The Bludgeon of Hope

by Jo Ann Heydron, who raised three children and taught English at community colleges. These days she writes fiction and blogs at Talking to Strangers: An Introvert Hits the Streets.

The Menace of Christian Hope

In the Protestant churches I’ve frequented, all falling into the category of “progressive,” hope is a litmus test. You must have it. I would go so far as to say that in these churches the Ten Commandments are really eleven. The last is thou shalt not fail to hope.  

“That’s what they want, for us to lose hope,” the widow of a famous left-leaning theologian once said to me — they meaning the oppressors of the world, the powers and principalities. “If we give up hope, they win.”

If you “come out” in these churches as lacking hope, your fellow congregants will greet you with pitying smiles.

In a sermon I heard just a few weeks ago, the preacher insisted that every generation has feared that the world was about to end, yet it never has.

I don’t see the connection between the world not having ended so far and what is happening to the planet now, which ever more plainly points to its becoming uninhabitable for our species — and many others species — soon.

We will have to face the water flowing into our towns and cities, the beginning of great die-offs, the vegetables we have conscientiously planted expiring in the heat whether we hope or not. Not hoping may allow us to face these things with less confusion, to return to the stardust we came from in peace. Not hoping may allow us to discover what is sacred in our one and only life, the one we’re living right now.

According to the Pew Forum, seventy-eight percent of the American public identifies itself as Christian. Perhaps half (my estimate) anticipate a Second Coming. Some are even trying to hurry it along, supporting Israel’s militant wing, for example, in the belief that it may initiate the Battle of Armageddon.

Counting on a “new heaven and new earth” (Rev. 20:1), they see little reason to cherish the earth they live on now. Why address the danger, why try to mitigate it, when the cavalry is coming to whisk them away? Hope for a better world thus becomes denial that this troubled world is even important.

On the most basic level, why face any unpleasantness on the ground if one is sure that another, eternal life awaits in the sky?

Even progressive Christians, who read the Bible less literally, find it impossible to believe that their god of love could allow humanity and its fellow creatures to perish. Not to believe in hope is for them not to believe in God, or really, in anything at all.

 

Beyond Hope: Secular Voices

My husband and I both turned 60 this year. Now we receive regular offers about cremation arrangements through the mail from the Neptune Society. I haven’t opened one yet, and neither has he. Pretty soon, maybe, we’ll get around to putting “our affairs in order,” revisiting our wills, buying burial plots near my brother’s at the Bay View Cemetery in Bellingham or somewhere else, or planning to cremate instead. Because we’re entering what is probably the last quarter of our lives, it makes sense to take these practical steps. Is doing that proof that we have no hope? Or does having this task behind us make it easier to live these last decades in the best way we know how or can discover? 

The fate of the earth is now very close to that of my own body. Before too long it will cease to support life. All life? I don’t know. Opinions differ. Probably most life. The Sixth Great Extinction, as it’s being called, is under way, and we will not be spared. Human habitation will disappear, not everywhere at once but everywhere over a rather short time. We will no longer have those things that are even more basic than flush toilets and smart phones: places to live where we can maintain our body temperatures, create some basic level of community, grow our food and find potable water. Whether human habitation disappears in 20 years or 80 or 200, some millions of years will pass before “biodiversity” is restored. Whether a species like ours will be included in that future biodiversity, no one knows.

We won’t be able to think ourselves out of this, come up with new technologies, new fuels, build wind farms in every vacant field, spray sulfates into the sky. Sacrificing our “way of life” (which we probably won’t do anyway) might slow things down, but it won’t stop them. The carbon dioxide we’ve already put in the atmosphere will increase warming from one degree to two — that is, the crucial damage has already been done — and at two degrees, climate change careens out of control, feedback loops are triggered, the whole operation (as Jerry used to call his domestic arrangements on Seinfeld) comes crashing down.

I hear people say, well, we might be finished, but the earth itself will be all right. That depends, I guess, on whether you believe that a planet that once nurtured life and loses that ability remains “all right.” We’re taking a lot of other species with us. Sometimes that seems to me to be the saddest thing of all and the place where all our efforts, useless though they may turn out to be, should now be directed.

Can we hope in the face of this? Some voices:

Giving up hope might kill you, and that’s a good thing.

Derrick Jensen in 2006:  “Hope is really nothing more than a secular way of keeping us in line … a longing for a future condition over which you have no agency; it means you are essentially powerless … When you give up on hope, something even better happens than it not killing you, which is that in some sense it does kill you. You die. And there’s a wonderful thing about being dead, which is that they — those in power — cannot really touch you anymore.”

Hope leads to inaction. 

Chris Hedges in 2011: “This mania for hope is really a kind of sickness because it prevents us from seeing how dire and catastrophic our situation is if we don’t radically reconfigure our relationship to each other and to the ecosystem.”

Intention can replace hope.

Joanna Macy in 2012: “Active Hope [see her book of the same title] doesn’t require our optimism, we can apply it even in areas where we feel hopeless. The guiding impetus is intention; we choose what we aim to bring about, act for, or express. Rather than weighing our chances and proceeding only when we feel hopeful, we focus on our intention and let it be our guide.”

Hope is a gift we earn.

Chris Hedges in 2014: “Our only hope will come through rebellion.”

Hopelessness is a spiritual practice.

Bruce Springsteen as quoted by Guy McPherson: “In the end what you don’t surrender, well the world just strips away.”

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McPherson be interviewed Saturday, 12 July 2014 at noon Eastern time in the United States (9:00 a.m. on the western coast). Catch in on your digital device here.

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McPherson will be interviewed by Carolyn Baker on the Lifeboat Hour Sunday, 13 July 2014 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time in the United States (5:00 p.m. on the western coast). Read about it here.

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McPherson’s next 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 1 October 2014.

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Find and join the Near-Term Human Extinction Support Group on Facebook here

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If you have registered, or you intend to register, please send an email message to guy.r.mcpherson@gmail.com. Include the online moniker you’d like to use in this space. I’ll approve your registration as quickly as possible. Thanks for your patience.

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

Comments 107

  • “This has been a day to die for
    Now the day has almost done
    Up above a choir of seabirds
    Turns to face the setting sun”

  • Thank you for your essay. Sadly, virtually everybody in this country buys into hope. Barbara Ehrenreich tackled the subject in her book BRIGHT SIDED, where she recounts all the ‘positive thinking’ she was exposed to during her bout with breast cancer.

    As I look at the information here, along with the increasingly dire news coming out of Fukushima, I’m ready to agree that anyone espousing hope is misguided. I like to say I’m a ‘Yogi Berra’ futurist–it ain’t over til it’s over. But empirical evidence is not on my side.

    What happens when the realization that we’ve got a decade or so left (at most) hits the general population? The best model I can think of is ACT UP, where those who had gotten the diagnosis and felt they were doomed threw caution to the wind and started mass civil disobedience. There’s going to be incredible anger about this, especially among the young.

  • Nice essay, Jo Ann. Do you still go to church?

    Dan K, no one is going to wake up until they can’t power their electronic devices anymore. Just spent time with young people and they are blissfully unaware! They’ve got pacifiers made by Apple.

  • In the land of positive thinking and Oprah our dark reality is an unwelcome truth. I don’t anticipate this will change ’till the walls come tumbling down. Then fear and darkness will be our lot.

    I read your essay with great interest. You are a fine writer and thoughtful in your prose.

  • Nice job, Jo Ann – short and to the point. Religion itself seems to be built on hope in the form of “faith,” which one MUST have TO BE SAVED! i dropped out of religion because i don’t have faith in humanity, don’t believe the fictional story (based on Mithras), and attribute far too many negative human interactions based on these various myths.

  • Good essay, Jo. You inspired me to write this:

    “So it goes,” Vonnegut wrote, “so it goes.”
    He didn’t say where it goes, or where it came from, just, “so it goes.”
    Yes Kurt, “so it goes.”
    I don’t know where it goes myself. I don’t know where it came from either. I do know, it goes, and so what.
    No matter how important you think you are, or how invaluable you think you are, it goes, the world spins, with or without you—“so it goes.”
    The next time you find yourself thinking you actually matter to this scheme, think of something else. You do not matter and neither do I. Each of us are such a small insignificant part of this paradigm, our utterances and action alone play no discernable role.
    I’m just saying, “Get over yourself.”
    Absolutely, there have lived some amazing individuals here and there throughout our time here. Their discoveries and talents have permeated generations. Some continue to mark our daily lives.
    If each one of these individuals never were, do you not think someone else would have replaced them and given us the same, or a slightly different, history?
    Suppose Fermi would have never split the atom, would another? If no one ever did that, somewhere, someone, would have done something just as devastating.
    I’m not a fatalist in the sense that everything happens for a reason. Everything does happen, yes. And, everything can happen differently.
    Still—-“so it goes.”
    I try to think about it differently, but it always comes back to this—“so it goes.”

    I’ve accepted that this will all end soon. What I have not accepted is all the horrors to innocent beings of all kinds.
    Hospice is a place where you are well-fed, medicated and comfortable. It may be like that for now, for some.

