Sea Gypsy Tribal Principles

by Ray Jason at The Sea Gypsy Philosopher

As the old man’s cayuco nudged up alongside AVENTURA, I sensed that there was something different about him this morning, but I couldn’t quite place what it was. He greeted me with a cheerful, “Hola, Capitan Ramon” which made me chuckle as I recalled our first encounter from a few months ago. At that time his severe hearing problems had led to a funny exchange as I struggled to convince him that I was not “Capitan Rainbow” or Capitan Rambo.”

His visits were always a treat because I never knew what he would try to sell or trade me. It could be a fish or a lobster or an octopus or some fresh eggs or the mother of the eggs. Today it was some “jonny cakes” — a sort of dense Indio bread vaguely shaped like a hamburger bun. I bought a few and as he passed them up to me I suddenly recognized what was different about him today. He was wearing a watch! When I playfully teased him about this, he explained that he had just gotten a job as a caretaker or “watchee man” at an expat property. They had bought him the Timex and insisted that he wear it. We both laughed when I asked him what time it was. That’s because instead of looking at the watch, he looked up at the position of the sun in the sky — like a hundred generations of his ancestors had done before him.


This quaint little episode, and the crazy pageantry that greets the arrival of each New Year, got me wondering whether my “Sea Gypsy Tribe Theory” would became a reality in 2014. I certainly hope not, because it involves a global societal meltdown in which the world that we currently take for granted, vaporizes before our eyes — either swiftly or fairly swiftly.

Because there are many new readers here at my blog who are not familiar with my Sea Gypsy Tribe concept, I will give a brief outline of it in the next few paragraphs. After introducing you to it, I will then move on to the heart of this particular essay, which discusses what principles might be the foundation for an emergent Humanity 3.0. This H 3.0 term that I use, perceives our hunter-gatherer ancestors as Humanity 1.0 and our modern civilization as Humanity 2.0. My vision is to combine the best of both approaches, so that a Humanity 3.0 can arise that bequeaths us Mozart without the mushroom cloud. Or to state it another way, so that our path forward can be guided by Walden and not by war lords.


There are thousands of people out wandering the world’s waters in extremely self-sufficient, ocean-capable sailboats. These vessels are the ideal survival pod should a societal meltdown occur. They elegantly combine simplicity and appropriate technology. Their electricity is supplied through solar panels and wind generators. Propulsion derives mostly from the wind, but the diesel engine can be used in an emergency. Water comes from catching rain or from reverse-osmosis water-makers. Many months of non-perishable foods can be easily stored onboard. And “security devices” can be hidden for use, if necessary.

Most sailboat cruisers are unaware of the threat of societal disintegration. But on the other hand, a small percentage of them have actually adopted the sea gypsy life in order to escape from such a possibility. My mission is to encourage these people to find each other, wherever they might be on the Wide Waters, and band together into small tribes so that they have a better chance of both surviving a collapse and of flourishing afterwards.

Now that you know the fundamentals of my Sea Gypsy Tribe concept, let me demonstrate how adaptable this strategy is to almost every catastrophic situation. Conjure up almost any worst case scenario and I contend that being at sea in a sailing vessel is the best way to deal with it. Here are a few examples:

Pandemic The danger of contagion comes from large groups of people gathered closely together.

Thermo-nuclear The ICBMs are aimed towards cities or military installations and not towards the open sea. Studying the wind currents allows the prepared sailor to avoid the likely fallout tracks. Plus 3/4 of a sailboat’s surface area is underwater and less susceptible to fallout. I carry Potassium Iodide aboard AVENTURA in my medical kit.

Grid Down Whether it originates from an EMP weapon or a cyber attack on the power company computers or just a breakdown of the old, rundown equipment, a gigantic and long-lasting power outage is a genuine risk. Cruising boats can handle this effortlessly since they are self-contained survival pods with wind and solar power systems, water-makers, and long distance SSB and HAM radios.

Famine It is easy to have many months of food stored aboard a sailboat. And the sea provides bounty in the form of fish, shellfish and seaweed. In addition, heirloom vegetable seeds can be carried along for growing food once the worst clashes have ceased.

Marauders Although I listed this last, I rate this as a top priority. A small flotilla of 6 boats positioned near each other 50 miles offshore is so much safer than any well-intentioned but vulnerable Transition Town.

If you find merit in my concept, I have thoroughly fleshed out my ideas in three essays here at my site. The first one, which is entitled “The Sea Gypsy Tribe,” explains in detail the “why to” aspects of this strategy. The second article is called “The Sea Gypsy Tribe Start-Up Manual” and it clearly lays out the “how to” guidelines. The third relevant piece is “The Sea Gypsy Tribe — Further Thoughts.” This one responds to some of the discussions that these essays generated in the blogosphere. It specifically addresses people’s exaggerated fears about piracy and the “you can’t stay at sea forever” comments.


Now, let me return to the “Principles” mentioned in the title of this essay. First of all, who got us into this dire situation? Is it the 80 or so remaining indigenous tribes struggling to survive in the wilds? Are they the ones who are wreaking havoc on the planet? No! It is the civilized people who have us peering into the energy, economy and ecology abyss.

Primitive people lead self-sufficient lives that do not destroy the biosphere that supports them. Their societies are non-hierarchal and they are free from Rulers, Priests, Lawyers and Hedge Fund Managers. They work only about half as much as civilized people, and there is tremendous equality between the sexes.

Our problems stem from the values and actions of the civilized world. It would be lunacy to survive a massive catastrophe, and then immediately revert to the suicidal lifestyle that caused it. So if I was a Sea Gypsy Tribal Elder speaking at a Council of Deciding these would be the Foundational Principles that I would recommend. As always, I emphasize that my goal is not to impose but to inspire — not to coerce but to convince , these are Principles — not Commandments.

LIFE IS A WEB — NOT A PYRAMID We deceive ourselves by thinking that the geometry of Life is a pyramid and that humans are at the apex. This delusion justifies our belief that we can rule over all else on the planet – including the other creatures, the land, the water and the air. Certainly, with our amazing self-awareness and our use of language and tools, we are different from the other creatures. But even though our big brains bequeath us tremendous brilliance, they also allow us to act in horribly destructive ways. We are the only animal capable of destroying not just its own habitat but the entire planet. We must recognize that all of Life is a web and that damaging one strand jeopardizes the entire web of survival.

