Mad Hominem: Why Hatred Of The Human Species Is Not Helpful

by Carolyn Baker at Speaking Truth to Power

Finger PointingEventually we will abandon our bunker mentality and understand that the only security comes through giving, opening, and being at the center of a flux of relationships, not taking more and more for self; security comes not from independence but from interdependence.

~Charles Eisenstein, Ascent of Humanity~

In the first episode of my current five-part webinar, my guest Andrew Harvey and I were emphasizing the importance of adopting an attitude of service and giving in this era of collapse and possible near-term extinction when at one point I received a question from a student which asked something like, “You mean, love humans? The scum that is destroying the planet?” (My paraphrase) At the time I gave a short response to the question, but it set me thinking about the necessity of a longer and more detailed response, and for that, I am profoundly grateful to the student. This article is my attempt to articulate why an attitude of service and giving in relation to humans is as urgent as serving and supporting other species and why contempt for humanity is not helpful, but perhaps even ironically, anthropocentric.

Ah yes, that dreaded word anthropocentric which is essentially an assumption that the human species is the center of the universe and holds more significance than other species or living beings in the cosmos. Once we fully understand what humans have done to this planet, once we grasp the ghastly, breath-taking, mind-boggling pillage, plunder, and ecocide that homo sapiens have perpetrated on the earth, we are hard-pressed not to despise them. I know this one well. I admit it. I’m extremely selective in the company I keep with humans, but I have many fewer barriers in the company of animals. When I can afford to make financial contributions, I am far more likely to give to organizations that protect or rescue animals than I am to give to causes that benefit humans.

Self-Flagellation Profiteth Nothing

Yet I have come to understand that while I honor my comfort with and magnanimity toward other species, it is important that I do not revile humans. In the first place, to vilify other humans is to vilify myself. When I do this, I am doing something that probably no other species is capable of doing. A hyena may be angry with another hyena for being territorial or stealing its food, but it is not likely to hate another hyena for being a hyena or even for being un-hyena-like. As friendly as a lion may become with a lamb, each knows instinctually what it is and that it will never be another species. When I despise other humans, and therefore myself, I unintentionally remove myself from the circle of terrestrial beings and unconsciously deem myself unworthy of walking and breathing on the earth. Rather than cultivating appropriate humility in the presence of other living beings with whom I share the planet, I declare myself not an equal, but less than other species. Vilifying myself and quasi-deifying another species serves neither the other being nor myself. In fact, it demeans my own animal nature, and regardless of how much I sing the praises of the animal kingdom, to deem myself less than the animal is to deny my kinship with it.

Moreover, when any human recognizes his or her part in harming another being, human or otherwise, they have two options. One may choose to vilify oneself or one may choose to take conscious, intentional responsibility for one’s error. This is where the rubber meets the road, and this is also where things get really uncomfortable. Taking responsibility for our transgressions against the earth community means that first, we acknowledge that we are part of a species that is murdering the planet. Perhaps we are not at the moment poaching rhinos or bashing out the brains of seals on behalf of the fur industry, but no matter how pristine our lifestyle may be at the moment, we have in the past polluted, littered, contributed to overpopulation by bringing children into the world, consumed far too much energy, wasted too much food, and not have come close to replacing what we have taken from Gaia.

What then is the appropriate response to our abuse and neglect of the earth community? I believe that it should be one of remorse and accountability, but also of grieving our behavior and making restitution to the best of our ability in present time. When we do this, we end the wall of separation between ourselves and all other beings. And here’s the gut-wrenching part: We are deeply humbled and perhaps ashamed that on some level, we are as guilty as the rhino poacher or the seal-murderer.

In fact, if we are impeccably honest with ourselves, we will be forced to acknowledge that there is a Dick Cheney and a pair of Koch brothers within us. This is called the human shadow, and it’s the curse/blessing of being human. The shadow is the part of us that we say is “not me.” The human ego says, “Oh I would never be a trophy hunter or work for the fracking industry.” Yet the unconscious mind knows otherwise. It knows that despite the cacophony of our arguments to the contrary, any one of us could be the poacher, the fracker, the drone operator, or the NSA snoop. When we are forced to face this reality, we are also humbled by the territory of the human condition in which we abide. As long as we project the image of “human scum” on our fellow homo sapiens, we get to feel better about ourselves because we don’t have to confront the shadow. A moment ago I said that the shadow is a curse/blessing. The curse is very clear, but what is the blessing?

For me, the blessing is that when I confront the shadow, I am humbled into both grief and gratitude. I mourn deeply for my transgressions against the earth community, and I also grieve for the omnicidal acts of other humans (and my own in the past) which, if I am honest with myself, is the emotion that I am warding off when I vilify them. What is more, when I can own my part in the omnicide, I have the capacity to arrive at more gratitude for the earth community than my hatred of other humans could have ever wrought. I committed my transgressions against the earth community out of ignorance and misdirection by my culture and family and was never taught how precious, how exquisite, how breath-taking, how unequivocally amazing Gaia is. When I confront my shadow and mourn for the ways I have harmed the earth community (which is an act of self-forgiveness), I can savor it more incisively and more passionately, and this is what I want to experience more than anything as extinction intensifies.

This is not about letting oneself off the hook for anything. As Charles Eisenstein writes, “Does this mean that I can excuse myself from all the hurt I’ve caused in my life thinking, ‘Well, my wound drove me to it, and I needed to do that to recover’? No. The healing comes only through the realization ‘My God, what have I done?’ It is the remorse that is healing.”

How Do You Want To Live During Your Stay In Hospice?

If our days on earth are as drastically numbered as they appear to be, if we have entered a hospice condition, then how do we wish to live? What does it do to us to despise other humans? What does it do to us to open our hearts to them?

When we vilify other humans, we obviously separate ourselves from them, and we, among other things, perpetuate the Cartesian dualism of “myself and the other.” In so doing, we increase the likelihood of becoming violent dominators. We never have to like poachers and polluters, we may never break bread with a Monsanto chemist or hold hands and dance around the world with Jamie Dimon, but hospice is not the time for hating other humans. Hospice is a time for recognizing the tragedy of the human condition and the horrors of human behavior, as well as committing to the most serious and thorough review of our own lives as humanly possible. Hospice is a time for compassion—for ourselves and all beings on earth. Collective salvation may never come, but if any salvation is to come, it will only come, as Charles Eisenstein says, “…when we face up to the ugliness of our own past and feel the mirror image of the pain of every slave lashed, every many lynched, every child humiliated. One way or another, we must weep for all of this.” And yes, we must weep for the more-than-human world victimized by our madness.

In fact, unless we weep repeatedly, we can never know kindness toward anything as Naomi Shihab Nye proclaims in her classic, poignant poem, “Kindness”:

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

In some sense it is much easier to be kind to other species because they are the innocent ones. They have not left the planet in shambles. It is much more challenging to be kind to humans—the perpetrators, the plunderers we may despise but which some part of us has the capacity to become.

The human species is far more connected than it is divided. I speak not in platitudes but rather in terms of the hard science of quantum physics, and I heartily recommend Paul Levy’s recent article “Quantum Physics: The Physics Of Dreaming, Part 1.” John Archibald Wheeler, theoretical physicist and colleague of Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr stated that, “Nothing is more important about quantum physics than this: it has destroyed the concept of the world as ‘sitting out there’.” In fact, there is no “you” and “me.” Yes, you have a body separate from mine, and you live in another place on the planet, but we are interdependently connected.

Hospice can be nothing more than a waiting area on the way to extinction, or it can provide a deeper level of connection with all living beings than we have ever experienced, but in order for that to happen, our focus must be service and contribution. The question of the day and every day should be: How can I serve? What can I offer all other species and my own that will make their transition easier? Where can I offer kindness and compassion? This perspective requires an open heart, and while opening the heart always risks being rejected or misperceived, it also guarantees that at some point, one’s own heart will be met by another, and just one moment of profound connection with another heart, whether human or animal, could make life worth living and death worth dying.

So as my student asked: Are we to love and care for humans who have destroyed the planet? I answer with an unequivocal yes. If we accomplish nothing else in hospice, may it be that we fall back in love with the earth community, and yes, that earth community includes humans. “Our relationships—with other people and all life,” writes Eisenstein, “define who we are, and by impoverishing these relationships, we diminish ourselves. We are our relationships.”

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McPherson’s radio interview with Michael Welch at CKUW in Winnipeg from 7 February 2014 is linked here. The link includes a few minutes from a presentation a night or two earlier.

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A recent video clip from filmmaker Pauline Schneider is embedded below. And below that, you can click to support her work.

Trailer #1 from Pauline Schneider on Vimeo

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Please limit yourself to two posts daily. Additional comments are welcome at the NBL Forum.

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Please join me in supporting our friend OzMan as he literally walks away. Click here for more information.

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Tuesday, 1 April 2014, 6:00 p.m. meet and greet, 7:00 p.m. presentation, Paul Henry’s Art Gallery, 416 Sibley Street, Hammond, Indiana

Wednesday, 9 April 2014, 6:00 p.m., location to be announced, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, “Climate Chaos” (Facebook announcement and invitation)

Thursday, 10 April 2014, 12:00 noon, location to be announced, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, “Responding to Climate Chaos” (Facebook announcement and invitation)

The Next Step: Living Courageously in a World of Transition, a 14-day seminar, 12-25 June 2014, Izabal, Guatemala, Central America.

