The responsibility of doomers to the future: A proposal

by Godofredo Aravena P.

Every time I read the NBL posts, I get the feeling that there´s nothing to be done with our lives, and our future. We have no future. We just have to wait for catastrophe.

We used to have a reason for living. Apparently, no more.

Also, most of us know, by own experience, that spreading the message of NTE take us nowhere. Ergo, climate change has no way back. At least regarding our actions as species.

Nobody knows in a precise way what comes ahead, and how climate change will affect us. It all depends on where we are and live.

NTE ahead and too many “who knows.”

The message given so far seems to me that all we have to do is to give love, have peace, enjoy the time we have left, and enjoy nature and all that we may lose with climate change. In simple words, rules of behavior to keep us calmed, to keep us in peace with incoming tragedy. A life with no purpose. Kind of selfish rules by the way, only for ourselves. For our tranquility as persons.

To be selfish is as natural as nature. All creatures need to be selfish, to survive. The magic of nature is that by being selfish, creatures help each other. They constantly give something in return, usually becoming food to other species, a form of energy. In simple words, creatures of nature are energy collectors. Just by living and dying, and being selfish while alive, give something in return to the rest (the system).

But human as a species, by being selfish somehow destroys or damages the rest, people and environment, and give nothing in return, but a huge amount of waste. And, contrary to the rest of creatures, we are only (mainly) energy consumers. We also collect stuff with no purpose regarding the rest of the system (nature). We see and measure the world based on our very personal point of view. As we live, we do not care about the rest, and as we became so powerful (thanks to technology), we can create much destruction along the way. Just for our own pleasure.

So being selfish is a green practice, only if by being selfish, the system thrives, and/or stays in a steady state. Evidence tells me that mankind selfishness is not of the “green” type.

So doomers have the possibility to evolve in someway to a different state, we have a possibility to be selfish in a green way. And do something really useful to the (future) system. Something that goes beyond ourselves.

Doomers are in a different (higher maybe) mind state. Accepting NTE opens mind to a differente view of life and nature.

So welcome new mind state, because I guess, we have a job to do (if we want), on behalf of the rest of our society. A job, or responsibility, that requires a different mind state.

We have to stop thinking only on us (and our beloved alive). So far, on NBL, we keep on being somehow too selfish. Very much just like the rest of people.

We have to start seeing the future in a different way, and start doing something for somebody that we do not know, that is not our family, somebody that we will never meet. We have to start thinking as our society should have done couple of centuries ago and (probably) things today would be different.

We have to do something thinking in our descendants, in a very broad term, whoever they are. Even if they are intelligent beings not humans, or humans in a different case.

We have to give something against nothing, according to our modern commercial standard.
Roughly just like the movie “Fog of War”. We have to transmit a message about what we have learnt. And I do not mean technology, I mean our mistakes and/or lessons of life. More than just a bunch of data, instead, hopefully data coupled to some analysis.

We have to find a way to provide some answers to the questions about us that future generations will have.

Just like Jared Diamond`s question: “What was thinking the person while chopping down the last palm tree on Easter Island?” A question that has no answer today. We can only suppose. It would have been good to have that answer. We could have taken some lessons.

We have to try to provide answers to questions that the future intelligent specie that will replace us, will have about us. We probably are becoming a failed experiment, but the creator(s) will probably create a replacement, with maybe a few adjustments in our biology, to maybe live in a slightly different environment. Or, maybe some individuals of our specie will survive, along with other creatures. Enough individuals to spread again over earth, a certainly different earth. As crocodiles survived to two ELE, and other animals did too. It is a possibility.

Replaced or not replaced, in a not so distant future, there will be an intelligent species on earth again.

As intelligent creatures, able to create things, have to learn from their mistakes, there is no other way, if they don’t, they may end in the same point we are today. Our replacement specie, as we today, will be very powerful in relation to the rest of species, and has to learn to handle their power, before facing a predicament as we do today. We can help doing something today to, maybe, avoid the path of self destruction again.

Any future intelligent being will in some moment have questions about us.

