SATIRE IS HARD TO WRITE: How long until Monsanto proposes genetic engineering of the human race?

by Scott Erickson, who can be contacted via email at scott-erickson-writer@outlook.com

The hardest part about writing satire is trying to write things that are more absurd than what real life comes up with. I’ve heard this from a lot of comedy writers lately. There’s this idea that satire is dead because real life has become a satire of itself.
Here’s an example: Could anybody have invented the character of Sarah Palin? The vice presidential debate with her versus Joe Biden was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in my life.

The rest of this post is about a more personal example.

I just published a satirical novel about environmental destruction: The Diary of Amy, the 14-Year-Old Girl Who Saved the Earth.

In the novel, our young protagonist Amy Johnson-Martinez encounters the evil corporation GloboChem. A spill of the agricultural chemical “GrowMagic” has led to a hospital full of sick babies.

Amy does some research into what “GrowMagic” is, and she is shocked – SHOCKED! – to discover that “GrowMagic” is actually ONE OF THE MOST POISONOUS AGRICULTURAL CHEMICALS EVER MADE. This is what she finds on the GloboChem website:

Our main product is HappySeeds™ which grow 73% of the world’s vegetables and grains. Most of those seeds are Magic-Ready HappySeeds™ that are genetically engineered to accompany GrowMagic™ “agricultural helper.” As happy farmers around the world say, “I need the miraculous GrowMagic™ to keep my Magic-Ready HappySeeds™ happy!”

If you guessed that “GloboChem” is a thinly-disguised “Monsanto,” and that “GrowMagic™” is a thinly disguised “Roundup,” then good for you! You win 10 points and advance to the semi-finals.

Later in the story, things take a darker turn. Since weeds have evolved into super weeds that are increasingly resistant to agricultural chemicals, bold measures are necessary. Thus, GloboChem’s spokesperson announces a radical new proposal:

“I am proud to announce that GloboChem has developed an innovative new product that will absolutely end all problems with human exposure to agricultural chemicals.

“Our new product is a highly-advanced version of our famous ‘HappySeed’ technology. As you surely know, ‘Magic-Ready HappySeeds’ are genetically engineered to go with our ‘GrowMagic’ agricultural helper. I am proud to announce GloboChem’s brand-new product, which we call ‘HappyHuman.’ It will make human beings — people like you and me — able to withstand the ‘GrowMagic’ that brings us the clean and inexpensive food you serve to your loved ones.

“Each capsule of ‘HappyHuman’ contains specially-engineered radioactive isotopes that go throughout the body, miraculously altering the genetic code to change the cell chemistry in each and every cell. Then, our bodies can withstand the ‘GrowMagic’ that brings us attractive pest-free food at a reasonable price. In other words, it will make us able to withstand ‘GrowMagic’ 100 percent naturally!”

Funny stuff, huh? Well, maybe less funny after the recent announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency. Since weeds have evolved into super weeds that are increasingly resistant to agricultural chemicals, bold measures are necessary. The EPA has decided to allow larger traces of the herbicide glyphosate in farm-grown foods (also see here).

Yes, glyphosate is the key ingredient in the company’s GrowMagic™ label of herbicides. Sorry, I meant to write Roundup label of herbicides.

Don’t worry, though — the acceptable level of glyphosate is only rising a little bit.

The EPA is increasing limits on allowable glyphosate in food crops from 200 ppm to 6,000 ppm. That’s not much – only 3,000%.

Yes, scientists have linked glyphosate to cancerous diseases.

Yes, a study by The Cornucopia Institute concluded that glyphosate “exerted proliferative effects in human hormone-dependent breast cancer.”

Yes, another study concluded that “glyphosate enhances the damaging effects of other food borne chemical residues and environmental toxins.”

Later in The Diary of Amy, the story eventually takes an even darker turn. The public has so far resisted GloboChem’s plan to genetically alter the human race. But the situation has gotten worse, and the economy is in a tailspin due to a sudden oil shortage. We have to act fast! Fortunately, GloboChem comes to the rescue:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

We recently announced our new HappyHuman™ product and sought to receive congressional approval to market it. But public reception was less-than-positive and the congressional bill stalled in committee.

We believe that now is the time to pass the bill and rush HappyHuman™ to the American public. Only by genetically engineering a human race able to withstand our products can we preserve our American way of life.

We must increase the “magic” within GrowMagic™ to a level high enough to kill every form of life that has not been genetically modified to resist it. In other words, the only way to sustain human life is to modify ourselves to resist killing the rest of it.

This was much funnier to me when I wrote it. Now, not so much.

I’m just wondering how long it is before I see such a press release in real life, or before I see such a plan being proposed by a GloboChem spokesperson. Sorry, I meant to write Monsanto spokesperson.

______________

McPherson’s latest essaty for Transition Voice was posted Monday, 4 November 2013: Hopium for the masses, renewable energy edition.

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An excerpt from Going Dark, which is available from the publisher and Amazon: From Going Dark: “As suggested by the title of this book, this text is not for the faint of heart. Not only are the lights about to go out on industrial civilization, but the lights are about to go out on our species. Marching in lockstep with the dark days faced by society and Homo sapiens is my own heart, heavy with the knowledge in my head and the failure of my personal efforts. My prose in this work reflects the darkness of our final days. It’s time to learn to let go, one last time.”