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Going Dark is available from the publisher here, from Amazon here, from Amazon on Kindle here, from Barnes & Noble on Nook here, and as a Google e-book here. Going Dark was reviewed by Carolyn Baker at Speaking Truth to Power and by two dozen readers at Amazon.

Comments 68

  • Be Here Now

    Impossible as never sinning,
    You’re always stuck near the beginning;
    But you’re out of the way—
    And remain easy prey—
    For real world competitors winning.

    H/T: Gail Wit’sEnd

  • @ Tom and Shep: Thank you! 🙂

    @ ogardener: H/T = hat tip. I steal good ideas wherever I can, and sometimes I even acknowledge the source! 😀

    @ Apneaman: Bulleyes all over the place the last couple days! Bravo!
    ==

    Extinctionology

    No future means that we must deal
    With so many things doom will reveal,
    But to buy NTE
    Means you no longer flee
    Or fight with accepting what’s real.

  • Attraction and aversion are two sides of the same coin: this recognition is a step towards acceptance of Suchness. – that everything is just as it could be and would be; the “should be” is not intrinsic to the universe, but is the colour we paint it, just as we perceive the “I” in the colours of our choice.

    As long as one’s perception starts with “I”, the dichotomy of “I” and “not-I” will prevail. The “not-I” is carved up in many ways, the first being “mine” and “not-mine”. All of this coalesces in Suchness, including the “I”: nothing is perceived as “not-I”.

  • HURDY GURDY MAN
    Donovan

    Thrown like a star in my vast sleep
    I open my eyes to take a peep
    To find that I was by the sea
    Gazing with tranquillity.

    ‘Twas then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
    Came singing songs of love,
    Then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
    Came singing songs of love.

    Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang.
    Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang.
    Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang.

    Histories of ages past
    Unenlightened shadows cast
    Down through all eternity
    The crying of humanity.
    ‘Tis then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
    Comes singing songs of love,
    Then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
    Comes singing songs of love.

    Carolyn: thanks for believing in humanity and trying to be the voice of reason in these perilous times. I just have a few comments/concerns that are just my two cents and not to be taken as criticism since I agree with most of what you’ve written. It SHOULD be this way, and should have been all along (through history), but it isn’t – we’re so flawed, our “wiring” is self-destructive and our intellect is a major problem for both ourselves and the rest of the planet, as it turned out.

    Let’s see how long we hold it together and love one another when things get dicey.

    http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/theres-a-coal-base-in-china-the-size-of-la

    China Is Building a “Coal Base” the Size of LA

    China, faced with ever-worsening pollution in its major cities—a recent report deemed Beijing “barely suitable for living”—is doing what so many industrializing nations have done before it: banishing its titanic smog spewers to poor or rural areas so everyone else can breathe easier. But China isn’t just relegating its dirty coal-fired power plants to the outskirts of society; for years, it’s been building 16 unprecedentedly massive, brand new “coal bases” in rural parts of the country. There, they won’t stifle China’s megacities; they’ll churn out enough pollution to help smother the entire world.

    The biggest of those bases, the Ningdong Energy and Chemical Industry Base, spans nearly 400 square miles, about the size of LA. It’s already operational, and seemingly always expanding. It’s operated by Shenhua, one of the biggest coal companies in the world. China hopes to uses these coal bases not just to host some of the world’s largest coal-fired power plants, but to use super-energy intensive technology to convert the coal into a fuel called syngas and use it to make plastics and other materials. [take a look and read the rest]

    Syngas is healthier to breathe when burned than typical coal—but as Motherboard has noted before, synthesizing the stuff emits nearly twice the carbon pollution. That’s why when Inside Climate News, the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative environmental outfit, traveled to China to investigate the operation, they, and a number of climate experts concluded it would “doom the climate.”

    [take a look and read the rest]

    See, it’s all nice to talk about all this psychological stuff while we can still eat, drink clean water and breathe. Once some nebulous trigger point has been crossed (environmental, social, economic, medical, what-have-you) the whole of civilization tips into fast collapse mode and chaos reigns. When you mix desperation and a country awash in guns and pharmaceuticals you get an explosive and chaotic reaction. Let’s hope the connections we make now will hold as things turn to shit.

    Your paragraph having to do with our belonging to the animal kingdom compares us to hyenas (and, upon reflection, we look pretty bad by comparison – since they clearly wouldn’t do what we do every day), yet even with our realization that it’s all connected we continue to do what we’re doing – all of it – from writing books to typing comments into a computer – we just keep going until we can’t. We aren’t going to choose to become mendicant monks all of a sudden and beg alms and voluntarily become homeless.

    Our attitude toward our predicament only affects us individually and matters not to the steady destruction we’re all part of. By all means “get right with God” if that’s your bent – live your life the way you should, if you can. What we’ve set in motion can’t be stopped and no one will be left for long (or even want to be) once our habitat has passed a certain point (where it won’t support life any longer).

    What i’m getting at is that we few may be able to moderate our responses when the time comes, but the rest of humanity may not be in the same position or feel similarly once things deteriorate enough (like no electricity, lack of food and water).

    [Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?]

  • Is it hate? In my 53 years of life, I only really hated one person and the emotion was draining — both physically and mentally. Hate really consumes the hater. A blanket “I hate those fuckers” referring to absolutely everyone in the mineral extraction industry is too defused a statement like “I love pizza.” I can’t say that I hate the various shades and multitudes of Dick Cheney either, though I despise them all and wish them ill, it isn’t something that occupies my mind day in and day out.

    The rage towards the human race over NTE is something else. It’s not hate, for one. The rage is vast because on the whole, I like people. I thought we’d do better than this. The rage is also impossible to maintain. Try as I might, I just can’t stay angry all the time. Nor do I want to.

    Having vague notions of disappointment about the human condition might be part of the human condition for all I know. Generally speaking, I’ve been depressed about the US since 1980, those feelings of depression starting to form in 1976 during the godawful and hopelessly crass bicentennial celebration. Color me red in embarrassment, white in fear and blue in mood.

    But I live in Chicago. Liking people sort of goes with the program. Being paranoid and abrasive are more country pursuits, despite media tales. Getting along with other people is mandatory in a large city. Individuals can rise ire, but groups are harder to dislike. That said, other than the police, the only group of people I find really annoying are sports fans after the game, the load of drunks.

    NTE knocks a lot things over. Assigning blame being one of them. I can still curse the greed that drives the people to despoil every square inch of the planet. But there’s no single person to assign all the blame. It’s all our fault, so no one gets off easy. I can’t worry about which bastard should hang for what has happened to the planet, though I have some opinions on who I’d like to see swing. But there’s no time for that. Self-pity is another luxury we can ill afford. I try to do my best in limiting my damage to the planet. And I try to do my best to not harm anyone else. I fail a lot. I keep trying.

  • @Grant, I kinda hated the guy I saw on TV* yesterday, dumping green dye into the river. It had passed until you brought up Chicago.

    How much dye does it take to turn the whole fucking river GREEN? And Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? I had no idea that a thing like this even occurred.


    Sorry, @Carolyn.. I don’t “hate” humans, but I don’t feel especially kindly towards them, either. I just am at the point of a type of bemused pity (including self-pity) that we can’t and won’t act differently.

    I like some of what Charles Eisenstein has to say, but I think his idea that humans can evolve into something different from what we are is nonsense. I don’t really get how we “heal through remorse”, either, if we are going to get up tomorrow and do the same thing all over again: in my case, and Guy’s and yours Carolyn, turn on the computer. In Charles’ case, pump out another kid (he now has four). This seems like the fake kind of confession the Catholic Church fuels itself on. Where is the true remorse here, the true penitence? All I see is lip service.

    Either we are to blame, or we are not. Either we are remorseful for having done wrong (being born? eating? driving a car? having children?) or we are not. Much of your writing tries to have it both ways at the same time, and it becomes confusing to me.

    (*hosp. waiting rm.)

  • There can be no “soft-landing” for a species adding another million of itself every 4 and a half days to consume and convert into more and more human flesh what little remains of the planet’s tattered web of life.

    http://collapseofindustrialcivilization.com/2014/03/17/nightmares-of-the-omnicidal-juggernaut/

    We are doing what we are designed to do: convert as much energy and matter as we can obtain into human flesh. It’s working until it won’t anymore. Everything else, all the other stories, are just distractions from this single truth.

    We are not “kind” to other creatures, we consume them, and even if we are vegans the only creatures we are truly kind to are the bacteria in our gut, because vegan houses still take up space on the prairie, and cars still drive vegans to ind. civ. jobs, for the most part, and PETA-approved plastic shoes and jackets choke the whales and the sea birds right along with all the other plastic crap. The only way to be kind to other creatures is to commit suicide and not take up space that could otherwise be used by them. Please let’s not kid ourselves on this point.

  • Lidia wants to know “How much dye does it take to turn the whole fucking river GREEN? And Why?”

