Thanks for the Comments!

by Alton C. Thompson

My recently-posted “What Would It Take?” essay lacks a statement of purpose.  As I have reflected on why it lacks one, I have come to conclude that the essay was a product of my unconscious mind! In having that origin, I have also come to conclude that my unconscious mind had “informed” me that such a purpose statement would be unnecessary because the reader would be able to infer the essay’s purpose during the process of his or her reading of the essay:

  • From the contents of the essay itself, in conjunction with
  • The fact of its having been posted on a web site with an orientation to the probability of near-term extinction (NTE) for our species.

However, in reading the comments (77 at the time of this writing) on the essay, I sensed that virtually no one—of those who had commented on the essay, at least—“got” my purpose in writing the essay. Realization of that “fact” took me aback, and made me wonder why it might be so.

In reflecting on the matter over a couple of days, it finally “dawned” on me that when I wrote the essay, I had lacked a conscious purpose! I had written the essay without a clear, explicit purpose in mind! Shame on me! Me bad!

In coming to recognize that fact, I realized that it had been presumptuous of me (my unconscious mind, actually!) to expect any reader to be able to infer my purpose, given the likelihood that the essay contained too few “clues” in it to enable a reader to discern its purpose! Put another way, I came to realize that my initial reaction to the comments had been of a “blame the reader” (a variation on the theme of “blame the victim”) nature, whereas I should have been blaming myself for readers not “getting” my purpose in writing the essay!

In reaching that conclusion, my initial negative reaction to the comments changed to one of a more neutral nature.

Once I reached the conclusion that I had written the essay without a clear — and fully conscious — purpose in mind, it occurred to me that it was incumbent upon me to try to “figure out” what my purpose must have been—and to then report that purpose in a separate essay (the current one).

After thinking about the matter for a few days, I have been able to discover what, I believe now, my purpose was in writing the essay, and below I state the thinking that, I now think, may have been behind the essay — thinking of which I lacked conscious awareness when I wrote the essay.

I need to add here that my cogitation regarding the essay’s purpose not only resulted in my arriving at conclusions as to the essay’s (likely) purpose, but recognition, on my part, that what had motivated this search process was the comments made on my essay. Initially I had reacted negatively to those comments, but in my eventually coming to realize that they motivated me to discover why I had written the essay—a purpose that I am glad that I discovered! — I now perceive those comments in a very positive light. Which explains the title that I chose for this essay — “Thanks for the Comments!” And please excuse me for my initial “blame the reader” reaction to the comments! I make no claims to be perfect!

In offering a presentation here of the likely purpose that was behind the writing of “What Would It Take?,” I believe that a useful starting point here is to recognize that Guy’s “Climate-change summary and update” (updated most recently on July 20—yesterday!) gives reasons for anticipating the imminent demise of our species based on recent scientific research.

What seems to have occurred in my unconscious mind was a recognition of the desirability (why I will comment on shortly) of having more than one basis for anticipating our near-term extinction.  It seems to have occurred to my unconscious mind that another “building block” in an argument in support of our “uncertain” future would be a set of  (as I had stated in my earlier essay) “characteristics that would need to prevail in our and other societies for there to be an absence of the threats currently facing us humans.”

In the earlier essay I listed eight (8) characteristics, and stated that I associated those characteristics with the Plains Indians (prior to their virtual elimination by “us” whites). I may or may not have been correct in making such an attribution; but the principal point that I had wished to make (I believe now) in listing the eight characteristics was not so much to associate them with a group of Indians per se but, rather, to assert that if all, or most, societies had most, if not all, of those characteristics, the humans in them would likely not face the threats to our continued existence as humans that we humans now face.

What my unconscious was trying to “tell” me (I now believe) is that it would be of value to reinforce the scientific evidence that Guy had provided in his “Climate-change summary and update” essay with another set of reasons to believe in NTE.

This conclusion suggest two questions:

  • Why think of my “list of eight” as constituting “reasons”?
  • Why believe it desirable to reinforce the scientific evidence provided by Guy?

I would now answer the first question by stating baldly that my “list of eight” does not actually constitute a set of “reasons.” Rather, the statements in that list are best thought of as part of an argument — one which I will be stating shortly.

As to the second question, the first point that I would make is that I now believe that Guy himself believes — at an unconscious level, at least! — in the importance of reinforcement. Guy’s forthcoming book — Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind — can, I believe, be thought of as an (unconscious) attempt to reinforce the argument made in his “Climate-change summary and update” essay. Granted that both focus (I assume this regarding the forthcoming book) on scientific evidence in support of Guy’s thesis, but the book, in using an interview format, can be thought of as an additional “building block” in an argument in support of his NTE thesis—one that will serve to reinforce his thesis.

Why is it of importance to have three such “building blocks” (i.e., his two, and mine — with the possibility that others will provide still more)? In addressing this question, let me begin by stating the argument that I now believe is implicit in my “What Would It Take?”:

  1. Let’s assume that the societal characteristics that I listed (which I had attributed — rightly or not — to the Plains Indians) were among — mostly if not entirely — the characteristics that—if possessed by most, if not all societies — were necessary to prevent, from arising, the dangerous situation we humans are now in.
  1. Given those assumptions, it’s clear that our society (and most other “developed” ones today as well) lacks those characteristics.
  1. It should be obvious that—given our “Neanderthal” “leaders—our and other societies will not acquire many — if any — of those characteristics any time soon.
  1. Therefore, it follows logically (does it not?) that we are doomed.

Now if one adds to my point one (!) the evidence provided by Guy in his “Climate-change summary and update,” along with the evidence — provided in a different format — likely to be presented in his forthcoming Extinction Dialogs book, one will have a number of reasons to accept the thesis that our species is doomed.