______________

A presentation I delivered 3 October 2013 is embedded below. It’s already slightly out of date.

Guy’s Climate Chaos Presentation from Pauline Schneider on Vimeo.

______________

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 133

  • Hi Denise,
    Thanks for being… Your impressions of Guy were akin to my own, I really appreciate people who walk their talk. I hope our paths cross sometime… if you ever find yourself near Boulder…ask Guy for my number. That goes for quite a few others here as well, I think you know who you are.
    Also, thanks for the haiku… wonderful. Here’s something of mine…

    Sharp rock and brittle grass
    a barefoot man
    walks a crooked path.

    I’ve always felt it can be illuminating to walk barefoot in the world…metaphorically speaking, or not. Namaste everyone…

  • @Shuffle

    I saw what you did there: “i used to think that when I was younger” … come on you can do better than that.

    The assumption is you are older and therefore wiser but what if your alleged wisdom is actually a collection of mental programs inherited subconciously through various media?

    Some religions for example will inform you that being poor is the right way to live.

    Perhaps your younger self was more in tune with reality?

    Perhaps as you’ve got older you’ve been dumbed down?

    As men get older the testosterone leeches from their body and they eventually end up like Tom – wanting to “share” and cuddle.

    @ulvfugl

    I’m done talking to you, you have nothing of interest to say to me.

    You have admitted you are a misanthrope and I feel sorry for you to be honest.

    You don’t have to read my posts so feel free to ignore me as I will you from this point on.

    @Artleads

    Would you like to live on your own in the woods?

    What do you reckon would be the minimum number of people who couyld band together and run away from it all would be?

    We know which route Guy went, don’t we, but he isn’t mobile, and still lives courtesy of the state essentially.

    It’s complicated to explain, there is a good film on youtube called

    The Net – The Unabomber. LSD and the Internet

    It’s over an hour long but worth watching for the good 5 or so minutes of useful information.

  • Solaris (film) 1972, please explain how I live “courtesy of the state.” And, when you cannot explain your statement, please go away.

  • @ Denise
    Thanks. Actually, I do need some sympathy, and I guess I’m no longer afraid to admit it. Living in an old van really is as bad as it sounds, and worse. Being surrounded by a heartless, self-centered, insane, society that looks down its snotty nose and kicks you every chance it gets… is just part of the arrangement. While the rich keep getting richer… for a while. But enduring that time of torture, the eternity contained in each of those miserable moments of anxiety and insecurity – and outright physical discomfort, is like living in Hades, in the good ‘ol U.S.A. But, according to some, I’m in the upper class of homelessness, because I still have a van. I pity those who have nothing but a tent, and wish I could help them. Actually I wish that this nation, where military profiteers and bankers hijack trillions, would help them. Fat chance.

    Actually there are sadder aspects to my personal story, but I won’t burden this community with too many gory details. Sufficient to say that grief, incurable illness (Sjogren’s Syndrome), and severe financial conundrums embellish my life. At least the Lyme’s Disease seems to be stabilizing lately, having caused apparently permanent arthritis in both hands. But I guess I’m supposed to just ‘count my blessings’, and stop complaining. It upsets the affluent, who are oh, so sensitive.

    So, now I know… this is how collapse feels as human beings enter the penumbra of extinction. I just happen to be at the front line of the stampeding horde.

    Anyway, thanks again for the sympathy… Best wishes to you. May you have some moments of peace and happiness.

  • Badlands

    Thanks for the William Stafford poem. He’s very accessible and touching.

    @ solaris

    “Would you like to live on your own in the woods?”

    No. It never entered my mind.

    “What do you reckon would be the minimum number of people who couyld band together and run away from it all would be?”

    How does that follow? I never mentioned anything about banding together and running away. I don’t know why you bring it up.
    I asked you if you don’t have a sense of uneasiness about how many people there are, and how their numbers grow exponentially. How you answered the question would make me (and perhaps others) know something about you. Your answer suggests that you might not feel, as I do, a sense of something being askew (at least as regards population, if not a great many other things) in the world. It’s that visceral sense that I’m most concerned about and that has brought me to NBL. Not science.

    As you can see below, I get thoroughly insulted and ridiculed for my views (and my very being). I’m looking to see if you and I have something in common, apart from running afoul of certain attack dogs on NBL.

    “We know which route Guy went, don’t we, but he isn’t mobile, and still lives courtesy of the state essentially.”

    I don’t understand what mobility means in regard to your statement. For more reasons than I care to discuss at the moment, I believe in self-sufficiency. I find Guy’s self-sufficiency project very wise and inspiring, realizing that there is no known complete escape from industrial civilization.

    Hey. Best of luck. I found the attacks against you hurtful, for I could easily imagine them coming at me. But that doesn’t mean I agree with you.

  • @ coyoteyogi

    Thanks :-)

    I keep going back to this

    @ logspirit

    Yeah. Don’t know what to say. If it was me, I’d try fish oil, a tin of sardines in olive oil every day for a week, see if it makes a difference. And the grief and stuff. Ki can cure all that too. Between wake and sleep, push it around, find the places inside which are empty that it doesn’t get to and make it go there, force it. Easier said than done. Changes at different times of day.

