Two More NTHE Questions

What is freedom? How is the concept of freedom related to this predicament?


I am interested in knowing what people think NTHE will look like. Humans are clearly very adaptable and clever. Will all humans be killed, or just the majority of them? Will some small groups be able to survive, in some tiny niches somewhere?

I suspect that many humans — most, me included — have been so imbued with the idea that humans are the apex of evolution, that it’s hard to conceive that we will be wiped out entirely; gone forevermore. Do we really believe that, or do we think NTHE will be just a major setback, a rebooting of humanity, but that at least a few of us will endure?

Comments 52

  • First question–what is freedom?–in this context, us ‘Muricans are going to have to rethink the word. Freedom up to now lead to the ‘freedom’ to buy things and get tattoos. I guess free association within one’s tribe or community, freedom to leave, have one’s voice heard in a small-d democratic society (the Open Mic concept). Free to speak, free to leave.
    Second–I think folks will break off into small communities to the degree they can. My neighbors who are recent arrivals from other places may be better equipped to live with less (and live with more adversity) than the locals. Will communities form along religious/ethnic lines? I assume there will be a multi-year break between the industrial collapse and the methane bomb (or Fukushima meltdown). I think we’re gone as a species once the nuke plants melt–and so is everything else. That won’t post-date collapse by too long.

  • 1. Letting go of the idea that the particular body/mind/ego that you call “you” matters at all in the grand scheme of things is pretty freeing. You are no more and no less important than the poor little ant you stepped on today. Let it go.

    2. No-one knows if/when/how for any possible future scenario. Obsessing about NTE or living a grief filled life is really nuts. Do your best and enjoy the miracle of existence while you can. Forget these crazy speculations.

  • .
    We are all slaves. There is no escape.
    There is no solution – unless of course you have an idea on how to safely decommission over 400 nuclear power plants and safely dispose of their nuclear waste, not to mention all the nuclear weapons as well as the rest of the toxic infrastructure of industrial civilization. The scale of the effort would require a very oppressive militant central authority. These hippie yahoo folks on their weekend marches are NOT going to like that very much.
    For thousands of years, humans have been fighting each other – and every living thing – but the war is almost over.
    Like Frankl said, the survivors were not the best of us.

  • “What is freedom? How is the concept of freedom related to this predicament?”

    Freedom is a mirage, just like the self – the “I”. ‘Tain’t related: doesn’t exist.

    “I am interested in knowing what people think NTHE will look like.”

    Somewhat like this

    “Will all humans be killed, or just the majority of them?”

    Get your own crystal ball.

    NTE: Near Term Extinction. Extremophiles may survive.
    NTHE: Near Term Human Extinction.
    Most terrestrial vertebrates also.
    NTHNE: Near Term Human Near Extinction. Some may survive.

    “wiped out entirely; gone forevermore”

    In case you were asleep in class when this subject was covered, ALL species go extinct. They may do this by keeling over and croaking, or they may do this through genetic drift, like our ancestral Homo erectus, our ancestral arboreal primate, our ancestral lungfish, etc: their descendants have drifted so far off from them to be different species.

  • Wow, we do get excited when our personally held beliefs are questioned.

    Regarding being in class: in the classes I attend people are invited to ask questions if they are not sure of a point, or even to dispute points if the premises or the logic seem faulty.

    Regarding nuclear fallout: it’s documented that many species of flora and fauna are surviving in the forests near Chernobyl.

    Regarding all species: it’s been reported that whole ecosystems exist in the deep oceans, barely touched by events near the surface.

    There have been massive extinctions in the past, but life continued.

  • When there is no food left, the atmosphere is awash in lethal and explosive gases like hydrogen sulfide and methane, there’s a serious lack of drinkable water, radiation permeates the biosphere, diseases run rampant (while the entirety of the medical profession is lost in the collapse), electricity fails for good and any humans left are most likely uncooperative and unprepared for the complete collapse of their habitat one could reasonably expect total extinction. This doesn’t even consider the desperation governments (and individuals) – especially those from the nuclear club – are likely to reach on their way down and out.

    Freedom is a mirage.

  • Um, we interrupt this transmission briefly to bring you some breaking news… it appears that Black Holes do not exist, therefore the Big Bang probably never happened after all…

    Apologies, please continue as if nothing had happened. Has anything happened ? Does it make any difference ?