Why is that of importance? In having a number of reasons for accepting this thesis one has no excuse for not accepting it. Therefore, one is obligated to accept it!

Now if one is obligated to accept the thesis, and then does accept it, this will necessarily cause one to re-orient one’s life.

How one does so will vary from person to person, of those who come to accept Guy’s thesis.  Some will argue (on a solid basis!) that we cannot know the future with certainty, and therefore one should engage in pre-adaptive efforts — given the possibility that some parts of the world may remain habitable by humans (an argument made by Geoffrey Chia).  (Also see my “It’s Later Than You Think” for my thoughts on possible survival.)

Others will accept Guy’s conclusion that we are doomed, and therefore also accept his conclusion that our only choice now is to accept that fact, and then begin re-orienting or lives. Guy’s conclusion is that one should henceforth resolve to try always to interact with others in a loving manner — a conclusion with which it is difficult to disagree (although it’s certainly possible that some would have other ideas).

It’s probably a good thing that at least some in our midst are fully aware of our precarious situation at present, but also have enough optimism to see a basis for hope — and who then act on that perception. For is it not in the realm of possibility that some brilliant ideas will arise with some that, in being somehow implemented, enable our “salvation”? (By “somehow,” I am most certainly not referring to actions authorized and implemented by our supposed “leaders”!)
Again, let me express my heartfelt thanks to those who have written comments on my “What Would It Take?” essay. I could not have written the current essay without their comments!


McPherson was interviewed for Sex and Politics Radio on 20 June 2014. The interview is described and embedded here. Interview begins at about the six-minute mark.

Comments 43

  • You make a good point about unconscious cognition.

    Dr. George Lakoff often points out that ~98% of our cognition is subconscious, ~2% conscious.

  • A tip on Rhetorical Technique from J.S. Mill, paraphrased. . .

    “It’s easy to win an argument. . .the problem is that it’s quite hard to convince others to CARE about the fact that you won the argument.”


  • an argument worth having is most definitely not easy
    I have seldom seen a clear victor
    why have a display that you don’t care about
    you most likely will still feel right, but you will care so you may defend your position better next time

    wasn’t js mill ayn rand’s lost dad or grandfather

  • Alton.

    The reference to our leaders being Neanderthal is inappropriate (and bad grammar). By and large ‘our leaders’ are manipulators, exploiters and liars, and usually described as sociopaths or psychotic sociopaths.

    Nothing to do with the essay as such, the Scripps CO2 group comment:

    ‘In response to a recent reader comment about wide fluctuations in CO2 readings at Mauna Loa, Ralph Keeling and Stephen Walker of the Scripps CO2 Group gave the following answer:

    ‘It’s fairly normal, especially in the summer time, to see strong afternoon “dips” in the CO2 concentration. The dips are generally caused by upslope winds that that are depleted in CO2 by photosynthesis at lower elevations. In the last few days have had very large swings of this sort showing the island influences can be strong. We do our best to exclude these island influences from the record by retaining only data when the concentration is stable for many hours. How unusual are the large recent swings? The magnitudes of the swings can vary significantly from year to year, with daily dips greater than 10ppm seen in some years. So the recent oscillations observed in a single day of about 6ppm are well within the range of normal variability.’

    We can expect the atmospheric CO2 to continue its seasonal fall for another 6 or 7 weeks, and then begin the inexorable rise to a new record high in May 2015.

    I see it has rained in California, but not enough to make any significance difference.

    Also, there is much turmoil in ‘the markets’.

    I see that, according to the EIA, US frackers spent %110 billion more than they earned in the year ending March 2014.

    Welcome to Planet Ponzi, now in the mega-boondoggle phase of planetary, economic and social meltdown, courtesy of money-lenders, corporations, and the saboteurs they sponsor to positions of power.

    More death-by-a-thousand-cuts for the majority of humans on this planet (along with numerous other species).

  • Oops: $110 billion.

    Who said God made our bodies to be perfect. (I’m resisting the technological solution as much as possible as an experiment, I have a theory that wearing glasses encourages eye muscle weakness. I have no ‘solution’ for the semi-arthritic fingers.)

  • If anyone has any interest, Scott Johnson angrily banned me from further posting at Fractal Planet after I sent the following comment in response to comments made to me by mikeroberts2013:

    Nope, I usually don’t feel angry at all about this stuff, though I often feel profoundly sad. No, not “impending” doom, RAPIDLY UNFOLDING doom, and one has to have themselves wrapped in a Titanium-clad blanket of human supremacism not to see it and understand it. (Perhaps you will help me to understand how can one presume to “make a smarter planet” or to “‘fix’ the climate ‘problem'” without also presuming to have the human supremacist knowledge and power required to do these things?) You seem to reason that because the rapidly unfolding collapses have not affected you personally in significant ways, yet, they therefore have not and do not affect many millions of other humans, not to mention other species and the biosphere to the extent that about 200 species every day become extinct. That does not qualify as “impending” doom; it qualifies as happening right now as I write and you read this.

    I feel sorry if you feel surprised by the planet-killing, human supremacist nature of so much of the philosophy and practice of natural science, and that you tell yourself stories such that you feel offended by someone pointing these things out to you. We have massive, compelling, commonly available evidence of millennia-old human supremacist values with it’s natural scientific climax during the past few hundred years, so I won’t begin to list that evidence here. If you actually have an interest in learning more about some of that evidence (and I doubt that you do, or you would not have written what you did here), among many other possible sources I would suggest reading almost anything written by the prolific author, Derrick Jensen, for example, A Language Older Than Words and his two-volume End Game.