SIMPLICITY IS BETTER THAN COMPLEXITY One of the most significant factors in the fall of almost all previous civilizations was too much complexity. And now that we are so globally interconnected, the downside of complexity is far more dangerous. A single computer glitch can shut down an air traffic control system that instantly affects a thousand flights in a hundred airports. Civilized people have to call a technician. But tribal people make and repair their own tools. They have done so for over 100,000 years. By contrast, the Industrial Era is only a few hundred years old and it is littered with breakdowns and decay.

EMBRACE CO-OPERATION AND NOT COMPETITION Planetary flourishing absolutely depends on eliminating the whole “We’re #1” mindset that is so widespread in the modern world. This philosophy needs to be replaced with the “We are all in this together” worldview. We need alliances and not antagonisms. We need brothers and sisters and not winners and losers.

LOW TECH EQUALS LOW DAMAGE None of the possible Armageddon scenarios that confront our Planet are caused by indigenous peoples. Their low tech modes of living barely impact the planet. But Fukushima and the Doomsday Clock and oceans drained of fish, are but a few of the terrible consequences of high tech living. Humanity 3.0 will need to embrace low or appropriate technology. There is a strong likelihood that there will be no other choice.

REPLACE RELIGION WITH PANTHEISM AND BHD The two main arguments that church people use to defend their belief systems are that humans crave spirituality and that humans need the moral code that religions provide. Pantheism, which is reverence towards Nature and the Universe, provides abundant fulfillment for those seeking transcendence beyond the material realm. And it does this without any of the horrific side effects of sky gods and their edicts to go forth and kill the infidels. BHD stands for Basic Human Decency. It makes an ideal moral foundation. For thousands of years true believers have massacred innocent people who just happened, through nothing more than an accident of birth, to have worshipped the wrong god. You can kill someone in the name of Jesus or Allah, but you cannot commit such atrocities in the name of Basic Human Decency.

INFINITE GROWTH ON A FINITE PANET IS ABSURD AND DEADLY Only a buffoon believes that you can have infinite growth on a finite planet. There ARE limits. Just ask the folks from Easter Island who thought that there would always be enough trees. How can we big brained humans not realize that unrelenting population growth and unrelenting resource decline will lead to horrific disaster and an enormous die-off?

HIERARCHAL SOCIETIES BECOME HORRIBLE SOCIETIES Before Agriculture — or what I prefer to call Conquest Agriculture — tribal people lived in small bands where everyone knew each other and worked together for the good of the clan. There were no rulers and ruled, no rich and poor, no inequality between the sexes and no chiefs living in splendor, while the rest lived in squalor. But hierarchal societies suffer from all of those injustices. And despite the false propaganda, those who rise to power in hierarchies are not “the best and the brightest.” In fact, they are the most ambitious, ruthless and despicable — which leads to dominator cultures that spew death and destruction around the planet.

STOP TRYING TO PLAY GOD Tribal people study Nature in order to feed themselves more successfully. But they do not create Frankenfoods in laboratories by tinkering with Mother Nature. Aboriginal clans are always trying to better understand the weather that cocoons them. But civilized people are attempting to alter and control the weather. Call me old fashioned, but it stretches credibility for me when people deem themselves “civilized” while at the same time they create napalm, Agent Orange and biological weapons.

Most of you reading this are probably thinking that those Principles are naively idealistic. But that is because you are looking at those concepts through the filter of Civilization. Indeed, it is nearly impossible to envision modern humanity suddenly adopting such altruistic values. But think about those 80 tribal cultures still out there battling for their survival. Do they view those codes of conduct as Utopian fantasies? No they do not — because that is the way they lead their normal day to day lives!


The next morning, while I was finishing this essay, the old man came rowing up again. He flashed me his big crooked smile and told me that he had something “muy especial” for my jonny cakes. It was a jar of homemade pineapple/mango jam. I went below and brought up two of the cakes and a knife. We spread some of the sunrise-colored jam on them and silently savored this little treat.

I bought the rest of the jam, and then asked him what time it was. He showed me his new watch, which was already about three hours out of whack. Then he asked me if it was “bueno?” I responded with a smile, and assured him that it was “perfecto.” As he gently rowed away, I felt a little less heartbroken by this sad world of ours. It comforted me deeply to know that this simple man, who couldn’t even read a watch, could live in complete harmony with the core principles of my sea gypsy tribe.


McPherson wrote an article upon request for the inaugural issue of Shift magazine. “Nuclear Armageddon” was posted 22 January 2014 and is linked here.

Comments 49

  • Those same “sea gypsies” will contribute to the survival and growth of our species if worse comes to worse by becoming the ocean traders who exchange ocean products for products made by surviving coastal and inland communities.

  • Basic human dignity – poof.

    Colin Turnbull’s classic ethnography of what HAS happened to one human society in periods of extreme material/physical shortages, starvation, adversity, & stress.

    Turnbull confronts our cherished “notions” about basic human dignity, human nature, morality, & ethics.

    In short. what “conditioned” the IK’s catastrophic social decline, including the strange & seemingly bizarre behavior & ideas in the brains of the IK people.

    Kindness became stupidity, & the word for love disappeared from their language.

    The Mountain People (1972) from WIKI;

    In 1972, Colin Turnbull published an ethnography about the Ik titled
    The Mountain People.[3] The book provides an examination of Ik culture
    and practices based on information gathered by Turnbull during a stay
    of three years.

    He depicts the Ik as a people forced into extreme
    individualistic practices in order to survive. Using the few remaining
    elderly Ik as sources, he attempts to describe the former Ik society
    (including hunter-gatherer practices; marriage, childbirth, and death
    rituals and taboos; religious and spiritual beliefs, and other
    aspects). Much of the work, however, focuses on the then-current
    condition of the Ik people during a severe famine brought on by two
    consecutive drought years.

    Turnbull clearly became very involved with the Ik people, and openly
    writes about his horror at many of the events he witnessed, most
    notably total disregard for familial bonds leading to the death of
    children and the elderly by starvation. He does speak warmly about
    certain Ik, and describes his “misguided” efforts to give food and
    water to those too weak to provide for themselves, standing guard over
    them to prevent others from stealing the food. Turnbull shares these
    experiences to raise questions concerning basic human nature, and
    makes constant reference to “goodness” and “virtue” being cast aside
    when there is nothing left but a need to survive (even going so far as
    to draw parallels to the individualism of ‘civilized’ society).

    Overall, living with the Ik seems to have afflicted Turnbull more with
    melancholy and depression than anger, and he dedicated his work “to
    the Ik, whom I learned not to hate”.