  • //What is freedom?//

    Freedom is an illusion, probably an adaptively-advantageous one – created by our minds to help us make sense of whatever we happen to be doing at the moment.

    That said, it’s a beautiful feeling if one can muster it. The only way I’ve found to do that is to create, as an artist. The act of creation surely must be the ultimate free act, even postulated of “God” – presumably the ultimate free agent.

    Art may be the only domain left in which one can have such an experience.

  • Steve: for the time being species may be existing (as there is genetic mutation happening there too), but once the vegetation goes (due to tropospheric ozone overload among other factors) they won’t. Same with the oceans – nothing lives in an anoxic acidified ocean (see dead zones for example).

    The “excitement” is often a response to frustration with people asking vapid questions in the face of NTE which, as far as I’m concerned, is a happening fact.

  • @David Goza, I went to an art college, so I have known my fair share of artists. I don’t think any of them are particularly “free”. The ‘best’ ones are those compelled to do it; that’s not exactly free. The rest are prey to all the nonsense that the art/business/social world has to dish out. Limiting factors are always the materials it takes to make whatever, and the space and forbearance afforded them by the larger society.

    Making art is very human and also very silly and wasteful, requiring surplus time, energy and materials. The impulse to ‘make” and to be obsessed with things of our own making is part of our problem. Homo faber, man the creator. Old paintings say “fecit”. Fecit, feces. I dood it!

    The God character, too, is obsessed with his creation in the Judeo=Christian tradition. He’s kind of a psycho stalker.. not free…

  • Free: not being constrained by any physical or psychological chains. Very few humans even approach any degree of freedom these days, especially if born is a western ‘slave camp’.

    I was made aware of the Dunning-Kruger effect a couple of days ago and responded to a previous comment along those lines. I’m repeating it here because it should be of general interest:

    ‘The world is full of people who think they understand things but actually do not. you have demonstrated you do not understand the basics of chemistry.

    I suggest you do several months (years) study of electronegativity, bond energies, activation energy, enthalpy and entropy; you may then not put your foot in it.

    There is a term -the Dunning-Kruger effect- for people who overrate themselves and underrate others with considerably more knowledge/skill.

    We witness the dismal results of the Dunning-Kruger effect every day, as incompetent fools imagine themselves to be experts and proceed to make a mess of everything they touch, never listening to anyone who does know what they are talking about.

    Interestingly, the Dunning-Kruger effect was brought to my attention by the one district councillor (out of 14) who does have some clues; he used it to describe the majority of the councillors and council officers who set policy and make the decisions that affect everyone’s future.

    I have spent too many years arguing with ignorant fools, and wasted a lot of time without generating any worthwhile outcomes. Therefore, I do not seek opportunities to discuss crucial issues; most people are still wandering around with plugs in the ears and wearing blindfolds.

    The future, one of economic and environmental collapse which I described as Peak Mayhem several years ago, has been ‘set in stone’ -it is only the timing of the various aspects of collapse we are not sure about- and right now the fascists in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and NZ etc. are consolidating their positions of power, in preparation for the ‘free-for-all’ that will characterise the death of the present economic-political system.

    For the moment, frantic money printing, fracking, house-building, falsification of economic indicators and keeping people employed building boondoggles (plus lying about everything) are keeping the system going around here. I strongly suspect the moment the government funds dry up (i.e. the money-printing stops) the NZ sector of the global Ponzi scheme will collapse in a matter of weeks.

    Therefore, they will keep doing it till they can’t.’

  • Holy crap. Blacks holes don’t exist? WTF?

    We “know” NOTHING! No disrespect intended to any person who has dedicated his or her life to the pursuit of knowledge, like most of the scientists that we here at NBL look to for clarification and new information. However, the “evidence” is abundantly clear that we only know something until we learn that what we knew was not quite right.

    So, NTE is a prognostication that I generally prescribe to and accept. However, it is also abundantly clear that we dont know what we dont know and what we dont know could render what we do know completely moot. Hence, no matter how much data we have about methane and acidification and all the rest, we cannot know with perfect certainty that NTE is coming.

    By the way, I must be sure to acknowledge that Guy and many of the regulars on this blog note that NTE is a probability not a fact. I will also note that I sense great resistance by some when the idea of NTE is presented as less likely. I find this very interesting.