    It’s 40 pounds of a vegetable dye and it lasts a couple of hours. The reason is Saint Patrick’s Day and a large Irish population in Chicago.
    The river itself isn’t something you’d want to swim in or eat any fish from, and it does flow backwards thanks to some engineering in the 19th century so nothing is going into Lake Michigan. If all we had to worry about was a green river and a bunch of drunks claiming Irish heritage, we would be doing okay for ourselves. I don’t begrudge the firecrackers going off during Chinese New Year either. This is the easy stuff. So at some point it will be forbidden. The hard stuff like closing Lake Shore Drive to bike traffic only ain’t going to happen until we’re in deep collapse. All manner of nasty shit will be tossed into the Chicago River by then. There will still be drunks, but in the depressed Russian style and not the happy pseudo-Irish.
    There’s zero good times in the future. Grab what you can now.

  • If you love or like even just one person then you cannot possibly hate the species. Hate the sin.

  • Carolyn,
    I didn’t appreciate the ‘humorous’ photo at the top of your post trying to vilify anger. If more people had been angry to the point of action we wouldn’t be in this situation today.

    You seem like a good person with counseling skills who is making her way in uncharted territory, step by step, seeing what works. But I have to agree with Lidia, “This seems like the fake kind of confession the Catholic Church fuels itself on. Where is the true remorse here, the true penitence? All I see is lip service.”

    The hospice bit doesn’t resonate with me either. Long ago, I chose my issues and took my stand. Resistance runs strong in my veins, and I will resist until the end. I am angry, and that anger feels healthy. It keeps me away from the edge of the abyss. There is no way I could ever embrace the whole of humanity in a loving hospicey sort of way. Don’t throw us all into the same pot, there IS a hierarchy of guilt.

    But regardless of where we are on this hierarchy, our species in general doesn’t deserve the solace, absolution, and new age understanding you sell. We deserve Danté’s Virgil, showing us the vistas of purgatory and the sign over the gates of hell reading “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” You think the orcas (with brain areas we do not even posses), don’t see what’s coming? Imagine if you can how they must feel.

  • I don’t really get how we “heal through remorse”,

    We don’t heal through remorse: we heel through remorse, as in the command to a dog “Heel, boy/girl!”. Makes us more malleable, more domesticated, brings us to heel. Hierarchical systems place great value on remorse, as a reaffirmation of loyalty by the errant.

    Sorrow hinders efficiency: one’s focus should be on the best performance in the future, rather than degrading that performance through wallowing in sorrow.

    making her way in uncharted territory,

    The territory has been charted, up to and including The Great Dissolution, particularly in addressing the moral (right & wrong) and ethical (good & bad) issues that arise along the way. Adventurous folks may choose to strike out on their own, ignoring the charts.

  • Saints are from the past. Sinner always have a future.
    Hate is like poisoning yourself and expecting someone else to die.

    Tell Me Sweet Little Lies
    Media is anything that is electronic, it is poisonous in every way, it poisons your mind with lies, killing people and our earth. Do you know that so far, 900 workers have died in the hot sun of Qatar laying down the infrastructure for the 2022 FISA World Cup? The Smithsonian predicts, at this rate, up to 4,000 will be dead by opening day. They are slaves, cheated and abused in every way.
    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/over-900-workers-have-already-died-building-qatars-world-cup-facilities-180950088/

    Do you know that NASA has found that even under generously gentle scenarios, civilization will break down in 3 decades because of poverty and shortages? That’s around 2050.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/14/nasa-civilisation-irreversible-collapse-study-scientists

    Do you know that China is building up to 500 nuclear plants in 40 years, while at the same time they are building a new coal powered energy plant every 10 days for the next 10 years?
    Do you know you can’t cut carbon when energy demand goes up while supplies get dirtier? Do you know that providing green energy for all the world is unsustainable not least because even supplying enough batteries for the whole world would put us over the ecological edge?

    Do you know that very large solar power corporations have gone bankrupt in the U.S. Germany and China? Do you know the production of 2 big wind turbines produces 75 tons of acidic wastewater and 1 ton of radioactive waste? Do you know that 2 million kids in the Congo were killed (over 5 million folks total) so you can have a smartphone? Do you know how many suicides manufacturing iPhones has caused? Do you know if the iPhone 6 comes out this year?

    Do you know that over half of earth’s species with a back bone will be gone in 40 years? Do you know world hunger will be here within 10 years? Do you know why you don’t know that a plane cannot demolish skyscrapers? Do you know 500 people are kidnapped every month in Mexico City thanks to the drug war and poverty?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsssC0-hXsI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xux4N-iuwEM

    Do you know how many lies you are told in one day?
    Over and over, louder and louder, again and again.
    Do you know the more you hear stuff, the bigger the lie.
    Do you know the more you don’t, the bigger the lie.
    Do you know the difference?
    http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/7350/Call-of-Life–Facing-the-Mass-Extinction

    Do you know why there ain’t no love in this world any more?

  • After the barrage of videos above, here’s one more… my anthem of the day:
    Love that syncopated trance rhythm as it comes out of the instrumental half way through, you can lose yourself within.

  • Well, long as you guys are getting into the music vid embedding fun, lemme make my St. Patty’s Day contribution. 🙂

    Come ON Eileen! I need TOO-LOO-RA-EAY!

    RE

  • Tony,

    I was able to find this:

    http://digitaljournal.com/news/world/op-ed-civilization-could-crash-in-15-years-nasa-study/article/376688

    I typed in:

    nasa collapse of civilization in 15 years

    That worked for me, there are also several headings that don’t say ’15 years’ but say ‘a couple of decades’.

    I’m with you on wanting to know what’s up. Especially for the sake of the kids. Mine are 30 and 33 now and I’m doing my best to draw us close together. My wife likes to travel so we’re planning as many trips as possible. We’re taking our thirteen year old grandson to San Francisco in June then drive up the coast. Muir Woods, Glass Beach, awesome skate parks in Oregon, Mt. St Helens.

    I know you’re hurting. I can’t say how you should cope. We can’t stop what’s coming.

  • Tony,

    I was able to find this:

    http://digitaljournal.com/news/world/op-ed-civilization-could-crash-in-15-years-nasa-study/article/376688

    I typed in:

    nasa collapse of civilization in 15 years

    That worked for me, there are also several headings that don’t say ’15 years’ but say ‘a couple of decades’.

    I’m with you on wanting to know what’s up. Especially for the sake of the kids. Mine are 30 and 33 now and I’m doing my best to draw us close together. My wife likes to travel so we’re planning as many trips as possible. We’re taking our thirteen year old grandson to San Francisco in June then drive up the coast. Muir Woods, Glass Beach, awesome skate parks in Oregon, Mt. St Helens.

  • http://utopiathecollapse.com/2014/03/19/venezuela-in-turmoil-for-lack-of-flour-milk-and-diapers/

    Venezuela in turmoil for lack of flour, milk and diapers

    March 2014 – VENEZUELA – Alvaro Villarueda starts his morning the same way every day — putting in a call to his friend who has a friend who works at a Caracas, Venezuela, supermarket. Today, he’s looking for sugar, and he’s asking his friend if he knows if any shipments have arrived. As he talks on the phone, his wife Lisbeth Nello, is in the kitchen. There are 10 mouths to feed every day in this family — five of them children. The two youngest are still in diapers. “The things that are the scarcest are actually what we need the most,” Nello says. “Flour, cooking oil, butter, milk, diapers. I spent last week hunting for diapers everywhere. The situation is really tough for basic goods.” Student-led demonstrations have been roiling Venezuela for more than a month. At least 28 people have been killed and dozens wounded in confrontations between security forces and those who have taken to the streets. The list of grievances — rising crime, inflation — is long, but the main one for many is the scarcity of basic foodstuffs. As with everything in Venezuela, the reasons given for the food shortages depend on political affiliation. The government says it’s the result of unscrupulous businessmen waging an economic war and hoarding by regular people afraid of shortages. Those in the opposition blame a system that imposes price controls, the lack of money to buy imports and problems in the supply chain after the expropriation of farms and factories by the socialist government. Whatever the reasons, the shortages have meant that Nello spends a lot of time in long lines. It’s usually the women who have to go to the shops and her house is no exception.

