Two Essays by Carolyn Baker

What Collapse Feels Like Part 4 Of 5: Despair: Every Moment Offers A Choice, originally posted at Speaking Truth to Power

DespairEvery day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.

~Victor Frankl~

Similar to our siblings in the animal kingdom, we humans react instinctively to stimuli that we perceive as threatening. The heartbeat speeds up, blood pressure elevates, muscles contract, and we are poised for fight or flight. If we are bombarded with this kind of stimuli repeatedly over time, such recurring stress pummels the nervous system, and we are usually worn down into depression, despair, or both. While our physiology is similar to that of other animals, our nervous systems are more sophisticated, and in spite of the plethora of ways in which we have reprehensibly applied it, we do possess more complex consciousness than other mammals. While other life forms experience despair as unequivocally as humans do, in most cases, humans have the capacity to choose how they will manage despair, and other living beings do not.

 

But what is despair? Most dictionary definitions offer “the loss of hope” as the ultimate answer to this question. As I have written many times in many places, “hope” is one of the most seductive and loathsome soporifics of modern culture. In a majority of instances, hope is the last holdout of the human ego which says, “Oh, I don’t have to stare reality fully in the face. I can hold onto ‘hope’.” Clinging to hope is indicative of abdicating agency and is often one of the most perilous bulwarks of the denial infrastructure.

 

Why We Need Despair

 

However, when we consider issues such as the collapse of industrial civilization or Near-Term extinction resulting from catastrophic climate change—our role in it and how we might want to respond it, the first order of business is that we lose all hope. In the context of collapse, hope is personified in things like the notion of technology as our ultimate savior, shale oil as the antidote for peak oil, Bill McKibben as the answer to climate change, Barack Obama as Messiah (with “The Audacity of Hope” in tow), the agenda of Progressive Democratic politics as a feasible alternative to Tea Party politics, and geo-engineering as a panacea for global warming. If we prefer to keep one foot in Disneyland denial, then any or all of these are an option. If, however, we are committed to facing and telling the unmitigated truth of our predicament, then all hope must be eviscerated and as quickly as possible. Hope serves to prevent our descent into the only state of mind that offers any possibility of making sense of our predicament, namely despair.

 

Notice that I am purposefully reviling the word “hope.” Hope, that ‘waiting for Santa Claus’ chimera of the subservient subjects of industrial civilization, is, however, very different from “options,” “responses,” or “resilience.” The latter result not from civilization’s refusal to come to terms with a tragic sense of life, namely, that all things have a beginning, middle, and end. Rather authentic options, responses, and resilience embrace the tragic sense of life alongside utter hopelessness.

 

When we engage in exercising options, considering possible responses, and creating for ourselves and our communities a state of resilience, we are doing something besides allowing despair to kill us on a variety of levels. We clearly understand that longevity is not the ultimate objective. Our bodies are guaranteed to die, but choosing to develop resilience is choosing not to die just yet. And why would we want to do that? Because despite how it feels, despite the suffocating, cloying blackness of despair, some part of us knows that there is some possibility of meaning in it. In that regard, we are not alone; we stand alongside millions of other human beings throughout history who have written, spoken, composed songs, and made all manner of art—and meaning, in the face of their despair.

 

So if you want to insist that life is meaningless, which by the way even Nietzsche did not believe, you probably should stop reading right here. If you want me to convince you that life isn’t meaningless, well, I can’t do that, nor do I want to. It’s really none of my business, but if you have some inkling that it’s possible to find/make meaning in the throes of despair and that doing so matters in any way, you may want to continue reading.

 

My ultimate heroes and she-roes are the men and women who survived the holocaust and were able to write about their experiences afterward. One of those is Victor Frankl who gave us a treasure-trove of insight and inspiration as a result of his hellish ordeal. For Frankl it was all about discovering the rich and wrenching textures of his inner life. In fact, he considered “the intensification of inner life” to be one of the principal gifts in the nightmare he endured.

 

All human beings are victimized at some time or countless times in their lives. Repeated victimization carries with it not only the emotional pain of the victimizing experience but conditions the nervous system and psyche to expect and become tragically familiar, even comfortable with, being victimized. Over time, people can develop a victim consciousness in which they may become incapable of discerning their personal adult responsibility, that is to say, “one’s part” in a particular situation. Or conversely, one can become so enculturated in victimhood that one begins to despise humanity in general and one’s own humanity in particular. Despair and victim consciousness often travel together, and it takes a great deal of self-love and commitment to one’s own inherent value to avoid the pitfalls of self-loathing and humanity-hating vitriol. If one intends to weather the storms of planetary demise, this perspective will not serve. Nor will the commitment to meaninglessness as one’s “true north.” Says Frankl, reflecting on his Auschwitz experience, “Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost.”

 

What will serve (which is not synonymous with staying alive) is a commitment to finding/making meaning in one’s predicament.

 

Victor Frankl repeatedly emphasized our capacity to choose how we want to meet suffering. Specifically, he wrote:

 

Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.

 

Frankl recognized suffering as an “essential piece not only of existence but of the meaningful life.” If there is meaning in life at all, he wrote, “then there must be meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.”

 

As you know, dear reader, industrial civilization does not prepare us for adopting this perspective. It fosters Victim-Tyrant relationships and constantly sends us beautifully engraved invitations to claim one or both roles, and sometimes we find ourselves alternating roles from moment to moment. But real suffering—the kind produced in holocausts, the collapse of empires, and extinction events compels the people weathering those to choose whether or not they will find meaning in their suffering or not. Or as Frankl writes: “Everywhere man is confronted with fate, with the chance of achieving something through his own suffering.” The “something” that we have a chance of achieving is to be found in whatever “something” we choose to live for. Frankl tells us that in the camp, the people who were the most resilient were those who found some very small thing to live for each day. And yes, it was our friend Nietzsche who said, “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.”

 

But in fact, according to Frankl, the years in Auschwitz taught him something more fundamental than the meaning of life:

 

What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves, and furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life — daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.

 

As I sit with the possibility of Near-Term Extinction (NTE) and Frankl’s words, I am driven to fall on my knees and make a conscious, heartfelt amends to the earth community—not once but many times. I prefer this practice to berating and beating up myself and my fellow earthlings for our multitude of sins against Gaia. If this feels like an absurdly useless activity to you, ask yourself if generalized contempt for the human race is any more useful.

 

Yes, our species has collectively participated in murdering the planet, but that is not all of who we are. According to Frankl, “Is it surprising that in those depths we again found only human qualities which in their very nature were a mixture of good and evil? The rift dividing good from evil, which goes through all human beings, reaches into the lowest depths and becomes apparent even on the bottom of the abyss which is laid open by the concentration camp.” Indeed there is a Goldman Sachs CEO and a greedy fracker in all of us. Until we accept that, we are still ingesting “hopium” into our veins. There is also within us a Beethoven, a Van Gogh, a Joan of Arc, and a Helen Keller.

 

To embrace unbridled nihilism or eschew those who speak of creating joy, beauty, humor, and moments of caring community is to enlist in the armies of the high priests of religious fundamentalism who flagellate themselves with whips of caustic cynicism and grandiose self-censure. If you think I’m talking about “feeling good” or “being happy,” you’re absolutely not hearing me. None of this is about being happy in hell, but it is all about working to keep one’s heart open in hell.

 

Anyone committed to nihilism and reveling in cynicism has not done the work explained in the last segment of this series of articles on “What Collapse Feels Like,” entitled “All Roads Lead To Grief.” In fact, grief work is one of many tools for living with and through our despair.

 

While none of us welcomes despair and most of us seek to dispel it as quickly as possible, let us learn from people like Frankl and his death camp peers. I believe that on the one hand, we need to open to being taught by our despair and at the same time, we must alleviate it by taking action. Edward Abbey declared that action is an antidote to despair. Indeed, let us take action, but at the same time understand that the horrific experiences of Frankl and others are sublime “teachers” bearing “lesson plans” for exquisitely facilitating our wholeness and spiritual evolution.

 

Are we willing to be taught by our despair? Taught what exactly? From Frankl’s perspective, not so much what the meaning of one’s life is, but who is asking the question. “In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”

 

Two things sustained Frankl and tens of thousands of others in death camps: Love and humor. Love expands far beyond the physical being of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in the inner self of the other, whether or not that person is actually present, or even if that person is not alive at all.

 

Frankl’s love for his wife gave him an invaluable sense of meaning:

 

We were at work in a trench. The dawn was grey around us; grey was the sky above; grey the snow in the pale light of dawn; grey the rags in which my fellow prisoners were clad, and grey their faces. I was again conversing silently with my wife, or perhaps I was struggling to find the reason for my sufferings, my slow dying. In a last violent protest against the hopelessness of imminent death, I sensed my spirit piercing through the enveloping gloom. I felt it transcend that hopeless, meaningless world, and from somewhere I heard a victorious “Yes” in answer to my question of the existence of an ultimate purpose. At that moment a light was lit in a distant farmhouse, which stood on the horizon as if painted there, in the midst of the miserable grey of a dawning morning in Bavaria. “Et lux in tenebris lucet” — and the light shineth in the darkness. For hours I stood hacking at the icy ground. The guard passed by, insulting me, and once again I communed with my beloved. More and more I felt that she was present, that she was with me; I had the feeling that I was able to touch her, able to stretch out my hand and grasp hers. The feeling was very strong: she was there. Then, at that very moment, a bird flew down silently and perched just in front of me, on the heap of soil which I had dug up from the ditch, and looked steadily at me.

 

Most people reading this article are not living with hardship even remotely approaching the hell of Auschwitz which Frankl describes. Yet we live daily in the emotional and spiritual hell of empire and the concentration camp of Near-Term Extinction where, as Guy McPherson writes, “Only Love Remains”:

 

The privilege to be here, on this life-giving planet at this astonishing time in human history, is sufficient to inspire awe in the most uncaring of individuals. At this late juncture in the age of industry, at the dawn of our day on Earth, we still have love: love for each other, love for our children and grandchildren, love for nature. One could argue it is all we have left.

 

Frankl speaks of humor as “another of the soul’s weapons in the fight for self-preservation” because it allows us to rise above any situation if only for a few seconds.

 

Indeed it is possible, according to Frankl, to practice the art of living in a concentration camp even though suffering is omnipresent. In his poem, “Peace Of The Wild Things,” Wendell Berry famously reminds us of the most profound antidote to despair, intimate connection with nature:

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

 

What does it mean to “come into the presence” of these members of the earth community? I believe that it means developing an intimate relationship with them by allowing ourselves to feel them, listen to them, witness them, smell, taste, and touch them. I also believe, as Berry assures us in the last line of the poem, that in moments when we experience this level of intimacy with these beings, it is impossible to be engulfed in despair.

 

Die Before You Die

An adage attributed to Mohammed and also to the mystical poet, Rumi, “die before you die,” is an essential perspective for the human species that is most likely living in a hospice situation at this moment as we confront catastrophic climate change and the horrifying repercussions of the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011. All resistance to facing the deepest truths of our predicament results from an unwillingness to grapple with our own mortality. Modern humanity refuses to confront the likelihood of Near-Term Extinction (NTE) produced by human-produced climate change. More recently, humanity cannot bear to own the frightening realities of Fukushima and what that tragedy ultimately means for the termination of life on this planet.

 

Nearly all non-industrial cultures in the world, and many industrial ones, are willing to deal with death. Overwhelmingly, this culture is not. Yet I notice that when people are able to do so, their capacity for confronting the larger issues of our predicament is expanded. In my work with groups and individuals, I sometimes invite people to participate in a “die before you die” exercise in which I slowly and carefully accompany them through the fantasy of their own death. The experience is profound on many levels, and without exception, I have never witnessed a person who after the exercise was not more capable of addressing the myriad catastrophes confronting the earth community. In fact, what people essentially report is that after they have consciously pondered their own demise, they feel freed up to mindfully deal with what is. At the conclusion of a “die before you die” experience, one man said, “I’ve deeply confronted what my own death might be like, and after that, I can talk about anything because in full awakeness I have confronted the worst that can happen.”

 

Many Buddhist monastic communities practice contemplation of dead or decaying bodies. The purpose of the practice is to instill a profound consciousness of one’s own mortality and allow that awareness to inform how we live our lives. Absent a deep awareness of death, we are less likely to make sense of our lives, nor are we likely to offer love and service to other beings. Buddha suggested that we think of death with every breath and that contemplating a dead body teaches us that when we look at another person, we are seeing only externals and that the essential person is eternal and beneath the outward appearance.

 

The principal task of anyone residing in hospice is preparation for death, and paradoxically, that may include living more fully, mindfully, and generously than one has ever lived before. It often means savoring every human connection and every physical sensation with more awareness and appreciation than one has ever experienced in one’s life. Living in hospice means that because we are so attuned to where we’re headed, so poignantly conscious of our ultimate fate, we cherish every experience on a cellular level and take nothing for granted. Often in hospice, people discover the full spectrum of their aliveness for the first time.

 

Few human beings understand how deeply the fear of death runs in us. On the one hand, we live in a culture that refuses to deal with death, but at the same time, for the human ego, anything that does not allow it to remain in control of life, directly or indirectly represents the threat of death. The losses of our lives, from the most frivolous to the most momentous stir in us a fear of death because with each one, the ego diminishes a bit. Thus, in order to actually discuss and consciously prepare for one’s own literal death, the ego is required to surrender more territory than it prefers. For this reason, spiritual practices that teach us how to surrender or temper the ego in deference to the deeper or sacred self are profoundly useful in emboldening us to confront our mortality.