    The 1 hr, 10 min audio conversation about dying, our hatred of limits, our adolescent narcissism, and our cultural death taboo here,, goes a long way toward explaining your taking offense, I think, from some of the things I have written. Fear of death and dying drive much more of our emotions and behavior than most of us even begin to grasp. For much more about this, including some excellent research about it, see the 1 hr, 25 min award winning video Flight From Death available here at Hulu: , as well as other sources. Regarding all of this, I think that this recent quote by Derrick Jensen applies perfectly here: “…how stupid people must be in order to think they can manage the world. They have no fucking clue how complex the real world is. I love the line by David Ehrenfeld: the world is not only more complex than we think, it is more complex than we are capable of thinking.”

  • RE is right. I’m an idiot. Felt like an insect while reading this post.

  • Very long, including comments… Many people here might be reading this blog as well.

    I was struck by the following in a comment:

    “Geoff Lawton, on the other hand, thinks we can feed 10 billion people with gardening. Geoff tends to be distrustful of large scale agriculture as the solution, partly because gardening is so much more productive per unit area, I suppose.”

  • As a species, we have been selectively bred by nature for millions of years. This natural selection is so detailed and complete that we cannot separate ourselves from our behavior or environment.

    But with each new generation, nature brings a fresh batch of genetic variability which will be culled or amplified. (Now lets have the psychopaths enter from stage left.) In our energy-limited past, psychopaths were relegated to the village periphery or perhaps burned at the stake. As an analogy, these 1-to-3%-of-the-population predators are similar to a color-blind person. Even though they cannot see colors, they interact with others in such a way that it is assume they see colors. The psychopath has no, or very shallow, emotion and no empathy which is used as an ‘asset’ to manipulate emotions of others to satisfy the psychopath’s ends. To be clear, psychopaths are more successful with the ‘needy’ and avoid the no-nonsense personalities.

    Given the length of our evolution, it is difficult to overstate the brevity, pulse, gush, or splash of essentially free energy we have experienced for the last 100 years (five generations). This energy has led to massive collective government and private organizations which require ‘leadership’. Who better to provide leadership than psychopaths who can ‘not see’ suffering of others, put their needs first, and serve the organization’s goals while climbing government or corporate leadership ladders?

    These psychopath leaders are not good or evil, they are just doing what millions of years of nature selection has created and amplified through free energy.

  • @Bud

    I think you made a grave mistake that a lot of people do.

    It is not *human* supremacist, it is *white* supremacist.

  • Bud: great try, but I told you it was a waste of time – Scott Johnson is one of those people that can’t even entertain the thought that he might be wrong about something. He rejects FACTS and argues his dogmatic position trying to make the world obey his image. You put up a great fight and to me, ‘won’ (were more convincing, say) at every response. i’d much rather read your cogent thoughts developed here and in the forum area than see them wasted on people who refuse to see what’s plainly before their eyes.

    Alton: thanks for the “clarification essay” – this together with Bud Nye’s comment shuts down Scott Johnson as “not thinking clearly.” Like kevin, though, I have one small point. Your statement that if all the various tribes of humanity would have continued to live like the Plains Indians we wouldn’t be in this mess – to me is incorrect. I believe we would have lived much longer into the future without many of the problems we face now (not least of which is our pollution and reliance on fossil fuels) living that way (basically h/g), but certainly would have had trouble in other areas eventually. But this is all the “what if” game and is just a thought experiment with no basis in our current situation, so i’m not even going to argue my point.

    I was out with my wife last evening and we both were surprised at how many pregnant women are walking around with young ones in strollers. I had to conclude that they simply aren’t aware of the current state of the planet and are wrapped in a cocoon of self-oriented thinking (okay, immediate family then) and not, for example, seeing the thinned, dying and already dead trees all around. An awful lot of people are going to be surprised and devastated when they finally “get it” – in a few more years when our trajectory becomes blatantly obvious.

    Ebola’s spread to the United States is “inevitable” due to the nature of global airline travel, but any outbreak is not likely to be large, US health authorities said Thursday.

    [Well, yeah – especially when you bring infected people here on purpose, with little to no precautions to isolate the populace, like errant cameramen and oblivious bystanders, from possible infection!]

    Meanwhile, up in the Arctic

    SWERUS C-3: More Arctic Methane Found – and Something Worse

    A thorough read through the numerous SWERUS-C3 blog posts since the major methane flare find will reveal snippets of more methane discovered, there are mentions of finding some methane release in anticipated areas expected and GoFlo sampling where the saturation was high enough. However, it does not seem another major hot spot has yet been found, given the struggle with ice, and lower water temperatures, including at the sea bottom in the East Siberian Sea (ESS). You can read the expedition blogs at:

    While my primary interest is Arctic methane sources and release, something far more troubling has been found. Here is the “norm” and then the trouble.

    The Arctic Ocean: A CO2 Sink

    Generally, the cold ice-bound Arctic Ocean is viewed as a carbon sink, the water absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere, with its acidity increasing through time. That is a real concern for sea life, and generally been presumed a way that CO2 would be transferred from the atmosphere and slow warming. This process was documented in research across the Arctic Ocean and was the topic of a conference in May, 2013.

    An AFP article stated the following:

    “Acidity levels in the planet’s oceans have risen by 30 percent since the start of the

    industrial era, and are now at their highest levels in at least 55 million years, delegates

    said at a conference in Bergen, Norway dedicated to the subject.

    The Arctic Ocean is more vulnerable than other oceans because its cold waters absorb more carbon dioxide. It is also fed by fresh water from rivers and melting ice, which makes it less able chemically to neutralize the acidification effects of the carbon dioxide.
    Furthermore, the increase in melting ice exposes greater expanses of water, which leads to greater absorption.

