Mort White Interview

McPherson was interviewed on the radio by Mort White for The Magic Garden on 14 June 2014. Link is here.

If you’re looking for a reason to practice kindness, consider this: It’s been a year and a day since the Best Dog Ever died. Her obituary appeared in this space a year ago.

Comments 32

  • From a comment on the preceding post:
    Radio New Zealand Natiomal Originally aired on Nine To Noon, Thursday 19 June 2014

    World-renowned primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall

    Unfortunately the Brooklyn College Radio webpage for online streaming requires Adobe Flash.
    For those with IOS (which does not support Adobe Flash) and Android (which is no longer supported by Adobe Flash) the alternative is the TuneIn Radio site or the TuneIn Radio app:

    WBCR Brooklyn College Radio, Brooklyn, NY for the live stream online.

  • One of the National Socialist Party Program planks was to abolish interest:

    11. That all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished.

    Breaking the Bondage of Interest

  • Breaking news:

    Big Bang breakthrough team allows they may be wrong

    [couple quotes]

    In a summary, the team said their models “are not sufficiently constrained by external public data to exclude the possibility of dust emission bright enough to explain the entire excess signal,” as stated by other scientists who questioned their conclusion.

    He said the question will likely be settled in the coming months when another, competing group, working with the European Space Agency’s Planck telescope, publishes its results.

    [and concludes (you’re gonna love this)]

    “I think in retrospect, they should have been more careful about making a big announcement,” he said.

    laughing hysterically – i’ll be back after I clean up.

  • Thanks, RE. Wanted to comment before getting beyond maintenance, which interests me a lot.

    That Packard plant. If asked for my definition of heaven, it would be a place like that. It could create the greatest near term community imaginable. Roof gardens, cellars, bunkers, community industry, windows for lighting hydroponics, theatres, solar banks, schools (although I hate schools)…

    Ouch! You didn’t have to hit me so hard! But thanks anyway for jolting me out my reverie. Yes, yes, I know. The sensible people who know what’s best would never entertain such fantasies. On a point of order, they’ll demand that I be quiet while they legislate which bidder will get the demolition contract, and which public funds diverted to pay for the landfill fees, and the legal fees to indemnify the work, and all the serious stuff, and all the points of order, and all the documents, and all the other legal stuff…

    OK, I’m through now.

  • This kind of examination of the reality behind the US dollar reserve system was in vogue back in ’07-08. Mish, Denninger, Bageant, ZH, et al were essentially exploring new ground with the advent of the first cracks in the hologram.

    I guess it may be important to periodically cycle back and review the core essentials for others arriving later. However, there is also a market for those interested in where we’re going, and how this sh!tstorm is going to play out in real time once the party gets going.

  • @ apneaman

    Thanks so much for the link to J.A. Thomas Jr.’s 1 hr, 10 min presentation “The Neurophysiology of Religion and Spiritual Practice”( I think that he makes many important points. Related to this, I think that we probably have important psychological in-group/out-group mechanisms that tend to work against us on these blogs. To paraphrase Thomas Jr. We are biased to make in-group/out-group distinctions, and these distinctions help over-ride some of our inherent inhibitions about killing by dehumanizing the other. We turn on a mechanism in our brains originally designed for use in killing prey animals when we label out-group others.

    Of course, killing is not an issue here, but we function on an important VIOLENCE CONTINUUM. This comes closer to quoting him more exactly: “These religious rituals enhance BOTH cooperation AND in-group bias. We are biased to make in-group/out-group distinctions. And they help over-ride some of our inherent inhibitions about killing by dehumanizing the other. We turn on a mechanism in our brains originally designed for prey animals when we label the out-group others.” A related exact quote: “One of the social functions of religion was to commit men to war.”

    My point? If we want to communicate effectively with each other, we need to remain aware of this bias and use great care in what we write and say to each other, and how we write and say it.