 

In addition, allowing ourselves to balance our left-brain tendencies with what our hearts and emotions naturally seek in times of both ego and literal death is crucial. Now is the time for reading and writing poetry, speaking it to another person, composing and sharing music, creating works of art, dancing, drumming, cooking a nourishing meal for a friend, and engaging in all manner of ritual, whether spiritually-based or rituals of our daily routine that we savor with unprecedented gratitude.

 

Thus, as we confront catastrophic climate change and planetary game-changers such as the ever-widening implications of the Fukushima disaster, it is increasingly likely that humanity is already inhabiting hospice. As tempting as it may be to leap into the left brain and begin arguing that we are not inhabiting hospice and that the notion is absurd, it may actually be more useful to notice the potential benefits of imagining such a scenario.

 

While hospice may be a place of profound grief and mourning of losses and missed opportunities, it may also be the context for plumbing the depths of one’s own soul as well as discovering for the first time one’s full capacity for generosity, giving, and service to others. Hospice patients often report an enhanced quality of relationships, an unprecedented savoring of even the most mundane experiences, a previously-unimagined depth of love, the capacity to appreciate humor in the face of their demise, and an aura of gratitude unlike any they have ever known. In other words, hospice may be, not unlike Frankl’s description of his time in Auschwitz, a convergence of both heaven and hell in the same moment—an energy field in which abject suffering and ineffable joy co-exist and illuminate the innermost regions of our humanity. Perhaps the poet Rumi asked the most compelling question: “What have I ever lost by dying?”

 

______________

Earth in Hospice, originally posted at Speaking Truth to Power

EarthTo be in a body is to hear the heartbeat of death at every moment.

~Andrew Harvey~

As I write these words in early November, 2013, humanity is confronting an unprecedented and horrific challenge which it may or may not survive. I’m referring to two uncanny realities about which we are not being told the unmitigated truth.

 

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant which suffered a catastrophic meltdown on March 11, 2011 is poised to inflict death and disastrous illness on millions, if not billions of people, as a result of ghastly amounts of contaminated water that is gushing daily into the Pacific Ocean and has already been detected on the West coasts of Canada and the United States. (“28 Signs That The West Coast Is Being Fried By Fukushima Radiation.”)

 

A short video entitled “Fukushima: Beyond Urgent,” provides a complete explanation of what happened at Fukushima and the consequences in terms of atmospheric and oceanic pollution and ultimately, the life and death of species affected by those. According to physician, Helen Caldicott who has been researching nuclear radiation for decades, we are in a nuclear crisis and have been since March 11, 2011.

 

We have never been told the full extent of the effects of the Fukushima tragedy, nor can we easily grasp the incompetence of TEPCO, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, that owns and manages the Fukushima plant. Throughout the duration of this incomprehensible nightmare, TEPCO has proven itself phenomenally inept and corrupt. The most extensively damaged reactor at Fukushima, Reactor 4, contains spent fuel rods that are highly radioactive and if not removed from the reactor, will continue to catch fire and spread pollution through the air.

 

Within the next few weeks, TEPCO is planning to remove some of the more than 1400 damaged fuel rods. Professor Emeritus, Guy McPherson noted last month that:

 

Fukushima represent a major threat to humanity. If they fail in moving the spent fuel rods next month, according to nuclear researcher Christina Consolo, if one of those MOX fuel rods is exposed to the air, one of the 1565, it will kill 2.89 billion people on the planet in a matter of weeks, so nuclear catastrophe is right there on the horizon.

 

Even if TEPCO is able to remove these unfathomably dangerous rods without a glitch, that will not stop thousands of gallons of radiated water from being released daily into the Pacific Ocean.

 

In addition to the horrors of Fukushima, our planet is also confronting catastrophic climate change. Guy McPherson’s latest updated compilation of climate change science demands our attention. Meanwhile, ignoring the ghastly realities of Fukushima, some of the top climate scientists in the world, including James Hansen, are embracing nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels and a silver bullet for reversing climate change. This is unequivocally insane.

 

Dear reader, I hate to break the news, but there is NO silver bullet for catastrophic climate change. Please watch Guy McPherson’s stellar presentation on climate change at Bluegrass Bioneers, November 22, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky. Climate change now has a life of its own, and even if we were to cease tomorrow doing everything that has caused climate change, it is essentially irreversible. Moreover, research increasingly suggests that by mid-century, there will be few habitable places left on this planet that can actually sustain life. This is another truth that we have not been told.

 

The Lessons For Conscious Humans

What are the lessons for those who wish to be awake at this moment in human history? Scientists such as Guy McPherson, Arnie Gundersen, and Dr. Helen Caldicott can provide a number of lessons having to do with energy, economics, and environmental issues, but the real issue at this moment is: What is the spiritual lesson for humanity?

 

To his credit, McPherson is positing that humanity has now put itself in a hospice situation. Between the dire consequences of Fukushima and catastrophic climate change, we are confronting near-term extinction, not only of the human species, but perhaps all species on earth.

 

The fundamental question that McPherson asks is: How Do We Act In The Face Of Climate Chaos? Furthermore, I would ask: How do we now act in the face of possible impending meltdown and radiation poisoning of billions of living beings on this planet? How we act will be determined by our perspective—by our consciousness.

 

These unprecedented, unthinkable events compel us to consciously admit ourselves, emotionally and spiritually to “hospice for humanity.” Obviously, we all die at some point in time. However, few civilized humans, especially those of us who grew up in America, have ever really grasped, on every level, that we are going to die. Some part of us believes we are exceptional and invincible—which is precisely what has caused the crises with which we are now confronted.

 

Moreover, we now need the love and support of each other as never before in the history of our planet. Kurt Vonnegut often spoke of his son who somewhere between being a patient in a mental hospital and becoming a student at HarvardMedicalSchool said, “We have to help each other through this, whatever this is.”

 

It is time to stop trying to “do” things to reverse the cataclysm in which we are embroiled—to stop looking for “answers” and start asking the right questions. The most important one we can ask in this moment is: How do we live in the face of the possible near-term extinction caused by the Fukushima nightmare and catastrophic climate change?

 

As a two-time breast cancer survivor, I offer these suggestions:

 

  • Begin working consciously on the reality of your own death. Do whatever emotional and spiritual work is necessary to accept your mortality.
  • Recognize that you have been admitted to hospice whether you are aware of it or not.
  • Utilize every spiritual practice and every spiritual tool of which you are aware.
  • If you do not have a spiritual practice, spend as much time in nature as you possibly can.
  • If you DO have a spiritual practice, spend as much time in nature as you possibly can.
  • When you are in nature, commune with it. Listen to the trees, the wind, the water, and the sounds of creatures. Talk to them as if you were speaking with another human.
  • Do everything you can to make this crisis easier on other species.
  • Allow yourself to feel the deep, deep grief that invariably occupies your body. Talk about it with trusted allies. Take yourself out into nature and mourn—cry, wail, scream, laugh, and dance. William Blake wrote, “The deeper the sorrow, the greater the joy.”
  • Look within yourself and look around you and see where you are meant to be serving in this moment. As we live in hospice, our three main functions are to love, to serve, and to create.
  • Focus on how you can give, not what you can get.
  • Give love as often as you can. My friend Mike Ruppert says, “It is time that we spent our love fully and completely, as though it were fiat currency on an unlimited line of credit.”
  • Every moment of your life from this moment forward is sacred. Every person you meet or interact with is sacred. Every animal, every tree, every insect is sacred.

 

Some people living in hospice do not use the time wisely. Many other people living in hospice have discovered that it is the best time of their lives. They begin to savor every moment of life as if it were their last. Often they laugh, read good books, eat well, and experience a quality of life they had never known previously.

 

Death As A Spiritual Advisor

 

One of my spiritual teachers, Leslie Temple-Thurston writes that “we must take death as an advisor—that when we live with the awareness that death could overtake us at any time and fully let that realization in and accept it, our life becomes more real and fulfilling.” In other words, when we allow death to be our constant “advisor,” we become completely alive.

 

People who are committed to facing their death consciously do a great deal of reflecting. Here are a few key questions for reflection in our hospice situation: How can I best hold onto you and you to me, and how can we help each other through this? How can I really, really see you and listen to you, and how can I tell you my deepest truth from the depths of my heart? Are there people I need to make amends to? (Now is the time to do it. It’s time to take a searching and fearless inventory of how we’ve lived our lives.) What was really good and decent and precious about our lives? Where did we fail ourselves? Where did we fail others? Where were we less than we could have been? How do we wish to be remembered, even if no one is there to remember?

 

Life and death are inextricably connected, and ironically, a conscious, clear-eyed preparation for death often results in people living richer, fuller, more meaningful lives than they have ever lived. Both the poet Rumi and Buddha said, “Die before you die.” It’s time to let go—let go of control, let go of resentments, let go of anything and everything that does not really matter in the face of death. This is an exquisitely sacred time. Let us mentally greet everyone we encounter with a deep, sincere

“Namaste”—the sacred in me salutes the sacred in you.

 

Namaste, dear reader, and when death comes, may we be fully, passionately, vitally alive, doing the work we came here to do and sharing the love we came here to share.

 

 

In addition to the above suggestions, you can read my new book Collapsing Consciously: Transformative Truths For Turbulent Times. The 52 meditations contained in the hard copy and the 313 meditations in the e-book will fortify, inspire, and enliven you as you navigate your hospice journey.

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McPherson’s work is prominently featured in a short post at Wrong Kind of Green. Catch the scathing critique of Bill McKibben and James Hansen here.

A trailer for McPherson’s presentation on climate chaos is embedded below (and found on Vimeo here). Full, 43-minute film can be found on YouTube (https://youtu.be/QDdhL3hLP-M) and Vimeo (https://vimeo.com/78610016). You can support the work of filmmaker Pauline Schneider here.

________________

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

Comments 85

  • I’ve noticed that the seasonal advance of arctic sea ice has all but flat-lined for the last three days or so. This link shows real-time temperature anomaly’s around the globe. As of this Friday morning, arctic temperatures are running (and have been running) around 10F-25F ABOVE normal.

    http://cci-reanalyzer.org/DailySummary/index_ds.php#

    This graph shows the slowdown in ice gain so far this season. Though probably a temporary lag during it’s upward climb, I still find it to be very unsettling.

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    Great article,Carolyn. Thanks for posting!

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #77

    Dead reeds form a mat
    on which egret, heron, and
    river coexist.

  • Thanks, Carolyn Baker. The best sharing from you that I have yet experienced.

  • Some of you might be interested in this:

    I got a letter today from a lawyer that says that I can’t deny surface access to the company that is doing seismic surveys out here – they are going to be drilling for CO2. Bet you didn’t know they did that. They pull it out and put it in a pipeline and ship it to Oklahoma to inject into oil wells to enhance recovery. They’ve been doing it for a while here, now they want to screw up my forest for it.

    Yes, they drill for CO2, because there just isn’t enough of it.

  • Thanks for the essays, Carolyn.

    I think people have to learn to be in their body, not just the head, or rather, join the two together, sort of thing. Qi.

    @ WoodsDweller

    How weird. I never heard of that. I suppose there is nothing that can be done ? Thomas Linzey was talking about the problem here.

    http://prn.fm/category/archives/resistance-radio/

  • @ Carolyn

    Similar to our siblings in the animal kingdom, we humans react instinctively to stimuli that we perceive as threatening. The heartbeat speeds up, blood pressure elevates, muscles contract, and we are poised for fight or flight. If we are bombarded with this kind of stimuli repeatedly over time, such recurring stress pummels the nervous system, and we are usually worn down into depression, despair, or both.

    The last time I watched crowds people in an urban public place, they all looked terrible. Almost none carried themselves well, their postures were awful, their feet shuffled and stumbled, their shoulders hunched, nobody looked healthy and well, even the ones who smiled and laughed. It was as if they’d all left their bodies. You never see that in wild animals which are always poised and graceful and attuned to their physicality.

    In my experience it, trying to deal with things like despair and depression by verbal thought or by taking chemicals doesn’t really work. The way you feel is intricately connected to your physical substance. Standing up very tall and erect, as if suspended from the top of your skull by a string, changes how you feel about yourself, to when you slump and droop and put a miserable expression on your face. Anybody can test this for themselves. Lay on the floor, stand on your head, make stupid faces in the mirror, do laughter yoga, learn how this mood machinery is just machinery and you can master it and rise up a level, instead of being at its mercy.

    When you have a painful thought or remember an unpleasant experience or worry about some future possibility, all these things have a physical effect, and they accumulate, and they can make you ill and harm your health.

    So I think there’s two things you can do. Get control over your mind and feelings and responses. And learn how to cleanse and heal your physical body, from the stresses and tensions, so that it’s always fresh and alive. Keeping qi constantly flowing and forcing it to go to the places where it doesn’t want to go, can heal all kinds of wounds and injuries, both emotional and physical. I know this from direct personal experience.

  • Hi Carolyn,
    Thank you for the essays…beautiful and timely. I share with you a quote from Jay Hansen at America2Point0 in response to your essay. “Folks, most of this 1970’s “new age” stuff from Baker is just pretty words. It’s absolutely meaningless.” I respect his work very much, but I couldn’t disagree with him more. I believe that at the end, personally and collectively, it’s the stories, the “pretty words”, that are one of the few things that do have meaning. They provide the context for our lives, regardless if they ever get told.
    As to your reflections on death, I was reminded of Don Juan’s teaching to Castaneda. I found this insightful essay at http://longsworde.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/carlos-castaneda-death-is-the-benefactor/ from which I quote,
    ” It is for that reason that the very first step don Juan took in guiding Castaneda upon the path of knowledge and into the new shaman’s cognition was to have him meditate constantly on the immanence of his own death, and to recognize and attune his ear towards death as a warrior’s most valuable teacher, counselor, and benefactor, as well as a strategy for overcoming the “first enemy of the man of knowledge” — fear.”
    Excellent advice, in my opinion, for life here on the Beach of Doom, at the end of Time.