    In the Iceland and Barents seas, pH levels have decreased by around 0.02 per decade since the end of the 1960s.

    Even if carbon dioxide emissions were to be brought to a halt today, it would take tens of thousands of years for the oceans to return to the acidity levels they had before the industrial era began two centuries ago, according to Norwegian researcher Richard Bellerby, the main author of a scientific study on the subject.”

    [further down]

    The Arctic Ocean: An Increasing CO2 Source: SWERUS-C3

    Finally, we return to SWERUS-C3 expedition. Professor Leif Anderson, a marine chemist at the University of Gothenburg submitted the following on his blog on July 28, 2014. While he comments on the methane release he notes the fact that the Laptev Sea is acting as a CO2 source, and that thawing permafrost on the shallow sea floor was the cause. The map above will help give a visual for what follows, (caution: auto-translation to English):

    “With five stations on two days there was a total of approximately 100 samples that we analyzed in order to evaluate the water masses flowing along the slope between the shallow Laptev Sea and the deep basin. When this work was finished, we sailed towards the east during the time that we stopped a few times for stations at about 50 meters depth.” (the area circled above)

    “Now begins the interesting things happen with the chemistry. The oxygen concentration becomes low, near the ground (sea floor), a clear signal to the decomposition of organic materials. This also means that the carbon dioxide concentration is high. The most surprising is that the carbon dioxide concentration is also high in the surface water, so high that it is above the equilibrium level of the atmosphere. Thus carbon dioxide is leaking out of the sea in this area. Normally the sea under-saturated during the summer when växtpankton (plankton) bloom. The reason that it is over saturated is probably due to the supply of organic matter from land that is broken down to a greater extent than the phytoplankton bloom. This was something we observed during an expedition to the sea in 2008, but in areas closer to shore than where we are now.”

    What makes this intriguing – and troubling, is that the charted path of SWERUS_C3 is no where near land, this is not likely decaying debris washed out to sea. the course seems to be what is thawing on or under the sea floor itself.

    While we have concerns about CH4 leaking from the East Siberian and Laptev shelves, we may have to also contend with the longer term impacts of increased CO2 release. A glance at the Metop 1-B July 27 and 28, 2014, 0-12 hours imagery provides a hint of the increased carbon dioxide readings in the Arctic Ocean when this report was prepared by Dr. Anderson. By displaying images for 972 mb, we are portraying CO2 concentrations close to the sea surface.

  • KeeRist AC Thomson, wot a load of crap! No Substance! Learn to write!

    The “Indians” were genocided for the land, no ifs buts or maybes.

  • Wanna read a nice, uplifting story?

    Love and Survival

    When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us.

    -The Dalai Lama, Nobel acceptance speech, 1989


    up North:

    Terrible Thunderstorms of Fire Over Canada as Arctic Territory Continues Record Burn


    That these fires are an amplifier to human driven warming is probably a given. They dump extra CO2 and methane into the atmosphere, they burn both the more recent forest carbon store and the far older store in the soil, they break the permafrost cap, opening up new fuels for fires in subsequent years and providing avenues for methane and CO2 release, they dump dark carbon over low albedo surfaces such as ice sheets and sea ice, and they produce fire thunderstorms with the potential to inject dark carbon into the stratosphere.

    While taking into account the entire Arctic system feedback to human caused climate change will likely be a monumental task, the mechanism of Arctic wildfires to tap and deliver the massive land-based Arctic carbon store to the atmosphere in various ways may be one of the critical elements in the overall feedback system. One that to any rational observer appears to be energetically emerging now. An expanding Arctic outburst of summer smoke and flame that is terrifying to watch.

  • @tom

    Berman (an example of over-education = narcissism) and the boyz don’t want to recognize that race is an integral part of the collapse of America much less the entire planet. Probably Climate deniers too.

  • @ Tom:

    I’m shocked at anyone having children these days, shocked.

  • from Signs of the Times (SOTT) website

    Shep: have you read his article? He’s praising NON-WHITES for their love and acceptance of a complete stranger!

    pat: me too.

    On a personal note, my 11 y.o. pit mix died this morning. I buried him in the back yard, tears running down my face as I dug. This was very sudden. Two days ago he didn’t look right, yesterday I took him to the vet (spent like $425 it took me all summer to earn) and today he’s dead. Everyone who has ever owned a pet for a good while knows how sad I feel, so no need to commiserate. He’s lucky he won’t have to witness the ongoing collapse of the ecosystem.

    sorry for going over the comment limit

  • So sorry to hear about your dog, Tom.

    Malooga On WW III: “All the World’s a Spectacle”

    (Best ignore idiot troll comments from ‘Holefield’ aka Morocco Bama)

  • This is what I have been waiting for ! This is the first crack. This means the Anglo-Zionist Empire is now definitely doomed. Germany will not go along with Britain, USA, Israel, ‘the 5 Eyes’, NATO, against Russia and China and the BRICS. This is saying that Germany has had enough.

    This is the axial point, an enormous, dramatic, historic change.

    [i]German Handelsblatt Releases Stunning Anti-West Op-Ed, Asks If “West Rabble-Rousers Are On The Payroll Of The KGB”

    Up until this point Angela Merkel, and German media in general, had been staunchly on the side of the west when it comes to dealing with Russia, Putin and realpolitik in broader terms. That changed dramatically today when Gabor Steingart, the chief editor of Handelsblatt, Germany’s leading economic newspaper, came out with a stunning op-ed, in German, English and Russian, titled simply that “The West on the wrong path” in which the editor comes out very vocally against the autopilot mode German media has been on for the past several months and calls for an end to a strategy of sanctions and Russian confrontation that ultimately “harms German interests” and is a dead end.