  • Artleads asked for thoughts on population. I rarely watch TV, but coincidentally I was watching a TV programme the night before in which a statistician was talking about population to a studio audience with 3-D graphics and all that. I doubt if anything in his presentation is news to anyone reading here. He seemed to be saying that, as countries ‘develop’, their people live longer and have less children. According to him, ‘peak children’ happened some time in the early 2000s. As they mature, and reproduce, population will peak later this century at 10 billion or so. This whole scenario was predicated on BAU and continuing ‘development’. Climate problems were mentioned but kind of brushed aside as a ‘challenge’. No mention of peak oil or it’s implications for this continued development scenario. He did point out that over-consumers in the ‘developed’ nations need to be using less resources.

    According to the statistician, although the mid-sixties poulation was half what it is now, a greater proportion of that population was living below the poverty line, and having more children, because of high infant mortality.

    So, FWIW the population issue has reached mainstream media and that’s one message on it- Hopefully it’ll all be OK, with some hard work to do on changing people’s attitudes, a bit of levelling up, which, according to him, had been happening, and levelling down, for which he presented no evidence of anything having happened yet.

    Easy for me to say, but probably what the world needs as a priority is more poverty at the ‘top’, rather than less at the ‘bottom’, along with an end to paternalistic interference, stigmatisation, de facto criminalisation, of poverty. Fat chance. Anyhow, in an over-populated and over-developed world, poverty is an unaffordable luxury, and people never say: “enough”. In the programme they interviewed a Mozambique farmer who had been saving up for a long time for a bicycle, which he said would make a great positive difference in his life. He got his bicycle, and immediately expressed the desire to own a motorcycle… and that’s how it goes.

    A random related thought: I guess about a year ago the new-age crew might ‘explain’ population trends by saying that all these ‘souls’ were queueing up at the soul-station to get incarnated on Earth to witness the end of the Mayan calendar, some ‘great transformation’, or something. Now that hype has passed, you can’t help wondering if they (we) are in fact here in such great numbers to witness ‘interesting’ climate changes and the end of life on earth? Both cause and effect.
    ———————————————
    Someone will post this tune in response to comments upthread.. May as well be me..

    Then as now, the more pertinent question might have been: “If you’re so rich, how come you ain’t smart?”

  • @ logspirit

    Hope this doesn’t come across as patronising, because it’s probably almost impossible advice when up against such adversities as you are, even with warrior spirit, but re the grief, etc, I found it recurred and peaked at specific times, so took careful note, and was prepared, and paid close attention to where the first physical sensation appeared and then took hold. Each occasion then became a learning opportunity to apply inner ki to that event, gently healing it a little more each day.
    I have some scores of major traumas of that sort from my past life, and hundreds of lesser ones that I have dealt with in this way. I takes a long time to work through them. Some days are completely clear. Sometimes something can trigger a whole bundle of them to spring back to life, but now it only takes me a few moments to deal with them ‘Oh, it’s that again…’ instead of being totally disabled by escalating inner distress. Because the damn things can feed on themselves, loops, you feel bad because you find yourself feeling bad. So you have to break the cycle. Easiest is when the first tickle arrives, before it grabs you and takes over. Ueshiba got this stuff from China. I got it from the same source via a completely different route. Diet comes into it too. I know you follow your very strict principles, but maybe you need to consider something outside that regime, temporarily, as a remedial catalyst, so to speak. Animals do this. Sometimes they seek poisonous plants when they are sick, not for nourishment, but to adjust their metabolism when it’s become unbalanced. Maybe that helps ? Trying to be brotherly. The descent of USA into such a barbarous dystopia is both fascinating and gruesome to witness. Your eloquence is always welcome.

    @ 18000days

    Yeah, 7 billion is already way over the planet’s carrying capacity, the biosphere is collapsing, 2/3 of ecosystems stretched beyond sustainability, the oceans are being killed, one billion are constantly hungry, and yet some blithely talk about supporting 10 billion…

    Even the cautious conservative clueless IPCC people say

    …global warming could reduce agricultural production by as much as 2 percent each decade for the rest of this century.

    During that period, demand is expected to rise as much as 14 percent each decade, the report found, as the world population is projected to grow to 9.6 billion in 2050, from 7.2 billion today, according to the United Nations, and as many of those people in developing countries acquire the money to eat richer diets.

    Any shortfall would lead to rising food prices that would hit the world’s poor hardest, as has already occurred from price increases of recent years. Research has found that climate change, particularly severe heat waves, was a factor in those price spikes.

    The agricultural risks “are greatest for tropical countries, given projected impacts that exceed adaptive capacity and higher poverty rates compared with temperate regions,” the draft report finds.