  • “This kind of examination of the reality behind the US dollar reserve system was in vogue back in ’07-08. Mish, Denninger, Bageant, ZH, et al were essentially exploring new ground with the advent of the first cracks in the hologram.”-B9K9

    Denninger & Mish both think Capitalism is PRODUCTIVE. They never refer to the Waste Based nature of the economy. Besides that, neither one to my knowledge ever looked at the thermodynamic aspect of money controlling the dissipation of energy. If you have a link to an article from either of them on this topic please drop it down here. Joe Bageant certainly never looked at this, and the Tyler Durdens STILL think Gold would solve all problems.

    On other topics, great discussion with Gail Tverberg of Our Finite World and Ugo Bardi of Resource Limits at the Collapse Cafe. We discuss NTHE in the second half of the Vidcast.


  • Ya, financial overshoot is not a good sign, not good at all. That’s like providing a tumor with lots of growth hormone while cutting back on its glucose. Growth was good, but now we fight for the remaining glucose and become necrotic, poisoning the body even further. The fact that cells and organisms eat each other seems to indicate a lack of cooperation within the ecosystem body, but this is just a moral artifact of the human mind. We eat each other, we shape each other over time, we’re co-dependent. And then here comes man, going to make the great escape from all that death and “shaping” by using technology to destroy, enslave, and consume the agents that birthed him. And now we’re reaching the end of the cell line and we didn’t live forever and we didn’t grow forever. What a downer. But it always ends this way for a fast malignancy, doesn’t it? Honestly, the bankers and politicians did a superb job of promoting our growth and now they don’t know what the f%*k to do as the ecosystem falls apart and the tumors begin their fight for the last remaining glucose. Nothing left to do now but double down on your holdings of General Dynamics, Northrop-Grumman, Jiffy popcorn, pay your cable bill and watch the sh!t fly.

  • Some folks like to look back in time to compare what is happening with events of the past. Let’s not forget that over the past 4,500 million years of life on earth, there never once was an industrial civilization until now. The dinosaurs lasted 200 million years. We lasted about 200. They were good at eating each other but they didn’t destroy their environment. They didn’t burn stuff.

    With this overview in mind, extinction is certainly more reasonable than not.

  • “The dinosaurs lasted 200 million years. We lasted about 200.”

    200: Industrial civilisation
    200,000: Homo sapiens sapiens
    400,000: Homo sapiens neanderthalis
    2,000,000: Homo (genus)

    “They were good at eating each other”

    We are not too shabby either, if we consider bushmeat, that includes primates, the same order as us. Dinosauria are deemed a superorder, with two orders, the Saurischia and the Ornithischia. Generally, Ornithischians were lunch for the Saurischians. And now lunch for us is KFC, from a Saurischian lineage (in spite of the Ornith- prefix for the other group).

    And in fact we might be one better than the dinosaurs.

  • Happy (or sad) summer solstice to all. I find it sad myself, but am VERY aware of it. :-)

  • QUESTION: Does anyone think that a dog’s kidney knows that it is a dog’s kidney, or, is it just doing what kidneys do?
    I’m guessing we are like the dog’s kidney. We have no idea what the fuck we are here for. We just do what we do.
    Yeah, you might say we are “smarter” than that organ. Are we?
    Are we “smarter” than a bug?
    Before the bug—WE DIE.