    Some of the “must read” excerpts:[/i]

  • Tom:

    I started to read it and then threw up…I will try again and report back to you my impressions.

  • Ping-back:

    I have waited to post completely unvarnished data as I have felt such information would either be completely rejected, or would shut down those that were committed enough to objectively examine it. It has been my hope that the degree of warning I had tried to pass on about climate engineering and the state of the biosphere would be enough to compel those who examined the information into making the fight to stop climate engineering their top priority, this has not happened in too many cases.

    We live in a society based on near total denial and delusion. As the walls crumble around us all and resource wars rage around the world, few seem to sense the gravity of what is now upon us. We have precious little time left to make monumental changes, or all will most certainly be lost if it is not already.

    The article below by Guy McPherson is long, but it is of immense importance…

    Our Time Is Running Out Fast

  • Tom

    Condolences for your loss.

    And thanks for the story. I liked this part especially:

    ” I have a saying I like to repeat, from time to time, that in Mexico nothing works and everything works out, whereas in the United States, everything works and nothing works out. ”


    Take care of yourself!

    General (Germany)

    I’ve ben saying that if Israel residences all have bomb shelters, Gaza, when rebuilt, should have them too.

    What country has the requisite skills, neutrality, economic means, potential PR advantage, heritage to lead this rebuilding?

    What country could help to make Gaza more resilient against Israeli bombing, as well as superbly energy efficient, meanwhile finding a most important foreign policy niche that could apply in places like Africa?

    Germany, I’d say.

    “Lift your hat when you see a German…”

    Marcus Garvey

  • NASA ABoVE (Arctic Boreal Vulnerability experiment). Just tweeted this a few hours ago:

    “@NASA_ABoVE: this is why the #nwtfire is so bad RT @NASA_EO: Unusual July Temperatures #NASA

    Link goes to this site:

    and specifically this image of North America:

    Which is the Earth Observatory Image if the day today.

    Some areas of the Northwest Territories over the last week (7/27-8/3) had temperature anomalies of up to 10C above average. The kicker: that average was computed between 2005 and 2013.

  • Alton, I read this, and what came to mind was this:

    Alton has found his explicit stated purpose..but has he considered that there might be one or more purposes that are still floating around in his subconscious, that perhaps he hasn’t looked at…

    Like…in writing that piece, was any part of his purpose a self-reassurance that these radical steps he’s taking..the ones that put him at odds with many of the people he knows, like clients, friends, and relatives….are correct? To make him feel certain of his own greater purpose?

    Because I’d like to be sure, too, you know. I’m doing much the same thing, and nobody much gets it.

    If that might possibly apply, I’d like to reassure you that you are doing the right thing…as Guy did, and others here have done and are doing…to reduce their own dependence on the fossil fuel system. Whether doing that changes anything or not. It’s important, and I applaud you for it.

    How are the chickens?

  • Tom,
    Re. your point about hunter-gatherer societies not being sustainable in the long term,I think we already have evidence to the contary.The Australian Aboriginal society that existed before the European invasion had existed for at least 50,000 years.
    All ecosystems change when a foreign species enters it, and there was no exception when the first aboriginal Australians arrived.The existing megafauna became extinct,and the use of fire altered ecosystems,but the system settled into a new state that was as stable as any other system.
    All the reports from early European explorers testify to the robust health of the ecosystem.
    The population could not expand to unsustainable levels because it operated under the same energy constraints as any other animal species and did not have a fossil fuel powered agricultural system to allow the population to increase to completely unsustainable levels.
    There was no soil cultivation,hence no soil erosion,which is a serious long term problem for our civilisation.The sun provided the energy to keep the whole system operating.
    If a system can operate for 50,000 years and still be in excellent condition,what do you think would happen to cause it to become non-functional?

  • I have just read my comment,and I should qualify my last question.Obviously the invasion of europeans and the imposition of our rapacious,completely unsustainable civilisation rendered theexisting society non-functional,but if that had not occurred,do you think there was some other factor that would cause the system to become unsustainable?What do others think?

  • Where We Went Wrong

    Was fire a tool way too strong?
    Perhaps agriculture was wrong?
    Since extinction’s the norm
    For every life form,
    We were doomed from the start all along.

  • @ Tom:

    Based on my experiences to date, I think that you describe Scott Johnson pretty well. Yes, he tries to make the world fit his models instead of changing his models based on experience. He confuses his map with the territory. Early on in my commenting it became pretty clear that he had blatant double standards and biases regarding what and how he allows those who agree with him to write, versus those who disagree. He insists on not discussing motives, underlying assumptions, or values, but instead commenters must take HIS motives, assumptions, values, and premesis as unquestioned, unquestionable, and presumably valid givens. As his blog, he has the right to do that, of course, and even to insist that he does it in the name of “the science”, as though he, alone, possesses the one, infallibly “right” understanding of the content and processes of natural science. What exists exists, and I have not and will not upset myself over it.

