What Collapse Feels Like, Part 3 of 5: Resilience Begins With The Heart: All Roads Lead To Grief

by Carolyn Baker at Speaking Truth to Power


Grief 2According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine website, “CHF [congestive heart failure] occurs most frequently in those over age 60 and is the leading cause of hospitalization and death in that age group. In over 50 percent of cases, sudden death occurs due to a cardiac arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. Unfortunately, anti-arrhythmic medications may not be effective in controlling arrhythmias caused by CHF.”

 

Overwhelmingly, civilized people have congested hearts. Whether speaking physiologically or metaphorically, this ailment is rampant in industrial societies where conscious, intentional, unrestrained grieving is virtually unheard of and where “bereavement leave” and other arbitrary parameters around loss dictate that we are only allowed a ridiculously brief time for grieving, if any time is allowed at all.

 

I have written much about grief over the past few years, but as I develop this series of articles on “What Collapse Feels Like,” I am newly-inspired and incisively aware of the urgency with which our predicament has foisted itself on the human heart. It is asking, no make that demanding, that we evacuate the “cereb-esphere” and descend, both literally and symbolically, into the region of the heart because our profound rejection of its territory has brought us to exactly where we are in this moment.

The Safety Of The Cereb-Esphere

For the first half of my life, I navigated the world through the intellect. Education had liberated me from a stultifying, abusive childhood where Calvinistic, fundamentalist Christianity proclaimed that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” and indeed for my parents who were committed to keeping a naturally curious, vivacious child in check, it absolutely was. In grammar school I had superb teachers who instilled in me a passion for writing, reading, and history. In college I reveled in more history, philosophy, and psychology. I abhorred the “irrational” as reminiscent of the anti-intellectual, blind-faith milieu in which I was raised. Yet in my own way, I embraced a trajectory that was as rigid and intransigent as the ideology of my parents. Within that sealed chamber of intellect, the mystery, uncertainty, and inexplicable vicissitudes of the human condition could not survive without being torn to pieces by reason.

In my early forties, my life fell apart, and I found myself in Jungian therapy. I soon attempted to read and comprehend everything Jung had written, but I realized that I could not metabolize his wisdom through the intellect alone. Jung’s perspective is one that utilizes what he called the Four Functions: Thinking, Feeling, Sensing, and Intuiting. I soon discovered that my wounded psyche could not be made whole through reason alone and that reading the words of Jung is no substitute for experiencing a descent into the inner world where healing and transformation await our willingness to explore the depths of the soul. Through a lengthy process of enduring and witnessing the unraveling and demise of my own psyche, I reclaimed many parts of myself that had been sent away in order to survive—the very best aspects of me that generated my creativity, my passion for life, and my capacity to love and be loved. The price for such reclamation: a willingness to feel both the wrenching anguish and the unspeakable joy of my humanity.

In a sense, I lived through a personal collapse—a collapse of an inner empire that served only to oppress me and all who attempted to join their souls with me in loving and living. Perhaps this is why I write so freely about collapse. I have survived many, and I not only know that it is possible to do so, but I know in every cell of my body the incalculable mystery, yes miracle, of surrendering to a collapse, slogging through its misery, then suddenly realizing that one has survived and was not annihilated by it.

None of this is for the faint of heart, which is why remaining in the cereb-esphere is so tempting. Talking about the collapse of industrial civilization, reading articles, watching documentaries, and debating issues such as: when it will happen, how long it will take, the best locations suited for surviving it, and how much food, guns, and ammo to acquire—all of this, in my opinion and my experience, is supremely soul-stifling mental masturbation that misses the entire point of the momentous, unprecedented, species-altering phenomenon into which we have already descended. And yet, so many of us are willing to remain in this nether-world of collapse consciousness in order to spare ourselves the agony of feeling our emotions about the fact that our species is murdering and may succeed in annihilating this planet.

We love to speak of resilience—as long as it allows us to remain ensconsed in our cereb-esphere outposts. And if we allow ourselves to feel anything, those other emotions like fear, anger, and despair are permissible, but grief? Not so much.

As I interact with other collapse-aware individuals around the civilized world, I am consistently astonished at how forbidden the emotion of grief has become for us. Somehow when we feel our grief, we feel more vulnerable than when allowing any other emotion. Our personal and cultural histories are teeming with anti-grief messages that have convinced us that if we feel our grief: we will die; we will be too vulnerable; it means we are being wussy when we need to be strong; there’s no point in feeling it because it doesn’t change anything; if we start feeling it we will never stop, and then we’ll become incapacitated and on and on ad infinitum.

Since most of us born into industrial civilization are living with personal and cultural trauma, it makes sense that our defenses around feeling grief are so robust. After all, when you live in a war zone or have survived one, it’s much easier to become a bad ass than to allow a lump in the throat to dissolve into a river of tears that feels eternally inconsolable and ultimately feels like it’s dissolving you. We have so little support and safety, both of which are necessary for feeling the depths of our grief, that it’s much easier to suppress it under mega-layers of reason, anger, anxiety, or other emotions and distractions because actually feeling our grief seems life-threatening. All the while, grief is congesting our hearts and doing its multi-faceted, subterranean work creating symptoms in the body.

Heartbreak Heals And Fosters Resilience

We say that we want to become resilient, but we continue to shut off the heart as if resilience is something that gets engineered in the head. In fact, if resilience doesn’t begin with the heart, we can never become authentically resilient.