  • Mt

    My question of always is, the purpose issue, mainly regarding humans, as the other creatures have clearly a purpose. In essence, to keep the system running.
    In a piece of machinery, the parts do not need to know that they do something. Not even to know that they are part of something else.
    Most creatures on earth are like a part of a big machine. The biosphere. They are very special pieces as they repair themselves, and they can reproduce by themselves. A fully automatic system. With another great quality, they can perfectly run on solar energy, as that is all the system needs to run.
    But humans are different.
    We can think.
    We can understand that we have a role. If we want to, if we try.
    The point there is that most of us is not trying.
    It can be clearly seen that most humans have chosen for the easy way, just to abuse of our power above the other creatures, and mostly just live to “enjoy”.
    It is easier to say that a bug may be “smarter”, and use it as an excuse to keep on being as we are today, instead of the effort of understanding that we are in reality “smarter”, but that implies a task and knowing that we cannot do just what we want, and abandon the concept of living to just enjoy. And destroy. In the end the damage will be charged to the next generation.
    Most people today live a life with absolutely no purpose at all.
    As RE says, just to produce waste, something that nature does not.
    But we can change, we have the power. We, contrary to most creatures, can play a role that we can choose. It can be a bad role, or a good one.
    Evil, destruction is always the easy way.
    We all know that the easy way never leads to a good thing.
    If we compare the human learning process on how to handle our power properly, with our personal development along our life, we are still in the 15-20 years range. As kids of that age can do everything an adult can do, but they are immature, and totally focused on themselves, there is no such thing as “others”, but just to serve themselves.
    Even the enlightenment is an intermediate stage, because it does not serve a purpose on itself. It is a state that mainly allow us to understand our power, and somehow handle it with care, to avoid the abuse. Once reached that state, comes the time to understand the purpose issue. Why we are here. Why we were created. What for.
    It is my belief that our purpose is to create things, things that enrich the system. We have the capacity, we have the power, but the learning process may take a long time, longer that we would like it to be.
    We are smarter, the smartest creature on earth, but as any gift, we have to learn how to use the gift, to avoid the abuse and take advantage of the gift.

  • @ Bud Nye, Apneaman

    Thanks so much for the link to J.A. Thomas Jr.’s 1 hr, 10 min presentation…etc

    Are you conscious of how that way of viewing ourselves deprives us of our humanity and objectifies us, in much the same way as Datta’s ‘meat robots’ does ?

    and then we get Godofredo Aravena, same thing, it’s all a big machine, we’re cogs, we need to be smarter cogs, blahblah.

    That’s what got us into this mess. Cartesian mechanistic thinking.

    Damming rivers to make dynamos to light up city streets with flashing neon signs telling oirsleves how smart we are ‘enriching the fucking system’.

  • @ulvfugl

    The problem I see with the Cartesian/Baconian/Newtonian thinking that you emphasize so well does not so much involve its “mechanistic” characteristics as much as its way over-simplified, closed system, linear, reductionist, presumably reversible mechanistic assumptions, along with the related thinking and valuing. Meanwhile, both the “living” and “non-living” world (a distracting, false dichotomy, in my view) work based on vastly more complex, irreversible, open system mechanisms. To say this in different words, I think that the problems come not from the general concept or model of “mechanisms”, but from the relative validity of the mechanisms, the models, that people assume operate. A relevant question, I think, looks like this: To what extent does the mechanism modeled overlap with or accurately represent the reality outside of our heads, especially regarding LIFE? As you point out, the Cartesian model obviously does work well enough for many sharply limited/defined and simple situations, even many complicated situations (such as safely sending a person to the moon and back). But as Schrodinger, Prigogine, Lotka, and many others have made clear, that Cartesian/Newtonian level of mechanism most certainly does NOT work well for describing the COMPLEX open, biosphere, life, and climate. Yes, “it is all ‘just physics'”. But it is NOT all Newtonian, closed system, reversible, linear, predictable physics! (Related to this, no natural process is reversible. We know of no exception to the second law of thermodynamics, which describes the principle that energy always dissipates to a point that does not allow for work.) Yet again in still fewer words: The problem lies not with “mechanism”, but the KIND and nature of mechanism we assume. We have created our self-annihilation trap out of ignorance of the complex mechanisms. Or so it seems to me.

  • @ Bud Nye

    Thanks. Yes, I understand all that. But my point is slightly different one. That we are – or, imo, should be – human beings first. That’s before any type of analytic, intellectual thought.

    Because what happens is, that we immediately get reduced and devalued, by the language.

    Humans do this to animals. I’m sure you’re familiar with examples where corporations see forests as ‘assets’ which can be ‘liquidated’.

    Science, since Bacon, Descarte, Newton, has had this project based on the observer and the observed, where all subjective emotional human response is meant to be excluded, with a view to gaining something called objectivity.

    But then we, in the name of something called ‘reason’, ‘rationality’, turn that spotlight around and focus it on ourselves, and de-humanize ourselves and claim this is somehow virtuous and an advance and to be admired.