    If the report proves to be correct about the effect on crops from climate change, global food demand might have to be met — if it can be met — by putting new land into production. That could entail chopping down large areas of forest, an action that would only accelerate climate change by sending substantial amounts of carbon dioxide into the air from the destruction of trees.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/02/science/earth/science-panel-warns-of-risks-to-food-supply-from-climate-change.html?_r=3&amp&

  • @WoodsDweller

    It’s the truth. There is very little radiation coming out of Fuku. I already called this out weeks ago, and nobody even attempted to refute my findings. Less than 24 Exit signs worth of tritium has been released, yet the info from fear-mongering sites choose to use a standard of measurement akin to the nanogram. They then use this ridiculously high value to scare the poo out of ignoramuses.

    The latest scare mongering nonsense is that “ten hiroshimas are releseased every hour”. People realize that hiroshima killed a lot of people, then multiply the death count by ten in their heads, and freak out. It’s retarded. First off, I dispute the value he comes up with. It’s probably pulled out of his ass. Second, hiroshima BOMB, was measured in kilotons, not MEGAtons. We’ve exploded plenty of those over the decades. Where are the 2.89 billion deaths, LOL! These numbers are absolutely ridiculous. Not to mention one is a bomb exploding, and the other is a slow leak that is being dispersed.

    Then there’s the old “non threshold” theory which is being replaced by the radiation hormesis theory, and gaining legitimacy the more studies are being done. Plenty to research for free online by the curious.

    Basically, it’s a complete non-issue for anyone outside of Japan. It may even increase our resilience towards future background increases.

    People talking about Fuku in relation to an ELE are absolutely out of their minds.

  • @ Guy

    By courtesy of the state I mean they know where you live, you bought the land correct?

    You are not living “in the wild” or truly off-grid.

    I think you said you paid taxes…. so my point is proven.

  • @ muffleupagus

    The keys to humor are brevity and timing.

  • @ Solaris blahblah aka Dean of Trolling

    You were politely requested to leave by the owner of the blog.

    Any decent sensitive self-respecting human would hear that, and they’d go.

    Or else, they’d hear that, and offer an apology for the offence they had caused.

    You seem to be suffering from some mental impairment which leads you to believe that we must all endure your ridiculous ignorant boorish insulting conduct whether we want to or not.

    You have NO understanding as to what this blog is about but
    you are going to force us to hear your ignorant opinions, whether we like it or not, aren’t you. You are going to MAKE US LISTEN TO YOU.

    You know, like the nazis, like the police, you want to MAKE people do things, against their will.

    Are we going to respect you ? Can you force us to believe you, to agree with you, to trust you ? To LIKE you ? Are we going to LOVE you ? Can you FORCE us to do that ?

    You behave like an ignorant vulgar oaf, so you will get treated like an ignorant vulgar oaf.

    @ muffleupagus

    It’s the truth. There is very little radiation coming out of Fuku. I already called this out weeks ago, and nobody even attempted to refute my findings.

    That’s possibly because it’s you who is saying it’s the ‘truth’ and most people don’t find what you say is convincing. Personally, I don’t think you are a credible source.

    @ Artleads

    I found the attacks against you hurtful, for I could easily imagine them coming at me.

    Aaah. You’re so sensitive, aren’t you, eh. Pity you don’t listen to a damn word. People left this blog because of you and your utterly insensitive attitude.

    I spent a lot of time explaining stuff to you, so that you’d not be so bruised by people’s responses.

    Why would you be welcomed at this blog when you had not taken the trouble to understand what this blog is about ?

    Didn’t do any good, did it. Complete waste of time. You’re still clueless. Might as well have talked to a stone.

    Some people can’t be helped. Like picking up a frog that’s in the road and putting it in the grass. Next thing, it hops straight back and get’s itself run over, splat !

    No more wasted time. Your problem, not mine.

  • @WoodsDweller
    @ulvfugl

    So basically, you’ve got nothing.

    Check.

  • @ muffleupagus

    ?

    I don’t EVER believe ANYTHING that comes out of the nuclear industry or from government sources re the nuclear industry. That’s because, after about 40 years experience, I have never known them to tell the truth. Ever.

    That said, I fully accept that the anti-nuclear side, for want of a better term, often makes hyperbolic statements, some voices do not understand the science and the physics very well, get the terminology wrong, and some of the claims are wildly exaggerated.

    That said, to downplay Fukushima, seems to me, frankly, insane.

    As for you, personally, since you first appeared, I find your stance re technology, etc, quite bizarre. I mean, you’re perfectly entitled to hold your view, and I don’t doubt that you feel it’s fully justified, but from my perspective, your view is bizarre. Makes no sense. Ok ?

  • @ muffleupagus

    I rolled a 20. Your taunt attempt failed.

  • Solaris (film) 1972, I pay taxes. As such, I contribute to the state, the opposite of your ridiculous statement that I live “courtesy of the state.” I pay property taxes to avoid incarceration. Your red herrings are growing quite tedious.