    Claude Steiner cited Turnbull’s study saying:
    ” “There is no better or more heartbreaking example of the
    alienation of the human capacity to love than the story of the Ik
    tribe of Uganda. Colin Turnbull in his book Mountain People documents
    how Milton Obote nationalized traditional hunting lands as national
    park for European tourists, and prevented the Ik from hunting in their
    traditional hunting grounds.

    After a couple of generations of
    starvation conditions, the Ik, originally a cooperative, child loving
    tribe, became a group of selfish cruel people who don’t trust or
    help anybody.

    They would desert children at an early age and one story
    Turnbull tells is how after abandoning a baby to be eaten by wild
    animals the animals were hunted an [sic] eaten.”

  • The “Sea” idea is a good one were it not for the fact that the Pacific is now almost completely dead, fukushima’d, as noted by a sailor on a recent trip from Japan to Cal. Forgot the link but google “the ocean is broken” or something similar. cpm of around 300 was recently geigered on a half moon bay beach.

    Sure, I guess if you “choose your sea” wisely. I picture a lawyer on a yacht, perhaps “dropping out” is for the rich only.

  • @ Gerald Spezio

    As usual you demonstrate a very prejudiced and warped perspective.

    Why do you present us only with half the picture, Gerald ?

    Bernd Heine gives the following examples to support his claims that Turnbull’s conclusions and methodology were flawed.

  • ray jason, so good to read u again. been a few months since u last posted here. i see u’ve been fairly busy writing in the meantime. i just read a couple of your blog posts from where i left off previously and was not surprised by how good they are. i just posted a link to the one about war and ‘napalm girl’ to several area email lists i belong to, so hopefully that will bring u more readers. i’ll be busy myself catching up on your essays the next couple of days, including the one above here. unil then, thanks so much, and bon voyage!

  • Why create collapse scenarios – it’ll happen the way it happens. Already we’re reading every kind of sick story regarding “civilization” with cases of cannibalism, acid attacks, murder is a daily occurance, cruelty to animals, neglect of infants and abuse of the elderly, without going into grisly detail. Besides that, NORMAL includes poisoning ourselves with pollution of all kinds.

    The Ik don’t have anything on us.

    Does it matter that war-lord types and roving gangs will be ruthless until they turn on themselves or are decimated by disease? In the end we’re all dead and it won’t matter how or why.

    The meek can keep what’s left, it won’t support life as we’ve known it.

    Yeah, you go on and live your life out on the sea. You could do a lot worse. Best of luck in your endeavors Ray!

  • Thank you, Artleads, pat, and Henry! :)

    Daniel says: NTE ends in only one of three ways for everyone: predation, starvation or suicide.

    The irreconcilable acceptance of near-term extinction

    Doomer’s Choice

    When NTE hits planetwide,
    We can run, but with nowhere to hide,
    It will turn out that we
    Must choose one of three:
    Predation, starvation or suicide.

  • Well, sh1t…

    Another topic: has Guy or anyone ever done a post or lecture about how not to hate the guts of everyone you know who is STILL clueless about this stuff, and what’s more, wouldn’t care if they did know? They really are more concerned with their discount Caribbean vacation and whatever Kimye are doing – that type of person. I need help with this because I have a lot of hate for them.

  • A remarkably well-balanced piece contrasting with the prior guest essay!


    That is VERY correct with reference to the complexity generated by human technology. Every technological advantage brings with it countervailing influences before, during and after its application. These costs are “externalised” or blocked by other means, often remote from the original technology, and outside its control, so as to maximise the benefits of the technology. In Nature, the costs of increasing complexity come due very early, demanding modifications to adapt to those costs. The complexity in Nature has been exposed to the many influences that push complexity towards breakdown, and the adaptations towards robustness become an integral part of the complexity.

    For example, DNA is an enormously long (2 metres in the case of human DNA) double-stranded ribbon-like molecule. Protein molecules called histones act as bobbins around which lengths of the ribbon are wrapped. Proteins consist of chains of amino-acids, and various amino-acids (lysine, threonine, serine and tyrosine) can have multiple other groups of atoms (methyl, acetyl and phosphate) attached with multiple possible attachment sites (up to nine in some cases) on each protein for each group. These attachments cause the bobbin to roll along the DNA strand exposing or winding up different segments of DNA, and also promoting or inhibiting the reading of those segments, and controlling what type of cell the cell becomes, and how the cell works. This complexity is enormously intricate, but over evolutionary time has constantly had feedbacks that have required adaptive modifications that have enabled it to remain robust.

    From the Wiikpedia article on the “Histone Code”:

    “Unlike this simplified model, any real histone code has the potential to be massively complex; each of the four standard histones can be simultaneously modified at multiple different sites with multiple different modifications. To give an idea of this complexity, histone H3 contains nineteen lysines known to be methylated – each can be un-, mono-, di- or tri-methylated. If modifications are independent, this allows a potential 419 or 280 billion different lysine methylation patterns, far more than the maximum number of histones in a human genome (6.4 Gb / ~150 bp = ~44 million histones if they are very tightly packed). And this does not include lysine acetylation (known for H3 at nine residues), arginine methylation (known for H3 at three residues) or threonine/serine/tyrosine phosphorylation (known for H3 at eight residues), not to mention modifications of other histones.”

    “Every nucleosome in a cell can therefore have a different set of modifications, raising the question of whether common patterns of histone modifications exist. A recent study of about 40 histone modifications across human gene promoters found over 4000 different combinations used, over 3000 occurring at only a single promoter. However, patterns were discovered including a set of 17 histone modifications that are present together at over 3000 genes.[10] Therefore, patterns of histone modifications do occur but they are very intricate, and we currently have detailed biochemical understanding of the importance of a relatively small number of modifications.”

    In contrast human technologies are carefully shielded from countervailing influences, and function well only as long as so shielded: in the absence of such shielding, they are extremely fragile. As examples, birds generally do not need runways and airports; whales & dolphins don’t need life-preservers.

    Pantheism, which is reverence towards Nature and the Universe, provides abundant fulfillment for those seeking transcendence beyond the material realm.

    However, there is no need for “transcendence”: a clay pot does not need to transcend its “pot-ness” to reach its “clay-ness”. Again, any kind of theism, “pan-” or otherwise, purports a deity “out there” partitioned off from one’s own space, in the “not-I” occupying part (usually) or the whole (extremely rarely) of the “not-I”. But the Witness of all awareness only masquerades as the phantasm called the “I”; it is like nothing limited by time-space-causation. Presuming adequacy within such limitations is a consequence of ignorance.