Why we disappeared?

Why our culture declined?

What went wrong?

What caused the sixth ELE?

And so.

We, today, as living individuals, know the answers, but once we disappear, the answers will go to grave with us.

I guess instead of trying to save the planet we know today, a lost battle already, we have to try to preserve the answers to this questions somehow safe.

That is not an easy task certainly. To find a media, that will withstand the test of time is a hard job. To find a way to teach a language to somebody in the future that knows nothing about our current languages may become another hard job. That, if we want to keep the information using some type of hardware media (computer, hard-drive, pen-drive, paper, plastic, stones, whatever).

Maybe we have to keep this knowledge through our immediate descendants, just like ancient tribes did. And knowledge be constantly transmitted to descendants. A practice that could become part of our culture.

There are so many lessons to keep.

To rebuilt our past has been a hard and complex task. Lots of questions with no answers.

Let´s help to our descendants to know about our story, their past, as seen from inside. Let them know the lessons hardly learnt. It may help them to avoid the seventh ELE, and develop a sustainable culture.

This is much more than just keeping a lot of files, it is personal and careful selection of files that we may seem relevant to keep, coupled to some analysis, to put things in context. Pointed to the Jared Diamonds of the future. We have some years ahead to find ways to transmit this information to somebody in the future.

Our current global database, Internet, will probably not last long enough. If some people find a way to continue our specie, they will have very hard times, with very limited technology. I would expect that after the decline of modern-current society, a dark age of maybe some hundreds of years will follow.

If we want a reason to live the rest of our life, this is a good one. That makes much sense (to me).

Instead of being Doomers or Preppers, we could be “Filers.”

Comments 123

  • Hilarious, I see that this site is tracking me :-)

    So I’m tracking them tracking me tracking them… what fun !

    Why don’t you all join in ? We can all track each other tracking each other tracking EVERYBODY at the same TIME ! ;-)

    WE ARE THE WORLD ! Hahahahahahaha

  • What with Kling and his aliens and underground cities and the trolls on this blog and these fucking brain invaders… dearie me, at least there are animals and birds here that I can rely upon to be sane…

    Sort ’em out Jesse

  • @Badlands:
    Understood. My reply below, composed, but not posted, before reading your last post-(dec.13 12.21pm)

    As you wish.. Generally I’m all for de-complexifying! I like the picture in this link, which I found while I was trying (failing) to find a link to the Ivan Illich essay- A sort of sculptural satire on gratuitous complexity. It may float yours, or someone’s boat:

    ” Yes, the ambiguity of language is terrible. You go through the etymology of english words, amazing how many once used to mean the exact opposite of what they now mean.”

    You took the words out of my mouth.. :) I have a sort of sporadic sensitivity for tautologies, oxymorons and weird verbal conjunctions- One of my ‘favourites’, from BBC news a while ago, the phrase; “..enforcing democracy..”

    @Robin Datta:

    Your missing post finally appeared- in abundance! I only make one attempt to post anything- if that don’t work then fuck it… but then you can tell by my name that I tend towards fatalism. I actually find the less-than-optimum efficiency, the element of mystery as to where, when, or even if one’s post might end up here, quite refreshing.

  • Hahaha, this the way to do it.. brilliant.

    But how the heck did they learn this ? How did they evolve this ? How did they find that it worked the first time ?

  • @Badlands – Simple practices may seem to offer little chance for profound results. Such as “be still and know”. This is a story you may know, but it makes a good illustration:

    A Cherokee elder was teaching his grandchildren about life.
    He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me… it is a terrible fight between two wolves.
    One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, hatefulness, and lies.
    The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, humbleness, kindness, friendship, generosity, faith, and truth.
    This same fight is going on inside of you, and inside every other person, too.”
    The children thought about it for a minute. Then one child asked his grandfather,
    “Which wolf will win?”
    The Cherokee elder replied…
    “The one you feed.”

