditations. Each of the meditations is preceded by a relevant quote (e.g., “Crisis is the time for truth,” from Chellis Glendinning).

The book takes the reader on an emotional and psychological journey. As a result, the journey will be uncomfortable for most Americans. After spending our early years in K-12 indoctrination facilities, we graduate into the incarceration camp known as industrial civilization. Few spend any time or effort contemplating their own roles in the universe. For the most part, teaching and learning focus on skills that further the ongoing omnicide, not intrapersonal intelligence that might lead to personal contentment or a decent sense of community. As a result, one of the two primary audiences for this book is the individual unfamiliar with the concept of intrapersonal intelligence.

The second major audience I envision for this book is the person relatively new to the notion of collapse. Because Americans surely lead the world in ignorance and denial, this book has great appeal to the masses. I know only a handful of people willing to seek broad-scale knowledge or personal introspection, much less both phenomena.

I can pick nits, of course. Baker foresees a continuation of the relentless grinding down of industrial civilization, as well as a long period of human recovery after collapse is complete. For example, Baker wonders “what kind of culture we will construct from the rubble of this one.” Considering the virtually certain near-term demise of our species, Baker’s concern about “centuries of … domination by the shadow” (aka patriarchy) in the wake of collapse seems quite optimistic. Rather, as she points out in the following sentence, “we must … confront patriarchy whenever it attempts to ‘rein us in’ and carry out its hostile takeovers.” Sadly, we’re several millennia too late to rein in patriarchy. Ergo, our dire straits.

On the other hand, Collapsing Consciously goes beyond the typically arrogant perspective of humanism by drawing attention to the consequences of industrial civilization for non-industrialized humans and non-human species. The associated treatment of these topics is relatively light, which is consistent with this relatively brief treatment that is instead focused on introspection.

Minor quibbles aside, Baker’s treatment is broadly consistent with the perspective I have reached within the last 18 months or so. For example, in a chapter titled, “Hospice Workers for the World” is found this final sentence: “Make death your ally in order to more passionately savor your life and to become a more skilled hospice worker for the world.” It’s a great finale to a fine chapter.

In summary, I recommend Collapsing Consciously, especially for the very large number of people who have avoided the topic of collapse or the process of personal introspection. Unfortunately, people in the latter group deny they’ve avoided introspection or, worse, believe the journey of knowing themselves has reached completion (in which case, sadly, it probably has). Further, many of the ignorant in both groups have selected ignorance as the path to personal bliss.


My latest book was published this month. Going Dark is available from the publisher and Amazon. It’ll be available in digital form within a few weeks.


My latest essay for The Good Men Project was posted Monday, 28 October 2013: Protecting the Common Good.

I was interviewed by KGNU in Boulder, Colorado on 18 October 2013. The 7-minute, 28-second interview was broadcast Monday, 28 October 2013, and it can be heard here (description of the show is here).


Thanks to ulvfugl for pointing out a technical fix to the problem of the disappearing comments: “I’m using Chrome browser. Go to top right corner, click three horizontal bars, says ‘new incognito window’, get NBL, and everything is immediately updated. Can’t advise for any other browsers, but I assume it’s something to do with cookies and being tracked, etc, because being anonymous fixes it.”

Comments 53

  • Yes, too late.

    All these intellectual luxuries I cannot afford, for although I am well-educated and well-read, today I’m simply hungry and cold.

  • Why are you always the first to post Rob?

  • “Make death your ally in order to more passionately savor your life and to become a more skilled hospice worker for the world.”

    The Great Death, also known as The “Extinguishment” (= Nirvana in Sanskrit, Nibbana in Pali and extant Bengali) reveals the illusory nature of the “I”, and the consequent illusory nature of everything that seems to happen to “it”, although it is all very real in its own context.

    A better (but probably unsaleable) title might has been “Extincting Cosciously”. One take on the subject: Bardo Thodol

    believe the journey of knowing themselves has reached completion

    As long as the “themselves” each has a sense of “I”, its journey ain’t over. And the journey is not over until the journey and the effort are recognised as illusory, though quite real in their own contexts.

  • @ Nathanial: because I eagerly await whenever Guy “posts anew!”

  • I inadvertently deleted the following comment from tulugaak after it landed in the spam folder:

    The recent trending in the Arctic sea ice extent is not the canary in the AGW coal mine. It’s far more complex than that, and in fact, may not be due to AGW at all. There is so much going on, and when you investigate it thoroughly, with an open and objective mind, it’s clear the IPCC climate models are a farce, not because they don’t include Guy’s vaunted and prized feedbacks, but because they can’t possibly, and don’t, model the complexity of the biosphere and how it relates to and predicts climate patterns.

    Here’s an excellent link. For those who care enough, take the time to read through it thoroughly. It’s great material. There’s so much more to this warming trend in the Arctic and its effect on the sea ice. To chalk it up to AGW is naive and simplistic. Also, as you read with your open and objective mind, you quickly come to the conclusion that the IPCC and their models are full of shit. Just like those derivatives models on Wall Street created by scientists were full of shit. Models will always tell you what you want to hear. They’re very much like opinion polls that way. Make sure to read the comments. That’s where the meat of this discussion can be found. Don’t be fooled again.


    Could Arctic Sea Ice Decline be Caused by the Arctic Oscillation?

    While the IPCC claims that recent Arctic sea ice declines are the result of human-caused warming, there is also convincing observational evidence that natural cycles in atmospheric circulation patterns might also be involved.

    And unless we know how much of the decline is natural, I maintain we cannot know how much is human-caused.

    In 2002, a paper was published in the Journal of Climate entitled Response of Sea Ice to the Arctic Oscillation, where the authors (one of whom, Mike Wallace, was a co-discoverer of the AO) shows that changing wind patterns associated with the AO contributed to Arctic sea ice declines from one decade to the next: from 1979-1988 to 1989-1998.

    The Arctic Oscillation involves sea level pressure patterns over the Arctic Ocean, North Atlantic, and North Pacific. Since sea ice moves around with the wind (see this movie example), sea level pressure patterns can either expose or cover various sections of the Arctic Ocean.

    When there are many winters in a row with high (or low) pressure, it can affect sea ice cover on decadal time scales. Over time, ice can become more extensive and thicker, or less extensive and thinner.

    There is a time lag involved in all of this, as discussed in the above paper. So, to examine the potential cumulative effect of the AO, I made the following plot of cumulative values of the winter (December-January-February) AO (actually, their departures from the long-term average) since 1900. I’ve attached a spreadsheet with the data for those interested, updated through this past winter.

    Consistent with the analysis in the above-cited paper, the sea ice decline since satellite monitoring began in 1979 was during a period of persistent positive values of the AO index (note the reversed vertical scale). Since the satellite period started toward the end of a prolonged period of negative AO values, this raises the question of whether we just happened to start monitoring Arctic sea ice when it was near peak coverage.

    Note that back in the 1920’s, when there were reports of declining sea ice, record warmth, and disappearing glaciers, there was similar AO behavior to the last couple of decades. Obviously, that was before humans could have influenced the climate system in any substantial way.

    I won’t go into what might be causing the cyclic pattern in the AO over several decades. My only point is that there is published evidence to support the view that some (or even most?) of the ~20 year sea ice decline up until the 2007 minimum was part of a natural cycle, related to multi-decadal changes in average wind patterns.

  • As Greenland melts, pouring astounding amounts of fresh water into the critical “sinking point” of the North Atlantic Thermohaline circulation, slowing it to a crawl, there is another side effect.

    The weight of the ice on Greenland disappearing will produce a rebound effect on the land mass which will produce seismic events. i .e. earthquakes, underwater earthquakes, under the frozen methane deposits, cracking the seal on those deposits, and give rise to amazing methane releases especially along fault lines.

