NTHE Question #1

In discovering the thesis of near-term human extinction last year and talking about it with my wife, she made this statement: “Maybe we deserve it.” That was pretty jaw-dropping to me, but then I thought about it for a while. For example, we watched “The Golden Dream” last night (it was originally titled, “La Jaula de Oro”). But pick your movie, people are often quite horrible. So allow me to imply a moral aspect to my question as compared to a dry cause-and-effect analysis. To wit: Do we deserve it?

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Due to an overwhelming number of submissions, essays in this space will appear at the top of the page for only two days. Essays will be intermixed with questions for discussion, of which today’s is the first. If you could ask a single question concerning near-term human extinction, knowing that everyone at NBL will ponder and then offer an opinion, what form would that question take? If you’re willing, please send your question to guy.r.mcpherson@gmail.com. It will be posted anonymously for commentary in place of an essay.

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McPherson’s forthcoming book is co-authored by Carolyn Baker. Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind has been submitted to the publisher and is scheduled for release by mid-September 2014.

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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, Anne Pyterek at Blue Bus Books, and by more than three dozen readers at Amazon.

Comments 131

  • No. However, that’s not to say that we don’t deserve it either. The question implies a fundamental (but universal) misunderstanding of the nature of life, and human life in the context of life generally.

    More generally, it implies a confusion of cause and effect. We routinely put the cart before the horse. Morality is a peculiarly human construct, but rather than driving our relationship to the environment and each other, it emerges from that relationship.

    How large groups of humans behave has little to do with morality and everything to do with their environment and the physical and social structures that we have already created. Humans appear to develop morality to justify actions that are made possible or necessary by the those two factors.

    So no, we don’t “deserve” NTHE. If it happens, it will come about as a result of changes to the world we live in, our evolved natures and the structures we have built around ourselves over the last 200,000 years. Each step of our development has been constrained by what choices are accessible to us, and which are inaccessible. The set of choices that fall into either category changes over time as we co-evolve with our world. That co-evolution changes the landscape of accessible choices.

    Those choices that would allow us to back out of the global predicament are currently inaccessible, both physically and culturally. So no, it’s not a moral issue. It’s simply the way things are.

  • Deserve, in the sense of intrinsic consequences. I think it was Edward Wilson who said, “Too bad intelligence arose in a species that happens to be a social carnivore. “

  • Whether we deserve extinction or not, it’s always been a guarantee. All species go extinct. Did the dinosaurs deserve to go extinct?

    Does this generation of HS deserve to go extinct? No more so or less so than any prior or succeeding generation of HS would, and it’s not carved in stone that this generation is the one that will be the last either. That is just your theory.

    Does anyone who is born deserve to die? Deserving or not, everybody dies, it’s an unavoidable outcome.

    RE

  • Well, as my mom used to say whenever anything bad would happen to someone – “well, that’ll teach ’em a lesson.”

    Nature has always been the toughest teacher because it gives you the test first, then teaches you the lesson. We dropped out of this environmentally-based school once we as a species hopped on the fossil fuel wagon to doom way back before even our great-great-grandparents were kids (the Industrial Revolution). No one of any power to do anything to alter this road off a cliff has done so all the way to here. It’s always been about energy (especially the CHEAP and easy to access kind, of which fossil fuels evolved from peat and whale-oil and the like) and excess energy is what drove civilization to the overpopulation trap.

    We deserve it for being ignorant (as in ignoring the evidence all around us all along the way – since before said Industrial Revolution). We deserve it for allowing greed (usury used to be a crime, now it’s common practice). The seven deadly sins were deadly because if everyone does them, civilization disappears eventually. “Eventually” has arrived and is now playing somewhere close to you. Whether it’s methane release, disease proliferation, radiation spewing throughout the biosphere, ocean acidification and heating, Arctic Sea ice melt, drought, flood, storms or war – some extension of one of the myriad factors that interrelate with climate change or fossil fuel use will now be coming home to roost in your neighborhood (before long). It all goes back to what we ourselves have continued unquestioningly to do to the planet so we could live lives of “ease.” Even though we were innocent to the extent that WE didn’t set up this series of living arrangements, the effects were the same on the biosphere. Our civilization causes irreversible chemical imbalances throughout the environment and it’s poisoning our habitat.

    Watching and living this slow motion (up to now) tracing of the exponential curve of climate change will sooner rather than too much later begin to drastically change our lives. Someone mentioned this a few days back saying they thought we’d reached the critical point when the curve begins to climb rapidly. With the results of the current expedition into the Arctic and Laptev Sea areas to measure methane, we’ll be able to determine this on some level.

    Here’s where they are now:

    http://www.swerus-c3.geo.su.se/index.php/oerjans-blog-leg-1/170-observing-and-investigating

    [conclusion]

    1) Our first observations of elevated methane levels, about ten times higher than in background seawater, were documented already as we climbed up the steep continental slope at stations in 500 and 250 m depth. This was somewhat of a surprise. While there has been much speculation of the vulnerability of regular marine hydrates (frozen methane formed due to high p and low T) along the Arctic rim, very few actual observations of methane releases due to collapsing Arctic upper slope marine hydrates have been made. ¨

    It has recently been documented that a tongue of relatively varm Atlantic water, with a core at depths of 200–600 m may have warmed up some in recent years. As this Atlantic water, the last remnants of the Gulf Stream, propagates eastward along the upper slope of the East Siberian margin, our SWERUS-C3 program is hypothesizing that this heating may lead to destabilization of upper portion of the slope methane hydrates. This may be what we now for the first time are observing.

    2) Using the mid-water sonar, we mapped out an area of several kilometers where bubbles were filling the water column from depths of 200 to 500 m. During the preceding 48 h we have performed station work in two areas on the shallow shelf with depths of 60-70m where we discovered over 100 new methane seep sites. SWERUS-C3 researchers have on earlier expeditions documented extensive venting of methane from the subsea system to the atmosphere over the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. On this Oden expedition we have gathered a strong team to assess these methane releases in greater detail than ever before to substantially improve our collective understanding of the methane sources and the functioning of the system. This is information that is crucial if we are to be able to provide scientific estimations of how these methane releases may develop in the future.

  • YES! NTHE has been caused by a few greedy souls. However, anyone with a soul (souls don’t exist) would have done the same thing given the slightest opportunity even though a few would have been exceptions. In our world, permanent justice does not exist for the majority of proles, therefore, to obtain it you have to sacrifice yourself. Let the NTHE begin! NOW!

    I plan on watching from my cave.

  • It depends on what you mean by “deserve”.
    Does Johnny “deserve” a cookie for cleaning his room?
    Did he “deserve that punch for his rude remark?
    Is it reward, or punishment?
    Both are linear results from action. A = B
    B is there whether there is an A or not.
    That is what I think.

  • We deserve it – but the other animals, plants, bugs, etc. do not.

  • Did you “deserve” to be born a human rather than a cockroach? Did you deserve to be on a planet in the Goldilocks zone? In this case there would be no carbon-based, DNA-coded life forms around in the first place without the Goldilocks zone, so the question becomes whether the life forms deserve to exist. These are all meaningless questions.

    Carried a step further. It means the absence of rancour and animosity.

    Paul Chefurka recognises this.

  • I think the issue is not so much about deserving, but about the reality of consequences. The notion of consequences pervades all wisdom traditions. If you do ABC, XYZ will follow. I don’t think nature operates on the principle of who deserves what. It does, however, respond to how it is treated by the beings in its environment. That said, it is my personal opinion that humanity is rapidly losing its right to be here.

  • Addendum: Let me clarify my previous comment. I did not mean that humans have a “right” to be here and others do not. It is an incomprehensible privilege to be alive on this planet; however, humans are rapidly losing their privilege and tragically taking away that privilege from all other life forms that inhabit the Earth.

  • Some of us definitely deserve it, but not necessarilyb in direct relation to it. To me those who have steadfastly refused to consider anything but their own interests deserve the shock they are going to get. I think those of us who understand what is happening, to the extent that we are able to understand it, will suffer less for having made some peace with it. As for the rest, it had to happen sometime and I suppose now is as good a time as any.

  • Funny, that’s exactly what I was telling myself yesterday. We’re going to end up like the Africans that we made die from hunger for decades. And I said “All is well”.

  • There’s some noticeable disingenuousness n the persistent use of “we” in the topic at hand.

    Some of us who were raised in the developed world were early adopters of the evidence and made real and measurable changes to our lifestyles by 1) Minimizing impact 2) Remaining childless 3) Minimizing income(the ultimate taboo topic, it seems, as income directly linked to impact) 4) Most importantly– adopting strategies that measurably contribute to the systemic whole. It’s rarely discussed largely because our religious traditions define “good behavior” in the context of what one “doesn’t do”– and that’s certainly convenient– but the natural world always sees constructive behavior in the positive sense. Since all life has an inherently destructive element to it– the real key to “not deserving it”– or as I’d rather say “realize the inevitable consequences of certain choices”– is to focus on the “giving back” rather than the “taking.” Obviously the less one “takes” the easier it is to be in the positive column of the balance sheet.

    And whole lot of people were just born poor and didn’t have a lot to say in the matter. It’s hard to say they deserve it.

    As far as I’m concerned, those who accept the “evidence” about climate but not the obvious personal responsibility demanding personal action are still firmly “deniers.” There’s more elegant ways of evading that responsibility than others– Rush Limbaugh has his– around here buttering it all up in some “woe is me, it’s NTE” sort of faux acceptance and detachment pseudo-enlightenment is far more fashionable– but at the end of the day it all distills to the same basic flavor. . .but to the question itself? I guess I see it as yet another expression of entitlement and not worth answering. I can promise though that anyone who chooses to believe that the “end is nigh” and “nothing can be done about it” certainly has made the choice to lock themselves into a predestined future–maybe that that’s what “deserving” means?

  • We’ve got it comin’ to us exactly the same way that the reindeer on St. Matthew Island had it comin’ to them. That is to say, our species isn’t nearly as wise as our taxonomic label suggests, and we’ve just done what animals *do*: reproduce as many of our kind as we can until the food runs out, then die back to whatever level the changed environment requires.

  • To continue on that thought, then off to some constructive effort. . .

    There’s a lot of talk around here about “suicide” and all that, and in fact it does dominate the conversation at all levels recognized or not– as the ecocide we’re experiencing right now is the inevitable consequence of billions of semi-suicidal actions. It seems here that most here are planning to comfortably cruise off to that end in some way. . .I think there’s been some very ill-informed commentary around here about the issue of suicide in general. Being the undertakers kid allow me to present you with the straight dope about suicide having seen many. . The vast majority of people who choose “suicide” as an option regret the choice in their last moments. . .and the mess of that last ditch struggle for survival after the choice has been made and now desperately wants to be retracted is something the undertaker gets to mop up all the time. I would caution that the conservation here often has the level of maturity of the teenage girl that wants to drown herself in the bathtub over some unbearable tragedy– so be it. . .but we’re playing for keeps in this world. I think there are many who now might comfortably believe they can go to their end just “letting it be” as “we deserve it” who are going to be desperate in retracting their choice to go softly once they discover what the experience is really like.