    BHD stands for Basic Human Decency.

    For some, that is sacrificing humans on the edge of a volcano, albeit a practice in “civilisation”; in many true hunter-gatherer tribes it involves abandoning the elderly to predators, and in times of scarcity, infanticide.


    The most amazing miracle is that people with enough brain cells between their ears to be hyper-professors of this, that and the other cannot understand this.

    But they do not create Frankenfoods in laboratories by tinkering with Mother Nature.

    True. It has taken as many millennia as we have engaged in “Conquest Agriculture” (excellent term, thanks!) to come to today’s crops through “conventional” breeding techniques. None of today’s cereal grains are close to the grains they descended from. Corn/maize is now so dependent on us that it cannot propagate in the wild. Likewise most domestic animals have been greatly modified from their forebears: they have been “domesticated”, as indeed has Homo callidus paucisapiens. A major correlate of domestication is shrinking brain size, which has even affected our species over the past 20,000 years. The wild ancestor of domestic cattle, the aurochs, has disappeared. Bulldogs are delivered by Caesarian section.

  • I’m getting sea sick of the elitist delusionary arrogance of: “Screw the unwashed masses who can’t afford to purchase blue water yachts for themselves, (or ‘sustainable’ homesteads, or cryogenic coffins) I’m going to ‘escape’ to… well… somewhere. Coming along, Buffy?”

    Human Extinction means ALL humans will be EXTINCT. Duh! Ergo, no matter how special you think your toys are, they are not going to protect you in some perfect private paradise… from which you plan to rule the world, or at least make the rules. Cities of fools think their TV toys will mitigate reality for them, oh well, that’s the best technology they can get, so they sail off in their addled minds, frittering away, hour after hour, as the coal burns, detached from and insensitive to all the misery of the world, congratulating themselves as unearned possessors of (faux) invulnerable VIP observational status. This seductive psychological glitch is horribly mentally emaciating, its social effects taboo.

    All the ‘humane’, ‘ecological’, ‘appropriate’, green washing piled high in heaps, won’t cover up the basic fallacy that comes through loud and clear: the escapist fantasy of individual exceptionalism, in whatever form, is naked egotistical cowardice. A pitiful mindset of grasping hubris and imaginary omnipotence. Contrived supremacy driven by unresolved fear. This disgraceful condition, a common ailment of contemporary (and historical) affluence, is generally supported by violent oppression, often indirectly, invisibly. In our current unprecedented situation, there is a lingering stubborn unwillingness -or inability- to deal with the miserable truth: that the locked in accelerating trajectory of humanity is precisely aimed at EXTINCTION. And the cut of your personal jib won’t change that, or its inevitable impact on… you.

  • Margarets writes: Another topic: has Guy or anyone ever done a post or lecture about how not to hate the guts of everyone you know who is STILL clueless about this stuff, and what’s more, wouldn’t care if they did know? They really are more concerned with their discount Caribbean vacation and whatever Kimye are doing – that type of person. I need help with this because I have a lot of hate for them.

    Vent your rage whenever and wherever you can, but don’t hold on to it.
    The deniers, the soft-solution spokebubbles like McKibben and the just plain stupid will figure it out on their own without your help. While part of me would love to see a Reign of Terror and several fat cats lose their heads, it’s not a solution. It might feel good for a brief moment, but we’d still be screwed and trapped on this planet.

    Nonetheless, some violent fantasies can also help vent off this anger. But knowing how much energy it takes to be mad, it is better to find some other focus. I believe that if you feel great anger, you must be cable of also feeling great joy, so find whatever it is that makes you happy and do that. It can be as hard to keep up a good front as it is to seethe in rage all day long, but there’s no point in getting worked up about people who refuse to see what’s in front of them. Mockery can be a fine substitute for rage too.

  • Here’s some of the ‘nice’ people the indigenous have to contend with

    Chevron blasted for ‘Rainforest Chernobyl’ and mob-like tactics to silence critics – ‘Despite losing a 20-year legal battle and receiving a $9.5 billion judgment against it, Chevron says it will never pay’

    [selected quote]

    Han Shan, a spokesman for the Union of Communities Affected by Texaco and a long-time human rights and environmental activist, said that “Chevron’s actions set a dangerous precedent and represent a growing and serious threat to the ability of civil society to hold corporations accountable for their misdeeds around the world.

  • I think that logspirit has said what needs to be said;

    “In our current unprecedented situation, there is a lingering stubborn unwillingness -or inability- to deal with the miserable truth: that the locked in accelerating trajectory of humanity is precisely aimed at EXTINCTION. And the cut of your personal jib won’t change that, or its inevitable impact on… you.”

    It won’t be clear sailing for most of us, & that is a sound prediction.

  • Grant, you gave me my new theme song! Thanks!

    margarets, I understand you. The rage and hate will eat you alive, so you need to vent it. Physical effort helps a lot. I also blog. And, I use facebook. Today, I wrote that the scumsucking asshole known as Gary Southern, CEO of Freedom Industries, should be stripped naked, staked to the ground, and force fed water from the Elk River. It’ll never happen, but that’s how I deal.

    The blissfully asleep people should be ignored. You can’t do anything about them, they are sheep or asleep….stay focused on the people who profit from killing the planet. They are the real threats.

    There is always resistance in all of its many forms. DGR, EF!, and other orgs.

  • Something migraine commenter’s may be interested in; new research on natural sources of relief. Remember, natural and herbal treatments may give immediate relief, but often take 3 to 6 months to show their full effects.

  • In the previous thread, 18000days says: …Daniel’s essay represents the high-water mark which we’ve seldom got much more than half-way to since?….

    All We Like Sheep

    Prophet-like, Dan came to say,
    “Look at THIS, and don’t go astray”;
    But like sheep, we have turned
    To become less concerned
    By hiding discomfort away.

    BTW, at 2:38:
    “…and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

    I am prepared to argue that there is no more profoundly moving page in Handel’s entire Messiah.

  • margarets says: Well, sh1t…

    Fuck ‘Em If They Can’t Take A Joke

    Lately, I don’t even blink
    When folks say we’re not over the brink;
    Doom’s beyond our control,
    So I’d say, on the whole,
    It don’t mean fuck-all what they think.

  • Damn Ben – that’s tellin’ ’em! Fantastic!