    For me, it’s a disaster, it’s grotesque and awful.

  • @ulvfugl

    I agree completely and enthusiastically, and I see those as issues different from the use of the term “mechanism”. IF we assumed COMPLEX, unpredictable, irreversible mechanisms, I maintain that we would not think and value in the ways that you describe so well here.

  • A purpose for human existence was postulated by George Carlin; the Earth wanted plastic but was unable to generate it directly; the Earth was able to generate humans via the process of evolution, and humans have generated plastic. Now that the Earth has all the plastic it can cope with our job is done and it’s time for us to leave.

  • fine essay, RE. as usual, u must have put a lot of work/care into the composition.

    seeing’s how it’s the 6th anniversary of the great carlin’s demise, how about a doubleheader:

  • Thanks TVT.

    This one took a while, between figuring out the diagrams then writing the text to go with them, and the really time consuming part, adding all the Graphics, Media and appropriate quotations I like to add to an article to spruce it up.

    I’m probably not going to submit Part IV to Guy for NBL publication, but it is up on the Diner and on TBP. I have another one The Emperor is Naked up now which I will submit here. Guy has a pretty long queue for publication, so sometimes you gotta drop out things because they are dated.


  • garden looks good
    good night

  • Ulvfugl

    Science, Bacon, Descartes and Newton are part of the learning curve of our species. But they are a preliminary stage.
    About the human response, that is what we know “so far”.
    The failures in our language are because we are still in some way too primitive. But we can learn, as we have done in many respects so far, who says that this is the end of the road?.
    I mean that today we give to many concepts the quality of a dogma. Just because of our lack of knowledge and understanding.
    We are up to the moment cogs, because we have been unable to leave that state. But we can become not cogs, but the architects of the system. We were created in the image of God, that means that we can become God in a certain way. We are God in a very-very preliminary stage. It is just that we haven´t understood our power yet.
    As long as we think that we are meant to be cogs, we will keep on being them. As simple as that.
    Climate Change is also part of our learning curve. So the need for some people to survive. The need.
    We in general are at a very low level of knowledge, specially about us, and our capacities.
    We have to stop pretending that one human life is enough, because, we die, and take most of our valuable individual experiences to the grave. And nothing, or little, is kept to be used by the next generations.
    This is the reason why I defend so much the reason to have children. Independent of the population bomb, because, the problem we created by our ignorance, is not a reason to avoid acting in a logical way in some moment, even being late. With a long term purpose.

    Most people live a life with no useful purpose for the “enlightenment” of our species. Just thinking in themselves, for themselves. A clear shot of how far we are from being wise yet.
    Because, “wise” means a lot more than what it seems at first sight. It has a quite ample width.


    I like George Carlin, his words are a lot more profound than what they seem at first sight. About our purpose, taken in a long and constructive way, there is a lot to be said yet, specially thinking in a long term scale. We have to question everything, even God and Darwin, and the rest…. Hopefully along the way, we will be able to understand our reason to be here, and our limits.

  • Guy your’re a Cantankerous old Fuck you know that!!!

  • Godofredo.

    I used to think there was some purpose to it all and that correct actions would ultimately lead to improvements in understanding and a better world in general.

    I now understand that humanity has staggered from one crisis to the next and replaced one misconception with another on a more-or-less continuous basis, especially since homo sapiens out-competed Neanderthals between 20,000 and 30,000 years ago.

    Don’t you just love the idea of everything being made up of four elements, the Earth being at the centre of everything, being able to turn base metals into gold, mermaids and sea monsters, ‘dragons be here’, phlogiston, miasma, reincarnation etc.

    Nowadays the cult ideas are centred around infinite growth on a finite planet, debts and deficits don’t matter, possession maketh the man, greed is good (still in vogue, I believe), watching sport on a screen is a valid method of displaying patriotism (especially if accompanied by the consumption of brand-name alcohol), technology can solve every problem technology creates -and if it doesn’t, the magic man in the sky will fix everything anyway (but only after we have thoroughly trashed everything). Other equally absurd notions centred on ‘freedom is slavery’, ‘ignorance is strength’ and ‘war is peace’ etc. continue to hold sway.