    Everyone,
    I am also passing on a righteous musical link, something that truly deserves to be heard by the world.

    Please pass it on as well…

    Namaste…

  • Hi again,
    I had to post the lyrics to the aforementioned song, it helps to read them as you watch and listen. At least for those of us not entirely accustomed to the hiphop parlance. This guy really deserves our support, he has a Kickstarter fundraiser going to pay off the BBC for using images from one of their specials…copyright infringement, kind of a “render unto Caesar” sort of thing. There are links under the video at Youtube, help him out if you can. Thanks!

    Change The Earth – Gaiaisi

    I want to speak to the world out there, said
    I want to speak to the world out there
    I want to speak to the world out there, said
    I want to speak to the world out there, I’ll say…

    (Verse 1)
    The sun goes around, everything now
    Seems like its heating up, steaming from the ground
    Said the traffic lights go, everything slow
    Engines still burning though, you can smell the smoke
    Blowing and it rise, haze up in the sky
    Coughing/Coffin on the ground, another day goes by
    As we drip, drip die, struggling I
    Wondering if life as I know can survive
    Cause it seems like everything is gone before you blink
    Politicians still smiling while we flying by the brink
    Its like we on a ship, only thing different is
    Where you gonna swim when the whole city sinks and…

    (Chorus)
    Change, oh change gonna come
    Some day, some day the waves are gonna rain and
    Change, yeah change gonna come
    Cause nothing remains the same, it’ll become
    Changed under the blazing sun
    To something, oh I don’t know what, but
    Change, yeah change gonna come
    You better wake up and run cause…

    (Verse 2)
    No matter location, dollar denomination
    Political placement or religious persuasion
    The nature of the globe is a single situation-
    We all facing the same devastation, frame:
    A rainforest where it ain’t raining
    That’s what’s happening in the Amazon Basin
    Where deforestation leads to desertification
    …No more trees to breathe, we’ll be suffocating
    I hope it won’t happen, but I fear that it will
    If we don’t start to see how meat truly kills- its
    More than just the chicken and the cow and the pig
    Its the space it takes up to make them live
    Gotta give the utmost place to Nature
    So this sacred cradle can stay stable
    And start protecting her last precious living bits
    To nurture Earth, like the treasure that she is where….
    ( Chorus Same as 1st )

    (Bridge)
    I don’t really care if it all goes up tomorrow
    Bodies dropping now gotta stop it today, ya
    I don’t really care now if my wallet is hollow
    When the paper that its made of”s all going up in flames, ya
    I don’t really care now if you follow or go on your own
    Sky is falling and we all in the same boat
    I don’t really care now if you profit or go broke
    All I really care’s life’s got a place to grow
    (Instrumental Break)

    (Verse 3)
    Alright now come on listen cause we
    Really got no time to waste, we gotta face it
    Flames on the rise today, try to escape it
    But where you gonna hide away – asphyxiation
    Make you wanna fry but wait- don’t be afraid cause
    There’s still a little time to take for the occasion
    ‘Fore it caves in and breaks, we better brace
    Even if it makes you cry – the haste, for me to say
    This could be one of the last days
    …To change
    Ever since the beginning
    Of this civilized killing age we’ve been erasing
    Cutting down the forests and plains and replacing
    With stains but it can’t sustain, cause its straining
    The soils and the streams- our veins… now its changing
    The weather and its getting so insane!
    That the atmosphere depletes, feeling the pain
    Now if the heat keeps raising and the rains…
    This Earth may go up in flames

    (Final Chorus)
    Change, ohh change gonna come
    One way or another something’s gonna break and
    Change, yea change gonna come
    But what are we waiting for? Are we numb from
    The pain, that makes us run
    Away but we can’t escape from the one:
    Change, yea Change gonna come
    Someday, some day has come

    (Outro)
    Something in the air
    Something in the air out there, I smell
    Something in the air
    Something in the air out there, I see
    Something in the air…

  • I dont believe Carolyn is suitably qualified to comment on what’s happening in Fukushima, I’ll make a list of questions here and “pencil in” some answers. Feel free to correct them.

    Carolyn:

    Have you any qualifications in nuclear engineering?
    No

    Do you have any qualifications or job history in anything related to physics or engineering, at all?
    No

    Have you ever been inside of a nuclear power plant?
    No

    Do you know anyone who works for TEPCO?
    No

    Have you been to Japan since 2011?
    No

    Do you have a geiger counter or any measuring device whatsoever?
    No

    Have you performed any experiments that would back up your “information”in this article for yourself, whatsoever?
    No

    Did you check the backgrounds of the so called sources you linked to?
    No

    In summary, why not stick to the topics you know about rather than things you know nothing about, then you won’t be scaring people like Tom, who is actually starting to like it anyway.

  • Carolyn: thanks again for your thoughts on our predicament, especially the advice at the end.

    Denise: that was lovely – took me on a mental trip to the past.

    http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/pr_980_en.html

    Greenhouse Gas Concentrations in Atmosphere Reach New Record

    Geneva, 6 November 2013 – The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2012, continuing an upward and accelerating trend which is driving climate change and will shape the future of our planet for hundreds and thousands of years.

    The World Meteorological Organization’s annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that between 1990 and 2012 there was a 32% increase in radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate – because of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping long-lived gases such as methane and nitrous oxide.

    Carbon dioxide, mainly from fossil fuel-related emissions, accounted for 80% of this increase. The atmospheric increase of CO2 from 2011 to 2012 was higher than its average growth rate over the past ten years, according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.

    Since the start of the industrial era in 1750, the global average concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by 41%, methane by 160% and nitrous oxide by 20%.
    What is happening in the atmosphere is one part of a much wider picture. Only about half of the CO2 emitted by human activities remains in the atmosphere, with the rest being absorbed in the biosphere and in the oceans.

    “The observations from WMO’s extensive Global Atmosphere Watch network highlight yet again how heat-trapping gases from human activities have upset the natural balance of our atmosphere and are a major contribution to climate change,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.
    “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its recent 5th Assessment Report stressed that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years,” he said.

    “As a result of this, our climate is changing, our weather is more extreme, ice sheets and glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising,” said Mr Jarraud.

    “According to the IPCC, if we continue with ‘business as usual,’ global average temperatures may be 4.6 degrees higher by the end of the century than pre-industrial levels – and even higher in some parts of the world. This would have devastating consequences,” he said.

    “Limiting climate change will require large and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. We need to act now, otherwise we will jeopardize the future of our children, grandchildren and many future generations,” said Mr Jarraud. “Time is not on our side,” he added.

    The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports on atmospheric concentrations – and not emissions – of greenhouse gases. Emissions represent what goes into the atmosphere. Concentrations represent what remains in the atmosphere after the complex system of interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere and the oceans.

    (the article then goes on to speak about CO2, methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) – read the rest)

  • we do possess more complex consciousness than other mammals.

    No one possesses consciousness. Consciousness is the substratum of all manifest and unmanifest.

    Clinging to hope is indicative of abdicating agency

    Agency (“”I” am the doer”) is a concomitant of hope. Once the sense of agency is shed, hope is shed with it.

    Hope serves to prevent our descent into the only state of mind that offers any possibility of making sense of our predicament, namely despair.

    Hope is a derivative of expectations. Sans expectations, there is no hope/despair, no elation/dejection. Rational anticipation and actions appropriate to those anticipations are still possible.

    refusal to come to terms with a tragic sense of life, namely, that all things have a beginning, middle, and end.

    ‘Tain’t tragic. The thwarted expectation to find an end-run around the end is perceived as tragic.

    despite the suffocating, cloying blackness of despair, some part of us knows that there is some possibility of meaning in it.

    Indeed. The meaning is that despair is thwarted expectations. No expectations – no despair.

    if you want to insist that life is meaningless,

    Don’t have to insist. Just acknowledge the Divine Play. Puppies and kittens romping around. The Divine Playwright has written a role for everyone. Every member of the audience is also an actor.

    “the intensification of inner life”

    Awareness is neither inner nor outer; it neither intensifies nor abates. Only the “of”s in “awareness of” vary.

    “Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost.”

    When one reaches realisation, there is no longer any sense of doer-ship. One’s role in the universe of time-space-causation continues of its own momentum till that momentum is exhausted. When the potter is shaping a pot, he gives the potter’s wheel periodic pushes to keep it spinning. When the pot has been shaped, the pushes stop. The wheel continues to rotate until its momentum is exhausted.

    a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.

    Since the time of our shrew-like ancestors, we have submitted to ecological and environmental powers that have progressively robbed us of our shrew-selves: Homo callidus paucisapiens is indeed a plaything of circumstance.

    The “something” that we have a chance of achieving is to be found in whatever “something” we choose to live for.

    Anything that can be “achieved” is subject to time-space-causation and is therefore of limited value. That which being beyond time-space-causation cannot be achieved, just as water cannot be “made” wet, can be realised.

    “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.”

    it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.

    Our expectations construct edifices of hope & despair, and open into terrains of elation & dejection.

    fall on my knees and make a conscious, heartfelt amends to the earth community

    Prior to that it would be salutary to analyse the “I” and recognise it as a phantasm, a mirage.

    ask yourself if generalized contempt for the human race is any more useful.

    Contempt is incompatible with disregard: the very sense of contempt acknowledges regard for the contemned.

    but that is not all of who we are.

    The “I”s are mirages/phantasms: so are the collective “we”.

    Indeed there is a Goldman Sachs CEO and a greedy fracker in all of us.

    Yes, in the transient body-mind complex, which has no awareness.

    None of this is about being happy in hell, but it is all about working to keep one’s heart open in hell.

    Tradition has it that there are seven netherworlds and seven heavens in the multiverse. All of them are included in the realised being.

    Are we willing to be taught by our despair? Taught what exactly?

    That expectations, motivated by attraction and aversion, are the source of hope/despair, elation/dejection.

    most profound antidote to despair, intimate connection with nature:

    Abraham spent the first twelve years of his life in a dark cave, not emerging till the end of that time. Bodidharma, the first patriarch of Chan/Zen, as tradition has it, migrated to China from South India at the age of eighty. Thereafter he spent much time in a cave.

    Once expectations are dropped, despair (and hope) falls away with it, and no antidote is needed.

    An adage attributed to Mohammed and also to the mystical poet, Rumi, “die before you die,”

    Prior to those two;
    Mark 8:35
    King James Version (KJV)
    35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.

    I sometimes invite people to participate in a “die before you die” exercise in which I slowly and carefully accompany them through the fantasy of their own death.

    The word “nirvana” (Sanskrit) or “nibbana” (Pali, and extant Bengali) means “extinguishment”. It refers to the cessation of the sense of “I”, the deep and full realisation of its nature as a mirage, a phantasm. That is The Great Death. After that the “I” cannot die, because the “I” is no more real than an image projected on a screen. The body-mind complex will have a little death. The fantasy to be recognised is that the “I” appears real.

    “I’ve deeply confronted what my own death might be like, and after that, I can talk about anything because in full awakeness I have confronted the worst that can happen.”

    More important by far is to find out what one’s “I” is.

    we are seeing only externals and that the essential person is eternal and beneath the outward appearance.

    Firstly, there is no person, and then whatever there is, is not in the universe of time-space-causation, and therefore not limited by the descriptor “eternal”.

    Few human beings understand how deeply the fear of death runs in us.

    It is the last and the most powerful of the five defilements, known as abhinivesah.

    surrender or temper the ego in deference to the deeper or sacred self

    Surrender the rights to the water in a mirage?

    Begin working consciously on the reality of your own death.

    First start working on the “I”. Once it is recognised for the mirage/phantasm that it is, there is no me or mine, and “your own death” becomes irrelevant.

    If you DO have a spiritual practice, spend as much time in nature as you possibly can.

    The only spirits come in bottles. The only spiritual practice is to imbibe them freely. Putting up fencing to separate spiritual from secular is to be ignorant of both.

    The deeper the sorrow, the greater the joy.

    Both arise from expectations.

    Give love as often as you can.

    Once the “I” is recognised as a phantasm, the “not-I” is also so recognised. The ocean does not need to love the waves, nor the waves each other or the ocean.

    Every moment of your life from this moment forward is sacred. Every person you meet or interact with is sacred. Every animal, every tree, every insect is sacred.

    The Divine is not lumpy. For something to be sacred there has to be an extra helping of the Divine there, and less of the Divine elsewhere. Nothing is sacred.

    we must take death as an advisor—that when we live with the awareness that death could overtake us at any time

    After The Great Death, the little death becomes irrelevant.

    Are there people I need to make amends to? (Now is the time to do it. It’s time to take a searching and fearless inventory of how we’ve lived our lives.) What was really good and decent and precious about our lives? Where did we fail ourselves? Where did we fail others? Where were we less than we could have been? How do we wish to be remembered, even if no one is there to remember?

    All of that is predicated on the “I”. What seems to be the “I” is just another window that lets in the Divine Light of awareness. Staining of the glass, deformations of the panes, and grime may discolour, distort or blur the light. The “I” is the phantasm that discolours, distorts and blurs.

    “Namaste”—the sacred in me salutes the sacred in you.

    Na ma: not I; ste: you. “Not I, but you”. Not I, but the Divine, manifesting through you. (Hold the Windex, though).

  • “In a remarkable scholar one not infrequently finds a mediocre man […]”
    — Nietzsche

    “Sometimes a font of wisdom comes across more as a bitter old queen.”
    — Martin

  • United States has 300 million people with a land area of 10 million square km, a density of 32 people per square km. Per capita annual income is $42,000.