  • Finally, the kind of topic, information and sharing I have been looking to find here, during these COUNTDOWN DAYS. Let the dead bury the dead. For those of us who are not afraid of reality, and demand at least dignity and truth from a universe were the innocent suffer unjustly, what matters now is to look directly in the face of what is hurdling towards us, awake and lucid. I want to know how the end is unfolding and what might be on its way next. I want to live through it, not hide and escape from it. Even enjoy the thrill of the terrible adventure of the unknown barreling towards me. Eager to find out if anything exists on the other side.

  • Jo Ann,
    Well presented essay on hope(lessness). Thanks for your contribution. It’s inspiring some interesting dialog.

    Wildwoman,
    Great analogy the Apple-pacifier. Got a couple of teenage boys who are smart and have me for a father spoon feeding them info on the conditions (discussed) here on the “beach of doom”. It seems that our species (our youth in particular) is for the most part genetically predisposed to seek the comfort of diversion and avoid the pain of reality, even when faced with overwhelming evidence of an imminent threat the likes of which has never been seen. Our culture is reinforcing and controlling the mass distraction with Apple-pacifiers, techno-gadgetry and of course those ever so cool cars. Culturally we (speaking corporately) are literally eating our young.
    Alas, Homo Calidus is obviously incapable of the selfless required en mass to avoid our own end much less the end of so much precious and once abundant life on this miraculous planet. Sad beyond measure.

    Dan K,
    Like the proverbial “frog in a pot of water” the realization is not likely to be acknowledged en mass until very close to the rapid acceleration phase of die-off. I can’t see how we are not already in the final decade at this point. Regardless, for all intents and purposes we are already there. So, we shouldn’t have to wait much longer for the games to begin in earnest. I expect the next 12-24 months will be a rollercoaster ride the likes of which may even surprise us here on the beach o doom.

    As Guy has said so often let’s, “live lives of excellence, but first do no harm”.

    Thanks to everyone for posting here and especially to Guy.

  • @Dan K

    Here’s Barbara speaking and animated.
    “Smile or Die”. Enjoy!

  • Thanks for the essay! Well thought out and makes clear points. I know this all to well, since I came from a evangelical christian family, and yes, the earth is just a place that christians believe they have to live on temporarily and so they do not care what happens to it. Combined with the stuff that happens in the book of Revelation and you can understand why they often are as deep as anyone in destroying the planet. They think its all prophesy being fulfilled.

    Believing in some off planet deity is the most destructive belief that has ever visited humanity

  • Yes! Right on! Embrace the darkness.

    Just sittin’ on this runaway train, staring out the window, with a cat on my lap.

    The Voluntary Extinction Movement
    Thou shalt not procreate.

    The Church of Euthanasia
    Save the planet, kill yourself.

  • Excellent, thought provoking essay Jo Ann!

  • “They’ve got pacifiers made by Apple”

    wildwoman, I love it!

  • If you believe you are this body/mind object in danger here/now, there is no room for hope.

    When you discover you are not that, there is no need for hope.

    Interesting wisdom book on this topic: Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rinpoche.

  • “what matters now is to look directly in the face of what is hurdling towards us, awake and lucid.

    What’s more, it isn’t hurtling toward us. It’s already here; just hard to see. Due to normalcy bias and mass hypnosis and mass distraction.

    “Our culture is reinforcing and controlling the mass distraction with Apple-pacifiers, techno-gadgetry and of course those ever so cool cars. Culturally we (speaking corporately) are literally eating our young.”

    It might help if people could see how vile in their kitsch-like horror these toys are. Cool cars? I don’t think so. I stopped being impressed by cars c. 1960. They all began to look the same. They stopped being true. They tried to fool you into believing that fibre glass was actually metal. Now, everything is glossy plastic junk which only is accepted due to universal aesthetic deficiency. Very sad, for if people could SEE what was being foisted off on them as beauty was visual and spiritual junk, they might connect more dots than they do.

  • Just came in ! Not just easy it is even cheap ! We just can roll forward from here on the gravy train cheap and easy https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25846-stopping-harmful-climate-change-is-surprisingly-cheap.html?cmpid=RSS|NSNS|2012-GLOBAL|online-news#.U7rq_LFW98E

  • @Jo Ann

    Thanks for your essay. Simple, in a good way, and needed.

    @artleads

    I stopped being impressed by cars c. 1960. They all began to look the same.

    I don’t mind the fiberglass or composite materials so much, if they provide similar protection,, but I’m with you on the approximate vintage…no way I’d want to draw a line so far back that a 1957 T-Bird doesn’t make the cut.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89tPuyL1ruY

  • The Buddhist Outlook on Hope
    Aug 16th, 2013 @ 12:18 pm › Robin

    (Some other Robin)

  • Why do we cherish a coin that is face up while loathing one showing tails? It seems to me that birth, a joyful celebration of new life, is the other side of the coin from death; that sad, existential crisis.

    Isn’t acceptance, and in some sense maturity, about understanding that a sunny day is no better and no worse than a rainy – in the grand scheme of things?

    As we progress toward what comes next, I find myself more and more fascinated by our inability to recognize subjective judgments of value. In fact, most of the people in my life have no capacity whatsoever to consider the idea that “good” and “bad” are perspective dependent. Therefore, at every single moment of every single day they constantly assess the “impact” of various events and categorize them as good or bad from any number of reference points. But what if it just is or, “so it goes”?

    The wind blowing at 5 miles per hour across my front yard is not worthy of great angst or rejoicing. Similarly, the birth and death of the human species is just another fact in the books. No need to cheer about German installations of solar power nor cry about 2500 fracking-related earth quakes in Oklahoma.

    I must admit though, (from my tiny little subjective view) that it does feel really good to walk through a puddle of mud without any reservations whatsoever.

  • @ Jo Ann and @All,
    It is somewhat of a coincidence to have looked at NBL and see the essay about hope(lessness). Because for the past two days my main meditation about life has been “detachment” or “disinterest”. I think these two concepts have something in common. Hope on the one hand yearns for a certain outcome, usually to one’s own advantage and having to do with one’s pleasure principle. No matter how hard we try to deny that we hope, we still do. That yearning for things to be ok is built deep within us, probably even involving our survival technique.
    There is no doubt deep in the Christian myth, hope, remains a dominant emotion. I can hardly imagine running into a Christian that has lost hope. They would denounce Christianity before they would denounce hope. 🙂
    But there is much to read and study in the Buddhist tradition about detachment/disinterest. I wonder if it could be applied to NTE? Would that mean hopelessness? I do not think so, but it could be a reality, that one was detached from NTE. Could it be applied to ones own death? Yes, and many Buddhist teachings have to do with having a detached attitude to your own death.
    I have noticed now that i am almost 62 years old, that many things that were very interesting to me, are no longer so. It seems like I know how the story is going to end, as soon as the players and the plot are described. 🙂 There even is a slow detachment occurring about my attachment to my children, who are now 36 and 38 years old.
    My most poignant hopes are that I have a restful sleep tonight. Or that it won’t be 100 degrees soon as we water and feed all the farm animals. Other than the simple things like that , I have very little interest in most everything else. If your detached from death, then NTE is no problem. I guess i do hope that it won’t be to prolonged and painful. As far as other animals going extinct, it has happened before, and mother earth seems to carry right along maybe to produce new beings or not. That is not ours to know.

  • Contemplating having children?

    Please read this:
    ” Corporate rule requries an ever expanding population to feed its infinite growth paradigm. Fossil-fuels gave them the means to do it. Despite the clear fact the economy does not need, nor can support them. Nor can the enviroment take more and more abuse from our high maintence lifestlyes. Even the 400 million dirt poor amerikans were going to have in a few decades will turn middle of North America into one giant desert once the Fossil-fuels stop flowing. Then, they starve. The Canadians will freeze in their poorly built,car-dependant sprawling cities and the Mexicans will have no water or fuel, having long sold it to amerikans for pesos on the dollar, for their 100-200 million+ people and then they will decline into abject chaos.

    That is where over-population is going to lead.”

    Thou shalt not procreate.

  • Most Canadians will not freeze to death. We will be shot by heavily armed, American, manifest destiny 2.0 climate refugees. Ted Cruz will bring the chosen ones to the new promised land of his birth.

  • If interested, Lewis Gannett commented to me at Fractal Planet:

    “I’m also sorry that you see no redeeming features in civilization, and that it’s no great loss–in fact, a good thing–that we’re all fated to go bye-bye. Well, I’m sure that you have good reasons that aren’t grounded in linear, mechanistic, Cartesian, feedback-insensitive, hideously stunted Western thought. But I’m curious about something. If we’re going to hell, and in fact are already there, why bother to make a fuss about any of this?”

    I responded:

    I have never thought nor written that I think dying, collapsing human civilizations, including our present one, “is no great loss”, nor that I consider such a collapse “a good thing”. On the contrary: I judge such processes incredibly tragic, unfortunate, sad, and often horrifically painful for the humans and other life involved. I have only described our lack of choice in the unfolding processes. Neither do I think anyone “is going to hell”. My concerns lie with life here on this known Earth, in this known existence, not with some alleged “heaven” or “hell” that our souls supposedly will experience after we have died and left this “merely worldly” existence.