  • @ Gerald Spezio
    Thanks for ‘seconding the motion’. If we were following Robert’s Rules of Order, we’d open the floor for debate and proceed to a vote. But, as you and I and nearly everyone else on this blog knows, if it were a global decision the majority would deny the reality of our predicament, stop the proceedings, and promptly go back to sleep. Or rule to make the patriotic oath “I won’t worry, I’ll be happy” a mandatory mantra enforced by swift capital punishment… and then promptly go back to sleep. To the rare like us who cannot walk any course but total insomnia regarding the atrocity and heavy guilt of mass extinction, I say: Let there be respect and high praise for the honorable who do not blink at death, who are awake and alert and express natural ferocity.

  • ‘has Guy or anyone ever done a post or lecture about how not to hate the guts of everyone you know who is STILL clueless about this stuff, and what’s more, wouldn’t care if they did know?’ -margarets

    i think hatred is pointless. they’re clueless because they’re stupid/crazy, and there’s nothing to be done about it. hating them for their inherent flaws/limits is like hating the sky for being blue. or hating yourself, guy, and everyone who does have a clue for being powerless to change the situation. i can relate to the hate tho. i’ve felt it and no doubt will feel it again. can’t help that either. can’t stop caring. not until death, that is.

  • @BtD:
    What is the noun for someone who makes limericks? Limerickician? Limerickster?

    I’ll make a confession: I’ve had this certain Limerick rattling around in my head for as long as I can remember- probably a good 17000days.. I may as well share it with you. If you are anything like me, you probably have an ambivalent love/hate relationship to something you’ve devoted so much energy to. If so, you may appreciate the slightly transgressive nature of this one.. for all I know, you may be it’s author!

    There once was a man from Japan,
    Whose limericks never would scan,
    When told it was so,
    He replied: “Yes, I know…
    It’s because I always try to fit as many words into the last line as ever I possibly can”.

    To humour the current audience, I thought about changing the last line to:

    “It’s because I always try to fit as many spent fuel rod assemblies into the containment pool as ever I possibly can”

    … not to suggest that you have to be a man from Japan to do that.. :)

  • Thanks, Benjamin.

    No haiku for a while.
    Where’s Denise ?
    I can’t write ’em.

    Old ones.

    “Days I don’t enjoy: any day I don’t walk, drink sake, and compose haiku.”

    Taneda Santoka, 1882-1940, alcoholic, zen priest, with suicidal tendencies.


    Sunday, 26 January 2014
    Tipping points

    Only one tipping point? Only then? I suspect reality might trump this vision.

    Climate change tipping point revealed by study published in Nature

    THE dreaded climate-change “tipping point”, when changes to weather patterns will become irreversible, has been identified. And it is terrifying.

    Starting in about a decade, Kingston, Jamaica, will probably be off-the-charts hot – permanently. Other places will soon follow. Singapore in 2028. Mexico City in 2031. Cairo in 2036. Phoenix and Honolulu in 2043.

    Australia will not be far behind, with dates ranging from 2038 in Sydney to 2049 in Adelaide.

    Virtually the whole world will have changed by 2050.

    A new study on global warming, published in the journal Nature, pinpoints the probable dates for when cities and ecosystems around the world will regularly experience hotter environments the likes of which they have never seen before.

    For dozens of cities, mostly in the tropics, those dates are a generation or less away.

    “This paper is both innovative and sobering,” said Oregon State University professor Jane Lubchenco, former head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who was not involved in the study.

    To arrive at their projections, the researchers used weather observations, computer models and other data to calculate the point at which every year from then on will be warmer than the hottest year ever recorded over the past 150 years.

    [Another “landmark study” which always include this line]
    “Now is the time to act,” said another study co-author, Ryan Longman.


    [ends with]

    Unlike previous research, the study highlights the tropics more than the polar regions. In the tropics, temperatures don’t vary much, so a small increase can have large effects on ecosystems, he said. A 3C change is not much to polar regions but is dramatic in the tropics, which hold most of the Earth’s biodiversity, he said.

    The Mora team found that by one measurement – ocean acidity – Earth has already crossed the threshold into an entirely new regime. That happened in about 2008, with every year since then more acidic than the old record, according to study co-author Abby Frazier.

    Of the species studied, coral reefs will be the first stuck in a new climate – around 2030 – and are most vulnerable to climate change, Mora said.

    Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann said the research “may be actually presenting an overly rosy scenario when it comes to how close we are to passing the threshold for dangerous climate impacts.”

    “By some measures, we are already there,” he said.

    [these people are all catching up to NBL]

  • maybe this comment will “take.”

    Economic collapse nearing

    Sunday, 26 January 2014
    Towards economic meltdown

    Despite the facts the corporate media and government would have us believe that the economy is recovering

    20 Early Warning Signs That We Are Approaching A Global Economic Meltdown

    By Michael Snyder
    The Economic Collapse Blog

    Have you been paying attention to what has been happening in Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Ukraine, Turkey and China? If you are like most Americans, you have not been. Most Americans don’t seem to really care too much about what is happening in the rest of the world, but they should. In major cities all over the globe right now, there is looting, violence, shortages of basic supplies, and runs on the banks. We are not at a “global crisis” stage yet, but things are getting worse with each passing day. For a while, I have felt that 2014 would turn out to be a major “turning point” for the global economy, and so far that is exactly what it is turning out to be. The following are 20 early warning signs that we are rapidly approaching a global economic meltdown… [“read ’em and weep”]

  • @ wildwoman, margrets

    Wildwoman you’ve chosen the right name for yourself, good advice.
    I call “venting it” SPELLING/spilling it out. Women are usually good at that. You could spin this out further into putting a “spell” on a scumbag. I know it’s phantasy but it feels good and all spirited humans have this need. It’s not anger (now classed a pathology) but perfectly normal. Then do everything you can to balance your life, and how you go about that is highly personal. The clue is, it’s always and only the Earth and her wellbeing. So open your eyes and see the need.Slumbering sheep are a waste of effort, you’re right, leave them be and focus on the real culprits. And all that in spite of knowing that it’s all in vain. Perfect balance, at least for me.


    There once was a man from Japan,
    Whose limericks never would scan,
    When told it was so,
    He replied: “Yes, I know…
    It’s because I always try to fit as many words into the last line as ever I possibly can.”

    When they banged together,
    they played stormy weather;
    And lightning shot out of his ass.