  • @ ulvfugl

    I don’t feel like you are patronizing me at all. Thank you brother for your kind attention and help. I have been absorbing your suggestions and got a particular lift from your November 8th, 2013 at 6:46 pm post, https://guymcpherson.com/2013/11/two-essays-by-carolyn-baker/#comment-108863 While I will not break my vow to refrain from eating flesh, which I have kept for more than 40 years, I do appreciate your positive intentions in the suggestion. I feel your concern. I’m not quite dead, yet… so I will just muddle on, and continue to seek improvements in my life and living conditions. Indeed, my warrior spirit has been working overtime lately and some plain old physical rest would be a great relief, but conditions disallow getting much of that. While stoic approaches may suit some, and although I do have an austere life, I’m not a natural Spartan… Homelessness and powerlessness eventually wears upon even the strongest, and I wouldn’t mind certain simple creature comforts. These experiences have forced me to go deeper into my inner integrities, my self respect, for sustenance. On grief and catching the early warning signals… sometimes I do, and manage to control and contain it as a mere tropical storm, other times it explodes into a cat 5 typhoon. I guess its the multiplier effect of simultaneous stresses. Yes, driving ki into weak areas is an excellent practice, and I have resumed it thanks to your reminders and encouragement.

  • @ logspirit

    Yeah, good, well, it’s a mistake to do another’s training, and the remedy, when tempted to do so, is to attend more closely to one’s own. I’ve been homeless for periods, lived in a van and tried to get work for a while. People looked at me as an opportunity to exploit. Plenty of vicious people who’ll give you a kick when you’re on the way down, not many helping hands to be found. Now I live in luxury, I wouldn’t change anything. I don’t see any remedy to this except to gather into small groups where tribal loyalty produces some sort of bond and mutual care.

    Anyway, about the health and diet and spiritual aspects, my take is that on one level, everything is just chemicals, all being shuffled about, whether it’s rocks or mushrooms or trees or fish or giraffes or humans, biochemistry is micro-machinery for shifting molecules. When something goes wrong with your health, it can be because there’s something missing from the chemistry.
    It’s long been known that there’s chemicals that are essential, like Vit. C, D,iodine, etc, you don’t need much, but if they are missing, then there are serious consequences.

    Then there’s another thing, the pathways that the biochemistry takes can go wrong, who knows why, perhaps just random error, so many diseases have no known cause, and then you’re stuck with some nasty symptom for years.
    The hypothesis I have is that a shock, a perturbation, a poison, so to speak, is needed, to jolt the biochemistry and make it re-adjust back into its healthy pathway.

    I have a book, I forget the title, it’s upstairs somewhere, where someone has collected all the info about wild animals treating themselves for illness and injury, it’s astonishing. They know intuitively what they need. I think we can tap into that same wisdom if we can connect to our ancient, purer, deeper nature.

    You know, how the heck did the Amazon shamans discover the only two plants out of hundreds of thousands of species growing there with millions of different chemicals in them, that mixed together, make oral DMT effective ? The odds are astronomical. They insist that they talk to the plants and the plants tell them what they need to know. Same goes for the puffer fish venom that the voudun people use to create zombies. How did someone discover that ?

    But zooming right up the levels, to the grief and despair and suffering and daily survival. Who or what is it that is doing this ? Who or what is it that makes the vow, that endures the stress, that has this life ?

    Everybody has their own, typically rather glib, flippant, shallow, superficial answer.
    I’ve heard them all, from the christians, the scientists, the psychologists, the materialists, the nihilists, the existentialists, the jungians, the pagans and gnostics and whatevers…

    I’ve been looking into this stuff for a long time now. Couple of zen priests visited me a few days ago. One is a contemporary. Our paths crossed once before, more than 40 years ago.
    I read that The New Yoga site last night. The page concerning the etymology of ki was quite interesting.

    http://www.thenewyoga.org/tantra_and_taoism.htm

  • @Artleads

    “I found the attacks against you hurtful”

    Not at all, I couldn’t give a fuck what people say. I came here looking for some interesting conversations and found the reverse.

    Same old same old…. the internet is full of socially isolated fools who’ve worked out that by using a computer they can be accepted where face to face they wouldn’t be.

    @Guy

    You misunderstand my point. You exist courtesy of the state in the same way reservation indians exist courtesy of the state.

  • Solaris (film) 1972, I still miss your point. Courtesy of the state? You’re comparing me to indigenous people on reservations? In what way(s), besides the fact I’m human?

  • Please note that I find the obviously intended implications of these recently posted web-comments by Solaris (film) 1972 to be quite disgusting!

    FIRST: Solaris (film) 1972 Says:
    November 8th, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    “We know which route Guy went, don’t we, but he isn’t mobile, and still lives courtesy of the state essentially.”

    SECOND: Solaris (film) 1972 Says:
    November 9th, 2013 at 11:22 am

    @ Guy

    “By courtesy of the state I mean they know where you live, you bought the land correct? You are not living “in the wild” or truly off-grid. I think you said you paid taxes…. so my point is proven.”

    THIRD: Solaris (film) 1972 Says:
    November 10th, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    @Guy

    “You misunderstand my point. You exist courtesy of the state in the same way reservation Indians exist courtesy of the state.”