If we are not first heartbroken by what is happening to our planet, the earth community, the people we love, and ourselves, all other forms of preparation for our daunting future are quite simply, incidental. The collapse of industrial civilization will result in unimaginable loss of life, and those who survive will either become bigger people, or they will be emotionally and spiritually decimated. The heart, not the head, determines the outcome of that reality.

So how do we become bigger people now, not in the throes of horror? How do we allow grief in our bodies in a milieu that counters every attempt to do so?

First, we need to understand that grief is already present within us and all around us. All we need to do is open to it. However, we need to consciously attend to our grief and create the conditions necessary for feeling it safely and thoroughly. One useful possibility is spending solitary time in nature in which we open to grief. In a natural setting, we need only look around us to see what will not be there in another fifty to one hundred years. How do we feel about that? The trees, streams, birds, animals, soil, and natural healing beauty of such a place—gone, and gone forever. A back leaned against a tree, the belly of a face-down body lying on the earth—conduits to and for our tears. Let them come. Honor and bless them because they are sacred solutions designed to cleanse the wounds of civilization.

It may also be heart-meltingly useful to look deeply into the eyes of an animal. Commune with some wizened animal being. Let the animal heart in you be touched by the animal heart in it. After all, why do so many war veterans with PTSD and people in stifling, stultifying literal and symbolic prisons of both concrete and trauma, begin to reclaim parts of themselves when they have intimate contact with an animal?

Create with your grief even as you commune with it. Express it in art, music, dance, storytelling, and ritual. Contrary to the model of industrial civilization, grief has never been and never will be “private.” In indigenous and ancient cultures, grief was a community issue, and people understood that the processing of accumulated sorrows was necessary for the tribe. They viewed grief as a toxin that is meant to be regularly emptied out because if it isn’t, collective grief harms the community whereas grief openly expressed heals the community and provides food for the ancestors.

Can you let your heart be broken by madness over which you have no control? Andrew Harvey says that the only heart worth having is a broken one. Why? Because as Joanna Macy notes, “The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe.” That’s called “becoming a bigger person.” If the heart is not softened, it becomes hardened which only perpetuates the paradigm of civilization and guarantees that whatever “next” culture humans might create will be a retread of this one.

Beyond and beneath all layers of anger, fear, and despair lies grief. All roads lead there, and until we embrace it, we can only talk about resilience from the cereb-esphere in a culture of congested hearts.

I offer these opportunities for support in plumbing the depths of your grief and discovering the life-altering empowerment available there:

    • The annual Day of The Dead Ritual, Oakland, California, November 2
    • Guatemalan Shaman Martin Prechtel speaking on Grief (scroll to bottom)
    • VIDEO: Francis Weller, Author of Entering The Healing Ground, in my opinion, the definitive book on grief

Collapsing Consciously Cover, MiniComing November 19 from North Atlantic Books: Collapsing Consciously: Transformative Truths For Turbulent Times by Carolyn Baker with foreword by John Michael Greer. Pre-order now. Read full description

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments 48

  • I was raised in a similar family, calvinistic, fundamentalist Christian. I too was a good student and embraced the (hard) sciences. However, I never found the intellect a ‘trap’. It actually brought me to see the obvious state of our reality, inspite of all the naysayers in the main stream.

    As for the article, I too did the road of psychology–which is nothing more than the application of reason and the dicotomous mind to the nature of human behavior. It was lacking on so many levels I abandoned it as a source of answers but delved deeper to understand why it was so flawed. I read a lot of theories but didn’t get a clue until I started looking at the men who originated this field. One particularly insightful book was ‘love at goon park’ which highlights the lengths Harlow had to go to deconstruct and prove the obvious. And reading about the real life of such ‘pinnacles’ of psychology such as Jung–frankly these founders of psychological theory are scarier than any human being lurking in dark corners of city streets could ever dream of being. And the damage they caused due to the fractures in their own psyche plagues us to this day on so many levels its infuriating.

    That said, reaching for the nefarious spiritual is no solution. Speak to anyone who has suffered loss and they will tell you with tears in their eyes, that it never goes away. As the quote attributed to siddhartha says–“life is suffering”. Like a knife driven into the body and left in place, one just learns to accommodate the pain of grief and loss into your everyday life.

    But, if cultivated in a mindful way, grief, loss and pain can make one more tender and compassionate ….and more open to embracing and treasuring the beauty and pleasures in life when they do happen to appear now and again.

    But

  • Thank you for your latest article. There are countless individuals who will soon be needing such good counsel. Also, I am delighted to see that you are making a book available. A lot of people are going to need something like it to help make sense of this mess.

    Many of us, especially those hanging ten at the Beach of Doom, are old hands at grief. We’re at acceptance or close to it. Maybe you can write an article directed more toward us old timers. It’s just that, one can’t go on grieving forever, not in the intense form that manifests in normal people after the shock of loss. Please share some insights on what comes next. How do we maintain our dignity unto the final hour? Are there some things we can do, day by day, to help prepare? What are some guidelines for assisting loved ones and others upon their realization of NTE?

  • Thank you for yet another insightful essay. Grief and it’s tearful release are essential components of a well lived life.

  • Long, long ago, I went to a “re-birthing” class — do they still have those? — and I didn’t go into whatever hypnosis-like state they were talking us into, but I did respond in imagery to the request to “go into the deepest grieving moment you can recall or imagine. Place yourself there, with others, or alone.”

    And I shifted between two: First, the Jesus-on-the-cross scene, where the people whose lives he had touched, who he had walked with for 3 or more years, who had felt totally enfolded in a love and an acknowledgment they could never have imagined before, watched this individual die — the greatest fear for any human alone.