    The pre-industrial levels of CO2 and methane, from only about 2 hundred some years ago, are more than enough proof of man made global warming, period.

    Jabbering on about ‘Arctic Oscillation’ is a red herring.

    We know CO2 and methane heat the crap out of the atmosphere, period.

    We know the amount we have now is off the charts in geological history.

    ‘Arctic Oscillation’ does not change the fact one iota that industrial civilization has to collapse to save even a fraction of life forms on the planet.

    Humans are not one of those ‘save-able’ forms, thank God and good riddance, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

  • First to order Guy’s new book? It will be interesting to see the 160-page journey he takes us on, after coming to know his voice so well in the past year.

    My sketchy impression of Carolyn from her posts here (and do I have to read a book before even commenting?) is that she is one of us struggling with the spiritual acceptance of the physical disaster ahead of us.

    From her language, I interpret her as maintaining a “high-level” perspective on it all, and rarely delving into the “dark night of the soul” which we all have gone, or are about to go, through. In plain English, I would express this as “We are truly, totally fucked. Now what do we do?”

    There is something about most “spiritual” thinkers that expects everything to “turn out all right”, in some way, and they feel compelled to give us some form of optimism. After all, depressed people rarely complete books to present to us. (William Styron — I think his followed several years afterward?) But I know it isn’t fair to generalize to Carolyn my impressions of others, without reading more — the Hospice concept does weigh on me as unprocessed as yet.

    But for Compassion to flow, we are each going to have to be able to touch that depth of despair when we encounter it in the others who are in it now, or will soon follow. (This is why I considered Daniel’s discussions on suicide to be premature, if not maladaptive.)

    And yet today, at breakfast, I found myself pondering a bit the metaphysical idea of “God” (I don’t think much about God-type entities) as the consciousness which spun out the material world/universe to serve as the field in which it could discover itself. “Maya”, I guess it is called.

    The journey of self-discovery is a peculiarly human metaphor or fable for many varying experiences, and projecting it out to the “higher” consciousness realm would be a likely step for our imaginations.

    But, I thought, what kind of species can even imagine at this level, if there is not to be anything to it in the realm of Reality? Not proof, but a recurrent supposition through thousands of years.

    Anyway, our impending mortal destruction would point to some idea like the above as being one of the few explanations we could hope for to be a rationale for our screwy existence here, these past few centuries. I guess that’s Kali-Yuga, isn’t it? Just no 2000-year “recycle” on Earth, this time.

    But it’s a bike race through a railroad crossing, with that whistle blowing louder and nearer, isn’t it? We’ll only know if we made it, when we do.


    “Alternate” explanations of Arctic phenomena are so pathetically illogical!

    They concede the observed ice loss. They concede some human effect, though argue the magnitude.

    Then they throw up a bunch of mud and smoke and try to prop up “other causes”, so as to erase the human factor off the blackboard of our recent memory.


    Whether humans are the cause of 80% or 20%, we logically must halt ANY input into the melting cycle, and this would be even more productive if we were the 80% they don’t want us to be, because then our changed behavior could possibly have an effect.

    Can you say “Tipping Point”? Even if we were the 20% factor, the trend is toward accelerating habitat loss.

    The IPCC is stuck in neutral, one notch away from acknowledging Tipping Points. Careerism at work there.

    The Deniers are stuck in reverse, two notches away from correct Science. Paid science trolls.

    Remember — 3 out of 4 Science Trolls recommend Lucky Strike! (with their white lab coats on, of course — or is that too 60’s for those of you who’ve never seen a cigarette commercial?)

  • @Henry, et. al.
    “And yet today, at breakfast, I found myself pondering a bit the metaphysical idea of “God” (I don’t think much about God-type entities) as the consciousness which spun out the material world/universe to serve as the field in which it could discover itself. “Maya”, I guess it is called.

    The journey of self-discovery is a peculiarly human metaphor or fable for many varying experiences, and projecting it out to the “higher” consciousness realm would be a likely step for our imaginations.

    But, I thought, what kind of species can even imagine at this level, if there is not to be anything to it in the realm of Reality? Not proof, but a recurrent supposition through thousands of years.

    Anyway, our impending mortal destruction would point to some idea like the above as being one of the few explanations we could hope for to be a rationale for our screwy existence here, these past few centuries. I guess that’s Kali-Yuga, isn’t it? Just no 2000-year “recycle” on Earth, this time.”
    I don’t suffer from the need to answer such questions as you allude to in the quoted paragraphs. I think that big WHY? is unanswerable and I’ve been happy to accept it as such. (Maya shmaya…)
    “It is what it is” whatever “it” is……………
    I consider it quirkily anthropocentric to contemplate a CONSCIOUSNESS “which spun out the material world/universe” much less “to serve as the field in which it could discover itself.”
    I think, as you say next, it’s simply “a likely step for our imaginations.”

    But even if humans are the only species that “can even imagine at this level”, I don’t see that as reason for there to be “… anything to it in the realm of Reality…”.
    It may be “a recurrent supposition through thousands of years”, but it’s still imagined.

    I also don’t see how “our impending mortal destruction” – that looks like it’ll take the whole rest of life on Earth with it! – points to anything such as you’ve described, nor do I hope for “a rationale for our screwy existence here, these past few centuries” or ever.
    Though, when younger, I pondered such infinite questions plenty myself, my conclusion is, as I’ve said, there just ain’t no answer. Despite lots of human understanding accumulated answering ‘smaller’ questions, that ultimate biggie is – and will always be – a great mystery.

    I haven’t been a participant at this website but do some “lurking”. I know that the Earth is being destroyed by the human species and I deeply appreciate this site’s understanding.
    Given the dire straits, I thought why not respond to this bit of “pie in the sky”.
    No offense intended.

  • In desperation, we cling to straws. Seek ways to make lemonade out of onions. The unpleasant anxiety that occurs when contemplating the trajectory of human activities tends to present as denial or depression or anger and remorse, or sad futile negotiations & mitigations, although in the immature it can express as magical personal immunity in refugia with celebratory schadenfreude. Some may reach acceptance. Perhaps this is who we are, and what we should expect. Death is a pickle.

    None of us like to be victimized and feel small. Yet we are all aware of being victimized from time to time, while some people know they are being victimized all the time, personally and generally. Those at the top of the hierarchy like to blame their victims for their sorry state, and deny that there is any such thing as victimization at all. That enables victimization. And profit.

    At this point most humans, to some extent, are victimizers – of all the rest of humanity and other sentient life forms. In nearly every action that we carry out to support our ongoing existence, we are creating hardships for others even as we impact physical environmental processes and delete relationships within the biomass. We have broken the main rule of the Life game – we are doing harm. Harming ourselves as well. Permanently.

    This causes fear and hatred of ‘others’. Perhaps in the better educated, some guilt and self loathing… to be assuaged with heavy coats of spiritual practices and/or affordable badges of charity. We like to think of ourselves as surviving heroes in our own stories. We prefer to feel as though we have some agency. If lacking it in the real world, as conspicuous victimizers, many create some sense of agency through fantasy. Perhaps its the reason violent virtual reality games have become bigger than movies. Some games don’t even have to End, you just pick up where you left off and continue on with the bloody slaughter, screams and percussive glory, et alia. In times of hardship in the past, serial movies were very popular… they did not End. But fantasies won’t save us.