    Why make a fuss about any of this? I think that this exists as another question that comes directly out of narcissistic, human-centered, human supremacist thinking and values, based on the belief that if humans do not reign at the top of an alleged Great Chain of Being next to God and the angels, that if humans soon become extinct, then, presumably, no point exists to any life. I strongly disagree. It seems to me that all life wants to live, has every “right” to live, and does its best to live fully, with or without humans. Why make a fuss about any of this? Because, to me at least, LIFE MATTERS in the universe and on Earth, whether it has any humans around or not, and human civilization–especially this very short-lived, capitalist, high-energy, industrial civilization–does its best to kill as much life as possible just as quickly and efficiently as possible. I make a fuss about this because I love life and the planet that has produced and maintains life here.

  • With regard to armed hostilities against Canada, prudence suggests that Americans do not forget what happened the last time: the Canadians burnt the White House.

    “But there is much to read and study in the Buddhist tradition about detachment/disinterest. I wonder if it could be applied to NTE? Would that mean hopelessness?”

    Reading and study is important and useful. One must also keep in mind the Sufi story comparing a realised person, a scholar and the scholar’s donkey. This from a time when books had to be copied by hand by educated scribes: books were rare because each book cost a substantial fortune.

    The donkey carries a load of the scholar’s books on its back. The scholar carries the knowledge from the books in his head (in that era, “heart”). The realised person has recognised the full import of the books. The difference in scholarly achievement between the scholar and the donkey is minuscule compared to the difference between the realised person and the scholar.

    Whether pushing away or pulling towards, neither act is non-attachment. Attachment is attraction and its converse, detachment, is aversion. “Attachment” subs for both. Non-attachment excludes both. As it also does the connotation of callous indifference associated with detachment. (“Asha” = hope; “nirasha” = without hope).

    When translated into action, it is action in accordance with rational anticipation, but not motivated by expectations.

    “it could be a reality, that one was detached from NTE. Could it be applied to ones own death?”

    Unpleasant (ashuba) contemplations, both informal and the formal practices. The practices in the Vedic traditions are quite close to
    DEATH AND DYING IN THE TIBETAN BUDDHIST TRADITION. Not something to be lightly glossed over as is common practice.

  • A fine essay, Jo Ann.

    I have watched the local environment centre go around in circles, never gaining any real traction, because the people involved hoped that by working with the system they would be able to change the system. Yesterday I pointed out that 40 years of ‘incremental change’ has resulted in everything that matters becoming far worse.

    It is good to see someone else point out that hope is the problem, especially when that hope is centred on hoping that someone else is going to do something to avert catastrophe.

    I continue to point out to locals that the community leaders they put their faith in are totally incompetent and are leading the entire district straight into catastrophe. Unfortunately, the message is undermined by the continuing rise in the NZ dollar

    http://www.anz.co.nz/commercial-institutional/economic-markets-research/exchange-rate-graphs/nzd-usd

    now on track for 88c as a consequence of high interest rates being offered, superficially improved trade prospects, and the rest of the world going down the gurgler rather rapidly. Instead of being $3 or $4 a litre, as would have been the case if the NZ dollar had remained around 40c US, petrol is only $2.24 a litre, and the next round of road construction, to cope with ‘anticipated growth in road transport’, is underway.

    Meanwhile, all the fundamentals continue to deteriorate.

    It is pleasing to see that the spotlight is being increasingly focused on churches. It has been clear for me for a long time that churches are the source of much of the malaise western societies are now enduring.

    Sadly, as everything gets worse, we are likely to witness the rise of all sorts of crazy cults based on false hope, rather than appropriate action.

  • Thanks Jo Ann – excellent essay, short, elegant, to the point…. thanks!
    Yes, abandon all hope you infidels, but don’t worry, jesus will survive :

  • HAHAHA! Wren, I never was able to fully wake up today, now I’ll be up all night!

    Great, Jo Ann! This is what people are yearning to see. Especially people new to NTE who happen to show up here.

    @ mt. “So it goes.” I proudly admit that Kurt Vonnegut is my most admired author of all time. I love the guy and cherish his memory. He was one of the first to embrace total hopelessness in mankind. He suffered with his hopelessness for far longer than he would have wished. I remember when he said he was going to sue the tobacco companies because smoking should have killed him a long time ago and he was tired of hanging around.

    Here’s a recent observation of mine that I think Kurt would have appreciated. A week ago I finished a book on CD. Throughout the changing from one disc to the next of all twelve CDs, a tiny voice would come on at the end and say, for example, This is the end of disc 8, the story will continue on disc 9.” Kurt would have loved that! He may have wondered, “doesn’t that lady know I can count?”

    Anyway, Kurt. Presently I am listening to your mighty fine book, Cat’s Cradle, on CD. I think you would be rather happy to know that when I reach the end of a CD, music plays for about ten seconds, that’s it.

  • Jo Ann, I appreciated your essay. I don’t know whether you are reading the comment threads but I hope Guy conveys them if not.

    My sister is a Born-Again Rapture-Ready™® Xtian, and her attitude is that raking up leaves and paying to have big trucks take them away, instead of composting them on her land, is the superior choice because “That’s CIV-I-LI-ZA-TION!” She feels threatened by anything else. She’s angry that the local schools teach her kids that humans are mammals; according to her babble interpretation, humans are not animals. There’s not much to work with there. I haven’t addressed it explicitly, but it’s obviously the “way-station” mentality is at work.

    The hardest thing for me to work through recently is not NTHE or the collapse of the IndCiv that mostly keeps me alive, but the realization that Humans Are Not Rational, and that they never will be rational. I was raised in an apparently rational household, and went to an extremely rational college (apparently). Yet none of those people or entities was fully rational. This is a hard thing to process. One wants to assume that once a circumstance is described accurately, that folks will respond in a rational sense, but there is no evidence for that.

  • infanttyrone

    I appreciate your points. I really don’t care what material cars are made of. (I’m rooting for cardboard myself.) It would be nice if consumers were aware of it, however, if there was some sort of compact as of old. But the slide into fiber glass was contrary to that, I think. And it occurred just about when cars became harder and harder to work on yourself. BTW, I’m not sure there weren’t some acceptable large cars from the 70s. Monsters. Touching in their extravagance.:-)

    knarf

    Good post. I, too, am mot motivated by any great love for what is dying. I just like what is dying more than what is killing them. And I take no credit for that. I seem to have been born with zero interest in money or success, zero interest in destroying (or even changing) anything. I want everything to stand still.

  • @ Lidia – yes! Once years ago I took a very astute magazine quiz as to how I astute I was about other people. I did great, except with regard to one question which was ‘most people have the ability to think rationally, true or false?’ I chose true and it cost me an otherwise perfect score! I’ve thought about that blind spot many times since then and it’s a bitch because you WANT to believe the untruth.

    Looking out my window after a near miss with some bad thunderstorms that really sent the trees a rocking and thinking about how people HAVE had the experience of Dorothy in the ‘Wizard of Oz’ of one minute looking out their window at a storm and the next being up in the air inside their house, I noticed the well manicured condo grounds below and thought – that is what ‘civilization’ is – something which lulls us into a sense of complacency against chaos. That’s why we do all the fretfully meaningless stuff we do as ‘civilized’ people – because we know the wolf is never really far from the door and we are trying desperately to forget that fact. Instead, we’ve only succeeded in aggravating the wolf very badly. So sad.

  • I love it when people wake up to the church, then turn on it, tooth and claw! If I opened a bar, I’d call it UNBELIEVERS, and glue crucifixes to the back of every urinal. Patrons would buy an extra round so their pals could take one more piss before they leave.

    I can hardly even stand the way Xians LOOK. Worst dressers, worst hair, most make up. But it’s the men that make me want to upchuck the most! They think that if they yell in church and flop around like they’re having the longest orgasm ever, that it’s OK to shit on Jesus as soon as they walk out the door! The Catholics are even worse. They claim a great history, ripe with deep mysteries, then dunk they’re god’s head in the toilet and flush it as soon as they’ve swallowed their “sacrament”.

    But what gets under my skin the most are the Xians that whine about aborting a fetus but don’t give a rat’s ass about children being collateral damage, diseased, starving, enslaved, organ snatched, unsheltered, sexually abused, tortured, emotionally scarred, worked to death, burned alive, scared to death, cold, thirsty, covered in sores, shoeless, etc. They don’t help those kids much but they sure as shit will buy a bell for that fucking church! Oh, and if they do happen to prevent an abortion, they will condemn that life to one of abject MISERY! But they don’t care, all they want is to feel good about their own sucky selves when in fact, the aborted fetuses are the lucky ones!

    I have a theory about the men who attack a woman’s right to an abortion while they accept war and the rest of the shit. THEY’RE COWARDS! They’re afraid to go up against the politicians and the generals, the police and the rednecks. But pregnant girls and women? Well, they’re about as helpless as you can get, unless you happen live in a grass hut in Nam, or a clay brick hovel in Afghanistan. Yep, they’re stinking, dirty, low down cowards.

    Now, If the cowards had concentrated more on establishing a world that respected all life, maybe more women would have chosen to carry the fetus to term. But, that doesn’t matter anymore, does it? Only an idiot would bring a child into this world, now. Thanks a lot you cowardly, shit-for-brains Christen men! It’s all your fault! You can all rot in hell, and if you think mumbo-jumbo’s going to help you out of it, YOU”RE WRONG!