    The second was a Lakota (or other Plains tribe) Sun Dance, maybe at or around the time of the Ghost Dance phenomenon that swept these tribes. And the motivation for these dances was the shared sense of their world being destroyed, the Wasichu coming in swarms and the Iron Horse and the loss of the bison — they knew that their world was vanishing. (To which Chief Sealth — Seattle — in the less-destroyed Northwest also had some poignant reflections.)

    More than a personal death, the impending end of your entire heritage brought forward a grieving that led to them trying to “dance the Whites away,” and bring back the animals and way of life they had lost.

    I would not be surprised to see some manifestations like these in the years ahead, as humanity realizes, as Seattle said: “Your time will come, too. At night, when you think you walk these streets alone, the ghosts of our people will be there, among you.”

    Humans, including, after some resistance, the cerebro types, will fall into mass ceremonial outpourings to “bring back our lost world.” (Perhaps they already are reacting unconsciously, but are tamping it down in various cult manifestations pertaining to other beliefs?)

    It will be largely that grieving you speak of, when it breaks out, and yet it will also be Man, that tool-making animal, in a flailing attempt to “make something happen”, “change the future”, at which he has been heretofore so successful.

    The shamanic religions, or maybe better to say “impulses”, are placed organically deep in our brains, as they evolved with our species, with our abilities to speak, think, and communicate everything which we could not before as simple animals. (That is why humans have so much trouble letting go of the religious indoctrinations they have acquired, which squat in or about those same brain centers.)

    That’s who we were, beginning, oh, maybe 500,000 years ago?, and Evolution doesn’t work so fast to be able to change what we were then, and we ignore that at our peril, in peril of ignorance and continued hubris. That is why and when we connect to the animals, and their over-spirits — Tatanka Wakan and a thousand others — and that is the intuition we feel coming into us when we do all these things that Carolyn mentions, the half-million-year-old implant from our Evolution. It’s still in there, somewhere.

    Without ever having studied Jung specifically, my impression has always been that he was reacting to the others around limiting their ideas about consciousness, and he tried to reach back to those more primal moments in our evolution. He peeled away those top layers of over-intellectualizing, and let some more organic feeling come through.

    (I don’t think those guys walking the streets of Vienna in their best suits wanted to compare themselves in any way to “cave” men, so the exploration of their “inferiors'” impulses was definitely shrouded in prejudice. After all, Evolution can only move forward, right? Us being the pinnacle, the “Crown of Creation”. — thanks J.A.)

    This is what Aldous Huxley, Tim Leary and the early psychedelic explorers were telling us to do. I remember lying on a lawn one sunny day watching ants go up and down and over blades of grass, on their way “to work” or wherever, and feeling just how much human inculturation had been pumped into me over those 19 years, polluting my “original mind”, and I started trying to spew it back out, feeling a huge (about 10-inch diameter) sewer pipe of de-conditioning gushing out of me.

    I heard the ants, and all the other little critters, telling me “We are the Lifers!”, and, without criticizing me directly, I knew they meant that I was a representative of the force of Death to them in their midst, and I had better clean up my orientation in that direction, if I wanted to be part of their world of Life.

    (The other time — much more playful and wondrous –, becoming one of five kittens, well, my hand did, tumbling around with them on the floor as they played with me. So happy they could accept me!)

    I’ll save the “Walkabout” story for another moment, but yes, my Oz friends, there was a name — and a soul — to every thing, plant, animal, object — I touched or passed.

    I have the wild things visit me all summer now, all year ’round actually, and they don’t play favorites, cozy up to me for food, or anything. They are wild. We keep our respectful distances. That is only fair; but the fawns do come a little bit closer — I resist my nurturing impulse to cut up the apples for their little mouths — and I appreciate the parents at their distance trusting me just a bit more than my species is entitled to be trusted. I’ve apparently “proven myself” somewhat worthy to share their habitat.

    (Come to think of it, hereabouts I pretty much LIVE like an animal. I clean up pretty well, though, when I go to town. Shhhhhh, it’ll be our secret.)

    And Ray Jason’s dolphins, from the last thread — I’m envious! — I’ve had the animals reveal their consciousness to me in dreams — bear, horse, lion, and some little squirmy protozoan guy with an unbelievably wise look in his eyes! and yes, Bessie the Cow, who I think was trying to kill me at the time, as she kicked at the milk bucket — but nothing like that magic moment that Ray shared with us.

    (Come to think of it, wasn’t Ahab’s obsession with Moby Melville’s portrayal of the white Western intellect’s attempt to corner the natural world? And look where it got Ahab — and everyone else with him! “And I only am escaped alone to tell thee!” p.s. “Its wood could only be American!”)

    If we are taking all of the other animals with us, then our grieving must somehow incorporate their loss, too; they seem to be carrying on as they must do, leaving it to us to wrap it up for one and all. Maybe; I just don’t know.

    Perhaps Carolyn is pointing us toward something we need to do, that encompasses all of the above: Enter the Dreamtime — the Quest for a last vision? — with all of the animals around us — and ask them what we should do, how should we face this time, which they might “know” something about.

    Other species, that have been, and passed? Anyone?

    The “oversoul” of each species that exists, which some of us may have as an “ally” or guide, surely (or might) include one for the human animal, to which we might appeal for our guidance?

    ======

    So, my friend got to the home country on my ticket, and spent yesterday at the hospital with her 96 year old father, but he is very weak from the pneumonia.