    We, here… most of us anyway… know we’re reaching The End. Many throughout global ‘civilization’ now sense that something is really going wrong somewhere under the hood. Steam and smoke spurting out everywhere, the flash of fire, the lack of economic motion, even backsliding. Cities going bankrupt. Hunger and homelessness. Oceans dying. The rich are scared well beyond their typical appropriate karmic paranoia. Militarized ‘security’ forces, snooping, incarceration, torture, and officially excused even blatantly sanctioned murder by bullet and drone have become rampant. There is an ever more apparent global queasiness – among the ‘real’ people – in sharp contrast to the charade of corporate/government mass media. The rumble of fear and panic is getting louder. The onion is peeling away, the juice is on the table. Of course, some will add sugar, if they still have any. How many ways do we say… The Ending. Death. Extinction. The Show is Over, time to exit the theatre. No Loitering. My, my, how we cling! Nature’s bouncers are on the way.

  • @Cat

    That was really nice.

    Thanks all for the kind words and love.

    Cedar waxwings Bombycilla cedrorummade their annual appearance today along with the American robin – Turdus migratorius. They travel together oddly enough and are presently on their southward winter migration. I have been observing this behavior for many years. The waxwings and robins were eating the ripened blue fruit of Juniperus virginiana – Redcedar. Perhaps the derivation of the name cedar waxwing. The consumed juniper seeds will be exposed to the stomach acid of the birds, become scarified, wintered over (meet their chilling requirement) when excreted by the birds and possibly germinate the following spring. Redcedar seed needs acid or mechanical scarification in order to germinate. They have a rather impenetrable seed coat otherwise. Scarification is needed so that the seeds may absorb water. Many plants are dispersed geographically in this manner. It’s as if waxwings partly insure their survival by their symbiosis to Juniperus virginiana. By tomorrow the Redcedar on my property will be completely stripped of their fruit. Looks like I’ll have to wait another year to make gin. 🙂

    Aw whooooooooooo! Warewolves of London!

  • ulvfugl.
    Is this place anywhere near your neck of the woods? Is it an elaborate stage set, or another example of the miraculous tapestry of the human experience? Not meaning to go off tangent here folks, but seeing these photographs made me realize once again that it’s all about the stories we tell, in so many, many different ways.


  • Very eloquent Logspirit. Thank you.

    Thanks too to whoever posted the “The Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness” awhile back. It states:

    “We declare the following: The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Nonhuman animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”


    If we, the guilty, were the only ones facing extinction, what a wonderful beautiful world this would be. We are all complicit in this situation to some degree, but there are those who are way more guilty. Like René Descartes – and the bastard has apparently gotten off scott free by dying so long ago.

  • @ Wren
    Thank You. At this point only a few of us know what’s going on. Besides the harsh reality of looming human extinction, there’s a lot of vituperative resistance out there. We need each other to buffer these terrors. On our own, the burden is heavy indeed. Let’s strengthen heart in helping each other, and open our hearts through acceptance of help. We should pay special attention to supporting Guy in these matters.

  • It’s too bad most people are busy blaming everything on politics and can’t accept the blatant fact that the party is over. We are all to blame to some degree for expecting to get something for nothing. Well, payment is due and reality accepts your life as currency, or entire species for that matter.

  • I was just recently remembering that couple of years ago I attended a Panchamama Alliance Awakening the Dreamer Symposium. ( I was trying to brainstorm about how Guy might provide some kind of “aftercare” when he gives talks. ) I remembered watching the video that showed all of the destruction on the planet. When it got to the part about the animals going extinct, the woman next to me and myself burst into tears. Suddenly we were friends, there for each other in our shared despair.

    I also remember that the afternoon was meant to be a time of networking. If you had an area of interest you could create a group, otherwise you signed up onto someone else ‘s. I had this sudden impulse to create a group called What to do about the coming tsunami? Even though I wanted to join the bee group and I also cared about the watersheds and every group had an important theme, I just had this sense of intense urgency, of impending disaster, of monumental, overwhelming destruction that I wanted to address. And crazily, a whole bunch of people signed up for my table, with its completely vague title, because they felt it too. (We talked about doing educational outreach projects, kept in touch for a while and eventually mostly forgot about each other. I still keep in occasional contact with a few of them.)

    Even more crazily, a couple of weeks after the Symposium the tsunami hit Japan/Fukushima. That is not what I meant, not a literal tsunami. That just made things a lot worse.

    So anyway, Guy, I was thinking about how it might be useful to provide some integration resources for people at the end of your talks. If you are still planning to give talks, that is. Maybe there would be a separate time for people who want to get together and process the info more deeply, for example. I am happy to brainstorm with you re this if you want.

  • Well, Judy, good for you! I wouldn’t want to make anyone suffer, and, you know, I didn’t “suffer” it myself for more than about five minutes at breakfast, so don’t worry ’bout me. Then my phone buzzed and I had earthier pleasures to contemplate. I took about 15 minutes writing the above, and, unless you’re a faster typer than me, you took about the same to respond. (Hey! It’s always nice to be quoted.)

    So, if the question is “unanswerable”, which sounds like about where I left it, too, why do you answer it with “it’s still imagined”? Sounds to me like you’ve got THE answer to the “great mystery”! (“It is what is it — but I say it AIN’t!”)

    And “pie in the sky”? I really wasn’t working too hard at this one, spinning out a bit of my remembered Anthro of Religion, from age 19 courses and summer readings, such as in the Vedas. I was pretty impressed at how they had nailed over 3500 years ago most of the issues I had been reading about in Western philosophy since I was 13.

    I haven’t learned that much more about it in the 40+ years since, but it’s curious how it’s stuck with me, without much further development.

    I guess I just want to remind you that millions of humans, possibly as smart as you and I, have held beliefs based upon those “pie-ish” principles. So I didn’t make this shit up. (Of course, our colonizing cousins called them “heathens” for most of the past few centuries. Not us, right?) So it HAS been a part of human experience to contemplate such, until, of course, such able debunkers as yourself come along.

    I think using the word “supposition” as a description of what human — not “anthropocentric” — philosophers have been doing for 3500 years was pretty tame, don’t you? I was referring to the affinities of others toward certain beliefs.

    But I think my “railroad crossing” analogy was the closest I came to describing how “unanswerable” I think it might be. And I think that impending extinction does squeeze us to maybe think just once in a while about the “unanswerable” questions of consciousness. )Just because something may be “unanswerable”, does that prohibit THINKING upon it? Yikes! A stern regime you propose! Hope the Stasi aren’t listening in!) It does to me, anyway, in those five-minute bursts of “just checking in” on the topic. So I think we share a lack of effort on that particular count, though for differing reasons.

    Meaning, you don’t get an answer until you do. If you don’t, you don’t. I don’t think I stepped outside the bounds of measurable scientific theory on that one. It’s a hypothesis, like any other.

    No, you did your pondering back in your youth, and now that you’re all grown up, you just don’t like having someone bring up the subject, even without declaring an “answer” one way or the other. (You’re happy to provide yours.) Your bias is clear: you just don’t want to hear about it. The lady doth protest…

    OK, what’s relevant here at this site is observing a cult of Deniers — in various topics, whether it’s Climate or Metaphysics. If you say that you are being objective, and then everything that follows is biased against observed facts, or claims conclusions where you have no facts, then your claimed objectivity is only Denial and Propaganda.

    Most humans are unable to maintain two contradictory, or inconclusive, thoughts in their minds at one time. They must DECIDE! But this holding in abeyance is the essence of what the Scientific Method allows us to do, while proofs are being obtained.

    (Isn’t it amazing that sailors went out to sea, over the Atlantic horizon, came back, and most people still held that the Earth was flat, and that “here be dragons”!)

    The fact that most scientists have maintained a Materialistic bias throughout the Age of Enlightenment does not mean that Materialism is scientific fact. Materialism is an unproven hypothesis, just like many others. A question that remains open.

    You are doing what most humans do habitually, exhibiting Confirmation Bias, or is it Normalcy Bias? I guess that’s a whole topic for us to delve into another time, and probably not by me… “and that’s all I have to say about that.”

  • @logspirit said:

    At this point only a few of us know what’s going on.