    No condemnation– just a caution. No offense intended. I intend to stick it out. I don’t care if it’s irrational. The choice to live is inherently irrational–always. Even in the best of times.

  • Deserve? Probably not. Too charged with notions of original sin and moral judgment. But we definitely earned it. Whatever our underlying thermodynamic, biological, social, cultural, or merely selfish motivations may be, and there are many, once the prospect of limitations and diminished returns swung into view as early as the mid-19th century, we had the opportunity to reevaluate and redirect. Well, we did in fact reevaluate and redirect, but in response to different insights, which were mostly about making money (and the complex of values that flows from there). That entailed removal of all obstacles to growth and blithe, wanton pollution and destruction and until at last we done killt ourselves through a variety of means (and again, there are many). Turns out we have become, in the negative sense, the prime keystone species.

  • Have all humans behaved so egregiously (by who’s standards) that we all deserve to die on mass? I posit that the answer to that has to be a resounding “no”. As Carolyn points out that is not really the issue.

    If you’re ever unfortunate enough (or guilty of a crime) to find yourself on a penitentiary you might hear the phrase, “you did what you did and you got what you got” which I think is the correct analogue here. Not only what we did (upsetting the carbon balance in the atmosphere) but what we haven’t done once we became aware of our blunder (mitigate the process)

    So, from this point forward, if we still have the slightest possibility of mitigating the situation, if we do go extinct it will be our own fault. I still believe that if we, as a species, were to degrade the CH4 in the atmosphere, abandon fossil fuels as immediately as possible, find a way to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere and resort to a few other strategies we might avoid total extinction. Of course, that isn’t likely to happen so I remain resigned to extinction, deserved or not. Regardless, this whole thing reeks to high heaven, making a ‘dead skunk in the middle of the road’ seem pleasantly aromatic.

  • Absolutely none of our tools or information is necessary for human life except to enable temporary cancerous growth beyond the population naturally supported by the ecosystem. All it takes within the human body is for one out of trillions of cells to become malignant and evade detection by the immune system to start the disease process. We are that one cell (now many) and the ecosystem is almost completely defenseless against us and so we are in the process of killing the ecosystem. All of the business people and most of the citizens don’t believe they are a part of the ecosystem, they rather prefer to identify with the concrete and steel cancer that inexorably spreads into the tissues of the ecosystem that supplies them with endless bounty from the outside. Does a lung cancer patient deserve to die because they got hooked on cigarettes? Does a tumor inside a lung cancer patient deserve to die because its information mutated and spurred eternal exponential growth? We are cancer and the ecosystem complexity will not recover until we, and our tools, are gone. That also means the elimination of all of the more important tandem capabilities of the human mind – awareness, appreciation of time, learning and modeling. Too bad we couldn’t work out some symbiotic relationship, but humans are largely mindless automatons, puppets of their own renegade evolution. Do they deserve NTHE? Yes. But we aren’t really human any longer, we’re regulated and controlled components of an out-of-control complex adaptive system. A soulless growth devouring its own body.

  • I kind of think we do. When I was 19, I had what I thought was a conversation with God, lol. “God” told me there would be no money in the Kingdom of God on Earth. “God” also said we wouldn’t have to eat. Later in my studies I learned that god was logical (logos, John 1:1), not having to eat was not logical but abolishing money (with all the unnecessary, harmful, polluting jobs), laws and international boundaries was logical. I learned that Jesus and many others believed in eliminating money. (“Saint” Paul is illogical and ruined Christianity.)

    So, starting around 1975 I’d stand on street-corners with a sign telling everyone the Gospel of Eliminating Money. Only a few paid any attention.

    Early on I knew life as we’re living it was unsustainable: I read “Limits to Growth” and “Population Bomb” when those books first came out. I always thought I’d be one of the survivors when SHTF. As an experiment I lived on nothing but corn & soybeans, a pinch of salt and 125mg vitamin C for a whole year.

    I look forward to the end of this madness.

  • In my opinion, this seductively innocent-looking question leads quickly into some deep, critically important philosophical and psychological issues that often have major impacts on our emotions. Of course, the answer to the question depends on what “deserve” points to; any response depends on what definition we use for the word. Taken with its usual meaning, which points to some form of moral “worthiness”, or “worth”, I emphatically answer the question no, humans do not “deserve” extinction. But then, I do not think that ANYONE “deserves” ANYTHING.

    I think that the “worth game”, which the concept of “deserve” plays an important role in, always leads to hurtful results for the players. Any time we determine the moral worth of anything, it leads to negative results. How so? For just one of many possible examples, suppose that I judge myself as “worthy” and therefore “deserving” of x. Then, I will think and behave in ways associated with my having more “worth” than others presumably “less worthy” of x; I presumably “deserve” x while those “below” me on the worth/deserving scale supposedly do not. On the other hand, suppose that I judge myself as “unworthy” and therefore “undeserving” of x. Then I will think and behave in those “worthless” ways–perhaps even more hurtfully for myself than if I judged myself “worthy” and “deserving”. (These same principles apply when we use these moral worth and deservingness judgments regarding other people, things, and processes more generally, as well as regarding our own personal worth.)

    Some people resolve this worth game, this deserving game, by saying to themselves something to the effect of, “I am worthwhile (or deserve) just because I exist!” But notice how this remains entirely arbitrary. It makes just as much sense to say “I am worthless (or do not deserve anything) just because I exist!” Of course, many people refer to a set of rules presumably imposed by an infallible, unquestionable god somewhere “out there” to determine the relative worth and deservingness of various things and processes. Thus the religious hierarchal concept of “The Great Chain of Being”, for example. So, any way we play it, the worth game, the deserve game, usually leads to negative consequences for us individually and socially. Perhaps it always leads to negative consequences.

    Notice this critical point: In order to determine the worth, the deservingness, of anything, one would have to know EVERYTHING about all of the interconnections between all affected things and processes: a person would have to have a god-like omniscience about much, if not all, of the universe. But NO ONE has anywhere NEAR that kind of knowledge, that omniscience, regarding ANYTHING that happens, or any entity in the universe and it’s relative merits, “worth”, or “deservingness”!

    I think that the elegant solution to this worth, or deserving, game that so many of us so often play so enthusiastically involves recognizing its no-win nature, recognizing and accepting that NONE of us exist as an omniscient god having anywhere NEAR enough knowledge to determine the worthiness or deservingness of ANYTHING, and then SIMPLY NOT PLAY THE MORAL WORTH-JUDGEMENT (DESERVINGNESS) GAME–most especially regarding ourselves personally. All things and processes SHOULD exist simply because the DO exist, all of our grandiose, ignorance-based, usually religion-driven worth and deserving judgments about them notwithstanding. Much more effective ways exist for us to motivate others to make needed changes than playing the ever-destructive worth/deservingness game, and this probably holds doubly true concerning motivating ourSELVES.

  • Who is deserving of what is subjective to the individual pondering the scenario.

    When personally pondering the scenario of NTHE, and whether humanity [i]as a collective[/i] deserves its impending eradication or not, I feel that truly it does deserve it completely.

    Perhaps certain individuals do not… but the collective does.

    I come to this conclusion because, IMO, external reality is a perfect reflection of internal reality. What we see manifest in the society, is actually just the reflection of the collective internal “soul”, which is simply the average of all individual “souls”.

    Society is oppressive, deceptive, and really, cancerous, because on the inside, thats what the human collective is; oppressive, deceptive, and cancerous, and its manifesting externally as what we see now.

    Take hierarchy as an example. People generally dont like being ruled over, and say they shouldnt be ruled over. But it is made possible for them to be ruled over as a collective because as that collective, they themselves in their hearts wish they were the rulers. They dont want to be ruled over, true. But that doesnt mean they want equality. No, they want TO RULE themselves, and experience the illusion of power over others personally.

    People obviously usually see the above differently than I do. They like the play the victim, and deny they are responsible [i]in any way[/i] for their circumstances or societies. But to me, I see it very clearly; society is [b]exactly[/b] as humanity collectively want it to be.

    It really could be no other way.

  • Ok, the [i] and [b] obviously didnt work in the above, but Ive seen people italicize and bold things before here. Can someone enlighten me on how to do that?

    Thanks.

  • @into Destiny, I think the problem is that the square brackets work on the forum, while the blog requires angle brackets/greater-&less-than signs:

    test

  • We totally brought it on ourselves… and deserve NTHE.

    Humans have gone wrong, we are told that we are born into origional sin, but is more than eating an apple…our origional sin is civilization.

    The endgame of civilization is planet extinction.

    For all the scheming that Freemasons and Bonesmen do it will all be for nothing…control of the world is not possible, and the attempt is unforgivable.

    Civilization is when the collective of humans jump off a cliff together in order to marvel at their ability to fly on the way down.

    We deserve all nature can throw at us.

  • Yes, without question we are getting what we deserve.
    The planet needs to get rid of us as though we are a cancer.
    It will be much healthier without human life.

  • Paul C, Bud and Carolyn all expressed my opinion on this but there’s something I would like to add as a non-American:

    “Deserve” and “don’t deserve”, the way we use it now,is really quite modern. We use it mainly to make moral judgements on all sorts of things, but IMO ever since advertising has had an influence on almost everything we base our “lifestyle” on.
    When did this start? In the US in the 50s? Maybe a little later in Europe, especially in the non-English speaking countries. The concept of being deserving or not was not very familiar to me when I was a child in Germany in the 50s. So I don’t think humans as a species have used it quite as liberally as they do now.

    Maybe it also needs competition to feed on…

    Good Christians, of course, are very familiar with this concept,as it implies reward and punishment and therefore guilt, a favourite rod to beat them with. Christian values still inform so much of your life, whether you’re Christians or not. So this is all too familiar to you Americans, but not quite so to us here on the other side of the pond.

    Here,I think it’s advertising that has made “deserve” or “don’t deserve” something that people consider more and more. After all, you can sell anything to most people if you can convince them that they should buy the thing you’re selling as a reward for whatever they imagine they’ve done to deserve it.
    It’s a very clever strategy and maybe the most “important innovation” of American capitalism. Mad Men!

  • Do we deserve it?

    First, I agree with Bud Ney in that this little innocent question opens the doors of deep philosophical and psychological issues that often have major impacts on our emotions.

    And I also agree with the folks who suggest we must be certain of our definitions before an answer is possible.

    So, to avoid ducking the question :), I’ll answer in a campfire conversation sort of way.