    The Philippines has 98 million people with a land area of 300,000 square km, a density of 308 people per square km. Per capita annual income is $2,500.

    Anyone think maybe the Philippines should have some kind of birth control?

    Overpopulation is the result of Industrial Civilization. Cheap energy is the driver of Industrial Civilization. When cheap energy ends, we have economic collapse and the bottleneck die-off… Even if we don’t have environmental catastrophe. What’s so hard to figure?

    The Voluntary Extinction Movement
    Thou shalt not procreate

    The Church of Euthanasia
    Save the planet, kill yourself.

  • Pat says: “Overpopulation is the result of Industrial Civilization”

    But overpopulation is really the result of too many people fucking. In fact, poor people, be they in the US or the Philippines, tend to have more children than rich people but you wouldn’t blame industrial civilization on that. The benefits of a large family were widely embraced long before the invention of the engine. Cheap energy via coal and oil have brought about the industrial civilization and has nothing to do with people having unprotected sex or high birth rates.

    Despite the number of Filipinos VS the number of Yankees per acre, US out consumes them and the Rest of the World by a huge percentage. Over consumption is a much bigger problem than overpopulation. Overpopulation, like ethanol, is besides the point to global warming.

    There are certainly too many Americans for the planet to handle. The density of the Philippines doesn’t really matter as far as the planet is concerned.

    Nonetheless, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement “VHEMENT” is an interesting concept. The shame is that it is something the US and the First World should have embraced 20 years or more ago. It’s like putting out an electric car now and hoping that maybe in 20 to 30 years, the electric car will solve the climate problems. It is too late for such small steps. There’s no time for this anymore.

    And so we will have Involuntary Human Extinction as well as Forced Extinction upon much of the planet. In the meantime, a vasectomy is much less invasive and easier surgery than anything a female has to go through. Get your tubes clipped men, and fuck without fear.
    Unless there’s something really good on TV of course.

  • Is Indian philosophy vulnerable to fundamentalist interpretation? Absolutely. Can it be used to fortify an ego that pretends to be a non-ego? Yes, this happens all too often in India and elsewhere. Chogyam Trrungpa wrote a book on this “Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism.” (Too bad he apparently didn’t read his own book!) Ken Wilber wrote about this as “Boomeritis Buddhism.” It is a shame that so much valid spirituality has been seemingly discredited by pretenders claiming knowledge and status that exists only in their own imaginations. There is so much counterfeit money in the spiritual marketplace, it is hard to realize that the real McCoy exists…

  • Solaris (film) 1972, your unreasonableness and stupidity are only exceeded by your unreasonableness and stupidity.

  • If you are seeking, seek us with joy

    For we live in the kingdom of joy.

    Do not give your heart to anything else

    But to the love of those who are clear joy,

    Do not stray into the neighborhood of despair.

    For there are hopes: they are real, they exist –

    Do not go in the direction of darkness –

    I tell you: suns exist.

    – Jalal-ud-Din Rumi

  • Is Indian philosophy vulnerable to fundamentalist interpretation? Absolutely.

    And so is cowboy philosophy. “Kill a commie for mommy”; before the commies went belly-up, we switched to the Oil-volunteer Army. Proudly served in both phases.

    But the philosophy gets really interesting when playing cowboys and indians: New Age sewage.

  • Thanks Bonnie, I needed that. It goes well with this one:

    Be with those who help your being.
    Don’t sit with indifferent people, whose breath
    comes cold out of their mouths.
    Not these visible forms, your work is deeper.

    A chunk of dirt thrown in the air breaks to pieces.
    If you don’t try to fly,
    and so break yourself apart,
    you will be broken open by death,
    when it’s too late for all you could become.

    Leaves get yellow. The tree puts out fresh roots
    and makes them green.
    Why are you so content with a love that turns you yellow?

    Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi

  • Here is a good example of some very silly shit.

    Leuren Moret, self procalimed Fukushima expert, videos doing the rounds on the conspiracy forums….

    Forward this video to 52 mins 52 seconds and have a listen. Go on! before the link gets busted!

    I quote:

    “She told me 5 million ethnic Russians have been moved into the country that she is from, I think it was Estonia…. and they are planning to take over.”

    Now there you have it, from the horses mouth, 5 million ethnic Russians have moved into Estonia.

    Slight problem with that though, anyone can google “Population of Estonia”

    Result? 1.339 million (2012)

    … and people like Tom and the others will listen to this “expert” explaining about Fukushima….

    LOL @ the “expert” american fukushima gilfs

  • @ mike k, R Datta,

    Imho, you’re both as daft as brushes. Here’s something you can both get your teeth into. Do you agree with, approve of, him or not ? Not that I care, really, but you can dispute with each other about numerous angels on the numerous pinheads of The New Yoga.

    ..Acharya Peter Wilberg, who understands himself as a “Tantric Hindu Gnostic Christian Socialist Jew”, has reinterpreted the inner meaning of Eastern religious terminology, thought and practices…

    http://www.thenewyoga.org/index.html

  • @Ulvfugl – Thanks for the link. A brief look at it did not interest me in what was there. After a lifetime of study, practice, and experience in many traditions, I have a sort of intuition or inner guidance as to what my next steps are in this area. Communication involving inner realities is always very difficult if not impossible, and it is ironic that the more one learns of the inner life the more rare it becomes to find people to share one’s insights with. There is probably more outrageous bullshit and fakery in spiritual matters than any other domain. I have been through a lot of it – phony “Masters”, cultic groups, UFO nuts, an endless parade of human foolishness. Discrimination is essential for anyone sincerely devoted to this quest. With a lot of patient sifting one can finally begin to discern some real Gold amid the tons of dross, and the long journey reveals some precious realities to be honored and practiced…. Everyone has to chart their own course in this adventure, and no two trips will be the same. Help from others and from beyond is necessary but must be carefully evaluated. Caveat emptor.

  • @ mike k

    Yup. Caveat emptor. That’s something we can agree upon.

    https://youtu.be/agVmmw2C0Hw

  • Ulv – Thanks for the link, but I have no sound. Our computer is on its last legs…

  • “Hope is a derivative of expectations. Sans expectations, there is no hope/despair, no elation/dejection. Rational anticipation and actions appropriate to those anticipations are still possible.”

    At least this, if nothing else, makes sense to me. Chop wood, and let the chips fall where they may.

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #78

    Park rangers disturb
    heron and egret – coot floats
    by the empty bank.

  • I have no sound. Our computer is on its last legs…

    A generic USB sound card can be had for three or four bucks, and (earbud) earphones for even less – from a Google search.

  • Each
    unique
    raindrop
    falls
    No raindrops were ever that particular combination of molecules before
    We were falling through the air
    dancing
    with each other
    then a splash and a death
    in the sea
    Never to be together as falling raindrops again
    Never those raindrops again
    I lost you in the ocean, but I’ll find you soon
    I’ll find you soon

  • logspirit: beautiful thought – the uniqueness of every moment

    and Denise: ah, the balance to the one before – nice touch

    from a few days ago:

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/11/were-in-the-most-dangerous-moment-since-the-cuban-missile-crisis.html

    We’re In The Most Dangerous Moment Since the Cuban Missile Crisis

    Scientists Warn of Extreme Risk

    We’ve long said that the greatest short-term threat to humanity is from the fuel pools at Fukushima.

    The Japanese nuclear agency recently green-lighted the removal of the spent fuel rods from Fukushima reactor 4′s spent fuel pool. The operation is scheduled to begin this month.

    The head of the U.S. Department of Energy correctly notes:

    The success of the cleanup also has global significance. So we all have a direct interest in seeing that the next steps are taken well, efficiently and safely.

    If one of the pools collapsed or caught fire, it could have severe adverse impacts not only on Japan … but the rest of the world, including the United States. Indeed, a Senator called it a national security concern for the U.S.:

    The radiation caused by the failure of the spent fuel pools in the event of another earthquake could reach the West Coast within days. That absolutely makes the safe containment and protection of this spent fuel a security issue for the United States.

    Hiroaki Koide – a nuclear scientist working at the University of Kyoto – says:

    I’m worried about whether Tepco can treat all the 1,331 [spent-fuel] assemblies without any problem and how long it will take.

    Award-winning scientist David Suzuki says that Fukushima is terrifying, Tepco and the Japanese government are lying through their teeth, and Fukushima is “the most terrifying situation I can imagine”.

    Suzuki notes that reactor 4 is so badly damaged that – if there’s another earthquake of 7 or above – the building could come down. And the probability of another earthquake of 7 or above in the next 3 years is over 95%.

    Suzuki says that he’s seen a paper that says that if – in fact – the 4th reactor comes down, “it’s bye bye Japan, and everyone on the West Coast of North America should evacuate. Now if that’s not terrifying, I don’t know what is.”

    (there’s more, including a short video)

    —————-
    Of course you can simply deny that this is the case (you know, because you didn’t go there and measure it yourself – as if . . ) and live in fantasy land, but you’re apt to be “surprised” when the actual fecal matter impinges on the rotating air conveyance device.

  • Our ideas about Death
    are superficial.

    Death is beyond deep.
    Death is an opening
    into profound humility.

    The silence of Death
    is the depth of mystery,
    the certainty of our
    profound not knowing.

    Death crushes our illusion
    of understanding anything.

    Death invites us
    to drop our pretensions
    and surrender into the unknown,
    our true resting place.

    Acceptance of Death releases one
    from the futility of reasoning
    about the unreasonable,
    solving the unsolvable.

    Let go into the nothingness
    that is your ultimate home,
    always waiting for you to embrace it,
    even as you let go of all
    you are futilely trying to hold on to.

    Let this meditation release you
    from the suffering of a long life
    of useless and self-defeating struggle.
    Let go into that which cannot be known
    but only experienced…

    Die before you die.

  • @ Tom said:

    Of course you can simply deny that this is the case (you know, because you didn’t go there and measure it yourself – as if . . ) and live in fantasy land, but you’re apt to be “surprised” when the actual fecal matter impinges on the rotating air conveyance device.

    The only thing we need to measure about Fukushima is the death toll thus far. What is that death toll, Tom? What, you don’t have it? I didn’t think so. There’s an old saying, Tom. Show me the money. In this case, the death count serves in lieu of money in that saying. Show us the death count, Tom.

    As you may or may not know, Tom, I see dead people, and yet when it comes to Fukushima, despite your fearmongering, I don’t see dead people. Why is that? When I see the dead people, Tom, I will take your scare tactics seriously, but not until then. I don’t think you’re going to be able to produce those dead people from Fukushima any time soon, Tom, but it won’t matter to you because by that time you will have replaced Fukushima with the next best big scare and all your fearmongering over Fukushima will have been forgotten by you, but not by me, Tom. I remember because I concentrate on the behavioral patterns, and your behavioral pattern tells me, nay it predicts, you will move on from Fukushima to another imminent disaster when Fukushima doesn’t produce, and you will continue this imminent disaster hopping until you draw your last breath.

  • I’m still trying to work out the delayed posts bug. Now I’m wondering if it is not just invisible to me, but to everyone else as well.

    Could one person who reads this post respond saying that they can see it? I’ll check back in an hour or so.

  • Thanks ulvfugl. I think I’m making a little progress. I think it has to do with page caching.

  • @ Cole Sear

    I remember because I concentrate on the behavioral patterns

    Says the Grand Inquisitor, writhing in agony from emotional plague.

    JHK noticed yourbehavioural patterns, and that’s why he booted you off.

  • To answer Cole’s question, there have been no deaths from the Fukushima incident, although there have been deaths from the fearmongering hysteria over the Fukushima nuclear incident. It is not a a disaster, and the alarmists, for whatever reason, are unnecessarily causing harm via their fear & loathing tactics. It’s a form of power for the insecure and voluntarily dispossessed.

    http://www.cfact.org/2013/10/12/physicist-there-was-no-fukushima-nuclear-disaster/


    Physicist: There was no Fukushima nuclear disaster

    The terrible toll from Japan’s tsunami came from the wave, not radiation

    I have watched a TV programme called ‘Fear Factor.’ In the series there are contestants who have to confront their worst fears to see who bails out and who can fight the fear and get through.

    People who are afraid of heights are made to Bungee-jump off a high bridge, and people who are scared of spiders or insects are made to get in a bath full of spiders.

    In virtually all cases the contestants later say that the fearful experience was not actually as bad as they feared. So the fear of the fear was greater than the fear itself ‘when the chips were down.’

    This is often the case in life, that the fear of some factor turns out to be worse than the experience itself. The human mind builds a very scary image in the imagination. The imagination then feeds the fear.

    If the picture in the imagination is not very specific or clear it is worse, because the fear factor feeds on the unknown.

    This is what has happened in the public mind concerning nuclear power over the last half century. Concepts concerning nuclear reactions and nuclear radiation are in themselves complicated and mysterious.

    Over the last couple of decades physics advances in fields such as quantum mechanics, which is linked to nuclear processes has compounded matters for the public. The image of strong and mysterious forces and effects is now well entrenched. There are Hollywood movies and TV programmes about space travellers or alien invaders who use time travel and quantum forces, and then battle to evade the dangerous intergalactic nuclear zones.

    A consequence of all this is that internationally the public is now really ‘spooked’ when it comes to the topic of nuclear power. A real ‘fear factor’ looms over the mere word ‘nuclear.’ Newspapers love this, and really push imagery like; ‘nuclear leak’ or ‘radiation exposure.’

    To a nuclear physicist like me, I look upon such public reaction half with amusement and half with dismay. The amusement comes from the fact that so many people can be scared so easily by so little. It is like shouting: “Ghost in the bedroom,” and everyone runs and hides in the hills.