    To me, freedom is about being without the constraints of external forces – physical, emotional, social, cultural, historical, or otherwise. Therefore, awareness is a precondition to freedom. If I am unaware of the chains that bind me, I cannot be free. And only rarely are those chains made out of steel.

  • ulvfugl:
    i dunno what’s worse, priests tell me i can continue to live after i die and physicists tell me we can travel through time in multiple universes and be in many places at the same time. they are both crazy. math is just math, and not the language of god. 2+2 only equals 4, but i never graduated high school.

    Anyone else:
    2136, the methane firestorms in what used to be the North Pole were hindering the southbound dump extraction expeditions. Fewer of those forays where making it back. Some suspected radiation, others thought roving survivors. Living underground powered and fed by algae was monotonous, but safe. Sam was one of the few humans with still viable sperm and they wouldn’t let him go anywhere.

  • one more, while I’m at it, being an atheist who doesn’t believe in evolution, i often wonder how can a chameleon randomly evolve to be able to change its colors to match a random external background? how can an arctic hare turn white in winter and brown in summer? no answer required.

  • Do not know if you have seen this, but it the first time that I have heard Arctic warming and Arctic methane discussed in such a public venue. Furthermore, DiCaprio makes the obvious, but bold statement, that your leaders already know this information and you are being kept in the dark. Over 600k views by one day after posting.

    Leonardo DiCaprio (UN Messenger of Peace) at the opening of Climate Summit 2014

  • @ Robert Callaghan:

    You proclaim yourself as an atheist who doesn’t “believe in” evolution. Given this, I feel extremely curious: do you “believe in” gravity? Do you “believe in” Earth as a sphere and not a flat surface?

    I just wonder.

  • .
    @ Bud:
    I believe he was being facetious.

  • “I have spent too many years arguing with ignorant fools

    most people are still wandering around with plugs in the ears and wearing blindfolds.”

    Facts and figures addressed to the rational, verbal, mammalian brain chauffeur just don’t do it. The boss, the reptilian brain, is non-verbal, non-rational, and motivated by emotion and values. Political propagandists and advertisers know well that a change in behaviour is effected by appeals to those emotions and values, through modifying or replacing the narrative myths that form the fabric of culture, even when myths are implicit, going unstated.

    “To me, freedom is about being without the constraints of external forces

    If I am unaware of the chains that bind me, I cannot be free.”

    Constraints of external forces made the lungs of our lungfish ancestors more efficient and allowed their gills to shrink away. That’s why we are not free to breathe underwater.

    Constraints of external forces acting in early childhood and through later life make us speak some languages and not others. That is why we are not free to speak those other languages.

    Constraints of external forces acting over many generations have selected some for a lighter skin tone. They are not free to go out in the sunshine of low latitudes without greater risk of getting sunburn.

    Whether one knows it or not, constraints acting over eons affect the shape and function of bodies, and constraints acting over millennia shape the cultural milieu that in turn shapes our behaviours, whether bushman or bankster.

    If we feel we are free, it is because the constraints have been in force for so long (natural constraints) or so skilfully applied that they are no longer recognised as constraints.

    A cubicle serf in some large metropolitan area may not consider oneself unfree, and could even be the envy of others.

  • Re the questions

    For me, freedom is waking up in the morning and being able to do whatever I want to do, whenever I want to do it.

    I’m willing to tolerate some restrictions or limitations upon that liberty, so long as I can see some good reason, like serving the common good.

    There’s loads of stuff been written about this by libertarian and anarchist theoreticians. Too much to go into.

    Re survivors.

    I think, if you look at the long term geological record, and how fast and how dramatically we are changing the whole of the Earth system, it looks to me that we go straight into a classical mass extinction event.

    How fast it happens, how long it takes, the period it extends over, these things are very hard to calculate with any degree of sense, because there are so many variables and unknown factors.

    I have never been able to understand why anybody would care whether some humans still survive in some isolated pocket somewhere on the planet at some future date, say, 2100, which always seems to be everyone’s favourite.

    It’s not going to be YOU, or any of YOUR progeny, and YOU are never going to know. So what difference does it make to anything ? Even if they are there, will it be any sort of existence anyone would wish to have, and will they still be around 50 years later, or a 100 ?