    “When we find out there is something we need in one of the supermarkets, we have to jump and get up very early to get down there,” she says.The family lives on a hillside with only makeshift stairs to get to their home. It’s a long way to the market, and once there, the lines often take hours, with hundreds of people standing in them. She says she feels they have become like ants, always carrying supplies home. An informal barter system has developed as well, Nello says. If she has extra coffee, she can trade it for cooking oil. It’s a way of avoiding the long waits for staples. “We are always helping each other,” she says. “We are sending messages to other members of the family when we find out something is in the market.” All supermarkets these days have security to make sure that customers stay in line and obey government-imposed limits on what they can buy, and that no one causes a riot. In the slum of Antimano, women are standing in line in front of a shop. They say they don’t know what’s on offer, but they are queuing anyway, a sign of how worried people are that they won’t get what they need. Inside the market, the manager, Roger Escorihuela, takes me around and points out that the shelves are not bare. There are cereals, eggs and pastas and fancy jams, but the staples that are subject to price controls — black beans, butter, corn meal, the list goes on — are missing, he says. He acknowledges he never knows what will be delivered each day by his trucks which is why people have to phone around to find out what’s available. But he insists there is no shortage, and everyone gets what they need, eventually. At least this day, he’s proven right. A woman walks in looking for toilet paper, but the shelves are bare. Then she spots the last roll, fallen behind the shelf. She gleefully grabs it and rushes to pay. -NPR

  • and another about not only Venezuela, but Cuba – see how it all connects:

    http://utopiathecollapse.com/2014/03/19/chaos-at-57-inflation-venezuela-inching-closer-to-an-economic-meltdown/

    Chaos at 57% inflation: Venezuela inching closer to an economic meltdown

    VENEZUELA – In the midst of chaos in Venezuela, a dependent Cuba and its economic future is walking on a tight rope. As Venezuela’s economic woes deepen, with an annualized inflation rate reaching 57 percent, and violent clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters escalate, the probability of a new government is high, making Cuba’s future uncertain. Even if Nicolas Maduro, who succeeded the late Hugo Chavez as president, stays in power, he could be forced to cut aid to Cuba to help alleviate Venezuela’s imploded economy, which suffers from stagnation, inflation and shortages. For the last decade, Venezuela’s oil has helped fuel Cuba’s economy, providing 60 percent of the communist-ruled island’s demands. In exchange, Cuba sends about 30,000 doctors to Venezuela, according to an analysis by Pavel Vidal, a former official at Cuba’s central bank and now an economics professor at the Universidad Javeriana in Cali, Colombia. The commercial relationship with leftist Venezuela accounts for 40 percent of Cuba’s trade—or 18 percent of Cuba’s gross domestic product, Vidal said. If Venezuela were to cut Cuba loose, completely or partially, it could cause Cuba’s economy to contract anywhere from 4 percent to 7.7 percent. “Cuba depends on Venezuela’s political situation,” Vidal said. “And right now, Venezuela is unpredictable.” Cuba is well aware of its vulnerability, Vidal said, noting that it’s not the first time the island nation has found itself facing this type of situation. Rewind to the ’90s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when Cuba’s economy shrunk by 35 percent. The Soviet Union was a major ally and economic subsidizer, accounting for 28 percent of Cuba’s economy.

    Looking only at the numbers, the impact to Cuba’s economy without the aid of Venezuela would be far less than the country suffered in the ’90s, but that doesn’t mean that Cuba’s pain would be lessened. In fact, it could be devastating. Cuba’s economy is still convalescent and is not prepared for another punch, which, according to Vidal’s report, could drive the country into a recession. “Today, Cuba’s economy is in worse condition than in the late ’80s to implement an adjustment if it undergoes another shock, and it would be far more complicated to manage,” Vidal said. “It will be an economic disaster,” said Jorge R. Piñon, interim director at the Center for International & Environmental Policy at the University of Texas, adding that Cuba would be back to post-Soviet times. “Cuba today has put all of its eggs in one basket. Before it was the Soviet Union’s basket, today is Venezuela’s basket.” Cuban economist and journalist Roberto Alvarez Quiñones agrees. Without Venezuela and its oil and subsidies “industrial production, trade, transport, agriculture, and the whole economy would be affected dramatically. Medieval nights of the ’90s would return, with blackouts of up to 14 hours in some areas,” Alvarez Quiñones wrote in a column for Diaro de Cuba. But there could be a bright side, in the long term, if Venezuela breaks away from Cuba. Cuba’s President Raul Castro could be prompted to speed economic reforms he’s been pushing and open the door to more foreign capital. “They are realizing now what can happen if Venezuela disappears, and that they better start changing their model faster than before,” said Piñon, a Latin American oil industry analyst. This month, the Cuban National Assembly is expected to pass a new foreign investment law that would make Cuba more open and flexible to foreign investment. “Cuba is getting ready for the eventual lifting of the U.S.embargo,” Piñon said. “Everyone is prepositioning themselves for a post-embargoed Cuba.” -CNBC

  • Wise counsel, but who is the intended recipient? Is it that vanishingly rare species, the true misanthrope, who exempts no one from his contempt, least of all himself? This is not how people are. I can’t think of a single example from history. Schopenhauer and Nietzsche held affection for themselves or their kin, if no one else.

    Monsters become monsters, hate-filled and hated in their turn, because they take the universal game, us and them, to its logical conclusion — murder. Most people elect to play respectable versions: believers and non-believers; doomers and denialists; winners and losers; and on and on.

    Though universal, this game tends to be a losing proposition: belonging to an in-group secures a little ontological security to begin with, but inevitably one is accused of being the opposite of what one is — be it a spy, a traitor, a turncoat or an agent provocateur — and consigned to oblivion.

    Compassion and tolerance and forgiveness for some, but not for everyone. Comments are welcome, but …

    Even those who are otherwise shrewd observers of human nature are at it. Dave Cohen tells his tiny band of followers that they are an elect. Even Morris Berman, who really ought to know better, having penned The Reenchantment of the World, now flatters his blog readers, whom he calls “Wafers,” that they have the highest possible status, and everyone else is a “trolfoon.”

    Storm clouds are gathering, the oceans are dying, but the supermarket shelves are still full. We are not in hospice yet. It remains for every member of every in-group to be thrown utterly on their own resources. That is when every last conceit will die. That is when people will stop parading before the void. For God’s sake save your compassion for when things are truly desperate. If you try it now you will be accused of presumption, or worse.

  • @Lidia
    Well said!

    @Grant Schreiber
    A good post. I agree with you on city people ranting and hating less. Country people are much more annoying and slow of mind (in England too). Living in the country I miss city people but I wouldn’t change my lovely garden and the beautiful countryside around me for living in the city again. Here I can pretend once in a while, on a nice day, that the world is still whole.
    You have something in common with city people all over the world, as far as I can see: an excellent sense of humour. This even applies to German cities. A Berliner would phrase things pretty much in the same way as you do. Keep it up, a good sense of the ridiculous. My husband has it too, and laughing everyday is something that helps to sustain me and makes my crying over our destruction of the biosphere a little easier.

  • Lydia and Wren, yes.

    Very interesting comments here. I don’t bother to read the essay since she doesn’t bother to read the comments….but the comments are the best part, sometimes.

    Thank you.

  • @wren
    I didn’t read your post until now, and you said exactly what I would like to say to Carolyn, and Dante’s Virgil is the right guide for us. You’re absolutely right. Anger can be very creative, and, as you say, it keeps you on the edge (sharp and vigilant). Also it’s simply nature for some people, for me too,and I wouldn’t want to change my nature. Why do therapists, who seem to be needed much more in the US than over here, always assume that anger is automatically equivalent to hatred and “unnatural” and therefore must be cure? It’s beyond my understanding.I’m pretty sure there’s no Dick Cheney squatting in my psyche. So no forgiveness there.
    Keep resisting! I’ll be thinking of all of you doing it over there while I’m doing it here.

  • Sabine wrote: “laughing everyday is something that helps to sustain me and makes my crying over our destruction of the biosphere a little easier.”

    The goal is to die laughing. If it’s a misplaced, angry, scornful laugh so be it. I can do very little to stop planetary destruction. That the human race is hellbent on destruction is not without humor. As I’ve mentioned before, the disaster at Fukushima is almost pure slapstick. There’s plenty of rage and tears, but there is vast room for laughter.

  • The NASA – HANDY study about the collapse of civilisation (32 pages):

    A Minimal Model for Human and Nature Interaction
    S Motesharrei, J Rivas, E Kalnay

  • Grant: like this?

    http://enenews.com/crisis-underway-fukushima-plant-amid-worker-shortage-alcoholism-rampant-tepco-base-sells-whiskey-workers-spray-hose-full-radioactive-waste-water-video

    NYTimes: Crisis underway at Fukushima plant, worker shortage — “Alcoholism is rampant” — Tepco base is selling the whiskey — Help wanted ad seeks employees “able to carry out a conversation” — Workers spray hose full of radioactive waste on themselves and others (VIDEO)

    [mea culpa on the two-post rule]

  • @Martin, “Wise counsel, but who is the intended recipient?”
    @Sabine, “Why do therapists, who seem to be needed much more in the US than over here, always assume that anger is automatically equivalent to hatred and “unnatural” and therefore must be cure?”

    Ah ha! Because you are looking at it in the conventional fashion, whereby a service develops to assist with a need. But here, the need IS the service, and so armies of therapists (and other professionals) justify their existence by pathologizing normalcy. A prime example is drugging 10-year-old boys who should be out running around, labeling them as hyperactive if they can’t sit still for six hours straight. Religion provides a similar “service”: one is “born sick and commanded to be well” as Hitchens has put it.

    If Carolyn helps anyone, it’s entirely incidental to her need to do what she does to satisfy her own self. We are all this way to some degree, we just don’t choose to see it so.

    —-
    @Tom, re. Venezuela. I was amazed to read that disposable diapers had become a NEED outside of the First World. I used cloth on my mom and it really cut down on rashes and sores.