    The country I live in has a self-serving, compulsive liar who orchestrates looting and polluting of the commons as ‘leader’. The mayor of the district is now known as ‘Judas’ or ‘The Smiling Assassin for NP’ because he has back-tracked on everything he said before being elected (9 months ago) and now busies himself destroying his own children’s future, as well as everyone else’s, and lies more or less continually.

    A while ago the government established a program called ‘Enviroschools’. I was shocked to see the cover of the 2012-2013 progress report. Would you like to guess the colour? Green, with lots of brightly-coloured butterflies? Blue, with dolphins leaping out the water? No, black. Black all over, with a tiny bit of coloured text and a minuscule rainbow. 98% black for our children. That’s how sick NZ society has been made by the psychotic sociopaths at the top. (John Key is pushing for a change in NZ’s flag to black, and will probably get his way, since he represents the interests of the international psychotic sociopaths who run the world.

    What we do not have yet is fighting in the streets and literal assassination squads. Presumably Shonkey and company have plans for such things since they fully support Obomber’s destabilisation of Ukraine and Iraq-Syria and will support Obomber whatever Obomber suggests. Secret deals to internationalise all financial systems and place them under the control of corporations: “I’m comfortable with that,” says John Key. Drone attacks on civilians? “I’m comfortable with that.” says John Key. Nuclear war? “I’m comfortable with that,” says John Key.

  • Tweet-tweet
    I am
    I was
    A bird, a Bee
    Knows not it’s spreading pollen
    It does

  • I’ve posted a guest essay by Robin Datta. It’s here, and please note the links at the bottom of the page.

  • Very long. But it DOES deal with the purpose of life. :-)

    (I’m not sure why the numbers are so scrambled. I cut and pasted this from an email.)

    30 Jean-Paul Sartre Quotes For Your Next Existential Crisis

    By Alison Nastasi on Jun 21, 2014 11:17am

    Hated, revered, and sending people into an existential tizzy since 1940-something, Jean-Paul Sartre’s work remains crucial. Today would have been his 109th birthday. Intent on provoking us to “challenge every idea and every person,” Sartre’s assertions demanded we accept responsibility for our choices and our world, while embracing the inconceivable unknown. His devastating philosophies about being and nothingness continue to plunge people and their angst-ridden egos into the depths of an existential crisis. Mull these 30 quotes over the next time you’re contemplating the meaninglessness of it all, your place in this alien universe, and feeling trapped within the deeper recesses of your own psyche. After all, misery loves company.


    “I want to leave, to go somewhere where I should be really in my place, where I would fit in… but my place is nowhere; I am unwanted.”

    “Life has no meaning the moment you lose the illusion of being eternal.”

    “Anything, anything would be better than this agony of mind, this creeping pain that gnaws and fumbles and caresses one and never hurts quite enough.”

    “Hell is other people.”

    “We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are — that is the fact.”


    “Everything has been figured out, except how to live.”

    “Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness, and dies by chance.”

    “We must act out passion before we can feel it.”

    “Man is not the sum of what he has already, but rather the sum of what he does not yet have, of what he could have.”

    “Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.”

    sartre (1)

    “One is still what one is going to cease to be and already what one is going to become. One lives one’s death, one dies one’s life.”

    “God is absence. God is the solitude of man.”

    “Man is a useless passion.”

    “Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”

    “Nothingness haunts being.”


    “Life begins on the other side of despair.”

    “All human activities are equivalent… and… all are on principle doomed to failure.”

    “It is certain that we cannot escape anguish, for we are anguish.”

    “I know. I know that I shall never again meet anything or anybody who will inspire me with passion. You know, it’s quite a job starting to love somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment, in the very beginning, when you have to jump across a precipice: if you think about it you don’t do it. I know I’ll never jump again.”

    “Words are loaded pistols.”

    “I am no longer sure of anything. If I satiate my desires, I sin but I deliver myself from them; if I refuse to satisfy them, they infect the whole soul.”

    “One always dies too soon — or too late. And yet, life is there, finished: the line is drawn, and it must all be added up. You are nothing other than your life.”