    Crossing 60, you begin to contemplate your own final decades, what you want to do in them, and what to avoid. Mistakes not to be repeated. I seem to lose a decade to each “mistake”.

    Actually, it took awhile to ramp up that kind of anticipation, thinking about “The Ending”, becoming pro-active, and had the medical checkup and got the warning to strengthen the heart or face problems starting 20 years out. Thanks, Doc! (I think…)

    I had been at the vanguard of so many things, in their time, and I started wanting to think that this would be a generation that would re-think or at least re-fit the idea of “Aging” as a pro-active experience. And that’s pretty presumptuous, for sure; just straight extrapolation from the past, the idea of steamrolling old barriers.

    And that thinking, even coming in the face of Peak Oil and Mass Die-off likelihoods, was still possible. Y’know, some Permaculture hideaway in N.Z. or such. (If you’re over 60, don’t you have to bring $1 million with you or something?)

    And then NBL and NTE come along, and I’m having to enlarge my scope of “welcoming” that future. Yeah, right. Can you handle all this? vs. Just give it up, Charlie! Well, I guess I can step back — more like thrown back — and see how this goes. Juggling two demises in separate (or same?) timeframes…

    So, losing a couple friends, diabetes, liver cancer, combined with the new efforts at a health discipline, I appreciate having some of these Really Old Dudes ahead of me as guiding lights along my path.

    Even if they do go, eventually, just knowing them stretches out my horizon by another 10 or so over what I was imagining before.

    And this guy, who’s in the hospital now, well, she told me a couple years ago, was “living with his [unmentionable age — it’s a family blog, right?] girlfriend” and I thought, well, her family probably just sent her over there, to live off his pension, and maybe bring him his meds, right?

    But you never know. I didn’t ask for follow-up, language barrier amongst it all, and she does like to joke about such things. Maybe they cut you some slack when you’re past 90? No one believes you’re capable of some things?

    Anyway, I’ve thought ever since I heard that: “I’ll have what he’s having,” meaning, find out what he’s smoking or drinking and pour me a glass of it.

    Animals. Got it.

    Back to Nature, and us as animals: Once you’ve spawned, and gotten the progeny off to wherever your species designates as maturity, they don’t need you anymore. NO ONE needs you! (You’re probably the only one that still “needs” you!) Your continued existence is optional, meaning NON-ESSENTIAL.

    And they start looking at you that way. “What! Are YOU still around?” At least, my paranoid side imagines so.

    (Maybe that’s how the protozoa and trilobytes are looking at us right about now: “Are YOU still around?”)

    Maybe that’s what my 96-year-old inspiration is trying to show me: a place where they treat you with respect just for having gone through so much, kind of the opposite of the “Disposability Culture” we inhabit here. (You REALLY notice it, when they start trying to dispose of YOU. I’ve caught the first hints of it, in some online blogs. But no one gets it — until they’re there themselves, looking back at a portfolio of decades spent, and very few ahead.)

    At least, that’s how I interpret it, and how I’d like to fit into it eventually, and how I’m trying to respectfully contribute to it all this week in honoring a man’s life…

    =====

    So, just the p.s. while getting up to refill the coffee , presumptuous, I know, but what I think Carolyn — and Guy — are about (whether they’re trying, or not) is maybe sparking a Being Fully Human movement — or at least Moment — while we’re in the consciousness of being on our way out, if indeed we are. Something so we can say “Well done” or “At least we tried” — I’m thinking Warsaw Ghetto Uprising here, maybe I’m just retrogressing? but grieving, yes, still and always, keeps all such heroic moments alive with us and possible to us — Honor to a lifetime as a species, just as in an individual’s life, despite all the failings. At least, representatives among us doing so, if not everyone likely to join in.

    Consciousness was a worthy attainment, and Universe may try it again someday. Or something completely different?

  • just recently have read that the brain pathways that connect to extroversion and introversion are actually separate, so it’s not an either/or. i feel the same way about grief/non-grief. at some deep level of my being i am desperately in grief. is this due to doomer reality? it certainly didn’t help. the deepest mourning i ever experienced was after my mother died, 21 years ago. this year, i passed the age she was when she died. it was a strange feeling. i am ashamed to admit this publicly, but i am so depressed that i regularly wake up in deepest grief, and do what i can from there. and then the other part, the ‘normalcy,’ and, at times, the pleasures, even the joys that invade my life. i don’t think i’m that far off the norm here, but from my experience, i am at the low end of relatively high-functioning depression, with less and less engaging me about life. this recently led to an experience, in a specific circumstance, where i was offered the decision to stay or go, or so it seemed. i chose to stay. to be here for now, though i often feel incapacitated and frequently useless, and often less and less accessible to the simple beauty and pleasures of life. i have chosen the path of self disclosure in my life (the ‘extrovert’ of my introvert), and this is certainly as self disclosing as i’ve been of my circumstances. i am telling this because i explore the guy-lines between the various factors in the equation that makes up my personal psychic map, how, for example, recently realizing the real possibility that grandchildren i have if i have may live in the time of extreme apocalypse, has or has not influenced a downward spiral i’ve been on that has felt steep. plus, i put up a fair front so that extremely few people (well, until now) have known what is my inner reality (that’s the high-functioning part), but i know i’m not the only one, and may be describing a fair number of people reading this blog or otherwise cognizant of doomer issues. and it’s like taking the rug off the pile of dirt swept beneath it. namaste, brothers and sisters.