    No – we don’t deserve it. Karma should ‘forgive’ us for we know not what we do.

  • IS Militants last week also overran Syria’s sprawling Division 17 military base in the northern Raqqa province, killing at least 85 soldiers inside. Amateur videos posted online by activists showed more than a dozen beheaded bodies in a busy square said to be in Raqqa. Some of the heads were placed on a nearby fence, where at least two headless bodies were crucified. The videos appeared genuine and corresponded to other AP reporting of the events.

    On Sunday, the militants seized the army’s Regiment 121 at Maylabieh in the northern Hassakeh province after a three-day battle.

    Beyond Syria, the Islamic State fighters have seized large swaths of land in northern and western Iraq and have declared a self-styled caliphate across territory straddling the Iraq-Syria border.

  • jaywfitz, sometimes teenagers have good reason to be depressed, so I take a bit of umbrage at the “teenage girl” comment.

    I’m not really a fan of trivializing others’ problems and their pain and anguish. That’s how we got here in the first place.

    Calling people children or teenagers because they don’t feel as happy or “calm” as you want them to be is not a very compassionate attitude, in my opinion.

  • Addendum:

    Of course, don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t argue that children or teenagers “suffer the most” or anything.

    But humans are pretty good at coming up with reasons why other people’s feelings don’t matter.

    “That person’s just a grouchy old man, who cares what he has to say! That person’s just an emotional teenager, who cares what she has to say! That person’s just a gun fanatic militia right-wing nut, who cares what he has to say! That person’s just a liberal hippie from California, who cares what she has to say! THOSE PEOPLE’S PROBLEMS ARE TRIVIAL AND IRRELEVANT, WHEN MINE ARE SO MUCH WOOOOOOOOOOOOORSE!”

    That’s what I think isn’t a good attitude, I hope this clears things up.

  • I hate the word “deserve.” I sometimes use it in a positive context, as, for example, in reference to an aging woman I know: She worked hard her whole life. She deserves to put her feet up now.

    But what if she’s suddenly saddled with a grandchild? Then I come up against the the negative use of the word. It’s always dicey. Did this woman do something to “deserve” hard work deep into her old age? Did she do such a lousy job raising the parent of her grandchild that she “deserves” this second burden? How can we possibly make this judgment about someone else?

    And what does the child deserve?

    Most of us with a conscience do the best we can. Those without one will be the last to die. They’re buying land in Argentina.

  • Thanks for the opportunity to clarify. That’s not my point at all.

    If one focuses on the complete sentence of “a teen age girl trying to drown herself in the bathtub” rather than the single element of the “teen age girl”– one discovers that my point isn’t about depression or grief at all– but rather narcissism. . .and using threat of harm against oneself as an attention grabbing technique or even a means of coercion. To try to drown yourself in the bathtub is a silly act that isn’t likely to go anywhere, like trying to hold your breath until you’re dead. The purpose of such stunts don’t have their origins in depression, or grief, or bad experiences, but rather raw entitled selfishness. I don’t claim to be privy to what other peoples emotional state are– as they’re obviously inaccessible. I do, however, thing it’s wholly reasonable to assume that people are in fact after something by their actions, or lack of, and feel I’m pretty entitled to feel I’ve got some sort of grip on their inner emotional state by observing what they do. Hence my suspicion that I’m seeing a lot more narcissism and evasion of responsibility than grief. And that’s the point really, as few of us have any first hand experience with deprivation and hardship– and I won’t be too surprised when attitudes change a bit once NTHE gets a lot more personal than it currently is.

    Thanks. I’m over my limit.

  • Just when I think I’ve learned as much as I can possibly absorb from all of the wonderful beings who frequent this oasis of truth,” do we deserve it ” comes along, I didn’t ask to be born, the result of a broken Jack Daniels seal and the raging hormones of an Army Private home on leave meeting a well groomed young woman sealed my fate. All that I am is the result of being born on a planet well underway into its sixth major extinction event, the rest is just details…

  • I find myself agreeing with Paul Chefurka in large part.

    But I do believe in karmic consequences for deliberate acts of evil on the part of individuals. And I believe that the bigger the evil, the greater the consequences.

    So there might be some particularly responsible people, in a position to have led the way out of this mess, who might have to work off a LOT of karma (perhaps in some parallel universe). After all, there was a time we might have been able to go a different way. There was plenty of evidence that we needed to do so, and it was ignored.

    But I only have my own karma to worry about. I don’t think I’m qualified to rule on anybody else. Insofar as I am responsible for what has transpired, I accept my karmic consequences.

    They say (whoever THEY are) that the Law of Wisdom supersedes the Law of Karma. At least I think I’ve gotten the lesson here, as I’ve said before. I hope that matters, but I don’t know for sure. I continue to work, as best I can, towards a more sustainable path. At this point, that falls into the category of doing the right thing, regardless…or maybe just locking the barn after the horse is gone.

    I know that I disagree with those who take pleasure in the schadenfraude of mankind getting what’s coming to us. I think that’s a gratuitous expression of their deep-seated anger. I mean, I can certainly understand why someone might feel that way, but it seems foolish to me, and serves nothing.

  • “Deserve” doesn’t seem to fit here, conscious without conscience is simply a terrible design flaw.

    We evolved brains able to alter the system of life but apparently unable to observe limits even after our intelligence understood them. Now we as a species stand in direct opposition to any meaningful organic evolution here. We’ve wrecked a few million years of evolutionary experimentation and we show no signs of stopping. We Need To Go.

  • Some yes, some no. In the yes camp, some more than others, some less than others. In the end it doesn’t matter to the Earth. The Earth was here long before us and will be here long after us. The sad part is taking down everything else with us in the short-term, as someone else wrote. That part is truly regrettable. In the long-term, some other apocalyptic event was going to happen anyway to wipe everything out – “On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”

    Generally speaking, we have been very foolish. Our incessant reliance upon technological innovation will be our undoing. We should have understood the risks sooner and done something to prevent the ecological disaster slowly unfolding before our eyes. C’est la vie. I’ll end on one of Guy’s favorite quotes from Lily Tomlin “It’s only going to get worse before it gets worse”.

  • Not to change the subject, but some of you might find this interesting

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/28/mystery-perseus-cluster-video_n_5627104.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

    This Mysterious Signal ‘Could Not Be Explained By Known Physics,’ Astronomers Say

    When astronomers detected a strange signal in a massive galaxy cluster millions of light years from Earth, they knew they had stumbled upon something big.

    “I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Esra Bulbul, of the Harvard Center for Astrophysics, said in a written statement. “What we found, at first glance, could not be explained by known physics.”

    Just check out the video above, released this week by Science@NASA, to learn more.

    [there’s more]

    Lots of fascinating stuff still going on. i’m sure we’ll miss much more once we’re done polluting ourselves to death.

  • Tom
    yes, the radiation, co2, acidification, plastics and more will remain long after our demise.

  • I did not ask to be born into a gigantic slave camp run by psychotic sociopaths who are largely descended from psychotic sociopaths and who have established a mass suicide cult.

    I did not deserve most of the things that happened in my life. The vast majority were a consequence of being born into a gigantic slave camp run by psychotic sociopaths for the benefit of psychotic sociopaths.

    Any attempt I make to extract myself or pull people out of the ‘matrix’ is vigorously opposed by psychotic sociopaths. Psychotic sociopaths ask me to endorse their psychotic, pathological behaviour, and attempt to tell me that psychotic, pathological omnicidal behaviour is good.

    Our intellectual torture chamber results from being well-informed, sentient humans living in a system in which being well-informed and sentient is a ‘crime’ and being an uninformed ‘zombie’ is rewarded.

    The mistake most of us [activists] made was to overestimate the capacity those around us have for rational thought.

    Do we (and most of the biosphere) deserve to be taken down with them because the people in control and those who allow them to remain in control are not capable of rational thought? I’ve beaten my head against such questions for years and find no answers.

    All I know is those in control will do their best to bring forward NTE whatever I say or do.

  • Might Makes Right

    The dominant human asserts;
    The submissive deals with the hurts:
    Most get good relief
    By maintaining belief
    In imaginary just desserts.

  • From the Daily Caller neocon site

    What’s Really Happening In Antarctica?

    Environmentalists and some climate scientists are now attributing much of Antarctica’s rapidly growing sea ice coverage to a processing error in the satellite data.

    The massive growth of Antarctica’s ice sheets has confounded scientists for years now, as global warming was expected to shrink the polar ice caps. But while the Arctic has shrank some, Antarctic sea ice coverage has broken hundreds of records this year alone. On July 25, the South Pole sea ice reached 436,681 square miles above the 1981 to 2010 average — the 127th daily record for the year.

    But a new study by scientists from NASA and Scripps Institution of Oceanography found that a processing error originating from a recalibration made to satellite readings made in 1991 resulted in an artificial jump in Antarctic sea ice extent that was not apparent until the data was reprocessed in 2007.

    This means that Antarctic sea ice coverage may have not been accelerating as fast as was previously thought, according to the study’s authors.

    “Here, we show that much of the increase in the reported trend occurred due to the previously undocumented effect of a change in the way the satellite sea ice observations are processed for the widely used Bootstrap algorithm data set, rather than a physical increase in the rate of ice advance,” writes lead author Ian Eisenman, a climate researcher at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and others.

    “Specifically, we find that a change in the intercalibration across a 1991 sensor transition when the data set was reprocessed in 2007 caused a substantial change in the long-term trend,” the study continues.

    The study’s authors, however, only go so far to say that “a substantial error” exists in the current data sets, but do not know if the 1991 recalibration removed an error from previous data or added a new error.

    “The results of this analysis raise the possibility that much of this expansion may be a spurious artifact of an error in the processing of the satellite observations,” the study’s authors write.

    The study reignited debate over the fate of Antarctica in a supposedly warming world. Environmentalists touted the study as evidence the Antarctic was not growing as fast as global warming skeptics liked to think.

    “The most important thing to know about Antarctica and ice is that a large part of the South Pole’s great sheet of land ice is close to or at a point of no return for irreversible collapse,” ThinkProgress’s Joe Romm wrote in his piece about the new study. “Only immediate action to sharply reverse CO2 emissions could stop or significantly slow that.”

    “And that really matters since 90 percent of Earth’s ice is in the Antarctic ice sheet, and even its partial collapse could raise sea levels tens of feet (over a period of centuries) and force coastal cities to be abandoned,” Romm added.

    But does the study really show that “much” of Antarctica’s sea ice expansion is due to a “spurious artifact of an error in the processing of the satellite observations” as the study’s authors suggest?

    Scientists with the libertarian Cato Institute have criticized the study for suggesting a large portion of the South Pole’s sea ice growth is a data glitch when in reality the growth attributable to data processing errors is a “molehill.”