  • MUST READ ARTICLE of the month:

    http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-03-19/how-to-be-trapped-an-interview-with-david-korowicz

    We evolved in scarcity and harsh environments and our instinctual drivers (like desire/aversion, status, in/out-groups, stimulus response, habituation and discount rates) are adapted to that (see Nate Hagens in Fleeing Vesuvius for a good introduction). But some 80,000-50,000 years ago we developed the ability to use language which enabled abstract thoughts, learning and sharing, sophisticated social organization and rapid adaptability compared to genetic change. Our ability to solve problems of environment or species constraints was hugely amplified, but this ability was still at the service of our archaic instinctual traits. So we’ve kept jumping over constraints, more of us surviving and living better. But the primary limiting constraint, energy, was surmounted when we learned how to exploit fossil fuels. This initiated an extraordinary two-hundred year autocatalytic cycle of desire and innovation, surplus growth and social stratification, complexity emergence and economic growth so that even the warnings of Malthus slipped into memory and the history of failed predictions.

    We desire, achieve new levels of comfort and security, habituate to them, feel the anxiety of status or become aware of some new gnawing lack before the cycle of desire returns again. Some 2400 years ago the Greek philosopher Epicurus said:

    “So long as the object of our craving is unattained it seems more precious than anything besides. Once it is ours we crave for something else. So an unquenchable thirst for life keeps us always on the grasp.”

    Such an observation is contained within the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism written at roughly the same time in Asia. It is part of our evolutionary heritage, our instincts honed by scarcity and risk which existed long before the advertising industry learned to exploit it. However once we have habituated to something its very hard to lose. Access to a hot shower, a washing machine, surgery, even a television are now considered almost a necessity in developed countries. We barely notice what we take for granted. Almost every environmentalist I know (Mea Culpa) who speaks of the need to consume less actually live lives of more-or-less comparable consumption to their non-environmentalist neighbors.

    There’s an even broader perspective. The growth of complex organization (star, planet, life, human social organization) can spontaneously emerge where there are constrained energy gradients. The existence of such energy gradients, and indeed the arrow of time, depend upon the thermodynamic conditions at the beginning of the universe. Complexity growth is the universes optimal way of finding equilibrium. From this point of view, the emergence of our complex global civilization and its inevitable collapse is just the laws of physics being made manifest through us.

    The broad point here is that growth and collapse is a much more fundamental process than capitalism, the debt-based monetary system or technological change, as the history of collapsed civilizations and extinct species can attest. It’s part of us, part of life.

    People can be uncomfortable with such evolutionary explanations. However, they’re not mechanistically deterministic, but statistical, people and small groups will always surprise more than very large human groups. After all coming across a convent of celibates is not a sign that human sex is dead! Nor do such arguments rigidly define behavior. For example, Stephen Pinker marshals diverse evidence (in The Better Angels of Our Nature) to show that there’s been a remarkable fall in the risk of personal violence that he has associated with rising wealth, globalisation, states and independent legal systems, changing cultures and the expansion of empathy. Of course we remain highly sensitive to the risk of violence, and there’s no reason the situation cannot reverse, but he demonstrates we’ve become much nicer to each-other in all sorts of ways!

    But to acknowledge our behavior is shaped by these large-scale processes is to accept our place in the wonderful tapestry of life, of the universe and our place in its story. It’s what we share with other animals and allows our recognition in them. It also suggests that as a species we should be forgiving towards ourselves. As a species, as a civilization, we are not bad or evil.

    While I haven’t read Pinker’s book, I would guess that he (whom I rate among those whose existence seems justified by the very questionable service he provides) misunderstands the extent that expanded access to wealth and comfort has in reducing violence. Once the TV goes out, and the Doritos truck comes no more, all bets on human “evolution” beyond violence are off. It goes without saying that a Thinker is going to give more credit to Reason than it deserves.

  • @Lidia

    “We’re all this way to some degree, we just don’t choose to see it so.”
    You’re right. So many people just need to be needed without actually seeing it so. Your analysis here is spot on. I’ve experienced this many times. My own sister is a good example, and friends and neighbours too. Might this also be a reason for most women to have children? I never wanted any (like you?) and have no regrets.

    However, there are a few loved ones, humans, animals and plants that I really like to “service”, and I’m a better person, I think, because of it. I know, this all sounds very odd. Sometimes I can’t seem to find the right words but you might know what I mean anyway.

  • Wren, Sabine, et al:

    Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
    D’you know that you can use it?

    Indeed, what are we gonna do now ?

    Lyrics

    1-2-3-4!
    Hey, hey!
    Ooh!
    the kingdom is ransacked
    the jewels all taken back
    and the chopper descends
    they’re hidden in the back
    with a message on a half-baked tape
    with the spool going round
    saying im back here in this place
    and i could cry
    and there’s smoke you could click on

    What are we gonna do now?
    Taking off his turban, they said, is this man a Jew?
    ’Cos working for the clampdown
    They put up a poster saying we earn more than you!
    When we’re working for the clampdown
    We will teach our twisted speech
    To the young believers
    We will train our blue-eyed men
    To be young believers

    The judge said five to ten but I say double that again
    I’m not working for the clampdown
    No man born with a living soul
    Can be working for the clampdown
    Kick over the wall ’cause government’s to fall
    How can you refuse it?
    Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
    D’you know that you can use it?

    The voices in your head are calling
    Stop wasting your time, there’s nothing coming
    Only a fool would think someone could save you
    The men at the factory are old and cunning
    You don’t owe nothing, so boy get runnin’
    It’s the best years of your life they want to steal

    But, you grow up and you calm down and
    You’re working for the clampdown
    You start wearing the blue and brown and
    You’re working for the clampdown
    So you got someone to boss around
    It makes you feel big now
    You drift until you brutalize
    You made your first kill now

    In these days of evil presidentes
    Working for the clampdown
    But lately one or two has fully paid their due
    For working for the clampdown
    Ha! Gitalong! Gitalong!
    Working for the clampdown
    Ha! Gitalong! Gitalong!
    Working for the clampdown

    Yeah I’m working hard in Harrisburg
    Working hard in Petersburg
    Working for the clampdown
    Working for the clampdown
    Ha! Gitalong! Gitalong
    Begging to be melted down
    Gitalong, gitalong
    Work
    Work
    And I give away no secrets – ha!
    Work
    More work
    Work
    Work

    who’s barmy now ?

    But, on the brighter side…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGEllaAoRwA

  • Infanttyrone – that was good!
    And thanks Wildwoman, Sabine and Lidia!

    Thinking more about Carolyn’s post… I’ve had to deal with these issues before. On the one hand, there were the usual opponents, the corporations and their enforcers. But then suddenly on the other hand was an opposition we did not expect… the new-age crowd (or was it cointelpro ?) telling us to be nice, tone it down, be willing to compromise, to overwhelm the forces of destruction with unconditional love. This was their overt message. But they also worked to subvert us in other ways, like seeing that we were denied access to the free community meeting place. So for various reasons, they got their way, and here we are.

    And now we have Carolyn inviting us all into a huge hospice bed, a “forgive everyone everything and share the guilt equally” bed along with Dick Cheney and 7+ billion other humans. No thanks.

    And yes, humor is so important! It was at the core of our street theatre, humor of the absurd. Local media loved it, I still remember one reporter literally rolling on the pavement in laughter.

    He Hates these Cans!

  • Infant,

    Great to see u on NBL.

  • The piece states:

    “. I speak not in platitudes but rather in terms of the hard science of quantum physics, and I heartily recommend Paul Levy’s recent article “Quantum Physics: The Physics Of Dreaming, Part 1.”’

    But this is not in any sense hard science. Levy is propagating a New Age distortion of Quantum Physics. Right on the top of his page he states that the collective consciousness of humanity is materializing the very universe. You’re not going to bolster your case by citing this person. There are numerous distortions of what Physicists actually believe in his piece. I fail to see how this applies to a real, hard-factual problem like Climate Change, which demands grounded thinking, not magical thinking.

  • @Lidia
    I agree that they are pathologizing normalcy, but there is a lot more going on than that. I believe poisoned diets, enviroment and toxic culture play a big role as well. I saw it with my nephew and his behavior. When my parents found out that my sister let the Dr put him on ADD medication they freaked out. They got her to stop, educated her and helped her make dietary changes. In addition they bought him a rec pass and paid for him to join soccer. It was struggle, but it worked. Kid is 19 and doing alright. Of course the culture is toxic to adults and kids alike and getting worse. Just one more purchase and you’ll be accepted and happy.

    suicide rates up since 2008 crash
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266181.php

    In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Mass consumerism became the dominate way of life around then.
    http://www.befrienders.org/suicide-statistics

    Now we throw climate change in the mix
    http://www.livescience.com/43024-mental-health-hurt-by-climate-change.html

    Add resource depletion, ocean acidification, 6th mass extinction, chemical pollutions, over population, Fukushima, increase in obesity, diabetes, cancer, addiction, etc and a fear mongering press (mostly about the least of our worries)and it’s a wonder that everyone isn’t depressed, anxious and unable to function. Shell shocked. Battle fatigue.