    Seems to me, this sort of discussion is How many angels fit on a pinhead ? and is a waste of time.

    @ Joe D

    I will also note that I sense great resistance by some when the idea of NTE is presented as less likely. I find this very interesting.

    It was decided very long ago, that as this is the ONLY blog dedicated to discussing NTE and related stuff, it was not the place for people to discuss the many other takes, e.g. those that question the existence of man-made climate change, etc, because there are zillions of other places that cater for those people.

    I think there’s ongoing tension here between those who resent the ‘hopium peddlers’ and those who tolerate them out of ‘kindness and compassion’.

    @ Robert Callaghan

    To explain the arctic hare, fox, whatever, colour changes, is a doddle, it’s just classical Darwinian evolution and can be understood by any reasonably smart person in ten minutes.

    However, there are much greater puzzles and enigmas remaining to be resolved. But so what ? Darwinian evolution is simply the very best theory that we have so far, to explain the observed phenomena. The fact that there are still unsolved mysteries is no surprise. That doesn’t invalidate the theory. Just means people have to keep on digging and thinking.

  • Black Holes ain’t real? Damn! Oh well, I still love science. Especially evolutionary theory.
    Why is babies crying so damn annoying?

  • Robin Datta says: “Facts and figures addressed to the rational, verbal, mammalian brain chauffeur just don’t do it. The boss, the reptilian brain, is non-verbal, non-rational, and motivated by emotion and values.”

    Ode to Benjamin Libet

    The reptilian old brain is whence,
    As it turns out, decisions commence;
    Then, to keep oneself sane,
    The mammalian brain
    Rationalizes that they makes sense.

  • Three cheers for DiCaprio – best role ever! His ’11th Hour’ has many good and important facts well worthy of consideration, even if it is too late!

  • Robert Callaghan,
    If you are an atheist you are over the biggest hurdle to the acceptance of the evidence for evolution by natural selection.I hope you don’t resent my suggesting a few books to read on the subject.If you put in a little effort you will find that you will be able to answer the questions you have,and the journey of discovery will be very rewarding..
    I would suggest three books by Richard Dawkins,’The blind watchmaker’,’Climbing Mount Improbable ‘,’The Greatest Show on Earth’.
    I haven’t read ‘Why Evolution is true’by Jerry Coyne,but it is supposed to be very good .
    There are of course many others,perhaps someone else has another suggestion.
    I forget at present who said’Nothing in nature makes sense except in the light of evolution by natural selection’,but keeping that in mind should provide good incentive for your investigations.

  • I liked Leonardo DiCaprio’s talk. If for nothing other than his brief, bold and clear presentation.

    I somehow bring NTHE (may I say theory?) and the sense of freedom together. In the theory, there can be no future for us. There has been too much damage already, and human society gives no indication that it can reverse that damage or do what is required to prevent worse.

    These are the feelings I’ve had on the subject:

    Given this no-way-out scenario, many burdens fall away. While we retain prejudices–gender, sexuality, class, race, ableness, status, species, etc.–they have less dominion over us now. We are suddenly all in the same boat, guided by the same relentless current of destruction. That realization brings people together (in principle). We no longer need to keep up with the Jones’s (in principle). We don’t have the burden of figuring out whether gays getting married is bad for society or not. (Name your issue.) There very, very soon will be no society left to guard.

    The “theory” of NTHE, therefore, calls for the stripping away of burdens that make us less free and less fair.

    @ David Goza

    Glad you mentioned art as freedom. I don’t know if we think about the subject the same way, but here’s my take on it: When you see everything as potentially being art, that does free up art!

  • I LOVE IT, artleads! What a silver lining that would be (in theory, agreed!) I’ve been waiting so long for that, I think it must be why I came to the planet (in theory, of course!) But, truly – that’s a beautiful sense of possibility you have expressed there!

  • Robert- This will tide you over while your waiting for the book to be delivered (by an Amazon drone).

  • Freedom: Remember when you were a kid and you couldn’t wait until you were an adult so you could “do whatever you wanted.”? Freedom is like that. I often decide to do things like clean the kitchen floor, take out the garbage, go to work, pay bills. Yeah, that’s what I want do today, fix the bathroom sink. Boy oh boy. having fun now.