    “If the reason that the shift was undetected is because the data is so noisy, how important can it be?” Cato scientists Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger asked, pointing out that the term “much” used by the study’s authors only refers to about 200,000 square kilometers (about 77,220 square miles).

    “The change since the turn of the century is about 1.3 million square kilometers, a mountain of ice,” wrote Michaels and Knappenberger. “The step change is about 200,000, a molehill. That doesn’t sound like ‘much’ to us.”

    “But, hey, if you don’t look too close — and we are sure our greener friends (or the reviewers) won’t (or didn’t) — you might believe that everything is OK with the reigning, model-based paradigm. In fact there’s’‘much’ that is wrong with it,” Michaels and Knappenberger added.

    Scientists with NASA, who developed the disputed algorithm to calculate sea ice extent, also challenged Eisenman’s view, including the scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who developed the algorithm that is being criticized in the study.

    “The apparent expansion is real and not due to an error in a previous data set uncovered by the Eisenman et al paper,” NASA’s Josefino Comiso told Live Science. “That error has already been corrected and the expansion being reported now has also been reported by other groups as well using different techniques.”

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/07/28/whats-really-happening-in-antarctica.

    You be the judge…haha

  • pat Says:
    July 11th, 2014 at 10:50 am

    “I’m ashamed that the best I can do is to just do as little as possible.”

    ***

    This is somewhat off topic, but I think shame and deserving punishment are linked concepts. I found Pat’s statement interesting because I think it hits the root of the matter: in order for “our” earth to be sustainable, we all had to be doing “as little as possible” outside the pre-ordained actions of a human animal. Like cells in a body, our purpose in the grand scheme was to eat what we needed and shit what we didn’t, reproduce in an orderly manner to prevent attrition, then die and give our components back. Less IS More, Pat, and if we’d all been doing as little as possible all along, we wouldn’t be in this predicament.

  • let me write this from a very personal perspective..I have struggled with finding a sense of self-worth for a long time..and while it took me many years and a lot of pain to finally learn to stop punishing myself, and I still will at times engage in internal self-flagellation, I have come to realize that it really isn’t about what I or anyone else deserves..it’s about learning to live in a world where actions have consequences, like Carolyn Baker so eloquently put it. Or as scientists know so well..every action has a reaction..

    I am trying to grow beyond what anyone deserves, and am trying today to look into Grace and what a gift that is..and if I go all “woo-woo” or get too “new agey”, I have no apologies for it at all. I have a lot that needs forgiving, and a lot to forgive, and that is what I am working on today.

    I don’t think anybody ever deserves anything..but we get what we get. The planet is dying, and humanity is killing it, and whether or not it is deserved, it is a fact, and coming to terms with that, for me, means trying to find..if not meaning..then at least if nothing else a sense of wonder of all the beauty that still remains..

    and in the end..I hope that in this vast and great multiverse…that there will always be Love. That Love will still remain, and is the only thing that is eternal.

  • Each and every day I delight in the fact that industrial civilization is continuing to roar carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. You see, the longer IC lasts, the more fixed and certain our extinction.

    I’ve known that mankind deserves extinction for decades. I have an empathy with senseless suffering. To me, every child or innocent person killed or made to suffer.. they are all my children, my mother, my grandfather. They are me.

    The suffering is everywhere, so thick you can cut it with a knife. The Universe, as vast as it is, will surely sigh with relief when the last one of us is gone!

  • ” I did not mean that humans have a “right” to be here and others do not. It is an incomprehensible privilege to be alive on this planet; however, humans are rapidly losing their privilege and tragically taking away that privilege from all other life forms that inhabit the Earth.”-CB

    Rights are a pretty meaningless concept in this situation. Who defines what the rights are, and who can enforce them? You would need an arbitrator above humanity,which would be God if you believe in God, but if God exists, it doesn’t do any Enforcement like the Good Old Days of the Old Testament. LOL.

    What about all the species that went extinct before the Genus Homo ever evolved? Were their Rights violated by other species that took over their ecological niches?

    If HS had never evolved, would all the species going extinct now not have gone extinct? Of course not, all species go extinct eventually, and all life on Earth goes extinct eventually too. The only thing HS may have done is to accelerate the timeline on this by some Unknowable span of years.

    Even had HS not discovered principles of Thermodynamics and burned up Fossil Fuels, like all other creatures we would have kept reproducing until the resources were exhausted. The Reindeer on St. Matthews Island did that, but nobody talks about what their rights were, or the rights of the Plant life they consumed, or whether they deserved to die either.

    Now, if you want to place Blame here for going down the Industrial Highway, this you can do as a very small number of people who took control of resources and the War Machine made sure nobody could live any other way than this. No matter how many Indian or Mexican farmers complain and lose their livelihoods, Monsanto keeps on devouring more land with GMO crops. So are the Mexican and Indian farmers to Blame or is Monsanto? I have to go with monsanto here, with the small number of Directors and Shareholders of that company as worst offenders.

    Again though, Monsanto only accelerates the timeline, they don’t control the final outcome, which is extinction.

    Now, as Everybody Knows, I don’t buy the timeline of 2050 for Extinction. Bottleneck yes, Extinction no on this timeline. Complete wipeout will take a good deal longer for many reasons previously identified.

    A better question from this POV is not “Does Everybody Deserve to Die?”, but rather, “Does Anyone Deserve to Live?” Personally I feel Kalahari Bushmen and Inuit in Nunavut deserve to live, they did little to exacerbate the problems or accelerate the timeline. It’s a travesty to lump in Kalahari Bushmen with Wall Street Pigmen, they really aren’t even the same Species IMHO. LOL.

    I also think concerned people who care about the earth but who had the misfortune of being born into Industrial Culture deserve to live also.

    Whether deserving or not though, they all will die on some timeline regardless of whether everyone else dies at the same time or not. Similarly, on some timeline everyone will die.

    It’s sort of like riding on a Malaysian Airlines Jet,most of those folks expected to live a lot longer, but one day they all went Extinct together. The Earth is just a Planet Size Malaysian Airlines Jet really. 😀 Instead of a Missile taking us out, it would be a Planet Killer Asteroid. Or maybe we pull off the stunt ourselves with Global Thermonuclear War, but eventually, TIME’S UP!

    So, it really is pointless to speculate on whether as a species we “deserve” this, we were bound for death from the day we were born, every living thing is. You just go until you can go no more.

    If it does pan out that we go Extinct by mid-century, did this Generation deserve it more than the generation preceeding it, which fought 2 World Wars over Earth resources? Or the generations preceeding that which have been at War since the Dawn of Agriculture? No, in this case we just won the LOTTO, all the prior generations were equally deserving, they just got in earlier on the Ponzi, and so went to their deaths believing it would all go on in perpetuity.

    The statement is often made here that HS will go Extinct, but the Earth will go on. That’s not true. The Earth will be fried even before the Sun goes Red Giant. In geologic terms, a few hundred million years at the outside, which is the Blink of an Eye far as the Earth is concerned, it’s been around for 4.54B years and is in its senescence.

    So, maybe it is 2050, maybe 2100, maybe a few make it through and go for 10K more years, but HS is bound for extinction, and so is every other organism on Earth.

    You just go until you can go no more.

    RE

  • If one brings “karma” into this, it does not hold any water. Tradition has it that the phantasm that some call the “soul”, manifests in embodiments as the delusory “I”-sense; it is uncreated, and therefore has no beginning.

    With each act there is the generation of two consequences: a mandatory voucher for the experience of pleasure or pain (each to be experienced separately; they do not cancel each other out), and a tendency to repeat the act. The tendencies remain associated with the delusion.

    In the course of an infinite number of cosmic cycles, the universe cycles from unmanifest to manifest and back to unmanifest, in both gross and subtle forms. An infinitude of vouchers, both pleasurable and painful, accumulates in one’s account. For each embodiment a minuscule, finite quantity of these vouchers commence encashment. During the embodiment, new vouchers are generated with each act: some may proceed to encashment within that embodiment, while the rest accrue to that account. The embodiment ends when there are no vouchers in the encashment queue.

    So what one is experiencing now may be from vouchers generated millions of cosmic cycles ago, in any of an infinitude parallel universes. According to the tradition, one fully deserves every iota of pleasure or pain that one experiences. But it may have been “earned” in a world outside the bounds of this time and this space as we know it.

    The important issue of how to end the account is another matter. It is outside the scope of NBL and of most Sunday sermons.

  • Finally took the time to finish the last thread.

    UL

    I answered your question.
    I cannot give a definition for truth. You ask again-same answer. I ask you: “Give me an example of the abstract absence of truth.”

    Possible examples of truth:
    one + one + one + one = one + one + one + one
    It is not one + one + one + one + one
    Name or label it as you like.
    To me it is four. Some argue that sometimes one is not one. I disagree.
    A bare-naked, objective object, unclothed with subjective is one. Whether it be a group of one or some other cluster, it is one. It may be something else, too, but it is first one.
    Try as you might, you cannot change that—IT IS.
    To, me, it is one of the few truths we know. What it means? I don’t know. Is there one truth, or many truths. I don’t know. Maybe you do know.
    “Be kind”-This might be a truth. Maybe I just want it to be truth.

    SHEP

    You didn’t answer my question: “Is this end we face right or wrong?”
    Not a trick question.
    As far as me knowing what is right or wrong: I think without laws, family and culture, I would not know. Perhaps you can provide a list?

    TODAY’S

    Nothing is something. We don’t know what, but it is something.
    There’s a lot we don’t know.

    Do we deserve it?
    I don’t know. I’m not looking forward to it.
    Are there a small group that will make it through? Do they deserve to?
    I suspect if anyone does make it: THEY LEAST DESERVE TO.
    Just imagine what it will take to “make it”.
    I ask: Make it to where? What is “it”?
    If “it” resembles this madness I witness every day—I say wipe it clean of our madness.

  • Do we deserve to go extinct?

    Not a real question.

    No one is in control of other’s behaviors, and it would appear it is transgressive Eco-cidal behavior that is what is being used as the test as to how one judges the terms of the question.

    There is no morally, or ethically accountable ‘we’.

    Therefore as a species ‘we’ cannot be assessed.

    ‘Deserve’ also is such an old world moralistic concept.

    As for the ‘Extinct’ part…

    We will or we wont, simple as that.

    Watch Groundhog Day and tell me that Phill was not an asshole at the beginning, a complete self centered egomaniac.

    Then through a stroke of fortune he has an adventure, albeit an unusually bizzare and confronting adventure, but it matures him, to the point where virtually everyone in the town of Puksitawny loves Phill(after knowing him just one day), and Phill cares for everyone.
    The trick is Phill gets to see the big picture, and he goes through the stages of infantile demand, adolescent escapism and self interest, to mature adult care and concern for others.

    He becomes a true Artist, enamored by Beauty !!!

    HE GROWS UP!