  • @ Maxwell

    There are numerous distortions of what Physicists actually believe in his piece.

    Fair point. But there is no consensus amongst physicists, is there. It would help if there were. Perhaps you’d like to give us your personal beliefs.

    I fail to see how this applies to a real, hard-factual problem like Climate Change,

    Another good point. I don’t think it does. I think it’s just another option to evade responsibility… ‘It’s all a dream’.

    I also wonder how the native americans feel about the plastic shamanism aspect of having once again a piece of their culture, wetiko, co-opted, ripped of and exploited and sold in the market place by the culture that has already taken just about everything else that they had…

    I can’t speak for them, but strikes me, if I was one of them, I might be a bit sensitive about that.

  • Hey Shep…whaddya know ?
    How many cross-pollinators between Wafers and Doomers do you think we have here and at DAA ?
    Should we call ourselves Doofers ?
    Gotta run soon, but here’s a tune they might still play in your geographical market area, being an oldie originally sung by Marty Robbins.
    I play it every now and then to remind myself that when I get the 3rd MD confirming my 6-month terminal diagnosis, my bucket list is probably going to mutate from sky diving, scuba diving, and visiting the pyramids to less self-centered activities…you can imagine the revised general theme from the lyrics.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PQZPTmS-ZY

    Of course, if my ticket out of this plane entails diminished hand/eye coordination, maybe I’ll just have to resign myself to seeing a bunch of intemperately excellent music concerts…something to beef up my database before I surf for eternity on The Lake of Fire.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8p39Z-KQJY

    Y’all take care now…

  • infanttyrone,
    I was just thinking about Bill Hicks & the following video.
    …..

    Since my programming allows me to experience hatred,here’s an example:
    All those that follow the propaganda of “Be fruitful & multiply.” or think that they can breed & create Carbon Burners & Consumers who create Carbon Burners & Consumers who create Carbon Burners & Consumers & that there won’t be any consequences to their offspring might want to consider this.
    Start-1:10

    Let’s take a little ride.

    After that,I think I’ll check my EGO.Anyone else enjoy introspection?

  • To celebrate the First Day of Spring this year I decided to do something more than take off all my cloths and dance around our oak tree with an antler hat on my head.

    I can imagine that most of you cool people have already seen this. But for those who haven’t it can be quite a ride.

  • I read a very comprehensive debunking of THAT somewhere, Kirk, not by a pro-Christian, but by a historian who knew a lot about the real in-depth detail. It’s just not justifiable, it’s propaganda, as is all of Zeitgeist. My opinion this is much more solid. You’ve seen it before.

  • @ulfvugl

    Your comment about wetiko

    I came across that book recently too and had similar thoughts.
    It seems that it’s not enough to exploit and sell the so-called natural resources of indigenous people but we have to market and sell something they would probably be freely given to the interested: their spiritual (intellectual) property, to use a western phrase. How cynical is that? And a lot of people now have a cool name for their “shadow” or “pure evil”. But of course, shamanistic “heritage” is becoming ever so fashionable, so one must have words like wetiko to show off. It’s enough to make you cry.

  • Tom wants to know if I think this is funny: “NYTimes: Crisis underway at Fukushima plant, worker shortage — “Alcoholism is rampant” — Tepco base is selling the whiskey — Help wanted ad seeks employees “able to carry out a conversation” — Workers spray hose full of radioactive waste on themselves and others”

    It’s goddamn hilarious. The final act of mankind is in the Age of Slapstick. Watch as the hairless apes do tricks to amaze and delight you. See their funny antics! Die laughing. It’s the only way to go.

  • Thanks for the re-grounding, ulvfugl and for posting that reminder (again).

    One of my main malfunctions is that I often allow my cynicism to run wild and finding myself running over people roughshod. I would be happier if I were more humble.

    Tough place, this planet.

  • I must say, the chicks are definitely all right. What is it that (some) women seem to be able to move beyond the emotional state and finally see reality for what it really is? Rock on, ladies, good to see some are taking back control of the discussion.

    All energy and matter are rooted in physics; we as a species are no different than yeast, and meta-physically, similar to typhoons and other weather phenomena. Just because we developed certain cognitive skills to help communicate – done selfishly in order to gain additional scarce energy/food sources and thus survive, which in turn drove the development of society & IC, does not grant us either rationale or wisdom.

    It’s simply a ruse, a distortion that inevitability leads people who bought the lie to certain disappointment. If you weren’t born, you wouldn’t be able to know, to synthesize the information you’re receiving. Likewise, once you’re dead, the stimulus is no longer recorded.

    So the only difference – to you – is that you are personally alive and cognizant of what is occurring. But that doesn’t mean that you control the universe, or any of its bit players, including your fellow man.

    Once you understand our destiny was decided 10+ billion years ago, then it’s much easy to enjoy the luxury of observation.

  • Regarding the recent Michael Tobis article that allegedly debunks much of the evidence that Guy reports, first I want to insist that ALL speaking and writing has a bias based on the thinking and world-view of the author. This includes all articles published in the most prestigious scientific journals, it includes Guy McPherson’s writing and speaking, Michael Tobis’ writing, and it certainly includes mine. Keeping that fundamental principle in mind, I have the following thoughts.

    This comment relates to Michael Tobis’ March 13, 2014 “McPherson’s Evidence That Doom Doom Doom” article published at his Planet 3.0 blog (http://planet3.org/). At his blog, Tobis describes himself as “… always been interested in the interface between science and public policy. He holds a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences where he developed a 3-D ocean model on a custom computing platform. He has been involved in sustainability conversations on the internet since 1992, has been a web software developer since 2000, and has been posting sustainability articles on the web since 2007.” His Planet 3.0 site introduction states: “Honest, wide-ranging, scientifically informed conversation about sustainable technologies and cultures, toward a thriving future”. See here a link to his bio: http://sites.google.com/site/mtobis/ .

    If interested, note this regarding Tobis’ credentials:

    B.Sci.: Electrical Engineering Northwestern U. Tech. Institute, 1976
    M.Eng.: Systems/Computer Engineering Carleton U., 1984
    Ph.D.: Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences U Wis Madison 1996
    Postdocs: Argonne Lab department of Mathematics and Computer Science; University of Chicago department of Geophysical Sciences
    Intervening adventures: Manager of a web software team at Clotho Advanced Media LLC. Architect of a citywide permit tracking system for the City of Madison. management consultant. Author of a book on management intended for small teams and high-performance small businesses. A software gig at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics.

    With the following four, short paragraphs from the article, Tobis emphasizes that he is presumably a “real” planet scientist, while McPherson supposedly is not:

    “The Ph.D. impresses some people; those of us who have jumped that hurdle know that the population of Ph.D.’s is rich with brilliance, but also rich with charlatanry. Actually anyone who has a degree must have suspected. Remember some of your more bizarre professors?

    A doctorate really only proves you’re eccentric and dogged; whether you are actually talented or not remains to be seen. The proportion of talent among Ph.D.s is high, but it’s nowhere near 100%.

    So we must ask whether McPherson’s claim to be a scientist based on an actual grasp of what science is and how it is conducted, or (like certain other prominent professor-bloggers of our acquaintance) whether he has merely pro forma credentials?

    I say the latter.”

    Does Tobis not realize that as a Ph,D., himself, these statements about Ph.D.s apply as well to himself as to McPherson? Apparently not. (Or perhaps I have this wrong. Perhaps he actually did mean to state that he, Michael Tobis, has only pro forma credentials and qualifies as bizarre and a charlatan.)

    In his blog introduction, I wonder what he means by “…sustainable technologies and cultures, toward a thriving future”. If we operationally define “sustainable” as “A sustainable way of life is one that can survive for many thousands of years without diminishing the ecosystem.” as Richard Reese does in his book, What Is Sustainable, then in the long term only a level of technology that exists within the energy limits of daily sunlight plus Earth’s natural core energy meets this criterion. That means a Neolithic technology level. Something screams at me that, especially as a computer scientist, Tobis does NOT mean that with his statement, “…sustainable technologies and cultures, toward a thriving future”. I get a strong sense that, like so many, he falls into the technological utopian category. He appears to believe that “we’ve got technology and it will save us.” Meanwhile, computers fall very near the top of the list of ecologically UNsustainable technologies (along with agriculture, automobiles, nuclear power plants, cities, and industrial civilization in general). Draw your own conclusions about Tobis’ planet science credibility as compared with McPherson’s.

    Regarding the points he makes in his article that allegedly debunks the evidence that McPherson’s reports, this seems to me a classic example of reductionist scientific thinking–exactly the kind of thinking that has so strongly supported and largely created our present global warming and ecological catastrophe. Please don’t get me wrong. Reductionist science certainly has much power and many practical uses. On the other hand, its analytical approach remains narrow-focused and blind in comparison with more holistic scientific thinking. As a result, reductionist-thinking people often have great difficultly understanding those who have a much broader, more holistic world view. To an analytical, reductionist thinker Tobis’ “divide and conquer” argument in his Doom article probably seems quite compelling. From a more holistic and longer-term perspective, it does not.