  • The following are 20 early warning signs that we are rapidly approaching a global economic meltdown… [“read ’em and weep”]

    Shouldn’t that be “read ’em and cheer?” Seeing how Wall Street continues to swell with pride over its illegal actions, having it crash and burn is worth rooting for. Seeing how Japanese dolphin fleets were recently slaughtering entire pods of dolphins for no clear reason other profit, having them all go out of business would be wonderful. Recently so called reporters were in Darvos to look at the Richest of the Rich, and they were having orgasms of joy out of being so very close to billionaires and soon to be trillionaires. Having all these parasites down in the dirt with the rest of us is fitting. And the sooner the better.

  • Well, it seems like the computer problem has “boiled” from a memory problem down to overheating causing shutdowns, and I tried to get in and clean fans but, once apart, you know how tech objects never get restored. For now, the solution seems to be this tray of ice cubes under the vent and fan zone, until heating goes up. My recommendation: Familiarize ourselves with all the diagnostic utilities on your machine NOW so you will know what you are seeing as different when you visit them in an emergency.

    Wanted to quickly recommend this superb article from Zero Hedge yesterday:

    describing better than I could the many areas of human behavior and psychology that I am interested in, and I think we involve in our discussions here everyday.

    If someone else finds this to be pivotal discourse, please say so and see if it helps us better understand our situation.

  • 18000days, interestingly, since the last time I last looked at Wiki’s page on the subject, your limerick has been added as an example and my favorite moved away (something about a guy from an island off Cape Cod).

    ulvfugl, you’re welcome.


    I used to be just like you:
    Enraged at folks lower than poo;
    But then I recalled
    I don’t need to feel galled—
    They’re all going to wind up dead too.

  • I didn’t see if this was posted in the normal threads, but Guy’s “update” thread in the upper right includes this new information as of January 2014:

    Another feedback loop to add to presentations: At 4 degrees higher (and probably much before) vegetation worldwide no longer contributes overall to carbon sequestering. The effects of heat, fire and drought make them give up their carbon on a much quicker cycle, was my quick read of it.

  • Paul and Anne Ehrlich have written the last two articles at the Millennium alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere (mahb) blog.Many here would find them interesting reading.

  • David, thanks! Like I need more stuff to read, :) But heck yes, looks like quality stuff. Thanks again!

  • I suspect that the international MIC is the only entity with the power to enforce some kind of top down change that provides some sort of “better outcome,” whatever that is.

  • “Life is a web” presents a challenge. Human “intelligence” so far outweighs any other creatures’ that it’s hard for us to (within civilization) to see our connection to the non-human world. That would require us to see the “intelligence,” different but yet not distinguishable from ours, of other reality. That could only take place through a worshipful, reverential attitude to the world. Not possible in secular society. If we respected the intelligence of the non human world, we would perhaps benefit from it while not considering ourselves above it.

    But I suspect that pantheism (one of the principles) takes us in the right direction. Maybe we have to learn to forget (“get rid of”) much of this intelligence of ours.

  • Y’alls limericking done inspired me.

    There once was a Guy named McPherson
    He said, every year the world has worsened
    So fuck off U of A
    I’m no longer playing that way
    I’d rather be a mud hut person

  • @ Artleads

    I suspect that the international MIC is the only entity with the power to enforce some kind of top down change that provides some sort of “better outcome,” whatever that is.

    The Military Industrial Complex makes tech to blow stuff up and kill people. All they are interested in is their own profits and staying in business. How do you expect them to force top down change, blahblah ??

    If you mean the actual armies and navies and airforce personnel, well, they prefer not to die, so they prefer not to have wars, but you said ‘international’ so your’e presumably talking about different opposing power blocks. They follow orders, and do what the commanders tell them to do. The USA has just lost two wars. Hard to see what ‘better outcome’ you have in mind.

    If ‘life is a web’ presents a challenge, then you’re too dumb to understand a cobweb or a fishing net, and life is many orders of magnitude more complex than that !
    Being worshipful or reverential is just grovelling, it doesn’t give insight, it doesn’t give understanding, it’s a ridiculous posture to take, it’s just the obverse of the ignorant hubris and arrogance that most people demonstrate.
    And how the hell do you ‘forget intelligence’ eh ? Leave it on the bus ?

  • Grant: yes, cheer from our perspective, weep if you have lots to lose.

    If the radiation is affecting seals (and land-based animals in Alaska as well), what’s it doing to the human community?

    Scientists present links between unusual Alaska seal deaths and Fukushima fallout — Skin lesions, hair loss, lethargy — ‘Pulsed release’ when built-up radionuclides were set free as ice melted — “Wildlife health implications” due to radiation exposure discussed (PHOTOS & MAP)

  • ya might wanna give this a listen:

    Monday, 27 January 2014
    Challlenging [sic] Bill McKibben

    Not before time, Someone challenges Bill,fibbin’ McKibben

    Bill McKibben, Founder of on Climate Challenge, Host Karyn Strickler

    Host Karyn Strickler challenges Bill McKibben, founder of, on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and his organizing techniques, this week on Climate Challenge.

    [listen to the 1/2 hr podcast]

    right under it is an article written in May 2013 on the same subject, with this quote:

    What I admire in Guy McPherson is his intellectual independence: his outlook has not remained static but evolved in line with the evidence that is available – and that evidence has got more and more dire.

    It is time, not to advocate for more political action, but to unblinkingly look reality in the eye, and to fully acknowledge both our own, and our species’ mortality (let alone the wholesale destruction of other species and everything that they need to survive on this planet.

    That would be a start.

    As Mike Ruppert says – ‘evolve or perish!’

    [There’s also a podcast of Carolyn Baker interviewing Gail; give that a listen too!]

  • Paul and Anne Ehrlich have written the last two articles

    Herr Ehrlich is a techno-utopian or a techno-narcissist (to use James Howard Kunstler’s terms), as seemed obvious from his Radio EcoShock interview some moons ago.

    He said, every year the world has worsened

    He says every year the world will worsen.

  • Let’s see if this will work to embed an image… (or follow the link below)

    Save the Humans

  • Yes, I am very much waiting for the economic meltdown to actually make it’s appearance in real terms here in the USA. I’ve been listening to the so-called lunatic fringe since 2007 – telling us the Fed can’t print money endlessly – and yet, so far, it seems they can. My miscalculation is making life very difficult right now!
    Yes, there are people starving to death all over the world.
    Yes, there is social unrest all over the world.
    But, I’m waiting for something to tip the scales here in USA.

    Just sitting on this runaway train, staring out the window.

    The Voluntary Extinction Movement
    Thou shalt not procreate.

    The Church of Euthanasia
    Save the planet, kill yourself.