    Correction. You think you know what’s going on. “You think” is the operative phrase. Just because “you think” something or other is as you believe it to be, doesn’t mean that something or other is actually what you believe it to be. Your certainty is an excellent indicator of the verity of this statement. Just as being free or not free is an illusion, so too is NTE. It’s all an illusion, and a powerful one at that.

    there’s a lot of vituperative resistance out there.

    Well, you know what they say; Resistance is Fertile. What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander. Avoid double standards in these most certain End Times.

    We need each other to buffer these terrors.

    Really? What “terrors?” Not the ones you and others here keep promising are coming around the corner at any moment, but the ones plaguing your life, right now, brought on by an ensuing environmental collapse? You’re still reading and posting to the internet, so the “terrors” of which you speak surely cannot have arrived. Luxuries like the internet are not indicative of a current plague of “terrors.” If the “terrors” haven’t arrived just yet, but will any day now, the luxury of the internet that so many, including yourself, have relied on to vapidly fill their/your empty live(s) will be no more but for a handful, and then what? With your always tenuous and synthetic online connections severed, there goes your buffer to the “terrors” that may, or may not, manifest in the form you emphatically envisioned with all your heart and soul. Things rarely work out the way we wish or plan. I suspect collapse will be no different. If it comes, it will do so in its own time and in its own way. You can’t, and don’t, own it. You can’t contain it and define it, and in fact, quite the opposite is more probable. It contains and defines you, and it’s still only a construct.

    On our own, the burden is heavy indeed. Let’s strengthen heart in helping each other, and open our hearts through acceptance of help.

    When I close my eyes and repeat this several times over in the most effective pious intonation I can muster, it reminds of the Catholic dogma of my youth. Embrace victimhood. Support each other as you embrace the suffering of your human misery, which is all our fault of course, and offer it up to nature, since nature, like God, has the last word, and the the last at bat, of course. Nature, like God, is the Alpha and the Omega. A perfect stand-in.

    We should pay special attention to supporting Guy in these matters.

    Just as the apostles helped Jesus in his ministry, I suppose. The interesting thing about the apostles is that many of them lacked the conviction of the Messiah, and even more so, many of them didn’t understand the depth of his mission. They just, for whatever reasons, dropped their former lives and blindly followed his lead. Imagine the disillusionment when the majority of the them realized they helped Jesus crucify himself. One would have to think they had one of those WTF moments. They’d been duped. They dropped their former existences, some leaving wives and children behind, to help a vainglorius exhibitionist fulfill his spectacularly grandiose demise. Help can be funny like that.

  • @ Alfred Nugent

    Nice rant. “Resistance is fertile” working in both directions is a good insight.

    We’re still taken in by the gospel stories because they are still taught uncritically. But, as Richard Carrier argues, the laughably simple recruitment of the Zebedee brothers and the fact that the disciples were “as dumb as a sack of hammers [Carrier’s words]” are both examples of myth-making rather than straightforward storytelling, because life doesn’t work like that. “Follow me” does not suffice to get people to drop what they’re doing, and people generally suss things out in a week or two unless they’re mentally subnormal.

  • Regarding consciousness and the distinction between the human and animal varieties thereof, this recent paper seems like an excellent place to begin: http://users.wfu.edu/masicaej/BaumeisterMasicampo2010PsychRev.pdf

    It’s a remarkably cogent and accessible recent (2010) paper on the nature and role of human consciousness. Frankly, I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever read on consciousness. I completely demystifies (or demysticizes?) its role in humans, and draws a clear and logical distinction between human consciousness and that of non-linguistic animals. For adult psychonauts of every age…

    I had a demurral yesterday from an evolutionary psych prof that the paper ignores the “hard problem” in consciousness, namely the existence of qualia. (“Qualia” are individual instances of subjective, conscious experience. Examples of qualia are the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, or the perceived redness of an evening sky.)

    After chewing on the question of qualia and consciousness a bit more, I’ve come to a resolution that satisfies me for now. I’m moved to share it with this group, as there are people here on both sides of the materialist/spiritual divide, with correspondingly divergent opinions about the nature and origin of consciousness.

    The explanation of consciousness provided by Baumeister and Masicampo seems quite convincing. Their view seems to be that the conscious processes of the brain, aggregated as a unitary “consciousness”, act mainly in two capacities:

    1. Consciousness acts as an executive overlooking the myriad of special purpose, unconscious neural circuits that have evolved in the brain. These circuits do the vast majority of our sensory processing and primary decision-making. While this executive can to some degree access the output of some these circuits, unless there is a pressing need to do so, it can let them function automatically. some of the circuits apparently do not present their output directly to the conscious part of the brain, but instead raise motor signals that can be intercepted by consciousness. the ability of the conscious mind to intercept unconscious outputs can be improved to some degree by training, but unless there is a pressing need, the training is more trouble than it’s worth, so the signals remain unconscious.

    2. It provides added value to the organism by recognizing the significance of event sequencing, in terms of both subjective and objective event streams. This allows the organism to exploit much higher levels of complexity and subtlety in its inner and outer environment. This use of sequencing is seen in language (the increased information content of sentences versus the same sized, but random, aggregations of single words); in the use of numbers (counting, arithmetic and mathematics); and the recognition of cause-and-effect linkages. Together these are the building blocks of cultural interactions and the construction of organized civilization.

    So far in the analysis there is no apparent need for qualia. There seems to be little evolutionary value added by the subjective “experience” of sensory data.

    However, one of the functions of the conscious executive is to prioritize the organism’s response to sensory data. For example, if the organism receives environmental damage (e.g. from a cut, a bee sting or an animal bite) it helps if the situation communicates some measure of the urgency of the event. Urgency is usually assigned though emotional intensity – that’s where the psychological “hyperbolic discount function” as described by Nate Hagens and others comes from. The problem is that the conscious mind operates mainly from the neocortex, a part of the brain that is notoriously poor at processing emotions. So the system seems to be translating the sensory data into experiences that carry cognitive indications of the emotional intensity – qualia. This allows the conscious executive to decide more easily whether the pain being experienced is from a rock cut that can be safely ignored for the time being, a crushing event that demands immediate action, or a bee sting or animal bite that may trigger withdrawal unless the physical or social need for food is more important.

    The significance humans attach to qualia may be a category mistake. Qualia are so powerful, and their purpose so non-obvious, that we give them a pride of place in our awareness that they do not deserve. This can even extend to us ascribing a mystical origin or purpose to them. In a sense they may be the fool’s gold of consciousness – shiny, attractive and attention-getting, but in the end far less consequential than they seem.

    I’m quite happy to demote the significance of qualia in my own view of consciousness, in the face of the far more significant architecture postulated by Baumeister and Masicampo.

  • @ Paul Chefurka

    To this untrained ignoramus it appears that Baumeister and Masicampo regard interiority as inconsequential to how human consciousness builds what Eccles or Popper called World Three — manifest civilisation. I have no doubt that Eccles’s model has been superseded.

    Morris Berman believes interiority is hidden history. It is always repressed, and it is possible to have a society, such as that of the Carolingian epoch, whose citizens have “forgotten” that it is possible to have an inner life, that is, to assign meaning to emotionally charged experience.

  • I feel better now:

    November 1, 2013 – Executive Order — Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change.

    See whitehouse dot gov.

    “Executive Order — Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change


    – – – – – – –


    By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to prepare the Nation for the impacts of climate change by undertaking actions to enhance climate preparedness and resilience, it is hereby ordered as follows: …”

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #73

    Bobbing in the wake,
    turtle takes a breath and floats;
    the ship motors on.

  • Martin, I don’t know if they regard interiority as inconsequential, they don’t address the question directly. Although they are suitably mechanistic in their views, I don’t see anything in the paper that closes the door on interiority or dismisses it.