    Dear Professor McPherson, First, let me say that I greatly admire both you and your efforts to educate the world in respect to its likely pending doom via climate change. Let me also say that I rate Nature Bats Last, with all of its regular posters, as probably the very most potentially meaningful site that I have ever encountered on the web. But, I have also noticed that your site seems to have been invaded by a bunch of stinky and plainly obnoxious skunks in the last week or so and how it has actually become painful to witness how the lying venom of those undoubted pro-nuke and anti-global warming trolls have of late been poisoning the discussion here. Please, throw them all off your site starting with that obviously sick and bullying character who calls himself Solaris (film) 1972 . For, plainly, what he’s been trying to do is to intimidate both you and your other site contributors into keeping silent by inferring that it is only at the apparent sufferance of the so-called powers that be that any of us, apparently like members of a defeated Indian tribe – might continue to be allowed to live out our meager lives in an unmolested manner in this country.

    Sorry, but I don’t personally take well to such kinds of threats. So, please by all means tell all of those obviously paid trolling hacks to go straight to hell and please do not be the least reluctant to ban them from any further posting on your site so that I might also be seen on record as having wholeheartedly seconded that motion. Anyway, after months and months of daily visits to your formerly very wonderful site I thought that it was time that I should finally speak. You are a hero to me. Sincerely, Mr Belle Islander

  • @ ulvfugl
    Yes, I’m not so concerned with the who or the what of whatever this ‘I’ is either. Don’t want to get uncomfortably self conscious and freeze over it. Its just living. On the other hand, like most folks, this ‘I’ doesn’t enjoy discomfort very much, it would be more pleasant to have a soft pad. Anyway, the idea of shocking the system a bit to get it back into balance has merit, and there are various ways that happens. Of course, the vow isn’t the only aspect of my choice to remain free of flesh consumption – that would be silly. Over the years I’ve learned about many of the deleterious aspects. I hold back from discussing them too much here to avoid distressing those who are easily offended and jump to defenses over their habits. That would inhibit them from making positive discoveries for themselves. Sometimes a subtle hint is enough. The article on Tantra and Taoism was interesting, especially the section on hara. I have not been able to practice aikido for a while and miss the benefits. Meanwhile the impacts of several major stressors are taking their toll. Doing the best ‘I’ can. The most healing practice lately is plain, simple, rest and relaxation. When it happens. I appreciate your attention and help very much. Heroic action in recent battles of the Troll War! You shame the Red Baron. Please carry on.

  • @ Belle Islander

    Thanks for that refreshing reminder that there are some sane voices out there, but I don’t think it is necessary to ban the trolls.

    That’s because, just like Socrates, Guy has the moral and intellectual high ground, which remains impregnable, whatever they say or do.

    Ultimately, this is about TRUTH. It can’t be destroyed, however much idiocy is thrown at it.

    The person calling themselves Solaris blabla blusters and raves but really it is no contest, because just like the other trolls, they defeat themselves.

    I mean, just look at how dishonest he is.

    I came here looking for some interesting conversations and found the reverse.

    So, WHY does he STAY ?

    He says there is no interesting conversation. We are all fools. Well then, he has no reason to be here. There are tens of thousands of blogs and forums that he can go to, full of smart people and interesting conversation, where people will insult him and he can insult them back. He lies to us and to himself. Totally lame. Just one more self-indulgent nutcase who wants attention.

    It makes no difference at all to the fundamental ideas concerning NTE.

    The ideas are so terrible, so shocking and appalling, that it is inevitable that they will create these kinds of reactions. I don’t mean the reactions from these clueless individual idiot trolls, but from the larger forces in the world.

    They are not Guy’s ideas. He is just joining up the dots, putting the jigsaw pieces in place, and saying to people, ‘This is what the SCIENCE is saying to us all’.

    As each year – indeed, as each MONTH – has gone past, what people here have been saying has turned out to be CORRECT, and what everyone else has been saying has turned out to be wrong.

    But it’s going to get much, much worse, isn’t it.

    That’s how I see it.

  • @ logspirit

    Yes, I’m not so concerned with the who or the what of whatever this ‘I’ is either. Don’t want to get uncomfortably self conscious and freeze over it. Its just living.

    I think, for me, this is the most interesting question of all bar none.
    I don’t mean ‘I’ in the sense of the ego, or the sense of the ‘me’, or any sense that’s built upon a conditioned concept based upon what our culture teaches us to think. I’m trying to point to something deeper than all of that.
    (And certainly, I don’t interfere with it’s expression by being self-conscious, that would be coming at it from a very different angle.)

    On the other hand, like most folks, this ‘I’ doesn’t enjoy discomfort very much, it would be more pleasant to have a soft pad. Anyway, the idea of shocking the system a bit to get it back into balance has merit, and there are various ways that happens.

    I was thinking of the shock only at the microscopic level of the chemistry.
    It’s very mysterious and poorly understood, and very complicated. How does the body know which molecule to send where so that it arrives at the right place at the right time ? For example, arthritis in the hands, something is going wrong with the signalling, so that the messages make mistakes.

    The article on Tantra and Taoism was interesting, especially the section on hara. I have not been able to practice aikido for a while and miss the benefits.

    Aha, then I think you can think of it differently. I’ve read quite a lot about Ueshiba’s route into his understanding, and about the ways that other masters taught and understood their various methods and considered my own experiences. Mine began with sitting motionless doing zazen, and the teacher mentioned that some people did that and various related practices in relation to martial arts, and in relation to health, but she considered those pursuits were inferior, and the spiritual aspects were what was important.