    Now, reading this story will not produce any great change in a person. But what if one used it to learn to be constantly aware of one’s inner state, and let go of all therein that was unworthy, and replace it with better thought, feeling, intention, and action? With constant daily practice one’s life would indeed change in profound ways. The secret of spiritual practice is repetition. It requires patience, humility, and dedication.

    Some years after my conversation with the dragonfly in the Hawaiian forest, I was at a retreat of a group I helped found called the Spiritual Growth Network. We had decided to take John Seed’s suggestion and hold a Council of All Beings. We made up masks to represent the aspects of Nature we would speak for, and gathered by a remote lake on the property of the retreat center we were using. As I sat by the lake, two dragonflies came close to me and hovered before me. Of course I remembered the promise I had given them years before, and my feeling of shame that I had experienced so little success in delivering their message to the humans who were destroying their world. They assured me that they understood, but were grateful to me for doing what I could to help them. Others present noticed and commented on my unusual visit from these winged messengers, so I included my forest experience in my sharing with the group.

    Your Aristotle quote underlines the need for
    extended practice to change our ingrained tendencies, and cultivate a new way of being in the world. When one understands that practice never ends, success is assured. “One inch of incense, one inch of Buddha.”

  • That last quote referred to the practice of burning a stick of incense to determine one’s period of meditation.

  • PMB: Walking down to the library in moments to pick up ‘Gentrification…’, can’t wait to read it. I came into gayness in SF during the 80’s activism, still don’t understand how the radical ideas about justice and challenging the tyrannies of mainstream culture ended up producing the hideously bourgeois hyper consuming ‘gay community’ of today. It sickens me, I’ve renounced my membership, if not my erotic nature.

    ulvfugi: I LOVE Idiot Joy Showland, so glad you linked to it, hope you all go and read his stuff. I wish he was local, I’d probably stalk him and force him to be my friend.

    There is always so much talk about human ‘nature’ here and on other sites that try to take seriously what we are doing to the planet and its creatures, and asking why. With good reason of course, even if it too often devolves into rigid faith based statements and hot air.

    Rather than expound on my own views, I’d like to recommend some reading that shapes my evolving view(s) and that should expand the mind for a few folks who haven’t already read them and thought about them. They help to remind people that humans have been around a long time but lived very differently than what we think of now as normal, and at least highlight some of the complexity of our mixed ‘nature’. It isn’t quite what we have been taught by virtually every voice in our civilization. Those who truly believe in the primacy of our innate selfishness especially would benefit from this reading, which is far from hippie wishful thinking.

    The third book gives some fascinating detail on a range of societies and their strategies for foiling the attempts of the sociopaths among them to take over, and is very instructive in describing what lead to failure. Plus, great pictures and easy to read, I love this book.

    It is worth mentioning E.O. Wilson’s book too, which is a shift from some of his earlier thinking, making it even more interesting.

    And two more for the ambitious to study and think about, and why not? With extinction looming I can think of few activities I’d rather do with my last hours than read great books! Plus, make beer and cheese and listen to music; there is still plenty of meaning in my life without Meaning and Hope.

    These are some pretty intense books, they really do require some study. But I now personally would not take seriously the arguments of anybody who hasn’t tackled them and considered them, even if in the end they don’t necessarily agree with the ideas. These are serious people who’ve used their expertise and probably innate intellectual gifts to ask some hard questions and challenge easy answers. They deserve to be taken seriously. I doubt you’ll hear much of this quality, ever, among the mainstream chatter. Even though you can of course find some youtube videos to make understanding some of the ideas easier lol;)

  • @ mike k

    But I think that’s all nonsense.

    ..replace it with better.. means you are split into one part that judges and one part that is judged. Which is typical Christian or Abrahamic or Western moralising, going right back to Original Sin, and one reason why so many people are so miserable all their lives, as they struggle to be ‘better’ human beings. Imo, it’s all bullshit.

    And re the meditation. Why stop ? Why this idea of a beginning and an ending ? Why ‘cultivate a new way of being in the world’ ? It’s all nonsense.