    The dismay reaction is that there is a body of anti-nuclear activists who do not want the public to know the truth, and the anti-nukes enjoy stoking the fear factor and maintaining public ignorance.

    Let us now ponder the Fukushima nuclear incident which has been in the news again lately.

    Firstly let us get something clear. There was no Fukushima nuclear disaster. Total number of people killed by nuclear radiation at Fukushima was zero. Total injured by radiation was zero. Total private property damaged by radiation….zero. There was no nuclear disaster. What there was, was a major media feeding frenzy fuelled by the rather remote possibility that there may have been a major radiation leak.

    At the time, there was media frenzy that “reactors at Fukushima may suffer a core meltdown.” Dire warnings were issued. Well the reactors did suffer a core meltdown. What happened? Nothing.

    I have watched a TV programme called ‘Fear Factor.’ In the series there are contestants who have to confront their worst fears to see who bails out and who can fight the fear and get through.

    People who are afraid of heights are made to Bungee-jump off a high bridge, and people who are scared of spiders or insects are made to get in a bath full of spiders.

    In virtually all cases the contestants later say that the fearful experience was not actually as bad as they feared. So the fear of the fear was greater than the fear itself ‘when the chips were down.’

    This is often the case in life, that the fear of some factor turns out to be worse than the experience itself. The human mind builds a very scary image in the imagination. The imagination then feeds the fear.

    If the picture in the imagination is not very specific or clear it is worse, because the fear factor feeds on the unknown.

    This is what has happened in the public mind concerning nuclear power over the last half century. Concepts concerning nuclear reactions and nuclear radiation are in themselves complicated and mysterious.

    Over the last couple of decades physics advances in fields such as quantum mechanics, which is linked to nuclear processes has compounded matters for the public. The image of strong and mysterious forces and effects is now well entrenched. There are Hollywood movies and TV programmes about space travellers or alien invaders who use time travel and quantum forces, and then battle to evade the dangerous intergalactic nuclear zones.

    A consequence of all this is that internationally the public is now really ‘spooked’ when it comes to the topic of nuclear power. A real ‘fear factor’ looms over the mere word ‘nuclear.’ Newspapers love this, and really push imagery like; ‘nuclear leak’ or ‘radiation exposure.’

    To a nuclear physicist like me, I look upon such public reaction half with amusement and half with dismay. The amusement comes from the fact that so many people can be scared so easily by so little. It is like shouting: “Ghost in the bedroom,” and everyone runs and hides in the hills.

    The dismay reaction is that there is a body of anti-nuclear activists who do not want the public to know the truth, and the anti-nukes enjoy stoking the fear factor and maintaining public ignorance.

    Let us now ponder the Fukushima nuclear incident which has been in the news again lately.

    Firstly let us get something clear. There was no Fukushima nuclear disaster. Total number of people killed by nuclear radiation at Fukushima was zero. Total injured by radiation was zero. Total private property damaged by radiation….zero. There was no nuclear disaster. What there was, was a major media feeding frenzy fuelled by the rather remote possibility that there may have been a major radiation leak.

    At the time, there was media frenzy that “reactors at Fukushima may suffer a core meltdown.” Dire warnings were issued. Well the reactors did suffer a core meltdown. What happened? Nothing.

    Certainly from the ‘disaster’ perspective there was a financial disaster for the owners of the Fukushima planJapan Tsunami pushes carst. The plant overheated, suffered a core meltdown, and is now out of commission for ever. A financial disaster, but no nuclear disaster.

    Amazingly the thousands of people killed by the tsunami in the neighbouring areas who were in shops, offices, schools, at the airport, in the harbour and elsewhere are essentially ignored while there is this strange continuing phobia about warning people of ‘the dangers of Fukushima.’ We need to ask the more general question: did anybody die because of Fukushima? Yes they did. Why? The Japanese governJapan tsunami boatment introduced a forced evacuation of thousands of people living up to a couple of dozen kilometres from the power station. The stress of moving to collection areas induced heart attacks and other medical problems in many people. So people died because of Fukushima hysteria not because of Fukushima radiation.

    Recently some water leaked out of the Fukushima plant. It contained a very small amount of radioactive dust. The news media quoted the radiation activity in the physics measure of miliSieverts. The public don’t know what a Sievert or a milliSievert is. As it happens a milliSievert is a very small measure.

    Doubling a very small amount is still inconsequential. It is like saying: “Yesterday there was a matchstick on the football field; today there are two matchsticks on the football field. Matchstick pollution has increased by a massive 100% in only 24 hours.”

    The statement is mathematically correct but silly and misleading.

    At Fukushima a couple of weeks ago, some mildly radioactive water leaked into the sea. The volume of water was about equal to a dozen home swimming pools. In the ocean this really is a ‘drop in the ocean.’

    The radiation content was so little that people could swim in the ocean without the slightest cause for concern. Any ocean naturally contains some radioactivity all of the time anyway. There is natural radiation around us all of the time and has always been there since the birth of the earth.

    Understandably the general public do not understand nuclear radiation so the strangest comments occur. On an internet blog some person stated that people on the north coast of Australia must be warned about the radiation in the sea coming from Fukushima. Good grief!

    Meantime the Fukushima site now looks like an oil refinery. A lot of storage tanks have been built there to hold water that has been flushed through the damaged reactors to aid in cooling. Quite frankly, scientifically speaking, the best thing to do with the mildly radioactive waste water would be to intentionally pour it into the sea. The water which is currently in the new Fukushima storage tanks has already been filtered to remove radioactive Caesium.

    All that is left is a bit of radioactive Tritium. Tritium is actually part of the water molecule anyway…so what we really have is…well, water in water. The Tritium atom is a hydrogen atom, Hydrogen Tritiumwhich has two neutrons in its nucleus which is a normal but rare variation in the hydrogen atom. Most hydrogen atoms have only a single proton in the nucleus and no neutrons. A rare hydrogen variation is called Deuterium and such atoms have one proton plus one neutron. Even rarer than Deuterium is the Tritium form of hydrogen which has one proton plus two neutrons. These variants are known as isotopes. Water is H2O and water molecules in which the Tritium isotope of the hydrogen atom is found are molecules referred to as ‘Heavy Water.’ It really is just water, so you can’t filter it out of the normal ‘light water.’

    The Tritium heavy water is very mildly radioactive and is found normally in the sea all over the world all of the time. This Tritium concentration in the one thousand storage tanks at Fukushima is higher than that found naturally in the sea, but is still so low as to pose no real danger at all.

    No doubt the Japanese government is too scared to release this water into the sea because of the howl of criticism which would no doubt follow.

    A further complication is that in the last couple of weeks the press has reported further spillage of water. These reports are such that it looks like a continuous failure of the Fukushima engineers to contain the situation.

    The latest spillage was about 400 litres of water, which is about as much liquid as would fill four motor car fuel tanks. Reportedly, one of the one thousand storage tanks was not totally horizontal when it was built so when it was filled to the top some water overflowed on one side.

    As soon as the spillage occurred they fixed the problem. But the rules require the incident to be reported, even though the spillage was not of any biological consequence to anyone, or to any fauna or flora.

    The Fukushima incident will continue to attract media attention for some time to come, I imagine. It has become such a good story to roll with that it will not just go away. However, in sober reflection and retrospection one has to come to the conclusion that far from being a nuclear disaster the Fukushima incident was actually a wonderful illustration of the safety of nuclear power.

    The largest earthquake and consequent tsunami on record struck an ageing nuclear power plant which was built to a now obsolete boiling water reactor technology, and no nuclear damage resulted to people and property in the neighbourhood.

    Poor management systems compounded matters and were implicated in the failure of the cooling circuit. The reactor cores suffered a meltdown. Due to the magnitude of the tsunami disaster there were no emergency services able to help, they were deployed elsewhere or paralysed because there were no roads or infrastructure available.

    Hydrogen gas leaked out of a reactor, collected under the building’s roof and then exploded, blowing the roof off in front of the world’s TV cameras. Fukushima had devices called ‘recombiners’ designed to prevent the hydrogen build-up but they were not working because they needed an external electricity supply.

    Financially speaking and operationally speaking the reactors were wrecked, but nobody was killed or injured by any nuclear radiation.

    Fukushima showed that a nuclear power plant can take the maximum punch of nature’s brutality, and yet the surrounding population does not fry and die as so often dramatically predicted by the fear factor enthusiasts.

  • @ Magan Rhodes, who appears to be yet another anonymous pro-nuke troll…

    And that’s from Dr Kelvin Kemm is the CEO of Nuclear Africa, a nuclear project management company based in Pretoria, South Africa. He is a member of the International Board of Advisors of CFACT. Dr. Kemm received the prestigious Lifetime Achievers Award of the National Science and Technology Forum of South Africa.

    Hahahaha, and he would say THAT wouldn’t he. With a job like his, he’s not going to say anything that might possible harm the image of his disgusting industry, is he.

    Nobody has said that people died because of the Fukushima accident at the time of the Tsunami. The whole statement is a deflection to divert people away from the real reasons why they should be concerned, that no ionising radiation is safe, and that it causes cancer, and genetic defects, from which people and animals will die, after a delay, so that the fucking nuclear industry can say ‘Oh, it’s nothing to do with us’, just like the tobacco industry, and the asbestos industry, and Monsanto, and all the other industries that pollute and poison and don’t give a shit about the consequences, while they rake in the profits.

    Just like BP and Halliburton after the Deep Horizon the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe, we get all the shills and trolls out spinning the usual crap ‘Don’t worry, toxic waste is good for you, don’t listen to the alarmists’.

  • @Megan Rhodes

    I don’t know if you are for real and believe this crap or if you are here to try to confuse people. Either way it doesn’t matter much. Those who can think for themselves know the truth already and aren’t going to believe you. They wouldn’t be here on NBL if they were so easily misguided. Any other people here are the same as you, either totally foolish or seriously malicious, so when the latter are not too busy conjuring their own smoke screens they will probably come along and pat you on the back.

    Most educated people – and most people with any common sense for that matter – know that cancer and other illnesses- like genetic mutations in babies – aren’t something one can see immediately after exposure, unless you stand and bathe in it as it’s coming out in high concentrations. In that case you will die within a few days or weeks, as did the operators of Chernobyl the night it exploded. Generally it takes a couple of years to a couple of decades for cancer due to radiation exposure to manifest, depending on the type of radiation and the amount of exposure. Because it is invisible, doesn’t smell or taste or sound like like anything, it seems like it isn’t there. So people like you can claim that it isn’t harmful – you can just forget about it.. And scared, gullible people who don’t want to think about the implications of exposure, to themselves or the rest of life, might choose to believe you and do their best to forget about it. It’s called denial, and we use it all the time to try to continue to function and survive within the insane system of enslavement and devastation we live in.

    I recently read somewhere that at some point in recent history the US military was baffled because it’s new recruits were less intelligent on the whole than in the past and were having trouble comprehending their training. The US military’s own study determined that fallout from nuclear bomb testing, which drifted all over the country and all over the n. hemisphere, caused an overall reduction in population intelligence.

    I don’t have a link and I cannot prove that study, but I do know that in general there is a cancer epidemic in industrialized locales on this planet, and the increase is directly correlated with exposure to toxins, including nuclear radiation.

    http://www.helencaldicott.com/2013/11/radiation-fears-are-real/#more-645

    But please, prove to us all that there is no problem related to nuclear poisons emanating from Fukushima, or anywhere. I invite you to take a vacation to Japan, drink the water in the storage tanks, bathe in that shit, and please, send us a photo. As a matter of fact why don’t you move there, as close as possible to the plant. I am sure you can find some abandoned houses to live in, and some abandoned crops and animals to eat from all of those people who were tricked into leaving their livelihoods and homes for no reason. Good riddens.

  • “Masao Yoshida, chief at Fukushima Daiichi during the 2011 disaster died of esophageal cancer Tuesday in Tokyo. ”

    Read the article here:

    http://www.fukuleaks.org/web/?p=10650

  • If these fine elderly woman can do it, so too can we. They have shown there is nothing to fear but fear itself…and starvation, of course. These intelligent and independent women have thumbed their collective noses at the fearmongers. I tip my hat to them. They’re an example for all to follow. They’re survivors.

    http://thebabushkasofchernobyl.com/trailer/

    As Fukushima smolders and the world enters a foreboding era of nuclear threats, driven by geologic, political and energy-source instability, an extraordinary human story rises from the ashes of Chernobyl to inform the debate. In the radioactive Dead Zone surrounding Chernobyl’s Reactor No. 4, a community of some 200 elderly women is defiantly clinging to their ancestral homeland. While most of their neighbors have long since fled and their husbands have gradually died off, this stubborn sisterhood is hanging on — even, oddly, thriving — while trying to cultivate an existence on some of the most toxic acres on Earth. Why they chose to live here after the disaster, defying the authorities and endangering their health, is a remarkable tale—about the pull of home, the healing power of shaping one’s destiny and the subjective nature of risk.

    We first encountered this little-known community while filming in Chernobyl’s “Exclusion Zone” just a few short miles from a mass of radioactive lava that even now simmers beneath a crumbling reactor. We and our crew saw a bizarre sight — a small cottage straight out of an ancient folk tale, surrounded by lush vegetable gardens and farmyard animals. Then we saw Hanna, a striking woman in a colorful print skirt, headscarf and rubber boots, making her rounds. Over the next few days we met several more of these “babushkas” or “babas” – the Russian and Ukrainian words for “grandmothers” – making lives for themselves in the Exclusion Zone.

    Why do these women insist on living on farms that the Ukrainian government and radiation scientists have deemed uninhabitable? How do they manage to get by, isolated, in an apocalyptic landscape guarded by soldiers, and increasingly rife with wild animals? How has the radiation affected them these past 27 years? At her cottage, Hanna offered us homemade moonshine and thick slices of raw pig fat. We demurred, fearful of the radioactive contamination that permeates the land, air and soil around Chernobyl. It is strictly forbidden to eat local food, though of course the women do.