    So it was years before I suddenly realised the application to martial arts and health, and got into tai chi, aikido, and qi gong, and realised one day that every move that I would ever make for the rest of my life would be a tai chi move. Or, to put it another way, a yoga move, or a qi gong move, or aikido move, or a kundalini move, because the terminology isn’t the important thing, what matters is that the ‘thing’ has woken up and never goes back to sleep. I think the zen monks learn this transition in their formal monastic teaching doing kinhin. The idea is that you achieve the deepest levels of bliss and serenity in concentrated meditation on your zafu and then you stand up and gently bring it into the gross material world of action without losing it.

    Yeah. Trolls. :-) It would be nice to get back to some more stimulating and interesting exchanges because bashing trolls does get quite boring, bit like slugs eating your vegetables.

  • @Guy

    Belle Islander said:
    “inferring that it is only at the apparent sufferance of the so-called powers that be that any of us, apparently like members of a defeated Indian tribe – might continue to be allowed to live out our meager lives in an unmolested manner in this country”

    Thank you – that is a pretty accurate re-wording of the point I was making.

    Another way of putting it would be to examine the life of John the Savage in Huxley’s Brave New World and ask how “free” he is.

  • @Guy

    I’ve just re-watched Knightriders, the film from 1982.

    When Ed Harris is asked why he is choosing to live as a modern day King Arthur, using motorcycle jousting torunaments to make a living he replies…

    “To live by the code, to fight the dragon.”

    Is that what you are doing Guy?

  • Solaris (film) 1972, as I have been explaining in this space for more than six years, I am practicing and promoting resistance against an irredeemably corrupt, omnicidal dominant paradigm. Apparently the clarity and depth of my explanation is insufficient for you. Perhaps you can read some of the 300 or so essays I’ve written in this space as a means of providing context.

  • @ ulvfugl
    Thanks for your inspirations. I have been giving thought to practicing through ordinary experience. I suppose if I were a master that is exactly what I would be doing, all the time. I manage it from time to time, between bouts of forgetfulness. I admit to resorting to resting in occasional forgetfulness, more and more, lately. Sometimes its all too much, and I feel the need to forget and to just let my mind drift away from all my troubles. Again, I appreciate your help. I’m very tired from a long day of hard physical labor. I hope you will agree to continue the conversation… for the duration, through whatever time we have left. Aloha, namaste, and peace in every language, brilliant brother.

  • @ logspirit

    Okay, well, I can say something about that. I’m not speaking down to you, because I’m certain there’s plenty of areas where you know more than I do.

    But forgetfulness, and attention. This is a specialised area of zen students. You know, when you are fully rested, at peak performance, focus with full concentration upon something, maximum attention upon something, and see how long it lasts. Time it perhaps. How long before…. what happens ? Some thought, some distraction and you find you are miles away, lost in thinking and memories and anxieties and fantasies and all kinds of stuff.

    So what happened ? You go back to the beginning and start again and watch closely what happens. And what happens to the watcher ? They get submerged and attention gets sucked into the same stream of distraction and same thing happens all over again.

    So this poor watcher, who is so vitally important, is vulnerable and weak and easily drowns. Bit like the rider on a strong horse. The horse takes over and goes wherever it wants and the rider is helpless.
    So, there’s a knack to this. You have to give the watcher more energy. The technique means connecting attention to the hara or the tanden. If you breath out from that area, with two puffs, first one half breath, then the second half breath, exhaled sort of sharply but gently through the nostrils, just enough so you feel the tension in the belly muscles in the hara region, that instantly brightens up the attention, the watcher, and quietens down the thinking and distractions.

    So once you have learned this, you can maintain attention without effort and not be distracted by a wandering mind. You don’t need to keep doing the sharp half breaths, that’s just when you notice you’re losing attention. You just keep a percentage of awareness focussed on the hara/tanden region, just enough to keep the mind silent and still. This is what I call mushin. You can keep the mind completely without thought, whilst keeping the senses razor sharp. Doesn’t mean you don’t ‘think’, but what seems to be happening – I don’t think anybody understand this – is that thought goes on in the unsconscious at a subliminal level, so that the conscious mind is uncluttered.

    At first this requires some effort and struggle, but when you say you let your mind drift away, the sort of mental activity involved in that sort of discursive brain functioning consumes tremendous amounts of energy. When the mind is stilled, as in mushin, I find that I have much more physical energy. The idea that letting the mind drift is ‘relaxing’ I don’t think is really correct, it’s just a habit formed long ago in childhood. The mind will settle into some horrible loop and just churn away, chewing over the same old trauma again and again, which never gets resolved, if you let it. I know there are psychotherapists who will disagree with me and who like to exploit that fact and get their clients to re-live their pain and misery, but I am a warrior, I can’t afford to be disabled.

    When I get hurt, I do re-live the whole thing in every detail, and then I go through it and tag every detail with a sort of ticket, so that when it re-arises, I know it’s been dealt with and doesn’t need any more attention. It’s a way of healing and letting the stuff go, so that I can function. It comes back again, and I give it a re-run, and very tenderly tag it all over again. This way, all the stuff in my memory, in my subconscious, has been given the same compassion I would give to any injured child who ran to me for comfort. Believe me, I know plenty about the pain and horror that happens on this planet, but I’m not here to wallow in it, I’m here to survive it, and keep on fighting until I can’t.