  • Oh! We will grieve… and suffer physical discomforts and pains beyond today’s imagination. We won’t have to look for ways to indulge in these miseries – we have already imposed them upon ourselves with irreversible inevitability. These sufferings will not lead to some dreamy heavenly renaissance of humanity for/from selected special superiors cowering in bomb shelters and spider holes — these sufferings will accompany all of us, sure as rocks don’t fall up… to total human extinction, to the complete annihilation of all sentient beings on this planet. Locked in inescapable means and ruts individually, with mass social waves from upstream dam breaks, all will be washed down into the hungry bloody roaring toxic whirlpool of Death.

    Looking beyond the collapse, comprehending its nature, its causes… there is no living salvation there, anymore than there can be in Death. Though some may comfort themselves with faith in salvation after Death, it is still Death. It is not a living, breathing salvation in the sunlight. This collapse is the process of our dying. Recognize it. The collapse of civilization manifests extinction – not salvation! Grief and its reconciliation is no recourse, it is mere application of anesthetic body lotion to a deep terminal condition.

    If humanity had been willing to honestly examine some of its own most obvious behaviors, the literal heart disease, caused by actual physical substances would not be the scourge that it is. But people prefer to blame their physical and ecological illnesses on intangible abstractions rather than face up to the hard truth of their own physical habits. Illness surely is compounded by mental/emotional stress — but ignoring the primary, basic, fundamental cause is sheer willful blindness. Addictive denial.

    Eating animals sickens the physical heart, while only a factually ignorant, sick and duped, blindsided ’emotional heart’ could ever allow its bearer to eat the flesh of sentient beings. To ignore the suffering. The Buddha is said to have said: “Eating flesh extinguishes the seeds of compassion.” This is a Death Culture. It eats Death, it promotes the consumption of Death in myriad forms from pesticides to ecocides to war to fossil fuels and flesh and it will die from this devitalizing diet. Civilization is heading for congested heart failure from its ever increasing menu of deadly products. Until everything is dead. Our immature and frivolous lack of grief over our Global Death is just a superficial corollary of the malady.

    Years ago, if we had based our existence on Life, on respect for Life, on comprehension of Life and its requirements and limits… eh, whatever, we didn’t. Now ALL of us are going to die, with or without that extra helping of grief. Its not just collapse anymore, its extinction baby©!

  • While we’re on the subject of grief and the benefits of dealing with grief in healthy ways, I would like to broaden the subject some by introducing a variable for Carolyn’s and all of our consideration.

    Carolyn’s mention of Johns Hopkins Medical, reminded me of an aspect of who we, as mostly members of colonial Western cultures, actually are and why we have an obviously distorted view of grief.

    My point is best illustrated by the following article that uses some data gathered by Johns Hopkins. But, mind you, this article only illustrates ‘the tip of an iceberg’.

    http://www.brussellstribunal.org/article_view.asp?id=803#.UlBUWcTD9jo

    Could it be that we, as the winners on the world stage, are unable to deal with grief simply because we have heaped so much grief on others? In order to aggrandize our status and comfort, have we sacrificed our own hearts on a dark and monstrous alter? Are we suppressing the truth, that by thriving at the expense of others, we are a culture of cannibals? Not eating human flesh directly, but devouring the life’s blood of our neighbors and leaving them to rot?

    So, being essentially heartless, is there a place the average Westerner can take their grief to work it out? Can we reestablish a heart within us, even if it means accepting the truth about ourselves and what we’ve done? Intuitively, I have to say no. Why? Most peoples’ mental structure was formed so unconsciously, that they will impulsively deal with such threats to their sense of well being through simple defense mechanisms, to the very end.

    Lots of questions, I know. Last one: Could it be that we are so cowardly that we would unconsciously destroy everything rather than face the truth? Again, my gut says, yes.

    (I hope my link works. If not, I’ll repost it.)

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #56

    Cold snap slams garden-
    shocking foliage collapse
    reveals winter squash.

  • Namaste, marlowe.

  • A Dream:

    TPTB shoot some immensely powerful missile at the moon…just to see what happened–a sort of science experiment, if you will. The missile obliterates half of the moon. It was like looking full on at a bisected grapefruit. Specifically, it resembled a section of the paper-based rocks I sometimes make. Inside was stuffed paper and cardboard without the harder, reinforced, reflective paper pulp shell. This inner trash was, naturally, a poor reflector of sunlight. Although I kept swearing–those effing fools, I eventually realized that my protestations were as empty as the moon. I really didn’t care as much as I was sounding. It seemed such an odd dream. I wouldn’t call my dream-state response grief. It was more like a false rage, and finding that it was better to let it go.

  • I enjoyed your essay Carolyn. So much there. For me communing with Nature plays a big part on how I deal with grief. The interconnectedness of all things.

    @Denise
    Loved Haiku 54
    Captured the essence.

    Super weather. The New England forest is lovely this time of year. Calm before the storm probably. Invasive Euonymous alata has become the dominant understory plant in some areas. Berberis thunbergii another invasive becomes a deer tick questing perch. I’ve contracted Lyme disease twice. No fun that. Frogs observed unexpectedly during a recent hike in a Nature preserve. High and dry. Hmmmm. Have not had time to identify the type yet. Creeks are dry. Rivers are low. A person in my community had a vision recently of a winter that never was. White pine cones and acorns adorn the forest floor. The chipmunks are chippin’.