    Given the remarkable achievements of ants, termites and other eusocial insects, I’d be willing to say that our sense of interiority is largely orthogonal to our cultural behavior. But then I tend to be a thermodynamic determinist where aggregate human activities are concerned.

    So while I recognize the validity of interiority (it’a kind of hard to deny, having plenty of it myself and having played with it a lot) I personally would say it’s inconsequential to things like human behavior leading to the Global Clusterfuck. It’s fun and ineresting and useful to the person who’s considering their inner life, but to the dissipative human endeavour of industrial civilization, not so much.

  • Thanks, Paul.

  • Hey guys, great discussion. If I may interject a few possibly relevant thoughts:

    In this week’s Ideas & Discoveries magazine there’s an article describing the science behind “swarm behavior” in fish (although, by extension it’s probably similar to that of murmuration events in birds and bee swarm activity)and delves into “organized chaos” – where activity is largely innate insticts being exhibited by individuals without any kind of leader. For example the researchers (from U of Leeds in the UK) describe these “superorganisms” of huge congregations of fish that form in the presence of large predator species, like sharks, as operating by 3 basic rules that they learn as little fishies and practice for the remainder of their lives (like walking in the presence of traffic to us).

    The rules are “move toward the center of the school, move in the same direction as your neighbor, and make sure no one comes too close to you. In order to maintain the appropriate distance, the animals rely on their lateral line system, the most advanced sense of touch found in nature. With this sensory ability, the fish can feel differences in water pressure as well as discern the tiniest changes in the school. And they can respond extremely quickly – within .13 seconds they’ll detect a deviation and react accordingly. These high-performance capabilities enable the collective to regulate itself.

    (further down the article)

    None of the fish is consciously aware of anything as it swims” according to an ecology/evolutionary biologist(Iain Couzin of Princeton). So fish (and I guess other swarming species) are on “autopilot” and are only looking out for their own best interests in functioning as a school.

    i’m not sure I agree that they “aren’t conscious of anything” statement, though I think the rest is on the mark.

    I posted the article a few days ago that started this conversation – that scientists have now declared non-human animal consciousness is on the same level as human consciousness. It’s only taken us how many millennia to get that straight (so much for the sapient-sapient species, eh)?

    Thanks for sharing your ideas Martin and Paul.

  • Ran across this : http://www.fukuleaks.org/web/?p=11357

    Fukushima Unit 4 Fuel Removal Risks

    It discusses the new structure they have built around and over Unit 4 with the new cranes, shows a fuel rod assembly that they dropped a weight on to see what sort of damage ensued, and risk factors.

  • @ Tom

    Thanks very much for sharing your research. This posts goes to the heart of what concerns me–innate abilities to “think” and move as one, leaderless. Moving in the same direction. I think the average bus driver and WalMart shopper has a vast store of overstanding that is repressed.

    “In this week’s Ideas & Discoveries magazine there’s an article describing the science behind “swarm behavior” in fish (although, by extension it’s probably similar to that of murmuration events in birds and bee swarm activity)and delves into “organized chaos” – where activity is largely innate insticts being exhibited by individuals without any kind of leader. For example the researchers (from U of Leeds in the UK) describe these “superorganisms” of huge congregations of fish that form in the presence of large predator species, like sharks, as operating by 3 basic rules that they learn as little fishies and practice for the remainder of their lives (like walking in the presence of traffic to us).”

  • To the detractor(s?): It should be obvious, but it obviously isn’t to you, that reveling in ignorance isn’t going to protect your gluteus maximus from extinction.


    And the day went like so many others… another 200+ species down the tubes forever. Drop or rip or cross it off the calendar. Its gone. Just forget about it. Traffic on the roads. Supermarkets sold flesh and carbonated sugar water to ignorant ‘consumers’. All the people on the planet went through their individual experiences of all sorts. And more deadly gasses bled into the transparent blue membrane of air that gift wraps the Earth. And more poisons were blended into the waters, and allowed to seep deeply into the ground. And were injected and pumped with great force into the ground, forced in, breaking the bedrock. To make plastic, and dirty fuel to distribute the dirty plastic everywhere. And there were songs of love and heartbreak, but birdsongs were muffled and rare and hardly noticed, dam red light – change… I’m late, waiting all day tense gritty hours of boring endurance test for the paycheck, paper pushers and button pushers and hawkers of plastic birds that sing, stoned drinkers and tokers and pill poppers and caffeinated cops… suits and whores and pimps and busboys and couriers… Mountains moved to get at the coal… and mountains of toxic trash to prove it all happened. And sick whales. And more dead ones on the lonely beach. Too dead to sing. And dead silent birds with broken hearts and dead bees and dead frogs and dead bats… and dead people. And even more cute human babies born to intensify it all, and suffer in the choked waning hours. And the noisy frantic rush stuck in traffic to get ‘home’ to zone out for hours on TV and toss and turn for hours of sweaty insomnia from the frantic stressful rush to live to repeat another similarly deadly day, on Monday morning.

    Soon we’re gonna run out of Fridays. Run out of Mondays and Weekdays and Holidays. Run out of days. Too bad the world can’t escape from the jail of Fakedays. Real days don’t have or need names. They aren’t designated abstractions. Oh! But in this civilized machine greased by money they are. And we are all tiny cogs spinning madly.

  • This gripping account comes from a volunteer with a fantastic organization working to save the forests of Indonesia through land purchase. Please visit: http://www.orangutan.org/our-projects/land-stewardship/purchase-and-protection

    “A smoky haze blankets the landscape for miles before we reach Rawa Kuno Forest. Off in the distance, great plumes of smoke can be seen emanating from the horizon. At the base of each plume, orange flames reach up and produce the smoke that is being carried off into the sky. Once the sun goes down, an orange glow fills the air in the direction of each fire, creating an eerily apocalyptic scene. It’s a glimpse into the end of the world, seen from a place that was once untouched by humankind, but is now bleeding and scarred.

    I am on my way to join OFI’s firefighters in Rawa Kuno, one of our protected forests that we’ve been working so hard to establish and protect. Fires have been raging for several weeks, and OFI staff from all of our stations have headed to join the fight, lending their hands to battling the flames.

    The drive is long, and with plenty of time for reflection I can’t help but think about the state of the Earth, our only home. Along the way the view of rainforest is all too frequently interrupted by abandoned mining areas and vast expanses of palm oil plantation. I find myself thinking about the impending global climate changes, and resulting disasters that range from the tornadoes that rip through my home state, Nebraska, with increasing severity and frequency, to the wildfires raging all over the planet due to severe drought everywhere. I imagine what the world will look like as human populations continue to rise, and all the resulting pollution and garbage we create will accumulate. I picture a plastic bag already making its way down rivers and streams, headed to the ocean where some poor creature will mistake it for a jellyfish and possibly suffer an ugly death because of it. I think about the drilling and fracking operations that are poisoning our fresh water sources and spilling crude oil all over the planet, and about the tons of radioactive water leaking into the Pacific Ocean from the crippled nuclear power plant in Japan,. I could keep going, but I try to stop myself. I get the point. Earth is in a sad state of disrepair. All these thoughts are front and center in my mind as we make our way towards the smoke and flames.

    I spend the day out in Rawa Kuno doing my best to help OFI staff battle the blaze which, thanks to their tireless effort, is now contained. After just one day at the fires I spend the next three days coughing and blowing black boogers out of my nose due to the heavy smoke I experienced (a charming sight, to be sure). By the end of the day I am soaked to the bone with sweat, dehydrated, and physically exhausted from clambering over fallen trees while dragging heavy fire hoses. Some of the staff has been out there, day in and day out, for weeks. I can only imagine their weariness, but you would never know it. They are still in good spirits, working as though they had only been at it for a few minutes and not a few weeks or more.