  • Me too, Pat. It’s strange – we know that the collapse will be the first step toward extinction, but we don’t want to let go of the very thing that’s causing it, industrial civilization.

    A friend of mine has a real good job with the city of Philly and is being pressured to quit or retire, yet, although he hates his job now, he won’t let go before about 3 or 4 more years! I keep asking him what he’s waiting for – especially since he’s pretty well off – and keep telling him that it’s the TIME that he won’t be able to recover! It’s very hard to let go.

    Here’s some more on bio-engineering:

    Genetic Engineering Actually INCREASES Pesticide Use, DECREASES Crop Yield, And May Be Dangerous to Your Health

    Posted on January 27, 2014 by WashingtonsBlog

    Genetic Engineering Companies Promised Reduced Pesticide Use … But GE Crops Have Led to a 25% Increase In Herbicide Use

    One of the main selling points for genetically engineered crops is that they would use substantially less pesticides than conventional crops.

    Because of that, and other, promises regarding GE crops, they have taken over much of the food crops in America. For example:
    ◾Monsanto reports that – between 2008 and 2009 – 95% of all sugarbeets planted were genetically engineered to be able to tolerate high doses of the pesticide Roundup
    ◾The USDA reports that 93% of all soy and 85% of all corn grown in the U.S. is an herbicide-resistant GE variety
    ◾Similarly, around 93% of all cottonseed oil and more than 90% of all canola oil produced in the U.S. is herbicide-resistant GE

    However, it turns out that GE crops need a lot more herbicides than conventional ones.

    Washington State University Charles Benbrook – former Executive Director of the Board on Agriculture at the National Academy of Sciences and, before that, Executive Director of the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Research, and Foreign Agriculture, U.S. House of Representatives – published a study showing:

    Contrary to often-repeated claims that today’s genetically-engineered crops have, and are reducing pesticide use, the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds in herbicide-resistant weed management systems has brought about substantial increases in the number and volume of herbicides applied. If new genetically engineered forms of corn and soybeans tolerant of 2,4-D are approved, the volume of 2,4-D sprayed [background] could drive herbicide usage upward by another approximate 50%.


    Largely because of the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds, HR crop technology has led to a 239 million kg (527 million pound) increase in herbicide use across the three major GE-HR crops, compared to what herbicide use would likely have been in the absence of HR crops.

    Washington State University explains:

    Herbicide-tolerant crops worked extremely well in the first few years of use, but over-reliance led to shifts in weed communities and the emergence of resistant weeds that have, together, forced farmers to incrementally –
    ◾Increase herbicide application rates (especially glyphosate),
    ◾Spray more often, and
    ◾Add new herbicides that work through an alternate mode-of-action into their spray programs.

    Each of these responses has, and will continue to contribute to the steady rise in the volume of herbicides applied per acre of HT corn, cotton, and soybeans.

    HT crops have increased herbicide use by 527 million pounds over the 16-year period (1996-2011). The incremental increase per year has grown steadily from 1.5 million pounds in 1999, to 18 million five years later in 2003, and 79 million pounds in 2009. In 2011, about 90 million more pounds of herbicides were applied than likely in the absence of HT, or about 24% of total herbicide use on the three crops in 2011.

    Today’s major GE crops have increased overall pesticide use by 404 million pounds from 1996 through 2011 (527 million pound increase in herbicides, minus the 123 million pound decrease in insecticides). Overall pesticide use in 2011 was about 20% higher on each acre planted to a GE crop, compared to pesticide use on acres not planted to GE crops.

    There are now two-dozen weeds resistant to glyphosate, the major herbicide used on HT crops, and many of these are spreading rapidly. Millions of acres are infested with more than one glyphosate-resistant weed. The presence of resistant weeds drives up herbicide use by 25% to 50%, and increases farmer-weed control costs by at least as much.

    The biotechnology-seed-pesticide industry’s primary response to the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds is development of new HT varieties resistant to multiple herbicides, including 2,4-D and dicamba. These older phenoxy herbicides pose markedly greater human health and environmental risks per acre treated than glyphosate. Approval of corn tolerant of 2,4-D is pending, and could lead to an additional 50% increase in herbicide use per acre on 2,4-D HT corn.

    Science Daily notes:

    “Resistant weeds have become a major problem for many farmers reliant on GE crops, and they are now driving up the volume of herbicide needed each year by about 25 percent,” Benbrook said.

    Forbes points out:

    A new study released by Food & Water Watch yesterday finds the goal of reduced chemical use has not panned out as planned. In fact, according to the USDA and EPA data used in the report, the quick adoption of genetically engineered crops by farmers has increased herbicide use over the past 9 years in the U.S. The report follows on the heels of another such study by Washington State University research professor Charles Benbrook just last year.

    Both reports focus on “superweeds.” It turns out that spraying a pesticide repeatedly selects for weeds which also resist the chemical. Ever more resistant weeds are then bred, able to withstand increasing amounts – and often different forms – of herbicide.

    GE Crops Have Reduced Crop Productivity

    GE food manufacturers also promised an increase in crop productivity. Indeed, that was a giant selling point for GE foods.

    That claim has been debunked as well …

    The Independent noted in 2008:

    Genetic modification actually cuts the productivity of crops, an authoritative new study shows, undermining repeated claims that a switch to the controversial technology is needed to solve the growing world food crisis.

    The study – carried out over the past three years at the University of Kansas in the US grain belt – has found that GM soya produces about 10 per cent less food than its conventional equivalent, contradicting assertions by advocates of the technology that it increases yields.

    Professor Barney Gordon, of the university’s department of agronomy, said he started the research – reported in the journal Better Crops – because many farmers who had changed over to the GM crop had “noticed that yields are not as high as expected even under optimal conditions”. He added: “People were asking the question ‘how come I don’t get as high a yield as I used to?’”


    The new study confirms earlier research at the University of Nebraska, which found that another Monsanto GM soya produced 6 per cent less than its closest conventional relative, and 11 per cent less than the best non-GM soya available.


    A similar situation seems to have happened with GM cotton in the US, where the total US crop declined even as GM technology took over.

    [please read the rest]

  • pat, love your repeated ending!

    In the previous thread, Apneaman memorably says:

    To those who have found a belief system that gives them meaning and/or comfort and/or an explanation for life, I say good for you.
    To those who have found a belief system that gives them meaning and/or comfort and/or an explanation for life, and insist they are right and pity the unenlightened, I say FUCK YOU.

    On Finding One’s Own Way

    Seek not someone else to instruct
    How you your life should conduct,
    And if you opine
    On how I should live mine,
    I politely suggest you get fucked.