  • Robin Datta says “Whether pushing away or pulling towards, neither act is non-attachment. Attachment is attraction and its converse, detachment, is aversion. “Attachment” subs for both. Non-attachment excludes both. As it also does the connotation of callous indifference associated with detachment. (“Asha” = hope; “nirasha” = without hope).

    When translated into action, it is action in accordance with rational anticipation, but not motivated by expectations.

    “it could be a reality, that one was detached from NTE. Could it be applied to ones own death?”

    Unpleasant (ashuba) contemplations, both informal and the formal practices. The practices in the Vedic traditions are quite close to
    DEATH AND DYING IN THE TIBETAN BUDDHIST TRADITION. Not something to be lightly glossed over as is common practice.”

    To each his own. We have to work out our “karma” through the conditioned existence that has been bestowed on us. Detachment is not a noun, and therefore is interpreted in billions of ways. I can not learn much from another’s view of this subject, for the very reason it is totally subjective. When the heavy glossing over occurs on these subjective inclinations, i tend to stay away. To make the subject a dualistic intellectual ping pong game, little is accomplished in real life. Everyone has to deal with non-existence in their own way…not by what others have to say about it, or what they claim is an intellectual path to true understanding.

  • Life and Death –
    Come as a package deal.
    Just makes no difference
    In how we feel.

    We asked not for either –
    At least not the first.
    When the second arrives
    We should expect no other.

    It’s now in between
    That we can work on
    Some Moments at least
    Worth our esteem.

    Death follows on Life
    Playing tag day and night.
    The game may be fixed
    Causing us strife.

    So be in good health
    Yet know all along that
    this Packaged deal is
    Our Life and our Death.
    And it makes no difference
    In how we might feel.

    Mel Strawn
    June 14, 2014

  • I still have a faint hope that the approaching extinction will be no worse than that at the end of the Permian. That extinction wiped out 97% of all life on earth.
    The survivors built a new dynasty, that of the reptiles who ruled for 155 million years.
    The tipping point has been passed, methane is gushing out of the sea shelf’s & tundra. I’m hoping that the warming won’t exceed 45° C so that some life can survive.

    We will become extinct & while I recognize the vast amount of damage we have done to this living planet, I also admire the arts, architecture, music, writings & technology we have built.

    Life is very tough & there have been many extinction events in the 4.5 billion year existence of this planet & it has 500 million years or so to go before the swollen sun turns it into a ball of molten rock.

    If christian believers had actually read their bible, they would have noted that those who wrote about Jesus claimed he was to return while they were still alive so waiting for his return is folly.

    While there is no future for us, I still enjoy living, looking at “bugs”, birds & what few bees have survived our poisons. The salmon still return to our rivers each year as do the swallows but for how much longer?

    Live in the moment, there is no point is weeping for what is to come, it’s too late now to prevent the inevitable. No green energy, no “sustainability” no hope for a brighter future awaits us.

    We must appreciate what is still living around us whether it’s the spider on the wall, the garden snake or a tasty snail under the lettuce, live life today & smell the roses, death will come in it’s own time to all of us.

  • Kirk Hamilton,

    I don’t listen to books on CD, but is there a chance that the tiny voice announcing which number CD you just finished listening to is there for the benefit of blind listeners ? If you can feel any bumps that might be Braille text on the CD’s cover, then my idea is probably off, but if not…

    Oh, what a segue…

  • “The Bible is like a person, and if you torture it long enough, you can get it to say almost anything you’d like it to say.”

    – Rev. Dr. Francis H. Wade

  • I like comedy and there is plenty to go around in these times. The funniest to me are the “Retirement” ads, especially the one that has all the ribbons to determine if you have planned enough so that you too can have a vineyard and an annual new Mercedes to get you through the olden years. You know, they say, we’re going to live longer so you’ve got to be super vigilant and plan, plan, plan with a company that “knows” for sure, what the future holds and how to WIN!!!.

    @Kirk

    I’m with you on the religion crapola. It really frosts me.

    @artleads

    I’m lovin’ the cardboard statement. Maybe we cud all drive graffiti autos?

  • Fine essay, Jo Ann! There’s a different side of hope mongering, outside churches or in fact organized religion, and that’s politics, especially “left/progressive” politics. It was no accident that Obama, the candidate of the corporate elite, campaigned as the man of hope (And Bill Clinton made a big deal about being from Hope, Arkansas). Some of the nastiest attacks upon the likes o Guy have come from left-leaning websites and media outlets, they depend upon “hope” to build their organizations. One of the worst was a book by Eddie Yuen and Sasha Lilley titled Catastrophims: the politics of collapse and rebirth (2012), which just drips with “hip” techno-optimism. And the Pacifica Radio Network, with which both Yuen and Lilley are connected (especially its Berkeley station KPFA, where they are honchos) has been pushing all sorts of techno crap, including the “new age of machines” idiocy from MIT.

  • Regarding the next blog Contemplating Suicide? Please Read This – Being as I can’t comment on this post I’m trying to do so here.
    I think if people want to kill themselves. Why have I got any right to interfere?
    I ‘hope’ to have that choice when the time comes, cause I’m sure I will not die of natural causes/old age.
    There will be a large % of the population that will wish to end their suffering, let them.

  • Fabulous pics of Super Typhoon Neoguri from the Soyuz tin can now up on Slate.

    Here’s one of the Eye.  Soyuz orbit happened to take it straight over it at it’s max strength.  Amazing.

    neoguri_eye

    One wonders just how big these cyclones will get moving forward here.  This one is basically the size of China.

    RE

  • Seems like the new mother natures taking over.

  • I posted this on the last thread in error, so i’m repeating it here:

    http://www.dailyimpact.net/2014/07/07/fishin-gone-all-over-the-world/#more-2278

    Fishin’ Gone. All Over the World.

    The headline in the Washington Post on June 3: “The End of Fish.” Not even the usual weasel question mark at the end to avoid the declarative statement. In mid-June the Global Ocean Commission stated its conclusion that the world’s oceans are on the brink of collapse, offering a Pollyanna-ish eight-point plan for their complete recovery (Step One: Every country in the United Nations agrees to stop plundering the oceans for profit and start working for their recovery. Just give us a call when you’ve done that, and we’ll move on to Step Two.) In late June, Quartz detailed the $27 billion in subsidies from the world’s richest countries to the largest, nost destructive fleets of deep-ocean trawlers, without which they could not sail. The headline on the July 11 cover story in Newsweek: “The Disaster We’ve Wrought on the World’s Oceans May Be Irrevocable.”

    Earlier, in May, Michael Snyder writing for the American Dream blog tabulated a list of fresh- and salt-water fish kills around the world in a single month this spring that will set your hair on fire.

    It is important to realize that the culprit here is not climate change, although it is making a contribution to the problem. If there were no such thing as climate change, the world’s fish would still be on Death Row, put there by the same endearing qualities and activities that have brought us climate change: boundless greed; massive pollution of air, water and soil; heedless exploitation of natural resources; and political paralysis brought on by injections of currency.

    Specifically, three things are wiping out the fish, and there is no reasonable expectation that any of them will abate anytime soon.

    1. Ocean Acidification. [descriptive paragraph]

    2. Algae Blooms. [descriptive paragraph]

    3. Overfishing. [descriptive paragraph]

    The bad news is that the fish are dying so fast that any serious effort to help them would have to have started years ago. The good news: in just a few more years, there will no longer be a problem. Because as the narrator on Evening Shade intoned years ago: “Where there is no solution, there is no problem.”

  • So what do people think about this one:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/09/business/blueprints-for-taming-the-climate-crisis.html

    Just more “hopium”? Impossible to pull off?

    Hope I think is a great human delusion. Hope is what has brought us here. And it is what will lead to whatever result this planet ends up with.

    –Ram

  • Kirk Hamilton

    CAT’S CRADLE-Wonderful book-loved KV’s work

  • @Kirk Hamilton….that is a fine rant. I particularly love it when Xians put their religion into politics. Have you noticed that the Christian Coalition is undergoing re-branding? Oh yes, indeedy, they are trying to fashion themselves as libertarians. It’s hilarious! The contortions they have to go through!

    My “representative” (and I now always use quotes around that word, to highlight the lie) has founded the Liberty Caucus in the House…Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are members. Their signature cause is the NDAA and the NSA spying. I see it as a cynical attempt to garner the youth vote.

    Of course all of religions coming from the Middle East hate women. We can bring forth new life. That is our original sin. So trying to control that is sorta a natural progression in thinking, if you wanna call it that.

    My “representative” is “100% pro-life” and proud of it. Oh, except for once the fetus is expelled…then fuck ’em. He’s a climate change denier as well. When I’m really bored, I go to his FB page and post shit. The latest one I posted was an article about a scientist who has offered a $30,000 reward for anyone who can disprove climate change. Crickets. The paid shills and thought control bots that operate on that site are wondrous in their single mindedness.

    @Apneaman, your comment about the influx of crazy Americans made me laugh out loud. Probably you are right, but I gotta say, Harper is making Obama look almost reasonable when it comes to climate change. Then again, that extraction fever has swept the globe.