    Aside from braving the smoke, the heat, and the other ever-present dangers in the forest, there is also the danger of falling trees. The fire gets down into the peat and destroys the roots. This makes the welcome wind a warning sign. After the wind comes up, a loud crack is heard, and then the unmistakable sound of a tree falling occurs. Or several trees, as they often fall in a large group. The staff only stop long enough to ensure that they are out of harm’s way, and then they get right back to work as though nothing has happened.

    Fighting fires here is a logistical nightmare, but the ingenuity and perseverance of OFI staff is remarkable to behold. We don’t have dozens of helicopters to rain fire suppression from above, or teams of smoke jumpers and tanker trucks that we can parachute in. We have pumps, hoses, and human bodies, and that’s it. Even things like finding a water source is somewhat of a feat. Thankfully last year we had constructed a moat to form a physical boundary around Rawa Kuno. Our fire fighters are able to pump water from it even though the water level is very low. As they press on deeper into fire territory, they connect more and more hoses into one exceptionally long hose, and then with several men along the way they drag the hose towards the flames. This is repeated until the hose runs out, and then the pump has to be moved down the fire line. The men even let me try my hand at personing the end of the hose for a while (which is no easy feat), but I am glad for the opportunity to snuff out some of the flames myself. The satisfying hiss of a dying fire is about the best sound in the world when you’re surrounded by flames and smoke.

    The passion and dedication of our staff is palpable. It is obvious that they aren’t just doing their job. They truly do not want to see the forest destroyed by the fire. They are all too aware of the issues at hand and just how precious the remaining forest here is. In addition to fighting the encroachment of palm oil plantations and mining operations, we are now also facing the daunting challenge of fighting forest fires with limited resources. There is little infrastructure in place at the local government level to extinguish forest fires, so we are basically left on our own in safeguarding the forest we own. The countless other fires raging in Borneo, however, will likely continue on unchecked unless stopped by the rain. The fires remain a real threat to local ecosystems. With every passing dry season the viable forest here shrinks just a little bit more due to fire. What we really need right now is rain, and lots of it!

    The fires are primarily a result of human activity. Fires are often set to clear land and end up spreading out of control, or they are sometimes accidentally ignited when people burn their rubbish or carelessly toss away a lit cigarette. In addition to climate change making dry seasons longer and drier, palm oil plantations now established all over Borneo are lowering the water table with their irrigation ditches, drying out the peat layers over which forests sit. When you combine this with rising temperatures, decreased rainfall, and careless human activity you have the proverbial perfect tinderbox.

    Were it not for human activity, fires here would be extremely rare. Unlike the temperate forests of North America, where trees like the lodge pole pine depend on occasional fires for reproduction, the fires here serve no particular purpose. They are purely destructive. Due to the thick layer of peat, which is an enormously important carbon storage system for the planet, the fires in Borneo release an extraordinary amount of CO2 into the environment. The emissions from a peat forest fire are much higher than a fire of comparable size in North America, where it’s usually just the trees and vegetation above ground burning.

    Humans are the only creatures on the planet that are simultaneously smart enough and dumb enough to cause this level of damage to their own habitat. We are knowingly marching ourselves towards premature extinction, often making decisions every day that seemingly ensure this eventuality. We make these decisions in the form of the products we use, and the foods we eat, and the way in which we spend our money and conduct our lives.

    Every penny you spend is a vote for the way you want the world to be, and the future that you want the world to have. Spend wisely, buy responsibly, and tread lightly. Do so as though every living thing on Earth depends on it, because they do…including you and me.”

  • The historical evidence continues building. We can handle the truth. Demand full disclosure before it’s too late.

    The Battle of Los Angeles 25 February 1942

    by F. F. Kling

    On February 25, 1942 the citizens of Los Angeles were awakened to the wailing of air raid sirens, searchlights scanning the skies, and the firing of anti-aircraft (AA) heavy artillery.

    Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 coupled with subsequent sweeping Japanese naval and land victories, US military and civilian defense forces were on high alert. Many of Los Angeles’s three million residents contemplated the frightful possibility that the Second World War would soon arrive to the shores of the United States, and indeed an invasion did occur. Early on the morning of February 25, 1942 in an incident now referred to as the Battle of Los Angeles, US West Coast early alert radar stations began tracking a large unidentified object bearing down on Los Angeles. The radar plotting coordinates were rapidly communicated to the Army’s 37th Coastal Heavy Artillery Brigade, and a mandatory blackout order was issued from 2:25AM to 7:21AM. The blackout was in effect from Los Angeles to the Mexican border and inland to the San Joaquin Valley. The huge aircraft search lights flashed along a ten-mile front until converging on a single “massive white cigar-shaped object” hovering above the city. Without hesitation the guns were ordered to “Green Alert.” Anti-aircraft guns thundered over the metropolitan area for five straight hours at the intruder, but without effect. Furious and relentless anti-Aircraft artillery did not stop firing on the UFO until the all-clear finally sounded at 7:21AM. All the action was, clearly spotlighted for military and civilian ground observers by twenty powerful searchlights. Despite firing more than 1, 600 rounds of heavy flak and a similar number of rounds by US Army Air Corp fighter aircraft, much to the chagrin of the military chain of command, the object could not be brought down. An extremely good quality photograph appeared on the front page of the Los Angeles Times newspaper on February 26, 1942 that shows search light beams focusing on a gigantic flying saucer as AA artillery shells explode on and around the object.

    The Los Angeles Air Raid Warden testified, “It was huge! I have never seen anything like it in my life. We could see it perfectly because it was very close. When the AA fire failed despite scoring direct hits, we sent fighter planes up and we watched them shoot at the object but it mattered not. It was like the Fourth of July but much louder. The flak was so thick that you could walk on it. Our AA artillery and fighter aircraft were firing like crazy, but nothing could touch the mystery ship. When we considered that the Japs had developed aircraft that were impervious to our newest and most powerful AA artillery and fighter aircraft, a sense of panic and pandemonium ensued. Thank God the mystery object never returned.”

  • Sorry for the one over post, but I just had to compliment “logspirit” for a terrifically moving post on 11/2, 12:08AM.

  • @ puddles



    You forgot to add ‘ulvfugl is a mentally ill narcissistic psychopathic POS who should be burned..etc.’

    There. I’ve completed your comment for you. Aren’t I kind and helpful.
    How are the scabs ? Putrescine ?

    @ Alfred Nugent

    Boring. This blog, and the case for NTE, is science based. It’s not a cult, sect, religion or doctrine. Contributors are human beings with a huge variety of takes on what NTE means to us individually. Not only do you insult Christians, and the people here, but basic human intelligence. Just another troll.

    @ FKling

    The historical evidence continues building. We can handle the truth. Demand full disclosure before it’s too late.

    Anecdote is not scientific evidence.
    Who is this ‘we’ of which you speak ?
    What is this ‘truth’ of which you speak ?

  • @ FKling

    Presumably, you and your advisers in your conservation organisation will have been studying the paper by Camilo Mora very closely, to see how much of your forest reserves you can expect to be left as each year passes ?

    I can’t afford direct access to the original in Nature myself, but I’m certain that’s not a problem for you.


    So what percentage do you expect to remain intact annually, or is that too difficult to calculate ? Maybe how much by 2020 – 2025 – 2030 ?

    You said that all reserves are open to full public access. Do you expect that, when the local economy collapses and law and order ceases to exist and there are extreme weather events, that people will invade the forests and take whatever resources they can find to survive ?
    Do you calculate this probability ?