    Even so, I found the time I spent writing at FP VERY productive and well worth the effort, definitely not a waste of time. How so? Because of my motives. I did NOT write, there, in order, hopefully, to change Scott’s and some other’s thinking. Though I never ruled that possibility out, I had no great hope, or intention, for it to happen. From having spent a number of years studying and working to apply Physics Education Research (PER) in my teaching, I know that we all actively construct our knowledge. The implications of this go very deep indeed. It means, literally, that we cannot “tell” people things and expect them to understand what we have said or written. Teaching by telling–lecture–rarely works with any practical degree of effectiveness. Knowing this, and reading the things that Scott and others wrote at FP and their responses to me, I knew almost immediately that most people who comment there regularly–certainly not all!–have little interest in constructing knowledge regarding the things I wrote about. I knew that little or nothing I would write would have any meaningful effect in changing those people’s beliefs or thinking. We all pretty much always construct our own knowledge, no one can do this for us, and no one can “pour knowledge into our heads” by telling us how things presumably work. Thus, “trying to convert people via logical argument to specific beliefs”, as some might put it, for all practical purposes, will almost never work.

    Importantly, this does NOT mean that language cannot help people learn! Language–telling, lecture, and so on–CAN prove extremely helpful, but only if the receiver proactively works at constructing their knowledge and thus works, actively, to integrate the information available in the language into their thinking. Unfortunately, this does not occur very often, even in many college situations, much less in public education and in our everyday talking with others in our business and personal lives. Again, I write all of this based on the PER. Frustrating indeed.

    So, what motivated my continuing to argue with some of the commenters as FP? (I use the term “argue” in the positive sense of trying to achieve deeper, more accurate understanding, NOT to achieve some kind of “victory”.) The following bullets describe my motivations:

    * First, and perhaps most importantly, I love to learn and practice new skills and I have quite consciously worked for the past few years at not reacting emotionally to things that others might say, write, or do that tend to elicit emotional responses from me. This includes two related but different processes: not experiencing strong emotions because of the things I tell myself about what they have written or said, and not responding to them with emotional language. Because of the frequent ad hominem attacks that Scott and others make at FP, I got a lot of practice at not taking the often-offered, emotional bait. Over the weeks, I reached the point where I had little or no emotional response to the distracting and sometimes incredibly childish taunting, and I think I did a very good job at not responding with writing in ways designed to taunt others with name calling, sarcasm, and so on. For sure, others, perhaps especially Scott, sometimes upset themselves anyway, but I felt calm and clear in what I wrote, and about my non-emotional intentions. I also got much practice at not letting others distract me from key points with completely unrelated, straw man arguments.

    * Much of my life I often experienced great, debilitating social phobia. The discussions, both here at NBL and at FP, have helped me greatly to push myself out of my comfort zone and to practice some good, respectful assertiveness skills.

    * I have had a life-long passion for constructing my knowledge of how the world works, beyond my subjective experiences, as accurately as possible. I love learning how the world, “reality”, works, insofar as possible, and integrating that knowledge within my life. (While also working hard NOT to confuse my symbolic thinking and images with the realities that exist outside of my head!) The discussions at FP helped me to clarify my thinking about a number of things over time. Related to this, I usually felt good about testing my models and finding that I could respond surprisingly easily and well to questions asked.

    * I sometimes hoped to expose the highly biased thinking, values, and tactics of the people involved, including the distracting straw man arguments, changing the subject, ad hominem attacks, illogical reasoning, and so on, which occurred quite often–so that others who might read the exchanges might recognize those distracting argumentation tactics and weaknesses.

    * I sometimes hoped to present new ideas that others who might read the comments might consider as they work to construct their knowledge–though probably not Scott Johnson and some others, and certainly not Landbeyond!

    Related to all of this, I remain fascinated by the often powerful, negative, emotional responses, and I expect (I do NOT presume to “know”!)that my final post, which resulted in Scott banning me, points to the most fundamental reasons for these emotional responses: much of what I wrote threatens the world view of Scott and some of the other commenters there regarding the desirability and viability of human’s ability to dominate and control nature, ultimately related to death and dying issues. As I so often suggested, this also relates to the Baconian-Cartesian thinking and values that remain so popular today.

  • Re. my comment,I should have typed ‘Every ecosystem changes’ rather than ‘All ecosystems change’.A couple of other points.That system did not have non biodegradable or toxic synthesised chemicals entering the ecosystem.The nutrient cycling systems remained intact,wheras we have replaced cyclic nutrient systems with a linear system.
    These are both important factors which mean that industrial civilisation has several unavoidable flaws which did not exist under a hunter gatherer system.Also mining of minerals,
    another development which is not sustainable,did not exist,plus of couse the obvious one of our building a bubble society reliant on fossil fuels,which are finite and which hunter-gatherer societies did not use.

  • Off topic, but check this out. Number 18, about 50 seconds in.

  • @ Shep:

    I disagree. I think you way overstate your point. I don’t know about any research concerning this, but reflecting on the little I know of anthropology and history, I think that human supremacism has, much more likely than not, included most, if not all, racial groups. What about the Chinese? You don’t think that they fall into the human supremacist camp? Has human supremacism involved more white-skinned people than others? Perhaps. Have you confused hunter-gatherers with race? Beats me. Anyway, I disagree with you.

  • goavs Says:
    “Some areas of the Northwest Territories over the last week (7/27-8/3) had temperature anomalies of up to 10C above average. The kicker: that average was computed between 2005 and 2013.”

    The dragon-wolf is scratching on the front door.
    “Sustainability” without a timeframe, is a non sequitur. The timeframe if not expressly stated, is open to interpretation which may differ from any originally implied duration. Nothing is sustainable with an open-ended timeframe. The implication that something dubbed sustainable approximates eternal leads to a lot of contorted thinking and values.
    “I have had a life-long passion for constructing my knowledge of how the world works, beyond my subjective experiences, as accurately as possible.”

    There is no end to the detail, the complexity of interactions, and the spatiotemporal extent of the “world”. It is beyond finite intelligence and memory. It is a morass in which lifetimes can and have been expended without even the remotest approach to resolution.