  • A foretaste of what’s to come

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/09/us-syria-crisis-healthcare-idUSBREA280TP20140309

    Save the Children Describes Healthcare Disaster in Syria

  • Thanks b9k9. Women come in all different kinds just like men. I’m thinking of the Myers-Briggs types, a system of classification that makes the most sense to me. Plus of course this site attracts the cream of the crop :-).

    I can’t buy in to your reductionist mindset though. The Mystery is still there for me, even if it can be relegated to the realm of physics at some level. There are things that are beyond the comprehension of our conscious minds, even the functioning of our own bodies on a molecular level, or that of another species…
    How does it feel to be a caterpillar, go into chrysalis, and transform into a winged creature? The blade of science can cut and examine and try to figure it out on a certain level, but the mystery remains. My hands can play Chopin long forgotten by my conscious brain. Where is the memory? The presence of neurons is not limited to the brain.

    Maybe reducing everything to simple energy, matter and physics lessens the pain of comprehending all we are about to lose.

  • @B9K9
    You’re obviously surprised how (some) women can actually use their brains combining emotion and reason. Don’t be. You just don’t know the right ones. Reason (and science) alone are not enough. But as Wren says, we women (not chicks or girls) usually balance our reason with “emotion” or responses to mystery. I think that’s healthy and gives you true confidence. Otherwise everything is just reduced to information (knowledge), leaving out true experience and therefore relating and connecting. If you can’t FEEL that, you’re rally missing out.

  • Well, ladies, I’m not surprised in the least. After all, my wife is the Ivy leaguer, not me; I always introduce/refer to her as the smart one. However, even she will admit her gender frequently embarrasses, especially when they let emotions over-rule reason.

    Now, on an entirely different vein, why is that most (here) perceive the news of the gigantic coal farms in China as some kind of ominous horror, but would most likely smile to themselves if they saw a documentary on dung beetles rolling balls dungs for storage? Why is one ‘bad’ and the other ‘good’?

    And please don’t give me any of that “we should know better” nonsense. Try telling that to someone, anyone who is genetically programmed to search, acquire, store, consume food/energy and expend waste? And when I say programmed, I’m not referring to just H Sapiens or the cerebral cortex; what about our inner fish? Shit, how about our inner bacteria?

    Likewise, why doe the octopus with its innovative ‘hand’ tools used for manipulating their environment get an attaboy of admiration, while his distant genetic cousin is castigated for burning thousands of gallons of jet fuel while pursuing the limits of its own tool making abilities?

    As to either answer, my guess is that it’s due to some other kinds of deep seated biases. My suggestion for those who condemn man’s compulsion to push the limits of its environment until it dies off, just like all other species, is to view the human circus for exactly what it is: a chaotic, unplanned, unknowing journey with a beginning, middle and end.

    If you could just get past the anger, the shifting of blame, and just jump in and party till it’s over, you’d have a much better time of it.

  • Amazingly pure pedestrian mindset you have there k9, dealing with surfaces, attempting to provoke response. I find it boring.

  • Stumped by a 5th grade kid.

    We teach kids about bees and beekeeping at local schools, summer camps etc.
    So we’re giving a presentation about the different types of bees, the many jobs taken on by workers bees as they age, and how when the queen begins to falter, the bees will take a very young egg, and feed it nothing but royal jelly and make a new queen.
    Hand goes up, “How do the bees know which egg to make a new queen from?”
    One of the mysteries of the hive, was the only accurate answer, but the level of imagination that prompted the question was enough for many smiles

    We’ve told that story to a number of old beeks and they all laugh as to how that kid came up with such a insightful question.

    Fertile mind, a glimmer of chance.

    bkpr

  • Looks like the US Navy’s forecast about Arctic sea ice could hold some water.

    Some may like to promote the line that these folks have their heads screwed on cross-threaded; De Nile’s waters can be quite calming and soothing for the time being when there is no averting the chomp of the croc of reality.

    “The consequences of sea ice collapse would be devastating, as all the heat that previously went into transforming ice into water will be asbsorbed by even darker water, from where less sunlight will be reflected back into space. The danger is that further warming of the Arctic Ocean will trigger massive methane releases …”

  • @E.P. — just picking out the last post (I read from the bottom up, and lately don’t get very far), Morrison was the shaman of our generation, truly an indigenous soul born into an American Navy officer’s family, an innocent born into corrupt times, but poetically reflecting that corruption back at the culture that was about to go full tilt into as much of it as it could yet acquire.

    If humans were to respond, too late this time, to any appeal to their moribund survival instinct, it would have to be through a shamanic invocation, such as Morrison provided in his time, 40 years ago, and balanced precariously himself on the edge of survival, choosing at last to get out of Dodge, before things got really foul.

  • sustainable technologies and cultures, toward a thriving future

    Depleting energy flows will constrain the thriving by reducing the conversion of (natural) resources into usable product. Improved efficiency through technological progress might reduce energy needs and use – up to a point. But even those who should know just don’t seem to understand that technology is the means to the skilful control and manipulation of energy flows. Done in some cases with stone tools – directing energy flows originating in muscles, and in other cases with laptop computers – directing energy flows originating in some power plant elsewhere. In the first case, to change the configuration of flesh in an animal causing its death or reducing it to smaller chunks; in the latter case changing the configuration of electrical charges that carry information by their configurations.

    If we operationally define “sustainable”

    Sustainable without a numerical timeframe (x number of days, y number of millennia, etc.) for the sustainability is not even BS, it’s just bull farts. “many thousands of years” doesn’t cut the mustard; one has to specify an actual number, whether of years or femtoseconds.

    are beyond the comprehension of our conscious minds

    There may be configurations that perform cognitive roles outside any paradigm comparable the human mind. The underground mycelia of forest fungi “come to mind”: such mycelia extending over dozens of square miles are considered by some to be the world’s largest organisms. They are sensitive and react to stimuli in all five sensory modalities of humans, transfer nutrients from trees with a surplus to trees in need, kill off trees after they have produced a crop or two of seeds, etc. Signals are transmitted through the mycelial network, but in days to weeks compared to milliseconds in vertebrate neurones. The equivalent of a fleeting thought in that system might take a week.

    view the human circus for exactly what it is: a chaotic, unplanned, unknowing journey with a beginning, middle and end.

    Very good. Also, the one species that has defeated more limits to the expansion of its biomass (increase in total amount of human flesh on this planet) than any other species. But not all limits can be defeated. And the finiteness of the planet itself implies inviolable limits en route to infinity.

  • Bud Nye spot on about Tobis.

    He sounds like someone the bank calls up tells them they are out of money to which he adamantly exclaims, “I can’t be out of money, I still have checks!”

    Industrial civilization is out of time and money. Technology is like having lots of checks left.

    Technology needs time and money to back it up.

    The global banking mafia has no real time or money left, just fake claims on underlying assets, and many, many broken promises.

    Fossil fuel technology needs more time and money than the global economy can cough up.

    Tobis is an assclown. All hat and no cattle.

    His techno sustainability fantasies are powered by a gross incomprehension of ‘money’ and how it funds or doesn’t fund technology.

    Money funds energy extraction, fossil fuels prop up economies.

    The chicken and the egg.

    Which dies first?

    Tobis is incapable of big picture concepts like that.

    In a world of collapsing economies, there will be no techno fixes, that takes money.

    Money is confidence in the future. No confidence in tomorrow’s promises, all ‘money’ disappears in the blink of an eye.

  • @Bud Nye
    Your excellent comments lead me to think that maybe Tobis is experiencing a type of loss aversion regarding his long held positions. He would not be the first scientist or academic who refused to admit that things have changed.

  • Over the past 50 years a mysterious predator has been stalking and mutilating, on a global scale, tens of thousands of domestic and wild animals (as well as humans) with amazing precision that would challenge the most advanced medical facility. One poster casually attributes this phenomenon to “gratuitous sadism”; however, the facts clearly prove otherwise. Further, if humans are responsible, how is it that despite the best efforts of rancher posses, local, state, federal (FBI), and international law enforcement efforts not a single person has ever been convicted, much less arrested?

    This is all part of a program whose goals remain frighteningly unknown.

    By Richard Bonenfant, Ph.D.

    The subject of animal mutilations is distasteful if not repugnant to many of us. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would inflict such cruelty upon helpless creatures, especially those so dependent upon us for their existence. Yet, deliberate and premeditated assaults on both domestic and wild animals has been ongoing for nearly five decades. Tens of thousands of cases have been reported worldwide. Since livestock are the most common victims of these mutilations, farmers and ranchers have had to bear the financial brunt of these events. In addition, they have endured considerable anxiety over the nature of the mutilations inflicted upon their herds.

    A problem must first be defined before it can be analyzed, so this article will begin by reviewing the nature of physical evidence most often found in mutilated animals in the United States and England. Fortunately, this information has already been collected by a core of dedicated researchers over the past decades. For the record, it should be noted that their investigations have, for the most part, been carried out privately with little or no public support. What they have discovered through dedication and persistence can now be used to define the subject matter of this work. After their findings have been presented, a number of observations relevant to the methodology of animal mutilations will be discussed. Finally, I will conclude by attempting to offer a reason why these acts are being carried out, followed by a number of recommendations that could advance our understanding of the matter.