    “Starvation is what scares me, not radiation,” Hanna said. That stark choice was a hint at the incredible journey this woman, and the women like her in The Zone, have traveled in their extraordinary lives: From Stalin’s enforced famines in the 1930s, through World War II, to nuclear disaster. Like the wolves, moose, wild boar and other wildlife not seen for decades that have come back to the abandoned forests around Chernobyl, the women of the Exclusion Zone, too, have an extraordinary story of survival, and offer a dark yet strangely affirming portrait of life post-apocalypse. Because these women live in The Dead Zone (where few tread) their stories have gone untold and are now a whisper away from vanishing altogether.

    Now sit back and wait for a few minutes at most. They’ll (we know who “they” are) arrive shortly with their “but, but, but……”

  • Now, here’s another medicine song for ya’ll:

    Birth and death
    Birth and death
    Life’s a bloody murky struggle
    Its confusing its a muddle
    till you take a higher ground
    and have a look around

    Birth and death
    Birth and death
    Little worms all wet and squirmy
    rush about in such a hurry
    You’re goin back into the ground
    just look its all around

    Birth and death
    Birth and Death
    Don’t you waste a precious moment
    to enjoy this gift, its perfect
    Though it often tends to hurt a bit
    just remember —nothings permanent

    Birth and death
    Birth and death
    You came out your mama’s yoni
    so helpless wet and squirmy
    Did you ever think to thank her? —thank you, mom
    and mother Earth I thank you

    Birth and death
    Birth and death
    Call this body-temple home
    make thoughts and feelings known
    Wake up in the dream
    life is more than it has seemed

    Birth and death
    birth and death
    you are divine
    this is a dream
    birth and death
    birth and death
    life is more than it has seemed
    birth and death

    by me

    by ‘dream’ i mean something like:

    “a state of mind in which someone is or seems to be unaware of their immediate surroundings”

  • @ Babushka

    Yet another cowardly anonymous troll.

    Radiation does not mean that EVERYBODY DIES or that EVERYBODY gets cancer, does it.

    I had a friend whose mother in Ireland provided free holidays for children from Chernobyl who had all kinds of grotesque and appalling deformities caused by genetic defects from the radiation.

    What the hell is YOUR argument ? That ionising radiation is safe ? That it is good for people and animals and plants ? That there is no need to worry about it ?

    We KNOW that is not correct because there’s copious indisputable scientific evidence all the way back to Marie Curie of the harmful effects.

    We also KNOW that anybody who suggests that there are harmful effects from radiation, such as leukaemia clusters around nuclear power plants, instantly receives an avalanche of propaganda and threats from the industry and the government trying to undermine their credibility and reputation.

    And we know why this happens.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/oct/25/fallujah-iraq-health-crisis-silence

  • Fossil fuel industries (coal in particular) have a vested interest in discrediting climate change, so that they can continue their very profitable businesses.

    Nuclear power companies have had a hard time in recent years, and would like to expand their business. They see climate change as a way to ride a public relations wave of being a low-carbon alternative.

    Some climate change notables (like James Hansen) have bought into the nuclear hype because they a) realize serious climate change is, b) are in denial about how dangerous nukes are, and c) can’t yet accept managed contraction.

    With the current drama at Fukushima SFP4 we are again seeing negative news about nukes, so the shills (paid and volunteer) are flocking to climate sites to tell us how few mega-bananas of radiation are really involved, and how we should Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Nukes.

    Sorry, shills (and you know who you are), this is the Beach of Doom. We are coming to grips with NTE here. We’re past the point of believing in salvation via techno-miracles. Go peddle your poison hopium at 350.org.

    We need to close every coal plant on Earth immediately.
    We need to stop mining uranium ore immediately.
    Once the current fuel load is used up, unload that reactor, secure the waste as best we can (which isn’t saying much), and begin decomissioning it.
    This will result is a huge shortfall of electricity. Tough toenails.

    No more “drill baby, drill”. Implement a worldwide, permanent moratorium on drilling. You might as well harvest the existing wells to ease the transition.

    The amount of renewable energy you have is the amount of energy you have.

  • Masoa Yoshida did not die from radiation exposure at Fukushima as someone above implies. What duplicitous nonsense.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/10/world/asia/masao-yoshida-nuclear-engineer-and-chief-at-fukushima-plant-dies-at-58.html?_r=0

    Mr. Yoshida took a leave from Tokyo Electric in late 2011 after receiving a diagnosis of esophageal cancer. Experts have said his illness was not a result of radiation exposure from the accident, given how quickly it came on.

    The latency for esophageal cancer is approximately five years so he already had the undiagnosed cancer before the Fukushima incident. It is deceitful to claim otherwise and hold him up as an example of a Fukushima casualty.

  • I’m not sure why many, if not all, of you aren’t welcoming more nuclear disasters. It’s the surest and quickest route to Paradise Found as the following reveals.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/life-after-chernobyl-sergei-gaschaks-photography-from-inside-the-zone-8467725.html

    Sergei Gaschak’s photography offers an unparalleled glimpse at animal life inside “the zone”, the area of Ukraine and Belarus that has been officially closed off to human habitation since the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe of 1986.

    Using camera traps to take photographs mechanically, as well as taking photographs personally, Gaschak has captured what few have been able to see with their own eyes – the remarkable diversity of wildlife within the zone.

    One of the first rescuers on the site of the nuclear disaster, Gaschak has devoted recent years to photographing lynxes, otters, owls and other wildlife, and has even discovered the footprints of brown bears. The exclusion zone stretches for miles around the site of the reactor, and includes Pripyat, which was once a thriving Soviet town of 50,000 inhabitants but has remained a ghost town since the disaster, a time warp of perestroika-era Soviet life.

    More than 300,000 people evacuated the region in the aftermath of the explosion, and only a few hundred stubborn pensioners have returned, defying government bans on settlement inside the zone.

    At the time of the disaster, there were few wild animals living in the region around the nuclear plant. But as the humans moved out in the wake of the catastrophe, large mammals appeared and thrived. While the animals showed incredibly high levels of radiation, they still looked normal. There were no giant wolves or three-headed deer.

    According to a book on animal and plant life in the zone, A Natural History of Chernobyl, the only abnormalities found in animals has been albino spots and deformities in barn swallows.

    It was a different story with fauna, including the radioactive mushrooms that grow in the area and still cause occasional panic when they find their way into the market stalls of Ukraine and Russia.

    But the beasts that roam the deserted zone are normal, save the radiation levels. Indeed, the book suggests that, paradoxically, the dirtiest radioactive site in Europe has become the continent’s biggest animal sanctuary.

    It’s a regular Garden of Eden. The Chernobyl Babushkas know what Nietzsche knew but they don’t need to express it pompously with double negatives. They know that scholars are mediocre men, at best.

  • Excuse me, he worked at the plant before the accident, didn’t he? At least since 2007.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/10/world/asia/masao-yoshida-nuclear-engineer-and-chief-at-fukushima-plant-dies-at-58.html

    Besides, they are pretty much saying after 5 years you could then expect the cancer to manifest. Amounts to the same thing. Since he already had cancer they say it wan’t caused by “high levels of radiation from the March 11, 2011 accident.” If you read the various articles they are careful to be specific like that. All they say is that that accident on that date didn’t cause his esphageal cancer which killed him because they would expect to see that kind of cancer in about 5 years. As in, they know how long it takes usually takes high radiation exposure to cause that particular kind of cancer.

    They don’t say “radiation exposure was not the cause of his cancer.”

    And, unfortunately, Masao experienced other illnesses since the Fukushima accident:

    “He underwent several operations including an emergency brain surgery when intracranial bleeding was detected in late July 2012. He also suffered a non-fatal stroke.”

    He must of just been having an unusual confluence of illnesses. Nothing to do with all that poison he was immersed in.

    I am over posting. I know.

  • @ Christy C.

    Cause of that kind of cancer is unknown, latency period is only an average, no way to say that Fukushima was a direct cause or was unrelated.

    @ WoodsDweller

    Well said.

    It’s obvious that these shills and trolls are reading from prepared scripts, none of them have the courage or integrity to establish an identity, because then they’d have to take part in a proper debate, and they don’t have the intellectual ability to do that.

    We’ve heard all of this crap before, repeatedly. WHY are they bringing it HERE ?

    ..the only abnormalities found in animals has been albino spots and deformities in barn swallows.

    Yes, well, animals with two heads or six legs simply don’t survive in the wild for more than a few hours, and given the risks from the radiation, nobody goes there to do proper studies. All these claims have been debunked. But, great ! Nature is resilient. Let’s hope all the humans die, and the nuclear crap gets safely decommissioned before that happens, eh, and this horrible mess can have a happy ending….

    The Cramps

  • @ Tom
    Thanks. You’ve been putting up great posts. And good to see that there are folks like you and ulvfugl and others who are ready to stand up to all these trolls and shills. Pretty obvious that these miscreants and mercenaries are getting scared and lashing out with increasing frequency as their faith in technology and their precious facade of civilization tarnishes and corrodes away. Perhaps their anxiety will evolve into realization, if they ever grow up. I get the impression that most of them are ignorant young brats, and the rest uninformed fundamentalist fanatics and paid lackeys. Not one of them has shown any indication of having even an unsprouted seed of ecological comprehension. I’m amazed that they attempt to throw wet blankets over the intelligent minds around here. I guess they’re mainly trying to head off new arrivals who are just beginning to gain knowledge about things. Their mis-sourced and misdirected desperation is sad and par for the course.

  • It’s alarming that many climate activists seem to like Carolyn Baker’s suggestion that we should all ‘stop trying to “do” things to reverse the cataclysm in which we are embroiled’, but rather all prepare to die soon, and resign to finding inner peace, make amends, go spiritual, etc. I’m not opposing to people doing spiritual reflections and making inner peace, but it’s utterly irresponsible to just assume that all of humanity and all life are already dead-man-walking, trying to save any of it is entirely pointless. Baker can believe that for herself if she prefers, but writing numerous articles to influence the only people trying to do something about our destruction into not doing so, is just plain wrong.

  • I know it isn’t proven or provable that Fukushima radiation caused that man’s cancer and death. I simply think it is worth noting that he had all of those illnesses and died two years after the accident. I have not done the research but I am interested to know if there any studies of cancer incidence for people who work in/around nuclear plants in general. There is ample evidence that low level radiation exposure causes disease.

    “One of the world’s foremost experts on the consequences of Fukushima as well as 1986’s Chernobyl disaster is biologist Tim Mousseau of the University of South Carolina’s College of Arts and Sciences.”

    http://www.sc.edu/news/newsarticle.php?nid=6079#.UoBew5SG1bU

    This scientist is an expert on the long term consequences of low level radiation exposure in the wildlife that is living in the Fukushima and Chernobyl areas. Watch his talk at the The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Symposium on Fukushima and put on by the Helen Caldicott Foundation and the Physicians for Social Responsibility put on last March at the NY Academy of Medicine:

    http://www.totalwebcasting.com/view/?id=hcf#

    What happens to the animals happens to the people. We are no different.

  • @ulvfugl

    Oh, I don’t know, KK, fifty years of learning and playing what everybody learns and plays, classical and folk and rock and jazz and all the chords and stuff…

    I am 32 and I don’t have 50 years 😐 I guess… I will just have to make do with whatever I can, but hey I can always listen to other people and look for that elusive piece where you are no longer listening to the music, you are experiencing it.

    nobody else plays what I want to hear, so I have to try and play it myself, but I can never find it, just sometimes I get close enough to make me want to keep trying and searching… if you know what I mean 🙂

    Yeah… I hear you and I would like to hear some more 😀

    @logspirit

    You might find this interesting.

    http://www.sudeepbhaumick.com/drops-of-rain/

  • Just been catching up on the comments…

    ~

    @ Maggie Zhou

    People who are trying to save others / themselves need to have their internal stuff sorted out first otherwise they tend to fail spectacularly, find peace within first. Hitler, comes to mind.

    All are free to chart their own courses, chart your own and may fair winds fill your sails 🙂

    ~

    @ Godofredo Aravena

    Check out the link posted above, you will find it interesting 🙂

    ~

    The world is a strange place indeed. It makes non-sense and it makes sense at the same time without contradicting.

    ~

    Salut to the fearless,
    untiring warriors of light,
    spouting “useless knowledge”
    undertaking futile endeavors!

    ~

    @ Denise

    Rock on _\m/

    ~

    Delicious chaos! Hell yeah!

    To the fiddle 🙂

  • Artleads Says:

    At least this, if nothing else, makes sense to me. Chop wood, and let the chips fall where they may.

    That’s a step on the path of selfless action, known in some traditions as Karma Yoga.


    BG 4.38:
    In this world, there is nothing so sublime and pure as transcendental knowledge. Such knowledge is the mature fruit of all mysticism. And one who has become accomplished in the practice of devotional service enjoys this knowledge within himself in due course of time.

    (Devotion is possible where one’s sensibilities lean towards a distinct theistic deity perceived as separate from oneself. This is predicated on the perception of an “I” and a “not-I”. The deity is somewhere in the “not-I”. Once the “I” is recognised to be a phantasm, there is no “not-I” and no separate God. The service can be performed selflessly, whether or not as an offering to an external God. And there is no requirement to hew to any meditational practice.)

    mike k Says:

    Let go into that which cannot be known
    but only experienced…

    Yes. The two major sources of knowledge are

    • the indirect route, through the instruments of the senses (sight, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting, etc. …) “aparokshagnyanya”,

    and

    • the direct route, independent of the sense-instruments, “parokshagnyana”. The most obvious of this is the awareness of an “I”.