  • Can this be made so that when you click on a link in the comments or the main article it will open up a new window revealing the links web site and leaves the original intact right at the spot where you left of . So when you want to get back to the exact same spot where you left off before checking out the link you just have to switch back or “X” the link window to get back the to the original window instead using the back button which is quite a cumbersome and time consuming enterprise …just an idea most of the blogosphere is set up like that already

  • Petyere: That’s hilarious! The perfect parody of the fat, lazy, stupid American winded by having to click on the back key! Very very funny!

    That was a joke, right?

  • True, Jeff S., but the leftist techno-optimist-utopians will probably pay for it later.

    I agree with you, actually, but in my own case I still save most of my ire for religion, not because it’s objectively any worse than any other group of human beings, but because it tends to act with “impunity” because every time religion makes mistakes, it has a legion of defenders at its beck and call.

    So religious people aren’t really any worse than any other group in terms of “how they behave”, exactly.

    HOWEVER, they tend to be given a “free pass by history” that isn’t granted to other groups.

    Even now, after the collapse, millions of people will be saying “the religious people had it right all along, we shouldn’t have listened to the scientists”. Religion’s own role in perpetuating this mess will be whitewashed out of history entirely, to avoid “persecuting the faithful.”

    That’s the source of my own beef with religion, that it gets to be “the referee of debates” no matter how it actually behaves, with the approval of history.

  • Addendum to my last comment: However, the leftist utopians you describe will not be given the same free pass once the shit hits the fan, so I’m more sympathetic to them. They’ll be told that everything they believed in was shit, while everyone will be patting the religious people on the back and writing their actions out of history.

  • Shep,

    Thanks. Graffiti cardboard cars. Mostly locally created and graffitied. Electric engines. That’s the ugly part.

    So now, what do we do about “coal rolling?” Been wrestling with that and have come to the scary realization that I LIKE that sort of thing. Noisy machine belching carbon. I bet there are men who don’t have these likes and that they are a small minority.

    When I was young, it was considered manly to speed. I grew up among a cadre of potential race drivers. And what a thrill it was to witness their skills! Cars were relative few then. So now, everybody has a car and roads are often too crowded for racing. The irony of car ownership. And now the tech people are approaching a time when cars dive themselves in neat, orderly rows. So which one is worse? Coal rolling or THAT?

  • Benjamin, you Smart Ass (and your infectious lymericitis)

    Truth is: Hope is at odds with Reality
    So it’s hopeless that I would much rather be
    No, not sunk in despair
    But more fully aware
    Eyes wide open and able to really see

    (with apologies for cringingly bad poetry)

  • (Just a morning’s rant…)

    We’ve dished it out to enough others; now it’s our turn.

    (And I still claim the “Tonto” defense: “What do you mean ‘we’, Kemo Sabe?” These are not “my” people. We divorced 45 years ago, and I’ve lived on the edge since. My anger flared in 1969, and has been washed but temporarily in streams of “hope” but is now nearly complete in its focus on what we discuss here.)

    Here is where “Oceania” lost me:

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/02/18-10

    “Captain Ernest Medina…“ordered us to ‘kill everything in the village.’

    “The next morning, roughly 100 soldiers were flown by helicopter to the outskirts of a small Vietnamese hamlet called My Lai in South Vietnam’s Quang Ngai Province and followed Medina’s orders to a T. Over a period of four hours, the Americans methodically slaughtered more than 500 Vietnamese civilians. Along the way, they also raped women and young girls, mutilated the dead, systematically burned homes, and fouled the area’s drinking water. It took a year and a half for a cover-up that extended from soldiers in the field to generals at the top of the division to unravel — thanks in large measure to veterans Ron Ridenhour and Ron Haberle and crack investigative reporter Seymour Hersh.”

    No, these are not my people. Does such a nation deserve to exist?

    Think we’ll have a 50th commemoration of My Lai on March 15, 2018? And not to forget helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson and crew, who intervened, trying to save a few Vietnamese civilians.

    Or how about March 12, 2016 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the gang-rape of Iraqi 14-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza, and murder of her entire family (plus attempts to burn the bodies), again by “our” boys. Just a few “collaterals” amidst the million killed. Aberration? Or logical end result of a militarist society?

    “What you have done to the least of these… Your own words condemn you.” Now, who said that?

    The words “repentance” and “atonement” — you don’t get even the beginnings of “hope” until you’ve done these — are nowhere near the minds of many, if any, and ain’t karma a bitch, because you’re still flogging the cover-up story, aren’t you? You’re in for a double load.

    The words of a prophet like Jeremiah ring more true today than in his own time. You want Bible, you climate deniers and liberal accomplices? This is Biblical, baby. And you’re on the spit, slow-roasting.

  • I’ve been CONTEMPLATING SUICIDE now for 40 years. I still haven’t made my mind up.

    SUGGESTION:
    Guy, you should sell t shirts so you can get enough money to help pay for the Bill M @ 350.org operation to get his head out of his ass. Remember, be kind.

  • “Can this be made so that when you click on a link in the comments or the main article it will open up a new window revealing the links web site and leaves the original intact right at the spot where you left of .”

    When touching the link, hold it. A “pop up” menu from below offers the following choices:

    Open
    Open in New Page
    Add to Reading List
    Copy
    Cancel

    Touch Open in New Page. The link opens in a new page. When done with it touch the pages icon in the lower right corner of the screen in (the right end of the lower menu bar). The page shrinks to reveal other open pages behind and/or in front of it. Touch the “X” in the upper left corner of any page to close it. Touch any other part of any page to display it on the screen.

    That’s for IOS 7. Prior versions are different, but have most of this functionality.

    “every time religion makes mistakes, it has a legion of defenders at its beck and call.”

    Trouble is that the bulk of what goes by the name of “religion” is not religion, but superstition.

    What can be apprehended through the physical senses and ratiocination may be classified as sciences, arts/humanities and such; they are collectively referred to in the Vedic tradition as “indirectly perceived”: they are dependent and conditional upon the physical senses, rational thinking, emotions, values, memory, etc. There is also that which is perceived independent of these and is not conditional upon them, referred to as the “directly perceived”. The pointers and guides towards it are religion. All else in the guise of religion is superstition.

    “And you’re on the spit, slow-roasting.”

    One suggested method.

  • We can see well enough, and generally agree about, what is happening on Earth. Can we focus for a moment on,”Why these things are happening with such a vengeance on our watch?” Under no circumstances can it ever be correct for scientists to consciously censor naturally persuasive scientific research with extraordinary explanatory power just because the new evidence is unforeseen and unwelcome. Our unwillingness to accept what science discloses to us about our distinctly human creatureliness, the placement of the human species within the order of living things, and how the world we inhabit actually works, makes our efforts to adapt to the ‘rules of the house’ in our planetary home a protean challenge. As Carl Sagan reminded all of us, “The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or in politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there is no place for it in the endeavor of science.”

    We possess so much knowledge and know-how, thanks to science, and know enough to recognize and understand that humankind is precipitating a planetary emergency on Earth. And what is our collective response? An inexcusable, unconscionable lack of urgency as well as a deliberate refusal to examine and report findings of extant scientific research. Why not ask a vital science question to which we appear to already have an answer, but of which scientists willfully refuse to speak? Why not ask about the ecological science of human population dynamics/overpopulation? If human beings are primary drivers of dissipating natural resources, dying oceans, degrading environs and destabilizing climate, then let us carefully and skillfully examine extant scientific research that simply and persuasively explains why absolute global human population numbers continue to grow so rapidly and, by so doing, to ravage so radically the prospects for the future of life as we know it in our planetary home? If the human community can share a good enough understanding of what it is that ails us and threatens life as we know it, then perhaps momentum can be gathered rather than thwarted to initiate an able collective response to the problems we appear to have induced for ourselves and other living things on the planet.

  • to repent would mean to STOP participating in IC

    to atone would mean to REPAIR what we’ve done

    both are impossible for most of us

    How many or our old car batteries are sitting in a landfill somewhere – all the old tires from all our past vehicles…? All the pesticides and fertilizer spilled into our rivers to stock our shelves with food…

    How do we live if we cannot repent?

    How do we live when our crimes are beyond atonement?

  • ‘Hope’ is primarily an identity issue, not a belief system. To treat it as anything less is to miss the principle role it plays in fundamentally shaping our perception of everything. Beliefs come and go, anyone who has known someone prone to “spiritualism” has seen firsthand how easily our “beliefs” can change from one practice to another. However, the ‘essence of hope’ is of a far greater order than any specific credence, which is why ‘hope’ is in all practical terms just a synonym for ‘denial’. It can no more be collectively overcome than fear and avarice. One might argue that ‘hope’ is the gateway from which all self-deception first passes through, for it is far less ‘a thing’, than the ‘absence of a thing’. In other words, ‘hope’ is the dearth of courage to live with what it avoids.

    For many here, recognition of ‘hopium’ could also be considered an identity issue, for our intrepid value of “truth” has long displaced the denial hope necessitates.

  • “An inexcusable, unconscionable lack of urgency”

    If there is no solution to the problem then don’t waste time worrying about it. If there is a solution to the problem then don’t waste time worrying about it.
    Dalai Lama XIV

    “Why not ask about the ecological science of human population dynamics/overpopulation?”

    The fox, having successfully raided the henhouse (having had three children = contributing a 50% increase in population in one generation) now preaches to the contrary.

    “How do we live when our crimes are beyond atonement?”

    pat’s church has the solution.