    We are just not living in a time where those psychological strengths of the elders, the adults, have prevailed on the wisdom of how the species collectively lives.

    Would anyone blame a child, or a deranged adolescent on the same ethical platform as a mature adult for arson, or killing an animal?

    Can’t saying it any clearer than that.
    ;(

  • “Do we deserve it?”

    I thought my way through this question by trying to make it specific to the true situation we face.

    First to attempt to clarify the question I substituted definitions for the vague words:

    “Deserve” to me in this case meaning “to merit punishment because of actions” (dictionary.com)

    “We” as stated by the question author meaning all humans (implied by The term NTHE)

    “It” of course is NTHE

    So then I had:

    “Do all humans merit punishment, in the form of NTHE, because of their actions?”

    Still I have issues with the question.

    First, industrial civilization is what is actually causing the damage to the planet, namely habitat destruction and climate change, thus leading to NTHE. Further, IC is just one culture among thousands of human cultures.

    So then I reformulated the question to be:

    “Do all humans participating in the culture of industrial civilization merit punishment in the form of NTHE because of their actions?”

    In that case the question still can not be answered affirmatively. This is because at the root of the question it’s implied that the deserved punishment is visited only on humans (NTHE)

    NTHE really means something like “near term extinction for at least all those animals requiring a habitat equivalent to that of humans” In other words I cannot separate NTHE from NTE. NTE became the reality today for 200 species. The fact that at some specific day in the future humans will be another one among those should not be thought of separately. To do so is just blatant anthropocentrism.

    I think of it like this:

    A CEO for a global death cult corporation (pick your favorite) is alone in the driver seat of a giant SUV parked on the edge of a very tall cliff. (I am smiling already)

    If he drives over the edge, it’s irrelevant to me to ask “does he merit the punishment of death because of his actions?”. The gravitational acceleration he experiences and the sudden deceleration at the bottom are just what happens when ignoring fundamental laws of gravity and the normal force. He harms no one but himself, and the consequences are all his own.

    However, if instead he fills the SUV with other lifeforms: humans not participating in IC, penguins, chimpanzees, great auks (oh wait) cape lions (damn) California golden bears (shit). Well you get the point, lots of existing species IC has yet to kill off and then drives over the cliff? I’d say, as much as it means anything, that he does “deserve” to die since he is now not the only one facing consequences for his action. However, at the very same time, his actions now also involve killing all those other passengers in his vehicle. His actions and the inherent consequences are inseparable from those other lives.

    If it were possible to separate those humans in the one culture causing the damage leading to NTE and somehow impose extinction on only them, then I would agree “they” deserve “it”. However that is not possible. In fact, perceived separation between civilized humans and all other life is one of the most dangerous concepts ever in the dominant culture leading directly to this very situation.

    All humans are inseparable from other life on Earth. It’s a community, a web, a collection of life dependent on each other for survival.

    So, finally, I must read the question as:

    “Does most life on Earth merit punishment in the form of NTE because of the actions of those humans participating in industrial civilization?”

    No.

    Actually, hell no.

    Actually, I am going to go look for a giant SUV…

  • Oh my, WHAT a great question. As one who loves the innocent creatures of the Earth, i do have my opinion. So thanks to the inspiration of BenjamintheDonkey, I will abashedly say the following:

    We’ve created a world of hurt;
    Guy McPherson dishes the durt.
    We’ve savaged the Earth
    it’s plundered to Dearth
    And we still believe in our wurth.

    Let’s not forget the fright;
    the terror, the horror, the blight
    we’ve bestowed on the sweet
    we’ve turned into meat
    to our vile, perditious delight.

    Of course we should live, don’t you see
    such noble creatures are we
    So smart in the brain
    Not to mention insane
    That is, everyone all except me!

    OH sinCERE apologies for that. If things didn’t have to rhyme, it would be so much better.

    🙁

  • Hey, Robin. I read your posting with great interest. Lately, I have become much more relaxed and accepting of the way things simply are, more than at any time in my life. And even though the sadness of extinction is approaching, I mostly feel happy and am kinder and more gentle with people. I wonder about a lot of things. I was wondering, if I can maintain this sense of peace and good will, could that possibly cause me to move to a higher level of life when I die? I surely don’t want to return to a place like this.

    Thanks! (If you don’t know the answer that’s OK.)

    P.S. Sorry about misspelling your name a few threads back.

  • @ mt

    I answered your question.
    I cannot give a definition for truth. You ask again-same answer. I ask you: “Give me an example of the abstract absence of truth.”

    Thanks so much. I could talk all day and night about this, there are so many fascinating ramifications. I’ll have to confine myself to a few simple responses.

    What I meant was that in particular instances, it’s fairly straightforward, there can be truth, versus a lie, or truth versus the wrong interpretation regarding something. But I doubted any overall thing that existed in the abstract, sort of truth with a T, Truth.

    Possible examples of truth:
    one + one + one + one = one + one + one + one
    It is not one + one + one + one + one
    Name or label it as you like.
    To me it is four. Some argue that sometimes one is not one. I disagree.
    A bare-naked, objective object, unclothed with subjective is one. Whether it be a group of one or some other cluster, it is one. It may be something else, too, but it is first one.
    Try as you might, you cannot change that—IT IS.
    To, me, it is one of the few truths we know. What it means? I don’t know. Is there one truth, or many truths. I don’t know. Maybe you do know.

    Okay, well, that’s marvellous. But what seems to have happened, over time, there is no consensus, there are ‘schools of thought’ about this.
    We are stuck with that, because nobody can reach a final unassailable position.

    Your examples are abstractions, they are symbols. Where do they exist ? Do you discover them, or do you invent them ?

    The = is the balance of the weighing scales, like the one held by Justice. You place so many grains of wheat or pieces of gold on one side and they are supposed to exactly balance the measure, whatever it be, placed on the other side. This establishes, demonstrates, some sort of truth in the real, tangible, tactile world of stuff, that we bump up against ‘out there’.

    But when we symbolize that, and re-create it, as words, letters, numbers, signs, abstractions, we’ve moved into another domain, and things start to get tricky. You know, we invent, or discover, zero, nothing, and we invent, or discover, infinity, and all sorts of concepts which have no precise correlate that we can go and kick or pick up and show somebody.

    We build a whole world of mental concepts and over-lay it upon the actual world that exists ‘out there’. It then becomes quite hard to say where ‘truth’ is. There’s several different theories – well, many – about this.

    You see, if you say the word ‘cow’, that’s a ‘little mouth noise’ (Terrence McKenna). What has that little mouth noise, that movement of air and tongue and lips actually got to do with that four-legged black and white thing out there in the field ?

    If you think deeply about this, it’s really incredibly difficult to explain and define what that relationship IS, in any satisfactory way.

    I know that we all know what we mean, when someone says ‘cow’, but that’s something quite different. That’s just a matter of us all having been programmed, like Pavlov’s Dogs, to salivate when the bell rings.
    We’re trained monkeys, we jump through hoops on command. Someone shouts ‘Food !’ and we all say ‘Me !’

    But what’s the relationship between the sign that we have, for something out there, and the actual thing that is signified ? This leads into semiotics, which is a large and fascinating subject in its own right, and into epistemology, likewise.

    Your concept of ‘One’ is not at all as simple as it sounds. One what ?
    All ‘Ones’ are not equal. Some ‘ones’, biological ‘ones’, can replicate, and become ‘twos’, all by themselves. Some ‘ones’, sub atomic particles, photons, can be in two places at the same time.
    Some ones, like the One that contains the All, the Universe, are possibly infinite. Some ones, consist of an idea. For example, mediaeval philosphers were puzzled by the conundrum of the wooden sailing ships where every part could eventually be renewed and replaced. So, when everything had be changed, and none of the original remained, was it still the same ship ? Or was it a different ship ?

    “Be kind”-This might be a truth. Maybe I just want it to be truth.

    My opinion, this falls into a different category, as the Monty Python sketch would say, if there was one on this topic, it’s down the corridor, turn left, up the steps, you want Virtues and Vices 🙂

    ——-

    Re the topic and whether we deserve to survive.

    This question doesn’t seem to make any sense to me.

    I think we had/have a moral obligation to cherish this planet that made us, and all the other life forms. We didn’t do that, for a variety of reasons, and so we get the results of our behaviour.

    I think it’s sort of like a drunkard falling down the stairs and breaking his neck. Did he deserve it ? I don’t think the word really makes sense in that context.

  • Yes and no. Humankind has demonstrated a huge capacity for evil. We make wars without end, we torture, rob one another, murder one another, mentally abuse one another. One could go on and on and on listing the evils we are capable of.

    Our desire to have it all, from the plutocrats down to the average person who wants to keep up with the Joneses by consuming everything he sees advertised on the TV testifies to our voracious appetite for material things. It’s easy to blame the rich, but why do us regular folks keep on buying all those nice toys?

    On the other hand, humankind has produced marvels of art and science that show that we have a wonderful side to us. How can one listen to Mozart or see a classic film like Casablanca or read Dickens or Steinbeck or contemplate group theory and not see the magnificence we are capable of when we try? Clearly there is worth in us and there will be so much greatness to mourn when the apocalypse draws near.

    And all the nice toys mentioned before were great things. Sure, it can be argued that materialism was wrong, but it didn’t seem so at the time. After all – who knew??? Who knew?? So many of us were told that we’d figure out solutions to all our problems of overpopulation. Archer Daniels Midland was going to save us all, remember.

    But now we do know, and it appears to be too late.

    Bad as we are – and we are really bad – I think the human race would have matured in time. I believe if it weren’t for the reality of climate change we would have eventually reached that ideal utopian state so many of us dreamed of.

    I guess on balance I think we don’t deserve this. But we got it, and that’s that.

  • I think the 5% of humans who are psychopathic have messed it up for the rest of us. I do know that good people seem to suffer far more in this World.

  • “move to a higher level of life”

    Tradition has it that it is more to the point toget off this merry-go-round altogether.

    “surely don’t want to return to a place like this”

    A sage used to sit outside the gates of an city in bygone times.

    A traveller coming to the city stopped to ask the sage about the people of the city. The sage asked the traveller about the people of the place he was coming from. The traveller said that they were cruel, selfish and deceitful. The sage advised the traveller that the people of this city were exactly the same.

    Another traveller to the city stopped shortly thereafter to ask the sage about the people of the city. The sage again asked about the people of the place he was coming from. The traveller said that they were kind, generous and sincere. The sage advised the traveller that the people of this city were exactly the same.

  • What Paul Chefurka said.

    We will have brought it on early by own own actions, so would be responsible for it, in that situation. We’ll definitely be responsible for the great suffering that will ensue even if extinction doesn’t occur this century. But “deserve” it? Nah.

  • Although it is common parlance, there is no such thing as the human race, other than the human race off the cliff or the human race to exterminate most vertebrate life on this planet, along with much of the flora.