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

  • Well, Ulvfugi,

    There is struggle ensuing within and between the MICs of the world. And, yes, they have conflicting priorities (if you can call it that). You talk about Queen E 2 creating some sort of top down “soft fascism” (your term). I’m only suggesting that it would take the MICs cooperating globally–each perhaps guarding its own turf–to put such a project (such as you propose) into practice. I don’t see Queen E 2 being able to do that by herself (if she even had a mind to do so).

    “… worshipful, reverential attitude to the world” could be groveling, I suppose. It never occurred to me. I was simply going with what it appears many pre-industrial people do (such as the Koji you point to elsewhere). I didn’t see that as groveling.

    Intelligence, such as it is manifested and understood in IC seems to have quickly led to the extinction of life. I’d make that point on a blog that was preoccupied with IQ, and how irredeemably dumb black people were, their IQ scores being the lowest of any tested “race.” They’d say that blacks might perhaps have significant emotional intelligence but not this or the other (more important) kind that whites had. Something to do with brain structure and size perhaps. My resistance to this meme was due to my laziness to do the research, just wanting to believe what made me feel good, being scientifically illiterate (sounds familiar?), etc., etc..

    So I did some very light research that led to the issue of brain size, discovering that women supposedly had smaller brains too. That was OK for the blog, since they also believed that women liked to be beaten and gang raped; that was in their DNA or something. They just had ignored the female-brain-size thing till they were pushed on the subject. But my point that intelligent white men had destroyed the planet never sunk in.

    I preferred not to talk about race in the first place, since I think it’s culture rather than race that matters. At the same time, I think that everyone is intelligent enough, and it’s values that make them do good or bad things. I argue that we put too much value on intelligence in the high-IQ sense and the no-values sense that has led to NTE.

    But if you, dear Ulvfugi, can come up with some intelligent way to waylay the destruction of life then I stand corrected.

  • @ Artleads

    The USA spends more on its military than the next thirty largest spenders put together (that’s from memory, check it and correct me) so there is only one MIC that matters, really, that’s the one that’s selling most of the crap to everybody else. Then comes China, Russia, UK, France, Israel, etc, but they are smallish by comparison.

    I don’t know what ‘struggle’ you’re talking about. They are corporations that design and build crap and compete for contracts. Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Bechtel, etc. They bribe Senators so that they get favoured and then they spend years and years making stuff that comes out costing twice what they said it would, and doesn’t do what they said it would, but they keep bribing Senators, so they keep getting the contracts.

    You seem to have trouble reading. I did not write what you say I said, or anything remotely like that.

    Kogi are not pre-industrial people. They are contemporary people. Your ideas about the world and other people are your ideas that you project. They don’t necessarily have any connection to reality.

    The Kogi, says Reichel-Dolmatoff, dedicate their lives to the learning of ‘The Law of the Mother’, the body of esoteric knowledge that contains ‘the myths and traditions, the songs and spells, and all the rules that regulate ritual’. A man ‘should never work for material gain and should not make efforts to acquire more than he needs in order to feed and house his family’ but should dedicate himself to learning so as to ‘contribute to the maintenance of the world order … and reach old age in a state of wisdom and tolerance.’ But Reichel-Dolmatoff warns against imputing any romantic idea of the ‘noble savage’ – ‘yulúka’, the process by which balance is achieved, does not mean blissful tranquillity but an acceptance and rationalisation of harsh reality. An old máma once said to him: ‘You are asking me what is life; life is food, a woman – then a house, a field – then, god.’ This realistic approach is constantly mentioned as being a respected and desirable attribute in a Kogi.

    Intelligence only exists in an individual person. Your incoherent and irrelevant statements about it make no sense.

  • @ Artleads

    You seem hopelessly confused.

    The MIC are the people who profit from supplying the gear to the people who do this stuff, occupy other people’s countries.

    Those people are a constituent part of Empire, the American hegemonic system.

    They have only one interest and ambition, their own survival. That means, keeping on having wars. Otherwise, they make no money and they have no reason for existing.

    The main reason why we are heading into NTE is because of global climate chaos, as most admirably documented by Guy in the Climate Summary.

    DIOGENES explains rather well on RC in a comment why nothing will get done in time to avoid catastrophe. Imo, he takes quite a moderate position, I’m a lot more cynical, and I think he underestimates, but I think he states a fair evaluation.

    Your own remarks appear to be totally disconnected from anything in the real world. What relationship does the ‘international MIC’ HAVE to what DIOGENES says ? Sure, they burn a lot of fuel.

  • Re Pantheism.

    It would not be so bad if the followers of the monotheistic religions could come around to a more mature and profound understanding of their religion and faith along the lines that Albert Einstein and other theologians have explained, where instead of some archaic tribal sky god, a demiurge, God is conceived of as the Ground of Being, the background of all that exists, which is close enough as makes no difference, to pantheism.

    The perversions and corruptions and distortions and misunderstandings that have been inflicted upon the conception of the idea of God are absolutely mind boggling. Karen Armstrong has written a lot about this, e.g. her book a History of God.

    People who sincerely believe they are being faithful Jews, Christians, Moslems, are actually committing the most appalling blasphemy and heresy, by worshipping the false gods that they are told in the scriptures that they are forbidden to do. But they don’t realise it. All the holy texts and the great teachers say to put God first and not be lead astray by temptation. But, in practice, the followers of these religions give almost everything else priority over God. It is quite amazing.

    Terms that characterize are frequently used biblically in naming the principalities: “tempter,” “mocker,” “foul spirit,” “destroyer,” “adversary,” “the enemy.” And the privity of the principalities to the power of death incarnate is shown in mention of their agency to Beelzebub or Satan or the Devil or the Antichrist…

    And if some of these seem quaint, transposed into contemporary language they lose quaintness and the principalities become recognizable and all too familiar: they include all institutions, all ideologies, all images, all movements, all causes, all corporations, all bureaucracies, all traditions, all methods and routines, all conglomerates, all races, all nations, all idols. Thus, the Pentagon or the Ford Motor Company or Harvard University or the Hudson Institute or Consolidated Edison or the Diners Club or the Olympics or the Methodist Church or the Teamsters Union are principalities. So are capitalism, Maoism, humanism, Mormonism, astrology, the Puritan work ethic, science and scientism, white supremacy, patriotism, plus many, many more—sports, sex, any profession or discipline, technology, money, the family—beyond any prospect of full enumeration. The principalities and powers are legion.