    But being free is more of a state of mind. Camus “Invincible Summer” for example. Everything may be going to hell, but that doesn’t mean I’m not free to think utterly stupid things that make me laugh.

    There is every indication that the dinosaurs were the highest point of evolution too. They were very big, lasted for millions of years and were doing just fine until the planet got walloped by an asteroid. Humans are so fucking smart, we’re not even going to last a million years. Nowhere close.

  • kevin moore

    You wrote:

    “…most people are still wandering around with plugs in the ears and wearing blindfolds.”

    Err…I think perhaps the plugs on that many people,(quote: “most”)if they are embedded in an orifice, it is probably one located lower down in the human anatomy.


    Surprisingly, it may still have the effect of an inability to listen, or hear the truth in any situation.


    Biochar research comes up with something

    ‘Study: Biochar alters water flow to improve sand and clay’


  • Climate Holocaust podcasts – coming at a rapid almost daily pace now:

    (1) Second half of an hour with Harvard Climate Scientist David Keith, author of the book A Case for Climate Engineering. He is suggesting spraying particles from airplanes into the stratosphere to create a haze that will cool the planets by reducing solar radiation.
    [audio src="" /]

    Peters out into almost sadly comical, pathetic ridiculous mantra about what “technology” is at the end. First half here:

    (2) Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change – Mind Over Matters
    Interview with George Marshall by Mike McCormick
    [audio src="" /]

    Raises some of the historic philosophical and existential problems associated with the current trajectory.

    (3) Can’t We Do Better Than This: Capitalism Is Destroying the Planet – The Michael Slate Show – Orpheus Reed, an organizer of a contingent in the Sept 21 People’s Climate March, talks about the emergency facing us, and the urgent need for people to mobilize, and step up the fight.
    [audio src="" /]


    Scientists see risk of mutant airborne Ebola as remote

    The Ebola virus raging through West Africa is mutating rapidly as it tears a deadly path through cities, towns and villages, but the genetic changes are for now not giving it the ability to spread more easily.

    Concern that the virus could gain capability to transmit through the air – creating a nightmare scenario of the disease being able to spread like a flu pandemic, killing millions – was fueled by a top infectious disease expert in the United States.

    Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said in an opinion article he believed the risk of airborne Ebola is real, and warned: “Until we consider it, the world will not be prepared to do what is necessary to end the epidemic.”

    Yet many other virus and infectious disease specialists say that while the prospect of an airborne Ebola virus is not impossible, it is extremely remote.

    “This is way down on the list of possible futures for Ebola and in all probability will never happen,” said Ian Jones, a virologist at Britain’s University of Reading.

    Ebola is contagious, but spreads via direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, such as their blood, faeces or vomit. The virus has infected 5,357 people in West Africa this year, killing 2,630 of them, in the worst Ebola epidemic the world has seen.

    Ben Neuman, a Reading virologist who has been monitoring the Ebola epidemic since it began in Guinea, noted that under carefully controlled laboratory conditions, scientists have shown it is feasible to make Ebola transmit through air, but added: “So far there is no solid evidence that it actually happens out there in the real world.”

    [oh, great – we’ve ‘weaponized’ it already]

    “One clue is how slow the virus is spreading,” he told Reuters. “Compared to this Ebola outbreak, the H1N1 swine flu had already spread to an estimated 10,000 times as many people in its first 10 months.”

    That’s not to say the Ebola virus isn’t mutating. It is, rapidly, all the time.

    In a study published in the journal Science late last month, a team of researchers sequenced 99 Ebola virus genomes isolated from blood samples of 78 patients in Sierra Leone — one of the four countries at the heart of the epidemic.

    They found what they described as “a rapid accumulation of interhost and intrahost genetic variation” — in other words, a large number of frequent changes in the virus — even in the initial few weeks of the outbreak.


    Unlike some other nasty viruses such us smallpox and hepatitis B, Ebola, like HIV and flu, is an RNA virus — one whose genetic material is contained in ribonucleic acid (RNA) rather than deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

    RNA viruses are renowned for their rapidly changing nature and are often described by virologists as “sloppy” viruses because when they replicate, they make copies of themselves that are full of errors.