    “Our responsibility is much greater than we might have supposed, because it involves all mankind.”

    “Like all dreamers, I mistook disenchantment for truth.”

    “Ah! How I hate the crimes of the new generation: they are dry and sterile as darnel.”


    “Time is too large, it can’t be filled up. Everything you plunge into it is stretched and disintegrates.”

    “To eat is to appropriate by destruction.”

    “Nothingness lies coiled at the heart of being like a worm.”

    “Don’t you feel the same way? When I cannot see myself, even though I touch myself, I wonder if I really exist.”

    “I exist, that is all, and I find it nauseating.”

  • Kevin

    Most of the time, being able to see beyond the rest does, is a heavy load to carry.
    Many times, I have wished to be a “normal” guy, just worried about sports, my job, and thinking in the next gadget to buy, just because there is a “new” one. To be just a cog, as Ulv says..
    But, it is impossible to un-see what you already have seen, and what it means.
    We as species, have lost the North. We are clearly going nowhere. We do not have a self control mechanism like for other creatures there is instinct coupled to other mechanisms that operate in nature, to correct the overpopulation, the most typical failure of equilibrium we find on nature.
    This crisis, climate change, peak oil, radioactive fallout, debt crisis, and of course over population will be solved, in a way up to the level of the danger of the cause. Almost a full clean up will be required, there is no other way. Everything can be re-made certainly.
    But, we as the origin of the crisis, should learn of it. We have to learn. The price will be so high, that not learning would be an enormous and stupid waste of energy, time, and experiences.
    My life has mainly one purpose now, to do whatever is within my range, to help to save some people. And keeping as many lessons as possible about our experiences available for any one that may survive. It does not matter if everybody is saying that there will be no survivors, instead of just waiting for the reaper, I prefer to do something, not for me, for somebody else that may survive.
    It is time for a new ethos, something that is relevant to me, and I am working on that, because the root for what we see today is the current ethos.

    I share with you the sadness (and rage) of seeing how this beautiful place is destroyed, and there is nothing we can do as individuals, but just watch, and suffer.
    Although, there is some hope, the next generations, the younger ones, less contaminated. Just a few individuals are needed.
    Not everything is lost, although most of our civilization is, but from another point of view, there is nothing that well worth to be kept, but the lessons on how to fuck up things at a planetary level. The lessons about how things should not be.


    I guess the way we see things are related to our time, and our experiences, and the cumulative experience of the society at the time you live.
    Sartre´s view, has to be seen, in that context. I disagree very much with his view, but I respect him, at his time, there were no other views to explain, or at least to provide a different way of seeing things. Today there are some ways to give answers to the questions of Sartre, that are so recent, that it can be understood that he did not have them at hand. Would this new concepts of life available at the time he wrote his words, he probably would have seen things in a radically different way.
    We cannot expect to solve everything in one life, not even having the genius of Sartre, several generations are going to be required. For example, I am part of a new generation, that is in position of providing a new perception of things, reasons, and purpose. And provide answers and different views to what Sartre was unable to do, but just to see everything dark.
    We have to question everything, is the only way to learn.
    We are prepared for that, we have the capacity.


  • @ Godolfredo,

    I would have some confidence in that new thing if it was humorous, especially if it could make (have made) Sartre smile. :-)

  • @Godolfredo

    I think I would agree that there is something called a whole that comprises smaller parts. What we tend to do in the West is to ignore the whole and focus on discreet parts. The way we deal with collapse is symptomatic of that. What I call the whole may be what you call the system. And family is baked into the cake of this wholeness. So is community. So is place. These are unifiers. But there may be vast numbers of unifiers beside them, and they all need to be used to bring people together in whatever way possible. All of this would be labeled under “impossible tasks.” Those who are happiest dealing with impossible things will have a field day now. The others, not so much.

    I believe some of my ancestors were ship people too, and I was born right by the sea. If you were a good stone thrower, you could probably hit the water from where I was born. I used to watch the ships go by along the horizon.

    There’s lot’s we should talk about. Is there a way we can communicate by email?