    All these ideas are themselves the problem. Drop the whole lot, this instant, every instant, and you’ve cracked it. No more ‘practice’ no more ‘work’, no more ‘striving’, no more ideas about some aim where you’ll arrive as a better person, because all that crap is what is in the WAY, that’s the obstacle that’s preventing it from happening NOW.

    How can you be perfect NOW, if you’re busy struggling to be better in the future ?

    Fuck Aristotle. Fuck the Buddha. Be yourself. You were born perfect. Just stop being an idiot. :-)

  • Badlands Says:

    “Wow, ‘We Are The World’! I believe I was about thirteen years old then.”

    I was 35 and I wouldn’t have held MJ’s hand even if the Almighty promised world peace. My sarcasm was directed at Artleads in jest for mentioning “I signed the petition”. :)

    ulvfugl Says:

    WE ARE THE WORLD ! Hahahahahahaha

    At last it looks like the West will keep it’s promise to Africa to just start giving”. (French) troops have already arrived with the aid of the USA – soon shredded African body parts will be hanging from the trees and depleted Uranium will blow in the wind.

    With a half-life of 4.5 billion years – it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

    After getting ‘punked’ by Putin on Syria – guess we decided to nuke Africa for awhile – at least until the jackals get things sorted out in Syria and Lebanon.

  • @PMB
    Thank you for your eloquence.
    I remember the plague of the 80’s, how it ripped apart the art and theatre worlds in New York.

    I wasn’t in New York, but I lost my best friend, Michael, to that plague. He worked for me, but that was beside the point; he was an activist and so was I, so although our issues differed, the mindset was identical despite being from different generations, and different persuasions.
    He was abandoned on the streets of Atlanta at age 13 by a christian fundamentalist mother, and raised by the gay community but also endured periods of homelessness.

    I had heard about Michael before I ever met him. At the school I attended, I heard about a student who had called a faculty meeting to announce that he was starting a 6 month vow of silence to draw attention to Aids. He spoke to them about the purpose behind it, and how to communicate with him once he had started. And then he was silent for 6 months. 23 years old…. Four years later he was dead. I miss him still.

    PMB, I am glad you made it through those years.

  • @Ulvfugl – To each his own. If your instant enlightenment works for you, bravo! You still direct folks to sites teaching Taoism, Zen, Mantak Chia, Aikido, etc. I guess us slowpokes need to fool around with teachers, practice, etc. because we just can’t seem to “get it”. Of course that depends upon what “it” you are working towards. Some goals are never attained, but worth pursuing never the less… I guess I’ll keep trying, and you will keep enjoying your realization, which I am obviously incapable of understanding…

  • @ Badlands

    I think my musings upon conflict were of a somewhat different order to the wise ‘conflict as meditation’ that you refer to. When all that stuff is resolved, then what ?

    If you live in a village and marauders come by sea and kill and abduct all the people from the village next door along the coast, then it would be irresponsible not to be prepared, not to be armed, not to have lookouts and a plan. Build defenses ? Move to a more secure place ?

    There is conflict in the world, it is not going to go away. I’m not talking about mastering one’s primitive instincts, more a clear, cold, analytic strategic approach towards dealing with that reality.

    @ 18000days

    Yes. Words. What can be said ? :-)

    @ Eric

    Great list of books ! However we are not intellectual snobs here, are we ?
    Your job is to explain all those ideas to us so that we, who can’t afford to buy the books, or don’t have time to read them, or are too uneducated to understand such advanced concepts, can get a clue… isn’t it ?

    @ Bob S.

    Yes. Poor Africa.

    @ mike k

    Oh dear. Well, let me try again.

    Why do you put these words into my mouth ? I didn’t say anything about ‘instant enlightenment’ did I ?

    Actually, it’s you putting those ideas into your own head, which was my point.

    Why don’t you just stop ? Cowardice ? Laziness ? Missing insight ?
    But you already got it once before. ‘Throw the books in the fountain’. But of course, you’re afraid to do that. Put it off til tomorrow… make certain you never attain it. Then you’ll always be safe…

    Btw, you may have missed my reply to you earlier, as it arrived late.
    I’ve never pointed to Mantak Chia. Not that I have anything against his stuff.