    Humans are a species of the genus Homo, of the family Hominidae, of the order Primate, of the class Mammal.

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

    Race is another matter altogether, and applies to superficial differences in appearance and culture.

  • Very interesting thread so far, with many different perspectives.

    However,one perspective is NOTICEABLY MISSING. That of Guy McPherson.

    So Guy, do YOU think Homo Sapiens deserves Extinction?

    If so why, and since HS and all other creatures go extinct at some point, why does it make a difference on what timeline this occurs?

    RE

  • Just for the record, when I wrote about the course humanity was on, and western consumer societies’ role in bringing about disaster way back in 2000/2001, I used the words ‘doomed’ and ‘judgement’. Those words had little appeal then, and apparently have even less now that they are coming to fruition.

  • “why does it make a difference on what timeline this occurs?”

    Anyone other than an imbecile would know that one cannot sell concrete domes if the timeline is until mid-century.

  • I came out of the US dominions, maim your kids with a bible, Jesus is mom as invisible boyfriend south. We deserve it. Full stop.

  • Greg:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/antarctica-gaining-ice.htm

    Is Antarctica losing or gaining ice?

    Satellites measure Antarctica is gaining sea ice but losing land ice at an accelerating rate which has implications for sea level rise.

    Skeptic arguments that Antarctica is gaining ice frequently hinge on an error of omission, namely ignoring the difference between land ice and sea ice.

    In glaciology and particularly with respect to Antarctic ice, not all things are created equal. Let us consider the following differences. Antarctic land ice is the ice which has accumulated over thousands of years on the Antarctica landmass itself through snowfall. This land ice therefore is actually stored ocean water that once fell as precipitation. Sea ice in Antarctica is quite different as it is ice which forms in salt water primarily during the winter months. When land ice melts and flows into the oceans global sea levels rise on average; when sea ice melts sea levels do not change measurably.

    In Antarctica, sea ice grows quite extensively during winter but nearly completely melts away during the summer (Figure 1). That is where the important difference between Antarctic and Arctic sea ice exists as much of the Arctic’s sea ice lasts all the year round. During the winter months it increases and before decreasing during the summer months, but an ice cover does in fact remain in the North which includes quite a bit of ice from previous years (Figure 1). Essentially Arctic sea ice is more important for the earth’s energy balance because when it increasingly melts, more sunlight is absorbed by the oceans whereas Antarctic sea ice normally melts each summer leaving the earth’s energy balance largely unchanged.

    [concludes]

    There is variation between regions within Antarctica (Figure 2, top panel), with the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet losing ice mass, and with an increasing rate. The East Antarctic Ice Sheet is growing slightly over this period but not enough to offset the other losses. There are of course uncertainties in the estimation methods but independent data from multiple measurement techniques (explained here) all show the same thing, Antarctica is losing land ice as a whole, and these losses are accelerating quickly.

    Robin: [to your 5:23 post] so this karma “idea” (something some person thought up) now has attached vouchers for every single thought and action we do (as if WE created the universe in order to pleasure/punish ourselves)? I don’t get it. Who’s keeping score?

    http://dutchsinse.tatoott1009.com/7292014-lightning-strike-from-out-of-nowhere-the-end-of-lax-runway-venice-beach-california1/

    One person has been killed, and at least 12 other injured near Venice Beach California.

    The death (and injuries) occurred from what is being called a “freak” “extremely rare” lightning strike from “out of nowhere“.

    None of the stories bother to mention that the “freakish” lightning strike occurred at the end of the LAX International Airport runway.

    I must ask again, how many times is too many times before people wake up to the fact that radio frequency is INDUCING weather?

    To all those planning on moving to the Southern hemisphere to “escape” climate change:

    http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2014/07/climate-models-on-mark-australian-led.html

    Climate models on the mark, Australian-led research finds – ‘We’re still setting records even during the cold phase because we’re still warming’

    [a quote]

    In roughly 30-year cycles, the Pacific alternates between periods of more frequent El Niños – when the ocean gives back heat to the atmosphere – to La Niñas, when it acts as a massive heat sink, setting in train relatively cool periods for surface temperatures.

    By selecting climate models in phase with natural variability, the research found that model trends have been consistent with observed trends, even during the recent “slowdown” period for warming, Dr Risbey said.

    “The climate is simply variable on short time scales but that variability is superimposed on an unmistakable long-term warming trend,” he said.

    While sceptics have lately relied on a naturally cool phase of the global cycle to fan doubts about climate change, the fact temperature records continue to fall even during a La-Niña dominated period is notable, Dr Risbey said.

    The temperature forcing from the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere “is beginning to overwhelm the natural variability on even shorter decadal time scales”, he said. [read the article]

  • “Why me?”

    “Why you, why anyone?”

    Or deserve has nothing to do with it….

    If runaway global warming was only going to take out the human race,
    I could live with that without much trouble. But we’re taking so many other species with us it makes my blood boil.

    Certainly the First World nations and the United States of Greed might be seen as especially deserving of a cruel fate, but it is one without judgement, condemning rich and poor alike and all living things without any hope for a Noah and his ark saving some life. All perish for the sake of oil and coal profits.

    On the other hand, we’re here now. Did the people who died during the Black Plague deserve to die? Did the various scourges that have dogged man’s footsteps come from a vengeful god or do things happen sometimes for no damn reason beyond ‘because it can’? Is small pox an act of god or a virus? No one, not even the wicked, deserve to starve to death. And yet here we are. In whatever brief time left try to be kind.

  • @ kevin moore

    off topic, but the classical convention re species seems not to apply to humans in the way once thought, we seem to be more like dogs, all the same species but great variability.

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/17/skull-homo-erectus-human-evolution

  • @Ronin

    Attachment much?

    Thank me later.

    @Guy

    Loved the climate12 video. Most here don’t get your message. Maybe on the next one you can talk about high fructose corn syrup, wheat flour and granulated white sugar.

    Deserve? Some more than others no doubt.

  • UI

    Stimulating
    I agree with most you say. I like: “We’re trained monkeys, we jump through hoops on command. Someone shouts ‘Food !’ and we all say ‘Me !’”

    This morning I saw on TV a line of people queued up to smell a unique flower that, when in bloom, everyone agreed smelled bad. There were people waiting in line to get a whiff of stink. I bet they’re even paying a fee. Crazy!
    I often watch a half hour of morning news to see if the world ended overnight. If it’s still broadcasting, I guess it’s hanging in. Hell, I really don’t think they would say if it ended. I imagine they want one last sale, one last pose, one last phrase, one last….
    Sure, I hear the lies. I’m aware of privacy invasion. I see the wars. It’s a mess.
    I’m going to guess that results from the crash site of the downed jet in Ukraine will prove inconclusive. There is NO way all sides will agree on ANYTHING.
    I’ll also venture that Israel and Palestine will not find peace. I know I’m pessimistic.
    People tell me-“You hate America.”
    I hate what the United States Gov’t does. I don’t even know how to hate a land or a notion. That is a lesson I have not learned.
    I do have a few ripe ‘n red tomatoes on the vine. They’re free to smell. There is no queue. They don’t stink.
    I’m thinking: Should I give them another day? Do they deserve to be picked now? If I don’t, the squirrels will get them. They just take a bite and drop ‘em. It’s not because they’re thirsty and want liquid. I have a birdbath, easily accessible and full of water near by. Any suggestions?
    Remember, these squirrels are world-class gymnasts.
    They deserve to eat, but not my tomatoes.
    Either way, tomatoes lose.

  • “now has attached vouchers for every single thought and action we do (as if WE created the universe in order to pleasure/punish ourselves)? I don’t get it. Who’s keeping score?”

    There is no one keeping score. It is the law of consequences run wild, or on steroids (take your pick). In some traditions it is so inviolate that the need for a “God” is altogether dispensed with: in those traditions, the universe functions just fine without a “God”, akin to how the “law” of gravity does not need a “God”. These non-theistic systems include three of the six Vedic (“Hindu”) philosophical schools (Sankhya, Yoga, and Advaita Vedanta) and two non-Vedic schools (Jainism and Buddhism – all of Buddhism). Some may think the many gods in various Buddhist traditions inconsistent with non-theism. But these are highly advanced or fully realised beings, and not intrinsically different from an ordinary human – or an insect.

    “Attachment much?”

    Non-attachment begins with converting all desires into preferences.

  • Dragon’s Breath — How is this for unpredictable, abrupt, non-linear, changes?

    Methane records from this network include occasional spikes. Green symbols on the charts below indicate these extreme positive outliers. A reasonable hypothesis for the outliers marked below by me with dragon breath? Extreme outlying positive anomalies represent high methane concentration plumes emanating from tundra and/or oceanic sources. Another reasonable hypothesis would be: extreme outlying positive anomalies represent observational errors. What NOAA states: the outliers “are thought to be not indicative of background conditions, and represent poorly mixed air masses influenced by local or regional anthropogenic sources or strong local biospheric sources or sinks. ” Fair enough. But, the dragon breath hypothesis has me losing sleep.

    http://www.meltfactor.org/blog/?p=1329
    (Scroll down one page for the graphs)

  • Do we deserve it?

    As many commenters have already mentioned, the question can be taken many ways and an answer could be very different depending on how one chooses to perceive it.

    So my response is taking it at (what I perceive to be) face value.
    The “WE” being “Humanity’ and “Deserve” meaning the definition that an average dictionary gives us.

    Most Peoples have some kind of system in place to deal with acts of aggression,violence,rape,murder,etc.,against others. The aggressors are judged in some way and some form of punishment is usually decided upon (banishment,confinement,death,loss of possessions….)

    It seems to me that in just about any system that peoples of the world have,if you laid out the case showing the crimes that Humanity has perpetrated against The Earth you would get a guilty verdict. Of course one would have to agree that the Earth had at least equal rights as an individual person. You can’t banish Humanity and it obviously won’t be confined, so Death becomes (and has become) the only sentence left.

    Of course, if you happen to believe that Humanity is just in it’s adolescent stage and is soon to break out into wondrous,,enlightened maturity,then a couple of years in juvenile detention might do the trick!

  • During the gold rush, the only ones getting rich were the ones selling shovels and picks.

    Today’s “Uh-Oh:”

    The so-called “kissing bug,” an insect that carries a deadly parasite that can cause Chagas disease, is becoming a growing concern in the United States, especially in Texas and Virginia.

    Though the bugs are native to Mexico and Central and South America — there are an estimated 8 million people infected there — more and more cases are popping up in the U.S., according to The Atlantic.

    Cardiologist Dr. Rachel Marcus told the news site that northern Virginia, in particular, could be “ground zero” for Chagas disease because of increasing number of Bolivian immigrants there.