    Background:

    Although animal mutilations may be of prolonged historical duration [2], it first came to the public’s attention in the United States (U.S.) back in 1967. At that time a female horse named Lady was found dead on a ranch near Alamosa in southern Colorado. The unusual nature of Lady’s mutilation led investigative reporter Linda Moulton Howe [3], to publish an account of the incident. This brief excerpt describes her initial visit to the mutilation scene: A Horse Named Lady
    “The horse’s entire skull and long neck had been stripped of flesh and every organ in the horse’s chest had been surgically excised. Yet no blood could be found anywhere around the animal…And no tracks were evident.” [4]

    Her article about Lady’s mutilation had far reaching consequences. Its publication opened the floodgates to a host of similar reports that have continued unabated over the years. Not only were horses being mutilated, but so were other domestic animals like cattle, and sheep as well as a host of wild animals; deer, elk, bison and many more. Furthermore, animal mutilations were being found in a number of different regions throughout the world. An estimate of the numbers involved has proven difficult to make because many of these mutilations were never formally reported. However, knowledgeable estimates now place the number in the tens of thousands.

    Hallmarks of Animal Mutilations:

    One of the principal hallmarks of these mutilations is the complete absence of blood in the animal’s carcass or at the mutilation site. Strangely, these animals have almost always been completely drained of blood. Another peculiarity is that tracks or footprints are never found around the animal’s body, even when weather conditions like rain, frost or snow would have favored their presence; no footprints, tire tacks, signs of a struggle – nothing at all.These mutilations also bear a remarkable similarity to one another. Perhaps one of their most notable characteristics is commonly referred to as a “jaw swipe.” This term refers to a condition whereby one or both sides of the animal’s jaw are stripped of all tissue right down to the bare bone. For some unknown reason this often occurs on the left side of the animals face but not always. The right side is occasionally stripped in this way. Less frequently both sides of the jaw are removed. Also immediately evident are the removal of one or both eyes and ears. Not so obvious, but visible upon inspection of the animal’s oral cavity, is the complete absence of a tongue. The organ has usually been excised from deep within the throat. One other common mutilation is the removal of external genitalia including a bull’s penis and scrotum, or a cow’s udder. These organs are also found to have been cleanly excised from the carcass.
    Examination of the animal’s hind quarters often show evidence of “anal coring,” a procedure whereby the anus is cored out to a depth of several inches and used as a portal for extraction of the animals rectum. Other circular or teardrop shaped orifices cut into the torso also appear to be used for removal of organ systems located within the body cavity. Such a feat is impossible to carry out through such small openings, but most of the mutilated animal’s viscera are usually missing. Forensic examination of the incisions used for extraction reveal that they appear to be made by a laser-like instrument. The incisions are clean, precise and carefully executed. A Denver pathologist named John Henry Altshuler, M.D. [5] examined Lady’s carcass a few days after her body was found. According to testimony provided years later, Dr. Altshuler stated: “When I got to the horse, I could see that it was cut from the neck down to the base of the chest in a vertical, clean incision. At the edge of the cut, there was a darkened color as if the flesh had been opened and cauterized with a surgical cauterizing blade. The outer edges of the cut skin were firm, almost as if they had been cauterized with a modern day laser. But there was no surgical laser technology like that in 1967…. I cut tissue samples from the hard, darker edge. Later, I viewed the tissue under a microscope. At the cell level, there was discoloration and destruction consistent with changes caused by burning. …Then inside the horse’s chest, I remember the lack of organs. Whoever did the cutting took the horse’s heart, lungs and thyroid. The mediastinum (central chest compartment for organs) was completely empty – and dry. How do you get the heart out without blood? It was an incredible dissection of organs without any evidence of blood.” [6]
    Other veterinarian examiners remark that the borders of portal incisions show small serrated edges similar in appearance to those produced by a tailor’s pinking shears. Investigators often referred to this characteristic as a “cookie cutter” incision.

    Bodies ‘Dropped From Above:

    In addition to the actual mutilations, other attributes are frequently associated with the animal mutilations. For example, in some cases the ground beneath a carcass is slightly depressed suggesting that the animal was dropped from a great height. Consistent with this impression, their carcass’s are sometimes twisted in unnatural shapes that become frozen by rigor mortis. Necropsies of these cases show major fractures of the animals limbs and ribs which are consistent with impact trauma. Furthermore, when these cases are found in wooded areas, branches of nearby trees are found broken or bent in way that would imply that the animal’s body was dropped to the ground.
    This brings to up another unexplained phenomenon. For years power and telephone companies have on occasion found carcasses of deer and other large animals inexplicably entangled in their lines. Often their bodies are suspended at great heights above the ground and require considerable effort to remove. What is not clear is how they became lodged there in the first place. Until now, these findings have been attributed to committed pranksters. However, animal mutilation cases suggest these carcasses may have been dropped onto the lines from above. It would be informative to examine the bodies of these suspended animals to see if they show any classic signs of cattle mutilation.

    Then there is the factor known as “carcass avoidance.” Dr. George E. Onet, a doctor of veterinary microbiology and cattle mutilation investigator, has claimed that mutilated cattle are avoided by large scavengers “such as coyotes, wolves, foxes, dogs, skunks, badgers, and bobcats” for several days after its death. Similarly, domestic animals are also reported to be ‘visibly agitated’ and ‘fearful’ of the carcass.” [7] Dr. Onet’s claim is supported by numerous anecdotal reports gathered from cattlemen about their mutilated stock.

    I am unaware of any significant statistical data relating to animal mutilation cases other than a finding reported by Dr. Howard Burgess [8]. His data showed that nearly 90 percent of mutilated cattle brought to his attention were between four and five years of age. Since the average longevity of cattle is between 15 and 25 years, it would appear that their mutilators have bias towards the selection of younger bovines. One cannot help but wonder why they seek this particular age group.

    Associated with Extraterrestrial Activity:

    By process of elimination, the extraterrestrial hypothesis remains the most probable cause of animal mutilations. Ranchers who have lost cattle, horses, or even bison have unanimously concluded that the events are UFO related. In support of their opinion are numerous reports of strange nocturnal lights; spheres that glow in many different colors, then divide, merge and release both smaller spheres or beams of light into the countryside at night. The bodies of mutilated animals are often found in the vicinity of this activity shortly thereafter.

    Also supporting this conclusion, is the fact that no tracks of any kind are ever found at the carcass site. Therefore, it’s conceivable that a hovering craft of some kind is used to capture targeted animals and remove them to a different location. Discolored circular patches of soil ranging from 25 to 35 feet in diameter are occasionally found near the remains of mutilated animals. Often these patches remain sterile for years after they are found. And on a few occasions, triangular depressions in the ground have been observed as well. These signs could represent UFO landing traces.

  • @Bud Nye

    You’ve said it in one: If you’re a reductionist thinker, you’ll never be able to get into the mind of a person that is not. But scientific reductionism dominates every aspect of our culture, and finding “solutions” to “problems” is dogma. But as you say so well, it is like all utopian ideologies, including mankind’s latest, modern and future technology, just another secular faith. There you have it. Tobis is even arrogant enough to propose that “doomers” like us are poisoning the minds of people who could otherwise be rallied to the cause of technological salvation and positive thoughts. (Not a quote but the message I got from his writing.) He can’t understand how we “doomers” get up in the morning. To me, that just shows how very little “real understanding” he has.

  • Dear Carolyn

    You know that I do not fully agree with your point of view.
    I respect your efforts, as a remedy against a truth that most people are not able to face. Just because they(we) do not have the guts to accept the damage they (we) have already done, to face the mess they (we) are causing. Again, a selfish remedy.
    I feel that you are only covering our present situation, but not offering any meditation about how to avoid the same situation in the future. No lessons.
    Lessons are our only valuable legacy. The rest is just being selfish, and how to deal with our present situation. Again and again, all about ourselves. A practice that has taken to where we are today, a practice that we keep on doing.

    It does not make sense to have “love and care for humans”. We do not deserve that treatment, we are supposed to be “superior”, as a matter of fact, we are. Certainly we are on top of the food chain. We should be responsible for our own mess. We should, we must be able to deal with our own mess. We have had more that 100 years to learn how to live in peace with nature. Enough time I guess. But we have failed. We have got an E-, and still want mercy?

    We have to forget about saving ourselves.
    But that does not relieve us from a responsibility with the future, with our children, our descendants. Something we have not done so far. Even after more than 20 years of the message given by Severn Suzuki in Rio Summit 1992.
    We have to give them some basic guides on how NOT to follow the same path. We are already dead, we do not have a future, but they may have some chance. If they follow the same path, they will end the same way as we are today.
    What are we doing for the youngsters?

  • I’ve posted a new essay based on my trip to Winnipeg about six weeks ago. It’s here.

  • “How do the bees know which egg to make a new queen from?”

    One of the mysteries of the hive, was the only accurate answer,

    Wouldn’t the answer be: “They don’t know… whichever egg they feed the royal jelly to becomes the Queen.”?

    Self-organizing systems.

  • Benton Ramsey, son of Bo.

  • That is indeed a moving clip of the penguin mother…..