    But most of these mistakes, or changes, are just “irrelevant mutations”, explained Anthony Fauci of the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

    Fauci told a U.S. senate hearing this week that the changes so far observed in Ebola in this outbreak, while prolific, were generally “not associated with a biological change or a biological function” of the virus, meaning they were highly unlikely to give it an entirely new skill, such as the ability to transmit in droplets in the air.

    “It is an unusual situation where a mutation would completely change the way a virus is transmitted,” Fauci said. “It’s not impossible, but it would be unlikely.”

    Jones added that the so-called tropism of the Ebola virus — the tissue it prefers to infect — is the vasculature, not the airway surfaces.

    “As a result it is not in the right place to make the leap to a new transmission route,” he told Reuters. “In fact very few viruses do this. Most stay in the niche they have established over evolutionary time.”

    Experts stress, however, that keeping close tabs on the mutations in the Ebola virus is vitally important, particularly for those working on developing potential drugs to treat the infection, or vaccines to prevent it.

    The researchers who sequenced the Ebola genomes and published their findings in Science said many of the mutations they found had altered protein sequences or other biologically meaningful targets within the virus.

    “They should be monitored for impact on diagnostics, vaccines, and therapies critical to outbreak response,” they wrote.

  • .
    We had to find understanding in order to defend ourselves against ignorance.

  • In this comment at a prior NBL post, referencing an outside link, AGW was dismissed.

    The issue is addressed at some length here:
    IPCC attribution statements redux: A response to Judith Curry

  • ” … just another word for nothing left to lose.”

  • What is freedom?

  • Keying off the numerous Joplin references:

    “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…”

    To me this helps to answer both the question of what freedom is and how it applies to his predicament.

    We’ve got nothing left to lose because we are about to lose it all (and for 200 species today, they have already lost everything). Before it’s our turn, freedom would to me be a release from this controlling system killing everything. Even though it may make no difference in the long term as the damage is ongoing and accelerating, freedom would be spending some time outside the bounds of this insanity now while we still can before it all really begins crashing down over our heads. Freedom to live our lives as so much life did in this planet for millions of years before this culture arrived and led us to his point.

    I’ll agree with other sentiments here regarding “survival”. Certainly some small pockets of humans may survive for varying amounts of time depending on preparedness, remoteness, capabilities etc… but in the end damaged habitat for larger animals lasting for 1000 years or more seems to preclude continuation of even small pockets of human beings for the multiple generations needed to ride out the rebalancing of the climate and restoration of a livable world.

  • If freedom is the lack of constraint, there is no freedom…we are constrained, at the most basic level, by the needs of our animal bodies, by the limits of the resources available in our environment, at “higher” levels by our upbringing, culture, state, et cetera. Perhaps freedom is the opportunity to choose, without constraint, among the available options: colgate or crest, NBC or CBS, Democrat or Republican…a pyrrhic freedom at best. Freedom could have to do with how we think, conceive, frame our understanding of the world…I think (do I?) that in this is the scope of the freedom available to us…available, but rarely achieved.

  • Jerry Brown of California used to be a decent politician back in the day. Mr. Moonbeam has now crossed the line, who knows when, with Mandela, Bernice King, Andy Dandy Young, Jesse Jackson and all the other politicians.

    Ah! “Frack Water” after shave.

  • I thought I’d share a short French film I saw on Vimeo. It’s about 9 1/2 mins and is called “Next Floor.” I found this film to be a metaphor to Humanity and our insatiable feasting on our Planet’s resources and how we keep refusing to see or acknowledge the consequences of our gluttonous actions. You can see the movie, here. Enjoy!


    Global Bellwether: Japan’s Social Depression

    Beneath the surface wealth of bullet trains, cute robots and exuberant fashions, this is the Japan few outsiders understand: the one gripped by a deepening social depression.

    [ends with]

    Japan’s slump has lasted so long, a “New Lost Generation” is coming of age, joining Japan’s first “Lost Generation” which graduated into the bleak job market of the 1990s.

    – These trends have led to an ironic moniker for the Freeter lifestyle: Dame-Ren (No Good People). The Dame-Ren (pronounced dah-may-ren) get by on odd jobs, low-cost living and drastically diminished expectations.

    – Many young men now reject the macho work ethic and related values of their fathers. These “herbivores” reject the traditonal Samurai ideal of masculinity. Derisively called “herbivores” or “Grass-eaters,” these young men are uncompetitive and uncommitted to work, evidence of their deep disillusionment with Japan’s troubled economy.