  • Thanks for your thoughts Carolyn. Grieving has been an on-going part of my life since, coming from a largish family, my aunts and uncles passed away and finally my own father and mother.

    i’m noticing a few things, like the blandness of this fall (washed out colors, brown crinkly leaves instead of the vibrant reds and yellows of former years), how many of the trees look like this might be their last year or two (having inadequately leafed out this year and looking spindly and lethargic now), while traffic just wizzes by unconcerned with the surroundings. We’re becoming poorer with each passing day – both physically and mentally, it seems – robbed of the diversity of life as it shrinks inexorably as a result of our civilization and its polluting ways. It’s also become clear that we’re killing ourselves and that the whole edifice of our social structure was contrived and is totally non-supportive of life. The momentum and inertia of this large established system will fall after a prolonged period of killing off everything else to keep itself going another day.

    As others above have observed, I too see Decay & Death all around and am on an inward journey to the end of my days. So far fear hasn’t surfaced, but instead the calm realization of “Death as a Friend” has taken over (I think this was a Durer woodcut, or some such artwork I long-ago encountered and didn’t understand at the time.

    Ehrlich, and before him Malthus (and probably Camus), were prescient in their observations of “where this is all going” (among many others like Huxley, Orwell and Sartre), and we’re now living out a variant of their visions (I don’t think any of them had an inkling that radiation would become such a problem for us) which will take us down and out.

    It’s heart-breaking, mind-altering and soul-crushing to bear witness to our decent by our own hand. This space created by Guy’s vision is an oasis for our community of the doomed and I appreciate everyone’s contribution here (even if I disagree with some points, I try to comprehend where you’re coming from without judgment).

    Among too many articles to post, I chose this one to bring to the group’s attention (i’m sure many of you have seen it already):

    http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2013/10/health-of-oceans-declining-fast-at-high.html

    Health of oceans declining fast, ‘at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history’

    The crows are raucously screaming their good morning to the world and each other in a massive oak tree (with the crown dying back) right outside my window reminding me that I still have today. i’ll return later to pick up on what’s going on with each of you.

    Denise – keep up the heart-felt poetry, I too enjoy your musings and word-pictures.

  • There’s a difference between grief and feeling sorry for yourself, but when people are tossing out phrases like “my life fell apart” that difference gets erased. Facing hardships — whatever that really means for any well-educated, white, American born after WW2 — is certainly part of life, but “life is suffering” is really tough to accept. Our affluence is killing the planet, but it also makes life damn cozy too.

    I’m not trying to make light of anyone’s personal life of misery and pain but I doubt anyone here has any concept of the absolute nightmare most people endure daily. And even if you’re head nurse in a cancer ward, you get to go home at night and watch TV. And even if you’re that cancer patient stuck in that ward, your entire life wasn’t solely about your disease. Not everyone gets to say that.

    NTE is bigger than us. And that certainly makes it confounding and terrifying and the full implications of NTE can be akin to discovering you have fatal disease and a rapidly shortening lifespan. Grief for the world and sorrow for yourself overlap and mix. And we’re drawn to essentially cancer patient metaphor pamphlets On Dying With Dignity and Coping With Your Impending Demise.

    But we’ve got it backwards. If NTE is unavoidable (and it is) then weeping about it and feeling sorry myself is a waste of time. There are things I can do — again strictly to make myself feel better here and now — and I’ll worry about the Great Snuffing when the time comes.
    I’ll grieve then. I don’t need to cope or overcome or understand the death of everyone I ever knew in some kind of Hallmark card philosophy of gentle acceptance. I’m going to go down screaming and pissed off and feeling terrible. Because that is what is required. On the future of a dead planet, I don’t need to open my heart and soul for the betterment of my inner peace. Not sure I deserve any inner peace as the world dies. But I’m certainly not dying today. And that’s all that really matters.

  • thank you for your efforts Mr. McPherson but until a rock star declares it so, it’s not official… consider NTE now to be “official”… now let’s get to marketing them there t-shirts and coloring books for the kids…surely there must be some way to profit off the end of the world… big profit…

    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/342876/Sir-Bob-Geldof-All-humans-will-die-before-2030

  • mike k

    Larson is so ‘cool’ he should have an Ice Shelf named after him….Doh!

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

    Great Link IMO.

    ……..
    Reading the essay in bytes.

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #57

    Airplane-like knowledge:
    jet fuel; vanishing chemtrail…
    the sky is zazen.

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #57 (revised)
    inspired by Dogen’s Beyond Thinking

    Airplane-like knowledge:
    jet noise, vanishing chem trail…
    the sky is zazen.

    -Thanks Roshi Norman Fischer and Upaya Zen Center

  • The dam of denial and disinformation is now breaking with intensity now that the first person of cabinet rank in the G8 group of countries, Canadian Minister of National Defense Paul Helyer, recently stepped forward with startling revelations concerning UFOs. Some of the highlights are that at least four species of alien have been visiting Earth for thousands of years; Some originate from the Zeta Reticuli, the Pleiades, Orion, Andromeda, and Altair star systems; The aliens have starkly different agendas spanning the spectrum from benevolent, neutral/observational, to highly malevolent as evidenced by the tens of thousands of reported animal dissections and to a lesser extent human as well; Destruction of the planet’s ecosystem is the primary threat to humanity and unless mankind takes steps to mitigate the damage then action will be taken externally.

  • For Friedrich. Don’t give up. You’ll probably be rewarded for your efforts and loyalty when they arrive 🙂

  • http://whale.to/a/last1.html

    (from a link @ seemorerocks)

    Are Most Diseases Caused by the Medical System?

  • @ F Kling

    The dam of denial and disinformation is now breaking with intensity now that the first person of cabinet rank in the G8 group of countries..