  • @ mt:

    I came VERY close to suicide about 35 years ago. I have felt extremely thankful many times, since then, that I did not do it. For many reasons I have firmly decided that until/unless things become PHYSICALLY and CHRONICALLY more miserably painful than I wish to tolerate–not just psychologically or emotionally uncomfortable–I will not kill myself. Of course, life may make the decision for me at any moment such that I will never need to consider suicide again. Meanwhile, in my opinion this always remains a personal decision and I respect anyone’s right to it without judgmentalism on my part.

  • @mt,
    “SUGGESTION: Guy, you should sell t shirts…”

    Great idea. Hold a contest and let humans (and others) submit design ideas….
    The winner gets no money… that way the art could be free.
    If you decide to do this, I would definitely enter, I already have some ideas!

    @Steven Earl, follow the money. Most research now is corporate funded, universities included. And ‘the church’ is just another corporation in sheep’s clothing.

    @Robin: the Dalai Lama XIV “What, me worry?”

  • (third post-sorry)

    @Bud Nye
    A morbid curiosity keeps me alive. It must be that…. But yes, I am all for individuals making that decision.

    “To be, or not to be?” All that jazz.

    @UL___ (mostly pertaining to last post by RE)
    Arguing with a Prepper planning on surviving climate change/NTHE is like debating with the military general planning “limited” nuclear war-it is RIDICULOUS. They have a job to do and, goddammit, they’re going to do it.
    (note: how much are you willing to pay for a slightly used soul)

    Guy
    Are you planning to rename “climate chaos”-“climate anarchy” Means the same thing-right?

    (Again, sorry for third post. I tripped on a rock that the dog ate)

  • Once again these buddhist pop up and try to convince everyone that the beautiful living planet(reality) is just some lame stop over of suffering on their way to paradise. Buddhism and all other religions teach there is something better than this amazing reality we are enjoying at this moment. They are the reason we face the death of planet earth. Religion is the metastasized cancer on the whole of humanity and planet earth.Humans are pathetic excuses for life.

  • C-Realm podcast 422: I Me My

    “KMO speaks with Gary Weber, author of Happiness Beyond Thought: A Practical Guide to Awakening, about the means of breaking from of the self-referential internal monologue that keeps us obsessing over where we’ve been, where we hope to go, and the certainty that death awaits us at the end of our personal story. While some people raise concerns that focusing too much energy and attention on one’s own mental states might take up cognitive and emotional resources that might be better directed outward toward social and political transformation, in Gary’s experience, once one has achieved a state of non-dual awareness, one becomes even more effective in the social sphere. Ditching the I, Me, My narrative will make us more effective agents in the struggle for progressive societal transformation. According to Gary’s research, people with a handful of psychedelic experiences under their belt have a significant head start in silencing the self-referential mental chatter over psychedelic virgins.”

  • “Buddhism and all other religions teach there is something better ”

    Do they?

    Diamond Sutra: A New Translation by Alex Johnson – Chapter 3“when this unfathomable, infinite number of living beings have all been liberated, in truth not even a single being has actually been liberated.”

  • http://news.yahoo.com/earths-magnetic-field-weakening-10-times-faster-now-121247349.html

    Earth’s Magnetic Field Is Weakening 10 Times Faster Now

    Earth’s magnetic field, which protects the planet from huge blasts of deadly solar radiation, has been weakening over the past six months, according to data collected by a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite array called Swarm.

    The biggest weak spots in the magnetic field — which extends 370,000 miles (600,000 kilometers) above the planet’s surface — have sprung up over the Western Hemisphere, while the field has strengthened over areas like the southern Indian Ocean, according to the magnetometers onboard the Swarm satellites — three separate satellites floating in tandem.

    The scientists who conducted the study are still unsure why the magnetic field is weakening, but one likely reason is that Earth’s magnetic poles are getting ready to flip, said Rune Floberghagen, the ESA’s Swarm mission manager. In fact, the data suggest magnetic north is moving toward Siberia.

    “Such a flip is not instantaneous, but would take many hundred if not a few thousand years,” Floberghagen told Live Science. “They have happened many times in the past.”[50 Amazing Facts About Planet Earth]

    [read the rest]

  • thanks for sharing, Jo Ann Heydron. not hoping is not being delusional. it’s facing surreality head on. it’s acknowledging the utter folly of the lamestream ‘establishment’ and it’s followers, seeking a different path. facing mortality, seeking to maximize pleasure/joy, trying to minimize pain/suffering now and in the future. living as we always should have, as in hospice to some extent. carpe diem, and fuck ‘pascal’s wager’. turn that mofo on it’s head. ‘god’ is a fantasy not worth the sacrifice/compromise of mortal life… your’s, mine, nor any mortal beast’s.

  • @ MT

    Leonard Cohen had this to say about death in the following interview. The interview is for 42+ minutes. Start at 41:00 minutes. (The cameras have not stopped but the interview has come to an end and but interviewer says something about death (it is low and the fellow is not trying to be heard except between the two)

    “If someone could guarantee me that the preliminaries will not be too disagreeable, I look forward to … (death).” Cohen

    Cohen is real. I think the same exact thing. Have for a long time now (Since around 1980?). I just did not realize, until I saw this interview the other day, why I have never acted. I am afraid of death. Most folks are, don’t u think? Maybe?

    BTW, The entire interview is stellar. What a genius!

  • Re life and death, consider the yin yang symbol as symbolic of our dance with creation. I found it satisfying, anyway.
    http:/www.christiananswersforthenewage.org/Articles_YinYang.html

  • Dear Grant Schreiber . I am dead serious about this . If it can be done it would enhance the experience . You see sometimes there are 5-4 links an an article . I like to get them all and send them to kindle and watch the videos also . Now if you have to jump back and fort you might be missing out on some .This way you just scroll down click click click on all the links and they are lining up nicely now you can deal with them when you done with one you just close it now you have order . This is not lazy ass american it is all about practicality lets say the finer things in life . They must be Canadian i guess that`s where i live but i was born in Europe the continent representative of the remaining finer things in life .. that`s why i am suggesting so

  • ”This way you just scroll down click click click on all the links and they are lining up nicely now you can deal with them when you done with one you just close it now you have order .”

    Just copy & paste the links to Notes without opening any of them. Notes saves them as hyperlinks (as does WordPad in Windows, at least up to Windows 7). Notes can be mailed to oneself as body text in an email, and WordPad can be attached to an email and opened in a mail program in any Windows platform (up to Windows 7). Alternatively, one can keep an email open and paste each link directly into the email body before mailing it. This is possible in any platform.

    Opening multiple pages in a browser is very memory-intensive, and unless one has a very fast CPU, lots of fast RAM and a very capable browser, it will slow, freeze or even crash the browser, and even the operating system. But it can be done in any modern browser. On my tower I have Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Gecko, Browsaar, and a couple of others that I don’t remember – haven’t booted the thing in months. One of them was small and fast, and did not write to the registry upon installation; so the installation directory could be copied to a thumb drive, and run from any Windows machine – or even copied to “My Documents” on the other machine and run from there. Each of the browsers is good for certain things, but all can open multiple pages.

  • Why be hopeful or not hopeful? Both imply some obsessive connection to the illusion of the future. Isn’t now enough? There was a time we were born and we will surely be dust someday, just as everything humanity has ever achieved. This neither makes me sad nor happy, for to cling to either is to cling to illusion. I can reach out and touch only this moment- being fully present in this moment without clinging is the greatest freedom! So either in sorrow or joy or simply being an observer, somehow this moment contains everything, or as Blake stated so well, “eternity in a grain of sand…”

  • Apparently, “how to surf the web” is not considered one of the finer things over on the Continent.

  • infanttyrone,

    I noticed your question on the extinction rate, in a previous entry here. I thought you might be interested in this fairly recent piece of research. I don’t have access to the full paper there but the paper is available from here as a PDF. The authors estimate the background rate at much lower than the commonly used estimate which was about 1 extinction per million species years. The new estimate is 0.1. The authors also estimate the current extinction rate at 1,000 times the background rate, though say that is likely an underestimate. So their estimate would put extinctions at a rate of at least 100 E/MSY. If there are 2 million species (low estimate), then at least 200 species are going extinct each year. If there are 100 million species, then at least 10,000 species are going extinct each year.

    Although this new research suggests that a far smaller absolute number of species are going extinct each year, than previously thought, it is still at 1,000 times, or higher, the background rate and so still constitutes an extinction event, to my mind. I’m not sure this can be communicated in species per day, though, given the uncertainty in the number of species.

  • https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/09/neonicotinoids-farmland-birds

    Neonicotinoids linked to recent fall in farmland bird numbers

    Research demonstrates for the first time the knock-on effects to other species of class of insecticides known to harm bees

    New research has identified the world’s most widely used insecticides as the key factor in the recent reduction in numbers of farmland birds.

    The finding represents a significant escalation of the known dangers of the insecticides and follows an assessment in June that warned that pervasive pollution by these nerve agents was now threatening all food production.

    The neonicotinoid insecticides are believed to seriously harm bees and other pollinating insects, and a two-year EU suspension on three of the poisons began at the end of 2013. But the suspected knock-on effects on other species had not been demonstrated until now.