  • Today’s radio presentation over at seemorerocks is astounding [and touches on the animal mutilations that F. Kling (and I) have been interested in] and concerns the effects of nuclear radiation on the entire population of the world – but especially the northern hemisphere currently – including plants, animals and fish. The program will probably scare the shit out of you if you’re paying attention. This is what’s been happening for years and continues to this day. Each part ranges from 9 to 15 minutes and is extremely eye-opening. Take a listen (if you dare).


  • Ulv:

    Normally I do not bother to respond to your sensationalist comments, but I will make an exception in order to clarify the record for readers. You want hard UFO evidence? In a previous posting I provided information supplied by the Division Chief of the Accidents, Evaluations, and Investigations Division of the FAA in Washington in which he presented military and civilian radar and voice cockpit recorded evidence of a UFO encounter involving Japan Air flight 1628 in 1987. Fortunately, when he retired from the FAA he brought home with him the radar tracking tapes.

    You failed to comment on this evidence or is military/civilian radar tracking data not sufficient evidence for you because it certainly is for most people. Evidence of this quality would send a person to death row.

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

  • @ FKling

    I have never disputed that there is SOMETHING.

    There IS something. Something that is unidentified.

    There is NO hard evidence of anything that is extra terrestrial or anything that is alien to this planet.

    I am fully aware that there are countless anecdotal records. That doesn’t help. Adding to them does not help.

    The only serious scientific investigation that I know of, is the one by the Norwegians at Hessdalen. That shows that there is definitely something going on that is not understood by science. There is no evidence of any connection to aliens or extra terrestrials.

    As I have attempted to explain to you, unsuccessfully, the essence of the dispute between us, you have NO hard evidence to support your claim re aliens. NONE. When you have some, I’ll be happy to look at it.

    Anecdote will not do. Anecdote is NOT ADMISSIBLE.

    I don’t agree with you that ‘evidence’ of that quality would send someone to death row. Not in any court where I was a judge or a defence counsel. But you live in USA, where people who are innocent regularly get executed and most of the population have no idea wtf is going on and cannot distinguish movies from reality or sci fi from science.

    Do you understand what the word ‘sensationalist’ means ? Please check the definition.

    I’m not interested in YOUR sensationalist accounts. I want HARD scientific data. It has to be something that can be measured, something that can be properly studied. Otherwise, as I’ve said before, you’re just in the same package of cranks and loons who claim to have seen lake monsters and bigfoots and all the other crazy stuff.

    The scientists at Hessdalen have gone about it in the correct manner, they have the evidence.


  • Jeez, so much mumbo jumbo. Look, it’s really, really easy to articulate what happened over the last 200+ years, how it happened, and what it means to us today.

    Let’s boil it down to the nitty gritty: for 1,000s upon 1,000s of years, nighttime light was provided either by simple tallow candles or lamps. Rendered from animal fats, they tended to be smoky & sooty, but hey, it was better than the alternative.

    However, in the late 1700s, a little invention called the Argand lamp appeared on the scene that greatly enhanced the respective candle power. But what really maximized the power of the lantern was when this little ditty was combined with clean burning whale oil. Voila, good illumination without much of the accompanying odor. However, sadly, the world’s whale population took a massive hit, to the extent that this kind of lighting became quite a luxury.

    Well, our story really gets interesting when the kerosene lamp showed up in the 1850s. Here was even more clean candle power available, and the poor whales, which were starting to get scarce, caught a significant break. The kerosene lattern was literally the best thing since sliced bread, and set off the original drill, baby, drill mantra. But were people happy to just have some excellent, clean burning light? Nooo ….

    (Imagine, just for a moment, if the world’s population had stayed @ 1B, and that global petroleum supplies had been limited to [non-electrical] lighting. Not electrical generation, nor food production, nor transportation, nor energy, etc.)

    Soon enough, someone realizes an internal combustion engine can run off various distillates of petroleum, which in turn can power not only cars directly, but also steam, which in turn can power locomotives, ships, generators, etc.

    See where this is going? It’s all a house of cards. There’s really nothing there, there. Take a away a few key inventions, and water isn’t pumped into your house, shit ain’t pumped out, lights don’t go on, cars don’t run, food isn’t transported to your table, refrigeration doesn’t keep it (relatively) fresh, ad infinitum.

    You want to know how long it takes to before both men & women begin to look like filthy feudal serfs? Around 3 days – anyone who has ever backpacked knows this first hand. Well, it holds true for all of our major ‘advancements’. That is, the time frame between being all clean & fresh, sitting down with a nice mug of hot joe, and comfortably typing away at the interwebs vs being a straggly street person is also about 3 days.

    So, let’s review: the only thing keeping us from our dirty destiny is a miracle substance called petroleum. Unfortunately, without realizing its true worth, we wasted our legacy on cheap, short-term thrills.

    When it goes, we go. There’s no in-between – we’ve gone too far out on a limb to ever recover. This is what the elites fundamentally understand. And the reason they get away with their self-preservation strategy is two-fold:

    (1) the intelligent minority of folks who have also figured it out tend, for some odd reason, to be weepers; and
    (2) the idiotic majority who are too stupid to even have the slightest hint of what’s actually going down, continue to proudly demonstrate their ignorance at every opportunity.

    So there you have it – weepers gonna weep. My task is to help whiners & complainers buck up and face reality. It’s not a tragedy, not really; after all, if our forefathers hadn’t exploited the oil legacy, most likely none of us would even be here.

    That’s right, we’re here because of our ancestors’ profligate behavior. Noodle on that a bit. Then, when you get over it, start living like this is it, because it is.

  • artleads — thanks! Science has been in my blood since I was 6 — a Sputnik kid who knew every detail of astronomy in media available at the time. Then came “mysticism” (with chemical assist) and I’ve been juggling the two ever since. NBL and its very wise participants are a golden opportunity for me to become more honest with myself about how I look at scientific phenomena. We are challenged with the biggest problem ever, and we challenge each other to think afresh about it. So many moving parts, so many good hearts!

    logspirit — poetry, pure poetry!

    B9K9 — good summary, and always welcome, as I reprocess all of my own perspectives just about every week, and your input helps.

    Your post reminded me of this summer, driving my daughter around and through several of the massive old mill towns in New England (in Mass., Conn., and Maine) with their long, long brick factories built along rivers, and next to the canals they had built. That is simply MAJOR testimony to what the power source was 150 years ago, and what they thought it was going to be henceforth.

    Then came electricity, then petroleum, and I don’t think human culture, let alone the awareness of individuals, has had time to recuperate from the shock of these technologies. They just catapulted these generations into new frameworks, and forward they marched as if hypnotized. (Still doing so.)

    Add industrial agriculture, and you’ve got billions living in cities who could not possibly feed themselves tomorrow if the trucks stopped rolling in.

    Historians like Henry Adams sensed what was coming, his expression of “the dynamo” was a despair over industrialization destroying the classical (read “sustainable”?) world. Little could he suspect how much his worries would underestimate what was to come.

  • @Henry said:

    We are challenged with the biggest problem ever, and we challenge each other to think afresh about it. So many moving parts, so many good hearts!

    Another non-believer pretending to be a believer. I’m guessing people do this, meaning they pretend to believe something on a message board that they don’t really believe, because they feel a need to belong. It stems from a sense of loneliness and insecurity. In this case, per the above quote, it’s clear this person does not accept NTE, because if he did, he wouldn’t be making statements that refer to NTE as a problem. Per the dogmatic NTE message, NTE is not a problem, it’s the solution. The Final Solution. And yet this person holds themselves out as a de facto spokesperson for NTE. If you’re going to be a spokesperson for the NTE message, you don’t present it as a problem. Hasn’t your NTE training taught you anything? I expect better of you. Shape up, or ship out, mister.

  • @ nomas

    Same cowardly troll.

    There is no ‘requirement to believe’ to post comments here or to be accepted.