    What does that tell us ? Those people lie about EVERYTHING, they are in their positions because they are professional liars, that’s their job description, to go in front of the tv and keep a straight face while they say what they know to be completely untrue.

    And now you want us to accept that lunatic as a credible source ? Without any evidence ? Just because he says so ? Just because you are gullible enough to believe him because you want to believe him ?

    You have absolutely NO hard evidence for aliens. All you have is anecdote, and you spam this blog because of your own batty compulsive obsession.

    Why ?

  • I agree that we need to acknowledge our grief but then what?

    After all, we are grieving over a future that still hasn’t happened yet. I suppose that this is like what a person feels like when they have been given a diagnosis of terminal cancer.

    I expect that you spend a lot of nights crying yourself to exhaustion, only to get up the next day and plod through your life routine as if nothing has changed. How insane is that?

    At this point I am reminded of “The Last Lecture” of Randy Pausch.

    I admire his focus on what he felt was important and treated his terminal illness has nothing more than a deadline to meet; I just don’t know how it managed it.

    Much of what he spent his remaining time on seemed to focus on leaving a legacy of knowledge and experience for his kids and future generations, but I our collective cases, who are we leaving what to?

    I think it would be very cool if we could construct some kind of space-based time-capsule so that some other species, alien or other, might have a chance to understand what we were about and why we did what we did. I just have no idea how you construct such a thing to last the 10,000 plus years or so it would likely take to be found. Not sure space-squid or super-intelligent blue-green algae would care much anyway.

    Honestly, I am still holding out a tiny-bit of hope that somehow, some small part of our species survives all this, even though we don’t deserve to…

  • Are we allowed to post good news here?

    Xcel Energy hopes to triple Colorado solar, add wind power
    http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/blog/earth_to_power/2013/09/xcel-energy-proposes-to-triple-solar.html?page=all


    Xcel Energy Inc. is proposing to triple the amount of utility-scale solar power on its grid in Colorado, and add another 450 megawatts of wind power.

    If approved, the plan would cut Xcel’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than one-third compared to 2005 levels.

    170 megawatts of big, utility-scale solar power plants … 450 megawatts of new Colorado wind power, bringing the company’s total wind-based power supply in Colorado to 2,650 megawatts … 317 megawatts of “low-cost” power from natural gas plants the utility will use when the wind stops and the sun goes down

    “This is the first time that we’ve seen, purely on a price basis, that the solar projects made the cut — without considering carbon costs or the need to comply with a renewable energy standard — strictly on an economic basis,”

    “It equates to all of the customer-sited [typically called roof-top] solar (currently 160 MW) in the state of Colorado, at about one half of the cost.”

    Xcel also recommended shutting down the last coal-fired power plant … the utility owns at the Arapahoe power plant in south Denver by the end of 2013.

  • With thanks to Carolyn Baker for her contribution, I’ve posted anew. The latest is here.

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #58

    Gas up the airplane
    now for a road trip not now
    zen not chem bot…bam!

  • F. Klink and Ulf-fool-ghoul:

    Can you guys please exchange emails and talk about aliens somewhere else?

    Guy has posted anew – so this thread is dead.

    WASHINGTON—A man set himself on fire on the National Mall in the nation’s capital as passers-by rushed over to help put out the flames, officials and witnesses said Friday afternoon.
    The reason for the self-immolation was not immediately clear and the man’s identity was not disclosed.

    Now, of course, we’ll never get the details on who this guy was or why he did it…

  • @ Rob Library

    The only way you will ever persuade me to comply with YOUR wishes is by gaining my respect. Calling me names and demanding I be banned amongst all the other silly things you’ve said here has failed to do that, and this peevish school ma’am act does not incline me to take you any more seriously.

    @ Denise

    Great haikus

    So you made it across the country

    Someone else is doing them

    http://haikuplatespecial.wordpress.com/

  • Ulp:

    it was just a suggestion – this is NOT a UFO blog…

    The man that lit himself on fire on the National Mall – there is no information about him or why he did it… ??

    anyway, Guy has posted anew.

    this thread is dead.

  • @ Rob

    this is NOT a UFO blog…

    I agree. If you bothered to read the comments, you’d have noticed THAT is why there is a dispute between self and Kling.

    I and others have asked him not to spam this blog with crap about aliens.

    That is old news about the immolation, and afaik, no clear reason was given, but as with Miriam Carey, MSM and police just make up total crap and lies, so it’s very hard to tell.

    If I do find anything I’ll let you know.

  • @U: Actually, I’m somewhere in New Mexico, adventuring and trying to do something with my prepper place in the desert :~l. I’m glad you like the haiku.

  • @ Denise

    Somewhere in New Mexico ? So we haven’t reached The End of Time ? Yet..

    🙂

  • Few people will be interested in this, but I wanted to post this for them.

    http://www.campingsurvival.com/fishantibiotics.html

    “Antibiotic tabs and caps used for ornamental and pet fish are the same as the antibiotics dispensed at the local pharmacy for human use.

    If you are interested, having some of these could make your final days more comfortable, or great to trade for food.

  • Apologies to dear Emily,

    And to Rob at his pub library;

    But a thread is not dead

    Until all has been said,

    Since we’ve nothing to leave posterity.

  • Identification of the “I” with the mind-body complex leads to the varied distortions in feelings. The “I” is an aggregate of disparate components and phenomena, all within the realm of time-space-causality, hence the Buddhist the Second Feature of Existence, “All entities are without abstractable essence”.