    Peer-reviewed research, published in the leading journal Nature this Wednesday, has revealed data from the Netherlands showing that bird populations fell most sharply in those areas where neonicotinoid pollution was highest. Starlings, tree sparrows and swallows were among the most affected.

    At least 95% of neonicotinoids applied to crops ends up in the wider environment, killing the insects the birds rely on for food, particularly when raising chicks. [read it all]

  • I agree with the reference to the oft quoted, “well, the planet will be alright.” REALLY? Check out the half live of the elements as per the 100s of nuke plants. We have destroyed the geology of the planet, altered waterways, pierced and contaminated aquifers, mined most all precious minerals and spread them ubiquitously over land sea and air. We have leveled mountaintops and eroded countryside so that minerals from the formation of the planet have hopelessly washed into the sea. And the planet will be alright? Yeah, maybe as the moon is ‘alright.’

  • @ Bailey

    Well said!

  • “@ Bailey

    Well said!”

    DITTO!

  • Bludgeon or menace? I lost track. Either way, nice essay.

    Jo Ann Heydron sez: … people say, well, we might be finished, but the earth itself will be all right. That depends, I guess, on whether you believe that a planet that once nurtured life and loses that ability remains “all right.” We’re taking a lot of other species with us. Sometimes that seems to me to be the saddest thing of all ….

    There are plenty of arguments floating around to dispel concern over what’s coming. This is probably the one that irritates me the most, and lots of people use it. As I commented a couple of essays back, the device at work is to back away in time and/or space until looming problems become microscopically small and then pat oneself on the back for making them seem to go away. It’s delusional and blithely irresponsible how it consigns so many species to extinction like it’s no big deal.

  • A well known actor was once asked how he prepared to play the bad guy, which he played very convincingly. He said, I never look upon the characters I play as bad guys, just people trying to get through their day. Wise words, as human nature is usually not prone to vilify itself, only the natures of others. Did Saddam Hussein look at himself as a bad guy? I doubt it. Am I a bad guy? Of course not. If all people are doing is trying to get through their day, then a bad guy is one who gets through his day at the expense of other people getting through their day. On a species level, humans have evolved to the point that we can’t help but get through our day at the expense of all living things. Does that make us a bad specie? There’s no right our wrong answer as the sign says over the psychologist’s door. Looking back when humans were still a marginal specie, certain native cultures held nature in great respect. When a hunter killed a deer for food, a certain remorseful ritual was enacted, paying respect to another life form whose day was cut short. If the plundering Europeans hadn’t shown up, the natives would still be paying homage to an abundant earth, wouldn’t they? Should we feel guilty? No. It’s inappropriate, almost as inappropriate as feeling this perverse and monotheistically sanctioned hope for a new earth or afterlife.

  • Personally, I won’t eat anything that comes from anywhere west of the Rocky Mountains. although it hardly matters anymore since everything we eat is poison…

    It’s hopeless. I accept that. I am personally guilty for a life lived badly. Yes, I had choices early in life that could have changed my level of responsibility – but it wouldn’t have changed anything in the bigger picture. So, here I am.

    Just sittin’ on this runaway train, staring out the window, with a cat on my lap.

  • Secret Squirrel: On a species level, humans have evolved to the point that we can’t help but get through our day at the expense of all living things.

    >>>

    Could this have played out any other way?

    Given the nature of human beings – including each and all of us – I would say no.

    We can get into all sorts of stories about it (and we do), but regardless of the stories you tell, the fact is that we are all stuck in perpetual adolescence. To use Jung’s term, we are PUER.

    And yes, that would include Jung as well, if you know anything at all about his life.

    What does it mean to be PUER? It means we are driven by our blind passions, our cravings and aversions, our delusions and obscurations, our ignorance and our endless, intractable egotism.

    Not just them over there…but us over here, too. You, and me, and everyone we know and everyone we don’t.

    We can concoct a million stories about why we’re on the brink right now – but regardless of the stories, the way it all plays out is that we behave like we’re all in a typical Hollywood movie about high school. That’s what drives history, and biography. That’s the truth of our personal and corporate lives.

    Some who recognize the dire situation are desperately trying to figure out how we got here? How did we miss the (supposed) window of opportunity to avert catastrophy?

    ***

    Every so often (really, all too often) you see a story in the news about some little kids who got ahold of his father’s gun, which turned out to be loaded – and then killed himself or his buddy or his little brother, or whatever.

    How did that happen? How did that family miss the (supposed) window of opportunity to avert catastrophy?

    I’d say that once you put the killing technology within reach of the little kid, it’s not so much a matter of IF there will be a catastrophy…but only WHEN the catastrophy will happen.

    Of course, this is the Prometheus story retold. Once mankind got the gift of fire – given our PUER nature and our immense intelligence – it was inevitable that sooner or later we would burn the whole planet down, in one way or another.

    This is the tragedy of the human condition – and the tragedy of the PUER. We’re smart enough and evolved enough and old enough to KNOW better. We’ve got the Piagetian adult minds capable of knowing what is ethical and moral. But knowing doesn’t make us CONSISTENTLY choose to DO better – either in our individual lives, or our corporate lives.

    We’re not getting enough at home? So let’s go get some somewhere else, damn the ethical imperative that speaks to us deep within. And while we’re doing that, by all means let us distract ourselves from our own internal sense of cognitive dissonance by projecting our self-contempt out onto others.

    That’s really what it’s all about – only in a million different specific instantiations. But the essential object is what spawns them: This world, this life, this human consciousness is just one long, drawn out and ultimately quite mundane extension of high school.

    You can pick a specific villain if you like. It’s what most people like to do, most of the time. You can call it “empire”, or “the patriarchy”, or “commies”, or “religion”, or “materialism” or “capitalism” or “the Illuminati” or “the lizard people”.

    Go ahead and give your devil any name that suits your fancy and makes you think that whoever (or whatever) it is…it’s not YOU.

    But I’d say that if you go back, and do that “searching and fearless moral inventory” of your own life over the decades that you’ve been here, you’d find that you really do need to give the devil inside his or her due.

    So what’s left to do here?

    Well, for one, we might consider that continuing to play the blame game is not only non-productive, but counter-productive. It’s just more high school. It’s just more PUER. To borrow Jesus’ one liner (and no, I’m not a Christian), it’s just more focusing on the speck in the other person’s eye, rather than the log in our own. It’s just more US versus THEM.

    Playing the blame game at this late hour, I would say, is just more emotional drunkenness – the very sort of blind passion, delusion and ignorance that got us here in the first place.

    What it is not is any sort of ethical integrity, because it projects that which we are out onto THE OTHER.

    Granted, it’s not hopium…but it is dopium.

    Who doesn’t do that in our world? And how different is this little corner of the internet from the larger world, in that fundamental way?

    From what I can see, it’s not really much different at all. I come to that conclusion having read through a lot of the stuff here, and listened carefully to both the content and the tone of what everyone has to say.

    As others (like Bud Nye, Knarf, etc) have pointed out, this PUER quality manifests itself early and often in the various discussions. They wonder why, and they wish it would be different.

    But that’s the point. It is who we are. We are PUER…and the social dynamic IN HERE reflects that just as much as the social dynamic OUT THERE.

    Make up your own story as to WHY we are stuck in PUER if it helps you. I’m just stating obvious facts, and connecting dots that are all too easy to connect, without putting a particular story around it. Some people need an over-arching story, a particular narrative, to explain WHY things are as they are. Others don’t.

    It seems clear to me that the fate of our planet was sealed as soon as we got ahold of the technology of fire, or the wheel, or mathematics, or whatever. Our giant intellectual brains, capable of the most amazing abstractions and applications thereof, were set loose upon the world, so that we would have dominion over it. Progress was inevitable, and swift. How could it be otherwise?

    But because our intellectual progress was not matched by a corresponding shift in our consciousness from PUER to whatever would come next, in some evolutionary / spiritual / psychological sense, sooner or later we were going to find that loaded gun, and finally shoot ourselves in the head, in our endless attempt to exploit whatever it is that can be exploited.

    “We have met the enemy…and he is us”.

    So what to do, once that knowledge REALLY settles in?

    Well, one thing to do might be to begin to look at ourselves – individually and corporately, with something resembling mature COMPASSION (not IDIOT compassion).

    Taking that searching and fearless moral inventory (and no, I’m not in AA or any of its derivatives) we can look at ourselves more deeply, with more compassion. We can see that the shadow OUT THERE is one and the same as the shadow IN HERE. We can stop running from that fact, and accept it deeply.

    To use a word that is common here, we can stop HOPING that we are, in fact, different than THEM.

    Because the truth is, we’re not different from them at all.

    Sure, the details are different. There are 7 billion stories in the naked planet. But they’re pretty much all variations on a very small number of themes. That’s why Sophocles and Shakespeare still make sense to us, if we bother to listen.

    So once we accept the truth DEEPLY, we can (perhaps) start looking at ourselves with a deep, and perhaps bittersweet, compassion. How much beauty there is in us, PUER that we are! How much potential! How much possibility!

    And yet…and yet…

    How much selfishness, and stupidity, and meanness, and ugliness and willingness to deny it all to get what we want to get, whenever we want to get it, regardless of consequences.