    In the indirect route, the inputs of the senses are collated with past memories to add to a construct that is perceived as the “world”. The three lines of evidence that build the construct are the direct evidence from the senses “pratyaksha” (smoke seen rising from a forest), inference “anumana” (existence of a fire), and trusted testimony “sabda” (a news story about persons camping in the forest). The indirect route creates knowledge.

    The direct route creates no knowledge: instead its advance is in transcending the encrustations of knowledge.

    WoodsDweller Says:

    I’m still trying to work out the delayed posts bug. Now I’m wondering if it is not just invisible to me, but to everyone else as well.

    The problem surfaced with the restoration of NBL after the hacking episode. It might involve some code to block a repeat of the exploit.

    However with IOS 7 (iPhone, iPad, etc) switching to Private browsing and then clearing all cookies helps: after posting to NBL, close all Safari pages, exit and restart Safari. Everything is there, no missing posts.

    In the radioactive Dead Zone surrounding Chernobyl’s Reactor No. 4, a community of some 200 elderly women is defiantly clinging to their ancestral homeland.

    Babushkas: past child-bearing age; advanced enough in years that the remaining short life expectancy will usually be shorter than the latency period between radionuclide entry and clinical effects.

    It’s a regular Garden of Eden. The Chernobyl Babushkas know…

    Garden of Eaten as well: deformed critters? Munch a bunch of lunch, burp!

    In Chernobyl any congenitally deformed critter will promptly be lunch meat for others: even sows eat their runts on regular farms. In Iraq the depleted-uranium deformed babies are not (yet) lunch meat for other folks.

    In the early part of the twentieth century, radiation and radionuclides were new on the scene and were all the rage. Children had their feet measured for shoe size with X-rays and had their tonsillitis treated with radiation instead of the more invasive tonsillectomy. Two decades later a rash of thyroid cancers in young adults lead to some superb medical detective work that demonstrated an association with tonsillar irradiation in childhood.

    But everyone knows that association does not prove causation. Now that Fukushehas has shown in the short span of a couple of years that radiation is indeed safe, how about resuming tonsillar irradiation in children? Volunteers, anyone?

    we should all ‘stop trying to “do” things to reverse the cataclysm in which we are embroiled’, but rather all prepare to die soon, and resign to finding inner peace, make amends, go spiritual, etc. I’m not opposing to people doing spiritual reflections and making inner peace, but it’s utterly irresponsible to just assume that all of humanity and all life are already dead-man-walking, trying to save any of it is entirely pointless.

    Actually, dead-man-walking starts with dying newborn bawling. The dying process can take many decades, on occasion more than a century. All are dying. That is not an excuse for inaction. Those who retain a belief in a chance, however slim, to reverse the cataclysm, should act appropriately.

    It has been known since the early days of anaesthetics in surgery that undertaking more extensive and heroic surgeries for disseminated cancers not only may not improve life expectancy, but may often reduce both life expectancy and quality of remaining life. Hence, in cancers that are statistically beyond cure, any surgery offered is palliative: with an objective of improving the quality of remaining life, with any increase in life expectancy a secondary benefit. Attempting curative surgery in such cases is considered unethical (unless of course, reimbursed in a fee-for-service system).

    The efforts and resources committed to averting the cataclysm would in such cases be better directed to hospice care. Unless the corporatocracy can extract more fees/profits from the effort to avert the cataclysm.

    Yes, I have seen well-insured folks choose to have their loved ones sliced and diced in an attempt to avert their personal cataclysm, having been so advised by those seeking to shell more shekels out of the insurers.

  • Guy mentions the huge decline of phytoplankton over the last half century in his talk. This was pretty terrifying news when I first heard it, and I’ve mentioned it many times to people since, but it seems to have been heavily criticised, by other scientists and, as far as I can make out, is pretty much regarded as highly unlikely now.

    Dave Cohen talks about it in this post from his Decline Of The Empire blog.

    It’s science at work and a reminder that just because something appears in a peer reviewed science paper, it isn’t necessarily correct. Subsequent information might show it to be in error.

  • With thanks to Carolyn Baker for her contributions, I’ve posted a new guest essay. Written by Mel Strawn, it’s his first essay in this space. It’s here.

  • “Suzuki says that he’s seen a paper that says that if – in fact – the 4th reactor comes down, ‘it’s bye bye Japan, and everyone on the West Coast of North America should evacuate. Now if that’s not terrifying, I don’t know what is.’”

    Those of us a little inland (and I don’t know where inland is far enough away) could start thinking how to put up some–a drop in the bucket, a couple friends or family–of the fleeing people? If not now, then soon enough, we can expect there to be a lot of fleeing people.

    “I have not done the research but I am interested to know if there any studies of cancer incidence for people who work in/around nuclear plants in general. There is ample evidence that low level radiation exposure causes disease.”

    Somebody would have to start using a map. But only TPTB use maps, and they use them for contrary purposes.

    @ RD

    I guess your suggestion(s) (in general) would be to keep it simple.

  • @ woods dweller

    “We need to close every coal plant on Earth immediately.
    We need to stop mining uranium ore immediately.
    Once the current fuel load is used up, unload that reactor, secure the waste as best we can (which isn’t saying much), and begin decomissioning it.

    This will result is a huge shortfall of electricity. Tough toenails.

    No more ‘drill baby, drill’. Implement a worldwide, permanent moratorium on drilling. You might as well harvest the existing wells to ease the transition.”

    Could nuke plants be decommissioned if energy from them and coal (to effect their decommissioning) was meanwhile incrementally decreasing?

    “The amount of renewable energy you have is the amount of energy you have.”

    How would you get to a place–politically or socially–where the world community would accept living with the currently existing renewable resources? (Not that I don’t try every minute of every day to get that to happen>)

  • @ Artleads

    How would you get to a place–politically or socially–where the world community would accept living with the currently existing renewable resources?

    You can’t, of course. That is why this is a NTE site rather than a “bad things will happen unless we all come together to do these things” site. That’s the degree of change you need to have any meaningful effect, and there is no practical way to get there. The things that can be done won’t help, and the things that would help can’t be done.

  • @ WoodsDweller

    Do you think he will ever get that ?

    @ Artslead

    Those two papers are not honest accounts. They are propaganda. They do not mention how the land was stolen from the people who were forced to go and live in the cities and work in the factories or else starve and die, a procedure which has since been globalised and continues apace.

    http://www.thelandmagazine.org.uk/articles/short-history-enclosure-britain

  • WoodsDweller.

    Just confirming, nothing more.

  • @ KK
    I read the article you linked. Interesting.

    ~~~

    On a well planned path unplanned obstacles were encountered. These obstacles are insurmountable. Past the point of no return… bridge burned… ship sunk… no turning back, and no going forward. Nothing to do but pause. And wait. And wonder how long it will be until The End. Meanwhile the Sun keeps rising every morning, ending my sleep, and beginning another day of waiting and wondering. But if I had a crystal ball, I’d smash it. Sometimes fuzzy notions are better than sharper ones. Knowing the exact how and when isn’t desirable. How would I enjoy the passing clouds? Knowing its coming is enough. It makes the clouds stand out in sharp relief.

  • @ Carolyn

    Finally got through all of them. Thank you.

    Namaste 🙂

  • @ logspirit

    That 8:26 post is really intriguing. It’s a bit of prose, and it’s total poetry at the same time. What a skill!

  • – Negative feedbacks –

    Just a science question for those with an interest….

    Has anyone generated a comprehensive list of negative feedbacks regards climate change? I know there are some negative feedbacks, but I’m not sure just how many nor the relative proportionality of influence in relation to the positive feedbacks. So anyone who wants to help me learn about this, … I’m all ears.

    I do notice, as always, that when I google the net for info on this sort of thing I get a lot of questionable stuff … due to the distortions of “science” in relation to the gravitational forces of money. Sigh. The science is tricky enough without this sad extra layer of complexity!

  • @ James

    I don’t think there are any. I also looked into it. Possibly heating means more water vapour means more clouds means cooling, but that turned out to mean greater storms and deluges and more heat trapped by clouds, and mostly was a negative feedback as defined in meteorology not as defined in climatology. But I’m not any authority on this, so please keep digging, maybe you’ll find something.

  • @ Christy

    http://www.totalwebcasting.com/view/?id=hcf#

    I’ve watched day one and hope to get to day 2. I agree with Prince Charles that the public seems incapable of acting until the full crisis hits. The Japanese gentleman summed up the situation with great passion and authority. Too bad it won’t count.

  • @ James R. Martin

    I haven’t read of many.

    One I’ve thought of is in the Arctic. We had three big storms this year that kept it cloudy pretty much all summer and we saw a substantially reduced melt. It might be that more open water translates into more cloud cover and less sun absorption, which might buy the Arctic a little time, like a couple of years. But as uglfugl notes above, additional cloud cover might not be a net negative even there.

    Additional plant growth due to higher CO2 might help a little, but be totally drowned out in higher plant mortality (is that a phrase?) in general. This is generally offered as a denialist argument.

    Coal burning, as we know, adds sulfides to the atmosphere which provides a short-term umbrella effect. The umbrella lasts weeks, the CO2 lasts millenia. Not a good tradeoff.

    I suppose forest fires would take wood straight to CO2, rather than allowing termites to digest the cellulose and partially convert it to CH4.

    Drought or storms might kill cattle and reduce cow farts bovine methane.

    Overall, you can grasp at a few straws and see some tiny negative feedbacks against a swelling tide of positive feedbacks.

  • James, ulvfugl, anyone interested:

    George Mobus, system scientist, claims there are (“always”)negative feedbacks that, i guess due to Newton’s “equal and opposite reaction” law, counteract the positive ones, but there’s no time frame for them in his analysis.

    For example, after all the ice melts and the planet warms, when we’re all gone, the planet goes back to doing its balancing act and over millions of years, once again slowly sequesters the carbon out of the atmosphere and regenerates life of some kind (possibly).

    That’s his take, paraphrased (probably badly) by me. i have issues with it, but the point is moot due to the fact that we’ll be long gone before the negative feedbacks once again balance out the climate system on Earth.

    http://questioneverything.typepad.com/

  • @ Tom

    Troll on the other thread who should not be fed, doesn’t understand science, cites a paper that’s years out of date, that says

    ‘Bounoua stressed that while the model’s results showed a negative feedback, it is not a strong enough response to alter the global warming trend that is expected.’

    That’s all that matters. Doesn’t alter the warming trend ! There’s much more recent papers. The vegetation all dies anyway, as the temperatures increase and the soil and ecology gets wrecked. There aren’t any negative feedbacks that I know of that are going to make any difference.

    Totally lame comment from a shabby denialist troll that proves my point. So thanks ! Shot himself in the head there.

    Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)

    http://wikileaks.org/tpp/pressrelease.html

  • @ James, Tom,

    From Arctic Sea Ice Forum

    Toward a complete list of climate feedbacks

    http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,540.msg13580.html#msg13580

  • Wow, that Arctic Sea Ice Forum is something else. Someone called ggelsrinc says this:

    “Delta CO2 seems quadratic or Gompertz when taken to equilibrium, but it’s only my estimate based on limited data and something I can’t prove.”

    Does anyone commenting on this blog understand the mathematics here? It appears one must have a good grasp of curves to be able to predict trends.

  • Thanks, all, for the help on the feedback question.

  • Charles Eisenstein’s new book, “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible” briefly mentions Guy McPherson and his belief in near term human extinction.

    ” …. That’s why “near term extinction” arguments like those of Guy McPherson are valuable. Irrefutable on their own terms, they vanquish any hope within those terms … ”

    https://books.google.com/books?id=6cYxAQAAQBAJ&pg=PA38&lpg=PA38&dq=%22that%27s+why+near+term+extinction+arguments%22&source=bl&ots=1LevnZkRgR&sig=3EAAwtUEbUZ58FuHtmi-UlSL014&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UTSFUqnPHKbwiwLel4G4Bw&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA

    ===

    As one who has not yet concluded that worst case catastrophic runaway climate change is unavoidable (or that Fukushima means we’re all gonna die soon), I am enjoying this new book from Eisenstein, who is often brilliant. But I must admit that I’m a little disappointed in Eisenstein’s failure to really address *how* it might be that McPherson’s NTE hypothesis is “Irrefutable on [it’s] own terms” while nevertheless hope remains to avert such worst case scenarios.

    The problem here seems mainly to be that McPherson’s argument is that NTE type worst case scenarios are inevitable on the basis of what is in “the pipeline” — regardless of future emissions levels. I suspect Eisenstein knows this. So it would have been nice if Eisenstein had made it more clear what his own basis of hope might be. But the reader appears to be in the position to guess on that. Is it because our knowledge of physics is incomplete, and…? Who knows?

    In any case, I recommend this book to any and all who tenaciously cling to the hope that humanity and the biosphere *might* just survive — and who want to serve that purpose. If nothing else, it will contribute to any serious inquiry and dialogue on how activism or change agentry should proceed.

  • @ James

    You can probably guess what my take will be…

    From my own experience, the ‘clinging to hope thing’ is absolutely hellish.

    Everybody seems to think that you can’t live without hope, that you must have hope, that without hope, blablah.

    I think it’s all wrong. It means you always feel depressed and suicidal, because every day, you have to try to find something that can keep your hope alive, and every day you get bashed by all kinds of horrible news, and every day you go to bed feeling battered and anxious and you have to read something like Eisenstein to give a glimmer that there might be some goodness somewhere, someone with a vision of a better future, but every morning there’s the news about another disaster and there’s more bills and more despair to face…

    When I finally understood that this is a mass extinction event and all of my efforts over the last many decades to conserve nature and fight against the bad guys had been futile, and that ecstasy at having found permaculture, and my solidarity with causes like Deep Ecology and Earth First! had all been in vain, and I’d spent my time on the Dark Mountain hoping to find kindred souls… all of that… and then let it all go..