    Similarly, researchers at Texas A&M told KFDX.com they’ve discovered kissing bugs in Dallas.

    Kissing bugs, or triatomine insects, transmit a parasite that causes Chagas disease, which, if left untreated, can lead to death. Infected people can live for many years without even knowing they have the disease, the World Health Organization reported. The parasites often live in the heart and digestive muscles, with as many as 30 percent of patients suffering from cardiac disorders and as many as 10 percent suffering from digestive problems.

  • If anyone has any interest, I posted the following comment at Fractal Planet in response to GBV:

    I think that this relates directly to your comments: As happens with relativistic and quantum mechanics processes, Cartesian-Newtonian science remains too limited, too small to account for complex phenomena such as global warming and ecological collapse. Meanwhile, complexity theory and nonequilibrium thermodynamics emphasize how unpredictable and irreversible tipping points occur in these complex systems. Guy McPherson reports the accumulating evidence related to many of the probable climate and ecosystem tipping points and many, here at FP, insist that they presumably CAN, after all, “prove McPherson wrong” about the probable NTHE, or near extinction, using only Cartesian-Newtonian science and reasoning. It seems obvious to me (and I think to many other people as well) that one can no more do that than they can explain relativistic and quantum mechanics phenomena using only Cartesian-Newtonian science and reasoning. Yet many here at FP insist on continuing with exactly that agenda, thus continuing to use inappropriate premises and tools while having no desire to learn about and use more appropriate ones. I wonder: Why? What motivates the continuing, exclusive use of only Cartesian-Newtonian science with its many weaknesses in discussing these complex, unpredictable, irreversible systems? What motivates the continuing avoidance of complexity theory and nonequilibrium thermodynamics, here, and their relevance to this discussion?

  • Now the time has come for my final confession: The sooner collapse happens, the better off we’ll be. That’s right. Not only am I pro-apocalypse, I’m rather impatient for the end of the world to begin. It’s simple, really. Since the System (a.k.a. the economy, or the method by which we keep ourselves alive) is destroying the natural environment (a.k.a. our habitat, or the only planet that can support our kind) and our spirit (a.k.a. the soul, or the thing that makes life worth living), it only makes sense that the sooner the System collapses, the better off we’ll all be. The longer the economy hums (or coughs) along, the longer we continue with business-as-usual.

  • MT,

    ” I don’t even know how to hate a land or a notion. That is a lesson I have not learned.”

    I don’t know either. I believe that the land is more important than the people, and should be considered first. Below is my post from the forum that’s sort of related to the topic.

    Re: Land Use

    « Reply #102 on: July 28, 2014, 10:16:56 AM »

    I watched Democracy Now today. It was all about Gaza.

    democracynow.org

    I tried and it helped me to keep in mind what was actually happening on the land. People talked about dead horses in rigor mortis, a “monochromatic” landscape where the only color came from cement piles of rubble and the dust it spewed over the entire environment. Carts pulled by donkey were in the service of evacuating people. Trees were dead. Israeli soldiers occupied buildings and left graffiti in them. There was the smell of death under the rubble.

    The visual and spoken accounts of the place helped me to better understand the conflict centered on the people. It is a most inadequate understanding. The lopsidedness (in the broadest sense) of the fight is clearly seen. There is no question as to where my allegiance lies. But I want the reporting to be more on a dispassionate observation of the land, without politics overwhelming it entirely. What does the land in Israel, just nearby, look like? Does anyone think about how the Israeli and the Gazan landscape (or Palestinian, more generally) relate purely as land?

    The horror is reported in exclusively human terms. One side is clearly being butchered by the other. Each side, through different motivations, feel they must tell their story for maximum effect. But I believe that actually makes their stories weaker, for neither side will accept the other’s story. I doubt (but hope I’m totally wrong) that the current framing of the stories will lead to breakthrough.

  • Question #1 has been covered well. I’m ready for #2.

  • @ mt

    What happened to the enquiry into ‘truth’ ? Is is already concluded ? 🙂

    This morning I saw on TV a line of people queued up to smell a unique flower that, when in bloom, everyone agreed smelled bad. There were people waiting in line to get a whiff of stink. I bet they’re even paying a fee. Crazy!

    Well, I agree it’s crazy to watch TV, but if that’s the flower I think it is, I have to disagree with you. The people where it originally grew, used to have a solemn ceremony where they’d just sit in silence and watch it emerge. It is the largest flower in the world. It stinks of decaying meat, because that’s how it attracts the insects that pollinate it. It mimics a dead animal. How the hell did it evolve that ? I mean, did it GRADUALLY change from some previous form that had a different scent and method of pollination, and by slowly selecting ones that smelt very SLIGHLTY like rotting flesh, they had an advantage and got pollinated more ? Or did it suddenly mutate into a form that was like rotten meat ? The whole thing of mimicry is incredibly mysterious.
    How do some insects KNOW how to look exactly like a particular sort of leaf ?

    Anyway, I digress.

    Yes, I planted potatoes. They were doing very well. Now they got blight and the tops have all died. I suppose I should dig and see what is there.

    I think that there is is never an end to thinking and worrying, and it can drive you mad. So, my solution, like the Japanese zen gardens, you just sit and gaze at some calming vista, and silence the mind. If you breath from the tanden, the hara, you can get complete control over the mind, and keep it quiet, at will. Then you have a choice, to think or not to think.

    This means you always have a calm serene anchorage to return to, and to depart from, when you think about stuff, and it makes it much easier to deal with such stressful and highly emotive subjects as some you mentioned.

    Good luck with the tomatoes and the squirrels, I’m not going to take sides 😉

    —–

    Re the methane Dragon’s Breath. Four holes have now been found in Siberia.

    I’ll take an educated guess, and say that this is the sort of thing that is going on in the sea bed beneath Laptev and East Siberian Arctic Seas, as the free methane, which is under pressure, explodes upwards, through weak points, as the permafrost that has kept it sealed begins to melt.

    http://siberiantimes.com/science/casestudy/news/now-two-new-large-holes-appear-in-siberia/

  • According to an 18 yr old study, natural gas wells and lines leak millions of cubic meters of methane into the atmosphere yearly and the EPA actually doesn’t have any rules on these leaks! An EPA backed study stated that a single gas line connection or repair emits nearly 200,000 cubic meters of methane the way things are done.

    Looking around, Canada admits that about 20% of their wells probably leak too. World-wide we’re spewing the gas from everywhere industrial civilization is established with modern infrastructure (gas lines) just because of inefficiency, laziness, disincentives in policy and cost/benefit studies that put little value on any pollution of the environment.

    No matter what S & S find in the Arctic – industrial civilization has been pumping methane (as well as CO2 and others of course) into the atmosphere all along and still are!

    What’s to study? We’re creating the conditions for MASSIVE explosions just by continuing business as usual.

    pat: yep. I feel the same way but it takes a long time to stop the enormous momentum of ind. civ.

    For example, no sooner do we stop all fossil fuel use and cease travel, then the maintenance needed to shut all the nuke plants down safely goes out the window and we’re into lethal radiation IN ADDITION to the CO2, methane and the rest of the NOxs, ruined climate destroyed oceans and melting ice caps.

    Now it really doesn’t matter anyway since we’ve already tripped the 3 dozen self-reinforcing feedbacks which are churning away around the clock ticking mankind up the exponential temp curve with increasing frequency no matter what we do. We only had so much time going the wrong way (overpopulation for one) before our little fishbowl got polluted beyond any ability to clean it up.

    It’s out of human control now.

  • Artleads
    I see no good end.

    UL
    Yeah, I’m done with truth for now. Not concluded, call it a temporary rest. Tell me lies.
    Perhaps we can visit truth again, or not visit it.

    It is called the Corpse flower(least that is what the lady said). Is that the same one? I heard of the dead meat one. This could be that. I wasn’t familiar with the ritual part.

    Some of my plants got blight last year—first time ever for me.

    (by the way, what does the UL… mean? Maybe I can remember the letters if I know their meaning)

  • The largest flower in the world Rafflesia arnoldii is a holoparasite of vines in the tropical rainforests of Indonesia, and gets its species name from Dr. Joseph Arnold and its genus name from Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Read about it in botany many moons ago as one of the requirements (biological sciences) before med school.

    The Indonesian name, “padma raksasa” is quite interesting: the words are of Indian/Sanskritic origin (Indonesian being a pidgin), meaning “Demon lotus”, and would be understandable both as Bengali and as Hindi.

  • @ulvfugl

    I worked out some time ago that I am of a ‘quite different species’ form the majority of those who surround me. 🙂

  • MT

    “I see no good end.”

    It’s not that I think focusing on land (which, AFAIK, has never been done) will make a clear and decisive difference. I see it as introducing an extra element into the conflict. Since the land does not take sides, paying attention to it should be calming and moderating. It would certainly give urban geographers, ecologist, preservationists, historians a role that they perhaps don’t have (or recognize) at present. One more tool of resistance, that’s all.

  • “Question #1 has been covered well. I’m ready for #2.”-StR

    I’d like to know Guy’s Opinion on Q1 before we move on to Q2.

    RE

  • I agree with many here, the semantics of “we” and “deserve” are just too vague and morally divisive, but as Brutus pointed out, Industrial civilization definitely ‘earned it’. But the question underscores a more poignant question as to whether or not NTE could have been avoided? For if one believes IC could have somehow avoided this moment in time, then the question of what “we deserve” gains more relevance, but how that is determined depends on whether we see ourselves more as moral agents or relativists. But I suspect many of us here, have grudgingly come to accept that NTE probably couldn’t have been avoided, regardless of how “our” history played out, so consequently, at least for me the answer is no. But then again, I’m still enough of a moral agent to believe some of us are far more deserving of an untimely death than the rest of life on earth.

  • As others have said, “Do we deserve THIS” (whatever THIS is) doesn’t make much sense as a question, and so doesn’t provide much in the way of useful insight.

    A more insightful question, with a multitude of answers, would be:

    “How would you personally feel if THIS happens”.

    And I’ll offer two THIS scenarios if people want to use this for question #2:

    >>>

    Scenario #1: How would you personally feel if NTHE happens.

    Scenario #2: How would you personally feel if somehow, by some mechanism or another, NTHE is avoided?

  • sorry for #3 today, but I forgot to tack this on the last post above:

    http://www.dailyimpact.net/2014/07/28/peaked-oil-waiting-for-the-swords-to-drop/#comment-6559

    Peaked Oil: Waiting for the Swords to Drop

    In the fable that bears his name, Damocles was unnerved in the midst of luxury and power by the threat of a single sword (representing the ever present possibility of failure) hanging precariously over his head. We, who because of cheap oil enjoy luxury and power in our ordinary lives beyond the imagination of the kings of old, live beneath a veritable forest of deadly blades, all of which are just about to fall. Unlike Damocles, we refuse to look up, let alone move out of the zone of impact. When they tell our fable, nobody’s going to believe it. [read the rest – well worth it]

  • RE: My guess is that Guy is not going to weigh on this questions series unless he provides some summary at the end of the exercise. I believe he is trying to elicit a response from all us “heavy thinkers” in the collapse and extinction blogosphere about the various issues surrounding the subjects. I put you, Chefurka and Baker in the VERY heavy weight category. I’m a light weight. Cheers!