  • @Tom
    “Just on and on and on”
    Your post reminded me of the second verse here:
    Gil also became HIV positive. His death last year got to me. On the synchronicitous ‘river’ theme me ‘n’ Badlands seem to have stumbled upon, check out “Rivers of my fathers”, from the same source.
    Badlands- this was the story behind the pic:

  • ulvfgl: Haha, not a snob, just a person who loves to stretch my brain, which is a workout available to everyone regardless of income, age, gender, all those other categories, right? And I’m a homemaker (plenty of work but no income), I don’t buy these books unless I find them used for under $5, so I read them from the library. Socialism’s last stand in this country (the US), though privatizing libraries seems to be on the increase, so take advantage soon.

    Time? Well, I guess I assume that most people here believe that it is the capitalist rat-race that is destroying the planet, so doing something as non-productive and non-consumptive as reading–especially a library book–is a radical act, often one of the few available to us in the prison of modern civilization. And so far without too much risk of repression and orange jumpsuits, although we can’t escape knowing our library records are monitored like everything else we do.

    I hesitate to paraphrase the arguments or summarize them in a way that is conducive to a short post on a blog, too much potential for making mistakes; that is why I felt it was better to point towards the books themselves.

    I don’t think the books try to answer the simplistic question of whether or not we as a species are and always were by nature condemned to eventually destroy ourselves and our habitat, but they counter the all-pervasive narratives that seem to come from every side, secular and sacred: that we really are homo economicus of some variety, or dominated by selfish genes, or blind brain automatons incapable of non-illusory insight, or cursed by the Fall, etc.

    And they also counter the often revolting and embarrassing New Agey (sorry if this offends) feel good-ey alternatives that pop up. These aren’t books about the Romantic Edenic Past (although it can seem that way from our standpoint at times), or the Pure Indigenous Cultures that lived in Harmony blahblahblah.

    We are social obligates, and for generations a suite of characteristics that are quite different than what is selected for today had evolutionary benefit. Even well into historic times a great diversity of societies had all kinds of ways of dealing with those aspects of our nature that nowadays are assumed to be the only ones, the very ones that most of us can agree spell DOOM. You won’t see it on the Discovery Channel, or the History Channel, or on BBC even, certainly not on mainstream TV or even in nature documentaries that focus on fighting, mating, competing, whatever, but nothing in the books is outlandish or weird or delusional. Read them and decide for yourselves.

    Does it matter now? Maybe not. I suppose if some humans do manage to survive what is coming, it could. But in these last days I prefer to seek some understanding of where/when/how humanity took a wrong turn and to remind myself of deep history. Resisting capitalism often feels like mainly a mental and spiritual activity anyway, a tiny sphere of influence that is all that is left to me, being a middle-aged coward who has no capacity for Deep Green Resistance. But I can certainly do my best to Occupy my own mind and evict the paradigms that are as full of lies as the economy and political structures that imprison me. Or at least that is what I tell myself;)

  • 18000days: good one

  • @ Eric

    Thanks for all that.

    I’m more or less familiar with the ideas in those books, I have a pile of books here already I ought to read, and a wishlist I need to read, and there’s never time to read books anymore because the internet provides such a mass of new info everyday..

    I like this quotation which I found in the comments

    This truth is sought as a thing inaccessible, as an object not to be objectized, incomprehensible. But yet, to no one does it seem possible to see the sun, the universal Apollo, the absolute light through supreme and most excellent species; but only its shadow, its Diana, the world, the universe, nature, which is in things, light which is in the opacity of matter, that is to say, so far as it shines in darkness.

    Many then wander amongst the aforesaid paths of this deserted wood, very few are those who find the fountain of Diana. Many are content to hunt for wild beasts and things less elevated, and the greater number do not understand why, having spread their nets to the wind, they find their hands full of flies. Rare, I say, are the Actaeons to whom fate has granted the power of contemplating the nude Diana.