    It is tragic…and it is the human condition…in here, and out there. We’re suspended somewhere between heaven and hell, as the poet says – and that is an unstable equilibrium at best.

    So…what to do, between NOW and THEN?

    Whatever it is, if we’re listening deeply, it’s not going to look like CLUELESS, or MEAN GIRLS, or some othere mundane script out of a high school movie. It’s not going to be about being the nerds who hate the jocks, or the jocks who hate the nerds. It’s not going to be about my clique versus the world.

    It’s going to be an outworking and outgrowth of something that I will call “great compassion” for lack of a better term…great compassion for ourselves, and great compassion for everyone else, too.

    I mean, really…if we’re TRULY on the beach, and watching the distant tsunami come in, what else makes sense?

  • @ Ed
    It wasnt inevitable “that we burn the planet down” as you suggest. I believe that you are conflating the “we” (as in all of humanity) with SOME. There are many/have been many cultures that did not subscribe to the civilised programme which has led us to this point. It is not the case that all humans are flawed or “fallen” to use an oft used term, but this particular culture (and the vast majority of it’s members) of the civilised definately is. Civilised humans are not ALL of humanity.

  • Photos From Fires In The Northwest Territories Are Apocalyptic

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/07/10/northwest-territories-fires-photos-nwt_n_5574337.html

    The fires are so large that they can be seen from space

  • Wow, I just visited the Martin Manley site, really interesting.

    as illustrated by Martin Manley.

  • KPFA/Pacifica, Democracy Now, The Nation, and other “progressive” media outlasts are really latching on to the likes of Harvey Wasserman, who is endlessly promoting the hope hype of Solartopia, insisting that solar and wind power can not only power the capitalist global economy, but can lead to a new era of growth which is sustainable within the ecosystem. Similarly for some advocates of biofuels. The “radical” faction at KPFA< people such as Bonnie Faulkner and to some extent Dennis Bernstein, are more into "free energy," featuring the likes of Catharine Austin Fitts who promote this wonder as well as fusion, cold or otherwise, contending that this is how the UFOs will rescue planet earth, by sharing these technological miracles. Some of the people on these media outlets even support oil/gas shale development, provided measures are taken to protect the environment, totally buying the industry hype regarding the energy to be made available.

  • The biodiversity of species and their
    rates of extinction, distribution,
    and protection

    “New research has identified the world’s most widely used insecticides as the key factor in the recent reduction in numbers of farmland birds.”

    Homo callidus successfully applies its intellect to defeat limits that obstruct it. Each of those limits is connected to other parts of the whole. As long the connections do not lead to inconveniences, they do not have to be addressed and are often not recognised. And anything desirable that can be used to make a profit will be used to make a profit. The cost of paying the piper is not figured until after it comes due. But no one steps up to take responsibility for that bill.

    It’s an enormous bill from the birds & the bees, but it’s one helluva bill from the Pied Piper of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf.

    “Because the truth is, we’re not different from them at all.”

    Much before the “we” and the “them”, there has to be an “I” and a “not-I”. Even that has to be dropped. Without an “I” there is no “not-I”, no “we” and no “they”.

    “So…what to do, between NOW and THEN?”

    What does a fish have to do to get its nose wet?

  • @Secret Squirrel

    ‘Did Saddam Hussein look at himself as a bad guy?’

    I think that is a particularly bad choice for a ‘villain’.

    What exactly was Saddam Hussein’s crime? Was it that he took a semi-developed nation and oversaw the construction of hospitals, universities, and water systems etc., and controlled inter-religious conflict? Or was it that he attempted to reincorporate Kuwait into the historic borders of Basra?

    Maybe his ‘crime’ was to stop trading oil in US dollars.

    Perhaps he did go around raping women. But is hardly a reason for killing half a million children the way the US and UK did by restricting medicines and food through the 1990s. And subsequently smashing the Iraq to pieces causing uncountable death and destruction, using depleted uranium weaponry, as orchestrated by George Bush and Tony B Liar. The Jimmy Saville revelations and the Rolf Harris revelations clearly indicate that the ‘civilised world’ is full of paedophiles, rapists, molesters etc. who were (and probably still are) given ‘free passes’ by the establishment. And that’s before we even get started on the crimes committed in churches by so-called community leaders.

    If you are going to look for great villains, the names Rumsfeld (who organised the sponsorship of the Iraq-Iran war), Bush, Rice, Blair, Truman, Nixon, Obama must surely rank higher than Saddam Hussein or any other petty criminals. Then there are the ‘nameless’ criminals who inhabit Wall Street and the City of London etc. -the people who orchestrate complete meltdown of the planet so that they can acquire a few more computer digits. How about the people who sold sub-prime mortgages to people they knew would not be able to keep up the payments, so took out insurance on the basis that the mortgagee would get into difficulty, thereby profiting form their misery.

    How about the editors of ‘newspapers’ and magazines who refuse to publish letters or articles that point out the truth about our predicament, thereby manipulating entire populations into continued destruction of everything that matters. They’re pretty villainous. Indeed, I see villainous behaviour every time I turn on the Internet or leave my home.

    The veneer of civilisation is very thin, and is maintained by cheap energy, cheap food, water coming out of taps, and manipulation and lies, plus the impoverishment of the bulk of humanity and the on-going destruction of the habitability of the Earth.

    We have a general election soon. All the policies of the major parties will be formulated on the basis of lies, and whichever party succeeds in lying the best, or in providing the best package of false hope, will form the next government.

  • @ Kevin Moore

    I would include all parties in parliament, major and minor. Capitalism cannot be made to co-exist with the planet’s climate and even the Greens seem unable to come to terms with this.

  • @Ram

    Yes, indeed. Green parties = driving off the cliff at 80kph instead of at 100kph.

  • Ram,
    I would go further and say that industrial civilisation cannot coexist with a stable climate,not just capitalism.And when one examines the enormous deforestation that occurred in some societies in order to obtain energy before the use of fossil fuels,it is probably reasonable to conclude that civilisation cannot coexist with an undevestated environment.Hunter gatherer systems were the only sustainable societies.

  • @ David:

    2 points Marx was careful to emphasise:

    1. Systems are objective functions of material conditions. So whether we like it or not, history basically lumbered us with modernity, reason and capitalism.

    2. These former two can be managed (or perhaps could have been given Guy’s strong evidence to the contrary) with a wants based modernity (communism) but that opportunity has been lost with the idiocy of the Cold War and gross mismanagement on the part of the Soviet leadership.

    However, evolution dictates certain outcomes for species and reason, modernity and high civilisation was our legacy.

  • @ David

    Apologies, I meant needs based

  • @Ed:

    I agree. A bit of compassion for ourselves and those around us is better than gnashing our teeth. But I wonder about the nature of human beings and like to speculate about what could have been, especially since I studied anthropology, the study of our tribal ancestors, or as I like to put it, the study of human nature before the advent of civilization.

    Now I can’t speak for every tribal group that existed in those marginal days of human existence. What I’ve learned is that among many geographically disparate groups, there was not only reverence for nature, but a certain wariness in regard to human nature. In certain tribes, hunters were self effacing after a successful hunt; in others, those who had accumulated wealth gave it all away in ceremonies. Why did they do these things? If we consider that these people had already been around for thousands of years, it seems that these gestures were a way of reigning in certain impulses. In the case of the successful hunter, the impulse to say, “I’m special, I’m better than the other hunters.” Or the tribesman who gave a way his wealth, the impulse to horde and to say, “because I have all these things, and you do not, I have dominion over you,” or something to that effect. So in other words, maybe these so-called primitive people had some learned insight into human nature, something passed down from father to son, mother to daughter, through the elaborate kinship structures that existed in those tribal days.

    But the ancestors weren’t simply pragmatists. Men would go out into the hinterland and seek visions. It was part of the ritual of their lives to have such visions, even putting themselves in mortal danger to open themselves up to such an experience. Who’s to say what they experienced. Whatever it might have been, it seems to me that men who would devote their lives to uncanny experiences may be less interested in the petty pursuits of power and ego that civilization feeds upon, and which has brought us to the situation we find ourselves in now.

  • Ram,
    And where will modernity and industrial civilisation be landing us this century?I am certainly not a defender of capitalism,but just remember that the climate system does not differentiate between a CO2 molecule originating from a capitalist industrial system burning fossil fuels and a socialist system doing the same thing.

  • lots of surreally great comments here the past few days, as usual. thanks all. daniel, daniel drumright? kind of surprised nobody else has thought to ask, or to welcome u back to our ‘beach of doom’ community after quite a spell away. if it applies, welcome back, cotter,,, i mean, daniel.

  • Great Max Keiser Report on the collapse of Manufacturing in the USA, and its re-branding of offshore manufacturing being included as USA manufacturing.

    Wait till the last minutes for some ‘Hope’ for an ‘open source’ future, ( that’s if this planet life forms remain).

    ‘Hope’ is not the same as EBI, (Evidence Based Intuition).
    EBI is your own understanding of what is ‘going on’ that correlates well with the non-cultural induced evidence around you. Hope replaces EBI when rationality overrules Irrational functions, and is only acceptable to the child mind as an evidence stream often called ‘Reality’

    All who have lost hope, may well begin to listen to the wild, and thereby grow re-accustomed to an inclusive radiant existence.

    Just sayin.

    🙂