    That is why some traditions emphasise distinguishing the Knower from the known, the Seer from the seen. Anything known is not the Knower, even though the Knower is the sine qua non for the knowing and the known – the Seer is the sine qua non for the seeing and the seen. Without the Knower/Seer there is not even the concept of “existence”.

  • @ Bud Nye

    I think you did a great job.

    @ artleads

    What country could help to make Gaza more resilient against Israeli bombing, as well as superbly energy efficient, meanwhile finding a most important foreign policy niche that could apply in places like Africa?
    Germany, I’d say.

    Why not China ? Could show them how to build a Great Wall. Or Egypt, some Pyramids. Or Iran, how to enrich uranium. Or Russia, how to manufacture S300s. Yup, places like Africa… where would those be, artleads ? Maybe Mongolia or Patagonia or Alaska or Mars or somewhere…

    @ R Datta

    “An even greater difference exists in regard to the soul. Two contrary types of soul exist, a non-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness.”

    “As has been explained, an embryo is called a human being, because it has both body and soul. Thus, the difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish embryo can be understood.”

    “…the general difference between Jews and non-Jews: A Jew was not created

    as a means for some [other] purpose; he himself is the purpose, since the substance of all [divine] emanations was created only to serve the Jews.”

    “The important things are the Jews, because they do not exist for any [other] aim; they themselves are [the divine] aim.”

    “The entire creation [of a non-Jew] exists only for the sake of the Jews.”

  • Latest RANT, BOMBS Of DEMOCRACY: A Failure to Communicate , now UP on the Diner Blog!


  • david: Thanks for your reply. Many tribal groups display the same hard-wired human-centric limit-pushing, exploratory to rapacious roaming, and the willingness to engage in fighting and killing (rather than cooperative behaviors) to either protect what they have or to prohibit other groups (even species) from sharing. Even if they didn’t (or let’s just say they don’t have those qualities), they have the same problem with invasive neighbors (like the Neanderthal) clamoring for resources, use of other species for brightly colored feathers, hides, meat etc. It’s been shown that humanity has killed off the mega-fauna everywhere they went. Again, the whole point is moot because we didn’t evolve and limit our populations so we’re dallying in projections and “what ifs” (so we can’t really talk about “what if that hadn’t happened” because it DID). I think fundamentally we’re just carrying out our biological mandate and forgot or refused to stop at some point – and now it’s too late.

    ulvfugl: thanks for your empathy. As to your exclamation – what does it mean? Will it still be war, or will that be delayed (at least in the Ukraine)?

    artleads: I appreciate your regard.

    Benjamin: spectacular! Volume II comin’ up?

    Bud: your comment gets to the root of it – a willingness to examine the science and leave the emotional nonsense out of it, and especially the ability to “change course” or worldview when new information comes to light. I second ulvfugl’s comment that you went above and beyond. i’d go so far as to say you’re at least an order of magnitude above Scott’s “locked in” dogma. He refuses to grow (mentally) – ie. to re-build his worldview in light of your points.

    Sabine (from the last thread): thanks for your supportive comment.

  • Robin Data

    Off topic(maybe?), but…

    Do you have a link to a site or page I can quickly get a handle on:

    The Three Gunas

    Any help would be great, including your thoughts.

    I am thinking it is relevant here but will need to refresh my memory before I can put a coherent statement on that.

    Also, given the long tradition of capitalising the ‘I’ from a Vedic perspective is it not arrogant to use it in any other context but as a fully realised Consciousness? i am thinking of using the i when referring to the puny self-contracted ego POV.
    Your thoughts…or anyone else’s for that matter.

    Cheers folks.

  • The “Three Gunas” are an ancient cosmological explanation for the world, just as in modern times the description is in terms of time & space, matter & energy.

    It was believed that the properties such as inactivity, inertia, darkness, etc. were associated with “tamas”, activity, desire, etc. were associated with “rajas” and the absence of both was associated “sattwa”.

    Tom: Dogs have been held in high esteem ever since their wolf ancestors first associated with humans. The passing of individual pet dogs is occasion for grieving comparable to the loss of a human. There is a Kabbalah tradition that also honours dogs.

  • @ Tom

    As to your exclamation – what does it mean? Will it still be war, or will that be delayed (at least in the Ukraine)?

    We are in WW3 now – some call it WW4, if you count the Cold War as WW3.

    Ukraine is just one skirmish. It’s being fought all around the planet, and on many fronts, that people do not recognise, cyberspace, trade, finance, propaganda, so they don’t realise it’s happening because they don’t see dead bodies and bombs in their neighbourhood yet.

    The dominant Imperial superpower, the USA, plus it’s allies, the 5 Eyes, Britain, Canada, Australia, NZ, plus Israel and Saudi, are in mortal combat against Russia and China, for control over the remaining resources.

    The plan was to destroy Russia as a sovereign power and take it’s vast resources, but Putin blocked that. Worse, China and Russia make an alliance, so that their manufacturing and resources make a powerful new empire. Worse, this links to Germany and Europe, and becomes a new Eurasian Empire with a new Silk Road, allied to India, Brazil and the rest of the world, S. America, all hostile to the hated old Anglo-Zionist Empire.

    All of this hinged on what Germany would do. The idiot neocons in Washington expect Germany to commit suicide, by rejecting Russian gas and killing off it’s own industry, to please the USA.

    But the Germans are not going to do that. They do not feel at all threatened by Putin.

    All the rubbish about Putin being the ‘new Hitler’ has been spread by the zionist media, propaganda, from the CIA and all the usual suspects, and it has not worked. People can see that the junta in Kiev are a bunch of raving neo-nazi lunatics put their by Washington, and that Washington contrived the civil war in Ukraine, and that nobody in Europe wants war, and nobody in Europe wants sanctions against Russia.