    Namaste :-)

    Oh, I found another interesting link concerning the etymology surrounding hara.

    http://heritageofjapan.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/taka-ma-hara-or-high-hara-the-celestial-shining-mountain-peak-the-japanese-elixir-field-the-navel-belly-of-the-earth-finds-cognates-elsewhere-comparative-etymology/

  • @Ulvfugl Thank you for explaining “mushin'”. I’m going to give it some tries.
    FWIW, I’m one of those people who look forward to your posts regardless of the length. I’m also a person who enjoys detail when it’s helpful or entertaining (both!), so lengthy equals a good time for me.

    P.S. I’m not a troll, but a (mostly) “read only” internet user because I can’t be relied on to respond in a timely manner.

    salud!

  • @ shuffle

    Thanks, shuffle. It’s difficult to explain this stuff even face to face in real life and it’s a lot harder in text over the internet to people you can’t see. I tried to write down the general idea of where I’m at here, maybe some of the links will be helpful. Salud to you :-)

    http://collapseofindustrialcivilization.com/2013/09/07/building-inner-strength-in-chaotic-times/#comments

  • @ ulvfugl
    Thanks for taking the time to detail the instructions on drift and focus. Yes, it is very good to strengthen the ability to clear the mind and allow expansion of consciousness, absorbing more internal and external sensory input with a better signal to noise ratio. To be able to consciously ‘tag’ loose thoughts and thereby gain authority over them. Most of my practice has been in ‘moving meditation’, to get into flow, in an ecstatic balance between spontaneity and willfulness. I will reexamine your instructions and put them to use, as time allows. I have not put many hours into stationary meditation. When I did I was amazed at the heightening and expansion of consciousness, and the remarkable increase in physical strength and balance and general well being. I know it is a good practice. I wish I was at leisure to do more of it. As things currently stand for me, I still have to work to live, and spend most of the activity hours I can summon doing it; for the most part I will have to be satisfied with practicing in ordinary circumstances, and using the opportunities that life provides in annoyances and anxieties etc. to improve my equanimity and happiness. I have had an abundance of such opportunities lately. I should be celebrating. Anyway, its good to have you as a friend and teacher, and I feel confident that I can say that without false construct or presumption. Thanks dude… Oh, and your music rings true and fine. It speaks of realms that words can’t touch.

  • @ logspirit

    It’s quite difficult to convey stuff about the inner world even face to face, let alone in text like this, so we can only try and hope something gets across.

    To be able to consciously ‘tag’ loose thoughts and thereby gain authority over them.

    What I really meant about that, was not the sort of loose thoughts that enter the mind, such as memories from yesterday, or ‘I must remember to..’ or ‘I wonder if..’ and all sorts of associations that get triggered by stimuli. I meant the big traumas that cause grief and serious pain, like ‘the time I was drunk driving and hit that little girl’ or ‘the time I was held down by those guys and sodomized’ or ‘the time I lied to my wife and she never forgave me’… the sort of stuff that we normally don’t like to look at because it hurts too much.

    What I meant, is, you go and look closely at all of those, and heal them all with tags. And then, as new ones come along, as they inevitably will, if you’re out in the world doing stuff, you deal with them quickly and effectively by the same method of attaching loving tags. So when they enter conscious awareness, they have a tag attached that says they’ve already been acknowledged and attended to. Otherwise, they’ll keep on troubling and hurting, and soon there’s a whole backlog. Which is the sort of thing you described, when there’s a storm of grief and pain.

    I’m not really anybody’s teacher. But I know a lot. One of the astonishing things that I know is that there are some highly respected and revered teachers, with mass followings, and I read what they say and think ‘Wow, the guy doesn’t KNOW about such and such’ and, although there is a lot that is very difficult to explain, there’s also plenty that CAN be explained, if teachers made an effort and students wanted the knowledge and tried to hear what’s being said.

    For a thousand years and more, much of this stuff has been absolutely top secret, hidden in esoteric schools, masked in strange symbolic language so that only the initiated could understand it, and it’s been understood in ancient mediaeval terms of reference. That’s only changed quite recently.

    One tai chi teacher I had was a woman who learned from a chinese master. She didn’t just teach tai chi forms, she taught all kinds of other stuff. It was nothing like the typical New Age youtube video stuff. We were in a huge hall, which we had for free, her and six students, almost dark, no heat, freezing cold. She said on Mao’s Long March and similar times, people had few clothes and died from cold. The masters taught some of them the ancient techniques to warm the body. She taught us. Starting with gently rubbing the tips of the toes, building fire, until the whole body is hot. Incredible.

    Thanks for the compliment about the music. Like I said to KK, I spent about 50 years trying to be ‘a good guitar player’. What a fucking waste of time :-) Now I’m trying to forget all that nonsense and find something worth hearing, something really really simple… which is SO HARD to do… I hear African guys, and Irish guys, and Appalachian Old Time guys who can do it, but not many others, I reckon anybody who starts thinking they are a musician has probably already mostly lost the plot :-)