    There’s this marvellous clarity that comes with acceptance. No more torture trying to hang onto some obligatory cultural socially conditioned crap called ‘hope’.

    Bit like dancing and singing and being happy at a funeral. Most people think that’s shocking. You’re supposed to be solemn and gloomy. But why ? Irish wakes, everybody has a crazy party. Or they used to. Same for New Orleans, maybe. Does the deceased really want everyone to be SAD ?
    What a miserable mean selfish person they must have been,to demand that. Why not celebrate a great spirit who showed a largeness that rose above all the petty stuff, if that is who they were ?

    McPherson’s case is irrefutable, in so far as nobody has refuted it.

    It’s not HIS case, as such. What he has done is collect the scientific data points with scholarly references, and joined the dots and said ‘This is what they show’.

    People can dispute that, but they have to provide some substantial case with a convincing series of arguments, if they wish to do so. Nobody has done that.

    I only know Eisenstein’s thought from his previous book and youtube, and I shan’t be reading this one. I don’t think he CAN tell the truth to his readers. I doubt very much that he can tell the truth to himself. He faces just the same difficulty that you yourself do, that others here do, Artleads, mike k, many that have commented in the past, presumably many who got upset with Guy on the recent fracas on Facebook.

    The very thought that civilisation, that all we humans, our loved ones, our children and grand children, all our achievements and culture, is all about to vanish, that all the stuff that we cherish and take for granted is ephemeral and transitory and does not protect us or ensure our continuity… it’s all so strange and bleak and disconcerting and impossible for most people to get their heads around, they just dismiss it and deny the possibility and fill in with some cliche they heard somewhere… anything at all to avoid the abyss..

    I just sit and gaze into that abyss, James.

    Thank you for thanking me for finding you the stuff re the feedbacks.
    There is a lot there that has a human element attached, and if humans did act, as you wish, they could have a very significant impact. The point is that they do not, will not, and we are out of time, because, as you mentioned, the time lag, the irreversible positive self-reinforcing feedbacks, etc, and the billions who are not even aware there is a problem, who still dream of owning a car, and the elite who want to own the whole planet, etc. But give it your best shot, if that’s what you think you should do. I try to save some linnets…it’s probably totally pointless, but it makes me happier…

    http://www.monsangelorum.net/?p=9438

  • @ James

    I listened to a radio interview of Eisenstein (consistent with what I skimmed from your link) and it was amazingly congruent with my own thoughts–notions that I couldn’t articulate clearly, or justify for anyone else. His thesis just seemed 100% clear and uncontrovertible to my way of understanding. It doesn’t depress me in the slightest that the world keeps on on its terminal path. If a sleeper doesn’t wake up when the alarm goes off or a meteor falls through his roof, it would surprise me. But that would be his concern, not mine.

  • @ James

    Eisenstein argues that the world is intelligent, and as alive in its own way as any of us. I suppose that means that if we act as we should in ways that make us happy–for our happiness in his scenario is the Earth’s too–the world will resolve its crisis in the appropriate manner (whatever that is). There is nothing for us to do but be as wise and compassionate as possible, while stopping being as stupid and intolerant as possible.

  • @ Artleads

    But YOU are the sleeper and the world resolves the crisis by way of mass extinction, and all that Eisenstein offers is that we all be happy smiley people. Anthropocentric, dolphins, rainbows, wishful thinking.

    Does nothing about the melting permafrost, the acidifying oceans, the bubbling methane, the nuclear plants, does nothing for the innocent species that become extinct, and never mentions the cruel men with the knives and machetes who will butcher those naive happy smiley fools.

    But I see why it appeals to you, because, like mike k, you’re not keen on facing reality, and anything that smacks of hopium has got to be good, eh.

  • Martin:

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

    He’s saying that he thinks the rate of CO2 (where delta stands for the rate of change) saturation in the atmosphere probably acts like this differential equation of which cell phone use, birth rates in a confined space and models of tumor growth are examples. A quadratic equation would be more U shaped but probably much “flatter” than straight up.

  • @ ulvfugi

    Maybe Eisenstein gets a little soppy at times (I can’t say for sure), but you are laying it on too thick about the smiley faces.

    And all the lunacy you describe is not my doing. My greatest enjoyment comes from scarcity. Generally speaking, I don’t lend any energy to the madness.

    I do not indulge in negative thinking, since I believe that can only give power to negative things, however slight.

    As to facing reality, do you mean getting into a fit over things I can’t control? Is that what you recommend?

  • @ Artleads

    He’s an extremely nice man, ( as are you, as is mike k,) he’s exceptionally intelligent and articulate, he does a great job of trying to span the whole spectrum of problems, finance, ecology, soceity, technology, etc. and I wish there were zillions more people just like him.

    The trouble is we still wouldn’t be any better off. Nice or nasty is irrelevant.

    The problem we have is ecological overshoot. We have exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet. That happened, first because we did cities and agriculture, then because we discovered fossil fuels.

    If neither of those events had occurred we’d most likely still be at low populations, and even if we were wrecking the ecology, it would be nothing like to the extent of threatening the entire biosphere.

    So, we have what we have. Industrial civilisation and too many people.

    What’s the remedy ? Well, there isn’t any remedy that’s in any way acceptable to humans. Because ending industrial civilisation means taking all the toys away, and a few billion premature deaths. Nobody will accept that voluntarily.

    So, it will happen involuntarily because when carrying capacity is exceeded, a population crash is the inevitable result. There can’t be any other result. Like pouring water from a tap into a jug, when it’s full, it’s full, and it runs over.

    People are going to try everything they possibly can to keep this thing going as long as they can. Like, 90% of the large fish have already gone from the oceans. Next it’ll be 90% of the medium fish, then the small fish… everything is going, everything is getting more polluted.

    This isn’t a problem that gets solved by any of Eisenstein’s ideas.

    I used to be one of those sparkly eyed hippy dreamers who told people we could have utopia if only we tried a bit harder, bit more positive thinking, we have all the answers. It’s true, we can solve almost every problem. We know how to get clean water and how to grow healthy food and how to rejuvenate ruined land and all kinds of things.

    But it will not work.

    This isn’t a problem that gets solved by individuals becoming more moral, or by social reform, or by making a more equitable financial system, or anything like that. We’re long past those things. This is a global catastrophe, where the whole biosphere has been irreversibly changed by human activity and we cannot stop what is happening, because the forces involved are enormous.

    By that I mean, the hundreds and hundreds of millions of Europeans, Indians, Chinese, Brazilians, etc, all wanting to eat, all wanting jobs, all wanting houses, all wanting to have children….

    To solve the problem you have to tell them that they all have to DIE.

    To solve the problem you have to tell the rich elite with their villas and their yachts and their estates and their businesses and their investments, all the middle class professionals, that they cannot have their careers, that they have to DIE.

    You have to tell the politicians and the generals and the mega-rich bankers, all the people who conspire to get power over everyone else, that they have to stop playing with their armies and their battleships and their nuclear bombs, it’s over, the whole planet is in crisis and the stupid game of ‘ruling the world’ has no meaning any more because everyone is going to DIE.

    Do you think anybody is going to listen to this message ?

    Of course not.

    But that’s the cure for ecological overshoot. That’s the ONLY cure. You have to reduce the population back down to what the carrying capacity can cope with, which is probably MILLIONS nor BILLIONS.

    And if people cannot do it voluntarily – which they can’t because it’s unethical, and politically impossible – then nature will do it, by an extinction event. Which is what we are getting.

    Dear Eisenstein cannot put that in his book because nobody will buy his book, if he did.

    It’s actually worse than that. Almost nobody but me will even say this.

    Because it is too horrible. But there we are. The laws of physics and biology rule this planet, and we have no option or choice or say, the result is that we will disappear, along with most of the rest of the living things, because we will have made this planet unsuitable for humans to live on, because we exceeded the carrying capacity and wrecked the biosphere.

    The way I see it, at this very moment, we are at Peak Everything.

    We have spent thousands of years, since civilisation began, building this massive metaphorical tower, so to speak, and now we are at the top, we get the most fabulous view that our species has ever had, we see more, see further, than any humans have ever seen… and just as we reach this awesome pinnacle, the whole tower falls to pieces below us, and we all die and become extinct… or maybe a few survive in a much simpler condition, with a much reduced life…

    So, we have Peak Information, and also Peak Horror, as we see what is coming….

    What I want, personally, is to help the other species. They don’t get any vote or any say, it’s not their fault, we’re the ones who caused this mess… it’s probably pointless, but I feel a moral obligation.

  • Artleads, Ulvfugl, et al.,

    One thing Eisenstein says in his new book is that he’s not entirely convinced that the modern scientific outlook (MSO) is at all complete and explanatory regards causation. What is impossible from within the MSO regards causation may not be, in fact, impossible.

    I think that Eisenstein is correct on this account, though I’m not sure his picture and mine match up in every respect. For example, I’m not sure I’m ready to embrace the sort of neo-animism which Eisenstein seems to embrace. Nor am I entirely clear what sort of animism this is. …. I suppose my belief regards the limits of the MSO’s take on causation is mostly based on my own life experience coupled with philosophical and psychological inquiry, and complex systems science. We tend to overestimate how much we know and understand “how things are”. Besides, I do think there are several significant paradigm shifts underway — in various sciences but also in the broader culture.

    And these seem to be deeply interrelated, these shifts. One of the main things that seems to be occurring is that we’re beginning to adopt a process-relational mode of ontology. We used to be rather intensively involved in an object ontology. The emergent ontological view doesn’t throw out objects, it sees them in process-relational terms — as processes, events… and relations. Relationship is actually more primary than objects in this view. And I think this is either correct or at least a superior way of understanding the world.

    So animistic “spirits” may in fact best be understood in this process-relational outlook as something less anthropomorphic, or less a projection of a “conscious being”…. Then again, consciousness is certainly (or almost certainly!) more mysterious than the MSO has allowed for.

    My study of Buddhist philosophy, ecology, and certain strands of Western philosophy has had the result of obliterating “objects” in the frame or mold of the naive ontology most of us have been raised up with. I CAN’T find anything that exists independently and unchangingly. Not one! So I suppose that does make me SOME kind of an animist? I mean, there is livingness and consciousness in this system, and nothing can be said to exist independently. And then there’s the whole mysterious quantum mystery with its enfoldedness, non-locality, entanglement…. Energy and matter are stranger than they have seemed through the MSO — or at least the EMSO (early modern…). So maybe, just maybe, the physical world might be changed with a change of mind?
    And not just in the rather ordinary ways we might think when thinking in MSO terms. (?)

    None of what I have just said has been meant to pooh-pooh science. Not in the least!

  • Maybe I’m more of an animist than I think I am?

    Here’s Eisenstein on animism:

    “We have a name for the Original Religion. We call it animism, and it is still practiced today by isolated groups of indigenous people. We usually define animism as the belief that all things have a spirit: including animals and plants, rocks and streams, the wind and the sky. Actually, this belief is a step away from the original animism, which is perhaps better termed “panentheism,” a belief in the indwelling divinity of all things. Panentheism says not that all things have a spirit; it is that all things are spirit. Spirit is not a distinct element that can be separated out from the being itself. The entire universe, and everything in it, is irreducibly sacred. Everything that exists, even two apparently identical drops of water, is unique, special, and sacred.

    The panentheist thus lives in a constant state of reverence. Each action takes on a sacred significance. Each word is a prayer. Each event is divinely arranged, a communication from the All to a temporarily separate piece of it, the self.”

    http://www.realitysandwich.com/original_religion

    But I’d chuck the “temporarily separate” part of this. Nothing is separate from anything. Everything exists only in relation to all which exists. Nothing is apart. And yet distinction is real, in the way that my “pinky” finger is distinct from the palm of my hand, my thumb, etc.

  • I’ve been away for a while and am catching up, but this discussion around Eisenstein just screamed out for a response.

    Owe responses to ulvfugl and artleads from a couple of threads back and will get to them soon.

    Happy to that link to the feedback loops on Artic News. Wow!!

    I love the concept of a gift economy and wish that much of what Eisenstein writes and talks of would happen. I’ve tried my best to get it too happen. You can see the bumps on my skull from banging my head against a wall of humanity that wants things us to be sustainable while still having our ipods, etc.

    Perhaps Eisenstein can’t accept NTE or Guy’s thesis because he has children. He and his wife decided to welcome a new baby into the world within the last year; this despite all that we’re facing.

    Talk about betting the farm. My heart goes out to all children who will born from this point on. Doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t go out to all those born after 1972 when Limits to Growth came out.
    I have a thing or two to say about how educating women (here in the USA) leads to them having less children. Search for the film “19 Kids and Counting” and “woman with 15 kids in Florida.”

    My opinion: I would have been impressed had he and his wife done the following:
    1) Adopted a child that is already in the planet (guess the DNA of Charles and his wife is too special to allow to go extinct).
    2) Had the Eisensteins as “leaders” of this “movement” decided to have a vasectomy and tubes tied it would have raised them to a high level in my eyes.

    A question:

    Baker says the Earth is in hospice (well unless we go the way of Krypton it’s all he current species that are in hospice). Guy in his review of Baker’s new book says that somewhere humans will crawl out of the wreckage of collapse.

    I’m confused. Does Baker understand the equation that No Biosphere = No Humans and no lower forms of life (fish, animals, produce, etc, etc) means that we won’t have anything to support our life? Seems she’s not quite on the NTE page completely yet.