    But the Anglo-Zionist Empire is not going to die gracefully, is it. They’ll be busy plotting some other horrendous atrocity that they will commit, that they will try to blame on Putin, in an attempt to turn Germans and Europeans against Russia.

    But I do think that they have now finally lost, and that there is nothing that they can do. Perhaps nuclear war can be avoided, but that depends on whether China and Russia can manage the ‘controlled collapse’, the demolition, so to speak, of their opponent, in a skillful manner.

  • NTHE Questions #5 and #6 have been posted, along with relevant links. Catch it here.

  • @TOM

    Berman is NOT praising non-whites. Believe me. He is railing against ignorant Americans and further does not agree with Chomsky that “Manufacturing Consent” is a factor.


    I appreciate the calm disagreement! I guess I am only speaking of the Industrial Age forward. (Well, 1492 to the present)


    I am. Thank you for the comment.

  • Thanks for the explanation ulvfugl. I remembered you mentioned something about WWIII (or IV) in earlier posts but didn’t catch on to the multiple playing fields approach until now. It makes so much more sense as separate fronts in the same big battle for the remaining resources.

    Let’s take a closer look at the Ebola story…

    [teaser to start you reading]

    The World Health Organization has declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be an international public health emergency — although this designation does not mean that there will be any travel bans. This outbreak has claimed some 1700 victims, of which more than 900 have died.

    Dr. Brantly and Ann Coulter. I’m sure that most you already know the tale of 33 year-old Dr. Kent Brantly, a doctor working for a religious organization. He and a co-worker, Nancy Writebol, contracted the disease while working with Ebola patients in Liberia. Although the highly contagious virus is usually fatal, Brantly has responded well to a mysterious new drug called ZMapp. He was flown back to the United States — a controversial decision, making him the first Ebola carrier to enter this country — and is now being treated in Atlanta.

    Brantly was the focus of a characteristically ugly Ann Coulter rant, in which she refers to Brantly as “idiotic.”

    Why did Dr. Brantly have to go to Africa? The very first “risk factor” listed by the Mayo Clinic for Ebola — an incurable disease with a 90 percent fatality rate — is: “Travel to Africa.”

    Can’t anyone serve Christ in America anymore?
    (You know who else was idiotic? Saint Bernadette. She became a nurse and probably caught tuberculosis from one of her patients. Jerk!)

    A commenter here offers a perfect description of Ann Coulter: “An oxygen thief who significantly lowers the net worth of the entire human race.”

    The mystery aircraft. Nevertheless, there is something odd about the Brantly episode. I direct your attention to this eye-opening piece of original research by Lambert Strether, who seems to have taken his Daniel Hopsicker pills.

    Lambert tracks the N-number of an airplane that may have connections to the CIA’s rendition program:

    So I was watching a video of Brantly’s plane arriving, and I spotted the tail number: N173PA. N173PA, a Grumman Gulfstream III, was originally owned by the Royal Danish Air Force (then numbered F-313) and became N173PA in January 2005 (planespotter). N173PA does not appear on Wikipedia’s list of rendition aircraft — although, when you think of it, evacuating a patient in an isolation hood is, logistically, a lot like rendition — although Shannon Watch, monitors foreign military use of Shannon Airport in Ireland, includes it on its list of suspects…

    From 2005 to 2010, N173PA was operated by Phoenix Air (planespotter). N173PA and its sibling, N163PA (planespotter) “are fitted with a large freight door on the starboard side and seem to be used … mainly on cargo and air ambulance work” as in this ebola episode.
    Doors like that are also useful to smugglers as well as to those who transport prisoners.

    The plane is owned by an “on paper” entity call N173PA LLC, which has an official address in Wilmington, Delaware. Delaware registration is pretty common for CIA front companies.

    “So what?” you may be asking. “That doesn’t prove that the plane was used for rendition flights.” Well, it turns out that this plane and a sister craft are registered to a firm called Phoenix Air…

    These planes are known to have landed at Shannon a number of times and frequently fly to US military air bases.
    Lambert then quotes another site which offers this intriguing bit of background on Phoenix Air:

    Phoenix Air is well known for providing adversary support and electronic warfare training to the DoD. … These jets appear to have been used as government contract aircraft on and off over the last decade, as their large cargo doors and convertible interiors allows them to carry out-sized cargo, passengers or modular medical components and stretchers.
    Although Lambert doesn’t mention it, Phoenix Air — I think it is the same entity — heavily figures in the work of Daniel Hopsicker: See here. As many of you know, Hopsicker focused on Huffman Aviation, an apparently CIA-linked company which plays an important role in the story of the 9/11 hijackers. Huffman operated out of a “spooked up” airport in Florida. [read the rest]

  • @ Tom


    Something unprecedented is happening in Ukraine.

    For decades the US and its proxies have committed war crimes with total impunity. They’ve trampled on just about every humanitarian convention there’s ever been, and the most they’ve had to fear is a Wikileaks-type exposé in a safely distant future.

    Not in Ukraine. For the first time ever the world is seeing these crimes first hand and immediately – sometimes while they’re still happening. Poor villagers of Afghanistan and Iraq were unlikely to possess either mobile phone or camera, but Ukraine is a modern country with the advantages of Android and iPhones, video cameras and livestreaming. The US and Kiev can lie all they like, but it’s never going to work if there’s already a video online to show the truth.

    Video is the liars’ worst enemy, and they fear it beyond anything else. That’s why they’re kidnapping, torturing, deporting and even murdering journalists.