  • Reese Jones says:

    Of course we should live, don’t you see
    such noble creatures are we
    So smart in the brain
    Not to mention insane
    That is, everyone all except me!

    @Reese: Haha!

    And your interview series with Guy is the best! 🙂

  • I will chime in as being in the camp that eschews moral equations. This viewpoint has only been heightened by information about NTE.

    We want to live. Bacteria want to live. Weasels and chickens want to live. Yet no one scolds a weasel or a bacteria for killing more people or chickens than is strictly necessary. We live by capturing energy, and we live better when we capture a lot of it, all else being equal. We are just not wired to process the aggregate future consequences of that, for the most part… We’ve talked to my husband’s sister about the dire situation the world is in—she’s a high-school science teacher in Italy who trained as a geologist. And yet she’s amazed when we are not thrilled at the news of the latest grand-child/nephew-to-be. This is how people are.. we are not Some Other Way.

    Brain scientists have ample evidence that we act first, unconsciously, and then parts of our brain step in to rationalize and create the “story” of what happened some nano- or milli-seconds later. We think we are in control but we are not.

    I’ll continue to take issue with ideas of human protagonism. Breaking the world? Yep, we broke it, but to provocatively borrow a phrase from the current Ukraine mess, Earth “created the conditions” for our most exorbitant murder spree, by leaving all those yummy fuels within range of Jed Clampett’s bullet.

    @Reese, love your poem, and have been appreciating your interviews. You have a very compelling style of questioning.

    @Bud Nye, I thought your last essay was brilliant. Thank you very much for putting a lot of ideas into a succinct digest.

  • The word “deserve” should be eliminated from the equation. Few questions of “Deserving” arose during periods of mild, temperate, growing seasons. Few philosophers have written lengthy treatises on mankinds’ “deserving” of of a climate suitable for growing food crops.
    Questions about droughts, floods and unseasonable frezes have been more common. The actual event has yet to occur, although less permanent phases of drought, abnormal cold & flood have always been a part of life on earth. Perhaps those who suffered early death due to famine might have questioned whether their fates were deserved. Our more recent forefathers realized that such occurrances were not out of the ordinary, and civilized man rarely blamed an angry deity’s revenge.

    When communication collapses, will people even know if the total world lies in ruin?

    Small tribal societies might blame local deities when their world collapses; those with a greater range of communication might try to learn of neighboring disasters, but if the earth suffers total destruction, who will ever learn of its passing?

  • ‘Do we deserve it? (doom!)’

    imo of course, absolutely. otoh, i’m not inclined to pass judgement on pitiful meat robots like myself. mother nature’s ‘judgement’ is more than enough. no one asks to be born flawed and mortal, subjected to pain and suffering. shit happens. perpetrators are also victims.

    ‘The vast majority of people who choose “suicide” as an option regret the choice in their last moments. . .’ -jaywfitz

    unsupported opinion presented as dogma. biased conjecture. or is it extra sensory perception?!

    ‘The choice to live is inherently irrational–always. Even in the best of times.’ – more jayw

    more dogmatic opinionating. a little food for thought: what about in the worst of times, jay? what about lessening/avoiding suffering? i can easily imagine circumstances that’ll make the toughest survivalist crave oblivion. can’t u?

  • Neither conjecture nor ESP. Having worked with my dad who was the M.E. for the county and the first call responder in all of these cases over a couple of decades it’s observations first hand– of people with slit wrists desperately digging through a phone book(with obvious evidence) or remembering a young hanging victim that had survived long enough with the poorly tied noose to tear the ends of his fingers off against the rafter ahead, trying to escape the decision he’d made moments before. Anyone with practical experience in the industry of seeing suicides in the first person is going to testify to this very common reality.

    I’d like to think that the quote “the choice to live is inherently irrational” was something that I in my own cleverness dreamed up, as I think it’s a pretty profound statement. Alas, I can’t really claim it. Of course having read a bit of Sartre, or Camus, or Kierkegaard– or a lot of others. . .the point is made and hard to contest that “life is pain” and to exist is a choice. Not a rational one. Sure, I can imagine conditions that I’d rather not exist in. It’s a bit of a waste of time right now tho’ as if I get bummed I can alway go for beer a pizza. That’ll change, I understand. Hasn’t changed for me yet, and I don’t intend to rush it.

    One of the things I find very interesting about this conversation thread is the complete lack of interest in the practical aspects of the “deserving” question. Before it all “ends” there’s going to be plenty of things happening– and while that happens there will be some tremendous problems with heavy social justice elements in them where the “deserving” question will be raised again and again. Image a moment not quite a decade hence where grain harvests around the world are failing for real– and there’s not a lot to go around. Where will public policy go in this future? Will we let markets handle the issue and only the rich eat?(rewarding the rich for destroying the world) Will we nationalize grain production for a couple of years and distribute allowances to try to keep some level of civilization for a couple of years? If so, will we distribute by a per capita basis(rewarding large families for destroying the world) or will we distribute by a household basis regardless of how many occupy the household. Before(if) it all ends there will be some serious decisions to be made on both personal and public levels that will require reinvestigating this “do we deserve it” question again and again. I’ve said it before, but rather than answer the question ourselves it’s probably worth considering how the upcoming generations might answer it of us.

  • jayw
    You are describing attempted suicides or poor plans. when done correctly,. there is no last minute. Plus, you present no verification except personal account and, “ask anyone.

  • Sorry, but they don’t call out the undertaker on “attempts.” Poor plans maybe– maybe suicide is inherently a poor plan. Sorry–but unless you can resurrect the dead and ask their opinion of whether it was a good idea or not– the first hand observations of those cleaning up the mess are all you can go by on whether there’s any evidence of regret or not. Those first hand personal accounts are more than most have here. . .

    I don’t have any interest in arguing about it with someone who has just decided it’s another way. If that’s your choice, Godspeed. I’m not sure if it’s nice to wish you success or not, so I’ll leave it at that.

    There is, however, a real choice of whether one is going to really pull out the stops to try to survive or not. That’s a hard question, as to do so meaningfully will require real sacrifice of lifestyle in the present moment– and it’s hard to make that choice especially if one assumes from the start the attempt is utterly hopeless. I see the projection of the “utterly hopeless” as an obvious strategy to evade making that choice. I also think it’s quite arguable that one has an ethical responsibility to try to survive– out of respect for the tremendous amount of invested heritage and sunk costs that have made our existence possible if nothing else. Some don’t find that motivating. Your choice is your fate. I’m interest in those interested in trying to see things through.

  • Where did I say i was attempting suicide? Some serious issues here.

  • Courtesy of Fritjof Capra’s new book, “The Systems View of Life”, I’m just learning about Humberto Maturana’s concept of “structural determinism”. As far as I can tell, it says that a system’s structure at any moment determines or constrains the possible avenues for change that are available to the system elements (e.g. you and me.)

    For example, the system of global civilization and its economic and financial control and allocation systems are now structured in such a way that it’s impossible for any significant number of people to live without money. In contrast, the structure of H-G societies did not constrain their members to monetary transactions in order to to obtain the necessities of life. Their social structure didn’t require it, ours does.

    Other examples of things we can’t do without at the moment because of the structure of our global society are high-speed communications, computers, mining, forestry, medicine, agriculture and commercial fishing. We’re locked in – not by greed but by the structure we have built around ourselves with the very best of intentions.

    The Oxford Index gives these definitions for structural determinism:

    1. In classical Marxist theory, the subordination of the social ‘superstructure’ to the techno-economic ‘base’.

    2. The stance that the pre-given structure of some signifying system—such as language or any kind of textual system—determines the subjectivity (or at least behaviour) of individuals who are subjected to it. […] This anti-humanist position contrasts with perspectives stressing the role of human agency.

    Readers with good memories of my past posts will recognize echoes of Marvin Harris’ “Principle of Infrastructural Determinism” in these definitions. that’s not too surprising, since Harris began as a Marxist and cribbed Karl’s social “base/superstructure” distinction, renaming the levels as infrastructure (a society’s resources and technology), structure (systems and institutions) and superstructure (values and beliefs).

    Harris maintained that social changes are probabilistically driven by the infrastructure, a position very similar to that held by Marx, as given in definition 1. I agree with Harris and Marx in this area.

    What this all means is that many desirable social changes are inaccessible to us because the structure of our social system has effectively foreclosed those possibilities. Those foreclosures include the possibility of making widespread changes to the social structure itself, which can only happen if the infrastructure (e.g. our broadly-defined “resource base”) changes first.

    We can’t change the general structure of our society unless the underlying support system changes first. Which it is in the process of doing, in unpredictable ways, at an unexpectedly rapid pace, right in front of our eyes.

    As the structure of global society changes, some of our current possibilities will be closed off, while new ones will open up. Which is all well and good in the abstract, but the the change may not look too inviting to people who are dependent on our existing structure for physical survival. Those “new possibilities” might include the necessity of smelting your own iron, for example.

    Blame, judgement, rights and the notion of “deserving” are all residents of the social superstructure. As a result they have nothing to offer those who seek serious, structural social change. Nor have anger, outrage or resistance (even the Deep Green kind). Those qualities may make the person who holds them feel righteous, but they won’t make deep changes in society. They can’t, because they don’t operate at the right level in the system.

    And of course if NTHE happens everything is moot…

  • We don’t deserve it because, collectively, we can plead insanity. Human history has been a headless lurch into the abyss, and now that we’re getting close, suddenly some people are starting to make a big deal out of it.

    The flame that burns twice as bright, burns half as long. We have burned so very, very brightly.

  • @Greg

    You beat me to it! I was just about to…

    Aldous Huxley saw some aspects of it more than 80 years ago. (And despite his prestigious family and great prescience, ‘no one’ took any notice).

  • @ Paul Chefurka Says:
    July 29th, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Bingo!! Superb comment, Paul!! Now “we’re” getting somewhere. For more than a decade I’ve been trying to clue people in to just how fucked-up the entire system of our existence has been, and it’s getting worse, though I dare say I haven’t been as eloquent as your comment. Nonetheless, there it is, the conundrum within the enigma, the crux of the matter. For life on this rock to have any “hope” the entire system must change spontaneously and there is zero chance of that happening. Regardless of how changes MAY take place, billions are going to die, in very short order, and I can only see that proceeding in an exponentially accelerating cascade of other failures. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t. That’s some catch, that Catch-22.