    – These shifts have spawned a disconnect between genders so pervasive that Japan is experiencing a “social recession” in marriage, births, and even sex, all of which are declining.

    – The trend of never leaving home has sparked an almost tragicomical countertrend ofJapanese parents who actively seek mates to marry off their “parasite single” offspring as the only way to get them out of the house.

    – An even more extreme social disorder is Hikikomori, or “acute social withdrawal,” a condition in which the young live-at-home person will virtually wall themselves off from the world by never leaving their room.

    Is it any wonder that in the face of such a bleak and maladaptive future, young people seek identity, community and solace in a fantasy world of fashion? When an economy is dominated by a Savior State that issues unsustainable promises, and a society is dependent on a consumerist frenzy of fads, status signifiers and shopping for identity and what passes for community, then narcissism, restless emptiness and the aloneness described in The Hidden Cost of the “New Economy”: New-Type Depression are the inevitable results.

    Beneath the surface wealth of bullet trains, cute robots and exuberant fashions, this is the Japan few outsiders understand: the one gripped by a deepening social depression.

    Japan is the global bellwether in social depression, and we can already see the same symptoms and official panic to mask these symptoms in Europe, China and the U.S.

  • @ Tom – what is interesting about that article is how it concurs with the Japanese experience of depression in the face of its reality (without even mentioning Fukushima), yet the usual expectations of ambition and prosperity are still defining of the subject matter. I agree with the conclusion that this fate or status is awaiting other countries, including the US and may be more true already than is widely know. I suppose what is interesting about the article is that it exemplifies the disconnect between concluding that humanity can’t just keep up with business as usual (capitalism, industrial civilization), but that detaching from such drivers is going to mean accepting a less ambitious mode of being and living and we need to change our attitudes about those adopting such a necessary, but unattractive by our current standards and expectations, way of living.

  • Thanks ulvfugi for the quantum update. Have to give up the hope of being taken beyond the event horizon into another dimension , just have to be satisfied with being raptured.
    Must be great to be able to ponder the universe through the lens of cutting edge theoretical physics.
    The other day I was thinking about emptiness and how I could relate to the concept ,the top rung of the noumenal plane.I have a pretty good handle on being and the creator as consciousness ,cause and love the other two aspects of the noumenal. Anyway that takes us into a metaphysical understanding. Crossing the event horizon between emptiness and creation is where the physics and mathematics would seem to break down, our mathematics can’t enter the realm of emptiness. The mystic connects with the noumenal realm and in this connection the metaphysical teaching of so above and so below is understood. Something comes into creation out of emptiness ,the inner alchemy of Self Realization.

  • I thought I should add, to be free is to be able to experience your true nature. The system has fine tuned your captivity,they have had a few millennia to shape the doctrine and you. You’ll get a lot of satisfaction on many levels ,when you have an understanding. I think that an understanding of the working of enlightenment brings you closer to your enlightenment and freedom.

  • @ Bob

    Thanks for interesting thoughts. Seems to me, much of what those astro-physicists and theoretical mathematical people do, is not, strictly speaking, science, because they can never test their hypotheses, it’s just getting paid to have fun with mind-boggling ideas to impress their friends and baffle the rest of us.

    As for the noumenal realms, what can one say ? This ‘thing’, whatever it is, has produced us. I think the jhanas is where it’s at. What can one say about that ? Nothing much, really. Something to do. :-)

  • Old Days Was Better

    Extinction comes near with the curse
    Of making conditions adverse:
    We used to be grooving
    ‘Cause life kept improving;
    Now everything keeps getting worse.

  • B the D

    I saw a movie last night, Calvary, and it had a song we used to listen to on those boxy old 8-tracks, in my Dads beat up Chevy Impala. Old Days Was Better my friend and I am not looking forward to the New World.

  • Apneaman, the 60s were so full of promise.

  • TED Talks
    TED@NYC · 5:33 · Filmed Jul 2014

    Matthew O’Reilly:
    “Am I dying?” The honest answer.

  • The latest guest essay is up. It’s here.

  • I am an American… 11/22/63 the US became a Masonic Dictatorship.

    I was born in 68, so I have never known freedom, just FREEDUMB.

    Queston 2, I hope it claims us all.