    Without such identification, the physical world continues on its merry way, including the mind-body meat-robot complex: it has to run out the momentum of the forces (prarabdna karma) already set in motion: the course of its events is “action fallen into” (prabaha patitam karyam, wu wei). All feelings and emotions can then flow unfettered.

    All the layers of identifying labels that constitute the “I” have to be peeled of one by one: the “I” is just the aggregate of labels: no label, no delusion of “I”, no attraction to the label or what it represents, no aversion to its opposite: any elation from acquisition or dejection from loss allowed to flow freely without taint, without self.

  • Nor is this a blog about Zen Buddhism and all the other spiritual crap being swirled around by ulvPHONY. Neither is this about a man setting himself on fire. If you want the news, go to a news website. Same with the religious mumbo jumbo-take it someplace else.

    This blog concerns threats to NTHE.

  • Thank you MARI. The denialists will go down along with the flat Earth society.

  • @ F. Kling

    Suggest you read the essays and the topic. If you want to enter into dialogue, discuss, have conversation, that’s one thing. You don’t, you post spam that’s completely irrelevant and then get angry and abusive and childish when people object. Obviously your years of selling insurance has done nothing to help you assess how the world works and how reality works. Has it occurred to you to question how that idiot cabinet minister got that information and why he happened to release it ?

    @ Robin Datta

    You appear to be completely stuck.

    So what if that buddhist analysis from 2,500 years ago was and is correct ?

    It’s like taking an old fashioned clock to pieces and saying ‘Look all it is, is a box with wheels and a spring and a dial with hands that turn, there is no abstractable essence, no magic’

    Which completely misses the point that the only reason that it exists at all is to tell the time. Without that function, it is meaningless.

    This is why you are so enamored of behaviorism and Kurzweil, they both have the same empty mechanistic inhumane frigid view. You join up these ghastly bleak depictions, cherry picking the bits that fit, and think it’s ‘wisdom’.

  • @ Henry – You have said that you don’t get around to reading the voluminous comments on NBL, so maybe you won’t see this one…but here goes anyway… Thanks so much for sharing your reactions to Carolyn’s piece. It was quite a ride! Blending serious realities with a delicious sense of self-deprecating humor, so smoothly. As I age – 82 now – it has become somewhat harder to get a laugh out of me, but your piece succeeded in delivering some really needed laughter on my stretch of the beach of doom. Do us all a favor and keep sharing your wisdom and delightful humor? Some of us beach bums could really use it!

  • Carolyn Baker is a classic literary jokester – not that she knows it.

    She is an outright fraud w/o any claim to “wisdom.

    Listening to her preposterous Jungian drivel is an exercise in intellectual suicide.

    Guy’s kindness must be sorely taxed to have her on a science blog.

    I know that times are grim & desperate – more reason to try for a handle on “objective reality” & cause & effect.

    Telling us to listen to childish fools like Shaman Martin Prechtel & new age buzzwording huckster, Francis Weller, insults my intelligence & my sense of basic decency.

    At a time like this, we need all the real help that we can get.

    Carolyn is mystical fluff & more darkness.

    Her work would have washed well in the middle age.

  • I’ve found that The Work of Byron Katie offers a different perspective on such matters that doesn’t suggest that people won’t grieve, but that they needn’t suffer it if they question their stressful thoughts (about the imagined source of their grief or any other stress).

  • Guy, many of us respect you because you have the courage to say what must be said.
    Your direct honesty & informed scientific credibility are always on the line.
    Telling the truth has its consequences, as you know.
    Endorsing Carolyn’s sad commentary diminishes your credibility.
    We need your integrity & credibility, if only to help us face our impending & dismal deaths.

  • @ Gerald Spezio

    Do you have any claims to wisdom or intelligence ? I see no evidence.

  • Andrew Harvey has visited Tulsa a few times ..he has been helpful to me..He said find your “heartbreak” and organize small groups around this..Our small “Environmental Concerns Group” also helped me out

  • @ Henry

    When Guy posts anew, the only one that lurks in the old threads are Ulf-fool-ghoul. He has to just post away, anywhere he can, since his socially isolated, narcissistic personality disordered self has nothing better to do.

    @ F. Klink:

    The question as to the guy who set himself on fire was to see if he was a casualty of industrial civilization, and I think he was. He gives up, but he wants everyone to know that he’s hopeless and helpless and there is no where to turn… That’s how I feel.

  • @ Rob

    Hahaha, you are such an amusing fellow.

    I’m the only one who posts on old threads ? So why are you posting on them ? To keep me company ?

    Ah, because you are hopeless and helpless and have nowhere to turn. Poor fellow.

    Yes, well, you’ve told us that. On every thread, usually more than once.

    Wallowing in self-pity and nihilism.

    And you insult me constantly with your ridiculous childish spiteful taunts.

    But the difference between us, I am an absolutely happy and fulfilled man. My daily life is rich beyond measure. I wouldn’t swap with anyone, not for anything, nor would I change anything about my life, because it couldn’t possibly be any better than it is.

    As for the rest of the world out there, yes, that is a disaster beyond measure, but I have no power or control or influence to change the course of events. All I can do is witness and write and comment and distribute information and play a minor role in a few people’s lives.

    All you do is whine and complain and feel sorry for yourself. To get out of that hole you have to take control of your own existence. You don’t know how to do it. That’s not my fault. It has to begin inside your own self, your own being. But it’s your problem, not mine.

  • @U: I’ve glimpsed the ‘end of time’ a time or two thus far (I call it the New Mexico Effect); but the sun continues its rising and setting (at times quite colorfully, more NME), so the trip continues. Next stop, Ghost Bird.