    — From Giordano Bruno, Gli Eroici Furori (The Heroic Furies), Trans. L. Williams

  • @Eric – Thanks for sharing, Eric. I read a lot too. Figuring things out has been a major activity for me since childhood. I also share your sense of powerlessness to avert the ongoing disaster of my world. I guess I will go to my grave asking questions…

  • @Ulv – Thanks for the interesting link, U. I love Bruno. I claim the right to be just as complicated and contradictory a you are, U. I’m not proud of that – it’s just the way it is…

  • @ mike k

    I really don’t care how complicated or contradictory or proud you are, do I, it doesn’t really make any difference to me, does it. But what about your vow, your pledge, your promise to the dragonflies, that you made and have not kept, you fail them and I suppose you are answerable to them, or to yourself.. or to the Universe, or God, or whatever..


  • @Ulvfugl – Back in former times one of my favorite mantras was “I don’t give a shit.” Back then I would have replied to your comment that you don’t give a shit what I’m thinking with “I don’t give a shit that you don’t give a shit!” Times have changed with me, I do care about many things now that I was contemptuous of before. Now if I replied to your comment, I would say, “I’m sorry that you don’t care.”

    As for my dragonfly friends, you probably didn’t read my recent comment about how they visited me on a retreat where we were doing John Seed’s Conference of All Beings. They thanked me for trying to help them. I am still trying. It’s turned out to be a job bigger than one person can complete.

  • @ mike k

    I don’t care, mike, because it makes absolutely no difference to anything at all, and is entirely irrelevant, so what the hell is the point in your even mentioning it, other than you want to compete in some sort of absurd contest with me ? Why are you being so childish ?

    Of course I read your comment re the dragonflies, and I wrote a reply and my subsequent thoughts and remarks directed towards you had that in mind.

    I am still trying. It’s turned out to be a job bigger than one person can complete.

    Well, perhaps you should re-evaluate your position, which was what I was trying to tell you, but you do not hear, you jump to your own conclusions and put your words into my mouth concerning ‘instant enlightenment’ etc, and assume this and that.

    Seems to me, instead of serving the dragonflies, you’re altogether preoccupied with serving yourself and this ‘spiritual path’ of yours, struggling to ‘be a better person’, blahblah, which I regard as self-indulgent.

    But anyway, that’s your business, not mine, and was yesterday, and time moved on, and you made further comments re Monbiot and rewilding, which give me a much clearer idea as to the sort of fellow that you are.

    That’s because I know Monbiot’s thinking, having read his rants for a great many years, and I know about this particular matter concerning the bare Welsh hills and his proposals, because I have lived here all my life, so I know how the native population will think when they hear that a very highly paid English left wing Guardian journalist tells them what they should be doing with their farmland.

    I also know the angle from side of the conservation people whose job it is to advise the farmers to keep the countryside ‘looking nice’ and to ‘protect it for future generations’ and all that crap.

    And I also have the global overview, obviously, from being here on NBL.

    So this makes for an interesting mix. And then I see you, mike, enter into that mix with your opinions…

  • @Ulv – I have no intention of “competing with you”. Considering the ultimate seriousness of what is being shared on this site, that would not serve our collective interest. Games of one-up-manship are out of place in such a conversation. Disagreement about the issues we are discussing is inevitable, and if properly accepted and worked with is a potential source of deeper understanding within ourselves and among each other. I have been involved in extended conversations about these serious matters for decades now, and have become somewhat familiar with the emotional, intellectual, and egotistical obstacles that we all bring to this vital game. Navigating these treacherous straits is part of the work to solve the Tower of Babel koan that stands in the way of a truly cooperative society. Seeing the periodic clashes and misunderstandings between individuals in this larger context offers the possibility of profiting in our growth through consciously processing them, rather than being sucked into their ultimately frustrating and destructive depths.

    The answer to Rodney King’s plaintive query, “Can’t we just get along?” is “yes Rodney, but only if we are willing to do the work needed to learn how to do so”.