    The certainty, even the possibility, that humans, that much or even most, of the rest of life on Earth, will become extinct, is so shocking and appalling that people very naturally find the idea very hard to come to terms with, even if the event is pushed safely into the distant future, after they themselves are dead and gone.

    The idea that it may happen sooner, whilst they are still alive, and to people they know and love, and even while they are still around to observe it happening is hard for many to even discuss.

    Your mockery of this is disgusting. Your crass ignorant trolling is like having a drunken vomiting fool at a funeral, you think yourself very clever but you shame and degrade yourself, nobody else.

  • @ Friedrich Kling
    @ Henry
    Thanks for the compliments. The entire catalog of my wealth consists of nothing but thoughts (literally). I’m happy to share these coins. No accounts are depleted. If anyone enjoys this currency, I am lavishly remunerated.


    I’m not obsessed with neatness or propriety… but I do try to retain some dignity. I have lived with housemates who were consummate slobs, and after awhile the mess looks practically normal. Expected. You just detour around unpredictable obstacles and go a bit numb. The stench normalizes into unobtrusiveness, at least to the natives and eventually even enmeshed inhabitants. Unprepared visitors may be appalled, their return uncertain. Last minute incense doesn’t make much difference. Homo.sloven.sloven has accumulated a terminal mess that can’t be cleaned up, or even greenwashed, and while it serves little purpose to point this out other than to recall the way things were when we first moved in, perhaps that is reason enough. Maybe we can refresh, and hold onto, a few good memories as we fade away. Natural nostalgia blues. Security deposit forfeited.

  • OK, Sr. Numb-ass (rhymes with —- —), this isn’t about personalities but about Science, and, more and more, Psychology.

    In fact, both of the essayists above, and Guy (the host, if you hadn’t read him) are writing in equal parts about the scientific probabilities, and about the human behavior we might try to adopt in our final years. (But you don’t care about that, do you?)

    I think the line you quoted was all about human interactions in the face of actual doom, and part of the “problem” in my mind is going to be dealing with other humans in the panic and chaos stages. I’m not very optimistic that Guy’s and Carolyn’s and Geoffrey’s and my hopes for peaceful acceptance are going to happen around any large numbers of people. But that’s still an unknown, unlike the Science part.

    If you’d read my previous writings, I’ve come down to expressing probabilities, not beliefs, and I’ve been at the 95% level on NTE (on present course, unlikely to be altered) since I encountered the feedback loops via Guy and Natalia and AMEG a year ago.

    You’re likely much more experienced in this than I, and so have hardened your own studies into Beliefs, which you seek to enforce upon others who don’t quite measure up to your status as True Believer.

    Actually, that’s a bit hard; I don’t know that about you, just as you didn’t know shit about me, so I’ll tell you a bit more, to be fair.

    Yes, I do oscillate in the area of NTE. It’s hard as a mostly optimistic person who is enjoying a good life to just sit down and accept it, in all ways, through each day. But it is with me all the time, and I bounce most things off it, for perspective, and hoping to stay ahead of events. (“I don’t have to outrun the bear; I just have to outrun YOU.”)

    I do try to think of things to ameliorate the human impact, and that’s just the kind of personality I am. I have worked my entire adult life as a problem solver, and my mind salivates at challenges like this one, even if in the end it’s just self-indulgence. How else should I pass my time? Suggestions welcome.

    I probably feel a little bit like I owe the effort to try saving Life on Earth, since I was blind to the subject for so many years. (I believe I was putting in valuable efforts elsewhere, but missed this one. People like our own Daniel “accepted” NTE after decades of hard struggle against it, so I feel he’s earned his “retirement.”

    I’d like to see something like a “Live Aid” or “USA for Africa” (which I worked on) program started, and continued non-stop, to halt auto sales and use, meat production, and coal burning. Tall order, huh? Why not get all the big monops mad at ya all at once?

    So, putting your troll-ness aside, and looking at your words: “Per the dogmatic NTE message…” Oh, I get it — trying to attack NBL through me! So you don’t believe? But you’re just trying to do what — expose “hypocrisy”? “Inconsistency”? Goo-oo–ood job!

    Oh, wait a further minute — “Final Solution” — so you’re pulling the Nazi card on US??? Wait, I thought we were a bunch of liberal weenie ivory tower geeknerds, not the Stormtroopers your Fascist overlords hire?!? You got your insults mis-catalogued there, Fredo. But they don’t pay you for your research time, do they?

    Do the Koch Bros bonus you 50% for every reply you garner on internal squabbling? I’ve had fun on Troll Patrols before on other sites — we really could lead ’em on a merry chase! (But you’re not really here, are you? Just a drive-by. And so there’ll be no one to ever hear from again.)

    I’ll give you one thing: if Climate Chaos does not make you feel “insecure”, if not outright “lonely” (being among the few thousands who seem aware enough to want to act or communicate on it while others plunge onward) then you are not in your right mind (if you had one.)

    I was going to pop in a few of the choice “loneliness”-deflecting activities ahead of me tomorrow, such as you probably could not imagine, but thus descending into troll-feeding instead of the appropriate pity, but here’s what: You share your loneliness with me, and I’ll tell you about mine, keeping Guy’s site PG-13, of course.

    Actually, the company around here (NBL) is pretty good, inspiring really, and so I don’t post anywhere else (Now, would a LONELY person do so little socializing online) and came out of 10-year silence to post here. Existential loneliness DOES exist when you’re not sharing in the company you need. Online communities provide opportunity for minds to meet who could never have met in our disjointed neighborhoods and families. I’ve learned to keep my silence in those venues for decades. Now THAT’s the REAL “Lonely Crowd” of David Riesman’s 1950 book.

    You’ve also inspired me to go back to “George Washington’s” site and locate his major post on the dozen or more types of Internet trolls. It was really enlightening beyond what I would have suspected. Oh, what’s that? You’ve got it right there? In YOUR training manual?

    Now one thing I’ve noticed in life, call it miracle or whatever, is that the people who aggravate me the most on first meeting turn out to be friends or someone who’s really contributed something to my education. Which will it be, amigo, mas o no mas?

  • The “Symphony of Failure” thread no longer appears to be open to posting, so I’m posting this here because I don’t know where else to do so. Sorry!


    ulvfugl Says:
    November 4th, 2013 at 10:36 am
    from the “Symphony of Failure” thread.

    “The 2 deg.C limit was never agreed by scientists, biologists, ecologists, or agriculturalists, as being a safe limit. It was conjured out of the air by an economist, to satisfy the demands of industry and corporations and bankers and politicians.

    We have been lied to constantly for twenty years, that 2 deg C was the target that would not be exceeded, when, as Kevin Anderson has explained, the politicians have known all the while that it could never be kept, and they never intended to keep to it.”


    I’d like to know very much more about this. If there are any articles, essays, etc… which will help me to understand this. Facts, factoids…. Anything. And thank you.

    Ulvfugl, Please tell me why and how you came to understand this. I’d much appreciate it.

    Obviously, if this be true, The Powers deliberately, knowingly, decided that short term profit for a few was worth the bargain of mass extinction. And if that’s a fact it is a fact almost too brutal to digest. Wait. Scratch the “almost”.

  • @ James Martin

    It’s common knowledge, Guy mentions it in his lectures, Kevin Anderson mentions it somewhere, I can’t remember the name of the man responsible, I think it first appeared at the first IPCC when the USA forced it.
    Kevin Anderson mentions in several of his talks examples of politicians KNOWING that they will never stay under 2 deg C from years ago and yet telling the public that 2 deg is the ‘safe’ limit, blah blah.

  • James R. Martin, I routinely terminate comments on each post after a few days. This reduces spam to only about 500 daily.

    The source is neoclassical economist William Nordhaus. Check out the video at the current post for the abbreviated story.